Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dressing up Kiddos and Cupcakes!

This past week has been quite the busy week, to put it lightly. First we were invited to a Halloween party which was a lot of fun. And we were really excited to go so we could keep getting to know people. By the way, everyone around here has been so nice and welcoming. We really are enjoying living out here in Gilbert. Although I do miss you Katie!!! So anyway, Ben got sick that morning but was still a trooper and went with us to the party. I went out that day looking for costumes. Ben already had a ghetto outfit from a couple years back when he did a rap for a talent show, so all I had to do was find outfits for Braelyn and me. I ended up scoring big time at the Goodwill and off to the party we went.
I love her stance in this picture. It totally looks like she throwing out some ghetto move.

The rest of the gangsta family!

About a month after moving into our new house, Ben and I were asked to organize a Fall Festival for over 400 people in the community. The million dollar question that people kept asking me was, "How did you get put in charge of that?!" I still don't know, and if anyone ever finds out, please let me know! Actually, it ended up being a lot of fun and we met so many people by asking for volunteers. Sadly, I was so busy the night of the festival that I didn't get a single picture. Oh well! I did manage to get a picture of the pinatas Ben and I made for one of the booths. I'm quite proud of us!

The day after the festival we had a birthday party for a good friend of mine's son. A few months back she had asked me to make cupcakes for the party. Now, she has a big family so we're talking 80 cupcakes. Could the timing have been any crazier?! I baked like a madwoman and froze the cupcakes in advance. I thought, "All I have to do the day of is decorate." Yeah, three hours later and I finally made it just in time with chocolate heath cows, strawberry pigs, and caramel apple hay cupcakes to take to the funnest birthday party ever. There was an entire petting farm that came with goats, ducks, chickens, and baby chicks. Braelyn had so much fun!
Decorating her "baby pumpkin" with stickers.

Decorating sugar cookies. Really Braelyn just liked eating all the toppings. Can you say sugar high?!

Her cute little farmer outfit. We couldn't find cowgirl boots in time, but I'm kinda wanting some for the winter.

Holding the baby chick with daddy. She was so gentle with them and kept saying, "Be soft, be soft!". After I put this picture on the computer she cupped her little hands and pretended to pick up the chick from the computer screen. Then she gave the pretend chick a kiss and put it back in the computer screen. I was dying laughing. Do kids really pretend this young? She's not even two?!

The cupcakes I decorated. Now I know I'm not a professional decorator or anything, but I will say they tasted pretty dang good! And all from scratch.

Chowin' down on all the hard work.

So then we had a day break before Halloween came. This time Braelyn traded in her gangsta ensemble for a more dainty choice. A cute little bumble bee . . . that she hated. Seriously, she ran away from me and screamed when we tried to put the costume on. Did I give up? No! Did I bribe her with candy? Yes! As soon as she realized that wearing the bee costume meant going outside and getting more candy, she forgot all about how much she, "No like bee!"

She was the best trick or treater ever! She would skip down the sidewalk with her bucket in hand, run up to the door, knock, say trick or treat and stand there waiting for candy. Except for she always said the trick or treat part before the door would open. At least she said it! And before they would even shut the door she would already have turned around running to the next house saying, "More candy! Next door!" I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. What a night!
Ready to go! She could not wait to open that door and get on her way.

Our amazing birth mom Jana came over to spend Halloween with us. It was a great night eating pizza, laughing at Braelyn, and trick or treating. It's so fun to see those two together. I can see little resemblances between them. I know for sure that Braelyn gets part of her spunk from Jana. They both make me laugh!

She randomly sat on the front porch of a house and smiled. So I took a picture. Why not?!

Posing again at the same house. There's nothing like a mini photo shoot on a stranger's porch just before you're about to ask them for candy.

Examining her loot! She must have eaten bits and pieces of about 10 candies. She couldn't commit to just eating one. Today I'm working on explaining that we can only have one piece of candy after each meal. She wants to eat it all day long. Plus she woke up asking about her bee costume so we could go out trick or treating again. Funny girl!

This past week has been so entertaining for our family. I'm so glad that we have friends and family to make holidays special. And the best part is it just keeps getting better and better with Thanksgiving and Christmas on the way!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

FALLin' In Love!

Yes it may be 102 degrees outside today but it is still FALL and I'm loving it. We went to another pumpkin patch over the weekend and had even more fun than the weekend before. Partly because our best buds were there to share the experience with. Braelyn and Drew compliment one another's high energy and spunk perfectly! Those two are just like those toys that you wind up and let loose, except for they never slow down. I wish I could say the same for me. Just think about how much I could get done if I had endless amounts of energy!

"I take it," her response for anything that she likes lately hoping that I will let her take it home. No Braelyn you cannot have a goat. This was only seconds before a swarm of goats bombarded her and knocked her to the ground hoping that she had some food for them. Her response quickly change to, "Bad goats! No more goats!" and then she walked off.

