Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving weekend...

Made over 100 rolls. Played soccer with Chad's family. Had a feast. Loved having my sister, Melanie, join us. Sang around a camp fire. Played games. Shopped all morning on Black Friday. Took a nap, very unusual. Had a girls night. Went to see Twilight, again. Had Pinkberry, YUM! Chad sanded, I primed and am going to paint the kids little table and chairs. Rented Fred Clause. So funny. Made cookies and ate a lot of them. Celebrated Christmas early.

We draw names for Christmas with Chad's siblings. I got his beautiful sister, Kelli, this year. I found the most adorable apron pattern online and had to get it. When I saw this material, I immediately thought of her. She will be spending Christmas with her husband's family so we celebrated over Thanksgiving weekend and I got to give her my gift early.
I didn't know I was going to have to make the material into bias tape for the halter with the white fabric. Wouldn't have mattered too much, except the white material is corduroy! Plus, I didn't realize I was going to need to blind stitch it on. Oh well. It was still tons of fun to make.
Isn't it so stinkin' cute?
Check out the cute rubber gloves. Found those on another crafty blog.
They're called "Not Your Momma's Rubber Gloves."
You sew oil cloth on white gloves and embellish with ribbon.
&
It's reversible! Kelli loves yellow and daisies...

You can tie the waist band in the front or back.
I'm in love with it and can't wait to make my own.

Here are a few of my Thanksgiving Projects:
"Giving & Thanks Tree"
I drew the tree on the wall with washable marker. At dinner we got to pick two leaves. One leaf was to write what you were "Thankful" for. The other was to write down something you "Gave" someone (an act of service).

and I made a bunch of these banners for some family & friends:But, since I don't have a fireplace where it is meant to hang, it goes on my wall.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A crafter is born...

I put Alexis to bed tonight. I've been waiting till Thanksgiving was over to tell her how soon her birthday is. She was beyond thrilled to find out it is in 10 days. Here is part of our conversation.

"Alexis, what do you want for your birthday."

"Hmm, oh, I really want a pink shelf."

"A shelf. Really, what kind of shelf." (I hadn't heard this one before)

"You know one to hang by my bed so I can put all my important stuff on before I go to sleep. Like my papers and things."

"Alright."

"Mom, you know that white shelf that fell down by my coloring table."

"Yes."

"I was thinking. Um. We could just, like, paint that one pink and Dad could hang that one by my bed."


I'm so proud of her. The basics for crafting. Finding uses for different things around the house...and painting them to mix things up. Welcome, Alexis...to the craft world!

Lovin' a good compliment

We were eating dinner a few nights ago and Alexis was staring at one of Chad and my engagement pictures. When she struck up this conversation:

Mom, I just love that picture! I love you with really long hair. It's so pretty.

Thanks Alexis.

Oh, but Mom I love you with your boy hair cut too!


Hmmm...what do you say to that? She was trying so hard to not put me down. I cut my hair REALLY short. Cheek length in the front and pixi-ish in the back. I love it. Alexis hated it at the beginning but it has somehow grown on her with time. Or at least I thought, till now.

Then, today, we had our Pitt Family Thanksgiving Soccer Game. I look forward to these games because I really have a secret desire to start playing competitively again. The kids watched a little but mostly played at the park right next to the field. I went over to get the kids after the game and Carter said this:

Mom, you good.

What?

You play soccer. GOOOOOD!


Someone's got to stop me from buying this kid everything he want's right now.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy Birthday Chad!

Today, Chad turned 29. This year we got to celebrate it apart from Thanksgiving. Sometimes it falls on Thanksgiving and that's a bummer for him.

When you don't have birthday wrapping paper...turn the Christmas paper inside out and have the kids draw pictures on it! At least it gave the kids an opportunity to personalize their message.

The winner: The kids had insisted on getting him this Nerf gun days before his birthday. They were so excited to give it to him and were confident Daddy would be so excited to chase them around the house shooting them! They were so right!

I make him an ice cream cake every year. This year he picked: Yellow Cake, Neopolitin Ice Cream & Chocolate Frosting. He said, "Every bite will be different!"


