I'm starting to think that mothering sick kids feels like the movie Groundhog Day.  Wake up, change diapers, feed babies, clean up, change clothes, put them back to bed, repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat.  (Come to think of it, all mothering is like that.)  This goes on for days and usually continues through the night.
The post-Christmas sickness caught us again.  The humidifier's been running 24/7 and our medicine cabinet is totally stocked. I've been fine, fortunately, but even with the mild bugs we've had I am getting tired of it.  Poor MG can't catch a break.

In other news, I finally had some guests in my guest room!  Matt & Kim stayed with us for most of the week and it was really fun.  We watched movies and ate and talked late into the night.  I was so glad to have them around, especially when Slice went back to work.

Now I'm looking forward to getting my life (and house) back in order.  I love new year's resolutions, I love setting goals and making plans.  It's the Type 2 in me.  If those darn calendars will get here already ...


Our Christmas


Liam's current favorite show is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, so I couldn't pass these PJs up.  They are a hit.
MG only wanted an apple for Christmas.

My brother got Slice a knife and made a paracord handle for it.  Then he made Liam a little wooden knife to match.  It is the darn cutest thing.

At our annual Christmas Dinner Date, we played Reverse Charades.  Have you played it yet?

Now let me tell you about Slice's presents.
I bought them just after Thanksgiving, and I covered all my tracks.  I bought them with my Zions credit card that Slice never uses, shipped them to my mom's house, deleted all emails from Amazon regarding my order.  (Then found him going through my trash folder!!) 
I gave Slice ZERO clues.  Still, HE GUESSED what the big one was, right down to the brand.
I swear that kid is a mind reader.

Fortunately the hatchet was still a good surprise, and I think I won the brownie points this year.


cracking ceilings and movie trips

Our church building is currently condemned.  It started with a crack in the chapel ceiling and escalated to a smoking ballast in the Primary Room (which caused a fire alarm!), and then they told us to get anything we needed out of the building because they were changing all the outside locks.

We've been relocated to another building and shifted to 1:30 church, which is just great .... naptime for BOTH my kids.  I will probably be attending my parents' ward every Sunday that Slice works until we get back in our own building.  

So, right now, Slice is at church and I'm home with both my kids in bed.  It's been a crazy weekend.

We drove to Salt Lake on Friday and made a trek to the one and only Scheels, which was cool.  It would have been cooler without ten thousand people there but hey, that's what you get for visiting a retail establishment five days before Christmas.  Liam loved the Ferris wheel.

We drove up to Ogden and got the kids ready for bed before driving BACK to Jordan Commons to see The Hobbit in IMAX.  (I was telling Slice about how awesome it was when Jordan Commons opened.  And he had no idea the building was the old Jordan High School that my parents graduated from. Ha!)

By the time we got back to Odgen it was 3 a.m. which is WAY later than I've gone to bed in a very, very long time.  Then Liam kept us up for the rest of the night with his coughing.  This is why we don't go places.

Saturday we shopped and ate and packed and drove back to the horrid subzero temperatures of the Basin.  We even made it in time to go to a party with all the friends we do weekly playdates with (plus husbands!), which was probably the highlight of my week.  I pretty much love all those people.  We always have a good time.



Here's something I've been thinking about for, oh, several years:  Minivans.

Minivans are like the "Rachel Morgans" of automobiles.  Efficient, practical, unflashy, most likely to have the most kids, you get what I'm saying.  We SHOULD be a match made in heaven.

But here's the thing: I've always hated them.  Even in my youth when our family car was a 15-passenger Ford Club Wagon did I despise minivans.  ("I will never drive one of those!")

And, just for the record, my parents went from a suburban to the Big Blue Whale, then to another Econoline with a bigger engine, and then to another suburban.  They downsized to their first minivan last year.
(I feel like that's a punchline to a joke .... "You know you're a Mormon when ....!")

Minivans just make sense!  Cheaper than SUVs to buy and to drive! So many family-friendly options!  So much space!
And, to be fair, they're getting flashier.

That, my friends, is why I feel it's inevitable for me to own a minivan someday.  It is my destiny.


Pins of Interest

I'm still here, blogging away, though it seems I am part of a shrinking group.  Blame Pinterest for at least half the decline.

