Monday, November 30, 2009

I (Heart) Faces - Tooshies

After seeing my friends' tooshie photos, I decided I just had to play along!  I had the perfect tooshie photo... but SOMEONE (a.k.a. husband) wouldn't let me enter it.  Ahhh, it was good though.  And yes, he was fully clothed!  I adhere to the rules, people!

Instead, I'm entering some "unique" tooshies...

My neighbor, her mom (the creator of the costumes), and her 3 penguins (I mean kids), stopped by for a little fishy trick-or-treating.  Her husband was surprisingly not pictured.  Seriously, whose husband would???  Although he DID wear one later, so I heard.  : )   

Anyway, I promised Jennifer no face pictures, so here's the perfect category!! 

penguin tooshies

I just love how my little Aidan was chasing after the penguin family, probably wishing he could join them!  Or maybe he was thinking, "Gimme back that candy!!!!" 

For more tooshies, check out I ♥ Faces.  You'll be bummed if you don't.  : )

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Full of turkey, stuffing, and strawberry marshmallow Santas

Um, yeah, the cravings have taken over.  I remember with Aidan, I gained about 6 pounds in one month around this time.  Now I remember why.  I'm 16 weeks and I'm hungry!!  All the time!  And why does Rite Aid have to carry those delicious Russell Stover marshmallow cream Santas??  I sent Chad out for my first "junk-food craving" run yesterday.  Good boy - he came back with TWO.  : )  Just a little extra insulin, that's all...

16 weeks001

16 weeks002

Have a ton of photos from Thanksgiving (and some cute Pod-in-a-puffy-vest pics from last week I've been dying to post), but life is just busy, busy!  Aidan is definitely acting his age and is a handful for this pregnant Mama!

But seriously, how can I not love this sweet little innocent face???

aidan upsidedown

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Labor of love - Blurb book

It wasn't long after I started my blog that I wondered... what would happen if I somehow lost it all?  After losing valuable pics and documents on my laptop last year, I started thinking about making a book of my blog. 

I did some research and heard about Blurb

And then came the I ♥ Faces Blurb book contest, which my drooly Pod happened to be chosen for (check out the finished product here - Pod is in the 5th picture down & my copy arrived the other day - he's famous!!)

So I thought I'd give Blurb a try.

Let me just say, my 418-page book (yes, I KNOW!) has been a labor of love.  Or maybe a labor of hate.

The pros:

* once you download BookSmart (the program Blurb uses), it automatically "slurps" up your blog posts and pictures. 

* it plops everything into preset templates, which is nice if you don't like to figure out layouts on your own

* it's not a bad price for a keepsake - 418 pages is ONE YEAR of blogging (you know I write a lot), and with the holiday discount (and getting the most expensive hardback cover), it came to $91.  Maybe not worth it to some people, but it's ok with me.

And that's about it for the pros.


The cons list goes on and on...

* it runs REALLY SLOW

* it does NOT put your blog posts into a layout that looks like your blog.  For example, I do a LOT of captions under my pictures.  It places the text on one side and the pictures on the other.  There are layouts you can choose to get captions, but you have to copy and paste and move things around.  It's a hassle.  And it will still never look just like your blog post.

* you can't change the font of the entire book at once - so unless you like Georgia font (which I don't), you have to highlight and change EVERY DARN PAGE.  Yeah, it took me awhile.  Was it worth it?  Probably not.  But I really wanted Century Gothic, which is what my blog is in now.

* your pictures, for the most part, will be TOO SMALL for any layout other than the preset layout with itty bitty tiny pictures.  When you post pictures to your blog, Blogger sizes them down.  Blurb "slurps" them from your blog in that smaller size.  So to get the pictures to fit in bigger layouts (i.e. one big picture on a page), I had to go back to the original photo album on my computer (I have hundreds!), download the original photo, and replace it.  It was a freakin' pain and I didn't do big pictures too often.  Luckily, it gives you a yellow triangle if the picture will have a poor resolution, so at least you know.  But my book was FILLED with triangles before I started changing them out!

* if you have a signature on your blog, it will download the signature as an extra picture.  And see my little blue flower next to my sig?  It downloaded that too.  So I had to go through the entire book and delete those and adjust all the layouts (since it left an empty spot.)  Another freakin' pain.

