Thursday, December 31, 2009

With apologies

to all the other babies out there: Avery is the cutest baby any of us have ever seen.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The thing about Texas

is that it's so big. Even when you finally get back into Texas, you're still nearly a whole day's drive from home.

My bff Donna is home from her two-weeks long road trip to Pennsylvania. Yay!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

oh so lovely

I have this grotesque sore on my left nostril. It's infected and red and swollen and oh boy, does it hurt. It's got a crusty, yellowish, boogery-looking scab all over it. Which is just so much ugly icing on the painful cake.

I went to the doctor today and got a prescription for some antibiotics and I hope to be feeling better soon. If not, I'm supposed to go back next week for a follow-up visit.

My Little Friend, with wrinkled nose and grossed-out look on his face, informed me tonight after looking at me (apparently for the first time in days) that, "Oh. You've got something, um, on your face".

Thanks, friend, for pointing it out.

Monday, December 28, 2009


My Little Friend asked me this morning if "exceed" is a real word. I told him it is, and that it means "go over" as in go over the speed limit. He said, "Okay, so it's the same as 'transcend'".

My first thought was "transcend?". Where did he learn the word "transcend"? And I told him that no, "transcend" means to overcome, as in overcome an obstacle or a hardship.

Go/over. Over/come. I thought about this quite a bit while I was driving home from Austin today. There are so many words that have just a shadow's difference in meaning. Come. Go. Over. I love this about language. I love the dictionary. I could spend hours going from one word to the next in a big chain just to see if it eventually loops me around to the first word I looked up. So when I got home tonight I looked up "transcend" in the dictionary.

Sure enough, one of its meanings is "exceed". And again I'm left to wonder if it was all just a test invented by my Little Friend to prove to himself again that I have no idea what I'm talking about.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

itty bitty

Little Avery has the tiniest fingernails, but still manages to scratch her face. Guess who got the job of trimming those little fingertips today?

You guessed it - me.

I did a great job, if I do say so myself. No accidents and no tears. I am good at this grandmothering job.

Tomorrow we go back to Austin for a check-up with Avery's pediatrician, Dr. Bell, just to make sure she's on track with her weight.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


It's been a nice, quiet day. Karie and Wils took the baby over to his mom's house to visit today, and I spent the day kind of tidying up after yesterday and beginning to get things somewhat back to normal.
For dinner we had split pea soup made with leftover ham, carrots, and potatoes, and it was fabulous. Cheli gave us a honeybaked ham for Christmas and it added a deliciously sweet/spicy flavor to the soup. Thanks, Cheli!
I love Christmas. I also love when it's over.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Sweet Avery

It's been a very merry first Christmas with our dear little Buttercup. I think her present pile was bigger than anybody else's pile. Avery is such a good-natured little person - hardly ever fusses and just generally looks around when she's awake, and smiles when she's sleeping, and makes the world a more joyful place to be all the time.

She's a love.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve crafting

for a sweet little girl who needed a stocking. Lucky for her, she's got a crafty Grammie who is prepared for emergencies just like these.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I wonder what this little sister's name will morph into by the time she starts kindergarten? Our family is quite spectacular at making up nicknames.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's Avery D.

Of course, this sweet girl doesn't really smile yet. I caught her in a smiley moment but I know she didn't know what she was doing. She's only a week old, after all.

But she has a look around her eyes, when you're talking to her and she's alert and interested, that I swear is smiley. It's a look that says "How fun!" and "You're funny!" and "I'm so glad I'm here with you!".

We have lots of fun, funny, and smiley times ahead of us.

Monday, December 21, 2009

flower power

It's amazing how the teensiest little Buttercup in the house is running the show.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sweet little Buttercup

Avery Danielle was born Wednesday, Dec. 16. She is cute, healthy, and peaceful. I've been trying to put into words the adventures and emotions I've experienced the last few days but mere words fall short of what I'd like to say.

I love this girl.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Life as we know it

It's all going to change tomorrow. Tomorrow's blog entry will be all about our dear little Buttercup and her arrival. If I can figure out how to get pics from my camera to Karie's computer, you'll also get to see Buttercup's sweet face.

