Friday, July 31, 2015

home alone and a blue moon

These days are just flying by and here we are saying hello to another Friday. Before I know it there will be snow on the ground. But hopefully that day won't come too soon. Here are just a few favorites and things for this week . . . 

one. a new nephew. 
The other day I mentioned I had a new nephew, but I just can't not mention it again. On Monday afternoon my sister called to say her water broke and they were on their way to the hospital. We waited for updates for the rest of the day and finally, nine minutes past midnight, her baby was born. She told us later that she dilated about five centimeters in thirty minutes and was ready to push, but the doctor was with another patient so she had to wait. Poor mama. But she is healthy and well and so is her little baby. I cannot wait to meet him! 


two. home alone. 
Since my sister had her baby my mom left to go help her and her family as they adjust to being a family of five. And now all of our "helpers" that we've had trickle in and out of our house over the past seven weeks are seemingly gone and not coming back to help us any more. We are on our own and I am officially spending my days with two adorable little boys and no one else. So far we've managed to survive and even have some fun with each other. Just kidding. Kind of. These few days we have had just the three of us have been good ones and I am so thankful for them. 

three. a solo trip. 
After my mom left I decided to get out of the house, so I loaded up the boys and off we went on a little adventure of our own. Emerson was a pretty good little buddy and Oliver just slept the whole time, so I'm calling it a success. The only meltdown happened when I told Emerson it was time to leave the little play area in the mall - that up to that point he had not been playing on. With that announcement though he ran off to play and did not want to leave. toddlers. 

four. planning a routine. 
This summer is coming to an end all too soon. I am savoring each and every day I get with just the two boys and am dreading the day that school starts. I am not ready to start babysitting again. But, since that day will come [all too soon] I decided to make out a little daily routine for us. It doesn't have to be followed to a "T" each day, but after just writing down what our days will hopefully look like I feel a tad better about tackling each day while babysitting. If we have success in this routine I will be sure to share it. 

five. out for an evening stroll. 
Last night after Emerson went to bed, Landon stayed home and worked while I took Oliver out for a little walk. Mostly for my benefit - trying to get my pre-baby body back and all - but the little guy seemed to enjoy a change of scenery and the smooth movement of the stroller. It was a beautiful evening and the perfect time for a walk. The sun was setting and the full moon was big and bright. Apparently it was a blue moon last night: two full moons in the same month [or something like that]. I have always enjoyed going on walks and last night was no different. I was so thankful for the calm breeze and the heat of the day floating away, it was a sweet way to end the day. 

Anyhow, I hope you all have a happy weekend! 



Wednesday, July 29, 2015

some happies [2]

The other week I listed a few happies in my life and it did wonders for my spirit to focus on the blessings I've been given. So I thought I'd do it again. It's always good to recognize the blessings in your life and since I'm already anxious about a few things I figured I should write out some blessings to help me focus on what is good. 


- time with family. My mom and sister have been visiting us over the past week and I rarely get to see either of them. Life is far from dull when our house is full of family. It was a blessing indeed to have time with them. 

- a new nephew! My sister had her baby in the wee hours of July 28! What a HUGE blessing! Both she and baby boy, Will, are doing well and are healthy. They got to go home this morning and are now enjoying life as a family of five! I can't wait to meet the little guy. 

- clean dishes. Sometimes all it takes to lift my spirits is walking into the kitchen and seeing all of the  dishes done and sitting sparkling clean in the dish drain [or seeing none at all]. 

- two sleeping boys. at the same time. Need I say more? 

- coffee. Enjoying a cup of coffee during nap time, that also happens to give me a little boost of energy to make it through the rest of the day. 

- free samples. I received a free birthday sample/gift of mascara from Ulta. How could I turn down a free tiny tube of mascara? 

What are some happies/blessings in your life right now? 


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

full house weekend

Our house has been full to the brim these past few days. A houseful of people doesn't just mean more bodies in the house, but also more noise, more dirt, more smells, and a lot more love. I wasn't sure how we would accommodate nine people in our little abode, but somehow we fit and and were able to enjoy a few fun days together. We stayed pretty busy and I didn't stop to take many pictures. I usually get caught up in just enjoying company with family and friends when they are here. We took a few right before my sister headed out, but that's about it.

