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Monday, July 21, 2014

Little Monster Birthday Bash

Our little Piglet Turned 1!!!!

We had a silly monster themed party with some good friends and family to celebrate the occasion. We had a nacho bar for the grown ups and  hotdogs and crackers for our more refined guests' palates. We devoured some monster cupcakes and adorable monster cookie favors created by the amazing Candyland Sweets here in Conroe. Then we headed out into some God sent sunshine onto the waterslide...and amazingly my fearless Piglet LOVED it. Mommy and Daddy loved the professionalism and price of Texas Jump Rentals. We will use them again for sure.
We had such a wonderful time.

{My DIY Birthday Bunting made from scrap book paper and sticker letters...took me one evening after bed time}
{Silly Monster Drink Station: Scotch tape and google eyes+ dry erase marker}
 {Silly Monster Table (I ordered the framed print from Etsy)}
 {The circle placemats are from the dollar store :) }
{A little hotdog and cracker lunch}

 {Happy Cake-face}
{Fearless- and before I get parent hatemail: we only took him half way up and gently slid down...with three men- his Daddy, his Uncle and his Grandfather waiting at the bottom to catch just in case I slipped after our .2 mile per hour descent... :)}
One of the best days ever.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Pickles and a Piglet

Well, I took my first stab at homemade pickles this weekend! It was pretty easy. Now, before we get too excited, I have no idea if they taste good because we have to wait three days, but they look pretty in their jars, no?  I used a simple dill pickle recipe I found online, then tweeked it somewhat and kinda made it my own thing. I'll let you know how they taste- if they turn out yummy I will share the recipe. If they turn out bad, let's just pretend this never happened. Most pickle recipes I found online were for refrigerator pickles, not hot process pickles. I wanted to hot process mine so they would have a shelf life, so I kind of just combined a refrigerator recipe and basic canning methods, then added my own spices and sorta winged the rest. You know me...I fly by the seat of my pickle pants.

These pickles are extra special because not only did we make them ourselves, they were grown by my Dad! Yep he grew everyone one of these cucumbers in his garden. He already has another batch ready for me to turn into some bread and butter pickles...can't wait to try those.

We have been super busy around our place with building our barn, which has taken longer than we expected, but is finally nearing the end. I will post pictures of it when it is is a labor of love, and has been labored on intensively by the Hubs (most) my dad (alot) myself (some) and the occasional help from good friends who stop by and lend a hand...and a nail gun. Otherwise we have been charging through summer: working, taking care of constantly sick children, getting Piglet set up for a ear tube surgery at the end of the month :( . The usual.

If you can believe it, that little Piglet is going to 1 year old on Wednesday...ONE! When did this happen!? I feel like just yesterday I was giving birth to  him...nope that was a year ago. At this time last year I was a 17 months pregnant (not really) and walking laps around my parking lot at work every opportunity I got. (My doctor told me walking would make him come faster) We all know how that went....

He is the one walking now, like a little top heavy T-Rex. He has teeth, lots of them, and talks a little, calls me Momma, squeels in excitement for his "Dada", gives hi-fives, flirts with every woman we encounter, and pretty much has captured every single space in my heart. My God, in one year, 365 days, we went from this:
{3 days post partum, first day home...dear Lord, I look tired}

To now this:

{Look at that belly...LOOK AT IT! The cuteness is devastating}

This little skinny legged Squish...

Is now our little farmer
I have blinked, and year has gone by. I have blinked and my baby is now a toddler. No more baby. I shop in the toddler section now. It is such a cliche and said again and again, because it is true: They grow up so fast. Time is flying by, FLYING. I will blink twice more and will be blogging his first day of school.
Stay tuned for an EPIC first birthday is gonna be MONSTEROUS!!!!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Get A Haircut and Get a Real Job

Summer is starting TODAY!!
The kids are out of school, and I begin the countdown to PLEASE GOD WHEN DO THEY GO BACK!?

