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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

PopPop gets a treat

A couple weeks ago, I saw a notice on a WSU Facebook page about Jeffrey Tambor speaking at convocation. I told Kev about it and he couldn't believe it. And then we did something we never do; we made plans to attend.

With Kev's work schedule the last two+ years, we rarely make plans like this, let alone in the middle of a work day! It felt awesome to even just consider going. Once I asked dear, sweet SueAnn to babysit Aspen, it was officially a GO.

I wasn't sure what this funny guy would speak about, and I wondered if it would be self-promotion for his new show (Transparent), or a lot of Q&A or reminiscing about Arrested Development.

As it turns out, Tambor speaks at colleges quite often. He believes in education and its importance and he spoke to us on "Performing Your Life." He put a lot of emphasis on overcoming whatever your story is, and making life better. He spoke of the importance of taking risks and making mistakes, and gaining courage through action.

I stood in the back at the beginning with Lincoln wrapped in my arms, sleeping. I swayed with him and laughed while Tambor spoke and interacted with the audience. When I finally crept back to my seat, Tambor called out to me and asked if I'd like to sit down with my beautiful baby. He joked that I was breaking his heart, standing in the back all by myself.

Jeffrey Tambor talked to meeeee!!

Later in his presentation, he told us about going to the hospital to adopt his son. The doctors informed Tambor that the baby was a tough one and may have some challenges throughout his life. Tambor said he wanted to see my face as he told the next part and he moved on the stage to look at me. He said any parent knows that new babies reflexively do two things with their parents' fingers- one is suck on it, the other is grab it. I made the motion along with Tambor and he said I got it. And when his son grabbed on to his finger that day in the hospital, he knew they were taking him home no matter what.

Tambor also shared what he's overcome in his life- being the son of an alcoholic, being an alcoholic himself, losing his brother to alcoholism, and even losing every penny he had. He hit rock bottom being a people-pleaser, and he knows his life is so much better when he only tries to just do his best.

When he started acting, he felt out of place. But one day he noticed other actors doing a scene, then breaking it down, then doing it again. Only better. And he realized that he could get better. He had found his calling. He encouraged all of us to respond to our call in life. He said something that really struck me:

"Dreams are not interests. Interests are not dreams. Dreams grab you by the throat. Shake you. And you go, 'OH NO. I'm going to have to disappoint someone.'"

It made me think about what I want to do with my life, and what my dream is. I have a little something in the back of my mind that I want to pursue, and unfortunately right now just isn't the time. But I think about it every day, and how I can make it happen.

His advice for making your life happen? Be obnoxious. Be a pain in someone's @$$. So what did Kev and I do after Tambor was done speaking and his agent was trying to scoot him about of the ballroom? We sidled right up to him with our fat baby and asked for a photo anyway. When he saw my baby he waved us right over and happily obliged.

That guy is a piece of work. He was so genuine and so heartfelt as he spoke about his passions. I am so grateful Kev and I were able to have this adventure together to see an actor we love.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Mabey Farms

Without a minute to spare, we finally made it to a pumpkin patch! I think we usually put it off until the last Saturday before Halloween, and it works pretty well for us.

The Mabey Patch in South Jordan is nice because there's no entrance fee. You're only charged for the pumpkins you pick. And they're reasonably priced; plus they have a great variety.

Aspen is sitting on a regular ol' pumpkin, but we came away with a couple of fairy tale pumpkins like the one pictured below.

Since I have to chop open and prep pumpkins to make pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, I'm not personally interested in doing it for Halloween, too. But Kev wants to carve pumpkins with Aspen so he can be in charge of that activity. We'll see if he ever gets around to that this year. In the meantime, we have a nice-looking pumpkin on our porch that awaits its destiny.

When Aspen was only three months old, we went to Black Island Farms and got her a teeny little green pumpkin. So for Lincoln's first Halloween, I had to do the same. Little green pumpkins are so cute!

