My Christmas Home

So, it is completely obvious, from the pictures, that our house is still a work in progress. Try to focus on the decorations only, because if you look at the nasty fireplace which I didn't have anything with which to cover it (I think the Nester would be ashamed of the lack of decorating the fireplace) you may think that I have absolutely no decorating sense, which is completely untrue. Most everything is still in boxes somewhere between here and Timbuktu, which made decorating this year slightly interesting (Christmas and otherwise). So, without further ado, here is my "Christmas tour of home." I am going to start from the outside, in.

This is the garland that graces my front porch. When we got our Christmas tree, I got a much larger one than I needed, because I love to use the pine boughs everywhere, as you will see from my decorations.

I have three wreaths of varying size on the portico. These are two of them. I just made them with boughs and wire. For my first wreaths ever, they turned out wonderful!

Yes, more boughs and plaid fabric. I couldn't get enough this year, as you will see when you continue to scroll down.

This saying is up in my kitchen year-round. The little houses used to be in the nursery at church, but they decided to throw them out. Thank heaven Paula (my mother-in-law) salvaged them. I thought they went perfectly together.

So I absolutely love my Christmas tree. It is so quirky and fun that it reminds me almost of a Christmas tree you would find in "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (which happens to be Lydia's favorite movie right now) with a Country twist. The tree is having a hard time holding up the weight of the lights--slight pause for a laugh--so I had to go minimalist on the decorations. The dried grapefruits and apples have made it through four Christmases, and they are easily my favorite decorations. There are also rusted tin stars (I love everything rusted) that I stumbled upon while up in Idaho last summer.

I love this picture, because it shows the door with the wreath. I think it makes the Christmas tree wonderful. And I have never liked tree skirts...this burlap has been used since we got married to grace the bottom of our tree.

Now we are getting to my favorites. Paula had this cool old frame in her garage (it is a treasure trove) just sitting there. I knew I wanted to put it in my tree, and that dictated the theme of the whole house this year (antique-y doors, windows, mirrors, etc.).

I do not know if you can tell, but I used clothes pins to hold up my fabric garland this year. I think it would have turned out better if I had a more full Christmas tree, but I needed one to fit a small space, so sparse had to work.

We were so excited to get a fireplace in our new home. My problem was trying to make the wood look nice. Well, after using a little innovation with hat boxes and a no-longer-used plant stand, I think it works nicely.

I think my mantle is my favorite part. There is something about grape-vine wreaths that are happy, and they made the mantle wonderful.

More garland...this is my dining table. The flowers are a perfect touch...I love that my husband gives me flowers!
And last, but certainly not least, I promised pictures of the drapes I made out of burlap a few months ago. I did not forget! So here they are! I need to make four more panels for the room with the fireplace (I don't know what to call it yet) and then I think I will never make a curtain panel again, or until I get the itch to do so, which ever comes first!


You can always tell a mom...

So I am going to get philosophical again...just a warning. You don't have to read this. I have been looking about lately when I am running errands, getting groceries, etc. and have noticed a few things I would like to share. I guess during this time of year it makes me think how greatful I am that I can see my follys and foibles (yes ladies and gentlemen, they are different). So I guess you could call this a late Thanksgiving gratitude post, or early New Year's Resolution list. I will call it a Gratitude Resolution.

First, you can always tell a mom by the far-away looks in their eyes when they are standing in line at a checkout, and yes, I am positive I have that same look 99.9% of the time. Never fail, you stand behind some woman, children in tow, hair askew, clothes a little rumpled, and you think, "That woman has seen it all." It never used to cross my mind when I was single and carefree the things they were thinking about, but I decided that it could be anything from what's for dinner, balancing the checkbook, making sure kids are on time for practices, the mysteries of the universe, even what fun things they are going to be doing when the kids are finally in bed. Imagine the full gamut, and I can almost guarantee it has been thought of with the blank stare on a woman's face. Admit it, you yourself don't always consciously think about what you are thinking about. I know, kind of an outlandish thought, but this year I pledge to remain in the here and now. To always have your mind on other things makes it hard to really truly appreciate the blessings you have right now, including the messes your children make and the burned dinner that was supposed to be perfect. Life is a huge learning experience, and if you are always searching for that veritable needle in the haystack, the little things can be lost.

