Wednesday, January 30, 2008

month of loves: ice cream

This week we went to Piccomolo Italian Ice Cream i.e. gelato. Yummy yummy yummy. It's not our first trip, but I did try two different flavors this time. I went for Turtle Cheescake and German Chocolate.

Usually, I go for fruit flavors with gelato. It's so much creamier than ice cream, but has the strong flavor of a sorbet which means that you get wonderfully creamy, delicious fruit, and that is hard to come by in almost any other context. In fact, my favorite thing to get at Piccomolo is strawberry and pistachio together. It's absolutely wonderful. My sister-in-law got the raspberry this time and it was equally amazing.

So back to turtle cheesecake. It was carmel-y at first, but then you tasted the cream cheesiness and there were little bits of crust in it. Alone it was good, with the chocolate it was better, and the chocolate alone was best. It was nice and dark chocolate.

Here's the moral of this post: when you're eating gelato, get a fruit flavor. Or mix the fruit flavor with a nut or chocolate flavor. But don't go for anything else-- it's just fancy ice cream.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

month of loves: life with sam

There are two chores around the house that I really don't like doing: taking out the trash, and making the bed.

And Sam happily does both without ever needing to be asked.

I love life with Sam.

Monday, January 28, 2008

month of loves: places

I waffled on this one. I wanted to talk about London, but debated whether I should just talk about London, or talk about the UK, or talk about Europe. I went for the middle, so today's post is about the UK, though I could even say England, since I've never been anywhere in the UK outside England (which I hope to rectify at some point in my life). And I'll attempt to make this simple so here goes.

I love the parks of London. Seemingly endless, beautiful, sometimes manicured, sometimes overgrown, and always peaceful.

I love the Tube, or the London Underground, as it's officially known. It's reliable, fast, efficient, and can get you close enough to walk to anywhere you want to go. I like London's bus system for the same reason, but it's not as fast, and I have many memories of riding it home on dark Sunday afternoons feeling really hungry, so maybe I just don't like it as much for all those associations. I love the whole process of getting on the Tube like I know what I'm doing. I swipe my Oyster card, sit down, open a book, "alight" when I reach my stop, never getting confused in the station of how to get out. It's such a great feeling.

I love the art you can find in London. Here are a few memories: an amazing exhibit of Pre-Raphaelite art at the Tate Britain, seeing/hearing Bach's St. Matthew's Passion at Easter and Handel's Messiah at Christmas in St. Paul's Cathedral with the Queen in attendance, the crazy and cool sculptures at the Tate Modern, Tom Stoppard's play Jumpers, watching Shakespeare at the Globe, beautiful and soul-healing music at Noontime concerts at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, the Impressionists and Dutch painters at the National Gallery, and the occasional really good busker.

I love the nature in England. You have lush green forests, nice big hills in the Lake District, and the Atlantic, as well as lots of lovely rivers running throughout the whole thing.

Finally, love the people I met there. Some were as Anglo-Saxon as they come, while others were fairly recent immigrants, but they were all kind, welcoming, and loving.

Someday I'll go back!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

month of loves: scripture

Doctrine and Covenants 121: 41-45

I'm so grateful that my father used these scriptures as a guide in his life. His example taught me how I should treat others and he often referred to these verses. As such, I knew what to look for in a man that I wanted to marry. I knew how he would honor, regard, and use his priesthood. Sam has proven to be the same kind of man as my father (and as his own father, another great example of a man who honors his priesthood responsibilities).

I know that many people don't have the privilege of being surrounded in life by men who try to live their lives with gentleness, meekness, love, kindness, and knowledge, but I have. My grandfathers, father, uncles, brothers, and my husband are all men who strive to have their "bowels... full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and ... virtue garnish [their] thoughts unceasingly." What a blessing for me! I love having a priesthood holder in my home to provide blessings when I need them and to counsel with me, and to be able to do the same for our children when they come.

I'm so happy to have the gospel in my life, and I'm glad Sam and I can share and live our faith together. It makes our home a peaceful and happy one and brings us endless joy.

