Call me Scrooge

Or maybe the Grinch.

I've seen this story floating around facebook today. If you haven't seen it yet, take a moment and read it, then come on back and read what I have to say.

Let me start by saying I'm all for helping out people in need (around the holidays, or any time). I'm glad that there are people out there in the giving spirit helping kids have a merry Christmas. I don't want to down-play their generosity.

However, my first and most prevalent after reading the article was: "What four-year-old needs $200 worth of toys?" I honestly don't think we've spent that much on toys for all five of our kids combined. And I'm not talking about Christmas this year.

I'm talking about ever.


And my kids have plenty of toys.

Sure, some of their toys are second-hand. Sure, they've gotten plenty of toys as gifts from grandparents and others. And yes, I am probably exaggerating, especially if you include books and movies. But I can't fathom spending $200 on toys for a four-year-old. For one occasion.

Is it just me? Am I a hard-hearted villain straight out a child's story? Or does that seem exorbitant to anyone else?

{In a similar vein, I've always had a hard time with "Toys for Tots" drives that specify "new" toys. I'm sorry. I'd love to donate, but my own kids are getting thrift-store treasures for Christmas. Why is that not good enough for other kids?}


almost 14 months in the making

I've been meaning to write this post for a while. Quite a while.

You see, after Morty and Ferdie were born... wait, I need to back up a little further.

As you may recall, when I was in labor with the twins, (all. day. long.), I had to stay on my left side. Once the drugs wore off and I could use my legs, I noticed that a large area of my left thigh was all tingly-numb, like it was still asleep. I had full use of it, but the surface was not normal.

I asked the anesthesiologist about it, and he had two theories: either more of the epidural drug had settled into that leg (since I was on my left side all day), or a nerve had been pinched during delivery. Either way, he said, I should get the feeling back within a couple days. The longest he had heard of was 3 months, but that was unlikely.

People, I still don't have normal feeling in my left thigh.

The area is smaller, and certainly closer to normal, but we're talking about a patch the size of my (fairly large) hand that is still tingly-numb to touch. It doesn't affect my life, or the use of my leg, but it's just not right.

Should I write to the anesthesiologists and let them know, just for future reference?


Open to Interpretation

Because I am apparently a follower, I'm linking up with Kayla for Open to Interpretation today.

Freckles in April OTI

She, Amy and Erica do this regularly, but opened it up to general participation today, and I jumped on the bandwagon.

Click over to her site to see the inspiration outfit. Here's my take on it.

{Hat: made by me, Sweater: Sonoma hand-me-down, Shirt: Kersh via Costco, Jeans: Gap, Shoes: Lands' End}

A couple thoughts on my take.  A: I should have put on make-up. And a smile. 2: I wish I had red pants. Or pretty much anything other than neutral. Alas, it's jeans or khakis over here. These jeans are the same ones from here. I skinnified them (seen here and here) and recently hemmed them, but I think it's time to give up on them. They are now a full size too big, the knees are too low (since they were so long and must have been owned by someone very tall), and they look awkward. And D: I need to take the sweater in. I love it, but it is baggy! In these pictures I have it clipped behind my back. Time to bust out the sewing machine!


A song (and some links) for you

It's no surprise that I like Christmas music.

Both my brother and husband have despaired at making me wait until after Thanksgiving to start listening. But I don't let that bother me!

This year, I have a new favorite song.

Now, my favorites are usually (and continue to be) Christ-centered, since He is the reason for the season, but this one by Straight No Chaser just grabbed me.

So much better than the original.

And some of their other (more Christ-centered) songs are excellent as well.


New button

If you visit my blog (as opposed to reading through a feed reader, as is my preference,) you'll notice I have a new button on the left, just under my picture.

If you do use a feed reader, it looks like this:

I'm a Mormon.

If you know me, you know I'm a "Mormon," or a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If you didn't know that about me, you do now.

Feel free to click on the button to find out more about what I believe and why.


More than you wanted to know about our Halloween costumes

I had every intention of posting this yesterday, but... well, better late than never, right?

This was the first year that I've really made plans for Halloween. Rico decided in early September that he wanted to be Buzz, and that just sent my mind whirring. Ella quickly decided that she needed to be Jessie, and Tom makes the perfect Woody. My mom has a dress that could work for Bo Peep and would fit me perfectly, so the plans were made. The only question was what to do with the younger three. I suggested a sheep or Mrs. Potatohead to Louie, but she decided she wanted to be Cinderella. As my mom has a Cinderella dress her size in her dress-up box, I didn't argue. The babies, I thought, could easily be aliens.

