Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve Wishes

This year your wish for the New Year could be among thousands written on the confetti sprinkled down in Times Square to welcome the New Year. check here for more info.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Creed at Nine Months

They're a little bit late, but here are Creed's nine month pictures Check out those chubby cheeks!
I had Larry there helping me jolly Creed so we caught lots of smiles.

He's still chubby , but this has been a bit of a rough month for him so he seems to be thinning out a bit. He's had a cold, he's been teething, and his reflux is not improving so he's lost his appetite and had a few extremely crabby days. Who can blame him when we're torturing him with likes like barium swallows for upper GI scans? Poor guy!
He's also growing so quickly. The latest development is that he's been standing on his own. At first it was accidental, when he was absorbed in something that he was holding and forgot to hold himself up. Lately he's standing on purpose for longer periods.

He's also become a clapping machine! He never misses an opportunity to cheer for himself or someone else.
He STILL has not figured out sippy cups. Maybe it's his approach?
Here he is on his first wagon ride.
He was so excited and adorable! (and of course Wadsworth the duck had to come along for the ride)
Check out how long his hair has been getting. When Larry realized what a great mohawk Creed can have, he asked me why we haven't been doing this every day.This little guy makes us smile every day and we are just doing our best to enjoy him.

Signs that Creed has a cold

I'm used to having spit-up all over my shirt, but this time it's not spit-up. NICE!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Fondue anyone?

My friend Katherine invited us over to have fondue with her family. She says that growing up, her family tradition is to have fondue every Christmas Eve. It makes such a fun meal that takes a little bit longer to eat so you have a lot of time to visit. It was even more delicious than it looks here. Afterwards, we had a lot of fun watching the kids play charades. Here they are thinking hard about how to act out their clue.
Thank you Katherine for such a fun night. Larry says I need your cheese fondue recipe!

Look who is back!

Ted! (Which is what we affectionately call our Isuzu Rodeo) He still has several issues, including, but not limited to the fact that he is two different colors of white, but we are happy to be driving the rodeo again! That said, I have to mention that when Larry picked up the rental car that we used in the meantime, he walked in and told me that he thinks we need a minivan. Have you driven in a new Dodge Caravan? They are so weird! Check it out.
This remote opens and closes the back doors, a feature I'm familiar with

but it is also the key that you plug into your dashboard and turn to start the car.
The stow and go seating was perfect for taking all of our wards' toy donations in to Salvation army
but have you ever seen a minivan with sliding door windows that roll down? That one was new to me.
I forgot to take a picture of the neon green lighting that lines the ceiling of the car at night that makes everyone comment that they feel like they are in the cashcab.
Don't worry, I don't think we need a minivan for our single baby, I just had to share these weird features that I didn't even know existed.

Homemade Christmas Project #3 - Lullaby CD

Do you have any idea how hard it is to find good non-cheesy lullabies? Just because a baby is going to listen to it, does it have to sound like elevator music? Come on people!

I decided to make my own CD of lullabies for Creed, and I made a copy for Audrey for Christmas. I suspect a few of you may be getting a copy from me too because I'm so happy with the songs that I found, and I figure that even if you don't have the same musical taste that I do, it's still handy to learn the words to a few lullabies because I was just singing bits and pieces to Creed and humming the rest until I made this CD and learned the words.

So without further ado, here and the songs I selected:

1. Moon River - Innocence Mission

2. Godspeed (Sweet Dreams) - Dixie Chicks

3. Count Your Blessings - Bing Crosby

4. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star - Elizabeth Mitchell & Lisa Loeb

5. Dream A Little Dream of Me - The Mamas & The Papas

6. All Through The Night - Shawn Colvin

7. We’re Going To Be Friends - Jack Johnson

8. Bye-Lo - Innocence Mission

9. Sweetly Sleeps - Peter Breinholt

10. Over The Rainbow - Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

11. Close Your Eyes - Shawn Colvin

12. The Rainbow Connection - Sarah McLachlan

13. Lullabye (Goodnight My Angel) - Billy Joel

14. Chi-Baba Chi-Baba - Perry Como

15. Which Will - Nick Drake

16. Lullaby - Dixie Chicks

17. Slumber My Darling - Allison Krauss & Yo-Yo Ma

A few others that I thought about including that you might be interested in if you enjoy these are:

Golden Slumbers: Ben Folds or Beatles (Itunes doesn't sell Beatles songs because of a rights dispute and the Ben Folds version has a really loud part that I thought might wake a baby)

Sarah MacLachlan - Ice Cream

Sarah Maclachlan – Blackbird

Catch the Moon – Lisa Loeb & Elizabeth Mitchell

Across the universe - Rufus, Moby, Sean Lennon

Joshua Radin – Everything’ll be alright

You Can Close your eyes – Sheryl Crow (I really wanted to include this song, but Itunes doesn't sell it and I'm not tech savvy enough to know how to buy it somewhere else and import it into Itunes)

I also learned that if I was just going to buy a whole CD instead of create my own, I would probably choose Now the Day is Over by Innocence Mission or Catch the Moon by Elizabeth Mitchell and Lisa Loeb.


