Summer Reading

I suppose since tomorrow is September that summer is ending.  It makes me sad that our slow, relaxing summer is fading away.  We've had fun playing with family, traveling, swimming, watching Prison Break, and reading.  One of mine and Jilly's favorite things to do this summer was to go to the library.  She would crawl around playing with the excellent toys and books while I sat nearby and read.  And, to top it all off- the library has great air conditioning- bliss.

I read some pretty good books this summer, here's the roundup:

Fascinating book; it tells the story of the first human cells to be reproduced in a lab.  But, they were cells from a black woman and they were taken without her or her family's knowledge or any compensation.  It was the perfect mix of science and a great story.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Wow, this book was intense.  Jeannette tells about her childhood with an alcoholic and paranoid father who was constantly moving his family from one terrible living condition to another.  

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
I started out really liking this book but then I just got sick of it.  I think part of the problem was that I was listening to it and couldn't keep up with all the story lines.  It tells about a haggadah and how it miraculously survived through centuries of turmoil in Europe.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
This was not the most uplifting book, but was an excellent story about life on a circus train in the early 1900s.  I'm so glad I can finally see the movie now!

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
I read this book in high school, but I didn't remember it at all.  I loved it; it's such a sweet story mixed in with Civil Rights history.  It reminds me of To Kill a Mockingbird which is possibly the best book ever written.  

I'm not finished with this yet, but I love it.  It's part history part creepy murder mystery.  Can you tell I'm big into history?  Bryan is reading it as well, so it's fun to talk about together.

Yes, another history.  I'm not finished with this one either, but I love it.  We hear so much about Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, etc.  It's fun to finally hear about their mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, and- in Franklin's case- girlfriends.

What did you read this summer?



Last weekend Bryan's family was camping at Pinecrest but we had to be back for church and I had just barely gotten home so we just went for the day (my kind of camping!)

The boys had fun cliff jumping in the lake 
 (Bryan blends into the rock, but if you look closely you can see him!)

Jilly ate her first ice cream cone and LOVED it!

Chad caught us some yummy fish

I think we'll make a habit of this "day camping"


One Year

Auburn, CA - September 2010 

Auburn, CA - August 2011

I guess it's a little less than a year, but still- it's amazing what a year can do!  I'm so glad we have our Jilly girl to go on adventures with us now.  


Gotta get down on Friday

Last Friday we were with my sisters and they kindly sang this song at the top of their lungs for us.

And now it's been in my head all day today.  Thanks girls.

Have you missed her around here?  I sure have.  I'm sick of taking pictures of my clothes!  Even though there's no picture today, trust me, I am jazzing up my jeans.  

I'm sure you've been wondering what Jilly has been up to lately.
- She started saying "mama" and even though she hasn't connected that mama is me, it melts my heart every time
- She decided she can stand all on her own which enables her to get into even more mischief
- At her 9 month checkup the doctor said to start feeding her more table food and nursing less (hooray!)  This week we've discovered that she loves graham crackers (just like her dad) and cheese (just like her mom)
- She's way into animals lately so we have to stop and look at any cats or dogs (or any other creatures we encounter which thankfully isn't very many.)  I can foresee many fights in our future when she begs for a pet and I refuse.
- She is so fun to play with.  She giggles so much when we chase her or play peek-a-boo.  And we found an old wrapping paper roll that has been endless fun.  Maybe she could stay 9 months forever?!?!

Hope you get down this Friday.  Bryan and I are going on a hot date here and I can think of no better way to get down on Friday.  :)


closet orphan

Yesterday the challenge was to find a closet orphan to bring out into the light.  I got this shirt as a gift a few years ago and I love it but it's too big.  I decided to give it one more try.  Belting it helped a lot but the neck was still humongous.  By 11 in the morning I was totally sick of adjusting straps and pulling the sleeve back up on my shoulder.  So, I took a yucky mirror picture and changed.  Goodwill will be receiving this shirt soon.

Shirt- H&M, Belt- Old Navy, Pearl earrings- Walmart, Shorts- Old navy, Plaid Flats- Target



I realized yesterday why I like this whole 21 Day Challenge thing.  In high school, I lived for Spirit Week. This is like a big spirit week, except this time the intent isn't to look as ridiculous as possible.  All one color day (monochromatic day if you want to be sophisticated) was one of my absolute favorites in high school.  I dressed in head to toe pink and it was just as fabulous as you are imagining.  Yesterday I opted for blue.

Earrings- gift from my mom, Shirt- DownEast Basics, Skirt- made by me, Bracelet- necklace from Penelope's, Shoes- Famous Footwear (sadly I have no blue shoes)



I missed the first week of the 21 Day Challenge but decided this morning I needed to jump on the bandwagon.  Today's challenge was to mix dressy and casual.  90% of my clothes were in piles on the floor to be washed, and my day consisted of laundry, baking bread, paying bills, finally unpacking and organizing, creating our menu for the week, grocery shopping, going to the library and begging for a new library card since mine broke in half for the third time, etc.  I decided dressy + casual just wasn't going to happen for me today.  So, I traveled back in time to yesterday's challenge- layering accessories.

shirt- H&M, pearl necklace- Penelope's (my fav. jewelry store in Richmond), other necklace necklace-H&M, green skirt- H&M (are you noticing a pattern?)  polka dot flats- old, Target maybe?

This is something I haven't ever done before but I think I kind of like it.  My double necklaces made my boring t-shirt and skirt outfit a little exciting.

The only problem was that my necklaces looked like this most of the day:
Oh, the joys of mothering.

