for your information

Many of you might have already heard from me about this. But I wanted to mention it here, for those who have yet to hear about this non-profit organization.

"CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. We place special focus on working alongside poor women because, equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty. Women are at the heart of CARE's community-based efforts to improve basic education, prevent the spread of HIV, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity and protect natural resources. CARE also delivers emergency aid to survivors of war and natural disasters, and helps people rebuild their lives."

I received an email from them about a week ago about an opportunity to "double your impact." Apparently someone has offered to match all gifts made from now until the end of November. I wasn't sure if anyone out there reading my little blog might be interested in this, but I know that in our situation where money is already tight, I like being able to make a smaller donation turn into something bigger.

If you'd like to learn more about CARE, please visit their website. Or you can contact me and I can send you a dvd (very powerful). And if you're interested in doubling your donation, click here. I'm not trying to pressure anyone, just a little FYI. And to all of you, take care!

willy-nilly, it's time for tilly

I thought I might add just one more post and just one more recommendation: Tilly and the Wall. It has absolutely nothing to do with holidays or anything really. But I've been meaning to mention them. We discovered them on NPR, which surprisingly has great taste in music: hello, Radiohead? On National Public Radio?! Anyway, this is a band worth noting, not necessarily because it fits your style of music (unless you're me), but because of their ingenuity.

"Tilly and the Wall sprang out of Omaha, NE a Midwestern band of like-minded friends with pockets full of melodies; and a lot of pockets. The serendipitous result of five Omaha residents with a penchant for the same classic 60s pop, boy/girl harmonies and Americana folk records, Tilly and the Wall celebrates the petulant, determined, feisty nature of youth. They rejoice in tales of dreams followed, mistakes made, and hearts broken."

That's a direct quote from their bio on their website. I must warn you though, it's a flash macro site and takes FOREVER to bring up. But it is worth the wait, if I may say so myself. I suggest (yet another one, gosh dang it) that you sample their Bottoms of Barrels cd on itunes/Amazon. My favorite is Bad Education. It's amazing; enough said.

turkey and such

Sheesh, how long has it been already?! Well, in my defense, not only has school been crazy (as far as supporting my husband goes) but we also had a holiday to celebrate and family to visit! We spent our Thanksgiving down in Oceanside, CA with my grandparents. I haven't been there since before I was married! My family also came from AZ and some cousins from up North (CA) came down, too. It was great to see everyone and it was a nice little breather from school. Brad was pretty good and studied during his break (you better believe it)! And now we're in the long haul and lull of finals! Hip hip hooray.

I don't have any pics to share right now, because my mom has them all on her camera. Yes, I did take mine, but did I use it? Nah. But here's a little rundown of what's going on in our lives: decorating, movies and Chrismas music! We don't really have a lot of room for a tree in our place, and what with Will running around... he's a festive menace! So we made due with a garland on top of our entertainment system- thanks mom! On a side note, one of these days I'll get around to posting some pics of the inside of our house...

And we have seen lots of movies lately, too. Mostly rental, but here's the list: Mission Impossible III, Sky High, Nacho Libre, Casino Royale, The DaVinci Code and Akeelah and the Bee. And y'all be surprised with which one I'm about to propose y'all go out and get yourself a copy of! The latter movie of those listed is EXCELLENT. We had no desire to see it, until our friends brought it over for us to borrow. It is really good, the acting, story, etc. It made us cry (we're a little high-strung here, give us a break) and I highly recommend it. Seriously, get up out of your seat and go rent it. Now!

I don't see anyone jumping up and grabbing their Blockbuster cards... oh well, your loss.

And the other thing we've been up to is listening to lots of Christmas music. We love the classic carols and I've made a few good "modern" compilations as well. But my recommendation (yet another one): Sarah McLachlan, Wintersong. I cannot get enough of that cd! Wonderful I tell ya! Go sample it on itunes or Amazon or something. Also good, Harry Connick Jr. Not like you should be surprised with that one...