So now for the costumes. I do enjoy being crafty, but I never had it in my head to full-on make every costume, nor did I want to shell out big bucks for cheapy store-bought ones if I could help it. Thanks to my mom, Lou and I were covered. We have a friend with a Buzz costume from a couple of years ago that I knew would fit Rico, so that was easy-peasy.

Now for Woody, Jessie and a couple of aliens.

After checking out pictures online, I figured the best option for aliens would be hats. The aliens wear blue (we have plenty of that) and the most distinguishing features are their ears, head bobble-y thing (what do you call that?) and three eyes. I got a green fleece sweater at a thrift store, chopped it up, whipped up some top knot hats, added eyes and called it good.

The only problem was they would not keep them on. Hence the arm pinning and blur. Oh well, it was cute while it lasted. (And yes, Ferdie's shirt is on backwards because it had a design on the front and I wanted plain...)

For Jessie, I knew I had some cow print fabric in a box, so I made some chaps, embellished a shirt with some yellow fabric, and spray painted a straw hat. I even wrapped the rim in florists' wire so I could shape the brim to be more "cowboy-ish." The wig I made with red yarn roughly following this tutorial (though if you'll notice I used white tights, as opposed to nude [because that's what we had], which was a bad choice).

She was thrilled.

Tom's costume was easy. With a discarded white shirt, I dyed and sharpie-ed to Woody perfection. (I took it in quite a bit on the sides, too. Dress shirts billow on this man like nothing else.) I made a vest with the rest of the cow print fabric and another white shirt to line it. Add some jeans, a hat, and red hankerchief and we were in business.

I really wanted to get a nice family group shot, but that didn't happen. Since the babies wouldn't keep their hats on unless their arms were pinned, we did the best we could to capture everyone. Add a sick little girl to the mix (Ella-she's had a fever since Thursday night), and you do the best with what you have! (Also, ignore the fact that Louie is not dressed up. The Cinderella dress is covered in glitter, and as she didn't request it, we didn't pull it out. She got to wear it for a little while on Friday while I took Rico to the ward Halloween party.)

I was more than a little flattered when Tom said that this will be his go-to costume from here on out.



So here's the dilemma. Remember when I posted about the new pillows I made for my bed?

I still love them.

But I neglected to take into account the fact that during the winter I add a fleece blanket over the bedspread, and it's not so much going to work.

Like really not going to work.

So I'm looking at making some slipcovers (since I do still love them) for the fall/winter. My room is completely neutral (white walls, black frames, dark olive drapes, you get the idea) so as long as they match the blanket, we're good.

What color(s) would you suggest?



My bubbies hit the eleven month mark this last week.

And how did we celebrate? By skipping a feeding. And making a habit of it.

For the last couple months they've been on a steady 4 hour schedule. They nursed at 7:00, 11:00, 3:00, and 7:00. And those times were flexible, too, which made it even easier.

But Monday when we were out shopping, we didn't get home until 10:30 and they needed a nap. So I put them down and they didn't get up till noon. I fed them lunch and let them play and put them down again, and finally nursed them at 2. And they were totally fine with it. Thus was born our new schedule.

I love nursing. It's free, easy, convenient, free, I get to snuggle cute babies, I can feed them simultaneously, and did I mention it's free? Plus, I am still eating for three, so I can easily justify eating more chocolate than I need.

But after a year, I'm done.

I know that there are benefits to longer-term breastfeeding, and it may be right for you, but it's not for me.

Also, in the past, a year would be about when we were thinking about the next baby. And while I haven't reached that point, I'm still ready to be done.

On one hand, at least.

On the other hand, I'm feeling more sentimental, and have thought more about continuing than I have with any of the others. I don't know why that is.

But still, I'm done.

I'll spend the next month slowly cutting out one feeding at a time, so that by the time their birthday rolls around, they'll be okay with being done forever.

Just typing that is bittersweet.

But then I remind myself that I'm done.



So I had every intention of keeping up a fairly regular posting schedule once the 21 day challenge was over. As you see, that failed.

Oh well.

I'm trying to convince myself that there are seasons to life and this is just not my blogging season, but I'm pretty sure I can't just quit. So instead you get irregular, infrequent posts, full of randomness.

Lucky you.

I'm out a running partner again. She decided to start going later with her husband. Somehow, she likes him better than me. Go figure.

I used to be great at getting up and going on my own, but it's been a challenge of late to drag myself out of bed at 5:15am. (And no, I'm not expecting.) I've been averaging about once a week, and that's just not cutting it.