Stay tuned!

Monday, December 14, 2009

check, check, check...

I got A LOT done today. I'm trying to get enough done before I go to Austin for the debut appearance of our lovely Buttercup so that:
  • I don't feel like I have to rush back with people who likely won't be capable of hurrying;
  • everything that must be taken care of this week (the week before Christmas!) is done;
  • people will be satisfied and contented and nurtured with what has been made available for them;
  • when I get home with my two lovely ladies I will feel relaxed instead of aggravated at a long list of chores to do.

What I did today:

  • cleaned out the fridge;
  • cleared off the desk;
  • put together all the health insurance paperwork for our year-end claim on our Health Savings Account which
  • naturally involved more than one phone call and
  • navigating through multiple automated telephone labyrinths and
  • required a consult with Mr. Dub about Member ID numbers, usernames and passwords;
  • packaged and mailed off the Christmas gifts I've created/hunted for/wrapped;
  • finished some Christmas pretties for my bffs and delivered them;
  • vacuumed the entire house and then mopped the entry/hall/kitchen/dining room;
  • made a difficult phone call to explain what I'm capable of and what I am not capable of and didn't feel guilty about not being able to do everything.

My "to-do" piles are gone. My home is tidy and clean if not spotless. My heart is light and my conscience is clear.

I'm ready to go to Austin.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

leafy green vegetables

I saw an ad today about an article that says leafy green vegetables will prevent osteoporosis. It makes sense, sure, because they have calcium in them.

But my question is, why do leafy green vegetables seem to be the answer for just about everything?

And why do they go bad so quickly? I throw away a lot leafy green vegetables because they go bad in the two or three days it takes me to get to them after I bring them home from the store.

I saw red Swiss Chard planted as an ornamental in a flower bed the other day. I'm not kidding. And it made me really laugh. Someone apparently thought leafy green veg was even the answer to "What next?" in the landscaping.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


It's so late and I just now remembered that I didn't write a blog entry today! I had planned to scan and doctor up a super cute photo of my Pretty Girl as a baby. In the photo she's wearing the cutest pink dress with embroidery on it. But I've been crafting and sewing today and just never got to it.

I haven't been sewing for Buttercup today, but oh, don't you worry.

I will.

Friday, December 11, 2009

newborn baby

Today is my Pretty Girl's birthday. I was sort of hoping that she would give birth to her own Pretty Girl today, but I haven't heard anything about it. Rats. I am so anxious to meet our dear little Buttercup!

This pic was taken when Karie was about a week old. She still looks brand new but had lost that "raw" look that really newborn babies have. I love this girl. I didn't know her at all, and sometimes I wonder if I know her at all now, but I love her. Truly.

Happy Birthday, Karie Blueberry!

(Blueberry is not her real middle name, in case you were wondering. Her real middle name is Elizabeth. But if you call her "Karie Blueberry", "Blueberry", or even just "Blue" she'll answer to it. )

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sleigh bells ring....

Are you listenin'?

A friend of mine gave me a Christmas present today - a bracelet with lots of teeny tiny jingle bells on it. I'm not a jewelry-wearing kind of girl so it's taken a little bit of getting used to. Do people take all their bracelets and watches and everything off when they wash their hands? I don't know, it seems like a lot of fuss. Even now when I'm not changing diapers a dozen times a day, it still seems like my hands are wet and soapy a lot of times every day.

But this bracelet has a pretty, silvery, jingly kind of look and sound. It makes me feel fancy. I want to wear this bracelet every day. I love it!

I knew this about myself before but today it's been made very clear to everybody else too - I'm a fidgety person. And consequently now a constantly jingling person.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Jock and Trusty

Remember them? They're one of the best parts of my next favorite Disney Movie, Lady and the Tramp. Jock with his Scottish accent and poor Trusty with his memories of Ol' Reliable. "Don't know if I've mentioned Ol' Reliable before?"
Remember when Tramp kills the rat in the baby's room? That has to be one of the most fearsome scenes in all of Disney. It's still upsetting to me as an adult.
Remember when Tramp sells his muzzle to the beaver at the zoo? "It's a LOG PULLER!" Because it's not the cuttin' that takes the time, it's the pullin'. So funny.
Remember when the Italian waiter Tony says that Tramp has a "cockerel spanish-a girl"? So cute.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Here you go, Jill

You knew it had to be coming, and of course it was!

