Monday, December 27, 2010

December Baby

It is nice not to travel around the holidays, but it sure puts the pressure on to make the season memorable for my little family. I'll be honest, I may have not done it justice this year. I did what I could but when I started to feel the stress, I stopped. I didn't want them to remember it as the year 'mom made me cry every night' :)


One Saturday night, I told Justin to start coming up with a tradition or two that's important to him. I was eating my words when a huge snow storm hit the next day and he insisted we all go play in it. I protested; if there isn't a mountain to ski down, I'd rather not be in the snow. Then he said, "OK. New tradition. We must go out and play in the first snow fall of the year. {pause} It's important to me."

Well played.

It was a total blast. After the driveway was shoveled, I was plenty warm to help with the building of the fort and sledding down our hill out back. Over three hours later, we came in soaked and exhausted and happy.



We had a dinner party here on Christmas Eve. How I love to have a house full! The kids did a beautiful nativity. My friend's baby made for the perfect baby Jesus; the wise men and shepherds were so entranced by her, that it made for a very sweet scene. I didn't realize until I was going through the photos, but Abbey and Hyatt (Mary and Joseph) held hands the whole time. So sweet. I thought Abbey made a beautiful Mary and was so kind to let a certain little wise girl latch on to her as long as she needed :)


The girls had no interest in seeing Santa this year. At our church Christmas party, the bishop announced Santa was on his way. Abbey kept asking and asking where he was, I thought she was actually excited! But as soon as he walked in, she dove under the table and would NOT come out. Her whole body was tense, the poor thing. But she had a plan. She wrote "HEX BUG - - ABBEY" on a note and had her dad take it up to Santa. It's been nice not to focus on the Santa thing, but I'm sure glad he came through for her this year. Maybe she'll trust him a little more next time :)


We were able to skype with my parents who are spending their first Christmas away in Korea. It was fun for the girls to open their presents from Grandma and Grandpa while they watched (especially since it was a surprise to them what they got the girls, ha ha!)

Despite my best efforts, the girls were a bit exhausted on Christmas day. So I could have done without the whining, but overall we had a lovely Christmas holiday. Hope you did as well!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Pre-Thanksgiving Meal

The first thing Kyler wanted to do when he got into town was check out a local burger place. He had seen it on the Travel Channel or Food Network or something so we dropped off his bags and went straight there for lunch. It was the funniest eating experience of my life. Think soup-nazi meets burger joint. The place was packed, so I guess people like to be emotionally assaulted while eating lunch.

A few days earlier I was driving past a KFC and wondering if they were still going with Kentucky Fresh Chicken instead of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Seems like a lot of fast food joints are trying to come off more health conscious in the past few years. I had my own mental debate over the success of this marketing on my way to preschool. (I don't usually listen to music when I drive. So this is what I do.) Anyway! My thought was that some people, and dare I say, a lot of people who frequent fast food joints, may not care. May be attracted to the grease. This burger joint proved my theory. You can get as many patties as you want. There are signs inside that say things like "If you want low-fat, we have water" or Kyler's favorite, "Gain your freshman fifteen by October!" There is no shame. And it smells delicious. And it is packed.

The restaurant couldn't be more than 500 square feet and that space is filled with a few tables and bar stools, the grill and employees, and the snaking line of people willing to wait a long time for food. About 20 minutes in, I decided it would be smart to snag a table and sit with the kids. 15 minutes later, Justin calls to me across the snaking line and says, "Get up here!"

"What?!?" I mouthed.
"Get up here! Now! Grab the kids, get up here!"
"Seriously. We won't get our food. Come now. Hurry."

You have got to be kidding. I guess I sat down with the kids before walking past the enormous sign of 'how to order' and missed out on a few of the rules. When Justin ordered my chicken sandwich, the cook said, "You know that doesn't have beef, right?" Justin laughed and said it was for his wife, to which the cook said, "Where is Mrs. Pace? She has to be here to order her food! Get her up here now!"

He wasn't kidding. I think he was just mad I ordered chicken.

