Monday, December 6, 2010

With a Perspective. Round 2.

A Snow Covered Mt. Diablo

I just recorded my second Perspective for our local NPR station. I hope you like it. It's supposed to air tomorrow morning. It is, in a round about way, about Pearl Harbor. You can listen to it here.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Blog Theme.

I just noticed that in the last three posts I refer to 'peeing my pants.' I don't know where this comes from? To your relief, I'm sure, I don't actually pee my pants. It's just my way of saying that I'm REALLY EXCITED.

Anyway. I'm going to try and stop peeing my pants.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Holiday Patina.

I just wanted to shout out to my sister-in-law's etsy shop. She is an amazing artist and you're going to die when you see her stuff. I seriously peed my pants when I saw the Shakespeare. She also has some great stuff for Christmas decor.

She has been creating amazing stuff for years and is now selling her little figurines in the Sundance shop. You heard me, SUNDANCE people. Anyway. I'm excited for her and if you're looking for some really creative, great gifts...check her out.

And Trieste, as Shakespeare would say:

" 'Twas a good lady, 'twas a good lady: we may pick a thousand salads ere we light on such another herb."

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Orange & Black.

The kids ready to trick-or-treat.
Aviator, Elfaba, Princess Leia (Hoth persuasion), Snow white
(Sorry for the bad picture)

Today was Halloween. Yesterday was our HUGE Halloween party at the Barn. We had a spook alley and apple bobbing, donuts on a string and a cupcake walk. We had a costume contest and Frankenstein and his Bride won. His boots had 6 inch platforms and her hair was 12 inches tall. The spook alley was terrifying. Full of all the things spook alleys should have: fog, moaning, screaming, spider webs, disembodied heads, jumpy skeletons and a coffin rising vampire. I went in during the day, in the light, knowing everything that was going to happen, and I still peed my pants. Practically. Also, don’t underestimate apple bobbing. I know it seems gross, and it sorta is, but the kids LOVE it. They cheer and clap and I made sure that I took all the stems off the apples so that no one can cheat. By the end the apple water has turned all colors of hair dye, makeup, and—hate to say it, but it’s true—spittle. Kids were running around with drippy faces and soppy hair. Needless to say, we had a spectacular time.

The Barn: before the party.

Tonight was trick-or-treating. We went in Grandma’s neighborhood, because she has more sidewalks and street lights and houses that give away full-size candy bars.

I love Halloween. I love all the people out going door to door. I love the costumes. The Jack-o-lanterns. The crickets chirping. The fog coming in. The stars coming out. And the kids, cautiously at first, and then with reckless abandon yelling, “Trick or treat!” Jane saying, as she’s trying to keep up with her older siblings, “These houses sure are scary, but we’re getting a lot of candy.” We only fell once (Jane), had to pee once in the bushes (Jane), and had to ride on daddy’s shoulders once (Jane).

The best part about tonight. The orange and black. Not the orange and black of pumpkins and witches’ hats, but the orange and black: colors of the San Francisco Giants. At every house, people in their orange and black t-shirts handed out candy distractedly, with one eye on the score—and one ear listening for the sounds of the crowds on the TV and radio. They called out the score as we offered our “Happy Halloweens,” and then hurried back inside. It’s a good time to live in the Bay Area. Everyone has a smile on their face and we are pulled together with a sense of solidarity, a common ground, a shared cohesiveness that Halloween can’t do on its own. So, for us, orange and black lasts a little longer, and even if we lose—hey, we made it to October. And that’s got to count for something.

The spoils.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

If you want to pee your pants…

I have been doing a lot of google schlepping lately in an attempt to finish up costumes. In the effort to finish Canyon’s costume of what he calls, “old-fashioned pilot” and what is determined as “aviator,” on google, I ran across some incredible sites. Most of the sites are devoted to ‘steampunk,’ my new favorite genre. What is steam-punk you might ask? Let me explain it to you as I understand it. (My source of information is mainly from our new nightly reading/listening of this.

