Saturday, February 27, 2010

Kirsten's Obsession

Sometimes I really do think Kirsten is going to go to college someday still sleeping with a binky in her mouth.

This girl is SO attached to her precious binky. For a very long time, she's only been allowed to have it when she's sleeping, and she's never fallen asleep without one. We used to have one in every color, like in the picture, but she's slowly lost them and we're down to one binky. The pink one.

Today, she lost the pink binky and I couldn't find it anywhere. I decided it must be a sign that Kirsten doesn't need the binky anymore. The "Binky Fairy" was already prepared with this adorable Pillow Pets lamb, so I pulled it out of the top shelf of the closet and made every effort to sound extremely excited that she was getting a gift from the Binky Fairy. "The Binky Fairy knows that you lost your binky, so look what she's giving you to make you feel better! Anytime you feel sad or miss your binky, just pet the lamb and give it a hug!"

Kirsten petted the lamb. . . twice. She then proceeded to sob and cry and moan, "My binky!" over and over, until she decided that instead of taking a nap without a binky she would rather play in her room and shout my name over and over until I came to get her.

So much for the Binky Fairy.

Tonight, Stephen searched her room and found the pink binky. We took that as a sign that she can hang onto the binky for awhile longer. I just felt like the meanest parent in the world trying to keep it away from her, and she's really not ready to understand the concept that she doesn't need a binky to fall asleep. So I just hope her future college roommates don't make fun of her too much when they see her, sleeping soundly with her precious binky.

Question for you all. . . If you have had a binky-obsessed child, how old were they when they gave it up? When were they ready to understand and not freak out about it?

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Fun and the Fabulous Reviews. . . Kid's Clothes!

I just love sharing fun, unique kids clothes that I find with my readers. I've got three really awesome websites for baby and kids clothes to talk about today!

#1- Urban Bratz
"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." I LOVE that quote from E.E. Cummings that they feature on the main page of their website. Urban Bratz is a new clothing line, and talk about hip and cool! It's always fun to find clothing for your babies or kids that includes an awesome sense of humor. My husband really appreciates this shirt I got for Kirsten:

You'll love the Urban Bratz line if:
*You have a great sense of humor
*You like getting comments from strangers about your kid's original outfits
*You want your kid to stand out from the crowd and be unique
*You want to give the coolest gift at the baby shower

The shirts sell for $24, and the onesies for $22.

This one seriously cracks me up. . . "Babysitters Love Me"
(I can think of a few kids this would be perfect for!)
#2- Barley & Birch
Unabashedly organic, planet-saving clothes! You know what my favorite thing about organic clothing is? It's SO soft and comfy! The quality of the fabric is really wonderful, and it stays that way no matter how many times you wash it.

Here's Kirsten wearing one of their Panda tanks last summer (look how much littler she was!):

Absolutely everything Barley & Birch sells is made of 100% certified organic cotton and water-based inks that don't pollute the earth, water, or expose farm workers to toxins.
As if that isn't awesome enough, look how amazing their clothes look!

The designs are SO graphic and eye-catching! And they donate at least 10% of their profits to a variety of organizations all over the world who are dedicated to helping others and helping our planet. So you can really feel good about spending $24 on a onesie. There's a whole list of retailers that sell these eco-conscious beauties right here.

You'll love the Barley & Birch line if:
*You love seeing the beauty of nature integrated into clothing
*You're concerned with saving our planet
*Your children have skin sensitivities. Organic cotton is the very best for sensitive skin!

I love this beautiful onesie from their new spring line:
#3- Baby Rock Apparel-
This one is for the edgy, too-cool-for-school rocker parents and their equally hip children. But you don't have to be all hard-core to enjoy this line. I wouldn't call myself a biker chick, but I do have a healthy appreciation for rock music. And I love some of these designs!
If I had a boy, I'd totally dress him in this one:

Baby Rock Apparel was actually one of the first baby clothes manufacturers to offer hip baby clothes with an edge for boys and girls. Their website features a HUGE variety of products of all kinds, and you'll find no shortage of unique baby gifts here. The quality of their fabrics is amazingly soft and lightweight as well. I have this T-shirt for Natalie, and it definitely fits my little drama queen in more ways than one!

You'll love Baby Rock Apparel if:
*You like to make a statement with fashion, even when it comes to your kids
*You don't want your kids to be wearing the same clothes as everybody else
*You really appreciate high-quality clothing that will last
*You're an edgy rocker chick!

