Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Christmas China Dinner




A recently-added Cruze Christmas tradition is to have dinner at Scott's parents' house some weekend in December. This is a dinner with no kids invited. Kay does all the cooking and we eat on her very special Christmas china. This is my dessert plate with the remains of some red velvet cake:
After dinner we played a Christmas trivia game. Scott and I won. There was an award. A really, really good award. A major award.
Scott took it to work for his desk, that seemed like the best place for it, but next year I think we may need to put it in our front window for the month of December.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Lydia got her first haircut.

Before:

After:

The mullet was getting out of control, so I took just a little length and volume from the very back.
This is the current face that makes me laugh out loud whenever she makes it. It's an acting surprised look. She gasps right before she sets her lips into this tight circle and raises her eyebrows in false alarm and often darts her eyes back and forth as if searching for what has startled her. It cracks me up, pure gold.

Homemade Christmas




This year nearly all of our gifts exchanged with Cruzes (and a couple with the Barbers) were homemade. This was a very fun idea that we hope to repeat at least some of the time in the future. I made Kay a little set of coasters (tutorial here), and Eldon some hot chocolate mix (with tiny bits of Andes mints in it...mmmmmm, minty). The bottom picture is Cally and me, with me sporting the apron she made me which is stitched with the words, "I hate warm fruit". (It's true, I hate any dessert that involves warming up any fruit.) I didn't take pictures of every gift we made, though I kind of wish I had. The one that I am especially lamenting not having to share a photo of is the walking stick that Scott made for Terry. It looked so great and had a cool spot at the very top that could hold a glow stick which would shine through carved out openings. It was way cool.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

Design Mom dream come true!

Wowza! Check out the comment on the previous post right down there. That's right, the Design Mom, Gabrielle herself left a comment on my blog. And as if that's not cool enough, she was letting me know I WON A DESIGNMOM GIVEAWAY! I have entered more of those things than I can count. And here's the funny part, it was for a giveaway all the way back in November. She had a big week when she was giving away cool stuff left and right and I entered almost all of them. And every day I very carefully checked her list of the winners hoping to see my name and I never did. But I should have. Because it was there. Right there. How did I miss somthing so fun and exciting?? I won a brand spanking new super cute baby book of Design Mom worthy smartness. The only problem is I have so many pregnant friends, how do I choose who to give it to? Maybe I'll have to hang onto it for #5 someday.
I have to go now to call Cally and brag...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Baby Shower Gift


This bib gave me trouble and the seams are a far cry from straight, but I love the fabrics.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Blown Away



A couple of Saturdays ago we decided it was about time to do something about the leaves. Jake and Andy came over (while Conan went to the mall) to join in the fun. Scott borrowed the Avery's backpack-style heavy-duty leaf blower and took care of our front yard (and the next-door-neighbor's) in no time. It was a perfect day, very mild with the sun shining and all those kids had so much fun playing in the monster-sized leaf piles. They would run and jump in, bury each other, make it into a "leaf fort", and throw big handfuls up in the air. They would take a big handful over to Scott and he would turn the leaf-blower on them and they loved it. Once the whole front yard was in two big piles, the kids helped out by holding the black trash bags open for Scott to stuff full. I don't remember what the final count was, but it was between 15-20 bags. This coming Saturday we're planning to do the back yard, so send your kids on over.

video video

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Fantasy of Trees




The Saturday after Thanksgiving, right before heading to MAYO to get our own Christmas tree, we spent the morning at the Fantasy of Trees at the Knoxville Convention Center. I love going there, we don't do it every year, but may start doing that when the kids are older. It's a charity event to raise money for Children's Hospital. They have lots of crafts and activities for the kids (face painting, a carousel, making ornaments, etc, etc) and a few little knick-knack shops tucked in the corners. They have one section filled with wonderfully detailed gingerbread houses (Emma and Ben are standing by their favorite...the igloo). They have a big stage at one end of the building with dance performances scattered throughout the weekend. But the main thing is the trees. Hundreds of perfectly decorated, usually with some cutesy theme, tall and wonderful Christmas trees. People or businesses or families or 8th grade classrooms or whoever wants to decorates these trees then donates them to be sold (same deal with the gingerbread houses). People like us who are there to look around can choose a tree to purchase and they get to load it up with all the lights and ornaments and whatnot all over it and take it home and put it in their living room and feel good about helping sick kids. I could have stayed and looked at the trees for a long, long time. But we saved it for last and the kids were kind of spent by then. Maybe next year I'll just go by myself.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!



