Monday, November 16, 2009

Glad to know she knows!

After just finishing one fruit leather, Taya just pulled two more out and asked for them a few times in a row ...

'You just had one Taya, so we're all done with those for today, but maybe tomorrow'

(Repeat the begging and this response 3 times)

Finally Taya said:

Noooo.  Not tomorrow!  ..Me Special!!


Glad to see the message I've been telling her for many, many, many nights has gotten through - one way or another!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Small Miracle

Yesterday Taya woke up with her Arthritis inflamed again, so much so that she initially couldn't walk, let alone even stand.  I called into work to take a little extra time to care for her, giving her a bath, medicine & massage.  She was still limping badly by the time I dropped her off at Annie's house.  Around that time, I texted family and a couple of friends, informing them that her condition had returned in full force & requesting thoughts & prayers.  I had beautiful response letting me know that those prayers were said and those thoughts were nurtured.  Those were a comfort.  

The small (or even big to me) miracle that occurred was that today Taya had hardly a trace of the inflammation.  Pretty much zip, zero inflammation/limping.  We're taking it day by day, but I particularly wanted that load lightened if possible at this moment, and it is just a good reminder that prayer works.  And when you need it from others, it is humbling to ask, but gratifying and comforting to receive the answer from the Lord - in this case, the answer was immediate recovery.  (I would not have expected that at all since she limped straight from the beginning of March '09 to Aug. 7th when she received her steroid shots).

I'm thankful for prayer.  I'm thankful for those dear times when Heavenly Father delivers simply and clearly - which feels like a gift that nurtures me and reminds me He is always there and loves me.  

So thank you to any of you who prayed for Taya yesterday.  It worked :)

Now she's back to dancing, attempting to ride her tricycle & jumping on our mini-trampoline again.  


Happy Girl She is.

And grateful Mom am I.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Downpour of Goodness

So I believe I mentioned in the last post that I had more big news to share ....

Paul & I both just started full time jobs.  Yes, full.time.jobs.  

Can you believe it?  At first, I think we didn't, and that is why I'm not sharing this until after we've already started in full swing.  After pretty much accepting a different job offer from a firm that he was previously unfamiliar with, Paul was contacted by an architecture firm called Smithgroup, a firm that he has been networking with all year long and that has been his top choice. They asked his status, brought him in for an extra interview, offered him a job on the spot and asked him to start the next day!  After discussing it with me, he happily (and giddily I suspect) accepted, and then went in person to turn down the other job offer he had just recently accepted.  ... A bit tricky, but they understood and the choice to work for this great firm, Smithgroup, was very obvious.  Now Paul is already working full time and spending time on a crime lab design in Denver, CO -pretty interesting already.

I am doing a type of social work in my job, going back to my psychology major roots, and am really enjoying it so far.  I am in training as an in-home educator to families that are at risk for child abuse and neglect; essentially I will be building caring and trusting relationships with parents (many moms especially) in which I can support them in developing healthy family relationships (with their children specifically) and in becoming self-sufficient and hopefully goal oriented.  

We both found out about our initial offers within a day or so of each other, and on top of that, found a great and trustworthy babysitting set-up for Taya (our friend, Annie, for those of you who know her - so Taya and Annie's 3 year old son, Daniel, get lots of time together).  It all came together quite smoothly and we're truly grateful for this time to recover from the past 11 months of unemployment.  Receiving these blessings all at once makes it feel like an unbelievable fragile gift - like we could only accept it honorably if we accompany it with a plan of positive action and gratitude, and one that includes 'paying it forward'.  It is very helpful for both of us to have full time jobs right now in order to help us with a little bit of recovery from this past year.  Also, with my job relating to healthy parent-child relationships, it is a good chance for me to thoroughly examine my parenting and relationship to Taya.  I have already been soaking up these last couple of weeks of training, just giving closer attention to how secure I can help Taya feel in our relationship.  The order in which different events have taken place for us this past month, and even the last several months makes this downpour of blessings seem very purposeful.  We constantly prayed for guidance in our priorities over the last year; whether to prioritize occasional temporary jobs that would help us with the next month's mortgage, but take away from the ongoing job hunt, whether to prioritize time, energy and even cost into projects like the one mentioned in the previous post, Urban Polkadot, as well as an architecture competition that Paul won, or whether to always prioritize job hunting 100+% ... it seemed there was a balance of different priorities at different times, but that as long as we prayed and continued working hard, we would be guided with peace, sometimes clear peace and sometimes peace that was a little bit harder to distinguish, but we were continually guided by our Heavenly Father.  And even though we knew we were praying for this guidance and strength, sometimes it was hard to see its apparency.  I wish my faith did not falter and slightly wonder about the apparency of Heavenly Father's guidance in those times, but I think the most important thing out of this is that whether or not we see the guidance, peace or blessings as clear and apparent in that moment, we can know that Heavenly Father has a plan for us and that He will help foster our growth and path of learning in this life.  

I never responded with a follow-up post to my recent post about trials, when so many of you left such kind comments.  But what I've wanted to say then and at so many other times during this past year is how much all of your prayers, kindness, concern for our well-being, occasional excuse to give us your 'leftover' food, load of strawberries, or caring phone conversations have meant to us.  It actually means a great deal to hear 'you're in my prayers/thoughts' ... to think that someone else is spending a moment at night on his/her knees or over the dinner table thinking of or asking for help in honor of my family was really comforting and humbling.  It makes me want to spend more time in my prayers at night mentioning more specific names of who I am pleading for.  I always think of my Grandma Harris on her feeble knees pleading for one soul after another night after night.  There is so much purity and strength in this.  So thank you for your prayers & thoughts - whether they were once or twice or very frequent.  We are grateful to you.  With some people's trials, you can feel so helpless to assist them, and I suppose some of our experiences this year could have left family or friends feeling this way, but as I said, just hearing people tell us that we were in their prayers added additional peace and strength to our lives.  

One thing I've thought about so many times since the last post that I talked about trials in is that there are so many people around us with invisible trials.  ... Trials that are so private that these individuals may not have a single friend, family member or comfortable/available counselor to talk to.  My heart goes out to these people.  I mean I almost feel like I am thinking of one or two people in particular without knowing who they are, praying for them anonymously, especially with a heart's prayer.  Do you know what I mean?  Do you ever think about people and their heartache without even knowing who you're thinking about?  Many of our trials this past year have been more visible, therefore resulting in more caring and action from friends/family members.  I sorrow for those around me with invisible trials, but perhaps they have an opportunity to draw even nearer unto our Savior - in a way that is hard to find without feeling entirely alone.  That is the most sacred and important factor out of all of this.  We may have God-sent loved ones or even strangers who lighten our days, but when we don't, and even when we do, we have our Savior to cleave to.  We have His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and therefore, His understanding, and we have His unconditional love.  

