Tuesday, January 31, 2012

40 weeks...

This little guy has an obsession with his tongue these days. He runs his tongue back and forth over his one little tooth as it curls up on the edges.

Monday, January 30, 2012

School days...

It seems like there's always something special going on in Hallie's classroom. One week they wore their pajamas to class and collected reams of paper for a classroom pizza party, the next they're taking in empty cereal boxes for crafting. The last two special days that Hallie showed special interest in were the 100th day of school (sidenote: I can't recall one time in all my schooling where we celebrated the 100th day - yet now it is quite the production) and hat day. She doesn't have a baseball hat, in fact the only hat she does own is a snow hat. So in the middle of an Arizona "winter" in 70 degree weather she sported a wonderful knitted hat that most of the children in her classroom have probably never even seen!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mission: Paint the Living Room...Complete...

As previously mentioned - Steve went out of town, which meant I had free reign over the house. I didn't have to cook, make my bed, do laundry or even really clean - It was all put on hold while I tackled the painting of the living room and family room - the two largest rooms and highest ceilings in the home. While I still had the kids with me, I just made sure they were fed and changing into clean clothes everyday was optional - aside from Hallie who goes to school. She was still required to get ready!

I knew I had three days of painting time, but I had no idea how much time I needed to give each room. I started with cutting in one main section. I cleaned and taped off the baseboards and taped around the stairs...I spent the first 6 hours cutting in. Although that took a large chunk of my time, I knew the rolling would be a breeze once I got around to it. In between painting, I fed the kids, did a little design work and put kids down for naps. I took a break once Hallie got home from school and after putting Bennett down for bed for the night I hit it hard once again. This happened two days in a row.

My body was tired when I woke up the third morning. I knew I was in the home stretch, but I also knew I had the highest ceiling section ahead of me. 16 foot ceilings. Even with my longest extension, I was on and off the ladder to get it all rolled. My neck, shoulder and arms were telling me I should have spent a little time on this section every day to alleviate the pain I currently felt. But there was an exhilirating feeling to see the slow transformation of the space. It's not overly noticable - we went from ivory to light gray - but I really do love the new color. It's fresh and cool and painting it with my own two hands makes me appreciate it even more.

I felt like I was doing great on time. I was pleased with my continued progress. Then I got a text from Steve. He would be landing early and home in two hours. This is how the living room looked when I got that fateful text...

I had made a lot of progress, but it was far from done. I kicked it into high gear. I fed the kids, but food for me was optional at this point. And then by some miracle it came together, just in time. I was pulling off the painters tape just minutes before he walked in and I even made some time to tackle the kitchen which had been sorely neglected with dishes piled high!

Aside from cutting in on some of the ceiling, I had covered both the living room, family room and the hallway. It was a proud moment! I knew the ceiling cutting in would have to be completed with Steve holding the extension ladder for me. I have severe bruises on my legs and thighs to show that I completed my use of the extension ladder as well, which I hope to not have to do again anytime soon. Two items of interest that are relatable: I will be wearing tall boots to church until the awful bruises go away and I'm thinking of creating a shin/thigh pads for those women choosing to use and lean against extension ladders, I will make them available in many patterns and fresh colors.

With the walls painted I was finally able to hang some pictures and perhaps when we settle on the couches we want and the drape color I'll post some after pictures!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Let's play...

If he could talk, I have a feeling he would say: "Don't you want to play with me? I'm loveable and squishy and I'll flash my one tooth smile, just hold me and tell me you love me." I'm pretty sure that's what he'd say! I seriously wash these pajamas two times a week just so he can wear them again. I'm in love with them (both the pajamas and the kid) and I'm wishing I had bought them in three different sizes. (the pajamas, not the kid!)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Spice drawer...

