Friday, December 31, 2010

Ideas Please

I have a new calling at church, and I'm pretty excited about it. I was new to the Enrichment Committee in Relief Society and a couple of weeks ago they called me as the leader. I'm looking forward to it  because I have tons of ideas -copied- that I think all the ladies will love. I already have the year planned, I think (haven't had a meeting where they explain my calling yet) there are 4 big activities and small monthly ones as well as special interest groups, like playgroups, walking groups, a book club, etc.

The first big activity (AND THERE WILL BE BABYSITTING AT EVERY ACTIVITY! even if I have to bribe the husbands with cookies) will be speed friend shipping, thanks for the idea Anna!  It will be perfect for our not-so-friendly ward that has lots of people moving in and out. Us old-timers will actually learn about the ladies we've said hello to in the halls for years, newbies will meet everyone, and shy people will have a reason to talk.

Apparently a summer social is a tradition and I'll have to figure out a super-Saturday craft day before a Christmas something.  Maybe going out and volunteering instead of sitting around listening to the Christmas story.

I would love to stress learning new things for the monthly get-togethers: canning, sewing, crochet, knitting, gardening, etc. There are lots of talented/older ladies that can teach and plenty of newly marrieds/young moms that would like to learn.

The main reason for this post is to ask for your ideas. If you've had any fun/educational activities, please let me know.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas

We were lucky enough to have Brian's parents here; apparently Christmas is quite boring for empty-nesters.  Eli was as happy as I've seen him with Grandpa as his playmate for all his waking hours. He also made a gingerbread house with grandma, her artistic talent and Eli's careful, detail-oriented nature produced a beauty we haven't been able to eat yet. Esme really took to opening presents, even ones that weren't hers.

It was a perfect Christmas with family. The kids were angels, no melt-downs and warmed up to Grandma and Grandpa quickly.  We're so glad they came and are sad it's over.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Brian, As Of Late

Waiting for Eli to finish decorating his gingerbread man 
at the Swiss Christmas Celebration in Midway.

How about a Brian update. He has some serious Christmas spirit. I'm more stressed about getting gifts made and he's constantly wrapping presents (even the ones in the stockings!), making gingerbread, reading Eli Christmas stories and even wants the two of us to read The Christmas Carol together. I know he said he's make a cookbook for our family gift to people, and even though it didn't happen, he did spearhead Project Christmas Cards which will be coming soon.

I'm glad he's now taking a couple week break from Soo Bahk, the 3 evenings a week it kept him out late, 8 being late for me. But in the Spring he will be hosting his region's Black Belt Test, in which 4 of his students are testing for their black belt. This will be his first generation and he's working hard to make sure they're the best candidates the testing board has seen. He's having a party soon where the 5 of them come to our house, eat Korean food, watch his first black belt test and go over their forms and board breaking and such. Hosting the test in Salt Lake will be another ordeal, arranging transportation, lodging, restaurant for a banquet, and sign-ups as well as gifts for the Masters (testing board) from Idaho, Colorado, Arizona, and Montana. No stress.

At work he's in charge of film-ordering so people around the world can get geneological records in the form of micro-film/fiche sent to them and he just launched, quite smoothly, in Europe.

When the Bishop was looking for a calling for him at church, I warned him that eventhough he works at, he DOES NOT DO GENEOLOGY. We were worried when he got his calling, but aparently the Bishop really does know what he's doing since Brian will be the "family history consultant" that teaches the class, so people can learn the process and new technology to help them. If hard questions come up he can just ask the experts at work. The other older guy with more experience actually searching and compiling family names are the actual consultants there to help people in the ward.

In his spare time on the weekends he's helping me out by cleaning the bathrooms, taking the kids, and making dinner. Isn't he too good to be true?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Eli Lately

Eli's surprising us a lot too these days. Mostly because his speech is improving and he's finally saying those crazy things that little kids say. Like "Me yes want to go temple and marry Kitty," or just when I thought he'd be bothered by a lumpy batch of cream of wheat he said "mmm, squishy rocks" but these things don't happen too often because he's still a quiet, almost serious kid, with occasional goofiness. He loves to take care of his sister, although when she's "on the crawl" he always closes the door to his room so she doesn't wreck anything. If I need to get something done I'll have him "watch" her in her room with the door closed to keep her away from the stairs. Her room is usually a disaster when I return, but the other day it wasn't. I was so appreciative. I kept saying "Eli, thanks you so much for watching Esme and not making messes so I could clean the kitchen" and he looked down at it and said "thanks for cleaning your kitchen mom." His manners are amazing these days. After two years of training he consistently says thanks for whatever meal he just ate and puts his dishes by the sink. I love it! Finally some appreciation, forced or sincere I'm not sure, after 4 years of doing everything for this kid, not that I need it, it just feels nice. His sweet words are often melting us.

