Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Year in Review

January:  We visit Sesame Street Live.  The Sunbean is enamored.

 February:  Snowpacalypse.  MacGyver and the Sunbean build an igloo with two rooms, a table, and chairs.

 March:  We escape to sunny Florida.

 April:  I spent most of the month on bedrest; we say goodbye to the Sunbean's sweet friend, Mazie, and her family.

 May:  We welcome Little Dude into our family.

June:  We spend lots of lazy summer days at the zoo.  The Sunbean becomes obsessed with feeding ducks.

 July:  Continuing with our lazy summer, we spend lots of time camping at the lake with my parents.

 August:  The Sunbean turns 3.

 September:  MacGyver accepts a job as a manufacturing engineer; we move 2.5 hours away.

 October:  We take the kids to the pumpkin patch; the Sunbean adopts a gourd.  I found it molding in her closet last week.

 November:  Little Dude starts taking a bath like a big kid.

December:  We celebrate a fun Christmas season with family and friends!

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Little Dude is...

Yesterday, this little guy turned 7 months old!  He's such a sweet baby.

For about the past week, he's had a head cold.  The poor thing could barely breathe...I nearly took him to the emergency room one night at about 2am.  Luckily, after I sucked his nose out really well, he started breathing better.  But even though he wasn't feeling well, he was still his sweet, personable self.

Here's what he's up to:
  • This little guy loves to nurse (still every 2 hours!), but really doesn't like table food.  We've tried bananas and peas, and he just really isn't a big fan of the experience.  I got some oatmeal cereal to try...maybe he'll like that better.
  • I was planning to do baby-led weaning (basically, you skip purees and allow the baby to feed himself from the beginning), but I just couldn't get comfortable with the natural gagging that is a normal part of the method.  I'll bust out my blender instead.
  • Our growing boy got plenty of 18-month clothes for Christmas, and it's frightening how well they fit.
  • We've officially decided his hair is red.  Or at least reddish-blond.  I am so pumped.  It looks brown in most photographs, but it is red in person.  We both have families full of redheads, so I've been waiting.
  • We (finally!) got most of our furniture here, so he's started to sleep in his crib.  I think we're all thankful for that.  Mysteriously, though, there is a red-headed baby laying next to me most mornings...
  • He just is barely starting to reach for people.  Such a darling stage.

We love you, little guy!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas... true love gave to me:

a sick family!

Total bummer:  our kiddos are sick.  Not anything terribly serious, just nasty headcolds.  The Sunbean has a bit of a cough, too.  True to form, she's acting just fine.

Little Dude is another matter altogether.  He's so congested that he can barely breathe.  I've tried everything, and the only thing that's even remotely helpful is just being held by his momma. much for the 12 Days of Christmas for this momma.  I'm off to hold my baby.

But Merry Christmas to all of you!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

On the Tenth Day of Christmas... true love gave to me:

the Portable North Pole!
Have you heard about this site?  It's super-cute.  You just spend 5 minutes inputting your kids' information, and it creates a personalized video from Santa.
It's a fun way to celebrate the Santa side of the season.
Have fun!
The Seventh Day of Christmas
The Eighth Day of Christmas
The Ninth Day of Christmas

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

On the Ninth Day of Christmas... true love gave to me:

oven mitt tutorials!

Remember the family stocking-stuffer exchange thing?  Here's what I made for some aunts + a bachelor cousin.  They were super easy.  I used a mixture of the following tutorials:

I decided to use the Insul-Brite stuff for the inside to make sure they were actually usable.  It was surprisingly easy to work with.

You've still got time to throw together a few of these for a last-minute gift!

The Sixth Day of Christmas
The Seventh Day of Christmas
The Eighth Day of Christmas


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

On the Eighth Day of Christmas... true love gave to me:

The Land of Nod!
Do you know about Land of Nod?  It's a subsidiary of Crate and Barrel for kids.  And it's awesome.  I discovered it last year, and just used it for ideas to re-create on my own.
This year, I ordered quite a few gifts and stocking stuffers.  I was impressed by the speed of the free shipping, and how many items ship free.
Here are a few of the things I'm gifting this year:
Sadly, I don't have a cool giveaway to offer or anything.  I just wanted to let you know about this cute store.  But I did see if you order by the end of the day today, delivery is guaranteed for Christmas.
So Happy Shopping, Santas!
The Sixth Day of Christmas
The Seventh Day of Christmas

Monday, December 19, 2011

On the Seventh Day of Christmas... true love gave to me:

a quick coaster gift idea!
Okay, folks, this is thee definition of a quick, cheap, and easy gift.  And it's totally cute.

