Saturday, February 28, 2009

In no particular order

1. Right now I have a strange relationship with blogging. It's like I want to do it, but I don't. Weird.

2. Kim got engaged last night, as previously mentioned. When she told me the story on the phone this morning, I started crying with happiness. I can't wait for the big day on May 1st.
3. I practically talked on the phone to my mom and sisters all day today. I felt lonely since Andrew is gone and I HATE lonely Saturdays, so I just kept calling everyone to talk about wedding stuff.

4. I felt horrendously fat today. Like when I looked in the mirror I wanted to throw up in my mouth. Everytime I hear a commercial on the radio for Sono Bello, I am seriously tempted. Blah. I hate that feeling.

5. I took the kids to the mall today. By myself. And I tried on dresses. For fun. But it wasn't really that fun. I could barely fit my bus of a stroller in the dumb stall, and I didn't really love any of the things I tried on. Kind of a waste of time. At least we got out of the house.

6. While in JC Penney, Eva wanted her milk, which I had purchased from McDonald's. Who cares if my fridge is stocked with vegetables...I took my daughter to Obesity Camp today and fed her chicken nuggets and french fries. But at least I got her milk. Anyway, while in the store, she wanted her milk. I gave it to her, with a straw. She was in our lovely Sit'n'Stand stroller, which actually isn't so lovely because she refuses to sit and be buckled. And apparently the stand part isn't a viable option for her because at the same time I started moving the stroller, she tried to stand up. She pitched forward, splattering her entire bottle of milk ALL over the floor, herself, and me, and landed directly on her forehead. I should teach her the phrase "Don't cry over spilled milk." Cry is an inadequate word to describe the noise she made. I just love moments like that - a public injury to your child. There is really nothing more shameful and humiliating. It seems like Eva just can't get enough of making me experience that. I think I need a new stroller.

7. Tonight while I was making babyfood, Eva wanted Henry to watch me. She handed him to me so I could hold him up over the blender, because he wanted to see the steam coming from the hot food. Eva was delighted. I was having issues with my blender, so I kind of growled and said, "Grr!" And Eva said, "Tiger!" Yes, honey, mommy feels like a tiger. Then Henry fell off his spot by the blender, and Eva was instantly worried. "Uh oh! Hennie! Are you okay?" I kissed Henry and hugged him better, but my consolation wasn't enough. Motherly Eva wanted to console poor Henry herself. If only Eva could have Henry's resilience in falling off of things - Henry didn't make a peep.

8. Several days ago, we planted cilantro and rosemary in little organic soil things in our windowsill. Every morning and every night, I water my plants - or rather, my dirt - with a medicine dropper. It makes me feel earthy.

9. Speaking of medicine droppers, Eva opened a childproof bottle of Motrin and spilled it all over her pajamas and the bathroom floor after her bath tonight. Awesome. And I didn't change her pajamas.

10. I cleaned the kitchen tonight. I have cleaned the kitchen EVERY night this week, which truly marks a first for me in my life of consistent cleanliness. I rock.

11. Tomorrow in YW I am teaching a lesson on joy. I'm really excited about it. Although today wasn't an all-around joyous day for me...there's always tomorrow.

12. Goodbye, February. You were pretty good to me. Welcome, March. I can't believe you are already here. With you, you bring the dreaded Moab Canyonlands race, a fun family vacation, and my baby girl's second birthday. Let's hope the only time that flies this month is the time in which I am running (slash walking) 5 miles in the desert. Heaven help me.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Spoiler alert

My sister Kim is getting engaged tonight. Possibly at this very minute. She'd better not be reading this blog before it happens. :) Luckily, that is impossible.

I am so excited, I can hardly stand it. I have been keeping my knowledge of it a secret for days, and it's killing me. I'm just waiting for her to call so I can scream with excitement.

It brings back so many memories of the excitement of getting engaged to my own Mr. Right. November 19, 2005. Oh, that was the best day of my life up to that point. I was completely surprised, and I was happy beyond words. The romance, the ring, the proposal, the love in his eyes...I had never been so happy.

