Sunday, April 11, 2010

South America!!!

I can't believe I'm leaving for South America in the morning!!! I am SO excited, as you can imagine! I haven't been on a big international trip since my study abroad in 2004, so it feels crazy and surreal to be going again! Another thing that feels crazy is to be completely unplugged for two and a half weeks. No phones or internet for the most part, and I will be completely gone to most of the world until April 30'th. Wow! And no, my kids are not coming to South America with us. This is just me and Stephen, for our 5 year anniversary trip, and my kids will be having a great time at Grandma and Grandpa's house while we're gone.

Tons of people have been asking me why we're going to South America. Do we know somebody down there? Did Stephen serve a mission there? Neither of us have ever been there before, we know nobody, and we are going there because of all the AMAZING things there are to see down there. It's a whole new continent that I've never explored, and I'm thrilled to be going! So here are a few of the highlights of our trip that I'm looking forward to the most. This certainly doesn't cover everywhere we're going, but I hope it'll give everyone an idea of why we chose South America for this vacation!

Highlight #1- Riding the cable cars up to Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro. Many things I have read claim that Rio de Janeiro is the most beautiful city in the world. Now I'll get to judge that for myself!

Highlight #2- Seeing Corcovado (Christ the Redeemer) statue in Rio.

Highlight #3- Relaxing and people-watching on Ipanema Beach and Copacabana Beach. Two of the most famous beaches in the world can't be too shabby, right?

Highlight #4- Getting to see the incredible Iguassu Falls! These falls are on the border between Brazil and Argentina, with parts of the waterfalls in each country. Ever since I first saw pictures and travel videos of Iguassu Falls, I have been dying to go see them. I can't wait!

Highlight #5- Exploring Macchu Picchu in Peru! This is another site that's been on my MUST-see list for years, and I'm so thrilled to be able to see it in person!

There are lots more exciting places we'll be seeing and stuff we'll be doing, but I'll leave you hanging so that you'll be excited to read my blog and see my pictures when I get back. :) Those are just a few of the highlights I'm just CRAZY excited to go see! So I'll be back in internet-world in May, and until then. . . Adios!

Egg Hunts, Easter Bunnies, and Chocolate

Easter weekend at our house dawned cold and rainy. . . and it stayed that way! We wanted to keep the Easter egg hunt short and sweet so the kids didn't freeze! So my harp student's family was kind enough to hide some eggs in their front yard, and Kirsten had such a great time at her very first Easter egg hunt. Enjoy all the cute pictures!

Natalie wasn't quite so thrilled to be out in the windy, cold weather. I could not get a single smile out of her! Oh well. . . at least Kirsten had fun!

Oooh, yummy. . . plastic eggs!

The moral of the story: Easter egg hunts are always fun, even when it's cold! Okay, maybe not in the rain. Thank goodness it wasn't raining!

The next morning, we were visited by the Easter Bunny, who hid the two cutest baskets EVER on Kirsten's bed.

As soon as Kirsten saw the basket, she made a beeline straight for the CHOCOLATE. She had me open her chocolate bunny and she dug right in. Yes, further proof that she is my child.

I guess the Easter Bunny shouldn't have bothered with putting all that other cute stuff in her basket, since all she really cared about was the candy!

Natalie was having a much more photogenic day. Adorable little bunny!

Kirsten's looking at Natalie like, "You better not even think about stealing my chocolate!"

Natalie thoroughly enjoyed throwing everything out of her basket onto the floor.

Here's my pile of Easter deliciousness. . . a box of See's Nuts and Chews chocolates and a See's bunny! Our Easter Bunny's got good taste!

We spent a wonderful Easter day watching General Conference and enjoying a delicious dinner with some really great friends. Everyone had a great time, and the kids all took turns climbing all over Chance.

I love this shot of my gorgeous Easter flowers!
In the aftermath of Easter, I decided the Easter Bunny created a monster. The next day, Kirsten threw a big fit in the morning, wailing that she "needed chocolate!" And I couldn't get her to stop sneaking candy out of her Easter basket, despite my best efforts to hide it from her. Sigh. At least Easter only comes once a year. This was the first holiday that she really cared this much about candy.
Despite the candy monster, it was a beautiful Easter!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

TONS of Giveaway Winners!!!

Alright, it's time for ALL my recent giveaway winners! There's a whole bunch! What do you all think of the super-giveaways, with a bunch of prizes combined into one giveaway??? I think they're really fun, but I'd love some feedback!

Okay, here we go with the winners. . .

*Winner of the Ella's Kitchen Organic Baby Foods Box is. . . #29!
Rockstar Mommy said...It's organic, AND there are choices! That's impressive in and of itself. I've been making my little man's food but have picked up some of the Gerber organic baby food as well. The problem is the selection is so limited. I love that Ella's Kitchen offers choices you wouldn't expect to find elsewhere.