In this single way, no matter what our trials are, or aren't, we are all threaded together by our Savior's Atonement.  


Paul & I are so grateful for our jobs and the opportunities they both provide, for our peace of mind of Taya's wonderful care (Thank you Annie), and although our unemployment phase lasted nearly a year (some unemployment phases are longer, some are shorter), we are amazed at how we have ended up lasting through it, as far as staying in our home, and remaining provided for all year long.  It's kind of shocking actually.  There have been so many lessons to learn through it all and we feel like we're better off as individuals from these lessons; of course there will be more, and we even still have more stresses to keep working through right now, but it's refreshing to see the outcome of some of these lessons and blessings after a year of 'interesting experiences'.  

I always hope I don't offend anyone in a post with thoughts like these, but these are my beliefs and I am grateful for my beliefs,

therefore I am grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ & for my Heavenly Father, for the Atonement, and for this plan called life.  


I sometimes wonder if my deep thoughts are too much to handle or too intense for a random read... but well, they are mine.  And I share them whatever they are.  


Monday, September 28, 2009

Urban Polkadot!!

Holy Guacamole, have we been up to a lot! Hmmm, that was cheesy, let me try again ...
Gee Wizzz you outa see what we've been up to!
Hmmm... still cheesy?
Eee gatz!! Do I have a lot to tell you Pumpkins!!

Okay, okay, enough.


So here is the story ... last winter, a month or two after Paul was laid off from Circle West Architects, I was telling him how I thought he could start selling something online with his artistic abilities; graphic design, woodworking, rendering, etc. ... so we kept our minds open to ideas. A little later, we noticed one night that Taya pulled one of our kitchen chairs up to the tv and plopped herself comfortably there to watch (tv, yikes, I know). We both thought it would be a fun project for Paul to make a wooden toddler chair for her. He came up with this endearing design very quickly; we immediately saw it as an opportunity to sell multiples. Shortly, Paul designed a table to go along with it, we picked out colors, chose company & product names,
Urban Polkadot & Taya's Table & Chair set, and one idea turned into another!
 


We eventually decided to take our design on the road while on a family trip in California back in July. We showed our products to several boutiques in Southern & Northern California & received great feedback! Shortly after, we decided to attend The ABC Exo (All Baby & Child tradeshow), a juvenile products show that is the largest of its kind. And we had A LOT to do to get ready! ...Brochures, press kits, designing & building a booth, paperwork, website creation, manufacturing/business/price point research, producing more table & chair sets, etc. etc. - all on a short deadline - we worked our hineys off - especially Paul! 
We attended the Expo in Las Vegas last month and it went great! The ABC Expo includes vendors such as Fisher Price, Graco, Maclaren, and more, including new or small companies like ourselves, and attendees such as online retailers to lots of boutiques to mass chain stores. 
We were received with a lot of enthusiasm by attendees (retailers) and have significant interest from many of them, including some retailers with key design appeal. We also had great interest from some different media sources. This
design blog included us in their display of ABC Show products too! 
So things are looking good!! We have a lot to do and are looking to have our table & chair sets on store shelves by Spring 2010. In the meantime, we plan on selling them online for the Christmas season (I'll make sure to let you know when that happens).
So go check it out!! www.urbanpolkadot.com
(And tell your friends! Or if you know of someone who would be interested in a small investment project, let us know & we'll be happy to share more about
Urban Polkadot with you -- and them :) )



Wondering why it's taken me so long to write this post?  Well, I don't know what was going on but I must have written and rewritten this post in different versions at least four times before blogger lost it and would not save it, or my computer would just shut off, etc.  Craziness.  Every time.  So between being very busy lately (with other updates to tell about) and not wanting my work lost again, this is what we get!  But just pretend the Expo happened last week - it'll make you feel better :)


Key Words:  Urban Polkadot, Kids Furniture, Toddler Furniture, Table & Chair Sets, Toddler Chair, modern nursery furniture, rocking horse, toddler rocker

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Somethin' Better

AwesomeRossom. We've been staring at that roach picture for far too long now, and the post before that was basically my sob story (with slightly positive aspirations right?) I just had to post something new to look at instead of that lovely roach picture; so here is a sneak peak of something I'm LONG overdue in posting about ...


Love Jana's photography as usual :)

Oh, did you think I was going to tell you about the long overdue topic? Naahh, this is just a teaser ...

Monday, August 31, 2009

Roaching Drama



Apparently, the sight of one of these on my bed is deserving of instantly yelping/tossing our laptop off my lap and onto the floor & finding hideaway by scurrying to the floor, crouched down in fetal position ... (okay, not quite fetal position, but, well -- almost)

WHY IS IT ON MY BED??!! I promise we're at least clean enough to let cockroaches know they are not welcome.
And the truth is, I spotted him an hour earlier on a pillow on the floor (before he disappeared under my bathrobe) and sat on Paul's side of the bed just to avoid him ... but he of course plotted against me and tickled my arm ... that filthy roach.
 
(A roach with which I'm color coordinating)

(A cricket?.. I could handle - unfortunately those are practically living with us so much they should be paying rent! But a roach - somehow it's just psychologically disturbing)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Good Morning!!



Bed.Head. I'n't She a Beauty?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Thoughty-Thoughts


(Deep Thoughts, by Jack Handy, wait no - by- Breanne - except don't let me deceive you, I'm not as funny as I'd like to be, and well, these aren't even meant to be funny - but this post felt like it needed a Deep Thoughts type of picture - -- this was taken on a backpacking trip a few years back)

I wrote a partial post a couple of weeks ago about the exhaustion of unemployment - about us (especially Paul) just wanting full time employment so bad.  I never finished it & never posted it, and I want to be honest on my blog so as not to paint a fake picture, but there is of course just general privacy to consider.  July was a tough month, good because we were able to go visit family & friends in California (will post pictures soon), but just tough in its events - besides always wanting employment or Taya's juvenile arthritis (did I ever confirm here to you that she does indeed have it?  It really ramped up in California too), I/we also dealt with a miscarriage while in California (7 weeks along & a forwarning feeling that it was not going to continue eased this loss a little) and some other concerning health news of a loved one, and weeks and weeks of flu sickness combined with miscarriage recovery.  I'm hesitant to mention all of that because those events are not my point of this post (I've already discussed these things plenty with a few close ones), but I know I can learn so much from those who are open about their trials & I think it will link to my next thoughts more clearly if I mention these specifics.  