And I can't wait to hear those same feelings from Kim. Caleb, welcome to the family.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Vegetabley close-minded

I like to try new recipes. Alot. But as I'm flipping through cookbooks and magazines, I tend to skim through the ingredients to see if there are "weird" things in there. Things on my list of "weird" included leeks, parsnips, turnips, and other such root vegetables.

But today, I decided to go out on a limb. I want my kids to be more open-minded about food than I am, so I need to start feeding them everything from a young age and introducing them to things that I had never heard of until 2 years ago. Such as leeks. In my babyfood cookbook, I found a recipe for cheesy leek, sweet potato, and cauliflower puree.

So this morning, I found myself at Walmart (8am is the BEST time to be there, by the way - it was deserted!) in the produce section. I am proud to say that in my quest to eat healthier, over half my grocery list was from the produce section. I had found everything except the leeks, and I saved them for last because I was a wee bit prejudiced against them. For mildly good reason - don't you think "leek" is just a nasty-sounding word? Well, I had NO earthly idea what a leek looked like, so I just started at one end and read all the signs. There it is - leeks. I looked up, and what should I behold but giant green onions on steroids. Green onions are probably my favorite vegetable right now. And if leeks are anything like green onions, I'll eat them myself and not just put them in Leighton's babyfood and do my motherly duty.

I brought them home and, after showing their massiveness to Andrew, put them on the shelf in my fridge. (They wouldn't fit in the produce drawer because they are about 5 feet long, and because it was already full.)

When Marelize came over to pick up Malone, I sheepishly asked her if she knew how to cut them and which part I should use. It's a little embarassing to admit how foreign some vegetables are to me. I mean, they're just vegetables - it's not like caviar or something. She told me, and while I had them out, I tore a bit off the green top and tasted it.

It tastes like green onion! I am in love with leeks! I might eat a whole one plain. Okay, that's gross. But I am definitely going to use them now. If any of you have a good recipe with leeks in it, please share. My vegetable horizons have been expanded.

Next up: parsnips. Gulp.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Stephanie, where have you been?

Sorry for my blog neglect. I've been busy cleaning my house.

It all started last week. I went to the library with the kids and stumbled upon this book called Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House by Cheryl Mendelson. I thought it looked interesting and informative. (I know, I'm a nerd.) Little did I know what change it would inspire inside of me.

I feel like I have been preparing to make a big change in my housekeeping habits for a while now. It has been a change that I have needed to make for YEARS, and it's been a process for me. I really feel like the Lord has been preparing me to finally make the switch - my friends of other denominations use the phrase "being convicted." As foolish as it may sound, I feel like the Spirit was lacking in my home because of the way I kept my house, and I had been preparing to change for a long time now.

This book is what clicked for me. It turned on the light of understanding for me and helped me realize what I needed to do to make my house into a home.

My mother definitely raised me to be a good housekeeper. She was what I used to call a "clean freak" and drove me absolutely crazy with her nagging for me to clean my room and do my other chores. I liked the feeling of a clean house, but I didn't see the value in doing something that would just need to be done again a few hours later. The repetitive nature of housework is what always drove me bonkers. My mom always teased me that she could tell me something until she was blue in the face, but I wouldn't really listen until I had read it in a book. And apparently she's right. Maybe I need things explained to me in an intellectual way for me to truly respect what I'm being taught.

"Seen from the outside, housework can look like a Sisyphean task that gives you no sense of reward or completion. Yet housekeeping actually offers more opportunities for savoring achievement than almost any other work I can think of. Each of its regular routines brings satisfaction when it is completed. These routines echo the rhythm of life, and the housekeeping rhythm is the rhythm of the body. You get satisfaction not only from the sense of order, cleanliness, freshness, peace and plenty restored, but from the knowledge that you yourself and those you care about are going to enjoy these benefits."

I simply had to blog not to tell about the great change this book brought about for me, but to recommend it to anyone whose life revolves around taking care of their family everyday. The preface of the book says, "When you keep house, you use your head, your heart, and your hands together to create a home - the place where you live the most important parts of your private life. Housekeeping is an art: it combines intuition and physical skill to create comfort, health, beauty, order, and safety. It is also a science, a body of knowledge that helped us seek those goals and values wisely, efficiently, humanely. Such knowledge is drawn from practical experience, family traditions, the natural and social sciences, and many other stores of understanding and information."

