Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Toddler Room

I've been in mourning since Sunday when my computer broke. A certain son of mine may have been doing his usual streaking around the house after getting out of the bath, and of all the luck, he took the freedom of being nude to empty his bladder. Right on my computer.

The good news is I've had a lot more free time without the internet sucking so much of my life away. For the past few months I've had the quote, "If not now, when?" in my head. It's kind of turned into my theme for 2012. Especially when it comes to getting things done around the house.

I think it started when I realized there were a bunch of dumb little things to do that I kept putting off. A clock had been shoved in the closet that I meant to hang months ago, those smelly blankets I kept telling myself I'd wash, the frayed curtains that needed a little touching up. There were things all over  screaming at me to be done, so I finally decided to start tackling all my neglected projects.

Among the house projects, Eli's new room has been the least neglected. We still have a few more things to do, but I had to share his bookshelf with you because I'm so proud to have something finally completely done in his room!
Eli's room has been so time consuming because almost everything is either homemade or had to be altered to fit the colors. I designed the Dr. Seuss quote, painted the letter "E," painted the bookshelf, made the orange baskets out of diaper boxes and made the bean bag (that still needs to be filled a bit more).

One of my first projects for this room was making new window seat covers. For being an amateur seamstress, I was impressed with how well they turned out.
I also designed this picture that's hanging above Eli's bed. I wasn't sure if I liked it after I brought it home, but I hung it up anyway. When Eli saw it hanging on the wall he screamed "AIRPLANE!" for about a half hour. He has a friend come over every week, and every week Eli has to show his friend his airplane and they both go crazy over it. It makes me feel like all my hard work is worth it to see the little boys enjoying Eli's new room so much.
Over the last year, whenever people would come see our house and I would take them in this room (it was the office), I always told them it was my least favorite room in the house. I had no direction for it and I did not care about it at all. It's been fun to transform it into something I love. Now whenever I go in there I linger because I love it so much. It's such a fun room and I think it perfectly suits a toddler -- which is exactly what I wanted.

We still need to put up some rain gutter bookshelves and finish decorating a shelf. Then the daunting project of Eli's new room will finally be finished! Thank goodness!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Big Brother

Eli was being super adorable yesterday after I picked him up off the floor from his nap. I would say after I got him out of his crib -- but he did that part himself. Yeah. After hearing a thump yesterday afternoon, I walked in Eli's room to find he had fallen crawled out of his crib. Looks like we'll be switching to the toddler bed sooner than we would have hoped after all.
We had a photo-shoot as we waited for Jeff to get home from work.

A few weeks ago Jeff realized our vacuum hasn't really been working for the last year. It turned on and made a lot of noise but it didn't do much cleaning. We broke down and bought ourselves a nice vacuum and I love it! It's amazing how much nicer our carpet looks when it's actually clean.

Anyway, Eli also loves the new vacuum because it has a handle on the lower half that's perfectly toddler size. Now he won't let me vacuum without his "help."
And these three pictures are Eli giving baby brother kisses. So cute.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

29 and Lookin' Fine

You know what's great? Jeff's birthday always falls around Presidents' Day weekend so we're able to go down and visit his family for his big day. Which means I'm off the hook trying to come up with a wonderful birthday surprise for him.

You know what's not great? My husband is one year away from being 30. He's fine with it, but if you remind me of his age, it throws me into a midlife crisis. 30!

We drove down to Cedar City as I came to grips with the thoughts of my aging husband. Eli was such a good boy on the way down. I think the Starburst I stole from my parents' house helped.
As soon as we got into town, we passed Eli off to Jeff's parents and we raced over to Bulloch Drug before they closed so we could have a good old-fashioned malt. I actually chose to forego the malt, but Jeff wanted the malt to fully appreciate the old-fashioned experience.
When we got back, Eli was running around Grandma and Grandpa's house like a crazy person. He loves it there.
Mary got out a darling little tea set that he enjoyed all weekend. He didn't fully grasp the concept of a tea party, but he did enjoy putting raisins in the cups and carrying them around the house.
On Saturday we spent the day in St. George. The weather was so perfect. We didn't want to leave.
As we were driving around, Eli fell asleep clutching one of David and Mary's toy trucks. He loves trucks, and his love for them only grew after driving around in his Grandpa's truck all weekend. The day after we got home Eli yelled, "Grandpa truck!" whenever we saw anything with four wheels and a loud engine.
After St. George, the boys turned on the BYU basketball game and they found my Dad, Mom, brother and sister-in-law on the big screen several times. It was the first sports game on TV I've ever been interested in.
Then we went to dinner at a Chinese buffet in town. It's actually better food than you're probably imagining. And it's quickly becoming an Excell tradition. I don't know if eating with a pocket knife is part of the tradition, but if it's not, I think it should be.