Most of their shirts sell for $22-26, but right now the Drama Queen T-shirt pictured above is in their Last Call Sale section for $9.99! Get it while it's hot! They also have a blue shirt just like it for boys that says "Chick Magnet" for the same price. I love the argyle patterns on these!

Deal Alert: Baby Rock Apparel is offering a 15% discount for my readers, good for anything on their website! Just use the code 'veaterfam' at check-out. Nice!!!

Just cuz I like to know what my readers are thinking, leave a comment and let me know:
Are you into baby and children's fashion? Do you have more fun dressing your kids up than dressing yourself? Or are clothes just a way to keep them warm?

Simple Joys

I took these pictures a few weeks ago, when we had a really fun playdate with my old study abroad college buddy Monica (yep, we used to travel through Europe together!) and her cute son Sam. The kids had the best time playing with bubbles!

Don't you just wish you were a kid again, and could get so much joy out of something as simple as blowing bubbles?

Boy, I sure do.

Lauren Nicole Gifts Review and Giveaway!!!

I am so in love with the beautiful, hand-stamped silver jewelry from Lauren Nicole Gifts. Each piece is personalized in such a unique way, and I think the birthstone for each child is such a sweet touch.

The Hand-Stamped Mommy Necklaces are my favorites. It's hard to think of a more perfect gift for a mom. . . something that combines her fierce love for her children with her love for jewelry. The quality of these pieces is so amazing, and something I'd be proud to wear around my neck every day!

The variety of pieces that this talented designer makes just blows my mind! Everything from wedding bouquet charms, earrings, bag tags and key chains, personalized ceramic beads, and of course all the beautiful necklaces. I really think you could find a gift for anyone on her website. Even for men! She makes leather key chains, lighters, money clips, and a whole lot more and they all look very masculine.

How completely adorable would this necklace be as an anniversary gift? If any guys are reading this (doubtful), take note! I'd melt if I opened this up and give my man major brownie points for being so thoughtful.

Lauren Nicole Gifts is offering an amazing giveaway on my blog. . .
A Hand-Stamped Silver Mommy Necklace, completely personalized with your children's names and birthstones!!! I received one with my own sweet little girls' names, and it's now one of my absolute favorite necklaces to wear. Their two names are hand-stamped into the beautiful silver disk, and I love how awesome their birth stones (emerald and diamond) look together. This necklace is valued at $46! If you don't have any children, this would make a perfect gift for your own mom or any other mom you know.

Here's how to enter to win this beautiful necklace:
*Visit Lauren Nicole Designs and tell me which of her pieces you would love to own.

Get extra entries when you:
1. Follow my blog!
2. Become a fan of my blog on Facebook here, or let me know you already are!
3. Become a fan of Lauren Nicole Gifts on Facebook here, to find awesome discount codes and tons of sales going on all the time!
4. Go here to join the Lauren Nicole Gifts email list.
5. Go here to become a follower of the Lauren Nicole Gifts blog. She does her own giveaways over there quite often too!
6. Talk about this giveaway on your blog and link to me.
7. Talk about this giveaway on Facebook and link to me.
8. Tweet about this giveaway!

*Please leave me a separate comment for each entry, and make sure I have a way to contact you if you are the winner. This giveaway will close on March 12'th. Thank you so much for entering, and good luck!!!

Time For Some Winners!

My latest lucky winners are the following:

*Winner of the Giggles and Grins necklace is. . . #59!
naomir5034 said... Mentioned on FB...

*Winner of the Blush Topless Undershirt is. . . #19!
Kate said... I follow your blog.

*Winner of the XO Skins Protective Gadget Skin is. . . #20!
Tylerpants said... I'd love the Nintendo DS skin as it keeps fingerprints at bay!

*Winner of the Aden + Anais Infant Sleeping Bag is. . . #45!
justicecw said... Just became a FB fan of your blog as well :)

*Winner of the New Fashioned Whispers Heart Locket is. . . #50!
Francesca said... I love the Sunday Bride and Elisa purple lily earrings.

*Winner of the Tiptoeing Tutus $25 Gift Certificate is. . . #62!
alli said... fan of your blog on Facebook

Congratulations to all the winners (you've all been emailed) and a HUGE thank you to the amazing companies and designers who provide the prizes! Everyone benefits, and that's why I love it. :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bath Time!

