Monday, February 28, 2011

Vroom!


It's inherent, in boys, to do boy things.  Without ever seeing an example, Mr. Kimble chose this little car out of his supply of toys, and started pushing it across the carpet.  It entertained him forever.  It has a neat clicking sound that gets demonstrated when the tires move across the floor.  It's chunky, and therefore easy to hold on to, especially since the mover is on all fours himself.  Plus, it has bright and fun colors.  I think I might have to find some more chunky cars for my little guy to play with.  It'll be even more fun, if I can teach him how to say "Vroom!".

Church Kids

Yesterday I had a few minutes, before we left for church, so I took some pictures of the kids.  I had just come home with some new shirts and ties for the boys this week, and Kolby got a new pair of pants.  They looked so dashing, that I couldn't help but take some pictures of my boys.  Aren't they adorable?



Not to be left out, here are my girls.  No new clothes here, but they look great.

Sometimes I marvel that I have five kids.  Other days, it seems like I should have more that are hiding around here somewhere.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

To Whom It May Concern

Dear Naked Grannies,
I walked back into the gym locker room, after completing my workout, to find you two sitting on the bench in front of my locker, chatting about your water aerobics class.  Neither of you showed any modesty, as you were rubbing lotion over your entire body, without a stitch of clothing, or covering, to be found.  I managed to get my things by blindly groping around the inside of the locker, while averting my eyes to a safe place.  While you don't seem to mind your nakedness, some of the rest of us are very uncomfortable.  For the sake of public ease, please try to use your towel as more than just a thing to cover the bench with.

Modestly yours,
Fellow Gym User

(I received an email from a blog reader who suggested I was rude and insensitive with this "letter".  That was not my intention at all.  If there is any fault to be had, it's that I was uncomfortable with the nakedness, not that they were in the wrong.  I'll just keep averting my eyes during my time in the locker room.)

Dear Home Loan,
I just got a letter from you that you overestimated some charges, pertaining to the home loan that we closed on in December. The (almost) 400 dollar check enclosed in the letter more than made my day.  Please don't apologize for any "inconveniences this may have caused".  I only wish you would have messed up a bit more!

Thankfully,
Home Owner

Dear Kolby,
I really tried hard to please you yesterday, but darn it all, you make it so hard!  The can't-see-the-floor-through-the-mess in your bedroom, after it had been beautifully cleaned a few hours previously, really set me on edge.  The fact that you (1) ignored my instructions to clean your bathroom (your chore this week) and instead, (2) stole fruit snacks and ate them in said bathroom, and (3) that you watched your baby brother dump 1/2 a gallon of honey across the kitchen floor, pretty much made me deny you of all privileges for a very long time.  Also, the dessert I made for the family...You ate the entire pan after everyone went to bed.  What am I going to do with you?

At A Loss,
Your Mean Mean Mother

Dear Keaton,
You have had the same chore for almost four weeks now.  When you shirk off in your responsibilities, and don't do your work correctly, it is given to you for another week, so you can become a master at it.  The kitchen is not hard.  I work alongside you, and do most of the work myself.  You need to empty the dishwasher, clean and wipe the counters/table, and sweep.  Not hard.  And yet, an hour will go by and you've barely removed two forks from the dishwasher.  I know you know how to do it, and yet, you won't.  This morning, after looking at the disastrous kitchen, I asked you if you even cared that you didn't get your work done before school.  Your shrug said it all.  Between you and your brother, you are very lucky you had to get to school.  It saved your butt.

Signed,
The Kitchen Is Waiting For You When You Get Home From School

Dear Solicitor,
Even though I have a sign on my door that says "No Soliciting", you wrongly thought that it didn't pertain to you.  You offered me a free estimate to see what state of damage my roof was in, pertaining to wind, hail, and years of neglect.  When I declined, you said with a sneer "Well, then, I sure hope your roof doesn't leak on you or cave in your house, causing you a fortune of damages."  I was so stunned at the change in your personality, from a "polite and smiling salesman" to a "vindictive and bitter old man", that I closed the door in your face and locked it again.  I  don't ever want to see you on my property again, or I will call the police.

Signed,
Pay attention to the No Soliciting Sign, Jerk.

Dear Husband,
I came home Monday morning, from my workout, to find you vigorously cleaning the house.  You never looked so good.