Speaking of Pinterest - I've been surprised by the pins of mine that have gotten the most attention.  A recipe for microwave caramels got like 25 repins in an hour. And I haven't even tried it! (Oh, but I will.)

Other popular pins: Irish lace scarf.  I actually tried to crochet this but I got discouraged.  It was taking way too long and I was in a crocheting frenzy.  Never picked it back up again.  It's beautiful though, no?

Free printables.  I NEVER print stuff.  I looked at these and liked them and then they went into that closet in my brain where I keep things I think I might use someday.  Like when I have a bigger house with WALLS. (That are made of sheetrock, not plaster or concrete, so I can change my decor every once in a while.)

Oh, the Places You'll Go.  A really cute idea, if I remember it in four years when my oldest starts school.  But then I'll probably have to do it for all my kids and oh, it is just so much!

Honorable mention: paracord gun strap.  Slice pinned this for me, I guess he wants one or something.  Apparently some other people do too.

Tree quilt with initials: I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS.  I'm going to make my mother make me one.  Just you wait and see.

Shared nursery on a budget.  This one keeps getting repinned, over a year later. I still love the original but my space and budget and decorating skills are not up to par, I'm afraid.  My kids' room looks like what it is: cramped and eclectic.  Not in a good way.

Speaking of shared nurseries, YOU GUYS.  This mom has four kids in one cute room and I am in awe.  How does she do it?  Do they sleep at night?  Does she sleep at night?  I'm about to write her an email and beg for advice, because MG is back downstairs after a few weeks where our nights got progressively worse and worse. Liam was up crying and woke MG and they talked (yelled?) to each other all night long and I.don't.function. without enough sleep. I've come to grips with that and taken steps to preserve my sanity.  The current step being the one where MG sleeps downstairs in her pack and play because she loves it down there and she sleeps for 12 hours straight without a peep.

I'm blogging in circles.

I leave you with MG licking a chocolate cookie dough beater.


Messiah 2013

So many tragedies this week, even within the last few days.  The pants-wearing debacle. The elementary school shooting.  The 12-year-old boy from my neighborhood who died in a car accident, and his mom, who is still in critical condition.

I've seen happy things too.  My mom and I held a Christmas recital for all our piano students on Monday night.  Twelve kids with jitters turned into some really motivated students, after they saw what the others could do.
I tested the waters of community organizing, after weaseling my way onto a very closed pool project committee. (Go Like our Facebook page!)
I performed with a choir and orchestra composed of people from all walks of life - 6th grader to great-grandma, janitor to doctor - as we sang that inspired piece of music The Messiah.

It's difficult to describe what that music does to me, even though I've participated in the performance for five years now.  I can get to practice tired, dragging my feet, even crying inside, and I always come away uplifted and grateful (also hoarse, usually).  We sing Glory to God in the Highest and Behold, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the World and His Name Shall be Called: Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace ... and somehow, my heart is healed.

Last night as we got to the now-cliche Hallelujah chorus, I started really thinking about these words I've been hearing my entire life.

For the Lord God Omnipotent Reigneth.
The Kingdom of this world is become
The Kingdom of His Christ:
And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings! and Lord of lords!

My heart clenched within me and I thought about Jesus Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords.  I thought about Him returning to reign over this earth that He saved with love. This earth with wicked, wicked people who do unspeakable things to each other and to sweet, innocent little children.
I thought about His incomprehensible love, what it means to me in my life.  What it does for me.

And I was just glad that I was in the choir, that I could cry without anyone noticing, and sing as loud as my little voice could carry: Hallelujah! Hallelujah! for His matchless gift!


Letter to Emma

My dear Emma Grace,

A year ago today I held you in my arms for the very first time.  I saw your thick dark hair and your beautiful fingers and your sweet little cheeks and I fell in love.

Your birth was nothing short of miraculous, Emma, and I'm not exaggerating when I say it changed my life.  After an incredible labor and delivery I held your perfect body, I felt your precious spirit, and I realized for the first time what it means to be a daughter of God.  What it means to be His greatest creation, woman.  You and me.
Oh, how I want you to understand that!  You are beautiful and kind and smart and important, and although I know you'll forget it, I promise to keep reminding you.  Life as a woman will never be easy - wasn't meant to be - but it will be so much easier if you remember who you are and what you are doing here.

