Friday's Crafty Table Day

You know those pajamas I was going to make? Well, they're in the making... I'll post pictures next week after the family Christmas party. I'm still tuned in to Pandora (Bing Crosby holiday channel) and I've taken a shower today, so life is good in dis 'hood..
at least in this moment!
What Christmas projects have you got cooking?


Book Ambitions

I picked this one up at the thrift store yesterday. In today's prices, could you imagine building your dream home for $3,500? I can always dream... So I'm making a second attempt at challah bread for our family Christmas dinner next week. Last time it flopped because I didn't let it rise long enough (remember that, Mom?) I'll post pictures if they're blog-worthy. But, most anything goes on this blog, so why not?
I know you can't see it very well, but there's a flight logo on the back of these little dishes. I know they held a passenger's jello some 40 or 50 years ago. How delightful!


Dear Lucy,

Did you know that when you have kids, only then, will you know what a mother will do for her child? For example, today, while Finn was off playing at preschool, you were crying because your tooth hurt. So, instead of working out, your mama tried rocking you. When this failed, and continued for 45 minutes, your mama got frustrated and bagged the whole workout. Workouts, big deal, right? But, when you are a mom, you will know that alone time is priceless and sacred. But I still love you. I always will. I hope your teething feels better. Thanks for letting me run later on while you slept in the jogging stroller.


P.S. I put your macaroni and cheese in the fridge for you later when your mouth feels better.


Little Jack Frost, Get Lost

Finn found a little cozy bed for him and his animals yesterday. I hated thinking that perhaps the former occupants housed a caged cat in here, but oh well!
And, then later in the afternoon, the same little 2-year-old found himself asleep on his high chair tray, only seconds after eating hot dogs with ketchup with a toothpick.
No time for much blogging, I've got a bag of fabric calling my name. It's for our Christmas family pajama pants. It was cheaper if the boys had the same fabric and the girls had the same, so it looks like Travis is going to be wearing firetrucks on his Christmas pants! ha!
P.S. If you need some good "crafting" music, you can either go to Marilyn's wonderful blog, or Pandora! The songs are endless and festive!


In Other News
How sad: the dryer I grew up with (which lasted a whole 17 years) died two weeks ago. A nice man who saw my ad for it on Craigslist came and picked it up last week. R.I.P. ol' dryer.
If you can't tell, this is how the Schullers do an advent calendar! Every day until we head back to WA, Finn gets to punch through the wrapping paper (put on after this was taken) and get a little candy bar.
Thirdly, Santa came early this year! Finn has loved scooting around on this little three-wheeled wonder. He doesn't want to put his feet on the pedals yet, but soon, very very soon, I hope.


Happy Birthday, Mom!

I have great honor in wishing my Mom Happy Birthday today! She is the one who gave me my name, my love of old treasures, my blond hair and an appreciation for bakeries.

I remember one Thursday night in grade school. For some reason, I really wanted a little coin purse to take my quarter to school for popcorn day Friday. I asked my mom to make me one, and I remember she had million other things going on and she said she wouldn't be able to make it that night, but she would sometime soon. I put up such a little fit and cried and whined and went to bed. The next morning I found a little homemade pink coin purse on my pillow with "Sarah" sewed in pink zig-zag cursive on the flap. I was so happy! My mom was my hero! And she still is!
My mom is also a fantastic grandma. When she came to stay with us for the first time in Cleveland, she whipped our yard into shape, took loving care of her grandkids, and I remembered all over again what a great woman she is. She is a hard worker, patient, a good listener, and teaches by example.
She loves babies and says the nicest things about her grandkids, which always makes me feel good. One time she said, "I could never get sick of looking at Lucy," and I sighed inside. How sweet.

You deserve mansions above and a Desserts by Kelly cake, at least!
I hope your day is lovely as you are!
Lighting Makes a Difference

Gone are the massive dusty ceiling fans that occupied the spaces where these lights now hang. And, to me, it makes such a difference!

I got these two brass fixtures at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore for a good deal, then spraypainted them flat black. The shades for the chandelier cost almost as much as the fixture did, but such is decorating on a dime, eh?

And, I want to pickle this girl!