With Love,
Wife

Dear Tax Return,
Although I didn't get to spend any of you, because you went exclusively to pay debt, I am happy to have you. 

Thankfully,
Income Tax Payer

Dear Kimble,
You are into everything now.  You want to climb up on things you shouldn't climb, you squish your fingers in drawers you shouldn't open, and you put things in your mouth that you shouldn't.  You certainly keep me running.  I'm so happy you are healthy enough to do all those things.  Keep it up.

At your beck and call,
Mama


Dear Dollar Theater Patrons,
It was a super crowded showing of MegaMind on Monday afternoon, with hardly a seat to be found.  You all were very patient with the vocalizations that Kimble made with disagreeance, in having to sit through a movie.  The Husband and I took turns standing up with him in the back of the theater, but even then, he could not be quieted, and the people in the back were even more annoyed at our change in location.  Finally The Husband chose to sit out in the hallway with Kimble, and missed out on the movie.  I'm sure you all breathed a sigh of relief when he left with Kimble.

Signed,
We learned our lessons; no more movies for Kimble, for a long time.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hiking The Incline

So, as I mentioned in the previous post, we hiked The Manitou Incline yesterday.  It was a gorgeous day in the 60's, with very minimal wind.  Couldn't have been more perfect.

The Husband asked me if I was nervous, on the drive there.  I wasn't nervous, and definitely not dreading it like I was the first time, but I was feeling a bit insecure.  I didn't want him to be frustrated at my slow pace, even though I knew I was in better shape than the last time, although not in peak performance yet.

I suggested to The Husband that he should  feel free to go ahead of me at any time, if I was going too slow for him.  He said he wanted to stay with me.  "I'll motivate and encourage you, babe" he said.  So with that, we began the mile long climb to the top.


It's not long into the journey that the stairs begin to be more broken up, with higher steps and tricky foot placements.  The grade practically smacks you in the face, at 67%, and it's rough.  That was my most challenging area, but overall, I did a thousand times better than I had previously. It also helped that he held my hand some of the way, and by being just a step ahead of me, it helped to pull me up, giving me that little extra bit of help.   Following the advice of The Husband, I went slow and steady, almost feeling like I was walking in beat of a wedding march.  One step.  Pause half a beat.  The next step.  Pause half a beat...etc.  It really helped keep my cardiovascular rate in check.

For the duration of the climb, I only stopped 7 times, and only for about a minute or so of rest.  Compared with the first time, where I stopped more times than I went (seriously), it was much improved.  When I questioned The Husband, about how I did versus how he thought I would do, he was very impressed, thinking that I'd do much worse than I did, and need tons of recovery time with each break.  I actually took that as a compliment.  I'm proud of my endurance this time around.

Here we are at the top, after we rested while eating our snack and hydrating.  We were just about to begin the 4 mile path that winds down the mountain, back to our car.
Halfway down the trail, it meets up with the halfway point of The Incline.  Many people ditch the incline and hike over to the trail, if they are too exhausted to finish.  It was at this point that some rescue workers were coming to the aide of an incline hiker.  We don't know what was wrong with her, whether she couldn't breathe, or was having heart problems, or had broken a bone.  She seemed fine, but was nestled under a blanket and talking about how she was embarrassed that she was in a location where every onlooker could stop and stare.

We kept on moving, going down the trail, and it wasn't long before we started seeing more rescue workers climbing up the trail, with big backpacks full of supplies, and broken down gurneys strapped to their packs.  Some were exhausted, resting on the trail, and we told them how much further they had to go.  After many had passed, we came upon two more, and wondered if they were all going up for the one person.  We asked, and it was confirmed that for every person they rescued, there were fifteen people that had to respond to the call, and go to the location.  Wow. That is a lot of people.  Also, when you think about how many hikers have to be rescued from that specific trail, and The Incline, it definitely makes you grateful for all their work and dedication.  It should also make some people think twice about attempting something that they aren't capable of, physically.

When we were almost at the bottom of the trail (just a few switchbacks from the base) we came upon a guy that had just run past us, going down  the trail.  He had just twisted (or broken) his ankle by stepping wrong on a rock.  His poor ankle was already huge.  We helped him down the rest of the way (with Heath supporting him), and noticed about half a dozen emergency vehicles in place and waiting for all their crew to bring down the girl we saw previously.  Injuries can happen in the blink of an eye.  We were thankful that we were safe, in our activities.