Ariel. The lovely little mermaid.

The Little Mermaid was the first video that we bought for my Pretty Girl and she and I watched it multiple times a day from the day we got it until, well, we would still watch it once in a while before she moved away to go to college!

The music is great, the characters are fun and memorable, the story is romantic. Remember the song, "Kiss the Girl" ? Wow. And what girl doesn't have a secret cache of cool, mysterious and very valuable treasures?

Buttercup is going to love it just as much as we do.

When the Little Biggie (aka "our trepid trekker") was old enough to start watching it with us he was a little freaked out by Ursula. One time I had bought some Dixie bathroom cups that had the characters from The Little Mermaid on them. He would take a cup, one after the other, from the cup dispenser in the bathroom until he found a cup without Ursula on it and was therefore safe to drink from. Everytime I went into the bathroom there would be Ursula's clean, dry cups all over the counter. Dozens of them. Ursula is the Sea Witch after all - it must be quite dangerous to go drinking water from a cup with the Sea Witch on it.

This is for you, Taylor:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Health to the princess,

Wealth to the princess, long live the princess Aurora!

One of my other favorite Disney princess movies is Sleeping Beauty. The artistry is so rich and lovely and who couldn't love the story!

And Maleficent is so evil and terrible that she's awesome.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Disney movies

A few years ago I sold all our Disney VHS tapes at a garage sale and made quite a pretty penny doing it. I thought that since my kids were getting older, and all the ones left at home were boys, that I wouldn't have any call for Disney princess movies.

Now that Buttercup is about to be born I realize how shortsighted I was. I've only got a year or two to assemble an appropriately girly collection of Disney movies on dvd.

Cinderella is one of my favorites. Unfortunately it's been discontinued. Meaning a grandmother cannot buy it for her dear little Buttercup.

It's a travesty is what it is. I hope they re-release it before Buttercup feels the lack!

Saturday, December 5, 2009


My Little Friend and I watched Bedknobs and Broomsticks together tonight. I know that I saw it when I was kid, and one part I do remember quite vividly, but I had forgotten the entire plot, the characters and their names, and what happens in the end.

(I think it would be kind of interesting having a name like Eglantine. Nobody would ever forget meeting you, that's for sure.)

Watching the movie again all these years later I'm amazed at how much all the old Disney movies resemble one another. They seem to have had a particular team of artists with quite recognizable work that collaborated on all of the Disney movies.

Tonight, while watching Bedknobs and Broomsticks I was reminded of Disney's:
  1. The Jungle Book
  2. Robin Hood
  3. Pete's Dragon
  4. and Mary Poppins

It was fun watching it. And very fun watching my Little Friend enjoy it, although he was quite unimpressed with the special effects. Some things have come a really long way since I was a kid.

Friday, December 4, 2009

a big sigh of relief

Tonight was the last really busy night of the busiest week we're going to have this month. Starting tomorrow it's about relaxing and having fun for Christmas. We do have a few more events and a few holiday details to wrap up, literally and figuratively, but nothing too taxing.

Guess what! It snowed at our house today. I got to drive in it. It was fun.

And now it's gone. Which is really quite great because snow becomes a bummer very quickly in a place like Houston where practically no one ever learned to drive in it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Oh, the possibilities!

Because of our dear little Buttercup and all of our anticipation and dreams for her, this holiday season has seemed especially fun and exciting and sparkly. Because of Buttercup everything seems brilliant and delightful and special, full of hope and confidence in what the future holds in store for our family.

That seems like a lot of responsibility for a baby that isn't even born yet. But the golden, beautiful part of it is that she doesn't have to do anything. She just has to be. Just her being makes the world seem more lovely than it was before.

