Friday, March 27, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things.

This week was a little crazy. John started night float (so he sleeps during the day), and we had something going nearly every day. And sometimes two somethings. Monday was _______ (I'll fill the blank in when my brain starts working again and I remember.) and family night. Tuesday was visiting teaching and sewing group. I volunteered at the school's book fair Wednesday afternoon and then went to a jewelry party (very fun, and such good food, Bobbie) Wednesday evening. Yesterday we had Wives' Club at the park and Enrichment at night (where I was teaching a little class on thriftiness). My kids are incredibly good sports with all the dragging from event to event.
So, my house is a DISASTER, my kids are exhausted, and I want to crash. And when I mentioned last night at Enrichment that I still had to make loads of cinnamon rolls for the PTO's Pancake Breakfast tomorrow (with a look of devastation on my face, I'm sure), Bonnie offered to come over and help me. I was so glad. Because look how fun it is to make cinnamon rolls with friends. And don't they look beautiful? I must confess that when I accepted Bonnie's help in making these delicious treats, I wasn't actually thinking that I would make her do all the work, but that's exactly how it worked out. She got out all the ingredients while I did my dishes. And she mixed up the dough while I straightened and vacuumed my family room. And she rolled out the cinnamon rolls while I checked on the kids. So really, I'll have to direct all thanks from the PTO to Bonnie. Who cares, though? Just looking at these beauties makes me happy!
And look at these other things that make me happy.
I found this pattern on Heather Bailey's website. (I can't link directly to the pattern, but they are called Paper Globes, and the download can be found about halfway down her page on the right side.) They make me feel so springy in my very neutral living room, and after the Easter/Spring season, they will find a new home on a shelf in my girls' room.
And my craft supplies are reorganized. Don't they look cute in their cheap cheap containers of old tin cans and scrapbook paper? I love them. I want to kiss that button jar and that can of paintbrushes. I do projects like crazy when John is gone at night. (Hence the paper topiaries and decoupaged cans above.) I don't sleep well without him in the house, so I have to work until I'm drop-dead exhausted. And this week I really didn't sleep because I had one exciting project so close to completion. Look at this. I found this chair (and its identical twin) at a garage sale last summer for $1. One dollar! However, this picture definitely looks better than the chair actually did. The fabric was BRIGHT kelly green and quite shabby. But not anymore. Drum roll please. Look at her now! This greyish-aqua (what would you call that color?) is much more my style, and I'm quite pleased with how my first reupholstering project has turned out.
I thought I would have to replace all the stuffing inside, but it turns out that the springs and horsehair (yes! Real horsehair!) were in fantastic shape, and the detachable cushion was filled with real down. So it lofted right back up after being given a good shake. The other chair is not quite done. Its cushion needs to be handsewed closed and the button-tufting added. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Aaahhh. There's nothing like a feeling of some good finished work. I love spring.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Seven Months

Bella is 7 months old now, having survived the almost smothering love of two devoted older sisters.

She is now most definitely bigger than Pedro the bear, even though she and he were about the same size when we began these comparison shots.* She is still delightfully, deliriously, charmingly happy most of the time. In fact, she sprouted two teeth on Sunday, and I was completely unaware that this was coming. (This is not the case with my other two children. When they grew teeth, I knew something was going on.) And she has been loving the outdoors, even if she's not that thrilled about actually having physical contact with *GASP* grass. She definitely needs a blanket barrier. Leaves--delicious. Sticks--absolutely mouth-watering. But grass, grass has no redeeming qualities. This is Olivia at seven months, again for the sake of comparison.
And Mimi for the same reason. I think she and Bella are almost identical, except Mimi was blond. And slightly moodier.
* Also, can I point out that my photography skills are getting much better? I mean, I'm still no . . . um . . . who's a famous photographer?, but I have learned a few tricks. My best trick is to hold the camera straight, but most people probably already have that one down. My next best one is to get one of those big sheets of foam core and prop it on the other side of my subject to reflect the window light back. This minimizes the need for a flash and makes the colors much better. Now I just need to learn how to really use Photoshop well.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hiking in Utah

