Wednesday, November 27, 2013

If You're a Bird, Be an Early Bird

I know I complain a lot about my little boys waking early. But if I'm totally honest (do I have to be?), I love my family of early birds. Which is a good thing because in our house, there's no avoiding it. I'm out the door before 6:00 a.m. Monday through Friday, for either running or work. Chuck leaves the house between 6:30 and 7:00. And because our house isn't that big, and we're just not that quiet, it's only natural that our boys wake up early too.

Why do I love getting up early? Because it means that by 8:00 a.m., we can be runned, dressed, fed, clothed, and ready for the day. Why is this so good? Because things are empty in the mornings! We were at the zoo early one morning recently, and it was empty. Empty means no people. No people means quiet. I love it. The same goes for going downtown. Or going to IKEA. Or going anywhere, really. And if we go early, it means we can come back early, which means Ollie sometimes even gets a nap! And of course, because the boys are up early, they go down early. Whenever Rhett asked why he has to go to bed earlier than his friends, I get to tell him it's because he wakes earlier than his friends.

Sure, sometimes being a late family would be helpful. Like when I stay up until 1 a.m. with my (now-defunct) craft night women. Or when we want to stay up late in the evening to see the gorgeous Great Falls at twilight. But for the most part, I'm happy with us.

P.S. I can't lie and say that every now and then, especially maybe Sundays in 2014 when church doesn't start until 12:30, I pray for a post-7:00 a.m. wake up.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Dark Cloud Has Lifted

Chuck and I spoke in church yesterday. It's times like these that make me want the church to reconsider their lay clergy. Just sayin'.

Friday, November 22, 2013

I Made Stuff

Rhett should be losing teeth sometime this year, right? Well, whenever it happens, I'm ready. This is hanging on the bedpost, just waiting. (Help me out, people. What do we give him when he does lose that tooth?! A quarter? Fifty cents? Twenty dollar bill?)

An apron for a sweet three-year-old's birthday.

This was for sweet one-year-old's birthday. The doll outfit happens to match a dress I made for the birthday girl, back when she was 0. Pattern comes from Martha Stewart.

I threw a baby shower for a friend a couple of weeks ago and had the attendees do some freezer paper stenciling of onesies. These were two of my favorites.

I made this banner and was so pleased with the way it hung that I haven't taken it down. It counts for Thanksgiving decor, right?

I recently bought a Kindle, and of course I needed a cover for it. I found a tutorial, used some gorgeous fabric, but then had to throw it all away since the tutorial was not my favorite (the cover was so stiff it would barely close). But at least I had a prototype that I could use to draft a much better pattern.

I love this hat. I made one for Rhett years ago, and mis-remembered this as being a difficult pattern. It's not. I should have done this a long time ago.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

All's Quiet on the Boys' Room Front Until...

Most parents get nervous when their children-at-play get quiet. Me? I get happy. It means they're playing nicely. It means they're not fighting. It means I can ignore them. Sure I checked on them, very sneakily, so as to not disturb their cooperative play. And then I returned with the camera very sneakily to catch this gem. (Rhett in the jail; Ollie with no pants, but with ill-put-on swimsuit and sun hat.)

But then I returned to my house cleaning, or newspaper reading, or internetting. Until. Until I heard the bang followed by the "MOM COME HERE!" I quickly came and saw Rhett, bleeding from the head. So not awesome.

There was a pretty big gash (source of which is still a mystery--dresser? jail?), and me with all my medical training, immediately called Chuck, with all his medical training. He happened to be at some leadership meetings for Stake Conference, but after my two calls, he knew something was wrong. He came home immediately, and away Rhett and I went to the emergency room. In the end, Rhett ended up with only some laceration glue, a popsicle, and some ice cream for the whole family.

Me? I probably should feel more guilty. I mean, maybe this wouldn't have happened had I been watching them, or if I had been in the same room. But then again, as parents don't we want our children to learn to play without us standing over them at every second? As parents, don't we want our children to learn to play with each other without us refereeing every squabble? Rhett's okay. I'm okay (although $100 poorer). It made our unexciting lives a bit exciting for a couple of hours. Not bad at all.

