Thursday, May 26, 2011

Days Like These

Today was just one of those days where I didn't get much accomplished. I don't like this kind of day. Tom was out of town and my schedule was totally off (I didn't go to sleep until after 3am and Morgan woke up at 7 -- 1-2 hours early -- and I just don't do well on 4 hours of sleep -- clearly my fault, I realize that).

I let Morgan play in her pajamas until early afternoon and I went off of my "healthy eating" schedule and didn't exercise. Not that it was a bad day, I just went off the routine and I now realize that I am a routine kind of girl.
By the way she looks, you'd think she didn't choose to climb into the vent. Oh, she did. I'm sure she figured she had thrown everything else in, why not herself.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Let The Sun Shine In!

Well, when it's bright you need sunglasses... even in the shower.*If naked toddler bellies bother you, please take it up with me and not the Po-Po. Not wanting to go to jail for an innocent pic.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Interior Design VS Staging

Many people think that "staging" your home requires renting expensive furniture and having someone decorate your house -- a common misconception. A) You probably don't need to rent furniture at all unless the home you are selling is empty. Then you can decide on your budget and go from there. B) You don't "need" someone to decorate your house, but a lot of times it is worth it.

I've been taking a home staging course and I've learned a few things that I'm going to share today (I'll learn a lot more at a home staging conference in Denver in two weeks -- yay!).

Home pictures in magazines are usually interior design pictures. They look amazing and clean and modern (and I don't mean the style "modern" but "updated" -- this decade!, although this year is preferred). Most are impersonal and unemotional. To stage a home to sell, you need to take the interior design (i.e. Pier 1, Elle Decor, etc.) rooms and make them emotional. First of all you have to figure out who the potential buyer is, then make it emotional to them.

So, that's what I did for a showing of our house (no, it's not listed for sale -- we just happened to have someone call about it and want to see it). I decided to market to a young professional family with kids (which worked out well since that's what we are -- ha!). In Morgan's room I made a little play area with a dog "reading" Go. Dog. Go! to a group of other dogs (see pic below). It is best if you can make it gender neutral, but this is our house and Morgan's room so it's not gender neutral.

In her bathroom I did something that a kid might do with foam letters that should make the potential buyers either remember their kids doing something like that or imagine that their kids will one day.

For the sitting area I put together a family game night with Scrabble (the letters say "family game night"). It is supposed to help the buyers imagine themselves with their families and trigger an emotion to make them remember and love this house (isn't marketing intriguing?!)
To sum things up, staging is fun and necessary (especially in this market) to sell a house quickly. I don't prefer to have my home staged when nobody is going to be looking at it. I do like it to be designed though.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hannah's Book

I've only mentioned this once or twice, but I wrote a book. I love to write. Love it, love it! I'm in the middle of my 2nd book and have ideas for the next (and next, and next). I've had some encouraging correspondence with a couple of publishers for the first one (not published yet, but I hope so some day).

Anyway, this post isn't about me (mostly). It is to support a fellow authoress (love that word!) with whom I went to high school. Hannah Tanner Clark wrote a fantasy novel, COBBOGOTH, that is being published and will be available to purchase in October.

I love supporting people I know, especially if I'm interested in what they are doing. So please go check out her blog and website (she's also over there on the right ---->).

Hopefully someday she will be blogging for my book too!

Maynksgiving #2

Last Saturday was a special day. We celebrated our second annual Maynksgiving (Thanksgiving dinner in May). There was even a 5k that morning in our neighborhood (what luck, right!?) that will be referred to as the Maynksgiving day race. I beat last year's time by 9 seconds (and that would be great if last year I wasn't pushing a baby in a jogging stroller). If only there was a parade too... does a garage sale count?

Last year we concocted the idea with our fave family, Justin and Sarah Ruiz. This year they decided to pack up their things and move to Utah to train for the London Olympics (to which we are first in line for tickets) so they weren't able to come. Boo! We did have other great friends there and Tom's sister's family is in town (to get things ready for the big move here!) so they got to eat with us. Morgan was in Heaven playing with her cousins.
The weather was so cooperative that we were able to eat outside. I think I like Maynksgiving more than Thanksgiving just because it's warm.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Morgan is learning so much and there are so many things that I want to write down. So here we go.

A couple of months ago her cousins were visiting from Oregon and their parents turned the tub on so they could take a bath then Mari came downstairs and Lenny stayed to watch the tub. Well, he went into the toilet room (you know, another room in the bathroom where the toilet is) for a minute. The kids were playing and Meg walked down the stairs to us and said, Morgan's in the tub. I ran to see what was going on and found Morgan fully dressed in the filling bathtub. She was soaking wet. Tragedy averted, thank goodness, and it ended up being pretty funny. It's amazing what happens in a minute.

I scored this bike for Morgan for her birthday and the weather was finally good enough for her to play with it outside. She doesn't quite understand the concept of pedaling, but it'll come soon.
Is that mascara on her eyelashes? Yep. Don't judge.
We went to Mari's new house yesterday and as soon as we pulled up and Morgan saw the house she said, "Tanner." That's her cousin and she recognized that we were at his house. Today when we pulled into the church parking lot she said, "church." She does the same thing with our house and when she sees Walgreens she says, "caramel" because I used to bribe her with a caramel if she would not cry while we were there.

Tom took M out during church today because she can't grasp what it means to "whisper." They went into the empty nursery and M found a fireman's hat, put it on and said "fire." Might not be the most incredible thing, but we don't go around talking about firemen... ever.

