Tuesday, January 6, 2015


I've realized recently that I really like making things. I don't know that I'd call myself a crafty person, but maybe I'm just in denial. The only reason I like Halloween is because I like making costumes. And I find it much more fun to make a gift than to buy one.

Henry loves to cook and wash dishes, so we decided to make him a kitchen for Christmas. We chose to make it not only so we could design it, but because toy kitchens are ex-pen-sive. And luckily we had a junky little table laying around to use. Here was the before:

We got this baby for free back when we were first married, to hold our tv. We got a better stand, but I have the hardest time throwing furniture away, so it's just been gathering dust in the spare bedroom, holding my sewing machine. But it worked out perfectly for our little kitchen.

We stayed up late many nights working on this bad boy. Painting, drilling, sanding, gluing. And here is the final result... Duh duh duhduh!

We found a real faucet on Craigslist, put in a sink and stove, fridge and oven (with working lights), and I even painted on a microwave.


We got some toy food, a pot and pan, a tea kettle, whisk, spatula, salt and pepper shakers, and lots of other cooking supplies. Henry loves it, we've moved it into the kitchen so he can cook while we are. His most common foods to make are potatoes, apple cider, mac & cheese and pancakes.One day when he becomes a famous chef, I'm going to take full credit because of this exact moment.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

This many

Henry turned 3 this month. I find it simultaneously unbelievable that he is already 3 and that I have only been a mom for 3 years. It feels like foreverrrr.

We had a really fun day together doing a lot of his favorite things. Ben and I blew up a bunch of balloons that were waiting for him in the living room when he woke up. He didn't want to do anything but kick them around--until I told him what the main event for the day was. We rode the bus to downtown Grosse Pointe where we did some shopping (which Henry loves) and got hot chocolate. 

There are so many wonderful things about Henry. He is very loving and concerned about others. He loves "school". He is very helpful and obedient and great at cleaning up after himself. He absolutely loves his sister. I also like that he loves shopping. 

He loves to sing and dance. His most recent favorite songs have been (in reverse order) "You Give Love a Bad Name," "Hey Jude," "Frozen Heart," and "I Knew You Were Trouble." We have some pretty great dance parties in the kitchen. I sure do love this kid. 

He's been practicing holding up three fingers, and he will say, "this is how old I am on my birthday." Though if you ask him, he will most likely tell you he is 4. Which I've been told is believable. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


I finally understand why there is all this hype about cruises. You get fed as much as you could possibly want to eat, there is all kinds of entertainment, and instead of having to sit in a car or airplane, you play for a few days on a giant ship and then magically end up on a tropical island. 

The first few days we spent relaxing by the pool, going to shows, rock climbing, boogie boarding, playing mini golf, and eating a ton.

I think Henry's favorite part, other than the golfing, was ordering room service each night. He loved his special bunk too.

We went with my mom's entire extended family, all thanks to my grandparents. Minus about 5 people. It was the first time I've seen a lot of them in a long time. And the first time my parents, brothers, Ben, the kids and I have all been together. I'm the oldest and the only one who is married or has kids. As much as I'd like some of them to start supplying great-grandchildren, I like that my kids are extra special. 

The first island we visited was St. Maarten. We didn't bring a camera on that trip, which is too bad, because we drove inflatable mini speed boats to a cove where we went snorkeling. The snorkeling was just okay, but the boats were fun--though I'm not exactly the craziest, most adventurous driver. 

Island #2 was St. Kitts. Ben and I (and the kids) broke off on our own for a bit of wandering. We stumbled upon a beach on the Caribbean side of the island and spent most of the day there. 

Henry wouldn't get in the water for very long; he preferred to play soccer or throw rocks in. Nora on the other hand loved the water and kept trying to throw herself in. 

On our way back to the boat, we did a bit of shopping and Henry made friends with some local kids who were playing cars. I wish I could say he gets his people skills from me, but that is 100% his dad. 

Island #3 was Puerto Rico, which also happened to be on Thanksgiving. This meant everything was closed, so we just wandered around Historic San Juan for a few hours.

The most famous site in San Juan is the fort set right on the ocean, Castillo de San Cristobal. It was beautiful. 

I was very impressed with San Juan. It was clean, brightly colored, and beautiful. And hot. Plus, we were able to drink from the drinking fountains, which is always a bonus in my book.

Even though that day did not at all feel like Thanksgiving (I had steak for dinner, though I did have a piece of pumpkin pie), it still a nice day bonding with family. And it helped that Ben and I hosted a per-Thanksgiving before we left. 

The last stop was Labadee, Haiti. I only kind of consider this stop a new country. Labadee is a peninsula on Haiti that is owned by Royal Caribbean and is completely walled off. It's beautiful, but doesn't give any indication of what Haiti is actually like. Which, from what I hear, isn't a bad thing. 

My brothers and I went parasailing in Haiti, which was aMAZing. I went up with Nate. I'm afraid of heights, but it was so peaceful and beautiful up there. We even got to see the island of Tortuga off in the distance. 

