November 30, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #30

(I am writing this from 37,336 feet while flying over Caspar, WY, on my phone. Technology is pretty amazing, isn't it?)

30 days. Made it. Paying more attention to what I am thankful for has truly made me more appreciative of the many many blessings I have. I know sometimes it was more of a "here's what I did today and I am thankful for it" and twice I asked my sisters what they were thankful for to get some ideas....but all in all this has been a great experiment in gratitude...and I am thankful for it.

I also realized that I never gave thanks for my wonderful daughter. I am more grateful to have her in my life than just about anything, and she deserves her own post with pictures and eloquent words. But I'm at 37,336 feet and not that good with technology. I know everyone thinks their child is something special, but man, that girl is something special. Love you, El.

November 29, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #29

One of my least favorite pregnancy related changes are the newly acquired varicose veins/spider veins on my left leg. They kind of gross me out (I spared you an actual picture), and I am really hoping they go away after delivery. But while lamenting my unsightly lower limb last night, Jamie pointed out that at least it is winter and I am not wearing shorts.

True, true, true. So here's to cold weather and covered legs.

November 28, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #28

day 205

I give thanks every time I feel her kick.

November 27, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #27




yeah, I'm eating for two

November 26, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #26

Ryan carried Ella and her stroller up and down subway station after subway station today.

Ella's favorite part of the day was not riding the ferris wheel in Toys R Us, but "riding on the train."

Thanks, Dad.

November 25, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #25

We made it.
Ella slept the entire flight.
Not a peep.
Kimmy made a delicious feast.
A great Thanksgiving.

Thanks, family.

November 24, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #24

The pictures from my phone taken while at a stoplight do not come close to doing it justice, but today was gorgeous.

November 23, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #23

Lately I have been one tired mama. But not a fatigued type of tired. An 'I-can't-walk-up-the-stairs-without-stopping-to-rest' kind of tired. We are traveling for the holidays, and I was a little worried about how I would keep up. But today I got a letter from my doctor telling me that there is a reason for my drained state: I am slightly anemic. Hallelujah. That I can fix. And fix I will.

Also, today I am thankful for my husband who knows how to work the Delta SkyMiles agent. Yesterday I had received an email that I was upgraded on our flight to NYC. Yippee. First class. Sweeeeet! But when I checked later on no such upgrade existed. When I called the woman was all snippy, telling me that it had been a mistake and I had been put back in my original seat and the upgrade went to "the person who deserved it." Talk about deflated. Well, long story short, Ryan called and was able get me back to 5C. Thank you!!!

{But really, thanks to my mom who is ever so graciously staying back with Ella (who will hopefully be sleeping). I know, I'm kind of a jerk to even take the upgrade...go ahead and judge...but I am pregnant...and anemic...does that make it any less reprehensible??}

November 22, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #22

Lately I have found Ella's stuffed animals scattered throughout the house placed on "pillows" with "blankets" on top of them. She spends hours rearranging them, putting them to bed, waking them up and reading them stories. It is one of the cutest things I've ever seen. Puts a smile on my face every time.

November 21, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #21

Lately Ella has been waking up around 4 every two or three times a week. She usually goes back to sleep fairly quickly, after a drink or a diaper change. But years of being paged at all hours of the night (often with emergencies requiring me to be awake and alert) has made it hard for me to fall back asleep*. So this latest phase has not been my favorite. But what I am thankful for is what happens in the mornings. Ella has become very very good at playing by herself in her crib. She will play with her stuffed animals contentedly until I come and get her, giving me an extra hour or so to sleep. It has been great. Maybe she can teach her little sister.

*If anyone has any tips on how to fall back asleep quickly, please share. I'm trying to figure it out before February...

November 20, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #20

Costco. Love it. Hate it. But mostly, love it. I know it leads me to buy things that I probably don't need. And it leads to excessive waste. And it can be crazy. But there is something really fun about finding that great item that you can only find at Costco (cut up butternut squash, ribbon, books, jammies, little shoes, Christmas tree, the list goes on...less fun when you find that your bill is $200+). Today Ella and I made a little Costco run and even though it was really crowded it was fun. There was a sense of comradery amongst the madness. People were sharing information "Where did you get that? Have you ever tried that before? Was it good?" and lining up for samples.

So, thank you Costco. I had a good time, and can't wait to try out the new cookbook that I didn't need.

November 19, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #19

A few days ago I was driving home from Park City listening to NPR when I heard a story about Operation Pedro Pan. In the early 1960s Cuban parents began to worry what life would be like under Castro's reign. Fearing for their children's safety and future, they made the agonizing choice to send their babies to Miami under what was dubbed Operation Pedro Pan, a program set up to give visas to children. The children were initially cared for by a Catholic priest and then sent to refugee camps and foster homes. The families hoped they would see their children again but they had no guarantees. As political tensions rose, many families were not able to reunite.