Second, I have a hard time understanding the way my kids act sometimes. They whine and cry and are obstinate and refuse to eat their dinner, refuse to sleep, etc. You are thinking: "Gasp! Her kids and life are not perfect??!" Well, I guess if my kids and life were perfect, I probably wouldn't be hanging around this place...think city of Enoch. I pledge to embrace my imperfections, all of them. There is a reason I have imperfections, and that is to learn about myself. It's surprising how little we know about ourselves, and I want to learn as much about myself as I can. Another novel idea, I know, but truly empowered men and women are those who can stand on their own two feet, who don't care about the nasty thoughts others have of them, or the nasty thoughts they have of themselves (which brings me to my last point), do. (Interesting word, do, it's probably the smallest word with the longest definition in the old trusty Merriam-Webster dictionary...look it up sometime; there are some very interesting, thought provoking definitions for it.)

Third, and last, I have a habit of looking at the glass half empty sometimes. When things do not go right or I am fed up with people or places or circumstances, I like to go into the "poor Tia" mode. That is such an ugly mode, and it never solves the problem; in all actuality, it makes the situation worse. So I pledge that when "poor Tia" rears her ugly little head, I am going to squash her by looking in the mirror and telling "poor Tia" to go away. I am amazing, just as you all are, and the only way to make things better is to go about with a positive attitude.

Now, dear readers, it's your turn. I didn't put these down for you to feel sorry for me or smug that you don't have the same pitfalls. On the contrary, I wrote this post to get you thinking about how to make your life more enjoyable. Go ahead...give it a try. You do not have to post anything about hating to do the laundry or spending way too much time reading while you should be playing with your kids. What I want you to comment about, if you comment, is your little secret of how you navigate through the bumps of life, so someone might get a great idea from you on how to make their life just a little bit better. Think Gratitude Resolution!


Halloween fun

So I was given the ultimatum that I have been lackadaisical with posts, especially Halloween pictures of my kids, and thought that since I had a couple pictures on my camera before it died again--we need a new one--I would put them up. The bulk of my Halloween pictures and birthday pictures of both Benjamin and Lydia are on my mother-in-law's camera, so I will be posting the rest rather late. So, for the time being, enjoy the smattering of pictures I have to offer.

Lydia told me at least twenty different ideas for her costume. She would always say, "Mom I want to be ____ for Halloween, okay?" So about two weeks before Halloween, I asked her what she was going to be, and she said she wanted to be a butterfly. So butterfly she was.

She had to be a pink and purple butterfly, no exceptions. So I made her pink and purple wings with a pink and purple tutu. there is a little bit of black in there too.

She was so excited to trick or treat this year, and insisted on using her chicken wire basket she used last year with her chicken costume. She made such a beautiful butterfly, even though we could not figure out the pipe cleaners. Pipe cleaners work in Kindergarten. They do not work for grownups (except for teachers).

I had ideas about what I wanted Benjamin to be, but it was not set in stone until about four weeks before Halloween (yes, I make my kids' costumes, and yes, I am a procrastinator). I saw an idea for a baby owl costume on Martha Stewart and decided to run with it. I changed it drastically, like I made my own wing patterns, and put feathers on the back and front. Benjamin just looked at it and kept saying "pretty bird" all the time.

Well, when I got him to try it on, he would not take it off, including the eye "goggles" (which I will need to reinvent if I ever have another child wear it). By the end of the night the goggles had slipped down around his neck, but he would not let me take them off.

Our ward had a trunk or treat, a.k.a. bags of candy in ten minutes (visions of driving three hours to get a few pieces of candy when I was little flashed through my head the whole time). Ben just absolutely loved his costume, as I said, and ran around the whole time flapping his wings and saying "who, who". That is why all the pictures I have of him are of him running around, or the back of his costume. Works great when you have such a cute feathery back, though.

