26 August 2010

Phillip's Cuppy-cakes

Wednesday Ella and Amelia helped me make some cupcakes for Phillip's birthday. Amelia (and I) fell in love with the Pinkalicious books of late. Pinkalicious makes cupcakes as often as possible. So we finally fulfilled Amelia's "most amazing dreams" and made birthday cupcakes. I convinced her to help me make them blue for Phillip with girl sprinkles on half and boy sprinkles on the other half. It was a great compromise. Amelia and Ella played so nicely. At one point Amelia was a prince, at three inches shorter than Ella, and Ella was a princess. They danced a lopsided waltz to Primary songs in Amelia's room. So cute.

I had an impromptu photoshoot at the park with a family in our ward. Since we were at the park we invited the Haley's and the Ryder's to come play and eat birthday cupcakes. It was simple, fun, and NOT at my house. No cleaning required. Cydah and Ro practiced their cake destruction skills for their birthday in a week. How cute are they? WAY TOO CUTE. However, Phillip's puppy dog nose and scratched forehead illicits some sympathy. He spent his birthday getting more snuggles than normal, eating lots of cake and batter, and taking long naps. I made him pigs in a blanket for dinner with garden fresh carrots. Yum. We love spending time with surrounded with amazing friends, makes us miss our family even more.

Discovery Museum

Ahhh, it was so nice to sleep in a bit and have a relaxed morning. Dad, Mom, and my brothers left for the airport around 8:30 am for their LOOOOONG trip back to Amman, Jordan. Miekka suggested a trip to the children's museum at Gateway for a fun activity. We parked in the underground garage. As soon as Amelia exited the car she listened for a moment then exclaimed that "angry cows" were making lots of noise (the rumblings of other cars?). He he, I had a laugh!

The kiddos had a most excellent time at the museum. Phillip cracked me up with his short legs, long shorts, and baggy shirt. He was in heaven crawling around finding a new toy every few feet. He loved the riding toys. Amelia filled a wheelbarrow full with plastic food and checked it all out at Walmart. I love her age, where everything relates to some prominent part of their lives. Walmart is a weekly excursion for us! Justin left around 11:30 to have lunch with a former coworker from KPMG. We took the kids to lunch at McDonalds after they finished exploring the first level. Justin and I did a little shopping with Phillip in tow while Miekka took the older kids to the second level. I think the kids played with the magnet shapes for a good 45 minutes. Amelia made a square tower she was really proud of. Lastly, we visited the helicopter out on the upper deck. The kids were in desperate need of naps or "rest your leggies" time. Amelia got a two minute nap that lasted her (barely) the rest of the day. She was pretty cranky.

Justin whipped up his favorite BBQ sauce for a grilled chicken dinner. Miekka, Court, and I went to Material Girls, a fabulous textile shop featuring designer fabrics and trims. Oh man, I was heaven. I picked up enough material to make myself and Amelia matching skirts, and a second skirt for Amelia. Deciding which fabrics to choose was super fun. The girls arrived back at the Lances to find the men grilling meat in the backyard and Aunt Jana playing with the kids. Joe and Jeff arrived soon afterwards for a yummy dinner of grilled chicken, grilled zucchini, and leftover salsa. It was light and perfect for the occasion. Joe left for Air Force training the next morning down in Texas. We said good bye to him as well. I took some family photos for James and Miekka in the waning evening light, their back fence as a perfect backdrop.

We spent the rest of the evening packing up the car and getting ready to leave for Nebraska. Three thirty am came all too soon. We saw the most amazing sun rise in Wyoming. Our drive there and back, plus all the SLC driving was awesome, thanks to three Fablehaven books on CD. Gotta love a good series of books. Phillip was amused much of the trip with emptying my purse and sucking on more lollipops. Both kids slept until about eight then took a nice nap. We were back home by 12:30 pm. Within minutes our clean home was a mess again from all the unpacking. Unfortunately, it is still in shambles due to excessive blogging, laundry, and snuggling. It was fun to go, but ever so nice to be back home. Wonderful memories will linger in our hearts until the next adventure!

