Tuesday, November 24, 2015

thanksgiving gifts {82 - 103}

It seems that around this time of year I see and hear a lot more people sharing things they are thankful for. I guess it has something to do with Thanksgiving and November and all that. I think it's wonderful and it's something that I've been trying to do more of - not just in November. Since it's Thanksgiving this week I figured I'd add a few more of my blessings to my on going list . . .

82. Thanksgiving week!

83. only two days of babysitting this week

84. anticipation of spending time with family

85. squishing and kissing my tiny nugget all the day long

86. bags in which to pack things [so many things...]

87. lists and checking them off

88. Mr. Potato Head, who knew he was better than sliced bread?

89. all the children napping [or at least supposed to be] at the same time!

90. hands that have managed to stay somewhat soft and aren't cracked and bleeding

91. laundry that is folded and put away

92. new organization system/things

93. the dimples that light up Oliver's face when he grins

94. talking with friends/sisters who just "get it"

95. listening to an older lady share her excitement of all of the worshiping around the Throne and the Lamb who has conquered all

96. being engulfed by flurries of fluffy snowflakes

97. new books to read

98. soft tissues

99. disposable diapers

100. simple little art projects that deeply impress two certain little two year olds

101. "hod me, Mommy," with outstretched arms

102. the deep love of my Father and Lord Jesus Christ and His incredible gift and sacrifice

103. a husband who loves and supports his family with constant hard work

104. hand hugs - you know, when your little baby wraps his soft, chubby little arms and hands around your hand and holds on for dear life

103. a warm home full of messes and laughter and tears and love

In case I don't get back here before Thursday, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all have a blessed one filled with family, friends, love, and all the good things! :)

Monday, November 23, 2015

a snowy weekend

All last week I kept hearing the weather forecaster people calling for snow on Friday night and Saturday morning. I didn't really believe it would snow and figured the weather would just change its mind and be bright and sunny and semi-warm. But low and behold, Saturday morning when I woke up and took a peek out of my window - it was snowing! And there was a soft little layer of snow on the grass! I figured it would only last a little while, but I was wrong. It snowed nearly all day long and oh how I loved it. 

We decided to do some fun things on Saturday, so after breakfast we bundled up and headed to the library. Exciting, I know. We roamed around, got some books, and a show for Emerson to watch. Then we made a "quick" stop at the grocery store to grab a "few" essentials for the week. And after lunch I bundled the boys up again and we trooped outside for a little bit of snow play [or just a few pictures, Oliver's first snow had to be documented after all :].

Last weekend we put our Christmas tree up. It wasn't something I had planned to do, it just kind of happened. Landon's parents were here visiting, and we took advantage of them and had them help us; be it hang out with the boys or put the tree together so I could decorate it. I don't usually put the tree up that early, but who was I to refuse help? And plus also, why not?! 

Since our tree was up, I decided to try and get some pictures of the boys for potential Christmas cards and for "Christmas" pictures of the boys for another project I'm working on. I'm still trying to decide if I'm actually going to send cards out this year...

Sunday we were almost on time for church and afterwards we spent the rest of the day getting some chores done [me], playing [the boys], and working [Landon]. It was a restful day even though naps were a little rough.

I never thought I'd say I let Emerson watch a show just to get him to calm down sit still, but the other night, he was wild so I was that parent who put a show on and he sat there. Quiet. Still. ...for all of ten minutes. But ten minutes is ten minutes! I know, I know. I'm winning at this parenting thing.

Each year Landon's mom asks for a Christmas wish list for us. This weekend I was able to sit down and think about what the boys wanted/needed and then put a list together for her. Oh, Christmas, it will be here before we know it!

I think the snow made this weekend feel all special and magical and wonderful. I'm sure it's only the first of many snows for us - and I love it. There's something so calming and peaceful about watching fluffy white snowflakes fall from the sky. Oh, what fun...

I hope your weekend was equally magical.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

currently . . .

