Friday, February 28, 2014

What's Wrong With Me?

This is exactly what Chuck said to me when he saw these pictures, "What's wrong with you?" Well, I can't say. But I can say that I am just drawn to making faces with my kids' snacks and lunches. Before you go telling me, "Oh, you're such a good mom!" (of course this type of stuff should never be a good parent/bad parent judge) let me tell you that I do this strictly for me. I happen to think it's hilarious. I couldn't care less what the boys think. In fact, I'm pretty sure Ollie doesn't even notice.

This one kills me.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Joy in Motherhood

Joy in motherhood. Lately I'm having a hard time finding mine. I would love to say someday it'll come easy and be constant. That someday, I will relish in rolling around, tickling and giggling, and playing trains with my boys all day long. But these days? Nope.

However, I am trying to find just a singular piece of joy in my children each day. Just one. This, I feel, is doable. Hard for me, but doable.

So yesterday, my joy was seeing Ollie play with a parachute for the first time. You know, the ones that kids run under, the ones you bounce balls on. Ollie had never experienced one until then, and when he did, oh JOY. He just laid on his back on the ground, smiling the nuttiest grin ever. And while I watched him, yep. True joy. Maybe even as much as he was experiencing.

Monday, February 24, 2014

This Bag

So here it is. I like it. I really like it. I don't think I love it, however. But it fills its purpose and so I think I'll keep it. Besides, I invested enough into it I better.

The Things I Like About It:
1. My choice of fabrics.
2. The size. It fits a binder. Or it fits a kid's water bottle plus diapers and wipes, snacks, and my phone, wallet, calendar, and ipod.
3. It goes over my chest. I really dislike shoulder-only bags.
4. The pockets are super handy. (There is one on the back and one inside.)
5. The grab handle is super convenient too.

The Things I Don't Like About It:
1. My choice of fabrics. I don't know what I was thinking getting something with so much white! It'll be grey in a matter of weeks.
2. The pocket hardware seems a little fancy for me, but I had such a hard time finding it, I just went with it.
3. The strap hardware was really hard to find. I ended up finding it on etsy from an Aussie.
4. The cutting! I think I had to cut 46 pieces before I could start sewing. FORTY SIX PIECES. Those of you who sew, know how tedious this is!
5. I had some issues with the zipper being weirdly-sized. It made for some sloppy construction at that point and it bothers me every time I look at it.

The Things I Didn't Like About creativebug:
1. The fabric requirements for the strap fabric was WAY off. A yard? Really? Maybe a quarter yard. Wasteful.
2. No response to questions submitted. No real way to ask instructor questions.
3. No guidance on where to buy the hardware. A lot of pattern makers will tell you where they got their stuff in a buying guide. (Hmmm...apparently they did have this but it was really hidden. Me no likey.)
4. The editing was terrible. I really don't need to see the instructor sew a 50" straight stitch. I do, however, need to better be shown how she did the lining.
5. For rectangular pattern pieces, I'd just as soon be given the dimensions so I could use my rotary cutter to cut them.
6. Ugh. Why can't you just use a standard zipper size?
7. When I cancel my membership (which I was loathe to pay for, but since hardware came from Australia, I used more than the 14-day trial), I have no print out of the instructions. I think that since I paid for the class, there should be something tangible. Instead, I had to take copious notes for the next bag, should there be a next time.

But like I said, I like it. I really do. Now just to take a flight somewhere!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Ollie and Rhett's Prayers

A.S. I had something else for today, but didn't make enough time to write it out. You'll have to wait. And yes, an A.S. is like a P.S. but coming before regular text. Kind of like AM and PM. I would have put the third sentence in a P.S.S.-like paragraph but I'm pretty sure you can quickly figure out why I didn't.

I know prayers aren't supposed to be routine, but hopefully that's too much to ask a two-year old. Ollie insists on saying almost every family prayer we do, much to Rhett's delight. No matter any prompting we give him to start it differently, this is pretty much how each one goes:
Ollie: In the name of Jesus Father, thank you for the day. Thank you for the dinner. Please bless us that we won't have bad dreams about space grizzlies. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

And last night at dinner, Rhett added this to his prayer:
Rhett: And please bless me to have a dream where I can meet Brother [Bear] and Sister [Bear] again.

And this quote from Wednesday...
Me: Ollie! Stop splashing in the puddles! You're not wearing your rain boots!
Ollie: Sorry, mom, but that's just what kids do.

A picture just for fun.

P.S. I guess I should mention that space grizzlies are action figures in a Berenstain Bears book. Nothing fancy.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


A friend's daughters just transitioned to bunk beds so I made her this little bag for books. Of course, Rhett hasn't used his in weeks because all his books end up where they sleep: Ollie's bottom bunk.

After seeing the tunics that my sister made for my boys, a colleague of Chuck's asked if I could make one for a special little friend of his. So I did. Thanks, emily, for a perfect pattern.

