Tuesday, September 30, 2008

One Year Older and Hotter Too!

Someone at our house turned 33 yesterday! Although we got a new computer for our combined birthday gifts, Creed and I had to have a few small surprises for Larry to open because what's a birthday without presents to open? I know how very lucky I am to have Larry in my life so I was looking forward to a day of celebrating just that. Unfortunately, poor Larry had the worst day of his fellowship so far. At least he made it home around 7:30 to lots of hugs and smiles.
We love you Larry, and we're counting down the days to the next year of your fellowship when we'll hopefully be seeing a lot more of you!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Credit cards are a kids best friend

Creed loves to play with my wallet, and it drives me crazy because now that he can use zippers, he opens it up and one by one, pulls every single item out and drops it on the floor, which, as you might imagine, causes all sorts of problems. But what's a girl to do when her toddler spots it in her purse during church and cries desperately for it? I wouldn't have a good answer if it wasn't for my friend Reba.

One day in church, I pitied Reba as her daughter pulled every item out of her wallet and dropped it on the floor, credit cards and other important info spread about the room, until I realized, wait, those cards aren't real. But why would Reba carry around fake credit cards in her wallet? She wouldn't, she has two wallets, one for herself and one for her kids to play with when she needs to keep them quietly entertained. Of course kids want to real deal so Reba saved all of those fake cards that you get in the mail and her daughters don't know the difference.

Well, a curious one-year old finally ripped the change pocket on my seven-year-old wallet so I got an upgrade and Creed gets the old one. When I cleaned out my wallet after moving here I was a little sad that I would no longer need my Columbus library card or zoo membership or even my student ID for The Ohio State University. I'm happy to have a reason to keep them around now. So I took those along with some fake cards from junk mail and used up VISA and Itunes gift cards and filled every nook and cranny of my old wallet and now it keeps Creed busy for quite a while.
Thanks for the idea Reba, I hope that you don't mind me sharing!

I'm in love with a plant

My friend Faith always seems to be a step ahead of me in life, literally and figuratively. I met her in Columbus when her husband, Chad, was doing his residency and Larry was just starting medical school. Since then they've done a fellowship in Toronto and moved to Salt Lake City where Chad is now a "real" doctor and Larry is doing his fellowship. I look up to Faith a lot (that makes her sound like an old lady, and we are pretty much the same age) because I think she's perfect. Ok, no one is perfect, but she is good at all of the things I'm not (amazing cook, always spotless organized house) so I feel like I'm just absorbing as much as I can when I'm around her. Do you have any friends like that?

Anyway, I just feel so happy when I am around Faith so I've been really looking forward to a little shopping trip with her today, and I was not disappointed. I love learning about the area where I live from someone who lives around here because they know all of the local secrets that I might take ages to discover on my own or sadly never even discover at all.

Today we went to three of Faith's favorite stores. First, House of Bread at 2005 E. 2700 S. SLC. A little local business that uses all natural ingredients and no fat to make the most amazing bread and treats. Your mouth will start watering just from the smell in the parking lot. When Faith moved here, one of her neighbors brought her a loaf of apple cinnamon swirl bread (she says it makes the best french toast) and now Faith has a tradition of bringing her new neighbors the same bread so she treated me.

Second, across the street is Cactus & Tropicals. I'm a totally copycat and had to have this little ornamental plant that Faith has. Isn't it cool? It's called a pincushion plant and the berries are supposed to last through fall season. I always hoped to find a local nursery like this in my neighborhood in Columbus, but never succeeded. I have this thing for ususual plants. I like impatients and mums and marigolds, but if I'm going to go through the effort of planting something and keeping it alive, I want something that catches your eye because it's beautiful and different or I want something that would make beautiful seasonal decor. This is exactly the nursery to go to for something like that. I was drooling over the ornamental cabbage and I wanted to drag home every single varigated pumpkin. The pumpkins had just arrived and will be for sale later today or tomorrow so I'll have to head back soon.

