Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Dancing King

Iphone Pictures

Just a few favorites from the last few months


Mmm...yogurt!

Wearing his "Wingman" hat


My new year's eve date


On his way to his first sleepover!!


When he sits next to me he always puts his hand on my knee


Ready for takeoff!!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Savoring the Sweet


I've been really proud of myself for getting out there and taking more pictures this week.  However, the more pictures I take the more frustrated I gt at not being able to take them to the level I want.  For some reason I am struggling with focus and I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong.  Regardless I LOVE this picture.

We had a Craigslist debacle last weekend and ended up meeting someone at Krispy Kreme to trade back what we purchased the day before.  I might have mentioned that my biggest craving this pregnancy has been donuts.  I've been really good about not indulging, in fact I think I've only had 3 since Peter left.  So when we met in the parking lot I couldn't help getting a couple of Little Guy and I to share.

I'm pretty sure this was his first donut and he wanted to eat it with a fork.  We put on "Mickmey" and cuddled up on the couch together.  It was just SO FUN!  He thought the "nonut" was yummy!!  I love having little moments like this with my little one.  I've been overwhelmed this week about how quickly he is growing up.  I want to savor every single moment.  The good and the bad.  The tired and the grumpy.  The sweet and the even sweeter.  What a precious gift this little boy is to me!

**Linking up with RachelCourtneyDarcy, and Jennifer


** If you are a faithful follower or a new reader there is something you need to know!  Google is discontinuing it's "Google Friend Connect" program for any blogs that aren't hosted in Google.  That doesn't change my blog now but would you go ahead and follow us either on facebook or via email?  It will make sure you keep updated on our little version of reality no matter what!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Toddler Thursday--Books We Love (18 Months)

Being the self-proclaimed nerds that we are my husband and I really hoped our son would enjoy reading.  So far we are still at the "let's point at objects and tell Mama what they are" stage.  He also says "bye-bye" when a book is over or when he is finished reading it. (So cute!)

Some of our favorites include--


Anything about Spot!  Eric Hill has authored an entire series that focuses on Spot, a little yellow dog.  We especially enjoy one where Spot visits a farm because there are plenty of "boos" in it.



This is our number one must read book.  I have already had to tape pages back into it!  It is 10 pages long and each page adds a puppy.  There is also a red ball and a worm on each page so you can use those to have them search.  Little Guy could seriously read this book 100 times a day everyday.  We definitely carted this book across the country during out 10-week visit home because we can't live without it!



Oh my.  We hear this book more than we read it!  See that little yellow button at the bottom right of the book?  Yeah that plays the song.  I hear it over and over and over.  Our favorite verse of this song is the "wipers" verse.  Little Guy does the hand motion for that whenever he wants me to sing.  It really is an adorable book and it makes me smile when I hear him reading it.



Anything by DK publishing.  I find most of these at TJ Maxx and Marshalls.  Little Guy LOVES the one about first words and trucks.  We have lots of these books.  They are also the perfect size for them to "read" in their carseat or to pack in  your purse for an outing if you want something to occupy them!


We have LOTS of these books as well.  They have realistic pictures and are full of bright colors.  Little Guy loves the ones about animals!  They make large and small versions.  I get these are Marshalls and TJ Maxx as well!


Babies love books with flaps.  These little people books are FULL of flaps!  Each page has at least 8-12 flaps to look under.  Little Guy loves to pull them up and see what is underneath.  We have this one and he loves to make the frog go down the slide.



There are 26 books in this box, one for each letter of the alphabet.  Each book has 3 words accompanied by a picture.  We read these almost every day.  Little Guy can recognize almost all of the pictures now.  I am astounded at how they have helped to expand his vocabulary!



I don't know if you can tell how big these books are but they are about the size of your palm.  They are perfect for little hands.  We have a LOT of books that are small like this because they are easy to hold and pack in a diaper bag.  Little Guy especially enjoys them if they have...wait for it...flaps!



This is one of our favorite books right now.  It has a "boo" in it so that is the most important thing!  He also loves some of the sounds.  Right now he walks around the house saying "moomb" (boom) and "pop" over and over!  He will also sometimes add "hoo hoo" because that is what the owl says in the book.  This is just a fun book!

