Monday, June 30, 2008

Let the games begin ...

No, I'm not talking about the Olympics. I'm talking about all the fun & games that are about to ensue now that Berlin's finally decided to walk (more than a couple steps at a time) - atlast. It only took 16 months, but seeing her toddle around this past week and a half made the wait worthwhile. I guess she just decided it was time - needless to say I'm super HAPPY! Here she is at the playground on our Sunday walk.

mine, Mine, MINE!

A wayward flock of Finding Nemo seagull's seems to have taken up residence in my home. The ringing of "Mine, mine, Mine, mine" is non-stop these days. Berlin seems to have picked it up from her big brother who hasn't been keen on sharing certain toys lately (his wooden train, die-cast cars, little people village, star wars figurines ... pretty much everything). Now Berlin's caught the "mine" bug and goes around staking her claim on EVERYTHING! She can usually be found walking the house saying, "My dog, My phone, My car, My book, My blanket ...) It's actually pretty cute and I got this fun video clip of her claiming all the phones (real & play) as hers. Sorry, it's a bit long.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ode to Bear Lake

"I love you, I love you, Oh how I love you."

I know it's totally lame and probably not even a true "ode", but it sums it up. We opened the cabin the beginning of June and went back up this past weekend for a long stay (well, not long, but longer than usual as Ry took Fri off work so we could go up Thurs night). And what a blast it was. The weather was awesome, the beach wasn't crowded Fri or Sun, we had a nice hike in the mountains, Frisbee in the park with Ryan, leisurely walks, and the Raspberry Shakes from Hometown (yes, Hometown is my fave - sorry La Beau's lovers!) were to die for!

Here are the kids playing down at the water. I would have taken more pics of the whole weekend, however my battery was dead after the first day at the beach thanks to all the wonderful pictures Finn took (see previous post). This is the first year Finley really took to the water. It's FREEZING right now, but he didn't care one bit. He loved getting in, throwing Bentley his ball or Frisbee, and chasing/splashing Ryan and I. He was so cute with Ryan building sandcastles (Ryan built, Finley destroyed with buckets of water).

Berlin however, didn't love the sand. She did alright at first but soon decided she didn't like the dirt on her legs, feet, or hands, and she freaked out the minute any of it got on her. She much preferred feeding Bentley her goldfish crackers and of course Bentley didn't mind one bit. Bentley found a new best friend in Berlin as she fed him everything all weekend long.

It was a great weekend and I am so grateful to be able to spend time up there - minus the rotting dead deer carcass back behind the cabin and the gazillion mosquitoes (they have yet to spray). These I can do without. Never-the-less, oh how I LOVE Bear Lake!!!

to Firestation, to Firestation to climb a big rig ...

home again, home again, jiggity jig jig. Here are a couple pics from the last couple weeks.

Two Tuesdays ago (that would be the 10th folks) I took Finley to the Holladay Firestation where 2 friends from High School are firemen. Finley was a little shy, but he warmed up and by the time we left, he didn't want to go. It must have been the otter pops they gave him :) Here he is in the truck and wearing the cute jacket & hat. He even got to hear the firetruck siren/horn which he thought was cool and told Ryan all about it when he got home from work. He got a taste of station life eating otter pops and watching cartoons in the lazy boy recliners they had (Finln called them big superhero chairs). It was a really fun way to spend our morning and I had a great time catching up with my friends Dave & Steve. A big thanks to them for inviting us out to see the trucks.

Berlin's favorite thing these days are books and reading all of them that are in eyesight to her baby.

Here she is sitting down with a good read (Harry the dirty dog of course). Her favorite books are:

Wet pet, dry pet, your pet, my pet & Harry the dirty dog

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb & Go, Dogs Go

The other day I started making a clip holder for all her new clips I've made and the ones we've bought or been given. When she saw me pull out all of her clips she kept saying, "baaa-rette." It took me a minute to realize what she was saying but when I saw her pointing to her pile of clips and then her head I realized she wanted to wear one. So I put one in her hair, but that wasn't good enough, she kept pointing so I kept putting them in. She stopped once they were all in her hair. Here she is sporting all her pretty "baaa-rettes."