Just admiring the ass on the ass.

Right after Ben and Braelyn went down this slide, which was quite steep, Braelyn ran back up and went down the slide herself. What a brave little girl!

I love this next sequence of events. As her mother, I know that Braelyn can freak out in out of the ordinary stiuations, but then she calms down. This is how rides are to her. She freaks out for a minute and then loves it. As you can see:
"Yay I'm on an airplane!"
"Looking at the beautiful view."
"What?! You expect me to ride this airplane?!"
"I'm so traumatized. Look at the tears coming down my cheeks."
"Okay, this isn't so bad!"

Again, as her mother I knew for sure she would also enjoy riding the bee ride, so we headed on over. Here is this sequence of events:
Okay, I was wrong. She hated the whole thing. There is no sequence of events. Only one event, screaming!

And this time we did end up with a cute little pumpkin just like Braelyn. I think we might have to make this pumpkin patch trip a tradition . . . including the rides!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Love Groupons!

I got this groupon over the weekend to DeWitt Stables where they have a pumpkin patch, hayrides, and a little petting zoo. It only cost $5 for the whole family to go. Score! We had such a blast. Braelyn could hardly be torn away from the petting zoo once it was time to leave. Can I also just say that I am loving the fall weather. Okay, so it hasn't quite stuck around, but I'm sure it will be back . . . soon . . . I hope.

"Can I please have this pumpkin? Please?!" Just look at that face? Can I tell her no? Well, I didn't exactly say "no" to the three dollar pumpkin. I just waited until she became disinterest. Mom - 1, Overpriced Pumpkin Patch - 0!
Loving me some Braelyn Boo!

Braelyn surprised me and was really interested in the horses. Usually large out of the ordinary things freak her out, but she was totally petting the horses right on the nose. Okay, so maybe the horse didn't make it in this picture, but I promise she was petting it!
 There's the horse! Behind us. I told you there was one. =)

And she even sat on the miniature horse for a picture. I'm telling you, this is a milestone! Okay, can I tell you what a ripoff this picture was?! I have to confess I bought the upgraded groupon for $9 that included a family picture. I was thinking "professional, sitting on hay bales, cute family picture". Nope, this totally antisocial girl stuck Braelyn on the horse and snapped a photo with her digital camera while she kept saying to Braelyn, "Um, can you look at the camera?" Then she printed it off and handed it to us without saying another word. Ummm . . . thanks. I could have done that.

So originally I put Braelyn on this ride by herself. I though it was just going to circle the corral. She started crying so the driver said since I was small enough (not sure how to take that) I could ride with her. So I hop in and it turns out the ride went all around the stables and pumpkin patch. Haha! If I would have sent Braelyn alone, I don't think she would have made it back. She probably would have jumped out somewhere along the pumpkin patch. I'm such a good mom.

Braelyn's favorite was the petting zoo. She kept trying to put this hat on the chickens. I'm seriously laughing out loud right now remembering this hat. First of all, we have no idea whose it is. With that said, if I were a good mom, I probably should not have let Braelyn put it on . . . not too sanitary. So I guess I'll recant that previous "I'm such a good mom statement". Second of all, when Braelyn was finally over playing with it, Ben set it down next to him on the hay bale he was sitting on. Before you know it, the goat jumped up next to Ben and started eating the hat. Ben had to rip it out of the goat's mouth. He then carefully returned the hat where we found it as good as new . . . with a huge hole . . . from a hungry goat.

And finally we made our way over to the lasso station. Ben was practicing some mad skills on the fake bulls. He actually roped two of them. What a stud. Anyway, the next thing we hear is, "Eww yucky boogers!" We turn around to find Braelyn with both her fingers in the bull's nostrils. Haha! I love it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Growing Up!

I can't stop thinking about how much Braelyn is growing up. She is not my little baby anymore. I know everyone says that about their kids as they are getting older, but I never realized how true it was. It's like their little personalities just transform right before your eyes. They turn into these little people with opinions, preferences, and a couple doses of attitude!

