Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Secrets to a Happy Marriage - Part 1

His and Her heating pads...behind the posing princess, of course.  Trust me, you don't know what you're missing.  :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Our Clothes Horse

I remember being so excited the day Elizabeth figured out how to get herself dressed.  We had coached her up for months:  This arm in this hole, this arm in that one. See how the tag goes in the backGood job, honey!!

Now, no one warned me about the consequences of this momentous occasion.  Therefore, my fellow mothers / fathers / people who might one day be around small children, consider yourself warned.  You're in for a doozy of a ride here.  

Consequence 1: Once she figured out how to get herself dressed, she suddenly began caring about what she was wearing.  

Now, I am all about creativity, but the fact that my child went to church on Sunday in a purple dress and green tights and pink socks was totally her idea.  She didn't like the black pants...or the ruffle socks...and don't even get me started on the precious Christmas shirt I had bought her to wear.

I swear, she has cute and matching clothes.  The problem is, she refuses to wear any of them.  She won't touch jeans or sweaters or turtle necks.  She'll wear jumpers, but not the shirts that need to go under jumpers.  She likes leggings and dresses and shirts that have a ruffle at the bottom.  Oh, and if they have a character on them, that's a bonus.  And they have to be a pretty color.  

Which brings me to...

Consequence 2: She wants to wear clothing that is totally inappropriate for leaving the house.  

Right now, her obsession is shorts and t-shirts.  That's what she picks out.  The problem with that lies in the fact that it is currently the dead of winter.  This morning, she came down for breakfast dressed in her pink My Little Pony t-shirt and a tie-dyed skirt that she called her tu-tu.  She had purple and brown striped knee socks and was set for the day, in her brain.  

The fight that ensued when I forced her to change into long sleeves and long pants was catastrophic.  We had tears, thrown clothes and shoes and eventually, I ended up pinning her between my knees and her little brother (the 26-week pregnant kind) to force the clothes on her.

Eventually, she calmed down and we went downstairs and proceeded with the getting ready to leave the house process.  I had the bags packed, sippies poured, jackets out and suddenly, I didn't see her.  


"Upstairs, Mom...I'm just getting dressed..."

(Which leads into...)

Consequence 3: She changes her clothes 50 million times a day.  

I ran upstairs to try to catch her before the damage was done, but it was too late.  There stood my 3-year-old with no shirt on, pulling back on her "tu-tu."  World War 26 erupted and we finally got our long sleeves and long pants back on and was out the door in 20 minutes.  

Picking her up from the Y, she was happy and in a good mood.  I asked her about her time there and she told me about the crafts she made and the picture she colored and the new little girl she played with.  Then she let me know that as soon as we got home, she was going to change.

But of course she was.

As I write this, I can see our entrance way.  Scattered not five feet from the door are her shoes, socks, pants and long sleeve shirt.  Within seconds of stripping, she had reappeared in the My Little Pony shirt and tie-dyed tu-tu.

The girls had asked for Dora soup for lunch (similar to Princess soup but with Dora noodles...thank you Campbells), which is not a clean-eating process (literally) and after the first drip landed on her shirt, Elizabeth jumped down and stripped naked to finish the rest of the bowl.  

Upon completion, she ran upstairs and came back down in a pink leotard and two mismatched striped socks - one pink and one purple.   Scott surprised us all by coming home for lunch and picked her up, spun her around, and asked why her socks didn't match.  "Because I couldn't find the other ones,"  she answered in her mater-of-fact voice.

Consequence 4:  Your child will now have a tornado of a room as she hunts for what exactly she wants to wear. 

Yesterday, Scott asked me why there were three leotards in our bedroom upstairs when he got home from work.  They were haphazardly thrown around as if someone was looking for something.  I told him that it was probably because his oldest was hunting for her swimsuit.

Which I had hidden...

Up high...

In her closet...

Here was a normal breakfast in Vegas with her swimsuit, tiara, and Hello Kitty necklace on. 
For our Vegas trip, I had stupidly packed the swimsuits - you know, just in case it was warm enough to get in the hot tub or go for a swim in the indoor pool.  The first morning, Elizabeth was overjoyed to find it, as she flung the rest of her clothes out of the suitcase, and claimed it as her dress up outfit of choice for the 5 days we were there.  (I didn't let her bring any princess dresses with her - packing room was tight!)

Now, three things about this is a little one-piece with a ruffle skirt that qualifies it as a "ballerina,"  it has Tinkerbell on it, and it's just a tiny bit too small for my daughter.

So after wearing it for a couple hours, she would begin tugging at the bottom...which is something you never want to see your little girl I had to confiscate it about a million times and then deal with my crying child.  As soon as we got home, it was put far far away in the depths of the closet.

Consequence 5:  You become made to do laundry.

This really doesn't tie into the rest of the story except that I have a huge pile staring at me right beside the desk and I can see that over half of it is Elizabeth's.  I swear, we just had everything in the house clean on Sunday...  Isn't this such a mom statement?  "Do you think I was made to do laundry??"

Thankfully, Rachel hasn't joined the ranks of her older sister just yet, although she's starting to.  She already lets me know when she hates an outfit that I pick out - although she's a little easier to pin down and force into something.  I'm sure these aren't the consequences in every house and maybe your little angels get dressed willingly in matching outfits and keep them on all day and look perfect...but somehow (especially if you've been following my madness on purpose), I doubt it.  

Got any tales to tell?

I better go check on my child now.  Currently, she is watching the Cat in the Hat in my bedroom...naked...


Sunday, December 11, 2011


Nothing like the holidays to spur a post on distractions.  It seems like these days, everyone and everything is pulling at me:  cards to address, cookies to make, presents to purchase and wrap, and...oh yeah...then there are the everyday chores with my kids and household.