My eyes have been opened to the importance of my role in keeping my house clean and beautiful, and fulfilling my stewardship over my material posessions. I want it to be a safe haven from the world, a place where my children will love to be. This book, along with my mom's lifelong, largely ignored till now, lessons, has shown me how to do that.

The past few days I have found that I truly enjoy what I might previously have called the monotony of housework. I like scrubbing. I love (and always have loved) vacuuming. Folding laundry, always the thorn in my side, is not half as bad as I thought. Picking up after myself isn't so hard after all. I just needed to embrace that side of me and allow myself to recognize the satisfaction I get from bringing order to my home. I am so much happier (so is Andrew!!) and feel so good about what I am doing. Not to say I'm a fanatic now - I'm not - but I have finally made a good routine and have made housekeeping a priority of my day. And I absolutely love it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Beetle that Almost Killed Me

I just had one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. Literally, I am still shaking from it. I am on the computer right now. (Duh.) I have been working this afternoon on my lesson tonight for our combined YW activity - I'm teaching a lesson on journal-writing. (Imagine that - the obsessive journaler trying to suck other people into it.)

On the desk in front of me, I have my current journal. The one I keep on my nighstand and write in every night. I brought it in the computer room to write down some journaling prompts I found on the internet for tonight. I have been carrying this notebook around this afternoon, so it's not like it's been sitting in the corner of the garage. That may sound obscure and irrelevant, but it's pertinent to my scary story.

So I picked up the journal to look at something while typing, and something fell out of the spiral binding onto my lap. Strange. I picked the thing up. I held it for several seconds in my right hand, staring and trying to figure out what it was. A stale chocolate covered raisin? Then my eyes gradulally told my brain what it was I was holding.

IT WAS A BEETLE. A freaking dirty, nasty, BIG beetle. I dropped it like a hot iron and started screaming. I didn't mean to scream - it just came out, and I couldn't stop. I ran into the kitchen at full speed to the sink to wash my right hand, where I alternated between screaming, and yelling at myself that I was being irrational and to calm down.

My fingers felt like they were burning from where I had held the disgusting beetle. I think I felt, for a moment, like people who have OCD must feel. Although I knew the beetle was not physically touching me anymore (it was on the floor under a cup - old habits die hard), I could still FEEL it on my skin. It's been about 10 minutes and I am funally calmed down a little.

I was literally crying, and I called Andrew to comfort me. I left him some lame message like, "Honey, I need to talk to you. I just touched a beetle, and..."then I realized how completely pathetic I sounded, that I was crying over a beetle, like there was something he could do about it I said, "I don't know. Call me." And hung up hastily. I have a feeling he's not going to be very sympathetic.

But now, with the beetle (which appears to be dead) under a cup by my right foot, I am left to wonder. HOW IN THE CRAP DID THAT BEETLE GET IN MY JOURNAL?? Was it on my nightstand, and crawled in the binding and then hung on for dear life as I carried the journal around today? Was it on the computer desk, and crawled in there to die? It felt slightly crunchy (oh dear, I think I might vomit), so I don't think it's freshly dead. I am officially disturbed.

And how ironic that one of my prompts for tonight was to describe a recent time when you were scared out of your mind. I'll definitely have a recent story. And I'm definitely out of my mind.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The one where you get cute homemade stuff

I saw this on Anne's blog, but, alas, I wasn't quick enough to get a gift from Anne. Luckily, I have another crafty friend, Elisa, on whose blog I was #2.

The first five people to respond to this post will get something made by me! My choice. For you.

This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:
1- I make no guarantees that you will like what I make!
2- What I create will be just for you.
3- It'll be done this year.
4- You have no clue what it's going to be.
5- I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.

The catch is that you must repost this on your blog and offer the same to the first 5 people who do the same on your blog. The first 5 people to do so and leave a comment telling me they did win a FAB-U-LOUS homemade gift by me! Oh, and be sure to post a picture of what you win when you get it!

Patent Pending

There are many - nay, innumerable - modern technologies that make my life easier. Even happier. But today, I thought of one that is missing. There is just one more thing I need someone to invent to complete my little world.

