Monday, September 27, 2010

One, Two, Three...


Once upon a time there was a beautiful Princess named M. She loved to dance, sing, laugh, cook, create, adventure and most of all she loved to play the piano. In fact, the villagers around the castle loved to hear the music the princess would play daily.

Whenever a royal ball was thrown, everyone wanted to attend, knowing that the princess would fill the party with the most magical music their ears would ever hear.

One day, a prince was riding in the woods when he heard the faintest hint of a melody. The prince loved adventures, so he instantly took up the chase to find out where the music was coming from. As he followed his ears he came upon an adorable little kingdom. He could tell the music was coming from the top-most tower of the castle in that kingdom. The closer he came to the music the more his heart raced. He had to know who or what was keeping his soul soaring.

He decided that he had to climb up the tower and go right in. He had no time for royal pleasantries that took hours upon hours. He reached the window and hesitated. He slowly peeked into the room and gasped. There sat the most radiant, most exquisite princess he had ever seen. She was the one creating the music that kept him mesmerized. There was only one thing to do. He leaped into the room with a flourish, bent low to bow when...

"GUARDS!" screamed the beautiful princess.
"No no no!!! Your highness, I didn't mean to startle you. You have captured me with your music and now, your beauty."
Princess M didn't know what to say. So she just cast her eyes down and blushed.
The guards burst in about to attack the prince when Princess M stopped them.
"Wait! It's alright, I was startled and he just wanted to hear the music, thank you for coming so quickly."
Princess M turned back to the prince from the guards and took a breath sharply in as the prince was suddenly right next to her. She giggled nervously.
The prince took her hand and said urgently, you are the one I've been looking for. You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, and your music, your music demands that I listen. I must ask you this. May I give you a kiss? Will you be my princess?
Princess M smiled shyly as she looked up into the prince's eyes and said, yes.

My dear Dauntless Daughter... this is your favorite made up, story I've told you. I figured I should write it down so we at least have a record of the bare bones. You giggle, and smile at the same parts every time I tell it to you. I better record what parts you giggle at. The part about how beautiful the music is when the princess plays it, the part where the prince sees the princess for the first time, the part where the prince is right next to the princess and... of course, the kiss. In fact tonight I told a different part of the story... and you told me, "mommy I like the kissing story." You make me smile my dear.

The other day you even asked me, "who's the prince?" I told you I didn't know. You told me it was your friend T. You are my little romantic... and you have only just turned four! Oh my!

It's hard to put into words everything I feel about you. You are my cuddle bug - so all of my feelings about you are so much easier shared when I hold you. I love koala hugs. I love seeing you walk around sucking your thumb and twirling your bibi. I know, and you know that when you see me and you're doing those two things that I'll instantly open my arms and you will climb in. Please don't grow up. What will my arms and lap do when you grow too big for me?

You have always been my very observant daughter. You know exactly how to get what you want or need. You know I'm a lot easier than Daddy to your wiles. You also know just when to soften Daddy up with your sweetness... timing, you have it down. That goes for your humor. You have it ... and you always makes me laugh.

Lately you've been changing words ... you've "cuteified" them. For example, kickety kick ball, chipety chips, poppity popcorn, cheesy cheese, treaty treats, frenchy french toast, hoppity hop-scotch, clothesy clothes ...

You're only in three day preschool so we have a lot of time together. When we're together I love that you enjoy reading books together, cuddling, cooking, playing pretend, kicking/throwing balls, or your favorite, jumping on the trampoline.

Your mind is incredibly quick. You seem to figure out how things work easily, and enjoy it. You love puzzles, even if it's still me putting them together with you. I love seeing you draw pictures and write your own name. I am thrilled as I hear you rhyme and enjoy words.

You love playing on the computer at Starfall Kids. You enjoy all the fun educational material they have. I love that you want to learn. It is fascinating to see you use the computer so easily. It shouldn't surprise me as you've been playing with my iPhone since... I can't remember when.

