Kids always have a way with words. It’s the combination of tone, expression, and word choice that make their phrases awesome. I have been trying to keep track of sweet things that have escaped my children’s lips over the past few months. I never want to forget their sweet words and thoughts.

Hula Girl’s teacher is of the same mindset. She loves listening to and reporting the words of the students in her care. She delights in them as much as their parents do! Here is a portion of a recent email I received from her:

[Hula Girl] said the cutest thing yesterday, and I actually wrote it down to tell you!  The last word on the spelling pre-assessment was “spoil.”  I used this sentence, “When you go to Grandma’s house, she will spoil you with treats, candy, presents, and staying up late.”  As I walked past [Hula Girl] she looked up at me with the happiest face and said, “Boy, does she EVER!”  It was precious!

Monkey Man has his fair share of intriguing things to say as well. Most of the time, he is quite imaginative and he tries his hardest to impress people.

A couple weekends ago, our town held a fall festival. (By the way, living in a small town that celebrates EVERYTHING is awesome. Downtown streets have been closed down at least three weekends in the past couple months for festivities. That might sound annoying, but there are easy ways around the closures. It’s so much fun to be here and be part of a town that is so focused on families and fun!) We attended the festival in the afternoon once Sugar Plum woke from her final nap of the day. We walked through the booths and roamed through a couple stores downtown. We decided to go to the coffee shop for dinner. We ordered some sandwiches and things and while we were eating, a local band came in and began setting up for an evening performance.

The band was made up of members who have adult children. They had banjos, violins, drums, guitars and keyboards. It was interesting to watch them set up and unpack their instruments; Monkey Man was especially interested in the process of tuning instruments. He was watching the woman with the violin with such interest that she invited him up to watch more closely. She asked him if he liked violins, and he said, “Yes! I am good at playing the violin!” She looked at me as if to ask if this was true. I shrugged. I asked him, “Where did you learn to play?” He said he had learned at school. “I’m the best violin player in my class!”

Ok, first of all, he was only in school for a grand total of 6 days. I’m certain he did not learn to play violin. But perhaps there was an instrument station in his classroom?

The woman then showed him how she tunes the violin and how she plays different notes. He was absolutely enthralled. So much so that her husband came over and said that if they can find their child-sized violin, he will give it to us so Monkey Man can learn to play for real. I think we will be enrolling him in violin lessons soon!

Both kids are very interested in art right now.

Hula Girl gave this paper to me and Jonathan last night. Each side is a different type of sunset.

Monkey Man created this picture for his self portrait for our schoolwork at home. It is him in the sky with a rainbow and clouds; the figures on the ground are looking up at the clouds and finding pictures.


Garden: 2013- Front Yard Transformation


We are pleased to announce that we are almost ready to plant some seeds and get underway!

Jonathan spent the majority of last weekend hauling rocks. (Why is it that our gardening ventures ALWAYS involve clearing huge amounts of 1″ granite?) We now have double the garden space we had last year, and the front of the house looks somewhat finished. I’ll address the front in this post and get to the garden deets in another one soon.

We live in a rented house. (We are debt-free and intend to stay that way. We will be living here- in this city- for about 3 more years, but after that we aren’t sure we want to stay here. So we rent. No need to buy a house only to have to turn around and try to sell it again.) The street we live in bends right after our house, and the lot across from ours and right next to ours (the “elbow pit” and the “funny bone” part of the road) are vacant. Since we live in deserty-prairie-wilderness, there are a lot of tumbleweeds, prairie grasses, cacti, and dirt all around. Nothing pretty. And that was our entire front yard, except for the little split-rail fence that surrounds part of the area, along with a spruce tree and two bushes that are pretty darn ugly (and dying). We have a brick patio with a rose bush and a cement walkway with a little planter next to the house. The planter has a miniature rose bush and two baby holly bushes surrounded by brown mulch. Beyond that, the front yard was horrifyingly ugly.

