Monday, February 21, 2011

My Proudest Moment, Like, Ever.

Eleanor loves this book called Rotten Ralph's Rotten Romance. It's so random. I bought it years ago at the Provo library for a quarter. She like it because every picture has a thousand little things happening in the background, like a little mouse driving a car, ants on a windowsill or a lizard on a tree. She points them all out or we ask her to find them and we all have a good time.

Well, like any book that any parent has read eight thousand times, I get bored with it. So to make myself laugh I ask her things like "Who turned off the water?" or "What does the spider say?" Well, I shouldn't be surprised that one night when Clayton was reading the book and I casually throw out "What does the spider say?" she responded with what I always tell her. Which is here in the video.

Yep. The spider says "I'm Evil." I'm so glad she knows this. I am a really awesome parent!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day! 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!
About two months ago I took a bunch of pictures of Eleanor to stage her Valentine's day card. I saw the idea last year on this blog, but Eleanor was too little to try it out, so we've been waiting patiently for her to be big enough to pose it. She is still a little small, the only way I could get her to hold out the lollipop is by asking for a lick. And I would really have to lick it each time, otherwise she would stop offering it. A lot of the shots were fuzzy. You need the hand holding the lollipop to be close to the camera, so a lot of these didn't work. Here were some of the best.

Fun fact: I made this little dress for Allie and now it's been handed down to Eleanor. Which is good, since I've made barely anything for her. Poor girl, well, not really.

After the photos were taken, I played with them on Picnik.
Which is like mini-photoshop for free.
This Valentine has made the rounds again this year on all of the blogs, so you will probably be seeing it from a few different people.

Here is the finished product! We still have a bunch more to hand out a playgroup this week.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Chicago 2011!

January 21st we drove down to Chicago for the weekend. Our friends the Woods went too. We stayed at a great hotel right downtown and were within walking distance of all the fun shops on the Magnificent Mile. I thought I had packed mittens for Eleanor, but found that the ball in her coat pocket was actually a pair of socks. While those worked, she wouldn't keep them on. So we bought her a darling pair on clearance at the Gap. She loved those, but of course, wouldn't keep them on either. Oh good. 9 degrees out and she is not only gloveless but sucking on her fingers.
That should help with frostbite.
We persevered in keeping her warm but she seems irritated and confused by the cold. I don't blame her. Luckily we ducked in and out of stores our first night there.
The hotel was so fun. She spent a good half hour looking around every nook and cranny of our new "home". She also thought jumping on the bed was a hoot.
The reason we went to Chicago was to see Wicked. Clayton surprised me with tickets for Christmas! The Woods would watch Eleanor while we did that, so we watched their little one while they went out to dinner and a show the first night. Benson is sooo stinking cute. He and Eleanor played really well together. He would crawl around after her where ever she went. Then she would proceed to maul him with hugs or whatnot.
He's so cute!
Luckily I kept a real close eye on him, and if he did anything dangerous or gross, like say... suck on a knob of a hotel dresser, I was right there to take a picture. Sorry Mandy!The next "morning" (I use the term loosely, we aren't the earliest of risers.) we all went to breakfast at this place called Yolk. Oh my gosh, it was amazing!
Here is little E sucking on some bacon.
This would be my spread. Like, all of it. I only ordered the eggs hollandaise and a banana/nutella crepe, but I seemed to have ended up with about thirty sides.
Eleanor helped as best she could.
Benson enjoyed bananas.
Later that day we got to go see our musical! Here is Clayton, what a good sport!
And big ol' me! Would you like to know that I have been pregnant each and every time we have visited Chicago together?
I was so excited! I read the book about ten years ago and have had the soundtrack for at least 5 years. So I was very
ready to finally see this show!
It was incredible! There was enough different from the book and enough left off of the soundtrack to give me a few surprises in the storyline. I loved it and Clayton enjoyed it too.
Musicals aren't really his thing.

Back at the hotel, Eleanor had ways of keeping occupied. Like wearing daddy's shoes while watching Mickey Mouse Club House.
Her awesome "smile".
And then trying on mom's shoes for a more feminine look.
Benson, being as cute as ever.
That night we went out for awesome food: pasta, Italian beef sandwiches, sushi, cheesecake and of course chicken nuggets. We played cards at the hotel room and Mandy introduced me to mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Have you tried them yet? The new teeny tiny ones? They're awesome! No wrappers! A better chocolate to peanut butter ratio! Sooo goood! Moving on.