You have us wrapped around your finger, little girl.  Especially your dad.  (He's been calling you Princess from day one.) You were the happy ending to a really hard time for our family, the daughter we talked about even before we got married.  You are our sweetheart, our peacemaker, our keen observer.  You continually delight us with your mimicking and performing antics.

You love your older brother more than anything.  You have a special laugh just for him, one that nobody else can get out of you.  He loves having you around to play with - if you'd only grow up a little faster!  You're a little socialite too, and will come find someone else anytime you realize that you've been left alone.  I'm pretty sure that is in your genes.

I pray every day that I can be the mother you need, that I can teach you what you need to know to be truly happy.  The older I get the more I realize how much I owe to my own wonderful mother, and I'm glad you have this woman as your grandma.  You'll learn a lot from her.

It's only been a year but I still don't know what we did without you. You've taught me more about myself than I would have thought possible.  We have so many wonderful things to look forward to!  I love you!



Some Things I'm Really Excited About Right Now

  • This book.  Deseret Book sold out online so I called the store in Salt Lake and they shipped me two (one for the MIL) that were signed by the artist.  They came today and made me super happy.  It's a beautiful book.
  • Dressing Your Truth has a Pinterest page with boards for each Type! Oh dear.

  • These boots I bought for Liam for Christmas.  After scouring the internet for a week I got them on Cyber Monday for $25 and BOY HOWDY I can't wait to give them to that kid.  They look awesome.  Sheplers.com, folks.

  • Liam loves Vicks vaporub so much he puts it on himself.  Behind the couch, when I'm not looking.  I'm really super excited about it.

  • This girl's birthday is TOMORROW.  And she's learning the piano already!  My little prodigy.
  • Singing the Messiah.  It's that time again.  Which also means it is my sick time again.  I'm sick pretty much every year for the rehearsals and/or the performance, except last year when I was in the hospital recovering from childbirth ....


That time I turned a pair of pants into Christmas stockings

Once upon a time I had some capris that I really loved.
They were probably from Walmart and on clearance but I was a college student trying to live off $10 worth of groceries a week, so, you know.  

The capris weren't very well-made (shocker!) but they were comfy and they had some cute details.  After a couple summers of wear the linen had torn in a couple places; still I couldn't bring myself to throw them away.  Surely I could use them for a sewing project sometime!  Forget that I don't really do sewing projects and didn't even have a sewing machine for four more years....

But this year.
This year I have a sewing machine and I started thinking about making stockings.  Ours were all mis-matched, the smallest one is the size of my palm, and I think MG deserves a little better.  Plus stockings are easy to make, right?

Then what fabric to choose?  Our Christmas decor is all homespun: walnuts and pinecones for ornaments, Shar's blanket for the tree skirt (at Slice's insistence).   It has real character.

I looked at a bunch of ideas online and decided that I wanted simple, maybe burlap stockings.  Or.... linen!!
I got to work.
(If you want a great tutorial for some simple stockings that I LOVE, go here.  I didn't follow it, but that's because I already knew what I wanted.  Also because I'm stubborn.)

I cut up those capris until there was nothing recognizable left.  I made smaller ones for the kids so I could get more out of the fabric - even made an extra stocking to give myself a few more years before I have to do this again.  I used as much of the embroidery, pockets, buttons and already-finished seams as I could.  And I ended up doing some stitching by hand to get what I wanted.

I kind of love them.

Wait, something's missing here .....

Oh there it is.
This was going to be Liam's but I think I like the other one better .... save it till we need it!

Here they are, in the only place they'll fit in our house.  The entryway bookshelf.  Hanging on crochet hooks.

"Homespun" indeed.



This week was Newfield's Annual Holiday Party.  Apparently I never wrote about last year's?
We got a fancy invitation sometime in October with the words "SEMI-FORMAL ATTIRE" printed right on it and we joked about it for weeks.  What does semi-formal mean?  What does it mean to you?  What does it mean to oilfield workers?
And ... there's the rub.

Semi-formal to me (and the rest of the internet) (see, click on every one of those links) means dressy.  "Pants to avoid are tights, denim and khakis," etc.  I've probably had this drilled into my head more than most, for which I will be forever grateful.  (Thanks Mom! And Grandma! And Dad!)  I will always ALWAYS overdress for an occasion, not only for etiquette's sake but because I like to.
I don't know about you, but I don't have that many opportunities to look fancy.  So I'm gonna go ahead and take advantage of those opportunities.

