Friday, February 1, 2013

Valentine's Day Advent Calendar

It's been a while since I posted something crafty, so I thought to celebrate the first day of February I'd post a super easy and fun advent calendar for Valentine's Day!

So let's just jump right in. Here are the supplies you'll need:
- Decorative card stock
- Ribbon
- Number stickers or stamps
- Markers

The first think I did was make a list of the different advent activities we will do this month. I took into consideration days of the week so I could make sure and plan the more time-consuming activities on the weekend. If you make it work around your schedule, you'll be more likely to stick with it and enjoy it as much as your kiddos do!

After I made my list, I cut my cardstock into 14 pieces measuring 4"x8" each, then folded them in half to make little square cards.

I then numbered each card with stickers. Easy peasy.

Then with red markers I wrote the activity for each day inside the card.

After that I attached ribbon to the wall with push pins. I originally was going to use white ribbon, but it wasn't strong enough so I decided instead on this cute pink and brown checked ribbon and I actually like it better.

Using clothespins I attached the cards to the ribbon so they'll be easy to remove each day to read the activity.

Super simple and super fun! Today's activity was to make Valentines cards and the boys both had a blast making them. I got the idea of making heart stamps from toilet paper tubes on Pinterest. Don't you just love that site? It's wonderful!

Anyhoo, I hope you all enjoy this month of love and are looking forward to Spring as much as I am!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Taylor Gems

My little five-year-old has been saying the most hilarious and/or insightful things since the second he could talk. I've got a file on my phone called "Funny Things Taylor Says" to track all of these little gems, and I'd like to share some here that he's said within the past six months or so. Enjoy!

08/01/12 - "Mommy, humans keep going in a circle - baby, grown-up, die. Baby, grown-up, die. Will humans ever stop going in that circle? Will there be a time when humans don't exist anymore?"

08/23/12 - "I need someone who can read and I also need to go potty."

08/25/12 - Taylor: "I try to throw up but nothing comes out. Isn't that weird?" Sean: "I think it's because you don't actually have to throw up." Taylor: "No, I said it's WEIRD. Also, I think I have a really bad neck infection."

08/27/12 - "At school, when we line up, if you're at the front of the line you have to wait FOREVER for the teacher to catch up. Not even one minute, like THREE minutes! It's really frustrating, but I just keep those things in my head and I don't say them to my teacher. I'm never inrespectable to her."

09/04/12 - "Daddy, I feel really weird. I feel like we live in Canada."

09/07/12 - "Daddy, I just read something from left to right and it said 'Twelve, something, something, three hundred and fifty-five.'"

09/21/12 - "We took Daddy to work and now we're going back home. This is just like the old days."

10/13/12 - "When I grow up I'm gonna get a phone with Siris on it. I'll ask her lots of questions like, 'When is the third Ghost Busters movie coming out?'"

10/13/12 - Me: "Do you want me to make pancakes?" Tay: "No thanks, I'd rather have my regular breakfast of oatmeal."

10/26/12 - "I have a great idea for Halloween. Instead of giving trick-or-treaters just one candy we should give each one a HUGE BAG of candy! That way their trick-or-treating will go by super fast because they'll only have to go to one house!"

12/26/12 - I overheard Taylor awarding Oliver with his "very first raptor-putting-to-sleep badge."

12/10/12 - Taylor, concerning the book "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish": "That is the longest short book I ever read! Also, it's not even a blue fish, it's a turquoise fish."

12/10/12 - "A cold, snowy day likes this calls for some nice hot chocolate."

12/20/12 - "Mommy, is today the twentieth or the twenty-oneth?"

12/21/12 - "Mommy, I think I have hiccups because I keep hicking upping."

12/29/12 -  Me: "Taylor you need to get dressed now." Tay: "Why do I have to get dressed?" Me: "Because humans wear clothes." Tay: "But I'm not a human, I'm an alien. And aliens don't wear clothes." Me: "Sorry kiddo, you're a human." Tay: "No because one time I had a weird reaction to something and I woke up and a bunch of aliens were hugging me and I had a third eye."

My kid is crazy and amazing. Love him so much!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 Resolutions

 I have to admit that 2012 was a bit of a rough year for me in many ways. We began the year by house hunting, and although purchasing our first home was very exciting, it was also incredibly stressful. Buying a home is such a huge commitment, and I was worried about making a wrong decision. Though I'm grateful we chose the home we did, there have been times when the pressures and responsibility of home ownership have been a bit overwhelming. Just within the first few days we lived here we had an electrical problem and a massive plumbing issue. Luckily our realtor was amazingly kind and paid out of his own pocket to repair the damage. Since then it's been quite the roller coaster, but all in all I just absolutely love our home. It's warm and inviting and bright and cheery, and every morning I feel so lucky to be able to raise my family under this roof.

This has also been a challenging year for me in the realm of relationships with others, both family and friends. It's very difficult and humbling to examine certain situations in hindsight and see the blatant faults I made that I just couldn't see at the time. Some situations I've been able to resolve and have been forgiven of my wrongdoings. Other situations, however, have ended with the loss of dear friendships that I will never be able to get back. Though the ache hasn't fully healed yet, I feel like the best thing I can do right now is to accept that I can't change the past and that I should try to learn from the experiences I've had in order to become a better person and to continue growing and evolving.

