Monday, December 20, 2010

Fall Projects

So earlier this fall before my computer died, I worked on a couple of fun projects. I was super happy with the results, but didn't get to post them...So here they are. This was a plain t-shirt and I sewed on an owl and buttons. I did this to a bunch of shirts. They were fun, fast, and almost free.
This is an old ladder that we found at our cabin. My dad planned to take it to the dump, but I fell in love. I have been planning to make a drying rack because I don't dry most of our clothes in the dryer. My laundry room is long and narrow so a traditional rack really didn't work. This ended up being perfect. Ryan still thinks it is wierd, but I LOVE it.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Big Changes

Several weeks ago our computer died. I was secretly pretty happy, because it meant we got to buy a new computer and the lag of our old computer when scrapbooking was driving me crazy! So tomorrow my shiny fast new Dell will arrive and I will be back in scrapbooking heaven. I'm sure you are all thinking, really that is the "Big Change." That is pretty sad...

But no the big change is that starting sometime in January, Ryan is going to quit his job and come home and be the house husband. I am going to work full time! It is something that we both feel will be better for our girls and we hope will be better for both of us.

All my life I was pretty sure I could have it all. Over the last several months I have come to realize that despite my efforts it is not possible for me. I have always been a sit in the front of the classroom, answer all the questions, get a 4.0 kind of girl. Excelling at my career has come easy to me. I am passionate about what I do and there is no better feeling than looking at a finished road, school, housing development, train...and thinking I was a part of that. I love using my brain to find answers to difficult problems and my relationships with people to turn projects into community assets. After I had kids I put my career on hold and decided that I would be happy working part time and being home with my kids. For the most part I have been very happy. But I didn't anticipate how hard it would be being passed up for promotions and told "this job would be yours if you were full time," finding and keeping babysitters, juggling everything every week. I never have a schedule because I am trying to do it all playgroup, client meetings, sick kids, joy school, deadlines, laundry... Mostly I just feel guilty, not doing enough at home or at the office. My kids are clingy and whiney when I get home and I just want to put them to bed.

I was expressing this frustration to my husband the other night and he said, why don't I just stay home with the kids. We have talked and we are both pretty excited for the change. I can't believe how kind and accommodating my husband is. He ALWAYS believes in me and tries to figure out ways to give me everything I have ever wanted. I love him more now than I think I ever have.

A part of me is a little sad that I will be giving up craft days with my mom and friends, one-on-one time with my girls, warm summer days at the park, mid-week play dates, and flexibility. The other part of me is thrilled to give up dishes, toy pick up, pre-nap tantrums, and primary potty training responsibilities. So starting soon there are going to be some major changes in our house, hopefully for the better.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Halloween

The girls had such a fun Halloween this year. We spent the whole week running from event to event. Our week included witches night out with some friends, a neighborhood play group party, book club, bunco, trick-or-treating at daddy and mommy's offices, pancakes with friends at IHOP, trick-or-treating at grandma's (she had the best treats), trick-or-treating...again, in the neighborhood, and spending the night with Aunt Lisa and Uncle Whit so mommy and daddy could go to Rocky Horror Picture Show (it was a little intense and out of control). Overall it was a fun, crazy, and memorable week. Below are some of our pictures.





Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fall

As I have extolled, just about every year, I love fall. Last week we got some photos in the pumpkin patch out in Herriman (it is an awesome pumpkin patch, it is just south and west of the District). We had so much fun picking out the perfect pumpkins, getting yummy fruit and jam, and riding in the wagon. Grandma Hales, I promise updated printed photos soon!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Vision

My mom is a very creative person. I love shopping with her because at least every 10 minutes she finds something that she has a vision for. "Oh look at that {giant ugly vase, big ugly picture frame, funny looking dress...} you could {paint, saw, cut, sew...} that and it would look awesome {in you yard, on your front door, on your child...} Some of her vision has rubbed off on my because I am constantly on the hunt for a fun new project. Some projects turn out better than expected, others are disasters.

Last week I took several of Emily's shirts that I didn't love and I sewed little birds, owls, and the USC logo on them. I am in love with the results. They are now possibly my favorite of her shirts.

