December 31, 2011


I always thought that was an odd term, Babymoon. Meaning having a little get-a-way before the baby comes. Odd that you don't have a little get-a-way before the wedding, but after, called a honeymoon. In any case, Justin and I took one this week, a babymoon that is.

{Mission Valley, San Diego, CA}

For Christmas this year I gave Justin a years worth of date nights. 12 dates. Some are fun, some are funny, most were pre-paid or free. I know date night would be ideal at once a week, but with a new baby coming soon I decided once a month was more realistic for us. The best part about the whole gift wasn't that he loved it, it was the conversations I had with the Big Kid in preparing it. We talked about things like why mom and dad need time alone away together. Why we need to do silly things sometimes. Why having fun with someone you know very well is still important and what you have to do to put someone else's needs above your own. I hope the example we set for our kids will inspire them to work at staying in love with their chosen mates in the future. I got several ideas from The Dating Diva's and tweaked them to fit our family situation. What a great place to find ideas and remember how important it is to uplift and show love for your mate.

One of his date nights was a hotel stay from a gift certificate I won in an auction a while back. We had a great babysitter come armed with movies and games and we headed out with dinner to a local hotel. We are glad we didn't have to pay too much for it, because it didn't have a lot going for it, except the pillows. I am a pillow snob and I was in heaven with these soft, fluffy, supportive pillows.

We went swimming after dark, because no one wants to see a 31 week pregnant woman in a swim suit that was not made for maternity wear. The pool was heated and lovely. We watched movies and relaxed and occasionally answered texts from the home front. We talked and laughed and had a great time.

The best parts were that the house was still fairly clean when we got home, the kids were fed and happy and we were able to sleep in late. It was a great way to wrap up 2011 and prepare for 2012. Huge changes are coming our way and we look forward to all of it. We hope it's wonderful for all of you too.


December 29, 2011

Happy Birthday Kiddo

Adam turned 11 this year. He had a fun birthday, even though it was just family. He requested pumpkin pie over cake this year, which was great. He even helped me make it. We gave him a huge wall map, knowing there was more coming for Christmas. He had fun playing games with his sister, and she was eager to help him open gifts. We also took him out to dinner and to the National Comedy Theater. He laughed so hard I was worried about him breathing for a while.We knew he would enjoy it.  I can't believe how fast time has gone sometimes. He's turning into such a young man with compassion for others and a great sense of integrity. I can't wait to see what the coming years will bring.

December 28, 2011

My Favorite Christmas things

Here are a few of my favorite Christmas things this year.
 A 12 Days of Christmas anonymous gift of a new Nativity. It's really cute and fairly child friendly. That's the best kind. Big blessings go to the family who gave us this.

Being able to display some of my Nativity's this year without having to worry too much about them being manhandled to death. It brings a nice Christmas focus into our home.

Seeing Meg enjoy her gifts. This Princess bed tent from Aunt Wendy was a big hit. She loves, loves, loves it.

Playing games on Christmas day with all of the new games you got. Adam and Dad are playing Monopoly You Build here. Bug likes different Monopoly games and has a collection of about 6 so far.

Our sad little Christmas tree all lit up and looking kind of pretty. All child friendly ornaments this year, which was good because the cat knocked it over once and once it just leaned a little too far on it's own. It recovers nicely.

Having Sister Pett come over and bake some cookies with the kids was a real highlight this year. They are missing out on Grandma time big time, and I just couldn't be on my feet long enough to help them do the cookies this year. They all had so much fun. It was balm to my soul to hear them all in the kitchen giggling away.

One of the best ever things this year was going out to the garage and finding that the best husband ever had wrapped all of the gifts, complete with bows and ribbons. That is one of my least favorite things to do and he did almost all of them this year. And they were pretty. What an awesome guy. I am so lucky.

I don't have a photo, but participating in the Stake Choir this year was amazing too. I was worried I wasn't going to be able to do it, but there were only 5 practices and it was so well put together, it was easy to do. I am glad I was able to sing this year. It just doesn't seem like Christmas to me without being in at least one choir.

What great blessings we have had. Hope you had a great Christmas  too.

December 27, 2011

Still pregnant

 By this time in my last pregnancy I was on bed rest. Actually I had been for a week in the hospital and was  waiting to go home and be on bed rest. I was very worried about getting to this point in this pregnancy, but things have actually gone pretty well. We've had some minor bumps in the road and I am on "light duty" and really watching the things I do and don't do. I have had some great help along the way and I am so, so grateful for friends who have been able to take my kids at the last minute for hours at a time and sweet missionaries who have come to make cookies with the kids so they wouldn't miss out on one of their favorite Christmas things.

