29 November 2008

Date Night

Yesterday was a fun day. I oddly woke up at 6:30 am with the feeling that I needed to go shopping. I laid in bed for 20 minutes contemplating the intricacies of getting up and going to Kohl's. Reason did not win, so I found myself at the store. I was not looking for anything in particular, mostly to observe the other crazy shoppers. I did find a cute pair of snow boots for Amelia but did not want to stand in the 45 min long check out line. So, I hid the boots under a stack of plus size jeans. LOL...

Later on De-bo came over to watch Amelia while Justin and I went to see Quantum of Solace. It was a pretty good flick if you like action, shooting guns, martial arts, and poor plot. One fact you may not know about me is that I LOVE Kung Fu movies, especially Jackie Chan. My favorite Kung Fu movie is Iron Monkey. It is so funny. After the movie we had some dinner at Chadder's. Pretty much it is like the Costa Vida of the Cafe Rio fame...but a knock-off of In-&-Out. The bun was soggy but the fries were oh, so good. Amelia had a great time with Auntie De-bo. She asked for her all this morning. After she went to bed I snuck in some time to finish two shirts for Amelia. For the Penguin one, I thought it needed something else so I added the "I heart"...much better. At Walmart last week I found a pair of white tights with pink snowflakes...so I made a contrasting shirt. Now for a skirt to match! Maybe next week.

Justin is in the DOGHOUSE for not communicating with me. He notified me last night that he is taking a trip to LA on Monday. I made him spell c-o-m-m-u-n-i-c-a-t-i-o-n- to me a couple of times. He forgets to tell me a lot of stuff about his family and what goes on at work. I could do better at eliciting information but he could also make the initiative to tell me. Little booger snot pants.


27 November 2008

Happy Turkey Day!!

Yippe! I love Thanksgiving! This morning I made 1 hour yeast rolls and finished the cranberry salad. We are off to eat loads of good food at Ken and Charity's home. Amelia is wearing her turkey shirt and skirt. So cute. We are enjoying the Macy's Day Parade in the background. Amelia was estatic to see Elmo make an appearance. Charity cooked a yummy turkey and Melissa helped cook mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, stuffing, and corn. The kids watched Wall-e while dinner cooked. After stuffing ourselves we went outside to enjoy some fresh air. Someone got out a lot of balls and two frisbees. Amelia looked so funny with her turkey skirt, boots, blue jacket, and pink hat. Melissa outdid herself making six pies. What a great day to count blessings:

10 things I am grateful for:
1. My family, Justin and Amelia. The best spouse and cutest daughter ever.
2. My extended family
3. Knowledge of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, the testimony that burns in my heart
4. Religious freedom
5. Sacrifice of the pilgrims and early settlers that colonized and brought forth this great nation
6. Modern amenities
7. Restoration of the gospel
8. Temple work, especially our eternal family
9. Yummy food
10. Our rich and full life here in America

Night of Shirts


He, he! Last night was so fun. Catherine came over to make appliqued shirts with me. She brought a butt load of cute fabric, iron, board, and sewing machine. We played from 6 pm until after 10:30 at night. Justin sort of corralled Amelia for us. He left on an emergency printer toner run but was back in a jiffy. He amused us by playing DJ with all sorts of 80's and 90's music. Amelia danced her cute little dances and had a blast with my button collection. We made some really cute stuff: a "drama llama" shirt, a snowman, two ornament shirts, a penguin, ribbon lettered pants (said cutie patootie), and a skirt. It was a really productive evening. The best was chatting with Justin and Catherine while our imaginations ran amok. I am all ready to make this evening a weekly repeat.

