Monday, December 26, 2011

How was your Christmas? Ours was fantastic!

Things that made it awesome:

1.My parents and Jeff's parents(you both know why)

2.Two friends from church that dropped off a huge box of goodies and gingerbread houses for my kids.

3.Another good friend who is trading vinyl for curtains so that I could make signs for my girls' rooms.

4.All the friends who dropped off (or mailed-Janet!)goodies and made us feel loved.

5. My children for being SOOO grateful and happy with every thing they opened.

6. My husband for making Christmas dinner.

7. And most of all, my Savior, for giving us a reason to celebrate.

Our day was merry and brite, how about yours?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

My house is not wrapped in tinsel galore.
Most of my presents come from the store.
My windows are dirty, my furniture is dusty.
My elbows need grease, they're a tad bit rusty.
My young ones are messy, chocolate on their face.
My older ones think posing with Santa's a waste.
My bank account's empty, my car is old
My clothes are wearing out, I'm told
My tree is crooked, my ornaments broken
But something in me has awoken
I am happier than I've been all year
Could it be the joy of Christmas cheer?
Whatever it is, I wish it for you.
May this be your best Christmas,  too!

*photo by Becca Kidd

Thursday, December 22, 2011

On Tuesday I went on another field trip. To the Seattle Center. For Choir.

This time it was for Julia's choir, and thankfully, in all seriousness, nothing out of the ordinary happened, no one died.

It was just a bunch of 7th graders singing at Winter Fest and then ice skating afterwards.

Did I go ice skating? Nooooooo. I like to be able to walk. I like not falling down and breaking stuff.

But Julia ice skated and looked adorable doing so.

And double bonus, she WANTED to sit with me on the bus. Even though her best friend went too.
Am I a lucky mama or what?

She fell asleep on my shoulder on the way home. To keep from possibly embarrassing her, I refrained from kissing the top of her head like I used to when she was little.

But I wanted to.

Thanks for asking me to go Julia. I love you.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A change of my heart

Admittedly, I have had a very tough time getting into the spirit of Christmas this year.

More embarrassing to admit is the reason why.

Money. Yup. I have been a bah humbug because funds are in so short supply right now.

So as I have used grocery and gas money to buy Christmas presents, I have done so with sadness in my heart, rather than the joy that normally accompanies the purchasing of presents for my children.

I know we're not the only ones. People all over the country are struggling. But I suppose I was feeling extra sorry for myself when I considered that most people have only a few children to buy for, while I have been trying to figure out how to buy for 6.

This feeling had me close to tears all day yesterday as I grocery/Christmas present shopped. I was already in a state of high anxiety knowing that buying Christmas presents with grocery money means that 5 days before we get paid again I will begin hearing, "There is no food mom! When are you going shopping again?"
(And not that there really is no food, just not a lot, and none that they like. )

As I walked the aisles of Walmart, comparing prices and generally being in a cruddy mood, I kept finding myself near the same couple. I don't know if they were husband and wife, brother and sister, or a man and his caregiver. But every time I turned around they seemed to be shopping in the same aisle as myself.

The gentleman was probably in his fifties, in a motorized wheel chair, limited use of his arms, and from listening to him I figured that either he had been in an accident that caused him not only his mobility, but also caused some brain damage, or whatever had caused his mobility had changed his perspective and given him a more hopeful child-like outlook. I couldn't tell which, and it ended up not mattering, but being a huge blessing instead.

In the toothbrush aisle, I first heard him asking his companion why there were so many people at Walmart today. She told him they were all Christmas shopping. He smiled big.

In the band aid aisle he was asking her when the Charlie Brown Christmas special would be on. "It should be soon. " she told him. "Oh good." he replied. "I LOVE the Charlie Brown Christmas special."

In the middle of the main aisle, as I perused the overly processed contents of a goodie shelf and as she looked it over as well, he started singing. "And every mother's child is gonna spy, to see if rain deer really know how to fly!" And you know what? The grinch's heart grew. And I started singing with him. We finished jubilantly with "Merry you!!!" He smiled at me, she gave me a grateful look, I told him good job, and then I walked away and promptly started crying. Because as we are all learning, I cry. A lot.

I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried folks.

I realized, that in the entire store of Walmart, that man understood the spirit of Christmas better than all of us. As we all hustled and bustled, he was experiencing pure joy at what Christmas is. And why should he be happier than me? He couldn't walk, he could hardly use his arms and my impression was that money did not grow on trees for them either. But yet, he was the one breaking out in song. And I was the one sulking.

But as I walked away, my humbug-ness washed away. I was flooded with how blessed I am. I was so immensely grateful that Heavenly Father loves me enough to have put that man in my path. He could have humbled me in so many ways. But instead, I was shown the spirit of Christmas present, with a duet in Walmart. (And don't think I didn't realize how glad Jeff or Kate would be to NOT have been there to experience my public performance)

I tried to pull myself together. As easily as I cry, I am just as easily mortified when people notice. But I stood in line happy all of a sudden. Nothing in my financial situation had changed. But I was gently reminded of how fortunate I truly am.

