Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Homemade Crayons

What do you do when Daddy's carpool isn't running and he has to take the car to work, leaving you home all day? Begin by gathering all your broken crayons, or "leftolas," and sort them into color piles because you are obsessive like that.

Some of mine were this washable kind, which may or may not have impacted my final product, but more about that later.

Was this one chewed on?

Then spend 20 minutes peeling off all the paper. Some of it comes off in big satisfying sheets, some of it fights to the bitter end.

During this process, your toddler will quickly lose patience with this project and start wondering where the "big crayons" you promised are. She'll probably start sticking the non-broken crayons in between her toes. Also, she won't be wearing pants because you keep putting them on and she keeps running upstairs and taking them off.

Aren't they pretty?

The instructions say to chop them up into pea-sized pieces. This worked just fine, although if you want a fancier end product, I would chop them up smaller. Also, just do one crayon at a time; trying to cut more than one causes little bits to fly dangerously around the kitchen.

More obsessive sorting. Tyler will ask you why you had to dirty every bowl in the house. He doesn't get it.

Put the little bits into a regular cookie tin. No need to grease or anything. Lillian liked this part except she wanted to put each crayon bit in individually.

This one reminds me of The White Stripes.

Then put them in a 150-degree oven for 15-20 minutes. I have digital oven and it doesn't go lower than 170, so I put them in for 12 minutes, which worked just fine. Your toddler will find your sunglasses and keys and proclaim that she is going to go find Daddy. She'll accidentally open up the garage door when playing with your opener fob and get really excited that Daddy has finally come home and her tortuous imprisonment with you, her mother, is finally over. She'll run excitedly to the garage to find it empty and collapse into a sobbing heap.

This is what they look like when you first take them out.

I don't know why the colors separated after they cooled. I'm suspecting it's the washable feature.

Mine did not just pop out, as promised.

I put them in the freezer, snuggled nicely next to the chocolate chips. The bag is open because I ate some.

After about 30 minutes in the freezer, just pop those suckers right out. By this time, your toddler will have gone down for a nap so she'll have to enjoy these crayons later when you're making Spinach Pesto Pasta.

Photographic Evidence of Exhibit A

This is what the stairs loook like now. Every time Lillian walks past, she tells me it's naughty to put paint on the stairs.

Monday, March 30, 2009

This one's for Dad

Dad called me this morning and informed me that I do not update the blog enough and he has no idea what's going on in our life. Here's the secret: there's nothing going on in my life.

Lillian is still obsessed with Little Einsteins and since we no longer get the Disney Channel, we watch the two Einsteins DVDs we own over, and over, and over again. She tells me about the plot lines at least twice a day. Her current favorite is the one where Big Jet steals The Team's favorite things: Quincy's instruments, June's ballet slippers, Leo's baton, and Annie's microphone. We'll be out and about and all of a sudden, she'll get really worried and upset and say "Oh no! Big Jet stole The Team's things!" That rascal Big Jet. He's a stinker.

The other news is that Tyler and I were able to get away to go the Banff Mountain Film Festival. It was super cool. We didn't win any of the give-aways, even though I followed all of Vivian's suggestions and crumpled up my ticket a little to give it more volume and wrote "Pick Me!" on the top. Oh well, I guess I have to just learn to live without a Patagonia Red Pullover that only weighs 2 ounces.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Paragon SDC

People often ask me what Tyler does at work. For those of you who are interested, his company is announcing today a partnership with Odyssey Moon to put a plant on the moon for a share of the Google X Prize. (I already mentioned to Tyler that I grew a plant inside a sealed two-liter bottle for a fifth grade science project. He was duly impressed.)

I guess it's big news if MSNBC is covering it.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Helper monkey?

My sister Allison is pregnant and she watches another woman's 6-month-old baby during the day. They were all loaded in the car and the baby started to cry. Her 4-year-old son Jack promptly picked up the baby's bottle and stuck it in the baby's mouth. "Sweet," she tells me excitedly, "a helper monkey."

Well, Lillian is pretty helpful herself:

Exhibit A: The blue paint.

