January 26, 2009

A few new things...

This week I've added a couple new items to my plate. (As if I'm not busy enough already).

The first...

There is a website/blog that I frequent. It is called "Blissfully Domestic." I think it is a fantastic resource for activities to do with kids, recipes, mommy style and helpful money savings ideas. I have been asked to contribute to the family channel. I'm really excited about posting some fun ideas twice a month. Please feel free to send me any suggestions on things you would like to see me post about on this site.

The second...

I've become a consultant for a very beautiful jewelry line. I'm the first consultant in Utah. Obviously, I don't have the time to be aggressive about it, but I would love to do some shows here and there and earn some really beautiful pieces. I learned about Touchstone Crystals on one of the blogs I visit. Touchstone Crystals gave to the celebrity gift baskets at the Golden Globe Awards- which I thought was really fun. They have been around for a while, but just started being a party company a few months ago. Take a look and let me know if you want anything or if you want a party. I need to host a party within 2 weeks of receiving my packet. I'll let you know the details soon. :) Here are some of my favorites- These are from the Silver Gatsby Ensemble.

Why did I decide to do this?
I agreed to do the blog thing because I have really enjoyed maintaining my blog. But my blog is more of a journal than a forum to share fun ideas that I have- ahead of time. Like having red white and blue food for the inauguration. It's possible that by doing Family Bliss, that I will get more organized and do more fun things with the girls.
The jewelry thing? Two years ago, I started using Patricia Wexler's products at Bath and Body. I love them and feel like I'm pampering myself a little more than I used to. I don't have a lot of time to exercise, or shop, or get my hair done. But, I'd like to appear a little more pampered. Accessories are a great way to do that. So, I originally contacted them just to find out about hosting a show. Since there are no consultants in Utah, I couldn't just do a show. So, signing up seemed like a fun option. I already did Pampered Chef and it paid for itself in no time. (And I never did a cooking show). To do a Touchstone Crystals party is so simple compared to Pampered Chef- not to mention there are a million consultants so everyone already has what they want from them.
So, that's why I'm doing it. I'm really excited and hope it ends up being a good decision. Wish me luck :)

January 25, 2009

Happy Girls

At the beginning of the year, I said I was going to do a better job of living in the moment. By living in the moment, I hope to capture some images of my girls that documents each of their personalities at this stage in life. On Monday, I think I got some of those moments.
Ivy, finds little pleasures in every activity. While Jade was riding the four-wheeler, Ivy entertained herself by playing with her shadow on the stairs, more shadows in the snow and by attempting to pick up snow with her gloves.
While Ivy was riding, Jade broke icicles off the trampoline and walked in the tracks from the four-wheeler. Oh the simple pleasures of being a kid.

The girls had such a great time riding for the first time. The snow was a little soft and they were frequently getting stuck and lifted out by dad. We don't have them in helmets- not because we are irresponsible parents, but because we wanted to make sure they heard every instruction Scott gave them while they were learning.
After the lessons were over, the helmet went on. Jade got to ride her four-wheeler on 3 different occasions Monday. I think she would have been begging dad to let her ride more but he ended up working the bulk of the day.

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January 24, 2009

More game nights at our house...

Monday nights our favorite TV show is on. "24" is really good- especially this season. For the past few years, my parents have joined us for almost every episode of "24." This past Monday, they came a little early so they could see Jade and Ivy's adorable pink four wheeler. Then there was some time to kill before the show started. I had a presentation that I had to work on, so the five shown above played a game of "Sorry." Ivy loves playing the game but loses interest relatively quickly.

Friday night, we decided to have another game night. This time with my sister and her family. They got to our house around 8:00 at night and while the kids played MarioCart, the adults played RockBand. I was lucky and had a sweet sleeping little baby boy on my lap for some of the night. He enjoyed watching the lights and listening to my horrific singing while being extremely impressed with his mom and dad's skills on the guitars. While I struggle with medium, they were both scoring high percentages on hard. Maybe I need to log a few more hours playing RockBand. Although, if I do, and don't improve, that's just one more thing for me to be hard on myself about.

