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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Still going

When I first starting drafting a book I was like weeeeeeeeeeeeee write every week! Which, admittedly, wasn't ideal but it was at least something.

I've stalled out lately since I'm waiting on some outside sources to supplement my own information. And I used that as an excuse to completely step away from writing for a while. However, I  decided to dive right back in last week and bombarded my oldest friend, Ashley, with drafts and have asked her to edit and give input.

While this is still somewhat of a passive development for me (I just dump the pages on her and gleefully step away), it feels good to have some momentum again. I know I've copied and pasted things so much in some of the drafts that I had to just send them away from me for someone else to finally look at. I wasn't making much progress muddling them up more on my own.

I feel a tiny bit badly that Ashley has to sift through the first attempts at writing this book... but like I said, she's my oldest friend and has been through a lot worse with me. And it's nice to have someone who's comfortable being blunt with me and not worried about hurting my feelings. I don't think Kev would be, either, but I think I'd take it personally if he critiqued what I wrote.

It still feels like I won't finish this for years and years and years, but hey, at least I started.

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Disney on Ice

I was so happy to win tickets to Disney on Ice from Corina, and I planned to surprise Aspen the day of. I had talked to my SIL about taking her two girls with us (I won four tickets) so I planned a sleepover with them after the show and thought Aspen would really be thrilled.

Well, turns out she was pretty pissed. I had mentioned we needed to have extra-good behavior that Friday because I had a special surprise planned with her cousins. She was so psyched about that, but right before they arrived so I could take them to SLC, I told Aspen we were going to Disney on Ice and she started crying. She actually threw a tantrum because it wasn't what she wanted to do with her cousins. I told her it was fine, and that she could stay home while I took her cousins BY MYSELF. That changed her attitude and she was fine by the time the girls arrived.

I've never been to Disney on Ice before, and it was a lot of fun! I think the girls enjoyed it, too. My SIL was so thoughtful and gave me money for treats for the girls and they chose churros (Aspen FREAKED when I took a bite of hers... yikes) and popcorn.

We got to see the skaters dance as Tiana and friends, Snow White, Cinderella, and Rapunzel.

The dwarfs were so cute!!

^ Dancers at Prince Charming's ball.

By far, the Rapunzel performance was my favorite. The choreography and set design was amazing. They used silks to represent Rapunzel's hair and it was phenomenal.

And the horse!! I about died. I felt badly for the poor skater tucked in the backside, but they did such a great job because that horse looked so legit. Below you can see how the silks were draped to show Rapunzel's hair. And the hanging element was a pair of silks that she and Flynn used to perform some aerial routines.


It was great to have a girls' night with these little friends of mine. I'm glad we didn't ruin the night by getting murdered at the most ghetto McD's (bathroom break on the drive home) I've ever seen. When I mentioned it to Kev, he looked at me like I was crazy and said that one NEVER goes into that McDonald's. Ever. Oops, my bad.

The girls went to bed around 10p, and I think it was between 4-5a when I heard Aspen get up for a bathroom break. Then she turned her light on and proceeded to READ OUT LOUD while her cousins tried in vain to sleep on the air mattress. Kev had to go in and remove her to have a talk about letting guests sleep in the middle of the night. She was adamant that they wanted to hear her read stories. I about died.

It was a fun weekend and even though Aspen was not happy about it initially, I think she enjoyed the surprise. Still, I'm glad I didn't fork over lots of $$ for tickets only to have her react so poorly! It was such a treat to win the tickets.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Letters to Lincoln, month 17


In the last month your vocabulary has expanded to include a lot more animal sounds. You're working on "moo," "oink," and also saying the word horsey! Yay! No more confusing all horses with birds! You also say Dada on repeat and I love seeing how your relationship with your dad is developing. He's now one of your favorite people, and I don't think I'll ever stop feeling relieved that you're not 100% mom-only any more. When he comes home from work (or whenever you hear the front door open) you start screaming "DADA!DADA!DADA!" and you toddle over to the stairs to say hi. It's so awesome. I'm sure it makes him feel like a million bucks.