You really are my little helper... anytime I start to cook I hear you run over and say, "can I help you cook/bake?" It makes me so happy. You are like me in many ways. There are moments we like to be by ourselves and be quiet. Sometimes I find you in the toy room in front of your doll house playing, talking for your little toys. I eavesdrop, so as not to disturb you. I've learned that when you are singing, make believing or playing on the piano, whenever we focus our attention on you, you get a little embarrassed... you prefer to have us pretend not to notice, or not notice at all....

I love what good buddies you and your sister are. You defend each other. You share, and you think of each other when you get a balloon, or a treat... or a toy. You both also need space from each other, just like grown ups do. It's fun to see how after you've both been at school, sometimes you'll just sit on a bed together and play pretend, or sing to each other. How did I get this lucky?

You are our little one. you were only 18 inches when you were born. Everyone comments on your cute littleness... for my sake, I hope the littleness sticks around a bit longer.

You do have a strong streak. If you don't get your way, you will throw a royal fit. It's usually quite entertaining. This tiny person, trying to enforce her will on me... me? Dude, I'm the boss. You come from a long line of strong, immovable women, so one day this quality will serve you well - for now... ease up... and like I always ask you... "have you ever gotten anything by having a fit?" I love that as soon as you've worked it out of your system... you generally just want to sit and cuddle. This is why I haven't lost much of that weight I gained carrying you for nine months. We do cuddle a lot.

I had a really bad migraine the day before your big party, and the day of your big sister's birthday. I felt so bad that I had to hide in the walk-in-closet to get away from the light. You stayed with me, and then left to play by yourself in your toy room. You were so patient, and you took care of me with your hugs. The next day when we were cuddling, I said, "I love cuddling with you." and you said, "Even when I keep you awake at night and you get bad headaches?" Remember what I told you? I said... "I will love you always, no matter what, forever, just as you are." I would rather cuddle with you and have headaches ...if that would mean we could be cuddle buddies.

I love how you insist, and talk about often, that one day we will be neighbors. That we'll just run in and out of each others' home all day long. I love when you talk about how your babies will have delicious cheeks like yours and that you'll let me kiss them. I love that you tell me that the things I do for you as a mom, you plan to do for your babies. I love that you want to be a mommy.

I hope this year brings you fun and excitement before you begin kindergarten next year. I hope that we have many many moments together before then. I hope I have the nerve to come up with more kissing stories for you, before daddy puts a kibosh on them. I hope you know how much your sister needs you, needs your companionship and love, and how lucky you two are to have each other. I hope you know that Daddy and Mommy are your biggest fans. That we will do anything ... to help you make your dreams come true. I'm your Momma bear... and I will fight for you in any arena. I love you so much sometimes it hurts...but in a good way.

You are my tough little cookie, my stubborn, mischievous, confident, don't mess with me little girl.

We are grateful to have you in our family.

And just so you know...

I will fight off princes for you...

Until the worthy one wins your hand.

Yo. Momma's got your back.

I love you my little one.


ps. What fun adventures should we do today?

Friday, September 24, 2010

One, Two, Three, Four, Five...


My dear Avant Garde Gal. Happy, Happy SIX YEARS!

I totally didn't expect us to celebrate with your first (I hope last) broken limb. If I could've taken it all from you, then place it all on me, I would have done it without hesitation, and gratefully. One day, when you have your own adorable babies (which I will slather with kisses) you will discover how it kills you to see your child suffer.

That quote about how having kids is having your heart walk around outside your body is perfectly accurate in every way. I love you so fiercely.

You have grown up so much. It amazes me to see that your legs keep going and going. You are built like me... except a better version. We have more legs than torso.

My dear, you have always been my little lady. You love to please, laugh, comfort and discover. You are able to absorb knowledge quickly and thoroughly. You have a memory like a pachyderm. You do however have my trait of getting easily frustrated and losing patience quickly. (it's hard when you're a perfectionist) You expect a lot of yourself, and of others. I get that. I totally get that.

