Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Jonathan and I are constantly talking about how much stuff the girls have and how excessive it is. We have been working in our basement these last couple of weekends with the idea of simplifying, purging, tossing, donating, (and we have even considered burning) all of our piles. And piles. And piles.

While deep into this project, we started looking around and taking an inventory. It is a bit ridiculous and quite frankly very embarrasing!

(please note that Jonathan and I are not soley to blame - there are grandparents, a mimi, and aunts and uncles that have contributed ruthlessly!)

Here is an example of the excess that we deal with on a daily basis.

12 snow hats.

Why does she have 12 snow hats, you ask. Well, I can't totally answer that except that I buy lots of things for really cheap, store them away until the appropriate season, and then open up the bin and chuckle at the quantity. This collection spans a couple of seasons and will probably even make it another season (not to mention the mileage we will get from Dylan's usage!), but I know - that still doesn't make it justifiable.

In addition to 12 snow hats, we inventoried the following items of Holland's:

4 kid guitars
11 disney princess costumes
10 pairs of princess shoes
3 sets of duplos (pooh, dora, and princess)
3 play/doll houses (dora, barbie, and a classic wooden doll house)
11 coats/jackets
16 barbies
14 pairs of shoes that she can currently fit into
4 princess watches
22 little ponies
68 Dvds (yes, that is sixty eight)- and I sheepishly admit that this doesn't include the 12 DVD boxed baby einstein set!
24 kid music CDs
8 tiaras

I think I am going to stop right there though because I am feeling mortified that I just fessed up to all that!


What does this mean for the remaining school age years? Are we gonna have to move out of our house because we get overrun with *@%#! Will someone call CPS on us because we are causing our kids to suffocate in piles and piles of unneccessary crap? Will they have to be in therapy because they don't know how to be told "no" and can't handle living life with restraint?

We have some work to do. Maybe I should have chosen "simplify" as my word!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Backyard Sled Hill

Jonathan built a sled hill in our backyard yesterday, and we all had a blast! Holland even got Purple Puppy all bundled up and sent him on a couple of runs! I was lucky enough to ride doubles with Purple Puppy. Watch for yourself.....

Miscellaneous Monday

1.We are having a snow day today along with the rest of Spokane! The university is even closed so Jonathan gets to stay home with us, too! We have at least 14-16 inches of snow and we are suppose to get about a foot more by the weekend. That's
A LOT O' SNOW! (I'll post some pictures later!)
2. I have been waiting and waiting for Dylan to get some teeth, and this morning I can see the little white ridge! The gum is actually pierced so I'll soon be saying, bye-bye to those priceless,gummy grins.
3. I am really enjoying my flickr account. There are all sorts of photo contests, technique discussions, groups to join, etc. People can leave comments on your photos so that has been very fun and encouraging. I am such a photographer wannabe!
4. I am down about 5 pounds since joining the Y. Yippee! (many more to go)
5. Four-year-olds love to call you nonsensical names. We have been in a phase now for a while that all of Holland's names end in "eyeball" and this is the ultimate of joke insults! "you're a juice eyeball", "you're a doggy eyeball", "you're a light bulb eyeball" and these are followed by belly wrenching laughs and drop to the floor chuckles! But the mother of all joke insults is when she says (which she isn't really allowed to), "you're a poopy eyeball". I think the "eyeball" thing started at school and then it finds it way into the car, and then the home, and then where ever else she can pull it off. Yesterday, she turned the corner and came up with her own original joke insult...... "you're a toenail voice". Gotta give her credit for originality and creativity!
6. I don't think I told anyone yet that I got bangs! I was needing a change, feeling very frumpy, and it was the week of my birthday. That's always reason to change your look.
7. Baby food is expensive! Dylan is eating about 4-5 containers a day and they are about $1 a piece. That's $150 a month just for her! I should be making her food like I did with Holland, but I just haven't gotten around to it, yet!
8. Jonathan has a birthday coming up - not sure what to get him. Any ideas?
9. We have our 10 year dating anniversary coming up, too. I was headed for the peace corps and Jonathan was heading to a monastery.... and then we met. (another story for another day).
10. We are off to play in the snow.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I've Been Tagged

Book Meme Rules

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

I was tagged for this fun meme by Rufus McCain from Korrektiv (aka: my husband). I reached for the book that has been on my nightstand for a few months. I have slowly been making my way through it, but I haven't even made it to page 123, yet. The book is One True Thing by Anna Quindlen. Out of context, the three sentences are left for your imagination! Here they are:

"Does she have an odor?"
"God, no."
"That may come and when it does you will have to talk to her again."


