Monday, January 31, 2011

A Very Hungry Caterpillar Celebration!

Yesterday I had the honor of hosting a Grandma-to-Be Shower for my dear friend Jennifer. She will be a first time grandmother next month and we wanted to do something special for her since she is always doing specials things for all of us at Stowe and always takes such good care of us!

Jennifer is our school's librarian and has such a passion reading and getting our kids to read! So we did the theme of the shower based on the book "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle.

I had so much fun putting it together and creating things to go along with our "theme"!

Here are some of the pics from the shower.

Very Hungry Caterpillar Skewers
Very Juicy Fruit Platter -the cantaloupe and strawberries had holes in them - as if a caterpillar ate right through them. :)
Caterpillar Crunchies

Very gooey gummy treats
Very delicious chocolate covered strawberries!
Very Yummy Chicken Salad

Very Vegan Veggie Tray!
The cake. Nothing beats a Costco Cake. Delish!
The girls and I had fun creating this balloon caterpillar!
I got a copy of the book for everyone to sign as the guest book.
I created these books marks for everyone to take as favors. The librarian loved giving everyone a book related favor to take with them! :)
The Grandma-to-Be!
(and queen for the day)
She received lots of goodies and is all ready for baby's arrival!

It was a great afternoon and it sounds like everyone had a great time. Even today people are saying how nice the shower was and how grateful they are that we were able to doing something so special for Jennifer.

As for this little girl....well her favorite part was pretending she had her ears pierced all day. (A pair of kids earrings was included with Jennifer's crown and she gave them to Jules to wear.) Jules thought it was hilarious pretending she had her ears pierced. She is convinced everyone these thought she was big girl wearing real earrings. She even Skyped Grandma Li Li to tell her that she got her ears pierced. The little jokester. Don't know what I will do with her....
.....but could she be any more adorable?
I didn't think so. :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sunday Fun!

On Sunday we finally ventured out of our house (other than work) for the first time in a couple of weeks. When winter hits we tend to become shut-ins for some reason. :)

Jules and I went on a girls date with Anna and her mom Martha. What a wonderful time we had! Lunch at Monterrey (one of my all-time faves) and then we got our creative juices flowing at Glazed Expressions.

The girls had fun choosing their paints and then took them to their canvases - a heart shaped box for Jules and a flower vase for Anna. Martha and I took the practical approach - a plate for me and a heart shaped box (to give as a Valentine's gift) for Martha. What fun we had! The girls giggled and painted while Martha and I chuckled over their antics and oohed and ahhed over their artistic "skills" and masterpieces!

When all was said and done we were all pretty proud of our works of art and can't wait to pick them up next weekend!

After that Jules and I ran home to pick up Drew and head to Papa Stinson's house to celebrate his birthday! We love this man so much and we are so grateful for everything he does for us!

As you can see from Drew's shirt - his beloved Steelers were playing that night, so after the party we headed home to watch the game. Jules really got into it and cheered right along with her dad while I did some baking in the kitchen. Drew realized that the last time the Steelers played in the Superbowl (and won), I was baking. Well Sunday they won again (and I was baking)......So, guess where I will be THIS Superbowl Sunday? Oh yes, baking in the kitchen! :) It's a win-win situation really. It is hard for me to watch/enjoy a game where Drew is so intense and stressed and I love to bake and don't get to do it very often, so it will be a fun time for everyone!

Oh and one more thing........

............WAY TO GO STEELERS!!!!!!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ugh. Blogger issues.

Sorry if you have been looking at my blog today. I received "notice" via a nice big message at the top of my blog for all to see that my blog template host was changing their server and I needed to update by blog backgrounds.

Well I am loving my blog background, but when I went to update it today, it looked totally off and all you could see was the white background and a small amount of the lovely nature creatures on the side. I was totally bummed and thought my background was gone forever. So I played around all afternoon with different backgrounds from other sites. I think I must have tried over 50. Not happy with any of them. They just didn't fit.

One thing I noticed was that a lot of blog background sites have templates for 2 columns or 3 columns. I realized after about 40 tries that I needed a background that will work with 2 columns. Since I only have 2 columns on my blog page. One for the blog post and one for all of the extra information on the side.

That got me to thinking....maybe I was using the wrong template for my original background. So...I went back to the design page of my original blog host and dove in a little deeper and there she blog background designed for a 2 column blog!