And the pokies! Since, like, nothing normal or lovely grows out there, we were overjoyed to find some pretty yellow flowers sprouting last summer. Let me tell you, the flowers are deceptive as all get-out. We let them proliferate because we thought they were mild and pretty and we were excited to have something other than brown foot-high grass to look at while we pushed Hula Girl on the swing. Big mistake. Have you ever seen those burrs called goat heads? Check these things out. Make sure you scroll down to see what they look like when they get all dry and stick into your shoes. We always remove our shoes when we come inside, but not all our guests do. And that is what sticks our toddler’s heels on a regular basis. Nice, huh?

All that to say, Jonathan moved a lot of rocks. He took the rocks out of the back yard and covered all that deserty-prairie-wilderness area that is designated by the shoddy old split-rail almost-fence. He put underlayment in a few areas, but we’re mostly going to just have to get out there and pull all the weeds every other day or so. That’s fine. I plan to spend my entire life outside this summer. No joke.

So our front yard looks really nice. Jonathan edged the mini granite chunks with large white sandstone-type rocks that are just laying all around in the field next to our house. He also made a giant obstacle out of some old driftwood in the area that the neighborhood boys like to run through (it’s SO annoying when they run down our walkway and under our patio area during Hula Girl’s nap and wake her up because they’re squirting their water guns at each other right under her crib- like, seriously, kids? Didn’t your moms ever teach you to stay out of your neighbors’ yards and front entryways?!!?). We actually kept one large rectangle open and surrounded that area with tulip and daffodil bulbs, which are now pushing up. We plan to grow mint there; we’re also going to throw down some wildflower mix. It will be pretty- wild crazy mint and wildflowers. Yeah!

The front yard care this summer will include:

  • pulling weeds in the rock area
  • watering the mint/wildflower area
  • re-mulching and adding compost to the rose and holly bushes
  • watering the aforementioned bushes
  • trimming and/or replacing the terribly ugly evergreen bushes that are half-dead
  • watering aforementioned bushes
  • cleaning all the trash out from under the spruce tree (we live in the windiest part of the world, and ALL the neighborhood trash cans empty themselves into our yard every trash day)
  • trimming the tree
  • watering the tree
  • tending the garden box that lives out front- preparing the soil, planting, mulching, watering, weeding, etc.

We are going to have SO much fun. 🙂 (And I’m not joking!)

Huzzah for the State!

Once upon a time, there was a handsome young lad named Jonathan. He dreamed of becoming a therapist so he could make a small difference in this hurting world. Young Jonathan had a little wifey, who worked hard as a teacher. Neither Jonathan nor his wife had a lot of money; they lived a very small life so they could stay out of debt as much as possible. In fact, due to all their scrimping and careful planning, they were able to pay off his wife’s student loans during their first two years of marriage, on a teacher’s salary and Starbucks hourly wages.

Jonathan decided to pursue his dream by attending Denver Seminary and earning his master’s degree. In order to do so, he set out to borrow quite a bit more money. Two years later, he graduated. It was just after the birth of their baby girl, so Jonathan quickly found a job where he could use his degree and support his family on just one salary. His wife’s dream of being a stay-at-home-mom came true.

However, due to his relatively small salary and their relatively large student loans, Jonathan and his little family continued to live small. They drove old cars, they didn’t buy new clothes, they never splurged on anything. Jonathan and his wife cut their own hair and learned to live on $80 per week for groceries. Mind you, they did not really mind this lifestyle- simplicity suited them. How much more enjoyable their lives had become because they were able to focus on the things they truly loved- reading, spending time together, gardening, and so forth. Every little “extra” seemed like a big deal to them and they were able to enjoy small gifts that much more. They were not in want.

Then one day Jonathan learned about a special program run through the government of his state. He learned that he worked in an under-served area, and that he was eligible to apply for a student loan repayment program which would possibly pay off all his student loans given he agreed to work in an under-served area for three years. He applied and he and his wife waited and prayed and asked their family and friends for prayers as well.

And then on December 7, 2012, the 4-month mark in their son’s little life, they learned that Jonathan’s student loans will be paid in their entirety by the state government program. Jonathan and his wife have that entire chunk of change that they have been putting into loan repayment every month to spend elsewhere. Effective immediately. And all the people in the household rejoiced, singing, “Huzzah! Huzzah for the State!”

