Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Giggle

Trying again....

This was a couple of weeks ago, right when he hit 3 months.  He is so much more animated now and just laughs hysterically at the littlest things.  It makes my heart happy.
(I would apologize for the goofy baby talk because I sound like an idiot, but I'm not sorry because it makes my baby laugh)


Christmas Cards

It's that time again.
If I were the super mom I used to be I would have had them all handmade, addressed, stamped, including a family update letter-cleverly written, possibly rhyming, and a flawless photo of everyone looking at the camera with a natural looking smile, coordinating outfits embellished with the latest accessories, and our two dogs sitting in obedience next to the children, perfectly groomed with shiny coats (the dogs not the children).  Also they would have been in the mail already, since the holidays officially kicked off last weekend.

But all my perfection was making people feel bad.
Ha!  hahaha!

Also I woke up.

And then I remembered the last time I handmade Christmas cards, and the fact that many of them are still sitting in my card drawer unsent.

And those perfectly polished pictures?  Well, since in my mind sub freezing temps, two kids with a cold, a husband in the middle of trying to fix plumbing problems equals the perfect time to call a good friend and see if she'll venture out into a frozen field with us to get some pictures of our family, we get shots like this:

Sweet!  Go me!
Honestly, despite all that, we did get some beautiful shots that I am excited to share this year!

So what is a girl with an undying desire to show off her crazy family even though we will never have a family picture where everyone is actually looking at the camera (happily) at the same time?  Especially when she is busy loving on her sweet little baby, potty training the toddler, shuttling older kids between cub scouts, church youth activities, play practice (did I mention the 4 oldest are in Christmas Carol?  Taylor is Scrooge!), knowledge bowl, geography bee, and wrangling the older youngest kids from morning till night?  While hubby is working and in nursing school full time, gearing up for *another* surgery before the end of the year?

First said girl will stop typing freakishly long run-on sentences one-handed.
(I'm rocking baby to sleep...about to go deposit him in bed)

Ok.  Now that he is in bed I can type freakishly long run-on sentences with two hands.

Seriously though, to my rescue this crazy year is Shutterfly.

Have you ever used Shutterfly?
Our first experience with them was a photo book for a wedding that my husband shot a few years ago.  I was so impressed with the finished product!  The fact that their site was easy to use and reasonably priced was even better.

(Um, slightly off topic here, but if you love the photo books they are buy one get one 50% off right now only through Dec 1st though!  Hurry!  But back to cards)

If you are not familiar with Shutterfly you need to go take a peek around.  My big Christmas Card dilemma has been reduced from "What am I going to do?!"  to "all I have to do is pick one"!  Although picking just one might be the hardest part.

It started out with me pulling up the Christmas cards and the first one I saw I fell in love.  But I had to see the rest of them.

As I am wandering through all Christmas photo cards available, I find one and think, "oh!  That's it!"

And then I think, "this is the perfect one!"

But then I keep looking and find yet another perfect one.....
Obviously I'm into the photo cards, especially the ones with multiple pictures.  Hey, there's a lot of us!  I'm just barely shy of filling a whole calendar with my family.  Maybe next year we'll get back to what we used to do when we only had a few kids and make calendars for the grandparents.
(Shutterfly has those too.  And after having handmade some in the past, I highly recommend having them done for you!)

And it turns out that picking the perfect one really is the hardest part of this whole thing.

I am so thrilled at the prospect of getting this all done while I sit in my jammies at home, no dragging kids out in the sub zero temps (really.  In November.  I am a little scared of January at this point....) to brave the crowds at some place where I have to wait in line forever to pick up the photos I've printed.  Have I told you how much I love getting packages delivered right to my front door?
The best of everything; super cute cards, sharing my crazy family with those we don't see often, not having to venture out....ahhh....my holidays are looking fabulous and I get to stay home and bake some more.

And my husband can quit complaining about it being so cold.


(disclaimer-I was offered 50 free cards to blog about Shutterfly holiday cards.  But I really would have used them anyway to make my life easier.  Also, like I mentioned, it's cold outside.  The less running around out there I have to do the better! They didn't ask me to mention the photo books but they totally rock!  And just solved one of the last "what will I do for them for Christmas?!" dilemmas.  Score!
Now go get yourself some cards.  Scoot!)

3 months-the latest on Sam

Ok, so yes, he will be 4 months old on Friday.  Oh my word!   4 months?!

