Tuesday, May 27, 2008

May 25th was Brynnie's Birthday!!

On Sunday, my adorable little niece, Brynn Freed, turned 2 and I, like the terrible auntie that I am, forgot to post her a Happy Birthday message! Brynn is the most darling little sweet pea in the world, so I know she'll forgive me. Her parents, on the other hand... (sorry guys!)

We really do love Brynn so much! She has been a joy in our family since the day of her birth and we just love having her around. Brynn was the happiest, smiliest baby (as Ann-Michelle's babies tend to be) and her sweetness is still apparent to everyone she meets. She is a dainty little girl and we adore her bright blue eyes and sparkly smile.

Happy Birthday, Brynnie! We hope it was a great one!!

O Canada!

This is just my way of stickin' it to the Man: Chris and I just spent a nice little chunk of our rebate check booking hotels for our trip to Canada in August. We're heading up to the Pacific NW with our great friends, Ryan and Nicki, who were married just a week after us, to celebrate our ten year anniversaries. What better way to stimulate the US economy than by vacationing in Canada? Hee!

Monday, May 26, 2008

So, what's it gonna be?

Hands down, my very favorite day of pregnancy (not counting the BIRTH day, of course) is the Ultrasound day. I love getting that halfway preview of the little tyke and getting to see more of its insides than you do when you actually have the baby. The ultrasound makes the pregnancy seem real and, for that moment anyway, worth all of the fuss. And of course, there is the big reveal: what is the baby's gender?

I totally support those of you who choose not to find out for whatever reason, but I am not that girl. I like to start referring to the lump as "he" or "she" instead of "it", and with our previous two, we've pretty much named the kid the second we learned the gender. Although we do have names in mind, I'm going to try to keep that a surprise until the baby is born. And of course, one of the best parts about knowing the gender is the shopping! I've already got a list going.

Here's what I've got so far...

For the Bumbo, will it be

Will my diaper bag (or backpack, which actually seems more "me") be
Mod Floral Blue
Mod Floral Pink?

And for the baby carrier, is it

Although nothing any of us does now is going to change the outcome, I've set up a poll at left for you to vote your guess. I'm excited to see what you think. By the way, Chris was watching AVP on TV the other night (no, that's not my kind of movie), so I added in a couple of extra choices. Hee hee.

Our ultrasound is scheduled for a week from today, so I'll update the blog with a new look and share what we know then.

Home Work

On Saturday, we decided to do a little "sprucing" on the exterior of our house. We've been talking about adding some shutters and painting the door for a while, and we are absolutely thrilled with the way the small changes make such a difference. Check it out...

BEFORE: The home of Mr. and Mrs. Blandy McBlanderson...

And AFTER: Cute as a charming little button!

I am in LOVE with the red door. I know that color is a little cliched these days, but it just goes so well with the house that I couldn't care less. Adorable, isn't it? The best part about these little changes: we spent less than $50!

Also on the home front, we found a little jungle explorer cleverly posted between the chocolate milk and the celery in the fridge the other night. We're still not sure who placed him there, but it did give Chris a good laugh when he was grabbing a late night snack!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hey batta batta batta...

On Monday evening, the boys and I went to the park to cheer Chris on in his first softball game with the HJ team. I find this team of newspaper misfits to be kind of amusing-- I especially love that the HJ couldn't fit the bill for matching shirts (or maybe no one organized it, who knows?), so some of them, including Chris, actually drew their own numbers on the backs of their shirts. Hilarious. We didn't get to stay for the whole game, but we had a great time watching the first few innings. Chris had a great catch for an out in the far outfield, and a good base hit that we got to see.

The best part of this picture isn't Chris's run-- it's the adorable little hand in the bottom left, cheering his Dad on!

Since I'm creeping up on the halfway point of "Invasion of the Bodysnatchers", I thought I'd give you a quick update on me and my pregnant state. I'm a pretty average pregnant person-- I have been extremely fortunate with my previous pregnancies in that I didn't gain an enormous amount of weight or swell excessively. I'm counting on that trend to continue with this one, and so far, I'm staying consistent. On the down side, I'm also not one of those little things that only gains the cute, round basketball tummy, then leaves the hospital wearing size 6 jeans.

