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"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."— William Butler Yeats
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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

We Need Your Help

Hi everyone, my brother-in-law, Ratchet, is starting up an online buying/selling website where normal, everyday regular people (and creative geniuses) can hawk their homemade wares (similar to etsy.com). The only problem is that he's having a hard time coming up with a name for the website. Here's what he wrote to me.

Hey Liz,
Maybe you can tap into your huge reader base on your blog and ask for suggestions on a website name for the art site. I've been trying to come up with something that would be broad enough to allow different kinds of art but specific enough to be associated with fine decor like photography, painting and even sculpture. I was thinking of some things like "the eye candy store .com," "eye delights .com," "inner walls .com," "canvas21 .com," "the art shoppe .com," and stuff like that. Most of the best ideas will already be taken but it would be great to get some other great minds on the task. Thanks for any help you can offer.

Alright people, you have your task. I know you'll pull through for Ratchet. :) Now start cranking out your genius ideas and your genius art to sell on his website. Evelyn, Lindsey, Megan, Mike, and Miriam, get your photography on there for sale. People will go wild over it! Lauren, your floral arrangements are gorgeous. Can you do those with artificial flowers, too? Jennica, that's your portrait painting, baby. I haven't seen one yet, but I'm sure they're beautiful! Maybe you could post some pictures of your paintings on your website, just for me? :) Anna, what better place to sell your vinyl lettering beauties? Lisa, you are the craft queen. I'm already buying from you, think what you could do with the world at your fingertips right on the Internet! Brooke, some day can be now! Get your stuff out there through Ratchet's website. You are incredibly talented with a sewing machine. And though my list is over now, I'm sure there are many others out there with amazing talent. So, hop on board! Anyway, I started this post to get help with the naming of the brainchild. I can't wait to hear what you guys come up with!

*Note: I'm not so sure I have such a "huge reader base." Most of the numbers on my counter come from me checking my own blog too many times a day. :) I'm a sucker for comments. :)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Enough is Enough

Rainy days, stocked fridge, intelligent three-and-a-half-year-old. The circumstances don't get much better than this. Today was officially dubbed the beginning of potty-training week. I felt strong, armed with an arsenal of training ideas from friends and family. Buddha seemed chipper. Bugga was...well, Bugga, but that's beside the point.

It starts.

I make a computer "potty chart." Too bad we don't have a printer. Oh well, I find clip art stars. Buddha seems excited, but only wants one star if he pees on the toilet, not one star for each time. So be it. Whatever motivates you. Here we go!

He starts out half birthday suit, half t-shirt. Strike one. I'm getting wet knees as I try to determine the actual circumference of his urinary "accident" on our carpet.

Taking a deep breath.

He's still semi-desnudo. I'm talking to my brother in Iraq when I hear a little voice, "Mommy, I pooped." Strike two. My heart jumps and my blood simmers. Poop?! Bye bye, Unkey Dino. Relief. It's just another pee trail.

Still breathing...barely.

He's wearing underwear now. He's in quiet time. I emphatically impressed it upon him to call out to me when he needed to pee pee so he could go on the toilet. I hear the door open. No sound. I walk toward the door, hoping for the best, but dreading the worst. He clings to the door handle and looks up at me innocently with pee dripping down his legs. "Mommy, I peed." You sure did. Strike three. I remove the soaked underwear. I find a hidden jewel. Lucky me.

Buddha is on the toilet. I'm cleaning up the flood. Two books later and the water is still crystal clear. Time to get off the toilet. "Buddha," I ask him, "do you want to be a big boy and wear underwear? Big boys pee in the toilet." Silence. He inquires, "Do little boys wear diapers?" Yes. "Do you want to be a big boy or a little boy?"

Three carpet pools later, with nine wet rags, a soaked pair of underwear, and my skyrocketing blood pressure as "excuses," Buddha emerges from his bedroom wearing trusty old Pampers...still my little boy. I surrender. Enough is enough. Have you ever tried this?

