Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What I've been up to all this time

Okay, okay, okay. I know that I report when Jason and I do something special, like go hiking, or go to the splash pad, or have family over, or things like that, but I'm bad at explaining what I do on an everyday basis. Obviously, I take care of Ellie. That takes up most of my time: playing with her, feeding her, and generally keeping her happy. But she does take naps, and she is content playing just with her toys (and not with me) sometimes.  I also clean a lot, doing the dishes, doing laundry, and trying to keep the house in order. But I do have breaks from that, too. So what do I do during the rest of my time?

Well, for the last two months or so, I've been finishing all those projects that I've started over the years. Remember how I mentioned a while ago that I like reading debt-reduction blogs? I like seeing the people work towards paying off their debt and becoming free. Well, I was reading a magazine (that I had checked out from the library) on goals one day a while back, and I realized that the same principles that people apply to debt reduction could be applied to all the various projects around that house that I had started and not finished.

There are two main strategies in debt reduction when people are paying off multiple debts: One, people pay off the debts with the highest interest rates first, regardless of size, or Two, people pay off the smallest debts first, "snowballing" each payment into the next debt as each one gets paid off.

Since my projects had no interest rates, I obviously went without the "snowballing" plan. I wrote down all the projects I could think of off the top of my head, and wrote down an estimate of how long I thought each one would take me. I then wrote, in order, the smallest projects to the biggest. And then I started tackling each one!

Here's all the projects I've completed in the last couple months:

Craft Projects

  • Put loops into & finished the Quiet Book:

I ended up using shoelaces to bind it. I sewed three button holes in each page, then cut up some extra shoelaces we had to make the loops. It works great!

  • Drew the last couple pages & cover of Sandee the Superhero:

I wrote this book for my service class back at BYU. (In my sophomore year. Some of these projects have been waiting a looong time for me to finish them.) (My teacher didn't mind that it wasn't quite finished.) (The story was finished you see, just not the pictures.) This was an awesome assignment. It was a "creative project," and the only requirement (at all) was that it had to be on service. That's it. You could do anything. ANYTHING. Everybody did something different. One person, for example, wrote a song. Another person contacted roommates/family/friends of everybody in the class and asked for examples of how that class member had shown service. Another person did a special service project and recorded it. It was such a cool class project. I loved that class. (Also, Sandee, if you're reading this, yes, I did name the girl after you. What can I say? I love your name. I hope you don't mind.)

  • Finished several little cross-stitches I started a long time ago:

I love cross-stitching. I think that might qualify me as a dork. But a lot of things qualify me as a dork. So I might as well just give in, eh?

  • Finished the bases of these Christmas trees: 

I started these with my old roommates back in December. They'll be ready for next Christmas, now.

Repair Projects

  • Glued the wings back on this angel (twice):

  • Glued this hamster cage back together (I dropped it a while ago and it exploded.) (There were no hamsters in it at the time.):

  • Put a dab of glue on a broken stick of this Easter basket:

  • Sewed up a tear in Jason's shorts (twice):

  • Sewed up a little tear in Jason's unicorn shirt:

Sewing Projects

  • Added length to my lemon skirt:

I love this skirt. Back in my freshman year of college, I was thinking to myself for a while how much I'd like a skirt covered in lemons. Then I was walking through the bookstore one day, and there it was! The exact lemon skirt I'd been imagining in my head! It was always just a bit too short for my liking, though. I'm tall and have long legs, so a lot of skirts are shorter on me than other people. This hit right above my knee, and I wanted it to hit right below. Now it's long enough! I'm so excited! I've already worn it to church multiple times.

  • Added length to my black dress:

I've been meaning to do this project for years, but haven't. So, I guess it shouldn't have surprised me  after I added the length and tried the dress on that the dress didn't fit any more. My post-pregnancy body is shaped a bit differently than my pre-pregnancy body. It didn't occur to me though, until the dress was on and I was laughing at how it looked. Oh well. :) It might fit again eventually, and black is classic.