Anyway.  I wore a lavender knee-length dress, Slice wore a pale pink dress shirt and slacks.  One guy wore a white zoot suit, probably as a joke.  We three were part of a very small minority.
Almost everyone else - hundreds of people - wore jeans.

The dinner was much more enjoyable for me this year, mainly because I wasn't 9 months pregnant. I could eat and sit and move and laugh ... and sleep afterward!  Without ingesting a whole bottle of Tums first!
Last year there was a comedian, this year the entertainment was a ventriloquist.  It would have been much more entertaining if we had been able to see the guy and/or his puppet.
Oh well.
Another year down.

I'm thinking of dressing even fancier next year.


the doll

We finally got MG a doll so she has something other than cars and dinosaurs to play with.  So far, she doesn't love it.

Liam, on the other hand...

Liam cuddles with her and totes her around, even "in the car."   Last night we found him reading his monster truck book to her.  He is getting really attached to that doll.  ("It's not yours," I keep telling him.)

We should have gotten him one a long time ago....



Fortunately, last weekend was Thanksgiving.  Almost my favorite holiday.
Unfortunately, we were running (driving) around the entire weekend.  At least half our time was spent in the car.

Fortunately, we had a great meal at my Woodruff grandparents' house in Glenmoor on Thursday.
Unfortunately, Liam was relegated to an empty table. (The picture lies. Derek left.)

Fortunately, I scored this darling outfit for MG a month ago and she finally got to wear it!
Unfortunately, it was a one-time deal.

Fortunately, my Grandma put together a nice Thanksgiving program (featuring me, even!).
Unfortunately, I had to shush Liam through most of it.

Fortunately, we had a bed to sleep on at the Provo condo.
Unfortunately, it was an air mattress in a cold room where my two younger brothers were also sleeping.
(Yo, wood floors make a house cold, and SO LOUD.  Why is everyone hating on carpet these days??)

Fortunately, we went to the zoo on Friday.  Annual trip!
Unfortunately, it was much colder than we expected, and Liam woke up sick the next day.

Fortunately, Liam loved it.
Unfortunately, both he and MG needed clothing changes by the end of the visit. If you know what I mean.

Fortunately, my sister Kiana went through the Timpanogos temple Friday night and I got to be there and it was lovely.
Unfortunately, Slice decided to go Skyfall with his brothers rather than come with me.

Fortunately, we went to the Oquirrh Mountain temple Saturday morning for a sealing session with my mom's family.
Unfortunately, we had to drive to Bountiful first (from Provo) to drop our kids off.

Fortunately, we had a great dinner with Slice's family in downtown Salt Lake.
Unfortunately, MG was ornery and clingy after a few hours without us. Also, Amy wasn't there.

Fortunately, we made it home safely and got to visit with some friends before writing/finishing our talks for the next day.
Unfortunately, Liam was still sick when he woke up, so we called my dad and asked him to come watch the kids while we spoke in Sacrament Meeting.

Fortunately, Slice was home for Sunday.
Unfortunately, he decided to pick up a couple days of overtime, so I'm cheated out of two days with him home this week.

Fortunately, I got to accompany a girl in a violin recital tonight.
Unfortunately, Slice was at Urgent Care with both kids so I had to scramble to find a ride there in time.

Fortunately, we live three blocks from our local hospital & clinic.
Unfortunately, WE ALL HAVE STREP.  AGAIN.  Except Slice, who is working for the next 8 days.


Because I love Kacy

I've been reading this blog Every Day I Write the Book pretty much since I started blogging.  (Four years, FYI.)  Kacy is real and funny and insightful, and also a Harry Potter fan.  What's not to like?

Some of my favorite posts of hers are herehere and here, if you're interested. I might love her newest post most of all, even though it's a book review about a book I haven't read and, in all honesty, probably won't.  I just love how she says things:
I'm sick of people being their true self.  It's always people being their "true selves" who act like jerks and leave their wives. Who's to say who your true self is? Isn't acting better similar to being better?
To which I say, amen, and that I sometimes wish our society would quit with the whole "be yourself" business. (Sorry, I HAD to put that link in there.)  So many people think that life is about "finding themselves" and seeing the world and loving recklessly and collecting degrees and following their dreams .... rather than doing what's right, being grateful for what they have and, I don't know, doing the things that will bring them true happiness.