I am so behind.

But these pictures were too cute not to share.  So even though I am so behind I'm sharing anyway!

At 3 months old this beautiful little boy is such a treat.  He is just a happy content kid (for the most part).

He is doing remarkably well holding up his head, and tries his darnedest to pick that giant noggin up when he's laying on his tummy.  He's definitely making progress!

He loves the swing and is a pretty good sleeper.  And those two go well together.  Many naps happen courtesy of the swing.

He is grabbing things whenever he can reach and loves to get his hand to his mouth.  Do you have any idea what a huge thing it is for him to be functionally able to get his hand to his mouth?  Happiness.

He loves being part of the chaos here.  He gets irritated when he can't be propped up or held so that he has a good view of what's going on around him.

He is a water baby just as much, if not many time more so than the others have been.  There is nothing that a very warm bath won't cure for this kid!

He is working on strengthening his legs, and starting to want to stand himself up on a lap when being held.

He is wiggly and squirmy and smiley, and enjoys hearing himself squawk and squeal.

And his laugh....oh my word his laugh.....

(I will share it with you as soon as Blogger cooperates and lets me upload it)

I swear that giggle is more beautiful and happy every single day.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The difference between men and women

I got my hair cut the other day.
It was getting pretty darn long, sitting almost at my waist.  Though I like having long hair, it was really getting a bit too long.I had pulled a hair off the bathroom sink the other day and it just kept coming and coming and coming.  I actually measured it just to see.  34 inches.

I was bordering on polygamist hair.  ("not that there's anything wrong with that")

Point being, it was long.

This is where it was the day before the cut:

Oy-when just sat to air dry it sure looked nappy.
I promise I actually *DO* my hair when I go out in public, so the rest of the world has been spared witnessing my hair appearing like this.
Check out that little profile pic over there ------>
I do have a little bit of pride.  I promise.  Well, at least some days.

So I cut my hair.  I took off a good 8ish inches I guess?  Had some layers added, hopefully a little bit of style.  If nothing else it sure looks a heckuva lot healthier.

So later that night some good friends stopped by.  When I opened the door the first thing she said was "Wow!  look at your hair!  It looks great!"
He said "oh.  Did you cut your hair I guess?"

My mom noticed immediately, my sister commented "Wow-you butched it short!"

My girls noticed it.  My boys did not.

My husband's original comment was "Hmm...I can't really tell a difference."
Granted I sent him a picture on his phone so it wasn't a great representation, but even in person he didn't see much of a difference until I really curled it and styled it the next day, at which point he could see the layers a bit and could tell it was shorter.

And there you have it.


get the hell out!

I was at the grocery store the other day.

I only had my 4 youngest with me, but since that set is often the most difficult to wrangle while doing things like grocery shopping, I was doing my best to move quickly.
In doing so, I had a hard time remembering the few things that I had neglected to jot down on my list.

This resulted in heading to the front of the store only to turn around with a "Wait!  I forgot ____!"

After doing this a few times, I turned to the kids and said "Ok!  NOW we are through.  I think we got everything!"

Lincoln very casually replied with "Good.  Let's get the hell out."

Slightly shocked and a tad bit mortified, I looked at him and aiming for a reprimand started in with, "Umm, NO!"

"Oh yeah," he said.  "We still have to pay first."


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Time to Vote!

If you think those Cinnamon Vanilla Apples are deserving of it that is.
(of just if you want to humor me.  I'm totally good with that too.)

Head over to goodLife{eats} and vote for #24!

and then I won't hit you up for votes for at least another week.  I think.


2010 Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge

Did you notice that little button over there on the left?

Yes, it's time for the annual Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge hosted over at Run to the Finish!

So you lucky people get to hold me accountable for having signed up for this little deal.
The best part of that is that I know of few of you have signed up for it too, so I'll be cruising your blogs to help keep myself motivated as well!

Basically this is a challenge to rack up points for staying active through this season that is notorious for padding the waistline.  To be honest, I have absolutely no illusions about possibly being the winner who happens to accumulate the most points.  Too many of these people are super athletes who are in the midst of marathon training, I think I saw mention of ultra marathon training on a couple of participants' blogs, and you have the forever training triathletes in there as well.  I am nowhere near putting in the miles and time that these folks are.
I am so ok with that! (probably too much so)

But since I have been working on losing that baby weight (broke my official pre-pregnancy weight!  woo-hoo!), and would prefer not to pack it back on over the next two months of indulgence, I thought that this might be a good motivation.
The random prize drawings at the end aren't so bad either.  Just sayin'.