Besides all the drama of the injured, we had a great time, with lovely weather, and it was an adventurous date for the two of us.  Heath loved that I was outside and doing something physical with him.  I loved that I could "almost" keep up with him.  It was a great day...and boy am I sore today!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Date(s) With The Husband

Had a date with this guy last night.  I asked him if we could  take a picture before we left.  He obliged, but begrudgingly.  He doesn't like that I take 10 pictures in order to get the one that I like.  Nevertheless, you wouldn't know it by looking at the picture, that he didn't want his picture taken anymore.

Last night we put Kimble to bed, settled the kids in our bed to watch Prince of Persia, and then we left for a quick bite and a movie (Unknown...which was good with lots of twists) and then came home to a sleeping house.  It was a nice little getaway.  It's been a while since we had a date.

...and today, we are having another one.  We are going to hike the incline, which is something we've never done together.  I've only done it once, (you may remember), which took me forever because I had absolutely no endurance or energy to speak of.  I'm hoping this time will be different.  More to come on that later!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Proud To Be An American!

Kolby had a 1st Grade Musical Production at his school last night.  The theme was "America".  It was filled with songs about America, information on the things are symbolic to our country (the flag, Statue of Liberty, The White House) and information on specific presidents.  It was wonderful to watch, and I even got a bit teary eyed at the beginning.  I don't know if it was just seeing Kolby up there, performing, or if it was a feeling of pride for our country.  Maybe a bit of both.

Here are a few pictures we took.  First up, the girls, as we waited for the program to start.

 Then the boys (minus Kolby, who was waiting with his class before the program started)


We had a few minutes (as they were tweaking the stereo system) to take pictures of the kids.  Here is Kolby, getting ready to sing and speak his part.


Kolby memorizes things very well.  This was his part that he said:

The important thing about Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was that he was the 32nd President.
He was born in New York.
He was in a wheel chair.
He was president during World War II.
But the important thing about Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was that he was the 32nd President.

Way to go Kolby!  We loved watching you give your performance.  You smiled and grooved every time a new song started, and we could all tell you really enjoyed yourself.  Thanks for letting us be part of the night!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Yesterday, In Numbers

Yesterday, I:

Swept up two dustpans full of dirt and crumbs.
Helped with five sheets of homework, three of which belonged to Kolby.
Did one load of dishes.
Had Georgie stand in the corner three times for her attitude.
Fed Kimble four bottles of milk.

Burned one pot of soup because I was distracted by cleaning the kitchen and forgot to stir it.
Did three loads of laundry.
Finished one game of scrabble (words with friends) with my college roommate.
Changed six diapers.
Spent one hour at spinning class.
Dropped off two books at the library.

Talked to The Husband on the phone three times.
Took one nap, unplanned but so lovely.
Wrote one blog post on my weight-loss blog.
Saw that Kolby has three permanently green fingers from ambitiously using said fingers as a "fun dip" dipper.

Supervised four kids in doing their chores twice today.
Got the kids back on track thirty-seven times, regarding their chores.
Watched Kimble fall in love with eating one packet of fruit snacks.
Observed Georgie change her clothes three times today.

Only drank seven glasses of water.  It should be double that.
Ignored the ten baskets of laundry that need folding.
Told the boys they had five more days of being grounded "from" their room for keeping it so messy.
Attached six sets of snaps to the bibs that I made.

Took one picture.  (Keaton, wearing a mask he made at scouts last week)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day Babes

Today is Valentines Day and I am doing a post on my Wife's blog to tell Her how much I love Her.

She is really a great lady and I feel lucky to have Her as my Wife. She is a wonderful Mother to our Children, She cooks yummy stuff for me. She is such a good writer and I would love to see her get published one day. She is really that good. She is great at keeping me organized, and that is something that I don't think She realizes, but I am so grateful for that.

She tries Her best to listen to me rambling on after I work out and am sounding delirious from a hard ride. And now that I think of it, She also tries Her best to listen to my rambled stories even when I am not delirious. That is a sign of someone who is truly devoted. She is really that great. I love how kind She is to me, and what a good mother She is. I love how She tries to make Herself look so pretty and keep Herself up, it means a lot to me that She cares and tries to look good. And it inspires me to do that same.