Hope you are all enjoying the emerging season! Whether it's crazy snow storms (shout out to WA) or the regular frost bite/chill factor (shout out to ID and UT), or sunny skys (shout out to AZ and CA), there's something in the air. So let's all yawn and get some of that glorious oxygen to our medullas and take it all in! And let's go shopping!


if you say so...

Ok, this should be my last post for the time being... But I had to tell you about our dinner last Thursday. Yes, last week was a marathon of going out to eat, a nice treat for sure. But the finale has quite the story, which I will be unable to describe in all its awkward glory; you just had to be there.

About a month ago, on one of our Costco runs, we met an older fellow at the foodcourt. We were sitting quietly, minding our own business and enjoying our cheap dinner, when this man in a electric scooter comes over to gawk at Will. But it doesn't stop at the gawking. Brad had to open his mouth and comment on the Naval hat adorning this guys head. Soon we were digesting not only our pizza and hot-dogs, but stories about Hellcats, etc. To make a long story short, he invited us to a naval association dinner, his treat. Brad and I weren't about to pass up a free meal, so we gave him our information and left. Not 12 hours had passed since our meeting and parting with this man before he gave us a call. He got our dinner preferances of filet mignon and poached salmon and gave us a place, date and time for the future dinner. This dinner was last Thursday.

We had gotten a babysitter (shout to the Kains!) and headed off to meet this man, all dressed up (me wearing my new sweater, no less. I must have worn that thing at least three times that week!). On our way, my husband made a comment saying, "Worst case scenario: we arrive and the guy has Alzheimer's and forgot to call our names in." Sure enough, something was up, because the people in charge were baffled and upset at our arrival. Apparently this has happened before. Just as we were about to tell them not to worry and head out (hungry mind you), our gentleman showed up. I guess he had lost his black book and all his important information that day. But he had never called the naval association to let them know that he and some guests would be coming.

They made some room for us and we sat down for dinner. Our "host" forgot our names, so we had to introduce ourselves in front of the whole room as his guests. And he brought along a lady friend he met about three weeks prior and had been engaged to just the week before! I'm so glad she was there! She was kind and witty, albeit naive, and she made the evening bearable. We ended up having some delicious turkey (not our planned delectable meals) and left stuffed and somewhat amused.

The next day Brad looked up our elderly friend. He was never an Ace (5 kills), although he insists he made 42 kills and was awarded THE Medal of Honor from the president, only to refuse it in the name of Zionism... and we highly doubt, as his fiance guesses, that he was ever a stunt pilot, or a teacher/professor upon retirement, as he further insists. Who knows the real story behind our mystery naval man. What's more, you can be a member of the naval association just because you appreciate the navy; you don't have to be a war hero.

So let there be a lesson. Be careful of senile folk (unless there's free food involved) and do all that you can to keep yourself from becoming one. The End.

oh happy day

Last Monday I had the joy and privilige of going shopping with dear Mrs. Doman. Abs use to be a roommate of mine at BYU-I and us Summers are fortunate enough to have her and her husband nearby. She was such a dear and took me shopping at 3rd St. Promenade in Santa Monica, my favorite place to window shop. Except it was better than window shopping because my glorious mother gave me some birthday money! Oh happy day! I got a sweater and a butter dish. And as I told Abbie and my mama, "It's amazing how practical poverty makes you." Don't worry, I did end up getting a new bag/purse for church later... but it sure was fun to stroll around all the wonderful shops. My favorite: Anthropologie. Someone must have hooked me up to a dream-stealin'-machine, because it's exactly my idea of a store. Consequently, I've decided that a new hobby of mine will be clothing designing (the selfish kind a.k.a. pour moi). We followed up the delectable evening at Mimi's Cafe. Those Domans sure are great! Thanks guys!

The next day was my Bday. I did whatever I wanted and didn't feel bad about it. Given I usually spend my days doing whatever I want, this time I was actually allowed and suppose to do nothing! Marvelous. And then Brad took off the day early to spend it with me, where we went shopping some more (for said church bag/purse - only $5!) and dinner at Johnny's. Mmmm. It was certainly a happy day. Thanks to all who made it so, by emails/cards/calls/updated blogs. That last one wasn't necessarily done on purpose, but it was a fun "present" nonetheless!

craftable cubes anyone?

