Sunday, December 20, 2009

Going to the Snow

Ok, I know it sounds really strange, but in the Bay Area we don't get snow. So we have to "go to the snow." Well, a couple of weeks ago on Sunday night/Monday morning it snowed very close to our house. I was so disappointed that it didn't actually snow at our house! Then again, I don't really want to drive in snow with people from California. Anyway, there was snow on the hills just outside of Pittsburg and the mountain nearby. And there were some nearby cities that actually got snow in town.

As soon as I had free time Monday, the kids and I packed up to go find the snow. We drove all the way to Danville (about 30 miles) and up the windy road to Mount Diablo State Park . . . only to find that the roads were closed and we could not get to the snow that day. Peyton and Maryam were very disappointed, but we did get to visit Daddy at work instead. On Tuesday, I was determined to try again. This time, I called the state park to make sure the roads were open first. Then, we made the trek to Danville again--ok, it's really not that far for us. Tobin drives farther for work every day.

The twins and our friend's daughter that we babysit during the week and I finally made it to see snow on Tuesday. We stopped at the first big patch of snow we saw. What a great time! We had a snowball fight and hiked around the picnic area for a bit. We tried to eat our snack at the picnic table, but it was much too cold. Our poor little friend was shivering from the cold! So we packed up and headed to McDonalds for lunch.

It was a short trip, but fun nonetheless. The kids and I all really enjoyed the snow! Maybe next time (read: 7-10 years from now) we'll actually get some at our house.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I Have Lost My Mind

I knew it would happen someday, but I thought it would be much later in my life. I just can't seem to get my mind back in gear lately. I had a week off from my babysitting gig for Thanksgiving. Breaks from work always throw me out of my routine, but usually I can get back on track pretty quickly. Well, the week after Thanksgiving was out of the norm as well because I went to Las Vegas with Tobin for a work conference (his work, not mine). I had three days of relaxing with no obligations or responsibilities . . . in the middle of the week!

This week, it's as if my mind has determined that it will stay on vacation permanently. I can't remember what day it is or what appointments I have. I know I'm forgetting things that need to be done. And today I took my twins to preschool 30 minutes early, without realizing that we were early until the mom who was teaching mentioned it. Oops! I'm so embarrassed! I don't know what is wrong with me. If I didn't know better, I would think I am pregnant. But I know better. I'm definitely NOT pregnant. What, then, is my excuse?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas Season

I love this season! We just decorated our house and Christmas tree tonight. I love the lights and all the nativity scenes we have. It just makes me feel so happy to look around and see Christmas all over my house.

I think I'm nearly done with Christmas shopping. I've become quite ambitious about the number of crafts I'm going to complete as gifts this year. I've got a busy month ahead to get it all done. I did manage to finish a couple of things this weekend, though. I can't post any pictures yet because I can't be certain who will check my blog. I'll have to do a big photo post after Christmas day.

For now, I need your input on one outstanding Christmas idea. What do I get or make for the women in my Primary presidency? I can't spend too much money, but I do want to show them my appreciation. They really work hard to make things run smoothly. I would appreciate any ideas you can share!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Need . . . To . . . Craft . . .

I've been pretty busy this week and haven't had time to do any crafting. I've been trying not to think about it. Then, this morning I started browsing through blogs and following links to other blogs . . . about crafting! Now I am in full withdrawal mode! I found a super cute craft that I really want to make for someone for Christmas. I'll probably need to make one for myself first so I can work out all the kinks. (And that way I get something super cute too.) I can't wait to get started! Not sure when I'll have time, but Christmas is coming quickly, so I better get to it!

Check out my inspiration here:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Halloween Creating - 2009

A couple of months ago I took the twins to the fabric store and let them each choose a pattern for a Halloween costume. Maryam chose Bo Peep and Peyton chose a pirate. On a separate occasion, I took them to a larger fabric store to help choose the fabric for their costumes. Please do not attempt this. I understand so much better now why my own mother used to come home with surprises for us, rather than taking us to the store to choose our own things! It's really beneficial for all, in the end. But I digress . . . After approaching the cash register, I soon understood why many (most?) people buy their children's costumes. It was really much more expensive to make them than to buy them. I told Tobin later, I will probably never make them again, since it was not cost effective.