It would be like some sort of chip on the end of a baby food spoon. And anytime you are struggling getting your 7-month old child to eat, you could squeeze a button or something, and the chip on the spoon would send an electromagnetic signal to the child's brain and FORCE them to open their mouth, enabling you to shovel in the delicious food you have slaved over for their health and well-being.

My current use of the spoon as a wedge and a lever to pry open my son's mouth, is becoming ineffective. So if anyone knows any inventors in need of a great idea with no funding, please contact me. Thank you.
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I recommend...

-Pear apples. I had never heard of pear apples until yesterday, when I stumbled upon some in Winco. They are delicious. I had one for lunch today.
-Swing Vote the movie. We rented it from Redbox last night, and I really enjoyed it. Another awesome movie we recently watched is Ghost Town. It is hilarious.
-My January book, Finding Joy in Family Life. It was an excellent book that has kept me thinking about things long after I finished it.
-Emeril's Steamer. I have used it to make baby food, and steamed some vegetables for dinner last night, and it is awesome.
-Organizing. It is therapeutic. I have been going through all my scrapbook stuff, finally putting my Christmas present from Andrew to good use, and it feels so good to throw stuff away. (If you are really interested in some free stuff I don't want anymore, please tell me. It's not my style, but it might be yours.) Also organized the pantry again yesterday. I'm slowly getting somewhere.
-Wearing slippers.
-Keeping a notebook by your bed and writing the events of the day every night. I have been doing that for a little over a week now (hence my lack of blogging, maybe) and I love it.
-Workout videos on Comcast OnDemand. Especially the yoga ones.
-Doing yoga.
-Central vac.
-Weekly playgroups with favorite friends.
-Taking lots of pictures.
-Collecting cookbooks.
-Living in Washington. Really, it's not as rainy as they say.
-This National Geographic map, which is hanging upstairs in our loft. We got the biggest one so we could put pins in everywhere we have lived and visited. Eva loves taking the pins out and throwing them on the floor...but I still love the way the map looks on my chartreuse wall.
-An ice cream maker. We have the Cuisinart one that we got as a wedding gift, and we have recently resurrected it. I have been making homemade ice cream every week, and it's delicious.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Inadequacies brought out by a flu bug.

Last night I was so tired, my body hurt. I fell asleep. Not 10 minutes later (actually, it was about an hour and a half, but it felt like 10 minutes), I am awakened to Andrew's voice saying, "Steph! Eva threw up." I stumble into the bathroom where Eva's screaming and the smell of vomit just about knocked me out. I got her a bath, and even got in with her. Not sure why - she asked me to, and I was too tired to reason with myself that it was 1am and not time for me to be taking a bath.

The rest of the night is a blur. There were about 6 more vomiting episodes. Andrew did a lot of laundry. There was hardly any sleeping. Apparently throwing up is a learned skill, because Eva kept fighting it back and swallowing it. Not that I will be one to teach her - I never breathe when I throw up and always break all the blood vessels in my eyes and face. (Sorry to be graphic.)

I realized that I'm not a nurturer, in my soul. Andrew was the one who laid by her most of the night. Although neither of us slept much - I laid awake listening for her to start gagging again - he was probably awake more than I was. The smell of vomit left on my skin from when she laid on my shoulder was enough to keep me at a distance from the poor girl most of the night. I felt horrible when she would feebly lift up her sippy cup and cry for a drink of water. I knew she couldn't have any, and she didn't understand why. And I berated myself all night for not getting her a flu shot. Just because she doesn't go to daycare doesn't mean she's not exposed to germs. (Hello, nursery?)

It was our second flu experience here. (At least, I think that's what it was - I guess it could have been food poisoning from clementine oranges. Is that even possible?) I wish I could say it was our last. It's a horrible experience, watching your baby be sick like that. And there's really nothing you can do but wait it out. There is no medicine to make your body stop its internal battle. It made for a very long night.

Whenever I would throw up when I was little, my mom could never be in there with me. It was usually my dad who would hold my hair and stroke my back. Or I would be by myself. I never knew why. But now I get it. I think I inkerited that from her - the inability to be around a vomiting person.