Now 50 years later, these children told their stories. It was heartbreaking to hear them talk about their parent's decisions. As I thought about the little baby coming to our family and my desires to keep her safe and protected, I ached for the mothers who sent their children into the unknown and I had a renewed sense of gratitude for the freedoms and life I enjoy.

November 18, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #18

Today we had a little project to complete. One with a deadline and a budget. It involved printing 200 pages cutting them into 600 pieces. Ryan and I worked on it last night, added finishing touches this morning, and then I headed off to FedEx/Kinko's to get it printed. The helpful associate Breigh gave me a rough estimate of how much the printing/cutting would cost. Around $350, almost 5x more than we had anticipated. So she gave me a few tips: go home and adjust your margins so you can fit three to a page; buy your own cardstock. This got it down to $150.

So I raced home and tried to adjust the margins. I went to Hobby Lobby and bought cardstock. And I came back to Breigh. I wasn't able to completely adjust the margins, but Breigh opened up her fancy little design program and viola, problem fixed. Then she did a test printing. The cardstock I bought turned out to be good for scrapbooking but horrible for printing, and the pictures looked like they had been rubbed with a piece of sandpaper. At this point I didn't have time to go out and buy better cardstock, but it would be $140 more to use Kinko's. Breigh came through once again.
"What if I sold you a ream of our cardstock for $16.99, and then it would be yours..."

Oh, Breigh, thank you, thank you, thank you. You not only made our project beautiful, but you reminded me how wonderful it can be when people go the extra mile. Tomorrow I'll try to pay it forward.

November 17, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #17

{ornament from my Great-Grandmother's collection}

I am one of those people that considers it slightly sacrilegious to put up your Christmas decor until November has come and gone. November 30--no go. December 1--check.

But today when my wonderful mother-in-law offered to help me decorate...and when I realized that we won't be around for much of November...I couldn't resist. I turned on the Pandora Christmas radio (via TiVo--my favorite new obsession) and decked the halls.

Thank you Janet. And come December 1st, I will be thanking you even more.

November 16, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #16

Today I had an OB appointment with an extra ultrasound. Early on there was some concern about the scar from my c-section, and they wanted to make sure things had shaped up nicely. It was one of those things that was probably going to be fine, but if it wasn' could be bad bad bad.

As hoped for, everything looks great. Little baby girl is doing just fine and the scar is right where it should be. Plus, I am now 28 weeks which is a little bit of a magic number.

With all the things that can go wrong in a pregnancy I am so grateful that thus far things are going well.

November 15, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #15

Tonight as we were sitting at dinner Ma Jan asked Ella for a fork. Ella gave a wry smile, looked out of the corner of her eye and quipped,
"What do you saaaay?"

November 14, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #14


They are good to have around.

November 13, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #13

Today our ward completed a three month project. Someone with much greater vision and faith than I organized a "Miracle Makeover." A very deserving family (single mom, child with special needs, never complains) was chosen and their house was completely renovated. People donated old items that were then stripped, painted and metamorphosed into something beautiful. All of the furniture that was originally in the home was sold at a garage sale to fund the project (with the help of donations from church members). And for the past 24 hours members of our ward worked in shifts to tear down and rebuild walls, paint, install plumbing, wire new light fixtures, lay carpet and tile, organize and clean...all before the family arrived in a limo for the great "reveal." The end product was amazing (the pictures snapped from my phone do not do it justice), but what was even better than the home transformation was the sense of comradery and love that was felt as everyone worked together. I am thankful to be a part of such a great neighborhood and church.

November 12, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #12

Tonight I am tired. Bone tired. The past week of being a single parent has caught up with me. I have had plenty of help and nothing all that taxing, but I am wasted. Heaven bless single parents.

Ryan comes home tonight and I am thankful to have him back.

November 11, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #11

This morning Ella woke up at 5:30 wanting a drink. It took me a while to fall back asleep, and as I tossed and turned a bit I thought of how thankful I am to be able to sleep (most of the time). And while it may seem a little trite, it got me thinking about all the other things I can do that I often take for granted. As it usually does, the moment passed and when I woke up I went about my day not giving my abilities much thought. But for 20 minutes or so, in my quarter-asleep state, I was overcome with gratitude for all that I am able to do.

walk. talk. eat. listen. sleep. see. eat. read. drive. learn. eat.

November 10, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #10

Ella turned two this week. I know that theoretically she turned two on August 29th. But it wasn't until November 9th that she started to act like a two-year old. We had two major meltdowns in as many days, enough so that Ryan seriously started to wonder what had happened to our child.

Thankfully Ella and I had a great day today. We snuggled up this morning and read "The Gingerbread Baby" and then later today made Gingerbread Babies of our own. It was a good day, free of major tantrums.

I found this recipe online, which is always a bit of a gamble, but they turned out great.