I added it in 2 seconds flat (I was a pro at this by now) and breathed a sigh of relief. There she was back in all of her blogging beauty!

Whew! Now I can begin my evening! :)

I know most of you could care less about this, but this thing called blogging is serious stuff folks! :)

Also, I thought it would help some of you fellow bloggers out should you ever encounter this problem.

Happy blogging (with cute backgrounds) everyone!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

2011 Stinson Family Motto

Sim*pli*fy - (verb)
: to make simple or simpler: as
a: to reduce to basic essentials
b: to diminish in scope or complexity
c: streamline

(photo courtesy of House of Smiths)

We have a new motto in the Stinson household for 2011.


Just that one word uplifts my spirits and makes me feel good.

I am SO sick of stuff. I had the privilege of having the week off between Christmas and New Year's. As I looked around at all of the new things the girls, Drew and I revceived for Christmas, I began stressing about where we were going to put it all. Then I started thinking about all the stuff that has been brought into our house since we moved in in July. It has been A LOT! Then I began thinking about what things we have TAKEN OUT of the house since we moved in and it has been MINIMAL. So, I knew something had to change.

So we are sorting, organizing and purging. We really can survive on very little and I certainly don't need things to make me happy. There was a while where I thought I did, but when it comes down to it, I look around and see my amazing daughters, and my wonderful husband and think - "I have everything in the world that I need in them." They are what makes me happy and what gets me going everyday. And at the end of the day, they are what I reflect upon and take joy in. :)

It will be a task to get rid of things and to let go. But it is a task I am willing to take on. I am ready for less. In doing so, I hope I am able to clear more space in my mind to take on the new opportunities and adventures life brings us.

What are you and your family hoping to achieve this new year?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Papa Tom!!!

Today is Papa Tom's birthday! We are SO thankful for technology. We will be able to Skype with him later. I think being able to see Jules will be his best gift! She is definitely wrapped around Papa Tom's finger and we can't wait to see him in 9 short weeks!

Here are the top 10 reasons why we love Papa Tom:

1 - Lauren and I loved Tom from the moment we met him! He made our summers so much fun and created wonderful memories for us!

2 - He is one of the most fun people you will ever meet! Full of jokes and always having a good time no matter who he is with!

3 - He is BRILLIANT!! He has taught me so much in my life about history, culture, music and movies. If I was ever on a game show, Tom would be my life-line!

4 - He is one of the best guitar players on the planet! Seriously! Everyone who meets him tells him that. Now if only those Hollywood agents could catch a glimpse of him....

5 - He and Drew are like 2 peas in a pod. They adore each other and always have a great time together. Sometimes is seems like they are long lost brothers with as much as they have in common together. When we are all together Tom and Drew are usually off searching thrift stores for old vinyl while Mom and I are off shopping! :)

6 - He is completely in love with the girls. Completely. They love spending time with Papa Tom and he loves to spoil them in return!

7 - He can act like a big kid while around the girls. They can talk him into anything! Chin faces anyone?! :)

8 - No one would ever think he was....50!!! Does this man look like he is 50? I didn't think so!

9 - He is so in love with my mom. After 25 years together they are still madly in love and he is always doing special little things for her. Completely adorable.

10 - We get to see him in 9 weeks and he is going to DISNEYLAND WITH US!!!!! Can't wait!

We love you Papa Tom!
Happy Birthday!!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

13 New Posts!!!

I know, I know. Once again I have posted all of our Christmas posts in one day. All 13 of them. So scroll down and then hit older posts and scroll down some more and maybe some more.... Until you come to the post titled "Jules' Christmas Program" . Grab a cup of left over egg nog (come on you know you still have some in your fridge) and settle in for some good reading and picture gazing. Then you can come back and comment about how cute my girls are and probably how spoiled they are and how they look JUST LIKE their cousin Carson!!!

Happy Reading!!

Christmas Break fun stuff and not so fun stuff!


Took Jules to see Tangled. It was FINALLY at the theatre by our house in 2D. It was a great movie and she loved it! First movie she has sat all the way through. Didn't ask to go to the bathroom once and even chatted with us about her favorite parts afterwards. I would recommend this movie to all kids and parents too. It was awesome!
On Tuesday I went to work for a while and then headed back to the Dr. for my back. We took it easy that night and got the house cleaned and ready for Drew's brother who came back from Wyoming!!!