I really do enjoy running once I'm out there, but I need the motivation of someone waiting for and expecting me to pull me out of my cozy slumber.

Any volunteers?




(Okay, I haven't actually seen that movie.)

But, moral of the story is that I need to find some motivation to actually get out of bed in the morning before my adorable little alarm clocks get up. And it would be most advantageous if that motivation involved getting in some exercise, since it doesn't so much happen once the crazies are awake.

If you have any genius ideas, send them this way, I'd love to hear them!

(And if you do want to volunteer {and you're local--sorry Sarah, it's not going to work out!} let me know! I'm totally flexible as to locations and days, though I have to be home by 6:30 or so.)


Some before-and-afters

At one point, my mother-in-law offered us some of her old throw pillows that were no longer being used. As a fan of throw pillows, and not owning any, I said sure. They were old and worn out, but as they are easy to recover, I tossed them on the couch, planning to get around to it "someday."

Well, as you may guess, someday was a long time in coming. And so they sat on our couch looking mighty sad. They looked even more pathetic once I picked up some red ones to go along. The contrast was very obvious.

You'll notice the fuzzy, velvety stuff was all but worn off, but at least the colors worked.

I couldn't decided what color I wanted to go with, and with five kids, I don't get out much, and the fabric store is rarely at the top of my list.

So they continued to sit.

Meanwhile, the roman shade in the babies' room had reached the end of it's useful life. My father-in-law installs draperies for a living, and this was one he had had on hand. We put it up as a black-out shade, but it wasn't quite the right size for the window, and really didn't match the room at all. Beside that, the rings were all coming off the back and the cord was getting super tangled.

So, in a fit one day, I pulled it down.

And realized the fabric matched the couch famously. So I chopped it up and recovered the pillows. The fabric was slightly different on the front and back, so I made the pillows with different sides. I sewed a simple square, crammed the old pillows in, and stitched them up.

Perfect. (Pathetically, I did this back in March, and have been meaning to blog about it since then. Better late than never, right?)

There were also a couple of red throw pillows that ended up on our bed. They were, in a word, pathetic. The color was nice, but the seams were tearing out. I restitched them several times in several places, but there was always another hole.

I was at Walmart several weeks (months?) back, and found some great fabric. I bought it and even got it all cut out, but then it sat in my craft drawer.

And sat.

And sat.

So today, I pulled it out. Again with a simple square that took all of maybe five minutes. This time I ripped open the old pillows and transferred the stuffing to the new ones. The rectangle pillow is a normal bed pillow that I folded in half and stitched. It only had a standard pillowcase on it, so I made a cover for it as well.

And since I was changing things up, I finally hung the frames that I filled months ago.

It seems like such a little thing, but makes such a big difference!


21 Day Challenge: Day 21

As you may recall, I've been a day ahead this whole challenge, but while I got dressed and photographed my outfit yesterday for today's post, I didn't feel like it was my best effort. Don't get me wrong, I loved the outfit, but it was very similar to another one, and it didn't feel as much of a stretch as I wanted it to.

So I did a do-over.

Because I can.

Also, I wanted to get these shoes in one more time. 

This shirt was given to me by my grandma. She bought it for herself, but decided that she didn't "fill it out" as well as she wanted to, and handed it down (up?) to me. I do, indeed, fill it out better than she did, she was quite a little lady. As much as I loved it, I never could bring myself to wear it. It takes a lot of confidence, and that was confidence I didn't have. Plus, Tom doesn't so much like it.

It has been in the donate pile more times than I can count. But I always fish it back out for one last try before giving it away. Last time I rescued it from the donate pile, I stuck it in the kids' dress up stuff and they love wearing it as a robe. But when I tried to think up a killer outfit I decided I needed to give this top one last chance.

Since it's such a statement on it's own, I tried to keep everything else simple. White skirt and undershirt, simple earrings. I splurged with the red shoes, since they match so nicely. (And I love them so darn much.)

I still really love it. I felt way more confident in it than I have before, thanks to this challenge.

I think the kids would disown me if I reclaimed it from the dress up box, though I'll definitely pull it out on occasion.

{Top: CAbi, from my grandma, Undershirt: Shade Clothing, Skirt (should have been my remix item for as often as I've worn it recently): GNW via who knows where, Shoes: thrifted, Earrings: gifted from my mother-in-law}

For ease of nursing and unconventionality, I almost wore a BellaBand as a tube top underneath it. I like the straight neck line that gives, and it makes nursing a breeze, but the precarious modesty that it provided under this top was not adequate for holding a squirming baby (or two) during three hours of church meetings. 