Eli's favorite Chinese food is cold ham.
Sunday was Jeff's birthday. After spending an hour outside dealing with the foot of snow that fell overnight, he came inside to a nice, warm plate of bacon for breakfast.
Eli was such a good boy at church. He was the best he's ever been in Sacrament Meeting and he went to a brand new nursery without any problems. That a boy!
We had a pleasant afternoon watching Hoarders and Iron Chef. Then Jeff blew out his candle and he was officially 29.
On Monday we went to lunch at Brad's Food Hut (one of our most favorite Cedar spots). Eli learned how to drink out of a straw and drank about half of Mary's drink.
We had a fun time (as always) in Southern Utah. Thanks for a fun weekend of birthday festivities David and Mary!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Constructive Criticism?

I had a doctor's appointment this morning at 10:15. 10:15 usually isn't an early time for me and Eli to be out on the town, but today we both slept in until 9:15 (ahhhh) so we were running a little behind schedule.

Which is why I forgot to put coats on us before we left. I actually didn't completely forget. It was more of a choice to save myself from the five minute tantrum delay just to give Eli a little extra warmth for the two steps we'd be outside between the car and the doctor's office.

We pulled into the parking lot and I grabbed Eli for a quick dash through what had suddenly become a light snowfall. An elderly man was walking behind us, so I waited outside a few extra seconds to hold the door open for him, leaving us walking towards the elevator together.

"Where are your coats today?" he asked.
Without wanting to go into full detail of my angel son's wild temperament, I went with, "Oh, it wasn't snowing when we left the house."
"Where do you live?"

Assuming he was just a friendly old man wanting to get to know us a little better on our elevator journey together, I told him where we live, to which he said, "I live just north of you and it was snowing at my house when I left."

Blind-sided! My new friend was suddenly questioning my honesty while criticizing my parenting abilities. I chose to say nothing back and we sat in silence for a second. Then he said, "And the storm is coming from the south."

The elevator stopped on his floor and as he left I tried to sound unfazed by his bold accusations so I called out, "Be safe in the snow today!"

I walked into my appointment in shock as I assessed my mothering. You see, this one man with his coat concerns probably wouldn't have bothered me that much on its own. But when you pair it with the lady in the motorized cart who chastised me at Costco just three days before, it left me a little unsure of my parenting.

We were down in St. George with Jeff's parents and made a quick stop at Costco. Mary carried Eli in and got him all settled in the cart while Jeff and I frolicked through the aisles a few steps behind, remembering how pleasant shopping can be without keeping a baby entertained.

We all wandered over to pick up a sample, and I had kind of forgotten Eli was my child and not Mary's in the midst of my hand holding with Jeff. My mini-date was interrupted by a woman who zoomed over to me in her shopping cart screaming, "Is this your kid?!" while vigorously pointing at Eli -- who was (happily) pushing and pulling on the shopping cart causing his seat to fold in half with every pull.

I swallowed my pie sample and sheepishly claimed my child. Then she yelled, "He needs to have a strap on! He's going to fall out of there!"

Since I hadn't been the one to put him in the cart, nor had I taken note throughout our trip as to whether or not he was safely strapped in, I said a quick prayer that he was in fact buckled, so I could prove to this lady I was a more responsible mother than it appeared.

I smiled at the sight of his buckle securely in place, then I told the motorized cart lady the good news. She zoomed her cart over to inspect for herself and then mumbled something under her breath. As she rode away she yelled, "2,000 kids fall out of carts every year!"