Last night, I went downstairs after feeding Nora to help out with the dishes and to talk to Tyler. Lillian was playing quietly upstairs and we didn't think much of it. Tyler walked out into the family room to find Lillian there. "My, you're... blue." She had found a bottle of blue craft paint and painted herself blue, and in so doing, got blue paint all over the carpet on the stairs. When Tyler took her by the hand to lead her up to a bath, Lillian said, "careful Dad, there's paint here."

Exhibit B: The car seat.

It's windy today. We went to story time at the library and when we came out, the wind whipped Lillian's hair right out of the clips I put in it. Enter a meltdown. Who knew those clips were her favorite thing ever and having them out of her hair was tantamount to the end of the world? Good thing she had this meltdown in the middle of the busy parking lot and me with a crying baby on my hip, right? See what I mean, helpful.

Just kidding, I'm getting to the helpful part. I got Nora into her car seat and moved to work on Lillian. I hoisted her into her seat and started to put her clips in, not without much crying about how they came out in the first place. And, I'm hungry. After slapping her hands out of the way for the one thousandth time as she was trying to do it herself and succeeding only in poking herself in the eye, I shut the door and got in the driver's seat. "WAIT MOM! I'M NOT STRAPPED IN!" Sure enough, I hadn't buckled her in what with all the clip brouhaha.

See Allison, you're not the only one with a helper monkey.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

You've been Pittsnogled

I love March Madness. In fact, the most stressed out I've ever been in my whole life has to do with Kevin Pittsnogle, pictured above. It was 2006, we were up visiting Tyler's parents, West Virginia was playing Texas, and we were so glued to the TV, we couldn't leave to go get the pizza that was waiting for us at Round Table. I even remember that we got a Guinevere's with pepperoni. Wikipedia describes the moment thus:

[Pittsnogle's] collegiate career came to an end following a 74-71 loss to in the Sweet 16 of the 2006 NCAA Tournament. Pittsnogle, having just returned from a bloody nose, tied the game with 5 seconds remaining with his fifth three-pointer, but Texas guard Kenton Paulino hit a three-pointer at the buzzer for the win.

Tied the game with 5 seconds left, then a three-pointer from the other team at the buzzer. I can't even describe the stress level.

Tyler and I are going to name our first dog Pittsnogle. No joke.

But, that isn't what this post is about. A few years ago, my friend Brian pointed out something that bothers me every time I hear it. Here's the scenario: there's 5 seconds left on the shot clock and 7 seconds left on the game clock. The announcers will often say that there is a 2-second differential between the shot clock and the game clock. In the words of Brian, "One number minus another number is a difference." I've tried looking up these words in the dictionary and can't quite pin down whether or not the announcers are committing a grammar crime or not. I'm pretty sure they are... but I still don't know. I emailed Grammar Girl about it, so maybe she'll give the answer on a podcast. But in the meantime, does anyone know? Bridget, I'm looking in your direction.

Here are the definitions, so you can judge for yourself:


1. the state or relation of being different; dissimilarity: There is a great difference between the two.


6. a difference or the amount of difference, as in rate, cost, quantity, degree, or quality, between things that are comparable.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Oh, and....

When we first moved to Tucson, I'm talking, when we drove in with all our stuff to our new apartment, we got off the freeway at Ruthrauff and when passing La Cholla Rd, we spotted this beauty of a sign.

You're going to have to click on the picture to appreciate the full beauty of what it says. If you don't have time for that, I'll sum it up:


That's right. Liquor's on there twice. Ah... Tucson. But I digress. We no longer live in Tucson. We live here:

far away from the FAMILY FOODS of Ruthrauff and La Cholla. Purchasing this house has been an interesting (and frustrating and expensive) process. I say expensive and you probably think, "you bought a house, what did you expect?" I get that. No, what I mean is all the stinking set-up fees. It's $12 a month for garbage service with a $30 set-up fee. Thirty a month for internet with a $20 establishment fee. And so on and so forth with the gas, electricity, and water as well. Thirty dollars for you to put my name into the computer? Twenty for you to click a button? Good grief! And, I just got a notice in the mail that informed me that my property taxes do not cover a fire department, so we have a private company to which I must pay $600 per year if I wish to avail myself of their services. Does that mean if I don't pay, and my house is on fire, they won't come put it out? I'm not sure.

