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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

I haven't finished any new projects of late, It's hard to get motivated to do stuff like that when it's so wet and cold outside.  It is however, perfect weather to read a book. Of which I have been doing plenty.

Abigail has discovered her tongue this week. It is out pretty much whenever her pacifier is out.  Sometimes it is just cute and little, other times it is out as far as she can stick it.

We are also teaching her to be bilingual, as evidenced by this video:

What language is she learning? German, of course! Can't you hear those beautiful gutteral sounds!

Abigail was a pink leopard this year.  I'll post a picture later when I get around to it... maybe...

Happy Halloween everyone!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

24 on the 24th

I love my birthday.

Ever since I was little and knew what they were, birthdays have been the highlight of my year.

This year I am celebrating my golden birthday. Which basically just means that I have a reason so celebrate more than usual.

This year I am happy that no one is in the hospital or currently undergoing radiation therapy.

I was sung a special song by my baby eel this morning.  And, then I changed her diaper, because while it may be my birthday, babies have to do what babies have to do.

I got a lovely Amazon gift card from a cherished coworker. Seriously Jess, you rock.

I had an inbox full of Facebook well-wishes. (By the way, I think Facebook is like the best birthday card ever).

Besides dinner with my family this evening, I have no plans. Which means I can read books, play on my computer, or do whatever I want.

Thank you to everyone who came to my birthday party on Friday night. It was a blast. I made a fantastic Beef Bourguignon that was based on this recipe.  (warning, it is a rather labor intensive dish, but so very worth it).

I also made a Garlic Artichoke dip that from Our Best Bites that was very well received.

Thanks to all my friends and family who have made the last 24 years unique and special. Eat a Reese's today as my treat to you.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cutie Patootie

I can't get enough of this cute baby.

In the last week, she's become particularly, shall we say, active? I'll just say that it's been fun to see her personality develop.  The sudden need to wake up several times a night, not so much fun.

A word of warning if you come to visit though, you will be subject to intense scrutiny. Blood relatives are not exempt.

Baby eel puts all that enter the house through a series of tests. No amount of smiling, silly faces or noises will make her crack a smile until she determines that you are worthy of her affection.

I don't know where she gets that from.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Kitchen Table and Chairs: Mission Complete

Once I get started on projects, it's hard to stop.  So, as promised, here's what I've been working on.

Remember, oh, like a year ago when I redid my kitchen table?


Remember how I refinished my kitchen chairs? No? Oh, that's right. I never finished.
Truth be told, I lost steam with the project after I spent hours sanding my fingers to the bone.  The chairs sat in my parent's garage languishing. I can only imagine how lonely they felt.

No longer. They are finished.

To refresh your memory, this is what they looked like before:

I had completed all the sanding on all the parts of the chairs, and even had put together two of the chairs and stained them and everything.  The problem was the caning in the seats and the backs. It was broken, and so I pulled it all out. I had planned to put leather in the seats and stretch it really tight in place of the caning. But, I'm not an expert leather worker, and the task seemed very daunting.

So, my mom called a few weeks ago and said, "Emily, let's finish your chairs."  So, we did.

This is what they look like now.  I had bought a leather hide on ebay for like $50 about a year ago.  I got some particle board from my grandpa's house and cut it to fit the seats. I took a 1.5" foam mattress pad that I bought at a yard sale for $2 and cut it to fit as well. Then, we did some stapling and voila! There's the seat!

This is what the set looks like now.  I really love it. The chairs and table are solid wood, which is fantastic, and the leather is really comfortable. And I can finally stop using folding chairs at our table.

One other thing that I haven't quite figured out is what to to with the backs. There is a groove where the caning was, and it needs some sort of trim. I bought some ribbon trim stuff and glued it to one of the chairs. I'm trying to decide if I like it enough to put it on all of them.

What do you think?

By the way, I'm sorry the pictures aren't very good, but this room doesn't ever get very good light, and especially not in the winter.

In the third picture of the before chair pictures, you will see a seat. I didn't use them in the final product. Wonder what I did with them? I'm so glad you asked.

They got transformed into picture frames.  And, I made some custom silhouettes to go inside.

They were super easy. Basically, I got some pictures of our family that I loved, and Daniel used his awesome computer skills to turn them into silhouettes.  We printed them out and I used a secret combination of scissors and exact-o knives to cut them out.  I bought some poster paper, glued the silhouettes to them, and staples the paper to the frame. The end.

I've still got more projects to come, so stay on the edge of your seat.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Babies are like parrots.

