Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas Surprise

A month ago, a friend in my church sent an email around saying she was selling her piano for pretty cheap. I quickly emailed Matt the photo, kind of half kidding. By the time he got home, it was late, he was tired and I had received another email saying she had already sold it. So I didn't really bring it up and I moved on. It wasn't very practical anyway. Who wants to have a piano to move around?!

On Christmas morning. I opened a card that had the picture of the piano in it! Matt had emailed her right away and bought it! I think I was more happy about the thought and the surprise. It was weird to be so impractical - but fun!

So now we have a piano in our home. I have missed having that. It's old (1909 maybe?) and has lots of character but I think it's beautiful. I'm looking forward to the sounds from little fingers and great music, too. :)

Thanks, Matt. Christmas with just you and our little family this year was perfect.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Most people give out cookies and candy around the holidays. The Weeds? We hand out barbecue sauce! For those of you who don't know, Matt makes some incredible slow-cooked meat on his smoker - especially pulled pork. He also makes his own rubs and sauces. He wanted to bottle some of our favorite bbq sauce and give it to his colleagues. He insisted on calling it "Gun Smoke" which I thought was a little over-the-top, especially since he would be giving it to respected doctors.

Matt was too busy saving people's eyes, so I was the one who needed to come up with the label. With a dramatic name, we needed a dramatic label. Here is what I came up with. I was pretty proud, especially since it made Matt laugh out loud when he saw it. (In a good way.) That's a big feat, since he's the funny one around here. (Madeline is a close second.)

Here's to great barbecue and happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

15 Months

Charlie had his 15 month check up yesterday. He was 21 lbs - 15th percentile and 30.5 inches long - 25th percentile.

Within the last few weeks he is seeming to be more of a toddler: the wanting to help and do whatever we're doing, the high-pitched scream when he doesn't get what he wants or Madeline comes near a toy he's playing with, the non-sense jabbering, the mimicking of words, the silliness, the curious, getting into everything....

But he's lots of fun and we're sure glad he's ours!

Over the last week or so, I've been trying to capture all of the things he has learned to do on video. It was pretty unsuccessful as he chooses to perform when he wants to. Here are our many attempts. His laugh at the end is my favorite.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Conversations

Madeline: Mom, what do you want for Christmas?

Me: Hmm... Maybe a sweater?

Madeline: Ok, what else?

Me: No whining from you and Charlie.

Madeline: Mom, you aren't getting that for Christmas.

(worth a try, right?)

Me. OK, how about a happy, healthy family?

Madeline: You already have that, mom.

This conversation made me smile. It also made me realize I am turning into my mom! Did anyone else's mom always ask for happy kids for gifts? It used to drive me crazy, but obviously I get it now. And turning into my mom is a great thing. if I can be half the mom my mom is, I'll be satisfied.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Coming out of her shell

Madeline just finished her first "dance" class at the rec center. It's called a dance class, but it mostly involved three year olds wandering around, rolling on the floor and doing their own thing. But it accomplished what we wanted it to.

Here was how Madeline started. She just wanted to sit on the stage or stand by herself and just watch.

And here was her last class. Believe me, she was still by far the quietest girl in there. We had to have little talks before each class about following Miss Kate, not sitting on the stage, participating, making eye contact and having fun. Although she was quiet, she was always right behind her teacher doing everything she asked. During "free dance" she was doing exactly what Miss Kate did. Haha...I guess she was listening to me?

Since we have moved here, Madeline has definitely made progress in the social department, but most people in general don't think she talks. She has a hard time being herself around large groups. Since she was a tiny baby, she preferred just watching and observing from the outside. It's amazing how those personality traits are part of them from the beginning. It's hard as a mom (and a dad) to see her struggle being social or engage in natural play with other kids, to have kids ask why she isn't talking, or to clam up and not play when there are a lot of people at the park, especially when she can be an energetic, creative and sweet girl at home who would make a wonderful friend for someone if she'd just open up.

Luckily, in the last few months, we have seen progress as she has enjoyed having friends over, finally likes and looks forward to going to nursery, will answer people in public when they ask her questions, and overall is gaining confidence.

Being reserved may always be part of her personality. I just hope I can give her opportunities to help her gain the confidence and the self esteem for her to be happy and accomplish whatever her little heart desires.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I added a few more cute things to my etsy shop - just in time for holiday gifts. These little boots are adorable, if I do say so myself. :) It's been fun to keep busy with these. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Our lucky kids have gotten to be with some pretty great people lately.

A few weeks ago, Matt's parents (Pops and Grandma 'Nette) came to Iowa to visit. It was so fun to be with them and the kids, of course, were in heaven.

We found a gorgeous nature trail around Coralville Lake.

This is what they did most of, though:

The week after that, the kids and I traveled to Spokane. I have to say it was pretty great being the only kid staying with them. Don't get me wrong, I love the hectic, full household of siblings and grandkids around the holidays, but we got precious one on one time and the kids loved being with Grandpa Steve and Grandma Julie.

