Monday, December 19, 2011

Just Barely Golden

On Sunday I baked 6 dozen sugar cookies for me and the kids to decorate.  And guess what?  I didn't burn a single one.  I didn't even overcook a single one.  Now THAT, my friends is a Christmas miracle.

Friday, December 16, 2011

We Three Trees

Man, I hate getting behind. Where was I ....

Brian turned 33, and just like last year, he and I (and Skip this year) spent his birthday weekend in Ashland. And once again, he ran a 31-mile, muddy, freezing, trail run. Crazy. And I went shopping--Walmart, Costco, and the shops and Farmers' Market of Ashland. At the Farmers' Market, I was so excited to find a bunch of berry boughs ( I can't remember what kind of berries they are) to hang on the branch that I have suspended over my kitchen table. I wish I had better pictures of it. The lady that sold them to me told me that she had just sold her entire crop to the folks at Sundance Magazine. I thought that was kinda cool. (A quick aside: lately I've been very discouraged by the fact that I'm never going to be able to capture any pretty part of my home on my blog because I don't have the camera or skill to take good pictures. Do you know what I mean? As I've drooled over decorating blogs over the last year, it has been clear that these girls don't just know how to decorate, they also know how to take pictures. But anyway...what can you do?)

And then later in November, my Gain Goo turned 6, and Sarah's whole family was here to celebrate that and Thanksgiving with us. And can I tell you? I LOVE MY SISTER. I love all my sisters (and brothers, for that matter) but it is just so, so fun being in the same stage of life as my older sister. We understand each other's lives. You know what I mean. So anyway...Jane had a wonderful birthday. She's such a good girl--a little bossy at times, maybe, but practically perfect in every other way :) She still has a lisp that Brian and I love, and she still spends hours a day creating artwork to deliver to the

neighbors. She's loving school, of course. Yesterday, she walked into school in tears for fear of the lunch ladies pressuring her to eat her veggies. I had run out of stuff to make her a lunch, so I insisted she buy one. The funny thing is--it's not that she's so afraid of eating the vegetables (she gets forced to eat vegetables by me every day.) It's the experience of having adults requiring something of her that makes her feel disapproved of. You know what I mean? I was the same way. Before she left the car, though, we said a prayer that everything would be alright and would you know it? Everything went just fine--pizza eaten, vegetables averted. Happy Jane. Happy Mom.

And then I celebrated my second favorite holiday--my Favorite Things Party day :). Yep. I turned 33, too. And this year's party was super fun, although maybe not quite as fun as in years passed. This year I was super tired and much more unprepared than I would like to have been. I hadn't finished decorating my house and my bathroom was a mess--and those two things alone were enough to throw me out of my groove. But thankfully, Becky was here again (it is a tradition) and she totally saved me again. She wrapped all my gifts up nice and pretty in brown paper and string ((you know, from the favorite things song)--dang, I wish I had taken a picture of them. Thanks, Stacy, for that idea) and helped me clean the house and get the food on the table. And hopefully, my guests had as good a time as in the past. I really do love it.

 This year my 33 favorite things are (in no particular order): my Pottery Barn-like entry shelves (the ones with the hooks) that Brian built, the leaf trivet that Camp made me, 3M picture hanging strips, tomato and red onion sandwiches (thank-you, Heather), blackberry cobbler, my IKEA drying rack, bedding, my blue and yellow t-shirt, boughs of berries, Christmas decor, DIY projects, decorating blogs, my magazines, my driftwood wreaths, Christmas tree light remotes, sales, dinner someone else made, my blue earrings, B&BW Mentha Lip Gloss, Costco's version of Bare Minerals makeup--the powder/bronzer (which is no longer being sold as far as I know. If you can get me some in medium, I will do something really nice for you!), my Walmart jars, blank notecards, white eyeshadow, cut branches, 3X5 index cards, my yellow book, my blue book, Brummel and Brown butter spread, the scents of Christmas, new clothes, my black exercise pants....and finally--Adele's Someone Like You . And have you ever seen this version or this version? I LOVE all of them. And you know why I love this song? Because I have been heartbroken before and because it reminds me of Sarah. She hooked me on it while we were both at my mom's this summer. We'd float around in the pool belting out the chorus: Nevermind, I'll find someone like you....Oh, man...I wish you were all here to sing with me again. So there you go. Maybe someday you will all get to come to my party and you will all sing and dance with me and I will send you all home with one of my shelves (Stephanie got it this year :) ). I would sure love that...

