11 January 2013

12/19 and beyond.

I didn't forget about the countdown.

I still love Christmas and countdowns the most even if I failed the blog one.

But one year ago 12/19 brought this:-

so we had to celebrate this:

Happy Birthday Harry Berry Anne. Sorry the name Dad gave you on day 2 lasted all 365. I thought you would be Hattie for sure. But I don't even know who that is. Just my hairy headed Harriet affectionately called the Hair Bear.

Love you lady. 

(and after 12/19 came less than a week till Christmas, then SB's week off, then my used to being back on **plus the big interview, decision pending till March... fingers crossed, and now it's today and I blogged again and here's to a new year. Our goals are amusing to me this year. And they are few. And mostly attainable. So here's to lucky 13!).

16 December 2012

12/14. 12/15. 12/16.

On Friday morning I went to the zoo with my kids, my friends, and my friend's kids. It seemed as though we had the whole place to ourselves. Harriet looked at the animals wide eyed and I just marvel as her little personality unfolds and she becomes more and more her own little person.  George was just begging the whole time to go to the snake house which also has a whole bunch of birds, his other new found favorite kind of creature.  Between the reptiles and birds I think he could spend all day in there.  I couldn't. The humid penetration of animal dung permeates the place and makes me a bit sick.  But it's fun to see them get excited over things.  Jaynie is usually just happy to be and was busy pointing out all the stinky smells.  She got excited about most of the animals and was very intently watching the gorilla when it honestly CHARGED FULL SPEED AHEAD to the plexi-glass of the 'enclosure' (they're cages. but call them as you'd like). Jane didn't even flinch I swear it. The rest of us screamed and decided to leave that area of the zoo.  As we were walking out he did it again, slamming even harder this time.

My friend and I said in agreement that we needed to really get out of there, that he was going to break out of  there any minute. Laughing, but legitimately scared I said Hogle Zoo is going to make national news about the ape that went crazy and got out and we are going to witness it.

As we left the zoo a little later, I had a text message from a friend prompting me to the real national news of the day and in my sincerest sentiment, I wish that it was just about anything else than what it was.

I've been glued to the news reports and updates for the last three days.  I know everyone handles situations like this differently-- I am always one who seems to get sucked in and as much as I wish I could leave it alone because it is seemingly doing very little to read 764 sources of the same story, I can say that for me it's a feeling of helplessness to do anything about it for anyone.  Except care. And I care more, the more I read-- the more I find out about these precious sweet souls: their names, their faces, their wishes from Santa, their talents, their families, their little lives and big hearts.

As a missionary I was asked by the mission president to memorize a quote or scripture that helped me better share the purpose of life and the gospel. I chose to memorize an excerpt from then Bishop Richard C. Edgley who said in a conference talk:

"I believe we all understood that by coming to earth, we would be exposed to all of the experiences of earth life, including the not-so-pleasant trials of pain, suffering, hopelessness, sin, and death. There would be opposition and adversity. And if that was all we knew about the plan, I doubt if any of us would have embraced it, rejoicing, “That’s what I have always wanted—pain, suffering, hopelessness, sin, and death.” But it all came into focus, and it became acceptable, even desirable, when an Elder Brother stepped forward and offered that He would go down and make it all right. Out of pain and suffering He would bring peace. Out of hopelessness He would bring hope. Out of transgression He would bring repentance and forgiveness. Out of death He would bring the resurrection of lives. And with that explanation and most generous offer, each and every one of us concluded, 'I can do that. That is a risk worth taking.' And so we chose."

May the promise of Christ and the eternal family be real and felt in the hearts of all of us. Let His promise of peace, hope, forgiveness, and life be to all who it's intended for, and certainly those victims and those mourning after the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

13 December 2012

12/13. Ode to lucky number 12.

