Friday, June 28, 2013

A Little Craft for a Little Boy

     Sam got me a sewing machine for my birthday last year, and I haven't used it a ton yet... But last week I just got an itch to sew! I looked around to see what fabric I had: some denim scraps from making shorts for myself a little while ago, and some flannel from a baby blanket I made for a friend. So my thought process went something like this: 

     Ok, great. A bunch of small scraps of fabric. What can I make with that? Oh! I know! Beanbags! They are going to be so cute, just like the ones my aunt made for my sister with each letter of her name on a beanbag! (Never mind that her name is "Eve," not "Nathaniel." That's a lot of beanbags, people.)

     It was another one of those situations where I had a grand idea in my head, but the finished product wasn't quite as amazing as I had hoped. Let's just say there is a reason the pictures are taken from far away! :)

     First I cut out letters, then zig-zag stitched the letters onto the denim, and stitched three of the sides together and left the top open. I decided that these beanbags needed to be water proof (or at least slobber proof) and made beanbags out of plastic sandwich bags that were just a little smaller than the fabric beanbags. Does that make sense? I should have taken pictures. Hmmm... Too late now. :)

    Anyway, I put those plastic beanbags inside the fabric ones, and stitched the tops closed. And now we have 10 beanbags floating around our house, usually seen being thrown through the air or sucked on.

I'm telling you, there really is a reason the picture is taken from far away. It's not an easy task to cut out and sew all those letters. Especially the "A's". Whew. But they're done! Yay!

A close-up of the front.

And the back. I love that animal fabric, I think it's adorable.

     When these were finished I set them out on the ground for Ellie and Nathan to play with, and Ellie started telling me what letters were on them. She's a smart little cookie! I'm glad they like them. I'm also glad that I could use what I had around the house to indulge my need to sew!

     And of course I'm going to have to include a few pictures of Mr. Man. Because he's cute, that's why.

This picture cracks me up. We were heading out the door, and I had to run and grab something out of our bedroom. I came back, and this is what I saw. Apparently little brothers make great canvases.

 Swimming in the backyard yesterday. He LOVED the water. I thought it would be too cold for him, but no way! He probably would have stayed in all day if I would have let him!

Speaking of Nathan, I can hear him waking up. Adios!


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Life Through Ellie's Eyes

         So Ellie likes to take pictures with my phone. Most of them are of herself, of course. And I think they are quite funny:

Just lounging on mom and dad's bed.

Getting gas.

Bed head!


More legs, but with shoes this time.

          She also takes pictures of Nathan occasionally. 

She went in to see him in the morning, threw her stuffed dog into his play pen, and immediately came running back to grab my phone so she could take a picture.

     And, of course, she takes pictures of me. But they are not blog appropriate. You know - me nursing the baby, using the bathroom - there are no locks on the doors in this house, so there is no privacy around here. Her most recent picture was of me getting dressed. Awesome. I deleted that one, pronto.

     You never know when the camera may be around!


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

We Went on a Date - Finally!

     Friday morning was a tough one around here. When the kids went down for a nap I laid down for a nap too. I was exhausted. And I was still pouting. I know, poor me, right? Anyway, this was the conversation I woke up to:

My mood totally changed after the "we are going on a date" part. I can't even tell you how excited I was. It had been way too long since the last time we went out. We ended up going out to dinner at Texas Roadhouse in Idaho Falls. (You know it's a fancy date when you trek all the way from Rexburg to Idaho Falls...)

Then we changed into comfortable clothes and went to the drive-in movies to see Man of Steel. Eh, not that impressed with the movie, but it was fun to sit in the back of the car and watch the movie huddled up in blankets with no interruption.

This was our view. Yep, Sam parked in the perfect spot. I think the line from Finding Nemo fits here perfectly: Marlin: "Did your man deliver, or did he deliver?" Coral: "He delivered!" I think we've watched one too many Disney/Pixar movies around here.

