Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Because the new year doesn't start until tomorrow, we want to be the first to say "Happy New Year!" And if someone else has already said that to you, well, I'm totally okay with that. This picture doubles as a new year's photo and our 8th anniversary photo. We crack me up.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Family Vacation Ideas

The bad news: We won't be going to Japan next year. Due to some health issues, my parents are leaving their mission a bit earlier than planned, which means we won't be able to meet them there. And if they're not there, well, we're not going.

The good news: We have a bit of money and some time to do something as an entire family! But what should we do? Planning a trip for adults is super easy. I have a lot of places I'd like to see (Iceland, Prague, New Zealand) but those seem better toured with older children, or none at all. Does anyone have any suggestions for fun places to take kids, especially kids of my kids' ages (1.5 and newly-5)? Please don't suggest Disney. I'm just not ready for that yet.

1) Not too many time zone crossings
2) March-weather friendly (so probably no visiting my brother in Alaska)
3) Things for kids and adults to do
4) Spring-break friendly (no crazy college kids)
5) Let's not break the bank, okay?

Things We're Considering: (but I'm open to ideas)
1) Repeat trip to St. Michaels
2) Janes Island State Park (renting a full-service cabin just in case March weather is more lion-y than lamb-y)
3) Local stay-cation at National Harbor
4) Cruise out of Baltimore to the Bahamas (but not sure how this works with little kids and 7 o'clock bedtimes and everyone in only one room...)

Anyone want to come with us? Or maybe we should meet somewhere? Or maybe we can just come crash at your house?

P.S. I like my boys.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


A dinner with side dishes? It's a Christmas miracle! (I'm going to go eat the dessert--a pear tart--right now.)

No Christmas party is complete without the family lush. And in our family, it's Ollie.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Are You Ready?

Asking people whether they're ready for Christmas or not seems to be a hot question. Next year I'd like to have all the shopping and creating done by Thanksgiving so I can focus on the boys and our Christmas activities. But even though I've been a bit more rushed getting things done, we managed to keep up on our advent activities. We...

visited the lights at Brookside...

visited Santa...

made gifts for our brothers...

went to a couple of train exhibits...

made treats to share...

demanded to eat with spoons (not an advent activity per se, but still an activity)...

saw the lights at the temple...

maybe ate a couple of cookies that we made.

Other than some remaining parties and making gingerbread houses, I think we're ready! Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Projects (including Christmas)

A felt nativity for a friend from church. Tutorial here.

Rhett's Christmas gift to Ollie because Ollie likes dogs, cheese, and bears.

I know it doesn't look like anything, but there are two tutus there.

Two felt crowns to go with the tutus.

A fort kit for two of my nephews. Tutorial here. I think the font for "Fort Kit" is my favorite thing about this gift.

A small sewing kit for a niece. Bag tutorial here (although I should never use this tutorial again because I think her measurements are really wrong).

Doll sleeping bag and pillow for a different niece. (Giftee got a matching pillowcase as well.) Regular pillowcase tutorial here.

A Mario 1-Up pillowcase for a nephew. Tutorial here.

Back of the pillowcase. Chuck and I both agree that it needs a little trademark symbol, but too late for that now.

Ballet bags for a friend's daughters.

Instead of Christmas pajamas, I like doing Christmas tees. Pilfered from here.

Yearly ornaments. Tutorial here.

Gifts for Rhett's teachers. Tutorial here.

Cool mustache shirts for my own boys. Just because.

And boys wearing shirts. Just because.

Monday, December 17, 2012

How We Parallel Play

Tell me you do this too. I mean, honestly. Could we have more electronics out?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Things Rhett Says

Rhett: When do people go to college?
Me: Around 18.
Rhett: I'll go when I'm 19.
Me: What will you do until then? You'll graduate from high school at 18, so you'll have some time until 19.
Rhett: I'll sit around and be lazy and watch TV.

After tithing settlement...
Me: Isn't the bishop nice? Do you know what his job is?
Rhett: I don't know.
Me: He takes care of the ward.
Rhett: No, that's not his job. His job is to eat jelly beans.

In Primary...
Teacher: Rhett, don't you have a dog at home?
Rhett: No.
Teacher: Are you sure? I thought you had a dog.
Rhett: No.
Teacher: Do you have a pet?
Rhett: We have a pug.
Teacher: Well, isn't that a dog?
Rhett: No. A pug is a pug.

After we needle him more and more about the above conversation...
Rhett: You don't ask me any more questions about dogs. That's all you get. Now go away. Or else I will kick you out of this house.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It's Becoming Clear

I think I figured out what's been ailing me: Ollie! Yes, the kid is a happy, funny little boy. But man, my ability to keep the house clean now that he's a toddling little one has diminished. I can't tell if it's because he's a bigger mess maker than his brother ever was, or if it's just that I have two kids to follow around and pick up after, and I just can't do it. So if you come over, the house might be straightened, but I can't guarantee that it's actually clean.

This is Ollie with his favorite headgear: anything. Boxes, buckets, blankets, anything.

And this is how he looks right before throwing the pom poms all over the kitchen.

Monday, December 10, 2012

This is What I'm Talking About

Two episodes of Parenthood (thanks to Roku).
One box of Cherry Heads.
One cherry Airhead.
One fun felt project that is now completed.

All of this brought to me by: Sarah's mom (who took Rhett for a playdate) and Ollie (who is napping like a champ). The nap was brought to Ollie by the quiet, Rhett-free house and the grey afternoon.

Oh I like today.

P.S. And when FHE includes these, I think I'll like tonight too.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Things I Wish I Was Accomplishing

Christmas shopping
Christmas projects
Provident Living lesson planning
Household chores
Birthday gifts for friends
Watching lots of "Parks and Recreation" with Chuck

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Treading Water

Do you ever feel like you're just treading water? Like you're only doing the minimum to get by? The last time I really felt this way was when I got called to be the Young Women's president. For a couple of months, I just made sure some activity was planned for Wednesday and someone was teaching a lesson on something come Sunday. That was about it. It was months before I felt like I was actually making headway in the program.

Now is another one of those times. I'm not sure why, exactly. I had a baby last Christmas; why can't I do things now when my body is better and Ollie is older? Of course, last year at this time I wasn't back to work. And Rhett was still going to a babysitter twice a week. That might have something to do with it. But this year is different. I feel like there are a million things I want to do (or feel like I should be doing), but I just can't. I'm really just doing the minimum.

So please forgive me if I skip a Monday, or a Friday, or all week. (And really, I know I care way more than any reader of this silly blog.)

We'll just pretend this is Rhett saying, "You can do it Mom!"

Monday, December 3, 2012

Date Night Topics

We had three dates in eight days. It's a Christmas miracle. We try to not talk about the kids all night long, but sometimes coming up with topics can be hard. This was one topic from last Thursday:

If you were to go back to college now to take the exact courses you did when you went the first time, do you think you'd get:
a) worse grades than the first time,
b) about the same grades, or
c) better grades?

Chuck thinks he'd do better. He's more mature (or so he thinks), he's experienced, and has been using those things he learned for 15 years. He thinks his brain is just better equipped to handle that kind of learning

I don't know about me. I think I'd cruise through the stats courses, struggle a bit through the math theory classes, and be bored to tears by nearly everything else. I mean, if I had to sit through Sociology 101 again, UGH.