The girls had to say goodbye to their ketchup, salt, and pepper 'friends', the line parted, I grabbed all our coats.gloves.hats.bags and then we squeezed through. By the time I got up there, Kyler had already been in trouble for telling the cook what cheese to put on his burger before it was time. I really thought they wouldn't let us eat after all the ordering infractions.

But the people in line saved our table, the food was artery-cloggin' good, and I was over the embarrassment by the fifth or sixth french fry. The place is so packed that the people in line are snug up to your table, looking over your food, and chatting to you about skiing in Park City while you eat in front of them.

Good times. I totally loved it. Thanks for getting us there, Ky Guy.

We love having Kyler around. In fact, he's been there for a lot of our big family moments; the night we got engaged, our marriage ceremony, Justin's graduation, Hayden's birth (not in the room, mind you.) He and Justin made my day by putting up Christmas lights just hours before he flew back home.

Everyone on three: one, two, three...



Abbey was out there cheering them on the whole time :) I love this picture, good memories all week.

The Hostess

Thanksgiving was at our place this year! I decided I really love hosting Thanksgiving. Or I just really love having company. And eating.

A few essentials for a good time:

The Turkey Lurkey:


That's right.
We had FRIED turkey, y'all!!!

I was leery. I made J watch safety videos. And I sent Randy and Kyler out with strict instructions to keep anything from exploding.

Next, so, SO much food.


Too much food. I learned and there'll be adjustments :)

This was the appetizer and dessert table at the END of the night. We had eleven people eating here, and it was barely touched. Light weights.

Also fun to have cutie pie kids around:


I'll admit the kiddos were rather neglected. Alanna and I cooked and cooked and cooked then I pretty much crashed the next two days. I totally forgot I had the makings for gingerbread houses--lame. But these girls did so well together and mine had a hard time when Keira left.

And the most important: The Company!


We were so happy to have some old college buddies (Randy, Alanna, and Kyler) fly into town to spend the holiday with us. It really means a lot to me when friends make efforts to be together, and these ones are some pretty good ones we've picked up along the way.

Randy and Alanna are always good for bringing the game of Risk. They brought out the board and the quest for global domination was on. Until around 1:00 am. When Alanna and I made an alliance that we would take everyone else out then call a truce and go to bed. It took some time, but it worked.

I'm not sure if the boys minded or not. I was in bed asleep about 30 seconds after we finally took Kyler out of Europe. I have a feeling they didn't mind since they were right back to football.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

OK, a month and a half later, I'm finally finishing up this trip.

Our first stop was to visit our fantastic friends, the Fields. Although, at this point, they are much like family in my book. It's crazy that over the course of our friendship, the majority of the time has been living apart. But Katherine is very much a part of my day-to-day life and it was refreshing to be with them for a few days. I think both J and I feel most like ourselves around Katherine and Bobby. A mark of a good friend, I would think.

I love and miss this small, quiet town. We took the girls to 'the square' one afternoon and I had forgotten how charming it is there.


Then I wanted to show the girls the campus and building where I taught before Abbey was born. They were not impressed.


Much, much more interested in finding and smashing the acorns outside.



We finally got to meet baby Claire! Don't you think she looks like one of our babies? Where did those baby blues come from? So sweet, I wouldn't believe a baby could be so good if I didn't see her first hand.


And...let's see. I think this was banana cream pie around the camp fire, if memory serves. Why banana cream pie? We like to keep it classy!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Gateway To The West

Remember that trip we took a while ago and I never mentioned anything more about it and now I just feel obligated to write some stuff down about it before moving on to Thanksgiving? Because it was a really great trip for us; time with the girls, visiting great friends, hitting up our favorite spots in St Louis, and some H&M love.

We got into town and drove straight to the zoo before dropping off any luggage.



Hayden would take off her shoes and walk in the animal tracks every time she saw them. People...there are hundreds of animal tracks in that zoo. It took us some time :)


Then she found this pamphlet and would stop every minute or two to consult her 'field journal'. Thanks, Dora. Or Diego. One of you.

