Monday, November 11, 2013

When the Boys Sleep

Hello friends. I have official news to deliver, drumroll please......
I have started my own little craft/etsy business!!!!  
(haha, you thought that I was pregnant, huh?)

I have always loved to craft and sew, but with a full-time job and small children, I only had occasional moments to do it.   After years of hearing people tell me "You should sell your stuff" I told myself, "what the heck, I'll give it a try, afterall, I don't have a full-time job outside of the home anymore."

 I brooded over the name of my company for a few months before I had my epiphany.  DUH! I get all my crafting done "When the Boys Sleep." There you have it - my name. You can find me on facebook, pinterest, etsy and a separate blog. So, please "like, share, pin, shop and read" all about it!!! I will be adding new items weekly and am excited to get my little business running full speed. And thank you to everyone who has encouraged and supported me so far.

I know that all my readers here are people I know, so if you contact me directly via email I can give you the friends and family discount. wink, wink;)

Check out the oh-so-professional business cards that Jason ordered me. Double-sided and glossy....Fancy-schmancy, huh?

Saturday, November 9, 2013


 After months of Jason working 14hour/6 days a week, we finally got to leave town and be together for a little bit. Jason had some work obligations in Logan, Utah; so we all packed up the van and headed north. We stopped in El Paso, TX to see my sister for a few days; visited some friends in Farmington, NM and then up to South Jordan, UT, and finally to Preston, ID. We traveled up and down Utah/Idaho throughout the stay visiting with friends. 

We traveled approximately 81 hours in the car during that 2 week visit and moved our sleeping quarters 8 different times. When we finally got home, everyone was more than happy to stay home for a few days and sleep in our own beds!

Me and Jason at the annual RSI/FOX banquet. Once again, Jason received lots of recognition for his hard work and an armful of plaques. This year was extra special because Jason is now a part owner in Fox.
At the RSI banquet with some good friends. Nicole, Natalie & Danielle. Logan, UT

 THIS is the view from Mike & Nicole's yard, pretty awesome, huh? Preston, ID
Try getting a photo of all 3 little guys looking at the's impossible. Antelope Island, UT

At Gardner Village with the Manderinos. South Jordan, UT

Jason pushing Josiah on Grandpa Burnham's tire swing. Ogden, UT

Arlo & Grandpa Burnham in the garden. Ogden, UT

My sister and I with a cute little photobomber. El Paso, TX

A "real army-guy tank" El Paso, TX

Josiah & Miles with cousin Audrey. El Paso, TX

Friday, August 23, 2013

Farewell Tribute to Blankie

When I was pregnant with the twins, a good friend (April Duvall) made puppy dog blankets for the boys. We used them to swaddle the boys for every nap and at night-time. Josiah used a binkie and Arlo sucked his thumb. BUT, for Arlo to suck his thumb, he had to have his puppy-dog blanket or a crocheted burp cloth. We eventually lost all the little burp cloths and Arlo became devoted to his puppy-dog "Kee-Kee" (nicknamed from when he tried to pronounce the word, blankie). He would suck his left thumb and rub the corner of the blanket against his nose - so cute. That blankie has been Arlo's companion for 4 years and has traveled the country, gone on 4-wheelers, planes, go-carts, and swings. It has been to Utah, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Virginia, Florida, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Yellowstone Park, beaches, mountains, and camping. This little blue blanket has been Arlo's traveling companion for hours upon hours in the van. Kee-kee has given courage and comfort to Arlo when he was sad or scared. The blankie is now thread-bare and I had to sew another piece of flannel to it for reinforcement. Starting at 36"x36" big, it now is only 23"x25" (the thread-bare fabric ripped multiple times and I mended the edges).

Over a week ago, Arlo lost his blankie somewhere in the house. We searched and searched, but Arlo had to go to bed without him. For two days we searched all the crevices of the house. By day 2, Arlo was doing great - no thumb sucking! So, when I finally did find blankie in the back of a corner kitchen cabinet, I snuck him to the washing machine and packed him away in the closet until he's 20 years old!

Here are just a few pictures of kee-kee....


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey

Since we moved to south Texas 2 months ago, we haven't seen much of Jason. He is working 12-14 hour days, 6 days a week. (Although, I can't complain, because it's so much better than him being out of town all the time, especially since we get him home all day on Sundays now.) Jason works hard to carve little bits of time each day to come home and have lunch with us, or just play for a few minutes. A few weeks ago, Jason was able to take off Friday evening so we could all go to the circus. It was a much needed break for all of us to spend time together - and we had so much fun! I loved watching the boys during the circus - their faces were priceless. We'll be going again. =)

Family Night

This little guy had his hand in the popcorn bag the ENTIRE show!! He loved the over-salted, over-buttered circus popcorn SO much. It was so salty, he drank 2 full sippie cups of water while at the show. hehe....
The boys really loved all the dog tricks
Some pretty amazing tight-rope acts
Arlo & daddy

Josiah, Miles & Mom
The boys LOVED the elephants. Their favorite part of the show.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Happy 4th!

