Tuesday, December 31, 2013

DAY 861... Peace Out 2013

I am sooooooooooooooooo ready for this year to be over. Not that it hasn't been a great one, okay so it really truly hasn't been the best, but there is so much that I am willing and ready to put behind me and to move on to bigger and better things! As a family and individually we were able to start a lot of new things and we were able to have a lot of firsts (thank you Aniston). This past year I,

Started Graduate school (only 4 more classes until I graduate!)
Cut 15 inches off my hair
Quit coaching
Crafted my butt off
Survived 2 weeks of single parenting
Had my parents move to town
Turned 27


Started sculpting again
Spent 2 weeks in Northern Idaho selling security systems
Put another year of school behind him
Had his parents move wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy closer
Turned 27


Had a million firsts! (This pretty much includes EVERYTHING that she did this year)
Ate Taco Bell for the first time!
Turned 1

As a Family,

Move #2
Went to Disneyland 
Traveled to Oregon

We really had such a busy year! I truly think that the best times were times that we were able to spend together as a family and just watching Aniston grow. I've done a lot in the past 4 months to change my life. I quit coaching, which was HUGE since I had done it for years and it truly was my dream job. I cut off my hair, and I've started making more time for my family because I have realized what is most important and that's where my priorities need to be. I think I really just got brave this year. I realized this past year that I am capable of making myself happy and after 27 years I finally started doing them!

I have learned more, loved more, cried more, hated more, worked more, been blessed more and prayed more than ever this year! I am ready for a change! Here is our past year in review!

I hope you all have a safe and happy New Years!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

DAY 855... Merry Christmas

Christmas is so fun! But it's a thousand times funner when you are a parent! The night before Christmas was kind of rough in the Ahlstrom house. Aniston has the worst cold and every time she sneezes there is snot EVERYWHERE. Spencer work up with a sore throat and a crazy headache. And I have a cough and pain in my chest that makes me want to die it hurts so bad! None of us slept well and we all took a wonderful Christmas nap later in the day. So don't judge us in any pictures. Remember, we are super sick...

I love the way the Christmas tree looks in the morning before anyone else is awake and everything is peaceful and perfect!
Santa learned a tough lesson this Christmas. It is never a good idea to put chocolate in the stocking while the fireplace is on. The chocolate tends to melt... 
Aniston was not so excited to be out of bed while feeling so yucky, but once she started unwrapping presents things got better.

Things got much better when she discovered that Santa had brought her Cheetos!
Spencer got excited because my Dad gave him this insane BB gun. Seriously I have never seen something like this before! We will never have a "cat" problem again...
Even though Aniston received more toys than necessary, she loves her potty more than anything! She turns 18 months in 11 days and that's when we are potty training. She definitely seems ready!

She also loves bubbles. Can we talk about how she just stood in front of the bubble machine and just let them hit her in the face for like 3 minutes. Kind of weird, but super funny!

If you read my blog about Ani's kitchen you saw in the video a surprise present that was hidden. Recently I have become obsessed with the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. Get on Netflix and watch it. It will change your life. Spencer bought me the juicer from it and this gives him the Best Husband of the Year award!!! I cannot wait to start juicing! 

I captured this sweet moment of father and daughter time today. So precious!

Can we also discuss how my AMAZING husband spent secret time in the construction lab on campus with my Dad to build me this amazing cutting board! Seriously, what a man!

It was a wonderful Christmas! My family came over for dinner and we were beyond blessed in so many different ways! I seriously need to go to bed and sleep this nasty illness out of me! 
 MERRY CHRISTMAS from my family to yours!

DIY... Play Kitchen

I am blessed in many ways. 1, that I have an amazingly talented father who happens to be a professor in the construction department at BYU-Idaho. This means he has unlimited access to so many awesome tools. And 2, I have an extremely supportive husband who is willing to listen to my crazy dreams and ideas and helps to me accomplish them. 

This year it was my dream to build Aniston a play kitchen for Christmas from an old entertainment center. I saw a couple examples on Pinterest, and I just thought it would be such a fun project. Honestly if my father had not agreed to help us we probably would have failed miserably. It was a big project that took a lot of time, thought and measurements. My Dad is kind of a perfectionist, so that probably added to the awesomeness that became Ani's kitchen. 

I'm not gonna lie... I'm a little obsessed with how awesome it turned out to be. We spent 2 Saturday's in the shop, the first one sanding, taking everything apart, building doors and shelves and the microwave. 

