Thursday, December 31, 2009

Can you feel it?

Take 3 fingers and lightly drum them on your arm. That's what it feels like when you first notice your baby kicking. But that only lasts a couple of days. After that, it's pretty unmistakable. More like being tapped with a mallet and then jabbed with a knuckle. The baby is only 6 inches long. I'm not sure how it packs such a punch. Michael has even felt it.
Yay for baby kicks!!
Ultrasound next week!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things

When i first started blogging, i made a list of my favorite things. Near the top of that list was "Tallulahs Packages" and my friends all asked me, "What's a Tallulahs Package?" so i promised them ages ago i would write about them. Really the packages themselves are pretty fabulous.

package pix by J.P. Hopper
Of Course, it's what's in the packages that's exciting.

Michelle isn't actually IN the package. Just the necklace.
Cindy and Barb met when their Air Force husbands were stationed in Valdosta, Ga, but often deployed to remote areas of the world for months on end. They had so many little children between them that none of the other mothers wanted to "play" with them. So they took care of each other, supported each other with chicken soup when sick, listened through mommy meltdowns when necessary, and laughed. And laughed some more. A strong bond was formed. That bond included similar design ideas, artistic dreaming and loads of creative energy. They spend hours pouring over magazines, creating clever things and being asked by friends to make more creative things for them. Eventually the pair and their families both got transferred to Anchorage , Alaska. Lonely, Sun-deprived Air Force wives who needed an outlet for their creative energy, they started sewing yummy flannel baby blankets (can you believe i found this picture of Karlee wrapped in a Tallulahs blankie on my computer?) Then they began to quilt and paint and experiment with home decor (well, Cindy admits that she sat around looking at magazines for ideas and Barb painted and decorated :). They quickly found that they worked well together and although their design styles are unique they complemented each other and together, they began a lifetime foray into new and even more amazing artistic endeavors. Pretty soon, these two lulus became Tallulahs.

One of their best pursuits(so far) has been making jewelry. One thing i love about Tallulahs is that they use precious metals (I love the sterling silver) and real semi-precious stones in their jewelry and their craftsmanship is first rate. The kind of jewelry they make is the kind you will be able to pass down for generations and the style is classic and sophisticated. You won't want to pass it on but your daughters definitely will want you to. Mine already bug me about wearing it every Sunday(or "when you die" they add). They don't want my other jewelry. They want Tallulahs. They can already spot quality, i guess.

They've been making and selling their jewelry to locals in Atlanta, Auburn, St. Louis, Anchorage, Houston, Chicago and Snailwell, England, and Kaysville, Utah(I know, that doesn't sound "local" but they have friends and family living in all those places) for years. And lucky us Wasatch Front locals!! They are allowing me and my sisters to have a "Sample Sale" with some of their inventory. The sale will be at my house in Bountiful on November 14, 2009 from 1:00-4:00 PM (just in time for Christmas-stuff your own stocking!!) We have a pretty big selection of inventory that we have the opportunity to offer at a 40% discount. Of course, you can always order their fabulous designs at the Tallulahs Website (yes, that is my gorgeous niece on the home page) and if you want to see another beautiful model (heh) displaying some of them, here ya go...

If you are as fascinated by the creative mind as i am, you will also want to read Cindy's blog. Of course she claims that the only reason i want to share her blog with you is so that you can compare my closet with hers. It isn't true. It's because i love the way her eyes see the world and I love to sit at a cafe and watch her watch people and since she lives on the other side of the country! this is the easiest way to indulge. She is a beautiful woman and an inspiration to me on so many levels. Thanks, Cindy!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

This is the Place

"A Place for Everything and Everything in it's Place" was the dream my mother had when we were children. That was the problem. I was pretty sure it was just a dream. Then I met Cherie. And it took me a few years knowing her to believe that she truly knows exactly what she owns and where every bit of it is.

