The Garden Begins

Happy Family Home Evening night! What did you do this evening? At our house, it was time to start our garden. Vernon is already having visions of tomatoes, peppers, and broccoli.

In an effort to extend Portland's growing season, we're starting a few things from seed in planters this year. We've had kind of disappointing production from our gardening efforts in the past, so we're pulling out all the stops we know to get more veggies out of our little plot of land. And that means taking the operation indoors for a few months.

Touring the Fire Station

My little firefighter got a great present on Saturday. A local fire station has been in the process of renovating the past few months, but it's finally finished, and they had an open house to celebrate. Since Nathan hasn't taken his helmet from his firefighter Halloween costume off since October, we thought we ought to take him by. :)

We toured the firehouse, but the best part of the open house by far was getting to climb in the fire trucks! There were three out to look at, and one where you could get in the cab and check out all the knobs and buttons. The kids were a little hesitant at first, but pretty soon we got Nicole to climb up on Daddy's lap, checking out the radio, and generally running the place.

Tongue Twister

Sven said, "Ted, send ten tents."

Ted said, "Sven, send ten cents."

When Sven sent Ted ten cents,

Then Ted sent Sven ten tents!

The Mark of a Watson

Nathan and I talking this morning about what to have for breakfast:

L: Hey, Nathan, do you want to have toast or cereal this morning?

N: "I'm starving for waffles!"

Sounds like a Watson to me....

(The photo is Nathan going at his silver dollar pancakes with both fists at the Pig 'N' Pancake in Cannon Beach, OR.)

Giving Blood

These past two weeks, we've been hunkered down sick. The first week was a cold -- coughing, congestion, the works -- that we ALL got. Then, when we finally thought we were getting better, Nathan came down with a fever on Monday of 102. And it didn't let up. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday -- still had a fever. So, worried about a fever that lasted that long, I called the pediatrician, who said to bring him in the next morning.

Entertainment at the Mauery House

We've been sick at our house for, well, 10 days or so now, and apparently the cabin fever is setting in. The kids have always gotten a kick out of watching us juggle, so a few nights ago, Vernon and I pulled out our act.

Then we got in a contest to see who could stack the most beanbags on their head. Vernon set the record with a 15-beanbag stack, but Lauren stacked 13 AND went from sitting to standing without letting the stack fall over!

The Big Three-Oh

It's official: Vernon is 30 years old! Unfortunately, his actual birthday wasn't the greatest of birthday days, seeing as how all four of us were sick. We didn't go to church, and we had to cancel our dinner with the Harts (they were all sick, too). We did, on the other hand, have a fab-u-lous birthday dinner -- roast chicken, stuffing, broccoli -- and Vernon's favorite spice cake with cream cheese frosting for dessert. In his honor (and partly because the present I ordered him won't be here till tomorrow -- doh!), here's a list of some of the things I love about Vernon. Vernon is....

'Tis the Season to Be Bearded

So, after reading both Clint's and Matt's posts showing off their winter break beards, I had to post one of Vernon. He could only grow his in because he had several weeks off from being a temple worker and started the day after his last shift. :) The best thing about his beard is that it is a completely different color from his hair. Hair, brown. Beard, RED!! Meet Vernon, aka Red Beard the Pirate! Ye scurvy dogs!

Book Club Rant (or "Edward is NOT the devil!")

Okay, so you'll just have to bear with me today. I went to my Relief Society book club meeting last night and came home so frustrated that I still can't shake the need to rant. So in the interest of sparing my sweet husband my incoherent rantings, I'm putting them out on the web. :)

Last night at book club, we were discussing my new favorite book obsession, Twilight (aka, the vampire books). Now granted, these are not classic literature or anything, but I thought we could at least talk about how the book deals with questions of agency, overcoming our carnal natures, the feeling of falling in love -- any number of fun discussion topics. Instead, the conversation took a frustrating turn.


It's a Christmas Miracle!

