Wednesday, December 29, 2010


We had a lovely Christmas weekend. It was relaxed and low-key, just the way I was hoping. On Christmas Eve, we had a big Turkey dinner at home and read the Christmas story in Luke. The girls opened jammies and a Christmas book. We set out cookies for Santa and BG rushed to bed so she would be asleep before Santa arrived.

We slept in on Christmas morning (so nice!). By the time we got Dad out of bed, we opened gifts and had tasty Baked French Toast for breakfast. Blanche went down for a nap and we got ready for the day. When Blanche woke up we headed to my parents. They were very generous and BG was thrilled to get Barbies. On Sunday, we had a family party with JM's side. It was great to see everyone and they were generous with gifts. BG got a trunk of dresses with jewelry and accessories. She has been wearing them all week.

We brought home our gifts from my parents in a large box. Today BG was playing in the box and pretending it was a spaceship. She told me that I had a choice about where to go in the spaceship- either space or outer space.

And just because you really need some pictures, here's what our Christmas morning looked like.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Baking

About this time of year I really, REALLY start drooling over all the delicious Christmas cookie/ candy/treat recipes that are circulating. Since I haven't done my neighbor gifts, I think those recipes work well for giving away. This is also about the time that my idea of not giving unhealthy sugary gifts goes right out the window.

This year JM is doing a workout/diet program. And you can imagine, it doesn't include vast amounts of sugar or chocolate (boring!). That leaves me a bit stuck. Do I support his efforts and give up my love of Christmas calories? Do I make it away and just give it away? Or should I make it all and binge until I've made myself sick (then repeat night after night). So far, this is what's on the list of things I'm aching to make.
  • Peppermint Bark
  • Peanut Brittle
  • Fudge (although I've never had it turn out right)
  • Caramel popcorn
  • Anything that includes Peppermint extract

I could go on and on, and I'm not even looking! What's your favorite holiday goodie? I obviously need to add more to my list. If you are my neighbor, feel free to weigh in on your treat of choice from our family.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Thinking about Calm

There is a strange calm this year around Christmas for me. My decorations are up, the tree has been trimmed, 90% of the gifts have been purchased and wrapped. My Christmas Cards are sitting on the table waiting for stamps. Our calendar is not too full (yet) and my blog background reads "holiday". How did I get so on top of things this year? We have even gone to see the lights.

It's also been interesting watching Blanche, as this is her first Christmas. Yet, it doesn't feel that way. She isn't a tiny baby is awe over the lights. Instead she is a mobile, nearly-toddler, snatching ornaments and shoving everything in her mouth as quick as she can. It almost feels like she is getting cheated out of her first Christmas, because she doesn't feel like a baby. She feels old enough to have one of these holiday seasons under her fat little belt. But, I suppose she is nearly 11 months old. She was born a mere few weeks after Christmas last year. It's unlikely Grandma will get the traditional picture of her on her back, under the tree playing with ornaments. Instead, she will flip over, pull up and gnaw on the branches.

I'm tempted to add more things to fill up the time, the season. Maybe I should be baking, or decorating. Maybe we should be shopping or partying. Yet, I'm enjoying the calm. Maybe, just once, I'll sit back and enjoy the season, rather than stress and let it overwhelm me.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend

I've been slacking on the blogging lately, but we've been busy. This week has been especially eventful, so I thought I'd post about it.

Seeing as how this was a holiday week, I got to take two extra days off work (because the girls were sick). We got to get out and about (to the doctor's office) in our time off. We whipped up a cheese ball for the Thanksgiving feast. On Thursday, we lounged around most of the day (because I was sick) and enjoyed a big meal (brought to us by a kind in-law). I did some Black Friday shopping (online since I had to work). I got some good deals (Saturday, after everything had been picked through) and bought a fresh turkey on sale. We went for a nice drive (to the doctor again) and nearly got admitted to an exclusive facility (the hospital). Blanche has been upbeat (despite moderate dehydration) and really putting her diapers to good use (with excessive diarrhea). We got to watch our team beat their biggest rival (by one point) and settle back for a cozy evening. So all in all, a great holiday week.

All sarcasm aside, we do have much to be thankful for. Right now I'm especially thankful for (typically) good health, health insurance, medication to help illness, and providers who are open during the holidays in addition to the many other blessings we have.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Vacation by the Numbers

Days on vacation: 9
Days home from vacation: 1

Average temperature on vacation: 75
Average temperature at home: 40

Heating on vacation: Not needed
Heating at home: Broken

Beaches on vacation: 4
Beaches at home: 0

Number of times cooking on vacation: 0
Number of times cooking at home: I have to do what?!