  • Shortened two pairs of ripped pajama pants into pajama shorts:

Each had hole-y knees, and I need more pajama shorts for these warm summer nights. So that worked out really well.

  • Shortened my red skirt:

It used to be too short, so my mom helped me add some solid red fabric to the bottom, but then it was too long. So I took about an inch off. Perfect!

  • Shirred this green shirt:

I learned how to shirr from here. It was really easy. I was inspired by this project she did to shirr this shirt. It was always a little bit too big at the bottom, but now it was a nice stretchy waistband that brings it in.

Personal & Family History

  • Scanned all the baby photos of me, Banks, and Alyse: 

This project took forever, and wasn't fun at all. But I'm planning to make an enormous Shutterfly book of all of our childhood photos, so I need them in the computer. And now they mostly are! I found some more while going through some papers, so I have a couple more to do. But the huge majority are scanned.

This is a big book. Pretty much all of my journal entries my senior year were on my computer, so I printed them all off and put them in here. I also included all the papers I have saved from that year - certificates, school grades, cards, movie tickets, notes from friends, etc. It's a cool book.

  • Put all of my papers (drawings, journal entries, little reports) from elementary school into plastic slipcovers and into binders: 

I was inspired by a book Jason's mom made for him, with all his old papers in plastic sheet protectors in a scrapbook. I gathered up all of the papers my mom had saved from my elementary and middle school years (they had all been in boxes forever), put them into plastic sheet covers, and put them into binders from Staples. Now instead of being in boxes, they're on our bookshelf. Instead of being buried in some storage room, they're easily accessible. That's one of my main goals for all of our family and personal history: have it out and have it easily accessible.

The purple book covers preschool and kindergarten:

The green book covers first through third grade:

The blue book covers fourth through eight grade:

  • Put all of my papers from freshman & sophomore years of high school in plastic sheet protectors in a binder:

  • Added all of my papers from junior year of high school to the binder/journal I already have for that year (similar to my senior journal described above, but less elaborate):

  • Put our wedding guest book together:

I am so excited about this project. When we got married, you see, instead of having a traditional guest book we had little cards that said things like "Once upon a time…" and "Love is…" and a couple other things. Guests filled them out and put them in a basket, but they never went into a book. So, we've had this stack of cute little guest cards all this time, but they've just been sitting in a drawer. I've always wanted to put them in a book. Well, I was at Michael's with Ellie a couple weeks ago, and they had these cute scrapbooks that were normally $10 on sale for $2.50. So, I got this cute blue one, and put in all the cards! I put in pictures of our wedding, too (we got the prints free from Shutterfly). Since the pictures were free and the scrapbook was only $2.50 and the only other supplies I used were some double-sided tape and glue sticks, this was a very low-cost project. And it turned out so cute! I'm so happy that we have these guest cards in an easy-to-view format now.

And that's everything that I've been up to! The projects that I'm still working on or have planned are mostly to do with family history. I'm still working on converting all our family videos from my childhood to dvd; I kind of got burned out on this project in the fall so it's taken me a long time to come back to it. I've also made a couple Shutterfly books: one of all my years of Girls Camp, one of my freshman and sophomore years at BYU, and one of my junior year at BYU (the year Jason and I were engaged). I plan to eventually make Shutterfly books of my childhood pictures (mentioned above), me and Jason's high school years, Jason's mission, and me and Jason's marriage up to this point. I'm also looking at ways of printing this blog in print form. Basically, I'm working on recording (in papers and photos) our lives up to this point. I love it. It's so fun, and so rewarding.

And that's all for the moment!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend

We had a busy Memorial Day weekend!

My family (my sister Alyse, her husband Tanner, my sister Sydney, my mom, and my stepdad Stefan) all came down to visit us. They drove in on Friday night, and left Monday afternoon. And we got them for all the time in between!

Ellie thought Alyse's face looked delicious.

She tried to eat it.


She tried to eat the side of her head, too.