So, I've made a decision. I never really write about Chad on this blog. Everything I have and am today, I owe to him. I love telling stories. Especially our story. I'm not the best writer. But I want to document things now while I remember so I can print a book for my kids. So come along for the ride. I'm posting our story on this blog. Chapter after chapter. The first one is below. Don't laugh at the title. It will make sense soon enough.

Our Story: A Boy Like That

It was the June of 1995. I was busy. Running from place to place. Everyday. High School soccer practice, to Club soccer, to Mutual, to School. Soon life would ease up a little. School was almost out.

Today, I added another thing to my schedule. I started 4th of July rehearsals for the Stake Program. I was excited. Looking confident. Smiling.

But inside, I was the complete opposite. I still saw a dermatologist for my Acne. I had been seeing one since the 5th grade. I had a mouth full of metal and didn’t really like smiling. Soon enough, I would have my braces off. Then I would feel prettier.

For now, I put up a front. But my parents noticed a difference in me. Something was changing. I wasn’t that spunky girl anymore. They saw right through me.

Becca and I walked into the cultural hall of the Stake Center to find out what our parts would be in the 4th of July Program. We didn’t make it far. It was crazy inside. Kids were running everywhere. The sound of them was radiating through the room. It would take a voice like my mother’s to overpower them to get them to listen.

We were looking around the room to see if any of our friends were there yet. That’s when I spotted him. A boy. But, not just any boy. From across the cultural hall I could tell he was really cute. Light brown hair. Big brown eyes. And the most perfect olive skin most girls would pay to have themselves.

Despite his good looks there was something else that kept my eyes glued on him. He was laughing and goofing around. But not like the other obnoxious boys. This boy was different. He was playing with a darling 5 year old girl. He was spinning her around and throwing her in the air. You could tell she adored him. And he adored her.

Becca noticed my stare. “Amber, what are you looking at?”

“Becca, I know this sounds crazy. Do you see that boy playing with that little girl over there?”

“Yes.”

“That is a boy I could marry.”

We were 15. Marriage was the last things on our minds. But today I saw a boy with a lot of those characteristics you dream of. Those dreams where you have a husband with dashing good looks but ABOVE all else, is incredible with children.

My mom soon quieted everyone down and we were broken up into groups. I was in a group with girls and boys. I wondered if that boy was my age. Would he be in my group?

Our group was escorted to another room and I scanned the group looking for the boy. But he wasn’t with us. I was disappointed but went on. He was beautiful and I felt anything but that about myself.

I was excited my friend, Sara, was in my group. Each girl was paired with a boy.

After practice, Sara told me all about a new boy, Jacob, she was partnered up with. He was a little bit younger than us but she thought he was cute and she wanted to hang out with him. She suggested we invite him over to swim at my house with a group of our girl friends. Of course, he could invite his friends too.

There was a knock on my door. Sara and I knew it was them. I answered it, non- challantely, “Hi, Jacob.”

“Hey, this is my friend, Brian. My brother, Chad and…”

I had to keep my jaw from dropping to the floor. It was him. The boy from the cultural hall. He was Jacob’s brother!

The afternoon quickly passed. Sara and I showed up the boys with our diving skills since our High School diving season had just ended. We had fun. No one had to tell me “I was just another one of the boys.” I knew I was. Not the one to be flirted with. But the friend they talked to about other girls. But I was okay with that.

I was 15. I was not a flirt. I hadn’t kissed a boy. I hadn’t even held a boy’s hand. For now, my crush was… “One day…I’ll marry a boy like Chad.” Not Chad himself. He was too good for me. Too fun and too good looking to ever like an average girl like me.

July 4, 1995

Marianne, Me, Sara, Victoria, Jacob, Chad & Tyler.

To be continued…

Monday, November 17, 2008

Alexis says goodbye to Training Wheels

She did it. Today, I woke up and decided it was going to be a fun day with my kids. It was warm out so I took them for a ride down to the beach. Alexis rode her bike with her training wheels attached as usual. When we got to the beach boardwalk I used the wrench I had brought and took off her training wheels. I held Carter as I held the bike and started her going. And you know what? She did it on the first try. We rode down the beach for awhile then home (which is exactly 1 mile from the beach). She rode her bike for 2.5 miles total. I was so impressed. I definitely should have taken the training wheels off sooner. She never had a tricycle. She started riding this exact bike when she had just turned 2. Sounds early. I know. That's Alexis for ya!
video
She practiced all day and cried when she had to come in. Chad was shocked. She learned everything in one day: starting, stopping and turning without training wheels. She definitely has a gift for physical challenges.

