Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween 2012

Last year on the morning of Halloween, my iPhone pooped out on me and refused to take pictures. And then I got really busy that evening and forgot to take pictures with my regular camera. And then I remembered this like a week later. And getting a kid into a cheeseburger costume a week after the fact to pretend like it's Halloween? Yeah. Right. He was so over it.

I'm pretty determined that this won't happen again this year, so I took pictures this morning. Before I could forget. I also took a bunch last night that I can pretend are actually from Halloween if I forget tonight. I'm so prepared, it's ridiculous.

Last night, Cullen ate pumpkin pie for dinner. Before you go thinking I'm a bad mom, I would like to remind everyone what a picky eater he is. Besides, who doesn't want pie for dinner every now and then? And for dessert? He had macaroni and cheese. It all balanced out in the end.
After dinner, we carved pumpkins. By "we," I really mean that James carved pumpkins. I scraped out the insides, and Cullen flung pumpkin seeds around the kitchen. Cullen is super proud of his Cullen pumpkin and Daddy pumpkin. Mommy got to save the other two for another month of fall decor on the porch. 
And because Cullen no longer likes sleeping in his bed or in his room, I found this on the floor this morning. Scout was guarding him like the occasionally-awesome dog that she is.  
Cullen is Woody this year! After extensive searching and way too much time spent on the issue, Cullen is Woody. And he loves it. He loves his hat and his boots and his scarf and his shirt. And he says, "Howdy buckaroos." Too. Cute. 
xoxo ashley

Scout Updates

I've always loved making Christmas cookies, so I was pretty pumped when I got an order for some Halloween cookies. Even better? The order came from my best friend's mom! How awesome is that? She is like another mom for me, and I loved being trusted with cookies for her party. I think they came out pretty well!

Mr. Bat.
Witch's Hat 
Scaredy Cat 
And.... Drum roll, please! My new labels! I've been working on the prototype. Now I just need to get them printed for my next round of orders! If you have time, go check out the new site. If you don't feel like typing it in, just use the QR code! Fancy! 
xoxo ashley

The Cousins Visit

 Last week, James' cousin came into town with her five kids. I love them like they're my own, and it's always so great to see them. Cullen is getting more and more acclimated to the group, and his response is so much better now than it was two short years ago. He is thrilled by the noise and fun, and he's happy to be a part of it.

Example A: Bath time with the twins.
How cute are Carly and Cassidy in their little bath caps?
Example B: Chaos in Peg and Andy's room. All six of the kids were in here jumping, climbing, jogging, and playing. A video would show the actual incident even better. They are so fun! 
Example C: Cullen giving Hunter a high five at dinner. He loves when he gets included with the older kids.  
On Friday night, I was lucky enough to bring one of the Littles home with me. Lauren stayed with us and played with Cullen. Cullen is crazy in love with her, and he keeps asking to have her come stay with us again. She read him "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie" once, and now it's his favorite book. He even sleeps with it. 
Lauren was a great sport about her toddler play time, and I think she enjoyed getting to sleep in and have a custom breakfast. She's so sweet, and it's easy to spoil her.  
Now we're just counting the days until the Little family visits again. We can't wait!

xoxo ashley

Monday, October 22, 2012

Dewberry Farms Day

Last weekend, we ventured out to Dewberry Farms to pick pumpkins. If we're being really honest, we drove all the way out to Hockley to go to the Oil Ranch only to find that it was closed for a private event. You would think they would mark that sort of thing on their website. Either way, we drove all the way back in the opposite direction to Dewberry Farms. After what felt like HOURS in the car, we arrived. Long lines, dust clouds, and a bunch of grumpy grown ups.

I think all of the chaos was exciting for the kids, because they just hopped in the wagon and were ready to go. Cullen didn't fully appreciate two cute girls in his wagon. I think it was more of an irritation that someone was in his space. He got over it pretty quickly and enjoyed the company.
Dewberry Farms has so many redeeming and fantastic characteristics, but I don't love that you have to pay for everything in addition to paying to get in. The important thing is that the kids had a blast.

