Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy 6th Anniversary to Us

As of yesterday, Chuck and I have been married for six years. Year six was a hard year. Just because I like numbers, let's rate some of our married years on a scale of 1 (how easy it is to talk me into eating Hot Tamales--ridiculously easy) to 10 (how hard it would be to get me to ride a horse--ridiculously hard).

2005 (our first year) -- a 9. It was hard. Not so much Chuck, but everything else was really a transition for me.

2007 (3rd year) -- a 2. Man, what a great year. We did our speed development training, which was hard, but so fun. We went to Puerto Rico. Chuck walked past me in the hallway and WHAMMO--I was pregnant with Rhett. And the year ended before I got too uncomfortably pregnant.

2010 (6th year) -- an 8. It's been hard. And not hard between us, but hard on us. But it's over! I have reason to believe next year will be better. Let's just hope the seven-year itch doesn't come early.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Duckpin Bowling

Christmas Eve was spent entirely in the house baking. Christmas Day, we had one short trip to Chuck's parents' house. Sunday was church (during which we gave talks--blech). But other than that (and a couple of dog walks), we really haven't left the house since last Thursday. After three days at home, I was ready to get out.

As Chuck is home with Christmas Break, we decided to go bowling with Rhett. Rhett's never been and Chuck and I have only been once as a married couple. Le'ts just say this: it was hysterical. Even though the balls are smaller than regular bowling balls, Rhett is still too little to have enough strength to propel the balls.  Every roll was an adventure.

The first roll down the lane was from where he picked up the ball (about eight feet shy of the line). Another "roll" had him kicking the ball down the lane. Of course we had one that stopped mid-lane. And surprisingly, we had one that was going so slowly that when it hit a pin, it not only didn't knock it over, but the ball came rolling back towards us. Awesome.

Excuse the pictures. The camera battery died immediately and we had to use Chuck's new iTouch thingy.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Pictures

Nothing major to report, but some pictures turned out okay. Check out Rhett and his cousin Carolina and their new Pillow Pets. (Rhett used it Saturday night for sleeping but not Sunday because, "It's not as comfortable.")

Off all the gifts we gave, this was probably the most successful. We keep it downstairs, but even when we're not down there and it's totally dark, Bruno is there in his new bed.

Rhett was, as expected, most excited about the utensils. He most certainly did not like the hat. But I'm okay with that.  He fixed some sauteed car and pan-seared ball.  Yum.

He got a set of work trucks that he loved. And I loved him laying on the floor to play with them.

I forgot to get a picture of this project before I wrapped it. I made Chuck a new firewood carrier since ours broke last year. And we even had a fire last night which raised the temperature four degrees in our bedroom. It was luxurious.

Overall it was a successful Christmas Day!

And how awesome is this quote from Rhett yesterday. Background: I brought treats in Christmas tins for the Young Women. I kept them in the car during first and second hours so I wouldn't have to carry them around. Seeing as though it's cold outside, the cookies were cold when I served them to the girls. But they sat at my feet, directly under the heating vents, as we drove home from church. When we got home and I felt the warmed tins I said, "Well, the cookies are all melted now!" Rhett responded, "Why are they all melted?" To which I replied, "Oh, they're not really all melted." Rhett's response to this? "Why did you lie, Mom?" Awesome. I'm super excited for this phase.

Friday, December 24, 2010

I Think We're Ready...

And if you want to see the version with cymbals, click here.

Although maybe I'm not as ready as this guy.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Last of the Homemade Christmas Gifts

After finding some coverless buttons in my sewing box, I used leftover fabric to make the stove knobs. I'm pretty excited about how it turned out. We picked up the utensils (which will likely be Rhett's favorite part of the entire present) at Ikea. And just in case you forgot, the stove came from this tutorial.

With a new oven/range, Rhett needs a chef's hat and apron, dontcha think? I know this fabric isn't the most kitchen-related, but isn't just so adorable? I love it. The best thing about the hat: it's Velcro-adjustable. Both this and the apron were made following tutorials found here (check the right-hand side).

These are a set of magnet fish for my friend's son. (Yes, you've seen these from me before.) Don't you just love the ravioli-like fishing lure? I do.

And finally, a friend at church asked me to make some bags to hold chalk, an eraser, and magnets so she could give them to the RS teachers. She gave me free reign on fabric choice (brave woman is she) and happily I bought extra for myself because it was just too fun.