Since Daniel has been home for most of baby eel's young life, he has been the one to feed her.  In order to get her to eat, he would say, "Yummmm..." every time she swallowed. It has since evolved into this:

It is one of the funniest things I've seen, and I get a kick out of it every single time.  She is so very polite and I am very proud of the habit she has formed.

Baby eel is now 7 months old.  She can sit up, babble, sing, and loves to eat.  She is very good at playing by herself.  I can sit her in the living room with a bunch of toys and leave the room without her protesting in the least bit.  She loves baths, especially if there is a rubber ducky.

I get this strange desire to do crafty things in the Fall. In the last 10 days I have made new curtains, finished my dining room chairs, and made some pretty adorable baby legs:
Update: Now she's awake and wearing them

I'll have pictures of the curtains and chairs sometime tomorrow, along with some really awesome yard sale finds.  I've got another project in the works that should be finished tomorrow as well.  Then, that will be the last of the really big DIY projects this year.  I think. Okay, probably not.

Watch for a nice big post tomorrow with pictures of all the fun projects that I've been working on.

Disclaimer: I do get Columbus Day off tomorrow from work. This is one of the many "perks" of working for the Federal Government. No, I don't know why Columbus Day is a federal holiday, but I am extremely grateful for it. The end.

Friday, October 1, 2010

When bargain shopping goes too far

Over the last week or so, I've been selling some of our extra things on craigslist and  It's a great way to get rid of clutter and make some extra cash.

When I list my stuff, I go for the lowest amount I'm comfortable with, and then usually stick firm. I want the stuff out fast with the least amount of inconvenience to me.

Which is what makes this story I'm about to tell you so ridiculous.

Daniel and I bought a laser printer for $40 back a few months ago. I decided to sell our inkjet printer/scanner since we weren't using it, and it was taking up space. I've got a scanner at work that I can use if necessary. I listed it for $15, since it didn't have an ethernet cable or ink.  I even offered to bring it into Provo with me. Everything else I'd sold I'd brought in with me, and the buyer would meet me at work.

So, I get this email from this guy who is interested in the printer. He said that he was partially disabled and would try to scrape together the money.  I said that that was fine, and when he had the money to let me know.  I can appreciate people not having money for things, but if you don't have the money for a printer, do you really need it? Plus, I felt like $15 was a good deal for the printer either way.

He emails me back and asked if PayPal would be an acceptable form of payment. I said that would be fine, as long as the transaction takes place with me there.  So, I got his address and said that I would stop by after work. He asked that I call him about 5 minutes before so that he could be sure to be there when I showed up.

I show up at his house, and he is sitting in his garage with the door open with a computer on a desk. And I'll tell you that if this guy is disabled, I'll sell you the Brooklyn Bridge or however that saying goes. Well, he wanted to plug it in and make sure it worked right then and there. I said that was fine. So, he plugs it in and scans a picture. It works. Then he says that he wants to print something.  I said that it didn't have any ink. (Which I had mentioned when he first said that he wanted to make sure it worked).  Well, he said, "When we communicated before, I was under the understanding that it had ink." I said, "I never said that." Basically, had I known he would try it out before he would buy it, I would have not sold it to this guy.

Then, he said, "Would you take $10 for it?" I said no way. I would rather take it home and use it as a scanner. The $15 price is firm.

So, after much pain and anguish, he did the paypal transfer. (Which, by the way, only came through for $14.62 anyway, not a huge deal, but he did charge me for the paypal transfer which kind of makes me mad.)

I understand wanting to get a good deal. And heaven knows I love to haggle. But, I would never ever make someone sit at my home for 45 minutes while I try out a piece of $15 equipment. To me, that is inconsiderate and weird. Especially since I drove all the way out to deliver it to him.  And like I said, had I known he was going to be so crazy about the whole thing, I would have never agreed to sell it to him.

Thank heavens the rest of my things are already sold.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

End of Season Yardsales

One of my favorite things to do is get a bargain.  I love Fall, but with it always comes the end of yard sale season. No longer can I buy a new shirt for 25 cents or a toy for baby eel for a dollar. But, I did get some fabulous items yesterday.

For the most part, the morning was a bust. I was on the hunt for some new nightstands, since I'm selling the ones that I currently hate! I didn't actually find what I was looking for, but I did find some other things.

My mom and I got a bunch of furniture at one yard sale. It was a fundraiser for a family trying to raise money for in-vitro fertilization treatments. My mom picked up an entertainment stand, and a hutch-type thing. I got a bookcase. We paid $40 for the entire set of furniture.

I also got a coffee table for the family room. Since we rearranged the furniture in our family room, there is a huge open space from the couch to the entertainment unit. When I saw this table, I knew it would be perfect in there. And it was $5!