Two Peas in a Pod

Last night we let Buddha sleep in Bugga's crib with him. I expected to be up all night tending to sleep-wrestling wounds. I did not hear a peep out of them. Not one peep. They didn't wake up once. I did, however. I woke up often to check on them and make sure one wasn't smothering the other. Turns out, kids are smart sleepers. Bugga must have loved having Buddha in the crib with him, because normally he wakes up crying at least a couple of times each night. Solid sleep is a beautiful thing. So is brotherly love. Hmmm...have I opened a can of worms? Is there anything in "the books" against kids sharing a bed? Does the all-knowing and ever-invasive "They" have anything to lend on the topic? Because you know, what "They" say, goes.

P.S. Sorry about the fuzzy picture. Apparently, you can't take good pictures in the dark of night. Ha ha. Who knew?! :) j/k!

Beloved Prophet

As most everyone knows by now, President Hinckley passed away yesterday evening. What a wonderful, amazing, inspired man. I think my deep love for him comes from my gaining a personal testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ during his service as prophet. He is "my" prophet. I love him. I will miss his witty humor at General Conference. I'm grateful for the many Temples that were built while he was prophet. I morn for the world's loss of one so pure and good and kind. I rejoice that he is now reunited with his beloved Marjorie. I pray for his family. I eagerly await the calling of the new prophet of the Lord. I am ever grateful that the Lord has given us prophets to guide us back to His presence.

I said to Buddha today, "President Hinckley passed away last night. Do you know what 'passed away' means?" He said, "Yes, he died." He thought for a moment and then said, "Why did Heavenly Father pass away President Hinckley?" I told him that Heavenly Father didn't make President Hinckley die, but that President Hinckley had finished his mission here on earth, so he got to go be with his family in heaven.

If you are reading this and you are not LDS (Mormon), I urge you to go to the Church's website and learn all you can about the "Mormon" Church. Being a member of this church and a disciple of Christ is what brings me the greatest joy and peace in my life. I know my family is forever. I know my Savior lives. I know that I am a daughter of God and that He loves me just as much as He loves our departed prophet, President Hinckley.

Friday, January 25, 2008


Well, they've left. It's almost like they were never even here, it happened so fast. I'm sad. I miss them already. My parents are awesome. They were a breath of tropical air in our cooler-than-average hometown. I wish they could have stayed longer, but I also understand the need to become centered and grounded again. Their home calls to them. I'm jealous of my various aunts and uncles and my sister, all of whom get to see my parents in the next week or so before they fly out of Portland to home.

My dad is much more chatty than I remember him being. It's hilarious and I love it! He is interested in everything and everyone. He's extremely helpful and he's great with the kids. They loved their Grandpa Sombrero. When my parents left, the boys didn't want to let go of Grandpa Sombrero.

In fact, Bugga didn't want to come back to my arms. He just clung to Grandpa and hunkered down, head on his shoulder, arms wrapped around his neck. I think I must be a boring mom. I'm so busy cleaning house and running errands, that I rarely get down and play with my children. That must be why Buddha bawls every time someone leaves our home. They are more exciting than me. They bring variety into his life. I need to be better at embracing my inner child (and my outer ones, for that matter). :)

My mom is beautiful. She has aged, but I probably have, too, after two years. That's just what happens in this life with time. I hope I age as well as she does, though. She has the most beautiful skin and her grey hair is more silver than grey. The difference between us now is that she is so wise and I am far from it. I'm glad that she is willing to share her knowledge with me and I especially love it when we discuss the scriptures together and the purpose of life. Talking with her always makes me want to be better. She is also a workhorse! She cleaned the kitchen every day and tidied up after the boys (yes, I'm a sloth). My parents even let me sleep in each morning while they got up with the boys and fed them and played with them. I love sleeping in...especially since I have a nasty habit of going to bed way too late. The boys loved their Granny, too. Bugga actually tried to give her kisses without any prompting when we were at the zoo the other day. It was so cute. Granny was holding him and they were bobbing around together when he suddenly got this serious look on his face, puckered up, and leaned in to plant a smooch on Granny. I even caught it on camera!

My mom spent a lot of time trying to keep Bugga from eating paper (something I gave up on long ago...in fact, right now he's munching on the front page of a coloring book).

