Tuesday, November 30

thanksgiving wrap-up.

the posting has been sparse lately, mostly because i have a lot of new things going on -- the main new thing being baby godzilla, my crazy walking little girl. she gets better and better every day and i love it, but i also spend even more time babyproofing, kissing boo-boos and saying "no! don't eat that!"

i'm hoping to get more in, but, with christmas fast approaching, i can't make any promises. 

here are some random, funny pictures from our holiday week:

centerpiece, complete with fall leaves that ellie and i collected. 

ellie's first thanksgiving dinner. she loves sweet potatoes, she loves marshmallows - so she was in heaven when she tasted them together. heaven. she looks mad in the pictures because i stopped giving her food. 

daddy gave ellie her first tattoos. alien! 

we had a pretty awesome weekend with food and fun and fires in the fireplace. now we're getting ready for christmas, but i'm not sure it can top thanksgiving for ellie. i've never seen her more excited about dinner, being able to eat all those yummy things. presents might be better than food . . . or i could just make even more yummy things for christmas. i can't wait.

Monday, November 29

another life well-lived.

this weekend my family celebrated the life of my mother's grandmother. my last living great-grandmother left this earth has left it. again, it wasn't something unexpected. she had been here for almost a century and left behind a wonderful legacy of love.  

my great-grandmother helen was a remarkable woman. in my mind, she is one of the most gracious, well-mannered and refined persons i have ever known. she was also one of the most adventurous, brave and spirited as well.

we never lived close to my great-grandmother, so when we were young we often wrote letters and made things to send to her. even more, we loved getting letters and cards from her. her farm was a magical place to visit after hearing the legends passed down from my grandmother and mother. she became legendary to us. i remember a few tales of fancy military galas that accompanied two of her beautiful formal handbags for my sister and me. we saw the beautiful treasures from faraway places; we heard of life in japan, in iran -- so exotic and mysterious and full of adventure. we learned to tuck our sheets the way grandma would have when she made the hospital beds. we learned that wearing white after labor day just "wasn't done."

although her memory faded in and out these last few years, she always remembered my little ellie, even when she wasn't quite sure how she fit into the family. 

i will be sure that ellie remembers her and grows to be the kind of person she was. to be like her means being beautiful, smart, graceful, proud, fashionable, strong, compassionate and lovely. she is another person in my life who has set the standard of womanhood and motherhood high. i can never truly express in words the gratitude i have for my extraordinary heritage, especially when there are women like my great-grandmother, helen marie brown stangle.

we love you forever, grandma.

Thursday, November 25

thanks: part three, what's important.

happy thanksgiving!

we culminate this series with the big three important things to me, folks*.
the real "thankfulfors"


if you're living without these things, you aren't really living.

oh, and some pictures of my favorite little creatures wearing silly hats. as promised last year.

* i feel like saying "folks" a lot lately. it is totally inexplicable, just like the phase i went through when i couldn't stop pretending my fingers were six-shooters and i waggled them in front of my chest at people. bizarre, right?

Thursday, November 18

thanks: part two, medium stuff.

next week's the big turkey/tofurkey day. people keep talking about putting up trees and i keep thinking that it is still so early, but thanksgiving is one week away. one week before thanksgiving isn't all that early.
presenting part two of my thankful little series, all about the medium stuff.

things like

health insurance
money to buy the things i need
a comfortable home
a roof that doesn't leak (uh, doesn't leak very often)
my warm bed (and three warm bodies who enjoy cuddling in it with me)
the ability to read and write
our ultra-reliable (knock on wood) ford focus
husband's job and great schedule
a body that is healthy and strong almost all the time
a healthy baby and husband (and dog, too)
my talents/skills/etc, no matter how limited or unrefined
holidays and special times
delicious food
beautiful, free country
nice clothes to wear (even if they aren't always the most stylish)(wink)
ability to communicate easily with those near and far
my mind, memories and education
modern day appliances
constant opportunities for love and laughter in my life

including this moment, in which ellie stopped playing to take a breather . . .
then picked right back up where she left off.

and all those other things that i enjoy that a lot of people in this world may not enjoy.
you know, the things you never want to have to learn to live without.

Monday, November 15


i'm not sure why we say babies are starting "solids" when we start spooning them pureed food. we should say they are starting "mush" instead. along with her desire to start walking to show us how grown up she can be (see previous post), ellie wants to feed herself, too. 

when i'm eating, she wants bites. bites of anything. so lately i've been making tiny, chopped up versions of our meals. the other night she had noodles and meatballs . . . and loved it. she likes chunks of bananas, sweet potatoes and, most recently, we discovered her love for beans. i still sneak in spoonfuls of baby food while she's distracted by her chunks. 

the other night, after her beans, she got a little treat. 

needless to say, she's just like her mommy when it comes to dessert.

(who needs dinner?!)

Friday, November 12

eight and one half months.

she hasn't been out of the womb quite as long as she was in it. 
last night, ellie showed mommy and daddy her new skill. 
 exhibit a: 

she gets so excited that she falls over most of the time. 
when she falls on her bum, she smiles and claps. 
and she usually throws herself into my arms. 

i attribute this daring, fearless approach to the carpet in the house. 
she isn't afraid to fall one bit, so long as the landing is cushioned.

i'm not sure i'm ready for this.