So these pictures aren't particularly Thanksgivingy, but they are the cutest ones from the big day. Just imagine a big turkey somewhere in the background. We had such a great Thanksgiving...I thought I'd never be hungry again. The day started with Scott getting muddy at the Turkey-Bowl and me joining the girls for a pre-emptive workout at the gym. Once we met up back home we got every one gussied up, made our side dishes and headed over to the Compound for the lunch feast with Grandma and Grandpa Cruze. Eldon and Mandy, Rachel and Terry and Austin were all there, too. We ate and ate and had dessert and the kids played all over the place. We watched some football on tv and had a good time visiting with everyone. Next we went straight to Grammy and Grandpa Barber's house for the dinner feast, with the Langfords and Sextons. Amazingly, we had left enough room for more and more eating and desserts. The kids had a talent show (Ben and Josh: a Sponge Bob and Patrick routine, Emma: piano, Lydia: saying "no"), then we put them all to bed and played some games and talked.
Side note: you'll notice the animals being lovingly held by the three big kids. These are their new Webkinz. All three have been talking about these things and wishing for them for months and months now. Wednesday night (before T-giving) we were on an outing to the mall. The kids had all brought their money with them hoping we'd be able to find some and sure enough, there they were. A kiosk had exactly the right animal for each of them that they'd been hoping for. Emma: husky dog, or "wolf" as she prefers to call it named Lucy. Ben: lion named Lion then later changed to Aslund (sp?). Josh: hippo named Blue. Those kids have not been so happy about something for a long time. All Wed. evening they were hugging their animals and smiling non-stop. They have barely put them down. It's been fun.

A few more projects...



Here are two bibs I recently made and two Darth Vader ornaments. The ornaments I saw here on Etsy awhile ago and thought they'd be perfect for some little boys in my life, so I've made a few of those (very easy, but more time-consuming than I thought). The bibs, I imagined all on my own. I really like the sort of sun-burst pattern on the first one and I've been planning to work that in to a lot of things. The piggy-bibby has a way-too-wide neck, so I guess it's for a really fat baby (I keep making slight changes to the bibs' shape and eventually it will be perfect...eventually). I'd been wanting to try terrycloth for the back of a bib for a long time and finally did. I'm sold. I love how cozy it is.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Free Rice


How cool is this? Improve your vocabulary while fighting world hunger. For every word you get correct they donate 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program. 3,059,177,080 grains donated since its launch in early October. Check it out.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Have you ever been this tired?



(With apologies to Katie for the title.)

This was Lydia in the midst of an afternoon snack one day when she hadn't quite had her usual proper mid-day nap. She stayed this way for about half an hour then woke up and was cheerful as could be for the rest of the day.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ben's Birthday Party

I have a bad habit. I'm full of good intentions that don't always (almost never) make it to fruition. My intention was to have a nice, well-planned, themed birthday party for Ben (who turned 6 at the end of October) with all of his buddies from school and church and his cousins sometime very close to his actual birthday. Because I'm a cool mom. His birthday came and went amind a flurry of last soccer games of the season, end of season soccer parties and major house cleaning/minor renovations. I felt less and less cool as I kept giving probable dates that we would have his party and those dates kept not working out. And I still didn't have an actual plan. Finally, one Thursday we decided enough was enough and we would just throw one together. So phone calls were made (no time for actual cute invitations) to let a few guests know we'd be having his party at a nearby park that Saturday. All in all though, it turned out to be a pretty fun party. It was great weather, the kids loved playing on the playground, and I had last minute inspiration to make it a letterboxing party (thank you, Design Mom). I had made each kid their own little notebook (patterned after this one) with their name on it. After some time just playing around we ate cupcakes, made our own stamps out of craft foam and hunted down the letterbox to trade stamps with it.
Next year...next year! His party is going to be really cool...you'll see.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Craft for a Cause

