Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Grateful. Very, very grateful

How grateful am I that on the very morning I'd been craving something sweet and fruity (i.e. lemon bars, mango smoothie, etc.), the boys' great grandmother sent us home with a quarter of her double layer orange cake with fluffy frosting?  I may or may not have already dug into it twice since we've been home in the last two hours.

How grateful am I for dear friends, whose time together used to revolve around day to day roommate life and going out on the weekends, but has now progressed to Sunday morning play dates with lots of babies?

How grateful am I for the yummy treats that my mom and dad have been making me from our new favorite cookbook, The Smitten KitchenThis, this, and this were particularly tasty!

How grateful am I for comfy maternity leggings on sale and the maternity skinny jeans I found at a consignment shop for a fraction of the regular retail cost?

14 weeks

How grateful am I for the indoor activities that have kept us indoors but busy on these past cold, rainy, and snowy days?  Dance parties/"freeze dance"; jumping on the couch (I caved); animal charades; baking (a lesson in patience for all moms:)); super man dives on the bed; Memory, Candy Land, I Spy, and Hide & Seek (they're almost 3 - simple games are a new thing around here!); baths with spray bottles or shaving cream "paint"; play dough (I set out tiny toys for them to squish into it, offer cheese spreaders to cut it, they love to stick magnet letters in the dough, etc); stamps, pads, and paper; build forts; on the iPad: watch you tube clips of dump trucks, play ABC games, take videos of kids and let them watch it; dress up in old Halloween costumes; finger paint with yogurt or shaving cream on high chair trays; "paint" on the chalkboard with sponges/paint brushes and water; thread Fruit Loops/ziti noodles on pipe cleaners; play with tupperware and large plastic serving utensils; play with hole punchers; make pictures with stickers; pick up cotton balls with tongs and move from bowl to bowl (oddly enough, they love this!); play with Mommy's scarves and necklaces; put painters tape or masking tape on the floor to create a "road" for trucks or set up Hop Scotch; build and destroy block towers; set up "camp" in a tent and read books; play with flashlights; look at old photo albums; play "basketball" with soft balls or socks and a laundry basket; blow up balloons and play "volleyball"; have an indoor picnic with hot chocolate.
Shaving cream+food coloring+muffin pan+bathtub = instant entertainment!  Keep a towel on hand and some cleaner for your tile grout and when all is said and done both your kids and bathroom are nice and clean:)

Painting on the chalkboard with water!
Hide and Seek:)
Hot chocolate time!
How grateful am I to be spending the upcoming weekend with my entire extended family on my mom's side to celebrate my grandparents' 60th anniversary?
Last time the whole gang was together in 2007:)  Thank you Uncle Dick, for these pics.
How grateful?  Very, very grateful!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Table for FIVE, please.

We're growing.  Namely, my belly.  And our current clan of 4 will soon be 5.  I just hit the 13 week mark in my pregnancy.  On Monday all four of us got to peek at bean #3.  Today the boys and I visited the very doctor that delivered them.  Three years ago this week that same doctor admitted me to the hospital to start my bed rest stay.  Needless to say, today's appointment was much less eventful but nonetheless exciting.  My elastic pants feel tight and I’m up a size in jeans.  I’ve worn one maternity sweater and I’m thankful I don’t have to dress for work each day.  Gym pants are my new uniform and my recent purchases of leggings and knee high boots are my attempts to stay stylish.

Last Saturday went like this: I woke up and ate taco pie for breakfast.  After a good run (thank you new shoes!) I had tea and a banana.  When my mom arrived to play with the boys and do some laundry (their machine is on the fritz) she had a Starbucks in her hand I suddenly wanted more tea.  By 11 I was starving again.  While my fridge and pantry have plenty of healthy options I reached straight for the Ramen noodles.  Shameful.  10 minutes after I was finished and claimed I was "so full" I was eating spaghetti with the boys at the dining room table.  By 2:00 I met a friend at Wendy’s for a frosty that I’d been craving since Thursday after seeing a commercial for one.  Upon arriving home at 4:00 the boys wanted to go get frozen yogurt at Sweet Frog.  I obliged:)  On the way we stopped at the bread company so I could restock my supply of cinnamon swirl bread.  It makes a great nighttime snack and I’m hooked on it.  With a little butter it's as good as a doughnut:)  Thankfully I did not get my own cup of yogurt at Sweet Frog, but what a shame that Garrett didn’t like his Nutella choice and this lady wasn’t going to let it go to waste.  He had plenty of strawberry in his cup, so both of us were satisfied.  That night was leftovers (yes, more taco pie) and a carb loaded snack before bed because carbs is all I want these days.  Somewhere between 9:00 and 9:30pm I started to get nauseous so I headed to bed.  By 2:00am I woke to go to the bathroom and then laid in bed hungry/still nauseous. By 4:00 the boys started to stir and I had to pee again.  By 6:00 all four of us were in one bed and by 6:30am Mickey Mouse was on and I had another piece of cinnamon bread in hand.

In the last 13 weeks I've had some form of pasta for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner.  I've craved spinach salads with tomatoes, goat cheese, and vinegar.  I've also had a hankering for tuna nicoisse salad and hot ham and cheese subs loaded with peppers, onions, and vinegar.  Montana Gold Bread Company seriously has the best cinnamon bread in the world and their fluffy challah rolls are amazing too.  Maybe the real butter probably has something to do with it.  Kix cereal makes a great pre-bedtime snack and I can't seem to stay out of the peanut butter jar accompanied with raisins and a sliced apple either.  Chili and my dad's Pasta Fagioli really hit the spot for a while.  Raspberry sorbet (specifically the Talenti brand at Fresh Market) and flavored iced teas (the colder the better, even on cold and rainy days) satisfy me too.  I no longer have a taste for coffee, but have recently reacquainted myself with hot tea.  Chamomile, green tea, and vanilla rooibos are my top picks.  


