Monday, November 22, 2010

Finally Five!

Owen turned five last week! Here are some pictures of his birthday party. We had a family Lego party with Tim's parents.

We had a tower building contest, ate lego head marshmallow pops and cupcakes, and opened presents--the most exciting of which was a pillow pet that he had been wanting for months!

It seems like Owen always makes developmental strides right around his birthday; maybe it's just that I'm paying more attention to him and notice them. But in just the past week, he's learned to ride a bike without training wheels and all of a sudden, he likes to color. He will sit quietly for a few hours coloring pages I've printed for him---which is SO out of character for him, I never could get him to color for longer than one minute before last week. It's fantastic!

Owen is such a sweet kid. He's almost always kind to Henry, even when Henry isn't being very nice. He loves to play with friends, help me in the kitchen or with crafts, and he loves to play games of all kinds. His favorite food is corn dogs and he chooses plain Cheerios for breakfast 95% of the time. He gets mad when we call the new baby (arriving next spring) by it's nickname, "Coco Ko", and insists that she should be named Sally. He's always humming or singing. Whenever Tim or I start to sing a song, Owen always takes over after a few bars and makes up a big, long song that cracks us up. Yesterday he sang a song about Monopoly. Incidentally, he's beaten both Tim and I, on separate occasions, at Monopoly, without us making any accomodations for him other than helping count money. He's so good at games!

In school, Owen is doing great. He is advanced in reading and math for his grade level. Today as I dropped him off at kindergarten, I stayed in the car and watched Owen walk to his class. He walked toward the classroom, stopping to turn around and wave goodbye about every five seconds. Then when he was almost there, he turned and started running back toward me. I thought he might have forgotten something,so I opened my door to see what he needed. He said, "You can go now, Mommy. Bye!" and waited, waving, for me to drive away. He makes me laugh so much--I just love my Owen!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 1, 2010


We just wrapped up a fantastic Halloween weekend.

I made Owen and Henry's costumes all by myself this year. They went as the Super Mario Brothers. The costumes turned out really cute! I truly believe there is not much cuter in life than a little boy with a fake mustache--and I had two of them! Owen was Luigi, the taller of the brothers, and Henry was Mario. I made Henry's overalls a little big at the waist and then wrapped batting around his middle to make him look like a short little chunky Italian man. Tim and I couldn't stop laughing at how funny he looked with a fat belly. Soooo cute! Both Henry and Owen loved their costumes. It was nice not to have to force them into something that needed constant adjusting or was uncomfortable and scratchy like the costumes of years' past. They were comfortable and happy, which made everything so much more fun.

The weekend began Friday night with a Halloween party at the church. The party was outdoors and everyone brought chili for a chili cook off and cornbread for dinner. After eating chili there were lots of little carnival games for the kids to play, and then everyone went to their cars and opened up their trunks for the kids to trick-or-treat. We were supposed to decorate our cars and pass out candy while the kids circled the parking lot 10 or 15 times until the candy ran out. Owen took off on his own this year, and I actually had to hold Henry's bucket for him (the freeloader!) while we went to all of the cars. I casually asked someone if had seen Owen, not particularly worried, but later found out it started an all-out search for him.

I was back at our car with Tim and Henry when I was handed an award for the best chili! I'd made white chicken chili with a recipe I got from America's Test Kitchen a few years ago. I beat out two WARDS worth of chili pots with my chili! I was so excited about winning that when someone brought "lost" Owen to me, I didn't show any appreciation or say thank you or anything. Oops! I feel bad about it now. But did I mention how AWESOME my chili was????

On Saturday we carved our pumpkins. We decided that I'm the family pumpkin cleaner-outer and Tim's the family pumpkin carver. While I make quick work of getting the goo out, Tim carves them super fast! Owen had a very specific design in mind for his jack-o-lantern, which turned out being very easy and traditional. I love the classic jack-o-lantern face. Tim made his like Mario in honor of the boys' costumes.

