29 November 2009

Enjoying Family

We really enjoyed having family here in SIDNEY for Thanksgiving. The drive is long through Wyoming, almost discouraging. John, Courtenay, and Joe all persevered and made it here for a fun visit. Friday we piled into our cars after lunch with the intent to visit Chimney Rock. The visitor center was closed (bummer), but Justin found the lookout so we got a good look at the monument from a different angle. Next to the lookout is a small pioneer dated cemetery. There was a Murdoch buried there...wonder if she is related? The drive was too long to just take a look and go back home so we drove another 20 minutes to the Scottsbluff National Park. The ranger said we could drive or walk to the top, yah, we drove! Once at the top the wind became pretty stiff and a bit chilly. Poor Phillip was soaked through from spitting up and lost a sock. I was a little worried about him getting too cold. We all walked the two trails around the bluff. Due to the lighting conditions I was able to practice my silhouette skills. That was super fun for me. Walking around after gorging ourselves the day before felt awesome, plus the company was not too shabby. Court still was not feeling well so was not her usual bubbly self. Justin and I felt the tug of Sonic Limeade's, we just had to make a stop since we were only 5 minutes away. John, Court, and I played Rook that evening. John beat us more than once. He is turning into Miekka: NEVER play games with Miekka because she always wins. More pie and fresh whipped cream ended our evening.

Saturday the men folk arose early to go blast prairie dogs with Matt Haley and his boys. Justin said they'd be home by noon. By now I know better than to believe that yarn, especially with Matt at the wheel. They got back home after 4 pm. Sometimes I really hate being left behind. I am an action gal, loving to be in the thick of it. Instead I deep cleaned the kitchen and dining room, did laundry, worked on the garage, and vacuumed. All while listening to Christmas music? Naw, I like to listen to "rap" while I clean. Courtenay took a lot of naps, played with Mia, and snuggled with Phillip. She even re-made Mia's bow board with matching fabric for her room. It is so cute. Mrs Martha (me) made turkey and rice soup with hot Lion House rolls for dinner. Alison and I went to see New Moon at 7 pm. Phillip came with me for the first little while. After nursing him at 7:30 Justin came and picked him up. Awwww, so nice to have some "me" time. The gang was watching a movie at home. John and Court obliged me with a game of Rummikub, my favorite game.

Phillip's blessing day was today. We decided to squeeze it in since John and Joe were visiting. Phillip looked so cute in his little white outfit. Justin gave him an amazing blessing. He blessed him to remember his ancestral names, to serve a mission, to continue to have a calm personality, to marry in the temple, and blessed him with our love and appreciation. After the blessing Phillip talked to Justin for about 10 minutes, telling him about the blessing and heaven. I am sure his name sakes were there and Phillip was trying to tell us they were in attendance. What a sweet little boy. This evening we made a good start on setting up Christmas decorations for FHE.

Mia said a couple funny things while the Lances were visiting. She told Justin to "keep your pants on" when he asked her to do something. I will add the other tidbits later since I can't remember.

26 November 2009

Our Turkey Day

We had an awesome Thanksgiving Day. The weather was perfect at a mild 65 degrees. John, Courtenay, and Joe arrived here at 8 am. They were pretty tired so we all took it easy...except me! By noon the turkey was baking, the horse duvers ready, and the salads made; plus the kids were dressed! Wahoo! Matt came over with their 3 boys for horse duvers. I was so stuffed that Phillip and I took a nice little walk afterwards. Dinner was swiftly chowed down at 5 pm. Our menu included:

two plump, juicy turkeys (thanks to brining for two days)
rice stuffing
regular stuffing
feta cheese mashed potatoes
broccoli salad
steamed broccoli
cranberry relish
pomegranate salad
fluffy rolls

Dessert included:
freshly whipped cream
pumpkin cheesecake
key lime cheesecake
pumpkin caramel pie
pecan pie
chocolate silk pie
berry pie
ice cream

We were stuffed to the gills! I am so grateful for my awesome husband, two wonderful children, membership in the LDS church, my testimony, my extended family, and so many other things. I could write a book. Nearly 11 years ago I was sitting at a table with humble folks eating rice flour mixed with sugar for dessert in the Cape Verde Islands. So much has changed since then. We are very blessed to live here in America with a Walmart down the street. We are blessed with an over abundance of wealth and freedom. I hope to never forget those humble days and turn my heart to charity and spreading hope. My heart is also with our soldiers and missionaries away from their families at this time.

