Thursday, November 30, 2006

Another Christmas tradition

My blogging friend Kristi Brooke is putting together a collection of Christmas traditions (and if you email her your Christmas traditions she'll include you on the email list), which made me thing about one of my favorite traditions that my parents started.

To say that my family was on a tight budget when I was little, would be an understatement. My parents had three little girls when my dad graduated with his masters degree and made a change of plans and decided to go on to get his PHD. I don’t really remember thinking we were poor, but we learned at an early age that if you really wanted something for Christmas you better ask Santa and Grandma and Grandpa. I know my parents were grateful for any help they received along the way.

They added a fourth child to the family right after my dad graduated with his PHD and started teaching at a small University in Tennessee. Things were still tight, but the first Christmas my dad was out of school, my parents decided that they wanted to do what they could to help another family have a Merry Christmas. They held a family home evening and laid out their plan and explained that there was another family in the ward in great need and we could help them have a Merry Christmas, but it would mean that we would have to have a smaller Christmas and we would each have to give a little up. They held a vote and said it had to be unanimous and of course it was. I was six at the time, my older sister was eight and my younger sister was four and I can’t believe they trusted us to keep the secret, but they told us all about the new family in church and we didn’t tell a soul.

Twenty years later, I couldn’t tell you what I got for Christmas that year, but I can tell you all about what we did for that family. They had a boy and a girl and the girl was in my primary class. I remember shopping for her with my mother, watching my mom make her a dress, picking out new shoes for each of them, and putting together the bags of food for a Christmas dinner. I think the bishop and his wife went with us to make the delivery on Christmas Eve because their home was hard to find. I was totally shocked at the site of their house; it was a shack, a hodgepodge of scrap wood with the windows boarded up to keep the heat in and graffiti painted over it.

Most of all I remember how I felt the next Sunday when the family arrived in their new church clothes, the little boy playing with one of the cars that we picked out for him. It was the first time I’d ever seen the little girl wearing a dress and I realized that it was because she didn’t own a dress before, a thought that hadn’t occurred earlier to my six-year-old mind.

Every year since then, my parents hold a family home evening around the beginning of December and each member of the family votes on whether they want to have a smaller Christmas in order to help another family, and every Christmas the vote is unanimous. Some years it’s a family we know and some years it’s completely anonymous. Some years we do it on own our and some years we combine our efforts with another family depending on our adopted family’s needs. The constant factor is that every year it kept my family focused the true meaning of Christmas instead of the commercial side of things, and I will always appreciate my parents for that lesson.

This is a tradition that I want to continue with my own family. Larry and I aren't quite to the point where we can adopt a whole family, but we're doing what we can. This year we got the ward involved in Salvation Army's Cheer Toy Drive. They sent us tags to hand out to ward members with specific toy requests from kids and it lists their gender and age. It's been so fun to see their requests for things like a princess barbie or a basketball. One of the ones Larry and I ended up with was a request from an 11 year-old girl for a pottery wheel workshop, which we had to look up online to find out it's a real toy that's available at Michael's craft stores. Since we're in a married student ward I was a little worried about signing up because I know everyone is on a tight budget but so many people have been excited to help. We'll be collecting some of the toys at our ward activity tomorrow, and I can't wait to see them pile up!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Christmas Preview

I haven't put up all of my Christmas decorations yet (sometimes when you're lonely and you feel like throwing up it's a little hard to get into the Christmas spirit), but last night as I put a few of my favorite things out, my mood brightened, and now I can't wait to finish decorating. Since it's not all up, you just get a little preview of a few of the Christmas decorations that mean the most to me.

