Friday, September 9, 2011 we come!

This is a schedule of our plans in Chicago.  I'm posting here so that anyone who wants to hang out with us knows kind of what we plan to do.  Nothing is set in stone.  Any of you Chicago friends are welcome to join us at any time!  Just leave a comment or email us.

10:15a & 11a Cami and LuAnn's haircuts at Streets of London
1p tour of Merchandise Mart ($12 per person)
7:30p dinner at Sushi Wabi (reservations are required so let us know in advance if you want to join)
9p Sweet Mandy B's

Saturday (Katie Jensen here this day only)
Breakfast at Bongo Room
6:30p Old Friends Get together somewhere in Hyde Park...most likely involving PIZZA (evite here)

9a Church
Early dinner at Bandera's

Other hopes:
Thrift shopping in Bucktown
Dinner at Banderas
Shopping on the Magnificent Mile
Architectural Boat Tour
Cream puffs from Beard Papas
A run on the trail
Bike ride on the trail

Anything to add?  Leave a comment.
Want to join?  Leave a comment.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

prayers are answered!

We potty trained Jack last November. He was 2 1/2. According to my sworn by potty training method 22 months is the ideal age (still don't agree, but that is the only thing we disagree on!) so I figured at 2 1/2 and asking for undies he was ready. After a month when he would still not pee in public (not on a tree, not in a potty, nowhere that wasn't home). Additionally this kid pees at least 10 times a day. I quit and went back to diapers. However, he held on the pooping in the potty.

In the following months Jack asked a few times to go in public and he was insisting that I change his diaper standing up so I thought we'd go for it again. We did so in early April. Jack did great at first...for a couple weeks. Then he started having 3-4 accidents a day (still 5-6 successes each day).

Last Tuesday was a bad day. With regard to Simon's behavior lately and Jack's potty problems I felt like I was getting an F in parenting. I texted Jeff and said "if parenting is measured in outcomes and am failing."

That night I said a prayer with each of the boys at bedtime. I talked with each of them about what we were going through and told them we needed Heavenly Father's help.

JACK HAS NOT HAD ONE ACCIDENT SINCE! Day or night! (He gets up to pee a couple times each night.) It is truly a miracle!

As a side not I contacted the potty queen for her advice, which I didn't need since God stepped in first. You get this mentoring service when you download her method and get an account. This is what she said in case you are interested. She was spot on. If I had not strayed from her program I think I would have avoided some of our problems. All hail the potty queen!

My plea for help:
I potty trained Jack when he was 30 months with your method. He was mostly trained in 4 days, but continued to have at least one accident every day and would not use public potties or trees. We also discovered he has a very small bladder and pees at least once per hour. After a month I went back to diapers because I have another child and responsibilities that did not allow me to keep up with this. However, he continued to poop in the potty and has not pooped in his diaper for at least 3 months. About a month after he went back to diapers he asked to go in public and successfully did so...pee only.

So figuring we were over the public hurdle I trained him again at 33 months (7 weeks ago). He did very well initially. After a couple weeks he was having only 1 accident a day and was dry some nights. However, most nights that he stays dry is because he would get up and go in the middle of the night. I thought we were doing well.

However, he has regressed and a couple weeks ago he began having 2-4 accidents per day and has only been dry at night a couple times in the last couple weeks. He has accidents at any time...not only when playing, but also when I am standing talking to him or he is just quietly doing an activity at home...and sometimes only 20 minutes after he has just peed in the potty. Since this started happening I began employing rewards again and they have made no difference. He still pees at least once an hour. Out of words Help
Her response...actually it's the queens assistant or something:
Based on what you have told me, I feel that your boy isn't necessary regressing, but is more acting out and trying to see what you will and will not allow him to get away with. I'll explain why I say this....

1) He knows what to do and how to do it. Just isn't doing it.

2) He was doing well, no accidents, and then BOOM accident city.

Some kids will have a "simple" accident after being dry for a time. When the parent sees the accident they are SHOCKED - which is completely understandable. Shock brings out frustration, and the child picks up on it. Kids like frustration so they continue to have the accidents to get mommy's attention. Even negative attention is attention, and they make mommy dance with their behavior!!!

