Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Have you thought about your new-year's resolutions yet?
I have seen a whole lot of people wanting to get fit- but that's pretty standard.
I have seen a whole lot of people wanting to do better things with their money.
I have seen even more people who seem to have no idea what to do with their lives.

Every new year I ask myself a few questions:
What did I do really awesome last year? And do I want to continue to do that?
What did I say I would do but then forgot about?
What is a new thing I can work on?

My dear friend chooses a theme for her family each year. She has her new theme up and going already.
And that inspires me to share with you my family's "theme" for this year.

Last year, I used the quote: "Fix it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or Do without". That worked very well for us. I learned to use what I had and re-purpose a lot of old things into new things. That will be my "keeper" quality from last year.
I said I would make it to the temple EVERY MONTH, but then things were not as awesome in the summer, and truth be told, I think I made it 50% of the time.
That's clearly not good enough.
So, I am re-committing to making temple attendance a priority.

My new thing to work on is:

Here's the skinny. My kids won't eat.
Well, they won't eat anything that is remotely good for you. I may have mentioned how difficult it is getting them to eat anything.
So, that's my project this year.
I realize this will take planning and probably a lot of food prep.
But I think I can do it.

Step 1:
We have a fresh veggie tray out on the dinner table everyday before dinner right around 5pm when they get all hungry. That way, we can get more veggie in them, they can be raw and hopefully that will help them be a little more adventurous.

Disclaimer: I was a picky eater when I was a child, but I don't think I was ANYWHERE NEAR the level my own kids have achieved.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Christmas Letter

The Daily Christmas Letter- 2011

This year has been a wonderful blessing! We have done some neat things and have a few highlights from our year to share with you.
Drue: In February, Drue traveled to Kearney, NE to present his work Brass Quintet at the New Music Festival X. His music was well-reviewed and he landed a gig in San Francisco in July, where another group performed 5 short movements from his Trio. Scholastically, this year has been very difficult and we are pleased to share with you that he is officially ABD (all but dissertation). This means he can apply for jobs- and that makes me very happy.
Ashley: In April, I ran a Half-Marathon (13.1 miles) in Olathe, Kansas. It was a great experience and I’m beginning to train for it again this winter! In addition to running, I teach gymnastics at the local YMCA, teach Yoga, teach piano and conduct the Primary music. I also went to Girl’s Camp this last summer and it was fantastic!! I’m really looking forward to going back! We moved houses and while that was difficult, it was worth it.
James: This big boy is now in kindergarten! It’s hard to believe but it’s true. He is doing very well. This year, James learned to read (and he’s great!), learned to ride a bike without training wheels (on the first try too!), learned how to swim underwater and hold his breath, and is growing like a weed! He had a great time with BOTH sets of grandparents this year, and went to the beach for the first time ever.
Oliver: Continuing the year of learning, Oliver learned how to talk- and he’s very good at it. He also grew up enough to start riding a bike which he loves. He’s still not a fan of swimming- in fact, he get’s really mad when he’s forced to just try it, but he loves being around his big brother and wrestling. Oliver started a little pre-pre-school this fall and he LOVES ‘going to school’.

We had a blessed 2011 and wish you all a safe, happy and abundant new year- 2012!

Merry Christmas,
Drue, Ashley, James and Oliver Daily

Saturday, December 24, 2011

In which we learn that I am a genius.

No, seriously.

Problem: Your 5-year-old has been trying to eat ALL the gingerbread house by himself. He keeps breaking off pieces of frosting and saying, "Look! This piece of frosting broke off all by itself!" To which I reply, "Well, I guess you had better eat it." This happens many many times.

James was looking forward to making the gingerbread house all year. Whenever I mentioned christmas, he would always ask if we were going to make a gingerbread house this year. I always answered affirmatively. So, when it was time to build the gingerbread house, he was well prepared and excited to help this year. "Help"being the usable term for "eat all the candy before it gets put on the house". It was funny and so I let him eat a bit.
This may have been a mistake.

So, I came up with the most brilliant way of getting rid of the gingerbread house without permanently scarring my kindergartener by throwing it out right in front of his face.