     The movie didn't get over until 12:30, and it was fun to be out late like that. We haven't done that in awhile. We had lots of fun being together, and we've already decided what we are going to do for our next date night.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Visiting Daddy at Work

     The weather was perfect on Thursday so Ellie, Nathan and I walked to campus to visit Sam at work. Ellie couldn't have enjoyed herself any more.

She felt like such a big girl in Dad's chair! Not to mention he let her type on the computer...

...and color on the white board. Best dad ever.

I'm not winning any "cool parent" awards over here, though. Yes, I did that to my daughter with my wedding ring. Poor little girl!

At least she still loves me.


Friday, June 21, 2013

A Kind Word

     This morning I woke up exhausted, grumpy, and kinda tired of being the mom. I loaded the kids in the car and dropped Sam off at work, then headed to the store to pick up a few things. When we got there Nathan was screaming. I put Nathan is his front carrier, grabbed my purse and list, and sat  Ellie in the cart. Then she started screaming because I accidentally bonked her knee on the cart. We went through the store and picked up the things we needed. I even gave in to Ellie's requests to carry a pool noodle around the store because I didn't feel like dealing with her response if I were to tell her no. When we got to the checkout line, I was so happy we were almost done. The cashier rang everything up, and I went to pay - my debit card wasn't in my wallet. I apologized, and ran out to the car with my 2 crying kids in tow, and rummaged through the car, only to realize that the check book had been in my purse the entire time. Awesome. So I ran back into the store and stood in line. Ellie begged and begged and begged and begged for candy, then started screaming when I told her she couldn't have it. We finally got back up to the cashier where I loaded our stuff into the cart, (both kids screaming by now) and since I was paying with a check, it took a long time (I had to fill it out, she had to see my I.D., she needed a phone number, I had to sign the keypad, etc.). And since it was early, that was the only register open in the whole store. So people started piling up behind me, and they were getting grumpy because I was taking so long and making so much noise. We were finally done. We walked out to the car, I stuck the crying kids in their carseats, and was putting the groceries away when a lady got out of the car next to me and said, "You do great with your two little ones." I said thank you, and she walked away, and that was that.

     This quote by Spencer W. Kimball popped into my mind: “God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs." It sounds silly, but today I just needed to hear that I was doing ok at being the mom. I'm not perfect, and my kids scream, and I get grumpy, but I'm doing alright. And my kids still love me. But most importantly, my Heavenly Father loves me. And He shows me every day.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Visit from Grandma

     My mother-in-law and sister-in-law and her baby came into town last weekend, and it was so fun to see them! Be warned - there are lots of pictures! I guess that is what happens when your brother-in-law is pretty much a professional photographer. It's nice to have him around, because then all the pictures of our family won't look like the one I took (I'll let you guess which one I took. Hint - it's the first one.)

All of the cousins were able to get together to celebrate a birthday. 

Then we made a trip to the zoo! I may be a little spoiled, because when I think "zoo" I think of the Phoenix Zoo. And the Tautphaus Park Zoo is a nice little zoo, but it definitely isn't comparable to the Phoenix Zoo. Like I said, spoiled. The kids loved it, though! And I love walking around outside when the weather is so nice.

Just standing around in the shade. It was a perfect day.

Looking at the tiger.

With Grandma. I feel like Ellie is intruding on a Kodak moment in this one... Oh well.

Sam must have said something he shouldn't have...

That boy loves his daddy.

Mom, look! Goats!

Hmmm, what's in here?

She LOVED the monkeys. They scared her a little bit when they got too close, but this picture basically captures her captivation with them.


Handsome boy. He loved the zoo just as much as any of the older kids.

I just love summer in Idaho!


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tucker Family Reunion and a Mommy Reality Check

     First, a little story.