Cullen wasn't a fan of feeding the goats, but he enjoyed watching James do it.
And he didn't want to feed the ducks, but he liked watching them.
And he didn't care for the pig races, but he liked standing on the fence with the girls before the race started. 
And sitting on Daddy's shoulders.  
I felt kind of bad for the little pigs, but we had fun just the same. 
Next stop, the super cool photo op with the "cool bus."
They have this really awesome slide that is rollers the whole way down. Lola made it look so easy.
Cullen didn't want to go down by himself, so I went with him. Per my usual stubbornness, I ignored James when he told me I was going to go fast. I think I had more fun than Cullen.
Finally, we have all of the kids looking in almost the same direction and smiling.
Next was the big bounce thing. Cullen had a great time with it.
One last stop before heading home was to pick out our pumpkins. Cullen knew the drill, so he hopped out of the wagon and started picking. He makes this look like it's no big deal, right?
Just carrying this little pumpkin to the wagon...  
We weighed that little pumpkin at check out. Ten and a half pounds! That little boy is strong!
And our front porch is crowded with FOUR pumpkins. Cullen was so pleased with himself!
After Dewberry Farms, we went to lunch and ice cream. The kids were really great through lunch and even better through ice cream. They were so precious together!
Mr. Sticky Hands brought his toppings with him in the car. Why not, right? It was his day after all!
I love these weekends spent making memories with our little family.

xoxo ashley

Staying Busy

Because we are incapable of not keeping busy, I've fallen back on blogging. Again. You would think I would know by now that it just means longer blogging when I get around to it.

In news that is only exciting to a mama, Cullen used scissors for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Everything God gave him is still intact, but that doesn't mean I like it too much. I still have issues with sharp things, so I'm not comfortable with him and scissors. Give it time.
A while back, my mom bought Cullen the Cars set of cookie cutters at William Sonoma. Being the good mom that I am, I've held off on using them for some unknown reason. Cullen loved rolling out the dough and making his own Lightning McQueen and Mater snacks for later.  
Later arrived pretty quickly. 
And, of course, James used the last bit of cookie dough to make a Cullen. He was delicious. 
Last week, Cullen got to attend Sunday School for the first time. There were a few tears at drop off, but he loved learning about David, and he was excited to go this past weekend. Again, there were a few tears as James and I headed off to church, but he was excited when we picked him up. Even if it is literally only an hour of time away from him, I hate to miss out when I don't have to. But, if we're being fair, I also know I'm learning so much more at church when I'm not keeping an eye on him.  
Theses boxes are a little bit of early proof that I love Pampered Chef (way too much) and that Christmas shopping has begun. This was just one day's deliveries. Christmas is about half way done. I can't wait to get started wrapping! There is something wrong with me for that... 
In one of those boxes, I got this tiny little gem. I love ordering things from Bake It Pretty, because they are always items for Scout, and that means I have orders. And I love the way they make it feel like a gift! 
Cullen has really been pushing for more independence lately. As much as we want to foster that feeling, we're also learning that pretty much everything takes longer than it used to. One of Cullen's favorites is to climb into the driver seat, put the key in the ignition and turn on the car. Once the car is on, each of the needles rise to where they need to be. Cullen loves to announce that he's "watching the noodles." 
This past Friday, we finally replaced the chairs in our downstairs living room. After making excuses for (literally!) years, we broke down and bought something new. Considering the fact that almost every piece of furniture we own is a hand-me-down, we tried to not mind spending the money. Cullen loves "his" new chairs, and James and I are enjoying our moments to sit in them.

Friday night, we went for our usual walk around the neighborhood with one of our awesome neighbors, Jamie. She lives around the corner from us, and we love spending time with her and her husband. Cullen is crazy about Jamie, and this picture shows just one of the reasons why. Cullen took one bite out of his bread to peek through. Jamie showed him how to make a mask. How lucky are we to have friends like her? 
Friday night was a tough one for Cullen. There was way too much excitement, and he didn't sleep well once we finally got him into bed. Around 2am, we heard him walking around upstairs while we were getting ready for bed. At 6am, Cullen was crying. In our bedroom. Where he was curled up on Scout's bed. Since I had to be up at 7, I just put him in our bed and got up for the day.  
While I was out getting my hair done, James took Cullen to get Shipley's for breakfast. Not for a lack of trying, this kid had never eaten a doughnut before Saturday. Almost three years old, and he had never enjoyed the fried deliciousness. This morning, he asked for another chocolate doughnut for breakfast. 
Saturday afternoon was Hadley's birthday party, and we had a really great time watching the kids run and play. Amy made these really awesome Angry Birds cupcakes, and Cullen had a blast eating his. It's crazy to me to think that Amy and I met when our kids were about four months old. Hadley turned three this past weekend, and Cullen will be there before we know it.

