Monday, November 8, 2010

A(nother) Public Service Announcement

I've heard it more times than I can count in the past two months..."Why aren't you blogging anymore?" I've felt guilty about it more times than I can count, too, which is kind of lame. For crying out loud...I often shower just to change into a clean pair of jammies, I'm single-handedly ruining all three of my kids and I eat way too many Pretzel M&Ms...I have plenty to feel guilty about without adding blog neglect. (Sidebar: I'm in p90x rehab for the M&M issue. I've had the same bag of Pretzel M&Ms in my pantry for 3 1/2 weeks now. That's a personal best.)

Anyway...I read something online and it's irritating me into blogging submission. Some of you couldn't care less, and that's okay too, but I'm feeling the need to share.

Did you catch that? Couldn't care less. This morning I was reading an article on my AOL homepage. (I'm really more of an MSN girl, but I'm also borderline computer illiterate and haven't investigated how to change it. Another day maybe.) The author made the comment that she "could care less" about a situation in her life. Inside I screamed. I know there are SO many more important issues in the world, but come on. It's bad enough when the general public misuses the phrase. When a "writer" does it, I have to say something.

The actual phrase is couldn't care less. If you incorrectly say "could care less" you're negating the whole premise of your comment. Let me explain:

If I say that I couldn't care less that Jane's boyfriend is cuter than mine--hypothetically speaking, that is not an announcement--I am saying that it is absolutely impossible for me to care any less than I do that my boyfriend isn't as cute as Jane's. That is rock bottom on the care meter, and it is the message that the phrase is supposed to convey: that I absolutely DO NOT CARE. If I say "I could care less", I am expressing that there is room in the universe for me to care less than I do, therefore I CARE at least a tiny bit, which is not what the phrase means at all. If you're ever unsure, think about it like this: I care a tiny bit (could care less) that Jane's boyfriend is cuter than mine OR I don't care at all (couldn't care less) that Jane's boyfriend is cuter than mine because my boyfriend is still cute and he's also a Nobel Prize winner working on a cure for cancer. (Still with the hypothetical.) Couldn't care less.

So you came to my blog because I finally updated it after two months of silence and I ruined your day with my grumpy tirade...and I couldn't care less. Haha I'm joking!!! I could totally care less... ;)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

On a Lighter Note...

...after months of deliberation and weeks of serious concern that I wouldn't be able to come up with anything on the scale of last year's costume, I have finally determined what to dress Seth as for Halloween this year.

Imagine this:

As this:

Funny, right? As Brig likes to point out, this is why I have kids.

ps I'm getting feedback that since the blog redesign, some people are unable to post comments. I don't know how to fix it! Sorry :(

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Little Things

A couple of weeks ago a woman at church asked me if Seth is close to 2 yet. When I said he'll be 2-years-old next month, she said almost under her breath, "Wow, that went by fast." I knew she wasn't really talking about Seth, it was more of a sudden awareness that it's already been two years since Matt died. We mark that passage of time by subtracting one month from Seth's age. It's been two years tomorrow.
I was going through some pictures last night, looking for one for another post, and stumbled upon this:

It's a message Brigham wrote on the cover for Matt's casket. It tears my heart out. Sometimes I wish my boys' father was a jerk so they'd actually be better off without him, but he wasn't and they absolutely adored him. He would walk in the door after a full day at work and Brigham and Hunter would run toward his open arms at full speed, often knocking him flat on his butt. Sometimes I was jealous that they got the first home-from-work hug, but after a conversation with Hunter tonight I'm glad.
We went to the cemetery this evening. Usually the boys don't like to get out of the car, and I don't feel like I should push them, but tonight Hunter sweetly offered to go with me to "our" grave. As we stood together looking at Matt's headstone, Hunter told me he was thinking about Dad at our old house. "What part?" I asked. "About how he used to walk in the door," he answered.
On the way home I thought about that phrase..."It's the little things that matter most"...and I thought about how quickly the little things can become enormous things. Little things like walking in the door.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

An Equal Opportunity Quilt Post

Right now I am working on what is shaping up to be my all-time favorite quilt. I went to bed last night with all twelve squares pinned together and laid out on my kitchen island. When I woke up this morning and came down stairs, my first thought was "'s even cuter than I remember it being!" From the fabrics to the color scheme to the whole overall piece, it's pretty near perfect. It makes me kiss my fingertips and do that little Italian hand gesture in the air. And it's not even edible! But it's a I can't post pictures until I mail it off next week. Sorry.

