Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

I learned an important truth about myself yesterday. While I may make awesome birthday cakes, rock the gift giving and am generally a terrific mom, I am not gifted in creating Halloween costumes.

Someone gave me the idea of dressing Juniper up as a skunk for Halloween - a pretty clever idea, I thought! The execution, however, well...take a look for yourself...

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pumpkin Patch

On Saturday, my fall dreams came true.

A pumpkin patch huntin' did we go!

When we lived in Oregon (sob), we had a tradition every fall of going on the Hood River Fruit Loop. For one thing, it is a beautiful drive through leaves that are every shade of yellow, red and brown. For another thing, we always stop at a beautiful white house for wine tasting, Rasmussens for pumpkin picking and this other stand (I can't remember the name) for apple gathering. For the last thing, it is tradition and it pained my heart to not keep up the tradition this year.

The pumpkin patch we found near Pocatello was pretty darn cute. There was a hay ride out to the pumpkin field, a corn maze, tons of activities for kids and two greenhouses full of already picked pumpkins. This year, we forego the hay ride (Forrest is a tad allergic) and we got our pumpkins from the already picked pile.

We still had fun posing the little girl on the pumpkins, near the pumpkins, etc, etc.

Apparently we are those parents.

We have yet to carve up the large pumpkin, but I let Juni paint her little pumpkin. She lost interest pretty quick, but it was fun while it lasted.

How was your weekend?


Friday, October 25, 2013

Happy Weekend

Do you have fun weekend plans? We have swim class, and I'm crossing my fingers that this is finally the weekend we'll go to a pumpkin patch! Better late than never, right? Then, probably football on Sunday and my parents come on Monday!! Even though it is just for a night, I am so excited to see them.

Not too many links this week, but if you are in a browsing mood, I thought these were interesting:

Men knit too.

Did you know that some women have severe depression from weaning?

Amelia makes me laugh out loud.

The Science of Siblings.


Thursday, October 24, 2013


I wake up to the sound of bare feet shuffling the few steps from our room to the baby's room. Angry cries are contrasted by a gentle, soothing voice and all goes quiet.

A pajama clad baby with hair sticking up on one side joins me under the covers and snuggles in. I breathe in the scent of her clean, baby hair and close my eyes for a few more moments of sleep. But the baby is insistent that now is the time for breakfast, so while she eats I sleepily look at Instagram, Facebook and email.

I can hear and smell the coffee percolating and the eggs cooking. The baby and I stumble out of bed and assume our regular positions in the living room while Curious George and the Cat in the Hat teach us all about bees and how to stay cool when it's hot.

The rest of the morning goes by in a blur with Forrest off to school and the baby off to a nap, but nap. In a flurry of makeup, diapers and outfit changes we are ready to take on the world. Into the stroller goes the baby, sandwiches, peanuts, grapes and cookies. Leaves crunch under the stroller wheels and unknown birds sing in nearby trees and bushes. We find the perfect spot under a large tree with leaves like a carpet underneath.

We wait and then we see him, walking quickly and with a huge smile on his face at the sight of his girls. The three of us settle into each others company and enjoy our feast. Sticky hands demand more grapes while dad patiently teaches how to say "please" in sign language. The smartest girl in the world quickly learns and earns more grapes than she really needs.

A walk home, some play time and then it is time for nap number 2, or is it really number 1? A little bit of effort and the baby is sleeping soundly, covered by the blanket that took me almost 9 months to complete.

The afternoon goes by with dinner prep, cheerios sharing and squeals of laughter. Dad comes home, but then, just like that, he is gone again.

A clean diaper, pajamas and the baby and I cuddle into our rocking chair. Quiet melodies escape from my lips and soon the baby is lulled into a sleepy stupor. With a kiss and a flick of the light, my job as mom is done for the day.

Dishes done and sweatpants on, I cuddle the dog and relax into the evening. A good book, a little Bon Appetempt and Parenthood on NBC.

Soon, Forrest will be home and we'll make some toast while watching an Andy Griffith in bed. Then lights turned low and pillows fluffed, we'll read until our eyes are too heavy to stay open. Lights off and it is finally time to sleep is time to start all over again.

I am so thankful for this life. For the gift of being Juniper's mom and Forrest's wife. I wouldn't change one thing.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Review: Colors by Thierry Laval

I know I just posted a book review yesterday, but when I saw Juniper's expression over the board book Colors by Thierry Laval, I just had to tell you about it.

Image retrieved from here

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Review: Rose Under Fire

I have tried writing this review two times already.

Two unsuccessful attempts.