Cooking up a Storm with Kelsey Nixon

Tuesday evening we had Enrichment at Mindy's home. One of the ladies in my ward is related to Kelsey Nixon, who competed on "Next Food Network Star" last season. She was the fourth runner up! Kelsey shared three yummy recipes for Thanksgiving Dessert. You can find some of her recipes if you click here! I ended up taking Amelia with me because Justin had to be at the church and she is ultra crabby (no naps will do that to you...duh). She spent the whole time climbing up and down the stairs playing with her binky, she'd throw it down the stairs, climb down to get it, suck it on the way up, then repeat. Very entertaining. All the ladies sampled each dessert. They were yummy!! My favorite was a cranberry salad. Kelsey is so, so cute and fun. She kept us entertained and told lots of fun stories. Her family eats this cranberry salad in substitute of cranberry sauce. She said they partially freeze it in a 9x13 pan then cut it into small squares and eat together with hot turkey. Sounds delish!

Cranberry Salad

3 cups of whole cranberries
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/3 cup miniature marshmallows
1 8.5 oz can of crushed pineapple
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp of vanilla
1 pomegranate, seeded

Chop cranberries in food processor, add sugar and chill at least 2 hours. Add marshmallows and pineapple. Set aside.
Whip cream, adding sugar and vanilla to sweeten. Fold into cranberry mixture. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.

24 November 2008

Dilemma

Last night at 3:30 am I finally dissolved into tears. Amelia has never been a great sleeper. She goes through cycles of repeated night awakenings, followed by weeks of solid night sleeping. Some nights she will wake up as often as 10 times others none at all. I found myself guzzling Coke Zero and Diet Coke to keep awake. Ever since we returned home from Jordan she decided napping is not for her. For the first week I let her cry for 2 hours in her crib. The second week I took naps with her in our bed. The third week she decided that sleeping in her bed at all was not for her and naps only if mom physically held her.

I am TIRED. Amelia needs to nap. I need mommy time. I've run out of ideas on how to teach my little girl how to sleep. We've tried everything from schedules, to crying it out, to complete surrender (sleeping with us). Nothing is working. Gosh, my eyes are tearing up as we speak with frustration. She is so crabby now it is very difficult to make it through the day. Partly, she is sick (but the meds should be working); partly we may not try one system long enough; partly I am human. I hate to hear her scream: "Mommy I want you" at any time of the day. We've let her "scream it out" for a month of Sundays, it works until something else comes along. I would never pray a sleep-whacked child on anyone. Whenever I think about the prospect of adding more kids to the mix I shudder. That makes me feel even worse! Of course we want more kids, but my body screams for some rest first. What a predicament!

Playing with Sarah and Bridger


This morning Amelia and I drove down to Lehi to drop off a photography CD to the family from last week's session. We orchestrated a drop-off at the Maverick off I-15 near Thanksgiving Point. Then we drove to Sarah's home to visit with her for the morning. Sarah showed me some of the wicked cute outfits she's collected for little Kenna, who will be born in about a month. I was so excited to give her a fun onesie and hat. Sarah LOVES bright colors so I tried to find some fun fabric and yarn to make a cute little outfit. Bridger and Amelia were having a hard time sharing and playing together. Bridger is 3 and loves things to be a certain way...so does Amelia! It was almost humorous. Amelia conked her head just as we headed out the door to shop at Target and grab some lunch. She wailed and cried for the 30 minutes it took us to get to Daybreak. I even had to stop off on the side of the road because Amelia started to gag she was crying so hard. A kind gentleman stopped his car to make sure we were okay, saying he was an EMT from Camp Williams. I calmed her down a bit and stuck her back in the car seat and resumed our drive. She resumed crying with gusto. I was crying by the time we got to our destination. She brightened up a bit during lunch at Chic-fil-a. I guess she got whatever angst she had out of her little system because she was pretty happy during a short trip to Target. I was delighted to find a green puffy coat like the one I have for her! I love shopping with Sarah. We could not put down all the cute GIRLY clothes for babies. If I had a million dollars! A lady completely fainted in front of us at the check out line. Everyone was pretty panicked to get her back on her feet. I felt like fainting too, but from exhaustion. Amelia napped most of the way home. Little booger...naps are necessary for little 18-month old bodies.

