Monday, December 30, 2013

Our year in review

I have never sent out a family Christmas card.  I feel like this should have been the year.  But then it was sort of too late, and I didn't feel like it (mostly that).  So this will have to suffice!

If ever there was a month I do not want to repeat it was January.  Aside from Adam's birthday and Axel's birth day, it mostly consisted of us moving and Olivia and taking turns getting sick until Axel was born.  And then I just cried a lot.

For me, this month was a blur.  My mom was here until the 11th  (her birthday!) and I was on my own for the first time on Valentine's Day.  I still managed to make a seriously yummy dinner.  Olivia adjusted to being a big sister by asking me to hold her and Axel at the same time

March was more of the same, trying to adjust to life with two kids.  I tried to trim Olivia's mullet and cut off more than I bargained for, I made Dr Pepper cupcakes for my sister-in-law's baby shower and I tried to be one of those moms that makes cookies with her kids.  All of this while dealing with Axel's colicky ways.  Also my family came for Axel's baby blessing and Olivia probably appreciated it more than Axel :)
Olivia and Grandpa. Also thank goodness for headbands to cover messed up hair cuts.
In April I went for my first run post baby, we celebrated Easter and I hoped that Axel would start sleeping through the night soon.

In May I participated in the 30x30 fashion challenge (just for fun, I'm no fashion expert!).  I also took a road trip with my two babies to visit my family in California!

I turned 30!!  Aubrey and I started blogging the Bachelor together and I finally met her in real life at one of Bonnie's blogging round tables!

I cut my hair.  It was bad.  I blogged a lot in July!  But nothing super notable happened in my life.

We went on our last trip of the summer, vacation to Colorado, so that Axel could regress and none of us get any sleep!  But other than that we had a great time. 

We loved the weather in September!  Not too hot, not too cold, lots of walks!  I missed teaching this year, even though it was my second year since I quit.  We also bought a house!  The colors were a little wonky and I wanted to paint them white, but we settled on light gray instead. 
Missing Bingham
We finally closed on our house!  We spent a week babysitting my niece and nephews.  And we celebrated Halloween with Curious George and his banana! 

We got the keys to our house on November 2nd and we moved in on the 9th.  We spent the first couple weeks getting it painted and getting our laundry room door unjammed.  We went to California for Thanksgiving and had a great time in the warm weather!

I let Olivia eat snow for the first time, she made a nativity to play with and we just loved the Christmas season in our new house!

We're glad that we're all healthy (finally!) and excited to start the new year. We're looking forward to celebrating Axel's first birthday and Olivia's 3rd birthday! 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Merry Christmas!

So we woke up to Axel screaming at 12:45 last night.  I got him up and held him, but he still cried.  And then he gagged and choked on his snot and I freaked out that he couldn't breathe.  Once he and I calmed down, he was fine, but he had a good fever.  It was pouring rain outside, but Adam had told me it was going to snow in the morning and that I shouldn't plan on going anywhere.  So I laid Axel down on the bed at 1:15 or so and told Adam I was going to get some tylenol.  I had to.  I had to before Adam left for work at 5am and the snow was too bad to take two kids out to the store.  But Adam went for me.  That is true love and I'm not kidding.  He gets up for work at 4:30 and he let me stay in bed with a sleeping baby. 

At about 2am I picked up my sleeping boy, gave him some tylenol and moved him to his own bed.  Adam just couldn't sleep with Axel crowding him, despite us agreeing that his little breathing was the cutest thing we'd ever heard.

This morning Olivia seems to have a touch of it as well.  And I was working until 10pm last night so I didn't get the kitchen cleaned and I'm sad about that.  I've got 14 (or more) changing pad toppers to sew in the next few days and maybe a couple crib sheets (I'm seriously starting to wonder what a couple means to my brother-in-law)  Despite being stressed about it all, I do love sewing and I love that I can say I sew professionally :) 

Well I'm thinking I need a Christmas break.  We have a lot going on here and we need to get healthy. I'm usually trying to cram in as many Christmas posts as possible around this time of year, but this year I'm just going to live in the moment. 

Merry Christmas!  I'll be back on the blog January 1st!  I can't wait for the new year, especially since I'm not pregnant this year and I can really buckle down on my goals for 2014!!

Some pictures:
Matching polar bear jammies!  Bummer that we had to use the flash, but I just couldn't get a non blurry picture with out it.

