Tuesday, November 27, 2007

All I want for Christmas is...

Since it is finally that time of year, I thought it would be fun to share my Christmas list. Some of these are, of course, a little unrealistic, but it's fun to dream.

The Phil and Ted e3 stroller with toddler seat. I WILL have this stroller someday!!

The Mac Mini computer. It would be so nice to have my own little computer so Nate can take the laptop whenever he wants!

Lenox Holiday Gatherings mix and match Christmas dinnerware.

The juicer attachment for my Bosch

Pretty much any classic chick flick dvd, such as Emma, Mansfield Park, While you were sleeping, Breakfast at Tiffany's, etc.

Ticket to Ride
...such a fun game!

Cutco knives
The Spatula Spreader

The Petite Carver

Set of Steak knives

Kitchen Shears

A cool piece of art to adorn our home:

"The Responsible Woman" by James Christensen

"Hold to the Rod, the Iron Rod" by James Christensen

Reusable grocery sacks from Delight.com

And last but not least, a large non-stick skillet that I can use for everything!

Of course, there are always many other random things, such as coats and shoes, but I won't bore you with all that stuff!! What's on your Christmas list this year??

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving week...

We got to spend the last 9 days in Spokane, WA with Nate's awesome family. It was so great to be with family for so long, just relaxing and eating far too much good food. Asher was a little unsure of all his cousins at first, so I didn't end up going to Seattle to visit University of WA with Nate as planned, but after a couple of days he warmed up, and by the end they were all great little buds.

We had a great Thanksgiving day. In the morning we started out watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, but actually ended up watching more of E True Hollywood story of Jessica Simpson and some of the Top Chef marathon. After that, most of the fam headed over to Mom and Dad Olson's to pick up the leaves and see their cute new (actually, very OLD, built in 1910 or something) house. The little boys had so much fun picking up and playing in the leaves, and running up and down the little hill in the front yard, despite how freezing cold it was. About an hour before the Turkey was supposed to be done, we checked on it and it was totally done. Whoops! So we had to scramble around trying to get everything else ready, as we thought we had plenty of time for all the prep. It all came together nicely and we had a delicious dinner of Turkey, ham, stuffing, cranberry sauce, garlic parmesan mashed potatoes, gravy, green salad, roasted cherry tomatoes, homemade rolls, followed by pie. My pumpkin pie turned out great, but for some reason my chocolate pie didn't set correctly. I was way bummed as it wasn't nearly as good, oh well. The rest of the evening was pretty quiet and relaxing, but it was a very nice day.

Asher and Parker

Of course, on Friday, we decided to brave the crowds, and hit Target and the Mall. Neither were bad at all. I scored on some awesome deals at Macy's...they have THE BEST sales!! It's pretty crazy how quickly everyone transitions into Christmas mode. Not that I'm complaining...I am way pumped for Christmas, and am almost done with my shopping!

On Saturday, Lizza, Duffy and I took the kiddos to this play place called Mobius. It is indoors and has the coolest things to do inside. There is a little gated play place for the little ones, and then all sorts of stuff for older kids. There was a stage with instruments and costumes to try on, a corner with little cars where they drive and learn all about traffic signals, and so many other things. So fun! I wish we had something like that in Provo, it would be such a hit, especially in the winter! Lizza said they paid $60 for a family pass (no mattter how big your family is) for a year...so worth it! They also change the little activities around, so it's not always the same stuff. Genius! Later that night, Nate's sister Lizza and her husband Zach blessed their 4th baby boy on Saturday night at home, which was so nice. Little Cooper is such a cutie, and looked like such a doll in his little satin blessing romper! It was actually really neat to do it at home with just family and the bishop, very intimate.

At Mobius...

Cooper's blessing...

Besides those things, we didn't do too much else besides just hang out, watch movies, play pictionary, and eat food. I would say it was a successful vacation. Asher was great the whole time, even on the flights he wasn't too bad, just very wiggly! This morning, our flight was at 5:30am, so we had to wake him up at 4:00am. He was busy busy the whole flight, and then right as we were landing, he fell asleep on Nate's lap. Awesome timing, right?!

Here are some other fun pictures from the week:
Cooper in his star thingy...doesn't he look so precious?!

This is the view from the house. We woke up to this one morning...gorgeous!

Doesn't Asher look so cute all bundled up in his new coat?!

What can we say? A kids gotta have his caffeine!;) (FYI, Asher doesn't know how to drink from a straw, so don't worry, he's not really drinking it!)

What a little goof-ball!

No, he is not yawning, he loves to make funny faces like this. What a silly kid! I love this picture, he looks like a hippo with his two front teeth, which by the way, he just barely got...it's about time!

Friday, November 16, 2007

I missed this face...

