Thursday, December 30, 2010

Two Months Old!

Wowsers, Brooke is two months old now! It really has flown by quickly, and it's nice to know that it will only get easier from here (we hope). :)

Newborns are just the snuggliest things in the whole world! Sometimes it's so blissful, rocking her and holding her, thinking about how it's really not very long that you can hold your child with one arm, close to your heart, and I should try to enjoy every minute. Other times it's frustrating and you just want her to settle down, stop crying, and stop wanting to be held so darn much! Such is the life right now. I'm looking forward to her sleep schedule becoming more consistent. Some nights she does really well, sleeping for a 5 or 6 hour stretch. Other nights she wakes up every 3 hours or even more often than that. The hard part is not knowing which nights will be the good nights and which will be the bad ones.

Here she is at six weeks old (in fact, all of the pictures in this post are taken at around six weeks old):
*At her two month doctor's check-up (actually at six weeks, before we left for Christmas vacation), we confirmed that Brooke is growing and healthy! She weighs 10 pounds exactly. She's right at the 50'th percentile for weight and the 50'th percentile for height. Perfection! After having two girls who have always been in the 90 percents for height, it's nice to have an average-sized baby. Here's hoping she won't grow out of her clothes as quickly as the other girls have!

*She's been smiling at us, and it's of course ADORABLE. One of these days I'll capture it on film and post it here. Love those new little smiles! She occasionally laughs too, and I love it!

* She's kind of a fussy little thing. She wants to be held most of the time, and it's difficult to settle her down. She seems to get gas pains a lot, and cries frequently. We wrap her up in the swaddle wraps with velcro at night, which does help to soothe her, and we sleep with a lot of white noise going in the room. I guess this is tough work, getting used to life in this world.

*She likes her baths now! As long as we keep the room warm enough, she has a fun time kicking her legs in the water. I love to hold her and cuddle her right after her bath, when she smells so clean and fresh.
Life with a newborn. . . it's pretty crazy! Especially life with a newborn and two other young kids. It seems like there's just never a free moment. We even have to eat in shifts! One of us holds the baby while the other eats, and then we swap. Do other parents do this too???

I took some pretty cute pictures of Brooke in her little Santa hat. I've never had such a little baby at Christmastime before!

(Does anybody else remember Rodney the Hallmark reindeer from their childhood? I was so thrilled when they brought him back a couple years ago and made him even cuter!)

Santa Baby!!!

Natalie had to get in on the photography action. She's such a sweet big sister!

Fussiness and all, we love little Brooke!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fun Finds. . . San Diego Photographer!

How incredibly awesome are these pictures of my girls that were taken in August? I wanted photos of them that were unique, fun, and in a natural, outdoor location. And Nasfell Photography really delivered!

It was a really fun photo shoot! I brought the balloons and the photographers supplied the awesome carousel horse. It was a perfect prop for these pictures and Kirsten and Natalie both loved it! Natalie was especially fascinated by the balloons and bubbles.

I love the images they captured of Kirsten. So many sweet ones of my 3 year-old cutie! Kirsten gets really shy in a photography studio, so it was great to let her be outdoors where she felt comfortable enough to let her personality shine.

Corey and Kim Nasfell are a husband and wife photography team, and they'll travel to any location in the San Diego area! Kim was really great with the kids and got some cute smiles out of them. It's really hard to find professional photographers who will give you a CD of digital files with all your images, and they include that in all their photo shoots! I got a high-resolution disk that included all the images from the shoot, and 27 of them were edited! (Seriously, my wedding photographer didn't even edit ours for us. It's pretty much impossible to find a photographer who will do it unless they charge a WHOLE lot of money).

They have very reasonable, competitive pricing and they will beat any professional photographer in the San Diego area! Pricing varies depending on the number of people, length and location for the shoot. They have a studio location available at their home if you want indoor shots, and they will shoot individuals, families, and large groups as well! Whatever you want!

I am SO happy with the way this photo shoot turned out, and I'm sure you'll love them too! Next time you need family pictures or portraits of your kids, check out Nasfell Photography for great prices and beautiful images!

Fabulous Finds: Miraclebody Jeans Review!

I really hate my postpartum, haven't-lost-the-baby-weight-yet body. REALLY hate it. It's horrible to wear maternity pants when you're not pregnant anymore and still be 20 pounds over your regular weight. None of my clothes fit me and I just feel so flabby! So it's a good thing I was sent a pair of Miraclebody boot cut jeans to review. These babies are a lifesaver! They don't make me hate my postpartum body any less, but at least they make it look better! And I feel better too, because I can wear regular jeans instead of maternity ones. They're my new favorite jeans! These Miraclebody jeans have it all. . . they're comfy, they look awesome, and they make me look thinner!

