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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Chris: 18 Months

Our little man is one and a half! He has left babyhood behind and become a very busy toddler.
At 18 months:
  • Chris is FINALLY sleeping through the night more often than not. Daddy puts him to bed most of the time. He loves his fuzzy, closed-armed sleep sack and has become attached to his bear.
  • He loves to eat, particularly if it is not his own food. He will leave his food untouched and then eat all of Sarah's. He hates to sit in a high chair and insists on having a plate and utensils like a big boy. 
  • His favorite foods are pretty much anything that can be dipped in sauce- meat loaf, pancakes, French fries, etc. This boy loves his condiments. Least favorite foods include beans in any form and quesadillas. 
  • If food is being prepared, Chris must be involved. He attacks my legs with his head like a little rhino until I pick him up or put him on a chair. As he watches me cook, he sticks his little face in mine and goes "mmmm!!" very excitedly, no matter what it is. He is just excited about food. 
  • He loves to play outside. He would live out there if I let him. He climbs up and down our play structure by himself and loves the slide and the swings (but only the big swing on mom's lap. The baby swing is not acceptable). He also loves digging in dirt and rocks. 

 Chris loves books. His favorites right now are his books by Sandra Boyle, like Oh My, Oh My, Oh Dinosaurs! and Horns, Toes, & In Between. He will just crawl up into the chair in his room and read a whole pile of books.
 Chris loves to bring me flowers, real and pretend. It is adorable. We have trained him to smell the flowers in the garden (which is adorable) rather than picking them, but he knows he can pick the dandelions and bring them to me.
 Chris is my cuddle bug. This is Meow, his most favorite toy. She has a really long tail, and he loves to wrap himself up in it. He is a nester, and he loves to cuddle up with blankets and animals. Cats are his favorite animal right now, and his little meow is adorable.
Chris loves to crawl in bed with me in the morning, eat his breakfast, and watch a little tv. He has been requesting "choo choos", so we watch Chuggington or Thomas. 

 Chris even likes to steal my books and read them. I tried to trade him for a picture book, but he refused.
The most exciting thing about turning 18 months (for me!) is that Chris can go to nursery at church now! This picture pretty much shows how he feels about it. We are working on developing a love for nursery. 

You are growing up too fast, baby boy!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A New Hobby: Watercolor Painting

Last spring, I developed a sudden interest in learning to paint with watercolors. My mom gave me some materials for my birthday, and I started following tutorials that I found on YouTube and Pinterest. The painting below was one of my first. 

A few early practice sketches
I had fun with some Christmas paintings. 
For Christmas, Kelson gave me watercolor lessons with Pam Grant, a local artist. Best gift ever! Not only did I get to have painting lessons, but Kelson came home from work early, took the kids, and sent me off to paint for 2 hours on Friday afternoons. It was a beautiful thing.
These two were from my first lesson. The coolest thing about taking lessons from her was that it made me try painting things I would never have tried before. 

For Christmas I also received a watercolor book on painting flowers. The book gives you the tracing of the sketch and step by step instructions for painting. I thought that painting realistic flowers was way out of my league, but it turned out to be really fun. The roses were my first attempt.

At my next lesson, I was supposed to try painting a flower from a picture. I learned about painting on hot press paper and some interesting elements of color mixing. 
My next lesson was on painting children's faces. This was definitely out of my comfort zone. This poor baby is a little cross-eyed and funny looking, but not as bad as I thought it might turn out.

 I had been looking for a picture of the Portland temple for the living room, but I couldn't find one I liked, so I decided to paint one based on one I found on Etsy. I think it turned out pretty fun.
I went to my parents' house for a few days, and I was in need of a project. My mom started this for my sister at least 2 years ago. She stretched the canvas, covered it in gesso, and then used masking fluid to draw the dandelions. I decided to finish it for her. This piece is huge - about 2 feet by 3 feet. Tackling something so large was kind of daunting, but it was also really fun. I ended up drawing in the dandelion seeds with a sharpie after I finished painting, and I cheated and used the Cricut to make a stencil for the words. It turned out pretty cool, and Katy loved it. 

For her birthday, my mom requested a painting of poppies. I painted this one using the same book I used for the roses. My goal this time was to make the colors really vibrant. 

At my last lesson, I learned about negative painting. That is the technique used to paint the background in this piece. It was fun to tackle painting flowers like this quickly rather than with all of the painstaking detail I had put into my other flower paintings.
This is my latest piece from the flower book. Since it is finally Spring, I needed to paint some daffodils. I wasn't liking this very much as I painted it, but I actually really like the finished product.

