You Win!

Thanks for all the fun ideas.

I love them.

Nevada is treating the girls and I well so far. We love being surrounded by Lewis' and since I am about the only one living outside the state we are getting huge amounts of affection and attention. The girls are (sort-of) adjusting to their many uncles, aunts, grandparents, cousins, and all the hugs and kisses that come along with them.

I won't make you wait any longer. I have some winner's thanks to:

So, that means that my winner's are:

Rachel, Marielle, and Emily

Send a note to ShopPoppySeeds@gmail with your desired sleeve length, design, and size.

Merry Christmas!


You Post. Me Giveaway.


I'd like to think that I blog for myself. That it doesn't matter what I write or photograph, because it is all for me. Well, to be honest I do blog a little for me, but I also do it for you. I have a handful of frequent readers now and I love that you keep coming back for more. Thanks! It's a good feeling.

Sometimes I run out of things to blog about. Don't you? You can only write about bugs, laundry, play dates, and baby poop so much.

Here is the part where you come in (yay!):


I'm wondering if you have any ideas for me? Any...yes?

Like things to blog about in the new year? For those days when there is no baby poop to blog about. Just something fun that I can pull out of my bag.


So, here is the perk. Don't we all love a good perk? I have a few more weeks of making Poppy Shirts before I take my LOA and I'd like to give some away.

So, you leave me a comment with a post blog-idea for me and I'll enter you to win one of 3 custom shirts. Yep, 3! You choose size, style, everything.

FYI: My posts will be a little more sporadic for the remainder of 2008. We are traveling and eating and gift-giving (like you are) and there is a baptism, a wedding, and a few fresh little babies to snuggle in Nevada.

But, I'll still be around and I need your ideas.

Oh, I'll announce the 3 winners on Sunday night. Yay!


Soaking It Up


There is nothing quite like the rain in Arizona, perhaps it's because the anticipation of it is so great and the whole desert rejoices as the saguaro's fatten up on the fresh water sent from the skies. Only a few inches will fill the washes and send big brown rivers flowing through the desert floor. All that was dull, brown, and lifeless for months suddenly perk up with a new found energy. This includes all us desert dwellers. We love the rain. It wakes us up.

My daughter's scream and giggle as we hood our heads and scurry into the Walmart. Blondie squeals, "Mommy, the rain tickles my face!" I laugh as I love her innocence and simple delight in it. Lucky for us, the next few days and we will have plenty of face-tickling rain.

I have been hoping that we will have snow in Nevada for Christmas. My mother told me yesterday that they were forecasting 6". I hurried to tell little Blondie. Her eyes grew big and lit up with pure joy,

"Can we go now?"

Oh, how I would love to indulge her and jump in the car in search of snow! But, I reminded her that we have to wait a few days.

I have loads of laundry to do, a few more days of mental preparation, and I really really want to enjoy this rain. It means we get to stay in our jammies most the day, watch princess movies, bake cookies, and drink chocolate milk.

I want to soak up all the days like this I can before school starts.

Here is a nice rainy day song for ya.



There are a few select things that I look forward to every day, like Easy E coming in the door around 6pm and giving each girl in the home a kiss. I'm pretty lucky and get mine on the lips and first. He kisses Blondie on the forehead and dodges around Sissy's dirt and grime until there is a clean spot to smack. This has to be my favorite time. It's far above all the rest in my book.

Other favorites include the post nap snuggles with each of the girls where they are so incredibly docile, warm, and sweet smelling, listening to Blondie play with her Polly Pocket's to herself during quite time, and the pre-bedtime tickling, wrestling, chasing, and giggling sessions.

I admit I have another favorite time of the day. It happens just after noon or shortly before, when I hear a huge truck pull up outside and the familiar chime of the doorbell. Yes! A package from the man in the brown suit. This time of year it means I'm finally getting the gifts that I have bought for my loves or gifts others have sent to us.

Or, it means Cereal. Yep, cereal. Loads of it.