As you can see, the top is a little scratched and dinged up. I think my plan is going to be to do a little bit of touch up for now, and possibly paint or refinish it next year. I haven't quite decided. Any suggestions?

I also got two gorgeous lamp bases that will go perfectly on the nightstands that I don't have yet.... They were $1 for the pair.

And... I bought a bunch of books. These are very early reader chapter books, but I thought baby eel would like them in a few years, so I picked them up.

I got a few of the Amber Brown series, and the Junie B. Jones series. I also got the first 4 in the Series of Unfortunate Events series. I also got "The Princess Diaries" by Meg Cabot in paperback, not realizing that I actually already own the book. So, looks like I'll be giving that one as a gift.

I also picked up a foam mattress pad for $2. I don't actually need the pad, but it will be great for upholstering the dining room chairs that I am FINALLY getting around to finishing. They should be done in a couple weeks. They are just waiting for seats.

I really love the changes I've been making to my house as of late.  I've also gone on a "de-cluttering" spree. I've been getting rid of a bunch of things either through freecycle or KSL ads. It's a great way to pick up a little extra cash and to declutter all the stuff I've been collecting.

My mom was nice enough to can some tomatoes for me. Now I've got 12 jars, which should last me through the winter. I love canned tomatoes, and I'm always frustrated by how much they cost at the store. Especially given how easy and cheap they are to can yourself.

Last thing I wanted to bring up was the Relief Society General Session last night. It was really phenomenal. If you didn't see it, I would suggest at least listening to Sister Julie. B. Beck's and President Monson's talks.  They were both incredibly loving, spiritual, yet to the point.  I can't wait for conference next week.

Oh, and I've made my blog public again. This is mostly just a way to keep me motivated to post. So, there you have it. You can now stick me in your feed reader of choice. :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Great Hutch Makeover

It's time for another fantastic furniture re-do.  Every once in awhile, the itch to fix things gets in deep between my shoulder blades. That was the case with this hutch I inherited from my great-grandfather.

There were a lot of things I liked about this piece. The details are cool, it's solid, and it's big.  But, I didn't like the color, and I really wasn't utilizing it.  For awhile now I wanted to turn it into an entertainment until for our TV.  So, with the help of Daniel, we took it apart, and using this tutorial from All Things Thrifty, I primed the piece.

Believe me, if I had known how much easier it is to paint furniture with spray paint, I would have done it a long time ago.  It's faster, and goes on so much smoother than painting with a brush. Oh, and it's a lot less messy.

Next, I painted the entire thing a teal blue color called "Blue Ocean Breeze." It looked gorgeous, but a little too bright.  So, I decided to put a dark glaze over the entire thing.  I also spray painted the hardware a nice dark bronze color.  Here is the finished product.

I absolutely love it.  It has gone from being a dark piece of hulking furniture, to something that I am really proud to display prominently.  Here is the before and after again:

What do you think?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

What I wish I hadn't passed on to my child


I've struggled with eczema my whole life. I remember during junior high and high school having eczema so bad on my arms that I wore long-sleeved shirts all year long. It was itchy, weepy, and just sad. I was so self-conscious and thought that people thought I was diseased.

Poor baby eel has inherited my eczema. She has had a rash for about 3 weeks. I tried everything to clear it up. I switched our laundry soap to the special kind with no perfumes or dyes. I stopped using soap in her bath. I switched to a new lotion with no perfume. It made it a little better, but it still wasn't gone.

So, yesterday I took her to the doctor to get his opinion. After waiting for about an hour, he finally showed up and told me it was eczema. No duh. So, he printed off an info sheet about it and told me to start using cortizone cream and to give her daily baths. And, to use a thick cream on her skin 2-3 times a day.

Well, after 24 hours of doing this, her eczema has cleared up considerably. I hope it continues to do so. Poor baby.

On a completely different note, I've been thinking about opening up an independent bookstore. Not seriously of course, because this is a bad time to open a business and I don't have the money to do it. But, I wish that we had a good independent bookstore in Utah County. One that had awesome author signings and events. One that had a great staff that knows your name and what kind of books you like.

I'm so weird that I even know the building I'd put my bookstore in.
This is a really bad picture because I pulled it off google maps. But, there is a little house on the corner of 500 West and 100 South in Provo. It's an old house, but it looks so cute and cozy. I would name it Green Gables Books. Of course I would have to hire someone else to run the money and the business aspect of it. All I care about is buying and selling books. I am no salesman, but I can certainly push books.