*Winner of the Lauren Nicole Gifts Personalized Necklace is. . . #43!
Sarah and James Wagner said... I follow Lauren Nicole Blog!!

*Winner of the Mr. Bobbles Blankets' Toddler Pillow/Blanket Set is. . . #77!
Tabathia said... tweeted

*Winner of the Simple Green Naturals Cleaning Kit is. . . #82!
catss99 said... i folow skoy on twitter

*Winners of the 4-packs of Skoy Cloths are. . . #19 and #23!
naomir5034 said... I have already been going the "all-natural" way with cleaning products as I run out of the ones I have on hand - I've been switching to Method and Bio-life products (have 2 so far as well as natural laundry detergent for my cloth diapers/baby clothes)... That's why I love this! It's impossible to keep a toddler out of the bathroom while you're cleaning it - I would prefer the least toxic materials on hand for that reason. I also very sorry for the earth, with all the junk we're putting into it! Anyway I can help is good.
Amanda said... I would love to win! I've got another baby on the way (#2!) and natural cleaners are the way to go! Especially with little kids!

*Winner of the Dandelion Duck Teether from The Soft Landing is. . . #67!
Nola said... Facebook fan

*Winner of the Safe Sippy Cup from KidBasix is. . . #98!
Tylerpants said... Signed up for The Soft Landing's Email Newsletter.

*Winner of the Tooth Tissues is. . . #103!
Katrina said... I follow the soft landing on twitter

*Winner of the Boneca Linda Camera Strap is. . . #54!
trixx said... My favorite is the b&w polka dot camera strap, so stylish!

*Winner of the Momo Baby Gifts Baby Soy Gift Set is. . . #67!
Brooke H said... I would want to win the personalized Gift set from Momo because My sons name is Brodix and lets face it the only way he will get something with his name on it is if it is customized :)

*Winners of the JTW Sew Tag Lovies are. . . #82 and #95!
Amy said... I would love to have the cute tag lovies!
Janel said... These prizes are awesome! I think I'd be most excited about the blanket because it looks SOOOO soft and plush!! I also really have wanted to try out a taggie, so that'd be awesome too and the shirts are so fun and clever! Great prizes!!

*Winner of the Snugfits onesie or tee of choice is. . . #59!
Jenny said. . . oh i love that snug fits not a boy. what a great one liner!

*Winner of the PeaceLoveMom T-shirt is. . . #32!
Michelle M. said... Facebook fan of PeaceLoveMom!

*Winners of the Teething Bling Necklaces from Smart Mom Jewelry are. . . #37, #6, and #14!
Hillcrest Acres said... I'm a follower of your blog.
Carol said... I like the Lapis Lazuli Donut Shaped Pendant
anitanap said... Teething jewelry? DUDE!!! Love it. Smart Mom necklace for sure. Baby F just cut his bottom teeth, and he's chewing on everything!

*Winner of the Purse Organizer from Joey Junior is. . . #60!
IK said... following your blog

*Winner of the Fold-able Purse Hanger from Joey Junior is. . . #51!
Rachelle said... The purse hanger is genius! I could totally use that!

*Winner of the Pink Bowtique Peony Headband is. . . #90!
lil misses' mama said... I love the Ravishing Rasberry Velvet Baby Crochet Hat at pinkbowtique

*Winner of the Tooth Fairy Monster from Heartfelt Handmade is. . . #110!
Sarah C said... Everything is awesome, but I just adore the Tooth Fairy monster! It is so, so cute.

*Winner of the 2 CD's from the Shushybye Dream Band is. . . #54!
The Kooky Queen--Rachel said... Super fun! I follow!

*Winner of the set of 3 PakNaks is. . . #16!
erin, maker of chimes said... PakNak: Robert the Robot would be a hit at our house

*Winner of the Infant Sleeping Sack from Aden + Anais is. . . #14!
Wonder Woman said... Following your blog

*Winners of the Rockabye Baby CD's are. . . #56 and #97!
brandon and jakell said... would love to try the rockabye baby renduitions of U2
Jansen Family said... I absolutely LOVE the Rockaby Baby CDs--any of them would be awesome. Picking one is difficult, but I think the first one I would get would be their Beach Boys CD.

*Winner of the Aromatic Health product of choice is. . . #61!
Rozemary said... I follow your blog!

*Winner of the Scrabble Tile Necklace from HomeStudio Etsy is. . . #47!
Susan Margaret said... I'd really like the Scrabble Tile Pendant because I think it is beautiful and I've wanted one of these for awhile!

*Winner of the pack of Softlips lip balms is. . . #94!
Grace Wong said... blog follower

*Winner of the Isabelt is. . . #103!
Kate said... I'm a fan of your blog on Facebook.