Mudroom "System"

You may know that Cherie is an organizing guru. She is also my own personal angel. Not really, she spends her life in the service of all her friends and neighbors. Still, we are determined to get my house "organized" once and for all. Actually, if there is anything i've learned from Cherie, it is that there is no "once and for all." There is only repetition. She "dejunks" her whole house at least twice a year. Therein lies the key to knowing all her stuff. It isn't that she has all that infernal much less than i do. The difference is she touches everything she owns at least every 170 days. Oh, and her memory might be a little better than mine :).
I've also learned that you've got to have a system that works for you. That's my first big challenge. My brain just doesn't work that way. When something isn't working for me, and she suggests that i do it a different way, i (usually) think, "That makes sense. Why didn't i think of that?"
So i went to a local discount chain store (okay, Walmart) the other day to pick up some Sterilite containers for a project and the thing that makes me want to say bad words is that every season, Sterilite changes the styles of their drawers and boxes. When i'm finished organizing something, i want it to look nice and i want the new containers i use to stack nicely with the containers i used last time. Is that so much to ask? I mean, i know that the containers are not THAT expensive. If i wanted to, i guess i could just buy all new containers every time, but i have dozens of these containers going on in several rooms of my home. I should count them. i bet i have a hundred. And i just hate that the 27quart containers from last year won't even sit straight on top of the 27 quart from this year and if you pull the drawer open, the whole unit comes crashing down on your head. Argghh!
Another big challenge i face is curiosity. Cherie is always amazed at what lengths (or heights) my children will go to to "undo" my organizational efforts. I've just started realizing myself that when i "lose" my keys or my phone, more than half of the time, they aren't lost, but have been stolen and hidden. Sometimes the little thieves even remember that they've committed the crime and what they've done with the evidence. But it's also that they are interested in what i'm doing and what treasures i've uncovered on my foray. So they pick them up and carry them off. Sigh.

Game Closet "System"
One last thing... okay, two: first, how do i get people (my children and my husband) to use the organizational systems i so painstakingly create? I mean, i get that the labeling is for me, so i won't have to think through the process again (and again), but really, let's just put things back where we get them so we can find them next time. And then finally, will someone please tell me how to go from whining blogger to someone who can actually make a difference in the world (how can i contact the Sterilite Company and offer my valuable insight?)?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Handcart Heartburn

it's 4:30 A.M. and my husband is shaking my shoulder, "we've got to go. come on."
"Are you kidding me? Oh, yeah. okay. Get the chairs. I'll be right up."
We decide not to wake up Wade since we think he needs his rest and we know he'll be grumpy by the time the fireworks are over tonight. Don't tell anyone, but the best spot for the parade is right in front of Zion's bank so we take our chairs up and sit by the wall of the bank and read our books until 7:00 A.M. when we are allowed to put our chairs out to the edge of the street to save our places for the parade at 6:00 P.M. Sound crazy? well, by 5:30 or 6:00 A.M. there aren't many places left. I mean, you can always come later and sit in the back, but then your kids have to climb over everyone to get the candy and you can't reach them and they could get killed by a fire
engine or something, right?
Cherie was in charge of the committee that built the float for our stake. This is the first time i was ever aware that she hates parades. How long have we been friends? I didn't even know it was possible to hate parades. What's to hate? the heat? the crowds? the children, tripping over each other to get candy and crying when they don't get a piece? the traffic? the noise? Karlee crying when the clowns come within half a block of her? The "give a kid a flag" float from which they force a paper or plastic miniature of the symbol of our nation into the hand of every toddler so that there is something to sweep from the parade route when it's all over?
What about the stuff to love? Landon, dancing to the music and waving his flag and cheering whenever he sees a car. Karlee, sharing the candy she catches with her little brother. Me, using Grant's pocket knife to extract Megan's orthodontic bracket from the wire so the tooth that is stuck to the taffy can come out of her mouth. Wade, in the parade, saving candy until he sees us and then dumping his bag out in his sister's outstretched hands. Seeing the float for 30 seconds that took your friends 30 days to build. Bagpipes. Michael, grimacing that we are only on the 89th out of 110 entries (and we were worried about Wade being grumpy).
But i realize, sitting at the parade, that it isn't just the parade I enjoy. It's the being with family and friends. The celebrating our nation and our state and our heritage. Sharing that with our children. Right after the fireworks start, with Landon huddled in my arms against the gunfire and cannonshot, i'm wondering if all the effort is worth it, i hear a tiny voice behind me say, "i like the colorful ones. they make me happy." Yeah. That's it. I like this. It makes me happy.