And the light/white/pink pumpkins are called porcelain dolls. Isn't that awesome?!

Next year I won't give in to the impulse to purchase bitty pumpkins from WinCo for $0.78 because they're only $0.50 at the Mabey Patch. I got totally ripped off ;).

I'm so glad we were able to go so we can dress up our porch for fall, and so Aspen can have more memories of stumbling through a pumpkin patch and hauling out just the right one to bring home.

Aspen's first pumpkin patch, second, and third.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Deer season

A couple of months ago, I received some Zulily credit. I always love perusing the site and deciding what to get.

On a whim, I asked Kev what he would think if I ordered an aluminum deer head. He wasn't sure if he had heard me correctly. But something about it appealed to me! I couldn't resist. He was game, so I ordered it. It's only 13 inches tall, so it's not too conspicuous or annoying. And with it being silver, it's modern and a perfect complement to our grey walls.

The only beef I have with it is the head is mounted crooked on the plaque. I probably could have my brother weld it back on straight, but then it wouldn't finally be hanging on my bedroom wall. As it is, I finally asked Kev to hang it this week after weeks of wondering where to put it.

Now I get to spend another few weeks figuring out what else to hang near it so it's not lonely. I'm leaning toward a bunting of some sort. I know I have some free bunting patterns downloaded on my computer, but it's a matter of having the right programs on this sad little dinosaur to actually open and print them. HA!

But hopefully this wall won't be left looking as bare as that gallery wall I keep dreaming about but never working on.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cousins and clothes

A couple of Sundays ago we were able to have dinner at Kev's brother's. It was so fun to get all the cousins together to play. Aspen has so much fun at their house. The girls are so sweet with Aspen and let her boss them around and get into all their stuff.

I always love catching up with my sister-in-law Anna, too. She's so easy to talk with, and it doesn't hurt that she always makes something delicious for dinner. She also spoiled me with two huge bags of clothes for Aspen. It was perfect timing because I was wondering what on earth that girl was going to wear this winter and next spring. Now we've literally got her covered!

And speaking of clothes- with Linc being so monstrously huge (17 pounds at four months old!) I didn't know what he'd be wearing, either. He wears mostly 6-9 month clothes right now, and they're the wrong season. HA! But last week Kid-to-Kid sent out an email that they were having a stuff-the-bag event for only $15. I was able to leave both kids home with Kev and spend about 45 minutes sorting through clothes and getting a gigantic haul (at least 40 items). It's a miracle my kids will now be clothed.

I have to add, too, that after Kid-to-Kid I called my brother and asked him if he wanted to have lunch. He was home so we met up and then he bought me Cafe Rio BECAUSE HE IS AWESOME. It was like I was a real grown up for three whole hours. It was glorious to be by myself for a little while and then to have an uninterrupted lunch date with my favorite older brother.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014


I like being busy. Not too busy, but I like having something to do every day. Lately, though, it's been really difficult to leave the house.

I think it's a combination of sleep-deprivation and depression. I have a hard time summoning the energy to get showered and dressed and out the door on time. Well, I probably could have enough energy to get out the door, but on time is another hurdle.

It's really hard. I get just as bored, lonely and antsy as Aspen when we're at home all day. But I get so stressed lately when we leave the house and someone has a meltdown (not me! I swear!) or someone needs a nap or someone needs a snack or someone has a blow out or whatever regular obstacles pop up when taking care of kids. So instead of facing those little blips with my big-girl pants on, I just stay home and let Aspen drive me crazy.

I mean... we do leave the house for preschool and dance class, but I went a good three weeks without leaving by myself with both kids for anything else unless it was mandatory. This week I went back to work and it was exhausting. Aspen was up before the sun, and her tantrum woke Lincoln. So I was up wayyyy too early and was extra frazzled because I had planned to have a few minutes to myself before getting the kids up (or at least before getting Aspen up). When that didn't happen, I was thrown off course.

