Thursday, January 31, 2013

Strange Boys

My boys are pretty darn cute. They also do some very strange things sometimes. I'm not sure where they come up with these things.

They like to steal my kitchen utensils and play with them.
You know, just hanging out in a cardboard box with a whisk, pastry cutter, pie server, spaghetti spoon, and an empty spice container. 

Dallin has recently learned how to take off his own pants. While this is a great milestone to hit, it also means that he can take off his pants... whenever he wants. This usually happens during the middle of my piano lessons when I'm teaching girls. In an effort to help him keep his pants on (and because I had a new piano student starting and I wanted our family to look normal), I let him choose which pants he wanted to wear. He chose red sweat pants. And then he wanted to wear a matching red sweatshirt.
This has happened two days in a row where he has chosen the same outfit. And he wanted to wear it to bed over his pajamas. I hope this is a short phase.

Dallin has really taken to this sorting colors thing and has begun sorting his puzzle pieces by color. 
Ok, so maybe he got that one from Mckay, an expert puzzle piece sorter.

We had sour cream out with our Mexican dinner last night. Since the container was almost empty, I let Connor lick the spoon. And then he kept going back for more. He probably had 8 or so spoonfuls.
(Mckay took a great video of it too, but I'm having trouble figuring out how to upload videos from my new camera. I'll try to post it later.)

I really love sour cream so I guess Connor gets this from me.

Maybe our whole family is strange.

Friday, January 25, 2013


I got a Cricut Expression paper cutter for Christmas. I'm so excited about all the crafty projects I'll get to make with it. I've already started planning Dallin's birthday party and the awesome invitations and decorations he's going to have.

His birthday is still 2 months away, so I had to make something now to try it out. I made a birthday card for my friend.
I think it's pretty cute. Every shape on there, big and small, was cut with the cricut. I just had to glue them together and stick them on a card. Now to start thinking about what I'll make for Valentine's Day..

Remember Mckay's jean's that I mended for his birthday? I've since patched up several of his jeans in a similar fashion, and I love how easy this method is and how well it saves a good pair of jeans. Well, recently we were at American Eagle, where they are known for having torn/distressed jeans. I saw a pair on display that was a torn up hole with a patch under it and stitching over it. Basically, it looks exactly like the repairs I had done to Mckay's jeans!
So not only am I being frugal, I'm also keeping up with the hottest fashion trends. If anyone wants me to make their old jeans look cooler, let me know. :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


We've been working with Dallin on learning colors. He will repeat the names of colors, but can't identify the correct color on his own yet. I put together a little activity to help him practice naming colors.
I cut a circle from colored construction paper and put it in a bowl, then I let Dallin sort the colored blocks into the corresponding bowl. We said the name of each color as he placed the block in the bowl. 

Then I gathered up all the solid colored toys in his room and brought those out for him to sort.
He was pretty excited that I was going to let him sort all of these toys. 

We soon discovered that the bowls were not big enough, so we switched them out for dinner plates.
He's really good at matching colors properly, we just need to work on knowing the right color names, rather than just guessing. "Gween? Lellow?"

He was proud of his accomplishment.

And then he started posing with pieces from each plate.
I'm not sure why. It was really making me laugh though.

Connor is learning new things too. I give him a spoon one day at lunch to try feeding himself, and he figured it out!
He can eat with a spoon, the problem now it just getting him to eat the food rather than play in it.

He's learning to be helpful and clean up too. He'll put laundry in a basket and he tries to help unload the dishwasher. But when the dishwasher is already empty, he'll take the bottom rack out. And then he'll fill it up with laundry.
I wonder if the clothes would get clean that way.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

2012 in review

I know we're well into the new year now, but I'm still catching up from being out of town.

2012 was a great year for us. It was a year of exploring and trying new things. We took a spring break trip to Cincinnati, bought a bike trailer and went on several bike rides, and went camping one and a half times (we were hit by a huge rain storm and went home early one time). We flew to California twice and Denver once and learned that as much as like living here in Indiana and doing our own thing, we miss our family. We had family members visit us here and took trips south to Indy and north to the Sand Dunes and Chicago.

Dallin started preschool this year and has loved every minute of it. He learned to talk so much this year and is actually putting his own thoughts into words rather than just mimicking others. He got to go on his first school field trip to the pumpkin patch. He discovered his love for pancakes and ate them for breakfast about 330 days last year. (As a result, I've gotten VERY good at making pancakes.)