We’re gonna start looking for a new car this weekend.

Don’t worry, we’re not rushing into things with the car. We’re not absolutely desperate, but if you looked at the cars we do own, you might think we kind of are. But we know what we’re looking for, and a ballpark figure of what we want to spend. We’ve been planning since, oh, June or so, so we’ve done a little bit of research. Now the fun begins!

If you know of anyone looking to get rid of a 2011 or newer Toyota Highlander, or you know where to get a good deal on one, please let me know. 🙂

Things are “Falling” into Place

This weekend was great! I feel like I’m nesting. I didn’t do any nesting when I was pregnant with Gelato, so I guess now’s as good a time as any. Better, in fact! It’s fall, for one, and therefore I can light my pumpkin spice candle and bask in the scent of autumn goodies all day long without feeling like it’s forced. And I feel better than ever since Gelato was born, so I will be able to actually keep up the tidiness, cleanliness, and accomplished-ness.

Here’s what I did this weekend: got all the laundry done; deep cleaned the whole house; took Hula Girl on a “girls’ shopping adventure” (gotta get those groceries!); got Gelato kind of on schedule again; read a lot of a new book from the library; watched Dance Moms, America’s Next Top Model, and Project Runway (what can I say? I like quality entertainment); and went with Jonathan to get the car. Woohoo! The only thing missing was that I did not get to do Hula Girl’s curtains. I have been wanting to sew her actual curtains to the blackout liners that are currently hanging in her room (yep, we’ve lived here over a year- I really need to get on this!), but I didn’t feel like busting out the ol’ machine. Guess that will have to be a later-this-week-or-maybe-next-month project.

This week we’re having several different dishes for dinner. Different in our house means anything that’s not been frozen for a month. So, no lasagna, no casseroles, no macaroni and cheese. Okay, we are having mac’n’cheese next Sunday night… but it’s comfort food! Anyway, some of the things on this week’s menu include turkey chili, creamy chicken penne, and manicotti. Of course, I won’t be able to actually eat any of these dishes… but at least Jonathan and Hula Girl will appreciate the change.

It dawned on me today as I was nursing Gelato that I haven’t wistfully thought back to the days of having only one child in a while. Having two kids is my new norm, and it feels pretty darn normal! We’ve made it through almost seven weeks now, and Hula Girl is starting to show signs that she’s not going to be messed up for life by the addition of a brother. Gelato is starting to show signs that he might actually sleep through a nap again someday, and maybe even continue to stretch out his nights! Jonathan is starting to show signs that he’s learning to balance work/family/gym (let’s hope he gets to go to the gym more than a couple times this week, for his sake). And I’m feeling just pretty optimistic about our little family’s future. As hard as it has been to add a second child to our family, I have been much more able to just enjoy him than I was with Hula Girl. A short nap or a quirky schedule doesn’t send me into a tailspin the way it did with her. Let’s be honest here- of course these things bother me, but I am much better equipped to just let it go and try again the next time. I have seen evidence that one faulty day is not going to ruin every part of my child’s future. 🙂

I think this weekend was just really good for me psychologically. I feel caught up. I feel organized(ish). I feel like I’ve struck on a healthy balance of control and go-with-the-flow. And now I have some extra time to plan fun activities with Hula Girl, my in-laws’ visit and the festivities surrounding that, and my Christmas decor. Yes, I like to plan my Christmas decor months in advance. I will be making a lot of new decorations this year. I had planned them for last year but was too sick with morning sickness to follow through.

YEE-HAW! Jonathan just brought in another box of fall decorations. I gotta go.

Surgery Week Update- Weekend Prior

So I was typing this surgery week update and I hadn’t split the days, but then I realized I was giving a ton of details. I copied the words to a word document, and lo and behold, I had five pages written. I figured that would be a long post, so I have split it up into days. Here’s the weekend- Saturday and Sunday.

 I’ve been absent because Hula Girl has a surgery coming up this Friday and I had a lot to do to get prepared. It really seems like the whole build-up to the surgery has been quite hectic and involved, but that the following days will be much more relaxed. I just pray it goes that way, anyway.

