Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thanks A Lot Miss Nebraska, or Carving Pumpkins

On Monday we went to Longfellow, the kids school, to help the kids carve pumpkins. The zoo was recently privatized (made crappy) and they needed volunteers to carve pumpkins. One of the banks in town donated the pumpkins and some people from the community came to help the kids carve. WNCC our community college sent over some softball players, the bank let some of the personnel come, lots of parents helped out, and of course our native Scottbluffonian(?) Miss Nebraska. I didn't realize she was coming until she pulled up a seat at Ella's table to help some of her classmates. She is a wonderful woman, I thought she was very sweet and patient with the kids, but I was a little bummed out that all the pictures Ella's teacher took of us had both me and Miss Nebraska in them. Yeah for her. Booooooo for me. Like I need pictures with this tiny, skinny, blond bombshell in them. Miss Nebraska is the pretty blond in the background, fyi. It's just that easy to feel self-esteem bleed from your system!
Anyways, we had fun, the kids did a great job. Eric and I were both in the 2nd grade to help, and we were so busy trying to convince the boys they didn't need the "extremely hard" stencils of mummies and flames that we weren't really paying attention to what Livi was doing.
We went the next night to look for the pumpkins they had carved. Ella put a giant "E" on the back of hers so we could find it (plus it was the only one I saw with eyelashes!)and Ethan carved a question mark on the top of his. Ella's was right at the beginning of the zoo and super easy to spot, but we never found Ethan's. I can only guess that it was tipped over, or the light was shorted where it was. I like to think it was in the throng of pumpkins below: Poor guy, but at least we got a picture before we sent it!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Waiter, there is a frog in my water...

I went to take a drink out of my water bottle the other day and stopped right before a giant swig. Something had caught my eye. It was a little pink toy frog that Ethan had gotten from somewhere. Livi thought he needed to go for a swim. Either that or she is a budding biologist and new that he would never survive without wetting his skin. One of the two.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Why Is October Always So Crazy?-UPDATED

It has been a very interesting week. I've been run ragged with all the different activities, deadlines, baking, costume making, birthdays, and parties that have gone on this week that it is actually a relief to sit down for once and just type for my blog. Sorry to everyone who called me this week, not only am I still recovering my normal voice from being sick, but my mind has been elsewhere as the stress has mounted.
I will go into these more for anyone interested, but I want to review the week before my brain wipes it from my memory as a self defense mechanism.

Sunday: Played 3 hours of piano at church and found feud with program lady has escalated.
Worked on costumes

Monday: Helped kids carve pumpkins at school for zoo spook-tacular from 8:15-11:00, luckily Eric took an early lunch to help out.

Went grocery shopping
Worked on costumes
Had family home evening where we carved our own pumpkins.

Worked on costumes.

Tuesday: Went to Ella's class to read a couple of books while her teacher did testing
Worked on costumes.
Went to zoo spook-tacular to find the kids' pumpkins (Ella's had giant "E" on back so we could find it)

Wednesday: Made a QUADRUPLE batch of sugar cookie dough.
Worked on costumes.
Baked half the sugar cookie dough batch (roughly 50 cookies)
Worked on costumes.
Wrapped presents.

Thursday: OPENED PRESENTS - Livi's 2!!!!
Went to Ethan's class to help kids who didn't finish writing assignment at their home.
Went to mini plays put on for Ethan's class by high school kids.
Went to do visiting teaching (which time was changed as I was pulling up).
Baked rest of sugar cookie dough.
Took Ella to ballet.
Baked brownies for Livi's cake.
Ordered pizza.
Had Bagley's over to celebrate Livi's b-day.

Iced 91 cookies.

Friday: Got stuff ready for both kid's parties.
Took Livi to 2 year check up, got 2 shots and finger stick for blood test.
Dropped off Eric's forgotten lunch.
Tried to finish my costume.
Went to kids' parade and parties at school.

Worked on Eric's costume.
Went to ward party.

Cleaned up all the sewing crap all over my house.
Sat on couch and refused to move.

My Octobers always seem to be like this. The rest of the month wasn't a cake walk either. I always feel more stress in October than even December. Maybe it's because I have all month to worry and plan, were as in December you get the last week to only worry about how you are going to pay for everything you did the 3 weeks before. I'll do longer posts on the major activities, but right now I am going to bed and letting my mind just rest.
p.s. OUR WINDOWS CAME IN!!!! Hopefully we can start getting some real work done on our house!

