Sunday, April 6, 2014

Lovely weekends and a Gretchy update

This weekend was conference weekend and it has been absolutely lovely.  It is so uplifting and helpful in my life and has answered my concerns and is such a comfort to me. Just like a big hug! I loved so many talks but especially the one by Pres. Monson.  He said to recognize the needs of people around you and respond.  At home, in the parking lot etc.  It is just nice to have what is most important put into perspective.  I always come away with a list of goals that I would like to work on.  My number one goal this conference (apart from trying to follow Pres. Monson's counsel) is to be grateful! Be grateful for all the wonderful things that  I have in my life now and be happy about them now.  I have such a problem of ALWAYS planning for the future.  I just like to get things done. Always. So I am always planning some huge project and doing it.  It is great to be motivated but I feel like I need to just enjoy what I have more and now, instead of always thinking to the future.

 Apart from listening to the wonderful talks we updated our 72 hour kits.  After studying about natural disasters in my undergrad (and growing up with lots of earthquakes) I am really pretty passionate about disaster preparation.  Aaron loves it too so we try to just keep it simple but slowly add to our supplies.  Conference weekend, which happens two times a year, is a great time to make sure the kits are up to date for our needs and to replace food that will expire soon.  Then we shove everything in our backpacks and put them up in the living room closet so we can get to them easily in the event of an emergency. Done and done! You can see our fancy meals below ;-)

Last weekend we went to a talent show that the youth in our ward organized for our neighborhood.  It was so fun to hear and see all the talented kids share those piano, dance, and yo-yo skills! Also there were displays from many people showcasing their painting, cooking, and sewing skills.  It was so fun to learn about so many people's hidden talents. Here is Julian sharing his talent of performing on stage as he sings popcorn popping with the other kids.

I wanted to be supportive and did a little sewing display.  It was of Julian's jacket, Gretch's blessing dress, and her quilt and stuffed bunny I made her for her birthday.  I figured no one wanted to see Julian's used cloth diapers that I made, so I left those at home.  
There were lots of neat displays like these ones.  A very talented quilter display and an entire built model train and city.
However, I think my real love and talent is (that I was too afraid to bring) not killing plants all the way.  My therapy and salvation during the winter months is my little collection of indoor plants and somehow they have almost made it through the entire winter.  I am a little concerned about the lemon tree making it all the way but like I said, it is not dead all the way:) That tiny one is my new little banana tree.

Last but not least I would like to share about Gretchen.  I like to call her Gretchen the barbarian.

Here she is showing off her muscles:

So Gretchy is pretty much the coolest one year old girl around but sometimes I wonder about her amazing survival instincts. For example.  We were grocery shopping at the supermarket and she kept begging for all the food and so I let her play with some yogurt and I though she was happy just chewing on it. Until I heard her say "Hah!"  She put her head down and I realized that she had somehow poked a hole through the lid and had just finished siphoning like half the yogurt out of the bottle. Of course I was like "WHAT the HECK!" and then I took a picture.
Besides that Gretch was trying to get up on my lap and she put her teeth on my knee, bit, and threw her body up using her mouth as an anchor.  And today she did a front summer salt off the couch (for fun I think) and obviously fell but was like, cool.  She is pretty wily and probably needs to be with how much she has to deal with Julian but she is pretty hard core.  Besides that she really loves her daddy and her brother.  She says thank you all the time and is amazing at following all the directions I give her.  She is smart and cute to boot!  Julian is getting so big and is very full of energy too.  He loves to open up the front window and shout at the kids walking home from school. He says "high friend!!" and "daddy wont let me play with the skeleton legos." Ah, I'm sure they have no idea what is going on but really Julian is so fun.  He is so outgoing and loves to have fun with his sister and me too.  I am really looking forward to expelling more of that energy outside with the warmer weather that is coming soon.  I love these gorgeous kids!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

