A Manly Lunch

Travis eats the same homemade lunch everyday, one that I made the night before and lovingly ;) left in the fridge for him to quickly grab before heading out the door and biking down to campus.

This is a typical lunch (plus an extra candy bar and a pudding: I thought he needed something sweet to get him through midterms):
2 peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches
1 small bag of baby carrots
1 container of yogurt (NOT fat-free)
1 spoon
1 container of apple sauce
1 (sometimes 2) granola bar
I've made him this lunch, (while sometimes substituting meat and cheese for the pb+j) ever since we've been married (5 1/2 years now). I keep telling myself when he gets out of school we can afford for him to eat out for lunch, but time will tell. I'm sure he'll talk me into making his lunch even when he does have an income.


Early Birds Get the Worm

I have been working like a busy bee getting things ready for the shop.

The advent calendars are on sale just for the next little while, so hurry and get the goods at recession prices.

And for those creative cats out there, this year we're selling .pdf files of the calendars and numeric alphabets so you can have fun creating them on your own.


Words to Live By

Here's a peek of my living room corner, showcasing my first Etsy purchase!

I already had the vintage plate, I got the frame at the thrift store this week and the print came from here (she's having a sale this weekend too!)
(This picture is strategically placed to remind me to keep my cool when the going gets tough).


Parenting/Sewing 101

Sometimes when I'm working and stewing about a problem, I tend to link the project and the problem together. Let me illustrate. The other night, as I was working on this (see below) for her, I noticed the fabric that I had to pull and overexert myself to get in the right place tended to pucker and clump.

My thoughts naturally went to Lucy and how stubborn and unruly she's been lately. And I've been fighting it. Tooth and nail. It seems I'm always trying to coerce her into staying with me in public, or not scratch Miles, or keep her clothes on. And she is fully intent on doing exactly what I tell her not to do. At the end of the day, I'm exhausted, mentally and physically. I wonder if I'm doing all the wrong things with her, or if she's just going through this phase and nothing will work, or if I should just send her to a Swiss boarding school and let them work on her.

(I couldn't resist this outfit at the thrift store: $2 for a sweatsuit and a flood of memories from my Care-Bear-loving childhood)
Then, as I was taking out the stitches from the pieces I had to forcefully keep in place, I thought about Lucy and how coercing and forcing are not working. She's puckering. I'm feeling frazzled and at my wit's end. Sewing the pieces back in place, I was more gentle, acting merely as a guide for the cloth and the bobbing needle. It worked. The calendar turned out how I had hoped.
And I found my solution to raising this wiley Lucy. She has no idea how much she's strangling my pride.


Sleepy Schullers

Every night Travis and I have a ritual of checking on the kids together after they go to sleep. The other night we found these scenes (notice Finn's foot on Miles' face). Finn had crawled into Miles crib.

And Lucy is obviously doing some acrobatic move while sleeping. I don't understand how they aren't awakened by these awkward poses.



Miles' maiden hair before.


And after. I miss my little baby who's turned into a boy.


