Monday, November 24, 2008

Christmas List

Hey all! Are you wondering what to get us for Christmas? :) Well, helpful me - here you go.

Rick: the boy always needs clothes. Mostly we always ask for jeans, because he goes through them like paper undies - but this year we are going for something new and exciting. He needs any kind of clothes. It has literally been years since he's had new clothes. He need shirts (long and short sleeve - L), and the ubiquitous request for jeans (32x34), and undies - the Holy kind :o) if you know what I mean (Med and 32). Now of course we plan on making sure he has the means to get dressed in the morning - we aren't desperately begging or anything. But this way you know what he needs. And as for wants, Home Depot gift cards, Mountain Dew, yummy eats.

Kids: really - they are good. Grandma is picking up Sleeping Beauty from what I understand. Movie-wise most new stuff is trash now (I'm talking the animated stuff - made for kids but with adult humor - what's up with that?) so we like to pick our own stuff to be safe. Clothes are fine - Nathan is a 4T bottom, 5 top, 11 shoes. Ashlyn is a 7/8 top, 6 bottom, 13 shoes.

I bought some Leapster games for them (ya I gave in - but at least it's not an Xbox or something - they're EDUCATIONAL, big difference!) and I'd be happy to put your name on one. They were $15 (normally $25) if that's what you'd like to spend. That goes for Nathan's B-day too (poor kid). They do not need playthings - at all. We are already having to purge what they've accumulated in their short stint on earth.

Lauren is a baby and only needs a desire to nurse. Or clothes (see previous post about Ashlyn's lack of hand-me-downs). We just spent way too much on clothes for her so she's good right now, but extra cute things are fun. Or socks and solid color onesies. She's 9-12 or 12mo .... 9 mo just barely fits her right now. Or maybe you want to buy for spring/summer. Should be 12-18.

And of course, as we said before, if you wanna pop for swim/gym/soccer/etc. just let me know and we'll arrange it. They really do think this is cooler than a gift!

Me: Really, I need nothing, except to get off my butt and exercise. If you've found a solution for that I'm all ears. Nothing I want is cheap (wanna buy some food storage for me? gym membership and a babysitter?) and I have all the toys I need. Thanks though! Give Rick a shirt for me. :o)

Friday, November 21, 2008

"I'm a real boy!"

Well, a real engineer anyway.  :)  Rick will officially no longer be a Mechanical Engineer, Associate on Saturday.  He's now Mechanical Engineer, Senior - so be sure to comment when you see his sig change on his emails.  ;o)

Yay Rick!  We are SOOOOO proud of him and are so glad that he can feel that same appreciation that we feel for him confirmed and his hard work validated in such an awesome way by his peers.  Congratulations babe!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Blog reader, blog reader, what do you see?

I see the work of Nathan looking at me!

Or you will soon....

I asked Nathan to go to the bathroom and wash up before nap. He was taking a long time and after a while I could hear that he had filled the sink with water and was splashing around. I told him to wash his hands, empty the sink, dry his hands and get into his bed. ... Nothing... A few more minutes went by (I was busy folding laundry and not checking on him).

ME: Nathan, what are you doing?
N: Cleaning up.
ME: What are you cleaning up?
N: Um, squishy stuff.

Oh no, what could "squishy stuff" possibly be!?!

So here's what you see...

two rubber duckies, hair brush, Q-tips, 2 wash cloths and an Aussie Olympic platypus toy in the sink - with water of course.

What you don't see - the rest of the cotton balls from that empty jar and more Q-tips in the sink.

Squishy stuff.

And I should mention that the reason there are cotton balls in the jar is because Nathan was putting them back in - "cleaning up" as it were. Those are soaking wet.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

If you visit my blog...

Now, I read most of my blogs in the email that my blog reader sends to me when there are new posts and I rarely step "foot" in a real blog. To those of you who do the same, I get it. We're lazy by nature. That's why we have a reader! But I'm getting so many hits per day. Not bad for a blog that isn't searchable by web crawlers. You have to come here on purpose - follow a link, type in the address.

So, if you actually visit my blog...
... you should comment. At least once so I know you're here and feel some luv. Just sayin'.

Just one more reason...

