Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pretty Dress and Other Pictures

Gwen is so fast these days that capturing a non blurry photo is quite a challenge. We've been lucky with a few, so here they are:


She figured it out. Now she knows how to get into the diaper bag (which is also my purse), pull each and everything out, find my wallet, pull out every card or license in there, and still dig around hoping for more destruction opportunities.

But it really doesn't bother me one bit. Perhaps because of this face?: Interestingly enough, this is a fun phase of destruction she is going through. She is only interested in pulling beads OUT of the Ziploc bag and scattering them everywhere. Once the bag is empty, she doesn't play with them. She moves on to pulling apart- one block at a time- the towers of Legos I've constructed for her. Once the towers are completely decimated, does she knock any together in an attempt to build? Nope. It is back to the beads (which I have since put BACK into the bag). What a funny gal!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Harvest is a BUSY time in the kitchen!

I never really appreciated the time people spend in their kitchens during the harvest season. I'm not even putting up 40+ jars of fruit like my MIL, but I am still feeling the "it all needs to be preserved RIGHT NOW" thing (lest it get rotten, dried out, or otherwise rendered less tasty by hanging on the vine too long). Wouldn't it be great if the produce could just stay in peak ripeness for as long as you needed it to in order to get to everything?

However, you'd all be proud to know that I'm striving to be methodical and efficient rather than panicked and stressed about the things needing picked, cleaned, chopped, frozen, steamed, pureed then frozen, squished out, seasoned, roasted, marinated, chopped some more, boiled, packed, canned, dried, peeled, sliced, stuffed, pickled, fermented, and then finally eaten.

Today, I'm only doing herbs (1/4 of my basil), one of the pie pumpkins, roasting curried pumpkin seeds, stuffing Korean cucumber pickles, and then starting the marinade on some chunky jalapeno jelly. That's all. Don't think about the rest of the produce slowly transitioning from delicious to gross. Only so much I can handle in a day. :) and hopefully all before Gwen wakes up from her morning nap!Tomorrow: more herbs, can the jalapeno jelly, and make some fresh salsa verde. And then we'll talk about the rest. :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Gwen Spearing Cheerios

She hasn't quite got the pincer grasp for eating these lil guys. Funny, isn't it, that the pincer is perfected for pieces of lint and paper she finds on the carpet, but not for food? She tries to grab the cheerios with her fist and can't get em in her mouth.

Well, she figured out that when they have been soaking in milk, they are softer... and she can spear them with her pointer finger and eat them like cheerio-kebabs! :)

(sorry the video is so long-- it takes her awhile to eat this way)

Piano Runner

Finally finished the last project for the living room! If you recall, it matches the pillows and curtains. And it is actually quilted (stitch in the ditch, nothing fancy). Got it finished just in time to enjoy it for a few days before replacing it with Halloween decorations...

Someday this can be a table runner, but since we don't have one for our baby to bonk her head on, it is a nice piano runner. Of course, our piano is so tall that you can't see it unless you stand on something, but that's okay. :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009


You don't realize how much you appreciate one of these:
Until you've been without a functioning one for over a month and a half!. That's my fault. Called at the beginning, they said it needed replacing, and I just waited. I was getting pretty good about a dishwashing routine in the morning during Gwen's first nap, but seriously enough was enough, especially on days after a big meal or canning adventure. Procrastination got me nothing but less time to do something fun, wrinkly fingers, an overloaded sink, and all my counter space (I don't have much of it) filled up with drying dishes. Well, okay, I also got a pretty good arm work out on some days. :)

*(Posterity, just so you know, I don't like being a squeaky wheel. I also really don't like to make phone calls, so will avoid it even if necessary calls need to be made. I much prefer written conversations, perhaps because I sound a lot more intelligent. :)*

Well, turns out I really should have called again sooner, because 2 days after the 2nd call, we got a brand new one! I've done 2 loads today and it is wonderful! (doesn't match, but beggars can't be choosers-- who cares about aesthetics when the thing actually WASHES YOUR DISHES FOR YOU!!!) Glorious, glorious, technology!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I want my children to know what an amazing Father they have...

Eric paid me some of the most sincere, thoughtful compliments Sunday on our drive home from church. I didn't even realize til he took my hand and told me he was proud to be my husband how much I crave such things from him. What do I love about the way Eric gives compliments? They are so specific. Not just "you gave a great talk" or "your lesson was great" or "you look great"... but "I love how organized your thoughts were; how focused and yet spoken from the heart" and "you are so comfortable in front of the class and good at engaging discussion" and "you looked radiant with your hair up today; liked the bead do-dads. and you have such a beautiful, graceful neck--of course I really liked that too".:)

Ah, how I love this boy! He makes me feel like the person I want to be!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thoughts on Arriving at Personal Discovery

What crystallizes ideas for you? Most common methods for me:

1. Insomnia. Well, okay, the insomnia doesn't crystallize things for me, but if I have clear ideas come to me at night, I absolutely cannot sleep unless I write them down. I keep a paper and pencil in my night stand for this purpose. I don't even turn on a light or have to write legibly, just to write it down enables me to sigh and fall asleep. Which leads to my true method:

2. Writing thoughts down. Somehow getting something down on paper helps me really figure things out. Don't read my high school journal because it is truly filled page after page with me trying to work through feelings, crushes, what to do or not do, possible consequences, why did I act this way or that way, blah blah blah. I don't consider myself a drama queen, though passionate. You'd never know it from my writing. All that drama is right there. You'd never have guessed it because writing down all that "what is this feeling?" stuff allowed me to draw conclusions and respond in a very sane and mature (at least I thought so at the time) way.