On Wednesday afternoon my mom arrived. She had flown in from Thailand on Monday to my sister's house in Ohio with plans to come to our house the following day. However, she came down with a bad case of food poisoning so she stayed in bed/at my sister's house instead. Once she finally felt better she made the drive to our house and that night we enjoyed dinner together before heading to bed. Thursday afternoon my other sister made the drive with her three kids from Minnesota so she could see us and our mom.  She had plans to drive on to Ohio to see the our other sister, but she ended up staying with us the whole time. Friday morning we went to the park near our house, it was so so hot, which meant we had the whole place to ourselves. Obviously we were the only ones dumb enough to be outside in such heat. After lunch that day I stayed home with my boys and my sister and her kids went out with my mom. They did some exploring and other things to keep the kids busy. After Emerson woke up from his nap, I loaded him and Oliver into the car and went to meet up at the petting zoo near our house. The kids all had fun looking around and we all enjoyed the shade that is provided by the big trees at that park. On Saturday morning we went to the Farmer's Market in town and walked around in the scorching heat for a while. And that afternoon we played my older nephew's favorite game: Monopoly. Well, I didn't play, but I watched, listened, and wrote some thank you notes. That evening my sister took her older kids to see a movie while the youngest stayed at the house with us. He and Emerson played in the swimming pool and we had a dinner of hotdogs and a dessert of icecream. Fancy stuff I tell ya. Once Emerson was in bed for the night I sat on the front porch with the little guy and we talked about all kinds of things while waiting for his mom to come back. I don't usually get one on one time with any of my nieces or nephews, so it was a special way to spend the evening.


Sunday morning we usually go to church, but we decided to stay at home and just enjoy the little time we had with family while they were in. I'm glad we made that decision too, as my sister decided to head home a few hours later. She and her kids packed their things and headed out, leaving a quiet house in their wake. The rest of the day we just hung out and Emerson went for another swim that evening.

I'm so thankful that my sister made the trip all the way down from Minnesota and that we were able to visit for a few days. Time with my family is rare, especially multiple siblings in one place and a parent present. We're scattered around the world, so we don't see each other often. Even though the weekend was a little fuller than usual, it was one for the books.



Friday, July 24, 2015

dates, family, and fireflies

Happy Friday to you! We have more family visiting us right now, but I wanted to take a few minutes to write down a few things for this week. So here goes...

one. date night.
For a while now Landon and I have been having at home date nights on Friday nights. The date is pretty much the same every week: homemade pizza and a movie. It's predictable, but we love it. We fix dinner and get it in the oven and by the time Emerson is in bed for the night dinner is ready. A movie usually goes along with it. It's a nice way to end the week and it's one night of the week that Landon sometimes doesn't do any work. Anyway, last week we watched "Gone Girl". I knew it was a book that had been made into a movie and that it was crazy and full of twists and such since my sister had read it when she was visiting me one time. But I had no idea just how crazy. Holy cow. Psycho. Wow. Just, wow.

two. full house. 
And no, I don't mean the tv show. I'm talking about our house. Right now there are nine people staying in our two bedroom house. Our kitchen usually feels pretty tight when both Landon and I are in there, but with nine people in the kitchen it feels like a tiny matchbox. It's just a little nuts. But I love that my family is here visiting us for a few days. My mom came in on Wednesday afternoon and my sister and her three kids came in on Thursday afternoon. They don't know how long they are staying so I just enjoying the time I have with them while they are here - even if it makes for a very full house. We've been outside a lot already and tonight catching fireflies is onto agenda. The perfect summer night activity.


three. preggo sister. 
One of my sisters is pregnant right now and is due on Tuesday [she isn't the one that's currently at my house]. She is so close to having her baby and we are all anxious to hear the news of when she goes into labor.  It could be any day now! My mom is going to leave when her baby is born, which is the reason we don't know how long she'll be staying with us.

