Sunday, December 31, 2006

Things to Learn- 2007

This is my third post in a single day! It's a bit of a record, which probably won't be repeated. ( I'm also trying a new smaller font) Previous to today I hadn't written anything for nearly 3 weeks. Christmas stress over took me and I'm barely coming out of the aftermath.

We sat down as a family to make our new years resolutions today. I love making new years resolutions. It comforts my list-making soul to have an agenda for the year. Besides the usual list of saying prayers, reading scriptures, exercising more, commiting to a healthier diet, and various others- We each decided to choose something we wanted to learn. Here's the lowdown:

Laura- (I chose for her) Get potty trained
Kimball- Learn to ride a bike without training wheels
Tustin- Learn to ice-skate and snow-ski
Me- learn to play all the hymns in the Hymn Book-contingent on getting a piano- another goal of mine :)
Stanton- wants to learn how to play a few hymns as well- either he's mocking me or I get that piano after all!

Wish us luck!

The fancy-pants party- Over?




Look at the pictures here and notice the depressing transformation. Where once there was "fancy pants"- there is now blah! My glory days are over! I have been spending the last year relishing in the fact that my daughter will happily where whatever adorable outfit I put together for her. Now, out of nowhere and for no reason she has decided she will only where ugly, ratty stretch pants and t-shirts, which in her mind equals "jammies." (Oh- and she must wear princess dress-up shoes to finish the lovely number.)This has really effected me in a negative way. I know that I should not be wrapped up in my daughters appearance, but I am not that big of a person. Over the course of a seven-day period we have had a number of tearful battles over this.

My two boys ( 7 and 5) have always been such stick-in-the-muds when it comes to fashion. They won't wear shirts with buttons, collars, or stripes. Nothing but t-shirts, sweatpants and jeans- and even those have to be just right. If they are the slightest bit uncomfortable they will turn up their noses. Oh how I have wished I could have some family photos with my boys donning handsome rugbies or polo shirts. Not to be. So I gave up a long time ago and only force the "button-downs" for church on Sundays. ( Kimball has gotten by this issue of "dupid" church clothes by wearing his play clothes hidden underneath. It's a bit bulky, but he feels more at peace with himself) I have attributed this lack of style to their male-ness. I guess I was wrong. Apparantly this is a genetic problem that is going to plague me no matter what the sex of my posterity.

But, I refuse to give up. Maybe this is a phase that will be soon forgotten. If you have any words of advice or comfort to my fashi0n grieving soul, I would welcome it.

The Giga Ball

This year for Christmas the boys got a "Giga Ball" from their Grandma and Grandpa Greene. It is a giant inflatable ball, about 51" in diameter, that has an empty cavity in the center where one child can get inside and be pushed and rolled around. Since the package says that it will hold up to 150 lbs, I went ahead and took a turn. It is so much fun! The boys and I could do this for hours. We have some friends who received an 81" ball for Christmas so I'm anxious to try theirs out.The Giga Ball-it's like living all those childhood dreams of joining "the carnies" in the circus! Fun stuff!

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Happy Birthday Mom!



Today is my Mother's birthday- so I thought I would use my blog to give a shout out to her.
Happy Happy birthday! We miss you every day. You are an amazing woman , mother, grandmother and my best friend. Thank you for being an example to me, a listening ear, and always the voice of wisdom that I need. This is your day- we're thinking of you and love you so much!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Digital Scrapbooking- my latest passion























It was about this time last year that I had a conversation with my friend Gabbie(otherwise known as "designmom" in the blogger world) and she, being a graphic designer, mentioned that if a person could get a good handle on a program like "Photoshop" they could do some really fun things with scrapbooking and never have to cut a single piece of paper or get stuck in a gluey mess of notions and what not.

This really intrigued me. I really enjoy scrapbooking but ever since we added more than one child to our brood I have found it quite a challenge to get any done. In fact, it seems near impossible now that we have three kids. There is too much non-kid-friendly stuff involved, like pens, glue and scissors, and by the time I get it all out and set up for some creative work, my time is up and I need to start packing it all up again.