I think I'm going to work on a good, happy Kids' music collection next. Any suggestions?

Homemade Christmas Project #2 - Make your own apron

This year I participated in a handmade gift exchange among bloggers called Pink Christmas.

After a lot of deliberating, I decided to make Melissa an apron. She said she would love to have anything to help with her cooking efforts, but unfortunately, I'm a terrible cook and couldn't come up with anything that could help. Instead, I thought if I made her a cute apron, at least she would look cute while she was cooking and who is going to pay attention to her cooking when she looks so good? I told her that I'm thinking I need to make myself one now, because it might get me to try cooking some new things just so I can spend time wearing a fun apron. Maybe it will inspire both of us! Sorry, I couldn't seem to get a picture with out my little helper elf!
I didn't plan on doing a tutorial so I didn't take any pictures of the process or any measurements, but here are the basics.
If you know me, you know I decided not to get a pattern and to just make it up as I went along and hope it turned out. I think I got a 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 yards of fabric. I used really heavy decorators fabric with duck cloth for the pockets and pre-washed them because I knew the apron would need to be washed a lot, and I wanted it to last a long time. Because of the direction of the pattern, I ended up using the fabric from finished edge to edge so I had plenty of fabric to make two aprons if I wanted to.
I laid the fabric out and fold it in half width-wise and laid my favorite A-line skirt that twirls a little on top with one edge of the skirt along the folded edge of the fabric, then I just cut using the skirt as a pattern for the curved top and bottom of the apron. Then I pressed all of the edges in a 1/4 inch and then over 1/4 inch again and sewed a straight stitch all the way around to hem it. I added two yards of pretty ribbon to the top for the apron tie. I left a little fabric showing above, but you can do whatever you prefer. I lined the center of the ribbon up with the center of the apron and pinned it along to the edges, then stitched around the whole thing, triple stitching the outside edges to secure them well.
For the pockets, take two rectangles of fabric a bit bigger then you want your pockets to be. Mark the top center of each piece with a pin. Measure 1 1/2 inch from the pin on each side and fold it in to meet the pin in the middle and pin it there. Now you should have your box pleat at the top. At the bottom of the pocket, pull the fabric tight from side to side and then trim the edges to be straight vertically (you should be trimming off a little triangle about an inch or inch and a half at the bottom). I rounded the corners of my pockets by tracing around a bottle of big spool of tread on the back of the fabric and then clipping the edges and ironing the seam allowance under all the way around the sides and bottom of the pocket. You could skip this step and it would still be cute with square corners. I took another rectangle the width of the pocket and folded it in half with the edges turned under to line the top of the pocket and secure the pleat. Just pin it across the top edge and sew a straight line across it. Then I just pinned both pockets to the apron and top stitched around the sides and the bottom. And there you have it.
If you have questions just email me or leave a comment and I'll try to answer them. Good luck!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Homemade Christmas Project #1

Ok, this wasn't really supposed to be a Christmas present, but I didn't deliver it earlier so it ended up being a Christmas gift.

My friend Nikki just made partner at her firm so I wanted to make something special to congratulate her on such a big achievement so I decided to make her a felt cake; something to congratulate her, that her daughter Audrey can play with when she gets older. I've seen felt cakes all over online, but they have really cute ones here. They are just plain white felt cakes that come with a lot of felt shapes that will stick to them so kids can decorate them over and over. The twinkle cakes you see through the link are made on upholstery foam, but I decided to make mine on hollow boxes that can stack inside themselves for easy storage.

My friend Reba and I made these together, and they are pretty simple. We just got a big sheet of white felt and sprayed it with spray adhesive and wrapped it around our boxes. Reba cut all of her felt decorations by hand and they turns out really cute. You can see hers here.

I just bought pre-cut felt shapes at the scrapbooking store for Nikki's cake because they had the word "celebrate" and a lot of other fun shapes and I already had a long homemade Christmas list to work on. Here's how mine turned out.

