Monday, April 27, 2015

A New Tradition

Nick is home from Scotland! He was there working for the Scottish Parliament.

Last night, we gathered in Tremonton to enjoy a beautiful roast as a family. Jayson couldn't make it because he is treating his employees to a trip to Vegas, but the rest of us gathered around the kitchen table we ate at as kids and welcomed Antonio and Daniel to the family.

My mom put out the good china and we ate delicious food and shared stories.

My sister Kim's son Konner is 7 and Daniel is 6. As soon as they ate enough food to satisfy the adults, they ran downstairs to play with the toys and have adventures together!  It was so much fun to see the boys play together! The neighbor boys came over and joined them in the basement and Grandpa ran downstairs as soon as he could to join the boys. It felt so good to see little boys bouncing around the house again. We grew up with a house full of kids.

We all had such a good time that we agreed to start a tradition and have dinner together once a month. I'm so excited to be able to enjoy more time at home with my new family.

There's no place like home.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Learning How To Parent

Daniel is darling. He's so cuddly and cute and I could squeeze his little cheeks for days!

I've been working on keeping myself spiritually, mentally, and physically healthy so I can handle the stress of becoming a parent. I don't get the 9 months of prep and the fun times when they're a screaming baby. In two weeks, I'm going to have a kindergartener running around.

Yesterday was not a great day for Daniel. But I felt ready for it. Sort of. I had been listening to the scriptures and I heard Alma say a scripture that I remember marking while I was a missionary in Dallas.

Alma 31: 5 And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God.

This was what I was prepared with before Daniel came over. 

Antonio came to the office and asked if I could watch Daniel for a little bit while he went to visit with his daycare. I told him sure and asked what happened. Daniel pushed one kid and kicked another little girl in the head. So violent! Antonio went to find out what happened and talk with his teacher. Daniel settled in his little chair in the office and we set about writing an apology letter. 

This was not an easy task. He was hungry. He was itchy. He was guilty. 

And then a customer came in. Daniel helped me show her the unit she would choose. While we finished paperwork, I gave him two choices. He could work on his apology or he could color a Ninja Turtle. Sitting still long enough to get through the paperwork was more than he could handle. I shut his mouth with a protein bar. He was pleased. 

After helping the customers, we ran upstairs and made a snack. Salad for me. Apple and cheese and rice for Daniel. We ran back down stairs and he ate happily while I answered calls. 

After a bit, I told him to go play out in the front yard where I could watch him from the window. Antonio came home with a bag of take out and I watched him talk to Daniel. 

I ran out to see what he had discovered. Antonio empathized with Daniel's frustration. But no matter what led to the violence, violence is unacceptable. He took Daniel upstairs and the two of them finished the apology letter and Antonio explained why we wouldn't be setting up the video games. 

I smiled at how gentle Antonio was with Daniel. I finished the day off at the office and came upstairs to see a finished apology and two happy guys. 

I just couldn't figure out how to help Daniel see that his pushing and kicking had real consequences though. He isn't a bad kid--he just doesn't have the empathy to imagine how others feel. He's 6. But he needs to learn it in order to have a good social experience and in order to be a nice person. 

At about 8:30pm--he wet his pants. No reason. He wasn't playing video games. We were all just lounging around having a fun time. This has been an ongoing problem and Antonio is about at his wit's end. So I had Daniel get a towel and get it wet and rub the tiny little spot on the carpet where he had wet 100 times. It was hilariously excessive. He sat there slaving away repeating his numbers loudly. Antonio enjoyed calling him out when he missed 87 and the little boy went back and repeated 87. I sat there giggling, hoping that the suffering was enough to make him think twice next time he decided going to the bathroom wasn't a good idea.

Thinking back to the scripture I had read, I decided to experiment upon the promise. I grabbed the scriptures and we started the Book of Mormon as a family. Daniel, very reluctantly and obnoxiously, read the 1st verse. He repeated what I read in a high pitched voice and interrupted himself with fits of coughing that I realized were fake and his way of protesting. I called him on it immediately and he finished what I realize now is an incredibly long verse. We read to verse 4 where it introduces the word "repent". 