Anyway, to make a long story short I have been playing with this digital idea off and on all year. It is so fun! I don't think I can ever go back to the paper stuff. It is so easy to work on a page for a few minutes here and there. It's always ready and waiting for you at the computer table and there is never a mess to clean up. I am slowly learning more and more tricks in Photoshop Elements. (I recommend the program to everyone.) Fun! Fun! Fun!. The options are endless. Thank you Gabbie for inspiring me! I finished this page of my daughter Laura today. It was so easy! Here are some websites to check out if you want to see some much better and more inspirational ideas:( I finally learned how to put in a link- I'm very proud!)
http://www.scrapgirls.com/
http://www.shabbyprincess.com/
http://sweetshoppedesigns.com/

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Traditions!


Today I've been thinking about "Fiddler on the Roof." ( great musical by the way.) But the reason I"ve got it on my mind is because Thanksgiving had me thinking about traditions and my great attachment to them.
I loved Thanksgiving as a child. Just the thought of it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Every Thanksgiving we drove to my Grandparents home in St. George. I loved trying to be the first one to spot the temple as we entered the valley. I loved the smell of wood burning fires coming from the neighbor's chimneys to warm the crisp morning air. But mostly I loved being in Grandma's house. She made all of us feel so special. When you were with Grandma you knew that at that moment you were the most loved and important child on all the earth. I loved the food- just the way she cooked it with the salad chopped into very small pieces and the stuffing with lots of sage. I loved the table settings with the little clay pilgrim people she made and painted for each spot. Every year I find myself wanting to create for my children a Thanksgiving like I had, and so I find myself wrapped up in specific food and place-settings. Somehow I have attached my love for my family and my sweet Grandmother to those little things- those traditions- and the thought of letting go breaks my heart. Living in NY can be a bummer because we live too far from family to take my kids to their Grandma's house for Thanksgiving. I want them to have the kind of memories that I do.
So this brings me to the "Fiddler on the Roof" parallel. "Tevye," the main character in the musical, struggles with his daughters wanting to do things their own way. He wants to stick to the old ways, the traditions, because there is security and comfort in keeping things the way they always have been. Eventually he learns that he has to let go and allow the next generation to live their own lives in their own way. I am a lot like Tevye. I want my kids to have what I had so I get stuck on "traditions" like specific foods and table decor. ( Stanton would say -I'm just a control-freak, which is also true) But what I'm realizing is that Thanksgiving was so wonderful because of the love I felt, not because of what I ate or wear I ate it.
Here in NY we spend most of our holidays with our close friends and they are our family here in the East and I love them dearly. But because of my problem with traditions and letting go, whenever a holiday dinner approaches I feel a desperate need to host and make all the food -so that I can make sure things go just like so. (I have recently found out that some friends have interpreted my "control-freak"-iness as a negative commentary on their cooking skills-which is absolutely not the case.) I'm just trying to protect myself from the homesickness I feel during the holidays since we moved here. So I'm going to try harder to relax and be more open to the new memories and traditions we're creating for our own little family.
We'll be spending Christmas here in New York this year so there are many things I will miss about home- like Dad's red sweater, lining up on the stairs for the annual picture in pajamas, and Mom's hugs that can warm you to your toes. But I can actually feel a panic attack come on at the the thought of not having Mom's raspberry jello. Can it be Christmas without it? Honestly- I'm not sure.

Random moment


The other day we returned from running errands to find that Kimball was asleep in his car seat. I left him there while we unloaded the groceries and what-not. However, upon my return to get him I found him like this- lying over the armrests of the front two seats completely asleep! I can only imagine he tried to wake up and get out of the car but couldn't maintain consciousness long enough. What I can't figure out is how this became his final resting place! So random! I love that kid.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Kids- you have it good so NO Complaining!

