how to save a cake

1. Pick out a cake based on your toddler's interests. I landed on a monkey because it didn't need any special fondant sculpting, etc. Just a cute little monkey cake. 

2. Bake a favorite chocolate cake and prep favorite frosting (night before).

3. Day of, when your toddler is napping, realize you have one stick left of butter (when you need 3 (yikes, that sounds terrible)), so you make a third of the frosting and try making chocolate whipped cream for the rest. 

4. Cream fails to whip, other frosting tastes weird.

5. Pause, realize that this just isn't happening. So cut of the sides of the round cake, going for a Lego look now. 

6. Wonder why you didn't do that in the first place, since your child loves legos to death.

7. White frosting does not make a cake look like a lego. Taste the cake scraps and realize that it, too, tastes weird. You can't figure out how everything ended up tasting so weird. 

8. Pause, perhaps crying a tiny bit out of frustration, and realize you're the only grownup at the party (of three adults) that likes cake. Call Blue Star donuts and order a dozen donuts. 

9. When said toddler wakes up, pick up donuts. Use toddler to accidentally charm them into throwing in an extra donut and giving you the deal of a lifetime on donuts. Seriously, I love that place. 

10. Assemble donuts into a cake. Win-win, really, because 1. everyone loves donuts 2. you just made a totally trendy cake without even trying that hard. 


11. Find a whole package of butter in the back of the fridge a week later. Honestly, my catch-phrase should be "I looked, but not that hard."

two years of sam!

I can't believe this little guy is two. I'm not sure what I can say about him that I haven't already said--he's so sweet and cute and funny and spunky and stubborn and smart and goofy and happy and chill....and oh we love him.
It's been such a fun two years. Sam's been my sidekick almost every day for the last two years, and I've [mostly] loved it. The times I haven't, well, it's my fault for taking a 1.5 old to target at 4 pm, right? There are definitely days that I'm so ready to be done for the day, but his kisses and hugs and laughing fits somehow make up for it all. Sometimes he puts his hands on his knees and just laughs; it seems so old for him, but I love it.

He's talking a lot these days, and it's so fun to hear him say new things every day. Here are some of our favorite words:

suck it (sucker)
saddy (salad)
keena (quinoa)
weego or pieces (legos)
fosser (floss)
pista (pizza)
pino (piano)
stawbee (strawberry)
see-al (cereal)
tee-bee (tv)
me-ohs (tomatos)
orng (orange)
ohgut (yogurt)
choo (train)

He loves playing with legos, cars (he calls them people now, I think because people sit inside cars?), trains and blocks, eating cereal with milk like daddy, watching the lego movie, and taking baths. He also really loves playing with dice. He will repeat little prayers with us, and after we say "for", like "we're thankful for" he says "five". He knows how to start prayers (hemmy fader) and end (chiiist amen). He loves to push the elevator buttons, jump in puddles and does not like getting his diaper changed (no bum! no bum!).

He's pretty good at self-directed play but has more and more started directing what he would like us to be doing when he is doing something.

These pictures are from his first birthday--I don't think I ever got around to sharing them. He's so much the same, but so much older!
And here are some of my favorites of baby sam! I just had to stop after the last one or this would be a very long post of pictures through the years. You might as well just look at instagram for that :) 
Happy birthday sweet Sammy! We love you! 

and the rest

We were able to see a lot of friends/family while we were in town. It's never enough to see everyone, but I'm so grateful the stars lined up and Katie and I were in town at the same time (you think it wouldn't be so hard since our houses are 2 miles away from each other, but it's been 3 years!). We also got to see friends at a fun birthday party and attend a sweet baby blessing. It's nice having so many friends that either live in or visit the place where you're from!
And aunt/roommate/friend kellie! We swapped states with her but I'm glad we saw her before she left. 
 We really nailed the matching jammies. But it was fun: we sent a pair to my sister who is on her mission in West Virginia. Plus, target. 
Sam never wanted to smile for pictures, but when the flash was on he thought it was hiliarious. So we have a million pictures of him laughing with his eyes closed. 
 Grandma and grandpa took the cousins on a secret adventure to Build-a-Bear. The big machine scared Sam, but he does love that monkey. 
 Cute cousins! And when Sam actually smiles for pictures, he looks like he's aged 3 years. ha. 
 Sam and daddy built a lego tower to the ceiling. Dave called everyone in to show us and sam karate chopped it right in the middle. It was hilarious. 
 My dad dressed like Santa at our Christmas eve family party and it was so funny. I'd never have expected it, but my sister got him to do it somehow; all for the grandkids, I guess. I mean Sam loved it, as you can tell. 
 Remember the story of the shepard who took baby Jesus for a walk? 
 Utah got a lot of snow! Grandpa took Sam out to play in it. Thrilled, as this kid is with snow. 

