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family fun love thursday memes & carnivals photography

love thursday: the loves of my life

I’ve been all about getting more family pictures lately – usually our pictures are just of one or two of us – and I still don’t have any of all four of us, but between this photo shoot and this one, we’re close. I secretly adore the realness and imperfections of these pictures. Sure, I wish the baby wasn’t crying – but at the same time, was she likely to do anything else with a grabby three year old holding onto her not so gently? He tried, but seriously. I do love all of MM’s goofy faces and Dan’s expression in the last one just says it all – we may be sleep deprived and occasionally weepy, but we are still… filled to the brim with love.

Love Thursday is the brain child of Chookooloonks. Check out her post today for more thoughts on love, and the comments section for other people playing along.

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memes & carnivals photography

52 Weeks: Mother(oftwo)hood

It’s not easy cramming three people into a self taken picture but we tried. Well, I tried. For the most part, MM was not the least bit helpful as he thinks the picture taking happens at the wrong end of the camera… But here are two that came out well and one that I love in spite of it’s obvious imperfections.

~*~

52 Weeks is a year long challenge for YOU, hosted by Forever in Blue Jeans, to be in a picture once a week for 52 weeks. We are always the ones behind the camera, this is YOUR chance to get out in front and be in the pictures with our family. We are glad you are joining this challenge. More importantly your family will really enjoy having you in the picture. Thanks for playing along! Oh, you can just jump in now with 1 of 52, you’re not getting off that easy! Now go take a picture!

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family fun

5 Great Things…

First off, I just wanted to thank everyone for your kind comments and words of encouragement in yesterday’s post. You guys are wonderful and between your words of advice and the general therapeutic nature of writing, I felt a lot better. Anyway, I thought I’d take a different approach today and write about the things that are going really well – that way I’ll have given equal attention to the good and the bad of these days, which are so fleeting…

Jean @ Working Momma 247 has been doing Gratitude Posts lately and that is really what inspired me to give this a go, so here are 5 things that I’m grateful for / happy about right now or just things that have made me smile…

  1. I finally finished reading Dead Until Dark last night – I feel very proud of myself for sticking with it, never mind for finding reading time at night again. I actually ended up really liking this book – I’ll try to write a review soon.
  2. Last night Dan attempted to make a 5 course dinner in celebration of our anniversary. I think it was a little overly ambitious, especially with him not getting home to start cooking until 6:00 pm and us having the new baby and the crazy preschooler, but we had a fun time anyway. Even when he caught the garlic bread on fire. It was actually a really nice night and there was really no point where either of us were upset when our plans went crazy it was just kind of like, “Yeah this is our life now.” I am impressed looking back on it, at how well we both just rolled with the punches. 5 courses turned into roughly 3 which I commented was maybe perfect for a 3 year anniversary. Maybe in two years we’ll attempt it again? We still have the ingredients to attempt courses 4 and 5 sometime this weekend maybe.
  3. MM has added two new phrases to his constant vocabulary – “two minutes” as in, two more minutes until nap time, bedtime, diaper change etc. He says it so cutely that it’s hard to be annoyed, never mind the cleverness of his scheme to bide his time. The other phrase is “two little” as in, I’ll have “just two little crackers” or “two little grapes” or “two little oatmeal.” This one doesn’t really mean he wants 2 – one bowl of oatmeal is fine and he will want more than two grapes but again – it’s cute. He’s cute. There’s cuteness.
  4. We finally got our washer / dryer fixed – again. Apparently another bird made another nest in the vent and our office manager guy came himself, climbed up on the window sill in MM’s room (teaching him new bad habits – hurray!) and got it out, then added a vent cover so as to nip the problem in the bud. And that night Dan added to our child proofing stick in the window thing so that MM will definitely not be able to open to window to reenact our office manager’s actions. In retrospect, I totally shouldn’t have let him watch, but all is good and fixed. Finally.
  5. BB is just beautiful – have I said that enough? She’s healthy and happy and nurses well and is getting bigger and becoming more alert during the day and we are all crazily in love with her. And when the bad seems to pile up on me, it really should be remembered – that I have two beautiful, healthy, brilliant children – not to mention a helpful, caring, patient husband who cooks me 3 to 5 course meals and changes the diapers at night…

How about you? What are 5 great things in your life right now?