Why this post? I don't know. I guess I was considering how this blog is my journal. And sometimes I still get emotional and dramatic here, but mostly not (it being preserved for posterity and all). So am I still crystallizing ideas? I like to think so. Hmmmm... what is my method now? Insomnia? :)

Probably talking it through with people. Eric especially. I was always the confidant in HS, but rarely the sharer. I think I had trust issues. But that's another post. So conversation as a catalyst for realization is a "newish" method for me of arriving at what I really think. But sometimes I find myself babbling away to a friend and catch myself responding too quickly to their questions-- I say things that I don't think really reflect the true response that I might acquire if I was truly introspective. Just the other day I went for a walk with a friend and found myself too easily parroting my answers about my motives and fears that didn't feel right after I'd spoken them. And then I'm backpedaling to try to get it right but that doesn't quite resonate either. Ever do that? Perhaps in a way, even that helps me to realize the truth? Obviously, at least for me, crystallization by conversation is subject to error.

I think there is no real point to this post. Why do I sometimes write things just to hear myself think? I'm kind of embarrassed, actually, at the rambling nature of this post. I almost want to delete it, or at least edit it down (I already logged back on and went back and cut a huge paragraph after I'd posted it and disconnected from the internet because it was bothering me to think that I am pestering all ya'll and future generations who only want to see photos of family and could care less about my personal thought process) further so it isn't such a strong example of how I think aloud through writing... but here I continue... stopping while I'm ahead. sort of.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Belated Birthday to Me

Ever have those days/weeks when so much is happening that you truly get "evented" out? That was me this past weekend. My birthday was Sunday, but since the week leading up to it was so...filled... I was done with "energy". I was so pleased to spend my birthday somewhat secretively. Just Eric and Gwen, family phone calls, and some sweet presents. No guests, no cooking (we just had leftovers and fresh peaches instead of cobbler), no clean up, no rowdy singing or large numbers of well wishers at church. Just one of those days when I wanted no attention and no drama. And I got it. What a wonderfully relaxing birthday I enjoyed! Strange to be 27; that sounds tons closer to 30 (aka. kinda old) than 26 did. I definitely wanted to document some of the lovely presents I received.these lovely cards are from Mama Allan-- and gals in the family who worked together to make them for me! These are just some of my favorites. I'm always amazed...
and this book! Woot woot, I can hardly wait to read it! I'm forcing myself to finish other dutiful tasks first before I begin... because if it is anything like Hunger Games, there won't be any way to put it down once I've started! Now I can take my request off the waiting list at the library! :)

I also got a great rice cooker, very handy, since my other one broke. (for some reason, I am awful at cooking rice without a rice cooker. I burn it every time. and I am NOT exaggerating about that!)
I am thrilled to have the Wicked piano and vocal music now! Fun times are ahead, folks!
and some delicious orange soda, orange candy, and orange hand sanitizer! So fresh and happy smelling!

Thanks to all of you who remembered me and love me. I am truly blessed to have spent the past 27 years with family and friends like you in my life.

Projects as promised

Here are the completed pillows. Thank you quilt clubbers for your beautiful squares!with the diagonal corners--tricky, tricky, tricky, that's all I've got to say!
and some beautiful trim-- definitely learned some new techniques for sewing with these guys

Thought you also might enjoy a complete living room before and after shot! :) Sorry this isn't TRULY the before, since it didn't occur to me back in March to take a photo of our previous furniture arrangement. The bookshelf used to be between the desk and the kitchen, and the couch and desk (not pictured) have switched walls. The blue chair was in the corner where the bookshelf is now, the yellow chair closest to the front door, and the media center (also not pictured) was directly under the window where the yellow chair is now. Whew, I like it so much better now! And with the finishing touches of couch covers, curtains, pillows, and a baby Gwen in the corner of the photo (with a trail of "damage" behind her...), what could be more satisfying a transformation? All for the cost of the covers and the curtain materials.

Why are boxes so expensive? Aren't they just cardboard?

I am heading to the post office today to mail a gift for my new nephew and my college laptop to my college brother. You'd think the computer would cost more to package up, being that it is an expensive piece of equipment. But wouldn't you know that I can pack it up with a bunch of bubble wrap and slip it in a regular box for minimal costs... while the cloth covered cork message board for my sis- the new mom- doesn't fit in ANY normal boxes. Well see, I could put it in a huge one, but it is relatively flat and I'd hate to spend the money for all the extra weight and size and all that plus how silly it would be to have a huge box filled with popcorn to mail a lil cork board.