The holidays also offer up the perfect stirring in our souls to do good for others - whether that's volunteering, writing a note, sending a gift or simply making a phone call.  But do you ever find yourself on the way to do the very good deed that's been on your mind when...

the phone rings...

your child has a dirty diaper...

the toilet overflows...

the doorbell rings...

you just check Facebook real quick...


And after you get done with whatever the distracting task was, you've suddenly lost your motivation to do the good deed or whatever positive thing you set out to do in the first place.  Does this just happen to me?  

I'm guessing probably not.

I believe that the devil uses every opportunity to distract us from being good and he must hate Christmas time the most because almost everyone walks around with joy in their heart and good will towards most men...

And so he distracts.  Need an example?  Of course you do.  And you want to hear about my children, I'm sure.
We got in from Las Vegas yesterday - which ends up being a two hour time difference.  I am not ready to write about how horrific the flight home was with cranky, exhausted Rachel...but let me just tell you, it was bad.

So last night, Scott and I were more than thankful to put down our vacationed-out little girls by 8 p.m. and sit back and watch something mindless like National Lampoon's Christmas and relax on the couch for a bit.

We didn't complain when they slept past 8 a.m. this morning, pouring large cups of coffee to greet the day.  Rachel woke up in a foul mood and, because we attend the early church service, I think we probably both knew without talking about it that we wouldn't make it to church this morning.

And then Elizabeth came down the stairs.

"Are we going to church?  I need to go to church!  I need to see Piper!"

Piper is Elizabeth's best friend and they are in the same Sunday school class.  Piper's family and ours are perfect bookends and we do a lot of functions together - as the kids take off playing well together and the adults get along and can have a moment's peace and socialization.  

I looked at the clock.  It was 8:20 a.m.  Church started at 9:15 a.m.  

I tried rationalizing with the three-year-old.

"Honey, we slept too late to go to church.  Rachel is cranky and your daddy has a cold (stupid airplane petri dish).  We're not going to go to church today."

"Nooooooooooo!!"  she yelled.  "We have to go!  You said!  I need to see Piper!"

Ok, I DID tell her the night before that we'd go to church this morning...but I didn't count on so many...distractions.

I looked at Scott and he emptied his coffee cup in a couple gulps.  "Ok,"  he said.  "Who wants Cheerios?"

Now, I wish I could tell you that this was the only hurdle we faced all morning in going to church.  But even though our child was ready, she wasn't necessarily willing eat quickly and get dressed or brush her teeth or hustle through the process.  Oh, and Rachel wasn't quick to get out of her foul mood.  Naturally.

But 9:10 a.m. found us dressed and in the car, pulling out of our driveway.  I prayed the whole way that Piper would be there and indeed she was, and was thrilled to see our daughter walk through the Sunday School door.  

That could have been ugly.

Scott and I walked as if hungover to the sanctuary, still dealing with the whirlwind the last hour threw at us.  We had battled the distractions and just as we were empty with exhaustion from a trip and not feeling good and the stress of rushing two toddlers to get ready, we were filled with such a strong, powerful message from our preacher that the events of the morning washed away.

You know the messages that seem just aimed at you?  The ones that hit home and keep your attention?  This was one of those:  full of the message of John, the story of the birth of our savior,  and even with a quote from Ricky Bobby about little baby Jesus.  

Ah yes, this was one the devil really didn't want us to hear.  Like a pep talk before a big game, we both found ourselves ready for the busy week ahead and, more importantly, ready to face our children again.

The time ended up being positive for them as well and we retrieved them from their classes to find them them happy as well and we had a great rest of the day.  But how easy would it have been to just stay home?  To have let the distractions take over our day and missed out on something truly positive and important in our lives?  

Seriously, no one would have blamed us.  We would have had a great excuse.  But we would have missed out on so much.

So let me ask you, my friend:  What are your distractions?  What are the good deeds that you know you need to do...that you should do?  Maybe you have an idea and you just haven't been able to pull the trigger.  

Pull it today.  

Make the phone call.  Bake the cookies and take them to the workers at the nursery.  Buy an extra present and donate it to a family who needs it.  Buy a cup of coffee for that Salvation Army worker, ringing the bell in front of the store.  

Today, I was behind a woman with a overflowing cart in Aldi.  She had food, diapers, toys...the whole kitchen sink.  The line was long, so I was able to overhear her talking about how it was all going to a needy family.  She looked to be in her early 30's and had a young teenager helping her.  They talked about how excited the family would be.
I wonder what distractions she battled in getting there...

What is distracting you?  And if you're not sure, pray and ask...  We are promised to be provided wisdom in James and I can't help but think that this would apply.

I guarantee you the reward is great - even if you get nothing in return.  You will receive plenty of recognition - even if you don't tell anyone.  And you will inspire other people to get over their distractions and do good for others as well. 

And that, my friends, is a priceless Christmas present for sure. 

Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Library and Hug Hug

This post happened in January, earlier this year.  Thankfully, I never have to return to this library since we moved and so far, I have no record at the new library. 

On the final moving day, I had a bag full of books and a couple movies in the front seat to return.  I didn't have the girls with me so I thought it would be a pleasant good-bye process - a simple drop in the hopper.

20 minutes after dropping off the goods, my phone rang.

"Mrs. So-and-so...this is the library.  You returned your movie boxes...with no movies."

They were still in the DVD player...I mailed it.

Enjoy the tale!

So I wasn't planning on writing about this particular adventure to the library until my best friend found it so humorous to concoct a picture in that creative, graphic-design brain of hers and send it to me in an email.  Amanda always seems to call when I'm leaving the library and gets the brunt of my frustration - which she finds hilarious.  Not wanting her work to be in vain here, please, let me explain...