So now I am suppose to tag five others. I am tagging five of my faithful blog readers but non bloggers: My mom, my mother-n-law, my favorite photographer friend (you know who you are!), Jen (Farnam), & the newly married Mrs. Powers! Please post your answer in the comments section!

Thanks and have fun! : )

Friday, January 25, 2008

Fabulous Fourness

Four-year-olds are incredible, delightful, creative beings! I am always stumbling upon some sort of imaginary play scene, play dough concoction, or fancy house decor. I often think that I am just cleaning up some random, hodge podge collection of toys and trinkets that have been left in a weird place, but if I look closely I realize there is a lot going on in these little groupings. When I slow down, I get a glimpse into Holland's wonderful, vivid imagination; and when I inquire about things, I get invited to play and observe her magical world of being. There is nothing quite like it.

I have observed stuffed puppy dogs taking an adventurous journey to Hawaii by train as they sit in my saute pans surrounded by coins and ribbons.

I have witnessed stuffed animal nap time, with Purple Puppy and a variety of other stuffies laid out on makeshift pallets throughout the living room. "You have to be quiet, Mommy, Purple Puppy and Boone and are sleeping."

I have been asked to participate in marathon experimental play dough baking and concocting sessions.

I have even been shown hand-drawn medical imaging print-outs of Boone's arteries, with before and after shots of blockages getting cleared. (This was after Grandpa went in for a similar procedure.)

In addition to such an active imagination, many four year olds have a unique sense of fashion that they long to share with the world. Holland is no different! She is very eager to dress herself, and she usually puts together some pretty wacky ensembles. (wacky by my standards, of course). She will come out beaming with pride at the fashion creations she has put together.

"Doesn't this look beautiful, Mommy?", she says.

"Look, these flowers match these stripes because they are both pink".

"I'm gonna wear my princess dress today with my matching princess panties".

"I want to wear the golden one. It is so beautiful."

"Do I look dazzling, Mommy?"

You get the idea!

These ensembles, concoctions, and play scenes are the epitome of fabulous fourness, and I don't want to forget them. I am starting to take pictures of these funny things and put them on my flickr site in a group so that I can look at them and celebrate the wonderful, wacky, magical, and sometimes quirky world of a four year old. Click here to enjoy for yourself or click on the link to the right of this page. Have fun!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

To Be 6 Again....

A little comic relief for you this Wednesday morning!

To Be 6 Again

A man was sitting on the edge of the bed, observing his wife, looking at herself in the mirror. Since her birthday was not far off he asked what she'd like to have for her Birthday.

'I'd like to be six again', she replied, still looking in the mirror.

On the morning of her Birthday, he arose early, made her a nice big bowl of Lucky Charms, and then took her to Six Flags theme park. What a day! He put her on every ride in the park; the Death Slide, the Wall of Fear, the Screaming Monster Roller Coaster, everything there was.

Five hours later they staggered out of the theme park. Her head was reeling and her stomach felt upside down.

He then took her to a McDonald's where he ordered her a Happy Meal with extra fries and a chocolate shake.

Then it was off to a movie, popcorn, a soda pop, and her favorite candy, M&M's. What a fabulous adventure!

Finally she wobbled home with her husband and collapsed into bed exhausted. He leaned over his wife with a big smile and lovingly asked, 'Well Dear, what was it like being six again??'

Her eyes slowly opened and her expression suddenly changed. 'I meant my dress size, you dumb ass!'