Ok. Here we go: steampunk is set in the Victorian Era, with a little ‘punk’ added to it. The ‘punk’ comes from the obvious; this is a Victorian Era of an alternate universe. The steam, well—most everything is powered by steam in this era. Get it? Wow. I learned about steampunk one day and for the next weeks afterwards, it seems that’s all I see. It’s amazing that I’d never even heard of it before.

Anywho. The point is, that there’s a lot of steam-punk websites out there with instructions on how to make aviator hats and goggles. So it’s been extremely helpful for me and the completion of Canyon’s costume. So in addition to patterns for aviator hats, I ran across this website.

Go ahead and look and then come back.

You might need to change your pants first.

Ok. Very funny, right? As much as I feel I need a helmet to keep aliens from telepathically controlling my mind, the fact that it’s $30 for the material, well, that’s just priceless. My favorite, of course are the testimonials.

From a happy purchaser in Austria:
"I have been abducted by aliens for years and found by a happy coincidence.

The Thought Screen Helmet, invented by an expert, has stopped the unwelcome visitations and has raised me and my family`s quality of life. Therefore I highly recommend it."

Really. My family and I have not had this alien abduction problem, yet—so it’s difficult for me to see the value of this product. I can imagine though. Only imagine.

My favorite testimonial:
“The Thought Screen Helmet is working perfectly. I have not had contact with the aliens since I first started using it. Though twice now coming back from work, I have noticed lights following to the rear of my car, so now I take the helmet with me in the car in case I am abducted. “

After reading this next one, I too was perplexed as to how the helmet continues to obstruct these beings that are supposedly so much more advanced than we are. Humph? Oh, well, point is that it works, right?
"The hat and helmet work very well and I have experience much relief wearing them. I am however, surprised that the aliens have not found a way to thwart this simple but effective technology. At any rate I am very happy with mine and thank you again for your work."

Make sure to check out their thorough page on Alien weaknesses, you never know when that might come in handy. And just look at their record of success, only three failures since 1998.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Five Hours.

Jane on her way to 'Pretty-school'
Five Hours.
I have suddenly moved into a new class of people. It’s strange, exhilarating, and sometimes a little bit sad. I now, officially, have five hours a week sans children. Wow. Not having a baby around has been strange for some time, and having everyone (sort of) sleep through the night has also been weird, but nothing is more alien than having a few hours at home by myself. Jane is in, what she likes to call, pretty-school twice a week for a few hours. She is adjusting to finally being like one of the big kids by crying and hanging onto my legs with an other-worldly force as I drop her off. As soon as I’m out of ear-shot, she happily makes friends and influences the more naïve three year olds. Let’s face it, she has a lot to teach them, after all—she’s the youngest of four.

What do I do with this time? So far I haven’t been able to steer clear of laundry, dishes, bed-making and Costco tripping. One of these days I’m going to branch out and do something for myself. Old habits are hard to break.

In other news: Today at school the kids were supposed to dress up like one of their favorite characters from a book. I love this idea. I’ve always wanted to dress up as Emily Dickenson, but haven’t come across any white Victorian gowns lately. However, the kids were much easier to manage. I made Canyon a camp half-blood t-shirt. Our obsession with Percy Jackson is slowly moving down the ranks of kids. Lily had it, now Canyon—Alice will shortly follow. I also made Lily a Hunger Games t-shirt. I know what you’re thinking: “You let your daughter read the Hunger Games?” And the answer is yes. And she loves it. And I know it’s violent. There. I made her a “District 12 Tribute” shirt. She LOVES it.

Percy & Katniss

We’re just gearing up for Halloween. So far Canyon wants to be an old-fashioned aviator (don’t ask me where he gets his inspiration), he’s been wandering around the yard for weeks with his bike helmet and swim goggles making airplane noises. Lily wants to be Elfaba from “Wicked” (you know, the wicked witch of the West). Alice wants to be Princess Leia (shocker)—but we’re going to mix it up a bit—she wants to be Leia of the Hoth persuasion (you know, white boots and furry vest). Jane, bless her heart, wants to be Snow White. If any of you have ideas for costumes on any of these…let me know.

Oh yeah, disclaimer: These are apt to change. Several times.

It looks like I have something to fill those five hours.

Friday, August 27, 2010

With a Perspective.

