Friday, November 30, 2007

BLINK



I feel like I blinked, and all of the sudden Preston is six months old... how did that happen???

How could I loose six months so quickly?

That said, he is the cutest, sweetest, most lovable, and good natured six month old baby in the world...

I love this baby!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mr. Incredible



Porter's assignment over the Thanksgiving holiday was to decorate this Gingerbread man with his family... He knew exactly how he wanted to decorate him.

First he was to be decorated as the Crimson Chin, but since we couldn't locate the action figure, Porter quickly and decisively selected Mr. Incredible as our back-up.

He didn't hesitate as we charged ahead in our quest to turn Mr. Gingerbread man into a superhero.

I think we did a pretty good job!I love to see my kids be creative, and I love seeing where their preferences lie.

Bath Time







I was feeling like a bad mom because I hadn't taken any pictures of Preston taking a bath... then I found these pictures I took in September... so maybe I'm just a forgetful mom! I won't mention that these really are the only bath pictures I have, but I suppose some are better than none!

Hiccups

For a while Sophia called her dress-ups hiccups. As in, "Mommy, I want to wear my hiccups..." It's so funny to get a glimpse into how what we say gets heard and interpreted in our kids' minds...

Sophia and her friend Madison

swimming fun...

When I went searching for my maya wrap photos I discovered photos from one of our last swimming trips of the season. Lest they be forgotten in never never land, I thought I ought to post them.

Our family LOVES to swim! Our pool was open through the end of September, a little known fact in our neighborhood. Our Saturday afternoon activities almost always involved swimming. Often times we had the pool to ourselves. Fun fun fun!














Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Maya Wrap

I meant to post something about my beloved Maya wrap oh, six months ago... Audra's sling survey reminded me that I had not yet composed any thoughts of the subject, oh well, better late than never...

When my mom asked me what gift I wanted from her for baby number 3, I knew exactly what to tell her... A Maya Wrap. I have LOVED it! I had a nojo for Sophia (a padded ring sling recommended by Dr. Sears-- love Dr. S, didn't so much love his baby sling). I used a front carrier with Porter. The Maya Wrap has definitely been my favorite.

I love how versatile is it... I could snuggle Preston in a cradle position as a newborn. Now that he's older, he can face me or look out. I've even used it with Sophia. I put her on my hip, and cinch the sling around her. The sling can be used for children up to 35 pounds. So I plan on getting lots more use out of it with Preston too.

I like the padding less feature, because I feel like I can get a better fit without the bulkiness of padding. It also fits easily into my diaper bag.

I bought mine straight from mayawrap.com because a lot of people make knock offs, and I wanted to be sure I got the authentic one. The fabric is supposed to be some special South American wonder. I purchased a black one, because I figure black goes with everything, although they did have some other great fabrics.

I love the philosophies behind baby wearing and attachment parenting, and the Maya wrap makes it easy. Supposedly babies who are carried more cry less and eventually feel more attached. It's also so nice to be a hands free mom at the park or the store. While I haven't given up my stroller, I still use it daily, I really enjoy having different tools for caring for my babies. This is something that's made my job easier!



photos taken in September

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Life of Pi


I recently finished Life of Pi. After hearing so many positive reviews, I was looking forward to reading it. As I was reading it, I thought things like "interesting idea" " the author is very imaginative" and "not quite sure what all of the hype is about" etc ... then I read the end... and I got it. The depth of the book just multiplied ten fold for me.

I looked forward to and was disappointed by my book club's discussion of the book, simply because I feel like we only skimmed the surface of what this book is about. I feel like this book is smarter than me, and there are deeper meanings that are just beyond my reach. I'm going to do a little research to see if I can get my questions answered... maybe I'll post more later on this book when I get some more things figured out.

Anyone else read it? Any thoughts or lessons learned or connections made?

Clean Carpets...


We used some of our Christmas money last year to buy a carpet cleaner... What a good investment. It's already paid for itself several times over. Clean carpet is one of those simple pleasures. I like my house so much better when the carpets are their original color!

My brother Paul, used to clean carpets with Chem-Dry... He's kind of a carpet cleaning snob, meaning he thinks Chem-Dry is the best... and I agree with him, there are several distinct advantages to hiring a professional. But our bottom line is, we don't want to pay $300+ to get the carpets cleaned.

However, and my brother agrees with me, at our stage of life, and with our children at the ages they are, owning a carpet cleaner and doing it ourself, is the best option now. Perhaps if we had high end carpet, or if our children were past the dirt tracking, potty training, drink spilling stage, then we could consider hiring Chem-Dry... But since we won't be replacing our carpet until our kids are past the above mentioned stages, and since we have so many other places we'd rather put that money, we rely on our Kenmore.