The key to overcoming this behavior is fairly simple -- Stop responding to the negative behavior, and FLOOD him with extra praise constantly through out the day. You'll praise praise praise. Praise for going pee on time, praise for keeping his room clean, for picking up toys, for playing nice with friends. Praise often so that it is obvious what behavior you like to see. Now when he has an accident, don't respond with words. No words at all. Take him by the hand and bring him to the bathroom. Clean up the mess and change his clothes but do not be rough with your actions. Do all this without a word. Once he is clean, send him on his way and resume praising for all good things again. The more attention you draw towards the good behavior, the more willing he will be to repeat it due to the reaction he is getting.

Since he is pretty accident prone at this time, continue to give him the control, but encourage him to initiate the potty trips before you rush in and take over. Watch for his body language which tells you when he needs to go potty, such as wiggling, dancing, holding himself, etc. When you see this behavior, right then is when you should repeatedly remind him to let you know. Then, wait and watch him like a hawk. Do not take him to the potty unless he tells you or he begins to have an accident - at which time you should rush him to the potty to finish the very moment the accident begins. If you carry out the training this way, then it is going to teach him that you expect a verbal warning, as well as give him the practice at reading his own body 'cues'.

For nights, plan to check on him periodically through out the night. If he is dry, let him sleep. If he is wet, take note of the time and plan to check on him earlier the next night, and so forth, until you come to a time when he is consistently dry which is also just prior to when he would usually have an accident. Our goal is to pin point when the accidents are happening. Once you have an idea of when they occur, then you should begin taking him to the potty just prior to those times, before the accident takes place. If you do this consistently to where he has multiple dry nights, then he is going to learn to wake himself and go potty before releasing in his bed. It could take a few nights to get your times accurate enough, but once you do, it will be smooth sailing from there.

Start with these few suggestions and let me know how I can help you further. He is a smart little guy so once he sees that you are not going to give in due to your example of consistency, the better he will do.

-Julie Jensen
Mentoring Support

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The boys are camping (father and sons campout) and I can't sleep when I'm in such a big bed alone (not complaining...I'm loving being lonely). So where else would I turn but

The next step in my living/dining room is textiles and I'm a little stuck. I haven't been able to figure out what colors to incorporate into curtains, pillows and rugs. I want it to be colorful and eclectic, but also cohesive. While this room is a bit much (the entire house is like this!) inspired me...particularly because it had yellow walls and green chairs which I also have.

I would certainly tone it down a bit...lose the hanging things and a more muted yellow. But otherwise I would feel invigorated if I were in this room. I definitely want more color in my home! What am I afraid of? So then I went to and I was kind of taken by these bold prints.

This for a vintage feel...

This for a more modern feel, which probably is more fitting with what is already there...

What do you think? Of course, give it a couple weeks and I'll have something totally different in mind!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I must share!

If you are looking for a light weight summer t-shirt that doesn't need an undershirt and covers all your underroos this is it! A nice scoop that isn't too low, but adds style. Loose fitting, thus cooler. This cut also has a little more style than your average tee. This is a hot summer necessity! I'm so tempted to get another. I was lucky enough to find mine on sale in a coral color they don't seem to have anymore.

Perhaps a little more price-wise than your average 2 shirt, but get 1 of these instead of 3 from Target. Too bad they don't have more colors!

Some of the reviewers said this was perfect for wearing to bed. Ha ha...perhaps I am wearing a PJ shirt, but I don't care. If it takes calling it PJs for Anthropologie to make a knit top under $60 then I'll take it!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

nothing new week ?

I haven't been blogging much lately (reading or posting). I have been trying to slow down my life and cut out anything non-essential or enriching. Sometimes blog reading can be enriching, but it often requires sifting through unenriching material to get there. I also haven't visited facebook it the last couple months except to send messages.

But I thought I owed everyone an update on my nothing new challenge. I have modified the challenge a bit...okay the bit I modified is a big bit...I have taken clothes out of it. Due to time and supply I only purchased about 4 used clothing items...2 of which I haven't worn once. And I don't have enough time to sew things and make/refurbish things for my home. However, I have become much more focused on the clothes shopping front and have decided I want to only go shopping 4 times a year and when I go I will buy one complete outfit including shoes and accessories. I did that in March and I was so pleased with how it enhanced my wardrobe. I am also in the process of altering some things in my closet that I love, but are too big. I have also made a few things. Some people say sewing doesn't save money, but when you are designing and making exactly what you want you get more bang for your buck. It also means that rather than going to the mall to look for something specific and seeing 3 items you don't need, but go to the fabric store and get exactly what you need.