The moral of the story: Even when a man is listening, he's gonna get it wrong.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

First Photo, New Lens

Here is the first photo taken with my new lens. I didn't have much time to play around today, and I work all day tomorrow. ARRGGGG! Hopefully, I will get some good photo shoot/play time very soon!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Miscellaneous Monday

1. Dylan is scooting ALL over the place. She is trying to get up on all fours, but hasn't quite figured it out, yet. When we baby proofed last time, we didn't have barbie shoes, sparkly beads, and princess jewelry to look out for! Wish us luck!
2. I spent my birthday money on a new camera lens (Canon 85mm 1.8). I am sooooo excited about it. A couple of my favorite photographers swear by it so of course I had to buy it. I'm such a photographer wannabe.....I think if I have the right lens then I will dramatically improve my skills! We'll see. Check back for some photo shoot posts.
3. Chuck E. Cheese is awful no matter what, and it's even worse on a non-school day (MLK). We took the girls today for a "family fun" outing - I'm not sure what we were thinking! It wasn't a planned outing, we were in the neighborhood so we just went on a whim. Won't do that again.
4. Jonathan and I just joined the YMCA and have been working out together. This is the first time since we have been together that we have had a gym membership together. We met there the other day on his lunch break which was kinda fun. It felt sorta tryst-like!
5. Had Gonzaga basketball tickets for tonight's game, but gave them away. We were feeling like home bodies. I NEVER want to miss a game if we have tickets so not sure what that's all about! (maybe we're just getting old - the game didn't start until 9:00 and it seemed like such an ordeal to get out and about that late!)
6. I'm lovin' this fun baby CD.
7. We spent the weekend cleaning, purging, organizing, and simplifying our basement. While doing this, I stumbled upon some old memory boxes of mine full of mementos: scrapbooks, sports uniforms, dolls, barbies, books, art projects, old eye glasses, and even a retainer!! My favorite find was a sappy, cheesy, broken heart poem that I had written in junior high school. Stay tuned - I will post it because it is too funny not to!

That's all for now -gotta go help with "bedtime business".

Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday Photo Shoot

And here's one especially for grandpa, who prefers color!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

My Husband, the Poet

The First Sign of Spring

The short dark days of winter in Spokane
had been pulling at my pant legs
and sucking at my rubberized winter boots,

each day its own black hole suck
of frozen slush and muck,
when it's all you can do to get in the car

and drive to Safeway for a six-pack
and some baby food and bananas
and Pop Tarts for tomorrow morning,

when what should my wondering eyes behold
but a fat girl doing a cartwheel
in the Safeway parking lot,

her buns like bowls full of jelly
in gray sweat pants, her tummy flesh
flashing out from under layers of winter clothes.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Being "Present"

I have been struggling lately with the usual struggles of mommyhood - doubting myself, beating myself up over losing my temper, not "delighting" in the moment, always moving too fast, questioning my parenting skills, etc. etc. The list goes on. Someone sent this essay to me via email and I was reminded that we all struggle with parenting. So much of parenting is trial and error. Living and learning. All that really matters though is whether or not we are "present". I know this, but it never hurts to hear it again! I really want to be more present. I want to take in all the sights and sounds of my girls every day. I want to savor them. I want to embrace them. I want to remember them.

This essay really speaks to me - it goes right along with my word for the year (embrace). I hope that you too will be touched by reading it......

All My Babies Are Gone Now
By Anna Quindlen, Newsweek Columnist and Author

All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow, but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like. Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.

Everything in all the books I once pored over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach, T. Berry Brazelton, Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education -- all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories. What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations -- what they taught me, was that they couldn't really teach me very much at all.

Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One child is toilet trained at 3, his sibling at 2.

When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing. Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow. I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton's wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically c hallenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China. Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.

Every part of raising children is humbling. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the "Remember-When-Mom-Did" Hall of Fame. The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language -- mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, "What did you get wrong?" (She insisted I include that here.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald's drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them, sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night.

I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.

Even today I'm not sure what worked and what didn't, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I'd done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be. The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I love best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That's what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts. It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.

In Daddy's Arms

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


I was just sitting here wondering what sort of blog entry to make when Holland opened the blogging gates wide open! She has a way of doing that. Luckily, this morning there was a pen and paper close by. Here is our conversation:

"Mommy, what does "cliche" mean?"

"Cliche?" (I repeated back to her)

"Yeah, cliche."

"Where did you hear that word?"

"From princess Percales"

"Princess Percales? Who is that?"

"She is on Princess Sing Alongs."