Blessing Everett

John and Courtenay blessed little Everett on Sunday. Getting to church at 9 am was no small feat. I was sweating by the time we arrived. Mia and I made a stop at the restroom to fix her hair right before the meeting started. Everett was surrounded by the most amazing group of family members! He is one blessed baby. I nearly cried seeing all my brothers, uncles, cousins, and grandpa surrounding him. John blessed Everett with a powerful blessing of calmness, success, and leadership. I can't wait to watch that little boy grow up. We convened at home after sacrament meeting. John made four delicious salsas, seven layer dip, mini sausages, and James made jalapeno poppers. We had more folks at the house on Sunday than on Friday evening. Grandpa Everett got to hold baby Everett for the first time. They almost look alike, excepting the chin! Jeremy entertained us all with his superb guitar skills. He could go professional if he continues! At one point in time I caught James (complete in girly apron) snuggling with Miekka near the pantry. They were way too cute!

John arranged for a photographer in his ward to come photograph us all. Getting all the Lane Lance family together in one place at one time is rare. Another storm was rolling in, the wind was quite strong, causing hair problems and flying ties. I love watching other photographers for new tips and tricks. He had a wide lens I'd love to own one day. He photographed the whole family, then the boys, then the girls, then individual families. My stash of smarties came in handy for my kiddos. Justin and I took our kids back to James' home for naps. We were back at the homestead for dinner. I love hearing snatches of conversations going on throughout the living and dining rooms. It is intriguing what my siblings talk about. Dad suggested we sing hymns after dinner. We told more stories after the singing. My favorite was hearing James and Dad give father's blessings to those starting school. We stayed as long as possible before saying good bye for another year. My Mom and Dad won't be back in the states until July 2011, we will miss Punkle Jeremy and Punkle Jared. Hopefully, James and John plus their families will come visit soon (maybe Labor Day??).

Joanna's Wedding Reception

Saturday was a lovely day to just relax. We spent the morning doing something...can't rightly remember! Suddenly, it comes to me. Ha, we went over to Mom and Dad's home to visit quietly for a couple hours. It was amazing to visit with just us and them. I even cornered my Dad and showed him my photography blog. He is so busy that fluffy stuff (like blog viewing) is ex-nayed. Justin let me off at JoAnn's for 20 minutes to get sewing machine needles and browse the fabric. We all drove up to the Pettit's home around the same time. I helped Aunt Laura figure out Picasa and blogging for her personal and school blogs. Dad treated us all to a Del Taco dinner before we arrived at the wedding reception for Cody and Joanna. Mmmmm, we love Smelly Taco!

Joanna looked darling in her dress. They served Italian ice cream and cookies for those interested. I was so glad to visit with some of my great-aunts at the reception. I even visited with my amazing cousin, Kathryn, for a while. We are pretty close in age and often blurk each other's blogs. Some lady found Amelia out near the street yelling for a potty holding up her skirts. Yikes! First thing I know she is enjoying ice cream, the next showing off her underwear. I am super glad my kids did not end up in the pool, a huge possibility. We arrived home, for another late night getting our tired kiddos off to bed.

At least 20 J's

Friday evening the great weekend of Lance's began. Mom and Dad kicked off the fun with a BBQ at their home. We had at least three siblings represented from the Lynn and Jean Lance family. Between the three families we have 20 folks with "J" names in attendance. Cra-zay. I met up with Jessica, Rory, Sadie, and baby Charlotte before the party for family photos at Murray Park. We were all a bit crabby, it is a miracle the photos turned out. My chicken that poops smarties was a huge hit with Sadie. She loves her candy.

James manned the grill, cooking up hamburgers, hot dogs, and sausages. Everyone else brought some side dishes. Miekka escorted me into Costco to buy a sheet cake and ice cream for Phillip's "pre-birthday bash with the Lances" party. Our cousin, Joanna and new spouse, Cody were in attendance in all their newly wed bliss. Dad had everyone circle up and tell stories until dusk. We took a short break for cake and ice cream. Phillip was mesmerized by the candle flame, he touched the flame right on cue to blow out his candle. Poor little fingers got singed a bit. The lure of cake, frosting, and ice cream soon overcame his burnt fingers. Sadie, Mia, and Lia were so cute trying to boss each other around. Mia won only because of size. The other two girls will soon show her up. I felt really tired by the time we left due to running around keeping the peace and holding my babies, camera included. Phew, I should have just sat down and enjoyed the stories more. Silly me.

