Thursday, March 31, 2011

Prom Queen

Aunt Dana has the same birthday day as me or I have the same birthday as her (matter of perspective).  Regardless, because we both love Nov 19th, she is my favorite person.

Aunt Dana has 1 mother, 4 sisters, 1 daughter and 11 nieces just on our side of the family.  I can't even begin to count all the boys in her life.

Aunt Dana is hilarious and has a wonderful spunky personality.  I want to be more like her.

Aunt Dana is Prom Queen.  She is the creator and owner of Dreams Come True, a resale prom dress business.  Her business is now "famous" due to an article written in the Daily Herald, located here.  

Aunt Dana - are you taking Prom dresses from 1998, 1999, and 2000?  Probably not, and am I really that old? Wow.  

-Miss T

Wednesday, March 30, 2011



It's Sakura!  The cherry blossoms are in full bloom in Seattle.  I absolutely love it.  It does wonders for the soul.  They lift my heart and make me so happy.  I hope something beautiful is blooming in Utah for you.

-Miss T

Monday, March 28, 2011

We Tried Out 4 Kids

Dear KK-

How was your weekend?

We tried out having 4 kids.  We rented 2 little girls for the weekend to see if we liked having more children.

Just kidding.  We babysat Claire and Little Av for 38 hours, so their parents could have a much needed night away.  It was crazy fun.  Here is what we learned having 4 children ages 3 and under:

-Our car is not big enough to fit 4 kids and car seats. 
-4 kids can entertain and play better together than 2 most of the time.
-3 kids can sleep in one room together at night.
-Balloons make all kids happy.
-You can not keep a house even close to clean with that many kids.
-T Bear got sick of sharing his toys.
-Baby Cub got a lot more hugs and kisses and attention
-T Bear and Claire made a HUGE mess out of water, sand, and dirt.  They thought it was hilarious.
-Big D can handle 4 kids probably better than me because he lets them climb all over him and then he tosses them up in the air.
-Having a baby shower at your house while babysitting is a little extreme, but it all worked out thanks to a lot of help from friends and Big D.  
-I love doing little girls' hair and putting on their girly clothes every day.
-People stare at you in Seattle when you go for a walk with 2 kids in a stroller and 2 kids in a wagon.
-Bubbles also make kids happy.

Mostly I was amazed thinking about how Miga and Poppa raised us 6 kids so close together.  It must have been so much work, but a lot of fun at times too.

Thank you for playing with us Claire and Litte Av.  We would love to do it again! (maybe when KK is here to help us- hint hint)

-Miss T

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Special Sisters Series: Today

Guest Blogger: Sally, a mother to Claire & Little Av, wife to D, daughter, sister, friend to many, domestic goddess, blog reader, up-cycler, optimist, allergic to cats, and a therapist/friend to Miss T.  Sally wrote this for the blog she writes about her 3 year old daughter Claire, who has leukemia. 
This week a terrible, heart-stopping moment happened in our ward (church congregation). A 3-month-old baby died. Dustin and I attended the funeral on Friday and sobbed along with the rest of those in attendance. I don’t wish to dwell on the event on this blog; however, it did call to mind a time when I called out in prayer to Heavenly Father pleading with Him to “not take Claire away from me.” This was probably two months before Claire was diagnosed with a very treatable Leukemia, but I didn’t know that yet. I just felt that something beyond my control threatened her life.
Many of you know the story of our journey to have Claire be a part of our family. We struggled with five years of infertility issues before we became pregnant with Claire. I can honestly say that my pregnancy with Claire and her first 20 months of life were pure bliss after that struggle. Friends laughed at me when I didn’t even mind throwing up for the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. At least it meant I was pregnant, right? I had previously been throwing up on fertility drugs, and it was much better to know that a baby was already cooking.
I was in awe of pregnancy and motherhood until things got hard around Claire’s 2nd birthday. Then my patience was challenged. Then I wondered what happened to my sweet little girl. But, in the midst of this struggle to accept my changing child, I prayed, and I plead that she might not be taken from me. I felt that I had worked too long and hard to have her here. I had wanted to be a mother so badly, and it felt too short at just 24 months. I remember begging, "I need to see 6-year-old Claire and 12-year-old Claire. You can't take her from me. Please don't take her from me." I hesitate to share the rebuke that I received because I want to emphasize that it was a rebuke for me personally. But, as clear as if Heavenly Father were speaking to me Himself, I felt the words, “I have not given you 6-year-old Claire or 12-year-old Claire. I have only given you today.” I sobbed. I thought this meant she was going to die.
Later, it meant that I was to enjoy . . . No, it meant that I was to savor every single moment that Claire was here with me. It meant that all I have is today. Right now. I have memories of yesterday and hopes for the future, but I only have today to hold her.
Then, after 6 months of watching Claire meet her challenges that became our challenges given her age, I started to take it for granted that Claire does this hard thing called Chemotherapy. That she sings through so much of it. That she has battle wounds and scars that aren’t easily brushed aside. And, I expected her to be an adult about it all. And, because she is only a child, things got hard again. And, I forgot to remember the moment that I have been given that is called ‘today.’ The things that cause me impatience these days are normal mother-child moments. Like, why after almost a year of not sucking her thumb, Claire is sucking her thumb again. How do we get her to stop? Like, the fact that ‘taking care of business’ is so traumatic for her and usually ends up in two days of whining until it finally takes care of itself. Also, the moment that Dustin or I take a stance about something (i.e. eating 3 bites of healthy food before having dessert, cleaning up toys before watching a movie, or getting dressed before we go to a friend’s house) a stubbornness that can only be hereditary rears its ugly head. Claire can hold out with the best of them. And, then things are hard instead of fun, and I forget to remember that I have Claire today: I’m still a mother because she was born.
I was reminded this week.
Claire & Sally
To read more about Claire and her family and their amazing journey overcoming leukemia, read Caring Bridge.  

