Friday, December 21, 2012

Self Image

I love projects that show how kids see themselves. Aeryn brought this home from school and gave it to me as a gift. I love it and don't ever want to forget what she wrote. Some of it was a complete surprise. Dentist? That's a new one. I suppose it gets tacked on to the end of the BYU cheerleader/4th grade teacher/veterinarian dream.

I am the one who is happiest when I have new friends.
I am the one who thinks about friendship.
I am the one who loves to play.
I am the one who is lucky because I'm awesome!
I am the one who will someday be a dentist.

Who am I? 
I am a girl who is kind and happy and amazing. I have blond hair and blue eyes and freckles. And I'm 4 foot 7 inches and 70 pounds. Do you know who I am?

My Favorite Things
My favorite things include lots of items. First I like lions. They are my best fans. Next, I like writing. Finally, it is fun to do drawing. Also, I love my teddy bear. I love my things.

My Family
My family is odd and kind. My family loves traveling. They also like waterfalls. We have 4 people in my family. We spend a lot of time together. Also we love wolves. My family loves me.

The best part about this? She knows she's loved and that we like to spend time together. Oh, and the family portrait where she and Ellie are both holding their favorite stuffed animals is pretty awesome too.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Thankful Tree

At Thanksgiving, the kids and I decided very last minute to create a thankful tree. It wasn't anything fancy. Using paper grocery bags, I created a few tree limbs and  gave them free reign to color and cut out leaf shapes to go on it. I confess I was really surprised to see how small many of the leaves were and ended up cutting out some basic ones myself, just to be sure they would be large enough to write on. Part of me wanted to make a glamorous, beautiful thankful tree we could use year after year, but this one ended up being perfect because the kids felt ownership over it and were so excited to write down something they were thankful for each night at dinner. Especially Ellie. She thought this was the greatest thing ever and would add to it over and over again.

I didn't take any pictures of it once we added our thankful things, but I've kept the pile of leaves hanging around until I finally took a picture of them today. I want to remember what my kids and their sweet little hearts are thankful for. We only did this for the week of Thanksgiving when we were all together. I'd say we came up with a pretty good list for one crazy week.

The Davis Family Thankfuls 2012:
dinner with my family
a healthy body
the Priesthood in our home
teddy bears
United States of America
being able to run
hot water heaters
moms and dads

Any guesses who said what?

And, just because this picture is awesome, we can't wait to see Ellie in about a week, and I felt the need to begin a sentence with a conjunction, here is a cute little moment that I couldn't bear to let pass.

Ellie finished her after-dinner jobs really fast and then got to draw while Aeryn did her vacuuming. It's nice to know that one of our kids understands the value of expedience.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

December Insanity

I remember being a kid and hearing all the adults around me talking about how busy the month of December was. It was something that I could not fathom with my busy schedule of playing, eating, going to school, more playing, staring longingly at each box under the tree wishing it were for me (since my dad didn't put names on anything to keep the mystery alive), and then some more playing. Each year it seems life gets a little bit crazier at Christmastime. 

The funny thing about feeling crazy this year is that we are keeping Christmas really simple. The girls are both with other parents for the holiday so we're keeping gifts at a minimum for them (since they will have already received about a billion) and forgoing them altogether for each other. Last year I made 17 batches of fresh pasta as neighbor gifts and this year I confess I haven't done anything. I expected that this would make life feel easygoing and carefree, but it hasn't. 

The past couple weeks have been a blur. We'll just focus on the past 24 hours. 

Last night was the Christmas party at church. I ended up *unofficially* on the activities committee for the event and have been pretty busy putting together a newspaper, helping to organize the food, set up, serve, clean up, take the kids' Santa pictures, and try to maintain the general sanity of other committee members. It's over. It was successful. I can breathe now. 

This morning Aeryn and I attended a cookie contest and exchange that was pretty much the most fun thing I've ever seen, as far as cookies exchanges go. There was a crown for the "cookie queen" as determined by taste testing and anonymous voting. Add lots of chocolate, really kind people, and spontaneous outbursts of singing "we are the champions" and it was a complete blast. 

