Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Party at Church

The pictures don't say it all...
but they come close!
That is my shoe.
I was a "fatigued" mom (wearing camo pants and an apron along with other accessories.),
but I don't think most people got it, even after I explained.
Oh well. I wasn't trying to win any costume prizes, obviously. :)Gwen was the most adorable bumble bee you've ever seen...
loved chasing balloons all over,
enjoyed her first trick or treating,
and walked all around the gym holding our hands.
Thanks Aunt Melinda for the costume hand me down. Everyone kept trying to give me credit and I felt bad disappointing them when they found out I didn't make it.
and Daddy (Eric) stole the, uh, "show" with his outhouse get up!
He won a costume prize!!! Hooray hooray!-- either:
  1. the impromptu (1 hour before the party) costume design thing really works well for Eric,
  2. the cardboard costume is just his thing, or
  3. other people really enjoy bathroom humor.
Do you recall that 2 years ago Eric's used roll of toilet paper-- also impromptu out of cardboard--also won the costume contest? So, what do YOU think the secret to his success is?


I could use some pointers! :)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pumkin (aka Gwen) and Pumpkins!

What a wonderfully brief reprieve we've had from the encroaching cold. Gwen and I have used it well to be outside and spend some time with pumpkins.

We went with my neighbor Mi Young to Jacquemin's Farm to pick our own. While I was busy searching for the perfect short, round pumpkin to compliment the already selected tall, skinny pumpkin in the cart, Gwen happily found the nearest orange "ball" and laughed while she slapped it silly. :) We ended up getting our "family" of pumpkins for only 13 dollars! (And as soon as Halloween is over, Gwen can become a pie!)
our pumpkin family! :)

Then we went down with some other neighbors--Reena, Anita, and Charlotte-- to the Circleville Pumpkin Festival. It is really only about 30-40 minutes away, but my pride in thinking I knew the way and didn't need to print out a Google map made the drive down there more than an hour. Guess who won't do that again. :) Once we arrived, however, the girls did marvelously well. We were worried it might rain because of all the warnings we had heard, but the weather was PERFECT for our outdoor adventure! We enjoyed pumpkin colored trees, giant pumpkins, pretty pumpkins, pumpkin towers, pumpkin food , arts and crafts vendors, and the world's largest pumpkin pie. Gwen and Charlotte both stuffed their faces with pumpkin donuts and Eric loved the 1/2 dozen we brought home for him. The babies lasted til nearly 3:30 and didn't even fall asleep on the car ride home! (Though all of us wished they had, with all that whining! :) It was a great day!! I don't know this girl, but the pile of veggies was so pretty... and the food smelled so good...
Reena's pumpkin icecream
Gwen being less than happy (getting close to nap time), but isn't it cute how we sort of match?
Gwen was more than appeased by pumpkin donuts

But I think Charlotte liked them even more!
World's largest pumpkin pie... cool, but didn't look appetizing at all. Kinda crispy and burned on top.
Gwen thought the camels were funny. This face says it all.
Charlotte just loved these lil puppets. Gwen liked them too, but I wouldn't let her out of her stroller.
My lil Pumkin!
Mommy and Gwen in front of the pumpkin tower!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Biting Off More Sewing Than I Ought to Chew....

Am I allowed to say I'm growing weary of fabric? (for more than one reason. Spending 2 hours standing up ironing squares being the most current distasteful memory.) This service project is taking a lot more out of me than I anticipated. What happens when the person who is supposed to be soliciting help and encouraging others to participate stops wanting to work on things? How can I expect others to give freely of their time, talents, resources, and finances if I am not willing to do it myself? That doesn't sound too uplifting. Obviously, I don't want to give a "gift" grudgingly or with complaint. I don't want doing something for others to become a chore... That isn't very charitable at all.Perhaps, once again, I've simply bitten off more than I can easily chew? I really didn't think so when I began. I thought it was more than manageable, especially since I've been getting help along the way with cutting and tying the quilts. Even so... I think I'm gagging just a bit. Kind of like when you make a huge crock pot of soup... and then after you've been eating it for 4 days it starts to be a little bit gross to you when you serve up a bowl. I guess I've had a gutfull of sewing to last me a while. I will be quite relieved when the whole project is completed. No more piles of fabric occupying every surface in the living room. No more sewing machine on the kitchen table. No more scraps of fabrics and strings for Gwen to try to consume off of the carpet. No more quilt tops staring accusingly at me when I am doing something else besides sewing during one of Gwen's naps. *sigh*

There is still so much to be done before the quilt tying party on Tuesday, though, so I'm glad to be taking a break today til 3 by heading down to the Circleville Pumpkin Festival. Perhaps I'll feel more inclined to serve after taking some fresh air, glorious fall colors, and pumpkin joys to heart?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Not THAT necklace,'s hideous.

