Thursday, January 30, 2014

2014: two wrong feet.

Have you ever seen the movie Erin Brockovich?

I'm a Julia Roberts junkie through and through. I love her, and I love her movies. (And I swooned when she walked up to present at the Grammy's last weekend.) And for someone who doesn't watch movies, I've seen most of hers. One of my favorite movie lines during that movie is this:

Female Lawyer: Look, I think we got off on the wrong foot here.
Erin (played by Julia Roberts): That's all you've got, lady - two wrong feet and f*cking ugly shoes.

Not G-rated, but it makes me giggle.

2014 started on the wrong foot. And my feelings towards 2014 thus far resemble those same feelings Erin Brockovich had towards that lawyer.

That flu and sickness kicked our behinds. Hard. It was 2 weeks before we felt we had entered back into the land of the living, and skipping out on 30th birthday celebrations for Colby. Meanwhile, back home, some news of scary CT scans of my momma's insides began a [torturous] 2 week wait for news.

Really crappy news.

I have incredible support - via family, friends, and beyond. I'm thankful to be in Indiana today, thankful to be here with my sweet momma.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Owen at 3.5.

As I suspected, keeping up with this blog is a little more difficult than it use to be. Keeping up with this 3.5 (and couple of months!) year old boy is a little more difficult than it use to be, too. ;-) He is growing up so much this year. And we're not the only ones who think so.

He is in a 3 to 5 year old preschool that began with five 5-year old boys, one 4-year old boy, and three girls - a 5, 4, and 3 year old. Owen is the youngest in his class, and has spent the first half of this year working hard at keeping up with the older ["taller, stronger, faster"] boys. His teacher and classroom helpers each have commented that the older influence has aged him so much, so quickly.

Our funny boy is apparently also funny at school, having been called the "class clown" by the program director. (Ay yay yay.) He's bright. Really bright. He is stubborn, and that is mostly apparent at the kitchen table, as he is a terribly picky eater. He's really impressed by the 5-year-old boys at school, talking frequently about how nothing can hurt the oldest boy in class because he's so big. (And also tells us nothing can hurt Jesus, so does that puts them in the same class? ;-) Or how another boy can hang upside down on the monkey bars, and do "cool things." Or how all of them can run super fast (like, "11," while owen can run "10"). Or how he's "catchin' up" to another boy in the class in height because he ate his breakfast. Strength, size, and speed are a major focus in life for my 3.5 year old. He's athletic. At least to the extent that he's active, and loves playing with Daddy. His memory and the ability to recall is ridiculous - you never know what distant memory he's bound to divulge (like "When I was 2, and I was sleeping in my old bed in Brooksy's room, I said 'Mommy!' and I was crying, and you came upstairs and I puked on you." Yep. It happened. And I've never told him that story. He pulled it out of the archives randomly one day.) He's an amazing big brother. Brooks has really taken notice to his big brother, and lights up when he hears his voice across the room. Brooks' love for attention and Owen's love to entertain make for a perfect pair. He can't wait to see his little brother after getting home from swim practice with Daddy. More often than not, he chooses to be wherever Brooks is while he's awake to play, and is sad when it's time for him to go down for a nap or bedtime. He loves to "read" to him, cuddle with him, and teach him about the world as he knows it.

Three has been such a transformational year for Owen, and for us as a family. I'm just so in love with that little boy and what he brings to our family. Time is sure flying - four is going to be here before I know it!

Monday, January 27, 2014

my weekend in photos.

I held off a day in the event I'd be "enjoying" one extra day to my weekend at home with a sick kiddo. But praise the Lord, off to school he went!

 Colby and I kicked off our weekend right: Friday night sweatpants and wine after the boys had gone to bed.

While Owen napped (yes, napped!) away his fever, I spent some time with this cutie pie on Saturday afternoon. 

And this one, too. 