At least I have this cool mailbox with a little flag on top. I've never lived in a house with a be-flagged box before. Actually, I haven't lived in a place where I didn't need a key to get the mail in almost 9 years (if you count when I lived on Ferinni Rd where the lock was broken and you could just lift the door). I was so excited to teach Lillian how to put the flag up when you put mail in the box, but she was way more interested in a lizard on the sidewalk. She's got to get her priorities straight.

Our house really is a mess at the moment, so I haven't really taken any pictures of it yet.

Well, I took these two. Mostly to show off the view from my bedroom window. I put a little corner of my bed in the shot to prove that this is what I see when I wake up. Notice, I don't have any curtains. I loathe interior decorating in any form (mostly because, in my experience, 'cute' and it's sister 'fabulous' cost money and I have absolutely no talent for it whatsoever) so I have put off purchasing window treatments, and probably will put it off for as long as possible. I can imagine a future where Tyler gets fed up and finally strings a blanket over the window and it stays there for three years because I'm too lazy to change it. No, lazy is the wrong word. How about, 'repulsed by the idea of shopping for window dressings'? Yeah, that's more like it.

This is the spot where there is always someone fishing... except for the moment when I took the picture. It's a pretty big lake and for whatever reason, if there's anyone fishing, there's someone here. Which can make for an awkward morning, what with the lack of blinds. We moved in on a Saturday and I thought all the people fishing were just there because it was a Saturday morning and were looking to relax. But, no. They fish all day, every day.

Monday, March 16, 2009


"Mom, take a picture of me with a pretzel in my mouth. Daddy too." Even Nora got in on that action.

We were in the middle of packing when I decided to take a break and make dinner. I made sure not to pack anything I was going to need, except I forgot to leave a knife to spread the butter on the bread.

Good thing Tyler has 5,000 hunting knives.

Oddly enough, this is the only picture I've taken of our house. Nice banister, eh?

I was screwing around with the macro settings on our camera when I took this picture of the first meal I cooked in the new house. You'll notice that I couldn't find the box with the silverware, so we ate with baby spoons.

Friday, March 13, 2009


We're moving tomorrow!!!! Woot! to a place with no internet... boo. So, I will be a little incommunicado for a while. My cell phone still works, so give me a call and we'll chat.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Shopping on The Internets

I recently tried to purchase some new clothes. Actually, I tried twice. The first time, I left the kids with Tyler and headed to Target. I just needed some 'in between time' clothes while I figure out what I'm going to do with my post-baby-#2 muffin top. Target failed me.

Then, I tried to go to the mall. I took Rachel with me for moral support and left Lillian at a friend's house. I worked hard. I tried things on but to no avail; I was stymied by horizontal stripes. First point: who knew horizontal stripes were in style? Second point: I learned from Stacy London that horizontal stripes are bad juju because they make you look wider than you actually are. And, as breastfeeding has made me already, ahem, wide, this is not a look I'm going for.

Thus, I ventured into the world of the internets and found:

Down East Basics

I've known about this site for some time, but this was the first time I've actually purchased anything from them. I bought the above shirt and I love it love it love it. It is soft and cuddly and perfectly disguises my midsection. I also bought a church outfit that I wore last Sunday and received many compliments on.

Edit: I was nervous about sizing as well, especially because I'm not my "normal" size, so I took my measurements and ordered the corresponding sizes. To answer Michelle's question: I think that the sizes run pretty much right on. The clothes are designed with the Mormon woman in mind, so all the shirts are very long, which I love.

I was afraid of the world of online shopping, but no longer. I think I may never buy from a brick and mortar store again. At least, not as long as the world is plagued with horizontal stripes.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Who knows?

Here's Lillian "helping" Tyler fold laundry. Let's just say that for her, when Cars is on, there is no multi-tasking.

