Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Books I've Enjoyed Recently

Alright, in no particular order, here is a list of books I've read recently and LOVED....

Middle Grade and Young Adult Novels:

Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones....hmmmm, I adore this author. Love Howl's Moving Castle and the Chronicles of Chrestomanci. Brilliant.
The first Ranger's Apprentice book....soooooo great! This is the perfect book for boys around 11-14 years old. (and for nutty moms who love kids books!) I NEED to get the second one.
Dragon's Spear by Jessica Day George....love all three of her dragon books
Princess For Hire by Lindsey Leavitt...woo-hoo! Lindsey did such a great great great job with her first published book. So proud of her!
The Season by...can't remember....loved it though. Great murder mystery/romance YA novel set in Victorian England. Handsome guys in fancy clothes and girls in beautiful ballgowns. Fun, right?
Frozen in Time....This book was such fun! Two kids get frozen cryogenically (sp??) in 1956 (or something like that) and then woken up in 2010 by their great-nephew and neice (I think that's how it was...). And they have A LOT of questions about what happened to them, what happened to their father and then how they deal with all the new technology is so great. Really fun. My 11 yo loved it, too.

Picture Books:

Robomom and Baby Brains
Stand Straight Ella Kate
Not a Box (this is one we've checked out before...but we love it so I figured I'd share)
Ladybug Girl
Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy

If you get a chance, check them out!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Yay! Prizes!

So. I'm not so good at the watching what I eat thing. blech. It's so hard to get going! Therefore, I've made a deal with myself. For every 5 pounds I lose I get a prize.

Yay! Prizes! Huzzah!

Maybe, just maybe, I can trick myself into following the carrot.....and eating it. yum. (ptoowie!)

So, you may be wondering, "What is the wonderful prize Erin is going to reward herself with first?" Oh! I'm so glad you asked. You're such a kind and thoughtful friend, always wondering about my ever-so-exciting life. You're awesome.

Okay, since you asked so nicely, I'll tell you. I'm thinking my first prize in my FREEDOM FROM FLAB will be this....

So cute, right? I stumbled across Green Cotton's shop on Etsy last week and I LOVE her clothes! And they're so reasonably priced, as well. How could it not be instant love? Mmmmm, I love Etsy. So awesome. And I'm trying to get my own Etsy shop, Chickadee Tree, up and running again. So far there's just hats in there, but SOON there will be some totally super fantabulous upcycled purses. Woah. I probably just made you want to rush right on over and buy one. Too bad. Haven't gotten them made yet, my friend. But SOON I will. :)

Now I've just got to lose 5 pounds so I can order that lovely dress/top. I think it would look great with a white three quarters tee from downeast underneath and paired with some cute jeans....hmmmm, kind of a fall look.

I'm down 1 pound.

4 to go. Where's those carrots...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Freedom From Flab


What a super, fun, busy, crazy and just all around GREAT weekend. We blessed our wee Molly on Sunday and were so pleased and grateful that so much of our family came. Our parents and all of our siblings and their families were there except for my cute sister in law, Ninoska who was sick and my oldest brother, Fred G and his fam. They live up in Oregon. We are so blessed with such great families! I will get pictures off my camera soon and post more about this fun weekend.

Because, truly, this post is really about a different topic...


To be a bit more specific...

MY fat.

And my plan to do something about it. (I could get really cheesy and talk about the fact that I AM DECLARING MY OWN INDEPENDANCE FROM MY FLAB....heh heh.)

My thinking is that maybe if I make a public announcement about my intention to get rid of the weight, I will think twice about picking up pizza or making a large batch of chocolate chip cookies or simply burying my face in a large piece of yummy cake with a side of cookies and cream ice cream? Hmmm, it's worth a shot. :)

Last year, before I got pregnant with Molly I lost a bunch of weight on the American Heart Association diet, which isn't really so much a diet as it is just a sensible way to eat food. There isn't any extreme craziness. Nothing is outlawed. Basically it tells you what real portions are and how much you can have at each meal. It worked really well for me. Now I just have to get back into the groove. And also find time to get my bum moving...maybe treadmill walking with Molly in her sling? Hmmm, not sure I'm quite that dedicated yet.

But I think posting about this will help . It will make me accountable. If anyone wants to join me on this, you're more than welcome. We could share emails about our great love of broccoli and carrots....about how we really don't like chocolate after all....and that running until we collapse feels GOOD.

