Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sloane Tanen

The book I mentioned, "Where is Coco Going," I picked up at a second-hand store, where I pretty much get all my books. So cheap! After buying it I realized it's even signed by the author, Sloane Tanen! That's pretty awesome! (Side note, it's the third book I've gotten from a second-hand store signed by the suthor or illustrator. Weird! And awesome!). But then again, why do I care? I didn't mean Sloane Tanen to have her sign it, I don't have any authentic note saying "yep, it was her!" so it was just a cool little tidbit about that book.

UNTIL.

Until I googled images to find a picture for that last post, and she has written (and posed miniature chicks in) other stuff! Coco is a kids book, obviously, but these? Imma have to check these out because just the images are making me laugh and I have no idea what the inside contains....

"Hatched! The big push from pregnancy to motherhood." Image courtesy of Bloomsbury.com

"Bitter with Baggage Seeks Same" Image courtesy of Amazon.com

"Going for the Bronze" Image courtesy of Amazon.com
"Appetite for Detention" Image courtesy of Amazon.com

And then, for good measure while I was browsing, I bought "Coco All Year Round." I'm very excited! It's a used copy, maybe it'll come signed :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Funny little things

For his birthday Patrick recieved a nerf "cross-bow," which flings the balls pretty dang fast! You don't want to be standing too close.  So of course the boys always stand too close.
 
Patrick got hit in the face like that and, crying, came to me to describe how awful it felt when he got hit: "It felt like fabric."  I must have had a confused look on my face.  "Fabric that was shaped like a hammer."

I forgot to mention, on Patrick's actual birthday Joe took him and Eli to the zoo, while I stayed home with napping kiddos.  While at the zoo they saw lots of interesting things, like the otters were out! Mating! Oh, joy. Fortunately the kids were placated with minimal explanation.  Patrick observed, though (not relating to otters) that "it would be horrifying if the animals escaped." He was in the farm section of the zoo at the time.  Yes, it would be absolutely horrifying if the hens and the bunnies and the pig ran amok.


 
Eli does tons of funny stuff, egads I need to work on writing it down! One that stuck with me was while we were reading a book, "Where is Coco Going" (Caroline's absolute favorite),
there is a page with a rainbow on it.  Eli very seriously stated "I don't like rainbows. I don't like to ride or walk on them."  So, mark off rainbows as a means of transportation for Eli because he'll have none of it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Thoughts on Birthdays

Now that I've posted about a special family dinner, followed by a big party, I felt pretty guilty about how much we glossed over Eli and Caroline's birthdays. We opened presents a couple times here and there, had a cake but not friends, didn't really make a BIG deal out of anything. So we were talking to Eli abot his party for THIS year, turning 4, and I explained how he can invite 4 friends, and he was very pleased. He promptly announced he would invite "Patrick, Caroline, Mommy and Daddy! See? Four!" I guess Ethan will have to go to Kari's :) But PERFECT! He already HAD that party! The one I felt guilty about turned out to be his dream guest list.

For much of Patrick's party Eli stayed away from the action, hiding if it got too crazy (or if he was addressed directly, like in T-Rex May I?), and he often he and one of the quieter boys would go off and play on their own, quietly. Don't get me wrong, Eli's not what I would call a quiet kid, but he's not big into crowds of kids. Big crowd = little Eli, little crowd = big personality. Maybe we should just let him invite one special friend to come over when we do our family party, eh?

Monday, January 28, 2013

The big birthday

Patrick turned 5 on Friday, the same day my mom turned 39! Funny, she turned that age the year he was born, too... At any rate, we wanted to have a birthday party with friends, so we let him invite 5 friends, just like last year he invited 4 and the year before he invited 3.  I figured we would keep up the tradition until he turned 8, because more than 8 kids is just too many!  But I changed my mind.  We are stopping the tradition at 5, because 5 invitees is PLENTY for me.

He invited friends from each area of his activities, which was fun and kinda weird since nobody knew each other - one from church, two (brothers) are our neighbors, one is babysat by another neighbor but doesn't actually live near us, and one a friend from our previous ward in Pueblo. Then Eli, of course, and Patrick made 7 kids is total, and THANK GOODNESS Joe was there and Kari took Caroline during the party because it was crazy madness.