While I haven't noticed a great amount of gain poundage wise, I am constantly finding new frustration in the fact that it's not just my belly that is starting to look pregnant. My days of wearing my normal clothes with small adjustments (like a rubber band around the buttons) are over, so on Sunday evening, I went through my wardrobe and sorted the clothes based on clothes I can wear now, clothes I will have to start wearing very soon, and clothes that I should just stop looking at unless I want to feel depressed. Between the clothes donated from previously pregnant family members and the stuff I bought with Gordon, I have a decent selection for the next 20-ish weeks. I'm sure I'll supplement just a little bit, but it was relieving to see that I'm pretty much covered. By the time this thing is over, I can guarantee that I'll hate each item in that closet with a passion. :)

Aside from the baby belly and maternity clothes, my other symptoms include heartburn (thanks for the Zantac, doc), mild back aches, and my continued aversion to red meat (although I did have a McDonald's cheeseburger the other day, but I don't think that counts). I've also been very emotional and high-strung, which seems more extreme to me than in my past pregnancies, but may be totally normal. I'm planning to discuss with my doctor at my next appointment. Anyway, if you catch me bawling hysterically at a really good commercial or cursing those damned carpool parents with increased fervor, you'll know why.

I took almost no pictures of my pregnant-with-Gordon self, and only a few when I was expecting Thomas, mostly due to the fact that I didn't have a digital camera and just didn't think about picture-taking as much as I do now. I want to try to document this one a little better, if nothing more than to make myself feel better when I'm not pregnant! Here I am today...

Lately I've been increasingly lazy with my hair. I'd like to cut it, but I'm waiting until the end of the year so that it's long enough to donate (who wouldn't want a red-haired wig?), but I don't look like Sinead O'Connor afterward. Hence, probably 5 days a week, I've opted for the messy bun-- just my hair wound around a pony tail holder. I knew you'd want to see what that looks like.

Whew-- I'm feeling wordy tonight! One more thing-- I watched the American Idol finale and I just have to put in my two cents: while I definitely think that David Archuleta is vocally superior to David Cook, from a marketing standpoint, I don't think he is really the most marketable candidate. His voice and style are a little too syrupy for me, and I really can't picture having a David Archuleta album in my iTunes. David Cook, on the other hand, seems much more current and unique, and I actually plan on buying his CD.

Okay, enough from me. Cheers!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Master of the Universe!

Okay, so he is Master of his own Universe, but nonetheless. It's official: we (temporarily, sigh) no longer have children in diapers! HOORAY! That's right, Gordon is completely potty trained! I wish I could credit my amazing mothering skills for this feat, but the truth is that it was all Gord's decision. We've been teetering around the idea for several months now, and this week, he just decided that the time had finally come. I've mentioned his strong-willed nature before, and this is just another prime example: when he's ready, he'll do it.

He had a couple of accidents on Monday and Tuesday, our first two diaper-free days, but none since. Yesterday, when we went to the museum and out to dinner, I brought along clean pairs of shorts, socks and undies, just in case, but they went back into the drawer unused. After he made it through the three hour church block, and again, a three hour nap on my bed (now that's a test!), both wetness-free, I feel safe in saying that we've arrived at toilet mastery heaven!

Part of me is very sad that I no longer have a baby in this little guy, but the other part, the bigger and more important part, is thrilled with the awesome kid he is now! Way to go, buddy!

Choo Choo! All Aboard!

For the boys' birthdays this year, we're letting them choose a place in the area to go as a family. Between museums, water parks and fun centers, we actually have quite a few options. Because Gordon has been really obsessed with trains lately, it wasn't difficult to talk him into going to the Union Station in Ogden, where they have a neat train museum. We've been talking about it for weeks, and the big day finally came on Saturday!

First, I have to share this picture of Gordon in the new birthday outfit he (with my help, of course) picked out with his birthday money from Nonny and Bob. Seriously, can you get any cuter?!

Ogden is a quick 45 minutes from Logan, and the drive down was full of exactly what we were anticipating: trains! Gordon has become an eagle-eye at finding trains around us, and he was thrilled with the number we saw. Outside of Union Station, there is a display of a large black engine pulling two vintage cars. I got a kick out of the slight nervousness of Gordon when it came to climbing on the train-- I don't think he had ever imagined what one looked like so close!

