Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Who doesn't love Melissa and Doug's Toys!

Amazing give away, don't miss it!

Okay, you read it folks, seriously, go check it out. If you know anything about kids toys today, you know what I mean when I say, Melissa and Doug make the most AMAZING toys. Every time I go down to the Toy Factory, and see something awesome, inevitably it ends up being something they've made. Once again, they have proven themselves to be the coolest. I would love to have that suitcase for my kids.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Christmas season at the Carleski House

Here are a few pictures of what our house looked like around the holidays. This year was especially neat because we cut our tree down from our own property. At first I thought it looked a bit 'Charlie Brown Christmas' to me, but I quite liked it once it was all dressed up.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Titanic Cake

It rolled around to being that time of year again. Time for FP to request some out of this world idea for a cake. Honestly, I knew this one was coming almost all year. Anyone who knows Frog Prince knows that there are two great loves in his life, frogs and the RMS Titanic. So without further ado. FP's seventh birthday cake.

Not nearly as well put together as the Mach 5, but considering it took me all of a half an hour total to make, colour, and lay the fondant, and I had to recook all of the cake twice, I will take what I can get. I can only imagine what I will have to create next... oh wait I don't, Boy has asked for a Winnie the Pooh cake for his third birthday.

Stats: Three 9x13 cakes, four tubs of butter cream frosting to rough ice it, and over two lbs of marshmallow fondant.

Not sure how I skipped over it...

But I did, so here are some pictures for FP and Sheepie's class trip the the pumpkin patch back in Oct. The First and Kinder class went together so it was a double treat for me to be with both of my sweet big boys

And totally unrelated but too cute to not be shared is this video in which Boy tells the story of the Bear Monsters and why he has orange finger and toe nails ( the real reason was Civil war). Enjoy!

November: A me-centric kind of month

November always seems to be very Katie-centric around our house and this last one was no exception. Many awesome things happened that I am glad to have experienced. For the sixth year in a row now I took part in NANOWRIMO, and actually managed to pump out 50,000+ words in less than thirty days. I am always excited to do it and never know what I will be writing about until the night or so before it starts. This years story premise was certainly influenced by the copious amounts of NCIS hubby and I watched while he was recovering. Basically, it was the story of a CFO's wife being kidnapped in exchange for him helping them steal huge amounts of money from his firm, and his attempts to get her back. Y'know...

The real treat for me this November was getting to attend my first Time Out for Women conference. I have never gone before because I didn't want to pay the admission cost, but this year the tickets came as quite a treat. A friend of Ann Sherry's daughter had three extra tickets that ended up not being able to be used. My best guess from here is that she offered them to Ann's daughter thinking maybe she'd like to come down from WA to visit. When she couldn't use them she must have offered them to Ann and from there Ann called me and two other ladies to see if we'd like them. Complicated? A bit, but totally worth it. I called another one of the ladies, Robyn, who was going, to see if she wanted to car pool and stay the night in Portland at my mom's house so we could go to both sessions. It was so fun to get to know her better, as we've always been friends through friends. I had a great weekend with her though! The speakers were amazing. I was particularly touched by the story of this amazing lady, Miriama Kallon.

Miriama and me during a break...glad to have had a chance to hug and meet such an inspiring woman!

Now, if you are Mormon and you don't know who Hilary Weeks is, I have to ask if you've had your head in a hole for years? If you're not Mormon, then it's totally understandable and I will explain. She is an amazing singer/songwriter who I love to listen to. She has written one of the two songs that I listen to time and time again when I need a bit of encouragement and a reminder of why I do what I do in life. What an unbelievably awesome treat to get to see her perform it live.

I pulled out my cell and decided to record her, but since I was sitting too far for a decent video I grabbed one of a big screen near me. Watch it if you'd like, but it was mostly for me. My only regret of the weekend, as you will understand from the pictures, is not having a camera with me. My phone doesn't stabilize well, and so most of the pictures were very blurry. But. one of my favourite quotes holds true: The best kind of camera is the one you have with you.

Hilary Weeks and me right before she went back on stage to preform. Love it!

And finally, here is one with some of the lovely ladies I know that Robyn and I ran into while there. I swear I saw so many people I know from all over the place there. It was wonderful!

Dea T., Robyn B., me, Ann H.

November also brought the birth of the blackberry tree forts. The kids had a little cave in some of the blackberries that run through the tree row on one side of our property. One day I went out and majorly went to town with the clippers and made them a long set of tunnels and rooms, and then we took some lumber and built some ladders and lashed some seats in the trees, so that they could spy on pirates and monsters coming to attack the fort. That is how little boys are meant to play my friends!