I am picky about jewelry, apparently. According to my dear hubby.
Perhaps that is why Eric hesitates to purchase any jewelry for me... since I am so vocal about styles I don't like. Well, Dear, this is for you. Some clarification:

I don't like fake-looking, faceted, bling bling beads

I don't like little tiny seed beads without other sized beads and
I don't like these awful drapes
I think these stones are ridiculously too chunky:
But really like these stones:

I don't go for this tribal spiky look at all:
But I DO think ethnic and cultural styles are fun:

I think these glass beads are cheesy:
But I really like these glass beads:
I think these shells are nice, but the style is a lil bit too "old" for me:

But I think these shells are lovely and trendy:
I think classic pearls are nice, but not my personality:

But I love these floating pearls (or any floating necklace, actually) as well as the non-spherical shapes and not white colors, so much more interesting:
I am extremely picky about diamonds, perhaps because they are so "bling bling". (Good to know, since they are so expensive anyway. You're safer with another choice in necklace. I won't think you are cheap, I promise.)
This pendant has all the no-no's for me: color, a cheesy heart shape, and a boring pendant chain.
But I think this simple diamond necklace is classy:

Put it together and what have you got?
A lovely combo with natural colors and variety of textures in chunky layers with a vibrant pendant-- neither too gaudy or too same-o same-o.

Something like this or any of the above "liked" selections, Dear. Any questions?

As for the rest of you... I'm curious...
do you agree with my selections, or would you prefer some of the 'dislikes' over the 'likes'?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Christmas Wish List

I saw a Christmas wish list on my sister's blog and thought, hey, maybe I should start keeping a list since I can never figure out what I want when it comes close. I know this is early. We haven't even figured out who is giving to whom, yet. Hope this doesn't make me look too materialistic or gift-obsessed. Anyway.

So I started brainstorming. Scraping the bottom of the idea barrel... I mean, come on... whitening strips and lightbulbs? Well, folks, it is amazing how the struggle to think of 2 items can quickly turn into a huge list of things you didn't even really realize you needed! :) I've survived fine this long without these items, so I'm sure none of them is going to make or break my health and happiness, but for what it is worth. This is my wish list!:

  • Extremely comfortable (meaning, pretty firm) new mattress!
  • stacking bamboo steamer (the round, flat tray kind) Addendum: I decided I don't need these since I discovered my rice cooker has a pretty good steamer tray attachment!
  • dehydrator (quality kind that heats from the side, not from the top to bottom- so all dry evenly)
  • Cetaphil face lotion Addendum: I decided I don't need these right now because I am trying out Clean & Clear
  • Crest whitening strips
  • brighter lightbulb in the lamp by the chair-- or a better lamp!
  • attractive toy chest (that kinda matches our decor- like a dark wicker or wood) for keeping Gwen's loot in the living room more attractively sequestered away when she is not running around. Something cute and classy like this (no names monogrammed or boy/girl stuff, please-- needs to fit all future children just as well. Plus, I'd love for it to match the room)
  • wet/dry swiffer for the kitchen
  • a nice, flat-bottomed, sturdy plastic basket for under the bathroom sink that has a handle to put all the bathroom cleaning supplies in so I can carry the entire thing upstairs and downstairs without a hassle
  • jeans/cords (I need pants very badly!)
  • black, grey, or other dark solid color loose, comfortable, sort of flattering (if that is possible) winter exercise pants (imagine non-tapered yoga style- but not necessarily booty-tight!)
  • nice fitting/flattering sweaters (no buttons or librarian styles) or long sleeved shirts (I like collars a lot)
  • black, white, purple, green, etc long tank tops (modest up top- no need to be showin off... :) for wearing under other clothes (some with sleeves is fine, but make sure they are fitted)
  • warm black church shoes- possibly boots, but no 4 inch heel. Need to be comfortable... but cute! Something classy but stylish, like this:
  • gift cards to Joann's, Michael's, any shoe store, Target, Home Depot (for flowers, not hardware!) etc.
  • silicone, 8-9 inch round cake pans (2 please)
  • hair accessories: specifically, things that I can put in my hair on down days when I'd like to throw up my hair in a pony tail but not have it look too lazy. I have a great brown/orange/red already, but need something for purple, blue, turquoise, green, black, etc. I like the kind that are curved with two holes and you hold it in place with a decorative stick. Not like this, but I think this comb with all its stones and jewels is pretty. I like stuff like that or natural things with wood, real stones (not jeweled or fake looking), or shells. I'm all about texture, rather than color, actually.
  • hanging flower planters (I like the pretty wrought iron ones with twiggy stuff already lining the inside so you don't see the dirt) for along the fence or from the railings of the carport for next spring
well, there you have it. and now that I've demonstrated my greedy, materialistic ways, I think I'll go read my scriptures or something more... wholesome?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I Love This Time, Right Now.