But I can post a picture of the quilt I finished and delivered last week. It's the big sister quilt to the one I did for Alexa a few months ago:

All this quilt talk is making me concerned that I'm neglecting my male readers, so for the sake of balance I was thinking I'd post a picture of an awesome Smith & Wesson revolver I've been eyeing:

But somehow I don't really think that helped...sorry fellas.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Blackberry Cream Cheese Pie

I had this friend in college. Her name was Vella and she made cheesecake. Not Jello-brand-from-a-powder-and-milk cheesecake, but real baked-in-the-oven-in-a-springform-pan cheesecake. Until this point in my life I had only known the former and actually had no idea that real people could even make the latter...So sheltered... Anyway, Vella's ability to make flavor after flavor of real, legitimate cheesecake fascinated me. I've thought about it just often enough over the years to buy a springform pan, but not often enough to take it out of the box.

It's really a matter of patience and commitment. I lack both. If I could just dumb it down and shorten the process, I'd be all over it.

On that note, I give you Cream Cheese Pie (courtesy of my friend Krista who I did not bother to ask about posting this recipe). It's not even close to Vella cheesecake, but light years above the Jello stuff in the box-- and it's so easy! First I'll tell you how Krista makes it, then I'll tell you how I make it. hahahaha

1/2 pint heavy whipping cream whipped on highish until foamy, add 3 oz. of softened cream cheese and mix well, but not too much. Add 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 tsp. of vanilla. Whip until fluffy and pour into a graham cracker crust.

My interpretation was pretty much the same except I wanted it to fill up the crust a little more. So I used 1/2 pint of whipping cream plus about 1/3 cup, the whole 8 oz block of cream cheese (if you use the kind with 1/3 less fat, it's already soft and you don't have to soften it more) and about 3/4 c. of sugar with 1 cap full of vanilla. But then I didn't actually measure any of my extras...

I've never claimed to be a photographer, but I also never make anything if I don't first know what it's supposed to look like, so here ya go:

And just as an added bonus, I had to document something that Seth likes that doesn't provoke itching, vomiting and puffiness. Yay pie filling.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Big Unveil

I love a good remodel. I'm pretty open about that. But as I've checked house projects off the list, I've started to get bored and restless again. And me bored and restless is an ugly thing. So I started to wonder what else I could possibly remodel...

I met with a plastic surgeon.

Hahaha! Because if you can't remodel your house, why not remodel yourself?! For reasons I won't even go into, that didn't go anywhere. (Sidebar: no one should use the world "flanks" to describe the female human body. Really. Who can feel feminine with flanks?) While you have to admit it's kind of funny, funny doesn't do much to cure boredom and restlessness. If you get your kicks from remodeling, truthfully, nothing else is going to do.

My blog-guru sister came to the rescue. I think my mom might have put her up to it with the hopes that I'd start blogging again, but here it is: the blog remodel! My friend Cami took some pictures, I made a few sketches & pulled some ink pads to create the color palette, Ami worked her magic and waa-waa! (That's voila when you're a kindergartner.) Go ahead and tell us how cute it is. We're all ears.

So now that the blog has been remodeled...?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

If Your Friends Jumped Off a Bridge

Even though I rarely get around to blogging any more, I still see life from a blogger's perspective. Stuff happens and I think--Oh I should blog that! Today I got all excited about the kind of excited where you have a secret and can't wait to tell I had made a discovery that, when shared, had the power to change lives...not like a cure for cancer kind of thing, but close. Another purpose for over-ripe bananas kind of thing. I know, HUGE.

