Friday, February 26, 2010


It's been a crazy week, and it's not quite over yet. On the agenda for today:

1. Shower. (Yes, I actually have to put that on the list or it won't get done.)
2. Dress, hair and makeup. (See reason for listing above.)
3. Finish packing for weekend at Grandma's.
4. Make muffins to take to Grandma's for breakfasts.
5. Make sure Katie's dressed, hair done, show & tell ready, backpack packed & ready for school.
6. Take Katie to school and drop off Maggie's forgotten homework.
7. Go to store for groceries for weekend & pick up packing tape.
8. Pack BoxTops & mail off.
9. Load stuff in truck.
(Note to self--don't forget the diapers, bottles, Maggie's meds or sewing machine w/ fabric & thread.)
10. Pick up girls from school.
11. Take girls to piano practice.
12. Pick up Dad & trailer from worksite.
13. Discourage Mike from showering so we can leave immediately.
14. Drive to Kemmerer w/ 7 people squished into our F-150 extended cab and hope we don't get in an accident or get pulled over on the way.
15. Pick up our new van.
16. Breathe a sigh of relief.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

PickleFace Place

I feel like I've been running on all cylinders lately! I finally finished sewing the first batch of ties (60 of them!), and sent some off to my AMAZING photographer just yesterday. I can't wait to see the images she captures of her little models in my ties! I feel like a proud mama. She's also working on a logo for me since I finally settled on a name for this new venture.

PickleFace Place

It may seem a bit unusual, but it's something that brings back some great memories of growing up with my only brother. My Grandma Martindale nicknamed him "Pickleface" when he was just a little boy because he absolutely LOVED to suck on pickles. Funny how little things like that create lasting memories. I thought it made a catchy little name for a shop devoted to decking out our little boys, and it reminded me of the little boy I grew up with.

I'm now in the process of setting up my shop, trying to contact all my family, friends, and acquaintances (just to get the word out), and setting up a Facebook page and a blog as well. It takes a lot more time than I had initially thought (the setup, not the tie-making!), but I'm really enjoying the creative process. It's amazing what our minds can conjure up, isn't it? I'm trying to get it all ready for a tentative Grand Opening of March 15th, but we'll see if I can make that deadline! I have to remind myself that I still have 5 children, a house, and a husband to take care of--all of which have been a little neglected lately.

I'm hoping that after this week of BoxTop submissions (yep, I'm in charge of that for our school, so I've been spending my evening hours counting...), the next two weeks of getting some paperwork done for Mike's new little adventure, and putting all the pieces together for PickleFace Place, I'll finally be able to take a break and let things just happen.
Oh yeah, and clean my house.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Date 2 of 52--Peanut Butter M&M's Gin

With no mention of anything in the works, I was a little concerned when Saturday night rolled around that Mike had forgotten he was supposed to plan our date this week. (We haven't started out packets yet, since we're still awaiting our tax return.) This was almost confirmed when after putting the kids to bed, he plopped himself on the couch and started watching Olympic speed skating. He's never been good at hiding anything, though, so as the corner of his mouth turned up a bit, I knew he was just trying to fool me into thinking he hadn't remembered. You'd think he'd know by now that he's the WORST LIAR IN THE WORLD. Not that that's a bad characteristic to have, but it makes hiding things from your wife pretty much impossible.
He took my sewing machine off its little table & dragged it over between the two couches, then whipped out a deck of playing cards. Gin! When we were first married and living in the little red brick apartment, we used sit on the couch together and play gin while watching TV. It had probably been that long since we'd played! Only this time, no TV, and we had an added bonus as Mike opened up a BIG bag of peanut butter M&M's--my favorite! There was a catch, though. Instead of just snacking on them while we played, we made it a rule that you could only snack if you won the hand. As soon as you lost, you had to give the bag to the other until you won again. Let's just say that some of those hands lasted a really, really long time. (I won't give away who deliberately dragged it out, but I will refer you to 5 sentences back.)
It was actually a really nice date together. Would've been better if I hadn't remembered at 9:37 that I needed to get the Sacrament Meeting Program done and sent off to the Bishop by 10:00, but what do you do? Sometimes things just come up, no matter how good your intentions are. It was probably a good thing I forgot because as soon as I had my "oh, crap" moment, Mike had his as he remembered he needed to call and set up a meeting for Sunday morning to extend a call.
We played a couple more hands after our business was all taken care of, but we're getting old and staying up later than 10 is getting harder and harder to do. i know, we're boring. But I kinda like being boring with him.

Two dates down, 50 to go!

Friday, February 19, 2010 it possible?