I've been thinking about many aspects of dealing with life challenges, big & small.  I believe in not denying my troubles; this doesn't mean saying 'Wo is me, why me?', but just acknowledging them while they're around & allowing myself to fully experience them rather than tell myself I shouldn't feel this or that way (which will only come back to bite me).  I believe in finding the balance of being 'in the present' with my trials for a short time, yet also finding a point to move foward & to become more aware of others' trials as well.  Sometimes it feels like other people don't have trials when I'm in the thick of it even though I ultimately know better (I got sick of feeling wrapped up in myself & my thoughts during July).  But it is so nice to be there for others & hear their concerns; although I wish I could eliminate their worries, it is just so nice to think more of others when it's otherwise easier to think of myself - hence the reason it is so helpful to serve others always, but especially when having a hard personal time.  Sometimes when I find out about other people's heavy & hard challenges, I can initially be inclined to think 'what's wrong with me?  why am I so concerned about my troubles when they're nothing compared to this person's?'  -- but that really doesn't help anyone out either to think that way.  So I am working to find the balance of still allowing the knowledge of other people's hard trials to instill gratitude for my blessings, yet not take it to a discouraging level of 'look at them, if they can get through that then why can't I get through this?' type of thoughts.  It's all relative and our struggles are ours - they are real - and they are opportunities to refine our character & souls by.  I don't think what we've been going through is the heaviest hand dealt to people I know - NOT AT ALL, but I also am aware that we definitely have a few struggles here chucked at us at once.  I hope and think I am growing through it all, because that is most valuable to me; especially growing together as a family.  I want to be there for others - for them & I will admit that at times, it is partly for myself as well.  I do so much better when I can serve others and feel purpose in my thoughts & actions of concern for others instead of thoughts that sometimes feel like they lead to nowhere if they are all for myself (and my family).  I'm sorry to those right around me that I've been a bit wrapped up; I know you all have your own concerns & I want to be there for you, so if I am the person you ever want or need to confide in, please don't hesitate.  What have been some of your thoughts as you've all gone through various life challenges?  What attitudes/mentalities help you?  

We watched The Soloist last night & it was another good chance to put my thoughts & energy into what others are going through (without getting down on myself for worrying about my own challenges).  I have never seen the life of homeless people more accurately depicted than in this movie.  I am not currently involved in serving those that are homeless, but during college & in my first full time job, I have been involved with those that are homeless, mentally challenged and/or low-income.  I miss those days sometimes where it's hard not to stay grounded when you hear someone's life story and how their homeless or challenged state came to be, and where you know you've been able to help them for at least a moment.  I know I am focusing on mothering & current life goals right now, but I do plan to actively involve myself once again in a similar service oriented group.  According to the movie, there are 90,000 homeless people living in LA alone - 90,000!  This movie really helps you think about them as individuals with families and background stories instead of just 'homeless people' with very little personalization.   I am grateful for reminders like these to step beyond my scope in my thoughts & ponder what I can do for another.  

I don't know how much sense this all made, but I've been feeling a need to write about some of these thoughts.  My dad just finished my Grandma Harris' life story; I have read part of it through tears and cannot wait to read its entirety.  It makes me glad that I blog & that I share these thoughts, because even though my 500 word rambling could very well be too much for some, it might mean a lot to my posterity one day.  

As a follow-up note, I want to tell you that after many months of anticipation for treatment (long insurance delays) for Taya's arthritis, we are happy to say that she received steroid shots in both knees (was put under anesthesia) a little over a week ago; she seems to be doing much, much better from it - virtually no limping, we can straighten her left leg a little better, and she is just running around and hyper like a 2 year old should be (and I thought she was pretty active before!)  It is so fun to watch her enjoy herself physically & helps me to have perspective instead of dread her high level of energy that I can't quite match.  The shots are supposed to take effect for 6-12 months.  If her symptoms come back after 2-3 months, it would be considered fairly ineffective.  So we will wait and see & enjoy her health NOW.  On another note, if you think of any networking connections related to Paul's or my abilities (Paul - architecture, 3D renderings, logo designs, woodworking; Me - custom closet/cabinetry designs/bids, interior design assistance, psychology major/music minor) let us know!  I feel funny putting that out there sometimes, but obviously this blog isn't about holding back when I feel funny so I figure I should mention that since it's been a while - but we could still use your help!

If you made it to the bottom of this, you're one loyal friend or big procrastinator or have a lot of free time on your hands!  ; )  And now you're dying for something light to brake up all this seriousness - you'll have to find a funny blog now:)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Fish Splash, she was taking a bath! (too cheesy? and btw, she wasn't taking a bath)

You can finally exhale now (you can thank me - your face was turning blue) because as promised, here are the photos of Taya's fishy birthday party splash!  It was fun to create, so fun to see friends that generously drove the distance to join us (thank you again!!), fun to see Taya have a ball, and most of all, fun (yes fun) to hear her say "I yiiiiike fishies" over and over again for days as she looked up at the fish decorations and enjoyed her new present (a Beta fish - am I daring or what?!). 
(I am  anxious to get back into blogging more;  once I have more computer availability again - scout's honor , I will blog more!)


Isn't this a pretty sea photo?  We found it online and threw in a little text.


The floor was filled with blue balloons below these fish and we even used Taya's napping noise machine for ocean waves as background noise, which was soon drowned out by happy laughter.



A few other main fishy details at the party were fish shaped ice cubes, goldfish crackers, Finding Nemo playing in the background, and the classic fishing for treats/party favors game for the kids.

These pictures make me smile.



This cake was actually pretty fun to make; I think I'd try a fun cake  again!  And look at those cute fish sugar cookies Bianca so kindly made for me - they were adorable and so good!  Thanks again Bianca!

Can you hear her?  ... "I yiiiiike fishies" (yiiiiike = like)

Mr. fishy is enjoying his Ikea rocks as surroundings pretty well I think!
And that's it!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Taya Two Taya Bo Baya ... Taya!