My creative plans for this Christmas (for Will) are as follows: ABC blocks, soft book, maybe some magnets... I've decided to go ahead and make my own alphabet blocks to keep me preoccupied while Brad's obsessing over finals next month. Here's the thing; I want 2 in. blocks, which of course are expensive at any craft store. So I'm thinking of purchasing them online here. My dilemma is getting 3 bags for $24 (30 blocks) vs. 1 big bag for $31 (50 blocks), which brings me to question, "Does anyone want some blocks for crafting?" I know there are tons of you craft queens out there, so I thought I would pose this offer of going in on some blocks. If not, then I'll either get the 30 blocks and be done with it or get 50 and have an endless supply of wooden squares... Let me know!

As for my other clever creations, I'll make sure to keep you posted with their developments, downfalls, and successes! Wish me luck!


introducing beth's mess

Hopefully this won't be the only post I do today... I have some interesting stories for you. But I just wanted to take a little time in saying that I have a new blog! It's all about recipes. So those of you (and you know who you are) that are always either emailing me or some-other-communicating me, asking for some recipe ideas, here's your chance!

I'm kind of excited about it, because this way I can remember what recipes have worked for me AND I'll have a place to find them, instead of losing them... I'll also try to post fancy looking pictures of them, and work on my plating skills (a talent I've wanted to learn. Watch out FoodNetwork!)!

I hope you enjoy it and that it can be of some service to you: Beth's Mess

PS - Mess is another word for kitchen or meals... I am a clean person! Nowadays at least.


happily ever after

Three long years ago, Brad took me out on our very first date. He made such an impression, making it such a special day for me, and treating me so well; the rest is history! And apparently I made enough of an impression on him that he kept asking me out, we dated, got engaged, and married, all within six months! We were both those type of people who turned our noses up at the idea of getting married so fast. But we were humbled and it all worked out for the better!

We were FHE bro. and sis.; Brad was the FHE dad, so technically you could call it a daddy-daughter date! I guess he thought I was pretty cute, and mysterious, and he wanted to get to know me better. So he made plans to treat me on my birthday. We went to Johnny Carino's (my favorite) and went to a movie (Master & Commander) - the perfect date. We didn't need the other couple there after all, because we talked the whole night. Not only did he open the doors for me, but he pulled out my chair at dinner, and stood when I left for the ladies' room! But when I told him what I wanted for Christmas (A Book: "Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition"), he didn't look at me funny, like I had just crawled out of the ocean, all covered it barnacles and sea-weed; instead, he knew of it and said his Mom had it in her cupboard, all dog-eared!!! I was sold. As for Brad, he was smitten, actually enjoying a conversation with a girl for once... that, and I was one hot mama!

To this day, he still tells me, every day, how beautiful I am. And he means it - I can see it in his blue eyes, and he's a terrible liar! Now who out there can tell me that I am not the luckiest girl? I love you Brad! And we continue to have my birthday dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant. A perfect cuisine and a perfect husband. What more could a woman ask for? Just look at how handsome he is! I consider Brad my best birthday present ever!

ode to older

0. supportive and loving family
1. kind and thoughtful friends
2. sunset spectacular (Mesa)
3. inviting paths into the forest
4. calming beach strolls
5. my baby
6. best husband in the world!
7. The strength and guidance of the gospel
8. a working and otherwise healthy body (it could always be worse!)
9. never-ending education
10. fun-filled, festive-frenzie holidays
11. crisp Fall air
12. golf sounds (i.e., perfect swing = ping)
13. the written word
14. anything and everything water
15. childish belief in fantasy
16. music (those “sad” notes... and happy ones!)
17. dreamless sleep
18. night/bed-time showers
19. moon showers
20. star gazing (clear mountain skies)
21. Smell of campfire
22. nothing but Christmas tree lights
23. lots and lots of pillows, everywhere!