41 No apower or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the bpriesthood, only by cpersuasion, by dlong-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
42 By akindness, and pure bknowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the csoul without dhypocrisy, and without eguile
43 aReproving betimes with bsharpness, when cmoved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of dlove toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;
44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of adeath.
45 Let thy abowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let bvirtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy cconfidence wax strong in the dpresence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the edews from heaven.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

month of loves: art

"Procession of the Nobles" by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

I think we played this piece in my high school band and I absolutely loved it. It's so majestic and does an excellent job of creating a mental picture of nobles marching with a heck of a lot of pomp. I decided to write about this piece today after Sam reminded me of a rather ridiculous situation surrounding it.

The summer before Sam and I got married, I was working at Henkel, which owns Duck Brand duct tape. My office building housed the world's largest roll of duct tape and sponsored a Duck Tape Festival each fall. Anyway, during my lunch hour I would go sit in my car in the shade and listen to books on CD, or classical music on the local classical radio station. One week, I heard, during lunch each day, an advertisement for an Oriental rug company that was having a sale. In the background, it had this wonderful music that I knew I knew, but couldn't put my finger on the title.

The first day, I just thought about it and played it over in my head, trying to figure it out. The second day, I called Sam and sang it for him over the phone to see if he knew it, but, alas, he didn't. A few days later, when I heard the ad again, I memorized the phone number on the radio ad and called it.

Some one answered and asked how they could help me. I told them I was sorry, that I didn't have a question about rugs, but had a rather odd question about an ad I heard on WCLV. The man told me to go ahead, and I asked my question. After a few seconds of baffled silence, he said, "Let me get _____. He does all our ads."

A second man came on the phone and I explained my situation again. I heard this song on his advertisement and wanted to know what it was. He told me he was sorry, but he just wrote the ad and e-mailed it to the radio station, and they chose the background music. I thanked the man and apologized again. He said, "You really don't have a question about rugs?" No, I said, I was sorry.

So, that evening, I went home and went to the radio station's website and found some phone number I could call. I called, explained again, and someone gave me the email address of the man who chose the music for the ads. I emailed him with my request and patiently waited.

The next day, after work, I saw a reply to my email and eagerly opened it. Procession of the Nobles, he told me. He'd played it in high school, too. He was glad I liked it and agreed it was a wonderful piece. Joyfully, I went to BYU's classical library, found the piece, and played it nice and loud. My parents had been kept up-to-date on the saga and were equally as joyful that I'd finally found my missing title and could hear more than just the 30 second clip on the Pearl Rug ad. I also called Sam-- this occasion was worth using up minutes before free nights kicked in at 9 PM. He too was empathetically excited.

So there you have it. Why else would I have gone through so much, inconvenienced so many, and made myself sound like a fool so often, than if I truly loved a marvelous piece of music?

*I tried to find a place to hear the whole song online and had no luck. Here's a one minute snippet from Barnes & Noble. Just scroll down till you see the song title. If anyone has a better way of listening to the song, feel free to leave a comment.

Friday, January 25, 2008

month of loves: people

The people I love for today clinched their place in the blog today with a last minute surprise. I was certainly meaning to include them at some point, but they sealed the deal for today!

Today's people are my dear, wonderful, and talented friend Anna Jo and her equally as wonderful boyfriend Jeff. A little background: Anna Jo moved to Amherst in 7th grade and we both started running track that spring. The rest is history. We both ran throughout high school, and that kept us in close proximity as our friendship developed over books, trees, art museums, being fledgling Transcendentalists, and watching 80's movies.

But what has always impressed me about Anna Jo is her sincerity and kindness. I never heard Anna Jo criticize or gossip, which to me is an amazing feat when even the five-year-olds in primary make sarcastic jokes. I love that Anna Jo is funny and interesting without ever doing it at someone else's expense. Currently, Anna Jo is inspiring elementary school students as an art teacher and is applying for art therapy graduate programs. Between my great-grandmother, and this amazing woman, why wouldn't I name my daughter Anna?

And as for sealing the deal, today I got a note in my mailbox that said I had a package waiting for me in the office. Neither Sam nor I remembered ordering anything, so we eagerly opened the box and found this adorable lady-bug costume inside! In all the packaging, we only found a little tiny packing slip inside with Jeff's name tucked away on it. We were so surprised! I don't know Jeff as well as I'd like, but he has always proved to be extremely considerate of others. These are two amazing people with great taste in significant others and in baby costumes.

