Friday, April 29, 2011

Stuck in the house? I have the solution for you.

Okay, I just used that title because I really wanted to tie in this unrelated picture of Dean. He LOVES the dollhouse and the other day he apparently wanted to move in there. At least learning to climb the stairs won't be a problem, as he's holding them in his hand.

Here's the real deal: I want to tell you about our TV situation. We don't have cable. We don't have dish. But we still watch all our favorite shows every week.

We have a Roku. I might say this ranks in our top 5 best purchases of our married life. We can stream all sorts of things on it. We use our Netflix there, of course, and we also have a Hulu Plus account. I found that my Picasa Web albums can be linked there, so I can have up a slideshow of all the pictures on my blog going on my TV. We have an Amazon video account where we can order movies for about $5 if we're too lazy to go to Redbox and we want to watch something new. (Also, their customer service is EXCELLENT with Amazon video - once we ordered a movie that had trouble streaming, and they gave us our money back automatically. I didn't even have to call or anything.) We listen to all our Pandora stations on there - it's great to have music coming from our TV in the middle of the house instead of a computer in a back room.

Last night I discovered possibly my new favorite feature. It's called The Gymbox. Now instead of doing the same workout video all the time (as much as I love Jillian), I can get new videos every week. This morning I did my first one...a TREADMILL workout. Hello? That is SO genius. I have a treadmill, but I'm not a runner, so I never use it. Now it's like I have a trainer to tell me how to use my treadmill. She tells me what my incline and speed should be at and leads me through hills and sprints and whatnot - things I wouldn't figure out on my own. Walking and a bit of running. It was an awesome 30 mintue workout. There are a million categories on there - kickboxing, yoga, dancing, strength's awesome. I'm on a free guest pass right now, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to upgrade to the membership ($10 a month, I think) so I can continue to get new videos.

I also found last night that all the major news stations do a little recap of the day's news. ON a free station, of course. This is becoming a must for me as I NEVER watch the news and have to find out about all major news through the grapevine, way delayed. (Like Japan - I embarassingly didn't even hear about that tragedy until a week later. You'd think I lived under a rock.) No excuse for that in this decade, right?

There are all sorts of stations you can download, most of them free. Games, kid drawing's awesome. And it's not like the TV is on all the time - it's what you want to watch, when you want to watch it, and it's way cheaper than a cable bill with DVR.

Obviously I'm not being paid to tell you about this, but I just wanted to pass along the info. Get a Roku if you don't already have one (I just saw they are now only $60!! We got ours for $100 a couple years ago. Still worth the price.) and discover all the awesome things you can do. We use ours dozens of times a day - for working out, music, distraction for the kids, and relaxing for me. In the words of Kip, I love technology - especially my Roku.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Living Room Pillows, Part 1

I have been wanting to make pillows for my living room for a LONG time and just hadn't made time for it. But now, with the curtains and the painted wall, it was starting to look a little odd without pillows on the couch. So a couple weeks ago, I saw this tutorial from V and Co for an awesome shag pillow. It was the kick I needed - I knew that I would make that pillow. It looked totally easy.

I decided to plan all my pillows at once and ordered fabric for 5 pillows from - all for a little less than $35. And free shipping! That's the way to go - I didn't even have to take my kids to the fabric store!! My fabric came Monday, and it was beautiful.

Today I sat down in front of Biggest Loser with my cutting mat and board and my gorgeous lime jersey (which ended up having a bit of polyester in it so it has a bit of a shine) and cut everything out. I thought I would just do the cutting (it was a LOT of cutting), but when I had finished I felt like I was in a groove. I marched straight upstairs, got my machine out, and finished the whole dang pillow in one sitting! It was quick and easy. When Andrew saw how close I was to being done, he said, "Who are you and what have you done with my wife?" See, I'm not usually a project finisher.

It feels so good to have this done!! So I'm 20% done with my pillow project, and I'm on a roll. The next one will be coming soon.

P.S. Please ignore my dirty couch with fingerprints on it. Just feast your eyes on the shag beauty in the foreground.

