Sunday, November 8, 2015

Birch Tree Cake

A couple months ago I was asked to make a cake for a baby shower for a dear friend of mine. The theme was to be "outdoors in Montana."
 Her mom sent me a picture of what she was thinking, and I ran with it.
 The theme that seemed to play out this past week was delay. The entire timeline for this cake was delay after delay, with a few other non-cake related delays mixed in there. Charlotte didn't help much in the delay category either. She's used to playing by herself so while I started on my forest critter for the cake, she had fun with her play-doh and pony. 
 After a couple hours of messing making and remaking animals, I finished my deer and set of bears. 
 Then I left the kitchen to get ready to serve at a catering event for my sister, and noticed Charlotte chewing on something in the hallway. I returned to the kitchen, surveyed the area, and realized she had eaten the mama bears' head...and then some. (Charlotte looks at this headless bear picture and says, "I ate her head!" She's pretty proud...) I had a little pit in my stomach trying to figure out where to squeeze re-building the bears on my timeline... I finished up at the event around 11 and was in bed by 11;30, with my alarm set to wake up fairly early to work on the cake some more.
 3 am rolled around and I couldn't go back to sleep knowing that I had a lot to do, with not a lot of time to do it, so I pulled myself out of bed and stumbled to kitchen in my footie pajamas and got back to work. By 5:30 I had the outside of the cake done and the bears remade, so I went back to bed for a little while. 

Kimberli and I have been going to the Vintage Fair in the spring and fall for the last couple years and this was their first Christmas themed fair. She won "early-bird" tickets and of course picked me to be her guest, and then we invited our mom to join us too. We spent the morning strolling through the market and then chatting over coffee. I felt so much more relaxed knowing the cake was nearly done. I made the moose while the cupcakes were baking, and I love how it turned out!
 The shower was put together so nicely, with stuffed moose and teddy bears around the room to compliment all the wood decor. It was a perfect afternoon!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Nah Nah Nah Nah Batman!! Happy Halloween!

I had been thinking about Halloween since August and had no idea what I wanted the kids to be this year up until about two weeks ago. Last year I themed them Wreck-It Ralph, and the year before when Charlotte was only 5 1/2 months old, we did Peter Pan. The boys wanted to do Ninja Turtles this year, but I wasn't feeling it for Charlotte. Next year we just might all be Ninjas...

Because of JP's color obsession, finding a character who wears green can be quite the challenge. I also went with the Hulk for JP and another superhero for Hunter, but when I remembered Batman's sidekick, Robin, wore green I was sold on having a Batman theme. I did toss around the idea of him being the joker though...I recall Aunt Bobbi being the joker and wearing all green when she was little. Am I right family? I also thought about making their costumes and then quickly gave up on the idea when a pair of green leggings for JP was going to cost $15. For a little bit more, I could have the whole costume, with absolutely no stressing. Sign me up for that! It's also worth noting nearly every time we'd ask Charlotte what she was going to be for Halloween, she'd respond with, "I be Perry Halloween." No dear, you're going to be Catwoman...

