Monday, December 5, 2011

Where's Sam?

One day I could hear Sam in our mudroom/laundry room and he sounded distressed, so I went in to see what was going on. But when I got there, he wasn't there. What the...? Then I looked around a little more closely, and there he was...

He had climbed into the dryer and locked himself in!

Luckily, I saved the day. Sometimes moms really are superheroes to their children!

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Penny For Your Thoughts

This has been a busy week! I've had something going on every morning and almost every afternoon AND evening. That's a little too much for homebody me! But I got through it mostly fine and even managed to get my house decorated for the holidays in between everything.

We got our Christmas tree last weekend (a beautiful almost 10-foot fragrant Frasier Fir). But when Peter went to string the lights around it, we didn't have enough! (We're doing white lights this year--we have to switch off every other year because Peter likes colored lights and I like white.) So all week the tree has been half-lit with hardly any ornaments on it. Today I'm going to Target to get more lights and this weekend we will do our tree justice and decorate it!

On Cyber Monday I shopped my little heart out online (not really, but kind of) and one of the things I got done was our Christmas cards. I think this is the earliest I've ever gotten them designed and ordered! It usually takes me awhile because I have to decide on which pictures to use and I look at lots of cards on various websites because I'm a perfectionist and want to choose the best one. This time, I kept it simple: I used one website and I chose only from pictures from our family photo shoot this fall. That made it a lot easier! The cards should arrive today or tomorrow and I'm going to address them this weekend and send them on their merry way early next week. That's definitely a record for me!

As of this week, I'm officially a member of Mitt Romney's campaign volunteer team in Iowa. His Iowa Field Director got in touch with me and I had a good conversation with him about what I could do to help out. I'm going to be a part of the Iowa Caucus on January 3rd, which I'm excited about! I love politics (for some strange reason) and this is one of the things I was looking forward to about living here! 
I'm a long-time supporter of Romney, not because he's handsome, rich, and successful (although those things certainly don't hurt!), but because I know the Romneys from living in Massachusetts when I was in high-school (they were in my (LDS) stake) and I have long thought that he's a really smart, strong leader and a genuinely good person. I think he was a very effective governor of good old liberal Massachusetts (not an easy feat for a Republican) and that he would also be an effective President for this polarized nation. I like that he's more of a centrist and not a strict conservative about everything. I think that's an asset right now. So that's why I'm volunteering for him. Go Mitt!!

And speaking of politics and presidential candidates, just a few other quick thoughts...I think it's sad that Herman Cain has so much promise and potential ability to help the country but poor choices from his personal life are probably going to prevent that from happening. And Newt Gingrich has made similar poor choices, so why isn't that hurting him as much as it is Cain? Because it was already known? It's weird. In any case, I don't trust either of them. My favorite candidates are Mitt Romney (obviously), Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum.

The European debt crisis continues to worry me and I'm sensing real danger signals for the U.S. According to financial experts that I watch on the news, everything could collapse like a long line of dominoes. I don't think they're sensationalizing the dangers here. Will we go into a deeper recession or even a depression? Will the Stock Market crash? Aaaaggh! Let's hope not.

Did you hear in the news this week that studies are finding that there is potentially dangerous arsenic in some brands of apple juice? Guess what my kids' favorite drink is? Well, at least I always dilute their juice with water. I looked up the ratings and the Juicy Juice brand is apparently safe, so Juicy Juice it is from now on!

My sister Elizabeth is due to have a baby today, but he hasn't arrived yet and isn't showing much sign of being ready to make his way into the world yet. The last time she had a baby he was born a week early, so last week I booked a flight to Boston for a week from today, thinking that the baby for sure would be born by then. It's going to be problematic if I go out there and he hasn't been born yet! So I'm hoping he will arrive in the next few days so that I can meet him next weekend and hold him a lot. I LOVE newborns, especially when I'm related to them!

I hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hair Envy

This is an update on the ongoing saga of my hair and my quest to restore its health and get it to grow down to my shoulders again. This week I found a file of my husband's cell phone pictures on the computer that he must have recently uploaded, and this was one of the pictures:

This is a fuzzy not-very-good picture of Sam and I on a plane at night last year, but the thing about it that gets me is my hair! It was shiny and healthy and at my shoulders, and I wish I had it back again now! Little did I know that by the end of that year it would be breaking off on one side and would have to be cut a few inches shorter because of the damage apparently caused by some bleach-filled highlights that I got when I moved to Iowa, a situation that I'm still dealing with now almost a year later. This picture was taken on the way back to Boston from Iowa when we were house-hunting. If my hair could talk, it would have been saying "Donna, proceed with caution! Don't get the highlights when you move to Iowa!!"

