different and the same

There are some songs that stick with you.

Good ol’ Carpenters.

But this rendition [see below] from MirrorMask honestly surprised me and the dissonance struck me pretty negatively at the beginning but it far far exceeded my expectations by the end. Honest? I could watch the segment over and over and over. LOVE it. And Valentine’s accent for that matter.

I hadn’t even realized I missed 2005.

too many choices, too little time

Do you ever feel overwhelmed?

HA. Stupid question. Of course you have! I don’t care whether you are one of the MOST organized and prepared people on this planet, I’m sure you’ve had at least one curveball thrown your way, right? Something that stood out so bad it made your heart pitter an off-kilter patter because that feels just. not. right.

I don’t have much room to complain. Lately the overwhelming feelings I’ve been drowning in are due to hobbies. That is quite possibly one of the most pathetic sentences I’ve ever written. It’s difficult to admit that my entire issue at the moment (besides Christmas totes and disaster level office issues) is whether or not I want to pursue something in sewing, bow making, reading, crocheting, planning, beading, writing, quilting, etc. (Picture a confused embarrassed face. I can’t possibly be the only one that has this issue?)

Not to mention the other things that sort of hover around those. Things I maybe should be doing or need to be doing. We always think of the exterior “needs” that are outside of basic survival last. Like how my floor needs to be mopped. Or how the kids have been using their dirty, muddy feet to close the front and closet doors in the entry. No one is going to die over mud. Except my Obsessive Compulsive side. She might die.

Or – church! Sure I go, I do all the things I need to do, prepare my lessons in advance before I teach – but what about the hovering things there? Like my Personal Progress. As a leader in my ward’s Young Women’s organization, that’s something I need to be focusing on, at least a little. Well, need is the wrong word. I certainly don’t HAVE to, but why not? It’s a great program and I never received my award as a youth myself, this is the perfect opportunity. Good example for my ward’s youth and my girls (specifically Olivia who will turn 12 THIS June – when did THAT happen?) As a Presidency, we decided one of our collective goals for this year would be to complete the Virtue value and then one other value of our choice.

But how does one organize all of these ideas? Needs, wants, desires, urges – and 70% of them crafty? Pfft. Ain’t nobody got time for that. (No, Dad, that is not a serious sentence, click here. I give you full permission to not sit through the entire video. While funny, it gets old. Except for her pronunciation of the word “fire”.) Anyway – some of these activities are definitely easier than others – quilting takes flat surfaces, places for machine, iron, fabric, patterns, uninterrupted time, and my machine makes too much noise to watch anything with Cam while I’m working on something. Whereas while  I still have to use patterns to hobble along for my crochet (can’t get too distracted or I’m lost) I can still have a toddler on my lap or my husband vegging out on the couch next to me. Same with cross stitch, beading, the more handheld activities.

But then the guilt starts to seep in. Really, self? Guilt? I’m not giving myself enough time to quilt. Look at all the fabric in the closet, the supplies I have and could be using. I could be making blocks and donating them. Or what about projects that are started and sitting around waiting to be finished? Like Cam’s Marvel/DC quilt that I pulled out again last week? Bleh.

When I find something I like or something I enjoy doing, I throw myself in. Head first, give it my everything, and do my very best at it. Quilting, I quickly picked up and learned all that I could. There are parts I love, parts where I excel, and parts I need to work on. Same with everything else I enjoy – I love reading. I don’t think there is a genre that I DON’T enjoy. But I can’t possibly read every book I want to read, probably not even in my lifetime! Perler beads, I had them out for months – constant beading, projects for Christmas, for gifts, etc. I LOVED it. But that left no time for other things I wanted to do. Honestly, I can’t quilt, bead, read, cross stitch, crochet, write, loom, breathe and be a mom all in the same week, let alone the same day! I can’t seem to do anything in moderation.

I was dwelling on this predicament, rather gloomily, in the shower the day before yesterday. I felt myself slipping, metaphorically, back into the spot where I can’t seem to see any light at the end of the tunnel in front of me. All of these things listed out in my head, that seemed impossible to reach and that felt like failure. (I’m really great at mastering mental disorders too. I rock dysthymia’s world. And polarized thinking isn’t for the faint of heart, it’s essentially like walking through the world as a giant FAIL meme.)