On Sunday night we invited friends over for homemade donuts and apple cider. Then we drove across town to see a cool pirate ship someone in town puts up every year for Halloween. Owen loved it. We ended up making it to ONE HOUSE to trick-or-treat that night, at about 8:30. It was pretty late, but I couldn't let Halloween end without showing off Owen and Henry's costumes just one more time!


Monday, October 18, 2010

Girls' Weekend in Ohio!

I've gotta write about the awesome week I just had with my sisters and my mom. Mindy, Susanna, my mom and I all flew back to Merilee's house in Ohio last week for four blissful days without our children or husbands! It was such fun. We spent almost all of our time doing what we Packard girls do best--SHOPPING, of course! Oh, and driving, because everything in Ohio is spread out. I'll also mention that much time was also spent laughing so hard we cried (okay, mostly me. I'm soooo emotional right now!), trying to steal pictures of each other sleeping with Susanna's enormous neck pillow in the car, and staying up as late as possible while managing to get up as early as possible for another car ride into the city. Really, I can't write much about this trip without thinking of a million inside jokes that would make no sense to anyone but us. There is nothing in the world like being with my sisters!

Ohio is so gorgeous this time of year, and Merilee lives on a perfect tree-lined country lane in a perfect country house on a huge piece of gorgeous property. Picture that classic Microsoft Windows computer wallpaper with the grassy hill and clouds floating over it: that's exactly what Merilee's backyard looks like. So pretty! I LOVED it--too bad it takes fifteen hours of traveling to get there. I wish I could visit all the time.  

One day we drove into Cincinnati and met our cousin Wade's wife, Nancy, who lives nearby. She spent the day shopping with us and it was such a fun day. Nancy met us at an awesome Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic clearance center that is basically a step down from their outlet stores. I found some amazing deals on clothes and shoes for the whole family. That day we also made it to Ikea, SugarCraft, and had dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory. You'd think three stores and dinner wouldn't take all day, but you don't know us...we shop until we drop (or find some diet pepsi).

Another day was spent in Amish country in Ohio. We visited some stores there including a grocery, a cheese factory, and a bakery. The whole days' travel was mostly focused on one thing: sprinkles! It is a little known fact that the Amish sell sprinkles of all types in bulk in their grocery stores. Merilee knows all the best places to shop in Ohio! So we filled up our baskets with dozens of little containers and later had a little sprinkle dividing/swapping party as well as cheese tasting. It's so fun when everyone buys something different and we all can share. Note to anyone traveling by plane with sprinkles in their carry-on bag: you WILL be searched.

Now you would think that between the five of us, at least one would have remembered a camera; but I think we were all just so excited to get away from home that nothing else mattered. So that's why I have no pictures of my trip. I am so glad Tim was so good about taking time off to take care of the kids. It was fabulous to come home to happy kids and a clean house. I'm grateful to the other men as well- especially Hans, who not only watched his children, but cooked some fabulous food for us and provided scintillating conversation to boot! Thanks, Hans and Merilee! I'm so glad you're mine.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

O O O Owen

Here's a cute picture of my O-boy at his first flag football game. He looks a little stand-offish here, but as soon as the plays started, Owen snapped into action. He made a touchdown on the first play of the game, and played some fantastic defense. He's good at running fast and is not afraid of diving for those flags! He definitely had a part in helping his team win their first game. 
The little boys were so cute and funny. Many times, they didn't notice the cones marking the end of the playing field, and they would just keep running. On one particularly exciting play, the boys on both teams ran all the way to home plate of the adjoining baseball field before the coaches got their attention to stop running. We just sat there and laughed so hard!

On Monday, we went to Disneyland with Tim's sister, Amber. It was a perfect day in the park. In Tomorrowland, there is a Star Wars show for kids to participate called "Jedi Training Academy". Owen was one of the lucky kids picked to go up and get some lightsaber training. He even got to practice his moves on Darth Vader!

Owen LOVED it. He was so excited to be up on stage and learn to fight like a Jedi!
Tim tried to catch his big moment fighting Vader on video, but had some camera problems so only got the very end.

