Monday, December 21, 2009

Taking 3 Steps!

Guess who took 3 steps unassisted last night? That's right! Our very own Gwen! (and if you're one of those people who absolutely has to be right and you guessed me or Eric, I suppose that is true too. Congratulations. You win.) Eric and I were proud as peacocks when she walked, even if it wasn't very far. Hooray! So how long til she's totally walking EVERYWHERE all by herself? Vote in the poll!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Do you Feel there are Expectations for Christmas blog posts?

I feel like this is the time of year when I ought to be making incredibly meaningful posts about faith, service, family, memories and especially a Babe born in Bethlehem. Pressure is on, ya know?
But while I FEEL grateful for my Savior and enjoy focusing upon His birth... I don't have any inspiring thoughts to share that we all haven't already felt. My older sister had a wonderful post about finding Christ in Christmas. My younger sister had a wonderful post about acts of kindness and giving. I've got... well, I feel like the only things I have to say right now are pretty boring or mundane.

Who wants to read about the hours I've spent trying to send out Christmas cards, the corners we cut to try to make it affordable, the anxiety when we realized it was still about 100 dollars if you included stamps?

Along those lines, who wants to read about our determination to go cheap next year in all the gift, card, and package sending departments next year after the stress of realizing how much things cost this year?

Who wants to hear about the planning way back in August and September to make this year's Christmas goodies for our local friends, the time it took to label and tie ribbon on each, the joy of delivering them?

Who wants to hear about our role this year as rides to the airport since we are one of the only families here til Christmas, the stress of forgetting to pick someone up, the joy of chatting with them in the car as they prepare to reunite with loved ones for the holidays, the satisfaction and peace from serving where we can?

Who wants to read about the challenges of working out about a million different problems with paying tuition and registering for classes that begin in January, the anxiety it causes me, the insomnia, or the annoyance of being on-hold for 45 minutes only to be transferred to an answering machine of someone who doesn't call you back ever?

Who wants to know the details of my lack of computer skills, the fights I've had with technology as I'm making Christmas gifts, the frustration as hours of preparation goes down the drain when there is an error during the burning process, and another DVD joins his buddies in the trash?

Who wants to hear how grateful I am for Baby Einstein, for small distractions for the lil gal, for friends to play with, and friends to take toys from, and especially for days when she takes both her naps blissfully?

See, I haven't even made Christmas cookies. I probably won't. I haven't served in the community this year unless you count the rides to the airport. Other than that, I probably won't. I haven't bought new or donated old items to needy families. Unless you count the quilts at the beginning of the month, I probably won't. I haven't caroled. We probably won't. I just don't have anything inspiring this Christmas.

I hesitate to ask this, because I'm not sure I want to know the answer... But,
Do you think that means I'm not focusing enough on Christ?

Does anyone else feel like there is a strange pressure this time of year to be extremely inspirational in their posts?

Does it Seem Weird to Anyone Else that Christmas is Only a Week Away?

I can hardly believe it.

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nmjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj njjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjwqjjjjjjjjmwwep[wewepwphyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyhhhhhh kimlo, mlop????///////////////// =
b/////////'u/' /'yu7

Okay, Gwen was jealous of my typing and had to put in her 2 cents.
While this just might be a better post if I leave it at that, I originally wanted to say that I truly cannot believe Christmas is only a week away! Cold, yes, but no snow, hardly any Christmas lights, and only heavier traffic to indicate people are shopping. Even here at home-- it has really snuck up on me.
I keep day dreaming about large white flurries, hot cocoa, light Christmas music in the background, curling up with a book... but I probably ought to be grateful for no snow since we are driving to my parents'. Oh, Gwen wants to type again. I better go.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Gwen's Strange Food Preferences

No posts for a while. There are reasons. I am trying very hard to only take on daily what I can successfully accomplish, lest I become overwhelmed and burdened rather than enjoying. I am winning! But that means fewer posts on the blog. You understand, I am sure.

I had to get this event down for posterity. It is evidence of Gwen's independence at the dinner table and her strange appetite:

One night last week Gwen refused mashed potatoes one dinner.
Then didn't want carrots (what?)
then shook her head and leaned away wimpering when I even offered a bite of cake (???)

guess what she wanted?

No, you'll never guess. So I'll just tell you.


Yup, lettuce with a dab of Asian Toasted Sesame dressing on it.
She ate an adult sized salad portion.
I can't account for her independent eating desires
or her taste preferences...
but she's healthy, I guess! No complaints there! :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

My Hubby is a Sweetie, if I may Brag for a Moment

2nd blog post in one week for bragging on my dear Eric. I guess you could say I'm very proud of my husband. I'm also very grateful for him. I know the Lord answers my prayers... and usually, it is through Eric.
This time I'm bragging because he planned and carried out a romantic dinner for our date night this past Saturday. Not an anniversary, not a holiday, not a birthday... just because. He kept all the ingredient shopping a surprise, secretively kept me out of the kitchen while he chopped and chopped and chopped, presented an appetizer of bruschetta while Gwen was still awake (since I was getting really hungry), and then sat me down to a candle-lit dinner after she was in bed.
On the menu: romaine, orange and olive salad with a special homemade orange vinaigrette. Then a bed of shiitake, oyster, and portabella mushrooms sauteed in olive oil and apple cider plus some thin sliced, browned, and then baked potatoes topped with Italian seasoned shrimp. The special sauce drizzled on top was a carmelized stock of vegetables and shrimp. To drink: pear sparkling cider. Everything was perfectly delicious!
Then we snuggled down for a chick flick with the Christmas tree twinkling in the background. It was a wonderful night! I felt so pampered and really appreciate how Eric sacrifices to make me feel special. He is AMAZING!!!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Quilt Project from Beginning to End

