Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Day? Psych!

You thought we had snow today, too? Yeah, not so much. These snow pictures are from a few weeks ago, and they turned out so pretty that I had to share. This was Brynn's first snow and she was entirely unsure of what to think. We sat her in the snow for just long enough for her to realize she wanted nothing to do with it. Hadley, on the other hand, LOVED the snow. She and Sean had a blast running, playing, and throwing snowballs for our dog, Bella.

Don't hate us for missing Snowpacalypse. We'll be braving an ice storm in April if our weather is at all consistent. For all of my friends braving the ice and snow this week, stay warm!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Well Hello There-- and Happy Birthday to Me!!

I know, I know-- it's only been like a month and a half, right? Sorry about that. It seems that once a couple of weeks pass between posts, I just can't think of a segue-way back in. Then, I procrastinate posting because I hate the whole "I haven't posted in so long intros." Annnnd, that's exactly how I opened this post. Love it!

Anyway, once I post again, I find that I have sooo much to tell you guys and I get overloaded with post ideas. That seems to be the case now, too. Here are a few things on my mind-- all of which I will post soon:

* We just transitioned Hadley to her "BIG GIRL" bed after Christmas and I just have to show you guys how cute it is. And tell you about how awesome she did with the transition.

* And then there's the potty training. That's a whole other post.

* My Brynn is growing up so fast! I have to update you on how big she's getting and all the fun, new things she is doing. Right now, she is hitting Hadley on the head with a rubber sword. I'm not stopping her because I consider it payback for all the times Hadley has bopped Brynn on the head. I'm just keeping things even.

* And, of course, I must update you guys on a few fun things we're doing around the house.

All of this assumes that one of my three readers is still actually checking my blog for posts-- it might just be me on here:-). And on that note, It's My Birthday!! I'm 21, by the way. Send booze!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Now act crazy!

Every year, I drive myself and Sean crazy trying to get the perfect family picture for our Christmas cards. For Hadley's first Christmas, we took picture after picture of the three of us in our living room only to decide that an outdoor picture would look better. Then, once we found a suitable outdoor location, we spent over an hour in the cold trying to get a picture in which Hadley was either 1) not sleeping, or 2) not crying. I ended up sending out cards with Hadley crying in the picture. I thought they were pretty cute.

Last year, we got some great fall pictures at our local botanic gardens and decided to use those for our Christmas cards. I realized as we were designing our Christmas cards that although we had some great family pictures, all of the pictures of just Hadley were of her running. Sigh. We tried taking more pics of Hadley, but you guessed it, more running. So, if you got our Christmas card last year, that's why Hadley was a little blurry.

This year, I've decided to embrace the craziness. Instead of trying to get the perfect family photo for my holiday photo cards, I'm going to use the silliest pictures I have. Like this one from our recent trip to the Ozarks for Thanksgiving:

Or this one from Hadley's birthday party:

The best part is that the pictures are a little kooky and whimsical and goofy. And I love that. Isn't life a little kooky and goofy anyway?

Now, for the really hard part: picking the perfect holiday card design. Luckily, Shutterfly is giving bloggers 50 free cards this year-- and there are a ton of gorgeous cards to choose from. Score! Right now, I'm loving these designs:

Aren't these Christmas photo cards delicious? I'm loving the red and chocolate styles this year.

So as not to spoil the surprise for those of you who might be receiving a card from me in the mail, I won't tell you which style I chose. But, rest assured, there will (likely) be no crying or running children in the photos this year. I hope.

** For the record, I am receiving compensation in the form of 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly for this post. Score:-). To get your own free cards, go here.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

This is kinda how I feel about the long weekend ending, too

Somebody found her piggy face (and just in time for Thanksgiving, too)! Brynn makes this face ALL THE TIME, and it is usually precipitated by much snorting and giggling. I'm in love.

And, just a little more cuteness...

More Thanksgiving info coming up soon! Oh, and sorry for the radio silence these last few weeks. Who knew that working, parenting, and preparing for an out-of-town holiday could consume every waking minute of the day? Hopefully, things will slow down just a smidge so I can catch back up on posting. We'll see about that one:-).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My AHA moment (alternate title: DUH!)

So, maybe I mentioned Brynn's little sleep issues of late. She went from sleeping 9 glorious hours every night to waking up 3 and 4 (or more) times each night. It was brutal. This non-sleeping thing started around the beginning of October. At first, she would just wake up once or twice at night. Then, she would sleep through the night for a night or two and start waking up again. By last week, she would only sleep in her bed for about 30 minutes at a time, then she would wake up flailing and crying. The only way we could get her to sleep was to put her in bed with us. Then, amazingly, she slept all night long without budging.