I can walk. My husband has a job. Those six children I am worried about buying for? Well, duh! I have SIX children? How lucky is that? It's the biggest blessing in my life. Second only to having met Jeff.
I realized how fortunate that I even have the ability to dip into my food money to buy presents. I was reminded that my one tank of gas miraculously lasted two weeks, leaving me with more money for presents for my children. Our ENTIRE extended family lives within an hour and a half of us. All of my siblings and my parents, all of Jeff's siblings and his parents. We're all relatively healthy, discounting for age and auto-immune disorders:) I can park in my garage. I HAVE a garage. I have a house. I have heat that I can turn up when it's colder than normal. The list goes on and on, and it did, in my head, as I stood in line.

When I got back to my car, I sat and wrote down everything I've been able to purchase the past two months using my system of food money as Christmas money, plus the little bit I had left over after bills from my basement boutique.

And honestly, it should not have been possible to provide my kids with as nice of a Christmas as they are going to have, and still have had enough food to eat. Enough, meaning no one went hungry, they just didn't get the normal snacks they love.

I'm not sure how it has all worked, I just feel really blessed that it has. And I don't feel sorry for myself anymore. And please don't you either. Feel sorry collectively for all the people who don't have enough right now. Because I'm not one of them.

I have enough, and to spare obviously.

I just didn't know that until carols were sung in the aisle at Walmart.

God Bless Us. Everyone.

(Christmas tree courtesy of one of Santa's most beautiful elves. Crookedness courtesy of the Allen Family)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Yesterday was a first in our family.

Kate and Julia went shopping together. Without me.

They have both done things with their friends, without me being there. No biggie.

But this was the first time they asked to go shopping without their madre. Their mama. Their maeinha.

And it's ok. As Jeff reminded me, more than once, this is part of their development. Yes, I know that. But I can still give a little sigh at the passing of time, and at the growing up of my children.

I didn't totally understand why they wanted to go without me. I wondered if I had officially hit that annoying status as a mom to teenage girls.

But then I saw this photo they took together at the mall:

And I understood. It's not that they don't want me around, it's just that they love each other SOOO much. And now that they both have their own rooms for the first time in their lives, they want to plan sister time. Time where they bond and love each other, and grow their relationship. Not that they would necessarily put it that way themselves, but that is how I see it. And I'm so grateful.

Sisters and best friends. Just as it should be.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


There are many perks to being a stay at home mom. I get to hang out with my not-in-school-yet kids, I get to be there when the older ones walk in the door. I'm always available if someone is sick and needs to come home, or stay home from school. If I don't want to wear make up or do more than put sweats on, I can.

Before anyone was in school, our day didn't start until the first child woke up. I loved that, because, well, I don't especially like getting up in the morning. Kay?

But now that I have older kids who have to be out the door early, there is no sleeping in, ever. And next year? In our church, starting in 9th grade, the kids go to early morning seminary. It's a M-F class where they study the scriptures. What time does it start? 6 AM. Yup folks, Kate will need to be out the door at 5:45 next year. It's so early so that they can be done before school starts. And their teachers? Not paid. Volunteers who willingly prepare lessons and get up early to teach our high schoolers and give them a spiritual start to their day.

Will I be getting up that early? Ummm, would I be a bad mother if I said, only when it's my turn to drive for carpool? My mother was up and had breakfast for us every morning. Our early morning seminary didn't start until 7, but still. I have that to live up to. Not sure I will.

Anyhoo, the whole point of my little ramble is that being a stay at home mom, who doesn't like to get up, it's tempting for me, when my kids are overly tired, to consider letting them stay home. 1. because I don't have to be to work, and 2. the thought of crawling back in bed is nice.

So what happened yesterday when Anne Marie looked like this?

She still went to school. But I considered it. She looks so sleepy, and in need of a few more hours. But then I remembered how the night before, she would not go to sleep when told to. Sooo, sympathy dissipated, and lil' miss got up and went to school.

But when the days are shorter, the air colder, the sky more grey, it's awfully tempting to hit snooze,snuggle back in, and NOT wake anyone up.

Christmas break starts in 7 days, thankfully. I. CAN'T. WAIT!

Friday, December 9, 2011

How has this little girl:

Become this little girl?:

So fast? I shouldn't peruse old photos of my children. Because then I realize that time is flying waaay faster than I thought it could. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Counting our blessings

This is a difficult post for me to write. What should be just about Charlie's awesome field trip to The Seattle Center, has a tragic side story to it.

It's not my story, but it's intertwined with his field trip that day. So I wasn't sure how to tell about our day without including what happened. But I hesitated to tell what happened because it's not my story, make sense?

Read on.