It all started with the Wiggles book.  We lost it.  I mean, I have no clue where it is.  We've offered rewards.  We've had contests to search my house.  It's gone.  Scott thinks our friend Chris took it home with her after her visit when Rachel was born - since she had to read it to Elizabeth exactly 765 time, but of course, she denies any foul play.

I had to pay $14 to the library and the receipt is good for a year if it turns up.  It hasn't.

Since then, I've been late about a million times and have racked up enough overdue fines to pay one of their librarians salary - which you can only do when you check out 30 little kid books at a time and forget which day they're due back.  So I've had to develop quite the organizational system - counting the books we bring home and writing the number on the day on the calendar that they're due back.  

We use the Mickey Mouse bag as our library bag and I keep the receipt for the books in there - to double check my number on the calendar.  And we plan the trip to the library days in advance, which helps with my coaching Elizabeth on her behavior.  (Talks sort of sound like a scene out of Turner and Hooch.)

"You will not run or pull off books or yell or scream or cry or lie down on the ground at the library.  You will not run from Mommy or beg for the Wiggles DVD or cry when Mommy wants to grab a Joyce Meyer book, or a cookbook and child rearing book on the run."

I've tried driving by and returning the books in the hopper...which never works.  The girls know when we're supposed to go inside and I have a holy fit in the backseat if I take a step towards the building without them. 

So you can imagine my horror as we drove up to the parking lot last week and it suddenly dawned on me that it was Martin Luther King Day.  *Groan.* "Honey...the library is closed.  See, there are no cars there."

"Mama! Library!  Push the button!"  (She gets to push the handicap button that opens the main's a pretty big deal.) 

"Honey, we can't push the's closed.  Mama's so sorry...the library is closed...we can't go today."

I turn around in the parking lot and my children scream all the way home.


So Tuesday comes and I still have all the books in the Mickey bag in the front seat...counted...  That's how I knew that Hug Hug was in there.

We go through the library and my children are actually great.  Elizabeth found a princess book she was thrilled about and wouldn't let out of her grubby mitts.  Rachel was gnawing on a string on my sweatshirt and was happy for a moment.  I should have known I was pressing my luck. 

I put the books on the counter and gave the lady my card.

"You have a book out," she said.

"I do?  Which one?"

"Hug hug," she answered.

"Oh no," I said, relieved over the simple misunderstanding.  "I just put the books in the hopper.  It's in there.  I counted all the books."

She looked at me, unsympathetically, and said, "Riiigght,"  while looking at the computer screen.  In front of her, I know, was my library rap sheet:   Annie-crazy woman, address, two bad kids, a million dollars in late fines and loser of the Wiggles book.

She looked up.  "I actually just checked all those books in and it wasn't in there."

Elizabeth started fussing...the princess book was on the counter.

"I'm sure it was in there," I said.  "I double-checked all the books.  I have a system now."

She gave me a sure you do look and said, "Ok, I'll go look again."

As she went in the back, an old lady came up and told me how adorable my kids were while, at the same time, lecturing me on Rachel not wearing socks.  I told her that I was sure she was wearing socks when we left the house and somehow they got lost, while I'm thinking, "Please don't call DSS...I put socks on my kids."

Elizabeth:  "Mama?  Princess...?"

The librarian comes back.  "It wasn't back there.  Do you remember what it looks like?"

"Yes," I said.  "It's a little square board book.  I know it was in there."

"Well, I'll go look in the board book section for it."

Now I started to get peeved and so was Elizabeth.  Rachel was no longer pleased with the string.  I'm sure her feet were cold. 

Now, the board books are in the real little kids section of the library and to say it is the least big straight is a lie.  There is no organization and is one jumble of toys and books and mats.  It's awesome, really...but there's no hope in finding a singular book.

She comes back empty handed. 

"It wasn't over there," said Captain Obvious.

"I know, I just turned it in...with the rest of my books,"  I repeated.

"Well, I don't see it and I can't check out any more books for you until you turn it in."

This is the point that I begin to the public library.  "You're kidding right?"  Elizabeth started wailing for the princess book.  "I'm sure it just fell out in the car or something.  Can't you just check it out again for me?'

"We're really not supposed to do that ma'am," she explained. Plus you have a record, I know she thought.

So I stood there with my two now-crying children and my 30 non-checked out books on the counter and weigh my options.  I could leave with no books and a hysterical Elizabeth.  I could go out to the car and attempt to look for Hug Hug with a hysterical Elizabeth and a wiggling Rachel.  Or I could try to strong arm the librarian.

Option 3... I gave her the silent stare.

Scott coined this method of just looking at someone without talking until they decide to give you what you want.  Lucky for me, she broke quickly.  Seriously, like I had just done a Jedi mind-trick or something.

"Ok, I'll just recheck Hug Hug out for you just this once," she said.

Perfect.  "Oh thank you so much.  I will look in the car for it.  I'm sure it's just right there."

She gritted her teeth through her smile.  "Oh, I'm sure it is."

Elizabeth dries up as soon as the princess book hits her paws and I led my circus out the front doors.  Elizabeth hit the handicapped button and I'm sure all eyes were on us as we left.

Stupid Hug Hug.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Nursing one with two...

June 6, 2010 - from The Good Life family blog I kept at the time.  This would have made Rachel a little over three months old and I had just started the process of writing to attempt to regain my sanity of being at home with two little ones.  I love looking back at the old pictures and recalling the things Elizabeth used to do.  It's also funny to think that Rachel is almost as old now as Elizabeth was then.

Anyway, enjoy the story...

Can I write about breastfeeding on this thing?  I'm going to give it a go because, let me tell you, nursing is no picnic with a 22-month-old running around.  I've been very fortunate with both girls and never really had any problems feeding.  In fact, Rachel came out of the womb hungry and has never denied an offer at a meal, unless of course, it came from a bottle.

