Friday, February 26, 2010

Celebrating Max

Remember all those unwrapped candy canes from Sophie's failed Valentine's? Well, I had Max smash them and then used them to top his cupcakes on his actual birthday. We celebrated after school with all of the daycare kids and a neighbor kid bringing our total to 11. It was loud.

This is Sophie calling her Dad to see when he is going to arrive as the kids were getting restless.

Max opened his gifts from the family including his new wardrobe from Grandma Erickson, books from Mom and Sophie (purchased at the library book sale for $0.25/each!) and a Bakugan Wii game from Calvin.

He really like Calvin's gift (please note that Calvin is losing his pants as usual).

This book from Rachael and Isaac was also a big hit.


Note to self: chocolate pound cake cupcakes + eleven kids + white linoleum = disaster.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Life In These Parts

Crafting with Grandpa

Thank you again Michaels for your great dollar bins.

Sail Away Craft

I did not get many photos of this craft in action, but I'll walk you through the steps. Each child will need a small square of cardboard (maybe 8X8 or less), elmer's glue, markers, cut out strips of blue cardboard (from cereal boxes), play dough, a stick and paper (ours was from a falling apart Thomas the Train book) and one of those cardboard triangular edges that come on photo frames to protect the corners.

Start by coloring the triangle. Mine came on some IKEA frames I bought last week(this is your boat). Set aside.

Next, start gluing the strips of blue cardboard to your square to make your water (you could also use construction paper). They will hang over the edges and that's fine, just use lots of glue and cover the whole surface. Set aside to dry. On a separate piece of cardboard, have the kids draw a picture of themselves.

Now, put the kids down for a nap. When the glue is dry, flip the square of cardboard over and with kitchen sheers, trim off the excess blue paper. Flip over and using hot glue, secure your boat to the water.

When the kids get up, have them cut out their pictures of themselves. Squish a big blog of play dough inside the boat and use it to hold up the picture. Cut out a flag, punch two holes and thread your stick through the holes. Stick into play dough and you are done!

This is Calvin's version. He drew a picture of himself and the two babies who come to our house. Evidently they are going sailing with him - one of them seems to be a bit sea sick.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Award Winner?!

I am so honored to get the Beautiful Blogger Award from 52 Week Preschool! Thank you so much! I have no idea who started this award, but it certainly was a nice compliment to receive!

The rules:
Thank the person who kindly passed this to you, and link your award back to them.

Pass it on to 5 blogs that deserve a Beautiful Blogger Award. Let them know they earned this award.

List 7 random things about yourself.
  1. I love to bake, but not to cook. There is a huge distinction. There is most likely a direct link from the baking to and my sugar dependency/addiction which has resulted in exorbitant dental bills tight jeans . I wished I felt the same satisfaction from whipping up a marvelous dinner as I do frosting a six layer chocolate orange pound cake with whipped chocolate ganache filling (which I made on Monday) but sadly, I do not. I have also accepted the fact that skinny people do not bake in real life - Paula Dean and The Barefoot Contessa will back me up on this point.
  2. I cannot spell. Spell check is a crutch that I cannot live without. FYI Blogger people, why can I not perform a spell check on my titles? I can type pretty quickly, but only if I am looking at my hands - this comes from being self-taught.
  3. My biggest regret over the last ten years is not having more children. That may sound ridiculous considering all that was going on over the last few years, but I always wanted more children and I think the fact that I regularly watch 10+ kids suggests I probably could have handled it. I regret thinking that my whole focus needed to be on what was best and easiest for someone else and not thinking about what makes me happy and brings me joy because at my age, there will not be any more children and that makes me sad.
  4. I do not really miss having TV except during the Olympics and showings of BBC productions like Emma and Return to Cranford. I have a Netflicks account, but it takes weeks for me to watch the movies. I find I read more books since the TV was disconnected several years ago. Even so, I have about 300 unread garage sale purchased books in my bedroom right now looking at me disapprovingly. I need to alphabetize them. I need more bookshelves.
  5. It took me 37 years, but I finally figured out how to get cute curls in my hair. Wash, towel dry, add heat protector mousse, let dry completely. Take really hot curling iron (the gold 1-inch kind) and wrap little pieces of hair away from your face around the barrel - do not open barrel. Spray. Voila! Curls that are loose, cute and somehow stay in my pin straight hair! It's pretty easy, but I still find I only manage it about once every two weeks. Spend more time on myself - a good if not completely unrealistic goal.
  6. I have no idea what I want to do with my life. This is a huge problem as I find myself needing to have a career beyond motherhood all of the sudden. I love to be creative, I love to bake, I love to craft, I love photography, I love to read, I love babies . . . none of these jump off the screen as a sensible career choice for a single mom needing to support three young children. Do I go back to school? If so, where and for what and how do I pay for it and who takes care of the kids? My Humanities/English degree is somehow not very helpful right now. I have permanent worry lines in between my brows now.
  7. I love to blog. I really do. I need to communicate with people and having this blog makes me happy. I enjoy trying to make it beautiful. I enjoy sharing our lives and connecting with our friends and family and with new friends I have made on-line. It allows me to feel like I am sharing with someone on a regular basis (someone over the age of 10) and I need that. I spend my days watching children, I spend my evenings taking care of children alone. I spend my weekends taking care of children, I spend Sundays teaching more children. I imagine this blog being read by adults somewhere in the bloggisphere and isn't that a wonderful thing?
I pass this award on to (keep in mind most of these blogs have far, far more readers than I will ever have and most likely do not even read my blog, but I don't care. I love to read their blogs and you should too):