Eva is sleeping peacefully now. She hasn't thrown up since about 7am, so I think it's safe to say we are out of the woods. But now I'm left with thinking about what a crappy mother I am. I should have been the one laying by her, stroking her hair and ignoring the stench of her breath. I shouldn't have been thinking about how tired I was, but about how terrible she felt. I shouldn't have kept praying that she would stop throwing up, but praying for the patience to deal with it until she felt better.

Some days I think being a mom is what I was born to do. But sometimes, like this morning, I think maybe my kids would be better off with someone more compassionate as their mother. Someone less easily frustrated with the situation. Someone willing to stay up all night scrubbing the house and doing the laundry if needs be. Someone a little more like their father.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Starting our Home Storage steps.

I am on a food storage kick right now. I have never felt the need to follow this counsel personally until recently. Maybe it's because we live near an active volcano. Maybe it's because I have children. Maybe it's because I finally have space to store 400 pounds of food. Maybe I have finally matured to the point that I stop picking and choosing, that can't be it. I still don't do my visiting teaching.

But whatever the reason, I have felt an urgency to get our food storage built up. A couple months ago, I purchased some beans and oats from the cannery. (My awesome RS president canned them for me.) Then, for Christmas, Andrew's parents gave us a generous amount of money intended for that very purpose. It was like they read my mind - I couldn't have asked for a more relevant gift.

Finally, today, we went to Costco. I went expecting to spend all our money and walk out with our year's supply of food. Andrew, apparently, went expecting not to buy a single thing but to "price out things." This led to an extensive argument in the store, which, inevitably, got us nowhere. (He thinks I'm stubborn...isn't that just the pot calling the kettle black.)

We ended up buying a case of refried beans and a jug of canola oil. And a few ShelfReliance Cansolidators, and a massive shelving unit for the garage on which to store our food storage. And that's about it. So really, I am no more prepared than I was this morning in case of a natural disaster. But just in case Mount Rainier blows up tonight, we will certainly have enough canola oil to last until the end of time. Thank heavens for that.

(A great food storage resource is the Thrive Planner - it tells you how much you need per person of everything. It's a little expensive, but it gives you a good idea of what you need.)

Monday, February 9, 2009

A few terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad things from today

It wasn't a bad day, exactly. Overall, it wasn't terrible. There were a few good things. But there were a few lame things that happened too.

1. Eva decided to "paint" our bedroom carpet with blue toothpaste. I scrubbed the carpet for the first time today - certainly not the last.

2. Both children screamed through breakfast. It's like they secretly communicated and plotted in the night to try to make me go crazy as early on in the day as possible. I was on the brink of losing it. And it wasn't even 10am yet. It was a symphony of insanity.

3. Leighton woke up and demanded to eat even though it wasn't lunchtime yet. I was in the middle of making another batch of baby food (one of Apple Butternut Squash and one of Sweet potato, carrot, and broccoli). I finally gave in and fed him while my new steamer did its excellent work, but he didn't like the texture of it or something. He kept throwing crying fits. I gave him sips of water to help wash it down, and eventually got the whole bowl down him. Meal #2 in which he screamed through the whole thing.

4. Afternoon shopping trip to Walmart. I know, it was a bad idea. I wanted to have that done before Andrew comes home tomorrow so I could make him yummy food and make him not want to leave again. On the way there, I called my mom. It came up that Leighton was 7 months old today, and Eva was 7 months and just a few days when she flipped out of the shopping cart at Walmart. I shuddered to think about that. We got in the store, and I had divided my list into sections of the store (thanks for the tip, Samye!), so it was all going well and efficiently. Until - and you may not believe this - Eva flipped out of the cart and landed smack on her head. I officially believe in jinx now. She got a huge, blue goose egg within a few minutes and screamed her head off. Of course, that set Leighton off, so I was trying to calm both of them down with all the idiot people standing around staring at me.
I have been watching her all evening and I don't think she has a concussion or a broken arm, both of which I was sure she had while at the store. And thanks to Walmart's continual lack of open checkstands, I had to stand in line for about 3 eternities after all that. Eva calmed down when I gave her a pack of chocolate-covered raisins. And I took her to McDonalds for dinner. Anything to make her happy after her second traumatic Walmart experience. Thankfully, she's fine now. But I'm seriously considering online grocery might just be worth the extra cost.