There were many things I was prepared for since this was my second child...the lovely mouthful of milk pouring down my side when she falls asleep, the wanting to talk when mommy is talking, the process of always walking around with a burp cloth...

What I was not prepared for was my oldest.

Elizabeth really has shown no jealously except for when I go to feed Rachel.  Then, she wants in the middle of everything.  She always asks to get up when I have the baby...although in her defense, that is really the only time I'm sitting down.

It didn't take her long to realize that I am incapacitated when I'm in the rocker and she can use it to her advantage.  Let's take this morning, for instance.

She began the process by climbing on the footstool of the glider and putting all her weight on the Boppy.  Why yes, you DO know this routine!  That is the nifty little pillow that is actually holding the baby.  She then pushed her head into Rachel's butt and made loud kissing noises.  "Mmmmm-ah!" 

From there, she sprinted down the hallway, only to come out of her room with the window screen that I had been attempting to hide behind the changing table.  How she found it, I have no idea, but she threw it on the ground and laid herself on top of it, smashing her face into all the little bug gut particles which I'm sure are all over the thing.   

Gross! Gross!  Gross!  Feeding time now officially over, Rachel went back to the bouncer.

During the next feeding, I decided to switch gears and try the couch, which would allow her to sit beside me.  A novel idea except this also limited my vision.  Elizabeth came in, noticed that I'm nursing Rachel, and promptly marched into the kitchen and grabbed all of my clean dishrags out of the basket (literally, there might have been 10 in her arms).

Mommy's helper then disappeared around the corner of the kitchen and 15 seconds later, I hear the washer door slam and she was pushing buttons.  Snack over:  Rachel goes back in the bouncer.

Who knew she could figure out the wash settings and I set the washer to spin out my now-soaked dishrags and sat back down.

Elizabeth retreated down the hallway.

Her next appearance came by way of the office, and she was carrying every piece of paper that WAS FORMERLY in the printer and proceeded to wad them all up and throw them away.   That didn't get me to put the baby down so she went back to the Boppy climbing tactics.

When I fussed at her for stepping on my feet with her shoes on, she ran in the room, retrieved my flip flops and brought them back as if to say, "Well woman, if you would put some shoes on, my weight wouldn't hurt them so much."

Except, instead of putting them on my feet, she put them in her mouth.

Winner!  Back to the bouncer for Rachel.

I swear, this is all before 9 a.m. and Rachel was now snotty and adamant that she was starving.  I gave up trying to suck the snot out, with her wrenching her head around and Elizabeth pushing her big noggin into my side (we were still on the couch) so we went back to eating.

Now my oldest decided to drag every toy she owned into the living room, along with all the clean clothes out of the laundry basket.  She went to the window and played with the blinds she had already broken on a previous occasion.  She climbed on top of her rocking horse, rocked as strong as she could and then stood up in the saddle...all the while, looking at me for a response.

I stayed silent, determined to get my baby fed and to sleep so I could have just a few moments of sanity.

Just as defeat closed in, my dear, sweet child decided to throw out her trump card...

"Poo-poo...," she said, reaching into her diaper...

Bingo!  Back to the bouncer for Rachel. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

The week ahead...

Very soon, we head to Vegas, baby.  Part of Scott's family lives out there so we make this trek about once a year, if we can, and the day is fast approaching

Which means that this week, I shall run around like a crazy chicken...with Monday being a typical Monday and being crazier than ever.  And like any day that you wake up with a renewed spirit, ready to tackle your to-do list, my children have caught wind of it and have decided to be especially challenging.  Like take all your clothes off and run around the house in just socks, screaming Mickey Mouse songs challenging.

So far, they've lost TV and the McDonalds treat they always get after gymnastics for not listening and being disagreeable and just plain hard-to-get-along with in general.

Seriously, who am I trying to punish here?? 

So I am facing a week slammed with packing suitcases and cleaning bathrooms (am I the only one who can't go out of town without cleaning her house??  Yet another curse handed down from my mother...) and taking books back to the library and trying to get a quick run in at the Y...shew!

Therefore, I've decided to share some of my favorite older posts with you this week from my former family blog, The Good Life.  At some point, I'll make a little button for it up at the top with those others so you can check more out.  

**Writing was paused as my sweet little children each walked in the kitchen with a handful of Christmas ornaments swiped off the tree.  We now have three ornaments at their level.  The rest take up the top half of the tree.  Also, did I mention it's also raining??  IT'S RAINING!**

I started The Good Life blog after we moved to Tennessee and it was a way to share pictures of Elizabeth, who had just turned a year old, with our friends and family.  Pictures turned into stories and then Rachel joined us and pretty soon, I morphed the whole thing into Mama Wants... But I haven't posted any of the old stories from The Good Life.  

So enjoy the repeats for some of you and the back story of this whole adventure for others and we'll see you on the flip side.  Have a great week!

Friday, December 2, 2011

A few things of note...

Today is one of those rare days that I have a lot to do and plenty of energy to do it.  So time in front of the computer will officially be limited...but there are a few things of note that I must share with you first:

 -- I ran two days in a row this week.  Now, I'm not setting any records here, but this is quite an accomplishment for this particular big, pregnant woman.  I went 20 minutes both days and my top speed was 5.5.  Before I got pregnant, my beginning speed was 6.0...but I'm not complaining.

 -- My big girl got her first hair cut yesterday.

 -- Our baby boy is 1 lb, 6 oz per his ultrasound yesterday.  He was such a busy body that the technician could barely get all the measurements she needed to...again...  He should fit right into this household.

 -- Speaking of our baby boy, Scott came up with a new name possibility after we watched Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer the other night...Yukon Cornelius Shipman...  *sigh*  But seriously, is anyone else loving the awesome family movies that are on every night?  I think we're going to get early baths and have a movie and popcorn night with the Grinch tonight.

