28 November 2010

Princess Date





Amelia and I enjoyed a fun Mommy-Daughter date last night. She's waited for the new Disney Rapunzel movie to come out for months now. She was awake and ready to go to the "feater" at 6:45 am. It was near torture waiting the entire day.

The kids cooperated for about 2 seconds, long enough to snap a couple photos for our upcoming Christmas cards. Surprisingly, the weather was almost balmy. We browsed Cabela's for fun then had some lunch. After lunch Mia and I walked to the little park near our home. Little Apple, Fork's twin sister, snuggled into Amelia's stroller for the walk. I was the Prince and she was Princess Rapunzel for an hour's worth of play.

Finally the time came to get her Rapunzel dress on, some princess shoes, and a tiara. She could hardly stand still once Princess Ella came into view. The girls posed for some photos, then the event began. Popcorn, soda, and candy in hand we found our seats and watched the movie. Amelia's laughter about killed me. She loved the dog-horse, the silly pirates, and that Rapunzel's hair matched her brown hair at the end. So fun! We had such a great time that she melted down on the way home because we could not watch it again. Some other little princesses showed up at the movie too! We all enjoyed ourselves immensely!

26 November 2010

A Little Preview




I feel sort of lazy lately, but looking back it appears I was not as lazy! We signed up for Netflix two months ago, more movies means more crocheting. Besides the hats pictured I also made about 10 other hats that you've already seen but the pattern repeated. Folks are ordering for Christmas. Walmart started carrying a super chunky Lion Brand yarn. I am so in love! I can whip up a ladies hat in about 30 minutes with the yarn. Plus the colors are delish! One of my photographer friends ordered three ruffled diaper covers and a pea pod cocoon. Making those diaper covers was pretty annoying. All that ruffling is time consuming. I had plans to make myself three as well but ended up with only one. Amelia helped me design her Christmas shirt, which matches her skirt from last year! This evening I made Phillip a Christmas shirt. My favorite creation was the giraffe outfit for Phillip. So cute.

Thanksgiving





We joined 9 other families from our ward to celebrate Thanksgiving. About half the families were smaller making the effort of baking a huge meal not so appealing. We joined efforts and pulled off an amazing meal. Our brined turkey and turkey gravy were a huge hit. I tried a new brine this year, adding some spices to the brine: bay leaf, rosemary, garlic, thyme, savory, broth, and salt water. The gravy was good enough to drink all by itself. Dinner was ready to go by 2:30. Phillip has a low tolerance for prayers longer than 5 seconds. He yelled, "All done" at the 5 second mark. Justin and Amelia really helped out with the cooking. Justin cleaned up after my messes and played sous chef for a while. After dinner we stayed around until 5 pm talking and enjoying the company. It was worth the effort! No pancakes after all.

Today we changed around the decor for the Christmas season. I worked all through Phillip's nap, once he woke up the little guy was amused for the rest of the day exploring all the changes. Amelia loved decorating the tree. She kept saying, :"Oh Mom, do you remember how much I loved this snowflake/ornament when I was a baby?" We sang Christmas songs and had a merry time. We all helped Justin put up some Christmas lights outside. It was not toooooo windy or cold, quite the luck considering the cold spell of late. I am dead tired now. Between cleaning the kitchen and dining room then decorating for Christmas...then some sneaky Christmas shopping at Walmart (by myself), I did not get a chance to rest until 4:30 pm. Those busy days make you grateful for your health.

24 November 2010

Phillip Walks




Here are some photos to show off Phillip's new skill: Walking. I am in love with his expressions! He is so proud of his little self! I included a couple photos of him pointing. Phillip is a pointer! In the bottom photo he is telling a story about whatever he was pointing at. That kid chatters just like a squirrel, thus the nickname. What a silly little squirrel!