The following pictures were taken just last year too, on St. Patrick's Day when we still lived in Connecticut. The healthy, desirable state of my hair just kills me now. 


Look at that volume! I'm so jealous of her! I mean, me.

This is making me a little sad, but also hopeful that if my hair looked like that just last year, it can look like that again! I've decided that if my hair hasn't gotten a lot better by next summer, I'm going to book an appointment with my wonderful former hairstylist in Connecticut when I go back East next summer and see if she can work some of her magic. She's the one who helped my hair get to the above state. (And I know this isn't that remarkable compared with other people's hair, but for me, it was really good!)

Another factor is the baby. A few months after having Sam, my hair looked like this. Maybe having another baby is what I need to do to restore my hair to its former, uh, beauty. Seriously! And if it's a boy I'll name him "Harry." (Not seriously!) Anyway, I think it's funny and ironic that I'm envious of the hair I used to have when I didn't really appreciate it all that much when I did have it.

Thank you for reading another one of my laments about my hair. There will probably be more of them because I'm vain enough that I won't give up on this. My hair will eventually triumph!! (Insert Rocky theme here.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sleepy Feet

You've probably heard of "Happy Feet" (as in the children's movie), but did you know that there are also Sleepy Feet? When my children were babies I liked taking pictures of their feet. Even though they're older now, it's still fun to do every now and then. Recently I took a few pictures of Sam's feet while he slept one night. (Fortunately the camera's bright flash didn't wake him up!)

I think his 2-year-old sleepy feet are just as sweet as his little baby feet were!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My Belated Thanksgiving Post

I meant to write this post and publish it last week because it's about Plymouth and the pilgrims, but my in-laws came to visit and things were busy and I didn't have time. So here it is now instead. Better late than never!

This past summer when we were back East we spent a day at Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It's a re-creation of how the pilgrims lived, and the Native Americans too, and it is an awesome place--an outdoor living history museum at its best. If you've never been, add it to your "Must Visit" list! We'd been before, but it was even better this time because my six-year-old was old enough to understand it a lot more than the last time we were there (when he was two!).

This is what the houses looked like back then. My husband and children are direct descendants of a couple who came over on the Mayflower. It was neat to explore replicas of what their home here in America may have been like!


The "settlers" are fun to talk with. They speak only in character as if it were the 1600s. You can ask them anything about life back then, and if you ask them about modern things, they act like they have no idea what you're talking about. It's funny!

Real working gardens are at many of the houses...

I was impressed by this cool log pile!

At the top of the village, there's a nice view of the Atlantic Ocean, which conveyed the passengers of the Mayflower to the wild and untamed lands of what was to become America.

 Nothing says "Welcome to the 17th century" like a kid in a Star Wars shirt!

After Plimoth Plantation, we drove into the town of Plymouth to go on the Mayflower II, which is a replica of the original ship. (By the way, in case you were wondering, "Plimoth" is spelled that way because that's how the settlers originally spelled it, so at the Plantation it's spelled like that to be true to history. It's not an error that I keep making, I promise! Or if it is, at least it's a sanctioned one!)

All aboard! (It actually doesn't go anywhere. It's just for touring.)


On display outside of the ship is a picture of England with the names of the Mayflower passengers and where they came from. Our ancestors are John Howland (at the top) and Elizabeth Tilley (third from the bottom). They got married once they arrived in America. Guess who else is descended from them? Among millions of others, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, President George H.W. Bush (and obviously his son too), the prophet Joseph Smith, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Humphrey Bogart, Alec Baldwin, Dr. Spock, and Christopher Lloyd ("Doc" from Back to the Future!). And Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford and Winston Churchill are descendants of brothers of John Howland. How cool is that!? We've got some awesome connections!

A view from the lower deck of the ship where the passengers lived...

The view today is probably a little different from what it was almost 400 years ago! 

 I'm sure the pilgrims would have loved to have had houses and buildings like these! (Including the amenities!)

I made a cute pilgrim friend before we left, but he wouldn't share his drink with me...

After the ship we walked over to Plymouth Rock. It's just a rock, but it's THE Rock!

 That pillared structure across the street behind Sam is the Plymouth Rock viewing place...

Plymouth is a beautiful seaside town today. I love it! And I love the widow's walks on many of the houses, which were built for women to look out to sea for their husband's ships coming in.