We have made it to the 30 week mark, and that's pretty remarkable. Every day counts.


December 26, 2011

Christmas projects

We had some fun Christmas projects this year. I hope the people who received them enjoyed them as much as we enjoyed putting them together.

First up was the Super hero aprons. I first saw these on Pinterest and loved them, but couldn't really afford the price tag. I looked up the Etsy shop and saw that she had patterns for sale that looked incredibly similar to the super hero aprons and thought I could make the necessary changes, so I bought the pattern from Modern Vintage Designs and tweaked away. I love how they turned out. Although time consuming, the details definitely made the aprons.
(Don't you love my apron model? He can be bribed.)

We also made some other little things. I made boo-boo bags out of wheat, flannel and essential oils. Meg helped me fill them up and choose the fabric for them. Meg got an 18 inch doll for Christmas, to replace the porcelain doll with the shattered face. Along with the doll came clothes from Grandma Cozy, a bed made by dad and a quilt, mattress and pillow made by me. If you want to know how to make the mattress, try here. I also made Fort Kits.  I first saw them about this time last year and knew I had to make them for my nieces and nephews. Find the tutorial and printables at Saltwater-Kids. Adam and I worked on the quilt for Grandma Cleo for some time. It was first featured in this blog post. I am glad to be able to say I finished it all the way and did get it sent off in time.

Last of all Justin worked long and hard on a gift for Adam. It started a couple of months ago when he mentioned that what he really wanted for Christmas was bigger maps. He has just about worn is Atlas out. He's into geography lately. Justin found a discarded train table on a walk one morning and magically transformed it into a command central table complete with storage area, white board, removable plastic top and all the maps the kiddo would need for the foreseeable future. It's really very cool.

I do love doing handmade Christmas gifts. I think it adds something to the spirit of Christmas for me. Maybe it's the service oriented part of me, but I love making gifts with love and thinking about those who will receive them. I hope you all had a great Christmas this year. I know we did.

December 8, 2011

Christmas stuff

Yesterday my table looked like this:

Jealous? I can honestly say that packing up all of that fun stuff is just about the worst part of the entire season. Besides the standing in line at the post office, which I have a strange phobia of. I  have to talk myself into it a few days in advance. That's why my shipping date can't change, it then takes me forever to talk myself back into it. Today is shipping day. 9 packages are boxed, taped, addressed and ready to go. Good thing we don't have a big family, right?
Aren't you just dying to know what's inside all of that perfectly packaged goodness? I can't wait to post about it, after the holidays. I had a good time sewing and being creative this year.
  On another note... it's hubby's birthday and he's sick. Birthday post coming soon. Wishing him health and comfort this year. He's a pretty awesome guy and I am one lucky girl.


December 4, 2011

Monster Fun

We had a 5 year old birthday party to attend last week for a couple of twin friends. I usually make a black apple doll for the little girl birthday parties we attend, but that go-to gift wasn't going to work out this time. I searched Pinterest and found these adorable bags from a fun blog called Hideous!Dreadful!Stinky! I loved the idea and more importantly, had all of the supplies on hand. (I love the Etsy shop from that blog too. Made me laugh.)
   Meg helped me pick out colors and details and this is what we came up with:


I put a couple holiday coloring books inside and made some cute tags to go with them. Notice the girl bag has a bow? Meg was trying hard to get me to use a button, but I wasn't sure how well that would hold up. These kids spend a lot of travel time in the back of Mom's van and I thought this might be something fun to do while traveling that doesn't involve electronic devices. My kids liked them so much they put in requests for monsters with certain features. Bug wants freckles and Meg wants a Princess crown. We will see if all of that works out for them. I need to finish up the Christmas sewing so that I can get things shipped off this week. It's the shipping that gets to me every time.
  By the way, my Pinterest is freaking out. It only updates about 3 of my friends and takes a couple of days at a time to update anymore. Anyone know what's up with that? Do I have a setting wonky or something? It just changed all of the sudden and I don't like it. On the plus side, I am not spending anywhere near the time on there that I was, so maybe I shouldn't complain about it. 
   Good luck with your Christmas stuff. I can't wait to post about all of my projects. Some of them are really fun.

