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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Greeting cards have all been sent...

and here is your digital copy. Enjoy!


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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Caroling

Logan has really loved getting in the Christmas spirit this year. He especially loves Christmas carols and sings them constantly. When he comes to a part where he's not really sure what the words are, he makes his best guess. Some of his interpretations crack me up.

Jingle Bells:
Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way. Ooh-ma-ha it is to ride one hope sleigh.

Angels We Have Heard on High
Glo-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-re-ah. Let no beanie yang-ya. [This actually changes every time he sings it.]


Drummer Boy
They told me rum-pu-pu-pum. They told baby Jesus rum-pu-pu-pum. Mary came to find Jesus rum-pu-pum.

He and Savannah also love singing "When Christmas Comes to Town" from The Polar Express (first song in our playlist). But they don't have to make up any words to that one. They've watched the movie enough times in the last month to have memorized every word.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Babies don't really need names, right?

Growing up, I always dreamed of the day I would have a baby to name. There were so many fun and unique names that the only hard part would be narrowing it down. What I forgot to anticipate is that in order to have a baby I would also have a HUSBAND who would share in the naming process. And that said husband would have a VERY STRONG OPINION on what we would name our baby (babies). Which is fine, since I also have a strong opinion about it. It would just be nice if our opinions matched every once in a while.

Naming our children is a 9-month ordeal. From the positive pregnancy test until the blank birth certificate is in my hand, I stress and worry and contemplate what we could possibly name this child. And even if I were to find a name I loved on day 2 of the pregnancy, by the time of delivery I would have changed my mind 30 times over. I have poured over baby name websites and even downloaded a 50,000 baby names app for our iPad. I'm pretty sure I have read every single one of those 50,000 names (well, at least the 25,000 girl names) and I don't feel any closer to naming this child than when we started. 90% of the names I suggest, Jeff shoots down immediately. And I shoot down his suggestions likewise. The other 10% sits on the list for awhile, but ultimately they have all ended up in the discard pile for one reason or another.

Today I remembered how a friend had opened up her naming struggles to her blog followers several years ago. Out of curiosity, I found the original post and checked the comments to see if she had picked one of the names suggested. Sure enough, the name of her son was included in one of the comments at the bottom! So, out of hope and desperation, I would like to try the same thing. Here are some guidelines to get started, although nothing is really out of scope at this point.

1. We like names with some substance, and are not afraid of long names that will most likely be shortened.
2. No weird spellings.
3. Can't start with a "P." (Would you give your child the initials of PP?)
4. Nothing on the top 10 list. But also nothing so unusual you don't know how to pronounce it.

That's about it. Should be easy, right? Maybe you can accomplish something I have failed at for over 2 months now. My baby counter is now in the double digits (94 days and counting) so it would be nice to have a few solid options within the next month.

Here's a totally unrelated picture I took for a project I'm working on of the two kids we have successfully named. Gotta love toddler hands.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

1991


I came across this picture of my family from 1991. Nearly 20 years later, as a family we have produced:

1. six high school graduates
2. three (almost four) college graduates with two more on track
3. four full-time missions
4. three spouses
5. five (almost six) grandchildren

and that's just the kids. My parents' accomplishments include multiple business start-ups, six houses, back-to-school for my dad (who already had a doctorate), trips around the world, and FINALLY becoming legitimate empty nesters.

Nice work, family. Here's to 20 more years.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

My family was here for the week of Thanksgiving and the only picture I took the whole time was this:

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I guess you can tell where my priorities lie. :-)

We really did have a fun filled week, and if anything, my lack of pictures are proof of that. The more fun we have, the less I think to pull out my camera. It was especially fun to see my brother Dustin and his wife. They are so busy that any time we get with this is special. Dustin is an illustrator so Logan was in heaven with all the drawings he commissioned Dustin to make for him. The truffle picture above is one of Ashley's creations. I asked if she would teach us to make them while she was here. I can't wait to make another batch; these didn't last more than 3 days.

Thanksgiving itself was a bit of a whirlwind. We bought tickets to a 4 o'clock movie thinking we would be finished eating in plenty of time. As usually happens, the turkey took a little bit longer to cook than expected and when we finally sat down we had 15 minutes before we needed to leave. The first group headed to the movie while Ashley and I stayed behind to let a pie finish baking. I think we must have broken a record for the fastest clean-up ever! Between the two of us, we put all the food away, washed all the dishes, cleared the table, had the dishwasher running, finished baking a pumpkin pie, and still made it to the movie before the previews had ended. Amazing!

