Thursday, November 29, 2012

gumdrop tree

It doesn't feel like Christmastime until I get out my gumdrop tree.
I made this tree in Kindergarten.  I remember pinching it with my fingernails to make it look like pine needles.   

Kent thinks it's ugly.  
And maybe it is.
But it just doesn't feel like Christmas without my gumdrop tree on the windowsill.

When I got it out yesterday, Nicholas said,
"What is that?"
I told him it was a little Christmas tree and he said,
"Oh! It's pretty sweet!"  (Apparently his catchphrase lately.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

gingerbread men, 3-year-old style

 Before: just a little nibble.
 During: he didn't want to decorate it at all, 
until he'd eaten half and smashed the rest into tiny pieces, that is.

End result: a sugary, sprinkely masterpiece.
He's pointing to his favorite part. 
We asked him which one he liked best and he said,
"This one, because it's pretty sweet."

No kidding, bud.

Monday, November 26, 2012

if you find a cozy spot

(Not pictured: the third time she sat there she put one leg in the elevator shaft and the other leg down the slide.)

proof that my daughter is a faster learner than I am

Last week I started learning to use my camera in full manual mode.
Reading blogs, researching terms, playing with settings over and over and over.  

Ellie started learning to walk.

By the next day, Ellie was walking 100% of the time,
standing from the middle of the room, stopping, turning, and pivoting on one foot.

My manual focusing skills have a long way to go still, and most of my pictures turn out underexposed.  

So here are some not-so-perfect pictures of my clever little toddler.

 She loves walking--gets so excited about it even now that it's been over a week.

 I was in complete denial about it the first morning.
I kept telling myself,
"yes she's walking this time, but she won't do it again." 
"She won't do it again."
But she just kept walking.
By afternoon I decided I'd better accept the fact that my baby girl has left babyhood.

Walking has also made her extra cuddly, though, and she walks straight to me for a big snuggle over and over throughout the day,
and I will gladly accept the squishy hugs and cuddles.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

deer valley

Last Friday we got snow. 
Lots and lots of snow.  By afternoon, we had a good six inches on the ground at our house. 

Kent picked up my sister Sarah after work and brought her back to our house.  
She and my brother Josh were going to stay the night with the kids, because Kent and I were going
on a little getaway to Deer Valley (next to Park City).

Kent's parents gifted us a night at the St. Regis resort.  It was gorgeous.  
And because we went right between seasons up there, we were almost the only guests in the entire place--
felt like we had this giant castle all to ourselves.  
 Our snow-covered balcony and looking out over the ski runs on the mountainside.

 We went out to dinner in Park City on Friday night,
had the most amazing corn chowder, salmon, and steak,
and got to make s'mores around the firepit at the hotel.  It was snowing lightly, there was a moody fog in the air, and we wandered around the place, peeking into ballrooms and libraries and walking around the steaming pool.
We went to a late breakfast Saturday morning and headed home.
Thanks Mom and Dad! It was a fantastic (and so needed!) little getaway.

popcorn baby shower

 I have a new friend in our neighborhood.  She and her husband moved in about the same time as we did.

Their first baby is due next week, and my Visiting Teaching companion and I wanted to throw her a baby shower.

We'd planned to hold the shower at my companion's house, but the night before the shower she came down with the flu!
Quick change of plans...the shower was at my house!
It was a lot of work, but so much fun.   I started decorating first thing in the morning and it was fun to see it all come together.
 We kept the treats simple--just different kinds of popcorn.

White Chocolate popcorn:
Pop a bag of butter popcorn.
Melt almond bark in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until it is liquid.  Pour over popped corn and stir to coat.  Let cool until set.

Peanut Butter Popcorn: (Got this from Shannon's blog a long time ago)
Pop a bag of butter popcorn. 
In a microwave safe bowl, combine 
1/2 cup  peanut butter, 
1/2 cup light karo syrup,
and 1/2 cup sugar 
Microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until melted.
Stir into popcorn and let cool until set.

My companion's husband made the caramel popcorn for us; I don't have the recipe for that one, but it was delicious!

I used a lot of decorations from Nicholas's room.  This little wooden car was a toy my Grandpa made me for Christmas in 1995.  
For the popcorn and soda labels I just took frames from my house and put a piece of white paper behind the glass, then wrote on them with dry erase marker.

(And yes, we still are waiting for the painter to come!)

I'm not a big fan of most baby shower games. 
 So we kept it simple again and just did a little activity where we all wrote sweet notes of encouragement on newborn diapers--so the new mommy and daddy have a little something to make them smile when they're changing the sixth diaper in the middle of the night. 