25 November 2009

Just for Fun

I purchased a new length of fabric for a backdrop. Phillip was in a cute mood so I broke out my STUDIO LIGHTS for the first time in 10 months. He sure loves to smile...at MOMMY!

Three Months Old

Time flies! Little Phillip is 3 months old today. As of last week we weighs 11 lbs 01 oz, 24" long, and 15.5" head circumference. Pretty much right in the 50th percentile across the board. He is a very smiley guy! Whenever someone crosses his view the smiles and amount of vigorous kicking and arm waving is tremendous. This week Phillip started to make drool bubbles. He also is very adept at batting his toys and even started to grasp objects. Today I noticed he has enough control over his hands and arms to suck on his fingers at will. I love when Phillip talks. He will coo, squeal, growl, etc until you lose interest. Last week he started to put more weight on his legs when I stand him up. I guess the floppy stage is starting to pass. We love this little guy!

Just to plug in a note for Amelia: she now weighs 27.8 lbs! Yesterday we had rice as part of our supper. She wanted some soy sauce on her rice so asked Justin for some rice syrup! LOL! Today the missionaries were over for dinner. She tucked her hand in her sleeve and asked the missionary next to her where her hand went. He replied, "I don't know!" Mia said, "hum you don't know? Here it is!" and shoved her hand through her sleeve. I enjoyed watching her little brain working around the issue. She has a funny way of pronouncing beautiful, it comes out sounding like beauty-i-ful. Mia is a very kind sister. She often crones to Phillip using the same phrases and voice tones I use. What a perfect family we enjoy.

19 November 2009

Lacking a Creative Title

Here is a documentary of the "death by pork product" we made for Justin's birthday dinner. First weave bacon (7x7); layer on 2 pounds of sausage; sprinkle dry rub, add crumbled bacon (1 pound), saturate with BBQ sauce and more rub; roll sausage from top to bottom (not the weaved bacon), then roll the sausage up in the weaved bacon, season with more rub; smoke for 4-5 hours, then enjoy the feeling of your hardening arteries. Delish!
Mia's room

Phillip's and Master Bed rooms

Living Room

Kitchen and Dining Room

I finally took some pictures of our house so far. Tuesday I just bought some cute rugs for the kid's room and curtains for our other bedroom window. I need to order some picture prints to complete the bedroom decor and the living room. We've entertained several times already so the moving portion is behind us! This week I focused on the hidden areas like closets, drawers, etc. Justin cleared out the garage after work so now we can both fit our cars inside. Mia helped me clean my car's interior this morning. She loves to wipe "spray" (windex) from any surface you allow her. As testament that the moving part is over, I pulled out my sewing machine and whipped up two adorable skirts and shirts for a customer. I can't wait to finish the hats so you can see the whole outfits.

Tuesday was a big day for Phillip. We had an appointment with a pulmonary specialist from Denver. She has an outreach clinic in Scottsbluff. I conned Alison into going with me with a promised stop at Target and JoAnn's. She drove due to our numerous carseats. We did stop at Target for way too long! Christmas shopping is completed!! House shopping is almost completed. We met with Dr Kahn at noon. She first took his entire life history, which thankfully is short. Our main reason for this visit are two concerns I have:

1. it seems like his air passages become obstructed (by skin or something) that causes him to stop breathing. Often this happens while nursing. To catch his breath he has to unlatch and draw breath. Related to this is the level of noise he makes...Phillip is extremely gurgly, raspy, and bubbly when he breathes. The kid can nearly out snore Justin. Also, when he gets excited or stops breathing the base of his throat will sink in quite deep.
2. He may have a minor case of apnea while sleeping. This comes and goes but causes concern due to Justin's sleep apnea.