Last Saturday evening we enjoyed a solo date, actually hired a babysitter for three hours. The Webbs hosted the Stake President for the weekend. In honor of the event the ward counsel was invited over for a delicious turkey dinner. I made cranberry/pomegranate salad. Brother Webb had each couple introduce themselves, telling how they ended up in Sidney, callings, and a bit of history. It was so fun to gain insight into folks we've known for a year or more. Right before the event I photographed a family of 13 people. Ironically, the biggest challenge was the light. It was overcast and quite dim. Rose came along as my assistant, playing the silly one to capture the little one's attention. The entire photo shoot went by in about 35 minutes. Amelia and Phillip really loved their babysitter, Kristin Adamson. She is about 23 and engaged to be married this spring. Her father is Justin's big honcho boss in the accounting department. Both kids were asleep and comfy by the time we made it home. Freezing fog made the roads super slick.

I renewed my temple recommend after church. Phillip spilled an entire carton of chocolate milk in my purse a couple months ago. My old recommend was barely legible due to the milk. The mark of a true Mom!!

Monday and Tuesday I suffered through the worst part of a nasty migraine headache. It was brutal. I even threw up six times because the headache made me feel so nauseous. Yuck-o. I think we did stuff during those two days but it is all a little hazy. Amelia went over to play with Ella on Monday and Ella came over to play on Tuesday. That is about all I remember. Alison watched Amelia and Phillip Tuesday evening so Justin and I could go watch Harry Potter 7 part 1. Alison reported that Phillip cried for 30 minutes then clung to Morley, cried each time Ella turned her back, and then decided walking about was alright. Ella delightedly fed Phillip a bottle of milk, whether he wanted it or not. The movie was great, followed the book very close. Can't wait for part 2 to end the series.

Wait. I do remember something about Monday. Right after my photo shoot on Saturday I put my payment into my pocket. My thick gloves must have pulled the payment out of my pocket and onto the ground. Monday I finally thought about it and realized the money was NOWHERE to be found. I searched all my pockets, photography bags, and car. I was sweating bullets. Justin laughed when I told him, little bugger. I went back to the location, said a prayer and started retracing my steps. On my way back to the car, the payment was sitting on top of the grass, fluttering in the wind. It is a miracle that the bill did not fly away. Goodness, gracious I said a prayer of thanks afterward.

Justin got off work early this afternoon. We drove to Sterling for a Walmart trip. I wanted to get a bigger tree, pre-light, and ultimately harder for a certain curious boy to pull over. I also got the rest of my groceries needed for tomorrow's dinner. The tree barely fit in between the back seat and front seats for the ride home. About 10 families from the ward are getting together for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. Gladly, we will not have to eat pancakes! I volunteered to bring a turkey, gravy, Bavarian jello salad, a vegetable, chocolate parfait, and a fancy drink. Guess I will be cooking up a storm after all. We set up our tree after dinner. It looks amazing! Phillip is fascinated with the fireplace now. The piano was in front of it all summer.

18 November 2010

Oh Deer!

 Phillip wearing the sweater Grandpa Call got him in Peru earlier this year, he is so handsome!

We've had a lazy week! Justin celebrated his 35th birthday on Monday. Amelia was so excited about that. I got up early and went to the doughnut store for a rare breakfast treat. Justin's doughnut had a candle in the middle! We had lunch at McDonalds, Justin wanted the McRib. Then off to Cabela's so Amelia could get Justin a gift. I called the Walmart in Scottsbluff to see if someone located Amelia's reindeer. Her lovey toy was sitting in lost and found! We can pick her up from the "Walmart Hotel" in a couple weeks. Hooray. We still got Fork, the girl reindeer a twin sister, Apple to tide her over. Poor Moose and Avena (a dolly) did not make the cut. Amelia and Phillip helped me make birthday brownies for Justin. Justin was so glad to enjoy a day at home with me and the kids.