P.P.S. If you make this pillow (make this pillow!!), know that 1 yd. is generous - I have a LOT of jersey left. But since jersey is so cheap and you can't order less than 1 yd. from, it's okay. Maybe I'll make another one as a gift or something.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The internet is awesome.

Sorry to do another post about a link, but this is the coolest video I've ever seen. It made me cry. I feel like this is what the internet is intended for, awesome things like this. It's a little long - over 14 minutes - but it's worth it. (You could probably also find it on YouTube, but this is the link someone emailed me.)

And here's a picture of my technologically-inclined son, just in case the video is not great enough for a post on its own.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Our Easter highlights

Well, my Easter grass was, as my mother prophesied, a bad idea. I had to hire some handsome men to come rake/sweep the living room after Leighton had finished his destruction. I paid them in delicious food.

Family pictures with three children...that's about as fun as grocery shopping with three kids. We had a sum total of zero succesful shots, but oh well. I never did get a decent picture of the boys' ties, but let me tell you, they were the cutest things they've ever worn.

Speaking of unsuccesful things, my last-minute hunt for an Easter dress for myself was a flop. After numerous stores and failed outfits that made me look like a mother whale, I left those gross clothes behind, along with a little of my self-esteem. I came home to my own dismal closet and selected...wait for it...a maternity dress. One that I wore all of ONE time during my maternity phase. It wasn't very cute, and it gave me a complex that I looked pregnant, but it matched Eva's dress when I added a little pink flower clip.

Eva's dress, however, was a smashing success. She looked adorable. We were running late before church and I didn't get to fancy up her hair like she wanted, but she still looked dazzling.

We had a grand Easter feast with friends. It was potluck, so all I had to take care of was the rolls (Lion House, of course) and carrot cake for dessert. Marelize brought lamb (that will surely be a new Easter tradition - delicious!!) and roasted veggies, Kara brought a potato dish (I am reluctant to call them funeral potatoes on the day we celebrated resurrection! but that's what they were), and Stacey brought ham and salad. YUM. Every last bite was delicious. A party in my mouth. Despite the fact that my hair went a little insane as the day went on (see above picture, look for tail on the left side of my head), we captured a picture of the girls. I love these girls.

It was a wonderful Easter.
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Friday, April 22, 2011

This is a post.

I know I haven't even come CLOSE to my daily blogging goal this month. But admit it - I'm doing way better than last month.

So here's a picture of my children. Let's call that a post, shall we?
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Monday, April 18, 2011

I can do hard things.

Andrew is deploying again in one month.

One month from yesterday, actually. We are now on the official countdown until he leaves, and I as I prepare for single momhood again, I am filled with memories of last time. As hard as it was, I can honestly say I was better after it was over. I was strong and felt victorious when he came home, like I had fought a battle and won. Which, in a way, I had.

So now, I'm preparing another go at it. This time, with renewed insight (especially from General Conference!) and a desire to do even better than last time.

I think Andrew is dreading it even more than I am. I don't blame him. This time won't be nearly as "fun" for him - he won't be as busy or doing as many cool things. I mean, saving the world is pretty cool, but you know, it gets old day in and day out. I imagine. I find him clinging logner to the kids or kissing Dean extra times, and I know what he's thinking. He doesn't want to miss it. He doesn't want to be gone when Dean learns to crawl and probably walk. He will miss so many thousands of little things - another one of Leighton's birthdays, for instance. (We're going on 50% father's birthday attendance here for poor Bubba!) Last time I thought I had the worse end of the deal, but this time I feel like he does. And I am trying to be the strong one. For once in my life.

As I told my mom the other day, the Lord knows I like to plan things, so he allowed me to put my biggest trials and tribulations (so far) on the calendar. 4 months long, 120 days of hardship. I like it that way. I don't like deployment, but I am trying to remind myself that it is a blessing to sacrifice for this country, and that we will never ever ever be left alone, though we will be apart.

I found this free print today from one of my new favorite blogs, and it was absolutely perfect for me. I will be printing this off and hanging it where I can see it every day. Because it's true - I CAN do hard things, and I can do them well.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Case of the Tipped-Over Trash Can

I'm not sure when my baby grew up.

