Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Today was a pretty good day.  I was a little slow getting going, but I feel okay about that because I still got a decent number of things done.  Like visiting teaching.  On the last day of the month.  Oops.

Ethan and I went for a walk (to do said visiting), and I couldn't believe how warm it was! Did not feel like January.  Although, to be fair, it is February tomorrow.  But still.  I'm a little nervous about how warm it's been because trees and bushes are starting to bud already, and they'll probably freeze.  Of course, this happened last year too, and things seemed to be okay.

Anyway. . .what else did I do today? Hmm. I cleaned the kitchen, which included an impromptu reorganizing of an area that's been driving me crazy.  Does anyone else have those sudden compulsions where you just have to de-clutter and organize, and no it cannot wait thank-you-very-much? I had one last week, too, with Terral's desk drawer. I love opening that drawer now.

I also sewed a little taggy pillow for a little girl who's been under the weather.

Did a bit of laundry, played with my boy, did some shopping, and cooked a fancier-than-normal meal with my hubby. We had Terral's brother and his fiance over for dinner tonight.  We've been meaning to get together for quite a while, so I'm glad it finally worked out.  After dinner we played Qwirkle, which was pretty fun.  I love it when I find a game Terral likes. McKade and Maycie like it too, which is awesome.

Ethan loved having company over, and amazingly he played with Dominos almost the whole time we were playing our game.  He would take them out and put them back in again, making sure none were sticking up funny.  Then, whenever he managed to put the lid on the tin box he would look around expectantly for praise.  Terral said he gets his impulse to organize from me. I wonder. . .who does he get his expectation of praise from? ;) Just kidding, just kidding.

Monday, January 30, 2012


I just got done writing a long post about how excited I was because after a long fruitless search to find ways to earn re-licensure points for my teaching license, I found the perfect solution.  I was just about to hit publish when I decided to check one of the details and I saw that I had misread something.  The course offered hours, not credits.  Which means I'm getting way less bang for my buck than I thought. Pooh.

I knew it was too good to be true.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tea Party

Tonight I went to a tea party.  It was for my sister-in-law Erin's 25th birthday.  I thought it was a brilliant idea.  Especially since she suggested dressing up if we wanted to.  You give me the option, and it's pretty much a given that I will. ;)

There was a whole array of herbal teas, as well as apple cider and cocoa.  My mission in Russia turned me into a tea drinker, so I always like trying new flavors.  We sipped our drinks and supped on cucumber and radish sandwiches whilst partaking in most engaging conversation. It was jolly good fun.

Here are a few (unfortunately less than stellar--I still need to figure out some of my camera settings) snapshots of the evening.

Laura's face absolutely cracks me up in this one.  She was in the middle of a conversation when she suddenly realized there would be photographic proof that she wore that dress.
 Heather is telling a funny story. . .if you couldn't tell.
And here I am with my mother-in-law.  I was a little disappointed when I got home and realized I didn't get a picture of my whole outfit.  It was rather fabulous, even if I do say so myself.  I had gloves and a matching purse and everything.
PS Heather decided this picture should be titled Mrs. Nesbitt.
 Here's the birthday girl opening presents.  Happy Birthday toooo yooouu!
 And here's a random picture of our feet.  Because I decided fancy and incredibly impractical footwear should be celebrated on an occasion like this.

Happy Birthday, Erin! Thanks for making it a fun occasion we could share with you!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Backlog 7

Ethan didn't get a little critter during our reunion, but I had made a larger one for him for Easter.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Backlog 6

Here is the first in a series of posts about our summer family reunion.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Thursday

Ethan and I made sure to go on a walk today, since the weather is supposed to turn colder again.  I think we're both happier when we get to spend some time outside.  Ethan got a double dose since his grandma took him to the park while I was teaching lessons. Have I mentioned before that my mother-in-law watches Ethan for me when I teach?  I wouldn't be able to do it without her, and I love doing it, so I'm very grateful!

While I was cleaning up to get ready for lessons, Ethan found this roll of paper and started "riding" it.  I guess it's time to get his little stick horse out again. :) It made me laugh because we didn't show him how to do it.

Later in the afternoon when Terral came home from a run, Ethan picked up Terral's hat and started putting it on his own head.  I can't believe how old he looks in this picture.

As a side note, Ethan picked out this outfit.  We try to give him choices most of the time, but we don't do it every single time.  Sometimes he doesn't seem to care, but other days he seems rather particular. Today he picked the jeans over a blue cotton pair, and then I held up a green shirt and a blue shirt.  He scorned the options I gave him and grabbed this red from the drawer. :)  He sure knows his own mind.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

It's a good thing. . .

