Thursday, September 30, 2010

September 30

I got my battery charger in the mail today, so we're back in business (and I will post a picture on yesterday's post as well).

This afternoon, while we were playing outside, Audrey was eager to pose for the camera. But part of her pose included pulling up her shirt and sticking her finger in her belly button. Such a silly girl!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

September 29

I did take a picture today, but I can't get it off my camera because my camera battery died this afternoon. And I can't charge my camera battery, because I left the charger at my mom's house in Iowa. Don't worry--the charger is in its way here right now, so I won't be missing from Picture a Day Land for long.

Once I have a fully charged battery, I will come back and post today's picture. It's a cute one!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

September 28

Tonight Daniel was cleaning our new refrigerator with our new stainless steel cleaner (I never knew such a thing existed! Our dishwasher, which has always been in our house and I have always cleaned with regular cleaner and has never looked very good, looks like new too!).

Anyway, Audrey wanted to help Daddy clean. So she spent a good amount of time "cleaning" the refrigerator with her rag while wearing only her diaper and socks.

And then she took a break from cleaning to say "cheese" for the camera!

Monday, September 27, 2010

September 27

Here's a little taste of what goes on in the Shelton household after Audrey goes to bed:

Try not to be too jealous of the exciting and romantic life that we lead.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

September 26

One more flashback picture tonight and then I'll be back to posting current pictures tomorrow.

Our friends get together every year for what we call Martha Stewart Fall Fun Weekend. The weekend involves a trip to a pumpkin patch that was featured in Martha Stewart magazine...hence the name. It also involved an overnight stay at the Snyder house, featuring a great home cooked meal, and a trip to an apple orchard, the outlet mall, and an old-fashioned candy kitchen/restaurant.

The picture above is from the first Martha Stewart weekend that I attended in 2007. It's fun to look back and see how our original group has changed/grown over the years!

2007: Simon was just a few months old, and Cael was just a few months away from being born.

2008: Simon and Cael were with us, and Audrey was just a month away from being born, and Elliot was just a few months away from being born.

2009: Simon, Cael, Audrey and Elliot were with us. And Breanne was pregnant with Julia! And maybe Joni was pregnant with Jackson, or at least close to being pregnant with Jackson.

2010: This year our trip is coming up in just a couple of weeks. Due to the popularity of the event and the fact that we all keep having kids, we've had to change it from an overnight trip to a day trip. But it's still going to be fun!! Can't wait!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

September 25

No flashback pictures tonight. This is a picture from my photo shoot with Baby Ava and her parents in Keokuk today. I'm too tired to go through all the pictures tonight, so this is the only one I have edited so far. Ava is a cutie!!

Audrey and I are back home with Daddy. The next few weeks don't look to be quite as hectic as the past few weeks have been. So I'm looking forward to getting back to a regular busy schedule instead of the crazy busy we have been lately!

Friday, September 24, 2010

September 24

At the start of this week, I thought that using a flashback picture would be easier than having to come up with a new picture every day. But I have A LOT of pictures on my computer, so it's hard to make a decision on what picture to post!

I was scrolling through pictures tonight and found this one, from a Girl's Night Out that we did in St. Louis in October 2006. Almost four years ago! Back when we didn't have kids (though I think Lindsey was pregnant here, but she hadn't told anyone yet). And when we were free to go away for a weekend and forget about all of our responsibilities! Aw, good memories!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

September 23

I have several pictures/stories to post today...

Audrey and I are in Keokuk for a couple of days visiting my mom. It just happens to be Homecoming weekend, so we took Audrey to watch the Homecoming Parade tonight. It was her very first parade! Now the Keokuk Homecoming parade probably shouldn't even be considered a real parade, but Audrey seemed to like it. She was a bit scared of the fire trucks that kept honking their horns and blaring their sirens. She stared intently (see picture above) at the band and all of the trucks and the kids. She especially liked the sucker that they threw out to her. And when we got back to Nana's house, she kept saying, "Tarade. Again!" And then she kept talking about the trucks and kids and her sucker. So I think she liked it.

