cloudy with a chance of tomatoes

This weekend, we had a quad barbecue. Dave and I were in charge of the condiments, which included hamburger toppings. We bought 16 pounds of tomatoes, and I sliced them all on Saturday, which was quite the adventure. I also sliced a few onions and 9 heads of lettuce. Our house smelled like onions all day. We ended up only eating half the condiments, so next time we'll have tone down our planning a bit. But I think that is better than not having enough!

It was a fun and sunny day and the food was great. We also went over our quad emergency plan in case of an armed shooter (which is the third biggest risk to BYU behind flood and fire, fyi). It was quite the skit.

on the balcony.

our dahlia plant went on a little vacation, but has finally started blooming again. I'm glad to have flowers back. our oregano plant died (or rather, dave sort of killed it) (but I was able to freeze quite a few leaves), our basil is doing well and we threw away our pepper plant because we realized it was covered in little tiny bugs. gross. there was one little tiny pepper, but oh well. we'll try again next year. I also transplanted a cilantro starter, but it totally died.


I bought a swim suit like this a year ago (I had my mom send it to me in D.C., even) because I wanted to start swimming laps.

Well, last night I finally took the tags off and today I went and swam laps with my friend Ann. Bless her for getting me to come...because it was a great workout and even though I haven't done laps for like 10 years, it wasn't too bad. I was kind of nervous, but I'm glad I just did it.

Dave and I are still biking to our garden and up the canyon. I also went with Shanna on another ride (15 miles!).

Next week Dave will be biking 110 miles! Yikes. And while he does that, I'm planning on going to Ikea. Win win win, I think. ha!

What have you been doing this summer?

the paradox of choice

Thanks to a great recommendation by my SIL Karren, I finally read The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz. I am plagued with indecisiveness, but I'm getting better. Between this book and Dave's increasing annoyance with my indecisiveness AND his increasing active role in MAKING me decide...I'm off to a great start in deciding fast. The other day, I chose shampoo in like 1 minute. A RECORD.

I hope to be turning over a new leaf...because in reality, few choices really matter. And most of your day-to-day choices won't be your last bowl of ice cream, last ordered entree, last yard of fabric, last movie you'll ever watch, etc. I thought I'd just share his 11 tips on "what to do about choice", in case you are plagued with the same problem.

This book is a lot of him explaining studies and while it is very interesting, it can be a bit hard to get into. As the date I had to return to book loomed nearer, I did skip a few pages so I could get to the WHAT TO DO part. I mean, the studies and observations on human behaviors was VERY interesting (if you're into that sort of thing), but it came down to this: we have way too much to choose between, and human nature means that we totally suck at making a choice (especially when you add in more things to choose between) and being happy with it.

That being said, here's the list:

1. Choose when to choose. e.g. I will go to two stores, and that is it. (I am totally trying this next time). OR, I will always put my seat belt on, etc. Simplify your choices.

2. Be a chooser, not a picker (not sure what this meant)

3. Satisfice more, maximize less A satisficer is someone who thinks "this is good enough". e.g. I want a sweater that is pink and is less that $50. AS SOON AS I find a sweater that meets those standards , I stop looking. I don't look at just one more store to see if I can find one for $5 less. Satisficers have good standards, and they don't keep looking. FYI, satisficers are happier with their choices than maximizers because they didn't spend five hours OR all their sanity trying to find THE BEST sweater. I really like this.

4. Think about opportunity costs of opportunity costs An opportunity cost is what you give up by choosing something. I believe the author emphasizes that you should only think about the second best choice as your opportunity costs, but often there are many second choices, and no real clear "first choice". BUT, thinking about everything you are giving up makes you crazy and less satisfied. Thinking about opportunity costs is good, because it can help you figure out what really matters. But don't go overboard.

5. Make decisions irreversible When you can't go back, you choose and move on.

6. Attitude of gratitude

7. Regret less

8. Anticipate adaptation e.g. after two months, your new car won't be as cool. Realize that, and maybe don't agonize over things you may not think are worth the time/cost in a while.

9. Control expectations

10. Curtail social comparison

11. Learn to love constraints His main point, I think, is you can make yourself "rules" (only two stores, always wear seat belt, etc). Love these rules because they make your life easier.

I hope this helps those of you who take waaaay too long to decide an ice cream flavor, shampoo brand or cereal.


On Saturday, we went fishing with my family. It was fun! It was nice weather and I sat in my chair and read Harry Potter #4 in between casting a few lines. We didn't catch anything (save two logs and some slime [see above; my bait was gone, so it's like I "caught" it, right?]), but it was still fun! I often thought of this passage from one of my most favorite books*:

"When we'd get home, my mother would always say, "Catch anything?" Sometimes we had caught a few fish, but mostly we hadn't, and at those times, my father would say, "Caught the sun! Caught the day!"

My mother loved that; she loved it to pieces. She'd kiss his cheek and say, "You are a prince among men."

*Bloomability by Sharon Creech.

dusk & summer

This summer has a much slower pace than last summer, and it's kind of nice. We haven't had a summer in Provo for a few years, and it's nice to be back. But slow pace means not much to post about, I guess. We ride our bikes (dave way more than me...on Saturday he rode 60 miles!), watch some of our favorite shows, play just dance, work, swim and form terrible sleep habits. oh well, it's summer. We've also said good-bye to good friends, which is too sad to write about!