I'm a little behind posting here because of the move, but I'll get caught up soon enough...

This past June, my Arlo & Josiah turned 4 years old. In the past month & half, I have decided that 4 years old is GREAT! It's the age that they are more independent than a toddler & less whiny. They want to learn everything and try new things. I think I am really going to enjoy this age =)

For their party, the boys wanted a Superhero theme. We invited lots of little boys to dress up in costume and come celebrate with us. We had pizza and watermelon and drank out of superhero cups that everyone could take home. We played some superhero games, ate cake, opened presents and jumped on the trampoline.

The cakes and goodie bag favors.

Poor little Josiah got a sudden fever during the party and wouldn't get off the couch. He didn't want to go upstairs & miss the party, so he just rested on the couch with his gifts while the festivities continued. I gave him some tylenol and he was up and playing by the end of the party. It was so sad to see him laying there for his own party though =(
Pizza & watermelon

The birthday boys and their cakes =)

The cute little boys at the party! Dallin Billings, Weston Vaterlaus, Reid Vaterlaus, Gavin Rencher, Dominic Haynes, Miles, Arlo, Josiah.

My little superheroes
This little boy is a ray of sunshine in my life. I can't even describe how amazed I am at his loving and self-less personality. Arlo is always concerned about others and sacrifices daily to help those around him. He is quick to volunteer and shares so willingly. He never likes to see someone sad & will do whatever it takes to help him/her feel happy again. Arlo has a soft heart and often gets his feelings hurt though - it breaks my heart to watch him be sad. Arlo loves to snuggle. I would say that his favorite thing in the world is to curl up on the couch with a buddy to read a book or watch a movie. He always wants me to put my arm around him anytime we are sitting together. Arlo is an affectionate little guy.

I asked Arlo a few questions for the record:
Favorite color: Orange & Green
Favorite food: Sausage (kielbasa)
What you want to do when you grow up: Work for Fox Pest Control  :)

This little guy has an imagination like you wouldn't believe! He loves to play pretend and is always up for an adventure. Josiah has a thirst for learning new things and wants to be more independent. He loves to be in a structured atmosphere, like primary & swim class. The boys will be entering pre-K this Fall and Josiah is more than ready. He is also quite the artist as well. He discovered the joy of coloring a few months ago and is pretty darn awesome at staying within the lines. Josiah loves to dress up in costumes, play superhero and wrestle.

Josiah's questions:
Favorite color: Red
Favorite food: Mandarin oranges
What you want to do when you grow up: Work for Fox Pest Control :)

The boys are so smart and they absorb knowledge like a sponge. They can write their letters, their names and are learning how to spell/write more words every day. We work to have little bit of "school time" every day and I hope they will always love learning. Arlo and Josiah are quite the duo - they are the best of friends and together, they can be quite mischevious.  Miles (being 15 months now) is a true toddler and thinks that he can do everything that the twins do. The duo is quickly become a "trio of trouble." =) Everyday life with these boys is adventurous and unpredictable!! Jason and I are so grateful for these strong spirits and look forward to all the excitement in the future. Happy Birthday Arlo & Josiah!!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Rebuilding their Lives

Let me set one thing straight. I am not writing this post to brag about "how awesome I am and how I must be such a good person for helping those in Oklahoma last week." If you comment on this blog-post, please refrain from complimenting me - it is unnecessary. I share photos and stories because I want everyone to see that mankind is good by nature. Tragedies like May 20, 2013 bring strangers together and no one discriminates. Here is my experience in a nutshell; I hope these stories will inspire you.

On Monday evening the tornado hits and media spreads the devastating news. Jason was working out of town and called me immediately. "Dana, ask around for people to gather supplies. I'm coming home tomorrow and we are going to Oklahoma to help." I get on FB and post a request for supplies. Word spreads to neighbors and friends at church....then they pass the word to others. By Tuesday evening, we are in need of a trailer for all the supplies people donated. Dozens of people went out of their way to donate and I can't even begin to name them all; but I have to give a special shout-out to 3 VERY influential people...Keri Jackson, Amy Jackson, and Jennifer ladies are AWESOME!!

