01 December 2010

An inspiring performance

I recently watched a re-broadcast of the 2008 Christmas concert by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. During the concert, the story was told of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
"The great American poet [who] is revered for his classic literary works. His poem “Christmas Bells” has become one of our most well-known and beloved Christmas carols, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” What is less known, though, is the story behind the poem.

Reeling from the tragic death of his wife and the war wounds of his son, Longfellow penned the words to “Christmas Bells” during one of the darkest times in American history. And while the words of the poem reflect his obvious despair and grief, it is the triumphant message of “peace on earth, good will to men” for which this song — and Longfellow's personal story — is remembered."
(quoted from here)

If you're so inclined, you might take a minute to watch this performance. It is so well narrated by Ed Herrman, and this story of the Longfellow family has been on my mind since I watched. The performance left me with the feeling that Christmas is truly a time for healing and finding peace, and that message is like balm to my soul right now.

**Here is the link to original clip on youtube, as I can see that the full screen isn't showing up on the blog.


Thank you so much for all your nice comments and for all your excitement. In the middle of vomiting or wishing I could vomit, it is difficult to feel excitement but of course this is a very happy and joyous event and I couldn't be more grateful that my body is able to house and provide a body for one of Heavenly Father's choice spirits.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving was like a turning point for me. All of a sudden I had an inkling of a desire to cook dinner (nothing fancy) and we even sat at the dinner table as a family for the first time in weeks. I didn't want to get my hopes up, but the past few days I have been less exhausted and more able to deal with the nausea.

I have amazing friends and family who have offered so many prayers, and some dear, dear friends who brought over freezer meals for us to eat the next few weeks. I am sitting here feeling overwhelmed with gratitude for the love and support that so many people have shown to me and our family and that is the first true miracle of Christmas. I am so thankful.

22 November 2010

The first post of November

First of all, go and read this list. Except for #11, I pretty much could have written every single one of these. But since she wrote it so well first, I second everything she says, and I'll add a few more of my own:

1) Watching the food network, food commercials, and looking at food in magazines makes me immediately sick to my stomach
2) My super smeller pregnant nose can smell a poop the minute it enters the diaper even on the opposite side of a big room. Then I start crying thinking about how I have to change it. P.S. Super smeller nose is a CURSE.
3) For weeks and weeks I have to abandon, with no guilt, my usual green practices of recycling, composting and cloth diapering simply because the smell of each makes me dry heave.
4) All I ever want to do all day long is lay on the couch and watch tv or lay in my bed and sleep. Because anyone who has experienced this kind of nausea knows that sleeping or tuning out real life is the only real escape.
5) Whenever I feel that dreaded hunger pain in my stomach I start to panic because I know that 95% of the food in my house is inedible and disgusting.
6) Whenever my children say they're hungry or a mealtime is approaching, the panic increases ten-fold because the thought of standing in the stinky kitchen preparing food often overwhelms me to tears. In short,
And that, my friends, is the most mysterious and crazy thing about these pregnancy hormones that invade and hijack every single system of my body. Because in my non-pregnant life,
and I actually look forward to them.

So bizarre.

We are excited and overwhelmed to welcome the fourth and final Fuller child into our family. And we will be even more excited if this dreaded nausea ever goes away.

22 October 2010

Fall never feels like fall without. . .

. . . a day of apple picking, a hayride and a trip to the pumpkin patch.

Done, done and done. And the whole experience is made even better when caramel apples are involved.

21 October 2010

Decorator Extraordinaire

Thanks to this favorite auntie and her understanding of Feng Shui and ability to improve the Qi in my house, I now have a home with things on the walls and furniture in the right places to make the flow inviting, peaceful and relaxing.

What a difference. Here is a glimpse of the magic she arranged in the four days she was here.

  • Pardon the wrinkled curtains, blurry photos and bad lighting.
  • The small grey chair with a funny yellow pillow is just a place holder until we find the perfect thrift store chair replacement and make a new cushion to go on top.
  • Sewing projects now include: sheers for window with yellow curtains, drapes for large window behind dark brown couch, and pillows in interesting fabrics for said brown couch
And since a request was made (Liz) for "a picture of Henry in the kitchen" (lol), I had to oblige. Can you say oak, oak and more oak? It's growing on me. Again, pardon all the junk on the counter in the distance and the mismatched towels hung so beautifully on the oven door. Add to the sewing list some roman shades or something for these awesome windows that are not so awesome right now covered in dirty mini-blinds. They bring in a lot of light, which I love, so I have to find just the right fabric that won't block the light and also won't be too loud on such a large window.

And now I am officially done posting pictures of the house, with the exception that I will hopefully have some of those sewing projects complete and ready to share in the next few months. Thanks for all your nice comments and interest!