Santa's lap!  Axel didn't cry!  I honestly cannot believe it!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Am I a feminist?

The H&M sweater I got for Fall 30x30.  I never posted this picture, but it was one of my favorites. Nothing to do with this post really, but I guess it does a little because I am technically wearing both a SKIRT (this sweater is a "dress") and PANTS. 

I've never identified with the feminist movement.  When I hear the word "feminist" I think of careers over children, wearing pants to church and not shaving your legs. 

If you're LDS you probably heard about the #ordainwomen movement started by Mormon feminists.  I'm not really going to talk about it, except to say I don't really share the same ideas as these women.  More power to them if they're doing what they feel is right, but I feel my life is full enough (full of responsibility, full of purpose, full of joy and full of love) with out the priesthood.

But I can't escape the feminist women in my twitter and blog feeds.  And I realized that maybe they weren't so different than I was.  Several of them are stay at home moms, some wear pants to church and some don't.  As far as I know, all of them shave their legs at some point (and if they don't . . . maybe I haven't in over a month either.  You never know.  I'm not telling)

So I did that ever classic move and looked up "feminism" in the dictionary.  The online dictionary, because does anyone really have a hard copy anymore?  How would you look up the word "twerking" in the hard copy dictionary?  But I digress. . . 

Feminism: the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

It doesn't say anything about choosing career over children, shaving your legs or wearing pants to church.

(Can we pause for a minute so that I can point out skirts actually make women cooler than men, at least when it comes to clothing?  I can wear pants OR skirts, but Adam. . . cannot.  So how's that for equality?)

And then I have friends tell me stories.  Husbands that refuse to help around the house because it's women's work (maybe they don't use those words, but it's definitely the tone there) Husbands that wont change diapers, let their kids sit in a poopy diaper for two hours until the wife has time to change it.  Husbands that wont take out the trash when the wife is pregnant because it's not his job.  I just didn't notice it before because I've honestly only ever been treated as an equal.

My dad may have been a little old fashioned when it came to handing out chores (yard work for the boys, cooking and cleaning for me) or extra curricular activities (sports for the boys, dance, sewing and singing for me) but that could also be because of my personal preferences (hello I'm a home ec teacher).  But when it came to intelligence and opinions, the fact that I'm a girl never even entered the discussions.

This is probably why I preferred to teach my classes in the auto hallway instead of the home ec department.  I've never been one to "know my place".  (I didn't really have a choice about where I taught.  Where ever there was space they would stick me.  But I didn't mind being in the auto hallway)

It seems like the word feminism can apply to such a wide variety of ideals that I hesitate to identify with it because others might over generalize what I believe.  So let me say in closing, I was a working woman, a working mom and now I'm a stay at home mom (I could and will write an entire post about that)  I clean, I cook and I birth children but I am not second to anyone.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Food Friday: Party food (and my famous guacamole recipe)

Isn't it funny how Christmas parties all end up on the same weekend?  A few weeks ago I planned my second annual "Cousin Christmas" for this Saturday and then I offered to take a friend dinner on Friday (yay for new babies!) and a breakfast casserole to our church breakfast on Saturday and then I was asked to bring pineapple and apple slices to Adam's family party on Sunday!  That's a lot of food.

First of all, we did a Costco run for things like tortillas (the raw tortillas you cook yourself, once you try them you will never go back) and chips and then on Thursday I shopped at Smiths.  I got away with spending only $67!!!  I am goooooood. 

For the new mom dinner on Friday, I'm making lasagna.  I was inspired by Megan's post about lasagna, but I used a version of my lasagna recipe (The only lasagna recipe you'll ever need).  I wanted to put in some sun dried tomatoes, but I totally forgot!  I made two, because making two lasagnas is just as easy as making one!  So that took care of one of our dinners as well.

For Saturday's breakfast I'm making this breakfast casserole.  I don't have a favorite breakfast casserole because pretty much every ingredient is bad for you (I'm a vegan at heart so a pan full of eggs, milk, cheese and meat. . . well thank goodness for the potatoes), but I do prefer hash browns to those with bread.  Wow, a whole paragraph about breakfast casserole, did not know that was possible.