Just to give you an idea of the SOME things that were donated: 10 HUGE black garbage bags of clothes, cases of water, hundreds of granola bars, crackers & PB, canned food, baby food, baby formula, 52 MRE's, stuffed animals, toys & books, blankets, boxes & boxes of every toiletry you can think of. I visited Home Depot to purchase goods and the store donated 8 headlamps & 31 pairs of leather work gloves. Jennifer Galek spread the word to those at her work and raised over $1600 - with the money she was able to purchase 20 shovels, 21 flashlights, 40 gloves, 20 baseball caps, ~150 pairs of socks, ~80 pairs of underwear, 15 sports bras, 4 blankets, 16 packs of baby wipes, ~360 toothbrushes, toothpastes, deodorants, lotions, hand sanitizers. (I'm sure that I'm even forgetting lots of stuff!) She also put together kids' bags to hand out with coloring books, markers, bubbles & stuffed animals. The photo below is just a small bit of what we were able to collect and deliver. The trailer we pulled was completely packed with supplies!!!

Just a small sampling of what we collected
We loaded up the trailer on Wednesday night and headed out the next morning. The boys "helped" me make the sign for the back of the trailer. I'll admit, it felt good to have people honking and giving us thumbs up as we drove down the highway. The support from other drivers just reinforced that we were about to do something great for others.
When we got to Moore, this is just some of what we saw. There were neighborhoods that were completely demolished by the tornado. There was nothing standing for blocks.  Vehicles were tossed around like toy cars and they landed down the street from where they were picked up.

Trees with a 10 foot base were completely uprooted.

Our first stop was at a hotel to meet and help the sister of our dear friend. Meet Marty (pictured with my husband and kids=). Marty and her 2 sons lost their home from the tornado (see photo below). When news of the upcoming tornado, Marty and her sons rushed to the bathroom, hid in the tub & covered themselves with a mattress. It is a miracle no one was hurt. Marty & her sons are in the process of recovering what is left in their home, but have very little in good condition to keep.   They were able to stay at Life Church for a few nights until their home insurance paid for a hotel. They have one month in the hotel before they need to find a new home. Their cars were totaled and with only liability insurance, they will not be funded for a replacement car. Marty's niece (a good friend of mine) is raising money for her to rebuild their lives. If you would like to contribute, follow the link. =)
What is left of Marty's home.

After meeting up with Marty, we hit the neighborhoods with our trailer of supplies. We asked every person in sight "What do you need?" Initially, each person would just wave us on and say that they needed nothing. BUT, as soon as we started listing all the supplies in the trailer, inevitably, there was something that interested them....shovels, gloves, a baseball cap, a granola bar, clean socks and even a new pair of underwear. You know, people don't mind working in dirty clothes, but EVERYONE likes a clean pair of underwear!! ;) 
Meet Deena. She lives across the street from Marty and lost her home as well. Deena ran an in-home daycare and at the time she was taking care of 6 young children. When the tornado hit, she was huddled over the children in her closet. 2 cars fell on top of her house, but with the Lord's mercy, everyone crawled out unharmed. When we met Deena, they had just removed the 2 cars from her house and she was digging through the rubble. She didn't get much out - I noticed a highchair, a few toys, glass bowls & some kitchen pots. It was inspiring to talk to Deena - despite the circumstances, she was in such good spirits. We later met one of the children that was in her home at the time - a little 2 year old girl - we were able to give her one of the kids' bags.  Deena's next door neighbor was not so fortunate. Her neighbor was huddled down with her teenage son during the storm, but was killed when the tornado hit the house.

You wouldn't believe people's gratitude for the things that we delivered. Everyone was so overwhelmed at Austin's generosity. With the Sooner/Long Horn rivalry, one man said "Well, the Sooners sure love and appreciate the Long Horns right now!!"  It was interesting to see what people were most excited to receive. The women wanted a razor more than anything else. Multiple women explained how they "just wanted to feel like a woman again."  We were also able to give them sports bras and underwear. Many people will have to replace all of the clothing in their homes because it got wet and covered in housing insulation (which you shouldn't wear, even if washed.)  One man couldn't stand to leave his home at night, so he was camping out there each night - we gave him a much needed lantern and supplies.

While driving around neighborhoods, one man asked if we had any extra shoes in our trailer (he was wearing sandals). I dug through and found a pair of Jason's old tennis shoes that I had thrown in last minute. It was the ONLY pair of men's shoes in the trailer and they were the EXACT shoe size for that man. What a tender mercy of the Lord. By then, we had already given away all of our new socks, so Jason took his socks off and gave them to the man. Yeah, they were probably dirty, but that man didn't care.

This is Sheri and her family (pictured with myself, husband and my boys). They completely lost their home from the tornado. We were able to give a lot of donations to this family. The kids, Braden & Sierra were thrilled about the kids' bags that Jeni Galek put together and we had other toys donated from others that they so excited to receive. (There were a few more children in this family that were not in the neighborhood at the time; but we left some items for them to take as well =) Talking to this family really put life into perspective for me. Of course, losing their home, belongings, and vehicles was devastating; but they were filled with so much gratitude for their lives. They are full of optimism and hope for rebuilding their future. Despite their awful circumstances, they were smiles the whole time we were with them.

