Tuesday, November 30, 2010

new holiday tradition: book advent countdown

Last night, while we took turns soothing Parker back to sleep, Mark and I finished wrapping the books for a new holiday tradition I am starting this year - a book advent countdown.I originally saw the idea last year and absolutely loved it. I saw this post today and really like the idea of letting the kids pick a book each night from the basket. I think I'll try that next year. This time, I just wrapped and numbered the books with the date because I wanted certain books to be opened before others. And I wanted them to be at Morgan's level so she can see them and 'count down', so I displayed them on top of the bookcase holding her toys. It's only been a few hours, but she has been very good about not touching them or attempting to open them. The plan is to incorporate this into our bedtime routine: pj's, snack, then open and read the book for that day as a family.

It wasn't as expensive as you may think either. I got most of the books for only a few dollars each or free, through Kristin and Scholastic, and the rest on Amazon. Next year, I'll remember to share the titles of the books. Morgan is already very curious about what all the presents are for and I tried to explain to her this morning that there is one gift for each day until Christmas (she doesn't know they are all books) and we will start unwrapping them tomorrow night. I can't wait to get started!

Monday, November 29, 2010

weekend recap

It was a very busy weekend around here and unfortunately Mark has the camera at work today, or I would take a picture of the new wood floors. The last big project is complete and they look so so good. Mark and his mom worked long and hard Friday and Saturday to get them done and they did a super awesome job.

As for the kids and I, we spent the weekend between my parents and Kristin and Troy's house, trying not to interfere too much with anyone's weekend plans. I shopped for snow gear for Morgan and Parker and Morgan happily marched in the house on Saturday to tell Daddy that she was ready to go sledding. Parker has been having fun tossing everything off of the highchair tray (and watching me pick it up) and attempting to eat handfuls of puffs. I received our holiday cards through Simplicity Papers. I lost my thumb drive with all of my digital scrapbooking templates on it and I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to getting this house organized and back in order again. Probably just in time to put it up for sale. Ha!

This week: another attempt at the Social Security office (see how I always avoid the un-fun errands?), I need to find a cookie recipe for my annual Christmas cookie making next weekend, pulling out the little bit of holiday decor we have, getting excited for December Daily which starts Wednesday and I need to set up an tear-free intervention on Parker. The kid is absolutely addicted to his pacifier, but he sucks at keeping it in his mouth and insists on sleeping with it. Not so fun.

K, time to try to be productive and condense the to-do list before the kiddies wake. Maybe the last five advent books will show up and I can finish wrapping them. Anyone interested, here is a link to TV Guide's Christmas and Holiday shows and movies through Christmas. Morgan watched a little bit of my favorite movie ever, The Wizard of Oz, last night. She wasn't terribly interested but did sit long enough for the munchkins to greet and sing to Dorothy.

Friday, November 26, 2010

5+2 favorites for Black Friday

I love seeing what other people have on their Christmas wish lists. My family exchanged names for our Secret Santa yesterday and although some of these aren't on my list, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite gift ideas I ran across.

* I love Kal's mini bus rolls. Number 1 and 5 are my favorite.

* Tikoli tea towels - modern yet pretty and perfect for our new kitchen.

* I'm pretty fond of my Moleskine planner but this Russell + Hazel mini smartdate planner is super cute.

* An Apple Airport Express because I am about to chuck our router out the window (and wireless printing would be sweet!)

* Books: When Did I Get Like This?: The Screamer, the Worrier, the Dinosaur-Chicken-Nugget-Buyer, and Other Mothers I Swore I'd Never Be and Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living

* This Patagonia Downtown Loft Jacket is HOT!

* I need some new jewelry storage other than the ceramic-like dish I made in third grade art class. I love love this jewelry tree from Urban Outfitters.

Good luck to all you crazy shoppers out there. As for me, the kids and I are going to be gypsies for the next couple days while Mark and his mom install the wood flooring in the kitchen and living room. I couldn't be more excited to see this next big chapter come to an end.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

so thankful

for our health, our home, being able to be a stay-at-home mom, for my loving, supportive husband, our beautiful children and so much more. Thanksgiving comes just once a year, but this year more than ever, I know I shouldn't take any of this for granted.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    whatever it takes

    I found this photo last week while uploading pictures from our camera's memory card. It was a Saturday and no one wanted to nap, but me. I was cranky and needed some rest before going to a birthday party for Morgan's BFF Lola's little sister, Mia (that was a mouthful). The only way that was going to happen was for them to join me. Morgan was in her bed (or so I thought) when Mark left to run some errands and I laid down with Parker. Morgan snuck in later and we all slept so long that we were late to the party. Heh, I'll take what I can get! Thanks for capturing this little snuggle session, Mark! :)

    Monday, November 22, 2010


    emotionally and physically.
    I should be in bed,
    but instead I'm watching House,
    with a basket of clean clothes at my feet that needs to be folded.
    maybe tomorrow.

    so much to do this week.
    so much happening in the next few days,
    as I'm sure is true for you too.