This weekend I saw that the re-purposing tradition came well before my time. We did some work at the cabin and saw some of my Grandpa's handiwork (road signs for siding was my favorite). On the side of the cabin was an old hardwood ladder. It probably had been there about as long as the empty 50 gallon drum and the steel bed frame that I drug up the hill to the garbage pile. All weekend I kept walking past this old weathered ladder thinking what could I do with that? Then I saw my dad cutting it into pieces with a chain saw and it hit me... "Um, dad can I have that?" "Really? What are you going to do with that?" "I'm going to take two of the 5 foot pieces, paint them, turn them sideway's and hang them in my laundry room so that I can air dry clothes (I really don't like using the dryer)" Then my sweet dad squared off the ends put it in his truck and brought that nasty old ladder down the mountain. I think I am going to paint it Robbin's egg blue or lime green (what do you think? Those seem to be my default colors), I can't wait.

My husband insists that I am not bringing that "thing" into our house...He also said that when I brought home a nasty 12 paned door that my best friend Kate found on the side of the road. I painted it and made him hang on the wall. After 4 years and countless conversations with friends and neighbors about the door on our wall, I think he has finally caved and may even admit to liking it, or at least being indifferent toward it. I promise photos as soon as it is done!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Trip to St. George, Chloe Update, and Look A Likes

We took a quick trip to St. George last weekend for my Grandma George's funeral. It was nice to see so many of my cousins (all but one was there). It was also fun to remember fun times with Grandma and Grandpa. My mom took all the pictures, so I don't have any until I get them from her. Above are photos of Emily and Chloe playing the piano at Grandma Hales' house. It was SO cute. Below is a photo of Emily in a dress that my Grandpa bought me when I was little. It was kind of fun to put it on Emily. It was also a little shocking, sometimes it seems like life is just standing still and before you realize it 25 years have gone by and you have your own little girl!
This page is a tribute to my cute little Chloe bug. She is SOOOO full of personality these days and I can honestly say that I adore her more and more each day!




Fall



Fall is in the air and I think that I am finally getting excited. The girls have cute new sweaters; school and football have started; there are plans for Halloween costumes, pumpkin carving, and hayrides; the hills are starting to come alive with color, the sunflowers have been glorious this year, and my windows are open every evening welcoming the cool air. Yep I think this is going to be another fabulous fall. Some friends let me and the girls intrude on their sunflower photo shoot, and I am in love with the results!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Scrappin

It has been a while, so I thought that I would share some new pages. FYI Shabby Princess has a new free kit that is awesome, as usual!



Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Chloe the Talker

Chloe has not been a big talker up to this point. She is just now starting to say a lot and put multiple words together. Here is some video from a couple of weeks ago. I think she is so funny! Her favorite things to say are "go away" "don't touch" and "don't bite baby." She is one sassy little kid.
video

First Day

Em had her first day of school today. She was so excited and so cute!

As soon as she saw Hinckley she had to run up and give her a hug.

Here she is waving for the camera, she would not just smile, she had to wave. Oh and she decided that she didn't like the shoes or sweater that I picked out and refused to wear them.
Here are her classmates all sitting on their little squares of carpet. Aren't they cute?

Everyone getting there, notice Em waving again.
She is so excited about school and I am so excited that she gets to spend time with all her friends.





Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Book Club

I started reading when I was three and a half years old and it has pretty much been a love affair ever since. One of my favorite classes in college was a women's lit class. All we did was read books and then talk and write about them. We read fantastic books like Their Eyes Were Watching God, and some not so good books that I don't remember. We read some horrifying books that I never want to read again, that taught me a lot and I don't regret reading. In class we were free to debate what the author really meant and if she was correct. Every week a new book and a new discussion. Lately I have been reading a lot. I have read some awesome books with characters that I really relate to. I find myself wanting to highlight passages and talk to someone about them. SOOO I was thinking of starting a book club with other like minded readers. Here are the guidelines that I have been thinking of (although I am open to others, or to changing them):

1. The first order of business will be to establish a really great name, because book club sounds lame, but who wouldn't want to be a part of the "Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society."

2. Members HAVE to read the book.

3. Dialogue should be open and honest.

4. Disagreements and debate are welcome (not the primary focus, just a happy addition).

5. There will be 6-12 members (assuming I have that many friends), we will all take a turn picking a book and hosting at our house. We will set a schedule for a year and then rotate. Meetings will be held in the evening once a month.