four. stuck at home. 
For most of the summer I feel like I've been trapped inside our own house. With having a weight limitation on how much I can lift it's been impossible to go out on my own as I can't lift Emerson to put him in his carseat/stroller/a shopping cart... That means every outing has to be done with Landon, and obviously he has to work so he can't just go out and do things all of the time. I feel like I have cabin fever - I just want to get out and go somewhere, but can't. It's like it's winter when it's so cold we can't go outside, but it's not. It's the middle of the summer when we should be out and about.

five. six weeks. 
But Wednesday marked six weeks since Oliver was born and yesterday at my doctor's appointment my doctor gave me the okay to resume normal activity. Hallelujah! I have a list of things I would like to do over the next few weeks and am hoping I can get them all checked off my list. They are mostly things like: going to the craft store, Old Navy, and Target to get some things I've been thinking about lately and so I can make use of some gift cards I got for my birthday. Maybe next week I can finally do some of those things. I'm also excited to finally be able to take Emerson to the park if I want to, once I build up to courage to go with him and a newborn all by myself that is.

Anyhow, I hope you all have a great weekend!


Thursday, July 23, 2015

granola // a recipe

Breakfast is one of my favorite meals of the day. I love it so much I could eat it for lunch and dinner as well - and I sometimes do. One of my favorite breakfast foods is yogurt, although there are just so many different kinds of breakfast foods to enjoy it's nearly impossible to really have a favorite. One thing that really puts yogurt over the top? Adding fresh berries and granola to it. That little crunch makes it ten times better. Yum. Yum. 

So I thought I'd share my go to granola recipe with you all. I've tried a few different ones over the years, but this is my go to recipe for granola. You can pretty much use the first few ingredients as a base and then add whatever you want to it, that's the beauty of granola. Want coconut? add it. Want sunflower seeds? add it. Want raisins? add it. It's up to you! Have fun with it. And by the time the oven is done preheating you have a batch of yummy granola ready to bake. It's super easy, quick, and yummy. Plus, while it bakes your house will smell like you're baking up a really special treat. 


Ingredients:
2 cups oats
1/2 cup honey
2 TBLS oil
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 cup dried fruit [craisins, berries, raisins, diced apricots, diced prunes...]
*optional* 1 cup sliced almonds / coconut / walnuts / sunflower seeds...

Directions: 
Preheat oven to 300.

In a large bowl combine oats, honey, oil, and wheat germ. Once all of those ingredients are combined add died fruit and almonds/coconut/sunflower seeds if desired.

Spread evenly over cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Immediately after removing from the oven stir the granola. Stir again 5-10 minutes later. Store in an air tight container.

Tips* 

- I always pour the oil into the measuring cup I use for the honey so the honey pours out smoothly and doesn't stick to the cup.

- Line the cookie sheet with tin foil or a silicone baking mat for easy clean up and to help preserve the life of your cookie sheet.

- Double the recipe if you want it to last a longer before making it again. We go through one of these batches in a matter of days.


Enjoy with milk or fresh fruit and berries!




Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Oliver's Newborn Pictures

After Oliver was born we were fortunate enough to have some newborn pictures taken of him and a few of our family as well. As it turned out, the same company that took Emerson's newborn pictures took Oliver's newborn pictures, and we could not love them more! I was so excited when I found out that we would indeed be able to have newborn pictures for Oliver taken, as I couldn't find a photographer before he was born. I know a lot of people have newborn pictures taken in their home, but I absolutely love the fact that Oliver's newborn pictures [just like Emerson's] are taken in the hospital room where we spent our first few days together, where we made our first memories as a family of four. 

So here they are, some of Oliver's newborn pictures, taken when he was two days new. 













I love every single picture that we have and will cherish them forever! I'm so thankful to have these photos to look at and keep in the years to come. Now I just have to choose a favorite to print out. How will I choose?! 

Photo credit to Bella Baby photography. 


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Emerson : 2 1/2 years

Emerson, 

You are 2 1/2 years old! Happy half birthday to you. For the past few months [maybe even since January?] I have been meaning to write about what you are up these days. I thought I would take advantage of today and share some things about you at this stage in your life. 