We took Finley to see Kung Fu Panda a couple weeks ago on a special date. He loved it and was glued to the movie screen (this is only the 2nd movie he's seen in an actual movie theatre). Berlin on the other hand only lasted 20 minutes into the film and then got restless. After that we just walked the halls together. Next time she'll get a sitter. Here he is with his kung fu outfit (which we picked up in Chinatown while in San Francisco) with his Panda toy from his Happy Meal.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Day in the Life of Finley ...

as documented by Finley, the newest resident photographer in our home. These pics were taken by him - I haven't edited or removed any of them. I should have, but didn't to keep his photo-jounal honest. Yes, I have a spare tire - no I am not pregnant so please don't ask (you'll understand this disclaimer when you see some of the pictures he took as he followed me around while I cleaned up the house). Some of the pictures are actually pretty funny & good.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Rave Reviews

RAVE 1: Squeem Compression Vest (glorified term for girdle)

I don't rave about too many things, but I have to give a shout out to this. My lower back has really been bothering me the past couple months. I was told that a back brace would help my back, but after doing some research on a good backbrace, they are expensive and some are a bit bulky, so I looked around and found this:

Now, honestly, I was a little prideful thinking no way was I going to wear a girdle, but after 2 months of going back and forth and reading so many positive reviews about how it helps alleviate lower back pressure, I decided to give it a try. So I scoured ebay and I found one for a STEAL of a price. And 2 weeks later (wearing it a couple hours each day and while I exercise or go walking with the kids) I have to say that my back feels GREAT!!! It makes me stand up straight and helps my posture (it's always been slouchy) which makes a huge difference in the way I carry Berlin. Honestly, my back feels so much better. And it does contain the lower baby belly, which I won't complain about.

Summers here and the weather is great, but I'm finding that some afternoons are just too hot and the kids don't want to go outside (neither do I for that matter). After battling overcrowded zoos, children museums, and parks, I decided that I needed to find some fun things to do at home where it's a comfortable 72 degrees. Now, I'm creative, but I've found it hard to come up with some "new" games and activities to do with Finn. However, I found this website the other day via my sisters blog and I love it!!! There are so many fun ideas for crafts & activities (both indoor and outdoor) to do with the kiddos. Hooray for the Crafty Crow - you just made my summer that much easier!!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Dear Collegeworks Painting & Jace Kellogg (our Branch Manager)

You guys suck and here's why:

1. You guys said you would start the end of April, yet you didn't start until the end of May and every start date you gave us kept getting pushed back farther and farther. Yet amazingly the weekend you knew we had to go out of town you are able to paint the house and do so with us not being there. Um, you shouldn't be painting houses when you can't do the nightly walk-over. But I guess that's what you wanted, an easy way to do crappy work and not have to answer for it. what's the point of the when we aren't there to go over problems or concerns during "daily walk-thrus."

2. You didn't finish painting the chimney. Yes, I did notice the top 2 feet didn't get painted - I do have eyes and occasionally I actually look up towards the sky. Did you think we wouldn't notice it. And I know it wasn't a matter of running out of paint because you left the remaining paint with us.

3. You left stain all over the vinyl siding of my house, on my hose & spray nozzle, and on our brick patio. Yes I noticed - it's kind of hard NOT to notice the big oil spots on the vinyl from where you tried to clean up the stain, yet for all those oil spots, you seemed to have overlooked the actual stain marks which are still everywhere. Apparently you need to go back to school to learn that vinyl siding doesn't need stain, but decks do. Honestly, how hard is it cover the vinyl with a plastic tarp/sheet while you do the staining??? My 3 year old son could have done a better job.

You also left a bunch of overspray on our door weather strip. The painter said that it's because the door was closed with wet paint. If this were true, the paint would only be visible with the door open and only from the inside of the house. However, the overspray/overbrush can be seen when the door is closed (it's quite obvious being that it's white paint on brown weather-stripping). And they are total brush strokes which prove that your painters didn't tape it off like they should have - but I guess that's what you get when inexperienced morons paint your door. hello - painting 101? You might want to make sure your crew has taken this course.

4. Despite
the fact that the contract specifically states extensive prep (scraping, sanding, brushing, priming) of the 3 front porch columns, it is clearly obvious that all you did was prime and paint. No sander touched those columns, and yes, I did notice this fact. The peeling paint that was previously there is still there, just covered in whiter paint than before. If you say (and the contract specifically states "scraping, sanding, brushing - extensive prep work on columns" then you had better do it because obviously we are going to be looking for it to have been done.

5. If you choose to go out of town upon our return from vacation, don't send another guy to come over and pressure us to pay up for the work that was obviously not done to our satisfaction. It's obvious that you know the work was not done properly. And don't tell my husband that we have to pay the balance to this other guy and that we can go over our concerns when you get back. Obviously you are back and have been for weeks now but have yet to call us to address the concerns I noted on the contract when I was forced to pay the balance.