Categories
memes & carnivals photography

WW: Summer Days Are Swinging By…

For more wordless fun check out Wordless Wednesday and 5 Minutes For Mom!

Categories
family fun motherhood

Baby Blueberry’s Birth Story

I thought I’d attempt writing out Baby Blueberry’s birth story now while it’s still fresh in my memory. I’m only going to write about the actual birth for now because although I have a lot of possible tales to tell, this whole blogging thing takes a much longer time than it used to! If I tried to tell you guys about everything that’s happened in the past week, well, I don’t think I’d ever finish. So for now…

Tuesday morning Dan and I woke up around 5am – we showered, got dressed, he ate breakfast and then we headed to the hospital. Pretty much the only things on my mind were, “I’m tired, I’m hungry and I’m about to have a baby.” But mostly, “I’m hungry.” I wasn’t allowed to eat anything after midnight the night before and my stomach was not pleased with being woken up and then ignored. I tried not to be envious while Dan ate his breakfast.

We arrived at the hospital for 6:30am, found our way to the birth center where we were quickly checked in – I think we were their only appointment that morning and they were all kind of gathered around the nurses station waiting for us. We went in to the first little room where we signed some papers, talked to loads of people and got prepped for surgery. Everything was fairly pleasant until it got around time to put in the catheter. For some reason I didn’t realize it was time for the catheter until it was time for the catheter so I never really got to prep myself for Oh My Goodness. Just so you all know how huge of a baby I am, when they finished inserting it, I basically told Dan I was done having children and at the time I was completely serious. I’d already had an epidural when they gave me one for MM’s birth so I never got to feel that awful feeling, but seriously. It was awful.

Luckily not long after the Catheter instance (or Foley as they began referring to it after insertion, like by calling it another name I might forget what they were talking about or like when you are talking to your spouse about bed time in front of your children and you spell it out “B-E-D T-I-M-E” so as not to cause a premature temper tantrum from your kiddos but then eventually they learn to spell so you have to start calling it by another name like “period of dormancy” or “foley“… Well it didn’t work – I totally remembered what they’d done and I was not likely to forget anytime soon) I got my spinal block and the dreaded Foley was eventually not the most pressing matter of the moment. I’ll admit that after the spinal kicked in, the baby was born, etc. I couldn’t feel the foley at all. But I didn’t forget. Just so we’re clear.

Anyway, back to the birth story. It was very different in the operating room this time around since I hadn’t been in an unnatural overly medicated labor all day –  I had my awesome spinal block to avoid feeling anything but I was still totally present and aware of the situation. I loved that. They also were able to give me a medication to control nausea which I didn’t get when MM was born. Not puking is so much better than puking, I’m just saying. The people in the OR talked me through the whole experience and even managed to find time for small talk, not that we were in there long.

They started the surgery at 8:30am and little BB was born at 8:39am. Now that’s fast! She weighed in at 7 pounds 15 ounces and was 18 inches long – thick, dark blonde hair and eyes so dark that the color was and still is terribly difficult to distinguish – she was everything we expected and nothing we could have guessed – probably like all babies she was immediately perfect for us in a way we hadn’t imagined.

After some stitching and such, we were all wheeled back to the recovery room where I spent a few hours before being moved into the main hospital room (I apologize, I cannot remember the official names for any of these rooms). By lunchtime Dan headed back to the apartment to pick up MM and my grandmother so they could meet little Baby Blueberry and I ordered a light lunch of I can’t even remember. It’s funny, I was starving all morning but by the time I was allowed to eat my appetite was surprisingly small. I couldn’t even finish the celebratory cheesecake Dan bought me that night – seriously.