Gwen is at a wonderfully fun stage right now. I know you aren't supposed to have favorites, that you should just love each stage for its joys and struggles, but seriously-- I am truly enjoying where we are right now!

Gwen is excited to explore and play on her own without my constant stimulation, as long as we are in the same room. I think she is adorable when she pulls out all the washrags and dishtowels from the kitchen drawer all while babbling to herself. I love how happy she is about everything, how intent upon discovering things with her fingers, and perhaps
my favorite recent development:
Gwen has suddenly become quite cuddly and gives lots of hugs! I absolutely LOVE it!!! She'll be playing, see me, crawl over, climb up, throw her arms around me (they don't quite reach around, but I get the idea), and rest her head on my chest. Absolutely adorable!
The other day, she was crying because one of her toys got away from her... and so she crawled over and threw herself at the closest part of me:
my feet.
She flopped down onto my shins, throwing her arms on my legs, and laid her head down on my ankles to cry. When I started laughing at her spectacle, she transitioned from crying to laughing with me too. It was one of the cutest memories I've ever had!

This is a time when I am really grateful to be a mother.

Among Life's Lesser Virtues: Put the Toilet Seat and Lid Down

One of life's virtues: putting the toilet seat and lid down after use. Perhaps this is something to which you can relate? Eric is very good about it, especially compared to other accounts I've heard. I've always been selfish in wanting this done to avoid personal misfortune, especially at night. Now I have an even better reason....

Ever get that sinking feeling in your gut when:

You're sitting in the living room while your baby explores around you and
the next thing you hear is

a "swish-swish-swish"

coming from the bathroom
and you realize:

the toilet seat lid is up.

quite possibly the best reason EVER to encourage the men of the household to put the seat and lid down.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Life's All Fun and Games When You're 11 Months

11 Months. That's right. That is ridiculously close to 1 year. Where did my baby go? She's HUGE!

Well, she thinks she is. :)

Gwen's favorite toys:
  1. plastic phone from Eric's Aunt Melinda. Thanks! Teaches shapes, colors, plays music... and also makes this awful singing cat thing that Gwen seriously loves.
  2. brand spankin new walker from the Smiths. Thanks guys. Gwen loves it. She gets really upset and starts to cry if it starts to get away from her since it rolls. She loves to tip it upside down and play with the wheels.
  3. bag of garage sale Marti Gras beads. Mostly just so she can take them in and out of the bag. Also loves to put them in her mouth and crawl around with a strand dangling. Like so:
  4. books. Any. She loves board books, especially if she can turn the pages herself. Her favorites are A Christmas book from Grandma and Grandpa Hart (Thanks!), a Baby Colors book, and an Animals of the Jungle book that makes animal sounds. She loves real books, but I think she likes them so much because she can bend the pages... which isn't so appreciated by me. Or the public library. :)
  5. the kitchen drawers and fridge. She beelines it for the fridge with some squeals as soon as I open it. She likes to stand holding onto the produce bins and fiddle with the lids and jars in the door. It makes me nervous since most of them are glass. Plus it is not energy efficient to stand with the fridge door open. She always gets quite upset when I force her out so I can close the door. I try to appease her with my fold up steamer (she loves to open and close it) or whisk out of the drawer next to the fridge. Sometimes it works.
  6. the piano. She really goes to town. And then she wants to climb up and stand on the keys... and that's when musical virtuoso time comes to an end.
  7. the cap to Eric's shaving cream. Her favorite tub toy right now. She practices drinking water out of it and also blows raspberries into it.
Gwen's favorite games:
  1. Hide and Seek. She gets so excited to chase me from one part of the living room to another as I hide (visibly--it is only hiding if she can't see my eyes, even if the rest of my crouched body is fully out there) behind couches and chairs.
  2. chasing Mommy or Daddy and then getting chased (we carry her). Our favorite post-dinner game. She squeals and reaches out and then gets tickled.
  3. Where's Mommy's nose? Gwen's nose... Mommy's nose... She will touch, poke, scratch with her nail, insert a finger into a nostril (I try to keep her from doing that), etc. Very interested. All while drinking a bottle.
  4. Sooooooo big-- with both hands up over head or on her head, slapping. And an obligatory cheesy grin on her face
  5. shaking her head no when we try to get her to eat things and she is soooo done. Or when we try to keep her from falling asleep in the carseat and she is soooo tired. it is her game of non-compliance. :)
  6. open and close. Open and close. Especially cupboards. Her favorite is the media cabinet. Of course, she also thinks it is fun to pull out all the DVDs, but who can blame her?
Gwen's favorite outings:
  1. zoo. She loves to people watch and crawl around in the aquarium and slap at the fish. She hasn't really gotten excited about big, distant animals yet. She likes the Langurs, the baby Elephant, and the fish. But especially all the kids!!!!
  2. grocery store. She is the center of attention, she knows it, and she loves it. She also likes to hold every item of produce before I bag it up. Sometimes I let her keep something. Once she went absolutely crazy over cantaloupe and sat it up next to her with her arm around it the entire time. She also loves to steal my list, my pen, my calculater, and my wallet (when I pay).
  3. walk in the stroller. never more content then when she is loungin on a walk.
  4. visiting any place where I will let her crawl around and explore, especially other people's houses where there is a baby around.
Gwen's favorite friends:
  1. Giraffe (bed time--Thanks Mama Allan's friend), pink elephant (bed time--Thanks Grandma Hart), Henry (nap time--Thanks Grandma Allan!), monkey (living room--Thanks my old District Leader that had a crush on me), mini monkey #2 (living room, but usually in the kitchen), Mr. Greenhead (diaper bag--Thanks Great Grandma Ian), lambie (toy shelf--Thanks Dee!), mini bear (toy shelf), yellow chick (carseat)... and any other stuffed animal that happens to have eyeballs... :) She loved the Smith's Elmo and tries to take other babies' dolls from them. Oh, and did I mention she thinks her knit hat (Thanks Linz!) is a stuffed animal and hugs it to her, drags it around the house, and plays with the pom poms?
  2. Goldfish. She likes the crawdad too, but gets very chatty, slaps the tank, sticks her mouth on it (gross!), etc whenever the goldfish is visible. She's trying to get his attention.
  3. Lucy, Shane, Luke, Charlotte, Whitney... oh wait, I guess I could just summarize by saying ANY BABY THAT EXISTS!!!! She tries to climb on them, loves to slap their heads, and tries to poke things. She is kinda pushy.
That is your glimpse at the inner workings or our 11 month old Gwen! I'll try to get some photos up later, especially of some of these things that I think are so... fun... and I want to remember!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Edified at the Feet of Christ

