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 things...like 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 repair...you 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 it...you 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 piece...so 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.

Myrecipes.com 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 cup...you 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 minutes...so 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 100...so 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!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Raising a Boy - my husband's opinions

It's already started with my husband: The fear that being the youngest son, coming after two older sisters will wussify his only male offspring beyond belief.

You can hardly blame him - living in this house full of estrogen.  Butch has been his only male counter-part for so long, and he's hardly what you would call a masculine beast.  In fact, it's Elizabeth who takes great joy in "helping Daddy shave," standing on the toilet and rummaging through his toiletry bag, which she refers to as his purse.  

Of course, he loves the time with her, even though it's not without it's moments - one of my favorite being when she said, "Oh sorry, Daddy...I dropped your toofbrush in the potty." 

So yeah...he's a little excited.  And the excitement has brought out all of his opinions about raising a man.  Those of you who know my husband or have spend any time in the Man Cave will appreciate his sentiments.  

But anyone who has witnessed him with his daughters will know that, at the sight of this little guy, he will turn directly to mush.  However, the next 19 weeks or so should prove interesting in our preparation. 

For example...

Yesterday, we inherited a cribbing set from a friend and it is adorable.  So I was telling Scott about my excitement over this cute bedding and he just blankly stared at me.

"Are we really going for cute here?  I mean, does he even need a cribbing set?"

Then it was my turn to stare.


I was also making a list of things to look for at consignment sales and, knowing he is going to be a March baby, I was going to add a couple of the zip up blanket sleepers to the list.  All of my Sleep Sacks are pink and I think they are a must-haves.

"Oh, he won't need those," Scott said.  "He's a boy."

"He is going to need a blanket," I retorted.  "Just because he's a boy doesn't mean he won't get cold."

"Really?  Are we just looking to wuss him out right off the bat??"


Last night, while watching the CMA's, Scott informed me that his son didn't need to listen to the little kid CD's that I play in the car for the girls.  A woman I worked with before Elizabeth was born told me to play CD's of the shows or movies they watch in the car - something about making them cue a visual image to what they were hearing was good for their brains.  Her son had offers at Ivy League schools, so I took her advice to heart and never complained about listening to little kids songs.

But apparently, my son won't need those.

I said, "Do you have a complaint about the girls' cognitive progression?" 

He said, "No...I just think a boy can listen to the radio.  We don't need a whole lot of singing and dancing."


While we were at a consignment sale last weekend, he caught me looking at a bassinet.  We sold our pack and play in a yard sale before we moved and I wasn't in love with it anyway and just figured if we got pregnant again, we'd just get a new one.  I had never considered a bassinet, but it was nice and I was thinking maybe it would serve the same purpose as the topper you get on a pack and play.

"What are you looking at that for?"  he asked.  "We don't need that."

"Well, we are going to need a place for him to sleep," I answered.

"We have the basket."

We have a Moses basket that we put both girls in because the bassinet feature was flimsy on the pack and play and didn't have a solid surface on the bottom.  I was honestly hoping to avoid it again.

"Well, where are we going to put the basket?"

"What's wrong with the floor?"

"Scott, we are not putting our newborn baby in a basket on the floor.  No."

"Oh, he'll be fine."

A woman overhearing us chuckled out loud and I felt obligated to inform her that this was his first son...after two girls. She nodded, understanding entirely.


My friends, the list goes on.

"You need to look for a new diaper bag because you don't need to carry our son's stuff in that one."  My current diaper bag has blue, green, gray and yellow hearts on it.  Luckily, I found a camo one that also has a place to hold sippies on the side - which was on my wish list anyway.  Situation = resolved.

"He won't need that many toys or clothes...you can just leave him in his diaper.  The toughness training needs to start early."

"I'm going to need to cut down that tree in the backyard and pull out the lilac bush and those two shrubs.  A boy is going to need more room out there." 

And my absolute favorite:  "Do you think they make little baby Kettle Bells?"

Oy vay.

Did I mention that my husband is excited to have a son??

We went through a similar process before Elizabeth was born - laying out what we thought and what we'd do and (even funnier now) what we'd NEVER do.  My mom loves to remind me that I said that I would never put a DVD player in the car for our kids.  Yeah, I know...open mouth, insert foot.  And adding a boy to our brood is a little like starting over, but in an exciting way.  I think he'll round us out and complete our family in a way that only God has planned...no matter if we mess up raising him.

