Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Instances of Kindness

Landon is 10 and I don’t know if that really makes his a “preteen” or not, but he sure does act like one. He’s caught between the stages of little boy and young man, and it’s a tough place to be. One minute he will be goofing around like a kid should and the next he’s moody and plugged into his iPod. It’s weird.

Ten years old isn’t the easiest age to deal with (though honestly I haven’t found the age that is) but I have noticed a real sweet boy emerging lately. I’m not saying that he hasn’t been sweet in the past, but when he’s so worried about being cool and accepted, it’s nice to see that he still has values and compassion for others.

This past weekend we attended a baby shower. The shower was for a cousin of Tony’s and the whole family was invited so we all went. Well, all of us except Zoe who was working. Anyways, as is normal for baby showers there were games to play and Landon was thrilled for the distraction the games provided. Landon also happens to be terribly competitive, sometimes to a fault. For instance, he will still quit a game if he’s getting beat, and it takes him a LONG time to go back to it because he will deem that particular game too hard and that’s it.

But, back to the story.

The first game was to melt a tiny baby figure from a piece of ice. Landon did everything in his power (with the exception of putting it in water) to get it to melt and his diligence paid off because he won. He got a big basket with candy and stuff in it and he was elated. The second game was a play on Hot Potato, but instead of using a potato we used a baby doll. By some stroke of luck, he won that one too. He was beside himself, but almost as quickly realized that he’d already won once and then seemed embarrassed that he’d won again. So, when the prize was given to him, he told the hostess that he wanted to give it to someone else. She couldn’t believe he was going to give up his prize and I was just super proud of him. He ended up giving it to a group of kids to share and I could tell he was proud of himself when they came and thanked him for the prize basket.

Today on our rush out the door Landon forgot his water bottle and snack. Fifth graders don’t have lunch until 12:50 every day so they let them have a snack around 10:30 to hold them over. Well, today was the first time he’d forgotten his this year and I told him at the bus stop that I’d drop it off to him on my way out later that morning. When I picked him up from the bus after school, he immediately thanked me for bringing his snack up to the school and then told me that three other kids forgot theirs today too, so he shared his with them. I thought that was really sweet considering it was only a small portion and I know he’s really hungry by the time snack time rolls around.

Lastly, his class has been earning tickets for a day of fun events tomorrow. There are 4 events and each one costs 10 tickets. Today Landon finally earned enough to do each activity tomorrow and he even earned some extras. Instead of being stingy with them, he found out which kids in his class still needed some and he gave each of them some to help them reach the 40 they needed.

I know that these things are just small,  but it makes me so happy to hear that he’s so kind to others. When he’s telling me this stuff he isn’t telling me so that I’ll tell him what a great kid he is either. He’s just filling me in on his day and unknowingly making me one of the happiest mom’s out there. As difficult as he can be at times, I know there’s a spectacular kid in there, and I couldn’t be prouder.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Crayon Art

Trying to blog during December is crazy. I just can’t find the time to do it on a regular basis. My days are spent running around finishing Christmas shopping and if my nights aren’t spent doing the same, I’m attempting to do something with the family. Our schedules are all crazy, so we’re just doing the best we can.

One of the fun activities we’ve done lately is make melted crayon art. I’ve seen this again and again on Pinterest and after doing it at my parents house during Thanksgiving I had to do it at home.

Mine

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Landon’s

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Tony’s

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Zoe’s

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Harper didn’t get to do one because he was already in bed for the night, but he sure noticed them first thing the next day! I think they all turned out really cool. Zoe ended up making another one for a friend of hers and I think she plans to make yet  another. They are really simple to do and make a unique gift.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December Daily, Day 12

Last night we made cinnamon dough ornaments. I found a recipe for them online, and made the dough while everyone was at school/work. Once everyone was home, we rolled out the dough and used cookie cutters to cut the shapes we liked.

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The dough is a very strange consistency and it doesn’t look very appealing either since it’s cinnamon colored, but it smells awesome!

Monday, December 12, 2011

December Daily, Day 11

Last night we decided we’d bundle up and take Harper on a walk around the neighborhood to see the lights and decorations. Zoe didn’t go with us because she was busy working on homework (and, possibly, smarter than the rest of us) but we didn’t get very far anyways because it was so incredibly cold outside. We were all wearing hats, gloves, and coats, but it was still just too cold to really enjoy looking at the decorations.