This is a "Sandta" that my mom made when we were living in Hawaii. It's made of plain canvas that she filled with sand from the beach we lived on and then she painted it and antiqued it. She made a bunch of them of all shapes and sizes and mailed them to our relatives, but she saved a few and let us each pick one a few years ago. It reminds me of the year my dad dragged us all to the Aloha bowl on Christmas morning and years of thinking that cloudy weather was Christmas weather. (note to self- I need to snag one of the starfish ornaments that my mom painted like Santa to go along with this)

This is not just any picture of Santa Claus, it's a portrait of my Grandpa Borup. When we were little, all the neighbor kids thought he really was Santa and wanted to come over whenever he visited even though we explained to them that he was our Grandpa, not Santa. My sister Candice took this picture when she was in undergrad and printed copies for all of my family. I'm so glad it's a memory she preserved.

And last, but not least, this is my Christmas stocking. My first Christmas married I told my mom that I wanted most of my Christmas decorations to be silver or deep red like the color of the skirts my bridesmaids wore. She had some extra fabric leftover from the bridesmaids skirts and she made Larry and I these gorgeous stockings. She sent me the extra fabric so I could make a treeskirt, but I've been saving it in hopes that one day we would need more matching stockings and next year we finally will! I can't wait! (Mom, feel like another sewing project?)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ok, I may be a little late with my Thanksgiving wishes, but I never blog over the holidays so today will have to do. Larry and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with a big group of our friends at the Whiteheads. I was in charge of rolls and pies. Of course I had to make my mom's famous roll recipe since Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same without them. They take forever to make, but they are totally worth it (once a year anyway). And since I'm not such a good cook I ordered my Pies from Just Pies (which, as you may have guessed, only sells pies and they are the best). You have to order your pies AT LEAST a week before Thanksgiving and there is always a huge line out the door when you pickup pies around Thanksgiving and they have all these guidelines posted on how to pick up your pie like only state your last name, not your first, then wait for them to read you your phone number and if it's incorrect you must have your confirmation number ready, etc. (which reminded me of the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld) but they're pies are worth it because they're amazing. We went with pumpkin cream cheese, banana cream, and black raspberry pie.

Larry had to work most of the weekend (from 7 a.m. on Friday to 2 p.m. on Saturday) and then he came home to sleep, but I did wake him up long enough to go to my favorite Japanese restaurant and check out video cameras Saturday night.

I hope that the rest of you had a happy Thanksgiving too!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Go Bucks!

Life in Columbus can get ugly if the Buckeyes loose, especially to Michigan, but luckily that didn't happen this weekend. We get together to watch most of the games with the friends that we made our first year here, back when all of our husbands were students. So much has changed since then, but we still have just as much fun together. I wish I remembered to take a picture of the whole group, but instead you just get a picture of me and Larry in our OSU hoodies.

Now it's on to the National Championship game on January 8th!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Advent Calendars

I come from a family of a million Christmas traditions, and I've been thinking about them a lot lately since we'll soon have a little one of our own. I'm going to highlight a few of my favorite traditions here over the holidays so here's one for today.

Each child in my family had their own advent calendar to count down to Christmas. I think mine was made by my Grandma Borup. It had a different item embroidered on it for each day and the numbers were all mixed up so you had to hunt for the right number. Each number had a loop with some embroidery thread to tie on a piece of candy. I used to love to stare at the fancy embroidery on it. Marissa's was made of red felt and had a little pocket for everyday. Candice's was a Christmas scene with numbers all the way around it with yarn to tie on the candy. It's funny because I think all of the kids in my family thought that their own advent calendar was the best one.

I haven't paid much attention to advent calendars since then, but now I find myself keeping my eye open for just the right one for our baby to be. There are so many fun options. I was just looking through the Ikea holiday catalogue and they had a fun do it yourself version.

Create an advent calendar by using gift boxes in different sizes and colors. Fix them on the wall and place a small gift in each! Paper board/plastic. Shown attached to the wall using double-sided tape (sold separately). Box size Ø1 5/8-Ø5 1/2". $4.99 for a set of 12 boxes.

I wish we had an Ikea close by!

