Friday, December 30, 2011

Esme's Room

I finally finished a couple of things to complete Esme's room.  It's my favorite room so far, with my ideal color on the wall, light gray.  It was bright peach before and my only must paint room before moving in.  I hate decorating, it feels so contrived and I'm indecisive.  I also hate making new holes in walls, especially these plaster ones that are prone to crumbling. I'd rather have bare walls than regrets. But kids rooms are easier, they have so many toys and colors add whimsy.  Rainbow wouldn't work so well in a bathroom or living room, right?

I was waiting for Christmas for a couple of things, to finally make my own child puppets that I've already made for 4 other kids and a fun kid chair.  First the puppets. They were so much work I wasn't going to throw them in some toy bin.  My second Christmas Eve staying up late a slave to the sewing machine. But so worth it, she loves them.

She's constantly singing Old McDonald.  I stressed for weeks on a way to display them, then my sister sent a package with lots of fencing for some wooden animals, so I stuck half of them vertically to the table with some 3M Command hooks, the best invention ever I've decided.  I stupidly tried to hang the book shelf with them, my first new hole in our walls had to happen.

Esme's obsessed with reading.  I'm a little psycho about maintaining order with her books, so I put most of them out of reach and a few favorites on her shelf (actually a spice rack from Ikea).  And I've wanted comfy chairs like my sister's kids have for a long time.  Also a big hit, they carry them all over the place, up and down the stairs, put two together to make a crib or a cave.

I bought the prints over the summer at the Provo Farmer's Market from some artistic girl selling her stash before moving to San Francisco. Four for a dollar or something ridiculous like that. 

I replaced those bi fold closet doors with a girlie curtain.  We've been able to cram quite a lot in our tiny closets. I love how a small house makes you be very organized and choosy about what you buy.

When Esme turned two I realized that she might not be a baby anymore, so her mobile was replaced with some bunting I made for a Relief Society activity and this felted butterfly from Switzerland.

And here's the last corner. Luckily my kids are pretty tidy and it pretty much always looks like this. Oh, and we recently got half the house new windows (only half because it's so expensive) but I wanted hers done for sure to keep out noise and heat from the sun during naps.  The rest were to get rid of the leaded-paint infested, single pane windows in the basement. There is only one more project I have in mind, to make a drum shade with this tutorial.

Friday, November 25, 2011

New Museum

Brian's sister was here last week and I was looking around for something close and the Natural History Museum's website said it had opened in it's brand new site two days earlier.  I'd never been to the old one, but when we pulled up I was impressed.  All the museums I've been to in Utah have ranged from hokey to okay. I was amazed from the outside.  People talk about architecture blending in with the landscape, but this was the most realistic example I've ever seen. Shaped like the mountains behind it, dressed in copper mined from across the valley.

Inside it was so modern I felt like I was in a fancy California museum.  I have to say the University of Utah outdid BYU's Bean Museum, haha. It was very kid friendly with several educational play areas and class rooms with hands-on learning tools.  We bought a year pass and I'm looking forward to taking the kids over and over.  There's a lot to learn about little ol' Utah. Like how ever many thousands of years ago this was beach front property.

Our little archaeologist 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Best Pet Ever, From A Non-Pet Person

Brian hopes he won't have to mow the lawn anymore

The night Brian set aside to go pick up our future pet, Eli's birthday present, I got some icy cold feet. Everything I read said rabbits are not for little kids, and everything in my head told me I'd be the one shoveling poop.  Brian was so set on a rabbit he said he would do everything and he has. Who knew Brian was a pet person.  He's been happily cleaning up after, potty training, playing and cuddling with, and reading bunny books to decipher rabbit's actions.  I had some criteria for him before he set off to the breeder an hour away "only a girl, and no psycho red-eyed white bunny." At least it's a girl.

Apparently you shouldn't bathe bunnies,
a plus for me.

Eli's really loving and gentle and Whitey puts up with him carrying her all over the place.  She hasn't bitten anyone yet.  The kids love bringing her little snacks (scraps from the kitchen) during the day.  She's quiet and doesn't stink.  She even prefers her cage, or maybe she just hates the process of being pulled out the door.  She has caused a little trouble, finding a hole in the fence and realizing we can't catch her when she's in the thorny raspberry patch. Nothing an apple core couldn't entice her out of. And she does weird things like cleaning herself only while sitting in her litter box.

A trap to try and get her out of the raspberries

I felt bad only getting one since they are social animals and would be happiest with a companion and it's hard to find a companion when they're adults, but we keep her in the living room, get her out several times a day, she has an amazing yard, and the local organic food she eats isn't bad either.  It's always nice when she comes out of the mint bush smelling and fresh.  And the branches we trim from the fruit and maple trees will work perfectly as chew sticks to keep her teeth filed.