First of all Charlie was really excited to have me go on this trip. He even chose, on his own, to sit with me instead of his friends. He obviously wanted to spend some quality time with me.

He even "let" me have the window seat. Nice view, huh?

The whole purpose of Charlie's field trip was for the kids to sing at Winterfest at The Seattle Center. He is in Honor Choir, which is for 4th and 5th grade students. They go to school early every Friday to practice. Their reward at the holiday season is to go to Seattle and perform. I was lucky enough to chaperon for Kate and Julia when they went. Remember all the fainting?

This time the kids got to go up in the Space Needle first.

(Shot from the elevator going up-that's the EMP)

Charlie was very excited.

The group I was in charge of included Charlie and 5 other boys.

They pretty much ran around the outside of the Needle all excited, with me constantly telling them to "Stay together!!".

Charlie hung back with me a lot, sweetie that he is.

What a handsome boy, if I do say so myself.

After what was about 10 minutes, they were bored and wanted to go to the gift shop. No joke.

So we headed down and spent the next HALF AN HOUR perusing the over priced merchandise.

After all the coveted items were purchased, we headed over to the Center House where they would perform, and where there is a food court, to eat our lunch and hang out until it was time for them to sing.

Jeff had met us there to eat and watch the kids perform. As did many other parents. We were finishing up our own lunches so we sent the boys over to their teacher to warm up while they waited to take the stage.

Jeff and I gathered up their coats and belongings and headed over to find a seat. As we approached the stage, we saw a security guard performing CPR on an older gentlemen who was laying on the floor. We quickly averted our eyes because it instantly felt like we were intruding on something very personal, especially since his wife was standing 2 feet away watching.

Some of the children had noticed what was going on, but the Seattle Center folks were quickly erecting a curtain around the whole scene to protect the privacy of the situation.

This gentleman had collapsed right in front of the stage, and the children were just to the left of it waiting to go on.

By now, EMT's were there and had taken over working on the man. Speculation among the chaperone's and parents was growing, wondering who he was, and saying "please don't let him be there to watch a child."

For myself, I began crying. I couldn't help it. Someone's life was slipping away 15 feet from me, and the tragedy of the situation hit me very hard.

Then word came, he was the father of one of the children in Charlie's choir.

We were stunned, and new anguish for the family spread through me.

This man, his wife and their adult son, had come to the Seattle Center that day to watch his 10 year old daughter sing in her Honor Choir. They took a front row seat, and then I can only imagine what happened after that.

They worked on him for a long time. It finally became evident that it would be both impossible, and inappropriate for the children to take the stage.

But as 9 and 10 year olds, they were mostly unaware of what was going on and just confused as to why they couldn't sing. So their choir director, who was AMAZING throughout this, had them sing a few songs where they were standing.

So instead of this:

They performed right here:

No mics, no risers, and only one of the songs they had prepared. Just sweet children's voices singing as the father of one of their classmates returned to his Heavenly Father.

Yes, the man died. Right there where his daughter was to perform.

It was one of the most profoundly tragic things I've ever witnessed. 3 weeks before Christmas.

The kids were mostly oblivious, just sad that they had not been able to perform. I'm glad for their innocence, for the lack of awareness they had at what was going on. I tried to explain it to Charlie in a way that would help him empathize. But none of them really understood.  I barely understood. I had stood there praying my heart out, asking Heavenly Father to PLEASE not take this little girl's daddy. But it wasn't to be. I don't know God's plan for individual people's lives. I can only hope that the family will be ok eventually. I just know that 10 years is not long enough to have your dad. And when I think of the weddings and grand babies he is going to miss, the tears flow all over again.

As we headed back to the buses, the kids were over their disappointment and just excited to get their pictures taken in front of the big, shiny EMP.

It's hard to not ask why sometimes. Why does tragedy strike some and not others? I have faith in a loving Heavenly Father and his son, Jesus Christ. I know they are at the controls and that there is nothing of this magnitude that happens for no reason. I don't think that lessens the sorrow of losing someone, it may only help to understand and to be comforted when all feels lost.

Hug your spouses tighter, give your children and parents kisses. If I am gone tomorrow, I don't want there to be any doubt that I love my family and that they mean the world to me.

And I don't want to waste any of this life choosing unhappiness when there is so much joy to be found in living.

Monday, December 5, 2011

I'm off on a field trip with my dear Charlie. He is so cute and excited that mom gets to come with him.

I hope he always likes me this much:)
(It's an older photo of us, but I still love it!)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sunday afternoons

I love Sunday afternoons.

-naps on the couch with the little dog
-no television all day(usually)
-kids sitting around reading
-no where to go (usually)
-watching my children get creative to entertain themselves

I don't really know what they were doing, but it involved letting Nora win. A lot.

Oh, and Anne Marie thinking November is a great month for a bathing suit.

Mondays? I don't love them quite as much.