 The microwave is, and I quote, "the best box I have ever made" according to my Dad. Nothing but the best for Aniston Kate.

 I can be rather dangerous with a power tool...
I went to the store and picked up an aluminum bowl that we used for the sink. So simple, but so perfect! 

I am in LOVE with the way it turned out!

 I used the die cutter at work and cut the "EAT" out of cardboard and painted them black. I also took an old picture frame with no glass and used it for the window frame. I designed the tree picture on publisher and had it printed. LOVE it! We used a $10 bathroom faucet for the sink that we found at Walmart and I bought the hooks and hot pads from the dollar tree!
 I made the numbers for the microwave also on publisher, seriously publisher is becoming one of my favorite programs to use ever! I think it looks pretty cool. We set the time at 10:33 because that was the time when Aniston was born. We aren't going to ever tell her siblings that though.
 We bought the cute play kitchen utensils and pots and pans from IKEA of course. LOVE IKEA! Wanna know something cool? My Dad designed the handles on the stove to actually turn and spin like a real stove top would do. He is a genius!
 The shelf in the stove actually pulls out so that you can have more room to "cook" big things.
 The fabric for under the sink came from an our curtain that I had made that we had replaced, so we just recycled it. We hide all of her appliances that we got from Walgreen's (who knew they had killer deals on toys) under the sink.
 This was suppose to be the freezer, but we are using it for storage instead. I bought the magnetic letters from the dollar store and hot glued them to the fridge to make it a little more whimsical. 
 I bought little baskets for Ani to organize her food, I'm sure that'll happen right?!?!
 Such a cool little kitchen. We used the paint samples that you buy at Lowes to paint the kitchen. It turned out to be way cheaper that way and the color selection was decent. We are IN LOVE with this color! Gender neutral and it totally pops!

Aniston LOVES it! My Dad made it so sturdy and awesome that I'm sure that it will last for generations! I can't wait to watch her grow and play with the kitchen more and more.

The surprise gift I pull out gets my husband the World's Best Husband award! I will post more about it later!

Thank you Dad and Spencer for all your help on this project! So great!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

DAY 851... The Spirit of Christmas

I was taught that the true spirit of Christmas was the act of giving. Giving can occur in any different forms. It can occur emotionally, physically, materially, thoughtfully and so many other different ways. Some ways to give are more obvious and apparent to the world, while other ways are more personal and really only seen and felt by the ones giving and those receiving.

Thursday evening Spencer received a phone call from Utah informing him that his fathers lungs had collapsed and that he was in the ICU. Along with having a virus and Parkinson's this was a terrifying event for our family. Even though our plan was to come to Utah on Saturday we immediately left Rexburg late that night to get to Utah as his father was not expected to make it through the night. We left our home in a terrible mess (thank you Mom for going and changing the clothes in the laundry for us so they wouldn't mold), I forgot to pack everything we would need, and the weather in Utah was absolutely horrendous. But none of that mattered. Getting Spencer to the hospital to be with his father was our number one priority. I was blessed to be able to miss work and it was a blessing that Spencer had just completed his last final of the semester. There was nothing holding us home. We arrived at the hospital at 11pm, after visitor hours, but Spencer was still allowed in. Another blessing. Aniston and I roamed the halls and watched Blues Clues while we waited. An hour later Spencer drove Ani and I to my aunts house where we would be staying with the intention of returning to the hospital to spend the night there with his parents. On the drive home he expressed his fear that his father would not make it through the night. It was pretty devastating. I would be completely destroyed and inconsolable if my father were to pass away, so I can only imagine the heartbreak that my husband was feeling. I made sure to keep my phone on all night and I texted him frequently through the night to check the status of his father after he had returned to the hospital. During this time I posted this picture of Aniston walking the halls in the hospital on Instagram and Facebook:

I was, and still am, completely and utterly overwhelmed and emotional at the waves of support that flooded my phone through texts and calls and through my social media accounts after I posted the picture and that has continued for several days. The offers of prayers and services were unbelievable! I received condolences from people I hadn't seen or talked to in 18 years as well as people who I wouldn't consider my close friends. Most of these people hadn't even met Spencer, let alone his father or family but were still willing to do our family a service by including us in their thoughts and prayers.