I love how She is honest with me and tries to convey it in a loving way. I love how We are a team and are devoted to each other and when in times of need are willing to sacrifice things for the benefit of the other. We have been through a lot lately with Kimble and watching Her go through that makes me love Her and our Children even more than I thought was possible. I love you Shaina.
-Heath-

Valentine's Kids

Hope you all have a lovely Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Songs about moms, sandwiches, and drawings...

Georgie is sitting next to me, at the piano. She's playing a made-up tune and singing along.  It's so funny, that I started typing what she said.  Here goes:

You have to ask your mom if you want to do something.
She asked her mom.
"Mom, what can I do?"
"You can go have lunch.  It's lunch time."
So she had lunch.
But sissy, you have to have a sandwich first, then chips.
Chips
Chips
Chips
Oh wait, I have to go to the bathroom.
...  (three measures of silence)
Ok, I'm done.
Oh yes.  I'm eating lunch.
I won't get in truuuuuuble.  Oh no.

If you want to ask your mom
but you are scared in the dark..for now.
Then you should turn on the lights!
And read a stack of books. (said with fervent staccato)
And you can do something that is fun...
like playing with your balloon
playing ball with your friends, because...
it's your birthday.
Because your friends are nice to you.
Your frieeeends are nice to you.

If you want to do something, then do lunch.
I asked my mom..."Is it lunch time?"
"Yes it is lunch time."
"Ok mom, then make my lunch.  I choose saaaandwiches."
"I'll eat the crust,
because I like the crust!"

If you want to do something,
then ask your mom "what can I do?"
"Sweetie, you can draw."
Yes, I like drawing. It's soooo great.
Drawing is my hoooooomework.

If you want to hear the "O" song, then just sing it to your mom.
Then ask your mom.
Ask your mom (sang an octave higher)
Ask your mom "what can I do?"
Because you are so beautiful sissy.
You are so beautiful, I wish I could be like you.
"Oh, mom.  You are a grown up."
Yes, that's more like it.
I waste so much time, I can't do anything.
I know what you can do.  You can do stamps!
Oh mom, I won't make a mess!
Mom says "Ok, you can do stamps!"
"Ok, you can do stamps!"  (sang an octave higher)
"Can I dress up as a maid?"
"Oh, yes, if you want to!"

Then Kolby walked in and started playing his own tune, which ended Georgie's singing time for the day.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Household Facts

Interesting facts, musings, and tidbits about our household.

I use more toilet paper than everyone else in my household combined, and that is not because I use an excess of toilet paper.  It's because I USE toilet paper.

Kolby would rather steal sweets, and take the punishment, than to not have sweets at all.

Mr. Kimble wakes up at 6:45 AM almost every morning.

The Husband stays up the latest, and gets up the earliest.

Georgie asks "What can I do now, momma" at least 15 times a day.

Kamy reads for at least an hour, every night, after I send her to bed.

Keaton and Kolby both sleep in their jeans 90% of the time.  I can't figure out why they refuse to change into pajamas.

Georgie sleeps on the ground, next to her bed, or in the closet, most nights.  She just doesn't like her bed, apparently.

My kids love "new recipe" nights, and love to proclaim new "keepers" to our recipe collections.

We forget "garbage day" just about every other week, which leads to massive effort to stuff the garbage can as full as it will go the following week.

If I lived closer to the gym, then there would be some days that I would go more than once a day.

The Husband's laptop is almost in pieces, thanks to Kimble's obsession with knocking it over.

I use conditioner to shave my legs.

I saw some amazing legs at the gym, and decided that was what I wanted my legs to look like.  Then, I saw the person get up from the machine, and it was a man.  Boy, did he have great looking legs.

Keaton hates getting his hair cut, but he doesn't want to style his hair either.  Thus, it gets cut short.

Kamy is getting to the age where she wants to shower by herself now, because Georgie asks too many questions.

I've wanted to get The Husband a Clapper for years and years.  He always leaves lights on, then doesn't want to get out of bed to turn them off.

The cats like to sleep downstairs with the kids.

I have a box full of "too small clothes" in the garage.  I'm really hoping in a few months, they turn into the box full of "too big clothes".

I do one load of dishes and one load of laundry every day.

I haven't eaten sugar in a month.

I change 99% of Kimble's diapers.

Kolby gets allergy medicine every day.

Apparently, I used up all my google storage, when it comes to pictures on my blog.  I didn't even know I had a storage.  I had to pay 5 dollars, to get more storage, so I could post more pictures on my blog.