It's been a very fun week- one that will help me get through several days of all day meetings this coming week.
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Sunday night games with the Sanford side of the family...

Sunday, we had both of Scott's siblings and parents down for dinner. We played games, had spaghetti and had some good conversations. The kids had a blast- as always. Some of the games they played were Twister, Blokus and Wii- plus all of the toys in the playroom.

It's so much fun having both of Scott's siblings living near by. I wish Tom and Anne lived near by so that we could do similar get togethers with my side of the family.

With the new year, now fully in swing, I'm looking forward to spending more time with the family- doing things that strengthen relationships and build memories. This year, I'm excited to have several gatherings and dinners at our house.

January 20, 2009

What did you do for Inauguration Day?

Inauguration Day for me meant going to work, just like any other day. But, I wanted it to be memorable for my girls.

I started out the day and briefly explained to the girls what was going to be happening during the day. Then I asked Miss Kim to make sure the girls watched the Inauguration live, but also recorded it so that I could discuss it with my girls tonight. When I was leaving for work, I told the girls that we would have a special inauguration dinner.

I am not a politically minded person, in any sense of the word. And frankly, neither is Scott. So, there hasn't been much in the way of political conversation at our house. However, at work, it's all I've been hearing about for the past several months. Some of my friends are very excited about President Obama, while others are less than thrilled with the direction the country went during the election. Me, I'm just grateful that we still live in a country where the vote matters. I don't believe my little voice will be heard, but I'm glad there are those out there yelling loud enough to make a difference.

Although I am not politically driven, I do see the value in the historical aspects of today's ceremony. President Obama is the 44th President. It was the first Presidential Inauguration that my daughters are alive for. He is the first African-American President- the first of any ethnicity other than Caucasian. His wife typically dresses from my favorite store but today she strayed from that and wore yellow. The age difference between President Obama and his Vice President is one of the largest spreads. President Obama only said "I" four times during his whole inauguration speech. Because, I do see the value, I wanted to do something to help the girls remember it.

I came home from work, wondering what on earth I was going to make for dinner that would be special. And don't think the girls had forgotten my parting words. I was reminded quickly after getting home that I had promised them a "special" dinner.

So, I set to work and made blue chicken breasts, red (okay pink) mashed potatoes and served them on a white plate with a glass of milk. Not a great dinner, but one that they liked. They got a kick out of the blue meat and pointed out that the milk, plate and napkin all filled the white requirement.

After dinner, we played some games, then talked about why we have an inauguration ceremony and then watched the swearing in. Jade asked that we listen to Aretha Franklin sing again, because she "just loved her" and sang right along with her. I was glad to see Jade being excited that we have a new president.

When it was time for bed, we read a great book about Abe Lincoln. It is called "The Value of Respect" and is a book from my childhood. I found the whole series online and think it would be a fantastic addition to our children's library. This book tells us how important it is to respect everyone- no matter their color, their level of wealth, or if they are nice to you. Respect has been an issue at our house the past few months. I'm not sure why, but it is. Jade said, while we were reading, that this story makes her want to be nicer to me. She cried in my arms after Abe Lincoln's mom died. My tender little angel. At the end of the book, when Abe Lincoln is elected President, Jade got very excited because "today we got a new president".

For now, they are both sleeping in their beds- but I'm sure I'll have one if not both in my bed before morning. Can I use the story on respect as a reason to sleep in their own beds? Hmm, probably not. Plus, I do love having them "nuggled" into me some nights- JUST NOT EVERY NIGHT.

I am glad that we had the chance to participate in this historic day and hope the girls will remember this day every time a new president is sworn into office.

Barbie has nothing on Jade and Ivy

For the past year, Scott has been dreaming of getting a four-wheeler that the girls can ride. He's watched on KSL for quite some time. Occasionally, I would get a phone call or an email telling me about a cute 50 in different cities and different conditions. Tuesday, while I was staying home with the girls, I got a phone call...