Janiemoon - I think I first found her blog through some connection to NieNie or CJane. Their whole extended family has been such an example to me of what it should truly mean to be a family. They inspire and uplift me. Janiemoon is clever and funny - and just like NieNie and Cjane, she seems to have a very strong marriage. I am drawn to that and to their funny little creative life - also she has one of my favorite all time headers on her blog.

Voice of Reason - I think I found her blog through my friend April. She is hysterical, a great writer and has what could be my dream job if it actually paid enough money to support me and my three kids. We share a love for period dramas like North and South and Cranford and she is going to Hawaii soon and my parents are in Hawaii, so . . . that's a connection, right?

A Bushel and a Peck - I found this blog a long time ago when I was searching for project ideas. I admire her for raising a family and being able to do design work from home. She plans the most amazing birthdays and projects for her calling working with the Young Women of our church. Great ideas!

Cooking Up Crafty Fun - There are a lot of crafting sites out there. This is one I visit frequently for ideas and also for free printables! She has a couple of etsy shops and frankly, I do not know how she keeps up - especially with a new baby!

Color Me Kate - She is a young photographer and street artist in New York. Her blog is colorful, vibrant and most of all fun. I love to read it because she always looks like she is happy and laughing - she is in love and it shows. She has a million followers, but if you have not found her blog yet, go and visit. It'll pick you up.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I Have A Kid in Double Digits

Late afternoon on the day of Sophie's baptism, Max celebrated his 10th birthday with a trip to the movies. Somehow, Max has gotten cheated out of a birthday party for the last two - maybe three years. I should have planned his birth better - too close to Sophie's birthday which is too close to Christmas.

My Mom and I took the crazy group of boys to see Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief - pretty cute movie. Max had read the series a couple of times and Sophie read the first book that day. She let us know after the movie exactly what was missing from the film version - in great detail.

Six boys, lots of energy, one lost gift in the theater, several trips back inside to search, flashlights, managers, going through the trash . . . tacos at Taco bell, cake, dancing on chairs . . . it about did me in. Max had a great, great time and I remembered why I avoided boy birthday parties. Both my Mom and I fell asleep trying to watch a BBC detective series with my Dad that night. Good grief!

Max is a great kid and he deserved to have a fun birthday party just for him (I should have had all summer babies - easier parties). His Grandma Erickson sent him a new wardrobe which is great as he somehow grew when I was not looking and all of his pants are high waters these days. I love you Max.

FYI, Max is obsessed with "squishys" these plastic pencil toppers found in fifty cent vending machines. Is this happening where you live? I blame the daycare kids. Some of the boys introduced them into our house and now they are all the rage. Most teachers have banned them from our school as they are such a huge distraction!

Sophie came and met up with her friend Reagan whose Mom was at the movie with another group of boys from our church.

What is she doing? Is this some sort of flirting these days? Interestingly, I have never in my life been able to bend like that.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sophie's Baptism

My sweet little girl was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on Saturday the 13th of February, 2010. I've had a hard time writing this post. One, because my computer is wheezing out it's last breath and is as slow as molasses. Two, because the special moments are so much more difficult to put into words.

