Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Pigs in a Blanket

As if carrying around up to three pigs at a time (Original Pig (aka "Piggie" or "Pigpen"), New Pig (aka "Pigilina"), and Beanie Baby Pig (aka "Allison Hogson")) isn't quirky enough, check out how he sleeps with them: they must be tucked between the bed and the wall. Why, one asks? Because he likes them chilled. Chilled. Parents can't make this stuff up.

He's four and a half and totally awesome.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Snowzilla, Part Even-I'm-Done-Talking-About-the-Snow

Sometimes when I'm cooped up for too long, I buy stuff. And sometimes I don't, but I want to. Like a snowblower. That sounds heavenly about now.

But we did, however, find on Craigslist one pair of nice snowshoes for the boys (to share). As soon as we brought them home, each boy tried them out. Rhett did better than Ollie, who had trouble keeping a wide enough stance and ended up tripping multiple times. But c'mon: how cute are these boys? I can't wait until another 30" drops at my house so we can go on a snowshoe date. Strike that: yes I can wait. At least until I have that snowblower and a place for all that extra snow.

P.S. Because Ollie's birthday is in the summer and he can't celebrate it at school, we're celebrating his half birthday this week. I made these to take to his preschool class. You'll have to count for yourself how many cubes of butter went into it. When coupled with almond extract means of course they'll be amazing.

P.P.S. Let the melting commence. Sunday was in the 50s, and temps are expected to remain that high through Wednesday, at which point we could even get thunderstorms. I could be trail running by Saturday--cross your fingers for me!

P.P.P.S. It's February!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Snowzilla, Part 5

Done. I'm so done. School is out again today, making it six weekdays that the kids haven't been in school. The boys are still having fun and are behaving no worse/no better than regular, but still. I crave our regular routine and my sanity.

Monday. They're back in school on Monday. What do people do whose spouses don't get off when the kids do?!

P.S. Snowshoeing was awesome! It was hard because the snow was super powdery then, but it was gorgeous. I saw deer tracks, duck tracks, bunny tracks, and cross-country skier tracks. Cool!

P.P.S. We're staring down some serious intense snow melt starting on Sunday. Temperatures in the 50s through Wednesday. I can't imagine what's going to happen to these snow piles!

P.P.P.S. Unlike other storms, people in my neighborhood are actually shoveling their walks. On my run Wednesday morning, I estimated 1 in 7 houses hadn't shoveled. And this is only a couple days after the historic-sized event. Way to go, neighbors!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Snowzilla, Part 4

More pictures from the snow.

Rhett hiding in his snow hole.

This was our street Monday afternoon (note the snow median). The only reason it's changed now is because it was unusually warm yesterday and things have melted. But maybe this explains why schools are still closed today?

Tuesday morning's sunrise! Gorgeous. Please ignore the ugly everything else.

The snowman Chuck and Ollie made, only seconds before Ollie destroyed it.

And check out how much we've changed!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Snowzilla, Part 3

There was a reason I was feeling so anxious about this storm: shoveling a lot of snow is the WORST. And especially when (1) there's so much and (2) you run out of places to put it. It's ridiculous. However, once it was cleared, I could kind of enjoy it. Don't go crazy thinking we've seen a plow and can get out. Because we haven't and we can't. We don't expect to see a plow for a couple of days and schools are already cancelled Tuesday (Monday is a teacher workday so kids were already out).

But we're holding up inside just fine. We made some delicious whole wheat bread on Saturday (even using the wheat grinder and the Bosch--serious business). Sunday morning I made some coffee cake. Monday I want to do cinnamon rolls. Don't worry: I'm more than burning those calories. I can't even stress enough how much shoveling we've done. (In our house, it's not a man job, like lawn mowing. We both shovel.) And tomorrow, since I can't run, I'm going to take a snowshoe hike on the trail. I can't wait to see it all snowy!

I had all these plans for getting stuff done while being housebound, but not one has happened. Mostly because we're (1) outside shoveling, (2) outside playing, or (3) inside recovering from (1) and (2).