This last week, Nate and I went on a little "vacation" back east, to look at some Graduate programs. Even though we were doing a lot of driving and on the go pretty much everyday, we didn't bring Asher with us, so in my mind, that is a vacation. I even got to sleep in until 11:30 one day (I went to bed really late, ok!) and 10:00 a couple other days, and it was so great! I can't remember the last time I was able to do that. But man did I miss this little guy!

I found myself in awe of every person who happened to have a child, like it was some kind of amazing thing. I thought I did pretty well though, much better than I thought I would do. The couple days before we left, I kept having all these second thoughts about leaving him, and Nate even went so far as to say: "lets just take him with us." Ugh, it would have been sooo miserable with him. I was actually never really very worried about Asher, he is so social, and LOVES playing with other kids, so I had a feeling he wouldn't even really realize we were gone. And I was right, he had a blast with his cousins and his new best friend, Jace. Everyone reported that he was very happy, slept and ate great, and played his little heart out. So that was very comforting, and made it so much easier for me and Nate to be able to enjoy our time away.

Here's a little overview of our trip:

On Thursday, we flew into Philadelphia and picked up Nate's sister's car that she so graciously let us use while she was on a cruise! We drove from there to Newark Delaware to visit with our good friend Josh Probert who is doing is PhD at Winterthur (studying antiques, stuff you would see on Antiques Road Show!). It was so funny when we got to his house, it was such a "single guys" apartment. We had our air mattress, and were getting ready to go to bed, but we didn't bring any blankets or pillows. Josh says: "oh my gosh, I didn't even think about that...we don't have any extras!!!" HA! Now lets be honest, there aren't many girls out there that wouldn't have thought about that, and if they didn't have any themselves, they would have figured something out. So Josh gave us the flat sheet off his bed, they rounded up 2 very thin blankets (between him and his 2 roommates), and then gave me a space heater to sleep next to, which I did end up using. I thought it was so funny. Of course, we were really just grateful to have a clean, free place to sleep! When we came back a few days later, Josh had gone to his Bishop's house to get some nice warm blankets...much better!

and Saturday were spent in NYC! I LOVE NYC!! Although, this NYC experience was much different from my last. What was the difference you ask...driving! Nate and I actually drove into and around NYC! All I have to say is OH-MY-GOSH!!! I have never experienced anything like the traffic in NY. Not so much in the city, but going in and out was absolutely amazing. I can't even describe to you the absolute chaos that is merging onto the George Washington Bridge. Picture going from about a dozen different toll lanes to like 4 actual lanes, all in under a quarter of a mile, with hundreds of cars. There are no rules, there is no ettiquette, it is every man for himself, and if you don't get in there, you are not going to get on the bridge! I have to say that I was quite proud of myself. Once we got into the city, I found an awesome parking spot, right by Columbia University where Nate had his interview, and right next to the subway station. Nate had a really great interview there at the Teachers College. He felt like he really connected with the Professor there, and that she was very excited about Nate's back ground and interests. That night we went and saw the Drowsy Chaperone, starring Bob Saget. It wasn't so much a musical experience (like Wicked or Les Mis or something like that) as much as it was funny and entertaining, but we did really enjoy it.

So, that night, we ended up getting an amazing deal at the Hilton hotel...in Newark NJ! We kept going back and forth on where to stay, but decided that we would rather have atleast one nice hotel for our whole trip, so we decided not to stay in the city. Mistake?! Well, as we were trying to get onto the Lincoln Tunnel that night, we were thinking mistake. Again, mass chaos, 2 lanes each, coming from 3 different directions, trying to merge into 2 lanes (or was it 1?) in a very short distance. Again, there were no rules...what was once 2 lanes from one direction was now about 6, because the people up front were apparently going too slow, so the people in the back decided they just needed to get to the front, so they made their own lanes. It was so great. You'd think that we would be so annoyed, but I think we were so amazed, that we were actually quite enjoying ourselves! The best part, was when you rounded the corner and were finally merged and ready to go in the tunnel, there are 2 police cars "helping" us cars that were already safely merged. In a normal city, the police would have been trying to control and maintain the merging, but not in NY, they just sit back and let you do whatever the heck you want. But then, when we finally got to our hotel and experienced the most comfortable hotel beds I have ever slept in, it was all worth it. Saturday, we did it all over again, except this time, Nate drove. Saturday was the day I slept in until almost noon, so we didn't get into the city until 2ish. We had lunch, met up with Josh, and were thinking about splurging on Wicked tickets, when to our disappointment, we realized that the stage hands were on strike, so all the good shows were cancelled. We were pretty bummed. Then to make matters worse, we decided to go to the Met, and like half of the exhibits were closed for construction. So it was kind of a lousy day in the city. But I think both Josh and Nate would agree that the dinner we had that night made up for everything. I can't remember the name of the restaurant, but they are both still talking about how amazing it was. I've never seen two people whose lives revolve around food as much as Nate and Josh...no wonder they've been friends for so long.

was back in Newark, and Josh gave us a private tour of Winterthur (home of the Dupont family) and LongWood Gardens. Both were so cool...I would take Winterthur over The Met, anyday!!!