Much like Aspen at this age, your imagination and ability to play has grown. When it's time for naps and bedtime, you often resist putting down the ball(s) you're currently obsessed with. To get you to transition to sleep-mode, we've taught you to put your toy to bed. So you grab a couple of burp cloths and tuck your ball(s) into a little wadded up bed and then you can focus on going to sleep yourself. It's really cute. You also point out any and all babies you see, and you like to spend time looking through family photos and pointing at Dada, Aspen and "doggie."

You and Aspen both love throwing things down the stairs, and taking apart the couch to jump. I love seeing you two play together so much. At bedtime, when I ask if you'd like to say goodnight to your sister, you pucker your lips and run to find her. She squeezes your face in a big hug and you guys give a little smooch to each other. I DIE. It is so darling I feel like I might explode. When we were shopping one day while Aspen was at school, I asked if you'd like to go pick up your sister when we finished checking out. You screamed SO LOUD your word for yes (which sounds like "d'yeah!") and people turned to look at us. The cashier asked if you and your sister are best friends, and I can't deny that you guys are thick as thieves these days.

Right now you're still consistently taking a 1.5-2 hour nap in the mornings. It really is so strange to me that you survive the day without an afternoon snooze, but it works for us so I'm not going to mess with it. At night you're almost always sleeping from 7-8pm until 6-7am. If you do wake at night or too early in the morning, Dada creeps into your room, helps you lay down in your crib and then he sits in your room until he's sure you're asleep again. I love that he doesn't have to bounce you for ages anymore in the middle of the night. I'm also a little jealous that you don't need him to pick you up in order to fall asleep, because if I go in there and don't pick you up you seem inclined to stab me. So that's why I don't go in your room anymore if Dada's home :).

Surprisingly, you're a very picky eater. I often try to give Aspen her plate first, and then show you that yours is the same. Sometimes we have success getting you to eat when you're sitting in a regular chair, instead of on your booster at the table. Sometimes we have success if you're playing with something (usually Aspen's princess computer) and you don't actually realize I'm feeding you. It's all a game, though, and I can never get the same results at every meal regardless of my approach. It's frustrating because with you being so active all. the. time. I feel panicked about making sure you have enough calories to fuel you and keep the HANGRY FEELINGS at bay. Hopefully your palate will mature sooner rather than later.

Another shocker is that you've only just started saying "Mama" and meaning me. When you were first exploring sounds with your mouth, I know you muttered mamamamama on occasion. But it was never as my name. Now, though, you actually say it in reference to me. It's exciting! I mean, you obviously are still MotherBoy, and I know I'm still your favorite, but it was killing me that you wouldn't say my name! Next you need to figure out what you're going to call Aspen because she's anxious for you to address her, too. Uncle Seth's been trying to brainwash you into loving him the most, so he's usually referred to as Uncle Cookie. He's wearing you down with sweets!

Your personality is just through the roof. You smirk at us all the time, you tease and you've unfortunately learned the word "mine." Aspen taught it to you and it's awful. You don't like to share. At all. Ever. Aspen certainly didn't teach you that. I've watched her feed M&Ms to you from her Halloween stash without a second thought, and that girl loves her some candy so... maybe you could learn a little bit about sharing, mmmk?

You've been attending Nursery at church the last couple of weeks with me in tow and it's been going really well. I've warned the leaders to allow you constant contact with a ball or else you'll drive them crazy with your non-stop refrain of "BALLBALLBALLBALLBALL." I left you in there by yourself this week and they said you did fine, so welcome to two hours free from Lincoln on Sunday. Hallelujah!! It's so exciting.

We're all enjoying getting to know you, Linc. Thanks for learning how to sleep and becoming such a pleasant little guy.


See Aspen's monthly letter HERE.

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Monday, November 02, 2015

Halloween 2015

One of these days I'm going to have the family dress in coordinating outfits and it'll be so darling. But, for now, Aspen randomly comes up with whatever she wants, and Linc wears clothes from his closet that slightly resemble something. HA!

Halloween was a fun day this year. After Linc's nap, Aspen said she wanted to DO something. I asked what she meant, and she said she wanted to get in the car and go somewhere. So I fed the kids their lunch and surprised them with a visit to Wheeler Farm's (sad little) "pumpkin patch."

When Aspen realized where I was driving, she started complaining and told me she didn't want to go to the farm and just walk around I'M THE WORST MOM EVER!

