Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Handmade Gifts: Dishtowels

I didn't get to finish as many gifts as I had hoped to this year, but I was able to knock out a few. I made photo dishtowels for several people on my list using old photographs of my grandparents and pairing them with quotes I found.

With this picture of my Grandma Bonnie the quote said, "A dame that knows the ropes isn't likely to get tied up."

This is a picture of all the girls on the Jensen side of my family back in the day. The quote said, "For me sitting still is harder than any kind of work."

This is a collection of the towels. For my friend Sandy and my mother-in-law, Betty, I scanned in their favorite family recipes and put those on their towels, but I didn't get pictures of them!

Now that I'm home I need to make a few of these towels for myself. They are mainly for decoration since I don't know exactly how long the iron-on transfers will hold up. I advised everyone not to wash a car with the towels.

There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays: Our Time in Salt Lake

On Christmas Day we drove back to Salt Lake to spend more time with the Longs and have a nice Christmas dinner.

We were back and forth between Salt Lake and Price several times during our trip. While the last part of the trip in Salt Lake was mostly filled with caring for Evan and his little virus, our time in Salt Lake before that made up for it. Grandma Betty and Papa Stu took Evan sledding.

I haven't ridden a sled for years. I felt like a total rookie out there. I think I looked like one too, but it was fun! After sledding, we tried to go to McDonalds for hot chocolate, but they don't have it. So, we settled for the next best thing--ice cream!

While we were in Salt Lake, Evan helped Grandma Betty make her Chex mix.

He also got to have a visit with Santa Clause.

Grandma Betty and Papa Stu know Evan loves fire trucks, so they got him a fire station for Christmas.

He liked playing with his cars (he wasn't feeling very well in these photos).

We had a group family photo taken--I'm eager to see how it turned out. Evan was a little fussy, but hopefully at least one of them will work.
Evan liked pretending he was the baby in this baby seat his cousin Aidric was using.

I have some cute pictures of Evan with his cousins Zavion, Aidric and Cadence, but I don't want to post pictures of other parents' kids without their permission, so they'll have to come in a later post.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays: Our Time in Price

We had such a great time in Utah and enjoyed spending time with family. Evan loved being spoiled by his grandmas and grandpas. Most of you know I'm from the town of Price, and I loved every minute of being back in my hometown. There are so many things that I miss about Price, such as being able to get to Wal-Mart in less than five minutes and bumping in to people you know while shopping. It was great just to be with my mom and spend time making cookies and candy and getting ready for Christmas. I liked watching Evan play at my parents' house--the same house I grew up in.

My brother Duane popped in for a visit (you can do that when you work for the airlines). He was instructing at Top Gun school for the Navy in Nevada and finished early. So, he hopped a commercial flight and spent the weekend with us. Evan loves playing with Duane and I need to get some video of how cute it sounds when Evan says, "Doooane."

You can see my mom sporting a brace on her little finger from her little accident a day earlier.

On Christmas Eve my brother Todd and his family came over for our traditional Chinese food dinner. Ye old legend has it that my Grandpa TN helped a Chinese family obtain their citizenship way back in the olden days and as a thank you, that family treated my dad's family to dinner on Christmas Eve--hence our Chinese food tradition.

We played a little $5 gift game where each person brought a gift, we drew numbers, and then you could pick a gift or steal from someone else.

During the game, my brother Todd originally opened up licorice, but my dad stole it from him. Todd's second gift was a lovely pair of daisy sandals, which he wore the rest of the night.

On Christmas morning, I wasn't feeling very well so Bryan got up with Evan and let me sleep in for a bit. They finally woke me up and we opened all of our goodies. Everyone was way too generous! As always.

I was sad when our time in Price was over, but we were on to Salt Lake to enjoy time with Bryan's family. Stay tuned for my next post about our time in Salt Lake!

Four Days Without Sleep

The last four days of our trip to Utah were filled with completely sleepless nights as poor Evan suffered through some soft of awful virus. I came down with the bug first, feeling a little under the weather on Christmas Eve. So much so that I passed on dessert and I have felt badly about not getting a piece of my mom's pumpkin pie ever since.