P.S. You'll be happy to know that I was able to redeem my frozen yogurt experience. A good friend came to house sit Monday night so Chuck and I could run some final Christmas errands. Little did we plan the errands to be in the same parking lot as a YogiBerry. Yum.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Street in Baltimore

Last night we kidnapped Chuck's parents and dragged them to Christmas Street in Baltimore. This place is insane. Good times were had by all.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Woe is Me...My Life is HARD

So. Last week when I was in California, I realized that I wanted some frozen yogurt. Wouldn't that have been wonderful in the 70-degree weather?! Oh it really would have been. Unfortunately I didn't realize how much I wanted it until I was in the taxi to LAX. And at said airport, my terminal had only two options, neither of which included anything resembling frozen yogurt (not even a McDonald's. And it called itself an airport terminal.  Snort.).

After I relayed my sad plight to dear Chuck, he gave me some of his cash allowance (I never have cash!) and I was told to use it for a treat this week at work. I lasted until the first day at 3 p.m., not bad. I went next door to Union Station where they not only have a McDonald's, but they also have a frozen yogurt joint. Well since I was such a rich lady, I thought I'd splurge on the frozen yogurt place. I even opted for the waffle cone. (Before you judge, I was eating non-fat frozen yogurt; I could afford those extra calories.) I essentially had six options: strawberry, peach (or twist those two), chocolate, vanilla (or twist those two). I chose the chocolate/vanilla twist. Doesn't it sound lovely? Oh yes, it does.

Anyway, employee number one started helping me. I'll call her "girl." When Girl found the machine to be malfunctioning, she grabbed employee number two ("boy"--clearly the owner). He couldn't quite figure it out either. So he sat there with my waffle coned half-filled, waiting for the chocolate. Waiting, sweetheart, waiting. I started to get impatient at this point. I mean, even if it starts working, the yogurt in the cone had to be melted at this point, right? I certainly didn't want yogurt on top of melted yogurt. But I held my tongue.

And I continued to wait. Finally Boy said something to me that I had absolutely NO understanding of. I'll just say it: Rhett understands more English that Boy and Girl put together. I just nod and say, "Sure. Whatever." Boy is still standing in front of machine waiting for the chocolate. Now I'm getting really antsy. I mean, I'm on a break from work. Who can wait this long for frozen yogurt?

At some point, I go back to Girl. I told her that I'm nervous it's all melty and I want them to start over with strawberry. She has no idea what I said. Sigh.

Finally I tell Boy to just top it off with strawberry. He does, but then because it's been so long, I complain that I want it in a new cone since it's definitely melted by now. He semi-understood, and instead scraped out the previously-obtained yogurt to fill it with what-he-thinks-is-the-now-working chocolate/vanilla.

I'm so angry and tired (it's 3 o'clock---worst work hour ever). They charged me full price (which I am too embarrassed to tell you) and didn't even apologize. I wanted to shove it in both of their faces. But I don't; it's still frozen yogurt, you know. I sit down, people watch, and start eating my cone.

WHICH WASN'T EVEN A TWIST! Turns out, the chocolate still wasn't working when he filled the cone. I waited 15 minutes for a stupid vanilla (the one concession was that it was at least a waffle) cone and paid more than twice what I'd have paid at McDonald's for a very, very similar product. Not only that, because my cone was "used," it started leaking much earlier than it should have. The whole thing was just so disappointing.

I know I sound like a crazy lady. But be assured that this didn't bother me too long. Maybe long enough to be still sad when I got home so Chuck would feel bad and give me more money. But then I was over it. Tell me, was my sadness and outrage totally irrational or would you have had the same response? If you need to substitute something else for the frozen yogurt to get the same emotion, please do. Remember, liken all blogs unto ye.

Does anyone even know how much I miss Golden Spoon? You can't know. Although the magical internet just told me that Orem has one that recently opened. I'm so there. And Mom--it is right on 8th North, just as you're coming out of Provo Canyon. Get one for me!

I also know how ungrateful I sound. I mean, frozen yogurt, honestly, erin? But please know that this wasn't that upsetting nor am I that ungrateful for all of the other wonderful things I have (Chuck, Rhett, a house, TiVo). Mostly, I just needed a story for the blog. Insert smiley emoticon. Who knows...maybe my next rant will be about Blogger and how it doesn't recognize "internet" as a correctly spelled word. Happy weekend everyone!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dear Santa...