You are full of energy! From the moment your eyes open in the morning to after we close your door at night time, you are go go go. And you don't go slowly. Everything you do is done on full speed. You run everywhere you go and always have so much to do. Some of your favorite things: reading, coloring, being outside, petting the animals at the park, going on walks -only if the park is an end result, playing at the park, helping with anything and everything, and playing with whatever tickles your fancy. 


This past month you have really become more attached to your daddy; you've always loved him and liked playing with him, but these days you will choose daddy over mommy to read you a story or play with. I can't say that I mind it either, I knew this day would come and I love that you already love hanging out with your daddy. One of your favorite things to do with him is "work". When he goes downstairs to work, you want to go too and work on your 'puter' [the old broken computer we have downstairs]. Recently you've found two rulers and started playing the violin with them. Those two things are things you could do for hours if we let you. 


It seemed for the longest time that you would just use your sounds and signs to talk to us, but recently your vocabulary has been exploding! You are talking so much these days and like to express yourself, especially by telling us everything that you "need". And you sure do "need" a lot: to eat more food, to eat more chips, to watch a show, to play outside, to help mommy or daddy, to hug "OliveFlynn", to stay outside . . . pretty much anything you want to do is something you think you need to do. You also like to say everything is silly. It doesn't really matter what, but a lot of things are silly to you, "thas silly," you say. Other things you say: Mommy doin [doing]? Daddy doin? [insert anyone's name] doin? Daddy goin [going]? My do it. Me help. OliveFlynn [always always together]. I need to ... 



You have such a helpful and sweet little spirit. Any time we are doing anything other than sitting down, you like to help us. One of your favorite things to help me do is cut up watermelon. For Christmas you were given some child-safe plastic knives, and anytime you see me cutting food for meals, you'll run to the pantry and demand that you get your knife to help. After a few cuts you mostly snack on whatever it is we are cutting, but you still like to help. Though sometimes your help is not the most helpful, I still try my best to encourage you and have you help me because I know it's so important and good for you. You say, "Me help. Me help," or "My do it," when you want to help with something. I figure one day you will want nothing to do with helping me so I may as well take advance of your helpful hands while I can and hope that it fosters a lifelong helpful spirit. 



Giving hugs and kisses is one of your favorite things it seems. You love your little brother and smother him with kisses, hugs, pats, and uga-mugas [Eskimo kisses]. You also love to give daddy and mommy kisses as well as your Gigi, Poppy, and aunties. You're just an affectionate little guy all around. Though your relationship with Boady is a strange one. One minute you love him and want to hug and pet him, the next minute you're screaming for him to "go way! go way!" I don't understand. 


Sleep is so so for you these days. Well, you sleep fine, but you have so much trouble going down at night. After we read you stories, pray, and sing with you we kiss you and head out of your room. You climb out of your bed and chase after us. Screaming for us. I was hoping that would be a short little phase, but it's going on about two months now. I suppose in the grand scheme of things that's not too long, but it feels like forever when you fight sleep like you do. You've also started waking up so much earlier too. At the crack of dawn you are up and ready to do. Since you mastered opening doors a long time ago we had to get a little child safety latch for your door so you can't run out of your room whenever you want to. Before we put the latch up you would run out of your room at all hours of the night and refuse to sleep. It was not great. Thankfully you're not doing that any more, so I'm hoping you'll go back to your previously great sleeping habits here soon. You still nap in the afternoon, most days for around two hours [though today it wasn't even one hour!], sometimes more - you can have those days more often.


Sometimes you can sure be a little stinker. That's right, you're not perfect little man. And sometimes the fits you throw push my patience and I just don't know what to do! Though you are usually pretty happy and obedient, you have started becoming a little more defying lately. We don't know if it's because Oliver is home now or if it's just your age. Either way, we're just trying to figure out how to help you understand you don't get everything you "need" all of the time and that sometimes we will say no to you. Heaven forbid. As long as you have food in your belly you are a generally happy fellow, but you do get to be a stinker when you are hungry -and not in a cute way. In a "I'm going to throw all of the papers and toys and everything I see all over the room and make a huge mess" kind of way. I try and keep you well fed and make sure snacks are readily available to you so we can avoid those tantrums as much as possible.



I'm sure there are a dozen things I'm forgetting to include in this little update, and if I remember and think of it I'll come and add to it later. But I just wanted to make sure to remember a few of these little things and how you are these days before you get big on me all of the sudden and I forget.