Servers & staff on vacation: 1500
Servers & staff at home: 0

Days in a swimsuit on vacation: 5
Days in a swimsuit at home: 0

Numbers of shows on vacation: 4
Number of shows at home: 0

Kids on vacation: 0
Kids at home: 2

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


We dressed up both of the girls, but due to the rain, only BG went trick-or-treating. She was Jessie the cowgirl. Blanche was the cow. I thought they were adorable, but I might be slightly biased.

Check out those perfect eyelashes. Where did she get those?!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pumpkin Patch

My sister visited this month and we took the kids to a pumpkin patch, which included a corn maze. We had lots of fun and we even made it out. There were lots of these cutouts. The kids loved them.

Finally made it out of the maze!

It was pretty hard to get all the kids looking at the camera and smiling at the same time.

Blanche spent most of the time napping, but she did wake up at the end for a few pumpkin pictures.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Fragments: Halloween Edition

I have sad news to report on my candy corn wreath. Apparently, even with an insulating layer of modpodge, it was no match for the weather. We have had several big rainstorms and my wreath dripped down the front door into a pile of sucrose on the porch. I am too sad to post photographic evidence. RIP little wreath, RIP.

We have three Halloween parties to attend this weekend. BG is excited to dress up as Jesse (from Toystory). I made the mistake of mentioning using red hair spray/dye on her hair before deciding against it. This morning she was literally in tears over not buying it. I'm worried that it won't come out of her blond hair - yes I'm that vain over my 4 year-old's hair.

Ever have one of those rushed mornings where you finally get out the door when you realise you have forgotten something? I had one of those days this week - I forgot to put on deodorant. Sorry office mates!

My parents grew GIANT pumpkins in their garden this year. Seriously. Hundreds of pounds pumpkins. I stopped by this week to pick one up. I managed to get it from the garden, around the front of the house (up huge hills) before being bested by the beast. I couldn't get it into my trunk. IE I couldn't physically lift it into the car - I think it would have fit. So I left it on their front porch instead and took two smaller ones.

If anyone smashes my pumpkins this year, I will be very upset.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Family Pictures

We got some family pictures taken a few weeks ago and I just got around to looking at the CD. Yes, life is crazy. I'm really happy with how they turned out! Here's just a few of the ones I like. The hard part comes when I have to narrow it down to one to hang on the wall. Suggestions?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Profile Pic

I must apologize to my readers out there who have been faithfully coming even though "Mystery Man" has been my profile picture since the beginning. I have finally joined the masses and added a picture for you all to enjoy. So... enjoy!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Curly Curly

Blanche has some curl in her hair. I've been a bit excited about try to style her hair curly since both my and BG's hair is stick straight. Neither of our hair holds curl very well without excessive amounts of effort and product.

I wet down Blanche's hair and added some mouse and it stayed cute and curly for quite a while.

So fun!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Candy Corn Wreath

Many of you know about my love of candy corn. I'm pretty much addicted and I buy a large supply early in the season - usually when the stores first start selling them.

I've seen around the blogosphere many crafters making wreaths out of my favorite fall sweet and I knew I needed one too. So, I busted out my stash (I did buy more just to be safe), the hot glue gun and some modpodge and set to work.

I didn't bother making a tutorial because there are several already out there. But, in case you haven't seen them, here is the short version.
  1. Dry out candy corn by leaving out for several days.
  2. Assemble supplies: candy corn, floral wreath, black duct tape, hot glue, modpodge.
  3. Wrap wreath in duct tape (kind of optional, but I did it).
  4. Glue candy corn on as desired. I put them on the inside and outside of my wreath also.
  5. Modpodge everything. I did this to ensure I can re-use for many years without worrying about bugs.
  6. Tie on black ribbon and hang!

I LOVE it! Can I leave it up all year long?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Halloween Topiary

I mentioned that I have been crafting. I am so excited to show what I did! I have a topiary that sits by my front door - pretty much year-round. I had been looking at it wondering what I could do to make it a bit more festive for the season. I also wanted to decorate my porch a bit. After thinking for awhile, genius struck. I was so excited! This is what I started with. (Sorry the pictures is crappy.)

I used scrapbook paper and modpodge to cover the top two balls on the topiary. It was incredibly messy and took a while since the surface wasn't flat. I really hope that modpodge is water-soluble (like someone told me) since I would like my topiary back at the end of this process. After I finally got the surface paper attached, I used more paper for a pumpkin face and cardboard for the bat wings. This is a mid-craft shot.