Taya turned 2 this week!!  Here is a recent pic for now; having a fun party today ... more to come later.
We love Taya so much; I've especially had that feeling lately where sometimes I think I'm going to burst I love her so much.
Happy Birthday Taya!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Making Up for Lost Time

This makes 7 posts in one day!  Can you believe it?  The trick is to find them; kind of like our own little 'Where's Waldo' game, see these posts span back to May 4th and have a couple of posts in between that you have already seen (pretend they were a sneak preview, it'll make you feel good).  

As much as I am usually a pretty regular blogger, I also try at this point not to pressure myself or get down on my blogging self if I go too long without posting, but by this point it had just gone too far; I think I lost all 3 of my blogging fans.  I have just been a lot busier and consumed lately, but as I went to think of something (nothing came to mind) to post, I looked over my 'drafts' and realized I had several recently that I never finished or just decided not to post for one reason or another.  

So, put those slippers on, let your hair down (in slow motion if it makes you feel sexier - yes, I said sexier ladies), kick your feet back, pat your pillows, have a fully stocked fridge of favorite snacks within arm's reach, grab your food storage, have a camode installed near your computer - or just sit on the ol' toilet if you prefer, send your kids to college, and relax - you have 7 posts (including this one) to catch up on!!  

(I'm lucky if you make it through this post, let alone 7)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Unpredictable Blogging


Doesn't my blog posting just keep you on your toes?  (That's a semi-nice way of acknowledging my recent lack of posts) ...

I notice the less that I post, the less I post - make sense?  When Paul is home and working on our computer so much of the time and we're juggling busy schedules, blogging gets put on the back burner whether I mean to or not.  And then even when I have time to blog, I'm just not even in the mode, you know yo?  Did I just say 'yo'?  I'm white aren't I?  Like white-white, with freckles?  Well, what can I say, it just came out?  Anyway, back to my point ... that was .... oh, I guess I hadn't really made a clear point or story or moral of quirky story yet, so we'll correct that with .. to start with a point... 

Rejuvenation.  Last weekend and today I had some much needed rejuvanation.  Especially today.  Why did I need rejuvenation you ask? -- interior design internship, Classy Closets designing/follow-up/meetings, sorting out a mess of insurance denials for Taya to see needed Medical Specialists, juggling all this while attempting to take care of Taya and all the norm, church callings, while Paul continues to juggle a house remodel, a shutter piece work job, multiple architectural and furniture design projects - in the hopes of earning future commissions ... and then some!  But I'm enjoying my interior design internship and really hope to help friends, family, strangers with home projects over time (maybe business projects too!).  I do miss Taya (for the most part) while I am there working, but I keep going off the feeling that this internship has felt good for me/us - even if it is just for me to be reminded of how much I love my little one and want to be with her.  We've been feeling a bit frazzled with this new combination of weight responsibilities, but I think we've just found a way to balance it and remove a tiny bit of the load (though some new portions were just added) ... I'm not a super routine oriented person by nature, but in the last month, I have been wanting to create some routine and set aside time for quality connecting with Paul and Taya.  Finished Addition:  So some of the much needed rejuvenation we found a couple of weeks ago was through camping in beautiful tall pines with friends, including a beautiful lake hike and fishing, and then my personal favorite -- spending a good full day with Jessica & Melanie and all of our kids, these are two of those priceless people in my life, and it is so nice to live a short drive's distance from them.  It was just one of those days for me that was purely happy.  And I needed that.  

We all need a lil' bit of that rejuvenation sometimes (occassionally we think we don't, pretending that it won't be worth putting duties on hold, but it is not only needed, but usually far more important!)

Updated note:  ... Have found some time to have FUN with Taya - she loves swimming these days, and she amazes me more and more all of the time - still trying to create that routine and set aside some date time with Paul.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Too Busy to Avoid This...

I haven't posted in a while because we have become especially, 100% super busy recently
(I have taken on a part time interior design internship + we have several other projects going) ... So busy that we can't even keep an eye on our child - even when she is sitting right under our nose!  (As in, Taya was sitting on Paul's lap when she did this!)

Perhaps the blue stacharoo is in style these days?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bzzzy

B-U-S-Y.  That's what I've been - and it's not going to stop anytime soon this Summer.  I just started an interior design part-time internship last week with some great designers in Phoenix.  It seemed like a crazy thing to do, but Paul and I both felt good about it; whether it turns into a job (always looking for part-time) or just gives me enough confidence & knowledge to turn my interest into more of a skill, I am excited for the learning and exposure of something I enjoy so much.  Why do I enjoy interior design?  ...  Plenty of reasons I'm sure, but most of all, I find myself frequently in awe of my natural surroundings on Earth given to us by our Creator.  Home is such an important place; I love the thought of surrounding ourselves with beauty and expressing who we and our family are through our homes (doesn't have to be the fanciest or priciest item at all) - and of all places, I love the positive influence home can have in bringing us peace and calmness, comfort and joy.  Of course the things we do in our home and the way we treat each other dictate this more than anything I think, but there is still a surprising amount of influence from our tangible surroundings.  So I guess I just love finding positive ways to encourage love, art, beauty, creativity and laughter to flourish in our surroundings.  Now if I can just pick back up on some projects for the house (such as a lacquered sepia photo collage I've never finished)!  

- And that's what I had time to write; I wasn't going to publish it before, but now with my little game that is providing for a very less than mediocre blog, I will post and leave you hanging with unfinished thoughts!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

This is just the beginning (depending how you look at it)

Um,  will you still like my blog if I post most of these pictures again in a more collective  post that makes a bit more sense?





Thursday, May 21, 2009

Call me today or tomorrow, but do NOT call me tonight!

(I briefly posted this the day of this show's premier, only to see that their image didn't fully come through ... buuuut, here it is anyway)
Uhh, can you tell Me likey?

No DVR +  a love for DANCE= Attention for one thing only while this show is on!

Would you say I'm a bit obsessed?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Just the Two of Us!

Does anyone else find this picture hilarious? Ok, maybe not quite hilarious (almost though), but really funny?

(...cheesy, odd proportions, Taya's cooperation with folded arms? ... It's all funny to me ... I can't even remember why we thought to take this picture in the moment...)