6. Finally, if you ever want to have a successful business, the first and most important thing you must remember is that when a customer calls (repeatedly) you should always call the customer back. We have now called you 4 times since we've returned from our vacation and you have yet to call us back. Honestly, we don't bite - or atleast we didn't until our 4 calls went un-returned. Now we are chompin' at the bit to chew you out. Oh - and don't answer the phone and then hang up on me when you hear my voice. Really, that's just childish.

Honestly, did you think we were just going to fade into the background and ignore it? We paid good money and we expect a good product in return. And yes, I will be upping the calling from once a week to once a day until you call us back. And if we do not hear from you or the company in regards to this matter, then fine, I'll suck it up to poor judgement on our part, but I'll be damned if you get once bit of positive press from me. I plan on posting and voicing this complaint where-ever and whenever I can.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I've been tagged ...

by my friend "Presh."
Rules: 10 photos, take them right away, NO CLEANING UP FIRST, then tag 5 friends.

1. Dream Vacation
For me, my dream vacation would be to spend a month traveling Europe, both new places (Italy) and old places (Spain, Germany, and France), with Ryan and the kids. Then we'd send the kids home and Ry and I would spend 1 week in a private villa over the ocean in Bora Bora relaxing & unwinding from our whirlwind family tour. That would be heaven.
2. Self Portrait
Please be kind - today is one of those no makeup shiny face, air dried hair w/ no hair product days. This is me au-natural!

3. What my kids are doing right now
Berlin is reading a book and Finley was asleep on the floor when I started taking pics, then moved to the couch and went into his "cave" (totally annoyed that I took his pic), then as I went to upload my pics, I found him playing with his cars. All this in a matter of about 15 minutes! Today has been the best day all week. Berlin's vomitting has stopped and she has perked up and is her usually silly, sassy self. Finley is almost there. He's a day behind Berlin in being sick, and though he is not vomitting anymore, he still is a little more groggy than she is.

4. My Closet
We have a very wide closet with lots of space. Unfortunately because there really aren't closets in the rest of the house (gotta love old homes - 1920) alot of stuff gets stored in here - Ryan's art, outgrown kid clothing, luggage, fans, emergency packs, and odds n ends. Don't mind the backpack mess. I'm in the process of updating the food & clothing in our 72-hour kits.

5. My Favorite Room
Berlin's room upstairs. It's the smallest room in the house, but I love it because it's always the cleanest room in the house - probably because there aren't many toys in it and we don't play in there. And I love the color, the built in shelving (you can't see it in this pic - it's behind the rocking chair), the furniture, the PB chandelier I put in, and the original baseboards that are like 13 inches tall.

6. My Favorite Shoes
I just got these not too long ago and I LOOOOVE them. They are ballet flats from Aldo and the suede lining keeps my feet cool & fresh and the insoles are padded so they are super comfy. They are just so me!

7. My Laundry Room
It's actually deeper than it looks and I have lots of storage on the walls that I love, but I do wish it was bigger. There isn't much room for more than the washer, dryer and the vacuum. All the laundry you see is the hordes of dirty sheets, blankets, bed pads, pillows, towels and clothing from 3 days of puking and pooping kids.

8. My Second Bathroom
This was a hard one to get a good picture of. It's long and narrow, but I did my best. That's Finn's Build-a-Bear Spiderman costume for Footie (his BAB Bunny). He gets it once he goes on the potty for a whole week straight. He's nowhere close to getting it.

9. My Kitchen Sink
If this had been two days ago, I would have been mortified as it would have been full of dirty dishes. Luckily we've used this as the impromptu bathtub the last couple days (I was tired of filling up the big tub for quick cleanups) thus it's clean.

10. My Refrigerator
Not much to say here. It is what it is.

These are the pictures of my life ... today.
Now I tag 5 people ... Julie, Shauna, Valerie, Becky, and Ben.

