Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Guest Post: Belle-sœur Piper (French for sister-in-law)

Hi! I'm Geneva's Sister-in-law. You can call me Piper. She asked me to
guest post while she was gone. She said I could write about anything,
so I'm totally going to unload my most recent drama on you, and then
bring it around to a heartwarming moral conclusion. It's gonna be
great! Check it out:

I have two kids, Nils
and Walter
. Walter, the youngest started preschool this year. The
first week was great. He was excited about everything, and had a
blast, and was perfectly behaved. Around Wedesday of the second week
Walter pitched a fit when I tried to drop him off. He wailed, and he
clung to me, and he screwed up his face to look miserable. All in all
it was a rather convincing spectacle. But having lived with Walter for
the past 4 years I could spot the flashes of a grin between the wails,
and I could smell the lie a mile away.
The little punk was putting on an act. He wanted to see what he could
get me to do. If he could get me to fawn over him. If he could get me
really agitated. Maybe he could even get me to take him home and let
him play computer games all afternoon. I wasn't having any of that, so
I peeled him off of me and walked away. Meanwhile he stood in the
doorway and wailed at me while the other parents looked on.
When I went to pick him up his teacher confirmed what I suspected. The
minute I was out of sight he was fine, and had a great time. I felt
totally vindicated. The trouble is, he's made a habit of putting on
this display every day. And yeah, I don't care what other people think
of me, and sticks and stones, and blah blah blah. But the dirty looks
and comments from the other parents are actually starting to eat at
While drowning my sorrows in a packet of Oreos I asked myself, "What
do they know!?! How many kids do they have? I have more kids
than they do! I'm way more experienced!" And it is true, the dirtiest
looks have been coming from parents of only children. "But,"
interjected that little voice in my head, "having two kids hardly
makes you a parenting expert. Would a mother of ten kids giving
you dirty looks be any different, really?"
After sitting and stewing on the subject I reached my conclusion.
Having two kids has taught me something that I probably
wouldn't have known with just one, and here's what it is: "Everyone is
different (No
two people are not on fire.
My two kids are totally different. One is super-serious, detail
oriented, socially awkward, and very thoughtful. The other is very
cheerful, loves people, manipulative, and affectionate. When I hear
people say that boys and girls are SO DIFFERENT! I laugh, point at my
kids, and say "boys and boys are so different." I don't think
they could be more different if we'd tried.
Back to parenting: What works with one of my kids doesn't work with
the other. They have totally different goals, motivations, priorities,
and strategies for getting what they want out of life. Here's the
important part: I can't extrapolate my experience with my older kid
and expect that it will be the same with my younger kid. The same
thing applies to the other parents at the preschool. They can't assume
that what is true in their experience will necessarily be true about
other kids.
So, the moral is that you are the expert on parenting your kids. If
you've put the effort into knowing your kid, caring for them, and
loving them, then all the dirty looks in the world can't turn you into
a bad parent.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Guest Post: Cousin Boo

Today's guest post is from my amazing cousin who is pretty much my hero. Before she adopted her third kid, before she rode bikes with her kids the the farmer's market, before she adopted her kids, before she moved to AZ, she lived in Washington D.C. Oh and before that she served a mission in Russia. Not even kidding you here folks. I never really knew her well growing up but happened along her blog and we became legit friends. I love the internet and blogging and all it has done for me. Now I'm excited you get to partake in her awesomeness too.

Ten years ago (has it been ten years???) I received a letter in the mail from the FBI notifying me that my background investigation had been completed and that I would be hired for the job I had applied for nearly a year previously. I had wanted to work for the FBI for years, since high school, since the X-Files. Yes, I know the X-Files isn't real, but it introduced me to a job I probably wouldn't have considered before, and it motivated me and drove me, and here I was, eight years later, getting an acceptance letter from Washington, DC, and starting the work I wanted to do.

I reported to work (entered on duty, in Bureau speak) a few weeks later. I filled out pages and pages (on top of all the original pages) of paperwork and took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. I went through months of training in the DC suburbs.

I loved my job. Like any job, it had its drawbacks. I never liked seeing the dark side of 4am on my way to a 5am surveillance. There were "legacy" bosses in every division who were biding their time to retirement and making it hard on the rest of us, the young ones who were still excited about the work and hoping to make a difference; there were the lazy ones who were disillusioned and tired and didn't want to do it anymore.

But there were also the good days, when the work yielded something, when we caught the bad guy. There were hard-working, dedicated people who wanted to do the work and who were good at it. And there was the covert off-site office and the badge and the answer "I work for the FBI" when people asked, "what do you do?" I loved my job.