Dr Kahn took my concerns and then examined Phillip. He came down with a nasty cough and stuffy nose so she could not isolate any issues. She wants to conduct an internal exam to see what is obstructing his airways, then conduct a sleep study to observe his possible apnea. Her secretary is supposed to schedule an appointment for the second week of December. We will stay over night for the procedure. I am NOT worried, just concerned about the little guy. Our home teachers gave him a blessing on Monday for his nasty cold. He is all better now! Today he was a happy camper, just cooing and smiling at anything or anyone that moved. Once we returned home from Scottsbluff I locked my keys in the trunk like a nerdbonker. So....I helped Alison rearrange her living room until Justin got off work. LOL.

Wednesday I helped teach the YW some crochet basics. It is hard to teach someone else! By the end of YW most could chain and do a single crochet. Tuesday night Phillip and I were also gone for visiting teaching appointments. I feel like we've been gone all week long!

Check out my photography blog for some of my current work! I finished editing the last couple weeks of photo shoots. Click here!

14 November 2009

Happy Birthday to Justin

34 Reasons to Appreciate Justin

1. is funny
2. provides for us
3. puts up with my creative ideas
4. loves his kids
5. loves God
6. upholds his priesthood
7. took me to the temple and married me for time and eternity
8. loves bacon
9. has a healthy appreciation for sleep
10. is humble (always apologizes first)
11. is well educated
12. loves to road bike
13. will work if power tools are present
14. will travel to remote places
15. loves funny movies (like Nacho Libre)
16. served a faith promoting mission
17. is a wonderful father
18. has a sense of fashion, more so than I
19. no longer snores (yipee)
20. eats the food I make, even peas
21. followed the promptings to move to remote Sidney
22. loves his job and is good at it
23. plays with his kids...I love watching him coo with Phillip
24. likes to listen to diverse types of music
25. tries to put his shoes away
26. lets me photograph him professionally at least once a year
27. watches the military, discovery, and history channels
28. loves odd facts
29. likes spam and canned cheese products
30. is extremely humble
31. loves to push my buttons
32. cares for the welfare of those in our close family and friends
33. loves this country and the constitution (especially laws relating to accounting and guns)
34. has more head lamps than one person should have; he got a head lamp for his birthday

I am not very cheesy lately...at least lovey dovey cheesy. Miekka may disagree! I love my husband. I am glad he was born, grew up mostly normal, and ended up marrying me. We have a fun time poking each other's buttons. Due to previous experiences before we met the circumstances of our relationship are nothing short of miraculous. We deserve each other...the good and bad. Our family genealogies intertwine most interestingly. His great-grandfather gave my grandma her patriarchal blessing, my great-great-great-great grandfather baptized Anson Call, and on and on. He is a good man. Glad I met and married you "hon." Hope you have a wonderful birthday tomorrow! The plans include: going to church, making a cake, having two families over for dinner, eating "death by pork product", and letting Amelia open his presents.

12 November 2009

Indian Summer Day

The weather was GORGEOUS today. It was so warm we went outside without coats! Even Phillip braved the weather with only a light blanket. His poor eyes are not accustomed to bright lights (i.e. the sun) that he fell asleep almost immediately. Mia and Ella started to ask Alison and I to call each other on the phone. This morning Mia wanted to call Ella and invite her over to play. Listening to Mia and Ella converse is about the funniest thing ever. Next time I will have my camera handy. Ella brought over her pink training potty and gave it to Amelia! She told Mia to be a BIG GIRL like Ella. She did sit on the potty and toot this evening. I guess every little bit helps.

While the girls played and fought over toys I worked on the storage room. All the boxes in there are empty. I collapsed the boxes and took them all to the garage! There are hardly any more boxes in our house. The only ones that remain are in Justin's "Man Den" and two boxes of stuff to be sorted. Hooray! This evening I finished the storage room, which encompassed the huge task of organizing all our food storage. We have to use most of the food relatively soon because it sat out in the heat all summer. Some of the cans buckled so those are the ones to be cycled in first. I finished decorating the wood letters for the kid's rooms today. Also, I painted a cute little bird house for Mia's room. Once the rooms are finished I will take more pictures. I want you to live in suspense! Justin helped me put all the collapsed boxes up in the attic space over the garage. No more boxes floating around cluttering our new house. What a goal to reach.