And then she tried to eat her dog.

On Saturday we all had breakfast (waffles, bacon, orange juice, the works) at our apartment. My uncle Merrill and aunt Judy came over as well, which was fun. After breakfast, we all changed into our hiking gear and drove up to Zion's National Park, which is about an hour away from where we live.

We parked in the town of Springdale and took a shuttle into the park, then took another shuttle up the canyon to Zion Lodge. Now, this will reveal my ignorance, but I never realized before that Zion's is in a canyon. I just didn't. I thought it was like a forest. And it is, kind of, but it's a forest in an enormous, super deep, really cool canyon. I just never knew.

We took the trail to the Emerald Pools. It was fun and really pretty. The path went right underneath the waterfall, which was really cool. We had to shield Ellie with a jacket so she wouldn't get splashed on when we walked underneath. Ellie did really good during the whole hike. She really likes her front carrier. She was in there for hours, happy as a bug. A happy bug.

After Zion's we went back to St. George. Jason's cousin Lisa, her husband Dustin, and their little girl moved into St. George this weekend, so Jason went over to help them move and settle in. The rest of us went over after a brief rest, but by the time we got there there wasn't much for us to do. So, we went to Brick Oven for dinner. I have to say, it was one of the funniest dining experiences I've ever had. We played truth or dare the whole dinner, and all of the dares involved doing funny things when the waiter was at the table. Sydney opened and closed her mouth like a fish while staring at the waiter's face one time, Tanner pecked at his food and flapped his wings like a chicken (and he was right next to the waiter), and my mom stretched her arms up real tall, then started rubbing both me and Stefan's heads at the same time. It was hilarious.

On Sunday we went to church. It was fun to have everyone there with us, and such a relief to have help with Ellie during the meetings. Everyone wanted to hold her and play with her, so it wasn't just me and Jason entertaining her the whole time. It was a very nice break.

After church we went to the St. George temple. We walked around the grounds, which were beautiful and filled with other people enjoying the temple as well. And, while we were there, we ran into my cousin Natalie! She lives close to my mom in northern Utah, so it was quite a surprise. She was there with her husband, their little girls, and her husband's extended family for a family reunion. It was so funny and so good to see her.

Ellie really liked these flowers; she really wanted to grab them.

Happy happy happy!

All the kids


Ellie's a fan of the Book of Mormon!

Later that day we played tons of games at our apartment. We played Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Curses, and In the Manner of the Adverb. (In Curses, you have to do funny things that you are "cursed" with, and in In the Manner of the Adverb you do funny skits to act out an adverb that one person has to guess.) All of them were great, and Curses and In the Manner of the Adverb led to a ton of laughs.

Jason's arms were an inch long, so he had to keep his wrists touching his chest at all times, and also he had to hold this card with both hands at all times.

Tanner had to copy everything Alyse was doing.

On Monday morning we went to the splash pad near the library. We saw Natalie and her group again, funnily enough, and Ellie had fun playing in the water. She's really fascinated by running water, and kept sticking her hands in it the whole time. She looked like she was trying to grab it, but, you know, it's kind of hard to get a good hold on water.

I fed Ellie while the others headed over to "Thomas Judd's," a store across the street that sells vintage sodas and penny candies (and, strangely enough, has the same name as the obstetrician who delivered Ellie). Just before we left, Jason's cousin Lisa came (Jason told her how to find us) and so we got to see her for a couple minutes.

Back at our place, we (Alyse, Tanner, Sydney, and I) all went swimming in the pool. After Ellie finished napping, Jason brought her out in her swimsuit and with her new floaty turtle innertube that we got her. She really liked sitting in the turtle, which has a little seat for her, and floating in the pool. She was still a bit sleepy, too, and was just adorable, laughing and cuddling with her turtle.

Finally, after swimming, the group packed up to go. We all said our goodbyes and then they left. It was so fun having them here this weekend, and we're glad they came.

We hope you all had a good Memorial Day weekend too!