5. While I was feeding Leighton his dinner (he was eating silently for the first time all day), Eva decided to pour her cup of chocolate milk on the carpet. She kept saying, "Oh no! Blue juice!" The cup was blue, but the stain it left was distinctly brown. Scrub as I might, I can't get that spot out. Maybe tomorrow I'll try again.

6. And once again, in the middle of writing this post, I find myself on my hands and knees again. This time cleaning up the entire bottle of little homeopathic teething tablets Eva dumped all over the floor. And apparently Leighton, who is wrapped in about 38 yards of turquoise ribbon courtesy of Eva, has been snacking on several tablets, as there are a couple puddles of drool and mashed liquidated teething tablets. I hope you can't overdose on those things. At least his teeth won't hurt...

7. And to top it off, my television is mysteriously broken, so I can't watch John and Kate Plus 8 to make myself feel better about my life.

8. Oh, and Andrew called just now saying he will no longer be home when he thought. Delayed AGAIN. All I can say is that if I were in charge of the military, things would be a LOT different. Sigh.

Welcome to the world, baby Brynlee.

Today my sister Lindsay gave birth to her second child. They named her Brynlee, and she is beautiful. I can't wait to meet this little princess.

Momentary wish for role reversal

I called my out-of-town husband this morning.

he answered, "Hello?"

"Hi honey! Whatcha doing?"

"Just walking around Best Buy. Can I call you back in a minute?"

As I hung up the phone, it hit me for the first time. Sometimes I am envious of Andrew.

He gets to leave all the time. He sees fun things and goes new places. He can go into Best Buy without worrying if we have enough formula or a sippy cup in the diaper bag. He can go days without thinking about a diaper change. He can leave us behind and then come back refreshed, with new experiences under his belt.

I can't do that. It is my (chosen) lot in life to be home with my kids. Every hour, every minute, every day. Sometimes (like this morning) I think I am going to give both of them away just to get a few minutes of peace.

But the irony is that, any time I get that rare opportunity to be away from my kids more than a few hours, I miss them. I crave to see them and hold them. No matter how bonkers they drive me, I can't be apart from them for too long.

And in that way, I guess Andrew should envy me. (He probably doesn't, but I'm just saying.) I never miss a thing. I hear every single cute thing Eva ever says, and I see almost every one of Leighton's beautiful smiles. No, I can't go to Best Buy at the drop of a hat (or anywhere, for that matter) without loads of planning and preparing. But I can - and do - have the luxury of sitting around the house for hours every morning, just enjoying my kids. I don't have to go anywhere if I don't want to.

So I guess I am more suited to my role than I would be to Andrew's. Although it would be nice to go shopping alone...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

My own 116 lost pages.

One thing that brings me more consistent anxiety, frustration, and anger than anything else is losing things. I can't stand it. I HATE losing things. Money, keys, a name it, I've lost it. And been mad about it.

I may never completely comprehend what Joseph Smith went through when poor Martin lost those 116 pages. But today, I feel like I am experiencing his feelings in small part. So I've been going through old journals, and I realized that I am missing one. An entire journal. More than 116 pages, by far. My journal from junior/senior year of high school is completely missing. I am sick over it. I have scoured every remaining box in the garage. (As a plus, I have stumbled upon several hundred more pictures, giving me more work to do in organizing. And more reminiscing.) But it is nowhere to be found.

I don't know what to do. It's not like there is some pressing reason I need this journal. But I need to know where it is. I need to remember who I was in 2001 and 2002. I need to know what I thought, and what made me happy, and what boy I liked. (You know it's inevitable that information would be written in its pages.) I NEED to find that journal. But it's gone.

Maybe it was lost in one of our many moves. Maybe it's gone to heaven - the same place the socks go when they mysteriously disappear from the dryer. I don't know. But I can't stop thinking about it. I don't want my writing to go to waste. I don't want there to be a big 2-year hole in my life's record. I keep praying it will appear in one of the boxes, and maybe the 48th time I look, it will just be sitting there on top. I keep hoping it's not really gone forever.

