December 21, 2012

Love me some Flowers





Not sure how this event escaped from being documented. I went to The Killer's concert with my sister, Vanessa, on November 30th.  The lighting, the special effects, the music, and of course, Mr. Flowers, were all phenomenal! It was a fun evening for two mom's trying to reclaim their youth. 

Well, maybe just me. Vanessa's still a youngin' in her 20's. :)




Yep, I've discovered Instagram on my phone. 



I love Nessa! We have our own sister language and inside jokes. 
Now if only the two other sisters could have joined us...then the night would've been complete. :)

December 20, 2012

Poky-Loki

I'm finally doing an update on our little corgi.  He is slowly getting out of the annoying chew-up-everything-in-sight-including-our-fingers-and-toes stage, moving past the "just tolerable" stage and is beginning his descent into: "you know what, you're not so bad. I'm glad we kept you" stage.  Here is my top 10 list on our quirky Loki:

1- He loves to walk and sleep on the edge of the couch.  He exhibits a strange, cat-like behavior.
2 - He talks. He sounds just like Blue on Blues Clues.  Especially in the morning he will greet us with a long "BOOOOOOOWW." It is the cutest thing ever.


3 - Every time I walk up the stairs (seriously, every time), I turn around to see him a few steps behind, resting his head on a step and giving me the cutest puppy face I have ever seen in my life. It's almost like he is saying, "just remember this face when I do something naughty." I love it!


4 - As you can probably tell, he is my shadow.  He is fiercely loyal and attached to me.  I go to the bathroom, he impatiently scratches at the door.  I leave for the evening and he lays down next to my bed until I get home.  He loves Nick and the kids, but is totally obsessed with me.

5 - He loves to play hide-and-seek with the kids.  They hide, I hold Loki while he whines and struggles, and then I let him go. He searches the whole house until he finds them.  We play this game almost daily (it especially helps pass the time on Sunday when Nick is gone all day).

6 - He has the worst gas! I don't remember Kaya ever having it this bad.

7 - Everyone comments on his energy level.  Yes, he is a puppy but if you come over for a visit you will understand what I am talking about.  He is C-R-A-Z-Y!



8 - He is also incredibly cuddly.  ^ As you can see.


9 - The vacuum is his archenemy.  I can just set it in the middle of the room and he will growl and bark until it is back in the closet.

10 - He is awesome with the kids.  Playful with Toby and patient with Aspen. 

We still miss and think about Kaya a lot.  She will always have a special spot in our hearts. But we are so grateful to have little Loki in our home and hope he is apart of our family for many more years!

November 25, 2012

A birthday post


On November 18th, I turned the big 3-0. I had an awesome birthday weekend. It really felt like the birthday that would never end.  Friday afternoon Nick gave me the green light to buy a couple small birthday presents for myself. Nothing exciting, just some cleansers and makeup I had my eye on for a while. Saturday my sweet sister, Vanessa, took me to lunch at a Thai Restaurant called 'Jasmine' and the food was incredible.  Mmmm...always love me some Thai.  As soon as I got home, my good friend, Amber, said she was coming to pick me up so we could get birthday pedicures (her birthday was on the 16th and almost every year we try to find a way to celebrate them together). As I was getting ready for her arrival, I noticed a little bag on our bed (Nick was gone running errands). I was floored at what I found inside: an iPhone 5! What?!  I had told Nick that it might be nice to get one - eventually, like when our phone contract is up (in January) and only if it was in the budget.  Nick discovered that we were already eligible for an upgrade and felt like I needed one now  (and I am too cheap to ever just go buy such an expensive present for myself, so in a way I am kind of glad he just went ahead and bought it for me).  Can I just say, this phone is incredible!  I have NEVER had a smart phone - or anything close to one.  In fact, my last phone didn't even have a camera on it.  So imagine my amazement when suddenly I can ask my phone for directions while I'm out and about or dictate a text to my husband while cleaning the house. I'm still geekin' out about it. Technology is awesome. My mind reels at what is in store for my kids. 

ANYway...so as Amber and I were busy getting pampered, I noticed some discrepancies with Nick and Amber's stories.  Nick told me earlier he had planned a birthday dinner at a restaurant with some of my friends for that evening. But then Amber asked me where Nick and I were going to dinner that night. Also I noticed a weird, nervous energy coming from Nick all day.  He is already a neat freak, but he was doing things like patching up the holes in the wall and repairing a baseboard in the guest bathroom.  I kept thinking, this can't all be for my family (who was coming over Sunday afternoon). Something was up. It wasn't until I walked through the front door did I understand Nick's anxieties:






(except imagine a room full of people screaming "SURPRISE!" This pic was taken a day or two later)


Nick sent out invitations to all my friends weeks before the party. Not only that but he cleaned the entire house top to bottom, arranged for Toby to stay the night at Grandpa and Grandma Sibert's (to make all of this possible), assigned people food to bring, made a cheeseball from scratch, and he even looked up how to make all the different party drinks! I was bit teary later when I found out just how much work Nick put into this party. What a great guy I have!