November 25, 2011

Basketball Babe

Meg has picked up some great basketball skills lately by playing with her brother and dad. When the next oldest player is more than a foot taller and 6 years older than you, I guess you learn quick or get out of the game. Today she showed off for me a little. She's getting so big... how do I slow down time?


November 18, 2011

Turkey time

A few days ago Meg came and climbed on my lap and asked to look at the ultra sound pictures of the baby again. We went through the pictures and came to this one:

We got into a discussion about what it was she was looking at. We talked about the difference between boys and girls. "Oh," she says. "that's his penis." Yes, that's how we know it's a boy. "Ok." she said and climbed down and walked off.
Today I picked her up at Pre-school and went to collect her craft. I look down the table at the other children's crafts of puppet turkeys with feathers on their heads. On the way home I asked her how come her turkey only had one feather. "That's not a feather, Mom. That's his penis. That's how we know he's a boy turkey."

Of course it is. Facts of life, kids. There's no getting around them.

October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

It's a good year to be a skeleton. At least the kids thought so, and we ended up as an entire skeleton family. I made the Mom and Dad costume and the pants for the Big Kid, although the paint I had just got soaked up in the fabric, although it did still glow in the dark.

Meg got an awesome face painting at the library a couple of days ago and I was not even in close to making it as cute tonight. Not only that, she had a little skin reaction to the makeup I bought at the dollar store and by they time it came off, her face was swollen and red.

She didn't seem to mind though, as long as we kept letting her pick out candy. Ah, the joys of Halloween. Hope you had a great one!

October 20, 2011

Not a Gorilla

Our Little One seems to be doing great. All the fingers and toes are there. Heart, kidneys, stomach and spine all look pretty good at this point. We are scheduled for a fetal echo cardiogram in a few weeks to really make sure that heart is working correctly. Can't wait for another sneak peek at this growing guy. In case you were wondering if there was any doubt about the gender guess, see the following picture.
I don't know what the techno-color thing is about. My Doc is odd. In any case, Our little Joey is happy and healthy and making mom tired, just like any other little boy does. We are counting our blessings and ticking off the days until we get to hold him in our arms.


October 16, 2011

A Mug Rug

After messing around on Pinterest for far too long the other day, I found myself at a favorite quilting blog I had forgotten about. I used to pop in there all of the time, but somehow I forgot about it over time. Ryan Walsh over at I'm Just A Guy Who Quilts has some fun, easy ideas that are very do-able and turn out amazingly well. He is also great at reviews and I love his occasional post with his boys helping him out. I found this post about a Mug Rug. It's supposed to be like a quilted place mat big enough for a cup of something decadent and a cookie. So cute.
    So last night I took some scraps I had from a previous project and adapted his pattern and made my own Mug Rug. I didn't have big enough scraps for the full Dresden pattern, so I got triangles instead, which I think turned out really cute. It took less than 2 hours, start to finish, which is the perfect amount of sewing time in one block for me. I am going to share the pattern and a quick how-to in sewing class this week. Hopefully someone will come this week. I might just make some more for quick, easy gifts.


October 10, 2011

How to make a zig zag quilt, step by step

I have decided that I can complete one gift quilt a year. That doesn't sound too intimidating to me. This year the quilt is for Christmas (I know, the end of the year) for an unnamed family member. Lots of love goes into a quilt so I thought I would explain my creative process to you. Maybe it will help you get a project to two finished.

Step 1: Start months in advance. I started thinking about this in September in hopes of getting it done and mailed by Christmas. It's the mailing that gets me in trouble from time to time.
Step 2: Search Pinterest for the perfect quilt idea. Easy, quick and attractive.
Step 3: Search the blog world for the best tutorial out there that does not involve triangles. I know how I am with triangles. I found the perfect tutorial at Bee Square Blog. Go ahead, check it out.
Step 4: Search the depths of the craft closet for that jelly roll of Moda fabric you know you bought on clearance 3 years ago and haven't done anything with yet. Replace all the contents of the closet with only minor guilt for the 12 or so unfinished projects you found in there.
Step 5: Head to the fabric stores (yep, 4 of them) in search of the perfect blue. You have to keep looking because no one locally carries Moda fabric that old anymore and the color is just hard to match. I found something that will work, not something I love.
Step 6: Cut out lots of blue strips to go with your jelly roll. Replace your rotary blade and try not to bleed all over everything.
Step 7: Sew strips together and cut blocks the correct size. This means going back and correcting the first two rows because you are 1/4 inch off.
Step 8: Have your 10 year old son help you place blocks in the right order on the diagonal. He's more spatially aware than I am and can see a pattern form before I can. That's why we have kids, to help us when we get older.
Step 9: Spend an hour on the floor replacing the blocks that got knocked out of place by your 4 year old trying to help. Talk your husband into helping you pin the rows together so that you don't  have to have your son help you out all over again the next day.
Step 10: sew blocks and rows together to complete your top. Be sure to ignore the 3 loads of laundry sitting on your couch the entire day so that you can get the top finished. Realize you don't have enough backing fabric when you are done ironing the top and clipping the threads on the back. Fold and put away your completed top for another day.