So, the official rules on this one are:
1 point for every mile run/walked/snowshoed (I don't snowshoe.  but I am tempted now.)
1 point for every 3 miles biked
1 point for every 20min weightlifting/pilates/yoga/abs/stretching
1 point for every 15min other cardio (kickboxing, elliptical, etc)
and 1 point per each day you hit 7 servings of fruits and veggies

Nice and simple.  And very doable.

The challenge officially started yesterday, so I wanted a nice jumpstart in my little world.
My goal for yesterday's run was 7 miles, with hopes of actually running 8.  Thanks to my knee giving out at mile 5, I only eeked out 6.5 miles out on the trail before I had to call it. I did manage to get in another 1.5 of walking on the treadmill last night to loosen up my knee once it started to lock up, so I did end up with my total of 8 miles.  yay!  (darn knee.  probably deserves a whole separate post)
I did get my fruits/veggies in too, so one more point for that.

Day 1 Point total: 9

Good start for me.

With boot camp and toning and the treadmill to keep me going at a slow pace till I can run on the stinkin' knee again, I am aiming for at least 5 points/day.  Especially since one of those points pertains to eating, I should be able to do that.  With Sunday being my complete rest day, that means I am aiming for a goal of 30 points per week.  

For the sake of keeping it real, I'll do a wrap up each week of how things are going.
Considering that pie season is upon us (pumpkin round 1 was yesterday), the Holiday Baking Exchange I decided to jump in on (see previous post), and the fact that I tend to bake daily in the cold weather, I may have to aim a little higher than 30 points/week before we hit Christmas.  We'll see.

If you missed the signups on this one, don't let that deter you!  Rope your friends into a group challenge, or even make your own up.  The holidays are even more fun when you keep moving, because then you can look fabulous in your skinny jeans while enjoying all those tasty treats that neighbors are about to start dropping on your doorstep.

And now if you'll excuse me, the oven is beeping.  The rolls are finished, which means the cookie dough can be pulled out of the fridge and baked.
Good thing I pushed out those last couple of miles yesterday after all....


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Holiday Recipe Exchange: Cinnamon Vanilla Baked Apples

I am kind of a vanilla snob.
Or at least that's what I've been told by people who have seen inside my baking cupboard.
So I have a whole shelf dedicated to vanilla.  I don't think that's so bad, do you?
Ok, sure it was a tad bit unusual that I had a friend ask her friend to stop at a certain place in Mexico when I found out they were headed there so I could have them get me more of my favorite vanilla that I can't find in the US or online, but hey, I like vanilla.
And run-on sentences.


I am a huge fan of the blog goodLife {eats}, so when I saw that in conjunction with My Baking Addiction Katie was hosting a Holiday Recipe Exchange contest, I was intrigued.

When I saw that the first specified ingredient was Vanilla, I was totally in.

Though I've seriously slacked on the baking in the wake of all things crazy over the past year, I love love love to bake.  I especially love when I have enough time to play around and really create something instead of just following someone's recipe.  This was the perfect thing to motivated me back into creation mode.

With my arsenal of vanilla, a few fall-ish cravings and a late night stop by the grocery store courtesy of my wonderful husband, I put on a little George Winston (December) and went to work.

My submission for the Holiday Recipe Exchange Series:

Cinnamon Vanilla Baked Apples

(and it wouldn't be me without adding Vanilla Cream)

I could not be more pleased with how these turned out.
Super quick, super simple, and super amazingly divinely yummy.
And can I just tell you that my house smells beyond incredible after baking these babies?

4 apples (I used honeycrisp and granny smith)
4 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp vanilla (yes, tablespoons!)
3/4 c dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 c finely chopped almonds

Core the apples, and take a little slice off the bottom so they sit nice and flat.
In a sauce pan, melt butter, vanilla and brown sugar until smooth.  Add spices, stir well.  Add almonds.
Spoon this mixture into the apples, bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

That's it!  I told you it was quick and simple!
It's almost like your own little apple pie without all time and mess of pie.

This one makes for instant presentation factor too, so a nice one to wow those dinner party guests.