6. Books should be less than 300 pages, something you have ALREADY read, something with wide appeal, and something that we can talk about (something with a message, something addressing women's issues, or something that you related to). I would prefer to shy away from political and religious books and focus more on women's issues (although political and religious books would be acceptable, just not my first choice). I was about to write that while Twlight was entertaining there really wasn't a whole lot to discuss besides how dreamy Edward was. But then I remembered that some of my most lively discussions about love and about being a woman have come out of that book, so I guess Twlight would be a good pick...we don't want to be all stuffy and Edward is pretty dreamy!

7. Books don't have to be G rated, shoot for PG-13, and try to avoid R.

8. The classics are welcome, but Dostoevsky is pushing it...I really don't want to read about becoming a bug again, I learned my lesson the first time...Well maybe I didn't because I can't remember the moral just that he was a bug, I think it had something to do with communism.

So let me know if you are brave and ready for some thought provoking discourse and friendship.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Big Girl Bed


So we decided it was time to get Emily a "Big Girl Bed" since she had been sleeping pretty poorly in her bed. I sold her bed on ksl and got a new one from someone I found on ksl. Found a mattress and then stumbled into some cute bedding on clearance from Target. Fortuitously the table runner I made for the kids table for her birthday that I LOVED was perfect for the bed skirt. Now I just need to work on some cute pillows and possibly rearrange the furniture. For a really low cost project (under $250 total for EVERYTHING) I am in love with the results.


The sad part is that Em is still sleeping poorly in her bed and has told me on several occasions that she wants her old bed back. Hopefully she adapts a little better once she is feeling better.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Situational Last Name User

Last night on my way home from work I was listening to NPR and they were talking about "situational last name users." I was laughing a little because I didn't realize that they had a name for me. My husband's last name is Hales, my kid's last name is Hales, but my legal last name is Bassett. I didn't keep my last name because I was taking a feminist stand against being considered property of my husband. It wasn't even because I was trying to be different (95% of married women take their husband's last names. Although I joke about it, it wasn't even because I wasn't sure the marriage was going to work and didn't want to change it back later. To be honest it was mostly because it wasn't a big deal to Ry or to me and I liked my name. The biggest factor is that changing your name is a big fat pain in the butt. It involves trips to the social security office and legal paperwork. So we got married and went about our lives with different last names. That is not to say that I won't answer to Jennifer Hales or even introduce myself as Jennifer Hales. Half of my accounts are Jennifer Hales the other half are Jennifer Bassett, the hardest part is remembering which name goes with each account. People regularly ask for ID and see the name on my bank account is Hales, but the name on my ID is Bassett. They often ask "did you just get married?" To which I respond, yeah 10 years ago. They usually just look at me funny. For a long time I intended to change my name, but yesterday I finally realized that I don't want to change my name I am Jennifer Bassett, Jennifer Bassett-Hales, or Jennifer Hales and I am good with that. If you want something more definitive find a more definitive girl. I think it totally fits that I have three names and regularly can't remember which one I am "supposed" to be using. That is just sort of how I roll with everything in my life. More often than not I am riding by the seat of my pants, turning things in 5 minutes after they are due, and forgetting that I left my purse in the cart at Target. I am a proud situational last name user.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

Do As I'm Doing

Poor little Chloe wants to do EVERYTHING her big sister is doing. I hadn't really noticed it (except the fighting over the same toy) until the last few days. Yesterday morning she woke up and Emily was still asleep, she found Emily's princess dress put it on (the best that an 18 month old can) and then pranced around the house. Today we were playing Sleeping Beauty and Emily was "sleeping" in my bed, Chloe climbed up and started "sleeping" just like her sister. She wants to color like Emily, play in Emily's sticker book, and do pretty much anything else she sees her big sister do. It is kind of cute, when it doesn't involve shrieking!

My other discovery when putting Chloe in the tub this morning is that she kind of has a puppy thing going on. She is this tiny little string bean with super skinny legs and then she has a little buddah belly and GIANT feet! Her feet are super long and skinny and I think they have grown about an inch in the last two weeks, finding shoes is quite a challenge. I have a feeling she is going to be TALL.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Emily

So last Friday was the BIG day, my little Emily turned three. She was SOOOO excited. She has been "helping" me get ready for the party and could not wait to play with all the fun things we had been working on. I have lots more pictures, but here are a few from before the mayham began! I fully accept that the party decor was out of control, but I had been visiting a couple of cute party websites and couldn't help myself. Now a need a new fun project!







