Saturday, January 31, 2009

Have a Happy Super Bowl Day!

So tell me. . . who planned to have our stake conference be on the same day as Superbowl Sunday? Someone very smart, I guess! :)

I don't really care who wins the game. Stephen's Uncle Andy is a die-hard Steelers fan, and I wish he could come over because it's fun to have someone rooting hard for a particular team. But he lives in Utah, so I don't think he'll show up at our house.
I'm having a fun time planning the food though! Here's what I plan to serve. . .

These Sliders with Chipotle Mayonnaise. I really hope I can find mini burger buns at the store, otherwise they'll just have to be regular burgers, which isn't nearly as cute. Find the recipe here.
My favorite Caramel Apple Dip is by Marzetti. It's so thick and yummy! I'll have green apple slices with a tub of this stuff.

Stephen is making his famous guacamole, or as our friends dubbed it, "Stephen-guac."

And I'm going to make the OH-so-unhealthy but way too good Velveeta Salsa Cheese dip. I can just taste the fatty goodness already!

I wish I was motivated enough to spend the time making these hand-made soft pretzels. Don't they look delicious?

Will you be watching the game? What food will you be serving?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cashing In On Delta!

So tell me. . . if you had enough frequent flier miles to fly anywhere in the Continental US, where would you go?

I picked. . .

New York City!!!

I have wanted to visit New York for the longest time! I think it's kind of funny that I've traveled to most of the major cities in Europe (Paris, London, Rome, etc) but haven't been to my own country's most famous city. So since my Delta flight miles were going to expire at the end of 2008, I figured now was as good a time as any to book the trip! My parents are coming to Seattle for a visit and to stay with Kirsten, and Stephen and I will get to enjoy New York City without a kid for the entire first weekend of February! I'm SO excited!!!
I know it will be cold, but I'm so excited to. . .
*See Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, and all the other major city landmarks
*Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art and some other world-class museums
*See some Broadway!
*Fly the long, non-stop flights to and from JFK without a toddler or baby!
*Eat some yummy NYC food
Now. . . I need ideas and travel tips please!!! We already have a hotel booked, but what are the things I must see while I'm there and where should we eat?
Any tips are appreciated, since Stephen and I have both never been to New York City before! I'm looking forward to lots of advice! :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

20 Months Old and Counting!

Kirsten is 20 months old, ever since January 13'th! She's getting ever so close to the terrible 2's, and is definitely getting more opinionated and independent every day. It's a good thing she's so cute!
New challenges:
-Sleeping at night. She has been such a great night-time sleeper for the longest time, and she used to enjoy going to bed at night. For the past week and a half, she's suddenly decided that she hates it or she's scared or something (I wish she could tell us what it was!!!), because she suddenly cries and screams every night when we put her down for bed. She'll scream out "Daddy daddy daddy!" and get herself into a huge fit until Stephen goes and gets her, rocks her for a few minutes to calm her down, and then takes her back to bed. Sometimes he has to do this more than once before she'll calm down enough to go to sleep. A couple of nights she even woke up doing this in the middle of the night too. Why??? She goes down just fine for naps and doesn't cry at all, so I doubt it's an issue with her crib or being sick. She only does it at night! I'd love to hear any advice about this, because it's driving us wild!

-She constantly wants to go places and explore, which would be fine in nice weather but it's a little tough when it's January in Seattle and you don't even have a backyard to play in. She loves to take my hand, say "Go go go!", and pull me along behind her to wherever she wants to go, usually the kitchen counter so she can sit on it and play with stuff.

-She's very clingy lately and afraid of being around kids her age or younger. That means she freaks out during nursery and will only play at an indoor playground if I follow her around everywhere (with her clinging to my hand too) and make sure other babies don't come up and touch her. I don't know why she has this fear, but she cries all the time when she's around little kids she doesn't know.

