merry christmas!


I'm sure most of you have seen this video this season. It's such a sweet reminder of Christmas. I've loved all the great videos this season (or ones I'm just behind on seeing). (like this or this)

I wrote earlier how there were a few songs that I seemed to truly hear this year, though when I was younger I thought they were the more boring of Christmas hymns. One line in particular that I caught this year is, to me, such a testimony of our Savior and what his birth really means for us.

And our eyes at last shall see him,
Through his own redeeming love;
For that child so dear and gentle
Is our Lord in heav'n above,
And he leads his children on
To the place where he is gone.
 

zoo lights and christmas music


Last week we went to the zoo lights, which was both freezing and awesome. Sam loves looking at Christmas lights and we had a lot of fun.

It was feeling a little less than festive this month; we didn't put up a tree since we were leaving for Utah, and the last week and a half was so busy with work and church and personal things (like my usual sewing before a trip), we didn't seem to be doing much to celebrate. We did hang up our stockings, a floating washi tree (sam was really curious) and an advent calendar (although we did almost nothing on it). We made it to a festival of nativities which was a great event, and sang some Christmas songs at a friend's house with a small group.

I think I was waiting for it to seem like Christmas once we got to Utah, and it does. However, I think the best part of the season so far was I discovered that I am over my meh-ness towards Christmas music! I think thanks goes to the movie Elf, which we watched at least 8 times this month, the "indie" Christmas station on Pandora and the singing of Christmas hymns, some of which I used to not like very much, but discovered this year they have very sweet lyrics and I guess I just had to be older to appreciate them.

Anyway, my parents have plenty of Christmas trees and we've got lots of fun things planned for this week. It's Christmas! 

flashback friday


My dad took these pictures during our quick trip to Utah in October (which I swear was last week but whatever). I love them! Sam's cool hair-do didn't make it past that weekend, ha. Sam is the sweetest though, right?

the rural juror

Or the city juror, whatever. (I can't embed, but you should watch)

I am sure you're all dying to know how jury duty was, right? It was short and sweet; I wasn't selected from the pool as one of the 30 needed jurors. End scene, take the MAX home. Which I had to do, because we found that morning that someone had bashed in our back and front passenger window. But luckily my MIL saved the day (and the whole week). We got the windows fixed, found most of our stolen stuff up the street and now have a much emptier (and bonus: cleaner) car.

thanksgiving

We had a great Thanksgiving here in Portland with Dave's parents, brother, sister-in-law and cousin saucy (haha). We kept the meal simple and fairly non-traditional, but it turned out yummy and everyone left full, I think. I made this turkey, which turned out really well (considering I didn't even think I would still need any roasting materials until the day of, but a roasting pan worked great), along with this chocolate pie and this vanilla pie (like creme brulee pie, yum). Karren made a delicious pumpkin pie (smitten kitchen as well, I believe). Our place cards are from here. Napkins are a super easy pinterest find!

And then on Friday I did soooo much online shopping it was sad awesome (but I mean, most stuff was for Christmas presents, out of need, or things I was going to buy anyway so we might as well get a good deal, right?). It has made for the best mail week of my life, though.

liz lemon on jury duty.

I really do want to participate in jury duty, but just in case, I'll keep this in mind. Although...I wonder if it would work in Portland. ha!

screenshots

I feel a little like I'm failing at the whole modern parenting thing: it's been like...weeks since I've taken a cute picture of Sam! I mean, he's always cute and I do have some pictures of him, but they are mostly ones where he isn't interested in my obsession with making sure I get a picture/video of every cute thing he does before he stops. Oh, ok, so I'm not actually doing that bad. 

BUT since this zoo day (a few Saturdays ago), I don't have like any good pictures of Sam (although, to be fair, Sam doesn't look like he's really having a good time in these anyway). 

On my photo roll instead? Screenshots of sewing patterns I want to pin or buy, an outfit I must copy, centerpiece ideas for Thanksgiving, projects/project inspiration (aka I could totally paint that, right?), fabric, printers from costco, an advent calendar....you get the idea. I wonder if screenshots could be like the future in trying to see what people in the past liked. You know? Like my kids can look in my photo archives and since I usually forget to delete a screenshot after its use has passed and I keep it forever, they can know all the tiny details of my life. 