Amelia enjoyed Preschool this week. Rose taught the kids about Thanksgiving and Pilgrims. Amelia is now in love with their dog, Duncan. She wants a dog named Fish now. I about died laughing over a list of what she is thankful for:

butterfly friends, preschool, houses, oranges, candy, stars, ladybug friends, Justin, leaves, all my people friends, flower power, doughnuts, Jenni, Phillip, flashlights, and the letters C,S,X,Y,and W

Crack me up kid!

Phillip ran a fever most of the week, has a nasty diaper rash, booger nose, diarrhea, excessive spit up, and cough. I think he started out teething but the cold weather turned the runny nose into a cold. Poor kid tries to toddle around until I pick him up. Mainly, I've been a Phillip-holder this week. He snuggled with me on the couch with a blanket and binky for a couple days now. I think he is finally on the mend now that his fever abated. His bottom gums look a smidgen swollen.

Justin is elated with his first big game kill. He went out Saturday with no luck. Yesterday he put in a half day at work and then went out by himself. He downed a 4 by 5 buck around pm. I think he does better out on his own with no pressure. Justin reports that gutting the deer smelled as gross as he anticipated. While he was gutting it another buck came within 50 yards, tempting to pull another shot but not legal. Matt Haley helped Justin get the deer back to Sidney after work. The guys worked on skinning and prepping the deer until after midnight. He stayed home today just to burn days off. It was nice to have him around helping with dishes, playing with the kids, and letting me take a nice nap. The deer will cure for a couple days then Justin will need to process the meat. It might be time to consider a deep freezer?!

I worked on a processing a couple photo shoots this week. I had a major frustration when an expensive print came back from my printer with a horrible color cast and red teeth on the kids. I spent a couple days on the phone getting the issue figured out. Course, it all comes down to me not having the right equipment and right calibration for my monitor. I invested in a monitor color calibrator but it was not the right model, which cost $200 more than the one I have. My monitor will not allow for precise color manipulation by me so I am sort of stuck. It all comes down to having a much lighter hand on my edits and getting the photo right in the camera. I don't know why I still struggle with this same issue. At least my printer will let me recalibrate on my end. If I had a million dollars...I'd have more work, right? LOL. My uncle Scott nearly made me cry last week. He said that my skills are vastly improving and I have what it takes to succeed. Coming from an artist and photographer that was an amazing compliment. I think a new computer is in my future! Just a couple more photo sessions and a lot more piano lessons. One day at a time! Other than the photo stuff I completed several sewing and crochet orders. Justin and I finished Season 7 of 24 while I did the crocheting. I can't believe Thanksgiving is next week. Will someone come cook a nice meal for me? I am so not in the mood to cook right now. We may end up having pancakes for Turkey Day. 

12 November 2010

Premier Snow







Finally! Our first snow of the year! Last year we had snow the beginning of October, now it is nearly Thanksgiving. Amelia was in heaven. Thursday morning we woke up to 2-3 inches of snow, it snow steadily until about 11 providing another good inch of thick snow. Amelia did not notice the snow when she woke up. I had to convince her to look outside. When she finally did her snow gear was on and she was rearing to go in about 30 seconds flat. Phillip got his first memorable peek at the snow. He was not so sure why the window scene looked so different. We all suited up and played in the snow for a good hour. Phillip soon discovered he could eat snow. He ate the snow off the front steps until I moved him to a more germ free location. Phillip looked so grown up in his snow gear. His feet still curl into a crawling position so his boots refused to stay on. He went down for a nap while Amelia and I shoveled the walks, made snow angels, tasted snowflakes, and made snowballs. Heaven! Once she was tuckered out and cold we headed inside. I tried to introduce her to "warm" chocolate, it was stone cold by the time she drank hers. We had a nice snuggle day in the basement.

