Friday, April 29, 2011

How I Know I'm Getting Old

1. I watched highlights of the Royal Wedding and shed tears.

2. I've started to love the I.N.C. department at Macy's (it is also my mother's favorite...what's next, Coldwater Creek?)

3. I fell asleep at a stop light today. The lady behind me honked when the light turned green and it woke me up.

4. I have a astigmatism. Just saying the word makes me sound old. (All eye words like cataract and astigmatism sound like they are for old people.) I got contact lenses because Heaven knows I don't have the face for glasses. The contacts are a nightmare. (This really should be it's own post. I am so afraid of eye stuff. It takes me 10 minutes to get them in and out and I still can't see!)

5. Sam had knee surgery a few weeks ago. People asked me if he got injured and the answer is no. We are now officially having surgeries to repair bad joints. He goes to the gym, not to get in shape, but to get his mobility back. We are ancient.

6. I took Luke to Nordstrom to get some clothes for his upcoming baptism. He looked so dang old in the blazer in the dressing room. I started picturing him leaving on his mission until he hid in the rounders and I remembered he is still seven.

7. Sammie is watching big kid shows every chance she gets. Her favorite is Big Time Rush. She is crushing on the teenage actors. Kendall anyone? She also insists that I put her hair in sponge rollers for church and paint her nails and toenails. I don't even have time to do that for myself...diva.

8. Ryan just looks old. Thank goodness he still acts like a toddler. He is afraid of the Easter Bunny, the Jazz Bear, the Bee at the Bee's games, the Chic-fil-e cow and a stray cat that wanders our neighborhood. He is also not potty-trained and wears nothing but rain boots (the tackiest thing since light up shoes.)

9. Mitchell turned one today! I can't stand it. We have a very unhealthy relationship. There is a reason we call that kid Buster. I don't want him to ever grow up. I take baths with him (I know!) and love on him constantly. I still remember seeing him for the first time--the doctor held up this tiny screaming baby with tons of black hair. Then she immediately handed him through the window to the NICU (He was six weeks early.) I was so relieved to hear him crying and see all that cute hair on that tiny baby. I will never have another baby and while that makes me very happy, it also makes me feel old.

10. Sam and I have given up on all the hip shows on tv. I can't even tell you who is on American Idol or even DWTS (the original show for old people!) Our favorite right now is Swamp People on the History channel. I wish I could say it was the least bit educational or had any redeeming value at all but it doesn't. It is just a bunch of rednecks who live in the bayou and hunt gators. Check it out!

Add to all this that I am tooling around in a minivan with four kids. AND I just got an email reminding me of my 10 year law school reunion (10 years since I graduated from law school!!) I am this close to cutting my hair into a helmet, and buying a pair of sensible shoes.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How To Coordinate for a Family Photo

Once again, I am joining Christie's How-to Tuesday today. I struggled to come up with something to teach the masses. I don't craft, I don't cook, I barely keep my kids alive. But we do get family photos taken every year.

These days, it is not that expensive to get pictures done--I have an amazing photographer who does it for around $150.00 and gives you the disc. I love displaying those photos in my home and having a decent picture for the Christmas card. I have learned a thing or two about coordinating the family over the years.

Here is my advice:

First, decide if you want to be dressy, casual or somewhere in-between. I usually go on the dressy side but this last go-round we wore jeans and went with an urban feel.

Next, decide location. I have made the mistake in the past in not choosing clothes that go with the location (we once wore nautical clothes up in the canyon--what was I thinking?) Jeans and boots look good in the city, summer dresses and shorts look good in the park, fall clothing looks good in the canyon, etc.

Pick two to three main colors to work with (like red, black and gray, or turquoise and brown, etc)

Start with the person who is the hardest to shop for. For our family, that person is me. (This step may even come before picking colors.) Pick your outfit and then use those colors to determine the rest of the picture.

Go to every one's closets and pull out any options in the color scheme you chose. Bring all the clothes to your room and start laying out options on your bed.

Keep trying things until you get something that looks good. Keep in mind that you are looking at the group as a whole. Try not to have anyone stick out too much (unless it is intentional!) You may have to go buy a sweater or some other item for one person but by trying a bunch of different combinations, you can usually find something that works without buying a lot.

Sometimes I even take a picture of all the clothes because it is easier to see in a photo if something sticks out. Here are the three photos I took of clothing choices for the photo above:

We ended up using the clothing in photo #2.

