Tuesday, March 26, 2013

snapshots from spring break

Our spring break was very low key. We didn't leave town but I had grand plans of taking the boys on all sorts of afternoon activities and having playdates with friends and even a sleepover with cousins. But almost all of it had to be cancelled because Bennett and Dawson got sick. Of course. I was really bummed since Christmas break was kinda ruined with sickness too. But whatever. They're still young and won't even remember it.
And right in the middle of my pity party and pouting, I read this in my Jesus Calling devotional:
          I shower blessings on you daily, but sometimes you don't perceive them. When your mind is stuck on a negative focus, you see neither Me nor My gifts. In faith, thank Me for whatever is preoccupying your mind. 
So yeah, that sorta helped ;) I started enjoying the extra cuddles and an excuse to be lazy a little more. So we basically had a 4 day long pajama party in the middle of the week. We did a few fun things though to make it feel special.
Day 1: funny face pancakes for breakfast

 Bennett's idea to cut the banana lengthwise for the mouth:

Dawson wouldn't leave the face on long enough for me to take a picture. This was the second one he made which he said was an alien:
We went to the Red Rock Wildlife Education Center at our mall before the boys were sick (actually, Bennett started feeling bad while we were there.) This is a fantastic place to take little kids. It only costs $1 each and its all in one room. 

 The bear cubs we saw last year were much bigger now. I can hardly believe they stay in that little cage :( 
 We sat through a little presentation and got to touch this wolf at the end:
Channing just recently learned to climb the stairs so now he's officially all over the place and life went from total chaos to just plain crazytown. He's also been a total mama's boy lately. Don't know if its just the teething but he's been super clingy if we're at home. So....he cries a lot. And we leave the house a lot.

 And the sick one. Could this face possibly be any more miserable??? Ha!
Puzzles are a constant in our house. Both boys so far love them: 

We went to the botanical center when they were feeling better. They only lasted an hour but it felt like heaven to take off our coats and sweatshirts and feel the warm sun on our skin. Sad I forgot my camera. But at least I remembered all my children. And snacks. Cause, you know, we can't survive an hour without a snack.
I told them we were going to a jungle so Bennett was all disappointed when we left that there weren't jungle animals there. Whoops.

At one point, I turn around and see Dawson holding out an entire plant with the dirt and roots attached. I was horrified. "I just wanted to pick you a flower, Mom!" I grabbed the whole thing and tried to shove it back in the dirt before anybody saw while thanking him but explaining these flowers aren't for picking. It was quite comical. We got out of there fast so the pile of dirt on the ground didn't give us away.

We did this after dinner one night as an activity/dessert. It was quite a hit:

 Channing just thought it was a chubby bunny contest:

(yes, I watched him closely with the toothpicks for all you safety conscious moms who just thought about that ;) And look at those two funny dimples by his mouth!

Friday, March 22, 2013


I've read several great books recently (thanks to Goodreads.com) and thought I'd mention them on here. My favorite book out of the last few is Another Place at the Table, which I put on my list on the right (any that I'd give 5 stars to). But a couple others that I really really liked are worth mentioning:
The Light Between Oceans and The Birth House, both fiction.
I think The Light Between Oceans would appeal to most anyone. It was a fascinating and haunting story. The Birth House is historical fiction with a sense of humor and I loved it but be sure to read the description first. It would appeal to a narrower audience.
I've only done one other movie recommendation on here because I only think its worth recommending a movie that I thought was fantastic but that I hadn't heard anyone talk about it. We rented The Intouchables the other night and I loved every second of it. I laughed through the whole thing. It was so endearing and its very rare that we watch an "artsy fartsy" movie (I use that term loosely for basically anything that's not an action/drama/suspense/chick flick) that both of us like. I have plenty of appreciation for the arts. I sang in choir all through school and was always in every theatre production, had a few years of ballet and a lifelong obsession with it (don't get me started on that missed opportunity or I will cry) and have a deep love and appreciation of all French Impressionist artists, particularly Monet and Degas (duh...he painted ballerinas all the time). Jon, however, has very little appreciation of the arts. Besides, maybe, Cirque du Soleil. And when you're married, you tend to focus more on your common interests. So that artsy side of me gets pretty stifled, which is fine. I mean, would I die if he took me to a ballet? Heck yes. But frankly, I'd enjoy it a lot more if I was watching it with someone who truly appreciated it like I do. I would much rather focus on stuff that we both love. Like action/drama/suspense movies. So anyway, that was a long bunny trail leading....nowhere. Go rent it. I think you'll love it.        