Emily was sweet enough to meet us there last minute for a beautiful afternoon at the zoo and found out she and I are due within a few days of each other (as well as nine other friends...April's gonna be big!)

The few days we were in town, we went nonstop. It was exhausting. But there were a lot of places we wanted to see again with the girls. My favorite, favorite place was The Magic House, a children's museum Abbey and I would go to two or three times a week when we lived there. The girls are still asking to go back.

It was fun to see her try the things she was too small for before. This beanstalk goes up three stories and she was able to help Hayden over the larger gaps.


The girls were having so much fun that we had to take a break to grab lunch then headed straight back.


Dewey's pizza. Right up the road. Perfect.


Justin's favorite place is Grant's Farm--in fact, I think he even has a hat :) We met up with some more friends there. It was good. Can't you tell:


THAT good :)

We hit up the ward Trunk-or-Treat, ran into a friend I played violin with in high school, and tried to figure out why Hayden kept saying, 'Trick or Treat Tower!'. Any clues to that one?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Round Three


we're ready to pass along some news:
it's.... a....


As I've told family and friends the last few months, it seems I'm more surprised about this than anyone! Not that it was a surprise pregnancy. More like one day I was declaring my intention to wait another year and the next day everything changed and I felt strongly that it was time. Ready or not...he will be here early April!

I took the girls out tonight to take pictures with blue balloons and as my eyes filled with tears, I just couldn't keep it secret from them anymore. Justin started teaching the girls the word 'boy', and, well, that was one very excited little girl.


And one littler girl who cared more about the balloons.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Sugar and Costumes

The last stop on our trip last week was our old stomping ground, St Louis. We have great friends we met there and many friends who have moved there since. Such a shame we weren't there together. My cousin, Melissa, moved in shortly after we left, and we met up with her in St Charles so the kids could load up on ice cream and run in circles. :)


I love this area and it was fun to visit the little shops I've been missing. Goldilocks and Bella Ballerina obviously had a great time getting to know Hermione (she's so cute!) Melissa was getting some pictures and asked her to cast a spell, and Chloe paused then sweetly said something fancy, like "Wingardium Leviosa". ok, ok, i totally had to google that. i know very little about ol' potter.


I was so excited about Hayden being Goldilocks. It is her favorite story and, really, she IS Goldilocks. I wanted to get pictures of her in all her curly, goldy, locky glory. No such luck. She's hard to catch these days. And Abbey wasn't giving me much either:


For a while she wanted to be Miss Mary Mack. I've been teaching her the hand clapping and rhymes and she LOVES Miss Mary Mack. I was so excited about that idea...all dressed in black, silver buttons up her back. And Hayden would be the elephant! Then she changed and insisted on 'ballerina'. Hmph. She did look really cute though despite showing me no camera love.


But wait...then she thought about it. A chance to show off her moves? She lives to show off her moves!


Ha! She's never taken a dance class (as evidenced by the funky chicken move) in her life so when she pulled that pose, I was delighted. What a ham.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

last night

last night.

i was snuggling you after reading stories. actually, not reading stories because you had a tantrum when hayden counted your fairies and you lost your book time. boy, you were mad. and sad. but still wanted your snuggling time.

i caught the faint scent of chlorine still in your hair from swimming lessons today. i thought about you jumping in. without me. braving the deep end. without me. i love that you have little fear taking on this world without me. which is probably why i really love these snuggle times. i started a ten minute timer for snuggling time earlier this week but you know i won't stick to that. and dad is on the phone so he hasn't come searching for me yet. so ten minutes turns into thirty...forty. how funny that all three of us often fall asleep in one little twin bed.

hayden is still holding my hand. when i start singing the Beatle's 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand', both of you grab my hands. she still hasn't let go and is completely asleep. when i started to wiggle out of bed, you curled in even more, in a way that made me stay. but not twenty seconds later, you are snoring and i'm out of there. i need more hours in the day. or to get by on less sleep.


i walked into the office to find dad and noticed this picture on the desk, waiting to be framed. what a pretty little girl i have.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Post Halloween Daze

-still working a little sugar out of our systems-


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

To The Fields!



