Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Got it!

I have an addiction. A real weakness. I LOVE books. Especially really good picture books. Hands down my favorite Christmas tradition is one that my mom started when we were very young. She took all of our Christmas books and wrapped them up. Each day starting December 1st we would get to unwrap a book. It was so exciting each day as we took turns opening up a Christmas book. We would all cuddle up on the couch and and my mom would read us a Christmas story. Each year we'd open the same books and we loved them more and more. As the years have gone on my mom has added more and more books to her Christmas book collection. Last year she made a list of all the books. She has exactly 150 Christmas books that she divides into 24 piles and wraps up so the grand kids can take turns opening them each day until Christmas.
When I taught school my favorite Christmas activity was one that we did each year on the last day of school before Christmas break. It was what we called "Polar Express Day." It really had nothing to do with the Polar Express, but that is just what we called it. We spent all day just reading Christmas stories. Parents and other adults would sign up and come in and read their favorite or their child's favorite Christmas story. We would wear our PJs, bring blankets and pillows and just listen to stories all day. It was by far my favorite day of school all year. My class was never bouncing off the walls on that day. They were actually sad and didn't want it to end. They wanted to stay and read more stories.
Now that I have my own little family it is really time to start our own Christmas book reading tradition. In my quest to keep things real and under control, I decided rather than wrapping up all my Christmas books, I'd just make a special Christmas Book Bag. Each night I put a few books into the bag. The next day we let her open the bag and we all cuddle up on the couch by the Christmas tree and read stories.

You might be wondering what "I Got it!" has to do with Christmas books. Well, my mom has a few books, OLD Christmas books that I just love. Some of the best Christmas books ever made were made in the 1950s. The illustrations are to die for! Shocker that these books are out of print. I have started looking around and trying to find my own copies of some of these classic stories. Last year I was lucky enough to find my own copy of Pranky's Christmas. It was in even better condition than my mom's copy. I am happy to report that I just got another book. Not a really old one, but one that is out of print. It is The Berenstain Bears' Christmas Tree.

This is one of my favorites! I really don't know why they stop printing such good books. I was so happy to finally have my very own copy. It is in such good condition.
Anyway, I will keep searching for good Christmas books to add to my collection.
What are some of your favorite Christmas stories?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Thanksgiving in Idaho

Yes, Christmas is almost here and I still haven't blogged about our trip to Idaho for Thanksgiving. Here is the short but sweet version of our trip.
We decided to drive up Wednesday morning so as to avoid any night time driving problems. Anna was an angel and slept most of the way. We had fun visiting with family that day. Wednesday night I made my first pumpkin cheesecake for our feast the next day. It turned out pretty good. I don't like pumpkin pie one bit, YUCK!!! But pumpkin cheesecake, that is a whole different story. Thanksgiving day was lots of fun. We ate lots of great food and had a wonderful time visiting with family. After our Thanksgiving feast we went for a walk around the Green Belt. Missy and Briant had fun chasing the ducks and geese.

Everyone had fun throwing snow at each other and at random objects and animals. We even got some good family pictures. Thanks Missy!!!

By that time we were on the verge of turning into popsicles. We went home and finalized our Black Friday shopping strategies. Devin and I decided to be really lame and just go when Anna woke up. Well, at 3am Anna decided to get up and BARF all over everything. As we were cleaning things up I thought, heck!, I might as well go shopping....but I only went on line and bought some fabric so I didn't have to fight the lines at JoAnn's. (But this last week I found out that my order had been canceled because it is all out of stock or bla bla bla....I should have just gone to JoAnn's at 3am. Next time I won't make that mistake.) Anna slept well the rest of the night. We took our time in the morning and headed over to Khols which means less than 5 minutes into the store to pick up what you want, and 45 minutes of standing in the LONGEST SLOWEST line ever. Why do we do this? For the glory of saying we did and to make our pennies stretch a little further.
Friday afternoon I went with Missy and Briant to see New Moon while Devin and Anna took a nap. This movie was SO much better than the first. But I've decided that I don't like going to the movies without Devin.
We went to a really yummy all-you-can-eat pizza place called Craigo's for dinner. It was REALLY good. I can't wait to go back. I am really boring, but I love pizza. I could eat pizza all the time.
Saturday we drove up to Ashton to spend some time with Kyle, Kat, and their girls. Anna loves playing with her GIRL cousins. It was fun to see Anna and Kami playing together. Kami is 6 months older than Anna. Last time when we went up, Kami was walking and Anna still hadn't figured out how to roll over. Now that Anna can keep up with Kami they have tons of fun together. Kami just kept saying, "Anna, Anna," and Anna would just follow her around. These two really need to have more time to play together. All four of the girls slept in the same room that night. Ashley was so cute with Anna as she was freaking out before she fell asleep. Ashely kept saying, "It's ok Anna, It's ok." What a good kid. The girls didn't get mad that Anna was screaming, they just tried to calm her down. Anna stopped crying and went right to sleep. I think Ashley is ready to start babysitting.
The next morning we all went to church. Of course the girls got some good cuddle time with Devin before things really starting going in the morning.

