Monday, June 27, 2011

Sayonara Washington, we are going to Idaho.

Well later in the week that is.

To say we are excited it an understatement. D & I are like 5 year olds on Christmas Eve.

D has already made several calls to my Mom requesting his favorite meals. This includes steak, roast beef Sunday dinner, banana cream pie, and lemon meringue pie. I have a feeling we will come back weighing ten lbs heavier.

I planned a killer party for our close friends.

I am expecting a killer birthday party (just kidding...kind of;).

It will be 85 in Idaho and 105 in St. George (saweeet)

Extended family reunion (is this a Mormon thing?)

Sewing projects.

Photo shoots.

And most exciting of all, my immediate family.

Wish it was the weekend.

In the meantime I will scrub and mop and pack and clean and do laundry and dust and wash sheets and clean toilets and organize.

I have this thing with leaving an immaculate house to come home to.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Strawberry Heaven...there is such a place.

Before I send you into intense envy and make your mouths salivate...did you notice my change of address? Look at your address bar.
www.whenskiesaregreyblog.com
I have been wanting to change the address to get rid of our last name for quite sometime. I found a way to do it without having to move my posts and it transfers you right over. So do me a favor (or favour) and change your bookmarks.
Now onto the post...
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We just died and went to strawberry heaven.
The strawberry festival was this weekend.
The rain finally let up a little and everything ripened.
Have you ever had a Washington strawberry?
You would know if you had.
They literally melt in your mouth.
One bite and they bleed strawberry goodness alllllll over.
The proof is in the pictures.
I am salivating just thinking about them.
I ate so many and promised the last three to D.
He is asleep and they might not be there when he wakes up.
I wish I could bring these with me to Idaho next week.
However, the workers at the farm said they only last over night.
Jam it is.
You will have to enjoy the goodness through these pictures...
or you could come for a visit and taste for yourself.

Friday, June 24, 2011

How we shop.

How do you grocery shop?

If you have any tips please let me know!!!! I am always up for tips and ideas to improve our budget and shopping.

I budget $100.00 per week in groceries. $100.00 where we live doesn't go as far as $100.00 in Idaho did. The cost of food is MUCH higher here. That covers our little family of four and does not include diapers. A weekly budget works better for me. Otherwise I justify spending more one week and then get near the end of the month and my budget is gone.

I have tried couponing in the past and I do like it for toiletries and personal hygiene supplies, however, other than that it does us no good. Healthy eating is really important to me and I cook basically everything from scratch and use a lot of organic items. Basically all coupons are for boxed/canned items. That being said, I still manage to save money.

Every week before I shop I go to the website of our three grocery stores in town. I pull up their weekly add and write down (keeping each grocery store separate) everything that is on sale that we would eat.
After I go through all the ads and write down everything on sale, from meat to produce to organic foods...the whole works, then I plan a menu. I plan 7 dinners and make sure that I have all the fixing for our typical breakfasts and lunches. When I make dinner I freeze a lot of things and use them later.

For breakfast and lunch we pretty much eat the same thing every day.

Breakfast consists of cereal or greek yogurt with berries, agave, and granola. Lunch consists of something like fruit and a tortilla wrap (natural peanut better (the BEST is freshly ground at your local Fred Meyer) and honey or a veggie wrap or occasionally a meat and cheese) As far as snacks I stick to fruits and veggies as well as some pirate booty or Annies all natural organic crackers. I do love tortilla chips and hummus as well.

Most weeks I spend much less than my $100.00 budget. On those weeks I stock up on other things like extra tortillas because they are on a killer sale (like 2 weeks ago), or boxes of granola or cereal that are on sale.

We don't drink soda or eat potato chips or cookies (rarely if ever) (I know, we are kind of boring) so I save money that way and stick to my basics so that we can eat well on a budget. I don't know maybe $100.00 sounds like a lot a week?? Or maybe it doesn't sound like enough to you?? However I have tried less and by the end of the week we have no food and end up eating out or something. Which actually means more money spent! So I found that $100.00 allows us to eat well without splurging.
We splurge every so often and we do love a good blizzard from DQ. We just try to keep things in moderation.

We only eat meat 1-3 times per week. We do this for several reasons but it also saves money in our grocery budget.

I prefer cutting expenses in other areas (T.V., cell phones or internet...etc) before cutting my food budget simply because feeding my family nice healthy meals is important to me.

The other thing I avoid is frequent trips to Costco. I love Costco but until our budget has a little more liquidity to it I stay away from the bulk items. One time I did a Costco trip and split it with a friend. That works well too.
However - tortillas are the best price at Costco for sure.