I made up a story.
It goes like this:
On the night before Christmas Eve, Santa Claus travels around the whole world with his reindeer going from house to house to get food. The only food reindeer can eat the day before christmas is gingerbread houses. It's the only food that gives them enough sugar-power to get them around the world, delivering Santa and his sleigh for one whole night. So, on the night before Christmas Eve, we leave out gingerbread houses with a note for Santa to give the sweets to Rudolph and the rest of the reindeer, and maybe he'll leave a note for you!

With a little help from me, James wrote a note to Santa explaining that our gingerbread house was for Rudolph. We left it on the table and J went to bed.

Imagine his surprise this morning when his gingerbread house was gone and there was a NOTE FROM SANTA saying thank you for the gingerbread, Rudolph really liked it, and to be a good boy.
I've never seen a child so excited. His face went from confusion to "OH!!!!!!!"in under 5 seconds. Then he ran to me and was jumping up and down, giving hugs and kisses and was wriggling with excitement- like a puppy would. It made his morning. It made mine too:)

He wrote another note to Santa:
Mery cherismas Santa chllohs. I (heart) you.

Definitely a happy morning for sure! I can't wait to see his reaction to the presents Santa brings him tomorrow.
Major plus: I don't have to sorry about that silly gingerbread house anymore! Hooray!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

When life gives you lemons

go shopping ASAP. Retail therapy almost always works wonders.
So, I did.

Here's what I bought:

It's my big christmas gift this year from my wonderful Aunt.
It helped me feel not quite so sad.
A bit.

Here's what I love about it:
Solid Oak. Can you say "sand and paint" or "sand and stain"?! Or maybe just keep it that warm honey color. It kind of matches my project armoire.
The chairs are solid too.
Turned legs.
HIDDEN LEAF. Not a take-out-and-store leaf, my leaf is hiding under the table top!!! Sneaky sneaky, table.
Bigger. A lot bigger. So, I'm not bumping elbows with kids/guests.
When the leaf is in, two people fit on each long side! So, if more kids are born, we'll have room for them.
Round corners and beveled edges. Child-safe.
And did I mention it was a KILLER DEAL??! 

So now, we have a beautiful table on which to serve you all a delicious dinner.
Chicken Tikka Masala, anyone?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Why I'm Not In Canada Right Now.

I had the most horrific experience today. As a matter of fact, I'm still sobbing my head off about it.

A word to the wise: do NOT try to "save money" by getting the passport card.
It will NOT get you in an airplane to go see your family for christmas in Calgary.
It will NOT even get you through the gate in Omaha.
It will NOT listen to your pleas to the ladies behind the counter, to the person on the customer service phone, to the congressman of your district to see if he can do anything for you, and it will NOT comfort you as you shed tear after tear because after all you have done- it's still not enough.

So, do me a favor.
Don't ask me how Canada was. I will not have an answer except for bursting in to tears- and that will be awkward for both of us.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Off to Canadia

Dear two people who read my blog,
I am going to Canada tomorrow morning.
I will return.
With pictures.
And stories.
But mostly with priceless memories.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day #33-#37: Before and After

Moving is the worst. Why don't I EVER seem to remember that?!
I always get excited about moving.
A time to cull through the accumulated crap of a few years spent in one place.
A time to go piece by piece and evaluate the worth of every pen and pin.
Did it serve it's purpose this year? Did I use it even once?
Did I even know I had one of those?
If the answer is ever 'no', then out it goes!
But when the answer is 'yes'.... well, things get cramped quick.

 Lovely, isn't it? 
I honestly thought I was going to LOOSE my MIND.
The boys thought it was hysterical to remove all the things I had carefully packed and use them as weapons/bouncy things/missiles.

Then, we moved all the stuff from one tiny place to a MUCH bigger place.
I feel like a grown-up.
I have a Master Suite with a bathroom AND walk-in closet that connect only to MY bedroom and not to any adjacent hallway.
I have another whole bathroom for the convenience of everyone else.
I have an extra 2 feet of head room- because I now have 12-foot ceilings.
You want to come stay with us because you happen to be passing through Nebraska?
Fine! I have an extra 400 square feet to oblige you.
And a very comfy sleeping bag.