confidence is key

Julian gave his first talk in primary on Sunday.  He is only 3 and a few months so I was trying to not make it too hard for him or have any expectations.  We wrote a couple of sentences for him to say and then he colored some pictures with Aaron that had to do with the talk so he could hold them up for a visual aid.  We went to the back of the primary room to wait for his turn so I could go up and help him and I didn't know what he would do.  Maybe get nervous and say nothing, which would be totally fine.  Or not want to go at all or whatever, because, ya know, he has zero public speaking experience.  They announced his turn and before he even saw that we were in the room he stood up, went up to the podium by himself, grabbed the mic, pulled it down to his level, put his mouth on it and started talking into it.  It was so funny to see.  So he held up his pictures in turn and said the words that I whispered into his ear.  But he was so close to the mic no one could understand him.  I tried to push the mic away from him after I couldn't pull him away from it and he just followed it around with his mouth.  Oh man, all the kids laughed from beginning to end and I tried my hardest not to and he just continued on trying to say every word into that mic completely undaunted by everything around him.  Then when he finished he put the mic back up were he grabbed it and went and sat down.  I was a little surprised that he loved giving his talk so much.  He did a great job.  I was just surprised by how confident he is, and so proud.  So proud of that take charge, make a way with his will, confident guy;-) Here he is on t-ball day at "sports."
Besides that Julian loves to tape all the doors and cupboards shut so that Gretch can't get inside of them.  We have tape hanging all over everything.  Speaking of tape, Julian's favorite book is Wacky Wednesday and he has repeatedly tried to tape his shoe to the wall like in the book but may have given up because apparently it doesn't work.  Julian's talking is progressing too.  On the way to pick up Aaron from work, Julian told me about how he wanted to climb the mountains (just like Superman).  I love it when he says stuff like that:) He is so adventurous!  Last but not least is that Julian's escape artist ways are getting worse.  He has been running away saying "can't catch me" while running two blocks away from our house, while running out of church, while shopping, everywhere... I found the one punishment he cares about.  Fruit snack deprivation.  I hope it will help in the future because I seriously cannot see how I can take him out in public without Aaron's help.  It gives me gray hair just thinking about it because I cannot catch him when I am holding Gretch and I cannot put her down to go run after him (because she does the same thing just not as fast).

  Gretch is super cute and is really good at telling us what she wants and at getting it.  She likes to say apple and momma which is awesome because she basically stopped saying any words once she started walking:( She is teething again and has been pretty sad about it but her and Julian find lots of things to do together each day. She still loves playing with legos and wandering all over the house.  She likes to be where momma is for the most part and plays in the kitchen a lot while I work in there.  She adores her stuffed animals and loves to cuddle them.  Her little ducky is her favorite but frequently disappears into the wash because of all the loving it gets:) Gretch, for a long time now, really likes to feed herself.  She loves to use a fork and a spoon.  Unfortunately she also loves to use her sippys as paint brushes all over the house.  As in she puts them down and gets the water or milk to come out and draws with it and then splashes in it.  She also likes to chew on her apples and then spit out the skins wherever she is and whatever she is doing.  It looks so funny.  She is so fun and loves to be busy like her older brother:-) I think she looks so much like her daddy in the ikea picture.

Aaron and I had a little project and made another ottoman but this time from scratch.  We were pretty excited about how it turned out.  We still have to finish the legs and maybe put buttons on the top. 

And we also finished the bathroom all the way.  Hooray!!
Here is the before:

And the after:

Here is a little bonus pic of Julian modeling the new shirts for pants craze.  I love that he can dress himself but it gets a little crazy... Happy Spring!!!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Cuttie kids and diy luck and disaster.

