Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Things are looking bright inside

It may be snowing outside, but inside, I spot a lot of cheerful red today.

Three red frame mats that I designed for Sycamore Street Press
Rockets flying through the house
beautiful flowers that Creed helped me plant
Valentine projects in the works
toys all over the place
Oh, and this guy chose to wear red today too.

Cell phone snapshots

While Larry is busy working at the hospital, I often text him random photos of whatever Creed and I are up to, to let him know that we are thinking of him. Here's a look back at a few of my favorites from the last year, starting with the most recent (this week, and wow, I am pregnant and Creed loves to use my tummy as a pillow)
visiting Wheeler Farm
Meeting the baby elephant at the zoo
getting all dressed up
riding the carousel
getting ready for a trip to Disneyland
this day Creed insisted on wearing a bow tie
more trips to the zoo
and playing at the park

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Salt Lake City Spotlight

Back in the day when I lived in Columbus, I used to post little reviews of some of the fun places that we visited around town, but I stopped doing that when I moved to Utah because one of my favorite blogs, Your Heart Out, did such a great job covering things that I didn't think my own reviews were necessary. I was so sad to hear that YHO is taking an indefinite break! While I can't come even close to replacing them, I have vowed to try to blog about some of my favorite places around town.

This is sort of a silly one to start with, but do you have a favorite donut shop in Salt Lake? When Larry was craving donuts the other day, the only real donut shop that I could think of was Branbury Cross, which I think is just ok. A gas station in our neighborhood used to carry donuts made way out in Roy from The Hole that were amazing!!! Why would I even know that, you ask? The gas station had a sign in their window stating they sold "Utah's biggest and best donuts" and after passing the sign many times, Larry HAD to investigate. We found the sign to be true. Sadly, that gas station just closed so we were forced to go on a search for Utah's next biggest and best donuts. After some investigation, I believe that we have found them at Fresh Donut and Deli at 2699 S. State. It's a hole in the wall that shows its age, but the donuts are so good! I don't even like Bear Claws, but they said they were the best so I had to try it and I agree!
We ate our donut's in the shop (because Creed couldn't wait and they had two yellow tables he really wanted to try out) and it was nice to see they had a lot of regular customers and many knew the woman behind the counter by name. If you're in the neighborhood, stop and try them out.

Monday, January 18, 2010

And the CD Winner is

Mark and Kattie said...

I love kids music, we listen to it all day at our house. Love your blog! Kattie

Kattie - Please send me your address so I can send your CD on its way!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

January Favorites

Favorite Food of the month:
Pink Lady apples. They are so tart and tasty, and worth the extra money!

Song of the Month:
Trouble by Never Shout Never
Clothing Item of the Month:
Steph - I've officially reached the point that I'm sick of all of the maternity clothes that I've been wearing over and over except this dress from the Gap, which was a splurge at the beginning of my pregnancy and worth every penny!
Creed- Fruit of the Loom boxer briefs for toddlers. His little bum looks so cute in these and I love that he doesn't care if his underwear has characters on it! Sadly, I only bought one pack, not knowing if he would like them. Now, they are his favorite, and I can't find them in toddler sizes anymore.
Drink of the Month:
Manzanita Sol. We love to drink apple soda when we're on vacation in Mexico, but the apple soda that we found in the US was never as good until we discovered this. I'm trying not to drink much soda while I'm pregnant, but a carton of this is sitting in my pantry tempting me! (I'm sure that they sell it other places, but I've only been able to find it at Wal-mart)
Picture Book of the Month:
A Small Surprise by Louise Yates. We have a little guy around here that can really relate to this one!
Young Adult Book of the Month:
The Maze Runner by James Dashner. If you liked Ender's Game, you will be a fan of the Maze Runner. I did NOT see the twist at the end coming.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Songs for Wild Things (& a little giveaway)

Two years ago, Larry and I made kids' CDs for our friend David for his birthday and we made it a friendly competition to see which one David would like more. Now it has sort of become tradition (can it be a tradition if you've done it two years in a row?), and I've been meaning to share my playlist from this year in case some of you are looking for some fun kids' music. I'm sorry that a few of them are pretty much impossible to find to purchase (2, 8, 9, 11), but you can find them on YouTube if you want to listen to them and share the videos with your kids.

Happy listening!!

