Friday, November 1, 2013

Calvin & Hobbes

Right after Todd and I first got married, before Evie was even a twinkle in our eyes, I told Todd that someday I wanted to dress my kids up as Calvin and Hobbes for Halloween. This year, that dream came true. The girls were the perfect ages and colorings for their costumes. Evie, at 2.5 years old, loves jungle animals, so she was fine with being a tiger. We found an old Tigger costume at Goodwill for about two dollars that was only a half-size too small, and I bought some craft fur and basted it to the belly to cover the letters. The whole thing probably took an hour and a half to finish.

Elizabeth's costume was trickier. I was sure that a red and black striped shirt would be readily accessible. Just basic colors that every store will surely have at least one variation of, right? Ha! Boy, was I wrong! NOBODY carries them, apparently. Even online, nothing showed up. So I finally just bought a little red shirt and some ebony fabric paint. Using masking tape, I made thin black lines on the shirt. It wasn't perfect, but I was running out of time, and the imperfections aren't immediately obvious, so whatever. I managed to find some black pants and maroon shoes in her size at Walmart for only a few dollars each. I've been bemoaning the fact that my baby's hair is nigh unto invisible for months, so I decided to just gel the little blonde tufts so they would stand up like Calvin's. In an ironic twist of fate, her hair was actually too long, and so it just fell into stiff little curls on top of her head instead. Curses! All told, her costume took three days to complete (although, to be fair, most of that was taken up by letting the fabric paint dry overnight twice--once for each side.)

Instead of individual trick-or-treat bags, Todd and I wanted to reference one of Calvin's cardboard creations. Although the "transmogrifier" might have been more readily recognizable, we decided to go with the "duplicator." My rationale was this: we don't want to turn the candy into something else, we want to make more of it! Luckily for me, I happen to have Calvin & Hobbes font on my computer (thanks, Mom!), and what seems like billions of empty wipes boxes on their way to the dumpster, so I commandeered one. Twenty minutes later, we had our "duplicator."

In another stroke of luck, Todd's sister has a red wagon that she let us borrow. Ideally, I would have preferred one without the wooden guardrails, so as to be more authentic, but "don't look a gift horse in the mouth," and "beggars can't be choosers," and all that. Actually, this was a genius move on my part (not to toot my own horn or anything, except that this is my blog and I'll toot my own horn all I want)! I figured that, with two little girls under the age of three, their legs would probably get tired more quickly, and we'd either have to carry them or...pull them in a wagon! Ta-daa!

As for Todd and me, at the last minute we decided to go as Calvin's parents so as to complete the theme. Todd, with his dark hair and glasses, looks the part with practically no effort at all. All he had to do was put on a dress shirt, like he does every other weekday, and his costume was complete. I, on the other hand, needed a lot more work. I found a weird sweater shirt at Goodwill for a couple of dollars that looked perfectly out-of-fashion, and I already had old ballet flats. However, my hair proved impossible. My hairstyle was perfectly wrong so no matter how I styled it, it would look nothing like Calvin's mom's. Still, I looked for a temporary light brown hair dye, but it was sold out in ALL of the stores around here. Go figure! So I just gelled my hair back as best I could, and called it good enough.