I'm sure there's more (I know I cursed more than 5 times over the past few months), but the bottom line is: Yes, it'll be nice having the book.  But is the program user-friendly?  No.  Will it look like my blog?  No.  But it will be nice having the book.      

I can e-mail you the link to see a 15-page preview of my book if you're interested.  Tried to post a general link, but it didn't work.  Let me know. 

Anyway, that's the scoop on Blurb.  If you have the time (and a HIGH patience level), go for it.  And let me know how it turns out for you!!  There's just GOT to be an easier way...

Monday, November 23, 2009

table manners

Here in the Stoker house, we display nothing but the finest, most proper table manners... because, of course, we're all at the table now (no more high chair!) 

1) We're always ready to strike a pose during our meals... you never know when a camera might pop out! 

2) We never play silly games... especially not copycat (and especially not "Grandma's Glasses."  That's SO childish.)

3) We're always grateful for the food we're given, even if it's just a measley little box of raisins and some PB&J. 

4) We never point at the table, as everyone knows it's not nice to point (unless you're 18 months old and are just learning how to point... and then you point to anything and everything all day long.  It took us an hour to walk 20 feet last night because you pointed out every bush, every tree, and showed us the moon 50 times!)  And we love how you say, "Ehhh?" everytime you point. 

(notice which hand he's using???  Yep, that's my lefty-in-training!!)

just when I think the pointing fest has ended...

you get one more point in (at the camera, of course.)

5) Um, Aidan, I think you forgot Rule #3 -- looking grateful for our food!!

6) We never lick our dishes clean.  Who DOES that??  Cavemen?  Peasants?  Mommy & Daddy?  (oops)

7) And here in our house, even the cats display the proper table manners.  Well, ignore Peaches on TOP of the table.  And Sasha decided she'd been harassed enough by the resident toddler and made her escape to the top of the kitchen cabinets.  Well, we're still working on it.


Chad's cousin Kameron had her baby (in case you didn't see her Tweets!)  Arielle Lorraine was born this morning, November 23rd, at 10:31am (Eastern time) - 9 pounds, 8 ounces.  Holy moley!!  Kam sent me a camera pic and she has light-colored hair, which I didn't expect!  Can't wait for more pictures and the recap of your labor story, Kam!!  Congratulations!!!


By the way, do you know anyone whose water actually broke before they went into labor?  After speaking to a bunch of new/newer moms lately, I'm realizing I'm kind of the odd man out.  According to the movies, a woman's water breaks out in public, she gets rushed to the hospital, and has the baby within 10 minutes (well, in movie time.)   

My delivery didn't go exactly like that, but my water did break at home and my contractions had to be induced at the hospital.  After all, I was 3 1/2 weeks early.

But everyone else I know had contractions at home and their water was broken by a nurse or doctor.   

So, I know, I went through it once - I should feel better this time around.  But I'm starting to get a little nervous!  I never had to time my contractions, never had to wonder when the right time to leave the house was, never had to endure pain without having nurses and distractions (and drugs!) right at hand. 

I'm a little freaked!

But luckily I have awhile to calm myself down.  Just anxious for the ultrasound on Dec. 14th, where they'll check my cervical length.  Hoping it looks good and the progesterone shots alone will be enough to prevent preterm labor.  My high school buddy Lanette just found out she's officially on bedrest until the end starting at week 28, which is Dec. 23rd.  Yeah, Merry Christmas to you, Lanette.  : (  If YOU were on bedrest and have any advice or anything to help cheer her up, stop by her blog!


Ok, back to my Blurb book... I'm putting in my order today and will give you all the in's and out's of making a blog-to-book creation in a future post.  Just be prepared to have low expectations and a lot of time on your hands... a lot.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Someone got a haircut. 

And while I would love one right now (and desperately need one), it was a screaming, red-faced, raging Pod who sat in the racecar chair at Jack & Jill's and got a trim.

Well, it was more than a trim.  She went short.  I miss his soft, blond locks already!!  But it'll grow back.  I keep telling myself it'll grow back.

Nooooo, Mama, don't cut my hair!  (last Saturday) -- Ok, he was actually just playing with Daddy on the stairs (with that Play-doh tub he's obsessed with carrying around!)

My 18-month old boy and some close-ups by the window... and some short hair.

Reading books (I just want to nibble on that little ear!!)....

... playing with the monitor...

... licking the monitor...

... and sucking on the monitor.

