Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Early Mornings & Rain Puddles

When the day starts at 5:40am...
...1.25 hours of work time are logged by 7:15am.
...MMan is napping by 8:00am.
...Breakfast done.  In-bin, mail and bills sorted out and lotion made by 9:30.
...All little people simultaneously napping from 11:57am-12:01pm.

That's pretty much how the day went.  HandyMan was home to help this afternoon so I could get some work done which will save me from having to stay up too late tonight.

We had a moment this afternoon when there was a slight break in the rain and I realized that it was 57 degrees out.  I ordered everyone out for 10 minutes if fresh air until it started raining again.  It was such a spring tease but it felt so good!

As GGirl went running outside: "My puddles are back!  Puddles, I'm coming!"  This girl loves rain puddles!

"Puddles, I'm coming!"

Really Mom, another picture?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Happy 4th Birthday GGirl!

Four years ago today, I met a little girl who has kept me on my toes ever since.
Dear GGirl,
You are creative, energetic, and full of song.  As a big sister, you are good at looking out for MMan.  You picked your meals today; it was cream of wheat for breakfast.  Oatmeal and quesadilla were chosen for lunch.  I picked out some fun pasta and helped you with your dinner menu: Chicken Parmesan with fussili, salad, garlic bread and of course your pink cake with hearts on the side and a princess and her daddy the top - upon construction, you decided that your cake needed a Mommy and a MMan as well.  You love Busytown Mysteries, Dora The Explorer, Diego and Chuck the Truck.  You have lots of "best friends" who you are very excited to spend time with.

Until today, pink was your favorite color.  As we were putting the pink frosting on your pink cake in a room full of pink streamers and pink balloons, you informed us that green was your favorite color, because it was your birthday and you were four, you had a different favorite color now.  Very logical! And very amusing to all the grown ups in the room who had decorated and purchased gifts with your penchant for pink in mind!

SitSter and Ms. D joined us for dinner and when it was time for cake, we had Granny and Grandad with us on Skype and Gram B with us on HandyMan's phone.  Technology brought family in three states together to celebrate you!

After cake it was gift time and the whirly-whistle things were almost more fun than the gifts.  After cleaning up and getting you ready for bed, we shared a quiet good night.  I told you how I couldn't believe that you were four years old already.  With very sleepy eyes, and fingers playing with my hair you looked at me and said "Mommy, I can't believe your . . . what comes after 34?"

I love you GGirl!  Happy Birthday!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Snowy Day & Mommy Time Out

Today we woke up to the snow and ice forecasted by the weather folks.  At the sight of snow GGirl went all hyper.  MMan had a rough night but the weather cancelled a 7am responsibility so we all got to sleep in a bit.  Waffles were the order of ghe morning for breakfast. 
By 2:45 MMan was up from an all- too-short nap, GGirl had turned squirrelly and her behavior was challenging every last iota of caffeine and patience I had.
Enter the Mommy Time Out.  I made a cup of tea, grabbed my kindle and my personal assistant and headed for the chair in front of the pellet stove; MMan playing happily in the floor. 
Within 35 seconds of sitting down GGirl was climbing all over me.  I stood het in front of me and explained that I was sitting down and not getting up or answering any questions until my tea was gone.  She peeked over the top of my mug and ran off to play.  A few minutes later she comes and peeks in my mug again, but says nothing.
So I sit, breath deeply, write, read, and sip VERY slowly.  And pray that this Time Out will get me through dinner and the kids' bedtimes without a meltdown.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Pink Prancing Princess

So many things to be thankful for this week.  Here are just a few.
A nice line-up of blessings mark (for the most part) the end of an ordeal that was a car accident at the end of December-
:: Easy to work with car insurance.
:: Getting our car back after three weeks in the shop.
:: Getting cleared from my concussion and feeling much better.

MMan is sporting another tooth. GGirl continues to be a great big sister and helpful daughter.   This morning she was the Pink Prancing Princess- happily dancing around the living room.

