Thursday, December 18, 2014

Marshall speaks "Church"

When Marshall speaks "Church"....

Marshall speaks "Church"


The church we attend has place to light candles and say prayers. Marshall is really enchanted by this tradition and always wants to participate. Both Daniel and I grew up Methodist. In fact, I grew up tiny-church-in-the-country Methodist, which is almost its own religion. In short, we have no idea what to do with the candles really, but we want to support our little worshipper.

A couple of weeks ago, Daniel takes Marshall over to the candles and says, "Ok, Marshall, say your prayer."

Marshall, with his most solemn face, closes his eyes super hard and whispers, oh-so-seriously,

"My prayer."

Then he pauses dramatically and returns back to his seat.

This past week, I took Marshall over to the candles, where he says,

"Bless you to God."

Nods matter-of-factly. Exits stage right.



A few weeks ago there were three baptisms. The church choreographed it so that the children had a close-up view to check out all the action. Other than a little on-the-spot feet shuffling, Marshall was doing a pretty fair job of keeping quiet during the ceremony, which was rather lengthy for a four-year-old.

Until they broke out the holy water. Then it was all over.

"Woah! She's all wet!"

"And he's wet too!"

"Look at that baby---he's SOOOO cute!"

You would have thought we were at a Seahawks game the way he hollered.



Kneeling at the altar for Communion, the priest hands Marshall a nice piece of bread.

Priest: "The bread of life."
Marshall: "Thank you."
Priest: "You're welcome."
Marshall: Starts to chew. Then very loudly: "Hmmmm mmmmm."


Priest: "I'll give your compliments to the baker."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December raves & faves

Can we pretend that the last one of these was not August? I think...

And while we're at it, can we pretend that I wrote regularly all through that crazy MBA first quarter? I had big dreams of keeping up with all my hobbies, exercising regularly, etc, etc, etc. And then came Finance...

But I digress.

Here's what's entertaining the Thompsons right now:

Afterlight | I was a big Snapseed fan until Grace Patton over at Camp Patton talked about Afterlight. I find it easier to manipulate photos, and the filters are excellent. Check out the tutorial on Camp Patton here.

This Sugar Cookie Recipe | I let the dough cool in the frig overnight, and it was just right for holiday-cookie making the next day. It also makes 5 dozen cookies. We are not complaining.

December raves & faves

Richard Scarry Books | One of Daniel's favorite colleagues, and his former boss's boss's boss, gave us a bunch of toys during a recent toy purge at her house. Marshall is now infatuated with the Richard Scarry books. Daniel and I remember reading these when we were growing up, so it's fun for us to revisit them too.

Once Upon a Time | Confession: I have been binge-watching this show since I finished my last final. I have to endure Daniel's endless teasing about this one, but I find the plot addictive. Is anyone else hooked? (No pun intended. Really.)

Trader Joe's Advent Calendars | Trader Joe's has 99-cent advent calendars with a chocolate for each day until Christmas. I try not to think about what's in that chocolate to make 25 pieces + the cardboard less than $1.

So far I've been very successful.

Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links that will take you to Amazon, and if you choose to purchase items, I will receive a small (very small) amount of commission on your purchase. The price is exactly the same for you.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Making Christmas decorating easy, one age-appropriate eggnog at a time.

In my first year of marriage, way back when Facebook was still just for college students, before Pinterest was a twinkle in a DIY-er's eye, I went to Michael's to get Christmas decorations for our first apartment. It was mid-December, and I thought I had hopped on the decorating bandwagon right on time.

The holiday aisles were cleared out. "You need to plan earlier, honey," said the associate in her nice Southern drawl.

Eight years later, we've embraced that our apartment will never be featured in a Southern Living holiday issue. We have yet to "plan earlier." 

We've also embraced three key factors that make Christmas decorating easy:
1. Use what you already have. (Or what you can easily acquire with minimal effort.)
2. Make it simple enough for your child to participate. (This is the magical part, right?)
3. Drink some (or a lot of) age-appropriate eggnog. 

Making Christmas decorating easy

The church we attend hosted a night to make Advent Wreaths. We had soup and bread, and each family made a wreath using greenery from the neighborhood. It was this night that we discovered Daniel's hidden talent of floral arranging. Marshall and I haphazardly stuck greenery to and fro and then cheered Daniel on while he worked his magic to make this beautiful creation:

Making Christmas decorating easy

Later, Marshall and I spread some Christmas cheer in our fireplace with five minutes and a string of lights. 

