Thursday, February 24, 2011

Creed's Valentines

We wanted to give Creed's pre-school classmates something homemade.  I wanted it to be something simple that Creed could help me put together, and something that he would be excited to give to his classmates.
We started off picking up some little wedding favor boxes and some plastic dinosaurs that Creed thought his friends would like.
We took a picture of Creed pointing
 Then we photoshopped on (You are Dino-mite! Love, Creed).  I cute them out and Creed helped me tuck one in the bottom of each of the boxes.
Then he sorted all of the dinosaurs
 And he picked three to add to each box

 To make things easier, his teacher ask students not to address valentines so they can hand them out themselves (since they can't read) so we were done.
 We did tie up a few to deliver to other friends and we just added a little heart so we could label them.
We had so much fun sorting through all the valentines that Creed brought home.  Ah to be three again and have heart-shaped suckers and heart stickers make my day!  It's so fun to experience that again as a mom.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Frosty the Caterpillar

Creed and I have a tradition just for the two of us.  Every time we wake up and see piles of fresh snow outside our window, we are giddy.  We rush out to check the snow to see if the conditions are good for making snowmen.  If they are, we dance the morning away until Ollie settles down for a nap and then we hurry out to see what we can create before Ollie wakes up or we get too cold or hot chocolate beckons to us.

Today was just such a day.
 I thought we needed to put out a bunch of Creed and Ollie's boots to give him feet, but Creed is the artistic director and he rejected that idea firmly.

 Creed has a tradition of his own, he eats as much snow as he possibly can.  I abstain.
PS- Larry would like to send a special thank you to Lisa and Tyler for the snowman kit.  We didn't pilfer Larry's hat or scarf while he was at work this time!

Valentine's Day Gets Sweeter When You Have More Than One Valentine

Our Valentine's Day celebration started at exactly 12:01 when Larry asked me if I wanted to open my present.  Yes, yes I did. So while the little ones slept, we exchanged gifts and basked in a few moments of adult conversation.  He got me a necklace that I didn't even know he knew I wanted.

After Larry fell asleep, I got up and tucked valentines all over the house for him.  He always lays his work clothes out the night before so I slipped a valentine in his pocket and was thoroughly amused the next morning by how long he wore those pants before he found it.

We decided not to go out on Valentine's Day (we would celebrate later, when there weren't as much of a crowd so we wouldn't have to leave Ollie long since it was out first time leaving him with anyone else in months).  I think we might continue celebrating that way because it was sweet to spend the whole day celebrating as a family.

My dad always gave us a valentine (he still does to this day).  Larry is carrying on the tradition and we loved Creed's reaction.
This crazy Valentine plays music and lights up and is now Creed's most treasured belonging.

Ollie will be thrilled one day too, but not today.
I gave Creed a little book and then we had breakfast together before Larry left for work (he usually wakes up and is long gone before the rest of us).  Creed and I spent the rest of the morning putting together his Valentines.
After dinner that night, we all got in our pajamas and watched Enchanted.  Years ago, I'm not sure I would have thought wearing pajamas and watching a kid's movie would the perfect ending to one of the most charming Valentine's Days ever, but it truly was.  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The number one thing that's making me smile today?

This little guy marching around the yard on this unseasonably warm day showing off the fox on his bum.

 The number one thing that's making him happy? Sampling Sticks and leaves.
I really love this sweet little guy.  I can't believe he's almost one! Only one week until the big day!

Valentine Exchange 2011 - Part 2

This party did not go off flawlessly.  About an hour before it started, Ollie had a seizure. He started a new medication that had us really hopeful because it had been a week and a half since his last seizure, which is a really long time for him, so this seizure sort of dashed my spirits.  Then about 20 minutes into the party, Ollie had another seizure, and this one was a lot worse.  Larry and I waited it out with him in a private room and I shed a few tears, and even though there was nothing more to be done, and I knew he would just sleep because he was exhausted and he was in Larry's very capable hands, it was hard to go back to the merriment.
That's the reason I took almost no photos of this party.  Luckily, my friend Carlye was there and she's a photographer who happened to have a smaller camera with her so we can thank her for any good pictures.  For example this is my picture of her.
And this is her picture of me.  We took these pictures at the same time and place and on the same camera model.  Wow! Anyway, Thanks for filling in and giving me your pictures in my very dark house Carlye!

I like to exchange valentine's speed-date style, where we set a timer and you talk to each person for two mintues and when the timer goes off, you move on to the next person.  This gives everyone a chance to talk and tell each other about their valentine's personally.

I missed getting pictures of everyone and their valentines, but here are a few of the ones I did get.  Rachel made bubblegum necklaces using directions from One Charming Party (such a great idea!)
Mary Ann made cream cheese mints.
Annie made the most charming paper dolls.
Carlye made rice hot/cold packs.
Lisa screenprinted bags with the saying "All you need is love"in metallic ink.  You might have spotted mine in the last post.
My mom collected a recipe from each guest ahead of time and printed them in a little recipe book as a fun way to remember the night.  It included the sugar cookie recipe that I used that night so friends who asked for it already had a copy.
I planned to give cut flowers, but when I went to Costco that day they had no flowers.  No tulips. No Hydrangea. Not even roses.  Only a few leftover grocery-store-type mixed bunched with daisies dyed neon colors.  Weird, right?  I asked a manager and he said they put off their flower order until closer to Valentine's Day so things would be really fresh.  Luckily, I had noticed small potted groups of bulbs at another store so I picked those up instead and the friend who arrive early got to help me tie fabric around the bottom.

