Monday, April 21, 2014

Say what?

Parenting is a crap-shoot.  You just don't know what will happen from day to day.  And the second you think you have it figured changes.  Something I can always count on though is laughter.  Whether I'm laughing at my kids, them at me, together, or at something one of us said I know it will be there on a daily basis.  Thank goodness for that, because parenting is hard work!

Here are just a few funnies I can remember:

Noelle telling my Dad, "Mind your own business Grandpa!"  
He had asked her to stop pestering her brother.

Said by me just last week, "Lily, stop rubbing your sandwich on your belly button."  
The kid is obsessed with her belly button, but that was taking it a little far.

A couple weekends ago we were attending a fairy gardening class.  The instructor was naming 
off berries and you were supposed to raise your hand if you liked them.  I didn't, even though I 
like raspberries.  Noelle turned to me with wide, piercing eyes and sternly says, 
"Moommmeee, raise your hand.  You like raspberries."  You would have thought I was 
embarrassing her.

I can't seem to think of any about Adam right now.  Usually his are because he says a wrong word or misunderstands what a word means.

What is the funniest thing you or your kids have said lately?

This post was inspired by the novel Dad Is Fat by comedian Jim Gaffigan who riffs on his adventures co-parenting 5 kids in a two bedroom Manhattan apartment. Join From Left to Write on April 22 as we discuss Dad Is Fat. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Reasons Lily is Crying

It has come to my attention that Lily is very serious about dessert.  Seriously, in going though my Instagram feed I came across these 3 pictures of Lily crying.  They are all over dessert and were all taken since November.

She ate all the creme from the middle of her Oreo and I wouldn't give her another one.

She finished all her ice cream and knows we won't give her seconds.

She REALLY wanted more ice cream...again.

This post was inspired by the novel Reasons My Kid Is Crying by Greg Pembroke who captures frustrating yet hilarious parenting moments through perfectly captioned photos of unhappy kids. Join From Left to Write on April 15 as we discuss Reasons My Kid Is Crying. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

*This book is awesomely hilarious.  Your entire family will enjoy it, including the kids.  I highly recommend you get a copy for your family to enjoy.*

Monday, April 7, 2014

...then comes baby in a baby carriage.

Justin and Charlotte sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love, then comes marriagethen comes baby in a baby carriage!  Yup, that's how it went.  Except it wasn't THAT easy for us.  Adam, our first was an 18 month process.  We ended up at the Endocrinologist's office and had lots of tests done on us.  I was diagnosed with PCOS and put on Metformin to regulate my cycles.  3 months later we were pregnant with Adam!  That first pregnancy was a breeze!  I swear that had we not been actively trying I never would have known I was pregnant until I started showing, or he started moving around.  LOL!

Adam Ronnie was born in April 2004 at 8 1/2 pounds.

Getting pregnant the second time around was actually easy.  I don't even know how long since it wasn't a big deal.  I don't think I went back on Metformin, but I honestly don't recall.  This second pregnancy was awful for me.  I had a little nausea, but so long as I ate very, very frequently it wasn't too bad.  I was working FT Nanny hours (50+ hours a week) taking care of 2 two year old boys and an infant.  My body would hold up all day, but the minute I walked in the door at night I would practically collapse.  The worst though were the varicose veins.  Yeah, NOT in my legs.  No, No, No.  For the last 3 months of the pregnancy, or so, it seriously felt like I had just given birth, vaginally.  It was not fun.  The girl never moved up!  She stayed low the whole pregnancy.  Thank goodness her birth was completely uneventful and downright fast.  :)

Noelle Justin was born in January 2007 and was my tiniest at just 6 1/2 pounds.

