Monday, April 30, 2012

Sweet send off...

As I blog, and take pictures and video special moments I often wonder what, if anything, will my children remember from their early years. How much will pictures and videos trigger a warm fuzzy memory that they hold on to?

I often write and shoot photos in hopes that I can bottle up all these memories and feelings and share them with my children some day years down the road when they actually want to listen.

Today, I want them to remember their sweet and tender goodbyes in the morning. Hallie waits by the stove clock completely ready to go and counts down until it's time to walk out the door. She walks around and gives hugs to everyone. I walk her out and we stand on the sidewalk until she sees her friend across the street.

Hunter is right there, backpack in hand, ready to send her off. (Always reminding her that pretty soon he will be going to "pweschool") Once Hallie sees her friend she carefully walks across the street and waves goodbye from across the way. Hunter, with all the love of a caring brother, shouts out, "I hope you have a good day at school Hallie, I love you."

This morning as we walked back inside he looks up at me and says, "I really like her mom". I do too buddy.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Office visit...

Steve has worked at Petsmart (corporate) for a year and a half and the kids have never been to his office. They hosted a family party last week so we checked out his office before the party.

The kids were excited to finally meet the "family pet", a.k.a., Urtle the Turtle. It is not surprising that the only pet we have stays at Steve's office. But the kids proudly tell people that ask that our family has a pet turtle. I noticed that the frames he took to work a year ago are still proudly leaning up against the window instead of hanging on the wall where they belong. I knew I should have brought a hammer with me!
I also noticed his candy jars are empty. Who wants to walk into an office with empty candy jars. He claims he just ran out, but that could mean 2 weeks ago, it could mean 4 months ago. Who knows!!

I came across this picture hanging on the wall and had to snap a picture of it. What can I say, Steve is a reptile lover!

The office next door had a snake and a couple of lizards. Hunter was more than nervous and refused to get even remotely close. Hallie on the other hand was a willing participant. Her face proved she was nervous, but she held a steady hand.
By the time we had made the rounds and visited all of his co-workers offices, it felt like we had spent the afternoon at an aquarium- without the overpriced admission!

Can I reiterate how happy I am that the "family pet" stays at work. I love it. I'm sure the kids will go at least another year before feeling the itch to see Urtle again. How wonderful it is!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Funny Comment...

Remember the boy who thought a woman shouldn't be fixing sprinklers (here), he's back.

This time while he's walking by, I'm enjoying my new favorite tool. He watches me from afar blowing the front porch and I make my way to the side of the house by the garage after completion. I shut down the blower just as he turns the corner and walking past our garage.

"Seriously, why doesn't your husband do these things?"

"He's at work all day and doesn't get home until late and when he does get home he's doing other important things. Because I'm here all day I can do it."

"My mom stays at home all day and she still doesn't do anything, my dad does it all for her."

"Then your mom and I are very different people because I enjoy this type of stuff."

"That's weird."

In my mind I'm thinking, "You know what's really weird? You thinking your mom doesn't do anything all day and that your dad does everything. That's weird!!"

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Weekly photo project...that's a wrap...

What started as an idea to shoot a monthly photo (similar to Hunter's monthly photos) turned into something much more (thanks to inspiration from!

I remember walking through the fabric store with my mom right after Bennett was born and trying to choose a fabric that would be his first month photo. I decided that I better shoot his first month every week because they change so much in that first month, then I would shoot every month.

In the back of my mind I thought it would be fun to shoot every week. But I didn't want the work that would go with it or the commitment of having to follow through. We hit the one month mark and the following Tuesday I pulled out another blanket/fabric and shot another photo, but I still wasn't completely sold on doing it for a year. I think I got 10 weeks in and decided there was no turning back, I had to shoot this little guy every Tuesday for a year. For the most part I really looked forward to it each and every week. But there were plenty of days where I knew the second he woke up that I was not going to get the cute smiley photo I was hoping for. But some of the grumpy photos are my favorite!

One photo for every Tuesday for the first year of Mr. B's life. I love it and I'm happy to say, that's a wrap!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

52 weeks...