November was also the month that anyone with in earshot of me got to listen to how people need to get out and exercise their civic right and duty to vote. I'm a big believer in voting and being informed on the political affairs of our nation, states, and communities. So when it's November, I will be making sure you've done your duty (or telling you if you don't you have no right to complain!)

Goob decided to really leave his baby ways behind in November and started toying with the idea of walking. It still didn't happen really for another few weeks but he was well on his way.

The boys found my little brothers old trombone in the garage one day. It was too cute!

And while I could post an entire post about it, I will just mention that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out in November and it was A-MAZ-ING. That is all.

I celebrated my 28th birthday on the 15th and was treated lovely by all around me. I think my birthday was on a Sunday this year, and truth be told I can't remember exactly what we did, but I remember feeling very loved.

Some of my birthday goodies included crocheting supplies for a projected I wanted to do, Kermit (swoon) Yahtzee, and a gift card to Pier 1, where I bought this lovely wall hanging.

The month wrapped up with Thanksgiving, and along with that came Sheepie's pilgrim feast in class. they make great little pilgrims.
He wore that hat around for days!
Sheepie and his best friend Avonleigh... Said it once; will say it again. Wouldn't they make the cutest little grand babies for me ever!

Well, I know that was a LONG update; way to keep up. I think I will do a couple for December, since there is much Christmas stuff to post and then, oh yes, then we will be caught up!

Ohhh October, you sly dog you!

Aren't these the most witty titles you've ever seen? I sure think so. ;)

I know I blamed Facebook for taking me away from my blog, but my goodness, at least I was keeping up on that social media black hole, because it has been instrumental in my remembering what went on in our lives for the last few months. Whew!

October brought a whole new dark and sticky chapter to our lives around here. ( In just a minute you will realise that's a play on words, hehe. I know, the wittiness amazes even me at times!) Right around the first week of this lovely Autumn month Boy decided that he wanted to explore the world of art in the worst possible way; Poop Painting. Having been potty trained I didn't think this would be a problem. Sure, he was still not pooping in the loo, but I figured it was because it was a big scary hole in which he could easily fall, and that is daunting at two. It didn't seem a problem since he was only pooping during his sleep while still safely diapered. Until the painting began. It was prolific the amount of dark and sticky stuff that could come from such a sweet and small boy, but it happened and it happend often. It went through Oct. and November; straight through December and thankfully now in January when he is regularly taking himself to the bathroom to do his pooping it has FINALLY seemed to have tapered off. We tried everything from timeouts to cold showers, spankings (not my finest moment) to throwing away the stuff he pooped on. I think what finally turned the tide was making him scrub the stuff himself. He has only had to do that twice and we haven't had problems since. It has been nice to finally put his room back together, as stuff was packed away for fear of a stinky situation.

On a completely different front October also brought one of my favourite activities, Canning! This year we only did some apples (compliments of the Apple family) because we had no garden minus a few potted things I had while we were in the apartment.

The charming Mr. C continued to recover through October and by the end of the month was up and hobbling around in his boot like the best of them. He was so very very glad to be done with the entire ordeal.

I also managed to find time to dig a flower bed along the front walk way of our house and get bulbs in the ground for the spring before it became too cold. While our has is LOVELY and the property is amazing, it is really stretching my imagination to figure out how to landscape it because the entire thing is just a giant empty field all around us. Hopefully, the flowers will bring so needed colour in the spring.

We also learned the other 'perk' to living in a country field was the seemingly endless supply of mice. We had quite an adventure here starting around October when it seemed no matter what we tried we were catching and killing mice left, right, and sideways. Eventually, we found a way to solve that problem. Half way through the month FP got the desire of his heart when we adopted a kitten from the Humane Society to help kill the mice. I've always been allergic to cats, but we keep Quimby strictly inside and it has made all the difference. He caught four.... that's right four mice in one day, and these days I haven't seen a mouse in ages.

One of those 'everyday moments' I mentioned happened in October; one that I will forever cherish. It was one of those things that could have so easily been lost, because it happend in passing, even though it was of such great importance. Boy walked by me one day and announced, "Jesus Christ LOVES ME!" and then went on his merry way. What an awesome, in the truest sense, realization for a two year old to have. I am so glad that in that blip of a moment the sparks of testimony were planted in my son's heart, and he came to understand one of this life's most important truths. Got to love it!