But, regardless of the Grumpy Cat doom-filled stare in my head, I realized that I needed to make the choice to see that I did do SOMETHING that day. I decided if I could think of three things that I did today that were successful or helpful or anything other than a complete fail, I had succeeded that day.

So, on that day. First? I paid my bills. WOO! Not exciting. But hey, I remembered, paid, and I’ll take what I can get! Second, I tore out a chunk of my crocheting again. I get that that sounds negative, but really… I realized that after learning how to do the front post half triple stitch, that I got a little ahead of myself and missed that the following rows used a triple stitch, NOT a half triple. If I said that right. Frustrating – but! Every time I have to restitch something I notice that I’m getting faster and better. So I count that as the second win of the day. After a very trying day, my third success was a really yummy dinner. Crockpot too, so it was super easy. Bonus: I also finished Saga: Volume 2.

Wednesday, I got dinner done in time before mutual (every Wednesday the youth have an activity) AND I was almost on time, arriving at mutual just barely after 7pm. Usually, it takes me FOREVER to get out of the house on Wednesdays because Cam always worked late. So for the first one, we’ll go with a combo of dinner before mutual and making it to my destination on time! I also started the massive job of gutting the office/craft room. And last, I worked on finishing up one Personal Progress experience, started another, and I’ve started gathering my materials for the corresponding value’s project. Yeah! Felt pretty good!

I guess at the end of all this I don’t have a solution yet. But I’ve found I do feel more successful when looking for and finding things that I had accomplished that day. I suck at daily journaling (RIGHT, subscribers?!) but maybe this little push to look for the lovely each day can help. I’ll keep you all posted in case I find the magical solution to organizing my crafty surges, but in the meantime – I can still be a successful person. Baby steps!


Leonard has been making his way around the downstairs of our house the past few days. I think Rachael is the first to go looking for him, and while the rest enjoy the silliness – it’s definitely Rachael’s game this year.

Side note: No, he’s not getting arrested over a Barbie car for cocaine posession, no he doesn’t trail toilet paper up and down the stairs, or bring treats and gifts – I’m letting this be just ours. Leonard isn’t your typical Elf on the Shelf. He’s homemade and rightfully so, it’s a Wagnermade game. The game itself is fun, doesn’t need to be over the top. We like Leonard just peeking out at us, after his long winded game of hide-and-go-seek.

To watch Leonard’s continued adventures, look here!


That’s my boy, a babyyoutuber. My sister asked for links to see his stuff. You can check out his channel here: Click me! If you subscribe and like his videos, I’m pretty sure his little 9-year-old heart will explode.

Here are a few examples:

Enjoy my goofball.


I decided to finally take the plunge into YouTube. My little nerdlings have been posting ridiculously (pretty terrible, lol) I’m-a-kid videos for quite some time. Minecraft playthroughs and Duncan even took his viewers out to see the chickens at one point. Gotta love it.

Recently, I’ve been scrapbooking and slowly falling in love with the Project Life method. You slip stuff in. You can do it easy peasy, no fuss – or you can add to it. The fact that there’s not a huge layout process that takes over a room of my house for six months is SO. NICE. SO SO SO NICE.

That being said, it takes a lot to get my butt in gear sometimes and the only one I’ve completed is of our time in Legoland California. Disneyland and Disney California Adventure photos will be back to the traditional Creative Memories style, simply because I have all the materials and our previous Disney trip is in that one already. (And that album definitely has room to grow!)

I decided to record a flip through and (terribly) add music and transitions. I won’t go into details but I’m really not thrilled with YouTube’s on board transitions. And what is with my camera and the spaz-out auto focus? Ugh. Not my favorite. But it is what it is and I did it! Woo! Achievement unlocked. ;-)

For those interested, you can see the photos from the video here and here.


(Link for those that can’t see the video: https://youtu.be/iAVVGGYlQgM)



Side note: I gave a talk this Sunday in church. It’s been a while and it felt better than I remembered. I was given a specific topic (gratitude for Prophets) but I’m not really sure it was super clear. I’m sure a lot was heard and pondered (ideally) but whether or not it clicked in their brains as the topic given, I don’t know. Probably doesn’t matter. I felt great giving the talk, shared a cute Liv story, tons of scriptures and General Authorities quotes, but really what seemed clear to me, may not have been to others. ENTER OVERTHINKING. Anyway – talk went well, and whether or not my actual assigned topic got across, I got love from many members of the ward, so I know they at least enjoyed it.