An the final product....

Ta Daaaa!!

I used white fabric for the ghost and ironed on the face. I love the way it turned out.

Do you think the scrapbook paper and modpodge will come off? I'm a little nervous about it now.

Linking to:

Mama's Kat Writer's Workshop

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bits and Pieces

I'm not feeling the blogging mo-jo lately. My brain has shifted from thinking in blog posts to thinking in facebook posts. And facebook posts are really short and don't justify an entire blog post. Apparently I'm not good at managing two types of social media at one time. In an effort to update, here are a few things going on our our house.

Blanche is getting really good at crawling. She loves to stand up and regularly pulls herself to standing now. She is even able to stand on her own for a few seconds at a time. We had to lower her crib mattress because she now stands up in the morning. She loves eating shoes and I'm constantly pulling them away from her. Maybe I should get in the habit of putting my shoes away instead of kicking them off wherever.

BG wants to be a princess for Halloween. At one point, she wanted to be a cowgirl and she insisted on cowgirl boots when we bought new shoes at the store. I bought Blanche a cow costume and think it would adorable to have a cowgirl and a cow for Halloween. When I showed BG, she screamed "NO!! I want to be a PRINCESS!" At least she knows what she wants.

We are taking family pictures this weekend. I'm really excited because it's been two years since we've done them. I've shopped and we all have matching outfits. I hope the girls cooperate and they go well.

Last weekend I did some serious crafting. I took a few before pictures and am excited for the afters. The projects are not quite done yet, but I will post when they are! One of my projects was a candy corn wreath, which I love! I need to stop at the fabric store to finish up the other.

We have decided to buckle down and get serious about paying off our debt. I am reading the Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsy and trying really hard to get excited about it. I love the idea of not having payments, but that means no more incidental spending. I'm sure once I get in the habit, it won't be a big deal, but I'm a little sad to let it go.

What's going on in your world?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Flu Shots

There has been a lot of controversy lately about flu shots, who should get them and if they should be mandatory for health care workers. I fall into the last category; I work at a hospital. While I don't often interact directly with patients, when I do, they are usually immuno-compromised individuals.

My hospital just started it's employee & volunteer flu shot campaign. They do one every year. Where I work (as is the case for most hospitals) a flu shot is not mandatory. It is elective for employees whether they get one or not. However, if you elect not to get the flu shot, you have to sign a waiver (less common among hospitals, from what I understand). Basically, all employees are required to either get a flu shot of sign a waiver. Those who sign the waiver do so with an understanding that if a breakout occurs, they may be asked to give up working hours or wear a mask to protect patients.

I think this is a good policy. It addresses the agency of each employee but also accounts for the health of patients in the event of a severe situation. Most hospitals have employee vaccination rates around 50%. My hospital system is around 80%. I know the critics out there will still be saying that employees without the vaccine are still caring for patients, which is true. But we also have a much higher rate of immunization.

Despite my fear of needles, I got my flu shot today. I will be getting them for my girls when they are available at their pediatrician's office. The CDC is saying there won't be a shortage of vaccine like there was last year. I haven't been a big believer in flu shots, but I think the benefit outweighs the risk.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I'm Falling in Love

I get stuck in clothing tangents. And by tangents I mean I'm a marketer's dream and fall in love with anything they dangle in front of me. My personal style is whatever is currently on sale (because I'm cheap on top of being impressionable).

I have noticed that I can get stuck on a color story. In high school, 95% of my wardrobe was either black, white, red or some combination. My mom made me a sewing kit when I left for college. It included 4 spools of thread and she had a hard time deciding on a 4th since everything I owned was one of the previously mentioned 3 colors. She finally decided on grey. I didn't own a stitch of pink until well into college. When I recently took inventory of my clothing, I discovered that I no longer own ANYTHING red - so I immediately went out a bought a red shirt supporting my alma mater.

I know I'm not the only one. I recall a friend in high school who went through a charcoal grey and pink phase. Most of what she bought (or made, in this case) was one of those colors.

Now I'm at it again. A large percentage of the last few things I've bought for my wardrobe have been charcoal. I'm loving it. I'm drawn to it. It goes with everything! It calls to me. Is there a color that you are loving right now?

On another clothing note, do you know how difficult it is to find red clothing for little girls? I would think it would pretty easy, especially this time of year with all the fall colors out. It's not. And since I'm a kind wife, I'm not going to make JM wear pink for family pictures, despite the availability.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Guess who's 8 months old

Today Blanche is 8 months old. To mark the occasion she decided to start crawling forward under her own power.