-- The weather has turned cold here in middle TN.  This requires pulling out the big girl coats.

I swear, there's a little girl in there somewhere...

Ah!  There she is!

Ok, I'm outta here, folks!  Have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New Kitchen Island

I am so excited to share our new island with you.  We ordered it three weeks ago and yesterday, Scott and one of my generous pitching dads (with a truck) picked it up for me and delivered it into my kitchen and straight into my heart.

Ok, let me first remind you of our kitchen.  It had a very open center and I had tried to use a kiddie table to usefully fill the space, but really that offered surprisingly little storage options...

...although it was nice for dancing...

Now...with the island...

I should have taken a pre-picture so I could flip back and forth like my friend Dana used to do to show off her new HDTV.  (She would pick the same channel and say, "See?  HD...No HD...HD...No HD..."  Until I agreed with her that it was well worth the extra expense.)  We don't have HDTV ourselves, as our TV set is ancient, BUT STILL WORKS!  Which allows us to buy other our beautiful new island!!

I found the bar stools for a steal.  They're used, but we ruin almost everything anyway in this house, so I didn't want to spend a lot of money.  Last night, the girls sat at the "high table" for about an hour and colored and played.  

Elizabeth was interviewing Rachel on her favorite color and games and what she wants for Christmas.  I have no idea where she gets this, but we all get interviewed about once a day.

On the other side of the bar is storage...lovely, glorious storage with this handy dandy lock bar that Rachel can't seem to figure out yet and just rocks the doors back and forth with all her might.  (Well worth the price of good construction!)

Ahhh...this is happiness to me.  Everything that had previously been stored on the counter top or on the wire rack in the dining room found a home.  I was even able to fit my Dutch oven and cutting boards down here too.  The wire rack is now going to retire to some closet to hold diapers...since nothing really says fancy like having wire racks in your dining room with a George Foreman on top. 

So far, we've had breakfast and lunch at the "high table" and it's actually been a great time for us to talk and not have the TV on or be distracted.  At lunch, we had a conversation about rhyming words and what a bank was.  It makes me realize how much I've taken to going rogue during mealtimes to get my things done or check Facebook or email or sort laundry...all while they watch TV.  In one day, it's been a lesson learned for me.

Ok, now to answer "why white?"  I want to paint our cabinets white.  Slowly but surely, my husband is coming around to the idea.  But right now, our kitchen is just a lot of wood for my taste.  Here...I'll show you again.

So I want to do white cabinets with black pulls and (eventually) copper colored counter tops.  Basically, copying It's A Wannabe Decorator's Life.  We don't have a ton of light in the kitchen and I just  think this will make such a difference.  
I also love TomiAnnie's kitchen renovation over at Just What I {Squeeze} In.  How cute are all those little plates on top?  *sigh*  I wish I was crafty!

When are we going to do this?  WHO KNOWS??!!  Considering my difficulty bending over and the fact that I'm now working both days of the weekend with lessons, it may not be for a while, but the dream remains there...and I'm glad the island will too!  

Do you have any dream kitchens on the top of your list?  Mine are bookmarked and memorized.  And one day, if I ever figure out Pinterest, I'll take advantage of that as well.

Have a great one and stay warm!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Desk Makeover

If you can't figure out why we haven't done too much work around the new house here, I will give you two little guesses...

Yeah, I know...I can't imagine either.

But if you can remember my Obsessing Post earlier this month, you may recall my husband knocking out a certain honey-do project on my desk.  And boy, did it need some work.

You see, I am a stacker - always have been.  I put things in stacks to go through later.  I have stacks to go through now.  I have stacks of recipes, coupons, books to name it, I stack it.  It would make my life so much simpler if I would just learn to take care of things as they come or put them away as I tend to them...but I don't.  Well, my stacks had taken over the desk area in our kitchen.

Oh, and if you think that is a sight, you should just look behind those cabinet doors there... *shudder.*  So I had asked Scott if he could go into the cabinet and take out the center shelf, move the printer up on the lower shelf and drill a hole for the cords to come through.  In doing so, we realized that the doors wouldn't close because the printer was too big.

So, my wonderful husband removed the doors.

And all that was inside...

 Elizabeth playing amongst my stacks...

And after a little organization and elbow grease...

TAH-DAH!!  So much better!  I could actually bring the shredder that was hiding underneath the desk on top - eliminating the "needs to be shredded" pile.  I also spent a little bit of money at Hobby Lobby for the organizers for the shelves - they now hold printer paper, crayons, coloring books, stickers, etc. 

The basket on the top shelf is now hiding my stack of coupons and my cookbooks actually have room to stand up.  I was able to slide the baby monitor beside the printer and that is one of my favorite features because I get to hear Rachel sing and talk herself to sleep.

My best friend sent me a labeler as a house warming present...she really "gets" me...

Now, here's where I need your help.  This mountain of cords behind the laptop still bugs me and I need a solution for that eye sore there.  I looked at the Container Store...isn't that the most wonderful place on the face of this earth?  I was actually shocked that they didn't have a solution.  I was thinking some sort of raised box that I could cover them and then stack something else on...ha!  Just kidding...sort of...  

I'm also going to do the back wall in cork so I can just tack notes up there.  I just haven't gotten around to that part yet.  

So now you can picture where I'm sitting as I tell you my stories, as if you were dying to know.  Thank you to my wonderful husband for taking care of this project for his pregnant, obsessive wife.  Tomorrow, I'll show you another kitchen project.  

But seriously...any ideas on the cords??

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving with my turkeys...

There are quite a few things that I love about holiday weekends.

I love being able to eat the holiday meal early enough that you can then have sandwiches for dinner.