Jules and I headed out for a lunch date with Aunt Co Co. We met her at work and got to see her new desk and work area where she happily displayed her new mouse pad the girls gave her! After that we headed to Smashburger for lunch. After we dropped her back off at work, Jules and i headed to Children's Place to take advantage of their 30% off the entire store and use Julianna's gift cards. We scored some great deals!

We met Drew and Mary back at home and headed to Drew's dad's house to celebrate Christmas and to see Jeff and Carson!!!! It was SO good to see them and the girls quickly became Carson's shadow. Jules was so excited to spend time with her only cousin!

They all have the Stinson Blue eyes! Oh and they all chose milk over pop to have with dinner! Are we raising good kids or what?!!!

Carson - looks a little like Mary's twin. :)

Jules quickly fell in love with Carson. Carson wasn't so sure..... :)
Present Time!

New Paper Jamz Guitars!!! Thanks Uncle Jeff!

Seriously - Just what she wanted! A Tangled table and chair set that transforms into a Castle!

Carson loves Classic Rock just like his Uncle Drew!

Drew's gift from his dad - new shoes that hadn't come in yet. Bob found a clever way to tell him. Is he talented or what?!? I believe he whipped this up right before we came over!!

A new guitar for Uncle Jeff!!

He was thrilled!

We were able to get Dad just what he wanted - an encyclopedia about Rock and Roll!
It's Guitar time!

Let's break out the real thing!

Grandpa Stinson Jam Session!

Well this is how we spent most of Thursday. Jules got sick right after we got home on Wednesday night and as I post this, we are on day 5 of her illness (and no sleep). We rolled out of bed around noon and lazed around all day. Jeff and Carson came over in the afternoon and hung around for a bit. They took Mary to Incredible Pizza for the night and we took Jules to the ER. It was a long night. After giving her meds, doing x-rays and testing her for the flu, they diagnosed her with a virus and sent us on our way. I won't go into details, but she got sick when we got home and since I don't handle that part of parenting too well.....I got sick too. Poor Drew. He took care of Jules, while Mary took care of me. Ugh! Not fun!
We all slept until 2:00. That's right - 2:00! Jules wasn't any better. In fact she was getting worse and had a fever of over 104 degrees. We called the ER again and they said this was normal with her virus. Um, ok. Easy to say when it isn't your child!! Anyway, we did manage to have a fun day. Jeff and Carson came over and Drew and Mary took them bowling while I snuggled in with Jules for an afternoon of movies. Drew's dad came over that night and we played games and ate beef verde and rang in the new year while playing Apples to Apples! It was great fun and I am so glad we were able to spend time with Jeff and Carson!
This is the "I have been up half the day with a sick child - stop taking my picture" look. I call it "Sexy Exhaustion" :) There is one of me as well, but well no amount of money in the world would make me post it! :)
Mary doesn't mess around when it comes to Apples to Apples
Jules played too, by randomly putting in a card. Her card was chosen quite a few times and she actually beat Mary!
Carson had a blast!
After we rang in the new year, Jules and i headed to bed and I believe Mary and Carson stayed up until 5 a.m. watching scary movies and being kids! I remember those days!

Once again we weren't early risers, but we did get up in time to say goodbye to Jeff and Carson as they began their long trek back to Wyoming. We cleaned the house - again for the 100th time over break - and vegged out the rest of the day. I did get out for a bit and hit Walmart and Target. I do believe this is the first year in 10 years that I didn't hit any after Christmas sales. And I was o.k. with that. We received so much for Christmas, that i couldn't think of bringing one more thing into our house! Morgan and Amy came over that night. It was Morgan's 20th birthday and he wanted to spend it playing X-Box with Drew. I was fine with that and quickly retreated to our room to snuggle in with Jules again to watch movies!

I boo-hooed the whole day because I wasn't ready to return to work. We were both SO exhausted from being up with Jules. Drew took the brunt of it and slept with her, so I could get some sleep since I had to be to work on Monday. Other than a taste testing for a catering we are doing next month, we did nothing all day. I didn't even leave the house. Drew ran to the store for necessities, but other than that we laid low. Jules was still battling a fever and was pretty lethargic. It was a long day. She is going to our family Dr. on Tuesday. I am hoping she can give us a better answer as to what is going on with her. She has NEVER been this sick and we have been through 2 hospitalizations with her!

Anyway, it was a GREAT Christmas Break - other than this sickness and as usual went by WAY too fast.

Hope you all had a safe and wonderful Christmas and New Years!!!