"I just sent you an instant message. I found a pink Polaris. It's in perfect condition and still has the plastic on the seat and the tag on the handle bars. It's been filled with gas, twice. They've only ridden it in the backyard. It's right up near my parent's house. I think the girls will really love it."

I went upstairs to my desktop and took a look at the link Scott sent me. It was absolutely too cute to pass up- and a really good deal.

So, this year, the girls will get to ride around the mountains and the sand dunes. Having them with us will definitely get me back out on my bike. I'm really looking forward to spring.

Bob and Janet picked the bike up on Tuesday night. Sunday they brought it down to us and we revealed it to the girls. Jade was shocked and thrilled. Ivy was a little bit concerned, but started grinning once she had the helmet on.

Thanks, Bob and Janet, for picking it up. We are so excited!
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January 19, 2009

Ivy started dance class and LOVES it

For months, Ivy has been asking when she could start ballet. I spoke to one ballet school and they said they don't start girls until they are 3 years old. I thought that that sounded like a good target date. She doesn't get to start primary at church, so dance would be a good stepping stone for social skills. So, I told Ivy that when she turns 3 she can start ballet.
Little did I know that for months she would tell the world that in January she would get to start ballet. If someone asked her how old she was, she would answer, "I'm 2 but almost 3 and I get to start ballet in January, when I'm 3."
A couple of nights before she started her dance class, she and I went to the dance store. Jade has several Leos that she wore to gymnastics and dance, but I wanted Ivy to be excited about her outfits and pick out her own. We went to "The Glass Slipper" in American Fork. It is such a cute little store. They have a whole room of just black Leos. She picked an adorable purple Leo and a stunning black one. They didn't have pink ballet slippers, so she got black. They are now her "favorite color for ballet slippers."
Saturday morning, she was up and eager to get ready for dance. Since this day will go down in history as "The Day Ivy Started Dance," I had to do a quick photo shoot. She is such a beautiful little girl. I love the picture in the middle, where she is trying so hard to do "first zition" (for those of you who do not speak Ivy-nese, that is first position).
Scott and Jade joined me and Ivy for her first class. We had a little talk about how important it is to really pay attention and do everything the teacher asks her to do. She was bouncing off the walls, she was so excited. She was fantastic the whole class. She never got distracted or confused. As soon as class was over, she came running out and said "I did everything my teacher asked me to do and I did a good job in my ballet class."
I had her go back and say a big "thank you" to Miss Alexis, her teacher.
Every day, since her first lesson, she asks if she can go to dance class today. And every day I get to tell her "on Saturday" and explain how many days that is.
Now, anytime someone asks Ivy how old she is, she answers, "I'm three and I'm in ballet class." If you ask her if she is a little girl, she answers, "No, I'm a ballet girl."
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January 15, 2009

Grandma and Grandpa's cute playroom

All of the grand kids, on my side of the family, LOVE playing at my folk's house. A couple of years ago they built a very spectacular and fun playroom. The colors are fun and the slide is the best thing ever. Our girls want a slide in our playroom. We just don't have room for one- as fun as they are.
Because the playroom is such a favorite place, I wanted to document it and share how neat it is.

The first picture is of Ivy- they are almost always in dress up clothes when they are at Grandma and Grandpa's. Ivy loves playing up in the loft.
The next picture is Jade climbing the ladder. This is one of her new favorite poses. She cracks me up with her funny little smile full of gaps.
The last picture is just to give a feel for the playroom. On the other wall, there is a dress up chest and big pillows and more dress ups hanging from puppy dog hooks. You can see why it is one of their favorite places on earth.

January 14, 2009

Cute Bakers

Miss Kim had a surprise birthday party for her mom. So, while she was with the girls on Friday, they baked a cake.
The girls love to cook and bake. It makes me nervous how eager Ivy is to help me stir everything I'm making. I'm afraid that one day, she is going to move a stool over to the stove and stir what ever it is I'm cooking. I just hope that she listens to me and knows not to stir without me standing right next to her.
The girls had a great time making Miss Kim's mom's birthday cake.

