Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sew Busy!

*Disclaimer - this represents weeks and sometimes months of work on days that I haven't just wanted to lay my pregnant self on the sofa and watch old episodes of "The Lone Ranger" or whatever happened to be on Nick Jr., with my kids. I'm not really as busy as I make myself out to be. But I have worked on a few things and had a blast doing them. So I wanted to share!

Back in May, two of my darling nieces celebrated their 1st & 2nd birthdays. I made them reversible aprons. They turned out SO CUTE!

I hit the nesting stage about a month earlier in this pregnancy than with the others. Besides doing other home dec projects, I've been sewing, daily sewing... throw pillows for my bed & a pillow case for my body pillow;

A cover for my boppy pillow - I think I'm going to take it apart & lose the bow, though. Too froofy, I decided;

Bedding for the moses basket the baby will sleep in;

Bedding for Caroline & Clayton's new (as of mid-May) toddler beds under the loft bed we scored.

This last week, Caroline & Clayton have discovered the 1966 classic, "Batman: the Movie" starring Adam West. Clayton runs around the house yelling, "I Batman! I Batman!" and Caroline is quite content to play the sidekick. So I created some reversible super hero capes for both of them, with masks & belts. On one side is Batman/Robin. On the other side is Captain Clayton/Super Caroline. Definitely time well spent at the sewing machine!

Friday, July 24, 2009

'Till We Meet Again...I Love You, Grandma!

My mom called this morning to tell me that our pioneer, Pearl Naegle Redd, returned home to Heavenly Father...this morning as Pioneer Day dawned beautiful and bright. I feel so blessed to have grown up with my grandparents literally in our backyard (our yards bordered on each other and I just had to skip through the gate to be at Grandma's house.
I don't ever remember Grandma ever being too busy for me. It seemed to me that we played endless games of "I Spy", "Who Has the Thimble" and our made up game, "Itchy Blanket". Even when Grandma had things to do, she always had old catalogs and scissors ready for us to cut out paperdolls. I'm sure we left huge messes, but I don't ever remember hearing her complain. Sleepovers at Grandma's were frequent, but still a treat. She always let us use her water pik after we brushed our teeth - we thought that was so cool! But mornings were the best! We got to eat "Grandpa's cereal" (quaker instant oatmeal packets) and then have our hair braided in a beautiful crown around our head complete with a big bow to hold it in place.
Grandma's cooking was a favorite: homemade bread & rolls, stuffed bell peppers, raspberry freezer jam, pumpkin, cherry & apple pie (all from scratch!), vanilla ice cream and homemade macaroni & cheese are just a few favorites that I remember. In fact, I can still smell them as I think about it. Being in the kitchen with Grandma was so sweet. One of my favorite memories is of pulling honey candy with her - something we did at least once a year!
I'm so grateful for Grandma's example of hard work. She was up at the crack of dawn, working in the garden & yard. When we drove cows, she was always in on the action, driving pilot truck and making sure we all had something to eat on the long, hot rides along the highway pushing cattle.
Grandma made holidays special for us grandkids. I loved trick or treating at her house because she didn't just dump a handful of candy in our bags, she invited us in, ooed and ahhhed over our costumes and then pulled out the special treat that she had just for us! Thanksgiving was always delicious with those pies and Christmas, in addition to always getting us some darling outfit or fun toy, there was always one of those awesome plastic candy canes full of M&M's. She knew what we liked! And it was like having two Christmases - one at our house and then one in Grandma's beautiful living room too! Easter was perhaps one of my favorite holidays to celebrate with Grandma at our annual family picnic in Dry Valley. She always decorated eggs (if we were lucky enough to make it over while she was doing it, she ALWAYS had those cool plastic shrinky things to put on them!!!) Then she would take ALL of those eggs and let us roll them down the red rock hills over & over again. I don't know why that tradition was so fun, but it was. And those plastic wrappers kept the eggs from coming apart too fast so we could roll them again and again! I loved celebrating Pioneer Day (a Utah State holiday on July 24th, commemorating the first pioneers to enter the Salt Lake Valley) with Grandma & Grandpa. They always came over to our house that night to watch the fireworks with us. It was a treat to sit in our nightgowns and eat Grandma's hot, buttery popcorn. It was so fun to have grandparents close on our birthdays, too. I don't remember too many when she & Grandpa didn't walk through the backyard to be with us. Our Eighth birthdays she made especially sweet for us girls... always reminding us each what precious "pearls" we were to her, by presenting us with a real pearl necklace (Her name is Pearl, which gives so much more meaning to that gift!)
Mostly, I'm grateful for Grandma's testimony of the gospel, which I saw in action as a young child. She was always caring for someone or taking a meal to a family in need. And she and Grandpa were workers in the Manti temple for many years. As a young child, I didn't always understand why my grandparents were away so much, but now I know and am so thankful for the great work they did and their example of sacrifice to serve the Lord.
Grandma, I miss you and can't wait to see you again! I'm glad you've been released from pain in this life to be with Grandpa and wish I could've seen that reunion! I love you so much! I think I'm going to make me some popcorn now and think about fireworks and you!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Potato Painting!