Thank you, Buttercup!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Art Appreciation

My bff Donna is taking an Art Appreciation class. I think she hasn't loved it but I'm glad she's taking it anyway.

Because I love art. And because Donna knows that, and because she likes me and she's a nice friend, she got for me the coolest present ever.

Two board books - one featuring the art of Van Gogh called In the Garden with Van Gogh, and the other with Monet called A Picnic with Monet. The authors, Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober, have written simple, sweet stories to go along with the paintings.

"Twelve sunflowers lean toward the light. Five are wide open, seven shut tight...In a yellow field under bright blue sky, a farmer reaps when the wheat grows high...Plant and pick, sow and reap, all things that grow need time for sleep, in the quiet light of a starry night."

I can't wait to share the beautiful world of fine art with my dear little Buttercup. And we'll start with these very lovely board books.

Thank you, Donna!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It really is the best time of the year

It's cold. It's festive. It's filled with days spent dreaming and remembering and concocting.

It's a time to enjoy thinking about the people I care about and the people I appreciate and creating gifts that I hope they will love. And use. And understand to be a small symbol of the affection and esteem I have for them.

Monday, November 30, 2009

It's beginning

to look a lot like Christmas!

I'm excited for Christmas to come this year. My kids got the tree decorated last Friday and I've been slowly adding the rest of our holiday decorations every day since.

I've finished lots of shopping for gifts and I've made a few. Still a long way to go but tonight I feel like a woman who has it all together.

It's a good feeling.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I just hate it when snotty, arrogant, and oh-so-superior wins in the end.

Project Runway is a big let-down tonight.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

a great day

I went to the temple this afternoon because the son of one of my bffs was going through today for the first time in preparation for his mission. Since I taught him in seminary for three years it was a very special day for me too. He's going to the New York, New York North mission speaking ASL. He leaves in January. It's all so very exciting.

Our other bff was there too, with her husband.

It was just a great day all around.

Friday, November 27, 2009

still sorting

I've been sorting through cabinets and closets and gathering up things for a garage sale. My men have been helping. It's slow going but it's getting there.
My project piles and supplies piles need triage. I really want to get in there and craft some stuff but I don't know where to start.

Priorities must be established. There are:

  • people who need attention,
  • housework that needs to be addressed,
  • yard work to be accomplished,
  • home DIY projects to be tackled (can you say "refinish the front door while the weather is nice!"?),
  • gifts to be created or shopped for, packaged, wrapped, and in some cases boxed and shipped.

There is a baby about to be born at a yet-to-be-determined time in the next month which will take anywhere from one to 30 days out of my time to accomplish the above tasks.

I feel like I need another one of me here. Because I really don't want to miss out on any of it but the length of my to-do list makes me feel overwhelmed to the point that I'm having a hard time getting started.

I have to keep telling myself that all I can do is all I can do, and all I can do is enough.

(Did you see that I used 5 different punctuation marks in a row up there? I think that's a record for punctuation-happy me. I'm very free and liberal with the punctuation. I know this about myself. I've accepted it and I'm okay with it.)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

So thankful

For my best friend and true love, the amazing Mr. Dub...
For my Pretty Girl...
For my Little Biggie in a faraway land...
For my Little Prince...
For my Little Friend...
For my sweet, little, and very dear Buttercup...
For my mom who showed me how to do it all...
For my brothers and sisters who inspire me to never fall behind...
For my bffs who make it all fun and adventurous...
For my home, where all this magic happens...

For all of this, I am thankful.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

oh me oh pie

Today I made a mixed berry pie with a lattice-top crust.

That's right. Lattice-top crust.

My first berry pie and my first lattice top. I think it turned out beautifully. A little bit of a juicy flood overflowed onto part of the lattice so you couldn't call it perfect, but it's still beautiful.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Just a reminder

I went to a movie today with my bffs and during the previews I was reminded how perfectly scrumptious this man is. I know he's a tool (he can't seem to remember which woman he's committed to) but he does look good in the movies.

I saw him first in Cold Mountain. Now I have to see the Sherlock Holmes movie - Watson always was my favorite.