The other day (Thursday) I thought that maybe Dean might like a walker to get around in. I called Stacey and she had one we could borrow.

I put him in it Thursday evening, and he seemed to enjoy it. Didn't really go anywhere, but liked it anyway.

Yesterday, I put him in it and ran to the bathroom. I came back and he had made his way around the kitchen, knocked the trash can over, and dug out two butter wrappers and was licking the butter off. (I made these cookies that morning. Umm, delicious.)

Mind you, he's only 7 months old. I have no CLUE how he did this, because really, he seems a little young to be getting into things.

He was covered in butter, and I had to laugh and grab my camera. He is obviously drawn to fattening foods...he must be my son.

He is the world's easiest baby, and this was definitely his first trouble-making experience. And it was mild. Unfortunately, knowing he is apprentice to masters of mischevious behavior, it will not be his last.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

A little mood boost

Sometimes I am so disappointed in humanity. Sometimes I don't believe there is much good left in the world, and I feel discouraged. I hear stories of people doing terrible things to each other, and it's sad.

And then, I see something like this article, and I think how cool people are. How probably, most people are good deep down. I don't know why, but just knowing that somewhere in the world there actually was a house floating on balloons made me happy.

Maybe it will cheer you up, too.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Easter preparations in earnest

The other day, I thought it would be a good idea to start getting ready for Easter. I am famous for having all sorts of awesome, cute ideas and good intentions...and then never getting around to them. First up: Easter baskets. Last year we were out of town and did absolutely NOTHING for Easter. It was disappointing and I felt I had failed as a holiday-loving mother. So I went to Target on Friday and got some darling buckets for baskets. I even got...Easter grass. (Mom, I know you are rolling your eyes.) My mother hates Easter grass and always talked about how awful it was to clean up for weeks afterward, so I didn't think I would ever do it. But I did need SOME sort of padding in the bucket so the eggs didn't break...and it was only $.49 a bag...I know, I'll pay for it later, but oh well. Next was outfits for the kids. I got the idea to make ties for the boys and a skirt or dress for Eva. I found this tutorial for little boy ties that looked do-able and cute. I have fabric to make this skirt for Eva, which I am in love with. (I might still do that...unless I get lazy.) But after a couple hours of stressing out over the ties, I decided, maybe it's not worth it. I'm sure I can find a cute tie somewhere. Looked at Target - nothing. Old Navy - nothing. Etsy - SCORE. Big time. I found the cutest tie on the entire internet, and it was the FIRST box that came up in my search for "little boy tie." Oh man, I am seriously in love. The shop was called "The Little Gentleman's Closet," and everything there was adorable. I ordered it immediately, which is very uncharacteristic for me when it comes to online shopping. I put in the comments that I needed two, and I got an email literally less than 2 minutes later from the owner, Michelle, who said she had just listed it again so I could purchase it, and she gave me a coupon code so I'd only have to pay shipping once. I was totally impressed with her immediate response! That was on Friday. Then, this morning, I get an email from her letting me know she had just shipped the ties this morning!! Talk about customer service! I was worried about getting them in time for Easter, since they are handmade and all, but I will have them way ahead of time. I am so completely happy with my experience with this shop, I just wanted to tell you all about it. If you have little boys, please go look at her shop. Great prices, ADORABLE ties, and outstanding customer service. I will post a picture when I get the ties...I can't wait!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Be witty, be pretty, be cheerful.

My Grandma had a quote hanging in her house my whole life until she passed away. It said, "Be witty if you can, be pretty if you are, but be cheerful if it kills you." My mom also had it up in our house while I was growing up. My sister Lindsay called yesterday wondering if I would make a print with that quote on it. (I did a series of prints for my sister Kim for Christmas and they turned out pertty cute!) Seeing as how those words are near and dear to me heart and I frequently need a reminder to be cheerful, I agreed.

So today, I sat down to make it. I used Crystal Wilkerson's Sweet Summertime elements for the colors and flowers - she is my all-time favorite digital designer. (My blog banner elements are from her as well.) Anyway.