xoxo ashley

Friday, October 12, 2012

Busy Busy Busy

Scout has been growing at an awesome rate, and I'm really trying to enjoy my down time when I get it. This past weekend, I had four birthday orders. Two of the orders were simple and easy, two of them were more elaborate. Admittedly, the elaborate orders are better for me. It isn't as easy, but it sure is a fun experience to create and design something new.
Like Minnie Mouse. Inspired by my prior attempts at Mickey Mouse. Isabella is a precious little girl, and all she wanted for her 6th birthday was Minnie Mouse. Done deal. 
Dana hosted a fantastic ice cream party for Bennett's first birthday. Complete with milkshake cupcakes. She found a great picture, and I feel like I did a pretty good job of translating them.
James helped Brian by making a hot dog tower. He was pretty impressed with his work. 
And, of course, Cullen spent half of the party in a swing. He really really really really loves swinging. When we get the chance to play on a big swing set, I think we made a mistake in getting a little one for the backyard. Someday, we'll have a big swing set in the yard. 
With it being Bennett's first birthday and all, there had to be a smash cake. I love that Dana was completely unconcerned with the mess he was going to make. She is such a fabulous mom, and her boys are living proof of it.  
Cullen loved his cup of ice cream. And by ice cream, I mean marshmallows, chocolate chips, and gummy worms. He doesn't actually like his ice cream to touch his toppings, so he just got a cup full of toppings. He was happy, and that made everyone else happy. 
On the way home, James made the mistake of trying to drive through town to avoid traffic on the Beltway. Cullen has been wearing the cutest (and smelliest) shoes my sister-in-law sent from Japan. He love his brown shoes, and he wears them almost everyday. Unfortunately, they are getting to be too small, so I've been looking for something similar to replace them. As it turns out, Toms are a pretty close match and are actually cheaper than Cullen's usual Stride Rites. And since we were already there, I had to get myself a pair. Cullen's are navy, and mine are silver glitter, but it's still fun. They are ridiculously comfortable. Too bad I couldn't talk James into a pair. He may never enter a Nordstrom again.There was some special in the makeup department, so he and Cullen rode the escalators while I shopped. 
On Sunday, I used my down time to make jalapeno jelly. What do you do with your down time? It isn't the best I've ever had, but it turned out pretty well. It's a work in progress.
After Cullen's nap, we took him to see Finding Nemo. Cullen hadn't been to a movie theatre yet, and he really loved it. I didn't get any pictures, because it was dark (being a movie theatre and all), but he had the best time. He loved the 3D, his fun glasses, his candy and "Mee-Mo." I think James and I enjoyed the movie just as much, and we spent half the movie watching Cullen. He was absolutely mesmerized. Just kidding about no pictures. James got a picture while I was shoveling down my popcorn. Surprise, surprise.
This is Cullen sitting on the floor in the car after the movie. He wanted to go back inside to watch Meemo again. He also wanted to play in the arcade. Exciting times for this little guy! It took a whole lot of coaxing to get him into his seat for the drive home. He's learned that we aren't going anywhere until he's buckled in, so his new fight for freedom is to just not get into his seat.

This week, Cullen's Halloween costume came in. I don't want to spoil the surprise, but rest assured that he is going to be adorable. I have a little bit of alterations work to do, but it will easily be his best showing yet.

Earlier this week, a neighbor of ours listed on our neighborhood website that he was selling two refrigerators. For only $100, we scooped a nearly-new fridge for our garage. We've wanted a drink fridge since we've owned a home, and I couldn't be more thrilled to finally have that reality. It's going to be wonderful to not worry about a cooler full of drinks when we host a party, and awesome to have space for cakes and barbecue when the need arises. Tonight, we'll be cleaning out the fridge and both freezers to re-arrange everything. The exciting lives of grown ups. Cullen was at his finest when I drove the truck home with the refrigerator in the back. James rode in the bed of the truck to keep it steady, and Cullen was so excited about his new "re-fridge-a-later." It's the little things.

Last night, I enjoyed another awesome (and free!) yoga class that Amy was hosting. My friend, Amy, is working to get her yoga certification, and I am loving going to her classes. She is a natural, and I always leave feeling refreshed. I don't know what I'm going to do when she gets certified and stops holding classes in her living room!

Some exciting news about upcoming events... My website is nearly done for Scout. After multiple attempts to make it work, I broke down and decided to pay someone to do it. Scott and Jennifer have come up with a great design, and I can't wait to unveil it to the world!

And I'm going to Nashville! The trip isn't scheduled until February, but I can't wait. One of my favorite friends moved to Nashville to follow her heart almost a year ago, and I haven't gotten to see her since she left. I'm sure it will be an entertaining weekend, and I can't wait for it. After booking my flight yesterday, I realized that I have never flown solo for a trip that wasn't work-related. It made me feel young. I can't wait!

xoxo ashley