It's worth a shot, right?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

New Pics of My Girls

This is a bit of a repeat if you also read our craft blog, Cheap Cheap Chickadee, but here are some pics of my cute girls. My friend, Sundi sent me a link to some fun shirts sold on etsy. Matching Big Sis and Lil Sis shirts. Too cute, right? So, of course, I had to make some...

And while I was trying to get Zoe to smile and look good for the camera, I noticed our wee monkey was trying to do some smiling of her own...

I love that picture! Especially since she is sporting a Frohawk(...Fohawk?...whatever they're called).

Molly smiled for "real" for the first time last Saturday. I was holding her all swaddled up and Ryan said something about her being hot. Well, she smiled at that! Silly girl.

I sure do love those boys of mine. And I definitely wouldn't trade them for a house full of girls. But I am very very happy we had another girl!

Saturday, June 5, 2010


So, I've had a bit of an epiphany lately.

I don't want to go into detail, but one of our children can be a bit of a problem at times. A lot of times. With a few different issues.

And when he wants attention from those around him, I don't think he knows how to get good attention. Instead he tends to seek negative attention. And I realized something this week. Something that's made me sad...

We've been focusing on the wrong things. All the wrong things. We've been focusing on the things he does wrong. That's what we talk about (or...let's be honest...that's what we shout about...) And, ya know what? When you're focusing on all the negatives of a person you're not as sweet or loving with them as you would be if you were focusing on their positives. And, don't get me wrong, there are many many positives. He is a brilliant and wonderful boy. But I think I've lost sight of that a bit.

Also, I'm a firm believer in the idea that what you focus on is what you get more of.

So, for the last couple days, I've been focusing on all the good things. I've been trying harder to give this little one the attention he needs and to reach out to him more. I have to say that I was really struggling at times. I just wasn't sure how to handle him. But I feel so much happier now.

What do you focus on? And do you want more of it?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Doing the Robot

I signed Weston and Emmett up for a bunch of 4-H classes this summer. And I'm really happy they wanted to take the beginning sewing class. They had the class yesterday and they were absolutely thrilled with their projects...

And, yes, they are doing the Robot move. Goofy boys.

They got to make bookmarks and bean bags...

And then drawstring hankerchief bags...

I'm not sure what move they were doing here.

The class was only $6 each. Brilliant, right? Weston will be taking a babysitting and child care class in a couple of weeks. They're going to try out a Kid Chef class. Emmett is excited for a Books to Movie Class where they're going to read How to Eat Fried Worms, do some activities to do with it and then watch the movie (this is over three days) and that class was only $6, too AND they get the book. Weston is also going to take a rock class and a geocaching one. I'm hoping to get them into the next sewing class, too where they'll make pajama pants, a pillowcase and a service project.

Most of the activities are for kids over 8 but they do have Cloverbud activities once a month for 5-8 year olds. I signed Sam up for those for the next two months. They were only $3 each! Score! I love it when the kids get to try new things.

4-H is awesome!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cheap Cheap Chickadee *LINK FIXED!*

My cute friend, Sundi Pace asked if I wanted to start up a craft blog with her and I was all for it. It's still a bit of a work in progress, but we're having fun posting the fun crafts and such we're doing. I added pics and a link to a fun corduroy pleated purse I made and a link to a tie pattern. Also check out the fun flower tutorial Sundi put up....

Cheap Cheap Chickadee (luckily my sweet friend, Colleen pointed out that this link wasn't working...urgh. Now it should work...)

And sometime soon we'll be giving away some crafty swag.

So, make sure you check back often!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Crafty Chaos: Pink, Upcycled, and IKEA fabric...

It was an overcast day today, so great for pics! But it was cold (boo.) so I had to work really hard to get Zoe to smile. The promise of a popsicle sure helped (even though I think she felt like a popsicle herself!)

So, I love to try new projects. I often see things and think, "I could probably make that." And, apparently, I love to try things that are very time consuming.....

I got a hankering to make a pettiskirt for my girl. She has a cute little friend who has a similar skirt given to her by her grandmother. I searched on-line for a free tutorial. Found one (I'll have to find the link...) Had my mom hunt down some hot pink nylon chiffon at JoAnn's (she is so awesome). And then after many hours....voila! (didn't I just make that sound so easy? :)
I do LOVE how it turned out though. It's all nice and swishy and perfect for twirling, but I am really happy I got it done before the new baby came along!