Another little friend's birthday present. I thought it appropriate for a Peter Pan party.

My lunch bag was dying, so I made one from this tutorial on Sew, Mama, Sew. I love it. The inside is lined with Pul on the bottom so hopefully it will be easily cleaned if/when my lunch spills.

Chuck saw a shirt just like this online somewhere. I happened to have the solid tee, so I just whipped up the stencil. I think it's pretty funny.

Two days before Valentines Day, I decided I wanted a conversation heart banner. I knew we were expecting a big snow storm and thought it would be the perfect project. Of course, I finished it the first morning of our five-day weekend, but that meant it was up for Valentine's Day. I'm pretty much in love with it. It's made with fabric and the text is freezer paper stencilled on. And yes, there is one that says, "FAX ME." Why do you ask?

And about one day before Valentines Day, I decided to make these fun shirts for the boys. I promise it will never happen again.

And then Rhett decided he needed a new cape because his was too small. Of course, once it was finished and the smaller was bequeathed to Ollie, Ollie rejected it. He demanded one that looked just like Rhett's. Brothers.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Snowstorm Prep List

I think I've mentioned that Marylanders go nuts when storms are predicted. There is a rush on the stores for three staples: bread, milk, and toilet paper. I wish I was lying. How long do these people think they'll be housebound? Two days, at most, right? And do they not have enough to make it through those two days? I know Mormons can be borderline hoarders with their food storage, but I still can't imagine not having enough on hand to avoid the crazy rush on grocery stores.

However, there are some things I do need for prep for being housebound for a couple of days. Here is my list:

1. Firewood. I don't plan on losing power (although that's a distinct possibility with our heavy, east coast snow), but if we're to be stuck inside, I want it warm and cozy. And if there's 16" of snow outside, I feel bad asking Chuck to go get it. But don't worry; I will if necessary.

2. Baking supplies. You know cookies will be made, right? So I better make sure my flour, sugar, and butter are stocked.

3. Adult refreshments for the end of the day. Being stuck inside with two boys who like to argue constantly requires the reemergence of a nightcap. For me, this was the aforementioned diet root beer and some red and blue tootsie rolls. For Chuck, Mountain Dew.

4. Activities for the boys. Sure, we have enough toys, in theory, to keep them busy. But you know how kids are, they don't want to play with any of them. So if playing in the snow doesn't last all day (which it did, thankfully, on Thursday), I must have some ideas for other things to do. Movies come to mind.

5. Activities for me. This includes shoveling (duh), but also things like craft projects or taxes.

6. A well-charged camera. For the following reasons:

Bad pictures taken at night, but you have to try, right?

Pictures of cute boys on Valentines Day morning.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Snow Day (you knew this was coming, right?)

Again with these snow days. Yesterday and today make days six and seven of our snow day tally for the school year. Isn't that obnoxious? We woke up to about 12", but then it turned all rain and the snow turned all sno-cone-y. It was super weird, but made for really good snowmen, as long as you didn't try to roll the snow. We watched a movie ("Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," not bad), played in the white stuff, made cookies while the menfolk and childfolk shoveled, rested (with naps and quiet time and taxes!), then played some more. Then our cute next door neighbors came over to enjoy our fire and eat some homemade pizza. If not for the disobedience and yelling (ahem, me), it was a lovely snow day! Now melt away please. Pretty please. A girl's gotta run off those dozen cookies she ate.

Who knows what today brings. I still can't believe this turned into a five-day weekend for all of us. Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Apprently There is TONS of New Stuff

I was totally wrong. There's tons of new stuff with my family and me; so what if it happens to be of the same humdrum variety?

Take, for example, our couch. Just think, last week it was slip-covered with a sheet. And then presto! Our very back-ordered slipcover arrived and we have a brand new couch. One that just dares our boys to destroy it. Locals--come over and sit on it! (But you might want to warn me first, so we can get a fire going.)

Speaking of a fire in the basement...I've taken to wearing Chuck's sweatshirts at all times when inside the house. Unless there is a fire, our house is a wee bit chilly. And his sweatshirts are just so much more comfortable than mine. I know that I don't look awesome, and I would only wear them outside to walk the dog, but if I'm hunkering down in the basement trying to avoid frostbite, then those sweatshirts are perfect. Just don't tell Chuck he's not getting them back.

My soda thing was short-lived. When we went to the grocery store on Saturday, I opted to not get it again. It just didn't really do it for me. Now where did I hide those Runts?

We made these yummy pretzel hot dogs Monday night. Everyone in the family loved them. We tried once before to make homemade pretzels and failed miserably. But these, for whatever reason, worked beautifully. And now that we're pros with pretzels, I think I should attempt these.

The boys have finally started "sleeping in" after three or so weeks of the later bedtime. Ninety percent of the time, they are sleeping until 6:15 a.m. or later. Sure, sometimes they fall asleep on Ollie's bunk and we have to separate them. Sure, sometimes they don't even make it to the bunk; they fall asleep in the papasan chair and stay there all night. But for us, this is a major, major success. Until daylight savings. CURSE YOU daylight savings!