In the course of receiving that letter and moving to DC, going through the training and starting my real job, I met and married my husband. About three years after we were married we started to wonder why we weren't having babies. A couple of doctor visits revealed to us that we probably wouldn't be having our own kids without some "help." When my doctor referred me to the fertility clinic, we sat down and had a serious discussion about where our family was going and how we wanted to get there. We both felt that fertility treatments were not right for us at that point, and we decided together that we would pursue adoption.We talked about what life would be like when baby came, and we made a commitment to ourselves and to God that if He would send our child to us, we would make the sacrifice to have me quit my job and stay at home to raise that baby.

We did months and months of paperwork (again) and background checks (again). It felt like it was taking forever. (Again.) Meanwhile, life went on. My husband was doing well at work; I was doing well at work. I had gotten a couple of prime assignments that I absolutely loved. I was traveling and seeing the country, feeling like I was making a difference. We were excited by the idea of having a family, but we were also living the yuppie dream in DC with relatively prestigious jobs, good friends, and enough time and money to do things we enjoyed together.

A little more than four years into my Bureau career I applied for my dream job with my division. Literally, my dream job. I thought I might have a chance at getting it because of my experience and educational background, but I was ecstatic when I heard a few months later that I got the job. I was chosen for the exact job that I had wanted before I even knew it was a real job. If I could have made up a job in the world that I wanted to do, this was it, and now I would be doing it.

I started the paperwork (what, more paperwork? yes, more paperwork) and more training. This was it. I was big time. I had the paperwork in and was waiting for my new credentials to come in so I could start the job when...

We got a phone call. The (other) phone call we had been waiting for.

A baby was at the hospital and could we be her parents? She was ready to come home today.

I called in to work with a "family emergency" (didn't want to jinx it) and went home to start in on the paperwork (is this a theme?) we would need to have completed to have baby come that night. She came home to us from a town about three hours away through a raging thunderstorm, and by six o'clock that night we were parents.

The next day I called into work again and told my boss I needed to start maternity leave. I took my leave knowing in my heart the commitment that I had made to the Lord, and when that time ran out they called to ask for a return-to-work date. I told them I wouldn't be returning to work. It was a sad day when I turned in my badge, but I came back home that evening to a calling more precious.

Now it has been nearly five years and two more kids (both also adopted) since the day I turned in my badge. There are days that I miss the professional world and the work that I was doing. I miss the good friends that I made at the Bureau. I still sometimes wonder what I might have accomplished if I had stayed at work and continued in my chosen field. I think about maybe returning to work someday when my kids are bigger.

I love spending my days with my babies (most days). I love teaching them things and watching them learn. I love taking them out to experience new things. I love being able to welcome my oldest home from kindergarten and being home with her in the afternoons while the babies nap. I love one-on-one time with the middle baby, hearing him play and laugh and then pitter-patter over to me to show me something he figured out or tell me the word he just learned. And I love snuggling our newest baby after the other two have gone to bed, looking into her eyes and trying to see her future.

I know I am lucky to be able to do this. There are circumstances and situations that sometimes preclude people from being able to choose this job over one that sends home a paycheck. I have an amazing husband who works hard to make this possible for us, and I am so grateful to him for allowing and encouraging me to be at home with our children.

So we made the right choice, and I know we have been blessed for it. I know it's not for everyone, but it is right for us. This is my new dream job.
And someday, if it's right, that other job will still be there.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Guest Post: Little Sis.

Hello everyone! This is G's little sis E and I'm going to do a post about something I love very much. No, not my husband and no, not dessert, though I love both very much. Today I'm posting about my Amazon Kindle. I, like so many others, was skeptical about the Kindle. I mean book are wonderful and reading on electronic device just can't be the same. You don't get the smell or the textures etc. I had a lot of reasons why I didn't think I'd like it. Da husband, being the tech wizard that he is, loves gadgets. So he bought one. His reasoning: I'll read more since it will be more convenient, my technology booka are cheaper, I won't strain my eyes because the screen isn't back lit and about 5 other reasons too. "Ok cool, go for it" I tell him since I like to have a happy husband and we can afford it. He buys it. Some months after he had purchased it I had finished the first book in a series that my friend had loaned me and was anxious to get the second one. The problem being that it was late so the library was closed so I would have to wait all weekend to get my book. I was sad. Da husband doesn't like sad wife (for good reason, she isn't fun to be around) suggested I read the second book on his kindle since I could get it right now. Now I am so happy so da husband is so happy. He had been bugging me to try it since he bought it anyways.  I finished the book in about 24 hours and wanted the 3rd. Easy-peasy if you have the Kindle. Just download it right now. Well after that I may have, *cough*, commandeered the Kindle for myself. Surprisingly, da husband didn't mind because he wanted the Big Kindle. So let me tell you all the reasons the Kindle rocks:

  • Fits in my purse super easily. (not all paperbacks and most hardback book would not)
  • I have 50+ book on my Kindle so I can read whatever I'm in the mood for without carrying around lots of different books
  • The screen is awesome, no glare and reads just like paper
  • I can change the type size (some Robert Jordan books the font was so small I had to hold it closer to my face)
  • Long books are bulky and heavy but not on the Kindle, it only weighs about 8.5 oz 
  • There are a TON of FREE Kindle books. Where else can you buy books for free? I know what you're thinking and yes some of the free books are lame but one of my all-time-favorite-books-ever was free
  • You can put books into categories on you Kindle
  • I can read in the bathtub without worry, because my Kindle fits in a quart sized ziplock bag. Wet fingers are no problem  now
  • My super cute Kindle cover 
  • People can't see the cover art of the books I read (I used to be really embarrassed in high school because I like Fantasy novels and they usually had some crazy dragon or something on the cover and I would get teased about it. Now I just own the fact that I like Fantasy. Did you like the Lord of Rings trilogy? Yeah that's Fantasy, it probably had some elves and dwarfs on the cover. Wha'd up now haters?
Other things about the Kindle that may be awesome to other people but aren't a big deal to me

  • You can highlight passages
  • You can make notes (I don't write in books though I know some people do)
  • You can shop for books from the Kindle (I usually just shop on the laptop and send it to my Kindle)
So yeah I love the Kindle. It's great. Get one. I think on my own blog I'm going to do a review of my favorite books so if you want to check it out just go to elena.boushley.com

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hello Seattle

Hi friends! I'm in Seattle visiting my Lil' Sissy and have quite the treat in store for you all. I've asked various members of my family and extended family to write some guest posts while I'm gone. That way I can focus on blueberry picking, hiking, eating fresh peaches, and various activities that may lead to me picking up my life and moving here.

So give my guest posters lots of comment love and I'll catch ya on the flip side!

The Office onesie

We have some friends that are big fans of the Office and are expecting a little fellow in September. Do you know the quote?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


 I finally got up the guts to try out the acrylic paint set I bought on a whim at Hobby Lobby a few years ago. A year later I finished it for Big Sis's bday. It doesn't look much like her daughter, but I'm happy with it for my first shot. And even more happy I finally finished it and don't have to look at it anymore.

I always draw with a grid so that part isn't too bad, but this paint is tricky because you can add dimension with the shade of the color AND the texture of the paint.

I think I'm ready to go back to a medium you can erase.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Computer Nerd

Start them young, right?

Ruffle floral dress

I found this floral sheet at a thrift store for $2.50 and fell in love. I wanted to make something super cute out of it and designed this adorable little dress. I had every intention of doing a tutorial for it and maybe even making a pattern for you all to download. I took about 5 tutorial pictures before I started messing up. And then messed up again. And again. Then I had to drastically change the design. So no tutorial this round.

But after all the seam ripping and re-sewing I loved the finished product. And how my daughter has mastered the idea of peek-a-boo. Or Peeky-boo as her cousin refers to it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Houndstooth dress

 Thanks for indulging my nostalgia folks. Several people I know have been robbed recently and it was you thinking about your material possessions a bit. Now that I have pictures of everything, I think I could handle losing them a bit easier. If that makes any sense. I am now SO close to having my craft room clean. This isn't just a pick things up sort of clean, but finish the half started or planned projects clean. So this week is going to be heavy on the projects I've finished up. Then I leave to visit little sissy up in Seattle and I have some fun surprises for you all. But more on that later. Just try and resist the cuteness of J in her flower eating awesomeness.

I found this fabric for super cheap and I knew the future daughter of my friend Lindsay (Hi Lindsay!) would definitely be the kind of girl to appreciate it so I made up a little dress for her. I still had extra fabric so I made one for J too. I am definitely in denial about her growing and because I tried it on my princess and it was definitely too small. So I added a little panel in the back.

My new obsession is fabric buttons. $2 kit at Walmart and they take 3 minutes to make.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Box of High School Round 4 The stuff

I found some definite treasures in the box. The coolest may be the Casio pocket diary I got for my 10th bday. It still has all the phone numbers that were important to me in 5th and 6th grade.

I also found some jewelry boxes still full of jewelry. Some is even fashionable again.

This one is from Japan

And this one I've had since I was 5.

And the one from Geneva, Switzerland when I was 12.

Then we have my collection of glass things. The cabbage patch was the first piece of glass I was allowed to have when my mother deemed my 8 year old self responsible enough. The dancers are a music box my mother had as a teenager. The horse I saw a glass blower make in Germany and my adopted German grandpa bought it for me. The sarsaparilla bottle was when my parents took just me to Bill Johnson's Big Apple for my 8th bday.  The birthstone angel was the top to a tiered cake my mom made for my 12th bday.