Ah, to dream big. Anyway, hope you all have a fabulous Memorial Day weekend!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

3 Months Old!

Oh how I love my cute baby. She is growing up to be such a sweet sunny angel, and I love spending time with her. Here are some developments of late
  • She is now over 10 pounds. She's getting cute fat rolls on her arms and legs.
  • She loves to stand up with me supporting her. I don't know why, but she gets a real kick out of it and puffs up her chest.
  • She sleeps through the night most nights now. And sleeps in her crib! Yay! We have reclaimed the bed.
  • She is so close to laughing. Every once in awhile while we are playing she'll get this huge grin on her face. And, she's good at shrieking. So, the laughing will come soon.
  • She has no interest in rolling over. Which is fine with me. The longer she can remain immobile, the better. I'm not in the mood to baby proof everything.
And, in non-baby related news, I met Shannon Hale last week! She is pretty much my favorite author ever, and it was so exciting to meet her. She's pregnant with twins, so I'm pretty sure that was her last public appearance for awhile. Not that I blame her at all. But, she was so nice and fun to talk to. I got my entire Books of Bayern series signed as well as Austenland. They will be treasured.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

2 Months Old

This upcoming week in my last week of maternity leave. I'm trying to make the most of it by doing everything I can think of with baby eel during the day. We go shopping, play on the floor, and take lots of naps. :")

Baby eel's blessing is on May 3. I sent out a bunch of announcements/invitations. If you didn't get one, I apologize, but you are still definitely invited to her blessing.  It will be at 9 am at our church in Payson.

Here are some pictures I took this week of baby eel.  Once the weather gets a little nice and I lose a little more weight we're going to have some family pictures taken. Woohoo!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

6 Weeks Old

Baby eel is getting so big. She's starting to get too big for her 3 month outfits. Which is actually okay with me, because all her really cute stuff is 3-6 months... :")

I've started going to yard sales again this summer. We don't have a stroller for her yet, so that's top on my list of things we need.  I see them every Summer, sometimes there are really nice ones for a really cheap price. Once we get a stroller, I think Daniel and I will go on walks with baby eel and Tonks. It will be so much fun!

I think I've lost almost all the weight from the baby, but I still feel a little... "squishy." I've never had an issue with my weight, so this is new territory for me. I guess this means I'll have to start exercising.

And last random topic of the night... I got a new calling. I'm the assistant Primary Pianist. Best calling ever. Basically I can just show up and play. Baby eel can sit in her carseat next to the piano, and I'll feel like I'm contributing to the ward again.

Here are some pictures of baby eel this week.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Week 5

Baby eel is getting sweeter by the day. I love to get out my camera and take pictures of her whenever I can. I'll be so sad to go back to work in three weeks.

I'm still not having any luck getting her to nap in her bassinet. Let me show you what I mean.
Not even joking. How do you combat that?

Good thing she has her sweet moments.

Daddy has hair!
She's definitely worth the trouble.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Good Morning!

I think Abigail is cutest in the morning.  This morning she was being especially cute with smiles and coos. I tried to record it, but of course by the time I got my computer ready, she wasn't as cute.  But, here is a short clip for your enjoyment.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

4 Weeks Old!

Abigail is four weeks old today. I can't believe I've been a mom for a whole month. And that I only have 4 weeks of maternity leave left.. so sad.

Abigail is getting so close to smiling. She is so cute in the morning when she first wakes up. She's all stretchy and makes all sorts of cute coo's. It's kind of hard to tell from the picture above, but that is a smile/coo.

We got our birth announcements in the mail yesterday. I'm excited to send them out this week.

I brought Abigail by the office yesterday, and she was such a sweetheart. It's nice to have a cute, easy baby to take places. Then people actually want to hold her.  It was fun to see everyone at work. Part of me is a little excited to go back and be in the thick of things again. Unfortunately, I know that won't last.

Hope you have a wonderful April Fool's Day. If you haven't already, you should check out Google's main page today. It's really funny.

Friday, March 26, 2010

3 Weeks Old

It seems like the time is really flying. I'm almost halfway through my maternity leave already. Abigail is changing every day, and she's looking older all the time.

This week we've been trying out different equipment to keep her entertained during her quiet alert periods. She's awake more and more everyday, and is starting to sleep in longer stretches at night.  I have a bouncy seat and a swing. She seems to like the bouncy seat more than the swing. I can't blame her. I've never been much for roller coaster rides, and it seems like that's the feeling she's experiencing when she's in her swing. We got the swing for free from my sister-in-law, and I've got to say that I'm really not a fan of it.  It's probably better for older babies, but I think it's just plain scary for infants.