11 October 2010

Closet love

Another favorite thing about this house is definitely this closet

Which is just off the kitchen a bit, but can be 100 percent dedicated to all my food storage and canning--which, let's be honest, is the best kind of food storage. And I'm happy to say that we moved and were mostly unpacked just in time to pick lots of produce for canning and the new kitchen was just right for the job.

For the first time in all my life as a gardener I finally grew almost enough tomatoes for my salsa this year. I'll say about 40 percent mine and 60 percent picked from local farms.

01 October 2010


Occasionally I find myself in moments of fear and panic about the world my children are growing up in. It's hard to imagine how any child can wade through the garbage that surrounds them and eventually turn into faithful, respectful, responsible, honest adults.

Equal to these moments of fear and panic are little moments where I glimpse how important my role as their mother is. I recognize that I have the opportunity every single day, in small ways, to teach them to work hard, to be honest, and to respect others and themselves.

The book I'm reading right now, Faith Precedes the Miracle, written by Spencer W. Kimball (one of the past prophets of our church) offers an interesting perspective on how we can be truly effective in this daily teaching. He suggests that within our homes we focus on building "reservoirs of righteousness & truth" that will carry our children through the dark days of temptation and desire, of drought and skepticism. He offers some great insight on how to do this:

Some years ago we visited a country where strange ideologies were taught and"pernicious doctrines" were promulgated every day in the schools and in the captive press. Every day the children listened to the doctrines, philosophies, and ideals their teachers related.

Someone said that "constant dripping will wear away the hardest stone." This I knew, so I asked about the children. "Do they retain their faith? Are they not overcome by the constant pressure of their teachers? How can you be sure they will not leave the simple faith in God?"

The answer amounted to saying, "We mend the damaged reservoir each night. We teach our children positive righteousness so that the false philosophies do not take hold. Our children are growing up in faith and righteousness in spite of the almost overwhelming pressures from outside.

Even cracked dams can be mended and saved, and sandbags can hold back the flood. And reiterated truth, renewed prayer, gospel teachings, expression of love, and parental interest, can save the child and keep him on the right path.

30 September 2010

A few pics

These pictures were taken just moments after we received the keys and were the official owners of the new house. The whole process was so long and stressful, I just had to capture the moment when we were allowed to actually go inside of the house without a realtor accompanying us. It was so great.

These last few were taken yesterday. Because I just can't bring myself to photograph the individual rooms of the house in this undecorated state with nothing on the windows or the walls, I'm "taking pictures of my kids" and all that have requested pictures can see the living room and dining room in the background. Somehow, for me, this makes the balloons all over the floor, the diet pepsi on the half-wall and boxes and un-hung pictures leaning up against the wall okay for y'all to see.

Notice the white carpet. Yep, it's all through the house including the dining area. Not my first choice, but it's fine. Also, the mini-blinds on every single window. Also not my first choice, but super expensive to replace all at once, so that will be an ongoing project.

More pictures to come, little by little, I promise.

28 September 2010

Farewell to my garden

Leaving my garden behind in the middle of harvest season was sad, and there were plenty of green tomatoes left on the vines for the renters to eat. The garden space in the old house was large and the soil was just getting to be rich and gorgeous after four years of tending, compost-adding, and tilling. Granted, the spot was shaded for more of the day than I preferred, and had some occasional rodent difficulties, but it is still sad to say goodbye, only to start over here at the new place.

The previous owners of the new house were not gardeners, as the yard is overgrown with ivy and other ground cover, and sucker trees have been allowed to grow up all over the place. The yard is sloped, and we definitely have our work cut out for us trying to get it ready for raised beds next spring. But we are up for the challenge, and look forward to pruning and tree removal to start fresh and plant what we want to plant. Well, maybe we're not super excited about the removal, but the planting will be fun. (and Shannan I might just take you up on your offer next spring!)

Here is a little peek of two corners of the overgrown yard. Just imagine that most of the yard looks like this--front and back. There are two very old little raised beds at very odd places that will most likely just get removed.

Project diaper bag: complete

It occurred to me that I never did report back about making myself a new diaper bag.

Now that it is made and I've been carrying it for some months now, I would definitely change a few things, but mostly I like it and it has some fun and useful features.

These pictures are not great, but bags are difficult to photograph, I've found.

My favorite things include:
  • handle is made of seat belt fabric and is my first attempt at an adjustable strap. Turns out adjustable straps aren't difficult at all, and this one makes this bag able to be a shoulder bag or crossed over my body
  • also my first attempt at doing the zipper pocket on the back, which i love to stow books away from the main pocket of the bag
  • cup holders--didn't have them in my other diaper bag and one for me and one for henry are used everyday
  • cell phone pocket sewn into the side--because i finally entered the 20th century and got my first cell phone. and i'm kind of loving it
Things I would do differently next time:
  • i made a special pocket just for a diaper/wipe clutch, which I like, but next time i would put it on the opposite side of the bag from the back zipper pocket, as it makes that side heavier and very unbalanced.
  • the plum quilted fabric was a spontaneous purchase and coordinating fabrics were purchased (floral) and repurposed (green) to match. But I'm losing the love for the plum.
Probably too much analysis of a bag for many of you readers, but I like to document these things for my own sake.