I'm sure I'm not alone in my quest to acquire every spice imaginable...okay that is a flat out lie. I make no intention of acquiring spices, but my spice drawer would say otherwise. It seems like I always find those recipes that require a 1/2 tsp of an obscure spice. Of course I must purchase the spice only to use a 1/2 tsp once a year. And that my friend is how I've acquired 49 spices. Some I use every week, others much less frequently, but there is nothing more annoying that spinning the spice rack 10 times looking for ground ginger. I know I bought one the last time I was at the store and yet it's no where to be found. The scene was all too common. In comes the solution...50 matching (although two different sized) jars, a label maker and a drawer. First off- if you are fortunate enough to live near a Penzey's Spices (Tempe marketplace has one) count yourself lucky! Just walking into the store makes me a better cook - they have some unique spices you won't find anywhere else. (The Brady Street cheese sprinkle is delicious with a white sauce pasta) Anyway- they have these fun little jars in several sizes. I purchased enough of the medium and small jars for all my spices (if you purchase spices there, they also come in these jars). I pulled out my handy dandy label maker and went to town labeling all the jars. Once labeled, I placed the spices in alphabetical order in a drawer, they are the perfect height for drawers (the most efficient use of space!). This is so much more effective than the little twirly things that spices get lost in! I cannot explain how much I've loved this set up! There is no looking for missing spices and even better - I don't accidentally buy a spice I already have plenty of. Plus - I find it comforting to know that the drawer is completely organized with identical labeled jars. It makes me happy every time I open it!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

39 weeks...

We are hitting the nine month mark.

There seems to be little interest in crawling or standing up - but he has mastered sitting. Baby steps...He's loving more and more table foods but potatoes are out of the question.

He's started the high pitch squeal which seems to get higher and louder if we scream with him.

He loves the stroller and Hallie is always a willing help to push him around.

His little bald head is starting to fill with hair and I love it.

He doesn't sleep unless he's in his bed. No exceptions.

He loves chewing on his gauze-like (aden and anais) blankets and has to have one in order to fall asleep.

One of his favorite toys is the play food lettuce and turkey slice. He chews on these things and loves to put the turkey on his head and then tips his head forward and it falls off, then he laughs and laughs.

He loves bike rides and does great until his co-pilot (Hunter) starts to bother him.

He's smiley. He shows us his one tooth smile all the time!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hunter the hider...

Hunter is a hider. When you get him out of nap time he hides behind the door. When he gets in trouble, he hides behind the treadmill. When he eats something he’s not supposed to, he goes to the corner of his closet. He has all these special places that he likes to hide in. It makes it hard when I really can’t find him and I’m frantically yelling throughout the house, afraid that he’s maybe wandered off outside. I’ll throw a bribe out there – “Hunter its time for a treat, You’ve got to come to the kitchen if you want a treat.” Never failing, he’ll walk up behind me and say, “Hi Mom, I want a treat.” He’s a little sneaky. Although hiding is a favorite past time, he’s expanded to hiding things. Random things. Some not so random.

He hides granola bars and rice krispy treats and a pair of scissors between his bed and the wall. That makes sense. When it’s nap time, he goes to town cutting everything open. He also hides Hallie’s shoes. That too makes sense, she gets so annoyed and he just laughs. But we’re starting to lose things and I’m scratching my head. A half loaf of bread. I made a sandwich with it Friday afternoon – there was a half loaf – can’t find it anywhere. Hallie’s Barbie and horse – she played with it one morning before school, she came home and couldn’t find it anywhere. Our toothpaste – used it yesterday morning, put it in the drawer – missing. The hall night light – missing. Our spoons – missing.

What I can’t understand is where is it all going. I have scoured the house looking for these things, especially the loaf of bread that will eventually go bad. I found an opened jar of peanut butter in the playroom and I thought for sure I would find the loaf of bread soon after, no luck!

Sometimes he’ll openly admit and retrieve the item in question. Other items, that I know he’s guilty of hiding, he keeps concealed. So, when anything is missing we know just who to ask. It's just a toss up whether he'll tell us!

Sunday, January 22, 2012


I received these pictures from Steve's sister - such fun memories. (although only a few weeks ago, they seem so long ago!)

Over the holidays, Steve's mom hosts "Nana Sleepover" for all grandkids 4 years and older. With the younger kids, she hosts a McDonalds lunch and park day. She's a brave soul!

My wonderful birthday lunch surrounded by my sister, most of my sister-in-laws and mother-in-law. I love the tradition of a girls birthday lunch. And with all these wonderful ladies living in the area, we get to do it several times a year!

Things to look forward to this week:
Home Energy Audit - hopefully we can figure out what is causing our extremely high bills
FHE and Sundaes with friends
Finishing up final painting of the living and family room
Finally hanging some pictures on the wall
Internet technician coming to hopefully fix our difficult internet
Its shaping up to look like a fantastic week...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Tooth Fairy Folklore...