His toys of choice lately? Trains, as always, and a trio of stuffed animals-rat, cat, and dog. Of course his absolute favorite "toy" is a fish his dad caught that he can splash around with in the sink. I wonder if he even sees his kitchen and play food as a toy or if he really thinks he's cooking. He loves to play lions with his dad, where they reinact some sort of Simba/Scar battle. A real treat is to do Soo Bahk (martial arts) with Brian. He takes his turn telling his dad which stretch or kick to do. He just finished a tumbling tots class that I hoped would get him ready to begin martial arts in January. Change is hard for him and I thought the class structure and physical activity would be a good warm up for the timid boy about to start Brian's loud/serious martial arts class. We better talk it up. Brian will be so sad if he refuses to do it.

And Christmas, I must talk about it. He must've inherited his excitement for Christmas from his dad who loves all the decorating and movies and songs. He's waiting patiently for the day, reminding us each day to open that day's drawer in the advent calendar. And it's not just the candy or toy that he wants, he loves the song and scripture too. Also, he's very consistent, having us sing the same two songs for nap and bed time for the past year and he just recently wished for Jingle Bells to join the mix. The other night Brian was noisily wrapping some presents and the boy came in to say we were being too loud when he spied a book. I stopped him, saying it was his Christmas present and so he chewed Brian out for leaving the presents out and ran to the closet to hide it. He's very excited for Grandma and Grandpa to come and sleep at our house for Christmas.

Learning. He has a better memory than me. I will only tell him something once or twice and its in there.  We're working on the alphabet, how to write it and the sounds the letters make and it's really teaching me patience.  For some reason the second I start he gets hyper and starts bouncing all over. I have to get him to focus, stay positive and make it fun.  So far he loves stars as a reward next to a nicely-written letter.  And I started closing my eyes while he wrote the letter because it was just too painful to watch, but turned out to be another way to make his writing lessons fun, he likes surprising me with his creation. Wish us luck. Tomorrow is D.

I imagine he will be a good student since he's very thorough with whatever he does and is reserved in his class at church. Hopefully he inherits homework habits from his dad who used to start an assignment as soon as he got it, where as I would wait until midnight the night before it was due.

Tonight we realized he's growing up when he insisted on sitting away from us with his friend Curt and got mad at Brian for kissing him in front of his friend. It better not get much worse than that.  We're pretty attached.

Esme These Days

Esme's been growing up so much these days.  It all goes down hill after the first haircut.  Luckily, and obviously,  growing up doesn't necessarily involve getting less cute. Now that she's getting bigger, her friendly personality is coming out more.  Whenever someone compliments her on her distracting adorableness, she always gives them a big smile, like she knows what they're saying. A few weeks ago, she got the ultimate compliment, one I never thought I would actually hear.  The owner/chef of our most-visited Korean restaurant actually said that Esme is cuter than her own little daughter.(!)  I still can't believe she said it, and I don't think it was just so we'd order an appetizer. I could go on about this subject all day, but I'd better move on.

As far as eating goes. I've made a new discovery.  If I get her starving hungry, as in wait an hour or two after she wakes for a meal instead of feeding her right away, she will eat at least twice as much. It's so amazing. She grunts and leans for that buttery cream of wheat like it's the best thing she's ever eaten. And she even LETS ME SPOON FEED HER.  It's pretty much exhilarating when she opens for a greasy bite of mush. "Honey, watch this!" and we both sit back amazed. 

And learning.  The copying has begun. She is speaking so soon, trying to repeat almost any word we emphasize to her. Today, on her own, she said "moe" when her buttery cinnamon cooked apples were gone. Today at church, Esme noticed a wife rubbing her husband's back, so she leaned forward and rubbed his back too.  And a couple of weeks ago, I was spying on the kids during a prayer and realized she was folding her arms! One little hand placed on top of the other. She does it all the time now.  She must be trying to melt us,  just like she's kissing up to the nice people that compliment her. Books are her favorite thing, and books with animals are her most favorite. Especially when we make the silly sounds.  So far she moos like a cow and pants like a puppy. 

Play.  Her favorite hangout is the stairs. Not to use them to go up to her room or down to Eli's. After she melts me during the prayer, and excites me by eating well, she tries to give me a heart attack by climbing on the stairs. I take her up or down and she just gets right back on. When we block them she gets mad. So the second half of dinner I'm usually on the stairs with her and my plate of food. She does love a roudy game of peek-a-boo with her dad, although her tiny hand usually just covers her nose. Brian loves to hold her arms up and point out that her hands barely reach over her head.