UPDATE: To clarify, the feud is new, and not really a big deal, but funny. I did start the costumes in September, but remember I did 5 costumes by hand. Livi's had hand beading and a pleated bodice. Ethan's and Livi's I had to adapt the patterns quite a bit and they involved appliques and Ethan's is reversible. Ella's didn't even have a pattern, so I had to make a mock up in muslin. I didn't procrastinate, I just had a full plate. Sorry. Oh and I did all the carving for our family because it went really late and kids had to go to bed. They picked out stencils and helped outline, but I did the actual carving while Eric put the kids down. FYI

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Modeling Munchkins

I have lots of really cool cousins, but the one I want to mention is my cousin Andrea. Andrea has always been the artistic cousin, whom you didn't want to draw next to because your picture would look like a regular 5 year old drew it and hers would look like a post modern interpretation that should be hanging on a museum wall. Andrea's favorite cartoon character when we were little was not Strawberry Shortcake or Carebears like so many of us, but Rainbow Bright. With all her colors painting the sky it is not hard to look back and realize the draw for her.
Andrea has gone on and started a very successful alternative baby clothing website I mentioned this site about a year ago when the kids got their awesome ninja shirts. This summer at Aspen Grove, before the awful gut wrenching throwing up fest began in our little part of the cabin, the girls got to model some of Andrea's cool clothes for pictures for her website. It was so fun to go through all the samples she brought and try on different combinations.
Livi got to spend lots of time "playing" (posing, which Lily was MUCH better at, probably because her Grandma is Aunt Diane and she's had LOTS of practice) with her cousin Lily. She loved Lily! Andrea and my talented Aunt Diane took lots of pictures while I tried to baby wrangle and hold up sun deflector thingys to help. It was interesting to be a part of the shoot and see how seemingly random poses turned into awesome shots. I wish I had their vision.
Andrea was awesome and let the girls keep their clothes that they modeled. I would suggest checking out her site if you want something a little different for your little one. She has lots of cute items, some that are a little edgier than I care for, but lots of cute accessories, shirts, shoes, and amazing hand made tutus (made right there in Utah).
Here are some of my favorite afters:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thanks a lot Walmart

For starters, I don't have any before and afters of my house because I have no "afters." Everything is half way done (or a quarter done if we are being honest). It is going to take a while to see any real improvement. Anyway on to the main post:
I have a love/hate relationship with Walmart. I love the low prices, the one stop shopping. I hate that we are losing any semblance of variety. They addict you to their stupid prices, then drop all but two types of syrup. They run out the little stores that sell the type of syrup I like, and then I have no way of getting said syrup. Funnily enough this post is not about syrup either.
I am ranting about Walmart because I hate that it puts the mom and pop shops out of business and I have a harder time finding the quality products I want. The same could be said about photography here in our town. It use to be that the several little photography studios would do all the school photos. They would come in, spend time, make sure ribbons were where they needed to be, eyes weren't closed during the shot, and that the kids smiled. Unfortunately we had a walmart-esq type photography gestapo come in and underbid our local studios. Sure they put our shiny packets, but ultimately we are paying a smidgen less for inferior products and service.
Any of you who know Ella know she loves to get her photo taken. She loves to pose in front of the camera, and the camera loves her. Here is a shot taken this spring by my aunt. Oh and another one I love. Here is one taken this summer by my cousin for her website Here is the school photo of Ella we just got back. I don't feel like I have to add a lot more, the photo speaks for itself. I was so happy with the pictures we got the last few years from preschool, who used our local photographers. They would look at the little screen, zoom in, make sure they got the shot. I can just tell from this photo they put the kids in an assembly line and snapped those pictures without even looking at them. Oh well, at least Ethan's picture turned out (and for those of you who have tried to take his picture you know getting a smile out of him while he is standing still is a virtual miracle!).

Thursday, October 7, 2010

As Demanded

So some of you have asked for pictures of the house. I only really have scary before pictures since everything is still a work in progress. I'll try to post the less scary ones here and then update with completed rooms, if that ever happens.
Here is one part of the front of the house. We got a new roof, and we've been watering the grass, which actually makes a big difference (go figure). Here is the other part of the front, where the bedrooms are. I love the foliage, and eventually I'm sure it will look nice, and not like a jungle. Right now there is a big hole in the front where we are putting in egress windows for the basement, which makes it doubly attractive! This is the great room, and by "great" I mean "where the UPS guy can't see our mess from the front door." It's actually a very cosey room with our furniture in it, and we enjoy hanging out in it quite a bit. The two upstairs smaller bedrooms both looked like someone murdered a box of crayons and the blood splatter got all over the walls. I guess they let their kids "splatter paint" the walls and ceilings. Awesome! One of the reasons we loved the house was the lot. It is a big lot, but not too overwhelming. It's almost twice the size of our last one, but more landscaping and hardscaping had been done. This is a picture of part of the backyard. Another reason we loved the backyard was this covered porch/pergola. There are pretty vines, a flower box, and shelves to put up flower pots. I can't wait for next spring! We've had a few problems we didn't see coming, like broken sprinklers, mold in the basement, rotten windows etc, that have caused the causmetic fixes like paint and decorating to be pushed back on the priority list. It's going to be a lot of hard work, but eventually we'll get there.

Sorry Carter or Dancing In Dresses

We had our friends over on Tuesday to decorate cookies and play. The big girls wanted to wear their princess dresses which made Livi want to wear her princess dress. They had lots of fun twirling around, and that'll just have to watch. Just so you know, Carter INSISTED on his outfit.