I usually claim 32 (or any factor thereof) my lucky number. (thanks Karl the Mailman Malone) but Karl's best man John Stockton and I shared the same number in basketball. So I love that number too.

and yesterday was 12.12.12.  and yesterday I received an interview invitation from the U of U. I think only Hailey really gets how big this is for me. Even Matt seemed unusually 'eh' about the situation. And I know it's only half the battle, but without it I've got nothing. so 12 cubed turned out to be lucky just like I thought it might be.

12 December 2012

12/12 Greetings from us to you.

If you are on our mailing list you probably received/will receive a card and picture as follows. If you aren't and you happen to be reading this then please know we wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year all the same. My computer is on the fritz and my back up hard drive where all my address lists are backed up has gone missing (or in other words lost in the great abyss of the pandemonium we call our basement). But to you and yours from us and ours.... We love you. Merry Christmas. 

(in some of the cards matt made a sketch of the family not shown here which listed what we hope Santa and the New Year bring. Harriet: toothbrushes and a ball or two. Jane: Unicorns, Princesses and a "mean" barbie. George: A white alligator and a ride-on car. Me: Health and maybe one more baby for a nice even four. Matt: Happiness and ten more babies for a nice uneven baker's dozen).

11 December 2012

12/11 sipping hot cocoa.

once when I lived at the blue light special* on Darwin Avenue in Logan, my roommate Sue taught me about a dollop of vanilla ice cream in your hot chocolate.  I have never looked back. I can't think of anything that spells Merry Christmas like this. And what better than Stephen's candy cane with Dreyer's vanilla bean? 

As far as I'm concerned, nothing.

It's what I'm enjoying as we speak.  A little pick me up before I fold seventeen mounds of laundry.

*shame on USU if it's not called the blue light special anymore.

10 December 2012

12/10 - The art of gift giving.

It really is an art. It's not one at which I'm particularly great, but I still really really enjoy it.  In fact in the "love languages" the one that comes easiest to me is giving gifts. (NOT that I feel love most via gift giving --- I'm words of affirmation all the way). But I really really like to give gifts. If I had all the money in the world, I'd waste it all on gifts. (because aside from the thrill of the gift is the thrill of the hunt and the wrapping it up fun and pretty). ah gifts. 

I often (VERY often) get a gift for someone because I have to and I just have to come up with something.  But more often than that I think of something that I wish I could get someone just because. Just because I think they're fun or because I found something that I am sure they would like. But alas, I have to save money for the times I "have"  to get a gift for someone. But the just-because gifts are among my favorite. It's less expected and therefore there's nothing you have to appease... just a pleasant surprise.

I do love when I've made or found something that I am sincerely excited about giving. I also love that there are certain gifts I've received that I love over and over again.  Some gifts that I love most I might not have known that it would be so useful or so cute or whatever when I opened it... but then it becomes a favorite that I baby because I don't want it worn out or lost or broken.

Here's a list, for whatever it's worth, of things I think are fun gifts that I've given, gotten, or wish listed for myself or others somewhere along the way. Random and eclectic and not for everyone. But for me, yes, please...  (just in case you know someone like me. Or are looking for a gift for me.teasing. I swear).  

In order I wrote this list, which is nothing particular. But I do love lists. I LOVE lists. So here is this year's gift list. Of gifts I mostly already have.  And I know homemade and heartfelt un-wrapable gifts are the important ones. However, the materialistic things listed below have value beyond just a dollar amount to me. I'll try to explain why.

1. This. Called a carafe. I got it on Amazon and love it. I feel really happy when I use it. When we use it my dinner table is a restaurant. I know we're weird. But Matt and I agree, this is COOL to have.

2. bibbies for babiesBibbies. Found them at Swiss Days a couple of summers ago. They really are the best thing for the messiest babes, which I live with the world's top 3. So I own three. And love every second of owning them. If I was talented I would make some more of my own. And some for you. But you can see the real things here: www.dillydallychic.com . I recall them being quite a bit cheaper at Swiss Days. Regardless, worth every penny.