These are some things that happen on a daily basis at our house:

Thing 1- Kirsten takes toys away from Natalie and puts them just out of her reach, on a table or the couch. She doesn't want to play with the toys herself. . . she just doesn't want Natalie to have them.
Thing 2- Kirsten shouts "Hey!" and pushes Natalie away when she gets too close to something she's playing with.
Thing 3- Kirsten makes Natalie cry by pushing her/laying on her/taking stuff away from her.
Thing 4- Kirsten asks to take a bath with Baby Natalie.

I've always heard that sibling rivalry starts young, but I had no idea it was this young! Thank goodness for bath time! This is by far Kirsten's favorite thing to do with Natalie, and it's totally adorable.

Ever since Natalie started sitting up by herself, they've been taking baths together. They seriously have a ball together, splashing and laughing up a storm!!!

Kirsten thinks there's just nothing funnier than Natalie's splashing talents. Natalie has the ability to completely soak anyone within a few feet of the bathtub. Kirsten has learned some mad new splash skills from her baby sister.

Baths together. . . such a wonderful thing!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Happy 28th Birthday Ashley - 28 Things I Love About You!

Things I (Stephen...Ashley's husband) love about Ashley. First off, Ashley is by far the most special person to me in the world and I am extremely lucky to have her in my life because of these things and so much more. If you have been lucky enough to meet Ashley and become her friend, then you will know that all of these are true. Since she is turning 28, I thought I would write 28 wonderful things about her. There are so many to choose from. Enjoy the list and wish her a Happy 28th Birthday!

Ashley on her 27'th Birthday last year...7 months pregnant with Natalie

1. She loves life and gets the most enjoyment she can out of it. As is evident in all that she does, Ashley loves life more than any other person that I know and squeezes every drop out of it.

2. Loves to travel to new and exciting places. I agree with her that we should travel, explore, and have fun while we have each other and not wait until we are old and our kids are all grown up. Luckily we have such wonderful grandparents that enable us to do so. Unfortunately, I’ve seen too many cases where people “save” up for trips when they are older and then one or both of the people pass away kind of like on the movie “Up”. It also hits close to me as well so I will make every effort to get out there and explore while I still can. You only live once.

3. Loves to have fun always. She will make any small activity or big activity fun and entertaining for everyone involved.

4. Very laidback and easy-going. This helps her get along with any type of person.

5. She is a great mother and wife. She is always having fun with the kids and makes their life better by having them live life to its fullest.

6. Makes me a better person in every way possible. Ashley has made a very positive impact on my life and I am so grateful for that.

7. Likes meeting new people and meeting new friends. She likes going reaching out and meeting new people and becoming their friends.

8. Likes adventures and new things. She is always planning and looking for new things to do and they are always fun. If you ever come visit us in Seattle, we have a whole list of things and activities to choose from. This is one reason she was such an excellent travel agent. She is good at finding fun things to do.

9. Is a beautiful person. She is gorgeous and I am so lucky to have her in my life. She shines and stands out in a crowd.

10. I love the way she smiles and lights everyone up around her.

11. Easy to make laugh and always likes to have fun.

12. Never makes an enemy and avoids conflict. This is evident in how she treats people and how she reacts when others are rude to her. She does not put others down even when others have put her down, which is a very selfless characteristic.

13. Loves all sorts of music. She is not a one music genre lover, which is good. Some people only listen to one type of music, but not Ashley. She is good at finding new music that we both enjoy.

14. Is my best friend and yet around the same time each year becomes my arch-enemy (BYU vs UTAH rivalry) ;).

15. Is never boring. Not even at 2:00 in the morning. I’ve only seen her tired about 4 times since I’ve been married with her. She just never winds down because she wants to get the most out of every minute of every day.

16. Ashley loves to make everyone and everything around her shine. She does not enjoy seeing others not have a good time and she will go out of her way to make everyone happy.

17. Ashley enjoys decorating and making the house look good. Her decorating skills are Bravo TV worthy. The house looks amazing and she goes all out for holidays. I don’t know anyone else that goes all out on Halloween and Christmas as Ashley does.

18. Ashley is a great cook and likes trying new recipes. She has found some definite keepers out there. Her homemade eggnog sealed the deal for me.

19. She loves surprises and likes to surprise people. One time she planned a trip and didn’t tell me where we were going. It was fun driving down the road wondering where we were going to end up and guessing the whole time.

20. Doesn’t give up and deals with stress very well. When she is determined, she is determined and there is no stopping her. I’ve even tried convincing her to eat lettuce and she refuses.

21. Extremely creative. I don’t think I need to tell you all this. She puts a lot of time and effort into making each post on this blog special and is creative in that whole process.