I am, however, not buying any new clothing for my boys. I buy used shoes and a few other pieces and make the basics. I am making shorts. I am ordering plain t-shirts at $2 a piece and adding stencils and appliques to give them a mini-Boden look. I'll take pictures of them at some point. For the most part I like what I can make better than what I can buy for them. Little boys clothes just aren't that interesting. And they are easy and inexpensive to make.

As for the rest of the challenge it still gives me positive energy. I had the same feeling when I didn't own a car. I felt like I was helping the world in my own small way. I am reducing clutter and garbage. And I am using other people's clutter and garbage. There is truly some green blood inside of me. I probably got it from my parents. They were always conscientious of waste...if you have ever had a baked potato at my parents home and you don't know any better you will be the only one that doesn't fold your tin foil nicely to be used again.

Pictures of my living room will come soon. It has come a long way, but still has a long way to go. Interior design is so much fun...although I am far better at the execution than the ideas. I have been fortunate to find some designer friends come through the wood work.

I do need to mention one other thing about this of the reasons it is so fun is because of where I live. DC is full of people who have a lot of money and move often. Therefore craigslist is wonderful. People also buy all the nicest things for their children and since they only have 1 or 2 of them. I don't think you will find a better place for 2nd hand...especially in Utah or a small town.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

living/dining room with latest changes

*I've had this post in the works for a month. Things have changed since...the hanging lantern is gone, windows moved to striped wall and another shelf 1/3 the length of the existing white shelf will go where the windows were. But I'm posting anyway. Maybe in a year when it is done I'll post the final product, but no promises because I'm not doing this to blog about it. I'm doing it to enjoy for myself and for those who come here in the flesh!

Finally posting pictures of the latest changes. I love the new wall. The changes are combinations of ideas from a few people. When I posted the question about the white wall way back when a couple of you linked me with some people with expertise. I feel so lucky. I realized that I knew far less about interior design than I thought. I've realized I can identify a problem, but not solutions. But I am sold on the fact that interior designers are trained to know how things work and how to give me solutions. (It's kind of like what I do for people as a therapist! They should be called interior therapists.) Sunshine Geisler, an old friend of an old friend and thereby my friend who teaches at Monterey Peninsula College in Monterey, CA. And Joy of Joys of Home from Centerville, UT. Sunshine unfortunately doesn't have a blog or site since she just teaches. But she is having a baby soon so hopefully she'll begin some online consulting.

The layout has changed as well as the wall. I built that long white shelf in about 30 minutes with a 1x4 and a 1x6 and some screws. Easy as pie. Now I need textiles. That will come...later than sooner.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

rooms I like

With this nothing new challenge I've become more creative and more focused on figuring out how to decorate my home. I'm on Apartment Therapy a lot lately. I love! Here are a few of my favorites.

These nurseries are the only ones that are "matchy" or have a consistent style or color scheme of the ones I'm posting. I am obsessed with this afghan. All those colors are invigorating and delightful. I want to make something like this for my next baby.

I posted a link to this a while ago and I still love it.

The rest are more eclectic. I generally like a good variety of things in a room. These are styles that I would like to live in. I'm not the type that is going to have a grand plan and stick to it (I rarely stick a plan...I keep things fluid and I relish in spontaneity). I like to be able to see something I love and put it in the room just because I love it. I don't want to have to leave something out just because it doesn't go with a specific theme or style. I love this wall display. I like how there is so much white in this room, but it is still so colorful.

I like the variety of color and texture here.

I love the teal with the yellow and those curtains are awesome (but discontinued at Ikea)! I like how this vintage chair is paired with something funky.

Again, white, but not bland.

I'm considering chairs like these to replace my shabby chic ones. I like the mixture of styles. It makes things more interesting to me.

And these last 3 are all of one room. I love this room, although I'm not a fan of that huge piece of art on the wall. I love how it is huge (I really want a huge piece of art for my white wall, but I wouldn't choose that one. I do, however, like the funky mixed with traditional.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Another busy week. I finished a few projects and started 3 others. :) I love how this challenges inspires me to be creative around my house. However, I'm starting to get depressed about clothing. I found a consignment store that is right by my future office (I'm starting work in March!) and I might find things there on occasion. I came really close to buying some $200 jeans for $65...gray straight which I have been wanting for a my size. But when I went back on Monday the store was close and Tuesday started a spending fast. Spending fast...what...isn't that what I'm already doing. Oh, Cami, how do I let you drag me into this stuff. fact that is the sweet thing about Cami. She doesn't pressure you and really even try to persuade you, but she does make you want to be just like her. :) Really I need it...I still have that need to consume even if it is used things so this will be good for me.