And finally, I've been decorating for Christmas and putting away the boxes left from decorating for Christmas for about three weeks now, and I'm loving it. I do wish I had some holiday toss pillows. I had intended on making some, but oh, well. My front room and family room trees are both Frasier Firs this year. It's funny, because every year it seems my trees are leaning more and more toward the Charlie Brown variety. As a young kid, we always got Douglas Fir trees, and then at some point we all got smart and went for the Nobles--no offense to you true blue Douglas fans. And now I just seem to me more and more drawn to the trees with more space in between the branches. The thing is, though--I really miss the smell of the Douglas Firs. Nobles and Fraziers don't smell like anything and that is a major sacrifice. So maybe next year I'll get Douglas Firs and just chop a bunch of branches out. Yeah, that might work... But this year I felt a little sad that my bedroom didn't have any sparkly lights, so when my friend mentioned to me that she lived on an old Christmas tree farm, I packed up my saw and some rope and headed out to chop down a third tree. We all know it's best to decorate in threes. And this third one--well it really is a Charley brown tree, but I really love it. Every night I go to sleep to it's glowing lights and Manheim Steamroller's Silent Night on repeat. So wonderful.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Still, Still, Still

You know what? Ignore what I have written in my personal little ditty on the left side of my blog. Sometimes it isn't fun being a mom. I don't always love it. Some of the time I don't even like it. Too often I realize I've gone through an entire day without really smiling or laughing with or even at my children. And I then I feel awful. But it is really, really hard. My personal belief is that we are commanded to get married and have kids mainly because it is in doing so that we have the greatest opportunity to become perfected. In other words--it is in marriage and raising children that we are forced to confront each of our weaknesses. And I've got a slew of them. Thank goodness for forgiveness. Thank goodness for the atonement. Thank goodness for tomorrow. Oh, thank goodness for tomorrow.

What would I do without my children? I would go shopping all the time. I would have a really clean house. I'd have conversations all day long without being interrupted. I'd probably get dressed and do my hair everyday. And I'd be miserable. That's for sure.

You know what I love? Mannheim Steamroller's Still, Still, Still. There's nothing like a little Still, Still, Still to restore my peace.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Skinny

After a lot of years of feeling like I was still young and at least partially "with it", I have now gotten to the point where I really do feel like I'm getting old. Things are changing. Yesterday Brian granted me a whole 14 hour day to myself to go shopping and just be by myself...and it was wonderful. But I spent at least two hours looking for and trying on jeans and that part was not wonderful. It was awful, really. And you know what? I don't care what anyone says. Skinny jeans are not comfortable. At least not on me. I've come to the conclusion that you must have some hips and booty in order for them to even stay up. It's so frustrating because I have to shimmy and hop around to get the dang things on and then they just gradually slip down my pillar-like body with the crotch half-way to my knees. And no one else has that problem? You know--back when I was in high school, I didn't care a lick about how clothes or shoes felt. I only cared about how they looked. But now? I need comfort--so what in the heck am I supposed to do? Thankfully, Brian doesn't care how long my hair is or whether I do my make-up, but he does appreciate the times I put real clothes on. But real clothes just aren't very practical--not when I spend hours a day on my knees cleaning the floors and changing diapers. But Audrey says--I do feel better when I get dressed and stuff.
Oh, and you know what? The other day, one of my friends (who is a little older than I) asked me if I would be interested in a couple pairs of pants that she has grown out of. Well, even though they didn't look to be pants I would be crazy about, I told her I would try them. So true to my word--I tried those suckers on. And you know what? They went clear up to my belly button and they felt so dang comfortable! I'm not kidding. I actually stood there feeling really discouraged and conflicted by the fact that comfort is really just a style change away.... What am I even talking about? I'm not sure. I did hear while trying on jeans, though, that high waists and flared legs are coming back. Is that right? Hmmm..
So like I was saying, I went shopping yesterday and got a few things that I hope are cute. Who knows...these days I feel MUCH more comfortable picking out bedding and pillows and stuff.

Oh, and by any chance, does anyone have an opinion about whether I should keep growing my hair out or cut it short again?

Sunday, October 23, 2011


It's been a good couple of weeks. Its birthday season at our house, you know. My little Sugar Plum turned four. She is adding; she is swimming; she is feisty and tough as heck; and when she cries, huge tears pour out of her eyes. When Dan was a baby, one of Audrey's boyfriends asked if she were Asian. Asian?? But now I can see it. Albino Asian, maybe. It's her eyes. They are so unusual--they're like little squinted, slanted paisleys and I love them. And my Homie is now EIGHT YEARS OLD. Crazy. And so he was baptized, and officially became a follower of Christ. Over the last several months, I've spent a good deal of mental energy thinking about his baptism (and just baptism in general) and what it means. And I won't tell you all of What I Think now, because there is too much. I'll save that for another day. But Camp's a cool kid. He's a leader. He loves to ask questions and wants to be able to understand everything. He's very creative, very curious, very interested. And he's amazing with babies. Have I ever said that?....

