Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Liebster Blog Award

First and foremost I need to give a HUGE thank you to Lacie Messerly who selected me for the Liebster Blog Award!!!! I had no clue what it was until she clued me in and now I find myself full of smug pride that she honored me as one of her choices. This is why I love Lacie...she always feeds my ego. Plus she is smart, driven, and smokin' hot!

So what is the Liebster Blog Award you ask??

I decided to look it up on Google after I read a post on Lacie's blog and saw that is what she did. I am totally a copy cat like that! And just like Lacie, I found that Liebster is German and it basically means favorite. The whole idea for this award is to spotlight blogs that you love but that have less than 200 followers. I should be hurt that I do not have more than 200 followers but then how would I qualify for the Liebster Blog Award? It is double-edged sword.

Upon accepting the Liebster Blog Award, you are asked to:

1: Thank the giver, mention them, and link back to their blog.
2: Publicly choose 5 blogs you would like to give the award to, and leave a comment letting them know.
3:Copy and past the award to your blog.
4: Ask those that you pass the award on to also pass it on to their 5 favorite blogs with under 200 followers.

So all of this being said I am hoping that most of you are still with me and will enjoy the following blogs:

The Bitterman Blah Blah Blog: This is a blog done my lovely cousin Jennifer. She started this when she moved to New York so that we could keep up with her family. She is funny and takes wonderful pictures which is understandable when she has an adorable little girl. Even though she has moved back to Utah now and I wish she would keep updating because I love the way she writes.

Cheeky Gal: This is a blog my completely adorable friend Whitney! I read it while she was overseas for school and now as she has become a married woman. She is one of the most charming and sweet people I have EVER met and it totally comes through it her writing. If you want a little ray of sunshine in your day just read her blog.

The Peanut Press: If I could be a stay-at-home Mom I would want to be just like my friend Sarah. She loves her family so much it proudly displays it on her blog. And she has a list of books that she is reading that I always turn to when I am looking for a good book.

Utah Valley Foodie: To my friends in Utah County, if you are not reading Janey's blog then you are crazy! Not only is she a wonderful writer but the photos she takes are stunning. I check her blog daily for updates because I NEVER want to miss a post. Janey's talent is obvious as is her passion for good eats!

The Schilling Clan: This is my long time friend Ashley's blog where she posts all about her children and her life. Ashley is such a strong and dedicated mother and I love reading all about the fun times she has with her family.

So there you have it! My 5 nominations for the Liebster Blog Award. I hope you enjoy them all as much as I do! Much love and thanks again to Lacie for the nomination. This really was fun!

Friday, December 9, 2011

I Love Ryan Scott Baker

Last weekend my work threw a wonderful Christmas party for all their employees. The food was good and the dancing was fun. And the best part? PHOTO BOOTH!!! It was so much fun! Here are the pictures Ryan and I took and yes those are mustaches on sticks.
I love my husband and it was fun to have a date night with him.

Not So Scary Santa

Tonight we went to the Layton Hills Mall on our way home from picking up Sera for the weekend. Sera saw a sign that said Santa was visiting and asked if we could go see him. Both the kids were well-behaved while we stopped into a store so Ryan and I agreed that we could go say hello. Gabe did really good this time and didn't scream or cry. This is the best picture they were able to get because Gabe kept getting distracted. He looks a little dazed but at least he is kind of facing the camera. Sera looks great as always and has the cutest smile. When Santa asked Gabe what he wanted he said "Firetruck!" It was fun to see both the kids so excited.
Much love to you all!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Giving Thanks I Didn't Burn Down My House

Thanksgiving, a time for family. A time for friends. A time for wanting to get so blasted drunk that I can’t see straight and keep thinking the raw turkey in my kitchen was really a tiny space alien.

Okay so I didn’t get drunk or burn my house down or end up in a loony bin. I did, however, gain an all new appreciation for anyone who knows their ass from a turkey giblet. All the damn work that goes into one meal is not worth it on a lot of levels. Yes, it is great to hear how good the food is and see the smiles of my loved ones (Equaling 2 people this year!) as they partake in the meal I literally spent all day cooking. But on the other hand, the shakes I was getting from stress as well as wanting a VERY LARGE glass of wine sort of counteract all that.

Now to be fair Ryan and I got several offers inviting us to various places for Thanksgiving. But I began to question people’s motives. Some were just being kind but I think there were a couple people that thought it might be safer if I wasn’t near a stove or oven when I am so prone to panic attacks. Plus, somewhere along the line I must have given off the impression that I don’t know how to cook and I am sure there was concern over Ryan, Gabe, and I all getting food poisoning.