Connor has probably changed the most over the year. He started it as a brand new baby and ended as a full blown toddler boy. He rolled once or twice before quickly moving right into crawling. He learned to laugh, walk, talk, eat solid foods, all with very little help. He is a busy, busy boy, always running around and playing with cars, and he is always hungry.

I didn't know two kids could be so angry with each other one minute and then best friends and laughing the next. I guess that how brothers are.
I've loved watching these two play together and be so loving and kind to each other.

Mckay has played many sports this year. He played several ultimate frisbee pick up games. He started playing basketball weekly at the church and joined a volleyball league. And he played soccer alongside his classmates against the Chem.E. professors. The students won. Mckay landscaped some of the front yard and spent countless hours watering and trying to bring our grass back to life. He still says it need lots of work, but it looks better than our neighbor's grass!

I started teaching piano lessons and had my first student recital in November. I tried out countless new recipes (several of which I posted about here), learned to make yogurt, gingerbread houses from scratch, and kept our grocery budget between $250-$300 each month. I helped plan and host a walk for Williams Syndrome, and I got to write a guest post on a friend's blog about our life raising a child with WS. I did many crafts (a diaper baby, bow ties, crayon roll, necklace display and bathroom artwork,  finger puppets and an advent calendar), some less successful than others (like the Valentine's heart).

Here are my personal and family goals for 2012 and how we did with each one:
  • Read scriptures daily as a family. We didn't read every day, but we did better in 2012 than the previous year, There is certainly room for improving this one. 
  • Weekly Family Home Evening. Every Monday night, we set aside time to have a gospel lesson (about things like prayer, service, faith, etc.) and quality time as a family. We did very well with this goal and had family night almost every week.
  • Watch less TV. Having started the year with a new baby, I was at a pretty low point as far as productivity. I pretty much spent all day feeding Connor. That on it's own is an important accomplishment, but the rest of the household duties were lacking. And watching TV all day didn't help things. We went through phases with this, but ultimately, we spent a lot less time watching TV.
  • Less wasted time on the computer. This one kind of goes with the TV one. Same excuses: it's easy to waste time while you're stuck feeding a baby. I did pretty well with managing my computer time. It amazes me how much more I can get done in a day when I don't go near the computer.
  • Read more books for entertainment. Part of having less screen time involved finding something to fill the absence because I still had to sit and feed a baby. I finished seven books this year (maybe more that I can't remember): The Picture of Dorian Gray, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Help, The Strangest Song, and Brave New World.
  • Establish a daily cleaning routine. I kind of worked on this and was really good about it through the summer, but then got really busy as school started up again. We'll say I half accomplished this one. :)
  • Plan a weekly Dinner Menu. It took some time but I got really good at this by the end of the year. It really helped me save time trying to figure out what to make for dinner each day, and I tried to plan dinners that would use similar ingredients so food didn't get wasted. Planning really helped me to keep our grocery budget down.

Overall, I'd say 2012 was a successful year for us. I'm looking forward to the new year. We're making more goals as a family, and I'm excited to see how we grow and change for the better this year.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Christmas: Denver

I dropped our camera on a ceramic tile floor in California, essentially breaking it. So most of the pictures in the last posts were taken by my dad (which is why I was actually in some of them). These pictures from Denver were either taken on my phone or by someone else.

We haven't been to visit our family is Denver since before Connor was born, so this trip was long overdue. Connor got to see new family members he had never meet before. Dallin had way too much fun playing with his cousins every day. He loved every minute of it.
We went to an indoor bouncy house/jungle gym/play place. Dallin went on everything by himself, and loved doing the teeter totter with Judd.

Dallin and Porter have always been buds. They closed themselves in the TV cabinet together.

We went to the Denver Zoo.
It was a cold day, but warm enough that we didn't freeze. We just bundled up really well and made sure to visit an indoor animal every once in a while.

Connor was mesmerized by the animals. Once we found an enclosure with animals in it, you couldn't pull him away.
Connor is the short one on the right.

Our nephew Isaac loves learning and asking questions. And Mckay loves to answer questions.
Mckay found an opportunity at every stop to teach Isaac something and he just soaked it right up!

Our whole group by the elephant:

We also went to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. When we stopped for a picnic lunch, Dallin wanted to eat chips instead of his peanut butter sandwich. We told him to eat the sandwich first, so he found his own solution: layer the chip on top of the sandwich and eat both in one bite.
Very clever!