P.S. Then, because Ollie can't have Rhett getting all the attention, Ollie caught himeslf an ear infection Monday morning. The poor dude was screaming, "OWIE" all morning long.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Another of Those Crazy Games We Played Growing Up

My mom loves her some SweeTarts. Loves them. So we would occasionally have them around the house. Now that we're grown and gone, she buys them in the long, single-serving packs. But before, we'd often have them in the three-littles-to-a-pack variety. And every time one of us opened one, the others would too, just so that we could play our "game." There never were any points assigned, nor any real rules. But without fail, emily and I knew who won immediately upon the opening of the packs.

How did we know? Triple Pink is/was always the supreme hand. If you were dealt three pinks, well, you might as well stop playing forever because that can't be beat. But because it could be tied, you kept playing. Blues and greens were the worst. Three blues or three greens and you lose. Orange was good, but not as good as pink.

The other day I got into the leftover Halloween candy (as of the day I was typing this, there remains some), and found two packs. You can see the outcome below.

P.S. Remember this other game I played when I was "little?" That was fun.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Update: Adults

Obviously we are way more boring than our cute kids. So read at your own risk.
  • Chuck's new job is going fine. He's still learning it, but is adjusting to an "office" culture.
  • Because of the furlough and compressed deadlines, I have to tweak my work days a LOT this month, but otherwise, my job is fine.
  • We have no upcoming travel on our calendar. I'm a lot bummed about this.
  • This will be our first Thanksgiving and Christmas in nearly nine years of marriage with no family.
  • We are so boring I can't even think of anything else to type.
  • Why are you still reading?
  • Go do something fun and then tell me about it so I can do it too.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Update: Rhett

Now it's Rhett's turn.
  • He is drawing WAY more than he ever did before starting kindergarten. He will disappear into the library for 30 minutes and come out with some creation.
  • Sometimes that creation is a punishment of sorts for us. The other day he came out with a stop light and told Chuck and me that we were "on yellow." (This is a behavior thing they do at school--the closer to red, the worse your behavior. He's never not been on green. I had to throw that in there--proud mama moment.)
  • Sometimes that creation is a paper box mask/hat (attached with TONS of tape) that says "Do not talk to me." (Well, maybe not in those letters, mind you. He's still learning to spell.)
  • Sometimes it's a drawing of Ollie in the port-a-crib with "duck tap" (sic--but you get it) on his mouth. (Should we call someone on this one?)
  • His reading his coming along great! Just last week we sat down and he read an entire Bob book to me.
  • His afternoon tantrums have abated, but his post-daylight saving times tantrums have kicked in. Seriously, I despise DST.
  • His speech is also doing much better. After two years with the therapist, I think he's right where he should be.
  • He does not play well with Ollie. Something about how he takes toys away from Ollie, which makes Ollie cry, which makes parents mad, which gets him in trouble.
  • We switched his daily chore chart to his daily High 5s. He has a morning High 5, an evening High 5, and one special daily chore. For doing these he earns tickets, and he can use the tickets to "buy" "stuff."
  • He loves "new" things. And these don't have to be actual new things; switching upstairs and downstairs couches will suffice.
  • His favorite music these days is anything by Laurie Berkner. He likes other stuff, but she's definitely tops.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Update: Ollie

What's Ollie up to these days? I'm sure you were wondering. Here's a list of some things that he's doing.
  • He loves to tell us what to say. "Mom say, 'Yay Ollie!'" is just an example. He tells us to thank him should he help out, or bless him should he sneeze, or cheer for him should he do something fantastic (or even less-than fantastic).
  • He loves to tell us what to sing. "Mom sing 'Zip-a-dee-doo-dah'" was the request I got the other day in the car.
  • He loves to sing. His favorite song is the ABCs, but he'll bust out anything, including "America the Beautiful," should the mood strike him or if he's holding something that feels like a flag.
  • He likes to dance. It's a crazy, spinning thing, but it's still dancing.
  • He is still an okay sleeper. He bothers Rhett a little bit at night (wait until I give you the evidence on Wednesday--it's a doozy), but once the reading light is off, he is out.
  • He wants to go to the playground all the time. Even when it's in the 30s outside.
  • He is either a klutz or just more daring but without the skill. He always has some sort of scrape on him.
  • He likes reading, but also isn't afraid to rip books. Even library books.
  • He is a good eater, trying things (and liking most) without any problems. This shouldn't imply that he sits in his seat, however. That kid is a nomad when it comes to meal time.
  • His speech is coming along quite well. We understand most of what he says AND so do other people! It's amazing.