And that’s how little Baby Blueberry made her entrance into this world and I became a proud mother of two…

Categories
family fun photography

Pictures From The Company Picnic

Today we went to the company picnic, which they hold annually. It was pretty lucky that my grandma was able to fly up the day before the picnic so that she could come, too! The weather was a bit chilly but they had lots of fun things to do (a petting zoo and a construction petting zoo, blowing bubbles in a kiddie pool, MM got a free balloon and fun hat and there were lots of other kid friendly events that we skipped like face painting, pottery painting, a climbing wall and some bouncing rides that were just a bit too old for MM – things for him to look forward to next year! 🙂 And of course the food was delicious – Dan, Grandma and I all had lobster and steak with Caesar salads, watermelon and a few other sides. MM had the “kids meal” – macaroni and cheese with hot dogs – which was perfect – and there was cake and cookies for dessert. Dan also competed with some of his coworkers in a big tug of war competition – sadly his team did not win but they had a great time trying. I’d call it a perfect afternoon. Here are some pictures from the day:

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love thursday motherhood

Love Thursday: The Things We Keep

Yesterday I took away all of my son’s toys. All of them. At some point during the course of the day I hit the point of no return – watching the way he abused his belongings had irked me one too many times; putting his toys away for him either because he wouldn’t or because he wouldn’t do it right… I may be asking too much of a three year old but the thing that really bothered me happened after I took them away. He didn’t care. Guys, I’m serious – I took ALL his toys away and he didn’t even whimper. He seemed to think it was funny. And apart from asking for one stuffed animal before nap time, he never asked me for a single toy. And the rest of our day was pleasant. Awesome even. What the frig?

When my husband came home and saw the empty toy room he was a bit astonished. “Do I even need to ask how your day was?” I believe was his response. When I told him that after I’d taken the toys away it had been a great day and that his son didn’t even seem to miss all the great stuff I’d put away… He was a bit surprised, too. I’ve often thought that MM has too many toys – sometimes it’s hard to really appreciate something when you have it in mass quantities. But whenever we’ve tried to weed through his things and donate stuff, we never get very far because it’s all great stuff, you know? Where do you draw the line? Last night we played hard ball. Sort of. We went through all his toys and got rid of well over half of it. Except, by got rid of, I really mean we put it in our storage closet downstairs. And looking around his toy room there is still a ton of stuff, but the difference is still huge. Instead of having several dozen stuffed animals on his bed, he now has six. And those are the only stuffed animals in his possession, there aren’t any in the toy room. So what’s left in his toy room now you ask? Let me show you…

We left all his train accessories and of course the terrific table my dad made for him.

Likewise with his awesome tool bench – an old Christmas present from his auntie – honestly the big toys are the least of our problems and this one is in constant use.

This used to also house all his little stuffed animals, which are now in storage. He loves to dress up in funny hats and put his worldly possessions in fun bags. Now these things are front and center in the Dress Up Bucket and the stuffed animals which used to mostly just get dumped on the floor when he wanted a fun hat… yeah those are gone.

Dan and I are huge nerds and we wouldn’t have the heart to get rid of great educational toys. The puzzles, abacus and the wooden “foods” all stay. These are also favorites of the boy’s so I know they’ll be used frequently. Hopefully now they’ll be used MORE in fact.

These are in addition to a bunch of little matchbox cars that live with his train set. Like any boy, MM loves “things that go” – we kept most of his trucks and cars out (though not all of them).

Of course the great Mega Bloks have to stay and the blue bucket has a couple toys we deemed worth keeping…

We used to have two buckets filled to the brim with small toys, some things in multiple, like he needs that many. This is probably the part I’m proudest of. I feel a little silly having such an empty forlorn looking bucket, but then I remember Christmas is always just around the corner…

There was no chance of us getting rid of the great pull out couch, his “baby sister” doll and blanket. Likewise with books and the things above the bookshelf. NO books were gotten rid of – because well his parents are book fiends.

Like we’d probably be shot if they went missing. His prized possessions to be sure.

The bottom line for me, and the part that makes this a Love Thursday is that I want my son to LOVE the things he has and in turn, take marginally good care of them. When we moved we got rid of so much of our own clutter (maybe not enough, but a LOT) and our main method for selection was, “Do we HONESTLY love this thing?” We were brutal but it was worth it. It was liberating. And MM has been happy as a clam today, playing with the toys which remained – not even a second thought seemingly going to things which are gone. At some point we may donate a bunch of the stuff downstairs – and if he asks for it and we are feeling nice we may bring some things back up. But honestly, I think he still has plenty and it’s all stuff we all love.