Evan started showing signs of it on Christmas morning. He would just sit and watch t.v., which he never does. On Christmas Day we drove from my parents' house to my in-laws' house. The first night at their house was a little rough, but the second night was completely miserable. Evan woke up around 10:00 SCREAMING. All caps don't do justice to how horrible the screaming was. At one point I decided he must be possessed. I even held him up to a mirror to make sure I could still see a normal reflection (I watch too many scary movies). Evan rarely cries and I'd never seen him scream like that. He finally fell asleep in our bed, but he really was scaring me. He woke up every hour or so and threw up once all over me, the bed and his beloved Taggie bear. I rinsed Tag off, but he needed a full spin in the washing machine before I could let Evan snuggle him again, which made the rest of the night even harder.

The next morning we took him to an urgent care clinic. The doctor diagnosed him with a virus of some sort and sent us home. A lot of help that was. The third night was even worse than the second and we found ourselves driving around until 2:30 in the morning trying to calm Evan down. Being sick at home is hard enough, but being sick at someone else's house is even worse. I felt awful knowing we were keeping four other adults, another toddler and a baby awake. I tried thinking of somewhere we could go, but the list of people who wouldn't mind us showing up in the middle of the night with a screaming toddler is limited. I settled on my friend Sandy and was about to call her when I decided I should let her get a good night's rest. We contemplated going to a hotel, but neither Bryan nor I really wanted to pack up in the middle of the night. I think Evan was just so stuffy that he'd try to breathe and when he couldn't, he'd panic. That panic resulted in the screams. Those screams turned into frustration on mine and Bryan's parts.

Our last night in Utah went a little better. I invested in a humidifier and every version of a Vick's product I could find, which seemed to help. We had all been staying in the same room, so Bryan and I finally decided we should take the couches and leave Evan in the bedroom to minimize how much we were disturbing Evan. We at least had a few hours of sleep in us before the crying started.

We got up around 4:00 and were off to the airport by 5:30. Those many sleepless nights meant Evan slept the whole way home and he even did 12 hours in his bed last night. All I can say is thank you. I needed the rest. My cold has continued to get worse, but luckily Evan's has gotten better. I think he is just about back to normal. I hope. So, that is how we spent the last part of our trip and why we didn't get to do all the things we had saved to the end, like more visits with friends and family in Salt Lake.

We're happy to be home, but we definitely enjoyed our marathon trip to Utah. I didn't intend to take a vacation from blogging, but it just worked out that way. I have lots of pictures to post and stories to tell! I'll be posting in between sniffles to make up for lost time.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Hurrieder I Go, the Behinder I Get

I first learned this saying from my grandma and now it is one I find myself saying often. Typically it is after I've made some stupid little mistakes that could have been avoided if I'd only slowed down a little. 

Yesterday it was my mom's turn to utter those words--but, unfortunately, she ended up saying them after she got home from the emergency room. We were on our way in the house from a nice lunch out when she hurried up the porch steps and stumbled, hitting her hand on the brick of the house. I was getting Evan out of the car and didn't see what happened, but I heard my dad ask her if she was okay. She kept holding her hand and I could tell something was wrong, so I rushed over. 

She was holding her pinkie finger and said, "I think I need stitches." There was a big gash in her finger. Yikes! I agreed with her. Just then, she turned her hand a little and we both realized her little finger was in the shape of the letter Z. The top of the finger bent backwards. 

My dear, sweet mom suddenly developed the mouth of a sailor. I don't think she'd mind me telling everyone. Bryan later told me he'd never heard my mom talk like that. We were both looking at her finger when she said, "*@!#, I think I broke my finger." There was no doubt in my mind given that it was frozen in the awful shape. I just kept looking at until Bryan told me I was going to make myself sick. 

I ran in the house to get her an ice pack and a towel. Bryan got her in the car--all the while she was telling him, "I don't have time for this." That and a few choice words.  My dad drove my mom to the hospital. All this happened about an hour and a half before some friends were coming over for a little get together. We of course had to cancel. I think she was more upset about that than anything else. 

My mom came home a few hours later with some stitches and a brace on her finger. It was only dislocated and not broken. Bryan and my dad seemed to enjoy the awful story about the sounds the finger made while being moved back into place, but I still get a little sick to my stomach when I think about it! 

This morning when I asked my mom how her finger was doing, she said fine and added, "The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get." It is so true. So, I'm going to try to remember that as I finish the hustle and bustle that is sure to ensue over the next few days. 

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Christmas Newsletter

Since Bryan and I got married, I have done some type of Christmas newsletter. I guess that makes this our eight Christmas together and what should be our eight newsletter. While our marriage is solid, the future of the Christmas newsletter isn't looking good. I haven't written this year's yet and if I don't hurry, Christmas have come and gone and I'll have wasted all those nutcracker stamps I waited in line at the post office to buy. 