Perry and I were at a concert in Bozeman the night before so I had gathered up their costumes for Nanny to send with them to school. She also went to the school Halloween parade with Charlotte dressed up in her Catwoman outfit to get some pictures for me. I thought we'd be back in time, but we spent a good 45 minutes walking downtown in the morning to retrieve the car...
 She must have gotten to the school early enough to sit in the front row. She was able to fine JP in the parade, but he was the only Robin there. Hunter was lost in the Batman's. It probably would have helped if she knew what kind of Batman costume she was looking for, but she stopped into his classroom after the party to take a few pictures of him. 
 Nanny had a problem getting into JP's classroom though because she wasn't on the "approved people" list, and even though the school has called me multiple times, they apparently didn't have my number to call me and ask, so they called Grandma Betty. Weird...? JP's classroom is in a separate building and has a doorbell on it, where as Hunter's is in the main building. But she eventually made it in and he and Charlotte had some snacks together before playing games. 
 I don't understand why JP looks like he hates taking pictures with his friends...
 One of the games they played entailed wrapping their teacher, and another adult in toilet paper to make them look like mummies. I think JP probably enjoyed this too much! 
 Here's the crew before we headed out for Trick-or-Treating. Batman, Robin, and Catwoman. I had to bribe Charlotte to keep her mask on. Our first stop was neighbor Dan's house. You see those white pieces of paper JP is holding? He made pictures to give to them. He loves drawing pictures for people!
We stopped by a couple more house on our lane before heading to Aunt Kim and King Julian's house, I mean, Barney and Betty Rubble's house! Aren't they all so cute! Kudos to Kim for making Julian wear a dress! ;) Next up we stopped at Nanny's house before trick-or-treating around the block. Last year the kids were ready to be done after only going to a couple houses but were ready to go this year! Charlotte was all about it too! I think on our second house someone said, "Happy Halloween," and that's all Charlotte would say after that. It was adorable! 
She did turn down going up to one door because they had big spiders hanging on the porch. "Spiders so scary!" She was so excited to run down the sidewalk to the next house. "Let's go this one! Gonna be fun!"
Even though it was a little rainy, it's safe to say everyone had a lot of fun!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

My First Rock Concert Rocked: Breaking Benjamin

I was browsing through Facebook one evening when I noticed a friend shared an event titled "Breaking Benjamin with Shinedown in Bozeman." I was so excited at first and then I saw the date. October 29th. A Thursday night in a town 3 hours away. It was a school night and the kid's would have Halloween festivities at school the next day. Not going to happen, but I mentioned it to Perry anyways. A week before our anniversary he surprised me with tickets to go see them.

For those who haven't heard of Breaking Benjamin, they are a considered a hard rock band, though I would reclassify their latest album closer to Christian rock than anything else. I've loved them since high school. Perry was surprised by the fact I didn't own any of their cd's, but I still knew most of their songs. I had literally been playing nothing but Breaking Benjamin, with a little Shinedown mixed in for the last month. Charlotte even sings along now and it's adorable. "This is my song! Dance with me!"

After a month of counting down the days, Perry and I finally packed our things and headed to Bozeman Thurday morning. Perry conned my mom into watching all the kids for the night and getting them to school the next day. Life saver! All the kids were so excited to stay with Nanny (probably because she spoils them!) She was surprised I'd even want to go to a concert, since I do dislike loud noise, bu this was my favorite band!

When we arrived in Bozeman, we checked into our hotel and headed downtown to meet up with a friend Perry went to high school with. I don't know if I've meet him before; if I had it was a long time ago. We had a nice dinner with him and his wife at the Copper. Highly recommended if you're in Bozeman!

