Tuesday, March 31, 2009

How to clean your Pod...

Who said dishwashers were just for dishes??

(Yes, this is what happens when Daddies are left in charge of the children. Although I suppose if Aidan's this interested in the dishwasher, I might have a future helper on my hands!!).


Ok, ok, real bathtime... we've retired the big white tub and we're finally going big-boy style! Bathtime is much more pleasant for everyone now - the last couple weeks, I've been battling Aidan wanting to climb out, using the sides of his white tub to launch himself over the edge. Now he's re-discovered his love for splashing and is enjoying his freedom! (and he HEARTS his snack bag clip!)


Aidan is crawling fast now. He loves standing by the sliding door, especially if the kitties are waiting on the other side. And I think he waved [on purpose] for the first time tonight... at me! Oh, and he loved Chad's spicy meatballs from Olive Garden last night! YUM!!


We're off to Westport tomorrow... considering the weather we've had lately, we're not expecting much. Heck, it'll probably snow!!! I'll be back on Friday with pictures!!!


Oh, and I thought I'd show you exactly why I haven't lost any weight recently... : )

(Thank goodness they only sell them once a year. In England, they're sold all year long. That's why I had to leave. Darn creamy fondant and chocolaty goodness.)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Can it be? Nahh. Really? No way.

This can't be the face of a boy who's 10 1/2 months old.


This can't be the face of a boy who's fascination for the stairs is growing like a wildfire.


These can't be the "banana puff-covered chubbs of a once-premature baby boy." Oh yeah, juicy.


That can't be the true beginnings of a unibrow, can it? Uh, yeah.


Those aren't the little hands that have learned how to clap, are they? Oh yes!


That can't be the "I'm concentrating" scowl just like the one Mama uses.


Oops, I guess it can (I can't believe I'm posting this picture. I swear, that double-chin is fake!!! And do I seriously look that mad when I'm on my computer??? Yikes.).


And as I was taking pictures for Aidan's birthday invitations, I thought to myself... this can't be the face of a boy who's about to turn 1. Can it be? Nahh. Really? No way.

birthday boy 3


Aidan went with me to my dentist appt. yesterday and I was anticipating Dr. Jim knowing some trick to get into kids' mouths. But he had a worse time than I do! So the verdict is still out on whether Aidan has 5 teeth or 6. Oh well... I guess we'll know eventually!


I fixed my button size, in case you want to add it! And check out Brooke's scrolling button feature on the bottom of her right sidebar. It's awesome!!! I bet she'll tell you where she got it if you leave her a comment. : ) Updated: she just posted her very own button!! Go check it out!


Busy week ahead of me... getting together with my friends Brooke and Susan for an Aidan-Sophia-Ryan playdate tomorrow. And next week we're going to Westport on the coast for 2 days with my mom and the boys. It'll be Aidan's first time dippin' his toesies in the sand! You better believe I'll be taking my camera!


Now, I think I'll just sit and stare at this picture for awhile longer...


Whaddya think? Invitation-worthy? And post-party, you'll see Kameron's t-shirts make their appearance on the thank you cards. I can't wait!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Blog tutorial #2: buttons & text boxes

Preface: this tutorial was a bizillion times harder than making the actual button and figuring out the HTML. Why, you ask? I'll tell you!! Because, when you write HTML in a blog post, instead of showing the code, it actually tries to perform what you wrote. It's like when you write a website address in an e-mail and it automatically highlights it blue, like it's ready for action. Well, similiar idea here. So I actually had to use the very thing I'm trying to teach you (text boxes) to put my code into, so you could see it and copy it! Geez.

I am sort of a genius, though. My dear husband couldn't figure it out, and I did. Yes, that's why they pay me the big bucks.

Wait a minute... no one's paying me the big bucks. Think I should take part of Chad's monthly income?? Yes! Oh wait... I already do!! : )

Ok, here we go! (And by the way, if you've made buttons/text boxes, please don't tell me there's a short-cut and I'm a total idiot. After spending days on this, I just can't be crushed like that.). : )


Step #1: make a button (design) using an editing program - this is the part where you have to know a little on your own. I have an older program called Fireworks, which apparently no one in this century has heard of! So it wouldn't really help for me to show you how I make them. You can use Photoshop, PS Elements, probably even Paint, which I think everyone has! Or picnik, if you just want to use a photo and add some text.

For my button, I used some of the background papers and a flower graphic from this kit and added text and Aidan's picture. Here it is, deconstructed...

The most important thing to remember is the size... for instance, I made my button 220x220 pixels, and it's too big for my friend Kam's sidebar. I should've known because I was the dork who made her sidebar!! Anyway, to be safe, I would keep the width 200 and below. MckMama's "MckMiracle" button is 186x220.


Step #2: upload your image to an image hosting site... I use Photobucket for all of my blog work. It's free (to a point) and fairly easy to use. You'll be coming back to Photobucket in a second, so leave it open!


Step #3: go to your blog Layout page, Page Elements, and click "Add a Gadget." (I'm assuming you can all find this... if not, let me know). Pick the gadget called "HTML/Java Script."