I can't resist this kid.

Job well done, us.

Snow shadow selfie.

Moving was just so slow with that much snow. Kids really struggle! Thank goodness I could tamp is all down with my snowshoes.

I love the shape of the snow on the roof. I also love this kid.

Rhett is in the middle of our street. OUR STREET, PEOPLE.

The hill that grew in the backyard.

What good is a bunch of snow if it's not made into a cave or a tunnel? No good, I tell you. And as I type, he's still out there working on it. Man, I love the increased stamina in older kids!

Posting early so my parents can read before they leave for Belgium. Oh their hard life.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Snow, Part 2 (of probably a million, if this is any indicator)

Lest you think we in D.C. are overreacting a bit to the storm, I give you this:


And, of course, we're in the western suburbs. Sigh.

But we're ready. Wood is chopped and sitting by the wood stove. Shovels are brought in. Books are checked out. Groceries are in the house (staples we had; treats we had not). Patterns for sewing projects are printed. New games were purchased and delivered at 8:30 p.m. Thursday night. Attitudes are still being adjusted (but that's on me).

My apologies in advance for the plethora of snow posts that will likely follow in the next couple of days/weeks. If the storms of '09-'10 are any indication, well, just sorry. (Ahem, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.)

P.S. I won't lie: looking through those old posts significantly raises my anxiety over this storm. This snow is coming overnight! We're going to wake up Saturday morning with snow up to the roof. Breathe, erin, just breathe.

P.P.S. Thursday afternoon school was cancelled for Friday. You know, before anything even fell.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


Here we go. Our first real snowstorm of the season, which is only our second snow of the entire winter. (The first was some lame flakes that briefly fell Sunday.) But this one is for reals. The hype is building like crazy, as is my anxiety. Thank goodness for my handy-dandy list. The only thing we need to add to it is to bring the shovels in from the shed. And this year? We have four shovels. That's right: the boys have their own and will be expected to help earn that hot chocolate.

Monday, January 18, 2016

A Week in Albuquerque

Let's be honest: traveling for work isn't fun. Sure, all the times when you're not actually working are okay, but when I travel for work, I'm in meetings from 8:30 until 4:30. And when it's 4:30 in the winter, it's dark soon after meetings end. And when you've crossed two time zones, you're ready for bed at 8. Which barely leaves time for dinner. So pretty much the first two days (Monday I got in too late to even count) were just blah. Work, eat, sleep. But Thursday! I love me some Thursday. We had an hour and a half for lunch, so my friend Kathy picked me up and we enjoyed a fun lunch. After returning, it was just a teeny time until we were done at 3. Daylight + Winter Warmth + New City = A Long Run! There's no other way that I enjoy getting to know a city better than a long run through it. So I headed out of the hotel and started running. Soon enough I was on Route 66. Cool. Then I was crossing the Rio Grande! It's such a western river. I loved it. Then I ran on a rec trail though Rio Grande Valley State Park, and then right by the elephants in the zoo. It was awesome. After the run I sat in the hotel's hot tub. Because duh. Then I went upstairs, showered, and gave myself a Korean face mask treatment. Then I had a banana and a Star Crunch for dinner. Perfection.

You can't be in New Mexico without seeing a hot air balloon. (This was taken from my hotel room. Except for the freeway, it wasn't a bad view.)

Views! Of stuff!

Man, I am sooooo good lookin'.

I'm just hoping for the next conference I can convince those in charge to choose Salt Lake City. Or Puerto Rico. Or just somewhere warm, because otherwise, in January, what's the point?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A Tale of Two Pigs

This is Ollie's (new) pig.

This is Ollie's (old) pig after being subjected to Ollie for years.

Any questions?

Monday, January 11, 2016

For Me

I'm leaving today for a week-long work trip to Albuquerque. Chuck and the boys will stay home. This picture is for when I'm lying in my king-sized bed, alone, watching something dumb on tv, eating take out in bed. You know, to remind me that I should feel sad.