Third time is the charm, right?


Last year I read this book, you might've heard of it, called Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. When I was a kid and then teen, I read a lot of Holocaust books. Who knows where my fascination came from, but I still (usually) love a book about that time in history. Morbid? Probably. Well, Code Name Verity absolutely blew my mind. The plot twists, emotion and writing style were excellent and left me crying and wanting to read it again right away.

Rose Under Fire is a companion novel to CNV and had quite a bit of expectations to live up to. While not as surprising or gut-wrenching as CNV, I still gave it 5 stars on Goodreads. Why? I'll tell you.

Image retrieved from here

Rose Justice is an American transport pilot working in England during World War II. On her way back from a routine drop off, she gets lost over Germany and then taken to Ravensbruck, a German work camp. She quickly befriends a group of women known as the Rabbits, women who have been physically experimented on. A few of these women become her family and together they fight to survive while hoping to someday escape or be rescued from the cruelty and horrors they face every day

Monday, October 21, 2013

Off to the Zoo

This past weekend we headed over to Salt Lake City to see Forrest's sister, visit with some family friends and go to the zoo! It was so lovely to be around family and so lovely to be in a city again.

As you know, Juniper has been fighting naps for about a week now.

(Update: I failed to mention this earlier, but I'm not trying to force Juniper to nap just for the heck of it. The kid is genuinely tired and genuinely needs to sleep; however, she fights it pretty hard. We're trying to figure out how to help her get the sleep she needs. End of update.)

So, after two failed attempts at a morning nap, we loaded up the van and headed to the zoo to meet our friends, Tom and Jan. Wouldn't you know that the kid zonked out within minutes? Sigh. We let her sleep for awhile in the van but eventually woke her up. Needless to say, she was a little groggy in most of these pictures.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Happy Weekend

Oh, the happiness and love these two have for each other!

Do you have any fun weekend plans? We are headed to Salt Lake City to see Forrest's sister who is there for a work conference. We're hoping to also go to the zoo while we're there and Trader Joe's (yippee!).

In the meantime, here are some fun links around the web!

How good are you at reading people's emotions? Take this quiz and find out!

Could you live in space? Take a look at Karen Nyberg's fascinating interview about what it's like to live on the International Space Station. PS: the rest of the Living with Kids series is fascinating.

And speaking of space, I really want to see the new Sandra Bullock/George Clooney movie, Gravity. Would you see it?

Have you ever read the Hollywood Housewife? I find her life fascinating. Also, her faith journey is really honest and interesting.

I'm thinking I want some straight across bangs. Yes? No?

If I knew how to sew I would so make these baby shoes.

This made me laugh.

Happy weekend, friends! xo


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Review: Shepherd's Pie

Casseroles are easily one of my top ten favorite dinners. A casserole is usually easy to make, everything is in one pan, and cleanup usually involves putting saran wrap over the pan and sticking it in the fridge.

Win. Win. Win.

A while back, I saw a recipe for Shepherd's Pie with Potato, Parsnip, and Goat Cheese Mash on one of my favorite food blogs, Rosemarried. It looked easy enough (I had a newborn at the time) and, more importantly, it tasted amazing.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Happy Baby

I was going to write a book review today, but...

I'm tired - I need to make dinner - I don't feel like it.

Pretty good excuses, wouldn't you say?

Instead of a book review, you get pictures which I think is pretty good deal.

Don't you love how mismatched her fashion is? Just like her momma. :)


PS: Would you rather a recipe review (Shepherd's Pie) or book review (Rose Under Fire) tomorrow? Let me know in the comments! xo

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Faith - why is it so uncomfortable?

I have been thinking a lot about faith recently.

To provide some perspective, my faith story is probably similar to a lot of people: I grew up in the church and grew up believing that Jesus is the Son of God and that by His grace I am forgiven of all my sins. I went to Bible college because I did not know what else to do with myself, and I spent six years studying the Bible. Following graduation, I became rather apathetic about my faith. Honestly, I was confused by all the Biblical training I had received rather than enlightened. So many Christians are divisive about theology, and I did not know what to think about a faith that had seemed so simple when I was 7. I still believed, but I let my faith take a backseat to everything else going on. Only recently have I started making a daily habit of reading my Bible and praying again. I believe that faith is not easy nor for the weak-hearted. Sure, I still have a lot of questions and uncertainties, but I believe that part of what makes faith so beautiful is trust - a trust in God that goes beyond my need for questions answered.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Nap Troubles

This one likes to fight sleep.

In fact, those first nine months of her life made me despair of ever sleeping through the night again.