*Winner of the SockGram is. . . #17!
Carol said... I'd pick the cow ones with the toes being the utters! To funny! These would be great for my sis in laws birthday! She has worn a cow costume a few times for Halloween!

*Winner of the Handmade Felt Doughnuts Set by Emmy Cake is. . . #41!
Chris and Carrie Elmore said... I follow you on facebook, too!

Whew. . . that was a TON of winners! That seriously just took me three HOURS to look up all the winners, punch the numbers into, count all the comments to find the right ones, email everybody, and get it posted on here. I'm so tired of winners right now! :P

There was a good reason I had so many giveaways and winners at once though. I'm leaving on a big vacation and won't be back until May! So if you're looking for new giveaways and reviews and don't see any for awhile, that's because I'm taking a break for a whole month. I'll be back with lots of great stuff, I promise! Just not for awhile! I'll be completely unplugged until May!

Thank you so much to everyone who entered as well as all the wonderful companies and designers. I am so glad to have so many happy winners!!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

From Our World To Yours. . .

So it's springtime here in Seattle! Now that I have seen three Seattle springs I've pretty much figured out that springtime here is:
a) Unpredictable
b) Beautiful, of course!
c) Consisting of many days of gorgeous sunshine but cold temperatures, followed by days of sunshine and warm weather, followed by days of cold, cloudy rain like today. Or days where all three of those conditions are combined! Which makes it tough to plan outdoor stuff, since you never know how the weather will change from one hour to the next!

But we do take advantage of the sunshine that we get and try to head to the parks whenever we can. Even if we have to bundle up in coats and hats, at least we're enjoying the beautiful fresh air!

Kirsten is a lot like me. . . she does not like to be shut up inside the house for too long. Every day she asks me, "Can we go swim? Can we go to the snow and go on sleds? Can we go to the park on the slides?" If we can't go to any of those places she just says, "Go to. . . a place?" She doesn't even care where it is, she just wants to go somewhere!

Natalie's not quite sure how she feels about the swings yet. She only stayed in it for a couple minutes.

At 11 months old, Natalie is still teething, still cranky because of teething, still impatient when she has to wait for anything, and still loves to be the center of everyone's attention. She loves her car seat and is a total angel in the car. And she's outgrowing her infant car seat. We've got to get her a new one very soon!

Natalie discovered her very first pine cone. She was pretty thrilled with it.

I love the parks around here that are right next to lakes! Growing up in San Diego, I never went to any parks with lakes. They are beautiful!

Kirsten loves to dig in the dirt and play in the sand. . .

But that girl just doesn't like her hands to get dirty!

We discovered a fun place to play at an indoor gym's open play time. Kirsten especially loved the giant trampolines and the foam pit.

See how Natalie's hair is getting less crazy? It's starting to sit down on its own now. Sometimes I miss the poufy, fluffy hair. Although it can still look a little crazy from time to time!

We pretty much FROZE at the park that day. The sun was very deceptive, because the wind was seriously chilly. But we had a fun time there with friends!

I love Natalie's little bear hat!
Natalie has finally started wanting to eat table food off our plates. She loves to munch on crackers, bread, french fries, and she just wants to try everything!

Sometimes I think if I have to watch "Elmo's Pottytime" one more time I'm gonna go nuts! Kirsten loves it and asks to watch it two or three times in a row. At least she's learning??? I hope??? (She better be!!!) Here she is on the potty chair, with her sucker and her lemonade, and she's sometimes successful. I just wish she would tell me when she has to go! We haven't reached that point yet.

The little sugar fiend was thrilled to help Daddy blow out his birthday candles, and then dig into his cake.

The feather boa was most definitely Stephen's favorite birthday present. ;)

Kirsten thinks the ball pit at a local play area is pretty close to heaven on earth. Natalie enjoys it too. And I just try not to think about all the bacteria and dirt clinging to those balls, since there's just no way to stop Natalie from putting them all into her mouth. Nasty, I know!

I never dreamed that two brown-eyed parents would have two blue-eyed kids! Our next one has to have brown eyes, right? I just love Kirsten's sky blue eyes. They are SO pretty! She's a lucky girl!

I love the blurred backgrounds that I get when I use my 50mm lens on cloudy days outdoors. Mmmm, love that lens. And love this girl, of course!

Kirsten would make a great youngest child. She adores older kids, and this 6 year-old is one of her favorites.

Despite what I said about March being the second-worst month of the year, it was a really nice month! There are days when both kids are crying or screaming at the same time and I wonder what on earth I was thinking and where my escape hatch is. But for the most part, having two kids is so much more fun than having one. There is rarely a dull moment! And for someone like me who craves excitement, I am happy to be living that way.