"And she said, "cliche"?

"Yeah. What does it mean?"

"Maybe you should ask Daddy about that one. It's kinda hard to explain".

"Well Mommy, Princess Percales says, "it's too cliche to fall in love".

A very puzzled, astonished look came over her face.....

"That's sad."

And off she ran.....

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Gratitude Journal

We started a new nightly ritual to add to our bedtime routine - it's writing in a journal. As a family, we are going to focus on gratitude and document those things that we are thankful for. I have been feeling very overwhelmed lately with the accumulation of *stuff*, and realizing that Holland doesn't really know how fortunate she is. I have been talking to her a little bit lately about children who don't have things and who are in need of clothes, food, housing, etc. She recently helped me go through some of her toys so that we could donate them to less fortunate families. She was okay with this process as long as we didn't give away any of her "new toys"!

During Christmas, we went to a giving tree and picked a little girl about her same age with similiar interests. It was a neat learning experience for her. She picked out presents that she really wanted and wasn't even getting for Christmas. I was very proud of her.

So in trying to maintain this learning that has been started, I am hoping we can carry through with this new habit. I am excited about doing it together as a family as it will ensure that we ALL slow down and reflect on life and our many blessings.

Tonight's entry went something like this:

Jonathan/Daddy: " I was thankful for the sunshine today."

Holland: "I am thankful for my toys. I am thankful for everything I have."

Jonathan/Daddy: "I am thankful that Holland helped Dylan take a bath tonight."

Ashley/Mommy: "I am thankful that daddy took Dylan for a while today so I could do some housework."

Jonathan/Daddy: "I am thankful for our fish and their new fishtank."

Holland: "I am thankful for you, mommy." (accompanied with a kiss)

"I am thankful for Daddy, and I am thankful for Dylan, and I am thankful for me!"

Mommy: "Yeah, me too. I am thankful for our family."

Holland: "I am thankful for all the princesses at disneyland!"

"I am thankful for everyone in the whole wide world, even grandma and grandpa.

"I am thankful for everyone in the whole wide world, even the animals.

I am thankful for bears, jaguars, cheetahs, and snakes."

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Dylan at 7 months

Beach Shadows

Last year's beach shadow (Kauai, Hawaii)

This year's beach shadow (Oceanside, CA)

"Mother & Child"

Friday, January 11, 2008

Birthday Blues

Yesterday was a dud as far as birthdays go.

I have this thing where I absolutely can not stand when my birthday is just another ordinary day, and well frankly that's what yesterday was to the tenth degree. There really wasn't anyway around it - I had the day off with both girls and Jonathan had to work. The best part of my day (besides my sweet card) was when I ran upstairs to grab something and I heard a birthday song playing on the ihome alarm clock from our ipod. I almost missed it though. I think Jonathan thought I was going to be sleeping in so he programmed it to play a little later than I normally get up. It was a very pleasant surprise though.

A surprise! That's it, that's why I loved it. I love surprises, and I especially love surprises on my birthday; however, I married a man who doesn't like surprises so therefore he doesn't like to plan surprises or give surprises. (this isn't to say that he hasn't ever surprised me because he has, but for the most part surprises are out!)

My daughter was concocting something all morning in her kitchen - play dough, soap, water, pots/pans, and a muffin tin. She asked me if she could have some candles..... "oh good!" I thought. "she's gonna surprise me with some birthday cupcakes". I was wrong. Apparently, I share my birthday with the beloved purple puppy and he was getting the birthday cupcakes instead of me. She didn't even mention my birthday when she was talking about the birthday cupcakes!

Ho Hum.

Woe is me.

I raced around the house trying to get Holland to her first music class of the year . This meant I had to pry her princess costume off of her and turn off the TV - a huge feat. Dylan, who is normally the sweetest, happiest baby in the mornings, was screaming her head off not wanting to be put down for a second. The phone rings - wouldn't you know it was someone trying to wish me a happy birthday. I had to cut them short so we wouldn't be late. So much stress. So much energy wasted only to find out that Holland's class didn't even start for two more weeks.

Next stop - grocery store. YUCK - who wants to grocery shop on their birthday?

Picked Holland up and came home. Laundry staring at me, but I drew the line on that one!