Our October wrapped up with all the kids being sick, sick, sick.... it happens every year, but it made for a slow Halloween season around our house, which as most of you know is my favourite holiday. This year the kids were all Harry Potter Characters. This was even more cool because I have never thrust my insane love for Harry Potter on my children, and they themselves are coming to love it for it's own coolness. One of the downsides to the camera having been broken is that I don't think I ever got pictures of them in their costumes. FP was Draco Malfoy, complete with bleached out blonde hair, Sheepie was Cedric Diggory; being a Huffle, I was SO proud, Boy was Harry Potter, and Goob was Justin Finch-Fletchly. For those of you who don't know, that means each of the four Hogwarts houses were present in our family, and short of me choosing Goobs character each kid picked who they wanted to be. They still run around in their robes and play with their hand crafted (by Mr. C) wands, so perhaps I will try and make them dress up and I will get a picture.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Such a September

Well, if our theme for the year was in Every Thing Give Thanks, September certainly decided it wanted to test that phrase quickly.

The very same weekend as the feast, on Sunday, as Hubby was riding home from some Bishopric meetings to help me get the kids ready for church, he had the most unprobable, how could it realistically ever happen, motorcycle accident. He was avoiding a turkey vulture on the side of the road not more than a block from the street to our neighbourhood, when a deer jumped RIGHT out in front of him. He had virtually no breaking time and hit the end of the deer, went over the handlebars, and had the bike flip and land on him. The real kicker is this, it was the first day he can ever recall not wearing his riding boots. They'd broken to the point of being unusable and so he was wearing only his suit pants and church shoes. The foot peg went into his leg and his ankle was badly broken. Had he had on his boots and riding pants he would have been sore but walked away unharmed. Such a small thing can make such a large difference.

People stopped to help him and call me. I loaded the kids (two of whom were literally naked at the time) into the van and drove up the street. It was much worse than the impression I'd been given on the phone and I think I nearly passed out (literally) when I saw him. The people who stopped to help him drove him to the hospital while I followed behind not certain of what the extent was of the injuries or what I was going to do with our kids while he was in the ER. When I got there, I called my sister in law and she called Ann Sherry, who swooped in and, having just got out of the shower herself to get ready for church, came and took my kids for me and went back to my FILTHY house to get them ready for church. Not sure what I would have done had she not picked up her phone!

The adventure ended with him being taken for MRIs and CATscans, and eventually being taken into surgery and then getting to stay at the hospital. The ankle was really quite spectacularly broken, and in the end he spent something like 8 weeks on bed rest, hobbling around on crutches, and then a walking boot. Sadly, our brand new bike was very very totalled. But many many blessings have come from the experience and from that first moment we have been able to give thanks for the love and care of our Heavenly Father and Saviour as they have watched over and provided for our little family. The love and support that was and continues to be give to us is awe inspiring and I feel humbled to think that people have thought us worthy to bestow it on. We owe so many people so many many thanks! (and although we have them, I don't think I will post the awesome wound pictures. Mr. C says it is too graphic for general audience. :P)

Before life could slow down from that adventure, it kicked it into high gear by having school start. The boys were over the moon. We had the treat of having two repeat teachers this year, Brenda from the preschool is a standard at our house, and the amazing Mrs. Winograd, who teaches the kinders at the boys school. FP also got a treat in having a new teacher in 1st grad and Mrs. T is out of this world. She is exactly what he needs in a teacher and he has been thriving since the start of the school year.

In a moment he's been waiting for his whole life, Boy FINALLY got to take 'First Day of School' pictures. Doesn't he look like he's been doing this for ages.

Brenda was amazing and let him join the preschool even though he wasn't three yet. He was so very ready to be in a classroom with other kids his age.

I'm not all that sure what happened to FP's picture, but here is Sheepie. Isn't he a doll?

Sheepie was so over the moon about his glasses, but sadly just a few weeks after getting them, Boy got ahold of them and flushed them down the loo. My brother in law was able to get them out for us, but not in one piece. The insurance wouldn't replace them, so his lovely reading glasses have been gone since. He gets a new pair in a few days!

One of the most notable changes of September though was that it was the month both the older boys really started to read. They could both do so for a while, but it seemed that with the start of school they both finally wanted to be readers and they haven't looked back since. I'm always walking into a room and finding a book in their hands. I LOVE it!

I took on a few hair and makeup projects for a local designer in September because I apparently wasn't busy enough. I, honestly, was very glad to have something of my own to work on. The work turned out lovely and it was nice to have some current stuff to add to my portfolio.

The last adventure around our house was when Sheepie got to bring home his special visitor from class. If you remember, last year FP had Franklin come home to visit,

this year Sheepie got to bring him his own special friend.

As you can see from the pictures, Corduroy the Bear came to spend the night with us, and we had some fun adventures. As is the case when special guests come, they are allowed to go to karate, and go out for a special treat (and then they must brush their teeth afterwards). We made him a new pillow to take on subsequent sleep overs and then it was time to read some of his stories and head to bed. Sheepie even made him an extra special bed. Sheepie also ended up getting sick in the middle of the night so Corduroy got to spend several days at our house and then take a magical trip through the washing machine before he went back to the kinder class.

What a month!