3. Bath and Body Works Holly Berry Wreath Soap for your bathroom and kitchen. Yum. 
Winter Cranberry Gentle Foaming Hand Soap - Anti-Bacterial - Bath & Body Works
(Second best Winter Cranberry: Christmas every time you do the dishes)

Holly Berry Wreath Gentle Foaming Hand Soap - Anti-Bacterial - Bath & Body Works
(Best: Christmas every time you pee).

4. Product Details Cloud B soother. Ours doesn't look so nice. But we sure love it. And we love it because H-Bear loves it most. Except the heartbeat sound resembles war. But the other white noises are nice for baby ears.

5. Minky blankets for the girls. (you can have them for the boys too. we love them for the girls). Minky Couture which is local have nice and pretty options.  But my two personal favorites (and for SURE Jane's favorite) are two I bought off of Etsy. they're soft and pretty and they are hand-made by someone in America. Call me old fashioned, I really like that. I like that they were sewn in someone's house in a neighboring state.  I blame Matt that I even care about that.  Ever since marrying him I love artsy fartsy personalized/handmade/one of a kind things. It means more to me for it. I really love Etsy. I don't look at really any of my millions of subscribed emails... except Etsy. So creative and well done and amazing to see people's ideas and talents. One year I hope to buy every present off of Etsy. They have registries now. If I ever had to register for anything again (which I don't) I would register with Etsy--- SOOOOO COOL!

6. Non-boring picture frames. One with color or texture or POP! as matthew would say. Pier 1 imports probably has some of my favorites. Tai Pan and Pottery Barn have some on occasion. Ross/ TJ Mazz/ &the likes are hit and miss. Even have found them at Kohl's, Jill's one true love. 

7. Good Shampoo/ Conditioner. Just nice to have something that's hard to splurge on. I know, some people just buy this for themselves. But I usually only get it if it's a gift. And I always feel grateful for it. (no particular favorites. I do have a macademia nut one right now that smells sooooooooooo fabulous. Jane always asks if she can have it/smell it).

8. A good "coffee table" book. This probably stems from my love of lists. But books that you can gain something from by just reading any random page is great. Even though it doesn't really fit this description I really like the Keri Smith books. I like books on ideas of things to do with kids and a family. I like books on parenting (and Heaven knows I need them). I like the "Dangerous book for..." books (and have them in my living room). I also like travel, trivia, and game books.  (Matt likes Louis L'Amour books. FUNNY. We have different tastes in these regards. I'm all about non-fiction. We compromise by talking about books I like...).

9. Clementines. Who wouldn't love a bag of delicious, often overpriced, cuties?! 
10. Homemade Ice Cream.  We have a cuisinart ice cream/sorbet maker. We really like it. It really is better than breyers/dreyers/farr/you name it. I have never done it, but I always think it would be cute to carton up cute a thing of homemade icecream and bring it to people. Maybe next year's neighbors gifts. If you're not home when we bring it frozen, we eat it. Seems fair.

11. Redbox promotional credit. Marci did this with popcorn this year. Loved it. Went and rented one tonight with it. (the Mighty Mac's. based on a true story. I like the true stories. The non-fiction fan in me I suppose).

12. A cupcake from the Sweet Tooth Fairy. Really any great cupcake will do. But Vanilla from Sweet Tooth is soooooooo good. Plus they box it up cute. Which is important.

13. A set of goblets. Yes, that's right. A set of goblets. 

They come in handy more than you may think. It adds a fancy element to breakfast, brunch, dinner, you name it. And I like fancy almost as much as Janer/ Nancy.

14. A random stuffed animal or puppet. Folkmanis have my favorite. It's sounds weird I know, but the kids and I have fun with puppets and I bet you're the only one that gives _____(insert name of anyone) _______ a puppet this year.  I bet Santa brings George a raven. And Jane an armadillo. and I bet they like them a LOT.
Product Details

15.  Handmade ceramics. See. This is where it's Matt's fault. But I love all our random dishes that come with a (the same) story every time we use them-- about this teacher who traded him for his elephant or that potter who just gave him stuff because she liked him. (sucker. Now I get to enjoy it!!).   But our relish dish and our appetizer tray and our mixing bowls and some (not all yet, but someday) of our mugs and bowls and plates have random initials and shapes and glaze patterns that are all more fun (and pretty if you ask me) than those dang made in china wally world plates that I brought into the marriage. We are phasing those out via kids handling (breaking) them.

