Monday, October 11, 2010

quilt, Mom leaving, BYU game

The other thing I was pretty busy with the week Mom was here was finishing up this baby quilt for Nicole's little girl (her first girl) coming next month. I realized after the party on Friday that I hadn't taken any pictures of it yet, and Mom had to pack it up to go the next morning. So these pictures are a little dark and the colors look a little different than they do in real life. I'm pretty proud of this quilt, it's the best one I've made yet, and makes me a little ashamed of my past couple of attempts. I took care to do everything I was supposed to - like ironing at every step, (with spray starch, no less!) pinning, etc.
We were sad to see Mom go Saturday morning. It was a great visit but it just flew by. Cora was crying as Mom and CW drove away. We'll have to make sure we Skype a lot to keep that relationship going. Cora can identify "gamma" and "papa" now in photos, so hopefully she still will the next time she sees them. For mom that will be in January when the baby comes.
Christopher and his new girlfriend, Melissa, gave Cora that cute elephant for her birthday. Unfortunately, we didn't get to meet Melissa because she was sick.
We decided to also drive down to Utah on Saturday morning right when Mom and CW left, to spend some time with Grandma and Grandpa Nielson (Ryan's grandparents, not parents) who were coming up from St. George for the BYU game. We went to lunch and then the game with them. It was great to see Grandma and Grandpa and hang out with them a little with Cora.

Cora had fun at the game - she kept wanting us to stand up, even when everyone else was sitting, so I guess she's already a good Cougar fan. She got a little nervous the first time everyone in the crowd was yelling and stomping and making the stadium shake, but then she enjoyed it and learned to join in the yelling - although she was usually yelling in my face, instead of looking at the field. :) She also spent a lot of time at Ryan's feet, playing with a little coupon book we got and some things from her bag. Luckily one of Ryan's cousins from the Hollingshead side happened to be in front of us, so she didn't get mad when Cora kept elbowing her in the back. We didn't realize when we decided to drive down that it was actually Homecoming this week. It was a really great game, and even though we didn't have high hopes, since the Cougars haven't done very well so far this season, they won!
Good family resemblance there.

Birthday Party!

On Friday night we had Cora's birthday party. Christopher was able to come up from Provo again for the party and helped us get ready. Mom helped a ton throughout the week and especially on Friday - I'm afraid we wore her out just before she went home. Mom helped us get a lot of the decorations for Cora's party and also got the pizzas for us. She was my primary helper in making the Elmo cake pops that were the main event, even though we wound up needing Ryan and CW's help too, to finish.

It's funny, I really do believe that simple parties are best for kids, but somehow I managed to keep getting ideas for this party that made it more work than I meant for it to be. The party theme was Elmo - he's one of Cora's favorite characters and the first one she was able to name.

Here's Cora reading books at her new table before the party, looking like a big 2 year old with that ponytail.
Here's Cora sitting on the pizza table. Behind her you can see the banner that Ryan and I spent an hour making the night before. I googled the pictures, printed them off, and took them to Kinko's to make transparencies (3 sheets @ $0.75/sheet). Then after institute on Thursday night Ryan and I stayed after to use the overhead projector, taped the paper to the white board, and traced the images.
Here are the Elmo cake pops - I was really happy with how they turned out, and they tasted really yummy too! I got the idea from the Bakerella blog, but instead of painstakingly drizzling candy coating to look like fur, Mom came up with the brilliant idea to use chopped dyed coconut flakes. That cut down on the time they took to make, but they were still very labor-intensive little treats. I would never have attempted them on my own but since Mom was such a good sport to help me, we went for it. I made up two cake mixes for them - one strawberry and one cherry chip. Here are some up-close shots - although it's kind of hard to see what they really look like with the wrapping already on.I gave in and let CW make a couple with frowny faces - he said it was a more appropriate emotion for Elmo to have when he's about to be eaten.Elmo fruit platter
Dessert table
Cora enjoying her cupcake. We put her #2 candle in it and had everyone sing to her. You can also see the remains of her pizza - we got it because it's usually her favorite food, but she was too distracted to eat well - she just picked off the pepperonis and ate them. (Also - pretty good shot of my belly in the background there.)
After eating we pulled down the banner and had all the kids color it. It was a fun, low-mess activity for the kids to do. (left to right, David, Tanner, Davey, Dallin, Kyleah, Breanna)
Cora's cute friend Emma enjoying her Elmo pop.
More coloring. Those bubbles on the tables were the favors for the families to take home. (kids left to right, Tanner, Dallin, Kyleah, Breanna, Savannah, David)
Cora got an Elmo pop too - lots of sugar that night.
After the party we realized we didn't have any pictures of the three of us for her birthday, so we had CW snap this in our kitchen. In all I think the party was a success! Thanks so much Mom for all your hard work helping Ryan and I pull it off. We were so happy to have Mom and CW come visit us and spend that time with Cora.