At work, Linc refused to take his bottle and I didn't have the luxury of breastfeeding him because the daycare was full. There was another baby as well as a little girl potty training. Please, parents, for the love of all that is holy, do not send your potty training kids to my daycare. Keep them home until it's a done deal. This tiny darling ended up needing A LOT of help using the bathroom and she ended up having an accident anyway.

So I had Linc screaming his head off to either eat or fall asleep, and he did neither during my shift. It was hard to tune out his cries and give real attention to the other kids. Thankfully Aspen was able to help me a lot, and even though Linc wouldn't actually eat from his bottle, he liked it when Aspen held it in his mouth so he could chew on it. Little jerk.

I anticipate it'll get easier, but right now it's overwhelming. I just keep telling myself it's worth it because only four hours a month at the daycare pays for Aspen's dance class. It's the least I can do! But I still feel a little like a crazy person.

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Letters to Lincoln, month 4


You're four months old! Daddy says he doesn't remember what it was like before you arrived, but I do. I'm pretty sure there was more sleeping.

We've hit another rough patch and I sure am beat. It doesn't help that since Daddy works so much, you've developed a preference for me in the night (not to mention the food sources). So even when I have Daddy go in to soothe you for me, I usually end up with you because you scream bloody murder while he holds you.


It's really hard on me, Linc. I no longer get to nap during the day because there's just so much going on. So I'm tired. So far this month, we've only left the house (without Dad) to take big sister to school and to buy groceries. And believe you me, I've been tempted to order even those online. When I do attempt an outing, I always regret not getting you home and in your crib.

BUT! That photo right there, the one in which you're reaching for your foot- that is actually the exact moment you FIRST found your adorable little toes. And I caught it on camera. That's pretty special. I'm so glad Aspen and I were there for that milestone.

At four months, you've starting spending time in your Bumbo and what I like to call THE COMMAND CENTER. You haaaate tummy time and I still don't make you do it often. You now see Maddie and watch her walk around, and we finally have some giggles out of you.

Your relationship with the binky is quite complicated and I don't understand it. You really enjoyed it when we traveled to Maine, and I used it on the plane to soothe you. But at home you mostly just want it stuffed into your mouth riiiiiiight as you fall asleep. Then you spit it out a minute later and stay asleep (usually). It's so very different from Aspen. And speaking of weird sleep habits- this week I've been whistling, yes whistling, "The Luckiest" by Ben Folds to help you nod off for day time naps. You'll be wailing and grunting and wiggling in your swaddle, but after a few bars you settle down and close your eyes. You love that song.

At this point, you're mostly wearing 6 month clothes (depending on brand), and that absolutely kills me because Aspen was still in 0-3 when she was 4 months. But, there's a reason why Aspen calls you "Chubs." YOU ARE SO FAT. You have your well-visit next week and I'm so excited to see how much you weigh. There's nothing like showing off a chubby baby and having nurses be like, "HE'S BREASTFED?!" Yes, indeed.

Speaking of food, you are very interested in it. Since you insist on being held all the livelong day, I usually have you in my lap during meals. You watch me lift food from my plate and bring it to my mouth like it's the most interesting thing you've ever seen. I have a feeling you're going to like Thanksgiving this year. I may or may not be planning to sneak you some yams.

Linc, I know this sleep deprivation is just a blip on the radar, and I'm grateful I can look back on Aspen's monthly letters and see similar patterns. There's hope I'll get more than two hours of sleep someday! So we'll keep working on it, k?

Love you,

See Aspen's monthly letter HERE.

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Thursday, October 09, 2014

Guest post on sisterhood

Lizzie, of The NY Times and Good Morning America fame, allowed me to be a guest on her blog this week. If you'd like to read my post, click right HERE.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Free Coupon Codes

The blog I work for ('Or so she says...') is currently hosting an awesome giveaway, which ends tomorrow.

