Over the weekend, Josh had a birthday. He's 26 now, and that sounds older than he feels. We had a seriously fun weekend, though.

We ate pizza and cake on Saturday with friends.

And then played a competitive game on a pool table the rest of the night.

On Sunday we went to stake conference (Josh said that earlier, only-two-hour, no-lesson-preparation church was one of the best birthday presents). In the afternoon we headed to Jeff and Karen's where we enjoyed burgers and {more} cake with friends and family.

And we also played games all afternoon. Games like Bang! {the exclamation point is indeed part of the official game title}

And Pandemic.

We watched a movie and napped and watched bits and pieces of the Oscars. Then Josh and I headed home for some more birthday relaxing in stretchy pants.

It was a wonderful day, and I hope Josh enjoyed his birthday as much as I did. Really, I just get excited that I get to celebrate Josh's every birthday from here on out. It's lots of fun. For real.


complete mystery

When I do laundry, I end up with a pile of socks that need to be matched. It looks something like this:

And despite my efforts to match each and every sock, I always end up with a pile of unmatched socks.

It doesn't look that different from the first pile, does it? I keep the unmatched socks in a separate drawer and pull them out when it's sock-folding time, and I often can match previously unmatched socks. And because the unmatched socks cycle through having a pair and not, the unmatched-sock pile remains just as big every time.

Every. time. I just don't get it.

{On an unrelated note, Josh woke up this morning feeling too sick to go into work and suggested that I stayed home too. I mean, someone has to get the Gatorade and find the remote, right? But really. I needed this day. So much.}


an Oregon winter

I grew up accustomed to winter. I spent my childhood in Colorado, where we rarely, if ever, got snow days. (Seriously, I can probably count the number of snow days I had on one hand.) Then I went to school in Utah where winters were very similar to my Colorado ones.

This is my first winter in Oregon, and it's a lot different. For almost the entire month of January it felt practically seasonless. The weather was cold enough so you were uncomfortable and needed a jacket but not so cold that you could see your breath. It hardly even rained in January. Sometimes it was cloudy and sometimes not; it was a very strange month weather-wise. It was just gray with few season indicators.

Hoping I don't jinx myself, I'll admit that I like weather. I like the weather that accompanies the seasons: the snow and cold of winter, the easing warmth of spring, the heat and sun of the summer, and the blustery chill of autumn. I love the weather markers that tell me where I am in the year. And here in Oregon, I miss the snow. I miss the way falling snow muffles sounds so everything is just quiet, and I miss waking up to snow falling off tree boughs and compelling warm and cozy evenings.

So this morning when we woke up and saw this, my heart warmed a bit.

But when I saw the general response to these two inches of snow, it felt like Oregon was prepping for snow madness. {Click photo to enlarge.}

Chains. On the buses. For two inches of snow. Most of which was melted from the roads anyway. Oh, brother.

At least the traffic was great coming into Portland, because, you know, lots of people were snowed in.


"the ultimate sophistication"

I was reading this talk last week, and this quote from Da Vinci resonated with me:

{Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication}

I love that. And I've been trying to incorporate that into my mentality. Since the new year, I've been taking time at the beginning of each week to go over what my wants and needs for the week. I borrow Julie Beck's system for allocating my time, and I've been making monthly goals for myself that include things from church goals to housework goals to fun goals. I weed out time-wasters and make sure to allow time for the things I really need to do and the things I love to do.

I've also been taking time to relish the small things, the simple things of my life. Nothing big has been going on around here, and so I'm taking this time to notice the beautiful minutiae in my life. I've been taking extra comfort in things like red patent leather clogs.

And patterned headbands.

When I pare down my days to the basics, to what I need and love, it works.


five for Friday

01. One of my supervisors brought me hot chocolate from the Pearl Bakery. It has been well established at IDL–Portland that I am a cocoa enthusiast.

02. With about half of the office out on installs and out-of-town meetings today, I might get some surreptitious reading done.

03. I get to do yesterday's Bananagrams puzzle. This puzzle is one of my favorites: "Each of the following seven-letter sets can be rearranged to spell out a common word that starts with ou or co and/or ends with ic or ct. How quickly can you find all the words?"

04. I'm looking forward to my lunch break when I can knit while watching Law and Order on TNT. Right now knitting is especially wonderful because I'm using the merino/camel blend Michelle sent for Christmas. Ahhh.

05. Why not another self-portrait for the heck of it? It's Friday!

Happy Friday, everyone!

{This weekend I plan on reading, sewing, Netflixing, and living it up in stretchy pants—my weekends are so often the same. And most of the time I'm okay with that.}


giving myself some slack

{"You gotta be kind to yourself"—She & Him

I woke up this morning feeling motivated, and for a weekday, that's a big deal for me. I have no problem staying motivated on my weekends, because I strive to cram as much housework and leisure activities as I can into my Saturdays. But on weekdays, despite my good (and usually productive) job, I often find myself feeling the length and weight of my day as I get ready in the morning.

But today was different.