New words she can say:
(Her vocabulary is increasing quite a bit, which is lots of fun, and here are some of her new favorite words)-
*Oranges (sounds like "Oh-she's." Her favorite food right now!)
*Berries ("B.B.'s")
*All Through! (when she's done eating she says this now)
*Blue's Clues
*Lucy (yep, from I Love Lucy. She says it when the show comes on!)
Things she loves to do:
-Climb up and down stairs or pretty much anything else for fun
-Play outside
-Put on hats, animal ears, sunglasses, or anything else that goes on her head
-Go for rides in the car, as long as they're not too long
-Go down slides (and climb up them too, of course)
-Be chased, play hide and seek, play peek-a-boo

She's a really snuggly and sweet girl, most of the time, and we are so blessed to have her! I just hope she starts to like sleeping at night again very soon!!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

It's Double Stroller Time!

I've started looking online at lots of double stroller reviews, since I'll be buying one soon. And I need help deciding!!! Here is the stroller I currently have. . . the Graco LiteRider Travel System.
I really liked the car seat and the way it snapped into the stroller, but I'm not so crazy about the stroller itself. It's flimsy and since the front wheels don't swivel it's very hard to steer, and pretty much impossible to steer one-handed.

So, for the double stroller, I'm willing to spend more money on a stroller that's much better. Here are the things I absolutely want it to have:
*The ability to snap my Graco SnugRider infant seat into one of the seats (yep, this limits me quite a bit, because most double strollers don't have this feature. But at least some other strollers besides Graco ones DO have this feature!)
*Storage basket underneath. I put my diaper bag and shopping bags in it ALL the time, so I need to have that for sure!
*Not too huge. I've seen some seriously massive double strollers out there, and I'd like it to be at least slightly manageable!
*I'm still on the fence about whether I'd prefer the seats to be side-by-side or behind each other. I'd love to hear any preferences or tips about that!

Here are my top considerations so far:

#1- Valco Latitude For 2
Pros: -It seems to get great reviews from everyone. I don't think anybody dislikes this stroller! It's supposedly very easy to push and steer.
-It's relatively lightweight (30 pounds)
-It has full newborn recline, car-seat compatibility with my Graco seat, and a generous storage basket.
-It comes WITH a rain cover, boot covers, a front bumper bar, and adjustable handle
-It's really pretty!
Cons: -It's 29 inches wide, and says it fits through standard doorways. But is that too wide?
-No cup holders, so I'd have to buy an attachable one.
-I don't think there are any retailers in my area that have these in their stores, so I'd probably have to buy it without trying it out. However, websites do offer free shipping on it.

#2- Bumbleride Indie Twin
Pros: -It also has car-seat compatibility, reclining seats, good-sized storage basket, and this one does come with a cupholder, matching foot muffs, bumper bar, and infant headrest.
-Has swiveling wheels, adjustable handle, and it's really nice-looking too. I like this brown color or the one in red!
Cons: -It's a little bit heavier than the Valco one, at 34 pounds. But it seems to be the same width.
-Ditto with the buying online. There's free shipping, but I don't think I'd be able to try before I buy.

#3- Graco Quattro Tour Duo
Pros: -I'd be able to try it out at Babies R Us and see if it's easy to push and steer.
-Has a parent storage tray with two cup holders, like the one I have now. Also has a storage basket.
-Has front swivel wheels.
Cons: -This thing is freakin' huge and heavy, at 39 pounds. I'd feel like I was pushing a train around!
-It's really not a quality stroller. It's a "budget" stroller, like the one I've got now.
-I'd prefer not to buy another Graco stroller. But it's the only one I could find where the seats are behind each other that still accepts the car seat.

#4- Graco DuoGlider
Pros: -Has a child's tray with cup and snack holders, a big storage basket, and a parent cup holder
-Lighter and smaller than the Quattro Tour Train. Also cheaper, and I'm guessing the wheels aren't as good. But I'd be able to try this one out at the store too.
Cons: -Again, it's a Graco stroller. And it's also their cheapest double stroller option. Not really built to last.
-Seriously ugly fabric choices on this one. We're talking tans and olive greens. Yuck!