I asked Daniel what "repent" means. He didn't know. So I told him it was to apologize for doing something wrong and to promise not to do it again. We talked about what he had done wrong. We talked about his apology note and told him we were proud of him for apologizing. And then he promised not to do it again. 

I don't have any vain imaginings that this problem is over--but it was neat to see how we could immediately apply the scriptures with him and how the scriptures helped to support the lesson that we were trying to teach him. 

I'm not well read on childhood development. I don't know what a 6 year old is capable of when it comes to empathy. I don't know whether anything we're trying is making a difference. But I hope that little by little through consequences, talks, scripture reading, and lots of love we will raise a good man. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

One Day Closer to Healthy

I read in a book that fat people know more about dieting than anyone else.

So here's a fat girl telling you the latest weight loss strategy I'm utilizing.

But let me start at the beginning. Why do I want to lose some weight? Antonio loves me just the way I am. Even when I feel completely unattractive, he absolutely adores me.

Back in January, my mom and I went shopping for a wedding dress.

I tried on a few at David's Bridal. This was very fun. I looked spectacular! We figured with alterations and add ons, it was going to cost about $700.

And then we went and visited a lady in Bountiful who was selling her wedding dress. She was so sweet. She really just needed to get rid of the dress. We visited with her for a little bit and I tried on the dress. It didn't come close to fitting. But I bought it anyway. I just really felt like it was the right thing to do. She needed to see the dress go to a good home. It's weird I know. It was only $100 and the dress is really exactly what I want. Simple and elegant. No rhinestones, lace, or pearls. Just little flowers embroidered. I love it.

But it didn't fit.

I got to know a very generous seamstress who took out the dress as much as possible. After that, the dress zipped--which was a relief. But it was still sooo tight.

So last week, after making Daniel a chore chart--I made myself a chore chart.

On my chore chart, I wrote down chores that I don't do because it's just hard to get motivated to do them. I don't have to do them daily--but when I do, life is better. I feel better.

Here are some of my chores:
Make bed (I have done that one once this week...)
Drink 100 ounces of water with lemon
Walk Atticus (I usually go for one mile)
100 situps
50 pushups
100 leg lifts
Eat a salad
Don't eat after 8 pm
Put away clothes
Take my multivitamin

Since last Wednesday, I've lost 9 pounds. It's probably water weight, but I feel better letting my digestive system fast for a good twelve hours between 8 and 8. My back feels stronger because I'm working my core. Drinking lots of water has helped me to avoid hunger. I feel no guilt eating delicious cake or casserole, as long as it's before 8. I just make sure I eat my big salad so that I have less cravings.

And that's it. Those are my chores.

I check off my little chore chart and I feel better.

I know there are a lot of diet programs out there. I know that people have a lot of reasons to lose weight. Experience teaches me that in a month, I'll need to add a new element and switch things up. Our bodies get used to the changes and the weight loss slows considerably. And so I'll try new things like adding yoga or running up to the street corner with Atticus. Little things.

It's the little things that make you one day closer to healthy.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

5 Lesbians Is HILARIOUS

Last Friday night, I took my dad to see a very funny play entitled 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche at the Sugar Space (616 Wilmington Ave, Salt Lake City--just off of 2100 South and 700 East). Produced by Silver Summit Theatre ( and directed by the dynamic duo Dave Hanson and Amy Allred of A-Muses (

The show plays through April 26th at 8pm.

So there's the informational bit...

Here's the fun bit.

When we walked in, they gave us each a name tag. We felt so included. My 60 something year old father relished his part as a 1950's widow named Edith or Doris (I can't remember which.) Blair Howell sat just to our left with a name tag that read "Marjory". Poor Marjory.

All around us, people were laughing and preparing themselves for a show about quiche and lesbians.

When the meeting began, we met 5 gloriously tailored women straight out of 1956 played by Julianna Boulter Blake, Mandi Titcomb, Michelle Linn Hall, Karli Rose Lowry, and Julie Silvestro Waite. All five actors were delightful, complicated, hilarious, and mischievous. If I had to pick my favorite, it would be Michelle Hall. She just had this little wink about her that was absolute perfection. She was born to play a 1950s widow/lesbian.

Because this blog is entitled All About Evey... I have to selfishly find a way to make everything all about me.