... and I LOVE it. Clean carpets make me smile... and I'm smiling right now, because Doug cleaned them last week. Thank you honey!

Minestrone Soup

My friend Lindsey shared this awesome soup recipe with me. It's so good and so healthy.


Minestrone Soup:

2 cups coarsely chopped onions
1 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup vegetable oil
5 cups beef broth
2 cups chopped tomatoes or 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
2 cups coarsely chopped cabbage
1 cup sliced fresh carrots
2 teaspoons dried basil or Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1-1/2 cups sliced zucchini
1 cup cut fresh green beans
1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup uncooked ditalini or 4 ounces spaghetti broken into 3-inch pieces (I use tube pasta)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1) In an 8 qt. soup kettle, saute the onions, celery, parsley and garlic in oil until tender. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, cabbage, carrots, basil, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour.

2) In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain and set aside. Stir into soup along with the zucchini, beans and pasta. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the vegetables and pasta are tender. Top each serving with Parmesan cheese.

Yield 20 servings.

Monday, November 26, 2007

WE ARE THANKFUL FOR...


The results of the annual 2007 R* Family "We Are Thankful For Many Things" FHE are as follows, and in no particular order:


* washer and dryer
* music
* swing set (always the first thing out of Porter's mouth)
* cell phone
* prayer
* swimming suits
* the whole earth
* swimming pool
* art supplies
* our playground
* piano
* Preston
* daddy
* our television
* our candy
* blog
* kids shows
* Madison
* dishwasher
* Porter
* Sophia
* books
* a big bed
* eyes
* mini-van
* computer
* daddy's job
* sleep
* friends (written and illustrated by Porter)
* email
* white car
* tickles
* air-conditioning
* mommy
* ears
* scriptures
* church
* temples
* leak proof roof
* 72-hour kit (hand-written by Porter)
* good health

...and I don't even think that covers half of it... we are so blessed!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I think in terms of blog posts...

I've noticed lately that I think in terms of blog posts.... Events and thoughts and opinions get catalogued in my mind as a "post." I mentally attach a picture, think about what I would say, and file it away in mind for a figure post...

I don't always get them recorded onto the computer, but I think it's interesting how my mind has transitioned into cataloguing, ordering and filing my thoughts into blog posts...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

TIRED

You know you're tired when...



The above photo was taken several weeks ago after a temper tantrum. I guess she was tired then too... hugh?

Mid-Nov Zoo Trip

I'm catching up...
We went to the zoo several weeks ago for playgroup. Had to post a few
pics of the trip...

Happy Baby



Sophia and one of her, depends on the moment, but usually titled, best friend, Madison.

It's the hair



When ever someone tells Doug that he and Preston look identical, Doug always replies, "It's the hair..."

I have to agree, they do have the same hair style, however, I think they look alike anyways. What do you think?

I think Preston looks a lot like Doug did when he was a baby. I'll have to try to locate one of Doug's baby pictures to post. I'll put that on my HUGE to do list...

Primary Activity

Primary Quarterly Activity Report... Joseph Smith/ Restoration Activity.

Doug and I were in charge of the games. Doug wanted to know if his assignment was per his calling, or per his role as my spouse... does it matter?

We organized potato sack races... Note, Sophia is not yet in Primary, but the presidency agreed to let her participate, since Doug and I would both be occupied. Sophia did so well, she participated and LOVED it. She's going to love primary next year!



STICK PULL


My advice to Sophia was... when you fall, get out of the way. I was worried about her getting run over.

In boys against girls, the boys won, after Doug jumped into help.

I can't believe she'll be a sunbeam in a little more than a month!

Cute friends

The nap timing worked out well...



More potato sack races...
We followed up the games with chicken drumsticks.
The next station included kneading bread, making slinky apples, and grinding wheat. When I asked Porter what his favorite part was, he said, grinding wheat. The final station was a craft. The kids made a golden plates replica tree ornament. So cute. After the stations, the kids met in the gym for a skit performed by senior primary, a viewing of the Joseph Smith story, a testimony by Doug (this one was per his calling) and molasses cookies. Glad it went well!

swimming suit season

It doesn't really matter to Sophia that swimming suits are not the standard attire for November. Luckily it has been warm enough to continue to wear them. I'm not sure what she's going to do come Thursday, and the cold front comes in. I guess if she doesn't give them up on her own accord, they will get "lost" in the wash. I wonder what will replace them? The other day, when she couldn't find a swimming suit, she put on her undies with a see through ballerina skirt... yeah, not much more modest.

Swimming suits are just her absolute favorite thing to wear. They've even surpassed dress-ups. She still sleeps in them, she plays in them, and she cries when her favorite one is in the wash.