(FYI: There's a movie below, in case you can't tell in your reader.)

Friday, November 8, 2013

School Pictures

Here is my son. Adorable, no? Of course yes. As a parent, I felt compelled to buy the school picture. As a miser, I felt compelled to buy only one large print that would scan well.

But now what? I mean, what do I do with the 26 school pictures I anticipate amassing by 2029? I don't see me making a quilt out of them because that's just weird. And for what may be the first time, Pinterest failed me! What do you do with your kids' school pictures?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Other October

In addition to Halloween and the pumpkin patch, I wanted to do fun little snacks for the boys. Knowing my limits, I vowed to give them one fun after-school snack a week, as well as a fun FHE treat. Here are the few we tried:

Nutella banana mummies. Mine didn't look nearly as pretty, and I struggled because I couldn't find the dough sheets (so I used crescent rolls), but they were still tasty. The missionaries loved them. Bonus: now we have Nutella in the house!

Monster apple bites. We do quite a lot of fruit and peanut butter, so this was easy. I used sliced almonds for the teeth. The boys loved them.

My first time making play dough was with this pumpkin recipe. I don't love the texture, but it was still okay.

Also loved by the boys were these monster eye cookies. I'm pretty sure I ate way more than they did, but of the eye-free variety.

These popcorn witches were less successful. I struggled with the hats and no way am I buying green saran wrap just for this occasion. But of course the boys liked it.

Ollie didn't like when I stuck spiders into their cheese and crackers, but Rhett sure did.

And whenever I sent fruit cups in their lunches, I always drew a jack o' lantern face on them.

I made these rice krispie pumpkins for a family who welcomed a new baby, but ran out of rice krispies so I couldn't do them for my own family. But I was super happy with their orange color. Plus I got to eat some as I made them because in my opinion, rice krispie treats are a million times better eaten warm directly out of the pan.

Whew. I think that was it. Of course now Rhett is expecting some fun snack every day, and just Monday he had a tantrum about it. Sigh. Maybe someone needs to take a page out of his mom's book and lower his expectations.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Hooray for Halloween!

Here are the couple of pictures I got on Halloween. We ended up with light rain all night, so I left the camera home with Chuck (who "got" to stay home doling out the candy because Rhett flipped a coin and I "won"). Rhett was Paul Bunyan and Ollie was his Babe the Blue Ox. Ollie was pretty sure that he was a moose, so we had to keep telling him he was an ox.

While trick-or-treating, Ollie would NOT let me hold his bag. He had to hang on to that thing, and only after four houses did he actually let go of candy to put it in the bag. But eventually he caught on and had a great night. I barely saw Rhett as we were in a big group of his friends and he was always about one house ahead of me and Ollie.

Breakfast is served! Because we're pretty much clueless on this whole "raising kids" thing, I followed the advice of Design Mom, who lets her kids have at it for the next 24 hours. So all day Friday (which happened to be a non-school day for Rhett), the boys were allowed as much candy whenever they wanted it. Rhett had an open-faced peanut butter and honey sandwich for lunch, but that's the only non-candy item he ate all day. Ollie had no less than five pieces of candy open, but not completely-eaten, at all times (mostly suckers that junked up my counter). What a strange guy. And all of the leftovers are hidden in the freezer; any bets on how long it takes me to eat them? For our family, I think this was a great way to deal with the candy. Teeth were brushed three or four times that day, but now I don't have to hear, "Mooooom, can I have just one more?" about eighty times a day.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Candy Bracket

Because I knew I would be too tired to post pictures of last night's festivities, I bring you the Candy Bracket. I saw it on KSL and, of course, loved it. I altered it to fit my picks, and what do you know? Almond Joy won! I had a pretty easy time picking winners in the first round. But man, choosing my "sweet" 16? That was hard, and then it just got harder. But in the fight between chocolate and coconut versus the "real honey" inside candy corns, the coconut won. (Clicking to enlarge might be necessary.)

P.S. Don't worry. You'll get your Halloween pictures of my super-cute kids on Monday.

P.P.S. Why didn't you tell me the camera charger was in my work laptop bag? Argh.