Among other things, we visited lots of family, did some shopping (of course), saw the lights at Temple Square, played games, made caramels, and stayed up way too late every night. It was a great week and I was sad when everyone left.

I lied. I took one more picture. Logan needed to dress up like an Indian or pilgrim for his Preschool Thanksgiving dinner. We improvised last minute and made him a paper bag Indian vest. He decorated the vest and feathers himself. I think he makes a pretty cute Indian.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Wood

Ever since we moved in to our house two and a half years ago, I have been wanting to update the flooring. I love the look of hard wood and have dreamed of putting it in, but other projects took priority and we have had to be content with our worn, stained carpet. My living room has always been a sore spot, which drives me nuts because it's the first room you see when you come into our house. Even the wall color (which I had picked and painted) was just not doing it for me.

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The stains in the entry and hallway were especially bad. I also hated the peel-and-stick laminate entry.

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Our kitchen floor was no better. It never came all the way clean, and I felt that the transition from carpet to vinyl was making our house feel more segregated than it already is.

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Well, after months of complaining, Jeff finally told me to save the money and do it. Two weeks ago we finally had enough saved up and the demolition began. It made a huge, HUGE mess (so glad we decided to hire it out!) but I LOVE the results. The wood we picked has a slight sheen to it that the camera can't capture, so you're just going to have to come visit to get the full effect.

The green walls of the living room looked even worse with the new floors, so we quickly repainted to a neutral brown.

Side story: see those flowers on the fireplace? Well, when we got the quote for the floor it was a little bit more than we had saved. I started scavenging for anything we could sell on KSL to make up the difference. One of those thing was our Wii. The guy that bought it took a little longer to pick it up than he had originally told me. He felt bad and wanted to thank me for holding it for him, so he brought me flowers (apparently he works for a florist). It was a little weird and creepy, but the flowers were really pretty so I got over the weird part.

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No more stains or ugly transitions! One room flows into the next.

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Stupid entryway is gone. Even though it was a small area, the room feels bigger and more open now.

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We painted the kitchen, too, and I love it now. Next on my project list is to paint the railing the same color as the cabinets. Oh, and to replace the counter tops. And maybe get a new sink and appliances. And... you get the picture.

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Here is a closeup of the wood. I wanted something with a lot of variation in color and texture. I tried really hard to adjust the color in Photoshop but it still looks orange in this picture. Like I said, you'll just have to come see it in person to really appreciate it.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Remembering

In the few minutes before I got out of bed this morning I remembered an experience I had in college that eight years later still makes me pause and appreciate all I have. It was a few months into my freshman year. I loved school, I loved being on my own, and, truthfully, I was having too much fun to miss home very much. Then one weekend I caught the flu. It was just the 24 hour stuff, but it knocked me out pretty good. I spent a whole day stuck between bed and the bathroom, and for the first time since I'd moved out I really wished I were home. I called my mom and she offered sympathy and remedies, but at 700 miles away she couldn't do much more than that. I went back to bed and slept as much as I could and eventually I started to feel a little bit better. About that time, a friend knocked on my door holding a thermos. She explained that she had been home that weekend (we were from the same town) and my mom had asked if she would bring something back for me. I took the thermos and opened it up to find my mom's homemade chicken noodle soup. That alone warmed my heart and stomach but here's the real kicker-- it was still warm. It was at that moment that I knew without a doubt that I have the BEST mom in the whole world.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thankful

As much as I would love to post daily about things I am thankful for, I know I would never be able to follow through for an entire month. But I do want to take a moment to reflect on the things that I have to be grateful for, even if this blog post is all that ever comes of it.

1. First and foremost, I am grateful for family. My family are my best friends. I can't begin to go into all they have done for me -- my parents, siblings, in-laws, even my nieces and nephews are such a blessing in ways they will never know.

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(Yes, I know my kids are missing from this picture. They were home throwing up. So just pretend they are sitting next to us.)

2. At the moment, I am grateful to have TWO potty-trained children. For the next 4 months or so, we are a diaper-less household!

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3. On that note, I am grateful for a (thus far) uneventful pregnancy. My 20-week ultrasound a few weeks ago confirmed that all is well with our baby girl. Although it took a bit for me to warm up to the idea, I am so excited to have another girl in the family. I dream of days when I can take my girls on shopping trips, or to the Nutcracker, or just out to dinner for a girls-night.