We tried everything to make her comfortable. First, we thought she was hungry. So, I nursed her every time she woke up. This, of course, soothed her back to sleep. When that didn't keep her asleep, we thought that maybe she had a tummy ache or wasn't satisfied with just milk. So, we spent the days adjusting her solid food intake to see if that helped. It didn't. Then, we noticed she had teeth. Maybe that was doing it? Maybe, but we saw no measurable relief after a few days.

Finally, FINALLY last week it dawned on me that she was comfortable when she was (1) nursing, or (2) sleeping in our bed. And, she started this whole non-sleeping thing right around the time that it started to get cooler here. That's when it hit me: she's freaking COLD!!!! I could not be dumber, you guys. I haven't mentioned this on here, but Brynn is notoriously cold-natured. She spent the majority of the sweltering summer months bundled up in long-sleeved footie pajamas. While everyone else was sweating outside, she was content in her winter clothing. And, the only times she has ever, ever been inconsolable was when she was cold. I can count those instances on one hand. Why I didn't think of this utterly simple, and very common sense solution, sooner, I have no idea. For some reason, even though it's the most likely culprit, I always consider "cold" last. Another strike for Mama.

Since my AHA moment, I have been dressing Brynn for bed like she is going out to play in the snow-- on the North Pole. She looks like the kid in A Christmas Story who can't move his arms because he is so bundled up. She wears footie, long-sleeved pajamas, a hat, and a fleece, long-sleeved sleep sack. I get hot just looking at her. But, it's working. She has slept through the night for the past three nights. She doesn't make a peep for 9 straight, glorious hours.

So, next time I complain that Brynn won't sleep, smack me! She's probably just cold and I'm too busy adjusting her fruit intake to notice. Sometimes I just need a quick reminder that some things really are that simple.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Good thing I bought that costume...

The weather was perfect for Halloween-- cool and crisp with the faint smell of smoke in the air. Last night, we gathered with our neighbors in the cove and munched on chili, hot dogs, and brownies. Little ghosts, ballerinas, and ninjas ran, played, and squealed. It was glorious. Then, when dusk set in and the street lights popped on, we took to the streets and begged treats from each house with a light burning on the porch. Haddy did good. The candy jar is stocked and I've had a hard time keeping little (and big) hands out.

This is the first Halloween that Hadley actually understood that when she went to someone's door, she would get NANDY!! I fully anticipate that she will expect candy the next time we go to our neighbor's house to play. She was such a big girl. She marched right up to every door and waited patiently for her candy. She only occasionally said "Trick or Treat," but she told each person we met "Thank You!" big and loud. My sweet, polite girl. I really expected her to be shy given that we were going to strange houses and talking to people she barely knows. Not so much. Apparently, the prospect of sugar totally outweighs caution. Go figure.

Then, when we were tired and had collected way too much sugar, we hiked back up the hill to our house where we relaxed and passed out candy to trick-or-treaters. I roasted the pumpkin seeds we scooped out of our pumpkins earlier in the day and we munched while the girls played. It was perfect.

Here's my little Princess Skeleton, aka, the Princess Bag Lady. We had several costume options for Hadley, including an Olivia costume with homemade piggie ears, a fairy dress with wings, and a flower costume. Hadley wanted nothing to do with any of them. Seriously. Much crying ensued as we tried to dress her. You would think we were trying to send her off to boot camp instead of a night of partying and candy collecting. Hello teen years, you're a little early.

This little outfit is one she picked out herself and is the ONLY THING she would agree to wear. She has on every single one of her favorite items of clothing: her glow-in-the dark pink skeleton pj's, four tutus, pumpkin socks, and ruby slippers (originally planned for the Dorothy costume she refused to wear days before Halloween). It's a mish-mash hodge-podge collection, but it turned out so cute. And, it's so Hadley. My baby is true to herself, that's for sure.

And, my little Brynn was a ferocious lion. She, on the other hand, is so go-with-the-flow, easy peasy. At least this year. I anticipate that next year, we'll be fighting with her over what she wants to wear, too. I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

And another one bites the dust

Let's do bullet points today... that's all my brain can handle after Brynn's attempts last night to break the record on least sleep in one night. That'll teach me to praise her sleeping habits. Point taken, Universe.

* When Brynn finally did fall asleep last night, she was snuggled against me in our bed. Not the best sleep practice, but 1) we all finally got to sleep, and 2) she was snuggled against me. Sigh.

* Right now, I'm feeding Brynn 2 oz of white grape juice (the watered-down baby stuff) to help move some stuff through her little digestive system-- if you know what I mean. Apparently, carrots don't please her tummy.

* Not only is Brynn's tummy bothering her, but she also just cut her second bottom tooth. Yea and boo at the same time! By the way, if it is possible, that second, little tooth is even cuter than the first.

* Just recently, Brynn has started giving kisses when we ask for them. Big, open-mouthed, slobbery jobs that melt my heart every time. I've caught her trying to kiss the dog a few times in passing.