After making it to the end of our street, we turned around and came home…maybe we’ll have to go to the drive through light show again this year; at least we’ll be warm in the car!

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December Daily, Day 10

Saturday night was spent eating dinner at my in-laws house. Tony’s brother and his family were also there so it was a lot of fun. I love that Harper and Lea are close in age, and I always pay attention to what Lea’s doing so that I know what’s next for Harper! They don’t really play together, of course, but he sure pays attention to what she’s doing and vice versa! Travis and Lauren weren’t there so Zoe and Landon spent the night playing with the babies and I think they still had a good time.

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I didn’t have enough room on my page to journal up top, so I created a hidden journaling spot under the pictures…I find that it’s the best way to make it all fit sometimes.

PS. I was too busy chatting/watching what the kids were doing to get any great pictures, but I decided to just go ahead with what I got.

PSS. Landon is wearing a helmet because he was outside riding his skateboard just prior to me taking the picture…and then he forgot he was wearing it and ended up with it on for a good part of the evening!

December Daily, Day 9

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Friday night was spent at home. Zoe was out at the movies, Harper was in bed and Tony was playing a game downstairs so Landon and I decided to play the Wii. We ended up playing Kirbys Epic Yarn. We ended up having a really good time and Landon just laughed and laughed at me…turns out I’m not so good at that game. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing half the time!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Do you what a dog.

Landon came home with his Friday folder yesterday and I found this paper in it. I love everything about it…it’s just funny and so Landon. IMG_0001

It reads:

Do you what a dog. Do you want it to do what ever you say. Well now you can get one. It’s called the robot dog. You can play with it all day long. Instead of having to teach it trick you can just tell it to sit and it will sit or you could tell it to lay and it will do so. You might be avile (able) to find a robot dog with fur. They are proble (probably) a lot cheaper than real dogs. You could name it anything you want to name it like Bob, Joe, Bobbjoe but you’re the one who is the namer. It comes with a bone. So instead of buing (buying) those thousand dollor (dollar) toys you can just through a stick. Sometimes when dogs get old they die but this one would never die. The robot dog will never die because it run on batties. (batteries) If batteries cost too much then think about buying food, water, and toys or try and find a charger.

I don’t know about you but I am totally convinced that a robot dog is the way to go! I love that he thought of everything including the fact that it would probably be cheaper to buy batteries than food, water and toys…and even better if you just buy a charger for it! :)

(You have no idea how hard it is to type something and leave all the errors. It took me forever to type that because I kept correcting everything and then I would have to go back to make it like the original!)

December Daily, Day 8

Day 8 is all about my little snowman tree. Mom and I saw a tree decorated somewhat like this when we made a trip out to Carolina Pottery, and I thought it would be a fun thing to do with the little 4 foot tree I picked up last year.

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Since it was the only thing I was documenting for the day I decided to use a full page size photo for one of the pages…full page photos are a nice change from the usual smaller ones.

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

December Daily, Day 7

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Getting a good picture for our Christmas cards is never easy. I haven’t decided if it’s easier to go to a studio to have it done, or do it myself at home, but this year I went with the home photo. As soon as Zoe and Landon got home from school I made them run up and change their clothes while I changed Harper. I wanted to use as much natural light as possible, so I was in a big hurry! It only took about 20 shots to get a good one, and then I actually got more than one good one and had to decide which one to use!

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I thought it would be fun to scrap the outtakes, so I used those pictures for day 7. Each one of them was unusable for one reason or another, so I also wrote captions for each one.There were more than the eight above, but I didn’t want to print the photos too small so eight was all I could fit.

December Daily, Day 6

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For day 6, I decided to document everyone’s favorite ornament. I love several of them, but since I could only choose one, I chose a newer Santa ornament. Tony chose the handmade gingerbread boy (I’m not sure who made it), Zoe chose the candy rocking horse, Landon picked the white owl (something he HAD to have at the store a few years ago) and Harper…well, he likes anything he can get his hands on. Landon said he thought that the homemade reindeer was Harpers favorite though because he’s always trying to pull it off the tree, so we went with it!

December Daily, Day 5

Catching up again…

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I didn’t have much to put on day 5, so I cut the page down and used one photo I took of our new train. I wanted to write about the new train, but didn’t want it to look like the other pages I’d done already, so I made the picture a flap and put the journaling behind.