I worry about stress since she lives with little kids and I learned rabbits can have panic attacks and even a heart attack and die if a dog chases them.  Since we found out, our goal has been to make her teeth grind while we hold her, the bunny equivalent of purring.  And the other night I was the first person she licked, a sign of affection.  I hope whitey's happy with us, we sure are glad she's here.  Luckily she's really small, so Brian's not tempted to eat her.  He's overly practical like that.

Esme at 2

This girl is finding her voice.  "Sit here, give me that, my turn, candy, stop!"  So independent and full of ideas.  If she decides she wants something, she yells immediately instead of asking a couple of times and then resorting to yells.  Like yesterday when she wanted "Wheels on the Bus" to play on repeat even though our crusty old CD player doesn't have that fancy option.  It was worth the two minutes of peace for me to run in her room after it ended each time.  Since her birthday she's been loving her "learning tower" (a railed in steppy stool) to raise to the counter to help cook.

Brian thought I was dumb for buying a $75 used step stool.  But she loves it. I usually put her in charge of adding things like pepper and sesame seeds into sauces or cutting soft things with a butter knife. But the other day she insisted on making her own lunch which ended up being a traumatized piece of bread soaked in peanut oil.

She also loves her backpack.  I put it on her Sunday with a few toys and she almost fell backwards with the weight, then she compensated and hunched forward like a granny to walk before taking a rest. 

She also had the fun idea to lay in her doll's crib and went along with Eli's even better idea to push her around the house.

One more pound and she might've fallen out the bottom. Oh yes!  We switched to a new pediatrician nearby and she was not even stressed at the 19 lb 1 oz fully dressed two year old!  She asked tons of developmental questions and said her growth curve chart looks fine and if anything we should not get too crazy with the butter and even mentioned we could switch to 2% milk.  She ended by saying "See you next year," not, "How many calories a day has she been eating, what did the dietician say, I'm sending you to this specialist next, lets get her blood drawn for these other tests, have you been cramming the unnecessary medicine down her throat?" okay, maybe not realistic wording on that last one.

Yesterday at the playground she melted me when she was swinging on a bar and said "duper  fun." She melts Brian after he reaches the end of a level on Super Mario and says "gimme five" and "good job."  Oh and books. All of a sudden she can sit down for half an hour with a book. And she prefers the regular, hard-to-turn pages.  And every morning I know she's awake when I hear her soft little voice singing "E-i-e-i-o."

Saturday, November 5, 2011

1st Snow

Brian really  missed out this morning.  He woke up in Phoenix and we woke up to this:

What a perfect Saturday morning!  My usually hungry kids couldn't even wait for breakfast to get out there.  After getting all suited up Eli was proud to show his sister the ins and outs of snow.  It was her first time, since she wasn't walking last year.  He showed her the basics, snow balls, sledding, that it's edible.  

And when we looked at this house over the summer I took note that the small hill on the back of the house would make the perfect sledding slope for small kids and wimps like me.  And it was.


It was a quiet day with all our attention turned to Esme.  I came up with the cutest outfit I could find in her mostly second-hand wardrobe and we were off.  Everywhere we went (bookstore to play trains, pet store, restaurant, toy store) I told the people it was her birthday.  Eli had school, so just the two of us went out for breakfast. The nice lady turned our single order of french toast into two with one cut up in small pieces.

I can see how she thought the syrup was a drink.

Her only two wishes were to play trains and for a purple cake.  I accidentally dropped half of the food coloring in, so it was quite a neon purple. And, of course, she didn't eat any.

Happy Birthday little one.  You fill us with joy.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Best Halloween

Esme's 1st Candy

*Eli and Esme went together since she can walk this year.  And they understood, they were jumping and bouncing with excitement while we got them ready.

*Speaking of getting them ready, ahhhh.  They wanted the same costumes, a duty free halloween for me.

*It was so warm!  And light outside thanks to daylight savings.  No freezing kids with coats over their costumes.

*People were so friendly.  All kinds of kids were yelling "Hi, Eli!" It took an hour to walk our short block because we kept talking and going in people's houses.  We only ended up doing two blocks.

*Neighbors were so generous.  The old owners of our house called to warn us it would be crazy busy with trick-or-treaters, but people told the kids to take several candies and even gave us parents some.  There were even a couple of houses that gave whole candy bars, I thought that was just legend.  And one house had hot dogs and cider for everyone while another had a bounce house set up.  It was amazing!

Saturday, October 29, 2011


The first tree has started dumping leaves in the back yard and when you look up you can hardly tell any are missing. It's going to be crazy.  Last night I wanted to drive half an hour and pay $30 for us to go to a  kiddy corn maze with lots of games.  Brian wisely voted for playing in the leaves in the back yard.  A first for all of us.

Surprisingly, Esme was quite serious and uptight about it while Eli was the opposite.  "Noooo" she'd say grumpily and start picking the leaves off her coat.

Brian shielding her

She did perk up when she got the idea to get Eli back.

Eli, on the other hand...   

loved rolling around and getting buried.

We got more excitement and expression out of him than we have in a long time.

Then was my turn.