Tuesday, May 1, 2012

An April Post

And just in the nick of time...

The month started off peacefully with chilling at home watching General Conference, listening to prophets speak. Come April 2nd, we're were in sprint mode!!

First, We MOVED

Yep, We bought a house. Took us a year and a half to talk ourselves into it and we finally took the plunge. (More details and pictures to come I'm sure... unless of course the house keeps me too busy or pooped to ever blog again as it has thus far :)...)

We closed on April 4th. I did as much prep and cleaning as was humanly possible (okay maybe not, I snuck in a few hours of sleep here and there) on the 5th and 6th. Then got a truck the night of the 6th, hauled stuff over, unloaded, returned the truck the after noon of the 7th. Next took a nice break for Easter and the sabbath on the 8th. Finally cleaned our hearts out at our old rental house 9th (only took 7 hours thanks to Boz being able to help! another set of hands is a HUGE help) and check outed by 2pm making us officially MOVED.
Elyette was our official box labeler


Easter was wonderful. I couldn't have been more grateful for a restful day up on the Millar Ranch. We colored eggs at our new home Saturday after moving some stuff in (a promise I made to the kids last year since we didn't get the chance after getting in at midnight from a week in Utah the previous year... didn't think we'd be doing anything this year to make it tricky again ;)). We have a decent easter egg hunting yard now. And the best part is we had no lawn mower so the grass was nice and long to conceal all the eggs :).

And because my time is limited on having anxious willing children to be matchy matchy, we went as the seersucker gang. Poor Dad. Jack really wanted me to make him a seersucker tie too, and even though Boz says he gladly would have worn it, I try not to make it a habit of drawing him into my crazy. (Yes "crazy" is my noun, not adjective).

Ray's Homecoming

On April 18th, after serving 2 years for our church in the Texas McAllen Mission, Boz's little brother Ray returned home. We were very excited! Ray's mission has had a wonderful impact in our home. Everyday, every prayer without fail, Jack has prayed for Uncle Ray that he will be happy on his mission. Now he prays the Ray will be happy OFF his mission :).

When asked what he wants to be when he grows up, Jack will tell you "a missionary (and a dad)". The best is when our Pediatrician asked him and those 2 things were his answers. She started beaming and asked if we were LDS, "Oh that explains why your kids are so good!". Haha...sweet reaction. I'll take it! What could make a Mormon Momma happier than to know her family is preaching the Gospel by example (sometimes anyway)?

 THANK YOU RAY for your example and testimony. I hope you know what an impact you have made because our your faith and diligence. Keep up the good work. We love you... and my kids are watching ;).

To finish off a memory filled month we went to Ray's favorite place for a Millar Family Reunion:

It was an awesome trip. The kids were awesome ages for it. We had very few melt downs and it was a lot of fun to watch Charlotte's reaction to it all.

I especially loved seeing family! Its cool to watch our families grow and the kids interacting and the relationships that evolve and mature through the years. Good times. We love our family dearly and are grateful for the time we all get to be together.
Fell asleep on her homework after Disneyland

April was exciting, crazy, busy, fun, exhausting, and life changing. Wouldn't change it for anything (maybe a little more sleep)...

Here's to a quiet May! :)... yeah right...

Monday, March 26, 2012

Charlotte's 2!

OH... hello blog. I forgot you were here....Let me tell you about my Charlotte...

Last Friday, Charlotte turned 2! We trained her the night before to correctly answer "how old are you?". It stuck and she proudly proclaim "TWO" while holding 2 fingers up, so be sure to ask her when you see her.
As with most kids her age, she's been "2" for a while, but WOW if you saw her on her birthday at the shoe store with Boz and I attempting to try sandals on her, there'd be no question how old she was... :)

She's loves Cookie Monster (they have a lot in common) so we did all thing Cookie Monster to surprise her after she went to bed the night before her birthday. 
it was hard work
 The kids made construction paper Cookie Monsters and cookies and taped them on the wall and made blue balloons look like him. She was pretty excited when she saw the wall in the morning. 

Her breakfast was berry cornmeal muffins (I had frozen blackberries on hand that I mushed up, so they were more dark purple cookie monsters- they look brown in the pic) with marshmallow eyes and half a chocolate melty for a mouth . 
We made ham, cheese and broccoli calzone for dinner to try and incorporate some of her favorite foods, rolls, cheese and "trees". Her love for broccoli is pretty entertaining. She didn't eat them much until one day we called them "trees" and now she can't get enough. She'll even cradle a bag of broccoli florets in the grocery store (while dude clutches his green beans- he loves them roasted). Dorks! Ha, I can't complain :). 

I made her some clothes (the shorts and shirt pictured above) and did my second carpentry project, a baby doll high chair, that is a big hit with all the kids. (attapted from more Ana White plans- seriously cool sight). It was SO much easier and faster--and less flawed--then the crib. Thanks to the miter saw! Boz could resist "helping" either. It was nice to have help painting too. Good chatting activity. 
Her Cookie Monster "cake" was the easiest thing ever! Those Cookie Monster cupcakes are pretty darn cute, but man alive this was EASY PEASY. I just made 4 giant cookies out of cookie dough, stacked them, stuck 2 short skewers in them and stuck marshmallows on for eyes. Then used the blue cotton candy (from 2 of those $1 store bags of cotton candy), albeit light blue, and just sort of stuck it around the the cookies and skewers. 