Skype time with family, a high energy youth group Game Night with live music, and being caught up on work projects rounds out the week on a high note.

Blessings to you and your week to come!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Junk Mail- or An Hour of Quiet

We get our share of junk mail just like everyone else but here's an idea that kept an almost-four-year old GGirl busy for hours, literally!  GGirl is very into "sticky, sticky, stickers" right now.  Yesterday when she was home with HandyMan she wanted to play with her stickers.  He said he had a special book with squares for her to put her "sticky,sticky, stickers" in on each square.  Enter unwanted promo calendar from our propane company.  Yesterday they got through April.

This morning I sat down at the counter with my cup of coffee and calendar to work on getting back on the Menu Planning Train.  She sat down and asked for stickers.  I handed her the sticker book she had been using and she sadly showed me that they were all gone.  I went to my bin of mailing supplies and, sure enough, there we're twi sheets of "thanks for donating, please donate again" return address labels with cute Christmas/winter characters on them.  I cut the labels so she could have the characters and she was all set.  I also ended up cutting the address part in half for her to "sticky stick stickers" with. 

By the time MMan woke up, she had stickers through December and I had a menu sketched out.  So next time you're getting ready to toss the junk mail in the recycle bin, take another look through the eyes of your child and see if anything looks fun!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fridays With Daddy

Friday are HandyMan's day off so usually if I need to be out of the house I try to schedule it for Friday so HandyMan can be home with the kids.  Such was the story of today.  When I left, HandyMan and GGirl were in the middle of a paint project.  They were working on picture frames for GGirl's new room. She is Daddy's shadow and loves to help him with his projects. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Highlights of a Thursday

Today was filled with lots of little treasures.  A great devotion posted by a friend (Live for Now), warm Blueberry Buckle, homemade vanilla started, a play time with SitSter for GGirl and some project time for me as I worked out a pattern and current fabric. I'm working with some fun pink fleece for a certain little girl's birthday next week.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The BFF/Sitter

We have a great young woman in our life who has taken an active role in GGirl's life.  Since GGirl was about six months old, very few Sundays have gone by when I haven't been asked "When do you need me this week?" 

Our friend we will dub SitSter:  she has become more than a baby-sitter and like big sister to GGirl and a little sister to me.  SitSter has spent many, many hours with GGirl.  They do crafts, play outside in the back yard and off in the imaginary lands that only they know about.  SitSter also introduced GGirl to things like nail polish and princesses.  When I tell GGirl that SitSter is coming over, the usual response is a squeal of delight followed by "Oh!  She is my best friend!"
As they are both getting older SitSter has begun teaching GGirl more mature and advanced things.
Like this: (GGirl is quite a natural!)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Nothing is more beautiful at the end of a long day than story-time with uncles or sleeping babies. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Turkey Dinner & Guitar Lessons

This month I have been thrown from the meal-planning-super-organized-grocery-shopping train right into a snow bank.  We've been eating a lot of meals I had stashed in the freezer and when I went grocery shopping I found a couple of impulse items in my cart-like a really discounted turkey. 
So, today I cooked the turkey, invited some friends over and had an-almost-Thanksgiving dinner in January.  Yum!

In other parts of the house, yesterday GGirl went to her room and decided that she was going to have guitar lessons.  HandyMan gives lessons to GGirl's BFF/Sitter which GGirl has participated in and observed.  So she wanted the headset hooked up to her CD player so she could hear her music and have a guitar lesson.  Rock on little girl!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Sunshine

This week was full of graces.  From not having to drive when the weather was yucky to friends who took the kids so HandyMan and I could belatedly celebrate our anniversary. Friends who will celebrate the small things in our lives, like full nights of sleep.  Baby-sitters who will let me "call in sick" for a few hours and a mandated  day off grom HandyMan all brought a bit of respite to my week.