-getting up early again
-watching my kids leave and spend more time with their teachers than me
-making school lunches

'nuff said.

happy monday

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Show and Tell

When I was a kid, show and tell was a weekly occurrence. Kids brought in their sticker collections, their stuffed animals, and signed baseballs.

In the year 2011, if you are star student of the week, you get to showcase a poster about yourself, and bring in something to show and tell if you want.

You have one shot a year.

Charlie wanted to bring in his current most prized possession. Our new dog Maisy.

He was so cute and proud. He LOVES this dog. Even when it's other people's turn to have her sleep with them, he somehow ends up with her every night.

A boy and his little black half yorkie, half toy poodle. It's what great stories are made of.

Kind of. Usually they're about big dogs who save people from wells. But I'm sure Maisy would bark a lot if Charlie got trapped in a well or if someone rings the door bell.

Probably just the door bell:)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The winner

I would love to announce that Melissa over at the The Dillon 6 is our contest winner!!!

She said, "I like the adorable eyeball hat -- the one with that cute little girl in the hot pink shirt. CUTE CUTE CUTE hats!!!"

Congratulations Melissa!

Don't worry if you didn't win, you can still order your very own, awesome eyeball hat!

Just head on over to Once Upon a Hippie and order your very own!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thoughts from a church bench

Even though I was sooo tired from my crazy weekend, and all I wanted to do was to stay in bed and snuggle Jeff, I stumbled out of bed yesterday morning to get ready for church. Even with my fatigue, I took more care than normal as I picked out my clothes for church. The choir was going to perform Come Though Fount for Thanksgiving, and I wanted to look my best.

I had to be at church earlier than normal to rehearse one last time, and so I was awake and ready before everyone else. Which meant that dear Jeff would be getting all the kids ready and to church by himself. I did Nora's hair and asked Kate to help dress her so that dad would have one less munchkin to worry about.

As I headed out the door, I felt pretty cute in my dress with whimsical birds on it, eyelet under skirt, and polka dot shoes. With my cupcake breakfast in hand,  I kissed Nora goodbye, as she was awake now, gave Kate a hug, who was staying home sick, and got into the icy Blueberry and waited for the windows to defrost.

I arrived at church in time to start warming up. Our rehearsal went well, and I could see the wisdom in asking to be there early.

After the choir was through practicing, I took a seat in the fourth row, sure to put my coat and purse down the pew a ways so that I could save spots for my family when they arrived. And then I waited. It was strange to sit by myself. Strange to sing the opening hymn and listen to the opening prayer without shushing my little ones, or keeping one eye open to make sure people weren't poking each other. During the sacrament, I was able to reflect and think about things on the horizon that have me wondering about the direction our family should go. And I was able to ask fervently how to help one of my children who is having some health concerns. It was nice to have the quiet, but lonely too, and I wondered where on earth my family could be.

I finally decided, as the minutes continued to tick by, that if they weren't there by the time I was done singing, that I would go home and check on them. Our van needs a new starter and has not been starting consistently, so I figured that was probably the problem.

As I thought this, Jeff and the children all came filing in. And yes, the car wouldn't start. Jeff had bits of leaves and dirt on the back of his sweater still from where he had laid on the ground to get a good look under the car. The van had finally started, and they were at church! I brushed off the back of Jeff's sweater and gave him an affectionate squeeze. He was happy none the less, and the children for the most part, sat quietly as we listened to the talks on gratitude.

The choir number went beautifully. It was one of those moments when being part of a ward choir felt worth all the extra time put in. I came back to our row to see Jeff in a new place between Charlie and Anne Marie. Henry leaned over and said, "Mom! I tried to wave at you, but you wouldn't look at me!!!"

"Henry, " I softly said, "when you are singing in a choir, you have to look at the lady moving her arms around. I'm sorry I didn't see you."

He was a little appeased, but still sad that mommy had watched the director instead of him.

I asked Jeff how he thought the choir sounded, and he said that the parts he heard sounded good. I'm sure that in the middle of moving disruptive kids around, and trying to quietly shush everyone, that the choir sounded wonderful:)

At that moment, all the support Jeff has given me really flooded my emotions. So I just gave him my 'I love you so much' look, that he knows and understands. He reached over and rubbed my calf in a return sign of affection. But at that moment, I felt slightly horrified. In my careful efforts to get ready and look nice that morning, I had skipped shaving my legs to save time. Thinking that they weren't that bad and no one would notice. Until Jeff touched my leg that is.

So I apologized. "I'm sorry my legs are prickly." I whispered. "I didn't shave them today."

"I don't care at all." Jeff replied, giving me his best smile.

"Really? You don't care that they're all prickly?" I questioned. I always wanted my legs to be smooth when Jeff touched them. So I was still embarrassed that I had skipped that step.

"Amy. I don't care at all. I just like touching you.  I love you and I think you're beautiful." He lovingly said. His voice was like honey as the affection practically dripped from him.