Join in!  Find tomorrow's challenge here

21 Day Challenge



Jilly and I are home from our trip with lots of sleep to catch up on and piles of laundry to do.  It's always hard to come back to reality.

On the airplane Jillian needed no small amount of entertaining.  For 90 minutes she ripped pages out of the Sky Mall magazine, looked at her book, played with some toys, watched in glee as I turned the reading light on and off and on and off, ate Cheerios, stuck her hand in my cup, spilled water all over my lap, and then did it all over again approximately 5,000 times.

We sat next to a guy who was about my age.  Near the end of the flight he said to me, "Are you a wizard?" I said, "Um, a wizard??"  "Yeah, you keep finding things for her to do, you're a Baby Wizard!"


9 months

J is for Jillian

Things Jilly loves:
- cheerios
- playing in the pool
- avocado
- her pink blankie
- Bryan's guitar
- pulling all the DVDs off our shelf
- stuffed animals
- my cell phone
- clapping
- playing with my makeup
- watermelon
- cats and dogs 
- being naked


21 Day Challenge

My wise mother taught me that the best way to help yourself feel better is to dress better.  Whenever I was tired, nervous, or not feeling well she'd tell me to wear something nice and I would feel more ready for the day.  And, what do you know- she was right (as always.)

Nowadays I usually only see Bryan, Jilly, and a handful of strangers at the grocery store during the day.  But I still feel better when I get dressed.  Yes, some days call for jammies.  But on the days I get dressed I feel ready for anything.

Kayla from Freckles in April is doing a 21 Day Challenge.  She'll give a daily outfit prompt and anyone can participate.  The thought of taking a picture of what I'm wearing everyday is just about as appealing to me as tearing out my own eyeballs (yes, that bad.)  But, I think this will be a fun little adventure and give me more of a reason to get dressed.  I'll miss the first week since I'm leaving on a little trip, but I really want to try it when I get home.  So, will you do it with me?  Pretty please?!?!

21 Day Challenge


I'm a real mom

Yesterday I decided that maybe organizing all the clothes Jillian has outgrown would be a good idea.  So, I sat down and started sorting into piles.  And, here's how it went:

Oh, there's the outfit she wore the first time she rolled over.

There is my favorite red hooded outfit.  I wish we had another one for this winter.

There is her cute Valentine's outfit.

There's the outfit Jilly never actually wore out of the house because it somehow got dirty every time I put it on her.

There's the dress she wore her first time to church.

And then the kicker- the outfit that drowned her when we brought her home from the hospital that now would maybe cover half her body.

As I sat there crying my little eyes out while Jilly crawled around pulling clothes from my neat piles I knew that I had officially entered the gates of Mommydom.



During Year 3 of our marriage Bryan told me, "Your cooking has really improved since we first got married," which we all know really means, "your dinners used to be terrible."  At first I felt a little miffed but then I realized he was 100% right.  At least things were getting better.

Two years ago I asked my mom for a sewing machine for Christmas.  I imagined beautiful handmade quilts adorning each bed in our house.  But then I got my sewing machine and realized I didn't even know how to thread the bobbin.  So I've been slowly trying to figure out this whole sewing thing.  My mom also gave me a few kits with instructions to make some little holiday wall hangings.  Last summer I made this one for July:

It was soooo bad.  I'm surprised I didn't throw it away.  I don't know if you can tell from the picture but the binding is completely awful, the bottom edge is so not straight, the fabric is completely wrinkled, and I didn't even bother to switch my thread so there are little blue dots in the seams of my stars.  Awesome, right?

This summer I got another July kit and made this:
Clearly not perfect, but better right? (the angle of the picture makes my edges look really crooked, but they're actually quite straight, I promise!)

Recently I decided to make bread.  I used Kayla's recipe and although they tasted quite delicious, my loaves definitely wouldn't win any award for aesthetics.  Hopefully my bread-making skills will start improving soon.



We were driving home from the store and Jillian was freaking out.  She usually loves being in her carseat so I couldn't figure out why she was screaming.  I finally decided to pull over and see if the seatbelt was pinching her or something.  We stopped at a nearby park and when I got her out she immediately started smiling, laughing, and kicking; she just wanted to be outside.  It was in the 80s and a nice cool breeze was blowing on us as I sat and read and Jilly crawled around exploring.

Good call Jilly-girl, good call.


Santa Cruz

Last weekend we spent a day in Santa Cruz with Bryan's family.  We stopped at Jeff's house first then headed to the beach.  The day started out cold, turned out to be pretty nice, then ended off freezing cold. Oh well, the boys still played in the water and we enjoyed the warm sand.

matchy cousins

We got a smile out of baby Kirra!

my beach babe

four lumps in the ocean = four martinez brothers

one of her very favorite foods

the whole gang



I love weddings, and I especially love weddings of people I love.  Katie and Neal's wedding was absolutely perfect.  The wedding was a month ago, but we just got all the pictures back and I had to share.

the happy couple coming out of the temple


obviously Jilly adores Auntie Katie

the reception was at Walkerton Tavern, which was beautiful


this is a re-creation of a picture from my wedding

good thing Mom was there to make Bryan look pretty

what handsome guys

Anderson Family

Martinez Family

the flower man- I seriously think he was holding my bouquet more than I was

the wedding party

don't we have the cutest cousins?

my mom and I made 200 cake pops 

it was Bethany's birthday so she told everyone the B (for Ballew) on the cake was really a B for Bethany

this was so cute- somehow these two managed to escape the crowds and have some time alone

My mom says we have to wait 5 years between each wedding to give her a break (a rule that Katie already broke because she only waited 4 years after mine.)  But, this wedding was so fun, I just can't wait for the next one!