Aren't those feathers adorable???! I absolutely love how both costumes turned out!

The little owl did not like being in his natural habitat; he wanted to be running around, so the only picture we got of him in the tree was of him crying.

Ben's head grew from the time I measured it for the "hat"...I will need to remake that one too if it is ever worn again.


Will the madness ever end???

So I think Brian thinks I am having a love affair with burlap. Don't get me wrong, burlap is great, but I may have possibly gone overboard...it all started last year at Halloween, with this as the result: Yes, he is supposed to be a sack of potatoes. It was a very ambitious costume, and it turned out beautifully. I had yardage leftover from Ben's costume, and it morphed into a table runner, napkin rings, Christmas decorations, etc. I thought I was just being resourceful.

Well, here is where I may have gone too far. We have two large front windows sans covering; a.k.a. everyone can see into our house at night. So I did what any avid sewer would do...skip over the pre-made curtain panels at the store, and go directly to the fabric aisle; window mistreatment here I come.** Here was my thinking:

Angel Tia complete with wings and halo: "You must stay away from the burlap aisle...there is too much burlap in your house."

Devil Tia, you get the picture: "Buying twelve yards of burlap won't hurt...plus you will be saving so much more money than buying pre-made."

Angel: "But you will save your time!"

Devil: "Who needs to save time; it's all about frugality!"

You may wonder why the seemingly ovbious choice gets to be played by the devil...yes, the devil won out...but it is perfectly logical. I love to start projects; ask Brian. The finishing of projects, however, sometimes gets drawn out. I started these curtains last week, and six yards of burlap are sitting in my dining room with my sewing machine begging to be hemmed and hung up. Two panels are hung beautifully, but I had to take a break from the burlap. Staring at it while sewing it was giving me a monotonous beige headache, so I decided to make this post about burlap. Any Idahoan would completely appreciate burlap; Brian might not, so much. It may be because of the fact that our dining room is no longer a dining room, but a perpetual sewing room for the past week, or the fact that he is not an Idahoan. You decide, but I think I had better go finish some curtains! (Devil Tia is smiling sweetly on my shoulder.)

Oh, I will post pictures of my curtains when I get new batteries for my camera. Until then, I leave you in anticipation of the coolest curtains you have ever seen!

**If you want to learn about window mistreatments, visit this blog with cool mistreatment ideas (I completely owe this gem find to Elise, my good friend who just moved to Rio Rancho, NM): nestingplacenc.blogspot.com.


Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

So we decided that since I have never been, and the kids would love it, we would attend the balloon fiesta Saturday morning. We got up at 4:30 in the morning and headed to the train station to catch the 5:03 train to Albuquerque. Ben didn't want to wake up, and it wasn't until we were on the train that he started bouncing off the walls with excitement. Lydia kept asking if we got up in the night...to the perspective of a three year old, yes, we did get up in the middle of the night. We had so much fun, and it was only slightly cold...nothing that would make you think, "gosh I'm cold!" There were literaly a hundred thousand people there, no joke. It is a 360 acre field, and we were all there, crowded among the balloons as they were filled with hot air and launched. There were lots of "zebras" running around (kind of referees, but they literally call them "zebras.") getting the 700+ balloons safely off the ground. It was such an awe-inspiring site, and we will definitely go next year! Enjoy the pictures.

This is the first row of balloons getting ready to launch at about 6:30.

Benjamin and I enjoying the show.

Two of my cuties standing in the cold watching the balloons.

Rosy cheeks and noses.

The first few balloons lifting off.

This is the balloon we parked ourselves next to during the mass ascension. We thought it was an old lady...

as you can see by the pink fingernails...but...

it ended up being a Cupid complete with wings!

Lydia and Benjamin each had their different favorites...

Ben's favorite was the "fi-fi". He would not stop talking about it, except for the ten minute power nap he took on the train ride home.

Lydia could not stop talking about "Alpha Bader" (she can say Darth Vader, but she emphatically insists that: "No, he is Alpha Bader, not Darth Vader.")

