Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Eve Delights

It was a fun and funny Christmas Eve this year. Following is a slideshow.

It was fun to see Maddie eating dinner at the "Kids' Table". A first for her.

Gotta love her shirt! Can't read it? It says, "Dear Santa: Define Good." It so applies!!

It was funny to watch her try to put Max to sleep.

Here are the cousins, preparing to act out the nativity. Pool sticks for shepherd's crooks. Awesome.

The cutest of the shepherds.

Littlest shepherd throwing tantrum because Mary wouldn't let her take the Baby Jesus from the manger. She must have known that Baby was special, because the "sub" she was handed was not acceptable.

After the Nativity re-enactment, it is common for our family to then have a talent show and/or singalong. Ethan was the first act--doing magic tricks.

And one of the final acts was Rachel dancing with Oliver accompanying. It was one of those moments in life where you can't believe how lucky you were that you decided to film it. I love how both babies try to steal the show! (I sure hope I can figure out how to get this to upload!) Here is the YouTube link for now:

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mad TV

That's what I like to call this.

The best $99 I've spent on a baby accessory.

Madeline is the world's lightest sleeper. I can't go in to check on her without arousing the little busy-body. I can't quietly reassure myself that no, she really wasn't choking after all. Or, did she ever even fall asleep?? You know, those questions we parents have. If I enter her room after she's been put down for a nap, but before she's actually had one, or if she's already asleep, its all over. She'll want to get up right then, even if she's only slept for a few minutes! I'm telling you, she doesn't stop. (We'll not talk about how the neighbor girl is "really no longer interested" in babysitting her. -Sigh- Maddie. Doesn't. Stop. Ever. I know, I know, she's just doing her job!)

But anyway, its so fun to watch her while she sleeps or afterwards when she wakes up and plays in her crib, via the monitor. My friend tells me that now I'll be able to check up on her this way for at least another 8 years. Instead of a Nanny Cam, its a Kid Cam. Awesome.

So where was this, my intrusive, spying device, the other day when Maddie took it upon herself to "change" her poopy diaper herself, while still in her crib? Where was it when she then smeared the poop ALLL OOOOVER her crib, and its contents?? In a room upstairs, far away from me. This Kid Cam only works if you check it every 2 minutes instead of every 15 or so, like I'd been doing.

Moral of the story, if you have a little person that needs extra tracking, suck it up and invest in the $180 Kid Cam that has the portable monitor. That way you can easily take it to the basement with you. Can you believe it costs that much more?? So pricey, but I imagine its worth every penny.

[Babies R Us, you can pay me later for this free advertisement.]
Here she is with her tights on her head, post-church. This is a preview for the next post, which will be entitled "Head Gear".

Sunday, December 14, 2008

St. George

This is late, but I wanted to post some pics from our Thanksgiving holiday in St. George. It was fun to stay with Paul and Michelle (Ray's sister), and their family. It was also great to see Ray's youngest sister, Jessica, who is also down there attending Dixie College. Maddie loved seeing her aunts, uncle and cousins, and I believe the feeling was mutual. Besides all the great chats with everybody, highlights of the trip for me were:

-Seeing all that red rock.
-Visiting an amazing, state-of-the-art park nearby. It was a bit too old for Maddie but so neato! (The pics below don't do it justice.)
-Discovering the joy of Bajio's, my new favorite fresh-mex locale. Get the taco salad with their spicy ranch. Sooo good!
-Having Thanksgiving on Wednesday evening instead of Thursday. This was Michelle's great idea to have a free day (Thurs) to sit around, eat leftovers, and have the cooking part of it be a distant memory! I hope to do this in years to come. (Incidentally, in telling my other family about this idea, they all say, "So what do you do on Friday, then?" Shop and sleep, of course. And eat more leftovers.
-Actually enjoying (not just tolerating) pumpkin pie for the first time in my life. Obviously I'm getting old. But long live Marie Callendar! (Or is she dead?? Well, she lives on somewhere else anyway!)
-Playing the Wii for the first time.
-Watching Flood, a film made on the Santa Clara river overflowing down there a few years ago. The flood took out 18 homes, some of which were about 2 blocks away from Paul and Michelle's house!
-Laughing the loudest during Kung Fu Panda, after trying so hard to get us all to NOT watch it! There's nothing like having extremely low expectations of a movie, eh?