I ran across this blog today: Craft For China. This is just the neatest thing. Go check it out to find out the what, why, who etc. This girl just had a great idea for raising money to donate to Chinese orphanages. Very cool. Why are you still reading this? Go check it out already.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Halloween

Ah, the sugar rush is just starting to die down. Here are the kids at the church Trunk-or-Treat from Tuesday night. (Thomas, Bunny, Vampire, Soccer Player)
They had face-painting there, too. They were all pretty bummed that I washed them off before bed that night.
Of course we went out Wednesday night around our neighborhood as well. Those kids have endurance. They could have kept going all night no matter how heavy their plastic pumpkins got! After we finally came home they made quick work of sorting and trading their candy. For a few days afterwards they kept wanting to sort/trade some more. That's my favorite part of the whole holiday I think...I'm glad they're into it too.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Tagged

It was bound to happen sooner or later. I've been tagged by Alice. I think many of my blogging associates have already played this game, but I will tag them here nonetheless and they can feel free to decline the tag if they've already done it. So Callie, Cally, Ryan, Mandy, Katie, Alyssa, and Jenny....TAG!



"Here are the rules which must be posted on your blog if you are tagged.1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.2. Share 7 facts about yourself: some random, some weird.3. Tag 7 people and list their names (linking to them).4. Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs."



My Seven Facts:



1. I like to try to give a really strong, firm handshake to make up for my small size and quiet voice when I meet people. My goal is to seem dominant.


2. I have an uncanny ability to remember very unimportant long-ago events in excruiating detail. For example, the time when I was 7 or 8 and David was talking on the phone to Lisa as she was working on a diorama for school and was putting some moss in it she had gathered from outside. I talked to David for a minute too and he had me write a sign that said, "Only Weirdos Collect Moss" and put it on her door. Can you believe neither one of them remembers that? And yet I am constantly forgetting more relevant, present-day stuff...like when I've signed up to bring the snacks for nursery.


3. I can curl my tongue into a three-leaf clover shape.


4. I love playing games. It's probably my favorite thing to do with friends or family members. I like really strategic cerebral games and also ones that just make everyone laugh really hard.


5. My favorite way to listen to really good music is in the car. I like to turn it up, sing along and cruise around. When Brad and I were both in high school and rode around together a lot, we were rocking out constantly. We never talked, we always just cranked up the tunes. Any song where two people sang different lines, we would sing the different parts without discussion. Before having kids, Scott and I would sing together all the time too. And we still do, just not as much. I don't feel inclined to jam behind the wheel quite so often anymore, these days I would rather talk to Scott or the kids (and I don't want to hurt the wee ones' ears). But now and then we still crank it up...if Scott and I are alone on a date, or even with all the kids. They're cool kids, they like most of the good music that we do. They like to rock. I guess the point is, I don't need loud music every time I'm in the car (like in my youth)...but to really enjoy the best music, there's nothing like it.

6. I'm allergic to pretty much everything. When I was younger I went to an allergist and I tested positive for 90+ allergens...every single thing I was tested for. Even cockroaches. I got allergy shots for several years and it made a huge difference. Ah-choo.