So there you have it. Two lovely people who are easy to love!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

month of loves: books

So, maybe this is a little vain, but for the book topic today, I thought I'd write about the books I've made. I decided to take the bookbinding class at BYU after seeing the products of several of my friends' semesters in the class. I finally got a spot my last semester and loved it. It was so nice to have a creative outlet to help forget about all the other stresses of school and work, and I could be artistic without having to have a talent for drawing, painting, or sculpting. I certainly wasn't the most creative person in the class-- the art majors and a few other people who had a lot of time on their hands and great ideas did some incredible things with their books. But that was also what made the class so fun. I got to see other people's books and ideas and think about what I could do.

Unfortunately, that semester was a busy one and it was all I could do to get the bare minimum done. And afterwards, we moved away from BYU which had a marvelous stockroom full of bookbinding materials. So I haven't been able to fully explore all the book ideas running around in my head, but there are a lot of them! Someday I'll splurge and buy a big, heavy duty paper cutter and figure out how to sharpen the blade often, and that'll make projects much easier.

In the mean time, I thought I'd try a Japanese binding. It's a very simple binding that we never did in class; my teacher just gave us a set of instructions and said we could try it out on our own. Finally, without working, I had enough time to give it whirl. I found some great cheap paper at Archiver's ($.14 a sheet!) for the cover. I already knew I wanted to bind it with the hemp twine I've had since junior high. I bought some acid free Elmers-- a step down from the glue I like to use, but readily available. I used some cardboard that some art had been shipped in and regular printer paper. Here's the result!

The binding was technically simple but manually VERY hard because my holes were so small (I only had an awl to punch them, and not a drill which is what every instruction and website I found suggested). The knot is supposed to be hidden, but that was never going to happen with tiny holes, so I tied a bow instead. And the covers are a bit warped since I didn't check the grain of the cardboard before I made it. But for so little money and effort, I'm generally pleased with the result.

Check out past projects here:

And if you ever want to commission a book from me, I'd be pleased as punch!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

month of loves: ice cream

What a great excuse to go to an ice cream shop with my wonderful husband once a week for a month! When we discovered, as we pulled into the parking lot, that neither of us had brought our wallets, we briefly considered just going home, but Sam reminded me, "It's for the blog."

We went to Baskin-Robbins tonight. I counted to make sure there really were at least 31 varieties offered, just because I was curious. The three flavors I tested, in order of deliciousness (least to most) were Strawberry Cheesecake, Love Potion #31, and SuperFudge Truffle (the last two were the flavors of the month).

The SuperFudge Truffle was indeed super, fudge-y, and packed with truffles. Here's the description from the B-R website: "Chocolate Fudge ice cream is combined with chunks of chocolate ganache and toffee truffle pieces." As a chocolate lover, this ice cream is a dream come true. But it's not the flavor I ended up getting because I promised myself I wasn't going to buy an ice cream with a chocolate base during the course of this escapade (we'll see if that actually happens).

So, I went with my second choice in deliciousness, which wasn't a poor substitute by any means. Here's the description: "
Cupid’s White Chocolate and Raspberry ice creams swirled with a raspberry ribbon and loaded with raspberry-filled chocolate hearts and chocolate chips." My test of this flavor convinced me immediately that it would be the flavor I bought because it was so different from usual ice cream flavors.

The first thing I noticed was the raspberry "ribbon" --so tart and flavorful. It was wonderful to have bursts of pure raspberry flavor throughout the cone. Raspberry puree was the second ingredient after cream, so I know it was the real thing. I liked the base ice cream because it was a white chocolate rather than vanilla, so the raspberry wasn't competing against anything else for the main flavor in your mouth. And thankfully, those chocolate chips were nice and dark, so they too set off the tartness, and, well, I think chocolate added to most any ice cream enhances rather than detracts from its awesomeness. Finally, it truly was loaded with those chocolate hearts. They reminded of those chocolate-covered raspberry sticks except with liquid. And the heart shape was extremely cute.