And just like that - they grow up.

We shot our final weekly photo today. It was bittersweet. I am so happy to have 52 weekly photos, but some Tuesdays I was just not feeling it and either was he and it just was more work than it was worth. But we pushed through the pain and I'm glad...I suppose I pushed him through his pain...either way we have 52 photos!

Seeing as though this was the last one, it was harder than normal picking "the one". I like this one in particular because you can see him screaming..."Get this silly onesie off of me!!" And to our last weekly update...

Mr. B has discovered stairs. He is a champ climbing up, not so good at coming down. We've had too many close calls and I can't find a gate wide enough to cover the staircase. Dang.

He's in a scratching phase - he better be careful - I might have him declawed!

He's already a pool rat and loves sitting on the edge with his little feet splashing around.

He's my longest nursing baby so far, we're down to one morning feeding which will be coming to an end in the next week.

He's playful and happy.

He has blisters on both of his big toes and on the side of his feet from army crawling. I've tried countless times to get him to crawl on his knees. But he's totally content and he moves quickly.

I found him in the pantry this week with the lid off of the Costco sized cracker bucket just going to town. He threw a monster fit when I took it away from him.

I love that this boy is so snuggly.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Being Capable...

We had our home inspected prior to purchasing. Diagnosis: Duct in the attic supplying 80% of the house was shot.

I thought maybe the inspector was a little cuckoo, so we got a second opinion. And a third. Yes, and even a fourth.

For once in my life, every single opinion agreed; the "flex" duct had to go. Who knows how much energy we were losing when they looked like this:

And this picture is actually on the better side of the house. The other half of the house had insulation completely split open and exposing the duct. No wonder our bills had been so high!

After numerous bids I was disappointed at how much we were going to have to fork over to get them switched out. We were complaining to a contractor friend that Steve worked for in high school and he nonchalantly mentioned we should just do it ourselves. It's not rocket science, it was just really crappy work. A light when off in my head and I immediately started asking every question I could to understand if it was really in the realm of a DIY project.

After the conversation I was racking my brain as to how I was going to convince my anti-home project husband that we should take this on. To my surprise, he brought it up and suggested we tackle it. Let it be known that although he is usually a willing participant, rarely is he a volunteer. I won't lie, it was pretty attractive!!

When we started bidding out one of our heat/ac units I talked with them about replacing the flex duct. One guy was so willing to share his information, he offered to purchase all the materials for us as well as use his nifty tool to complete the job. Jackpot.

We chose a weekend to work in the attic and completely lucked out when it was unseasonably chilly with a high of 62. For 4 hours we sifted through the blown-in insulation as we unattached and reattached 6 lines of ductwork. Just like the contractor siad, it's not rocket science. But boy did it suck. We sat and crawled through an attic that only have 5 feet clearance in the highest part. Steve wanted to keep talking about the cruise we are going to go on with the money that we saved by doing it ourselves. At times it was the only happy place we could find!

That night as our stiff bodies lie in bed we were recounting the days events and chuckled at the thought that we just replaced our ductwork. (Which is a long ways from where we started in our first house, especially for Steve!) It was a good reminder that we are capable individuals, much more capable than we ever give ourselves credit for. We often limit ourselves based on our current knowledge or skill sets, even more so our mental block against activities we regard as out of our reach. Don't get me wrong, I know that there are plenty of tasks that require special training and should only be completed by those trained individuals. But more often than not we push off tasks that we are fully capable of completing if we only tried. Knowledge is out there and more readily available than ever before and we have opportunity to learn and gain any skill set we desire.

The bottom line is, we are capable. We are capable to do anything we set our mind to if only we acquire a desire and determination to follow through. And if anyone wants to replace flexduct, I'm more than happy to offer some tips!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

New favorite tool...

I like to collect gadgets and gizmos.

The kitchen is a major weakness and I can justify just about any small electric appliance for a number of reasons. Then I got into woodworking and there was a whole new world of tools just begging to come home with me. With each new project I collect a couple things and I feed my addiction.