It was fun to watch her getting to know her grandbabies. I think it's something she and I have both been wanting since Bugga was born. It's hard for me to believe that five days ago she met him for the first time. Oh, I'm so happy to have them back! When they left, Buddha was blowing kisses to Granny as they drove away. The only way I could keep him from breaking down was to promise him that we would go visit them in Utah (and that we'd stop in to see his buddy, Jonathan, too...I think that helped). :)

I wish I could gather my family around me - live with my loved ones close to me. Unkey Dino comes home in March some time. Maybe I could find him a linguist position here. Josey is still unattached, as far as I know. And my parents could sell their home and move here when my dad retires. And Auntie and Ratchet, well, they could work from anywhere really...so why aren't you guys here!?! Just kidding. I know why already. It costs too much. Do you know how sick I am of hearing people tell me it costs too much to live in California?! We manage somehow. We aren't wealthy by any means (not by a long shot!), but we also don't live in a humongous home with tons of square footage and lots of land. We have what we need, and we love it. I'll take fewer worldly possessions in order to live in this paradise any time. Oh well, if everyone felt that way, California would fall into the ocean under the weight of all its citizens. I'd better just save what money I can for visiting my family. Maybe that will be what my photography is for...money for trips. That is, of course, if I ever make any money doing photography. :)

Well, I'd better go stop the paper-snacking fest before my boys (yes, Buddha is eating it now, too) become the first ever case of paper poisoning in the world.

Go hug your parents and grandparents. They are special, so special. It's terrifying to think how lopsided, irrational, volatile, and just plain messed up our world would be without the balancing influence of our aged and wizened counterparts. I love you, Mom and Dad.

*And of course, as my luck would have it, the sun has finally returned to San Diego...late.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

So Much Fun

We are having a blast with Granny and Grandpa Sombrero! Buddha and Bugga love their grandparents and I still can't believe that two years is finally over. It's so great to have my parents back. We've been busy packing as much of San Diego into our four days together as possible. On Sunday, after a whirlwind of church meetings, we went on a walk at a nearby park and took in a sunset. I, of course, toted my camera around, stalking my two newest subjects, their grandsons, and my husband. It's so funny to listen to my mom shivering and chattering her way around San Diego. They've been in the tropics for two years, so I can't blame them for thinking San Diego is cold, but I'll be interested to hear how they fare once they get to Utah. I think they'll probably hibernate in their heated home until spring.

It's also fun to listen to my parents exclaim over little things that we take for granted. They hadn't felt forced air for the last two years, so they stood in front of our heater vents and giggled over the "breeze." Every time we take to the open road, they ooh and ahh over the smoothness and safety of the roads. I met my parents at the airport, camera in hand, and my mom couldn't believe I was standing there, all alone, holding that expensive camera out in the open for anyone to see. She said in Guatemala, I would have been targeted for theft as soon as I whipped out my obsession. My mom marveled today that she's been able to wear her ring for three days straight. I guess in Guatemala, she didn't dare wear it when she went out for fear of losing it to thieves. I don't want to reveal all of her observations as many who read this blog also receive her emails. She has lots to share, I'm sure.

As I said before, we've been packing as much as possible into our few short days we have with Granny and Grandpa Sombrero. Yesterday, due to rain, we searched for an indoor diversion. With that in mind, we headed over to Balboa Park and bought our way into a fascinating experience at the Fleet Science Center. We had such a great time experimenting with all sorts of gadgets and gizmos that messed with our senses. The Chief was able to take work off for the day so that he could enjoy my parents' company as well. The little guys had a blast wandering all over the science center and they especially enjoyed winding up the day at Kid City.

Today, we were surprised (but not really) when the weather forecast for more rain turned out to be wrong. We woke up to a sunny day with beautiful, puffy clouds scattered about. We seized the opportunity and headed to the San Diego Zoo to spend the day with the animals. Boy did we get a work out. I hauled the camera around, jogging to get in front of and behind my favorite subjects - crouching and stretching to get the perfect angles - and thoroughly enjoying the aerobics. And my parents got the ultimate workout keeping an eye on the boys while I was keeping an eye and a lens on the boys. Buddha walked almost the entire four hours we were inside the zoo. Bugga walked lots, but he was hard to manage as he tended to walk in whatever direction suited him best...which usually ended up being the opposite direction the rest of us were walking in. We had some great animal encounters, especially with the Gorillas and the Polar Bears. We took the SkyFari up and over the zoo, thoroughly enjoying the view from above and a view of the gorgeous downtown San Diego skyline. And, we managed to squeeze in a bus tour at the very end of our zoo experience. Buddha enjoyed that and yakked up a storm as we drove, but I ended up having to nurse Bugga so that he would stop trying to climb over the side of the railing (we were at the top deck of the double-decker bus). He has quite the stubborn streak.