It was a lovely day at one of my favorite historical places, and we will definitely return in the years to come. Someday we'd like to have Thanksgiving dinner at Plimoth Plantation on Thanksgiving itself--they serve an authentic meal that's similar to the original meal that the pilgrims and Native Americans shared. Someday we will do that! For now, though, I'm just thankful to be an American and to be able to see these neat places from our history!

If you'd like more information on any of the above places, click on these links:
Plimoth Plantation and Mayflower II
Plymouth Rock
Plymouth, Massachusetts

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Weekly Wrap-Up

Peter has been away on business all week (in New Jersey and Manhattan; I'm jealous! We lived there for the first four years of our marriage and I really miss it there sometimes.). He gets back tonight, but then tomorrow he'll be gone all morning at a turkey shootout (not real turkeys! I made sure!) with guys from church, an event for which I was forced to cancel a 90-minute Swedish massage that I had scheduled for myself at noon tomorrow. What the heck? I need a break!

That break is going to come in the form of THIS:

Tomorrow afternoon I'm taking myself out on a date to go see this movie. I don't care what people say; I'm excited for it! And I'm interested in seeing what they do with certain bizarre scenes from the book. It was my least favorite of the books, but I still liked it enough to want to see the movie. The movie reviews I've read said that fans will like it, so that's a good sign.

I'm almost done Christmas shopping for my kids. They make up the bulk of my shopping, so it's a relief to have that taken care of. Now I just have to be careful that I don't pick up more things for them when I'm out in the stores. That's one of the dangers of getting your shopping done early. You find other things that you want to get and can end up spending and getting more in the long run!

Speaking of Christmas shopping, I'm not planning on doing Black Friday next week. I never have, and I probably never will. I will gladly pay the difference to not have to get up early or stay up late and deal with crowds just to get a good price on something. Cyber Monday, however, is a much easier thing to manage. Now that, I like!

The Duggars have announced that they are pregnant with their 20th child.

I am not impressed.

Another thing I'm not impressed with is the Occupy Wall Street movement. At first, I understood their point. I mostly disagreed with it, but I got it. But now it's getting ridiculous. They aren't accomplishing anything except for being a nuisance, and the protesters don't agree with one another on what exactly it is that they want. They can't even decide on whether or not to issue a list of "demands." A friend of mine from college who works on Wall Street said this yesterday on Facebook and posted this picture:

"Occupy Wall Street occupying the lobby where I has told all of us not to leave the building today...what crazy times we live in!!"

The protesters remind me of disobedient, badly behaved children throwing temper tantrums because they're not getting what they want. 

Ready for another one of my catalog rants? I was flipping through the FAO Schwarz catalog and came across this:

This isn't just any Etch-a-Sketch. This is a limited edition Jeweled Classic Etch-a-Sketch, "with over 10,000 dazzling, handset Swarovski crystals" all over it. There are only six available in the world, and it only costs $1,499.99. (But there's a coupon on the back of the catalog for $25 off any total purchase of $150 or more, so then it would be only $1,474.99!)
Those Occupy Wall Streeters would have a field day with this. And I would probably have to agree with them. This is just wrong! And if you're going to bejewel something, why would you bejewel an Etch-a-Sketch, of all things? Why not a cool owl or a set of bookends or something a little more decorative or practical like that?!
For the third time in this post, I will say that I AM NOT IMPRESSED!

Well, in addition to lots of errands and housework and after-school activities, that's been my week. I hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Family Picture Failures!

My preoccupation with getting a good family picture of us have continued this fall, but they've pretty much all been failed attempts. The main reasons for the lack of success with this are:
1) a 2-year-old who is not at all interested in getting his picture taken,
2) wind, which makes my borderline okay hair totally not okay, and
3) overly bright sunshine that makes us look like squinty-eyed ghosts!
In the following pictures I have identified the culprit that ruined the picture. 

 The culprit: Too  much sunshine and a toddler struggling to escape.

The culprit: Uncooperative toddler and a little too much sunshine.

The culprit: The wind making my hair look funny and my squinting. Sam for once is sitting still and even smiling, though! That's progress!

The culprit: Uncooperative toddler. That kid!!

 The culprit: Obviously, bad timing on my part to blink my eyes! The photo is overexposed too.

The culprit: Six-year-old in a daze. This one is cute, but it's not quite "the one."

I guess these pictures aren't complete failures, though, because they capture the reality of our lives, and the reality of our lives is overall a beautiful thing that I'm thankful for.
But I'm still going to keep trying for that ideal shot that I have in my mind!

P.S. Sometime soon I'll post some pictures that were taken of us sitting in a giant rocking chair! They're pretty funny.