Monday, October 16, 2017

The Dress with a (Re)Purpose

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I'd stayed up late working on a project. I wasn't sure if the project was going to work out or if I would totally fail and have to hide it under my bed and act like it never happened.

That project was a baptism dress for my daughter, Daisy... Made from my wedding dress.

When Zoe was born, I decided to make her blessing dress from my wedding dress. I liked the idea of giving a very expensive dress that I only wore once a new purpose.

I wasn't sure if I could do it, but it worked out. I made it up as I went, and I had no expectation for how it would turn out. This is the good thing about not really knowing how to sew - I'm not limited by rules!

Zoe's Blessing Day

Zoe's Blessing Day

Since I made a blessing dress for my second daughter (Zoe) but not my first (Daisy), I decided I would make my first daughter a baptism dress out of my wedding dress. Then I had a third daughter (Eva), and my idea changed from a baptism dress for Daisy to a baptism dress that all three of them can wear - if they so choose. 

Anyway, I made the blessing dress in 2013, and at that time, Daisy's 8th birthday seemed pretty far away. Then all of a sudden it was here. In September, I realized I needed to either commit to the baptism dress or let it go. Back when I first came up with the idea, a friend of mine told me she would help me, but in July she left on a mission to Chile. 

(Did she plan it this way?)

So I found myself in a pickle. 

I pulled my wedding dress out and took a good look at it. I decided to start unpicking it just to see what I might be able to do. I took apart the bodice and figured it would be too awful to sew back together in a smaller size. So that's what I did. Then I cut a circle skirt from the train and sewed it to the bodice.

Daisy's Baptism

It sounds simple. 

It wasn't. 

It was a lot of work, and I nearly lost my mind. I repeatedly pinned the dress on Daisy to make sure that I was making it the right size. Then late one night, I put the zipper in and finished the last stitch. The next morning I tried it on Daisy, and it was 6" too wide.

How does that happen?

I waited two weeks to get over it and then I picked it apart, took it in, and sewed the zipper back in. 

(These sentences are far too short to adequately portray how much work this was).

At that point, it fit her better around the waist, but there were some problems with the sleeves. There was no way I was going to take it back apart to fix the sleeves (it would have required me to take out almost every stitch in the dress). 

So we made it work.

I bought a brooch from Walmart, removed the pin, and made a sash to go around the waist. This made the whole dress. 

Daisy's Baptism

Daisy's Baptism

The neckline was a little baggy, there were spots where the fabric was frayed, and the hemline was pretty hideous, but I was pretty happy with how it turned out.

The best part? We are set for the next two baptisms.

Daisy's Baptism

Friday, October 6, 2017

Three Pieces of Advice

I've received a lot of advice throughout my life. Good advice and bad advice. Solicited advice and unsolicited advice.

I've also given a lot of advice throughout my life. Good advice and bad advice. Solicited advice and unsolicited advice.

Of all the advice I've been given, I can think of three things that I would consider the "greatest hits." These are pieces of advice that I fall back on over and over again, so I thought they should be shared!

The first piece of advice comes from an unknown source. I don't remember where I saw or heard it, but it is this:

"Treat your children the way you want others to treat them."

We receive all sorts of messages about parenting through various sources, and I confess, I don't take many to heart.

This particular counsel, however, made me stop and think really hard about the way I speak to and treat my children. When other people care for, teach, or discipline my kids, I expect them to speak kindly to them, to love them, and to truly listen to them. Yet, I frequently give myself a free pass on these things because I'm their mom. I have to deal with them night and day. For some reason, that makes me think I have the right to be impatient, short, and snippy with them. If other people treated my children the way I do, I would be outraged. I need to let go of the idea that it's okay for me to treat them poorly. It's not a parental right.

The second piece of advice comes from my third grade teacher, Mrs. Patterson.

If I have any writing skills at all, it's because of Mrs. Patterson. She saw something in me and nurtured it. She always pulled me aside from the class and gave me writing tasks. I didn't know that she was doing me such a great favor. I remember her having me write a piece for a contest. I worked on it for weeks simply because she told me to, and she set aside the time for me to do it. And then I won! Anyway, her advice was:

 "Let it get cold."