Being Me

I don't know why I'm writing this post, but I figure I might as well expose myself and let you see a few skeletons in my closet. One of those is this picture (above) of my friend Nellie and I in Boston, when she came to visit me while I lived there for a year after graduating from BYU. I saw this on my Facebook page last week when I logged on for the first time in years and I about gagged. I hate pictures of me, but I really am disgusted by this one. Not only am I wearing my dad's old ski jacket that at the time was still two sizes too big, but my hair is bleached out and I'm the heaviest of any time in my life. At the time, I knew I was overweight, but was pretty depressed (which is a catch 22) and I drowned my sorrows in my own homemade baked goods. I ran some, but not enough to counterbalance the poor eating choices. [I ran a few times with the Cambridge Runners Club and I asked one of the coaches, who owned a successful running shoe store downtown, if my shoes were the right kind for me. He took one look at them, my favorite pair of Adidas btw, and said, "You're running on marshmallows. For a girl your size, you need stabilizer shoes." Point taken.]
I felt I had to redeem myself by posting this picture, taken this summer. I just couldn't let those Boston people, even if they don't even keep tabs on me anymore, think I was still looking like a beached whale! Don't get me wrong: I am no stick-thin person and never will be, but I have managed to shed about 35 pounds since that time in Boston. My history goes like this: after yo-yoing with my weight in college, it hit an all-time high in Boston and then after losing only 5 pounds on some Chinese watermelon/walnut diet, I decided it was time to get serious about eating healthy and working out. I moved back home to Washington, started working out on a daily basis, met Travis and his ultra-healthy mom and have tried to continue reading about nutrition and exercise since then. I have always been physically active, even ran cross-country in high school, but I think now with three kids I have to put my workouts and somewhat-healthy diet first or they won't happen. I have to be a little more selfish in that regard to make sure I get my needs met first so I can help my family's. I think that is the change. I don't really know. I have heard of many women who can't lose a pound and then they have a baby and somehow their bodies are transformed into lithe little things. I know everyone is different. And, I know that no one is immune from weight gain who doesn't take excellent care of her body and it doesn't mean anything except you just have stored extra calories. I just know I never want to see pictures of myself again like the one taken in Boston 8 years ago! Is that too much to ask?


New Curtains

Right after we moved here, I made some really lame curtains for our living room windows out of several different pieces of fabric and those clip-on curtain rings.

Well, I got so sick of drawing those ugly curtains day after day, so it was time for some new ones. I found some queen-sized duvet covers at Marshall's that were made from just the kind of fabric I was looking for.

So I sewed a thin strip of fabric on the top from the extra pillowcases that came with the duvet covers (to make them the right length), cut some small slits for the rod to go through, and voila! New curtains. My morning routine of drawing the curtains just got a little more interesting.

And I got this pillow for $3.50 at Steinmart the other night. I like it's texture.


Festive Baby Shower

Last night my friend Brittany and I hosted a baby shower and it was alot of fun to put together.

We did an ice cream sundae bar, complete with colored sprinkles and both homemade caramel and hot fudge sauces.

I had been saving Miles' baby food jars for a couple months and it turned out to be my favorite thing about the night: little votives popping up everywhere, casting a warm glow on the whole scene.

It reminded me of several things: the brightness of birth and new life, the warmth of good friends, and the comfort of home.


Life with Lucy

About two weeks ago, it was a Monday morning, Lucy woke up and turned my world upside down. It has been the Terrible Twos Intensified everyday since and I'm starting to think it's not going to get over anytime soon. She must do everything by herself and if you help her at all, say picking up a toy for her, she will put the toy back on the ground and then pick it up unassisted. Buckling the seatbelt: no help allowed. Putting on shoes: again, no help. Climbing into her crib: get away Mom. Everything is done solo by Lucy, even if it means it's performed super-slow, with interruptions (things like gum on the ground are extremely captivating to her and her hands must touch it), and may be hazardous (taking off her seatbelt while I'm driving). I must be getting used to it because it doesn't bother me as much anymore, and I haven't seen her behavior change one bit. I've gotten good at pulling the car over and spanking her when she takes her seatbelt off while I'm driving (she HATES it and I hate it almost as much, but it's the only thing that works). I think raising kids is more for me than for my kids. This whole Lucy Independent Phase is teaching me to not sweat the small stuff and to pick my battles. It's also teaching me that I should have appreciated the sweet phase of Lucy (was there ever one?) while it lasted. And, in her defense, she does unload the clean silverware, which I appreciate. Baby steps to letting go.... Baby steps to her in preschool.... Baby steps to her pottytraining.... Baby steps to getting through this phase.


(Self) Published

After 9 months of putting off this project, I finally got my rear in gear and published last year's blog posts using Blurb.

I doubt I'll make the Amazon bestseller list, but hey, at least I've got it printed for my own sake.