I'm trying to see if I can actually get a post plunked out in under 15 minutes. I struggle with wanting to devote time to this online journal, and taking care of things on the homefront. If only my mind was quicker and I didn't rewrite things 300 times before posting, with about a thousand edits in-between, I'd be able to spend less time keeping up with this!
Anyway, today is short day at school, and I'm busily ironing fabric to get ready for sewing before the girls all get home. I spent about 3 hours cutting out 66 ties and 66 straps yesterday, and I've figured it will take me just over an hour to iron all the straps. Forgive me for all the logistics, but I need to figure out how much time it takes me to do the ties so I can price them well enough to make more than minimum wage off them! Time is money, right?
Thanks to Heather for advice on the business end, Tara for the good ideas and encouragement, and Jen (my hero!) for being my official photographer & ad-maker! I hope to get the initial batch of ties done this weekend so I can get this ball rolling. I have a tentative date of March 15th for my Grand Opening, so mark your calendars--all 4 of you who read this!

Ok, so that was my 15 minute test-run, with no edits or rewrites. Yikes. I'll work on it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dating Packets

So here's the great dating idea I told you about. Shauna posted this on Project 52: Date Nights that she puts together date packets at the beginning of the year, with pre-purchased tickets, gift cards, etc. that way everything is all ready to go and there are no excuses like, "We can't afford to," or "It's too late to get tickets." I think it's a perfect thing to do right now as we eagerly await our tax return. Why not set aside a little bit of money to fund our dates for the whole year? It's like an insurance policy on your marriage, or like tithing--pay it first, right? We're already getting our packets ready, and since we love the idea of them being a surprise for each other, we're each taking a whole month. Doesn't this sound fantastic? I can't wait to see what Mike has planned for the rest of the month.

Oh, did you hear my news in the previous post? Ties. Lots of them.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Jumping In

So, I'm doing it. I finally decided to stop thinking about it all the time and just do it.

I think I may be crazy.

I found my way to Hobby Lobby this afternoon and purchased 1 yard each of eight fabulous fabrics, and began cutting out ties. Yup. I'm officially going into business! I've had a lot of people asking about the ties I've made for Dixon--Where can I get one? How do I make them? Will you make me one?--so I'm opening up an Etsy shop and will get it up and running as soon as I get the ties sewn and photos taken. I'm nervous because part of me wants people to flock to my site because they think my ties are amazingly adorable and they absolutely HAVE to have one or three. (Okay, so maybe MOST of me wants that.) But I'm also thinking that I'm a little cuckoo because, really, when will I have time to sew all these ties? I think I see a productive date night in the future....

So here's to new adventures! I'll keep you posted as to when the site's up and running, and where it's at. Wish me luck!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Date 1 of 52--Dinner & Dancing (kinda)

It's Monday, and since I'm a prisoner to the Mortuary phone all day, I thought I might update everyone on our first of 52 date nights. We decided to use some gift cards we'd gotten two Christmases ago (I know. For shame!) so our "hot" date started out with dinner at the Olive Garden--along with 1500 of our closest friends. Good thing we decided to go early because getting there at 5:00 assured us only a 30 minute wait, as opposed to the hour+ wait for the hundreds showing up after 5:30. I'd forgotten how crazy restaurants in Utah get on holiday weekends. Obviously it's been a while since we've been out!
Dinner was heavenly. Not that the food was spectacular--though the scallops did melt in my mouth! It's just that anytime I don't have to cook it or clean it up is simply divine in my book. We ordered appetizers and frou-frou drinks which ended up giving my tongue cankers, but they were yummy nonetheless. The best part was that we didn't hurry ourselves through any of it; just a slow, leisurely dining experience that was certainly unusual for me, but very, very enjoyable.
After dinner we headed over to the dance. Yeah, we're too old and boring (and let's face it, terrible dancers) for dance club stuff, so we had to settle for the Stake Valentine's Day Dance. Did I mention that part of Mike's calling as a High Councilor is to be over stake activities, so he had to be there to welcome everyone and call on someone for a prayer? Three guesses as to who he called on...anyone? Anyone? Now I'm thinking that we better clarify the rules of dating to include that functions he's in charge of don't count as dates, bringing treats to said function, or certainly calling on his wife to pray nullifies it, too.
(Even if the treats turn out to be as scrumptious as my Double Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting did.)
We'd heard stories that the VDay dance had been a pretty big bomb in years past, so we had pretty low expectations going in. We were quite surprised to see that not only were we not the only ones in our ward there, but that there were close to 100 people gettin' their grove thang on! Despite the major flashbacks to youth Stake Dances, we laughed and danced, and laughed for the better part of two hours. It was a relief to not be the worst dancers on the floor, and it was worth the ringing in the ears that lasted through the next day. I think we'll try to avoid such late night excursions from now on, though, because every one of the kids were crank-y all the next day from being up so late waiting for us.
I don't expect that all of dates 2-52 will be the same kind of fun or exciting as this first one was, especially since we'll be spending half of them here at home, but I do hope that the spark we rediscovered Friday night will keep flickering as we make the time for each other every week. I got a great idea from another blogger about planning our dates that I want to share later on this week. At least for us, it will go a long way in making sure we stick to our weekly date nights.