Thursday, November 16, 2006


I just discovered a crib set that I love! It's from the Gap. Check it out.
Think of all of the fun way you could paint the room with these bright colors!

Nursery Ideas

Larry and I will most likely only live in our house for another year and a half before we move away for Larry's fellowship (although there's always a chance that we could end up staying here) so I feel free to create a totally boy or girl nursery instead of worrying about being gender neutral in case we have another baby and it's not the same sex. I had so many cute ideas for a girly room, but not so much for a boy's room. I'm not really into character themes in nurseries or on clothes, I just want something original and fun. I'm starting to collect ideas that catch my eye and here's a few that I've gathered so far.

I really like these animal wallies from Pottery Barn. They come in packs of 48 so you can make a border all the way around the room and I love their simple clean lines. And bonus, they are easy to remove so we can take them down when we sell the house. They also have a big giraffe in this collection, but it's pricey.

This picture is a nursery that scrapbooker Heidi Swapp is putting together. One of my sisters hates it and thinks it looks like a jail cell, but I think that's partially due to the tiny size of this room. I love ice blue and chocolate brown together and think this would be a fun way to incorporate them. You can't really tell in this small picture, but Heidi put some little bird shapes on the wall before they painted the black stripes and then peeled them off to create little pink birds. I think you could use the same technique to put little blue stars all over the brown stripes.

This picture is from some random magazine that I was flipping through awahile ago and I can't remember the name of it to give them credit. I don't know if you can really see it here, but I love the scallop pattern they used to separate the green and the blue. Maybe light blue on the top with a bright blue on the bottom or light blue on the top with brown on the bottom. I'm just not sure how I would create the scallops, but I'm sure we could figure it out.

So far this is my favorite nursery. I love how the walls are painted (I'm sure Larry is looking at this and groaning because that would be a pain to paint and I'm not even sure how we would do it, but I'm in love with it). I also love the simple bedding. I thought that white would be a nightmare with a baby, but my friend says she loves it because she can just bleach it clean.

Any thoughts or ideas to add?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ok, so we cheated

I could not wait eight more weeks until my next appointment and just hope they would do another ultrasound so this is me last night (pardon the bare belly, but I couldn't really crop it out of any of the photos that Larry took).

There have to be at least a few perks of being married to a resident and knowing medical students with free access to medical equipment is one of them. It was no surprise that baby Ford was completely uncooperative and flipping all over the place so it took quite awhile, but if you trust me, Larry, and our friend Jared (none of which is any kind of a realiable expert) we are fairly certain that we are having a boy!!!!!! (I'd show you the picture we based this decision on but that might make you even more uncomfortable than the bare belly picture)

Let the shopping and painting and name discussions begin!

Monday, November 13, 2006

It's a . . .

Well, it might be a boy anyway, our doctor was not too confident about it. She says she's maybe 80% confident that it's a boy. I wouldn't have been disappointed to hear that it's a boy or a girl, but I was disappointed to not really know. When we got to the appointment my doctor asked if I've been feeling the baby and I told her that I have. She asked me if I feel it about every other day or once a day and I told her that I feel it all the time and I keep telling Larry that it's already as hyper as him. I don't think that she took me seriously until she started the ultrasound and the baby was squirming all over the place. I think her words were, "Wow, this is a VERY active baby!" It was moving around too quickly to get more than a glimpse so she said it was too hard to distinguish if she was seeing the cord or more. Then when it stayed still it had its legs tucked up to its chest so there was no way to tell. Lately all of my friends have had these beautiful ultrasound shots of the baby's face and hands and feet, but that didn't happen either. Its hands and feet were flailing around too much and its head was right below my belly button the whole time so we couldn't get a shot without the shadow from my belly button over it. The good news is that my doctor said she will do another ultrasound later, just to quickly check, but my next appointment is 8 weeks away.