A few updates on us and our slice of heaven:

This Little Dude got his first Haircut. He was so excited!

He also started daycare....holy SICK ALL THE TIME!
 Thus this face:

{Mom, staying home from work...again...with a sick child. Please tell me how this daycare thing is helpful? I spend more time out of work with a sick child than he is AT daycare to pick up germs.Oh and I still pay for the days he isn't there..I am in the wrong business}

Sissy got herself a real job for the summer...waitressing at a local restaurant near our house. Hello grown up summer! Job, car, responsibility, freedom.

Monkey is hanging out with a special nanny all summer who comes to our house and watches him there in his own element. We are excited...and very very poor.

And finally:
Cry it out update: I feel like I shouldn't tell you this. You know there are certain things in life that are so amazing and wonderful that you fear if you talk or brag about them they will ~poof~ disappear into thin air?  OK, if I do tell you this, I am going to have to kill you. (Just kidding...but seriously though...pretend you never saw me type this) For whatever magical alignment of the stars....Piglet has started sleeping through the night.....
Through no fault of our own. We tried crying it out, we tried everything under the sun. Nothing worked, nothing! Until I took him to the doctor and she told me he STILL had an ear infection after three rounds of antibiotics. She gave me another round, and a tiny bottle of ear pain drops. He gets them every night before bed...and now...he sleeps. I feel like I won the lottery. OK, now this post will self destruct in! click close now before your computer blows up in your face!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Parenting is not a race...she who gets everyone out alive, wins.

I know, I know, I haven't blogged in over a month.

I feel sometimes the best thing we can do in parenthood is survive. As long as everyone lives through the day, then we are succeeding.
{I turn my back for 2 seconds to put away the cups.....}

Since we last spoke that little Piglet has gone through another rough rough bout of teething. Four teeth at once apparently. Accompanied by a fever, VERY stuffy nose and an ear infection that required antibiotics. We are STILL working on crying it out at night. Something always seems to set us back. There is the teething, then getting sick, then Daddy is on- call for work and needs his I end up giving in more than I should. And the sleep patterns are still not consistent through the night. Some nights that little Piglet sleeps like a hibernating bear, others he is up all night, fussing and screaming and being angry that I just wont pick him up. Sigh, I am tired to my bones.

The Monkey will be starting in a new school district next year. Looooong story I won't go into, but we are going to have to meet new teachers soon and determine which special education program we like. Ugh, that is a task I could do without, the Monkey and his curent teacher are a match made in heaven, and I so wish the circumstances had played out differently and he could stay with her. But with this new chapter, he may love his new teacher even more...we will see.

The Hubs and I have started attending a local church near our home, and really enjoy this time. We look forward to going, and are excited about this new journey. It is definitely a positive change in our life we are happy about. It is essential to helping us survive.

My yard and typical hobbies are a reflection of my current survival mode. My front flower beds, which are usually my pride and joy in the spring, look like the front walk to a haunted house. I planted new flowers, but they died quicker than a Lindsay Lohan film. They were not the hardy quality of the old ones I had out there the last three years. Live and learn. I should have stuck with the same flowers. I have no idea what they are called, I just know they lived through 3 years of Texas summer and drought with little to no watering.  My vegetable garden is a mess. I planted some of my veggies for the spring, but have not been able to get out and do much to keep up with my garden, so the weeds have taken over adding to my haunted house motif. My lettuce is doing well though, and when I go harvest it (with a baby on my hip) I manage to only get a few weeds in the mix. We have enjoyed it for salads with dinner a couple of nights per week. It is so much better than store bought lettuce. I have peppers and zucchini and tomatoes growing...hopefully this summer they will yield some good results.  Yum.