We have been enjoying spring weather and the kids have loved being outside playing and going to the library etc.  We have also been working on changing up our main bathroom.  We put in a new floor, a new vanity, and "fixed" the walls, painted, and fun other little odds and ends. Here's Aaron putting in the tile:
This bathroom has been one of the things that bugged me most about our house but now that it is almost finished I am just floating on a little cloud of happiness that has come from having most of our major house reno behind us.  We have been in our home for two years now and we have redone the floors upstairs, gutted the kitchen, redone two bathrooms, finished the family room in the basement and cleaned up quite a bit of the landscaping as well as getting the garage almost all the way cleaned out.  We still have a lot of big and little projects to do but with the projects we've finished so far, we have a solid home base to enjoy while working on our projects.  I am so grateful and I can't believe that we are actually this close to having our plans accomplished.  So yay for that:)  I will post some pics when the bathroom is all the way done.  Meanwhile I tried my hand at some diy furniture.  I ended up at discount tire because my tire needed to be replaced ASAP and Gretchen and I wandered over to DI while we waited.  It was amazing.  I have been looking for ottomans to recover for like a year and have found nothing.  I found two there and took one home with me.  I don't have a before pic but lets just say Aaron really did not want to let it into the house and asked if it had bugs.  So pretty gross.  But I ripped it apart and took off all the old stuff and flipped the cushion over so it didn't sag in the middle anymore. I found some cheap fabric and covered it with Aaron's help and our staple gun.  After that I had a new ottoman for a total of $20. 
I felt amazed that it even worked out at all, let alone that I loved it so I was like I should just redo my couch.  It will be awesome.  Hmm...  It is a cute couch that I got for free from my aunt but it doesn't match my room very well and it is getting old and holey in some spots.  So I got the bright idea to switch out the back cushions for some huge down throw pillows that I found for like 80% off at crate and barrel and felt even more confident.  Enter internet slipcover tutorial.  It should have worked. I bought a humongous drop cloth from homedepot. Then just like it said I tried to bleach it white.  I don't even want to say how much bleach I used and 24 hours later I had one very ruined, not white, canvas drop cloth.  That is when I had a break down, switched out all my furniture and tried to move the dining room into living room etc...After about two hours I got over it and cleaned the house.  I then doubled the dropcloth (because chunks of it were threadbare and see through) and threw it over the couch and tucked it in thanks to a no sew tutorial that I thought was silly at the time of reading it.  So the dropcloth slipcover tutorial was a disaster for me but now that I have done this once I think that I will sew one from fabric that I bought from the fabric store in a color that I actually like.  This is the sort of before pic with the new pillows (minus the covers).
I cant seem to get the after loaded but I will put that up later.    
Ah, you live and you learn I guess.  I thought it was a total failure and was pretty bummed about all the money I had wasted etc. but in the end it turn out okay and it is actually really comfy with all the pillows.

Now the important stuff. Julian and Gretch! They are so funny.  Julian sings and Gretchen dances to him singing no matter how much like screaming it actually sounds. It is so funny to watch.  The cutest thing was Gretch dragging Julian's big bag of legos out because she wanted to play with them and so we took them out and she stacked them all up on the wall I was building.  She is so good at it and so excited about her little building.  Julian loves them too and the coolest thing about it is he does all these awesome designs in everything he builds.  Like all layers of primary colors separated by the silver metal looking ones. They just always look so awesome. Besides that Julian loves his sports class.  We go once a week and he talks about it the rest of the week.  But last week was soccer and he was actually dribbling the ball and I was so proud all though probably not as proud as Aaron. 
 Julian and Gretch both love to wave and mimic the lady who conducts music at church and Gretchy was even doing the two hand wave today.  She mimics a lot anyway and blows me kisses when I blow them to her.  She also likes to buz like a bee when we are reading Mr. Brown can moo can you.  Those two are still wrestling a lot and I cannot wait till official spring starts and we can spend hours outside working on the garden and yard together and playing. Seriously Gretchen is so active and so good at getting what she wants.  She is a communicator! And normally what she is saying is "give it to me now!!" She also laughs all the time, especially with Julian but she is just so fun!   Meanwhile we are just doing our thing hanging out and living life together.  I am so grateful for these two little people in my life and especially for Aaron who really makes the whole thing possible for me.  Here's a few fun pics.
Everyone playing legos after church:

Scary chocolate ice cream Gretch:

Julian city building:
 A fun day at the park:
 Julian wielding his sword and shield, ready to go to battle.
P.s. Do your couches ever have cushions on them? Mine don't about 85% of the day. Oh well...

