Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Sculptors

We spent some time playing with sculpey the other day and I loved the kids' creations!
Our bunnies "Flopsy" and "Mopsy" - by A.
The Elephant - by I.
Flower - by C.
Flower beads - by Me
A necklace for each girl in our family...

Can't wait to see what they create next time!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Streak the Frog

We would like you to meet Streak the green tree frog.


Let me share a little story about how Streak came to be. As I have mentioned in previous posts, "A" is very into frogs right now. In fact, she has counted all of her frogs (toys, stuffed animals, earrings, etc) and I think she has almot 150. Yikes! So I thought she would be thrilled if we got her a real frog for her birthday. So before breaking the news to "A" I went down to the pet store and did some research. This nice young lady that worked there informed me that the very best pet frog is the Pacman frog - bright colors, low maintenance and lazy - will just sit in your hand. Great! Sounded perfect. So I told "A" the plan and she couldn't have been more excited. Well, the day finally came and we took the whole family down to the pet store to pick out the Pacman frog. Well, there was a nice young man working that day and when we told him we wanted a Pacman - he quickly told us why that was a very bad idea. First, the Pacman frog can grow to be huge and it bites! He showed us it's tooth! He said he had a Pacman bigger than the size of his hand and he feeds it a baby rat once a week. Whoa! Then he hold us about his friend that had a Pacman take a bite out of his arm! Ok - no Pacman frog afterall. So we asked this "nice (and knowledgeable) young man" (who owns about every reptile or amphibian you could find in the pet store) - what would be the best pet frog for this sweet 10 year old girl. He proceeded to tell us about the Australian Blue Dumpy frog. The frog itself costs $50.00 but with everything we would need to take care of it - we were looking at dropping $100.00 on a pet frog! I should have nipped it in the bud but I let this guy go on and on about how wonderful the Australian Blues are. "A's" eyes were getting bigger and bigger while Wes was giving me the "what are you getting us into!" look. After all was said and done, I had to explain to "A" that we had better take some time to think about such an expensive and involved pet and she agreed even as her eyes filled up with tears. I am proud of her because she tried hard to be understanding while dealing with the major disappointment of a broken promise. Believe me- I did not feel like a very good mom on this day!
But it all worked out for the best. "A" decided she would be satisfied with a $6.99 green tree frog which she named "Streak." She loves it and takes great care of it. Whew! We can be done with pets for a while!


Drawing done by I-man


Friday, April 25, 2008

Wasting Time


Anyone into the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer? There are some cool things on her website - including a bit about her new book coming out in May (not a part of the series) and a clip of the making of the TV-movie of Twilight. Kinda fun!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Few Good Laughs


I already posted about this on Desperate for a Good Read but Wes started reading the book aloud in the car on our way to dinner tonight and we were in tears laughing so hard. I couldn't help but posting about it again. The book is Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. It has been around for a while - in fact it was all the buzz a couple of book fairs ago. But when I saw it at Costco - I picked it up for my kids. I started reading it instead and found it to be hilarious. Classic middle school scenarios. I was literally laughing out loud when I read it and my kids were thinking I was pretty weird. I don't think they get the humor in the same way that I do - but "A" is reading it now and enjoying it. Now I need to go back and buy the second one.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Hutch

Here are a few pictures of the finished hutch. Wes literally built this in about three days which meant a couple of late nights but he got it done before we left on the cruise. After we got back he stained it, added some dropping trays, and attached a corrugated roof. I must admit I was a little skeptical at first and thought he was going way overboard. But look at the results! I'm not complaining and I don't think Mopsy and Flopsy are complaining either. (We placed SJ in the hutch for scale - so you could see how small she is not so you could see how big the hutch is!)




Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Cool Cousin


Check it out here! My cousin's remodel got featured on the design blog Apartment Therapy. Before the kitchen demolition - she and her kids let the creative juices flow and painted works of art on their cupboards and cabinets. It was so cool! And don't forget to see the before and after pictures because the remodeled kitchen was beautiful! Congrats Julie!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Laser Awesome!


