Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Our Year of Adventure: Bowling

It's been a pretty uneventful couple of weeks around here. We've been passing a cold around, so there hasn't been too much excitement. I also broke a tooth the other day (eating taffy!!!) and spend the morning at the dentist getting a crown, which we all know is my favorite way to spend the day. Not so much.

Anyway, today I decided that it was time to shake things up around here and make some good use of our leap day so when the kids got home from school we took them bowling.

Bowling is on our year of adventure list because it's something we've been saying we wanted to do for YEARS. Literally pretty much since we've been married. Shawn and I both used to go bowling with our families when we were kids and every now and then we say we should go bowling and in all these years we never have. To tell you the truth, I have always had this idea in my head that bowling alleys are dark, smoke filled places (because they kind of were when I was a kid) and as much as I did enjoy going bowling when I was a kid I just never got super enthusiastic about going as an adult. It's one of those things that we would say we were going to do and then when it came down to it, we just...didn't.

Anyway, since this year is about doing instead of talking, we put it on our list and decided to give it a try.

So we got to the bowling alley tonight and let me just say-bowling alleys have CHANGED since I was a kid!! Gone are the dark, smoke filled buildings. This place was awesome! It's new, for one thing (Pinz, in Meridian, for my local friends), so it's really modern and nice. We went early in the evening and there weren't many people there. Employees were so overly nice and accommodating that I felt like we were VIP's or something. They kept coming over to ask us if we were having fun and if we needed anything. We ordered pizza and two servers came to bring it to us and pour our drinks and ask us 50 times if we needed anything else. Geez. Go to Pinz, they treat you like you just won an Oscar or something, lol. (By the way, YAY, to Octavia Spencer for winning an Oscar for her role in The Help. She rocked in that movie.)

 I haven't bowled in many years so I was pretty rusty and probably looked ridiculous, but it was really fun! Shawn also hasn't bowled in years, but he was surprisingly NOT rusty! He's a great bowler! We've been married almost 15 years and I'm still learning surprising new things about him! :)

The kids had a really good time. They had a little ramp that Clarissa used so all she had to do was put her ball on the top of it, push it down and watch it roll. She liked that and it was fun to watch her get excited when the pins fell. Josh and Matthew had been bowling once before at taekwondo camp so they knew what to do and had a really great time. We laughed, ate pizza, cheered for each other and pretty much just had an awesome time.

I think activities like this are the reason I made the Year of Adventure list. I thought bowling was going to be a nice activity to do once and cross off our list but it actually ended up being ridiculously fun and it's something that we're all looking forward to doing again. I think we've found a new family activity that I hope we can do again often. Forcing ourselves to get out of our box and try new things is introducing us to a whole new world of fun activities.

Here are some pictures I took tonight!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day!

I love Valentines Day. I know it's a cheesy Hallmark holiday, but I love it anyway. Shawn and I celebrated a little early this year. He took yesterday off work and a friend watched Clarissa for a few hours and we had a fun date. We went to our favorite furniture store and went mattress shopping. We needed a new mattress really bad. I haven't been sleeping well lately and my back has been hurting in the morning and I think it's because of our mattress. We've never had a really great mattress and we decided that it was time to splurge. We had a good time trying them all out at the store and we settled on one that we both love and they're delivering it tomorrow. Then we decided while we were at it we would pick out new pillows, new sheets and a new duvet. I'm looking forward to tomorrow when everything gets here and hopefully I will be sleeping better.

After we did our bed shopping we went our for lunch. We so rarely have a meal without the kids these days and it always seems super exciting when we do. Our alone time seems to be limited these days so we take it when we can get it.

Tonight we're looking forward to a Valentines Day party with friends. We're getting together with the two families that we're really close to and having dinner and some fun activities for the kids. It's always fun when we all get together so I think we're going to have a great time.

That's pretty much all that is new around here these days. For now I'm off to Walmart to buy some supplies for a game we're doing at the party tonight. I need bags of candy hearts. I hope there are still any left! Wish me luck!

Happy Valentines Day!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Our Year Of Service: Hat update!

As of today I have made 53 hats! That's a lot! Wednesday afternoon I went over to one of the local hospitals and made my first donation. I'm trying to split them up among the hospitals and I really had no idea how many this hospital wants or needed so I brought them 20. I was really nervous taking them over there for some reason but they seemed really excited and appreciative and I wished I had brought them more than 20. The nurses all came over and oohed and aahhed over them and seemed to like them. When I started making them I didn't know if I should just make them all in yellows and greens so that they could be used by either gender but the nurses seemed excited that I used gender specific colors. They said the moms always like the girly or boyish ones better than the gender neutral ones. The also liked that the hats were a bit stretchy. That seemed to be important to them.

Anyway, it was a big success (whew!) and it has made me even more excited about continuing to make them. Making hats has been a really fun project for me. If you're looking for a fun and easy service project to do for your community, I highly reccomend making some hats! :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Happy Birthday Clarissa!

Clarissa's birthday was on Saturday, and as usual I'm a few days late with my post!

I can't believe my sweet little girl is THREE! Kids grow up too fast, don't they? We had a fun day on Saturday celebrating her big day. We started with presents in the morning and then we took her to Build a Bear and then out to lunch. She had a good time and it was fun to celebrate her special day.