We reached a new milestone in parenthood...the tooth fairy. Hallie has had many friends losing their teeth lately and she too wanted in on the fun. So she found her most wiggly tooth and she moved it all the time. Call me crazy, but I wanted to keep that thing in there as long as possible. It starts with losing one tooth, and then another, and another and all the sudden this little girl starts to morph into tween - I'd rather keep my little girl! Not only that, but as teeth start to come in crooked I start to see dollar signs in future dental work!

But it was inevitable - it came out. We went through the whole discussion of the tooth fairy. She wrote a beautiful letter and it was just a magical experience. She got her money and immediately started wiggling a new tooth. Not 12 hours later - she started questioning the reality of the tooth fairy. She asked me. Steve. Kaytlin. Her cousins. She wasn't too sure about it because a kid at school told her it was his parents. (I hope he feels good about that!) We diverted all questions to the best of our ability and she forgot about it...until she lost her next tooth at school, the same day as her friend. Once again the tooth fairy was the topic of discussion. But she got her money and once again was satisfied, but was still questioning the reality of it.

In true Hallie fashion, she went to the library at school and checked out the book, "Junie B Jones, First Grader, Loses a Tooth." She read that book religiously for 6 days. I kept waiting for more questions but the book seemed to put her mind at ease. She finished it and returned it and later that afternoon she said, "Mom, did you know that when the tooth fairy takes your tooth he puts it in someone else's mouth?" Confused, I asked her to repeat, which confirmed I heard it right the first time. I asked, "Where did you hear that?"

"In the Junie B Jones book."

I was silently giving credit to the author - very clever, something I hadn't heard before. Hallie then starts to speculate who might have her tooth in their mouth. She was being a crack up about it. I then reminded her that Bennett got a tooth right after she lost her tooth.

She totally thinks her tooth is in Bennett's mouth. I wonder how long I can have fun with this one!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lunch woes...

Hallie has been struggling to eat her sandwiches during lunch while she's at school. I'm not sure why I even asked, but one day I asked if she ate everything in her lunch. She looked at me sheepishly and reluctantly told me that she ate everything but her sandwich. I thought maybe this was a one time deal. The next day I made her a half sandwich. I asked again. And again And the next five days after that. I took out her treat. I took out her Go-Gurt. She still never eats her sandwich! The first time it didn't bother me too much, but now knowing that I send her with a sandwich (because I have to send her with something so her teacher doesn't think I'm neglecting the poor child!) that she throws away every day and then comes home complaining how starving she is.

So I switched up the PB sandwich and let her pick. Turkey and Cheese. She still didn't eat it. Yet, she comes home STARVING (imagine this in a whiny girl voice) every single day. This shouldn't bother me nearly as much as it does! She no longer gets any snacks after school if she doesn't eat her lunch...

What am I doing wrong here?

Clearly sandwiches are not her thing...dang it. What else do you put in a lunch that doesn't have to be heated up or refrigerated?? Please share!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

38 weeks...

Mr. B has had a good week. He's getting the the hang of picking up his little fruit puffs which he loves. This is the first week since his accident that he's really been able to sit with strength. He's doing much better at not favoring his right side, we're seeing a lot of improvement. Maybe one day, we'll see him crawl. For now we just see him scoot around in circles and back into the couch!

Monday, January 16, 2012

More paint...

I wish I could say that Steve shared my love of home remodeling/projects. I have grand visions of us staying up until all hours of the morning working on projects together. Having meaningful conversations as to what we could do to improve the bathroom and walking the aisles of Home Depot together for our date nights...but it's just a dream. A pipe dream.

Instead, I have a husband who moderately tolerates my love for projects. It's not that he doesn't love the finished project, he's not so keen on the process/mess/time it takes to get there. Which is understandable. So, with most things there's give and take - home remodeling for us is no exception. Steve understands that I'm going to repaint the whole house, he just wants to do it over time. He came up with what he thought was a good idea; paint one room in the house every month and in just over a year we could have the whole thing painted...I silently groaned...but understood I needed to give a little. I then started scheming as to how I could possibly get more painted without getting divorced...

Then it hit me. He travels often, so while he's gone, I'll try and get as much painted as possible and that won't count for my one room a month because he will have missed the whole thing, mess included.