Okay, well it's not quite miraculous, but we've had a rare thing these past few days: SNOW!! I was on the phone with my sister-in-law, Rachel, on Christmas morning, when out the window I saw a swarm of white flakes pouring onto the ground. Seriously, one minute there was nothing, next minute we had a blizzard. It even stuck to the ground for about 3 hours or so! I know all you Utah residents will think I'm nuts to get excited about that little snow, but it's such a rarity here that we couldn't help feeling even more Christmas-y than we already did.

Celebs on the Street

This is an idea that has been percolating in my head for a while now, but spending the past few days in front of the TV while recuperating from the stomach flu has confirmed it. Has anyone else noticed that there are more and more celebrity spots on Sesame Street?

When I was growing up (yikes, we're getting old), I remember seeing the occasional celebrity cameo on the Street, mostly great singers, dancers, and musicians. I remember seeing Yo-Yo Ma, tap dancer Savion Glover, James Taylor, and the Tokyo String Quartet.

Your Christmas gift dilemmas solved!

I found Dave Barry's annual holiday gift-giving guide on the Deseret News website and had to share. Go check it out at Dave Barry's Holiday Gift Guide and thank me for turning you on to all these great gift ideas! I mean, who doesn't need watermelon-flavored, Freud-head lollipops....

Festival of the Trees

It's official: December is here, and the Christmas season has begun at the Mauery house! When I was a kid, one of our traditions that kicked off the holiday season was going to the Festival of the Trees. Recently, I discovered that Portland also has a Festival of the Trees and was very excited to take my kids there, thus starting our own new holiday tradition.

We decided to hit the festival on Friday afternoon, so I piled the kids in the car and we ventured to the Oregon Convention Center on the east side of the Willamette. I always get nervous driving across town by myself -- crossing bridges at 50 mph can be a harrowing experience -- but we arrived just fine and went looking inside for the fabled festival. This took a while, because the convention center is HUGE! Enormous! Gigantic!! We seriously had to walk for 10 minutes to get there, which sounds easy enough, but when you're pulling two kids with you, it seems a LOT longer. But we finally made it -- whew!

I Am Glad for Many Things

Inspired by other friends' blogs, I wanted to put together a list of things I'm thankful for. In no particular order, let the blessing-counting begin!

1. My husband. I knew I loved Vernon when I married him, but I didn't know how much I could love him. Every year is better!

2. My kids. We have our days when we don't get along, but the cliche is true: mothering is the hardest and the best thing you can do! I laugh more with my kids than I do with anyone else.

3. Baby wipes. Totally indispensable!

4. The internet. Using my computer, I can keep up with friends and family from one coast (shout out to James & Rachel) to the other (yay for all us west-coasters!).

5. Blocks. Wood blocks, Legos, big, small, doesn't matter. We love building tall towers.

6. Good friends, past and present.

7. Kleenex. We just finished a month-long round of colds, and I learned a new appreciation for this humble product.

8. Cute shoes. I need some new ones, by the way. Christmas present, anyone? :)

Turkey Day

Thanksgiving Day. One of my favorite holidays. One of last holidays not completely given over to commercialism but so hard to keep focused on with all the pre-Christmas stuff already going on. (What IS Santa going to bring to my kids this year?)

But I digress. I do love Thanksgiving. The turkey, the stuffing -- especially the stuffing -- the pie, the family time.... It just doesn't get much better than that. We had a great day today. The kids drew pictures of what they are thankful for (is it a coincidence that they both said, "Dad" first when asked what they wanted to draw?)

Preschool Pilgrims

Nicole's preschool class put on a Thanksgiving feast this week. The kids made the centerpieces and wore costumes. Nicole's class were pilgrims and wore paper hats and wide collars. I think they're pretty darn cute. Nicole, however, was too enamored with her "feast" to give her mother a smile for the camera. :) Grapes, popcorn, and corn muffins are apparently completely enthralling to my four year old. Hope our real feast is as fun as this!