I made the shirt match by adding little chiffon flowers with pink button centers.

This fun and silly dress was made out of IKEA fabric....

It's one of the easiest dresses I've ever made. I whipped one out for a friend's little girl at the same time. Made both of them in two hours. Not bad. I've seen the same style done up as cute little tops over jeans. There are a lot of these dresses sold on etsy.
And here's some upcycled fun...

I've been making these leggings for Zoe out of knit tees (she's wearing black and white striped ones in the first pics, too). See the beauty of this is you cut out the leggings with the bottom of the pattern lined up with the hem and then you don't have to try to get a good looking hem with the knit. Brilliant, right? I also made my boys jammie shorts with the same idea. Big soft knit tees=comfy jammies :)

I also tried my hand at making these fun 3d roses. I've seen these done as hair clips and such on etsy and I love the look. I'm really happy with how they turned out...especially because they were easy peasy.

(And just so no one thinks I'm some kind of Crafty Superhero...all of these were made pre-baby :)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I love black and white pics...

I've been trying to get some great pics of our new girl...oy. It's tough business getting good shots of a newborn. Especially ones that don't show off her lovely crossed eyes. heh. Luckily she'll grow out of those...eventually!
And I love this one...
Cute schmooshy lips, eh?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Wooh-hoo! The baby finally came!

Alright, now here's a shot of me in all my lovely round glory...

Oh, yeah...lookin' good. :) But I was actually feeling pretty great. I love being pregnant. And even though Molly was a bit late, I was just fine. I started to get a bit anxious for her to arrive towards the end though. Just getting worried about the girl and hoping everything was okay with her.

And everything was. Early Thursday morning on April 29th my water broke and I thought a big thanks towards my Heavenly Father. I woke Ryan up and boy, did he get up quick. Hearing the words, "Ryan, my water just broke!" Yeah. That's a great way to start your day, right?

I wasn't having any contractions though so, I had a shower and then we decided to wait to call Jim and Mikki (Ryan's brother and wife who agreed to watch our other monkeys while we were at the hospital...and by the way, they are made of Awesome Sauce!) and get the kids up and ready for school. Weston had been asking me every day, "Do you think the baby will come today?" so when he came up the stairs I said, "Ya know that question you ask me every day?" He said, "Yeah." I said, "Ask it." He smiled big and said, "Do you think the baby will come today?" And I said, "Yes." heh heh. He was pretty excited. I said something similar to the other boys and wow, it was easier to get Sam out of bed than usual. He's a toughie to get going in the morning, but that morning he was up and awake pretty fast! When I told Emmett he gave me a big hug. These boys had been waiting and waiting!

We got the boys off to school on the bus and then Jim and Mikki came over to watch Zoe. Luckily Mikki was all done with her finals and Jim only had one in the afternoon so they could be home when Sam came home from Kindergarten and the other boys got home later.

So, then Ryan and I headed to the hospital. It was a white snowy crisp morning. And we were pretty excited.

My contractions never really picked up too much and there was that whole lovely merconium thing going on so, eventually they had to get me going on pitossin (sp?) and that did the trick. And can I just say?....I love epidurals. Brillaint things. Just brilliant.

So, after Laurie (my certified nurse midwife who I've had all my kids with) got there and she got all suited up, I pushed for about 5 minutes...and then there she was...our Molly, all gooey and beautiful.

Ryan was very sweet and wonderful. He let me squeeze his hand as hard as I could before the epidural took total effect, he tried to breathe with me and he shushed when I told him to stop reading the numbers off the screen telling how bad the contaction was....heh.

And he looked down at me after she was born, smiled wide and said, "Good job."

Sweet man.

My mom got to be there for her birth, as she has for all our children. And I love having her there. I love sharing those special moments with her. Even though it is all a bit goopey. We were having trouble coming up with a middle name for our girl. We finally decided on an initial. D....for Donna, my mom. :)

Ryan's parents were already planning on coming into town that day, so that worked out great. They got the hospital soon after she was born and stayed and chatted for a bit. We are so blessed by the wonderful families we're apart of! They're all so good to us.

The kids came later and saw her through the nursery window (there had been some colds going around with them) and they were so cute. When Zoe was asked who it was she said, "Pink Molly." Cute girl. And Weston said, "She's so cute!"