I haven't really sat down and recorded a "like" list for Braelyn at this age. I write in her baby book here and there about things she is doing, but here are a few recent favorites . . . for today at least:

1. Her princess book. It is a huge book and she has dropped on her toes a few times trying to carry it around, but she loves the stories and the pretty dresses.
2. Playing with kids. Everyday she asks, "Play with kids?" We go to library story time twice a week and aerobics the other days, so she gets her fair share of playing time. She especially loves the days we go back to Anthem to play with her best friend Drew.
3. Applesauce. Those on-the-go applesauce pouches are a gift from the heavens!
4. Elmo. No comment.
5. Purses and shoes. She'll put my shoes on, swing her purse over her shoulder and yell, "bye Babe! See ya later!"
6. Hippo. This will probably never leave the list. This girl cannot function without her stuffed hippo. It is her cuddly bedtime buddy.
7. Sweets including: ice cream, cookies, cake, banana bread, cupcakes, chocolate, jelly beans, and plain old sugar. We like to bake a lot!
8. Daddy. She squeals as soon as he walks in the door. Ben gives the best rides ever!
9. Phones. The little squirt is always trying to snatch them up.
10. Music and dancing. She can really twist and shout to the music!
11. Diapers and wipes. If you leave her alone for one second she has grabbed all the diapers and scattered wipes everywhere. She pretends to change her baby's diaper and she dusts the furniture with the wipes.
12. Bubble baths. We've come a long way since that first bubble bath she took where she was in a complete panic watching the foam inch it's way closer and closer to her. Now she strips her clothes off and jumps in the tub before I can even get the water started.

Oh boy, there are so many other favorites. The list can go on and on: babies, books, songs, slides, chalk, rocks, etc. She is such a fun loving sweetheart. I have such a great time playing with her and listening to all the funny things she has to say.

 Always helping mommy bake. She loves licking the batter!

She loves playing outside in the backyard. Of course, I have to come outside too. She always needs a sidekick.

 Cheeseball! She likes it when you take pictures, even if you are faking it with no camera. Haha!

Visiting the aquarium. Braelyn wasn't too sure about the fish that day. She kept requesting, "All done fish! All done! No like fish!"

 Having fun on the merry go round trying not to barf.

Dressing up like always.

I know most parents are sad to watch their kids grow up so quickly, but I am loving it! Every minute she gets cuter and funnier. I know someday she'll be out of the house and on her way to bigger and better and then I'll be sad, but for now the growing up is great. She's my little punkin!

Love you stinks!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Summer O' Fun!

Holy cannoli! This has been the most amazing and yet most stressful summer of my life. Just to recap, I was pretty much a single mom all summer long. Between Ben's traveling for work and my vacationing, we hardly saw each other. Absence does make the heart grow fonder . . . for help around the house! On top of everything else, I single handedly packed up our entire house to move. Not that Ben didn't offer to help. I'm just a self proclaimed control freak that wanted to know exactly where each item was being packed. As a side note, thank you so much to everyone that helped us load up and unload at the new place. You guys are amazing! And kudos to my mother-in-law and sister-in-law for coming out and entertaining Braelyn so I didn't go completely insane over the weekend.

So right now I am operating along the lines of a zombie! This post is just some random pictures of the most exciting summer ever!

We went to Utah where we . . .
. . . went to Wheeler Farm with Grandma Kaye . . .

. . . went to the aquarium with Grandma Melene (Braelyn had been so many times that she said "fish" every time we drove past it) . . .

. . . kissed the "zazoos" at the dinosaur museum . . .

. . . played on the swings at Grandma's house . . .

. . .  and helped Grandma Melene with yard work (she picked up all the leaves and put them in the trash can).

Then we went to Ben's family reunion where we . . .
. . . played in the grass by the "creek" (more like a sewer ditch!) . . .

. . . rocked out to some tunes on the karoke machine . . .

. . . and ate lots of yummy food!

We managed to get some family pictures done while we were there by my good friend Cortney Clegg. She is amazing! I can't believe we managed to get a single decent photo with Braelyn running all over the place. I love the candid shots, though!

 Braelyn took this one of us! She might be a photographer someday!

We seriously love this little squirt!

After Utah, Braelyn and I headed off to California for my family reunion where we . . .

. . . went boating . . .

. . . saw the beautiful redwoods . . .

. . . and drove home for 10 hours!

Once we got back to Phoenix we celebrated some special birthdays!
We enjoyed eating at good old Red Robin for Jana's birthday and then had a blast raiding TJ Maxx for some good deals.

I turned a whopping 28 this month and somehow the stars aligned and Ben and I were actually able to go out and celebrate in the midst of moving.
I love the looks on our faces like, "hurry up and take the dang picture self timer before Braelyn loses it!" Yes, we did ask our waiter to take the picture but Braelyn was freaked out by him and started screaming. Self timer was the next best option!

And of course we had to stop by Baskin Robbins for my free scoop of birthday ice cream, which Braelyn sniped from me.

And last but not least, we moved and are somewhat settled! We decided to go ahead and set up a big girl's bed for Braelyn. I know I might be crazy because she isn't even two until December, but she's a great sleeper. I'm proud to say that even with all the changes going on this little pooper adapted quite well. What a big girl!
I love that this picture shows her "angel kiss" birthmark. I haven't ever conciously taken a picture of it, and it is so dang cute. She was kissed by and angel for sure!

And that's that! The lowdown on the Gundersen's crazy, hectic, exhausting, chaotic, but wonderful summer!