Here's to the adventure!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Praying for Opportunities to Do Good

You know, I think everyone probably blogs for different reasons.  I originally started out keeping one to update our family and friends who live far away on the girls and their progress.  It was easier for me to share pics and stories this way.  When I started Mama Wants..., I was missing coaching and talking about physical training and eventually the two kind of molded into one.

I have to tell you that I am a writer at heart and have always loved to record thoughts and stories - so this has been an outlet for that as well.  So please know that posts like this one are one of those that I am just so compelled to write because maybe SOMEONE else can identify with it.

And maybe that someone is you...who knows...

It was a couple years ago now, but I asked Scott to go to Target right after church so I could take advantage on a deal on razor blades.  I'm a big couponer, and razor blades can be pretty pricey when your husband is a full-head shaver, so he was gracious enough to take me and wait in the car with the girls while I ran in. 

Waiting in line, I was focused on getting the deal right (double checking my coupons against what I had picked up), but I couldn't help but notice the girl in front of me checking out.  She only had a few items and they weren't what I would call extravagant.  Some canned fruit, a box of mac and cheese, shampoo, deodorant...that kind of stuff.  And it wasn't fancy shampoo either, it was probably Suave or something similar.  It was obvious she was getting the necessities.  Well, the total rang up and she didn't enough money to get all of it.  So she had to do the pain-staking task of picking what was most necessary out of the necessities.  As she took her bags, I saw her get on her phone in tears.

It wasn't until I paid for the razor blades and she was already out the door that it hit me. 

You could have paid for that.  I bet it wasn't even $10.  You can afford $10.

Shame washed over me.  Why didn't I think about that sooner?  We didn't have a lot of money, but I could have picked up what she couldn't...regardless that I didn't know her.  I ran outside looking for her, but didn't see her.  I was thinking maybe I could just give her some cash to go back in to get the rest...  I was crying by the time I got in the car, telling Scott about how I didn't think quick enough...how I missed out on an opportunity to help someone who needed help.  On the way home, I prayed one of the most sincerest prayers of: Please help me recognize opportunities to give sooner.  Forgive me for being too late on that girl.

Now I tell you this not to now brag about all the times I've been able to help people since then...because I can think of numerous everyday opportunities I've missed.  And it still eats me up.  Possibly because I am surrounded by so many thoughtful and nice people who pick me up every single day. 

Like the other day, I had the girls in Goodwill, looking at shoes and Elizabeth was walking beside the cart.  Whenever she's walking, I talk to her constantly and try to engage her...otherwise, she runs sprints down the aisles.  You think I'm kidding...

Anyway, we were talking about the different shoes and then what we were going to have for lunch and how nice it was outside and Halloween...just stupid stuff...when a woman walked over from the next aisle and said, "I just have to tell you, you're a really good mom.  I've been listening to your all's conversation and I just think you're wonderful.  Oh, and what is princess soup?"  So after thanking her a million times and explaining how Campbell's makes chicken noodle soup with the Disney Princesses on the label and "princess shaped noodles" and how my daughters will not eat chicken noodle soup but will eat princess soup, I walked away feeling humbled.

It had been a rough morning and I was really just hoping to get through the store without an incident.  And because it had been a rough morning, I had been louder, crosser, harsher than usual.  I sure wasn't feeling like a great mom.  I needed her encouragement.  Funny how a stranger with a kind word can give you just what you need...

Had I given any strangers kind words that day?  Or had I been so wrapped up in myself to look beyond me...

The weather's getting colder for my pitching lessons and, looking at a past weekend, I was telling one of my parents about how I wasn't sure about pitching outside that Saturday.  He helps coach on their high school team and I have several kids that take from their area, so he offered to get me a double cage in their indoor facility...and line up my lessons.  And not just a couple lessons...more like close to ten.  

What was in it for him?  Nothing.  Know how fun it is to line up lessons?  Oh, about as fun as a root canal or labor pains.  Fitting people into time slots and hoping it works for everyone.  And he simply called me that Friday and said, you have ten lessons starting at this time...see you tomorrow! 

Who did I give up my time for today?  Funny how time doesn't "cost" much but boy, do we ever hoard it...

I could tell you a million of these.  How I got a random box in the mail with Scentsy items that totally made my day.  How I got another box with handmade toys for my girls at Easter.  How I have received checks for money we desperately needed out of the blue and calls when I was at my lowest.  

