Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pumpkins are for Halloween and Cinderella

 Pumpkin, pumpkins, pumpkins.

I wonder how many pumpkins are uneaten and wasted every year to the craft of pumpkin carving and Halloween.

Well we are such a family that fully participates in the wasteful slashing of pumpkins. And we love it. 

Grandma and I were the ones who did most of the carving - which was probably a good idea so that no children were slashed in the process.

And then Grandpa helped Preston draw a face on his little pumpkin that he picked out from the pumpkin patch.

It was a lot of fun. Afterwards we lit the pumpkins up and let them smile at us all evening long while we sipped on spiced cider and ate pumpkin cookies.

Speaking of pumpkins, I got to feel a little bit like Cinderella this past weekend.  But it wasn't all good.

It started off with my stylist asking me to send her a photo of me in my dress that I picked out for the HMMA's with the necklace, shoes, and clutch that she accessorized with it.  So I showered and did my hair curly, put makeup on, and then took a picture.  

This was it...

To put it mildly, I hated it. 

Even though I had tried the dress on several times before, I had never actually seen myself in it through the eyes of a photo.  I have been working really hard to lose my pregnancy weight and I've lost almost 50 pounds since Taylor was born.  I have been feeling a lot more confident about myself lately.  Granted, some of that weight was "baby weight" (Taylor included), and I still have a long ways to go to get to where I would like to be.  But I am down to the lowest weight I've been at in 3 years (since Preston was born).

However, seeing myself in that dress made me feel awful.  I felt like I looked huge, and I don't really see myself that way.  So I sent the photo to one of my closest friends, and she even wrote back (in the nicest most tactful possible...IF that is even possible to do) that the dress sort of hugged me in the wrong spots and probably made me look bigger than I actually was.

So yes I cried a little bit, but I appreciated her honesty.  And then decided there was no way I could wear the dress on the red carpet and feel comfortable about myself.

So yesterday, my mom indulged me for the entire day and went shopping with me. We returned the black dress to Nordstrom, and then spent the entire rest of the day perusing every possible dress shop from Nordstrom, Nieman Marcus, JCPenny's, Macy's, and more.

I must have literally tried on at least 50 dresses.  

The nice thing was I was able to easily fit into smaller sizes, which was nice.  But the not-so-nice thing was I was still way too curvy and big for 90% of the dresses in the stores.  Most of which were all pencil-shaped and skin tight.  This red one is an example of that....

So finally we ended up at a different Nordstrom's and found an ample variety of dresses that might work.  This blue one above was one of our top choices, though I must say it looks awful in that photo. The dress actually did look very nice. My mom said it was actually the best one I had tried on all day.  But the angle and lighting in that photo doesn't do it justice at all. And you'll have to forgive my bad Photoshop job to try and cover my cleavage and G's.  I would need to get the bustline slightly altered so I'm not showing the world my stuff.

Anyway, eventually, when I do figure out which dress to wear I'll take a better photo in it.  I picked out two final ones that are being shipped to my house, and then I'll make a decision and then return the other one.

All in all though, it was a fun day shopping with my mom with no kids and no curfew of when we had to be home. It was very freeing.:)  The only thing not freeing was Neiman Marcus.  That store was jaw dropping amazing, but expensive.  Couture - expensive.  But it was fun to go inside and look around.

It was fun to be Cinderella for the day. :) Although I didn't get to ride away in a pumpkin carriage. Instead it was a Kia sedan. AND I came home to find the kitchen completely cleaned and spotless, the jacko-lanterns sitting on the table all lit and staring at me, and the spiced cider on the stovetop all warm and smelling good.  Will and also organized our tupperware lid drawer, changed the boys sheets on their beds, and gone through Taylor's clothing in and organized sizes.  I was very impressed. What great boys I have :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

We Love Fall!

It's that time of year again when the air turns crispy cold and all you want to do is bake ginger snap cookies, drink hot cocoa, and do all sorts of fun things with your family.

With the exception of Preston's first October (he was 4 months old then), we've taken Preston to a pumpkin patch every year and it's sort of become a tradition.  And now for the past two Octobers, Taylor has joined in as well.

 I thought it would be fun to reminisce a bit...

This was our first Fall as a family...2008

Here is Preston's first pumpkin patch experience in Oct 2009. He was 16 months old and walking like a champ...

Here was last year's pumpkin patch (2010. Preston was 2 yrs old, and Taylor was just a peanut - 8 wks old.

And then here was today! 2011 Pumpkin patch.  This is actually our 2nd patch so far this season, but I forgot to bring my camera to the first one. Whoopsies.