My brother who is in film school has a policy against seeing any movies in which the two main characters are standing back to back, arms folded, perma-grins & all ... so this one is for you Ty!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

W-w-w-wants

I just wanted to say Hello.  Hello blahblahBlog.  (That reminds me; as a kid, when you wrote in your diary, did you address it as 'Dear Diary' and talk to it like your best girlfriend?  I always found that amusing ... now as grown up online diary writers, we can say 'Hello Blog' in a Pollyanna-like voice, whach U think about that?)

I haven't had time to do my follow up post to that last interior design survey ... my thoughts will come soon (I want to pull together some ideal pictures as ideas and examples ... can anyone tell me where to get great photos for blogs? ...Variety to choose from, crisp clean photos?  Are Flickr and Photobucket my main options?  I especially want to draw from great interior design photos ... if you have a tip, let me know!)  Sometimes the next post I want to do that takes more time keeps me from posting all the little things I think of in the meantime!  

Which leads me to what is on my mind ...  WHAT I WANT ....

want a digital SLR camera - I have been wanting this for some time.  I saved funds to contribute to my known high school graduation camera so that I could get an upgraded choice/35 mm ; then about 5 years ago, my poor visual tool companion disappeared (I think movers might have taken it) ... I never quite learned all the tricks and tools to use the potential of that camera, but my desire to take eye candy has been inspired again in recent years and I dream of the day when we will bring home a digital SLR.  I absolutely love beautiful photos - especially on bloggy-blogs.   A picture of a carrot, a picture of a trash can, if done beautifully - I don't care, I love it!

Ok, side tracked.

want to cook a lot for years and years.  I want to cook with wholesome foods and I really want to share a love of food and cooking with my children; my family.  I want to treat food in a way that inspires my kids to try new things (ironic coming from a person who still nitpicks at a few certain items); and I want to treat cooking in a way that lets my children know that I cook for them because I love them, and that I cherish the nourishment available on this earth, and brought to our home.  I want them to be grateful for the amazing variety of nourishment provided to us by our God; an area of life that we can display self-control in, creativity in, and use of our senses in.  I've been thinking recently about how it helps if I just know I will spend a lot of time in the kitchen - it's a social place and conducive to great learning; if I just become okay with the idea of cooking day in and day out, I think my family and I will enjoy it all more.  (Believe me, even though I love food and often love cooking, I'm not all cheer about it all the time - which might be the inspiration for my want here - some of my more dramatically stressed moments are over cooking gone wrong - and I have plenty of days lacking inspiration of what to cook!) .. But I love the idea of food bringing happiness and inspiration to our lives since it is something we partake of multiple times a day every day.

want to plant a garden someday ... sooner ... or later (I'm still a little intimidated by it, and feel like we need to save some funds for its start-up).  I love the idea of eating right out of the garden, of watching my children observe and nurture the growing of living things, and of supplying ourselves with some of our own food (do you like how I have one child, but constantly say children instead of child?; I guess that comes with a lot of assumptions & expectations, but it comes with no hints, I repeat, no hints).

want to have a home that is inspiring for learning, creativity, art, growing, (of course loving - and I don't mean that minimally), and did I mention creativity?  Paul made me a card for Mother's Day (plus crepes for a morning of breakfast in bed!) that had Taya's colorful scribbles all over the front & back ... I look forward to more and more children's art displayed around the house, and adorning Paul's work desk.  

I want to teach my children to love themselves; to know they are children of God, to not measure their worth based off of others' opinions or upon other factors that will offset them.  I think the best way we can teach them this is to continually be grounded in our own self-worth; to love ourselves because God loves us, to know that we always need the help of our Savior and the Atonement, that we cannot do it all on our own - because we are human and are subject to normal human error.  I am continually learning more about this, even when I thought I already knew some.  And I think it is one of the most, if not the most crucial basis to having personal peace and to raising a grounded family - and one of peace.  

I want to have a home of laughter.  Finding humor in the big and little moments, in the serious and silly moments - is such a breath of fresh air - such a sanity saver.  I've been cracking jokes all week; cracking myself up, and getting a smile out of Paul here and there, possibly more because I find myself so amusing, but hey - whatever works!  My jokes hadn't come to mind as much in the past few weeks and this week has been much easier (most of the time)!  My Dad cracks some of the funniest comments around and my Mom is one of the funnest people to laugh with - laughing is definitely an activity in my family.  I'm glad I found a man who makes me laugh.  Taya shares her own sense of humor already too.  I love it.

I wants plenty of things; some may come, some may not - or all in their own timing.  This is not a wish list with discouragement/I better get it done or else! --  It's more of my fond wish list (and have I mentioned I'm a bit idealistic?) - these are just some of the things I find myself daydreaming of these days.

What do you daydream of?  

p.s.  some of my temporal daydreams include crafty creations from Etsy members like these ...

 




Monday, May 4, 2009

A Peek of Preferences

So this along with a few others, is a post I started and never finished in this last month; so while I wait to make some sense of it to you, what are your captions?  
Or what do you think I was going to say about it?  
It's our little game.
Humor me.
And don't you like my title there?  It has a ring to it, if I do say so myself (that is the most self-praising phrase I throw around on this blog occassionally isn't it?)
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This makes me want to cook!

What do you get from this post?
Write a 300 hundred word essay on it and get back to me.
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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Interior Design - what do you prefer?

I want to know what makes an ideal home interior to you? Do you want the aesthetics to have a calming, peaceful effect? Or a warm comfy effect? What about a more eclectic & artsy take? ...Simple & minimal or cozy and filled with memorable items?  As you get into styles, do you want absolute classic; and if so, do you want a more simple classic or a more ornate classic?  What about rustic?  Do you want modern, (or are you intrigued by it, but feel you can't pull it off or that it would be trendy)? Forget about cost or exactly what you think you CAN do; what overall feel do you want to your home?
How much do you think the feel of your home affects you and your family? Is it something worth a lot of effort to you? -(and yes over time, some of the money will add up some, but there are less expensive ways to keep it beautiful!)
I want to know what you want out of your home! Even if you feel it's full of hand-me-downs with no room for spending at this moment, I want to know what you envision as your happy interior.