Finally, we stopped off at Real Deals, a shop with inexpensive decorative stuff much like Tai Pan Trading. It's only open on Thursdays and Saturdays, and the ladies who work their are so nice and love to have kids in the store (that alone made me want to buy something). Most of it is not really my style, but there are some really inexpensive basics and their inventory changes quickly. Faith says she loves to check their for affordable holiday decorations. We hit the location at 4048 S and 2700 E, but there's one in American Fork too. I headed home happy with this $7.00 garden cloche that fit my pincushion plant perfectly.

So often we don't give much thought to how lucky we are to have our local favorites. I loved seeing a few of Faith's favorite spots. I think this is the best way to discover a town. When I travel with my parents they always avoid tourist hot spots and ask locals where they like to swim, where they like to eat, etc. How do parents get so smart? I guess I'm lucky to learn from the best. So what are your favorites? What's not to miss in your city that other people might not know about.

And PS- Is there a store anywhere in Salt Lake that sells really cool Halloween decorations? I love the Curio Cabinet in Columbus and The Gatehouse in Orem, and there must be some amazing store somewhere in Salt Lake, don't you think?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I want to be the kind of mom who . . .

The kind of mom who teaches my kids all those classic kid songs. I've realized lately how many kids songs I actually know and need to teach Creed. We've been listening to some Johnny Bregar for non-annoying versions of classics like If Your Happy and You Know It, This Old Man, Bingo, etc. (think Harry Conick Jr. for kids). Check out some of his songs here.

I want to be the kind of mom who buys toys that promote creative play. I think it would be so fun to put together a pretend mail set like this one. My sisters and I used to love to play mail and write each other letters and deliver them to each other.

I want to be the kind of mom who remember to share favorites from my youth I think my kids will like. I jokingly spoke to Larry like Beeker from from the Muppets the other day and realized that I better make sure that when Creed gets older he knows who Beeker is.
I want to be the kind of mom who fills my home with cheerful art that I love, but the kids will appreciate too. Like this college by Kate Endle that makes me smile.

I want to be the kind of mom who scouts out things that the kids will love to see on our travels (I guess that also means I want to be the kind of mom who travels often with my kids). Have you seen the City Walks For Kids series? They have beautiful guide books for London, Rome, Paris, New York, San Fransisco, and Washington DC and I wish I owned them all!

I want to be the kind of mom who is always exploring the places we live. This past week, I read on not one but two friends blogs about Homestead crater, a 55 foot rock dome full of warm spring water. I've lived in Utah before, but I've never even heard of the Homestead crater. It sounds like a good place for a winter swim. What else am I missing around here?

Robot Parade from Jared Foster on Vimeo.
I want to be the kind of mom who who comes up with awesome activities to keep my kids busy and creative. I think throwing a Robot Parade like this one would be awesome!
I want to be the kind of mom who comes up with really fun ways to stay entertained on car trips. I think for older kids, it would be fun to print out a bunch of these pdfs from Toy-A-Day for them to work on in the caray for car trips (and let's be truthful, there's a few that I know Larry would love too).
I want to be the kind of mom who gets my kids involved in the family gift giving. I came across a great idea for giving Christmas gifts and I'm tempted not to share it because this is what some of you lovely readers may be getting for Christmas. You really should read about it here, but the basic idea is to give couples a pair of wooden clogs full of goodies that the kids helped collect over the year. Then let the kids help collect clog fillers every year.

I want to be the kind of mom who wraps things beautifully. My friend Nikki seems especially good at this, but I procrastinate and always end up lucky if something makes it in a giftbag and I almost never have a card to go with the gift. Amazing paper engineer Denise Sharp has started sharing her beautiful wrapping jobs on her blog and she says she'll be sharing regularly. Don't you love this paper boat wrapping job?