    I ordered our holiday cards tonight.
    nope, not making them this year.
    instead, I'm supporting handmade and bought them on etsy.

    I have 19 out of 24 books for the kids advent calendar this year.
    I ordered the last 5 on amazon tonight.
    can't wait to get them all wrapped up and displayed next week.

    the kids are sick,
    but it's fading fast.
    I'm surprised I'm not sick too, 
    with all the random sleep I've been getting.
    not exactly helpful for a strong immune system.
    Morgan has an adorable raspy voice
    and is enjoying quiet activities like
    puzzles and making playdoh cupcakes with sprinkles.

    Parker is teething,
    poor guy has been on a steady dose of
    tylenol and teething tablets for the last week.

    our living room is really coming together.
    the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight.
    the walls are primed and painted.
    yes, a shade of gray. crushed ice to be exact.
    our new sofa and chair are covered in plastic.
    33 boxes of bamboo wood flooring are ready and waiting
    for installation this weekend.

    and did I mention?
    Kristin's babies are boys!
    yeah sis!!

    off to bed now.
    night feeding #1 is quicking approaching.

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    December Daily 2010

    My December Daily album is prepped and ready to fill. The majority of my photos are shown in the flickr group, if you are interested in the page-by-page.

    I used a variety of patterned papers, transparencies and envelopes. One of my goals was to use supplies that I already have and I did really well. I had a lot of Christmas paper that I bought a couple years ago when I originally planned on making my first December Daily album. The only things I purchased for the project were the white embossed cardstock for the cover and Ali Edwards digital overlays for each daily page.

    I didn't stray far from the way Ali designed her album. Each day has a cover page (which are the photos I've taken - the patterned paper and transparency pages with the date) and then a template page (Ali's overlay) which is where I will add a photo(s) and journaling for the day. Everything is bound by three 2" inch binder rings. Even though the album is already over an inch thick, there is plenty of room to grow!

    In an attempt to not get overwhelmed and toss the whole project, I spent the last week doing an assembly line to put the album together and tried to do a little bit each day. Printed the template pages, trimmed down the paper and transparencies, trimmed the template pages, punched holes, made the cover, added the date numbers and embellishments, took photos for the flickr group…

    I chose to do all 31 days of December, instead of just the first 25.  We often meet with family and friends between Christmas and New Years and I would like to record those get togethers too.  Plus, Mark doesn’t work that week so I’m sure our little family will be keeping busy.

    I plan on journaling each day on the blog in December but I’m not going to actually work on the album until after the New Year when I can have all of the photos developed together. And hopefully it will be done before next Christmas.

    Edited on March 2, 2011 to add: It only took 2 months, but you can see my completed December Daily 2010 album here.

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    the hook up

    We officially have a sink and countertop in our master bathroom. Woot!
    So excited about being able to wash my face and brush my teeth without walking all the way over to the other side of the house. It's not that far, but it is often my excuse when I'm exhausted and half way in bed for the night. There are a couple of loose ends that Mark wants to finish up first before I do a complete post on our bathroom. One being installing our glass shower doors. Until then, I'm happy to have a half bath.

    I think we've narrowed down our new living room furniture. Mark is taking a last minute work trip to Chicago this week (and I'm so jealous) and he may make a quickie trip to West Elm and cb2 to scope out couches and chairs. Our current favorite is sitting in a clearance center/warehouse which means we would have furniture before Christmas. Any other option would probably be a special order which would mean we'd have furniture for Valentine's Day. Whoop-dee-do.

    This weeks plans: not a whole lot. Except Kristin finds out the sex of the baked potatoes she is carrying! I haven't a clue what she is having and don't even want to guess because I was dead wrong both times with my own children. I see a trip to Target in the near future because our pantry is suffering from a severe snack shortage. And a trip to the Social Security office, because after forgetting at least a dozen times in the last few months, I finally remembered last week that we need to get Parker a number. Oh yeah, that's gonna be a fun errand.

    Happy Monday!

    Sunday, November 14, 2010


    Happy Birthday babe!
    I'm so happy your day fell on a weekend and the four of us can actually spend some family time together.