Soft Gingerbread Cookies Recipe

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup dark molasses
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  1. In a large bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices until well blended. (I like to use a wire whisk but a spoon will work too.)
  2. In another large bowl beat the egg and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.
  3. Add the molasses and butter and beat well.
  4. Add the flour mixture and mix just until blended. (Overworking the dough will make tough cookies.)
  5. Form the dough into a disk shape, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  6. When you are ready to bake the cookies, make sure one of your oven racks is in the center of your oven and preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  7. Line your cookie sheets with silicone liners or parchment paper. Alternatively lightly grease the cookie sheets with shortening or cooking spray.
  8. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thick, getting it as even as you can.
  9. Cut with a 2-inch gingerbread man cookie cutter or your favorite shaped cutter.
  10. Place cookies at least 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets.
  11. When you have cut as many cookies as you can, lightly press the cookie dough scraps together, re-roll the dough and cut out additional cookies.
  12. Bake for about 10 minutes or until they are slightly firm when you touch them lightly with your index finger. (You don't want to let the edges brown or over-bake them or they will be very hard.)
  13. When done, remove pan from the oven and immediately transfer the cookies with a spatula to wire racks to cool completely.

November 9, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #9

Today I am thankful for many things. Great friends, a sweet little girl, good health, a job I enjoy...the list goes on. But one of the things I am finding with this 30 Days of Thanks experiment is that in being more aware of things to be thankful for, I am more aware. It sounds obvious, I know. But it has been eye opening to appreciate some of the little things that previously went unnoticed.

Today it is my garbage can. For the past 6 years I have had a tall garbage can in my pantry. I hate it. It is taller than the shelves and always feels in the way. And gross. But I couldn't figure out a good way around it. Today I had new insight and swapped things around so my recycling is in the pantry (not as gross as smelly food) and my garbage is in a smaller container under my sink. How did I not think of this before???



November 8, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #8

Some days you don't pull it together enough to use the Crock-Pot.

Thanks, Bajio.

November 7, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #7

Right now, most of my house looks like this:

But there is one drawer that looks like this:

And one pantry that looks like this:

And that very small island of organization keeps me from going completely nuts. Ella was crazy today, we only had about 50% of the ingredients to make dinner tonight (and it was tuna fish sandwiches and nachos--not something fancy), and, as mentioned, my house is a wreck. But looking at this drawer and the pantry reminds me that in a very small part of my house there is some semblance of order.

And for that I am thankful {and mostly sane}.

November 6, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #6

Ella loves it when her "Uh-hul Aa-on" comes over. Loves it.

Thanks, Aaron.

November 5, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #5

Today I had to go to a potentially awkward work lunch. It was one of those things that could either go really well or be really uncomfortable and I was anxious about it. Pit in the stomach type of anxious. So I said a little prayer that I would be at ease and it would go well.

And you know what? It went great. I was calm and everything went smoothly.

Thank heavens for answered prayers.

November 4, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #4

Today I spent the day with dear old friends and dear new (ish) friends and with this little darling

who said, "Are you so excited to be at home with your Ella?"

I was.

Thanks to all the people who make my life sweet.

November 3, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #3

This one may be a bit premature. I hope I don't jinx myself.

I am not a fan of mice. I am really not a fan of mice in my kitchen. Most years, around this time, the mice in our neighborhood decide that our kitchen is more cozy than their nest outside. Some years I handle it okay. Some years I don't. One year I had a minor breakdown where I became physically ill, complete with fevers and vomiting.

I don't like mice in my kitchen.

This year I attempted a preemptive strike. I bought three ultrasonic mouse repellent plug-ins. According to the internet they don't work. But it was worth a try. I also bought poison (in little bags they have to chew through) and placed it outside.

I'm not sure of the reason, but so far I haven't seen any evidence of the little critters. And for that I am truly thankful.

November 2, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #2

Cookie Cutters

We got Ella's first official haircut today. We went to a kid-friendly salon called Cookie Cutters. They had Dora, balloons, and suckers. Ella was in heaven and I think it turned out darling. Thank you Cookie Cutters.

November 1, 2010

30 Days of Thanks #1 might just want to remove me from your reader for the next 30 days. I'm going to shake things up a bit. One of my friends does a "30 Days of Thanks" on her blog, and each day she highlights one thing she is grateful for. I could probably use a little more gratitude in my blessed life, so I thought I'd follow her lead. President Thomas S. Monson spoke on gratitude recently, and he said,
My beloved friend President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “When you walk with gratitude, you do not walk with arrogance and conceit and egotism, you walk with a spirit of thanksgiving that is becoming to you and will bless your lives.
Seeing as how I'm starting to feel a little bovine like, something a little becoming would probably do me good. But I'm 99.8% sure it will become annoying around day 16. So I won't be at all offended if you delete from your reader and add us back December 1st.

Day #1

The Crock-Pot

On most Mondays we dine at Bajio, as I am scrambling to find something for dinner after coming home from work. But today I broke out the Crock-Pot and a warm, inexpensive, homemade meal awaited us. It wasn't anything gourmet, but it was pretty good. And it was ready when I got home. Thank you Crock-Pot.