I saw this and had to take a photo....oh, the irony.

A community playground nearby.
People can have a sense of humor during crisis....they laugh so they don't cry.

We spoke to the man that owned this "house" and we were able to give him the last package of underwear that we had left in our trailer. And man, was he grateful.
We were able to be in Moore for part of Memorial Day weekend and we saw many flags above the rubble. It was both humbling and empowering to see these flags. The United States is a blessed country and our citizens will always come together in times of crisis... religion, race, political party, economic all goes out the window when a fellow American needs help. I am so grateful that my family could be a small part of helping those in Moore. In fact, I felt selfish to be the lucky person who delivered those supplies and to see the the gratitude on people's faces. They all asked who we were and I was proud to tell them that the people of Austin donated these supplies and were praying for the families in Moore

It was hard to understand how one house could be standing unharmed (missing a few shingles) while the house next door was completely demolished, along with the rest of the neighborhood. We saw this a lot throughout the neighborhoods. Crazy.
Throughout our short time in Moore I expressed many moments of frustration to Jason. I felt like we weren't making a difference.  I kept telling him that all the little stuff in our trailer was insignificant to what these people need....they no longer have a home, a bed, furniture, clothing or those irreplaceable photos. Jason had to remind me many times that the things we brought were in fact.....PRECIOUS to them. Insurance will pay for much of what they lost, but we were bringing them hope, love, and prayers from Austin. Even if someone only needed one item from our trailer, it meant the world to them.
I'm sorry that I didn't get a photo or the name of this woman, but she was so brave. With news of the tornado, she was able to hide out in this storm shelter underground and remain safe (pictured above). The sad part of her story is that her husband had a broken hip and could not get down there with her. He had to stay in the home during the storm and is now hospitalized with more injuries. He will be out of the hospital soon and be okay, but what a sad story. I couldn't imagine the fear and helplessness of that wife when she had to leave her husband in the house during the storm. When we offered supplies to this woman, she didn't need anything. I gave her a long hug and a stuffed animal.

Throughout all the neighborhoods, different organizations set up tents with food and water. This particular group was grilling hot dogs and burgers for anyone who came by. Many residents spent the days picking through the remainder of their home and were too busy to seek out food and volunteers walked through the neighborhoods pushing shopping carts or dollies filled with food, sandwiches, water and gatorade. The Wal-Mart parking lot was FILLED with trucks and outdoor tents....TIDE had set up dozens of washers and dryers in the parking lot so that victims could wash their clothes for free. One organization in the parking lot had 20,000 burgers they were grilling with chips and drinks - free to anyone.  When we walked in the wal-mart store, the aisles were absolutely packed with pallets of products and racks and racks of clothes - I would be surprised if you could fit a cart down some aisles! We heard Home Depot was allowing victims to come get supplies that they needed free of cost. No matter where we went in Moore, people were helping and were kind to one another- it was a humbling experience.

When we stopped at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an empty semi truck was parked in the parking lot and had just delivered a full trailer of work supplies.....chainsaws, wheel barrows, gloves, rakes, shovels, water, hygiene kits, work shirts generators, sleeping cots, propane tanks, etc, etc. Later that weekend, volunteers were able to do some amazing work with those supplies. Follow this link for more details.

On our drive out of Moore, we followed this rainbow.  The tornado victims have a long road of building ahead of them, but here's some hope for the people of Oklahoma.

At the end of our trip, we still had some clothes and some supplies left. We stopped at a hotel and left toiletries, coloring books, markers & bubbles in the front lobby. Many parents didn't take their kids back to the houses and we had no other way to contact them. The lady at the front desk told me there were at least 20 children in the hotel who had lost their homes  - and I'm sure they were thrilled to receive those toys. We left the remaining clothes with some friends in Moore. Those clothes have been organized and set aside for a few specific families who lost their single mother with 8 children and another family with 4 children.

At first, I was overwhelmed at the thought of bringing our 3 year old twin boys and our 1 year old boy to Oklahoma with us. But, as we gathered donations, and saw the excitement from the twins, there was no way we could leave them. This was an experience that they will never forget and a lesson that I could never teach from a book. It was a harsh reality for them to see these homes and  talk to the kids who lost everything; but it was also heart-softening for them. Jason and I watched as Arlo & Josiah gave hugs to the kids and were so excited to give the children toys.  My children learned, first hand, sympathy and compassion for others.

Thank you to all who gave. Your donations were gratefully received. Please continue praying for Moore.