This living room combines a sense of calmness with accents of warmth and artistic touches, but overall, gives an unassuming yet well designed comfort and ease on the eye.  Some of the good things working for this living space include: good use of peaceful muted colors for the large color items (walls, couches) combined with small accents of bright colors (pillows, accessories), nice display clusters (vases, accessories off center complementing their supporting furniture instead of competing with it), radial variation (ie. round table -child friendly!- & circular pillow pattern to soften up all of the squared off lines), and last for now; good area rug use (ie. throwing a rug down on hard floors as opposed to carpet, as well as overlapping furniture on it; it is always good to overlap furniture legs or at least a coffee table on an area rug - otherwise, it feels a bit empty and awkward).  
The main thing I would possibly change is the oversized pictures on the tv wall; I think the homeowners might be trying to make that wall the focal point wall instead of the fireplace wall (which I think could have been a great focal point wall, '70s era and all); they still could have achieved this with slightly smaller picture frames or a different decor arrangement.
****
I truly do want to help friends and family decorate their homes when they want my help - I'm not just saying that; I really want the experience because it is something I love and want to become more experienced at.  This does not mean I will try to push my personal taste of modern on you or that you need to spend a lot of money on buying furniture or accessories (I actually like the challenge of taking what furniture and accessories you have & rearranging it all for the most comfortable flow and feel in the home - this is especially important if your home is listed in the real estate market).  So if you're up for my interior opinions and ideas, let me know!  This can be done long distance as well with pictures/descriptions.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pure ...

Heaven ...

This homemade buttermilk syrup & this Belgian waffle recipe topped with real whipped cream & fresh strawberries throw a party in your mouth/combine for exquisite dreamland/provide scrumptiously lucious pleasance for your taste buds!!

(If you are a food critic, please take my food critic language satire lightly!  ..... What?   You don't think I could possibly attract a food critic with this post?)

(FYI:  Did you know you can skip buying butter milk and instead stir together 1 Tbsp. lemon juice or vinegar with almost 1 C. milk, let it sit for 5 minutes & then call it good as buttermilk? ..Works like a charm!)

(If you decide to make this breakfast, don't say I didn't warn you of snow mound-like amounts of sugar requirements - I'm warning you now)

(   )

(Just wanted to do one more set of ( )   )

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Everything!




Have you noticed the entire right side bar on my blog has been missing for over a week? Ok, maybe that's a bit indulgent to think you noticed - I'll stop flattering myself. But I didn't even want to try tackling the tech problem -- now I'm proud of myself because I got it all back!
(I had to repost my last post to accomplish this)...
(that's how I like to start my posts - enthralling i'n't it?)

... It's been a busy last month ...
**One weekend visiting Paul's parents in Southern California = beach visit & good beach stand Mexican food! ...Taya wasn't so fond of the beach - crazy girl!
**One weekend visiting family in Las Vegas for my wonderful niece's baptism = non-stop cousin entertainment for Taya

**And then 3 different sets of company in town to top it all off = washing lots of sheets! (but I'm not complaining - we love you Company!)

The occasion for one of those sets of company was Paul's birthday last week! I got Paul's sister, Alissa, & her family (with 2 cute kiddos that we love!) to visit as a birthday surprise for Paul. We cooked and ate like crazy to celebrate Paul's birthday & Easter ... birthday menu? -- barbecue ribs I had from a great sale, baked beans, sweet potato fries, dinner rolls, a bacon wrapped grilled cored onion with butter in the center, and a fluffy cheese cake that Alissa made - it was a wonderful dinner if I do say so myself! (definitely not void of hours of cooking) ... I love cooking special meals for Paul's birthdays; any special occasion is made better by great & memorable food!

Paul deserved a good birthday; I hope it was a happy weekend for him. He has been really fortitudinous (do I sound smart?), humble (which apparently I am not), courageous, hard-working and eager to improve his skills, networking, and business approaches during these past months without a full-time job.  I'm grateful that I get to spend so many birthdays with my Loaf! (Loaf?  ...Guess you had to be there)
Easter was wonderful too; all the traditions, a quick stop in the park for pictures in our Easter Sunday garb, a nice Easter dinner at my parents' house, and most of all, a true chance to think about Christ's resurrection - especially during our musical program that was put on at church.  I really do believe that Jesus Christ came here to Earth to suffer for each our sins and sorrow for each of our tribulations; and not only that, but die for us and return in resurrected glory.  It is nice to know that through His life's example, we can have more happiness and peace in the present during our lives if we tune into that same love and peace that he shared, and then by his acts of sacrifice & Resurrection, that we can also go on to live again after this earthly life and be with Him and our families.  I am grateful for a day like Easter that reminds me of these blessings.  These are the things that I personally and truly believe and they help me greatly in my life.

Last week was not the easiest week for us ... the somewhat temporary drafting job that Paul has had recently got cut short and all employees were laid off that Monday.  Later that week, we found out that Taya may very well have Juvenile Arthritis (which type & level of severity, we don't know yet)...(for the last 6+ weeks she's had a slightly swollen left knee, bad limping - particularly in the mornings after sleeping, and hasn't 100% straightened it). However, that same day that we found out about Taya, we attended the funeral of a man from our church, Dave Carlson, who has been a notably kind, warm, down-to-earth man to have as an acquaintance - and will truly be missed. You could tell the kind of impact he had on people because the building was completely packed. Because he had cancer & had gotten to a point of knowing he would die, he was able to share learned reflective perspectives with his family that they shared with us in the congregation. One out of the many wonderful perspectives that helped me that day was telling us to be grateful for the blessings we have and not dwell on the blessings we don't have. This helped me to think about Taya's health and be grateful that she is here and has the opportunity to learn and grow in this life and to not dwell too much in disappointment on the abilities she might possibly not have down the road (we really don't know how severe yet; she may have plenty of abilities).  
Also, watching a Hallmark movie documenting the life of a Polish woman who was a social worker during WWII and helped save and cherish the lives of 2,000+ Jewish children helped me to put things in simple perspective right away - uh, that's humbling. At the end, the woman herself was filmed before she died asking people to ponder the sacrifices of these Jewish mothers this Mother's Day who knew they were headed to concentration camps and had to give their children up, not knowing what would happen. CAN YOU IMAGINE?? Wow. Like I said,
PER-SPEC-TIVE.

There are so many lives and stories to learn from. I think that's partly why hearing each others' stories via blog is so refreshing.