I was stolen away for dinner & a drink with my sister in law for my Saturday evening - a dreamy grown-up, girls only night out. The restaurant, called Rye, was owned by a husband/wife chef duo named Colby & Megan (for real!), so how could I pass it up? Colby and I dined at their [pricier] first establishment, bluestem, for a date night last year, just to say we'd been to Colby & Megan's restaurant. (thanks to a Groupon) There's no picture proof of the affair, as I tend to only take photos of my kids. Must work on that.

Then on Sunday morning, I woke up to a 6 month old baby boy. He's working really hard at this sitting up business, but it's hard work. A turn of his head or excitement of any kind pretty much guarantees he'll face plant. 

A first (but probably not last) for me was quadrupling the baked oatmeal recipe. I figured I had all of the ingredients (in bulk), and it freezes well, so I might as well make the mess only once. 

Owen fought a 102+ fever for the entirety of Saturday. But after dodging the wretched flu that struck Colby and I earlier this month, as well as whatever was trying to get him this weekend.. I'm convinced he may be too ornery to get sick. Thankful sickness has spared us - at least for now!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

my weekend in photos.

 one of the perks of being the coach's kid: indoor pool access in the winter. 

love watching him love the water.

my second favorite pizza in this world is luckily a bit more convenient than my #1. saturday night dinner perfection.

a thrilling saturday night for these two.

tonight, we had dinner with friends, and someone decided to cut what should have been a 2 hour nap to about 30 minutes. i guess the football games were more important than sleeping.

i love these chubby hands.

Monday, January 13, 2014

a few of their favorite things | christmas 2013

I really hate junk; things that will end up in our trash can a couple of months down the road, or taking up space in our limited amounts of toy storage areas in our house. The unfortunate truth is.. kids love that junk - even if just for a few weeks. But I like to try to put some thought into the little personalities that we're raising, and come up with something of quality (and maybe their existence unknown) that will bring them joy and entertainment.

Here are a couple of our favorite items for the boys from this past Christmas that have already proven to be a hit.

marble run.  This was the gift that we were most excited to give this year. I loved marble runs as a kid. My brother and I used leftover plastic blinds and taped them together (a poor man's version, I suppose.) to make runs through our house. And my husband is certain this set we bought is the same brand as the one he use to play with as a kid. It's possible - it's been around since 1982 and hasn't changed much - mostly in color with a few new pieces added. (The old sets work with the new!) This was the only marble run that received 100% good reviews (IE didn't fall apart easily), so we decided to go with Discovery Toys' MarbleWorks set. No regrets. I've been stalking ebay for used sets with missing pieces that will go for much less to add on to our collection. It's been a theme with Owen's gifts this year that both Colby and I have been found playing with them by ourselves.

magnetic blocks. Owen actually received two different magnetic block sets for Christmas this year. Both sets of grandparents must have been on the same wavelength when gifting this year. The sets are different, and playing with them gives different experiences. Both I find to be quality sets that I would recommend. (He also received a lesser expensive set from BB&B that proved to be poor quality and would not recommend.) The set above on the left are called Playmags. Pros: many pieces, various shapes, car piece, solid and hollowed pieces. Cons: pieces a bit heavier makes structures a bit unstable, magnet alignment sometimes gets a little funky with a lot of pieces nearby. The set on the right are Magformers. Pros: super strong magnets making it less likely for structure to collapse, promotes 3D shape creations, fool-proof magnet alignment. Cons: not as many pieces, because of hollowed pieces it limits creativity a bit in creating buildings, forts, cars, etc. Both of these sets have proved to be great entertainment for mom and dad, too.

oball rattle. I've seen these Oball products around, and wasn't sure I understood the popularity and fuss about them. But I have to say that my mind was changed when I gave in to purchasing the Oball Rattle for Brooks this Christmas. There's not much that a baby does at this stage besides grab and hold onto things and stick them in their mouth. This ball is so easy to grab and hold onto. Unlike other small balls or other baby rattles that they drop frequently, this one has a longer "grip-life" to keep both baby and mommy happy. Love the little rattles in there, too, to provide a little extra entertainment.

coco the monkey teether. Coco was a steal at $12.99 with another 5% Target card discount on top of that. While Coco is no longer available, Kiki the elephant is. It's Target's knockoff version of Sophie the giraffe, which I found to be way overpriced (but another popular toy that is worth the fuss). Coco feels and functions in the same way that Sophie does at half the price. Brooks loves it. He gums it and drools like nobody's business all over that thing very happily.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

my weekend in photos.