Phillip is a funny dude. A week or so ago he learned to put a hat on his head all by himself. Every so often I will catch a glimpse of him sporting a girl hat, a pair of undies, a sock, or an adult-sized hat. I about died laughing when he popped one of Amelia's underwear on his head and giggled at his accomplishment. He chortles with delight every time he successfully gets a hat on his head. After our "snowing" (Amelia's word for playing in the snow), he found one of my hats and put it on. The effect was so funny I had to take a photo. Phillip is trying so hard to talk. He keeps up a steady flow of gabbing while he is awake. Yesterday he practiced getting up from a sit to a stand. He clapped whenever he succeeded. That kid is so kissable.

Amelia's eye is an art display of color. I caught her applying my purple lip gloss to her eyelashes and eyelid. She was happy to report the purple matched her eye candy colors. She lost her Fork, the girl reindeer...again...today. Phillip probably chucked her out of the cart during our Walmart trip, in Scottsbluff. She was crushed! Crying and moaning over poor reindeer. Broke my heart. Reindeer is banned to the home now, even on long trips in the car. I am running out of pink bunny fabric to replace the neckerchief of the Cabela's toy reindeer.

I forgot to mention a huge milestone last week. Phillip is finally done nursing! I enjoy nursing my babies, but it is still nice to get my body back.

We made an impromptu trip to Scottsbluff this morning. The new snow made for a gorgeous drive. All the trees were covered with a white blanket of snow. A light mist brought a dreamy, white effect to the landscape. I nearly had tears due to the beauty. It was one of those reverent scenes that comes to mind of a private place to ponder and feel closer to the Savior. Mmmmm! We went shopping at a real Walmart. Oh man, it was hard not to go crazy. I was delighted over their ethnic food selection. The Walmart actually carried tahini, tabbouleh, cumin seeds, golden curry, and oriental seasonings. Our non-existent stock is now a skeleton stock. I was delighted to find their fabric section still intact. Hooray for cheap fabric! I got a couple pieces of cream and chocolate for lining and ruffled diaper covers (can't wait to show you). Walmart started carrying new chunky yarns at a great price. I can't wait to slide my fingers through that chunky yarn. More projects are in the works. We nearly missed our Dr appointment over the excitement at Walmart. I had to see a specialist up in Scottsbluff, nothing major or minor, just getting my tonsils (sorta embarrassing) checked out. I have a return visit next month to get a scope crammed down my throat and hopefully my tonsils will come out. It is embarrassing that my tonsils are still intact and acting up for so many years. I hear tonsil surgery is not so much fun. The kids were good but tired. Phillip slept the entire drive home (90 minutes).

Justin is off hunting Bambi's father tomorrow. It is supposed to be really cold with a chance of snow. He finally told me that all next week is slated for potential days off so he can bag a deer. If he does not get a deer tomorrow then he will be out in the wild mediating life and hunting until he bags one. Please pray for him. I am extremely grossed out that when he gets one, the sucker will hang in our garage for a week to cure. Gag me with a spoon. Nasty flea bitten critter. The meat will be nice. We will process the meat into hamburger, blending the deer meat with 25% beef burger. It makes a burger that tastes pretty game-less. Happy Birthday! Can I go to Denver all by myself until I find the right pair of jeans? You stay home with the kids! Even Steven. I know, dreaming!    

09 November 2010

Another Shiner





I feel so lazy lately! The time change is not helping out any either. This year the kids did really well with the time change. Putting them down at the same clock hour means they are extra tired and sleep in to a normal hour. Amelia is still not sleeping well. She wakes up between 4-9 times per night crying quite loudly. If she cries too long Phillip wakes up, then Justin wakes up. Last night growing pains kept her up half the night. Poor thing!

Justin finally braved laying down some insulation in the roof over Phillip's room on Friday night. It was a dirty, dusty, cramped job for him. We purchase a roll or two as often as we are able when near a Home Depot. There was enough for Phillip's room, the coldest corner room on the North-East edge, and part of Amelia's. One day, roll by roll the attic will have better insulation.