We have the best fireworks ever. it's kind of a smallish event, so you're sitting right under it and the pyros are so proud of their handiwork. Whenever there is a really cool set, the crowd whistles and cheers and when there is a piddly one, everyone laughs and says "ooooh!" Really, though, they are artists and at the end, they come out carrying little flare thingies and take a big bow and everyone gives them a standing ovation. Last night there was even a big explosion right after they bowed. Fun!

The funny thing is, by the time the fireworks were over, he was all about fireworks. Ask him next time you see him. Sound effects and actions and everything.

The BEST float in the whole parade!


Monday, April 13, 2009

Homemade Bread? Are you Kidding?

Well, I've been asked to take a few minutes to share my thoughts and experience with making homemade bread at our Home Family and Personal Enrichment class tomorrow night. So i need to get my thoughts in order and just in case i can't say everything i want to say in a "few minutes" i'll write it here so that everyone can read what i meant to say.

My mom made homemade rolls every Sunday that i can remember. She ground the wheat flour and mixed it half and half with store-bought white flour (wow, i sound like Laura Ingalls... my mom used the fancy store-bought sugar, too). I remember her Bosch bread mixer, but I also remember her kneading the bread by hand, after removing her wedding rings and setting them on the windowsill.

She taught all my older brothers and sisters to do it, too. so i had this vague impression that i would just be able to up and make a loaf of bread. Apparently, though, being the youngest of my mom's first family, i may not have had quite as many opportunities for growth as did my siblings. Sure, i knew how to make macaroni and cheese and (unlike some younger sisters of mine) i knew that you could cook a hot dog without a microwave oven and that cakes could be baked from scratch ("what's scratch?"). But i still have to call Mom(or Dad) sometimes for directions on a pot roast and few other "basics."

I've gone through nostalgic times where i yearn for the simplicity (?) of the olden days. I like the idea of hand-quilted blankets and hand-built butter churns and spinning wheels, so after being married for a couple of years (the 2nd time), i asked my mom if she would show me how to make bread... without the Bosch. Wow. What a... lot of work. Kinda therapeutic, though, all that punching. Unfortunately, it was still several years before all the stars aligned and i actually made bread on my own. I kept telling myself to start small, but with bread, there is no small.

Armed with knowledge, i then had to convince my husband that we needed a 300 some odd dollar bread mixer (none of that hand-kneaded stuff for this far-from-first-born child). Then i had to put up with interrogation concerning my intent for the next 3 years while i figured out what it was i really wanted out of life and my bread mixer. Then i needed pans and cotton towels and courage and willpower... and yeast. I had most of the other ingredients, except meanwhile, i had begun talking with Kaylyn, who is... well, let's just say she's conscious of issues relating to the health of her family. Kaylyn uses a variety of different grains in her bread for various nutritional (and psychological?) benefits. So of course, then i couldn't make my own bread until i had a "wheat" grinder. And Spelt and Millet and Rye and Pearled Barley and White Wheat and buckets to store it in and a new basement to store the buckets. Whew! I'm almost kidding about the new basement. I actually started MAKING BREAD about a year before we started construction on the addition to our home.
To get psyched up, i watched Darlene make bread a couple of times (isn't everything easier after you watch Rachael Ray do it?) and at family gatherings, i would pelt Darlene and Kaylyn with questions about the how when where why what who of bread making. It was a big relief to everyone when i actually MADE BREAD.