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4. I am especially thankful to have a husband with a job that allows me to be at home. These past 6 months have been a time for me to focus on my home and family. I realize that in this economy I cannot take any employment for granted and there is always the chance I could need to go back to work, but I am thankful that for now, I can just be home.

5. I am grateful for festive decorations! Silly and trivial, I know, but I worked hard to make my home look cozy for Thanksgiving since most of my family will be here, and every time I walk into the living room it makes me smile.

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6. I can't not mention the beautiful weather we've had lately. I have complained a lot about the weather over the past several years, but this year I really couldn't have asked for more. Summer was everything I hoped for and I was actually ready for fall when it came. But what I am really thankful for is that fall STAYED. Usually we only have a week or two of fall before it feels like winter. But this autumn has been the perfect mix of warm and cool and has lasted over two months!

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7. And finally, although this really should be first, I am grateful for my Savior. Although I have been a church-goer my entire life, I now understand why many people "discover" religion when they have children. I want so much for them to know their Heavenly Father and live the kind of life He would want them to. When Savannah points to a picture of Christ and exclaims, "Jesus!" with the recognition and excitement of seeing her best friend, I have to wonder if maybe she knows Him better than I do. I pray that my children will always know how much I love and honor our Savior, and how grateful I am for all He has done for us.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Round 2

We've started round 2 of potty training Savannah this week and it is going much better than our first attempt. I've only cleaned up three accidents in five days and yesterday she even took her nap in underwear. It turns out candy is a good bribe for going potty, so our Halloween stash is quickly depleting and Savannah is on a continual sugar high.

I'm not really sure where to go from here. Logan pretty much potty trained himself so I consider myself a novice in the training department. Now that Savannah has mastered going on demand, how do I teach her to recognize when she needs to go? For now I just make her sit on the toilet every hour, but at some point I hope she will tell me when she needs to go instead of the other way around. Any suggestions?

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Sunday, October 31, 2010

A rainy Halloween

What a Halloween! After weeks of anticipation and preparation, Halloween got rained out. :( We were all ready to attend our church trunk or treat. I pulled out the camera to take some pictures and had about 3 minutes before the light drizzle turned into pouring rain. (Hence why the picture of me is in the garage.) They ended up moving our 3 ward trunk or treat inside-- talk about standing room only! It was absolutely insane so once we felt like we had a good candy supply we took off. By the time we got home, the rain had almost completely stopped, so we trick or treated to a couple of neighbors houses to end the night.

Gotta love trick or treating in Utah - every costume has to be modified for cold weather. I'm just glad Savannah wore the Tinkerbell costume I spent hours making. The day before she would have nothing to do with it!

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A month or so before Halloween I tried to convince Logan to be a sheriff again since his costume still fit. He agreed, so long as he was Sheriff Woody. He wanted a few modifications made to make it more Woody-ish, but I was saved from that by a friend that had a Woody costume we could borrow-- much more authentic and Logan was one happy cowboy. He especially loved his "Woody curl" that I had to gel and hairspray to death just to last 5 minutes. His best buddy was Buzz Lightyear so they were the perfect team.

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Last year I saw someone dress up as Juno for Halloween and thought if I was ever pregnant enough to be showing over Halloween I would try it. Jeff wimped out and wouldn't be my boyfriend, and without him I don't think many people even knew I had dressed up. Oh well, at least I was comfortable!

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

First snow

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What is it about the first snowfall that is so magical? Logan woke me up this morning shouting, "Mommy! It's Christmas! I see snow!" No matter how many times I explain to him that Halloween AND Thanksgiving have to happen before Christmas, he still asks me everyday if it is getting close.

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His excitement is contagious, though, so even before breakfast both kids were dressed in snow gear and building a snowman. I love the first snow of the season because it is so clean and fresh. For the past few years, I have been a real grinch about winter. But this year I have loved fall, and am even looking forward to cooler weather. I suppose having something to look forward to in March helps.

P.S. The ongoing struggle with Savannah continues. It's such a rollercoaster with her because one minute she will be screaming and throwing a royal fit and the next she gives me a look like this and I just melt. How can you love a child so much yet be so consumed by frustration with them at the same time?

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Ready

Pumpkins have been carved, costumes have been sewn, candy has been bought. We're ready for Halloween, how about you?