One of the things that always makes me smile, is how captivated you are in the moments. Everything is fascinating, cute, special, adorable, or an "aw" moment. It is so fun surprising you with creative meals, projects, adventures because you so thoroughly appreciate them. You have helped me stretch creatively as a woman, more than you know. I love to please you.

You care deeply about others and how they feel. You're learning to overcome caring what they think about you, and guiding your actions based on those thoughts. I have a good news for you - you can overcome that - I did.

You are a prolific author and illustrator. I can't keep track of how many books you've created...and many, so many that rhyme and have rhythm. Your artistic abilities you get from your Daddy. To see your ability to draw, freehand, from your imagination is astounding. You are a priceless gem.

I'll never forget when you asked me about the crucifixion. I started explaining the events, the story, and when I looked up I saw you with tears falling from your beautiful brown eyes. You feel deeply, you love with all your heart and your precious soul is open to the world.

I hope this year you do get to learn what you wrote for back to school night, "this year I want to learn science and magic." I hope that when you discover you are smarter than Mommy and Daddy combined... that you'll be okay with that...I hope that you continue to dream big. I hope that you remember who you are. I hope you know how much God loves and adores you. I hope you know your sister looks up to you and prefers your playful company. I hope you know we, as your parents love you always and forever, just as you are. I hope you know how very unique, special and spectacular you are.

We are grateful you are in our family.

And just so you know...
I would slay dragons for you.

I love you my darling.


ps. I'm off to make your favorite chocolate chip cookies for class... and then get ready... gigantic party ahead.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

ticked off Momma

Many things have been going on.

Avant Garde Gal, my 5YO broke her arm on WED afternoon at the park, after a friend spun the monkey bar wheel she was hanging from. 5YO hates to swing, or go fast... so she wasn't prepared and got scared and dropped. She went in to the ER and they put her under general anesthesia to reset the humorous bone. We then spent two miserable nights in the hospital... where at night we had the most incompetent, negligent nurses. The day nurses were spectacular...and it was literally - night and day.

We are home now. We are exhausted as the nights are hardest for her w/the itching and the, it nigh impossible to get truly comfortable with an arm that's heavier than the rest of her tiny body. It sucks to see her suffer like this... but she is so brave...and tries her best. She is my hero.

I'm also still seething a bit from dealing with the nurses, so anything that I find utterly inefficient, unorganized, or simply poorly planned I will vocalize. Unlike most people who like to pretend things don't bother them, or are too busy worried about their social status to voice real concerns... as I am not, nor ever have been part of the "in" crowd... I don't' give a damn. My philosophy is simply "screw what anyone else thinks. BE real. Be yourself. Stand up for what matters."

Inefficiency, illogical reasoning/actions are a MASSIVE thorn in my side. One of the biggest pet peeves. We should USE our brains. That's why they're in our heads...right?!

This post is my warning to the universe... because...until this slow, steady fire of irritation stops burning... the kick-a first, ask questions later chic is on the case.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sweet Dreams Bed Crasher

For the last two weeks or so my little one, Dauntless Daughter (3 almost 4YO) has been creeping into our room in the wee AM hours of the morning and standing next to my side of the bed. I always wake with a start, groggily, and simply pick her up, while I am still laying comatose, and swing her onto our bed.

This darling DD of mine is a wiggler. She is always in constant motion when falling asleep. She is also the lightest sleeper of my girls. DD prefers to have a limb or her entire body attached to either me or my husband while sleeping. Needless to say, we haven't been getting our REM each night. Last night my husband had a sweet little conversation with the little bed crasher.

Phantom: Why do you come in our bed?

DD: Because I have bad dreams in my bed.

Phantom: You have bad dreams every night?

DD: In your bed I have beautiful dreams.

this picture was taken when she was waiting to use the computer to play on Starfall. She was waiting for me to finish FB/Tweeting/checking email. She loves her sleep.

Sweet dreams little bed crasher.