Here I am in the recording studio.

I just wanted to leave a little note to tell you all I’m going to be on NPR. That’s right, I’m leaving the world with ‘my perspective.’

So our local NPR station has a series called ‘Perspectives,’ where they have local ‘regular’ people read their perspective about something. I always like listening to the perspectives and have thought that it might be fun to do it sometime. So last week, I thought, why not? So I sent in my perspective and they contacted me the next day to come in and record it. It was a pretty great experience. I got to go into San Francisco to the station and record in a real recording studio. For those of you in the Bay Area, I’ll just throw this out there… I got to sit in Michael Krasny’s chair.

The sound engineer, Howard, was extremely nice and talked me through my virgin recording experience. He said if I liked the sound of my voice that I would be like all the other ego driven voices at KQED and get a job there. I was nervous, but it was easy because it was just me, alone in the room, and Howard and Dustin in the control booth. I only had to read through my piece twice and we had to edit it a little to fit the time restrictions.

And guess what? I LOVE the sound of my voice.

Did I mention that they took a really, not so great, photo of me. Oh well. On the radio it’s all about how you sound, not how you look.

Oh, also, did I mention that I get paid. Yep. Just enough to cover the parking at the ferry building where we had dinner.

So, it airs Monday August 30th at 7:35 am. They’re also going to re-run it Saturday, September 4th at the same-ish time. I hope that you listen. Here’s how you can listen:

You can listen live, here.

And on the archives right here, for Monday, the 30th. (Ignore my extremely close-up photo)

I know, it’s not an ironman, but it’s the best I’ve got.

With a perspective, I’m Emily.

I look so natural in Michael's chair, no?

Monday, August 23, 2010


I don't buy my kids new school clothes. Am I a bad mom? My mom always got us new school clothes, but I guess I feel like I don't need to. Summer weather hangs on here until October, so there's not really a clothing season change. Their summer clothes and clothes from last year seem fine. And if, during the year, they need some pants or shoes, we just go and get them. Alice and Jane have the advantage of the bins of clothes downstairs that used to be Lily's--so I almost never have to get them anything at all.

The beauty of it: they don't seem to even be aware that there is such a thing as new school clothes.

So, I'll posit this question one more time. Am I a bad mom?

Friday, August 20, 2010


We spent the morning picking raspberries. I used to send the kids to do it on their own, but they always came back with a pitiful amount of berries and the excuse that they had picked all they could. I went with them this time to motivate them. We came back with a fair amount. More than usual. Jane was scared of the berry bushes for some reason and spent the whole hour asking Lily ‘why aren’t you scared?’

Picking the berries reminds me of my grandma. She had raspberry bushes too. I remember her dining room window overlooking the berries and plenty of hummingbird sightings with a white crock of raspberry jam for our toast shining in the middle of the table.

It was strange I was thinking about this because Canyon suddenly said:

“You know what’s funny about your mom’s family?”


“Your mom’s name is four letters (Dona), her mom’s name is four letters (Idon), and her mom’s name is four letters (Erma).”

I guess the raspberries have this ‘Idon effect’ on more than just me. Canyon’s never met Grandma Idon or seen her berry bushes—but suddenly he was thinking of her as he thoughtfully squished the berries between his teeth.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Alice's Birthday

Alice told me for her fifth birthday that she wanted black and white cupcakes because, “it’s like the dark side and the light side.” Yes, we are still on Star Wars. I’ll take Star Wars over Barbie any day.

I can’t believe that Alice is five and getting ready to start school. She, of all our kids, is the most capable of spending the day away from home. She’s independent, assertive and social. She’ll be fine. She is my little helper and whenever there is an audible fart somewhere in the house, she happily owns up to it. She loves Star Wars and playing with her boy cousins, yet in the same moment loves jewelry and knows how to wear it. She was, as Lily says, “born to have her ears pierced.” She is enjoying her new pierced ears and her new princess Leia shirt. And I’ll take her over the others any day because she always makes her bed and cleans her room—as a mom, I gotta love that.

Happy Birthday Alice!

The little Star War's cupcakes. They were all chocolate to represent the 'Dark Side.'