 Then after the festivities came another favorite activity: Bubble Bath! She asks for one after dinner ever night. Elyette got her some bubble bath (paid with her own saved earnings, she's so responsible). Dude made her a cookie monster picture/card. It was pretty cute
A random sunflower growing in our yard they wanted to give her

ABOUT CHARLOTTE: with some more bday photos

Charlotte had her check up today too and came in at an even 85% across the board (weight-28lbs, head-49.5cm, height-34 inches). Hehe, my little chunky monkey... well as far as her siblings go...nah, she's proven proportionate :).
She's a funny kid. VERY opinionated, but not too picky (there's a difference). Bossy, but follows directions really well much of the time. In fact, I'll ask her older sister and brother to do something or get something and she's often the first to respond without hesitation. Of course she thinks she's big enough to do all that they do too --a usual source of 2 year old frustration. 
Charlotte is in that walk everywhere and refuse to hold mommy's hand phase that is really fun to handle in parking lots... she's maturing though :). 
Om nom nom
... crud, she just dumped a whole bag of pretzels on the floor.....            k, I'm back.
 AND Her favorite past time is eating. She's very proficient at it too. Ha. She never did take a bottle and refused sippy cups, alhtough it wasn't so fun when she was 9 months old, she's been a long time pro of drinking from regular cups and water bottles (I can't even write how she says the word water-bottle--like "wa-blah-blah" with a crazy flapping tongue). And very drink must have ice ("eye-sh"). Including her milk. 
She's got her own little language but its starting to give way to more clear speaking that not just her family can understand. She's using phrases and has blown me away with her ability to recognize and name colors. Yellow (said "eye-yo") is her favorite. She's been particular about what milk she drinks- likes the yellow capped milk (non fat) over the blue capped (2%) and thus started recognizing all things blue and yellow and now knows green and is starting to name orange. 

She's great at mimicking what she sees and holds a crayon and pencil correctly. I never showed her that. I think she just picked it up from observing. She loves to draw. Her favorite thing to draw on is Elyette's homework.

 She plays much older than she is. Watching her pretend play is rather entertaining. She's a born nurturer, cradles and sings to her babies. Love ALL Animals. Charlotte is the type of kid that is fearless with animals and will walk up to and try to handle anything any size. The only thing that seems to make her more hesitant are really small things, like bugs and frogs, but she warms up to grabbing them pretty quickly. Her cooing "ooooo" can be heard frequently. 

She loves music, singing to her and to sing (calls it "wa wa"- also her word for meal??? Crazy kid). She sings everything to the tune of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", or "ABC's" or "Baa Baa Black Sheep" if you rather. She enjoys "Ring Around the Rosies". She LOVES nursery at Church. She use to freak out during sacrament meeting and march off to Nursery, but soon discovered nothing's there yet, so she gave that up, thank goodness.
She reminds us to pray and during a prayer if you look up she give a look and gesture that means you better be closing your eyes, bowing your head and folding your arms. She's our music leader for Family Home Evening and thinks its her job to climb on everyone during family scripture study. 

She holds up 2 fingers and says "more" when she wants more.

 She calls herself "YAY" as in "you". It comes from when you will show her something of hers or a picture "thats you" or "that yours". She's called herself that for a LONG time, but I just picked up on what it meant a month ago. She would always yell "NO YAY" which as you can imagine sounds pretty funny and it finally dawned on me, "OH! She's saying 'NO MINE'!". I prefer "NO YAY".

Like I mentioned she's opinionated and very particular, but when it comes to learning a new skill or working something out she handles the hard stuff well. For example, she set up Jack's wooden train the other day and the magnetic cars were not always cooperative, but she never got frustrated or mad, just merely looked for a solution or moved on to something else. I've observed this a lot with her. And when she gets hurt or stumbles she just gets right back up. If she reacts its either because she is really hurt, scared or Jack did it :)--but you can tell by the reaction which is which of course. These are strength of hers that will benefit her well in life. 
She's a good problem solver. A stool is her best tool. The other day she let go of a helium balloon in our vaulted living room. First she tried to jump for it, then she had Daddy jump for it, then me, then after no success with us, she exclaimed "oh stooo" (aka "stool"). She ran up stairs and carried the bathroom step stool all the way downstairs set it under the balloon, got on it and reached with all her might. It was a sweet and valiant effort, but the balloon remained until the next morning when it was starting to drop. 
 Charlotte is buddies with Jack and loves to play with him. She'll comfort him when sad, but she also certainly bullies him and they tease each other to no end (for better or worse).