My super kind parents took the kids to St. George for three nights and played with and fed and enjoyed them. I'm sure they really enjoyed their quiet home when they brought them back, too! But the kids had a great time. There was play-doh fun and foam airplane painting and a pizza party with cousins and trips to parks.

Ryan and I took it easy in the hospital. Loving and snuggling with our new girl. I love that time in the hospital, all those new moments. All those firsts. We watched her yawn. We admired her little feet and tiny fingers. We stroked her soft head of hair. Love it.

But oy! I did miss my other monkeys. And I was thrilled to see them when my parents brought them back. I had talked to them the night before on the phone and gotten all weepy at the sound of their sweet voices.

Here are my wonderful parents. They are the best!

I love how our kids love to watch her and hold her and touch her and kiss her...

And there you have it. The story of our new sweet girl, our Molly...

Molly D. Shakespear

8 lbs. 10 oz.

20" long

Born April 29th at 4:42 p.m.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fun in New York!

Look! Finally pictures from my trip to New York for the swanky Highlights Writing Conference last summer in Chautauqua.

I just had to pose on these beautiful steps....

Yes, I'm aware I look like a dork. In fact, a dorky tourist. Whatever. In my defense, I took a red eye flight to New York and I was a bit sleep-deprived! Luckily I got a snooze in before the opening banquet.

Check out the steamboat! I didn't actually see this though. This is a shot of my friend's. But I heard it blow it's whistle. And silly me, I thought there was a train somewhere.

My utterly amazing and fabulous and stupendously great mentor, Patricia Lee Gauch....
She is the former Vice President of Philomel Books and an amazing author herself. She was one of the coveted mentors and I felt very very blessed and honored to score her as mine. I learned loads from this lady.

Okay. Could I own one of these houses? Please? That place was filled to the brim with beautiful homes with beautiful yards and beautiful flowers. Yeah, I just need a few million to make these dreams come true...

Check out the green stuff! I forget how brown Utah is until I get somewhere like this....

But I have to say. OY! How I did miss our mountains. And when I was on the plane ride home and we finally flew over some brown mountains, my heart smiled.
I loved all the flowers!

My view as I walked to breakfast each morning...
The famous Atheneum Hotel...
This is where we had our fancy dinners and amazing buffet breakfasts each morning. That place is simply gorgeous. I wish I could afford to bring my whole family back to stay. But not unless I sell a few gazillion books!

Here we were checking out the sweet house Barbara Santucci (picture book author) and Kathleen Hayes (editor of High 5--Highlight's magazin for the younger set) got to stay in. It was pretty pretty nice...

And we like to act like goofballs. So. That's what that picture is all about. :)

I made some really awesome friends. And we enjoyed getting together to swap notes about the different classes we were all attending....

Doesn't it look like I have the whole group just at my feet...waiting for my words of wisdom? heh heh. Pictures are so wonderfully decieving.

This is a great shot of the fun group I fell into....
We affectionately called ourselves 3 Men, 3 Mormons and Stephanie. These people are some of the greatest I've ever had the pleasure of hanging out with. We all became friends so easily. It was super. (And we were such an interesting mix...an illustrator, school teacher, couple moms, authors and even a crazy Australian former professional rugby player...Ah, Jon, I love ya!)
I made so many great friends on this trip! You really get to know people fast when you spend breakfast, lunch, dinner, classes and trips with them....

Here I am with the cute and talented Candace Fleming and the Caldecott winning illustrator of My Friend Rabbit, Eric Rohmann...
These two are super fun and I'm excited they're coming to Utah in March for a conference at UVU. I've been thinking of going...but then today I was wondering about being that far from home and only 4 weeks left of this pregnancy. Hmmm....not so sure about that.

Hey look! It's me hanging out with Terry Hatcher...
LOL! Okay...it's not, but doesn't she totally look like her? But I bet Kim is a much sweeter person. :)
Check out my stalker grin while posing with the famous and amazing Jerry Spinelli....

GoodNESS. Could I be any more starstruck??!
Well, the trip was totally and completely worth the expense and the effort. I loved it. I learned loads and I made a lot of great connections with people I know I'll keep in touch with forever.
But I did miss my family like crazy and I was so happy to get home to them. It's always nice to go, but it's even nicer to return home!