Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Not exactly a merathon...

...but I'm planning on running in my first 5K next weekend! (i know, liz and meredith--who this post was purposely misspelled after-- you're embarrassed to even know me)

It's a fundraising event for a friend of mine and her husband, who's gone through a lot the past few weeks. To learn more about Crystal and Jared, click here.

So, if you're in the Denver area and are looking for a way to pay for self-torture, here's your chance! All the info is on that link.

I guess I better start training....How exactly do I go about that? start with one block? and then work up to one mile?? and then just hope i don't die the day of??!?! oh, i'm sounding really pathetic...perhaps i should just man the registration table instead....

Hope to see some of you there!!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

what we've been up to

Warning: This post is really random!!

We came home one day to find this snake in our backyard. I've actually gotten used to seeing little snakes in our yard. We usually see 6-7 each summer, and the girls love them. I've really come to realize that they are way more harmless than the squirrels that try to live in our attic and the rabbits that eat our vegetation. So, as long as they don't get much bigger than this one, I'm actually fine with them. Did you hear that, Dad? your little girl's growin' up :) (i still don't do spiders, though)

Grace has become quite the "helper" in the kitchen. She loves to cook! This is new for her, and I love it! Although I still find myself hesitating to include her, whether it be to save time, to minimize the mess, or just cause i sometimes like to be alone in the kitchen. But I'm getting better, and as you might assume, so is she! Here she is helping me make bread.

And here is Abby , enjoying the bread--with jam. She still makes a massive mess when she eats. She's getting a little better, but between Eliza and her, we spend more time cleaning up after meals than I do preparing it! But seriously, how can i complain when she's that cute???

The girls have really enjoyed playing with the neighbor kids lately, esp Grace. It's the cutest thing in the world when Brooke's mom calls to see if Grace can come over and play. I can't believe I have a kid old enough to walk next door on her own and play with a friend!! and it's not "babysitting" anymore!!! When Grace is over there she completely ignore Brooke's mom and just dives into whatever they're playing with. But when Brooke is over here, it's a different story. She wants to ask me all sorts of questions about my favorite this or that. And she wants to show me her newest trick, and she is always just dying for Eliza to wake up (which totally reminds me of me, when I used to go to my friend Tiffany's house and hope to have a turn holding her baby sister...who i think was like 2 at the time and probably didn't want to be held anymore:) But she's the sweetest, most polite and kind little girl in the world, and i just love her influence on Grace. When Grace tries to exclude Abby from their play, Brooke is so kind and convinces Grace to let Abby join in with them--how sweet is that???

Marky, Grace, Brooke and Abs

One of the things i love most about living here in Colorado is the weather. Granted, it is insanely unpredictable, but I can't complain when we have park days in February and rainstorms in June--i love it! We've had so much rain this month, we've barely turned our sprinklers on--and our grass looks awesome!! And who doesn't love a warm afternoon rain?

Reid introduced Grace to the Singin' in the Rain song, and she loved it. They were soakin' wet when they came back in, but Grace (and Reid!) couldn't have been happier.

And we had an awesome hail storm a few weeks back. The girls just stood there for the whole 8 minutes, watching it bounce off our deck. As cool as it was, I was glad to not be out in it.

We had the first heat wave of the summer this week (well, it hit 90 most days, and there was an afternoon thunderstorm most days...so, i dunno if you can call it a "heat wave"). So on Wednesday i took the girls and their little friend, Brae, to the fountains up at Civic Green. They had so much fun! Abby didn't really get wet, but Grace did!! Grace, who usually HATES getting water anywhere near her head, was going nuts in the fountains. It was so fun seeing her enjoy herself so much. It was also fun seeing Abby's little belly hang out in her little homely two piece swimsuit (what can i say, all her cute swimsuits were in the wash:)

How cute is Eliza? Honestly? I love this hat that my friend, Jenny C., gave her. I think it was supposed to fit her as a 3 month old! She's thrown us all for a loop with her dimensions!
We just took all three of the girls in for check-ups, and here's what we found out:

Grace--hasn't gained even a pound in the past 14 months. What?!?!?! Yep, that's right. No more 99%-ile for this girl, she's down to the 75th in weight, and 90th for height. I swear i feed her. I feed her around the clock--i really do!
We went to the zoo yesterday with our friends, the Gardners, and Grace has never enjoyed it so much, ever! She even wanted to talk about it when we got home. That's really new for Grace. She's changing so much, she really is. She's becoming my little side-kick. I'm really trying to reduce our "screen-time" for the summer--in hopes to make up for the bagillions of movies we watched during our sick months! And it's given Grace and me lots of time to read, color, play games and do puzzles--all things that she's just recently taken an interest in. Until a few months ago she really wasn't much into things like that. The girl has got an amazing imagination, and really just liked to play with her dolls, her toys, her sisters and me. So, it's been really fun seeing her enjoying these new things!
She's really taking on the "big sister" role...in all ways. Sometimes i love it--like yesterday when she figured out how to undo Abby's buckle on her carseat, or when she picks up Eliza when she's fussy or getting into something she shouldn't. But sometimes I can tell she thinks she's the mom. Like when she says, "Okay, Abby, if you're not going to cooperate you're going to lose the privilege of watching Annie" or "Abby, i'm going to count to 3 and if you don't give that to me you're going to your room for a timeout." It's really kinda cute, and oh-so eye-opening to hear her "mother" abby. Abby, of course, hates it. And i really don't know what to do about it. I've talked to moms who say that when the first is a girl, it's really likely for her to be like that. What does that mean? what should i do? Nothing? Just try to tame it a bit? Any advice/suggestions greatly appreciated!

Abby- stayed about the same--85%-ile for height and weight. The pediatrician recommended that Abby see an allergist once she really, really realized just how many times Abby has been sick this winter, and in her life. So, we're slowly unfolding the mystery--i'll keep you posted as we learn more about that.
Abby's speech is improving every day. And she's repeating things that Grace and I say all the time. Like the other day, when she wanted something Grace had, she turned to Grace and said, "I count to three--one, two, three--okay, you lose pwivwedge of watching Annie"--funniest thing ever. There are still times that i don't understand her, and she can tell that i don't understand, cause when i do i repeat back what she's said. For the past three days she's brought this little plastic toy C.D. up to me and said something that sounds just like "here, mom, it won't kill you"--but i'm POSITIVE that's not what she's saying--i just can't figure it out, and she keeps saying it!!
She's the moodiest little thing, too. She folds her arms and pouts about 40 times/day. It usually just cracks me up, and she can't keep a frown for more than 2 seconds if i'm laughing at her--which is really cute.
She loves puzzles, and always has. She sort of enjoys reading, but only certain books. She LOVES games. She'd play games all day if she could. BUT she's turning into a bit of a poor sport. Any advice on how to avoid that would also be appreciated :)
She's a little bit interested in potty training. But i'm waiting until she can get her undies down, get herself on the toilet, wipe, wash her hands and say "Mom, i just went potty"--that's when we'll potty train :) Today she went upstairs, pooped in her diaper, took it off (with the help of her elder sister) and smeared it everywhere as she tried to sit on the toilet. She's just not quite connecting that you gotta sit on the toilet before you do the deed. And that's why we're still holding tight to diapers :)

Eliza is still our little under-weight anomaly. Her weight is in the tenth percentile, people!!! Tenth!!!! For height she's like 50%. This little lady of ours out-eats us all at dinner-time. There's not a thing she won't eat. She loves beans--especially lentils-honestly! And she LOVES brown rice, pasta (with pesto even!), blueberries (she screams at me if i give them to abby or grace first!), peppers, any crackers, broccoli, and cheerios. She still eats baby cereal, nurses 3 times a day, and takes a bottle once a day. She's always eating. And she still chokes all the time! I am not kidding when i say i've done the full on Heimlich maneuver on her at least 5-6 times. Usually she chokes on something that she's totally mastered--like cheerios. I don't know if she just gets lazy, or what. Many of you have probably seen it, or close to it. I blame it all on that LaffyTaffy wrapper....