In other half finished news, I had eluded to some big plans in our future, and they did come to fruition. We bought the house we live in! Yay!!! Yep, our little country place was a rental and we finally worked out a deal to purchase it from the owners. It was a grueling and very testing process but we got through it and now we own it!  Now, the real task begins, in that we plan to finish out our attached garage into a master suite for me and Hubs, thus giving the baby his own room, and all of us a little more breathing room. We haven't had much time to work on things though, and the progress has been halted by the Hubs grueling work schedule and some unexpected summer expenses. But we will get there eventually. Maybe the baby will have his own room in time for high school prom ;) (Oh but if he sleeps in our room for that long..I doubt he would be asking anyone to the prom...pretty sure he would be a weirdo or worse Norman Bates-ish.)

For now, we are just living day to day. Dealing with changes, and too much work, not enough time. We are eating slightly weedy lettuce and continuing to dream about our renovations that have not started yet. We are watching a little boy grow, and get teeth, an learn to walk...and get into EVERYTHING!
{I was supposed to get out of the picture...but my Momma sense would only let me go that far...thus my disembodied arm, I am also holding the buffet runner down so he doesn't pull my wedding photos and his new born birth pictures, amongst other things, down onto himself. This is the only place in the living room I have anything decorative left. Mainly becasue this piece is tall enough he can't reach it....until he figured out to push things over to it and climb...}

Life is good. Hectic, but we are blessed.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

He is easy to love

This little fella, right here....

has completely turned our lives upside down. He never sleeps, often refuses to eat, and always refuses to do anything but pull up on all the furniture, all the time...(ending in slips and bumped heads...every...5....minutes) He struggles to get down now when I try to snuggle him too much, he is always ready to go and cruise and move, and yet still never wants to rest. I love him more than words could describe, and when I look at these pictures of his little face, my heart feels like it might explode with love and pride.  He is not a particularly easy baby, but loving him is easy. And I thank God everyday for picking me to be his Mommy.
{ a busy little bee, note the one sock on, one sock off...that is his signature look...kinda like when LL Cool J rolled one pant leg for some unknown reason... (Am I severely dating myself by referring to LL Cool J?)}
An update on the "cry it out"....we did great for the first few days, and things seemed promising. We were able to get him to sleep in his own crib with like maaaaybe 5 minutes of fussing...and then he got a sniffly cold. And his congestion woke him up almost hourly, and I would have to pick him up and set him upright to get it to drain and give him some relief. And he couldn't suck his pacifier in order to put himself back to sleep, cause he couldn't breathe out of his widdle nose. And so...we are back a square one. He is waking up crying multiple times per night, and the only thing that consoles him is me picking him up and rocking him in our recliner. So...we will try again. His sniffles seem to be subsiding, so we will start over. Only now...he can pull up on his crib. And he stands at the bars screaming like some sort of unruly jail inmate, screaming for his release from this unjust imprisonment. It is just as much fun as it sounds. Oh, and did I mention, he still shares a room with us? I literally sleep (no I don't) about 3 feet away from him in my own bed. That isn't good enough. He must be touching me. Period. More on the shared room situation later. We have some things in the works to remedy this problem, but I don't want to talk about it here until some more things are finalized.
Stay tuned......
And while you wait enjoy this face:

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Cry it Out

So our little Piglet is 7 months old now. Well jeez, he is almost 8 months I guess...He is growing into a real person, with a personality, and expressions, and opinions.