You are a sweet little joyful guy, Emerson, and we love you so very much. We love seeing you grow, learn, and develop. Hearing you express your thoughts and watching you in the every day things fills my heart with joy. Above all else, I pray that you grow to love Jesus and that you live a life that seeks after Him.

I love you,
Mommy



Monday, July 20, 2015

rainbow chip icing on a happy birthday

This morning as I was blowing my hair dry [something I haven't done in forever] I heard Emerson exclaim, "Prise!!" [which is surprise, in case you were wondering] all the way from downstairs. Then a few minutes later as I was finishing getting ready I heard him say over and over, "Me need help Mommy open presents." The boy could hardly contain his excitement when he realized there were presents to be opened and cake to be eaten [though not for breakfast].


Last night after I went upstairs Landon stayed up and baked a birthday cake for me. I could smell the sweet flavors all the way upstairs and when I asked him what he was up to he denied doing anything at all. When I came down this morning for breakfast there on the counter was a cake with a little bit of icing on it. He told me he tried to bake it and it kind of got ruined, and icing it was only making the cake crumble even more. I told him it was the thought that counts and I knew the cake would still taste good, the most important part. Then I helped him out by trying to doctor up the cake and ice it as best I could. I absolutely love that he put that much thought and effort into making this day a little more special for me. He also apologized for the little bit of paper from the butter wrapper I found in my piece of cake at lunch time. He is an engineer. And he said it's the though that counts. It gave us both a good laugh and I was just glad it wasn't an egg shell. It was one of the most thoughtful and sweetest cakes I've had.

Tonight we're going to treat ourselves to a meal out for dinner, all four of us and maybe do something else? Go swimming [in our backyard]? Go to the park? Go see the animals? Run some errands? Who knows, but regardless of what it is, or how we spend the rest of this day, I love the the boys I am spending it with. I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world. I am one blessed and thankful lady. Hopefully this next decade of my life will be just as good, if not better than the last one has been!


Friday, July 17, 2015

some happies

This afternoon I thought I'd just list a few happy things for me right now. My mind is already getting anxious about the start of the school year [aka: having to start babysitting again] so I'm trying to not think about it and focus on the right now and some happy things.

- While grocery shopping this week the store was having a 10 for 10 sale [always a great week], one of the items marked down to $1 was the coffee creamer I like - and I had a coupon! - but when I went to add my favorite flavor my cart, I realized they were out. When I told Landon they didn't have what I wanted he went and found an employee and asked them for it. What a guy. I never would have done that, but oh how I love that he did.

- I was given one of my birthday gifts a few days early, and I love it! If it's up to me I always wait until the birthday/Christmas/special day to give/receive gifts, but I didn't have much of a choice on this one and I'm so glad. Every time I see this wreath it makes me smile. I have been wanting one forever and had just decided to make one. I'd been thinking about what I wanted it to look like/use to make it: grapevine wreath, hydrangeas, our initial, and green because it's my favorite. So when Landon's mom gave me a wreath that was pretty much exactly what I had been envisioning I was so very excited. I love love love it and want to stand outside and look at it all the time [or put it on the inside of our door. ha.


- A little mister is starting to be more alert these days, it's so fun to see his little eyes watching everything and take in the world [room] around him. Most afternoons while Emerson naps Oliver and I get to play and hang out. Some days he will nap at the same time, so I get to enjoy lots of little newborn cuddles. Or he eats himself into a deep sleep. So sweet.


- We got a gallon of milk for 27 cents. It was a whole 90% off... sure we bought it on the sell by date, but that gave us a few days to use it up before it went bad. Right?

- I try and drink lots of water each and every day, one thing that makes me want to drink more water is if it's ice cold and if it's in a nice little glass/cup. I had a few tumblers I used and they recently all broke within a few weeks of each other. So, when I was at TJ Maxx a few weeks ago I was super excited to find some nice new tumblers for a steal of a deal. They keep my water nice and cold, even when we are outside. Refreshing.