Once inside, we bought the boys Jelly Belly suckers to keep them occupied while we waited for my parents and sisters Caitlan and Allison to join us. You'll notice the candy in pretty much every picture from here on out!

The station wasn't busy, so we had fun letting the boys run around the big main waiting area and climbing on the benches.

As my family arrived, they pretended to be asleep. (We really didn't have to wait that long!)

If you're a Utah resident and like trains, I'd definitely recommend this museum. It is fairly basic, but interesting, and you can't beat the low cost. The boys had a great time looking at the old time railway memorabilia and climbing inside the old caboose.

And here we are on the "Gandy Wagon" (I think that is the right name...)

One of the most fun things about the museum are the model trains-- there are several, and they go through different scenes in the West to demonstrate the far reach of the railway system. Gordon could have spent hours just watching them go through tunnels, over bridges, and around hills and mountains. It really was a cool little setup.

It was really fun to have my parents and sisters join us on our adventure. We enjoyed a tasty little dinner at Red Robin after the museum, where I was only slightly appalled to learn that they no longer sing a birthday song to the birthday kid. I declined the free birthday sundae (I know, mean Mom), but Gordon and I did split a chocolate shake.

We drove back to Logan, where we enjoyed spending the rest of the evening with my family and I'm positive Caitlan really appreciated all of my advice and suggestions regarding her budding romance. It's fun to reminisce about those fun dating days. Sigh.

With all of the trains, food, and fun people, I think we can definitely count Gordon's birthday wishes as completely fulfilled!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Gordon!

Today my sweet baby boy turned three years old, and officially exited toddlerhood and entered kid-dom. I've been feeling rather sad and nostalgic today (prenatal psychosis is partly to blame) as Gord and I have been running around in birthday celebration. Has it really been three years since this funny little man entered my life?

For those who know Gordon well, it won't be a surprise to learn that he woke up with a GIGANTIC smile this morning and jumped up and down all over the house singing, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!" He has always approached everything in life with an absolute vigor, something I have always loved about him. He is definitely my fireball child-- always full of energy and spunk, and that little extra spark that keeps us on our toes. I'll admit that he is also the kid I forsee butting heads with a little bit (okay, I can recall butting heads with him just today, in fact), but only because we're a lot alike in our stubbornness. Gordon is extremely expressive and imaginative, and has a great budding sense of humor. He's also the most darling little thing, with those crazy Snuffy eyelashes, adorable baby blue eyes, and cherubic little face-- looks that, I believe, let him get away with being a demon! Gordon brings a special energy and charm to our lives, and I'm so very grateful that he is ours. May 15th will always be a special day in our family!

After work today, Gordon, Chris and I had a tasty birthday lunch of "chicken on a bone" (fried chicken), accompanied by the traditional balloons-- three of them! Afterward, Gord and I went on a few errands: a haircut for the birthday boy (he talked to the the stylist the entire time), Smith's Marketplace (like Fred Meyer) for groceries and a couple more presents, and over to a friend's to pick up Thomas. Our friends, the Hunts, joined us for Gordon's favorite dinner of Macaroni and Cheese (I made a special adult version for the grown-ups-- yummy!!) and birthday cake and ice cream. I tried to get a cute birthday picture of him, but it just wasn't meant to be. Instead, I got quite a few of him yelling, "I DON'T WANT TO TAKE A PICTURE", and finally one really cheesy consolation picture. Yes, he's a little firecracker, all right! Ultimately, though, he did let me cuddle and kiss him good-night (and just an hour later than normal!), so it's been a very good day.

Happy Birthday to my sweet boy!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Weekend in Colorado

Early Thursday morning last week, Chris, the boys, and I went to Fort Collins, CO, one of our favorite little spots to visit. We were excited to visit Jon, Emily and Abby, and especially to congratulate Jon on his completion of his Masters in Fine Art from Colorado State, and to see his Masters Thesis show. This visit was a little bit bittersweet as the Hales will be moving to Detroit this summer and we won't have a good excuse to visit Fort Collins again any time soon. I probably said "Maybe we'll have to move here," one too many times.