We took a weekend trip to Washington D.C. this past weekend. (I would post pictures of our adventures to the museums and other sites but, in a classic Amanda move, I forgot to charge our camera's battery or bring the spare.) One day my kids will probably complain that I'm boring, and I never take them anywhere fun and, because of the lack of pictures, I will have no way to prove otherwise! So, in case they ever go back and read some of these posts when they are older, --- Kids, this weekend we were good parents! Not only did we take a trip with you, we bought you McDonalds, took you to see that Air and Space Museum with all the planes and even the Natural History Museum to see the Dinosaurs and IMAX movie about sharks. And being that those activities are educational too- we should get extra bonus points and you'd better turn out to be well-rounded, socially acceptable adults!

Thanksgiving fun!



I think this is such a cute idea for kids' placemats. You can find them at the FamilyFun website. ( I would post a link but I have no idea how to do that!) Each kid could have their own picture on their mat.

I've been trying to think of fun things for the kids to do on Thanksgiving and I've decided that I will put them in charge of their own table decorations such as centerpieces, napkin rings etc..( I firmly believe in the seperate kids table) Now I've had enough experience in these matters to know that other people's ideas are generally better than mine so I've been "surfing" this morning trying to tap into the talents of others. Martha Stewart has some great stuff, but I find her projects often require way too much adult supervision. The idea is to keep the little critters out of my hair, so if you have some other great ideas to share let me know!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Sassy Bags- I love 'em!


A few years ago I found a pattern for a purse called a "swing bag." I made one, and then three more. They were so much fun to make, and I always love a new reason to spend hours in a fabric store salivating over the endless possibilites it's "food" affords me. Each bag was unique, and I found myself altering the pattern to fit my taste. I gave them all as gifts. Ever since then I have been in the "non-profit"-business of making bags of all shapes and sizes for myself and others. Unfortuanately I made the mistake of not taking pictures of the bags before gifting them, so I don't have a book to peruse and see past creations like I do of my quilts. ( that being said- if you have one of my bags, please take a picture of it- and e-mail it to me.)


So, these are a couple of my latest creations. I'm always losing my keys, so each bag now had a key toggle which has saved me hours of aimless digging. I'm still quite partial to the funky fringes, although they must be going out of vogue because I'm having the darndest time finding them these days.
Everyone asks me when I'm going to start selling. My response is always, "Someday...."... I'm just afraid that would take all the fun out of it.




Sunday, November 12, 2006

Self Proclaimed Cuteness- we all need it!


Again, I'm new to this whole blog thing and the more I look at other peoples' the more stupid I feel. How do you people make yours so detailed? You have links and pictures and fancy things! It took me an entire week to figure out how to put a picture from the web on-( which you'll notice is next to this post. I'm very proud of it.) I thought it was a fitting image for how I'm feeling about this blog experience.

You see, in my family we have learned a certain trick from my younger sister Leslie. No matter how bad your day was or how bad you might be feeling about yourself, you must always take the time to stop by a mirror and say, "Dang, I'm cute." It will make you smile- if only to laugh at yourself temporarily. And laughter has amazing power to change ones mood. I've tried it many times actually, and although I know I'll never be as cute as my sister- that's OK. It's still a good little trick and one that I plan on passing on to my children. Everyone needs a moment of self proclaimed cuteness. I think I'm cute- you should think you are too!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

My passion for Santa Claus

Yesterday we didn't have school because of Parent/Teacher conferences(whatever), so I thought it would be a nice oppportunity to chalk up some mommy bonus points. So I took the kids to the movies. We went to see Santa Clause 3. Now I have read some bad reviews of this movie from disgruntled adults because of it's low-grade acting or mushy feel-good storyline. Hello!- it's a kids movie. You cannot judge it with an adult eye-it wasn't made for you. I for one am easily entertained. Was it as good as the first Santa Clause? No- but who really cares. For close to two hours my kids sat still in the dark and were happy- and that meant I could relax and enjoy doing absolutely nothing. Well, I did go the extra mile and hand them a nasty half-frozen hot dog and some left-over halloween candy-they were good to go! ( yes, the Nathan's hot-dogs from the Cinema-De-Lux were not cooked-even partially, but since I was relaxing and all -I was too lazy to go and complain). So I have my bonus points and I'm feeling good.