7. I still look forward to getting older. I wonder when this will reverse.

Ugh, that was a lot harder than I thought it would be. If I think of anything that makes me seem really cool I'll add it on later.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Just Cute




That's all. I just wanted to add some cute photos of Lydia. (And show that she doesn't always have a paci in her mouth...just most of the time.) I love the first photo especially...hello eyelashes! In the bottom one she's wearing the adorable dress the Sextons gave her for her birthday.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Banana Splits


That's what is in their tummies in this picture. Emma and Ben are just home from soccer practice (where they got nice and sweaty then cooled themselves off with a water bottle over the head).
Josh: Chocolate, vanilla and strawberry with banana, pink sprinkles, magic shell, chocolate syrup and whipped cream
Emma: Vanilla and Strawberry with banana, pink sprinkles, and just a dab of chocolate syrup
Ben: Chocolate, vanilla and strawberry with banana, pink sprinkles, magic shell

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Saga of Monkey-Girl Continues

After several days of trying in vain to get on top of the piano bench by herself, Lydia finally succeeded. At first it was just kind of cute. She's so little and the piano is so big and she's just sitting there happily plinking the keys. If she'd left it at that there would be no problem.


But it quickly became wearisome.


I mean, come on Lydia.


Seriously.


video

Friday, October 12, 2007

Nickel Creek






We went to a bittersweet concert last night. Sweet because Nickel Creek has been one of my favorite bands for the past six years. Their sound is so likable, so easy to get completely caught up in. This was the third concert of their's we've been to and it always takes my appreciation to a new level watching their hands and fingers fly to a blur, never missing a note. Their raw talent is mesmerizing. Bitter because last night's concert was part of their Farewell For Now Tour. In the name of following individual pursuits they are taking a hiatus as a band. "Nooo!" Yeah, that's what I said when I first heard of such nonsense too. Their three albums have a strong representation in nearly every playlist on our ipod. I don't like the idea of never getting anything new from them again. They did play a few numbers last night not on their albums, maybe those will become available someday. In the meantime, here is what we were treated with last night:

(I intended to link each title to a youtube video of that song in concert, but there's too many songs and I've run out of time as usual! You'll have to look the rest up yourself.)

1. Ode to a Butterfly (the kiddo's favorite NC song)


2. When In Rome


3. Reasons Why


4. Smoothie Song


5. More Like You


6. When You Come Back Down


7. House of Tom Bombadil


8. Best of Luck


9. Can't Complain


10. Non-album instrumental I did not catch the name of


11. All This Time (non-album)


12. The Fox


13. House Carpenter (followed by some great jammin')


14. Non-album cover that i again didn't catch the name


15. Jealous of the Moon


16. Scotch and Chocolate


17. This Side


18. First and Last Waltz


19. Helena


20. Out of the Woods


21. Cuckoo's Nest


22. Anthony


23. Lighthouse (with the best jammin' of the evening)


then the encore...


24. Cover of Toxic (by Brittney Spears, I know, but it was really funny)


25. Non-album song, maybe called Lulu Girl?


26. Why Should the Fire Die (second half of song here) (best song of the night, of course. They sing this one with instruments unplugged and all huddled around a single mic for a beautiful sound. Come on guys, why should the fire die?)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Etsy find...





The featured seller over on Etsy right now is kpglassjewelry1. Her hand-blown glass jewelry is so cool. I love the colors and the originality and just overall awesomeness...I mean come on...she makes those beads!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Barbados

My friend from BYU, Ryan, recently moved to Barbados with her hubby Paul (who works for the foreign service) and their three kids. Here is her first post from abroad. Paradise looks like a nice place to live.
Seriously.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

What's on your fridge?

I have seen quite a bit of "what's in your bag" blogging lately. While I find these fun to look at, the inside of my own bag is not very interesting (diapers, cell phone, cheerios...no surprises. the outside of my bag of course is stunning, but I've already posted about that).

I was looking at my fridge the other day and realized that would be a better post for me. 