When we finally got around to wanting a third child it was once again not easy.  Metformin wasn't helping this time.  We decided to try an actual fertility clinic, but ended up canceling the initial appointment.  I figured that we had two children and maybe that's all we needed.  It seemed like the money could be better spent elsewhere.  Well, wouldn't you know we ended up pregnant a few months later!  15 months after we had started trying.  Even though I was working FT throughout the pregnancy I wasn't working as many weekday hours and they weren't nearly as tiring.  I was only caring for 1 baby and he was super easy going and happy.  I was still tired from the pregnancy and taking care of my other two children though.  I can remember coming home from work many times and falling asleep on the couch while life went on around me.  Baby #3 had to be induced due to gestational diabetes.  Her labor was my hardest and the only one I asked for an epidural during.  I technically got that epidural, but she "dropped" when I sat up for it and then was born within minutes.  

Lillian (Lily) Fae was born in February 2012 at 7 1/2 pounds.

Adam, Lily, and Noelle - January 2014.

This post was inspired by the novel  The Opposite of Maybe by Maddie Dawson. At the age of 44, Rosie finds herself suddenly single and pregnant. She tries to hide in her grandmother’s home, but meets two men that will change her life forever. Join From Left to Write on April 8 as we discuss The Opposite of Maybe. 

As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

*I really enjoyed this book. It was a little slow to start, but once Rosie moves into her Grandmother's house the story really took off for me. It was an enjoyable book that was easy to read. I would LOVE to know your thoughts if you decide to pick it up!*

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Homemade No Bake Chewy Granola Bars


For about a month now I have been using this recipe to home make granola bars instead of spending a ton of money on prepackaged ones.  They are fairly easy to make and allow you to put whatever you like in them.  I found the recipe on Pinterest linked back to My Kitchen Escapades.  She has the recipe listed at the link so I won't bother writing it out here.  I also have it pinned under both "food" and "Pinterest Ideas I have used/done IRL".  The only thing I changed up is I use 1/2 agave and 1/2 honey.  The pure honey was WAY too sweet for us.  Only agave didn't hold the bars together very well.

I did take some pictures of the process though, just so you can see how easy it is.

The ingredients, minus the add ins.

First you combine the dry ingredients.  Oats, crispy rice cereal, coconut.

Melt butter, add honey, brown sugar, salt, and vanilla.  Boil.

Pour over dry ingredients and mix.

Add in your add-ins!  If using chocolate you want to let the mixture cool just a few minutes first.  Tonight I made a pan of mini semi-sweet morsels/chocolate covered raisins for the kids AND a pan of Almond Joy candies for J and I.  This pic is of the "Adult" ones.

Press into a 9x13 pan.  I spread it with my spatula and then use a piece of wax paper and my hands to really press it together.  You want it nice and packed so they don't fall apart when you cut them into bars.  Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Loosen and dump on a cutting board.  This makes it a lot easier to cut evenly.  Just go slow.

We used a pizza cutter tonight to cut them.  We went with 3 rows of five and I think the size turned out perfect.

Baggie up in order to grab quickly when packing lunch/snacks for the day.

Let me know what you think if you try out this recipe!  And a HUGE thanks to Carole Jones for this amazing recipe!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The (Shortened) Story of Us

I LOVED this book!  Aside from the actual writing and story line, which were both enjoyable, it really made me consider my husband and just how thankful I am for him.  He truly loves me with all his being and I have never had to wonder if he is committed to me.

J and I met in our high school band class in 1995.  (Although we later learned we had actually been in the same Kindergarten class together in a different district!)  I played the flute and he the clarinet.We knew each other that first and second year and had mutual friends, but it really wasn't until our Junior year that we really became friends.  After my boyfriend, J's best friend since childhood, broke up with me J was there to talk to me.  His family had moved out of the area so we really just had a phone friendship.  We'd talk late into the night and hang out with mutual friends.  We didn't become boyfriend/girlfriend for nearly a year after we started our friendship, the summer between 11th and 12th grades.

Junior Prom

I took our relationship really slow, which was new for me.  I can still remember the night J told me he loved me.  I was so scared!  I think that's how I knew our relationship was real...that we were not just another fling.  I'm not sure how long it took me to say it back, but J was always patient and never pushed. I made the poor guy wait for everything!