We stayed at the Hilton near Jon and Emily's home, and the boys were THRILLED with our choice. Not only did the hotel have a nice indoor swimming pool, it also had an elevator with glass doors and an open foyer, so you could watch the lobby sink below as you rode up. We were on the 8th floor, so the elevator alone provided enough pleasure to last the whole trip!

Our cute little bugs right before bed-- I couldn't resist sharing this cute picture of Gordy and his crazy/awesome hair

Gordon sharing the view with Abby

One of the coolest things about Fort Collins is the Old Town area. We enjoyed eating and touring around there on Friday afternoon. There are some great little shops and a lot of beautiful trees, so the atmosphere is really enjoyable.

The Cupboard, one of our favorite shops, has a bunch of tasty gourmet candy that we had to try. Chris and I shared some fancy truffles-- incredible-- and the boys picked out an assortment of weird gummy things and suckers.

Tom and his "pizza"

"Mom said I could get Bubble Gum!"

The next stop was a funky little toy and children's clothing store, where we found a couple of gender-neutral outfits for Munchkin 3. The boys (and I mean all three of them!) were in heaven with all of the cool toys.

Don't mind the dancing cowboy man in the stuffed animal section, kids. He's not for sale.

Later that evening, we went to the opening of Jon's gallery. He presented along with another girl who specialized in metalsmithing. The art was really impressive and we really enjoyed seeing Jon's work. I'll be the first to admit that I don't have the grasp of art that I would like to, but I could still appreciate the creativity and work that went in to each of his pieces. We're really proud of Jon and we're sure that he'll put the same great effort into his next adventure!

I didn't feel well on Saturday, so the boys spent most of their time swimming and riding up and down on the elevators, while I spent most of my time laying in bed and watching Cast Away. Despite not doing much, the boys still managed to have a good time. It's fun to be a kid!

On Sunday morning, before heading back across the great and wide expanse known as Wyoming, Emily and Jon hosted a lovely Mother's Day Brunch at City Park. The kids had a blast with bubbles and the ducks, and the adults enjoyed yummy quiches and artichoke dip before the long ride home.

I think this picture of Gordon chasing a bubble is just hilarious! No one can ever accuse him of not living in the moment!

Duck, duck, duck

Happy Mother's Day!

Thanks again, Jon and Emily, for hosting everyone! We had a great time!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Love is in the Air

I love weddings. If I could get married once a year (to the same handsome groom, of course), I would. I would have a different dress and flowers and cake every time. Sometimes I think I should go into wedding planning or something. But really, who doesn't love a wedding?

I especially love weddings of people I know and love. On Saturday, Chris and I were able to attend the wedding of one of our dear long-time friends, Jared Slade. Jared and Chris served together in the Ohio Cleveland Mission many, many years ago, and we've managed to keep in touch. My favorite memories with Jared are the six consecutive years of Christmas Around the World and our late night dinners afterward with the OCM gang (remember how much fun we had, Jill?!), and our trip to Ohio five years ago. I'm going to post a picture of our group-- Jill and Drew Petersen, Josh Probert, Jared and us at the Kirtland Temple-- it was such a great trip. Anyway, we were absolutely thrilled to find out that Jared was engaged and even more thrilled to meet his beautiful new wife, Amanda. The couple was so happy, their joy couldn't help but rub off on everyone else. I couldn't imagine a better time to reunite with old friends and to celebrate all of the love and hope life has to offer. It was a great day.

The happy couple-- Jared and Amanda Slade!

I don't think we can be considered newlyweds anymore, but we're still stinkin' cute! (Thanks Jill, for letting me steal some pictures!)

We hadn't seen the Petersens forever, so seeing them made the day especially sweet!

The OCM boys-- Petersen, Probert, Slade & Hansen!