I was a little lost on Perry's parking plan. He thought we could park near the campus, where the concert was, and walk downtown for dinner and then walk back. We could leave our car there and walk back to the hotel after. There was so much walking involved in his plan that I had to step in an secure another arrangement. Luckily my sister Robin moved to Bozeman for a few months and was able to take us to the concert AND pick us up so we left the car downtown. I can't tell you how much Robin's shuttle services helped us out!
Robin dropped us off and we walked into the fieldhouse just as the first band, Nothing More, started to play their first song. Neither Perry nor I had heard of them so we instead went to grab a drink. I'm sure I would probably like them, but at the concert all I could hear were drums and guitar. The lead singer, who was RIPPED, was rocking out but I could hardly hear him. He was enjoyable to watch though... At the end of their performance they did a really cool instrument solo where they strapped a guitar on a stand and three of them played it at the same time. Later the leader singer came over and used drumsticks on it while the others played. Super cool.
During the stage re-set, Perry went out to grab us a drink. He was gone for all two minutes before I looked to my left and found our neighbors, Dan and Chrysanthie practically standing next me. We knew they were going also but what are the chances we'd actually see them there?! The four of us spent the rest of the concert together-ish.
We were surprised when Breaking Benjamin took the stage next as we all were expecting Shinedown up second. I loved every minute of it! About halfway through the first song, I had a girl next to me elbow her way in front of me to stand. I was not having any of that, so I'll admit I got a little feisty and elbowed and shoved her back and shouted that she was standing on me. She apologized and moved back next to me. Then I felt bad so I moved over so she could stand closer to me to see around the tall guy she was behind. Turns out she was hammered and could hardly stand on her own, and they ended up going elsewhere. Phew...
When Breaking Benjamin was finishing up on stage, they decided they would bring a few people up to help them with their last song. Obvisously I was screaming "ME ME ME ME!!!!" But I was in the middle and they couldn't see me. They brought quite a few people up before they said they were going to pick one more. At that point Perry and Dan hoisted me up onto their shoulders and I was above the crowd screaming and flailing my arms like a crazy person. Seriously. I did that. I could swear to you, up and down, that Benjamin pointed RIGHT AT ME and said, "The girl up on the shoulders!" I jumped off their shoulders and ran like a bat out of hell to the front pushing and shoving people out of my way. When I got to the front some other concert attendee said something to the effect of, "They didn't pick you, you idiot." I looked up to the stage to see the little 9 year old girl being hoisted onto the stage, who ironically was right behind me up on her dad's shoulders. I'm still mad about it...
In the video above, Perry filmed the stage because he thought I was going to be on it. You can hear him ask Dan, "Where is she?" Then you can hear me come back saying I saw someone I knew. 
I was SO disappointed by not getting picked, though I did consider hoping up there anyways. I should have. As I turned to go back to find Perry, I heard someone shouting my name. I turn around to see my best friend's cousin, who is more like a younger brother to her, and I shout, "KADEN!" Turns out Kaden and Tanner look the same. Whatever. I took a picture with Tanner just to prove I saw someone I knew. I made it back to Perry and told him the "danger zone," as he called the front area near the stage, wasn't as dangerous as he made it out to be...
During the next stage re-set, the four of us went back out to grab a drink and made it back in to see Shinedown start up. They were awesome to see in concert too. Because they were last on the roster, they had more special effects than Breaking Benjamin. Fireworks and Fire. It would have been awesome to have those with Breaking Benjamin, but still very cool with Shinedown. I think I screamed and started jumping every time they the lit off a firework. I was jacked. I might have had enough to drink too. It's hard to say.

Robin picked us up across the street and dropped us off downtown, where we met up with Dan and Chrysanthie and again, along with their son Steven. We had to have been there for at least an hour before Steven connected the dots and said, "Wait, they're our neighbors?" Yeah, the coolest neighbors on the block for the last SIX years! I was very grateful that Dan offered to drive us back to the hotel, instead of Perry's plan of walking the 1.8 miles back to the hotel. It was a lengthy walk back in the morning... I had so much fun!! I'm already thinking of who I might want to see next!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Hunter: A First Grade Update

It's already the end of October and in a few short weeks, I'll have a 7 year old. Yikes! He's been planning his party for close to a year.

This school year started off pretty good. We were glad to hear Hunter's teacher this year was going to be a male. Hunter really likes him too. The first couple weeks of school Hunter insisted on wearing a tie, you know because dad wears one everyday, so I ended up making him a few. They turned out really cute too! He thinks it's just the best that his teacher wears ties too!

Last year in Kindergarten we ran into a couple problems with Hunter. The most recent one I've blogged about landed him a few weeks of counseling. As I mentioned at the end of that post, Perry and I have been wondering if he might have ADHD since he really has a hard time sitting and focusing, among other concerns. We spoke with the counselor and the school psychologist, and took a couple tests. We went over the results with his teacher and the counselor. His teacher's answers had put him in an average category, Perry's put him in an above average category, and mine were in the extreme category. I was trying to be conservative too... The only helpful thing taken from that was that they could see why we were concerned with his behavior, otherwise they had no reason to believe he has ADHD.

Fast forward to this fall....Where to begin? Robin finished up grad school in May and is working in the Occupational Therapy field. Because she's currently working in the field, she has reason to believe Hunter might have a sensory processing disorder. There is a wide range of symptoms, but she feels he'll benefit from a little bit of OT. This has been in the back of my mind for a while but I've been putting off making an appointment for him to see the doctor to get referred there. I was going to ask about it when I take him in for his 7 year well-child exam.

