Thursday, August 31, 2006

same age. same socks. different kid.

Little Boy, April 2004

Little Sister, August 2006

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

the garden...unplugged

We are addicted to television. The kids are addicted to watching it and I am addicted to the peace I get while they are watching it. Little Boy was getting a more TV than the expert recommended 1-2 hours of television a day and Little Sister was getting a heck of a lot more than the expert recommended ZERO hours of television a day. The Doodlebops, Wonderpets, and Higglytown Heroes were taking over. It was getting a little out of control, the kids were not having the greatest behavior, Little Sister didn't know how to entertain herself without television or someone reading to her, and I was starting to have trouble with these little cartoonish characters taking over my children. There was only one thing to do...Turn off the tube.

But could I do it? Wait a this smart? I mean, this is a punishment for ME! I will get no peace! I will get no quiet! I debated and procrastinated until one day when I realized that Little Sister's idea of a fun day was taking up residence in front of The Wiggles with a bowl of dry Fruit Loops.

That's when I decided to be the control freak that I am and took control of the situation. I declared a NO TV WEEK.

Day one was a bit trying, but by day three they didn't even ask to turn on the TV. When strange things started happening I realized that the No TV Experiement had suceeded:

Pirates set sail in the hallway...

The Arizona desert appeared in the living room...
And wild animals inhabited a dark cave in the family room...

We did have one half hour of failure. The kids were bouncing off the walls and I needed to shower. The Wiggles came to my rescue, but one half hour of TV for a week isn't too shabby!

The TV is back on now, but in very limited quantities.

I completely recommend this experiment if the TV is a constant buzz in the background like it was at our house. It works and really, it wasn't even painful!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

holy shmoly.

I love to scrapbook. A trip the scrapbook store and completing some layouts would give me a high like none other. I was ruined yesterday. Ruined. I will never be able to venture into the scrapbook store and spend $20 on a little paper and some ribbon again and feel good about it.

If you've read Emily's blog you'll know that there were some smokin' deals to be had on scrapbooking products in our neck of the woods. SMOKIN' I tell you. I spent $55. I spent a few minutes today and figured out what the retail price would be on all of these great things I purchased:

$600. Yup, I paid $55 for $600 worth of stuff. Life is good.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

girl stuff

If I wasn't baby hungry before, I am now. We visited our friend's newborn twins last night. They were born at 32 weeks gestation and were in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit for about six weeks. They are home now and so sweet, beautiful, and tiny! They still only weigh about five pounds a peice. It was so neat to hold two little babies at once and smell their sweet newborn smell!

I have been working on blankets for the girls and finished them yesterday just in time to take them over. They are made from flannel using the "rag quilt" method. Pink for one and purple for the other:

I'm pretty pleased with the result and the new parents seemed happy with them too.

On a different girly topic...What do you do when Princess Little Sister wants four pink bows in her hair? You give in...anything less would just not do.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


There is something about fresh produce growing in my own backyard that makes me unbelieveably happy. However, the first part of the summer was filled with a big basket of disappointment. First my garden didn't produce because of the shade of our two cherry trees didn't allow the garden any sun. Then the cherry trees didn't stand a chance with the heat wave we had in July (the poor cherries dehydrated before they could get ripe) and all my hopes of a fresh cherry pie were dashed. But, lo and behold, the grape vine and blackberry bush have come through for me with flying colors:

I have been picking blackberries by the gallon size bag full and freezing them to make a bunch of blackberry jam. I hope it's as good as my tastebuds are expecting.

Apparently the kids are pretty unbelievably happy about the goodness growing in the backyard as well. This is the scene I found today when the kids were playing outside:

Luckily Little Boy is a much neater eater than Little Sister. Look at her little red fingers and red chin! We'll see if the amazing Borax can clean this shirt....

My first jar of jam will be given to the lovely ABCMomma. She graciously gave us a ton of yellow plums from her yard. The only way that could have made me happier is if they were growing in my own yard! Thanks Brooke!

ETA: As I thought about this today...I remembered two other lovely ladies who have given me some goodness out of their gardens. I haven't forgotten them, I just had fruit on the brain while blogging this last night and these ladies gave me vegetables! Okay, so they were tomatoes which are technically fruit, but I think of them as vegetables. I ate every single one of those yummy home grown tomatoes and blessed your names with each bite! Emily and Jami will most definitely be receiving jars of jam!

Monday, August 21, 2006

dear delta, there is a reason you are bankrupt...

Dear Delta,

My husband and I were passengers on August 12th, 2006 on a flight to BOI, originating in PHX with a plane change in SLC. The flight from PHX to SLC was delayed due to mechanical problems. We understand this happens from time to time and waited patiently for our plane to depart. However, we were concerned that we would miss our connection in SLC. The gate agents assured us (and the other six passengers that were headed to BOI) that we would make it in time and that "this flight is always late." The departure time was pushed back further and further until we were an hour late and it became clear that unless the plane in SLC bound for BOI was held for a few minutes we would not make it. The gate agents happily assured us that if we did not make it that accommodations would be made for us for the night as this was the last flight out of SLC to BOI until the next morning.