They are really easy to make, but if you attempt your own and you have any questions, just let me know.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A magical Christmas

Our Christmas celebrations began on Christmas Eve. The Whiteheads invited us to spend the evening with them and it was so much fun! We started off with a live nativity and I neglected to take pictures because Creed and I were busy being shepherds and Larry was the videographer. Heather's whole family was in town and her mom gathered costumes for everyone so all we had to do was show up. Earlier in the week Heather gave me and another friend a little workshop on using our cameras so I'm sure she has some great pictures that I can steal from her blog later. After the nativity we had a wonderful dinner and played Christmas SceneIt that the Whiteheads put together with their favorite Christmas videoclips and telephone pictionary, which was hilarious.

The morning brought surprises from Santa. A red wagon for Creed (He hung out in it for most of the morning while we opened presents)

And Santa must know Larry well because instead of a tangerine, he left Larry an onion in his stocking. After opening some gifts at home we headed over to the Erneys to spend the day with our adopted Columbus family. I missed taking pictures of a lot of wonderful moments, but we were busy just enjoying this special day. Here are a few things I did manage to capture.

Creed adoring Grandpa Ken

And playing with Grandma Cat

And conversing with Audrey. These two were adorable together! Spontaneous kisses were exchanged and it was caught on video. It is so fun watching them grow up together.

Cat went all out. She made us our own stockings.
And provided a feast. Here's a picture of David carving the turkey. He looks a little sinister!
And here's Cat in her element, cooking away.
It was such a fantastic day. Ken kept saying it was the best Christmas ever and I agree. Christmas on the cruise in Jamaica last year was pretty great, but nothing beats your first Christmas with a baby, surrounded by family. I'm so grateful that the Erneys have adopted us. I'm not sure why they chose us, but we couldn't be luckier. Over the past seven years, they have fed us countless times, shared secret recipes, visited us in the hospital, comforted and cuddled Creed, introduced us to Erney Family Holiday, invited us to Jackie Chan movies fests, provided Marissa with a job, shared many a Duckling Day with us, taught how to play Cootie tournaments, and now they've hosted the best Christmas ever. I'm seriously sitting on my couch crying when I think about having to move away from them this summer. Oh, and did I mention that now Elle has provided Larry with all of the secrets to becoming a superhero?
Sadly, today was not Creed's day. I'm not sure if it was just his cold or if it was teething, but he had a VERY rough day and wore us both out. It's a good things there were so many extra hands to help
And now a few gift highlights: my mom shipped us so much Christmas goodness since she couldn't be here to share Christmas with us. She actually made me this Olivia quilt and I love it so much! And she told me has has extra fabric to make a baby quilt if I ever have a girl (hmmmm, first she ships us extra stockings and now she's talking about another baby quilt. I am NOT pregnant blog readers!)
And my other favorite gift was from my adopted mom, Cat. She hand wrote the recipes for all of my favorite things that she makes, and she filled my stocking for the spices they require that she knew I would have on hand. It was probably the most thoughtful gift that I have ever received!
One of the highlights for Larry had to be the old school Vans from Keri and Matt along with a matching pair for Creed. Creed started wearing a size five shoe this week and they sent us size five and halfs so look for pictures soon.
And this is the shirt Santa left in Creed's stocking. How did he know how Creed would be feeling all day? He's definitely magic!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas in style

So we started a new Christmas tradition this year that I mentioned in my list of advent activity ideas; we drove around and selected the house with the best Christmas decorations and gave them an award. We just made up a little certificate and tied a bow around some Martinelli's sparkling cider and Cadbury chocolate eggs. We dragged Donny, Jessica, and Eva along to help with the debate, but the decision was unanimous, We picked a little house in German Village that we actually saw earlier in December. At first you just get a glimpse of what's inside (notice even the outside of the house is red, this homeowner LOVES Christmas).
The sound system in the yard is playing Christmas music and every fencepost is decorated with greenery, apples, and pineapples.

The front gate alone was amazing, but just wait until you step inside. We figured someone who went all out decorating for Christmas, would have the spirit of Christmas and would be happy to know complete strangers were admiring their efforts and we were right. The homeowners ushered us right in and asked if we would like to take some pictures.

After going in, I'm even more perplexed how he got that tree in there because there are a few turns between his front door and this room. Eva found an article in the neighborhood paper about this house. You can check it out here.
It was AMAZING. He definitely deserved the award!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

They Wished Us a Merry Christmas!

The best thing about our house is that Donny and Jessica are only three doors away. They had us over for an early Christmas dinner Saturday night and it was amazing!
And they showered us with really thoughtful gifts too! We have spent many an evening playing Racko with them and now we have our own copy!Even Dudley got into the holiday spirit.

Meet the Professor

Creed looked a like a mini professor today in his corduroy blazer and bow tie. My dad would be proud.

There's a Thief Among Us

Creed doesn't realize that there's anything under wrapping papers so he hasn't opened any gifts, but the bows keep mysteriously disappearing.