Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Birthdays and Bath time

For Caroline's 3rd birthday she wanted a mermaid - her cousins had gotten some mermaids from the dollar store which, though cheap, were a HUGE hit. Unfortunately, because they were cheap, they fell apart quickly so I knew we'd have to find her mermaid at a slightly nicer location. It so happened that Joe and I took an excursion one morning while the kids were at school and/or Mother Goose Time, Kari generously offered to watch Ethan, and we headed to Toys R Us in Colorado Springs.  We found lots of Christmas stuff and THE PERFECT mermaid. So awesome! Slightly larger than  a Barbie, real hair, silicone flipper that's very realistic (you know, if mermaids were real), and it swims when you put her in water! It takes batteries, which baffles me a bit that someone thought batteries in a water toy would work out, but they claim the battery case is completely waterproof, so we'll see. IF NOTHING ELSE, she has a silicone flipper and real hair and that's dang cool
Can you see in Amelia's eyes that she's in love? Caroline couldn't take her eyes away from her new doll long enough for a picture. 

I may have caused problems, though, since then Amelia has been asking for a mermaid for Christmas and Caroline wants a BLONDE mermaid for Christmas… they do sell one, and seen swimming so photoshoppedly here… We may just have a girls-day excursion to the Springs after the holidays :)

Like most kids, our kids love baths - not to get clean, just to play around in. I thought Kellan (the mermaid) would be PERFECT to extend bath time - after all, she's made for the water! Caroline disagrees, though, and she doesn't like to get her doll's hair wet. Oh well, she still takes 30+ minute baths, and by the time she gets out she's all prune-y. She told me "My fingers are all crumpled." I thought that was a good descriptions! "That's because the bath is crumply." …well, maybe not the best explanation, but hey, she's a 3-year-old…. 

Who dresses herself ADORABLY…sometimes. Infrequently enough that I take pictures of it, I guess!

You're getting' so big! *tear!*
.
PS Remember her first haircut I didn't like so much? I figured rather than sped $10 or $15 to get  haircut I don't like I could give her a perfectly bad haircut at home… but turns out I love it! I think she looks adorable with layers. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

This will not tell you anything about last month.

I've been awful about posting, but it's not because things are awful - quite the opposite. I've been having such a good time being a lazy bum I haven't even had time to feel guilty about being an awful blogger! The truth is, I've been pretty bad about just about EVERYTHING… except watching Scandal and The Office on Netflix with Joe, and I am REALLY good at doing that. It's gone from being a guilty pleasure, trying to sneak in an episode or two after kids go to bed, to an all-out date-night where we purposely put to kids to bed early, pop some popcorn and scoop some ice cream and snuggle under the blankets… And THAT is good.

Instead of catching up about Thanksgiving and such, I'll take my scrapbooking advice and start with NOW.

We went out to see Frozen, and the clip of Elsa singing "Let it Go" is on youtube, so we watch that every day, multiple times a day. Patrick cracks me up because he tries to make himself sound really awesome when he sings by sliding his voice from high notes to low - "let it GOooooooooeeeeew, let it GOooooooooeeeew, can't hold it back any-Mooooooaaar" You just can't pimp out a Disney princess singing, but it's funny to hear him try.

Patrick got some boxing practice gloves - one set of gloves, one set of pads to hit that another person wears. Instead of hitting the pads the kids just act like it's two sets of gloves, though, so he and Eli were boxing with those. Patrick was coming after Eli and instead of fighting back Eli just ran away. Patrick stopped him and said, "Don't run away, just box me. That's the thing about boxing: remembering to box."

Eli gives great hugs. MAN, that kid can hug. He didn't snuggle much as a baby so even 4 years later I'm still taken off guard when he goes in for a hug and doesn't let go. I've heard when a kid hugs you, you should let them let go first because you never know how much they might need that hug. Well, if that's the case, I'm still giving Eli his bedtime hug from last night.

