Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thursday Thesicle

Beware: just when you think you've defeated SpiderCal, 
he will reveal his backup supply of slinky-webs.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Baby Peapod is...

Okay, this is kind of weird, but I wanted a fun/unusual way to blog-reveal our little Peapod's sex. Here it is. Pretend it's normal?

Meet Boy and Girl
Boy and Girl- FIGHT!  Whoever wins represents Peapod.
Boy takes out girl...
Oh, but now Girl goes in for the kill!
AH! I don't even know what's happening!
Who's going to win?
Here they go again...

And the winner is...

I foresee a lot more football, baseball, and hockey games, astronauts, cars, and a whole lot more poop and throw-up discussions. Bring it on?

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Mighty BFFs Demolish Candy Canes and Return to Earth Safely

It's been two full months since Alexandra's grandma moved to the area and started watching her, which means two full months since I've watched her. She had been coming to our house at least a couple days a week since she was three months old, and she's now two years and three months old. Man, have we missed that little girl at our house. And from what her parents say, she misses her boys and her Dawnee too.

Her mom and I had been trying to get together for the past few weeks but we were all sick and then she and her family were sick, so finally after a long time apart, we got together again. The kids had such a blast (and Jamie I did okay too) that we decided Alex should come over again soon while her mom got some work done. Today was the day!

Alex's very first day at our house. She was three months old,
the boys were 20 months old. I think it was love at first sight.
Back then they called her "Baby Akiss"
The boys were surprised and excited to see Alex when her dad dropped her off this morning, and we had a busy day. She seems to be getting back at the boys for all the time they spent bossing her around. She can now tell them exactly what she wants them to do and vividly display her displeasure when they do not do what she wants. They totally deserve every bit of that.

Aside for a stubborn standoff or two, they all got along perfectly. I'm sure we'll do it again soon. She cried and cried when she had to leave and she called Cal and Clark "her boys," which made me want to cry a little. I'm so glad that she remembers us...seems like at her age it would be easy to forget.

I wanted to do something special for her visit. I had candy canes sitting around from Christmas, and had noticed online that a friend of mine had made some cookies with crushed candy canes. I know how much my boys like to crush/break/damage/smash/demolish/destroy/obliterate things so thought I'd try that. They all three smashed up the candy canes with rolling pins and we used them like sprinkles on our sugar cookies.

Three little chipmunks helping with cookie dough
Crushing candy canes!
Sprinkling with candy cane sprinkles
Maybe they ate a few chunks too...
They were surprisingly picky about getting
all the chunks in place.
Of course, once the boys realized that having Alex over meant there were three kids here, they immediately assigned  flight suits and set up their Apollo 13 mission. They are always Jack and Jim from Apollo 13, and spend a fair amount of time talking about how one day Peapod can be Fred, to complete the Apollo 13 team. Well, today Alexandra got to be Fred. I'm happy to report that despite the explosion in the oxygen tank, the Apollo 13 astronauts survived and returned home to my Mission Control Center's wild applause.

Apollo 13 astronauts: Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise are ready to take off!
Houston, we have a problem.
Okay, Houston, we figured it out.
It was the blue and purple buttons.
Made it back safely! Thanks, Mommy Houston
Alex explains to the boys The Way to jump.
I'm so happy they have each other as friends. Being together for those few years was such a blessing for everyone involved.

And if you think that day didn't wear me out, you're wrong. I'm not sure how I did it for so long.

Seems Like a Playseum-y Day

Today made me think that I wish I lived a little closer to the Playseum. It's rainy and cold and the boys would love to play there for a few hours. Then I thought, I have these passes because the Playseum is an awesome sponsor of my, respond here or on Facebook (and like my Facebook page for more giveaways,etc.) for 4 free passes to the Playseum. There's a location in DC and Bethesda. 

The boys and their artwork from our last Playseum visit

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Small Family Living- An Inspiring Guest Post

Today I'm sharing a guest post written by a friend. I first met Lindsay about five years ago when she married a friend of mine from college. We've only actually seen each other a few times- once floating the Boise River together pre-children, once here in Virginia during newborn-phase, and then last summer in Boise in hardcore toddler/preschooler mode. Lindsay and I have several important things in common: she and her husband also have two boys, they also live in a small condo, and they are also from Idaho. 

As you know, we are forever trying to use our condo space more efficiently, and Lindsay and David's space is even smaller than ours. They are an inspiration! They make it look easy. 

Lindsay recently started her own blog, My Wild Idaho, chronicling her family's tales. I'm a fan. And I love the name. Read her post below, then read her blog, and then like her Facebook page!

She's also publishing one of my posts to her blog today so check it out here. Enjoy!


My husband and I are raising two young boys in 714 sqft. of space (plus a 12x8 storage unit). We love it and it’s challenging!

The background to this: When we got married we fell in love with a certain area in Boise, so we found a 450 sqft. basement apartment to rent. Neither of us owned much when we met, but moving into our tiny apartment required further downsizing. We loved our place but finally grew tired of living underground and “throwing our money away” on rent. We found a beautiful condo to buy in the area.  