Disneyland is all decorated for Halloween and some of the rides are even Halloween-themed. It totally got me into the Autumn spirit so I'm feeling really excited to get out my holiday box and decorate my house for Halloween. Yesterday I decided my door needed an Autumn wreath, so I made a rectangle one with a Styrofoam frame and some bright leaves. I love it!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Lots to be happy about today!

Happy Friday! I love Fridays. I thought I'd post a random balloon dancing video to brighten this blog up a bit today.

Things I'm happy about right now:
1. New apple crop! I love a good, crisp fall apple. Hurray for the Organic Galas Costco is carrying currently!
2. Henry's feeling better! He's had a little cold accompanied by a nasty diaper rash this week, but it seems to be on the mend. Hmmm....I just had the thought that I should look in his mouth to see if there are any new teeth making an appearance. Just checked...nope.
3. I've come to terms with Owen and kindergarten. He's going to have good days and bad days, and he may need to do kinder for another year due to his maturity. But for now I'm just going to try to stay positive and enjoy taking advantage of the free education that otherwise would be costing me $200+ per month for another year of preschool. And he is improving--it's just going to take some time to get used to it, I think. And he had a great day at school today!
4. Business is finally picking up with Tim's private practice job in Fresno! Man, summer is soooo slow for the therapy business. Nobody wants to deal with their problems, I guess. But yesterday he saw six clients and his schedule is almost full now.
5. Projects! I've got a sewing project in full swing and a few knitting projects that I'm just wrapping up. Finally after a very slow, stale, hot summer in which I did very little besides read and swim, I've got the crafting bug back and am feeling creative.

6. Owen is starting flag football with his first game tomorrow! He is super excited. It's just tiny tots (3- and 4-year-olds) and with Owen being just a few months shy of 5, he's the biggest on his team. I think it'll be nice for him to be the oldest after being the youngest in his school class. And he's going to be making lots of touchdowns! Not to mention that tiny tots football=HILARIOUS.
7. A flower bed with no weeds! After letting it go crazy all summer because pulling weeds in 100+ degree heat was the last thing I wanted to do, Tim and I tackled our big front flower bed this week. Once we'd cleared it out, we made sure to put down the weed-controlling fabric with bark on top, so hopefully those weeds won't be returning. Now, what to do about the "grass" that is also all weeds? I'm trying to find a solution that leans more toward staying organic (no chemical herbicides like Roundup), but for now my yard is regrettably the ugliest on our street. But at least the flower bed looks good!
8. Clothes that don't fit! Wait, what? Actually this is one of the worst things about what is making me happy today. Today marks 12 weeks of pregnancy #3 for me. We're expecting baby three at the beginning of April, and we are very, very excited.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Kindergarten Kid

Last week Owen started kindergarten. He was so excited to go on the first day, that he came to the side of our bed and woke us up at the crack of dawn, whispering, "First day of school! First day of school!" just like Nemo in that terrifying Disney movie that takes place entirely under water. And the first day of school went great for Owen--he walked in and out the door of his classroom with a huge smile on his face.

Unfortunately, since that first day, I can't say that kindergarten has gone particularly smooth, as Owen seems to have a penchant for getting out of his seat and bouncing around the classroom. And I have already seen the "wide freaky eyes look" Mrs. Glispey gives when a child is not meeting her expectations! Hopefully he'll get used to the order of things soon. I have to remember that he's still only four, and he's learning. I just love this little guy so much. In the past few months Owen's been going through a really sweet stage where he comes up and hugs and kisses me and tells me he loves me. All that one minute, and then the next I discover something that makes me completely livid: like his dumping out every single toy bin in his room or finding the toilet in my bathroom surrounded with a huge lake of pee. It's like a roller coaster of happiness/anger in this house!

Last weekend we left the valley for a day at the beach. We went to Morro Bay and Cayucos. Morro Bay has a huge rock that makes it such a pretty place to visit. Besides it being a little chilly (and how can I complain about that in August, anyway?), it was a very fun day.

When we first arrived at the beach, we all ran down to the water and when a wave came, it scared Henry so bad, he turned around and ran for dear life way up on the sand! He just kept running--it was like an episode of Gilligan's Island where Gilligan runs in fast forward all the way up the beach. We kept calling for him to turn around and come back but he wouldn't stop until he had made it all the way to the lifeguard platform. It was the funniest thing. Here's a short video of Henry running away from the waves.