Eli tries to fool us that he is the smartest kid EVER. We got a Highlights seek-and-find calendar, so 12 months'-worth of hidden pictures, and every single one he'd challenge me to find things first. Not so hard, but as soon as I'd point to one he's said, "I already noticed that." So I would challenge HIM to find one and he'd say, "I already know where that is. It's…..riiiiiiight……it's……riiiiiiight……." and he'd drag his finder over the entire page looking for it. As soon as I got tired of that and pointed it out he'd say, "MO-om, I already noticed that!" I think he means he already knew that, but he would say knowed, which of course isn't a word, but "knowed" and "noticed" sound very similar and I never corrected noticed since it's not made-up. Now it's pretty common any time he tries to fool us into thinking he already knew something, to hear that he has "already noticed it."

Caroline still sings to herself, and I still love to listen in. She sings a lot of Frozen, along with my other kids, but she particularly likes to sing "Wrecking Ball" by Miley Cyrus. Can't say I approve of "crazy" as a lifestyle choice, but that girl sure has some pipes… unlike Caroline, who sings it the highest possible notes she can hit (and plenty that she can't). Maybe Caroline is a bit crazy like Miley anyway - today she waltzed out of her room in what she declared "fully dressed" - cowboy boots, tights, and a glittery shirt with a ruffled bottom - she was convinced it was a dress so she refused to wear pants, even though it covered 0% of her bum. I could see some starlet out shopping in that…

Ethan's a terror. No spot is safe in my home, even the safe spots - he'll find a way to destroy it, and try to destroy himself in the process! I swear he's a hired hit man, and the job is himself - he will find a way to do himself in, just give him some time. He escaped from my house one day, unnoticed, and was returned to me by a neighbor. I felt AWFUL!! I've never had an escaper in my mothering experience, so I was unprepared. More diligence! So it was a bigger surprise when he managed to escape over Thanksgiving when there were 4 adults in the house! My mom happened to be heading house to house and rescued him from down the sidewalk a ways. Hey, if he can escape with 4 adults, it's no wonder he got away from 1.

We tried to wean Ethan off the bottle. All the other kids have been pretty content to take whatever we give them, so long as they can get a drink, but Ethan has his own ideas.  We completely took the bottle away and had sippy cups at the ready - the first day was rough, the second day was rougher, the third day seemed like we were on the up-swing into him accepting his new life… but the third NIGHT he woke up and cried inconsolably for 1-1/2 hours, from 1 a.m. - 2:30 a.m. We finally plugged him up with a bottle, and it took him quite a while for him to forgive us enough to even LOOK at those sippy cups again. We may end up with a 2-year old who happily totes his bottles to playdates, the park, and potty-training, but I figure there are worse things in the world. I only figure that because I'm his mom; I DISTINCTLY remember judging another mother who had a toddler with a bottle at church. When the tables are turned, I am much more forgiving (you're welcome, Self)!

About the adults: Joe was working diligently on our basement bathroom until Thanksgiving break, and since then we've been diligently ignoring it. One of these days I'll get around to the Bold and the Beautiful: Part Whatever, but today is not that day. Tomorrow doesn't look good either.

Joe turned 30! It wasn't a huge celebration, though I got him a particularly awesome Honey Badger card.
So that was awesome. Joe shopped for and cooked his own delicious birthday dinner and dessert (he chose strawberry shortcake. This would never be my choice because it does not have any chocolate) and we ate with Kari & Jonathan & their kids, then the next night they babysat for us and we went out to Catching Fire. This was also my birthday celebration of sorts, since my day fell on Sunday and Joe's not home and Sundays suck… but at least we hit the movies, right?

And then you've already heard about me and popcorn and netflix, so now you know everything! I mean, noticed everything! 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

My other blog (she has another blog?)

I originally started two blogs, one for my family and one for my scrapbooking, but the last time I posted on my scrapbooking blog was 5 years ago! I decided to remedy the situation and now I'm working to keep a fun log of favorite scrapbooking pages and ideas and tools and whatnot. If you're interested (or just bored out of your mind and have nothing better to do at the moment), go check it out at willscrapbookforfood.blogspot.com. Enjoy!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Muhammad-al-Eli

Eli and Caroline and Patrick really like to brush my hair, but none of them are particularly good (i.e., gentle) about it. After finishing up with a particularly painful brushing Eli asked me if it hurt when I brushed my own hair. I said, "Yeah, but not as much because I expect it. It's like when you punch yourself, you can't really do it so hard it hurts because you expect it." Eli said, "I can punch so it hurts!" and he immediately punched himself straight in the face. Well, you sure showed me, Eli!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Family photos with mischievious children...