Preston is 3 yrs old, and Taylor is 14 months.  Oh and I'm 34.  So thinkin' old huh!

In other news...

This is the view I see quite often throughout the day.  A little one tugging on my pantleg and doing the "pick me up" dance.

This was last night at our ward Trunk or Treat.  Aunt Elizabeth made this cape for Preston last year and we finally are using it for a costume. Everyone referred to Taylor has "Super Scooter", for those who don't know, he doesn't walk yet and though he does crawl, he prefers to scoot mostly.

Preston requested to be a cat. I have no idea why.  He has a really great pirate costume I tried to get him to wear, but nope. For a week straight, every time I asked him, it was always "cat". Okay sometimes it was "Train Cat", or "Woody Cat", or "Buzz Cat", or "Pirate Cat".  But nevertheless, it was always cat.

Somebody likes chocolate just like their mother.

Preston with Grandpa Southworth, who was nice enough to fill in as parent for the evening (I had a meeting) until Will arrived from work. Those boys sure love their grandpa!

Tomorrow we are carving pumpkins and making pumpkin cookies.  Wanna come over?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

When Things Just Fall Into Place

I've been working very hard on music for a new album for the past 3 and 1/2 years.  I'm sure it wouldn't take the normal musician that long, except that for me I've had 2 babies within that time frame.  Things just take longer.  

But I truly believe that things happen within the Lord's time frame, and good things truly do come to the patient and diligent.

I'm so excited for this upcoming album because my hard work on it has truly been some of my best work. Ever.  Aside from the music, there is also the artistic side of the project which involves the theme, photographs, artwork for the CD cover and more.  My dad is a huge part of this part of the project - as I am using his landscape photography as part of the theme for the album.  He will also be taking my portrait shots as well.  It has taken him the past 3 years to get shots for the album as well.  

For the photos of me, since the title of my album is "Illumination",  I have been wanting to do some sort of illuminated back-lit effect for the photos.  This has been my inspiration:

It is an ad for some Dior perfume.

There are only a few places that have a beautiful gaudy look to them.  Yesterday my dad and I went to downtown Seattle to "venue shop".  The first place was the Fairmont Olympic Hotel - one of the oldest and most prestigious hotels in Seattle.  Not only did they have several grand pianos scattered throughout the hotel, but 2 beautiful ballrooms, a garden, and an ornate lobby.

However, they wanted $3,000 from us to take photos.  Gulp.  I can understand paying that sort of money to rent the place out for a wedding reception or something, but for 2 people to come in and shoot photos for a couple of hours - definitely not!  So we didn't go there.

We visited a very beautiful home on a lake (courtesy of some friends).  It was simply gorgeous and had a grand piano right in front of a window, but it was a bit too contemporary.  Don't get me wrong - absolutely beautiful home, but just not what we were wanting for these particular photos.

I started getting a little sad because to be honest the Fairmont was really what I was wanting.  However, we still had the Paramount Theater to visit. I wasn't sure if this venue would work, it turns was PERFECT.  (the photos below are just some test shots we took and won't look at all what the final ones will because we didn't have proper lenses or lighting but you get the idea of the venue).

We wandered around the theater and I could feel my heart pounding as I got so excited. THIS was the place. It was exactly what I had in mind.

After we looked around took several test shots, I went spoke with the events coordinator.  I'd been talking with her for a couple of months over email and so she had a good idea of what I was trying to accomplish.  I asked the big question of how much it would cost me to shoot the photos here.  I cringed as I waited for her response.  Please don't say $3,000....please don't say $3,000 I kept thinking.

She said that they normally charge $3,000 to rent out the lobby of the theater. However...since I was just an independent artist and wouldn't be using it for some big commercial photo shoot....she could either let us use it for next to nothing or even for a service trade. They do several events and I would come and perform at one of them as a service to the theater.

Um, hello? Can we say that I was all over that idea??!! very excited.  I think I jumped for joy once we got outside the theater.  I was ecstatic.

It's just so great when things come together like this.  Ahhhhh so excited.  So we will be shooting my photos for the album probably late January or early February (I'm trying to get the rest of my pregnancy weight off first). 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Some days I feel like a SuperMom - where I show my kids tons of love, make them scrumptous meals, have a clean house, everyone takes their naps and goes to bed on time, and we're happy.

Then there are the days when nobody listens to me, Preston is yelling and disobedient, Taylor is nonstop fussy, the house is a pig sty, and no one is very happy.

This last few days have sort of been like the latter example.