Let me start my tale on the evening of Thursday Nov. 17th. I called my mom to ask if I could borrow her potato masher and turkey platter. I told her I bought my turkey and was going to put it in the fridge Monday when I got home from work. She told me to put it in the fridge on Sunday morning. I was shocked! It is a bird that I assumed was not that big but she was telling me that I needed to give it 4 full days to thaw?

When I checked the turkey on Wednesday night it still had a few bloody ice chunks inside it. First off, NASTY on the ice chunks. And second, it still had frozen stuff inside after 4 freaking days! And not only was there frozen ice but other treasures too! I know that there are guts in a turkey but why in the hell are there guts in a turkey? A turkey neck? Really Butterball? That seems like something people might want to consume?!?! It is already bad enough that I am going to have to stick my hands inside a dead animal carcass and now you are packing up their innards like I want them as a prize from some disgusting piƱata? Get real and put a sealed Itunes gift card in there the next time. Guaranteed you will sell more turkeys.

The cooking process was unreal. I had to start my day at 6:00 am. Internet, I don’t wake up at 6:00 am to get ready for work. But I did on Thursday so I could get my rolls started. I was going to make rolls from scratch but at the thought of having to do all the other crap I bagged that idea and got some Rhode’s Bake-and-Serve which still need 3-5 hours to rise. I should have just wadded up slices of white bread into balls and called it good.

I also made FROM SCRATCH: sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, deviled eggs, the relish tray (Yes I count that!), and green beans with bacon and onions. And of course, I made the turkey as well.

This is me making the roux for my turkey gravy. This is one of the first things I did because I was able to put it in the fridge and then add the drippings (Another nasty cooking term.) to it later right before it was to be served. I was excited at this point because I felt like Martha Stewart or Rachael Ray. By the end I felt like Lindsey Lohan after a loooong weekend.
And Gabe was helping me by making sure all the onions tasted delicious. His breath smelled so bad!
Here I am making the deviled eggs. What it that you ask Internet? What am I doing? Oh yeah! I am piping the filling into the eggs! Suck on that Thanksgiving!
And finally we come to the turkey. As you can see I really loved sliding my hand under cold turkey skin to smear butter on the breast meat. I felt like I was some deviant or doing something really inappropriate to that turkey.
Not a pleasant experience!
But the final results were better than I could have ever hoped for. I mean, look at that gorgeous bird! For my first try I think I kicked that turkey’s butt!
But I could not have done it without Ryan. Not only did he keep Gabe out of the kitchen but he was a great helper monkey! All I had to do was ask and he was right there with bowl or pepper or a spatula. The only thing he refused me was a 20-Gauge shot gun when I wanted to blow the turkey to bits in frustration.

And I can’t even take all the credit for cooking. Below is the dish Ryan did all by himself.
But honestly, I can’t say I regret making Thanksgiving this year. I tackled a cooking fear that I have had for years and proved to myself I am not completely incompetent. And when I see smiles like this from across the table it is hard not to remember why I did it in the first place.
I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. No you are not invited to my house next year.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

On the Mend

My poor Bubba has been sick the past few days. He had a viral throat infection that was causing pain and irritation and a fever. It was also causing two very worn out parents. Gabe hasn’t been sleeping well or eating well. He has been grumpy and difficult. And when he normally has such a sweet and funny disposition, this complete 180 makes it a hard adjustment for Mom & Dad.

But I found that even when he doesn’t feel 100%, a balloon from the store will always being a big smile!
And the doctor’s office is even getting wise and while we were waiting they gave him some apple juice.

He is on the mend and I hope better by Thanksgiving because…I am making the WHOLE MEAL myself! Eeep! I want him feeling better so he can enjoy (or suffer through) this huge milestone right along with me.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Superiority Complex

This is Gabriel-King of the Leaves. All shall bow to his mighty power & adorable smile.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chatter Box

The following is a conversation that I had with Gabe this morning in our kitchen. It made me laugh so I am sharing it with all of you. Living with a two-year-old has its perks when it come to the humor department.

(Disclaimer: This is an older picture from a couple weeks ago but it still fits!)