Love Thursday is the brain child of Chookooloonks. Check out her post today for more thoughts on love, and the comments section for other people playing along.

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op ed

A Closer Look

I love the picture I posted in my Wordless Wednesday this week – the expression on MM’s face takes my breath away and I think the colors came out beautifully (then the sepia and black and white versions added their own charms), but there is one thing I don’t love about it and I haven’t mentioned it yet to anyone except my husband – I think it’s time to get this off my chest so we can all collectively yell a hearty WTF together because seriously. First things first, the picture again:

Tear your eyes away from my adorable son for a moment and look where he’s standing. That’s not just a big old pile of random rust there. If you look closely (or maybe it’s immediately obvious to you way smarter parents out there reading this) that’s fire damage. The slide behind him literallly melted from the heat of the flames and you can see the color difference between the pole in front of MM and the pole behind him. Someone, it would appear, had a bonfire on the apartment’s playground – right where my son is now standing. It took me way too long to figure this out before whisking him off the damn thing.

I mean, seriously? WTF? First there are the random preschoolers wandering around the apartment complex and playground alone and unsupervised, free to set their worst examples for my impressionable overly friendly three year old. The litter. The teenagers who loiter around the playground or toss a ball around so close to the playground that you occasionally have to duck your head to avoid being hit (something my three year old wouldn’t even think to do if it came near his head). All of this was annoying and had me apprehensive about going to the small playground, which was kind of a bummer because for me it was a major selling point for this apartment. But throwing a bonfire on the playground?? Seriously? How could they think that was an okay thing to do? Now I just plain refuse to go there with MM which really sucks because it’s the only one in walking distance. I know, blah blah lazy me – get in the car and drive. That’s fine, I will. But – – I can’t get past, WTF?

I love our apartment – the layout, the kitchen, it feels right and it’s working. The price is decent. But every ammenity which seemed like a bonus point lately feels like a big let down. The washing machine and dryer which mostly work but end up being a pain in my butt – whatever I can deal with that as much as it’s annoying, it’s better than dragging two kids to a coin op. But the playground – that was a big thing on my list. I’m glad they don’t have a pool now because I’d never feel safe using it – lord knows what size fires they could start in there.

Basically, right now I’m just waiting rather impatiently to crawl out of the financial downturn we took after the layoff and start saving enough to buy a house. It is now the only thing I’m concerned about apart from the day to day whatevers. I don’t care about vacations right now or whatever. I just want a house. I dream about having my own little (fenced in) backyard with a swing set or a kiddie pool – to be able to talk about getting a puppy or planting a garden or buying outdoor furniture. To be able to just walk outside and have a cookout, rather than figuring out somewhere to use the tabletop grill. I want to paint walls and drill holes without thinking about how long it will take to fill them in when we leave. I want to own my domain and be the one in charge of it. I’m tired of WTF.

Categories
family fun photography

Independence Day Weekend

This weekend was my first time celebrating the 4th of July without going to the town parade, fireworks, visiting family for cookouts, etc. We spent the entire weekend celebrating with just the 3.5 of us and I have to say it was a pretty nice weekend. Our original plan involved going to the beach on Saturday and making a huge feast on Dan’s tabletop grill, but those plans were rained out. So we decided to go to the beach on Sunday with a modest feast and cook the majority of it at home that day.

Saturday July 4th went a little something like this…

After a french toast with powdered sugar, strawberries and blueberries breakfast (so festive!) we spent Saturday morning mulling around Walmart spending a lot more money than we intended to, but on things we needed (we got the sleeping bag for MM and a great nursing gown for me and BB). That afternoon we had bratwurst cooked over a George Foreman grill (hot dogs for the picky three year old), homemade pasta salad and deviled eggs. I’m going to admit right now that Dan did almost all the cooking this weekend.