As I mentioned before, we did a stocking stuffer gift exchange with my aunts and uncles.  I had planned to make some soda can coasters, but that was a giant fail.

So I busted out the Modge Podge and used photos instead:

It was super simple.  I started with the 10-cent tiles from Lowe's, and some 18-cent prints from Walmart (which got flagged as professional photos...score!).  Modge Podge the tile, put the picture on, Modge Podge on top of the picture, and then spray with clear enamel spray paint.

I added some felt to the bottom, tied them up with some twine, and tada!

We gifted these yesterday, and they were a hit.  Give 'em a try!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

On the Sixth Day of Christmas... true love gave to me:

the miracle of His birth.
Here's another video worth your time.  It's actually a commerical that I saw the other day, and it really touched me.
I know each and every baby is a special little miracle.  I've witnessed it twice with my children, but the birth of the Savior was a miracle of epic proportion.
And that's a good thing to ponder on Sunday.

Friday, December 16, 2011

On the Fifth Day of Christmas... true love gave to me:

a men's tutorial round-up!

This year, with my aunts and uncles, we are doing a 'stocking stuffer' gift exchange.  Basically, every adult buys or makes something to put in the other adults' stockings.  And you know me, this is just a great excuse to try out some new projects.

Except one problem.  Half of those stockings are for men.  And men are notoriously hard to craft for.  I've been searching high and low for some good men's craft tutorials, and here's what I've found to be useful.

Next week, I'll blog about what tutorials I used for my stocking stuffers!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Vintage Bow Skirt

When I was home a few weeks ago, my mom got a new dress coat.  It was high time, since I'm pretty sure she'd had the last one since I was born, or at least very small.  I'm 28.

I'd seen this one, and knew I wanted to copy the idea.

Here I am, modeling this totally awesome coat:

I know, right?  I should have just left it as a coat.

It really was an easy project.  I just cut a panel of the coat, added some darts here and there, a high waistband, a zipper, and then, of course, a bow.

I even used the existing lining.  Here she is:

Perfect for church!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

On the Fourth Day of Christmas... true love gave to me:

Elf on the Shelf ideas!

Do you have an 'Elf on the Shelf'?  I have really wanted this the past few years, but was too cheap to buy the $30 set.  I could have made my own elf, but I really wanted the book, too.

This year, I got lucky and had a $25 reward card from Target burning a hole in my pocket.  The day I went to get it, they were having a deal where you get a $5 gift card to Target when you buy the Elf on the Shelf.  Winning!

Let me tell you...we're loving this new tradition!  It's so cute.  In case you're not familiar with the story, Santa sends an elf to hang out at your house all day, and then the elf reports back to Santa each night.  You'll find the elf in a new place each day.

The Sunbean named our elf 'Nutcracker' and has so far been amused with Nutcracker's antics.  If you haven't started this tradition with your family, you should!  It's been fun for us.  Here's what we've done so far this year:


Monday, December 12, 2011

On the Third Day of Christmas... true love gave to me:

A Social Network Christmas!

This video has been floating around for a few weeks, and I wanted to share it, too.  It's worth your 3 minutes.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Let's Hear it for the Boob

Over Thanksgiving, I was blessed with mastitis.  For added fun, my children had the flu at the same time and we were traveling.  Such fun.

Here's how it all went down.  I think, in my sleep-deprived state, when my little monster was waking up to eat, I was mistakenly not alternating sides.  So I woke up on Thanksgiving morning with a rather tender and hot left gazonga.  Happy holidays to me.

I did a little Google-based research, and tried some heat and massage.  It just got worse.  The obvious choice would be to just pump, but we were at my parents', and so my $300 pump was 3 hours away.  My parents live in the middle of nowhere (no, really), so running to the store was out.  You're lucky if their grocery has fruit that isn't moldy, so an affordable hand pump was clearly out of the question.

In desperation, I called my high school bestie.  She just had a baby, and I was hoping she had a pump.  She did, and being the saint that she is, let me use it.  Now that's friendship.