I just beamed at him, feeling so lucky and blessed. Not just because he didn't care that my legs were stubbly, but because in that moment I realized that I didn't have to be perfect to be beautiful to him. His love for me is much more than constantly smooth legs, a flat pre-baby tummy, or a line free face. Those were things I could offer when I was 22. Before 6 beautiful babies, before 15 years of marriage, before the realization that love and eternity last, where as looks fade.

I sat and thought about this for a long time. Trying to listen to the last talk as I thought about what real love is. Not just between husband and wife, but the love that God shows to us, the love that we can have for each other. You could insert any physical trait into this sentence. I don't have to be ____ to be beautiful. But it's impossible to leave out the words kind, loving, honest, giving, etc. etc.

You see, it's really who we are that makes us beautiful as women. If you rated me on physical beauty compared to celebrities and super models, I wouldn't even be on the chart. But if you rate me in my husband's eyes, and include all the things he loves best about me, I win every time.

So while I may still find myself looking at magazine's in the grocery store from time to time, wishing my legs were smaller or my arms more shapely, I can guarantee that Jeff never does that. He doesn't compare me to anyone else, and he thinks I'm the most beautiful of any.

Because beauty fades, wrinkles show up no matter how hard we try to keep them at bay, things sag and bag over time.

But the twinkle in your eye? The affectionate hug and kiss every evening? The kind words spoken to someone in need? The love between a husband and wife?

Those things last forever.

Friday, November 18, 2011

2 things

1. Today is the last day to enter the giveaway. Only 11 people have entered! Do you know how good your chances are? And even if you don't win, Jen's hats are such a great price, you can just go ahead and order one anyway and get the 10 percent discount! Just enter BLOGPARTNER at check out. Contest closes at midnight tonight! Hurry! Don't wait!

And 2. Tomorrow is the Basement Boutique. I hope as many of you that can are coming. Who knows, maybe I have nothing awesome, but Amber does! Plus you can have a free cupcake! Isn't everything better with free cupcakes?

3. A couple of sneak peeks at two of the things I've made. This lovely sign that pretty much sums up my life philosophy-hugely inspired by The Nester.

And a  pillow-in case you were wondering. A RUFFLE pillow! It really looks so much better  in person. Why is that?

And don't look at how dirty my couch is. The slipcover is off getting whitened!

I guess that was more than 2 things. My brain is only half working right now. I'll be better Monday:) Hope to see you tomorrow from 10-8!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A list

Girls, who you marry is so important. There is a huge list of things he should be. Write that down, and then become that list yourself so that you can attract the guy you want. I'm not sure if I accomplished that, or if I just got lucky. Part of my list was:

1. He should be a good father.

2.Devastatingly handsome.

3.And a total goofball.

Looks to me like I won the jackpot. 

Oh, and 4.  If you're crazy busy trying to make stuff for your first ever basement boutique, he should be willing to put the kids to bed every night by himself for 2 weeks and not complain at all. 

Thanks Jeffy. I couldn't do this without you. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Life Lessons Learned Grocery Shopping

I go grocery shopping twice a month when we get paid. Instead of smaller weekly sessions, I have one huge shopping trip. I get a lot done but I come home feeling crazy.

As my little ones get older, it actually gets harder to shop with them. Anyone else notice this? A crying baby can be contented with a binkie or a bottle. But 5 and 3 year olds seem to require a little bit more when shopping and riding in the car for 4 hours.

I usually start out each trip on edge, knowing I have about 2 hours before they are tired of shopping. As they get tired and cranky, I get frustrated because I just want to get it done and go home.

But the past year or so, I have been trying to change my attitude, because honestly, they're going to pretty much keep doing what they do, so it's up to me to make the experience better.

So this is what I have learned about grocery shopping with little kids that can pretty much be applied in all areas of parenting.

1. Getting upset doesn't change anything. In fact, it makes it worse. Staying calm, even when your toddler knocks down and end cap of toilet paper, is the best tactic.

2. Give them treats. Everybody likes treats. Having a routine fruit roll up every time you visit the grocery store makes them happy, keeps them busy for a little bit, and gives them a nice memory attached to the outing.

3. Say yes as often as you can. As a new parent, I thought it was my job to say no to a lot of things in order to keep from raising spoiled brats. But that is not the case. Saying yes to what you CAN say yes to gives your  children security. How? Because they don't start feeling like they have to look after themselves for the things they want. They can trust you to meet their needs and some of their wants, and when you do have to say no, they usually handle it better.  And I'm not talking about giving them every material thing they ask for, or every cookie they see. But if you find yourself saying no, more than you say yes, maybe rethink your strategy.

4. Feed them. Whether it's a 4 hour shopping trip, or just hanging at home, little kids will often not tell you when they're hungry. They will just get grumpier and grumpier. And if you're out and about and you really do have the time, GO IN to the restaurant. It gives everyone some time to recoup and relax before hitting the next 3 grocery stores. (I go to 4 different places to get the best prices on food. If you can do one stop shopping, then yay for you!)

