Monday, October 31, 2011

The Littlest Pumpkin

Most of you, like me, probably remember trying to find the BIGGEST pumpkin to carve when you were little, or at the very least, the one with the most personality. Well, Grandma wanted Gwen to get a chance at choosing her own pumpkin for carving. So she took us down to a cute lil pumpkin store. The patch was across the street, supplying all the pumpkins for the store. But that meant the store was cute and child-friendly, just the perfect size for wandering unattached without fear of losing anybody. Gwen loved the freedom to explore.
She was excited about this maze until she realized they had put some plywood down over the hay bales to create a 'tunnel'. Then she was done.
After that distraction officially behind her, the real process of choosing her own pumpkin began. Grandma said she could pick out any she wanted.
We pointed out the huge carving pumpkins. "Oh," she said, "they're Daddy ones. But where are the baby ones?". Hmmm.
So we pointed out the pumpkins with personality. "Oh", she said, "it's squished. But where is my baby one?". Hmmm.

So we pointed out the eggshaped ones. "Oh," she said, "but where's my lil pumpkin for me?"

....Apparently, she was not interested in pie pumpkins either, calling them Mommy pumpkins. Or gourds, because they didn't look like pumpkins.
But when she found the smallest pumpkins in the whole place-- these tiny lil ghost pumpkins--it was love at first sight. She picked out the very smallest one she could find, cradled it in her hands, and cooed "Oh, here's my lil baby pumpkin! I love you so much!"
Caroline and Aunt Elise

and, no, we didn't attempt to carve it. Gwen loved her littlest pumpkin so much!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Caroline's Personality

I love how Caroline is beginning to assert herself. What I mean is, she is expressing preferences, likes and dislikes.

She loves jumping.
She loves clapping her feet if she is wearing shoes.
and she loves 'singing'...and actually, she really loves smacking things with one arm.
and I love to see how happy she is when she is doing something she loves. I can't help but smile!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Feeling Rich

There is something incredibly satisfying to me about storing up food. And it isn't because I have 'peace of mind' or feel prepared for an emergency. No, for me it feels more satisfying in the same way it is satisfying to put quarters in a piggy bank or make a deposit in the bank. Like I'm rich. Yeah, that sums it up. When I see all the jars lined up so prettily, I feel like a million bucks.

4 different varieties of salsa: 7 quarts and 7 pints
(had the 4 different kinds--chipotle roasted veggie, zesty lots of bell peppers, fiesta with cucumber, and jalapeno with lots of cilantro-- in 4 separate bowls on the table to try to keep them all straight). All of the spicy peppers (not the bell) the cilantro and the cucumber were from our garden.
applesauce from Melrose apples: 9 quarts

apple picking

It was surprisingly cold. So our photos aren't necessarily picturesque. More like brusque. Because we were trying to get our stash and get out before Gwen could say "Ina go home" for the umpteenth time. All these came from before she decided she was cold. She is playing with apples that fell on the ground... they were in various stages of decomposition. I know, kinda gross. She didn't seem deterred though. Luckily she was persuaded to eat a new one, rather than one of those. :)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Cumple anos y butterflies

Our neighbors have a daughter only 2 weeks older than Gwen. These girls are great friends... a love-hate relationship, actually, because they really like each other's favorite toys. :) Well, lil "A" had a birthday party early, and Gwen was invited. I think we were almost the only ones there NOT Spanish speakers. Didn't seem to phase Gwen, though. She jumped right in and got her face painted with a butterfly, then had a balloon made into a butterfly.
funny story: Gwen got to try her hand at a pinata. She was timid and didn't break anything, in fact she hardly managed to hit it. But afterwards, she was talking with her daddy:

Gwen: lightly hitting Eric's shoulder
Eric: "Gwen, what are you doing? Why are you hitting daddy?"
Gwen: "Daddy, I beat the candy out of you!"

LOL, gotta love it!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

On the Pumpkin Farm

Our church is really great about bringing people together, helping to make everyone feel comfortable and welcome. I love this about our congregation. It makes Ohio home and so many of my friends are like family. One dear friend organized a fun outing to a pumpkin patch. The turn out wasn't as large as normal because the weather advertised rain... but none came. In fact, the weather was pretty much perfect because there was a nice cool breeze but the sun was warm and bright. We had a wonderful time with our close-knit group and our children running around together.

