Thursday, December 3, 2009

 A Princess Story

About a year ago I set out to rid my house of the piles of paper that had been rapidly erecting into small citadels throughout my home. With one daughter that draws all day and another that is now in elementary school it seemed paper was building a small army, with bases camped at every counter, table and desk.  We were at war. In my quest for home parchment domination, armed with my garbage bag I was recklessly throwing out every paper in my path.  Until a particular one caught my eye. I stopped pillaging, took mercy upon it and sat down and read.  Scrolled in my then 6 year old daughter’s hand was this story…

A princess story
Once upone a
time thir was a
princess her name
was Anji She hade
a puple and black
strip on her dress
She lived in a big casle and
She hade a gold crown
whith red Diymineds. 
The next day a
prince came and
he liked her his
name is Jared
he loved the
way She Smiled
Anji liked him a love verry
verry mush!
and the next day he
came to take her
on a walk.
and thay lived happle
ever after the end

At first I thought it was the sweetest most precious thing ever.  But the more I thought about it the more distressed I became.  Her happily ever after wasn’t a story about Ariel and Erik, Belle and the beast, Cinderella and Mr. Charming…. Nope, it was Mom & Dad.  Holy fire… I am her EXAMPLE of happiness in marriage! I guess I'm a tad slow, but it suddenly dawned on me that my children are watching...not just me as a mother, but me as a wife.  I spend all this time trying to be a good mom.  I have read books about it, set goals about it, I get very passionate about it.  So when the light bulb appeared over my head so did the question…am I spending the same energy and devotion in being a good wife and companion?  Obviously Scooter thought so (granted she always has been my practical child), but I defiantly could think of areas that needed some improvement.  So I’ve been attempting to put that same degree of dedication (that I put into motherhood) into my marriage.

As a reminder I keep Scooters story in my studio.  Hung to the wall, close to my computer.  Beside it I’ve placed this picture of J and I on our wedding day… 

Nine years ago yesterday.
Reminding me that happily ever after 
began that day… 
but it is still a work in progress.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

 Root beer & Proclamations

2 (ish) a.m.
“MOM, I can’t find my root beer.”

Last night I needed to pick up a couple things from the Mac counter. So we decided to make a family night of it and go to the Cheese Cake factory. It was crazy… the holidays are definitely here. They forgot our appetizer (lettuce wraps…sigh) and about half way through our meal Ride noticed she never got her root beer. We reported the second discrepancy of the night to our waitress and finally, as she brought us our dessert menus Ride got her root beer. Within minutes of taking a sip of it she was asleep on the bench. When the dessert arrived,
I attempted to rise her, she was more interested in sleeping than the sugary goodness that sat on the table.So the rest of us shared the slice of cheesecake
(white chocolate raspberry) while she napped.

I brought the root beer home along with the leftovers. Ride knew this… and that is why at 2 in the morning she decided she had a hankering for root beer.
Apparently she couldn’t find it and woke me up distressed and teary eyed over the situation.

After assuring my (almost) 5 year old that the root beer that had eluded her was in fact in the fridge, hiding behind the black boxes, she returned to bed. And then Momo was up. Crying and COUGHING. He sounded terrible.
 I got him a bottle and finally returned to bed. Hallelujah.

So this morning as J was up getting ready for his early morning church meetings I laid in bed and thought…“I think Momo is too sick for church.” But then I thought that perhaps my opinion might be skewed by the long night and my desire to not get out of bed. I couldn’t be an impartial judge of my thoughts. Then J walked in… "Momo is too sick for church, don't bring him.”
 Oh good, it was nice to be reassured that my bed
was not the one winning that battle.

So I’m home and now updating my blog…

I thought about posting pictures of my thanksgiving decorations but they’re kinda lame. I’ve just never really gotten pumped about decorating for it. Don’t get me wrong I’m grateful but I’d rather start prepping for Christmas post Halloween.
Anyway I’m most grateful for my little family so I’m posting a picture of this…

Nope that’s not vinyl. I wrote The Family A Proclamation on our wall. It measures about 7' x 4'. I'm thinking I want to add a frame around it. Another project to add to my list. The best part is that it only cost me about 10 bucks…I went through a few brown markers. I swear my right hand still hasn’t recovered.