We also celebrated my birthday while we were in Denver. Mckay got me a new camera! He said he didn't know what he was going to get me for my birthday until I dropped the camera. I'm good at creating a need. :)

It was so fun to spend 2 weeks with our family. It was a nice relaxing break before getting back to work and school. And it was a good reminder of what is really important to us: our family.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Christmas: at the Beach House

Christmas this year involved 30 people, all under one roof. There were 2 Crapo parents, 8 Crapo siblings (I'm number 6), 7 spouses, 12 Grandkids (4 were babies under 1 year old) and 1 awesome uncle. Since my parent's house can not accommodate that many people, they rented a larger house near the beach for the week so we could all stay together.
We were some of the first people to arrive, so we got first pick on bedrooms. (hehe)
Things got a little crazy at times having so many people together, but it was sooo much fun. I think we made a pretty magical Christmas for the kids.

My sister Julie created a lot of that magic. She collected Christmas bedtime stories, one to be unwrapped and read each night to all the kids.

She made ginger bread houses and men for the kids.
Her husband Christian helped the kids decorate.

The kids loved being able to hang out together all day, playing games...

...and playing light sabers with uncle Mark.

There was a piano in the house and my little brother Joseph brought his guitar. 
We sat around the fireplace many nights singing Christmas carols while I played and Joseph strummed.

Connor was often found walking around in the kitchen begging for food.
He was very moody and clingy the entire trip. Then I noticed the day after Christmas that he had a molar coming in! I was expecting several more teeth to show up before seeing a molar. And then in the next 7 days, molars 2, 3 and 4 popped up. Four molars in one week! No wonder he was grumpy. (But if you ask my mom, she'll still say he was a perfect, sweet angel the whole time.)

He sure was:

Christmas Eve was spent at my Uncle and Aunt's house. They always throw a big Christmas Eve shindig with lots of food, followed by singing and chimes.
That's me in the yellow shirt in the back of the picture, playing the piano.

 The singing goes pretty late into the night, so our boys were worn out and ready for bed.

 On Christmas morning, we woke up to find stockings for all the grandkids.
 All the kids explored their stockings, and then it was present time!
We got lots of great things, just what we wanted, and the kids got plenty of toys.
Connor was surrounded by toys and boxes, but all he wanted was some Rice Chex.

Here is our whole group on Christmas day.
 It was so fun to see all of our family again. Being in Indiana, we don't get to see very much of them, so we had a blast being together again.
And we had a wonderful Christmas.

Next up is our trip to Denver!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Christmas in California: Aquarium and Alcatraz

We went to California for Christmas this year to be with my parents and siblings. We had some presents to each other to open before we left, but we weren't quite sure when to open them, so we started pretty early in December. Our thought process went something like this "Open them the day before we leave? That'll be a busy day with packing. How 'bout the weekend before? We could... there's nothing special about December 15th though. Any day we open them won't be Christmas, so we might as well pick any day. And we need the UPC code for the mail-in rebate on that already wrapped box... so December 3rd it is!"
 We only opened one on the 3rd. It was a new TV (the one with the mail-in rebate).
We made it part of our Family Home Evening lesson. We talked about the Christmas story and the wise men bringing gifts and why we give gifts to each other. And we saved another present for the next weeks FHE lesson. Some nights, we used opening a present as a bribe to get Dallin to eat his dinner. That child has never swallowed whole chunks of food so willingly.

We used their eagerness to open presents to our advantage. On the airplane ride to California, we wrapped some cheap dollar store toys for them to open on the plane.
When they we getting squirmy and didn't want to sit quietly any longer, we broke out a present and that bought us a little more time.

As has become a tradition when visiting my parents, we went to Monterey Bay.
We ate lunch at the Fish Hopper and Dallin enjoyed making Grandma color his menu
Connor had pizza.

We went to the aquarium next. Dallin's favorite part is definitely the splash tank.

We visited the beach a few times on our trip (In the few hours that it wasn't raining).
Connor found a stick and was using it to scoop sand into his mouth. Yummy.

Mckay and I got to go to Alcatraz with a few other family members while the kids stayed at home with Grandma.

Here we are on the boat heading for the island.

It was a pretty cool tour and I'm glad we went. They had pretty strict rules for the prisoners there. This was my favorite one:

"You are entitled to food, clothing, shelter and medical attention. Anything else you get is a privilege."

I am so hanging this up in my kids' room someday.

More on our trip coming up...