I'm not sure what you call that little voice inside your soul that guides you to do whatever you do.  You may refer to it as your moral compass or your Jimminy Cricket, but I believe it's the Holy Spirit guiding me in the direction I need to go.  And sometimes, He yells at me: Turn the car around and give that homeless man some money!!  Offer to carry that woman's groceries!  Tell that lady her dress is pretty.  NOW!  DO IT!!  

I pray for that voice to continue...and get louder so that there's nothing that I miss.  Keep me open and looking for people I can help.  I think that's a good prayer to ask daily...simply because it keeps you accountable and less focused on yourself and woah-is-me-ness.  And how dare I get caught up in the web of thinking maybe it will be one-sided and I might never get repaid and no one ever does anything nice for me but I do nice for others...that's the devil on my shoulder.  I have been given so much and have been so blessed.  I have wonderful, healthy kids, a warm house, plenty of food, a loving husband...how dare I look to man to provide blessings when I have been given so much from above.

Not to say that I'm not ever cautious.  As a stay at home mom, my door bell is always ringing with people asking for support or help.  And sometimes I buy boxes of cookies but others times, I feel everything in my soul yelling No!  Not for you...don't trust!  And I am quick to listen then as well.  

Maybe you would like to join me in this prayer.  I believe my life is much happier and healthier when I am looking for ways to help others rather than focusing on ways I want others to help me.  I have a wonderful accountability partner in Scott on this and we know that we are on the same page.  So whenever we come to each other with a desire to help someone - whether it be giving away something or donating money or giving our time...we never question the other...because we have been helped so much. 

Thank you for the opportunity to share this...as this, too, was being led by the Holy Spirit yelling Write!!    Good luck in your helping endeavors and please don't wait for a holiday or a specific "pay it forward" day to help others.  There are those in front of you right now!  Listen!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Obsess much??

There is something wrong with me.  I have turned absolutely obsessive.

Rachel, obsessing over her ice cream.  Seriously, why don't they sell Shout wipes right at the counter??
And it doesn't even matter what it's about.  The other day, I got a book from the library.  I never get books for myself, mainly because my girls are little tornadoes in the library, but this was on the end of the new section and the cover was pretty so I thought I'd give it a whirl...

Why yes, that is the reality of my life...I pick out books because the cover is pretty...so, so sad...

And it was wonderful - I couldn't put it down.  Literally.  My poor husband sat beside me on the couch as I read page after page.  I finished it in two days, like a starved person.

It was Sarah Addison Allen's The Peach Keeper - I'll try to add it to my little Amazon link at the top.

So then I moved onto the living room and started talking about moving furniture around a buying a new chair and where should the Christmas tree go and should we get a clock and slowly but surely, I watched my husband tune me out.  Not that I blamed him, but I couldn't get it out of my head.

I decided to wait on the living room until after Christmas is over and turned my little brain to the kitchen.  I swear, Scott was two steps ahead of me (which is why I love him) and took care of a honey-do project in the "office" part of the kitchen for me.  I am currently still obsessing over it and will post pictures when I'm done.

We also went to a store and ordered an island on Sunday.  I know...just went and ordered it.  He didn't even question...just took care of our little children as his obsessive, big bellied wife marched into the store and picked out what she wanted.  

I'm really trying to fight the urge to paint...that could be a disaster with crazy Elizabeth and Rachel the helper. 

Yesterday, I had some monster energy surge - which may happen when your children wake you up at 5:30 a.m. (ERS doesn't DO time changes, FYI).  So I steam-cleaned two rooms before we left for gymnastics.  Oh yes...that was another thing we got this weekend.  Because I was obsessing over our carpets.  

And then I organized two closets.  And then I shredded a box full of documents with the assistance from my little helpers.  

Sunday, I cleaned all the bathrooms before church...and we go to the early service...

Seriously...help me!

Any body else?  Is it the pregnancy?  Is it the time change?  Is it the season change?  And does anyone feel like painting??

Friday, November 4, 2011

Oh boy...A BOY!

My friends, I have to be honest with you...we had prepared ourselves to have three girls.

Not that choosing is an option, but I come from a family of three girls and so does my mom.  We have good friends with three girls.  We just figured we were next in line.

And it would have been fine.  We have lots of pink things and girl clothes in every size for both seasons.  We like girls and have a pretty good routine going with two already.