I'm at the desperate stage of growing out my hair, that I'm ready to chop it all off again.

I wonder how Kolby can be the sweetest kid ever, and then throw a massive fit the next minute.

...until next time.

Friday, February 11, 2011

How To Build A Snowman

...according to Keaton

(This was a paper he wrote at school, which I received today at Parent/Teacher Conferences.)

I've always wanted to make a snowman, but I never got the chance.  Follow my instructions to make a perfect masterpiece.  First, roll a snowball.  Roll it until your arms get tired.  This will make your base.

Next, make your center two feet long and your head one foot.  Stack the balls on top of each other from biggest to smallest.

For the eyes, get rocks.  Put them in the center of the head.  For the nose, get a long carrot.  Put the carrot flat side in between and beneath the eyes.  Get twenty-one little rocks for the smile.  Put them under the nose.  Don't forget the clothes.  Get some more rocks.  Place them in a row down the center of the middle ball.  Get one more rock the size of the eyes, and put it on the top of the base, for a pants button.

For the arms, two sticks that are the same length.  Place them on the side of the center. If your snowman turned out great, tell the directions to another kid and it will go on for ages.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Donated

This morning, Mr. Kimble and I drove over to our old stomping grounds, and donated blood.  This is us, on the way out the door.


He fell asleep in the car for a bit, and then woke up giggling when we arrived.

We met The Husband there.  He was just finishing up with donating blood.  We took a quick picture, then traded spots.  Mr. Kimble ate oreos and drank juice, with his daddy, while they waited for me.


Then I was done!  I'm a very quick bleeder, and was in the chair less than five minutes.
Mission accomplished.  Heath and I saved lives today!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Standing

Mr. Kimble is trying to stand on his own more and more.  Just in the last few days, his balance has progressed enough that he's standing for 10-15 seconds at a time.  Go Kimble!

 He is very proud of himself.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Blood Drive for Heart Patients

Congenital heart defects are responsible for more deaths in the first year of life than any other birth defects.

Heart defects are the #1 birth defect, affecting 1 out of every 100 births.

Nearly twice as many children die from Congenital Heart Defects in the United States each year as from all forms of childhood cancers combined.

It is a proven fact that the earlier CHD is detected and treated, it is more likely the affected child will survive and have less long term health complications.

Despite the fact that CHD affects approximately 1.8 millions families in the U.S.,  a relatively small amount of funding is currently available for parent/patient educational services, research, and support.

However, most people don't know any of that, unless they are a parent of a child who was born with congenital heart defects, or they are the person living with a congenital heart defect.

This week, we have a chance to make a difference.  All over the nation, we are celebrating a month of heart healthy awareness.  This week, the focus is on congenital heart defects.  In my local city, there are many activities and fundraisers happening.  The first activity kicks things off with a bang:  A blood drive.

Here is the information that was taken off the flyer.  Mended Little Hearts is a local chapter of a national organization, to share information and give support to the community, regarding congenital heart defects.

Mended Little Hearts of Colorado Springs is partnering with Memorial Hospital, St. Francis-Penrose Hospital, and the Gazette to sponsor the largest blood drive in the history of Colorado Springs.


WHAT: Multi-location blood drive


WHERE: Stetson Hills Police Substation* (4110 Tutt Blvd)
Dodge Dealership* (7445 Austin Bluffs Pkwy)

Memorial Hospital Central (1400 East Boulder St)

Memorial Hospital Blood Center Briargate (8890 NorthUnion Blvd)

Penrose Main Hospital (2222 North Nevada Ave)

WHEN: February 10th, 2011:

Starred locations are 10am-2pm; all other locations 8am-4pm


CONTACT: Melissa Koinzan, ColoradoSpringsCO@mendedlittlehearts.org

WHY? Each day hospitals use 40,000 units of blood for their patients, with 50% of that blood used solely by children with congenital heart disease. CHD awareness week is a perfect opportunity to say “thank you” and to give back what our children have so generously received from others!