This week I bought a new tool that is quickly becoming my new favorite...drum roll please...a backpack blower. No joke. Steve was skeptical as he is with most things I purchase. However, he used it this weekend and he's finally convinced of it's necessity. Let me clarify - he was in agreement that we needed a blower, he was also in agreement that it needed to be gas powered. (We borrowed an electrical one two weeks ago and it's a little awkward stretching a power cord across the pool to blow the leaves out of the pool area. It was an accident waiting to happen!) He just thought the backpack was going a little overboard.

I knew very well that I didn't have the arm strength to carry the other type for any amount of time. So the backpack won out. I love it and so does Steve after blowing for 40 minutes yesterday!

I find myself justifying the need to pull it out and blow leaves off the front porch. Yes, it's the shiny new toy!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Funny Comment...

Not too long ago I was outside with the kids. I was working on the sprinkler system when a little neighbor boy - 8 years old -came walking by.

"Why isn't your dad doing that."

I'm confused. The little boy is confused. I try to clear it up. "What do you mean my dad..."

"Or your husband. Why isn't your husband doing that. It's his job to fix it."

I didn't know what to tell him, he was adamant that I wasn't competent to complete the task at hand.

Hallie then came to my rescue in a very defensive and loud voice..."My mom knows how to fix things."

The little boy looked at her funny and didn't say another word while he walked away.

I gave Hallie a high five. I know how to fix things. But even better than that is that my daughter knows that I know how to fix things!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dirty fun...

I walked outside to find Hallie and her cousin standing on top of one of our trash bins. I was completely baffled as to what they might be doing.

I questioned them.

They denied any wrong doing yet refused to tell me what they were doing.

I insisted.

Hallie finally broke.

"Okay mom, we're doing the funnest thing ever. It is so fun. One of us gets in and then you shut the lid and walk around in circles."

I'm disgusted at the idea of my child in a filthy trash can. Actually it was a recycling bin - but it's all trash in my opinion! I forbid the activity and encouraged a cleaner activity - like jumping on the trampoline!

I went back inside and foundd myself outside just minutes later delivering something to the trash can. There I saw my nephew standing next to a barrel on the sidewalk. Hallie was no where to be found. As if on cue, Hallie popped up from under the lid and was filled with the look of guilt as we made eye contact.

She started to justify.

"Its not even dirty mom, there's nothing even in there, it's really clean. Look, my clothes aren't even dirty."

Once again, I'm filled with disgust. There is no way I'm touching that girl until she has a bath. They were giggling and having such a good time I walked away as if I didn't see what was going on, figuring out how to explain to my sister-in-law her son spent his afternoon in a trash barrel! Of course, once Hunter caught wind of the dirty fun, he made sure he was a part of it!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

51 weeks...

Mr. B is making his way around the house extremely well these days. I often find him in the most unusual places. He likes the pantry, directly behind the door with his arm wrapped around the lifesize tub of pretzels.

He also enjoys the bathroom right next to the tub (I found him sucking on the shampoo bottle today).

He has discovered the art of throwing food which I hope is a quickly passing phase only time will tell!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Block party...

I love the idea of spending time with and getting to know the people in the neighborhood. I want my children to make friends within walking/biking distance. Better yet, I want to make friends within walking distance. :)

We jumped at the chance to attend the annual block party that some friends host just down the street. It lived up to the hype.

Steve worked the grill where they served up authentic J-Dawg sauce (that by itself made it the best block party ever) while the kids ran around like crazies with all their little friends. The bounce house was a hit but even better was the popcorn machine and cotton candy machine. Every time I saw Hunter with a new treat in his hand he was grinning from ear to ear. He caught on real quick that if he laid low he would have an endless supply of treats. I love how deep in thought he is about this wonderful machine, the puckered lips crack me up!

The candy cannon caught me a little off guard as I heard a loud boom and stuff flying through the air. The second time they shot it I was little more prepared but still managed to get pelted by some candy - it was a little dark and hard to see!