The picture above is from tonight's parade, but it has a flashback story. Andrew, one of the Homecoming King candidates this year, is a friend of our family. We have known his family since I was a baby. They have 11 kids, and Andrew is the second youngest. I clearly remember Andrew as a baby; I would have been 12-13 at the time. He was so much fun to hold. He would suck his thumb with one hand, and then he would grab on to your hair with the other hand. He was so sweet and cuddly. And now he is nominated for Homecoming King and will soon be graduating and going to college. Audrey is right when she says to me, "Mommy old!" (which is how she greeted me this morning, by the way!).

And here's a flashback picture from a football game during my senior year of high school. Yes, I know, we were super cool.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September 22

Today is day 600 of this photo a day blogging experience. I cannot believe I have been doing this for 600 days!!!! I am pretty sure this is the most committed I have ever been to any project I have ever taken on in my entire life. It has become such a habit and a part of my daily routine; I would really miss it if I ever decided to quit.

This blog has really turned into more of a personal journal for me...a personal journal that I share with all of the rest of you out there in internet land. I kind of wonder how many of you are out there. I have a counter on my blog, but that doesn't really give me an accurate number if you read this with a blog reader and don't actually come to my page. If you're feeling brave, maybe you should leave me a comment and let me know you are reading!

For this flashback picture, I went back through some of the old blog posts looking for some of my favorite pictures. This one (from May 4, 2009) is one of my all time favorites, though I know poor Audrey is going to hate it someday!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

September 21

Kellie decided that this week should be Flashback Week, so I'm going to join in with her in posting some old pictures for the next couple of days.

Flashback #1: Audrey's birth day. I'm in the midst of planning Audrey's 2nd birthday party, which has me thinking a lot about her very first birthday.

I can't believe how fast time has flown.

I can't believe that she was ever this small.

I can't believe that she is now a little girl and no longer my little baby.

I can't believe that she pointed to me at lunch today and said, "Mommy old". (Well, actually I can believe that, since I heard Daniel teach her what to say while we were discussing the fact that my 30th birthday is quickly approaching!)

Monday, September 20, 2010

September 20

Our new refrigerator was delivered today! It's a definite improvement over the old one. My only complaint is that it moves when you open the door...but Daniel says he can fix that, so I'm happy.

Also, Daniel and his friend Brayden got the fallen tree moved out of our backyard today. The rest of the tree will soon be going away as well. =( The good news is that the insurance company is covering more than we expected, and it looks like we will have to pay very little out of pocket to have this tree removed.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

September 19

I failed at taking any pictures today, so I'm going to post another one from yesterday's photo shoot instead. I have been slowly working at getting all of these pictures edited. But it's just busy, busy, busy around here lately!

I currently have four part time jobs! Normally those four jobs don't overlap too much, so it doesn't feel quite so hectic. But last week and this week, I have work to do for all four jobs: piano lessons, two Stampin Up events, two photo shoots, and work for my dad (typing data, a very easy but very boring job!). Plus, there are volunteer jobs--like teaching a class on Wednesday nights at church and helping with Sprouts and helping Daniel plan his 80s party. And then there are all the household jobs--like cleaning and cooking and taking care of Audrey, who does a very good job of demanding my attention during her waking hours! And then there are the fun things--like planning Audrey's birthday party, going to a moms Bible study, watching all the fall TV show premieres, and of course, reading!

So that's why I feel like everything is so crazy busy lately. I do like to be busy. I like having jobs to do. I like the little bit of extra money from the jobs. I like all of my hobbies and interests. Most of the things that are keeping me busy are things that I enjoy doing. It's just all piled a little too high right now. Hopefully once this week is over, we can get back to a normal and less crazy kind of busy! For now, it's 11:15 pm and I'm off to do a little more typing for my dad (while watching last week's episode of Vampire Diaries...I'm all about multi-tasking!!).

Saturday, September 18, 2010

September 18

Today I had a photo shoot with the Lanter/Zapf families. Cute kids!!!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

September 17

Every year Daniel hosts a Worship Ministry Banquet as a thank you to all the volunteers who serve in his ministry. He's lucky he has a wife who loves party planning, so he always has someone to come up with his decorations and games for these events! =)

This year's party theme was the Eighties. Everyone seemed to have fun participating in our "Name that Movie" and "Name that Tune" games tonight. And there were some really great costumes! I even dressed up Audrey. With her side ponytail and bright legwarmers, she was a very cute child of the 80s!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

September 16

Sprouts opening day went really well this morning! We had about 50 kids and 35 moms there, so it was very crowded. We do have a big play area, but that's 85 people!!! In the past, the crowdedness has seemed quite chaotic to me. I didn't feel the chaos as much this morning, and I think the new arrangement of our play area helped to keep things running smoothly.