Also, you should check out the Food Nanny. If you don't have actual meals as a family (no matter the size or make up of your family) she will change your mind.
So do share, what do you do that works?

One day I'll share some healthy recipes that are my "regulars."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A night at the park

Most days have been beautiful lately. High 60's. That is pretty much summer around these parts of the country. However, I am not complaining. I am pleased as punch to have some sunshine!

We headed to the park a couple of nights ago for dinner.

D is loving the little grill he got for fathers day.
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Veva must have inherited my taste buds. She loves hummus.
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Veva loves our local park. They have goats, bunnies, pigs, turkey, roosters, chickens, and geese. She was so excited to feed the geese and would reach her bread out and say, "here you go." then inevitably the bread ended up in her mouth.
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Me and my sweet boy.
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Oops! The duck stretched his long neck right through the fence and grabbed Dock's hand.
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Veva telling me about how the duck got her hand!
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Do you really know where you live?

I am currently reading this

Since reading it I was reminded about the Minidoka Japanese internment camp that is only 30-40 min. from the town I grew up in. I don't know that I have ever been there. If I have it was in my early grade school years.

D & I get out a lot and experience this part of the country. It is unfamiliar to us, and we love exploring and learning and seeing new things. Sometimes I will go places or see things that people who have lived here for a lot if not all of their lives have never done! Sometimes I wonder if I know more about the history of this place in the few short months we have lived here than someone who grew up here.

It is funny how we so often don't know what amazing history is right beneath our feet.

I think it is a great idea to research your current location and surroundings. I wish I had done more of that in Idaho. Find something to learn and experience. Something you have never seen/done or something you haven't seen/done in a really long time.

I love to travel. However, I am a really lame relaxing traveler. I love to learn and experience new places. I love to get a feel for the culture and history of a place. I like to meet the locals and eat something I couldn't get any other place. I love hole-in-the-wall establishments, one of a kind dining. I like to wear my feet out and exhaust my brain.

Pretend you are a visitor in your current location. What would you want to see/do? Do some research. You can find a lot of stuff on the internet and from other people.

So this week I am going to make a PNW (Pacific North West) bucket list. I am going to research the history of this area, I am going to write down everything I want to see and do, historical or not. Last time we were in Vancouver B.C. we hopped on the wrong trolley and enjoyed a few minutes of a tour of Vancouver. In those few minuets D and I learned a lot and decided we certainly want to come back for that tour. That one will make the list for sure.

Any other ideas for my bucket list?

We leave for Idaho in a week, I am giddy just thinking about it. I am making a to-do list while there. Things I wish I had done more of when I lived there.

So do it and tell me about it. Take advantage of where you live!!

Spread the word.

Monday, June 20, 2011

We love our daddy...

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For some reason D thought Fathers Day meant he was exempt from all fatherly responsibilities. I informed him otherwise, and he still had a great day. :)

Today I smelled the rain.

I wrote this on Saturday, but Photobucket has been acting up so it never got posted. So I signed up with Flickr. Problem solved.

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The smell of rain ranks close to #1 on my favorite smells list.
The pavement smells wet and the earth smells clean.
I love it.
I used to relish every time it rained in Idaho.
Just last week I remembered how much I used to love the rain.
I do still love it, but it used to be more of a novelty.
Now it is something I have come to expect.
I haven't noticed the smell of rain since we have been here.
I guess it has become so familiar to me that I don't notice it.
Today it was raining.
I stepped out this morning to run an errand and that smell stopped me in my tracks.
Before I got in the car I took a big whiff of it and thought to myself,
"I love the smell of rain."
Thanks mother nature for giving me that moment.
But some sun tomorrow would be great.

I came home and watched this video later in the day and thought it was fitting.
A beautiful message.

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p.s. you can see my latest photoshoot {{HERE}}

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My shoe fettish.

I have a shoe fettish.

Let me repeat that,

I have a shoe (singular) fettish. Not a fettish with shoes.

You see, I only ever have one pair of shoes that I wear at a time.

I don't really know why I do this.

Maybe it is because we are financially savvy people and I would rather not waste money on shoes and clothes while we still have student loans and while I am pinching every penny of my grocery budget in order to feed my family well while trying to save money.

Or maybe it is because I don't really care.

Or maybe because that means one less thing I have to think about. I never have to decide what shoes I am going to wear. I just need "my shoes."

Actually it is probably a result of all those times I would tell my mom I needed new clothes/shoes and she would say, "when I was a kid I only had seven shirts, two pairs of pants, one dress, a pair of church shoes and a pair of everyday shoes."

D & I aren't materialistic people. We don't have all the latest gadgets, we dress well, but not really well. We don't drive fancy cars. However, we have expensive taste.