The patterns and fabric were purchased in early September. Then they waited. And waited. It's been some time since I used my sewing machine for something other than straight lines. It's been a very long time since I attempted an article of clothing or used a pattern. Finally, at the beginning of October I decided I better get moving on this project. I started with Peyton's costume because it had fewer pieces and fewer details. I made his sash first - super easy! All straight seams! Then I made his pants. This caused some apprehension. I have vivid memories of sewing pants or shorts when I was much younger. I always sewed the crotch seam wrong and had to pick it out and re-do it. The patterns I bought this time have a new (to me, at least) way to sew the pants. It was so easy. I was not confused! The pants were done correctly the first time! Lastly, I sewed Peyton's lined, satin vest. The last bit of this project was a bit tricky, but overall it was not bad at all. Suddenly, my confidence was boosted. I do remember how to sew clothes! I can do it!

A few days later I started on Maryam's costume. Hers was much more involved, had many more pattern pieces, more articles of clothing to make, lace, ribbon . . . . I had to make a few phone calls to my mom for help and advice. Really, how is a person supposed to narrow hem an apron with curved corners? Narrow hem a curve? Well, it's not professional work and I'm not selling it, so I guess it is what it is, right? Sew a little lace over it, and it looks great! For Maryam's costume I sewed an apron, dress, hat, and pantaloons. I was so sick of that costume by the time I was done! Some parts of the process were frustrating, and I feared that the costumes would look "homemade" in the worst sense of the word. But the damage was done. The costumes were finished just the day of the ward party. There was no time for a Plan B.
The twins were so excited about those costumes! They put them on for the first time, and suddenly it was all worth it. Every frustration, every minute I worked into the wee hours of the morning for several nights was all worth it. They beamed in their brand new outfits. And I beamed. They are the cutest little Trick-or-Treaters I have ever seen! And their costumes looked fabulous (not terrible, as I had feared). I was actually proud of my accomplishments. Suddenly my tune had changed. I think I want to make their costumes every year! . . . . I'll just have to learn to use my coupons more effectively.

Halloween night the kids had a blast with their friend Sadie. The weather was better than perfect for Trick-or-Treating. It must have been in the low 70s as we walked around our friends' neighborhood. After gathering plenty of candy, we headed back to Wolf and Liz's house for an outdoor movie, which soon became two movies. We enjoyed Smore's and a fire as we watched movies and gave out candy to very few other Trick-or-Treaters.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Faith and Innocence

Dinner conversation immediately following the dinner prayer tonight:

Maryam - We need to say lots of blessings (prayers) so we can get a baby and a dog.

Peyton - Yeah. A baby brother and a baby boy dog and a baby girl brother.

We've previously had conversations with our kids about wanting a baby to come to our family. And we've talked about how we need to pray and ask Heavenly Father to send us a baby. The kids have asked for a dog before, and Tobin and I would like to get one eventually; but we've never discussed praying for a dog. Too cute! Plus, I love their innocent little phrases like "baby girl brother." Peyton knows what a (very girly and bossy) sister is, so maybe he's hoping for a laid back, tom-boy sister next time!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Child's Play

Maryam and Peyton had to stay home from preschool today because they are getting over a cold. They played so nicely together! Peyton was being "Tobin the Superman" and Maryam was being "Lydia the Princess." They told me that they were going to a wedding after lunch to get married and if they prayed really hard they would get a baby. Obviously we have some teaching to do in the sex-ed department! But I love that they are getting the spiritual part of it - when we want the Lord to bless us we pray and ask Him. (By the way, we have explained before that because they are brother and sister they can not marry each other. But when they are the only two here, who else is going to play the part???)
Dancing at the pretend wedding (in their room)

Pretend wedding photo op!