These pics are just me opening some gifts and some of the cool people I am lucky to have in my life.


Nick made me wear the tiara - against my will.






 


It was a fantastic evening. But it didn't end there. More awesomeness to come:
Sunday (my actual birthday) Nick took the day off (woohoo!) and we were able to go to church as a fam.  When we got home I took a nice, lazy afternoon nap before we celebrated with family.  My parents, Nick's parents, Vanessa, Carlen, and Terry all came out to for a nice dinner. And just when you think Nick can't get any more amazing, he went ahead and had a coworker make two, delicious cheesecakes for our dessert (my favorite kind of cake).  It was truly an unforgettable birthday.  I am so very grateful for all my family and friends who made it such a memorable weekend for me. 

*

I am discovering though that each birthday is also a tough reminder of Mikel's absence.  Me, my dad, and Mikel all have November birthdays: my dad's on the 4th, mine exactly two weeks later on the 18th, and Mikel's birthday exactly one week after that, on the 25th. She would have been 33 today. We did a little celebration for her over Thanksgiving. We sang her "happy birthday" - had a cake with candles and everything.  It was very sweet...and hard. I miss my big sister a lot. Toby actually caught me off guard while writing this post and handed me a random journal of mine from December 2001. He wanted me to read it to him, but I knew it would probably be over his head and extremely uninteresting to a 4-year-old so I decided to scan the first page. I smiled as the entry was about Mikel.  I was a young college student upset about problems with school, my job, and just life in general. I never liked crying in front of people - even my own family - so in my entry I describe how I hid away in my parents guest room to have a good cry.  I will let my journal tell the rest of the story: "So my sister came in and flipped on the light and immediately knew I had been crying. Out of all the people in my family who could've found me, I'm so glad it was Mikel. I told her my whole situtation and she just let me cry and held me. She is the sweetest, most caring, loving, person I know. She comforted me and tried to empathize with me. I am so grateful to have her as my sister."


Yes, that is Mikel. Our family is sure not the same without her kind heart, radiant spirit, and quirky humor.

Happy birthday, Mikel! We all love and miss you so much.

November 10, 2012

Halloween and Ramblings

There is no excuse for my 6 week absence.  I've really just been lazy with my writing.  Here is kind of a recap on happenings, people, feelings, and animals...

Halloween!

We did Trunk-or-Treat in our ward for the beginning of the evening. Then we made our rounds to some other neighborhoods, watched a stellar performance of "Thriller" at the park behind our house (put on by some talented people in our neighborhood), and ended the evening with homemade doughnuts and root beer (not made by me, of course, but they were courtesy of some more awesome neighbors).  We live in a pretty good area, wouldn't ya say? :)

Here are the kids in their costumes:


Toby was a dragon and Aspen a raccoon. I got both costumes for a decent price and was more than happy that I didn't have to cover them up with a coat because they were well insulated. 



 
It was a fun, spooky, sugar-eating evening. Just what Halloween should be.

Under The Weather.

We've kind of been hit hard with some random sicknesses. Not anything serious but it has really felt like the runny noses and coughs never end! Also, with daylight savings (boo!), Aspen teething and being able to climb out of her crib, mixed with the nasty colds and bouts of flu, well, you can imagine the pleasant bunch we became.  I was lucky enough to bounce back from the cold and flu way faster than the rest of the fam which was a huge blessing.  Sick mommy + sick daddy + sick kiddos is not a good combination.

I think we are all on the mend (knock on wood!). And I think we kind of have a handle on the early wake up times.  Aspen has been in the habit of waking up at 5:30 am. Then when she climbed out of her crib one night, I really had some nice panic attacks.  But after thinking back to Toby's sleep issues (sometimes I am so grateful for them at times like these), I remembered some tricks that worked with him when he was an early bird (he only climbed out of the crib ONCE at 18 months and the poor guy landed on his head. But that cured him from ever attempting to climb out again).  I recalled that Nick laid down next to the crib and Toby would go back to sleep straight away. It took a week or two but Toby finally started sleeping in till 7 or 7:30 on his own. The key was consistency and Nick had to be the one to go his room.  If I went in the room, somehow he sensed weakness (I think same goes for Aspen) and he would not go back to sleep no matter what I did. So that is what we have started with Aspen the past few mornings and today she slept in till just before 7 am.  Woo-hoo! And she has climbed out only one other time and so far seems to have no desire to escape again. So I'm pretty stoked about that too. The only downside to Nick helping out is that on the days he works, he leaves at 5:20. So if Aspen wakes up, I'm kind of left to my own devices - or weaknesses rather. :)  But I know things will get better and sleeping will get on track again.