For all you locals - if you are a U2 fan, go see the laser show at the Clark Planetarium! It is really cool. Actually it's called a "cosmic light show" and is more digital images than lasers but we still loved it. We took the older two kids and went with some friends on TRAX. If you can go in the next couple of weeks - all shows are $5.00. It was a blast!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Isle of Bermuda

I am finally getting around to pictures of Bermuda! We've been back for two weeks - it's about time. To be honest, Bermuda is not a place I would have ever thought to take a vacation. There are too many other more popular places that would have enticed me. But Bermuda won my heart! I loved it! For those of you who were as ignorant as I was about Bermuda - let me enlighten you!
Although Bermuda is located only 600 miles East of North Carolina, it is actually a British territory - the oldest British overseas territory, in fact. It is an archipelago of 138 islands that are connected by bridges. It is about 20 miles long and 1 mile wide at its widest point. It is further north than most realize, however it still has a tropical climate with pink sand beaches with the most beautiful crystal blue waters! The population is around 60,000 but they usually get close to 500,000 tourists a year. Because they depend so highly on tourism for business - they have a reputation for being very friendly and accomodating. We definitely witnessed this! Several Bermudians said "hello" or "have a nice day" as we passed them in the street. Bermuda is also a renowned center for international business and has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. It is also very clean and safe.
Because of limited space, it is not possible to rent a car (Bermudians are only allowed to own one car). However, the best way to see the island is on one of these: And don't forget - Bermuda belongs to Great Britian. Keep left!
We zipped around the islands on our scooters and had a lovely time. I was unaware of the characteristic pastel colored houses that Bermuda is known for. The streets are lined with pastel pink, blue, purple, orange, white, yellow and green buildings - all with white roofs. The roofs have two functions - they are very sturdy and can withstand the winds during hurricane season and also the roofs are designed to collect rainwater and drain it into cisterns under the ground. They depend on this water collection because they have no fresh water source. Being surrounded by this Easter-egg colored architecture with the bright white-washed roofs felt kind of surreal in a way! Like out of a story-book.

This is the view of the island as we were arriving early Monday morning (photos compliments of Brad)

Kings Wharf - where the ship was docked for 4 days. The white stone buildings were once used to store equipment and supplies for the English Navy.
Here is a view of the many pastel colored houses with white roofs

A close-up of the terraced roof

For some reason - the idea of taking our helmets off for pictures didn't cross our minds!


The city of St. George - very European, huh?
Church's Bay - the one and only day we spent at the beach. We were completely prepared with wetsuits, snorkles and fins - and the hubby had a wonderful time. Unfortunately the water was too rough for me and after a near-drowning experience (ok, I am exaggerating just a little bit) - I spent my day reading a book on the beach.
He discovered this - did it belong to a marlin or swordfish??? Who knows? The city of Hamilton - the capitol
It was a delightful place!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Weird

Ok here's something weird! In the last hour I have had hits from the following countries - Finland, France, China, Turkey, Malaysia, Estonia, Indonesia, United Kingdom and Argentina. Argentina isn't anything new because my Aunt and Uncle are serving a mission there. The other countries I get hits from occasionally but never all in one hour! What's up with that? I can't figure out what led them to my site. The only thing I can figure is that my last post was titled "The Best Babysitters." Do you think that people might be searching for that? I can't figure it out! Any ideas?

In Good Hands

One of the reasons why we enjoyed ourselves on our cruise so much was because we felt like our kids were in really good hands while we were gone. Before we left, SJ had pretty bad separation anxiety so I was nervous that she would cry the entire week and be traumatized for life. I think she had hard time the first day we were gone but was totally fine after that! Hooray! I think it really helped to have such great babysitters. The first half of the week my friend Brooke brought her darling daughter Hannah all the way from Southern California to watch my kids. The second half of the week, Weston's lovely medical assistant April came to watch the kids. Let's just take a look at some of the cute and fun things they did:

Brooke is a pastry chef and wonderful cook and so she always does amazing things with food. Look at the fabulous birthday cake she made for "A" (who celebrated her birthday while we were gone). Remember how much she loves frogs?

These are two of the meals Brooke made on April Fools Day. The "fried eggs and toast" is actually melted marshmallows with yellow frosting and a toasted piece of pound cake! And aren't those mini burgers and fries the cutest? (click on the pictures to make them larger)


Check this out! Brooke came up with this idea. The "baked potato" is actually a ball of ice cream rolled in Nestle Quick with toffee bits for the "eyes" of the potato. The sour cream is whipped cream topped with a yellow starburst for a pat of butter and green and black sprinkles for pepper and chives. So cute! She really is amazing and does stuff with my kids I would never do. We all loooooove Brooke!