Caroline was kind of a stinkerpot (she had her immunizations the day before) and so I sent Gwen on the hay ride with friends (thanks so much you guys!) while I waited with the squirt in the stroller.
There is something so comforting and down-to-earth about being on a farm. I love seeing my lil "sprouts" growing and am reminded of the work it takes to cultivate them... and the obvious rewards of putting plenty of care towards the eventual harvest. And you know, there is definitely a daily harvest too. :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Crawdads with Daddy

While I took Caroline to a baby shower for a friend, Eric had some daddy-daughter time with Gwen. Gettin crawdads! They came home with a pretty lil fish, small crawdads, and a nice fat polliwog for the fishtank. Gwen seems to have had a great time... and I think she feels special affection for our fish tank inhabitants because she had a role in bringing them home. She wants to feed them about every 10 minutes. :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

my family makes me smile

no further explanation required. Just watch and smile.

video taken mid october, 2011

The questions she asks at the end is "What happened to my castle?" LOL, I don't know why that is so funny to me, but it is!

Haunted House

Gwen loves this Haunted House that I made when I was pregnant with her. Actually, long story, it is actually the SAME house I adored growing up. My mom couldn't find another one for me, so she color copied the entire thing and sent me the sheets to cut out, glue together, then laminate. It was a tedious process, but it is definitely worth it. Last year, Gwen called it a 'barn' and wanted to play with it. But I wouldn't let her. This year I thought she was old enough to give it a try.

It became the newest 'doll house' and she was enamored! She woke up for the next week with the request, "I go downstairs and see my scary house?" as the first thing she said to me in the morning. Hey, at least it was a change from "I watch a show?" as her first request! Here she is playing with Daddy.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ships that have Sailed

No pictures of the girls on this post. Just a lot of thoughts. Here is an instance when my blog is my journal. so only read on if you are actually interested in what goes on in my head. If not, if you just like the funny posts, you are under no obligation to continue. I promise, I won't get my feelings hurt. :)

During our long day of flying to come back out to Idaho, Eric and I had opportunity to talk about a million different things. But the one that really stuck out to me--because I haven't taken time to really think about it...EVER-- was our discussion about 'wishes' or 'desires' or 'dreams' or whatever you would like to call them. A discussion about all the possible things we almost did with our lives as far as education and profession goes. Now I'm not talking about when you are 6 and you want to be a firefighter or when you are 10 and think you will be the next Jane Goodall (um, yes, that was my goal in 3rd-5th grade). Those dreams are valid, but my thoughts revolve around the choices in HS and college that shape your 'career'. Do you ever have those 'what if' moments? Like I said, I had never really thought about all the things I almost did, until now. Suddenly 'what if' is more on my mind.

I love art. and I love biological science. In my younger years, I was pretty good at it, if I do say so myself. I'm not even kidding when I tell you that at the end of 10th grade I told my adviser I wanted to illustrate biology textbooks as a career. I think I would have been amazing at it. Eric tells me there is actually HUGE demand for qualified science-artists who can illustrate what the intellectuals can't. But, that ship has definitely sailed. I don't remember much biology. And this field would not afford me the interaction with people that I thrive on.

I thought about being an architect. The art and engineering was both lovely and challenging... but I was intimidated and scared to pursue such an ambitious field. Plus, BYU didn't have an architecture program. If they had, I might have given it a shot. But that ship has sailed too. I am neither prepared to go into such a rigorous field nor confident that I could design anything fabulous. I guess I will just have to be one of those admirer/critics that appreciates fantastic architecture when she sees it.

Then I was going to be an industrial designer. Again, that combination of art and science was so intriguing to me. But I got in there and realized I was not trendy enough to make really great designs, nor skilled enough to really master all the industrial materials, nor interested in the huge time commitment and ridiculous work hours. I didn't fit in the program and really didn't see myself fitting in the profession. Again, I can admire great design when I see it... but don't want to be the one making it.

I thought I'd make a pretty fabulous landscape architect because I love gardening and being outdoors. But I got talked out of it (I won't say by whom), which I think is a shame. Because I could have been great in this field. But that ship has sailed too because going into landscape would require full time education which I'm not willing to do with little kids... and let's face it, when they aren't little any more, I probably won't want to do it then either. I'll probably keep it as a hobby-- or at least be an annoying client looking over the shoulder of whomever comes to trim our trees when I'm 50. :)

I thought about floral design-- the hands on, almost sculptural elements were satisfying along with the 'outdoorsy' quality to it. The foil, of course, is the business side of things. Plus it could easily digress into floral grunt work and lose that creative, stimulating quality. It can't be all weddings and events, there are also the 'boring' bouquets and balloon thingies.