2012 wasn't all bad though; some really incredible things happened as well. I've made some absolutely amazing friends and have learned to be proud of who I am and what I believe rather than feeling I must be apologetic and guilt-stricken because of those who disapprove of my decisions. I no longer feel sorry for the ways in which I may have disappointed those around me, because their disappointment is not a reflection of my true character or intent. And that's a really powerful realization to make for someone like me who has always been an incessant people-pleaser.

So now I turn from the past to the future and begin thinking about the year ahead of me. I have quite a few resolutions this year - some typical and some a little more unique. I like the idea of recording them on my blog because it makes me feel a little more accountable and focused on what it is I truly want to accomplish. So without further ado, the list:

- Lose Weight. I know, I know. Super cliche. But this is a big one for me because I know that I'm so much happier when I'm at my goal weight. The first step toward losing weight will obviously be to eat better, but the second step will actually be to finally see an orthopedic surgeon and get my horrible knees fixed. At this point the only exercise I can do is yoga, and even that hurts my knees a bit. Something is seriously wrong with them and until I get this taken care of I'm afraid I'll really struggle with losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight. I've seen a few surgeons in the past who were incredibly unhelpful, so I'll be going to a recommended Orthopedics center in Salt Lake where I'm hopeful I will get the help I need. By the end of this year I'd love to be running again. I miss it badly.

- Start a Writing Blog. I've realized that going to school is not a good idea for me right now. My kids have been so sorely neglected this past semester and I just can't juggle all my responsibilities at home while also getting homework done and studying for tests. So I've decided to put off the school thing until Oliver is in school full-time. Although it was a very difficult decision to make, it's one I feel that I needed to make to save my sanity and really enjoy the time I have with my kiddos while they're young. That said, I still want to find ways to develop my writing skills and constructively express myself, so I will be starting a new blog where I can post essays, poems, stories, etc. that aren't necessarily related to this family blog. Of course I will still keep this blog up to date with all the things going on in the Nichols household as well. I'll post a link to the new blog as soon as I get it up and running.

- Take My Kids to Disneyland! Much of this year will be spent preparing and saving for a trip to Disneyland some time in October. Now that the boys are getting older and we're certain we aren't having any more kids, we'd like to start taking them on one big trip every year, and this should be a great one. I'm really excited!

And a few others...
- Cultivate new friendships
- Connect with old friends
- Get outside of my comfort zone
- Continue growing my group
- Read one book per month
- Work on getting my house and lawn in order
- Have lots of fun!!

I have a great feeling about 2013. I think a lot of great things will happen with regards to Sean's career, our social life, and the lives of our family members. I love the surge of hope that comes from starting with a nice new clean slate. Here's to a wonderful year everyone!

Friday, December 28, 2012

December 2012

Almost caught up!

This month has been crazy for us, as December is for everyone. We've had a lot of fun and we're all looking forward to starting the new year! Here are some of the things we've done this month.

Tay made lots of forts in the living room since it's too cold to play outside now.

We decorated a gingerbread train.

Ollie started potty training, then immediately stopped potty training. Oliver isn't quite ready yet. Mommy is definitely not ready yet.

The boys spent their days in pajamas (when they weren't playing dress-up).

Daddy and Kitty took lots of naps.

Sean and I went to Doba's Christmas party up at Sundance and Sean won an award. It was an amazing night!

Oliver gave Mommy lots of kisses, and screamed a lot at brother.

Mommy ate very nutritious breakfasts.

Taylor had a cute Christmas program at school.

We took the boys on the North Pole Express up at Heber Valley Railroad. We go every year, and this was the first time Oliver went with us. Knowing his affinity for trains, you can imagine how insanely excited he was about this.

We did our traditional Christmas Eve bowling with my family. The boys loved it!

Taylor read "The Night Before Christmas" to us on Christmas Eve.

Santa came to our house!

The boys have had lots of fun in their totally decked-out playroom.

Sean and I have shoveled lots and lots of snow.

And Oliver has been a super goofball, as usual.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and I want to wish our friends and family a very happy and prosperous new year! Love to you all!

Oliver Turns Two!

Ollie turned two years old on December 3rd and we had a birthday party for him at our house a couple of days before. Because he's really into trains right now we decided to throw a train-themed party.

 He had a lot of fun opening presents, and he made everyone laugh each time he'd open one and then give it to a random person in the room. By the time he was done opening presents I think everyone in the house had a toy. It was adorable!

When we sang "Happy Birthday" to him he ran and hid, but came back to blow out the candles on his cake.

It was such a fun and special day for him, and I can't believe my baby is already two years old! It breaks my heart a little to see him grow so fast, but it's been so much fun too!

Oliver is now talking like crazy, can count to thirteen, and loves trains, playing hide and seek, refusing to eat, and torturing his brother. He's a little firecracker and keeps us on our toes, but he can also be very sweet and kind when he wants to be.

Love you Ollie Bean! Happy birthday!