* When we put Hadley to bed at night, we hold Brynn up to Hadley, and Brynn gives Hadley the biggest, slobberiest kisses ever. Hadley then says, "She touches you!" and wipes her face off with her shirt.

* I bought Hadley "ruby slippers" to go with her Dorothy costume for Halloween. Since I tried them on her two days ago, she has only taken them off to sleep.

* Brynn is going to be a lion for Halloween. She's psyched about this choice.

* Hadley may refuse to wear any part of her Halloween costume except for the shoes. So, we may be trick-or-treating as "The Girl in the Red Shoes."

* Hadley just pointed to her banana and said she wanted more bacon. You and me both, kid.

* Last night, Hadley sang "Lullaby and Good Night" to my mom. We sing this song to Hadley at naptime and bedtime but had no idea she could sing it.

* In the car on the way to Target yesterday, Hadley sang, "I want playground" over and over and over again. Intermittently, she would stop and clap for herself and say, "Yea!!" We're headed to the playground now.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sticker Shock

Sweet, chubby cheeks are definitely more fun to decorate than plain, old construction paper. Life lesson learned!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Picture Perfect

The five o'clock hour comes much too early in this house. That time of day usually finds me rushing around trying to get dinner ready and straighten up the chaos from the day, all while trying to tame the little monkeys who are doing their best to break the sound barrier with their screeching. It's hectic, mad, and loud. It means that Daddy will soon be home, which is fun. But it also means a chaotic bout of trying to chop, measure, and stir while simultaneously entertaining the kiddos, which is so not fun.

Yesterday afternoon, just as Sean's car slid into the driveway at the end of the day, I looked down and realized that I was still wearing the hole-y yoga pants and old t-shirt I threw on when I jumped out of bed at 7 o'clock that morning. My hair was hastily tied up a in a messy bun, I had at some point amassed a giant spit-up stain on my shirt, and I was wearing no make-up and even less deodarant.

It was at that moment, when Sean was about to walk in the door, that I remembered an old newspaper clipping my grandmother used to keep on her refrigerator. My grandmother was raised in the Midwest and went to college in Iowa, where she graduated with a degree in home economics. She was a sorority rose queen and after graduation, she married my grandfather and became the consummate homemaker. My grandmother cooked homemade, delicious meals, including the best beef brisket and chocolate sheet cake I have ever tasted. She was a member of a sewing club and an ardent member of her church. She hand-made individualized Christmas stockings for everyone in the family and she catalogued and labeled the history of everything in her house. She was like Martha Stewart on steroids.

This newspaper article, which I remember my mom talking about, apparently provided tips for busy homemakers. One of those was that no matter how hard the day was, a good homemaker should always put a bow in her hair, apply lipstick, dress the kids in neat clothes, and greet her husband with a smile upon his arrival at the end of the day. Because his day was hard and he would wants to be greeted with a picture-perfect family when he came home. Umm, yeah.

Let's just say that I am about as far from that homemaker as I can possibly be. I'm even farther from the type of homemaker my grandmother was. I am lucky most days to get a shower, I don't do laundry until it threatens to bury me alive, and I can't remember the last time I tried to bake an actual cake from scratch. And you know what, I'm mostly okay with that.

I'd love to be Martha with the perfect house and coiffed hair, but I'm not. Even still, my kids are well-loved, happy children. We live in a happy house that is mostly neat and sometimes clean. And even though my husband doesn't come home to a picture-perfect house or family, he comes home to us, just as we are. Honestly, that's better than any fantasy you can create with lipstick and a bow.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mexican Eggs

So, I promised to tell you how we use our leftover enchilada sauce, right? Okay, hold onto your hats 'cause this ones a little crazy. We made this recipe up one night on the fly when we needed a fast, easy, tasty dinner that would satisfy both the adults and the little one at our table. And, did it ever. This meal is so tasty and satisfying.

We call this meal "Mexican Eggs," and essentially it is eggs fried with salsa and enchilada sauce and served with creamy refried beans or black beans and warm, fluffy tortillas. I also top mine with baby spinach or broccoli slaw for some veggie power. This is my all-time favorite easy meal. Try it. You won't be disappointed!

Mexican Eggs
by Sean
serves 2-3

4-5 eggs
1 cup salsa
leftover enchilada sauce (about 1/2 cup)
1 can refried beans or 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1/2 to 1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar or pepper jack works well)
4-5 warm flour tortillas

optional toppings:
baby spinach
broccoli slaw
black olives
chopped green onions

Heat refried beans or black beans. Spray a skillet with nonstick spray. Break eggs into the skillet and cook over medium heat until set. Flip the eggs and immediately pour salsa over the top (we like Herdez salsa for this). Then, drizzle enchilada sauce over the salsa. Put a lid over the eggs and cook eggs to your preference. Serve the eggs over the refried beans (or plate the eggs and serve black beans on top). Sprinkle on cheese and optional toppings of choice. Serve with warm tortillas.

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