Add that all up and you have the following equation...

expensive taste + not too flashy + financially savvy = selective shoppers.

So what does this have to do with my shoe fettish?

I don't just buy any shoes. I typically spend $75.00-$100.00 on a nice pair of Clarks that will last me well. There is certain criteria. They must be wearable for any occasion. They need to be cute, comfy, work for sunday dress, as well as nice casual, and be something that works well with a pair of jeans.

All of this is necessary, because they are basically the only shoes I will wear for the next year. With the exception of exercising and I have some heels I put on occasionally with a dress.

After a year of everyday, every condition use, my shoes wear out.

This week was the wear out week for my current shoes.

One of them started to come apart. I had the glue gun out for a craft project and D suggested that I fix my shoe while I was at it. So I did.
Then today the other one broke. I was headed out the door and needed a quick fix...a bobby pin did the trick. As I went around to our appointments with a bobby pin holding my shoe together I decided it was time for another shoe investment.

So I am on the hunt for the perfect shoe.

Maybe this time I will splurge and get two pairs of shoes. D would like that. He alway tells me to get two and alternate them - then they would stay nicer longer. Not really. though. It all ends up the same. One pair for one year or two pairs for two years. My birthday is coming up in less than a month, and I will be the big 2-5. That is cause to celebrate. Two pairs it is.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Southern Idaho & St. George.

FYI

I will be in Southern Idaho & St. George for the month of July.

I am willing to do a couple shoots.

Contact me if you would like to schedule a shoot.

I am limiting the number of shoots I do, contact me soon!!!

photography.tm (at) gmail (dot) com

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A little hello from this little guy.

I like to pretend I am 1, but I really just turned 9 months old.

You should check out my moves. I can stand all by myself, without holding on to anything.

My mommy said to slow down.

*How about those chubby feet. So yummy.*

Monday, June 13, 2011

I am back.

Literally.

I am at the mercy of my back. Something really bad happened. Still a little confused as to how, why, when, what?

But trust me it happened.
I can feel it.

This all started 32 months ago.
I got pregnant! YAY.
then I had a baby.
Then four and a half months later I got pregnant again, YAY!
No really, YAY!! We didn't think we would have even one child. Now number two was on the way.
2 years of pregnancy (because postpartum and pregnancy are in the same category...therefore the four and a half months in between pregnancy counts as pregnancy.)
Then two babies.
Carrying two babies everywhere.
One hefty one in a carseat and one petite but older one on my hip.
Then hefty boy keeps growing and soon I am carrying 45 lbs. all at once.
Then I get a back spasm. It goes away after a few days.
A couple months later I get another back spasm. D was in Seattle and I am invincible (ha, right.) so I kept up my routine and it went away, eventually.
I start thinking that these back spasms were getting annoying.

THEN....

D's parents come to town.
Being the wonderful children we are we gave up our bed and opted for the front room.
I slept on the couch.
I woke up in the morning REALLY sore.
We spent the day out at the Larrabee boat drop and then at boulevard park and Fairhaven.

Star fish and baby anemone.







I was still really sore.
I gave up privileges with taking care of my house and children and my MIL stepped in full force (bless her heart.)
We all decided I should sleep in the bed. So we took our bed back and D's parents took over the front room.
Thursday we spent some time at Whatcom falls,








The next day, we continued on our way and headed to Vancouver, BC.













Stanley Park was really great.
Even though I was in a lot of pain, and even though we decided to leave during rush hour.
Border wait: 2 hours. 5:00. Hungry. Two kids. Not cool.

My pain progressively got worse. But I have a really high pain tolerance.
Saturday we enjoyed SUN and the Scottish games.







D's parents had low expectations and came out very impressed!
I must have been in a lot of pain. After a few hours I decided I needed to get home RIGHT at the beginning of the highlight of the day. We missed it. Oh, well...next year.
I went home and really wanted to cry.
I needed something. ANYTHING. Get me out of pain please!

After a little rest at home we headed to the local farmers market. Everyone kept telling me to relax, but I wanted to be up staying busy (I found out later that this was the best thing for my back!)


Finally I couldn't handle the pain any longer. D and I drove around looking for a clinic. Everything was closed. Our only option was the ER. No, thank you. We got the bill for Veva's ER visit in the mail and we could do without another one of those.

We went to the Co-op and picked up a few herbs and supplements.

That night we ate out at our favorite spot in Semiahmoo.



I was in a lot of pain and didn't enjoy dinner.

Then the next day I couldn't handle it (I think I have said that a few times.)
I was in a lot of pain.
at 7:00 AM I called up a Chiropractor who we go to church with.
he came over 20 min. later
10 min. later I was walking around. YAY!! He said to come to his office in the morning.