Here are some pics of everybody.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

All Dolled Up

Maddie is fascinated by watching me put on mascara. Here are some shots after I caught her trying to do the same with a marker! The photos don't show it but she has it on her upper lids as well. Actually, upon a second look, she didn't do half-bad for being 19 months-old. Its nice to see her manual dexterity and fine-motor skill development coming along!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hair Today...

I'm one of those people who puts off going to the hair salon as long as I possibly can. But once I decide to cut my hair, I usually need it done immediately. [And just in case you somehow missed them, note my ends in the photo above. "Yikes" would be the best response here--maybe even "Holy Cow!"]

So I cut my hair myself. It turned out OK, but wasn't short enough. So I went into a place in the mall that took me immediately. The girl did a terrible job (after me making several objections to what she was doing/had done, she still couldn't get it right.) So my neighbor tried to fix it. Then my sister-in-law tried to improve it...twice!

Well, long story short--in sheer desperation I ended up at Great Clips on a Saturday morning. Crissy there did a great job. She also gave me some great tips for the next time I or Melissa try to cut hair on our own!

Gone Tomorrow!

I don't love the front, but am happy with the back. Its about 15 inches too short by Ray's standards, but I feel FREE!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Backpack Baby

We're pretty into backpacks these days. Madeline seems to prefer them over the stroller, and it hasn't been too bad on my back. She'll usually take me by the finger and lead me over to the backpack when she wants a ride. I usually comply. This is us off to the post office one day.

Below are some pics with her own backpack. She's sticking out her belly in the first one, but still! What a belly!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Look what I found Ray doing the day after his knee surgery?! I only wish I'd gotten a shot of the microwave before he started cleaning it. Yikes! I like when Ray stays at home during the day. I believe this was actually his second time in our six years of marriage!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Yes, Deere

One of the things Ray and I never acquired when we were newly wed was a set of dishes. I just never found the right ones (though I didn't look that hard) and Ray had some left from his bachelor days. He leaned toward using his "perfectly good" dishes, and since we had already had an argument about an $8 cheese plane I'd come home with, I just went with it.

Pictured here is what was once our $8 source of strife, which we chuckle about now.

But back to the plates. Everytime I load/unload the dishwasher, or pull one of these puppies out of the cupboard, I cringe. They rub me wrong in every way. And while I know they're functional and mostly do what they're supposed to (hold our food), they don't help me with my inner aesthetics in any way. They cause me grief on a daily basis. I'm convinced they make my food taste worse. Is that possible, because I believe it is!?

Can you see why? These plates had no business being made for several reasons. Turquoise and pink? The designs? Just my opinion...

The other night we had some new friends coming to dinner, and I just couldn't bring myself to set out these plates. But paper plates didn't seem right either. So I broke my silence and complained about our plates. Ray said, "I have some plates we can use out in the garage!" In he walks with these, a set of John Deere dishes that he got on clearance at Fred Meyer about 4 years ago. I was always under the impression that he was going to give them away to a farmer friend of his.

I begrudgingly unpacked the box of dishes and decided that these plates were better than the 80's ugliness that smoldered in the cupboard. So we set these plates out. After trying them out, we actually like the size, weight and build of them. So we will use these as our plates for the time being. The three year-old son of our friends was particularly delighted with our table settings, so we have that to be happy about.

Am I being petty?

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Best Recipe

One of my most favorite wedding gifts was from my friends Janell and Steve. Its a cookbook called The Best Recipe written by the editors of Cooks Illustrated Magazine. They're also the folks that do the TV show "America's Test Kitchen".