For my party I'm providing the "dinner".  Since it's not a sit down dinner party, I decided for more finger foods than a real meal.  I'm making my favorite ever chicken taquitos with cilantro lime dressing, BBQ sauce little smokies and chips and guacamole.  Which reminds me that I haven't shared my guacamole recipe on the blog!  I'm pretty much famous for it, so you really need it :)  (If you've lived in Provo for any amount of time, you probably ate at Los Hermanos at some point, right?  Well my dad and his brother are the original hermanos [brothers] and this was their recipe)

Los Hermanos Guacamole (they may have changed it since it sold over 20 years ago. . .)
Sour cream
4 parts salt
2 parts garlic powder
1 part pepper
juice of a lime

Mash your avocados (I usually use about 4) and add some sour cream.  I like there to be more avocado than sour cream, but other than that you can add however much you want!  Then add salt to taste, but pay attention to how much you're adding (don't just sprinkle it in) because that will give you the measurements for the garlic and pepper.  So lets say you use 1 tsp salt, you would use 1/2 tsp garlic and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Just be careful with the salt because chips are really salty so you don't want the guac to be too salty on it's own.  And then I added the lime, it wasn't part of the original recipe.  I say 1 lime for every three or four avocados. (when I make it on Saturday I will take a picture and update the post, but I didn't want it to turn brown by making it too early!)

And then for Sunday I'm just bringing pineapple and apples.  I was lucky to find pineapple for $1 at Simth's!  Otherwise my mother-in-law's suggestion was to cut one pineapple into 40 little pieces (I was asked to bring pineapple and apples for 40 people!  Not by my MIL, by her sister-in-law)

What food are you planning for parties this season?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What would you do with. . . a box of candy canes?

Yay!!  It's What would you do Wednesday again!  Aubrey and I are getting together (virtually) to see what we would/could do with a box of candy canes! 

First, I bought the 24 pack at Target, because it was like 20 cents more for double the candy canes, so duh.  Then I noshed on one while reading blogs one night because 24 is a lot. 

I knew what I wanted to do from the moment that Aubrey suggested candy canes (she comes up with ALL the ideas, I am so grateful for her awesome ideas.)  I came up with a plan of attack and a list of needed supplies.  Then I thought I would check pinterest just for the heck of it (but know in my heart that I came up with the idea by myself even if there were others out there.)  When I searched "candy cane garland" there was a super cute one on the very first row.  I knew just from the picture that it was Dana's (from MADE).  And duh, I've been reading her blog for over two years so obviously I saw this post last Christmas.  But I guess I can pretend I still came up with a candy cane garland all on my own :)

I did mine a little different than Dana, but it's seriously so similar that I'm not going to bother with giving you steps and just go ahead and refer you there. 
Okay so I originally hung up my stockings with tape, which held up better than I expected.  But I didn't really center them and they were a bit to the left.  So when I put nails in for them I went a bit to the right.  Obviously I went too far to the right.  So. . . I should just measure next time. Also Axel's stocking is actually my old stocking so it's a bit of a different size than the others.

We could pretend that Axel doesn't have a stocking yet and this is what the arrangement would look like!  Much more centered.  PS, do you like my wall color?  It usually looks white in my pictures but you can kind of tell it's gray in these.

Next I still had 14 left and a cookie party to attend.  Peppermint is okay, but pair it with chocolate?  Amazing.  So I googled "brownie cookies" and the first recipe had awesome reviews so I made them.  Honestly I hate baking, so if it wasn't for a party I would have just used oreos.  But since I taught high school Home Ec I always feel the need to prove myself.

I wanted the cookies to hold up to dipping, but wanted them to still be soft, so after the cookies came to room temperature I stuck them in the freezer.  That way they were brick-like for the dipping and then soft when thawed out.

I melted some almond bark and added peppermint extract and then dipped the cookies in the candy coating and then into crushed candy canes.  This took 6 candy canes.

I still have some candy canes left and I really want to try making peppermint ice cream, but I'm already fighting off Christmas goodies at every turn, so I'm going to just leave that one for another holiday season. :)

I soooo can't wait to see what Aubrey came up with!  I just know one of these months we're going to end up doing the exact same thing!  Haha.   

Monday, December 9, 2013

The best nativity set (FREE!!)

Axel has been taking awful morning naps lately, but I don't mind because he sleeps like a champ at night and that is (almost) all I ask.  But during his 30 minute morning nap I like to do an activity or project with Olivia.