These are some of our very favorite books!  I encourage you to try all types of books with your toddler.  They might enjoy books with texture, flaps, books to read in the tub...who knows!  We've found our little guy gravitates to different books at different times.  Right now anything with cows or puppies makes him happy.  He also loves flaps and anything that plays music!

I do most of my book shopping at TJ Maxx and Marshalls.  They always have a wide variety and their prices can't be beat!

I'd love to hear about some of your toddler's favorite books!  What do we need to add to our library (other than a new bookshelf!!)??

Our Week In Pictures

Wearing our "ouh-ouh" pajamas and playing with a truck


My surprise Valentine!  Flowers still look gorgeous!


My little helper


Walking up to the park so we can "schlide"


Big boy!


We saw lots of "eh-planes" flying over the park


Climbing up to the slide all by myself


Could I be any cuter??

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Observing Lent

I've been thinking about Lent for the past few days.  I grew up in a church that didn't put a lot of emphasis on Lent.  I had never heard of Shrove Tuesday and I had seen Ash Wednesday on the calendar but until I moved to Charleston I had never come into contact with anyone who actually had ashes on their forehead for most of the day!

Lent isn't something we are commanded to observe.  But sometimes it is nice to have accountability in life.  And I think taking a period of time, especially before Easter to reflect on the cross is really important.

I read this post by Janice over at Celebrating Family today.  I thought she had a great perspective about the observation of Lent and it echoed what I had been thinking and feeling over the past few days.



So in concordance with the Easter season I've decided I'm going to give up all television watching during naptime.  I don't really watch a lot of TV and I think honestly I just like to have noise in the house.  But I know I need to work on just being silent.  It's hard to talk to God and even harder to listen when you have the  TV on.  Plus I haven't been consistent at being in the Word and that is the perfect time for me to do this each day!  We don't skip naptime so I shouldn't be skipping my prayer and devotional time!!

I am hoping this will help me start a better habit.  I also have some books I want to finish before we become a family of 3 again and then 4 shortly after!  And since I'm entering the home stretch of this pregnancy it is good for me to rest!

Please feel free to ask me about how this journey is going.  I know this isn't the most interesting post but I really wanted to put it out there so people could help hold me accountable.

Are you doing anything for the Lent and Easter season?  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Shrimp & Okra Gumbo

I moved to Charleston, South Carolina back in 2004.  I never knew that I would fall in love with the city, it's culture and especially it's food!!  I also never dreamed I would fall in love there....but that is for another post.

I was fortunate to live right in the center of the historic downtown.  Each Saturday I would walk to the Farmer's Market in Marion Square and marvel at the fresh produce and beautiful crafts.  I would sip on a lavender lemonade and eat a crepe.  You see you haven't really lived until you've done that.  Although I attribute my "foodiness" to this recipe I might say my love for food started when I moved to Charleston.  It was the first time I had my own kitchen (I lived in a college dorm for 6 years during school and grad-school!!).  And I was excited to start using it.

Two of my favorite foods are southern specialties.  Shrimp and okra.  There were fresh shrimp at the market and more okra than you'd know what to do with!  I found a recipe back then (man I can't believe that was almost 8 years ago!!) that combined these two awesome flavors.  It's gumbo-ish and since it's Fat Tuesday (although let's face it...everyday is a fat day for me right now) I thought it was the perfect recipe to post!

(for all you non-southerners....here's a picture of the yummy green stuff!)


Shrimp & Okra Gumbo
makes 6 servings

1 and1/2 Vegetable Bouillon Cube
3 tsp olive oil
3/4 tsp black pepper
3 tsp garlic, chopped
6 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 and 1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
3 cup okra, sliced
3/4 tsp salt
6 cups white rice, cooked
30 medium shrimp


Saute the garlic, onions and tomato in the oil for about 5 minutes.  Add the okra, salt, pepper and bouillon cube.  Let simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Add the shrimp when you have about 5 minutes of cooking left.  Saute.  Serve over cooked white rice.

This is SO super yummy and at risk of sounding like a broken record...super easy!  You can certainly make it without the shrimp and if you want you can add different vegetables.  It is relatively healthy and you can serve it over brown rice to make it even healthier!