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Friday, October 22, 2010

My girl

Savannah and I have had a lot of one-on-one time lately now that Logan spends so much time at preschool or playing at friends' houses. Although most of the time she is physically and mentally exhausting, it seems when it's just her and I we get along just fine. Maybe she just needs a little TLC.

Yesterday while she and I were home alone, I realized I hadn't heard from her in awhile. Usually this means she is playing in my make-up, so I headed straight for my bedroom to see what she was up to. This time she had gone for my jewelry box and had put on every single bracelet I own. When I asked what she was doing, she showed me her wrist and said, "Pretty!"

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I really do love Savannah to pieces, even if she is 10 times more difficult to parent than Logan has been. Since my last post, we've come to an understanding that she is going through an independent phase and I just need to let her try and do things herself. It takes a little longer for her to get dressed or fed or buckled in the car, but hey, at least I don't have to do everything for her anymore.

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On another note, I made this rug awhile back from leftover fabric scraps for Savannah's room. I kind of like it and it's making me reconsider the makeover I was going to do on her room.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Who are these kids?

Boy, have we been having FUN lately. (Sarcasm intended.) I don't know what's gotten into my kids, but just when I think I know how to handle them, they morph into kids that I swear I did not give birth to. I've decided that being a mom from 9 to 5 isn't bad. If it were just a typical job I could handle it. It's the 5 to 9 part that kills me.

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Savannah seems to have just realized that she's two, and therefore should be terrible. Everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) is a battle. She wants to do everything herself and bedtime is a nightmare. She whines and cries all the time-- just like she did for the first 18 months of her life. Ironically, I was just telling my mom the other day how I thought she had outgrown her difficult-ness and was finally a pleasant child. Ha!

Logan, in his defense, actually tries really hard to be good. But he makes the most amazing messes! I have completely given up any sort of cleaning because I just can't keep up with him. He always needs something--a drink, a snack, something off a high shelf, some toilet paper, to know how to spell a word--the list goes on and on. As I write this, he is asking for juice and a piece of bread. I usually have about 10 seconds before he will ask again if I don't get it right away; such is the patience of a 4-year-old. Oh, and he is also an incessant tattle-tale. Sometimes I have to put myself in time out just to get a few minutes of peace!

I have resolved not to complain so much, and obviously this post is not helping that resolution. But I want to remember the good and the bad. That way when I read this back in 6 months, I'll be able to put things in perspective and feel like we've made progress (hopefully). And to be honest, there are still good moments among the not-so-good. Like Savannah actually going pee in the potty three four (!) times this week (when we're not even technically potty training). And like Logan presenting me with a painting he had done by bowing. Where does he get this stuff? I wouldn't give him any tape, so he had taken other pieces of tape from old art projects to tape it up. At least he's resourceful.

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In closing, I need to state that all of these complaints have mostly surfaced in the last week. It is possible that this is a fleeting stage and it will all be over by next week. At least I can dream.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Full house

Our house has been full of visitors the past week or so. We love it when any family comes to visit, but this time we were extra lucky and got a double dose! First Jeff's sister, Amy, came with her family for a whirlwind 48 hour stay. Her four kids spent the day with us while their parents went to a wedding. My kids were in heaven having so many cousins to play with. Somehow during their short stay we also managed to squeeze in a photo shoot, picnic, and double birthday party for Jeff and his brother, James. We always love it when Amy comes to town and this time was no exception!

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I can't believe how old these two are! They were 1- and 2-years-old at our wedding, and it still surprises me to see that they have grown up more each time I see them!

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Hours after Amy and company left, my mom and sister-in-law, Jen, arrived. Jen brought her three kids, so Logan and Savannah were once again surrounded by cousins. We did lots of fun things during the week they were here: Museum of Paleontology, ice cream at BYU, Jumpin' Jacks, horseback riding, This is the Place, birthday dinner for my mom, more photo sessions, and lots of movie watching! My brother flew in on Friday, so we had 5 of my 6 siblings together for the weekend. It was such a treat and although I am physically exhausted from too much fun, I am glad our family makes the effort to spend time together, even though we live far apart.

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This little lamb had the sweetest face. It kept coming up and nuzzling my leg. Almost makes me want one.

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Poor Ruby wore her daddy out. :)

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I am pretty sure I have some of the cutest nieces and nephews in the world. Seriously. I don't usually like to self-promote on the family blog but you have to check out more from this session on my photo blog.

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