If I don't find it soon, I will be SERIOUSLY disappointed.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Blast from the past

Today I sorted ALL my pictures (at least all the ones I can find) by year and they are ready to put into my albums, which are currently on a truck on their way to my house. As I sorted through all those pictures - especially the ones from early high school - I marveled at the fact that I still am the same person as the geeky girl in those pictures. A few times I said, "Dang, Steph, you used to have a hot little body!" And several times I said, "What in the world are you wearing?" (I did, in fact, literally talk to myself almost the entire 2 hours. Don't judge me.) Looking at those pictures, it seemed like it was just recently that I was at EFY with my best friend Brittney.

That session of reminiscing inspired me to find all my old journals. I'm teaching a lesson on Personal Records in a week or so anyway for the YW, so I needed to dig them all up. I just couldn't resist sitting down and reading what my old self had to say. And all I can say in response is, "I'm certainly glad I grew up." Here are a few excerpts.

Tuesday, June 13, 1995 - "Hi! I have never been so crazy about a boy in my whole entire life as Robin." (age 11)

Saturday, October 7, 1995 - "Today I just feel like writing. SO many things have happened since I last wrote. I got a new bike, a new boyfriend, and new friends. My new bike is purple and green (I'm saving the best for last: my boyfriend), and my new friends are...[long list of names]...A cold front is here and it feels SOOOO good! Now, we are not here to talk about the weather, so let's talk about Josh Guidry, my boyfriend. I'm crazy about him!!" (age 11)

Sunday, October 22, 1995 - "Hi! How are you? I'm not so crazy about Josh anymore."

Monday, March 18, 1996 - "Michael was there! He looked so handsome in a green plaid shirt. Since he got his hair cut he has been the cutest, nicest guy on the face of the earth." (age 12)

Sunday, July 14, 1996 - "I have a huge crush on a cute, tall, dark-haired boy named Brandon and a small crush on a average-height, brown-haired, star basketball player named Jamie." (age 12)

...Years of entries focusing solely on the boys I liked...

Sunday, May 3, 1998 - "I'm gonna try and not talk about guys as much. They are not vital to my existence, although they're much appreciated!" (age 14)

Sunday, June 8, 1998 - "Adam was there. He is the finest guy in the whole wide world."

So much for my effort to not talk about guys as much.

I guess you could say I wasn't a very well-rounded young lady. How did I ever get so lucky to marry Andrew after all the clowns I obsessed over since age 6? At least I can get a good laugh at myself.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Domestic Goddess is at it again

Remember this past summer when I read this cookbook by Nigella Lawson? It changed my life. I can honestly say that, with several months of hindsight. It changed the way I looked at my role as the family cook and at being in the kitchen in general. Since reading that book, I have started noticing more often that wonderful feeling of being domestic. It hits me at odd times - often in the kitchen, sometimes when I vacuum, and even when I'm scrubbing the sink or shower. It is a good feeling - like a sense of pride in taking care of my home and my family. I don't often do very well at those things, but when I get a good "domestic feeling," it makes me very happy.
I got just such a feeling yesterday. While making homemade babyfood.

Let me be honest. Until recently, I thought people who made their own babyfood were insane. I thought it was a little fanatic and very granola, and why in the world would you make it when you can buy it in a jar? Well, I have eaten my words. And they didn't taste good. Because recently I have been completely converted to the "homemade" mentality. Why buy it when you can make it yourself? Hence my plan to make homemade tortillas, and our recent purchase of this awesome indoor gardening tool (thanks to Chris and Stacy for the inspiration many months ago)...and my decision to no longer buy babyfood.

I checked out this and this book from the library (highly recommend both), bought some fresh fruit and vegetables, and got to work. How to describe how I feel? Proud isn't quite right. Satusfied isn't strong enough. When I fed Leighton his fresh banana and blueberry puree this afternoon, I just wanted to sing. I made that food, by myself, by hand! Maybe it's comparable to the feeling women get from being able to breastfeed. I was only able to experience that a few times, but I'd say that's the best way I can describe it. Like I am providing so completely for my just made me happy.