I made several different versions of it, and I can't decide which one I like the best. So I'm putting it up here for some input. Also, because I love all of you who continue to read my blog, I'm giving you a few free downloads. Leave a comment which one you like the best, or even if you like none of them, and take one or all of them! They are 8 x 10, fyi. (Warning: they look weird because they are on a white background and it's not showing the outer border! Sorry, don't know how to fix that!)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sucked in.

I'm not a huge time-waster. I limit my TV shows and only watch them the next day on our Hulu Plus. I'm not big into Facebook, and I stopped twittering after about 2 weeks. Sometimes I like to peruse strangers' blogs, but I try to limit that too. With my addictive personality, I have to be careful what I allow myself. But today, I threw caution to the wind when I finally (after hearing about it a while ago) hopped onto a site called Pinterest. Specifically, the DIY label on Pinterest. Umm, here I am, about an hour later, with at least 30 internet windows open and a million ideas of things I want to make. Like this monogram and these mini lasagnas and this little boy tie and some of these flowers to put on a pillow and this cute monogram for the boys' room. The only problem is, I am still on a waiting list to get an account, so I have to find some other way to record all these websites until I can actually pin things. I can't use Delicious because it does weird things to my computer. So anyway, my point is, do NOT go to Pinterest. Unless you have yourself well under control. Or you have a couple hours to spare. Don't say you weren't fairly warned by someone with experience.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Body image

I don't always love the way my body looks.
That's probably normal, given my gender and stage in life, but it's still not very fun.

I go througyh cycles of self-hate like the next woman. Especially my knees - I really hate my knees. I can live with fat thighs - rare is the woman who has skinny thighs - but knees? Totally different story.

This month I have recommitted myself to working out every morning, and it's been great so far. With my current hormonal situation, I am totally and completely unable to lose weight or change the shape of my body in any way, although I am in fairly good shape. It's frustrating, and I have my days of quitting and wolfing down ice cream to make myself feel better. (It doesn't work.) But I know that, regardless of results, exercise makes me feel good. So I do it anyway.

But I wanted to share these two articles that have given me a lot to think about, and some new thoughts to think as I look in the mirror every morning. See what you think.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


If you want to hear an amazing story about an amazing person (who just so happens to be my future brother-in-law), go here to watch. Fast forward to 18 minutes. It's worth your time!

Saint Conference.

That's what Eva calls General Conference. I must say, it was absolutely FABULOUS. The best yet. It left me with much to think about and motivation to improve myself. But that's for another post, or possibly my journal. What I wanted to report is that...I finished binding my quilts. You may remember this quilt. As I looked at that link I realized I finished binding it EXACTLY one year after that post! Coincidence? Yes, but a cool one. Anyway, after I finished the top, I sent it to my amazing mother, who is now the proud owner of a quilting machine. She quilted with the CUTEST pattern ever, it's perfect. She sent it to me shortly after Dean's birth. The boy is now 7 months, and still it sat.

In the meantime (last summer), I had started another quilt for Dean. The top came together quickly, and my mom quilted it and sent it at the same time as the first. Knowing my laziness in finishing projects, I just decided to go ahead and wash and use them, unbound. (Trashy, I know.)

But during conference, with all those hours of sitting and watching television, I had to put my idle hands to work. And I'm so glad I did.

That night, I covered Dean up with his new, finally completed quilt, and I felt so accomplished. See? Conference worked. I'm improving already.

(Picture of full completed quilts to come...someday.)

Monday, April 4, 2011

The funniest parenting moment of the weekend

Between General Conference sessions yesterday, we went over to our friends' house for a potluck lunch. Our kids (there were 3 families there) were all out playing in the backyard. We had finished eating and the adults were sitting around the table chatting. Leighton ran by with a plastic yard stake in his hand, and we teased about someone getting hurt.

A few minutes later, we heard the peaceful backyard erupt into a chorus of terrified screams. Literally, all at once. There was no warm-up cry or gradual crescendo - it was all out chaos, all at once. Everyone's first thought (except mine) was that someone had gotten stabbed with the stake. I ran out there first and saw the funniest sight of my life.