Monday, November 23, 2009

it's all good

I knew today would be better and it has been. I accomplished many of the things on my to-do list and I'm feeling quite contented and relaxed.

The main thing I did today was clean out the fridge and refill it with Thanksgiving Dinner supplies. My veggie crisper is full of freshness and my Butterball turkey is properly thawing in the refrigerator. I also got a little Christmas shopping done today.

Boy, I am good.

My Little Friend got a good note home from school today about his behavior last week. As this is quite a change from the norm, he was rewarded with a dollar. Not a dollar bill, mind you, but a dollar in quarters. I think he's asked every person he's seen today if they would change four quarters for a dollar bill.

What is it with kids and paper money? At the baby shower on Saturday my sister was telling a story about my niece always wanting bills and not change, and we have a long standing joke around the Dub house about Taylor expecting a $5 bill, and not "just a bunch of money."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Mom always said

If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything.

It's good advice. And I could think of something nice to say if I thought hard enough. But today I'm not going to think that hard.

Tomorrow will be better. So while we are all waiting for the better tomorrow here's a pretty picture to contemplate.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

home sweet home

I had a great time in Austin these last two days; I saw two of my sisters, my fun, cute niece, my daughter, her friends, and lots of adorable baby loot.

After a pretty miserable drive home, I'm back. And I'm annoyed, perturbed, frustrated, and aggravated.

Wishing I had another couple days away...

Friday, November 20, 2009

on the road again

I'm in Austin to meet all of Karie's Austin friends and have another round of baby shower madness. I'm dealing with a not-my-computer, a not-my-bed, and a not-my-bathroom. (Somehow I conjured up the Spinning Wheel of Misfortune on the computer a minute ago. Uh-oh.)

The plus side is that I'm spending quality time with my pretty girl while we're anticipating the arrival of the beautiful Buttercup.

I wonder how things are going back at the Dub house?

I'll be home tomorrow.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

recipe experimentation

Lately I've been trying to lighten up things in the kitchen and use less saturated fat, no trans fat, and less sugar in my recipes. I started using extra-virgin olive oil instead of butter for regular stove-top cooking years ago so that hasn't been an issue at all, but in some of my recipes, particularly the ones that call for shortening, it's been a bit of a challenge.

My Little Prince has been asking for a couple of weeks now for biscuits. Tonight I made them and instead of using 1/2 cup of shortening I used one stick of cold, unsalted butter. I cut it in with my kitchenaid mixer and the metal whisk.

I know that butter has a lot of saturated fat but it has zero trans fat. It's easier, I think, to get saturated fat out of your arteries than it is to get trans fat out. The biscuits rose higher, were fluffier and lighter in texture, were less crumbly, and browned more nicely than the biscuits I've been baking for years with shortening. I used a baking powder biscuit recipe with the buttermilk variation and the only substitution I made was exchanging butter for shortening. I'm very happy with the results but will still make them only occasionally because of all the butter. I did find that they needed no butter spread on them after baking because they were already very moist and buttery-tasting so that was a plus.

One other success I've had was with oatmeal. My favorite flavor is maple-brown sugar but I couldn't find a really maple-y tasting syrup to use, and adding syrup and brown sugar seems a bit much when I'm trying to limit sugar. I had a "eureka" moment earlier this week and put a few drops of maple extract in the bowl before cooking. Voila! Maple flavor with zero calories and zero added sugar.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

magazine editors

Sometimes they really know what they're doing. Take the folks over there at People magazine for example. They just named Johnny the 2009 Sexiest Man Alive.

That makes him a two-time winner. He was also their pick in 2003.

But, you know, that's only because they don't know about Mr. Dub.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

book review

I went to my book club today - it's always so fun and it makes even a good book so much more interesting when I hear what other people thought and noticed about the book. There's always something I hadn't thought of myself...

Anyway, today we reviewed A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck. It is a super fun book and it's one that I've read at least once a year for several years now. It's written for older children and young teens and is about a 15 year old girl who is sent to live with her grandmother for a year because her parents have lost their jobs and can no longer afford to keep her with them in Chicago. Grandma Dowdel lives in a small, country town.