Anyway, zoo. Beautiful fall day--it was the first sunny and warm-ish day for weeks around these parts. October/early November was mean!

 Like, are these two related or what? They could look like they were having more fun. The second is what I got when I asked for him to look more excited. Good thing I don't blog for money, eh?
 These fresh elephant ears were too tempting on a chilly day. So worth it!

november, your bangs are cute

This week was staying inside most of the time because it was below 30 half the week, first snow (???) of the year, getting over runny noses and coughs, playdates with friends, quesadillas all day erry day, taylor swift music videos, video chats and new deodorant that smells like a lime otterpop. So all in all, not too shabby.

Sam continues to surprise me with the things he remembers. We sang "the wheels on the bus" the other day, and he could do the hand motions for 5 verses...and we haven't done that for at least a week. He points by touching the top of his middle finger to the top of his pointer, making an oval with his fingers, and it's so adorable. He recognizes us in pictures, but mostly daddy, which he says in the sweetest sing-songy voice. But when he wakes up in the morning and Dave gets him, I can hear him say "mommy" in that same voice and I die. He calls his friend macie beecie, which is so cute. He says it a lot and points to the door, waiting for her to come over.

I read today about bullet journaling, and I am so sold. I'm buying a new notebook today and starting. I just finished up a journal and I've been on the hunt for one for a week or two. I love this idea of combining lists and journal entries. My lists are all over the place, and I'm excited to try this.

aaaand...I wish had something else to say, but alas, I must move onto other things. Apparently my computer is going to restart in 4 minutes and there is nothing I can do to stop so I must go and save all the things.





november song. I heart parks and rec. It may be hard to believe if you know us, but I think we preferthatottheofficedonthateme.

costumes brought to you by target sheets.

We're a little behind, but oh well. Also, really lame iphone pictures...and not that I have had anything else for the last 3 years, but these are pretty bad. And these ones are literally the best ones from the night. So, win/win.

So for halloween, I saw a cute costume online for me (a pineapple) and we went from there. After coming up this genius idea that Dave would be a coconut and we would be pina colada (I'm pretty proud of that idea), we tried to fit Sam into it too. While we had some great ideas (some from us, some from friends), we just decided to have him do his own thing. I bought a set of yellow jersey sheets from target on clearance and thought we might as well have Sam be something yellow. 

So Sam went as Sam I am and I loved it. I thought we did a pretty good job with the costume, but I guess not that many people know who Sam I am is?  Next year when Sam chooses his own costume, I hope it's something super obvious. 

Sam and Dave could have been spongebob characters (pineapple under the sea?) and that would have been kinda fun. Maybe next year? Oh, Dave's costume was a cardboard circle around his neck that said "coconut" and it lasted 5 minutes. ha.

On Halloween we had dinner with some downtown friends and tagged along for their trick-or-treating. We wouldn't have taken Sam by ourselves, but it was fun to hang out. However, it turns out Sam really couldn't handle the complex emotions of trick-or-treating. He wanted to eat everything that instant, and just didn't get the "put it in the bucket and save it for later" thing. Furthermore, he usually was more interested in the jack-o-lanterns and was mad he couldn't touch the flames. And the saddest part was as the smallest kid, he'd get pushed out of the way even when it was his turn. You can't blame the 3-8 year olds, but he'd start hitting himself on the face. (yes, that is his new thing when he's mad/bored/feels threatened. yeah.)

He ended up just riding on Dave's shoulders and we skipped the houses for the rest of the night. I'm sure he'll be a pro next year. He did enjoy the candy. So did we.

bucket at the ready.

pumpkin patch

The week before Halloween we went with some friends to a pumpkin patch. It was so muddy, but we had a lot of fun. Well, we think Sam did for at least a few minutes. He enjoyed the tractor ride and squishing in the mud for a while before he wanted us to carry him. We kept taking off his boots to save us from getting all muddy but after a while it was futile. I almost lost my boots a time or two, it was just so muddy. I mean, it is the PNW, so I shouldn't have been so surprised. We met up for some burgers and shakes after, and the guys thought we had been painting (with mud-colored paint, I guess) since we were so dirty. But it wasn't a fancy place, so we didn't feel too bad about looking a little less than presentable.

new and old places

On Saturday during our trip, I took a standardized career test (I'm not sure what else to call it--more on that later) at the U of U campus. My parents took Sam to the zoo, and after I checked out city creek. Then we met up for lunch down emigration canyon and decided to check out the "this is the place" park, which, sadly, we had never been to!

