Friday, October 31, 2014



Happy Halloween!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A few weeks ago we had been planning to take some family photos (with my camera on self timer and no tripod...I know, not the best idea!) when our lovely friend Megan offered to take them for us! She led us to a really gorgeous park and spent a good hour taking photos for us, being incredibly patient with a wily 2 year old the whole while. 

We ended up with so many lovely shots, I just have to post them all :)

Love that goofy fake smile, Niko!

Now I really need to print out a bunch of these to put up around the house! Thanks so much, Megan!!!

Baking for the soul

One day last week Nikolai and I must have both been feeling a little off, because we were butting heads left and right! By the time Jesse got home, I was more than happy to have him play with Nikolai so I could take a little time to let my crankiness ebb. 

After a bit, I decided to bake some cookies, and I was feeling somewhat less crabby so I invited Nikolai to help me. 

He was super helpful--carefully pouring the ingredients I measured into the bowl and turning on the mixer when I asked. Before long, we were laughing and eating cookie dough together, and I think we both felt much better. 

So let this be a lesson to my future self: when in times of strife, make cookies together. You won't regret it. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A quilt! At last!

About 7 months ago, I looked through my fabric stash and realized I had saved a lot of old clothes that we didn't wear anymore, usually because they were holey or stained. I'm a little bit of a hoarder, so I had saved these, thinking that at some point I'd use them to sew something. Well, they had finally gotten to a point where they were taking up a lot of space, so I decided I should do something about it.

That something was to make a quilt!

Here's the elementary plan I sketched up:

The cut out pieces (larger squares not pictured):

Plotting them all on the floor:

Getting everything lined up and ready to sew:

The quickest part was getting everything cut out and sewed together--then I decided that I wanted to hand quilt the whole thing so I spent the next few months intermittently quilting when watching tv and such ;)

But, after 7 months, I finally finished it!

It's now hanging up on the wall in our room :)  I must say, it's really satisfying to look at it and see old things that we used to wear and love, and remember some of the memories attached. And, for my first quilt, I'm pretty proud of it!

What to do with broken crayons

Lately Nikolai his picked up this *ahem* interesting tendency to break all of his crayons in half. Needless to say, it's not my favorite thing. I've been trying to decide what to do with all of these newly broken crayons and recently stumbled upon something fun!

I scrounged up some thin cardstock and we used a pencil sharpener to make lots of colored shavings, which we spread all over the paper. 

When we'd gotten a sufficient amount/Nikolai decided we were done, we put wax paper over top with the waxy side down. 

Then I ironed it until all the shavings melted:

We did it a few times and were really pleased with the cool designs that were created!

I'm thinking in the future I might do this on small canvasses and use them for wall art :) It was really fun! 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Trunk or treat

Saturday was our ward's trunk or treat and it was great! I made our costumes this year and was really excited about wearing them, and also really excited for Nikolai to trick or treat and actually sort of get what was going on ;)

He was really shy at first but quickly warmed up to saying "trick or treat!" and was of course more than happy to reach into people's candy bowls for a treat (though more than once he would be reaching for something awesome like a Snickers and then switch at the last second and grab something like Dots instead >.<).

At one point he even passed another little trick or treater and happened to see into their little pumpkin full of candy, which obviously prompted him to say "trick or treat!" and try to take some candy from them too! Silly boy :)

In Nikolai's short life, we've never really tried to limit his sugar consumption--I mean, we don't feed him sugar cereal or buy candy/fruit snacks very often, but we're also not shy about baking cookies and other sweet goods and letting him have some. But in all this time, with all his sugar consumption, I had never seen him have a sugar high...

until the trunk or treat! Boy, I swear all he had was a dum dum and some m&ms, but all of the sudden he was off and running around the parking lot, alternately roaring like a dinosaur and then claiming he was an airplane. 

Finally, the rush must have worn off a little because then he decided he wanted to go hide in the trunk and eat his lollipop. 

Also, when I see him up there with that lollipop, I can't help but think of him two years ago, tasting his very first one on Halloween:

After the sugar rush, he ran off to play with some other little kids who were running around. Jesse was watching him while I chatted with friends, and when I came upon them I found Nikolai playing in the leaves. 

And then this hilarity happened.

Takes lollipop out of mouth, decides to try a leaf instead:

Realizes "oh wait, that wasn't as tasty as I was hoping":

"Yech, that was really terrible. I need to get that taste off of my tongue":

"Yeah, lollipops taste better than leaves":

(seriously, I don't think he's tried to eat a leaf in 2 years, and I have no idea what made him think he should try one now, but it was hilarious!)

And here's a shot of all three of us!

(Please notice that Jesse is a volcano and I am/baby is a comet, coming to destroy our little dinosaur)

Also, this picture makes me look super duper pregnant, while I am, in fact, just pretty pregnant. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Bikes in fall

Now that we can go biking as a family, we've set a goal to go for a bike ride every evening that schedules and weather permit. On Monday night, we set off to ride around our neighborhood and enjoy the crisp air and gorgeous leaves.

Fall in Michigan, in my opinion, redeems the long, extra-cold winter with its exuberant colors and perfect weather. 

The maple trees here look like some behemoth dipped the edges in red and yellow paint. 

It really enlivens my soul to see them, and riding around in the crisp air didn't hurt ;)

Happy fall all! 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Budding artist

Nikolai has been VERY into painting lately!  I woke up this morning at 7:40 when Jesse was getting ready to leave for school (he gets up with Nikolai around 7 so I can sleep in, bless his heart!) and Niko had apparently already requested to paint because he was at his little table, painting away. 

I really like watching him at work--it's fun to see his creative juices flowing and how he enjoys choosing different colors (Also, this is one of the few instances where he is motionless enough for me to get a non-blurry picture of him).

Oh my gosh, look at that profile!

(It was at this point when I ran up to him and smothered him in kisses and he pushed me away saying, "No kiss me mama! I paintin'!") 

It's so fun to look back at baby pictures of our Niko and see hints of his tiny personality in that little body, just waiting to blossom. I'm sure I'll look back in a few years and see flashes of his grown-boy self in this little toddler boy. 

Hey little person, you're the coolest!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Like riding a bike

We recently acquired a bike trailer and I got to ride a bike for the first time in 3 years! (I'll admit, I could have rode around by myself at times when Jesse was home to watch Niko, but those are the times I generally want to be home with my boys.) 

For our inaugural ride, we headed to our favorite frozen yogurt place about a mile up the road. 

Jesse is used to riding his bike 3 miles each way to school, so he pulled the trailer for us :)

 Nikolai really liked it!

I liked it too. I think the exercise and fresh air is good for me--I couldn't stop smiling! 

I love a good excuse to get froyo and this time it felt like we earned it :)

Yay for the marvelous invention of bicycles and fun family times!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

New baby is a....


We found out yesterday and are so excited! Baby girl, we can't wait to meet you in 5 months!