Seeing this movie has gotten me thinking about the whole "Santa Claus" thing at our house. I am a sucker for Santa Claus. I love him- or the idea of him. ( how can you not love a plump, cheery bearded guy who brings you presents and wears soft velvet fancy pants!) I will do everything in my power to get my children to be believers until they are adults themselves. This is hard work- especially when there are non-believing children in their classes at school trying to ruin my fun! ( don't they know that Santa doesn't come to your house if you don't believe in him? Faith, people! Faith! ) I have gone to great lengths to keep this up. Santa often writes my kids letters, and even when we haven't been in town over Christmas, when we return, somehow Santa has left his goodies for us. I love to see the look of wonder and awe on my kids faces as they discuss how this magic happens and what Santa will bring them. I remember that feeling I had as a little girl. Just thinking about it gets me all warm and fuzzy. This is some of the magic and wonder of Christmas. Santa is part of the Spirit of giving. And NO- I don't think it masks the true meaning of Christmas and promotes greed! So don't Bah Humbug me!! I'm having fun! ( Stanton/Scrooge- I'm talking to you there.)

I must say though that being such a Santa zeolot has created a dilemna for me. My boys are sure that if something is too big, too expensive, or too violent for mom to get them that it's no problem! -they will just ask Santa for it. If it's too big, Santa can magically shrink it to fit into the sleigh. If it's too expensive- Santa will just have the elves make it. So what to do? I have slowly been inserting the idea that Santa will never give kids a toy their mom doesn't want them to have- but now I realize that if they don't get that gigantic battery powered ride on tractor thing and Hummer they've got their eyes on- they will know it's because mom ruined it! Santa couldn't give them what they wanted because of scroogy mom. I have only one choice- (being that there is no way I'm getting my kids some ridiculously expensive ride -on machine that I have no place to store and would make it permanently impossible to ever park the real car in the garage) and that is to write them a letter from Santa himself- one that absolves me completely of any blame. Maybe he will be concerened with the environment/ozone layer and wish not to promote the use of large SUV's or there could be a deadly accident involving an elf and a child-size Hummer, whereupon Santa outlaws the building of all such toys. Whatever it is, I need to come up with it soon so they can get started on a new list- one that doesn't involve taking over the garage with kid-vehicles.

Friday, November 03, 2006

My Jedis

Tustin as Mace Windu and Kimball as Obi Wan Kenobi.  Posted by Picasa

halloween stress

What can a mom do to make Halloween a stressful occasion? (You can always count on me to have the keys you need to make any day more stressful.) You choose to do a whole lot of unnecessary work- like make your kids costumes.

This year Tustin wanted to be Mace Windu( never mind that that particular Jedi is played by Samuel Jackson- a bald African American) and Kimball opted for Obi Won Kenobi. A smart mom would have then gotten online and ordered those costumes so that they would have arrived fresh, new and ready to wear- but not me- I decide to make them. Again- more stressful that way!

First of all, fabric stores are few and far between around here, ( don't get me started on how mad I am that the new Walmart down the road decided not to have a fabric department-what were they thinking? I can't even go there now out of principle. I'm so ticked!) so just getting the fabric is a chore. Once I'd done that, (and decided that Laura should be Holly Hobbie because the pattern was so cute) I had to start sewing. Now I can sew "sassy sacs" and "fancy pants" all day and never get bored- but Jedi wear just doesn't give me any thrills and the costumes are quite involved. I was so glazed over by the time I finished that I told Stanton to forget being Darth Vader- I wasn't going to sew another thing. He agreed to be something boring like a baseball player which would require no work on my part but I know that he was secretly heartbroken over not getting to sport the uniform of the boys' nemesis. ( again- being a high stress Mom it didn't occur to me to go and buy the darn thing- maybe I should change that to just Stupid Mom)

Anyway, I finished the costumes and they turned out great. Besides the fact that Tustin was dissapointed he didn't get real Jedi boots to wear as well- they were happy with what they got. Oh- and Laura hated the bonnet. I got her to keep it on for a few pictures and after that it was long gone. When we went Trick-or-Treating, most people had no idea what she was. The bonnet really makes the look. Oh well.