Yesterday, I had a window of opportunity to complete a couple of projects I've been wanting to do. Clayton was still napping and Caroline had just woken up. To entertain her, I cut two potatoes in half and carved some basic shapes in them, poured her some craft paint and let her go to town. She was seriously busy for an hour, stamping and painting. A couple of her works of art turned out so cute that I think we'll use them for wrapping paper!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

How To Induce PreTerm Labor...

1. Get on a large haywagon pulled by two gigantic Belgian horses with your sister-in-law who is also pregnant. Though not as pregnant as you.

2. Have your father-in-law drive through a bumpy hayfield with the horses at a trot.

3. Clutch your belly and hope you don't pop! (Seriously, how did the pioneer women do it???)

*In about 4 more weeks, this is my plan - except for a much longer period of time and over rougher terrain!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I Love a Parade!

I love small-town parades. Maybe because that's what I was raised on being from little Monticello, Utah. Today was Chadron's "Fur Trade Days" parade. Here are some highlights - mostly of the family enjoying the parade - not so much of what was in it.
Clayton zonked out on the way to the parade.
We forgot Caroline's candy bag. She didn't care and thought her hat made an excellent substitute. As you can see, she's not excited about her load of tootsie rolls. At all.
She kept smelling the candy. It was pretty cute.
Awake at last. But not sure about the parade yet.
My cute nephew Paul - 3rd from the left, in the sunglasses.
Aaaaah. Free hot dogs. Yum!
Miss Sneaky-pants, trying to eat all the candy before Mom & Dad figure out what she's up to.

Sleepin' Under the Stars

We scored Caroline a Barbie sleeping bag for $1 at a yard sale a few weeks back. Ever since, she's been pestering us to "go camping". Last night we decided that sleeping out on the deck would be kindof fun, so we pulled the mattress off of the sleeper sofa for Jake, Clayton & I, and put down a foam pad for Caroline topped with her sleeping bag. We piled on the blankets, sprayed on some bug repellant (THANK YOU Pete & Sarah!), and snuggled together looking at the stars and listening to the wonderful night sounds in the country. Caroline & I decided that the frogs were singing and they were accompanied by the crickets on fiddle. Jake & I were a little concerned by the clouds that seemed to be gathering, but as the night wore on (and I woke up every so often to change position - a given no matter WHERE I sleep at this point!) I noticed that the cloud formations seemed to just float by us and the skies stayed clear. Until 4:15 a.m. Jake and I both woke up to the sound of constant thunder, the flashing of quite a bit of lightening and gloomy skies that had no starry patches. We quickly moved the kiddos to their beds and whisked the bedding inside just in time to feel the first - and last - couple of drops hit the deck. Seriously. That was it. But better dry than soaking wet with two little ones! It was fun to have that little "adventure" with the kids, and I feel so blessed to live in a place with beautiful wide open spaces where we can enjoy the little things in life!
Star gazing.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Butler Reunion 2009! (Warning - VERY LONG POST!!)