He's leaving town soon so I'm gathering my materials. I painted several swatches on the wall to find the ideal color- looking for a light and airy color.

As you can see - the lighting wasn't ideal when I took this photo!

In order top to bottom:
Dunn Edwards Foggy Day @ 200%
Glidden Polished Limestone
Benjamin Moore Cumulus Cloud @70%
Foggy Day @100% (which was the same lightness as our current off-white, just a different tone)

I am most drawn to Foggy Day, but the bottom one was just a little too light, the top a little too dark, so I bought right in the middle at 150%. Lets hope it looks as good when it's towering over me on four walls!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Homemade Christmas...

If I ever find the time and energy, I would like to create a complete homemade Christmas, where all gifts are made with love. Because I understand my limitations, I've altered that dream to one homemade gift for each family member. This is becoming increasingly more difficult the more kids we have and the older they get. Obviously I need to start thinking more creatively and start much earlier. A personal fan favorite that I've used in the past (here, and Hunter received his Gospel ABC book last year) is a personal printed book from blurb. In fact, it worked for me two times this year. Hallie received a Book of Mormon Stories book. The church used to produce a group of pictures called the "Gospel Art Kit". They contained pictures from all the scriptures with their story printed on the back. Unfortunately, the church no longer makes those kits, but their information was so valuable. So I took it upon myself to make my own book using the pictures from the kit and their coordinating stories, so Hallie could read it during church, and I love the way it turned out. Steve received our 2007 blog (the first year I started blogging) in printed form. It is so much fun to go back and read through those entries - it confirms the need for constant journaling, I love that we have it all on record. The first couple years of marriage, I made a yearly book for Steve for Christmas, and then I slacked for a couple years. So I'm back in it and have big plans for getting caught up! I designed this book in Adobe InDesign and then uploaded the PDF version to Blurb. They have great prices and you can't beat the quality. Hunter has an obsession with planes, trains and cars lately, so his homemade gift was simple. I bought charcoal felt and cut them into 5" x 13" pieces and then created some curved and "T" pieces as well. I bought some yellow craft paint and painted a yellow dotted line down the middle of each one. Maximum time spent - 2 hours. And they were a huge hit. They don't take up a lot of space and better yet, they don't hurt if you accidentally step on them.

As for Bennett - well his tag blanket never got finished - it's cut and ready to go, but his injury set me back a bit and I didn't get it finished. Luckily, I had the other gifts ready to go by them time the wheels fell off the wagon!

I'm already thinking of next Christmas - maybe two homemade gifts a piece...perhaps a lofty goal, but those are the most fun trying to attain!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

New Years Eve...

Steve and I have never been big New Years Eve people. It's typically a day that comes and goes without much hoopla- and it's worked just fine for us. But this year, as well as last year, we've attended a fantastic family party and it has been a big deal. I understand now, why people love New Years, I've seen the light! We started the night with an adult only (Steve's siblings/spouses and parents) dinner, which as a mother of young children, I totally appreciate.

(Thanks for the photo Shawni!)

We joined up with the kids by 8:30 and went to the church for some frisbee dodgeball - it was out of control and such a good time.

We finished the night at Steve's brothers house where we ate and played games until the clock struck midnight - which is when the dance party broke out. Hallie and Hunter made it the whole night without any monumental breakdowns or an ounce of sleep.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New House Color...

Painting has wrapped up (aside from a few small details which will be tackled on Saturday!) and we are loving the new color. I originally went to Home Depot and purchased 4 of the $3 test samples, which is the cheapest custom sample I came across. I put all four on the house and with the help of family and friends we narrowed it down to one.

The more I looked at our "chosen" color the more I became nervous and unsettled. It was a little more Taupe/tan than what I was hoping for. I wanted something a little cooler and more gray. I went back to home depot and purchased two new samples. I'm so glad I followed my gut - Once the last two colors were on the wall I knew our "chosen" one was no longer my favorite. Within 20 minutes of application, I knew we had a winner. Sherwin Williams Rare Gray.

A quick looksie at what we started with:

And after a lot of hours of brushing and rolling we ended with this:

It was exactly what we were looking for- In the blue-ish family, but much more toned down than the original cottage blue we started with. But of course once you slap a fresh coat of paint on everything, you start to notice all the other things you need to change to make it work.