He looks just like his Daddy:
{Top the Piglet...Bottom the Hubs..circa 1974ish...uncanny}
And while his looks seem to be all Daddy, his attitude seems to be all Momma. Crap..... 
Daddy is easy going and always calm. Momma is fussy, and gets easily frustrated by inanimate objects. check
Daddy is a rock, steady and rarely moody. Momma is prone to flit from one mood to the next, and can often be found muttering to myself about the ridiculousness of teenagers shoe choices, and ranting about the insanity of selfies. check
Daddy was a sweet child who wanted nothing more than to please his parents. (well, so he says. His sweet mother is no longer with us to tell me I guess I will have to believe him....)
Momma was a tantrum throwing baby, who would literally scream until I made myself throw up and pass out to get my way as a toddler. (my mother will definitely confirm this story)check...
Crap! the boy is just like me! He is fussy, and gets easily frustrated, he is moody, and can throw a fit that rivals Kanye West losing his music award to a country singer. But with that, we share a contemplative nature, and a drive to always accomplish more than we are really capable of, and a strong love for our very important people.
Oh that little Piglet. He likes to be held and cuddled, just like his momma. And lately, he only wants to sleep one way...being held and rocked.  We are getting up every hour or two to a screaming banshee child only to find the only relief is picking him up and rocking him....and NEVER.PUTTING.HIM.DOWN
The Hubs and I  had a talk over lunch today. We are thinking we have no choice but to let him "cry it out." We have a plan, and time limits, and we are going to try this in a slow gradual progression. And you know me, I researched the hell out of it.
And yet, I hate it. I want to do nothing but make him stop crying. It is an instinct I cannot shut off. I am so in love with this child, if I think about it too much it frightens me a bit. I love him more than I could ever describe with words. He looks to me for comfort and security and wants nothing more than for his Momma to hold him securely all night. So he can feel my breath and heartbeat, and I can feel his. But I know that at some point this is too much of a good thing. And as he gets older and more mobile, it will only get worse. (Many internet folks said once they can pull up on that are done for) And I cannot rock him all night every night. I know, I know all of that. I know he is certainly old enough to sleep through the night and he must learn to soothe himself.
Knowing all of that....It just doesn't make it any easier.
And so, we will take this fall, this plunge, together; both scared, and both not wanting to let the other go.
But we must.
I must teach my baby to fly with his own wings. Even if it is just baby steps, like sleeping in a crib alone...2 feet away from me.
So, tonight we cry it out...him...and me.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Making Butter

I had the crazy notion to make my own butter this past weekend, and I was so pleasantly surprised by the results.

First of all, it was SUPER easy, and only required a few steps. The process yielded rich, creamy, fluffy butter that tastes so pure and decadent. And, it is simple and quick enough to do while wrestling a six month old into his highchair and a six year old into his seat at the breakfast table.

You only really need one ingredient to make your own butter. Heavy cream. I added salt to my butter, because we like our salted butter in this house, but that is not required.

So ready to hear about how I sat at the butter churn all afternoon while building my tri-ceps?

Here goes:

Take your heavy cream and pour it into your blender.

Put that baby on high, and let it spin all by it's happy self for about 3-5 minutes.
It will go from "whipped cream" stage to "separating" stage. You can tell it is starting to separate because you will hear your blender start to sound like it is working harder, getting bogged down a bit, as it is now not whipping merrily through fluffy whipped cream, but chopping through more solid butter.

Once things have separated into fat and butter milk, you will need to strain out the "milk" that is left behind. I just used a rubber spatula to press out as much liquid as I could.

{Please disregard the sink full of dirty baby bottles.... I could edit them out, but you know me, I keep it real...Or I am just too lazy to edit them out, or wash them}
Once you have drained as much buttermilk off the butter as you can, you will need to "wash" your butter. This will whisk away any remaining buttermilk and make your butter last longer. Pour very ice cold water into your blender with the butter fat still inside. The icey water will not mix with the butter, nor melt the butter. Blend again for a few seconds. Then pour off the water and any remaining milk it has washed away.

To get as much liquid out as possible, I pressed paper towels into the bottom of the blender and allowed them to soak up any remaining moisture while I pressed the butter with the spatula to squish out any remaining milk and water.
At this point I folded in a teaspoon of salt, but that is just preference. Next time I am going to try to make cinnamon honey butter...yum

What you are left with is beautiful, creamy, rich butter. It is delicious, and sort of makes you feel like an empowered pioneer woman. But without the super ripped triceps from the all day butter churn.