The spending fast:
no purchases but food, gas, rent, etc...the bare necessities.

my exception because that is my specialty:
items under $10 needed to finish items to new projects...because if I actually do start working next month I'll have less time than I do now.

Here are my FOs for this week (that is an acronym for finished objects...UFO is unfinished..)

Pants for Simon with the help of Cami:

What my boys do while I make things:

Please, Jack, stay this age forever...can't get enough!

Hat for the We Love Jenny Auction of Valentine's Day...please support this auction! Information on how to donate and/or purchase is here:

Jeff's vday present to come...

And btw I am not blogging weekly anymore...I just used half an hour of precious time. Maybe biweekly, bimonthly or monthly (don't you love how biweekly is every 2 weeks, but bimonthly is twice a month...whatever)

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Still enjoying the challenge and I love how my place is coming together more quickly! But as you can see from the post below I'm too busy to say much more. :)

At least I finished the sweater and their hooded towels!

This is the most challenging thing I've completed (not the most challenging thing I've started). The challenge was that I did not have a pattern. I started it with a Chilean, she I then I was getting guidance from a master knitter (it is an official title), I then I was on my own. I'm so glad I buckled down and forced myself to get through it! Simon has told me several times that he really likes the "different color sweater" but it is pretty big on him. I did that on purpose because I didn't want it to be too small when I finally finished. I'm touched that he likes it considering there are no animals on it. I was going to look for animal buttons, but I turned to Cami's stash instead.

Simon insisted on holding that "fire gun." For the ears I cut 2 pieces shaped like ears and sewed them together. Then I made a seam in the middle of the hood and sewed them in. I'm so glad it worked out cause I was winging it. If you want more specific instructions I can take closer pictures.

Time to get busy!

help me decorate

Hi everyone. I am looking for some input on what to do on this big white wall I have...and also the trunk next to the couch (thank you MLK 50% off day at Unique!) So here is a full view of the room just for reference.

So here is the entry:

the living to be dressed soon in a black fabric with bright colored trees branches and flowers, big gold (and perhaps small magenta) pillows for the couch

and here is the big white wall in question...
We will be putting a 7" deep shelf across the whole wall which will hold small paperback books with perhaps a few cool bookends. These windows will hang directly above where they sit and will be filled with various pictures and art. (Thanks to Cami for snagging up 5 off the curb and sharing!) I am envisioning something like this one I found on etsy minus the jar and hooks.

So here are the options...keep in mind that I want more color...I like the colors I have, but I want some pops of color somewhere in this room. But it can't compete with the green chair.

The options for the wall, shelf and windows:
1. paint more yellow stripes and paint shelf and windows white
2. leave the wall white paint the windows and/or shelf a color (options below)
3. wall white, shelf and windows neutral or white
4. wall white and upholster the shelf with a print
5. any other combination of the above
Another option for color might be the trunk, but it might be too big and thus compete with the is my design idea for the trunk...a combination of these 2 designs. But I can't decide...white or color (use color selection above for reference).

This is from Three Men and a Lady. She is also the inspiration for my striped wall and the stump. I would find a tree that is more branchy.

etsy...sorry no link...I'm too lazy to search for it...

So now that I've processed while posting I think I know what I'm going to do, but I'm not going to say until I hear your input.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


I am going to keep this brief because I would rather be finishing that sweater. Why do I knit?

Anyway...this was another fantastic week for thrift shopping. Turns out this challenge isn't addressing any compulsive shopping tendencies I have. I've managed to spend as much as I normally do on household things, but instead of getting one or 2 things I've gotten several. I like seeing my home come together more quickly. I bought a nice trunk this week at Unique. I love Unique. I think this kind of thrift store makes this challenge possible and enjoyable. This challenge would be much more difficult in a small town.

I'm still kind of hung up on second hand clothes though. I don't like the search through all the random things at the thrift store. In the past I haven't loved the idea of wearing 2nd hand clothes...they seem dirty...but I think I can get over that. I wouldn't buy a t-shirt, but skirts and sweaters are fine. I think I might try out some consignment stores where they are more selective with what they sell. These things are more expensive, but will save me time.

However, for February I am doing a spending fast which means I only buy things we need to food and that will even be on a budget. This is something I plan to do every February for the rest of my life.