We've worked out a "compromise." I won't let her wear just a bathing suit into the store. So she brings clothes with her. In the parking lot, she pulls clothes over her swimming suit. We go in the store, run our errands, and return to the car. She takes her clothes off and wears her swimming suit in the car seat. Next store, repeat the process. Pull clothes on over swimming suit, shop, return to car, remove clothes...


The picture serves several purposes... One, to illustrate her FAVORITE swimming suit. It's last years model, thus the intense fading. She calls it the one with lots of flowers. It's currently hidden so it can be washed on our next laundry day. During her distressed reaction to this news, I asked her why she couldn't wear another one. Her response? The other ones don't have a ballerina skirt, and I can't do my ballerinas in them!

The pictures also shows what happened the other night, right before we had to go to our mother daughter tea, when I left her alone for several minutes with markers. I thought she was drawing on paper. Luckily it was washable and washed right off.


The swimming suit with the big flower


The tiger swimming suit

I called it tie die, she heard tiger, and the name has stuck

I was telling Sophia about swim team. She's really a good little swimmer, and I think she would enjoy swim team next summer. She was interested, and asked if she got to wear a swimming suit every day. When my response was in the affirmative, it sealed the deal. She let out squeals of delight at the prospect of joining up.


exersaucer



We pulled this out last week. Preston loved it! It's so cute to see him growing and developing and being able to do new things.

ZOO

Porter has the week off from school. It's been so fun having him home. I worry a lot about what my kids get exposed to, and when Porter is home I know where he is and what he's being exposed to. I know I can't protect my kids forever, but I want to as much as I can and for as long as I can!

In an effort to make the most of Porter's "bacation" as he calls it, we went to the zoo yesterday. Unfortunately I forgot my camera. But we had a great time. We spent most of our time in the Children's Zoo, as always. There isn't a ton there, but by the time we play in the water fountains, climb over the boat, check out the fish, pet the goats, and play on the toys, we've spent a good part of our time.


I usually let the kids pick one extra thing to do at the zoo. Usually they select the carousel, but this time Porter asked if they could ride the train. I agreed, but told them that costs more than the carousel. Both kids eagerly agreed to chip in some of their money stash.

It was so cute, they marched up to the counter, Porter proudly unloaded his wallet onto the counter ( 86 cents in pennies, nickles and dimes) , Sophia proudly added her quarters to the pile, and I took my turn to make up the difference.



An Asian woman speaking limited English refused to take the pennies, nickels, and dimes. She said something about how she couldn't use it as change to give to other customers. Her argument had little logic in mind, don't you deposit your money into the bank at the end of the day? The amount of your coins makes little difference to the bank. She wouldn't tell me who her boss was, I was so steamed.

I made a great effort to calm down, drop the issue, and have a nice train ride with the kids. Doug's theory is she didn't want to count the money. Have you ever heard of something so silly?

I have to watch myself sometimes, otherwise I get way too upset about stuff like this, stuff that doesn't matter in the long run, and stuff that I frankly don't have any control over, and to make a change would require far more effort than it's worth.

We did have a nice train ride around H* park, and then we fed the ducks with the bread Porter had packed for this purpose. He also packed our lunches, peanut butter sandwiches, in a paper sack with our names on them. He was proud of his work, and I was grateful for his help.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mother Daughter Tea

My friend hosted a mother daughter tea and cookie exchange the other night. It was so cute. Sophia really felt special to be invited to a party just for her and mom. She came up to me several times during the night and gave me hugs and kisses! What great bonding time!

We had a little misunderstanding regarding the dress code. I said to Sophia, "Guess what, we get to dress up!" To me dress up, is something I don't get to wear on a daily basis, like my dress pants. I thought perhaps she would wear her Christmas dress. To Sophia, however, dress up equals princess anything. I talked her out of mermaid attire, and we compromised on Snow White.

Each mother daughter pair brought two dozen cookies. One dozen to take home, and one dozen to be eaten at the party. The kids decorated a sugar cookie, my friend made an apron for each girl, so cute! We also shared a Christmas memory. There were lots of Christmas decorations, which created a very festive mood. The party lasted a mere hour and half, which was perfect timing for the little ones. I think this will have to be an annual tradition!

But again, my favorite part about the evening has to be how excited Sophia was and how special I could tell she felt.





Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Field Trip











These are photos from Porter' s first ever Kindergarten Field Trip. They went to the Children's Museum.

Porter begged me to come with him. I couldn't go as a chaperone, because you can't chaperone and bring siblings, and Preston isn't old enough for me to leave for a long period of time. At the last minute I worked it out so Sophia could go to a friend's house (thanks Lisa!) and Preston came with me in the sling. I didn't chaperone, but I met them at the museum and walked around with them. I figured, I ought to do these things while Porter wants me around.