Saturday, December 11, 2010


If I didn't post this post (that will barely count, really) and didn't post any more for the rest of the year, this year would TIE as my worst blogging year since I began. Especially sad, since back when I started (in 2005), I didn't even start until July. I barely posted half as much this year as I did last year. Hmmmm... Maybe that means I've been superly awesomely productive in the real world. ::snerk:: I can't even hold a straight face after that comment. Though I will have you know that last week I patched up four pairs of jeans! While jean patching is supremely tedious and often more fraught with difficulty than it should be (usually because I'm trying to rush), I do love "rescuing" a pair of jeans from the scrap heap.

And tonight, the reason I am up waaaay too late is due to a mad wrapping storm. I wrapped all of Spud's birthday presents (his birthday is Christmas Eve, and I vowed when he was born to never wrap his gifts in Christmas wrap) and all of the Christmas presents that were in the house still unwrapped. There are still some en route from that will need wrapping, but for now, I'm caught up. I love wrapping presents, and it truly gives me a modicum of pain that, due to the Minnie cat's penchant for ribbon eating, our gifts must be wrapped in only paper. Because we all know that the only thing better than a wrapped gift is a wrapped gift enhanced with CURLY RIBBON!

Yeah. It's late. I should be in bed. But it seemed like a worthwhile post 1 a.m. endeavor to rescue 2010 from the despair of "Tied for Worst Blogging Year."

I leave you with some Sesame Street funny.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Baby Spanx

Oh my, I couldn't stop laughing. The adorable chubby baby looks so much like one of my nieces did when she was a baby. So chubbily delicious!

more me, all the time

How odd is it that last night I was thinking that I could just take my facebook status updates and compile those and they'd give a pretty representative Annual Review for a Christmas letter, and then today I see that there is some facebook app that will compile a lot of your status updates into a "collage"? I thought that was pretty coincidental. But since I'm a sloth, once again, and not getting Christmas cards out, there's not even a letter to bother with. I really do want to send out some sort of card, though. Maybe I'll get ambitious and send out New Years or Valentines cards. (Do not hold your breath over this, though.)

Anyways, just because I think it is fun and what is a blog for if not for shameless self-promotion and navel-gazing...

(Click on it to see larger, then try "control +" or "command +" to make it large enough to read. This is all of course assuming you even bother looking at it.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

fun with kids

I think one thing I love about kids, particularly my kids, is how easy it is to have fun with them. Sprout loves balloons, so I blew one up for him this evening and then the older kids wanted to play balloon bop (where we try and keep the balloon up in the air in the vaulted entryway), so we did. We tried various ways of hitting it, and used certain parts of our bodies, and one time I said "Power punch!" as I fist-hit the balloon as high as I could, and that was immediately adopted as the preferred method, especially punctuated with loudly shouted "Power punch!"

Prior to that, Noodle taped her thumbs to her index fingers for a half hour or so, just to see how difficult it was to do things with no thumbs, like draw, eat, open doorknobs, give a thumbs up (we called it "nubs up"), pick things up. I told her that she was doing pretty well, so we could cut off her thumbs and it would be no big deal. Then she could go around inspiring people with all she could do without thumbs. She opted not to pursuit that route, though.

Spud was doing some activities on the educational/reading website today, and one of his favorite things to do is get into the part where there are little songs playing, and he gets up and dances around. He's done this since he was about 3, I think, and it's ridiculously cute. So today when we heard the song playing, Noodle and I came and spied on him. He gets so self conscious about things sometimes it is especially fun to watch him when he doesn't know it.

The kids did an awesome job cleaning up the playroom today, so when I went up for the inspection, Spud wanted me to toss him into the giant beanbag. So I did, and then of course had to do it a couple times for each kid. It is such a simple little thing, but they always love it.

Before the ballon bop game, Noodle, Spud and I sat in a triangle with our legs spread out and feet touching, with Sprout in the middle and he took turns run-hopping to each person and giving them a big hug. He seemed to skip Noodle regularly, so it was a joke that he didn't really love her, and then the kids tried to entice Sprout to come to them by making ridiculously sad faces.