Eleanor enjoyed playing with her Christmas toys Woody and Jesse while we checked out of the hotel.
And we finally managed to get a group shot right before we left. It was sooo much fun!
P.S. Clayton finally got to see his all time favorite piece of art. Picasso's The Old Guitarist. We've tried twice before to see it at the Art Institute of Chicago, but once it was on loan and once they were renovating the modern wing. Third time's a charm!
P.S. #2. I use "sooo" a few too many times in this post, but I really mean it!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Daily Eleanor Bits

Almost caught up! I know, right? Today's post is just a few cute shots of Eleanor. Our local grocery store is Meijers. It has two big draws for Eleanor, the giant wall of fish tanks and Sandy the mechanical horse. I try to avoid the fish tank for as long as I can, otherwise we will be stuck there for an hour or more. My brilliant idea is for them to have an attendant and a few leashes tied to the wall. You can check in your kid for a $2 an hour or something, tie them to the fish wall and go finish your shopping. Everyone is happy, right? Well, we do ok avoiding the fish wall until the end of our trip and if we make it that far, and if Eleanor is good, and if we happen to pass it, we go for a ride on Sandy. Sandy cost 1¢. A penny for a ride! And I love that good Samaritans leave pennies there so you rarely even have to scrounge in your purse for ten minutes to find one.

Here she is riding Sandy at the end of a recent shopping trip.
See how ecstatic 1¢ makes her? Money can buy happiness. Lately, our only reason to go to the grocery store is to buy more brownie supplies. Eleanor is at a fun "helping" age. She likes to pour and stir, but mostly to taste. I was all "No, no- raw eggs!" for about a minute before I figured, "Eh".
Notice she has both spatulas? I give her a little one to help but she quickly commandeers both.
And it's totally worth it. Look at her!
P.S. Any treats made by me lately may or may not have Eleanor germs. They bake out, right?
And here are a few video clips of Eleanor counting. She can count up past 15, sort of, six gets back in the mix after 13, but she can do a solid one to ten if you aren't holding a camera. Durr. This rambles a bit, so it's mainly for me and the grandparents. Eleanor is very into arranging things right now. She will take a handful or armful of similar toys and line them up in different rooms throughout the house. Here she is with her bath ducks and frogs. I just noticed she is arranging them by color then species in this video. Ahh, a little biologist. Or maybe a future compulsive hoarder or something.

This is on a different day with different "toys". Not sure why we chill so much in our bathroom. Hmm. Anyhow, I vow to get her counting to ten on video someday!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

The Last of Utah

Would you believe this is the last post about our Utah trip? Good mother I am awful at blogging. Well, we had a lot of snow while we were there. Little E made her first big outing into it while at my brother's house. Tom and Allie were out shoveling and Eleanor wanted to help.

Here she is all bundled up. You probably can't see in this picture, but the gloves she had on don't have thumb sections, they are basically a glorified sock and it confuses her to no end. This proves to be a problem later on.
The girls working hard. I don't know if you can see Tom on the porch, but he is wearing his usual snow gear of a t-shirt and shorts. Half the time he is in flip-flops as well, but it was pretty deep out there.
After wielding the heavy metal garden-spade, we traded E for a nice plastic broom.
Soon after this she went exploring. I could follow her by the trail of hats and gloves she left behind. She got way over on the far lawn and fell down- hands first. Being only one, she didn't quite know how to right herself so she was stuck there with her hands in the snow. I quickly went to help her out and in scooping her up I did this.
Yep. Scratched her poor, sweet little face. The band-aid stayed on for all of two minutes and she now has a little scar nearly two months later. Good job, Marianne.
One of the best things we did in Utah was go to a matinee of Tangled. I was a little unsure how she would do for two hours at a movie, but oh my gosh. She freaking loved every second of it. She didn't blink the whole time. She sat perfectly on my lap or standing, clutching the seat in front of her the entire movie. It was a hit. It made me deliriously happy to watch her watching it for some reason.
Our long visit was sadly at an end all too soon. This next picture makes me teary if I look at it too long. Little E with both sets of grandparents. She is one loved little girl!
This last picture was taken when we were back in Michigan. I had to include it to show what an amazing hair-dresser I am. I butchered sweet E's bangs on accident. To be fair, it is very hard to cut hair to start with, I have no training and she is a wiggly one year old. See the above photo for comparison. I was upset at first, but luckily she is cute enough to pull it off á la Gidget, and it has given me more time between trims- so we might be seeing this look more often. It's only a matter of time before I break out the bowl.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

It Was A Party, I'm Telling You

Still catching up folks. But guess what? This post at least brings us into 2011! Go Team Venture! Speaking of Team Venture, guess what we did again? We bought each other the exact same present for Christmas. Seasons of the Venture Brothers.
Are we just the world's truest soul mates, or just highly practical? I like to think we are just made for each other because we are so practical. We both got one another other things too, but I had to laugh Christmas morning when the super-great present I picked for him was rendered moot. Again. We did this a few years back when we both got each other Wii systems. This was the year they were impossible to get. I went through Hades and back to find one then made a big show of pretending he wouldn't get one. I never thought he'd believed me as I'm a terrible liar. When his friend called him saying a store he was at had some, he rushed over and the rest is history. I refer to it as "the reverse gift of the Magi".