Finally, a major storm is headed straight towards us. Pray for us that school isn't cancelled (it will be), that Chuck will be similarly cancelled (he won't be), and that all traces of it will be quickly erased from the face of the earth. I raise my fists in anger at you, Old Man Winter!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Ollie is Adorable. I said it.

It's true. Ollie is adorable. I feel bad that I can't say the same for Rhett, and it's not that he's not cute, but he's just not at an adorable age. I mean, I certainly don't expect anyone to tell me that I'm adorable. It's just something you grow out of, and, sadly for Rhett, he has. But man, that Ollie sure is embracing it. And he's one of those who knows (or has been well-trained by Chuck and me) that he's cute. Need proof?

Rhett: Can I have some peanut butter please?
Me: Sure, after you say, "Mom and Dad, you are the greatest parents. I am happy to be your son."
Rhett: Mom and Dad. You are the greatest parents. I am happy to be your son.
Peanut butter given.
Ollie: I want some peanut butter too! Mom and Dad. You are great. Can I be your parent?

Ollie: Mom, I'm not all filled up. I need more food.

Ollie destroys my piles of folded laundry.
Me: Gosh, Ollie! Next time you can do the laundry.
Ollie: Okay, I will! I will be an adult!

Ollie was acting up in sacrament meeting during the closing prayer. A good friend, whom Ollie loves, was saying the prayer. We thought it might calm him down to see this friend praying.
Me, quietly: Look Ollie! Mr. Baba is saying the prayer.
Ollie, not even close to quietly: MR. BABA!!!
Mr. Baba: [Opens eyes, smiles at Ollie, continues to pray.]
We found out later that Mr. Baba enjoyed this shout-out. He said it made him feel like a movie star. Well, glad we could help out, Mr. Baba. Also, of course his name is not Mr. Baba. But for whatever reason, my children gave him this nickname.

Look how tender he is! He sat down next to Rhett and put his arm around him. Heart wringer!

Putting his favorite stuffed animals to bed with a story. When he describes it he says, "I'm reading a story to my babies."

Thursday, February 6, 2014

"What Do You Do?" and Other Things Washingtonians Say

There's a feature in my newspaper's Sunday magazine called, "Date Lab." Would-be daters fill out a questionnaire and the editors send them on blind dates. Then they write about it, and I get to read it.

Without fail, every week the daters whine about how "What do you do?" is such a D.C. question. And without fail, every week I want to scream, "NO! It's not a D.C. question! It's a totally normal question everywhere in the country!" I won't argue that what you do is the only important thing worth asking. I'm the first to admit that my paying job is a very small part of my identity. But you have to admit that it tells people something about you, right? Me being a statistician tells you at a minimum that I like numbers and/or math, right? Yes, there is more to me (my family, my interests, etc.), but it is still part of me. So I argued that this question is definitely not D.C.

Apparently I'm wrong. (Shocking, I know.) Apparently in other parts of the country they ask things like, "What church do you go to?" (in the South) or "At what elevation do you live?" (in Colorado). But because I live here now, feel free to ask me what I do. I won't get mad. AND I promise to not ask you that question. Instead I'll open with, "So tell me about your favorite cereal and why?"

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

This is Why You Shouldn't Ask

You know how when you haven't talked to someone recently you ask, "So, what's new?" I recommend not wasting your time asking me that. Seriously. NOTHING is new. Well, I guess that's true only if you discount the mundane, like:

For the first time in my life, I started putting butter on toast. I never saw the point before, but I've been eating a lot of toast and eggs for breakfast, and I happen to like cinnamon and sugar on my toast. I tried the toast with butter and was shocked at how much better it tasted than without the butter. I still don't see the point of butter when putting jam on toast. And I will never disgrace fresh-from-the-oven, homemade bread with butter. Never.

We have a new hot water heater. After four days without hot water, we were all excited. Our pocketbook, however, well, that's a different story. Isn't home ownership the worst sometimes?

Also for what is possibly the first time ever, I bought a two-liter bottle of soda for me. Lately, once we put the kids down, I find I need a stiff drink. And for me, diet root beer is about as stiff as it gets. I blame Chuck for this.

Finally, I guess this is new. I'm entering the stage of "What surprises will I find when unloading the washing machine after doing Rhett's laundry?" This was my latest haul: a rock, a nickel, two aliens, and some sort of plastic heart. (Do you know how much Ollie loves those aliens? A lot. Which explains why Rhett puts them in his pockets.)

P.S. Oh, I hope that never from above isn't like the "I will never marry a man who wears little socks," because we all know how that turned out. No. I will be strong.

P.P.S. And because I'm just a girl who can't say alphabet flash cards, I picked up these at the thrift store yesterday (sans "F"). But what to do with them? I already have a set of these hanging in the playroom. Told you I'm a sucker.