Oh and I let Ride enjoy her root beer 
at 8 am this morning. 
(That's better than 2 am, right)?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

 Extraordinary Life

After writing this came the big debate… do I blog it? I almost didn’t. I guess I worry I may come off wrong, or that I sound silly. Then I realized I was letting fear get the best of me, and that just ticked me off, so consequently now I have to post it. Anyway only like 5 people read my blog anyway. And I still can’t quite put my finger on why I’m hesitant.
Oh well...

J came home from a fireside a couple weeks back. Edwin Mulitalo who has played for the NFL (the Ravens & the Lions and is now a free agent) addressed the youth. J shared with me the many inspiring thoughts that had been given that night. I was a tad jealous, but at least grateful I got the second hand account. One of the many thoughts Brother Mulitalo shared that captured my interest was his statement….

“I’m an ordinary person, whose had extraordinary experiences.”

I thought about that. I’ve since then changed it a bit to suit me.
And I came up with…

“I’m an ordinary gal, whose having an extraordinary life.”

I have not visited far off lands. I haven’t mingled with “important” people. I haven’t been famous, or even seen famous. My clothes mostly come from Target and occasionally Forever 21.
I’ve googled my name… nope, nothing there. I haven’t even been skydiving.
So what’s so extraordinary about that?

I made a decision shortly after my first child was born. I was feeling frumpy. I was overwhelmed by my new “job.” I felt that my “youth” was disappearing and I was entering a new faze of my mortal experience. I decided rather than feeling life was all but over (I laugh at that now) that I would embrace this new me. That I would make life, no matter when or how it changed, no matter what is handed me, or what circumstances arise… to make that life extraordinary. I’ve come to the conclusion that having an extraordinary life isn’t reserved for a select few. Rather it is a choice.
To clarify,
I feel that when you take what life has appointed you,
and do the BEST you can with it….
that life becomes extraordinary.

I’ve been given a gift.
I’m doing what I’ve wanted to do since the time I was a youngster. I get to be a mom. I know people have differing opinions about it, but for me I consider being home with my children a gift. It is something I want, and somehow right now I’ve been blessed with it. Being a SAHM isn’t easy. It takes a great deal of will power. I am my own boss. Every day I have to make a list for myself of what I want to have happen. Sometimes I fail. At times I’m overzealous so I don’t meet every expectation. Other days my toddler attempts to convince me that he’s the boss. One day last week he put my favorite earrings in the toilet. He then discovered how to move a chair to provide the height he required to grab his sisters Halloween candy from the counter. After dumping it all on the floor he sat amongst his prey and proceeded to put multiple suckers in his mouth. To top it off he did it all in the buff… cause who need’s clothes when your 18 months old? He's also in this marvelous stage where he wants to feed himself. So he has an average of 3 baths a day. One after each meal. So a better portion of my day becomes devoted to disaster clean up. Additionally, there are certain aspects of motherhood I’m not very good at. I’m not up at 6 a.m. preparing well-balanced breakfasts of eggs, pancakes, bacon and orange juice. Morning and I accept each other… but that doesn’t mean we have to like each other. Cold cereal and milk are all right by me.
On the rare occasion we have pancakes… it’s usually for dinner.
Anyway… my fault list could go on a mile, but I’m attempting to focus on the positive.

Despite all this there are those moments of satisfaction, when I feel a sense of accomplishment. When I just don’t give a little of me, but I give all of me. I host a mean dance party with my 5 and 7 year olds. I’m outstanding at bedtime stories. Holidays are full of traditions, excitement and usually a little glitter. Fashion shows are delivered on a regular basis to our one member audience
(J is a trooper). I give my kids art lessons, play games and cook with them. There is never a shortage of love and hugs and happy moments. I go to church, spend most of the time in the hall chasing “the boy” but I do it because that’s what you do, and that is what I want my girls to see me doing… going even when it's tough. I’m trying to learn new things. Like canning, gardening and sewing and how to change a diaper and talk on the phone at the same time. I’m trying to make our house a home, a comfortable and peaceful place for my children to grow. There is no shortage of creative ideas being attempted in our home. It can be in the way I discipline or when I’m painting and my daughters hover over me asking me questions about the process.
These are the moments and the accomplishments that make me think…
I’m not the best at this, but I’m the best I can be at it.