So, we came back this evening and my wonderful, amazing mother made us a delicious dinner of twice-baked potatoes which we all thoroughly appreciated. Tomorrow is the last day we have with Granny and Grandpa Sombrero. On Thursday morning they start their long trek up the length of California with various stops throughout and a final destination of Amity, Oregon where my sister and her family await. I'll be sad to see them go. I just want to keep them here forever, but I don't think they'll stay long in Utah either. The Chief's prediction is that they'll be called as Temple presidents next. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Spain. Then I'll be sure to visit them...often...for long periods.

Hmmm...what should we do tomorrow? If my mom weren't so dang cold all the time, I'd suggest a beach trip so I could get some photography experience there. Maybe they'll agree to Mission Bay. :)

I have tons of cute pictures to share from all our activities. You can check out some of the first pictures with Granny and Grandpa Sombrero at Lizzie Jane Photography. I will try to post more on a regular basis. Off to bed. Ta ta.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Welcome Home! Almost.

"How beautiful are the feet...."

More pictures of Granny & Grandpa Sombrero with our boys will be coming soon on the photo blog.

Friday, January 18, 2008

In Training

He kept telling me, "FedEx should bring me a huge, huge camera too. I'm a big boy to be strong to carry a huge, huge camera." I told him he probably wasn't ready for a camera like Mommy's, but that I'd let him have a digital camera of his own. Note the duct tape. That little camera is where this whole journey to the world of professional photography began. The battery compartment latch broke. I was heartbroken. And now we've come full circle and I'm reunited with a precious Nikon again...only this one is "huge, huge." Happy Mother's Day, Happy Birthday, and Merry Christmas for the next five years, Liz!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Making it Real

So, I'm going for it. We ordered an amazing new camera and I'm going to start begging friends and family to let me photograph them in a variety of situations so I can get experience. I'm following my dream to become a professional photographer. Whether this means I make money in the future, well that will remain to be seen, but for now, I just want to be able to create amazing pictures and learn everything I can about my camera. If you're in my neck of the woods and want to be a guinea pig, just give me a call. I'll give you copies of all the pictures I take and hopefully, in return, you'll let me use them to build my portfolio. I changed my photo blog name to Lizzie Jane Photography, so please put me on your favorites list and check back often to see my progress with my camera. :) Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Book Club

Oh, I almost forgot, another blogging buddy of mine started The Book Club Blog and anyone and everyone is welcome to join (there is also a link to this blog on our side bar). It was just started last week, so you've still got time to get your book and get reading. In fact, I have yet to get mine, but it's on my list of things to do this week. :) Come join the fun!

Vinyl Lettering

My cousin, Anna, now has a blog for her awesome vinyl lettering business. If you want to check it out, it is called My Vinyl Creations (I will keep a link in our side bar). She is very talented and these little plaques/boards are so great to have in your home. Reasonably priced, too! My favorite can be found in the bathroom quotes category. It says: "We aim to please. You aim too, please." :) However, she has tons and tons of other quotes and proverbs in a whole bunch of different categories like family, kids, love, home, laundry room, sports, and I could go on and on. She even has quotes in different languages that you can select from! Anyway, if it sounds like I'm raving, it's because I am. I think it's awesome that she has found something she can do from home so she can still be with her kids. Way to go, Anna!

Monday, January 7, 2008


Buddha graduated from Nursery and got to come to Primary yesterday as a Sunbeam. He had come a couple of times at the end of December with the other "graduating" nursery class members. We try to help them transition smoothly since it's got to be hard to go from playing with toys during church to paying attention to lessons during church. However, he was still leery of Primary since one of the times he had attended, the music leader had the children pop balloons with numbered papers in them to choose songs to sing. He asked if he could go back to nursery he was so traumatized. I think he was worried about the balloons. Anyway, it's crazy to me that I have a child in Primary. That's just weird. Time escapes me. I used to think people who said there wasn't enough time in the day were insane. I guess that makes me insane. Insane and desperate to keep my babies from growing up too fast.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