PS - Nothing is in order, necessarily. And the list is proper; including all my years of existence, from 0-23. That time in the womb counts as something! Just ask my mother.

dreading prepubescence

Just wanted to add a quick note that last night, at Mimi's Cafe, crayons were properly used and appreciated by our little man! Of course, he had to take a nibble of the forest green wax... but before that, he scribbled, happily! *sniff, sniff* He's growing up so fast!

PS - This picture was taken over the summer. Look how much he's changed just in the past few months! And this is the exact face he pulled when he unfortunately masticated that crayon. But here he was caught in the act of chowing down some oh-so-nutritious dog food. I'm glad I found a way to post this picture, even if it is somewhat relevant! Oh, and nevermind the awful pairing of clothing here. Gotta love laundry day!


nerds abound

Computer nerd + health nerd = pending nerd. I've mentioned before how much Will is into technology... well he met me upstairs, having gotten over his fear of the stairs, and whined until he got his way; which was to sit in mom's chair and have a go at the computer! We wonder what his chosen profession will be when he grows up, but I have a feeling it might be along the lines of engineering. Since he's not only Brad's son, but mine as well, I'm hoping for a biological engineer... next to a surfer, of course!

developmental milestones

A lot has happened this past week, in the life of Will. He now prefers to be dressed like a big boy; standing or sitting in your lap as opposed to laying on the floor like a big baby. And as you can see in the pictures, he's discovered how to pull his pants off... he has a thing for flinging clothes around, which makes laundry time extremely difficult. Anyway, also learned this week: holding "real-life" phone conversations, crawling down the stairs, and picking his nose (while blowing snot bubbles at the same time).

The rest of us have been busy with school. Brad's studying like a maniac, and I'm helping him get his scholarship applications, summer externship applications, and outlines to memorize before finals (in 3 weeks!!!) all in order. This week is sure to be busy, what with my Bday and a random 5-star dinner invite (long story, I'll explain later) and more school... And for all you folks out there, school is pretty much our life! It's a common thread in most posts (along with Will). The both of them is what keeps us busy and they are what our schedules revolve around! Y'all come second! Just kidding... well kind of. Thanks for your support, we couldn't get through these next couple of years without you! We love you all!


so much for surfing... looks like it'll be mountaineering

This precious picture may be a far cry from Will scaling a tree, but at least it shows him ascending some stairs... kinda. But it was so cute, and it was all I had, so it was a must for sharing. Anyway, the time has come: Will has discovered what it's like to climb. It started out small; crawling all over his parents soon led to clambering nearby pets, and then nearby steps. Like most babies, he honed in on climbing any and every set of stairs, until he tumbled down them enough to learn not to. But in the meantime, he's learned how to use his chair, the box of wipes, basket of toys, and his mom's legs to get onto the couch or coffee table. Once he reaches his destination, he's the king of the furniture, and proceeds to do a victory dance. And most parents know that a baby movin' and groovin' (which consists of surprisingly rhythmic bopping) is one of the best displays of talent to the human eye! So make sure to stay tuned, I'm bound to have countless photos of our monkey conquering uncharted armoires and the likes... along with photos of any accompanying battle wounds!


not so picture-perfect

I realized that I've been feeding you all lies... my child is not perfect, and he's not even cute all the time. He sure does throw some good tantrums, which are funny. So I thought I would share my little fire-cracker's performance. I was trying to get some traditionally cute pictures for that contest I was telling you about, and because what mother doesn't like to have charming photos of her child on hand! Well, my little William started throwing a fit; he wanted the camera and he wanted it bad.

He is in love with everything technology, unless it's geared for babies. Then he won't have anything to do with it. Those big baby buttons on those colorful and noisy baby toys... he has no clue as to what they are. But you give him the phone, remote, calculator, keyboard, cell-phone, etc... he sure knows what those are. And we can now add the digital camera to that list.