Copy this code (ctrl+c) and paste it (ctrl+v) into the content area of the gadget box:

<center><a href="www.awstoker.blogspot.com"><img alt="adventures of aidanpod" src="http://i417.photobucket.com/albums/pp259/mikkicat/aidanpodbutton-1.png" /></a></center>

You'll be coming back to this and changing the colored sections in a sec!


Step #4: get the url for your image. I'll explain how you do it with Photobucket...

- go to your image

- hover over it and 4 choices will pop up below: Email & IM, Direct Link, HTML code, IMG code. Click on the code for "Direct Link" (it highlights it automatically) and copy.


Step #5: go back to the gadget you just made, highlight the BLUE text and paste your Direct Link into my code. Also, change the RED sections to match your blog address and the blog name you'd like it to say when people hover over your button - i.e. when you hover over the new "Prayers for Stellan" button, you'll see it says "Prayers Please." But there's nothing when you hover over "MckMiracle." It's up to you!

... what you've done so far is added the actual button to your own site. Now you need the box of code for people to grab your button and add it to theirs!!


Step #6: making the text box for people to "grab your button"... (and I'm displaying my tutorials inside text boxes! Double learning action!!!)

Copy the text below, but again, fill in those same sections with your info.

<center><textarea rows="4" cols="20" name="txtSpot"><center><a href="www.awstoker.blogspot.com"><img alt="adventures of aidanpod" src="http://i417.photobucket.com/albums/pp259/mikkicat/aidanpodbutton-1.png" /></a></center></textarea></center>

You can change the size of this text box by playing with the row and column (cols) numbers. Some people like to have their text box be the same size as the button above it. I made all of the text boxes in this tutorial [cols="50"] so you could see more text. Chad told me to give it the random name "txtSpot" - I think it's just like a placeholder. It probably works without it, but you know, sometimes I question the boss and sometimes I don't. : )


Step #7: paste the text box code into the same HTML/Java Script box as before, just below the code for your image. You can also add a line of text, like I did with my "Put the Pod on your blog" line. Remember to add the "center" opening and closing tags if you want it centered!! The little "i" tags are Italics.

The final product!!

Hopefully this works for you!! The hardest part for most of you, I think, will be making the actual button. But if you have a way to add text to a picture, you can make one similiar to MckMama's. Keep it simple! I still need to resize my button so it fits on everyone's blogs.

And even if you'll never use this/figure it out, leave a comment and tell me how BOMB I am for figuring out this tutorial!!! Ya know, to impress my code-slave of a husband!! : ) heehee


p.s. my Spring break is next week... I can't freakin' wait!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cerebral Palsy Awareness month


I came into the world of blogging last summer, when I did a search for cleft palate and found Ian's blog, which led me to a whole slew of other cleft kids... which led me to a whole ton of other moms out there, just like me. It's been fun educating my family and blogging buddies about Aidan's cleft and the issues that go along with it, and it's also been incredible learning about other amazing kids.

One of those amazing kids is a little guy named Logan with cerebal palsy (check out his story at Life of Logan - and don't miss the slide show at the bottom!!). I saw his gorgeous eyelashes over at I ♥ Faces and I've been a follower ever since! His mama, Keri, is a total picture-taking freak like me, so what more could I want?!

Well... it's March and it's Cerebal Palsy awareness month... AND it's time to enter a big ol' giveaway over at Life of Logan!

Here's my collage of "green" photos, in honor of CP!!

green collage

Did you know???

- Cerebral palsy is one of the most common developmental disabilities in the US,
affecting at least 800,000 children, adolescents and adults in America. Cerebral
palsy is NOT a disease nor should it be considered one. It is not even a simple
or single disorder but rather a broad range of disorders that disrupt a person’s
ability to move, sit, stand, walk, talk and use their hands. The severity of the
movement disorder and the type of movement difficulties can vary greatly. Some
patients have only mild difficulties with balance, walking and fine motor skills
while patients at the other extreme are completely trapped in their own bodies,
fighting rigid limbs, and unable to speak or swallow.

- There is currently no cure for cerebral palsy and in most cases, it is not preventable. In over 50 years, treatments for CP have not progressed much at
all. In fact, today, there remains little consensus among medical professionals
regarding what causes CP or how best to treat it. Why do 800,000 or more
Americans have CP, and yet we don’t know much more about what causes it or how to prevent it than we did a half century ago?

Head over to Life of Logan right now, before March 27th!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

I ♥ Faces - "No Flash"

Since I blew it by missing part of last week's "Green" theme, I'm determined to get my kid AND adult pics in for "No Flash." And since I hardly ever take pictures with my flash, this was easy!!!

Drumroll please...

For the first time ever...

I'm entering a picture of a kid other than Aidan for my Kid's entry. Oh no! Sorry, Pod, we'll get you again next week. This week is all about Ella. Sweet Ella, Cinderella.


Ella's one lucky girl... she is not only blessed with gorgeous features, but thanks to her actor Dad, she's quite the little "drama queen" (read: doesn't mind posing for the camera!). And she also gets to play dress-up in a room filled with tons of natural light. Look at those eyes!! (see her mommy Allison's blog here).