Friday, July 23, 2010

My second favorite Mindy in the world

I am completely enamoured by this new song by Mindy Gledhill. I can't wait until her new CD comes out next month! Between that and the new Hunger Games book, it's going to be a good, good month.

And in case you were wondering, my very favorite Mindy in the world is, of course, my sister. She and her husband, Jason, are so much fun. I really wish that I could live closer to Mindy and Jason, as well as my sister Susanna, who both live in the same town. I love my sisters! They can have me laughing so hard I cry with just about anything they say. Mindy and her super fun happy good time family drove all the way from Utah to visit us last week and we had such a blast. Love you, Mindy!

What could be more fun than one fun cousin? Try five at once! Always someone to play with.
We drove up to Sequoia National Park and braved climbing up Moro Rock. Ugh, all those steps gave me a pretty good workout, especially carrying Henry all the way back down!

We even had a special treat completely out of the ordinary for us: three Muller girls in our car on the way home! They had us laughing so hard, making up songs about their babysitters. Sigh! Little girls are so much fun!

Now that Mindy and Susanna's visits are over, I kinda feel like this last picture. Life is not nearly so fun without a sister or a cousin to play with! I'm counting down the days until I get to visit my other favorite sister in the world, Merilee, in a few months! Watch out, Merilee! FREEZE! Blind man bluff is ready, here I come!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

If only I had a chicken right about now...

I went out to my garden this morning and noticed an enemy had invaded...a giant horned tomato worm! Man, I hate those things. They are so big and fat, they just freak me out. Judging by the loss of the leaves of my tomato vines, it had been partying for quite some time--unless there are more still out there (gulp). I have very vivid memories of growing up when my dad would find tomato worms in the garden. We would all go down and watch as he would flip those big, fat tomato worms into the chicken pen. The chickens would go crazy fighting over the worms, it was such fun for a child to watch. Feeding tomato worms to chickens has got to be the best vengeance after losing all those leaves! So of course today I had to put on a brave face and call Owen and Henry over to check out the worm. I couldn't help but screech a little bit as I tried to pull it off the vine with a pencil--it held on for dear life, as if it were imagining the worst case scenario for its future--chickens!. We snapped a pic, and simply flipped that lucky worm into the garbage.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Summer time is here, and I've been making plans with fun things to do with my boys for the next nine weeks or so. It's going to be so fun! I picked a theme for each week and have activities planned out with things to do every day revolving around the weekly theme. I'm excited. Mondays are going to be swimming day, Tuesday is movie day (either at home or at the free family film festival at the movie theater), Wednesday is library story time and craft day, Thursday will be playgroup at the park and library program day (they've got a full list of entertainers coming each week), and Friday will be field trip day. I'm hoping to find some fun things to do that will get us out of the house that day. Does that sound like too much? I want to make it fun and simple without getting ridiculously rigorous--I may have to make some adjustments along the way.

Oh, and I've just completed my annual summer mix CD. I've got envelopes addressed and ready to ship to some special sisters of mine, but I'm eager to share, so if there are any other readers out there interested in some fun music perfect for listening while driving to and from the pool/park/Sonic Drive-Thru-at-happy-hour-with-a-half-price-lemon-slush, leave me a comment and I'll send it to ya! I've still got a few licenses left, and I think it just may be my best compilation yet. 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Kindergarten, Here I Come!

Owen graduated from preschool! Not that it's particularly hard to achieve preschool graduate status (age certainly overpowers academics here), but he has really grown in the past year, and despite my astonishment that he's actually old enough for kindergarten, Owen is on his way this fall, whether I like it or not. I am so proud of this kid. He's been going to a state preschool program that put on a fancy schmancy graduation ceremony with cap and gown, even. I was rolling my eyes when I heard he'd be wearing a cap and gown (they actually ordered them from Jostens! Your taxpayer money here!), but once I saw him wearing the getup, I must admit it might have been the cutest thing ever.