So anyway, we left the appointment with a sealed envelope, but we knew that whatever it said our doctor thought it would only be 80% accurate. We had a lot of friends over Friday night to share the news with us and we had them each write their guess down on a poster before we opened the envelope. The funny part is we still don't really know who was right and who was wrong.

We did have a lot of fun celebrating with our friends and eating all the "baby" size food that we could come up with (mini eggrolls, mini eclairs, cheesecake bites, baby quiche, baby carrots, even tiny water bottles).

Blogger won't post the picture that I have of Larry and me together so instead you get a blurry picture of Larry and a picture of me opening a gift with a little help from one of our cute guests.

I guess Larry and I still have to come up with a boy's name and a girl's name and I have more time to dream up nursery decorating ideas.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Keeping busy

So today is the big day. I know it's going to kill me to hold onto the envelope all day and wait to find out if we are having a boy or a girl until we get together with our friends tonight, but it will be so much more fun that way. I just hope my doctor will be able to tell because it would be kind of funny to gather everyone together to open an envelope that just says, "I'm not sure."

So to keep me busy, my friend Katherine planned a girls' night to go get ice cream and Jeni's, but them her daughter got sick and she couldn't come.

So this picture is for Katherine because I promised to try to remember some of the unusual flavors for her. You can order three miniture scoops for the price of about one scoop so I got apple cider 5 spice sorbet, pumpkin 5 spice, and butternut squash with handmade candied pralines (which was surprisingly my favorite).Right now they are having a Marie Antoinette special with flavors that are authentic to her time: Orange Flower with Preserved Fruits & Chocolate, Toasted Brioche with Butter & Jam, Star Anise & Candied Fennel , and Pear Riesling. Visiting Jeni's is always such a fun adventure.

And speaking of fun adventures, I'm really enjoying being on the nomination committee for the Cybil Awards (although the hard work hasn't started yet because the open nomination period doesn't end until November 20th). My committee is amazing. One of the women, Kelly, is the one who started the idea for the Cybils Awards by venting about other award winners. Another is also on the Newberry Award Committee. I just love having so many fun people to talk to about the newest books, not to mention another perk that began this week. I've been opening my mailbox to find new books shipped free fom publishers who have had books nominated. Who wouldn't love to find this in their mail?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Boy or Girl?

After reading the blog of a friend who is also expecting, I started to feel really bad because I feel like Larry and I really haven't celebrated. My friend is busy testing strollers and decorating the nursery and debating about names, and I haven't done any of those things or even started to think about them. I was just so worried for so long that somthing would go wrong, and I almost felt like if I started doing those things I would jinx myself. I'm not really superstitious, I just knew that if I had a nursery ready, and a name picked out, and a carseat waiting and then I had a miscarriage it would only be harder. Plus, I was feeling so sick and who feels like celebrating when they are sick?

Well, I'm finally feeling quite a bit better. Thanks to all of you for your advice on morning sickness. I have been trying everything. I don’t know if it was Emily’s suggestion to use a child-size toothbrush or Kate’s suggestion to try Unisom again or if I’m just finally progressing on, but I have gone a few days without throwing up (Ok, I did have an episode last night, but it was minor).

Everything has looked good at my doctor appointments and my doctor says she feels confident saying that at this point a miscarriage would be highly unlikely so after talking with Larry, we've decided it's finally time to really be excited and do something special to celebrate. We are supposed to find out at our appointment on Friday if we are having a boy or a girl, but we've decided not to find out at the appointment. Instead, we are having my doctor write it down and seal it in an envelope, and we are inviting all of our friends over to our house on Friday night to open it and find out with us. So if you're reading this and you're in town and you don't have plans for this Friday, please consider yourselves invited and head over to our house around 7:00 p.m. to celebrate with us!

Quiet Weekend

I had a pretty quiet weekend because Larry worked from 7:00 a.m. on Saturday to 2:00 p.m. on Sunday. He got to nap for half an hour and then we had church from 3 - 5. Larry was so tired after that he went to bed at 7:00.

