Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's Birthday Time!

December is a fairly busy birthday month for my side of the family. Well, there's three, so not that many I guess.
But today I'm wanna write about the first two birthdays that, funny enough, fall on the same day. December 12th to be exact...Dia de la Virgin, if you're familiar with Mexico you'll know all about that. It is also my Mom's and my niece's birthday. And I dedicate this post to them :)

My niece Savannah turned 8 this month. She is such a fun girl, with a very sweet spirit. She's a wonderful sister to her three other siblings, and acts as Mommy #2 in the house from what I hear ;)  She's responsible and dependable. Not to mention she's ADORABLE! She likes to talk on the phone, but mostly listen to the person she's talking to. Savannah makes for a great helper. She's always willing to help out by getting something for you, or going shopping with you. Sometimes she acts quiet, but don't let that fool you, she's got her eyes open and knows what's going on everywhere! She's very observant! From what I remember she likes to be tickled by her Dad, as most of my sister's kids do ;) And she has a smile that brightens up a room! Happy Birthday Savannah! I can't wait to see you when we finally make it out to KY. :D

Mom and Rowan. Just after Rowan as born.

Also a Happy Birthday to my Mom! I know everyone says it, but I'm still going to say it 'cause it's true: My Mom is the Best Mom!
I don't even know where to start. Mom has always been my very best friend. When I was younger we lived in Mexico, and she took the time to home school me. Let me just say that she has some SERIOUS P.A.T.I.E.N.C.E.  Putting up with me is something that I know has made her qualified for heaven on it's own. When I was in high school I was having a hard time keeping up with my assignments and getting the work done, (okay I was a slacker) but I was also on the Yearbook Staff. Well, there was a mandatory day when we would be putting inserts into the yearbooks, and I also had assignments I HAD to do in order to graduate. Needless to say Mom came to the rescue. She has always been willing to help in any way, and since she couldn't do my assignments for me, she went to the high school and sat with a bunch of teenagers putting in yearbook inserts on a Saturday. I'm sure she had many better things to do that day, but she put it all aside for me. And that's just one of a ZILL-EE-UN examples.
Mom is a complete angel and everyone knows it. When my Uncle got sick many years ago she went with my Grandparents to a special hospital in Texas to help. And when my Grandparents needed a new place to live she offered our home and has taken care of them so diligently all these years. My Grandma ended up getting cancer and my Mom became her nurse and my Grandpa's helper. When Grandma passed away she gave a talk at her funeral saying that she could only hope to be like her one day, because my Grandma was a complete angel herself. All I could think was "You are. You are just like her!" She is my everyday angel.
After the funeral my Mom spent a lot of time keeping my Grandpa company, as well as being a Mother to us all, a wonderful wife, Grandma to her own grandkids, and always fulfilling a calling in our church. Not to mention working as a translator and interpreter. I'm not sure if my Mom knows how to just sit and relax because it seems like she's always working on something. Another thing she took upon herself is the Taylor Talk. It's a family newsletter for all of our extended family, that my Grandma started, but since she got sick my Mom has been doing it, and keeping track of everyone's birthdays...she also puts that on there. One day we were talking about how some of us don't read the family letters that are written in the Taylor Talk in Spanish and she said "Maybe I should translate them all." We all just smiled and said "Don't you have enough to do?" She is amazing.
From her I learned selflessness, compassion, service, hard work, leadership, love, and so many other great qualities. If I am just the least bit like her as a mother, friend, daughter, neighbor, sister, aunt, or grandmother (eventually), then I will be able to die happy. Happy Birthday Mom, you're my hero.

~Love, Crystal

Monday, December 14, 2009

My New Ruffle Necklace

My first project with my sewing machine was an easy one, but I loved it!
A ruffle necklace! They're the latest rage all over blogland, and I wanted to try one. I used a tutorial from Happy Together.