I really want some feedback! If anyone has experience with any of these strollers or just tips about double strollers in general, I'd love to hear from you! Which one do you think you'd choose if you were me?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My Top 10 Favorite Things Right Now!

It's time for another edition of Tuesday Top 10! I have tons of favorite things, but here are the main ones I could think of for today. I highly recommend everything on this list, of course!

#1- Bath and Body Works' Aromatherapy Stress Relief Body Lotion. The scent is called Eucalyptus Spearmint, which sounds weird to me so I probably never would have tried it if a yoga instructor I had in college hadn't brought some of the pillow spray that we could use at the end of class. I remember spraying some on my little towel, lying down, putting it over my face, and going out immediately to buy the scent the next day. It really is that relaxing! I own the pillow spray, massage oil, bath soak, shower gel, candle, and my very favorite is the lotion. I use it every single night before bed. LOVE it!

#2- The Molten Lava Chocolate Cake dessert from Chili's. I guarantee that I will eat this every single day in heaven! It's my favorite dessert in the entire world. . . the perfect combination of moist cake, hot fudge, cold ice cream, and chocolate topping you could ever imagine. If you live near a Chili's, please go out and order one soon! And know that I am jealous of you, because there are currently no Chili's restaurants in Washington. But I got to eat this delicious dessert when I was in California, and I'm still craving it every day.

#3- Reef Flip-Flops. I really hate wearing socks and shoes, for whatever reason. They make me too hot when I'm inside, and my feet just feel so constricted in them. Being a true California girl, I still live in Reef flip-flops as much as I possibly can. They are the most comfortable and last forever!
#4- Our sheets from Costco. Right after I got married, I bought some expensive sets of sheets from Bed Bath and Beyond. After only a couple of times in the wash, they were all lint-covered and nasty! I still have no idea why that happened. But our Costco sheets are still smooth as silk, no matter how many times I wash them. They feel amazing! Ours aren't white though, they're a light blue shade.
#5- The Gap Maternity store! Now that I am relegated to wearing mostly maternity clothes, I've found that Gap Maternity is by far my favorite. Their clothes are the most comfortable, fit me the best, don't shrink or get nasty in the laundry, and are the cutest too!

#6- Tillamook Ice Cream. You can only buy this in grocery stores if you live in Washington or Oregon (I'm pretty sure). It's such creamy, yummy ice cream! My flavor of choice lately is Chocolate Peanut Butter. It's very addicting!

#7- The new TV shows! I have been so excited to watch the new episodes of The Office (wasn't last week's show hilarious?), American Idol, The Bachelor, True Beauty, and 24.

#8- Not that doing the dishes is my favorite thing. . . but when I have to do the dishes, the best dish soap by far is the Palmolive Aromatherapy in the purple bottle. It's like body wash for your dishes and your hands! It really does smell awesome.

#9- Fuzzy socks! These aren't an exact picture of mine, but I love wearing thick, fuzzy socks around the house. They keep my feet so warm! My favorite pairs came from Aeropostale, but I think they only sold them there around Christmastime.

#10- Gummy candy from The Sweet Factory at the mall! Can you tell I'm on a sugar kick lately? :) I love all the gummies they sell there, especially the sweet and sour ones and the orange slices.

Bonus- Crest Whitening Expressions Toothpaste in the Refreshing Vanilla Mint flavor. Ever since we tried this, both Stephen and I won't ever buy any other kind of toothpaste again.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Better Late Than Never!

I stopped making a whole list of New Year's resolutions a couple of years ago, when I figured out that a list just does not work for me. I end up forgetting, tossing aside, and breaking every single thing on the list within the first week, guaranteed! I've realized that what I need is ONE goal to focus on for the year. And I figured out what mine would be for 2009, as soon as I got back to Seattle and took a good look at my house. Here it is. . .

Get Organized!!!