The other day I saw Amy share some of her "currently" things, I've seen other bloggers do it as well, though for some reason, it's something I've never done before. I guess after seeing it done by Amy I decided it was high time for me to share. And since I'm lacking in the creative department today I thought it would be the perfect time to share some of these things.

source : also, I need that mug ;) 

drinking // ice cold water. always. Also, coffee.

eating // new recipes galore! I think I've tried more new recipes in the past month or so than I have all year long. This whole dairy free [and also tomato free] thing has really made me think of new meals and actually try them out. A lot include rice, which I love, so it's all good :)

listenting to // some Wally Show podcasts on occasion and some good ol' Christmas tunes and Gungor.

reading // apart from Revelation for my Bible study and Emerson's and Oliver's books, not much. It's really quite sad. I miss holding a book in my hands and devouring the pages, but it just doesn't seem to happen much at all these days. Oh, also, blogs as I am able!

learning // new recipes! How to diversify our weekly meals has been a fun little undertaking.

planning // what we are going to be doing for Thanksgiving this year [I know, I know. It's one week from today; you'd think I would have figured it out by now].

wishing // my laundry would fold and put away itself.

wearing // jeans, t-shirts, fleece jackets, button ups when I feel fancy. The usual.

praying // that Emerson and Oliver will always know, love, seek, and obey Christ. Among many many other things.

enjoying // seeing the pictures people are putting up with their Christmas trees in them! Yay for the nearing of the Christmas season!

looking forward to // Thanksgiving! Christmas! Spending time with family during these wonderful holidays.

I hope you all are having a wonderful week! It's almost Friday! :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

chocolate cake for one : a recipe

Every night after dinner I have to have a little sweet something: a cookie [or let's be honest two or three...], a scoop of ice cream, a cupcake.... something, anything that is sweet. Since I've cut dairy out of my diet it's a little tricker to just grab a cookie to satisfy that sweet craving [which, is really actually probably a good thing]. However, I still needed just a little something something. You know? Please tell me I'm not the only one with this problem. Anyhow, the other night I was watching the Food Network and saw the recipe for chocolate cake in a mug. Say what?! I eagerly watched and knew that if the Pioneer Woman was sharing this recipe, it would be worth making for sure. I had seen other recipes for single serving cakes, but I just never know about the source. Her? I trust her, so we were good. Plus this would be perfect since I could make it dairy free!

I'm sharing with you my tweaked, dairy free version of her recipe, but if you want the original, you can find it here.

3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
sprinkle of salt
3 tablespoons almond milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
tiny splash of vanilla

In a microwave safe mug, pour the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Mix until combined. Add in almond milk, oil, and vanilla. Stir until smooth and creamy. Put the mug in the microwave and cook for 90 seconds. Let cool for a minute or two [if you can wait that long]. Enjoy!

*Let's just ignore the poor quality photos and focus on the fact that this is dairy free chocolate cake in a mug! ...of course when I went to take the pictures my camera battery died and I'm too impatient to wait for it to charge, so this what we get ;) 

You'll have to let me know if you try it and what you think of it if you do! I think it's a keeper of a recipe and I know it's one I'll be making on repeat for a long long time. The cake is just enough chocolate and the perfect amount of creamy. This recipe makes enough for one person to enjoy - but I've found that I've been able to make it last as two or three after dinner desserts. Although, I'm pretty sure I could eat the whole mug full in one sitting if I really wanted to. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

a weekend visit with gigi and poppy

About once a month or so Landon's parents try to come in for a little visit. Sometimes they won't come in, like if we go see them or something. But they love to come see us the boys and hang out. They arrived a little earlier than they typically do, and both of the boys happened to be napping when the got here so we spent some time talking with the distraction of the little ones for a little bit. I had thought about going to the library before dinner, but Emerson ended up taking super long nap, so we stayed home and Poppy went to get Landon from campus and then to pick up dinner. There was a basketball game on that night, so of course we watched that.

Saturday morning I fixed some pancakes for breakfast and then we parted ways for most of the day. Landon and his dad headed to a football game at UofI and his mom with to the grocery store with me and the boys. Nothing super exciting, but things that needed to be done. After grocery shopping we hung out and the boys played. Landon's mom had brought some shirts for the boys and wanted to get their pictures in them so we had a mini photoshoot. The mascot of the high school Landon went to was/is a Rebel, thus the "little rebel" shirts. For some reason, the pictures I took aren't showing up on my computer right now.... I'll have to fix that .... so I'm sharing a few of the ones she was able to snap.