Bedroom Art

I gave making my own painting a shot this weekend. I was inspired to make something for our bedroom by a picture I saw on Design Mom that said, "For Like Ever."
I don't know why, but I didn't think a marriage that I hope lasts forever merited the "like" part of the phrase.
So, I left that out and made my own version. I got the frame at a yard sale, spray painted it white, and painted over the existing picture with flat white ceiling paint. Then, I cut Helvetica-type letters out of and old school workbook (see below).Then, I put Mod-Podge stuff over the letters to make them a bit shiny. I might paint the frame an even brighter white.

This is the workbook page I used for one of the letters. It really reflects another era, which I LOVE!


So, I did it. I joined the gym. The tipping points were the included babysitting and the retreat from the snow and cold during the nasty winters here. And, I'm glad I joined because today it is snowing and I can only imagine what the windchill factor is out there. And it's only November 16th.

I felt pretty weird at the gym. I had to control the urges to spit, toot and rub my sweat off my brow with my shirt. Plus, it was hotter than hades in there, compared to running outside. I'm sure after a few times I'll get used to it. That's what Whitney said and she's a super-rat! (Gym-rat, that is).

I'm gearing up for the Cable Bridge Run. I haven't missed a year since 1985, I think. I'll have to verify that with my parents. But, I'm excited because it always brings out the best in everyone, runners and support, alike.

Who else is going to join me on a Saturday in December for the Cable Bridge Run?


Mama Said There'd be Days Like This
This string of words keeps coming through my head when I try to describe how I feel: "Fit to be tied." Is it because Finn and Lucy each get up at least two times per night, or my house is a complete disaster, or I haven't showered yet today (see above greasy hair picture)?
If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times: my mood is directly related to the state of my house's cleanliness.
I'm watching this sweet little girl named Lily so her mom can go to a Dr's. appointment. These little sweeties are the reasons I'm not going totally bananas. They help me remember how precious life is and that it's fun to have sweet potatoes smeared all over your shirt. Life goes on. Even if you have boogers hanging out of your nose and your diaper is wet.
They seem to say in their wordless way: "If mama loves me, I'm okay."
And then I'm hammering my brain deciding: gym membership for 3 years or no? Pros: great escape from bad wintry weather, only $17/month, new facility, includes daycare, and a better body. Cons: I hate running on a treadmill (although I would do it if it was the only way I could run in the snowy winters here), the daycare is only for children 1+ (Lucy will be one in January though) and I would have to drive to get there. It's only a five minute drive, but I'm used to just walking out my door to go running.
I'm sure something will settle in this discombobulated brain of mine. I just need to declutter a few countertops and take a shower. Then I'll feel lots better.


It Was a Chilly Monday Night...and Miss Lucy S. was in her high chair, relishing her green beans and fruit smoothie.
Mr. S was at his usual station, his desk, studying for finals yet to come.
And Mrs. S was preparing a lesson about the Good Samaritan, only using felt cars as the characters.
We started with our usual songs, including, "The Wheels on the Bus." Finn sang the part where the babies go "wha-wha-wha" as if he were actually used to crying like a baby....which he is.

And Finn was very involved and excited about this lesson.
And then we had baths and the kids went off to dreamland, dreaming of charitable cars, schoolbuses and blue sports cars. At least that was the idea...