My two favorite guys enjoying the market last May

** If you are a faithful follower or a new reader there is something you need to know!  Google is discontinuing it's "Google Friend Connect" program for any blogs that aren't hosted in Google.  That doesn't change my blog now but would you go ahead and follow us either on facebook or via email?  It will make sure you keep updated on our little version of reality no matter what!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Bathtime Fun

I have to say that my least favorite time of the week is bath time.  I know you probably think I'm crazy but I just don't enjoy the whole process.  Peter gave the Little Guy all of his baths before he left but clearly I could skip baths for 6 months.  While we were home my parents and other family members helped me out which was amazing!  And honestly since we've been back at home he has done much better.  He is really into "bubbles" and he talks about them anytime we are in the bathroom.  He also wants me to run the water the whole time he is in the tub.

Here are some cute shots from one of our baths last week.





I don't know if you can tell but the water is green in these pictures.  My Mom found these

Sesame Street Fizzy Tub Colors 24 Count
and put them in his stocking for Christmas.  They come in red, yellow and blue and you can make different colors by mixing them.  I think they are so fun!  So far we've had red, blue and green water.  I'll do anything to make bath time last a little bit longer and be a little more fun!  Plus they make super fun pictures!

What do you do to make bathtub time fun at your house??

Monday's Miscellany

Linking up with my friend Carissa this Monday as usual!

1. Guilty Pleasure

I want Lucky Charms and coffee to be the breakfast (or dinner or snack) of champions but I don't think that is ever going to happen.

2. SO much Dust!

We seriously have the best "land-couple" ever.  They are SO nice!!  This weekend our landlord came over and changed out a bunch of bulbs for me.  He is so friendly and nice and keeps talking about getting our families together.  I mean, how cute is that?  You can tell he loves this house and this area so I know it makes him happy that we are taking good care of it.

And that is where the dust comes in.  When we first moved in I got permission to take down the palm tree wallpaper adoring our dining room walls.  What I didn't realize was the mess that was hidden under a century of wallpaper.  So we had to have someone come fix the mess I made.  I've put it off because we were out of town but last week I decided to bite the bullet and just let them come fix it.  There is dust everyone.  There is furniture out of place.  They did not finish on Friday afternoon like the promised.  I am praying they finish Monday!!

3. 3 Strikes...Er 4...5?

Little Guy is on a sleep strike.  I think the problem lies in transitioning from 2 naps to 1.  I can't figure out the ideal time to lay him down.  He basically skipped naps 4 days in the last week.  For this pregnant, single for now mama that is too much!  I need that time as much as he does.  He is much more fussy (naturally) when he doesn't nap.  I thought we had turned a corner when he slept for 3.5 hours on Saturday but clearly we have not.

4. THAT Mom

I never wanted to be THAT Mom.  You know, the one who does something or let's her kids do something that you just think..wow...I can't believe that just happened.  Yeah...I was THAT Mom tonight when Little Guy got away from me at a church dinner and ran up onto the stage during a missionary presentation.  Thankfully this is a church that LOVES children and it was a more informal setting.  This kid has worn me out this week.

5. Date Night

I can't say all bad things about the Little Guy.  He's my best bud and my partner in crime right now.  Saturday night we had a date night.  I needed to go to the mall to pick up some clothes for my new nephew so of course we went together.  First we had dinner at Charley's subs.  We shared a buffalo chicken sub (no buffalo sauce for him) and fries.  Then we did a little shopping.  We finished the night up at BabiesRUs where we purchased a second one of these.  Best baby item ever!  It was such a sweet night.  I love my little man so much!!!

6. Ouh-ouh

Little Guy LOVES monkeys.  He loves them on his clothes, his pajamas.  He loves Curious George.  He loves watching them at the zoo.  Real, cartoon....it doesn't matter.  I was pretty excited when I found Littlest Guy a monkey halloween costume at Carter's for 6.99.
 

I was determined to find one for Little Guy too but figured I'd have to pay a bit more.


Found this gem for 4.99 at Crazy 8 during our date night.  So I get monkeys for the whopping price of 12.00.  I'm pretty excited about that!  Anyway need a personal baby shopper??

Hope you have a wonderful Monday!!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Football Jackpot

I have to admit...I'm addicted to bargain shopping.  I wish I could force myself to learn to coupon because I know I could save even more money.  But where I really like to get the good deals is on clothes for my little boys.

We just found out a couple of weeks ago that my sister is going to have a little boy too!  I'm so excited because she is due about 10 weeks after I am so these little boys will be close in age!