It had an amazing view of the Salt Lake Valley (well, if some of the smog was removed it would be even better) and the beautiful fall in the canyon. The colors and weather was just perfect. We walked around for a bit and made plans to go back again to see the rest of it. And the monuments to the pioneers, settlers, soldiers, explorers, etc., were lovely and touching.

The day we left, we headed to BYU to get Sam a cougar shirt. I loved being back on campus and seeing some of the new things that have shown up since we left. It feels like yesterday and a hundred years ago that we lived in Provo and basically lived on campus . I miss those days, but I do love life now too.

Dave thought I was crazy for missing being in school, but I think I mostly missed being a part of campus and all that. I loved going to BYU and I do miss parts of that life. I felt so old being back, and I'm not even that old! But according to this, I'm older than the average senior by 2 years and the average student by almost 4 years.

So I walked around half feeling like I totally blended in (I don't know, how old do I look?) and half feeling like I so obviously didn't go there any more. And then I thought even more, and realized I graduated college almost 4 years ago. I wonder when you make the transition from being a recent grad/expert-on-the-campus-and-how-things-work to a plain old alumnus-and-who-cares-stop-pretending.

Maybe because as the years go I on I'm sure kids in the classes I took are learning some new things and the things I think I know aren't the most recent. And that doesn't invalidate what I learned (or maybe it does), but it's just harder to keep up on things when you're not learning constantly or have to for your job. And I still want to feel like my degree means something and that I actually knew quite a bit of things when I left. And I like to think I still know most of them, but that is probably not true.

But anyway, I loved the experience and I loved being back there and remembering fondly the years there. Skipping over the hard tests and late nights and busy work and cold, cold walks in the winter. Ok, yeah, maybe it was better left in the past, as we usually find, right?

heehaws


During our trip, I had an all-day work meeting on Friday. My parents had a day full of fun for Sam (except the hair cut--that wasn't any fun, I hear), and I met up with them at a corn maze/petting zoo/all the fall activities. Sam had fun playing in a huge container of corn, going down a giant slide, getting licked by a cow, seeing pigs and goats and holding a bunny. We also took a hay ride to the corn maze, which was a lot of fun. We only got lost in the last little part of it. I mean, it took us a while to get out, but we finally did. Like, we could have sworn we tried that way and it was wrong, but then magically there was the right way? what? mazes, right?

Sunset was gorgeous. The weather this trip was seriously amazing. Sunny, warm and full of fall colors. I was really sad to leave that behind for the rains for days in portland!

Sam even learned to say what a donkey says (hee haw) cause we kept repeating it. It's adorable.

oh hi

Hello! Writing posts kinda fell off my list in October, but we're back! I went to Utah last week for work trip, but I extended it by a few days so Sam and I could hang out with my family. I always find myself with a few deadlines before I take a trip, and usually they are self-imposed. This time was no different, so the last part of September and first part of October I was finishing up things (and watching parks and rec like crazy) during Sam's nap time.

Some fall projects included a toddler backpack and jeans for Sam (although now they are almost too short, ahh!) and a duffle bag. I also worked on a belle dress for my sister's halloween costume. I didn't think I would be making princess dresses already, but this was fun to try.

I also managed to squeeze in a skirt for me and a shirt for sam. And then when I came home, it was halloween costume time! And now...I may be taking a sewing break until...it's time to sew for Christmas and I have another trip deadline. :)


summer sewing

Most of the pictures I sent to my sister this summer were selfies in the bathroom with an unfinished shirt on (picture not included). I wrote earlier about a dress I was making with a pattern that I printed out with the wrong proportions...and I will say that things did improve from that, other than the fact that I barely eked a shirt out of the dress, which is a little sad. But it is only a tiny bit too small. And part of me wants to buy more of that fabric to make the intended dress, and the other part of me is soooo over that fabric so, whatever.