16. A good rug/ doormat. In fact I'm in need of one right now. But who doesn't want a rug to put somewhere.  Even if it's just in your pantry. or back stoop. there is somewhere that could use a cute/unique/useful rug? And someday when I have wooden floors in rooms and living rooms I am soooo excited to collect big beautiful rugs of different sorts. I really like rugs.

17. A good accessory. Something different. Something that you wouldn't wear otherwise, but you are forced to wear it because someone gave it to you and you feel obligated. But then you get creative and find a way to make it work... and it works well and soon you can't live without the accessory. this has happened more than once and I love when this happens. So take a chance, and give a random accessory.

18. Bird cages, jars, decorating containers.  These aren't mine. But I'd take them. I like good jars and baskets and BIRD CAGES.  I've like bird cages for years. (remember when I talked you into it PHJ?) But I finally got one for my birthday and I love it. I can put anything in it I want. Same with the jar Steph gave me. And Hi gave me. I get to change out the decorations with the seasons. And when I finally find the things I  like to go in them, they are so great to have around. So if you're really stumped this year, I'd go with a good cage. 

19. Mistletoe. Why wouldn't someone want some? It's good luck even if there isn't anyone in particular you're hoping to smooch this season. 


  is located as shown below. And is working out nicely at our house.

20. And the final suggestion I have for you is Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol. Not because I want it or because I think someone else will. But I have eighteen copies from last year's Barnes and Nobles clearance and it's never a bad idea to be resourceful. Jenn Erickson and I used to have a Jr. High/ Highschool business we called "SATH gifts." It stood for Scrounged Around the House. True story. We always could come up with something to give to someone in need... whether a sad friend or a cute boy's bday. 

Anyhow. Don't be surprised if you live in Oquirrh Shadows and Mr. Dickens classic tale arrives on your doorstep. We love you even if we only spent $2 eleven months ago on you. I promise. And if you don't get one, well... don't feel bad. We only spent $2 on them eleven months ago.

But it will include this quote from the said story, which I quite like: 

"It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself."

09 December 2012

12/9 gifts you can't wrap.

I came across these helpful tips in this month's New Era. I like the suggestions. So I'm copying them here (in paraphrase). But in case you still need a gift you can wrap, stay tuned for the next post. I plan to add my $.02 on gift giving. Even if it's not worth that much.

-Service (clean house, cook a meal, do the dishes, improve the yard).
-Family Time (play a game, be on time to family things, talk and listen to a family member, read the scriptures/pray together, plan a family activity).
-Commitment (commit to do something that you've wanted to do or quit something you've always wanted to quit-- stick to it. Save money, prepare for a big/important event in your life).
- Attitude (have a positive attitude, refrain from pointing out flaws, write a thank you letter, say thank you for even the small things, resolve a conflict without anger or argument, make a list of your blessings as a result of someone else in your life).
I already confessed about my lack in the Service department. But family time is best yet this holiday and I'm loving it. Commitment, well, I have a lot I ought to commit to... but this blog countdown-- that's something! And attitude = I'm happy most times. Of course there's plenty of room for improvement. Probably too much of a cynic. 

Side note. Tonight we had delicious ham dinner thanks to Jared and Jana. They sent us home with two full hams and a TON of sausage links.  All farm fresh. They get payment all the time in farm goods. He's like a cow gynecologist of sorts. But it's so cool to me. It's like the good ole' days. I think that's why it tasted so good. It skipped the store altogether-- just one hard worker to another... to a lucky recipient. 

It felt just like a Sunday Holiday meal should. With yummy peppermint dessert thanks to the Nielsen's. Thanks all y'all!