Not long after nap time we went out to eat - Red Lobster had the biggest dairy free selection of food I was able to find ... in case you're looking ;) - so we went there and made it back home in time to watch another basketball game. What a weekend [in the sports department]. And earlier that afternoon UK had a football game, so we watched that too. So many games. 

waiting for a table :] 

Sunday morning we took our time getting up and ready [so by 7:30 I was up and going ;]. Landon and his dad fixed some special window fixing that's supposed to help keep the heat in and the cold out, and once they finished that his parents helped us move some furniture around. We are living in a two bedroom house right now, it's fine and nice and works. However, it does make it a tad tricky in the baby department. Like, I would love for Oliver to be sleeping in his own bedroom, but that can't happen because, there isn't a room just for him. He and Emerson do/will share a room one day, but right now Emerson is a crazy sleeper and Oliver isn't sleeping through the night so we aren't ready to put them in the room together at this point. I might start putting Oliver in his crib [which is in their shared room] for his morning nap in the near future, but for afternoon nap and night time - he's been in our room, in the rock n play. I know the end of his time is there is nearing an end as he's getting bigger and starting to roll more. So he'll be sleeping in the pack n play. 

I love this one - it cracks me up every time. haha. 

Since June the pack n play has been in the living room, but this weekend we brought it upstairs to put in our room ... but it ended up in the laundry room. So yeah... the way our furniture and everything was sized, it was the best fit/solution to bring my desk that had been in the laundry room into our bedroom and put the pack n play where my desk had been. Poor kid, his bed's in the laundry room... At least it's a nice one?

And then... we may or may not have put up our Christmas tree. We turned our house from a somewhat tidy space into a hott mess in just a few hours and it took the rest of the day to get in back in a presentable state. Oh how little time it take to make a mess...

For lunch Emerson requested that we go eat at a "reswant" so we did. It's a special treat, eating out, and something that really only happens when Gigi and Poppy come to visit. haha. On the way home from lunch I noticed it had gotten pretty quiet in the back so I turned around to find Emerson dozing off to sleep. I shook his leg, poked him, and talked to him to wake him up. He woke up [from his 2 minute nap] and talked to me the rest of the way home. But my efforts were in vain. Once we got home and put him down for his nap, he did not sleep. At one point during his nap time I heard him call, "Mommy! Mommy! Help me!" over and over. I went in his room to find him standing inside his laundry basket. I have no idea how he got in there, it's tall. I got him out and told him to get him his bed. About 15 minutes later I went back to get him - he was in Oliver's crib playing with the diaper pail lining. So, that was super.

That night he went to bed early and Landon and I hung out for a little while. It was a nice little visit and the weekend felt like it went by entirely too quickly!

I hope you had a nice weekend!

Friday, November 13, 2015

boots, chocolate, and Christmas

I have been working on cleaning our house a little bit at a time this week in hopes of it being some what tidy by the time we have some visitors come over this weekend [today!]. So, I'm going to keep this short and sweet just so I can make sure it's as done as can be before they arrive in ... 30 some minutes!

one. boots with the fringe 
Every Fall and Winter I see people wearing boots and think they look so cute and wish I had a pair, but I never buy them or ask for them. I feel like I just can't do boots very well. I have one pair of fluffy boots, good for walking in the snow and keeping my feet warm, but they are the cutest boots. So the other day when I saw a little sale on boots I looked them over and one pair caught my eye. I kept thinking about them and thought, "Maybe these boots are the ones that could work for me." So I asked for them for Christmas. Not sure if I'll get them and if I do if I'll like them [though if I do get them I do hope I actually like them!], but they seem fun and "cute" and me all at the same time. Now I'm thinking they may be a little too crazy for me. But, we'll just have to wait and see :)

two. stopping by for a visit 
This weekend Landon's parents are coming in for a little visit. It's been a pretty motivating factor to get Emerson to obey more promptly and clean up his toys [and for me to whip the house into a clean state]. If only I could use this reason every day... Hopefully it will be a fun and restful weekend. The weekends his parents come in are usually good ones, so I'm sure this one will be too.

three. playroom
I've been trying to make the play area a little more fun, lively, and inviting. The function of it is perfect, but the walls are pretty bare and pathetic [though, that's really most walls in our house]. So I went online and found a bunch of printables to make it a little more fun happy. I finally got them all printed out and on the walls this morning. Once they were all up, Emerson told me several times, "Look good, Mommy! Tank you! Wall pitcher look good." Aw, shucks. I'm glad he likes it, since it is for him, after all.

four. chocolate cake for one 
I have a really terrible habit of needing to eat something sweet after dinner each night. But really, I need to. It's like I'm just not satisfied without a little sweet treat. You know? It's been more of a challenge for me to find good dairy free things as a little sweet after dinner. More often than not, I'll go without now [which is how it probably always should be], but the other day while watching a show on Food Network I discovered that I could make chocolate cake in a mug in my microwave. Snap. So I tried it, and holy cow. I'm not a huge chocolate lover, but this is wonderful and makes me all kinds of happy. It may not look like much, or that appetizing, but yum. It is tasty.