Some other tips:

I love layers in pictures--sweater vests always look cute on boys. I usually use whatever sweater vests my boys have for church and put them with jeans. I like to roll up their sleeves and leave their shirts untucked for a more casual feel.

I discourage ties in pictures. I think they look stuffy and seem to date the picture.

I have moved away from the matchy-matchy stuff. For the love of everything holy, don't have everyone wear a matching shirt unless you want to end up on I don't even match my boys anymore. If two are wearing sweater vests, I make sure the vests coordinate but don't match and I try to put the other one in a sweater or something else.

Avoid any items of clothing with writing or logos.

Avoid really short sleeves on women. This may just be for me and my fat arms.

Husbands are easy (to dress that is--they will complain bitterly about the picture taking process). Put them in either a dress shirt and sports jacket or polo shirt or sweater.

Don't get wrapped around the axle about finding the perfect outfit for each person. I have worn outfits in pictures that I would never wear in real life just because it looked good as part of the whole grouping.

Borrow clothes from friends!

Remember that the camera captures everything. Dirty shoes, bad socks, etc. I actually bought by 7 year old new black shoes at Payless for our last picture and I'm glad I did.

For fall and winter pictures, I think long coats with pattern are really cute and hats and other accessories always add character to the picture.

Have fun with it--remember you're not curing cancer!

Because I know someone is going to ask. My photographer is Jill Tew at

For more brilliant ideas, go here!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hippity Hoppity

I love Easter. I love the pastel colors, the spring weather, but most of all, I love celebrating our Savior's life and Resurrection.

After last year, I promised I wouldn't let the bunny stuff crowd out the real meaning of Easter. But with little kids, it is hard.

Earlier in the week, I had to run an errand at the mall. Here are Luke, Sammie and Buster with the bunny (Ryan was clinging to my legs, scared out of his mind):

Saturday, Sam and I took the kids to the Draper Easter Egg Hunt. Never again. 20 minutes of waiting around like this:

Then 30 seconds of mass hysteria while every egg was grabbed and then 15 minutes of combing the park trying to locate the kids and then back to the car to sit in the parking lot for 20 minutes. We finally got out of the car and let the kids look at the fire engines and play on the playground:

Then we headed back to the car and got out of there. We headed to Kneaders for lunch. It was delicious and a cute lady working there gave us some darling Easter decorations.

Later that afternoon, Sam's parents came over and brought Buster some birthday presents (b-day post later) and some cute Easter cakes for the kids:

Sam's mom with Buster:

Later that night, I filled the kids' Easter buckets. Every year I buy too much but I rationalize that it is all stuff I would have bought them anyway (like flip flops and shorts and books, etc.) They were all thrilled with their loot. (I don't put candy in their buckets because I just feel like Easter is such a candy overload anyway and my kids don't miss it.)

Here are the obligatory Easter pre-church shots. Of course Sammie had a meltdown about something and is crying in all the pictures. Awesome (I'm too lazy to crop these):

Miraculously, Sam agreed to wear the green gingham shirt that matches my boys:

No one said anything this year. He has taken massive abuse in past years for the matching sweater vests. Here is a picture from the good ol' days:

Sammie and I after she got her shiz together (remind me not to squat in any more pictures!)

Sunday evening, we went up to my mom's house for her Easter egg hunt. It is amazing. My dad hid 17 eggs for each kid--they each get their own color. There were also little gifts hidden for the kids.

My mom put on a delicious dinner (I know I have been photographing a lot of food lately--I'm hungry!) You have to remember that my mom did all of this after babysitting my kids for five days while I was in D.C.!

We watched a really great movie about Christ at my mom's house and I think we will do that every year.

I will end with this picture of Sammie. She put on those ears, gathered all of her stuffed animals and demanded that I take the picture. She will be looking for it on my blog!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Washington D.C.Getaway

Sam and I just returned from a little vacation to Washington D.C. Sam was there for work so I guess it wasn't really a vacation for him. My kids were home so it was a complete vacation for me. There were tulips everywhere and the weather was beautiful.

Sam and me with our friend Lori, who works with Sam.

My only regret with the trip was that I was unable to visit some friends I have in the D.C. area. I didn't have a car and we were not there very long.

The trip mainly consisted of Shopping, Eating, napping, and seeing a few sights here and there. Rather than give you a blow by blow, I will give you the highlights of my shopping and eating (which is what I love most on a vacation) And I know you don't care what monuments we visited.