Although we had family photos over the summer in Estes park, our kids grow by the day (practically by the second, judging by their food consumption and outgrowing of pants) AND I needed to update their individual pictures. Since everyone "turns" in the winter months I like to do it all in one fell swoop: family photo, individual yearly photos, and material for Christmas cards. We had our good friend Cami Chapman do them for us, and I'm pleased with how many cute ones we got!

 One of those "All because two people fell in love" beginnings... First we were crazy about each other, then we had four kids, and now we are just crazy.

Awww, Patrick is old enough to pose by a river and not fall in - so big! *tear!*

I maintain that Eli is the handsomest. Like, EVER. In the history of ever.

This is a common look from Caroline when she's embarrassed - the only thing missing from this expression is her looking out the corner of her eyes.

 How can you resist this guy?!

 Wicked cute!

 There was some serious wrestling by Patrick and distraction by the parents to get Ethan to sit semi-still for this shot.

 In the end we ditched him because he was determined to throw himself off the boulder and own the hill. I'm holding the frame in one hand, Ethan in the other, out of the shot.

 But I still love him. And he still loves me (and my teeth).

My handsome dudes

 We didn't do it! We were framed! Very cutely framed!

 Framed or not, Caroline's too cute to be found guilty.

 ALL my handsome guys.
 
Cami is the same talented friend who did Ethan's baby photos, so if you're in Pueblo and need some nice pictures snapped, call her!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Help, injected with honesty

You know in "The Help" (by Kathryn Stockett) when Aibeleen tells the little girl she watches, "You is good. You is smart. You is important."? It always makes me want to cry because I can see myself on both sides, being like the mother who is distracted by inconsequential things instead of using her energy to wisely raise her daughter, and being like Aibeleen who is truly busy yet trying to instill in the girl a sense of self-worth in spite of sometimes difficult circumstances. Yes, I can be distracted by inconsequential things, like crafting far too late into the night so my kids get TV and candy in the morning while I get a nap; on the other hand, I spend nearly every waking minute with 3 of my 4 kids so there are more moments than I can even count where I am reading to them, talking with them, playing with them, cleaning with them, eating with them, encouraging them, lecturing them, and loving them. 

To make the most of some of our quiet moments, and to counteract some of my negligent moments, I've taken a note from Aibileen and been whispering encouraging words to my kids as I tuck them in bed. Caroline, especially, since I catch myself saying nice things about her, but things that are not necessarily something to aspire to, like, "You're my pretty girl." Caroline, don't go getting the impression that I am basing your worth on how pretty you are! I'm not! But I'm your mom, and I think you're pretty, so I say it. So at bedtime I say things like, "You are smart. You are important. You are special." She nods in agreement with each one, which warms my heart. Last night after I'd whispered to her and was leaving the room she added, "And difficult," and nodded with her satisfied little smile. Now THAT is the truth, Caroline, that is the truth.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Perhaps craftier than I thought...

 A friend walked into my house yesterday and appreciated these colorful curtains. I was happy because I LOVE these curtains, they were a big part of bringing more bright colors into my living spaces!

I said, "Thanks! I made them from some clearance fabric I found at Hobby Lobby." She was surprised and noticed that the pillows were homemade, too, so then I started pointing out all the things I've crafted that decorate the one room we were standing in… it was crazy! The family sign over the door.
The wreath on the front of the door. The pillows on the couch. I knitted the blanket on the couch. I painted the frames that are all around the room.

I whipped up the cafe curtains over the sink, and made a cute pink accent stripe around the window.