A while back, we went to go visit my friend Emily in Surprise. While we were there she said, "I'm at varying degrees of not knowing what to do with each of my children." (She has 3). Me too. Now that Nora isn't crying all day every day, I've got a little better handle on her. It's the other one that I want to strangle.

Mom informs me that I gave birth to an Austin clone. The latest variation on that theme is our bedtime routine. Pre-Nora, Lillian was fabulous at going to sleep and staying asleep. Just put on jammies, brush teeth, read a few stories, then lights out. No problems. As soon as we brought Nora home from the hospital, she started getting up and coming into our room in the middle of the night. "What are you doing up here?" I would ask sleepily before poking Tyler to take her back to her bed. This has become a nightly ritual. Then, she didn't want to go to bed. Last night, it was an hour and forty-five minutes from the time we started the bedtime routine to when she actually fell asleep. During that time, she got out of bed probably 25 times, asked for water, asked for one more song about 10 times, complained of a tummy ache, complained of an ear ache, couldn't find lambie, couldn't find Toby, asked for her pacifier, and was upset that her toy airplane was parked in her room (which is where it goes). While I was making a desperate call to Mom, she was crying so hard, she threw up all over herself and her bed. Arg.

Here are things that I've tried, and why they did not work:

Putting her to sleep with music. She was really curious about the ipod and would climb up her dresser to fiddle with it. Or, she would request the Bee Song (Bumblebee (Buzz Buzz) by the Laurie Berkner Band) and be so upset that she had to listen to lame lullabys that she would cry and scream.

Locking her in. Lillian has two doors to her room, one locks on the inside, the other on the outside. Much like the velociraptors in Jurassic Park, Lillian learned how to unlock the inside door and would just let her herself out.

Bribery. She's a little too young for this, so I'd say something like, "I'll give you _ (be it ice cream, a new toy, a chocolate chip, more TV time) if you stay in bed" and she would think I was offering that thing right now, and then get upset that I didn't give it to her.

Punishment. This just upsets her more.

So, what we're doing now is just consistently putting her back to bed. As Mom put it, this is a fight that we, as parents, must win.

Other possible solutions:

Mom also suggested that we buy a hook-and-eye or some such lock to put on the outside of the door (this is what she did with Austin).

Tyler thinks that she's just not tired at 8 o'clock and that we should try to put her to bed at 9. My fear with this is that instead of starting at 8 and ending at 9:45, like last night, we'd start at 9 and not end until 10:45, which is 15 minutes past my bedtime. So, I wouldn't get any non-kid-relax-and-watch-Chuck time.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Housing Update

We were supposed to close on our house on Monday, which came and went. Then Tuesday, maybe. Wednesday didn't look too promising, but Thursday, yes, Thursday would do. We were excited and nervous, buying our first house. For almost an hour and a half, we signed papers. This was what we've waited and waited for. After we signed our life away, the woman at the title company took our ream of paper to make copies. While she was gone, we heard the familiar 'ding' of an email client, signaling a new message on her computer. When she came back, she handed us our papers, and we started getting up to leave. At this point the title woman casually checked her email and informed us that the deal we thought we had just closed is, in fact, still wide open to the tune of $1600 of missing taxes and other miscellaneous fees that she didn't explain all connected to the fact that we submitted our offer (in November) intending to close at the end of January. This $1600 has somehow accrued in the past month and a half of limbo.

Can we still move in on Saturday? No.

When will we hear back? Monday, at the earliest. Our realtor says that there's "a lot of hands in this pie," so if we hear back from the 1st company on Monday, we may not hear back from companies 2, 3, 4, and 5 until mid to late next week. They may decide to accept $1600 less. They may decide to chuck the whole deal and foreclose, in which case we could offer to pay it, in which case, they may or may not accept.

We have rented a U-Haul and contracted the Elder's Quorum from both our current ward and our future ward to help us move this coming Saturday. We have to be out of our apartment on the 15th. Our electricity is going to be turned off on the 13th. As of tomorrow, we will be paying utilities for two houses, one of which, we don't own or rent.