A Nice Relief.

Despite all the sickness and sleep deprivation, I've really been surprised by my happiness.  I haven't been particularly depressed and I still have grumpy days and moments where I wish somehow a distant relative felt the sudden urge to pay us a large sum of money...but lately I've noticed this out-of-nowhere "pleased with life" feeling.  Don't know how to describe it really. Complete? Whatever the feeling is, it's a good one.  And for a while I wanted to know why I was feeling this way until the other day it hit me.  This is the first fall/winter season in 5 years where Nick has not had school and homework and lots of time away from the family. I still can't believe how much his absence affected our little family. And to be honest, I don't think we really felt or fully understood how hard it was to have him gone so much, until now when he is here to help me or help the kids or just hang out and not have to stress about a paper or a midterm.  He can truly be in the moment and enjoy the moment with us  - and it is so, so sweet.   So now I'm kind of rambling.  I wanted to give the lowdown on Loki (the crazy puppy), but I really need to get to bed! I will save that for my next post - which hopefully happens before Christmas.  :) 

September 25, 2012

My creation...is it real?

Just call me Martha. OK, that is going a little too far. But I will say my family has seen a much craftier Debbie lately. For those of you who don't know me, let me just say I usually have a strong aversion toward anything craft related.  I don't scrapbook, I don't paint blocks of wood, and I don't make baby blankets (but I have the utmost respect for those who do. I just don't have the talent or patience for such things). But give me the right craft (something simple, about fall, or something for my son) and I'm all over it. So enough intro...take a look at my work!

Exhibit A -

My fall wreath.

For a few years I've wanted a nice wreath to display my love for autumn. But I could never find one I liked well enough. And the ones I did like seemed way overpriced.  Nick encouraged me to check out Hobby Lobby - a store I had never set foot in (and I am still wondering why Nick had made it in there before me).  So I did, and discovered that all their fall decor was 50% off! I got the few items I needed and voilà! I now have my fall wreath. And for just over $15.


Exhibit B -

An "About Me" poster for Toby's preschool.

OK so I admit, this one wasn't as simple. I really had no intention in putting so much work into a preschooler poster!  But something flipped the creative switch inside of me and suddenly I became the over-achieving mom for one night. Or a few days. I actually stayed up till 1 am way too late doing the finishing touches, but had so much fun working on it (and by "fun" I mean time to myself to just watch movies and eat Halloween candy). The original plan: just draw a simple picture of a Transformer and few other 'likes' to put on his poster.  What really happened: I spent 3 days drawing Optimus Prime and then at the last minute decided to just print out and color some graphics.

Yeah, my artistic skills are a little rusty.  But it felt good to be drawing again!


Then I found some family pics, printed out some captions, made an 11 pm trip to Smith's for a poster and...here it is:


I showed the poster to Toby the next day and he loved it so much he carried it around with him all morning.  That right there made all the work worth it.


September 19, 2012

A little late

 I completely forgot to take the obligatory 1st day of preschool picture.  So this is his 7th day of preschool picture (and as you can probably tell, he was not too thrilled about having his picture taken at first).


Finally he warmed up and cheesed it for me.


He loves preschool and has awesome teachers.  But I really need to get this boy in some sports like soccer or something.  He has plenty of energy to burn. And it's probably the overly-proud parent in me, but I think he will do really well in sports.  Anyone know of something I can register him in?

September 12, 2012

10 more things

I remembered that a few years back I did a little post on 10 random things about Debbie.  Well, I felt the urge to do another - just for kicks.  So here we go.

1 - I have a hard time sharing food with my family.  This sounds horrible as a mom because it is what we do ALL of the time, right?  Nothing is ours - especially when those little eyes lock onto it.  I can't tell you how many times I hide in my pantry to nibble on something or cough loudly when I am opening a package of chips.  And I am the same way with Nick.  He will always give me the last bite of his food, but it takes everything inside of me to share mine.  Ugh.  I'm a jerk.  

2 - I have to get a close parking spot.  I will drive around the lot forever until I do.  It drives Nick absolutely nuts.

3 - I have a fair amount of bad dreams.  Is that normal?  I am still trying to figure out if it is connected to the food I eat.  But truly, I have probably 2-3 bad dreams a week.  And I mean like can't-fall-asleep-for-a-while kind of dreams.  And that is why I will never watch scary movies. 

4 - I can remember very specific details about people and events.  My siblings call me "the steel trap" because I remember things about their childhood that they can't even recall.  My friends just shake their heads when I rattle off stories about what restaurant we went to one time 10 years ago and what we ate and what someone said about the food.... it is both a blessing and a curse.

5 -  I dance in my kitchen. A lot. I think that will probably be something my kids will always remember about their weird mom.

