Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Muse

I finally broke out my oil paints yesterday after 5 years and just smelled them. I had a flood of wonderful memories rush back to me; of days before kids, of an awesome little studio overlooking Utah Valley, and of endless free hours to paint. I still don't have a safe place to leave my paints out to work, but I'm going to figure something out. Nora is like my beautiful little muse these days. I don't like painting portraits, but she makes me want to learn how. I just need to settle on a picture...

Fashion Show

Alright, here you go- the pencil skirt and two of my favorite shirts. I think modeling is totally awkward.
 And I was too lazy to fix my hair or accessorize, but you get the idea. I love the black and white tweed.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring Cleaning

This weekend was a bit less Springy, so Benjamin tried sledding down the 3 foot drop into the neighbor's yard. He didn't get very far. :)
 We ended up getting a thick blanket of about 6 inches, which completely killed the gorgeous Magnolia blossoms on the tree out back. The daffodils survived though. 
 Paul and I got on a Spring cleaning kick anyways, and decided it was time to gut our closets. I got rid of everything I haven't worn in over a year, plus all the stuff that "almost" works. Like shirts that are almost long enough, or just a little faded, and most of my pants and skirts that had "frumpy" written all over them. Paul got rid of about half his closet too. It was magnificent, and we feel about 100 pounds lighter...
I've never been very good at finding the right clothes for my body. I prefer online shopping (because it's easier than juggling three kids in a store), which usually gets me burned, but I end up keeping the stuff anyways. I'm also really cheap, so I'll end up getting something that's just OK because it was less expensive than the thing I really liked. I'm still trying to get over my fear of actually spending money on clothes. 
After cleaning out our closets, we decided to hit the outlet mall. The kids were excited about riding the train around the mall, and we were committed to finding a few things to that we loved, even if it meant spending a little money for said things. I totally scored though. I've been looking for a pencil skirt for a while, but could never bring myself to pay $60+. This one at Banana Republic was a perfect length, color, style, quality- and marked down from $90 to $16. Sweet! And I got a few shirts and sweaters (which I coincidentally love) for roughly $5 each.
It feels great to look in my drawers and closet and see things a few things that I love to wear instead of tons of things that I don't.  I'm still not sure if I will ever be able to comfortably spend retail prices for clothes (or even if I should), but I think I'm at least making small steps to de-frumpify my look. I even got Peter's endorsement this morning when I put on a new shirt. He told me, "You look nice and cool!"

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Dog Party!

This afternoon, Peter and Benjamin were playing outside, when Peter ran in and announced that he wanted to go to a party. I had no idea what he was talking about, so he led me over to the giant holly tree in our front yard, where I could just barely make out a little red shirt- oh, maybe 20 or 30 feet up! I called up to Benjamin (who was still trying to climb higher), that he should probably come down now! He told me that he was climbing to the top of the tree to find the dog party, you know- like the one in "Go, Dog, Go."
It would be pretty cool to find this at the top of a tree! I used to pore over this page as a kid...
Once he climbed down, I told him we should probably not climb that tree anymore, but he just replied, "No, I'm safe. I think the Lord's protecting me!"
True! And apparently He's protecting Peter too, as he did not follow his brother up in pursuit of a dog party!

The Happiest Time of the Year

Spring is the happiest time of the year for me. Perhaps I'm a wimp, but I just do not like winter. This last week has brought us some crazy weather. No recent tornados, but we did have a big snow storm that grounded Grandma and Grandpa's flights, and a heat wave two days later that warmed our house up to 78 degrees at night. Benjamin and Peter have been outside all day, barefoot (I'm so blessed to have that gate to keep them fenced in!). It's just so thrilling to know that for the next eight months or so, we can occasionally open windows, play outside, and feel a little sun on our skin. Happy Spring, indeed!

Farewell, Dear Magic House

Our Magic House year pass is about to expire, and since we've had a pass for the past three years, I think it's time for a break. I think this year we'll have to get a zoo pass instead. Here are some recent greats...

Gloria's Blessing

Last weekend, our niece Gloria was blessed in church. Grandma and Grandpa flew out for the occasion, so we got to see them too! I wish I had taken more pictures with my camera, as there are gaping holes from the weekend. Grandma flew out a little earlier and stayed a little longer. We had a fun time together playing games, going to the zoo, and running errands. 
 During Grandpa's stay, we packed a lot in. None of us had ever been to the Cohokia Mounds before, and we were pretty impressed with what we saw. I had no idea that something so distinctly South American was right here in our own back yard! Apparently, it's the largest prehistoric earthen construction in the Americas north of Mexico. There are dozens of these old, giant flat pyramids and cones, some more in tact than others. I think most of what they "know" about the people who built them is purely conjecture, but it was fun to come up with our own versions of who they were and what they were doing.
 There were a lot of stairs to get to the top of this one!
I bet you've never heard of "Woodhenge!" It's been replaced of course, but it was built and rebuilt seven times during the 300 year span of the Cahokia civilization.
After a fun morning at the Mounds, we went bowling. Benjamin had been looking forward to this for weeks! The bowling establishment we went to wasn't exactly designed with kids in mind, but we had a good time anyways.
The girls sat it out...
 ...while the boys all learned how to bowl like Grandpa. He was the clear winner!
 I thought this was a really sweet picture of Grandpa and Nora.
 And I'm kicking myself that I didn't get any pictures of the actual blessing day. I'll have to add those when I get them.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Daddy's Day!