Pumpkins for My Punkins

On Saturday we went to G&M Farms in Livermore, CA, with the Croskeys (minus Wolf). They have a big pumpkin patch with lots of things for the kids to do. There are a few animals to see, a dried corn box (think sand box) to play in, a play structure, etc. This year there were even pony rides. We opted not to do this one because it cost money and Tobin and I weren't sure the kids would actually ride the horses once we paid the money.

The kids loved all the play time!

Maryam & Peyton
Sadie & Maryam
Shortly after we got home, Maryam asked if we were going to carve our pumpkins into Jack-o-Lanterns. I figured this day was as good as any. We drew on the faces first, then carved them with our pumpkin carving tools. I can't remember where I got those tools, but they are awesome! The kids were not thrilled about all the "goop" inside the pumpkin, so Tobin and I got to dig it all out. I kept teasing them that I was going to make goop soup for dinner!
Maryam's pumpkin all ready for carving
Peyton's pumpkin all ready for carving

Our finished Jack-o-Lanterns!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Quilts for My Twins

Last fall I took Peyton and Maryam to the fabric store to choose material to make them twin size quilts. At that time they were still sleeping in cribs, and my goal was to get them big kid beds for their birthday. I wanted to have their quilts ready to go on those beds in March, when they turned 3. Well, we looked and debated over beds. Tobin didn't really see the need to remove them from the cribs quite yet, but I was ready for them to move on. And I was hoping we would get pregnant last fall and need the cribs for new baby/ies. After much searching and debating, we decided it was most economical (frugal) to use beds that already belong to us, though one of them was in Utah at my parents' house.

We didn't make it in time for their 3rd bithday, but the kids didn't seem to mind. In June we took apart the cribs and stored them in the garage. We brought Tobin's super single water bed frame up from the garage and put it together for Peyton's bed. We soon found that there are not many companies who make water bed mattress inserts, so the mattress had to be ordered off the internet. No cheapy mattresses to be found; we had to get a more expensive one. But I have rationalized this by telling myself and my husband that our son is going to sleep on this mattress forever! Ironically, this mattress was ordered from Denver Mattress Company. We used to live just down the street from one of their stores. If only we had known back then, we could have saved the cost of shipping now . . . .

In June we also took a trip to visit our families in Idaho and Utah. Tobin flew home after two weeks, and the kids and I stayed in Utah for two more weeks. At the end of that time, my dad drove back to California with us to help us tow a U-Haul trailer with my bed and dresser in it. What a great dad! By the end of one long, exhausting day we had driven from West Jordan, UT, to Pittsburg, CA, unloaded my old bed and dresser, and returned the trailer before closing time at the U-Haul store in Pittsburg.

Since early August, the kids have been sleeping on their big kid beds with just sheets and crib size blankets. (It took a long time for Peyton's mattress to get here!) All this time, I have been working bit by bit on their long awaited quilts. Last night I finally finished them. I think I had put off binding them because I wasn't quite sure how to make it turn out the way I wanted and because I was afraid the quilts were not going to look very good. Peyton's quilt was first to be bound. Once it was finished, I laid it out on the floor to look at it and realized it looked much better than I expected . . . almost professional looking. Of course, there are mistakes in both quilts. Don't look too closely. But I'm really pleased that they turned out so nicely! This is a true testament to my mother who taught me everything I know about sewing and quilting. What a wonderful teacher and mentor she is! I still hope I can grow up to be like her some day.
Peyton's new quilt and big boy bed
Maryam's new quilt and big girl bed

Friday, September 25, 2009

Family Pictures

Here are a few of the family pictures we took on my birthday. I love them! When I looked at them the first time, I said to Tobin, "I don't remember aging!" Not that I think we look old, but I think we look grown up. Strange! I guess we're not young newly-weds anymore. But I do think we look better than when we were first married. A few years and some life experience look good on us!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Birthday Fun

Well, last year was a big, exciting birthday celebration. This year was quiet and simple. Both were really nice. Tobin's parents were in town for a week, leaving last Saturday (my birthday), so we had a birthday party Friday night. It was small, just Tobin and the kids, Tobin's parents, Tobin's brother and his wife and daughter, and a couple close friends and their two girls. We had pepper steak for dinner (think stir fry but better!) and the ginormous chocolate cake from Costco. Yummy!