I was feeling pretty good about myself! Most of the projects have slowly spanned the last 5 years or so, it's not like I suddenly began crafting 6 months ago and have transformed my home, because that's simply not true. But the slow accumulation of homemade items combines to make a unique and fun (for me) place to be! Later this weekend, hanging out with Kari, we were sitting on our rears doing nothing while the kids were playing well and quietly together - why waste time? Let's do more crafts! So I went to get the materials from my house for a new Valentine's wreath I've been wanting to start, and in collecting the material I came across materials for old projects I never got around to finishing! So instead of a from-scratch Valentine's wreath I ended up completing these 3 beauties:

A Valentine's 3-D thingy. I painted an old scratched-up frame from Goodwill (got the cheapest one I could find, less than $2). The Zebra background is scrapbooking paper, on hand (and stolen from my sister Kari, so REALLY free for me!), the roses are simply scrapbooking paper cut into a circle, then cut a spiral into he circle and wind it up from the inside out, then hot-glued on. SO EASY, you wouldn't believe it (especially for how cute they turn out!)


A decorative tray. I salvaged an unfinished wood breakfast tray from Goodwill (maybe $2? It was YEARS ago), painted the edges and mod-podged scrapbooking paper cut and/or torn to make the interior picture.  The tree on top has sequins glues on as ornaments, the wording was cut from Cricut. All the items were already on-hand, I didn't buy anything special for it, so I'm gonna say $2 for this bad-boy. It's sitting on one of the chairs I re-upholstered myself :)

This nice charger I got on wicked clearance at BBB after-holiday sales. Originally $10 it was only $1! I hand-cut "joy" and cut the rest from Cricut, then mod podged it together. The paper and mod podge were on hand, the Cricut was borrowed from my sister, so the whole project was seriously $1.

I guess I need to dig through my craft stash more often, I know I have more half-finished projects lying in wait for a quiet afternoon!



Friday, November 15, 2013

Visitors - the Pre-game

Joe's parents drove over to visit us for a few days, and we had lots of fun! For one, they always bring us lots of stuff. Exhibit A:
Cutest dollhouse ever! They acquired it from a garage sale in anticipation of Caroline's birthday, but since they won't be here for her actual birthday they wanted to enjoy the gift of giving and see her play with it while they were here. Caroline was very please. Eli, though, was over the MOON, he was far more enthusiastic! It was fun to have the two of them open it together (Patrick was at school and Ethan was napping).

Exhibit B:
Bikes! Bikes! And MORE bikes! Patrick's new one looks like a dirt bike, but is really pedal power.
 
Check out the enthusiasm!
 
Patrick's new red bike meant Eli could use Patrick's old yellow bike, though he's back to insisting he needs training wheels. Oh well, soon enough... in the meantime, he goes 200 mph!
 
Caroline's bike was brought down last time and she's put a few thousand miles on it since then, but they DID bring a 3-wheel scooter and a smaller bicycle for when Ethan grows a bit! So many modes of transportation in one garage...


For another thing, Debbie and I went shopping and I got 2 cute pairs of shoes, a nice skirt, about 5 adorable shirts, and enough books that it took 3 grocery sacks to carry them. The only place you can shop like that and still get out for under $75 bucks was Goodwill, one of my favorite haunts! Secondhand stores are the best - get a sink, get Halloween costumes, get materials for gifts to make, expand your library, and get some really adorable stuff. By adorable stuff I mean I got shirts from Charlotte Russe and Old Navy for $3 apiece, and I would be shocked if the shoes were not brand spanking' new - there's not a scuff mark on the outside or toe indent on the inside! It's not regular outfit-your-whole-wardrobe shopping, of course, but sometimes (like this time) you can get some serious steals.

 For a final thing, we had a very nice time just being together. Ethan loves to play peek-a-boo, and grandma loves Ethan, so there was quite a bit of that going on.


 And finally we had to get some shots of the kids with the grandparents. They're getting so big!

Awww, look at that Joe! He's getting so big and grown up! I'm scared for the day my boys are taller than I am.


 And look at that grandma Debbie! She's getting thinner than ever. She's been on the Ideal Shape diet this past year and this amazing woman lost 105 pounds! More details o that later... but Holy cow, I get grumpy when I need to lose even 5.