That night we drove to New Haven CT (where Yale is located) and stayed with a good friend of Josh's. Monday morning, we drove about 30 minutes to Middletown CT where Wesleyan University is located. It was soooo gorgeous in CT. Freezing, but gorgeous. We loved the campus, but Nate didn't love the program as much as he thought he would. He felt like it was a little snobby. That night we went and saw Dan in Real Life, which we both loved. Such a good family flick!

morning, we drove to Providence RI to visit Brown University, which was actually kind of a last minute choice of Nate's, but ended up being his absolute favorite. He even got to attend an Old time bluegrass jam session that evening.

, we made our way out to the boonies of Ithaca NY to visit Cornell (alma mater of Andy Bernard from The Office). We had kind of high expectations for Cornell, but I think Nate was a little disappointed, as it wasn't what he expected. But I guess this is why you go visit programs, they can seem so perfect on paper, but it's so important to get a realistic view of what the programs are really like.

That day, we drove back to Newark to stay at Josh's again. Thursday, we packed up and came home!

Ok, so this turned out to be a long overview of our trip, sorry! Overall, we really loved it back east. Every where we went, it was absolutely gorgeous, and of course freezing. That would be the hardest thing about living out there for me. But I think it would be so fun to be so close to all the cool stuff out there. Today, we are leaving for Spokane to visit with Nate's fam for the holidays as well as go to University of Washington to visit the program there. We'll keep you updated!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Asher had a very fun, busy day yesterday for his first Halloween (that he actually participated in). We didn't have any ward parties or anything to take him to in his costume, so we had to be a little creative (as he's not really old enough to go trick or treating). It's day's like these that I really miss being able to go over to Whit's and do fun stuff with the kids. :( In the morning, Nate and I just wanted to see him in his costume, so we put it on him and watched him run around in it. After his nap, Asher and I got all our stuff together and ran a couple of errands, then we headed off to the Halloween party that the girls at the treatment center I work at were having. We really just went to show off how cute Asher was in his chicken costume, plus the girls are always asking me to bring him by. He definitely stole the show. We walked in and the girls bombarded him, taking pictures and talking to him in baby voices. It was so funny. So he was a little nervous with all the attention, but once he found the stairs, he was a happy chicken!

This is Asher with my old supervisor, Karie, from my RT internship. She's the one that told me about this new treatment center I work at. She is hilarious and she just loves Asher! As you can see, he loved her fairy wand. I shouldn't be worried, right?! After the party we hung out with Karie and her intern and watched Asher put on a show for us. Then we went to Karie's house and Asher played with her dogs. He LOVES dogs, and hers are so nice, they even let him snuggle and lounge on them.

Then we went to go visit Aunt Jillian so that she could see Asher in his costume. After that we headed over to University Mall as they had trick or treating going on there. At first I felt a little silly because Asher of course had no idea what was going on, but then I saw that there were lots of people there who, like me, just wanted some where to take their baby in their costume. So I basically just let Asher run around in his Chicken costume, and he had so much fun. He also got a lot of attention, because, well, he's adorable! Especially when he is dressed up like a fluffy chicken, waddling around the mall. He was definitely more interested in pushing his stroller and running in and out of stores, and looking at himself as a chicken in the mirror, than actually getting candy. Nate met us there after a little while, and we both just got a kick out of watching Asher having fun and delighting people with his cuteness!

By the way, I am supposed to be a "farmer who tends to the chickens". I wanted to be a mommy chicken, but I didn't think I would be able to find anything for that at the last minute. I know, I'm a pretty pathetic farmer. Since Asher wouldn't smile for pictures, I decided to put up some video, so you could see him in action, in all his chicken-cuteness!!

After the mall, I treated Asher to 99 cent Wendy's chicken nuggets, and we headed home. Poor Asher was so tired as it was way past his bedtime. But he was such a trooper, and went right to sleep! Nate and I had a relaxing evening in, watching License to Wed, and handing out candy. It was a great day!

And just for fun, here is a picture of my hair when I took it out of the pigtails...

Pumpkin carvin' time!

On Monday night, we decided to have a full on Family Night, complete with lesson and activity of pumpkin carving (although the evening really revolved around the activity, as we did that first, and only had a lesson while waiting for the pumpkin seeds to finish!). We invited my sister Jillian and her boyfriend Aaron to join in on the festivities as well. Now, I am not usually a big Halloween person, but for some reason, I felt like getting into the spirit this year. It has literally been years since any of us had carved pumpkins, but it turned out to be pretty fun. Nate was not particularly into the idea, but he did it anyway, if only to humor me! We weren't super creative with our pumpkin, but I still thought he was cute! We even roasted pumpkin seeds...YUM! My mom always used to do that when we were younger! They were delish and probably the best part of the evening!!