The Toothless Wonder

After several weeks of wiggling, Thomas finally lost his first tooth last Sunday! The scene was not without a little drama, of course. After a tooth-jarring head-butting incident with Gord, the tiny little tooth was literally hanging by a thread. For those of you who know Tommer well, you know that he is a bit sensitive about a lot of things, pain and anticipated pain being right at the top of the list. He didn't want anyone to "yank", "pull", "twist", or even "touch" the tooth-- honestly, his whining was about to drive me nuts. When he finally realized that he couldn't eat without chomping down on the offending tooth, he finally agreed to let Chris and me take over. I held him in my lap with one hand over his eyes and the other tightly holding his arms down, while Chris used one finger to gently remove the tooth. It took less than three seconds and that itsy bitsy little thing was on the tongue of our now smiling kid. Chris described the moment like this:

"Imagine you're reading a book and you notice that an eyelash has fallen onto one of the pages. You take your one finger and remove the eyelash-- that is the same amount of pressure I used to remove Tom's tooth."

There are quite a few more little teeth that will eventually fall out, so hopefully Tom remembers how un-painful the whole experience was and opts to get it over with a little sooner. We're not holding our breath, though! ;)

The tooth fairy that visited our home that night is NOT the same tooth fairy that used to visit me when I was younger. This one is far more generous. Apparently since the tooth was lost on a Sunday and it was the first tooth and required some bravery, the tooth fairy (Chris) brought not only two Sacagawea dollars, but also a set of watercolors and a Butterfinger. I'm guessing that the Butterfinger is supposed to encourage additional tooth loss...

Friday, May 02, 2008

Recently Read

I've been meaning to write a few book reviews for a while now. There are a couple of websites (Shelfari and GoodReads, to name a couple) that people have invited me to join, but I haven't gotten around to posting my book lists on either of those yet. It's not that I don't want to share book recommendations, I'm just managing so many other things right now that adding another website to the list seems daunting. I'm positive that it's easier than I am making it out to be! One of these days...

In the meantime, you'll have to suffice with a couple of reviews right here on the good ol' blog. :) Since I know that some of the people who read this blog are a little more discriminating about content than I am, I decided to add some content warnings in small print below the reviews.

Nineteen Minutes, by Jodi Picoult
This book, about a high school shooting, was pretty good-- fast-paced, interesting, with a few little twists. Perhaps it's because I've read Jodi Picoult before, or perhaps I'm a genius (or both!), but I did guess the surprise twist at the end within the first few chapters. The story itself is very sad, and Picoult takes you through the shooter's life, where all of the bad memories and disappointments finally lead up to the shooting. There were a few scenarios that felt a little contrived, and I didn't feel very hopeful at the end, but overall, it was a good read. If you haven't read Picoult before, I'd recommend My Sister's Keeper first.
Mild sex, Language, Adult themes

The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
Another sad story, but I would say that this book was excellent, rather than just good. The writing is incredible and raw, and although the story of an Afghani boy and his friend is difficult to read in parts, it is an excellently crafted story. I found myself thinking a lot about prejudices, about the things we do to protect ourselves, sometimes at the cost of others, and ultimately, about forgiveness. I definitely recommend this book and I'm excited to read another Hosseini novel.
Adult themes, violence

Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen
Those crazy circus freaks! Really, I liked this book. It was quick and interesting, and I found the main character likable and genuine. Some of the things that went on in the depression-era circus in this story are kind of scary, but definitely entertaining. I don't know that this book caused any serious contemplation, but it was a fun read.
Mild Sex, Language, Mild Violence

Thursday, May 01, 2008


Apparently I spoke way too soon about the nice weather. Look at this: the first of May and this is what I woke up to:

The weather isn't the only sad thing today. Today is my friend Christy's last day at the HJ before she and Derrick move to Gooding, ID. Chris is losing one of his best copy editors ever and I am losing my most faithful running friend.

On Saturday night, Christy and Derrick and our other friends Shane and Holly came over for some late night Jazz watching and game playing. I forgot how much I like playing Cluzzle with Derrick-- he is so random and funny! Here's an example (which I guessed correctly on round 3!!): the picture below represents something medical, plastic, sometimes helps with healing, and man-made. Any guesses?...

It's a SYRINGE! Yay for me-- I totally pulled that one out of the air. Anyway, I wish we had taken better advantage of the fun times we have with these guys! We'll miss you!!

(Everyone saying "WHAT?!" after my genius guess...)