So far, that's all I have. Hopefully I will be able to get this all the way finished and in the mail on time for Christmas. I would love to post a picture, but it's a Christmas gift... so here's just a peek. Good luck with your Christmas projects!

October 6, 2011

Relying on the strength of the past

Have you ever had a bad day? Not a horribly bad day, but bad enough that you are overwhelmed ill equipped to handle another moment that day has to offer? Days like that seem to be happening to me more and more these days. Maybe it's the added stress of pregnancy or the difficulties I seem to place myself in but life is getting harder and harder. It's days like these that I am grateful for the past. I am glad to be able to look back and see that I have come through difficult days before and it gives me strength to conquer the challenge I am facing today. I have strength through many sources, none of which come from me, but from all around me when I choose to reach for them.

   Recently I was going through some pictures and found these sweet photos of my kids. They give me more strength than I could imagine, even though they are often the source of my want of it. I looked at their happy faces, thought of the challenges to come and how they seemed blissfully unaware of them. They were living in the moment, loving each other and just being kids. Looking back on happy moments gives me strength to go on each day, even the hard ones.

September 29, 2011

When I grow up

Meg has been pretty consistent in her choices of occupations for when she grows up. For over a year now she's decided that when she grows up she's going to be a mommy and a helicopter pilot. Ballerina, baker, or landscaper were never even an option. Today, while we were in the car running errands, she surprised me with a new twist on her carefully planned out future.
  "Mom," she said, "When I grow up I am going to be a mommy first, then a doctor and then a helicopter pilot. I am going to be a doctor over where Grandpa lives so that I can help him get better."
   Grandpa is fighting a hard battle with lung cancer. It's newly diagnosed and it's been difficult for all of us to wrap our heads around. She's been mailing him pictures and talking to him via video chat too. She's concerned about him getting better and has been remembering him in her prayers, mostly at dinner time.
  Maybe it's the pregnancy, maybe it's a mom thing, but I teared up a little. I hope health for him too. And I hope her future is as amazing as her 4 year old heart can dream it to be.

September 3, 2011

It's a new day...

  I have an awesome family who is generous beyond belief. A few months ago my cousin Sarah sent me her Wishblade to use for as long as I needed it. It took me a while to get it together, but finally it's working with new blades and mats that stay put. After a few trial and errors, my first project was to cut out this quote and put it on the mirror in the bathroom.
   It's my husband's favorite quote he's fond of telling the kiddos in the mornings when we're all home and they come wake us up with cuddles. Those days are far and few between now that the big kid is too old for that (his words) and the husband is working long, horrible hours. Being out of the door by 5 a.m. usually means no one else is stirring yet. In any case, while preparing for school this year, I wanted the kids to remember his favorite quote and be able to see it every day. I think it turned out cute and I am hoping it will bring a few more positive thoughts to everyone who sees it. Thinking positive things brings positive things into your life.