I'm selling a few extra baby items at a consignment sale this weekend. I got an extra boppy pillow, bedding, a baby bjorn, and a baby tub, so we're going to see if any of them sell. I went to the sale last night and got a green bumbo for $10. It looks fantastic, and I'm so excited to use it in a few weeks when Abigail can support her head a little more.  I saw a cradle swing there for $45 and I was really tempted to buy it. If it's still there on Saturday during the 1/2 price sale, I'll definitely get it. I think it will be a little less scary than the big swing, and I can sell the other one.

Here are some pictures I took of Abigail this week.
I like to call this pose the "mermaid pose"

Wearing her cute muppet slippers

Taken about 5 minutes ago

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

On to convention!

One of the reasons I made my blog private was so that I'd have the ability to be a little more open about my job and politics without fear of it being picked up by someone else.  It's better to be safe than sorry in this kind of a situation.

Last night neighborhood caucus meetings were held all over the state to elect delegates to attend the state and county conventions later this Spring.  Basically, this is how it works.  Each city/town/neighborhood in the state is divided into precincts. Each precinct has about 1,000 families in it.  Each precinct elects a Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, one State Delegate, two County Delegates, and a Secretary/Treasurer.  The chairperson is an automatic State and County Delegate. The Vice Chairperson is an automatic County Delegate.

So, what does a delegate do? Basically, they are responsible for nominating the person from their political party that will go on the ballot in November.  For instance, this year Bob Bennett is up for reelection.  He has 5 challengers within the Republican Party that want his seat.  Only one person can be on the ballot for the Republican Party in November. So, they go to State Convention to determine who will be on the ballot. Delegates from all over the state representing their neighborhoods vote to determine who would best represent the party.  If one candidate gets over 60% of the vote in convention, they automatically get the nomination.  If no one candidate gets over 60% of the vote, then a primary election is held to determine who will get the nomination. The top two candidates from convention participate in the primary election.

Clear as mud?

So, I kind of decided last minute yesterday that I wanted to run as a state delegate.  My dad has been a precinct chairman for the last 10 years or so, and I've always had a desire to go to State Convention. It's kind of like a big party for all the political junkies.  So, with a little encouragement from friends and my dad, I decided to go ahead and run for the position of state delegate. But, in order to run, you have to have someone nominate you.  So, I had to bring Daniel. Which means that Abigail had to come too.  Daniel really isn't into politics, but because he's such a good sport, he decided to come along.

Well, the evening went well. I was elected as a state delegate even though I knew like no one at the meeting.  I'm so excited to go to convention! (That makes me sound like a Trekkie or something, doesn't it?)  And, in an unexpected turn of events, Daniel was elected as a county delegate.  Even though he joked about it last night, I think he's excited to get involved in a part of politics that isn't mud-slinging.

So, what's next? Basically, Daniel and I will be bombarded with emails, phone calls, and mail from the prospective candidates wanting our votes. I will also be instrumental in handing out literature, signs, and other stuff to my neighbors about the candidates I'm supporting. The county convention is on April 24, and the state convention is on May 8. The state convention is right after my maternity leave is up, which is really convenient. I won't have to worry about mixing my work with the campaign related stuff.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering who I'm supporting for Senate....

Sunday, March 21, 2010

First Week at Church

Today we took Abigail with us to church. She did so well! She slept through all three meetings. She began waking up when there was about 15 minutes left in Relief Society, but I was able to hold her and give her a pacifier until the end of the meeting when I was able to take her home.

And, I did the finishing touches on my PC this weekend. I've finally got it fully working again. Which means I can do fun stuff like change up my websites. What do you think of my new blog design?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

2 Weeks Old

Abigail has been a part of our family for two weeks. And, thus by association, I have succeeded in keeping her alive for that long. Sometimes it's kind of scary being a mom.

Luckily, not only is she surviving, she's thriving! She had her two-week checkup today and everything went really well. She now weighs 7 lbs. 15 oz. and is 20.5 inches long.  Which, according to my ipod app that tracks her growth, means that she has a total percentage of weight gain of 9.5%, and height of 7.5%.  She fits very squarely in the 50% percentile of other infants her age. So, apparently I'm doing something right.

I'm also very much enjoying the return of my waistline. I haven't been on a scale since before Abigail was born, but I'm pretty sure I'm close to my pre-pregnancy weight again. Besides my hips being a little wider than before, I'm pretty much back to normal. That's one blessing I'm incredibly grateful for.

And, I think we're making progress with the sleep thing. Abigail spends more and more time each night in her bassinet.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pictures from the hospital

My aunt Ruth has a photography business and was nice enough to come take some pictures of Abigail while we were in the hospital. They turned out really well and I wanted to share a few of them with you.  We are planning on getting one of them printed on an announcement and sending it out.