Wednesday, June 30, 2010


So first, thanks again to all the people who voted.

I honestly can't say thank you enough.

We can't stop talking about how excited we are--this is BIG!

And, because I am so totally full of gratitude, I decided I'd pull two winners for the giveaway--so, two lucky peeps will win something fabulous ( fabulous as a less than perfect seamstress and crafter can make...)

So, without further ado, the winners are:

#16, Alessia, who wrote:
I shared on twitter:


#1, Jenny, who wrote:
Alright - I gave my four votes today! And I definitely "like"d it on FB!

CONGRATS! I will be sending you both an email shortly to ask some questions to help me decide how best to "surprise" you! 

Thanks again to everyone who voted and passed it along! 


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

{Summer's arrival at last!}

"The summer, in some climates, makes possible to man a sort of Elysian life."

The sweetest benefit of living in a seemingly endless winter is the perfect summer. Weather here, though only recently changed, tops out in the high 70s or low 80s and bottoms out in the 50s. Warm, breezy days give way to cool evenings with sweetness in the air.

We don't have much access to a swimming pool anymore (a given in Phoenix), but we do have plenty of grass with frequent sprinklers, as well as the local splash pad.

{I may look like I'm rescuing them, but that was just a ploy to run through the sprinklers with them! And yes, Squirrel's panties are on backwards because she apparently "likes them better that way."}

{Not terribly happy about the grass clippings in Grandpa's yard...}

{Sprinkler play on a windy day}

{At the local splash park}

{Oh, this adorable chub, just chillin' in the sun...}

I hope you and yours are enjoying some fun in the sun! 


P.S. Thank you to EVERYONE who voted, passed along our photo, and shared with friends. We won the iPad giveaway! It is going to be a huge blessing to us and make the Mister incredibly happy. It will also be a much lighter, easier tool for him in his classes. (And I already found him an awesome app that I can't wait to load--it's an anatomy quiz of all the body parts! Just what my pre-med man needs!) Thank you, thank you, thank you! We'll randomly choose the winner of the handmade item giveaway tomorrow! Can't wait to see who wins!

Monday, June 28, 2010


We are SO CLOSE to winning the Mister an iPad. I spent all evening literally walking on town, knocking on doors, and completely embarrassing myself by begging (actually begging) for votes. I'm really hoping that magically, the rest of those votes appear.

But just in case they don't, please remember to vote for Gus here:

And enter my giveaway here:

Back to regular posting soon, I promise! :)


Sunday, June 27, 2010


Don't forget the giveaway! We are trying to get to the top with Little Bird's picture and win the Mister an iPad. Make his YEAR, by clicking the link below for directions on how to vote and how to enter the giveaway!



Thursday, June 24, 2010


Okay, I recognize the fact that this post pretty much goes against the entire point of this blog, but I'm a little desperate.

The Mister wants an iPad. BAD. He goes to the campus bookstore about 4 times a week to play with the samples. He's totally twitter-pated over lots of types of technology, but I think its true love when it comes to the iPad. Obviously, it's out of our budget and not a "necessity", so he has done without.

Today I stumbled upon a chance for me to win one for him! It's a photo contest. You might remember this little incident with the peanut butter. I've submitted a picture of it to the Share a Smile contest. It's the last week to enter and I'm a little late in the game. BUT, I know that we can do it for my most amazing husband!

Just follow this link:

Register, and vote as many times as it will let you. Today, it's four. Four votes in less than a minute! THAT's AWESOME! Please, please pretty please vote!

And I'll tell you make it worth your while, I'll make it a GIVEAWAY!

This giveaway is now closed and I will choose a random winner tomorrow!


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

To the best darn daddy in the whole wide world...