This was made by my grandma and hung in my room growing up. Now I've moved it from the box to  J's room.

There was all of the Japan memorabilia stashed away too and this is just a couple pieces. My fav is the apple juice can. It's what's considered a normal drink serving size.

 This fan is from my friend Masa as we left Japan. He gave me a cd of his band Broken Bones which was some pretty good Japanese punk rock. I'm pretty sure they attempted to swear in English several times but the accent was so strong you can't even tell.

Here's the cassette tape collection I can't bear to part with because my dad gave me each one when the movie came out. It was sort of our thing and made me feel super special. Very important to 4th child.

And random stuff I can't get rid of because I've had it so long. The purple rock is from a keychain I got at the Biltmore when my dad was announced as Teacher of the Year. The two other rocks I were from some museum I managed to convince my mom to get me even though she had major issues on buying rocks. She said I'd get bored with them because they were just little rocks. I kept such good care of them to prove her wrong.  The yellow koala was a annual prize in an easter egg that one year my mom let me keep instead of putting it back into the box of easter things (genius on my mother's part: she'd save the little toys in easter eggs and reuse them the next year so they were still exciting and she didn't have to waste any more money on plastic junk.) The moon sticker was a gift from my bff in 8th grade (Hi Petra!) and I loved it so much I couldn't commit to using it on anything.

I'll spare you all the trophies and plaques because I don't really care about them and have decided to keep them around solely to re-purpose into something else down the line.

You know what all of this junk is really telling me?

I'm totally going to screw up this kid. There is no way in the world I'll know how important stupid little things are to J. I've kept rocks for 20 years. Who does that? I know she's going to be just as bad.

That, and I better start holding onto more things if I end up having more than one girl. I love things simply because they were my mother's when she was younger. Hopefully J and her possible future siblings like Japanese stuff, because I have a whole lot of that :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Box of High School, Round 3 the friends edition

I posted how Jayme and Adam have been my friends since kindergarten in this post. It makes sense that they were in so many of my picture frames then right?

I mean, who wouldn't want to look at this everyday?

Still laughing at Jesus on the right. Classic

oh chemistry with Mr. Matix


 I really was never in love with Adam, I promise. I mean I should have been because he was freakin' awesome. As in, graduated from the Navy Academy awesome. We'd work out together, take naps at each others' houses (separate couches of course), watch an entire VH1 100 count down together, but I don't think we ever hung out on a Saturday night. Weird eh?

In the box of high school I also found my Bye Bye Birdy script. which is how this lovely picture of Jayme and Jami ended up in a frame.

 Our mom's had a kick doing our hair like they did theirs in high school. Now that vintage is full swing, I'd love to get my hands on those costumes.

 The oldest framed picture was this classic from 9th grade.

 *Fun fact* I had dinner with Taylor (the orange shirt boy) and his wife last Friday. 

 So this is the last of the pictures, but tomorrow will have a look at all the stupid random objects that survived years of purging.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Box of High School, round 2 The Dating Version

Really, I had a massive picture frame collection. Showcased were photographic evidence that I really did go on dates.

When me lil sissy turned 16 I wanted to go with her on a double date. So I asked my friend Josh to go with me and had an underclassmen ask my sister. We went blindfolded mini golfing and took pictures with a gnome. You know, because high school kids think it is cool to take pictures with dumb things. And I thought it would be perfect so my mom could get a pic of lil sissy's first date without mortifying her.

this is the classic windmill door. Epic shot because it rolled up right as the door closed and wedged it. And he was blindfolded.

Then there was our youth group date night with my friend Dallin. Why I kept such an awkward picture, I do not know.  I post it for your entertainment.

Then there was winter formal senior year with my good friend Adam. I asked him with a giant toy soldier made of trashcans. He returned it with a spiderman make over.

Lorin and I were trying to be the coolest girls ever so we went shooting for our before dance activity. It was the first time I shot an AK-47 or an AR-15. My amazing sunday school teacher Mitch ran an ice business and brought a trailer of ice blocks for us to destroy too. And he provided all the guns and ammo as a graduation gift. *Fun fact* Lorin married her date :)

Then there was the 80's dance with Richard. He was excessively short. I was excessively tall. We had a great time because there was no romantic inklings either way. He answered by making me a Teen Girl Squad episode. Amazing. As was our dance picture which I have titled Rich and the Bean Stalk.

He was doing the Michael Jackson pose from the lower left corner and I did Madonna in the upper right.
And then there were the group photos. The bottom is from the year before.

Are you feeling better about yourself yet? No? You need to see more awesomeness tomorrow? Ok, I'll oblige.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Happy Bday Big Sis!

I may not have loved you from the beginning,

but I couldn't be where I am without you. Happy Birthday!

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