Since there was a 2 hour time difference, the kids and I saw the gorgeous sunrise every morning :)
I love the fireplace at my parents' house. The kids helped keep it burning.
Charlie rarely left the kitchen since the "snack closet" or pantry was full of treats. He would take all of his toys in there - hence the puzzles...
Charlie loved reading his favorite book with Grandpa. Of course Madeline wanted in on it, too.

A trip to Spokane would not be complete without visiting their great-grandparents.

Here are Grandma and Grandpa Bates (Grandma recently turned 97!)

And Grandma and Grandpa Anglesey

We feel awfully blessed to have all of these wonderful people in our lives!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What do we know...

Madeline loving her brother while they eat cinnamon and sugar pie dough scraps.

In the last week or so, the kids have been extra grumpy, whiny, tired, needy, you name it. Which means their mommy has been the same. I'm guessing it's from vacation, traveling, time changes and more time changes. I haven't been feeling very patient or understanding . You know the feeling when the kids go to bed and you look into those sweet faces and feel like you can do better?

Well during lunch today, we had a sweet conversation that reminded me of why I'm so glad I have my kids to teach me and make me a better person.

I brought Madeline her milk in a pink cup.

M- Mom! (yes she now calls me mom instead of mommy. A little sad for me.) How did you know I wanted pink?!

me - I'm your mom. I know you, Madeline.

M- Hmm.. you know me. Well, what do we know about Charlie? He loves dogs, he likes reading books, he LOVES to go outside, and he likes to scream in the car. (a new and very bothersome thing for madeline. He does it to get to her.)

me - You do know Charlie! What do we know about Daddy?

M- He likes to play with water on the deck with us, he likes helping people and he loves to go camping.

me - You know Daddy. What do you know about me?

M - I know you love Daddy. I know you love me, and I know you love Charlie. You like making things, too.

She could have pointed out a number of my weaknesses, but instead she focused on some of our best qualities and things I think she loves about each of us. (except for charlie screaming!) Maybe that's why we're told to be child like. Because they forgive and forget very easily. I feel extremely blessed to be a mom.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I'm Open for Business!

Check out my etsy shop HERE. or click on my little link above (right below our blog header)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Eve

Since we were in Spokane all last week (more on that later) we jam packed our weekend full of Halloween fun. Madeline was really excited about her costume this year. Charlie can't verbally voice his opinion yet, so he got to be what Madeline wanted him to be. :)

My Grandma Anglesey crocheted their hats. It pretty much makes their outfits. Thanks, Grandma!

checkin out their tails

Daddy raced home in between patients to make it to the halloween party. The kids were happy about that.

Charlie (looking extra grown up) picking out the perfect pumpkin

And finally, our cute little pumpkins. Charlie roamed around wreaking havoc while we carved, Madeline refused to put her hand in the guts, Matt got a rash on his hand, Madeline later threw up and said it was from the pumpkins. I was happy to have my little family together tonight. And that's a wrap.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The New Addition

Say hello to our "new" Honda Odyssey! I have never loved vans, but let me tell you, the S P A C E is amazing! Forgive me, vans, for being prejudiced. We are officially a two car family. I just have to say how proud I am of Matt and me for making it 6 1/2 years of marriage with only one car. It hasn't been easy and both of us have made sacrifices, but we made it work and saved a lot of moolah. It has been rather liberating to know I can go anywhere I want and not have to plan around Matt's work schedule. Wow! :)

Matt's parents were selling their van, so we jumped at the chance. Both of our cars are in the "over 100,000 miles club," so cross your fingers they make it a few years!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Yet Another Wreath

I'm not the biggest fan of Halloween. I don't mind costumes and trick or treating, but I don't go all out with decor. I do love having an excuse to make a wreath, though! I saw this one on Cassi's blog. The original tutorial is here. I really like the effect and texture the tulle creates. It was super easy and fast. I didn't bedazzle it - still debating whether to add stuff to it, or not. I used three spools of black tulle 6 x 20 yards each from Michaels. (wedding aisle)

It would look really pretty in cream or pink for a wedding or little girl's room.

Check out another really cool Halloween wreath involving snakes by Martha here.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

What a Week!

Matt had the week off. I felt like a little girl on Christmas Eve on his last day of work last week. It has been such a gift to have him around. We did some pretty fun things, too:

We took a spur of the moment trip to Chicago. I had never been. We got to ride the train and explore downtown for a day. Madeline got to go to the American Girl Store, which she absolutely loved. There were a few unforeseen circumstances and traveling with kids is just harder, so we didn't see all we wanted to, but we were satisfied. We also concluded that we don't love the busyness of big cities, although the skyline and shopping were both pretty cool!

Look at her little face, full of amazement!