We arrived in Salt Lake City just ten minutes after the scheduled departure time of the flight from SLC to BOI. The plane had already left. The gate agent in Salt Lake City---perhaps the happiest man in the city---handed out hotel, shuttle, and food vouchers to the eight of us stranded in SLC. He cheerfully informed us that the airport restaurants were now closed, but we could have some vouchers anyway. I guess if we got hungry enough we could just eat the vouchers, a good source of fiber.

The other passengers took the gate agent's word for it, but we looked around and found a restaurant open. Upon opening the menu, however, we discovered that our $7 a piece food voucher wouldn't even cover an appetizer. We used three of our vouchers to cover our scant meal leaving one voucher left for breakfast.

When we headed downstairs to get our baggage, we were met by our fellow passengers who had been waiting for their own bags. It seemed that a ball was dropped somewhere along the line and our bags were not brought out. The very apologetic baggage counter worker gave us each a complimentary hygiene bag. "There is a free t-shirt inside!" she exclaimed with a smile and sent us on our way. My husband and I asked her to check once more for our bags as I had medications in my bag that were very important for me to take that evening (I understand that medication should be carried on, but this was the time of the new regulations for no liquids to be carried aboard and my medications were not in containers labeled with my name.) Luckily for us, our bags were found. Unluckily for our six fellow passengers, theirs were not.

After being packed like sardines in a shuttle van, we were driven 15 minutes away from the airport to a one-star hotel. We arrived at the hotel at 11pm. For the next 45 minutes, my husband called shuttles and cab companies searching for someone to pick us up at 5:30 the next morning. We called Delta and tried to get some help and found none. We were told to keep trying. We were lucky to finally find a cab driver available and willing to pick us up. Five hours of sleep later, we arrived back at SLC airport.

We found the airport just as vacant as we left it the evening before with only one place open for breakfast. Our one remaining food voucher wasn't enough to cover the two of us.

While we recognize that our experience could have been much worse and while we are grateful for happy and polite Delta employees, we feel Delta has room for much improvement. While looking back and thinking about our experience, I have some suggestions for you:

*Perhaps a flight that is "always late" should be rescheduled to a time that will be easier to achieve.

*Holding a flight for 15 minutes so that eight passengers can catch their connecting flight home just might be more cost effective than providing meals, transportation, and hotels for those individuals.

*When it does become necessary to strand passengers, a system should be implemented which allows their baggage to be stranded with them. The free t-shirt is a nice thing, but hardly replaces ones own luggage.

*Some assistance with finding transportation for tired and frustrated passengers would be appreciated.

As I am reminded on almost every flight I take, I have a choice when I fly, and Delta will no longer be among my top choices.


Gardener Alicia

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

arizona in august

Phoenix, Arizona in August? Hardly sounds like it would be enjoyable. But add in two nights without children, a luxury resort hotel, and all expenses paid? Who cares about a little heat!

I accompanied Steve on a business trip to Arizona last week. Luckily, this trip was much more fun than the last business trip I braved. We had three days and two nights (which ended up being three nights thanks to Delta airlines and their incompetence and the third night was most definitely not at a luxury resort hotel) without children and had a fabulous time!

I must start with telling about the incredible bed we slept in. Serious, serious comfort. I'm

talking lay-down-feel-like-you-never-want-to-move-ever-again-not-ever-died-and-gone-to-heaven-and-now-sleeping-on-a-puffy-cloud. It was that good. I earned an eye-roll or two from Steve when I took the sheets off the bed in an effort to discover exactly what kind of bed offered such delightful comfort. But, there were no tags. I think it was some kind of posterpedic type foamy stuff. Heavenly.

And the bathroom? Wow. Granite, travertine tile, separate tub & shower. Gorgeous. It made the fact that Arizona tap water tastes like poo and the hotel's complimentary mouthwash tasted even worse easy to forgive.

The entertainment center housed a run-of-the-mill hotel television (that we used) and mini-bar (that we did not use) and was just beautiful. The cool vases on top? Glued down. I guess even fancy resort visitors steal things.

And the view...Magnificent. We sat out there one evening and watched a great lightening storm.

In addition to a few really neat-o pools, there is a lazy river on the resort property with inner-tubes to float it. So fun and so relaxing! Both evenings before dinner we relaxed in the pools.

The second night in the heavenly bed was rudely interrupted by very loud neighbors. At first we thought it was a bunch of teenagers in the next room, but no. It was adults who must have thought that everyone in the hotel was interested in their conversation by the way they were all yelling over each other until 1am. One lady has a very serious future in show business with her genuine Halloween witch cackle. She should really look into it.