I'm not sure what the hold up is. I guess it is that I don't really feel like we have any great stories to share this year. As exciting as it was for us when Evan finally learned to walk, I'm not sure anyone else will really care. 

I think the biggest problem is I never gave myself a deadline for the project. Ultimately it is Dec. 25, right? But really I should get them out well...ummmm...last week. I am great with deadlines for my editors, but on my own projects, well, not so much. 

I hope to get it in the mail by Monday. That means I have to write it today, get it copied tomorrow and addressed on Sunday. I better get cracking! 

Thursday, December 18, 2008

And the Winner Is...

The winner of my first little blog give away is (drumroll...) Missy! I'll get those in the mail to you right away! 

Monday, December 15, 2008

That Grandpa Jerry

Evan has been enjoying the heck out of his time with the grandparents. Grandpa Jerry knows how much Evan likes to throw rocks in water to make a splash, so when he saw a galvanized tub in his shed, he knew exactly what he had to do with it. 

He also had to get a hose out of the shed, since it had been put away for the winter. He gathered a big bucket of rocks before he came in to the house to get Evan to show him the set up. Evan loved every minute of the rock throwing and the splashes it made. He was more than happy to splash even more in the puddles that resulted from the rocks. 

Needless to say, Evan has been a very happy boy since arriving in Utah. 

My First Blog Giveaway

To make up for my week of bad blogging, I thought I would do my first blog giveaway. My friend Sandy and I made these "naughty or nice" gift tags. We thought they were cute. I'll give away a set of six--three green and three red. So, leave a comment by Dec. 17--let's say midnight mountain time--and I'll use a random number generator to pick the winner. You have pretty good odds of winning! :-)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Evan's First Adventure in Snow

We've been in Utah for one week now and this weekend Evan had his first memorable adventure with snow. Bryan pulled him on a sled and Evan impressed us with his new word combination--"I go! I go!"

Bryan's mom and dad bought the red snowsuit for Evan to use while he is in Utah. We had a fun day out in the elements, but I realized I forgot my hat and gloves! It is cold out there. 

Our first week was filled with catching up with family, finishing up several articles that are due this week and playing Bunco with my mom's Bunco group (I won the prize for low score!). I'm already behind on the number of people I want to see, but hopefully we'll do some fancy scheduling this week and get everything in! 

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Childhood Christmas Parties

When I was little, my mom's annual Christmas party was one of the highlights of the Christmas season. All of my cousins came over, we made homemade root beer and we even got to have a meat tray! Not just any meat tray, a meat tray from R&A Market in Helper, which I still say makes the best salami and capicola in the world (speaking of which, add that to my list of food I am going to have to have while in Utah). Santa even made an appearance now and then.

I scanned these old photos in a while ago and decided to share them. The pictures below have to have been from around 1983 I would guess.

This picture is from a few years later--my cousin Ryan is on the left, my brother Duane is in the middle and my cousin Jason is on the right. I'm not sure what they're doing, but it looks like they're shooting dice. I don't remember gambling going on at the parties, but you never know.

A pinata was always a staple at the party, too. My mom was pretty brave to let us swing a stick inside the house.
My cousin Becca:
My cousin Kendra:
I still love Christmas, but the anticipation is so much different when you are a kid! I can't wait for Evan to feel the same excitment I always did on the holidays. Bryan and I were talking about Santa last night and he said he never really believed. He said it never added up that Santa could visit EVERY house in EVERY country on EVERY continent all in one night going up and down chimneys. I explained time zones to him, but he said he still didn't believe and asked me how the reindeer could fly. Magic I told him. Plain and simple magic. I also reminded him that if he doesn't believe, Santa won't come. I hope Evan will accept my explanations better than Bryan did.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Time to Part with the Leather Pants?

For some reason when I was in college, I absolutely had to have a pair of leather pants. I've never really been a leather-pant wearin' type of girl, so I'm not sure why I thought it was a smart purchase. Nonetheless, I bought the quite expensive pair of pants, wore them out once or twice and then folded them up and put them in the closet. I've moved them from Utah, to Illinois to Virginia--all so they could sit at the top of my closet and remind me I never wear them.

Even though those pants never see the light of day, I just can't part with them. I get close to putting them in the Goodwill bag, and then I think about how expensive they were and how that perfect leather-pant occasion might present itself--a Poison concert or maybe a trip to a biker bar, you never know, of course any of those events would depend on weather or not I could find a babysitter.