A little perk from Easy's work: Sales Samples


All these lovelies will be on shelves mid January. I've sampled most of them for you and made evaluations so you don't have to worry about it. Apparently they are going to be selling beans in pouches, which I haven't tried. I also haven't tried the rice's and probably won't - not really my thing. The pancakes are okay, I'd rather make mine from scratch, but we love the Honey Kix and the Fiber One Frosted Shredded Wheat.

And we still love this video. I've posted it before, but hey, it's Friday and I can't resist doing it again.
Special thanks to Marcus Monroe for representing.

"Yeah, keep putting out that CTC."


Midweek Musing

I promise that I'm not sitting here just musing about my wish list this year, but am super pumped that some boots from Urban arrived today. For the past 4 months all I can think about are boots. I have bought 5 pair in the past 3 weeks. I know it's ridiculous. I have tried them on, taken then off, practically created an excel chart in my head of the pro's and con's of each, and consulted The Man every night on what in the world I'm going to do. Flats or heels? Suede or smooth leather? Brown or black? Slouchy or straight? What about purple?

This thing of being indecisive and particular...It's not me. I make decisions. I get results. I don't wait. But, my dear husband's ways have influenced me, yet again. He is wishy-washy, does research on his purchases, and sits on the fence a little, but not me. He laughs and laughs, "Wow, Honey, I've never seen you like this." "I know! It sucks!"



After last year's catastrophe we were happy to downsize a little this year.


Her favorite part by far.

Our friend Katie sent us this perfect little kit. I was happy not to bake the gingerbread again this year and just focus on getting the thing to stay standing.

Mae broke the legs off our poor little fawn. Some frosting did the trick so he could stand again. Unfortunately, he'll never be the same.


Blondie was so excited to get Santa in the house. After I told her that we wouldn't be able to get him out she just focused on stealing nibbles of roof tiles, snow, and lights.

The great thing about last year is after it fell and was completely destroyed we were able to gobble up all that yummy fresh gingerbread and butter cream frosting. It was so so so good. This year we won't be eating it, but it's sure fun to look at, play with, and steal Mini M&M's from.
Shhh, don't tell Santa.


Movie Madness

I was at a little of a loss on what to post today. That's why all you got earlier was a photo. A great photo, but still, just a photo.

Oh, but then I remembered my fantastic weekend. It was so great and I have to tell you about it. Planned and tailored to me. It was perfect and I loved every minute of it. Thanks babe!

Friday night, Aly came up and we did the absolute most girly thing a girl could do and went shopping and then went to see Twilight (we have been waiting, like forever, so we could go together).


It was a perfect date:
Popcorn? Check.
Red Vines? Check. (too bad Aly ate 3/4 of the box before I had any)
1 Huge Rootbeer? Check!

We were giggly and anxious. We were 15 again and cat-called along with all the teenagers in front of us when you-know-who showed up on the screen. And it was perfect...until...he spoke. That first word he spoke to her almost killed me. Really? Did he just say "Hello" like there was a weird frog-bubble-fake-girl-man in his throat? Really? I was so disappointed, but he recovered and my attitude changed by the end of the movie, but really? Couldn't they have just had him speak in his English accent? That would have been soooo hot. Ahem, sorry honey.

Then we had a slumber party. Believe me, it was a party because Aly's little Millie wanted to party with her all night.

Saturday morning we went to Yoga. Man, I love being in a class with Alisha. I don't know why, but it totally changes it for me. We basically rocked it! I mean, we were cleansed, relaxed, and completely at one with ourselves afterward.

So, that afternoon after my dear friend left, I went to a baby shower, then I found Eric and I a babysitter (poor guy had been flying solo all night, morning, and afternoon) and treated my man to Australia. I know, it really was (again) treating myself, but hey, he liked it too.


Agh! This show is amazing. You have to go. Now. It is soooo beautiful. It was totally intense and we laughed and I cried and didn't want the 3 hour movie to end. Now, I'm going to have to find myself a little Nullah.

Seriously. Go. It's the best.

That pretty much sums it up.
Peace out.