That left me with a lot of time on my hands. I went to a baby shower on Saturday morning and then spent most of the afternoon shopping. I was so good and didn't buy anything until I saw these.

I spent way more on them than I should have, but I saw some really similar trees and Pottery Barn that I loved, but I really could not justify the price of those. So for around the price of one at Pottery Barn, I got three at Target.

I also finally made a dress for the monkey that I started months ago.

And I read two books so I felt semi productive.

Friday, November 03, 2006

More New Things

OK, so you all know that each year on my birthday, however old I’m turning, I set a goal to try that many new things. Last year I was 25 and I surpassed my goal. You can mock the idea as much as you want, but it’s all about being an interesting person and developing new interests and continuing to grow now that I’m finished with my formal education. Now I’m trying to get started on my 26 new things for this year before I get caught up in the holidays. So far I have three things:

  1. I went apple picking
  2. I’m on the nominating committee for Middle grade fiction books for The Cybils
  3. I threw an Alfred Hitchcock party (do you think this counts? I’ve thrown a Halloween party before, but never really one with a theme)

There are already a few major things I’m planning to try this year. Having a baby is the first one that comes to mind :) I’d also love to finish writing a book and work on submitting it for publication. Even if it never gets published, it would still be a big accomplishment.

Anyway, I was thinking about this list yesterday when I came across an article about a Paper, Rock, Scissors tournament in German Village (it probably only caught my eye because on Sunday Larry was reading an article on how to be a Paper, Rock, Scissors champion). Too bad we already have plans for tonight because how cool would it be to be able to put, “Entered a Paper, Rock, Scissors Tournament” on my list of new things for this year? Maybe I was born to be a Paper, Rock, Scissors champion and I don’t even know it.

So what new things are you going to try this year and what do I need to ad to my list of things I want to attempt?

Halloween remnants

Halloween is over and we’ve packed up our decorations, but somehow it still spread throughout the rest of the week. This was the second year in a row that Larry had to work overnight on Halloween so he missed his favorite holiday. I thought that I would be lonely at home passing out the treats, but I had plenty of friends stop by to keep me company. In Central Ohio Trick-or-treating AKA Beggar’s Night is very regulated. Our first four years here they didn’t hold Beggar’s Night on Halloween, but the city got so many complaints about it that they finally changed it to Halloween last year. Trick-or-treating is only supposed to go from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. and when I got home from work at exactly 6:00 there were two boys that were probably ten-years-old standing in my driveway waiting for me. They remembered that I gave out fill-size candy bars last year so they wanted to hit my house first this year. I was glad I was giving out full-size candy bars again so I didn’t have to disappoint. That may sound crazy to you, but I live in a very private little neighborhood that’s surrounded by a rock quarry so we only get kids from our neighborhood and I only ended up having about 50 trick-or-treaters, which isn’t too expensive (and that’s including a couple of kids who came back twice. Now it’s one thing when random kids on their own come back twice, but these kids parents brought them back a second time!)

Larry was still in the Halloween spirit last night so when he got home he asked me to go check out how some houses that he passes on his commute were decorated. I can tell he’s already dreaming of future Halloweens. Later that night he went to see The Nightmare Before Christmas which he’s been dying to see in theaters 3-D. I was glad our friend Jason also wanted to go because I didn’t have to go.

I ran to Target during my lunch break yesterday and I was so happy to see them unpacking all of the Christmas decorations. As I left work big snowflakes started falling from the sky, and I felt so ready to move onto Thanksgiving and Christmas. All month if anyone said the words Christmas or Thanksgiving to Larry he would jokingly cover his ears and shout, “I will not let you take away from my Halloween!” So last night I was tempted to cover my ears and shout to Larry, “I will not let you take away from my Thanksgiving and Christmas!” but I figured he deserved one more night to celebrate Halloween since he missed the real thing.