...why I have a Label for my blog entitled "I Love Rick". It is for posts when I just want to remind myself of why I am so lucky. Or if I want to brag him up a little. It can also stand for "Why Rick is So Cool - but Sorry He is Taken".

Here is our water storage. I found some water containers that someone was selling in another stake and was happy to pick some up and add some longer term water storage to our supply. Rick has set it up in our food storage room on a rack. That in itself is kinda cool, but wait until you see the other side!

Yes, there are spigots to easily get to our water. But wait there's more! He has rigged this up to our sprinkler system so that each time the sprinkler is run our water storage is aerated and rotated! No wasting a huge vat of water each year when you need to rotate your water! He is a genius and I'm so grateful his crazy little mind works in ways I could never imagine.

The Best

I had the best experience today. I went to lend an FHE lesson I made to someone who is newish (at least to me - but I was in YW a long time) in our ward. I ended up chatting for over an hour. Poor girl - I think she was taking a nice Sunday nap when we stopped by! But anyway, we talked about so many things! And it was just a lovely experience. She asked how Rick and I had met, which led to a discussion about my background (not in the church), my conversion and my philosophy on family and my passion to raise my kids to KNOW. I didn't KNOW anything growing up. I think I had a lot of HOPE, but there is so much more strength and security to KNOW. I got teary (well, she did it first - it's her fault). : ) But she was full of nothing but praise for me and my kids. I don't think there is anything that helps me to do better in my life than having someone completely ignore my faults and tell me how great I am. Because, really, aren't we all great at some things? Focusing on that is so healthy for our souls. I don't mean that we should get big heads and think we can do no wrong, but it is so encouraging to know that someone thinks highly of you. For me, it's a big motivator - a recharge to my spiritual and emotional battery. There is a lot to be said for praise. I need to remember that as a mom and wife.
Being on Facebook has allowed me to "talk" with my best friend Kim much more recently. If you know me at all you know I absolutely hate talking on the phone. HATE IT! (Which is why my new calling is somewhat hilarious - hounding a large list of women monthly to get their VT reports). So being able to post on each other's pages, IM, and send quick msgs has allowed us the chance to to chat quite a bit more. It has made me realize that she does that pep talk thing for me. Without fail, each conversation is uplifting, comforting and loving. I haven't realized how much I have missed that. I had a similar feeling when I went to Doug's to his his newest son blessed. I felt so good about myself when we went home. Recharged and open to the spirit. I felt loved. I wish I could take a bubble bath (in the downstairs bath of course) and just soak in that feeling. I wish I knew a way to make that stay with me - short of moving next door to Kim. I pray all of you can find that too. I really think that's how we are meant to make each other feel.

Funny Nathan

We were in WalMart lamenting the cost of looking at new bikes (Ashlyn looks like a clown in the circus on her little 2-wheeler - it's WAY too small for her) and Nathan (my "I want" kid at the store) was asking if he could have this bike, or this one, or that one, etc.
I said, "No Nathan. You already have a bike. It's a cool bike - it has Spidey on it!"
N: "But I want TWO bikes!"
Me: "Nathan, one bike is plenty."
N: "But, Mom! One is the LONELIEST number!"

:) Rick sings that "One is the loneliest number" song to the kids. Well, he sings that one line anyway. He has actually admitted that he doesn't know any more of the song. But he does like that one line!
We're weird that way - we could bust out in song at any moment! We sing around the house all day long and when there's a sad/mad kid or parent nothing brightens up the mood like a silly song in opera falsetto crazy woman voice.

State Quarters

I know this is random - but that's what my Random Erikaness category is for right?

Rick has the "United States of America Coin Collector's Map" - we found in the dollar spot at Target. It has a spot for all the state quarters that have been released. He is now missing just 5 and I would love to give these to him as a present. He's so hard to shop for - he really doesn't want anything I can afford (new house, large guns, cars/motorcycles, pool table, lifetime supply of Mountain Dew/Alpine Cider/Martinelli's/NesQuick etc.) but I know he would love to finish up his map.

So I'm sending a plea for help - Any chance you have a Delaware, Florida, Tennessee, Louisiana or Hawaii sittin' in your coin purse with nothin' to do?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Owner of a Taggie!

...And so proud! I've never felt so loved and appreciated by one of the kids for something I've made. Lauren literally can't leave it alone!