She is typically such a sweet, happy baby. Mornings are her best time where she will just sit and play for hours. She loves her exosaucer, and thinks jumping in it is the greatest thing ever. She still loves her sister and will light up in a big grin or even laugh when BG walks into the room.

She has recently discovered that blowing spit bubbles is lots of fun and often does it when she is concentrating really hard. She has a bit of spitfire in her personality and when she doesn't like something, she is quick to let you know. Late afternoon and evenings are a hard time and she will scream at the top of her lungs if I'm not holding her. The second I pick her up, it stops.

Blanche is a pro at rolling now and loves to do it mid-diaper change. I usually have to roll her back several times to get the job done. The bath is one of her favorite places and splashing is heavenly for her. She is eating like a champ and will eat two containers of baby food (4 oz) plus a bottle for meals. I haven't found anything yet that she refuses to eat, but she wasn't thrilled with avocado.

She is great about going to bed. Mostly, I just wrap her up in her crib and she falls asleep on her own. She sleeps all night, then wakes up between 6:30 and 7:00 am. I'm not sure where she gets the early bird genes from, but it's not me.

Now that she has started crawling, I think life is going to change. It has been nice to not have to worry (too much) about her as long as she was happy. I need to go through the house and baby proof. Blanche has been such a joy in our family. We love you little Chunkers!

Monday, September 13, 2010

But I'm still putting in the hours!

I'm irritated today for several reasons. One of them involves a know-it-all co-worker (of sorts). The other one involves my HR rep (payroll actually, but I feel like lumping them all together). I'm channeling my inner Michael Scott.

See, I only work 3/4 time. I have set days for working but have been given the green light to switch my days as needed. I decided not to work on Labor Day (since no one else was) and instead work a different day within the pay period. Payroll is now telling me I have to take my very limited PTO for the hours on Labor Day or take it unpaid. My manager is on vacation this week so she can't back me up. Stupid payroll. Stupid unintelligible policies. Stupid job. Can I go home yet?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Yard Planning

Last night we were enjoying dinner on the deck. We were discussing plans for the backyard and asked BG what she wanted for the back yard. She said "I think I want a dog, and another baby, and a swing set." I guess we won't be asking her opinion on interior decorating anytime soon.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

First day of preschool

I know I'm late in posting this, but at least I'm finally getting around to it.

BG started preschool a few weeks ago. She loves that she gets to pack and bring her own lunch. She is such a big kid! She was anxious to get off to school and wasn't too cooperative for pictures. She also picked out her own outfit and did a great job getting ready. She picks out her clothes most days and usually doesn't need any adjusting. Then again, I'm the kind of mom who is ok letting her express herself by choosing her clothes.

I didn't get any pictures of her at school because she ran into her classroom and never looked back. I guess it's a good thing that she loves school already. She has a cubby for her lunch bag and a hook for her bag.

Her school gives all the kids their own bag, so we didn't buy her a backpack. When she found out it is just a bag, she cried because she wanted a backpack.

I'm impressed with what she has learned already. She tells me that they work on their manners by saying Please, Thank You, and May I. She is much more vocal about the letters that she knows and will point them out. She can also count to 20 now (mostly, she misses a few of the teens, but it's different ones every time. I figure that means she knows them, just forgets them sometimes.) She loves to talk about her teachers and friends. She traces her name everyday and loves to show off her artwork. I'm so glad we decided to put her in preschool this year. I know she'll do great.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


I took the girls to CA to see their cousin get baptised. First, I must say that I am so proud of myself to flying alone with two kids to another state. We even had a layover! Both girls did great on the airplane, much to my relief (and I'm sure all the other passengers). I packed lots of snacks and activities and ended up not even needing most of them.

I was so glad that we were able to be there for Gavin's baptism. He sang a primary song with his dad and did such a great job. It's crazy to think that he is eight years old! A few days before our trip I was telling BG we were going to see her cousin get baptised. She asked if he was getting baptised in the temple and I explained that we only do baptisms in the temple for those people who have already died. She looked at me and said "When I get dead, I will get bath-tized in the temple."

What a good looking family! Gavin looks so sharp in his pin-stripped suit.

This is the whole group that was there for the baptism. It took much ice cream bribery to get all the kids to stand still long enough for a few pictures.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Pool Party

Last weekend we went to California for my nephew's baptism. While we were there, we also went to a birthday party, spend time with family, and spend lots of time in the pool.