            In the meantime, the economy tanked and we stumbled across a Dave Ramsey book. While we were already frugal, we started incorporating more of his financial advice into our lives. Living in our condo started out as a short-term plan but has become a longer-term plan. We changed our 30-year mortgage to a 15-year and have been making it work ever since.  Side note: condo living is not typical for most Idahoans. Idaho isn’t exactly short on space. Don’t tell anyone though. =)

How we make it work:
·         We are realistic about what we actually use and value.
·         We don’t frequent yard sales, thrift stores, store sales, or even Craigslist without a list.
·         Instead of storing unneeded items we sell them, donate them, or find a family that needs them more than we do.
·         We stay organized, using our space wisely.
·         We don’t own seasonal decorations other than Christmas ones, and we don’t own China dishes (or other lesser used items).
·         We get our light beige carpets professionally cleaned every year (very important to our sanity).
·         I do laundry often instead of buying lots of clothes.
·         We recently sold our TV (for many reasons) and made room for a play kitchen for the boys (the boys are playing with it/using it as a jungle gym right now.)
·         We have a queen blow-up mattress and complete bedding set stored under our bed. We can still accommodate those brave guests. =)
·         We even shop at Costco (an ever-increasing list)! (We just stagger the bigger purchases.)
·         We purge toys before Christmas/birthdays and keep only the boy’s favorites.
·         We purchase less and purchase smarter (quality over quantity).
·         We have a “give away” bag ready. When we don’t want an item it goes in the bag. Every couples of months we distribute the items where needed: thrift store, consignment, another family . . .
·         I use books to decorate. I already own them, I love them, and they have to go somewhere.
·         We practically live on our porch in the summer (Literally this summer. We plan to camp on it once in a while.)

Don’t get me wrong. We sometimes dream of an extra room, decorated in earth tones, where guests can stay, rest, drink the world’s best cup of coffee, and have great conversation (ha). We dream of a backyard where we can throw the boys the boys can play; where we can raise a puppy, build a tree house, grow a garden . . . (We do plan to grow some killer tomatoes on our porch again this summer). We dream of a big dining room where we can fill our family and friend’s bellies. A pantry. An extra freezer to participate in an organic beef share (Hello Scott Family). Maybe even a garage to park our car in (seems so extravagant!) and a desk to put our laptops (kitchen counter) and printer on (storage ottoman, not the most convenient to print something).

The benefits to small space living: It forces us to keep life simple; more family and friend time, fewer projects (all painting I did before having babies). No lawn to mow or yard to take care of. We have less space to heat, cool, clean, and decorate. It helps us value relationships and experiences more than what we do or don’t own. It also keeps us closely bonded, as we have no choice but to be in each other’s space. Our home is our haven.

~Related Posts: “Before” and “After” Photos.

Main living space
Different angle
Our bedroom
David and I share a standard size closet.
Boys' room
Boys' room 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My Facebook Tantrum

So here's the deal. Awhile ago I wrote this letter to Facebook on my blog. It was bold and I was happy that I wrote it, and I really meant what I said. I thought I would be done with Facebook other than as an avenue for sharing my blog posts. Then as I was trying to manage my personal profile page (I had to keep a profile page to keep my Whispers & Shouts page up) I found out that I had to "unfriend" every. single. friend. one at a time. Talk about way too many clicks and going back and clicking and going back. Stupid Facebook and its far-reaching clutches.

So I started it off and boldly was unfriending everyone in whatever random order Facebook put them in. It actually sucked because I like you people, but I really wanted a break from Facebook and so I thought this was the way I could do it. Plus, I'd already written that letter on my blog... But of course I couldn't do much clicking and selecting and going back and all that for long without going crazy looking at the screen and swearing at Facebook for being clingy and obnoxious and trying to rule the world. So I unfriended some people and then had no patience to unfriend anyone else. But I did take a nice break from Facebook for awhile.

Then I found myself wondering about certain friends and realizing they were people I had unfriended in my Facebook cleansing phase, but I truly do care about their lives and times. So here it is: I don't love Facebook and I like to fantasize about a pre-Facebook world, but I've now reluctantly come to grips with the fact that it works extremely well and in our world of knowing a lot of people and taking a lot of pictures and our habits of not picking up the phone and talking to someone, but instead perusing their FB profile, it is effective.

Anyway, I don't love it, and I don't love that so much bad and... unnatural can happen because of it, but I do like it and recognize that it is a valuable way to stay in touch with a lot of people. I'm just trying not to let my Facebooking take the place of real relationships. And to not spend much time on it unless there's something particular that I want to find out.

AND, there's this phenomenon that has developed in my life ever since I started writing this blog. I have friends who know a lot about me and my goings on, but whom I never hear from, I rarely call, and therefore I don't know anything about their lives. It has to stop! I need to be a better friend.

P.S. I've refriended quite a few people, but please don't hesitate to refriend me if you wish.  

Just for fun- Brian and me enjoying some quality literature

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thursday Thesicle

In a pinch, a slinky, the tube part of a toy stethoscope, a baseball hat, 
and two pieces of tape work as a football helmet.

(engineered entirely by Cal)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Yellowstone in January!

Today I had the best surprise I'd had in a long time. I accidentally found pictures from our summer road trip that I thought had been lost when my computer died! I thought all our pictures from Yellowstone and the ones from our three days in Denver had disappeared, but this morning a file window popped up and there they were!

240 pictures I thought I'd never get back!

So here are a few. I already shared some of the Denver ones here, and some from our Yellowstone cabin-stay here, but below are some Yellowstone ones I thought I'd lost.

Clark kissing a tree...I don't remember the story behind this.

And here's what happens when you do Yellowstone in a day.

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