So...that's where this picture comes in:

Next on the list is to remove the picket fence. Similar to gingerbread - we are just going for a more simple/modern line throughout the house. The fence is in bad condition as it is, so we either need to make some serious repairs or remove it...so I'll remove it!

Once the fence is removed, I'm hoping to eventually build up the posts, make them more substantial so it doesn't look as though the house is being held up by toothpicks. Perhaps at that point I will reevaluate whether we install a new, clean line fence. It's up for debate!

With the gingerbread gone, no picket fence, larger posts...we'll have to address the swirly lightpost. Who would've thought that painting a house could lead to such transformation of so many elements! :)

Next up...it's time to head to Home Depot to buy samples for the living room and family room...I'm thinking a shade of gray - you can see a pattern!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

37 weeks...

Mr. Big Stuff...

He rules the house. If he's happy - we're all happy...

He's been shoving things in his mouth since the day he was born but lacked the control and precision to put anything small in his mouth. Those days are gone and I have to watch him like a hawk. It works to my advantage when I can put a fruit puffs on his tray and it will keep him occupied while I cook dinner. It works against me when he finds a small piece of plastic in the carpet and starts to choke on it or when his brother hands him a penny - no joke.

Its a wonder that any child makes it to their first birthday!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Polar Plunge...

Polar Bear Plunge : An event held during the winter where participants enter a body of water despite the low temperature.

My brother arrived from Idaho and after working on the house a few days, I could start to see him eying the pool. I quickly shot him down and informed him, although the weather is beautiful, the pool is frigid. At night we drop into the low 40s which means that pool is chilly. Yet, he longingly looked at the pool. Towards the end of his time with us, he started talking to Hallie about how fun it would be to jump in - the polar bear plunge. He really talked it up and I could see Hallie's eyes start to light up at the idea of it.

I didn't think to squash the idea so early because I thought it would fizzle quickly.

But it didn't die.

So the night arrived (51 F - which means the water was even colder!) and Cameron and Hallie were all talk about the pool. I knew Cameron would do it, but I was going to do my best to discourage Hallie. She insisted she get her swim suit on. She insisted on the towel. So I went through the motions with her, wondering at what point do I put my "parent hat" on and tell her the idea is crazy and there is absolutely no way she would be participating. I guess a part of me wanted to let her make that decision and then let her see the consequences to that decision.  I kept reminding her how cold it was going to be. As she neared the pool and we told her to put her feet in so she can see how cold it was.

After doing so she started to complain at how much it hurt. I thought we had sealed the deal and there would be no way she would jump in. She still insisted, yet she hesitated each time they were to jump in. We made sure she realized - there would be absolutely no crying. With that knowledge - Cameron scooped her up in his arms and they jumped. When she surfaced there were tears welling in her eyes. We got her out and to her credit, those tears never fell. She kept telling me the water was so cold it hurt.

She got inside and started to thaw and she was all smiles. There was a sense of pride that washed over her and she was half tempted to jump again! She knew at that point she was in the "club" that Cameron had talked about all week, "The Polar Bear" club. Unfortunately, I don't think she realizes there's no benefits to such a club!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2012 Young Women Theme - Free Printable...

For the new 2014 theme free printables, "Come Unto Christ" click here.

I was asked to create some printables for the 2012 Young Women Theme, "Arise and Shine Forth" - and so I share...

There is an 8.5 x 11 binder cover, 4 different colors of 5x7 prints and some bookmarks. Click on the links below for the download from dropbox.

Download Arise and Shine Binder Cover
Download Green Arise and Shine
Download Blue Arise and Shine
Download Pink Arise and Shine
Download Yellow Arise and Shine
Download Bookmarks Arise and Shine

Thursday, January 5, 2012


I'm a huge fan of the children's author Sandra Boynton. One of my favorite books is "Pajama Time". 

Every time I dress my children for bed and they're in stripes I say the line from the book, "They might be stripey or polka dot, but we can all pajama in whatever we've got. It's pajama time."

Our kids were definitely stripey the other morning, both in similar tone stripes.

After taking these pictures, it made me think of another fun book having to do with stripes, and I thought they could be on the cover of this book:
So naturally, I was then curious who would work out better on the cover:

I think Bennett totally rocks this pose.
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