-who loves to spend his free time with his family
-who isn't afraid to wear the tie-dyed shirt that Squirrel and Little Bird made for him to his classes
-who makes all of us feel like the most special people on the planet
-who has turned our world upside down by going back to school
-who is the only person in the world with whom I'd want to be on this crazy ride called life!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

{Handmade Boatneck!}

Here's what I love best about sewing, and specifically sewing without a pattern: it's like a puzzle, but better. For instance, I'm not a sudoku player, but I know they're out there. There's great satisfaction in figuring out how pieces come together to completion. While a sudoku player (or crossword puzzler, etc) has to finish their puzzle and leave it on the page or their little hand-held gaming machine, I get to put the things I sew to good use. It's probably pretty unlikely that a sudoku-er would pin his puzzle to his chest, and as people pass by that they would say, "Hey--NICE sudoku, man!" to which the puzzler could reply, "Thanks, I did it myself."

BUT the awesome thing about sewing is that I can finish my puzzle, pull it over my head and hear compliments on it. And THEN I get the satisfaction of saying , "Thanks, I MADE it!"

Lately, I've had this hankering to own a striped boatneck tee--nothing says summer like the nautical blue and white of a clean boatneck tee. The one I recently saw that I really like best is this one:

BUT, it also comes from Nordstrom's with a $225 price tag! {That's right--I said $225 DOLLARS}

So obviously, I've been living without.

Until I walked into a local thrift shop and came across two and half yards of nautical blue and white striped knit for ONE dollar. {That's right--just one!} So I decided I'd put my problem solving skills to good use and try my hand at a boatneck tee. It isn't perfect, but I learned a lot, and I think it's awfully cute and summery, even with its imperfections. And it cost me 225 times less than the one I was thinking of.

{Photos courtesy of the Mister}

{Am I too cool for school, or what? Oh, and I got a I'm awesome.}

{Not perfect, but already, I know I heard a couple people remark, "Wow, nice Sudoku..."}

Who doesn't love a striped boatneck tee?


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"...not for want of necessities, but for want of luxuries..."

Oh, hard old habits die.

I have been having a hard time with my spending lately. Part of it I can justify (who rips through the seat of both pairs of jeans she owns in the same week? I bought more. In fairness, I bought one pair on clearance for $14.71 and another pair used for $4.00) and part of it is just sheer naughtiness on my part (Squirrel recently really likes me to sing "Colors of the Wind" to her from naturally I had to order it for her...dang it! FAIL.)

I'd been doing really well for a while, but there is this ebb and flow that occurs with my spending habits I fact, I haven't even picked up my paycheck that came a week ago because I am so worried I will spend it. Temptation has been fierce lately. Case in point, I'd like you to meet my latest demon to haunt me:

The Tree Stump Salt and Pepper Shaker Set:

Yes, those adorable little stumpy looking things are actually a salt and pepper shaker set. And I can't get my MIND OFF OF THEM. They are literally haunting me. I think about how kitschy and cute they are, how nicely they'd go in my kitchen with all of the rose chair covers I made. I picture myself shaking pepper over macaroni and cheese and asking the Mister to "Please pass me the salt stump," with my tongue in cheek. But I HAVE a salt and a pepper shaker. I have rather nice ones--wedding presents from my cousin's husband's parents/ my parents' best friends. I LIKE my salt and pepper shakers. I do NOT need these...but they are making me crazy. Since I saw them three days ago, I have thought about them a minimum of six to ten times a day. Seriously, people, my heart races and I get a knot in my stomach when I think about that cute boy in 7th grade that sat in front of me in science class. I keep thinking that maybe if I drop my pencil, these salt and pepper shakers will notice and accidentally brush my hand as they give it back to me...

In fact, the whole website I found them (don't go! it will ensnare you!)--is pretty much the devil incarnate, apparently designed specifically to derail me from my mission of simplicity. I want every. single. thing. in the "apartment" section and about 80% of the clothing on that website.

I don't know why I share this--I just have to get it out before I put it in my digital shopping cart, I guess. I do know that if I stay busy enough typing this, I can get sleepy before I browse any more funky home websites and find other things I "must" have. And besides, I know you won't share the fact that I've been doodling "I HEART TREE STUMP S&P" all over my science folder, will you?


