Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Giveaway

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I can't fix the economy.

But I can sure approve a giveaway!

The winner will receive a bailout package containing 6 of my favorite things:
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1. Simplify Your Life by Elaine St. James

2. 1 Small Marseille Soap

3. Bows! - Three Adjustable Baby Headbands, &

4. Eight Medium Clippies, all packaged for gifting

5. Magic lotion (that's what I call it anyway). Your hands can be bleeding dry -
Put this on & they're baby bum soft, instantly. My favorite in history.

6. A $5 Gift Card to See's (Can't decide? May I suggest)


To enter, please leave a comment & share with me two of YOUR favorite things.

I will select the winner on Wednesday, 1/7, using an online random number generator.
(Offer good while supplies last, some restrictions may apply, see store for details...)
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Good luck & Happy New Year!

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

You First Leah

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It's been interesting to watch Jolie discover that little sisters, while frequently aggravating, are great to have around because they make for excellent lab rats.

Maybe that's why our Leah is so daring. She seems to accept her role - To walk through the fields of life before Jolie, just to make sure there aren't any land mines.

Today, another example.
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Needless to say, Jolie opted out.

Good work Leah.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Who Wants to Play Charades?

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Good!
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Because we played at the cabin, and I thought Leah provided an excellent clue.

The category is:
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MOVIES


*Disclaimer: This is a plastic, battery-operated deer head that sings, among other things, 'Sweet Home Alabama' and 'Friends in Low Places.' Very few actual animals were harmed during the course of our family charades tournament.


Anyone?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Recap

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Thanksgiving weekend, we went here
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-Where we blessed him,
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and did this
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

7 Years in the Making

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We've been married for seven years and have never printed our wedding photos, which is mildly embarrassing. Until now, our "wedding album" has consisted of a large white envelope stuffed with negatives.

Last week my mother-in-law Daneille flew out to meet Cal. Not only did she masterfully/graciously/ cheerfully execute ALL grandchild duties (and then some), she also surprised us by having the negatives scanned into digital images.

The very next day, Oprah announced that her viewers could create a free photo book on Snapfish.com. Voila! Our first wedding album. I feel like newlywed.

So, seven years after getting married, I write my FINAL two thank yous -

THANK YOU

Daneille & Oprah Winfrey
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Friday, November 21, 2008

3 Weeks

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"Babies are such a nice way to start people."
Don Herold
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- Photography courtesy the ever-talented Rileigh Hasen.
(How CUTE were the Hansen's Halloween costumes this year???)
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Little Brothers are the BEST

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Why Leah looooves having a newborn around:

It means she can find the Halloween candy,

Settle into a dresser drawer,

Eat it for breakfast,
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And Mom doesn't even notice
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Friday, November 7, 2008

Nephew

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A few photos of Cal as he turns 1-week old.
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You see, he has seven aunts who haven't met him yet,
and they've been begging shamelessly.
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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Peculiar

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It took some courage, I have to say, to drive for a few weeks in such a liberal area with this on the back of our car.

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The sign in our kitchen window didn't exactly win us friends, either.

This morning we quietly took down our sign and peeled away our bumper sticker, but not before Jack snapped this picture.

I love this picture.

When the girls are older, I think it can teach them something about taking a stand, and about being peculiar.

Because as 'popular' rapidly changes,

but our beliefs don't,

I imagine there will be plenty of instances when they feel quite peculiar.

Peculiar, Leah, is a good thing. You don't have to hang your head in shame.
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Monday, November 3, 2008

Grandson

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When my dad passed away in 2002, I kept his briefcase.

Inside, I put his golf tees and baseball cards, a ceramic dish I made him in 2nd grade that he would put coins in after work, and his reading glasses. There's also book of New York Times crossword puzzles, one of Drabble comics (our favorite), a cassette tape of Harry Chapin songs he used to play on the guitar, and a single photograph -

Him holding a birthday cake topped with lighted candles, smiling.

Whenever I miss my dad, which is often, I sort through the briefcase and look at him holding his birthday cake.

On Saturday, November 1st,

my dad's birthday,

our first son was born.

I had the picture with me in the hospital. It was the first time in six years it had left the briefcase. I know that somehow, Grandpa Jim came along to share his cake with our boy. I know that he will every year as he grows up.