five. Christmas decor 
Is it too early to put Christmas decorations out? I'm going to just say it's not too early and feel good with my decision to start pulling out the Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving. They aren't out yet, but they might slowly be making their way upstairs before too long. I have one box of Fall decor, I pulled it out of the closet, brought it upstairs, but it never actually made it out of the box. whoops. At this point I'm just going to wait another week or so before I put the box back and get out all the Christmas things. Yay. I've got to start early if I actually want to get it out at all this year, right? Oh, and also, I feel like I need to spruce my Christmas decor collection up a bit. Most of my decor are things I collected as a child that my mom saved for me. I use it now and it is fun, festive, and nice. However, I really want to have a cohesive decor for Christmas and one that looks like a grown up lives in our house. There are so many cute things I see and would love to bring home, but my cheap side always wins in the end and I say good-bye to the sweet little Noel sign on the shelf at the store. Maybe one day?

Have a happy weekend!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

gifts {59 - 81}

This week at the Bible study I go to one of the questions was along the lines of, "what is a big thing you want to praise God for?" I thought and thought about what "big thing" I was thankful for. And while there are lots of things I am thankful for, I just couldn't pick one thing and anything I thought of didn't seem "big." There have been times that it has been easy to pick one [big] thing God has done for us: sold our house, found a new one, moving, babies, getting jobs, helping us in said jobs, school . . . but for now? Now I just feel like there are lots of little things for which I am thankful. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, I just think that's kind of what it is. And, better to find joy and gratefulness in the little things than always be waiting and on the look out for a big thing. With having said that, I'll keep my list of gifts going this week. It's been helping me look on the bright side and count my blessings which in turn makes me more thankful and happier.

59. a house with a working heater!

60. having a double stroller

61. hearing Emerson sing songs after Sunday school and/or Bible class: "O is for obey...."

62. socks that help keep my feet warm

63. an almond milk coffee drink find at the store

64. when the children are sleeping at the same time

65. being able to FaceTime with family

66. a mostly better/healed Oliver

67. nursery teachers who love loving on, cuddling with, and rocking my baby

68. Christmas gifts hiding around the house waiting to be wrapped and placed under the tree

69. dairy free chocolate cake for one

70. having peace about what we are or aren't doing for Thanksgiving

71. working on decorating our home with freebies

72. the anticipation of family coming for a visit

73. a trip to the store [aka: getting out of the house]

74. breakfast food. I love them all.

75. cleaning the house a little bit at a time

76. soft, squishable, kissable baby cheeks

77. making Emerson laugh so hard he can hardly breathe

78. footie pajamas on my little people

79. the smell of sweet gooey butter cake twirling through the air

80. cuddling and rocking Oliver while he sleeps

81. two happy, healthy boys

_ _ _ _

So many little things to be thankful for!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Oliver / five month update

Where have the last five months gone?! Or the last 12 for that matter. I don't know how it's already November! I feel like I was just sharing the news of our pregnancy and now we have a happy little five month old nugget to love on each and every day. Oh good gracious. These last five months have been filled with all of the emotions, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I love that I get to spend my days with this little guy [and his big brother :].

This is one of the ages I love so much! Their little personality really starts to shine through and you can see how much they are learning! And they are still small enough to take everywhere with you and not cause a ruckus [well, most of the time ;].

Oliver, you are such a happy and chill little guy. You are so content to just hang out and watch whatever is going on around you. You are growing and learning each and every day and your sweet personality is really showing up even more!

When we went in for your four month check up you rolled over from your belly to back for the very first time! Although, you haven't really been too keen on repeating it much since then. I know before long you'll be rolling across the room so I'm not too worried and am happy that you are still a pretty immobile baby. haha. Yesterday you rolled over from your back to your belly for the first time, and have been trying to repeat that roll, but so far it's just been the once. You do like to roll, but for now it's pretty much from your back to your side.

You love putting things in your mouth. Pretty much anything you can get your hands on goes into your mouth and you gnaw on it nonstop. You have a few favorite toys: a little football, your giraffes, and a little teething ring, but you're happy to hold anything you can get your hands on. You're concentrating a lot on an item I put in front of you too; if I hold a toy within your reach your eyes focus in on it and you reach your little arms out to grab it.