In the Sticks


Thanks April!



It occurred to me yesterday that we had no pie at our Thanksgiving dinner. Which, is not that big of a deal to me, but then I remembered how Easy E has this little weak spot for apple pie.


What do you know? I had a huge bag of green apples sitting on the counter.


So I cut and sliced and stirred and rolled and swore. I made one for his birthday 3 years ago and thought I'd never do it again. It turned out pretty good, although I ran out of flour and had no cinnamon. I must say that the last one was definitely better.


But I still got my reward.


"Smiling's My Favorite."


So far, December has been great to us, other than the typical post-grandparent-attention-spoiled-unruly-state that my girls are in. I know most of you don't believe me, because when you see them they are oh so sweet, but really, they are testing me. I swear that they are!


It helps that Twinkle Feather-Bottom has come to keep a watch on things for Santa. Blondie keeps asking me, "Mom, what's Tinkle doing?" I remind her, that if she really really wants that Sleeping Beauty doll, then she has to be a very good girl so Tinkle can tell Santa to bring it. She then makes an honest effort for about 5 minutes claiming that she is, "going to clean her room."
I think only one shoe was put away.

We watched Elf tonight. I laughed so so so hard.


They are obsessed with the tree. The girls are...obessed and attracted like little bugs to it. We have had only one fatality. A ceramic angel that was placed a little to low for Miss Mae to resist.

Today, they discovered that the 5 year old candy canes could be unwrapped. Is that healthy? What's the shelf life on those babies anyway?

I'm making an honest effort in simplifying things this year and try to focus more on the Savior. Tonight, we read from Luke and learned the importance of gratitude and faith. Truly things that have the power to "make us whole."


Mischievous Ways


She is so busy. Too busy. Most days I can barely keep up with her.

Did I tell you how she broke my crockpot the other day? Yep, she ripped it out of my cupboard, shattering the ceramic against the tile floor. It was in pieces.

She climbs and climbs and climbs. Throws her food. Colors on walls. Dives fully clothed into Blondie's bath water. Pulls hair. Hits. What's next? Biting? Please tell me it's not biting! My youngest brother was a biter, and yes, we all lived in fear of his jaws for many years.

I could tell you all day about her mischievous ways, but what I'd really like to tell you is that when the day is done and she is all tuckered out, (there used to be a ; here) she begs for her milk, blankie, and her binky, then she rests her sweet head on my chest for some serious snuggle time.

I can't tell you how easy it is to forget about all the chasing, time-outs, yelling (her), and mess. I can't tell you because you probably already know that it is the very best feeling in the world to just have her lie there. calm. still. drifting.

I'm in absolute love with this pest.

I am so paranoid that I used that semi-colon wrong. Did I? Am? Monica? Melanie?
I hate semi-colons.
Feel free to correct it for me my lovely English Major's.


A Dull Ache

I have been on autopilot today. After I received the news from a friend and then saw it on J + T's blog my heart broke.

17 months ago Traci was told that she was to be a mother again to a sweet little boy. She was anxious and incredibly elated. They had hours to pack and arrive in Tennessee to greet their new precious baby boy - red hair and all. I teased her about the awesome pregnancy and labor she had. After all, I pushed with Ava for 2 hours. Little did I know, that her labor was only beginning and would be harder and longer than any other woman's in a fight to keep her baby boy.

Colby is 6 weeks older than my little Mae and Jessalyn is just a month older than my Blondie. Tray and I are constantly comparing our lives to each other. Being the mother's of 2 children very close in age, we have shared ideas on activities, laughs at potty problems, and weariness in the labor of love that all mother's experience.

My cousin and one of my very first friends. I feel privileged to know and love them both. I hurt for them all over today. I am angry and tearful. I can't imagine their pain. I ache at the thought of someone taking their sweet baby away and am crushed that it is the reality that they are facing today.

In my prayers.




My home is silent.

It's been deserted by guests and is only occupied now, by myself, and the 3 (currently) snoozing people that I share it with. We are wiped out. Only 4 hours ago this place was swarming with some of the people that Easy E and I love and my children simply adore.