Thankfully, once she got her own room she started sleeping from 7pm to about 8 am. She'll still occasionally wake up in the middle of the night but she soothes herself back to sleep.

I'm thankful, real thankful.

I need my beauty sleep!

Naps, on the other hand, are still a daily struggle. Her morning nap, usually around 9, is relatively struggle free. She'll sleep anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours. It is the afternoon nap that is the problem.

In fact, the last few days she has not taken an afternoon nap because after 30 minutes of screaming I just couldn't stand it anymore.

I am puzzled. Is she trying to tell me that she only needs one nap? Do kids do that this early? I thought she'd stick with two naps for awhile yet, especially when her morning naps can be so short. Am I not wearing her out enough before the nap? Do I need to let her cry until she exhausts herself - even if that is 30 minutes or (gulp) longer?

I would love your advice! You can leave your sage wisdom at the bottom of this post, and I will be eternally grateful. :)


PS: How was your weekend?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Happy Weekend

Happy Friday, everyone!

Any fun weekend plans? We have yet another swim class on Saturday, and then we'll probably just be puttering around. Forrest has quite a bit of homework, so Juniper and I will probably take quite a few trips to the library and park to give him some quiet.

Here are some fun links around the web!

If you're on Facebook, you've probably already seen how a photographer dressed up her daughter as several famous women in history. I love the Amelia Earhart one - a personal hero of mine.

A Cheez-Its wedding cake. Enough said.

My dream house, in London no less. I also love the interview with Courtney from Babycinno Kids.

Speaking of Babycinno, I'm a tad addicted to their blog.

Even though Juniper is "mostly" sleeping through the night, I found this article about babies and sleep fascinating.

Um, how cute are these leggings?

We had chicken taco salad for dinner the other night, and it was SO good. 

I want to make these pumpkin chocolate chip oat bars this weekend.

Having a baby changes your body, and that is okay and even beautiful. I got so choked up. Make sure to watch the video at the end.

Have you heard of Malala Yousafzai? Her interview with John Stewart is fascinating.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Review: Rainbow People Mover

Last year for Christmas, Forrest and I decided to only get Juniper 3 gifts. Our goal was to find some quality toys that she would love and that would last. Sometimes quality means expensive, which is why we limited it to 3. 

So for Juniper's first birthday we wanted to follow the same approach for purchasing a gift. I did some research (always a librarian) about the best types of toys for a one-year-old and I found this toy, the Rainbow People Mover. The company, North Star Toys, is family owned and all the toys are non-toxic, simple and affordable. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Review: The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

Do you ever have one of those days where you just feel tired?

Me too.

Regardless, I really want to tell you about a book I recently finished called The Cuckoo's Calling.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Party

Juniper turned 1 last Tuesday, but we decided to have her party on a Saturday so that more family could come. While we really missed having this party in Portland with all our buddies, we were blessed to have a lot of family here to celebrate with us. Here are a few pictures from the day!

A photo from every month of Juni's first year. This is still hanging in our window...

 Funny story: I found this tutorial for making a golden number, and I really, really wanted to do it for this birthday (you know, it being her golden birthday). The gold tinsel was ridiculously hard to find and then ridiculously expensive. Not to mention, the smell of it made us feel slightly ill. All for a little decoration. :)

Forrest made the amazing poster. Notice the juniper bush with a golden 1. Pure awesome. 

Monkey Banana Cake & smash cake
This cake is my pride and joy... uh, next to Juniper, of course. Never have I made a cake that was so moist and so stinkin' cute. I found the recipe at Smitten Kitchen, and her directions made the whole process so easy.  Juniper has a dairy allergy, so I made a dairy free icing using almond milk and margarine. It tasted amazing.

This little area had small pieces of golden paper that people could use to write memories, prayers or wishes for Juniper. Then they could clip the wishes to the gold tinsel (getting our money's worth there) with a baby clothespin. 

My dad decorated this amazing onesie.  
Pre-party pretty

Of course, we had beans for dinner. Also, she's started holding her chin like this. Cracks us up.
I wanted to keep the menu simple and affordable. I cooked a large pot of black beans on the stove all day, and then right before everyone arrived I whipped up some homemade cornbread muffins. So the beans wouldn't be too boring, I had shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, avocado, and tortilla chips as toppings. So good!

Time for cake?

Opening gifts


Hmm...what is this?

I'm not so sure I like it...

...but I'll play with it!


After this came the meltdown. It's hard work being the center of attention.

All in all, the party was simple but so special. We had a blast.


PS: Look at Fran eyeing the carnage in that last picture. :)