After an arduous day in the pool with the little men, this afternoon was feeling kind of like a gooey warm brownie afternoon. But I was out of eggs. I figured there had to be an easy alternative so I googled it. (Sidebar: Do you even remember the days before "google" was a verb?) Anyway, imagine my ridiculous excitement upon learning that half of a banana mashed up works as a substitute for an egg in things like cakes and brownies!! Yeah, HUGE!! Who doesn't need a use for dying bananas besides banana bread?! I'm trying to convey here how excited I really was about this, but I don't know that I'm getting the point across. Remember that one time I tried pretzel M&M's for the first time? The time I bought myself that fabulous flowered ring for Christmas? The time I had a mid-life crisis and went to Montana to be a cowgirl yogini? Wait. That's next week. The time I designed the most fabulous fireplace ever? Okay, that's how excited I was about this banana-instead-of-a-couple-eggs thing.

My excitement was SOOO misplaced. Long story short...if all your friends decide to jump off a bridge you probably shouldn't try that either.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Sign

Despite your comments, Facebook messages, texts, phone calls and doorstep pleadings, when I made my last post I had every intention of it actually being my last post. Some of you didn't take me seriously anyway, so I guess it'll come as no surprise that here I am posting. But I had to...I saw a an-image-of-Virgin-Mary-on-my-grilled-cheese-sandwich kind of sign...

Look what I found when I went to clean the glass on my back door:

I have no idea who it is, but I think it's a sign that I'm supposed to keep blogging. Too bad I cleaned it off. If I left it until after I posted, there coulda been a shrine with people holding candles in my back yard right now. ;)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Announcing... retirement from the blogging world. I'm so serious.

I spent all afternoon crafting a much-requested post for your reading pleasure. It was a rather detailed post relating a simple, kind of silly thing I was really excited about today. Then with one misplaced keystroke I ruined it. The only way to fix it would be to start over again, which I'm too angry to waste my time doing. It's probably more than just that that has me feeling like I'm about to boil over right now, but I need a scapegoat. If I had an idiot to berate or a block of wood to smash some nails into, or an idiot to berate, or some cheap dishes to throw against my cinder block wall (and someone else to do the clean-up), or an idiot to berate, the blog might not be getting the ax. But I don't, so it is.

p.s. I was blogging about the new Pretzel M&M's. Try them. They're my new fave.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Laundry Room Redo

Recently I was talking to a new friend of mine about my well-documented boy drama. She could relate to the situation in a way most people can't: she is about the same age I am and her husband was killed in an accident about a month before Matt. We don't know each other well, but it's amazing how clued-in you can become to someone else's life when you share something of that magnitude. Her parting words to me were: "Well, sounds like you better call your contractor friend and remodel something."

Oh yeah, she's got me pegged. Every bout of extreme boredom and loneliness in the last year and a half has been followed by remodeling or creating of some kind. But I didn't think it was fair to start another project when I still haven't blogged pics of the remodel a very lonely Christmas and New Year brought on. While it wasn't the first element of the last phase of remodeling, I'll start with the laundry room.


Boring, bland laundry room with absolutely no wow factor and even less storage...seriously uninspiring...

Now I'm not one who needs an incentive to do laundry. For me it is it's own incentive. I like how routine and systematic it is. It relaxes me and I love thinking about how much I'm accomplishing in the day when the machines are actually doing most of the work. But every time we come and go from the house throughout the day, we go through the laundry room. So I wanted it to look more like an entry way, not like a drab utility room.

When I had the crown moulding ripped out of the piano room to do the ceiling in there (another post, sorry!) I had the carpenters move it into the laundry room and powder room. Crown moulding in the laundry room...*sigh*

I had these knobs custom painted for the cabinetry. How fun are those?! Since I took these pictures they have been installed on the cabinets. A friend stopped by the other day and said "These are SO you!" That's one of my favorite compliments, when people see really cute stuff and say it makes them think of me.