And, here's a cute picture of these little friends. I'm amazed at how much they're including Eliza in their play, now, too. Eliza started crawling about 3-4 weeks ago, and i think that has helped. It's definitely helped me cause she doesn't want/need to be held nearly as much. it's been really great!! Although i have to be on my toes more than ever (yes, i've already found one barbie shoe in her mouth!!) i feel so much happier when she doesn't whine all day long. And Grace loves to just pick her up and take her wherever they're going....even upstairs!! well, only once :)
We're excited for Reid to come back tomorrow. He spent the weekend in SLC with is brother, Tom. Remember how brilliant i was a few months back when I flew Tom out here for Reid's b-day so they could golf it up? well, it rained that weekend, so this weekend has been their rain-date. And Reid's had the time of his life. The guy deserved it, too. He's been working so much lately, yet he always finds ways to be home by 6pm to have dinner with us--cause he knows how much that means to me. And as soon as he's home he plays with the girls, and lets me get to the gym or to the store. This usually means him staying up late or getting up way early to finish a project. He's been doing this lots lately, so i'm really glad he'd planned this trip back when he did. He needed this break, and judging by the 7 giddy phone calls i got today, he had a great time! he even golfed 2 over on the first 9 holes! (they played 36 today!)
So, to make sure that today didn't feel too long (somehow weekends without him are SOOOO much longer than weekdays!!) we went to the pool this morning. Eliza hated every minute of it, but the girls had a great time. I was just proud of myself for braving a pool with three little ones. Now that i've done it once, it doesn't seem quite so daunting... I'm really enjoying our summer together. We're keeping just busy enough with little activities, play dates, and each other. I've got awesome kids, and i'm really liking hanging out with them. And I love my husband and really like hanging out with him, too.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Pete & Kate Land

A project of this size deserves this many pictures. An on-taking of these gargantuam proportions merits a post equally overwhelming in nature. I'd consider apologizing for the slew of photos and info you're about to receive, but really, after putting this much time into a project, i refuse to apologize for anything about it. Every last hour i put into it was completely worth it. And all the short cuts I almost took, and all the steps i almost skipped would have lessened the complete awesomeness of it all. Sure, it took over my life for the first half of this month. But i wouldn't change a thing about it.

So, are you ready for it? Are you ready for me to toot my own horn a bit? (it is my blog, afterall...) Are you just dying to know what in the world i'm rambling on and on about?

that's what i was hoping.

here it is:

I decided a few months ago that i wanted to make my family a little (oh, how that word makes me laugh now!) game. I wanted it to be something where we'd learn a bit about our parents, and their parents, and we'd laugh a bit and be done.

But, of course, the ideas kept coming (a HUGE thanks to so many awesome friends who gave me awesome input!) and the game kept getting bigger and better.

It started with an interview of my parents. I did this when they were out here in April. And it was the most fun and informative talk i've ever had with them. (something i highly recommend to any of you with parents of your own)

And then all the info that i gathered there turned into questions. But some of them would be SOOOO much better if i had to watch my brother Kevin attempt to act them out, or my sister Julia attempt to draw, or my sister melanie attempt to sing, or my brother nathan attempt to dance, etc... So, next thing i know the game has 6 categories:

So, i spent the next infinity composing questions, cutting matching card stock, gathering more info, cutting papers, pasting, laminating (of course i had to buy a laminator, right? truth be told,
it was cheaper than Kinkos would have been, and now i own one and am finding things to laminate left and right...like the chore charts we made for family night a couple weeks ago!), more cutting, making my sister cut all the corners of all 136 cards so they wouldn't be pokey, and.... well, you get the point. Here are a few cards from each category, just to give you a (very small) sampling of the questions/ideas my little brain came up with (and stole from the slew of board games i've played with my family my entire life!)

Category: Do you know your neighbor--awesome addition to the game, 'cause the answers to all of these questions change every time you play it!

Category: Mom Trivia--questions about little (or well) known facts having to do with my awesome mom

Category: Pictionary

Category: Dad Trivia--questions about my amazing dad

Category: Charades

Category: Wild Card--this little idea of Reid's saved my life. I had all these little things i wanted to do, and couldn't figure out how to squeeze them in, until Reid reminded me of the wild card option--thanks, again, babe!

I knew i'd need an old board game to use, but i figured it didn't matter which one, since i thought i'd cover the whole thing up with contact paper and just paste squares on, Monopoly-style. Boy, was i wrong...wrong, wrong, wrong. I had know idea what i was getting myself into when I picked up an old CandyLand game at a garage sale.

