Thursday, October 30, 2008

someone likes accessories

If you have seen Ruby lately, then you have probably seen her in sunglasses.  It's her new thing... day and night.  She wore sunglasses to our church fall festival... indoors and at night.  She wore sunglasses to pick Daddy up from work one evening.  She wears them in the house.

This girl makes me smile.

pumpkin plans executed... ghoulish fun!

We carved our pumpkins on Monday night.  Alli sketched her pumpkin face on paper, then drew it on her pumpkin... exactly as it was on the paper.  Andy helped Alli carve the features into the pumpkin (I know this picture is giving the wrong impression, but Andy was right there... really).  It wasn't exactly like her original plan, so we had to try again on the back side of her pumpkin.  Luckily we got it right on the back side.  I love how focused Alli was on her project.
Ruby wasn't quite as picky... or focused.  She requested a sad pumpkin.  She was pleased with her Jack-o-lantern.

We baked pumpkin pulp so we could make healthy pumpkin bread... delicious and pretty healthy.  We rinsed the pumpkin seeds and tossed them with a little butter and salt and roasted them to perfection.  Yum.  We got our $2 out of each pumpkin!

Monday, October 27, 2008

tears, inspiration and prayers

I read an article today that was inspiring, heartbreaking, romantic, happy... I wept like a baby.  
Read the article here... and keep the Nielsens in your prayers!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

when we go out we go ALL out...

Saturday was the big attorney's ball for Andy's firm.  It is a night out that requires much preparation: babysitter lined up, tuxedo cleaned and pressed, a formal maternity outfit (thanks Heidi), fancy shoes that are flat, makeup, a hairdo fit for a night out... okay, so most of the prep work was mine to do.
Alli was really into helping me get ready.  She helped me pick out a necklace and stuff.  My favorite part was when she said, "Mom, you look pretty."  Girls are fun.
The event was at the Palmer House... very fancy.  Dinner was good.  Dessert was better... the chocolate covered strawberries were heavenly... I could have just had those all night long.  Dancing didn't start until 10:30pm, so we didn't last long.  *Yawn*  (And dancing with a belly is a little awkward.)
Andy looked good in his tux... he always does.  Hot.

Aren't we cute all dressed up?

We came home to a quiet house.  Ruby and Alli were sound asleep, tucked in their beds.  That was a fancy treat.  All around, a wonderful night.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

just plain awesome

I like to do creative projects with the girls.  We work together to make something fantastic... and we usually make a pretty great mess too.
Last week's project was a robot mask.  We started with an oatmeal box (Costco-size) and cut out holes for eyes and mouth.  We covered the box with paper and metallic sticky paper.  Then Alli and Ruby decorated the box with buttons, drawings, and pipe-cleaner antennae.
Then Alli wanted to make a remote control.  (I wish I could say the idea was mine.)  A rectangular scrap of cardboard was decorated with buttons.  Brilliant.
Alli and Ruby have enjoyed playing robot.  They take turns being the robot and controller.  The one with the remote gets to boss the other one around.  And the robot does whatever the controller says!  "Jump Robot!"  "Spin around Robot!"  "Give me that doll Robot!"
I took the remote one day and told Ruby Robot to sit on the potty.  She obediently complied while repeating, "I am a robot" in her awesome robot voice.
This has been one of our best projects ever.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

We spent last weekend in Ohio with the Mars family.  As always, a visit to Mars is busy and eventful... exhausting and fun! 
The big event was Saturday.  Chris and LaTrisha were sealed in the Columbus Temple.

This is where Andy and I were married.  It is fun to go back and reminisce about the day I couldn't stop smiling... seven and a half years ago!

The cousins had a great time playing together.  Alli and Ruby enjoyed exploring the park near Emma and Eliza's house.  Andy had a great time being the monster and chasing the girls around.

I have a cute family.  Alli took a picture of Andy and me... she said, "Okay, stick out your tongues!"  Click.  Hmm... could this be the Christmas card picture?

Many, many pictures were taken this weekend.  Check out Emily's blog here for more.  She posted a great video capturing the essence of a big family lunch at Janis' house.  A little bit of chaos... the good kind.

All the cousins (about 20 of them) dressed up and went to the Halloween party at Janis' church.  Alli was a pirate.  Ruby was a pumpkin.  Emma was Pippi Longstocking.  There were also aliens, a mermaid, fairy, princesses, storm trooper, duck, kangaroo, more pirates... just about everything.  Nothing like hyper cousins plus costumes and sugar... lots of sugar!

The trunk-or-treating in the parking lot was fun.  Ruby was pretty thrilled about all the candy dropped in her bag.  The younger cousins posed for a quick picture while many of the older cousins made second rounds of the parking lot (or thirds?).