We love having this girl around. I can't believe how lucky I am to be with her all day long. She's starting to get a little clingy and I don't even mind, especially since she prefers me to her dad. Sorry Bri.  I always smirk when he has to hand her back. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Eli wants an owl for Christmas and has been into the bird/egg/nest idea. So I copied another idea from someone on Etsy. It was just too perfect. I added the little bark texture and a couple of wooden eggs. Brian says I should make these things to sell. Only took me so long I'd want to sell it for like $50. The lady on Etsy, only $30. A steal. Now I know.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


So a couple of days ago my friend Wendy invited us to her girls' (twins) birthday party today. For gifts I like to ask what the birthday kids are into so my hard work is more likely appreciated. Even better, Wendy said she was making the girls a puppet theater for Christmas and that puppets would be good, so the girls get a present and mom can check a couple of things off her to-do list. I went to my favorite craft blog roundup and entered in "puppet" and found the best tutorial, stopped looking as soon as I found it.  The amazingly talented/creative lady at Just Another Day In Paradise put an Old McDonald Puppet tutorial for a competition. I love all the detail, even the back of the animals are fun.

Okay, gotta get ready for the party.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


So Esme's started pulling the out the clips containing her thick locks.  Of course, the clips go right in her mouth. I don't look forward to first haircuts, I got teary during hers and Eli's, but without one I have to choose between ragamuffin and choking hazards. So yesterday I gave in.

This Picture makes me wish I hadn't.

Watching Baby Einstein

Saturday, November 20, 2010

My First Super-Saturday

So, my new calling at church is on the enrichment committee, planning activities and crafts for us ladies to do once a month or so. They asked me to come up with something inexpensive for the "Super-Saturday" (craft extravaganza) and I decided on this Matchbox Advent Calendar by Martha. I made one a couple years ago for Anna and never got around to making one for my own family. I found a talk on and wrote up little devotionals for each day.

Amy amazed us all when she came up with this design. I could barely copy the simply lines of the Christmas tree.

So for $2.50 they went home with a meanful new family tradition and about 800 matches.

It'll be fun watching Eli's eyes bug out as he opens one drawer each day to find a new treat. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

HeartFELT Christmas

Doubling my felt stash recently has got me downright giddy. The possibilities are endless. I'm trying to make most of my Christmas gifts and there are so many things to do with felt, I can't even pick which ornaments or colors for a garland.

Christmas preparation is in full swing around here, and I haven't even considered the Thanksgiving menu. I can't blame it on the music in the stores because it started before that.  The longer I'm a mom, the more I realize I must plan ahead. Start packing up an hour before I actually want to leave, brainstorm holiday projects months in advance. Or maybe it's just the cold weather. Whatever the cause, I've started, and the cute, easy things that can be done with felt are only fueling my early crafting. It doesn't take sewing skills or even a machine. Some needle, thread, inexpensive felt and I can work while Brian watches a movie. It still counts as husband time even if I'm sewing, right?

Well, here are my plans so far.

 For the visiting teachees (all 5 of them!) I'm thinking of making a poinsettia clip like this one that can decorate their hair, a shirt, or a gift.

Brian and I are both wishing he had an i-pad/book/phone/pod, me so I could whip up a cover for it. Better buy one so I can make a cool cover.  Nah. I'll just make a picture frame like this.

The kids will be the most work. Since Esme's favorite task at church is to empty all purses within her reach, I thought I'd sew her a little bag filled with purse-y things- keys, make-up mirror (obviously not in my bag, but), phone, and wallet complete with credit cards. I'm up for more ideas if anyone has any.  I guess the wallet will be the only felt thing inside since kids prefer real things, like an actual cell phones to a toy phone.
I love how the other moms are happy to let her dig through their bags and the ladies without kids guard their purses like she's going to steal/break everything inside. Hopefully her "first purse" will set them at ease.

Eli's list is long.  Well, it wasn't too long until he decided his toys wanted toys for Christmas. He was only going to require a toy owl (which I will copy this beautiful idea since he's obsessed with the bird, nest, egg idea), but then he came in with his stuffed mouse, then cat, then dog and asked each one what they want for Christmas. Luckily he translated for them and told me they each want a baby.  To add to the owl and mouse/dog/cat babies I'm including something I want him to have.

A mini baking set. I bought a several miniature baking supplies- bundt pan, tart pan, and 6 super-tiny ones for cupcakes and even a little wooden kitchenaid mixer. My first project, which I'm in the middle of is to make a little tart, cake, cookies and cupcakes for him to bake. So far the felt pear tart and sugar cookies are done.

Now for a lemon bundt cake.  Better get working. Precious double nap time is burning.  

Oh, and if anyone else wants to start a felt addiction, here's a good place to look:  Felt-o-rama.