We had a Dinosaur-themed party, based on Patrick's burning desire for a Spinosaurus cake.  Many months ago he drew me the Spinosaurus he wanted on top of his cake, and he's referenced it often since then, like, "Mom, when are you going to make my spinosaurus cake?" Me: "Patrick, it's November, I won't be making it for quite a while."  So I couldn't let him down and have, say, and Avengers Party where all the supplies are readily available at Target. NO. Had to be dinos.  Since we've already DONE a dino party (his 3rd birthday, it was awesome) I wanted this one to be very different, all new activities. While we aited for everyone to arrive we had the table covered in butcher paper, with dino stencils and markers set out - the kids really got into it!

I was happily surprised, it killed 15 minutes when I thought it might take 5. For our first activity I created a scavanger hunt where the clues were taped to toy dinosaurs that I hid around the house and the yard - pretty entertaining!  The final clue led to the freezer, where I had frozen itty-bitty dinosaurs and snakes in big tupperware containers, so I handed the kids some excavation tools (okay, butter knives) and they had to chip the toys out.  Once out, these went into the goodie bags. I would not recommend this activity to anyone planning a party with high-energy kids (of which we had 2), the tools were abandoned in favor of throwing the ice on the ground; ice chunks were flying and some of the frozen toys actually broke.  The non-high-energy kids had a really good time, though, and kept at it, even when ice chunks were flying their direction. No pictures of this, I was too busy being a body shield and yelling at the 2 boys to knock it off (like I said, I don't recommend this unless your kids are mellow! I didn't see it coming! See if you can spot one of the high-octane culprits by this photo). 

Next we played "T-Rex, May I?" which is, of course, just "Mother, may I?" by another name.  We renamed steps to be "flying pterodactyl leaps, giganotosaurus jumps, stegeosaurus stomps" and the like, and it was really fun! Then some free play time because I was tired of herding the boys into one activity, although that kind of bit me on the rear because Joe and I had to be diligent about watching them, the high-energy kids were pretty determined to hurt themselves and everyone else by whatever means available (climbing and jumping out of trees, throwing the hippity-hops balls, swinging swings into other kids, etc - HOW DOES anyone handle these guys on a regular basis?!).  We brought them inside, away from trees and swings, but instead of playing with toys it was a mass pile-up on the slide.

Everyone, even the more timid kids, was laughing and having fun, so I DID take a couple snaps of that. Thankfully we only had to wait for the pizza to be cooked so we'd have another activity for distraction! Patrick did NOT get his desired Spino cake, you'll see why, but I substituted a
Spinosaurus pizza.  I thought it turned out pretty awesome, uncooked AND cooked. 



The Brachiosaurus pizza was an extra, you never know how much 7 kids might eat.  After pizza, instead of cake we had ANOTHER excavation activity!  We buried small (but not tiny, we didn't want anyone choking) dinosaurs in layers of chocolate pudding, topped by crumbled oreos, then the kids had to eat to dig them out!

I thought it was a work of genius! Some kids got into it more than others. This cutie declared it "the best party ever!"

While this one was pretty grossed out.

I had visions of kids finding their toys and licking them clean, then playing with a sticky dinosaur while still at the table... of course, nobody did this. As soon as they unearthed their prize they carefully placed the goopy thing in the pan and woudn't touch it until after it was washed off in the sink.

 Goes to show, I should NOT have visions or expectations! They never quite pan out. Still, a fun activity that I would recommend.  We followed dessert with gifts, of course, and Patrick got some GREAT stuff, from markers to legos to nerf guns - he's been so busy trying out his new loot!