I got some really sweet hugs from Ethan today. It almost made up for him thinking it was morning at 2:30 am. Who am I kidding? It totally made up for it (since we slept until 10 afterward).  Seeing him become more and more affectionate the past month or two has been one of my favorite things.  He's really cute with his stuffed animals.  He has plush bears, and a crochet lamb that he really loves to hug.  The bears seem to be his favorite though.

He likes to look at dogs, whether in real life, on a movie, or in pictures.  And he knows what sound they make, thanks to our neighbors' dogs (there are FIVE behind our house). Hearing him do his little, "arf! arf!" helps me dislike those dogs a *little* less.

Even though he doesn't have very many words, he's getting so much more able to communicate what he's thinking, which is wonderful. He's also understanding what we say a lot more.  He most definitely knows what "bath time" is.  I only have to say it once and he makes a beeline for the bathroom.  Of course, he seems to pick up on the things he likes more quickly. ;)  He pretends he doesn't know what "no" means, but I've got his game figured out.

Was it last week, or the week before?  Hmm. . . can't remember.  Anyway, we've been doing a lot of dancing at our house lately, and he recently started doing a new little dance.  You can see it in this video.

Yeah we have fun with this little guy.  But at night I often repeat to myself, "It's a good thing he's so cute. . . "

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Backlog 5

And now for something completely unrelated : a snippet from our summer.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Winner, Winner

So remember how I mentioned that Terral was presenting as a finalist in a business competition last week?   Well, he got this email today:

Dear Terral;
CONGRATULATIONS! You tied for 2nd place in the Small Business Development Center's 6th Annual Best Business Idea Competition...
We will be holding an awards banquet on February 13th at 6:00 p.m. to present the prize money. . .

I'm so proud of him! He has worked hard to get this little business going, and he has some big plans for the future. We definitely feel like Heavenly Father has blessed our efforts.  

A couple of hours after Terral received this wonderful news, I got a surprising email:

Congratulations, Mary!  You’re the winner of the Wuslu candle holder giveaway hosted on my blog over the weekend.  Yasmin from Wuslu will follow up with you on the details to claim your prize.  Enjoy it!

Although this is of course not nearly as important as the first bit of news, I was still excited! This is the first time I've won something like this.  

Apparently it was our lucky day!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Backlog 4

Here is today's post about our Christmas Tree hunt.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Homemade Toothpaste

I thought I'd do a follow-up post about making your own toothpaste for those of you who might be interested.

As I was looking at various recipes, I ran across this page, which weighs the pros and cons of making your own toothpaste.  The pros are you save money and avoid bad stuff. The cons are you have to research and spend a little time and effort.  I thought that was kind of funny.  It really wasn't difficult at all, although the some of the ingredients are not what most people would have on hand.  I didn't have them on hand until just recently, but I love having them because you can use them for so many things!

Although honey does have sugars in it, which is listed as a reason to not use it in the above link, I decided to add it to my toothpaste not only for the sweetening factor, but also because honey is antibacterial.  This page has a whole list of uses for honey, one of which is diluting it in water and using it as a mouthwash.  Since the honey (and consequently the sugar) doesn't stay on your teeth, I don't imagine it could cause tooth decay.  But I'm not an expert or anything, so take the advice of the first link and do your own research. ;) Other sweeteners I've seen used are stevia and xylitol.

Here is a kind of homemade toothpaste buffet.  It lists options for the basic ingredients of most homemade toothpastes, including several essential oils.  This way you could flavor it any way you (or your kids!) would like.  You should note that not all essential oils are created equal, and for internal use you should make sure the EO is therapeutic grade.

The essential oils are not just for flavoring, this article talks about some of the EO's in the above link (plus lavendar) and how their antibacterial properties aid in preventing dental problems.

So there have it. A few resources for the interested and adventurous.  Let me know if you decide to try it!  Cuz that would be fun. Then we could, like, swap toothbrushing stories and stuff.  Um, yeah.  I'm going to bed now. G'night!

PS Apparently I only had one link in my last post.  I fixed it, so now both recipes are there.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Who Are You, and What Have You Done with Yourself?

That's the question I felt like asking myself a few times today.  It was kind of surreal.  I didn't get up particularly early, but by 2:30 I was pretty much done with all of my "have-to's" of the day.  Dishes done. Laundry caught up.  Bathroom clean.  Living room and bedrooms picked up. Weird.  So I cleaned some windows.  Then I took Ethan on a walk and dropped by a friend's house where we spent a couple hours just because we could.