Anyone can sew one of these - here's what you do (in case it's not obvious...) to make a basic one. Mine above is just a variation on the theme - I made mine larger and added rows of tags on the surface of the taggie instead of just around the edges.

1. Not visible - but get a plastic wrapper from a baby wipes refill. Have your friends save them for you! This will form the magic, crackly, fun-for-baby middle of your taggie. If you're not sure what I'm talking about here's a lady who made a video about them.

2. Cut 2 pieces of fleece in a rectangle using your plastic as a guide. I use 1/2" seam allowances so my fleece is 1/2" wider all around than the plastic wipes package.

3. Cut ribbons, ric-rac, nylon straps, double-fold bias tap, elastic, tulle (with a knot tied into the end that hangs out of the taggie), thin braided cording etc. to use as tags. I love the piece of camo material with grommets I have in mine - all babies love to suck on metal. My ribbons are cut about 4 and a half inches long, my ric-rac and cording a bit longer. Eyeball it. Just be sure that a baby can't get stuck or hurt in your tags - not too long, no beading/sequins or pieces that can fall off and choke baby etc. Learn from my mistakes and don't use super thick cording - remember you have to be able to sew through it! Make as many as you like to fit around the edge of your taggie leaving an inch or two between tags.

4. Decide what tags you'd like where and space them around the edges of one of your fleece rectangles until you like the placement. Leave at least an inch between all of the corners and any tags so you don't accidentally sew tags into the seam. (Yeah, I've done that)

5. Now to make your pieces of ribbon into tags. Fold the ribbon in half, tie a knot in the tulle, etc. Take one piece of fleece right side up on a flat surface and pin each "tag" in the spot you'd like it - the edge of the ribbon will be flush with the fabric edge but place your pin farther down - about an inch away from the edge so you can leave it in when you sew and you won't sew over your pins. Face the tags so they all lie with the cut edges flush with the edge of the fleece and the folded part of ribbon laying toward the center of your rectangle. Nothing should be sticking out or when you turn your taggie right way 'round after sewing all your tags will be on the inside and you will be mad.

6. Place the other piece of fleece on top - right side facing the other piece of fabric and the "tags". So the right sides are facing each other. Pin the top and bottom fleece together with a few pins - I use very few, just on the corners and one or two pins in between to keep the fabric from sliding out of alignment.

7. If you trust yourself not to forget to leave a gap to turn your taggie the right way around, just start sewing in any arbitrary spot (I like to start a few inches in on the short side of my rectangle), stopping (leaving your needle in the fabric) and pivoting at the corners.

If you think you'll get carried away and forget to leave a gap, mark a stopping and starting point with pins perpendicular to the fabric's edge - like a wall that says "Go no further unless you want to befriend the Seam Ripper!". Then sew all around the rectangle - leaving your gap and doing some backspacing at your beginning and ending points so your thread doesn't come out. BTW - you'll probably want some tags in that gap later. Don't worry about your carefully placed tags for now - take them out and you can put them back in before you topstitch.

8. Take out the pins pinning the fleece together and carefully (cuz you still have "tag" pins inside) turn your taggie right side out. The little flap you left will now be tucked in. It should have a natural tendency to do that since you've sewn on either side of it. Tuck it in so it's all even with the rest of the side. Put your tags that you want in the gap space in and pin them in place. The rest of the pins can come out. Now start at a corner and do a topstitch (that means just sew - it's called a topstitch cuz it's on top, not hidden inside) all the way around. Do this as close to the edge of the fabric as you can so you look like a pro. No gaps this time - all the way around, overlapping and backstitching when you reach the beginning of your seam so you don't unravel. Take out any pins. You're done!

First snow this season today!

The latest snow on record was the 21st - so we didn't set records but this is pretty late for us! Nathan is already very disappointed that it's melting - already nothing on the roads and the driveway. :) I told him "That's Colorado!"

Lauren's First Snow

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Wow - that was interesting

We tried to get Lauren's pics too - I fed her, put her down for a nap and went out to buy an outfit (opening up our clothes boxes from Ashlyn's time as a baby has been a nice reminder of how poor we were when we had her and how I thought that anything under a dollar at Goodwill counted as a fine wardrobe choice - stained and nothing matches!). I got home and she hadn't woken up yet so I whipped up a bow so she could be all matchy matchy.