I laughed, grateful that on that day my kid wasn't one of them.
I'm left wondering if it's me being pregnant causing these concerned onlookers to suddenly speak up. I think they feel the need to correct my bad mothering habits with the first one so that hopefully I'll coat and buckle the rest. Well concerned citizens, I've assessed I'm doing alright, and if you think differently I'd be happy to have you watch Eli for a day. And hey, just for kicks and giggles, let's make it grocery shopping day where a coat and buckle are required.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Doughnuts and Sweatpants

Once upon a Valentine's Day I woke up and realized I needed to pick something up from the store. Seeing as it was a holiday, I wanted to treat myself with a trip to Target instead of my regular Wal-Mart. And then I ended up buying way more than I ever intended. And then Old Navy was right across the street so I just made a shopping day out of it!

Let's blame Jeff for my shopping excursion. Because I'm sure if he hadn't have made me that delicious Valentine's Day pancake breakfast I wouldn't have had all that energy to spend my morning shopping.
I celebrated the true meaning of love by watching "The Bachelor" as I made heart-shaped breadsticks for dinner while Eli was down for his nap.
Jeff and I told each other we weren't going to exchange gifts for Valentine's Day. Well, Jeff's been telling me about how he needs some new sweatpants for the last two months and I figured V-day was the perfect day to surprise him with a brand new pair of sweats. Then he surprised me by walking in the door after work with a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Ahhhh. He sure knows the way to his pregnant wife's heart.
We had a romantic dinner.
I was sporting my new shirt and Eli was being adorable for the occasion.
Eli continued in his cuteness by saying, "Cheese!" whenever I pointed the camera at him.
Then he danced.
And here I am being 31 weeks pregnant.
The doughnuts are leaving their mark.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

A Knight to Celebrate

Holy toledo am I glad it's February 9th. I've been waiting for this day for the last three months. Today is the day after the Blue and Gold Banquet, and today is the day I take a big sigh of relief.

The Blue and Gold Banquet is the kickoff of the new cub scouting year. It's also the birthday of the cub scouting program. It's the biggest event of the year, dinner is served, family is invited, and stress levels of certain cub masters skyrocket.

This month we were supposed to focus on the core value resourcefulness. One way or another that led me to a Renaissance theme? After I was halfway through planning I realized nothing I planned really had much to do with resourcefulness, but it ended up being a fun theme anyway. Here's Eli (cutting 5 teeth) trying on the king crown I made:
I thought it would be fun if we had everyone eat with just their hands, so we served a bunch of finger food. I originally thought this fit the Renaissance theme, but I'm again left second-guessing my understanding of the Middle Ages. Oh well. Eating with your hands is fun and different so it worked well enough.

We served our birthday cake in cupcake form.
My biggest stress of the evening was wondering exactly how much food one needs to feed 100 people. Other than having to make an emergency call to the nearest grocery store for 75 more chicken legs, my food guesses were pretty spot on. We served chicken legs, french bread, grapes, strawberries, celery, carrots, cupcakes and cookies. 
Waiting for our Lords and Ladies to arrive.
I set up a little picture area which ended up being my pride and joy of the night.
I meant to have someone take a picture of me and Jeff in the photo area, but I forgot and we were busy. So here is a darling family who attended the banquet. Notice the castle in the back. I impressed myself with a sudden surge of architectural skills.
The pinata architectural skills impressed me, too! I asked the den leaders to have each of their dens make a pinata so we could "Slay the Dragon." I told them to just make a circle pinata and draw a face on it. Then the Bear leader walked in with this stunning paper mache creation. Wow!

The Webelos also provided an impressive design with this knight:
The pinatas hung peacefully from the basketball hoop as they awaited their fate.
The Wolves also went above and beyond with their pinatas. They all made one! Such crafty scouts we have.
Each den created a coat of arms. I loved them!
In no time we had a full gym and a mighty cute leader conducting the meeting.

Each den did a skit, we handed out awards, and then we busted open some pinatas.
I did not fully think through the craziness of 25ish kids running after a candy explosion.

Until next February, Blue and Gold!