I love you Dad. Happy Birthday to both of you.
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Calvin James
8 lb 8 oz
19 1/2 in
November 1, 2008
9:37 pm
Santa Barbara, CA
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Friday, October 31, 2008

Decision '08

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In the spirit of election season, we enfranchised the girls by letting them choose their own Halloween costumes, unimpeded (no small feat, considering my control issues).

Jolie turned her nose at every princess/fairy/ballerina getup she was shown, instead insisting upon Supergirl, telling us "Then I can rescue people." Atta girl. (Though if we're being honest, I think it was the boots).

Leah's little finger pointed to the bumble bee dress, and her wish was granted instantly. Leah gets whatever she wants. We love her to bits.

I thought my costume options were limited by my pregnancy, until Jack suggested I go as Bristol Palin. Perfect. He even offered to escort me as baby daddy Levi Johnston.

Thank you Grandpa Jack for the costumes, and for such a fun week with the girls!!
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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Perhaps Naps are Overrated

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I used to dread the day Jolie would outgrow her naps. Now that she has, I'm surprised by how often I find myself looking forward to our afternoons together.

A year from now she'll be in kindergarten. Not off to college, I'm aware, but still...I'm appreciating these final days we have her all to ourselves.

So don't tell Leah, but it's often when she goes to sleep that the real fun begins. Today it was fairy dancing and, at Jolie's request, a "Lizard of Oz tea party," hosted by Dorothy.
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p

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Economist

The
Jack is 4 weeks from entering the job market and has been BURIED in his dissertation - Eating, sleeping and breathing nothing but economic analysis (To put things in perspective, he hasn’t watched a single football game since mid-September).

I had to keep this in mind when we had the following conversation this week -

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Me: The tooth I had the root canal on is killing me. I tried Tylenol but it does nothing. I may as well be swallowing Skittles.

Jack: Are you sure you can’t take Motrin when you're pregnant?

Me: I looked it up online. Everything I read said that Motrin is most dangerous during the last trimester, and that it can cause birth defects.

(thinks about it)

Jack: What kind of birth defects?

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What KIND of birth defects?

Huh.

Well, now that you mention it, I'm not sure. Call me “paranoid,” but the mere suggestion of birth defects had been enough to send me searching for Plan B.

But I'm no economist.

Apparently, when you spend 12 hours a day analyzing risks and rewards, there begins to exist the possibility that the cost of certain BIRTH DEFECTS could be outweighed by the benefit of temporarily alleviating a toothache.

I have to admit. It sort of got me thinking.

Well, let's see...I refuse to jeopardize the child's vital organs (that’s just the kind of mother I am). And, of course, he'll need all necessary athletic appendages - pitching arm, rotating ankles, opposable thumbs for gripping footballs, etc. That's a given.

But other than that…

You really only need one kidney, right? I have no clue what gall bladders do, but I hear about their removal often enough to consider them “optional.” And what about toes? Ten toes would be ideal, certainly, but - when pain is shooting through your gums and the simple act of eating something cold makes you feel like an interrogation subject on 24 - Suddenly a full set of toes doesn’t seem all that important.

It gave me something to think about. At the very least, it provided me a few moments distraction from my pain. In the end, though, nothing was worth it. I suffered through with Tylenol Skittles and ice packs.

That, and the best medicine of all – A break when Jack was able to sneak away from his office long enough to take the girls to the park, where he took these photographs. Until his dissertation has been filed, they'll be a great way for him to remember what they look like.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Lost in Translation

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After putting the girls down for a nap, I heard a banging on my back window. I looked through the blinds to find an old woman holding a 2-year old child, and opened the door.

She leaned into me and started talking, a bit frantically, pointing and waving her arms. Unforutnately, the only phrase I understood was "No English."

She kept talking, getting louder and louder, so I motioned for them to come inside. I offered her a pen and paper, hoping she could sketch what she needed, but she shoved them back and me with more "thrlbokthrlbokthrlbok....NO ENGLISH.... thrlbokthrlbokthrlbok....NO ENGLISH."

Now I'm starting to get nervous. Does she need medical attention?