Everyone got properly sugared up just before bedtime... which was great because we had to be up early in the morning to get to the church for Caelan's blessing. 

Somehow we totally missed pictures of him.  Sorry Caelan.
Ruby and Alli enjoyed the park by his house too.

The weekend sped by.  A blur of family and food and fun and air mattresses!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

all in the marketing

If you call a quiche "egg pie," kids are more likely to eat it... and like it.

That is good marketing.

*Thanks, Lisa, for the great meal idea!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Alli's idea of fun?

Each night Alli and Ruby pick a few books to read.  Tonight Ruby picked Peter Rabbit, much to Alli's chagrin.

Alli said, "I don't like Peter Rabbit that much.  It isn't really a fun book; it's more of a classic book."

Alli's picks tonight: Eating the Alphabet (vegetables and fruits A to Z) and My X, Y, Z Book
Fun?  Maybe.  Classic?  Not really.  Educational?  You bet!

our Utah weekend highlights 1

Today I unpacked from our whirlwind weekend getaway to Utah!  We hear that the weather in Chicago was a balmy 80 degrees while we were away.  Well, Utah greeted us with a dusting of snow... then let loose with several inches of the cold white stuff.

We went on a little hike through Memory Grove with the braver part of the family (there was snow falling heavily... but it melted away by the time we took this picture). 

We went to Utah to surprise Andy's dad for his 60th birthday.  Our trip didn't end up being a surprise, but the big party on Saturday was a shocker!  My favorite party moment was when Jeff borrowed the drumsticks for a Wipe Out drum solo!  Grandpa used to be in a band.  Rock on Grandpa!

On Sunday there was a memorial service for Uncle Bruce who passed away in July.  It was wonderful to hear stories about the man and the legend!  Bruce's spirit didn't seem to be far from his beloved boots.  There were tears and laughter, but most of all love for Bruce... and a family brought together.

Did I mention the snow?  Alli and Ruby enjoyed that... until they were thoroughly soaked and freezing cold.  The warm wassail was a lovely touch.

We enjoyed seeing family from all corners of the country.  What a treat!
Also a treat: time away with my man!

our Utah weekend highlights 2

On Monday, we took the kids to Jungle Jim's in Sandy, Utah.  The place is like an old Chuck E. Cheese's and a carnival mixed together in a strip mall space.  There were no lines.  Weather was not an issue.  Except for the icky bathroom and the noisy arcade, a very fun afternoon.

Notice the strikingly different flying styles of Alli and Ruby (above).  Alli liked to keep the aircraft somewhat low, maybe only halfway up.  Ruby, on the other hand, kept the plane as high as possible as long as possible... luckily Lucas didn't mind.  Both girls took control when given the opportunity.

The roller coaster was a favorite!  This was a small-ish coaster, but it went wicked-fast in a small circle.  It was fast enough (and the safety features seemed like 1960's standards) that I didn't want to send my kids on it unattended.  Andy, Grandpa and Grandma took turns on roller coaster lifeguard duty.  I love it when Andy does stuff like this... my knight in shining armor!

The kids enjoyed the spinning ride (like Disneyland teacups).  This carousel ride was all fun, no tears this time.  Andy did carousel duty too!  The swings were a big hit too.

Only the promise of dinner at Grandma's house could pry the kids from this fun place... they really didn't want to leave.
What do you think?  Should this shot be the Christmas card photo?  Awesome.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

rainy day fun

Yesterday was one of those rainy gray days.  We were all going stir crazy in the house.  The cure?  A visit to the planetarium with some friends.  The kids loved the wavy mirrors and running around the wide open spaces.

We picked Andy up from work on the way home.  Ruby fell asleep in the car... and slept for 45 minutes on the couch while I made cornbread to go with our crock-pot chili (I love coming home to a ready dinner).  Andy took Alli with him to get his hair cut.  The house was so quiet!  I finished up dinner, set the table, did the dishes... without interruptions!  Ruby woke up when Andy and Alli came home and we all had dinner together.  What a treat!

The cost of Ruby's nap... she was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed until 11:30pm.

** For details on Ruby's Halloween pants, click here

Friday, October 3, 2008

the most fabulous Halloween window display on the block

Okay, so probably the only Halloween window display... but it is great!
Alli and Ruby worked hard (and worked together) to make witches, monsters, bats and pumpkins to hang on our front window!  I got in on the project too... I couldn't help it.  We used lots of paper, markers, colored pencils, glue, and plastic jewels!  Can you tell that I love Halloween!?  To see more of our Halloween projects, check out my other blog here.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

this little piggy...

... cracks me up!