The sprinklers had come on, and the kids were getting rained down on. They were all hysterically crying (except for the oldest girl, who's 8) and running around frantically. Leighton was the first to near the door, so I grabbed him. By then, the other parents had gotten out there and we were all scooping up wet kids. Eva was the funniest - she was paralyzed with fear and was running back and forth, never near the door, and screaming at the top of her lungs.

Us parents could hardly move, we were laughing so hard. We wrapped all the kids in towels and sat in the kitchen laughing and calming down from the adrenaline rush from the initial screams. Thankfully, nobody was hurt.

The only problem is that, come summer, my kids may still be suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrom and REALLY won't play at the splash pad!

Saturday, April 2, 2011


{This picture is from Thanksgiving last year, in the thick of the Doodle app phase.} A couple years ago, my parents gave me an iTouch for Christmas. Andrew's dad also passed on his old one to Andrew, so we became the proud owners of two iTouches. Which, ironically, we hardly ever touched. They sat on our iHome charger in the hallway, rarely being used.

Then Leighton came along. He loves little games like the doodle/drawing app on there, and he got attached to it. When my family came for Christmas a few months ago, Leighton fell hard and fast for my dad...because of his iPad. (Also, obviously, because of his good looks and charming personality. Hi, Dad.) He woke first thing in the morning asking, "Where's Grandpa's iPad?" and took it to bed with him at night.

We let him play with my iTouch often, as it would keep him quiet and trouble-free for long, rare, periods of time. But we left him alone with it too often, apparently, because he and Eva learned to access random videos on the internet through it. (I still don't know how to find what they were watching one day - some strange animate thing.) We disabled the internet, and then Leighton somehow erased his favorite drawing app on it.

The iTouch, once again, sat unused, as even Leighton couldn't figure out how to use it anymore. The only thing on there was Trivial Pursuit, and he obviously didn't get very far with that.

So on Thursday night, Andrew got it into his head to fix the iTouch. He got access back to the internet to fix our account and whatever else was wrong with it, and then, he made a fateful mistake.

He downloaded Angry Birds.

Now, I not only have an obsessed son, but an obsessed husband. They fight over it and take turns like children. (Although one of them has an excuse, because he is a child.) It is always in one of their hands...unless the battery is dead, and then it's temporarily on the charger again. Their personalities can't handle something like this, and the two oldest males in our household are on hiatus from their normal selves.

Today, General Conference, has given them ample opportunity to sit on the couch playing Angry Birds. Andrew justifies it, saying it's as brainless as me binding my quilt. I'll never play it to find out if he's right or not. I hope you can see why we will never ever EVER get a Wii or anything like it. An iTouch is bad enough.

Sometimes Angry Birds makes for one Angry Mama.

Friday, April 1, 2011

This is not an April Fool's joke.

I really am posting, for real. Also, although this is a bad day to tell people about a goal because they'll think you're kidding, I have a resolution to post every day this month. I might take Sundays off, I'm not sure yet. They say it's easier to do something every day than once a week, so I'm going to try. And I'm not kidding.

So, remember when I had a baby? I remember. Then one day, just a few short days ago, Andrew accidentally hacked his hair off and turned him into Rulon Gardner. Not a joke either. (Also, he has roseola in this picture.)
His head feels prickly like a teenager, and I'm sad. My last baby, and now his babyhood is gone. (Side note to Monique: Andrew and I are both a little freaked out by how he looks like Lincoln these days! Do you agree?)

Another thing that is not a joke: It is 90 degrees today. Vegas is playing a trick and making it feel like July. But it's not funny to me. Oh no, I am NOT a summer lover. I max out on patience around 82 degrees. I could never have been a successful pioneer. We went to the park so Eva and Leighton could watch other kids cool off in the splash pad. They've never been big social participants...even in the heat. Maybe they cooled off by proxy?

So that's it for my Blog Month Day 1. Peace out. I'll be back tomorrow.