And this is further confirmation that we don't need stuff at Christmas, he gets plenty at other times of the year. We had a great party, take from it what you will if you're considering a dinosaur party, and now on to a year of being FIVE! Yay!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Fine birthday dining

We wanted to celebrate Patrick's birthday with his cousin Amelia, but realised she would NOT be interested in the big, loud crowd of boys he invited to his party, so we decided to do a family dinner where she could come with her parents and sister. Nice and quiet. Patrick loves shrimp, and when we went to Captain D's a couple months ago he pounded an entire platter of fish and shrimp, and stole my crab cake to boot; I figured another trip to the Captain's would be perfect! We brought along a Bostom cream pie (my new favorite) and ordered plenty of fish, shrimp, and crab cakes to go around. He opened presents in a corner booth, but since we were quite the spectacle trooping in with gifts, baby bouncers, and kids galore, we decided not to bring any more attention to ourselves by singing "happy birthday." It was really nice to get out together! Loved the company, loved the gifts, we love birthdays :)
 
Joe and I went for artsy gifts, since it combined his love of dinos and art. Perfect! This one you made small dino molds of plaster of paris, then painted them, and mounted a magnet on the back. Of course, he got it Friday night and by Sunday night he'd already molded and painted both batches of plaster... looks like his next gift needs to be refills!
 
This one you paint pre-made dinosaurs, which are bigger. They worked on that one tonight, Patrick was gracious enough to share both art projects with Eli.

His aunt Gina and uncle Ryan knew how to win his heart - a DRAGON! He's recently expanded his obsession with non-existant creatures to include dragons, so the timing was PERFECT. Like crack to an addict. Like soda to a mormon mom.

Caroline and Amelia looking pretty bored, but looking back it was the only picture I got of them! Whoops. They were actually just intent on him opening his next gift, some SWEET Levi jeans from Kari. I don't know when boy jeans will stop being "cute," but the answer is "not yet!"

 Ethan hung out in the bouncer. Pink because we're borrowing from Kari; our other bouncer, a gender-neutral giraffe, finally gave up the ghost. One too many big kids bounced on it. Poor Ethan.

Our lovely near-neighbors, Kari and Jonathan, who braved out-to-dinner with some crazy girlies.
 
Exhibit A: Crazy Girlie

Joe loves Addilyn, probably because she's easier to hold than our own kids since she weighs 1/4 as much.

 Ok, I guess Ethan got out of the bouncer for 2 seconds for a photo opp. This is one of those pictures where you don't realise until AFTER you take it that there are some unwanted background objects... like the restroom sign.  Just a reminder that you sacrifice class for handiness when dealing with kids, it was GREAT to be so close to the bathroom for the sudden "I need to pee!" emergency.

 Addilyn, Joe, Me, Ethan, and Caroline trying to be helpful in the background - typical picture!

Great times with the Captain! Happy birthday, Patrick!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Don't mess up the mold

It's always fun to compare how closely the kids resemble each other! Ethan v. Patrick; thank goodness I got the super-old pictures labelled so when the new ones come around I don't get confused. 


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

4 months

Seems like only a week or two ago I was posting Ethan's newborn pics, and now he's 4 months old! He's healthy, chubby, happy, hungry, loud, and pretty much the perfect addition to our imperfect family.

Hanging out with Caroline, his biggest fan.  She calls him "Baby Eban" and usually takes over whatever I put to entertain him, like she shoves him over so SHE can play on the exersaucer toys.  She even tried to climb in and sit on him one time.
 
 That big dome piece gets stuck in small collars sometimes
 
He tried his first solids, rice cereal, as a last-ditch effort to get him to sleep better at night. He wasn't  over-the-top interested, but also not disgusted, and has started sleeping better (knock on wood, it's only been 2 good nights) even without formidable solids consumption.

 Working on tummy time, he no longer spits up all over the carpet and rubs his face in it while he cries - major improvement!

Baby profiles are the best! Big ol' upper lips, cheeks that eclipse the tiny chin, turned up noses... I love it so much! I will miss someone letting me smoosh my face up next to theirs without complaint.

So dang handome. Jeans? Skull hoodie? (with little bear ear on it, absolutely no correlation to the skulls but I die with delight) I think this kiddo's 4 months going on 14 years. And pretty much nobody is handsome at 14 years old, so I'd better get it while I can!
 
Finally, having a chuckle with dad. Ethan loves laughing, but I feel bad making him laugh! Ethan, I am seriously doing the most retarded things ever and I am embarassed for you that you are laughing at them, they're not funny!  (But I'll keep doing them because I know you'll keep laughing and it's just so sweet) 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

2012 survery, STOLEN

Let's take a look (as stolen from my sister elsha)...
 