When we got back, Ethan was acting ornery and tired, so I put him down for a late nap and started making toothpaste.  I've been wanting to try it for a while, and this was the perfect opportunity since our tube had just run out.

I combined elements from these two recipes and went for it. I used baking soda, coconut oil, tea tree oil, and raw honey.  The honey didn't mix in very well, which is maybe why the baking soda taste ended up being rather prominent.  I'll see if I can figure out how to fix that.  In the mean time it seems to work better than the commercial stuff, and I shouldn't have any problems with spoilage since I used honey as the sweetener.

Speaking of teeth, two more just popped out in Ethan's mouth.  That brings the total up to six—two on the bottom and four up top. Crazy kid just keeps growing!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Backlog 3

Go here to see today's backlog about my first creation with a cable stitch.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wherefore art Thou, O Sleep?

I'm exhausted.  I was physically ready for bed at about 8:00, but I still a number of things to do.  I got Little Mister all ready for bed, but my milk supply is low and he's being stubborn.  I at least got the business budget all caught up, but now my mental powers are depleted from lack of sleep, too many numbers, and too many little boy screams.  Wish us luck.  One more day of early morning babysitting.

Oh, and while your handing out luck, think of Terral tomorrow.  He's presenting as a finalist in SUU's Best Business Competition!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Taking Down and Growing Up

Well, my plan for tonight's post was to finally do the Christmas thing, but I started going through pictures and got all overwhelmed and decided I just want to go to bed, so that will have to wait for another day.

Speaking of Christmas, I finally took down the decorations today.  We started a tradition our first Christmas together that we would keep our tree up at least until Jan 13th, which is the Russian Old New Year.  When we can, we throw a little party to celebrate it, but we haven't done it the past couple of years.
I thought about taking most of the decorations down and just leaving the tree up (Russians have New Year trees, not Christmas trees), but decided that would be more of a hassle than just waiting and doing it all at once.

The other notable occurrence of this, the 17th day of January, was that Ethan fed himself cereal with a spoon. And I missed it.  Terral was letting me take a nap because I was up all hours with Ethan last night, but he told me it was pretty awesome.  It's hard to explain the difference, but Ethan is just so much more little boy than baby—even than he was a month ago.   A week's time makes such difference!  A nurse told me that Ethan's rate of growth will slow way down now.  Maybe that's true as far as weight gain goes, but in all other areas, it seems to be full speed ahead!

Now if only I could get myself going that fast.  You know, at stuff like cleaning the house. ;)

Monday, January 16, 2012


We got to hang out with the Browns some more today before they made their way back home.  We mostly stayed at our apartment, but we did venture out to look at the massive landslide up the canyon.  The weather posed a sharp contrast to yesterday's outing—it was freezing!

It's hard to tell if you hadn't seen it before, but I took this picture because it shows how our campsite got obliterated.  We were camping here exactly a week before the landslide happened. (I intend to to a backlog on that trip.)

The road.  It always blows my mind a little bit when I see how the trees are still standing.  It's like half the mountain just relocated.  You know, decided it wanted a little more sun than it was getting up against the cliffs.

K and G next to one of the boulders that skipped its way down.

H kept saying, "This is amazing!" He liked walking through the "maze" of rocks.

We left Ethan's mittens at home, but he was not happy unless he had at least one free hand, so I gave him my glove.  That put a smile on everyone's face. :)

Since Ethan didn't want to be in the wrap, I used it to ward off some of the wind. ;)

We soon hurried home to some hot cocoa for the boys and then lunch.  The rest of the afternoon was spent in relaxed play.

We love having visitors, but it doesn't happen all that often because things can get cramped pretty quick in our little apartment.  Someday we'll have our own home. . .someday. . .

In the mean time, we are very grateful to have family who are willing to put up with us so we can enjoy their company!  Thanks for the fun, Sarah and co. !

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Zion, NP

After church today, we took advantage of the fee free weekend at Zion National Park.  We met my sister Sarah and her family (who were coming from a visit to Kanab) there, and set off to see some sights.

First on the agenda: Weeping Rock

Ethan was rather excited to be out and about.  There was a lot more to look at compared to our last hike.  He didn't even complain about being in the backpack once!

We saw several deer in the park.  Yeah, they own the place. ;)

Then we crossed a bridge to do the bottom section of Angel's Landing.

Mmm. . . sticks are yummy!

They can also be used as guns to shoot unsuspecting passers-by.

 Yay for sisters!

Ethan sure enjoyed having his cousins around.