This week has started out much better; the possibility of one 4 month contract job is on our horizon as of today and we had the weekend to breath and enjoy each other and friends; so we are starting out fresh (I wrote this earlier in the week). Sometimes I think Mondays are overwhelming, but this is a week that proves they are nice cleaned slates!
(Sometimes my verbal positiveness is more than anything for myself - to help myself stay positive and to reaffirm it - it's not all roses and cheer all the time.  I generally think there is a natural disappointment or shock reaction to bad news that is understandable to have; and then after that I think we can mostly choose how we want to handle that struggle - positive/constructive or negative/destructive ... though sometimes I find the little tiny struggles in life can be hardest to be positive about as they happen in the moment ... what do you think?)
I know I'm long winded - I just figure you all know you don't need to read any or all of it.  So I just ignore disclaimers, but here is one for ya :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009


(This post is kind of a part 2 or follow up to my last post)

Children.  Our Children specifically -- are learning everyday and it is amazing to watch them learn & grow, and at such a full and quick pace.  Inspiring even.  And that's what I've been thinking about ...  What qualities about your children inspire you?  I said it in the last post and I believe it is true:  there is so much to learn from children.  All of the many things we have learned and accomplished as adults are great, and not to be ignored (though remaining humble is nice), but aren't there many qualities from our children that you notice day in and day out that are worthy of our attention, and even our aspiration?

Learning:  I love seeing the rate at which Taya learns as a child - she really is like a sponge (which can be humbling when I think of the little traits of my own that I want to suppress so that she does not pick up on them).  If we could maintain that excitement for learning as adolescents and adults that little children have, it could be amazing!
Passionate: Taya can be so passionate and just have such raw emotions.  Perhaps the whining emotion or the screaming emotion will be good things for her to learn to change a bit as she grows older (sooner than later would be nice!), but her belly laugh and her huge grin response when somebody comes to our door and her happy go lucky walk that she gets sometimes - remind me that she is experiencing life without 2nd guesses and with full gusto instead.  

Uninhibited: This is similar to passionate, but just the way children can be silly around each other and ask questions of strangers that turn their moms' faces white ... ok, so maybe these things are good to sensor as they get older and mature, but some aspects of it are just nice to see.  They don't overthink things; I can be a big overthinker, so this trait is sometimes very appealing!Things are just simple with kids.  Ok, maybe wishing to be simple is just that - wishful thinking, because we all know that life gets more complicated as we gain more responsibility.  But there is still something to be said of being simple.  We can keep our lives simple, leaving less room for complicated chaos and more room for quiet or simply joyful emotions where we have clear focus on the most important things in life without distraction.  I think it takes great effort on our parts as adults to keep things simple, but it's an effort I want to make as I have more kids and someday have a bustling family.  Is this still wishful thinking?  

Forgiving: This is a big one.  Do you notice how quickly our little ones can giggle with us, kiss us, hug us ... just moments after we have lost a bit of patience with them?  I am amazed at how quickly Taya can just go back to showing me happy love shortly after a tantrum or after I've been stern with her.  I don't know the make-up of a toddler's brain; I realize you may be sitting there thinking some of these things are just due to a young child's limited capabilities, but I am still amazed at what important attributes children possess that we can learn from.  Perhaps she remembers that I love her and accept her despite my being stern when necessary even more than I am capable of remembering how much my husband or a family member love me even when they might get irritable with me.  Maybe her ability to forgive also shows her understanding of unconditional love and that she can keep things simple by just showering me with that love shortly after an unhappy moment because she also knows I have unconditional love for her.

I looked up a talk (like a sermon) titled As A Child from one of our leaders of  the LDS faith, Elder Eyring; in one part he says:  
'Here is King Benjamin’s stirring description of what that change to become like a child is and how it comes to us:
“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.”(A beautiful discourse was given by King Benjamin to his people about a century before Jesus Christ's birth - it is recorded in the Book of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon)I liked this excerpt and thought it appropriate to quote too with Easter being a couple of days away.  I am grateful for days like Easter, that can work as a reminder to value, remember and treasure the blessings we receive from the Atonement and Resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Even if one does not believe in Jesus the same as I do, Jesus can still be an example of a life lived with unconditional love for everyone, with great acts of service given throughout his life, and with a child-like love and meekness shown to all of us.

I know there are so many more traits of children that are inspiring.  What traits have you noticed?  What have children taught you?

P.S.  Isn't so satisfying when you do a spell check and nothing is spelled wrong? ...  Ok, there's that adult-like pride sneaking in ...   ;) 

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I Want Me Some Groovaloovin!!

I've been missing something. I think I've been missing it for years now, although much of the time I didn't even know it was gone. Here's the trick: many of you may have been missing it too.

So, now I am searching for it. Yeah, my search is a bit forced, but I'm telling myself the authenticity will enter when it is ready.


So what is it you ask? Well, let's just say I'm trying to write my own sequel to 'How Stella Got Her Groove Back' -- ok, ok, so I haven't even seen that movie, but guessing by the title and the common reference - I can relate!

I'm trying to get my groove back! Where on Earth has it been? And when did I lose it anyhow? Why did I lose it?

Now when I say groove, that is actually just a part of it - just an example. Because, well, some people never have the groove to begin with (no offense) - but you see I did have the groove! Despite my freckles & fair skin, I had the groove! Where did it go?
What I am getting at is that I want some of my childhood and adolescent ways back! Including my groove thang! I love watching kids and seeing how uninhibited they are. There are so many wonderful traits of children that are easy to lose as we grow older. I really have been thinking about this lately. I don't just let loose and shake it or strut it or laugh it (?) like I used to - you know like Gut Laugh It - like laugh so hard I'm peeing my pants laugh. I want that back! (probably without the pee, but hey, if that's the price I have to pay ...). I'm only in my twenties (ok, three years to 30) - shouldn't I still have all of this? Can't I still be uninhibited like a child?
So here is where I have started recently - in order to get my groove back: I have been car dancing! I used to be such a redikoolus(see Balki post) car dancer, shoulders hip hoppin', belting songs out, head going - I didn't care who was looking! Now I'm not saying I want immaturity back, but you know what I'm talking about right? As we enter adulthood, it seems that most of us start shedding some of our fun child or adolescent attributes, and figuratively speaking, stop shaking our groove thang.
So the question is - have you remained uninhibited (I realize there are certain healthy inhibitions to hold onto) or have you lost your groove? If you've remained uninhibited or have relocated your groove, how did you do it?

My recent influx in some car dancing is helping, but I still need to up the ante. I think I need to flood some music that I can't help but move to through the house - every day - that'd help. I already do it some and go a bit crazy dancing, but I would love to do it everyday, and even be able to go nutso dancing when Paul is home.

