Saturday, January 31, 2009

Advanced Potty Training

Grace has been potty trained for about six months now, we have no immediate travel plans, nothing big is going on, and thus we have decided this is the time to work on eliminating pull ups at night time. We started last Saturday night and so far things are going pretty well. I've only had to wash her sheets once, and she's had two accidents after she woke up on the way to the potty. We've been talking about how we go potty first thing when we wake up for awhile and she's got that pretty much down. We also installed a nightlight in the bathroom and took the baby proofed door knob cover off her bedroom door so she could use the potty at night. That was a little scary since we installed the door knob cover because she wasn't staying in her room let alone her bed last fall. The first night she got up to go potty three times right after going to bed because she thought it was totally cool. Since then she's been getting up at 6:50am and going potty before coming into our room. Except last night when I woke up at 3:45am to find her in bed between us and I have no clue when she crawled in. I promptly escorted her back to her own bed after a re-dosing of cough medicine and singing Frosty the Snowman. That worked until just before 6:30am when I woke to hear her playing her tap a tune piano and discovered she had turned the light on and dumped all of her necklaces in the crib with Ethan. Obviously that was a problem. She wound up in bed with us for a half hour before I gave up and got up with the kids. Needless to say I'm tired this morning and could really use a full night's rest!

Here's a picture of Grace practicing sitting on the potty last February. At the time I had to bribe her to sit on the potty with playing dvds on the laptop. What a difference a year has made!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Rub a Dub Dub Two Kids in a Tub

Last night I brought the camera in to the bathroom with us for bath time and Grace had a great time hamming it up for me. She's really turned the corner from not wanting to have her picture taken to absolutely loving it. I think having a little brother was the big motivator since she wants me to take her picture any time I'm taking his. It's a great motivator. If I want her to do anything all I really have to do is ask Ethan if he'd like to do it first and she immediately wants to do it too. Works like a charm.

I wanted to play with different angles and practice shooting on manual focus a little bit as well. I took quite a few pictures from low angles, laying on the ground or pretty close to it. I didn't get very many high angles, maybe next time. I'm still not very good at getting the focus right on the manual setting but I think that's something I just need to practice.

I'm also getting better at using Gimp for photo editing, though I miss Photoshop dearly. I finally found how to edit the curves, the unsharp mask, and some other goodies I've been missing dreadfully. I also had fun doing a few sepia versions of some pictures since sometimes the color is distracting. Sometimes I like the color.

Consider this a very small sneak peak into the newly redecorated bathroom. David and I painted the bathroom Tuesday night and I really like the color. Citrus Sage was right on the money. I bought some chocolate towels/rugs but I'm not totally sold on them yet. They're a little too dark, I need a light brown I think. I do like the rug though, super soft and reversible. So handy and so washable. Yes that's the main criteria for a bathroom rug in the kids' bathroom. It must be machine washable.

The ugly white shelf has been donated to Goodwill (yes!!!) but the newly framed artwork has not been hung up yet. David has been working late nights lately but promised to hang it for me today. Once I get it mostly the way I want it I'll take lots of pictures to show you all. Probably more then you'll care to see.

I have a ton more pictures but I'll post most of them on Snapfish. My children's modesty prevents them from being shared to the world. Of course if you visit our house you're very likely to see both kids streaking around the house right before bathtime. Such is life.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Love of My Life

I spend so much time blogging about my children and thought it was about time I focused on the man I love, the father of my children, my very own knight in shining armor. I was playing with my camera and snapping some photos of David and thought I'd share them. By the way, I'm really liking my new lens!

He was playing Xbox with some friends online while Grace and I were puttering around the living room and Ethan was napping. David hates to have his picture taken and is convinced he's not photogenic. He spent most of the time making silly faces trying to thwart my efforts but he did not succeed. This face may look like a funny face but is in actuality the face David makes when he's concentrating on a videogame. I think it's kind of cute.

And here's one that really makes my heart go pitter patter!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Nothing like Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

I've been told I make a pretty mean Chicken Noodle Soup and it's a recipe that I share often. I made it for dinner last night and thought I'd share it with you, my loyal blog readers. It's a cheap meal and can be made to stretch pretty far. I modified the original recipe when David and I were first married since we were dirt poor college students who liked to entertain. The original recipe included corn and stewed tomatoes and didn't have the carrots and celery which in my opinion was just wrong. After making a few changes I came up with this recipe which was probably the first thing I was good at making. I didn't cook before I was married and have learned a lot in the past 7 years, much to David's enjoyment I'm sure. Some of my earliest attempts were pretty awful!

Anyways, I snapped a picture of the ingredients (minus two frozen chicken breasts that were defrosting in the microwave) a la Pioneer Woman for your enjoyment. See, it doesn't take a lot of ingredients to make a big pot of soup!

Kellie's Easy Chicken Noodle Soup
8 cups of chicken broth (I prefer using the jar of soup base but you can use whatever)
1/2 chopped onion
2 carrots peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks chopped
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
4 cups egg noodles
2 bay leaves
2 cups chopped cooked chicken

Combine chicken broth, onion, carrots, celery, and spices and bring to a boil. Add egg noodles and simmer for 20 minutes. Add chicken and warm through.