I'm not just saying this for the sake of the blog post, but I have to go rotate some laundry now.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Funky Flower Quilt

My friend Krista asked me to make a quilt for her daughter's birthday this week. Having all boys myself, I love the opportunity to do anything girly so of course I said yes. But I am a girly-girl and Krista's girls are funky-girls. So I couldn't get away with a remake of the rose quilt. The pattern we decided on came together quickly and ended up being cuter than I thought it would be.

Krista and the funky girls used to live next door, but they moved last weekend. So instead of being able to pop over to check on my progress, I have to post pictures on the blog for her to see how the quilt has turned out:

Since she chose the fabrics, I'm pretty sure Krista will like it. I'm just hoping it makes the 8-year-old happy!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Not Just a Pretty Face

Have you ever known someone who, on the surface, just didn't seem too bright? But every now and then they'd say something that gave you the idea that the wheels were turning up there after all?

If you've read this blog more than a couple of times, you might have noticed that we sometimes refer to Hunter as the family cheerleader. He has this sweet, happy-go-lucky way of living life that sometimes makes him seem...well...not all there.

But sometimes he gives himself away. Today we went to his future elementary school for developmental assessment for kindergarten. The woman doing the testing asked him if he could please try counting as high as he could go. "By fives or tens?" he asked.

Monday, April 5, 2010

My Loss is Your Gain

I've been trying all day to figure out how to write this post without mentioning the origin of the sentiment, but it's not possible. This is my blog and I blog my life. But in fairness to the other party I'll be vague. Sort of.

I have just survived one of the most painful weekends of my life. Unfortunately the pain isn't over, but at least the weekend is. That sounds dramatic, I know, but it's true. Until recently I haven't dated since Matt's death. And if it were completely up to me I probably still wouldn't. But this guy just sort of...happened. He is cute, and charming, and funny, and smart--not to mention awesome with my boys, and did I say cute? Seriously dreamy blue eyes. I'm a sucker for laugh lines.

So we went out...and then we went out again...and again...and a few more 'agains'. And there were times when I knew it wasn't going to go anywhere but I wanted it to because he fit 19 of the 23 "Requirements for a Guy" as I have outlined in my Blackberry. Plus I said he's cute, remember? But as of this weekend we're not dating anymore...because I'll always belong to another man. His decision, not mine. I wish I could express how intensely painful it is to be rejected over something like that, something that will never go away, something over which I have no control, something he knew before he started dating me.

Saturday afternoon, right in the middle of the break-up, I went upstairs to get Seth after his nap. Right at the top of the stairs is a really beautiful, rather large picture of Matt. I crumbled in a heap on the floor and sobbed into my arms when I saw it. As mascara-stained tears soaked my sleeve I thought of how I had betrayed my deceased husband...for nothing...for a man who could never see past my circumstances to who I am and love me like Matt had. Or at all. I cried so hard that a pool of slimy, clear snot formed on my arm with a steady stream still connecting it to my nose.

About the time there was a break in the sobs, my dear sister walked in with Specimen #2. Sisters are good that way. So here it is, the All-American Chocolate Cake from Costco:

I cheered up just for a little bit. Sunday I spent most of the day crying again, and as I sacked out on the couch with a blanket and tissues I apologized to my kids for being a crappy mom. They insisted I'm not a crappy mom. "Really? What's not crappy about me?" I asked. "You gave us chocolate cake for dinner last night," they said, "and a crappy mom would never give their kids chocolate cake for dinner."

Thursday, April 1, 2010

He's No Fool

Brig is in the 2nd grade. The 2nd grade discipline system at his school is based on each student starting the day with a certain number of stars, which get taken away during the day for various infractions. At the end of the day the teacher writes the number of stars each student ended up with on their folders. They bring them home, the parent signs to indicate they are aware of the student's behavior, and the folders go back to the teacher the next day. If a parent forgets to sign the folder, the kid automatically loses a star.