I wanted to take some pictures of her on the piano but she didn't want to. When we looked through the pictures afterward, she looked at this one and said, "cry." Yes Morgan, and I wish you wouldn't cry so much when I want to take pictures of you.
Yesterday Tom and M were waiting in the car while I went shopping and Tom asked her if she wanted to sing the ABC's. She said, "no." Then he asked her if she wanted to count. She said, "no." So he asked her if she wanted to call Nana on the phone and she did. Tom told her to say hi to Nana so she said, "hi." Then she put the phone to her stuffed doggy's ear and said, "say hi."

We were taking a family walk to the park and the shoes that she wanted to wear were water shoes that are way too big for her. I let her wear them anyway (and she had on a dress). She started running across the street and tripped on the stupid shoes and skinned her knees. She cried and we went back home to put on some pants and shoes that fit better then started walking to the park again. I kid you not, we were at the same place and she started running and tripped and fell again. Luckily it wasn't so bad with the pants on but she laid there and said, "hurts" (sounds like, hoo-uts).

She says, "careful" (silent "r" and "ful" is more "fo") all the time (like while she's walking down the stairs or climbing on things). A while ago I heard her saying "careful" while she was upstairs and I was downstairs. She kept saying it so I went up to see what was going on. She was on my computer chair, holding onto the computer desk. The chair had rolled backward so she was basically doing a plank three feet in the air. Good thing she has great core muscles.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I'm Feeling WICKED

For Mother's Day, Tom surprised me with breakfast (eggs benedict) in bed. He also told me of his plan for us to see WICKED, which is in Boise until Sunday. About a year ago a bunch of people in my ward decided to purchase their tickets at a group discount price of $60 per ticket. We decided not to get them because we weren't sure if we would even live here. Well, fast forward the entire year and the musical is now at the Morrison Center and we are still here. I thought it would be nice to go, then we realized tickets are being sold now $240 for the nice seats. Okay, if you've read my blog at all you know that I do not A) pay retail, B) spend over $500 (including babysitter) for a few hours of entertainment, or C) pass up a stellar deal if it is something I want and will use.

So Tom's present to me worked out very well. He called the Morrison Center earlier in the week to ask about tickets and found out that every day they do a lottery and sell a handful of tickets for $25 each. Super. I was definitely willing to gamble going to the musical for that price. Tom took Morgan to the MC at 5pm this afternoon and put our names on the lottery list. At 5:30 our names were drawn and Tom bought our tickets. He did upgrade for $15/ticket to get some of the best seats in the house. We ended up in row G (see map below), which is in the front 1/4 of the orange section B. It was perfect and such a fun Mother's Day present for a great price.
Now, since we have already done it and you won't be taking our tickets, feel free to use our frugality and enter the lottery. Just remember that you have to be there before 5:30 and you still might not get tickets.

New Bedroom Decor Part 1

Since I put my new piano in my room I decided that I have to redecorate the entire room to match. So, I moved the picture of the SL temple to the house entry way (but it will be moved again soon) and made a new thing to hang over our bed.
I got this great idea for my pictures from this [so cheap, so easy] post on kreyv. The sucker was pretty hard to hang though (it's 5 ft by 2 ft, if you can't tell). I may have put about 10 holes in the wall and it still might have fallen and ruined the headboard (it's okay, I want a new one anyway) but I covered it with a dark brown furniture marker which, if you don't already have, you should invest in because that thing has saved a lot of wood in our house.
The entire "work of art" cost like $15 (including 8x10 prints) and I have two giant pieces of particle board left over to use however I deem necessary... and they will be used.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Just over two years ago, on a sunny day in April, something remarkable happened. After a lot of pain, swelling, crying, and pushing, my beautiful wife became a mother. In that magical moment, our lives were forever changed for the better.

Our world was literally transformed in the blink of an eye. We stopped doing many of the things we had since the beginning of our marriage. We gave up doing things like watching entire seasons of 24 in a single weekend... and started on a path of real discovery and meaning. It's remarkable how much adding a child has really made us a family.

Gone were the days of sleeping in until 11 or 12... and strangely and suddenly our conversations were dominated by a whole new range of tipics like naps, sore nipples, and poop (ok... so maybe the topics weren't entirely new... but I digress).

This year for Mother's Day, Morgan and I decided we wanted to do something special. So, we decided that in addition to the the fun, age-old Mother's Day traditions, we would do something else. By the time you are reading this, Kelli has already enjoyed her breakfast in bed. She's discovered what her Mother's Day presents are, and has started going about her day... completely oblivious to what is happening in my office. You see, those things are just for her, and, like I said earlier, Morgan and I had talked about doing something special this year, something that would help you (the dear friends and loved ones who follow this blog) know how much we love her and help you share in the celebratory bliss that comes with this day. So... as you may have guessed, Morgan and I decided to take over Kelli's blog and write her a letter.

So... here goes:

Dear Kelli (Mommy),

Morgan and I wanted to write you a letter to let you know how much we love you and appreciate all you do for us. Without you we would not have a family and our house would not be a home. We know there are times when Morgan and I can make a mess of things or things start to pile up (literally and figuratively)... and you chase after us, keeping us on track and presentable.

You know even though we only formally commemorate you as a mother once a year, we celebrate you and your amazing contributions every day.

Breakfast in bed and presents are mere tokens of what we are trying to convey... that without you, none of this could have ever happened. So this is our little way of telling you (and the rest of the world) how much we love and appreciate every little and not-so-little thing you do for us.

Essentially: thank you! Thank you for being such a remarkable woman, loving wife, and amazing mother.

On this day especially, thank you for being the best mother in the world!

Love forever,

Tom and Morgan.

P.S. Morgan wanted to add a few thoughts:

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How can I even hope to compete with that. Frankly I think she said it all... and much better than I did.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Moment You've All Been Waiting For

Remember this "before" picture?
I am finally finished. Here is the "after."
I'm really loving it!