I love waking up on a Friday and thinking that it's Saturday, but then realizing that it is INDEED Friday and that Saturday is a whole day away.

I love when our little children let us sleep until almost 7 a.m. before they start singing Lion King songs.  Normally "I just can't wait to be king" begins around 6:15.

I love seeing random people at the gym on their days off.  They're always happy and chatty and one older man made the comment to me this morning that I must have eaten waaaay too much turkey yesterday, pointing to my belly.  Funny guy...
I love shopping Black Friday deals online and scoring sales plus free shipping.  I made one attempt to go to a store and waited in line for 30 minutes just because I had a $10 off coupon and then decided that I was an idiot and the three small items I had in my hand weren't worth it. 

And I love having my husband home.  

Now, some of you may think that I'm running a little bit on the crazy side by celebrating a holiday weekend when I'm home with my small offspring all the time anyway - but having your spouse at home makes things totally different.  We are big on routines and rarely stray from our breakfast - Y - lunch - nap - activity - dinner - baths - bed schedule and just to have that other person around to share in the insanity and be another grown-up with you makes it a holiday in my book.

Or maybe you think I'm crazy for attempting to potty train on the biggest cooking day of the year...

But I digress...

I had these big master plans of getting the house clean and most of my cooking done on Wednesday so I wouldn't be in the kitchen all morning Thursday and, like most plans made by a 23 week pregnant woman, they went to the way side as I decided to take a nap instead.  My loving husband brought home take-out Wednesday night and the girls and I started on the cranberry relish after dinner because I wanted the flavors to fester together in the fridge overnight.  

They were very excited to help and squeeze the oranges and watch it all come together and that really kicked off a string of my little cooks helping me in the kitchen.

Thursday morning, I got my bird in the oven and decided to take the diaper off my youngest.  We've been reading a book on the potty and she's been telling that she needs to go sometimes so we thought we'd roll with know, on one of the busiest mom days of the year.  With the potty in the kitchen...

We were about 50/50 on the potty...much better than the first time we tried this with her big sister.
I had debated on just getting a pie at the store, but I had all the ingredients on hand and figured I was just lazy not to make one myself.  Now, I had never made a pie crust before, so it was a little bit of an adventure, but it came out edible, even if I'm doing most of the eating on it. 

Battling for prime counter real estate...

I let them play in the flour and roll out the remnants of the crust dough after I was done with it.  This appeased them for a good 20 minutes, until I had to kick them out to do the dishes...which led to a good 20 minute double tantrum.

We had Thanksgiving for lunch and ate around noon, which was a record for me and I was pretty proud of the spread.  I had one store bought item - the rolls.  And here you can see that it was all my children could think about.  We don't have rolls that often and I will have to tell you one day about how I gained 60 pounds in my second pregnancy AND made my daughter a picky eater all through the influence of having rolls with dinner.  But that's another post.

Long story short, the girls snubbed their noses at the plates of yummy Thanksgiving food and ate rolls.  And Elizabeth ate a little cranberry relish...I would say since she made it, but she also assisted with the sweet potatoes and pie and green bean casserole and wanted nothing to do with them.

Yes, I said pie...weirdo...don't worry, I ate her it wouldn't go to waste.

Scott shredding the turkey, under close supervision by the Master Drooler himself.
Amazingly, the scent of turkey must have had enough of a sleepiness effect to make both girls take a three hour nap, and I joined them for about a third of that.  Scott spent the quiet time doing manly things in the garage, like getting down the Christmas bins and putting together a shelving unit.

Out cold.
So that was our day and we consider ourselves very blessed to have been able to spend it together in a warm house with plenty of food to eat.  We hope you had a wonderful one as well.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Spread!

We are in prep mode for the big turkey day in our house - which is extra interesting considering I'm also in nesting mode and (for the past two days) severely cranky, swollen and pregnant mode.  Is it surprising that my husband is working today?  I think not... ;)

This time last year.  Rachel was just figuring out how to pull herself up. 
Thanksgiving is easy at our house since it's just us and, honestly, I love it that way.  I hate the stress of rushing and traveling and, since we don't live close to any family, we have spent a lot of holidays that way.  Once we had the girls, we opted for traveling around the holidays (cue my trip North last week), but spending the actual days at home and creating our own family traditions. 

Well, and when you stay home you get all the leftovers...which is really what I'm in this for, people.

When we were planning our menu, Scott made the comment that we could really keep things simple with it just being us and not having a big spread.  I just laughed at him because I have been CRAVING Thanksgiving food and planned a menu based around my own pregnancy whims.  Not that he is complaining!  Here's what we're having (and there's going to be plenty if you have no place to go and want to stop by!):

Food Network's World's Simplest Thanksgiving Turkey - easy and yummy sounding.  That is right up my alley.  I had a Barefoot Contessa (who I love) recipe picked out, but like a dummy, I went to the grocery store BEFORE consulting my recipes and forgot lemons.  So this one covered everything that I have on hand.  

I'm planning on putting the bird in as soon as we get up so we can eat early...and still have room for leftover sandwiches later. The leftover sandwiches are truly our mission in life when it comes to Thanksgiving.  The first Thanksgiving that Scott and I spent on our own, we concocted sandwiches with turkey, mayo, cheese, lettuce, stuffing and cranberry relish...and oh my glory.  I remember making more stuffing just so we could have more sandwiches.  Scott's only Thanksgiving request was that I get good rolls for these beauties...oh, and that I don't ditch the sugar in his grandma's cranberry relish...but we'll get there.

Stuffing - My husband jokes that I am the only person on earth that would rather have Stove Top over something homemade.  And I would.  I love it.  This is the only time of year that I fix it and thanks to a BOGO special a couple weeks back, we shall have plenty.  Of course, I will probably doctor it up a little bit, but the little red boxes are our friends.