It was a fantastic experience, one I would recommend to everyone before the end of their lifetime, so I guess I am suggesting you put it on your bucket list.


Bathtub renovation!

So for those of you who have been waiting impatiently, I will post the first mostly-finished "makeover" of our home. When we bought the home, our master bathroom was a wreck...a 1970's wreck, that is. Here is a picture of the shower/bathtub combo...

Yes, that is a sunken-in tub...very deep. Visions of "I've fallen and I can't get up" kept running through my head the first time I saw it. I actually attempted to get in, and let me tell you, I don't know how anybody would want to shower/bathe in that monstrosity and attempt to get out of it wet.

Ever since we were married, we had really bad showers. Too small, not enough water coming out, nozzle head at the level of your chest, etc. Well, no more. We got rid of the sunken in shower; my wonderful little brother mudded in a shower pan (basically made it from scratch) and I have spent the last month tiling...it wouldn't have taken so long if I was without kids, but Paula (mother-in-law) was gracious enough to watch kids while I was finishing up. These pictures don't really show it, but the shower head is almost to the ceiling...yes, even a tall basketball player could easily shower in it. We put in two shower heads, and I can hardly wait to take my first shower in it!

I still have a little bit more tiling to do, but the bulk of tiling is done. I told Brian that when we fix the other shower (not sunken-in, but chest level again) we are just going to put in a pedestal bathtub like such...no tile!



So this is not Ben's first haircut, but his hair was really long (as you can see by the previous post), so we decided to give him a haircut after Family Home Evening. He laughed when the clippers touched him, so it took a lot longer than it should have, but it turned out really cute!
He is such a handsome little man, and he looks a lot older now that his hair is shorter. Plus, his curly hair makes it really adorable. Yes I do take pictures of Lydia, but I couldn't find the cute pictures I took of her the other day, so you have Ben again. I will post for Lydia tomorrow, so until then, dear readers, good night!


My cute kids!

I would have to say that my kids are so adorable! Lydia had a friend named Andrew over today; he loves to climb trees. We have some old apple trees in our back yard, so obviously he climbed right up! Benjamin got it in his head that he could climb a tree too; I had to put him in and get him out, and he didn't move a muscle while in, but I got some really cute pictures of him. I also love that the leaves are changing color! Autumn is my favorite season, hands down!


Fear of a black president?!

So I know I just posted, but I really think that things are getting out of hand. Since life has been so crazy and I haven't been keeping up on politics like the "faithful" political scientist I am, I was quite surprised to see the news about the Representative from South Carolina being lynched for speaking his mind on President Obama's speech in the House. (Google it if you don't know what I am talking about...Joe Wilson "you lie" comment.)

What is asinine is the fact that Jimmy Carter, lousy president he was (yes, I did say it), came out to say that Rep. Wilson is being racist. Racist?! Since when did someone speaking out about their feelings on an issue turn into racism? The only reason this came up is because the president is black, but that is entirely beside the point. Had someone said that to President Bush or any of the other white presidents, no one would have batted an eye. Might it have something to do with the fact that the president's approval ratings have fallen faster than any one president in history? Might it be the fact that we have been lied to as the American public that "change" and "hope" were on the way? May it even be the fact that He is less than a year into his term and he has pulled the "religion" card out of his belt? (He does speak like a black televangelist, not like the leader of a nation, after all, so why shouldn't he do it?!) No, ladies and gentlemen, this whole issue came about because the world is out to get our "poor" president. And yes, if speaking out and saying that the president is lying through his teeth means Rep. Wilson is racist, that makes me racist as well.

(Side note: if you want to see the reference to the Jimmy Carter comments, go to AOL news. It should be the top story for now.)

Back from Idaho...

We made a blitz trip to Idaho this past weekend to go to my mom's wedding. (By blitz, I mean 32 hours driving in a 72 hour stretch...groan!) The kids were great, and we were able to stop in Twin Falls to see Brad and Katie (Brian's brother, for those of you who do not know). It is still so funny to me that Brad is in my old stomping grounds, and I am in his...kind of weird, I know. Anyway, back to the story, we stayed with Brad and Katie and went to 1000 springs and Niagra Springs while we were there. We got some really cute pictures of the kids that I thought would make a fun post this time.