The day of her baptism we awoke to find the whole world covered in white. Every branch of every tree sparkled from a coating of thick white frost. It was absolutely breathtaking. I wanted to pull over the whole way to the church just to photograph the trees.

Sophie has been preparing and waiting for her baptism for a long time. It has been a bittersweet experience for her. She realized her Dad would not be able to perform the baptism (cue tears and exclamations of "it's not fair") which prompted many long conversations about the priesthood, choices and the examples of other friends who were baptized by someone other than their Dad. She met with our wonderful Bishop for a long interview and when she came out, whispered in my ear "I passed!". She read several books about preparing for baptism and filled out the thoughtful preparation packet handed out by our primary leaders. She packed her bag for the big day several days in advance. She was excited and so very ready for this day.

Sophie has grown and matured so much this last year. When she turned eight, she started attending a little class for girls her age on Wednesday nights at the church which may be her new favorite activity. She is much more confident in herself and it shows in her friendships and her relationships within our family.

Her Grandma brought this white dress for her to wear to her baptism. It was a bit big for little Sophie, but she loved that it almost touched her toes and made her feel beautiful. She did a lot of twirling that day. I ran outside with her before the baptism to take a couple of photos. It was cold and she was freezing and after I took these shots, we realized we were locked out of the church and had to run around to the other side.

Several months ago, Sophie called her Grandpa and asked him to fly out to perform her baptism and he happily agreed. We waited until February in order to claim a weekend when the kids were out of school allowing more time for a visit. Unfortunately, I still had to work, so I am not sure it was much of a vacation for my parents. Do not feel too sorry for them as today they are in Hawaii - without me.

Her baptism day was just what it ought to have been. The church was filled with people who love her and will support her, teach her and guide her throughout her life. As I waited for the service to begin, I looked around in gratitude at so many friends and loved ones who came. These are people who have given so much service to our family this last year. I am so grateful for the church, I am so grateful for the kind people it has brought into our lives. I am so grateful for the anchor of the gospel. It has kept me grounded and given me strength my entire life and I thank God every day that I was taught to seek a testimony of it's teaching by my parents. I am so grateful that my children will have that strength in their lives. The spirit was strong and emotions high as she was immersed and blessed and became a member of our church.

Sophie's Dad came to her baptism and I am so grateful for that. Sophie asked him to be there and though it cannot have been easy for him to come, he was there for her. She loves her Dad.

Friends came from as far as Wisconsin!

Sophie has been blessed with really wonderful primary teachers. Her teacher from last year (my good friend Lori) was the speaker and her new teacher Brother Meier and his lovely wife Marsha were in the audience. All of the children in her primary class came as well.

Sophie's three closest cousins came from across town. Her Hand cousins sent a beautiful baptism scrapbook that Sophie has been working on this week.

This was the best shot of my parents and the kids.

The rest of them looked like this.

After the baptism, my parents and I took the kids to Jensen's for brunch - per her request.

It was a pretty perfect little morning. We love you Sophie!

Sophie's Take on Life

click photo to enlarge

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Crafy Failure

Lest you think all of our crafts turn out lovely and perfect every time, I give you our latest craft failure (one of many along the way). I had seen this idea on someone's blog a while ago and decided to make them with Sophie for Valentine's Day.

Mmmmmmm, yummy.

That heart is not pretty - in fact it looks diseased.

The instructions said to unwrap the candy canes and warm them in a low temp oven until soft allowing me to squeeze the two candy cames together onto a stick. Um, no. Ours looked like this with oozing patches and deformed shapes. Yum.

Exactly two of them looked good enough to wrapped up like we had planned. Sophie gave them to a couple of the daycare kids.

Luckily, I had another package of unwrapped candy canes and we modified our idea for Valentine's for her class. We have a lot of unwrapped candy canes - in February.

Valentine's Box - fit for a pirate!

Grandpa helped Max construct his Valentine's Day Box for school. All three kids drew and cut out fish to swim in the sea at the bottom of the boat. Hooray for helpful Grandpa's in town!

Max ended up winning a prize for most creative box! Happy Valentine's Day me heart-ies!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sweet and Sassy

Sophie's outfit for her school Valentine's Day party. She has been wearing that shirt for three years because the child does not grow.

Let's just look a little closer at her shirt.

Yep, that's a spider. A gift from her Grandma while she was here visiting. Sophie pinned it on herself and scared the living daylights out of several of her classmates. Good times.