Gosh, what's next for me, the Domestic Goddess, out to conquer the world? I don't think I'd go so far as to make my own baby wipes. But never say never, I guess...

Me and Washington, together forever.

You know how when you first meet someone you try to make a good impression? You show them your best qualities and try to act better than you really are. (Sometimes.)

Well, I think Washington is doing that to me. I think Washington has a crush on me, because it has been being REALLY nice to me in the past 3 days. I have hardly seen such beautiful weather in my life.

The sky is so clear I can see every mountain possible to see with the naked eye. Not a cloud in sight. And the sun...oh, the beautiful sun. As I sat yesterday letting Eva play in the backyard and feeding Leighton his lunch on the porch, I almost melted with happiness. The sun was so warm on my face, and breathing the fresh, warm air was wonderful.

Washington, I have a crush on you too. Don't worry - I'll be here for a while. Long enough for you to get all comfortable with me and start showing me your bad sides. Like incessant rain. And I'll show you mine - you'll see how fat I'll get next time I get pregnant. But that's okay - all old couples start doing that eventually. I'll still love you.

Steph + Washington = LOVE

Monday, February 2, 2009

Beware of Dogs. Hot dogs, that is.

Did you know that hot dogs have been linked to childhood leukemia? On Saturday night Melanie called me freaking out (for good reason!) because she found that children who eat 12 or more hot dogs per month have a 10 times greater chance for developing childhood leukemia. Sure enough, I googled hot dogs and leukemia and about a trillion websites popped up. And they all said the same thing.

Now, I'm not one of those mothers who freaks out easily. I absolutely don't believe in the vaccinations and autism correlation, and I have been known to let my children fall asleep with a bottle in their crib. But this made me feel a little more...anxious. Maybe because cancer is so rampant these days - all my family members who have died have died from cancer. Maybe because I am coming to understand the importance of developing good eating habits at a young age. Maybe because if Eva were to get leukemia I would feel completely responsible because at many points in her life, hot dogs have been her favorite food. And she has eaten a lot more than 12 in a month, for several months. And I'm the one giving them to her.

I just wanted to get the news out there because I think it's something every parent should know about. I can't believe that this isn't more publicly known - hot dogs are just a common kid food and nobody has ever said anything to me about how dangerous they can be. Anyway, if you are feeding your child hot dogs and would like to see more info about why you might want to stop, here and here and here are a few links.

First time in a long time

-Saturday I went for a girls' day out! That hasn't happened in almost a year, and it was fabulous. I went with Marelize and Melanie to eat lunch at a Greek restaurant (yum) and then to see Bride Wars, which I loved. We decided that we are going to say, "I know, I'm so lucky to have this body," next time we see each other. :) We followed it up with a delicious ColdStone. It was a much-needed getaway for a few fun hours.

-I fasted yesterday. Haven't done that since we got married. I was just almost constantly pregnant, so I got out of the habit. But now I'm back on, and I felt such a great spirit with me all day yesterday that I am convinced I need to renew that monthly tradition.

-I bore my testimony in sacrament meeting.

-I went to church greasy. Actually, this has NEVER happened. On Sunday morning I thought, "Wow, my hair is pretty greasy for just having washed it yesterday. Oh well." After waking up this morning and seeing that practically every strand of hair was glistening with grease and begging to be washed, I remembered that I hadn't washed my hair Saturday morning. I did it Friday morning. So I was a grease monkey at church. That will NEVER happen again. Where is my brain?

-I took the kids to the library this morning. We haven't been since early December - maybe even November. I missed it. There is something about being surrounded by books that just makes me deliriously happy. I picked up a few baby food cookbooks (I'll recommend them and link them if they turn out to be good), the Martha Stewart Cooking School book(which I have been wanting to buy and now I'm glad I didn't!), and a kids' activity book called Kids Celebrate that has activities for every holiday of the year. Like today, for Groundhog's Day.

-I mopped my kitchen floor. I know it's gross, but mopping is just not my forte. Vaccuming is, mopping isn't. But I did my Monday chore of the main level floors, and I like the clean smell.