Meanwhile, Jim was running 14 miles in the cold and mud with a few of our other runner friends. In his words, "this was the hardest race I've ever done" because it was extremely muddy, steep in places, and just downright hard. He's pretty sore and tired now, but I'm happy he did it. As for why there was a big stuffed gorilla at the finish line, I'm still not sure. 

This was followed by 4 loads of laundry, grocery shopping, and now finally life calming down a little bit. I'm ready for a breather. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ellie turns 12!

Cutie girl got to celebrate her birthday - again! We were joking the other day about how she's one year older for every celebration she has, which means that she's not 6 anymore after having about a million separate parties.

This summer while I was browsing Pinterest, Ellie saw a rainbow cake and decided that was the ONE THING she wanted for her birthday. Then as her birthday drew nearer Jim was talking to Ellie's mom and announced to me that we were going to have Ellie for her birthday this year, at which I was ELATED. Immediately I started a new Pinterest board for the occasion and started dreaming. Only my hopes were dashed when I later found out that meant he could be with her for her birthday, but she wouldn't be coming up here to Oregon. Unfortunately air travel is a little cost prohibitive so as you all know, Aeryn and I didn't get to go down. Partly to ease my disappointment, and to indulge our wanting to be in on the fun parts of childhood too, we planned to do another party when she came up at Thanksgiving.

The theme was to be rainbow. 

I made favor bags using paper lunch sacks, paint swatches, and each child's name/letter. The girls helped glue the strips on and it was really hard for my OCD self to let them be uneven, but they turned out pretty cute if I do say so myself. I think only one bag ended up covered in extreme amounts of stray glue.

Since we ended up with a few leftover strips from the swatches, all I did was fold them over a piece of yarn and hold them in place with a piece of double sided tape and we had a cute rainbow banner. 

With our teeny apartment, we hosted the soiree at the community room which honestly just entices kids to run. They don't need a purpose or even any particular game going on, kids get in there and start running. We did have games planned, but much of the time things looked like this:

And yes, most of the pictures are blurry. Rapidly fading light + rambunctious littles + any number of other variables = happy to have any pictures at all.

The first organized activity we had was to make ribbon wands. I love ribbon wands, so it stands to reason that kids do too, right? They got to pick their own ribbons and then the grown ups helped them get assembled so no little fingers were burned by the glue gun.

Next we did a silly little race where each member of the team had to run to a basket full of clothing items, put one on, and go back to where they started - and so on until everyone was wearing something. We've done that in young women's before, and it was great fun, but I think these kids might have been a little too young to 1) really get what was going on and 2) think it was any fun at all. Perhaps this one was for my benefit too. Though, in my defense the kids were pretty dang cute putting on clothes 15 times bigger than they are.

Next we made bookmarks from pre-cut foam. This was a last minute addition when Ellie saw them at the dollar store and thought it would be fun. Honestly, I threw it in just because she liked it and it was cheap - but later when I asked what her favorite part of the party was she said this was it. Just goes to show how much we (I) can over think things for kids.

Which brings us to the cake...

I confess I'm really, really proud of this cake. It's not like it's a new idea or anything, but I've been planning it since about July (yes, JULY) and it was the entire reason we threw Ellie this party so I felt a little pressure to get it right. I tried a new to me recipe (classic white layer cake with butter icing) and a new to me icing recipe (supposedly best frosting). I added orange zest to the butter icing and used it between the layers and for the crumb coat. Then I used the second icing to cover the outside. Verdict? This will be my new go-to white cake recipe because it is phenomenal but I will never make the other icing again. Ever.

The layers turned out awesome but when I asked Ellie if she liked it it turns out she didn't like the orange. We used the exact same icing with orange on cookies the night before and she loved it, so my heart ached a little when she said that.

We can't forget the presents!!! We have the best friends in the world. Ellie was so excited to get presents from her Oregon friends and honestly adores every single thing. We were playing barbies, and ponies, and drawing all morning - and she wore her new hair clip and necklace on the plane home today.You guys (because I know some of you will read this) are honestly amazing. Thank you for loving Ellie so much!

After the cake, my favorite part was the photo booth. I've wanted to set one up for every single gathering I've ever planned, but this was the first time it actually came to fruition. You know what? It was perfect. The kids loved it and I think a rainbow movember party is about the coolest thing imaginable.