This evening we had fun playing with Lego's. She is interested in making towers now and watching them fall. Justin and I conducted a FHE on the Word of Wisdom, somehow incorporating the topic of managing our health care benefits. It is that time of year to determine how much goes in a cafeteria plan, what health plan to choose, and what benefits to continue. It worked somehow! Our activity was dancing in the kitchen and eating more yummy cookies. Amelia fell into bed asleep before her head hit the pillow.

Makin' Cookies


Yesterday evening Amelia and I set out to make the best chocolate chip cookies ever. Jana made them a couple weeks ago and I've craved them ever since. Funny thing, since I customarily dislike chocolate cookies of any type. Weird, I know! The cookies taste like soft gooey boutique cookies. Yum. Once I had all the cookies on the sheet to cook, Amelia snatched the one made for me (sans chocolate, only butterscotch chips) and munched half of it before I noticed. Little cookie thief. She really enjoyed sucking the beaters and helping me mix the dough.

Here is the recipe:

The New Best Recipe (America Test Kitchen)

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 Cups plus 2 TBS of Flour
½ Tsp baking soda
½ Tsp salt
12 Tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled until just warm
1 Cup packed brown sugar
½ Cup white sugar
1 Large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
2 Tsp vanilla extract
1-1½ Cups of semisweet chocolate chips

1. Adjust oven rack to middle and heat oven to 325 degrees, line baking trays with parchment paper (or spray with nonstick spray)
2. Mix flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl
3. Mix warm butter and sugars until blended, beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just incorporated. Stir in chips to taste.
4. Roll a scant ¼ cup of dough in ball, divide ball in half and recombine the smooth edges leaving the outer side of the dough ball rough (this was totally unnecessary, but I did it).
5. Bake 15-18 minutes, rotating trays half way through baking.

22 November 2008

Cheese with that Whine?

Tired of Staying Home ALL Day


I was going a bit stir crazy because we aren't supposed to go anywhere do to Amelia having Hand, Foot, & Mouth Disease. I crocheted a cute brown hat for Amelia, edited about 200 photos, and finished this appliqued shirt for my little Amelia. Fun times!

21 November 2008

Amelia's Dancing Moves

Double Whammy

Amelia did not sleep well last night. She kept digging in her ears and seemed to be unable to lie prone due to pain. Just as expected she ended up having two ear infections. The doctor threw a curve ball when she told me Amelia also had Hand-Foot-Mouth disease, contracted through some one's infected saliva or mucus. Due to incubation period she probably contracted it during Nursery on Sunday. I was really worried about the other kids we came in contact with throughout the week, especially little Lia and Amelia's friend Kate. I am not sure she actually has the HFM disease since she never ran a fever or exhibited a rash, the only sign were sores on the back of her mouth. At least that explained her reluctance to eat or drink the past two days. Poor thing! Still she is a pretty happy camper during the day.

One more thing: Amelia learned to twirl! How fun is that?

Yesterday Amelia and I went to Charity's home to photograph both her preschool classes, a total of 13 kids. Amelia had a blast during singing time and playing with all the toys and bigger kids. She kept checking to make sure I was around! I love how each child has a completely different personality. Fun times.

Amelia's New Toy

Pushing the stroller

Pointing to the SKY!

Going to the park with Mommy and our strollers


Yesterday I found a little dolly stroller for Amelia at Kid to Kid. She immediately wrapped up her Mimi in a blanket and stuffed her into the stroller. She was so funny pushing that stroller around with a string of beads around her neck. Every few steps she'd stop run around to the front of the stroller and give Mimi a kiss. At while later she noticed the sky and clouds so threw up both hands and pointed out the clouds, yelling "da sky, mommy!" One of our daily highlights is walking to the mailbox to get the mail. She holds the key and walks down the sidewalk chuckling to herself. This time she put the key in Mimi's hand when we walked to the mailbox. We kept walking to the park to play on the swings. Our little girl is so amazing!

20 November 2008

Amelia's New Words

It seems Amelia's vocabulary is exploding. Within the last month these are a few of the words and phrases she commonly uses in a day.