Alice blowing out the candles.

The Princess Leia t-shirt I made for Alice. (I just did the applique)


I can’t believe that summer is almost over. We have been busy, of course, and aren’t quite ready for school to start again. First we had a wonderful Reeder family reunion in the Tetons and then we sent Lily off to Spain. While she was in Spain, swimming in the Mediterranean, we were at swim team and swimming in the pool everyday. Then after she got home (more on Spain later) we all went on our annual camping trip to Tahoe. Mixed in there we had girls’ camp and Alice’s birthday. Really, the pictures are going to have to tell it all for me. I don’t have Tahoe pictures yet, those are forthcoming:

The kids enjoying the cold water at Phelp's Lake in the Tetons.

Our whole family on a hike. Jane was big enough to do the hikes, but wasn't very happy about it!

Swimming at the pool everyday. Canyon had swim team and Alice and Jane 'practiced.' By the end of the summer Alice's ready for swim team and Jane's 'swimming all by myself mama!'

Sparklers on the fourth. We had a great time even though Lily was in Spain. She had plenty of Celebrating to do when Spain won the world cup. Ole!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

All Things Lily.

Lily had her birthday a month ago. She is ten. Yes. Ten. I know. I’m in trouble. She requested an angel food cake for her birthday. A homemade angel food cake. I have attempted to make an angel food cake, twice, from scratch before. And both times, I was not successful.

A few years ago we had invited some long-time Prusso friends over (their kids grew up with Dustin and his brothers) and she had brought this amazing angel food cake. I remember at the time being enamored with it and begging her to help me make one and she had agreed. I figured that she had agreed in the same way that we all agree as we meet new stranger/friends at the park to ‘get together sometime,’ as we pretend to exchange phone numbers. However, in desperation, I called them and even though they were totally doing other things, more important things, promised to help me. So the afternoon of Lily’s birthday, Barbara and Monty (both of them) came over and held my hand as they walked me through the process. They were so great, they made me do it all myself as they gave very specific instructions and explained why everything had to be ‘just so.’

Lily, 'helping' to put the icing on her perfect cake.

And the result of this afternoon was an amazing, delicious angel food cake. And I have so much gratitude for this couple. I mean they’re retired they should be traveling or playing golf, not stuck in my kitchen with screaming kids helping me make a cake. What a great birthday gift to me.

We invited them for dinner and they came and we ate and we inhaled that delicious cake. And the best part was that Lily was SO AMAZED with that cake. She’s at the age where she can really appreciate things like homemade angel food cake.

In other Lily news, big Lily news…she’s going to leave us for a month this summer to go to Spain. Yes, that’s right, Spain. She was invited by my brother-in-law and his Spanish wife to go with them. It was not easy to say yes, trust me. But I had to look at this in a much larger perspective. Not that I’m losing a daughter for a month, but how this experience is going to change her life. Forever. I’m excited for her and nervous for me. But, as she said when I mentioned that she wouldn’t be able to do swim team this year if she went, “Mom, I’ll be swimming in the Mediterranean everyday.” Well. It’s hard to argue with that.

A Beach in Malaga.

So she’ll be off in less than a month with a passport in her pocket, an itouch loaded up with books, movies, music and skype (so she can call home), and a suitcase packed with swimsuits and sandals—enough to get her through a month of the Mediterranean.

Am I jealous? Yes. Very. I guess this is one of those sacrifices that parents make for kids. My parents did the same for me.

I did, however, renew my passport as she got hers. Cause, you never know.

Last bit of Lily news. She insisted that I make her a new quilt, once that would be bunk-bed compatible. So, with a burst of creative energy not seen since Fall of ’08, I made her a new quilt. The self-imposed stipulations being I could spend no money. I almost made it. I spent $4 on the binding. But the rest of the quilt was made of scraps that I’ve had or inherited. I didn’t turn out too bad and the bonus: She LOVES it.

Her quilt. On the top bunk.

This concludes my post of all things Lily. Feel free to leave comments that support my decision to send a ten-year-old to Spain—I’m in need of encouragement and commiseration. Do those words even go together?