Now, I love to laugh and I do laugh a lot, but how can I find the pee my pants laughter again? If I find it, I'll let you know.

In the meantime, if you agree that it can get a little bit harder to let loose as the years pass, tell me about it! What are we going to do to keep certain childhood ways as an equal part of ourselves? This is critical here!

If I'm successful, the sequel will be achieved and there will be a future post:
How Breanne Got Her Groove Back!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What can I say - it happens ...

So does every toddler that's catching onto new words say the words shirt, shoot, or ship wrong - coincidentally wrong?  Like, the kind of wrong where an older child who knows better would say, 'Mommy!  Mommy!  That little girl said a bad word!' or the kind of wrong where an old lady might react by plugging her ears & then give you & your daughter a shameful look while shaking her finger type of wrong?  Or the kind of wrong where this little toddler's daddy is cracking up so hard, he calls his brother to share the potty mouth & even video tapes it type of wrong?   Or the kind of wrong where ... just kiddin - I won't drag you through another one.

Last night Paul was working at the computer at the kitchen table & said 'Shoot' about something & all of the sudden Taya just said 'Shoot' - we thought it was pretty funny & she repeated it, but somehow she couldn't say shoot anymore.  Instead she replaced it from the 2nd time on with 'Sh**' - and because we couldn't contain ourselves, she started saying it over & over & over again ... and over & over ... 

This morning I was curious if she would give the same ironic results when I asked her to say shirt - and sure enough!  It just so happened to come in handy though - because this morning I was on the phone with someone dear who needed a good laugh.  So I put Taya on the phone & asked her to say shirt & she brought that good laugh out like only a child can!  

Each time she said it last night, Paul couldn't help his reactions, while I was discreetly laughing trying to shield my face, then moments later attempting to tell her either not to say it or how to say it correctly, just so I could feel like I tried!  

(Isn't it completely scary how spongy our little ones are? - they soak up everything we do!!  But sometimes on moments like these, you just have to laugh - and then retrack your steps :)  )


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ooosh! Balkie! And Results!

Oh hey there. ... What am I doing, you ask? Oh, I'm just putting on my ooosh so I can go on my balkie, perhaps my fifth balkie today even.

What now? Who? What you ask? ... you know, Balkie! Get the stroller out, put my little Darlin in it, and go on our balkie after we put our ooosh on ...

All day long, starting from the time she wakes up, Taya says 'Ooosh! Ooosh!'and brings us various pairs of *shoes* to put on her. She then either proceeds to take them off & asks to put them (or another pair) on again anywhere from 2 to 20 minutes later .... OR ... she asks us to take her on a 'Balkie Balkie Balkie' - adding up to about a dozen requests per day to go on these *walks*. And if she's really lucky, we'll go en route to the park, where from 100 feet away, she starts saying 'Wee Wee Wee!' to ask to go on the slides. Well unfortunately for Taya, I can only drop everything in an instant and take her on a walk so many times a day (1-2 times right now - some are itty bitty walks). She makes sure to finalize her hints (pretty much demands) by bringing me my shoes, even if it is first thing in the morning & I'm still in my bathrobe.
I'm proud of this girl; this says A)She's got an interest in style B)She balances her passion for fashion with an interest in the outdoors C)She likes to stay active (sometimes she walks instead of riding in the stroller) & D)She's striving to fill big shoes (half the time she puts our shoes on).
DaDa's shoes will do just fine.

It's not always just shoes that Taya brings us to put on her; she loves the layered clothing look as well. See here? She definitely thinks she is ready for our walk. And me on the other side of the camera probably in pajamas or bath robe attire however, am NOT ready for our walk.
Enjoying her BalkieBalkieBalkie
Here's the WeeWeeWee!

While we're on the topic of shoes, how many pairs of shoes do you think the average woman has? How many do you have? And how many husbands do you think are under the impression that their wives' shoe amounts are gaspingly excessive? (yes, I'm making 'gaspingly' a word). I see this over and over again on my closet design work appointments: I tell the couple that after I measure the size of the closet, I will be tallying amounts of rod space needed, etc. & counting pairs of shoes for a basis for my upcoming custom design. The wife always immediately looks embarrassed or smug while husband & wife simultaneously tell me how the husband thinks the wife has waaaay too many shoes. Then as I go on to tell them the average female shoe totals I encounter, the wife dramatically sighs with relief of the validation she's been searching for her entire marriage, maybe even her entire life! And I smile, feeling a bit validated myself.

So how many do you think? I have my mental totals for what's a little for a woman, a lot, and just about average. After I get your votes, or even juicier - your confessions (if you're embarrassed, you could always comment anonymously), I'll add my totals and maybe find some official sources to compare against (since I know you're all dying to know womens' shoe total averages)!

Based on Taya's 'Ooosh' interest, I'm afraid she might be on her way to the gaspingly excessive end! (except probably not under our roof!)
****************************************************************************
Post Edition just for you!
So as for shoe pair averages?  Here are my mental tallies according to my closet designing appointments:  
Women:  Low = 5-20, Average = 20-40 (especially 25-35), Pretty High End = 40-60, Really High End = 100 +/-
Men:  Low = 7 or less, Average = 8-15, Above average = 15-25
BUT, the highest tally of shoes I've ever counted in a closet was for a MAN!  He was a sports reporter & had dozens of suits & over 150 pairs of shoes.  
My internet search didn't turn up much, but the one main result I found said the average woman owns 19 pairs of shoes; do you believe it?  Are my demographics that off?  It's ok, just throw that number out the window if you want so that next time your husband rolls his eyes at your amount of shoes, you can say, 'Breanne counts shoes in her job & says this is normal!  I'm normal!  And my shoes need me like the desert needs rain!' - that last part is optional
So I started this original post one night; couldn't think of one of the parts of it that I wanted to write; well I put it to rest, then finished it the next morning, still forgetting the last part I wanted to include:  then in the comments Francesca took care of it for me - wonderful woman she is!  The real D) that Taya's 'Ooosh & Balkie' obsession says about her is that she adores Balki from Perfect Strangers and wants her first full sentence to be something like 'Don't be reedikoolus'.  C'mon, you remember Perfect Strangers right?  See our dear Balki friend here?  So that's the real meaning of this all I guess.   (?)

Man, I wish Paul wore red silk shirts like Balki. If only ...