Too bad we had to go home after church. Oh but don't worry, we'll be back! Anna did ok on the drive home. She slept for quite a while but then she was at breaking point from about Bountiful until we got home. Thanks to string cheese, gold fish, crackers and anything else that would keep her happy we made it home ok. We sang lots and lots of songs. Sometimes Anna didn't like the songs and tried to plug her ears.

It is a good thing she loves books. Anna had a great time just looking at her books.

There you have it! The "short" version of our wonderful trip to Idaho. Now we can officially move on to Christmas.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Saturday Sampler #5

Well, it is 9:40 on Friday night and my quilt blocks are finally done for tomorrow. This month's blocks have been a real stretch for me. I have always been a straight line sewer. Curves have always been way out of my comfort zone. One of the reasons why I decided to take this quilt class was to help me step out of my quilting comfort zone and try new things. This month we had three blocks, all of which were applique blocks. No straight lines, no squares, no triangles, just lots and lots of little pieces with curves. Now truth be told, I have not spent all month on these three blocks. I have been the princess of procrastination and I did not even start my blocks until this week. These blocks were much more time consuming than other blocks I have done. Thanks to Marilyn for saving my life with the tinfoil trick. That made ironing these little pieces SO easy. I can't imagine trying to get them to fold under right without the tinfoil. I am happy with how my blocks turned out. They are far from perfect, but it's late and I'm not unpicking anything....not tonight at least. I am trying not to be too critical because this was my first attempt at applique. I feel like by the time my third block was done that I was really getting the hang of it. BLAH! At least they are done. Who knows how this class will stretch me for next month?

Another reason why I have been slow to get my blocks done is the fact that Anna has been such a big helper with everything lately. She wants to be right in the middle of everything that I am doing. Which means I can only sew when she is fast asleep. I don't mind her helping me sweep the kitchen, but sewing is not a mom and daughter thing, not yet at least.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Other Things

I have gotten behind again with my blogging. Thanksgiving has come and gone. I have fun pictures from out trip to Idaho from Thanksgiving and hopefully I'll get those up soon. Life has been a bit crazy at our house...crazier than normal we've just been doing other things.
We have spent the last several weeks cleaning and packing up as much stuff as we can, because we are going to try and sell our condo. The way things are NOT selling in our complex right now we figure this might take a long long time, so we decided we should start that long long time now so we can get into a house sooner than later. This has been a hard decision. We love our ward and stake, but living in a condo is not what we want to do forever. We both long to have a yard where Anna can play and room for a big garden. Other things like a garage make a "real" house something we really would like for our family. As we have prayed about this decision we feel like the only real way to show the Lord that we are willing to be where He wants us to be is for us to put our condo up for sale. That way if He wants us to be somewhere else right now, it will sell quickly. And if He wants us to stay where we are at, then it won't sell. It will be exciting to see what happens.
We have also been trying to get ready for Christmas.
Oh, and most importantly....we spend a lot of time playing with Anna. Today she learned to climb. We all know that is going to make life even more exciting and not leave a lot of time for blogging. Hopefully I'll catch up soon.