Oh yeah, and sucking on the sliding door.  Yum. 


Tonight I hot-glued 56 cups to 8 plastic platters... what I am up to? 


My choir is singing a medley from The Polar Express for the winter concert and I have 8 "waiters" dancing to "Hot Chocolate" (remember the hot chocolate scene?  And the dancing waiters??  Love it!)  I went searching on YouTube for inspiration and found this great video of a troop of teenage tappers.  If you fast-foward to the short bit at 0:34-0:42 seconds, that's what I've taught the kids!  It's so fun, if they turn the right way.  : )  And one of the choir parents works at a restaurant and lent us some aprons.  I love when costumes come easy!


Just watching the end of "Project Runway" on DVR and then I'm off to bed.  Who's seeing "New Moon" tomorrow???  My mom and I are going the day after Thanksgiving, which will probably be just as crowded.  Can't wait!     

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Growing a bump!!

Poppy Seed & Mama @ 14 1/2 weeks...


* heartbeat today was in the 150s... hmmm.  Makes me wonder about my whole high heartbeat/baby girl theory... are you really a BOY in there????  'Cuz this woman can only handle TWO men in her life!!  Three would drive her INSANE!!! 

* cravings, cravings, cravings... mostly ice cream.  Actually, it's not really a pregnancy craving, since I want ice cream all the time.  Only now the second trimester "munchies" are harder to resist!!  Dang, I'm hungry!  

* insulin, insulin, insulin... ugh.  Need I say more? 

* Big brother Aidan is wearing me down - literally.  He weighs more than a freight train!  Well, if freight trains ever weighed 32 pounds.  But that's a freaking LOT for one child!  Hopefully you'll be a tad lighter when you come out.  Um, I should hope so.  : )

* Big ultrasound day set for Dec. 14th - we're counting down the days!!!

Reasons we want to know if you're a boy or a girl:

* bonding
* preparing Aidan. "You're going to have a little ______!"  Hmmm, I suppose that blank could be filled with a number of things.  : )
* picking a name ("A" names are OUT... just so ya know)
* decorating your room
* clothes-buying
* gift-receiving (just went to a shower of someone who doesn't know the sex, and it was all yellow this and duckies that!  Cute, but I want pink or blue!  Ok, I don't really want or need anything... I'm just sayin' IF we got something, I'd rather not have yellow duckies.  Although yellow duckies are pretty darn cute.  With their little beaks and their webbed feet.  Hmmm.)

I swear I've felt an occasional roll inside this baby bump, but I won't believe it until it's daily.  Feel free to start the kicking and hiccupping!  I can't wait!!! 


Now for a little TV time... Mama cried during an entire episode of the Biggest Loser last night.  Let's find something a little less emotional... ahhhh, "Glee" will do just fine!


p.s. Cousin Kameron's baby girl is due today and she's been given her eviction notice!  We're all rooting for you, Kam!  Can't wait to meet that sweet baby girl (even if she's enjoying her warm oven more than Mama wants!!)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

18 months of Pod

Oh boy, little man, time is flying by!  I can't believe you're technically "a year and a half."  Actually, I can handle that... it's the "18 months" part that's freaking me out.  That's SO MANY MONTHS!  But it's nice to just call you "a year and a half."  I was always annoyed with Moms who said their toddlers' age in months - and now I'm one of them!

Here's the run-down of the newest tricks...

* Mama taught you this awesome trick where you tighten your face really hard and squeeze your little fists.  We call it "The Hulk."  Not quite sure how it happened, but it's hilarious!  Maybe you're aspiring to be a bodybuilder??  : )  I have it on video -- I'll post it if I can get my act together. 

Here you are on Daddy's lap, smashing his laptop. 

* You're quite the ham in front of adults.  You love showing off your jumping skills (well, you think you're jumping... we haven't actually seen your feet leave the floor, but we'll let you think they are.)

* Garbage can beware - you've discovered your love for pushing all cans/buckets around the house!  And dining room chairs.  And laundry baskets.  And pretty much anything that moves. 

Daddy & you (and the monitor on your shoulder - you LOVE putting things on your shoulder like a phone!).

* You are becoming a tantruming, fit-throwing KING.  Oh boy.  I think once you start communicating more, you'll be able to tell us what you want.  Right now, we're clueless and you're ticked!  And to think, both of your parents were CALM children.  That's what we get, right??  Luckily, your little tantrums don't last long.  Whew!