1. Two blue hearts. One from Emma, one from Ben. Given to Scott for Father's Day when they were both in nursery.

2. Magnet of St. Louis skyline. I'm pretty sure my mom gave this to us (we were married in St. Louis).

3. A fake rude note. This is a great story. About 7 years ago, when we lived in Utah, Joel and Jenica bought a beautiful 80 year old bungalow in Lehi. It was full of charm and character and safety code violations. The first several months J&J were busy totally revamping the plumbing, electricity, gutting and rearranging the kitchen, etc, etc. They did not worry about the yard for the time being, they planned to do a landscaping overhaul and lay sod in the future (which they did). So one day they come home and find a note on the door. This note was from one of the daughters of the older couple who had lived there before them (this lady had grown up in the house). I can't remember the details of the note, but it said something to the effect of "the yard looks pretty shabby, let me know if there's anything I can do to help, mother always took such pride in the yard...". This was hysterical on so many levels. #1, the yard did not look great when they bought the house. #2, maybe they would have had more time to spruce it up were there not such an overwhelming amount of work to be done inside. #3, who leaves that kind of a note on anyone's door for any reason 20 years after they've grown up and move out?? The note made them laugh so much they displayed it proudly on their fridge. So that's the background for our note. It was only a little while after this incident that Scott and I returned home to find this clever note on our own front door: "Dear Mr. and Mrs. Scott Cruze, I was very sad to drive by and see the condition of this yard. I know it's really none of our concern since you now own the house but mother always took such pride in its appearance I think she would turn in her grave to see it turned in to a big trash heap. And if she were still alive, bless her heart, it would probably kill her to see it like this -- inhabited by common Southern trash. If you need any help I'm sure your neighbors could pitch in and buy you a one way Greyhound ticket back to Trashville for the both of you as well as your ugly little child. Please give us a call." That gem of hilarity has been part of our fridge landscape ever since.

4. More comedy. Early in the summer we went to Oak Island with the Langfords and Sextons. When we got in our car to head home, we found this list on the back of a receipt (written by David): "Things to talk about on the way home. 1. The rate of Allen's hair loss compared to the decline of morals in our society. 2. Why all meat taste rather like chicken? Did all life evolve from chickens? 3. If you were stranded on Oak Island with only one book, one PS3 game, one type of drink, and one toiletry item, what would you choose? 4. If your kids had to break at least one item at the beach house, what would it be...or what was it? [sad, but true, a lot of things got broken that trip and our kids were not blameless] 5. Why are Scott's legs so hairy yet his chest so bare? 6. What Hollywood star does David most resemble?"

5. Hale Nielsen Barber's birth announcement.

6. Emma's spelling words, help by a butterfly magnet her friend gave her.

7. Leaf-shaped magnet that can be turned. It wasy "Just do it!" on one side and "done" on the other side. Any guesses what it's for? (hint: you probably have received some version of this multiple times in your Relief Society career)

8. Ben's soccer team last spring.

9. Scott and Lori at the church Valentine's dance.

10. Flower magnet painted by Emma, holding up Michelle Hanks' Pampered Chef business card.

11. Magnet made from Emma's kindergarten self-portrait.

12. Photo from Emma's kindergarten field trip to the pumpkin patch, in a plastic frame she decorated.

13. Felt brown and pink lady bug magnet (inspired by this).

14. I love these. My favorite things on the fridge. On the left, Scott and Josh's pics from a photo booth at the mall. From when they were having "special joshee-daddy time". On the right, pics from same photo booth, Scott with all four kids this time. This set of photos was from when I was at the beach with the girls. Scott is not a sit around at home kind of guy, so when he wasn't coaching soccer games on Saturday, he was walking around the mall with the kids (pet store, pennies in fountains, and of course, photo booth). What a great dad.

15. Reminder card for dentist appointments for the kids.

16. Our pediatrician's recommended check-up schedule. I'm not sure why this is up here. I never look at it.

17. The First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles. Another story here. When I was growing up, to encourage us kids to learn the names of the apostles, we were each promised a full pound size bag of M&Ms if we could memorize a chart like this. A year or two ago, I thought we could try the same sort of bribery on our kids and thus the chart on the fridge. Emma and Ben both know all of their full names now (though they will have to learn a new one tomorrow when the newest member of the Twleve is announced). And Josh was able to learn the First Presidency pretty quickly once he realized they were all names from Thomas the Tank Engine.