I've gone back and forth over the past couple years about making some clothes for me and I thought I came to the conclusion that I was not going to feel bad about not doing it, even though I could.

Until...patterns. I love sewing patterns (especially the newer "indie" patterns). There are so many tutorials out there and while they are great, they never work that well for me--I need someone to do the hard part and I can just trace and cut. So I tried a shirt pattern this summer and it's my favorite--I made four shirts so far from it. I have a few patterns in the line up and a few I can't wait to try, including a button up shirt.

I mean, how many button up shirts is too many?

And anyway, not that everyone needs to see all the shirts I made myself, but here they are. I love that chambray one. That is the fun part about making things--you can pick out the fabric! I think I will spend the rest of my life looking for the perfect black and white striped fabric, but other than that, the new, modern fabric out there is so great.

I also sewed some things for Sam too--I'll eventually post about those. Dave, probably wisely, changes the subject when I offer to sew him something. 

fall adventures

September has had great weather. It's cooled down and started raining more, but earlier this month we were still playing at splash pads! Some of the fun things we've done include story time, oat dumping/playing, toy store exploring and good old fashioned playing in the rain. Sam loves puddle jumping.
  
So this was just the funniest thing. I encouraged him to go play with all the kids in the middle (he is very shy and introverted at story time) and he did, and then they all went to sit with their parents. Sam? He just stood in the middle, still as a statue, for at least 5 minutes. Seriously, still as can be. I was just laughing in the corner. This last week, he actually went and sat on the teacher's lap during a song. I was shocked! 
He loved this little stroller, and I've been thinking for months of getting him one. It seems must less tear-inducing than our big one that he likes to push around (and get it stuck).
 The other day we walked to the park and it wasn't supposed to rain for a few hours, but of course it started to rain the second we got there. I had his boots and jacket, but I just got his boots on and he was off!

september eats

I've been going to the farmer's market every Saturday for the last couple months, and one week I dragged everyone with me (sometimes Sam comes with me anyway) and we tried some Pine State Biscuits. The sit-down place is on the East side, but they have a little booth there and we tried some fried chicken/bacon/cheese biscuits (mine had apple butter, Dave's had an egg) and they were great! It was a fun day at the market. We're loving the fall apples and zucchini and the end of tomato season.

Sam and I met up with some friends last week and had some Salt and Straw (their rocky road is soo good, and Sam has still-stained clothes to prove it). Ahhh, white shirts. whyyyyy do I buy anything white? 

favorite parenting moment (leading to a lot of sam updates)

I think that one of my favorite moments in parenting was teaching Sam how to lick an ice cream cone. Sounds silly, but I've had that thought floating around in my head for weeks. It was a perfect combination of deliciousness, unbelievable adorableness, funny-ness and rewarding...ness. I mean, you don't get to eat ice cream during most of your parenting moments, and you are also teaching them, you know, a needed skill in life (hence the rewarding).

It was just so cute, him learning to stick his little tongue out for the purpose of getting ice cream, only to have him open his mouth instead and try to bite it. It was the best.

Sam is getting so big these days...so independent but still so dependent on us. And that leads to quite a few tantrums these days; some are the actual lie-down-on-the-floor-and-bang-my-fists type, and those are exasperatingly endearing. We are just trying to get him to realize that he actually can do things on his own and he actually will NOT die if, say, one truck doesn't balance perfectly on another. Or if something falls, you can pick.it.up.again.

Next is getting him to realize that he will not starve to death waiting for a meal or a snack, but on the other hand, we hate for him to be unhappy and feel like he's starving. You know, parent problems.

He knows lots of animal sounds (an impressive roar, too), vehicle sounds (his little "too too" kills me) and says a few words and uses a few signs. He is also impressively communicative using his hands on your knees, and sometimes I think is really trying to pick me up (when I'm sitting on the floor) in order to have me go where he wants.

The other day Dave opened the fridge (gotta do that really fast these days) and Sam walks up like a boss, grabs a half-full gallon of milk and just starts fast-walking away. Like, ok, where were you taking that? It was just so funny. So much attitude, but also, so sweet.