Way to go, Owen! The easiest, funnest year of your entire educational career?
Go ahead and check that off your to-do list.
I can't wait to see you wearing Cougar blue in about 13 years. It's BYU or bust!

Friday, May 21, 2010

It's curtains for you!

When I was a kid I used to HATE following my mom around fabric stores. She sewed so much, it seems like we were in a fabric store several times a week. When we went into the store, I usually had two choices: I could look for a cute fabric and formulate an idea for something she could sew for me, and if it was a good enough idea and a cute enough print she would usually buy it (assuming it cost less than $2.00/yard). The other choice was what usually happened: I would hide underneath the circular stands that held the bolts of fabric and wait for what seemed like hours for her to be done. I never would have guessed that I would get to the point where I actually ENJOY going to fabric stores with her! But my mom's got a great eye for finding diamonds (and deals) in the rough. Every time we go she amazes me by finding companion fabrics for any print that I might be considering. Now it is so much fun to shop with her, I love it!

Recently we made some new curtains for the windows in my kitchen and family room. We found some cute green fabric and formulated a plan to make them look like little awnings over the windows. We also picked up some cheap beige cotton panels from Ikea for the sliding glass door that we planned to spruce up a bit. We looked everywhere for brackets that would hold the curtains out from the wall at the bottom, but had no luck. So we enlisted my dad to weld us some. And I found some coordinated rods to give them shape.

We hunted for a long time to find some cute trim for the awning curtains, and our favorite, a brown fringe trim that we found, cost $15.99 a yard--that would have been more than $70 for the amount we needed. We sadly settled for a different trim that wasn't as cute but cost $7.99 a yard, still a hefty sum for us. Then as we were walking around the store, we saw some other trims in a clearance section. We found several we liked, but fell in love with a cute green one that was only $2.99 a yard and looked better than anything else we'd seen. Then after the fabric cutter at the store scanned the bar code, it turned out to be marked down to only $1.99 a yard! We had enough money to buy the amount necessary for all of the windows plus the curtains on the sliding glass door! I love finding deals like that, and I love the little extra "oomph" this trim adds to the curtains.

And here's a little teaser, this is the fabric I picked for some long panels in the living room! I can't wait to get them finished.
This last picture is my inspiration room for the living room. Hopefully by the time I'm done I'll have created something along these lines!
p.s. it is HARD to photograph windows! Sorry for the dark shots!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Ten years exuberant.

Ten years beautiful.

Ten years divine.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Watch out, Nadya Suleman!

Yesterday afternoon I had Oprah turned on as I was cleaning the house. She had Nadya Suleman, aka Octomom, on the show. In part of the interview they showed some video of Octomom at home with her 14 children, eight of them babies less than two years old. It was a pretty chaotic, noisy video clip, and Henry and Owen were glued to the screen. When I noticed how interested they were, I said to them, "Wow, look at all those babies!" and Owen says, "Oh, I wish we had a house full of babies!" Then Henry, in a voice that sounded like Sloth from Goonies, screams, "BAAAAABY!!!!"

Please, Mommy?

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Refurbished Chandelier

Shortly after Tim and I were married, I worked at the electric shop on the campus of BYU. I was a secretary for most of that time, and my favorite part of the job was answering distress calls from people stuck in campus elevators. I really loved that job--I had a radio, so I always knew what was going on around campus. One semester instead of working as secretary, I worked on fire alarm systems. I learned all kinds of stuff about how to do electrical work and lately, my knowledge has come in handy. Take a look at the change I made in my entry lighting.
This is the old fixture, which, incidentally, is up for sale on Craig's List in case anyone reading has just gotta have it. It wasn't really terrible, it just wasn't my thing.

I found this used chandelier at the local Habitat for Humanity Restore. It cost 15 bucks. I covered the lampshades with some craft paper, mod podge and bias tape for the trim. I covered them while listening to general conference. Before the last conference talk was over, I had myself a pretty cute light fixture! The biggest problem was finding a bracket to fit underneath the cover to attach it to the ceiling. Luckily my awesome dad came to the rescue and welded one for me.

This is the finished light! Isn't it cute? I love it.