I checked out FedEx to see if they might have a nice "flat"-style box. And sure enough they do. I was thrilled. Til they rang it up. 13 dollars for a box. yeah right.

My verbal response: "Um, I need to think about it."
My thoughts/translation: "Are you crazy?!?! It's cardboard! And we're in a recession, donchaknow?"

The entire project only cost me the price of ribbon and pushpins (don't tell Amber. I don't want her to think I am too cheap to spend money on my gift!). Why would I spend 13 dollars for the cardboard that goes around it and will just get shoved into a pile of boxes below the stairs when it arrives? So, I did what any frugal gal does when she needs something but can't afford the outrageous price. I improvised. Do you like it? Cut apart the box that a photo frame from Kohl's was in as well as the packaging for the baby gate. All the rest of our packing tape and duct tape later, you have a box ready to mail. I even matched the colors up so nicely, from a distance it looks like it came that way... sort of... til you notice the yards and yards of tape. Now I just need to wrap it in brown paper so they will accept it.

13 dollar box, FORGET YOU!!! (oh, and good luck opening this box upon arrival!)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

How Can I Keep From Singing?... though it be 2 am...

I'm an insomniac. Especially tonight since Eric is on call. I went to bed like normal, but decided after laying there for hours waiting for sleep to come, I might as well get up and do something productive. Here I am at 1 am blogging while Eric is a surgeon. Anybody have any absentee husband insomnia like me?

A little something for everyone. That is what this post contains. Our vacation to Niagara Falls, New York, and Kirtland. Quilting/sewing projects. Weight loss milestone. A lil of Eric and a lot of Gwen. Enjoy! I think I'll add text and finish up later. That might not be for a few days... busy around here.

Blackberry Jam making

Niagara Falls, USA side
since I know someone is going to ask, let me just put out there that Gwen did surprisingly well on the drive. She had never slept for longer than 45 min in her carseat before the trip, so I was a tad apprehensive about how it would go, but we must have worn her out well because she took beautiful 1 1/2 to 2 hour naps during the drive. She's a good gal!
like my collage? see how all those pieces fit together for a nice landscape? Thought you'd like that.

perfect weather, gorgeous rainbow

a rare pic of me
Gwen loved her French fries!
and especially enjoyed chasing the birds that Eric wooed closer with bits of fries. turns out there was a sign facing away from us that prohibited feeding the wildlife. Oops.

Eric looking pretty handsome and pensive.Gwen loves to slap Daddy's head.
She loved climbing on the railing and talking to the water.

Mommy and Daddy got a dose of adrenaline just watching her explore around such a precipice.
I just like this one cuz it shows what a riot Gwen was having.
Palmyra, New York:
We had the most delicious NY pizza while staying at an Econolodge up on a hill with an incredible view. We picked it cuz it had a swimming pool... but that was a "chilling" experience! The real meat of the visit was in the church history sites.
Visiting the Sacred Grove
Gwen and Eric enjoyed some Daddy-Daughter time. She's still in her pjs because it was chilly in the morning when we started out- and we pretty much left our hotel as soon as she woke up and ate breakfast.
I am grateful that because of the Restoration of the fullness of the Gospel, I have a knowledge that through Jesus Christ my family can be together forever.
I'm including this picture because the background is lovely and Gwen looks so happy... and I suppose there ought to be another pic of me in the collection. Peter Whitmer farm.

Eric has hat hair. Don't look.
Corning, New York: scenic drive and Glass Museum
Our drive from Palmyra to Corning through the Finger Lakes region of New York was perhaps the most beautiful drive on which I have ever been. I wish there were photos to document the hills, water, trees, and picturesque vineyards. Gorgeous. World's Largest Glass Museum. Awesome. Costs as much to eat there as it does to get in. Bring a sack lunch if you can.

cool installation, eh? Made up of over 600 glass baking dishes fired to different colors. Pretty awesome stop, for both science-lovin Eric and art-lovin me. We got to watch glass breaking demos and glass blowing demos. Very cool.
Gwen liked crawling around on the clear glass floor and watching the people in the food court below. spooky, eh? What if that floor broke... (but it wouldn't, I'm just being dramatic)

Kirtland, Ohio
Gwen is trying out walking, with help, of course.
We met a nice old timer at the Kirtland temple who taught Eric and me both to play the Dulcimer.

Gwen and her favorite new toy: her stroller.
The new historic Kirtland tour is pretty amazing. We took a lot of pictures.
Quilted pillows for our living room:
finished these about a month ago, but thought I ought to finally catch a picture of them. Ugh, I think I'll take that photo tomorrow. I hate artificial lighting in photos. Here's the work in progress pic.

Weight loss milestone:
and, last but not least, I've finally lost 15 lbs! Including the lil bit I gained and already lost from the vacation food. Still a ways to go, but let's celebrate the small victories, shall we? :)

Well, it is 2:24 now, and I think I'm tired enough now to fall asleep. G-night ya'll!