She ADORES Elyette and will mimic her every move. Elyette adores her in return. And like sisters they both pick on poor Jack (but he's no innocent brother, mind you). All in all the 3 of them a wonderful team. 

Aside from her strong opinion, Charlotte is pretty chill... unless of course you're Jack (in which case don't even look at her funny or she'll scream at and possibly whack you on the head).

Charlotte is animated, clever, gives the best hugs and kisses (she just molds to me, I'm going to miss that!), is very observant and aware, and complete tease and goof ball. 
Charlotte makes our lives so colorful! 

We love you Stinkster! Happy Birthday!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Handmade Holidays 2011

This is sort of old news at this point, blogging didn't make the New Years resolution list :), but since this was the very thing that got me blogging in the first place, I'm posting it anyway.

Back in 2007, when I first "gave in" and started a blog I didn't post much but saw varies friends/family and friends of friends blogs with creative ideas, tutorials, etc. and in particular handmade Christmas gifts. I remember thinking I'd love to do that but in reality, doubted that'd ever happen. However in 2008 I had the unspoken resolution to start diving into my creative side (now that I was done with school and had a chance to discover I even had hobbies) and did make decent gifts by Christmas 2008. Its been a fun journey, and while I no longer blog about much of it any more, I'm still on it! And as always, thanks to my gracious recipients ;)...

Handmade Christmas Past:

And here's 2011:

Scaled back. Trying to do better at my "good, better, best" choices. Granted I don't "create" until after the kids have gone to bed, but I'm getting too old, or something, to pull off multiple nights of a 3am bedtime. It was 1am this year instead... ha. If only stupid sleep wasn't necessary.

I only planned 1 major thing to make this year. I've been itching to try my hand at carpentry. It stands to reason for me that it would be something I would love! So I gave it a go. Here's my first project:

Baby Doll Crib for Charlotte:
To give Santa a hand, I used plans from Ana White (AWESOME site!) with alterations made for the tools we have. I can't say it did it ALL by myself, since I didn't fully know my way around the power tools and we lack some tools to make some tasks a one woman job, like drilling and screwing the crib rails (where really needed 3 sets of hands). Thank you, Boz.

And after some extreme frustration with our circular saw, Boz got me a miter saw for Christmas which will make for MUCH easier, faster, cleaner cutting for the next project. WAHOO. I'm very excited. Oh and Boz got a table top vice from his dad too! (Um, also a selfish request of mine).

Anyway, this first time learning experience, after lots of cutting, drilling, gluing, screwing, WAITING, a coat of primer and 3 coats of paints, sewing the mattress and bedding it took about 20 hours. WELL worth it. I'm picky so at first I wasn't thrilled with minor things, but now I'm letting up and LOVE IT. It's solid and will last for years (hopefully loved long too).

Personalized T-shirt for Cash:

Sticking with tradition, I made another one of those "self-portrait" T-shirts. Scott, Ray (couldn't find a pic, darn it), my dad, and now Sam, excuse me, I mean "Cash Money" have been the LUCKY recipients :) Cash Money's glows in the dark too.... hahaha, trumps them all.

Gingerbread Family Kits:
This idea comes from FamilyFun. It was a great gift for teachers/neighbors/friends that all of us got to help with. Easy too. Just make gingerbread cookies and put in a container with a tube a white decorating icing and varies candy (we did red hots, red vines, spice drops, and mini M&Ms).
I intended to share the label I made but of course anything I intend in advance blogwise rarely materializes in time. Maybe next year.

Furoshiki Tied bread
I love it when you can find 3lbs bundles of bananas at Costo for 50 cents! Thus I made banana bread mini loaves:

I'm big fan of Furoshiki and mini loafs were perfect to use it with. Warm bread wrapped in fabric, mmmm. (Knowing more in advance, using new dish cloths/tea towels instead would have been a nice addition).

And thats pretty much the extent of my stuff..............................................

Jack and Elyette's handmakes

To follow the lead of my amazing sister Elisa who makes it a point to spend her time helping her kids make gifts for each other, I worked with Jack and Elyette to make gifts of their choosing.

Tied Baby Blanket by Elyette

Without hesitation Elyette badly wanted to make a fleece tie blanket for her new baby cousin, Madison. She picked out the fabric and worked meticulously cutting exact 1 inch strips and tied them. It took several hours across several days, so that ended up being the extent of her projects. She worked hard. It was very sweet. Sadly I failed to take pics of her working, but here's a pic of Madison wrapped in the blanket:

Playdough by Jack

Jack worked right along side me making green playdough, while I made red, to give to Charlotte and some friends. He's a natural in the kitchen! He also made a "bead thing" ornament for Elyette. He's VERY detail oriented.

And the grand finale:

Toilet Bowl Plunger Bouquet by Boz

Beautiful isn't it? I'm sure his parents were SO thrilled to get this.
Either my enjoyment for "presentation" has rubbed off on him, or he's just mocking me. Probably both ;). I'm a dork and I know it.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Puke Packer 2000

Customer Review: "Worked like a charm for me! Highly reccomended to save your carpet AND your sanity!"