And then we went for the ultrasound.  The technician was a little rushed and reflected the cold and dreary weather outside.  Scott and I were watching the monitor, counting fingers and toes, and watching her measure head circumference and look at the heart.  Then, all of a sudden, our little guy flipped over (he was all over the place...already...yay...) and we heard her say, "See this?  Here are the legs and here is the cord and THIS is not the cord.  You have a little boy!"

I do love Calvin and Hobbes and can totally envision this being our son.  The blog is about to get more interesting folks.

My stunned husband just looked at me...a boy?  And we both laughed...what in the world were we going to do with a boy??  Now, anyone that knows my husband would probably be shocked by this because he is one of the manliest men around...but that same person would also know that he has been spoiled by his little girls.

And now, to have a son...whoa...

So admittedly, we are both still a little shocked at the news.  I need to go through the baby stuff and start finding people to give pink stuff to (which isn't as easy as you might think as a majority of our pregnant friends are also having boys!) and start figuring out what we need...which shouldn't be a ton, since most of our bigger items are gender neutral.  

I'm beginning to get hit by a strong nesting stage right now and am washing windows and sorting through closets, so this news of a shake up couldn't come at a better time. 

Oh, the other news, he is sitting low (as if you had to tell me) and he was actually using my bladder as a pillow when we were watching him on the monitor, which could be a main reason why I'm having issues in the running department.  Both girls carried pretty high, so I wasn't effected as much.  Hopefully, he'll shimmy upward into open waters soon...ha!

I can't express enough how much I appreciate all of your well wishes on here and Facebook and coming along on this adventure with us.  If you have any preparation advice, we are open!!  Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

This n That...

So you mommy veterans failed to warn me that the day after Halloween crash was far worse than the buzz of after-trick-or-treating euphoria.  I swear, it was like my oldest was possessed by some hateful, no listening, malicious three-year-old yesterday.  We just had a spectacular time all day, falling and skinning knees, riding bikes too far down the road, pushing and kicking siblings...  So needless to say, the Halloween candy is getting trashed today.  I'm already done with it.  I've frozen all I think I can work into cookies in the future but clearly my children's attitude (and my drastically increasing pregnancy poundage) doesn't need it.  

Do I feel bad about this?  No I do not.  Candy has zero nutritional value and my children tend to lose dessert daily by either not listening or eating dinner, so guess who eats it?  The  same person who, yesterday, had two bags of peanut m&m's and three kit kats...  Oh yes...that would be me...  

Elizabeth Rose, burning off some energy in a productive manner.  This is one of her favorite things to do:  rake leaves.  Who am I to argue?

Then playing a rousing game of Stomp the Sister...
Speaking of no sugar...did anyone make it through the 30 days and live to tell about it?  I will share with you what I realized through the month adventure:  that I have no boundaries when it comes to sweets.  I swear, if I could just eat one cookie or piece of candy, I'd be fine...but I cannot.  So I'll probably continue to limit my intake simply because I do feel better and have noticed a difference in my complexion - plus it really made me second think what I was eating instead of just throwing everything into my mouth.

I say this as I just ate 3 mini kit kats writing this.  I swear, it's going in the trash now.  

Which brings me to my next nutritional adventure:  limiting sodium.  Do you know what I snacked on when I couldn't have sugar?  Snacks...salty ones...  Crackers, chips...these became the things that now had no limit.  I admittedly CRAVE them right now, which is a major problem considering that I am retaining water like a sponge.  So, after talking to Scott about it, I decided to take out all the obvious salty things in my diet starting yesterday...

And last night, I felt amazing.  No swelling at all.  No itchy legs.  It was heaven.  So if I can just get over the cravings of wanting to eat chips with sandwiches and crackers with soup, I'll be ok.  I'm not asking you to join me on this one because you may not be ballooned up like a pregnant whale.  But if you are, you may be a cracker-a-holic like myself.

And speaking of pregnant whales... :)

Tomorrow, we get to see our little punkin.  And I.cannot.wait.  I still don't feel it all the time, so to just know that it's doing ok and is healthy will be such a blessing.  And to know WHAT it is...although Elizabeth has given us fair warning that she simply cannot wrap her head around it being a boy.  


My friend Susie is being a saint and is going to keep the girls for us so we can enjoy the ultrasound without pinning down two sets of wandering mitts.  I shall certainly let you know what we find out!  Thanks for coming along the adventure with us!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween 2011

I wasn't really sure if Rachel would go Trick or Treating.