    Per the birthday boy, our plans are as follows: cider mill, buy paint for the living room, furniture shopping, watch Lions game, dinner at Antonio's (we haven't been there in forever!).

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    all I want for Christmas

    I caught Morgan at the kitchen counter on Monday, making her Christmas list!
    She wants a tractor like daddy, more coloring books and a park in the backyard. "I don't want to sit on Santa's lap though. He's too scary. Parker can sit on his lap. I'll sit on daddy's." :)

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    40.2: pregnancy album for baby2

    I finished Parker's pregnancy album last month and thought I'd share some of it. It's super simple, because that's the only way I get any scrapbooking done these days. Journaling, belly pics and ultrasound photos. Throw in some patterned paper, a circle punch and a corner rounder for good measure. Done.

    album cover do-over - 40.2 = 40 weeks with baby number 2

    opening page
    yup, those are the pregnancy tests. Sure to gross Parker out when he learns how one takes a pregnancy test. ;)
    the first ultrasound photos
    the number in the half circle designates how many weeks pregnant I was - 9 weeks
    20 weeks and the belly pic
    dates I wanted to remember (and all of those ultrasounds) and journaling from 36 weeks
    close up of dates to remember
    37 weeks and that big 'ol belly
    the closing page - our first picture together

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    Thornbrook Renovation: Chapter 8

    This is the state of our freshly drywalled living room! What a transformation, huh?You can see pictures of the original living room here. The drywall was delivered on Monday, they hung it all in less than 4 hours on Tuesday, mudded Wednesday and Thursday and sanded it Friday. 4 days. Done! It was a bit of a messy project but I think Mark will agree with me that we are both so glad that it is done. 

    The brackets sticking out of the wall are for some built in shelving for the TV, speakers, computer, printer, stereo stuff...

    Next: priming and painting. We haven't picked a color yet, but after seeing how bright it is in there now, white is tempting. We'll see after the primer goes on. The bamboo wood flooring has been ordered and will be ready to install as early as next weekend.

    6+ weeks till Christmas!

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    while I was out

    Phew! Between my self-imposed internet break and being router-less last week, I got a large chunk of my to-to list completed. This is just a bit of what we've been up to the last 2 weeks:
    • I survived several solo trips to the grocery store with both kids for a full weeks' worth of food. Zero crying and zero tantrums!
    • I got a much needed pedicure at Luv Pedicures in Livonia. Kristin and I went to their Rochester Hills salon before Parker was born and I loved it. I'm so happy they have one on my side of town now. The tech made me chuckle when she told me I had runner's feet. Ha! Maybe from running back and forth from my bed to Parker's room in the wee hours of the night. Chose a shimmery plum called Damsel in a Dress. How fun would it be if your job was to name nail polish colors?
    • Lots of work going on in the living room. The drywall work is done and I have lots of pictures to share in a separate post.
    • Morgan has really gotten into role playing with her dolls and Little People. It's absolutely adorable to watch her as they talk and play. Especially when I hear her repeating things, that Mark and I have told her, to her babies. Like, try it you'll like it, it's time to take a nappy nap, or please listen to me.
    • The kids and I joined Kristin and my parents to visit my Grandpa and go to my Grandma's gravesite. Her headstone is in and it's very nice. She is so missed.
    • I started working on my December Daily album. I'm almost done putting it together and once I'm done I'm going to add it to the flickr group and share it here. It's really cool and it's already over an inch thick. I hope I can keep up with it next month.
    • I find myself watching bits and pieces of Ellen in the morning. I've been itching for a haircut and am a smidge tempted to go Ellen-short.
    • I started stocking the freezer with homemade baby food for Parker. I remember how much I loved doing this for Morgan and it's so freakin' easy! So far we've got peas, butternut squash, pears and sweet potatoes. Such pretty colors and yummy fall flavors.
    • I remade the cover for my pregnancy album. I'll post pictures of the whole thing soon.
    • I've been trying to catch up on a stack of magazines with little success. And now it's only going to get worse with all the holiday catalogs that are bombarding our mailbox.
    • Speaking of which, I've been working on Christmas wish lists for the kids. We've been talking to Morgan about Christmas and Santa and she loves seeing the Christmas trees on display when we shop. Yesterday she asked me "Mommy, what do you want for Christmas?" Each year just gets more fun and exciting!
    • We lived through our first power outage of the season. It took 24 hours but we stayed busy and stayed warm. Morgan had her first experience at the kids play area at Twelve Oaks Mall. Holy crazy rowdiness. I plan to avoid the Sears wing for a long, long time.
    • Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Chai has been trumped by Zingerman's Pumpkin Chai as my favorite fall treat. So so good! Sue, it's another reason to come with me to Plum Market!
    Old to-do's have been replaced with new to-do's so I continue to stay busy busy. Such is life. I'm thrilled with the weather so far this week though and we plan on spending as much time as we can outside. We went to the park after lunch yesterday and it was dead. We were the only ones there and poor Morgan was so bummed. "Where are all the kids, mommy?" I hope to have some better luck today at another park.