Any time we wrote something in Mrs. Patterson's class, she would gather our rough drafts and put them away for several days. She called it letting them "get cold." The purpose of this was to distance ourselves from our writing so we could proofread and edit with fresh eyes later. At the time, I did it just because that's how Mrs. Patterson ran her classroom, but now, I understand the value of letting my writing "get cold." I don't always have the patience for it, but when I do it, it yields much better writing.

The last piece of advice comes from Hank Smith, a popular LDS presenter. Several years ago, he wrote a guest post for the Red-Headed Hostess with tips for successful teaching. One of his tips was:

"Prepare until you are excited."

I have always remembered this, and for the past four years, I've used this for a guide for knowing when my Sunday school lessons or workshop presentations are "ready." I've found that no matter how much I dislike the topic or the content of the lesson, if I keep studying, praying, and working through it, I will always get to the point where I become excited to teach.

Have you ever received some advice that was really helpful to you? I would love to hear it!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Dinner Party Guest List: Celebrity Edition

A few weeks ago during lunch I was thinking about how fun it would be to get to sit across from certain people and have meaningful (or even not meaningful) conversations. I started thinking about who I would like to talk to, and I decided I should probably start coming up with a tentative dinner party guest list just in case.

One can never be overly prepared for a dinner party.

(Not that I would know. I don't go to dinner parties. Are there even such things as dinner parties in real life? Do people invite other people over for nice dinners? I've been to a few potlucks and BBQs, but dinner party? No. Though I did host a Christmas dinner with friends one year when I was feeling super social and capable. Was that a dinner party? Help me out here).

Anyway, I started keeping a note on my phone about possible guests for my dinner party. Then I realized that I need to have several different dinner parties. Remember how I struggle with hypotheticals? The guest list started getting too complex. I needed to set some boundaries. For example, can any of my dinner guests be dead people? Because of the difficulties of hypothetical situations, I ended up organizing my dinner party guests lists into categories. So my first dinner party will host celebrities.

Without further ado, here is my unofficial-but-possibly-official celebrity dinner party guest list:

Guest #1: Miley Cyrus

Okay, I bet you didn't see that one coming.

But seriously, Miley is invited, and if she can't make it, I would happily allow Justin Bieber to take her spot.

Why? Because deep down, I have always felt the need to be their mother. I want to hold them in my arms and nurture the crap out of them.

Guest #2: Michael J. Fox

Why? Because Marty McFly was my first crush, and Michael J. Fox was one of my favorite guest stars on Scrubs (and yes, those two episodes of Scrubs make me cry every time... when Dr. Casey can't leave the hospital because he can't stop washing his hands... and the Epiphany Toilet on the roof... could I go potty on a roof? I don't think I could).

But Michael also makes the list because I'd love to hear about his experiences in Hollywood and living with a debilitating disease.

Guest #3: James McAvoy

Why? I've always referred to James McAvoy as my "weird guy crush." He's not strikingly handsome, but in the movie Becoming Jane, there's a part where he dances with Anne Hathaway, and he gives her this look.

And well... pretty much I just want him to sit at my dinner table and give me that look. He doesn't need to say anything unless he really wants to.

Guest #4: Hugh Jackman

Why? Do I really need to explain? C'mon. It's Hugh Jackman. He's charming, he's handsome, and he's Australian. He can come to my dinner party and say anything he wants.

Guest #5: Amy Poehler

Why? Someone needs to represent funny, successful women at my dinner party, and Amy Poehler is my first choice. Plus, I need to ask her if she'll play me in the movie about my life.

(I'm worried that if she says no, I'll be played by Jennifer Coolidge. Why do I have this fear? I don't know. But I feel that my casting requests need to be made known. Realistically, I will be super old when my movie is made, and a much younger person will need to play me, so I should be looking at the up and coming ten-year-old actresses and not someone who is 13 years older than me).

Anyway, Amy Poehler can be pretty crude, but she also has the capacity to be profound. I think we could have a great chat.

Guest #6: Lin Manuel Miranda

Why? My reasons for inviting Lin might seem weird, but I am being perfectly honest when I say this...

I am paranoid that I will have to compete in a rap battle someday, and I?

Have no rap battle skills whatsoever. I fear the day that I am standing in front of 100 people - or even five people - and expected to rap on the fly.