That's it. The recipe makes enough for about four people. You can make it stretch further by adding more broth and noodles or veggies. You can feed half a dozen hungry college aged guys by doubling this recipe and using only 3 frozen chicken breasts. I know because I've done it many times.

And while I waited during the 20 minutes of simmering I snapped some cute pictures of Ethan climbing on Grace's booster chair. I think we'll be looking for another booster chair soon which I'll be excited about since the high chair takes up so much room!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hot Tamale!

Our friends James and Jessi brought dinner over last night and it was a treat! They brought all the fixings for homemade tamales and David helped to roll them up while I finished up the Spanish Rice and laughed at his efforts. They were really good and sooooo worth all the work Jessi put in to them! We even got to have some dessert tamales with a pineapple/papaya concoction in the middle with ice cream on top which was also very tasty.

After dinner we played our new board game Pandemic (thanks Pat & Katie for finding it!) and lost our first game but won the second. It's an interesting board game in that it's a cooperative game and it's everyone against the board so we all work together to win as opposed to working individually for a solo win. One of the reasons we like the game is that it can be played two player which means David and I can play just the two of us which is nice. It's hard to find board games that are fun for two players.

The finished product. Go ahead and drool if you want but just know that I have leftovers in the refridgerator and will be enjoying them immensely for lunch!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Blue Raspberry

We went to two little boy's birthday parties yesterday back to back. First was William's third birthday party and Grace had fun decorating a plastic hard hat and eating grilled cheese. Ethan discovered the play kitchen and banged away on it for most of the party! Just after we all ate our cake and ice cream we had to scoot over to our second birthday party of the day, Bennet's first birthday. Grace was happy to play with her friend Jordan (Bennet's big sister) and Ethan was glued to the Ball Popper until he had a total meltdown. I was expecting the meltdown so I had brought along the mei tai and once I put him in it and bounced around for two minutes he was out like a light. The big activity at Bennet's party was an Elmo pinata and Grace scored all kinds of exciting loot including a blue raspberry ring pop. She wanted to eat it immediately but I told her she had to wait until we got home. Of course she fell asleep on the way home and didn't wake up until we were at our church's Parenting Group that evening so the ring pop had to wait.

This morning poor Ethan woke up with a fever and obviously not feeling good which meant that I brought him in to Salem to see the pediatrician while David and Grace went to church. Turns out my intuition was correct and Ethan has an ear infection so we stopped to pick up his antibiotics on the way home. We got home at the same time as David and Grace so we all ate quaesadillas for lunch and Ethan immediately went down for a nap while Grace finally got to enjoy her blue raspberry ring pop.

And enjoy it she did as you may see in these photographs.

Once she was done eating it I couldn't get all the blue off her face and teeth so I have a feeling she'll be blue for awhile. She also got a little blue on her dress which I'm hoping will come out.

She wasn't happy with having to stay in the kitchen to eat her blue treat but I'm awfully glad she did. The last thing I need is blue raspberry on the couch!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Grace's First Dance Recital

Last night was Grace's very first dance recital and she LOVED it. I mean really LOVED it. Earlier in the day she helped me make special pink Ballerina Cupcakes for our special dessert and when Grandma arrived she knew it was going to get even better! We ate a quick dinner, enjoyed our fluffy pink cupcakes, and then got Grace dressed in her ballet outfit before heading out the door.

We arrived to find the Majestic Theater in Dallas packed with people but got there early enough to get third row seating. By the time the recital started 15 minutes later there was standing room only! We expected the little ballerinas to dance at the beginning but instead they were one of the last classes to perform. Grace was entranced watching the bigger girls dance and could hardly contain her enthusiasm because she wanted to dance so badly! By the time it was the Creative Movement dance class to perform she was more then ready.

She ran right up to the front and immediately started twirling and dancing before joining the circle with the other kids and Miss Stephanie. Miss Stephanie wisely assigned each child a blue dot to dance on and Grace was thrilled to be front and center. She danced her little heart out, mostly to the tune of her own drummer. She equates hopping with dancing so she looked kind of like a little jumping bean but she obviously had a fantastic time. She totally lit up with the applause and I foresee lots more dance recitals in our future.

In fact she gave us another impromptu show once we got home doing some of her fancy Swan Lake moves and trying out some of the hip hop dance moves she saw the older girls perform. She especially liked rolling around on the floor. It took a little while for her to calm down enough for a bath and change into her ballerina jammies. I'm sure she dreamed ballerina dreams!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ebay Summer Blitz

Yes it's that time of year again, prime time Spring and Summer Clothing Selling Season! You may think it's ridiculously early to think about buying sun dresses and swimsuits but you would be wrong. In the Ebay world the end of January is the best time to sell. Probably because by now everyone is sick and tired of wearing sweaters and corduroy and are dreaming of lightweight cotton and short sleeves. Or maybe that's just me.