And the advent calendars are back! If you would like to make your own this year, go here for easy downloadable instructions.


Sleepy Schullers

Over the weekend, we had some good sleeping shots. While I was off in dreamland myself, Travis heard snoring in the toy room. He went in and discovered this little farmer had snoozed on the job.

Lego in his face and everything.

And this is a common sight: Miles folded over onto the arm of his carseat.

He's a little snorer too.


Celebrating Friendship

Last night I helped put on a Relief Society Autumn Supper. We served artichoke, feta and tomato pasta salad, Ruth Wilsons' butterhorn rolls and a dessert sampler plate.

Jen gave a short talk about making friends and appreciating the diversity within our congregation.

For the desserts, I gave several gals 40 little paper cups to fill with whatever type of dessert they wanted. I was so impressed by what they brought back: caramel oatmeal bars, scones, chocolate scotcheroos, roasted almond truffles, apple strudel and coconut balls.

I made the centerpieces for practically free out of white tissue paper, peanuts, branches and popcorn balls. It was really fun to put the whole thing together. A magical evening.


Speaking of Generosity
This must be a sign that though I'm far away from family, I'm being watched out for by a surrogate one. The bouncy house that occupied my children for hours this afternoon was a gift from the kindest woman I know from the gym. She said her house is "Toys R Us" and that she has too many kid things it's insane. Her kids are now ages 7 and 11. So she passed this fun house onto us. And now I'm passing some images of it onto you (with kids included). Because everything I do somehow involves these three towheads, in one way or another.



I got a call last night just after I got the ruffians to bed. It was the familiar voice of my friend and neighbor who I haven't seen in weeks (she's been travelling). In a few minutes, she was at my door with a white plastic bag and inside it: cake. But it wasn't just any cake. It was a single piece of dense, moist chocolate cake, smothered in a fountain of chocolate lava-esque frosting. It made my night. I felt so special unwrapping the plastic wrap from the white styrofoam clamshell box, uncovering the large-ish container of thick sweetened whipped cream, and then slapping huge dallops over the warm molten cake. I could picture some white-aproned kitchen hand preparing the cake for take-out, neatly and carefully wrapping it up, then placing it tidily in the bag. For the scores of offhanded negative vibes and comments I had dished out that day, I was recompensed a neatly packaged, lovingly delivered gift, just for me, just what I wanted. How unfair! I am not sure how I will ever repay those who help me out when I can't even help myself. I was reminded of the experience when I read later that night, "Nevertheless, I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea..." (Ether 2:24). It was just that. The catalyst for my emergence from a bitter place. How do I merit such a huge blessing?

Sometimes I think I'll never have it figured out. But I keep receiving more than I give. Maybe someday I'll understand how it all works. Until then, I'm happy to eat chocolate cake and ponder on the matters that seem as big as the universe.


Something about the state of the dining room table clutter has a firm grasp on my mood meter. Today I am: a little annoyed at the world. And my table: covered in stuff. But it's good stuff. Party favors, party centerpieces, curtains waiting for some attention, you know, just random stuff. And, because my table full of clutter is dictating my sour mood, I will just go ahead and list some other things that I can't seem to get over today.
Things like:
  • Our toilet won't come unclogged.
  • Our sink won't drain.
  • Travis lost his wallet.
  • I have cellulite.
  • Lucy has been in time-out at least 17 times in the past 24 hours for bad behavior (biting Miles really hard one of those)
  • Lucy peed a huge puddle on the floor today
  • Lucy won't let me help her with anything (thus, everything takes twice as long to do)
  • Our basement is getting cluttered and messy and needs a good cleaning
  • Why the endless laundry?!? I just folded a mountain of laundry yesterday and I already have a mountain of dirty laundry.
  • I want chocolate cake but I don't have the energy or patience to make it

I know, we all have problems and mine are insignificant compared to some. I'll leave it to Bono who so wisely said, "Some days are better than others."


Some Afternoons...

...call for a piece of flourless chocolate cake.