Friday, November 12, 2010


My stubborn, independent Esme has gotten more so. I didn't think it was possible.

 I gave up spoon-feeding her a couple of weeks ago because it was so draining for me. Instead I have to deal with grease smeared all over her and everything in her reach after every self-fed meal of buttered bread, noodles, veggies, or tofu. I realized I must be learning patience, because I was never able to do this with Eli. I can even give Esme a bowl of cream of wheat and a spoon. I try not to watch, but I'm learning to give in to messiness.

But, about spoon-feeding, I tried again just before her 1 year Dr. appointment (and the all-important weigh in) and it was even harder. Impossible. Toys, no toys, letting her feed me while I feed her, following her around the house with a spoon. Nothing worked. She insists on using her own fork, and often prefers to steal my grown-up fork.

There is one exception.  Ice cream. I sit on the floor with a bowl and she crawls up for bites. She also loves ice cubes. At restaurants when she's done eating (and I've just started) and wants to get down and crawl all over the dirty floor I can buy some time by fishing ice cubes out of my cup for her. I've been contemplating freezing milk cubes.

Yesterday, after several hours of freedom and browsing (I will never take browsing for granted again) at Michaels and Tuesday Morning, I came home to my amazing husband who'd done the dishes, made dinner, and had the genius idea to feed Esme half-thawed pear sauce. She thought it was ice cream and let her dad spoon feed her like a normal baby!  What is this infatuation with frigid food?

In related news. The girl, at one year and one week is 28 1/4 inches (21%) tall, 101/2 inch head (0%) and weighed exactly 15 pounds, still 0%, but enough improvement to keep the doctor from worrying more. Woohoo, 14 ounces in 7 weeks!  Although now we have an appointment with a pediatric gastro-intest....inologist or something.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I've been meaning to make a book of family members so the kids don't treat them like strangers the few times they see them. Nothing to get me motivated like a coupon code for a free book. Check yourselves out, I think you're all in there. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Idaho Falls

This weekend the kids and I left Brian to go visit my mom 4 hours away.  Being a single mom for two days pooped me out.  The kids were good traveler's and had a great time. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Meet Sophie

Brian really wanted to name Esme Sophie. I just couldn't give in when it was on the top 10 list. The name of Esme's first doll counts for something, right?  We'll see what he says.

I've been excited about making it since I saw this tutorial months ago, I don't have serious style and sewing skills like that lady, but I tried.  I didn't even have to buy anything to make her, the gold dress came from a DI bed skirt whose center became those reusable produce bags months ago. I bet when she's a teenager she will be so annoyed with me wanting to make everything.

But on her first birthday she greeted her with several slobbery kisses and trying to pick her eyes off.  A good sign, since that's what she does (or tries to do) when she excitedly meets other babies.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Esme Turns 1

A little swimming, eating out, few presents, and cake. I was excited to try this Korean tradition where you place several objects in front of a baby on their first birthday to see what they grab. Esme grabbed the bracelet, paint brush, and money. Aparently she will be fashion conscious, artistic, and rich. My favorite part of the night was listening to Eli's soft voice as he sang Happy Birthday and watching Esme laugh while Brian played with her.

As for what we know for sure about this girl.

She is so friendly. She reaches out to strangers and if they're nice enough to take her she honks their nose. If she really likes you she'll lick your face, which I have only seen a couple of times.

Adventurous. Not as cautious as her older brother, at least she she thinks about something she wants to do before she does it. Today it was crawling forward toward the play structure into the water as it got deeper and deeper and her face went under.

Easy. The first 6 months were tiring, but now she sleeps 10-12 hours and takes two long naps. She's independent, preferring to crawl around and explore to sitting in my arms. Flexible. She doesn't start whining once it's time to eat or sleep, but waits pretty patiently.

Loves animals and babies. I have to get it on video. This high pitched screech/laugh comes out when she touches a dog or our neighbor's pet pig. Babies get smiles, a face touch, and even a lick.

Prefers to feed herself. She's loved the introduction of a fork. And her favorite foods seem to be cheese, tomatoes, PB&J, and tonight's spaetzle.

Can't wait to learn more.

All night I've been imagining where I was a year ago. I get teary just thinking about it. Every day we're grateful for this angel girl and love her more. I don't deserve such sweetness, but I'll take it.
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tweet, tweet

Esme's going to be a bird for her first Halloween. I was smitten when I saw the idea on Martha. And it gave me motivation to make this cute hat I saw a tutorial for a while back too.  She gives up trying to take it off since it's im-possible.  I can see myself getting addicted to making these.  Another great project to use up scraps. Why am I trying harder with two kids.  I'm supposed to be doing things to make my life easier.

Cutest baby bird ever!  Totally worth it.