Monticello (do I brag about it enough?) is perfectly located for so many outdoor activities. The mountains are less than half a mile from my parents' house, Canyonlands and Arches National Parks are about a hour away, skiing and sledding and four-wheeling are so very accessible, and, lucky us, John's dad is the king of the wilderness. He knows lots of interesting places to hike and climb, and while we were home, he took us on a day's jaunt to Indian Creek.
The weather was absolutely beautiful. We took jackets, but didn't need them. Bella was perfectly happy in the wrap. ( I love my wrap!)Some rock climbers had set up camp before at this spot. Climbers, apparently, need pull up bars because rock climbing isn't in itself enough exercise? We tested it out for them.I hadn't considered (in Utah--in February) the need for sun protection. Poor Bella's head was woefully exposed. Luckily for her, Grandpa Larry has everything in the pockets of his cargo pants, and he was prepared with a child-size safari hat. She actually kept it on, too, which was quite the surprise.We crossed the Creek; Mimi fell in. She didn't throw a fit, though, which is a testament to the excitement of the day.
Bella was fascinated by Grandpa's beard. (You mean, people come in fuzzy versions? Why didn't anyone tell me this earlier?)
Mimi toted her water bottle up and down the rocks, sipping with great frequency.
I discovered I was more agile than I thought, scampering down this hill with my center of gravity all wonkified by the baby I was wearing. (Interestingly, considering my lack of grace last summer, it appears a 4-pound baby in utero affects my balance much more than a 14-pound 6-month old. Someone should do a scientific study. )
I think this is how Olivia pictures heaven now. Hills full of rocks to clamber around.
Mimi has no bum, a classic Nielson (my mom's family) trait. This is actually not much of a problem when she is wearing dresses, her preferred fashion statement. However, jeans are really designed to be held up primarily by, you guessed it, the bum. After she flashed us all a charming plumber's smile several times, Grandpa Wells decided something had to be done. Enter: the parachute-cord suspender. (Once again, supplied by his bottomless pockets.)
Mimi models it so beautifully. I think it will soon be all the rage among the preschool set.
And the sun, the sun really is amazing. My Vitamin D requirements for the entire winter were filled in that one day's hike.

Friday, March 6, 2009


Yesterday, as we were driving home from the grocery store, the weatherman said, "And tomorrow it will be cloudy and warmer." I was not aware that Olivia was paying attention, but she piped up from the back bench, "Cloudy and warmer? It will be cloudy and warmer?"
This morning, as soon as she woke up, Olivia ran downstairs and opened the front door. After satisfying herself that the weather was as predicted, she shut the door and came back in. "He was right," she said, in an astonished voice, "Barack Obama was right. It IS cloudy and warmer."
Funny girl.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Top Ten From Utah

I'll have to add pictures later, but here are the top ten from our recent expedition to Utah.
In order of their appearance in my head. . .

10. The mountains. Ohh--the mountains. I love the green, green trees and expansive fields of the Midwest, but when you grow up with mountains, how can anything else compare?

9. A talk given by R. L. Wilcox my first Sunday home. Maybe the best combination of clear doctrine, sweet kindness, fun story, and side-splitting humor I've ever heard in a sacrament meeting address. (I need to tell the story later. It starts with a crazy old hermit in an overheating old truck and ends with some gnats stuck in Preparation H. Best. Story. Ever.)

8. Meeting my brother Mike's delightful wife Kelly for the second time. She is gracious, hospitable, and game to do anything. Good choice, Mike. You did your family proud.

7. Seeing my brother Pete for the first time in over two years. He is taller, nicer, and, if possible, even skinnier than when he left. He is also worriesomely (is that a word?) righteous. Mike and Dave, I expect you to work on that.

6. The Draper Temple Open House. So beautiful and peaceful. Bella took the opportunity, while everyone was being especially reverent in the celestial room, to express her very loud delight at the experience.

5. Watching the BYU women's basketball team, even if they did lose to the University of Utah. My cousin Mindy plays for BYU, and she is lightning quick and incredibly coordinated. I've decided that every family has a quota of athletic ability, and I must have agreed before birth to allow my portion to go to Mindy. (Well, probably my portion and the portion of all my children and future children--she's that good.) So, I'm going to claim a little credit for her fantasticness.

4. Hiking through the desert near Indian Creek, north of Monticello, with John's dad and older brother. You should have seen my girls and their delight at the endless expanse of red rock to climb, red pebbles to throw in the water, and red sand to stomp in. It reignited my love of the area.

3. The "Princess and the Pea" party my mother-in-law threw for my girls. She has an enormous bed in one of the guest rooms, and the girls were tested to see if they were true princesses. Beginning with a very princesslike enormous bubble bath and ending in a removal of the peas from under the mattress because they were so intrusive, it was a fantastic experience indeed.

2. Watching three of my brothers play intramural football on the fields west of the RB. Sure, I felt ancient, among all those singles and newlyweds. But it was so exciting to see the team they've put together and hear the much-vaunted trash talk.

1. Having my kids, my husband, my siblings, my parents, and my in-laws all in one place. It's lovely to be with people who love my girls. Where I never feel like a burden when I troop in with my tired and noisy entourage.

It was wonderful.