Plans changed a lot the other week when his teacher called me after school. He didn't see it happen, but at the lunch recess, Hunter choked a kid on the playground. Hunter had a very serious conversation with his teacher following the incident when he came in from recess and then was overly defiant the rest of day. Hunter spent the last half hour or so of the day in the principal's office. Robin and I discussed this a little bit and I decided to move his appointment up a few weeks. I then called our insurance company to see if they covered OT, which they don't. Robin suggested I check to see if the school has one. I emailed the school counselor and let her know my concerns. I was a little relieved to hear there is an OT who travels between school, but he still would need a referral.

A week and a half goes by (which was last week) and I get a call from the school principal around noon. Hunter choked another kid at recess, and since this is his second offense, he was suspended from school for the rest of the day. I was a wreck after I hung up the phone with her. Hunter and I came home and curled up together on his bed to talk. He was really struggling to remember what exactly happened leading up to him choking someone. Perry came home right as Hunter and I were finishing our talk. Hunter told him a different story so Perry called the school on his way back to work to hear the actual story. His story matched closer to the one he told me.

The school counselor called me the following day to check in. She was much more helpful than the principal was. She was going to talk with the PE teacher about getting Hunter into one of his PE groups at recess. These groups help to teach kids how to play with each other. I think his "play group" starts up this week.

By the end of last week, Hunter started his "check-in/check-out" program. He was doing this last spring and would be responsible for carrying it around all day to have his different teachers fill it out based on his behavior. At the end of the day he is scored. It's helpful to see where and what time of the day most problems are happening. Last spring Perry made a deal with him that if he could bring home 5 96% and higher in a row, he would give him a speaker for his iPod. That came and went. In his first grade classroom they have a colored clip chart. Everyday they start in the middle on green. When they make good decisions they can clip up on the chart and bad decisions clip down. At the end of the day they color their final color on their homework card to take home. We made a deal with Hunter - if he could bring home 5 positive day colors, he could have his speaker. He has gotten so close a couple times. He did it this week though! He was so proud too!

I think that's what makes his behavior so frustrating. I know he's a good kid. I just don't understand these acts of violence from him. I don't know that I should even call them violence. (We also got a letter saying he kicked someone in the groin.) When I've talked to him about his actions, he doesn't seem to understand it's hurtful to others. I'm just hoping that next week at his appointment we can get some answers. I'm probably going to be a wreck...

Monkey Shiner Babblings

JP just handed me my eyelash curler and asked, "Here mom. Do you want to straighten your eyeballs?"

I crouched in the hallway when I heard JP coming upstairs after getting his pajamas on. When he reached the top, I jumped out to scare him. He pulled out some ninja move and managed to scream, punch me in the face and do an in-the-air leg kick, all in a split second. I got him good!

These ones below are ones I sent to my sister, but didn't make it to the blog until now...

JP came up to me bawling as I was cooking in the kitchen.
M - What happened?!
JP lifts his shirt and points near his nipple to show me a red mark.
M - What happened? All I know is something under your shirt hurts.
J -Charli *mumble mumble* my freckle.
M - Charli head-butted your freckle?
J - No! Her bed hit my freckle!
M - Let me see the freckle that was hurt.
JP lifts up his shirt again and points directly to his right nipple and I couldn't help but bust out laughing.
J - It's not funny mom!
M - No, it is. That's a nipple, not a freckle.

H - Everything needs water to survive.
J - Nuh uh! Not pirates. They're extinct!

J - Mom my ears are hot.
M- Someone must be thinking about you.
J - Yeah, God probably is....Or maybe the car is just hot.

Hunter and JP were playing in the basement and I thought they might have been wrestling because I heard JP wimpering. I called to Hunter a couple of times to leave his brother alone, to which he would shout back, "I AM!" Then first quietly and the next time louder, I heard JP from the bottom of the stairs, "Hunter, go get mom! HUNTER! GO GET MOM!!" Apparently JP got the bright idea to somehow attach his shark hat by the straps to the railing to slide down it, like a make-shift bucket. Genius right? He got to the bottom and was stuck with his feet inside the hat and his arm between the rail and the wall and was just hanging there. On my railing. Helpless. If I had my phone on me, I would have taken a picture before freeing him.