Friday, November 23, 2012


Don't kids have the most awesome words? I never wanted to correct Aeryn when she said "spageeto" instead of mosquito, and I know Jim has really fond memories of Ellie saying "hippopomotomus." Right now, Ellie's word is volleyvall, despite the fact that this one has been corrected a lot. She has such a phenomenal vocabulary and use of language that her not-quite-right words are extra awesome.

We went to the last home game of the women's volleyball for the season this past Tuesday. The girls were super excited, as evidence by their blurred dancing on the jumbotron. They really love the energy at the games.

When the players come in after their break between sets 2 & 3, students get to line up and welcome them back to the court. Jim knew the girls would love this but the court guards didn't want to let them down there since it's supposed to be only students. Jim pulled out his ID to verify that we are in fact students, while other spectators in the stands were rooting for the girls to get to go down. They applauded the decision maker when they agreed to let the girls in the line.

I couldn't see Ellie's face at all, but I could tell they all had a great time with it.

By far the best part of the night was post-game, when the team was going to sign autographs. Jim bought each of the girls a mini-volleyball and they love them even more than we hoped. It was a complete surprise how well that gesture was received.

We had been nervous to go since the game started at 8:00 and Aeryn still had school the following day. The promise of autographs was enough to keep them up, happy, and completely cooperative even as they both became very tired. Honestly, I was shocked.

I've never really been a sports fan until I married into it, but I've got to say I really like this. It's fun for the girls to see what these college girls are accomplishing with hard work and I really think it gives them some strong girls to look up to. I also like this picture because I think it's awesome that Alaina Bergsma is a seriously fantastic volleyball player as well as being Miss Oregon. The girl is a powerhouse. Seeing her play changes my preconceptions about beauty pageant contestants.

It was a really fun day.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

50 Things I'm Thankful for v.2012

It's that time of year again (actually, it's almost past) when I list 50 of the things that really matter to me. This year the holiday has been busy. We have both ladybugs with us and though it's been really incredible, it hasn't left much time for me to focus on myself. That is definitely a good thing, as they are far more worthwhile to focus on.

Today we had Thanksgiving dinner with some friends and it was a serious blast. I can't imagine how I've ended up with so many awesome people in my life. There was an enormous feast to be had: Roast Turkey (of course), Caramelized Shallot Mashed Potatoes, Sausage and Pecan Stuffing, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and Prosciutto, Corn, Roasted Chestnuts, 12 layer Jello salad, Cranberry Sauce, my mom's Orange Rolls, Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake, Sour Cream Apple Pie, Chocolate Pumpkin cake, and MORE that I can't remember right now because I'm in consumption induced coma. It's really humbling, when I think of it. All week I've been worried about tablecloths, candles, and decor; kids table activities, finger puppets, and coloring books. Now as I think about how plentiful our food has been (and all the awesome leftovers) I'm feeling especially thankful that my family has never known hunger. I can't imagine how difficult it is to raise a family when you don't know where your next meal is coming from.

And so it begins:
50 Things I'm Thankful For

  1. The plethora of red orange leaves during an Oregon autumn
  2. Having a husband whom I trust beyond description and love even more
  3. Croaking frogs in the spring
  4. The mornings I actually get out the door and run along Pre's trail
  5. Finally finding a pair of casual boots I absolutely love
  6. Dangly earrings
  7. The sound of Ellie's laughter
  8. Aeryn's innate compassion
  9. High thread count sheets so soft I almost melt when I crawl in bed
  10. The opportunity to begin anew each day
  11. Our subscription to Bon Appetit
  12. Crafty dates with girl friends
  13. The USA and how incredibly fortunate we are to live here
  14. Friends who offer to iron in order to ease my stress
  15. The internet
  16. Just Dance 4
  17. Living in a place where I can have a drink of clean, icy water at any moment 
  18. Nights clear enough to see the Moon
  19. Misty drizzle between rainstorms
  20. Evenings watching cheesy television with the Hubs
  21. Awesome finds at thrift stores
  22. Modern medicine 
  23. Cute sweaters at Target
  24. Successful new recipes
  25. Being married to a worthy Priesthood holder
  26. Having enough friends with new babies that I get to love on one almost anytime I want
  27. Costco
  28. A good haircut
  29. Hot water heaters, perhaps my favorite invention of all time
  30. The peace in my mind when the kitchen is clean
  31. Little kid crushes
  32. Visiting teaching
  33. Teachers who care
  34. Feeling connected to distant friends through social media
  35. Puppy kisses
  36. Neutral nail polish
  37. Shallots
  38. Method mint glass and surface cleaner
  39. Digital photography
  40. The sweet miracle of Indoor plumbing
  41. Salted Caramel Ice Cream
  42. National Park Junior Ranger programs
  43. Everyday moments and remembering how good life really is
  44. Pinterest - how did we ever live without it? 
  45. A reliable vehicle
  46. Bicycle lanes with traffic signals
  47. Daffodils
  48. The smell of fresh baked goods in the fall
  49. Finishing a good book
  50. Having faith in the future 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Squirt Loves Thrifting