The night before Halloween was the ward's Trunk-or-Treat activity. A lady in the ward was taking family pictures, but I haven't gotten them from her yet, so I'm just posting the ones from my camera.
While we were at the activity, it finally occurred to me that Evie, as a tiger, needed some whiskers! So I whipped out my eyeliner and quickly drew some lines on her face, just in time for the following pictures. Obviously, we were incapable of all looking in the same direction at the same time. *Rolls eyes.*
The photo-op was followed by the costume parade. I was gratified to see recognition and humor flash in about three people's eyes as we wheeled our girls around in a circle, and now I want to be friends with these people because they clearly have impeccable taste! Seriously, though, are these not the cutest little versions of Calvin and Hobbes you've ever seen in your life?
For some bizarre reason that I still can't fathom, I didn't have the same stroke of genius about Evie's whiskers on the actual night of Halloween. So for the entire night, she rode around bare-faced. But still adorable. We went trick-or-treating up in Thornton with Todd's brother Scott and his family, so half of these pictures were taken in their living room and the rest were from out on the sidewalk. And still not a single good picture of both of them! Apparently, my children cannot grasp the concept of holding still and looking at the camera long enough for Mommy to take a decent picture! So, instead, you get blurry shots of the cuteness.
And, of course, two-thirds of the way through the night, Elizabeth started getting really cold, so we wrapped her in her bear coat, and for the rest of the night, our girls were...tigers and bears, Oh My! But even though nobody really seemed to "get" our girls' costumes, I still felt a glimmer of smug superiority in knowing that my costume idea was really quite clever and it wasn't my fault that nobody else was enlightened enough to understand the reference. ;) Plus, we scored lots of treats and I got to collect the Mommy Tax, so all's well that ends well. Happy Halloween, my little Calvin and Hobbes!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Nightmare

Last night was apparently a bad one for our girls. Elizabeth wasn't feeling well and needed to snuggle with her Mommy for a couple of hours so she could sleep. Unfortunately, her stuffy nose made her snore, so I didn't get much sleep while she was in with us. When Todd put her back in her own bed, I was able to sleep for a few more hours before being awakened by a pitiful wail from Evie as she called my name. She sounded really upset, so I called her into our room, and pulled her into my side of the bed. She was crying, so I asked her what was wrong. She answered that I had left her and she didn't know where I was. It turns out that she'd had a bad dream and was still waking up from it. In this dream, I'd taken her somewhere she didn't know, then I'd gotten her out of the car and left her on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Then I'd driven off without her, and she'd tried to follow after me but she got lost. I told her that everything was alright, and that I was right there with her. Then she clutched tight to me and said, with tears streaming down her face, "Mommy, don't leave me this time!" Oh, my heart broke; it was the saddest thing I'd ever heard from my sweet little girl. I spent the next little while holding her tight to me while I assured her that I love her and will always be there for her if she needs me. I don't know where this little nightmare came from, but I hope she knows that I will never abandon her, and that I will always do my very best to keep her safe!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Granddad Visiting