One of the coolest things about Arizona? Several of MOFs live there! I was fortunate enough to meet up with several of them including Linsey, Jane, and a few others (one of which I would link to, but I don't know if she wants to the world to know she lives in Arizona.) Most of us dragged our husbands along kicking and screaming, but I think they ended up enjoying themselves a little bit. And Linsey? Tall. I know. Shocking. She seems to short on the internet.

We were supposed to return home on Saturday evening. We finally made it home Sunday morning. Delta will be receiving a lengthy letter from me. Perhaps you'll have the joy of reading it too. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

good enough to eat

I'm just a little bit selfish. I enjoy making things for other people, but I have a little bit of trouble giving them away. I get great satisfaction from creating things---from blankets to scrapbooks and other crafts. But, once I give them away I don't get to see them anymore and get that swelling of pride. It's almost enough to make me keep them for myself---but I'm only a little bit selfish, not a lot selfish. So I do give things away and then I make some more....but first, I take pictures of my creations. I have a file on my computer of pictures of some projects I've finished. Occasionally I'll take a look and enjoy the things I've made.

I also like cooking (when I'm not rushed and don't have small children whining around my knees) and I like to think I'm fairly decent at it. There are two reasons that I enjoy cooking:

1. I like serving my family and friends good food and watching them enjoy it.

2. I like the challenge and creativity required in creating dishes that look just as good as they taste.

There's a little problem with reason #2. Once reason #1 is done, the nice looking dish is no more. I've given it away for people to eat and I no longer get the satisfaction of looking at the piece of art I've just created.

I made a tasty dish recently that was as appealing to the eye as it was to my taste buds so I decided to do the same thing as I've done with other things I've created---I took a picture! Granted, I didn't come up with the recipe or plating technique--I copied the recipe from a magazine, but I still like how it turned out.

Maybe I'm just silly or vain or both. But it's fun and it's just me.

ETA: I guess it would be helpful if I say what it is! It's a Southwestern Cobb Salad: A bed of lettuce with chicken, cheese, bacon, tomatoes, avecado, black beans, and eggs. Yum!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

me? a photographer?

I'm not a professional photographer, but I do love taking pictures of my kids. They both needed portraits done (Little Boy's 4 year portraits and Little Sister's any-age-between-12-months-and-now-since-her-mother-hasn't-had-any-taken portraits) and money is a little tight right now, so I decided to give it a try myself. I'm no Alissa or Misty, but I am very pleased with the way these pictures turned out. Who knows...maybe one of these days I'll buy a good fancy camera and try my hand at photography. I really enjoyed this.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

dare i say it?

Little Sister is potty trained! Now that I've said it, I'm knocking on wood and hoping it lasts!

She's only 21 months and this was something she started on her own. I thought the UTI she had nipped the whole idea in the bud, but it was just a setback and she continued not wanting diapers and to use the potty.

She tells me when she needs to go even at the playground! She wears diapers when she's sleeping, but panties during the day and has only had two accidents in the past week. I won't be surprised if she regresses at some point, but I'm crossing my fingers (and toes) that she doesn't.

Way to go, Little Sister!!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


"He's the next Martha Stewart!"

It's not what you want to hear about your son. Even if it's true. It seems Little Boy has developed an interest in interior decorating and event planning. I get lovely centerpieces created on my kitchen table on a daily basis. Sometimes it's a dinosaur theme. Other times it's a rock and pinecone theme lovingly donated from his private collection. My personal favorite is the dinosaur theme with a bit of whimsy thrown in by adding Monster Trucks crushing cars.

One day Little Boy woke up insisting that we were having a party that day. I repeatedly talked him out of it, but he just kept saying "Okay, we'll do it tomorrow." All my hopes that he would forget about it by tomorrow were dashed when I woke up to find that Little Boy had the table all set for his Party:

(I added the table cloth to hide our horribly scarred table top and helped him minimize his centerpiece to just the two trucks, but the rest was him.)

I couldn't think of any really good reason to say no, so we called up some friends and invited them over and picked up some cupcakes for the kiddos and some watermelon for the adults. little Boy declared it "A Silly Party" and wanted to decorate with streamers, balloons, and a silly party sign. I nixed the balloons and streamers, but gave in on the sign. He decorated the letters himself.

It was a really fun time and Little Boy was completely thrilled with it. Since then, he's been throwing parties and decorating all over the house nearly every day (and I'm sick of it thrilled with his creativity!)

Right now he's trying to talk me into throwing a birthday party for "his brothers" (no, he doesn't have any brothers, but he insists he does. His brothers are his imaginary friends. There are three of them and they live in a striped monster truck in the mountains). He wanted to buy toys for them (I said no), make a cake for them (I said no), and has been wrapping presents (putting his toys in grocery bags and piling them on the fireplace) for days. At what point do I say enough?

If you see a dinosaur/monster truck centerpiece on the cover of your favorite decorating magazine in 20 years, you'll know that Little Boy has fulfilled his true potential. I'm going to encourage him and let him become the next Martha if he wants to---as long as he stays out of jail and doesn't become this guy.