Carter is getting so fast on this little tricycle. He loves it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Why would you want to move to Murrieta?


Need I say anymore? This is my friend, Jillonnie's, back yard. She moved out there a few years ago and tries to talk Chad and I into moving there, too. If you don't think this beautiful house and incredible back yard entice me, think again. I LOVE visiting her and Chad and I started thinking maybe we should just go. But it's not the right timing. For now. So I'll have to survive on just my visits.

Friday, I drove out there with the kids for Shelby's birthday party. It was so fun just getting ready for the party and catching up with a good friend. Jillonnie always inspires me and I get sad being so far from her. An hour is far. She planned this super cute party for all kids in Shelby's class. Only Jillonnie would whip up a cute cupcake apron for her daughter to paint in. And finish it in 15 minutes. When she gets an idea, she does it. Never any hesitation.

Shelby and Alexis have been friends forever. They were born 3 weeks apart, were blessed together and have made the trek from Utah to California together. They have grown so much in the last 5 years. It's so fun to watch them.
First, the kids frosted and decorated their own cupcakes.

Then, Jillonnie cut butcher paper for all the kids to paint their own "wrapping paper" to take home. It was so darling and the kids had a blast.

Carter's squeezed glue and dumped glitter on his the whole time.

Carter and River loved walking the steep hillside.

These boys are quite the duo. They are 9 months apart, due to Jillonnie's lack of keeping with our "when we're having a baby" schedule. They are at such an entertaining age. When we were cleaning up they were taking each other on rides on the skate board.

Then, later that night they were playing with these pirate figurines saying, "You walk the plank." and "I push you off the plank!" Jillonnie and I get such a kick out of them. Thanks to River, when we visited in early October Carter decided he wanted to be just like him and wear big boy underwear. So now I have a fully potty trained 2 year old. And he even gets up and goes to the bathroom at night never wetting his pull up. It was lots of fun. Do I have mental issues if I tell you I MISS you guys already?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

FREE PHOTO BOOK

Had to share! My neighbor just told me about this free photo book offer off of Oprah.com. Seriously, a 20 page photo book and you only pay for the shipping. Get your coupon on Oprah's site. Click Here and scroll down and you'll see the link on the "Clean Up Your Messy Home" article. You have till Friday, 11:59pm PST to redeem the coupon. You have till Sunday, 11:59 PST to finish and order your book before the coupon expires. SO COOL. Thanks for the info Rachel.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Good LAUGH!

I love when something makes me laugh so hard. Don't you just get the best feeling after you laugh hysterically? Maybe, it's some endorphin thing! These videos have done that for me. So here you go. This first one is brilliant!
I'm seriously considering trying this...because I need the tantrums to stop! My favorite part is the babies face. I could watch it over and over again.
Really, I just want to see my husband do this because I would die laughing. That's another really good idea. I'm considering!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Something great happened to me and these are 10 things I will NOT miss:

10. Wiping the dew off my glasses every 2 minutes when running along the beach in the mornings. If I can't see the beach what's the point of living here?
9. Forgetting to wait 5 seconds when opening the oven. If I don't then the steam fogs up my glasses. It's only temporary but it's really annoying.
8. My kids bending my glasses in all directions and poking my eyes with them while trying to put them on my face in the morning while I'm still sleeping.
7. Wondering when my glasses are going to break from my kids.
6. Allergies to contacts (after 15 years of wearing them allergies started in August and I quit trying to wear them last month)
5. The eye doctor telling me initially what I thought was an allergy was probably just me eating something spicy then touching my eye. Really, I can't poor hot sauce in my eye? Because I just really wanted to try after 15 years. It was probably just coincidence that this happened everyday I tried a BRAND new contact. Yep, I left that doctor.
4. Not being able to wear my "loops" at work. (AKA: My magnifying glasses.) Because I had to wear my prescription glasses instead.
3. Not being able to see the time on the clock if I wake up in the middle of the night.
2. Not being able to see a shooting star at Lake Powell when going to sleep on the top of the houseboat with my family. "Did you see that one?" NOPE. "Oh, that one was cool, did you all see that one? NOPE!
1. DRUM ROLL PLEASE...the number thing I won't miss: When the nurse brings my newborn baby to me in the middle of the night at the hospital, not having enough time to put my glasses on, the nurse shoving the baby in my lap saying "She's starving" then just about feeding her NEVER once realizing it wasn't my BABY! Because I couldn't see. Don't worry. Chad woke up and stopped me from feeding the baby with only centimeters to spare.