MMan cut another tooth and stepped up his sleeping game so we all have gotten some good rest to finish out the week.

Today the sun is out and the temperatures again give hope that it won't be winter forever.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Saturday Silliness

A while back some friend sent a package of goodies for the kids.  Included was a fashionable Chill, Baby binkie.  MMan thinks that it's ok for sucking and great for teething on!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I'm Hungry

MMan is working his way through the rainbow of fruits and vegetables.  We started him on solid food around Thanksgiving when he was about five and a half months old.  So far he's eaten apple, banana, peaches, pear, peas, sweet potato, carrot, rutabega, and butternut and acorn squashes just as fast as we can shovel them in. 

For a lot of reasons, I make our baby food.  Knowing that we would be starting MMan on food when fresh fruit is scarce I canned some fruits this summer with baby food in mind.  I think he knows the routine because his face lights up when I start running the mini-food processor. 

I'm Hungry! Part 2

For GGirl this is usually a loud proclamation followed by the expectation of food magically appearing in front of her.  Instantly.  This afternoon she issued the complaint and when I didn't redpond in 5 nanoseconds she tried to make off with the bag of marshmallows that were on the counter from an earlier hot cocoa treat.  I quickly intercepted the bag of mini-sugar bombs and told her that if she was hungry she could have a carrot.  I thought she was not really hungry and just after the sugar.  3 seconds later she comes up with a HUGE carrot: "Mommy, will you please wash this so I can eat it?"  So I washed the carrot and handed it over, fully expecting her to take three bites and be full.  Nope.  She ate the whole thing!  Just more proof of kids defying our expectations.  Guess I may need to raise the bar!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

End of the January Thaw

This morning we woke up to snow.  The January thaw and taking walks in sweatshirts weather is officially over.  
I was supposed to drive to a town 45 minutes away to man hours at Made In Chenango, a craft co-op where I sell my candles.  The policy is that if that town's school district is closed for weather, we don't have to try to make it in to open the store.  Every district that I would have to drive through between my house and the store was closed.  I called in anyway and they were gracious enough to let me off the hook. 
So I worked from home.  I have two companies that I do administrative work for and today I had planned on getting caught up on a bunch of projects that had been piling up over the last few days.  So, armed with cocoa and cookies, I retreated to my "corner office" and got work done.  And since I was at home, I got to take in some of the winter sights around our yard as GGirl and HandyMan ventured out for projects outside this morning: 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Lunchtime with GGirl

Lunches at our house are pretty relaxed and usually leftovers.  Very often the conversation will go something like it did today.

Me:  What do you want for lunch.
GGirl:  Quesadilla!
Me: Ok, get out the cheese.  [Then offers choice of whatever fruit or veggie we have around]
GGirl: [Usually picks fruit]

Eat. Eat. Eat.

GGirl: Mom, I'm still hungry.
(Here's where the negotiations begin)
Me:  What are you hungry for?
GGirl: Cereal.
Me: Um, no.  If you're still hungry you may have veggies. 
Out comes the bin of veggie sticks.  She either picks veggies or isn't really hungry.

She was recently introduced to Ants on a Log (aka: celery, peanut butter, and ants as she calls them).  Today, that was the veggie of choice and she lined up the "ants" herself.

I find that if she makes the choices some of the time, there is less struggle when the choice is not hers to make.  Works for me!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Fact: The Sun Is Out

I want to use this space honestly, but on the rough days I don't want to fill it with complaining and whining.  So I'm just going to stick with the facts.
Fact #1: HandyMan is still getting over whatever bug knocked him out for the weekend.
Fact #2: I am still recovering from a concussion.
Fact #3: MMan is cutting teeth and not sleeping more than 5 hours at a time.
Fact #4:  GGirl is perfectly healthy and has more energy than the rest of us combined.
Fact #5: The sun is out and it is relatively warm (40*).