I had some fabric I found that I bought on sale last year, It's like a brown/golden organza.  Very cute!
Cut a piece that is 20x3 inches. My edges weren't perfectly straight, but I didn't care 'cause once it was ruffled no one would be able to tell.

Fold it in half and sew a seam with a long stitch, and leave lots of excess string on both ends. The seam should leave a pocket just big enough for your chain to go through. Actually I pulled my chain through with a safety pin, so big enough for that, if you're going to use one.

Then grab one of the long strings from the end of the fabric and start scrunching the fabric down to ruffle it.
Pull a necklace chain through the pocket and there's a fancy new necklace! Since mine was made of organza I used the burn method to singe the edges to keep them from fraying. Here's the result:

I don't really like taking pictures of myself...but there you go. :)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Really Easy Recipes #1 - Easiest Taco Soup

I don't like to cook. I just don't. But I LOVE FOOD...see my dilemma.
Funny enough I love baking, but I don't like cooking. SO, in order for us to eat I use really (and I mean REALLY) easy recipes...and my husband cooks 1/2 the time too. I thought I'd share them with you 'cause it seems that when I'm with my girlfriends we're always talking about them, but we never write them down, so this way you can just refer to this blog and have an easy recipe on hand. Oh, and did I mention delicious? Yes, no worries there. They are delicious!

Here is one of my very favorite easy recipes and probably the easiest one I have:

Taco Soup

1 Can Corn
1 Can Diced Tomatoes
2 Cans Chili Beans
1/2 A packet of Taco Seasoning
Chili Powder
Garlic Salt

Dump in canned ingredients, stir in taco seasoning, and add chili powder and garlic salt to taste. Bring to a boil and you're done!

 I was going to put a really nice picture of the soup in my bowl topped with cheese and sour cream, but I forgot 'cause I was too hungry and I ate it...oops ;)

Optional toppings:
Sour Cream

You can add whatever you want, get creative!

I like to use Bush's Chili Beans in mild sauce, you can use any chili beans, but I like these best. And I'm not a fan of chili in a can (with the meat), IDK, something about canned meat doesn't seem right to me, but it's up to you. You can use it with the meat, or brown some meat and add it yourself. And I realized that it's super low in calories (depending on how much of the toppings you use). But it's so delicious! Try it and let me know how it goes :D

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My early Christmas present is....

A SEWING MACHINE!!! Something I've always wanted! I'm sooooo excited! This one is not just any sewing machine, but a Confidence Quilter! I know, I know, I'm not much of a quilter, but it comes with so much stuff for making super cute things anyway, it's not just for quilters.

Check out the extra long arm...oh  yeah.

Look at all those fun stitches!!! I don't know if you can see it, but there's actually a doggy stitch. It's on the bottom row in red, how cute is that?!
And it came with a lot of extra presser feet and a quilting foot, whoohoo!
So fun!
Now what to make for my first project? I known it's going to be a refashioning because #1 I'm so addicted to that right now, and #2 I really shouldn't spend extra $$ on just some fun fabric, so it's time to get thrifty :D

THANK YOU! THANK YOU Ben, my love!
Merry Christmas to me :)   (and you too, of course!)

Friday, December 4, 2009

When you give birth...

+ You gain a serving of intuition

- You loose have your mind/memory
= Becoming a Mother

Cutie Pattotie Booties!

Aren't these booties just adorable! I totally want some for Rowan! Of course I'd love to figure out how to make them too, but it might just be easier to win them which is another reason I'm posting this (shhhh, don't tell). Check out her Etsy shop HERE.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Life is good to me

Tracy of at Beneath My Heart posted this and it gave me some food for thought.

If I Could Live My Life Over

I would have talked less and listened more.
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.
I would have eaten the popcorn in the “good” living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.
I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television-and more while watching life.
I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.
I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.
I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I ‘d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.
When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.”
There would have been more “I love you’s”…
more “I’m sorry’s”…
but mostly,
given another shot at life,
I would seize every minute…
look at it, and really see it…
live it…and never give it back.