So to sum up, the cruise was really fun. Henry and Nora were really well behaved and enjoyed being around family. And I came back with a tan and no weight gain (thank you, all those flights of stairs), so I think it's safe to say it was a successful trip. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014


Lately, Henry has expressed great interest in school. He wants to learn and he really wants to play with other kids. I think part of him thinks that school is basically just recess. When we walk around our neighborhood, we always stop outside of the elementary school and watch the kids play for a few minutes. Henry is very insistent that he will be 10 on his next birthday. For some reason he has gotten it into his head that when you are 10, you get to go to school.

While Henry dreams of growing up, I like to play a little game where I guess which group of kids I would be a part of if I were back in school. Would I be with the small group of giggly girls hanging from the monkey bars? The boys climbing up the slide? Would it be the two girls deep in conversation on the swings? Or the  large group of boys and girls spinning each other around and around on the tire swing? For those of you who are wondering, I would be deep in conversation on a swing. But I digress.

I have never been one for organized entertainment. I prefer my child to be able to use his imagination and entertain himself, though I think that's just my excuse for being too lazy to come up with anything. But after Henry kept asking me if we could do school, I researched a few ideas and we now hold school a few times a week. 

Henry's favorite activity is "cutting." I got him a pair of scissors so that he could practice cutting in a straight line. Really what it turns out to be is Henry making confetti all over the living room floor. But he sure does love it. 

Yesterday we went on a walk and collected leaves and so Henry could glue them on a big piece of paper. Once again, this ended in Henry cutting the leaves to tiny pieces, leaving his artwork looking a bit like a mowed lawn. He was so excited the whole time. I tried to explain the idea of green leaves that change color and then fall off trees, but that went straight over his head. So instead we just listened to music and drank hot chocolate. What can I say I'm a pushover kind of teacher.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Oh yeah, I have a blog

Alas, I have been remiss. I thought I would be motivated and organized enough after having two children that I would keep up with writing. But when I comes down to it, and I have to choose between a nap or writing a blog, I choose nap. And then 30 seconds later one of the kids wakes up.

There's something about that second kid that doesn't just double the amount of time parenting takes--it increases exponentially. I don't know how they do it. I swore I would align their schedules perfectly, to have nap times line up so that I could still have my 2-3 hours of alone time every day. Oh ho ho, silly woman. As soon as I got confident that that would work out, Child #1 decided to forgo naps completely. That's what I get for thinking I could have control over my children.

I don't know what most people's houses look like on a daily basis, but mine is in a constant state of not-quite-clean. Bordering on messy, depending on the day. On any given day I think, I'll do some dishes, put away some laundry, organize the linen closet and rake the leaves. Then bedtime rolls around, and I have rinsed a few dishes and spent a total of four hours trying to put kids to sleep. And that's a productive day.

I'm afraid our house has gotten even worse over the past few days, due to a wave of sickness that has taken the whole family. It started with Henry, who had a cough and what appeared to be pink eye. Despite every precaution, I lost my voice soon after and Eleanor and I have both contracted pink eye as well. Because no matter how much you tell a 2 year old not to, he will cough in your face and wipe his hands all over you. Ben started to feel under the weather too, so we went in to urgent care on Saturday where the doctor told us that we likely have strep throat. In addition to pink eye and the ear infection she found in Henry. So we have quarantined ourselves in our home with lots of meds.

Personally, I think if you're going to be sick, it's best to make it a family event. Then you get to lay around together and watch movies and try to out-cough each other. Henry seems to be feeling a lot better (because he's the lucky one who gets to eat the yummy pink amoxicillin suspension), and he has been showing more interest in taking care of Nora. Yesterday I looked up from making dinner to find Henry spoon feeding Nora rice cereal. I am amazed at how much he loves her. He is always concerned with her well-being, and he likes to make her smile, especially if she is upset. He hands her toys, sings to her and gets so excited when she wakes up. Really, giddy. I hope one day she realizes how lucky she is to have such a wonderful big brother.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Elder Josh

It's a little bit after the fact, but Josh came home about two weeks ago. It was great to see him. He was the same old chill, quirky (weird) guy, but with a great Portuguese accent. It was the first time all four of us siblings have been together since my wedding. Though Ben would step in here and say that it's the five of us, and he wasn't there, so we weren't "all" together. Either way, I'm proud of Josh, and I'm happy to have him home.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Missouri and Nauvoo

The most recent part of our summer has not gone according to plan. The day after we returned from Traverse City, my brother Geoff asked if he could come visit us before he moved from St. Louis, where he's been working this summer, back to Provo.

He stayed with us for a few days and then I decided to drive back with him to Missouri to spend some time at my parents' house. We've known for some time that my next youngest brother, Josh, has been having knee problems. He is on a mission in Brazil and warned us that he could get sent home early for surgery (he was originally scheduled to finish his mission at the end of October). When his return became more imminent, I decided to come down here so I could be here when he returned. We expected him to come back last week, but he is set to fly in tomorrow. This means a lot of time away from Ben.

Luckily, we had planned a trip to Nauvoo with my parents, so I was able to see Ben briefly this weekend. I love visiting the place where we were married. It was the best decision I ever made, to be married to such a wonderful man in such a wonderful place.