Remember, I have a passport. Invite me to Europe. Anyone.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Thoughts on the St. George Ironman Triathalon.

Daisy on her first bike lap.

This past weekend I packed up the van and the kids and drove them to St. George to watch Daisy in her first Ironman Triathalon. The experience was, in many ways, unbelievable. First, incase you’re wondering what an Ironman is, let me enlighten you. A 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a marathon (yes, you heard me right). Daisy has been training for this for a year, but let it be said…I think that she’s really been training for this her entire life.

We spent the day, Saturday, driving from one part of the course to another to cheer her on. I felt like a total heifer as we sat comfortably on the side of the road with our foot long sandwiches, 64 oz. Diet cokes and bags of chips—pausing for breath only occasionally to yell out, “Good job!” as very toned, incredibly fit athletes whizzed by so quickly that if you blinked—they were gone. We had quite a system to figure out when, exactly, Daisy was coming. Shayne and Dad were never far from their phones as they tracked Daisy’s progress, by her electronic chip. Shayne also had family and friends stationed at different points along the course and they would call/text/tweet updates as well. Finally, unable to calm her nerves and just wait, Nana would walk ahead a quarter mile and watch for her there. As we heard her signal whistle we knew that Daisy was always close and get in position to cheer. She always looked amazing and smiled and yelled and waved. And then, just as quickly we’d pack up our chairs and head onto the next spot.

Shayne and the girls sporting the "Team Daisy" t-shirts that I made. One of their friends made the sign.

In our defense, however, it was no small feat to get 10 children from one spot to another and then, while we were there, make sure that no one got killed by an overzealous athlete on a bicycle. Plus coordinating meals and naps for said group was a nightmare. As Dad later put it, “She [Daisy] has no idea what we’ve been through today.” This after 12 ½ hours of extreme exertion on her part.

When Daisy was on the run, we were so excited. We were like, “she’s on her run! She almost finished!” And then we’d realize that it was still a marathon. A MARATHON people! It was crazy. All of those people out there, still running after all those hours swimming and on a bike must have superhuman powers. It was, as I said, unbelievable. Daisy was hoping to finish the race in 14 hours. She WAY exceeded her expectations and finished in 12 ½ hours. She was AMAZING! What was really extraordinary to me was that there were so many people who were able to finish this thing. I had no doubts that Daisy would be able to do it, but was so surprised that there were so many people out there like Daisy. My heart is still cheering for all of those people and what an amazing thing they’ve accomplished.

Daisy on the run.

The next day we HAD to go on a hike because that’s all Canyon wanted to do the whole time we were there. We went to Dixie Red Rocks? I’m not sure if that’s what it’s called. I took my kids and three of Daisy’s and the kids had a blast running around and hiking on the red rocks. They found caves and ledges and sheer cliffs. It was at this point that I wondered if I was crazy to take seven kids out there on my own. The adult/kid ratio wasn’t the greatest. They had a great time though. It was so much fun for the cousins to play together as they don’t often get to see each other.

All the kids on our hike.

A big thanks to Dustin’s aunt, Jackie, for letting us stay in her beautiful home. The kids slept great and I loved sleeping with the widow open and listening to the crickets all night long.

Anyway, Daisy, you were incredible. We had a great time coming to cheer you on and are bragging about you every chance we get.

And lastly, we were happy to provide a boy for Shayne to do "guy stuff" with.
( You really thought you'd never see this, didn't you, Shayne!)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Canyon's Birthday.

Canyon had his much-anticipated birthday a week ago. It was a hit by all eight-year-old accounts. I mean, let’s face it, all a birthday really requires is a great sugary cake, ice-cream, and lots of legos. Right? I made a cake that was supposed to look like a lego block—I’m not sure if it did, but that didn’t seem to bother Canyon much. We had a great warm day, a BBQ outside, cake and lots of playing in the grass, dirt, on bikes, and play-fighting on the trampoline. I can’t really believe that Canyon is eight already and just to drive that point home, he went to his first cub-scout meeting and he and Dustin already perfected their first pine-wood derby car together. Sigh.

Canyon with his lego cake. Notice he's dressed as Boba Fett.

The Spoils. He was noticeably less excited about the scout shirt than the legos.
Still excited though.