Thursday, November 11

thanks: part one, the little things.

only two thursdays until thanksgiving. 

here's the first installment of my three part series;
a short, terribly incomplete list of some little things that make me want to give thanks this year:

yummy flavored diet drinks
internet television
sam's club
crunchy leaves on the driveway
balloons (and how much ellie loves them)
store brands
early morning fog
lazy afternoons
new frying pans
turkey meatballs
long drives
thrift stores
 cinnamon-scented pinecones
crushed ice
late afternoon light
holiday scented candles
peanut m&ms
window shopping
the motorcycle
sweet potatoes
gain scent
mexican food
 craft stores

and the world's cutest baby teeth.

Tuesday, November 9

for lindsey.

being so far away from "home" has some real disadvantages sometimes.
i find myself really out of the loop, between the time difference and growing up and having such busy lives and, you know, everything. for example: one of my dearest childhood friends is fighting for her life, and not for the first time. it happened suddenly (as it had before) and i hadn't really heard much news, just that she wasn't doing well.
now her amazing family has started a blog with updates and to raise a little money to help with medical bills. since i can't be there physically, i thought maybe i could help a little by putting together a couple of blog buttons to direct those who would like to donate.
if you know lindsey, put one of these buttons on your blog to help spread the word to those who want to give their love and support.
if you don't know lindsey, feel free to do the same.
if you do anything at all, keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

oh, and be sure that you're living well and laughing often, because she would want you to do that for her.

and if you're ever at taco amigo late at night, be sure to do the running man out on the sidewalk so that everyone driving down state street can see you -- because she would want you to do that for her, too. :)

get the buttons by copying and pasting the codes on the side of my page.
go to her blog by clicking on my buttons or click here.
read a little of lindsey's story in her own words here.

Thursday, November 4

baby benjamin franklin.

why is my child obsessed with electricity?
she doesn't want to drag around a security blanket, she wants to drag around the vacuum cord and plug.
funny thing is, she hates the vacuum when it is on. when it is off, she inspects every inch of it.

if she spots anything electronic in a room, it's the first thing she attacks.

so much for babyproofing. she can get the little plug protectors out already.
isn't this a little advanced . . .  even for my genius?

next thing you know, she'll be out there with a kite and a key.

Wednesday, November 3

off my chest.

there are some random, petty grievances i feel like airing. why? not sure. i rarely get negative on the blog. you can skip this post altogether if you don't want to hear it. i promise, these gripes are random and they are petty.

first of all, what's with bathroom reading material? i'm sorry if you're into reading on the pot but i am so not. relieving myself isn't some sort of leisurely activity, like sunbathing or riding on a subway. it's definitely no place to enjoy actual literature. i literally like to "do my business" - i get in, i get out, i get on my way. (let's not even mention the fact that there is usually a screaming infant scratching at the door. okay. let's do.) i don't like to spend more time in there than i have to and i really don't like to know that you like to spend your time in there, either. i mean, how many times has that book been sprayed with flush? my husband is a fan of hanging out in the can and this annoyance is on my mind because, no matter how many magazines i remove from the bathroom, there is always a new one the next day.
and today, i was zipping up and saw this dude staring at me from a magazine cover:

i mean, gross! come on! let me pee in peace!

i have a really hard time when i see kids that are dressed more stylishly than i am. it's really depressing. i'm not talking about kids being cute or well-dressed. i'm talking about when i wish i have a five-year-old's entire wardrobe.
this is much rarer than it sounds, by the way. it also has to do with the fact that i have a sense of style but i feel that i am unable to really show it. i wear what i have and throw in the occasional cute thing here or there. i feel that, for the past couple of years, i haven't really been able to represent my style the way i would like in fashion or in decor. i mean, how many different ways can i try to wear the same few items? it's mostly the money. maybe that's the depressing part? that these kids have more money than me? i know about being cheap and frugal and i don't have expensive tastes. i just lack the resources at the moment. anyway, someday, i will be able to more freely express my personal style.

also, am i the only woman in america who doesn't have a kitchen-aid stand mixer?! because i was blog stalking today and i saw a woman who had not one, but two and i nearly cried. i had to step away from the internet for a while while the green monster inside me took over. i let myself be overcome with the memory of leaving my meager, but beloved furniture collection behind in utah. i let myself feel sad about the reality that it may be decades before i get to pick out furnishings i love again.

then i shook myself up and got back to keeping ellie out of the dog food and helping her with her new experiment: trying to see how long she can stand without help. i know! what?!

that's what really matters and that's what i focus on most of the time: my little eleanor growing up fast, standing by herself and getting ready to take some tiny, shaky steps.
but i'm allowed to get things off my chest every few thousand words, right? 

Tuesday, November 2

the sweetest thing.

i caught this nap on (digital) film. adorable!!

it's such bad quality because i was snapping pictures with the flash in the semi-dark room, just trying to keep from waking them up - but you get the idea.

cutest friends ever!

Monday, November 1


so we didn't end up having fowler fall fest this weekend after all. we had a quiet little weekend with zero trick-or-treaters, just the right amount of zombie-watching and way too much candy-eating.

here's one more cute picture of my red:

and a couple of pictures i took while driving through our neighborhood, trying to capture what autumn looks like around here. i was only able to catch about 10% of the beauty in the pictures.