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Here he is throwing himself onto the couch in frustration. I'm such a mean mommy. And then there's a picture of him throwing his back into an angry arch, and contorting his face to let you know he means business! I'm telling you, he is not to be trifled with!

Gone are the days when he only fussed and grunted over troubling diapers and gas bubbles (not saying we don't have those moments as well). Farewell to my sweet, quiet, angel of a boy. Hello to the hellion. Welcome my little wolf in sheep's clothing. I know most of you are thinking, you get what you deserve Beth. It's true. And in all reality, I have fun with his 'tude. Perhaps we really are bad parents, because we just laugh and egg him on. But then again, maybe we are good parents, because we still like him, and think he's lovable, despite his outbursts. We accept and embrace all that he is. Afterall, he is our baby boy... for now...


we have our winners!

Today is the last day to upload photos of your kid(s). And since we all know how I feel about mine, I gave it a shot. I've already mentioned this before, but I thought I'd let you guys know which ones I decided on. I had a five photo limit, and you bet I stretched that limit to the max! You've seen most of these already, but here they are all together, in all of Will's cuteness!!! Enjoy!

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For those of you who feel similarly about your own kid, then here's the link to do the same as this crazy parent! And my suggestion is to double check the official rules of said contest, make all your options known unto yourself. Good luck!


apparitions of grandeur

Amongst all that ranting, I forgot to say that yes, we did take Will trick-or-treating. Just kidding! You thought the tricking was over, well you forget that I'm a fink! I just wanted to have it as a separate post. We did take our spectral son out, before and after our trip to the store. It's like I'm trying to hit a record for posting the most in one day, or something. It's fun isn't it?! You all have to suffer as I entertain and preoccupy myself! Are you all having as much fun reading these as I am writing them? I know of at least one: hi mom!

Anyway, back to business. We took Will to a total of 7 houses, not including our land-lady's. And not all of those homes answered. Nonetheless, Brad and I were able to get closer looks at the homes we've been gawking at from a distance. That's right, we selectively chose which homes to visit. Will's favorite part was grabbing the candy and making it crinkle. He also had a fun time walking in the dark. It was new, and all the decorations and kids was a lot for a kid to take in. But boy, was he cute! Thanks to Nana B. for the darling costume!

Here's some more comparative pics: last year's costume (skeleton, without fixing the redeye problem, for a more evil baby look) vs. this year's costume (ghost, sweet, tired and loves the spotlight). Though the disguises change, the boy inside remains just as cute (if not cuter, and then he would also be subject to changing...)! I'm ready to start planning next year's festivities! And more appropriately, it's now on to obsess about the upcoming holidays: Birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas!

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ps. i forgot to mention that at the ward party there was this kid running around with a scary mask. it frightened even us parents! well, all the kids were screaming, like the kind you hear in horror films! and when he walked by Will (about three times), the poor thing jumped three feet in the air and screamed, like a girl, and then proceeded to cry! finally, a fellow parent asked the terror of a kid to take the mask off and the rest of the evening went swell. but man, i've never seen Will like that. where do they learn the scare response? how do they learn what's scary? i must have missed that doodlebops episode...

what a rotten holiday

Check out our nasty pumpkin! If you would like to reminisce about it while in its prime, check out below. It was perhaps the most beautiful jack-o'-lantern I have ever designed/created. And its rotting set a whole slew of mishaps into motion... I went to scope out my candy stash, and noticed a puddle around the bowl. To my dismay, it was coming from said pumpkin. The worst thing about all of this: it was on the table! Even worse: my land lady's table. I'm still unsure as to how we're going to fix said dilemma. Well, the rest of the day went according to someone else's plans, for they certainly were not mine!