I once had a framed saying that said, "Stay close to the young and a little rubs off." It's cheesy, but true. I go through short-lived stages where I think it would be fun to get a Wii system for the family, but I know we would lose a lot of these activities that come up just because we are hanging around doing not much of anything. I don't want my kids to have a childhood where one of the primary pasttimes is video games or TV. I don't mind if it is part of their experience, but it shouldn't be a main focus. They don't miss not having them now, but I know if we introduced them, it would be something they wanted to do much more regularly than I'd want them to.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


David shared this blog post/article with me today. I really enjoyed it. I think it is an outlook on the Gospel and the church that would be beneficial for me to utilize. I especially like the part about the Lord not running a bed & breakfast. We have a vested interest in this whole deal.

And, while I'm waxing religiously philosophical (okay, not actually waxing because it's late and I'm tired), I have been meaning to share this link, The Two Trees. I have to say that this is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. I feel like it meshes very well with my understanding of various gospel components, but it is put together in an entirely new way. It actually makes the Plan of Salvation more meaningful and relevant because EVERYONE, regardless of gender, has an important role. There is a lot of lip service about the importance of women in the church, but it is hard to buy the line when it comes from a (nearly) all male leadership. Anyways, I've been wanting to discuss this article with like-minded friends for the past month, but I don't know if anyone I've shared the link with has taken the time to read it. If you read it, tell me what you think.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

This Is Halloween!

Halloween isn't my favorite holiday by far, but I do like seeing my kids look cute in their costumes. That is probably the reason we adults put up with all the hassle. (The extra kid is Noodle's best friend who slept over last night and enjoyed the festivities tonight.) Sprout dressed up yesterday for the Homeschoolers Halloween Skating Party, but didn't go out tonight.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


I wonder if this would look good in my upstairs hallway. What do you think?

life divided

So, I have a hard time sometimes deciding what to post on this blog, and what is better off on my homeschooling blog. I would love to have a snazzy combined blog, with different tabs across the top, but I don't know how to do that. So, I have two blogs.

Anyways, yesterday we went on a bike ride again with some fellow neighborhood homeschoolers. We rode along the river trail again (last week we rode out to Utah Lake) and it was cloudy and a light rain fell occasionally. The colors along the trail are AMAZING, and the cloudy day made them all the more vibrant. I imagined I was on a vacation in the pacific northwest. It was perfect, you could wear a jacket or not and be comfortable. I love that type of weather.

I am presently quite content in my denial of winter. Last week was unseasonably warm (mid to high 80s), and I really felt it was just as it should be. I feel the need to come up with a survival strategy for winter, but that would require admitting that it really is just around the corner. I need to start my Christmas sewing projects, which is at least something that makes it bearable. Yeah, I'm a dork. Or nerd. Or geek, or whatever type of person it is who likes to sew things.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thursday, Friday, Happy Days

So, I would have sworn there was a line in that song that said, "Good days, Happy days," but I looked and nope. There isn't. Oh well.

Today was a happy day. There were a couple of hiccups/bumps along the way, but it was overall a really nice day. We ate lunch outside on the patio set that David's dad bought me, and I got to spend a few minutes weeding the lawn. The kids invited the neighbor across the street's dog over so they could play Dog Hotel with their friend. I made dinner for our belated birthday celebration with David, and then the kids and David (and me, some) played outside with our parachute thing. Sprout was hilarious and would explode with excitement when we'd start moving the parachute to bounce the balls. So fun. Then we had brownie sundaes for his birthday dessert. Yum!

I am trying to do better at noticing and enjoying the little things in my life that bring happiness and really savor those moments. Like the way Sprout can't help but start dancing when he hears some good music. And the funny things the older kids think of to do and say. There are enough of these moments to fill my life with joy if I learn to bask in them. It can be too easy to get dragged down by the things that go wrong. I'm going to try harder to be lifted up by everything that goes right.

I also had some fun looking for funny tee shirts for David for Christmas this year. It is kind of a tradition that I give him one or two every year now. This isn't one of the funniest ones, but I think it is really cute. I think this year I will finally have to buy this one because I love it so much, and just thinking about it makes me smile.