1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
Selling a house! It was stressful and exciting, and turned out to be smoother than we ever dreamed!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't make new year's resolutions, I make them DAILY. And then break them. Daily.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Me! And my sister Elsha. My friends Amy and Rebecca, but I wasn't anywhere close when they had their babies, so I suppose that doesn't count since this specified "close to you"!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
I don't think so, but then I feel like I must be forgetting something and someone will be terribly upset with me that I forgot so-and-so died! I'm a forgetful jerk!

5. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Joe's - he works loooong night shifts but manages to come home with a smile, hugs and kisses for the kids, and make breakfast for everyone before he goes to bed. I think (I know) I would fall in a grumpy heap on the couch and kick kids off me until I dragged myself to bed where I'd grumble about my lack of sleep and how nobody appreciates it.  Joe is SO not like that, he deserves a party!

6. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
My own :(  I try SO HARD! Which is maybe why it's appalling and depressing when I don't reach those high expectations I set for myself.  Yelled at kids? Appalled. Still haven't finished half the painting projects of the new house? Depressed.

7. Who did you miss?
Everyone! I want to be close to every single person I love who does not, at this moment, live close to me. Jones Family. Sollis Family. Van de Boogaard family. My parents. Joe's parents.... have we ever been friends? Then yes, I miss you!

8. Who was the best new person you met?
Adam Deters, since he fast-tracked Joe's application and interview process to the Distribution Center. I want to give him a big hug whenever I see him, except that would be weird.

9. Where did you travel?
To Pueblo a few times, then back to Denver a few times... we were too busy with babies and moving to actually take a decent trip.

10. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
Great new jeans. I haven't had a great pair of jeans since high school, and now that I'm out of Baby Land I think I deserve to buy some that actually fit.

11. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
March 11th, Daniel’s birth - I got to cut the cord! And I will lord that over him forever. September 22, Ethan's birth - most painful thing I've ever experienced. My birthday, which I will lord (secretly and otherwise) over Joe until the day he dies.

12. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting our Thornton home FINISHED! I never thought it could be done, but we DID IT.

13. What was your biggest failure?
Probably time management. Failing at it at this very moment.

14. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing besides birth, which certainly felt like it injured me

15. What was the best thing you bought?
A house! I was going to say the new TV I allowed Joe to finally splurge on for his birthday, but then I remembered we wouldn't have a place to watch the awesome new TV if we didn't have an awesome new house. I love it!

16. Where did most of your money go?
New house, again. Well-spent, though :)

17. What did you get really excited about?
Joe's new job! New jobs are exciting and all that, but this change seriously took the cake in awesomeness, enriching our lives in all aspects.  Every. Single. One. Now THAT is exciting.

18. Compared to this time last year, are you: Happier or sadder? Thinner or fatter? Richer or poorer?
Happier, by far! It was terrible times at WT, long hours and short pay and me working with 3 kids... we tried to make the best of a bad situation, and we weren't miserable people or anything, but there's just no comparison. MUCH HAPPIER this year! Unfortunately, fatter (I'm clinging to 9 months up, 9 months down). Fortunately, richer (thanks, new job!).

19. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Scrapbooking. I am woefully behind, and always will be, but at least I could have been LESS woefully behind if I'd kept at it at any point before November.

20. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Sleeping - but I had no choice! I was soooooooo tired when I was pregnant.

21. What did you want and get?
New job! Like Elsha using Daniel for every answer, Joe's job at Target is steering this survey for me. But seriously, I wanted him to get a new job about 2 years before it actually happened, so it was fantastic to finally get it!

22. What did you want and not get?
More sleep. As much as I got, I always wanted more!  Oh, and a nice quick delivery - did NOT get that.

23. How did you spend Christmas?
At home with family, you can read all about it

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Downton Abby. I scrapbooked while Joe and I watched it. Sons of Anarchy. I scrapbooked during that, too. Those seem like a weird match for favorite shows, but they're both dramas that leave you hankering for more :)

25. What were your favorite books of the year?
Good question, I don't remember what I read last year! Lots, I'm sure, I love reading, but what precisely did I love? Hmmmm... I read the Eragon series again, and that was good. We'll go with that.