We also began a new Clean Up Time system this morning, and it worked wonderfully. We got the whole place cleaned up (it doesn't take 50 kids long to make a really big mess!), and all of the moms and kids to story time in only 7 minutes. Then everyone enjoyed a fun storytime and a yummy snack.

I like when things work out just like we planned them! It makes all the hard work seem worth it! Oh, and this picture is of our updated Baby Patch play area. It may not look all that exciting, but it is a huge improvement over what the space looked like last year.

So, this crazy busy week is almost over. One more big event tomorrow night--South Side's annual Worship Ministry Party. This year we are doing an 80s theme; it's going to be a lot of fun!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

September 15

Last winter, we started this playgroup called Sprouts at our church (more on Sprouts here and here and here!) We didn't meet over the summer, so things are starting back up tomorrow. My friend Lindsey and I have been working like crazy this week to get everything ready. Lots of cleaning needed (and still needs) to be done, and we also set up some new play areas. We have a budget of $0 for our play area, so everything we use has been donated...or we have found it lying around the church and re-purposed it.

Sprouts just inherited the pyramid from our Egyptian VBS set. We have been trying to find a way to make it fit the space, rather than just being some huge, random pyramid in the middle of the preschool play area. So we turned it into a Tree House. The Tree House features a bedroom, dress up closet, nursery, kitchen and dining room that the kids can play with and explore. I'm pretty please with how we pulled all of this random stuff together to turn it into a fun imaginative play area. Hopefully the kids will like it tomorrow!

And now it's time to go back out to church and continue cleaning and setting up for the big opening day tomorrow! We always end up working late at night after the kids are in bed, because we get so much more done when they are not around!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

September 14

This is Audrey's sea lion face. She went to the zoo with Daniel last week, and they saw some sea lions. She calls them "be lies", and makes this funny face whenever you ask her about them.

Monday, September 13, 2010

September 13

This is multi-tasking at its finest. Tonight I'm watching 80s movies in preparation for the 80s party we are hosting on Friday night while working on my lesson for the hermeneutics class Daniel and I are teaching at church on Wednesday night. It's a busy week around here!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

September 12

The Tree.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11

What a day!! Get ready for a long post, because I have a lot to talk about tonight!

The biggest event of the day: the tree in our backyard falling down. Well, that’s a slight exaggeration…the whole tree didn’t fall down, but a tree sized portion of it did. It is a gigantic tree, really about the size of three trees, and about 1/3 of it just split and fell down tonight. For no reason. No storms. No wind. It just fell down.

Fortunately, it fell in the best possible place. It did not hit us or our house or our cars or garage. It did hit the shed behind the garage and the power lines and transformers in the alley (taking out the power to our whole side of the block; I’m sure our neighbors love us right now).

Besides worrying about cleaning up the massive tree in our backyard, we now have to worry about what to do with the rest of the tree that is still in the ground. Obviously, it is not too healthy. You can see the rot on the part of the tree that split. I’m assuming the rest of the tree is rotten as well. My biggest concern: what if the rest of the tree decides to fall down? Like tonight, while we are sleeping in our upstairs bedroom??? And then the next biggest concern: how much is it going to cost to get rid of this tree? Seriously, it is HUGE!!! The electric company man estimated at least $2000. Just to get rid of a rotten tree…ugh.

Before the tree fell down, the biggest event of the day was Audrey’s double ear infection. She’s been quite a grump for the past couple of days, and I wondered if she wasn’t feeling well. And then today she kept crying and saying, “Ears! Ow!” So we took her to prompt care, and she was right—her ears were hurting her! It’s kind of nice that she was able to tell us what hurt. Makes diagnosing the problem much easier! The cutest thing about the trip was she kept calling the doctor’s office the “doctor’s house”, clearly enunciating each syllable. It was really adorable and made up for all the screaming she did while we were waiting to see the doctor.

