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.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Imagine If We Recreated This Picture

I know you've seen how people re-create pictures from their youth. How awesome would Emily and I be if we re-created this gem? How awesome if our mom had kept those pajamas so Emily could dress her girls in them? How awesome if our mom had kept those pajamas so I could dress my boys in them?

P.S. Rachael, if you're reading, this picture was taken in your house!

P.P.S. Emily, are you wearing blue underwear???

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

My Favorite Christmas Decoration

Do you have a favorite Christmas decoration? I do. It's not like it's a big thing, or an elaborate thing, but man, every time I see these snowflakes falling on the Christmas village I feel happy. Happy like when we made the snowflakes with this little man. Happy like I when I wore matching St. Patrick's Day ties in December.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Thanksgiving for Four

This year we did Thanksgiving with just the four of us. Neither Chuck nor I really knew what to expect with this. Would it be terrible? Would we be bored with each other? Would the boys drive us crazy? Thankfully, the answers were no, no, and yes, but the answer to number 3 is always yes.

There are certainly a lot of pros to keeping it to your immediate family. We decided when to eat (3 p.m.), but if it didn't happen then, oh well! We decided what to eat (orange rolls, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, cranberries, turkey, apple pie). We got a smaller turkey. I could run (and run and run) in the morning and not feel guilty. We didn't over-overeat because there was no interesting discussions keeping us at the table once dinner was over. We could go for a walk between dinner and dessert. The boys could eat off china. We could clean as we went, and then clean some more between dinner and dessert which meant no late night cleaning which meant much-needed down time for Chuck and me.

Rhett, of course, was disappointed that we didn't invite people. And both boys ate little more than rolls and the "a la mode" that Chuck and I had with pie. But it really was a lovely day! This doesn't mean we'll always do it just the four of us, but it certainly means we won't shy away from it either.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Family Pictures

Christmas cards went out yesterday. When you receive yours, you'll see why we couldn't use the following pictures in them. But that doesn't mean we don't love these or that we're not displaying them in our house. Because we do love them and they're already hanging!

This picture is just so Ollie! He's been covering his mouth during laughs for the past couple of weeks. It's adorable. And poor Rhett who just doesn't know how to smile on cue.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Coat Tree

I can't handle clutter. It makes me anxious. And so this whole business of little kid backpacks, coats, and hats drives me crazy. We now know that my house does not have a mudroom (something I want more than a garage, another thing I'm without), and so I thought about making some sort of "drop zone" in our entry way. But then my smart sister suggested a coat tree. I saw one on Pinterest and thought, yep, that's it. So we did it. I love it. Sure, it doesn't look super neat with stuff hanging on it, but the mess is contained. And the boys now know exactly where their backpacks go. And if it ever gets cold, they'll know where their hats go. Not that I'm complaining about high temperatures in the 60s in late November.

Someone thought it needed a Christmas hat.

Naked. And don't worry: it doesn't sit in the middle of the room.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Lamest Thanksgiving Post You'll Read

Of course there are a million real things for which I'm grateful. But those posts aren't fun. So I present to you: my dumbest gratitude post ever.

The other day when Chuck and I were cleaning out kitchen shelves because of little bugs we like to keep up on household maintenance, we found a pan that we didn't even know we had. Sure, my mom bought me this set when I finished grad school and bought my condo in Orem. Sure this pan was part of the set. But apparently it sat underneath other pans, completely forgotten for at least seven years. And guess what? This pan is perfect. For everything. We've used it thrice already in the ten days since discovery. It's like a tall saute pan, or a short stock pot, or a really wide sauce pan. I'm sure it's got a name. For now, it's just miracle pot.

So on this Thanksgiving Eve, I am grateful for miracle pot, one that's truly changing my kitchen life.

P.S. The picture above shows a sweet potato apple soup. Me. Vegetables. Cooking. Changing my life I tell you.

