Sunday, August 24, 2014


For the past few week the hubby and I have been involved in the house buying process, which has kept us busy to say the least. We are waiting to see what the appraiser says and then we will being going to closing! Because of this and a few other things going on, I feel a little behind as far as what I had planned to do this week. Despite these distractions, S made AMAZING progress this week! She has picked up how to use "out," "up," and almost "in." To be honest, all of these words mostly sound like grunts with a consonant stuck on there some where. But, in the broader sense, she is learning to use words to express what she wants instead of screams and cries. I still have to prompt her to use the words and that's ok because we are taking baby steps here (pun indented).

** I found that even though I was focusing on a specific concept that day, other concepts could be reinforced throughout each day. As a matter of fact, the best way to teach these concepts is to continually use them on a daily basis.

Monday: Use a large box for in/out, up/down, light/dark, open/close, over/under. Sort toys into two piles of opposites (hard/soft, big/small, noisy/ quiet).

We were lucky to have a very large box leftover from our party last week. We had lots of fun with Uncle Z getting in and out, and being pushed around the living room.
Tuesday: light switch on/off

S learned a month or so ago about the power (and fun) of a light switch. Every time we walk by one she insists on turning it on and off a few times. It has been kinda handy when I'm carrying her and neither of my hands are free to turn off a light. Since we had the light switch thing down, I focused on other things that could be "on or off." We played with the lid to her snack up by putting it on and off, and we put a beaded necklace on and off.
Wednesday: Hello/ Goodbye with front door.

It's such a bitter sweet learning experience to practice hello and goodbye. I chose to use the door to her little play house instead of the front door to the house. She got pretty good at waving goodbye (and blowing kisses) but not so much at hello. To reinforce the idea of hello means "I'm here!" and goodbye means "I'm gone" I played peek-a-boo but used hello and goodbye instead of "where is S" and "peek-a-boo."

Thursday: Up/Down, High/Low

By far, my favorite thing S has learned with week was "up." No more screaming and pulling at my leg, mostly. And it was a lot of fun to learn this concept. At first, when she said up I would throw her in the air, then each time she wanted me to pick her up I would ask her if she wanted up. She doesn't remember to use the word all the time but she is willing to say it when prompted. This is progress, people!
Friday: Stop/Go, Over/Under

These two concepts are a little advanced for S (seeing how she just had her first birthday last week), but it was fun to practice anyway. My SIL has an awesome little red wagon that S loves to get in every time we are out back. So we played "stop and go." I would say GO and proceed to move the wagon, then I would yell STOP and stop the wagon abruptly (but gently enough to not to make her fly out of the vehicle) to demonstrate stopping. We also played stop and go during our morning walks and while pushing the walker.

I hadn't really considered doing Over/Under until I talked to my mom earlier in the week. She has been a teacher in the public school district for about sixteen years, working with students ranging from kindergarten to high school. She said that one of the hardest learning concepts kindergarten teachers have is teaching Over/Under. Which, if you think of it, is kind of hard to teach without getting physically moving. I didn't do too much with this concept, but we did go to the play area at the mall and crawled under a few things. I don't think it would be too hard to set up a little tunnel with pillows or cardboard, or even to use a table to practice going over and under things. This is not a fully thought-out concept (I guess most of my ideas aren't either), but I felt that it was worth mentioning.

More concepts to work on:

Songs: Open/Shut them, If You Chance to Meet a Frown
Books: Opposites by Sandra Boynton


I am realizing that my original idea to do a new activity each day with a new focus is a little too much at this stage in Summer's life. Next week we are going to try a few different approaches. Stay tuned!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Summer's First Birthday Party!

Let it be known that Summer Ann Colton has survived her first year of life, despite her parents' lack of experience and training. We shall celebrate with CAKE!!
To see the birthday girl's cake-eating experience click here: 
And presents!

And who could forget that delicious spaghetti dinner . . .

It was a great day, and fun was had by all! Thank you to our family who made it a very special day.  