If I ever did have a time when I needed to wear leather pants, I'd kick myself for getting rid of mine. I've vowed never to buy another pair--so once these are gone, I've definitely said goodbye to my leather-pant wearing days forever. What do you think--do they stay or do they go?

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Trip Home

This weekend Evan and I are leaving for Utah. I always love a trip "home." I have a whole list of things I want to do while in Utah and I'm realizing a lot of them have to do with food. In Price I have to get a fresh lime soda at Sherald's and a gyro and some cookies at the Greek Streak..and a visit to Salt Lake wouldn't be complete without a trip to Spaghetti Factory, Training Table or Taco Time (we only have Taco Bell out here). Of course there are other things on my list, the most important being having a good visit with friends and family.

With every trip home also comes some apprehension. No matter how much time we have when visiting, it is never enough to see all the people we want to see, do all the things we want to do or be all the places we want to be. I always leave there feeling like I disappointed someone, sad I didn't get to see more people and tired from running around.

Evan and I are going to Utah ahead of Bryan this year and he will join us a little closer to Christmas. That means Evan and I will have three full weeks in Utah even if Bryan has less than that. We are splitting our time equally between my family and Bryan's family, and I hope this year to finally find the right balance between enjoying the vacation and fitting in everything we want to do. This year, Bryan and I have talked about hosting a few get togethers so we can see more people than we usually get to, especially since we'll have a lot more time than usual. I am thinking a cookie exchange would be fun, too...any of my Utah friends interested?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I need some advice...I am preparing Christmas gifts for Evan's preschool teachers (four teachers, the school's director and the administrative assistant). I planned to deliver a jar of homemade jam and scone mix. I've seen the scone mix at the grocery store before and thought the box was pretty. So, I bought gift bags, attached ornaments, put a jar of jam in each bag and then went to the store today to get the scone mix. No scone mix. I ended up buying muffin mix, but it was only $1.50 a box. I thought about going with pancake mix (you can put jam on pancakes, right?), but the box is too big for the bags I have.

My question is--does it look funny to put a box of muffin mix and the jam in the gift bag? When I ask Bryan if it looks stupid he just starts singing, "Do you know the muffin man?" Needless to say, I've given up getting his input. What do you think? This is my first year doing teacher gifts. I don't want to show up looking like an idiot! I wish we had a Lehi Roller Mills here. That was one of my favorite gifts when I lived in Utah. What have been some of your best teacher gifts?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Yay Internet!

I packed up two fairly big boxes of Christmas gifts today so they could get on their way. I was dreading the trip to UPS with the big boxes and a toddler, when it hit me I should do it all online. I had to weigh the packages, which meant digging the bathroom scale out of the closet (no sense in having that thing look me in the face every day) and weighing my boxes.

The scale told me each box weighed 10 pounds, so that is what I told UPS. I didn't see a place to add in that my scale could be wrong, since it also told me I weigh 120 pounds, which I know isn't possible. That is what I weighed in high school and I definitely have been eating A LOT more peanut M&Ms than I ever ate in high school. I decided just to take that little bit of information as a gift and hope UPS would just charge my credit card if (and when) I owe them any extra money.

I sat the boxes on my porch, shoved the scale back in the closet and avoided the whole hassle of lugging everything to the car and then to the UPS Store. The UPS man just picked the boxes up and it couldn't have been easier. Yay Internet! I did have to pay $8.50 for the pick up, but it was money well spent.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hock! Hock!

In the past month, Evan has fallen in love with hockey. He still likes his football, but when I turn football on, he'll look at me and say hock until I change the channel. Who knew we had a NFL and a NHL channel? I had no idea.

Evan's hockey fascination has been bolstered by the fact that we can go and watch the Washington Capitals (a NHL team) practice. They are a great team and I actually went into labor at a Capitals game back on March 3, 2007.

Evan and I have been regulars at the practices lately and the Caps are probably starting to get a little worried that they might have a stalker. This morning when I asked Evan if he wanted to go and watch hockey, he said, "Yeah." Then he checked me into the boards. We're going to have to work on that.

Evan takes his little stick and holds it up for the players to see when they skate by. So far, no one has so much as smiled at Evan (or me, but I don't think I really count--Bryan has reminded me on more than one occasion that I am YEARS older than all the players who are earning more than we ever will).

I love taking Evan and I think I'm going to have to learn a little more about the rules! I'm also going to have to get a little more used to the gross things boys do, considering today I watched a player blow his nose in his hand and wipe it on the ice. Why do boys do things like that???