D.C. has great shopping. Most if it is accessible by riding the metro (the subway) and I actually spent so much time shopping the first two days, I actually hit my shopping wall. I know, my mom would be so disappointed in me. But I did do some serious damage at Macy's and Ann Taylor Loft.

The truly amazing thing for me is that I didn't buy a single thing for any of my kids on this trip. Usually I blow the wad on them and Heaven knows, they all have too many clothes.

I spent a fair amount of time looking for a cute spring/summer dress. I think I tried on everything in Nordstrom, Macy's, Talbots, WHBM, Loft, Ann Taylor and a host of other stores. I honestly just couldn't find anything that was long enough (to the knee) or that I was dying over. By the way, Urban Outfitters has the ugliest clothes on the planet. I don't care who I offend in saying that. It's like they are trying to put ugly stuff out there to be uber cool or something. Agreed?

Anyway, I finally bought this dress at Macy's with a hot pink cardigan:

I actually bought it in the plus size department just for length and then took it to an alterations place back home and had it taken in. The idea came to me in the dressing room and I think it is brilliant. If it works out, I may be doing this more often. It may turn out like crap and I might be sorry.

I also bought myself this new "uni" at Victoria Secret. I spend most of my life in loungewear so I figured it was worth the price. Sammie keeps asking my why it is purple if it says "Love Pink". Good question.

Let's get on to the EATING.

D.C. has some phenomenal restaurants. My favorite of all time is in Arlington, VA. It is called Uncle Julio's Rio Grande. The Fajitas are out of this world, the salsa is perfect, the guacamole is to die get the idea. We actually ate there twice. I made Sam go back with me on our way to the airport for a last meal. It cost us a pretty penny in cab fare but it was so worth it.

Another favorite place to eat is called Old Ebbitt Grill. It is right by the White House and the crab cake sandwich is soooo good. I also recommend the crab and artichoke dip. Can you tell I love to eat? Good food makes the trip. We took this picture right after dinner (White House behind us):

My other favorite place was a pizza place in Chinatown called Matchstick. I had the yummiest pear and walnut salad along with pizza and little cheeseburger sliders (Yeah, I think I gained back all the weight I lost). We will definitely be going back there again. The sliders:

Finally, my friend Brandi recommended this little cupcake shop called Georgetown Cupcake. The shop was on a show on TLC or something. So Sam and I headed there one night and this is what we found:

The line went all the way around the block! It started raining (Not just sprinkles but a torrential downpour and the line didn't budge.) Needless to say, we didn't get a cupcake. It looked good though!

Proof that we did do some sight seeing:

We also saw The Source Code which we both liked and I watched Country Strong on the plane and loved it. I also read The Hunger Games and found the book disturbing.

The whole trip was really relaxing and fun and I am still digging myself out from all the laundry.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Back to My Buster

I just returned from an awesome, relaxing, refreshing trip with Sam full of shopping, eating, sleeping in, more shopping, more eating and a little sight seeing. Sam was there for business and I was there for pleasure.

I will report soon but currently I am spending all my time doing this:

I can't get enough. I missed him like crazy...the other ones...not so much.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sammie's Teeny Tiny Party

Sammie turned six last week and I threw her a teeny tiny party. Before any of you get all crazy and actually think I came up with all this myself, I must give credit to Jennie at Focus Jennie. I stole all of her ideas.

We sent out teeny tiny invitations:

My friend Carolyn got me tiny white cone shaped water cups from her work that I forced my poor mother to make into tiny party hats (Look how cute they turned out!) My mom also came and helped with the party. She took care of Buster and did whatever else I ordered her to do:

We served the girls a lunch with all kinds of tiny foods:

I even found these tiny glasses at Zurchers:

I made Sammie a teeny tiny cake:

The girls painted these tiny treasure chests and then went on a treasure hunt for tiny prizes. All of the clues included the words "small" or "tiny":

Here are the cute girls in their tiny party hats:

Listen to how similar all of their names are (these are not in order) Sammie, Sophie, Brynn, Brinley, Baylee, Kate, Kate, Kadee, Katia, and Naiah. Stella and Ella were taken off the list at the last minute because we were getting too many. Needless to say, I was tongue tied for the whole party. I called everyone the wrong name.

Sammie had a great time. I'm glad the party is in the rear-view. She reads my blog now on the ipad and has been hounding me to get this post up. I'm wondering if she turned six or sixteen. Sheesh.