THEN....

I decided to take it easy and sit around all day and sleep most of the day. I was still in pain, but pain I could handle. I thought my body needed a rest, I'd been working it hard the last few days.

Sunday night D's parents flew to Vegas.

MONDAY MORNING.

My dear friend Jen Huffman came over at 7:30. Just as D stepped out the door for work.

She was there for the day to take care of us.

I needed to go to the chiropractor at 10:45. Around 9:00 I decided I should take a shower. Maybe the hot water would be good on my back.

At this point my muscles were spasing every few seconds. from my neck down into the top of my legs. AWFUL. Like labor, without a break. Contraction after contraction. The contractions wrapped all the way around into my stomach muscles. I didn't get a full breath all day. breathing threw my body into more fits. It was like labor with no break. Constant intense contractions on pitocin turned up alllll the way. That was what it felt like. I delivered both of my babies without an epidural and this was worse. Possibly because there was no purpose or end in sight.

So, back to the shower.
I get into the shower. I can see things aren't going well. So I managed to get out and couldn't move another instant. I laid on the bed. I sobbed. I have NEVER experienced so much pain.
Luckily my phone was next to me. I called D.
I sobbed to him on the phone.
Begged him to come home and give me a blessing and put some clothes on me. I couldn't move an inch.

Jen must have been wondering what was going on. It had been an hour since I had gone into my room for a shower and the shower was only on for a minute.

Next thing she knows, D walks into the apartment.

She said, "you might want to check on her. She went to take a shower and I haven't heard from her since."

He went straight to our bedroom and listened to me groan and cry.
I told him over and over again that I wanted to die.
He said that would not be a good idea.

He managed to put some clothes on me.
I had to get to the chiropractor.

He loaded us into the car and Jen drove me there very slowly. Any dip or movement sent me into spasms and MAJOR muscle contractions.

I couldn't walk in so she walked me in.

The receptionist was very concerned about me. I was moaning and groaning and not a pretty sight. I stood at her table and braced myself. That was the best position for me.

The chiropractor came out VERY surprised to see me like this. I was walking fine the day before.

What had happened in the meantime?
I rested.
That was the darn nemesis.
My body clammed up.

He could hardly even place a finger on me before my spasms would go into fits. He tried to have me get up and walk around to loosen things up. I got stuck half way on his table and half way off. I couldn't move. The pain was SO intense.

He stuck me on a drop table and lowered me down. Ah...some relief. He worked on my back a little bit. THEN he lifted the table back up, and it clung for dear life and cried. Gravity was not my friend.

So, to make a long story short. Jen stayed with us for 3 1/2 days. She was there when D left for work, then cooked dinner and left after he came home. She was a saint. I also had help from my friend Andrea who so kindly took my kids for hours at a time so Jen could have a life.

Everyday I got a little better. I went to the chiropractor everyday. Currently I am still feeling pain, but manageable pain.

Moral of the story:
1. Mothers rank with athletes on the "needs to be in good shape" list.
2. Strengthen your stomach muscles after you have a baby.
3. Do Yoga every day. REAL Yoge, Pilates doesn't count. The slow stretching of Yoge is important. Leroy Dewitt (Chiropractor/Massage therapist, basically a celebrity at our house) says he lives pain free everyday because he does Yoga. I believe it, I feel so great when I am consistent.
4. Lift with your legs, not your back.
5. It could happen to you. I am not one to suffer with back problems.
Oh, one more...
6. Ice not heat. At least in my situation. I learned that the hard way.

Friday, June 10, 2011

In the meantime...

I have a gigantic post coming.

However, it isn't quite ready for publishing, yet. Almost.

In the meantime enjoy this...

{Evangelicals, Mormons and the beliefs of the president}

Here is a part of it that I loved -

"I should hope that I can sit one of my grandchildren on my knee and tell them that in our religiously diverse society they are as good as anyone else, and that they will be judged by the fruits of their lives and not by discriminatory interpretations of their faith."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

See you soon.

D's mum and dad are in town from Scotland. We are busy playing.




I love to have them tell me stories. Stories about growing up, stories about their parents and grandparents, stories about the people my kids are named after, stories about D.

My favorite so far this trip...

D's mum reminised about the time he left for America...

"He told me over and over again, 'I'm not going to be like the rest of them (his other siblings who came to America and never left,) I am going to go to school then come back to live in Britain. I am not going to stay in America. I am going to be the one who stays in Britain for the rest of my life.' Then we asked what he would do when he found a pretty American girl and fell in love? and he said, 'I wont marry her unless she is willing to move back to Britain.'"

And the rest is history...in America. :)

See you soon.