All in all, this was one of my more delightful forays into non-traditional ice cream flavors, and I highly recommend going and getting a kid scoop of your own (it was so rich, that was the perfect size). You may just find me there enjoying a scoop of SuperFudge Truffle.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

month of loves: life with sam

Sam suggested this topic. He had made me laugh yet again and said, "You should write a blog about 'weird things Sam does around 9 pm.'" I agreed, but have decided to include things he does at other times of the day, too. Here's my love of the day.

Whenever I'm reading on our bed, he *almost* always enters the bed creatively. I stress "almost" because between that and the fact that I read on the couch more often than the bed, it leaves the element of surprise in the action, and still makes me laugh. Anyway, here are a few of the ways Sam comes to ask how my book is.

-- Otter Slide: a leap and dive from the foot of the bed to the head
-- Belly Flop: a flying leap, landing almost spread eagle
-- Slow Scoot: a regular climbing on to bed, but not stopping until he is uncomfortably nestled next to/ on top of me
-- The Lean: Sam stands next to my side of the bed and leans over until his head and body are between my face and my book

Needless to say, no matter how much I'm enjoying my book on a Saturday morning, I always enjoy the interruption of it more.

Monday, January 21, 2008

month of loves: places

I like this idea of choosing my own topics. Then it's totally up to me how specific or general I want to be. Today's place, Huntington Beach, CA, is fairly small compared to a few others I have in mind.

My grandparents live in Huntington Beach so all my memories there involve that special "you-can-have-anything-you-want" luxury that only goes from grandparent to grandchild. I love Huntington Beach because no matter what time of year I go there, the weather always seems to be exactly the same, just a little warmer or cooler. But there's always moist, salty air, sunshine, and cool breezes.

I also love Huntington Beach because I get to play in the ocean. I've played on both sides of the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, and in the Caribbean, and though they may have been warmer or clearer, none provided as much non-stop wave entertainment as the Pacific. As a kid, I loved watching the surf roll out and seeing all the sand crabs burrow while the little sand piper birds would run back and forth trying to eat them. Once I got big enough to feel comfortable heading out farther, I learned how to boogie board and body surf. There is nothing like feeling you are always on the edge of a disastrous crash, and my best rides were always just ahead of a falling wave. I especially love body surfing when you catch a wave with your hands and feel your whole body being raced through the water.

I love just being on the beach. I love the feel of the sun on your back while you sit on hot sand. I love the incessant sound of the waves. I love the occasional dolphin sighting and watching the surfers. I love eating corn on the cob cooked in salty ocean water over a cracking fire. I love the sun setting over the waves and seeing to the very edge of the world.

Mmmm. I like thinking about the warm beach on this cold winter day. I can't wait to go back!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

month of loves: scripture

Proverbs 31: 10-31

I've loved this passage of scripture since I was a young teenager and really started to think about what and who I wanted to be. The virtuous woman described here seemed to be my ideal. She is trustworthy, wise, works hard, is educated and contributes to the family income. She cares for her husband and children, and serves the poor and needy. She is strong and kind. Her husband and children love and honor her. No matter what your definition, this woman is a success.

One thing I love about the scriptures is how they can teach us about nearly any situation we find ourselves in. There are so many things a woman can be or do, and I have certainly felt the pressure to take a different route than I the one I've chosen for my life. But this passage lets us see what God truly wants His daughters to be: women who work hard, love the Lord, and serve with gladness and kindness. I feel so blessed to know this, and to be able to rise above the confusion. And I feel so much joy to know that our Father in Heaven trusts that I can be a woman like this! He is preparing me to be a queen whose value is truly far above rubies.

10 ¶ Who can find a avirtuous bwoman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely atrust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her ahands.
14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She ariseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the adistaff.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the apoor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her aclothing is silk and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and honour are her aclothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of akindness.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of aidleness.
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30 Favour is deceitful, and abeauty is vain: but a woman that bfeareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

month of loves: art

Ford Madox Brown: Jesus washing Peter's feet at the Last Supper

John 13: 3-15

3 Jesus aknowing that the Father had given all bthings into his hands, and that he was ccome from God, and went to God;
4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to awash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
6 Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?
7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
8 aPeter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I bwash thee not, thou hast no part with me.
9 Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.
10 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is aclean every whit: and ye are bclean, but not all.
11 For he knew who should abetray him; therefore said he, Ye are not ball clean.
12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?
13 Ye call me aMaster and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
14 If I then, your Lord and aMaster, have bwashed your feet; ye also ought to cwash one another’s dfeet.
15 For I have given you an aexample, that ye should do as I have done to you.

