Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanks Dude

I'm noticing a trend. For the last 4 out of 5 Thanksgivings, we have been miles away from family and enjoying a feast with dear friends. Turns out we have picked up some pretty awesome ones along the way.

Last week we headed down to the Lifferths, some of our favorite friends from college. We had a beautiful dinner at Alanna's mother's house who quickly made us feel part of the family. She had two of her good friends there as well. Friends that over time have most definitely become family.

Over the next year, my family will just become more spread apart. It's hard. More and more I want all my siblings to leave their adventures and move home. But it was so good for me to see the Kiel family and their loved ones. Alanna's mom's friend watched the girls so we could eat, carried on easy conversation, then kissed me goodbye as we left. It was nice to see the familiarity and love between these women.

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:: other highlights ::

-the coolest (albeit dimly lit) children's museum. And the sweetest, most endearing Santa I've ever seen. Seriously, how great does he look?

-lovin' on each other's kids. If you love your friends, I suppose it's natural to love their offspring. Hayden spent more time snuggling with Alanna and I ended up with more pictures of Keira than my own girls. And no kid can resist Randy.

-keeping our kids up all day then leaving them with a babysitter to go out to eat just as they're about to lose it :) That was brutal, but I think they crashed pretty early for her.

-introducing Randy and Alanna to Modern Family--have you caught that show yet? Love it.

-and, of course, global domination! What trip with the Lifferths would be complete without it?

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J always intimidates me out of Australia and I flounder around Europe. Yeah, he took me out pretty early in the game. Blast his power of persuasion! But Randall gets to have the bragging rights until we meet around the map again!

Friday, November 13, 2009

I Love My Job

Lately I've been loving this mothering gig. (Up until this morning when Abbey told me for the first time that she hated me. That stung a bit.) I love the phases they are both in right now. Abbey's mind is exploding. I think I would be amazed at her capabilities if I fostered it a little more. I've kept this drawing for weeks now:
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It's true, it is the thing that nightmares are made of. And this image has haunted me, I'll admit. But I couldn't throw it away until I scanned it into the computer, I love it for some reason.

She was really sick the past week and her voice was quite raspy and high pitched. It was kind-of nice to snuggle all day with her and watch movies. That night at dinner, she was saying the prayer. In her squeaky voice, she said "Thank you, Heavenly Father, for letting us watch movies all day. You. (dramatic pause) Are. (dramatic pause) Awesome!"


Hayden is getting in on the snuggling lately as well. She wakes up around 5 am, I grab her some milk, and she falls back asleep in my bed. But she isn't content unless she is snuggled up in the crook of my arm. It makes me so happy.

She is a BULLY. She really loves to grab our faces. Hard. She almost made a grown man cry last night (I'm not naming any names...) It's completely unprovoked and random, so it's hard to stop. But she still gets in a lot of trouble.

So a few days ago, I was struggling with the squirmy thing to get her arms through her shirt. I said "Hayden! Push!" She stopped moving and looked right in my eyes. Then smiled and shoved me with both arms. This life can be confusing for a little person.


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Monday, November 9, 2009

School Rules

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I may need help from you on Pretty Mondays. It was my turn for preschool the last two weeks and now we probably have the flu floating around (not necessarily the cause of the other). So between playing catchup and trying to keep hands washed and cups separate, there really is nothing pretty to see around here. So wanna see what preschool was about last week?

The letter was 'H'. The theme was 'Houses'. The kids are awesome, I had such a great time, thanks to my incredible mom's perfect ideas.

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The welcome exercises we do every day are so cute. We recognize everyone who is there and sing a song about their name. Then they each come and open their bus window and velcro their name to the front board. We sing about the day of the week and the weather then 'dress' our Bernstein Bears for whatever the weather is that day.

They are getting close to learning the pledge and they love singing 'You're a Grand Old Flag' and marching around the house behind the flag leader.

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I found this idea in the "Teach Me, Mommy" book. I made each of them a house, with five or six pages behind for each room of the house. Then I drew furniture for each room and they colored and cut which ones they wanted in their 'house'.

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We built houses for snack time as well. Sometimes they surprise me with their creativity.

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The best part! Have you read 'The Mitten' by Jan Brett? It's about this mitten that gets lost in the snow and all the forest animals squeeze in to keep warm. It holds for the mole, rabbit, badger, fox, bear, etc. but explodes when the last little mouse makes the bear sneeze. So I made my own, giant, spandex mitten! They LOVED it. They'd each pick what animal they wanted to be then look through the book to see who got to go in first.