P.S. As a goodbye present, my boys (all three of them) ate this totally yummy Thai curry dish without major incident. I went into it fully expecting disaster, but no! And man, it was delicious.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Christmas Break

Seeing as though I'm a better mom outside of the house than in, I knew that we'd have to get out of the house every day (if even for a tiny bit) during Christmas break. So we did. Monday was zoo lights, Tuesday the boys saw a movie in a theatre, Wednesday we went to a small aviation museum, Thursday the boys went to BounceU, Friday we just stayed at home and destroyed our gingerbread houses (see below), and Saturday we went swimming (which was Rhett's favorite activity of the week). I really think it was the perfect mix of at-home-lazy and getting-out-and-doing something. We watched a movie almost every day, and the boys played some video games, as well as with their new toys. Certainly I was ready for school, but I wasn't dying. Or dead. Phew.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Christmas Day

As noted, we had a lovely Christmas. Sure, I could have slept an extra hour (the boys woke up at 5:30), but as Chuck and I were trying to embrace the season, we let the boys get us up then. It was Christmas morning, after all. We managed to drag out gift opening for two hours. After that I was able to go for a (memorable, but you'll have to ask me about it) run and then we just spent the day lazing around the house. It's kind of awesome that I have two boys who love playing video games with their dad because it means that I get ignored. And I'm happy to be ignored for a bit. And then, like last year, we hosted Chuck's brother and sister-in-law and their two girls for our Feliz Navidad celebration (taco dinner). It was a low-key, nice day. A lot like Christmas of '14, unsurprisingly.

Gift highlights for Rhett: vest, mini figures, kindle, hexbug game, hexbug shark, Skylanders

Gift highlights for Ollie: magformers, light-up shoes, pop gun, new stuffed pig, kindle, pig popper, legos, hexbug shark, Skylanders

Chuck and I didn't do much for each other, which is fine for both of us. There was not much I needed nor wanted. We do, however, have some money leftover in the Christmas budget, so maybe we'll get something fun. Only 354 until next Christmas!

Monday, January 4, 2016

December Wrap-Up

In a talk last month, our Bishop (who was recently called as Stake President) encouraged us this Christmas season to "Stop, drop, and roll." I can't quite remember what each was supposed to represent, but the general idea was to stop the Christmas insanity. And truly, I think this was a December in which we did. I had most of the shopping done by Thanksgiving (and wrapping was done a week or so later), Christmas cards were mailed kinda early, homemade gifts were done before December started, and activities were reasonable. I really enjoyed the entire month and was able to remain calm and enjoy the season with all my boys. We do an activity advent, but even those were reasonable and (GASP!) even sometimes enjoyable! It really was a wonderful month. Temperatures in the 50s, 60s, and 70s contributed. We bought slurpees on Christmas Eve because it was 70 degrees. C'mon: how many Christmases can you appropriately enjoy a slurpee if you live north of the 40th parallel?

Oh, the "roll" of "stop, drop, and roll" I think was to roll with the punches. You know, just go with it. I really tried to embrace that this Christmas, especially in the week after Christmas. You want to eat nothing but cookies all day? Alright. It's Christmas. You want to watch a movie every day during Christmas break? Sure. It was really hard for me, but it really was a great break.

Kids make the ugliest cookies. I think I cleaned up a quarter cup of sprinkles from off the counter.

Our annual "red and green" dinner, which usually turns out to be a "pink and green" dinner. But we try.

A fun drive to a private house who puts on this crazy display of lights.

A wet trip downtown to see the Capitol tree, you know, the one that came from my brother's neighborhood. (And I use neighborhood loosely when talking about Alaska.)

Botanic Gardens.

A Christmas Eve Eve sleepover in front of the tree. Seriously nothing cuter than sleeping kids, especially when they sleep in the same bed.

Making gingerbread houses on Christmas Eve.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Feliz Navidad Everyone!

For those who missed this on Chuck's Facebook page, Ollie sings...something. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Things Making Me Laugh

While running some errands on Monday, Ollie started singing a "death metal" version of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. He didn't do the whole song until later when Chuck came home from work. I'm dying over this video. Dying. Where did he come up with this?! He claims it's his "Gremlin voice." This kid. (If you saw the Facebook video Chuck posted, watch this one too. The ending is, um, surprising.)