Gabe: Hi Mommy!
Me: Hi Bubba.
Gabe: Whatcha doin’ Mommy?
Me: Making some lunch to take to work. What are you doing?
Gabe: Call Beeeecaaa.
Me: You are calling Becca?
Gabe: Yup. Call Beeeecaaa. *Picks up his toy phone and pretends to push the buttons.*
Gabe: Beep! Beep! Beep! (These were button noises.) HI BEEEECCCAAA!
Me: Are you talking to Becca?
Me: Can I talk to her?
Me: Please Gabe?
*Runs from room still saying the word no and shaking his finger at me*

To be honest, if he really was talking to Becca I doubt she would have wanted him to hand the phone over to me anyway. Much love to you all!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

It's Dino-mite! Get it? DINO!

The weather in Utah sucks. Right now it is cold and wet and well, it sucks! What do you do with 2 kids on a Saturday that is indoors and doesn't involve T.V.? Luckily people much smarter that I already tackled this problem and built the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point.

I have never been because it is in Utah County and there are few things I would go there for. Although I do have to say I have been following a blog done by a friend of mine called Utah Valley Foodie and it does entice me to leave my bubble of the Salt Lake Valley for some good eats, but that is beside the point.

The drive wasn't as bad as I thought it would be and the offer a 25% Military Discount which was nice. At first I wasn't sure but they had me at "you can save money!"

The kids actually loved this place almost more than cake. I am thinking in a death match cake would still win.
And yes, even I had fun. Sera and I created this lake/island/dam thing at the erosion exhibit which she named "Lake Ridge Back" because it looked like a ridge back dinosaur...??? I didn't see a dino called a Ridge Back but whatever. It was fun getting to spend some time with just Sera and I being creative and having so much fun.
My Family and some creepy looking fish.
Eeep! Scary shark!
Ryan and Sera were busy trying to uncover the bones while Gabe ran around them in a circle saying "I have 2 brushes! I have 2 brushes!" He was SUPER helpful!
And here we all are together in the sand. On a side note, I think that I brought back about a gallon of sand in my shoes and Sera kept remarking about all the various places she also had sand. Souvenirs for all!
So on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being painfully boring and 10 being Disneyland I would give this place an 8.5 for kids. If you haven't been and you have little ones, give the Museum of Ancient Life a shot and I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Much love to you all!

My Good Looking Guys

On Tuesday Ryan had the day off from work and so he and Gabe decided to go to the park. It was cold outside so they bundled up and headed out. According to Ryan the park was empty so Gabe had free reign and loved it. Usually this park is packed with kids and Gabe gets pushed around a little but so this must have been a nice change of pace.

And this has to be one of the cutest dang pictures of the two of them I have ever seen. I love my boys so much and it is pictures like this that make me love them a little more.

Thanks to Ryan for being such a good dad. Some day when Gabe is older his going to really appreciate that you took the time to have special moments like this. Much love to you all!

Halloween 2011

Halloween was really busy this year! I feel like it just flew by and I hardly had a chance to breathe! It was fun though and I would do it all over a year or so.

I told you all about our "adventure at the corn maze" where Sera had the crap scared out of her in a corn maze. Well I finally got my camera back from my sister and found these pictures that we took at one of those cutouts. My camera died halfway through so I missed some but I did get a few classics!

I am Frankenstein and was trying to make a scary face and I was successful just not in the way I intended to be. I look crazy and a little constipated. Becca...what are you doing? Not scary! FAIL!
Sera is putting her face up and Gabe just couldn't help himself! He wanted to give his big sister a kiss. It was really cute.
On Monday Oct. 31st Gabe's daycare had their annual Halloween parade. Ryan and I always make an effort to go because it is fun to walk around with all the kids and see everyone in costume.
But as you may be able to guess, Gabe was getting tired and so we ended up carrying him on our shoulders which was a pretty good workout.
Here is the whole group and as you can see, trying to get all these kids to sit and smile was similar to herding cats. It was still really cute!
Later that night we were lucky enough to be able to take both Gabe and Sera trick-or-treating. And even better? Linda was able to come down!!! I love it when Ryan's parents can here for special events. And Linda is always such a good sport and up for anything. I loved having our whole family together for Halloween this year. We miss a lot of Halloweens with Sera because of situations that are beyond our control so we cherish the times we do get.

Halloween 2011 flew by and I feel like I am not even doing it justice with this blog. But it was fun and I hope memorable for everyone. Much love to you all!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sometimes It Really Is About Me

A friend of mine who I have known for about 11 or 12 years recently wrote a blog about trying to find out who she is. First off, I can tell you that she is amazing. She is stronger than she gives herself credit for and she is smart. She has come such a long way in her life and gone through more than I ever have or hopefully will. But she talked about trying to discover who she is and what makes her happy. I found this to be so interesting because how many of us are brave enough to admit that we don’t know who we are really?