One of Our Favorite Things

Tonight Devin and I did one of our favorite things together, we went to the adult session of Stake Conference. This meeting is always phenomenal. It is a time when you are just filled with the spirit. The speakers are always great and the messages are always exactly what you need. You also get to see good friends that you don't see as often as you wish you could. We are such nerds, we always stay and talk with people long after the meeting has ended. As we were driving home I told Devin thanks for taking me to stake conference tonight. I told him that I don't mind that he doesn't take me on big fancy romantic dates, because he takes me to the adult session of stake conference and that is WAY better!
I realized something tonight as we were listening to the speakers. 3 1/2 years ago Devin and I had just started dating and we went to our first adult session of stake conference together. During that meeting, sitting next to Devin, I had the impression that we needed to start reading scriptures together. I was surprised at the thought because we really had not been dating for that long, and for me you just don't start reading scriptures with anyone that you aren't really serious with. The whole meeting I kept feeling like that was something we needed to do. That night as we were talking about the meeting I got up the guts to tell Devin what I had felt. And now 3 1/2 years later we have read scriptures together every night (except for the few nights that we have been apart....we've even done some over the phone scripture readings). This has been such a strength to us. Yes, sometimes reading scriptures with me late at night is like reading scriptures with a zombie, but we have been consistent. I know this is one of the reasons why I love Devin more each day.
Yeah for reading scriptures every day with your best friend! Yeah for Stake Conference and drinking from the spiritual fire hose! I can't wait for more Stake Conference tomorrow.
The church is true!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Anna's Birthday Video

I finally have uploaded the highlights of Anna's birthday party. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Halloween 2009

Here they are! Finally pictures of our Little Red Riding Hood. Her costume turned out great! Anna didn't mind walking around with her cloak. It was perfect that she has started walking because she looks so cute walking around in her costume.

It was fun trick-or-treating. It was perfect weather. We ended up just stopping and talking with our friends. Devin got a lot of great candy. Anna really enjoyed herself.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Saturday Sampler #4

I know I should be blogging about Halloween and posting Birthday Party pictures, but there is a slight problem....Devin has all the good pictures on HIS camera and since we have taken so much video lately all the video is on the camera in some secret place where more memory is located and I don't have the brain power to get the video off of that secret place and on to my computer. Sooo, quilt blocks is all you'll get until Devin gets home from the temple tonight and shows me how to get all that stuff.

Here are this month's quilt blocks and all the blocks so far. I am really excited to see what we'll do next.

Westmore Halloween

One of the reasons why I miss teaching so much is because I miss seeing my kids. Sure I had "students" in my class, but I never thought of them as my students, they were "my kids" my really good friends. I really did love my kids to pieces, even if they drove me bananas some days. (Truth be told Anna drives me bananas some days too.)
I got a call a while back from Jessie, one of the fourth grade teachers at Westmore, who wanted to know if I would come read a story to her class. Heck yes! The best part is that she has so many of my kids in her class.
It ended up that Friday was the day. What a fun day to go to an elementary school. I always said if you could live through Halloween teaching, all the other holidays would be a walk in the park. I got Anna all dressed up in her costume and we went over to read our story. It was SO good to see my kids. I feel bad I didn't get to talk with them more. They all look the same, just taller. Hopefully I will have more opportunities to go back and visit my friends.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Cake

As I thought about Anna's 1st birthday party I wanted to keep things simple. I did want to have a fun cake. After spending some time with our good friend Mr. Internet, I decided that I could probably pull off a decent looking Ladybug cake. Thursday night after we put Anna to bed, we began the process of trying to be creative parents.

By the time we were done, I felt good about my first attempt at being a creative mother. Nothing compared to what my sister-in-laws do (Marthe and Kat scroll down to see their amazing cakes). Thanks to Devin for drilling out the lifesavers so our ladybug could have cool eyes. We ended up with a little ladybug for Anna to eat/destroy and a big ladybug ice cream cake for everyone else. Special thanks to whoever gave us the cool cake pans for our wedding. We can't remember who you are, but we had lots of fun using them. Last of all, thanks to my mom who let me take cake decorating classes when I was a teenager. I still had all my tips and cake decorating stuff which went to good use for this project. I think it would be fun to take a class again so I could brush up on things and learn some cool new stuff too. Funny how we put all this time into something our child is going to destroy.