Jonathan got me this really cool box for Christmas with all my Bedrest Boutique pictures in it. He told me he would hand-write excerpts from the old blog on the backs of the pictures. I saw the box sitting by the computer, so I opened it up. He'd written on two out of the thirty or forty of the pictures. Maybe he'll finish by Valentine's Day.

Jonathan struck out when trying to arrange for a babysitter so we were all going to go out for dinner which was fine Holland kept asking, "do I get to go to your birthday, mommy?"It wasn't fine though because we ate too much, felt miserable, and Holland went into slight "no-no mode" towards the end causing me to raise my voice and lose my patience.

So we get home and Jonathan starts a fire. I am thinking that this will be so nice to finally relax and cozy up to him with a glass of wine. Instead, Holland crashed out on the couch with the soft and cuddly blanket not leaving any room for either of us much less both of us, Dylan fell asleep in my arms not without taking a while to settle down first though, and Jonathan passed out on the floor in front of the fire.

Just like that - 9:15, the party that never started was over.

Then as I decide to embrace the peace and quiet of my evening and tell myself that not all birthdays can be big productions, I check my email. Among the many messages and junk mail is a survey from Martha Stewart about an idea she has for a new magazine. I thought, "hmmmm that could be fun to see what she is thinking about next", and then I read the message. It said,

Dear Member,

We're exploring an idea for a new magazine from Martha Stewart for mature women who want to be healthy, active, and beautiful and live stylish, interesting lives. Will you please take a few minutes to answer some questions? Your opinions are very important to us.

Does anything jump out at you when you read that? How 'bout the words 'mature women'?! Doesn't that mean older women? middle aged women? no longer thirty-something women?

How did they know it was birthday and did they think that I was in a different age bracket, now? I hate to break it to them but they have me on the wrong list! I am not a mature women (as you can tell by this pouty blog post). I am not older or middle-aged, and I am very much so still a thirty-something women!!

I have exactly three more years in my thirties, thank you very much!

At this point, I decided to go to bed.

Hopefully,the remainder of the weekend will be a little better.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

This Morning's Birthday Messages

These are the messages that were in my birthday card this morning:

Dear Ashley,

You are amazing, wonderful, brave, delightful, funny, full of life,
kind, tender-hearted, insightful, thoughtful, crafty, resourceful,
and I am so thankful you were born.

Love, Jonathan

You're the best mom in the whole wide world!
You're gorgeous and you're a genius!

Love, Holland


Love, Dylan

cick here to see my birthday breakfast

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

"Mommy, when I get thirteen or something, will you buy me a wedding dress?"

-holland (age 4)

Sunday, January 6, 2008


There is a blog that I read almost daily by a woman named Ali Edwards. She is a graphic designer and scrapbooker who believes in capturing life and creating art. She is incredibly creative and inspiring, and what I love most about her is that she is real. Very real. I think that is why she has a blog following in the thousands.

Anyway, every year she encourages her blog readers to come up with a word to focus on for the following year. A word to apply to your life. A word to live by. I pondered and pondered what I wanted my word to be and I pondered whether or not I even wanted to participate. I was a little scared that I would pick a word and then wish I had picked a different word. Silly, huh?

Well after weeding through "delight", "simplify", "grace", "grow", etc. I chose the word "EMBRACE". I really like that embrace has multiple definitions. The two that I like the most are:
1. to take or clasp in the arms; press to the bosom; hug.
2. to take or receive gladly or eagerly; accept willingly.

This is what I long for more of in my life - accepting things willingly, receiving them gladly, and above all taking or clasping in my arms those I love. Hugging them - pressing them to my bosom! (I'm sure Jonathan would love a little more of this, too!)

I want to embrace life and all of it intricacies.

the messy table full of a week's worth of bills, papers, & catalogs.
the unpacked suitcases from last week's trip.
the crying baby that just wants to be held and cuddled.
the big sister that gets excited & squeezes her baby sister a little too hard.
our health. our house. our love. our families. our church. our jobs.
mini van.

(yes, even the mini van!)

This morning, I am embracing the Christmas decorations that I didn't get put away before our trip! What are you embracing?

Friday, January 4, 2008

Tuesday, January 1, 2008