Summer Reading

Twice a year the library selects "readers choice" books then you have several months to read and vote on your favorites. I have had pretty good luck with them in the past so I picked up 4 last time I was at the library. Two "Bound South" and "Henry's Sisters" were ok. They were a bit painful to read and I wasn't sure I needed that much reality in my life. The other that I read this weekend was "Something's Missing." Let me just say it was the best book I have read in a long time. It was SO funny! It is about an OCD thief that breaks into "clients" homes and steals things, but his clients never notice anything is missing. It was set in Newington CT, where my sister lived, so it made it extra fun. I totally recommend it to anyone looking for a fun summer read.

Em's birthday was this weekend, and I have finally recovered from the party! I promise a full account and pictures by the end of the day. :-)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

More Party Stuff and Curly Hair

Here are some cute new pics of Em sporting her curly do. Her hair is naturally curly and is finally starting to fill in a bit. I love it when it is curly like this. Unfortunately after a nap it is a MESS again.

I have become a bit OBSESSED with Em's birthday party (I guess I needed a project). Anyway below are the invitations and party hats. I am having so much fun!

The best part of my day today was picking two big handfuls of raspberries from the back yard. I LOVE this time of year!




Sunday, July 4, 2010

Bed Issues, A Mad Tea Party, and Two Princesses

When Emily was 17 months she started climbing out of her crib. After she fell on her head the second time we decided it was time to turn it into a toddler bed. It was a rough transition for a week or so, but overall a good decision (it was great that she couldn't open her door). I decided that I would take the same approach with Chloe. Note, Chloe is an EXCELLENT sleeper. Not like Emily who still frequently doesn't make it through the night (in fact last night we woke up to hysterical screaming three times. For a week this month she decided she wanted to sleep on the floor and today she took a nap in her closet.


At around 3 months Chloe started sleeping through the night (12+ hours a night kind of sleep). Since that day she has only woke up a handful of times, typically experiencing some sort of dire circumstances (leg caught in the crib, sick, missing blanket...). She has never in her life "cried it out" because she doesn't cry when you put her to bed. She takes two 2+ hour naps a day and sleeps 12 hours a night. When she is in a bad mood you just put her in her crib and she will play happily until she goes to sleep. To put it mildly she loves her crib. So me being a moron, decided it was time to move her to her toddler bed. We took off the front rail this morning and put on the toddler rail that allows her to get in and out of bed on her out. She was SOOO happy and immediately began jumping on her bed with unabashed glee. Emily wanted to get in on the action and the two girls spent about an hour playing on the new bed (all the while Emily was whining "mom build me a big girl bed"). I was nervous for nap time, but she took two naps with no tears. Then it was bed time, no big deal right? Oh wait, it is the 4th of July and my normally tranquil quiet neighborhood was transformed into a war zone. Not sure if it was the constant explosions or the bed, but Chloe freaked and it took an hour to get her calmed down and asleep. I am hoping tomorrow will go better. Why again did I choose July 4th to convert to a new sleeping situation?


In other news, it is almost Emily's third birthday. I have been inspired by this website (http://www.thecitycradle.com/) and a couple of others, and I am planning a fantastic Alice in Wonderland style mad tea party. I am so excited for some projects. I went on a DI and Tai Pan Trading binge and got so many fun items for the table. I didn't do as well at DI as I had hoped for the tea pots (crazy Mormons don't drink tea :-). I did find two pretty ugly tea pots that I spray painted with pretty good results. I am planning to fill them with bright pink peonies for the table center piece. I also got some amazing Heather Bailey fabric (from the Nicey Jane collection) for the table runner. I ordered some paper lanterns for over the table online and things are shaping up nicely. I am planning food and found a great funky vintage Alice in Wonderland digi kit for the invites and favors. Now I am working on party games. About three weeks ago there were some plastic pink flamingos in the dollar section at Target. I saw them and smiled, but couldn't think of what I would do with them...Now that I have a use for them they are gone, greedy flamingo buyers got them all. Now just to implement the vision!


Also below are some cute photos my mom took of the girls the other day.