Lydia would not let me do her hair that morning; she is probably the only person I know who can leave their hair alone and it will still look fabulous.

Baby Ruth (Brad's daughter) was thrilled to be in the hot sun...isn't she adorable?!
They were fascinated by the little fish in the crystal clear lake at Niagra Springs. You could see the vegetation in the bottom...yeah, it was that clear.

Ben looking in the crystal clear pool.

Ben decided to kick it root down on the way home. This is his new favorite pose while he is in his car seat (he also pulls his legs up so his knees are on either side of the seat). He is still covered with peanut butter sandwich for breakfast (you probably think that is all we eat in our house...but not so, just for the record)!

Lydia was coloring, as you can plainly see. What you cannot see is that our car was a wreck!

Ben before we left being a cutie!

In other news, our house is getting closer to being done. We have been painting and tiling up a storm. It is looking really nice, but I will wait until it is done to post pictures...you will be able to see the before and after pictures when I do that. Plus, it still looks like we haven't done very much, when in all actuality we have done a bunch to get it livable!

I can't believe that my kids are another year older, almost. Lydia will be four (Oct. 29) and Benjamin will be two (Oct. 19). (Benjamin is getting a train cake for his birthday and Lydia is getting a ladybug cake.) How time flies when you are having fun! My kids are so amazing and adorable; active, energetic and curious. Lydia has started reading words and can count to twenty. She loves playing in our huge back yard, and I love that they come in smelling like dirt...lovely smell! Lydia also is great with cooking. She loves to help make dinner and treats. Benjamin has started asking questions like, "Train, where are you?" "Where are you" and "I love you" sound a lot alike, but you can tell the difference. He is also very wonderful about picking up his toys and putting dishes in the dishwasher. He helps with laundry and shares amazingly well. He also loves pointing out body parts, and still calls his belly button his "duh duh." I am completely blessed to have such amazing children!

One last piece of news, and I am going to go...I decided that I am going to attempt to make challah bread today...wish me luck! Maybe I will post pictures of the results...which reminds me I want to share my favorit web site with everyone. Go to her site, and drool over all the yummy things she makes.


So it has been years!

Okay, so maybe not years, but it has been a while since I last posted. We officially moved out of our nastified rental here in Santa Fe, bought a house, and are currently in the middle of fixing it up...yes, it was a serious fixer-upper, but as the prices of homes in Santa Fe are astronomical, we get what we can take. It is an adorable house, and it is actually in a fantastic part of town close to where we were living before. Plus I totally think we are the closest people to the church building...score!

Anyway, I need to go do more work on the house (more prep work for painting), so I will have to post pictures later...it might be another five weeks, but at least you will get them...let's call it a before and after shot of our home...stay tuned!



When I was at BYU-Idaho, I had a good roommate who would always use words like "twinners." That word has stuck with me, and I have evidence that my two darling children could be "twinners." Just look and see for yourself.

Benjamin, age 20 months, blackberry jam on his face.

Lydia, 18 months, raspberry jam (with p.b.)

Even their hair (color and style) is exactly the same! Besides the fact that Benjamin is slightly skinnier than Lydia was at the same age, it is an indisputable fact that my children could have been "twinners." Now we know that neither of them were switched at birth.


Happy Birthday America!

I love being able to talk about this great land we live in. There is nothing better than celebrating its birth by having a barbecue, watermelon, ice cream, and topping it all off with some fireworks. (On a side note, the only thing I remember from my high school chemistry class--which was a long time ago--is that the "blue" fireworks are actually purple, because they have been unable to isolate a solid element for fireworks that burns blue...cool, huh?)

But back to America. The fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays, and I echo Brian's mom's sentiments that not enough is done to celebrate the beautiful birth of our nation. So we rigged up some decorations, cleaned up our patio, and invited some people over. We had planned with Brian's parents, sister and her family, and some close friends of ours to come to our house for a barbecue and outdoor fun, then go to the prime spot in our neighborhood to watch the fireworks. Yesterday dawned nice and warm, so I pulled out some Christmas lights, stars, and red garland to decorate our patio. I don't have a picture of it now, but I might take some later.