Will spilled water all over the steadily increasing stained carpet. Our DVD player went schizo again, and I couldn't watch my beloved Nightmare Before Christmas in all of its digital glory. Luckily, as fate would have it, I had a VHS backup. Disaster was averted, for the time being. Then my land-lady informed me that she wasn't comfortable with me passing out candy. Bummer. Just the idea of not passing out candy on All Hallows' Eve set me into a dejected mood... Anyway, Brad did get to come home early, so we could all go out and finish some grocery shopping. But, because I had lost my grocery list, which had taken hours to plan the day before, we forgot some important ingredients while on our way home from Ralph's in Malibu, and had to pass by our home and go to Albertson's in Calabasas, because you can't turn around on a windy curvy one-way road up the canyon... later that night Will was diaper-less for a wee bit and peed on the rug and himself.

We didn't get to bed until 1:30 AM, because we had such a late dinner/desert/movie. But by gosh, I was going to have a carved pumpkin on Halloween, no matter how small; I was going to have my planned Moroccan meal (specially picked because of the pumpkin ingredients); I was going to have my planned pumpkin crisp dessert; and I was going to watch my planned movie! All in all, after all is ranted and done, it was a holiday to remember. And I have the best husband in the whole world!!!

pictures galore!

Willie the ghost, at our ward party, last Saturday. That's right, we had two Halloween parties, back to back! Awesome. Our little BOO man was quite the hit, as this costume seems to accentuate his cheeks, which is everyone's favorite characteristic! When we first put the costume on him that night, he speed-walked around the house, bumping into things because he was busy watching himself flutter! And he was pretty good about keeping the little hood-head on. Don't you think he's just darling?! Casper doesn't come close to this ghostly charmer!

Brad and I decided (ok, well I decided and he went along, once again) that we would have different costumes from the night before. So we nixed our costumes of French-medieval outcasts and decided to go as modern-American outcasts. I was one hot mama punk-rocker, huh? I'm a little torn on deciding which outfit of mine I liked best. I'm leaning toward this one... cast your votes now!

And forget the effects of having a bad eye and hump, what about the stares encouraged by beautiful, long, curly locks (head and chest)! This isn't the best picture of Brad, but it is the best picture of his costume. Check out those forearms! I've always been a sucker for forearms... We came up with this look a couple nights previous, and I was rolling on the floor in tears! Classic!

Here we have Will playing hula-hoop! This was his favorite activity of all that the night and holiday had to offer! He wasn't able to grab the concept that that big plastic circle goes around the waist... but he loved holding them and flipping them around! The girls there were hulaing three hoops at a time! It was crazy! But I'd still rather watch Will's attempts at the sport than the avid ones!

And here's Will coming out of the inflated bouncy-thingy. This picture is worth many comments. One, look how tired he is. Two, Brad is so cute! And three, his costume was a little snug. Hence, the two middle buttons popping open! Just take a moment and look at my boys there. I'm such a lucky lady!

And just one last picture. There were lots of contests going on, like pie eating! Brad won the first one... mostly because he's smart. He noticed that one side of the "pie" had more whip cream than the other, and took one big bite and found the worm. It took like a second, seriously! I barely got a picture... and sadly, we had to remove the wig *gasp* We didn't want to ruin it. Besides, dealing with whipped cream in your beard is enough of a hassle, apparently.

ps. this post took forever!!! blogger was giving me such a hard time. y'all better appreciate my efforts to get all these pictures on here! i'm gonna take a break now and stop neglecting my son and take over the disney channel's position of entertaining. but i'll be back so stay tuned...

pps. it's now 11:50!!!

the tricks are done, but the treats are just beginning!

Happy November 1!!! Yes, I'm aware that it is no longer Halloween... but it is still Fall, thankfully! And I still have tons of pictures to share. So here we are, gazing at belated pictures. Here's the first set of comparative photos. Will's festive outfits with binkies to match! The main difference besides the size of his clothes is his mobility! It was so easy to take pictures of him when he was a cute lump (age 2 months). And then we have the mobile Will, who walks toward you to get the camera, all the while whining because you won't let him have it (at 14 months)!

In so many ways it gets easier to be a mom... but let's not forget how easy it use to be, too! As for the pacifier, we'll be getting rid of that this month. I'll consider it a birthday present. That and sleeping through the night every night... sweet bliss, thy name is sleep. And sweet baby, thy name is William!