Monday, September 29, 2008

Cold Decembers Bring...

...September birthdays. Seriously. I have seen more birthdays being celebrated in the blogosphere this month than any other. Maybe I'm more aware because it's the month I celebrate my birthday, but I really think it's true. Is it cold winters? or Christmas romance? or what?

Grady Face turned the big ONE on Saturday. Hip, Hip, Hooray! With the exception of a big birthday breakfast on Saturday, we did the real celebrating on Sunday. It was just a busy Saturday and we hadn't even had a chance to shop for presents yet and I had somewhere to be on Saturday night. So Sunday it was. We would have had the breakfast on Sunday, too but with church at 9:00am and it being fast Sunday...we had our breakfast on Saturday.

I made orange rolls and sausage (a first birthday favorite at our house) and all he wanted was my fruit smoothie and un-buttered whole wheat toast. (Healthy Competition) So I had to salivate over those orange rolls that I didn't get to eat for nothing. He would have been fine with my breakfast. And he wouldn't let anyone touch his smoothie. He drank two of them. I've never thought to give him one before and he loved it.

I dressed him in my favorite church outfit...since it was his birthday afterall.

We have a first birthday tradition of decorating the birthday crazy's high chair and making homemade party hats. Grady was no exception. We had a caterpillar party.

Complete with a creepy caterpillar cake and all. Though it's green frosting and bug eyes may look less than appetizing, it was the best birthday cake I've ever eaten. Spencer is a great baker. That nasty bug has been staring me in the eyes all day today and it's driving me crazy trying to resist it.

Gray was his usual happy self all day.

And his new trick is pretending to sneeze (as seen in the picture above). He cracks himself up.

He had a couple presents to open...literally just a couple. All his presents (besides a check from Grandma Smith) are seen here. I'm not a huge fan of toys and by the time crazy #3 rolls around, you really don't need anything. Less toys keeps a kid happier. One year olds are easily overstimulated by too many presents.

This is a favorite picture. The crazies always pick their own clothes on Sunday afternoon. So for Parker, that consists of a pair of batman boxer brief's (not pictured) and for Reid it's some mix-matched winter jammies. Whatever. I love that I captured a moment on camera where all three of them are focused on one thing and they're all getting along. A very rare and treasured moment.

They presents were a hit (literally). He loves peek-a-boo and that's him saying "boo" as he's throwing the sleeping bag off his head.

Despite the face, we enjoyed our dinner.

...then on to party hats.

The caterpillar cake scared him a bit, too.

And like most one year olds, he know how to enjoy a cake.

We rounded off the night with a Smith family pajama party. Take note of the chubs on my one year old.

I'm Grayden Smith
and I approve this message.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Aw-ful or Awe-some?

As much as I don't like my dog, he really is well behaved. But as soon as company steps foot in our house, he goes berserk. He starts doing all kind of naughty things he doesn't normally do just to get a little attention out of our guests. We have friends visiting this week.

My way-into-superhero-crazies collect these little three inch superhero action figures. And since we have guests, Chief decided to turn War Machine into lunch. He feasted on his foot before we got it out of his mouth.

Parker was devastated. He pleaded for a new one and was near tears. Reid on the other hand could not have been more excited. One of his favorite superheros now has a stump...just like him. It couldn't have been more exciting to my one-footed two year old.

My first reaction, truthfully was more like Parker's. That's a toy that gets played with regularly. I really considered replacing it. They're not very expensive. But Reid's excitement was so cute, I don't think we need a new one. Just because something is missing a foot doesn't mean it's broken. And footless or not, he still looks just as tough and awesome as before (plus a few battle wounds in the shape of teeth marks).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Butterscotch Alley

All I need is one more internet addiction, right? So thanks to everyone's encouragement last month, I decided to make a few purses and open my own Etsy shop. I just started with four and we'll see how it goes before I invest every last penny into this.

I'm not telling you this so you'll go buy my's almost better that people I know don't buy them. I'm embarrassed by my flaws. I think I'm way better at design than carry-out. Plus...if you made them, I may not buy them either. Mostly because I would look at it and think, I can make that. I just wanted everyone's input and encouragement. I've always wanted to do this kind of thing and I'm always really insecure about it.

I am, however, really proud of my little shop. I even took the pictures myself. Including the picture at the top of my shop. I'm really happy with how it turned out.

I named it Butterscotch Alley. My great-grandma and grandpa Stowell always had this cute red candy dish filled with butterscotch candies. The dish is the one pictured. I named it for that memory. I realize butterscotch has nothing to do with purses, but I may decide to venture outside of the realm of purses at some point.

So without further it is: Visit at your leisure.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Costume Contest

Now that Halloween is just 6 weeks away, I feel I can legitimately start blogging about it. The truth is I've been dreaming up this years Halloween costumes since about last November. I love Halloween and my favorite part is the costumes...designing them, making them, dressing my kids in them and wearing them myself. With at least three costumes to make this year, It's time to make the decision and get started. The problem is making the decision. Over the past couple weeks, I've been asking the boys what they want to be (big mistake) and it changes every day. By the time Halloween rolls around, their costume is not going to be what they want. I had a couple great ideas myself. I shouldn't have asked and just made. I'm a huge fan of coordinating costumes...last year we all went as the classic spooky Halloween characters and the year before Parker and Reid were a pirate and a parrot.

Re-wearing is always an option. The most economical, but not one I'm a huge proponent of just because of my love for costumes. Reid should fit into Parker's monster costume from last year.

And really, Reid will fit just as well into this pirate costume from two years ago.