I started with this:

And then decided that i'd KEEP the candyland trail, and use the original CandyLand cards as part of the game (you pick a CandyLand card, and then that tell you which category you get to draw from...and then, if your team gets it right, you advance to that color--easy 'nuf)

And then I had a vision of how i wanted the board to look. What i didn't have, was a clue as to how long it was take to get there. I gathered and copied a bagillion old and new family photos (thanks, again, Ju and Mel!!!) until i had this:

After hours and hours of cutting, cropping, pasting, swearing, re-cutting, etc, I finally had the board: And it was ready to be modge-podged (which, incidentally, is one of my all-time favorite activities in the world)
After covering the box (and reinforcing its sides--which had been very "loved" by its previous owners) i looked at the photos I hadn't used and luckily (?) there were plenty left over. So, i was able to use just about all of them to collage the front and back of the box

And that, my friends, is how i made my very first game: Pete and Kate Land.

Now, you might be asking "when is Emily going to get a chance to play this wonderful game with her family???" (or you might not, but it's a good lead-in to my next paragraph)

The answer is: two weekends ago. in Moab, UT. aaaaaaaaaaand.....it. was. awesome. (The whole Moab trip will get a post of its own, since it was the bestest vacation EVER with my family who i LOVE!) My wonderful family just kept saying, as we played it, after we played it, before we played it the second time, how awesome the game was, and how much they appreciated the time i'd put into it, etc. And that was awesome. (and the cards that you see above are the exact ones we got through in Moab...not even a drop in the card-bucket.....)

But the best part? the absolute BEST PART? was actually playing the game. it is, if I do say so myself, the greatest game ever. How often can you laugh till you pee, and then have to hold back your tears all in the same game? How often do you learn so much about your parents, your siblings AND yourself in one game? How often is it that the answer key lies in the memories of two people in the room? How often is it that my siblings don't get all worked up about winning the game? How often do you sit down with your family to play a game, and never finish it because you get wrapped up in stories of courtship, and hardship and friendship???

That is what made it all worth it.

I feel a cheesy, over-used mastercard commercial imitation coming on. I'm trying to fight it....but it's winning...

Board Game? $.25
Paper/Laminator/copies? $More than i care to admit
Gas to get to Moab? $50
Playing this game with my family? priceless

Friday, June 19, 2009

Re-using has never been so easy!

Two springs ago I made Grace and Abby these little matching dresses:

So, this spring, rather than busting out three new dresses for my three little ladies, i thought i'd get smart, and put into practice the never-failing re-use/reduce/recycle mantra. Soooooooooooo, I just made ONE dress, for Grace, and let the other two dresses play their roles as hand-me-downs. Is that brilliant, or what!?!?! (okay, maybe any one of you could have come up with that, but my mom was really impressed by this idea, and just kept telling me how brilliant i am, and how creative i am, and how time-saving, money-saving, awesome i am--aaaaaand that's why i love her:) )

We drove to Denver's LDS Temple on our way home from church a few weeks ago, and I attempted to get some cute pics of all three girls in their dresses. Well, that didn't happen, but i did get these:

So, although this isn't nearly as cool as my friend who's started making her own maternity clothes out of old shirts/skirts, and using the scraps to make skirts for her daughter, I was pretty stoked that I had enough fabric left over from 2 years ago to make three matching dresses! And why do i want to make matching dresses for my girls, you might ask? Why not make three different or coordinating dresses?

the answer is: i have no idea.

Winter Park

We spent Memorial Day weekend up in Winter Park with some of our favoritest friends here in Colorado. We had such a great time!!!

The house we stayed at was AMAZING. The whole weekend we all just kept saying how insanely awesome the place was. (And, of course, i wheeled the deal of a LIFETIME making it affordable for everyone!! i really do amaze myself sometimes.... :) ) Each family had their own room. And since Eliza slept like poop the first night, waking up her sisters, keeping Reid and I both up until 2am! she got her very own cupboard under the stairs the next two nights, where she could work out her sleep issues without waking the rest of us up. (Really wish i would have gotten a picture of that....).