Friday, November 20, 2015

I Am Feeling Lots of Brave

Sunday afternoon the boys rode their bikes while I walked Bruno. Rhett was on his bike and Ollie on his, one with training wheels. But watching him go, I could just see that he was ready for the training wheels to come off. He had the balance from being awesome on the balance bike. And now he had pedaling down. It was a simple math problem: balance + pedaling = no more training wheels. Plus, I was just tired of those darn training wheels. They weren't made for the bike we were using and he was just so off-centered on that bike. I couldn't handle it anymore. And yes, it's all about me. So when I asked Ollie if he was ready to try riding with no training wheels he said, "YES! I am feeling lots of brave." (Oh I love this kid.) But on the way home we got distracted by two very large birds (falcons? hawks?) and forgot.

Luckily I remembered on Monday (yet another unseasonably warm day). Chuck took Ollie out front and within minutes, the boy was riding. It was just as easy as I hoped. Wednesday I took him to the tennis courts to let him practice turning and he did great. Next up: Braking! Starting on his own!

Seriously, this is one of the best moments in parenthood, right? Watching your kid ride a bike for the first time? Oh, it is for me.


I'm okay!

Friday, November 13, 2015

What's Going On

When asked what I've been doing lately, the answer is a genuine, "I don't know." (This seems to be a recurring theme.) Chuck and I (mostly Chuck) cleaned out all of our kitchen cabinets Monday night, but that's only because we found one too many little bugs residing in them. (That takes care of anyone accepting dinner invites to our house, does it not?) It's like I don't have enough time to finish anything to completion, so while I guess I'm busy doing "stuff," there's nothing to show for it. Here are the works in progress:

Christmas planning. I want to get it all done before Thanksgiving so December can be that much more enjoyable. I'm particularly excited about the presents for grandparents this year.

Family pictures planning. I found a necklace for me and picked out shirts for the boys. I am happy that the weather Saturday is supposed to be sunny!

Working. My work has turned curiously busy. Blah.

Singing. I joined my stake choir and have actually been practicing my songs at home. Rhett does NOT enjoy my singing. He told me. Ha. Our stake conference is two weeks away and President Russell M. Nelson will be in attendance. Cool.

Bussing. Rhett's school is being demolished in January. All students will be bussed to the holding school for 1.5 years. Because of this, he won't be getting home until about 4:40 every day. Can you imagine?! And just think, next fall when Ollie starts kindergarten, Chuck will come home around 3:30 and we will be childless together for over an hour. WHOA. Better start making a list of things we should do, but never will.

Thinking. A lot about the hubbub surrounding the church that started at the end of last week. But I will refrain from commenting about it on my blog. However, am happy to chat about it in person.

Crafting. As my boys and nieces and nephews age, it seems the opportunity for handmade gifts dwindle. I had three baby gifts to make recently, so I assembly-lined some winter hats. But I want to get working on two other gifts, grandparents gifts, and Christmas cards.

Agonizing. Even though I only have to teach Gospel Doctrine every other week, it's on my mind constantly, and not in a good way. If I have a full head of grey hair when I'm released from this calling, you'll know why.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Family Pictures Outfit

Thanks for your comments and suggestions on my "Drop Zone" post. I think we're going to go for the least-invasive procedure: a DIY coat tree. I think we'll attempt it this weekend, even though there's really no rush because it's been in the 70s here this week. Every time I put on a tank top for running I think, "For sure it's the last time I'll wear one of these this season," but then Mother Nature decides otherwise. This is in no way a complaint.

But now I need your opinion on a different matter: We have an appointment to get some family pictures done next weekend. The last time we did them professionally, Ollie wasn't born. My sister took some for us when Ollie was 1 (look how cute he was!) and we've taken some with a timer, but that's it. So we thought we'd employ a friend who is also a photographer. And of course, it is an excuse for me to get something new to wear.