What is everyone asking for Christmas this year? I think that for us adults it just gets harder and harder. Really, for most things, whatever I want, I buy! I earn money, bills are paid, and we're able to save, so why not? I'm not spending extravagantly on a regular basis (or at all), but when I saw that Silhouette on Craigslist, I got it. But this really does make it hard for those wanting to buy me gifts.

And the same goes for the other adults in my life (sister, husband, parents, in-laws) for whom I want to buy presents...what do you give them? And what to give myself with my Christmas and extra-earned money? Ideas?

Of course, there's always this. But that's only when I can justify jewelry instead of a new car or college education for Rhett. Because this really is that expensive. (But isn't it the most lovely ring you've ever seen?)

Note to Chuck: This is not a hint. Do NOT buy. Unless, of course, you've somehow magically come into $10,000 (after tithing). Then, hey, I won't stop you.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Week in Review

The four-day work trip to L.A. actually began last Friday morning with me going on the hunt for a new dress in which I could present. (I figured the dress I wore the past four years at these conferences should stay home.) After an unforgettably bad trip with Rhett to Nordstrom Rack, I found a dress I liked. But that spawned a set of frantic emails back and forth between Camie and me on how to dress my feet and legs. I am soooo not good at this and she is soooo good at it. Saturday morning Rhett, Chuck, and I went to Macy's looking for tights thanks to Camie's direction, and ended up getting the much needed new shoes as well, after asking a saleswoman to, "Show me everything you have in a size 5." This request yielded three shoes. (I'm including the pics because Emily wanted to see. I was too lazy to put everything back on, plus it was too cold downstairs to get undressed.)

My non-stop, WiFi-enabled-for-free flight left Monday morning. On said flight was a co-worker of mine. Not only do I like this coworker, but she's from L.A. and wondered if I might want to join her on a bike ride along the beach. Would I?! I would! Because we got in so early, we enjoyed a lovely ride through Redondo, Hermosa, and Manhattan Beaches that afternoon. After our ride, I was beat and went to sleep at 7 PST. Sweet. (This meant a 4:30 a.m. wake up call the next morning, but that's fine with me!) I didn't take any pictures while riding, but the houses along the beach were lovely. Check out the reflection in this one's window.

Tuesday the conference started and I got to give three presentations. I'm not sure I could be less obnoxious during my presentations, but I was glad to get them over with early. That evening I enjoyed a lovely picnic dinner on the beach, and another 7 o'clock bedtime.

Wednesday was an easier day conference-wise as I had no presentations. Instead I had to endure seven long, boring hours of other peoples' talks. Not sure which is worse. But when it was through, I called my "Virginia Mormon Friend" Tamara (who now lives 30 minutes from where I was staying) and she offered to come get me and take me to meet her family. After meeting her lovely husband and even lovelier boys (Sorry Doug, but it's true), the two of us went to dinner. It was so fun seeing her. We have known each other since we were six years old. Six! Can you imagine?! Due to Facebook and blogs, we've been able to watch each other grow and change, but it was much better to talk to her in person.

Thursday I was all done with work stuff and waited until daylight to run (the other days I got to use Gold's for free. Man, I really dislike treadmill running now.). I still got up at 4:30, but watched some shows on Hulu to catch up on TV I was missing with my early bedtime. Then I did an hour run on the beach because it was just so freaking beautiful that I couldn't stop. The sounds, the smells, the surfers: it was all so incredible. I couldn't believe how many people didn't have their eyes glued to it. (And no, I did not run into anyone, thank you very much.) After the run, I walked to a nearby farmers' market and tried a persimmon (yum! should have bought one for the plane).

And here's the post-sunset view from my hotel room.

You know, in the weeks leading up to this conference, I felt really guilty about going on this trip. Yes, Chuck works full-time and so only had to single-parent for a bit in the mornings and a few hours in the afternoons for four days. Nonetheless, I felt guilty. But really, California is just so dang nice and lovely that by the end, I was able to feel only 72% of the guilt I felt Monday morning.

Remind me why I don't live there? Oh yeah, this is why. Can you believe the price? Oh well, I'll just have to be content with visiting family and friends who live in the area.

Monday, December 6, 2010

I Miss Rhett Already (and Chuck too, of course)

I am travelling for work this week and wanted to remember my little guy. Here you see him watching his "TV." That glasses case show must be pretty good. Poor TV-depraved boy.

And here he is ready for church.