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Holiday Express

We got a new Christmas train this year. The one I had before was just way too delicate to actually use so we bought one that’s a lot more kid friendly.

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Tony and Landon set it up while Harper inspected all the pieces. We didn’t realize when we bought it that it needed 3 C batteries, so while they were busy messing with the tracks, Zoe and I ran out to CVS for some batteries.

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It’s pretty bulky which is a good thing, especially when you’ve got a toddler that likes to touch everything he sees. He also likes to dance when the music comes on and lets just say that he’s not all that graceful. He can pretty much take out an entire room when his little feet get moving.

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After his bath tonight he was ready to take control of the remote. He just pushed the buttons to his little hearts content and danced and watched the train go round and round.

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I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that if I let him use the remote he’ll be happy to push the buttons and not knock the train over every chance he gets. Maybe we’ll be able to use it again next year…guess we’ll see.

December Daily, Day 4

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Day 4 is all about a new tradition that we started this year. I was at the mall a month or so ago and noticed a Lego advent calendar at the Lego store. I thought it might be something fun for Landon to do, so I picked one up. I’m so glad I got him one because he just loves it. I think that he likes it because he gets to do a little bit on a daily basis and each day is a surprise as to what he’ll get to build. I definitely see this becoming something we do every Christmas.

December Daily, Day 3

Yes, I know I’m behind, but we had quite a busy weekend. But, now I’ve got a minute and even though my blog doesn’t show it, my book is up to date.

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My day 3 is about our trip to ICE! in DC. I already blogged about it, and if you’re so inclined, you can read about it here. I had a lot of pictures to use from our trip so I ended up doing one whole page of just that. I also had a lot to say about our trip, so I printed that out in a small font for the other page.

I have to admit that I’m not thrilled with how this book is turning out this year. I’m not going to change anything because that’s just against my rules (my lazy rules) so I’m just going to have to live with it and try to make it better. Moving on…

Saturday, December 3, 2011

ICE, DC

I’ve been hearing about DC’s ICE! experience for a few years now, and decided that this was the year we were going to go see what it was all about.

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I warned the kids that they needed to dress for the cold since they keep it a chilly 9 degrees throughout the exhibit. After watching a brief Madagascar cartoon, and 4 minute clip about the making of the sculptures, we were led into a room where we were all given heavy down parkas.

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After getting everyone’s coat, hat and mittens on, we headed in to see the sculptures. It was FREEZING! I knew 9 degrees was going to be cold, but whoa! It was enough to make you have to catch your breath! The sculptures were pretty amazing and it was hard to believe all of it was ice.

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I think the best part of the whole thing was probably the ice slides near the end. Landon went down at least 3 times and Zoe even did it once, but I only got one picture of Landon coming down because it was really crowded…and you can hardly even tell it’s him!

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At the very end they had a huge nativity scene, and it was pretty amazing.

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I’m not sure we’ll be going back to ICE! again anytime soon though because Tony and I both felt like it was WAY over priced for what it was. It didn’t help that Harper couldn’t deal with the cold or that Landon, despite 1000 reminders, forgot his gloves at home (his hands were about to crack into a million pieces so I gave him my mittens and then my hands nearly cracked into a million pieces!). But, I’m glad we went and now we can check it off our been there done that list!

December Daily, Day 2

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On the left is a picture of Tony (FINALLY) putting the lights up outside. The paper is so busy that I didn’t feel like I should do much else to it, but I found that cute sticker from Echo Park's Seasons Greeting collection and thought it fit the page. On the right is another Hambly screen print with a sticker from the same sticker sheet as the ornament string. I used some Tiny Type stickers from Cosmo Cricket to spell out the word second.

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Beneath the transparency is just a picture of the front of the house at night. I used a Martha Stewart scalloped punch for the paper behind the photo and a sticker from Tim Holtz’s Salvage Stickers pack. Easy Peasy.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Old Tradition, New Steps

I just realized that I never posted these pictures we took on the last night we were in South Carolina. (As a matter of fact, I never really posted anything about out trip! Oops!) My dad was having a fit about us not taking family pictures, so we all finally caved and set up the tripod. Here are the photo’s and some captions to help you figure out what the hell is going on…

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Harper Doesn’t Care for the Blinking Light

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This is Normal

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Showing the Love

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Who You Lookin’ At?