And before the tree fell down and before we took Audrey to the doctor, the other biggest event of the day was us buying a new refrigerator. This would have been the good news of the day, because we really need a new refrigerator. Our current fridge is not staying cold enough and our milk keeps spoiling. However, with the pending costs of removing the tree looming ahead of us, the fact that we just spent a good chunk of money on the refrigerator is not making us feel very good financially right now.

Here’s hoping for a less eventful day tomorrow!!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

September 10

A few of the Blakleys came over tonight and taught us a new card game. Good times!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

September 9

So this is why we will never get rid of Maggie (as much as I may want to some days!). Look how cute they are running together! Audrey had so much fun running around with her in the backyard tonight. I think it was a lot more fun for Audrey, who had control of Maggie's precious water bottle and kept teasing her with it. But Maggie seemed to accept the fact that Audrey is in control now and was content enough to just chase Audrey around without ever actually getting a hold of the water bottle.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

September 8

It's been a while since I've done a library book post, so I think it's about time for another one.

I think I'm addicted to library books. Every time I go to the library, I end up with way more books than I will ever read in the allotted check out time. I suppose that's not necessarily a bad thing; there are worse addictions out there. I also think I'm addicted to fountain Diet Dr. Pepper...which is probably a worse addiciton...and it's also a post for another day.

Audrey and I go to the library about once per week. Audrey just loves to go to the "bubby" where she can look at all the "gooks" and do "tuddles" and ride on the "a-gor" and usually see a "bus". Translation...Audrey's favorite things to do at the library: look at books, do the puzzles, ride on the elevator and see the busses. Ever since we took the city bus to the state fair a few weeks ago, Audrey has been obsessed with busses. The library is downtown, and we almost always see a bus or two on our way in or out of the library...therefore Audrey now associates the library with busses!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

September 7

We had fun hanging out at the table after dinner tonight, just talking and singing with Audrey. Audrey got a hold of this water bottle and started teasing Maggie with it. Water bottles are Maggie's absolute favorite toy. So it was driving Maggie crazy...and it was cracking Audrey up!

Monday, September 6, 2010

September 6

Alright, I'm all caught up now. Pictures for the past three days are posted below!
Today it was time to pack up and go home. Not the most fun part of the camping experience. After packing all of our stuff into the car, we decided to take a trip to the outlet malls in Tuscola. Labor Day sales plus coupons plus gift cards made for some fun shopping!!

And then we finally made it home for good. Poor Maggie, who was locked in the bathroom all weekend (with people coming to check on her and let her out), was excited for us to be home! Can't you just see the excitement on her face in this picture? And we're glad to be home too, though exhausted and a bit grumpy and not quite ready for the week to begin tomorrow!

September 5

After church on Sunday morning, we all headed back to the camp. The weather warmed up just a bit, making the weather even more perfect! We spent the afternoon walking around, letting the kids play, and even went for a paddle boat ride on the lake. And of course, we took the time for some photo shoots.

September 4

It continued to be chilly and windy on Saturday but still sunny. It was great camping weather. I loved pulling out all of our long sleeve shirts and sweaters and pants.

We had another good day on Saturday, then we ended up coming back home on Saturday night (it's only about an hour drive). Daniel and Lindsey had to be at church early Sunday morning, so we decided it would be easier to come home and get ready for church from home. It's a good thing we did come home as the weather was even colder on Saturday night. Windy and in the 40s!

P.S. Someone should really get this little girl a haircut! What kind of mom would let their daughter run around with such shaggy hair?? =)

September 3

This weekend we went camping with the Lanter family at Little Galilee Christian Camp. It was Family Camp this it was like camping and church camp combined. We slept in our tents and had our own little campsite with a fire pit. But we ate all of our meals in the dining hall and attended the main sessions with everyone else.

On Friday, Daniel and Adam went up early to set up our tents. The wind was crazy (it was pretty crazy the whole weekend, actually), so setting up the tents wasn't easy. But they succeeded, so we had a place to sleep for the night. This picture is of Audrey in the Lanters' tent. They had a big tent with a cool door that Audrey loved!