This month I don't have exact stats for you, but I do know your height from your 4 month check up is wrong. The nurse told me you were 33 inches long! I thought that sounded crazy long for you, but I didn't have her double check and didn't check when I got home. After talking with a friend who has a 11 month old and said her baby was 29 inches long, I was quick to check your length at home and you measured around 22 inches. But I don't know for sure, you're kind of wiggly these days. When we went in to the doctor while you were sick you weighed about 15 pounds. You are still wearing size 2 Pampers Swaddlers and are wearing 3 - 6 month clothing. Your sleepers are all 6 month, but you still wear a lot of 3 month sized clothing.

You're sleeping pretty well at night still, for which I am oh so grateful. Lately you've been going down around 8 or so and will usually wake once during the night to eat. Though your waking time varies from 12 - 3. You have slept through the night multiple times, but right now you're up to eat once. Hopefully one day in the not too distant future you'll be sleeping through the night again. Not that I'm complaining - you are a champion sleeper! Nap times are a little bit different. You get sleepy about an hour to an hour and a half after eating at which point you'll nap for a little bit. Sometimes it's a 30 minute nap and sometimes it's an hour long. It varies. A lot. In the afternoon you tend to take a little bit of a longer nap, though you usually wake once or twice during that time. I just pop your paci back in your mouth and rock you back to sleep. A few times you've taken really good naps without waking at all ... maybe you'll do that constantly one day soon? You are still sleeping in the rock n play and are sill in our room. Though, once you start rolling with easy, you'll be moving to the pack n play. Since you go to sleep later than Emerson and wake during the night, we're not ready to put you in your shared room with him. That will be a transition for another day .... yikes.

We are still exclusively nursing and I am still hoping and praying we make it to one year before we stop. Right now you eat about every three hours, although there are times you'll go a little bit longer. But I can always count on three hours between feedings so that's nice. I'm not sure if you're becoming a faster eater or not; sometimes you'll eat and be done in 20 minutes or less but then sometimes you'll take longer and eat for 30 - 40 minutes. That can sometimes make it hard for me to know if you are really done eating or not. I like consistency and you just seem to go with the flow, which I suppose is not a bad thing. You seem to be fairly sensitive to the foods I eat however, so that can make for a not so fun nursing time. Sometimes you'll eat just fine and others you'll cry and scream and refuse to eat. You have been sick for the past few weeks, so that may have something to do with it, but I'm also trying to figure out what other foods I eat that make your tummy hurt; I hate that your tummy upsets you so much [and so easily!]. Right now I think beans are not okay for you and maybe eggs aren't either. I'm not sure. We're still testing that out. We are still avoiding dairy at all costs as well as corn and tomatoes. When you take a bottle you usually eat about 3-4 ounces, though once or twice you've eaten 5 or 6. Today at Bible class you only ate 1 1/2 ounces, but I guess that's all you wanted and were happy to wait until the next feeding for more.

This past month you've had bronchiolitis and it has not been fun. You have been so congested, had a terrible cough, and congestion and rattling in your chest. Poor baby. It seems as though you are finally on the mend and we are so thankful! There were some pretty scary nights - you'd wake coughing but end up choking for a while because there was so much mucus that couldn't get out. So scary! I took you to the doctor twice during that time but both times there was nothing they could do other than what we were already doing: humidifier, inclined sleeping position, nasal aspirator, and nasal saline drops. But the doctor we went to see was really nice and didn't think I was crazy for bringing you in twice in a two week time frame. I'm glad you're feeling better!

Favorites: bath time, watching your brother - you think he's pretty silly, mama [such a mama's boy - and I love it!], daddy's silly faces, being held, holding toys/anything, putting things in your mouth, talking to people, looking at your cute little baby self in the mirror, playing on your play mat, sitting up, standing up, trying to watch the tv [or any screen].

Dislikes: getting nasal saline drops, when I use the nasal aspirator [you hate that thing], not being held while I'm fixing dinner, not being part of family meal times - you like to sit in my lap and be part of what's going on, being in the carseat for too long.

You are such a sweet, happy, and good little baby! Everywhere we go people comment on how happy and cute you are. After the sermon on Sunday the man behind us commented on how happy you were and how you just "talked" to him during the service. Your Bible class teachers missed you while you were sick, and commented on just how happy and easy going you are. We are beyond blessed to have you in our family. I'm so thankful you made me your mama. I pray that you are blessed with discernment, wisdom, compassion, and that you love and respect others. I pray that you grow to know, love, seek, and severe Christ with your whole heart all of your days. You are the best little blessing and I love you so very much.