Why you'll love the Miraclebody Jeans:

*Postpartum or not, everyone wants to look 10 pounds thinner. And these jeans totally do it! They have a unique tummy control panel and really help to hold everything in. They're also made with a blend of cotton and spandex control fabrics that helps to tighten thighs and lift the rear. They flatter every figure!
*They were chosen as one of Oprah's favorite things of 2010. And I understand why! They really are amazing!
*LOVE the styles. The super dark blue wash, boot cut style, and silver studs on the back pockets all definitely contribute to making these my new favorite pair.
*They definitely don't have the dreaded "mom jeans" look. The contoured waist band sits about 1 inch below the belly button. Also, the back is slightly higher to avoid gaping
*Jeans have GOT to be comfortable, and these really are! I wear them all the time now!

You've GOT to try them out! I'd love to try some of their other products, like their tops and swimsuits. What are your favorite "go-to" jeans?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Lights!!!

December has FLOWN by! It seems like Thanksgiving was just last week. I blinked and now it's only a few days until Christmas. I don't know how it happened! Well. . . the Christmas season may be going by way too fast, but at least we got to see some absolutely beautiful Christmas lights this month!

Seeing new things and going to new places has always ranked high on my list of priorities, so I took my husband and kids to a couple of Seattle-area wonderlands of lights that I had heard about but never been to.
The Lights of Christmas at Warm Beach Camp in Stanwood (about an hour north of where I live) definitely takes the prize for the best variety of family-friendly Christmas activities. Natalie was pretty fascinated by this bear, and kept saying "Rawr!" at him!

The only downside was the rain. If we look cold, it's because we were. Cold and pretty wet. At least we kept the baby dry! And kept Natalie semi-dry.
Someone really should invent a giant umbrella that hooks onto a stroller handle and encases both adults and kids, keeping everyone dry. Wouldn't that be awesome?

This place had some amazing lights! It was so fun to walk around and see everything, rain and all!

Natalie loved the lights!
(You may have noticed Kirsten is missing from all these pictures. She would have loved these places, but she was already in San Diego with my parents, getting some much-needed individual attention while she waited for us to come down there for Christmas).

Yes, it's true. . . they have a talking Christmas tree.
We skipped the Polar Express train ride because of a huge line, but we got to sit in this one!

Natalie got her first pony ride! I thought she might be scared, but she LOVED it and laughed the whole time. It was the highlight of the night for her!

I highly recommend this place for families! It was completely worth the drive, and there are so many fun things for kids of all ages to do there!

We also went to one of the free nights at the Garden d'Lights in Bellevue. They transform the whole botanical gardens into a gorgeous and intricate "light garden" of flowers and animals. I was really impressed by all the detail!

I loved going to see the lights at Temple Square when I lived in Utah, but I can honestly say that I have never seen a place that rivals the Pacific Northwest for wonderful Christmas activities. Every year I seem to add more to my list of places I want to go every December! Go check these places out if you live in the Seattle area, or just come visit us next year and come with us!

I'd love to hear about some of the fun Christmas activities in your area, too!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas, Dear Winners!

Just in time for Christmas, here are my newest winners!

Winner of the Simple Block Sayings handmade blocks set is. . . #31!
Bethany said... I like the customized blocks! I like the 3 block family set!

Winner of the $30 gift certificate from the Blue Room Gems Etsy shop is. . . #83!
Chris and Carrie Elmore said... I heart Petit Oseau on Etsy

Winner of the $25 gift certificate from the Petit Oiseau Etsy shop is. . . #131!
lin said... hearted blueroomgems on etsy

Winner of the jewelry piece of choice from Sykin's One Stop Twilight shop is. . . #91!
TheCuttingEtch said... Follower!

Winner of the $20 gift certificate to Sweet Bitty Bows is. . . #149!
bukaeyes said... I like Veater Family Adventures on Facebook

Winner of the design of choice from the Peace Love Kids Etsy shop is. . . #20!
Sarita said... "Like" Sweet Bitty Bows on Facebook

Winner of the $25 gift certificate to the Emmifaye Etsy shop is. . . #74!
DK said... I like the Fall 2010 paisley peasant set from emmifaye

Congratulations to all the winners and thank you to everyone who entered them and to the talented designers who provided these gift certificates and designs!


For the first year ever. . . Kirsten loves Santa! She's no longer afraid of him like she was every other year, and she was SO excited to wave at him and get right up close to him!

She was so cute with Santa. . . when he asked her what she wanted for Christmas she smiled and said, "Presents."
I think that's manageable. ;)

We saw this Santa really early (the weekend before Thanksgiving!) at a tree lighting ceremony we went to. It was a COLD night, and we bundled up the 3 week-old Brooke in her little bear outfit. She was the coziest one!

We were able to get some fun, Christmasy family pictures!

Everyone actually looking at the camera at the same time??? A miracle! (I guess Brooke doesn't really count).

Natalie had her very first candy cane, and loved it. She ate the ENTIRE thing!

The big, beautiful tree!

This year Natalie was the one who was scared of Santa and cried when we tried to put her on his lap. Last year, Natalie was in the Santa picture by herself because Kirsten was too scared! I wonder which kid (or kids) will be scared of him next year?