Pillowcase Dresses

I've caught the Spring/Summer cleaning bug and have taken
to organizing my sewing closet (basically just tubs & boxes of fabric). I've made lots of fun summer pj's for the kids, but I've been wanting to make a summer dress for Berlin. I found some pillowcase dresses on that I loved and so I tried my hand at making one without a pattern. I just took her measurements and went from there. Honestly, it turned out to be the EASIEST sewing project ever - and I was able to finish the dress in under 30 minutes (which is about all the time I have these days for stuff like this). It was so easy, that even beginning sewers with little to none experience can do this. And they are so cute. Of course, doing it without a pattern was tricky at first (the armholes are a little bit big), but I learned a couple things and will do them a bit differently next time. All I can is that I am hooked on making these and I'm already digging through my other fabric to make her more - lots more!!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

5 years ago today

Ryan and I got hitched in the Salt Lake Temple.

As we were sitting in church a few months ago, 3 different newlyweds got up to bear their testimony. Each person kept saying how the last few weeks/months had been the hardest in their life and how rough married life had been yadda yadda. Ryan and I just looked at each other and said, "Really?" When we got home we both had a good laugh because we were both thinking how our first year was so easy and awesome. We loved that first year of marriage - just the two of us hanging out, going to football games at the U, playing video games, going to movies, still going on dates and all that. Not that the last 4 have been bad, just different. With kids now in the picture, the alone time just isn't there like it used to be and though we miss that alone time, we wouldn't trade our current life - kids and all, for anything. When I look back on the past 5 years I have to say that I have no regrets. I love being married - even with all it's ups & downs. I love Ryan more now than I did then. I probably don't show it or tell him enough, but I do. I'm so grateful that we chose to love each other for eternity.

Here we are 5 years ago:

Here we are today (last month actually):

How are we are celebrating our special day? We went to SF last month, but we had to cancel dinner & movie plans tonight so we could nurse 2 kiddos sick with the pooks (vomiting & diahrrea).

Friday, June 6, 2008

Spring Soccer review

Finley's Spring Soccer is officially over. His team, the Spiders, had their last game on the 31st of May and it was a blast. Finley started off the season off rough (lots of tears, crying & tempertantrums) but finished off the season strong. He was kicking the ball, running, throwing it in, and basically having a ball the last 3 games. So we are a bit sad to see Spring Soccer end. But, not to fret, Fall soccer starts in September so we'll definitely be registering him for that this August. Hopefully he'll be able to pick up where we left off and avoid the whole tough start again.

The above slide show is a review of the season. My favorite of course is the team photo where Finley was crying so hard that Laney, the little girl next to him had to cover her ears as she said, "he's too loud!" Priceless. In his individual photo his face & eyes were also all red from the crying fit he had. I tried to take my own individual pics as you can see somewhere in the slide-show, but he just wanted to be silly so they aren't any better.


I have no idea where these star sunglasses came from, but from the moment Berlin pulled them out of the toy basket, she's owned them. Here she has paired them with a princess headband and Finley's hat. All I can say is way to represent girlfriend! She's definitely my little SUPERSTAR!!!

Rainy Day Play

The past week has brought us lots of rain and cooler temps which for us means lots of indoor play. Yesterday was no exception but I didn't mind as I had decided to let the dishes ccontine to pile up, forgo the vacuuming & mopping, and ignore the quickly multiplying bags of laundry so that I could instead get down and play with my children (I've been feeling a bit guilty lately for not devoting more 1-on-1 time with them). So after I put Berlin down for her nap, Finley and I played grocery store together. I got my shopping basket and bought some yummy fruit & bread from his market stand. Then I prepared us a nice yummy lunch which we sat and ate on the couch. Finley even offered a prayer on our lunch and I had to giggle when he clarified what it was, "Heavenly Father, we are thankful for this food - I mean pretend food, to make us strong - I mean pretend strong and safe outside." Then he proceeded to shop for and prepare lunch for his favorite dolls. I thought it was cute how he lined them all up. Rudolph and Domo got the most lunch (2 platefuls) and when I asked him why he said Rudolph needed more because he had to fly and because Domo was bigger than the rest.

While he was feeding Bob he noticed that tools were on his belt. This observation took him to his room where he returned with all his tools shoved in the waistband of his pants. After a few steps they started falling so he asked me for a belt like Bob's. Just as I was about to tell him we didn't have a toolbelt like that, I remembered some fabric scraps sitting in a box in his closet. So I got the scraps and he chose the fabric and in less than 10 minutes I had whipped up a toolbelt for all his tools. He wore it the rest of the afternoon including to Costco and would have worn it at the park while we watched Ryan play Volleyball but I made him leave it in the car. As soon as we got home he put it on and would have worn it to bed had Ryan not put his foot down and made him take it off. The whole PJ-Toolbelt is reminiscent of the Village People - sweet!