Cora's birthday!

Cora turned two on Wednesday, October 6th. We had a pretty normal morning, running errands and babysitting. She asked for cookies for breakfast, so I gave her some peanut butter crackers, since she still sometimes gets confused and calls crackers cookies, and she was happy. Here she is after her nap, discovering some of her new presents. The little table and chairs are from her Grandma and Grandpa Nielson and Cora loves them. (Cora put her baby next to her - she's her favorite and gets carried around everywhere - sometimes even on errands, even though we leave her in the car when we go into the store.)I made Cora the little floor cushion the presents are sitting on.After Ryan got home from school and I was done babysitting, we decided to take Cora out for an ice cream cone and to a park. We thought the ice cream would be fun for her birthday but even though she liked it, we wound up just chasing her around the playground getting her to take licks since she was so busy exploring the new playground. So Ryan and I wound up eating most of it. Of course, when we were done and got back in the car to go home, Cora was very sad, asking "Mommy iceam go? Uh-oh, iceam?" I made a simple dinner at home of things Cora usually likes: chicken fingers, edamame and quinoa. Then we let her open her presents. She got some great books from Grandma and Grandpa Wei, as well as some new shoes which she really needed. She loves books and reading is probably one of my favorite things to do with her, especially now that her vocabulary is growing so much. The tent was also from Grandma and Grandpa Nielson and she loves it - the picture below is pretty blurry and also not such a good angle of Cora, but that is what she wanted to do as soon as we set up the tent - lay down and play night-night, as well as move all her toys and books into the tent.
For her birthday cake we got a pumpkin pie at Costco and our friends the Blanchards came over to sing happy birthday to Cora. Cora loved the pie and was excited to have her friend "nana" (Breanna) over to share it with.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Bear World and pumpkin patch

We had a pretty fun and busy last week. Ryan got to go down to Salt Lake for the priesthood session of General Conference and took Christopher with him. While he was there he was also able to visit with some friends and family. Then Christopher picked up Mom at the airport after the session and came up with her to spend conference Sunday with us. Mom spent a week with us and was here for Cora's birthday. When Christopher left on Sunday night Cora got all set to go with him, packing up her little purse with her turtle finger puppet and putting on her shoes. She was pretty sad when "uncle" drove away.
On Monday Ryan didn't have any classes so we decided to drive up to Rexburg and go to Yellowstone Bear World. It was pretty fun; they had a little petting zoo, several baby bears in pens up front, and then a whole section you drive through with elk, deer, mountain goats, bison, wolves and of course, bears - grizzly and black. One of the black bears decided that the bugs on our car looked pretty tasty and gave us a bonus car wash, which made us a little nervous but was pretty cool.
video
While we drove through the park Cora enjoyed her first fluffer-nutter sandwich. Now that she's two we're giving her peanut butter, which is such a convenient option for lunches.
After Bear World we stopped at the BYU-I bookstore, then went to a cute little pumpkin patch in Idaho Falls. Mom bought Cora two little "puntins" that she picked out by herself and carried all around.
video