     This morning started out a little... interesting. I was in the middle of feeding Nathan when Ellie told me she needed to go potty. I sent her in to go by herself (which, by the way, she is totally capable of doing... if there's no "number 2" involved). After a few minutes, she comes running back to me with poop everywhere on her body. I don't know if she was trying to clean herself up or what, but dang. Before I could put Nathan on the floor to go help her out, she had discovered the poop on her hands and decided to wipe it on the wall as well as my pants. Wonderful. That little situation was rectified pretty quickly (get it? rectified? Never mind. I'm tired, ok?). Gotta love baths and baby wipes.

     Anyway... Moving on.

     It's summer, and what does that mean? Family reunions! For the Tucker family reunion this year we went to a place about an hour outside of Twin Falls called Magic Hot Springs. There was a hot pool, a river, a lodge that we slept in, and lots of fun! (Though we were sad my mom and dad and siblings couldn't make it) I didn't take nearly enough pictures, but here are the ones I took:

So proud of his fish.

Just taking care of Nathan.

Me and my tired boy. Please excuse the camping-ness.

Shoulder ride!

And, of course Ellie had to ride the horse with Grandpa! She wasn't scared at all. She just loved being big and sitting on the horse all by herself!

     We had a ton of fun, but there was also a little "incident." Sam, Ellie, Nathan, and I all slept in the same room, and we had Ellie sleep on the twin bed that was in there. Sam backed the open side of the bed up against the wall, and left the side with a rail open to the rest of the room - just like her bed at home. In the middle of the night, however, she was half asleep and decided to try and climb out of her bed. But she didn't go over the railing, she climbed over the head of the bed - which was backed up to a desk and a bookshelf. She fell between the desk and the bookshelf, crashed to the floor, and screamed, of course. Sam jumped out of bed to get her and smacked his foot against the bed, which made his toenail partially fall off. Ellie's screams woke up Nathan, who added to the screaming because he was surprised. Luckily nobody was terribly hurt, but everyone in the lodge was awake... Oops. Luckily they are all nice, and love my kids anyway.

     I'm definitely loving all the fun things summer is bringing our way.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

It's Official...

We are now registered foster/adoptive parents in the state of Idaho.

     Until now, we haven't told very many people - just family. But since you may see us packing around another child sometime in the future, we figure it needs to be public.

     First, what does this mean? Well, it means that if there is a child between 0-2 years old that needs a foster home in our area, the Department of Health and Welfare will call us and ask if we are willing and able to take that child into our home for an undetermined amount of time. It could be anywhere from a few hours to a few years. During this time the child's case worker will try to contact family members for the child, to see if there is "next of kin" with which to place them, since with family is generally the best place for a child. (Generally. Not always.) If not, we get to care for the child while case workers work with his or her parents. If, after given an ample number of chances, the parents refuse or are unable to take the necessary steps in order to make their home safe for their child, the child will be eligible for adoption, and we will be asked if we would like to make the child a permanent member of our family.

     Why in the world are you doing this? Let me just say it's kind of an interesting story. Here is the watered down version: In October of last year Sam and I were listening to General Conference, and we were struck by this talk by Elder Dallin H. Oaks. We each, individually, felt like we needed to do something to help. After quite a bit of discussion, and even more prayer, we decided that what the Lord would have us do for now is become foster parents. So we went through a 27-hour-long training course, got fingerprinted, filled out tons of paperwork, and here we are - licensed foster parents.  

     Are you thinking of the repercussions for your own children? Of course our first concern, as parents, is about our own children. We were able to make a decision on the ages of children we will care for, and we decided on 0-2 years old (for now). We are also able to refuse any placements that we feel could potentially be harmful to our kids. 

     Do you understand all the implications that come with being a foster parent? In theory, yes. My parents were foster parents for a little while while I lived at home, and I observed much of what it takes. Like I mentioned before, we also attended a training course that informed us of many of the possible difficulties of being a foster parent. It is emotionally, mentally, and physically draining. I'm sure, even with all the things we have learned so far, that there will still be surprises. But we are ready.