For a lot of people, going into a craft or fabric store sends their pulse racing and heart beating. This is my response to clothing stores. My anxiety levels skyrocket, and I immediately want to walk right back out the door. A good friend offered to go shopping with me but I'm sure she regrets it now. Anyway, by some miracle, I found a top. I like it. It's simple, but the quilting is interesting (to me). Here it is:

Just in case you can't tell, it's a quilted sweatshirt. But because I'm me, I don't know how to finish the outfit. I think I'll end up in jeans, but what else? Collared shirt underneath? Statement necklace? Pendant necklace? Scarf? WHAT?!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


After 164 issues of a sacrament program, 179 issues of a Relief Society bulletin, and a numberless amount of candy taken from the Bishop's desk (upon which he has a candy jar), I'm done! Released of those callings! And sadly, I never was brave enough to carry out one of these genius ideas. I should have, I really should have. Oh the regrets.

P.S. Even though I won't miss my Friday trips to the church to make the copies, I will definitely miss having a master key to the church.

P.P.S. I went out with a bang. Totally made a typo, an unintentional one! D'oh!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Halloween: 2015

Of course we can't do Halloween just once. No. that would be too easy.

First: Ollie's School Celebration (Rhett's school doesn't do any Halloween).

This pose is so Ollie.

Second: Church Trunk or Treating.
Crouching tiger, hidden potion.

Rhett's selfie.

Can you tell what I am? I'm Chuck! And he's me! (Well, we're the Saturday morning versions of each other.)

Third: Neighborhood Trick or Treating.
The witch in the bushes was a last-minute addition to our Halloween decorations. Kinda love it.

Just to show the whole house. And yes, sigh, Ollie has to go to the bathroom.

Fourth: The Loot
For the first time ever, I'm considering donating it. It really is just too much.

The boys had a good time. They were plagued with a stomach bug over the weekend, so Candy Day is still at a date to be determined, but I'm sure the boys will enjoy that just as much. I mean, it's Halloween. It's the second-best kid holiday of the year!

And now to start planning Christmas.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Drop Zone

Now that Ollie and Rhett are both in school and the weather is cooling, I'm finding the backpacks/shoes/coats mess a bit unbearable. Our house has no mudroom nor garage, so when you enter the front door, well, you're in the family room. We have a box where shoes are supposed to be deposited. We have a coat closet, but really, the kids can't reach to hang up clothes there. We also have buckets in that same closet where kids are supposed to put hats and gloves, but let's be honest: they never make it that far until I ask nicely, or not-so-nicely. Basically everything gets dropped right at the door. Not awesome.

My so-smart sister-in-law (who has such a nice mudroom/drop zone, lucky her) suggested making the backdoor (the one that enters the playroom) our main door. We could create some sort of "lockers" for the kids to put their things.

So there you have it: our two options. Now you get have to vote. Here are some examples and pros and cons of each.

Front Door:
We'd need to add/create something like this:

or this:

or this:

Pro: The pergo floors in that room are better suited for Maryland's wet climate.
Con: All of that mess would be in our main room, probably making me crazy.
Con: We'd have to move/take down what's already there, and I like what's already there.

Back Door:
We could go with something simple, like the first picture (but would include a second hook for coats and storage underneath for shoes and gloves and probably exclude the large corkboards):

or create something more elaborate like this:

Pro: As the boys know their letters (well, Ollie is getting there), taking down what we have on the designated wall is no problem and probably, timely.
Con: The carpeted floors will get destroyed.
Con: We'd have to move around some stuff to make room.

So what do you think? What do you do in your house, because maybe that would work for me? Rule: If you read this, you must comment. This policy will be strictly enforced by unknown methods.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

October-y Stuff

I have no idea what I've been doing, really. It's not like I'm making headway on all those productive things I imagined getting done. But as a family, we've managed to do a couple of things recently.

A Sunday walk. I ran here the day before and knew it would be the perfect after-church outing.

Carving pumpkins.