5. Hit the bathroom before you start anything! Then your children don't remember the frustrated sigh of their mother as she wheels the cart around to head to the bathroom. NOT that I have ever done that. Ahem. Take care of it at the beginning and you will not be annoyed later.

6. Unless you are willing to buy toys every time you go to the store, do your best to avoid the toy aisle. Bigger kids understand, but a two year old?

7. Every time you get your children out of the car, hold them and give them a hug. Henry and Nora love it, I love it, and it gives me a little reminder before we head into the next store just how much I love my kids.

And who couldn't love them, messy after snack faces and all?

And remember these curtains?

You can order your very own if you come to our Basement Boutique this Saturday.
Saturday November 19th
10 AM-8 PM
Amber's Basement
28623 239th PL SE
Maple Valley, Wa

You can order full ruffled curtains or partial ruffled (also super cute!)in white, creme or a linen color. 

And did you enter the giveaway? What? You must! It's the possibility for a Christmas gift checked off your list. Don't live in Washington? That's ok, she'll send it to you!
Go! Now! Enter!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sneaking a peek!

Just a reminder that this coming Saturday is Amy & Amber Designs' Basement Boutique! 

Please, please, pretty please come! Enjoy a cupcake, peruse, purchase if you wish, and just enjoy yourself!

Want a sneak peek at something that will be offered?

This is one of my most favorite pieces! Don't ya love my grammar? No, really. If this doesn't sell, I have a lovely little corner that it would be perfect for!

But it could be yours! 

Also, don't forget to enter yesterday's giveaway!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Are you ready for a give away?

Years ago, as a single adult, I went to church with a girl. We were friendly, but not friends, and then we both moved. Good story so far, right?

Well, shoot forward 15 some years and see me and my family camping for Nora's 1 year old birthday and who do we just happen to be camping next to? Why, that girl, that Jennifer girl! We reconnected, realized (at least from my end) that we really liked each other, we became Facebook friends and mutual followers of each other's blogs, and now I feel like I can say that we are friendly AND friends!

Well, as luck would have it, Jennifer is very creative, super talented and she is willing to share that with you all!

This wizard of crafty-ness creates one super fun, very well done, crocheted creations, and she is offering one lucky winner the hat of their choice! Just so you know, how super duper cute they are, take a gander!

Adorable right? All you have to do is head over to her etsy site Once Upon a Hippie, pick which hat is your favor-oonie and let us know in the comments! Plus, she is offering all Spoonful readers 10% off anything in her store, just use coupon BLOGPARTNER when checking out. Now isn't that easy? And wouldn't it be perfect for the little munchkins in your life? Christmas? Winter wear? Birthdays? Dressup?

I'll pick a randomly generated  winner and let you all know on Friday. Good luck!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Today is an update on the awful-turned-good events of yesterday.

Yesterday, while parking my van at the gym, I sat for a second doing something, and then when I took my foot of the brake to reach over and grab my purse, I realized I hadn't put the car into park. As the van started inching forward, I panicked and went to slam on the brakes, but instead hit the gas, and then hit the rear end of the Cadillac Escalade in front of me.

A swear word might have popped out.

I sat there for a second, shocked by my own old lady behavior, and then I headed into the gym to find the owner.

The sweet lady behind the counter came out with me, then hugged me since by that time I had started to cry. A lot.

Pretty soon a guy came out and said, "Oh, that's Martin's car. I'll go get him. " Great. I couldn't wait to see Martin and tell him I was an idiot.

When he did come out, he wore an expected expression of "what the crap just happened to my car".

He was very nice to me though, as I explained that I had never hit anything(ok, except for the rock, but who's counting), caused an accident, NOTHING! Ever. Until today.

He said that these things happen, but his friend was quick to ask if I had insurance. They looked at the damage, which just ended up being the hitch cover. (I didn't even know there was such a thing. But it seems, that if you own a nice vehicle, that you can cover your hitch when it's not in use.) While I wrote down my insurance info, barely able to see because I was crying so hard.

I handed him the paper, profusely apologized again, and then I left. I had to pull over for a second because I was starting to hyperventilate a little. You see, I am a very emotional person. While other people might be mad at themselves, or bummed out, I get all of that plus an uncontrollable tendency to cry. It's quite embarrassing and it makes me look even more stupid. But I can't help it.

So I went home, amidst Henry and Nora crying that they didn't get to go to the play place at the gym.

At home, I proceeded to do what comes natural, which was curling up on the couch while eating a bowl of cereal and staring out the window. Crying. I had called Jeff and my insurance agent. But we all agreed that it would probably be less than my deductible, but either way I was going to have some out of pocket expenses coming my way. Right before Christmas. Yeah, I was feeling pretty low.

Around 1 o'clock I got a call from Mr. Martin.