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- The past few days I've been itching to get my hands on this book. I am dying to read it. One of my friends was smart and pre-ordered it way back when... why did I not do that? I said I was going to and then it didn't happen... sheesh. I checked at our library just to see if Landon could grab it for me on his way home from campus one day. There is a wait list of 128 people. ohmygoodness. I need to go buy it now.


- Last year I found this candle on mucho sale at the end of summer and have been waiting to pull it out. It's such a fun and refreshing smell, perfect for summer! If I see it on sale again this year I just might have to get another one [or two]. 


Anyhow, I hope you all have a happy weekend! 


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

a picnic, a park, and flowers

This morning we decided to have a picnic breakfast. Usually people go on picnics for lunch and/or dinner, but we decided it would be fun to have a little picnic  breakfast at the park. So we all got ready and after Oliver woke up and ate his first feeding of the day we went to a little bakery in town, picked up some pastries, and headed to one of our favorite parks. We were able to enjoy the little picnic table pavilion by ourselves, and once we finished eating our cinnamon rolls, muffins, and danishes [it's always best when you can try a little bit of everything, am I right?], Emerson lead the way to the play area. We could stay outside at the park all day every day and he would be the happiest little guy. 



We could have stayed at the park for a lot longer, but we wanted to go visit the university's arboretum, so we loaded up and drove over to see some flowers. Landon and Emerson had gone over there while I was at the hospital, and Landon's mom thought the flowers would be much prettier after a month of growth. She was right, all of the flowers were beautiful. We walked around and admired the countless flowers that were growing. Some flowers I was familiar with and some were new and beautiful to me. Some of them I really want to plant at our house now! After looking at the flower garden we walked over to see the rose garden. They also had some fruit growing: grapes, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and rhubarb to name a few. Oh, how I wished those plants were all growing in our backyard! 


After walking around for a while a certain little mister started to get hungry so I found a nice little bench, under the shade of a big tree and sat down to feed Oliver, all while getting to admire the view. There could not have been a more perfect spot. The tree provided ample shade from the sun and the breeze was constant and cool, whirling and twirling all around us. The flowers dancing in the sunlight, sunflowers stretching their faces towards the sun, begonias, petunias, pepper flowers, and countless others filling the morning with bright colors and cheer. The shade and breeze kept us from getting too hot or sticky. If every morning could be as perfect I would be in love.


Why can't this be my view every morning, noon, and night? It was so refreshing sitting on a little bench in the flower garden, admiring God's glorious creation, enjoying the soft breezes he swirled around me. It was the perfect quiet time. There was nothing I could do but praise God for his beauty and spend time in prayer. I was so thankful for a quite little bit of time. Just me, a nursing babe, and our great God. It seems as though quite times like that are few and fleeting, but this morning it was perfectly beautiful and I was reminded of God's grace through His beauty.


I'm not sure when I'll have another half hour or so chunk of time that is spent enjoying the calm and beauty of this world, so I soaked up as much of it as I possibly could. It was good to be outside. It was good to enjoy God's beauty. It was good to just be.



Tuesday, July 14, 2015

summer days

We stuck around the house this past weekend and did some chores and went on a few errands. To me the weekend felt a lot like any other day of the week as that's pretty much what we do every other day of the week. But, it was still a nice little weekend and I even managed to get a few pictures.

On Saturday we managed to get out of the house and do a few errands and come back for a nice long afternoon nap. The rest of the evening was quiet and low key.

Sunday morning we managed to get out of the house in time to make it to church again. Emerson looked like a little man to me on Sunday when he was all dressed for church, and Oliver wore something other than a sleeper or onesie so I made sure to get a picture or two.




After a Sunday afternoon nap we played inside for a few minutes and then decided to fill the pool up for Emerson to splash around in. Sadly there is a hole in the pool, a big pea sized hole, so it was probably the last time Emerson was able to swim in it this summer. Hopefully we'll be able to replace soon for him as the days are unbearably hot right now. We were sure to enjoy a nice cold ice-cream cone while we were outside. And oh, how it felt like a summer day. Even Oliver was able to join in the fun ... as much as a one month old can that is :)


see? the poor deflated pool?

I know I've said it before, but I love our quiet days together, and this weekend was one of those.