At church Sunday, the preschool classes were allowed to dress up in their costumes, which thrilled Elizabeth, who went as Silvermist (Tinkerbell's sidekick, who's dress was $15 cheaper in Target than Tinkerbell, and mommy was able to convince her oldest that it was prettier).  I got a pair of wings for Rachel in the same trip, but she wasn't having anything to do with them Sunday morning and ran away screaming and clinging to her daddy.

Our little fairy princess, posing

Our little wingless butterfly...expressing her feelings over the wings

Back to the fairy...this is how they fly, she said

So you can't blame me for not knowing how Halloween was going to go.

We had planned for Scott to get home a little early and take the girls around the block and not only was Elizabeth fired up about the whole adventure, but mommy was thankful to be able to use it as an additional threat to light a fire under my two pokey little puppies.

The entire afternoon had been a bit of a train-wreck.  I took a detour on the way home from gymnastics and decided to go through the car wash...which resulted in Rachel falling asleep in the car...which resulted in no nap for the rest of the afternoon.  Then we had a monstrous fight over the Toys R Us toy catalog that came Sunday, capped off with a hit and a bite and tears from both girls.  So I loaded them up and took them to the Y simply because I needed one hour all to myself. 

Seriously, we pay monthly dues and that is worth it for my daily hour.

Oh, and I was able to run for 20 minutes...THANK YOU CHILD IN MY WOMB!!

So anyway, we returned from the Y to find Daddy home and ready to go.  Elizabeth got dressed and then coerced Rachel into wearing a tutu.  Armed with bags that were gifts from Miss Frankie, off the trio went, taking my heart with them. 

See, Rachel?  Tutus are pretty!

The wings were just a bit too much though. 
Elizabeth was thrilled as they walked down the driveway, "Bye Mom!!  See you soon!!  Bye Mom!!"

The whole picture of the three of them, hand in hand, at dusk with the colored leaves as backdrop...well, it was awesome.  I watched them approach our first neighbor's house.  The girls were hesitant and I heard their daddy coach them on saying trick or treat and I also heard our neighbor gushing about how cute they were. 

Then, with the pregame jitters out of their system and the first bit of candy in their bags, they sprinted across the yard, on to the next driveway with Daddy close behind.  I watched until I couldn't see them anymore and then went inside to finish dinner.

I had actually planned a good, hot dinner because I knew they'd be cold:  pork roast with quinoa and creamed spinach.  I had everything ready to go and set it on warm and walked back out to the end of the driveway to see if I could see them.  It had been 20 minutes and I thought they might be on their way back.

Not a shot.

We had a couple trick or treaters stop by and I came back inside and cleaned up the house.  I took a load of laundry upstairs.  Checked on dinner.  Now we were at the 30 minute mark.

Back to the end of the driveway.  No sign.  I listened...nothing.  So back inside and I started some water for hot chocolate because it was pretty chilly out last night and set the table.

The 45 minute check came and went.  No sign of them.  I debated to go find them, but I really wanted this to be Scott's time with them.  Plus, I had my slippers on and really didn't want to be THAT mom. 

At the hour mark, I saw them coming up the hill.  Scott was carrying Rachel and Elizabeth was dancing up the road beside him.  He spotted me first and dropped their hands and they came running to give me a hug and show me their loot.  I guess our street is used to having a lot of trick or treaters but last night was pretty bare, so they loaded the girls up.  Literally, Rachel's bag was heavier than she was, but she wouldn't let Scott touch it or help her the entire trip and held the straps up to her chin to keep it off the ground.  He said she had to stop to rest a lot.

They bounded in the house, all three of them excited about their adventure and ready for dinner and hot chocolate.  We let them have some of their candy for dessert - and for two little girls who rarely get candy, that is a treat!    Of course, they then sprinted around the house for 20 minutes in a sugar rush, but went to bed easily and were both sprawled out asleep when I checked on them later. 

I like these little colorful things, mom. 

See!  Got one!  See!  Got it all over my face!!
I've never been a huge fan of Halloween, but this year was completely different.  I love the new traditions with our kids and seeing the excitement through their eyes.  I will gladly stay back to guard the driveway to see that moment of them running up the street towards me and give Scott the thrill of taking them from house to house.  

I hope your all's was wonderful!