Written by Erma Bombeck

This makes me reflect on my life. Though my pregnancy was hard, it was worth it. I'm only now starting to really realize the cost of becoming a mother. Of course it's all definitly worth it, but it's something you don't really expect. I never really thought about it costing me my body, since it has really changed since the birth; or my free time, free choices, sleep, energy, etc. But I have to say that everytime I see her smile, or the beautiful look she gives me when she wakes in the morning makes it completely worth it. 
I feel like it's a fair trade off. Maybe there are things that I enjoy that are hard for me to do now, with a little baby, BUT I've done so much in my life and gone so many places, probably much more than the average person, so I wanted to reflect on some of the good times and blessings that have brought me to where I am now. 
*Warning: Lots of pictures*

After high school my parents and I got to go to Spain!

I was blessed to be able to go to 3 colleges. Snow, BYU, and MCC. This was at BYU.
Me and my roomates (except one, we're missing Summer). We had some great times!

For two years I was lucky enough to work next to Zion National Park, which is my most FAVORITE PLACE in the WORLD!

Rappelling in Orderville Canyon (Zion)

Subway Canyon in Zion (my favorite far).
Rappelling and hiking. It's truely beautiful there.

More ZP (Zion Ponderosa) pics. 
Playing in a mud pit, taking myself on adventures (at the set of Gunsmoke), and photo safari's with Becca  :)

And of course all my many different hair styles and colors, have been fun!

Everywhere I go, I've been blessed with great friends!
I wish I had more pics including everyone. There's Keary and Andrea and Andrea's little Ryen in the one above. Then a pic of Jess and me at EFY. 

I got to live in mexico as a child, and I get to go back all the time so see amazing family!
I've been blessed with awesome extended family...cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, great aunts, second cousins, etc.
Here's Lecith and I in their home in Mexico.

And of course my family have always been a huge strength and blessing to me.
Incredible parents and amazing siblings. I love them all so much!

And of course, meeting the love of my life, sparked the real beginning of my life.

Here he is after I told him I liked redheads, and short hair ;)

Ben and I got married and it's been the happiest day...days of my life ever since. 
And I got married in the wedding dress of my dreams!

Honeymoon in Cancun (so great!)

And just over a year later, little Rowan Nicole joined our family.

We LOVE her so much!

I have had a very fulfilling life. 
And I'm grateful for all my incredible experiences and blessings. LIFE IS GOOD!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Vote for Little Rowan!

Rowan is in a little picture contest at Captivated Candids, and the winner gets a free photo session in Utah. Since we'll be there in the winter I thought I'd enter her. :)
So, click THIS link and vote for her with your comment! She's #26 (same picture as here). Thanks!

Things on my mind

I've been thinking about the priorities of my day...I think they may be a little twisted.
#1. Rowan
Her sleeping/waking/eating/playing/entertaining/tummy time-ing...etc...
#2. Hmm...kinda embarrassing but here goes: Email/Facebook
#3. Laundry
#4. Researching (items for my upcoming jewelry "business"...just on Etsy). I look up all sorts of materials that I dream up. Sometimes look for inspiration.
#5. Getting ready for the day. Okay, I'm not like a complete mess, I promise! I usually shower in the evening when Ben gets home so that he can take care of the little one. Usually when I have a minute in the morning I'll put on a little...little bit of makeup, and pull my hair up somehow. But if I'm not planning on going anywhere I might just leave it at that and stay in the comfy house clothes known as PJs. :)
#6. Eating. Here's where I think I'm mostly out of whack. It can be like almost 1 o'clock and I won't have eaten anything because all of the things above, or usually just #1, will take up most of my time. Hmm...maybe I need to revise that. Actually I just started the 11 day diet (that Ben used before we got married), and it requires 4 meals a day so I think I'll be better about eating from now on.
And don't worry, I don't think I'm really fat and I don't have self-esteem issues, really. My biggest reason for getting back to my old size is that I really, really miss my clothes. And shopping for that size is soooo much easier! I'm especially dying to wear my favorite jeans again. So, that's my motivation. And I'm going to need motivation 'cause tomorrow is an all fruit day, and as much as I seriously LOVE fruit, it's the hardest day of all 11. You never feel full and you're just aching for some carbs!
Woah, I got off on a tangent...
#7. Errands. These actually scare me, since the last couple times we've gone out (last week), little pretty has thrown such a tantrum that I'm actually afraid that she's hurting herself by screaming that way. So...I'll admit I've been avoiding taking her out. But that can't last forever and she'll have to come with me some places, so we'll see about that later.
#8. Cleaning. Sad that it's at the bottom of the list, but I try a little here and there everyday. Some dishes one day, pick up the living room the next. You know, a little at a time, but I probably never have a completely clean house...but who does, right?? ;)
Most of all it's #1 that times my time, energy and focus. So everything else may, on occasion, just have to wait 'till the next day. It all depends on her :)