Enjoying the Independance Day Fireworks as a family. Obviously, they were more into them than I was as I mugged for the camera.

On Thursday morning (last week - I'm a little slow getting these posted!), we woke up bright & early to drive 5 hours to Denver, board a plane and fly 3 1/2 hours to Washington D.C. for this year's Butler Family Reunion. Jake's brother, John & his wife Terilynne hosted & planned all of this year's events. We stayed in a lovely, ginormous home belonging to some people in their ward at church. When we arrived later in the evening, we enjoyed lots of pizza and then the guys set up a moon bounce that was rented for the reunion and the kids bounced to their hearts content - that is, until Caroline discovered the glowing things in the air and then everybody scattered to collect fireflies and put them in a jar. It was pretty exciting for us westerners - especially Caroline & Clayton who'd never seen fireflies before! It was pure magic to watch!


Get me outta here!

Sticking fireflies in the jar.
Beautiful girl and her jar of fireflies that wouldn't glow.

Sharing the magic.

Friday morning, John & Terilynne had arranged for babysitters so that all of the adults could visit the Washington D.C. Temple, where we had the sweet opportunity of meeting with Earl C. Tingey, who is the president of that temple. He gave us his undivided attention for quite some time and we had a wonderfully uplifting visit. It was the perfect way to kick off our reunion, bringing a feeling of unity and love to an already close family. After an afternoon of napping and relaxing, we all donned reunion T-shirts for the big family picture, had dinner, celebrated Paul's 11th birthday, and then welcomed more babysitters so that the adults could visit downtown D.C. for a night tour of the monuments, all lit up. It was so beautiful, and I thoroughly enjoyed all the walking. It felt so good to my pregnant body!
All the preggies.

Eternal buddies.

Our cute little family.
(Almost) all of the cousins.
The tail end.
More Butler Babies coming soon...
Caroline & Grandma
Cutie Cousins

Happy Birthday to Paul!

Sleepy guys on the drive to the monuments.

The Washington Monument (sorry it's so dim!)
Jared & Christina at the WWII Monument. They're so cute!
In front of the WWII Monument. (He is just so HOT sometimes I can't stand it!)
Jake, me, the belly & Abe.
On Saturday morning, some of the family woke up early to attend the ward breakfast where John played the bugle for the flag raising. Many of us with very small children opted to have well rested parents and kids and slept in. After cooking our own pancakes & bacon, we played in the backyard until everyone got back. Then we headed to a local private pool that had been reserved just for the family. It was so much fun and the cousins had a blast swimming together! Following some down time, we headed out again to the NIST (National Institute of Standards & Technology) to watch fireworks from a large field on the campus. I, for one, was grateful that the decision was made for us NOT to head back down to the National Mall for fireworks. It think with 3 pregnant women and many small children, it would have been a little chaotic, not to mention the toll that another VERY late night might take on all of us.

More fun in the moon bounce with Daddy!
Little fish.

The awesome crocodile in the kiddie pool - they couldn't get enough!
Naptime - during which Clayton did not nap but decided it would be more fun to try his shoes on Daddy's feet.
Caroline & Cute Grandpa & Grandma.
Caroline & Grandpa.
Sunday was beautiful and after attending church all together, we enjoyed some relaxation time and a family testimony meeting. Monday morning we all helped clean the house before heading out- some to catch planes like us, and some to stay for an extra day or two. We felt very blessed to have two wonderful little travelers! It was all such an adventure to them - and Caroline was so excited to fly again (she's becoming a seasoned little traveler.) My camera died before we boarded the plane, and so I missed out on some hilarious pictures of our ingenious system to haul two tired kids and 3 carry-on bags out of DIA. We had such a fun time with family, but are happy to be home at our "Little Patch of Heaven."
Waiting to board the plane home.