To go along with that, Gray could easily wear Reid's old parrot costume.

Although, if there was ever a costume to re-wear, this would be it. With a few adaptations, I'm sure Grady could wear Park's old Elvis costume.

This is one I came up with last winter. I think I'd love sewing Parker and Reid some "Wild Thing" costumes and a little wolf suit for Gray. How cute would that be?

Earlier this summer we watched Alvin and the Chipmunks and I couldn't think of a better costume for my crazies.

And I've always thought my kiddos would make cute little 1930's golfers.

But when I ask the boys, this is what they've come up with...

Various X-Men


Batman and the Joker

Spiderman and Doc Oc

Willie Wonka...I think this would be a fun one.

The Mahna Mahna Monster...Reid came up with this one. It really suits him. I've you've ever witnessed his morning hair, you'd know why. I LOVE this idea.

The rest of the Muppets

War Machine

Iron Man

All three of the boys from Fantastic Four

Captain America...If I'm going to do a superhero, this one would be fun.

And the list of superheroes goes on forever and I'm not looking up pictures of any more.

So what do you think? What's your favorite? What I really want to know is which of these costumes is going to win a contest (since we totally got jipped at the ward Halloween party last year.) Do I let my kids pick or make them be what I choose?

***Feel free to use any of these ideas. My boys obviously can't be all these things this year.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


OK, so who hasn't heard about the tragedy of the adorable Neilson family yet? I didn't know who they were, nor had I ever heard of this girl's blog, but apparently it's a popular one. After reading about their plane crash on lots of blogs, then watching the interview with her family on the Today Show, curiousity finally got the better of me and I checked out her blog. She's even cuter than I expected.

My Aunt Cindy emailed me a link to a fundraiser. There's a woman putting together a book of funny short stories and the proceeds benefit this family. I love to write. This is the kind of fundraiser I can really get behind. So I submitted a story. We'll see if anything happens.

You can read more about the fundraiser here.

And visit the Nie Nie Recovery cite here.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Stay Positive

Meet Jeff. My uber-cool, artsy-fartsy little brother. He turned 24 this week. Happy Birthday Jeff!

In complete seriousness, I think Jeff is the coolest person I know. And he'll even claim that he knows me, too. I think Jeff can find good and fun in any situation he finds himself in...probably my favorite trait. He's never afraid to try anything new. He's always up for an adventure...big or small. He has a very creative mind and could have a promising career in so many, music, entertainment. He'd be an excellent buyer, critic, journalist, philosopher, politician or entrepreneur. He has great taste in everything (except politics). So what is he doing now? Traveling the US installing home security systems. In his defense, he's making big summer bucks before school starts. He's been accepted to ASU. Nice work Jeff!

Lucky for Jeff, he was a high school freshman my senior year and got to ride the coat tails of his ever popular older sister. Jeff pretty much bought into anything I told him was cool...which made us instant friends. Why anyone would trust my opinion of cool, I'm not sure. Nevertheless, our relationship really blossomed once he entered high school. If I remember correctly, we always got along decently well, but became much better friends during those high school years. We've remained good friends ever since.

It may have been this event that sparked our friendship...shortly after this picture was taken, we were strapped together to a parachute for a little para-sailing fun. Jeff didn't weigh enough to go alone so we flew tandem. If you're wondering why we have no pictures of us's because my neglectful parents let the two of us go off to sea with a couple of strange men to strap ourselves to a parachute while they stayed safely on shore. Poor Mike was away at college and totally missed this trip to Hawaii.

Maybe we have a thing for boating.

My favorite part of this picture is not the underwear on his head, but the elastic waist shorts.
This is about as cool as it gets in junior high.
A typical winter day at the beach...

And of course I have to include this one.
Yeah...keep trying Jeff. I doubt he's gained a pound since then.

I stole this off his Facebook page...he has a thing for jumping in pictures.

Matchy, matchy green squared.
I'm not really sure why he's dressed like a midget, but I think I did that to him.

Even at this age, my mom wouldn't let us help decorate the fancy Christmas tree in the living room. We had to decorate this one up stairs in the bonus room where no one would see it. And no, those are not pajama pants.
Michael's mission homecoming.

The day before my wedding, Jeff came downstairs asking if his black shirt looked good with his dark suit. My reply was that it is not a funeral. I don't blame him for mourning when his sister was moving on. He misses me.
We made many thrift store trips back in the day...collecting beautiful pieces like the one he's sitting on...and probably the vest, too.
I'm sure something from this ensemble came from a thrift store, too.

Jeff was always around when I came home from college with my friends. My friends all adored Jeff and he frequently hung out with us. Here he is pictured with Justin Collins and my roommate Tammy.

Dad's funeral.

Jeff flew up for a visit my freshman year of college. I thought it would be funny to pick him up from the Salt Lake City airport like this...all by myself. I think we ran into the Aragons.

This is the same was Easter Sunday. My mom sent us some money so we could make a nice Easter dinner. Instead I cooked something regular and we used the cash to have fun. Sorry Mom. But I bet our memories of good times far out weigh memories of a good meal. And those were some good times!

This is one of those things I convinced Jeff was cool...dressing up for school spirit days. I think this was 40's day or something. It's hard to believe Jeff was ever shorter than me. This is only one year before the previous picture. He grew at least a foot that year.

And this is the man Jeff is today.

I miss having him around. He flew up to Ohio to help us make the move to Texas. Driving cross country with him was so fun. We haven't had that much time to hang out in I don't know how long. We had a great time reminiscing. We have made many, many, many good memories.