They had a dance party and a large projector to watch a movie. Our children started their meltdowns long before they ever started the movie- so we made a quick getaway. Hallie was concerned that all of her friends got to stay up late and she didn't. Although we reassured her her friends would be going to bed as well, we knew very well her friends would be staying up late to watch the movie. That is the difference between the oldest child in a family and one of the youngest in a family! There is always next year...and we're looking forward to it!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Baptism Invite...

A fun little photoshoot and cute announcements for my niece. Such a cute girl! Although reluctant to get her picture taken at first, she definitely warmed up.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Birthday Cake Rice Krispies...

Hallie was out of school for good Friday so I scrolled through my pinterest account to see what would be the best kid-friendly project. You can never go wrong with food! These little goodies have been sitting in my account for a while and I couldn't find the right occasion to whip them up...until now.

Like all rice krispies, these were easy to make and virtually impossible to screw up!
6 cups Rice Krispies
1 bag of miniature marshallows
3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup yellow cake mix (the original called for less, but I liked a little more flavor)

Melt marshmallows with butter. Once it's almost melted add the dry cake mix. Mix with the cereal. Once marshmallows are stirred in well add a lot of sprinkles. Don't stir a whole lot once the sprinkles have been poured in because it dye will start to color your treats. Press into greased 13x9 cake pan. Add more sprinkles to the top and lightly press down so they stick. Let them sit for 30 minutes before cutting into them. (I like mine a little more gooey, so I add some more marshmallows!)

We made a pan when some cousins were over and loved them so much we made them again the next afternoon. Since you only use a 1/2 cup of the cake mix, you would hate to have any of it go to you must make these treats a couple days in a row. If you have very little self control, you can also put the extra mix in the freezer and save for another day!

Can you imagine other holidays...Fourth of July, Valentines, Christmas, Halloween...there are endless possibilites here!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Another painting project...

Steve apologizes every time he tells me he has to go out of town for work. All that goes through my mind is, "What room should I paint."

He went out of town and the guest room got a facelift. I taped one afternoon and cut in. I painted the next night once the kids went to bed. Just like that, another room down!

Everyone knows by now that this home is a work in progress. And by that I mean - it will take years to get it where we want it. So although I might get the time and energy to paint a room. That is just a tiny step in order to get these rooms in a presentable stage. Over time they evolve and hopefully one day I can show them in all their glory!

Before: After - two coats of Benjamin Moore Gray Horse: Every room has a checklist of the things that need to happen. It's discouraging to see how long that list is!

Remove upper moulding
Replace base moulding
Add window trim
Hang window hardware and curtains
Replace blinds
Replace mauve carpet
Remove popcorn ceiling
Build headboard/footboard
Paint desk
Hang shelves
Replace ceiling fan
Buy end tables
Buy bedding

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

50 weeks...

This man has a mean army crawl and he ends the day with a filthy shirt. He crawls to the same two bookcases and pulls everything off of them. Every. Single. Day.

I think he purposely drops food from his high chair so he can retrieve it later on.

He has been Mr. Grumps lately and I'm hoping it ends soon. He had a bad night sleeping a couple nights back, and it's been all downhill from there. I keep thinking a new day will bring new rest, but he's proving otherwise. He's clingy and whiney and he's been throwing a little funny fit where he rolls over really fast and throws his head on the ground. How in the world do they learn the art of fits at such a young age??

He's a mama's boy. He's the first of our three children to be attached to me over Steve, I'm not sure that's a good thing!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter again...

Easter is always a weekend long celebration. Our new ward holds a two-mile fun run/walk followed by an egg hunt and breakfast. Two miles seems a little long for most young children, but when you scatter thousands of nickels along the path there wasn't a child complaining. Even Hallie who starts saying her legs hurt two minutes in to every bike ride didn't mention once that she was tired. Instead she kept her eyes on the trail and picked up every nickel she spotted. Sunday we enjoyed a great breakfast and a church movie. Once again reminding the kids that Easter is something larger than the baskets they wouldn't let out of their sights. We enjoyed a wonderful church meeting, two eggs hunts, (one, Hallie and Hunter searching for money eggs, and the other with all the cousins.) and a fabulous dinner hosted by Steve's brother and wife. Steve has a lot of immediate family that live close and it's not always easy to host a formal dinner for all of them. However, this was done right. Formal sitting for 35 people and decorations to match. It was wonderful and a great ending to special weekend. We couldn't ask for better family to be surrounded by. And now that it's over- the candy has to go. One day of children bouncing off the walls is plenty.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter 2012...