In addition to the giveaway (prizes include Apple gift card, Disney Store gift card and a Skylanders game), Mariel created a digital coupon book that you can have for FREE. It will be emailed to you and it has some awesome discounts in it, which are perfect to be used for Holiday shopping.

I was psyched when I signed up and recieved it because there is a coupon for 40% off BabyLit books, with which I am obsessed. I bought two for Aspen before Linc was born, and two for him as well. Brickyard Buffalo recently had a BabyLit sale so I bought two more for Christmas. And then I got Mariel's special coupon for the books and I bought two more. They are just so cute! To be fair, I only buy the books that represent novels I actually enjoy myself. so I have some limits. Kind of.

babylit books, babylit coupon code

I really love them. My new favorites are The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Jungle Book. The illustrations are fantastic and I'm so excited to give those to the kids at Christmas. Meanwhile, I'll secretly read them in my closet at night when they're in bed.

There are other awesome deals in Mariel's digital coupon book, so go sign up! If I was smart, I would have read the text at the bottom of Mariel's post and I would have known ahead of time what was in it (duh, I blame sleep deprivation). But it was kind of fun to be so surprised and excited about BabyLit. For you, however, I will include a heads up:

Holiday Hot List Coupons: Get Away Today, Lollipics, GroopDealz, Blendtec, Ruby Blue, Raise, Cherishables, Ghiradelli, Build a Sign, Sassy Steals, My Sisters Tee, OverstockDeals, Piper Street, Silhouette, Little Acorns, Linenspa, DownEast Basics, Melissa and Doug, Easy Canvas Prints,, Our World Boutique, Kiwi Crate, World Market, Indie Gift Box, Cents of Style, CreativeBug, Babylit, Manhattanite.

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Monday, October 06, 2014

Silver Lake

Since Kev is no longer on-call for work 24/7, we decided to drive up to Silver Lake on Saturday afternoon. I kept seeing people post all about it on FB/Insta and I was jealous. It looked so beautiful and I wanted to explore this gem that is so close to where I live.

After the first session of General Conference, we loaded up and headed to the mountains. I'm so glad we did.

I kept telling Kev there's something about Douglas Firs that makes me happy. Just looking at them fills me up with joy. I don't know if it's Christmas-related, or Maine-related, or what. But they are my favorite pine.

I'm so glad there's a boardwalk around the lake, because at the last minute we decided to use the stroller instead of having me wear Linc in a wrap. I did end up carrying him a lot of the way because he needed a nap (and he doesn't go to sleep well unless he's first rocked by a human), but it was so nice to have everything stuffed in the stroller while we walked.

Those trees are totally killing it. The combination of Firs and Aspens? COME ON!!

I'd like to know who owns this house because I will gladly clean their toilets in exchange for a weekend stay. It is so pretty and I'm sure the views are outstanding.

These outings are so much better when Kev can come with us. Not just because he's an extra set of hands to help with a kid, but because I know he loves them, too. Since he took this job two years ago, he's had little time to cultivate his interests, and he definitely hasn't been able to explore SLC as much as he'd like. I know he misses Ogden for so many reasons, one of which is that he knew so much about it. He had his favorite haunts and he has a lot of memories tied to that city. I hope we can keep having family adventures in the SLC area so we can make it feel more like home to him.

There are so many little alcoves off the train that would be perfect for picnicing or photos. It was a great mix of shaded and sunny spots, and today's weather was perfect for walking around the lake. I'm so grateful we could go and enjoy this gift.

 That house!! Seriously. It's amazing. So much prettier than any of the others in the area.

I'm hopeful we'll commit to making Silver Lake a General Conference tradition. Seeing the foliage changing colors is wonderful in the autumn, and in the spring it'll be refreshing to see buds on the trees. Plus, the walk is so easy it's perfect for young kids. And after Aspen got over her fear of the sound of grasshoppers, she was all over "hunting for ground squirrels!" I'd call that a win.

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