About us:

Mended Little Hearts of Colorado Springs is a peer-led support group for families living with pediatric heart disease. Our mission is to improve the quality of life of children facing congenital and pediatric heart disease by providing them and their families a caring support network. We fulfill our mission by providing monthly parent support group meetings, care packages and in-person visitation for hospitalized children, monthly children’s activities, and advocacy and awareness campaigns in the Colorado Springs community. For more information about our organization, please visit www.mendedlittlehearts.org or contact the Director Melissa Koinzan at ColoradoSpringsCO@mendedlittlehearts.org
 
 
After Kimble was born, Heath donated blood directly to Kimble, after his heart surgery.  Later that evening, he received additional pints of blood.  Months later, Kimble had a plasma infusion to help him after his third heart surgery.  Without that blood and plasma, our little Kimble would have died.  This is a very important cause.
 
I'll be there, with Kimble, to share our story and to donate blood.  If you are able, do some research in your area, and figure out what's going on to bring awareness about CHD.  Donate blood.  Save a life.  Save another baby, another child, another adult, that has CHD. 
 
Kimble's life was saved.

Friday, February 4, 2011

15 Months

My sweet little Kimble is 15 months old today. He is growing big and strong and has lots of energy.  He loves to climb up the stairs, and can now slide down the stairs pretty fast on his belly.  He learned that trick from Georgie.

Mr. Kimble loves to get into things now.  Cupboard doors are treasure troves waiting to be discovered.  He likes exploring the bathroom too, and I'm dreading the day someone leaves the toilet seat up.  He also loves to go outside, and gets so excited on our little outdoor adventures.

Kimble loves to play downstairs with the kids, in their bedrooms.  He is also trying to climb up onto stuff.  Although he's not strong enough yet for most things (like the bookshelf in the kid's room) he will climb onto footstools, and last week I found him on the bottom  rung of the boys bunk bed, holding on for dear life.  He can also slide off of things with relative ease, like the beds and couches, and he is really really good at knocking things over.


Kimble loves to play "catch you" games.  He tries his hardest to crawl away as fast as he can, in a fit of giggles, but he loves to be "caught".  Kimble will try to stand by himself, if he is on my bed with me.  The cushion of the bed helps support his feet, but otherwise, he won't stand on his own yet.  His balance is still rather shaky.  But he will walk along furniture, walls, cupboards, and the like.  He'll also walk as he's holding onto both of my hands, but it's not very fluid yet.

Kimble goes crazy over the remote controls, cell phones, and flashlights he finds.  He gets very upset when these favorites are taken away from him.

Kimble loves peanut butter sandwiches and crackers.  He likes to bite into his Daddy's sandwiches.  He loves to drink water out of a cup at dinner time, and still takes his bottles of warm milk throughout the day.  For the most part, he sleeps through the night, averaging about 11 hours of sleep.  Sometimes he wakes up, but the majority of the time he sleeps like an angel.


Kimble likes to smile for the camera now.  He really cheezes it up, with his forehead dimples and crooked smiles.  If Kimble is in the other room, and  I'm looking for him, all I have to do is call his name "Kimble!"  and he will reply with a "YA!"  For that reason, I'm claiming that as his first word.  Sometimes I go in another room, and call him, just to hear him say "Ya!"

Kimble makes lots of vocalizations, like Dadada and Mammaa, as well as grunts and squeals, but he hasn't put meaning behind those sounds, so I don't count them as words.  When he looks at me, and says "Mamma", then I'll attribute that to knowing another word.  However, he understands a lot of what I say.  He knows what "No" means, and if I say "come here", he will come.

Kimble is still the sweetest baby boy.  We love him to pieces!

Blog To Book

I've been asked to share some tips about how to turn your blog into a book, using Blurb.

First off, if you go to blurb, you first have to download their software.  It's free.  Once the "booksmart" is installed on your computer, you can begin to "slurp" your blog posts into the booksmart program.  It's easy to follow the directions that they have.

Once all the pictures and posts are in your booksmart program, you begin to go through it, page by page, and formatting it to your liking.  You can re-size pictures.  Change layouts.  Delete text.  Add text.  Whatever you want.

When your entire book is the way you want it, then you slurp it back to blurb, and they print it off!

A few tips:  You can make your books whatever size you want. They have plenty of options.  I make my blog books all the same size: 8x10

You can choose to have a slipcover over your hardbound books, or you can have softcovers.  You can choose an image wrap option, which is where the cover pictures and text are printed directly onto your hardbound book.  The first blog book I made, I had a slipcover, or a dust jacket, as they called them in the 1980's (Back to the Future Reference) and the second book I made with the image wrap.  I love the image wrap.  If I could persuade you at all, it would be to have image wrap.