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Our own little Ice Cream Parlor

For Christmas, Little Miss Ivy received a very fun Ice Cream Parlor for Play doh from Grandma Janet and Grandpa Bob. She absolutely loves it and wants to play with it just about every single day. It is very cute and they would like to believe that I think the ice cream cones are really yummy.
Grandma Lorelie and Grandpa Lou gave Jade some modeling clay. She's had a lot of fun making monster faces and beads for necklaces.

Jade was the photographer for the one of me. She tends to cut off the top of my head.

January 13, 2009

Photos of my cute nephew...

As part of my time off, I had Kat come over with her adorable little boys. I set up some backdrops and took some pictures of baby Z. Here are some of my favorites. I've grouped them by backdrop. I haven't messed around with them in Photoshop, just Picasa. I hope Kat and Jon like them. They were very fun to take.

Harrison wouldn't let me take any pictures of him, but I snapped a few pictures of the other three. Funny little characters and talk about a cute little boy.

For Ivy's Birthday...

For Ivy's 3rd birthday, she had to give up her bottles. It was not nearly as hard on her as we expected. Here she is throwing one of them away. (I took it out of the trash, just in case we gave in to her cries). Luckily, the cries never came. She was happy and sweet about no more bottles.
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January 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Melissa

Yesterday was Melissa's birthday. I wanted to shout out a Happy Birthday and can you believe we've been friends for 18 years!!!!!

Wolverine's Half Time Show...

The UVU Wolverines half time show turned into a family affair.
Jade had fun following around the Wolverine. I don't think he's ever had so many cute little girls following him around.
Just before half time, the cheerleaders asked the audience if they would volunteer for the chicken dance. Ivy got very excited and followed the cheerleaders down to the court. I couldn't get a good picture of her because other kids were always in front of her, but she was pretty darn adorable. When it was over, she was beaming and came running back to us.
Several of the dads set up the mats for the girls' performance. So, I was the only one of our little foursome that didn't participate one way or the other.

Jade and the other girls did a great job. I really think they all did better during half time than they did during the Candy Cane Classic. They all had big smiles and no one was shy. I was so proud of Jade for focusing, smiling and doing her best.

January 11, 2009

"I'm 3 in January"

This year, Ivy turned 3 on the 3rd. Emily said that that is her "golden birthday." I had never heard of a golden birthday, but I think it's really a fun thing to focus on to make that one time in a lifetime special.

For Ivy's birthday, we had Scott's family and my family over for Sloppy Joe's and cake. We had to do it fairly early in the day because Jade had a gymnastics performance in the evening. The kids always play really well together and it's nice to get to visit with the family.

I couldn't resist putting two pictures up of the Birthday Girl and her gifts. She is such a little princess.
Ivy was so cute opening each and every present. Every gift was followed by a very sweet "thank you" and "can you open it?" She really loved everything she received- the baby dolls, the kitchen set, the dress ups, the puppy dog, the games and the color wonders. Every one of the gifts is played with over and over again.

Have you ever seen a cuter princess? I love the cone princess hat. When I was little, my mom made me a green one and Kat had a yellow one. We were almost as cute as Ivy, but not quite.I purchased the fantastic "Build-A-Bear" cake pan from Williams Sonoma, but I had a little incident when I was making it. See, it's a really really good pan. One of those pans that when it says "no-stick" it means it. I was taking the cake out of the oven and it slipped from my hand. It came crashing down and bounced a few times, nicely chopping the cake into little pieces. But, the pan was such a fantastic pan that there wasn't a single crumb left in the pan.
Although the cake pan was great, my spirit was de-flated and she ended up getting a two layer cake with a hand drawn princess bear on it. She loved it! And that is really all that matters. Both girls helped me sprinkle it with glitter and they loved watching me do it.
She had a difficult time blowing out the candles, but eventually I was able to help her and I'm sure all of her wishes will come true.

Happy Birthday my little three year old!