One of my shopping secrets is to shop often.  With Little Guy around I don't get to go as often as I'd like.  So when we went to the mall on Thursday for a playdate at the food court (my how life has changed!) I knew I would end up stopping by our Gymboree store just to see what they had.

Oh my word did I hit the jackpot!

My sister's husband played Division I football and helps to coach his High School team.  He is an awesome coach and mentor for his kids!  Having this boy is going to be great fun for him and no doubt he'll be a big football junkie just like his Daddy.

I was THRILLED when I realized that for some crazy reason no one in Tacoma is interested in anything football related because almost everything from Gymboree's "Tiny MVP" line was on the sale rack.  And it was in the perfect size!!

Here is what little nephew will be sporting in the fall...


Yeah that's right!  A football Halloween costume.

How cute is this little sweater for chilly Friday night games?

Item image
Love this!!


How cute are the tiny footballs around the cuff!  These will be great with both the sweater and the rugby shirt.

Item image
S has this right now!  I love the one-piece outfits!!  They are so comfy especially for the babies!

I got all of these pieces for less than 40 dollars.  It would have been even less because I had a 20% off coupon but I seem to have misplaced it.  I guess I'll have to use it on my next trip!

I really like Gymboree clothes because they are well made and so cute!  I line-dry everything (except onesies and sometimes pjs) because it keeps it from looking too faded and worn.  Almost everything I have from the Little Guy still looks new so to me it is worth the effort to lay it out or hang it on the line.  It also re-sales very well.

If you like Gymboree clothes I would suggest signing up for Parent's magazine.  They usually include a 20% coupon in every other magazine.  Combining their great sales, the Gymbucks program and their Rewards program can really allow you to get some nice clothes for an unbeatable price!

I can't wait to see my little nephew in all his cute football gear!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Hand Holding



I  finally experienced that moment of motherhood dread this week.  I  realized we should have started working on hand-holding months ago.  I got this panicked feeling thinking...

what if it is too late...


what if my baby never learns to hold my hand...


I'm going to be carrying around this kid for years to keep him from running off!


I don't think any of those worries are really true.  Yesterday we practiced holding hands once.  It ended in me picking him up and depositing him on the floor as soon as we got into the house.  Some fake crying and floor hugging ensued and I proceeded to continue thinking the above.

Today we practiced hand holding 2 times.  Both times resulted in me laughing at myself as I constantly praised the Little Guy over and over for being such a good hand holder.  I felt so proud!  At home we even walked up the stairs of our house and he did a great job!

I don't think I've missed the window for hand holding.  But it really prompted me to think about my role as a parent.  I've noticed the Little Guy repeating words that I say.  He looks at me for approval when he does something.  He smiles when I praise him.

I knew all of these things would happen.  But I didn't realize how quickly.  I knew parenting was a hard job.  But I didn't realize HOW hard.

The biggest legacy I can leave my family and my sons is to be a good example for them.

I love these verses about parenting...

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 ESV “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. (5) You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (6) And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. (7) You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (8) You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. (9) You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.


We are called to diligently teach our children TRUTH.  And the only way we can do that is if we seek TRUTH in our own lives.  I am convicted to pursue TRUTH in my life more than ever!  I encourage you to find new ways to pursue TRUTH in your lives today.

**This is my favorite picture from this week.  It isn't the best picture but I shows the Little Guy in all of his truck holding, non-hand-holding, running glory.

**Linking up with RachelCourtneyDarcy, and Jennifer

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Toddler Thursday--Birth Day Expectations

When I as pregnant with the Little Guy we took a birthing class at our hospital.  I loved our teacher and we really learned a lot about what the birthing process entails. We also got to take a tour of the hospital which made me feel a little more comfortable about just showing up!

There are so many different scenarios that can occur when you are having a baby.  Most OB offices will have you fill out or at least prompt you to think about a birthing plan.  The thing is you can't count on ANYTHING in the plan happening the way you envision it!

I remember watching a video of a birth in this class and I  don't know what I thought the process entailed but when we saw the actual live birth I might have just yelled out "oh wow" or something to that effect in the middle of the movie.  Super mature.  I then proceeded to tell Peter on the way home that I  had changed my mind about having a baby.  I did NOT want to actually HAVE the baby.  I  mean, I still wanted him but I just wanted to by-pass the process.

This is me right when we arrived at the hospital--SO excited!!