My grandmother was a widow...(my grandfather died in the early 60s). And my mother was born in 1956... And if that isn't enough of a coincidence... I LOVE QUICHE! Granted, unlike the ladies of the Susan B Anthony something something Society having to do with Gertrude Stein--I prefer my quiche with meat in it. (There's a double meaning here if it hasn't hit you over the head just yet...)

My dad is a horrible critic. He will sit smugly in his chair while everyone else laughs politely until a joke slaps him upside the head. Then he will guffaw. Actors and directors adore when he's in the audience and he is pleased with a performance because the energy of his laugh ripples through the crowd. I'm telling you, the energy in that place was like pecan ripple and fudge ripple on a big ol' spoon. Delicious!

The show was hilarious.

The entire crowd roared throughout the 80 minute production.

It was a glorious night of fun at the theatre.

Utah Theatre, you keep dazzling the world with your witty theatrical choices. I'm just so pleased to be a part of this vibrant community of artists.

Well done.

If you don't already have tickets, visit for tickets. Seating is limited so the tickets will likely sell out. Besides, it's only $15 for advance tickets.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Melissa Leilani Larson's PILOT PROGRAM

I am a 37 year old active LDS woman. I am getting married in 3 weeks, but I have identified as single for most of my life. I have known Melissa Leilani Larson since my senior year at BYU. I recall long car rides while we discussed stories that later became flesh and blood plays. Her mind is always working. I played a part in one of her productions in 2002 now entitled Standing Still Standing. Later our paths crossed again when she came to Iowa to go to graduate school. I left Iowa for graduate school in Virginia, and she took my place in the same house. If you compare our facebook friends--between BYU, Iowa, and Salt Lake City in general--we have about 153 mutual friends. I think the only person who rivals that is our other mutual friend Lesley Larsen Nesbit who shares 193 friends with both of us. (We went to BYU and graduate school together.Tangent: Lesley Larsen needs to come to Utah to do a Melissa Leilani Larson play with me so I can experience true artistic bliss.)

My experience listening to a Melissa Leilani Larson production is like coming home to my innermost thoughts. We share such a similar trajectory in life that her honest projection of emotion and inner monologue just feels like breathing through my own heart. The honesty and vulnerability drips off of each character. You fear with them, you giggle in anticipation of the next awkward moment. You sigh with them, and every member of the audience sits on the edge of their seat waiting not for gunfire or scandal--but for words.

She does not write in order to create a balanced and shapely production. She doesn't concern herself with comedic scene, followed by dramatic scene, followed by action in order to provide a nuanced active theatrical piece. In a world of formulaic and rote episodes that surprise us 12 minutes in, make us think 29 minutes in and throw us a twist at 42 minutes--her writing reflects an integrity that practitioners lose in order to make a dollar and artists covet.

Jerry Rapier, artistic director of Plan-B Theatre Company is smart enough to recognize and encourage artists in Utah. He cultivates varying viewpoints and inspires actors and writers to challenge audiences.

Susanna Florence Risser plays Heather Gonzales, a single LDS woman who receives a most interesting proposition from Jacob and Abigail--played by April and Mark Fossen. I remember seeing Susanna play in a show Lesley Larsen directed back at BYU and being absolutely intrigued with her gifts. She went on to get her MFA and has 4 delicious children. (I haven't tried to eat them, but their pictures are delightful.) My first experience getting to know the talents of April Fossen was watching her play Barbara in August: Osage County directed by Mark Fossen. The production lacked the beautiful lighting and set that Pilot Program has--but the truth in storytelling made me a fan of both of their work.

Watching Abigail and Jacob return from a meeting with their church leaders in the first scene--feeling the tension and the awkwardness. Sensing the love within that tension. How do you create such a collection of feelings in a pause?

There are some friends who don't understand why I am an active Latter-Day Saint woman. These friends will show me shocking historical facts or present stories of people who have suffered in the religion. While I mourn with those that mourn, I cannot change the experiences of my heart. I got to the point where I would just say to these friends, "Baby with the bath water." At the same time, I must respect the journey of their heart and so I don't feel malice or judgment towards friends who have ultimately decided to leave the LDS church. I trust that they are following their heart.