Monday, June 14, 2010

{Squirrel's Homemade B-Day Present}

I am totally excited about this...probably more than I should be, but I made (one of) Squirrel's birthday presents this year. She got a couple of Angelina Ballerina books and puzzles that a sweet friend donated (leftovers from her own daughter), a new bike helmet with panda bears, a board game, and the present mama made.

Squirrel sees pictures or samples of dolls in the store or in a magazine, and if it blonde haired and blue-eyed, she swoons over them, saying, "It's just like ME!" I thought that a doll would be a lot of fun for her, and love all those handmade dolls I see on places like etsy. In my mind, I had a vision of this silly shaped plushy doll, and so I decided I would try to make it myself. And you know what? Aside from a caboose that is a little bigger than I might have hoped for (story of my life though, really...), she turned out almost exactly like she looked in my head!

Meet "Dolly" (she's had several other names, but Squirrel finally seems to have settled on that one...):

I wanted her to be made out of something soft, but still washable, and figured chenille, although a little pricier than some other fibers, would hide the dirt and wash well. I had to find a tutorial for the yarn hair (which was probably the trickiest part) and had a bit of difficulty figuring out which pieces to put together before stuffing or after, but in the end, she came together and I was pretty darn proud of myself. I also managed to make her three outfits with matching cloth diapers and a sling for Squirrel to wear her in. Originally, I was going to make some matching clothes for Squirrel too, but as it was, I was coming in under the wire--maybe when its time for her birthday party. 

At any rate, I don't think Squirrel minds Dolly's imperfections too much...what do you think?


Friday, June 11, 2010

Squirrel's Birthday {Part 2}

For Squirrel's birthday, we put up a low loft bed in her room for her. She's been sleeping fitfully in her toddler bed, partly because of the space, I think. We brought it with us (it was mine as a kid) in anticipation of her needing it, and since she's been asking us for a bunk bed, we set it up after she went to sleep. The child sleeps through everything, so we put it up while she slept and at FIVE AM the next morning, she bounded into our room, saying, "Mommy! Daddy! Come quick! There is a big bunk bed in my room!" She was positively ecstatic, and when we asked where it came from, she told us that the Birthday Moose brought it for her. (I'm not exactly sure how the Birthday Moose started. I think it stems from the fact that, following a tradition my father started, we have a "Valentine's Camel" in our family, and since her birthday came after the Valentine's Camel and the Easter Bunny, it seems she needed a mascot for that day too, and we've since been stoking that little flame...)

We convinced her to "try it out" by going back to bed in it so that we could get a few more hours of sleep.

As usual, she was up for good at seven, and we gave her some options for how to spend the day. Her activity of choice was the zoo.

{I think this guy kind of looks like Little Bird with those big brown eyes! HA!}

On the way, she got to open a present from her Aunt Lindsey and Cousin Rex, which she insisted on putting to good use the moment we got back:

{Is this not the cutest little chef you've EVER seen??} 

We enjoyed a PB&J picnic in the courtyard, followed by dinner, cake, and presents, and staying up late with just mom and dad for a birthday movie...

{You can see by the state of her mouth that she'd already been sneaking icing before the big moment...}

Overall, we were quite exhausted, but it was fun to celebrate someone who LOVES to celebrate anything.

(More later on her homemade present! I'm so ridiculously proud of it!)


Thursday, June 10, 2010

{Happy Birthday, Squirrel!}

Dear, sweet little Squirrelly Girl,

Today, you turned three years old. I simply cannot understand how so much time has passed since you entered my world and changed it forever. I know it's cliche and every mother will say it, but the joy that burst upon my life the moment you, my first child, entered the world was incomparable. Because of you, I became stronger, more selfless, more joyful, more observant, more patient, and more terrified than I had ever been. Here, in this tiny bundle was my new universe. You melted your father's hard exterior and this macho, tough guy turned into a puddle of pure love for his daughter the minute you came into his life.

He has always been able to produce laughter from you that no one else can replicate. And you in turn hold his heart completely in your hands.