I love this book. It doesn't have a bunch of glossy food photos, so I think it doesn't draw people to it like other cookbooks do, but trust me--you don't need those. These guys tell you what the best recipe is for whatever you're wanting to cook and why. They try making a recipe a whole bunch of different ways in their test kitchen, and from those tell you why the recipe they printed is indeed the best. They explain that they tried making something with sour cream, but it turned out too dense. So when they tried using yogurt with some additional butter--it turned out perfectly. I love knowing the alternative to something without having to try it myself. I love how they bring the science of cooking in without going over your head. Bless you writers of this book. It really is fascinating to read.

I have proudly converted three known people to this cookbook. My most recent convert, Amy, borrowed mine for longer than she planned (much to my chagrin--apparently I use it more often than I realized) because she said she couldn't stop reading it. She finally returned it when I called her up and asked her to read a particular recipe to me over the phone. She read the recipe to me, but then the book showed up at my house about 10 minutes later. Relief.

Amy called me while she was standing in line at Costco today. "Courtney! The BOOK is HERE! Its only $21.95!!" That's a good deal, folks. I'm going to buy one tomorrow for somebody, and I would suggest you do the same. She asked, and I guess our Costco has 40 in stock, but have no more coming. So hurry!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Don't Say Don't

Maddie and Tito

The joke's on me. I'm learning that you sure talk a lot as a mom, and as it turns out--even I've stopped listening to what I say!

I have been so dead-set against saying "no" to my daughter, worried she'll pick it up and scream it all the time. So instead of just telling her what we would like her to do in an attempt to redirect her, it seems I've taken up the old "We DON'T...(wah wah waaah wah wah)" (The adults in the old Peanuts cartoons are flashing before my mind.) Well, guess what Madeline has picked up?

The other day Maddie said "dooooon't" to me about something or other, and without realizing it, I said, "Maddie, don't say don't!" Ray was standing nearby and mimicked me in a funny voice, "Don't say don't!" I asked him if that was what I had just said, he said yes, and then we couldn't stop laughing for a looooooooong time.

I mean, really long. I'm laughing again as I write this! Oh, the joy.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Everyday is Halloween

That Ministry song has been going through my mind these past few days. Partly because of Celia' funny post, which took me back to the day. But mostly since Maddie had not one, but three costumes for Halloween!!! Behold the cuteness and joy!
She went first as a witch to our playgroup on Tuesday. She was the only one who wasn't in a costume that was fluffy, padded and super-cute, but I was OK with that. Its true--I
didn't want to spend a bunch of money on a costume she couldn't guarantee me she would wear! She's become quite opinionated since turning 18 months-old! And, no, the witch hat did not stay on long.

I then learned that the hooded costumes are the way to go--she's still not able to figure out how to get hoods off. We borrowed this one from Melissa, so that felt good on my pocketbook!

So she was a giraffe for the friends Halloween party.

This is Maddie's half brother, Kennyen, and birth mom, Crystal. They joined us for the trunk or treat at our church. Check OUT that awesome pea pod stem that is a hat!

Her other half-brother, Anthony, is on the left, then Kenny, Kennyen's dad, and Ethan, her cousin, is on the right. Crystal had this, the final and cutest, costume of the holiday in her closet. A bee.

The bee costume was so fitting. She was all over the place last night. I'm not sure why the bee-makers opted out of yellow stripes on the back! She was much harder to see when she was running the other way, which was most of the time.

The kids came over afterwards to trade candy. Maddie was in bed by this point, so I took it upon myself to trade her candy for her--making sure I got rid of all of her tart and sour candy, as well as the coconutty chocolate bars. I'm sure she wouldn't like those. Hee hee. She didn't get one candy corn, which I found sad! :( I loved how organized Sam, our nephew, was with his candy! Don't quite know what he dressed up as. He's almost 11, so he's close to getting too old for this holiday.