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Ta-Da!

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December Daily Album, Cover and Day 1

I’ve done a December Daily album a couple of times, and I like looking back on them so much, I decided to do it again this year. I did one in 2008, skipped 2009, and then did 2010. Why I skipped 2009 I can’t be sure, but I hate that I did that!

I’m going to try to post my pages as I complete them instead of doing a huge post at the end of the month. Maybe just doing one page and post a day I can keep up, but as usual, I’m not making any promises…especially since it’s already the second and I’m already a day behind! :)

I did an extremely simple cover this year, mostly because I didn’t want to spend forever on the cover alone. (I’m kinda lazy if you haven’t already figured that out.) I liked the Jovial collection from Basic Grey this year, so all of my base pages are made from that collection. The 25 is a wooden cut out, but I wanted some color on the cover so I painted it red and added a little glitter. The half circle is from My Minds Eye, Lost and Found die cut sheet.

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I ordered some screen prints from Hambly Art Studios this year for the pages with the numbers on them, and I really like what they add to the album. I think I’m going to leave the left page as it is, but I’m not positive yet. At the bottom is just a sticker that says “Believe in the Magic of Christmas”. The right page is one of the screen prints I ordered with just a bit of ribbon sewn on (with the help of my mom…yes, I’m that pathetic with a sewing machine!)

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Underneath the screen print just a bit of day one’s page is revealed, but here is what it looks like:

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I didn’t write anything to go with the picture, I just added some letter stickers to spell out “She’s Seventeen”. I felt like that said it all I guess! The little wooden trees are from Kaiser Craft and I liked how they looked plain, but I added just a little glitter with Stickles in icicle.

Now I’m off to get day 2 put together and hopefully I’ll be able to get all caught up tomorrow with days 2 and 3.

Still Decorating…

It is taking me forever to get all my Christmas decorations up this year, usually I want everything up the day we get home from SC, but this year I’m short on steam. Here it is the 2nd and I still haven’t put up  any garland or anything…I’m wondering if I’ll actually get to it this year at all at this point.

Tony did get outside and put up the outside lights today. I didn’t want him climbing up to the top of the house to do the roof though, so we just did the arch around the front door. The roof is so incredibly steep on one side of the house that I’m sure Tony shouldn’t be taking any risks getting up there. I really need him around here for all the other chores I’ve got in mind! :)

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I like how the front door looks, but I miss having the icicle lights across the rest of the house. I sure hope we can find someone to hire to do the job next year, or at least scrape up enough money to buy a super duper tall ladder.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Seventeen Years

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Today the little baby girl that made me a mother turned 17 years old. Seven. Teen. It’s been quite a ride these past 17 years, but that girl makes me proud every single day. If you were to judge my parenting skills solely on the character of my daughter, you’d think I was a genius...but, really, it’s all her. She’s strong, independent, smart as hell, loving, thoughtful and beautiful.She’s so much more than I could have ever dreamed for and I’m excited to see where she goes in this life.

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Celebrating 17 was quite a bit different than every year leading up to this one. There is no birthday party, no friends coming over with gifts and sleeping bags. There wasn’t even cake. This year was just a simple celebration. One with hundreds of Facebook salutations, I Love You texts and birthday hugs. A few gifts from us, 2 sweaters and some cash for tomorrows trip to NYC. A cute bracelet made from ribbon and soda pop tabs that Landon picked out and purchased at a craft fair. Boots from Aunt TT, A new iPhone 4s from the Gowin family, a new case for her phone from Meme and Papa, and some more spending money from her Mema. Zoe’s birthday dinner was spent at Fuji Steakhouse, a Japanese restaurant where they grill the food tableside, her choice.

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It was a nice birthday even though it was very low key. If anything, I hope Zoe realizes that no matter how small the celebration, she is so incredibly special to us. I’m sure she probably would have had more fun if she’d have spent the evening hanging out with her friends, but she’ll never find a group of people that love her nearly as much as we do.

I Love You, Zoe Rochelle, and don’t you forget that no matter how old you get, you’ll always be my baby.

How To Go To The Bathroom, by Harper and Dakota

So, I found this little paper tutorial hanging in the bathroom the other day. I don't know where I was while this was being made, b...