Let’s see, the weekend was spent doing family things. Jonathan and I took Hula Girl to the playground on Saturday morning. It was really warm all weekend (in the upper 80s), so it was fun to get outside and enjoy the weather. Hula Girl stuck to swinging the majority of the time, but she did (reluctantly) join her Daddy on the slide a couple of times.

On Sunday, I went grocery shopping while Jonathan took Hula Girl to the Y, where she indulged in some of her favorite “Pirate Pool” action. She even got brave enough to lie down in the water and “float” on her back a bit. Of course she’s just the cutest thing ever in her little bikini. She’s getting skinnier and skinnier, but taller and taller. She still has a bit of chunk on her thighs, but her massive head on top of her relatively trim trunk is just so adorable to behold. I even showed Jonathan how to roll her *swim diaper down so that it doesn’t poke out of her bikini bottoms- a much better fashion choice, if you ask me.

*Hula Girl is amazingly potty trained, to the point where she doesn’t even let it out while swimming. I know this because she is still in the “tell Mommy every time I am going pee-pee” phase. She always goes on the “big potty” at the Y right after swimming, and she definitely holds a LOT in while she swims. The only reason she wears a swim diaper is that they’re required until the child is two. Can’t wait for June!

Anyway, while Hula Girl napped on Saturday and Sunday, Jonathan got some major work done out in the yard. He cleared enough rocks to make ample room for our garden and lawn. It took him a total of six hours to clear all the rocks, and yes, he got blisters. I observed with an umbrella over my head and a water bottle in my hand. Pregnancy has its benefits. 😉

I also spent some time packing on Sunday to prepare for our week at Grammy and Grampy’s house. My one complaint: I don’t have enough maternity clothes. I literally had to pack dirty clothes and do a load of laundry as soon as we arrived because we didn’t have time to do it over the weekend. Nice.

Wednesday Green

Well, hello friendly readers!

Today, Hula Girl and I made the drive up to my parents’ house, where we will be stationed until Sunday. Jonathan has a job interview today, tomorrow, and Friday, so we’ll see how things go for him. He’ll be joining us tomorrow night. We’re also looking forward to being joined by my uncle, who’s never left his home state except to go on his honeymoon… we’re very excited to see him.

The title of this post is inspired by the lovely chipper green in my mom’s kitchen- it looks great! She and my dad finished putting up the wainscoting and the trim, and it’s so much brighter in here now. It really looks good. Yay for green!

I’m feeling a bit better- I think I will manage to survive this sickness. As long as I keep getting my rest and don’t overdo it.

Hula Girl, on the other hand, is not doing well. She’s been down for her nap for 45 minutes and is still screaming. I checked on her and she hadn’t thrown her blankie out or anything. I sang her song to her, put her down, and told her to go to sleep. She isn’t obeying. Early bedtime tonight. Sigh.

More tomorrow.

Goin’ to the Chapel

Well, wedding weekend is over. And boy oh boy, was it fun. My dear friend married the love of her life, to the accompaniment of sniffles and laughter. Wonderful.

The flower girl was probably the most adorable little one around, aside from Hula Girl, of course. Being only four and a half has its issues. First of all, when your pomander is way heavy, you can’t really hold it for the entire ceremony. Her solution? Hand it to me. But then she had nothing to hold. So she took my flowers. Nice trade. Well played, little cutie!

The bride was, of course, the most beautiful person who has ever walked that aisle. For real, she has always been a knockout, but there is just something so stunning about a bride in ivory, hair all curled, and rainbow light streaming in from the stained glass. She was seriously a vision to behold. I so wish that light had been in the actual chapel, so her now-husband could have seen her all glowing. I am so glad the photographer was there to catch that moment.

The wedding went off with only a slight hitch- no one had lifted the wick of the unity candle, so the bride and groom spent about 3 minutes trying desperately to light it, and nearly losing their own candles’ flames in the meantime, before the groom braved the hot melted wax to lift the string. It provided a very welcome moment of comedic relief as the bride had previously reduced the entire bridal party to sniffles as she choked out her vows. It was beautiful.