I have been working on these a long time, but wanted to blog the project from beginning to end rather than in snippets. It all began when my mom (hi Mommy!) gave me a huge tupperware container of extra material last year. At the time, I was still in the very beginning stages of sewing. I wasn't sure how I would ever use all that material. Some of it was extremely nostalgic for me, however, as I recognized the purple heart material that was used for a quillow made by mom and the green puppy dog print that was my brother's. I knew I wanted to use this material for something special. But since I didn't know what, it sat. For almost a year.

At General Conference this past October (just a couple of months ago), as I listened to President Monson's address about giving freely as much as we can give, I was reminded of all that fabric. I also knew that I would (hopefully-- at that time I was not yet accepted) be starting Grad school in January and my free time to do such large projects would be significantly diminished. I decided there is no better time to act than the present. Good intentions weren't going to do a lick of good. Then I found out about the Homeless Families Foundation (a local organization that helps families transitioning from shelters to apartments) apartment that burned down and their immediate needs... and I was set with a recipient organization in mind!

I solicited help from the beginning. Erica and Carrie helped me cut squares and measure fabric.

Robyn supplied me with a ton of blue fabric to match the back for the second twin blanket. To save money, I used all the scraps rather than purchase fabric. It was a lot of work, but I loved the project. I especially loved working on the baby blanket tops since they were smaller and more manageable. The blue twin was definitely the hardest. Ellen graciously helped me do the batting and remaining material shopping with her JoAnn's coupons, and volunteered to sew the top for the purple twin. That purchase was only possible because of so many generous monetary donations from R.S. In the mean time, I put together all the blankets with top-batting-bottom in preparation for help quilting them.
Then we had a quilt club night and invited the entire Relief Society, neighbors, and friends to come help quilt one twin and several baby blankets. Jenni and Katie lent their quilting frames and we had so many people come to help! Even severely overdue pregnant ladies came to participate! People even volunteered to take blankets home to finish them.
I ended up getting help sewing the binding on all the baby blankets, plus several other blankets made at home were added to the pile for donating! It was a wonderful joy to see that stack grow!
We had a second quilting afternoon to finish up the purple twin (and this time I remembered to take a picture!). Then Jenni took the purple to do the binding and Ellen took the blue to do the binding. What angels!
Here is a picture of the two quilts and as many of the sisters who participated as possible!
Thanks everyone! They look lovely! I know those families will really appreciate them!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Gwen Meets Scary Santa

Ward Christmas Party...
Gwen's first meeting with Santa...
the obligatory terror that resulted...
This collage says it all: she bawled.
until I saved her from the scary Santa, held her the whole time, and she realized he was going to reach in that big sack and give her something. She got a Belle flute recorder and was happy to chew on it. If you want to see her crying reaction in more detail, click on the picture and it gets bigger.

Eric's Studly Herb Light Project

My hubby is AMAZING!!! In addition to his duties on his rotations AND studying AND playing with Gwen AND getting the oil changed...He rigged up this special light for my herbs! They were really struggling with only 2 hours of sunlight in the morning (you can see from the pic just how much they are struggling!). But this is the ONLY window sill in our house, really, that we could put these plants for the winter. I bemoaned the loss of some plants to my dear hubby... and this is what he did:

He used a cord from an old broken vacuum,
spliced it to connect to the light,
then attached a timer so that it goes on and off automatically.
Then he rigged up this lovely pulley system so we can raise and/or lower the light as needed.
Plus it was a lot easier to hang and
we didn't need heavy duty holes that we'd have to patch up later!
Now our bedroom is brighter than any other room in the house!
Okay, you can all agree with me:


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Random Animal Thoughts

Want to know something random that I just thought of? Ever realized that we say:

and these don't really count because they don't get a new affectionate name but why not add monkey and turkey since they already have an 'ie' sound

pretty much any small animal or any cute animal can be made into an "ie". You'd never say, 'look, it's the lil lionie.' or 'see the pretty peliconie'. I doubt anyone has ever tried to make a moose into a moosie, an elk into an elkie, a tiger into a tigerie, an elephant into an elephantie, or a whale into a whalie. Also, in general, unattractive animals don't become "ie"s. I don't know how turkeys slipped past that one. The affectionate title seems to be reserved for small and cute, but especially for everyday or farm animals. Things kids might see regularly. That's why even cute and small exotic specimens like penguins might be excluded. Again, I don't know how monkeys made the cut. But, they don't REALLY count because they don't change from their normal name into an affectionate name, they just get lucky with their normal name. So, my thesis is: cute, small, everyday animals can be made 'affectionate' with an "ie" ... EXCLUDING COWS!!! Now, I think cows can be cute. and horses didn't get left out because of their large size... so why don't we say