This year my family was on the receiving end of the Spirit of Christmas and what a wonderful feeling that is! The service that people have chosen to give to us is not something that costs money or something that really even takes a lot of time. It was giving us their thoughts and their prayers, and that was enough. That was more than enough and truly has touched my family. I would like to personally thank every single person who has prayed and blessed my family at this time, but I'm sure I don't even know the half of you who did so. Isn't that amazing? Every single one of you made a difference in our lives and you are blessed. Thank you so much! It was something incredibly small, but so powerful and meaningful to our family. Thank you! I know that having been given such a wonderful gift, only truly makes me want to do the same for others. Service and prayer really are so powerful and meaningful in ways that material gifts could never hope to be.

Here is the cute video that Aniston made for her Grandpa while he is in the ICU. She is not allowed in so she I wanted to send him something from her to lift his spirits. I heard it was well received and watched quite a few times by him!

Tonight Spencer's Dad is still in the ICU and now battling pneumonia and the flu. He is breathing better and exceeding all expectations for a man who no one thought would make it through the night. They hope to move him into a regular room as soon as one opens up. His fight in the hospital is not over, but as you can see, your prayers and thoughts have helped immensely! I cannot say thank you enough!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Day 847... Christmas Card

I finally finished designing our Christmas card yesterday. I was annoyed with Walmart and Shutterfly and the insane amount of money they wanted to charge me to buy cards from them so I got onto publisher, created my own and printed them for 4.5 cents apiece! LOVE IT! I really do like them and I'm thinking of continuing this format every year. I think it's way easier than sending a card and then a family letter. Too much work! But who knows? Some of you should be expecting this little gem in your mailboxes soon!!!

 Merry Christmas from my little family to yours!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

DAY 845... When You Forget (kind of) Your Kid

I have not had one of those parenting moments where I have forgotten Aniston somewhere... yet. I don't think that this means that you're a bad parent, I think it just means that you have a lot going on and sometimes our minds just don't work the way that we want them to.

I woke up this morning with a terrible headache and nausea. I blame it on a terrible nights sleep thanks to Kate Hudson killing my entire family in my dreams, and finals. I was so dizzy that all I wanted to do was to sleep. Aniston does not permit this so needless to say we missed the beginning of church this morning. I always feel guilty when I miss church, it's just fact. Plus I really love to dress Aniston up. Sunday's are one of her high fashion days.  But it turned out that we needed to miss the first half of church for a reason. around 10am our doorbell started ringing like crazy! We had no idea who it could have been. When we opened the door, one of our neighbors kids was there, in his pajamas and bawling his eyes out. It was freezing outside and apparently his parents had left him at home in all of the hustle and bustle of getting to church on time with 3 kids and a pregnant mom. We had him come in and had him pick out a movie to watch and just made him comfortable. His Dad came back shortly, and apparently they intentionally left him home but forgot to tell him they were leaving. Yeah, I don't understand that either, but I am glad that we were able to be at home for that little boy when he was scared and crying and pretty cold.

Speaking of kids, I ran across this commercial on Facebook and I am pretty sure every new parent can relate! LOVE IT!

Go hug your kids and let them know you love them and love being their parent!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Day 844... Christmas Wreath

I made this wreath a couple weeks ago in my attempt to create a new wreath for every season or holiday. Seriously can we talk about how awesome the Dollar Tree is? I purchased the ornaments from the Dollar Tree which was awesome because they are plastic and they just don't break... they didn't have a very large selection of colors which bummed me out a little. Since our Christmas tree is decorated in blue, white and silver I was hoping to make a matching wreath. But I'm too cheap to go and spend a ton of money on ornaments that weren't going to be used for their intended purpose. The only thing I wish that I would have done differently on this wreath is that I wish I would have wrapped the Styrofoam wreath in fabric or yarn or something. Sometimes if I look closely I can see the green of the wreath amongst the ornaments. It really really bothers me. I just used my handy dandy hot glue gun to go to town. I just glued all the larger ornaments on first and then I gradually made my way through the smaller ornaments. There was no rhyme of reason to my gluing madness I just did it according to what I thought would look best.
I like the way it turned out. Kind of a fun wreath that isn't your typical Christmas wreath. Go and make one! You will love it and not regret it at all! But seriously, use a TON of glue!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Dear Aniston... Part 10

Dear Aniston,

As you grow older you may feel the need to hide yourself from your peers. Your peers may make you feel as though you can't really be yourself around them because the things that you make enjoy may not seem "cool" or "hip". But I can promise you that if you stay true to yourself and continue to participate and love the things that truly make you happy, the friends who will accept you for those things, will be the truest and best friends you will ever have. Your peers who make you feel worthless and make fun of you for the things that you love are not good friends and honestly not people you need or should have in your life. I know at the time it may feel as though you need to have those friends for whatever reason, but it's not the truth. Not even close to the truth! Always be true to yourself and don't change yourself to fit anyone else's idea of who you should be. Love what you want to love. Enjoy what you want to enjoy. I'm not saying don't try new things, because trying new things is so important and can bless your life more than I can tell you, but just be true to yourself! Your Dad and I will love you no matter who you decide to be. No matter what! We love you!