I love funny.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

home decorating

"We don’t need to increase our goods nearly as much as we need to scale down our wants. Not wanting something is as good as possessing it.” - Donald Horban

Last night we had a Relief Society activity where we got to visit other people's homes in the neighborhood. We went to four homes (and a backyard, so on the way to the backyard, we peeked in the home briefly) and they were all lovely. So nicely decorated, different styles, but all fabulous. I'll be the first to admit that I have no eye for decorating a home. On the very rare occasion that I do have an idea, it takes me 6 months to two years to get around to implementing it. I like to think I'd be better if we had more money to spend on things like decorating, but I don't think it's true. So, I felt kinda bummed after the fun activity, just because I want my home to be beautiful and homey. But then I realized that the MOST important thing I can do right now is GET RID OF STUFF. The lack of clutter is one thing all the homes had in common, and getting rid of stuff is free! Last month I decided I didn't like using the top of the kitchen cabinets for storage because it looked cluttery, so I cleaned out and reorganized the pantry so the important items could fit in there. I've seen lots of houses with cute decorative stuff on top of the cabinets, but we don't have a lot of room there, so I don't know what, if anything, would look good. I might have to consult some of the ladies from last night. But, I do like the "empty" look a lot better than the cluttered look, so that's something!

So, that's my plan. I am involved in a lot of things that lend to clutter, or at least, require materials: homeschooling, cloth-diapering, keeping pets, sewing, letting the kids do arts/crafts... But there has to be a way to do these things and not let the stuff take over my life. I'm committed to figuring out how.

I found these two articles on Zen Habits with great tips. Last night I cleaned out my inbox on my desk. Now I need to clean the rest of the desk!

Friday, September 17, 2010

the sucky thing about Fridays

is when you don't have anything even kind of cool to do, you feel lame. Especially if you are all alone (kids don't count). But, since it is SUPPOSED to be fun, you don't feel like doing anything productive, either (like folding laundry or cleaning up). Which is why I just end up dinking around online and eating two bowls of Chocolate Chex. Whoo. Party animal.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

the point of hugs

"Mom, you know what is the point of hugs if someone is gone? Actually feeling them, not just seeing them." -- Spud, after giving me a hug after asking, "Mom, do you need some hugs?"

I think this is in reference to the "hugs" we send to David through the phone and through Skype while he is in California.

clueless cooking, easy spanish rice

I made rice and bean burritos and green beans the other night, with Spanish rice. To make the Spanish rice, I just cooked the rice in the ricecooker, and then added 1 cup of salsa and about a tsp of cumin. Just enough spicy to make it interesting.

Tonight we had Tilapia fillets (cooked in butter with seasoned salt on them) and Spud said, "Mom, your fish is as good as dad's!" And Noodle said that the "skin" was the perfect amount of crispiness. So, hooray! We had leftover Spanish rice and cucumber salad. I can't remember if I gave the recipe for the cucumber salad before, but you just peel a cucumber (or two or three), slice it up, make a dressing of equal parts vinegar (red wine or white), water & sugar, mix it up, and put the cucumbers in. Adjust sourness to taste. Noodle LOOOOVES this salad. She is a sour fiend.

Another recent meal is what the kids named "krabby patties" from SpongeBob. I make whole wheat rolls with the help of my breadmaker, and we put tunafish and cheese on them. They make very cute little sandwiches that the kids love to eat.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

the reluctant wedding photographer

My brother Eric had two children get married in the last month. My nephew Jason was married in Logan the first week of August, and my niece Ashley was married last Friday in Boise. I had taken Jason & Katie's engagement pictures back in June when they were in town for my parents' 50th Anniversary, and they asked if I would do their wedding pictures. I told them I'd never done a wedding, but if they wanted me to, I would. They said they did. As I started preparing, I started to almost wish I'd said no. I spent about a two weeks reading, practicing, and reading some more. It was a great learning experience, as I finally had to learn some things that I'd been able to avoid learning up until now. I knew that I needed to know my stuff inside and out because I'd only have one chance at these wedding pictures.

I didn't sleep at all the night before Jason's wedding. Every time I'd almost be able to "count" myself to sleep (I sometimes try relaxation exercises where you count your breaths in & out), aperture, ISO, flash settings and shutter speeds would start racing through my head. It would have been laughable (it is now) if I hadn't been in such a panic.