My "Eight"
Jen tagged me and now I'm it! I'm not quite sure I'm answering these right, but I'll give it a shot...
1. Ideal Place to Live: Lots of places for different reasons. NYC for the shopping, Boise and Tri-Cities for family, Cleveland for dental school, Montana for simplicity and beauty. I don't know. I always think where I live should be the ideal place to live. :)
2. Jobs I've had: First job at 12 was a janitor for Dr. Fox. I always had some connection to his office, whether catering their office Christmas party, designing their website, to working in the billing department to cleaning it (up until 5 months ago). At 16 was a telemarketer for Farmer's Insurance, then catering assistant, then concessions worker at BYU, then manager of the Design Lab at BYU, then a secretary at All Seasons Home Remodeling in Boston, then a receptionist at Bagley Dental in Pasco, now the hardest job I've ever had: playing Mom.
3. My junior high, high school and college years: Anyone who knows me well knows that I was basically a nun in high school and then had a complete metamorphosis my first semester of college. I went from wearing hardly any make-up in high school to wearing the whole painted face when I came home that first semester break. I also had my first kiss after my first year of college. I had a couple boyfriends in college, but nothing worked out. I feel like I dated alot though and had fun. I always look back and think of how awkward and yet pivotal those phases of my life were.
4. How did you meet your husband? We were in the Tri-Cities at a CES Fireside. I saw him and thought he was cute so I asked my friend Michelle about him. She said he played the guitar. I thought, "That's my ticket in." So, I invited him over that night to play the guitar together and sing with Emily and me. I sort of made up that we were already getting together with some people so I didn't look stupid.
5. Describe Yourself. I am always thinking of my next project. I am a people-pleaser, which I'm not very proud of. I don't have much of a backbone when it comes to sticking up for myself. My bosses in NY used to tell me to be more assertive. I am hard to pin down because I don't like to be on a schedule. That's the thing I love about staying home with kids at this stage: we are free to do as we please during the day.
6. Family. I am the third of seven kids, five girls and two boys. My parents are the best they come. I feel like sometimes I have the middle-child syndrome where I'm vying for my parent's attention too much.
7. Biggest Accomplishment to Date. I don't know. Maybe having kids. I guess it depends on what you value and think is an accomplishment. I ran two marathons and my rolls used to resemble rock formations, and now people say they're pretty good. Being married is an accomplishment if you look at it that way.
8. My guilty confession: I've thought about this all morning and I can't think of one that takes the cake, or one I could share that wouldn't embarrass me too much. But I have a whole lot of little ones: I wore my pajamas to the store last week, I eat cookies and cake for breakfast about once or twice a week, I am super grouchy on Sunday mornings before church, my dad helped me write my essay to get into BYU, and I am not shy about asking people to take less for something at the store, at yard sales and anytime I feel I could get a better price.
Now I tag: Lauren Larios, Janelle Nutter and Andrew Fox.


What a Weekend
This was yesterday's centerpiece. The artichokes were on sale and the napkins were another giveaway from the Big Fredin Cleanout 2007---thanks!
Okay, so the story of the weekend started when our dryer broke last week. We were going to attend a sale at an appliance store, when my friend Lynelle offered us her old dryer in her basement. So, we went to her house, got it, took off her door to get the dryer out to her car and loaded it into her van and drove it over to our house.
We got here, I went to open our back door when Travis informs me the keys are locked in the borrowed van and Finn and the dryer are in there. Great! At this point I'm losing my cool because I'm supposed to be hosting a lunch at my house in half an hour and I haven't showered yet!
We tried for about 15 minutes to get Finn to get himself out of his carseat and unlock the door. He tried and tried and was actually very good at following our instructions, but he just couldn't wriggle himself out. So, without a phone (mine was in my car at Lynelle's house), I rode my bike to Lynelle's to see about getting a spare key. Her husband, who was in surgery until 4 pm, had one, but we would have to leave Finn alone to drive to the hospital to get it, plus it would be a fiasco getting the key down to us from the O.R. I rode back to my house.
Then, I called a locksmith who told me for liability reasons they couldn't unlock a car with a person inside. I would have to call 911 she said.
So, I called 911. They sent a firetruck full of firemen to our house. They came back and said they didn't have any slimjims so the best thing they could do was break a window. They said policemen were on their way.
So, the policeman came and used a slimjim to open the door, we got the dryer out and into our basement and I managed to get Travis to school and be only 45 minutes late for own lunch, unshowered, and exhausted. Looking back, we figured we got a free dryer and we didn't have to pay for the locksmith, so that's the one good thing!
Lucy's laughing because she wasn't the one stuck in a car for 45 minutes!
{She looks kind of vampirish in this one...scary!}


Valuable Advice!
Today we have a double feature: my maternal grandparents,

Frank and Sharon Bruneel.

Let me tell you a little bit about them in numbers:

Sharon Smith Bruneel

(she's the pretty one holding her camera)

1. How do you think raising a family today is different than when your kids were little?

The difference in todays challenges of raising a family and those of my day lie in the marvelous inventions we have now. I had to help them find activities and things to do. Today their time is taken up with TV, computer games, ipods, and other entertainment. This is not good for their social, mental, and spiritual development.

2. What has been the greatest invention in your lifetime?

But I still think the computer is the greatest invention of our time. I've been working with a computer since 1985 and still finding that there is so much more available than what I can keep up with.