August 30, 2011

Dirt + water= fun

5 Neighborhood kids + gardening spades + dirt + a well connected hose = tons of summer fun.

August 19, 2011

It's been a long week

A little over a week ago I woke up in the middle of the night to put Meg back to bed and was three steps away from the bed when I ended up on the floor. It took me a minute to realize my world was spinning. Fast and clockwise. When I woke up in the morning I knew something was very wrong. The next day I spent in the hospital undergoing various tests and checking on the peanut happily sucking all of my energy and growing like it's supposed to be. Diagnosis:vestibular neuritis, it causes vertigo. Vertigo is not serious, it's just debilitating. I have spent most of the last week in bed.  Finally I am up walking again, but still not driving. Justin's been on shift work, so he's not getting home early and his schedule is making it very hard for him to help. It could be worse, right? He could be deployed.
   While laying in bed or sitting on my couch watching the world spin, I have had cause to be grateful. I have the most wonderful friends who have jumped in to care for me and my kids. They have been taken to the park to play,  to the library and school shopping. One sweet friend came over with her grand daughter and helped me put 20 meals in my freezer for the future. (While I am not looking forward to it and hoping it won't happen this time, I am preparing for bed rest later in this pregnancy.) I have had rides to doctor's appointments and visits from well wishers. Groceries have showed up,  my dishes have been washed and my laundry has been done, although not by me. When Meg suddenly realized one day this week that none of her shoes fit her any more and she was tired of being Drizella, a friend showed up at my house and took us to get her new shoes. Sparkly shoes, of course.
  I am reminded again and again how to look for the blessings in the midst of despair and illness. Sometimes it seems as if you can't take another step. Perhaps on your own you can't. That's why we have prayer and friends and community. Today, I am glad for many things and my heart is full for every deed, thought, prayer and text that has come the way of my family. Here's to better days.... I much prefer being on the other end of  service.

August 7, 2011

We can do hard things

Some things are hard and some things are easy. One of the things we talk about in our family all of the time is our ability to do hard things. We have the ability, the faith and the support to try something new and scary. We may not succeed the very first time, but we can try again and again. We also talk a lot about not making others feel bad for thinking something is hard when we think it may be easy for us. Everyone has their own fears and stumbling blocks and we are all different. If we use a little compassion in dealing with others and instead focus on helping them do hard things, everyone feels better about themselves.
   A few months ago Meg developed a fear of dogs. Not just a mild fear, as in not wanting to pet them, but an all out, cross the street, stay far far away fear. They scared her to her toes. She was knocked down by a bulldog and after that, she wanted nothing to do with any kind of dog at all. The neighbors barking dogs in their yard scared her when she was outside, even though she knew they couldn't get over to her.
   Today for no other reason than her brother was standing next to her, Meg decided to pet a friend's dog. This is the most calm, sweet dog on the planet. She allows her little girl to dress her up, haul her around and play mercilessly with her. Meg took her time but managed to sit down and pet the sweet dog. She was so proud of herself. Thanks to Ms. Christine who took the picture and was sweet and patient enough to allow her to try again and again until she was ready.
   This was a hard thing for Meg. Just something small for others. I have no illusions that this is the end of her fear, but know she has proven to herself that she can do something even when it's scary. She's proud of herself and we are happy for her too. Small steps lead to great places.

August 6, 2011

A Pinkalicious Day

    Just after Meg's birthday party a friend sent me a note that Pinkalicious, the Musical was coming to our area performed by the Junior Theater. I bought tickets in May. I waited over a month to tell her about it, but I should have waited longer. It's an eternity when you are 4 to wait more than 3 days for something fun you just can't WAIT to do. Today was FINALLY the day.

 We headed out to the Casa Del Prado theater in Balboa Park for our day of fun. It was a short play but very fun with 7 musical numbers and lots of costume changes, which we are still talking about here at home. The dancing Cupcakes golden legs are also a topic of conversation. The first thing she said as we were walking away is that she loved it and she wants to see another play right away. I love how excited she was and how much she enjoyed herself. My favorite song... You Get What You Get and You Don't Get Upset.

   After leaving Balboa Park we wandered around a little and found the Goodwill Boutique on 16th. My baby sister spent all last year telling people she wasn't turning 30 until she had a Dooney and Bourke handbag. Her birthday was a couple of months ago, and she did turn 30 without it, but today I found the perfect bag at the perfect price. A mere $35 for this darling bag that you can find for full retail price here. I guess that goes to show that great things happen after the big 3-0. Meg likes "the B bag" a lot too and tried to convince me to let her keep it. By the time you turn 30, I told her, you might just have one, but it won't be this one.

   We left out shopping expedition in search of lunch. I tried to talk her into a few different places we haven't been before, but she was stuck on MCD's. It's her favorite place. I can't eat anything good there anymore because of diabetes, but she had a good lunch and I did have my diet coke with sugar free vanilla syrup. Ah, the indulgence.
  We got home about the same time as Dad and Bug who had gone to a new chief meet and greet BBQ. They had a great time, got a little too much sun and were glad to be home. Meg jumped on dad's lap and told him all about the costumes, songs and pink cupcakes that were for sale afterwards that Mom wouldn't stand in line to get for her. She wants to go and see Harold and the Purple Crayon next. I don't have a clue if she knows what that's about, but I remember it from my childhood. We might be looking for tickets sometime soon. If you are in the area, join us. It's going to be fun!