Paula Deen's Sweet Potato Bake - We love this sweet potato casserole, and it is all Paula Deen:  rich, sweet and yummy.  I omit the topping for mini marshmallows and it is still delicious. Roasted Turkey Gravy - I'm not planning mashed potatoes, but I do like gravy on the turkey...and sometimes on the leftover sandwiches...ha!

Roasted butternut squash - Just plain and simple with butter.  I like the mix of tastes and colors this adds to the plate - especially against the red and greens.  This particular butternut is from my mom's garden and is just the perfect size.  It was still growing when we were up visiting in September and Elizabeth loved walking out to the vine every day with my mom to look at it.  In fact, they named it "Lizzy" and my mom saved it just for Elizabeth.  Let's hope she eats it!

Green bean casserole - ala from the side of the French's onion can.  mmmmm...this will be our green for the plate.  

Scott's Grandma's Cranberry Relish - Elizabeth and I are going to make this today and she is excited about helping.  Scott has asked me repeatedly if I'm going to put sugar in it and it really is a little too tart without it.  It goes something like this...2 bags of fresh cranberries (thank you Publix BOGO this week!), 1-2 oranges (zest and juice).  Chop it all in the food processor and add sugar to taste...normally about 1/2 still want it with a little zing.  It needs to balance the sweet potatoes, after all!

Potato rolls - Again, thank you Publix.  I know my battles, and decided to let someone else make the rolls and I'll do the pie.  Talking about rolls always makes me think about when we had Scott's wrestlers over for Thanksgiving dinner and I made at least 6 cans of crescent rolls and they devoured every one.  Poor guys had to spend the rest of the evening sweating them back off, but they assured me it was worth it.

$5 Dinner Mom's Maple Pumpkin Pie - You all know that I love the $5 Dinner Mom and recently purchased her ebook on Holiday Entertaining and it really does not disappoint.  In fact, if you're interested, it's on sale now for $1.99 and I'll just link this entire sentence to the book for you to find it.  We're also going to make her pie crust, although I think I'm going to add cinnamon to it, like she mentions in another article I can't find right now.

I also have enough cider to last us the day spent inside and we have visions of getting out Christmas decorations...shew!  So...what are YOUR plans?  Whatever they are, I hope you have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving!  We are thankful for all of you!


Monday, November 21, 2011

Stuff running through my head...

We just got back from our pre-holiday excursion up to see my family...and when I say "we" I mean the girls and me...and the DVD player, thank goodness.  Scott couldn't take off work and really, we are fine to travel, although you wouldn't believe the looks you get as a pretty pregnant woman walking into a truck stop with two toddlers.  

Today, we are happy to be home safe and sound, but I have to admit that my head is a little fuzzy.  So don't expect anything earth shattering here, my friends.  

Because of our traveling, I took a week off working out and decided to eat my weight's worth of brownies and cookies at my mother's house instead.  So much for my staying off sugar kick - I blew it all.  What is it about going home that makes you want that stuff?  Therefore, it is not surprising that my legs each felt like they weighed 50 lbs apiece on the treadmill.  Although, I was able to run for 20 perhaps the week off wasn't completely horrible...we'll see what my hips say tomorrow.

And speaking of hips...

I weigh in every day.  I know you're not supposed to, but I am really trying to keep my weight under control while carrying this little guy and I'll write a post about my opinions on pregnancy weight gain when my thoughts are more together, but for the purposes of this random series of thoughts, it's important for you to know that I venture on the scales at the Y.  Every day.  And I was a little nervous after afore-mentioned brownies that I would be above the dreaded 150 mark.  Now, don't get me wrong here, it's not a bad number, but I was never at 150 before I began this pregnancy streak.  

Normally, at 5'3", I stay around 130.  A little lighter in the summer, a little over in the winter.  That's been me since probably the 9th grade.  So I always dread when the nurse at the dr's office has to slide that little marker on the scale up to the 150 mark to read my weight.  Well, today, I was sure I had hit it.  I mean, I was dreading it.  So I stood on the scale and slid that little top grove all the way to the end...and it didn't move or hint downward at all.

Oh no, I was WAY over.  

Then, I happened to notice that the little bottom notch thingy was only on the 0, not the I happily moved that puppy over and realized that I was still under the drop zone.

For now.

Which means I am totally legitimate in eating this handful of chocolate chips... :)

I swear, back to the no sugar tomorrow...or after Thanksgiving...I am human after all.  

And speaking of things that stick to my thighs, I'm trying out these Reebok shoes with the little balance things on the bottom.  I think they're called RunTones and I never thought that I would buy leg toning shoes, but I was in the market for new running shoes and found these for a terrific deal.  I figure if they can do anything with this fast-forming flub, they are well worth it.  I'll let you know... have you ever tried any of the toning shoes?  These had good reviews and were highly rated for their comfort, so we'll see!

Also along the random front, I just have to tell you that Rachel can now say her name.  It is the most precious little sound in the world...something like Rah-too...but she is very proud of herself.  The girls are thrilled to be home and have their daddy back, even though they had a great time with the grandparents, aunts, and friends.  They got to open a couple early Christmas presents and received a little toy power drill from one of their grandmas.  It was a huge hit and Elizabeth couldn't wait to get home to show her daddy how she had tools just like him.

It really is cute and has a little block with bolts and screws that you can turn and then flip a switch to take out.  My little Bob the Builders love it.

So I wasn't surprised when, this morning, I heard the drill start up while I was fixing oatmeal.  Pretty soon, Rachel woke up and upon coming down the stairs, went through her cranky, wake-up period and then wandered in to find her sister.  

"Hey Rachel!"  Elizabeth said excitedly when she saw her.  "Wanna come in and screw with me?"

I almost spit coffee out my nose. 