Chillin' with Easy-Eeee

Is not this newborn the cutest boy ever? I am very proud to introduce my new nephew, Everett Micheal. He is a very sweet baby, relaxed and easy-going as long as his needs are taken care of. He is the perfect first baby for my brother and sister-in-law. He has very long fingers and huge feet, this boy will be tall! I think he was a little over 9 lbs at birth. Courtenay invited us over Thursday morning so I could play with Everett, photographer style. I still have hundred's of photos to edit so only indulged in 5 at this time. The weather was stormy and quite blustery. The light inside was dim, so I opted to conduct the photo session on the front porch. We set up a space heater directed at little Everett. He snuggled right up and let me get a couple poses in, then a nursing break, then blessing outfit photos, then my fun little lion hat. Courtenay made the quilt for Everett's nursery, I am glad we fit that in. I think my favorite part was hearing Courtenay cooing at her handsome son. Mom and Jared helped me out a bit. Jared was my support man behind the blankets, holding up Everett's head and torso. After the nursing session it started to pour rain, thunder and lightening ripped through the valley. Everett did not even notice the cool rain pelting the rest of us. I am so glad we had such an amazing bonding experience.

Justin, the kids and I met up with Sarah, Bridger, and Kenna for lunch at Cafe Rio. It was crazy loud inside. Our equally noisy and cranky kids made for an interesting lunch. Still Sarah and I squeezed in some chatting in between child complaining sessions and discipline. Her parents recently moved to Colorado only a couple hours from Nebraska. We may actually see her more often! I feel giddy thinking about more Sarah time.

I can't remember what else went on! oh yeah! We drove up to Bountiful to visit with Charity. We had a peaceful visit with just the 9 of us. Kenny made delicious BLT's for dinner. I am so glad we were able to visit them, even with crabby kiddos. That evening the sun came out creating a totally different day when compared to the nasty storm earlier. Courtenay came over with Everett to hang out for dinner. We played some games and traded silly stories about being part of a large family. Ahhh, late nights with family are the best.

The Beach: Smelly Style

As mentioned we went to Saltair for a couple photo shoots on Wednesday. My sister Jana met us there first. It was a little windy with a welcome cloud cover providing a nice filtered light. Jana was pretty cooperative, she did not even need to eat any smarties as incentive for posing. Amelia was copying Aunt Jana pose, her attempts were pretty funny. My most excellent friends, the Taylor family, met us there about 30 minutes after Jana arrived. They swapped places in front of my camera. The Taylor's were up for the trek down to the sand and water. Phew, the sand and water was really stinky. Sand flies swarmed a couple of areas. Amelia was utterly enthralled to be at the beach, girl, if you only knew! Malisia, Kate, and Amelia got soaking wet playing in the water. In the meantime I managed to get a couple family photos and fun water poses. I can't wait to edit them! We were at Saltair until after 8 pm. Amelia was suffering from no mac n' cheese for a couple days, we stopped at got her some at KFC. The adults enjoyed Chik-fil-a. The kiddos were super cranky and tired by the time we rolled up to the Lance home.

I included a photo on the kiddos chillin' watching Little Einsteins. The reason is to show off my new birthday gift: a flash and sync cord! It is really hard to get a view out of a sunny window and still have the interior properly light. My new flash helps out a ton!

25 August 2010

Happy Birthday, Baby Phillip

I am feeling a bit stunned today! Phillip is already one year old! What an amazing first year baby boy. He has changed quite a bit in year. Phillip can climb stairs, sit in a forward facing car seat, earn many boo-boos, say several words, blow kisses, respond to questions, and snuggle like no tomorrow. We have an appointment to see Grandpa Doctor next week for his year checkup, so stats next week. One year ago now, the Dr started me on pitocin (thank goodness). Phillip was born soon after. Amelia met Phillip the next morning. She fell in love with her new sibling. He stole our hearts. Immediately we nicknamed him Mr Snuffy because he was so noisy while nursing and sleeping. He is an amazing sleeper, we will keep him. He has a knack for getting his outfits dirty within seconds of getting dressed. This kid goes through 1-4 outfits per day due to spit-up, slobber, dirt, food, snot, and poop. He is very curious lately and pays attention when he notices me opening something. I can see the wheels turning, noting how to open a drawer, unscrew a lid, close something, or play with a certain toy. He tries to mimic me but often lacks the hand strength at this time. Over the past couple days he bonked his head getting several large goose eggs. He tumbled down the Lance's wooden stairs on Monday and yesterday biffed it on the concrete, in the tub he conked his head another couple times. So commences the rough and tumble years for this baby boy.