After a few minutes, and against all odds, I'm able to determine that she speaks Farsi. So, I hold up my phone up and say, "I'll find Farsi. I'LL FIND FARSI." (like I know who the heck to call)

I tried a friend who wasn't home (she doesn't speak Farsi anyway), then our apartment management office.

"Housing"
"There's a woman in my apartment who needs some kind of help, and she only speaks Farsi. Do you know of anyone who lives here who speaks Farsi?"
"No."

At this point she's wandering around my place, motioning at things, and I'm close to tears.

Next, I tried praying for the gift of tounges.

Nothing.

After a few more minutes of failed attempts she concluded, I suppose, that I was hopeless, because she collected the 2-year old and left.

I'm now alone and feeling quite defeated, certain that someone is about die as a result of my ignorance.

Then, about 20 minutes later, another knock at the door.

She's back, this time accompanied by a child - about 10-years old - who speaks English. Oh, THANK HEAVENS. I almost throw my arms around the girl.

"This is my grandmother," she says,

And? And? AND...?

"And she wants to buy that princess notebook you had at your garage sale the other day."

?

??

???

????

?????

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Letter of the Law


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Several months ago our Jolie developed a sudden, inexplicable preference for the right, versus the left, side of things.

I say preference. I mean obsession.

She refuses to sit on the left side of the double stroller. She won't sleep on the left side of the bed. When she climbs into her carseat she has to be reassured that it's installed on the right side of the car (Yes Jolie, just like it was yesterday. And the day before. And the day before that).

At first this was cute. Then curious. Then it started to drive me crazy.

One day while trying to buckle the girls into their stroller I couldn't take it anymore. "Jolie, left OR right. Just SIT down. IT DOESN'T MATTER."

She climbed in with a quiet little "But Mom," answer...

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"We choose the right"

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Sigh

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Friday, September 12, 2008

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"Cooking is like love. It should
be entered into with abandon or
not at all."
Harriet Van Horne
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Friday, September 5, 2008

Glass Slipper

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I heard Leah crying,
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and found her like this
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She was sad because her shoes didn't fit.
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The problem is,
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She was trying to put on THESE shoes
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Like this
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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

To Each His Own

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"Seriously, I take a three minute shower. It's three minutes, or as short as possible...I even brush my teeth while I shower."
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- Jennifer Aniston, on doing her part to save the earth






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"Seriously, I take a 45 minute bath. It's 45 minutes, or as long as possible...My baths even require snacks, potty breaks, and the 'Repeat All' function on my CD player."
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- Jolie E, on doing her part to give her parents a little free time
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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Genetics

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EVERY once in awhile, we're able to capture a photo of our Leah in her usual, happy state. But as a general rule, when it comes to smiling for the camera - She will have NONE of it.



It's as though she's determined to appear UNhappy

This has been a continual source of frustration. That is...until last week when, while sorting through my childhood photos, I came across pictures like this one - taken by my dad when I was four.

Clearly, the apple does not fall far from the tree.



I have since forgiven Leah, and would like to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to my parents.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

This Just In

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My sister Aileen finally started a blog, Bracken Files. We like to tease her about taking so long, but really...Looking after 4 such beautiful, highly intelligent, and extremely well-behaved children can not leave a person with a lot of free time.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Look Who's 30!

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Thirty Things About Jack


1. His first name is actually Christopher

2. His only ‘B’ in college was in Child Development

3. He is among the 33% of people who suffer from brain freeze while eating ice cream

4. Jack is in the Guinness Book of World Records for being part of the “Largest Bingo House in the World,” Dodger Stadium, 2006

5. Every time the movie Castaway comes on TV, he feels compelled to watch it

6. When he drives by the ocean on dark nights, he wonders what it would have been like to have been Viking. For the first time in my life this makes me wonder – What WOULD it have been like to have been a Viking???