There was a lot of snotty nose, a lot of trying to eat all nature had to offer, and lots of finger-sucking (her favorite pastime - I see a battle brewing in our future).

So here you have some pictures representative of our photo session - and her life at this point.

The weather isn't going to be getting warmer so we may just have to make do. Oh well. We can always hope for next year!

Final Pumpkin Pics

Here is the picture of ALL of our pumpkins. They were sagging badly so this pic is out on the compost heap - Care to guess whose is whose?

Happy Baby to Michelle

I bought some material this weekend and finally made my step-sister Michelle's baby gift. She was already the proud owner of a nursing cover so no Hooter sewing for me - so sad! But she does get a diaper case (how I wish I'd had one with Ashlyn - diapers turn into a mess when they are loose in the diaper bag), burp cloths and a changing pad (it's rolled up and tied with ribbon). Yay! I love easy sewing that makes me feel like I can do home-ec-ish things.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Back in the Saddle again!

Here is a preview of coming attractions - for those on our picture list anyway...

I finally had a camera to go out and take the kids' pictures. I went to the same place as last year but we were too late in the year to catch the beautiful grassy shots. But the rocks haven't gone anywhere! : ) Lauren is too sick to go out just now - I would have to Photoshop out a lot of snot and sick, red eyes so I'm hoping to try on Saturday when the weather is supposed to be a bit better.

And next up - Halloween. Rick took all the pictures this night as I felt pretty yucky, so all but one of them are around the dinner table at the Trunk-or-Treat. So no cute full body shots - but you'll get the idea! They each just picked out something from the dress-up box. Nathan had actually been dressing up most of the week. Mostly in a big plush Tigger, but also a full-bellied Winnie the Pooh (I have never understood that name!) and knight. At the last minute he went for Buzz. Ashlyn wore her fave neon green unitard (the one from Homecoming Week last year if you remember) and was a gymnast for her school parade and party.

And here we have a picture of our bow board. : ) Cuz I like you to know I strive to be crafty. And because I took pictures for my Facebook album - why not share here too? You can't see, but it's 12"-wide board covered with batting and fabric. Three ribbons run down the length of it so I can put on the girls' clips. Nice way to keep things organized! But I think it's kinda full - I'm going to need to make another!

And I got a haircut! You like? I do! I'm not sure if I'll like the length by the time Thanksgiving comes so I want to make sure you all see it now while I'm still in love with it.

Just disregard the puffy red eyes - such is the life of a baby mommy.

Quick election notes - I have been thinking this since, well, forever. Skip through this if you still want to be friends and you voted for Obama. Especially if we share the same religion. Unless you REALLY want to hear my thoughts here...

Can you really profess to believe what I believe and still vote for someone who stands for things that you know are wrong? I was one of those undecideds. Until about 3 days before the election. At that time I made a decision and did a little research. More about that later.

There is a very interesting article on Democrats and political diversity in the church here. Read it before you go on - it's not too long. Notice it's from 10 years ago. I totally agree. From the time of Joseph Smith you will find that church leaders have always encouraged members of the church to vote for the issues, the candidate and to vote their conscience. Don't vote for a Party. Party lines change - I don't believe you can say for the duration of your life that will always agree with a certain party. They are political entities - and I mean that in a bad way. They shift and adjust to what they believe will put them into power. Candidates need your vote and will try and appeal to the broadest base possible. I feel it's disingenuous but inevitable. Perhaps originally the elected officials told you what they really thought. They did what they thought was right. But I don't think it would take too long before people realized that you could get farther if you held your tongue sometimes, courted certain demographics, focused on these issues and tried not to touch these others.

I watched a PBS special this week about both of our major party presidential candidates. It was eye-opening. I think I was a little naive. Obama was groomed to run for office for years before this election. I remember watching him on Oprah not long ago saying that he didn't think he would be running for president, that he was not aspiring to that position. But it seems that was false. From the beginning of his time running for office in Illinois his advisers and the people who wanted him to run were telling him that he needed to avoid hot button issues, to seem moderate, to not do anything that could be used against him in a run for office later. The people who shared this were his advisers and mentors. I suppose that this is normal but I think it's a little sad. But like I said, maybe it's inevitable in our current system. Now don't get me wrong, McCain had similar experiences. And I'm not saying Obama is bad - it's just an illustration of how things work. That things aren't real and honest - for the most party politics are manufactured.