6 - I sing really loud to my music in my car - except at traffic lights.  I'm not that confident.  :)

7 - Before Toby came along, I wasn't a chocolate fan. I never understood why people (women especially) seemed to drool over it and talk about it constantly. I liked desserts like apple pie, peach cobbler, and crème brûlée is actually still my favorite, hands downs. But after I had Toby, something did a 180 inside of me.  I now understand the obsession with things like the Great Wall of Chocolate cake at PF Chang's. And I will eat handfuls of chocolate chips when I need a little chocolate fix - something that never appealed to me the first 25 years of my life.

8 - I don't really consider myself a "road rage" type driver.  I rarely use my horn and for the most part let dumb driving just roll off my back (I do like driving fast though when I am by myself).  However, I am such a grudge holder when people don't give a courtesy wave when you let them in or wait for them to merge or do something courteous. Really, I seriously have thoughts of bashing into them if I don't get that little "thank you" hand wave after I waved them in or let them over. I totally sound like an episode of Seinfeld, right?

9 - I am really good at cleaning last minute.  Should I be a little worried about myself because I get a strange high out of cleaning the house like 20 minutes before company comes over? One more thing that makes Nick a little crazy.


10 -  I can watch my favorite movies over and over and over again.  Nick will invariably roll his eyes when he looks at the DVR playlist and say something like, "You watched that movie again?! How are you not sick of it?"  I don't know.  But I'm not.  Not sure if I ever will be either.
  

August 31, 2012

Catching up on the fam


 Toby

 He starts preschool on Tuesday.  He is so ready!
 

His classic scowl.


  
I still can't believe next year he will be in kindergarten. What happened to to my little baby boy?

 

I wish I could say he and Aspen get along swimmingly and play well with each other all the time.  But they don't. They fight a lot. Well, actually Toby just gets really mad and impatient with her toddler tendencies. Every once in a while I catch them laughing together which always gives me a big smile.  

Aspen

She climbs

onto everything


and into everything


all. day. long. 
(she also likes to put random things in Loki's cage: wipes, pencils, can openers, gum...)





And the tantrums have begun!
But she is very sweet and cuddly and so much fun to dress on Sunday (the only time I bother to doll her up)

Loki

He is getting closer to being potty trained, but still doesn't quite have the hang of it.


He does, however, help with cleaning up after a meal.  Lovin' that.


He's adorable.


He's obnoxious.


He's playful.


He's a puppy.


And he is really starting to grow on me, despite all the work he takes. 
Toby and Aspen love him and play with him constantly. Except we just can't wait till he loses his baby teeth. Even just petting him, all he wants to do is bite and man, are those little teeth sharp!  It's pretty funny when I tell him "no bite" and he starts biting the air. He already understands commands like "go potty" when we are outside and "get in your cage" when we are leaving to go somewhere.  It sure helps training a dog that has smarts and is eager to please.    


Nick and I have talked a lot about how much we still miss Kaya though.  We are grateful for the new pup but he definitely doesn't fill the void or take her place. Toby even tells me now and then that he wishes Kaya was still alive (tears my heart out every time).  Kaya will always be missed and hold a special spot in our hearts. :) 

And now for your viewing pleasure, here is a little video of Loki burning some of his puppy energy!
video



Summer snapshots

Thanksgiving Pt. Farm Country


 Toby and his buddy Canton






 Deborah and Debbie


 Cowabunga Bay

Nick's work rented out this very cool water park for the afternoon.  We had a blast.  The best part? No lines!  And the fact that it was completely paid for is always a huge bonus.  Toby went on nearly every slide in the park and Aspen loved the kiddie area. It was a great family night.








Yellowstone

Toby and Nick went to Yellowstone with Nick's parents and cousin Kiki.  I opted out because, well, the idea of driving long hours with a 16-month-old and probably getting little or no sleep in a crammed camper sounded just slightly unappealing. I am not an adventurous mom.  And I know eventually we will be able to go together as a fam when Aspen is a little older. Babies and camping just don't sound like a winning combo in my book.
Toby had fun with his daddy and I loved my one-on-one time with Miss Aspen.








Thanksgiving Point Gardens

My brother from Rexburg (left) and sister from Alaska (far right) came down a couple weeks ago. The pic below is 4 out out of the 7 siblings. It's always bittersweet when we get together because we are acutely reminded of Mikel's absence.  We try keep her memory alive by quoting favorite movies and reminiscing the good times.
Life is sure a lot less colorful without you, Mikel.


Tim, Vanessa, Me, Beckie

8 of the 22 cousins.



Aspen and Eleanor (they are about 2 weeks apart)


Discovery Gateway









Neptune Park










It has been a fun summer, but I am looking forward to my favorite season: fall! Bring on the cooler weather, cute sweaters, corn mazes, and autumn leaves!