And finally, here is the bag in action at the roundhouse at the Train Museum in NC on a very hot day.

27 September 2010

Almost unpacked

Wow, moving is crazy. It has been awesome and overwhelming to try and get everything organized and all the utilities and cable and internet transferred and set up again. I still haven't hung any curtains or a single picture on the walls, so at times it feels like we're living in a vacation home, but eventually we'll get there. Mostly I just need my big sis, the decorating expert, to make a visit here stat and help me hang all the pictures in one crazy, fun weekend.

Things I LOVE LOVE LOVE about this new house are things that many of you probably have but I wanted to share so that I don't ever forget how lucky I feel to finally have them:
  • garage
  • bar in the kitchen so we don't have to eat every meal at the table
  • bonus room at the top of the stairs for toys, sewing machine, and art station (picture to come if it is ever clean enough to show to the world)
  • garage
  • built-in dishwasher
  • garage
  • James gets to ride the bus to school! Which means my children's nap routines aren't forever at the mercy of a drop-off or a pick-up
And just one thing that I am loathing a little that came with the new digs:
  • ants
We feel blessed and lucky to be here, and my shop is back open again and we are feeling like this is home now.

18 August 2010

Summer happenings

This summer has been a happy mixture of fun and crazy. We have been lucky to spend a lot of time with our extended family visiting the Oregon coast, riding horses at the Carefree Ranch in North Carolina, swimming in the Atlantic Ocean for the very first time, and hiking up the gorgeous Black Butte summit.

We have also been in the process of buying a new house which has taken since the beginning of June and has been both a huge blessing and a huge challenge. We are hoping to move this weekend, and are super anxious and excited to have a little more space for our growing boys.

17 August 2010

Garden 2010: part 4

Turns out pruning my tomatoes was the right thing to do, especially because my yard is situated in a not great way for the tomatoes to get all the sun they need to grow, grow, grow. I have been frustrated for years at the shade my house casts on my garden plot during the early morning hours. If I was going to live in this house forever, I would definitely change things, but in fact, we're moving in one week, so I'm about to start over in a new yard anyway. But for now, the tomatoes are as big as I have ever had, and hopefully the people who end up renting my house will let me come and harvest.

I need some advice from some fellow Tuesday Garden Party visitors about my squash. Every year, although my vines seem healthy, the actual squash just seem to wilt away before they have a chance to get large. This applies to winter squash as well as summer squash. Suggestions?

Linking up:

13 July 2010

Garden 2010: part 3

Last year I was introduced to the concept of pruning tomato plants. The suggestion came from a fellow gardener when we were having dinner at her house and I expressed my awe at her amazing tomato yield. She suggested I prune the plants, which was something I had never considered. This news was received too late in the season for those tomato plants (which, you might remember, were ravaged by a large rodent anyway), but I resolved to try in 2010.


If you look at your tomato plants, you'll see many green shoots that don't have blossoms attached, and those are the ones that can be safely plucked off. By removing this greenery the plant has more energy to give to the blossoms, and eventually the fruit, which should, in theory, produce a higher yield.

I'm no expert. Like I said this is the first year I'm trying it, so I'll report back my findings. I'm also staking some tomato plants for the first time instead of caging them all.

In other garden news:
  • we have been in snap pea heaven for over a month now and there are still many, many more to be picked and eaten
  • being first-time potato farmers this year has made us anxious to know what's going on underneath all those leaves, so we plucked one and found two little new potatoes, which were roasted and eaten. yum.
  • for the first time ever we are having success growing carrots. hooray!

11 July 2010

Little jugglers

Watching a local juggler and reading library books about juggling makes the Fuller boys want to learn how to juggle.

So a request was made for some juggling balls.

I always love a project that doesn't require a trip to the store for any supplies. This one used old socks and white rice. Just don't look too closely at the hand stitching.

01 July 2010

Little chalkers

While we were gone to D.C. I thought it would be fun for the boys to have something new to do while Gma and Opa were here. Inspired by this post we decided to make big outdoor chalkboards for our little artists.

We bought a large--8' x 4'--piece of hardboard and had it cut it in half. We chose hardboard because it is smoother and cheaper than plywood ($11 compared to $35). One can of chalkboard paint, two coats of paint, and one day of drying later, they each had a 4'x4' board of their very own.

I've never met a kid who doesn't love chalk and a chalkboard--including me--and these will be used and used during these gorgeous, dry, Oregon summer months.