Then tonight I read an article by a mom who's son has a disease that will cause him to die before he turns 3 years old.  He is 18 months old right now. I saw this photo of them in the New York Times article...

 I thought my goodness, that little boy looks so much like our little Taylor.

It really put things into perspective for me today.  The article talked about loving our children NOW.  Did I love my children today, now?  Not so much.  I spent a lot of time being upset that Preston wasn't obeying me and that I had to get after him so much.

And then after reading that article, all I wanted to do was go into my boys' bedrooms and pick them up out of their beds and hold them.

So anyway.  A little perspective for you.

In other news, Will went to Mt Rainier with my Dad the other day and took this panoramic. Beautiful.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Questions, Question, Questions.

A while back, when our Preston was probably only 6 months old or so, I remember hearing my friend Grace give a talk in church where she had mentioned her youngest going through a total "question phase".  She said that she started to tune a lot of it out and just give random answers.

One day, her son asked her "Mommy, why are there so many bunnies?" and she just answered, "I don't know, just because."  At the time, their uncle was visiting and he came over and said, "Well, the reason that there are so many bunnies is because they reproduce very often and they are pretty low on the food chain and therefore they supply themselves as food to a lot of the bigger animals..." and yadda yadda yadda.  I remember Grace saying that she felt bad that she didn't stop and take more time to answer and explain in detail all the answers to her little son's questions, and she was grateful to Uncle "Bob" that day who did.

I thought it was such a cute little story, and it always stuck in my head.  And I also thought that when Preston was old enough one day to start asking why the sky is blue, why the grass is green, or why there are so many bunnies - I would be sure to take the time to answer him.

Well folks, that day has come.

I can tell you that even though I try really hard to always answer Preston's questions and explain things the best that I can (I don't baby things down for him too much, but just tell him the real answers in a simple way), today I just wanted. Them. To. Stop.

I took the boys on a double-stroller walk this morning. Our route usually takes us a little over an hour, and since today was the first day all week where it wasn't raining, I was really excited to take advantage of it and go for a walk.  My clever plan was that Taylor would fall asleep in the stroller and take his morning nap, and Preston would just play with his toys so that I could enjoy the outdoors and have some time to breath some fresh air and clear my head.

However, that did not happen.

Preston talked the entire time. I'm not exaggerating.  It went something like this, and this was after he'd already been talking to about 25 minutes....

"Momma, what that sign say?" 

"It says left turn ahead"

"Momma, what THAT sign say?"

"Speed limit 25."

"What THAT sign say?"

"Slow down, curve ahead."

Walk a little more, as Preston is jabbering about who knows what.

"Where are the dogs?" (we passed a house where there are usually dogs out, and today they were not).

"I don't know."

"Where those dogs are, Momma?"

"I don't know.  Inside their house."

We pass a dirt road.

"What that road is?"

"A dirt road."

"Why it all dirty, Momma?"

"Because it's made of dirt."

Walk another few feet.

"Where the blueberries go momma?" (referring to the wild blackberries)

"They're all gone."

"Who ate them momma?"

"Probably the birds and the animals."

Walk some more.  A car passes us.

"What that car is?"

"A red car."

"No it's a STINKY car!"

"Oh okay, a stinky car."

"Where's he going?"

"I don't know."

"What's he doing Momma?"

"Probably going to his house."

At this point, I just want him to stop talking so I can enjoy some peace and quiet for 2 minutes.

"Preston, you sure talk a lot."

"I HAVE to talk!"

"You know, you don't always have to talk. You can be quiet too."

"No, I HAVE to talk!"

We walk some more.

"Momma there's Herbie!!"

"Oh yes, there he is." (referring to a parked blue VW bug)

"What's he doing?"

"He's sleeping."

"He's not sleeping."

"Oh okay then why did you ask me."

"He's sitting in da grass."

We walk some more.  We pass an old tractor that looks like "Frank" in the movie Cars.

"Momma, what's Frank doing?"

At this point, I try ignoring him, hoping that he would stop asking questions. But it doesn't work, instead he asked me what Frank was doing 9 more times. I counted.

We pass a house with a big boat parked out front.

"Momma what's that boat doing?!!"

"I don't know. Sitting.  Okay guess what - it's time to be quiet because Momma wants to think."

"What you want to think about Momma?"

I laughed out loud.  And then I gave up and just accepted that he wasn't going to stop. He talked nonstop for the rest of our walk all the way home, which was 65 minutes long. Hopefully I got all his questions answered.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Life Lately

Ah, life lately...

It's been grand.

Someone has decided that he just HAS to feed himself.