Voting on the submitted recipes begins Nov 21st, so of course I'll hit you up for votes come Sunday.

Seriously though, give these babies a try, let me know what you think!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Things we did on a Tuesday

 A little tummy time:

(working on getting that giant noggin' up there!)

Charlotte had a hankering for some baking:

(at least she got the mop out so she could help clean up.  *sigh*)

A little bit of laundry:

(note that the kids have shoved socks under the couch in avoidance of pairing them up.  Also, is anyone surprised that my lamp shade is off kilter?  Unfortunately, I am not.)

One of my personal favorites, emptying out whatever could be reached in the coat closet, throwing it on the living room floor, and then trying to stuff each other in a duffle bag.  Heck, why not?

And after Charlotte had a go, it was Lincoln's turn.

At least they are working on sharing and cooperating, right?

 Here's to Tuesdays.

I want these boots

But since I cannot justify the cost (holy moly boots can be expensive!)

I found these:

or these:

Oh, how blessed I am that this is the decision I am trying to make today.....



Monday, November 15, 2010

Spreading the love

I rarely post about other blogs.  Not sure why I don't, I certainly talk about a number of them with friends when we discuss Bloggyland.

There is one that I'm sharing with you tonight though.
Taking it On

So I've been stalking this blog since it started not too long ago, after wondering who XLMIC was that was commenting on my posts.  So glad she finally started blogging! Despite the fact that I don't often get time to comment on the many blogs I cruise around a stalk, I do love reading and finding out who is out there commenting on my little tiny corner of the online world.  So if you've commented here and have your profile linked to your blog, I've been there!  I'm going to have to do a post about that, because there are questions I have for some of you.  (one is about a dog who needed surgery back in August.  seriously.)
I always feel slightly left out when I click on someone's name, go to their blog, and there are no posts.  or just the one post that we have all started our blogs with; the "I guess I'm starting a blog" post.  Love that!

Anyway, despite the fact that I am totally intrigued with this person (especially after a recently posted photo!) there also happens to be some Giveaway loveliness going on over there this week!

Currently a family car organizer and some awesome bibs are up for grabs, but hurry, bibs end tomorrow, and car organizer ends Wednesday!  If you happen to be a night owl who cruises around online once the rest of the household is sleeping, you do still have a couple of hours to head on over and enter the giveaway for an infant massage dvd that ends tonight.


The annual costume partay

Yes that says "partay".  Apparently it's more fun spelled that way.  Who knew?

True to tradition, our annual costume party was a blast this year!  And true to tradition, it drifted into the wee hours of the morning, until all us old people couldn't take it anymore and finally started puttering out around 2am.

Granted, had we ended up turning things into the dance party that always seems to crop up after midnight, we probably wouldn't have started falling asleep, but for some reason we missed out on the dancing this year.   The beloved Limbo was absent as well.  For the record I would like to state that I am claiming reigning champion status by default since there was no rematch this year and thus no one knocked me out of my previous champion status.
Oh well, there's always a reason to have a party, right?  New Year's Eve is coming up!
Oooo, maybe we'll throw a Black Friday party this year.  Everyone can wear black and we'll dance off the ridiculous amount of food we've all gorged ourselves on the 24 hours previous.


It's always fun to see what our friends come up with costume-wise, and how Rheanna can find a way to work a bathrobe or pajamas in to her costume.

Speaking of, let's start with that one:

Ironically Justin is most comfortable in a suit, so it worked out well for both of them.  Props for creativity.

Tinkerbell was there sans Peter Pan who was stuck at work:

We had the nurse and her patient (can you see his cath bag?  complete with yellow liquid?  ewww):

The ref and the toothless (really! click on that picture and look!) hockey player

 Geisha and the....I don't know...what are you?  I think they said some Japanese legend thing?
Sorry, I was busy sucking down brownies and didn't hear and am too lazy to go ask Aaron to clarify.

The nun and misbehaving little ball boy....
 This picture totally cracks me up-think school and misbehaving boy way back when! ha!
You can just barely see it, but the nun brought her own ruler to beat him with!
 The rock stars:
 There we are again, in case the 247 pictures on the Halloween post weren't enough:

The farmer and the Chilean miracle:

And last, but certainly not least, Luke and Leia:  
(the buns were there previously)

Hey Marion-can you see me peeking?

Aaron and I had a fabulous time, I hope everyone else did too!