So I calmly explained that if she could stop whining, I was planning to actually pay money to do something extra at the farm. I know, shocker!

We did the wagon ride and the maze and the pumpkin patch and it was obviously much more fun than just walking the boring old farm again.

Kev had to work during the day, so he sadly missed the fun. Poor guy. On the plus side, it meant I only bought a ticket for Aspen and for myself so... yay?

It was a good start to our Halloween festivities! Once Kev got home and we finished dinner, the kids got ready and we set out for some trick-or-treating. I'm always torn between going and staying home; I want to see the kids enjoy themselves, but I also want to hand out candy at our house. Last year I don't think I went out with Kev and Aspen (because I'd just taken the kids to South Towne Mall for treating), but we didn't get many kids at our house. This year we missed it altogether since it took me so long to get Linc in bed.

I'm so glad the weather was so beautiful! I couldn't have asked for a better night. We didn't have to wear coats at the beginning, so Aspen could show off her costume in the daylight without freezing.

Thankfully Linc was pretty good about being in and out of the stroller. He loved running around with Aspen, taking handfuls of candy (sorry!) and seeing all the decor at people's homes. Everyone was thrilled when we came across some kittens, too.

I took Linc home around 730 and he had a total meltdown. After over an hour, though, I figured the little one could be done! He'd taken a terrible nap (only THIRTY MINUTES) and was already over-tired. I knew DST would screw us over further so I just wanted to try getting some good sleep. Aspen and Kev continued on without us and she got so much candy. Like, an unbelievable amount of candy. I need to ration it out to her because although we have a "two-pieces-per-day" rule, I know she's sneaking candy because her room smells like chocolate and her trash can is suspiciously full of wrappers. Bless her little chocoholic heart.

It was a really fun night, and I hope that someday I can convince both kids to dress up as pennies (Aspen = Penny // Lincoln = Abe). Wouldn't that be so CUTE?! Or maybe we could cater to Linc's love of birds and he could be Hedwig, Aspen could be Hermione, I could be Harry Potter and Kev could be Ron. OH THE POSSIBILITIES.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Jumping Beans

I was sitting on the floor in front of the couch one day when Linc suddenly decided to jump off. There was a cushion on the floor and he seemed to be aiming for it (And a couple weeks later he tried the same thing, only that time he headed toward the exercise ball in front of the couch) I caught him mid-air as he headed to the floor and he thought that was the best thing ever in his entire life.

So... that's super. He now just jumps off things.

I made a gigantic pile of cushions and pillows in front of the couch so he and Aspen could somewhat safely jump off.

The only problem with this set up is that Linc would jump off the couch, and then stand up on the pile of fluffy things and try to jump off of that onto the floor. SO MANY LAYERS OF FUN.

They spent a good chunk of time just jumping around and treating the couch as a trampoline. Eventually I had to put a stop to it because I was having so much anxiety watching Linc fall on his head after jumping off the pile. His hands were useless to stop his falls because, of course, he had a ball in each fat little dimpled fist.

Bless his crazy little heart.

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Trunk or Treat

Our ward hosted a Trunk or Treat and I was so excited because it's the first year we've had one since we lived in Ogden. I was a little nervous about taking the kids by myself because Linc is just all over the place and he can be so hard to contain. I knew I wouldn't be able to give Aspen all the attention she might want when it came to doing games or collecting candy and all that.

Thankfully, my sister came up for the afternoon and babysat the kids for a couple of hours. She stayed while I got them both ready for the night and I ended up surviving the party by myself. Aspen was so precious that she even left without a fight when I told her we just couldn't wait in the balloon animal line any longer (I'd probably already spent 15 minutes waiting for her after she spent 10 in line herself). She was such an angel the whole night, helping me with Linc and being willing to attend the activities herself while I kept an eye on him.

I'm so grateful she's such a sweet girl, even if she is more spunky than I know what to do about. She had a lot of fun and was so proud of the Super Hero Rock Star costume she created. I always let her do whatever she wants for Halloween, and this is what she came up with... it's all random stuff she had in the closet and dress up bin. She gave me permission to do what I wanted with her hair and make up and I think she loved it.