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I knew moving here that I wanted to find a group of moms to do a preschool rotation. I happened to talk to just the right person at church who had done this before and was interested in doing it again with her youngest. She found the other moms, got us organized, and had great ideas to keep things consistent for the kids. All the moms are as excited about it as I am and I'm so happy to be a part of it. Abbey is learning things so quickly and also learning respect and invaluable social skills. Love it. And love that I don't have to do it again for eight weeks, ha!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sensible Splurges

Do you use google reader to read blogs? There's a box on the right side that randomly shows 'recommended' blogs. I'd never paid attention before until sometime this summer I noticed my cousins' collaborative cooking blog featured. I was intrigued and wondered how a blog gets 'featured', so clicked on the next one in the list. How adorable is she? The latest post happened to be on estate sales and I fell in love with the milk glass she found. And I JUST realized that I ended up finding the exact same one, ha ha! Anyway, J has always loved garage sales and would usually just take Abbey because I wasn't that interested. Well, after seeing Leslie's post, I got interested! Plus I knew it would be something great to do together. The man seriously loves to find a deal. Let me show you a little sample of some of the pretties I found this summer:

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It occurred to me that I could find framed prints, preferably in odd sizes, and have my own pictures printed to go in the frame. (found this one for $3) A few times I've been nervous as I'm taking out (and likely throwing away) prints that have certificates of authenticity on the back. I really hope I don't find out they were precious works of art some day. Although, I really doubt it. Who's Andy Warhol?

:)

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One day, my friend Melody, (who I unreservedly trust with any design decision) mentioned I should find some sea glass for my bathroom. It's so funny how once you get an idea in your head, all of a sudden, you realize a lot of garage sales have them! I found the three matching ones from a woman whose mother got them as a wedding present. I felt bad she didn't find that sentimental, but I did! Even if it's someone else's mother :) And it's the perfect place to keep my wedding ring--I was always misplacing it when I didn't have a designated spot. Then the second and fourth one I bought from a woman who blows glass herself and sells them at art festivals. She was just getting rid of inventory and I was happy to take it off her hands (along with some bright green pieces that look great in my bathroom!)

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Remember the chairs? Remember how I had grand plans of fun color schemes? The man at Sherwin Williams squashed the dream. I already had a gallon of paint and thought I could split it into quarts and have them tinted different colors. The guy was quite abrasive and condescending and I can't describe the confrontation very well, but I felt really stupid and really pressured to make a decision and ended up tinting the entire gallon 'spa' blue. I used a little over a quart for the piano... So... Two little chairs are blue now. One black. Two red. They look cute together. And SO cute with my preschoolers sitting in a row (who DO fight for the red ones, Melissa! You nailed it.)

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the day j found the chairs (I think all 5 for $5) was the day he found:
abbey's first mac
($10!)


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J mostly keeps an eye out for toys for the kids. Then his favorite thing to do is to come home and look up the retail prices online.


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I've also been keeping my eye out for fun dishes to use at parties. Found a set of these cute plates and saucers for a few dollars.

I also have plans to do an Alice in Wonderland tea party for the girls' birthdays this spring. So I've been spotting fun tea sets for that. I hope their little boy friends (boy friends, not boyfriends) don't mind the seriously girly theme.

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And then I love just finding random little things like this for a quarter. Don't you think that would be cute, filled with fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies as a thank you gift?

That's just the start. I'll do a whole other post on the stuff J found for the girls' room.

Does this all make me seem cheap? Tacky? I used to hate garage sales, I felt yucky. Recently a friend told me how her husband doesn't like to buy things on sale because it makes him feel cheap. I'm so opposite now. It is a thrill for me to find a great deal on something I adore. So maybe I shouldn't be announcing my cheapness or excitingly telling someone how cheap I found my girls' clothes. It's a compulsion.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Pretty Picnic

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The girls and I hit the road after church yesterday and spent the afternoon in the shadows of the Kirtland temple. It was a bit of a drive and there were a few reasons not to go, but one big reason to make sure it happened.

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My little sis was visiting her in-laws for the weekend. The last few weeks have been a drastic mix of emotions for the Furniss clan and I think we all are feeling a strong need to be together. And I needed to see she was ok. This girl is incredible. I am completely amazed at her strength and maturity. Oh, it felt good to be with family. Thanks, Mom Riley, for spotting me some toll booth cash to get home :) It was a pleasure to spend the day with you guys.


Happy Pretty Monday