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Singin the winter blues...

I hope everyone is enjoying all this crazy winter weather we have been having.  Its warm, its a blizzard, its crazy air quality and so forth.  The main thing we have had to deal with is some serious cabin fever.  We have tried lots of projects to get us through these LOOOONG days and are almost well enough that when the current blizzard lets up I think we can start to get out of the house more.  Meanwhile we have made cotton candy, planted starts for the garden (which Julian is so sad don't have any tomatoes yet), made playdough, lots of treats, colored, made an alphabet tree out of felt, painted a "cuckoo bird house" and organized a lot. Thank heavens for the basement and Ducktales or I don't think we would have made it this far... Anyway apart from all those fun activities we have had some fun highlights.  We went to the travel expo to see my uncle and got to watch a real live marachi band (my favorite)!

Gretch is walking everywhere now for about a month and now I understand why they call this stage toddlers.  Julian never toddled. He just walked like a normal person, but Gretchy toddles everywhere and it is so cute! She still climbs on everything and loves to run and jump from the love sac to the couch and vice versa (oh my) and she loves to dance to any kind of music.  Julian also made a drum set that he played while Gretch danced away.

She also got in her two top teeth about a three weeks ago and has the two on the side of that coming in right now.  She has needed a lot of love!  Her and Julian play together all the time and love to color together.  Gretch loves to color and write. 
Julian has born with me through these hard cabin fever days and has been a pretty good sport.  He continues to be a big helper and has done some really sweet things lately.  One was when we were food shopping Gretchen was getting really tired towards the end of it and started to cry.  Julian was like "uh oh baby," put his arm around her and started to sing twinkle twinkle little star.  I love how he is always so into how she is feeling and trying to make her happy.  It melts my heart.  The other time was when I told Julian that I had to get ready so that we could go to the store. He instantly yelled out "boots, boots" and grabbed my boots out the closet and gave them to me.  He then ran around the house collecting my glasses and purse for me so that we could be on our way.  He is also getting more and more independent.  He does the whole potty thing by himself now and comes out all dressed and he also puts on his own shoes. He and Gretch still love to play together but do strange things like repeated face/body plants into the love sac laughing their heads off as well as love head butts to each other:)  So weird but that is one way to know for sure they are my children...  So much more has happened which I cannot remember because I have been so tired with sleepless teething Gretchy and have put my hands down to realize that my front pockets were behind me, told a neighbor that I hoped her foot was better when I was actually there when she broke her arm, bought baby lotion when I looked forever for the perfect body wash. Anyway ya know, not all there. So these little humans of mine are turning into little people and it is so fun to watch.  Even when it includes coming out to watch them rolling mason jars down the stairs and Gretchy's whole body art tattoo after coloring with Julian.  Julian has been talking so much more lately too and I have hope that he will eventually catch up to his friends.  He just talks about everything now and does his best to put his little sentences together. 

Besides all the fun baby stuff we had a wonderful Valentine's day where Aaron made a special breakfast for all of us and the kids got their valentines from him and I, and then we made cookies for Aaron, who shared with all of us;) That night Aaron took me on a romantic date and this was after gorgeous flowers and chocolate covered strawberries. He made me feel so special and I just love Valentine's day and feel like I have the most wonderful Valentine in the whole world. I think we should make the breakfast and valentines a tradition for our little family. We also celebrated Aaron's 30th birthday with a lovely family dinner at the Pie and fun shopping for presents!  Here's a few more cute pics for posterity:) 
 Popped corn from the cob.  
 Gretchy loves yogurt!
 Julian and Gretchen flying in the plane Julian made out of the pillow cushions.
Hope you had a great weekend!