After days of entertaining children, cleaning up, sightseeing, shopping, chatting, laughing and eating I am fully prepared to snuggle up to my man and take a much needed nap.

We left church early. I was seeing a little too much of the backs of my eyelids and Mae was failing in our arms (and on the floor) a little to much for us to properly deal. We quit while we were ahead.

Though I am drained of all energy, I must say that my cup is very full today. I am so completely grateful for the simple things in life:

My family
My health
The Gospel

I feel very blessed.

Oh, and my turkey turned out great.


Stripping Down and Stocking Up

We are having The Feast at our home on Thursday.

A big, yummy, smelly Gardiner Feast.
Gardiner's aren't smelly - they are actually very very hygienic.
Oh, but my kitchen will be all sorts of wonderful-smelly and I can't wait to get my cook on.

First though, I must take care of this:

Photobucketsee my new pillow covers? are they not wonderful?

It's everywhere. The "little kid grime" as Easy E calls it. Can you imagine the mixture of ingredients in it?
Slobber for sure. Then there is dirt, snot, yogurt, crackers, markers, soap, probably more snot and some lovely bacteria.

It seems like what this house really needs a good deep cleaning. It should be stripped. I'll just be lucky to get the toilets clean and the tile mopped before they show.

Tuesday I'll make rolls, cornbread for my stuffing, and some cranberry sauce (nothing canned here).
Wednesday I'll brine my turkey, and finish my (well PW's) stuffing, and also make her mashed potatoes.

Tonight, I went to the grocery store and mulled for about 20minutes over whether to get a frozen preserved turkey for a measly $7, or a fresh, totally natural, organic grain fed one for $60. I settled for the fresh one in between soaked in only 3% preservative solution.

Now, I'm wondering what he was fed on. What would you give a turkey besides grain? Maybe I don't want to know.


So that brings us here:

1. to the completely stocked fridge (such a lovely sight) and pantry

2. my watering mouth for Meg's Gooey Pumpkin Butter Cake


3. anxiety on how I'll actually pull this thing off



My Favorite Video

On This Date

...she turns 3


I could just eat her!

I'm wrapping gifts, have tied *balloons to her bed, and am preparing her special letters* for the big day.

Tonight we had dinner with some of the best of friends and tomorrow we will be snacking, dancing, and playing with 6 princesses.


I'm thinking it's pretty nice to be 3 today.

*We are starting new birthday traditions:
1. Balloons on the bed to wake up to in the morning (one for each year)
2. Memory letters from the year by Mom, Dad, and the Grandparents


Midweek Musing

I only have one musing today, which I have been thinking about for the past hour or so.

This afternoon the girls and I were playing in our rock yard which consists of rocks, both big and small, a slide, and a few bushes. Gotta love the desert life.

I could hear the neighbor's teenage boy and his friends talking and laughing over the cinder block wall, not distinctly because of their changed voices, but I usually do try my hardest to eavesdrop. So, one of them starts hacking. I mean really hacking. Like he had inhaled some sort of insect and it was jumping around in his lungs. Poor guy.

Then, it hit me.

The smell.


Wait. A. Minute.

That is not cigarette smoke. Definitely not.
For sure something else.

For sure

We had only been out about 5 minutes. I grab Mae and tell Blondie it's time to go in. She doesn't understand that I'm totally against her getting high at any age and to any extent. She yells. She runs. I chase. Barefoot on these freaking sharp rocks. Agh! I do the whisper-yell, "Heeey! Get over Heeere! Nhow!"

It reminded me of when I worked at Fallon Florist designing for my internship. There was this older lady Theresa (like 50) that worked there. She was convinced that I was uptight -which I am totally not. I guess for her standards I was though and she snuck a joint into my apron pocket. When I grabbed for my knife I pulled it out and was like, "What the?" She just cackled and I took it to the bathroom and flushed it.
Theresa was nuts!

Anyway...back my neighbors

What would you do?