Would you believe that we still haven't kicked whatever bug we came down with at our house? We've made some big strides in the right direction, but getting ourselves back to 100% is proving to be a difficult battle.

My Friday began with an unplanned visitor at work. I received my first (and definitely not last) phone call from Owen's school reporting a head collision with another student. After spending some time with Colby at work, he came my way to finish up my work day. (And practice his running.)

After getting by with the bare minimum for the week, I had enough energy Saturday that I a) mopped the floors, b) made a real dinner, and c) ventured out of the house with the family for a Costco trip. That's a pretty big Saturday in my books these days.

And Sunday beat Saturday with a trip to church, the mall, and the outlets. I think my adventurous spirit was inspired by our random 65 degree weather. It's just so much easier to run errands without extra blankets and bulky coats, or trying to run quickly to escape cold or snow with a heavy infant carrier and/or toddler in tow.

Owen thoroughly enjoys trips up and down the escalators.

And Brooks thoroughly enjoys.. well, his momma. But I'm pretending he was enjoying the outdoors and shopping.

Also, Colby has discovered a website that allows you to play old Nintendo games. Much to my disliking, Owen and Brooks both seem to be equally amused. 

Some of Owen's Christmas gifts this year have been super fun for Colby and I to join in on. My next post is going to include some of our favorite gifts from Christmas.

Somehow Sunday night has snuck right up on us. Hoping this will be my week to get well! I'm ready to get my new years resolutions on, and this sickness has sure put a damper on my progress.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

my weekend in photos.

While I sit in my warm and cozy bed, in my warm and cozy house, I feel so very thankful to have both this time of year. Kansas City brags only a few inches of new snow, while my homeland of Indiana is being dumped on in a big way. (They never got what we did last year. Twice. It's payback.) Whether 2 inches or 12, it's those subzero temperatures and wind chills that make me most grateful for my furnace. 

So we had a rough weekend around here, preceded by a rough week. Friday was my fifth day straight with a fever, and Colby being on day 3 - both of us feeling so rotten. We're so grateful to Colby's parents for keeping our boys for 2 nights while we were bedridden with illness. 

I gave essential oils a try to kick my sickness, as my sister-in-law swears by them for everything.

The dogs took good care of us, and didn't mind a little extra attention in the ear scratching department.

I got to fetch the boys on Saturday afternoon. Regaining strength and energy after being completely flattened by a flu takes time. With Colby still isolated, I was completely wiped by the end of our first half day back together. Yikes. But oh, I was so happy to have them back home. 

Day two on the mends went much better. I moved a little quicker, and even did a little extra. Like make a batch of my favorite baked oatmeal for old time's sake. 

Even though we are definitely having a birthday do-over for Colby, we did manage to find some energy to finally open and unpack part of his birthday gift. Because I'm the best wife ever. A line up of stouts, porters, and dark ales (he no longer drinks IPA's, pale ales, etc) - all different breweries. I think he had tried only one of them before. FTW. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

so long 2013, hello 2014!


I had a really incredible 2013. 

I didn't make any resolutions, and have no regrets about not doing so, but I'm giving 2014 a shot. Here's what I'm looking at for the upcoming year:

1. Get my run on. I want to get back to running. I had made it to 2 miles by time I started back to work from my maternity leave, and my max just over 3 miles since October, but have since dropped in my running frequency. The combination of 2 full time working parents, a baby not yet sleeping through the night, and swim season being in full swing, and winter weather really limits the amount of free time I have to sneak in a run. I hope that as I continue to adjust to our new busier lives, that running can find its place in my routine in some form. And maybe, just maaaaybe a half marathon could be in my future. 