Stanton and I were invited to a Halloween party at The Powells, so again I had to stress about our costumes. Luckily I had a chance stop at Marshalls (great store by the way) .
They had a slew of costumes for 50% off the sale price, and as I was rummaging through I came upon a deluxe Darth Vader costume for a total price of ten dollars! ( minus the mask) I was also inspired by a faux fur blanket that would be a perfect cape for a snow princess- thus my costume idea. My joy of creating returned making that one. ( a tiara, some marabou, glitter etc. etc...) Princesses are way more fun to create than Jedis I tell you! Stanton was so excited for the costume. He took a trip to a store to get a mask and returned with gloves and a light saber as well. I love the kid in him.

Anyway, we had a great time, and now I'm breathing easy until the next Holiday I can unnecessarily amp up the stress levels with. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 29, 2006

What are fancy pants?

Two years ago my daughter Laura was born. She is as girly as they come and loves big bows, frilly dresses, dolls and of course- shoes! I love it, love it, love it! It has been such a nice change from the cars, trains, dinosaurs and war games that my boys are immersed in.

Anyway, she is my third child and quite possibly my last- which would make her my only girl. ( whether we will have a fourth child is a current "discussion" in our household- and the conceding party is yet to be determined) That being said, I find myself wanting to dress her in what I consider "ultra-cute" and I often leave the stores empty handed because of it. What I want just isn't around. ( well-what I really should say is that it isn't around in my price range) .

Now, I have a beautiful younger sister who has an ultra-cute daughter of her own and she directed me to the custom-handmade section of toddler clothing on ebay last spring. Wow!- this is the mecca of adorable outfits and just what I was looking for.

However, I have never been one to pay high prices for something I think I can make myself. Fortunately, I have a passion for sewing. Someday, when the hereditary arthritis kicks in and I can no longer create something on my machine everyday I will be heartbroken. ( I'm counting on the medical masters to create a potion for me by then). So, I began sewing. Since then Laura has been decked out in a complete wardrobe of what has been dubbed "Fancy Pants." In fact, I can hardly bear to put a pair of pants on her that don't have some sort of ruffle, fringe or embellishment.

Fancy pants- I love 'em. They make me smile. Posted by Picasa

I swore I would never do this

I am technically challenged. It's embarrassing in today's world of internet and high-speed everything. I shy away from fancy phones because I can't for the life of me remember how to use all the functions on my basic model. I never learned how to type and my personal method of creating digital text is probably quite entertaining to a keyboard master. I marginally know how to create a document in Word and can only navigate the internet successfully because of my friend Google and my patient husband who constantly is fixing the many computer emergencies I create. Everyime I get one of those catologs from the local community colleges touting their wares in adult classes I promise myself that I will do my family a favor and sign up for one of those "computers for dummies classes," but like most things in my life it gets put on that eternal list of things I'm going to do..........probably in another life.

I have only recently heard about this thing called a "blog." Little did I know that many of my close friends were involved in this modern day phenomenon. Of course, I swore I would never do this for two reasons- one I couldn't imagine coming up with the free time to write anything and two, I assumed it would be technically way over my head- and trying to figure the process out would just embarrass me further.

But, here I am writing my first post- and it is true what my friends say- the blogging people- (whoever they are), have made it very easy for the computer dummies like me to participate.
If nothing else- this should be a good spot for all my family to check in and see what we're up to way out here in the frigid east. And if they never check- in, well it will just be a spot for me to vent about daily life and of course to post pictures of my latest pair of fancy pants!

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