I was a little nervous about BG in the water. Mostly because the few times we have gone swimming this summer she has been terrified and refused to let go of JM the whole time. My sister borrowed a life jacket for her to wear and it made a huge difference. She had a great time with her cousins.

Blanche enjoyed some time in the sun and LOVES the pool. She was so happy splashing away in the water.

It was so nice to have a pool to jump in when it got hot during the day.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wishing it was November

In November we are taking a Caribbean cruise.
Without the kids.
It will be fabulous.

Is it November yet?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

This has been a test. Had this been an actual emergency, I would have been freaking out.

I am a *bit of a hypochondriac. When I first started working for the MS Society, I was sure I had MS. When that passed, I was sure JM had MS. I no longer think either. I'm not allowed to go on Web MD unless it is absolutely necessary. Otherwise, I end up with a disease rap sheet sheet as long as Mel Gibson's voice mail rantings.

However, of all the possible diseases or health problems out there, one of my top fears is stroke. I'm terrified of the idea of losing the ability to communicate while still having my mental faculties. (Anyone see that show where the woman has a stroke, can't talk, and they are about to take her off life support because they think she's brain-dead? Freaked me out.) So now, anytime I have an acute pain in my head, I fear stroke. Unless I'm drinking a Slurpee, I figure stroke is the only possible explanation for a brain freeze. Time is critical in the treatment of stoke, so I quiz JM on the signs so he will be ready should it happen. Let's all review together the signs of a stroke shall we?
  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one of both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
If you aren't sure if they are exhibiting these symptoms, you can try one, or both of these tests.
  1. Ask them to smile at you. If only one side of their mouth turns upward, it could be a stroke.
  2. Ask them to close their eyes and hold both arms straight in front of them. If one arm drifts down or to the side, it could be a stroke.
It you or someone around you (like me) is exhibiting these symptoms, you should call 911 immediately. Make sure you know the time they first started; again, timing is critical for effective treatment.

This PSA has been brought to you by my own neuroses.

*JM would argue that "bit" is the understatement of the century.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Productive Day

Today has been oddly productive. Not that I'm not always working on something, but Saturdays have been pretty lazy the last few weeks. Here's what I've already accomplished today.

  • Picked up my Bountiful Basket
  • Weeded the herb garden
  • Made these cucumbers for a BBQ tonight.
  • Made homemade Focaccia bread
  • Fed my family lunch
  • Cleaned the kitchen
  • Showered

I know, right?! Now I'm thinking I'll chop up some veggies for the freezer. Who knows where this burst of motivation has come from. I just know I'd better take advantage before it goes away.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Fragments

Blanche is now the proud owner of not one, but two teeth. Center bottom.

Can you see them? They are still pretty small nubs, but they are there.

BG has hit a defiant phase. We have our morning power struggle over something, typically small. She ends up sitting on time out before we have a chat about listening and obeying. After spending all this time on time out, she has learned something. I'm just not sure it's what I was hoping for. After playing with her baby, I found her here. In the corner, on time out.

BG can't say the letter S very well. She has started to notice that we can't understand her when a word starts with S. In an effort to enunciate, her requests sound like this "Mom, can I have a tthhhhh - nack?" or "When are we going to the tttthhhhhh - tore?"

I'm trying to find a preschool for BG for this fall. Thus far, I haven't found one that 1-works with my schedule 2-Falls in my price range and 3-I feel comfortable with. Still searching.

I feel a little dirty admitting this, but I like Facebook. In fact, I really like it. I'm getting to know my neighbors so much better (who knew?). I'm not sure why I resisted for so long, but I really like it now.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Summer Bounty

Have you heard of Bountiful Baskets yet? If not, you need to look into them! The are a food co-op in the Western US. You purchase a basket online on Monday and pick it up somewhere in your community on Saturday. You never know exactly what will be in your basket, but you always get 6 fruits and 6 veggies. This is what I got last week.

Look at all that goodness! Corn, watermelon, grapes, peaches, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, bananas, plums, pineapple, lettuce, and brocciflower. Whew! We usually can't eat everything in one week, so we only buy every other week.

The buyers buy local as much as possible. If they do buy from Mexico, they go to small farmers, which I like. I have been impressed with their quality, variety, quantity, and certainly price! You get all this for $15. It's really a deal. You are going to spend double that at the grocery store for all that you get. Even better, they just opened up a pick-up location in my neighborhood. Now I just mosey down the street with my stroller to get my produce. Love it!

*I am not being compensated in any way for this post. I am an actually happy customer trying to spread the love. Check their website to see if there is a site near you. If there isn't a site near you contact them about starting one.