 Now I call this the visitors pre-game because over Thanksgiving we'll have upwards of 20 people in our two houses, so this was a little practice run on getting things to run smoothly. Wish us luck!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Oops, and Dollar deals

Was yesterday a post based on pictures that didn't actually have any pictures? Well, try reading it again - THIS time I actually put pictures of the nook on it! Hooray hooray! I like the yellow paint in the room much better in person, it never photographs well. Maybe I'll have to repaint so you'll be even more *impressed* by my rooms when I take pictures - anything for you, that's my motto.

In other room news I posted (many moons ago) a picture of Caroline's tree that I painted on her wall, and it looked pretty bare. I eventually hung up shelves like the original idea I'd pinned, and I also stumbled across wall stickers from the Dollar Tree - there were 2 different styles of butterflies and I bought 2 packs of each, not sure which theme I wanted to go with, but in the end I enjoyed mixing the realistic butterflies with the plain pink ones. I seriously wish this was MY room, I love hanging out in there!

Then I found this very cute metallic fairy wall sticker - add a little magic to a boring space of wall between her door and her closet.

For the boys' room they had dino wall stickers! Big & little dinosaurs, plants, and footprints to create your own scene. This scene wasn't created by me, but I figured Fun (which is the Function) over Form.

Here's a Triceratops stabbing a T-Rex in the Achilles tendon.

In the case of my boys, they recreate the scene daily - the stickers stick well enough to move again and again without sticking SO well you need a razorblade and some Goo Gone. All in all, from cute butterflies to aggressive dinosaurs to sparkly fairies, I'd say "head to your local dollar store! It's a couple bucks well spent!"  You may need to search a bit, these were in the same isle as dog food and pet care. Worth the browsing!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Nook, 365 days later (or is it 2 weeks early?)

Well, in this post (yup, this li'l post from 2012) I SAID "Let's see how far we get by Thanksgiving," I didn't say Thanksgiving of what YEAR. So, for Thanksgiving 2013, here is our nook!

I got around the upholstering the chairs!

I painted the cabinets white and turned them into upholstered benches!
I even re-upholstered those benches because they were originally white in a vinyl fabric I *thought* would be easily wipe-able but was really just dingy and dirty no matter how hard I scrubbed; this is exactly the same fabric in black.

I got art on the walls!

Curtains on the window!

See? Everything I wanted to have done by Thanksgiving, DONE. I must be awesome.




Monday, November 11, 2013

Funny Kids Tids (tidbits, that is)

Just some humorous tidbits that have been overheard from my kids lately... I realize I used to do them a lot more, so now I've been listening a lot more and writing them down again. Good thing! They were funny this week.

Patrick and Eli helped me clean out some of the air ducts in our kitchen this week - they needed to be vacuumed out and have the vent covers washed. They were gross. I'm not a picky person, so if *I* think they were gross the general population may have deemed them disgusting. But not anymore, of course, now they are CLEAN. Patrick was so proud of his job scrubbing and drying off with 11 paper towels (sorry, trees, I miss you already!) he declared, "Sheesh, I could do this, like, every frickin' day!"  "Sheesh," a "like" filler, and "frickin'" all in one sentence from my 5-year-old. So proud :)

Caroline lined up a bunch of stuffed animals and was singing to them.  As I walked past she told me, "I putting my babies to bed." I said, "Awwww, that's sweet that you're singing to them." She deadpanned me and said, "No (in a "no-duh-you-idiot" tone), my MONKEY is singing to them." Sure enough, she had a very small stuffed monkey in her lap. Very soon she will have mastered the art of eye rolling, and she has yet to turn 3 years old.

Here's my still-2-year-old in sponge roller. We'll see how that turns out in the morning.
 
Each night before bed Caroline like me to snuggle her. I'm all for a good snuggle, but she's in a modified crib (open in the front) so I can't exactly lay in her bed (without breaking it, that is) and it's a tricky angle to snuggle on the floor, so I do my best and tell her I'll snuggle for one minute. Lately she's been very annoyed that as I breathe through my nose I am breathing on her shoulder. She shrugs away and tells me I am "niffling" her. Heaven forbid, here comes some niffles!