Especially with a new baby on the way and moving Kirsten into the third bedroom so the baby can have the current baby room, I really just need to de-clutter and get things together!!! My natural inclination is to not be the most organized person in the world. I'm a little more of a pack rat, who likes to keep everything in case I might need it someday. It's hard for me to throw stuff away. However, I really DO hate clutter and I hate having a messy house. Fighting clutter is an ongoing battle, but I really do believe that everyone is happier in a clutter-free home.

My "presentable" areas like the downstairs family/dining room usually look pretty good. As long as you ignore all the toys, anyway. :) The scary areas in my house are the places most people don't see. Upstairs closets, the pantry, the laundry room, the coat closet, the bathroom storage closet. . . yikes! All of those places need some serious help! I also need a much better way to organize Kirsten's toys. Any organizing tips that can come my way will be greatly appreciated! I know some of you reading this are awesome organizers!

*It's nice to be back home in Seattle, even though Kirsten really misses her grandparents and their huge, fun yard with all the animals and constant things to do. I tried taking her to an indoor playground last Friday, so she could run around and climb things. I thought she'd love it. Turned out she was clingy and afraid of the other kids, especially the one year-old crawling baby. Go figure! I'm just about out of creative ideas!!!

I did take down my Christmas decorations last week, got everything put away, and all my normal stuff back up on the walls. I know, everyone else got that done weeks ago. But I didn't feel too bad, since everything was taken down only one day after I got back. Thank goodness Stephen took the tree down and put all the ornaments away while I was gone!

*January is officially the most boring month of the year for me. It just is. I feel so blah and un-excited. The holidays are all over! Can't we just skip January and go straight to February please?

*We DID get an empty seat for Kirsten on the return flight to Seattle! There were tons of empty seats on the plane, and even the entire row in front of us was empty. And it was nice!!! The flight was generally very easy, except for about 20 minutes in the middle of the flight when Kirsten got extremely tired, couldn't fall asleep, and had a crying/screaming meltdown. It was awful. She didn't want to be held and there was absolutely nothing we could do to console her. I cried too. I really hate that helpless feeling I get when nothing I can do will make her happy, and it makes me cry.

*I hope I get lots of comments on this post. I need some comment-love!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Our California Adventures!

I know you've all been dying to know all about what we did on our Christmas/New Years vacation. Settle down and get ready. . . this might take awhile! :)

Kirsten played outside and loved it every day. She woke up really early every morning (before 7 am!) and usually the first thing she said was "Mimi." It meant she wanted to go outside and see my parents' dog, Millie. She just loves Millie!
We visited Stephen's Aunt Mary and Uncle Lance on Coronado Island and Kirsten got some fun presents from all the relatives! She was shy around the strangers, but she liked their dog, of course.

We had a few bonfires in the backyard and roasted hot dogs and made s'mores. It made me miss camping!

We got to eat at some of my favorite restaurants that we don't have in Seattle. The Old Town Mexican Cafe, Chili's, Fuddruckers, Old California Mining Company, Rubios. . . YUM!!!

We took a walk by the San Diego Harbor and saw the boats! It was a gorgeous day!

Kirsten fed the chickens pretty much every day. She is braver than me! I don't even like doing that!

She loved scattering their food everywhere and it was really fun to watch her.

We rang in the New Year at about 7:00 with Kirsten. . .

And then at midnight with all the adults! My cousin Tammy and her family stayed over and we played Apples to Apples until midnight.

Kirsten made great friends with Tammy's cute son Andy. Andy was so good with her, and she followed him around and even said his name!

Kirsten pretended she was going kayaking. . .

Played with the water faucet in my parents' yard. . .

Picked apples and pet the kitties. . .

And I realized even more how badly I want a cute little puppy like this one someday! Isn't that maltese the cutest? A neighbor brought him over to play and I just wanted to snuggle with him all day.

We ate a pretty wild dinner at the Elephant Bar Restaurant!

And went to my cousin Pam's wedding and reception at the very end of the trip. She was such a beautiful and happy bride!
Whew! We were busy! But we definitely had a ton of fun!!!