2. Get a grip on dinner. With swim season underway, there are nights that I don't get home from work  and fetching children from their respective locations until just after 6pm. Brooks take a bottle around 6:30 and goes down shortly after, and Owen's bedtime is between 7-7:30. If you do the math, that leaves very limited amounts of time to make dinner, do baths, jammies, bottle, stories and bedtime. We've had bacon & eggs or grilled turkey and cheese sandwiches or Papa Murphy's pizza for dinner more times than I care to count. I'd like to make some dishes to freeze, as well as utilize the crockpot a little more to give a tad more variety, especially while Colby is getting home late. 

3. Be more intentional with my camera. Just before Brooks' arrival, I gifted myself a brand new swanky camera. I've done a decent job learning the basics of my new DSLR, but have a long way to go. I've been disappointed with a lot of my impromptu shots, and want to improve my quick snapshot skills so that I'm not having to do so many shoot and adjusts until I've completely missed the moment. I'm still learning to love Canon, but just as I was with my MacBook, I know I'll never turn back. It's just a learning curve that I have yet to master. I want to be intentional on learning it better so that I can blog better photos of our everyday lives. 

That's it! (I have a few additional personal goals RE: love, parenting, finances that I'm not blogging about.) I hope this list will be manageable for our lives and that I can report back with more success than I did from 2012 resolutions. Even if you don't make resolutions, I hope this is a year that its blessings unevenly outweigh its hardships, and that you find yourself in a place you're proud to have made it to. Cheers to 2014!

Friday, January 3, 2014

christmas 2013.

A three-year-old Christmas has definitely been the most anticipated Christmas yet. Plus, we were able to enjoy our first Christmas as a family of four with it being Brooks' first. It didn't disappoint.

Christmas celebrations begun with the candlelight service at church on Christmas Eve, followed by our annual fancy beef wellington dinner with my in-laws. (As usual, Owen wasn't enthused with a non-mac n cheese dinner.)

We rushed home to hop into our new Christmas jammies, read Twas The Night Before Christmas, lay out a cookie, milk, and carrots for Santa and his reindeer, and hop into bed. Christmas morning stockings, gifts, and a light breakfast were done at home, then we headed to my sister-in-law's for her annual Christmas Brunch. The kids played and did some sledding until it was time to head home to open a few of our new toys and pack.

The next morning we hit the road for the last of our Christmas celebrations in Indiana. Once we got started, it was a marathon of events 'til the end, but the boys were rockstars through it all. (But gifts and cousins and grandparents galore can't be that bad, right?)

Owen had a Christmas wish list this year, and it consisted of one item: a transformer. He consistently told everyone who asked (and trust me, a lot of people ask.) that was the only thing he wanted. (There was one exception to this - he told the gal cutting his hair the week before Christmas that he wanted a Christmas tree and a puppy.) Then out of nowhere, 3 days before Christmas he adds a watch to his list. A transformer and a watch, he tells everyone. Ugh.

So after I had thought my Christmas shopping was done, I found myself two nights before Christmas calling a store to put a watch on hold. For my 3 year old who can't tell time. He can read numbers, I guess, but has no further concept of time other than he likes to be timed "racing" constantly.

It's not really in my character to want him to have his every desire, nor will it ever be my mission to fulfill his Christmas lists in full, but this time… I really wanted to. For a Christmas as magical as this one in a 3-year-old's eyes, I wanted his Christmas wishes to come true.

As it turns out, he was just as excited for his other gifts as he was for the ones he had asked for. Really, everything was exciting. And that's just so much fun to watch.

Oh, I just love a 3-year-old Christmas.