We had a busy weekend full of friends and family with fun activities and great food which I'll detail tomorrow, but today I will focus on the real Easter. The kids had a great Saturday and even participated in an egg hunt. Before going to bed we were talking of Easter and we questioned Hunter as to it's meaning. He looked at us confused and replied, "Eggs and stuff, and a bunny." Nothing tears at your heart like the feeling of failing and we felt we had failed. You better believe he didn't go to bed until we had a good conversation as to the true meaning of Easter. Up until this year, we have been really good about separating the "fun" aspects of Easter from the "real"aspects of Easter.

Saturday is the day we do baskets with candy and egg hunts galore. With that behind us, Sunday we were allowed a more spiritual experience as we truly focused on Jesus Christ. We missed the boat this year purely from lack of planning and overwhelmed with a busy weekend. After Hunter's response last night, there is no doubt we will go back to baskets on Saturday with all the fun and hoopla that goes with them. I love it all - I just need my children to understand the difference.

I want them to understand that they have a loving Heavenly Father who lives and loves them dearly.

I want them to understand and gain faith that Jesus Christ lived on the earth and that He is risen.

I want them to understand that there is and always will be peace and hope in the Atonement.

I want them to understand they are never alone.

I love this declaration that testifies of the same Savior that we celebrated today. I also enjoy this quote by Elder Robert D. Hales, “When the challenges of mortality come, and they come for all of us, it may seem hard to keep believing. At these times, only faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement can bring us peace, hope, and understanding. Only faith that He suffered for our sakes will give us the strength to endure to the end."

I have faith. I am grateful for this day we celebrate such faith.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

DIY Painting Stripes...

I love stripes. I love to wear stripes. I love striped rugs. I love stripes on walls. Our first home in Rexburg I painted a flat/high gloss stripe throughout our living area.

After we moved, I recreated the same treatment in our new home: (moving day - it just seemed to be one of the few pictures that you could actually see stripes!)

And then I painted a thick white stripe at the top of Hallie's room:

And then I painted stripes in the playroom: So of course it should come as no surprise that I needed to paint stripes in our new home. I loved the playroom before, so I went with it. But stripes can be tricky. I've had my fair share of practice and I have a few suggestions:

1. Create an odd number of stripes. This will allow you to keep your base color on the top and on the bottom which means you don't have to tape of the ceiling or the baseboard. This will make your life easier.

2. Use a good tape. I've traditionally used the blue painters tape, this time I opted for the green "frog" tape. It was more expensive than the blue but I think it worked well. I always seal my tape (see #3) but you might not have to with the green tape. It might be worth trying on a smaller project!

3. Use a laser level. Borrow one, buy one...whatever it takes, but this will save you time and serious headaches. Once you determine where you want your stripe, position the laser level and then tape along the laser line. I've done it without and let me tell you, the level makes a world of difference. It's worth every penny!

4. In order to eliminate bleeds, after taping off your stripes use the base coat paint and go over the edges of the paint. (you only need to seal the edge that will be touching the stripe.)This paint will inevitably bleed, but it's the same as the base coat so you don't notice it and it seals the paint so there's no bleeding of the stripe.

5. Work quickly! The green tape has an interior use of 21 days. So you could really have it on your wall for quite a while, but I don't recommend it. Because I'm always trying to fit projects in whenever I have a spare moment I ended up taping one day and painting the next. But once you start the painting stage, work quickly. I sealed my paint (with the base coat) and completed painting the stripe within 2 hours. As soon as the last stripe was painted, I started ripping down the tape from the top stripe. This makes it easier to remove the paint without pulling off any paint.

And just like that- you have stripes.
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