In the afternoon I took advantage of the unusually nice weather and we went out in the backyard and I took a few pictures of her. As I was editing the pictures later it really blew me away to look at them and see how big she's getting! I don't always notice subtle changes in my kids when I see them every day but every now and then I take a good look at them and realize that they somehow grew up right before my eyes. She looks like such a big girl now!

Here are a couple from the photo session:

And here is a picture of her that I took while we were out to lunch. This is the look I get if I tell her look at the camera and smile. And now you know why she is not looking at the camera in so many of the pictures I post! :) I love this picture because it's SO Clarissa. :) 

And in other news, a friend of mine made me an AWESOME Valentines Day gift!!! I have this incredibly talented friend who can make anything and over the years we have been the lucky recipients of many of her awesome creations. All the cutest stuff in my house came from her. I'm not crafty at all so I'm always in awe of her because she can make anything. From superhero capes for my kids to a beautiful bag she made me for Christmas, I've been spoiled by her many times!

She actually started this latest project at my house last week with our other friend. They cut and sewed and I provided lunch and supervised. :) She brought over the finished products today and they are beyond adorable! 

They've big felt envelopes that hang over the back of our chairs so that our family can leave each other notes and Valentines every day until Valentines Day. She even hand sewed our names on them. They're adorable! This will be such a fun tradition for our family! She got the idea from the Pottery Barn catalog and she did an amazing job recreating them. They turned out so cute and my kids immediately went to work drawing pictures and writing notes to put in them. I'm so excited about them that I had to share! A big thank you to my wonderful friend!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Gilmore Girls and HATS!

I have two new loves in my life and my blog title says it all. :)

So as I've said before, I've committed to a year or service, and one of the things I decided I wanted to do was learn how to make infant hats that I can donate to NICU's at the hospitals in our city. I talked to one of our neighbors, who is a maternity ward nurse, and she said that they love getting donations of those hats. I've never had a baby in the NICU but I can imagine that if I did a cute, brightly colored hat on my baby might bring a smile to my face for a minute and I hope that I can do that for someone. They also put the hats on the babies that pass away and I especially want to do something nice for those parents. They especially need pretty hats for their beautiful babies.

I'm not even a tiny bit crafty and I can't sew, crochet or knit, so I did a little of research and decided to go the easiest route, which is loom hats. They look basically like a crocheted hat but if you have no crochet skills it's much easier to learn! In case anyone wants to try it, you can buy a set of looms at Walmart next to the yarn. They're not expensive and looming is ridiculously easy to learn! I bought the looms and yarn, watched a 10 minute video on YouTube that showed me how to make a hat and I was in business!

I started out experimenting with different types of yarn and I found that the type of yarn you use makes a huge difference. The cheap bargain Walmart yarn makes kind of scratchy hats. After a lot of experimenting and trips back to yarn department I discovered the PERFECT hat making yarn! It's called Caron Simply Soft. If you're going to make hats, that's the yarn to use. I've tried every type of yarn known to man and the Simply Soft yarn made the cutest hats by far. It's also the easiest on my fingers, which is great, because you have to keep pushing the yarn down on the loom with your thumbs and some of the thicker, scratchier yarn made my thumbs hurt so bad that I had to stop making hats for a few days while my thumbs healed.

I started out making a couple of hats....and then a few more...and then I became obsessed with making hats and now I can't stop! I try to sit down for a couple of hours in the evenings whenever I can, I make them during Clarissa's naptime and any other time during the day that I have a few minutes to sit down. They're extremely easy to make and not terribly time consuming. They're easy to pick up and put down when I need to. I'm having so much fun making them that I keep going to back to Walmart for more yarn. I now have every color of Caron Simply Soft yarn that Walmart sells, except for a fluorescent orange that was a little too wild and crazy for baby hats. It's a sickness, really. Yarn is taking over my house, lol.

Anyway, while I've been sitting around making hats for the past few weeks I decided that I needed a new TV series to watch while I worked. That's where my other new love comes in. :) I bought season one of Gilmore Girls, which I had never seen, to watch while I work. How did I manage to miss out on that show when it was on? I absolutely love it. I plowed through season one and two and I'm now in the middle of season three. There are seven seasons. I wonder how many hats I can make by season seven!

So far I've made almost 40 hats. I counted 36 of them earlier today but I know that there are a couple more of them floating around. Clarissa has taken off with a few of them to put on her dolls. :) I don't really know how many I plan to make. At one point I thought it would be fun to challenge myself to do 365 of them before the end of the year, essentially making one a day, but I don't know if I'm going to hold myself to that. I'm afraid that giving myself a quota will take the fun out of it and at the moment I'm having lots of fun! I've made almost 40 in a month though, so at this rate it's entirely possible that I could make that many if I keep it up!

I'm going to take the first batch over to one of the hospitals in the next week or two. We have three big hospitals in our city. I'm hoping to eventually make a pile for each of them.

So that's what I've been up to lately! I took some pictures of my hats and yarn this morning. Enjoy! I'll be back this weekend to share another big day we have coming up-Clarissa's third birthday! Can you believe she's going to be three?! Check back to see if I can sucessfully manage to get her sit still for a birthday picture! :)