Making Christmas decorating easy

Making Christmas decorating easy

Making Christmas decorating easy

The best part about no-stress eggnog-inspired decorating? More time for this...

Making Christmas decorating easy

My favorite aspect of our Christmas tree is the magenta sequin-studded star at the top. The sequins are falling off. It is hopelessly crooked. And it clashes with pretty much everything in our living room.

Marshall thinks it is the most beautiful thing we own. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

First Quarter: In the books.

Last year, about this time, I attended a workshop on applying for a full-time MBA program. I had to book a babysitter because my husband traveled every other week to the East Coast for his job. As a work-from-home mom that was fairly new to Seattle, I was more anxious about navigating the bus system than going to the workshop itself. 

This year, I've just finished my first quarter as an MBA student. My husband took a job that doesn't travel so that I could (attempt) to balance parenting and go to school full-time. And my bus driver and I are on a first-"Hi! How are you?"-basis.

First Quarter: In the books

Last year, about this time, I packed all of Marshall's lunches. I made most of our family meals. I proudly baked my homemade bread twice a week.

Now, Daniel is the one who makes sure Marshall's lunches are packed. He does most of the cooking. (I could not have survived this Fall without him.) I am lucky if I bake anything that qualifies as "homemade" more than once a month. 

First Quarter: In the books

Last year, about this time, I felt "new." Most of my conversations were with friends in Austin and Alabama. I was equally in awe of Seattle's beauty and depressed by its "lights out" at 4:30PM policy.

This year I feel connected. Most of my conversations are with people here in Seattle. My chats with my friends in Austin and Alabama are more positive. And I'm more concerned with understanding the Weighted Average Cost of Capital than worrying about the sun setting in the middle of the afternoon.

First Quarter: In the books

Last year, about this time, I walked Marshall to school every morning and picked him up every afternoon. I worked around his schedule, as I had for 3+ years. It was worth it.

This year, I rarely get to take Marshall to school, or pick him up. I usually rush out before he leaves for school with Daniel, and I get home just before dinner. I thought I would feel guilty about this. More than that, I worried that Marshall would feel that I was neglecting him.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Marshall is thriving. He loves that he gets to spend so much time with Daniel. He loves that both he and Mommy are going to school.

On nights and weekends, he often sees me studying, and occasionally he gets frustrated when I can't play with him. More often, though, he curls up beside me and does his own "work." (Sometimes his chicken scratch makes more sense to me than Accounting.)

At the risk of being overly sentimental, my son is proud of me. And I'm proud to show him that women in this country can be mothers and students and career builders and influencers. We don't have to choose.

First Quarter: In the books

Last year, I made pancakes every weekend, to the delight of my 100 Instagram followers (and my dad).

That hasn't changed one bit. 

First Quarter: In the books

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Batman goes to preschool.

Remember that time when I started an MBA program? And it took up all sorts of time, especially the "free" sort? 

I remember that time too.

But while I'm on a pause from my regularly scheduled FIFO-vs.-LIFO programming (only my accountant friends will laugh at that one), I thought I would sprinkle the Internet with pictures of the Batman in our house.

Batman artfully decorating with Halloween-themed stickers...

Batman goes to preschool.

Batman painting a Seahawks-themed pumpkin...

Batman goes to preschool.

Batman enjoying a pumpkin cookie while Mommy refueled with some coffee, with Batman's trusty white bucket at his side...

Batman goes to preschool.

It should be noted that Batman requested a trusty pumpkin bucket, but when Batman's Mommy frantically arrived at the store, 5 minutes before the Pre-K Halloween Extravaganza, the QFC was out. A kind soul ran to the bakery and washed out an olive bucket for me, and I put on my best this-is-the-coolest-thing-ever routine when I told Marshall, "Look bud! I brought you a white bucket!"

He loved it...

Batman goes to preschool.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The latest.

The most recent happenings a la Team Thompson, sorted by player, in order of "Awwww"--

The latest.

The latest on the Preschooler.

In the last few weeks Marshall started PreK, upgraded his coloring style from All Over Scribble to Almost In The Lines, and discovered that Daddy is way more fun of a commuting partner than Mommy. He learned to expertly maneuver his push bike, and subsequently learned to terrify his mother in an entirely new way.

M navigated his way through his first trip to the dentist with no tears. He fell for the "food causes sugar bugs" story (hook, line, and sinker) and was so terrified of the thought of bugs in his teeth that he asked the hygienist to double check that she flossed every tooth.