Senior Prom

After we graduated high school in May 1999 I spent a few weeks in the mountains where my parents were living before going off to college.  Once I started school we were at least an hour away from each other.  But we found time on the weekends and even some evenings to spend time together.

On November 11, 1999 he asked me to marry him.  I was excited, scared, and in awe that it was happening.  We were so young!
Spring 2000

We were married just over a year later on December 20, 2000.  The ground was covered in snow, but the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day.
Our Wedding Day

January 2010

10th Wedding Anniversary

Last December we celebrated 13 amazing years together.  I have still never doubted his love and he remains ever patient.

This post was inspired by the novel The Idea of Him by Holly Peterson. Allie thought she had the perfect husband, until she finds him and another woman in a compromising position in their own apartment. Join From Left to Write on April we discuss The Idea of Him. Join us for a live chat with Holly on April 3.  As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

To Buy Or Not To Buy

As a Mom I have always wanted so much for my 3 children.  Nice clothes, cool toys, more books than we have shelves for, the latest baby things, and on and on the list could go.  This doesn't mean they get those things, just that I want it for them.  The majority of the years we have had kids we have not been able to afford the "wants", only the "needs".  Even that has been a struggle at times.

Since selling our home in October and moving into a house better suited for our growing family we have been able to buy more "wants" for our entire family.  Some of the things we have given the kids are well appreciated and others are, well...not.  Mostly it's a struggle with one particular child.  This child just does NOT appreciate or take care of belongings.  Things get destroyed, ripped, broken, stuffed animals get lotioned (yes, and I still am not sure how to fix it without the washing machine).  It has been really hard lately to try and stop buying this child things I want for them.  Also, how do I buy stuff for the other 2 kids and not this one?

I think I'm going to start with a major room clean out to get rid of outgrown toys, books, games, stuffed animals, and clothes.  I already had to go in a few weeks ago and throw everything on the floor into 2 trash bags since they refused to pick it up and put it away.  Also, this child's clothes stay folded in a basket in my room and I hand out the day's clothes every morning.  Annoying...sure.  Easier and less betcha!  Light actually really likes to sleep in that room since it is the only bed (or furniture in general) he is allowed on.  We are using this to help keep the room clean.  You see, Light will eat anything he can, so if the room is covered in toys, books, and clothes we will not allow him to sleep in there.  It has worked for a few nights now!

They are several things I can do to try to keep this child's room cleaned up.  What I really want to know though is how I convince the CHILD to keep the room clean in the long run.  Thoughts?  Ideas?  What works, or doesn't, for you?

This post was inspired by the novel Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement.  Ladydi grew up in rural Mexico, where being a girl is a dangerous thing. She and other girls were “made ugly” to protect them from drug traffickers and criminal groups. Join From Left to Write on February 18 we discuss Prayers for the Stolen. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Thankful For Siblings

Growing up with 2 siblings you would think there would always be someone to play with.  Nope.  I guess when we were all in elementary school it might have worked that way.  As we got older I was more and more on my own.  I am the youngest, maybe that had somethings to do with it? We are all incredibly close in age though, only 18 months between my step-sister and I and 14 months between my brother and I, so I tend to discount that theory.  Towards middle school and especially high school I was always left behind.  I suppose a lot of that had to do with being so much less mature than them.  I was never into parties or the normal "hip" teenager things.  I preferred to sit at home and read.  It is hard to remember times as teenagers when we enjoyed each others company, but I can remember many an occasion when they tortured me or simply ignored me.  There is the time they worked together to duct-tape me to a workout bench in the hot tub room or the countless times when our parents would go out of time and leave them in charge.  They would both leave ASAP after our parents were gone, leaving me all alone at home.

When my brother and sister graduated high school they eventually left the state to pursue their own lives.  My brother joined the Navy and my sister went off to college.  I was left at home and really felt like I lost touch with them.  This is especially true for my brother who was gone for so many of the years I was becoming an adult.