We also played a get-to-know-you game because many of us didn't know each other.  
I rounded up pennies dated the past 15 years.  (And discovered I had a strangely high amount of 2006 pennies...)  
Each person took a penny  as they came in.  Then when everyone was there we went around the circle and told the group something that happened to us or something about us from the year that was on our penny.  

I think everyone had a good time, and it was fun for me to see that I could do something like this, last minute and everything. 

Friday, November 9, 2012


I started carving our pumpkin when Kent left to run an errand.  
Kent doesn't like carving pumpkins.
Nicholas was mildly interested for about 32 seconds.
Then he and Ellie watched a Baby Einstein movie while I cleaned it all out and prepped the pumpkin.
Kent came home.
We explained that we were going to carve a face onto the pumpkin,
and suddenly, carving a pumpkin was an 
AWESOME activity.
He loved that pumpkin so much he wouldn't let me put it on the porch.  We kept it on the kitchen table all day.

As for trick-or-treating,
Nicholas fell asleep at 5 pm on Halloween.  We woke him up but he was Grumpy.  
It took us an hour and a half to convince him to go trick-or-treating,
but he was never going to get that zebra costume on.

Once we were out, though, and he realized that he could go door-to-door and get candy,
he was bouncing from house to house, knocking on the doors,
saying "Trick or Treat! Trick or Treat! Trick or Treat!" three times each time in his adorable little-boy voice.  
When anyone would ask him why he wasn't wearing a costume he'd say
"I'm just a Trick-or-Treater.  I'm not wearing a costume."  
Ellie, however, was more than happy to don her costume. 
I gave her a piece of chocolate to hold when she started to get antsy--
by the end of the block I noticed she had bitten through the wrapper and eaten the whole piece.  
We had a happy little halloween!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Miss-chief maker

 My little Miss is a busy busy girl.  
Let me show you what she can do in less than five minutes:

(Above) find herself a very nice spot in the pantry.  Take apart the window washer and tap every bottle of soda, one by one, with her fingers.

She would have taken down all the pasta containers, but she noticed the dishwasher was open so she moved on to:
 Climbing up and standing on the edge of the dishwasher door.  (I'm right beside her to catch her...)  She pulls out all the dishes, so I have to unload the breakable ones and the knives and forks as soon as I open the dishwasher.
 Her shopping cart is a perfect place for this (plastic) fancy goblet. She's looking up at the open cupboards and thinking about what she wants to get out of them.
 "But Mom! I want to get into the cupboard. Please!!"
 Oh, but look, there's a wipes container Mom left on the floor.  If not supervised, Ellie would take out every single wipe.  
We've had more than one wipes package I had to relocate to a ziplock bag.  
And the stairs.  
She get SO frustrated by our basement door that closes on its own.  She squeezes her chubby fingers into the door and pulls it open, then tries to dash in front of it before it closes so she can go downstairs. 
She usually ends up sitting in front of the door, banging it with the back of her head, and screaming in frustration.  Poor girl. 

And that concludes the four and a half minutes.
Now imagine what she can do when I'm not standing next to her with a camera the whole time...  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

piano room curtains

Two months ago when I showed you our house, the piano room looked like this:

 Today, it looks like this:

 If I'd known that taking out the wood blinds and hanging up curtains would make such a difference, I would have done it a looong time ago.
It softens up the room so nicely, and every time I walk past it I stop and admire.  
And now I'm dying to get curtains up on all my windows!

I had the curtains already--when we bought curtains for our patio doors in our house in Texas I bought an extra pair (sort of an accident...) so all I needed to do was buy an extra long curtain rod and hang them up.  

Or rather, have Kent hang them up. 
Cause he's awesome like that.

The curtains and the rod are both from IKEA.  So is that cute flower pillow.  IKEA is closer to me now than Target...and I've taken full advantage of that.
Really, though, I love IKEA curtains--those iron-on hemming strips are awesome.  All the curtains needed was a bit of ironing, I cut off six inches, then ironed the hem.  Super easy.

Oh, and I brought our patio bench inside because it is supposed to start really snowing this weekend and I didn't want it to be destroyed.  
Or as Nicholas would say, "In-tracted."  He means "distracted," and anytime something gets ruined or wrinkled or otherwise destroyed he puts on a pouty face and says that it is "Intracted!"  

I think it is because I would tell him to not make Ellie distracted when I would nurse her months ago.   
It reminds me of "Inconceivable" from Princess Bride.   I wonder what will happen the day Nicholas comes to understand the true meaning of "distracted."
 Oh, and the cute house models are not available. Sorry. 
They are mine, and I am keeping them forever.

 How else would I take cute silhouette pictures of a boy and his sucker?