It was CHILLY and windy on Friday night. Audrey ended up spending the night with us on our air mattress because I was afraid she was going to be too cold alone in her pack n play. It really was cold. And I really liked having her sleep with us. This was the first time that she has ever slept in bed with us. And it was fun!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

September 3-5

We are going camping this weekend, so I won't be able to post any pictures until we get back on Monday. Happy Labor Day weekend!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

September 2

Today I decided that it was about time for Audrey to start pulling her weight around this she did "chores" with me all day long! =)

Really, I just was trying to find a way to actually get something done during the day. Audrey always wants to be right by my side. She gets mad if I even walk to the other side of the room without her. It drives me nuts, because I never feel like I have even a second to get something done without interruption. (I'm probably exaggerating this a bit...she will sit and play with her toys and books by herself for periods of time. But it just feels like she is ALWAYS wanting my attention).

So today, I decided to use Audrey's clinginess to my advantage. And I enlisted her "help" to complete the day's tasks. Here is what we did:

1. Laundry. Audrey is a big helper when it comes to putting clothes in and taking clothes out of the dryer. She is not a very big helper when it comes to folding clothes. Her idea of helping is to take all the neatly folded clothes and throw them all around the room.

2. Sweeping: I let Audrey have the swiffer, while I took the broom, and we swept the kitchen, dining room and entry way. This worked fairly well, as long as Audrey was able to manage the swiffer. She had a hard time handling it sometimes, and that made her very frustrated.

3. Vacuuming: In the past, Audrey has been somewhat scared of the vacuum. So I thought I would let her help me push it and see if that made her a litte less scared. She did think it was fun to push it, but at the speed we were going it was going to take all day to vacuum one room. So I got her popper/push toy and told her it was her own "vacuum". That kept her busy long enough for me to sweep the living and piano rooms. She kept pointing to hers and saying, "Audrey. Gacuum." And then to the vacuum and saying, "Mommy. Gacuum."

4. Baking: Since the rest of the day had gone so well, I decided to be brave and try to bake some muffins with Audrey tonight. And she totally impressed me. We've done a little bit of cooking (I've let her drop a few vegetables in the crockpot)...but I haven't ever tried to bake anything with her...too much potential for a messy disaster I thought. Tonight, with my help, she mashed the bananas, put all the ingredients into the bowl, stirred everything, put the dirty dishes in the sink, put the muffin cups in the pan, and then put the batter in the muffin cups. I thought for sure she or me or the counter or floor (or all of the above) would be a mess by the time we were done...but she kept everything pretty clean and followed every direction I gave her perfectly. Seriously, I was so impressed.

And then we put the muffins in the oven, and I told her when the oven beeped she could have a bite. When the oven did beep, she was so excited. She yelled, "Oven beep! Bite! Eat!" and ran into the kitchen. And then we ate muffins. And they were delicious!

Lessons I learned today:
1. When Audrey is "helping", it takes twice as much time and energy to get chores done. But at least some things got done.
2. I often underestimate Audrey's abilities. I think it is because I am in denial about her growing up. I'm not ready for her to do all these big girl things. I want her to be my little baby forever!
3. Audrey liked being a helper. She kept saying, "Help me" all day long...meaning she wanted to help me do whatever I was doing. (The girl doesn't quite understand pronouns yet!).

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September 1

The Springfield school district has a program called Parents as Teachers. It's open for parents to bring their kids for structured play time and activities. Tonight was their kick off program--Messy Play Daniel and I took Audrey for some messy fun! And we ran into our friends Adam, Lindsey, Simon and Elliot while we were there.

Audrey had fun playing with the shaving cream and the bubbles and giving the baby dolls a bath. She really didn't get too messy though. Not compared to her friend Elliot. I love to compare the two of them. Elliot is all boy--always into everything and always making a mess. Audrey is much more prissy, and she hates to be even a little bit messy.

You can see a little bit of a difference between Audrey's messy and Elliot's messy in the picture below. But this was only the beginning of the mess for Elliot. After getting into the shaving cream, he found his way into a bucket full of tiny seeds, and then he found his way into the yellow paint. I really wish I would have taken a picture of him at the end of the night--it was hilarious and adorable!!