I am simply hoping that Lin's talent will rub off on me when I ask him to pass the salt. 


Aside from that, I would love to talk to him about his creative process. In Hamilton's America, Miranda expressed how he read Chernow's Hamilton biography while he was on vacation, and the people in the book reached into his soul and, well... started rapping to him. Even though no historical figures have rapped to me, hearing Miranda describe the experience of how he became inspired to write Hamilton the Musical felt familiar. I have experienced smaller scale inspiration in my life. This needs to be discussed over appetizers. 

Guest #7: Matt Damon

Why? We have a running family joke about Matt Damon. I won't get into the details (you had to be there), but Matt makes appearances in all of our family vacation slideshows. Also, his birthday is written on my calendar (it's on Sunday. Note to self: make cake for Matt Damon's birthday). All of this constitutes an invitation to my dinner party, but most importantly, I need to ask him if he was in Disneyland the first week of April in 2014. This information would clear up some things. 

Guest #8: Keanu Reeves

Why? When I was in high school, I went through what I now refer to as my "Keanu Reeves Phase." I don't know where it came from, but it must have been a combination of The Matrix, Sweet November, and Hardball. I had a Keanu poster on my wall, and I carried around a Bill and Ted sticker (I still have it). 

Keanu is a welcome guest at my dinner party not only because he is a former crush but also because I'd love to hear about what he has been through in life

Guest #9: Hillary Clinton

Why? Honestly, I've never known what to make of Hillary Clinton. She is a woman of power and leadership, but at the same time, I don't know her "truth." I want to sit down with her in a comfortable place and see who she really is. Strip away the politics. Who is this woman in her genuine form? What are her fears? Her insecurities? What would she binge watch on Netflix? Would she win me in a rap battle?

Side note: I wrote this post about two weeks ago, and then Hillary Clinton was on Fallon last night... with Miley Cyrus. I feel like my dinner party guests are hanging out without me.

Guest #10: Gordon Ramsay

Why? Mostly because I want to serve him my cooking and see if he forces it down and tries to be polite or if he would insult my very core.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

On Vegas

Any time there's a tragic event, I think about what I would say if I were to write about it. I always have a blog post running in my head, but I never write it - partially because I don't know if I'll say the correct thing and partially because there is so much "noise" following a tragedy that quiet contemplation begins to feel more appropriate.

I was in Vegas on Saturday. We stopped on our way home from California, and we were right by Mandalay Bay. The gold building was really the only hotel I looked at that day because it was the one that most obstructed my view. It shimmered in the sunlight. Everything appeared safe and calm. We left the city not knowing that the very next day, lives would be lost on that ground.  

I have many thoughts and feelings about Vegas, and they are all piling up with the thoughts and feelings I was already experiencing (and not writing) from all of the other tragic events our world has faced in the past few weeks. I'm choosing to not add to the noise, but I didn't want to move forward without acknowledging what has happened.

I will say that this event has made me think about what I need to do personally to send more goodness out into the world. It is my hope and my prayer that we will all be able to witness the goodness in the world during this tumultuous time, and that we may all be contributors.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

If You Take Your Kids to Disneyland

We just got back from a family vacation to Disneyland. This trip included a fun mix of people. We planned to go with Scotty's mom's family. All were invited, but it only ended up being Scotty's mom and step-dad and one step-brother and his family who could come. That step-brother is married to my best friend from childhood, Michelle, so it makes it extra fun. Then Michelle's sister ended up coming with her daughter, and Scotty's step-sister from his dad's side of the family came with her boyfriend (who was a first timer - which is always exciting but it is especially exciting that his first trip to Disneyland was with his girlfriend's step-dad's ex-wife), and we also met up with our niece who currently works at California Adventure.


Did you get all that?

(When you and your husband both come from blended families, there is sometimes a need for diagrams).

It's always interesting to see people's reactions when we tell them we are going to Disneyland. Some people are genuinely happy for us. Others are mean about it. Disneyland can be a touchy subject.

A family vacation to Disneyland is equal parts wonderful and horrible.