And we'll finish it off with a shot of the whole group.  What a fun bunch!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Saturday is a Special Day

Today was quite enjoyable.  For one, I didn't have to babysit at 7:30 in the morning, so we got to sleep in a bit.  I also got some cleaning done that I hadn't managed to do earlier this week, and we got to enjoy the sunshine!

We went to the park this afternoon, and it was so nice!  Ethan had a blast exploring everything.

 He did really well walking on the uneven surfaces.  He fell a number of times, but just kept learning and playing. So many new surfaces, textures, and sounds!

Then tonight, just before bed, he kept cracking us up with his antics.  I had rinsed out this little cooler, and he found it with a little water in it and went to town.  He was enjoying it so much I put a little more in and caught it on tape.  Man, I love this little boy!

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Blue Coat

When I was still in high school, my mom bought me a coat (I think it was a Christmas present?) with the idea that I could someday use it on my mission, but when I got my call to Russia, I decided I would need a warmer coat and it was left behind.

After I got home, I pretty much only wore it over a dress to concerts or on an occasional Sunday, which means I didn't wear it very much.  I tinkered with the idea of shortening it so I could wear it more frequently, but I was intimidated by the thought of actually doing it, and it just never seemed urgent, so I just left it the way it was.

This winter I decided that I was tired of having only a brown coat to wear (I lent my black coat that I bought in Russia to someone a couple years ago and they lost it *grr!*), so in November, I determined to forge ahead with the blue coat.

I apologize that the quality of the first photos is so bad.  It was a quick-take-a-picture-before-I-cut-it-up kind of thing.  Terral snapped the "after" pics during Ethan's one year old shoot.  He caught me unawares. So just in case you were wondering, no, I wasn't wearing half my collar up on purpose.

Anyway, there you have it!  I certainly didn't do a perfect job of it, but I'm really pleased with the way it turned out over all.  I wear it all the time now, and makes me feel a lot cuter than the brown coat ever did.  Yes, I do believe this one will be filed under Success.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I swear Ethan is getting cuter every day.  I didn't think it was possible, but he's proving me wrong.  He's got four teeth now, working on six, and the sweetest grin ever.  I've been watching another little boy in the mornings this week, and when Ethan sees him his face lights up and he grins and jabbers and points.  He loves people and always has.

Yesterday, he and I had an impromptu dance session in our living room.  I was jumpin' and twirlin' and groovin' like I do, and he was following me around and laughing.  He's got the walking thing down pat, but jumping is a ways off yet.  Even so, pretty soon I could tell that he was trying to imitate me and he would kind of move from side to side and walk in tight circles like he was trying to twirl.  We danced again tonight (he loves the music from Monk), but this time Terral got to join in. I couldn't believe how close Ethan was to actually twirling.  Didn't he just start trying this yesterday? And then he did something that blew me away. I was bobbing to the music and snapping with both hands.  Ethan was bouncing to the music, paused for a second while looking at me, and then he started trying to snap with both his hands.  Of course he didn't make any sound, but his little thumb was moving across his fingers like no other.  I know, you think I'm silly to get so worked up about it, but it was AMAZING I tell you!  And so stinkin' cute.

I just wanted to record that moment because I have been having so much fun with my little family lately.  My heart is just bursting with love and gratitude.  There's always much that can be improved in life, but really, what can you complain about when you have the most important things? Life is wonderful when you see the good.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ethan: One Year Old Pictures

The day after Ethan's birthday, we took him out on a photo shoot.  It was hard for me to narrow it down (and yes, believe it or not, this is quite narrowed down), but I did it.  So here they are for your view pleasure.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Backlog 2

You can find today's post here.

Monday, January 9, 2012

FHE: Choices

First off, here's a random picture of Ethan's cuteness for your enjoyment. Yay! I took it today while I was sweeping the kitchen floor. (Oh come on, you totally wanted to know that.)

Okay, now I'll get down to business. It was my turn to give the lesson today for Family Home Evening.  Since the Primary theme this year is all about choices and agency, I decided to focus on that.  I was really pleased with the way it turned out.  We had a great discussion about things parents can do to help their children use their agency wisely in everything from picking out clothes to keeping away from drugs.  After the lesson, we sang The Wise Man and The Foolish Man.  It's too bad I didn't record the beginning of the song.  Ethan's reaction was fun to watch.

Afterward, we played a game that tied in loosely.  I'm sure many of you have played it.  There's a penny on a packed mound of flour, and you take turns slicing away at the flour until the penny falls.  The person who caused the penny to fall then has the privilege of fishing it out with their mouth.  It got a little intense, which of course is just another way of saying we had fun with it.  Well, except maybe Ethan, because he didn't get a turn.

I love my family.  And I love this gospel.