(We were talking last night about our culinary interests and what we thought they’d be etc. I always assumed I’d become this perfect homemaker who cooked amazing dinners, desserts, etc. and basically owned the kitchen. But apart from desserts and the occasional lucky recipe, most of my culinary prospects have been lackluster. I can do a quick, easy main dish like it’s no one’s business but when I try to get fancy, I rarely feel my efforts have been rewarded by an amazing dish. It never feels worth it – you know? Just stressful. Then somewhere in the middle, Dan got interested in bread making, which turned into pizza making, which, with the help of Food Network in the past month and a half, has turned into – he loves to cook. And his food is good, ladies. I am spoiled rotten and I’m not complaining. I actually feel relieved. Sometimes I’m a bit jealous but since I can still kick his butt in the dessert department and I still mostly own the rest of the homemaking gig, I think it evens out and I’m proud of him. So in general, the kitchen belongs to Dan during the weekends especially and more often on weeknights than I care to admit to – but I can play the pregnancy card for now.)

Anyway, this has very little to do with the weekend – so I’ll get back to my little recap. After lunch we spent some time doing MM’s favorite thing – playing with toys. Every day (several times a day) he will come over to one of us and say, “Do you want to come play in my TOY ROOM?” and you know I feel terrible when I am too busy which seems to happen a lot – even more so for poor Dan. So that afternoon we both said a whole hearted YES and spent awhile doing just that. MM was in his glory.

For dinner that night we continued our original menu plan with the second half of our feast – Dan made homemade beef teriyaki – complete with the wooden skewers just like at a Chinese restaurant and oh mylanta, it was Good. We had that with leftover pasta salad and celery with peanut butter and cream cheese and for dessert – lemon bars, homemade right of a Betty Crocker box. I always go back and forth between strictly homemade and “times-a-wasting” and to be honest, this lemon craving of mine is still so new to me that I wanted to try a couple of box recipes first – that I know I can’t likely screw up – so that when I try homemade later when my energy levels return to “normal” I’ll know if it tastes close to right and what things should look like. These came out pretty good – and Dan kicked it up a festivity level with his “plating skills” (all husbands should be required to watch Iron Chef America – I think he secretly scores each of his meals by flavor, plating and originality).

(this picture doesn’t do it justice, I am still working on my food photography and meanwhile the ice cream and whipped cream were melting so I gave up early and got to eating!)

Then on Sunday, our holiday weekend continued…

The weather was gorgeous so we were thinking it would be the perfect beach day. But we set out first thing that morning to Target (which was closed on the 4th) to buy one very special item – Baby Blueberry’s infant car seat and stroller. We got the Graco Mulberry style travel system I’ve had my eye on for months now despite going back and forth a bit, wanting to be sure it was the one, we can now safely say – yes it is, and it’s ours! We had a cheap Cosco travel system with MM that we loathed so much we actually donated it shortly after he outgrew the car seat, vowing to get ourselves something nicer for the next baby. I was worried that wouldn’t happen after Dan got laid off, but with the help of the $100 Rent.com visa we got, the price was cut in half and we decided to do our sanity a favor and go for it. We’re very happy with it from what we’ve seen so far. By the time we got home the weather was too beautiful to wait any longer.

So we packed up our beach gear and the food we had planned for that day’s lunch and headed to our new favorite beach (not that we’ve checked out any others yet). Dan got to work immediately cooking the rest of the bratwurst and some more hot dogs for MM while MM got to work immediately playing on the beach’s playground.

Then after lunch we headed to the beach. Unfortunately the algae levels were too high or something so the department of health mandated the water be “closed” so we didn’t get any swimming in but the boys still had fun playing in the sand. After a couple minutes building sandcastles Dan taught MM the age old fun of being buried in the sand which he thought was just terrific!

That night we made homemade pizza with pretty much everything but the kitchen sink thrown on top, leftover pasta salad and some watermelon that was leftover from another culinary feat this weekend – we made this delicious watermelon lemonade that I saw on Smitten Kitchen last week. Everything was delicious, making a terrific end to our holiday weekend.

Again with the picture not doing the meal justice.