Eva gave out her last print for the Sycamore Street Press Letter Press Subscription Club.  I wanted to link to the print, but I can find a photo.  Sorry! But don't you love the way she decorated the envelope with washi tape?
I had metal bucket on hand for each friend to collect their valentines in so each guest went home with a bucket full of goodies including a few not pictured like homemade gelato or sorbet from Kersten (which did not last long enough at my house to be photographed).

If you're thinking about hosting a valentine exchange next year, I highly recommend it.  It was fun for all of us to have an excuse to be creative and it was nice to have a night with just my girlfriends- sometimes it's hard to make that a priority.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentines Exchange 2011

I like to think as Valentine's Day as a good opportunity to let the people around me know how much I love them.  I try to do nice things for Larry and the boys, but I also try to do something special for my friends.  For several years, I've been hosting valentine exchange with my friends and it's become one of my favorite days of the year.

This year, all the dishes and decorations that I normally use are in storage (not that I have that much, but at the moment I have zilch), but I decided not to let that stop me.  I picked up cheap paper doilies every time I saw them and then I decided to take advantage of our ten foot ceilings stung them up on bakers twine across our living room.
I love how they look at night and in the morning.
Then I took down the Christmas cards in the hall and used the thread already there to hang up more paper letters inspired by the ones we did for Kersten's house at Christmas.
The only other thing I did was draw hearts on the front door with chalk ink pens.
From Simply Radiant
As far as food goes, I went with cookies and milk and mom mom set everything up.  She even brought the table cloth and a banner that my sister-in-law Brenna made.
From Simply Radiant
And she brought cupcakes that I added some cute little hearts to.
 My friend rachel helped me make sugar cookies and chocolate cutout cookies the night before.  We stamped the cookies with different Valentine sayings like Be Mine, I love you, and I Heart You.  I put our some frosting and sprinkles and candy and let my friends decorate them and take extras home to their families
I forgot to take a picture of the drink all lined up, by I just bought milk, pink lemonade, and strawberry milk in individual bottles and tied small heart-shaped doilies around them.
I think it turned out cute and simple.

I'll try to get to posting about the valentines that everyone made this afternoon, but with two sugared up boys, you never know. . .

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Ollie at Eleven Months

11 Months.  Can you believe it?  We're obviously having fun, 'cause oh boy, time is a-flyin'.  Steph assigned, no wait, she asked me to pen Oliver's 11 month post.  And she wanted me to mention that we're late on doing so.  (What did she think would happen if I was in charge?)

Oliver is cuter by the day.  He remains little, which only adds to the cuteness.  He is starting to plump out though, as you'll see below.

As you can see, he's a toothy little baby.  That leads to a distinguishing characteristic for this month - Ollie is a biter.  He'll occasionally bite me, usually my clothes, and it's not a big deal.  But he bites Steph like it's his job.  He especially bites her shoulders and legs.  Her legs when she is paying attention to something other than him, and shoulders when she is holding him.  Not sure why on the shoulders, because she's already holding him.  His bites don't just leave marks, but leave raised welts.  Don't let this cute face fool you...

because he bites.  Here is is attacking the "O" in a piranha-like frenzy.  Or just biting it, but there's less drama in saying it that way.

He likes to be thrown up in the air, very unlike his brother.  And whenever he hears any music, he breaks into dance.  His primary dance move consists of squatting down and bouncing up and down.  If he's in his carseat he either bounce his trunk, or he's started to bounce his head.

The bad part about 11 months is that he's still having seizures.  Fortunately they're all still breath-holding related, keeping hope that they'll be outgrown.  But they're still heartbreaking, I'll admit it.  His anti-seizure medicine isn't apparently doing much.

Ollie is quite ambulatory.  He walks around everywhere.  He just wanders around the house, from place to place, looking at things.  He'll pick up something, suck on it/bite it for a bit, then move on again.

He's also started climbing, as this baby Buckeye is demonstrating.

The boy has a sweet tooth.  One more reason why we don't need a paternity test.  Here he is in a cupcake coma.

He remains an exceedingly sweet baby.  He still makes me very happy because when I get home, he gets super excited and flails his arms and legs wildly, and if he's being held, grunts loudly until he is put down on the ground.  He then baby-sprints over to me, and throws his arms up, wanting to be held.  Then he usually has another outburst of excitement and flailing once I'm holding him.  Warms my heart, every single time.

Baths are one of his favorites.  Splashes and also enjoys standing up and then sitting back down in the tub.  Over and over.  But his favorite favorite thing is his little blanket, and if not available any soft thing.  He holds it up to his face and then sucks like he has a pacifier in his mouth.  Not sucking the blanket, just "air sucking," with the blanket in front of his face.

You can see why he's so loved around here.

Here's a series of walking pictures.  He has that fantastic arms-up-in-the-air-for-balance baby gait.

He's finally getting some good baby rolls on his legs.  Communication-wise, besides "Dada" and "Momma," he can say "Hi," "Bye," and "All-done."  In reality, he says "Haaaaaahh," "Baaaaaaahh," and "Aaahh dah," but we know what he means.

Whatever minor hassle his health has proffered, and the subsequent lack of sleep because we can't let him cry it out at night, is subsumed in how much we love this boy.  More and more every day.  His cuteness and the joy he brings to our home astounds us every day.  We're lucky to have this boy.