But I digress. Ever since my best friend told me that she was voting for Obama I have wondered - How? I think that you will not find a candidate who espouses all of your beliefs and desires and must choose the one who comes closest. As the article says, you need to give on some issues and stick tight on issues that are most important to you. I think that someone who believes in the Gospel must have some non-negotiables. Abortion and Gay Marriage. Easy peasy and straight forward. Or so I thought. I actually went through and pulled quotes and official statements on my top issues.

Here's what I found...


Human life is a sacred gift from God. Elective abortion for personal or social convenience is contrary to the will and the commandments of God

Church leaders have said that some exceptional circumstances may justify an abortion, such as when pregnancy is the result of incest or rape, when the life or health of the mother is judged by competent medical authority to be in serious jeopardy, or when the fetus is known by competent medical authority to have severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth. But even these circumstances do not automatically justify an abortion. Those who face such circumstances should consider abortion only after consulting with their local Church leaders and receiving a confirmation through earnest prayer.

When a child is conceived out of wedlock, the best option is for the mother and father of the child to marry and work toward establishing an eternal family relationship. If a successful marriage is unlikely, they should place the child for adoption


We want to help these people, to strengthen them, to assist them with their problems and to help them with their difficulties. But we cannot stand idle if they indulge in immoral activity, if they try to uphold and defend and live in a so-called same-sex marriage situation. To permit such would be to make light of the very serious and sacred foundation of God-sanctioned marriage and its very purpose, the rearing of families

I wish to say that our opposition to attempts to legalize same-sex marriage should never be interpreted as justification for hatred, intolerance, or abuse of those who profess homosexual tendencies, either individually or as a group.


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has no official position on the moment that human life begins. Further, the Church has not taken a position on the issue of embryonic stem-cell research.


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes in the sanctity of human life, and is therefore opposed to euthanasia. Euthanasia is defined as deliberately putting to death a person who is suffering from an incurable condition or disease. Such a deliberate act ends life immediately through, for example, so-called assisted suicide. Ending a life in such a manner is a violation of the commandments of God.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not believe that allowing a person to die from natural causes by removing a patient from artificial means of life support, as in the case of a long-term illness, falls within the definition of euthanasia. When dying from such an illness or an accident becomes inevitable, it should be seen as a blessing and a purposeful part of eternal existence.


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regards the question of whether and in what circumstances the state should impose capital punishment as a matter to be decided solely by the prescribed processes of civil law. We neither promote nor oppose capital punishment.

It was so helpful to go through and make a list of these definitive statements. Many LDS women in my acquaintance voted for Obama. I'm not bringing this up with them because I don't want to have a big ruckus. But really, can you imagine that abortion is something you can compromise on? I just can't see how. Can you knowingly vote for someone who will protect a practice "contrary to the will and the commandments of God"? I actually like many of the principles that the Democrats currently espouse. I think it's a shame that the one issue I need to be firm on needs to overpower everything else in a candidate.

Well, I've told Rick many times, next election I'll be old enough to vote for myself. Now there is someone I agree with.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Have you voted yet?

Rick and I have mailed in our ballots and anxiously (sort of) await the results tomorrow. I'm a bit of a weirdo (as if this is a surprise to you) but I do like the pins-and-needles atmosphere that tends to accompany election night. I like to see the states' results fill in blue and red on the map on the news and hear the predictions and see the percentages change as the results slowly trickle in. Always there is some drama and I think the reality-TV girl in me likes that!

Most of you have already heard, but our kids have decided who they'd like to win in our presidential election and I thought I'd share it with you in case you didn't get Rick's email. And hey, maybe you are undecided and this will be the thing that tips the scale for you one way or the other...

Ashlyn - McCain all the way. Why? "Because he looks more like a president". We had to clarify that this was not a race thing - don't want to be raising kids like that. She said that it is because he's "old looking". Nice.

Nathan - Obama. Me: "What is it about Obama that you like, Nathan?" Nathan: "Change." Not sure what he means, but it shows you that MILLIONS of dollars in advertising work.
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