Who wouldn't miss these things? But the reason I can use the word MISS with certainty they will never happen again...I GOT LASIK last Thursday! Here's some pictures Chad took when he watched the monitor.

This is a picture of doctor peeling back the layer of cornea the first laser created:

I didn't post the pictures during the laser. My eye was retracted & it looked scary. But this is right after when the doctor was sealing the cornea back with some sponge-like thing in the upper left part of my eye.

Hopefully, you didn't get nauseous. COOL, huh? I still can't believe it. I feel like I can see so much better than I did even with contacts.

Sharing Time for the day of the Primary Program & Priesthood Preview Invitations

Primary has been keeping me busy but I thought I would share a few of the things I've been doing because they are cute ideas.
This is the best idea for Sharing Time the day of the Program:

A few weeks ago we had our Primary Program. My counselor had gone to a ward last year (after we had already done our Program) where they had put slips of paper in the program and asked everyone to write down the feelings they had about the program, how the children did or how it made them feel. I didn't even go there with asking my Bishop if we could put a paper in with the program this year because he doesn't like people having lots of stuff to sift through or read during the sacrament. After the Program was over, I had my counselors get Primary started and I raced into Sunday School and passed out the papers to everyone filtering in. I had them put their notes in my refurbished shoe box. I then went into Primary to teach Sharing Time. I had promised the kids cupcakes or cookies. So I pre-frosted sugar cookies and brought one bag of M&M's and a bag of candy corn. I drew a "happy" face and a "sad" face on the white board and drew a line down the middle. I told the kids how I had asked everyone to write down their feelings and put their comment in the box. I then called on each child one at a time and asked them to come pick a message out of the box. We read it out loud and the child had to tape the comment on the appropriate side of the white board (happy/sad). When I explained this the teachers gasped and the kids looked nervous. Come on, it's an object lesson there's obviously no sad comments. If the comment was good (which they all were) the child got to put a spoonful of either candy in a bowl. Each kid got to go twice because that's how many notes there were. The candy in the bowls at the end was how much candy they got to split to decorate their cookie. Of course they loved that. But what I was so not ready for was the immediate feedback that they really got it. Usually when you teach kids you never know if they are listening or if they learned anything. At least until or if they mention something a few weeks later and you think "they were listening!"

Anyways, after we were done taping the comments up on the happy side the board was FILLED. I just reiterated to the kids that they can make a difference in people's lives around them. The can make people feel happy inside. I said, "Look at all the comments. They are all good. And you did this all by yourselves!" I literally felt like their jaws dropped to the floor when they were starring at the notes. Like "YEAH! I did do that!" I only got halfway before I was crying helping the kids read the notes. It just felt so good to see them feel so appreciated!

This comment opened the flood gates:
"Dear Primary kids, I LOVED your program today. I love how happy you were. When you sang "If Jesus stood beside me" I almost cried because I could feel the spirit so strong. Thank you it was beautiful!"
I liked this one a lot too. It was from an elderly woman:
"I enjoy watching the children. It is so important for them to perform in front of an audience. I should have done that then I wouldn't be so petrified to get up before the congregation now. Keep up the good work. You are greatly appreciated."
All of the comments were great of course. And it didn't hurt that some mentioned how impressed they were with the memorized parts. Just a good pat on the back for those kids who really practiced at home. Anyways, I'm doing this every year. It had such an impact on the kids and ME!

*By the way, when I was getting the notes from the people in Sunday School the Bishopric was looking for me because they were in Primary giving a box of chocolates to each member of my Presidency and the music people for our hard work. I never expected that in a million years so it was that much more appreciated...especially after getting my FIRST cold sore that weekend with everything going on.

These are invitations I just made & handed out Sunday for our Priesthood Preview next Sunday.