1. The Wake Up Song / Lisa Loeb 1:12

2. Teeny Little Super Guy / Sesame Street 0:28

3. Do You Like Waffles? / Parry Gripp 0:32

4. Grumpy / Music for Aardvarks and Other Mammals 1:37

5. Pop Fly / Justin Roberts 3:05

6. The Yucky Song (Acoustic Guitar Mix) / The Giggles and … 3:47

7. Haven't Got a Pet Yet / Recess Monkey 2:28

8. Tilly and the Wall ABCs / Tilly and the Wall on Sesame Street 1:34

9. 1234 on Sesame Street / Feist 2:27

10. Little Song / Michael Rachap 1:18

11. Letter T / Plain White Tees on Sesame Street 2:08

12. If You’re Happy and You Know It / Johnny Bregar 2:39

13. Luck / Secret Agent 23 Skidoo 4:49

14. This Old Man / Johnny Bregar 3:04

15. A Day At the Beach / Bari Koral Family Rock & Roll Band 4:17

16. Marshmallow Farm / Recess Monkey 2:53

17. The Song of Life / ScribbleMonster 2:41

18. Ladybug Picnic / Elizabeth Mitchell 1:23

19. I Wish You Love / Sunflow 2:27

20. Pretty Little Baby / The Jellydots 2:41

21. Family Tree / Frances England 3:30

24. Shimmering / Danielle Sansone 3:03

25. Daddy-o / Frances England 2:04

26. Linger / Lisa Loeb 2:13

And since I can still legally burn a few copies on I-Tunes, I'll do a drawing for a copy of the CD. Just leave a comment here, and I'll choose a winner at random on Monday night.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Adding Color to a Gray Day

We were supposed to have fresh snow yesterday, but we didn't. Today, Creed was tired of being couped up in the house so we headed out to add some color to the world.

I added food coloring to water in spray bottles (these spray bottles are from the $1.00 section at Target. We just stocked up on new ones because we play with them outside year-round). You might want to dress your kids in old clothes if you attempt this, but Creed was already bundled up and refused to change and that was ok with me because he was wearing a yellow coat, and I knew he'd spray yellow most of the time and he didn't have any siblings or friend around that would attempt to spray him (I tried to convince him that yellow might not be the best color for snow, but he would not hear of it).
As you can see, he had a blast.

Another Reason that I love Spring Birthdays

I love shopping for Creed's birthday at this time of year because of all of the after Christmas sales that make high quality toys reasonably priced. How am I supposed to resist these puppets from The Land Of Nod for $4.95 each? (they would be perfect in Easter baskets too). We have the monkey from Audrey's birthday party and it is really well made (they also make great party favors!)
And this castle was Creed's favorite thing to play with in Pottery Barn Kids, and now it's actually affordable.
Creed also loves to pretend all of his toys are flying so maybe we should pick up this wooden airplane.
Oh, there are just too many good things to choose from!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Looking forward to a New Year!

I haven't finished putting together my New Year's resolutions because in all honesty, looking ahead to what 2010 will bring to our little family is bringing me a bit of anxiety. Of course I'm very excited to meet Tiny Ford, but at times I am overwhelmed by the idea of having two kids. Yes, we wanted this and prayed for this, but that doesn't mean I'm not nervous and sad to think how much it will turn poor Creed's world upside down.

Then this summer, Larry will be finished with his fellowship (yahoo!), which means he will be getting a real job (yahoo!), which means that we have to decide where we want to live and we are both feeling very nervous about that (it's always been left to a computer match before). His specialty is in high demand so he can apply almost anywhere in the country and we have no idea how to choose.

So we will be moving at some point.

And we will probably be buying a house.

I sort of wish we could just fast forward to that point and skip all the tough decisions and hard work involved and just have fun together.

All of that is out of my control at the moment so I choose to just focus on the next few months. I'm always a little sad to see the holidays end because I miss being together with all my family and my days suddenly seem a little empty without all of them around. I always need things to look forward to.

Just after Christmas, Creed helped me plant some amaryllis bulbs because I love have something green around at this time of year and it's fun to look forward to the blooms.
Since I'm looking forward to taking the time to cuddle with Tiny Ford as much as possible, I've also been busy with holiday preparations; Valentine surprises are in the works, small toys have been purchased for Easter Baskets, and would you believe that we are done shopping for Creed's birthday in March? (Although the party planning has not begun. I'm trying to convince him that he wants a Where the Wild Things Are party that he can wear his Halloween costume to, but he says he still wants a yellow party and he wants a 'struction cake, because he's rather obsessed with construction vehicles at the moment so I may have to go with that)
I'm looking forward to that new baby smell, and the valentine my dad always sends me, and heart shaped sugar cookies, and 2010 Newbery Award winners, and making Creed's birthday cake, and our moonlight/flashlight Easter egg hunt, and teeny tiny clothes in the laundry, and windy kite-flying weather, and spring bulbs emerging, and cozy forts inside while it's still cold, and more children's literature book club meetings,

and change,

and growth!