Then, after constructing four gingerbread houses, I still had lots of dough left. I thought, HEY! I'll make a gingerbread Scamp. This, apparently, is much easier said than done. For now, it remains on my stove, making me laugh every time I walk by it. I'm sure there's a lesson in this experience.

Monday, December 21, 2015

That's It: We're Returning All Christmas Gifts

We had to pick up a gift for Chuck's coworker so off we went to the non-Joann fabric store closest to our house. This one sells a lot of home dec stuff and as Rhett has to make a stringed instrument over the holiday break, we asked if they'd give us one of the empty rolls. Of course Ollie whined and of course the employee gave us another one.

Little did we know (although much should we have guessed) that these long cardboard rolls would keep them busy for the next two days.

I'm betting no Christmas gift will even come close.

Friday, December 18, 2015

I Made Stuff for Me

I've been using my Silhouette pretty often these days. When browsing their sales after Thanksgiving I saw some cute patterns and bought them. Because that's what adults do: buy themselves whatever they want, whenever they want (you know, after they save and talk to their spouse and sacrifice for awhile). Unless those things are 50 cents, in which case they just buy them.

Anyway, how cute are these bags? I used a couple already, but made extra just in case.

This fun mistletoe.

I've also made some cute gift tags, and these happen to be my favorite.

Obviously not from my Silhouette collection, but Chuck and Rhett made these ornaments for Rhett's teachers. I love them.

Especially this one made from a little forest service truck. Yes, that's the one I chose to keep for us. I'm selfish like that.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

I Made Stuff for Others

Even though I didn't think I was going to end up making things for Christmas, I did. In fact, all members of my sister's family (except her husband) got homemade gifts.

Her boys requested these shirts. Ask (within reason) and it shall be given, boys!

Her older daughter recently got her ears pierced. I saw some cute earrings made from candy wrappers, but sadly, they didn't turn out as well as hoped. They're okay, but. So I added some others made from regular fabric. I like that they're not copies of each other.

For her younger daughter, I saw some paper dolls that I could cut out with my Silhouette. These are backed with magnet paper so she can use them on a cookie sheet or the fridge. I think they turned out pretty cute!

And for my sister, she got this cross-stitched version of her family. I'm not sure what she's going to do with it (ornament? wall hanging?) but it's still pretty fun. Of course my sister is wearing flip flops. I love Emmy's striped tights. Also, can you believe all six of them have blue eyes?!

Finally for them, they got a new dog this year. So of course Brigham needed a new stocking. Of course I whipped up one while watching something.

Lastly, a friend is having her third baby. I made a baby carrier for her oldest child when she was pregnant with #2, so I figured #2 would like one to wear when my friend is wearing #3!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Why I Learned to Sew (and its scary effects)

When people ask when I learned to sew, I generally tell them it was when I realized pants were always about six inches too long. (See Exhibit A.) I think in this picture I'm 8, so I'm not really sewing quite yet, but clearly my mom was slacking. Because those cuffs? They're practically up to my knee. (\endhyperbole)

Then, after necessity, it just became fun. Can you believe I went straight from hemming pants to sewing clothes? Units, to be precise. Unless you were born in the late-70s and raised in Utah, you might not even know what these are. But I do. And Emily does. Look at us rockin' our homemade Units outfits (Exhibit B). I'm wearing a standard solid navy top and bottom with a peach belt for pop (the wood bear necklace adds something special, don't you think?). Emily is sporting a more casual gymnastics t-shirt with Units pants and belt. Both of us have pants tucked into socks. Hot.

Exhibit C shows another hip way to wear them: tuck your sweater into your jeans and find a coordinating belt. Soooooo cute! Now you're ready for that 7th grade dance where you just stand around. And Emily? Wowza! The 5th graders won't know what hit them!

P.S. I have three scheduled posts this week! Clearly my boys decided to play happily together for longer than eight minutes.