I thought about illustration because it is a career with a more stable paycheck. I could definitely have done that, and I suppose that door hasn't entirely closed, but it would require self-marketing and business sense.... which, shamefully, I don't possess much of. Which, by the way, is why I would make a terrible 'artist'. I'm not interested in trying to get into the gallery scene, which is where the money is to begin until commissions come in. And that's just it. I'm not eager to seek out commissions.

I love sculpture. That hands on thing again. And I can do it outside or work with natural materials like wood and stone that are just so satisfying. I'm very good in sculpture too, it comes naturally to me. And my work is actually-gasp-right up there with my competition instead of mediocre (like my painting). but it is a)expensive. equipment and materials. b)space consuming. equipment and materials. c) time consuming. I want to focus on my family. and d)marketing. the bane of my artistic pursuits. I guess sculpture will just remain a strong desire-- or a very expensive hobby, if we ever have the money to make that a reality.

Then there are the fields like culinary arts that would be amazing because I LOVE to cook, I love the intellectual, scientific challenge of it combined with the sculptural element to food presentation. Or there are the performing arts that I would have LOVED to actually do something with-- musical theater particularly. Though I'm not the best dancer, so that would probably have been a flop. Still, there are always community productions...

So then we come to teaching. Because that is the field I'm actually pursuing. I can take the art I love--and all those talents at appreciating good design that I DIDN'T create-- and combine it with an art history intellectualism I'm good at and teaching skills that aren't too shabby either... and voila! you've got a career that is flexible enough to allow me the familial focus I demand, stable (hopefully) so I'm actually employable, artistic but without business savvy, and intellectually challenging. I think this is the best I'm going to get at this point. And I think I'll be good at it. and I am excited to teach.

but sometimes I wonder...

especially those hands-on or science-oriented fields that would be so fun...
what if...

But you know what? An entire fleet of possibilities has sailed. And it won't do me any good to mourn their departure. I'm not on a leaky rowboat or anything, I've got a decent rig--- and my beautiful family is here with me too. So while it may not be the first dream or the most exciting or exotic dream I've had, it is a fit. And for those of you who successfully caught the ship I dreamed of catching at one time or another, I'll admit sometimes I'm jealous of you. But I also don't begrudge you your happiness. Maybe I'll take a vacation tour on one of your ships some day. In the mean time. I've got a ship to sail (aka, a paper to finish) and a family on whom I need to focus. Today is infinitely more vital than possible tomorrows of yesterday. So to all those ships that have sailed...

bon voyage.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

the cabin: everything else

on the porch

Blowing bubbles with Aunt Elise
Goin on a bike ride, Eric and Gwen jogging alongside for a spell.
"Cuz, I'm just so sad cuz I want my mama"... be assured, I did return from the bike ride. Until then, luckily Gwen had an 'empathetic' daddy.
Typical Gwen. Silly.
Gwen is cute from behind
Gwen and Grandpa
Grandma with sickie Caroline. When the babe was struggling for sleep, Mama Allan had the magic touch. Baby Whisperer.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lessons from my Children

I was contemplating what makes motherhood so integral to eternal existence. I enjoy motherhood the most when I see my children happy, when I see their faces light up with enthusiasm for discovering the beauty in the world around us, when I see the tenderness in relationships. The rewards are obvious when Gwen squeals to see me after nursery and screams out "MAMA!!!!" with arms thrown out wide in anticipation of a hug. But eternity isn't always beautiful along the way. Like this morning when she threw a 25 minute tantrum because I attempted to get her pj's off, diaper exchanged for panties, and clothes on so we could go have fun picking pumpkins with some friends. What about the 'joy' of motherhood then?

and I thought of so many dear friends of mine who have not yet been blessed with children in their homes. Years and years of hopes, dreams, that longing and waiting and not wanting to give up hope but each time it doesn't work out the heartache is more painful.

and I thought of children around the world and locally too who do not feel loved by their mothers, if they even know them. Eric and I watched a documentary in which one beautiful girl says, "most girls are born from a mother... I was just BORN."

and I thought of some friends that have not necessarily enjoyed their calling as a mother: perhaps losing themselves in the service of others is less pleasurable if that sacrifice results in not knowing the face in the mirror at the end of the day.

and I thought of a talk by Sheri Dew called "Are we not all mothers". She suggests that even those without children can 'mother' a child, whether a family member, friend, student, or neighbor. Mother is synonymous with nurturer.