 I am learning so much with every new project. Tackling a new hobby and learning new things is always exciting to me. I have found painting to be a great stress reliever. It is also something that Sarah and I can do together. She will paint a picture of her own while I work on mine. I can't wait to learn more!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Signs of Spring: 2018

Spring is here! It is my favorite time of the year, watching new little plants poke up through the soil and leaves bud out on the trees. To be fair, we didn't really have winter this year. We had a total of 3-5 inches of snow total, and none of it stuck around. Spring is still exciting, though.

We have tons of crocuses this year, in purple, white, and yellow. Sarah likes to tell everyone about all of the crocuses.

The little pink guys are called glory-of-the-snow. There are lots more coming up, and they will be pink, lavender, and white.
We planted lots of daffodils last fall, and I totally forgot about these little ones. They bloomed well ahead of the big ones. Happy surprise!
Daffodils and tulips peeking up
We planted the irises last spring, but they were too late to bloom. These came from my grandparents' house, along with the poppies, and I can't wait for them to bloom.

Lupine and poppies

In Sarah's words, "mommy & baby hollyhocks"

In the front, Jacob's ladder and rock cress 

Clematis and the pussywillow tree, which is super fuzzy right now

This wallflower is supposedly not for our climate, but we decided to try it anyway. It really likes dry, well-drained soil (the opposite of our soggy clay), so Kelson made it a special sandy spot. We happened to plant it right next to the dryer vent, so it is in the warmest spot in the yard. It has been blooming non-stop since last June, including throughout the winter. Victory!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Christmasing with Family

We spent Christmas at home in Baker with my family. Aunt Katy was home too, and we all had a wonderful holiday. 
 Grandpa let Sarah help build the fire. She forgot to let go of the match, and I suddenly heard Dad and Kelson yelling, "drop it now!".  Leave it to the men to hand the 4 year old a lit match. Fortunately no one got burned, and Sarah thought it was very exciting.
 One of our Christmas traditions is making brigadeiros. They are a Brazilian chocolate caramel that you roll in different toppings. Kelson brought out the toppings while Sarah and I were starting to roll the caramels - cocoa powder, chocolate sprinkles, sugar sprinkles, and toasted coconut. I handed Mom a coconut one to try. She tasted it and then made a horrible face. I thought maybe the coconut was bad, so I tasted it and realized that Kelson had brought me a bowl of onion soup mix instead of coconut. Gross. Poor Mom. Chocolate caramel rolled in onion soup is not good. 
 We corrected the topping mistake and Sarah had a great time rolling the rest of the caramels.
On the 22nd, we went to my Uncle Donny's house for Danish Christmas. Don't you just love the gingerbread cookie place cards?
 Chris got stuck behind me, under the Christmas tree. He took advantage of the opportunity to snitch candy canes during dinner. 
 Danish Christmas is one of our favorite traditions. It is a wonderful time to be together with my Mom's family and celebrate our Danish heritage. Sarah entertained herself photographing the party.

 Chris decided that playing under the table was super exciting. He rolled around down there for at least half an hour.
 Katy offered to read Sarah a book, and Sarah came up with a Beauty and the Beast chapter book with no pictures. She settled right in and demanded that Katy start reading. She read for several pages before I intervened and brought a children's book for them to read. Sarah loves her Aunt Katy.

 We took the kids to see the lights at Sam Bass's house. He has wooden cutouts of dozens of cartoon characters and lights all set up throughout his yard for everyone to walk through. I have been going there as long as I can remember. Mr. Bass died this year, so this will be the last time going there. Fortunately someone in the community has offered to take over the display. It was extremely cold the night we went, but the kids loved it. 
 Kelson went for a late night run in the cold to enjoy the festiveness of downtown Baker. 

I will write about Christmas and Christmas Eve in the next post, but we will jump to after Christmas real quick. 

 Mom, Katy, and I got to spend the afternoon shopping at after-Christmas sales and attending the new temple in Meridian. It was such a great day with my two best friends!

We went back to Grandma's for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. I didn't take any pictures for some reason, but we celebrated at Jeremy's house this year. We had a delicious dinner of ribs and shrimp and then spent the evening playing games. We spent the night at Jeremy's so that we could put all of the kids to bed early. We almost made it to midnight, but the baby woke up at 11:45 and broke up the party. The next day, we all played at Grandma's house. The kids have been making great use of the new tea set that Grandma bought for Christmas.