The damage was $280. My heart stopped, and I quickly began figuring out how to shave my food budget and Christmas budget in order to pay for this.

Then he said, "I'm in a really good place in my life financially, so I don't want you to worry about it."

You guessed, I started crying again. It never ends with me.

I thanked him over and over, cried some more, and he just told me to pay it forward. Man, I'm crying as I write this.

The goodness of people overwhelms me. This man had no idea I have six children, or that money is tight right now, or that we already were scaling back Christmas a ton this year. He just felt to do something for a bawling women who rammed his car. Occupy THAT protesters.

I have every intention of paying it forward. It might not be financially right now, but I will never forget this. And someday when I'm driving my BMW and some little old lady on a budget rams my car, I will let it slide and buy her lunch to calm her down and we'll cry together. Because that is what you get when you combine someone who is, and I quote, "in a good place financially" with someone who has a good heart.

Don't you feel better about the world? Less cynical? More inclined to help those in need? I know I do.

Now I think I'll go cry some more. It's what I do:)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I have this friend. I've known her longer than anyone else in my adult life. We started out as roommates my freshman year at BYU, and we quickly became besties for life!

When we were in Utah the girls and I stayed with her and her family. She is the dark haired beauty on the end, sitting by her dark haired beautiful daughter!

Well Sarah, I wish you had been with me today. Not for the first time. But when I ran into the Cadillac Escalade in the gym parking lot, ruining the guys hitch cover, you could have talked to him while I cried in a corner.

As it was, I cried the ugly, sobbing cry while I tried to write down my information.

It's funny how having another grown up with you can make it better when you aren't feeling especially grown up, you know?

I tend to have really strong women for friends. Meaning, stronger than me. I'm morally strong, I make good strong decisions. But when it comes to mini emergencies where I feel like an idiot, not so much.

The best would be to have Jeff with me 24/7, to protect me from feeling sad. But he has to work, darn him. So my sister, or a friend would have been nice today.

I hope you all have someone you can rely on, that is there when you don't feel strong, but instead want to curl up in a ball and suck your thumb, you know?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Announcing Amy and Amber Design

So over the years, I have been asked from time to time to help friends and family with a room redo, or just advice in decorating.
I am no professional by any means, but it is a favorite hobby of mine and if I do say so myself, I'm pretty good at it.
Well, I have a friend, Amber over at PinePlace who also lists decorating as a favorite hobby, and who ALSO has been asked (way more than me) to help people with their home decor needs.
Plus, we just really like each other, so, we came up with a little plan. Originally it was quite elaborate with big dreams of our own design company where we would run around helping paying customers with their room redo's and home makeovers.
But alas, her full time job, husband and 4 kids, and my crazy life plus husband and 6 kids have kept us too busy to realize this yet. But someday folks.

So for now, we came up with an alternative that will help our need to create, and combine it with other's needs to get great home decor at super prices.
And though we have very different styles in our homes, we love what the other does, and trust each other's design abilities and creative eye.
What did we come up with?
Save the Date

Saturday November 19th
10 AM-8 PM
Amber's Basement
28623 239th PL SE
Maple Valley, Wa

We're calling it our "Basement Boutique"  where you will find some of our favorite creations!
Come walk through, eat a cupcake, and find one of a kind treasures, Christmas gifts, re-purposed furniture and plenty for your home!
Bring your friends, your family, sisters, mothers, and BFF's!
And be watching for sneak peeks of what we will have available.
You're going to come right? Pretty please?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Finding the silver lining

Ok, I'm already starting to wish for days like this again. I do love the smell of fall in the air, and the crisper weather that makes wearing a sweater comfortable instead of suffocating.

But when it rains, the smell of fall changes. And around Seattle, cold and rain together, smells like winter.

Winter? I'm all ready for summer again.

But the leaves are lovely, Halloween was a blast, and I love Thanksgiving. So there are many wonderful things about this time of year, and about living in the Pacific Northwest.

1. Family-we're within and hour and a half of our families!
2. You don't have to shovel rain.
3. Even on the coldest days I still only have to turn my thermostat to 68.
4. I love the ferries and the Seattle skyline at night. Pike Place Market and the waterfront are wonderful.
5. Life is casual here. People are laid back and nice. Truly
6. There are a ton of places to hike and enjoy the outdoors.

Ok, so it's a short list. But I'm working on it. I see the good through the rain. It's a start.

Tell me, please, things you like about Seattle. Anyone?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween is over, but Anne Marie and Nora are still dressing up.

Or rather, Anne Marie is "letting" Nora pretend to be her dog.

Maybe it's to practice for the real thing? A real dog I mean.

Stay tuned.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Through the eyes of a child

Two nights ago, Henry came into our room for the umpteenth time after being put to bed repeatedly.

Stories had been read, daddy had laid down with him for a while, he'd been given his nightly drink. But for some reason, little man just kept coming back in.