While that helped, I knew I was going to need something for the rest of the time I was at my parents'.  Hello Target on Black Friday.  There, amongst the crazies, was a $16 hand pump.  Phew.  So, for the next two days, I hand-pumped on the unaffected side while Little Dude ate on the infected side.  25 ounces later, and I have a lovely little date-night stash.  Also?  I happened to catch the Sunbean trying to use the pump.  Pretty much made my weekend.

But the real point of this post is to give all of you working-and-pumping-moms a big ol' high-five.

Here's the thing.  I love nursing my babies.  It is such a sweet and wonderful thing.  This experience is pretty much the extent of my complications, so it's been an easy road for me.  I really can't say enough good about it (though I'll certainly try).

But.  I do not like pumping.  What a freaking pain in the neck!  There are parts to wash and rinse, then you've gotta pour the milk into a bag, and label it and freeze it, and two hours're back and it again.  I have a hospital-grade double electric pump, so I know it's a bit easier with that kind, but still.  Pumping just isn't fun.

So if you're a working mom who hauls that breast pump into work every day, 10 points to you.  That's love.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Little Dude is...

Last week, this little guy turned 6 months old.  It was actually on my father-in-law's birthday.  None of us realized Little Dude was born on his half-birthday.  Funny.

When my babies turn 6 months, it's always bittersweet for me.  6 months is one of my favorite ages, and it all just seems to zip past after this.  Scooting, crawling, standing, walking, running....and then on to being naughty and sassy.  If I had a pause button, I might push it here.
At six months, here's what my little guy is up to:
  • He's weighing in right around 20 pounds.  His official doctor's appointment is tomorrow, but I weighed him at my parents' last week and got 20.
  • He's wearing size 12 or 18-month clothing.  My little Sunbean wore that size until her 2nd birthday.
  • Up until this weekend, we had regressed into this pattern of waking up every 2 hours around the clock to eat.  Sometimes it was every hour in the middle of the night.  Oh my, was I a crab.  And so was he.  And he even needed to sleep with us sometimes.  I hate establishing that pattern, but sleep trumps everything.  But then I had a revelation.  We had been swaddling him in a SwaddleMe that was about 3 sizes too small.  I decided to just get crazy and break all the rules and swaddle him in a muslin swaddling blanket (aden + anais).  Oh my wonderful!  In just two nights, we're back to him sleeping in his bed and going 4-5 hours without waking.  It's a thing of beauty.  I'm not sure why the swaddling blanket is so magical, but I'll take it!
  • Little Dude is a pro at sitting up and reaches for everything.  He puts EVERYTHING in his mouth, which is something that the Sunbean never did.

Really, this kid is just so happy and easy going.  He doesn't mind the carseat and lets the Sunbean 'love' on him.  So happy six months, Little Dude.  Don't grow up too fast on me.

Head:  17.5 (79%)
Length:  27.5 (80%)
Weight:  18 pounds, 14 ounces (73%)

Monday, December 5, 2011

On the Second Day of Christmas... true love gave to me:

'Festive in 5 or Fewer'!

Forgive me for the cryptic title.  Last week, our Relief Society had a gathering called "Festive in 5 or Fewer".  The idea was that we'd walk away with ideas that cost less than $5, take less than 5 minutes, or require 5 or less things.

It was so fun!  I was asked to demonstrate some creative decorating or gift-wrap ideas.  Gulp.  My first assignment here!  Here's what I came up with, all courtesy of Pinterest.

 This is an old saran-wrap box.  I just covered it with wrapping paper (I used mod podge), filled it with treats, and tied with a bow.

 This peppermint tree is just made from a cardstock cone and, obviously, peppermints.  Just don't try to move it around too much.

 Here's a jar painted with silver spray paint, filled with treats, and tied with a ribbon.

And, my personal favorite, a snow globe containing a gift card.  For this one, use hot glue to attach a gift card and a few Christmas trinkets (dollar store ornaments) to the lid of a jar.  LET IT DRY FOR A FEW HOURS!!  I didn't do that the first time, and had floating trinkets and gift cards.  Then add water and glitter.  Don't let this sit around for more than a week, and I'd include the receipt, just in case.

Hopefully you can use some of these ideas if you need to be festive in 5 or fewer!