Unfortunately we don't have any pictures of the fun the kids had with April but there was plenty of it. There was picnics at the park, movies, treats, and fun. She definitely won the hearts of my kids. And me too! I returned home to a sparkling clean house with homemade cinnamon rolls rolls waiting for breakfast in the morning. How can you beat that? Oh and with her medical expertise, she treated 3 of my kids who got sick at the end of the week. She even had "A" tested for strep and had one of the docs prescribe her an antibiotic! Talk about excellent care!

I can't thank you enough ladies!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Bunny Update

Flopsy and Mopsy are doing great! Wes built a fancy hutch (which he literally finished the day before we left for our cruise!) and a nice little pen for them to play in. Now the kids are completely independent with them and will play with them for hours! Especially now that we are enjoying some warm weather.
The "rabbit run"

Mopsy (the one with the little white spot on her nose)

Flopsy (identical to Mopsy except for the white spot) - catching some rays

I-Man

Who knew bunnies had personalities? Well, kind of. Mopsy is very mellow, easy to catch and likes to be held. Flopsy on the other hand is a little more skitterish, very quick, and harder to hold. It makes me smile because they kind of remind me of two kids I know...

I will try to post some pictures of the hutch after he adds a few finishing touches.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Few Good Reads

I haven't been very good at posting because we have been so busy. But I am also waiting to post pictures of Bermuda until I get copies of the ones taken with Brad's ultra-nice camera. In the meantime I will post about a few good books I read during the trip (two of which were recommended from Desperate for a Good Read).

#1 - The Big Year. Check out Kip's review here. I really enjoyed this book because I also love birdwatching. But whether or not you feel the excitement behind the binocs - it still is a very interesting story and a fun read.
#2 - Interpreter of Maladies. You can read Jennette's review here. This is a Pulitzer prize winning collection of short stories. I enjoyed the characters and especially the descriptions of the Indian culture.
#3 - Autobiography of a Face. I just barely posted a review here. This is a memoir about the author's diagnosis of cancer at age nine and how it impacted her life. Good story!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Trip Begins...

I must mention that our lovely vacation began even before we set sail out of New York City Harbor. A flight into NYC meant a definite visit to see our good friends, Ben and Gabby (aka Design Mom). Ben and Wes go waaaay back and even after we wives joined the picture - there were many, many good times. This overnighter with the Blair family was no exception! So cool, so cosmopolitan, so hip, so smart, so fun - and let's not forget their awesome kids! We had some laughs and enjoyed every minute (even the 144 minutes of battles between the Autobots and the Decepticons).

We boarded the SS Noordam Saturday afternoon and sailed down the Hudsen river past NYC, Ellis Island and the State of Liberty. Amazing views! We were scheduled to be at sea until Monday morning so we settled in for plenty of eating, sleeping, reading, watching movies, and exploring the gigantic ship. It was very fun and relaxing. There was also a very nice church service held on Sunday. It was hymn/testimony meeting where anyone that wanted to could share why they loved a certain hymn and then we would all sing that hymn. Two that I remember were "America the Beautiful" (see below) and "Master the Tempest is Raging" (we were getting some pretty strong wind and waves at that time!).




Let me give a little bit of background about this cruise and how we got on it. The company Stampin'Up had reserved the entire ship for their top sellers and their families but ended up with a few hundred extra rooms. They donated 185 rooms to members of the Utah National Guard that had served time in Iraq and they also donated some rooms to charity groups so they could sell them off and keep the profit. The rest of the rooms were sold for an amazing $600 a couple! We were able to take advantage of this great deal because Weston's friend Brad knows the owners (they actually live in our town). There ended up being about 1900 people on the ship - most of which were Stampin'Up associates. They really were a lovely group of people and made the trip all the more fun. Also, we cruised with Brad and Kristen which was an absolute blast!

Life aboard the Noordam

Wes ran into one of his best friends from high school that he hasn't seen for about 10 years!

Wes and I on one of the two formal nights.

The ship was over 900 ft long!

This is our cabin. Every night our cabin steward would turn down our bed and leave a chocolate along with a room service breakfast menu and a schedule for the next day's programs.

Also, our cabin steward would leave a towel sculpture on our bed every night. Cute!

As anyone who has been on a cruise knows, it's all about the food...(most of these pictures were taken the night of the chocolate extravaganza)



There was plenty of fun on the ship - a spa, nightly entertainment, an ongoing karaoke contest, games, lectures, cooking classes, etc. But let's not forget the delightful island of Bermuda! I will save that for my next post.