And because, I could never top that, I will sign off and promise to write more coherent thoughts tomorrow.  ;)  Well, that and if anyone is Googling "butt toning shoes, brownies and screw" this post will pop right up.  I'm not sure that was a life goal of mine, but I do find it pretty funny. 

Have a great night!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Shots from the Weekend...

Geez, Mom...stop screaming.  You said to brush my teeth...what's the problem??

Monday, November 14, 2011

My Husband's Thoughts: Injury Update and New Motivations

I have a had a good couple of weeks.  I love the fall in the Midwest, football games are becoming meaningful and the college wrestling season kicks off in earnest.  My girls are healthy and active and my beautiful wife is doing great, twenty-two weeks into her third pregnancy since late 2007…  I am continuing to learn and contribute at work and I expect 2012 to be a great year.  Our family has found a great church to attend here and we are continuing to develop incredible friendships and learning a great deal from the leadership.

My back is healing up thanks to the treatment of a wonderful chiropractor and I have been back in a more consistent training regimen.   I am at the gym 4-5 times per week and have been getting back onto the grappling or wrestling mats 2-3 times as well. 

I have always enjoyed coming back from injuries and have found solace in the challenge of getting back to where I was at pre-injury.  During my recent stint on “IR” I was able to do some body weight exercises and some light running / drilling / cardio training.  As my efforts at the local Y have picked up over the past couple of weeks, I have found myself in a number of interesting conversations with my gym buddies.   I love the effects of training on the body but I have always enjoyed the challenge of physical tasks more.  I love feats of strength, tests of athleticism and skill development, gymnastics, plyometrics, and every type of conditioning activity ever created. 

I was in the middle of a workout last Thursday, when a guy asked me why I was doing box jumps onto the 42 inch platform that we have in my local Y.  My answer surprised him, but not my wife, when I told her my reply.

“I just found out today that I am going to have a son.”   

We had just found out that morning, that number three baby is a boy and I now have another reason to train to stay in shape.  I began to think about my motivation for training and I realized that I have always had a unique trait of being easily motivated.  This trait served me well during my years of competitive training and has continued to be a factor in how I have managed to stay in pretty good shape for a man my age (37).

I thought some of you may get a kick out of some of my current training motivations:

·         I have daughters.  Therefore I would like to keep a neck measurement of 17 inches in order to help deter possible suitors for as long as possible.
·         I have been able to do 20 pull-ups, unassisted, since I was 8.  I would like this streak to continue until I turn 80.
·         I have been able to squat / dead lift over 400 lbs since 1994.  I would like that streak to continue until the year 2041.
·         I can still score points on college wrestlers and I would like to be able to do this until my son is done wrestling.
·       Bald, fat guys with cauliflower ears do not sell a lot of I.T. Consulting Products and Services.  Scary looking, caveman-types, that can speak intelligently and look good in a suit can do ok for themselves…
·         I have never failed in opening a jar for my wife – why start now?
·        I’m an still pretty confident in my ability to protect myself or my family if a physical confrontation ever develops.  I hope this never changes. 
·         My wife still thinks I’m attractive with my shirt off – why would I want that to change?

Your motivation may be different than mine, but I hope there is something inside of you that keeps you moving.  Is there?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Movie Night

I now know why my dad always teared up at Disney movies.  

I have always been an emotional movie / TV watcher and have probably cried at every single Disney movie known to man.  But I remember growing up and watching them next to my dad and looking up to find him with tears in his eyes as well.  He would always hug me and hold me until I stopped crying and got into the rest of the movie.

I always figured it was because it reminded him of his mom and dad, who he lost in his early 40's (way too young, I now realize) or maybe the sheer fact that some of these flicks are heart wrenching and to this day, I can't watch Fox and the Hound without becoming a complete mess.

Either way, I never questioned it...until tonight.

This has been a little bit of a busy, crazy week and when I found out that Scott wouldn't be in town Friday night, I posed a movie night to both girls and offered to do an early dinner, Lion King, and popcorn.  Of course, they were ecstatic - Elizabeth being excited for real and Rachel just going along with her sister.  

Of course, I didn't realize that Red Box didn't have Lion King and that I would have to buy it for full price with no coupon (*double shudder*) but in we marched to Target and Elizabeth grabbed that puppy right off the shelf and even let her little sister hold it for a couple aisles...I mean, she was that excited.

Daddy and daughter movie date - this is one of my favorite pictures.  Something about his expression and her feet...
Scott had taken Elizabeth to see it when it was in the theaters a couple weeks back and she really enjoyed it - but we weren't sure how much she really got of it, as the whole first movie experience had her on sensory overload.  So I wasn't really sure what I had gotten myself into as I snuggled in between my two little pajama buddies with their blankets and bowls of popcorn.

I was so into the girls enjoying the movie and seeing it again after so long that I missed the first quiver in Elizabeth's voice when she asked me what happened to Mufassa.  I tried to explain to her that the stampede had run him over and he had died but when she turned and looked at me with crocodile tears filling her eyes, I stopped short.  

I have seen my child cry many times - from the moment she was born to the tantrum she threw today over me making her stop playing a computer game.  But I had never, until that moment, seen her cry because something was sad to her.

And it broke my heart.

I wrapped her up in my arms and rubbed her back as she dried her tears and I felt a few fall down my cheek to join hers.  I knew then why my dad always cried at Disney movies.

Because his child was sad and that just wrecks a parent's heart.


Of course, the moment was quickly over as Rachel had finished her popcorn and lost all interest in the movie and was holding onto the back of the couch, jumping with all her might.  So when Simba went  to live with Timone and Pumba, Rachel went to bed and I enjoyed the rest of the movie with my big girl.  
Funny how this parenting thing teaches me and humbles me daily...I'm guessing it's probably not going to stop any time soon...

Have a great weekend!