Anna's First Birthday

Thursday was Anna's first birthday. It was a pretty simple day (We decided to do our little family party on Friday.) I took Anna to the doctor and she got four shots. The good news is that she is now 20lbs and 4oz which means we can turn her around in her car seat. YEAH! After all those shots she slept most of the day.

After dinner we drove up to the Mount Timpanogos temple. A while ago we decided that each year on our kid's birthday we would take them to the temple, and in a way count down the years until they would be able to go to the temple for real. 1 year down, 11 to go!

We really want to do all we can to have our kids fall in love with the temple. We hope that going each year on their birthday will help them know how special and important it is.

After our little temple trip we sang to Anna and let her dig into her little cupcake. It did not take her long to figure out how to eat it. Which made me excited for her to dig into her "real" birthday cake which we would be giving to her the next night.

More birthday pictures and video to come.

Pumpkin Carving 2009

There are a few things that the Baldwin family takes way more seriously than my family does. One of those things is pumpkin carving. They look at carving pumpkins the way my family looks at making gingerbread houses. See examples A (Henderson gingerbread houses 2009) and example B (Baldwin pumpkins 2009)
Even though we could not go to Idaho to be part of the pumpkin festivities, we still took the time to carve pumpkins.
I helped carve a simple pumpkin for Anna.

Devin took things to a different level. He used his dremel tool to carve his pumpkin. Good thing he used his safety goggles. Who knows what a sliver of pumpkin would do if it flew into your eye.

When he was finished he had a nice ghost that said boo. Which many people thought was a fancy "D" or a slug.

Maybe next year we will get more creative.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Big Girl

This week we decided that Anna was ready to ditch the high chair tray and join us at the table. It has been so much fun having her eat at the table with us. She loves her little plates and is so careful picking up her food.
She just has to eat whatever we are eating. Today she would have nothing to do with her pancake and just wanted to eat raisin bran. Funny kid!

First Trip to Classic Skating

Missy and Briant were down for the weekend and we thought it would be fun to go to the rink to skate and play hockey for a while. My mom was nice enough to let us come while she was doing her normal Saturday morning stuff. It is always fun having the rink to yourself. We had a great time playing hockey. It has been TOO long. I am so out of practice. I played hockey all the time before my mission and I could tell that it has been ten years since I have played. It was still fun though.
I found myself quite distracted because Anna was having so much fun exploring the rink. We brought Anna's walker so she could just go where ever she wanted. When we were little my dad would put us in the walker and then tie skate laces to the walker and just swing us around the skating floor in big circles. The rink floor + a little kid + a walker= so much fun.

We also knew she loved playing with cars, but today we found out how much she likes to drive.

Enjoy the video it is kind of long and very bumpy, but I was on skates so sorry.

Apple Sauce

The Walkers were kind enough to give us a ton of apples. Since Anna LOVES apple sauce we knew that is what we should do with them. Tuesday I made sauce with the red apples and only got 2 pints because the apples had a lot of worm spots. Wednesday I made sauce with the yellow apples and got 6 pints. Thursday night I attacked the green apples thinking I'd get about the same amount. Oh no! They were really good apples, practically perfect. We kept pealing and slicing and filling pot after pot after pot until my stove looked like this.

Luckily my sister had given me a bunch of jars for my birthday. As soon as the apples were all cut and cooking I sent Devin to Macey's to buy more lids. We ended up with 11 pints of sauce.
I really think this might be the end of the canning season. I am SO grateful to all the people who have given us fruits and veggies this year. I have a list on my fridge of everything that I have canned and frozen. It will be fun to see how long it will last. Hopefully I wont have to buy anything on that list for a long long time.

Gardner Village Witches

Anna and I went up to Gardner Village with Jessica, Hayden, and Parker on Thursday afternoon. It was fun to go see all of the crazy witches, without all the crazy people dressed up like witches. The weather was perfect, I didn't even wear a jacket. Anna is really starting to look and point at things. With all the funny witches all over she had plenty to look at and point at. We had fun finding all the witches on the witch scavenger hunt and Anna enjoyed her prize of a free chocolate chip cookie. If you haven't been you really should go. Only one more week of witches.