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring is here, and Summer is on the way!

This is one of my favorite pictures of my nephew at Bear Lake.

Spring is here!!! At least in Seattle - how goes it in Utah?  Today is gorgeous and sunny.  Troy and I gazed at the beautiful cherry blossoms along our drive.  We rolled the windows down and soaked up some Vitamin D and fresh air.  We will be spending as much time outside as we can today. 

Spring really does put a "spring" into my step and lifts my winter worn heart.  I also feel the anticipation for summer growing.  It is going to be a wonderful summer.  Hopefully I will get you to Seattle during the summer.

-Miss T

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bum on the Park Bench

"You look like a bum sleeping on a park bench," said Big D to me on Saturday.

It was true.  Why did he say this?  Let's rewind.

Friday happened to be a long day.  Really, it had been a long week.

Friday was the climax.  I woke up early to start cleaning the house.  I ran out to teach my Stroller Strides class.  Then I hurried home to squeeze in a quick shower.  After that, it was time to get the house ready for 5 kids and 1 babysitter.

In the afternoon, I left to attend one of the saddest funerals I have ever been to.  There were many tears shed not just by me that afternoon.

Emotionally drained, I came home to relieve the babysitter, fix something for dinner and clean the house again.

That night we had a "girls' night" at our house.  There were lots of treats, laughter, chatting and a corny romantic comedy movie.  It was enjoyable, but I stayed up way too late.

Saturday morning I woke up with what felt like a major hang over.  Massive headache, puffy eyes and zero energy.  Everywhere we went on Saturday, I fell asleep.

And it just so happened to be a beautiful sunny day on Saturday.  We had to get outside.  We walked to the park after a necessary trip to REI (my boys love that place).  Big D started playing with T Bear on the playground.  Baby Cub was asleep in the stroller.  Next thing you know, I was laying down on a park bench going to sleep.

That's when Big D walked over and said, "You look like a bum sleeping on a park bench."

It was true.  I didn't care at all.  I was so tired.

Now,  I laugh about it.  I can't believe I curled up on a park bench and seriously went to sleep.  It was a rough week.  It's over now, and here is to a better week.  One that doesn't end with me sleeping on park benches.

-Miss T

Friday, March 18, 2011


KK - 

Did you know you can "Dial-a-Story" in Seattle?  Just call 206-386-4656 and you can listen to a story in English, Spanish, or Chinese.  

We taught T Bear how to dial the number and now he asks to do so regularly.  I have saved the number in my cell phone for times that we are out and about.

This month is a story from China about a boy and some swords.  I really should know the story better, since we have listened to it frequently.

Just another great thing about living in Seattle!

-Miss T

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bird Shimai

Cutler shimai and Bird shimai
Dearest KK- 

I know your life is stressful and busy right now, so don't feel obligated to blog.  We all know that I have enough to talk about for the both of us.

It was almost 8 years ago to the day that I arrived in Japan for my mission.  I arrived in the Sendai Japan Mission in March 2003.  Immediately, I met and fell in love with my mission president, President Bird, and his wonderful wife Sister Bird.  They welcomed me warmly and quickly sent me off to preach the gospel in Japan.

At first, I tried with optimism and courage knowing that I would "get the hang" of the Japanese language, culture and church.  Very quickly I became largely discouraged when I realized how difficult Japanese was and how extremely different life in Japan was from home.  

The first 2 areas I served in (Nagamachi and Izumi - which is Sendai) were close to the mission home.  That meant I got to see President and Sister Bird more frequently.  I started to observe their behavior.  Sister Bird was this tall, beautiful and outgoing woman, who did not speak ANY Japanese.  She lit up the room when she walked in.  Japanese members would go up to speak to her in Japanese.  She would smile and nod like she understood them, then just give them a HUGE huge and tell them "Oh, I just love you."  She meant it too.