And we had my mom and Brian's mom and Rachel and Stacy and their kids all here for Camp's baptism! So fun...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


So this morning as I was arriving at the school to drop off Camp and Jane, Camp started wiggin' out. Apparently he had forgotten something very important. Desperately wanting to avoid any kind of breakdown, I quickly reassured him that we would return home to grab the forgotten item(s). On the way home, I asked him what he had forgotten. He hesitated and then said it was his homework. Since he had already told me he did not have any homework to return, and because I could tell he was not wanting to tell me the truth, I asked him to try again. Finally he told me that he needed to grab three shirts and a few pieces of paper. What for? For the club he is heading. It doesn't have a name yet, but it will be a ninja club and their meeting place will be the treehouse for which he is currently drawing the plans. Remember? Today was the day that each club member would be assigned a special animal spirit (thank you, power rangers) and be instructed on how to tie a ninja mask with a tee-shirt. Oh, man. I hope he doesn't get in trouble again. That kid....

Monday, September 26, 2011

I just don't understand.

You know what I don't understand? I don't understand why so many children's Halloween costumes have an entire extra head attached to the hood of the costume. Do you know what I mean? It makes so much more sense just to have ears or something attached to the hood and just have the child's face BE the head of the animal. That little horsey costume might look cute until you put it on your kid and suddenly you have a scary two headed monster. I just don't get it... I also don't understand how anyone could prefer pancakes to waffles.

Skip is six months old today. Danin is totally swimming on her own and knows how to add. Janey was her class's first star of the week (granted, they just draw a name--but still) and Camp.....well, we fought again today...Sigh...But, man--he's such a neat kid. He's been working on treehouse plans for the last couple days...

And I added a little fall to my front door for only a couple dollars. I bought the wreath base at the dollar store, the ribbon at Goodwill, and found the other berry sprays up in my closet. And for two bucks, I really like it. Oh, and see how my shelf is transforming just a little? I think maybe I"ll spray paint those little vases white, though. What do you think?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What do you mean, you don't like it?!

Remember that part on E.T........

And isn't it amazing how extremely difficult it is when you are so excited for your daughter to wear the darling jumper you got her for school and as soon as she puts it on (without even looking in the mirror) she declares she doesn't like it and will not wear it? Oh, my heavens--I think my blood pressure spiked!....And all that hard-earned money down the drain... I didn't handle it too well, I'm afraid, even though I know exactly what the good mom thing to do is. But I apologized during breakfast and told her that she is not the only one who has ever been particular about her clothing. I was a bit the same way. So I should understand. I'm trying to understand. Maybe she'll like it when she tries it on tomorrow...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Skip's crawling forward!

So we're back to school. Camp is in Second Grade and Jane is in Kindergarden. And I'm not sure who has been more excited--me or Jane. Jane is just one of those kids that is cut out for school. I knew she would love it, and I was right.
Both of them really enjoyed their first days. I remember Sister Avina video recording her youngest boy walking to school while I was growing up and thinking, really? But I happened to have the camera with me while I was waiting for Jane to get off the bus, so I thought, what the heck. :) Notice she was the only one on the bus. Even cuter. Oh, and she finally got her cast off!! So that's that...
You know what one of the hardest things in the world for me is? Being private. It is really hard for me to not tell people the things that are on my mind and in my heart. I think I have a harder time being private than anyone else I know. And because I know that saying too much about my private business is often not a good thing, I have spent a good deal of time analyzing why I struggle with this particular quality. And I still haven't totally figured it out. But I have realized at least one thing--that I much prefer having close relationships with people to just having acquaintanceships. I like to really know people and have them really know me. You know what I mean? I cannot feel close to anyone who does not know what I struggle with, etc., and about whom I do not know the same. In fact, when I have a friendship with someone who does not know about the hard things I have experienced in my life, I almost feel like I am being dishonest. Isn't that crazy? And I just really enjoy feeling close to people. So I really struggle with using discretion with the things I disclose to people. I'm sure you can see how this can be a really bad thing. But anyway...I'm not sure why I am talking about this. Oh yes I do. Because I am struggling with upset feelings right now and my first inclination is to telephone the world and tell them all about it. Not good. Well, actually, my first inclination is to call my mom and tell her all about it. But she is in Texas and I don't want to spoil her trip with my rantings. I know. I know. I shouldn't tell my mom everything. And I don't--not everything. And my mom is really good at letting me know when I am wrong, and I really appreciate that. And I live a thousand miles from my mom, so she only hears about the things that will otherwise render me unable to cope. Anyway, so do you want to know a few things about me? Don't answer that. Here they are, regardless of whether you care to know or not:
I hate having cold/dirty feet so I wear socks almost all the time. (I also do this to help keep my carpet clean as my grandma taught me that the oils in our feet soil our carpets)
I'm very particular about my hair.
I have no real desire to travel.
I love to talk about feelings.
I am left handed, but I use scissors only with my right hand.