A couple of days ago, on the 27th, my dad called me up to let me know he would have a long lay-over today. He works in North Dakota two weeks out of three, and the third week is spent at home in Idaho Falls. The Sundays book-ending his week off are spent flying to and from work, and the airport connecting the two legs of his flight is DIA. Since we only live about 45 minutes away, we've been pestering him for months, telling him to call us if he ever has a long lay-over so we could drive up and see him. If the lay-over is only an hour or two, it's not really worth it to call us because by the time we'd get to see him, we'd only get 5 or 10 minutes with him before he'd have to go back through security and get to his gate. But one week he had a four-hour lay-over and didn't think to call us until he got home, so I very sternly told him that if it ever happened again, he needed to call us and we would pretty much drop whatever else we were doing so we could come see him and bring him food. Well, this week, he finally took us up on our offer. He knew he was going to have a four-hour lay-over, so he called a couple of days in advance to let us know. We were all so excited! Evie knew that after her nursery class, we were going to see Granddad, and as soon as we got to the church building, she kept asking about seeing her Granddad so we had to remind her it was after her nursery class. After church, we went home and cooked some bacon. Then we gathered all of the makings for BLT's together into a bag and headed to the airport. We had a very excited Granddad waiting for us! We all exchanged big hugs, and sat down in the food court to hang out and chat. I started making sandwiches for everyone while my dad got us all drinks. After lunch was finished, my dad pulled out a bag of Reese's for the girls. He'd seen a Facebook status I'd posted about my girls being happy with chocolate around their mouths from eating some chocolate chip cookies that my visiting teacher had brought me. He thought that he wanted to contribute to chocolate-covered happiness and brought them some candy. I'm going to have to hide the bag from Todd, though: Reese's are his favorite and his eyes lit up when my dad pulled the bag out! I had so much fun just talking to my dad for a couple of hours and watching him interact with his grand-girls. We all really enjoyed our afternoon, and it was sad when the time came to say goodbye so he could head back through security. We're going to spend Christmas with my family this year, but I also hope we can see my dad again before then. This is probably the first time this has ever been written in the course of human history, but "Hooray for long lay-overs!"
Elizabeth was excited to show off her new skill of walking!
"Granddad gave me candy!"
Until recently, Evie was afraid of my dad because of his whiskers. But now, they're best buds!
I get so used to thinking of Evie as a "mini-me" of Todd that it was fun to see her looking so much like my dad!
"Peek-a-boo, Granddad!"
She's such a silly little girl!
I see you, baby!
Lately, Ella has been going through a Stranger-Danger phase and I was afraid she would scream when my dad picked her up. But she had no problem--especially after he gave her things to play with!
I think his beard tickled her head, though. :)
In fact, at one point Todd and I both left for a minute, and Elizabeth didn't even notice we were gone! She was too happy spending time with her Granddad.
I'm pretty sure the feeling is mutual, kid.
I laugh at all of the different expressions!
My dad and Evie both have really infectious laughs, so they kept setting each other off all afternoon!
When it was time to go, both girls wanted to walk with Granddad. I don't think he was complaining!
Evie was ready to go, but Ella's legs are only so long...
Daddy grabbed her other hand to help hurry her along, which led to swinging! Whee!
This would be almost a perfect picture if I hadn't accidentally cut off my dad's head...Oops!
Since Ella was having so much fun being swung by Daddy and Granddad, Evie tried to "swing" herself on Granddad's other side. After taking this picture, I put my camera away and took her other hand so she could swing too.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sleeping Cuties

When I was going through photos and trying to put together the girls' photo books, I realized that I had lots of pictures of Evie sleeping in various silly poses. Todd and I have always known and joked about the fact that Evie likes to sleep with her face (and sometimes only her face) covered. I just hadn't realized that I had taken quite so many pictures of her funny sleeping habits.
This was the first silly sleeping picture I ever took of her, and it's still one of my favorites!
As long as something is covering her face, it doesn't matter what it is...
...blanket, giraffe, whatever!
Once she learned how to roll onto her tummy, she never went back.
It looks a little like she made herself a nest of stuffed animals.
I really love these "sleeping sitting up" shots.
Maybe we should get her a pillow...
This one was at my parents' house right after Christmas.
These were all taken before Evie's 1st birthday. After that, her sleep-time antics got a lot more sporadic, although they did still happen occasionally:
Where's Evie? Hint: look for her toes.
Later that same day, she fell asleep on the floor next to her bed.
This is that same nap, just from a different perspective.
She got put in the Pack n' Play when she was in trouble, and promptly fell asleep.
After a hard morning of playing with her new toys, it suddenly got really quiet and it took me several minutes to find her.
Once Elizabeth was born, we thought she'd sleep more normally than her sister. Then, after a few months, we found out that she is related to her sister after all!
She's sleeping like a champ!
Baby of the Opera
My girlies win the gold medal for synchronized sleeping.




The girls often fall asleep in the car together, and they're usually in symmetrical positions: Elizabeth will be leaning to the right with her left hand on her knee, and Evie will be a mirror image. It's also really fun when they're in exactly the same pose, but I keep forgetting to snag pictures. Anyway, if I find any more silly sleeping pictures, I'll make sure to post them!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ella's First Steps!