7. He’s been told he looks like Urban Meyer.

8. Jack's Pet Peeve: Misuse of the phrase “price gouging”

9. When the doctor told us our first two children were girls, he got choked up. When he told us our third was a boy, he made a fist and said, “YES.” He also got choked up:

10. When Paul Hamm won the Olympic Gold Medal in 2004

11. When Carrie Underwood won Season 4 of American Idol

12. His favorite dessert is Jello No-Bake Cheesecake (what a waste of my talents)

13. About 4 times a year he “gets crazy” and flosses his teeth

14. Yes - as the legend goes - While I was in the hospital in labor with Leah, he was at home drafting his fantasy football team. The WHOLE story, however, is that I insisted he do it against his persistent argument to the contrary. (There will be plenty of other labors. That was his only chance that season to have a dominant team)

15. He can play Journey’s “Faithfully” on the piano, perfectly.

16. You know how, when you make microwave popcorn, you inevitably wind up with a bunch of kernels at the bottom of the bag? Jack eats those.

17. Favorite teams: ASU (anything)

18. Football: Denver Broncos

19. Basketball: LA Lakers

20. Baseball: Chicago Cubs

21. The only thing that puts him in a bad mood is the song “Paved Paradise and Put up a Parking Lot.” (He's quick to point out however, that he could care less if paradise is paved. He just thinks it's the worst song of all times)

22. Other minor sources of irritation include Manu Ginobili, Maggie Gyllenhaal & the WNBA

23. Jack is an excellent climber and has hiked to the top of Mount Whitney, Olancha Peak, Half Dome, Mount Timpanogas, et al...

24. Number of times I’ve taken him to the ER since we’ve been married: 3

25. He never bites his straws or toothbrushes. His straws and toothbrushes are always in beautiful condition.

26. Favorite song: Bruce Hornsby’s Mandolin Rain

27. Jack is the anti-metro. It takes him 5 minutes to get ready. The only product he uses is a bar of soap. His wardrobe? He still wears a shirt that says, “BYU Intramural Champion 2002" (which, by the way, proclaims that he "Brought His 'A' Game").

28. He owns stock in Under Armour. (He'd say, "No Katie.
I own A stock in Under Armour.")

29. He’s voting McCain

30. He has a battery of hidden talents. When we were in high school, he surprised me with a doll he made using an old pair of jeans, a pillowcase, yarn, paint, a needle and thread. (Just don’t tell the baseball team). It’s the one thing I would save in a fire.


Did I miss anything? Feel free to add with a comment.
Happy Birthday Jack!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Oui Oui!

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I have never been fond of the French. When I was younger, my dad explained to me how they refused to let us use their airspace when Reagan ordered a strike on Libya, and I suppose I never got over it.

Then about a year ago, a friend of mine who had lived in France introduced me to Marseilles Soap. I'm so crazy about the stuff I am seriously considering reopening my personal diplomatic relations.

Marseilles Soap is a big rustic block made of pure olive oil.
It's intended for skin care, but I use it for laundry stains.
There's nothing it can't do - I've used it on my girls' clothes to remove popsicle juice, blood & grass stains (sometimes, all three at the same time)

Plus, I love how it looks sitting on my windowsill in the sunshine. I feel like I'm in the South of France, circa 1986, gazing up at my American-free sky...

(I order mine from amazon.com)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

You Don't Say!

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Our Leah turns two this month. How far we've come! This is a typical conversation between her and me:

Leah: Mom.

Me: What?

Leah: Mom. Mom, Mom.

Me: What Leah?

Leah: Mom. MOMMOMMOM.

Me: Leah, what do you need?

Leah:

mom
mom
mom

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Repeated, roughly 30 times a day

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Date Night

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Jack & Jolie's favorite date night is a trip to Sports Authority. The two of them will spend entire evenings there, testing out equipment and talking big plans for when she's older. All I ask is that he snaps pictures on his cell phone - These are a few of my favorites from the past year.
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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Summer Yummy

This was my contribution to my twin nieces' birthday party.
(You skewer THAT many melons, you earn the right to photograph and blog your work.)

Jane-planned parties are BEYOND. Soo adorable! Take a peek here

(Reason #6 to move to Utah: I'll never have to do my own blogging again. I can just continually refer to Jane's)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

When in Rome

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How could we possibly complete a vacation in Utah without

(1) Celebrating our pioneer heritage, and

(2) Attending an Osmond concert (yes, literally, tomorrow night)

We especially loved our time with the Dana family. For that and more darling bonnet pics, see Jane's blog

Vote Mitchell

I received my absentee ballot this week, and wondered which is a more exciting mailbox discovery - Christmas cards when I'm missing ...