And here is the very first time that Bruno went into Rhett's "Cave of Legs." Bruno has done this with Chuck since the dawn of Bruno, but never with Rhett. (As much as I want to call it the "Canyon of Legs" that wasn't quite as catchy as "Cave." Forgive us.)  And it looks better if you picture in Chuck's much larger legs.  Not so awkward.

See you not soon enough, buddy!

Friday, December 3, 2010

My Run-In (or Under?) with Borf

So, let's pretend you're on your way to work. This commute requires that you park your car at a what-can-be-scary Metro stop and then walk to the Metro. The walk includes a short walkway bridge, followed by a descent in a stairwell, then another walk outside before getting to the station. Let's say that while in the bridge you smell paint. Fresh paint. But you're messing with ill-placed keys on your key ring, so you don't notice much.

As you near the stairwell, however, you hear the distinct sound of a spray paint can. (You also see freshly painted green stuff in the upper level of the stairwell.) You soon realize that the spray painting is going on, right then, in the lower level of the stairwell. By someone definitely NOT hired by Metro. What do you do?

If you didn't catch it, this is what happened to me yesterday as I went to work.

My first thought? "Don't look at him/her. Keep your eyes on the key ring. Don't. Look. Up." So I didn't. As the offender was straddling the stairs (feet on the railings while hands on the wall, I think...remember my eyes were down), I had to walk directly beneath him/her! Eek! How easy it would have been for him/her to drop on me or, worse, paint me! (It was a really unattractive green. Yuck. Kidding.) But once I made it through okay and was safely in the Metro station, I reported the offender to the station manager, who actually appeared like she was going to do something about it.

I don't know why it shook me so much, but it did. The best part was later during my commute home, I got to see what was written: "Be SAVED!" with a bunch of stars of David. Awesome. I was probably safer than I thought.

P.S. If you don't know this Borf of which I speak, take a second and read this. If you do know, that just means you have spent too much time on D.C.'s Metro system.

P.P.S. I had to share this. Rhett is in charge is designating spots for the advent calendar. He put Day 2's ornament next to Day 1's bell because, "I didn't want the bell to be lonely." Can't wait to see where everything else goes. Oh this child of mine.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Advent Calendar, Take Two (and a give-away!)

Remember when I made an advent calendar about, oh, four weeks ago? Not even a week after making it, I saw another that I loved. Not just loved for nostalgic reasons, but loved because I really liked how it looked. But I just made one and so I can't make another. Or could I??? When Chuck's aunt said she'd like me to make her one just like the one I already did, I knew I could give her the already-made one and then I could do a second. And that's what I did. The dowel hasn't been cut, and I'm not sure I like the white ribbon, but I'm pleased with everything else.

For its use, I'd like to incorporate some holiday traditions into the standard decorating of the tree. You know, like what Jordan of "Oh Happy Day" does. So somehow I have to work in how the drum symbolizes seeing a performance at the Visitors' Center. Yes, stretching it will be allowed. Any suggestions on traditional activities you have at Christmas?

During the winter our house gets very cold. (This is due to us being cheap rather than the draftiness of an old house.) Because of this, layers are an integral part of our winter attire. I found some long-sleeved tees at Walmart and knew I couldn't leave them plain. And before you question my judgment about the designs, know that Rhett picked them out on his own. I showed him a LOT of different options and these are the six he chose (with only minimal intervention on my part). I mean, really, a bullhorn? Not my style. But apparently it's Rhett's. (And this morning when I showed them to Rhett, sure enough his favorite was the bullhorn. Although he said he'd wear the rain cloud one since it's raining.)

The Give-Away: The first person who is not my sister that requests the negatives from these freezer paper stencils will receive them in the mail pronto. (And sorry Jess, you'll probably have to be exempt from this contest as well. I only mail prizes within this hemisphere.)

On Black Friday the only shopping I did was at Joann's. They had flannel on sale for $1.29 a yard; I hadn't the strength to not buy some. Now what to do with it?!? I wish baby blankets weren't such popular gifts when babies are born because otherwise the decision would be easy. And how cute is the flannel (the four fabrics on the left)? And that corduroy (the two in the upper right)? They're dying to be made into skirts like the one my cousin made. But what to do with the Christmas fabric? I mean, I only have four weeks and next week I'm out of town (work trip). Tell me now! Ooooh, maybe I found it. These are cute, right?