Monday, September 13, 2010

From Hoping to Doing: TOFW Friday Night

We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul--We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things. (13th article of faith)

Wish this wood installation was hanging in my home. Instead it hangs in the Sacramento Convention Center.

Last year at Time Out for Women (TOFW) I was so inspired (post one and post two)and so grateful that I wanted to give something back to the speakers. Unfortunately I didn't have the foresight back then. So I committed that this year I would go prepared with treats for the speakers. Making food for people is one of the ways I share my love and appreciation.

My friend the Greek Goddess (center) flew up from LA to visit and attend TOFW with me!

So... I made cake pops - pumpkin cake pops for each of the presenters.

Like last year, I was inspired, moved and pumped up to continue to keep my heart full of hope and to work step-by-step to accomplish those hopes.

Friday night at TOFW always includes powerful, entertaining speakers and performers....

QS, Jenny Oaks Baker (center) and Greek Goddess

I had the pleasure of attending TOFW last year and Jenny Oaks Baker, a masterful vioilinist, adorable pixie and loving mother entertained us, moved us with her music, and regaled us with her humorous stories.

This year she said:

We never know how our weaknesses and imperfections can help someone.

Don't shy away from difficult things - just means we need to turn to God.

Ardeth Kapp and QS (see the cake pop?)

Ardeth Kapp was one of the most influential General Young Women Presidents - she is a woman of grace, and when you're around her you can feel her love. She radiates truth, goodness and joy.

At TOFW she said one woman is helpful, 10 women are influential, 100 women are powerful and 1000 women are invincible. Righteous women have incredible influence - we have a noble calling.

Sister Kapp also referenced Elder Ballard's inspired talk Women of Righteousness, specifically this quote:
More than ever before we need women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity, as the Relief Society declaration proclaims. We need women who can hear and who will respond to the voice of the Lord, women who at all costs will defend and protect the family. We don’t need women who want to be like men, sound like men, dress like men, drive like some men drive, or act like men. We do need women who rejoice in their womanhood and have a spiritual confirmation of their identity, their value, and their eternal destiny. Above all, we need women who will stand up for truth and righteousness and decry evil at every turn and simply say, “Lord, here am I, send me.”
I also love how Kapp said, "Hope is reflected in our vision of the future. ...It is never foolish to hope. ...Look forward with hope and optimism."

I loved hearing what she said about hope, optimism and the vision of the future. I don't get jealous. I don't see the point of it anymore. I used to, as a kid, a teen... I've just learned little-by-little over many years how to overcome that weak trait. After listening to Kapp I realized it's because of my hope, that I often think is a bit of naiveté. When I see other people have opportunities to travel or live abroad - I don't find any envy or bitterness in my heart. In fact, I get really excited for them, and can't wait to learn about experiences. I feel that way because I have that hope that one day, some day in the future, that that will happen for me. Hope is powerful. It brings joy, peace and anticipated excitement for each new day.

Kapp was giving her talk and lost her place for a moment. She was adorable as she said, "I have a photographic memory, but not the same day delivery." heheheheh She is the type of lady I would hope to be like one day. Full of joy, faith and a perfect brightness of hope. She has never been able to have children of her own. When she was first married people asked her if she had any children and her response was "not yet." Now that she's in her golden, elegant years, people still ask if she has children, her answer is still "not yet". I have to say, with the years of service and creating the YW program and the inspired theme - she has children... wonderful young women who have grown into righteous women and mothers.

Kapp also shared how important it is to include constant prayer in our lives. We need to be on guard. We are refined, strengthened and sanctified daily in our trials. "Hope is a catalyst for change and repentance."

Kapp quoted Elder Todd Christofferson:
"In times of distress let your covenants be paramount and let your obedience be exact."

Kapp also quoted Pres David O. Mckay about our influence:

As individuals, we must think nobler thoughts. We must not encourage base thoughts nor low aspirations. If we do, we shall radiate them to others. If we think noble thoughts, if we encourage and cherish noble aspirations, there will be that radiation when we meet people, especially when we associate with them.