I cut my hair, if you didn't notice before. I forgot how much I like short hair. it's the

I bought a popsicle mold set and have experimented with a few flavors. I've made strawberries and cream and creamy lemon. Delicious! I would highly recommend them.

we're pretty content, but I still day dream a little about what's next. one step at a time, as always. I'm really excited for August when we spend half of it with family in really fun places.

just dance

I got this for my birthday and I'm loving it. Even though Dave always beats everyone, it's still pretty fun. It's fun to play with multiple players, so if you're up for a little dance battle, let me know (i'm thinking a christensen family battle in august? anybody? anybody?). Just ask the mangums. It's pretty fun.

Even if Dave always wins with his technically perfect moves while I'm dancing my heart out.


i must admit i'm looking forward to it.

I think how everyone feels tonight is how I felt 4 years ago.

I'm not attached at all the the movies; my feelings for movies 1-5 range from good to ugh to meh. I admit the sixth movie was pretty good and I actually liked 7.1. With except of maybe 6-7.2, the first is the best ONLY because the book was so short, they could fit most things in.

I think the actors (for the most part) are exactly as I pictured, but the world itself and the magic is not (for the most part). I know it's unreasonable to expect them to create something that is in my head, which is why I just accept the movies for what they are and move on.

Mostly, it's hard to watch a movie and think "that is not what he said; that is not what she said; she actually said "..."; that happened later; that is totally not how it happened; they are missing this, etc" during the whole movie.

Which is why I don't feel that my childhood is ending tomorrow, because I remember it ending in July of 2007 when I waited in line at midnight for the 7th book dressed as a witch from Ravenclaw and that next afternoon as, with tears in my eyes*, I closed the 7th book for the first time. Later, when Katie slept over and we dissected/gushed about it for at least an hour (heh).

I'm glad the last movie is finally here, and, as my favorite story of all time, I'm looking forward to seeing the movie and how it ends. I'm even seeing it at midnight.

I realize I fall into a small minority...but thoughts?

*I know, right? I still cry reading books 4-7...even though I totally know what happens and I've read it many times before. Her writing, I tell you.

fourth of july weekend

a little late, but last weekend I made some Capitol sugar cookies (we got them at hill's kitchen in d.c). I think I shall make this a tradition. I mean, when could it be more applicable??

On Monday, we had some fireworks at my grandparent's house. Dave and Alisa were in an epic battle. Then their sparklers went out. I shouted "nox" every time that happened.

it's amazing what a bit of sun will do.

this weeks harvest: a bowl of spinach and romaine, some teeny carrots (we were just thinning them; they should look much better later) and one strawberry.

our garden looks really good these days. here is our spinach plants, strawberry plant, and our little pepper plant (with a few tiny peppers!). even our marigolds are looking good!

here's our lettuce, tomatoes (our plants are getting so big and we have a few little green tomatoes) and carrots on the top right.

I love having a garden. I bet it is even better when it's right outside your house (or maybe not?) and you can see the fruits of your labors everyday. I guess if it was right outside, we'd feel inclined to water it more and weed it more...this is a good start to gardening. I can't wait to have a bigger space to grow more things! Every time we go there, I'm excited to see how it has grown.

And by labors, I mean the 8 mile bike ride.


Also, I LOVED that there were so many fireworks this weekend. My parents live on a hill, so we could see pretty much all the fireworks around. It was one long fireworks show and it was awesome. My grandparents bought a few of the 100 ft ones and it was awesome to be right under them! I was grinning ear to ear because they are so cool.

It's like magic, and I love it.

the overuse of the word awesome because that is just what it was.

Dave and I went to the Stadium of Fire with my dad and two of my sisters. It was so fun.

The opening involved parachutists landing in the middle of the stadium and it was awesome. I know this may sound silly, but it was so moving to see the last one flying down the American flag. It was an awesome sight. The flag was brought back from the Middle East by Utah servicemen, who did a flyover after the parachutists.

Then the whole audience stood as the flag was raised and we recited the pledge. Then David Archuleta sang the national anthem. It was such a great opening. I think the reason why the 4th is my favorite is because patriotism really brings everyone together. I mean, I know that everyone is happy at Christmas and Thanksgiving, but there is a together-ness I feel at the 4th that is unique and I love it.

They had these fun beach balls for the audience to bounce around during the opening dance number.

Then the main events: David Archuleta and Brad Paisley! They were so good live. They sang great songs and I loved it. I love live music and this was a great concert.

Then the fireworks! I have never seen better fireworks, I swear. I sat there grinning like a kid because they were so awesome! Timed to the music and just AWESOME. I'll post some videos later.

These flames were so hot, we felt like we were standing right next to them, instead of 150 yards away.

The finale of the fireworks show was so INCREDIBLE. They had these fireworks that boomed so loudly, it felt like the stadium was going to fall apart. I've never felt anything like it before...the whole audience gasped...and then it was over and we just erupted with cheers. It was so awesome!

we love the USA!!

it's decided

I have decided that the fourth of july is my favorite holiday.

it's summertime and everyone seems to be in a great mood. I think patriotism is a great feeling.

also, the firework show at the stadium of fire was the coolest thing I've EVER seen.

(more to follow on that)

I kinda wish we were spending the fourth in D.C., but our weekend so far has been fabulous. and not quite so hot, which is nice.

happy fourth!