That was a wise choice. You should thank me.


21 Day Challenge: Day 20

As I mentioned yesterday, I've always been a loafer kind of girl. But I've always wished I was the kind of girl who wore heels with her jeans (or any pants, really). I never had the guts to do it, until recently, and this challenge has really set me free in that regard.

{Shirt: Lizwear, hand-me-down from my mother-in-law, Pants: Gap, skinnified by me (and some safety pins. I'm not quite ready to commit), Shoes: Qupid via myshoeshoppe.com, (close up here),  Earrings: Ike & Co, Flower: Me}


21 Day Challenge: Day 19

This hat is my go-to "I didn't shower yet today" hat. Which is a fact, since I have to get Ella to school (sad) and haven't gotten a work out in yet. So on goes the hat.
Of course, I do occasionally wear it when I have showered, but quite frankly I had forgotten about it of late.

I found this hat as I was helping my mom sort through the storage room. I found it in one of the costume boxes, though I had never seen it before in all my years of looking through those boxes, so I have no idea where it came from. I promptly adopted it. It's a little too big to wear correctly, but fits nicely turned to one side (I have no idea why). The inside says it's a Greek fisherman's hat, made in Greece. So that's all I know.

{Shirt: Calvin Klein via Costco (remix #4!), Undershirt: Shade Clothing, Pants: Victoria's Secret (?) via eBay
Denim Jacket: Old Navy, Shoes: Prima Royale via eBay, Hat: my parents' costume box}

And while we're here, can I just sing my undying love for these shoes? I've been a loafer girl since at least 8th grade. I love me some chunky loafers. These might just be my favorites, ever. I love them. Oh, wait, did I already say that?


And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again

Oh, sorry, that's a Christmas song. 

And to be honest, she was just as ready to go back as I was to let her. 

Here she is, all ready to go! 

Don't you just love the gap in her teeth?

I'm not going to lie, I did miss her today, but I was kind of nice to have one less busybody around here.

21 Day Challenge: Day 18

I am feeling quite fallish today, which worked out since our weather is predicted to hit a nice high of 65. I love it.
{Shirt: Shade clothing, Jacket: Merona, thrifted, Pants: Victoria Secret (?) via eBay 
Shoes: myshoeshoppe.com, Necklace and clip: Me}

Sorry about the blinding khaki pants. I promise they aren't white. Nor quite so bright in person.

Statement jewelry is my kind of thing. I made this necklace quite a while ago, and it doesn't get as much wear time as I would like it to.

I got these shoes at the same time I ordered these ones, but they are holding up much better. And I love them.


21 Day Challenge: Day 17

I feel a little valentine-y today. And girly.

I had forgotten these pants were in my repair pile. In fact, I was thinking about wearing them yesterday, but went with their gray twin instead. When I went to check out my repair pile to find something to resurrect, I was surprised to find these, but then remembered that the hem had come out entirely on one leg. So I quickly re-hemmed them, and ta-da!

Shirt: Shade Clothing
Sweater: DKNY Jeans via Costco
Pants: Old Navy
Shoes: Oh wait, I'm not going anywhere today
Flower and Necklace: me and available in my shop


21 Day Challenge: Day 16

I think this outfit looked better in pictures than in real life. The green shirt (remix!) was too long for the shirt tail to hang out, so I folded it up, and same with the sleeves. I love the look of a shirt/sweater over a button up in theory, but in practice it's always weird, maybe that's just me. I liked the look of the belt, but I should have just used it on my pants, since they are at least a full size too big. I think they are going to be retired. I loved the tie. I used Rico's so it would be nice and short. Loved. I'm pretty sure my kids thought I was crazy.

Ella took the picture (I think I broke my tripod, the camera just flops... not so good for taking pictures). I think she did pretty well for her first try. Also, Lou insisted on posing with me. For cute.
{Black shirt: Lady Hathaway via Costco, Green shirt (remix!): Calvin Klein via Costco, Pants: Old Navy
Belt: Tom's closet, Tie: Rico's closet, Shoes: Madden Girl via eBay}

I do love the shoes, though. They have such fun details. This is probably the first time I have worn full-on pumps with pants and I liked it.
And as for the hair, I've tried this before, but never so successfully. I have either a large head, or small headbands, because, while I was intending to wear the wrapped look most of the day, I couldn't even make it an hour before the headache started. Plus, I realized that I'd be meeting Ella's new teacher, and this wasn't quite the look I wanted to be sporting. I don't know if you can tell, but I actually did two rows of curls. It splits right behind my ears. Next time I'd make the top one smaller.
Since I was pulling it out early, I heated it with my blow dryer, let it cool and hair sprayed it before taking it down, and I ended up with some pretty nice looking curls. Wahoo!