I don't make title pages or table of contents.  I just go right into my blog posts.  That being said, it is your book, so do what you want.  If you want to add 10 pages of pictures, before you even get to your first post,  then you can do it.  It's your book!

Every page is editable.  I encourage you to click on the edit button, and resize your pictures, change things up a bit, make it look pretty.  Don't make every single page look the same.  Well, I mean, you could, but it's fun to have variety.
 However, too much variety, could be awkward.  Don't play with the fonts and sizing and colors too much.  It will look crazy.  Stick with a font size and a font design throughout the book.  That's my recommendation, anyway.

Sometimes pictures aren't good enough quality, for the size of the picture box.  If you don't want a tiny picture, sometimes just uploading the picture again (through the Get Pictures button) from your picture folder on your computer will make the quality good enough to size it bigger!

For the cover, you have lots of options.  I like using the one with six pictures.  It allows me to use lots of fun pictures from throughout the year.  Here's a picture of the front and the back of my 2009 book.
 When you slurp your book, it will format every single page the same.  It's up to you to go through and change it up.  There are tons of page options under "picture layouts" and "text layouts" and you can even make your own pages, and save them to use as often as you want throughout the book.

Hope this helps you out a bit.  I love having my blog in print.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ghost Car Derby

Keaton was given his pinewood derby car two weeks before The Big Day.  For those two weeks, Keaton fretted over the car.  He was sure that it was one week away, instead of two weeks away, and that he was going to be the only one to miss it, all because we didn't help him with his car early enough.

The week before the derby, Keaton and The Husband spent many hours out in the freezing cold garage, trying to form the car into a shape worth being proud of.  Because we have zero woodworking tools, this was a challenge.  However, things finally got chipped away enough to merit sandpaper.  It was Keaton's job to sand away at his car until it was smooth as silk.  Once finished with that, it was time to paint it.

Keaton wanted an exclusively white car.  No colors. No glitter.  No racing stripes along the side.  Just white.  He painted it himself, and all was good.


The morning of the pinewood derby, Keaton was more excited than ever.  He proudly brought up his car to be weighed, and displayed it alongside the other cars with pride and exuberance.  Keaton's car was nicknamed "The Ghost Car", "Whitey", and a few other ones I can't remember.

He won a few races.  Two, I think.  Enough to make him proud.  In the car, on the way home, Kolby asked him if he won.  "Nah.  I wasn't the winner, but my car did win some races...about 4 or 5 of them."  When we got home, he was talking with his dad, and I heard him say "Wow.  That was some race!  I won, like, 8 or 10 races!"

Seeing the need to talk about "exaggeration", I corrected him, and told him that his two races were a fantastic accomplishment.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Family Newsletter 2010

This is my belated Christmas letter.  Enjoy.

We wanted to be unique, in sending out our family letter in January, so we devised all sorts of ways through the holiday season, to procrastinate writing it. Quite sanely, we made the decision to drive up to Idaho to spend Thanksgiving with family, and unexpectedly got snowed in. We cleverly decided to go house-hunting in the late fall, so that we could close on our new house the week before Christmas. That same week, we managed to squeeze in having Kimble admitted to the hospital for an infection in his lymph nodes. To top it all off, we moved into our new home and celebrated Christmas in a sea of boxes. Now that we are settled in our new house, and the kids have transitioned into a new school, we have run out of excuses. May we present…The Nunnelly Family: A Year In Review.

Things weren’t just busy at the end of the year. It seems that we got quite a healthy dose of drama blessings throughout the year. Let’s start at the beginning (of the year, that is).

January: Having just gotten home from being in the hospital and undergoing heart surgeries with our new baby Kimble, we spent January recovering, and never going more than a few days between doctor’s appointments. We relished the time we had at home (vs living in the hospital) and I spent plenty of happy hours cooking, creating, blogging, and enjoying the craziness that five kids bring.

February: Not a lot changed in February, except that we continued to see Mr. Kimble growing fat and happy. The kids all chose Kimble, to be their Valentine.

March: In March, we managed to play outside in shorts and T-shirts one day, and the next day, went sledding in two feet of snow. That is the joy of living in Colorado. The kids went roller-skating, and loved it. We continue to see Kimble’s doctors every two weeks, and finally got a plan for the next few months: cleft lip surgery in May and heart surgery in June.