Brig has never lost a star. I'm pretty sure it would be catastrophic for him. While I have reassured him many times that I will still love him and be proud of him if he does, he doesn't feel like he can risk it.

This morning Brig brought me his folder to sign and informed me that I had forgotten to sign the day before. He should have lost a star, "but it's okay," he said. "I just told Mrs. M you were grouchy that day and she said 'No biggie'."

His perfect star record remains untarnished...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Chocolate Cake Trifecta

I could argue on any day of the week that chocolate cake is the foundation of dessert cuisine. Remove it, and the whole food pyramid crumbles. For me, there is no treat as satisfying as really good chocolate cake, and nothing more dissatisfying than bad chocolate cake. You might be tempted to think that chocolate cake is, merely by its nature, good. Not so. Sometimes chocolate cake is just brown. Homemade chocolate cake is almost always good, but for some reason, when you venture out into the realm of bakeries and restaurants the more likely verdict is that it's just brown.

After spending years in field research on the subject, I feel completely confident putting a wager on a chocolate cake trifecta. Over the next few weeks...or months... I'll introduce you to all 3 contenders. (I have to pace myself: these cakes are huge and I can't post if I'm in a sugar coma.)

Specimen number 1, The Black-Out Cake from Cheesecake Factory:

That is real whipped cream folks. Essential to a really good chocolate cake. You don't necessarily have to have cream on chocolate cake for it to be good, but if you do it must be real whipped cream. Go anywhere near it with Cool Whip and you've just knocked it down to mediocre, regardless of how good the cake is on its own.

The pictures will have to suffice because I'm at a loss for words. I just let Brig have a couple of bites. His eyes rolled back into his head like a Great White shark moving in for a kill. I think that means it's good.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

At Least He's Cute

I don't know why, but blogging has shifted to chore status for me lately, and not even one of my favorite chores (vacuuming and laundry). I used to look at life from a blogging perspective...for about a year every worthwhile moment/experience/thought/event was accompanied by the notion that I should blog it. Something has changed for me recently. Some of you have noticed it too. I received the following message from a friend on Facebook this evening:

"I really really need a new blog post from you. I always look forward to them! Get Seth a straight jacket and strap him to post. You can get something done then. :) "

Both timely and ironic.

Seth is our family scapegoat. Any negative outcome or undesirable hiccup in any situation is blamed on Seth. Every phone off the hook, every clean laundry pile unfolded, every cup of water spilled, every toy bin dumped out, every bag of Cheerios found smashed into the carpet, every toilet played in, every drawer removed and overturned, every meal thrown up, every full box of cereal found emptied on the floor, every late arrival to any function or cancellation of the activity ALL gets blamed on Seth. In defense of the rest of the family, 9 times out of ten--it really is Seth's fault. In Seth's defense, he's taking it well. Though while I'm here and have the opportunity, I'm going to blame my recent blogging slump on him too. Because this is what I find when I try to get anything done with him around:

Oh Seth. Dozens of times a day I hear little voices insist "it was Seth!" 9 times out of ten, I sigh and mumble, "At least he's cute." For the time being anyway...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Cutest Quilt Ever

Hey remember that one time I had a blog?...and I posted things on it?...regularly? Me too. I know, I've been lame lately. It's not that we haven't had interesting things going on around here. Quite the opposite in fact--we've had so many interesting things going on around here that I can't be bothered to blog and only the seriously dramatic amputation stories make it on. I think we're done with those for a little while (though I will give you a yummy after pic in the next few days) so now I can just catch up with the not as dramatic stuff.