I can now come clean about why I've been SO TIRED lately, as referenced more than once in a few past blog posts, and I can finally share the rest of our Christmas pictures since the boys proudly wore their Big Brother shirts to share the news with our family over the holidays.  I can also blame locking my keys in the car twice in three weeks, throwing away a gift card (yes, I fished it out of the trash), and forgetting to pack clean undergarments in my gym bag on 'baby brain.'  My emotions are slightly overloaded, as displayed by my weepiness when Garrett simply and sweetly uttered "You're welcome!" one day.  And let's just say my temper is a little short fused lately.  While we might need more space, we aren't moving anytime soon.  If you visit overnight I'm sorry to say you'll be relegated to the couch or our lovely queen size air mattress on the den floor.  Our current guest room will stay yellow and become the new bedroom for baby #3.  We'll find out the sex, per Joe's request, the first week in March and I'm already mulling over name options.  The grandparents are pulling for a girl, but I hope they're ok if their bets missed the mark.  I just want healthy.  Some of our friends suspected our good news and were not surprised and others were simply floored.  Their excitement helped solidify the realness of all of this, which has taken quite some time to sink in.  I'm excited to work out during this pregnancy, as I was cut off at 12 weeks when the boys entered the picture.  I'm hoping for a drama free, uneventful, typical-as-possible, full term experience, so the more low key the better.  Family member #5 is expected to arrive sometime around July 20 and by September the boys will be in preschool.  Gulp.  My dad and I are already perusing our new cookbooks for meals to be made and all we need in the way of supplies and gear is diapers.  I'm thankful to have family nearby, whose help will be welcome anytime, and am hoping that our favorite babysitter will be over often since she'll have been driving for a few months by then!  The extra space in the van will now be well used and I'm guessing the play set that Joe's been staining will be our go-to entertainment activity once we're house-bound with a newborn for a while.  I'm fully aware that there will be no slowing down on Garrett and Gavin's end, so with the help of a good baby carrier, we'll manage to keep busy too.

I'm excited, unsure how the logistics of 3 kids will work, anxious about those newborn days, but above all grateful our family is growing.  Look out, baby on board!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Still Kickin'

Oh it's happened.  I've become that negligent blogger that now just posts once a month.  When I first created this journaling outlet I had enough thoughts to post three times a week.  Now it's kind of like cleaning the bathrooms...it can wait.  But it shouldn't (well, cleaning the bathrooms will until just before our next house guest arrives).  I can barely remember what I did yesterday, let alone in a week or a month or over a holiday or special occasion.  In my defense, when my days start between 4:00 and 6:00am I barely  have the wherewithal to hold my eyes open past 8:30pm.  It used to be that when my days started before the sun at least my kids were still sleeping and I could squeeze in some me-time, but these days they're downstairs with me and entertaining two almost 3 year olds from 6:00am to 7:15pm makes for a long day.  Add to that their shortened naps, so you get the idea.  And poor Joe, I'm certain he thinks he married the biggest bump on a log around.  Just as we sit down to enjoy each others company or simply sit next to each other watching the same TV program, I'm down for the count.  Anyway, since we last chatted last year a birthday was had, Christmas happened, and 2013 entered into the present.

Birthday breakfast in bed!

Birthday dinner at Kanpai Japanese Steakhouse!
Local Christmas tree lighting!

Santa Brunch with Oma, Opa, Nana, and Pops!

My little drummer boy!

Loving his new cars!

Chasing Daddy for his Gummi Bear stocking treats!

More presents!

Discovering Great Grandpa's accordion!

Sweetest little elf around!  

Catching up with old friends and celebrating a baby on the way!
Attending Joe's company party!

Dinner out sans all 5 kids!
Our Christmas season was busy.  Exhausting.  Fun.
It was missed naps, overstimulated kids, too many treats, fights over new toys, shuttling from one holiday gathering to another, overplayed carols, baking endless batches of cookies, getting frustrated over not being able to find the right gift, orchestrating festive logistics, decorating the house, too many battery operated toys, finding where to display countless [adorable] cards, bribing kids to eat their meals for one more piece of Advent calendar chocolate, and negotiating who sits where and who drinks out of which cup.

But our Christmas was rich.  Blessed.  Filled.  Joyful.

In between all the maddening chaos there was an impromptu brunch date with the girls, a New Years Eve run, another breakfast date and lunch date with dear friends and more friends and our mamas, excitement over opening all those adorable Christmas cards from family and friends near and far, gifts to wrap, excited faces to see, twinkling lights, adult time, amazing food (Christmas Eve fondue and Christmas Day Italian dinner!), new toys that kept kiddos happily entertained while it was cold and rainy outside, movie dates, dinner dates, grand kid and grandparent sleepovers, and happy talk for big things happening the following year.

We've smoothly glided into 2013.  The boys will soon transition to their big boy beds and potty training will be attempted early this spring.  Joe has started running a little again and my resolution is to read one book a month.  Thankfully, my friend Amy has helped jump start me by suggesting we read a book together, so I'm making enjoyable progress on The Expats.  Plans are already in place for the boys' 3rd (third?!?!) birthday party next month along with a girls' weekend away.  Joe has a guys' trip planned to Austin, TX and dates are on the calendar for our trip to Florida in March and another beach vacation with friends in May/June.

Our lives are simple.  Our needs are met and most of our wants are too.  We are truly lucky.  2013 is set to be another good year.

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