Saturday morning I went to my sister-in-law's house to get my hair trimmed. When I got home the house was empty. Tobin and the kids had gone to pick up my birthday present. When they got home they had two big boxes for me . . . . matching office chairs for our (really my) desks. We have hardwood floors in our living room and have been talking for a long time about how nice it would be to have rolling chairs at the desks. Since I'm doing a little work from home now, I'm spending more time at the desk, so the new chairs are really nice! We had a nice relaxing afternoon putting together my new chairs and hanging out around the house. In the evening we had family pictures taken and went out for frozen yogurt.

All in all, it was uneventful and perfect. I'm so glad to have new office chairs, and I'm really excited to see the pictures we took. All of the family pictures in our house are about a year old. You probably have heard by now that Tobin has lost 70+ pounds since January. I can't wait to put up some pictures with my hot, skinny hubby!

Thanks, Tobin, for a quiet, peaceful, happy birthday!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Air Quotes

Last night we had family scripture reading, and then were sitting on my bed talking with the twins. We have a lot going on in the next few days, and we were trying to tell the kids about some of the things we'll be doing. We told them that tonight they will be having a pajama party with two of their friends and Daddy while the mommies go to a movie.

Maryam said, "Mom is going to a 'movie'!" using her fingers to correctly gesture air quotes with the word movie. She also used correct sarcastic intonation. We asked her if she knows what that gesture means. She said, "Yes. It means two plus equals." ??? We have no idea what "two plus equals" is or how she came up with it. She usually says that when we are talking about numbers or a calculator. What a crack up!

Super Cute Totes!

I just stumbled across a link to a blog with super cute totes available through an Etsy shop. I'm not really familiar with Etsy, but I'm going to learn! These are awesome! And there is a drawing this month for the tote shown below. Check it out at!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Transition

Well, I'm staying home with the kids this year. A stay-at-home mom. Tobin and I debated this decision quite a bit during last school year. It was a really rough work year for me, so when the decision was finally made, I was REALLY excited to be home with the kids this year. The count down to the end of the 08-09 school year was agonizing. I was so trunky! (By the way, what is the non-Mormon word for trunky? Anxious?) Then, suddenly it was the last week of school. I said goodbye to my seniors at graduation. It was the first time I've cried at an Antioch High graduation. I said goodbye, well "see ya later," to my colleagues with a little more crying.

I spent the next two months in a whirl wind of traveling, spending time with family, helping my parents after mom's surgery, trying to get my kids back into some sort of routine, and then a little more traveling. During all the summer craziness I tried desperately to come to grips with the fact that I am not working. I never expected to feel so sad and impotent. I felt like I had lost my identity. People made comments like, "She used to be a teacher, " and I started wondering who I am now. I am still a teacher, even if I'm not working this year. Why is it that the outside world has now determined that I am nothing? I went through a wide range of emotions trying to figure it all out, and sometimes wishing I was going to be at work again this fall.

Time rushes swiftly on, and it's now the first week of school in the Antioch district. I'm glad to be home with my twins. I'm certainly missing my teacher friends and a new group of students. I miss the gratification of knowing I am touching so many young people's lives (hopefully for the better). I miss the satisfaction of earning a paycheck, miniscule though it may be. But I know that the work I'm doing at home is more important. The influence I have on my children now is greater than the influence I may have as a teacher.

I've always wanted to stay home with my children. So then why do I feel such a keen sense of loss over leaving my job for now?