As I have decided to get married, I think of all the things that will go wrong. I think of the difficulties I will face learning to live with a man. I know that my easy breesy life as a single woman with a dog is going to be complicated, annoying, and messy. But I have a testimony in this life. I believe that I came here to learn and to grow and I choose this path because I love him (of course) and because I need to grow in different ways. I am not naive. I know that it will be difficult. The gospel is centered on two opposing maxims: We came here to earth to learn how to exercise our agency--and Be obedient to God. Understanding sometimes doesn't come until after we make the choice to follow God. God will whisper things we should choose--and sometimes the choices are not for our happiness--but for our growth. The choices lead to sacrifice and mourning. But the paths help to refine us and help us to become better, stronger people. Saints, if you will.

Abigail is a brilliant, liberal, cynical woman who loves her husband. And she makes a choice that leads to a multitude of consequences. One of which is growth. Happiness is good--but it isn't why we're here. Happiness is something we find in the midst of our suffering. There are miracles of peace to be found as we are swallowed in the consequences of choosing to become. (Lest you fear for my mental health, I am a particularly happy person. I just don't believe in happiness guarantees.)

Written in her own pen, Melissa Leilani Larson shares Abigail's thoughts as she reflects on her answer from God.

As saints who cannot deny the integrity of our hearts, we often find ourselves hoisted by our own petards. We are caught in a faith that demands we choose paths of pain, mixed with occasional bursts of speed and beautiful vistas. Missionaries are so young and they so enjoy sharing that choosing to be a saint is about choosing a life of happiness and joy--but that's just their own naive hope.

I choose to be a Latter-Day Saint because I have felt that blossom of warmth.

Because of her integrity, Larson shares more than just the blossoms of warmth--she shares the doubts and the pain that follow the decision. This is not a feel good propaganda piece. And those on either side of the LDS fence might squirm in the ambiguity of the story. But those of us who honor truth in all of its uncomfortable terms feel a kinship to the experiences we see unfolding. All around me, audience members let tears just fall down their cheeks as they heard their own thoughts expressed with so much vulnerability and truth.

Truth is divine. Truth is cleansing. Anyone who claims that being LDS is the happiest thing in the world is lying to you. Anyone who claims that since leaving the LDS church they haven't felt a single regret is lying to you. This play is a story where the writer honors the truth of the characters' experiences and offends and inspires audience members of all faiths and walks of life.

I'd tell you to go and see the play, but its sold out.

I bet you could get a ticket if you put yourself on the waiting list though. It's worth the effort.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Heart Attack Scare, Broken Down Car, and The Last Straw

Yesterday, my fiancee Antonio had a horrible, no good, awful day. We're talking nuclear. Antonio is an incredibly strong, steady man.

He gets up every morning at 4:30am to be to work at 5 am every day, but Tuesdays and Thursdays. On those days, he gets up at 7 am to go to classes where he's studying Photography full time. The rest of his time is spent either being a father or taking care of me.

He's a really good man.

He'll have been up since 4:30 am, but I'll say I'm tired and he immediately comes over and cooks dinner. It's ridiculous. And heavenly.

So when I got his phone call yesterday, my heart leapt.

He called at noon and just said, "I'm at the instacare across from work. I'm having really bad chest pains." I closed up the office for an early lunch and ran to the instacare.

On the drive, I passed a high school and began making plans. If he dies and we're not married, I would work out custody with his mother. I want to raise Daniel, whether I have a legal claim to him or not. I thought about Daniel growing up. I began imagining the life I would have without him. But rather than be sad, I became warrior like. I was in go mode. There was a problem, and I didn't have time to cry.

As I pulled up into the parking lot, he walked out of the door to greet me. Seeing him on his feet, I broke down into a puddle of tears. I cried like a baby on his shoulder. He told he that it was just inflammation of his ribs due to repetitive lifting.

We grabbed lunch together and then he went to fill his prescription for the anti-inflammatory meds and I went back to work.

Ten minutes later I got a phone call. His car wouldn't start.

He borrowed my car to pick up Daniel from school and finish his projects for school. No biggie. What's mine is his and I wasn't going anywhere. Problem solved.