So, in the face of feeling cranky, I bundled MMan up and we went for a short walk. The same strech of road I paced while trying to get MMan to join us last summer.  I walked in squishy mud and wished spring was closer, but know that this January thaw was just a tease.  But for a brief few minutes today, I embraced the sun shine, I saw blue sky and a glimpse of spring.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Put Me in Coach & Facts From Today

Fact: Children were awake and ready to go at 5:45am.  Again.
Fact: GGirl spent naptime pushing limits and boundaries, for the full hour.
Fact: MMan popped tooth #7 during his nap. 
Fact: I'm in timeout (again) with fudge and coffee, scrolling through pictures remembering easier afternoons. 

Like the afternoon MMan was mastering his army crawl and loving the little soccer ball.  Every time his little fingers would reach to grab it, the ball would roll and he'd reach and scoot and grin again.  Fun stuff!

(I still have to find a good ap for getting rid of red eye!)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Not Sleeping

In five years when we are trying to figure out when MMan started sleeping through the night, I will have this post to remind me that it was most certainly not at six-and-a-half months.

In bed at 7:30pm, up at 8:19pm. Only really one more nap tagged onto a long day.

In bed again by 9:00pm.  Awake at 1:03am for a snack.  Back in bed by 1:14am.

Awake at 3:02am.  Diaper, wallow Mama, snuggle, fall asleep,  wake up on transfer.  Repeat last three steps.  Repeat again.  Back in bed at 3:48am.

Happy squeels from the crib. It's just barely light out.  By the time the happy play turned impatient and I got my glasses on: 6:59 am.

Time continue the day.

(I still can't really remember when GGirl started sleeping all night but at almost 4, she's usually good for 11-13 hours a night.)

Sunday Sunshine

This week has had some challenges, bit amidst the frustrations a lot of good things emerged as well.

:: A quick visit with my parents (aka: Granny & Granddad) as we were a stop on their roadtrip south.

:: Friends who will enthusiastically play with my kids while I spend an hour or so as an exhausted blob on their couch.

:: Awesome small town family doctors.

:: An impromptu lunch date with my Kindle.

:: A friend who rescued me from having to take the kids with me when I took a very ill HandyMan in to be checked for the flu.

:: That the flu test was negative

:: An offer of more work opportunities.

:: Baking time with a friend.

:: "What can I help with mommy?" Moments with GGirl.

:: Grins and giggles from MMan.

:: 5 straight hours of sleep.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Pecan Chocolate Chip Pancakes

I threw these together this morning and thought they were so good I should write the recipe down.  GGirl approved as well.
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour*
1 cup All Purpose Flour
2 Tbs Brown Sugar
2 Tbs Baking Powder
4 Tbs Vegetable Oil
1 3/4 cups Milk
1/3 cup Water*
1 Egg
2 Tbs Flax Seed/6 Tbs water combo.
2/3 cup finely chopped pecans.
1/2 cup chocolate chips (or more *grin*)
Mix the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients except for the chocolate chips and mix thoroughly.  Heat up your griddle and cook them up.  I sprinkled each pancake with the chocolate chips once on the griddle.
*You can use 2 cups All Purpose and skip the whole wheat, but leave the water out.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

My Favorite Kind of Day

This morning GGirl woke up in the most pleasant, cooperative spirit and has been an absolute ray of sunshine.  It is a clean up the house, do laundry, get stuff done kind of morning.  Conversations like this make housework so much brighter:

GGirl: Mommy, can I help?
Me: Sure. (full of all the energy a skeptical, un-caffeinated Mama can muster)
GGirl: Oh! Thank you! Thank you!

You would have thought I had announced that we were having cookies and milk for breakfast with a side of icecream sundae. 

So she's cleaned the mirror while I cleaned the bathroom,  took the vacuum away from me, and loaded the washer and dryer for me.  Singing the whole time she worked.