I got the idea off of sugardoodle. They turned out really cute.

I also gave the parents of the boys who will be receiving the Priesthood next year a note asking them to observe their boy this week and write down Christ-like qualities that the child has. I asked them to keep this a secret from the boys, too. I asked them to write a letter to their boy telling him about these qualities both parents have noticed, when they've notice them (some personal stories) and what they recommend that child do to help strengthen those qualities & attributes. I've asked the father's to be prepared to read them at Priesthood Preview out loud. We only have a few boys so it's okay they take a few minutes. I hope it has a strong impact on these boys!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Halloween

A SCURVY PIRATE AND...

A BEAUTIFUL BRIDE

This was the first year they both insisted on being what they wanted. Carter was consistent...always wanting to be a "PY-WET for HOW-WEEN" and Alexis was undecided up until a few weeks before when she finally figured it out. She came in the house screaming for joy after looking in an American Doll magazine with her friends and saw one of the dolls dressed like a bride. I was glad to finally hear that because I was sick of taking her to Target to look and showing her different ideas on the internet...only to hear: NO, NO, NO.

When I searched for a dress, they were over-priced and really not that cute. So I had to make it. I made Alexis costume for less than $15...including the cute mini roses. (Gotta love Trader Joes! I found lots of $2 fabric and was a little afraid it would be too thin and cheap. But it turned out I didn't even have to line the top. I raided my Mom's stash of patterns and found an empire waisted nightgown about Alexis' size. I had to tweak it a little to make the dress "look like my wedding dress" as requested by Alexis. I'm the type of person that sticks to a patterns directions but I found myself improvising a lot with this dress as I thought..."oh, the sleeves would look cute short and puffy, and a ribbon sewn in around the waist...and lots lots of layers of toule to make it extra pouffy!" I was really happy with the outcome.

Carter's costume was made by The Children's Place...for $15 so I really couldn't beat that! Seriously, it's the cutest little pirate costume I've ever seen. But, I'm biased...since I picked it out and it's my child in it! When I woke Carter up from his nap to get him ready, I made him lay down so I could put black eye liner around his eyes like Jack Sparrow. Carter was laughing the whole time I applied it. Then I made him show Chad because I really thought Chad would be a little upset I put makeup on my son...but he shocked me and really like it! I love that my kids like to take pictures. I usually don't have to tell them what to do. I just snap pictures of them being them. But occasionally, they get ideas...and this pose above was her idea.

When I took this picture above Chad thought I was crazy...but who ya calling crazy now!

Watch out...this pirate knows what he's doing.
Too late! Isn't this the cutest?
We started our celebrations by going to a CARNIVAL in a circle in my parents track that a family puts on for the kids. Alexis loves being silly with her cousin, Chelsea.
The kids won a stuffed animal (if they won) or a piece of candy (if they lost) at each booth. I'm not a huge fan of stuffed animals, but I think these snakes are pretty dang cute. We played for an hour then we went to my parents house to get dressed and take the cute photo's at the beginning of this post.
THEN, WE WERE OFF TO CHAD'S PARENTS FOR DINNER... I think Carter looks so much like Chad in this picture.
THEN WE WENT TRICK OR TREATING TO A FEW HOUSES WITH GRANDMA... My kids love trick or treating but they are afraid of dogs...this was pretty funny. They knocked and this huge docked popped up. It scared both of them.
THEN IT WAS OFF TO DOWNTOWN TO PLAY ON THE BOUNCE HOUSES...
Carter on the obstacle course. Going up the HUGE slide. Chad made me go too even if I was in a skirt because "it was so fun."
Coming out of the huge slide. Brandon and Alexis. Does this tell you what the big slide was like? They went on it 3 times in a row. As we were leaving downtown, Alexis asked if she could take a picture with the "Girl Gingerbread-man." When the "BOY Gingerbread-man" asked her if he could be in the picture too...ALEXIS FROOZE! Hmmm, I wonder why?

Ahh, it was a fun night. We walked the kids home in the jogging stroller and they fell asleep on the way home just like last year. I like that tradition. Two kids, completely beat. Chad and I put them to bed at his mom's so we could play games at the Baltzer's till the wee hours of the morning. It was so much fun.