So, while I specifically avoided the cheeky “for those of you who don’t know me…” opening in my talk yesterday – you’ll have to just deal with life today. Which leads me to…

For those of you who don’t know me in person, aren’t family, or are the random mystery person that stumbles upon my little nook of the internet (ahem, right.) – I’m the oldest of seven kids. We all have our individual lives at this point but are still fairly close and in touch. My brother lives in Washington and has his own blog which he updates on a much more consistent basis then I do. He and his wife are so sweet, I love them. (Hi Laura!) (Okay – hi, Dan, you too.)

In the spirit of sibling rivalry, I’ve been mulling over why this is. Yes, being a wife and mom is full time job; yes, I’m busy with church/library/school volunteer work; and yes, all the rest of the crap in my life takes time. But Dan is definitely busy too – he’s working a fairly new, full-time, awesome job that allows him to support his family. He and his wife go on adventures, takes pictures, make posts. WHY NOT ME, guys? He even has a new side job. He’s taking the cake.

Anyway – I think my personal issue (the largest at least) is back to that thing I’ve talked about before. This process of overthinking, over-stressing, and the never ending perfectionist battle. In my ripe, old age of 29 – I have many years to go – I’ve noticed that it doesn’t get easier with age. There are now more things in my control for me to be anxious over! Bleh, whodathunk? Regardless of this, I’ve noticed that allowing things to just be… can be helpful. Did I clean out the older kids’ dressers this weekend while they were gone? Yes – it felt good. Did they notice? They’re not blind and they don’t fold clothes so that’s a stupid question, they must have noticed. Unless they believe it’s the same person who leaves buckets of mystery water on the bathroom counter overnight and never flushes the toilet or – Cameron’s favorite – someone that “breaks into the house to leave string cheese wrappers on the family room floor and then leave”. I highly doubt they believe in this mysterious, obnoxious person – so we’ll assume they noticed it. Neither of them said anything, and that’s okay. I’m not sure how please Liv was to find it that way anyway, oops. BUT! I didn’t tell them they had to keep it that way. I didn’t check on it and fix it like I impulsively always want to do – baby steps! It was just a nice little refresh for the closets. (And my sanity.)

So while I’m open to trying this out online too, it won’t be… easy? Comfortable? Bah – such is life. It’ll work out. This will probably mean less posts about my traditional child-centered posts like Charlie’s new fart-announcement habit and more posts about (maybe) the fact that Linkle has arrived. Or maybe that I’m feeling pretty crappy about my disintegrated 5-year-vegan-bakery-plan. Or that my character on Skyrim seriously took out some rockin’ baddies the other day and I feel pretty daggum good about it. Or even that I might have… FINALLY posted a YouTube video. None of those things may interest you, as my reader, but ultimately this blog is for me. The closer I come to understanding that, the closer I am to fully being okay with just being me. Even in this tiny little portion of the web. And if I’m okay with me, my posts and content will improve. And I would assume that would account for better reading and more consistent posting. It’s all connected. It’ll work. Right?

And let’s be honest. We’re still gonna talk about Charlie’s fart announcements.


This won’t make for much of a post, but here it is anyway. After all, I was a pinch on the slacky side last week! It all works out in the end, right?

We didn’t do much last week, basically more of the same. Though we did have Library Day at Duncan and Rachael’s school. That was fun! Last year I was just a volunteer for the school’s library and I was in pretty frequently. It’s completely volunteer/parent organization run and this is the first year that I’ve signed on as Library Co-Coordinator. It’s really been nice, to be honest. It can get hectic, there are six grades, and the olders tend to all maul each other over a few favored series, but we’re working on the kinks. But on Friday, it went pretty well! The older kids are enjoyable because not only are they opinionated but they’re capable of carrying out the act of looking for what they want mostly on their own. Whereas the others are all DEFINITELY still opinionated, just not quite so capable! It’s especially fun when we have a very particular want from a Kindergartner and they can’t even read the titles to help look! We have a few little boys that will set their minds on a topic, ie Dump Truck or Dinosaur Fossils, but any and all similar topics: “PFFT – HOW DARE YOU. I wanted a DUMP TRUCK book, not a cars, tractor, train, construction, any other vehicle book you have book.” They’re mostly sweet about it, but it definitely does get me on my feet and learning our books!