I realized that Sister Bird was showing love to these people even though she could not speak Japanese.  I knew I needed to be able to love the Japanese people even though I was frustrated with the language.  I was so thankful for Sister Bird's example.  I tried harder to be like her.  There were times when I didn't understand, or didn't know what to do, so I would just give them a big hug and tell them that I loved them in English.  Many times the Japanese person was stunned, because they were not used to being hugged and loved like that.

Sister Bird also has a great sense of humor and I hope she doesn't mind that I share this story.  Sister Bird told me that she went out to lunch with a few Japanese sisters.  She wanted to impress them with a little bit of Japanese, so at the end of the meal she attempted to say,"Onaka ga ippai" (literally my stomach is full).  Only Sister Bird said, "Oppai ga ippai" (literally my breasts are full).  

Sister Bird did not realized the mistake immediately and those sweet sisters muffled a laugh and I think one of them gently corrected.  Sister Bird laughed about it for days.  I love her sense of humor.

Right now I seriously wish I could go to Japan and hug and love all of them.  My heart is broken over the devastation of their beautiful country.  On the day I found out about the earthquake and tsunami, I called Sister Bird.  She was sitting in front of the TV sobbing.  

I know President and Sister Bird love the people of Japan.  I love them too.  I know prayers are being heard and answered for the people of Japan.  Miracles are happening over there, but they still have a long way to go.

May we all unite in prayer for our brothers and sisters in Japan,

-Miss T (Cutler Shimai)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

An Escape at the Zoo

KK -

The other day we went to the zoo.  As we were getting ready, T Bear asked me, "Mommy, are there dragons at the zoo?"  He was reaching in his closet for his dragon costume.  Mind you, he had been wearing this costume all day for the last 4 days.

I told him that there were not any dragons at the zoo, just animals.   T Bear said "Ok, I will wear my giraffe costume then."

And so we went to the zoo with T Bear dressed as a giraffe.

T Bear the giraffe, with friend Claire pushing her doll stroller - what a sight!
I wish I could have captured the passerby's reactions.  People seemed to be more tickled about seeing T Bear in a giraffe costume than seeing the real animals.  There were so many comments about how a little giraffe had escaped from his cage.  What was even more entertaining to me is that T Bear was oblivious to the fact that people were staring at him and talking about him.  He was more concern that his friends were coming along and making sure he saw the animals.

We did pop over to the giraffe barn to compare outfits: T Bear was cuter, but they were taller and their tongues were definitely purple.

Don't you wish you could wear an animal costume to the zoo and not care?  So fun.

-Miss T

Friday, March 11, 2011

I {heart} JAPAN

This is when I was in Fukushima - just south of Sendai, Japan
Please pray for the people of Japan.  I am just so sad watching the massive disaster that has taken place over there.  I have heard from some people in Japan that are ok, but are still waiting to hear from others.

Nihonjin no tame ni kokoro kara inotte kudasai!

-Cutler shimai

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Google search!

Miss T-

Isn't it curious what comes up with a google search? Have you ever googled your own name just to see what comes up? And of course you find running times, letters to the editor, peoplesearch info, and county fair entries from other people in this world who happen to have your exact same name. It's a pretty fun game.

Google search is pretty amazing, and by golly I'm grateful for it because it's helped me find a lot of useful (and useless) information in times of great need.

Randomly today I decided to google the word "sisters" and see if our page came up anywhere, just anywhere in the sites that came up. I have no idea how the sites get marked up for a google search, but out of curiosity I thought I would just try.

That's when I found this gem. Sisters.

Are you in shock?!? You would be if you watched the whole thing!! I know it starts kind of slow and you wonder what the heck is going on, but just keep watching!!

Now are you in shock? My teacher showed us this last semester...representing an intense or extreme form of recreation. My mind was blown away! Hahaaa. I still cannot even really comprehend it.

Well, we didn't show up anywhere on the google search. I'm not mad about it. I'm just kinda glad that our sisters number is about sharing, caring, every little thing that we are wearing, and not about potato salad and bending over backwards in ridiculous ways!! Eeek!

love you.
Love, non-contorting sister Kk

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Staying Home


Ok - 2 things.

1 - Do you remember how Mom sometimes lovingly referred to Dad as her "7th child"?  

2 - Do you remember how Mom took care of us when we were sick? It almost made you want to pretend to be sick everyday.

Well, sometimes my Big D is just another one of my baby boys who I take care of daily.  Having said that, here was my day today.

Big D had some oral surgery done this morning.  As I drove him home and his mouth was stuffed with gauze, I was hoping for some hilarious drug-induced conversations like B-town.  Fortunately/unfortunately, Big D was not sedated enough to have had a similar crazy post-operative experience.  