I saw this painting for the first time at the Tate Britain in London when I was there the last time in 2005. I had wandered through most of the museum already, skimming through much of J.M.W Turner to get to the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood and John Singer Sargent, whose works I made sure to see last of all.

In one of the last halls, I saw this painting and realized it was one that hadn't been in the gallery the last time I had visited, so I looked closer. What immediately struck me was the look in Peter's eyes. I saw wonder, shame, love, humility, fear. He didn't understand. How could the Lord who was so great, and so mighty, condescend to wash his, Peter's, a fisherman's feet?

Tears came to my eyes as I pondered the love our Savior has for each of us. He descended below all things to make us clean, and all we can do is wonder with with humility, and follow His example.

Friday, January 18, 2008

month of loves: people

I'll admit something: I arranged the schedule of topics so that I could have "people" fall on today. The person who is going to be the topic of today's post is a very new person. It's the one growing in my womb at the moment. But guess what folks! As of today, I no longer have to refer to my growing child as "it." I had an ultrasound today and Sam and I watched eagerly as the technician swept up and down and across my abdomen, pointing out facial features, major organs, and limbs. It was very cool. I especially liked seeing all four chambers of the heart beating rhythmically, and seeing the baby stretch and wiggle its fingers in front of its face and open and close its mouth.

from left to right: legs, arms, and face
to orient, the dark circle on the right side of the face is an eye

But of course, the big news came at the end when the technician got the baby's middle in view and announced, "I'm gonna call that a girl!" She swept across a few more times and pointed out what she saw and explained what she didn't see. We had some wide open views, and our child is very clearly a girl.

Hooray!!! We are so excited. We weren't hoping for one sex in particular, so there's not a bit of disappointment. And, since I know you all want to know, her name will be Anna. However, we have no idea what her middle name will be and are very open to suggestions.

a foot and heel

Our little girl has been very wiggly this week and its fun to feel her everyday. As you can see from the pictures, she's already very cute, though we're not limiting her to that definition. Sam and I talked about how we hope she's involved in sports or something athletic, and if she's anything like me, she'll enjoy racing (and beating!) the boys in her neighborhood, and getting very dirty.

I already love my little girl!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

month of loves

Well, I've decided to try something new. Valentine's Day is exactly four weeks from today, and I've decided to write about things that I love in preparation for that sweetest and sappiest of holidays. I've also decided to have themed days of the week. However, I've only come up with 5 themes I definitely want to write about, and several others that I could use, but am not all that jazzed about. So, here are the definite themes: books, places, people, scriptures, and art.

Here are a few others I've thought of: food, hikes, ice cream flavors, memories. PLEASE leave a comment and let me know which ones you'd like to read about, or any other suggestions you have. If it comes down to it, I'll have a miscellaneous day, but that seems like a cop out.

But, for today, my topic is books. I have many more than 4 books that I love, but mostly, this is just to get some thoughts flowing, so here goes. Today's book is The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. I just finished it this morning. I started it over a year ago but had many more dis-stresses in my life at the time and found it darkening my mood too much to read it in good conscience as a newly wed.

The extremely oversimplified plot line of it is this: Nathan Price, a Baptist preacher from Georgia, moves to the Congo with his wife and four daughters to take over a mission post. Each chapter of the novel is told from the perspective of one of the daughters or the wife, a tool that effectively keeps the father/preacher in a separate world for the reader, just as he is for the women.

I found I couldn't invest myself in the book until things really started falling apart for the Price family. Of course, most of them hated the Congo from the moment they arrived, but once their supports-- real or imagined-- started falling out from under them and they had to learn and reach for new ways to make sense of the world, then I couldn't stop reading until I finished the book. I suppose that's one reason we like to read, learning from the characters' experiences at the same time they do, but I've enjoyed much happier, less-painful stories than this, so it must have been especially true in this novel.