It got me thinking about who I am. I assumed that I know who I am but most of that is in relation to who I am to other people. If I were to strip away what everyone else thought of me, both good and bad, what would be left?

1. I am a writer. I claim that this blog is so that my family can keep up-to-date on what I am doing but really, it is for me. I love expressing myself in such a fluid form. When I write, I write to make other people see or feel certain things. And when people tell me I am funny based on what they have read it makes me so happy.

2. I am an entertainer. I love to throw parties or make dinner for my family. I love telling stories and making everyone around me laugh. I love entertaining in various forms and each way makes me feel good.

3. I am a cook. Something about cooking a delicious meal (or even attempting something that turns out to taste like farts.) makes me feel creative. I love being creative and taking raw ingredients and turning it into something that I can put on my dinner table. I love cooking new things and trying out new ingredients. I love making my “go-to” meals and hearing how much my husband loves them. I love to cook.

Yes, I am a mother and I cherish my kids. Yes, I am a wife and have an amazing husband. I am a friend, a co-worker, a sister, a daughter, a granddaughter, and more. But I am also a person and I need to embrace who I am. So thank you to my friend who reminded me of that because I think it is something we all need to be reminded of once in a while. Much love to you all!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Boo at the Zoo 2011

This weekend we attended Boo at the Zoo at Utah's Hogle Zoo. It was fun and a little overwhelming. I was kind of shocked by how many people were there. It was fun to see all the kids in their costumes. The only thing that I would complain about is the crazy parents that were there with their cute kids. Who pushes and shoves over a piece of free taffy? Honestly! I hope those people feel good about getting aggressive with a little girl in a Pikachu costume.

This station was giving out free cheese sticks and so they had a cow mascot. I am guessing Gabe is secretly lactose intolerant by the look on his face. He was creeped out by this cow. Even as we walked away he kept looking back like he thought the cow was going to go all Freddy Kruger on him. But you know, now that I get a good look at this cow it does look a little too happy. Or maybe he just gets freaked out by giant animal costumes since he does have a history of that.
Sera was having a great time looking at all the animals who were a little more active-maybe because of the cold weather. I thought it was kind of a cool picture with her bright yellow costume against the blue water.
And here we have Captain America who again, looks less-than-thrilled to be at the zoo. But I promise you that he was having fun running around getting candy. Plus he just looks so darn cute in his costume!
Also on Saturday my dad asked if he could take Sera to the University of Utah football game with him. At first Sera was hesitant to go because she wanted to stay home and watch T.V. When we told her that there would be no T.V. she changed her tune and said she wanted to go to the game. It had nothing to do with not wanting to spend time with my Dad but more she just likes T.V. a little too much.

But by the look on her face in this picture she looks like she was having a fantastic time! And according to my Dad she had fun jumping and screaming. He said that she was really well behaved and engaged in the game and that he was thrilled she went with him. And Sera said she had a really fun time once she was home.
It was another fun weekend with my kiddos. Tomorrow night should be even more fun since we get to have Sera for trick-o-treating and Ryan's mom Linda is coming too. I will post pictures soon! Much love to you all!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

All Skin and Bones

HOORAY! I love my new PJ's! Thanks Grandma Linda! Much love to you all.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Not a Foodie For Sure!

Ah the joys of living with a tiny human! Last night he was trying to hand Ryan a cup and spilled some Coke on the couch. And instead of getting a towel and wiping it up, Gabe licks it off the couch and then declares “Yummy!” No Gabe, not yummy-nasty!

He has also gotten very good at opening the fridge to find himself something to eat. This is a problem for obvious reasons. Last night after putting Gabe to bed I went into the kitchen to clean up and lying on the floor was one of Ryan’s hard-boiled eggs that looked like someone had taken a bite out of it-shell and all! At least that time he realized it wasn’t yummy and he stopped.

But to be fair, he is smart. He can recognize almost all the capital letters of the alphabet on sight and no, they don’t have to be in order for him to do it. He can also almost sing his whole ABC’s but still struggles with the “H, I, J, K” part.

But all I have to do is take one look at this face and I melt. It is a great way to start my day when I can walk into his room, flip on the light, and be greeted like this. Much love to you all!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Our Family 2011

So as I mentioned in my last blog we took family pictures at Wheeler Farm. These are just some of my favorite ones!

I love this one because of all the light and color. I think it all works really well with the colors of our outfits too.
I love how happy and natural the kids look in this one. They make each other so happy.
Sera is fun-loving and free-spirited but can also be so grown-up. I think this picture captures that.
This face makes me smile every time I see it. When he is 13-years-old and acting like a turd, I will have to remember to look at this picture.