22. Very intelligent. She tells stories of how she would play the memory game when she was younger and would beat adults. She is very smart and likes to learn new things.

23. Loves to talk about all sorts of things and there is never a dull conversation.

24. Sensitive to others and other’s needs. It’s very comforting to have someone that cares for you and others by your side.

25. Enjoys spending her time with her friends, family, and myself. Also loves bringing people close together as all of you that know Ashley already know.

26. Is very talented. Ashley is a very good dancer and even won a 1st place dance contest in college. She is also extremely gifted at playing the harp and till this day continues playing it. I always love it when she plays the harp as it brings peace and happiness into the home. She also plays the piano very well. She learned how to play the piano all by herself and quickly learns new songs that she has never played before. She also is talented at cross-stitching and is a very good singer.

27. Likes to play games of all sorts. She introduced me and everyone I know to Settler’s of Catan, which if you have never heard of it, is also known as board game crack. It is extremely addictive and I enjoy playing it. This is where Ashley does show her competitive side and makes for some interesting conversations after all the friends leave and I decided to cut her off and steal her win ;0).

28. Doesn’t settle for 2nd best. She is always looking for the best in all sorts of aspects of life and loves the best of the best.

And +1 because she is awesome!

29. Does an amazing job at the blog and keeping people close together.

Ella's Kitchen Review and Giveaway!

Natalie is almost 10 months old now, and she loves baby food. She will eat almost any flavor of baby food really well, but still makes strange faces when she tries normal food. Kirsten was pickier about flavors than Natalie is, but had the same texture aversions to normal food, and she ate baby food only for a LONG time. I'm thinking Natalie's going to be the same way. Seriously though, it's so much easier to feed a baby than a finicky toddler! I love knowing that Natalie's getting all kinds of fruits and vegetables every day. . . unlike Kirsten, who only wants to eat bread, crackers, cheese, cookies, and fruit snacks all day long.

I just got some great new baby food to try out! I can't exactly call it yummy, since I'm not brave enough to taste my baby's food (some moms do that, don't they?), but Natalie sure does like it!

Ella's Kitchen makes baby foods that are 100% organic and all-natural, with absolutely zero other ingredients besides pure fruits and veggies. Nothing else, not even water! The unique packages make them really easy to tote around with you, and they have some really cool and different flavor combinations. For example:
-Carrots, Apples, and Parsnips. . . the first time I've ever seen parsnips in baby food
-Broccoli, Pears, and Peas
-Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin, Apples, and Blueberries- I think this one was Natalie's favorite! She gobbled it right up!
They also feature drinkable smoothies for older kids. The smoothies are also made of completely undiluted crushed organic fruits, and Kirsten called them "Yummy!" It was nice to see her liking something that's actually healthy for a change.

You can buy the Ella's Kitchen baby foods and smoothies at many stores, including Babies R Us and Toys R Us where they're priced at $1.79 each (or $1.39 each for the smoothies). Each baby food pouch contains 3.5 ounces of food, just slightly smaller than a stage 2 Gerber food.

I think you'd love this baby food if:
1. You hate looking on the ingredients list of regular baby food and wondering, "What in the world are all those chemicals doing in there?"
2. You are the type who doesn't mind paying extra for organic and all-natural foods for your family.

Want to try them out for free? Ella's Kitchen is offering a giveaway of one box of baby foods and smoothies, containing one of each flavor they sell!
Please enter this giveaway even if you don't have a baby yourself, because I'm sure you could think of a friend who would love to try them if you're the winner!

Here's how to enter:
*Visit Ella's Kitchen and tell me something that really impresses you about their company.

Get extra entries when you:
1. Follow my blog!
2. Become a fan of my blog on Facebook here.
3. Grab my button off my sidebar and display it on your blog.
4. Talk about this giveaway on your blog and link to me.
5. Talk about this giveaway on Facebook and link to me.
6. Tweet about this giveaway.
7. Become a fan of Ella's Kitchen on Facebook here.

Please leave me a separate comment for each entry. This giveaway will close on March 5'th. Good luck!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


So here's something news-worthy. . . I've actually been working out! And my weight loss has slowed down, but I'm only 8 pounds away from my goal weight! You can get all the juicy details over here at my Cravings and Confessions blog. I don't usually make a note on this blog about those posts, but a few of you might find it interesting. :)

Some other news-worthy news: Natalie pulls herself up to a standing position now! She will use anything from the crib railings to the couch to various shelves and toys to adult legs to propel herself upward, and she's so proud of herself she wants to do it literally ALL the time. She hasn't taken any steps yet, but I can tell she's dying to do it.
Isn't this such an adorable picture of my little stander? I love the way she's smiling right into Kirsten's face. It makes me so happy.