* You're getting pretty good at feeding yourself applesauce!  Wish you liked oatmeal... it might not slide off the spoon so quickly! 


* And speaking of not liking oatmeal, you're a pretty picky eater these days.  You've decided you don't like cheese (huh??) or anything with noodles.  We're doing a lot of chicken nuggets and still doing some jar food for vegetables.  And you still like rice.  Hopefully you'll outgrow this stage!  But you're interested in what we're having lately... especially when I'm eating salad.  Wouldn't that be a riot - if you LOVED salad???  haha Daddy!   

* You're mastering your new "want/more" signal (hand closing all fingers, like the Chicken Dance).  You're trying to say "Uh-oh" - the "Uh" comes out, but the "oh" is way back in your throat.  We're working on "buh/bah/ball," "go/ga,"and of course "dada."

You're obsessed with the new cat ramp... you use it to get up on the big chair, and the other night, I caught you "driving" on it!  Tonight, you were going down it like a slide.  Are you deprived of toys, kid?

* Doorknob covers coming soon!!  Thank goodness we don't have those lever handles.  You were in the bathroom with me at Oma's house and you opened the door on me!!  And the toilet was clear on the other side of the room - I couldn't reach to shut it!

* You discovered you could pull the linen closet door shut and hide inside!  Sneaker.  : )

* You've mastered throwing and kicking balls - catching's next!!

* When the cats are sitting on the recliner, you think it's hilarious to push the recliner really hard so they fly off.  Daddy, stop teaching him mean cat tricks!!

* Our last teeth count was 11 and I don't think it's changed.  3 on top, 4 on bottom, and 4 molars.  I thought I actually saw a tooth in the roof of your mouth a few weeks ago, but luckily it was just some scar tissue.  Weight on our scale - 32 pounds!!!

--- We got out some old home videos tonight... one at 10 months, where you were first starting to crawl, and another when you were 2 weeks old.  Your bottle looked like a 5-gallon jug compared to your tiny body!!  And what a wrinkly forehead!  It's just amazing how much you've changed.     

Sunday, November 8, 2009

If the shoe fits... throw a fit!

Silly Mommy... what was I thinking, buying Pod some new shoes??  Some cute See Kai Run "Coleman" shoes.  Some perfectly good, great-fitting, cute, durable, winter weather-ready shoes. 

What was I thinking??


Get these shoes off me!  (he was literally shaking his feet to get them off)  

DSC_7687  DSC_7688  DSC_7686

Seriously, Mom, did you think changing my shirt would make a difference??  Like I was concerned about not matching? 

Yeah, I don't think so.  Get these shoes off me!

Hmmm... let's check these shoes out.  Velcro straps... easy enough to take off.  Big yellow stripes... kinda cool.  If she doesn't make me wear white socks and a red, white, and blue jacket.  Geez, Mom.

DSC_7695  DSC_7723  DSC_7709

Ok, they're not bad.  But I'm still not gonna smile!

(until he discovered they were GREAT for splashing in the puddle out front.  Then he smiled, stinker.)

I paired them with khakis the next day and jeans the day after, and they're even cuter!  But he still doesn't like them as much as his little navy Nikes.  Picky boy! 


Had quite a Friday night... my car alarm decided to go bonkers and not turn off.  It was 8:30pm, I was an hour away from home, and I was ready to put Aidan into the car so he could fall asleep.  I trucked out to my car in the pouring rain with a pajama clad boy on my hip and 2 bags on my other shoulder, and my remote wouldn't turn off my alarm.  After changing remote batteries, jump-starting a perfectly good car battery, and setting off the alarm 4 times, I finally grabbed the car seat and left my car at Andrea's.  My friend Michelle gave me a ride home (of the 5 girls left at the baby shower, Michelle happened to live in Olympia too) and Aidan finally konked out at 10pm. 

We drove up Saturday and Chad finally got the alarm disarmed.  Ugh!             


After being a little hesitant (ok, maybe a lot), Aidan and I got our H1N1 vaccinations this weekend.  I already got the seasonal flu a few months ago, and Aidan got his on Saturday with the new one.  I feel good about my decision, especially since I'm surrounded by kids everyday who are going home with the swine flu. 


My first concert of the year is on Tuesday - our annual Veterans' Day assembly.  Wish me luck!!