The Sailor Man

I laughed out loud the other day when I saw this shirt at Target so I had to buy it.
In case you didn't notice, that's where I got the idea for the Mickey and Minnie shirts that I made. If you buy one, be aware that it runs extremely small so I got Creed a much bigger size.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tiny Houses

While shopping at Oh Sweet Sadie last week, I was very tempted to buy this little mouse house. It includes three little mice that were peeking out the window when I saw it. It's made of wool felt and recycled sweaters by a local 17 year-old girl. It made me wish I had a daughter and a son because right now the only things Creed wants to play with are trucks and trains (although he does harbor Larry's love of gnomes, hmmm . . .)It got me thinking about some other little toys houses full of tiny animals that I've been drooling over. Latitude Enfant makes several including this little apple house with bunnies inside and one for Little Red Riding Hood, one for snow white, and a treehouse for all sorts of animals.This little mouse house and family made by Pottery Barn is one of my favorites. I would have dragged this with me everywhere when I was little.

Do you think I could get away with buying this one for Creed? It's The Bunnies' School made by Playmobil, and it's a little more boyish, isn't it? I think this would be a fun toy to have around as an Easter/spring decoration. Actually maybe I just love little houses in general, they don't have to be filled with woodland creatures. This one is way way out of my price-range, but as long as I'm sharing, I thought that you might want to admire its loveliness. I want to move into this Printed Dollhouse I spotted on Ohdeedoh.com. It's for sell on Etsy, made by petitflaneur. It reminds me of a Lauren Child illustration

Fall has reached the farmers market

Saturday, while Larry worked (until 5:30 mumble, mumble), I took my regular outing with Creed to the farmers market. I'm glad that I had a lot of cash with me because I spent $25.00 and was very tempted to spend more. Here's what we ended up with. The BEST local peaches One of these little fresh fruit pies (and they are even more amazing than they look)
Even at $4.25, I couldn't resist one of these little yellow watermelon because I heart yellow watermelon, and I haven't seen it since we left Ohio.
A big Cinderella pumpkin that's now sitting on my doorstep
And our most extravagent, but favorite purchase, buttermilk syrup. I don't even like syrup, but Larry told me that I HAD to try it a few weeks ago and wow, was he right! We've been tempted to eat breakfast for every meal because it is so, so, so good! Our stash is dwindling so Larry told me that I absolutely could not forget to restock. Usually they sell two sizes, but they were sold out of the large jars so I had to settle for a small jar. I'm sure that it will be gone very soon!

Monday, September 22, 2008

It feels like home to me

I figured out a new arrangement for my leaf plate collection that allowed me to mix in some newer plates. Now they are up on the wall and this place is starting to feel just a little more like home to me.


We were stopped at a red light on our way back from the Farmers Market when I took these pictures of Creed in the backseat. Isn't he devastatingly cute?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

If you don't TRY, you'll never be able to DO

It's not news to those of you who have been reading this blog for a while, but every year on my birthday, I make a goal to try new things that year and set the goal for however many years I am turning. Last year I was 27 so I wanted to try at least 27 new things. I think the older you get, the easier it is to get stuck in your ways and it's important to grow. Now that I'm a mom, this goal is probably more important to me because while raising Creed is my first priority, I think it's important not to lose myself in the meantime and it's easy to do that when I'm focusing on Creed. Some years, it's not so easy to reach my goal, but with so much going on this year, I really could have gone way over 27. Here's what I put on my list:

  1. Flew alone with Creed

  2. Rode a hot air balloon

  3. Met Mo Willems and Jon Sciezska

  4. Went to Pink Moon and Sprinkles cupcake shops

  5. Took Creed to Disneyland

  6. Threw a witches Brew party

  7. Felted old sweaters to make cupcake pincushions

  8. Downloaded songs on Itunes to make Creed’s lullaby CD (yep, I'm lame and that was my first Itunes download)

  9. Got new glasses after over seven years!

  10. Did an author interview on the child lit blog

  11. Needlefelted toadstool pincushions

  12. Sewed a few aprons

  13. Went to Punxsutawney for Groundhog’s Day

  14. Bought a cook book! Everyday foods’ Food Fast

  15. Made a mobile for Creed’s room

  16. Held a Valentine Exchange

  17. Learn to print on Eva’s letterpress

  18. Visited an architectural salvage shop

  19. Ate dinner at Tasi

  20. Put our house up for sale (getting the house ready was so much work)

  21. Sold our first house

  22. Ate at Banana Bean Café and El Aripazo (two restaurants I'd been wanting to try for a while)

  23. Designed posters to be letterpress printed

  24. Took Creed to New York and Coney Island

  25. Walked across the Brooklyn Bridge

  26. Tried Venezuelan food

  27. Moved to Salt Lake City

Now I'm already working on my list of 28 new things for this year starting with going to the Sheepdog Festival and taking a much needed photography class from Candice.

I used to HATE that my birthday usually fell around the first or second day of school. I almost always got school clothes for my birthday while my siblings got them just because school was starting, and I often had no friends to celebrate with because we'd move just in time to start the school year somewhere new. A lot has changed and now I love having a birthday this time of year. This is always about the time when catalogues for community classes arrive and I'm busy thinking about all the cool things I might like to try to learn that year. Columbus had amazing Parks and Rec classes that were really affordable. The Salt Lake Community Learning Centers don't offer many options for kids, but they still have a wide variety of classes for adults. A few options that I think would be fun are basic drawing/composition, breakdancing (ok, I would never have the guts to take a breakdancing class, but I think it's so cool that they offer it), big Band Swing Dancing, Birding 101 (Creed loves birds and I find myself wishing I knew more about them), acrylic painting, yoga, lino and wood-cut printmaking, web design (I've designed a few websites, but I know nothing about programming), and harmonica (which I probably wouldn't take, but aren't you curious about it?).

If you live close to a university, most of them offer life-long learning courses too and they are much lees expensive than a regular college course. You can check out the University of Utah's Lifelong Learning catalogue here. They also offer some courses that are really tempting to me: beginning drawing (I really really want to learn how to draw), introduction to metal work: art jewelry, beyond sushi: Japanese cuisine, designing with fresh flowers, containers for fall gardens, introduction to mime (ok, I'm joking, but I think it's awesome that they offer it), storytelling, ghosthunting 101 (just making sure you're paying attention, again I think it's funny that they offer it and it would be interesting to see what they have to say), sculling, fencing, ice skating for fun and exercise, and full-moon snowshoe hike.

Alas, Larry's schedule is such that it's pretty much impossible for me to take a single one of these classes, but next year his schedule should be much better and I can't wait to see what they offer then because I am absolutely signing myself up!

Creed Spends The Day With Grandma

We took a day off from Disney while we were in California so Creed and I could spend the day with his Grandma Ward. I was worried he wouldn't recognize her, but he was happy to go right to her. We started off the day playing in the sand at the beach, and Creed was a happy boy.
He showered grandma with lots of slimey kisses
And he didn't mind falling in the water or being completely covered in sand.

After we cleaned up, we went to Fashion Island for lunch and some Pinkberry frozen yogurt (it is so, so good!)Then we went back to grandma's for a long nap and to play with some of Larry's old toys.
And we even got to go on a walk with Tom before we headed out.

The Magic Kingdom

Just a few more pictures from Disneyland, courtesy of Melinda!

M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!!!!

Creed doesn't really enjoy TV for the most part, but there's always been one show that catches his attention, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. He loves Mickey Mouse so much that he can spot him everywhere and performs little dances of joy every time he spots him, even if it's on a paper cup. I was talking about this with the Randall's at their cabin last weekend when they announced that they have annual passes to Disneyland and happened to be going that weekend and had plenty of extra room in their mini-van. Knowing Larry wouldn't get time off for ages and I was not ready to brave Disneyland with Creed on my own, I decided on Wednesday to tag along. So bright and early Thursday morning (well, actually dark and early) we were on our way to Disneyland.