If you take your kids to Disneyland, plan for all of the following scenarios to take place:
  • You will repeatedly have to take your four-year-old out of line because she says she needs to go poop. She will not go poop. Instead, she will look up at you from the toilet and say, "Hmmm.... I guess I don't need to go poop."
  • Your kids will whine and cry about every piece of merchandise and food they see. You will spend the bulk of your time in Disneyland saying, "No."
  • They will also be in frequent disagreement about what ride you should be going on and who should sit with whom.
  • It will be hot, crowded, smelly, exhausting, loud, and frustrating.
  • Your kids will bite, push, argue, and hit each other while you wait in line after line after line...
  • People will force their way into your spots for World of Color, the parade, and Haunted Mansion.
  • Rides will break down when you are ten people from loading.
  • Your kids' legs will stop working, and they will lay on the sidewalk and cry. But when you get back to the hotel after dragging them a mile and a half down Harbor Boulevard, their legs will be magically healed, allowing them to run up and down the corridor all night while you whisper-yell, "Stop running! People are sleeping!"
  • Your child will spill yogurt on your clean shirt at breakfast every morning.
  • Someone will repeatedly throw up next to you on Mickey's Fun Wheel (a ride that, fortunately, has a complimentary barf bag in the cage). You might have to help this person when the bag starts leaking. This person will be a relative, but out of courtesy, you won't be able to tell the internet who it is.
  • Stuff will fall out of your stroller while you are in shoulder to shoulder crowds, and you will have to decide whether to cut the loss or risk being trampled.
  • Your feet will hurt so bad that it will feel like something foreign is attached to them.
  • You and your spouse will take turns being the orneriest person on earth. 
  • Your two-year-old will refuse to wear shoes and/or pants.
  • You will have to spend $30-50 on park snacks in hopes that you will be able to keep your kids happy in line for long enough to get to see the stage production of Frozen.
  • ...and then someone will need to go potty during "Love is an Open Door," and you will be furious. Not just at the child but at the incompetent theater staff that has to escort you out, give you a return pass, and send you through an elevator because you are not allowed to walk down three steps in the dark.
  • You will have moments of pure hatred toward mankind.

But, even with all of that, you might:
  • See the pure joy and excitement on your children's faces as they recognize their favorite characters in the parade. 
  • Drink the most amazingly chilled Coke of your life. 
  • Watch a production of Frozen that is so incredible, even the two-year-old is engaged and attentive for the entire hour.
  • See your little girls hold hands all the way through Pirates of the Caribbean.
  • Stumble upon a live band and spend an hour dancing with your kids instead of going back to the hotel for the night. 
  • Ride Splash Mountain four times in a row without having to get off because it's 8:30 on a Friday morning.
  • Stay late with your son and ride Guardians of the Galaxy for the first time together.
  • Hear your daughter gasp in awe and excitement at the things she sees in the shows and on the rides.
  • Find a bench in the shade while your little one naps and spend some time sitting still and enjoying just being there.
  • See your little girls in their matching Minnie Mouse hoodies and die from the cuteness.
  • Catch Belle and the Beast riding the carousel.
  • Run into someone you know but didn't know was going to be there.
  • Experience all the feels when you remember the Disney characters and movies you loved as a child and you see or hear something that brings it all back.
  • Cry when you leave.
Holding hands

Splash Mountain

Going to Disneyland isn't easy. Especially in a large group containing several small children. This was definitely one of our hardest vacations with kid management (I thought it would be easier NOT having a baby, but I forgot about the highly opinionated two and four-year-olds that were coming with us). It's one of those experiences, though, where the greater the horror, the greater the joy. I had moments where I thought, "This is worse than taking kids to church." But then I would swing to, "This is amazing!!!"

In the end, I can say that we worked hard and had a lot of fun! 

Friday, September 22, 2017


I have a lot to do today, and there's something about having a big to-do list that makes me want to blog. The funny thing is, my list isn't actually that "big." But I've had a calm week, so now that I have a few things to do, it feels like "a lot."

At this moment, I'm pretty on top of things, and it feels really good. I'm caught up on laundry, my house is fifteen minutes from clean (this is my standard), and nothing on my aforementioned to-do list is absolutely dire... save for washing some pee bedding and shampooing a mattress. So when I get myself off this computer and start working on that list, it's going to help me stay ahead in life. And that feels uh-mazing.

(I basically just contradicted myself by stating that I have a lot to do but I don't actually have to do any of it).

(It's cool. I do that a lot).