After I made hand turkeys with her, she was obsessed.  After a couple days of that, I got her on to Christmas trees (I drew the tree, she would decorate it, usually with arms and legs).  But today I printed out a nativity set from seriously the most creative blog I have ever read.  Made by Joel just updated his nativity set (click here) and added some shepherds and more animals.  I loved the original set he posted last year, but I never printed it out.  I don't know why, maybe I thought Olivia was too young? 

Olivia coloring in the pieces.  No I did not do her hair like this, she just asked for the bow and I put it in.  I'm actually surprised it lasted this long.  Probably because it's stuck in there.

To say this was a hit would be an understatement.  She colored all the pieces (in pink because when we like something why change?) and once she finished the first page I started cutting.  It is a testament to her age I think that she sat and played with the pieces after they were all cut out.  Just two months ago I don't think that would have been the case. 

I helped her set it up the traditional way and then I let her play and set it up anyway she wanted!
After a few minutes of playing at the table, she asked to move to the floor.  It's more comfortable there I'm sure :)

So this isn't an ad, more like a public service announcement (I'm into those lately) because everyone should have one of these!  I totally want to print out my own set and color it with insane detail (I freaking love coloring)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Food Friday? All I know is this is how snow should taste

I've been eating snow since I was a kid.  Kind of gross, kind of awesome.  If you think it's too gross, that's fine.  I feel the same way about milk.

Anyway, we got a load of snow on Tuesday and Olivia has been begging to play in it.  I opened the back door to show her how dang cold it really was (playing in the snow is a dad activity, at least until she's old enough to go out by herself!) and she asked to eat the snow.  Of course!  Let's forget about playing outside and eat the snow instead!

The view from my back porch

I carefully scooped just the top of the snow so we didn't get any cement flavor in our snow cream.  Then in a medium bowl I put two spoonfuls of powdered sugar, a couple drops of peppermint extract (the ingredients on the bottler were: flavor and non-flavor, I KID YOU NOT) and some cream I had for a soup recipe.  We didn't need the whole cup of cream so I thought, Why not?  But you could also use milk. 

Don't scrape the bottom!

Growing up we used vanilla, but I thought peppermint would be a fun change.  Holy goodness!  That stuff was awesome!  I think this is what snow would taste like if you were Buddy the Elf.  We mixed it all up and then sat on the kitchen floor sharing bites: Olivia, Axel, Mom, Olivia, Axel, Mom.

Did you make snow cream growing up?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Five years, five sentences

I recently found Madeline's blog and I think I comment on almost every post.  Commenting is hard for me since I usually don't have free hands (thanks to reading blogs while I nurse) so you know your blog is conversational if I really NEED to comment. 

Yesterday she wrote one sentence for each of the last five years.  I thought that would be a fun post to copy, so I did!

Adam finally agreed to marry me in November.

We (the teachers of Jordan School District) almost went on strike at work and lost our jobs, which would have been bad because I got pregnant and needed the health insurance.
Pregnant here, can you tell?  Everyone kept asking me if I was pregnant, so it must have been super obvious.
Olivia was born and I started a blog (not this one, or even the one before this one)
Baby blogger
Adam found a good job so I quit teaching and got pregnant again.
Olivia was still a baby and I was expecting another baby!  Eek.  But she grew up a lot in those 9 months.
Axel was born and we bought a house!

Thanks Madeline for the idea!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Legacy of a name

The photographer positioned my mom really weird.  Anyway, Nancy Louise, Dorothy Mae, Kimberly Mae and Olivia Louise.
When trying to pick Olivia's middle name, I knew I wanted a family name.  First names can be what ever you love, but I think middle names should link you to the past.

I have my grandmother's middle name, Mae.  I wanted to do the same for my kids.  We decided to give Olivia my mom's middle name, Louise.  I thought it was cool that my mom got her middle name from her grandma, Annie Louise, meaning Olivia would be the third woman in the family line to have Louise as a middle name.  (My mom is Nancy Louise)

I liked the significance of the name, but it wasn't always my favorite.  On Thanksgiving after dinner my grandma told me the story of the name, and I totally fell in love with it. 

When my great-great grandma joined the LDS church, her family disowned her.  She then left Denmark and moved to the US to be with other members of the LDS church. 

She found work with an LDS family, helping to care for their children.  They weren't very nice to her, so she left them to work for a Jewish family.  They were much kinder to her.  One of the daughters even taught her how to read in English using their school books. 

Her name was Louise.