Now normally, I would be extremely hesitant to take a trip like this with friends. I would worry about Creed having a rough time and ruining everyone's trip, but the Randall's have a baby the same age (Sara) and are completely understanding and helpful. Creed and Sara are so much alike that I would swear they were separated at birth if I wasn't absolutely positive that I only had one baby. The whole trip we were all marvelling at how similar they are and struggling to figure out which one of them was crying or talking because they even sound exactly the same.
I couldn't resist making matching shirts for them right before we left because Sara loves Minnie just as much as Creed love Mickey. I just thought the shirts would look so cute when they wore their mouse earsAnd I was right! I just hope Melinda got a better picture of it than I did. (Did you know that they make those cute baby clip-on Minnie ears for babies? That was news to me) Thank you Randall's for the best trip ever!
Since Creed doesn't even like to swing I was nervous about what Creed would think of the rides. At first he wasn't much of a fan, but he loves the Casey Junior train in Fantasyland.
The highlight of the day for the grown-ups was snagging these Dream Fast-Passes. Disney gives away all sorts of surprise things as part of their year of a million dreams theme. Jason saw someone handing these out just in time for us all to get one. It had two cards with Fast-Passes for every single ride that had a fast-pass in Disneyland and California Adventure. And it just so happened that it was also the day Larry's mom and step-dad we coming to stay with the kids in the hotel room after they fell asleep so the grown-ups could ride the grow-up rides. It was AMAZING! We just walked right on to every ride we wanted to ride. Between that and Jason and Melinda's Ride-Max schedule, the longest line we waited on all day was under ten minutes!
So, so cool!
Truth be told, it was a much needed break that evening because Creed had a rough day. He didn't quite get the rides and started teething again and seemed miserable for about an hour in the middle of the day. He was crying and I couldn't figure out what he wanted so I finally let him just pull everything out of my purse during lunch and he pulled out the Motrin, pointed to it, pointed to his mouth, and pointed back to the motrin. Sure enough, I looked in and there was the sharp points of new molars. Poor guy! Amid all that, he still was very excited to meet the characters. I let Melinda take most of the photos so I didn't have to juggle so there are sure to be more photos later, but I did catch him meeting Goofy on my camera. When it was our turn, he ran right up and hugged him.The evenings were cool so I slipped on his babylegs under his shorts and he looked so cute!We took a day off to hang with grandma and hit the beach, and then it was back to Disneyland again the next day with the Randall's. Creed had to sit by himself on the train ride again. Larry bought a little stuffed Mickey for him before we left on the trip and he carried it everywhere so you will notice it in a lot of our pictures.

The crowds were a lot bigger on the weekend, but it was worth it because Creed was so happy to be there and actually started to enjoy rides (although, you wouldn't guess it from this photo, but you have to have a picture with the castle, right?)
By far his favorite thing was the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show. Can you see him standing up and clasping his little hands because he's so excited to see Mickey on stage. He dances and bounced through the whole show and kept grabbing my hand and trying to go closer to the stage.
We also got to meet of with the Giglias for lunch (which Creed slept through, but it was still fun to chat with PJ).
He also really loved Bugs Land in California Adventure. I have to include this lame picture because it's the only one that I took on Flick's Flyers and when we got off the ride, Creed pointed back and said, "More, more!"
He actually expanded his vocabulary quite a bit on this trip saying things like Mickey, Minnie, and pointing out the letter O everywhere (his favorite letter, but he only knows like three letters). Every time we passed this sign, he tried to escape to see the O so we had to take a picture.
I've always loved Disneyland, but it's so much better being there as a parent and watching your little one enjoy the magic.
Thanks to the Randall's for letting us tag along to the happiest place on Earth.