After the wedding, my brother and his wife asked if I was interested in taking Ashley's pictures. I said I'd be willing to do it if they wanted me to, but they needn't feel obligated to ask me. And I suggested they wait until they see the pictures from Jason & Katie's wedding before making up their mind. They ended up asking me, and thankfully it wasn't nearly as stressful. Though the Boise Temple didn't have quite so many "photo spots" as the Logan Temple, but we ended up with a number of great shots. I think they'll be pleased.

Ashley's wedding pictures are first, then Jason's.

Oh, and if you are wondering if this means I want to do wedding photography now, I can safely assure you that the answer is NO WAY! I had a lot of fun doing these two weddings because I knew the couples and I was going to be at them anyways, but I don't have any interest in spending entire days away from my family or dealing with bridezillas or any of that. Ashley and Katie were super laid back and a ton of fun. But if somebody else in the family gets married in the next couple of years, I'd be willing to shoot their wedding if they want me.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


It's late, and I need to go to bed. I stepped outside to check that I'd turned the sprinkler off and I glanced next door. And the wave of grief hits again.

Monday night my next door neighbor died in a plane crash in Nepal. Leaving behind her husband of 29 years and five children, the youngest a 14 year old daughter. One son is on a mission for the LDS church in New Jersey. She was in Nepal with her best friend to do a hike to Mt. Everest Base Camp. They'd been planning and training for the past four years. She was celebrating her 50th birthday.

I heard the news Tuesday morning. My friend called and when he told me, the first thing out of my mouth was "You're kidding," even as I knew that he wasn't, and that noone would joke about this. My thoughts first went to the kids, who have been wonderful friends to us since we moved in four years ago. How would they survive this? How can they be strong enough to bear this grief that I can't even imagine? I needed to talk to someone, so I called my sister-in-law Cristina into the room since I couldn't reach David on the phone. She cried with me and hugged me. I told the kids after breakfast, and then we went next door. There were other friends and neighbors there, and we just hugged them and cried with them. "I'm so sorry," is all that I could say. Hugging them seemed like the best way to share their pain. It was then that my thoughts moved from the kids to the father. They had lost their mother, but he had lost the love of his life, his companion. He's alone now. The anguish in his face was wrenching, but I could see the strength that he was mustering for his family right now.

It's just so sad. The kind of thing about life that makes you really angry, or it would, if you could get past the sorrow.

So when I stepped out tonight, thinking of my own little world here in my home, I look next door and wish I could somehow lessen their pain. I wish that my own sorrow could somehow take away some of theirs. But all we can do in these instances is to mourn with those that mourn, I guess. And I hope that's something.

The Deseret News published a really touching article about the family.

Please keep them all in your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


So, as a sort of compensation for "stealing" my husband away, David's Uncle Brian took us all to Disneyland at the beginning of July. It was SO AMAZINGLY FUN! I haven't been in twenty years (which makes me feel weirdly old to be able to say that about something) and I really think I enjoyed it more as an adult than I did as a kid, and that's saying something. Honestly, since I've become an adult, I think I kind of pooh poohed Disneyland because it is so expensive and could it really be worth spending all that money? Well, I can definitely say it was worth spending all of someone else's money to go. The entire two days we were there, I really did feel like it was a wonderful vacation from the realities of life. Who has time to think about bills and schedules when you are contemplating whether to ride Splash Mountain or shoot aliens with Buzz Lightyear? Certainly not I.

We had a blast, and I purposefully didn't carry my camera both days because I wanted to enjoy the experience without trying too hard to capture it. But we did have Noodle's little point & shoot for half of the other day until the batteries died.

In addition to Brian, my sister-in-law Jenn and David's cousin Mikhail (age 10) also came. The kids had a blast with Mikhail, and I think it created a nice dynamic to have another kid to interact with. And I highly recommend the 1:1 kid:adult ratio! We'll have to remember that when we go back in four years.

Noodle and Spud rode EVERYTHING! Well, we missed a few of the smaller rides, but there was nothing too fast or too scary for them. I was very impressed. Noodle closed her eyes until after the upside down loop on California Screamin', but she still went on it again. They both liked the Tower of Terror, which was almost too intense for me. And they absolutely loved Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain and the Matterhorn. It is nice that Spud is so tall for his age, as there wasn't anything he wasn't big enough to ride. That's why we figure we can go back in 4 years when Sprout is 5 1/2. He should be tall enough then to enjoy everything.

Thanks Brian, for a fabulous time!