Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Valentine's Day

My Birthday is February 15th, the day after Valentine's Day. Because of this, I have never cared about Valentine's Day. I always wanted Valentine's Day to get over with so it could be my Birthday. Even when Danny and I started dating, I didn't make him make Valentine's Day a big deal. I think last year I got Danny a card and maybe made dinner a little more special. I don't even remember.

When we were taking down Christmas decorations, Caura asked when we were going to put up Valentine's Day decorations. I wanted to say, "Uh, we're not, we don't have any," but I just couldn't. I had to come up with something.

Here's what I came up with:

I gathered pink, purple, red, and white construction paper, and traced two hearts on each sheet. Then I traced a smaller heart inside the heart. I then cut out the heart. I clipped the heart at the point and cut out the inside heart. I then linked the hearts together and taped the point back together. EASY!

After it was hung up, I asked Caura what we should do with the inner hearts. She suggested putting them on the stair case. It was a great idea!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gram's Gift

Inspired by a pin on Pinterest, I made a family tree for Gram's Birthday.

I practiced on scrap paper to see how to place everything, then on the real paper, I very lightly wrote everything in pencil and after erasing several times, I finally got it to look the way I wanted! I then wrote over it with the correct colors, and erased the pencil. I put Gram and Pop's name in the tree trunk, their six kids make up the six branches, the 16 grandchildren make up the leaves, and the six great-grandchildren are squeezed in under their parent's "leaf." I was pretty happy with how it turned out, and Gram liked it, too.

I also made a pop up card.

First I picked out some stickers and stuck them on card stock. Then I cut them out.

Then I cut slits on the fold of the card where I wanted the "pops" to be.

Then I pushed the "pops" forward, into the card.

Then I glued the stickers onto the bottom half of the "pops."

Then I covered the outside of the card with construction paper to hide the spots where I made my cuts, and added a sticker to the front.

It was so so so so easy.

Happy Birthday, Gram!

Danny's Grandmother turns 70 tomorrow! To celebrate, we made a little trip to Virginia.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Three Year Olds

There’s a nasty rumor going around that three year olds are harder to handle than two year olds. I’ve even heard someone refer to age three as the “throat-slitting threes.” I think this is completely absurd. Now on my second three year old (who has a completely different personality than my first daughter), I can tell you, “have no fear, three year olds are easier than two year olds.”

1. They are less “baby” work. You don’t have to keep the house baby proofed. You don’t have to keep baby gates up. You don’t have to worry that they are going to put small things in their mouth. You can go to the bathroom and not worry that they are going to pull all the DVDs out of the tower.

2. They can do chores (and they actually like to do them!)

3. They can do things for themselves like dress themselves, buckle themselves in their car seat, brush their own hair, and feed themselves.

4. You can understand what they are saying.

5. They are potty-trained.

6. They can play board games and sit and watch movies.

7. You can reason with them.

8. They mostly know right from wrong. (Not saying they always choose right, but at least you know they have the ability to know the difference, and you can nip the “wrong” choosing in the butt).

9. It’s really exciting when they learn new things such as spelling their name and learning and writing their letters.

10. They are still cuddly, super cute, and say funny things.

Three year olds have the ability to do all the things listed above plus so much more. Of course it is not all rainbows and unicorns, but when you focus on the “bad” of any age, it’s going to seem like it’s the worst thing you have ever gone through because it’s the present thing you are dealing with. Instead, enjoy your three year old!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sneaky Veggies

Let's face it, most toddlers don't love vegetables. Sometimes we have to be sneaky to get our toddlers to eat veggies. Here are a few ways.

1. Grate yellow squash and add it in with scrambled eggs. If you really pay attention, it changes the texture slightly, so don't let your toddler see you putting it in there!

2. When making your own chicken nuggets or strips, add carrot puree into the egg mixture before you bread and bake it.

3. When you go out, only bring raw veggies with you for a snack. If it's all that's available, most likely that's what they will eat!

Do you have any other really easy ways to add veggies in to toddler's food?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Project Runway: All Stars

Project Runway is my favorite show. I love the idea of taking unknown designers, seeing what they can do, then projecting them into a career. So, I was not necessarily excited to see that the next season of Project Runway was of an “all-star” cast. Of course I would watch it, because it’s still Project Runway, but my two thoughts on this were:

1. They already had a shot.

2. It made it apparent to me that the show’s number one reason for existence was about being a reality show, not a means for designers to make themselves known.

I was a little disappointed. I thought Project Runway was better than shows like America’s Next Top Model, where the Model wins, and you never ever ever see or hear anything about her ever again.

The first episode aired and the prizes were announced. There are tons of prizes, but two of them made me believe in Project Runway again: Guest editor for a year for Marie Claire magazine, and a specialty boutique in Neiman Marcus. These are prizes that are great for an actual career.

I was initially upset to see that Heidi, Michael, Nina, and Tim were not part of this season. However, I think it’s better for the contestants to have new judges that won’t judge them on their past work. (But seriously, Isaac Mizrahi as a judge? Boo.)

I am rooting for Mondo. I don't think I would ever wear his clothes, but I think he is the best designer, and he's not mean to the other designers.

Who are you rooting for?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Where'd You Get Those Names?