So March will be the month to boost my 2nd hand wardrobe. Happy Trails!

p.s. See Cami's post about jeans! Some good tips for making them last and food for thought.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Good week. Still working on that sweater! Why do I knit? Why do I knit without a pattern? I have reknit the sleeve about 5 times. Oh ya, because I love it and I'd rather reknit a sleeve 5 times than my creativity be confined by a pattern.

Thus far I haven't felt deprived by this challenge. I spent a fabulous $5 on these great outlet covers at a consignment store this week. I saw them a few months ago and I thought about them after I went home. I was glad they were still there when I went this week...and cheaper because price decreases over time at this consignment store. $2.50 for 4 of them...although I'm not sure what I'll do with 4. Simon, of course, loves them since they are an animal. I saw that stump as I was walking home from the park a few months ago and threw it in the stroller and made Simon walk. Don't the stump and the coyote go great together? Now I just need a hanging light...since table and floor lamps and don't dwell well with kids.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

nnw1 report

Oh, what a week!

Here is a tally of what I sold/passed on:
  • Macbook: sold on ebay for $1150 YEAH!
  • Macbook power cord: $40
  • way old ibook G4: $50
  • table from this side of the road: $50+$10 for delivery
The grand total around $1300! So part of the deal was that I can buy new things with money sold, but I think we're just going to stash most of this in the bank for a rainy day...or an iPad hee hee.

Here is the table...I think it is adorable and the couple that purchased this had a style that fit it perfectly.

I also donated about 5 baby toys and some old electronics to Unique. I decided to hold on to my dress and camera. Worth more to me than what I'd get.

I also went on my first thrift shopping trip to Unique Thrift Store. Those of you in the west probably are not familiar with Unique, but it is a thrift shoppers paradise! The biggest thrift store I've ever seen in my life and everything is neatly organized. I hear it originated in Chicago...which makes sense since all good things some how tie back to Chicago.
  • Pottery Barn King quilt with 2 euro shams $40
  • nice collection of K'nex $5
  • Valentines for my boys $1 each (these might look cheesy, but my tender boys will adore these...I ran them through the washing machine)
  • 1/2 a roll of wrapping paper $.50
  • Spiderman umbrella $3 (forgot to put it in the picture)
  • turtle sandbox with lid $5 (also not pictured)

So far I am loving this challenge! It has been so much fun. I really think I'm going to find things for my home that I will love so much more than something from Ikea or somewhere.

And I tapped into my mad money...$8. I had a $40 credit at an online shoe store and intended to use it by January 1, but spaced it. I went over the credit by $8. Mad money balance: $17.

Focus for week 2: Finish the sweater I am knitting for Simon! I will, I will!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

nothing new begins!

I am excited to begin this challenge! I confess, I've been doing some shopping in December to prepare...mainly clothes and household items I really wanted new. But 2011 has begun and enough of that. I looking forward to focusing more on what I have and less on what I want. It gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling. I admit at times the challenge sounded downright depressing, but pondering the challenge has led to excitement. About a week ago I was moved to tears as I thought of all that I had. I have everything I need. Everything. I'd like to say that I have everything because I have my husband and children, but quite honestly they are a bonus (a very big one I admit). However, not everyone has a husband and children and I don't believe this has to limit a person from self-actualizing. It helps, but something could happen to one of them and I'd still have to be somebody.

Take a look at Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

See, I have everything. I bet many of you have it all, too!

Each week I want to have a focus. Otherwise I'll wander aimlessly through thift stores and projects.

Week 1: Get rid of 10 things I don't need that could be of use to someone else. Take them to the Salvation Army, consign or post on craigslist or ebay.

I can think of a few already
1. the vintage table I picked up off the street for my sewing table, but it didn't work out
2. random toys that no one plays with, but end up on the floor
3. a computer...seriously, I have a newish MacBook Pro and a Mac desktop. Mac replaced Jeff's laptop 1 month shy of the expiration of Apple Care and we had just purchased a desktop less than a year before. We've been sitting on this decision and it is time to do something about it. I love my laptop, but does a stay-at-home mom really need 2 computers?
4. my black-tie black dress that I wore once...bought it thinking Jeff would be working for a firm and I'd need one occasionally...I have no need for a black-tie dress at least for the foreseeable future and if I do I'll want a new one
5. our old old macbook
6. old 35 mm SLR