Linc hated getting changed into pirate-like clothes, and he hated having pictures taken but OH WELL. He learned how to trick-or-treat and that made it all worth it. He initially just held a piece of candy in each hand and then let people put new pieces into the little bag I carried for him. Eventually he put candies in the bag himself and was like WEEEEEEE!!! It was fun to watch him figure out what was happening.

I assume Aspen enjoyed getting treats... but she sped off and went at her own pace while Linc and I lagged behind. I'm so relieved she went off with some friends and that other parents commented to me that they'd seen her running around so I knew she was doing alright.

The whole night made me excited for Halloween, and I'm really glad Kev won't be working swing shift that night! There's no way I'd take the kids through the neighborhood by myself as it gets dark. Linc's too wild for that!

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Uncommon Goods

Recently, Uncommon Goods contacted me and asked me to check out their website and products. Their brand strives to exemplify sustainability in all they do, and not just by printing their catalogues on recycled paper. They pay their workers a living wage, they allow customers to donate to a non-profit at checkout, and they sell products that cause no harm to animals (no fur, leather or feathers).

It's a commendable mission, given that so often consumer products are all about top-dollar for the retailer.

And although sometimes when we think of earth-conscious products, we think of crunchy-granola-junk, Uncommon Goods actually has a lovely selection of useful, beautiful, and fun items.

I spent time looking through the Art choices and found so many pieces I'd love to look at every day. The two I had a hard time choosing between are below (when Kev weighed in, he picked the bird):
They also have some fun kids' toys/books, a beautiful Home Decor selection, and a vast array of gifts for couples.

Bathtub Ball Track
Giraffe Bud Vases
I know Christmas is still a couple of months away, but seriously, in my book it's never too early to get ideas for gifts. Consider Uncommon Goods when you want something unique, and sustainable. Their sale section is killer, too!

I'm grateful for the opportunity to discover a new company, and although I was compensated for my time, all opinions in this post are my own.

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Monday, October 19, 2015

The Heber Creeper

I have childhood memories of riding the Heber Creeper and visiting The Homestead, and that's probably why I'm obsessed with Heber/Midway/Park City now. Amidst all the crazy that was my family as a kid, at least we managed to do a few awesome things!

Kimberly was taking her family over the weekend, and it just so happened Kev had it off work so I bought tickets to piggy-pack on her outing. I'm proactive like that.

In October they have a Pumpkin Train and I mistakenly thought we'd be riding the train to a pumpkin patch to cut pumpkins fresh off the vine. Turns out there was a boxcar fully stocked with little pumpkins that we walked through in the semi-dark. HAHAHAHA!! I laughed at my misunderstanding. Aspen was a little disappointed, but once she was surrounded by pumpkins in the train car she was fine. We'll have to do Mabey Farms next year, or even Black Island Farm to get the real patch experience.

Before leaving the station, we got to watch kettle corn being made fresh, and Linc was obsessed with the dog at the booth. He nearly climbed out the window while yelling, "DOGGIE!"

I had the day ideally planned out: We'd get the kids up by 7, have Linc napping as usual by 9, and be out the door to Heber by 1030. But turns out Linc wanted to sleep in until 830 (hallelujah) so he didn't get a nap until we got home at 330. I thought his head might explode, but we survived! It went so much better than I feared it could have without a nap (and also despite me getting severely car sick and threatening to barf on the side of the road... oops).

Oh, it was so beautiful. The day was slightly cloudy and very cool. The air was fresh and delicious! The train ride is only 20 minutes out and then 20 minutes back, and it was the perfect amount of time. They had some fun activities to engage the kids, plus a free cookie!

When the train reached Charleston, we got to see the engine ride by to get hooked up on the other end to pull us back to the station. I thought about how much my Grandpa Vito would love to see pictures from this outing *sad face*.

While we waited for the pumpkin car line to thin out, the kids had a blast putting things down the storm drain. Linc even got his fat little paw stuck in the grate. Gotta teach him to let go of the rock before trying to pull his hand out. Aspen was such a sweetie and kept finding him little things to put down the drain. I love watching them together!

After our ride, Kimberly and Brad treated us to some amazing pizza at The Junction Pizzeria on Main Street. It was so nice to spend time with them again. I just wish we lived closer! Still, we're doing a really good job getting together almost every month despite work schedules and distance trying to keep us apart.

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