3. Mitt or Giuliani and why?

I definitely choose Mitt. It is so important that we choose men and women with high moral character to lead our country whether we agree with them politically on every issue or not. With all the immorality, corruption, and crime, we need someone who knows the difference between good and bad.

4. If you were to give advice to your grandkids, what advice would you give?

My advice to my grandkids is something I've said before: When you have a hard decision or don't know what to do, which will happen from time to time, just follow the rules. Don't think that you are different and can make your own path without obeying the rules. It never works.

5. What's the one thing that makes a good leader?

I think patience, forgiveness, genuine concern for others, and persistence in doing good are importance attributes for leaders.

6. If you could eat anything right now, what would you choose and why?

I would choose some good homemade butter toffee. I love it! I've been thinking of making some. I will definately make some for Christmas.

7. What do you think is the key to a happy, successful life?

I think the key to a happy successful life is to not take yourself too seriously. Lean on Heavenly Father when times are rough and know that you will get through them and be better for them. Everything works out in the end.

Now, for Franklin Camiel Bruneel:

1. How do you think raising a family today is different than when your kids were little?

It appears to take more concentration for parents to do "family" things than in past times to create "family group activities memories". Certainly, the influence of internet is good, but also bad in that it brings things into homes that used to have to be physically brought in that could be screened out. The media, TV and movies reflect the downward trend of the world that parents have to fortify kids against. There appears to be more danger of exposure to "wierdoes and deviants" that kids are exposed to.

Child restraint seats require more space or bigger cars and certainly patient parents, but they protect kids. Medical resources are better and more available.

2. What has been the greatest invention in your lifetime?

[Besides radial tires] Computers and the internet. Cell phones are a great convenience, but they haven't impacted the transfer of information and knowledge as much as computers and internet.

3. Mitt or Giuliani and why?

Mitt Romney, by a mile! He is the one candidate with morals and scruples I subscribe to more than any of the others. [realizing his isn't perfect]

4. If you were to give advice to your grandkids, what advice would you give?

Always honor your parents! Work to develop a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, follow the Prophet, "walk the talk". Learn to work hard, "first on the job and last to leave, attitude". Treat others the way you'd like to be treated. Learn that the only thing we take with us from life is what we give away.

5. In all your years serving in Idaho government, you've dealt with many kinds of people. What's the one thing that makes a good leader?

Having integrity and talking straight so that others understand what you say. Be confident, focused and stable during unsettling times. Be a sincere listener and involving other's ideas and feelings in forming a plan, program. Express sincere appreciation and recognition of subordinate's efforts and contributions. "Share the winnings."

6. If you could eat anything right now, what would you choose and why?

Wow, I just finished supper. It would be between a cold piece of vine ripened cantaloupe, or a piece of plain white cake with butterscotch sauce. [If it was morning, it would be fried corn mush.]

7. What do you think is the key to a happy, successful life?

Accept yourself as a child of God, work hard and share your accomplishments with your family and friends. Follow the teachings and example of Christ and his appointed leaders. [Don't spit on the floor, kick the cat, talk back to your parents or wife, or cuss and say your prayers.]

THANKS Grandma and Grandpa! This was truly valuable advice!

I Guess the Apples Don't Fall Far From the Tree


W+E, this is why I didn't answer my phone tonight

So for the teenage girls at church, we held a wedding night at my house. This was the original cake topper that Travis and I had on our wedding cake.
We had traditional reception food: mints, nuts, cake and the perennial favorite....lime sherbet punch.
Picture it with Ella Fitzgerald softly singing in the background. I'd say it was even more romantic than my own wedding reception! I made each girl in the group an individual cake to take home in something like one of these.
I even wore my wedding dress and red lipstick! Little munchkin #1 kept pulling my veil and I didn't act very "bridelike" sometimes, meaning I raised my voice too much at him tonight, getting ready for it all.
Might as Well Be Christmas

This is what I saw on my car when I woke up yesterday. I heard the winters were bad here, and I guess early November is when the snow starts coming.

Thanks to Sara, I got this funky red retro highchair on the treelawn today! Now Finn and Lucy can have their own highchair instead of trying to share at mealtime!
You know those sweaters I got on Unique Monday? Here they are, made into stockings.
I decided to decorate for Christmas in November because we'll be heading back to Washington in early December!