What are you looking forward to this year?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

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

Well, it's been much too long since I've done one of these posts so let's start the New Year off right!

I want to be the kind of mom who practices random acts of kindness with my kids
, like this mom who likes to be an anonymous elf every December and leaves a mix CD of her favorite Christmas songs and $5.00 gift certificates in the public with little notes that say, "Psssst! If you found this, it's yours to keep, no strings attached. Merry Christmas!"
I want to be the kind of mom that makes it fun for my kids to make good choices. I loved this post on Stephmodo, when she and her husband wrote of several coupons for fun treats and experiences and let their kids choose to trade in their Halloween candy for coupons like "Stay up 30 minutes after bedtime", "Hike up the Canyon with Dad" or "Choose a special drink at the grocery store". Probably all things they'd be happy to indulge once in a while anyway, and a great way to provide special one-on-one time. Brilliant!

When I first started working full time, one of my coworkers brought in a huge bowl with all of his kids' Halloween candy, and I felt so sad for his kids, but now that I'm a mom, I'm tempted to do the same thing. This really seems like a great solution to me, and the best part is, it leaves the kids to decide whether or not to give up their candy.
I want to be the kind of mom who creates fun/unusual family traditions that my family will love and my kids will one day want to continue with their own families. I think I've already mentioned my love of surprise balls, so of course, I loved this post about a Grandma who saves up tiny treasures all year and makes a Santa surprise ball for each of her grandkids every Christmas. It makes me want to start stocking up on tiny treasures now (Is there a Cake decorating store in Salt Lake?)
The little kids had surprises like these and the teenagers had things like dollar bills and coins so everyone loves them!
I also loved this post about a mom who puts away all the Christmas ornaments and decorates the tree after the kids are in bed on New Year's Eve so they wake up and run down to find a tree covered in confetti and stuffed with crackers and supplies to have their own early morning New Year's Day party.

I want to be the kind of mom who makes everything in life an adventure. Have you heard of Harriet Russell? She's an illustrator who mailed herself 130 letters over the course of a year with the addresses in puzzle form (anagrams, mirror writing, dot-to-dot, colorblindness tests, even a drawing of a map with no address), and believe it or not, all but ten of them made it back to her. She has a book about them that I can't wait to pick up at the library. I wonder if the same thing would work in the US.

I want to be the kind of mom who makes our house the favorite place for our kids and their friends to hang out. I love this post about a mom who hosts Free Cookie Friday the first Friday of every month and invites all the neighborhood kids and parents to stop by for a cookie on the way home from school. What a great way to become familiar with everyone in the neighborhood.
Plus, let's be honest, those cookies look really delicious!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Living up the last of 2009

We've been busy making the most of the last moments of 2009. Creed and Larry spent an hour and a half shoveling snow because it's Creed's favorite new activity, and he still cried when he had to come in.
Then the last day of 2009, we got together with my family to take Logan and Creed to the Kangaroo Zoo (a local business that is full of inflatable toys for the kids to enjoy). We've never attempted it before because Creed is not a brave soul (which makes my life a lot easier), but Logan has no fears and we thought his bravery might rub off a bit. At first, he stuck to the bounce house and left Logan to go on the big slides on his own, but Logan was a good sport about playing on some of the less intimidating things with Creed.
And after some help from Aunt Marissa, Creed warmed up and loved some of the smaller slides
It was so fun to watch Creed and Logan run around together.
And I was proud of Creed for venturing out of his comfort zone (although he let us know there was no way he was going near any of the really big slides)

You'd never guess they are cousins, would you? They are opposites in every way, but they have really started to have fun together.
After they tired themselves out, we headed to J Dawgs, a perfect last meal before everyone started their New Year's resolutions to be healthier!
And guess what? Jay himself served us and said there may be a J-Dawgs in Salt Lake soon!

And what better way to end the day than Sweet Tooth Fairy Cupcakes? And they are opening in shop in Salt Lake in a few months. The news just keeps getting better and better!
I'm glad we spent the last day of 2009 doing some of our favorite things with our family because 2010 started with a cold that makes me feel like my head is going to explode. Aren't colds the worst when you are pregnant and can't take anything to make you feel better?