Happy Holiday Treats Giveaway!

I know I'm not the only one who feels like December has flown by. Seriously, where did the Christmas season go? I can't believe there's only a few days left until Christmas! If you're like me and have far fewer hours left to get all your Christmas shopping and baking done than you'd like, I know you'll appreciate all the baking tips and shortcuts found on the Bake Sweet Memories website.

The website has a whole bunch of yummy-looking recipes that can be made using Betty Crocker cooking mixes. You'd never guess these Fiesta Fudge Cookies weren't made completely from scratch! And they're so pretty! Find the recipe here.

Another thing I love about the Bake Sweet Memories website is the instant-win Sweet Memories game. You just enter your email address and some basic info, and you can win coupons for totally FREE Betty Crocker products that you can load onto your Safeway card. I only played the game once, and I won a coupon for free brownie mix! Make sure you have your Safeway card nearby when you play, since you need to enter your card number to load the coupon onto it.

So head on over and bake something sweet! And of course enter to win my SWEET Happy Holiday Treats gift pack, which includes all these goodies:

*A $25 Safeway gift card (also valid at Vons, Dominick's, Tom Thumb, Randalls, and Genuardi's)

*A package of Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie mix


*A GladWare sample pack!!!!!

Here's how to enter to win this Happy Holiday Treats gift package:
*Become a follower of my blog! Or let me know if you already follow me. Just leave me a comment and tell me you're a follower! (Click 'Google Friends Connect' on my sidebar!)

Get extra entries (up to 9 this time!!!) when you:
1. Like me on Facebook! Just click the button on my sidebar to become a Facebook fan!
2. Check out the Bake Sweet Memories website, and share which Betty Crocker mixes and GladWare products you're most excited to use.
3. Tell me which recipe looks the most delicious from the Bake Sweet Memories website.
4. Go here to play the Sweet Memories game, and tell me which product you won!
5. Talk about this giveaway on your Facebook status and link to this post!
6. Tweet about this giveaway and link to me.
7. Mention this giveaway on your blog and link to me!
8. Grab my button off my sidebar and display it somewhere on your blog.
9. Leave a new comment on any of my other recent blog posts (doesn't matter which one, I just love to read your comments!), and let me know you did.

*Please leave 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 January 5'th. Good luck!!!

My Disclaimer: The prize pack, gift card, and information were provided by Safeway, Betty Crocker, and Glad through MyBlogSpark.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

An Arctic Blast, a Happy Thanksgiving, and a Fresh-Cut Noble

*Our Thanksgiving week was cold. And I do mean COLD. We got record lows, highs in the 30's, and gorgeous, glittering snow!!! It was our "arctic blast" here in Seattle. I have never had a white Christmas before, but we sure did get a white Thanksgiving!
*It's so funny when it snows in Seattle because it's like the whole world shuts down. As long as there's snow on the ground, everything pretty much comes to a standstill. Schools close, people don't go to work (unless you're my husband, who's a seasoned Utah snow driver), everyone stays home. It's crazy!

*My parents and brother flew in for the week, so we all froze together. Kirsten and Natalie had such a blast sledding in our cul de sac with Grandpa! Who says you need to put a sled on a hill to have fun? You just need someone to pull you around!!!

*Kirsten painted the snow with the neighbors one night!

*We had a delicious Thanksgiving! You might wonder how I cooked Thanksgiving dinner with a newborn to take care of. . . well, I didn't. My mom did pretty much all of it herself. We had all my favorites: the turkey, the mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, orange rolls, apple pie. I think if we just had orange rolls I would have been happy. All that other stuff was just a bonus. :)

*We took Kirsten to the movies with us on Thanksgiving day and saw Tangled. I loved it! I thought it was the best animated movie Disney has made in a really long time.

*I went Black Friday shopping. Some may call me crazy, but I love the excitement and all the great deals! I went to Target at 7 am, followed by the mall for many hours, and ending with Best Buy. I shopped for almost 8 straight hours! Exhausting, but fun!

*We went to a U-cut Christmas tree farm, which I had never done before! We always buy a real tree, but it was the first time I made Stephen cut one down for us himself. :) After brunch at Snoqualmie Falls lodge (yummy, but. . . never again with three young kids), we bundled back up and headed out in search of the perfect Noble fir.

*Brooke was outside with us for about 2 minutes. She spent the rest of the time in the car with my mom while the rest of us hunted down the tree.

*Finally found it!
Stephen cut it down all by himself.

*Natalie's new favorite thing to say: "Ho, ho, ho!" It's adorable!

*It took an entire DAY to take down all the fall and Halloween decorations and put up the Christmas decorations. This is not including decorating the tree and I even had my mom's help! Whew, what a big job!

*Kirsten lost interest quickly, but she did have fun putting a few ornaments on the tree. Mostly she loves the lights!

*We spent one evening in downtown Seattle, riding the Christmas carousel!
The girls LOVED it!

Is it any wonder that I LOVE this time of year!!!