As adults now we are much closer than we ever were as children.  We lean on each other, ask/offer advice, and generally enjoy each others company.  There are so many events affecting our lives right now.  An ill Mother, divorce, raising kids, and holding down jobs.  Although it may be hard to find the time to get together, I know they love and care about me and my family and I hope they both know how much I love and care for them as well.

I love you Merle and Stefanie!  Thank you for being a part of my life!

This post was inspired by the novel A Well-Tempered Heart by Jan-Philipp Sendker.  Feeling lost and burned out, Julia drops her well paying job at a NYC law firm. After hearing a stranger’s voice in her head, she travels to Burma to find the voice’s story and hopefully herself as well. Join From Left to Write on February 4 we discuss A Well-Tempered Heart. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Another weekend gone

It's Sunday again and we have been busy busy this weekend.  We decorated the Christmas tree and mostly finished shopping for gifts for us and the kids.

We adopted a dog on Friday.  His name is Light and he is a Catahoula Hound Mix.  He and Shadow are getting along great and he is settling in nicely.

We've also gotten a lot of unpacking and setting up done.  The living room is nearly functional now.

I worked today and let Adam come with me.  He needs the break from home just as much as I do!  We've both enjoyed reading and watching shows with Bianca.

This evening is our Santa visit at my Dad's house.  The Westminster FD will bring him on the fire truck.  We look forward to it every year!  I really hope Lily isn't scared so I can get some cute pictures.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I am Thankful...Day 13: I really AM thankful...

I PROMISE!  I seriously had every intention of getting a post up every day this month.  Unfortunately though I had no Internet access at home for a week and a half after we moved in to our new house.  I can write posts on my phone, but they really still need edited and pictures added through the actual computer.  I do plan to catch up since I think it is important to take the time to remember all you have to be thankful for.  I will work on getting them up the rest of this week, but they will be post dated for the right day.

Today I am thankful to live in a state that allows us to enjoy the great outdoors in the middle of November without freezing our tushes off.  I took the girls to play at the park this morning for nearly 2 hours.  I was such a beautiful fall morning!  I enjoyed my first Peppermint Mocha of the season while they played.

I finally remembered to bring some toys with us!  She sat in this exact same spot and played for 90 minutes!

For the Love of Children

Ever since I was a small child I have loved children.  Growing up I wanted to be a teacher and would set up a classroom and "teach" my dolls in my bedroom.  I remember continuing to play with my babies long after my friends had left theirs behind for more grown up activities.  

I started babysitting in middle school and never looked back!  I took my first "real" childcare job in a daycare while still in high school.  I LOVED spending my afternoons caring for those 1 and 2 year old kids.  As I grew older I decided working in the medical field, but still with children, was my calling.  I decided to attend college for a nursing degree.  College was not for me and after my first term I went to work FT at the daycare.  

After a couple job switches I decided to try out being a Nanny.  I fell in LOVE with it right away.  It has been about 13 years and I still love it.  I enjoy being there for all the "firsts" and watching as children learn and grow and discover the world around them.  My favorite days at work are when I can sit on the floor building with blocks or driving cars.  Who wouldn't love to play all day and get paid for it?

I am very fortunate to have worked for some amazing families over the years and still be in contact with several of them.  My children have been welcomed in to numerous homes by these great families.  So not only do I get to do a job I enjoy, but I've been able to have my own children with me while I do it.

I'm not sure I want to Nanny for my entire working career though.  Lily has 4 more years at home before starting Kindergarten.  I hope to go back to school and earn that Nursing degree I started so long ago so that when the time comes that I no longer need to be her full time caregiver I can enter into a new and equally fulfilling career as a pediatric nurse.  

Until that time I will continue to crunch in the leaves and build colorful towers.

This post was inspired by The Cartographer of No Man’s Land by P.S. Duffy. Angus enlists in the Nova Scotia WWI regiment and travels Europe to search for his missing in action best friend and brother-in-law. Along the way Angus discovers more than he ever wanted to know.  Join From Left to Write on November 14 as we discuss The Cartographer of No Man’s Land.  As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.