M- Hunter, name five supeheros.
H - Uhh, Astronaut Guy.
M - Nevermind. JP name one superhero.
J- the Hulk.
M - Okay Hunter, thinking about the Hulk, name me another superhero.
H - John Superhero.
M- What? You're done.

The Patio Door Is In!

We installed our new front door at the beginning of September. At the same time, we also decided to go ahead and replace our patio door. It took two weeks to order it between having someone come out and measure, and then come back to re-measure once the trim was off, and then to decide what we wanted to do - standard size and fill the gaps, or the more spendy custom size. Then it took three more weeks to have it delivered...
I was surprised to find this picture when we did a walk through of the house. Puke! Orange kitchen and green living room... Yeah no thanks...
Of course we re-painted...

For whatever reason, Perry has always wanted a sliding door instead of this door. He feels like the right corner by the entrance is wasted space. When we were discussing the slider, he wanted to put it in so it opened from the left to the right. I feel like he forgot the vent is there and you'd have to walk on it going in and out. I put the ka-bosh to that pretty quickly when the door guy came out to measure. 

Speaking of the door guy...he actually didn't call to let me know he was coming to deliver it. I had went on about my morning as normal until the door bell rang and Charlotte came running into the bathroom, while I'm in the shower, to tell me, "Papa here!" I was pretty sure it wasn't my dad because he would just come it. I carried on with my shower thinking it was the FedEx or UPS guy dropping something off. He rang the bell again and Charlotte announced "Papa here!" again. I hurried out of the shower and saw the door guys' truck from the window. So I embarrassed him and answered the door in my towel saying, "It'll be just a minute...."
This is the after picture. Not the best because our house has terrible lighting. I had to over-edit this picture just so you could kind of see the trim. The dining/kitchen area is so much brighter now during the day. I can see a big difference. The only downside I see to this new door is that you can't unlock it from the outside. And the screen locks too, which is okay, but I feel like it's only a matter of time before there's a hole in it. I actually had a dream the other night someone poked their finger through it so I took the screen door off and stuffed it in the attic... Perry did a wonderful job on the trim around it. I wonder if he'll re-do all the trim around the house...?

Our House Received a Little Face Lift! Woot Woot!

You know you're a homeowner when you get excited about doors... Hahaha! But seriously, we are over the moon about our new front door! I must be an adult because kids don't react this way! It's a door...

I've been on a kick for a few years, telling Perry how I think the front door says a lot about a house. This picture above is what our house looked like when we first moved in. (I'm so glad I took all these!) A pretty front door wasn't high on the list of things to "fix" on this house. I settled for a paint job and a wreath to spruce it up. Quite honestly, I love my wreath!
I wasn't totally in-love with the two-tone thing Perry was going for, but for the record, I did *kind of* like the pink with the red. I just didn't like the pink around the white windows. It looked off.

At the beginning of September, Perry's mom took a vacation and instead of leaving her truck at the airport, I took her to the airport so she could leave her truck, for free, at our house. (We used it quite a bit...) After JP's soccer game, Perry suggested we go to Lowe's to check out front doors, you know, since we have the truck in all. I was in shock! We wandered up and down the isles looking at all of our options, and did a lot of herding the kids around. Ultimately we left without a door, but went back later in the week after we thought about it for a while.
Perry said he had installed a door before and knew what he was doing. I believed him. He had to work the closing shift at work, which was a Friday, so he felt he had plenty of time to get the door in before he had to leave at 1:30. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Eventually he gave up on getting the door level and just installed the door handle, which was also a nightmare. When he left for work, the door closed, but it didn't latch. Thankfully our neighbor was able to come over Saturday morning and help him re-install the door. Phew!
Part of me really kind of hated to see my pink door be taken down. I can see how much the kids have grown when standing up in front of it for school pictures. But there will be plenty of opportunity for them to "grow with" the new door. Ain't she a beauty?!
Originally I was going to paint the door a dark grey color and paint over all the pink. After getting the door in and lots of discussions about paint colors with the neighbors, they convinced me to keep it white and paint the garage door white as well. I wasn't sold on the idea but I went with it anyways. I'm quite impressed with how it turned out! Honestly, I hated the white windows with the pink border and it looked even worse when I painted one of the window borders grey so I felt like white was my only option.
I didn't realize our trim and garage was an off-white color when we first moved in until I started this post. A little ironic if you ask me. Either way, I have a pretty door and am so glad to have this project crossed off my list. Okay, well I still have to paint three windows on the back of the house...I'm saving that for the spring. I really enjoy being able to see out my front door before I get there too! No more surprises!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Party After the Party