Every man, every person radiates what he or she is. Every person is a recipient of radiation. The Savior was conscious of this fact. Whenever he came into the presence of an individual, he sensed that radiation, whether it was the woman of Samaria with her past life; whether it was the woman who was to be stoned, or the men who were to stone her; whether it was the statesman, Nicodemus, or one of the lepers. Christ was ever conscious of the radiation from the individual, and, to a degree, so are you, and so am I. It is what we are and what we radiate that affects the people around us.

As it is true of the individual so it is true of the home. Our homes radiate what we are, and that radiation comes from what we say and how we act in the home. No member of this Church, no husband or father, has the right to utter an oath in his home, or ever to express a cross word to his wife or to his children. By your ordination and your responsibility, you cannot do it as a man who holds the priesthood and be true to the spirit within you. You contribute to an ideal home by your character, controlling your passion, your temper, guarding your speech, because those things will make your home what it is, and what it will radiate to the neighborhood. You do what you can to produce peace and harmony, no matter what you may suffer.
One more note about Kapp. When my sister was a young woman, she attended a conference where Kapp spoke. After the conference my sister talked to her and post-conference my sister corresponded with Kapp via post. I always found that story incredible, that a woman as busy as Kapp was, would take the time to share her precious time and love with a young woman. As I'm working on this blog post, I checked my email to find a sweet email from her. Naturally, reading her sweet words, I could feel her radiating her love. I am in tears. She expressed gratitude to me. Me?! I hope I can be like her one will take many, many steps to reach her ability and wisdom...but I'll keep hoping. I love her because despite the trials and challenges she has encountered in her life, it is so obvious that she is a happy person.

John Bytheway and QS (now it's a game, find the cake pop...)

Growing up my Mom bought tons of John Bytheway audio tapes of his talks. We found events he spoke at in the Bay Area and traveled to them just to hear him speak. He was single for a long while before he met and fell in love with Kim. As fans we followed him through his journey, and he shared humorous, wise insight along the way for us.

When my hubby and I were dating and first married we both listened to his talks. In fact, I purchased John Bytheway's What We'd Wish We Knew When We Were Newlyweds book.

In the book he talks about how he and his wife come up with a nonsensical word, "sternfalter" to be the final truth word when it came to expressing their feelings and actions. For my husband and myself, we'd have issues making decisions. We'd go out to dinner and both wanted to let the other person choose, we cared more about the other's preference than our own... with "sternfalter" we were able to assess truthfully how we really felt. Silly, but effective.

Bytheway began his talk with a quote from Sister Patricia Holland:
"If I were Satan and wanted to destroy a society, I think I would stage a full blown blitz on its women. I would keep them so distraught and distracted that they would never find the calming strength and serenity for which their sex has always been known. He has effectively done that, catching us in the crunch of trying to be superhuman instead of realistically striving to reach our individual purpose and unique God-given potential within such diversity. He tauntingly teases us that if we don't have it all- fame, fortune, families, and fun- and have it every minute all the time, we have been short changed; we are second class citizens in the race of life. You'd have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to get these messages in today's world, and as a sex we are struggling, and our society struggles. Drugs, teenage pregnancies, divorce, family violence, and suicide are some of the every-increasing side effects of our collective life in the express lane."

Bytheway also shared Alma 29:14, 16 - How do we react when others do well?

14-But I do not joy in my own success, but my joy is more full because of the success of my brethren, who have been up to the land of Nephi.

16-Now, when I think of the success of these my brethren my soul is carried away, even to the separation of it from the body, as it were, so great is my joy.

This is now one of my fav scriptures. I totally agree with what Alma has to say.

Find someone who knows how to be content. -Smurthwaite

Let our spirit take the Lead. - Wendy Watson Nelson

Sin makes you stupid and it costs a lot too. - Sheri Dew

Bytheway challenge:
-for five days pray for the Holy Ghost to be with you
- throughout the day in the midst of anything difficult, pray for the spirit to be with you

Having the gift of the Holy Ghost trumps any Internet filter. - John Bytheway

Tell yourself, "I think I'll be delightful today..." - John Bytheway

Usually marriages go through the appreciate/expect/demand stages.
Let us oft speak kind words to each other.