The last picture shows Amelia eating sugar with cereal for lunch. She was actually eating it, exclaiming over how delicious it was. I am sure eating soggy sugar is very delicious. She was so proud of herself for pouring the sugar all by herself while I was out of the room.

10 November 2009


Yowzeers! I hate getting my kids immunized. The look of terror and pain is nearly more than my heart can take. Combined with the propaganda about the ingredients in immunizations that can cause numerous brain and health issues getting immunizations is a hard choice to make. Having lived in foreign countries I think the risk of immunizations is a hair better than not...just a hair! I've agonized over this issue with Amelia and now again with Phillip. Both of my kids seem too alert and bright to be susceptible for autism, I hope and pray they will not be burdened with that. If they do end up turning autistic then the fault is mine. Talk about a hard choice. Mia was so happy so be at the hospital where Phillip was born. She was skipping up and down the hall greeting all the kids and parents. Then came the shots. I think her howl was heard clear to the end of town. My ear drum still aches. Phillip already has a fever and wanted cuddles more than usual. I love cuddly days.

Amelia helped me paint some six inch wooden letters spelling her name and Phillip's name for their room. She was so excited I actually gave her brush and paint. Mostly she painted the cardboard box. We had a fun time together. Yesterday she also helped me make curtains for her room and the baby's room. I bought some sheets and made custom hangings because the windows are odd sized. For custom panels at JC Penny they wanted $50-$70 per panel. I made due with a $4 sheet! Soon I will have pictures to post. The house is one room shy of being done with the major stuff.

This evening we had a cooking class at Sister Mason's home. Two ladies showed us cake decorating tips, one with fondant and the other with piped frosting. Phillip had all the ladies wrapped around his totally cute smile. He actually laughed at me after being passed around and finally got back to me. He was excited to see me! What a fun little guy. This morning I overheard Amelia crooning to Phillip saying. "Goodness sake, It's all right, what do you need? Some boobies? What about a binky? Oh, you are so cute, come here little guy...." on and on using all the little phrases I use (except for the booby phrase).

07 November 2009

Running out of TiMe

I feel like the clock is racing ahead without me! I am amazed that the days go by so fast. It seems not much is being accomplished around the house...sort of like trying to chip away at a log with a tiny swiss knife. Still, we are chipping away. The basement is not done but at least you can walk around without breaking your neck. Most days I wonder if I suffer from moving schizophrenia, one moment I will be working on this the next in a totally different location doing something totally different. Another analogy would be like traveling a long river with about a thousand tributaries all connection to the main river. Me? I am zipping all over this river and the tributaries. The living room is done, our room is done, and the bathroom is done! Thursday night I decided the laundry accordion door had to go. Justin was clucking his tongue at me. It came down with a lot of encouragement and dust. I hung red curtains for the moment to hide the laundry until I figure out what to replace the door with.

We tried to get family pictures taken again on Wednesday night. This time Mia was crabby and the kids were cold. Alison did a great job, the subjects were the problem. Maybe I will just need to settle for a family picture that is not my ideal. Once I get an image in my head nothing compares until that image is realized. Dang artist.

Thursday I took the Haley's family picture (again) and Friday another family in our ward wanted their pictures done. Phew! I had two bookings for today but both ended up canceling. The weather was AWESOME this week so that is why we planned so many photo sessions. Once I clear some room on my completely full hard drive I can start editing. Some how I ended up only having 4 free GB on my computer. I guess storing over 12,000 pictures on my working computer is overboard! Can you believe 80% of my photos are on my external hard drive? The 12,000 represents the remaining 20% plus some duplicates. Time to regroup. Extra stuff is oozing all over my life right now. Time to pare down then I can get back in the saddle lighter and organized.

A school bus parked in front of our house on Thursday afternoon. Amelia was completely delighted to discover this after her nap. I asked the driver if Amelia could take a peek inside. The driver let her/us play on the bus for half an hour! Amelia watched an episode of "Caillou" about 4 months ago where the main character rides a bus even though he was not old enough for school. Mia wanted to ride a bus from that day on. She was absolutely darling dancing down the aisle. The bus driver asked if I would take her daughter's senior portraits on Saturday. I arranged to meet her at 7:30 am on Saturday. She never showed up...until this morning. We were all jolted out of sleep at 7 am by the doorbell. My Saturday appointment turned in to a Sunday one. The girl drove 2 hours to be here and woke up at 4 am to get ready. I didn't have the heart to turn her away. I am still not sure how the lines of communication got so tangled up.