Last night, my baby took her very first steps! Todd had an outdoor concert gig with the other members of the Aurora Symphony Brass Quintet, and we went to support him and listen to the music. The group that was hosting the performance had free ice cream available for all the attendees, and they also brought around chocolate chip cookies to all of the kids in the audience. I had unfolded our chairs and folded up the double stroller with the wheels up so they could spin freely. After finishing her cookie, Evie got off of her chair and started spinning the wheels. Elizabeth, who was sitting on my lap munching her cookie, saw how much fun her sister was having and squirmed off of my lap. She's been able to stand unsupported for quite a while now, and she's been flirting with the idea of taking steps for almost as long, but she hadn't quit done it yet. Until now, of course! After standing still for a moment, clutching part of her cookie in each hand, as she watched Evie playing, she hesitantly took a few steps toward the spinning wheel.
video
video
I've been getting antsy about Elizabeth meeting this huge milestone. I knew (or at least hoped) that it would be soon, but I've also been worried that I would miss it. I've tried everything I could think of to encourage her to take that first big step (pun not intended...very much!) and to ensure that it would happen when both Todd and I were around to witness it, but I knew it would happen when Elizabeth decided it was finally time. I'm very glad that, not only was I able to witness this huge event, but also get it on video! Todd was able to see it too from his place on the stage, and I know he played especially in her honor for the rest of the night. After all, Elizabeth's first steps did happen when she was ready. I guess all it took was a little girl not wanting to get her cookie dirty on her way to play!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Auto-Bituary

Baxter Accord Honda, aged 24, died August 13, 2013. Cause of death was determined to be Part Failure.
Baxter was born in 1989 in Marysville, Ohio at the Marysville Auto Plant. He lived a very full life for 20 years before moving to Provo, Utah to be employed by the Jacobs Family in October 2009. Two years later, he moved with the family to Colorado, where he continued his employment until his death.
He is survived by his employers, the Jacobs Family, and his neice, Circe Odyssey Honda.
His employer, Jessica, wrote: "He was a crotchety old curmudgeon, but he was such an important part of our lives that it is hard to see him go!"
A service was held at 9:49 on Tuesday morning at his home in Centennial, Colorado.
1st Class Towing was in charge of burial arrangements.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Family Wedding

Yesterday, my brother got married, and I was able to attend! Like I mentioned in my last post, my parents flew us out for the weekend, and I enjoyed every moment of it! On Friday, we went to lunch at Red Robin to celebrate my parents' birthdays, and it was so much fun to just sit around a table and talk and laugh with my family. Then, on Saturday, it was time to get ready for the wedding. Hailey, my sister, and I spent a couple of hours getting our hair and makeup done. We dressed up my girls in their cute birthday dresses, and we went to the venue to set up. My brother got married on the bank of the Snake River, just across the bridge from the temple.
Their wedding colors were blue and purple, so Todd and I bought them two sets of bath towels while all of the final arrangements were being made. We made it back in time to finish setting up chairs and arranging family members as they arrived. There were several hiccups in the proceedings, but my brother and his new wife looked happy, and they even had tears in their eyes as they exchanged their wedding vows. Directly after the ceremony was their reception. We stood in a group for pictures, and then we watched them cut their cake.
Sorry, this is pretty much the only picture I took all day because of all of the running around we did. Directly in front of me is my sister, Hailey, with her cute new haircut, and Todd holding Elizabeth.
My mom had provided really fun refreshments--purple cupcakes, lemonade, and mini cups of Skittles--and had covered the tables with blue tablecloths and really pretty centerpieces made of little fish bowls filled with blue and purple glass rocks. She really did a great job of making everything nice for them! After the reception, we all went out to dinner at Applebee's with my aunt and uncle who had come from out of town. That was really fun too! (I'm sure it's obvious by now, but I really enjoy being around my family!) Then, they headed back to Utah, and we headed home. Hailey, Elizabeth and I rode in my mom's car while my dad took Todd and Evie in his truck. We got home and waited for awhile before the others got there.
It turns out that they had swung by the temple on the way home so Evie could take a look at it, which I actually really appreciated. For several months now, we've been explaining to her that the temple is a very special place where Heavenly Father wants us to get married. She's been thrilled with the temple ever since, always pointing it out in our wedding pictures and asking to drive past it. So a few weeks ago, when we told Evie that her Uncle Scott was getting married, she got really excited, and when she saw him she happily exclaimed that she was glad he was getting married in the temple, where Heavenly Father wanted him to. Since he actually wasn't getting married in the temple, I really hope she didn't offend him. But, at the same time, I want her to associate marriage with the temple. When she thinks about getting married herself, I want her first, automatic, reaction to be that she wants to be married in one of God's temples. So even though the actual wedding didn't happen in the temple yesterday, I'm glad that Todd and my dad drove her past it, just to help cement in her mind the idea that marriage and the temple should always go together.
Early this morning, my dad flew back to North Dakota for work, and we followed him to the airport a few hours later, after attending church with my mom. Our flight went well--Evie fell asleep, and Ella spent the whole time playing with me--and we landed safely. However, when we were walking through the airport, something strange happened. I had gone into the bathroom to fix my hair and when I came back, I took Elizabeth from Todd so he could grab his suitcase again. All of a sudden, a lady came up to me, gestured to Elizabeth, and said, "I know this is going to sound crazy, but I have a really strong feeling I need to tell you something. Someday, this baby girl will grow up to do great things!" We thanked her and she walked away, but it was definitely strange. I'm sure my kids will grow up to be amazing women who can do anything they put their minds to, but it was a little weird hearing a stranger say it. Of course, I'm also feeling a little weird anyway. We hadn't even gotten onto the airplane yet, and I already missed my family. One weekend wasn't quite long enough for me to soak up all of the family time I needed, and I'm already looking forward to Christmas, when I get to spend an entire week with them!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Evie's Big Adventure