Canyon’s such a great asset to our family. Not only is he the calm amidst the stormy weather (read: three girls), he is sensitive, loving, obedient and extremely creative. He keeps our family in balance. I only wish there were more of him!

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Cup Runneth Empty.

Why do we, as mothers, wives—with our lives as crazy hectic as they are—sometimes feel so empty? I think that what we really need is two weeks at some beach. Either alone, or with commiserating girlfriends. In her book, Gift From The Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh hits this right on the head (keep in mind, though, she did take two weeks at the sea—by herself—to come by these words of wisdom:

“With our garnered free time, we are more apt to drain our creative springs than to refill them. With our pitchers, we attempt sometimes to water a field, not a garden.”

That’s what I’m doing. I’m watering a field. And I’m running out of water.

Tell me, has anyone figured out how to say no?

I, myself, would be happy to take a few weeks at the sea. Preferably a warm sea. With sun and books and lots of food and long walks. I think what it really is, though, that in a thankless job—we just want someone to say thank you.

So I’m saying it to all of you moms out there—thank you. Thank you for all the meals, cleaning, the laundry, the cleaning up of poop, the wiping of runny noses, the middle of the night feedings, the hours of homework, driving around, Costco runs, cleaning (did I already say that) and so much more.

Thank you.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I think when someone tells you that you look tired--what they really mean is that you look like crap.

Am I right?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Art of the Nap.

I remember sometime in graduate school reading Joseph Epstein’s essay, “The Art of the Nap.” I don’t remember much about it except that it seemed to offer an argument about the benefits of napping (who could argue with that) and then went into detail how best to nap. If I remember correctly the characterization of a perfect nap included sleeping on a couch or comfortable chair, never in a bed, taking off of one’s shoes, but not clothes, and never longer than twenty minutes. Since becoming a mother I have found another benefit to nap-taking.

A moment of peace.

Jane, the youngest of my children and therefore the one most likely to nap, has given up the practice of napping long ago. It seemed that for so many years I cleared a schedule for a baby to nap that I can’t, however impractical it is, give up those precious hours. So we are home, every afternoon for what I stubbornly continue to call “naptime,” even though we haven’t had consistent naps for years. Lily and Canyon roll their eyes in the summertime when we are grounded from all other social activities each afternoon for our ‘quiet time.’ We read or play quietly. Even outside play is sanctioned. But, there are no errands, no exhausting trips to the pool, park or library—we reserve those for morning or late afternoon. And even though I never, ever take a nap of my own, I just revel in a quiet time that is only slightly quieter than the rest of my day.

But occasionally on a very rare day, I find myself alone, in the afternoon, with Jane. And on an even rarer occasion of these days—she takes a nap.

And it is, once again, quiet.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Over the River and through the Woods.

A couple of weeks ago I did this certifiably crazy thing. I decided, in the middle of a stormy week, on a Tuesday that I was going to drive to Utah, on a Wednesday, with the little girls. I heard that Will and Eliza had RSV and their mom wasn’t feeling that great herself. Holding a baby—or two, or three was all I needed for an excuse to see my family. Luckily, Dustin was super supportive and even, dare I say, a little jealous. I left early in the morning. Dustin, Canyon and Lily were left to brave the next 10 days on their own.

Can I just say that driving to Utah in the winter is a lot like labor. Here are the similarities.

Equally as long: 14 hours.

White knuckle, tense, holding my breath: driving over the chain-required Sierra’s in the middle of a storm.

Long, very tiring middle section: the drive across Nevada. Luckily I had plenty of caffeine.

A moment of hope as I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel: finally getting to Highway 30.

Transition: Deer, fog, darkness and utter despair. Thankfully the girls slept through transition. Dustin had to coach me through on the phone.

The end: Finally arriving to Sadie and Christian’s house ready for a hot shower, oh wait, they didn’t have any hot water! Aargh!

Once we were there, though, we had an amazing time. We got to play with the twins everyday. Jane and Alice were a ton of help as Jane liked Will—or as she called him, the blue baby—and Alice was happy to play with Eliza.