Where Babies Come From

We have a few friends who are pregnant or have been in the last year. This has prompted a lot of questions from Peyton and Maryam about babies - where they come from, how they get in the mommy's tummy, how they get out of the mommy's tummy, etc. I really thought we would get to avoid these types of conversations for a few more years at least. But, alas, I guess it is better for them to learn about the birds and bees at home, rather than some other place.

Yesterday Maryam and Peyton were telling me a story about when Tobin and I were babies and they were big. (This is their current favorite story basis: When Daddy and Mommy were babies, Peyton and Maryam were the parents.) They proceeded to tell me that I was in Maryam's tummy and Tobin was in Peyton's tummy. Maryam said she went to the doctor, they cut open her foot, and the baby came out. Peyton agreed that this was the same experience he had giving birth. I figured I better make the correction, and informed them that babies do not come out of people's feet. Of course, that prompted the next question: "Then where do they come out?" Well, there was no way around the truth here. So I told them that babies come of out the mommy's vagina. Peyton looked at me with concern in his eyes and responded, "But I don't have a vagina!" (These kids are quick!) Then I had to explain that only girls can have babies. Boys don't have the right parts. Peyton's next question? "Then what do the boys do?" We talked about how the daddies have to help the mommies because it's a lot of work being pregnant and sometimes the mommy doesn't feel that good. They seemed to understand it all pretty well.

Today, our friend went into labor, and we went to her house to stay with her and their two-year-old while her husband went to the airport to pick up her mom. As we pulled up to the house, Maryam said, "Mom we need to pull down her pants so the baby can come out of her vagina now." I calmly explained that it takes a long time for the baby to get here, and we would let the doctors take care of that. Later, she asked if we could go with them to the hospital and watch the baby being born.

I'm glad my kids are so intrigued by the workings of the human body. I guess it's time I started looking for one of those "birds and the bees" books for kids.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lewis and Renee's Wedding

My younger brother Lewis and his fiance Renee were married August 15, in the Redlands temple. Yes, this is our third wedding this year! Most of the Walther clan met up in Ontario on Thursday evening. Friday we went to Newport Beach for the day. We had so much fun! The little ones played on the beach with Mormor and Tobin, while the rest of the adults had a great time in the ocean. I really had forgotten how much I love the beach, especially when I get to go there with my family. We had such a nice time!
Mor Mor and Maryam
Lydia, Tobin, Peyton, Grace, Hope
Lydia & Maryam

Tobin, Peyton, Maryam, Grace, Hope
Oompa Loompa & Mor Mor in the background

Saturday we met at the temple for a beautiful wedding. Lewis and Renee's sealer was awesome. He was sweet and clever and funny. I hope they can remember some of the things he said. After the wedding we had some time to hang out at the hotel and go swimming again. Then in the evening we were off to Renee's parent's beautiful backyard for the reception.
Renee & Lewis
Maryam, Lydia, Peyton, Tobin
Peyton and Maryam loving the disposable cameras
Charlotte, Lydia, Peyton, Marissa, Bruce
Tobin & Peyton

Lydia, James, Bruce, Renee, Katya, Lewis, Nina, Sarah, Emily, Anna

I loved being on vacation with my family. It was really fun to have us all together with no obligations but to have fun and spend time with each other. We have to do this again!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Strange, Windy Incident

The kids and I joined my sister-in-law and and several other friends at their health club today. The kids played in the care center while Kristyn and I took a Pilates class. I wish I could join the club just for that class. It was awesome! But I don't want another monthly payment, so for now, my Pilates video will just have to suffice.

After the class we went to the pool for some fun in the sun. The shallow area, 1-3 feet deep, is awesome for kids. The adults could sit in the pool and play with the kids, who could actually touch the bottom! Such a difference from our community pool, which is 3 feet deep at the shallow end. We had a picnic lunch and did some more swimming.