April: The next two months were filled with preparation for the surgeries, by undergoing ultrasounds, X-rays, Ct scans, bloodwork, and Cath-Lab procedures. We took lots of neighborhood walks, as a family, and made lots of “comfort food” like chocolate chip cookies and macaroni and cheese. We also kicked off our Blanket Drive for The Denver Children’s Hospital, in hopes of giving back, even a fraction, for all the service that was done for us, while in the hospital.

May: On Kimble’s six month birthday, we celebrated by undergoing surgery to fix his cleft lip. It was a hard recovery process, but well worth it. His lip looks fabulous, and you can barely see the scar. We enjoyed the Colorado sunshine as much as we could, by playing at local parks. We also enjoyed reunions with Kimble’s heart baby friends and their families, who were in the hospital back in November, with Kimble. These two other families were also part of orchestrating The Blanket Drive.

June: The kids got out of school for the summer, and enjoyed a few weeks of playing. Kimble and I flew up to Washington, to see my baby brother (Ian) get married, and my baby sister (Nancy) graduate from high school. It was a great weekend reunion. We took the Family Picture that accompanies this letter. After that, Heath drove the kids to Utah, so they could be watched by my wonderful brother and sister for two weeks. During that time, Kimble had his third heart surgery, which re-routed blood flow, to better accommodate his faulty heart. Within a week, he was discharged and recovering amazingly well. Heath went back to Utah to pick up the kids, and this takes us into July. (You know you want to keep reading!)

July: The surgery made all the difference, with Kimble, and he immediately began making huge milestones, developmentally. Heath also acquired the long-sought after GS position (government civilian job) with the Department of the Army. Although it came with an initial pay-decrease, the job stability, in this economy, greatly out way any other factors. We enjoyed Colorado more, while exploring it by car and foot, and played host to many friends who traveled through.

August: August brought more friends traveling through, and we discovered that we really love people visiting us (hint). The kids started school again, and things quieted down a bit, with just Kimble and Georgie home during the day. I spent a lot of time canning salsa and quite literally falling in love with a cream cheese potato and ham soup, and sticky coconut chicken with coconut rice, that I now make on a weekly basis (but not at the same time).

September: We started house hunting with kids in tow (not a brilliant move on our part, but somewhat necessary) and continued to gather and make blankets for The Blanket Drive. I celebrated my one-thousandth blog post (http://just-because-i-am-me.blogspot.com) and finally conquered The Manitou Incline, which is a one-mile hike straight up the side of a mountain, consisting of old railway ties.

October: Much to Kolby’s delight, October was filled with lots of candy and yummy treats. Kolby and Keaton were both Spiderman for Halloween, one being Venom, and the other “the good Spiderman”. Kamy was Cleopatra, Georgie was Tinkerbell, and Kimble became our little courageous lion. We finally found the house we would buy, and put in our offer. I also spent the month making Christmas presents, in preparation for our (mostly) homemade Christmas.

November: Kimble became overly ambitious and uncoordinated at the same time. As a result, he got multiple black eyes this month, the first one occurring on his first birthday. That same day, in celebration of such a momentous and heartfelt year, we completed our Blanket Drive, and donated over one-thousand blankets to The Denver Children’s Hospital. It was an overwhelming day, with lots of publicity, but we felt such accomplishment! As previously mentioned, we spent Thanksgiving with much of my side of the family, in Idaho, which was fabulous, even though we were “trapped” due to the weather.

December: In perfect harmony with our crazy year, we experienced drama relating to house issues, dealt with an unexpected hospitalization for Kimble, said goodbye to our dear friends ( which was so difficult, but made easier by the fact that we were only moving 30 minutes away this time), and moved into our first mortgaged home just in time for Christmas.

In all honesty, it has been one of the best years of our life. Although we endured multiple surgeries connected with unbelievable highs and lows, we grew as a family this year. We have an unshakable testimony of the power of faith, love, and prayers, and we appreciate everyone (family and friends) with much more intensity. We are so thankful that we could have such a fantastic year, overflowing with blessings. We hope this letter finds you happy and healthy.

Wishing you all the best in the year to come. With much love, The Nunnelly Family

Heath, Shaina, Kamyren (10), Keaton (9), Kolby (7), Kennedy (“Georgie” 5), and Kimble (1).