Monday, November 29, 2010

His Christmas Presents are Coming from Bed, Bath, and Beyond

Recently, my kitchen has turned into Rhett's toy discovery center. Seriously, the kid wants to play with everything in it. Some favorites? The dough roller, the funnel, and all-time favorite...the pasta spoon. So if you're stumped as to what to get him for Christmas, hit up your local Bed, Bath, and Beyond; I'm sure he'll love whatever you pick out.

He's also said some interesting gems lately.
At Stake Conference...
Rhett: Why is that baby crying?
Me: I don't know.
Rhett: Maybe because it doesn't like stake conference.
Me: Maybe, Rhett, just maybe.

Or its relative...
Rhett: Why is that baby crying?
Me: I don't know.
Rhett: Maybe because it doesn't like you, Mom.
Probably true, but still...ouch.

Me: Why have you been so fussy and whiny today?
Rhett: Because I want you to do what I tell you to do!
The feeling is mutual, little man.

Finally, he thinks it's hysterical when he drops the last syllable from a word. For example, Bruno is not Bruno, but rather Brune. Pepperoni is not pepperoni, it's pepperone. Banana is not banana, it's banan. He thinks this is absolutely hysterical and then tells me, "Don't worry, Mom. It's just a joke."

And a video I expect only family to watch in its entirety.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Thoughts

The obligatory Thanksgiving post ensues...(Check back tomorrow for fun family pictures.)

Of course I am thankful for my family, the Gospel, my body, etc. I am; I really really am.

But let's ignore those for now. At last year's Relief Society Gratitude Dinner, my friend and I both wrote down that we were thankful for TiVo. I still am; I really really am.

This year I'm thankful for Chuck's job and mine. First, my job. I am so thankful that not only do I have a job, but I have a good job. A job that is professional and uses my degrees. A job that pays me way more than I deserve. A job that is incredibly flexible (made easier because of great boss). I read an article recently about women leaving the workforce when they had children because working part-time wasn't an option. Those women would have liked to continue working some, but what are their options? Let's face it: most part-time jobs don't pay well. So I am thankful for one that does.

Second, Chuck's job. I am so thankful that Chuck has a job (of course) but one that really allows him to be an active husband to me and an active father to Rhett. He's home by 3:30 every day (4:00 at the very latest), and is home every weekend. He never has to work nights (except for the occasional football game he has to attend) and rarely brings work home. The other day I overheard some women talking about another woman who already finished her Christmas shopping...including wrapping. The response from one of the women, "Well, she has a husband who comes home by 6 every day." Uh, 6?!? Are you kidding? I would be crying in my Cheerios if Chuck didn't come home until then. Honestly, I could not have that life. Sure, I'd take that money, but not for the price of Chuck being away from us.

The End.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Weekend Projects

Ever since I've had more desire to start "crafting" with Rhett, I knew that I'd need a good tablecloth to protect my lovely table. I'd been using a crappy plastic tablecloth that moves and slides--it was not working for me. So what to do? I wanted to do one with laminated cottons, but dang, they can be expensive. Next best thing? Plastic-coated fabric from Ikea! I saw this tutorial at Smashed Peas and Carrots and knew it would be perfect. Bring on the mess! P.S. If you can sew straight lines, you can do this. Or, if you can staple, you can do this.

While planning for last week's Joy School lesson on Thanksgiving, I ran across this page. I really wanted to do the Sweatshirt Turkey with the kids, but had a couple of reservations. (1) The six kids are two years old. And (2) See No. 1. So we did the turkey hats instead. BUT I knew I could handle the paint with Rhett. I thought I'd like it a bit more lasting, so instead of doing it on a shirt, I did it on artist canvas. The whole project was super cheap and easy. I love it. Rhett's laughing because it tickled. (And look at me using that tablecloth immediately. Already worth it.)

This is the first of Rhett's Christmas presents. I want to get Rhett a nice play kitchen. But I really dislike the plastic ones (Call me a snob; I can take it.), and really, where would it go? When I saw this, I was inspired. We have a stool in our kitchen already (remember, I'm only 5'1"--a stool is a necessity) so I made it to cover that stool. This way, it takes up no more space than is already in use, and Rhett can be using it in the kitchen when I'm doing my stuff. I think a chef's hat and apron are in his future.  (I have not yet decided how to do the oven knobs, which is why you don't see them.)

In addition to the crafting, I did some cooking. We ate this pumpkin ice cream (sans bourbon, of course), these pumpkin rolls, and chili. Bring it FALL.