Let me just start this out by saying Hunter missed the entire birthday party. I think he came in for cake and then disappeared again. By the time he came inside to stay, he was covered in dirt from head to toe.
Just filthy!

JP borrowed my camera for a minute and snapped a few pictures of me. I'm hardly ever on the other side of the camera so it feels a little weird posting pictures of myself!
The boys had some fun riding their horse around. Perry joined in a little bit later.
Papa Craig soaked in his time with the younger grandkids. Charlotte had no objection to this. She was so tired all day!
Before the night was over, the boys convinced the adults this was a good idea.

And then this happened...

Not long after their wreck, the kids settled down with Aunt Bobbi while watching a movie. Kile, Chris, Chris' parents and grandma, my mom, and Perry and I then gathered around the table to play Cards Against Humanity. So much fun! Too bad my dad was being a party pooper!
As soon I came upstairs Sunday morning, Hunter started a mini-photo session with me. "Okay stand there and smile. Okay this time kneel. Now put your hands in your pockets, but leave your thumbs out. Now dad you have to get in there too." 
This is how that turned out... Still need a little more practice :)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Siemer's Pumpkin Patch + Red Wagon

While Kile and Chris prepared for Dylan's birthday party, I thought it would be fun to take the kids to pick apples. I think everyone in the family was excited to go! This was the last weekend of the Apple Festival so I figured there were still going to be a few left for picking. I was wrong. Mom fail. 
All the kids were disappointed when we had to pack up in the car. Instead of going back to Aunt Kile's, we went to a pumpkin patch which also had activities for the kids. We went there last year and rode the train but that was about it. 
We didn't buy any pumpkins this year, as we already had some at home, but we did take advantage of the games! 
Hunter and JP had the option of riding the train or going down the giant slide. They chose 30-seconds of fun.
Charlotte chose 5 minutes of fun riding "Little Toot." She was so excited! She waved and waved as they left the station. 
As the train drove around for a little bit, her thoughts about the train completely changed.
By the end, she looked terrified and was overly anxious to get out. Did you have fun? *nods head* Do you want to do it again? *Vigorously shakes head*
Before we turned to go, Perry spotted pedal cars in the corner. I completely forgot about these! They definitely got their ticket worth on these! There wasn't a line of people waiting to use them so the lady let them go around a few times. JP went around once and had to take a break. Hunter could have spent all day doing this.
They attempted to race, but Hunter cheated by cutting through the middle of the track...
They had so much fun! I kind of wanted to try them out too...
Charlotte was mad she didn't get a turn. (She wouldn't have been able to reach the pedals!) We spent about 15 minutes watching the boys go around. By the end of it, Charlotte was almost asleep in Perry's arms. If she had her blanket, she probably would have been,
We weren't the least bit surprised when she fell asleep in the car. We had stay up WAY past our bedtime the night before.
The last time we were in Spokane it was for my friend's wedding. It coincided with Hoopfest downtown. The kids really wanted to play on the Red Wagon, but we said no way. It was much more peaceful downtown this trip. 
The first time she made it to the top of the wagon, she sat like she was going to go down the slide, but later got up and went back down the stairs. Eventually she braved the slide.
I was surprised she didn't fly off the end!
And I made this happen. Hunter hated every minute of it so I didn't have a lot of time to go back and forth between the original picture and their set-up. But hey!
Next time we'll work off of this one!