A. call the cops
B. ignore it
C. hang your head over the fence and ask to join in

p.s. if you are answering (C) then you may want to do so anonymously


Just spoke with the neighbor kid. I let him know that I wasn't going to call the cops, but would appreciate it if they took their fun elsewhere so my kids could play in their rocks. He was very respectful and apologetic. I don't expect any funny business with him. I think he got that I was serious, but a pretty nice lady. It would have done no good to talk to the boy's father since he was home when the incident occurred yesterday.

If they were being rowdy and destructive I would have called on em.

I feel better now. I was just going to ignore it until it happened again, but then you all helped me to realize that things could get worse. Which, I do not want happening. Now it's done.


When I Lose Her










A Good Start


Hooray for another Monday under my belt. Whew. It was a long one.

We had a few minor set backs. Some hits to the head. Fighting over toys. Blondie whining. Mae tantrum-ing.

I only found Mae sitting in the bathroom sink twice, covering my bathroom cupboards in lotion once, and sneaking out the front door and down the street in her diaper once.

It helped to put on my new scarf and hat that we found this weekend to at least pretend it was chilly out.

We had our favorite dinner. Homemade Whole Wheat Barbeque Chicken Pizza. And because I'm such a good mom I snuck some grated carrot in with the sauce.


And we had family night. We talked about gratitude. Blondie named everything she could see around the house, "Chairs. Tables. Bunny. Skateboards." Mae grunted, picked at her belly button, and scurried around.

I made a banner from just paper, ribbon, and my Viking to proudly display all of our many thanks and blessings.


E put the girls to bed and I went to Yoga.

The End.



I think it's something that we have all thought about in the blog world and some of us - actually have done it.

Gone Private.

I've been wrestling with it all weekend.

Although, I can't bring myself to do it - yet. I have been doing a little housecleaning around The Dirt. I have edited every post. Changing out my children's names and ours as well. Deleting photos. Deleting some posts all together. In an attempt to make things more secure. Make me more secure. (wow - i really write in fragments. is that how i talk too?)

I hate checking my Analytics or Sitemeter and seeing questionable activity. Not knowing people's intentions. Man, that really bugs, but I love reconnecting with old friends and making new ones via the blog world. I love that there are actually people out there who think that my blog is worthy of their daily reads. Really guys, thanks!

Anyway, before I get all mushy my point is that, if you don't have a Sitemeter or Analytics account I totally advise it.

The End.

Moving on.

Oh yes, it is birth-week for one of my favorite girls.


And we are going to be having a lot of fun around here...

That is, after I get these freaking stitches out of my mouth and can laugh and smile with everyone and not look totally creepy while doing so.




Yesterday I had minor surgery on my mouth.

A cyst had developed near the root of my tooth. I know - totally gross!

I thought I was just going in for a consult with the endodontist when they moved me, shot me up, and started cutting away at my gums. (sorry, that was harsh and graphic)

Isn't it funny how they always say, "You did great" afterwards?

#1. I sure as hell don't feel great
#2. I didn't do anything besides lie here
#3. I'm drooling and feel like my lip is hanging down to my chin
#3. You've just given me a list of perscriptions, an ice pack, and are asking me to come back next week to remove stitches

Yeah, I did GREAT!

But I kept all that to myself, tried to smile (more drool), and thanked the nice looking man that had just cut my mouth open.



This is pretty sad.

The past few night I've been dreaming in buttons.

Guitar Hero Buttons

I may need help.


Can we still be friends?
What's that? Oh, you want to play too? Perfect!

My excuse for the obsession: Battling and beating my nieces at Christmas
Watch out Tiff!
I should know better though. The last time I challenged my nieces to anything (a footrace, arm wrestling) Cedie totally killed me. I had better keep practicing.





Hmmm. What is this? Let's give it a try...


Not bad. Surprisingly sweet.


Actually mixes quite nicely with the snot crusted on my upper lip.


There it is.
Oh baby, that's the ticket! It's been dipped in a tub of butter!



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