While we finished the addition to our home this last Summer, Fall, Thanksgiving and almost Christmas, I temporarily suspended the weekly bread-making. I asked Mike just the other day, if i died, is there anything you would miss about me? Can you believe he said "Your Bread." I may as well already be dead then. Except i guess there is some hope of bread in the future. hmmm... i wonder if (considering the pull his position gives him at church and all) he had anything to do with this "Take a Few Minutes" thing.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Too Old

So i guess Landon is too old to come everywhere with me. Peeking in the shower to say hello, he giggled, pointed and said, "ew!"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

i miss you

Dear Wade,
What I forgot to tell you earlier when I said you could leave if you thought home was such a bad place and I was such a “sucky” mom was that I will miss you and our family won’t be complete without you and we are having taco salad for dinner and you are welcome to come home whenever you want to.
I love you.

Friday, January 16, 2009

What are you scared of?

Cherie asked me the other day if i was scared of the future. I said that i was and she asked, "Why? What's the worst that can happen?" Knowing my personal beliefs, she knows i'm not afraid of death. I'm not. I'm afraid of the part before death. Cold. Hungry. Scared. Hurt. Watching others hurt. Discomfort. That's what it comes to: i'm afraid of not being comfortable.

I spent the day at Yvonne's house Monday, finishing up our latest illustration project and i froze! I asked Chris if he had fallen prey to that whole "turn your thermostat down one degree and you can save $50 a year" crapola. It felt like he'd been turning it down one degree a year since they've been married. Seriously, though, he said they just keep it cool because he is miserable if it is too hot. And I was a little uncomfortable. But i also realized that part of what made me so uncomfortable was the fact that when I heard about the energy savings, i thought to myself, "so it only costs $50 a year to be a little warmer?" and i turned my thermostat up a degree. I have acclimated myself to being 6 degrees warmer than I was that day.

That got me thinking. If i'm so afraid of being out of my comfort zone, maybe what i need to do is get myself used to a little less cozy lifestyle. Maybe i need to be a little cold and a little hungry and a little sore and a little scared. Just possibly i will be a better, stronger person if i turn my thermostat down a degree (or two). I might be better off if i exercise more. And eat a little less. If i stopped procrastinating the organizational tasks and awkward phone calling i'm supposed to do every day, i might even benefit in other ways.

So i'm doing that. Slowly. But i've also done some things that have made my lifestyle a lot cozier and more beautiful and fun. And i'm okay with that. When we decided to add on to this cute little house last Spring, we knew that it meant that we would probably be here for a while (God willing), so we decided to make it a little cuter and more functional while we were at it. We added a family room and a garage and we dug a basement under the family room to use as storage. Well, that meant the storage would be joining the house through our bedroom, so to me, that only meant one thing: WALK-IN CLOSET!!! We have a kind of funny shaped bedroom. it's long and skinny, but the closet on the end was really smallish. I'm to blame, but when we finished the basement the first time, i couldn't see any way around it. I should have covered up one of the ridiculously teeny totally useless windows. Okay, i'm sure if my life depended on it, i could get out of it, but maybe not if i was pregnant, and no way could a fully-dressed fireman get in or out. Our closet was built by Michael and Grant and Roland and Paul Crowther, and painted by me (thank you, thank you) but the shelves are from IKEA. Brilliant. I even put some of it together. William and Conor and Grant and Michael and Darlene helped, but i couldn't believe how easy it went together. Above is the view from the entrance. This is "my" wall of closets(closed and open).
To the left and below is Michael's wall. He thinks this is unfair somehow.
Don't feel too sorry for him, though.

He has two fancy drawers to organize his ties and he has another whole closet on the other side (not as deep, but still, he could have 20 pairs of shoes and a trunk full of sweaters if he wanted to. It's got tools stored in it right now. hmmm.)

This is (not to brag) the IKEA jewelry insert that holds just some of my Tallulahs wealth. Tawnie asked me when she saw my list of favorites, "What's a Tallulahs package?" I'm going to answer that question, Tawnie, I promise. Soon. This is just a sneak peek.