We had our first guests over, well except for the missionaries, for dessert this evening. The Haley's came over for cookies and ice cream. I showed the boys my awesome rock collection.

Here is an entire slew of new videos of the past couple weeks:
Lia's Noises
Phillip's Bouncy Seat
Phillip Talking to Mom
Mia Playing Piano
Phillip Smiling
Halloween Fairy
Fairy Tea Party
Phillip Talking
Phillip Splashing
Morning Cuteness

02 November 2009

Trick or Treating

Mom? Why do you have me in this get up again?
Watcha Doin'?

Fairy Spins

Aw, that's my girl

Taking a pensive moment to regroup for more pictures

The two little sidekicks

My trunk: I stuffed my trunk with packing paper and hid the candy inside

My little girl all grown up!

Mommy in her fancy new crocheted hat...so stylin'

Trick or Treating this year was super fun! Amelia quickly caught on to the idea of walking up to a house and getting candy. With the help of Ella and her brothers she soon braved the walk herself. Amelia and Ella were so cute hopping along chattering about candy. Justin manned the stroller with Phillip and I walked with Amelia. The Haley's grand/parents are visiting so enjoyed watching the kids race about. Mia took to calling them grandpa and grandma too! Fortunately the weather was very mild in the 60's with no breeze. Once the sun set it did chill a bit. We took the kids to the local rest home to visit with the older folks. It was late so there were only a couple people still in the foyer. She made a cute fairy. I discovered her hair is long enough to wear a single ponytail...which she tolerates better than two. Our little girl is getting so big.

Our primary hosted a Halloween carnival and Trunk or Treat at noon. It was the perfect time for us! We played games, ate lunch, took pictures, then let the kids get candy, all before nap time. One of the prizes Amelia won was a mouth whistle thingy...she blows on it constantly much to my amusement. I know where she is!

On further note, I am struggling with Amelia lately. She is acting very whiny and fake cries ALL the time. It is super difficult not to get mad and engage her. However, ignoring her does not seem to work either. I've tried giving her more attention, ignoring, engaging her, and time out. None of these interventions seem to work. Hopefully, she will snap out of this little funk soon...I can't stand all the crying and wailing. She also started to talk with this silly whiny lisp about the time we moved in. Holy smokes, it is hard to stand that too because we know she can talk very clearly. When I ask her to use her normal voice (I demonstrate), she remonstrates with tears and tantrums. I just need to remember "This too shall pass"!!

Phillip continues to be a champ sleeper, eater, burper, and pooper. He actively plays with the toys over his bouncy chair and can often be found squealing with delight. I will post some belated videos very soon of his insane cuteness.

I started organizing my craft room today. All my little doo dads are back on shelves or in drawers neatly organized. I can't wait to work on a project! Justin put one shelf into the storage room so I can start putting the food storage away. Little by little we are making progress. While moving the boxes around in the storage room I finally found the last box of living room decorations! Now I can finish that room. The upstairs is pretty much completed as far as stuff unpacked and put away. Most of the pictures are hung and decorations up. After the basement is finished (hopefully by Friday) the next step is the little minor details like curtains that fit, custom decorations for the kid rooms, and etc. The end is in sight! Hooray! My goal is to be done by Thanksgiving when we bless Phillip. John and Court are coming plus whoever else can make it. I am also suffering from spray paint fumes due to painting Amelia's nightstand plus a myriad of items.

We tried to get our family pictures taken on Sunday out at the Webb's farm. I took the Haley's pictures first. By the time our turn came Justin and Amelia were not cooperative, and Phillip was starving. Dang it! The lighting was perfect. Guess we will have to do another session. I am very proud to note that we started holding FHE on a regular basis. It was just not happening on Monday nights so we moved it to Sunday. Give us props for having FHE for a month now!