I want you, Hold you, Want more, Pill it up (fill it up), I do it, Oh man, No way

Apple, Pagetti (spaghetti), Nack (snack), Grape, Water, Cereal

Mail, 'Toller (stroller), Anket (blanket), Bath, Coat/-aket (jacket), Spoon, Fork, Hat, Socks, Teeth, Toes, Nose, Eyes, Cheek, Hair, Key, Car, Sun, Cloud, Moon, Star, Flower, Grass, Stair, Chair

Nigh-nigh, Go bye-bye, Pretty, Cute

She makes cute animal sounds (cow, chicken, rooster, dog, cat, monkey, rabbit, fish, snake, turtle, donkey, pig, goat, sheep, etc)

Can count to five and knows half the alphabet; she will repeat words when I read her books.
Her favorite books are Mr Brown Can Moo, Goodnight Moon, Moo Baa La La La (most Sandra
Boynton books), and any DK Peek a boo books

19 November 2008

Crafty wind blows through West Valley

I've really enjoyed crafting after a 5 week break. Miekka charged me with the task (to my pleasure) of making her a Hooter Hider. I made two yesterday and appliqued three shirts for Lia she found at the DI. I invited my neighbor, Natalie Larson, over because she wanted to learn how to make both a Hooter Hider and an appliqued tee. She is expecting a girl in February! Amelia was our big little helper, sitting on my lap, helping cut, measure, and iron fabric. It took a lot longer than usual but we persevered! I hope Natalie learned something through all the chaos!
My good friend Catherine watched Amelia later yesterday afternoon while I went to shoot an outdoor session with a family of 5 kids. Catherine said Amelia was really good. I sure appreciate the Taylors for watching her. The session went really well. The kids took several candy or treat breaks to capture their attention. I love shooting outside! We were all pretty cold by the time the shoot ended. Amelia was glad to see me, and I her! She helped me make her favorite food, spaghetti and peas. After dinner she danced in the living room much to our amusement.


16 November 2008

Oh, so CUTE


Amelia looked so cute this morning for church and Turkey Day. Thanks to Aunt Miekka for finding her adorable boots at the DI! She insisted on wearing her Mimi backpack to church. I just want to sweep her up and gobble her little tickles!!

Lia Marie!!

14 November 2008

Lia Marie Lance


Yipee! James and Miekka welcomed their new daughter at 4:59 pm yesterday. She weighed 7 bls even and measured 19.5 inches long. I heard her mewling like a little kitty over the phone yesterday. I can't wait to see her. She looks quite a bit like Jacob!!

12 November 2008

The Falafel Excursion

Here is a run-down of our trip to Jerusalem. I have a complete 7-page saga if you really want to read about everything (well, almost) that we experienced. I would be happy to email out my complete diatribe to anyone interested!! LOL

Day 1:
~Crossed the border, took about 2 hours using the Allenby Bridge. Took a taxi from the bridge to Jerusalem, $100
~Visited the Israel Museum, the main exhibit was closed. Saw the impressive model of Old Jerusalem during Second Temple Period and the Dead Sea Scrolls ~Visited the Bible Lands Museum. There were a lot of ancient official seals & cylindrical seals; organized into 20 different eras of Israel's history
~Took a taxi tour of Mt Scopus (saw Jerusalem Center) and Mt Olives. Viewed sunset from a vantage point above the Jewish Cemetary facing the Old City. Courtenay tried to kiss a camel. ~Dined at Dad's favorite restaurant, Olive & Fish; had gelato for dessert; bought a widow's mite necklace pendant. Day 2:

~Wierd breakfast, we sat down with a group of Russian Orthodox Catholics. The spread included: spaghetti, salmon, tuna salad, cheese, bread, potatoes, eggs, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, and a lot of hummus type spreads.