My goal is that in the twilight of life (God willing), I will look back with no regrets. I will be satisfied with how I spent my time and energy. I will feel confident that I gave my all, that I magnified my calling.
That I did the best I could with my extraordinary life,
and with these

These beautiful photos were taken by the most talented photographer ever, Angie Monson.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


My soul is so full,
it is seeping gratitude.


I will never be able to repay HIM.
I will forever be able to thank HIM.
photo by Angie Monson

Sunday, November 1, 2009

 A Retro Halloween

Sock Hop Sweetie

Car hop Dolly

J & Momo
Rusty circa 1962 & Elvis
Rosie the Riveter

The Retro Family

Hail to the king, baby.

Friday, October 16, 2009


The magic begins when my little girls squeal with delight as decorations are pulled from their resting place. They breathe new life, new energy into our home. Some of my most precious memories are when my house is filled with holiday trinkets, lights and ribbons. JOY!

I have a few theories about holiday decorating.
1. Take what you’ve already got and add seasonal ribbon. I also will use scraps of fabric as ribbon or to put under stuff. Wrap candles, candlesticks, frames, lamps etc… Also the fabric comes in handy for making things taller. For example…I’ll use a can of beans
(if you’re not a bean fan, corn will work just as well ;)
under the fabric to set a vase higher.
2. Make it yourself. So much more fulfilling.
Even the stuff I’ve bought I alter to my liking.
Adding as much personal touch as possible.
3. Rummage through your house to see what you’ve got. Pull things from other rooms, go through old boxes and storage rooms. Some of my favorite decorating inspiration comes this way.
4. Never underestimate the power of images printed out on paper with
a little glitter, embellishments and ribbon added.
5. Purchase goodies that can be used for more than one holiday. Lime green glitter candles for Halloween & Christmas, fake pumpkins with fun Halloween things painted or drawn on one side that you simply turn around for thanksgiving. Red accents from Christmas that can be used for valentines… you get the picture.
6. Speaking of picture… take them. Photo your decorations up. It will help you reset it the following year. And even if you don’t set it up the same way it gives you a great starting point.
Plus it never fails every year when I pull my stuff out that I’ll come across something and think…
"What the….” Then I’ll look through my photo’s and think…"Oh.”

All that being said, I in now way claim to be a pro. I also am not claiming that everything I have is an original Anj idea. I love to do creative things. I love to see what other people create. I think creative people feed off of each other. And this is why I’m posting photos of my home at Halloween. Enjoy.

This years major undertaking. I'm so pleased with the outcome.
Each is 2'x4' Oil on hardboard.
To give credit where it's due:
I didn't create the Sally image.  I found one I fell madly in love with.
The original is actually a marker sketch and only about 5 inches tall.
The artist who created the original gave me permission to display my rendition on this blog.
(Seriously, what a stud.  Most artist aren't that kind).
His name is Charles Holbert Jr.
You can find him on deviantART under the name KidNotorious.  

The Entertainment Center
On the corners are 2 skulls. I made them last year out of paper mache.
Flour, water, a phone book and balloons.
I think the whole thing cost me a buck. I had to buy a pack of balloons from the dollar store. The printed labels on the jars of goodies you can find at
My neighbor uses the same candy corn every year.
She puts it in a zip lock and freezes it.
Brilliant, I say! I'm going to give it a whirl this year.
The green liquid in the lemonade glass bottle is made from a highlighter. It glows in the dark with a black light.
Super cool. I filled photo frames of Halloween pictures of years past. Added ribbons and fabric to the top.