The latest

Marshall recently began a new obsession with telling jokes. He has two in his repertoire. I don't want to spoil it for you, but they are gooooood. "Orange you glad I didn't say 'banana'?" good. (Ask him about a skunk's favorite letters. I dare you.)

The bell pepper still holds the title of Marshall's Favorite Food, and his most prized possession is still the glass Pyrex mixing bowl he uses as a steering wheel, for firetruck rescue trips and ferry boat adventures.

The latest on the Daddy.

Daniel has been the hero of the household lately, getting Marshall ready and out the door in the mornings, taking Marshall back and forth to school, and cooking most of our dinners. In the last few weeks he has perfected his homemade pizza skills, bought shoes that are not for running (a very rare occurrence around here), and acquired some new Excel tricks, which will be coming to a dinner party conversation near you.

The latest

Daniel still remembers every piano piece he's ever learned (just ask our neighbors), and his favorite game is still 2048.

And the latest on me.

I am wrapping up the first month of MBA-land with no major disasters. I've worn my shoes on the right feet, I've only answered to "Mom" a handful of times (sorry, confused undergrads), and the buses have run (mostly) on time. I'm spending my days (and nights) thinking about networking spreadsheets and discount rates and consumer decision-making and accounts payable, which I like just fine. I have a team, fancy grad-school business cards, and a new fondness for all hours that start with "happy."

My least favorite game is still...2048.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Five fall favorites, with a little sprinkle of thrift

Here it is: The season all Pinteresters and SEC fans eagerly await--Fall. (Marshall thinks it's cooler to call it "Autumn," so I'll just throw that in there for the grandparents' enjoyment.) 

Five fall favorites
Marshall being Marshall, Fall 2013.

Whether you're a burlap connoisseur or just one of the not-so-crafty gals (like me) waiting in line for some kind of pumpkin-flavored beverage, it's easy to get caught up in the excitement of Fall. I'm celebrating the change of seasons by sharing five of my favorites, with a little sprinkle of thrift.

And a little disclaimer about the "thrift" part. Before you read any further, you should know that I was not motivated to write this post out of sheer autumnal-equinox love alone: asked if I was interested in blogging about this topic. I was not compensated for this post, and the thoughts, scarecrows, and husbands mentioned below are purely mine.

Fall Coats, Seattle's Way To Recognize Its Own | Something we learned really quickly in Seattle--True Seattleites do not use umbrellas. (At least, that's what they told us.) They either use coats with hoods, or add a hat to a jacket. Umbrellas? A sure sign of a tourist or a transplant. I am especially excited about this draped fleece cardigan I found at Nordstrom Rack. It adds a little bit of fun to an Emerald City necessity.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread, Nutmeg Lovers Rejoice | If you have ever aspired to combine the best of Autumn into one loaf pan (in this case, two loaf pans), then this recipe from is for you. It's easy. It can be modified (example: swap walnuts for chocolate chips). And it makes a fantastic gift for friends and family.

Scarves, The More The Merrier | A few years ago, during my piano teaching days, a student's mom gave me a big box of scarves for Christmas. "I notice that you wear a scarf for every lesson, so I knew you would love this!"

#1. I didn't realize I was that obvious about my penchant for draped fabric.

#2. She was spot on.

Scarves take up the majority of my closet space. (I have my eye on this one from Banana Republic.) It's getting a little out of control, especially considering I'm still wearing a pair of jeans that I bought during the Bush administration.

The Wedding Scarecrow, Gracing 6 Residences And Counting | My stepmom gave us this scarecrow right before Daniel and I got married. She knew that, in those early years of mortgage payments and utility bills, I probably wouldn't spend the money to decorate our apartment, so she wanted us to have something cheerful and festive. This scarecrow has been in every apartment we've lived in--6 now--and I always look forward to taking it out of its box in September (and truth be told, get a bit sad when I have to put it away).

Five fall favorites

This Guy, Surviving 8 Years Of Lauren | This fall, Daniel and I will celebrate 8 years of marriage survival. We got married in late October, and honeymooned our way through every seafood restaurant in Portland, Maine. I write, with every bit of honesty I have, that I am not sure how he has managed to put up with me for so long, but I am forever grateful.

Five fall favorites.

So now you might be thinking, "Lauren! I also like scarves and Fall coats, and Autumn decorations!"

And then, you might find yourself wishing for a way to save a bit of money while adding to your fall collection of your most favorite favorites.

Well. offers an online marketplace to buy and sell gift cards (to places like Nordstrom Rack and Banana Republic) at a discount. Click right here to check them out. It's a great concept.

Happy Fall shopping (or selling), y'all!

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