The boys were watching a dino documentary on Netflix today, narrated by Donald Sutherland - it's a good one, and you can always TELL it's going to be a good one if it's narrated by Donald Sutherland. Sorry Ben Stiller, your narration stinks. But anyway, they wanted this documentary on in the background because then they had all their toy dinos out to fight. At one point Patrick('s dinosaur) exclaimed, "I'll sacrifice myself for you!" Then aside to Eli, "Do you know what sacrifice means? It meant to die for something important so that someone else can live." They kept on playing, then one of the dinosaurs must have bit the dust because Eli said, "Nooooooo!" (with exactly the voice inflection you're imagining from a lame movie). Patrick responded in a light, angelic voice, "It's okay, I'll see you in Heaven...."  So now we know, all dogs AND all dinosaurs go to heaven.   

On the All Dogs Go To Heaven bit, just last month I met a couple who named their only child, a girl, Charlie. Not a nickname. The mom said she loved the name ever since ADGTH. I just hope that girl is a HOTTIE when she gets older, because then Charlie is a stroke of genius; if not, Charlie is a cruel joke that she will be yoked with the rest of her days. Hopefully she got a girly middle name just in case.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Crafty Crafter

I've pinned any number of cute throw pillows because pillows are easy and cheap to make at home, or crazy expensive to buy while I'm hating myself for going shopping with my kids. Unfortunately to make pillows you have to buy fabric, so there is SOME shopping involved, but I was lucky enough to be kid-free one morning and hit up Hobby Lobby. Found some super-cute polka-dot fabric on clearance for $4 a yard, so I bought 1 yard to make 2 pillows, plus 2 colors of felt (4 sheets of felt for $1, I bought 4 sheets of each color, so $2) to make the flower petals. Total for each pillow, then was $3! Hooray! The instructions for this particular pillow come from http://www.cluckclucksew.com/2008/09/petal-pillow-tutorial.html
 
Here is how mine turned out:

 Notice the lovely purple knit blanket behind the pillow, it's the one I lovingly spend 800 hours on for my baby girl, which turned out to be baby boy Ethan. Anyway, the pillow was indeed very simple, but mine took lots longer than 30 minutes to make since I was whipping it up in the middle of the day with kids running all around. I had to forcibly remove Ethan from sitting on top of my sewing machine pedal more than once.

The next pillow was an idea from dollarstorecrafts.com, which (you guessed it) is dedicated to ideas for crafts you can make solely from items you find at the dollar store! Love it because it means I can go to the Dollar Tree (just down the road) and bring my kids because they can all pick 1 item and then they're quiet, good shoppers so I'll actually BUY their items. Hobby Lobby, much as I adore it, is clear across town and I can't get out of there for less than $50, EVER.  So I've seen and I loved these felt leaf placemats, but I never use placemats, so I was so excited to see them used as a PILLOW! Pillows, I use.

You know any girls who loves naps loves pillows. I worked on this very late into the evening as Joe and I caught a few episodes of Scandel (he's hooked, thank goodness) and nobody claimed it was a 30-minute pillow in the first place, but GUYS... this is NOT a 30-minute pillow. It SHOULD be, it's so simple! Stitch an existing felt leaf placemat onto white fabric, fold it inside-out and whip the sides together, and BOOM. But I was very particular about my pinning, I wanted the fabric to align perfectly with no shifting (which I did, so that's good), so I pinned the heck out of that leaf. Then I wanted to make sure all the edges were securely sewn down, so there was a LOT of angles and turns and sewing veeeery sloooowly. It took about 90 minutes, start to finish.
Still! The fabric was $8 a yard (I bought nice thick fabric since it's white and it's just a slipcover, it needed to cover my dark brown couch pillows!) and each pillow took 1/2 a yard, plus a $1 placemat. $5 a pillow? Yes, please! The two episodes of Scandel it took to make it were practically a bonus, I love that show.
 
The bad part about the whole 2-tv-show-episodes, 90-minute pillow craft-a-palooza was that the next morning I was exhausted! It went down after Joe finished tiling, so I was making this at indecent hours. The next morning I catnapped on the couch while my kids ate Halloween candy and cheese puffs for breakfast while watching cartoons. But hey! I had this super-cute pillow to nap on, candy for breakfast is a dream come true and happens roughly never at our house, so it's all good.