Saturday we went into town (we were staying about 10 minutes outside of Winter Park) and let the kids run around at this awesome park right on main street. The girls scaled the rock-climbing wall, slid down the two-story slide, and fell in love with a dog who fell in love with my husband:
How nasty is this? I am not a dog-person, but I am a Reid-person, so it saddened me to witness this disgusting display of "but i didn't want to be rude and i didn't want the girls to think that I thought the dog was scary so i tried not to make a big deal of it" !!! I vowed right there and then that i wouldn't kiss him until he'd had at least 100 showers. But, like i said, i'm a Reid-person, so that only lasted so long :)

There was quite a bit of rain throughout the weekend. Normally i might have thought to complain about the inclement weather, but with a house like that--who needs to go outside? They had a pool table, a Foosball table, a home theater system, games, puzzles, a massive rocking-horse, a huge kitchen, and everything else you could possibly need in a vacation place!!

We celebrated Kristin's 30th birthday at the Tabernash Tavern. Apart from Lindsay's chili powder-soaked steak, i think we'd all agree that the food was pretty good. Reid's trout came with the face still intact--a bit much for me to look at, but, i had to admit, it was delish! And it was nice having the "deck" portion of the restaurant all to ourselves, since all our kids were...well, being kids.
The girls had so much fun going on little "nature walks" with Reid. They found all sorts of "treasures," and wildflowers. Reid is always concerned that our girls don't get enough of "rugged" nature exposure here in suburbia. I think he might be right. Whenever Abby sees a body of water--be it a stream, a lake, a pond--she always yells "Look Mom, it's Pocahontas!" That's gotta be a bad sign...for oh-so-many reasons....

We went to church in Granby. I always enjoy going to the wee-little congregations up in the mountain/resort towns. The people were so kind, and so thrilled to have their congregation nearly double when our group arrived :)
(Kristina--your parents were at church up there, too--did your mom tell you? fun to see her, as always!)

And a major highlight of the trip each night was putting the kids down and having some time to talk with our friends. We gabbed, and munched, and played pool, and watched the playoffs, and played games (including the newlywed game, of course!), and ate more and just really enjoyed some time with each other. Last time we did something like this was back in Boston, and it was DEFINITELY time to do it again! We've got some great friends here, and really enjoyed spending time with them!
So, for anyone out there in need of a vacation, but without the $$$ to go alone, this is the way to do it! And if you need, i'll even wheel a deal for you. I seem to have magical powers when it comes to that sort of thing :)

Here's our (blurry) family picture by their "Welcome bear" --needless to say i'm still figuring out how to use my camera

We (the girls AND their parents!) got such a kick out of these pig statues! Every time we passed by this farm we had to slow down so the girls could look and ask why they had surgical masks on. We're still not sure why. maybe they're being clever? or maybe their pigs really do have H1N1 flu virus? Either way, it gave the girls something fun to look at and talk about :)
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Reid's parents

Just two weeks after my parents visited we were spoiled with another grandparents visit! Reid's parents came for a quick 2-day weekend visit, and we loved every minute of it! We didn't do a whole lot (besides hanging up a 150lb mirror, fixing our hose, a quick Hobby Lobby trip) that didn't revolve around making the girls laugh, playing with the girls, feeding our faces, and making the girls laugh some more. And it went by way too quickly!! I've decided that one of the downfalls of living "close, but not too close" to family is that we're prey for the "quick weekend visit." Don't get me wrong. I'll take all of those i can get. but it'd also be fun to have some of the "we spent so much time getting here, we're going to stay for 10 days" visits, too. I guess i want my cake and i want to eat it, too. I'm really good at that :)

This was the best of 45 pictures we took in a 2 minute span

Grace received some be-lated and be-loved gifts from Grandma--and has really enjoyed them all!!

Grace showing off her new princess necklace

Grandpa ran around with the girls in our backyard, and they were just in heaven! Here they are sitting on our terraced wall, playing some clapping game. So sweet.

It was wonderful having them here. I feel so lucky to have such wonderful in-laws!! I can't even begin to count the number of times people have asked my why Reid is such a good husband and father. And I always give these two people, Marie and Mike, the credit. They raised such an awesome son--both by example and by what they taught--and I somehow am the lucky lady who gets to benefit daily from all their hard work. And I feel really lucky to like them as much as i do. Not many people enjoy their in-laws as much as I do mine!

Thanks for the WONDERFUL visit, Grandma and Grandpa!!! Come back soon!!