I often get asked, “How did you come up with your Daughters’ names?”

Caura Simone.

I had the name Caura picked out since I was about 12 years old. My friend Jackie’s older sister had a friend named Tara, pronounced Tar-a, not Ta-ra. I remember thinking that was neat, and what other names could we pronounce in a similar way? Sarah became Sar-a, Dara became Dar-a, and Cara became Car-a. Then I stopped and thought, “Car-a, that’s a really pretty name!” When I found out Caura was going to be a girl, Caura was automatically the name, and decided to spell it Caura because it looked liked and rhymed with Laura. I always liked the name Simone, and thought it went well with Caura. At one point I switched it to Caura Grace, but went back to Caura Simone (and I’m glad I did!)

Aubree Rose.

Danny’s Grandmother’s name is Rose, and I always thought that would make a great middle name, although I didn’t think it sounded good with Caura. During my second pregnancy, we decided the middle name was definitely going to be Rose, and then kept coming up with ideas of first names that sounded good with Rose. I always liked the name Bree, so I suggested it to Danny. He liked it, but wanted something a little more. We decided on Aubree, and that we could call her Bree if we wanted to, which is also why we didn’t spell her name the traditional way: Aubrey. (By the way, 3 year old Aubree does not want to be called Bree. She says her name is only Aubree. She actually gets a little mad if you try to call her anything else. Oh well.)

Saige Marissa.

My entire pregnancy, Saige’s middle name was going to be Saige. I felt very connected to the name Saige, but thought it was a little too weird to be a first name. Danny liked any name that ended with “issa” such as Marissa and Larissa. However, we decided on Ella Saige. We both liked the name, but neither of us were completely sold on it. Early on I mentioned the idea of making her first name Saige, and Danny vetoed it. Then, a few weeks before she was born, Danny suggested making her first name Saige, and I vetoed it, saying it might be a little too weird. Five days before she was born, my friends Shannon and Beki were the voice of reason with the name Saige. While visiting Shannon, I asked her if she thought the name Saige was too weird. Her reply was, “It’s not any weirder than Caura and Aubree.” She was right! Later I talked to Beki on the phone and told her about my conversation with Shannon and she asked, “Who said the name Saige was weird?” No one did! I was the only one who said it was weird. Danny “let” me have Saige as the first name, and I “let” him have Marissa as the middle name. Saige was the right name all along, I just had it in the wrong spot!

How did you come up with your kids’ names?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Why Must the Devil Have All The Great Music?

I was introduced to Christian music when I first started going to Camp Haluwasa, and was heavily influenced by my friend, Christina. We would play DC Talk's Free At Last Album over and over again. We could sing every word to every song, and could tell you what band member was singing any given set of lyrics. This was back when Christian pop, rock, rap, or alternative music was relatively new, and we listened to it for the sheer entertainment of it. It provided a great alternative to the Rump Shaker songs on the secular stations (but also caused great controversy in the Christian world because bands were putting Christian lyrics to the "devil" music - hence the song "Why Must the Devil Have All The Great Music?")

There were songs about friendship.

There were songs about giving it all up for Jesus.

There were worship songs.

There were songs about what kind of girl to be, and for the guys: the kind of girl to look for.

There were love songs: (Danny and My wedding song...aww)

There were songs about keeping strong in your beliefs when the world tells you you're wrong.

There were songs about being a good example to Christians and non-Christians.

There were songs that showed you that the Bible is relevant even today.

There were songs that were just plain goofy and fun.

I miss this kind of Christian music. Although I like today's Christian music themes of "God I'm Broken and I need You" and "God You're Awesome" I think it's also ok if Christian music was entertaining to Christians, and not just Praise and Worship songs.

I am encouraged by the new "Newsboys" song God's Not Dead (But I still think it's really weird that DC Talk's Michael Tate is the new lead singer of Newsboys. Kind of makes it a DC Talk/Newsboys hybrid).

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I Miss My Friend

Writing is therapeutic to me. When my Aunt Sandy passed away in October, words to a poem kept flooding my mind until I got them out on paper. After I wrote it, I felt a little better. This time is different. I can’t decide if it’s because there is way too much to write, or because if I write anything, it will make it real. Nancy was part of my life in many different ways. She was “Grammy” to my daughters. She was Caura’s Godmother. She was a best friend. She was my show buddy, especially my Paul 6 musical buddy. I baked snickerdoodles for her. Every time she saw Charleston chews, she would buy them for me. She knew I liked flamingoes. While Heroes was still on the air, she would come over on Mondays for a Heroes date. She took 5 of the 8 pictures hanging on my wall. When all three of my babies were born, she raced to the hospital to be one of the first to see them. She liked to compliment people. She was nice to people that others found annoying. She was proud of Danny and I as parents. Whenever I had a prayer request, a funny story to tell, or good news or bad news, she was one of the first people that I would text about it. She took a million pictures of everything, but was not usually on the other side of the camera. She had her own decorating style. We had a unique relationship, because she was older than my own Mother, yet she was a great friend but with a Motherly twist. She was comforting. She was easy to talk to. She was interested in my life. Her family was her world. There is no other person like her. There is so much more to say but for now, all I can say is that I miss my friend.