The day before Seth's accident I finished that quilt I was working on. Since it finally made it to its intended recipient last week I thought I'd show you the finished product. I had to get it in the mail before I had a change of heart and sold it to the highest bidder! It really is one of my all-time favorite projects:

I'm trying to decide on the color palette for the next one...sadly, it too already has a designated recipient.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Cautionary Tale for Crazy Babies Everywhere

Seth is a handful. Anyone who knows him personally knows this about him. He is a 15-month-old force to be reckoned with. Our neighbor friend calls him Sethanator, I call him Little Monster, his brothers call him Baby get the idea. Today he is slightly less of a handful, but only literally, and today we're adding "Mr. Stubs" to his well-earned and expanding collection of nicknames.

Last night he chopped the end of his finger off.

All 3 boys were playing in the front yard with the babysitter. Mr. B turned his bike upside down and was spinning the pedals. Word on the street is that this is a super fun game. Seth thought so anyway. He reached out and stuck his chubby little finger in the bike chain, which cut it right off. (We still haven't found it.)

It took three of us to hold Seth down for this shot...Did I mention he's a handful? The x-ray doesn't do it justice since the 2nd finger wasn't straight at the time the x-ray was taken and it obviously omits the blood and gore an actual photo wouldn't. I'd post an actual photo, but every time Seth's finger was exposed last night it gushed blood...which made picture taking feel irresponsible...But, if you hold your hand up and look at your index finger and imagine everything north of the nailbed is gone and then imagine that there's a bone visibly poking out from the center of that, you'll get a good idea of what Seth's finger looks like.

Right now he's bandaged up to his elbow, with a tube sock over that so he can't rip off the bandages. He doesn't know that he should be miserable and very still. He also doesn't know that he shouldn't chew on his stump and thump it on things, which is a little disturbing. We meet with a hand surgeon tomorrow, so we'll know more about the fate of the rest of his finger then.

If you thought taking care of a rambunctious baby was hard, try taking care of a rambunctious baby on heavy narcotics. Holy Smokes. I need a nap.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

For My Mom Who Cannot Imagine What a Fried Egg Flower Might Look Like

A couple nights ago I was happily sewing along on my latest project while I chatted on the phone with my mom. She asked what I was working on and when I said only the cutest flower quilt EVER, she asked what the flowers looked like. I guess my description "like fried eggs with two more layers" didn't conjure up mental images of a very cute flower. Hopefully this helps:

Friday, January 1, 2010

Resolution for 2010

Thinking back to last New Year's Day, I can't help but be a little disappointed with this New Year's Day. If I'm writing candidly, I have to admit that I'm nowhere near where I thought I'd be a year ago. I'd be ungrateful if I didn't acknowledge the positive things that have happened for my family in 2009, but still I think I set my expectations a little high.

Probably from thinking about this combined with everyday stress and tension, the other day I had a massive headache. A headache so bad that at a couple of points I thought death would be less painful. Then I ate an apple and my headache morphed into little more than a dull pain. I started thinking about that show "Mythbusters"...

I hate that show. Ordinarily I try to avoid use of the word "hate" because it's so negative. But I really hate that show. Is it that one guy's seriously annoying mustache that leads me to feel so strongly about the show? Or is it the fact that whenever it's on I find myself internally begging these morons to grow up and find a real job? But if I really think about it, these people are being paid lots of money to figure out whether or not there's any legitimacy to MacGyver's escape tactics so who am I to begrudge them that?

Back to my headache and the apple...I'm pretty sure it was the motion of chewing and the pressure of the apple on my teeth that relaxed my jaw and decreased the intensity of the pain in my head. But the old adage came to mind: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." What if there's something to that? What if the healing powers of the basic apple extend beyond TMJ and headaches?

RESOLVED, and thereby infinitely lowering my expectations for 2010, I am going to test the apple a day theory by eating an apple every single day for the entire year. I'm being influenced by the handful of episodes of Mythbusters I've suffered through for sure, but what could it hurt? By the end of the year I could be in better shape than ever and planning a vacation with the money I've saved on copays.