Little Ditties
These are projects from this year.
Mr. Skeleton Man is a wire form from stampington.
He's only like 12 bucks.
Spray him orange, add some glitter... and ta-da!
Well I had to make the little Seasons Screamings sign.
Then we have my spooky banner.
There is a lady on etsy.
Her site name is sugar sugar, or something like that.
She makes these unreal banners. I basically copied her.
A little paper, ribbon, glitter, streamers,
and embellishments and your good to go.

Fireplace & Mantel
Oh dear, where to begin. How about the top. I made a sign
(out of some strange foam meets wood composite, dirt cheap too)
that hangs from the ceiling that reads "This is...".
Then with smaller pieces of the fake wood stuff I spelled out
H A L L O W E E N. Using a skull to represent the O.
The letters are on both sides, because the letter blocks spin freely.
On the mantel itself I have 2 white fake pumpkins. (This was a project from last year). Using a sharpie I colored Jacks face on one and wrote "Life's no fun without a good scare" on the other.
Hmmmm... what else.
Oh, I'm thinking a few people may have those black boxes.
Mine usually say "this and that" they are pretty popular around town. I replace the small this and that signs according to the season.
Right now they say trick or treat.
(If you don't know what I'm talking about please ignore me).
They are great for stacking things at different heights.
(And cuter than a can of beans).
I use a black light in the lamp. It casts a wonderful purple glow. The lamp shade is one I picked up at the D.I. for a couple bucks. I ripped off the material down to it's skeleton and tied black, white and orange ribbon from one end to the next.
Now the black light really shines through.
(It doesn't translate as well in a photo).
Then I've draped material below, using black roses in the corners,
for added drama.

Aragog his minions and their victim
I'm thinking this is my oldest Halloween decoration.
Not much to say. It is displayed on and above the kitchen table.
I'm actually coveting these...
I'd love to replace my walmart guy for one of hers...
or maybe I'll just glitter mine to death.

Here is my front entry chandelier and my sconce that hangs on the wall. I had replaced the lamp shades just after we moved in, but thank heavens I didn't toss the old ones. I came across them last year in my basement. I simply tore up old fabric, stained its edges, and then wrapped it around each shade. I mummy-fied them. Then on the chandelier I draped it with ribbons and trinkets. On the sconce I hung a bird cage and then added Martha Stewart paper crows. 4.99 at Michael's... add a coupon and it's cheaper than buying paper & cutting them out yourself. I covered them in black glitter and added a little bling for an eye. Oh, and then I added black feathers,
which I bathed in glitter as well.

Photo Wall

Used the same Martha Stewart crows, also with the added bling eye.
Then added feathers again. Love it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

 Fall Bliss

Here is a few favorite FALL things....
LOVE to dress in layers. Sweaters, jackets, scarves, mittens... pile it on! Speaking of wonderful layers… JCREW is killing me this fall. To be totally truthful I haven’t liked their stuff in quite a while. It was boring and tired. Really... tiny pineapples stitched all over pepto pink shorts? That's when they lost me.
But now...WOW...would you just look at these outfits…

And the jewelery…

I’m drooling.
Now to figure out how anyone actually affords this stuff.
From October until January my house looks glittery shiny and festive! I’ll be posting some pics of my Halloween decorations soon. They make my home smile. In fact, I think my house morns a little every January when it all comes down. I know I do.

Yep, it’s soup season. This is when I start making our favorites in large batches and freezing them for later consumption. A hot bowl of soup with fresh rolls on a chilly fall night… dreamy.
Here is a family favorite recipe. It’s a split pea soup with a twist. Yummers!

Split pea soup with sausage balls
1pound green split peas (2 1/4 cups)
3 quarts water
1 Tbs salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp marjoram (the spice…not butter substitute)
1 pd. Pork sausage
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
2 cups diced potatoes
Wash split peas, in large pot combine water and seasoning and bring to a boil. Add peas gradually so that the water does not stop boiling. Shape sausage into small balls (about 40) and roll into flour, drop into soup (no need to fry).Cover and simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours until everything is tender. Add veggies cook until tender and serve.
It’s beginning of the holiday party season. Family, friends and food… what more do you need?
Well, I guess an outfit from JCREW wouldn’t hurt.