The real reason we celebrate St. Patrick's Day is that it is also my Dad's birthday. That and I now have three little Leprechauns of my own! When I blamed the mischievous Leprechauns for the green eggs this morning, Benjamin was quick to tell me that I don't have red hair, therefore I'm not a Leprechaun, therefore, the Leprechauns were not to blame. He's quick.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


My baby girl is eight months old. Two-thirds of a year, and getting bigger every day. Sometimes she surprises me by sleeping through the night, but not usually. On a normal night, she'll go to sleep around 5:30, wake up once in the middle of the night to eat and then sleep until 6:30 (which is when the boys start making noise in their room). She eats most solids with enthusiasm, and is especially adept at using her pincer grasp to eat cheerios and to find crumbs on the floor.
Her arms barely squeeze through the openings of my favorite dress, which I only pulled out for her to wear a few weeks ago because the size is 9 months. I might have to take the sleeves apart and add some stretch to them. It's way too cute on her.
She has gotten really good at rolling, getting on all fours, and pulling herself up to sitting and standing, all within a pretty short time. She doesn't really crawl, but sits with her legs bent to the side and pushes off with one foot, mostly using her upper body to get around. It's not the most efficient mode of transportation, but it works!
She uses "mama" and "dada" correctly, and continues to love babies. Here she is with her cousin Gloria.
I wonder if she'll be an early walker like her brothers were. It's so crazy to think I'll have another toddler around in just a few short months. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Little Festive Cheer

So Paul was gone three out of the past five weeks. Initially, it was kind of nice and I got a lot of organizing and cleaning done, but the last week he was out of town I got pretty burnt out. So I've honestly had nothing to say here. Actually that's not true. I've thought about writing about Nora, and how much I love her pudgy arms that barely squeeze into my favorite dress of hers, how it's ridiculous that she's scooting all over the house now, and how she greets me in her crib, STANDING now. I never thought I'd say this about a baby, but that girl is growing up way too fast. But every time I thought about writing a post about her, I reminded myself that her eight month post is coming up and probably everyone in the world doesn't want to read any more baby fawning than they have to. 
Anyways, it's nice to have Paul back (no trips anytime in the near future!). I'm getting out of my funk, starting with this cheap little St. Patrick's Day project. I printed out a shamrock template and then just traced it onto a green poster board.
Then I cut them out and made slits in the tops.
Then I strung them on twine and hung them on the mantel. 
I can get sort of silly about holidays. :)
Oh, so maybe you spied our new rug in that first picture of the fireplace? I found a great deal on Overstock and jumped on it. We've been needing something bigger for our front room, and this one is huge and soft and perfect. We rearranged all of the furniture, and the whole room feels so much brighter and roomy. Of course now I'm scheming about new paint colors, and what to do with the fireplace, and picture arrangements and curtains....if you give a mouse a cookie....yeah I'm really excited to get started in there. I'm so over the red. 

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Quick Fix

Paul's gone again this week, so it's catch-up time here. The weekend before last was sort of a whirlwind, but a lot of fun. I ended up missing my 8:00 am flight to Salt Lake by minutes, so Nora and I hung out in the airport for four hours before hopping on the next plane. It was just Nora and me on the flight, so I was expecting a break! But she is very much at the stage where she doesn't want to be held for very long and wanted to be wiggling/moving/climbing/scooting/anything but sitting in Mommy's lap for 3+ hours. It was a very long three hour flight. Then Paul flew in later that night after his meetings in Las Vegas were finished. 
I was really hoping to have more of the day to spend with my sister Miriam at her place up in Ogden, but we had a nice leisurely afternoon at our parent's house instead. Nora and Johnny are ten days apart, and almost identical in height and weight. I think Johnny's head wins though! They were really cute together.  
On Saturday morning, my little brother David went through the temple for the first time. It was really nice to be there with so much of my family! Here's the temple gang (plus Michelle, who graciously gave up her would-be wedding day to watch the kiddos) at lunch afterwards.
Meanwhile, Paul was getting his annual skiing fix up Big Cottonwood Canyon with his brother Josh. Doesn't he look happy?
We played games, talked, and enjoyed every minute we all had together. Then on Sunday afternoon, the three of us hopped back on a plane and headed back home, and back to the boys. 
I of course need to mention the real reason we were able to do this. Abby and Patrick are rockstars, and  though they have their own two-month-old baby to take care of, they stayed at our house and watched our boys while we were away. Not an easy task! Thank you, thank you! It was a really nice break.