While cute it is, clean it is not.  And I'm learning to be okay with that.  I'd rather him eat and be messy, than refuse food and go hungry and clean.

Preston got new shoes. Lightening McQueen shoes.  And for those other deal-savvy mommies, you can get said shoes at Payless right now for $9.99 or their BOGO deal which is "buy one get one half off", so we actually got his shoes for $4.99.  And they have Toy Story and girl ones too. I can't tell you what the girl ones were though, since I don't have girls, I rarely pay attention to the girl stuff.  Preston also still loves cars and trains.  You know - the usual.  It's been raining a lot here lately though, and so we've been stuck indoors.  My poor outdoor-loving boys have been a little cooped up.

Taylor has been going through some sort of phase.  Yes teething is part of it, but the rest I don't know.  If I leave the room, he cries. If I'm not holding him, he cries. If I'm not within sight or crawling distance, he cries.  If I go upstairs for something and leave him downstairs, he sobs and sobs and sobs. I'll think something is wrong so I come running back down, only to find him just sitting on the floor crying.  He has been ultra MEGA clingy.  I have been exhausted trying to take care of his needs.  Oh, and he also won't eat.  Unless he feeds himself, but because he's new to it, he really doesn't get a whole lot into his mouth.  So he goes hungry.  I have figured out that if I can force the first bite into his mouth, he gets a taste of it and then lets me feed him a few bites.  Oh Taylor, Taylor, Taylor.  At least he's past the teething fevers.  Last week for 2 days straight he was between 100 - 103 degrees.

Jenni (me) got a new phone, which is really smart.  And I think the smart phone might be outsmarting me because I still haven't quite figured it out yet.  But at least I am not using a Razor from 2007 anymore. And for those interested in knowing, I accidentally dropped my Razor in the toilet of an Arby's restroom while trying to talk on it and, well, you know what, at the same time.  Will had no idea our phone conversation would be cut short with a sudden splash into the toilet.  I was multi-tasking because it was midnight, I was tired and was driving home from Portland with our new car.

Will has been one busy man.  I think it would be safe to say that he is officially a Renaissance man.  Not only is he husband to me, father to our boys, but he is a project coordinator for a very busy company for about 10 or 12 hours a day, and the other "free" hours he is trying to work with our lender and contractors to get everything done to close on this house we are trying to buy.  We hardly see him.  In fact, 2 nights ago he never came to bed.  He had so much work to do that had to be done before the morning, that he literally worked through the night - thanks to the companionship of reruns of The Office on Netflix and his laptop. I stayed up as late as I could helping him scan documents, but anything further than that I couldn't do.  I felt so bad for him. :( 

And I promise I'm not trying to complain because I know there are lots of people out there who watch their spouses serve in the military for months at a time, or have spouses who have to take jobs out of state for months at a time, or have to be gone to go to school for months at a time....but having Will gone and so busy has been hard on me.  It's just that I love having him around so much, and not having that has been a hard adjustment.  And it only gets busier as we will start the actual remodeling projects on the house after it closes.  I keep telling myself that it's just temporary and I can get through this.  But I do have to hand it to all the single moms out there who do this for year and years - it is one hard job.  

We hope to close on the house by Oct. 31st. Our "fixer upper project" will probably take from Nov 1st - Feb 1st, at least to get it move-in ready.

And something new I learned this past week - I had absolutely no idea banks were so incredibly nosy when it comes to loaning you money for a home. Wow.  They really do want to know about everything.

The good news to all of this stress, is 6 months from now we will be in a new home for us that we own.  We will be a LOT closer to Will's job so he won't have to commute so many hours any more - which will in turn make him a lot happier and us too. I will have an album finished and ready to release.  So these are all good things - but just lots and lots of hard work to achieve.  Thanks for all the love and support you give our family.

Friday, October 7, 2011

What I Love Most About Babies

What do I love most about baby bodies?

These cute little miniature chunky wobbly legs!

They are the funnest when the little guy is not quite walking yet, but holding onto things and prancing around.

 And I love it when I'm helping him get ready for a bath and look down and see how little his legs and feet are compared to mine, while all the while he's wiggling and prancing. It's adorable. And the chub rolls are so fun and sweet too.

I love me some baby legs!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Just Another Day

Just another day at the Thomas house...

Taylor got stuck in the dirty laundry basket

And the boys had some crazy fun in the bathtub after completely getting dirty from dinner.  Taylor that is. He insisted on feeding himself.  Let's just say he had it in his hair, ears, and everywhere else.

The poor little guy is a little pale-faced from having diahrrea all day long.  I have no clue why he has it, but he does, and he's not happy about it.  Would you be?