Tips for toddler birthdays:
1. Keep guest list to intimately known friends.
2. I would suggest doing the party in this order: Sing & Blow out candles, give guests cake and ice cream and have birthday person open gifts while guests are eating, then give birthday girl or boy cake. As the guests finish eating, give them gift bags. That way everyone is always busy with food or toys. (This is not a tested theory).
3.If you want to make colored whipping cream frosting, mix the color in the cream before starting to whip it. Don't over whip cream into butter! Here is the recipe I used I also suggest this recipe if you are going to be leaving your cake/cupcakes out for a while
4. Have snacks for kids as they arrive to they won't be overwhelmingly hungry for cake and ice cream before it's time.
5. Keep gifts out of reach of kids.
 (Thank you Julie for a lot of these tips!)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Birthday Girl

Little girl S is turning one! I can't even believe that she has been in our lives for a whole year. She went from this adorable little chunk
To this beautiful little girl

She is such a blessing from our Heavenly Father! In honor of her birthday week, we learned about birthdays. Here is our schedule for the Week:
Monday- Balloons, balloon pit with pool, tossing balloon, rolling, kicking, making noises with balloons, fill them with different things= rice, air, water, jello, cotton balls, etc, blow bubbles
**WARNING: beware of latex allergies. My husband gets red itchy painful skin when he blows up balloons so I chose not to use latex balloons but FOIL balloons instead. Due to fussiness we didn't get to most of them. She did have fun crinkling the semi flat balloon and punching them around.
Tuesday- Birthday Apparel and Games, birthday crown, boa, blow out candles, noise makers, dance party
I pulled out some of S's favorite stuffed toys to use as "birthday guests." We took turns putting on party hats and necklaces. Mostly I put the stuff on and she took them off. Then she put the necklaces on me. It was very cute watching her put the necklaces on and off. Cousin J played dress up with us too.
Wednesday- Presents, different wrapping paper, play with tape on box and floor, play with tissue paper, stuff boxes with toys, top with bows
I think I was more excited about this than she was. I took some of her favorite toys and wrapped them in different boxes and bags. We talked about the size of the bags and boxes. She especially loved the noise of the tissue paper and opening and closing the lid to the box.
Thursday-Cakes, bake cake or cupcakes, decorating with frosting, building a cake
We didn't end up doing this, unfortunately =(  Life got too busy. But I did find an awesome recipe for delicious whipped cream frosting that didn't have too much sugar in it. Here is the link:
This is another good one
** Just make sure you don't over whip your cream**
Friday- Birthday Day! Cake Smash, special dinner, swimming
 We ended up doing her birthday party a week early because we had cousins in town and we wanted to celebrate with them. On her actual birthday Dad came home early and we had mashed potatoes, meat balls, and corn (her favorite foods), and cupcakes. Thanks to Skype, Gramma and Grampa Graham, Auntie Hil and Uncle Justin got to sing happy birthday to her too. It was a fun first birthday.
Books: Birthday Monsters by Sandra Boynton, Bear's Birthday by Stella Blackstone, The Birthday Box by Leslie Patricelli, A Birthday for Cow! by Jan Thomas, Birthday Rhymes Special Times by Bobbye S Goldstein
Birthday Songs: All of my favorite birthday songs came from the primary song book,  
We also watched a lot Elmo's World Birthday episode on
I hope you enjoyed reading and got some good ideas. See you next week.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Alright, people we are overhauling this blog! It's time to update and try a few new thing. I am going to try to focus more on our raising our daughter and hobbies. My goal is to post once or twice a week. Once to review our learning week with Summer and another time to document our family memories. Here we go!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Jimmer's Kings vs Rockets

So our computer has been on the fritz and is on its way out the door. Hopefully I will be posting from a new computer soon. I have a few posts ready to go, but I'm gonna parsel them out. Since we got back from vacation we have been taking mini-vacations. 

We got lucky enough to snag a few tickets to the Houston Rockets vs Sacramento Kings, which just so happens to be the team Jimmer was drafted to! We got the tickets through the BYU Alumni, who also upgraded our tickets. We sat about 30 rows from the court; it was awesome!

Here is one of 4 points Jimmer made throughout the game. 
Bruce took this great picture of Jimmer on defense.

 Team huddle!

Us and the court. I realized a little too late that I needed the flash to be on.

And this is what  Bruce would have looked like if he pursued a career in professional hoops. 