"Never let our spouse, kids wonder what it would be like for us to say kind things about them." - John Bytheway

"Valuable diamonds shine vastly brighter against a dark background." Pres James E. Faust to the youth

"When we trust Him, our questions change." John Bytheway
That was the first day... and it was marvelous. Plus, I got to host my sweet friend the Greek Goddess and her delicious son at my home this past weekend. I should also mention, I returned home to find my house sparkling like a palace. My heroic husband detailed the house while taking care of my girls (who missed me...yay!) and cleaning up the backyard... all in the space of only six hours. I love that man.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I'm attending Time Out for Women Infinite Hope tour.

I love these Friday and Saturday spiritual cram highs. This is my third year attending... and I love it. It rejuvenates me. It beckons me to change and do better.

Friday night - phenomenal. We were moved by the magical hands of Jenny Oaks Baker as she expertly manipulated the violin. I was inspired and touched by the joy and sincerity of Ardeth Kapp. We laughed and committed to change with John Bytheway.

I love good people. Good people inspire me. Good people seek change, hope and continue to look up.

There's so much I have learned and am learning. I'm busily tweeting it all and writing down notes, scripture references, and quotes I will need to look up.

I'm most grateful to my husband. He made my home shine, so that when I walked through the door this evening, I felt like I was walking into a sparkling palace. He is also the kind of man who encourages me and let's me fly. I am so lucky to have a hero like him. Some women are attracted to power, authority, position. I'm turned on by a man who cleans, a man who is tender with his daughters, a man who loves me just the way I am. Dang... my man is whoo-whee! HOT!


At the very start of the conference last night they asked us to write down a list of what we hoped for. My list is growing...

What do you hope for? Go write it down... because hope is priceless.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Curls, Cake Pops and More Bento

Happy Friday!!!
Here are things that are making me smile...

Curls brought to you by those old-school sponge curlers.

AGG has less thick hair ...that's a bit less thick than mine. My hair holds curl like Medusa. So AGG is lucky in that respect. Her curls will last a couple days.

DD has fine hair. Not quite as fine and thin as her father's, but much more fine than AGG. So her hair... usually as soon as I use a curling iron the curls fall right out. Luckily the sponge curlers help them last a couple hours.


So I happened to have to volunteer at AGG's school for their art program, and needed a kind, and trusted friend to watch DD. I figured, I was already making one bento-styled lunch, I would make another one for DD to share with my friend's daughter.

This lunch included a pumpkin and moon raspberry sandwiches, hot dogs, apples, cheese, blackberries, blueberries, grapes and a plum. I also included a few crackers from Trader Joe's.

I bought these Ziploc boxes in a bulk pack with other sizes of plastic ware from Costco. Cool. (ps. I HEART COSTCO)

This bento-styled lunch I was so excited about... it has a hand and foot cut out sandwich. The sandwiches were strawberry cream cheese with sliced strawberries, four slices of turkey and blueberries and grapes. When AGG returned home, she had one bite out of a sandwich, and eaten only the turkey. I think she's getting bored.


I am currently on a Scarlett's Sweets - cake pop spree. I am in love with them. They are going to be my signature gift for the rest of this year. I'm doing them for gatherings, birthdays, parties, and Christmas. For those that live near me... you are warned... the cake pop storm is gathering. Below is my second batch, which turned out a lot better than my first. My first batch was WAY too sweet.

I've been following the fabulous blog Bakerella for a few years now, and she's coming out with her first book! I have been meaning to try cake pops, but just had been totally obsessed with cupcakes for the last year or so... now I'm totally on board.

They take time, but are simple and so much fun to make.

ps. AND tonight... tonight I get to go to TOFW and my lovely friend the Greek Goddess flew up from LA and is going to hang with me this whole weekend! YAHOOOOO!!!!