Just relaxing, laughing, eating like kings, and enjoying being with people who totally get us. How's your week going?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Making Amends

It seems to be the consensus in blog-land that everyone is in love with Fall. I think I can put my differences aside and give the season a chance. The plan:

(1) break out the hooks!


...and my delicious stash of fall colored yarn. I found some cute newborn beanie patterns but was having a hard time adapting them for bigger noggins. I started this one for Teig, and lucky me, he was here to watch conference while I was finishing so I could get it just right. least, closer :) Any crochet experts know how to make patterns work for bigger heads? Or know enough to tell me to buy a new pattern :)


(2) evening walks around the lake


Really, how can I stay sour with Autumn when we've had the most glorious weather the last few weeks. Starting to win me over...almost.

(3) smells of homemade bread


I make all our bread from scratch, of course. Ha! Ha ha! No. No I don't. In fact, it had been so long that I forgot my wheat bread recipe fails to mention to add the salt. I forgot this twice. Two bad batches, grrr. SALT!! is now written in angry red letters on my recipe.


Nevertheless...brings the happy feelings to be in the habit again. I always have rolls coming out of the oven when people come over for dinner. Only because I've had a few disasters when having company over (one in particular where I didn't cook out all the alcohol in a chicken dish). My theory is that if you have hot rolls on the table, your guests will easily forgive and forget the rest of the meal! I need that insurance.

I'm not letting Hayden help me again for a while. Top right picture, she turned to say 'cheese' and dumped the cup of flour on the ground. Which was just a small part of her overall mess. Making memories, right? Yeah. Well, I'll wait to make memories when her hand-eye coordination improves a bit :)

But do you need a fail-proof dinner plan? I give you:

(4) Butternut. Squash. Lasagna.

Allison made it last fall and in my memory her description went like this: "You layer the lasagna noodles with a layer of butternut squash pureed with crushed macaroons, then a creamy layer of whole milk, butter, flour that you blend with fresh basil and nutmeg blergie blah blah, sha na na....."

No need to continue. You had me at pureed cookies.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (1 1/2 to 2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 amaretti cookies, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 cups whole milk
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup (lightly packed) fresh basil leaves
  • 12 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan


Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the water into the skillet and then cover and simmer over medium heat until the squash is tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly and then transfer the squash to a food processor. Add the amaretti cookies and blend until smooth. Season the squash puree, to taste, with more salt and pepper.

Melt the butter in a heavy medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the nutmeg. Cool slightly. Transfer half of the sauce to a blender*. Add the basil and blend until smooth. Return the basil sauce to the sauce in the pan and stir to blend. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste.

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.

Lightly butter a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Spread 3/4 cup of the sauce over the prepared baking dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan. Spread 1/3 of the squash puree over the noodles. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Drizzle 1/2 cup of sauce over the noodles. Repeat layering 3 more times.

Tightly cover the baking dish with foil and bake the lasagna for 40 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over the lasagna. Continue baking uncovered until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden, 15 minutes longer. Let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Can You Hit Replay?

If I could get this day to loop again and again, a la Groundhog Day, well...I'd take it.



Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Piling Up

What I should have been doing this morning:


What I did instead:


I also may have made her watch some Jon Stewart with any good mother would.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Bill O'Reilly
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

What the what?!? Is that my delightful friend, Jeffrey Stevens, serenading Bill O'Reilly in for an interview? Made my day. I may have ended up watching the entire episode, because, well, Jon Stewart can make me laugh to tears. Then back to the dollhouse. Now I'm blogging. The laundry is still sitting there. I need a push here, people!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fine, It's Over

Missing summer already.

I'm trying to fall in love with fall again, but as mentioned before, the season is strongly tied to exhaustion and morning sickness for me.

But we did have one great summer. Here are a few of my favorite pictures and memories that I never ended up blogging about. Goodbye, summer.