I am Target

A few people now have commented on how early it is to be putting up a Valentine's Day background on our blog. Well, I'm like Target. I went there on Christmas Eve and their dollar section had all been switched to Valentine's items. I can't help it. I like change. Don't be surprised if I switch the blog background to something else entirely before we even reach February 14th.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Evening Prayers & Temporary Insanity

Last night when I crawled into bed, I randomly blurted out, "Couples that pray together, stay together!" (I've been reading too many bumper stickers). The Chief laughed and we decided that it was my turn. I pondered for a minute and then told The Chief about my discomfort with praying lying down. I've always been taught that we should fold our arms, bow our heads, and kneel to pray. But I was still in a goofy mood when I asked, "Would Heavenly Father rather I prayed lying down or not pray at all?" The Chief started laughing again and I realized that it probably doesn't help my cause to be giving God ultimatums. So, I gave in to my weary body and set about praying lying down. "Heavenly Father...." And that's about as far as I got before I busted up laughing hysterically. You see, apparently I always start my prayers by saying, "We kneel before thee," or "We bow our heads before thee...," something I hadn't realized until that moment. When I got control of myself, I was able to explain my dilemma to The Chief: "I don't want to say, 'We lie before thee to give thee thanks....'" Then it was The Chief's turn to chuckle. "Liz," he said, "you don't have to tell Him what we're doing. I think He knows." So of course, I started laughing again. It was late. I was tired. Laughing + tired = temporary insanity. I like temporary insanity. It's like letting go for a moment. At any rate, I finally got a hold of myself and said our prayer (lying down) and drifted off to sleep feeling good that I had communicated with my Father in Heaven, but knowing that I could probably be more humble and respectful next time.

San Diego International Auto Show

On Saturday we took the boys to the San Diego International Auto Show at the convention center. We had such a good time. The boys were like miners discovering gold. They practically ran from car to car, thrilled that they were actually allowed to climb in them and "drive" them. Buddha manned the wheel while Bugga pushed every button he could find. Sometimes we would have to cut short their glee when someone else was waiting to "test" the innards of the beast (this was a more prevalent circumstance when playing in the Mercedes, BMWs, and Porsches). All in all, it was a day worth remembering and recommending. I think we'll definitely repeat the experience any time an auto show comes to town.
The Chief would like to drive one of these - a Dodge Challenger.

Buddha and Bugga cruising in the convertible.

Bugga trying to figure out the blinkers and lights.

Green looks good on you, Big Guy!

The wheel on this beast is bigger than Bugga!

This is my new soccer mom vehicle. What do you guys think?

What a stud.

Bugga is sweeping the car for illegal substances.

"Open up, I say. Open up!"

Interesting use of the chairs, guys.

Hey, he may have to stand up to drive, but at least he's checking his blind spot!

"Excuse me, officer, is there a problem?"

Enchanted Bugga

"Oh yeah, baby, check out my sweet ride. Wanna cruise?"
Buddha is the man in this Corvette.

Fighting over the wheel. And I thought I was a terrible backseat driver!

Buick had the right idea. Bring in a spitting fountain.

What a handsome chap.

Bugga - a new breed of man's best friend.

The Chief grinning while showing me the two OS bars for the passenger.

A really cool presenter picked up Bugga and let him "ride" the display with him. (The car was spinning on a rotating platform.)

He's just so little compared to all these big cars!

This Volvo was completely covered in legos. Very cool.

Okay, this is my real dream car. A Honda Odyssey with all the bells and whistles.

Buddha and Daddy or in other words, the Fast and the Furious.

Buddha has to be Superman in order to reach the handles from the seat.

We should take this on the road. We look like bikers, don't we? I just need black hair, black fingernails, black clothes, tight jeans, and a BACA jacket. Buddha just needs...well, Buddha would need a lot to pull that off. This picture puts me in mind of a joke I once heard. A biker driving along the freeway had a jacket that said: "If you can read this, my girlfriend fell off." Ha ha ha!

"You again, officer? Seriously, what's the problem?"

Buddha loves the Mini Cooper. He has two toy Mini Cooper cars. He was stoked when he saw a life-sized version at the car show and even more excited that he got to get in it. Can you see the possessiveness?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


...and goodnight!