Saturday, February 26, 2011

Baby Gift Of Choice

I've been avoiding the sewing machine since just after Christmas. I guess I traumatized myself with all the hand made gifts. Plus I finally got my desk clean and it pained me to think of cluttering it up again.  But today was a babyshower for the saint-of-a-relief-society-counselor that helps me so much with my calling.

I've decided my new go-to baby gift is to lend the mom-to-be my favorite sewing book and let her pick. That way, after my hours of work, I know she will love it, and there's still a little bit of surprise since I decide on the fabric.  So a couple of weeks ago I told her to pick something from the book and I sewed it up a couple of nights ago. She picked the best project in there, so I was excited.  And she's European and loves modern, so figuring out fabric was easy.

 The swaddler will be especially helpful if her little guy is anything like Esme. After a few weeks of life she started jolt herself awake with waving arms unless she was wrapped tight tight tight. The first time I made one of these she was 3 months old and strong enough to bust out of my tight double swaddle, so I was pretty frantic to get it done. This small contraption was in constant use and was critical for both of us to get good sleep, no matter how short the duration.

Wrapping gifts is very low, or not even on, my list of important things. I'm too practical, with money and time. So I used the spare brown paper that was inside a roll of Christmas paper and just sewed around the edges, which was easier than trying to form a shape of the soft contents and put tape who knows where.  Walking to the shower I started regretting it, imagining all the cutesy blue bags with fluffy tissue paper, but for some reason people raved about it. Who knew.

Friday, February 18, 2011


I'm not opinionated about too many things, especially when it comes to clothes.  But shoes, especially children's shoes, is where I really get picky.  I don't know a thing about fashion or trends, I just can't bear to spend money on cheaply-made shoes, even for the kids, who are constantly growing.  This week I finally found a pair of shoes good enough AND on sale, although they are technically boy shoes.  Sorry Esme.  I've been searching for some shoes for her that meet my criteria for so many months I almost gave in and paid full price at Nordstrom. Although I don't regret the last time I did that because Esme is wearing these hand-me-downs from Eli for a second winter.

I think my requests aren't asking too much.  If sandals, they should cover the toes and hold on to the heel. Then they should have thin, flexible soles, be made of real leather, and have rubber that comes over the toes so they don't get scuffed the first time worn.  I have to say, when I see little kids, say 3 or under, running around in flip flops, I cringe at the thought of them falling and scraping their knee.  Even this nice brand of shoes makes baby shoes (up to 24 months) slippery on the bottom.

Luckily my kids seem to grow slowly, usually wearing a pair of shoes for a year.  And the quality shoes hold up so well they can be used on kid after kid. (Although Brian would say there's no need for them to hold up for more than two kids).  So far Keens and Crocs have been my go-to brands, although these Morgan & Milo's might be a new favorite.  If anyone else knows of a good brand, I'd be happy to hear.

I guess Esme's been pretty spoiled with comfortable feet. when I put them on her the first couple of times, she cried and walked like she was wearing big clown shoes and tried to kick them off.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Speed Friending

So being the Relief Society Activity Leader is my biggest calling yet, and last night was our first event. "Speed Friending." I have been stressing about this for a month.  Anytime a thought about the activity would cross my mind, my stomach would do that nervous jump like when you're zooming down a steep hill on a roller coaster.  To put myself at ease I tried to prepare as early as possible. Writing lists, party blog surfing, food planning, making decorations.  This ended up adding pressure. I came across so many good ideas I wanted to do them all.  Luckily I stopped short of fringing the streamers like this, but I was seriously tempted.  I just felt like the ladies would have a better time if I would just put some extra effort into it instead of throwing something together last minute.

I was totally wrong.  All I would have needed was a timer, couple of plates of cookies and water to drink.  Instead I showed up with 4 bags full of junk. I made paper flowers (from here), confetti, felt bunting, set up a "photo booth", cooked up hot chocolate from scratch with various toppings (chocolate shavings, cinnamon, mint and peanut butter chips, and I whipped cream [after looking at the ingredient list on Reddi whip] for goodness sakes) and nobody even used them. Well, I pressured a couple of people into whipped cream and luckily the Relief Society President talked a few people into pictures.  Okay. I think I'm done venting.  The ironic thing is that one of the main reasons I picked Speed Friending was because of how simple it is.

The activity was a success, thank goodness.  The ladies really seemed to enjoy themselves, judging by their smiles, animated talking, and how nearly impossible it was to get them to switch partners after the timer went ding.

I have definitely learned some things. First, groups of women need no entertainment, they're just happy talking.  Second, don't plan more than one or two things. Getting everyone to be quiet and switch gears is a painfully slow process, and they were even surprised at how assertive I became.  Third, don't stress about the fine details, they won't even notice them. This surprised me since I thought women have an appreciation for niceties.

I'm glad I learned this before the next activity. Supposed to be one of the bigger ones of the year. The Relief Society Birthday, for which I must make 130 formal invitations, figure out a sit down dinner (potluck not allowed), and invite the Stake RS President. Ahhh!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

If 40 is warm, then 50 is hot.

This was yesterday, but I think we'll have to go take a Valentine's Day walk.  I'm sure Eli will insist on another triple-decker slide run.

Landscape Photography Class

I love community education.  Take a cheap class, have an excuse to get out of the house.  So my friend Wendy and I signed up together.  I didn't learn much and I realized landscape isn't my thing.  After the two classroom sessions we did two field sessions.  This is why I was there. When else would I say "Brian, I'm driving up into the mountains to take pictures, you've got the kids for a few hours."  Once we got there I realized I was more amazed by the beauty of the small things up close rather than the giant mountains. Thanks to the season it was a real adventure.

First was Little Cottonwood Canyon last week with snow up around my calves.

This past Saturday we went to Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon.  The water flowing under the ice below my feet was my favorite thing.  I loved finding clear patches of ice where the flowing water was visible. Luckily I didn't fall through.  Although the teacher thought it was a good idea to have us take a trail up close to the falls. It proved too difficult and on our way down a lady behind me fell and slipped, and if it wasn't for a couple of leafless bushes to grab onto she would've slipped down the steep mountain to the riverbed.  The last part of the trail proved too steep for all of us and we all just sad down rode the mountain down.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Guess Who's Teetering Around

I would be more sad about my baby growing up, but seeing a 2 ft. tall person walking around is too cute.  She started going more than a couple of steps a week ago.  I cheer for her every time.  I wonder how long she will be walking for before I stop.