I was talking about this with my good friend Dani last week and I've thought about it often.  I just feel bad for people who don't want their own families, who don't ever want to be "tied down" or tethered by true commitment.  They think they're better off without it.  But they will never experience the joy, the love, the incredible growth and progression that comes from having a family.  To me, that's the whole point of life.

Again, Kacy says it perfectly:
Isn't it within a marriage and within a family that we become better people? I've started to think lately that the church stresses family not just as an eternal organizational unit but as the means to salvation--not just by being in one, but through surviving it. I'm noticing that many people's greatest trials come through their families and I am noticing that any improvement I have made personally has been through being in a family and serving when I don't feel like it. For me it has come through being forced to be selfless in serving my kids, but I can see that marriage could act as a refining fire as well. I've seen men be better through thoughtful consideration of their demanding wives or through making sacrifices by working at jobs they hate to support people they love.
I really think that's true.  I have long believed that we learn what we need to learn most from our families, and that in many cases there is no other way to learn it.

So .... now I'm going to go take a nap.  It's been one of those Sundays.



Monday was a crazy day.  Slice was off work so I was (as usual) trying to knock things off my to-do list.  By noon we had the entire upstairs cleaned and vacuumed, swept, wiped down, the bathroom scrubbed top to bottom.  But sometime during the morning, Slice figured out that the new Call of Duty game was coming out that night at midnight, not Tuesday night like he'd been thinking for months.  This meant he'd have a night to play and a day to recover before going back to work.

Slice: "Can I go to Vernal at midnight and buy the game?"
Me: "And then what?  You'll play all night and sleep all day tomorrow and we won't get anything done and ..."
Slice: "No I won't.  What do you want done tomorrow?  What do you want me to do?"
Me: "A headboard.  Make me a headboard."
Slice: "OK."

And that's how it went.

I've actually had the stuff to make a headboard for a YEAR now, sitting in my downstairs closet.  Our bed is in front of a window and we have spent two years pushing curtains out of our faces at night.  I scored an old cheap headboard from my parents (thanks Mom!) and Slice chopped off the molding on top, glued some extra wood behind the slats, and we were in business.

Then we went to a concert.  Well, I sang in it.  I had two days to stress about singing the national anthem a capella during a concert when (musical) people are actually listening, and what to wear when the band is wearing concert black but I don't want to wear all black and I'm a soloist anyway, and how early should I be there, and are the kids going to make it through the concert, and ..... it all turned out fine.

When I got home at 9:00 the kids were still in the bath.  After Slice and I put them to bed and deliberated more than a little, we got back to work on the headboard.  I cut my fabric in half and stitched it back up, matching the pattern as well as I could.  We stapled foam and batting and fabric, Slice left for Vernal, I finished it up and stuck it behind our bed and stroked it lovingly.  (Just kidding.)


I sent this picture to Slice still wearing my black tights from the concert and well, dear, this is the closest thing to a boudoir photo you're ever going to get.

Then I promptly fell asleep and Slice didn't come to bed until after 4:00, also after I'd been up TWICE with the kids. 

But he didn't sleep all day Tuesday, so you know.  I'll take what I can get.


Silky & Soft

Several years ago my super-talented mother started making silky blankets for her grandchildren.
They started out simple, but got fancier over time.  (Isn't that always the case!  Too bad for the oldest!)

She picked fabric and pieced and stitched and quilted.  She started using a longarm quilting machine and quilting names and phrases into the blankets.  She made extra ones that I gave to friends who were expecting babies.  I even took one to Japan in a suitcase, and gave it to the Takakusagis and their brand new baby girl (see here and here).

These quilts are darling, not to mention soft and fluffy and silky, no matter how many times you wash them.  (And let's be honest, with babies you'll wash them a thousand times.)

The good news is ... NOW YOU CAN HAVE ONE TOO!  
They're finally in an Etsy shop!  

You should really check it out, and buy one, if you're looking for a totally unique gift for a friend or a sister (or yourself).  No two are alike and - just in case you're not into the pieced look - my mom has branched out into other types and sizes.

The prices are ridiculously low, considering all the time and skill that goes into these babies.

If the quilts sell, she'll be taking custom orders soon.  Spread the word, will you?  Christmas is coming .....

Here's that link one more time.