{Here's Will & Eliza the first day, I was so proud to get them both to sleep}

The bonus was that there was also Baby Soren (it was like triplets) and of course, CJ. Angie & Hyrum were also a bonus and Angie and Jane found that they are truly “kindred spirits.”

{Soren had the BEST smile. It was wider than his face!}

It was nice to be helpful (hopefully) and get a lot of time with family. Dustin and the kids were doing great on their own. I think they ate out a lot and my friend, Trish, even brought them dinner one night. They loved being home without the noise of the ‘little girls.’ As my few days turned into more—while we waited out many storms—I finally decided to go the long way and stay with Daisy in St. George.

{Jane loved not being the 'littlest' and bossed those babies around all day.}

Alice was delighted with the desert and equally delighted to play with her cousin Kate all day long. Jane worked through a fever and cough and we got to witness Daisy’s endurance as she trained much of the day for her upcoming Ironman triathlon.

We finally drove home through Las Vegas, the Mojave Desert, Bakersfield and across the central valley. It was beautiful. Green. The orchards were either laden and overloaded with oranges, picked clean, or in the case of the almond trees full of pink and white blossoms. On either side of the freeway, for three hundred miles it was a carpet of green patterned fields with shimmering white rows of soft blossoms. The falling blossoms were like snow on the ground—except it was sunny and warmish.

We were oh. so. happy. to pull into the driveway and see our yard, our swings, the barn, the orange tree, and our people. We had such a great adventure. Next time we’ll take the rest of the family.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lily's Quilt.

I’ve had a request from family members to post pictures of Lily’s Christmas present. As we all know, Lily is a voracious reader and so I decided for Christmas that I would make her a reading quilt with blocks from some of her favorite books. Here’s what made the list:

Harry Potter
The Witch of Blackbird Pond
The Boxcar Children
The Fablehaven series
Percy Jackson and the Olympians
The Wizard of Oz
The Graveyard Book
The Mysterious Benedict Society
The Sisters Grimm
The Chronicles of Narnia

It was really fun making the quilt because I got a chance to be creative and while I’m no artist—it was fun to figure out which scenes represented each book. As for the appliqué itself, I mostly copied images from the books or from images online. There was no freehand in this. Lily was delighted with the quilt which made it all the more fun and it was an absolute surprise which wasn’t easy as the little girls saw what I was working on each day and had to be redirected as Lily walked in the door.

Its purpose has been filled as I often see Lily wrapped up in it as she’s reading her books.

Anyway, what do you think?

Here are some of the blocks up close.

This one is probably my favorite, because I was thinking that it'd just have to be a boxy, boring boxcar. And then I saw this silhouette in the book and thought I'd try it. It worked!

This fairy one was the first one I did and it gave me hope that I might actually be able to pull this off.

The back and binding.

Jane Elizabeth: January 26, 2007

Jane turned three a couple of weeks ago. When she was born, Alice was only 18 months old and, needless to say, the first year or so felt like a blur. When Jane was born we were 99% sure that her name was going to be Beth. Then, in the hospital—as we looked at her, I mentioned Jane—and as Lily said, “it just felt right.” Canyon had the honor of giving Jane her middle name, Elizabeth, named after—who else—Elizabeth Swan from “Pirates of the Caribbean.” It doesn’t feel like three years since she was born, but as she is already acting like a 5-year-old—I guess it’s appropriate.

Here’s what we love about Jane:

She loves to snuggle.

She has perfect hair with just the right amount of curl.

She talks like she’s ten.

She gets whatever she wants and can be a real stinker (I guess that’s what happens when you’re the youngest).

She wants to do everything herself.

She loves her sisters and brother.

She’s what we like to call, independent. Others might call it stubborn.

She’ll eat anything.

All of her baby dolls are named Janie (after her of course).

She knows exactly how and when to turn on the charm to avoid some serious discipline.

And we can’t imagine life without her.

Happy Birthday Jane!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ode to the Pacific Northwest.

How do you do it.
Rain, day in and day out.
It is dark.
It is cold.
Sun? Not even in our vocabulary any more.

What we do to keep our Sanity.

I did find this today. At least I also had something to do. Enjoy.