This is one of my top 3 favorites shots of our whole group. We are a good looking bunch!

Our cute family taking a walk through the woods.

I cannot say enough good things about how these pictures turned out. Thanks to my family for being a part of this. I hope you all love them as much as I do! Much love to you all!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sneak Peek!

As Courtney said when she posted this photo on Facebook, "A Sneak Peek at the Paulsen Family!" I'M SO EXCITED I MIGHT BARF! The last official family photo we have includes a sort-of mullet on my dad, 80's-style permed hair on my mom, and Byron missing some front teeth. These should be a definite improvement. Will post more when I get them. Thank again to Courtney Ryan for her amazing work!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tough Beans

We had Sera this weekend and were invited to go to the Crazy Corn Maze in West Jordan. I am not usually a fan of corn mazes because I hate getting lost. Even though I know I won't get stuck in the corn forever it still causes me stress and anxiety.
Sera was so excited to go because not only were Becca and Spencer going to to there but there was also going to be a bunch of other kids from Spencer's family. And too make it extra exciting the corn maze had a haunted section which Sera was so pumped to go through. I was kind of surprised she was so excited about the haunted section but she swore that she was brave enough to go and that she really wanted to. I agreed and we waited in line.

Ryan was going to try and just carry Gabe through the haunted part but as we inched closer to the entrance, Gabe started screaming about a guy in a silver Jason-style mask. Ry, being the good Daddy immediately walked away with Gabe saying they would meet us at the exit. Why oh why did I not offer to take Gabe and let him go through the scary maze? I hate haunted houses and now I was going to have to be the brave one. CRAP!

We start through the haunted part and I know I am in trouble because I have to bring up the rear. My mom led the train the consisted of her, Sera, 2 of Spencer's nieces, and me last in line. Last is the person who gets the truly twisted people that love to sneak up and scare the holy living piss out of you...great...

Sera and the 2 other girls insisted on being in the middle. And somewhere along the line we took too long and not only caught up with 5 other people from our group but 5 annoying 14-year-olds who acted tough but still insisted my mom and I go first. Awesome right?

Sera was doing okay-trying to act strong and brave but still staying pretty close to me or my mom. She would growl at the people in costumes and try to keep smiling. Well, she did okay until the damn Chainsaw Guys. Yeah, those A-Holes have no mercy! They were jumping out, not at my mom and I but at the 3 girls that were squeezed between us. And poor Sera, she will probably never admit this but when the second chainsaw guy jumped out she let out a scream of terror and hid her face in my jacket. I wrapped her up in my arms and covered her by leaning over and whispering in her ear, "It's okay. I've got you." She didn't respond because she sounded like she was trying not to cry.

I grabbed her hand and hurried her away from the jerk with the power tool (Yeah, you feel like a big man when you scare little girls to tears.) and as we were walking away she looked up at me and said, "I think all my brave ran out." I laughed and told her that it was okay because this was a really scary maze.

When we finally got out Sera was so happy. She did not like it one bit and said that even though she was the one that wanted to go through the scary part she probably wasn't ready for it. She can smile about it this morning and is telling everyone that she never screamed once in the haunted part. I am just glad that I was there to protect her and help her out. And the silver lining? For once I was not the girl screaming and trying to run away! Yay me!

While I faced my fears and Sera's in the corn maze, Ryan got to wait outside and take adorable pictures of our cute Gabe. Not exactly sure how this worked out....
On Saturday morning we met Courtney Ryan at Wheeler Farm to take some family photos. (I will post some as soon as I get the disc and the copyright release from Courtney!) I wanted to give a quick shout out to Courtney because she does amazing work! This is not the first time she has worked with us and I hope it will not be our last. If you need pictures for any reason, I suggest you give her a call!

Once the official pictures were over we let the kids play for a little while. They had done so good trying to behave for the photos and we felt like they deserved some time to run wild.

We went over and said hello to the goats and sheep. The kids were taking handfuls of weeds and trying to toss them to the animals who promptly ignored them.

When they ignored the food that was thrown at them we had to be content with the waving hello and yelling HI!
We also played the playground that is at Wheeler Farm. I think this was Sera's favorite part. Here she is showing me her muscles and she proclaims herself Queen of the Mountain.
And what trip to the park would be completely without a family ride down the slide. Ryan is a good sport even though he is a little tall for the slide.

All together it was a really nice weekend. I am so excited that we got family pictures done and I cannot wait to see how they turned out. Much love to you all!