Kirsten has taken great naps for FOUR out of the last four days! This is definitely news-worthy to me, since I was worried she was done with naps for awhile there.

Kirsten's latest thing is tickling Natalie. She gets such a kick out of making Natalie laugh, so she'll push her down and just start tickling her. Other than having to tell her to be gentle and not push Natalie down to the floor, it's really cute.

The Winter Olympics are definitely news-worthy! I've been loving watching the events, especially figure skating, freestyle skiing, and the exciting speed skating races. Is it just me, or is there just TOO much great February TV?

Kirsten's best lines from her first Olympic-viewing experience:

"Just like me!"
(Said after seeing the downhill skiing videos in the Opening Ceremonies. I figured out it's because we took her sledding last month and she went down the hills in the snow. It's just too cute that she sees the pro skiers and thinks she looked like that, too. If only we could all view ourselves so positively!)

"Just like Big Bird!"
(Said when she sees the figure skaters. This is a direct reference to the opening scene of Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, one of her favorite movies, when Big Bird learns how to ice skate. I'm sure all those skaters would appreciate knowing that they look like Big Bird).

Last bit of news for the day:
I can't believe I have only 3 days left to be 27. Can't I stay 27 forever? It's my favorite number, and I just don't want to move past it. 28 isn't nearly as cool.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

20 of My Everyday Loves!

In honor of Valentine's day, here are 20 everyday things that I love. There are many BIG things that I love, such as traveling the world, scuba diving, and holidays, but I decided this list would focus on the little things that I can love every single day. So here goes. . .

1. This adorable baby. . .

2. This rambunctious, fun-loving girl. . .

3. This guy. . .

4. Playing a great game! I love MANY games (as all my friends know!), but Settlers of Catan is one of the very best. Especially the Cities and Knights expansion!

5. The big, soft pretzel with cheese sauce from Claim Jumper. Ohhh, I could eat one every day and be perfectly happy. This thing is dang good and cheaper than buying a bag of regular pretzels too!

6. Reality TV. Don't you dare judge me. . . it makes me happy! My life wouldn't be the same without American Idol, Survivor, Amazing Race, Project Runway, The Bachelor, So You Think You Can Dance, and Top Chef. . . to name a few. :)

7. My soft, purry kitties. I love having them curled up on my lap or purring on my pillow. Pets are such a wonderful source of love.

8. Laughter! Finding the humor in life's quirky, messy, strange, or just plain awful moments is one thing that makes life so gosh-darn beautiful.

9. The beauty that surrounds me. I try so hard to never take beauty for granted.

10. The smell of my favorite lotion that I wear to bed every night. The scent of Stephen's cologne and body wash. The smell of a freshly-bathed baby. The scent of laundry soap that fills the whole upstairs while the clothes are churning away in the washer. I love so many scents!

11. Photographs that help you relive the memories from some of the best days of your life. No, they're not as good as being there and standing in front of that wonderful monument. But thank goodness we have them! I have a deep love for photographs.
12. Spending an entire afternoon blowing bubbles, coloring pictures, and dancing around the living room with your toddler.

13. The cozy feeling I get from being wrapped in a soft blanket, sitting in front of the fire. Or, on warm nights, from lighting yummy-scented candles.

14. The giddy feeling you get when you fall in love all over again with a song you'd almost forgotten about. Or that comfortable, homey feeling that comes from listening to music that you've loved for your entire life. OR discovering a new song that you can re-play over and over because it's just that good!

15. Long talks with really good friends.

16. Baking! The delicious smell of fresh-baked cookies coming out of the oven. The unable-to-be-duplicated taste of homemade treats!

17. LOST.

18. Always having something exciting in the future to look forward to.

19. Your favorite, most comfy pair of pajama pants, with soft fuzzy socks.

20. The Winter Olympics!
Seeing them always brings back great memories of going to see a skiing event with my cousin Jessica in Salt Lake City. Go Team USA!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Natalie's 9-Month Portraits!

I just about died over how cute Natalie's 9-month portraits turned out! We did a few Valentine-themed ones, and I absolutely love them all!!! The Picture People is my favorite place to take babies and little kids to get portraits done. Natalie was so happy for these, and crawling around everywhere! Enjoy them!!!

Which one is your favorite? I have such a hard time deciding!