I had an incredibly pleasant birth experience.  One of the things that made it so great was not having too many expectations.  There were things that I hoped for:

1. to give birth at the hospital (I had major fears that 526 would be backed up and I would have to give birth in the car or on the side of the road)
2. to give birth naturally (as in not having a c-section)
3. to have it be as painless as possible

I was fortunate enough to get all three.  However it is important when making your plan to make your expectations flexible.  You might not want to have a C-section but if it is the best choice for you and your baby then that is the plan you want to have!  I didn't want to be induced but because I wasn't having contractions I had to be.
So here are some things to think about
--What do I do if/when my water breaks?
--Do I want to give birth at a hospital or a birthing center?
--Who do I want at the birth?
--Do I want to have an epidural?
--Do I want to be able to move around during labor?
--Do I have any other special requests? 
--When and what should I pack in my hospital bag?
--Do I want to hold the baby right afterwards?
--Does my husband want to cut the cord?

I have to admit I was scared about what would happen.  What if my water broke in the grocery store?  What if we couldn't make it to the hospital on time?  What if I can't get an epidural (I REALLY hate pain)?  

The biggest thing for me was not allowing all of these "What ifs" to worry me.  There is no way to predict what your experience will be like.  Just roughly plan for all of the options so there aren't too many surprises!

Regardless of what happens your birth story will be wonderful!  Any pain or frustration just melts away when you see that sweet little face and hold that sweet little guy or girl for the first time!

What was your birth experience like?  What was your favorite or least favorite part? If you haven't given birth but are planning to what are you fears or expectations? 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mixed Berry Cobbler


It's nice to have a couple of "go-to" recipes for each course. I have a couple of appetizers, salads, main courses and desserts that I've made enough that I don't need the recipe in order to shop.  This is one of my favorite desserts.  As usual it is both easy and yummy!!

Mixed Berry Cobbler

12 oz mixed berries (I use the frozen packages)
1/2 stick unsalted better
1/2 cup self-rising flour**
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk

**if using all-purpose flour add
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat your oven to 350.  Thaw mixed berries and strain the excess juice.  In a small mixing bowl blend flour, sugar, vanilla and milk.  Set aside.  Place the butter in a small loaf pan and place it in a hot oven for 1-2 minutes or until melted.   Add the berries on top of the melted butter and then pour the sugar/flour mixture overtop.  Return the loaf pan to the oven and bake 30-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

This is best served hot with a little bit of vanilla ice cream.  You can double or triple the recipe and use a different size pan, just watch to make sure you aren't burning the crust.  You can also try different types of berries or frozen fruit.  I've used rhubarb and strawberries as well as peaches!  The nice thing about using frozen fruit is you should have most of these ingredients in your refrigerator or pantry without shopping!

I hope you enjoy this yummy cobbler!

** If you are a faithful follower or a new reader there is something you need to know!  Google is discontinuing it's "Google Friend Connect" program for any blogs that aren't hosted in Google.  That doesn't change my blog now but would you go ahead and follow us either on facebook or via email?  It will make sure you keep updated on our little version of reality no matter what!

Wonderful Wednesday

A few weeks ago Mom's everywhere re-posted a blog by a Mom who wrote that she doesn't enjoy all the moments of Motherhood.  It was an interesting read and a well-written article.  I agreed and disagreed with parts of the article.  When it all comes down to it though I've really tried to view life AND motherhood through the lens of these verses in Thessalonians--


16 Be joyful always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.


See these verses don't say "Be joyful always except when everyone else would agree that your life is hard.  Or be joyful always except when you are tired you haven't seen your husband for months and your family is a long plane flight away and your kid has dirty diaper number 877 and you are out of milk and you haven't showered"  They say ALWAYS!!


Don't get me wrong, I am not always successful in applying these.  Because if I were I would figure out how to bottle up that success and share it with you.  But I do my best to find the joy in as many ways as possible throughout my day!


Here was my Sunday evening.  I just have to laugh.  I love this kid but he sure keeps me on my toes!  I'm thankful that he is happy,  fun, loves to explore and has a great appetite!









Apparently powdered pancake batter is WAY better than the meal Mama made!  I also found this happy truck in the pantry after cleaning up.


I love this Little Guy!  He makes every day fun and interesting!!


Linking up with
 A Fresh PerspectivePhotobucketSweet Shot DayNaptime Momtog

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