~Visited the Western/Wailing Wall, separated into men and women's sections. Stuffed a prayer into the wall. Took an awesome tour of the Temple Wall Tunnel, walking 2 stories underground along the original temple walls.
~Spent several informative hours at the Davidson Archealogical Center located on the South-Western corner of the temple mount. Rented cool audio tour, viewed an awesome digitized recreation of the ruins, touched the Hulda Gates. ~Dined on Shawerma, complete with florescent pink cauliflower and Fanta in a bottle ~Walked to St Anne's Church (mother of Mary). Church had awesome acoustics. Next to the church are the Pools of Bethesda, where Christ healed the paralytic. Was the most peaceful part of our day. ~Starting at St Stephen's Gate, followed the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepluchre. Passed the 14 stations of agony along the way. The Church was the very unusual! Built over the supposed site where Christ was cruxified, his body prepared, and where we was buried. Founded by Constantine's mother, Helena, who had a "vision." It was dark, full of chaotic noise, stuffed with incense, and the monks were pretty brutal.
~Justin let Courtenay and I shop for 2 blessed hours in the Muslim Quarter's Souq. I found a cool green rock and cute skirt. We munched on candy and dined on ice cream for dinner. Day 3:

~Learned Obama won the Presidency

~Courtenay was late, muddling our plans for the day. Her reason was good: she lost her camera or it was stolen the night before.

~Tried to catch 4 taxis, all refused us entrance because we were going to the Dung Gate, closest to the Wailing Wall. Finally a Jewish taxi came by and took us there

~Stood in line to see the Temple Mount (Dome of the Rock), refused entry to ME...because I was immodestly dressed. Whatever. Guards tried to sell us scarves for $20 per scarf (normally $5), then they told Courtenay she needed to cover her legs. What a bunch of bologna!
~Searched out cheaper scarves just in time for the Temple Mount to close until after 1 pm.

~Saw the Garden of Gethesamne, the Church of All Nations, Mary's Grotto, and a cool chuch set on Mt Olives. The view where supposedly where Christ lamented over his city, "O Jerusalem!" Very peaceful.
~Rambled through the Jewish Quarter and saw the old Cardo

~Toured the Whol Museum of a huge preserved Pharasiee's home
~Saw a 3 million dollar gold menorah

~Walked to the citadel, browsed through a cool museum in the turrets of the citadel on the history of Jerusalem. Very awesome.
~Ate ice cream to console Courtenay's broken heart over her camera
~Walked the Old City wall's ramparts, not recommendable. Saw a lot of trash normally hidden behind the walls from street level
~Circumvented the outerwalls at ground level from the Dung Gate

~Visited the Garden Tomb & Golgatha. Much more believable this was the site of Christ's death and burial. The garden was amazingly peaceful especially with groups of tourists singing hymns.
~Courtenay and I tried to retrace our steps to ask about her camera. The merchant who sold her a pair of sandals actually had the camera and returned it to her! It was the miracle of the camera. I HAD to buy a pair of sandals from him too. LOL
~Dined at the Samara Restaurant, another of Dad's favorites.
~Saw a light show at the citadel. It was completely amazing!
Day 4:

~Arrived at Temple Mount by 8 am, modestly dressed, and part of a group of tourists. Finally saw the complex. The Dome of the Rock was magnificent, the tiles made it a sight to behold. A guard chastized Justin and I for trying to hug during a pictures: "no huggie, no huggie!"
~Saw the Golden Gate, where Christ will return in glory through. It was rocked over, as if a couple boulders would stop the Savior.

~Joined a tour group of the City of David. Saw a 3-d film about the original lay of the land and how it may have been colonnized. Saw recent excavations of a new tunnel supplying the palace of David with water. Walked through Hezekiah's Tunnel. Ended the tour at the Pool of Siloam.

~Caught a taxi at 1:00 pm, picked up luggage at hotel, and went to the border crossing~Were back in Amman by 4:30 pm.

As John would sagely say, our "dogs were barkin' " or our feet really hurt!

Note: My Mom said that on the second day, Amelia asked where Mommy and Daddy were. She told her we would be back in two days. Amelia knelt down by the fridge, folded her arms, closed her eyes, and babbled a prayer! That melted my heart!