We decided to go somewhere on Saturday just to do something different. Amelia asked if Justin would take her to Target and get her some more cute shoes. Boy, he is in trouble. We did go to Target! Phillip has no shoes that fit and our Walmart did not have any sizes for him. So off to Scottsbluff we drove. First, we ordered a pizza from Papa John's and had a nice picnic at the park. Then Target and Maynards (a hardware store). Indeed, we got shoes for the kids. Amelia scored a sparkly pair if red shoes. I forgot my crochet hooks for the drive up so had to amuse myself talking Justin's ear off. The drive home Justin took back dirt roads. Nebraska is actually quite beautiful! The landscape is broken up with gorgeous bluffs and small groves of trees. He scoped out the location he chose for deer hunting this coming Saturday.

Sunday was a blur of practicing for our Primary Program. It is a little stressful! The kids will do a great job regardless. Amelia took a tumble off the back of our couch and landed on a toy. Her poor eye swelled up due to the injury. She looks like Quasimodo. I swear we are not beating our kids. Maybe now she will heed my warnings not to play on the couches. The Webb's invited us out for pumpkin pie that evening. Amelia was excited to try out a pumpkin treat. Phillip showed off his new wobbly walking steps. Phillip wore his newest stylish hat on Sunday. I finally got a pattern for a crochet flat cap. The pattern was written for a full grown male so it took me a while to finagle the hat down to toddler size. The result is stinkin' cute on our little man. Combine that hat with some seriously cheezy grins and you have a heart breaker.

Yesterday, Phillip decided walking was the way to go. He walked across the kitchen several times accompanied by much applause and cheering. I love his bandy-legged walk. One day soon I will get the videos updated. I love that he will stand, walk, and turn around all in a matter of seconds. He is a fast learner. Amelia spent the afternoon playing at Lily's house. Phillip and I walked over around 2:30 to chat with Rose for an hour. Lily has a dog named Duncan. Amelia is pretty scared of dogs. By the time she left Duncan was playing ball games with her and Amelia was not afraid to pet him...or boss the poor animal around. That was a huge accomplishment for little Mia.

I am having a lot of fun with my photography lately. My passion is photographing newborn babies. Check out my recent work on my photo blog: http://www.applegreenphotography.blogspot.com/

04 November 2010

H is for Hat




This week we hosted preschool! We learned about the letter H, the color green, and talked about Thanksgiving. One of the best parts of preschool is listening to the kids recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Hilarious does not even describe it. Monday and Wednesday the kids wore fun "H"ats and we talked about horses. I read them a fun book about a purple horse. We practiced saying the "H" sound. For the activity the kids played with the rice. I hid alphabet letters we learned in the rice. They played with the rice for ages. We all enjoyed a yummy green snack: green grapes, green juice, and jell-o jigglers. The girls really enjoys cutting out the jiggler shapes. The weather was balmy so we ended playing outside for a little while.

Wednesday we talked about hats again, made a horse craft that we were supposed to do on Monday, read a book on hats, and had honeycombs for snack. The best part was singing the Hokey Pokey, If you're happy and you know it, and playing hot potato. The kids had some free play time so engaged in dress up. I love that Zane wanted to wear princess dresses to. He is one funny guy! Maybe I should invest in some boy dress ups now that Halloween is over.

The weather was really temperate over the weekend. Due to Halloween we were so busy that working on our yard was out of the question. Tuesday the weather was really nice. The kids and I removed all the dead plants from the garden and planters. Amelia was delighted at all the ladybugs who played with her. Phillip, well, he mostly ate dirt and did boy things. The pile of dead vegetation was pretty impressive. Now to get the bags off to the dump.

Yesterday Justin "helped" bag up the huge pile. He had to let me know that organic and non-organic matter (like tomato cages) need to be separated before going to the dump. Little stinker even slammed the door. Apparently, not making proper piles was a huge misstep on my behalf. That guy cracks me up. Those little things we do to set off our spouses...wink