I don't know about you all, but we tend to get a little frustrated when this happens.

He would hop onto the end of our bed with his big ol' cheesy grin and just sit there and look at us.

"Henry get back in bed."


"Henry, it's time to go to sleep."

"But I want to sleep with you guys."

"No Henry."


Now as a disclaimer before I tell you what I said next, we rarely spank our kids. I don't like it, Jeff doesn't like it. But for some of the children, just the threat of a spanking works just as good. And then we cross our fingers that they won't call us on it, because most likely they will see that we got nothing but empty threats.

But I was tired. So I said, "Henry, get back in bed or I'm going to spank your bum!"

He looked at me for a second, and then said in the truest, devoid of manipulation, most innocent little boy voice,

"But I thought you loved me?"

And that's when the dagger sunk into my heart. Jeff and I just looked at each other. "Did you hear that?" Yes.

"I don't ever actually spank him. Why would he say that?" All said in hushed tones. Even though he was still sitting there staring at us.

I don't even remember what was said after that. Or how Henry got in bed finally. But I will never forget, as long as I live, "But I thought you loved me?"

And looking back at my own perceptions as a child, I know he was really trying to work out the obvious disparity between my frequent words of love, and  my threat of a spanked bum.

There is a quote that has stuck with me by Charles Dickens that says, “In the little world in which children have their existence, whosoever brings them up, there is nothing so finely perceived and so finely felt as injustice.” 

I love Charles Dickens anyway, but oh how perceptive he is of truths we sometimes don't see. Henry knew that being spanked for not going to bed was an injustice. And how could anyone who professed their love for him, then treat him unjustly? 

It's a good question to ask ourselves. When is spanking an outward showing of our love?  Seems to contradict doesn't it? 

And I'm not trying to start a spanking vs. no spanking debate. I have spanked my kids. Am I proud of it? No. But I have also been a frustrated, imperfect, harried, tired parent. And I've made mistakes, learned from them, and then made new ones.

I just knew, at the moment Henry said that to me, I would never spank, or threaten to spank him again. Anything I would have to gain by it, would be lost in the midst of a little boy who wondered if that means I don't love him. And that, is completely unacceptable. 

Will he always want to sleep with us, be with us, cuddle and kiss us? 
But if we're careful, he will always know we love him. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

This is a shout out to Yvette and Mikayla. We all miss you guys. Utah is lucky.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Who I met!!!

When we were in Utah, out of sheer luck we got to meet Peter Breinholt. My darling friend wanted to go to a live taping of Good Things Utah for her birthday and he just happened to be performing on the show that day!

AND he happened to be performing my favorite song of his, but it's also one of my favorite songs of all time!!!

When he started singing my girls and I just got so excited, we couldn't believe it.

I have the biggest, cheesiest grin because I was so happy! I gushed all over the poor man about how much we love him and his music, and then I apologized for gushing, and he said, "No, no. I can always use a little gushing." It. Was. Awesome. Seriously.

Listen and fall in love the way we have!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween! Wait, what?

So due to some scheduling conflicts, our Harvest Party at church was a little earlier than normal this year.

Which meant that last Wednesday I realized we needed costumes for 8 people by Saturday. Um. Yeah. Can you say STRESS?

Well, it turned out to be not so bad considering I have very awesome children who are much more adaptable and easy going than I give them credit for.

I told them that we had almost zero money for costumes this year, and that everyone would have to be outfitted from what we already had in our overly large costume collection.

No one even blinked an eye. And when all was said and done we only spent 5 dollars on a little Halloween makeup and a hat.

And everyone looked great! Charlie went as one of our favorite literary characters-Skullduggery Pleasant, the Skeleton Detective. While Anne Marie's costume doubled as a opera singer and a brunette Rapunzel, depending on her mood at the moment.

Julia had her heart set on being a vampire. *sigh* long gone are the days of princesses for this girl. Last year she was a mercenary, this year a vampire. What's next? The swamp thing?  Kate is all about princesses now. And yes, that is my prom dress from 1992.

Nora was an orange witch thanks to Grandma's birthday present. And Henry ended up being a scary muscle guy. He had about 4 different wardrobe changes before settling on such an "original" costume.

And finally, Jeff and I. My sister gave me the great idea of going as a pregnant 50's housewife and a milkman.
However, Jeff felt that was a tad inappropriate for a church function. Whatevs Mr. Appropriate pants.

So I went as a pregnant housewife anyway, just to show him! (Not really. I actually wear everything I used for my costume, so it was just easier)

And Jeff managed to fit into a Central Washington University band uniform that was obviously made for a 5 ft tall girl. We were both a hit, but he was a show stealer.

So there you have it. If you are ever low on mulah and need a good costume, come on over! ( A few people actually did!) We seriously have more costumes than people and can mix and match like nobody's business!

I'll be surprised if any of the kids wear the same costumes for the actual day of Halloween. But no biggie. We have plenty to spare.

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