My brother is getting married tomorrow. Unfortunately, he didn't tell us he was getting married until after Todd had already requested all of his time off of work, so we didn't think we were going to be able to make it. Then, a miracle happened and my parents offered to fly us out for the weekend so we could attend my brother's wedding! For the last several months, Evie's been obsessed with airplanes. Todd works close to a little airport, so every time we drop him off or pick him up, Evie points at the sky and says "Look! Do you see the airplane?" Her vision and hearing are obviously much sharper than ours because she can identify a nearby plane well before it's close enough for either of us to see or hear it. She loves seeing airplanes in movies or pictures, too. Pretty much, if there is anything remotely related to airplanes, Evie is enchanted. So when we told her that we were going to get to ride on an airplane ourselves, her whole life focused onto that one event. Yesterday, Evie finally had the best adventure of her life so far: she got to ride on the airplane!
We picked up Todd from work yesterday, and we drove straight to the airport. We found a spot in the parking lot and then hitched a ride on the shuttle to the terminal. Evie is also a fan of "The Magic School Bus," so when we were waiting for the shuttle to pick us up, she was so excited about riding on the "magic bus!" Then we walked through the terminal, through security, and to the train that runs to the concourses. When we got onto the train, Evie held onto the pole and I crouched down next to her and wrapped my arms around her and the pole so she wouldn't fall over. The train runs really fast, so Evie had a mask of terror mixed with excitement plastered onto her face. Once we got to our concourse, we had a long walk before we made it to our gate. Fortunately, they have the moving sidewalks to help speed things along. Evie almost fell down the first time she stepped onto the sidewalk, and again when she stepped off. There were three of them, though, so by the end she was stepping on and off of the sidewalk like an old pro! When we got to our gate, Evie gave the man her ticket and walked onto the airplane. I had loaded my I-pod with movies for her to watch, in case taking off and landing were too scary for her, but it turns out that I needn't have bothered: from the time we got to our seats until we landed, Evie's nose was glued to her window. She excitedly pointed out everything she saw, including trees, clouds, and even "the Idaho." We walked off of the airplane and pretty much straight into my parents' arms; they were very eager to snuggle and kiss our sweet girls, and Evie was very eager to tell them everything she'd seen and done all day! I'm thinking her airplane ride was a huge hit!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mom-mobile