Tuesday, June 22, 2010

There Should Be a Disclosure!

Thanks to the kindness of Ryan's awesome sisters and my parents, Ryan and I got to spent 5 days of kid-less bliss in Las Vegas. Las Vegas is a pretty amazing place. I used to work with a girl from India. One time I asked her what surprised her the most when she came to America. She told me she was surprised by how normal it was. She expected more sex, drugs, and rock and roll. I can totally see that having spent the last week in Las Vegas. I'm not sure Vegas should really be considered America, at the very least there should be a disclosure for all international flights indicating that Las Vegas is a land of excess; there is too much of everything. Additionally, it should be noted that Las Vegas is in no way representative of the rest of the United States. I am as surprised as anyone when I see someone walking down the street with a 3 foot margarita.

While we were in Las Vegas we did partake of the excess. We stayed at the Paris Hotel and at the Palazzo (good thing we stayed there AFTER Paris or we would have been very disappointed with Paris). We went to Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill (my favorite thing we had was the Wild Mushroom Quesadilla with hummus and white truffle oil). The service was AMAZING and it was very relaxed and fun. Then we went to Tao, amazing atmosphere and good food. Then we went to J&G Prime Steakhouse at the Bellagio before hitting Circ du soleil. Prime was amazing (we had 3 waiters). My favorite thing was the mac and cheese (made with a very sharp cheese) and of course the chili glazed lamb chops (the same ones I had at J&G Grill in Park City last year). Circ was beautiful and breath taking. Then we ate brunch at Tableau at the Winn, we had the best cerviche ever, it was definitely one of the most memorable things I have eaten. Then we ate at two Hubert Keller restaurants Burger Bar (casual dining) and Fleur de Lis. Burger Bar was good but Fleur de Lis was OUT OF THIS WORLD! The service was fantastic and not in a showy way (like Prime), they made us a special little desert for our anniversary and gave me a pink rose. It was definitely a complete meal experience Ryan had 4 courses and I had 3 (plus they gave us a complimentary amuse busch, anniversary desert, and little desert tasting plate from the pastry chef, yep that was three desert courses). I ordered from the Top Chef Masters menu which was awesome since I watched the whole show and LOVED Hubert Keller, he seemed like such a nice man (which was totally reflected in his restaurant). Ry had some kind of creamy onion and truffle soup that they poured at the table. The smell was divine and Ryan assures me it was the best thing he has ever eaten (which is saying a lot considering the week that we had). We also went to Penn and Teller, which was so fun. Ryan LOVES Penn and Teller. Penn seems like such a real person, I couldn't help thinking about his normal life during the show. I pictured him and his crazy mop of hair waking up in the morning grabbing a cup of coffee and taking a shower. I didn't contemplate the vivid details of the showering part, but I did wonder about his pajamas (is he a boxers and a undershirt kind of guy or a silk two-piece jammies kind of guy, I suspect boxers) and does he wash his hair everyday? does that make me wierd? Other than that we spent a lot of time seeing the sights and relaxing at the pool.
Our room at the Palazzo, even Fancy Nancy would agree it was pretty posh. Yes that is a full sized sectional couch. What you cannot feel is the amazing Egyptian cotton sheets on the bed that someone lovingly ironed just for me, and the SOFT velvet of the couch!
Ry and I in the Bellagio gardens, so whimsical and BEAUTIFUL.

Me at a kid-less brunch at Tableau. Look there is no kid goo on my shirt and I didn't have to pick anything up off the floor when we left! The opulence of the Wynn (and all the other new hotels) was pretty astounding.

Me at the entrance to Tao. The concrete tubs behind me were filled with water, flower petals and candles, and that was just the entrance. Inside was breath taking.

Ry and I at the Venetian. We wanted to go on a gondola ride until we realized that everyone stands around and stares at you and the gondoliers sing. Less romantic and more creepy.

The first night we got there we hung out with Ryan's brother Steve and his friend Judy. They were TONS of fun we laughed so much.

Me in our room at the Paris before we left for Mesa Grill.

Ry and I were amazed by the size of the Lions. Their heads and paws are GIANT!

Ry and I outside of MGM (now one of the more ghetto hotels, although it was one of the new nice hotels last time I was in Vegas. Like I said Vegas is a land of excess, even the hotels age prematurely).