From Chicago, Matt drove on a few more hours to Michigan to play disc golf at a premier, private course. He had a great time. We stayed behind and hung out back in Chicago and did some shopping.

Back in Iowa City, we visited Wilson's Apple Orchard. For some odd reason, it's high 80s here in October, so it doesn't quite feel like fall. But it's still beautiful with the fall colors. Unfortunately there was a high volume of visitors who picked all of the apples before they were ripe, so there weren't any left. But they had some picked from their neighboring orchard and let me tell you, their home-grown honey crisp were incredibly delicious!

Friday was family swim night for a buck at the rec center, so off we went swimming. Both of the kids love the water and won't admit they're cold despite their lips being purple.

Yesterday, we had another road trip to Nauvoo, IL. This was really special for me. Our church ward was having a temple trip and the nearest temple to us is the Nauvoo temple. It's 2 hours away. If you aren't familiar with my church's history, early members lived in Nauvoo in 1848, They were persecuted and driven out of the city. The mobs burned down the temple as they were fleeing. They rebuilt the temple in 2002 over the original spot which is on a high bluff overlooking the Mississippi River.

can you spot the kids above? Just an idea of how tall this beautiful building is!

As you can see, it is gorgeous and very special. It was a wonderful thing to be able to go and feel the special spirit there. And to also remember what the pioneers went through, how they persevered, and how many gave their lives for what they believed in. If you'd like to learn more about temples, you can visit

It has been wonderful to be together this week. We're all going to be sad to say goodbye to Daddy on Monday. But we're all in this together and we make a great team, so we'll make the best of this residency!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Baby Lions

Apparently to be part of our family, you have to know how to roar like a lion:

Madeline at 15 months

Charlie at 12 months

I think Madeline wins best lion award, but they're both awfully cute. Charlie needs some work with the lizard and fishy faces. It's fun to be a parent and teach your kids unimportant tricks. :)

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Matt sits down on the couch and starts to turn on the tv -

Madeline: What are you watching, Daddy? Football or baseball? :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


I couldn't resist snapping a picture (or three) of little Charlie post-church. (Don't worry, he wore pants to church!) I know they're a little blurry. He's always on the move now.

This little man makes me happy. He had his dr's appt yesterday. 15th percentile in weight. Again, dealing with a child low on the charts. Really? Look at those thighs! He is gaining confidence with walking and seems quite pleased with himself.

I wrapped up nursing last week. I was feeling a little more sentimental this time around. Maybe it's because you get less one on one time with two kids? But Charlie is a major snuggler at all times of the day, so that satisfies me. :)

Charlie's biggest love is cords. He will sit and play with the computer cord for a good 30 minutes sometimes. He also loves putting lids on containers, and putting items in and out of things.

I can tell Charlie and Madeline have different personalities, but I am seeing some similarities, too. Yesterday at the doctor's office, Charlie wouldn't let them do anything to him (including weighing him) unless I was holding him. He held super still as long as he was in my arms. I'm not sure if it's the age or part of personality, but Charlie is shy and is very attached to me. Hmm...sounds familiar.

Madeline is growing up and starting some new things. She deserves her own post, though.....

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Big Craft Fair

Thank you for being so supportive. Many of you have been asking how it went, so here it is -

It was SO much fun. I loved talking with people and having them admire something I made with my own hands. I'm used to living in places where making crafts is just the thing to do, but here, everyone couldn't believe I could make things like that! They were even fascinated with the pom poms, which in San Diego were standard fare for any baby shower or party. (I love you little Iowa!) My booth and my products were very well received. I just wish I would have sold a little more!

The favorite items were the mary jane shoes and the tie and vest onesies. But my visitors pretty much fell into two categories:

1. Grandparents who didn't know if a girl or boy was on the way
2. Everyone else who wished they had a baby to buy for

My goal was to at least break even. And I actually made a profit. But the whole set up with one car, kids and a busy husband made it kind of a big ordeal. I couldn't have done it without Matt. He was so kind to let me do this fair. (The cleanliness of the house took a backseat while I prepared everything!) And he took his precious day off to help me set up my booth at 7 am, take the kids all day, and help me load up and take two trips home. He was great, didn't complain and was happy to help me. Setting up my booth with just the two of us was really fun. It was cute to watch him hang pom poms, adjust the tablecloth, cut ribbons, etc :) He had the idea to hang the onesies some forward, some backwards and it worked out great.

I would love to do it again....maybe next year! I had a blast, but I'm not sure the money is worth the hassle. I'm pretty sure I should stick to being a harpist. It's a much more efficient way to make money! I actually handed out a ton of my business cards for harp. I met three couples with children getting married, and made friends with the event planner for the University of Iowa. So maybe this little craft fair will open some doors to some gigs. I'm debating about opening an etsy shop to sell some of the things I have left over. If anything, I've got some darling baby gifts on hand!