I guess I'm in a talkative mood right
now...or maybe a writing mood. It's probably 'cause I'm sleep deprived, tired, but not sleepy and very awake, which makes me kinda hyper. Oh and I've got lots of thoughts rolling through my head 'cause I just finished another book. Gosh! I just love books!!!

So, I just finished reading "The Host" by Stephenie Meyer (Twilight series writer, I'm sure you know). I had been told a long time ago that it wasn't that good, and to not waste my time, so I read a few pages in (at the bookstore), and decided I wouldn't read it. Well, Laura and Maryanne (my neighbors and friends) told me that they really liked it and that I should give it another try. Well, after I got past the first little part, I was hooked! I really liked it. And I'm very comfortable with S. Meyer's writing style. It's somewhat predictable, and she's into drama, grief, pain, love, hope, but ultimately happy endings (at least so far that's what she's written). I'm not always into happy endings, but for the most part I am.
There are many books that I'm sure have influenced her writing, but the ones I found (by way of her writing, or the way the story led) in this book were: Harry Potter, especially #7; Ender's Game (or maybe Speaker of the Dead, which I know she really likes); ohh there were some more, but now I can't think of them. Probably part of the sleep deprivation.

I've also been thinking of the miracle of life! I can't help it every time I see my little girl. I think to myself so many things: "Wow, how amazing God is that he made my body able to have ME make YOU! And you have a life! You're a real life with a soul and actions and moods and choices! How am I so LUCKY that I get to be your Mother! ...Wow the word is still weird to me. I'm a Mother? Still, I LOVE it! You're my responsibility, and that's a HUGE responsibility!!! To raise you, and the right way, but I want to do it."
I keep thinking to myself: okay, it's time to stop being the carefree young adult I once was. I've gotta try to become more like those that raised me because they did it right, and I know of no better way to do it for her. I've got to become more selfless, caring, tidy, organized, mature (in some sense of the word, 'cause I don't think I'll ever REALLY grown up), charitable, trusting...of myself and of others, especially my "partner in crime" ;) These things I need to be, just like my role models: My parents. Because I want to be as good as a parent as they were to me. Because in my eyes they were, and are, perfect. I know I won't come close to that, but I'm going to do my best to try. :)

Well, that's it for tonight. I think I wrote enough that I can go to sleep now. Maybe all I needed was to get some of my thoughts out of my head and on paper...I mean online. Goodnight!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween in the 20's!

For Halloween this year I had a number of ideas for costumes for the 3 of us.....buuuut, none of them really worked out. The Wednesday before Halloween was our ward Halloween party so, I had to have something! Here's what I came up with for that night.

I grabbed one of my many costumes, a fringe flapper dress that I got years ago at Savers for $7. Woohoo! And I thought of a way to get us all to tie in together. For Rowan I needed some supplies. Laura and I ran to the fabric store. I got some stretchy black velvet (on sale), and
fringe and some sequence (sp? I don't think I've never written that word before). Also, some stretchy sequence trimming to make a headband.