The reception was a very fun event! Loud music aside, good friends, good food, and good humor all around made the whole evening quite enjoyable. Jonathan even launched himself into his old-trademark backflip. Fortune was with him, since he hasn’t attempted one in over a year, and he was able to find the ground in time to save himself from a bloody head and a ride in an ambulance. Barely.

<sigh of exasperation relief  from much more mature wife>

Hula Girl attended the ceremony itself and part of the reception with my mom. Then, she went home with her Grammy, who put her to bed. It was a very successful bedtime, too, which shows that months and months of following the exact same routines really does pay off!

Garden updates to come. Much to do today!




I’m not ready

Yesterday I mentioned that I have a few more thoughts on this topic. However, I’m not fully prepared to share those thoughts at the moment, so I’ll postpone that post for a few days.

Not a lot is happening in life right now. I started planting all the seeds in our garden yesterday and planned to finish this morning but God had other plans and it has been raining pretty much nonstop today. I refuse to go plant seeds in the rain.

My friend’s wedding is on Sunday, and we’re going to have a busy weekend! It should be a blast! I’ll be the Matron of Honor (yes, MATRON, as if I’m soooo old), and I finished writing my speech yesterday. I think it will impress the crowd. Because, you know, it will be all about me that day.

I am working on ideas for my hair for that day. I’m not really concerned about my makeup. Pretty much if I even put on makeup (don’t worry friend, I will wear makeup to your wedding!) it will be an improvement on the norm. I might research some ideas just in case. I don’t really follow makeup trends, ya know?

The rain has made it quite a dreary, tiring day. I think I’m going to attempt a nap this afternoon, depending on how long Hula Girl’s nap goes. I still have to make dinner first, so we’ll see.

More thoughts later. And if you know of a good makeup or hair site, let me know. I’m also adding links to my friends’ blogs on my blogroll, so if you have one that I don’t know about, please let me know!

Inspiration at Last

I found the fabric I’ll be using for our chair pads in the kitchen! I am so so so excited!!! Check it out:

I cannot wait to begin this project.

I’ve decided to do the table and chair paint color a teensy tiny so you can barely tell off-white. This decision was made because I took a look at Meme’s china today, for a refresher, and it’s very white, with a gold edge. I think it will look better on a creamier table.

The chairs will be the same creamy white with the fabric above. The pattern is actually quite large, with about 3″ of white space between the vines. It’s actually a king-sized sheet and came with a king-sized pillowcase, so I will have enough to do all of the chairs plus some buntings. The bunting will go in my antique window. Here’s what the window currently looks like:

So, instead of the ribbon with the handkerchiefs, I’ll have bunting in there. I am also going to add some fabric roses and pearls to the shutters. The wall color I can’t change, unfortunately. Gotta love renting. But When we own our own home… 🙂

We’re going to be at my parents’ house this weekend, so no blog updates. See ya Monday!

What to Wear?

Okay, for those of you who know me in person, and know that my personal wardrobe consists of things which are “comfortable and slightly in style” and “ultra-comfortable and has never been in style because it looks so horrendous,” this post will not come as a surprise. For those of you who were operating under the theory that I am a fashionista, I sincerely apologize right now for bursting your bubble.

The fact of the matter is, my friend’s bachelorette party is this weekend, Saturday night, to be exact, and I don’t have a clue what to wear. I emailed another bridesmaid, and she gave me some ideas, but when I go shopping tomorrow afternoon, I will be flying almost completely blind. This terrifies me, but since I do love shopping, I think it will be okay.

We’re going dancing. Um, as a side note, I have no rhythm. Period. Back on topic- we’re going dancing Saturday night, and I’ve never been dancing. Yes, I made it through four and a half years of college in San Diego and never once went dancing. Not even salsa dancing, which was all the rage in my days.

Another blip on the radar (quite literally) is that there will be some not-so-wonderful weather heading our way this weekend. So an LBD is somewhat out of the question, unless sweatpants are an acceptable alternative to bare-legging it these days.

Sigh. What to wear? I suppose I’ll be spending some of Hula Girl’s nap time googling. Any suggestions?

My perfect outfit:

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