You are three, and in this third year, I am amazed at the person you have become:

Your language has exploded. You are precocious and talkative. In fact, some days I sit, exhausted after a day of listening to all the things you have to say. {Sometimes, at bed time, as I lie with you and try to get you to settle down, you'll sleepily prattle off all the many things that run through your head, with exclamations like, "Mommy! I am thinking of a party, with cake, and candies, and cupcakes, and gumballs, and doggies, and oh, I miss Zucchi and Titan, and brother will ride his bike, and I will ride with him and we can visit the ladies in the 'partments." I love this peek into your mind via stream-of-consciousness...} You like me to make up up stories and you like to make up stories of your own. Since your aunt Katie's wedding, every story ends with the addition from you that "they got married and lived happily ever after."

You love to see the temple. Even though it is down the street, you remind us every time we see it that it is there and it is "BEEEEAUTIFUL." I cannot wait for the day when you can enter it {which I know will come too soon, as some days I am afraid to blink because of how fast you grow}.

You love your baby brother. There are days when you don't like to share or he picks on you terribly, but for the most part, you love to help him, to reassure him, to play with him, to make him laugh. I know you will be partners in crime, as you have already begun to teach him many of your Squirrelly ways.

At three, you are shy at times and exuberantly friendly at other times. You invite yourself in to the apartments of the girls here at the dorms, and ask to follow them on their dates or to the library. We have to put you in timeout rather often lately for sneaking off to visit the "ladies," as you call them.

You love to be outside, no matter the weather. You request picnics almost every day. You like to lie on your back and look at the clouds.

You love to sing songs and make requests for us to sing together. "Tomorrow" and "My Favorite Things" have been at the top of the request list for several months now. You are finally learning to carry a tune.

You love to dance--you, poor thing, seem to have your mother's grace and sense of rhythm, but music and movement delight you, just as they always have me. I love to watch you dance with your eyes closed, moving to the beat that only you are privy to.

Just as you have been since birth, you are BUSY. You never quit moving or thinking or doing. We are practicing being "still", but it is difficult for you, who even wiggles yourself to sleep.

{Even standing still for the camera often proves to be too much...}

You are growing independent. You like to dress yourself, put on your own shoes, brush your teeth and say prayers on your own. Sometimes I stop and look at you and wonder when you started being able to do all these things alone. I feel such a sense of pride at your endless small accomplishments, so big to little old you;  at the same time, I feel such deep loss for the dependence on me that steadily vanishes.

You are empathetic. You feel sadness for sick birds and squashed bugs. You worry about us when we are sick, or upset. You comfort me when I am sad or exhausted from a long day. You try to make peace wherever you can. You tell me often that you miss Titan and Zucchini, our pugs. {This breaks my heart because they were there to welcome you home and have given you so many gifts...this empathy being one of them.}

You listen. You watch. You process more than I think you will. I am frequently astounded by the things you know and realize it is your own desire to know them, and not my ability to teach them, that has brought you that knowledge.

Your eyes are precisely the same shade of blue as mine, and I love, LOVE, when we are brushing our teeth at night, how you will always ask to squish our faces together and pronounce them to be "same-same."

You recently started telling me that we are best friends. Please know that I always wish this to be the case. That whatever, and whenever, I will listen and I will love and I will guide and protect you. Never stop being my friend, sweet thing.

You are full of mischief. While some say you have my sunny attitude and silly disposition, I know there is a naughty streak in there that can only come from your father. I have seen this look in his face in many instances and many pictures from his childhood, and I catch it on yours regularly. It is a glint in the eye that tells of cleverly devised plans just below the surface.

You are every bit as cute as you think you are, and I have to turn my face or leave the room to hide my laughter at least once a day because of the things you do.

You are uncontainable. You are full of light and laughter and so much love. When you were born, you changed my world, and yet, every day since then, it has continued to change: My capacity for love has grown with every minute of your life. My appreciation for life and joyful moments gains momentum. My desire to be the best example I can be gets stronger. And my gratitude to my Heavenly Father for sending me the WONDER that is you is unstoppable.

I love you, forever and ever and always, my sweet precious darling.
Happy Birthday!