He came over for Family Home Evening last night. We talked about honesty. We tried to sing a song about being honest, read the story of the Boy Who Cried Wolf, tried to get Daniel to color a picture and watched him bounce from the counter to the stool to the couch to the stairs. The child was on one last night. Finally, we all sat down around the kitchen table and Antonio started doing math with Daniel. He began drawing equations and teaching him.

We began teaching Daniel about patterns. If 5+5=10 and 6 is one more than 5, then 5+6= one more than 10. It was fun watching his brain make the connections and see the patterns. Then Antonio began drawing shapes and having him identify the shapes. (I just watched because I don't know shapes.)

After a bit, I took Daniel out to play in the front yard with Atticus. We climbed on the rock and did cartwheels and wheelbarrows around the lawn.

When it was time to go, Daniel wasn't having it. He fought both of us tooth and nail. We cajoled, threatened, bargained. Everything.

I think Daniel is more ready for us to be married than we are. We've been trying to make the transition from one house to another smooth, so we have his bed up and his chore chart on the wall.

The other night, he took his bath here before heading back home. As hard as it is, we both feel like a transition like this is going to be rough for a 6 year old. And we want to make coming home to my place something he feels at home with.

This kind of back fired last night.

After finally getting him into the car, Antonio dropped the keys to my (our) car down the sewage drain. I was up in the apartment so I didn't see it happen. It's sometimes easier to get Daniel to cooperate if I'm not watching.

The phone rang and I saw that it was Antonio. I picked up the phone and heard this strong, steady man crying. I laughed. I didn't mean to, but I felt like the only decent reaction was to find the humor in the horrible horrible situation. I laughed at the adventure of it all.

Pangs in the chest, one car broken down, and keys down the sewer? The only thing to do is laugh. (That's the Irish in me.)

I came down stairs and staired into the drainage with him.

Together, Daniel and I prayed that Daddy would be able to get the keys out and that he would know how much we loved him. Together, we watched as Antonio lifted the grate off with a pick axe and went to work. I realized it was a good 30 minutes past Daniel's bed time and sent him upstairs to lay down. Then I held the phone aloft (I need to get a flashlight) while Antonio went through several tools to try and get the keys up. He took off his shirt and lifted up bits of water into a bucket. Draining the drain, little by little.

As I sat with him on the concrete and watched him work tirelessly, I was overwhelmed with love. He is such a good man. He works so hard! Finally, he lifted the keys out of the water with a rake.

Daniel came down and proclaimed that he had not gone to bed (shocker) but that he had colored an entire Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle! (See pic above).

I told Antonio to take me to the Walgreens where his car was parked to see if our luck had changed. When we got there, his car started right up.

Daniel hopped into his (our) Honda. Before Antonio got into the car, he gave me a long kiss and both of us felt this peace about getting married. We can get through anything. I absolutely believe that.

More than ever, I am so happy I get to marry this amazing man. If he dies, I will kill him.

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Spiritual Sunday at the Hospital

My little sister's baby girl is in the hospital right now. She just had surgery to correct her cleft palate. She can't leave the hospital until she drinks a bottle--and she just won't drink that bottle. She's such a cutie though.

Look at this little girl. Healthy, strong, imprisoned by her refusal to drink the bottle!

Yesterday as we left the hospital, we passed a family and a grand piano in one of the lobbies. Two parents were caring for two brothers. Both of the boys were blind. One of the boys was in a bed, sidled up to the piano where he was playing as much as he could on his side. He'd just had surgery on both hips.

My dad and I stopped to listen and talk to the family. We learned the story of the boys and listened to the young boy play different songs. The boy would interject, "John​, do you like boogie woogie?" (cue the boogie woogie)  and then "John, isn't this dramatic?" followed by a little Rachmaninoff.

My dad kept his sunglasses on in order to hide his tears. He would talk to the mom and the boy about blind blues piano players throughout the ages--because my dad's greatest talent is knowing every random fact about everything. (Never play Trivial Pursuit with him. He will dominate. )

I just kept talking to a minimum. I wasn't crying because of their ailments or struggles. I was crying because the family was at peace, enjoying their time with one another. There was a perceptible gratitude in every moment together. The father held the brother in his lap. The mother bragged about her son's perfect pitch. "Mom, this note needs to be tuned." I leaned against the piano, enjoying the show, and feeling an overwhelming joy at their family's happiness.