When we got home, I put him in bed.  I delivered him soup, applesauce, juice and drugs.  T Bear and I made pudding for him.  T Bear thought it was incredible to sit in the bed with Daddy and eat pudding and watch TV.  I am pretty sure he was wishing it could be his turn tomorrow.

While Big D rested, watch TV, slept, and drank juice, I ran around doing laundry, preparing 5 days worth of meals, taking the kids to the park, managing nap/quiet time, diapers & potty, and other typical mommy duties.  

By late afternoon, I was in checking on Big D.  He said, "This is great, I want to stay home with you guys everyday."  I laughed.  I don't think he realized that I would not be able to spend everyday taking care of him, and everything else.  He just liked being pampered and was willing to pretend to be sick to stay with us longer. 

I am not meaning to complain, I rather like being the mommy that takes care of her sick babies.  I like being able to comfort them and love them.  But I can not be Super MOM everyday.  

So thanks Big D, for wanting to be with us all day, but we need you to get better quickly and get back to work so that you can be the one taking care of us.

-Miss T

What a mighty fine MAN!

Monday, March 7, 2011


Baby Cub is now 4 months old.  He weighed in at a whopping 19 lb 8 oz.  The doctor said to feed the boy, so we started with some baby cereal.  He was not too sure about it, can you tell?

-Miss T

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ice Castle away the cold weather.

Miss T-

Today as I was walking to campus I had flashback to Seattle. The sun was shining, the weather was slightly crisp, just so that I needed a sweater, but wanted nothing more, and as I walked it was as if I were in the moment that I walked down the Burke-Gilman trail in that yellow dress and felt so happy to be alive and outside.

Spring is coming! It comes in surprise bursts here in UT, because let's face it. Tomorrow it might snow. However, I feel it coming and it makes me so happy. I'm also happy, because I feel that I have finished out winter with a bang. That's because I ice castled away winter. Since when did ice castling become a verb, you say. Since Brent Christensen came to town. Take a look at this:

Last weekend Mr. P took me to see ice castles in Midway. They are made completely with water-no underlying structure of any kind, just pipes running here and there to supply water. Aren't these magnificent?

And if you can believe it, these pictures just don't even do it justice. If you want to see really beautiful pictures check the website. It's just unreal!

So, I am ice castling away the winter, how are you finishing up winter? Are you excited for spring?

Love, Kk

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Special Sisters Series: Code RED

Breanna is a dear friend from high school and college.  She has too many siblings for me to count but they all are truly amazing.  Breanna is raising her 2 boys with one more on the way deep in the heart of TX.  

Today Dustin called to let me know that his grandparents were in town and they wanted to stop by
and say hi before they went back to Oklahoma. They were supposed to be there "shortly". Let me tell
you about his grandma. She's the kind of person who keeps a house that would put any OCD to shame.
Immaculate. Top to bottom. Spiders wouldn't dream of entering her front door. They know better.
When I know she's coming I spend days cleaning and scrubbing and still feel bad that I didn't have
time to clean my garbage pail or the inside shelves of my cupboards. So when he said they would be
there 'shortly' and I look around to realize that it's 10:30, the kids and I are still not bathed or dressed
and the house is a mess I panic. 'CODE RED!" I shout. "CODE RED." And then I did just what they do in the movies. I opened drawers in my kitchen and just started scraping stuff from the counter top into
them. I threw dirty dishes in with the clean ones just to clear out my sink. I even swept stuff under my
rugs. Shameless. Totally shameless. But after all was said and done the house (well the front part) was
presentable and we were all dressed and clean. Who can ask for anything more. And then they came




Awesome. Nothing like a little excitement to break things up.

*Just to brag for her because she won't herself, Breanna had an article published in the February Ensign.  It was awesome!  Read it here.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Try a Tri


I am going to try a triathlon.  Not as crazy as a marathon (which I will NEVER attempt - you crazy runner people).  I am not even going to do a regular triathlon.  I am going to try to do a sprint triathlon (the distances are shorter).

Here is the breakdown:

Swim: 1/4 mile 
Bike: 14 miles
Run: 3.1 miles

Look at each one separately, and it doesn't look too bad.  Oh, but it is going to be hard.  At least I have until July.

I signed up for a swimming class, to brush up on my skills and get started.  I went to the first lesson last night.  After less then one lap, my thighs were burning, and I was tired.  I'm in so much trouble, I thought, What have I gotten myself into?

I'm not sure how this will all turn out.  But I will assure you that I do NOT look attractive in my purple swim cap and white goggles (they looked much cuter in the store).   Did you know they make goggles with a MP3 player so you can listen to music while you swim?  Crazy cool.

Any tips for trying a tri?  I am feeling very out of shape and inadequate.  Maybe I will get a good story out it.  Stay tuned.

-Miss T, your future Triathlon-er sis