And finally…
I love when I can finally turn the heat on in the house. I love the smell of warmth. And I adore curling up on top of a heater vent with a blanket and a book. HEAVEN!

Wonderful, wonderful fall!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

 Over the Rainbow

It was one of those miracle moments when both of the kids home were asleep. Ride was out cold on the floor wedged between the sofa and the ottoman. Momo in his crib. I decided to take advantage of the rare beautiful quiet and clean. I put Pandora onto a favorite station and pumped it through my speakers. I moved room to room motivated by the vision of a “house of order.” Eventually I made it to my bedroom. There was a small plastic basketball on the floor. I picked it up with the intent of tossing it out into the hall when my eye caught something. On the ceiling was a spider.
Hmmmm… I thought, “I bet I could hit him with this ball.” And he sat there seeming to say “Hmmmm… I dare you to try.” So I did.
Only I missed. However, I came so close that I knocked him off his feet & he tumbled. (My ceiling is vaulted, and the wall separating the bedroom & the closet doesn’t go all the way up to the ceiling). So the spider fell into my closet, and presumably onto my top shelf. I walked into the closet just out of curiosity and looked up towards that shelf. Or better known as the place I put stuff I hardly use. There is my stack of “I’m too thin for maternity jeans, but too big for the jeans I love so these will do,” pregnancy pants. Next to those is a stack of white boxes. I realized I hadn’t looked through them in at least 2 years. I had forgotten they were even there.
I thought… “Hmmm, maybe I should rummage through those again.” And they stared back saying… “Hmmm, I dare you too. “ So I did.
I spread them out onto the floor & sat myself next to them. They were almost gray with dust. They were filled with trinkets from what seems another life. A yellowing newspaper dated Saturday August 5 2006. A bottle of consecrated oil… passed down to my husband from his grandfather, I wondered where that was. The next box… two small plaster molds of a tiny hand and foot and a small gold ring. On to the next, I drifted my hand across a knitted pink blanket and beanie. Some sweet someone, somewhere had knitted these and donated them to the hospital. I wish I knew who that someone was. I wish I could say thank you. And the last box, I knew what was coming before I pried it open.
There was her ankle id from the hospital, and a little white sleeper. We hadn’t brought anything for her to wear. I honestly hadn’t even thought about it. The months prior I dreaded the baby section. I would take the long way around if necessary. Even at work I would walk down any aisle except THAT one. It was just too hard. It hurt too much. So no, I hadn’t purchased anything for her to wear. The kind nurse at the hospital took care of it. So it was white, fuzzy, and has the name of the hospital written on it with black marker.
The arms of it are still rolled up several times. Her arms were so itty-bitty; it was the only way to unveil those darling pudgy hands and fingers. I put it next to my face. I even tried smelling it. I remember doing this just weeks, months after. Trying desperately to find anything she left behind. I knew before I breathed in I would be disappointed.
Momo started crying. I packed up everything briskly but delicately and replaced them to their spot beside my ugly jeans. And then retrieved my baby from his cage, ahem... crib.
We walked out into the great room & began the baby slow dance to calm him down. The music changed and “Somewhere over the rainbow” performed by IZ started playing. You would think this is where the water works would start. But they didn’t. My baby curled up on my chest. His head nuzzled under my chin. We danced and I sang, very off tune mind you, along with the song.
And I smiled. No tears… not a drop. Only smiles.
Evie is ok.
I am ok.
Everything is ok.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


It started out dreamy...
A stop at South Ridge Farms.
Breakfast of scrumptious apple turnovers.
A bag of fresh chilled honey crisp apples for the road.

And then we had 2 1/2 hours of this...

My father-in-law once told me,
"It's not a vacation when you bring the kids it's a TRIP."

But the trip was worth it for this..
Orange rock and blue skies.
I heart southern Utah.

But I think now it's time for a vacation.