One down, 51 to go!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Our V-day

Valentine's Day has never been my favorite holiday. I mean, I'm not totally against it, but I've never thought of myself as one of those high maintenance girly-girls who needs flowers and chocolates to feel validated. (That's not to say I wouldn't be secretly giddy to receive such validation.)
Today, I decided to throw away all my prejudices against this sappy day, and dive in head-first. I dyed my pancake batter a lovely shade of Valentine pink and did my best to fashion hearts out of the batter on the griddle. (The secret is in the "V.") We spread the most delicious chocolate peanut butter (yep, you read that right) on them before dousing them with warm syrup, and the girls were in pink valentine heaven! If only I could've lived in that moment all day, but alas, Mike was gone to meetings and I had to make up for the time spent making pink pancakes as I rushed to ready everyone for church all by myself. It's usually not a pretty picture. The spirit of the day was redeemed after church when I set up this little scavenger hunt for the girlies.

Do you believe in magic wishes?
Head to the place that cleans your dishes.

Next is the place where fingers fly
Up and down keys, so don’t be shy.

Look through the mess, if you dare
The next clue’s waiting at the bottom of the stair.

Now I know that you're no fool,
This is where your drinks keep cool.

Are you having fun with all these clues?
Look in the place that Mom keeps her shoes.

Maybe you have super powers
The next clue will be where Dad takes his showers.

Piles of these that Mom has to fold,
Like to be washed here, or so I’m told.

This is a place to rest your head.
Look right inside the smallest bed.

Congratulations! You’ve found the last one.
Now run to the place where we have FHE Fun!

I left Hershey's Hugs & Kisses with each clue, then left one of those giant Kisses at the end. Their squeals were priceless. I can't say that it ranked any higher in the holiday category than before, but the girls sure had a blast, and I actually got a nap today, so I guess it was pretty successful.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dating Again

I got asked out for Valentine's Day. Yeah, I was surprised, too. Dinner and dancing on a Friday night. Don't know how well these legs will work out on the dance floor (Mike already makes fun of my white girl overbite...) but how fun to get all gussied up and go out SANS children!

I stumbled onto this quote that was unattached to an author:

"The value of a relationship is equal to the time invested in it."

I'm ashamed to admit that we have not been investing time in our marriage. Don't get me wrong, I still love the guy--heck, I even still LIKE him!--but our relationship as a couple has been put on the back burner, as we deal with kids, jobs, finances, church responsibilities, and life in general. (Which has been especially burdensome as of late.) So, to help put us back on track, we decided to start dating again. Or maybe just start dating, period. We never really went on 'dates,' when we first started courting (do people still use that word?), we just spent all our time together. I think it will be fun to see what we can come up with. Since we're on-call every other weekend, half our dates have to be stay-homers. But we've decided to split them up, so we'll each have to plan 13 'in-house' dates and 13 'going out' dates. We're going to switch babysitting with another couple we know so that they can go out, too. Can you imagine paying a babysitter for 5 kids every week????

So, we're dating again after all these years. If you have any ideas, pass them along! (Just remember we'ez po', so don't go suggesting a dinner date to LaCaille [fancy-schmancy restaurant in SLC] or heli-skiing. Just ain't gonna happen, friends.)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Life is But a Dream

Since Bridget has a double ear infection and Dixon's on his way to one, I'm at home today instead of church. The last couple of nights have been miserable with constant sleep interruptions (at least hourly) and night feedings that I thought we'd done away with. Makes it hard to be anything but grouchy come morning. On the plus side, I didn't have a mad dash to get all gussied up and out the door this morning, and plan to remain in my cozy, albeit frumpy, jammies for the duration of the day. Right now it's quieter than it has been in a while, with the older girls and Mike at church and Dixon napping. Bridget is creating all sorts of art projects with things from the Sunday Box while she eats strawberries, wearing an outfit she put together herself. Good thing we aren't making any public appearances today.

I'm still trying to climb out of my rut that seems more like a giant chasm at times (I know--the frumpy jammies and lack of showering don't really help), but I think I'm making progress--a little, but progress nonetheless. It's nice to have a little time to reflect on some of the troubles that have been weighing on me, and to try to both put them in perspective, and find solutions to them. I feel at times as though I'm one breath away from drowning, as I struggle to find peace. It occurs to me that I'm supposed to be learning some great lessons through this, and again, I find myself turning to analogies to make sense of things.