19 August 2010

Never Ending Fun

Ahhhh! Utah! We love visiting family. James and Miekka are hosting us this visit. We have the run of the basement, which makes sleeping arrangements more comfortable. Phillip is sleeping MUCH better this time. I brought his quilt and bed pillows which seem to help him connect the sleep in a different bed idea. Our trip out was fine. We left at 4 am and arrived in Park City around 1 pm. The Haley family passed us before Evanston on their way home to Nebraska after a long vacation in Washington State. We passed out air hugs and peace signs. Justin and I did a little shopping at the outlets before going to the Lances. Amelia is have a great time playing with her boy cousins. She is learning about bodily function humor from Seth and Jacob. She told Seth he had pinky, stinky, underwear, totally stumping him. Mom had a little dinner for the family that evening. We met little Everett Michael Lance for the first time. He is a cuddly, handsome little man. Phillip and Mia played and played! Phillip showed off his little tricks like peek-a-boo, soooo big!, and saying cute words. He was completely gooberified by the time we left. I have the hardest time keeping that little guy clean.

Tuesday we met my good friends, Shannon and Catherine plus kids, at Thanksgiving Point for the morning. It was two dollar Tuesday, completely cra-zay busy. We waited in line to get in, waited in crowds to see the animals, and waited in line for a pony ride. Justin held our place in line for about 45 minutes so the kiddos could go see the animals. Shannon and I were mission companions in Portugal. She is an amazing lady. Catherine was my old neighbor in Balmoral. We all have daughters around Amelia's age. It was really hot! At one point Amelia found some wheat grain on the ground, she picked up some kernels and fed the goats. One licked her hand, which freaked her out. Shannon had to leave for a meeting so we had lunch with Catherine and girls at the cafe. The kids slept in the car while Justin spent some man time in Cabela's. They were still asleep so we also picked up my sewing machine and went to the camera store. James and Miekka went to the temple, we watched the kids. Joe and Jeff came over. We went to Murray park for an hour. Lia loved the spin toys at the park, she giggled so hard. Jeff bought the kids otter pops to stave off the heat and thirst. The kids threw wood chips all over ending up with thick wood dust in their hair. Even after baths the wood chip dust was still on Lia's scalp. She let me comb her hair trying to get the rest out.
Wednesday morning Justin and I went to the temple with my Mom. What a nice retreat. We enjoyed a nice lunch with her at Zupa's. I love chatting with my mom. She is an amazing lady. We drove out to Kohl's with Miekka and kids. She had a coupon to share with us. Justin got some new work pants and shirts, the kid's winter wardrobe is also complete now. Justin and I went back to the Lance's for a long nap. Around 5:30 we drove out to Saltair for photo sessions with Jana and the Taylor family. The lighting was amazing! Overcast with a clear horizon. Jana wanted updated Facebook photos wearing more casual clothing. The Taylors were up for walking out to the beach and water for family photos. Oh man, so perfect. Amelia has bugged me for months to visit the beach after reading a book about the ocean. She was in heaven playing in the sand and water. Too bad the stinky water and sand flies were so bad. She tripped and got her bum wet, ending our happy excursion. So, so fun! Photos soon. We did not get home until after 9 pm. It was a late evening.

This morning I spent a couple hours with Courtenay and Everett taking newborn photos. He is a very relaxed baby. Justin nicknamed him Ezee-E. LOL. SLC had a huge thunderstorm roll through during our session. The lighting was so poor I had to photograph him outside on the porch. The light was glowy perfection. His blessing outfit almost did not fit over his huge head. Courtenay had to cut the back a little to fit it over his head. In between feedings, set changes, etc we played with Grandma Debbie and Jared. I enjoyed spending time with Courtenay and Everett without so many interruptions. We met my amazing friend Sarah for lunch at Cafe Rio. Holy Smokes our kids were sooooooo crabby. Try talking over kids at Cafe Rio. Shouting match comes to mind. We are a little tired but having fun.

Funny Story: Monday night I put Amelia to bed in her Thomas Bed. Around midnight I could hear her muttering about crayons, markers, and white paper in some mysterious toddler dream. I could not feel her near or around her bed. I patted all around the basement floor finally finding her by the bookcases, shivering cold. I put her in bed with me. Soon she snuggled up and murmured, "Mom you are sooooo waaar-um." So snuggly! I have no idea how she rolled all the way to the bookcases.

14 August 2010

Getting Ready to Ride

This weekend was crazy! Our weekend started on Wednesday evening when Charity, Melissa, and kids arrived in Sidney on their return trip from Virginia. The travelers were extremely grateful to be freed of the van. Charity kept joking there were monsters and dead bodies buried in the stuff, stuffed into the van. We had a quick dinner for Chinese Chicken Noodle salad and fresh veggies. I discovered a new way to cook yellow squash: grate the squash with a box grater, let the squash drain in a strainer and sprinkled with a bit of salt, rinse, then fry in olive oil, fresh pepper, and salt. Yum! Justin and I took all the kids to the park so Charity and Melissa could have some kiddo-free time. The kids played really well outside. We ended the day with popsicles and hugs.