To get to the point, I just listed 64 auctions to sell off the majority of Grace and Ethan's summer wardrobe from last year. I'm in denial that I live somewhere that doesn't allow us to wear cute summer things year round and always overbuy for summer. What can I say, I just can't resist a cute sun dress. My goal this year is to not overbuy for summer and to remember that we only need a few things to last us for the 3 months of warm weather we get. Fortunately or unfortunately, both kids will fit into some of their clothes from last year. Ethan has the tiniest waist for a boy ever and fits most of his 6-12 month shorts but not the shirts. Grace fits into a lot of her stuff but not as many dresses (too short). And of course they both outgrew their shoes.

Listing on Ebay is work but it will pay for the few spring/summer clothes they need and will also go towards picking up some stuff for next fall as things go on clearance. I always like to buy at end of season sales to get better deals and since my kids grow so slowly it's pretty easy to guess on sizes. If I'm wrong it's usually because I guessed too big and it fits the year after. Or if I guess too small I just sell it on Ebay with the rest of the outgrown goodies.

So Yay for being done with listing and now the fun begins...watching the bidding!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Hair Raising Experience

Today I did something new and different. I gathered some courage and dyed my hair for the very first time. It's a momentous occasion, one that has the possibility to change my life in so many exciting ways. Or at least I imagine that ladies without mouse brown hair have exciting lives, but then again maybe they too have days they want to tear their hair out despite the color. I bought the hair color on a shopping trip to Walmart with my Mom a week and a half ago and didn't have a good time to attempt the process until this afternoon. I waited until Ethan was napping so at least one child wasn't underfoot during the delicate process. Grace was mesmerized and watched me the entire time asking if I could put soap in her hair too.

The lucky stuff is L'oreal Excellence Creme in Medium Golden Brown. The picture on the box looked relatively like my haircolor only more interesting. My current color of mouse brown needed some help and Medium Golden Brown looked like as good a color as any to try.

Here's the before photo I took as comparison. See, Mouse Brown.

Here's the photo I took during the 30 minute wait. I was a *little* nervous!

And here's the result:

So stylish, yet not as golden as reddish but I'll take what I can get. At least there's a change! My new updated look will continue to evolve as I ordered a new pair of glasses last week and can't wait to get them. Stay tuned.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Three Cheers for Three Day Weekends

David was lucky enough to have today (MLK Day) off from work and so we celebrated all weekend long. We started Friday night when our friends Pat and Katie came over and we tried out a few of Pat's new games he got for Christmas. Saturday we went into Salem and picked up Brian for lunch at the Pita Pit and to hit up the carousal. David and Brian took two whirls with the kids and then I took a turn with Grace.

After Grace had her fill of lights, horses, and twirling we headed outside to enjoy the January sunshine and let the kids play on the playground. Grace had a grand time running around and climbing while Ethan conquored the steps up the play structure in order to go down the slide. He was so proud.

Sunday morning we played hookie from church and drove out to the Otis Cafe for some of their super tasty German Potatoes and then visited with David's Uncle Ed and Aunt Diane at the RV in Lincoln City. Aunt Diane showed us a nice public beach access that isn't as crowded as some of the others but also has parking and bathrooms. A good find to be sure!

The weather was perfect, sunny and so warm I took off my coat because I got too hot. January is actually a pretty good time to visit the beach in our experience. Grace ran through the sand and loved the feel of the water and sand on her toes. Ethan stood in one spot until he started sinking, would freak out, and then once he started walking wouldn't stop going. I love hearing little feet pad along wet sand!

There were a ton of jelly fish washed up on the beach, thousands of them. It was pretty interesting to see whole jelly fish in such mass quantities!

That evening we were surprised by a visit from Peter and his girlfriend Ingrid while they were visiting the area from Washington. We had a Papa Murphy's dinner since I had nothing but leftovers planned for dinner (Monday is grocery day!) and after the kids went to bed we played a board game.

This morning I brought Grace to Indoor Park and Safeway while Ethan stayed home with Daddy. I never realized how easy it was to go grocery shopping with one child until I had two. Bringing just one child sure makes for an easier trip with no "quit touching Ethan" or "please share your crackers with your brother" and nobody screamed. So peaceful! So easy!

We got home in time to make lunch and put Ethan down for his nap before our friends Pat & Katie and James & Jessi arrived to play board games in the afternoon. We were able to play one game while Ethan slept and two more after he woke up. Grace watched Tinkerbell and part of Mamma Mia! but preferred to sit and watch the board game action. She mostly wanted to "help" Katie out with her cards. Ethan was happy to sit in his high chair pulled up to the table so he could feel a part of the action and see everything.

After our games I made a super deluxe dinner of Pizza Macaroni Casserole. Such a meal to impress our guests, but it is one of David's favorite dinners ever and is sure to please such discriminating 3 1/2 year old diners as Miss Grace.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Mommy's Little Bear Cub

These are a few pictures I took of Ethan yesterday afternoon during a brief outside excursion. The kids needed somewhere to let off some steam and energy and so we headed outside despite the cold. We weren't outside very long, just long enough for me to take a few cute pictures of Ethan in his most adorable bear cub coat that he is quickly trying to outgrow (how dare he?!?) and get Grace's shoes completely mudcaked. I'm still having lots of fun using my new lens as you can tell!