Since there was no school today (the last day of Squirt's 5 day weekend) I had some things I wanted to do. There's a new Jo-Ann's nearby that simply HAD to be explored, Aeryn had a free frosty certificate from tooth she had to have pulled last week, and I figured I'd pop into the Goodwill that was right next door just because. Since I had some specific things I was hoping to track down, I let Aeryn look at the kids area for a few minutes by herself. When I came to check on her, she was crazy excited about a pair of rollerblades sitting in the aisle.

Like a typical realistic mom, I checked the size before I responded because frankly, those suckers looked huge for her. They were a men's size 9 which made her little kids size 3 heart a bit sad. Since I'd seen an aisle full of sporting goods I suggested we go double check what was over there. As luck would have it we found a perfect pair of pink and black rollerblades in amazing shape and her size for a whopping $4.99. Since Squirt had her own money with her there was no decision to be made: those rollerblades were coming home with us.

As luck would have it, we got to the register and found that they were the right tag color to be 50% off. Squirt landed a pair of awesome rollerblades for $2.50.

I confess that I wasn't sure I believed her when she said she knew how to use them. Apparently they have rollerblades at school in P.E. once in a while. Knowing her trepidation on skates I was uncertain how they'd go over.

The first lap looked much like the above picture (with about as much movement as you see there too).

Her enthusiasm was pretty contagious.

She kept giggling to herself about how she was really doing it. She finished one lap and even though I thought for sure she would be done with it kept going. Next thing I knew she was at our friends' home saying "look what I got for $2.50!"

By the end of the third lap, she seemed to have the hang of things, at least enough to skate as quickly as I walk. This could be the best $2.50 ever.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Because mom needs something to focus on other than Pokemon...

Aeryn has a five day weekend; two days off for parent-teacher conferences and one day off for Veteran's day. She's been wanting her hair in little braids for a while now, and I promised her that we could do it now. It only took 45 minutes and she is thrilled with it. I wish the braids were smaller and that her hair was longer, but it's pretty fun nonetheless. She picked some silly Pokemon movie to watch while we were doing it and this way I had something else to focus on and spare myself the agony of the movie.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Survived, and surprised (but not really)

Aeryn ended up with quite the stash. It's nothing new, I mean, isn't that half of the point?

We went to pick Jim up from school and had the "I want to go by myself talk" to which Jim and I both said not this year. Then five minutes after we got started making the rounds we met up with some of our friends, Aeryn met up with some of her friends, and it changed into "sure." I think that made her night. Trick or treating without parents right there. Fun for her, sad for me, as now there are no in progress pictures. Oh well, I suppose it was only a matter of time.

Eugene is a little quirky, in case I've not said that before. I'm frequently the only mom who gives out real sugar and things packed in plastic at school parties. I'm still learning how to function in this completely organic and recyclable world while secretly wishing I was Martha. Looking through the stash, Aeryn ended up with cough drops and packets of Truvia. Someone must be highly anti-sugar, forgot to buy candy, or experiencing their first Halloween in the US. Too bad it's something we won't use.


Last night we carved our pumpkins. It was something fun to do while Jim stayed at school until all hours of the night. This term has been a busy one for him. It will be really nice once we get to see each other a little more than just watching one another fall asleep on the couch.