Yes, I still caught the bus at 7:38 a.m. and strolled into the office at 8:30, and yes, I'll still roll into Wilsonville around 6:00 p.m., making for an 11ish-hour day. Yes, my evening will fly by all too quickly, with me grasping at every last second of home-time and Josh-time and quiet-time before bedtime.

But today I feel different. I can't say why I feel lighter today, but I do. And that's a good thing. A really good thing.


mashed potato season

I was in our local Target not too long ago, and I thought to buy some Idahoan Instant Mashed potatoes, which really are pretty good and quick to whip up. So I looked where the other instant items were. And nothing. After consulting one of the employees, I learned that it wasn't "mashed potato season." My first response? "When is mashed potato season??" See, to me mashed potato season is any season.

Apparently mashed potato season coincides with the holiday season, and come January, Target won't stock it.

Fast forward to last night when I wanted to make angel biscuits and surprisingly found myself out of powdered buttermilk (so much easier than liquid buttermilk). So Josh volunteered to go to Target (which is literally two minutes away), and I told him that if they didn't have powdered buttermilk to just get regular. Then I got a phone call from him saying that after talking to a Target employee, he learned they don't have any buttermilk anywhere.

I guess it's not buttermilk season either.


some things I love about my valentine

{Photo taken on three-month-iversary celebration at Moonstruck Chocolate Cafe}

:: he always knows the right thing to say to me when I'm upset
:: he tells me often how much he loves me (I'm a words-of-affirmation girl)
:: he takes me to the bus stop every morning and picks me up every evening
:: he vacuums our 770-square-foot apartment and does the dishes and folds underwear
:: he encourages me to do things I enjoy, like sewing, knitting, and talking to my mom
:: he makes the bed just because he knows it matters to me
:: he's always excited to see me when I get home from work
:: he likes to cuddle
:: we like the same TV shows
:: he gives killer back rubs
:: he makes me laugh all the time
:: I get to be his valentine forever

12 on 12: be my valentine

01. early morning laundry (meaning like 9:30 or 10:00, because I like to sleep in)
02. breakfast reading
03. the local fabric store I planned on going to for a zipper I needed, but Fabric Gallery was closed. Forever. Off to Joann's.
04. last-minute Valentine buying (I derive so much more pleasure out of finding the perfect card than making one, though I love every homemade Valentine I've ever received)
05. cream cheese brownies for our Primary class
06. cutting out a new project with my Grandma's old Gingher shears
07. watching Return to Me while baking
08. ending up at Red Robin because the wait anywhere else was way too long
09. a date to the Portland Opera! free tickets from my father-in-law's employer
10. after-opera snack (cream cheese brownies before setting aside the Primary kids'. . . .)
11. really achy feet after being in those beauties all night
12. my pillow never looked so inviting

I hope your Saturday was as lovely as mine!


like Powell's for fabric

Continuing in the vein of my last post, I'm going to tell you about a new favorite place of mine. A couple of weeks ago I was telling Karen (remember, she's my MIL) about my sewing progress (she gave me the book I've been using), and she told me about this store in northeast Portland called Fabric Depot. Um, yes, please.

So last Saturday I went.

And the sight that met me upon entering the store stopped me in my tracks.

Yes, it's like Powell's for fabric. I hardly knew where to start. I had a few specific projects to buy fabric and notions for, so at least I had some direction. But still. FD has a section dedicated to fabric with food prints. And there's an entire section for fake fur. I had to stop myself from stopping in the yarn section—yes, the yarn section. Plus the home deco fabric in the back. Plus the pattern corner. And the whole second half of the store is dedicated to notions (funny story: when I was a teenager and my mom was making my prom dress—told you she was good—she talked about getting notions for the dress, and I was confused and thought she meant ideas, like, "Hey, that's a good notion! What a great idea!" False. And yes, that was a seriously run-on sentence.)

I wish I'd taken a picture of my cart by the time I went to the cutting station, but just imagine a tiny cart overflowing with at least six bolts of fabric plus notions and a pillow form. The fabric was a little on the spendy side, even with everything 20-percent off, but this time I was okay with that. (I told Josh I would spend more than a little!)

Spoils of the day:

The only downside to this textiles excursion? I forgot the zipper I need in the cart when checking out. And it was the perfect color. {insert mild expletive here}

So. If any of you aspiring craft masters happen to be in the Portland area (whether specifically to come to Casa Wilson or not, though I can't tell you how much fun it would be to have visitors), I'd be happy to take you to the Powell's of fabric, Fabric Depot. And Powell's itself. Obviously.

**Don't forget that tomorrow is the 12th—pull out your cameras and get ready to take some pictures! I know I will!**


a love affair

I'm in love. So in love. With my sewing machine. I love it.

Love. it.

I really have no idea why my interest in sewing didn't spark earlier. Like, a-decade-ago earlier. You see, my mom is the master seamstress, the ultimate sewist. And being as objective as I can, I will say that really I haven't known anyone who can sew like my mother. I sewed a little growing up; in fact, I even made a skort for myself when I was probably nine or ten. But that's where it stopped. I think my mentality was something like "Mom can make anything, so why do I need to learn?"