The boy at the piano went from one song to another, and as he moved up and down the keyboard, his mother would slide his bed up and down so his young hands could reach the proper octaves. The love those parents felt for those children was indescribable and you could feel it hanging in the air, affecting the energy of everyone who stopped to listen. I felt like I was in the presence of flesh and blood angels. All four of them.

 After we left the hospital, we went to church. I usually love church, but yesterday was frustrating. We sat in the balcony and leaned over to listen to the testimonies. I was distracted thinking of the spiritual experience I had just had. I was thinking of my sister and her sweet baby. I was distracted by the beautiful colors. Many of the testimonies were beautiful.

 There were a couple of testimonies that grated. It was just difficult listening to people complain about their trials after feeling the peace and joy of this beautiful family, smiling with gratitude despite all of their struggles. I know  that we are called to mourn with those that mourn, but a testimony is a proclamation of faith--not a list of struggles. I know that from our struggles, we often feel miraculously strengthened, and I can testify of that myself. It is a part of my faith. But yesterday, I felt that the ratio of complaining to faith, was a little off. I'm feeling really judgmental right now. I'm being really judgmental right now. I just wish that people of faith could find the faith to embrace the happiness they have instead of constantly harping on the happiness that they don't have.

The mother shared the reason they were in the hospital that day, but she also reveled in the music of her talented child. The father held his son with love. They didn't shy away from articulating their fight--but they also didn't shy away from enjoying their blessings.

If you pray, please pray for my little niece Summerleigh that she will be able to eat so she can go home. Please pray for this family that they will be able to continue to enjoy their time together in health. Please pray for me that I will have more empathy for those struggling. I realize I'm being judgmental. I just wish that I could have felt more faith shared over the pulpit yesterday.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Sunday with The Little Boy

Yesterday was Easter.

Antonio's son and I drove to my friend Christi's place to watch conference and have an Easter Egg hunt for Daniel and her daughter EL*.

On the drive over, we talked about what Easter really meant.
Me: Do you see how the grass is turning green and the blossoms are on the trees.
D: Yes.
Me: Easter celebrates things coming back to life.
D: Okay.
Me: Easter celebrates how Jesus died and came back to life!
D: (pause) Does he get to die again?
Me: (pause) Noooo... He gets to live forever! And so do we because of Jesus.
D: (somewhat disappointed) Okay.

The boy really enjoys talking about dying right now. I don't think he gets it. Apparently, dying must seem like a really fun thing to do.

I'm trying. I like that he feels immortal. It's nice to know he doesn't fear death yet. Being 6 has its advantages.

We had the Easter Egg hunt. There wasn't a speck of religiousity in it, but we had a lot of fun! The Easter Bunny (Christi) had hid the eggs all over the place and it was a riot watching him get excited about finding an egg over and over and over and over again.

In this picture--you can see him discover a hidden egg. So much fun! 
You can also see EL's little Easter bunny ears. She is so cute. She has a little crush on Daniel. She'll sit next to him on the couch and just giggle at him and then pat his head. It's adorable I tell you!

After a delightful morning, we came back to my place to visit the doggie and let her run around the yard a bit. Daniel took a little nap. (I think he managed to hold still for about 10 minutes altogether.) I did some housework. Then we ran over to another friend's house for Waffles and the afternoon session of conference.

In this friend's backyard, they have a large swing set and a big tree house with a long slide out the side. It's a childhood paradise back there. Daniel ran outside and climbed up into the treehouse and then screamed like a banshee. Everyone looked at me and I said, "He's fine." My friend said, "You sound like a mom!" That made my day.

I went out to check on him and he had screamed going down the long slide. Because that's what you do!

After a fun afternoon, we came home and then Antonio came home from work and we all worked together on some projects around the house and just enjoyed being home together.

We're getting married in 32 days.

I'm ridiculously excited about this. At the same time, I have 32 days to plan a wedding and get my apartment ready for two more people!

Not complaining. Life is good. And Easter is about things coming back to life, which apparently isn't that exciting for a little boy who enjoys playing video games where everything comes back to life eventually.

(*I'm not sure how open I should be with children's names on a blog. I figure in writing about her child, I'll edit it a bit.)