Today, I felt like this woman:

as I sat listening to the inspired teachings of modern day Prophets and Apostles, I felt that I was sitting at the feet of my Savior, Jesus Christ, enjoying the peace and love radiating from His messages of hope. I loved all the uplifting stories of faith, the funny analogies and personal experiences shared, and knowing that my loved ones were hearing the same inspiring and inspired things.

So many words were for me in my calling as a teacher,
in my role as a mother and wife,
and in my potential as a daughter of God.

I feel a greater desire to be better,
to draw nearer to my Savior
and partake of His freely offered Love more deeply,
and to more fully offer that love again to my fellow man--
especially my family.

If you missed Conference, take time to view it online. If you don't know what I'm talking about, drop by this website. I know you will feel the Spirit of the Lord and the incomprehensible love of our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ. You won't regret it.

ps. Gwen's favorite parts were dancing to the choir music. She thought that was grand.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Taking a Risk-- Are you Up for it?

What is it about applying to a program-- even one that logically you know you are pretty much the best candidate they've got applying-- that makes you feel like, oh, I don't know, like 'what if they don't want me?'
Seriously, in the moment when you should feel most confident as you are keenly aware of your own qualifications-- instead you envision yourself receiving the polite rejection letter?
I spent most of my free time yesterday during Gwen's naps working on such an application and found that by bed time I was feeling so worried and frazzled I found myself crying unexpectedly (and, no, it isn't that time of the month)... I decided not to even work on it today. Considering how great I feel about the program, how certain I am that my prayers have been answered, how excited about the coursework, and how confident I truly am that I will be accepted without any problems, why is it that I feel sooooooo nervous? Isn't that strange? Today since I'm not writing essays or filling out online applications or writing emails requesting academic references from professors, I feel...



Perhaps simply because an application is a risk, putting myself out there, actively hoping for something that might not happen the way I'd like. Kind of like the way I hesitate to try to sell any of my paintings. If I don't put em up for sale, then I can always imagine they'd go like hotcakes! But if I DO and I can't get a decent price on any, well, then I can no longer delude myself into thinking they're sorta good. Or I could just not ever try for anything and never be disappointed, but that would be silly and scaredy-cattish of me. Either way, I guess too much thinking about it just gets me nervous. So I won't. Today. Then when I've sufficiently replenished my "bravery" stores, I'll put myself back on the confidence chopping block tomorrow.

ps. feel free to ask away about what I'm hoping to do, but I might not answer until I have an acceptance letter in hand, just cuz I don't want to get my hopes up too high. and talking about it excitedly would only make it worse if I don't actually get in... which really isn't going to happen, right?, but just in case...