    It's good to be back...

    Monday, November 8, 2010

    Parker: five months

    The latest on our not-so-little Parker man:is getting a lot better at grabbing things.

    grabs his toes but can’t quite make them up to his mouth. I blame the long torso.had his first bowl of rice cereal this month and loves it. Lots of mmm. Also tried bananas, applesauce and pears. Not as much of a fan. Likes to chew on the spoon afterwards.

    no more swaddling for Parker. He kept rolling over on his belly while wrapped up and couldn’t roll back on his back. Now he always rolls on his left side when he sleeps.loves to look at our hands and fingers. And chew on them.

    rolled back to belly at 19 weeks and now when we put him down on his back, he rolls to his belly within seconds. He loves to be on his belly (hence all the pictures of him on his tummy). Sometimes he’ll roll several times to get over to some different toys, which is very cute. He gets pretty upset if he rolls on his belly while sleeping though.

    almost too big (long and wide) for his infant carseat. The current (daddy + Parker) - daddy weight is about 18 pounds!not a good thing, but Parker loves TV – kids shows, sports, watching people sing and dance. And especially Super Why.

    he is giggling more – mostly from silly noises and facial expressions.

    is beginning to respond to his name.
    when in a seated position, Parker props himself up with his hands to try to sit up by himself.

    has been making lots of new sounds, including an adorable buzzing sound with his lips and blowing spit bubbles - I think he's trying to blow raspberries.

    Next up: a half birthday! I can hardly believe it.

    Monday, November 1, 2010

    Happy Halloween!

    Hope everyone had as great a Halloween as we did! I have already admittedly consumed far too much sugar in the last two days. I'm trying to steer clear of the 2 full size Butterfingers and Snickers in her basket. Seriously, who does that? And why didn't anyone do that when I was a kid? Yeah candy!! So, anyways, this is how we spent our weekend.
    On Saturday, Mark's dad and stepmom came down for a bit to visit and after lunch we got Morgan dressed and ready for her first round of trick-or-treating in Downtown Farmington.

    The weather was fantastic and she loved everything about it. She was excited to wear her costume and we really got a kick out of hearing and seeing the other kids reactions, even from behind. FOOOOOOFAAA!! The girl could have been signing autographs. I didn't know she'd be so popular. And she absolutely ate it up. That night she kept asking "Wanna go trick or treating again?"
    On Sunday, Grandma and Grandpa Frahm stopped by to see Foofa all dolled up and ready to go, again. She got a treat bag filled with all of her favorites - M+M's, Curious George fruit snacks, Hershey bars and Dum Dum suckers - and I got a treat of my own. My parents were on their way home from visiting my Grandma in Alpena, who happens to make my favorite dessert ever, and my mom dropped off three whopping pieces of her apple pie for me. I told Mark it's a good thing he doesn't like pie. Mmm!

    After a quickie dinner, we went over to our friends, Kevin and Erika's, house to trick-or-treat in their neighborhood. Our subdivision doesn't see much Halloween action because of the acre lots and long street frontage. So like last year, we borrowed their street. Morgan had a blast - walking up to all the houses with porch lights on, yelling "trick or treat", and telling everyone "Hi, I'm Foofa!" She made a killing as she filled and emptied her little basket 4 times. I thought we had been out forever, but we got home a little after 8 with two pooped out kids. Morgan didn't seem as interested in the candy this year as she was last year. I was all prepared with the video camera to capture her crazy sugar high, but not long after we got home and changed, she asked for an apple. Hmpf, more for me!

    In other news, my little internet sabbatical last week wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. No shakes, no withdrawls :) It was actually really nice and I got a lot done by not watching time fly by in the glow of my laptop screen. The stuff I was working on is a post in and of itself.

    I am crazy excited about the progress in our living room. All of the wood paneling is off the walls and this is the state of the room as I type.

    The lumberyard delivered the drywall and supplies this morning and they will be here tomorrow morning to start hanging. One week is all it should take to hang, tape, mud and sand. But, I'm going to have to continue the internet and blogging break again after tonight because our router is going to be disconnected while they work.

    So, until then, happy week, happy November and I'll be back soon with lots of pictures and so much to blog about.