I'm beginning to really hate this whole process.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

I, too, am geeky

I recently started reading Ken Jenning's blog. Bridget recommended it to me a long time ago, and it took me awhile to get into it because every time I'd look, he'd have some sort of word play question that I would have no idea how to solve and it made me feel dumb. But, he does blog about other things that I find funny and/or interesting. In last Thursday's post, he lists the earliest news events he can remember. He's almost 10 years older than me, so our lists are wildly different, but I thought this was fun to think about. Here's my list with my corresponding ages:

1. Election of George H.W. Bush- November 1988 (age 5). I probably only remember this because we had a polling place in our garage (right?) and I can remember asking my mom what the heck all these people were doing at our house and having a talk about how Ronald Regan wasn't going to be president anymore.

2. Persian Gulf war- August 1990 (age 7).

3. Rodney King riots- March 1991 (age 7).

4. Fall of the USSR - Dec 1991 (age 8). I remember my teacher pulled down the world map at the front of the classroom and pointed to the big purple splotch that was the USSR and said that we would have to get new maps because it wasn't going to look like that anymore.

5. US invasion of Somalia- 1992 (age 9), and I'm going to group this together with the start of the Bosnian War, which also took place in 1992 because in thinking about this, I had to look up whether Somalia and Sarajevo were part of the same conflict.

Two things stand out about my list. The first being that 3 out of 5 (4 out of 6 if you count #5 as two seperate occurances) items have to do with wars or violence. The second being that on Ken's list, all items occured when he was between 5 and 6 years old. I must have been asleep at the wheel when I was that age because mine span from age 5 to age 9.

Is there some world event I'm missing that I probably do remember but just didn't think of? What are the first news events you remember?

Note: I just remembered watching MTV with one of my older siblings, Allison maybe, when the Milli Vanilli lip-syncing scandal broke in 1989 (age 6). Does that count as a major news event?

Beep Beep

Isn't she cute?

This is her smiley face.

We went to a birthday party where we decorated these cars and then the kids raced. Lillian gets out of the car only to sleep and eat, which makes diaper changes a challenge.

The cutest moment came last night. We were packing up the closets and Tyler pulled out his bike pump. Lillian exclaimed, "Oh good, my tires are flat" and dragged it over to her paper plate tires and started pumping them up.

I just want to eat her sometimes, she's so adorable.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Food Adventures

I don't like fish. Did you know about this? I'm not sure when it all started, but I can remember eating mahi mahi when I was 12 and being really surprised that I liked it because I expected it to be gross. I think I don't like the flimsiness of it; I like my meat to have a little bite. Anyway, fish is really good for you, and much like the time when I was really poor in college and tried to force myself to like oranges because they are very good for you and cheap, I thought I'd make a go at eating fish. I meant to buy halibut but turns out, it's really expensive, so I bought these tilapia fillets. I just seasoned them with salt and pepper and sprinkled them with fresh sage. They were pretty good. Maybe I'll work up to eating fish once a month and see where it goes from there.

The big food adventure, however, was this:

Buffalo burgers.

See, I read this book called American Buffalo which I'll probably blog about in the Reading Room tomorrow. In short, it made me really curious about what buffalo tastes like.

When we very first moved here, I noticed that they sold ground buffalo right between the ground beef and ground chorizo at our local Safeway. At the time, I thought, "what kind of crazy place is this?" That was before I wanted to eat some.

Survey says: we couldn't taste a difference. It was good, don't get me wrong. Even Lillian ate some. But, I didn't think they tasted any different than your average hamburger. Apparently, buffalo are a much "greener" option compared to cows when it comes to red meat... maybe that's why the meat is $7 a pound.

Shoulder Swing

Tyler is much more fun than I am. In fact, if you ask Lillian who she likes more Mom or Daddy, it's Daddy hands down. And with material like this, I just can't compete.

On a related topic, I have vivid memories of Allison throwing me over her shoulder and me begging for her to do it again and again. Except, from what I remember, I sat in her arms. After Tyler came up with the above method, I tried to do it the other way with Lillian, and it seemed too ungainly. Maybe she's too light. Anyway, way to go Allison for being a great older sister.
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