This book is laugh-out-loud funny. The author really understands his characters and they are completely believable. As someone (Hi, Linda!) pointed out in book club today, Richard Peck must have a lot of strong women in his family and he clearly paid attention.

There are a lot themes in the book that can spark thought and contemplation if you care to take it that far. If you don't, that's okay too. It will still be a hoot.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I got the ultimate fortune in my cookie today. (A Panda Bowl with sweet fire chicken on top of chow mein noodles is my new favorite drive-thru lunch.)

I'm a lucky girl.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Laundry Soap

My friend Jilly posted on her blog the other day about what kind of laundry soap she likes. Since I find such details interesting and because I spend the better part of every weekend scaling and taming Mt. Dirty Clothes I thought I'd share some details with you.

It's not exactly a fascinating subject, is it? But laundry is a big part of my life.

The detergent I always use is All. I like that All has Stainlifter in it and I rarely have to pretreat stains. I like its scent. I always buy the 3X Small and Mighty except for when I get the 2X in a bigger jug. I started buying All when I stopped buying either the store brand or Arm & Hammer detergent, and that happened when Mr. Dub started making enough $$$ in the paychecks. Switching laundry detergent was an upgrade in our standard of living.

I think the fact that that is true means I'm not a very high-maintenance kind of girl.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

baby shower

Today was Karie's shower and let me tell ya - she was showered. It 's going to take a couple of trips for her to get everything back to her apartment. Wow. We're so blessed to have such loving and generous friends!

I finished knitting the blanket for Buttercup this week. That's what is in the pic along with some crib sheets I sewed together and also some flannel receiving blankets.

I'm very appreciative of the way people ooh-ed and ahh-ed over my handiwork. Which of course includes not only my gifts for the baby but also my oh-so-pretty, and oh-so-very pregnant, and quite adorable darling girl.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Uh oh

It's late and I forgot to write a posting for the blog today. I'm not sure if it's going to show up as Friday or if it will have rolled over to Saturday. If it shows up as a Saturday then this will have been the first day I missed since I started back in January.

I think that's pretty good.

I had a great day with Karie today. We did a lot of shopping and talking and driving and generally goofing off.

She's my favorite girl. Tomorrow is her baby shower. So exciting!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


My Pretty Girl came to Houston today because my bffs are having a baby shower for her on Saturday. I'm really excited and glad to see her. She's very pregnant. : )

Tonight we were making pie. And afterwards, while cleaning up, I was shoving all the apple peelings down into the garbage disposal.

It's scary down there.

No matter what house we've lived in, no matter how old I get, even if it's not running, I'm afraid of the disposal. You know the mucinex cough medicine commercial on TV with that blob-ular green mucus monster with the deep, scratchy voice? Something very similar to that guy lives in the garbage disposal.

I know it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I've been thinking a lot today about life and all it entails, including (but not limited to):
  • birth
  • death
  • the stuff in between birth and death
  • and other confusing
  • and mysterious themes.

And I came to a conclusion.

Life is, like, trippy, man. Sometimes it's tough to keep up.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Uncle Jeff

My Uncle Jeff died suddenly and unexpectedly yesterday. It's times like this that I really miss my extended family and wish quite desperately that we lived closer to them.

I've been doing a lot of remembering today and might share some of those thoughts later. Right now I just feel so sad for my Aunt Paula and my cousins who've lost such a big part of their lives with Jeff's passing.

(This picture is of Jeff and my uncle Bob when they were kids. Jeff is the little guy.)

Monday, November 9, 2009

still sewing

I finished three projects today - all gifts for friends.
  1. One polka-dotted crib sheet
  2. One flannel receiving blanket
  3. One really sweet Dora the Explorer pillowcase with contrasting trim.

I learned a new technique for the pillowcase. It's easy and fun and quick to complete. I forgot to take a picture before I gave it to the lucky girl who got it, but I'm sure I'll be making more in the days and weeks to come. It looks like the one in the picture but of course not the same fabric.

Maybe you'll get one for Christmas. But only if you've been very good to me this year.