Let me tell you a little story. About a year and a half ago, when I was only a few weeks pregnant with Elizabeth, Evie and I went to the Parade of Lights with my brother-and-sister-in-law. While we were driving downtown, we passed a gorgeous ocean-blue Mustang. My first thought was "Ooh! I'd like to have a car like that!" Then the rest of my brain shouted "NO! That car is pretty, sure, but it's going to be bouncy, loud, and a little cramped. Really, what I want is something that's large enough to provide a smooth and quiet ride, and with enough room to grow our family. I want a MINIVAN!" It was a weird moment because I'd always sworn that I would never own a "tacky minivan," and here I was, not quite 22 years old, and daydreaming about one. I'd never felt so old in my entire life!

Granted, that story seems a little random. But, six days ago was my fourth wedding anniversary, and my husband gave me the very best anniversary gift ever: he gave me a new car! Baxter, our old car, has been breaking down regularly for the last couple of years. There's a short somewhere in the starter wiring, so about 60% of the time, the car doesn't start when I turn the key. Instead, we get to push-start the car to get it going. Fortunately, we live on a slight hill, so I can usually leave the house when I need to. Unfortunately, it's a lot harder to start rolling in a flat parking lot. I've been getting more and more fed up as time has gone by, and so has Todd. He's really pretty good at fixing whatever goes wrong, but no matter how many times he's replaced the starter and alternator, it never did any good. Enough was finally enough. I was half-joking (okay, I was really only 25% joking) about shopping online for a new car, and Todd finally agreed.

We had already been discussing what kind of car we'd want to buy someday and Todd finally caved to my desire for a minivan. I reminded him that we were planning on have two more babies within the last five years, and I only wanted to have to buy one car and it had to have enough room for all of our kids. I'd been doing research about safety measures and special features on different minivans, and the consensus was pretty much that the Honda Odyssey was the safest/most affordable combination on the market. In a dealership only a couple of miles away, I found a shiny red 2002 Honda Odyssey. I took the girls for a test drive and when Todd got home from work, he and his brother went on another test drive. A couple of days later, after getting all of the paperwork hassle done, we drove away in our brand-new (to us) car!

I'll admit it, I'm one of those weirdos who name their cars. ;) Our 1989 Honda Accord was as old as I was, clanky and rusty. The personality seemed like that of a cranky old man, and the name Baxter just fit. The minivan, a 2002 Honda Odyssey, has an entirely different vibe. For what should be obvious reasons, I delved into my memories of Homer's Odyssey for a name and came up with Circe the witch, because she's my magical new car: bewitching and just a little seductive glinting in the sunshine! I refer to her as a "hot mama" car: she's no longer young, but she's still sassy! Besides, look at all of these magical buttons and knobs!


We have working air conditioning! And it can be adjusted to any specific temperature. Cool, right? ;)
With the touch of a single button, I can automatically open or close each of the girls' sliding doors.
On my steering wheel, I've got buttons so I can change the radio station and affect the volume with just my thumb.
Look! A place to keep my sunglasses!
The middle row of seats can be put together as a bench, or separated into captains chairs. The back row can be folded down into the floor to yield a huge cargo area. So we will have plenty of space for all of our beloved babies!
We bought Elizabeth a cute new booster car seat, the Graco Argos 70 Eliza seat. (Eliza for Elizabeth. Get it? I thought so.)
Evie inherited an old used car seat from her Tia. Someday, I'll get her a nice new one. Someday.
Isn't she gorgeous? She's higher up than my old car, so I feel like the Queen of the Road every time I drive her. And the best part? She starts every time I turn the key! Happy Anniversary, my love, and thank you for the beautiful gift!