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

belated birthday

I meant to post these pictures from Channing's actual birthday a long time ago but I was also going to post all of his monthly pictures for the entire year and.....I still haven't taken his 12 month picture. Epic fail. It was really cloudy on his birthday and the day after and I was hoping to wait for some better light to take the picture. That was a big mistake because stuff just kept coming up and I still haven't gotten it done. And now he's super sick with Rotavirus. Ugh.
Anyway, here are photos from his birthday. I wanted to do something as a family to make it feel sorta special (at least for Bennett and Dawson) since his party was 5 days before, so I suggested frozen yogurt after dinner.

They started singing him Happy Birthday here, all on their own:  

It was a fun outing until the big boys started playing spy ninja and broke all three rules we laid out before we went inside (no running, no climbing on furniture and use soft voices). We have very few completely stress free outings with all three these days. But I was still glad we did something special to celebrate this sweet boy.
And today he officially said his first word! He's been mimicking certain sounds for a while but this one's going in the baby book:

Bennett in the "birthday boy" shirt:
And Dawson:

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

a winter walk

Inspired by my family's visit and their willingness to brave the elements in favor of a little fresh air and exercise, in addition to a glorious sunny day (not to be taken for granted this time of year), we ventured out in the late afternoon last weekend for a walk in the snow. The sunlight streaming through the trees was beautiful. It was pretty cold but we were (nearly) all bundled up enough.
I love how Channing's breath caught the light:
 Always smiling, this one:
Nothing brings me more delight than seeing my boys using their imaginations out in nature. "Mom, we found the home of the big bad mouse!" Do your kids know the Gruffalo yet? They should.

Jon tracked this turkey and brought it home for dinner. Not really. But he could've. If he wanted to. Cause he's amazing like that.

 Ah...sunsets in Iowa are so....cold.
 Checking out Dad's deer stand:
And what the pictures don't show is Dawson's boots slowly filling with snow and eventually becoming so wet and freezing he couldn't walk (or stop crying)...45 minutes from the car. We had to swap his boots and sopping wet socks for my gloves. Ideally you don't take three kids under five on an hour and a half hike in the freezing snow. But it was a good adventure nonetheless. A very arduous adventure. I was seriously so worn out on the way back, carrying Channing in the backpack. Bennett and I were counting steps, just to distract ourselves. And I was telling him about soldiers and prisoners in WWII who had to walk for days in snow like this. Without boots. Or food. Cause, you know, perspective is everything. Jon's like, "you said you wanted exercise, right?". Um, yeah. An army workout wasn't quite what I had in mind. It really was wonderful, though. Time well spent. :)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

pink & gray(son)

I thought I'd share some photos from my niece's birthday party we did a few weeks ago, since I so rarely get to post anything pink and frilly on here. My sister-in-law was due to have her baby boy the week after my niece's birthday so she asked me and our mother-in-law, Judie, to help her out with it. Judie found all this ballet themed party stuff at TJ Maxx so that was a perfect fit for Kietlyn. It's all pretty simple but was still sweet and special. Our sister-in-law, Kayla, is the cupcake queen in our family so she made these:
Judie made these leotards for the straws, cut out of cardstock and cupcake liners for the tutu:
I found these paper ballerinas on Pinterest. (I didn't have access to a printer that day and freehanded the stencil so mine aren't quite as dainty looking.) Instead of cutting out "snowflake" skirts, we just used paper doilies (a heckuva lot quicker and nearly as cute, in my opinion.) Judie hung them from the chandelier but I think they'd be just as cute strung together into a banner across a doorway:

Goodie bags:
Judie set up a photo booth for the girls. The birthday girl, who holds the sole role of princess on the Colyer side so far, out of 8 grandchildren:

Judie even borrowed a photo printer to send them home with a self-portrait:
They did an adorable craft where they decorated the leotard and then we dipped their hands in paint and layered lots of upside down handprints on the bottom half to make the tutu. (Similar here.) Sad I forgot to get a picture of the finished product but we had our hands full of paint:
Sweet girl. Her older brother was feeling extremely left out and kept sneaking upstairs, asking Nana if she had any jobs for him :) 

And just six days later her baby brother, Grayson John, entered the world. Josh and Jenise asked me to take photos of him in the hospital and I was honored to do it:

Love this family and so thankful they've given my boys so many cousins to play with ;)