The Current and the Shore

My life's little boat that I've been row, row, rowing down the stream sideswiped some rocks, filled with water and went under. In the meantime, that stream emptied into a mighty river, sweeping me into its roaring current. I now have two choices. I can swim with all my might to get to the shore as quickly as I can, or I can ride the current to some distant location downstream. If I choose the first, I'll more than likely waste my precious energy fighting against the current that is going to take me where it wants to anyway. In the event that I actually struggle hard enough and make it to the shore of my own accord, I'll be lost, and will doubtless have to struggle again through whatever terrain lies between that spot of shore and safety. If I choose the latter, it will take every ounce of faith I have to relax and be confident in my ability to keep my head above the water, however, remaining in the water will allow the current to effortlessly carry me to that destination at the end of the river. There will still be treacherous rapids to navigate and the threat of crashing into protruding rocks, but both options are fraught with inherent danger and unpleasantries.

I realize I've been looking for the relief that comes from finally getting to the shore and planting my feet back on solid ground, but only the Lord knows what lies in wait along the shoreline, and He has further to take me. If I struggle hard enough and get myself out now, I won't be where the Lord wants me to be, or end up where the Lord wants me to end up. I'll have to struggle through whatever terrain lies between where I got out and my 'final destination,' and as a result I may never make it there. It will take longer and be harder, ultimately, than remaining in the current and allowing it to effortlessly carry me. I just have to try not to drown in the process. It's a difficult thing for me to allow myself to relax while in the river, but I know if I do, it will be easier and I may even be able to enjoy some of the scenery along the way. After all, as President Hinckley said, "Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured."

I was reading my friend, Ashlee's blog this morning and something she said really stood out to me.

"I have watched several people struggle to find solace in the midst of a trial. It seems to me that those who have the desire to be teachable while in the fight come out stronger. They do still experience frustration, loss, disappointment, sadness and more, but there is increased purpose and patience in their struggles. I think we can learn things the easy way or the hard way, and praying to be teachable makes every challenge just a bit easier."

I sincerely hadn't thought to pray for that, but I can see her point. By truly looking to and allowing myself to be teachable, amidst all this angst, I will be made stronger and wiser. And really, isn't that what the goal is? For wisdom is acting upon truth and knowledge. Now, I just need to find the courage to stay in the current.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Painting, Laundry and Cooking, Oh My!

I'm aware that it's 2:30 in the afternoon, but I had to sit and take a little break from all the manual labor I've subjected myself to over the last couple of days. Mike's been working at Meredith's all week so I've had a bit of normalcy return to this house. It was very much welcomed. I love being around Mike, but I think we were really starting to get on each others' nerves, being together nearly all day, everyday for the last couple of months.
Yesterday I was able to get all the trim done in the kitchen (yay!) which makes it actually look clean in there for the first time since we moved in 8.5 years ago! It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint will do to a room. And to my spirits! Mike didn't even notice it when he walked in last night; he just mentioned that I 'must've spent the whole day in the kitchen because it looked spic & span.' He got that It felt good to finally cross something off my two-page "things to fix around the house" list that sits plastered to the fridge like a permanent fixture. Unfortunately, I had to veer from the list today and spend all morning folding the mountain of laundry that took up all but "my" little spot on the couch. (Oh, that and take care of Dixon and Bridget.) I'm pretty impressed with myself that I even got dinner started in the crockpot before noon--Turkey & Wild Rice Soup. (Thank you CrockPot Lady!) Dixon's now napping and Bridget is using up some of her points she earned from her Job Chart to watch Arthur while she munches on a snack of little grape tomatoes. (As a side note, I've started leaving cut-up and bite-sized veggies in zippies in the fridge for the kids to eat whenever they want to. They've stopped asking for junk, and it's so nice that they can just go get whatever they want without having to ask. Because they're getting lots of veggies now, I've been less concerned about them eating all their veggies at dinnertime. They especially like cauliflower, green beans and carrots, and I don't even have to bribe them with Ranch dressing!)
Anyway, maybe I shouldn't have taken a break because now I just want to close my eyes and nap. I better not, though. With only 30 minutes before the girls get home from school, I hate to crash then wake up grouchy, which is usually what happens when I fall asleep in the middle of the day.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Being Productive

I have a nearly uninterrupted day today, so I'm going to see what projects I can get done around here before kiddos make it home form school. While I really need to finish the laundry, I think a better use of my time would be painting the trim in the kitchen that's been sitting bare for about 2 years now. I'm not sure when the kitchen will be this clean again, so I better get to it now! Wish me luck that little fingers don't imprint themselves on my newly painted trim...