We have one of those fancy (read: expensive) keypad locks on the door from our closet to the storage room, but believe me, even though that means i have to go get the new bag of flour or the can of olives, it's worth it. Plus, Santa has a place to store his stuff. I had a friend in Jr. High whose dad used to lock the food storage and i thought that was so wrong. I couldn't believe he didn't trust his kids. I get it now. He trusted them implicitly. And he knew that next time he wanted to make cookies, the chocolate chips wouldn't be there. And in the future, I may be a little uncomfortable, but by golly, i'm going to have my earrings and some chocolate chips!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Crayola, the Religion

Since becoming a pirate, i've realized how evil crayons are. They ruined my life when i was 9 because someone put a green one in the pocket of their pants and it ended up in the dryer with my yellow gingham dress. The "dust" from crayons is waxy (a hazard to books and clothing) and have you tried getting it off the wall? I know, Magic Eraser. But still, i have usually preferred a set of washable markers for my kids to make trouble with.
Well, Wade spied a renegade box of 64 that i had hidden on the top shelf of the library. He isn't the first to have noticed it, just the first lost boy tall enough and nervy enough to get it down without asking. So after the lecture on how sacred the "Box of 64 crayons with a sharpener" was, i resigned a ream of paper and myself to however long it would take to decimate that many crayons.
I'm surprised. Maybe my kids are old enough to understand the doctrine of this ancient sect. Maybe they are more civilized than i've given them credit for. It's been 3 days and only 2 crayons have been broken (they've been taped) and only one is lost. This is no thanks to Landon, who has ripped the flip-top lid off twice (taped and re-taped) Why. Won't. This. Darn. Lid. Come. Off!? and drawn in one school library book (grrr). I'm pretty sure he's also responsible for the 3 or 4 tips broken off in the sharpener.
These last 3 days have opened a page in the book of my childhood. I had forgotten how good it feels to draw a rainbow. And the good feeling it is to see all the crayons lined up in the box after having them scattered all over the table and floor. My life was defined by those 64 colors. There was a time, I'm sure that i could have named them all and shown you which was which. Actually, i was pretty surprised this morning when i tried to list them and exhausted myself at 43. I can't think of any more. The pack of 64 didn't include the 8 from the fluorescent pack did it(Hot-Pink and Ultra-Violet~remember those)?
Stop reading right now if you want to test your own color-name memory. I won't name all 43, just a few. First, you have the rainbow, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, then you have the combos: green-yellow and yellow-green. Weren't those two mixed up? I would've named them the opposite way. then you have black and white and gray and the browns: burnt umber, raw umber, raw sienna and my fave, burnt sienna. Whatever umber and sienna were, i didn't care, just the thought of raw color and how you could burn it mystified me. Silver and Gold, which, on paper were very disappointing. Then you had cadet blue and brick red and olive green and maize and cornflower blue and midnight blue and periwinkle and carnation pink and salmon and magenta (was that one of those "hot" colors?). Oooh, and wasn't there an Indian Red? Why isn't that as controversial as when Peach was called "skin color" or "flesh" or something equally as alarming?
Crayola defined color for everyone. We all knew what forest green was or plum, but when "Mauve" became the vogue, it was always a fight, because there was no crayon. Was it like this lavender or like this dusty plum? Is it dark or light? is it more red or more purple? Well, problem solved. Crayola now has a color named Mauvelous. I don't know. Maybe they are a little late on the mauve question. Maybe they are a little late on anything but the original 64 since we have gone all artsy with color naming. I mean, what is Turkish Towel, anyway? Hint: it's the color my bedroom used to be. A little taupe, a little mauve, kinda tannish, with a pink tint. Still I think it would be fun to name colors for Sherwin Williams or OPI. You know what color of nail polish "I'm Not Really a Waitress" is. "Catherine the Grape" or "Yucatan if You Want" or "Cozu-Melted in the Sun" or "You're a Pisa Work" or "Louvre Me Louvre Me Not" maybe aren't as obvious. Still I wish I'd named them. Who do they hire to sit around all day thinking of color names/plays on words?
Shhh! Don't tell my kids. In one of the dusty tins on my shelf , i have a "collector's pack" of 8 of the original Crayola colors. Never-been-used. Virgins. I admit, some of the new Crayola flavors have good names: dandelion, macaroni and cheese, timberwolf, cerulean. I'm glad we have color and I grateful for the ever expanding palette de colour and for fun names. It makes me feel happy. And okay, I guess I'm grateful for crayons, too.