Whew, I think that's all the pictures I wanted to share from our trip. Sorry for the huge variance in photo quality but, oh well. But we had a lot of fun and, as always, can't wait to go back!

*Not pictured is when we attempted to get Sam's hair cut. He got his hair cut in October and cried the whole time, scared to death. This time, he took one look at Karin and started bawling. So, no hair cut for now. hah!

most of christmas break in reverse

 Lots of squishing and kissing my nephew dez. He is so cute, quite somber and very chill. Also, #jesusphotobomb

 We spent lots of time squished in my parent's car. Not a bad view of the cute cousins. Very bad for my knees ;) 
 We went sledding one morning and Dave and I had a blast. Sam, on the otherhand, did not. I mean, his face in all three pictures is like cry-smiling emoji, amirght? He just had to ride down the hill with us and I think he had a medium amount of fun once or twice. 
 Just being dragged to his doom....
 A super blurry and crappy picture of the intense minute-to-win-it games we played.  
Lots of "wee-gos" and "pieces" at great-grandpa/grandma's house. Such great childhood memories there!
He played that book for 20 minutes straight Christmas morning, and spend the rest of the time fighting Dez for his new toys. 6 month toys FTW. 
 Christmas morning. We had the kitchen set up first, but I love the trail of stocking toys to it. 
 We had a delicious Christmas Eve appetizer and pie spread. This lovely pie from, you guessed it, here.
 I worked on some peg doll nativities and then found these cute unpainted peg ornaments and ordered a set. (just sharing the credit; not making $$ ;))

Do they look like us?? It's pretty fun and they turned out fairly well for my first time...and now I want to make ALL the peg dolls! Animals! Superheros! Families! 
My Ron Swanson Christmas house is the bomb, and you know it. 
Snoozing on the flight to Utah. 

a new year

I always wonder at the start of each year how long it will take before writing that new year will seem normal. At some point, usually, it feels like it's always been 2014 or 2013 and any year before that just seems old. And already I think that 2015 feels just right, but I guess we'll see once I start writing checks. Or typing the year, let's be real.

This year was so great. I think it's the fastest year I've ever experienced. Sam learned to walk, talk, run and climb. I biked up some hard hills and set some personal biking PRs for distance (so did Dave, I am sure). Dave turned 30! We went to concerts, picked a million berries, saw cute newphews and nieces, saw dear friends I haven't seen for years, and I sewed a lot of things. We had so many fun play dates with our friends and family.

To round it out a bit, Sam lost 3 credit cards IN OUR APARTMENT and we still haven't found them (the biggest mystery of my life). We had a record number of car repairs, with 2 broken windows and a mysterious muffler/exhaust problem. Sam had his first visit to the ER (which, if you remember, was totally not needed in the end). We had missed flights and many falls/smashes/bumps along the year (most Sam).

Our new year's eve was fairy low-key. We had some friends over for a tradional fondue, and this year we tried this cheese fondue. It was a hit, as I was fairly certain it would be; past cheese fondues have been mediocre at best, but guys, this is Mel we're talking about here. We watched the ball drop at 9:00 PM PST, watched the netflix children's countdown and then watched Despicable Me 2 after putting Sam to bed. We were all about to fall asleep around 11 when the movie ended, but I think we were still puttering around before bed when it was offically midnight on this coast and we could hear fireworks.

Then we slept in, ate waffles and did what seems to be quite the tradition around these parts: go to ikea and buy all the things to organize. We walked out with a few new things to help organize around these parts. Plus, Ikea now has cookies and cream frozen yogurt.

And the best part of the day was that our sister-in-law had their new baby girl today. An early (and as far as we know, healthy) surprise! And I thought we were doing pretty good by putting three ikea things together in one day! (no swearing or fighting, even.)


I haven't written up an official list of new year's goals and resolutions, but I've been thinking about them. My list will probably include sewing new and harder things, more playing with Sam, having less screen time, reading more scriptures, being more decisive, getting back into an exercise habit that is more than just walking somewhere, reading more classics (especially ones that I probably should have read by now), buying less things and putting things away where they go the first time. I hope we can visit the East coast again and see new parts of Oregon.

I'm really movitated by the Mangum's 101 goals in 1001 days, and totally going to start working on a list like this. (Although, you guys, you forgot to add visit Portland.)

I think the year will also include finishing up the 4 almost empty bottles of face soap/lotion that I haven't finished yet because I moved onto something else. Perhaps this is the year I find a keeper.

Here's your standard photo review, a highlight from each month and then a few family pictures I don't think I ever shared. Happy 2015! Do something awesome!