Due to rain that showed up mid-morning, and lasted off and on until 5:00, we were almost afraid that our Fourth of July celebration would be moved indoors, which would have been a shame. The decorations were already up, and I didn't have time to decorate the inside of my house, so I was praying the whole time that it would stop in time for things to dry off and be ready for a classic American barbecue. Thank goodness that it stopped in time, because our dining room would not have fit ten adults and four children.

Dinner was wonderful and the company was even better. Jeremy and Megan (our friends) brought some sparklers over for the kids. Benjamin actually burned his finger on one because he decided to touch it. Oops! But I guess he will learn to leave hot things alone.

We then went to the park just behind our house to watch fireworks. Last year there was no one there when we drove past and thought: "Now that would be the ultimate place to watch fireworks here in Santa Fe." This year, however, it seemed as if it was the hot place in the neighborhood. It was still lots of fun, and I wish I would have had my camera to take pictures of my cute kids. There were kids swinging on the swings with sparklers, and it seemed like everyone there was shooting off fireworks.

Lately Lydia has been really scared of loud noises, but because Benjamin was so interested in the fireworks, Lydia was actually not scared. Benjamin was running up and down the line of people, tapping on our faces, and saying our names and pointing to the fireworks. It's almost as if he was saying, "Look at how cool this is!" I wanted to tell him, "Benjamin, you are missing it because you are so interested in seeing if everyone else is watching."

So Happy Birthday America! We wish you the very best and hope for many more wonderful celebrations to come. (Also, this is a shout-out to all the men and women past, present and future who give their time, talents, and sometimes lives to ensure that I can enjoy the freedoms that I most-of-the-time take for granted. Thank you for all your hard work!)


Introduction to Blog-dom

I finally decided that I was going to give in to peer pressure and start a blog. It also helps that I can keep my family posted on the goings-on of our cute little family; nonetheless, no matter my excuse, I started one. My hope is to document the lives of my beautiful children to remind me on the days that I feel like I could use a huge break from being a mom, that life is too short to try and wish it away. So I guess I am doing this more for myself than for any readers that might come along.

Benjamin, who decided that he was not going to nap today, sat talking, screaming, crying "Mama!" at the top of his lungs for two hours. I had been sitting with Lydia (the only way I can get her to nap), and went in to see what he was doing. Well, my little man was pacing around his crib like a caged lion. He had taken his shorts off, thrown his blanket and "hipomopotamous" out of the crib. It was too comical! I had to sit down and laugh for a minute, because I had been slightly angry when I went in. Yeah, naps are important, but memories of cuties is more important than that.

Lydia called her uncle Nate on Sunday night to see if he wanted to go camping (we may or may not be going, depends on numerous factors that I will not go into). They somehow got cut off, and Nate called back. She said, "Thank you Uncle Nate for calling me back." There was a pause, and she cupped her hand over the mouth-piece and whispered, "he said, 'not a problem.'" She really is quite the little girl. I am very grateful that I get to learn so much from her.

As a completely unrelated side-note, you may be wondering why exactly I have chosen the blog title that I have. First off, I love puddles, but sadly, there are not enough puddles in Santa Fe. Rainy days are wonderful; they make you want to curl up with your favorite book in a over-stuffed arm chair next to the windows so you can enjoy the sound of the rain on the panes of glass. Secondly, my favorite poet is E.E. Cummings. He is fairly well known, but I fear, not well appreciated. My favorite poem is "In Just." It basically documents spring from a child's perspective, and one of the lines states: "when the world is puddle-wonderful". My other favorite talks about the world being "mud-lucious," but that didn't quite jive as a blog title.

So good-bye for now, my readers. I cannot call you faithful, because as of right now, there are no readers; hopefully, one day, someone may stumble upon my attempt at preserving the "spring" of my children's lives and laugh, as I have, at their antics.