Sorry the image isn't very clear. The dress was a REALLY quick throw together. I didn't even do a very secure stitch. Just wanted her to have something to wear...but I think it turned out fairly well for being completely spur of the moment. It was a lot of fun to go to the Ward party with Laura (Ben was studying). They took almost a whole street in a neighborhood. And there were different booths at different houses...cake walk, bean toss, haunted house (in a garage), fishing game, etc... And the Hot Dogs were great!

On Halloween night we went to Carrabba's for dinner with some friends and of course we dressed up!

And here's some glam shots, for fun!
Can't waste all the effort I put into that makeup right? ;D

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Crying Babies

Does anyone else go into a panic when their child starts to scream in the middle of a public place? Or a party? Or any group of people? It's funny 'cause when we're at home I can pick her up and she'll generally stop crying, but when we're out and about...nothing will stop her. Of course I try to act calm, but inside I'm thinking "PLEASE, PLEASE STOP CRYING!" or "What's the fastest way out of this place?"
Of course if she cries at home, well no big deal, but when I have to subject others to it I feel aweful! I know, I's a phase, it's a part of motherhood, and I have to just deal with it. But that doesn't mean that I'm gonna like it. It really puts me out of sorts to have her loose it like that in front of others, then I feel like I don't wanna go grocery shopping, or to the craft store, walmart, etc.
What's funny is that there really isn't anything in life that causes me to panic or freak out 'cause it's all within my control. At least my reaction and presence are in my control, so whatever happens to me doesn't matter because I can react cooly everytime since it's MY decision. Here's the problem: Her crying and actions are not my decision, they're hers. And since she is my responsibility it's like others look at me like it is my decision. Oops, sorry, have you ever had children? ... No? Well, it's like this. No control.
Don't get me wrong... please don't think I'm complaining! I sincerely and dearly love this little girl and would do everything and anything for her wellbeing. She is one of the two best blessings of my life, and she is just perfect! Except for screaming in public places.
So, I guess this is a confession. Yes, I do get flustered sometimes, and yes I do go into a panic mode sometimes...and those sometimes are when my little girl looses her cool in front of others. So if I ever act strange or flustered when the little cutie decideds it's time to let it all out...well, that's why. Oh, and I also feel terrible when she freaks out and someone else is holding her. Not because I'm possesive at all, I really want her to be used to having lots of friends and family hold her, but because I feel like they've been burdened with listening to her scream or maybe they're holding her out of kindness, but really they want to put her down...something like that. So, all in all...just ignore me if I start to act weird because the little darling has just had it for the day. Thanks!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

My Family and celebrities

Recently Ben and I rented "The Proposal", and it reminded me of the fact that Sandra Bullock always reminds me of Michelle, my sister. It's not just looks, of course they're both gorgeous, but the way she talks and certain movements, etc. Come to think of it almost all my family have a celebrity that reminds me of them. Will Smith reminds me of my brother Robert. They're both cool and funny, but serious too...and dashing dressers. Scott Baio (aka: Charles in Charge) reminded me of my brother Mike, but only as Charles in Charge. Maybe it's because they both always had nice dark, thick hair, and great surprising smiles. What's funny is that Robert's name is Roberto Carlos and we used to call him Charlie...well, many still do, but anyway, we'd always say that he was 'Charles in Charge', so it's a bit ironic. Then there's Bill Cosby who has always made me think of my Dad. They're both really funny and they do have some features that make them look me anyway. And I always remember watching the Cosby Show when I was younger with my Dad, then that makes me think of all the shows we used to watch when I was a child: Cheers, The Cosby Show, eventually Home Improvement and others. Then there's my Mama. Mom actually doesn't have a celebrity that reminds me of her. I guess she's just so wonderfully unique that there's no one like her. Well, judge the pictures yourself and tell me if you can see any resemblance. ;)