Aeryn picked out her own pumpkin and when we went to carve them she asked why mine was so much bigger. When I said that she could have picked a larger one and could even carve the big one she said "no thanks" and then once again inquired as to why hers was smaller. Oh, children. I'm not the best at coming up with jack-o-lantern ideas so we sat the computer on the table next to us to browse. It took all of 4.35 seconds to find a Hello Kitty template she wanted and a face idea I was willing to modify. Then the de-gooping began.

I don't think anyone truly loves this part of the process.

Aeryn had no fun at all. Can't you tell? How about the orange pulp on her face from where she'd rest her cheek on the pumpkin while yanking out the goop? Cleaning out a pumpkin is a whole body experience.

After I helped her transfer the template to the pumpkin she did all the cutting herself. I've got to say that she was the most focused I've seen her on a project like this. Especially since it sometimes got challenging. The outlines were loosely followed, but it was enough that at the end of it she got really exited and said "It's even cuter than I thought!" Then she attacked it with a sharpie and was even happier.

Yes, mine is pretty plain. I'm sort of a traditionalist that way, or boring, I'm not too sure which :)

It was worth it to see how proud she was of the finished product. This cutie couldn't sit still she was so happy. Can you believe I didn't think to use the *real* camera to get a picture of this? So now all I have of the moment is a crappy phone picture taken in really bad lighting. It's still cute though.

So far we've attended two Halloween parties and I must say, not having to make a costume for her this year has made it so much more fun. Monday I spent the day with my friend Rileigh baking up some treats and we seriously had a blast. I think all holidays should involve silly creative time with friends. On a side note: I'm ridiculously giddy over my skeleton/chalk outline dead people cookies (and the Harry Potter ghost, "granite" headstones made out of fondant, and R's bloodshot eyeballs). I used these ABC cookie cutters and it was awesome to see people at the party really truly believe they had bites taken out of them. Next year maybe I'll make them look like zombies who have lost limbs. Oh, simple joys.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Frankie Stein

After last year, when I finally made a Halloween costume and fulfilled my life's fantasy, I've decided I never need to do it again. Then again, I'm not sure Aeryn wants me to anymore. She is really into Monster High right now and her dad sent her a costume for this year. They looked at pictures on the computer as they were video chatting and narrowed it down to this one. Once my big concern (modesty) was met I gave the go-ahead. Aeryn is in heaven.

In case you aren't familiar with Monster High, the characters are all teenage kids of Monsters - Frankie Stein, you guessed it, is the daughter of Frankenstein. Aeryn has two of the dolls that she purchased with her own money; Lagoona Blue who is the daughter of the sea monster, and Abbey Bominable who is the daughter of the Yeti.

Tonight was the Harvest Festival at her school. Since kids are not allowed to wear costumes to school they do this evening activity to indulge the kids, though it is nothing like the Halloween parties we had at school when I was a kid. There's no foggy dry ice punch, or candy, or anything remotely commercial. There were crafts in the cafeteria, a dance party in the gym, local apple tasting, and a costume parade. The kids had a blast, which makes me think I'm the only one who misses the sugar and the fluff.

Enamored with the wig, Aeryn has begged to wear it to school every day. Since the answer was "no," she's now resolved to do her hair like this in junior high. We have an agreement that once she's in high school she can dye her hair if she wants. I sure do hope this isn't in fashion when we get there.

Happy {almost} Halloween from Frankie Stein!

Friday, October 26, 2012


Here I go again, blogging events I wasn't around for. I'm going to go on a limb and guess the grandparents appreciate the pictures regardless of if I have anything witty to say about them. When Jim was back in Cali, he had the chance to take Ellie to a Halloween party at church with a bunch of their old friends. She made the cutest Supergirl ever, wouldn't you agree? Evidently, Ellie wanted this costume in part because of Aeryn's batgirl costume last year. Ellie had fun wearing the cape and belt around this summer, but I have to admit I think the boots make this costume far and away more adorable than batgirl.

Sometimes this girl's silly faces just crack me up.

She has this super-pose down! There were several pictures of her standing almost exactly like this. I hear she had a marvelous time and ended up with loads of candy. What could be better?
Happy {almost} Halloween, from Supergirl!