Thursday Libby and Mason watched Phillip for me while I biked alone. I went VT to Potter, where my companion and I were discouraged that our visitee was MIA. Dang! The crew met Justin at Cabela's for lunch. The kids enjoyed spotting all the taxidermied animals from the balcony. Our next stop was the pool but it closed due to some malfunction for a couple hours. Everyone went swimming except Phillip and I once it reopened. Dinner was another simple affair of bread pizza and green beans, chard, and more squash. My garden is only producing three or four veggies at this time. The green beans don't produce enough at one time to merit the effort of canning. Poor Justin does not like green beans or chard much, he hates squash. Bummer! I am eating a very veggilicious diet right now. All the cousins played and played. Amelia finally reached the end of her rope and had a huge crying fest once I made her get out of the warm tub water. She was crying loudly while my photo appointment waited patiently in the living room. Once she calmed down I left for a 90 minute photo session. It was awesome! We went to the sunflowers, a downtown location, and one out in the country. I photographed a HS senior girl. She was very nervous, to the point of making my job very difficult. At the end she finally relaxed a bit.

Justin and I enjoyed talking and visiting with Charity and Melissa. We miss living near family, at the same time we love living in Sidney. My aunt Laura emailed me today, her old neighbor is moving to Sidney in about a week. Small world. The cousins left Friday morning on a long drive to Utah. The kids and I mostly cleaned the rest of the day. I did make Phillip a birthday shirt and finish some cute crocheted hair clips. We went to the park after lunch since the temperature was perfect. Phillip ate rocks, Amelia supplied the rocks that Phillip ate. Very delicate operation. Justin worked on the yard after getting off work for the week. We picked six tomatoes this week. The kids ate 5 of said tomatoes. I found a 5 inch long caterpillar near my garden box. It was a huge, beastly thing. Amelia was squeamish about the "eye" on its bum.

Today Phillip got his first haircut. He looks like a big boy now! He held still with a lollipop in hand. He sucked on the lolly until Deb started to buzz his lower head. The vibrations tickled him because he smiled through the lolly and drooled all over. His belly was so covered in lolly drool I had to bathe him in Deb's sink. Amelia promised not to throw a fit, her reward was a roll of bubble gum tape. That worked like a charm. Not a peep out of her this time around. My hair cut hurt so bad I cried and slobbered all over myself. Deb probably won't ever cut my hair again. She called me the diva tantrum queen. Guess Amelia learned how to throw a fit from me. Just teasing! I have bangs again! Yum. Justin helped me clean a bit, finish the laundry, and watch the kids while I packed bags for our trip.

I keep forgetting to tell ya: Phillip can crawl up the stairs all by himself. He can say thank-you, DONE, and blows kisses (with his hand over his eye). Silly kid.

11 August 2010

The Joy of Sunflowers

My good friend told me about a field of sunflowers in prime bloom on Monday. I was dying to go see the flowers. Yesterday I drove by the fields, oh. my. goodness. So beautiful! I immediately had a vision of a photoshoot set in my mind. Too bad Miss Ella is gone, we had to improvise and use only Amelia. No tea party with sunflowers this year. I am photographing a HS senior girl tomorrow, yep, we are going to the sunflower fields. I bathed Amelia and put the pretty white dress Catherine let us borrow and drove the family out to the fields at sunset. Amelia was acting sooooo funny. She loved the flowers and gave me some very silly faces. All for a bag of marshmallows.

Justin's department threw a huge picnic party yesterday afternoon. We enjoyed eating lunch with some of his coworkers. Justin had the rest of the afternoon off. I went to Walmart by myself. Amelia played with Lily at the park and later at her home. Justin and Phillip enjoyed a long afternoon nap. Maleia watched the kiddos (sleep) while we went with Greg, Matt, and Keith to see The Other Guys movie. Oh my, it was funny! Justin laughing was about as funny as the jokes. We all worked out our abs with the laughing.

The kids and I were at the park again this afternoon for lunch with the Relief Society sisters. It was HOT! Phillip is teething again, so is super boogery and clingy. Charity, Melissa, and kids should be here by dinner time. They are returning back home from visiting in Virginia. Amelia is very excited to host another Hotel Amelia.

check out my photo blog for more sunflower photos: http://www.applegreenphotography.blogspot.com/