Love- Your Mom

PS - Always keep smiling because we cannot get enough of your toothy grin!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

DAY 841... My Husband Gots Skills

Ignore the grammatical incorrectness in my title, but sometimes the words you need to use aren't always considered proper English. So my husband has this insane talent that most people don't know about. He can sculpt. In fact he can sculpt really really well. I am amazed at his artwork when he brings them home. I cannot believe that his hands are capable of something so amazing. 

Recently he sculpted a bust of his own father. His father has been diagnosed with Parkinson's. This is something that constantly plagues Spencer and he worries often about his Dad and how much longer he will be with us. On our way to Disneyland, we stopped by their apartment to give them the bust as a gift. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. It was a very emotional moment for everyone.

 Ani loves her Grandpa!
I LOVE this picture of Spencer's Dad just holding and looking at this gift. You can just see how emotional he is about receiving it.

Spencer has sculpted everything from LDS Prophets, busts, a caveman named Bart (Ani has to say hi to him every morning), masks, a nativity scene that is currently on display in Alabama, and he is currently working on a pretty sweet sculpture of Wolverine. Logan is his favorite. 
 Prophet Joseph Smith
 Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley
Prophet Brigham Young

His mentor, Karl Quilter, who he met while in high school recently died. Quilter was responsible for the Moroni's on top of the LDS temples. Such a remarkable opportunity that Spencer had, to be able to work with such a talented sculptor. 

It is our dream to have Spencer's sculptures bought and duplicated and sold in various venues. They are definitely good enough, in my opinion of course. If anyone has any hook ups let me know! I know it can be a tricky dream to accomplish, but when I set my mind to something I usually tend to accomplish it... unless it has anything to do with weight loss and then I just fail miserably.

Friday, December 6, 2013

DAY 836... SNOW

Spencer and I are two very much warm weather kind of people. But Aniston L-O-V-E-S the snow! And even the word "love" is probably an understatement. Whose kid is this? After breakfast she will walk to the window and say "Snow, snow, snow" over and over again. We finally broke down and bought her some snow pants so that she could play outside. They're a little big... But at least they will fit next year! Seriously though, we had to drag her kicking and screaming inside. Keep in mind that it was in the negatives yesterday while we were outside, but she did not want to come into the warm house. She just wanted to be in the cold! I ended up bribing her with a long bath, and that worked! Kids are so fun!

She didn't want to walk in the snow, just stand in it. I think she was actually a little scared to walk in it especially since it was about 4-6 inches deep.
 That smile lights up my world! Notice that she is wearing gloves! It's a miracle! But she quickly learned that she was not allowed outside unless she had her gloves on.
 Daddy and Ani. We obviously haven't gotten out our adult snow clothes...
 A family that plays together, stays together!
 So happy in the snow. We've been listening to the Frozen soundtrack and "Do you want to build a snowman" over and over because Aniston LOVES it. Our goal was to build a snowman, but the snow was too powdery and wouldn't stick well.

 Can we also talk about how as of yesterday (the 5th) this sweet snow bunny is 17 months old?!?! Where on earth did the time go? She is a BLAST to hang out with. We can carry on a conversation with her because she talks and understands what we are saying. She repeats everything so we HAVE to watch what we say. She wants to eat whatever Mom is eating. She loves to color and loves books. She loves her family, including her extended family and she is really missing her cousin NeNe and her aunts and uncles who she spent last week with. She sings songs. Her favorites are Blue's Clue's and The Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room. It's so funny to hear she sing because she understands the beat and the notes. She's gonna be a rock star! I sure do love this little lady! What a blessing she has been to Spencer and I!
 Shout out to my Dad who got his AARP card in the mail this week! It's official! He is the coolest and youngest 50 year old I know! Bring on the discounts!!!
Also this popped up on my phone yesterday. What does that even mean? Besides the fact that it's by far too cold here in the ID.