He blows kisses, pats your back, gives you a squeeze, and likes to fold his arms for prayers. We are borrowing a little firetruck ride-on toy that he loves. He is also very good at copying you, even when you aren't teaching him anything. He will put silverware in the drawer, pretend to make copies, use the rolling pin, brush his hair, etc.

He chatters away in the cutest little voice, pointing and telling you all sorts of things. I wish we could understand what he's saying, but I'm sure that will come soon enough. He is one busy, fun, adventurous and entertaining toddler.
photo by the great al/so

bike camping

The craziest thing I did this summer was bike 50 miles over 2 days! I joined a group of fellow downtowners from my church group, and we biked 25 miles past the end of the MAX (our subway/metro) line to a campground and then came back the next day. It was half trail, half riding through back country/town roads, so not very busy at all. It was a lot of fun. There were four ladies and six kids. Oh, and one husband joined us for the ride up. :)

We biked all our gear with us, and luckily we were sleeping in heated cabins (rough, I know), so we didn't have to carry a lot of gear. The back of my bike trailer fits quite an impressive amount, though.

I was a little nervous about biking that far, but it really wasn't too bad. And there were two 8 year olds that were biking as well, so really, I was fairly confident I could keep up. Those girls did an amazing job. They didn't bike the entire 50 miles, but at least half of it, which is impressive! There was one 5 mile stretch the first day leading to the campground that was pretty miserable. It was slightly (or more than slightly) uphill and just went on forever! I think I prefer city riding to trail riding because trails go on forever and look the same and it's often hard to gauge where you are.

Anyway, a lot of walking was involved for the last two miles into the camp BUT it was worth it in the end. The whole area was gorgeous. I wish I could have captured it all. And the next day, we had miles and miles of downhill. It was wonderful. 

 
Sam loved camping. he loves being outside and just loved the dirt, fire pit (he did touch a hot grate, but no lasting harm. He was more upset by the multiple table/head collisions and face plants). We have this hand-me-down flannel shirt that I thought was perfect for the occasion. He's so cool, right? His hands were stained black (and purple, see below) for at least two days.

 

On the way home, we stopped along the trail to pick the wild blackberries and they were sooo good. I think everyone ate about a pint, and they were a perfect mid-trail snack. I almost couldn't pick them fast enough. His little ziplock of berries, meant to last the last 2 miles into town, didn't even last before we started back up again.

I know this photo is pretty bad, but I tried. It was just miles and miles of forest and mountains and blue sky.

Sam was an amazing passenger. I think there was maybe an hour total (of about 11) of whining/crying, but he slept, ate, looked at/ripped up books, etc.

Not pictured: me changing a poopy diaper in the middle of a field on the way home. (although I do have that picture)

wear all the stripes!

One of the highlights of August was driving up to Long Beach, Wa. and meeting up with the Skidmores! Kristen was one of my freshman roommates and I love her! They've spent the last 4 years in DC for law school, and we're finally back on the same coast.

It was so great to catch up and see all the boys play. The dads and boys had fun playing on the beach (even though the sun was stubbornly staying inland). We eventually abandoned the beach for a playground and found some salt water taffy to end the day. Next year we'll have to find a beach with some sun (that does exist up here, I swear).

you could look happier for being carried up a mountain.

A few weeks ago my aunt drove through town and we met her at Multnomah falls for a short hike. It's all switchbacks, and luckily my aunt was awesome enough to split the hauling of Sam. We tried out a real hiking backpack and he didn't love it. (And these pictures make it clear that Sam needs new pants for the fall.) I didn't take pictures of the large waterfall or the view...but it is beautiful.

And I'm not gripping him around the back because he is going to fall in, more like he wouldn't look away from the water and I was trying to hold him still.
 This is not The Fall, but the very top of it.
Sam was enamored and was really mad he couldn't play in it. I let him dip his toes upstream, but he just wanted to get in and we had to pull the plug on that one.

Then we had lunch at the lodge and headed back to Portland via ikea with some fresh blackberries from my grandpa's yard. win.