Then once I got married and serious domesticity started setting in, my mentality switched to something like this: "Hold the phone! If I can't sew, how will my daughters ever have cute Easter dresses and first-day-of-school dresses?? If I can't sew, I'll never have window treatments!!" Enter the sewing machine on the Christmas list.

Now I can't get enough. I've been making my way through the book Stitch by Stitch: Learning to Sew One Project at a Time, and I think that, despite my late entry to sewing, I'm not a lost cause. (Though I do lament that I waited to pick up sewing until I moved to Oregon, 1,280 miles away from my mother and her patient tutelage.)

Since Christmas, I've made napkins with mitered corners.

I've made a knitting needle case. (I'm looking forward to filling it more, and yes, I do have a second size-7 straight needle, and some size-10 circulars are hiding in one of the pockets.)

I've made a knitting bag.

And it's reversible.

I've made an eye pack, which Josh was eager to model.

I have more projects in the works, and I'm itching like crazy to get to sewing clothes.

Sewing is just the best. Sorry, Mom, for not catching on eons ago, but I'm sure glad to finally be in the loop.


welcome, new week

It's a new week, and I have a blog post or two brewing in my brain (I hope I'm not the only one who mentally composes blog posts throughout the day). But for now, I'll keep it simple, because I don't have the pictures I need yet, and I'm too tired to be clever.

:: I forgot my book this morning, and on the matter of whether or not I cried about it to Josh on the drive to the bus stop, I plead the Fifth. (I debated for quite some time on whether or not to capitalize Fifth. I even consulted my Chicago. I'm sticking the capped Fifth, because it's merely an ellipted Fifth Amendment, and that's capitalized. So, yeah, I plead the capitalized Fifth.)

:: Josh gave me permission to give myself permission (follow that? because it's not that I need his permission to buy things, because, you know, we're both in charge here) to take a jaunt to Powell's so I have something to read on the way home. I was planning on going there soon anyway. And yes, those mugs I found earlier? They have coordinating plates. Yes.

:: My day has flown by. And I am a pro at making shipping labels. FedEx? UPS? USPS? I can do it all.

:: Plans for tonight? Perhaps some cleaning. And Pushing Daisies. Do I have dinner plans? Can I plead the Fifth two times in one blog post?

:: Over the weekend I saw a man in a green pleated skirt walking around the fabric store. It was yet another reminder that I'm in Portland, where there's a giant billboard that says, "Keep Portland Weird." Well, Portlandians, you're doing a great job.

:: For the past month, Blogger has been coming through the web filter at work, so I can blog and comment during slow seconds. (But pretend you didn't just read that, because I don't want to jinx it. "Read what?" Exactly.)

:: My favorite Super Bowl commercial is right here.


freezer Tetris

Last night Josh and I made a Costco and Target run, because we were running woefully low on basics like lunch materials and diet cola. As we were shopping, I noticed that Josh was throwing items into the cart that, when combined, I doubted would fit into our little freezer

Me: "Hon, I don't think that the caliente chicken strips and the Yoplait smoothie packs and the four frozen pizzas will fit into the freezer that already has the chicken nuggets and the potato fries and the chicken breasts and the 500 pounds of ground beef and the thousand and one pork chops."

Him: "Oh, we'll make it fit!"

Me: "No, you're going to make it fit."

Him: "Okay, it'll be like Tetris! And when I get one line complete it'll disappear and I'll get points."

Me: "I don't know if freezer Tetris plays by the rules like that."

So we made it home, and I played cupboard Tetris with the cereal boxes and cracker boxes and Instant Breakfast packets while Josh took on our tiny freezer. He had to make some tough decisions and throw away a couple of old items, but amazingly enough, he did it.

So, it turns out we can get caliente chicken strips and smoothie shakes in one Costco run.

Happy Friday, everyone!


"there goes the baker"

" . . . with his tray like always, the same old bread and rolls to sell!" You're singing the song now, right? And picturing Belle's stroll through her "small, provincial town"? Me too. And that brings me to today's post.

I read while I walk—all the time (though I did stop reading, though not walking, to take this photo). I first started this as a child, and I'm pretty sure I was inspired by Belle in the first place. I may or may not have strolled around my house with a basket on one arm and a book in my hands pretending to be my favorite Disney princess.

And the habit hasn't ceased. In fact, I even used to read while walking on campus (you know, when I used to be a student), which resulted in bumping into to people occasionally and slipping on the icy walkways. But I did it anyway. And I do it now.

Now I'll read while walking to work from the bus stop and while walking around the corner to the Pearl Bakery, where I'll read while waiting for my medium-hot-chocolate-with-whipped-cream-to-go. Mom used to will still laugh at my compulsion to bring a book with me everywhere, and you know, I've never once regretted it.

I mean, with a goal of reading 40 books this year, I have to get in as much reading time as I can, right?
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