One of my favorite points that gets made by each of the daughters as they reflect on their months in the Congo is why the white man never could, and still doesn't succeed at conquering Central Africa. One of them explains it in terms of agriculture. The Europeans came to the jungle and saw small villages subsisting relatively peacefully and prosperously. When they tried to civilize the country with commercial farms, roads, and cities, the jungle and its climate halted all progress. Any open land meant for farming would be grown over in months. Roads cleared for paving turned into rivers of mud during the rainy season. Any crops that did manage to make it into the ground either died from too much or too little rain. The jungle doesn't leave anything untouched and refuses to submit to change without argument. Each of the members of the Price family is fundamentally changed by their experiences in Africa. The oldest and ditziest daughter puts it this way,

"You can't just sashay into the jungle expecting to change it all over... without expecting the jungle to change you right back....If it was as easy as they thought it was going to be, why, they'd be done by now, and Africa would look just like America with more palm trees. Instead, most of it still looks exactly how it did a million years ago."

There's so much more to be said about the book, but I chose this point because I'm learning so much of it in my own life right now-- the changing and adapting and reconfiguring your life to fit what's happened to you and what is going to happen. Thankfully, at an individual level, my life is a series of great blessing with more on the way, and I change from each of those. But as I think about upcoming elections, and how I'm going to raise my children to think and act and make choices, I appreciate being reminded of the vast and beautiful differences between my experiences and those on the other side of the world. I want to know and teach my children about those differences. I want them to be curious about them and wonder how they would approach problems, how they make art, and what makes them happy.

So that's why I love this book. The author transports you to a completely different world and pulls out of it so many commonalities of human existence. As Meg Ryan says in You've Got Mail, "Read it. I know you'll love it."

Monday, January 07, 2008

little bump

That's usually how I refer to my belly these days: my little bump. (This is a picture of me last Sunday, at the beginning of my 18th week). I have an ultrasound scheduled for January 18th, so hopefully, I can call it he or she after that. People have asked if I have any feelings about what the baby will be. I haven't had any dreams, strong feelings, or anything to make me lean one way or another, but considering the boy to girl ratio in my and Sam's families makes me suspect it'll be boy. And Grandma Holt, when she found out I was pregnant said, "Well, don't get your hopes up, dear. It'll be a boy." And whose to argue with a sagacious grandparent? The nice thing is, neither of us really care what our first child is, as long as its healthy. We've got time to have more.

I've loved the last few weeks. We spent Christmas with Sam's family in Dallas. We had a great time playing, watching movies, cooking, eating, and doing a Christmas pageant. On the 26th, I left Dallas and flew to Cleveland. It was so nice to see my parents and grandparents. Mom did a wonderful job of outfitting both me with maternity clothing and my unborn child with baby clothes. Thank you thank you! I also had a marvelous time visiting with friends both from church and high school. I wish I could see them more often. They are amazing!
I also got to see my brother Doug and his family and meet Steve's fiance, Rachel, who is as beautiful and kind and smart as everyone told me she is. I'm excited for them to get married, and hope Steve realizes how blessed he is!

Since I've been home from my trip, I've done laundry, grocery shopping, deep cleaning, exercise, and baby preparations. I found a changing table at Goodwill. It's in great shape and was a great price and will infinitely increase our shelf space in the baby's room since there currently isn't any. It's such a pleasure to take care of my home and family, especially when I have such an adoring and appreciative husband who notices the cleaning and thinks my cooking is wonderful :)

Happy New Year!!

Friday, January 04, 2008

i'm done!

I actually finished this quilt a few weeks ago, but seeing as I started it in June, I still feel really happy to have it done. I made this quilt for Sam's grandmother, Nathala. She gave me a new sewing machine, and I figured it would only be fitting to thank her by making something with it. I searched online for some ideas of what to make, but the final design was my own. Nathala lives in and LOVES Arizona, so that was the inspiration for the quilt. It's about four feet long, to give you an idea of the size.

This one shows how I got the sun to curve nicely (click on the picture to see the full size). The technique was suggested by my sister Karen. It worked really well, but took FOREVER.

The whole quilt

The sun

The rays