At one point we were taking a break from the pool, when the wind picked up for just a moment. One of the kids' floating toys started to blow away, so I grabbed it with my left hand. A second later, the umbrella in the middle of our table flew up into the air. I grabbed it with my right hand, trying desperately to hang on. The umbrella was headed right for Maryam, who was frozen in place. Another gust ripped the umbrella from my hand. It dropped to the ground just in front of Maryam. I tried to grab it again, when another gust picked it up off the ground again, right over Maryam's head, and dropped it into the hot tub, just missing an older man and two little girls. At the same time I was wrestling and chasing our umbrella, other umbrellas and tables were being toppled. One of our friends and his one-year-old daughter had their table and umbrella blown over onto them. Fortunately, they were both ok. The poor baby was scared, though.

The wind probably lasted for 1-2 minutes and then it was calm again. Strange!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Save or Purge?

Since I returned home from vacation, I've been working on switching the kids' bedroom and the guest room. The kids were in the smaller of the two rooms before. I am moving them into the larger room so that I can move their toys out of the living room and into their bedroom. As it turns out, this is a much larger project than I initially anticipated. The large furniture is already moved and in new homes. Now I need to address all of the "stuff."

We have quite a lot of baby stuff--almost everything you can imagine, times two! I saved everything because we might have more children someday. There's also a large recliner that has seen better days; but it's the perfect chair for nursing twins, so I can't let it go. I really would like to have more space in my house and garage for things we are actually using. But I can't justify getting rid of all the baby stuff since we are not sure if we are done having babies. I have a desperate urge to purge right now, but I also really want a couple more babies.

Have you dealt with this conundrum? How do you reconcile the need for space with the need to be frugal/thrifty/practical?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It's Been So Long

I can't believe I didn't blog during the entire month of June! Ok, yes I can. June marked the end of my 5th year teaching at Antioch High School. I worked at graduation, and this was the first time I actually cried at graduation. I realized that I was saying goodbye not only to the kids, but also to my friends and my career for a while. I didn't realize that I was going to be so sad about not teaching while I stay home with my kiddos. It was a very strange experience.

Moon Cousins

Two days after graduation Tobin and the kids and I hit the road for vacation. We caravanned with Tobin's brother Trenton and his family to see the Moons in Idaho. It was really fun to spend a week with the whole family together again. We went to Yellowstone for a day, but we didn't get to camp because it was too rainy. We decided it would be best to wait for better weather so our camping experience will (hopefully) be positive. But we did enjoy a nice, long day in the park anyway. We went to a hot springs pool for a swim, the boys played plenty of golf, the girls shopped, we ate lots of s'mores (made on the BBQ), etc.

Tobin and Lydia eating S'mores

After a week in Idaho, we drove down to West Jordan, Utah, to spend time with my family. **I will apologize now to those of you who live in Utah but did not see us while we were there. A week really is not enough time to get everything done. Sorry!** We spent time with family, helped do flowers and decorating for a wedding, had an 80th birthday party for my grandpa, met Lewis' fiance, stayed with my brother and his new wife, etc. We really enjoy spending time with all of our family.

Peyton on the carousel at Hogle Zoo

Maryam and Opa on the carousel at Hogle Zoo

After a week, Tobin flew home to California. The twins and I stayed in Utah to help my dad and mom out after my mom's surgery. We went to the zoo, worked in the yard, played with cousins, tried to keep order, cooked meals, did laundry and a little housecleaning, and much more. Mom is doing very well, and says she feels much better now that the surgery is done. At the end of two weeks, I rented a U-Haul trailer and my dad and brother Bruce helped me load up my bed and dresser from my childhood. Then, Dad drove home with the kids and me--and he did most of the driving! Yeah, Dad! He got to stay and play for one day, then he was on an airplane headed home again.

I'm sure there's a lot more to tell, but it will have to wait for a later post. That's enough light reading for now. Take note of the picture at the top of the blog now. If you don't remember what Tobin looked like before, scroll to the bottom and compare the picture there. He has lost about 60 pounds in the last six months! I'll work on getting new family pictures taken in the next few weeks, so we will have a nice new picture with my hot, skinny husband!