21 Day Challenge: Day 15

When I was in high school, I wore my hair up pretty much every single day. And we're not just talking about a ponytail, though I'm sure that happened on occasion. I remember reading in some teen magazine that if you're having a bad hair day, maybe that was a good day for an up-do, and I thought: "It's a bad hair day if my up do isn't working."

{Shirt: Costco, Undershirt: Shade, Pants: Old Navy, Shoes: Steve Madden, thrifted
Necklace: Gift, Pendant: Lia Sophia, Earrings: Me, Watch: Pulsar}

Lately, though, it's down more often than not, usually with a clip of some variety or another.

I decided to try out the front braid thing that seems to be in, although I went with a twist. It could have been better, but I like it.
Forgive the weird facial expression. And the post-baby short hairs that refuse to be tamed.


21 Day Challenge: Day 14

I found my inspiration here. I knew I needed something fairly conservative to copy, A) because that's what predominates my wardrobe, but B) because I was going out with Tom and he's nothing if not conservative. And I kind of like him. 

I had to combine two chains to get a necklace that long, because all of mine are much shorter. But it worked. And I swapped the brown belt and bag for black, because that's what I had. And because of the black shoes... I'm not quite ready to break that rule yet.

Shirt and undershirt: Shade clothing
Necklaces: gifted
Pendant: Lia Sophia
Belt: random shop in Paris
Skirt: don't remember
Shoes: Steve Madden, thrifted
Earrings: Me


21 Day Challenge: Day 13

My grandmother has a nativity set with only two wisemen. When asked about it, she has been known to reply, "I can't remember if they were sold out of the third one, or if he was dressed in orange." Either, in her mind, would be an equally valid reason not to own him.

I, however, currently am having quite the love affair with orange.

I had intended to use only orange to accent this outfit, but when I decided I wanted a ribbon belt, I couldn't find any orange, though I know I have some, somewhere. So I swapped out my earrings for yellow and added some green and red.

{Shirt: Hand-me-down from my [other] grandma, Pants: Victoria's Secret (?) via eBay, Shoes: myshoeshoppe.com
Collar: Lia Sophi, Pendant: Gift, Flowers: Me, Earrings: Ike & Co, Belt: random ribbon from my stash}

This is the first time I've tried a flower at my waist, and I think I like it. This particular flower is a little big for anywhere else.

Also, I know I've said before that I never tuck things in, and I never wear belts. Based on the outfits I've posted for this challenge, I can see you might have a hard time believing me (see belts: here, here, and here and tucked: here and both: here, here, and here, and obviously here). But prior to this challenge, I swear that was the case.


21 Day Challenge: Day 12

I was so impressed with myself this morning: I was showered and dressed and out the door by 9:15, including a workout! It helps that I got up before 7. Which was helped by the fact that I was in bed before 11. It's a good thing.

But anyway, here's the outfit of the day: jazz up jeans and a tee. I tried to pick a boring-er t-shirt so that my accessories could have the spotlight.

{Shirt: Shade Clothing, Jeans: St. John's Bay, Shoes: myshoeshoppe.com, Earrings and Necklace: Ike & Co
Flower: Me, Belt: Hand-me-down from my sister-in-law}

And here is another shoe story for you. Unfortunately this one is not nearly as happy as the last one.

Once upon a time I never wore flats. And then I bought a pair of suede quasi-moccasins. I wore them with pants, skirts, anything I wanted. I wore them until they died. And I was very sad.

So I began looking for a replacement; something cute and comfy that would go with anything. And I found these online, and it was shoe-love at first sight. I promptly ordered them and was thrilled when they came. I loved the color, the texture, and the fact that at first glance they looked like flats while they really have a 1 1/2 inch wedge.

But after wearing them maybe four times, they started falling apart.

I emailed the customer service person someone I had ordered through and she offered to refund them in full, though I could keep the shoes.

While I got my money back for them, I still wish they would have lasted longer. They are so bright and cheerful, but go with everything at the same time. I keep trying to wear them, but they're getting really pathetic. So I'm back in the market for some comfy goes-with-anything shoes that don't cost an arm or a leg.

*I may or may not have photoshopped that first picture, because my right hand was making my shirt bulge all funny.