26. What was your favorite music from this year?
Fun., Maroon 5, and Taylor Swift - all fun to jam out to in the car with the kids!

27. What song will always remind you of 2012?
Fun., Maroon 5, and Taylow Swift stuff - I remember when we were renting across town from Kari and got to listen to lots of songs on the way to and from her house. Lots of opportunities to jam out! Before and since, I hardly listen to the radio!

28. What were your favorite films of the year?
Last installation of Twilight - so good!

29. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
None. I’m not big on celebrities.

30. What political issue stirred you the most?
If there were a plague, I would avoid politics even more than that.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Had a very bad day. I had planned on relaxing in my pajamas, reading my book (Eragon series), napping, and doing pretty much nothing; unfortunately Joe got it in his head that my birthday was a good day to pick a fight about the cleanliness of the house so I spend the day scrubbing my house in my pajamas, gazing wistfully at my book, until he left for work. Then Eli broke my camera. Then I cried. I turned 29.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Pretty much nothing, 2012 was AMAZING. And I certainly can't say that about every year!

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
Grubby work clothes. Between working on the old house to sell it and the new house once we bought it, I put on real clothes about once a week. Pretty sure the new neighbors thought I would NEVER get dressed.

34. What kept you sane?
Being outside. I get all crazy being inside too long, and I really go whacko if the kids are playing while Joe is trying to sleep (which leads to being appalled and depressed about myself).

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.
Take it easy, it's just not that big of a deal.  The vast majority of the freak-outs I had were over trivial things, things I CHOSE to freak out about. I need to choose to turn a blind eye more often, because it's just not that big of a deal. Being nice IS a big deal, though.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

thumb

We originally thought Ethan would go for pacifiers, but that lasted less than a week.  Now he likes to chew on his fingers and has recently discovered his thumb.  It's so cute! I've never had a thumb-sucker! Maybe it'll only last a week, too, but I had to get a picture. He sucked his thumb in-utero, too - the ultrasound tech caught him just right and when she'd lift her wand he'd pop his thumb in, when she pressed down it forced his thumb out. In, out, in, out -  SO CUTE!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Visiting, Exhibit B

During the visit, with 9 kids under age 5, we dubbed it "crazy madness" when things started getting out of control, like when too many kids were crying, or too many kids demanded juice or a snack, or it was too loud, or you could hardly walk through the room because it was like wading through a shallow sea of midgets.  "Crazy madness!" we'd exclaim. One day I had to take 6 kids in my car, and it was crazy madness.  I know my car (Honda Pilot) is made to seat that many, and we got it in case it ever had to on a regular basis, but WHOA. It was crazy madness (and really tough to try to get a picture of it all!)
2 rear-facing seats, side-by-side, was a pretty amazing feat.
But the back row was where the party was at!


I just LOVE Eli's expression in this last one! he was so frustrated the the big kids were out of their seats for the picture and he was still wrangled into his 5-point harness.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

It's 10 p.m.

Me: *sneaking into Eli and Patrick's room to turn off Christmas lights
Eli: *definitely still awake
Me: Hey, go to bed. We need good sleep for Joy School tomorrow
Eli: Why don't we need bad sleep?


Good question, Eli, good question.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Visiting, exhibit A

Elsha and her kiddos came for an extended stay here in Pueblo while her hubs recovered from tonsil surgery.  Thanks, Brian, for weathering the surgery and pain meds so we sisters could get together! It was fun! It was loud! It was messy! And it was definitely too crazy with lots of kids around to even think of blogging.  But I'm back at it!  This is exhibit A of the visit, where I was working on taking down Christmas decorations while Elsha's baby, Daniel, helped.  I'm thinking it would be lots easier to undecorate for Christmas if we could just eat everything instead of packing it back up in boxes and storing it away!*
E





*Next year we are planning to decorate our tree in disposable items, as part of my less-stress. I got pretty stressed about the kids touching some of my more precious ornaments. We're thinking salt-dough ornaments that the kids roll, cut, and paint, gingerbread cookies that people can eat (a special request from Joe), and a garland of either edible (marshmallows) or disposable (paper chain) items. And a string of lights, which Daniel already deems edible, so it counts.