The Living Room from the boy's hall, in front of the laundry room. Notice my stockings hung on the wall? Yeah, we don't have a fire-place.

The Living Room from the front door. Do you see my crown moulding? Looking at the laundry room doors, to the left is the boys room, to the right is the boy's/visiting bathroom. It's huge. Like, waste-of-space huge. I love it. But the toilets are low-flow and the pressurized water flush has a very loud "WHOOSH!!" sound that scared the pant off of James the first time he used it.
It was both sad for him and very very funny for us.

The Dining Room off to the immediate left of the Living Room. I've got a project going on that Armoire with the Nutcrackers on it. It might be done in 10 years. We'll see.

The Kitchen to the right of the Dining Room. I LOVE THIS KITCHEN FOR THE COUNTER SPACE. You can't see it in the photo, so come over already and I'll make something delicious for you.

My bedroom looks EXACTLY like I remember my parent's room looking for my ENTIRE LIFE. Clean laundry on the bed, separated in to piles that will eventually be moved not to their destination, but to the floor of the room so the inhabitants can slumber. Did you notice the sleeping bag?
James is back to sleeping in my room.
It's been tough on that poor guy.
But last night he slept in his own room until 6am this morning when he came booking it into mine. And just because I told you that, he'll be in my room tonight at midnight. Awesome.

The view of 'The Office'. I wish I had a cool theme song to play here. But no.
Big picture will be hanging here soon. But I need to hit up Home Depot for a wall-anchor.

I'm not sure if you noticed this amazing piece of home decor in the earlier picture of the living room, but I just HAD to show it off!
My dear friend made this for me for my birthday. Isn't it beautiful?! It's made of old sheet music!!!! So, you know, it's PERFECT for the music nerd family. And truly prodigious in dimension! It's almost 3 feet in diameter. Yeah, my dear friend loves me that much.

And here's the nook. When the christmas season is over, a bookshelf will occupy that place on the wall and I will have what I've always wanted: a library. Or at least a place to sit and read. Wing-back chairs are my new obsession.

I would have taken you through my closets and bathrooms, but some things need to remain a mystery. Amen and amen.

ps. Do you love my tiny tree? Big ones are expensive and I'm poor cheap frugal. So take that, consumerism!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Day #32: The Shopping List

Here is James' shopping list:

I'm not really sure why there seems to be so much meat on that list- even including the word 'meat'!- because we don't eat much of it, and James won't touch it with a yard-stick, but there you go. A full 60% of what's on this list is stuff he refuses to eat.  Maybe you can get him to eat. I sure as heck can't.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

for your musical entertainment.

You need to see this.
Carl Orff is rolling in his grave with laughter.
I am still chuckling.

The first is for my fam-damily in Canadia.
The second, because it's funny.

And I love funny.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Day #31: James spells

This is too funny not to share.
J is in Kindergarten and he loves it. He's a pretty advanced reader- for a 5 year old- and is also pretty good at spelling.
Here are some 'c' words in the original spelling:

Day #27-30: continuing

We moved!
I'm sending out our new address today so you all can update your christmas card mailing list. I think this year we are going paperless. Unless I hear a public outcry in the comment section. Then I might think about sending REAL cards.

We moved and we have almost doubled the amount of living space we had in our old place.

We moved and I have NO idea where some important things are.

We moved and I feel like a grown-up: I have a master suite. Bedroom, bathroom and huge walk-in closet all connected together. I. have. arrived.

We moved and I haven't had my bed to myself since. The boys are not acclimatized to their new surroundings. Especially James. He's having a very difficult time with this. We are actually back to using a sleeping bag on the floor next to my bed. BUT. I am getting sleep. Now if only Oliver would stay in his bed...
Guess I know what I'm asking Santa to bring me for Christmas.

We moved and I decided that baby gear is not something you want to drag from house to house with you. Ergo, I'm selling my double stroller, jumparoo, swing, exer-saucer, bouncy chair, and a few other things on craigslist. I hope someone wants them because I surely do not.

As SOON as I have everything in it's right place (double bonus points if you can name the band with a song of that title), I'll post pictures.