I was particularly impressed with the vacuuming technique:

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Being Mom

Today was one of those days that was all about being Mama.  MMan is in the throes of post immunization crud.  GGirl is craving extra attention and was devastated that she couldn't leave with HandyMan for work this morning.  This morning I just wanted coffee and a shower but the snoozing little one on my lap got the priority.
The to-do lists were set aside, and the day ended with some extra quiet snuggle time.  At the end of the day, the important stuff was done.

Monday, January 7, 2013

MMan's 6 Month Check-up

Today was MMan's 6 month check up which confirmed a lot that we already knew.  He is a healthy, thriving guy who is rockin' the growth and development charts.  Weighing on at 17 pounds and 11 ounces he's hanging out at the 45th percentile.  Stretched out at 28.5 inches he's a bit past the 95th percentile for height.

The charts don't record the sleepy eye roll that accompanies his fleece blanket and bottle at nap time or bedtime.  Or the way he will grab onto your neck and give a great big hug when he's happy to see you.  The grins and scoots that show his excitement at exploring the space around him light up a room.  My personal favorite is the out loud giggles when he is amused by GGirl.
This afternoon is bringing some extra snuggles as he recovers from immunizations.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sunday Sunshine

So many things to be thankful for this week that are recurring themes in my life: healthy family, bountiful provision, amazing friends.  Last Sunday we celebrated baptism of MMan, surrounded by friends and family.  This week in particular, the blessing of friends to help out and understanding employers has made the the days a little easier.  HandyMan's willing heart and helpful hands are always a blessing to me, and this week he has gone above and beyond filling in the gaps as I tried to balance home work and recovery from a concussion.
It has been a full and blessed week.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Invasion of the Little Brother

My little MMan is six months old and for the last six months hadn't really knocked his sister's world off kilter.  Until now.

Now he is scooting around to get at what he wants as long as it is in the floor.  Such was the case the other day when GGirl was happily putting a puzzle together, minding her own business when (insert Jaws music here) the MMan invasion began.  Only he didn't see big, wooden puzzle pieces.  He saw fantastic, hard teething toys!

And so it begins:  the little brother invasion.

A Blog Morph

For the new year my friend Jenny had a genius idea.  I liked it so I'm borrowing it.  I am not at a place in life to be experimenting with recipes: I barely have time for the tried and true.  Occasionally I have an insightful child rearing moment, but it's mostly just chuckling at their antics.  Life with my little ones is flying by and since I can't remember what I had for lunch yesterday (did I have lunch yesterday?) I fear many of the little moments with my children will be lost in the abyss of late night feedings and mountains of diapers. 

I recently "hired" another "assistant" in the form of a smartphone. It will make life easier to snap a photo, write a note and post.  Someday I'll be able to scroll through and chuckle again, and the pictures will be in one place when it's time to make the slide show for some major life event.

So I'm off to the mundane.  Making laundry soap, doing dishes and laundry, changing diapers and being Mama to the GGirl and MMan and wife to HandyMan.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Emergence of Style

My baby girl is growing up and now at almost four has begun to express some of her own fashion interests.  With the exception of shoes,clothing items that come in pairs only have to match by her standards. While particular about what matches and what doesn't, exact matches are rarely found in her ensamble.  Accessorizing is very important too: sunglasses, ear muffs and jewelry often complete her look.
Top it off with a beautiful smile that lights up a room, and that is my GGirl!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Soup & Bread

After stating multiple times at lunch that G had to eat her soup before she could get bread, E upped the ante and told her that she needed to eat her soup before he ate all the bread.  A couple of bites later she brought her bowl around the table to me, which is customary for getting help with her last bites of food.  Seeing a half full bowl of soup I told G that she wasn't download to her last bites yet.  In all seriousness she told me "I need help to eat faster" and the fear that Daddy was going to eat all the bread was evident in her worried little face.  Once we quit laughing, I assured her that there would be plenty if bread for her too!