And here's my adult entry... I meant to enter this for Green week, but actually like it better for this category. My once-was-better-but-I'm-surpassing-him photographer husband (heehee!) snapped this photo when Aidan was 2 days old.

green polka dots

No flash. No time for makeup. No time for a cute hair-do (heck, did I even shower back then??). And certainly no time to change out of my grubby ol' green sweatshirt. Just me and my wide-smiled Sweet Pea, in all our glory.

You must, MUST check out I ♥ Faces if you haven't already! Go enter your "No Flash" picture right now, before your internet goes down!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Better than the tub...

As I was heading home last night (from my 18-24 month size shopping spree for Aidan!!), I was reminded of an Olympia attraction I've had my eye on ever since I moved here... ever since we found out we were pregnant... ever since Aidan showed the slightest interest in splashing in the tub...

When the sun comes back and it warms up 'round here, I'm taking Aidan to see THIS...

fountain 1

It's our own personal Bellagio Hotel fountain show!

fountain 2

Of course we'll go during the daytime, when mobs of kids are running wildly over the spouts, screaming from excitement when a shoot of water sprays their legs!

fountain 3

But at night... ahhh. It's a pretty darn cool light show. No Debussy playing in the background (Ocean's Eleven, anyone?), but it's spectacular nevertheless.

fountain 4

(For more pictures of my hometown, see this post.)


Twilight 101 - Questions answered...

1) So, did you fall asleep during the movie? How was it the second time around? How many times did you tell Chad to be quiet as he moaned and groaned and whined?

No, I didn't fall asleep. Yes, Chad did. Yes, he complained and fake-gagged the ENTIRE time he was awake (about 10 minutes). And no, I didn't like it any better this time around. The same things still bugged me. I won't give anything away, but it just seemed like Robert Pattinson (Edward) was always about to crack up laughing. I couldn't take him seriously, especially when he was trying to be tough. Maybe it was an interview I saw of him, saying how hard it was to film the scene where he had to stare some guys down... and he said, "It's hard to look menacing wearing lipstick and a pea coat." : ) Well put.

I also didn't like some of the casting. Rosalie and Jasper were just a wrong-fit! But in the end, I really did like Edward and Bella... the chemistry between them was true to the story (and whoa baby - the kissing scene!!!).

2) Should I read the books before I see the movie?

Hmmmm, that's a tough one. I read all the books and part of me is glad I knew some background info about the characters, but then I kept comparing. I would say at least read book 1... that'll give you some perspective. Otherwise, you won't really understand the Cullen family.

3) Ok, ok, should I jump on the bandwagon and read the "twilight" series? Everybody else is doing it!

It depends on your reading taste/level. I loved Harry Potter, and I think they get compared because they're both easy reads about high school-aged kids. Other than that, they couldn't be more different. Twilight, to me, is definitely a girly romance book. But I know a ton of 5th grade boys that are reading it at school.

Stephenie Meyer is no J.K. Rowling either. Did you watch Dawson's Creek? 90210? Did you watch them past high school, say in your 20s (like someone else I know)? If so, you'll like Twilight. If you're beyond that childish nonsense, then by all means, go back to your War and Peace and let me know how it turns out. : )


p.s. Aidan's starting to cruise! Oh, and I just tried those freeze-dried strawberries from Trader Joe's and he ate 'em up. And kiwi! Yum!!!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ok, fess up Twilight fans..

Well... who's buying the "Twilight" DVD tomorrow?

Or who already pre-ordered theirs? (and who's going to be sad when Amazon delivers it on Monday?) : (

Well, I can honestly answer NO to both of those questions. However, it's 11:43pm on Friday night and I'm counting down the minutes until midnight so I can order it on On Demand and force my dear husband to watch it with me. Yes, I'm crazy. Yes, I'll probably fall asleep. Yes, it'll be the best $5 I've spent. : )

Actually, if you remember, I was quite the obsessed Twilight fan and read all 4 books in a mad rush before the movie came out. I wasn't thrilled with the movie... but I want to give it another chance.

I think I'll owe Chad big time. : )


Guess who's discovered the VCR?

exploring chubbers

Can you say chubby thighs? Yep. That's my boy.

(yes, we still have a VCR... it's actually a DVD/VHS recorder. And there's no better toy than the VCR flap that goes in and out, in and out. They're made just for little curmudgeon fingers!!!).


Newest blog makeover - check it out!! My friend Alicia at My Three B's and Me buttered me up with compliments so often, I just had to makeover her blog! She was so great to work with (as ALL of my makeover friends have been). And I'm getting faster at it, when I actually find the time.

If you're not already following Alicia, she's a fun read! Her little Brody is a month older than Aidan, so it's fun comparing stages. Check out the cute appliqued shirts Kameron made for 'em too!! I can't wait for the ones she's making for Aidan's 1st birthday (did I really just say 1st birthday???). Eek.


Ooh, just placed my "Twilight" order. Time to go!!!

Yeah, yeah, I know the rest of y'all are in bed. What can I say? I'm a night owl!