In other news, I pretty simply want every single outfit Felicity Smoak is ever pictured in on Arrow. And, OMGOSHATOM! Kinda stoked. (Yes, we’re behind. We’re currently in Season 3 via Netflix.)

Speaking of things that are smoakin’… (punny!)

Dinner tonight was simple but good. Mexican Bubble Pizza, though the recipe definitely needs an upgrade. It’s one of those Pillsbury recipes that revolves around things they make. Ours is also simplified because my kids are turning into picky eaters. Well, at least the younger two as of late.

Tonight’s (doubled recipe) basically consisted of:

2 cans large biscuits (ripped into 8 pieces each and balled up) [also: each serving of this meal was 524 calories – mainly because of these calorie-heavy biscuits – imagine it with cheese! eesh.]

1lb-ish homemade shredded pork from the crockpot (leftovers from pulled pork sandwiches a couple of nights ago that was bagged and frozen for later use)

2 cans of condensed tomato soup

4 TBS WinCo bulk taco seasoning

1-1/2 cups water

I slow-thawed the meat through the morning and afternoon, and when it came time to make dinner I threw it in a cast iron pan with the water, seasoning, and soup. Bring to a boil, simmer for 3 minutes. I think I simmered mine for longer, I felt like it was suuuuper watery at first and wanted to make sure it wasn’t going to be Mexican Bubble Bread Soup.

While that’s simmering, rip the biscuits up. This is annoying. And kind of gross when the biscuits aren’t homemade. What are the little beads in their? Buttermilk solids? Butter-flavored shortening flakes, iunno? Throw them all in a 9×13. You may want to ball them up just a little to help with them immediately trying to stick back together.

After your liquid and meat mixture has simmered and thickened, pour it on top of the dough balls and mix gently. I used a spatula and almost folded it all together like you would egg whites. Or other things that require folding. Then pop it in a 375 degree oven and bake for about 23 minutes. Liquid should be bubbling and biscuits baked.

Normal people would then add cheese (I don’t eat dairy), chopped olives (we were out), chopped green onions (didn’t feel like answering, “What ARE these?”), salsa (HA, nice try. Meet Rachael.), and sour cream (again, I don’t eat dairy). I guess I should add, I could have offered things individually, like the cheese and sour cream at least. But I forgot sour cream while grocery shopping and I really REALLY didn’t want 5 people microwaving their food because their cheese wasn’t baked on their dinner. Mama makes one meal. Don’t like it? Don’t eat. It became a low-key, but yummy, dinner.

Charlotte ended up eating a few bites of biscuits and all of her corn. Complained the entire time – but she did it! She’s a work in progress. But Rachael ate it all and didn’t complain that it was “too spicy” until well into her second helping.

Achievement Unlocked! Try it, you might like it…

The boy

He sure looks older now. But yeah. Exactly the same.

The boy, 2013

My name is Duncan, but you can call me Dunc.

Age: 7

Favorite Toy: Beyblades.”

Favorite Book: “Captain Awesome!”

Favorite Website: Minecraft.”

Best Friends: “Savannah and Chaz. Oh, and Roberto.”

“When I grow up… I’m gonna live with Chaz in the woods. And I’m gonna be rich. And I’m going to have a mansion.”

In Hotel Transylvania when the dead chef sticked his finger in his nose, that ... always makes me laugh.”

For Duncan’s new answers, look here.

leveled up!

The kids’ profiles needed to be changed. Can you believe this child is 3? I can’t. She’ll be 4 in February. I know, I know, shut your mouth! Say it ain’t so! Look how this stinker has changed…


Lincoln City 2013

My name is Charlotte, but you can call me Charlie.

Age: 12 months

Favorite Toy: My Chewwie.

Favorite Book: Leslie Patricelli’s Baby Book Tower books.

Best Friend: Mama’s hair.

Rachael’s frowny face … always makes me laugh!”


Legoland 2015

My name is Charlotte, but you can call me Charlie.

Age: 3

Favorite Toy: My dress-up princesses.

Favorite Book: My new wind-up train book!

Best Friend: Miley.

When the guy on YouTube says, ‘mommy, can you kiss my boo boo?’ it … always makes me laugh!”