and I thought of our Savior. The perfect Exemplar of nurturing... and of patience... and how He can make all that is challenging about motherhood: the waiting and desire, the daily grind and frustration, the emptiness of NOT having a mother-child relationship and proper love, the struggle to be better, or whatever aspect of motherhood might be hard....He can make it all okay. He can counsel and lift and support and comfort and guide and teach and love and make it possible for each of us to overcome challenges and ourselves to be the MOTHER we desire to be.

to me, Motherhood is more than just successfully bearing a child. There are plenty of women who have kids but don't magnify their role as mothers. And there are plenty of women who don't have kids of their own that are AMAZING mothers. I am in awe of those women because they are better at mothering than I am, and I get more practice at it.

Caroline had her 6 month appointment yesterday. I've mentioned numerous times that she was sick pretty much for a whole month in Idaho/Utah. She' better now, but she's still got this horrible cough that only rears its head at night. Poor thing, it sounds awful. and she isn't sleeping really well. We've been home for a couple of weeks now and it hasn't really gotten better. But only at night. During the day, she is happy as a clam. She has been back to her chipper, active, sweet, happy self here. Well, at her appointment yesterday we found out why the cough has persisted: she's got an ear infection. What amazes me, is that we had NO IDEA because she was still such a sweet, pleasant baby. No fussiness. (That was before immunizations, of course. But we'll ignore that for now) She is an example to me of not complaining, of choosing happiness, of choosing to be happy NOW even if conditions aren't perfect. Why wait for that golden ticket to the chocolate factory? Why not be happy now? Why look down? Why not look up to a better view?

My point is: my children teach me to be more like my Savior. And to me, THAT is what motherhood is all about, no matter WHAT COURSE that journey takes.

ps. Caroline's 6 month stats:
height: 26 1/4 in 75%
weight: 16 lb 2 oz 60%
head: 17 1/2 in 92%

pss. this post was prompted partly by Caroline's 6 month appointment, partly by General Conference thoughts, and partly by a blog Group Writing Project. As far as that goes, check it out for participation because there are prizes involved.

the cabin: the river

man, I have sooooo many fabulous photos from the cabin this time around, partly because my MIL sent me the gorgeous pics she took as well. I think THIS post will be all about the river and the next will be everything else.

The colors were softly vibrant (is that an oxymoron?) with gorgeous slate and cornflower blues contrasting against warm golden yellows with some grey-white and sage green all mixed in there too. A color scheme I TRULY adore. I think it is so peaceful. and the location was intoxicatingly peaceful too, not just the color scheme. and I'm trying to select only my fave photos to share.Gwen and Grandpa
Grandma and Gwen
Gwen was drawn to the water, not surprisingly. Keep in mind that we were in the mountains, kinda cold water and all. But she was undaunted. She wanted to get in. What began as a shoes and socks off endeavor quickly became pants and then shirt off adventure. If she had been allowed, she'd have stripped off her diaper too and gotten even more soaked. Her toes were purple by the time we got her out (not that she came out willingly), but she loved it all the same. She wanted to go back, but we never got time again after that. She is kind of a fish. It is cute.

while still fully clothed.
Me and Caroline
Eric flyfishing--- such a beautiful sport. I love the line shining through the air.
Gwen was captivated too.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Aunt Marian took Gwen and me along with lil E and not-so-lil S to see an outdoor train exhibit. It was a gorgeous day, the train was really cool, and there was plenty to entertain. Gwen loved it! Only challenge was trying to explain to her that she couldn't touch it...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Great Grandparents in Mapleton

Great Grandpa Collin and Great Grandma Peggie came up to see us... Of course Gwen had G-gpa helpin her on the trampoline. And Caroline got some snuggles with G-gma, though she was sick (again) and didn't enjoy herself.

and then they had us at their place in Mapleton for a few days. Gwen had time to see horses and bunnies
and of course, visit the lil hideout across the homemade bridge (that her daddy helped build when HE was a kid, incidentally),
and... get into equipment that she shouldn't.

Funny train of photos because you can see the drama when G-gpa told her she shouldn't be kneeling in there or touching it because of the oil and dirt. He gently pulled her away. and she bawled. had to hug mama. then she wouldn't hold g-gpa's hand again until he helped her forget that she was upset at him by showing her some wild berries. She's such a drama queen.

There were blackberries for picking

and playing time with G-gma

G-gma with Caroline... still sick, I should add.
and Gwen happy as can be with a lego super gun that some more "cousins" helped her build.
A really great time!!!!