Where was I? Oh yeah- this holiday season. So! A few days after Christmas we traveled down to Cedar City to visit our friends Ann & E.Jay. They were our first (and some of our best) friends in Michigan. We were so sad to lose them this past year. Stupid graduating. The only upside is that we moved into their old apartment. I wish I could keep it as clean as Ann did. Oh well. Here is a group shot of us at their current place down in Southern Utah. E.Jay was taking the picture, so he isn't in it. Also- I stole a few of these from Ann's blog. Thanks!
Their girls still have a special spot for Clayton, and vice versa.
I miss Jazzy's cuddling. She is such a doll.
We had such a great time there, I wish we could have stayed for a month. One night we threw all the girls in together for bath time. I love this picture for Eleanor's "smile". Yeah, I'm not sure what is up with her, but it is showing up more and more often.
Here is another of her "smiling".
Finally I had to say "Show me your teeth!" and it got them all to smile together. Such cuties! They had a freaking blast playing together. This makes me miss them all the more!
We were able to stay at E.Jay's parent's bed and breakfast. It was sooo wonderful! They live downstairs with their sweet little dog. Eleanor wanted nothing more in life than to chase this little dog around. Look at her happy face in this picture!
And here! When it was time to leave she kept saying "T'mon doggy. T'mon doggy." When the dog (Missy?) wouldn't go she grabbed both her ears and started to pull. Whoops. Luckily this is a dog that is used to extra toddler loving.
Look at our adorable room!
It even had a nook! It was so fun to stay in such a pretty place. If you are headed to Cedar for any reason, definitely look them up. They are called Cherished Memories.
Here are Clayton and Eleanor outside.
Back in Utah Valley, we got to celebrate Clayton's 30th birthday! His official present was tickets to the Lions/Patriots game back on Thanksgiving, so we just went out with family for his birthday. Actually, we had planned on a big get together with about 16 people at the restaurant, but we had a crazy snow storm that day. We ended up with just his parents, my brother Tom, his wife Jenni and their daughter Megan. We still had a great time and an amazing meal.
Ichibans is probably our favorite sushi place in Salt Lake City. Even if you aren't into sushi- they just have incredible food. Look at our pretty rolls.
We are all so happy Clayton is in his thirties!
Embarrassingly, I kind of forgot to make him a decent cake. Luckily Jenni had a spice cake mix that we whipped up last minute for him. Poor Clayton. He often likes to play the "my birthday sucks" card. He claims his family always forgot with it being so close to Christmas and New Years. Sadly I can empathize with his mother, it is SO easy to forget! You are just barely getting over all the Christmas whatnot and it hits you- "Oh Crap! His birthday!" It sneaks up on you. I haven't forgotten yet, but this year wasn't quite what I had meant it to be either. Um, I love you Clayton.
That night we played games and things got intense. My friend Julie introduced us to a game where the only goal is not to lose. No one cares who wins, as before each round starts everyone agrees on a dare that the loser has to do. And it has to be serious, like strike real terror into your heart. It's crazy-fun as you think up these awful things because, hey- there is NO way YOU are going to lose. Then it gets close and you start to sweat. Then you lose and you have someone drawing a star on your head in permanent Sharpie. Or you now have to drink 8 ounces of pickle juice. Or you have to go roll around in the snow in your shorts. Or make an embarrassing phone call to your confused uncle telling him that the crepes he wants to serve at reunion give you gas, only you can't laugh and let him in on the joke etc etc... (All real dares btw.)
The very next night we got to party some more! Jenni's sister Kristy and her husband Jason throw a killer NYE party. They have it catered by Chilis. Um hello awesome. They throw it at Tom & Jenni's house for the central location for all of their families. Here are Kristy & Jason and part of the sweet spread.
The Smarts brought the freaking funnest game called Just Dance. Do you have it? Can we borrow it? Clayton was a good sport and joined a round or two. Little Allie is in the green shirt next to him. She was hilarious to watch.
She tried so hard but was always about 2 beats behind, which was adorable, but hey, she's 4. I also love little Abby K in the blue shirt. She is a bit of a dancer, and I love how "into it" she gets.

People played this for hours.
While downstairs was devoted to good old Rock Band. Clayton can get 100% on dozens of songs on expert. Not sure why he isn't in the ward choir.
Yeah, I'm pretty awesome on the drums. I can do, like, medium on some songs.
Megan is of course an expert. And isn't she just so cute?
Look at me on the bass!
After the countdown. Eleanor was out around 9. We didn't want to push it with her. Sadly back in Michigan, we are still on Utah-time a whole month plus later. For example, tonight she went down at 11 PM. Her doctors office changed her recent appointment to next Wednesday at 7:45 AM. I thought they were joking. We haven't been awake before 9 AM in weeks. Ugh.
Mother of the year! Who's with me?!
Still to blog? Um, lots I think. The last of our Utah trip and our recent trip to Chicago! And more of me being pregnant! Get excited folks!

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