     Are you doing it for the money? Absolutely not. We don't want anyone to be confused as to our motives for doing this. To be honest, when we signed up I didn't even know families were given a small compensation during the time a foster child is staying in their home. And by small compensation, I mean small. The money given is simply to help feed, clothe, and diaper the child. 

     Are you crazy? Maybe! We have wondered the same thing! But we just keep reminding ourselves that when the Lord tells you to do something, you do it. He knows what is best for us, as well as His other children, and we would be wise to listen to Him.

     It could be a long time before we get a call, but we look forward to being able to help any of God's children who are in need of a safe place, even if it is only for a little while.

     If you have any other questions, feel free to ask!


Monday, June 17, 2013

Sam Had a Birthday!

     My handsome husband had a birthday yesterday. 27. He's an old man now.

     We celebrated with a none-too-healthy breakfast of donut holes and muffins. (it included strawberries and bananas, so that kinda makes it healthy, right?) I have to say, Ellie was not disappointed with the food. When she likes something she will put it in her mouth, close her eyes, tilt her head back, and say "mmmmmm...." It's pretty hilarious. Needless to say, she did that a few times yesterday.

     Then Sam opened presents, and we got ready for church at 1:30. Oh, and we all took a nap somewhere in there, too. That was nice.

     When we got home from church, it was dinner and cake time! Well, it's not really cake... But it's delicious. And easy. And beautiful. And it turned out much better than my last cake. Here is the recipe:

Cream Cheese Pie

1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
1 graham cracker pie crust

Combine cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk in a large bowl. Beat until smooth. Add lemon juice and vanilla. Pour into graham cracker pie crust. Top with cherry or blueberry pie filling.

     I'm telling you, it's delicious.

     I'm so glad he was born 27 years ago! Happy Birthday, Sam!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Awesome, Right?

Sometimes Ellie bites the end off of bright blue markers... Not cool.

My motto applies here: "at least she's cute!"

Thursday, June 6, 2013

I Kinda Like My Family

     My family is pretty awesome. We haven't been up to much out of the ordinary lately, but sometimes ordinary is great. 

We went to the Nature Park to feed the ducks. Ellie was in heaven! The entire way to the park she clutched her two pieces of bread and said "Ducks huuuuuun-gryyyy!" She loves to throw the bread to the ducks, but she doesn't like them getting too close to her. I can't say I blame her for that one!

Just looking cute after getting his belly filled. (Don't mind the pink bumbo...) We officially have two food-loving kids in our family. Recently Nathan has eaten a whole jar of baby food mixed into rice cereal each morning and night. He's definitely chunking right up because of it.

Ellie and Nathan both LOVE their dad. When he comes home from work they both just light up. Ellie asks all day to either talk to dad on the phone, or when he's going to be home. He's clearly the interesting parent. :)

This little man has learned a new trick! Over the past few days he has mastered the army crawl, and he's FAST! We had to put the baby gate up, which his sister is not so happy about since she can't go up and down the stairs freely. But just today he started getting up on his hands and knees and rocking back and forth... I think full on crawling is in our near future! (I took a video, but it wouldn't let me upload it. Lame. Cause he's stinking cute.)

Ellie with a drumstick a few weeks ago. She was loving it. (In case you couldn't tell by how much she has on her face) She even ate the cone, which she doesn't normally do with ice cream. It probably had something to do with the fact that it's lined with chocolate... :)

We've been really struggling with Ellie lately with the whole "battle of wills" thing. She is a two-year-old after all... But I made this little picture chore chart for her because I noticed she does well with consistent schedules, and it has worked wonders! She knows what she has to do in the morning before she can play, and what she has to do before bed. She loves to point to each picture and tell me what they mean, hence the bent corners and finger prints. I'm not perfectly consistent with her, and I'm not saying she never throws a fit (because the would be FAR from the truth), but things are getting better.

     Not a terribly interesting post today, but I think it's good for me to keep these records, even just for myself! So there we go, another post into blog land!
Images by Freepik