We really had so much fun going to a real live professional basketball game. Even though Jimmer didn't preform at the level we are used to seeing, it was super fun to scream for him whenever he got the ball.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Looks Like We're Gonna Need an Ark Down Here

Wow, what a Monday! We had a little drizzle throughout the night, and that combined with the sprinkling the next morning made for an exciting, wet, and adventurous day. Here are just a few pictures of the water around our apartment.
If you can see in the lower right hand corner of the picture there is a sign that is supposed to say "Camping Is Prohibited" 
This is the bayou next to our apartments. It is about a quarter of a mile from where were live, and when the water levels got to high for the bayou the water backed up and created a water way of the streets around our apartment. These photos were taken a few hours after the rain had stopped and the city was started to drain the bayou. 
These two photos (above and below) are the route I take while running in the morning. Guess I won't be on that trail any time soon . . .
As scary as this may look, it was kinda fun. My friend Stephanie and I had a little adventure. Because Bruce had to go off-campus in the middle of the day for vision screenings he took the car, which left me stranded at home (which I usually don't mind). However, this particular morning Stephanie and I decided to hang out with our friend Nikki who just had a baby. Stephanie was kind enough to pick me up (not knowing that she would be driving up a river). I waited for about an hour before she called and said that there was a puddle in the road that she was trying to get around and she would call when she got here. After about two hours of driving around trying to find a road that wasn't flooded that would get to our apartment, we agreed that it would be best if I walked to her. I pulled on my red rain boots, zipped up my jacket, and hid my cell phone inside my jacket. I opened the front door to embark on my adventure. 

Initially, I wasn't impressed with the current drizzle from the clouds. It wasn't until I got to the street that I saw the damage that "drizzle" had done. The first step into the street felt as if I was wading though a stream. I tried to take slow and calculated steps so water wouldn't splash up into my boots. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a guy run through the river on our street with nothing but tennis shoes and jeans on. When I made it to the other side of the street I noticed about 15 cars parked in the grocery store's raised parking lot just sitting there waiting out the flooded streets. But I trudged on through the rain. 

At the next intersection the water had risen past the side walk and was starting to flood the shopping center's parking lot. Looking around I saw only trucks and raised SUVs braving the drive through the river-street (little did they know that it only got deeper from there.) I chose to cross the road about 20 feet from the intersection, where the water wasn't as deep. On the first step into the road-river I sank into water up to my calves, with about 3 inches to spare before my highwater boots went under. But I made it to the other side without getting water in my boots. Pretty talented, I know! 

Just before crossing the bridge over the bayou I walked by two city buses that had stopped in the middle of the road and refused to continue their route through the water. The passengers were being kicked off and into the rain. Crossing the bridge over the bayou, I peeked over the edge to see that the water had risen to the top arch of the bridge. Floating leaves and trash were piling up against the bridge. 

The second intersection crossing was slightly easier, except when my boot got stuck and I almost fell. I had finally made it to Stephanie, and just had to cross the street . . . There were 4 cars stopped in the middle of the road, another car driving on the wrong side of the road, and several more trucks haphazardly driving through the river-street intersection. I cautiously crossed the river-street trying to not get splashed by the passing trucks. My reward was a warm car and good friends to hang out with!

Here are some more crazy photos of the Houston highways, taken the same day by local journalists.  

 This is the highway we take to get to our favorite Greek restaurant. Not the over pass. The flooded road the guy is canoeing down.
 Downtown Houston; looks like traffic is gonna be a little backed up.
This is the worst! I would've had to abandon my car and watch it flood! (There are sunken cars under there)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Nativity Costumes

So here is the basic outline of how I made just about all the Nativity costumes. After these instructions, each costume only needs minor unique adjustments:
The angel costume has sleeves and a fitted bust. For one of the wise men I left off the sleeves. For Mary I made the sleeves fitted, and for Joseph I changed the neck into a V neck. I made the costumes ridiculously big so they would fit EVERYBODY!! 

Here is how to make these costumes. First, and this part is always confusing, lay the fabric out flat then fold so the short ends are together. (the fabric I bought was 48" wide) 

Then fold the long ends together. You want somewhere between 2-3 yards of fabric.

Now, you want to find the corner of the fabric with both folds. This is were you will cut the neck hole. I would start by making the cut hole about 5 inches wide. You can always make it bigger, but it's much harder to make it smaller.

This is the fun part. Now you are gonna create the shape of the garment. For the angel, I made sleeves with openings and the silhouette a triangle (make sure you don't make the bust too tight). For Mary I made the sleeves straight and the silhouette more rectangular. For Joseph and one of the wise men, I didn't add sleeves. The possibilities are endless.

Here is the final silhouette, still folded, with the neck hole on the upper right of the picture.

When you unfold the first fold it should look something like this. The top of the sleeves should still be uncut. So, you just need to sew up the sides and the bottom of the sleeves, and hem the neck, sleeve ends, and the bottom of the dress.

Here is the final product. I give you . . . The Angel!

I will try to get some pictures of the other costumes up as soon as possible. If you have any questions about making these costumes, let me know.