Anyway, the weather around here has shifted lately. It went from 90° to 50° overnight. Tis the Utah way. In fact, last night I stayed up pretty late working on a project (one that I hope to be able to post here someday, but it's one of those things that I don't want to tell you about yet because if it doesn't work out, I'm just going to hide it in a garbage can and pretend it never happened, but it it does work out, it will be uh-mazing) while Scotty was away working on a side job about half an hour from home. Here it was cold and rainy, and where he was, it was SNOWING. Like, a lot. Scotty said "blizzard." Was he exaggerating? I don't know! And he wasn't near the mountains or anything. It was snowing at 11:30 p.m. in the valley! And technically, today is the first day of fall, so it was snowing in the valley during the final 30 minutes of summer.

(That may possibly be one of the worst paragraphs I've ever written. Just go with it).

(Also, I apologize for blogging about the weather).

(But I'm not done yet...)

Since it cooled off, I now have the privilege of wearing long pants, which is always an uh-mazing transition. When I get to wear long pants, I become a new woman. I feel so much better about myself and about life in general. Shorts and capris are not my thing. but I wear them because I can't deal with the heat. I spend all summer putting my body into clothes that just don't work for me, and then fall comes, and I get to wear long, glorious, comfortable pants!

Unfortunately, I'm running low on pants that fit.

Story of my life!

But better than shorts.


I went through my clothes the other day and got rid of a garbage bag full. It felt uh-mazing to purge a bit... but it probably won't feel uh-mazing when I decide that I need that blue shirt after all. Or when I magically drop 20 lbs and suddenly feel like I might be able to wear peplum.

(Actually, it might take more than 20 lbs because I didn't feel right in peplum even 30 lbs ago).

(Peplum is so unfair).

(Totally just googled "how to pronounce peplum" because it dawned on me that I've never said it nor heard it aloud. Apparently "pee plum" is incorrect. Thank heavens I've only said it in my head. What if I'd gone into a boutique and said that I needed some "pee plum?")

(And by "boutique" I mean "Deseret Industries." Cause let's be realistic about where I shop).

(I could probably find pee plum there).

Speaking of DI, I went yesterday to try and find a book for my book exchange. I already have a book for my book exchange, but what would it hurt to have ten more just in case?

Sadly, I didn't find a book for my book exchange, but I did find a copy of the DSM-5 for $1. That's an uh-mazing deal.

I was pretty psyched.

(See what I did there?)

I also got a brand new pair of sandals for Eva, two creepy baby dolls that Eva became overly attached to, and a shirt for myself.

I decided not to buy the giant spoon and fork to hang on my kitchen wall. Will I regret this?

(I want to have a giant spoon and fork as an homage to the giant spoon and fork my grandma had in her kitchen during my childhood - very similar to the giant spoon and fork from Everybody Loves Raymond).

OH MY GOSH!!! Why didn't I buy the spoon and fork? They would have been uh-mazing!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Picture This

A couple of months ago, I mentioned that I'd applied for an "opportunity." I didn't think anything would come of it, but it worked out, and now I'll be presenting at a women's conference in November.

One of the things I've had to do in preparation for the event is provide a bio and a photograph of myself for the program. I knew immediately that there was no photo in existence that I could use, but just in case, I scoured my files to see if I had anything ready to go. 

I wasn't surprised to discover that the nicest photo available was of me and a goat:

Bear World
{Britt & The Goat}

What I didn't realize was that I take a lot of selfies with animals. 

{Britt & The Bunny}

Weekend Fun 
{Britt & The Cow}

Those weren't really options for this event. And neither were any of these:

{Britt & Vomit Laundry}

{Britt & Pee Mattress}

  Saint George 2017
{Britt & Kid Getting Eaten by Dinosaur}

Poop Buddies 
{Britt & Poop Mug}

  The Gilmore Girls Group
{Britt & Facial Mask}

{Britt & Fake Braces}

{Britt & Costume Prize}

{Britt & Chicken Suit}

  California 2016
{Britt & Toddler}

From now on I'm going to try and take at least one "nice" photo per year. 

It's going to be hard. My face can't handle it. But I need to act like a professional once in a while. 

So here is the illusion I will give people for this round:

Just don't calculate any percentages using the above photos. Ahem....