Thursday, July 28, 2011

Being a Grown-up

It's not easy, this task of parenting.  Just when you get over the hump of the baby years (well, I'm still in them, but anyway...), you realize that you are now responsible for raising a person, who will hopefully be kind, compassionate, and well-balanced.  As my good friend Katie pointed out to me, you can't make your child empathetic, but you can instill a sense of good judgment and teach him to be kind to others.  Days are filled with "teaching moments", and I am the first to admit that I don't always have a well-written lesson plan.  I find myself losing my temper far more often than I'd like in dealing with the challenges that come with having a three-year-old, and I know that getting emotional about her defiant streak and boundary-pushing is the exact opposite of what I should do, but in the moment I have a hard time remembering that.  What I need to do is validate her feelings and emotions, but teach her that her actions and reactions are not always appropriate or allowed.  Yes, it's okay to be upset that your brother took your toy away, and he should not have done that, but kicking him in the shin is not an acceptable way of letting him know it.  "Use your words," and "We don't use our hands in a mean way," are phrases I'm repeating often lately, and it sometimes makes me sad that she doesn't automatically know that it is never okay to hurt another person.  The truth is, even though she is incredibly smart, cognitively she does not yet comprehend that her actions have an effect on other people.  We'll get there, but it's going to take some tantrums on her part and some extreme patience on mine.

I am also beginning to realize that I can't always control or project my children's emotions and reactions.  Lilah and I had the opportunity to go on a "date night" this week, and I was so excited about what I had planned.  I wanted to take her to the movie theater for the first time, to see the new Winnie-the-Pooh movie.  She loves Disney movies, popcorn, and candy, so this would be a treat that included all three.  How could it go wrong?  Well, as much as my girl loves all of those things, she is absolutely terrified of loud noises and of the dark, and her fears were too much to overcome once we got into the cinema.  She refused to stay, said she wanted to go home, and planted herself on the carpet outside the theater door.  I tried a couple of times to convince her how much fun it would be, to no avail.  So we sat on the floor, ate our popcorn and neon gummy worms, and decided to head out for dinner instead.  I was immensely disappointed; I truly had wanted to see the movie, and to share the experience of going to the theater (which is one of my favorite things to do) with her had me very excited.  But I had to "be a grown-up", take my disappointment in stride, and consider my daughter's feelings first.  We ended up having a fun time anyway, with dinner at the 99 Restaurant and a quick trip to the craft store.  Maybe we'll try the theater again later this year (the girl loves Christmas, just like her momma, so if a good holiday flick comes out, it might do the trick), but for now we'll keep our dates to things I know she'll enjoy, like going to the mall or the museum.

I still want to see Winnie-the-Pooh, though.

All dressed up for our date.  And yes, I'm dorky and made my daughter wear a matching headband with me.
The gummy worms didn't stand a chance.

As much as she can push my buttons, this girl is truly a sweetheart.  She loves her baby brother so much.  "He's my heart," she tells me.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pushing Limits

I have sort of a Jekyll/Hyde complex when it comes to patience.  I like to think I have an abundance of patience when it comes to people (children in particular), but very little when thinking in terms of events or results.  This could be why I start listening to Christmas music in October, or planning the kids' birthday parties months in advance - once I get excited about something, it's hard for me to wait for it to actually happen.  And while this may not be a big deal when we're talking about holidays and parties (speaking of such, Lilah has already caught my holiday fever and is planning out everyone's Halloween costumes, more on that in another post), it's detrimental to me when it comes to something like exercising.

I've been running, doing the "Couch to 5K" program for about two weeks now, and for the first time in my life I can say that I enjoy going for a run.  I've had some setbacks, so I'm not on the mapped out schedule where I should be, but I am trying.  Here's my problem: I'm not good at running.  I've never been particularly athletic, even though I played two team sports in high school and was a cheerleader in high school and college.  I mostly just enjoyed the camaraderie of being on a team, and my high school was so small that it needed to field as many warm bodies as possible in order to stay on the schedule in our division.  And while I never scored a goal in a soccer game or hit a homerun in my entire high school career, I truly enjoyed working together with my teammates on a daily basis, whether it was at practice or a game, and that was reward enough for me.  Running, however, is not a team sport, and my only rewards so far have been shin splints and aching arches. 

I'm working on Week Two of the program, and the ninety second intervals of running I'm supposed to be doing are tapering off to more like forty-five towards the end of my twenty-minute run.  My legs burn from the get-go and I'm huffing and puffing before I get to the street light three blocks away.  I know it will take time, both for the running part to get easier, and to see the results in the mirror and in the way my clothes fit.  I'm trying hard to push through it and make it about the run itself, not about the end result.  Because, inevitably, there is no end result to this task for me - I want to make running a part of my lifestyle in the long term, not just a pathway to get me where I want to be.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Today's post is a little bit random, but that's how it's been around our house the last few days so that's how I'm writing.

Lilah, like many three year old girls, knows how to throw a mean tantrum.  And, like many girls, those tantrums reach epic proportions after she comes home from spending time with her grandparents.  I know I did it to my own mother, and I'm truly understanding of the phrase "I hope you have one just like you someday" now.  Lilah was fortunate enough to spend a few days with Grammy Julie and Grumpie earlier this week, and I was so grateful that she was able to do so.  I spent a lot of time with my grandparents as a child, and I hope my children are fortunate enough to do the same.  She went to the beach, to Santa's Village, and got lots of ice cream, lucky girl.  And I got to have a little bit slower-paced daily routine with just the two boys, although the house was truly too quiet without her.  I was thrilled to pick her up at a halfway point on Wednesday, and she was very sweet and chatty with me the whole ride home.  Lots of kisses and hugs, and "I missed you soooo much!" was the refrain for the rest of the day.

And then, Thursday arrived.  My sweet little angel girl turned into a three-year-old devil.  She screamed, she kicked, she was defiant about everything.  She spent a fair amount of minutes in time out.  But the thing is, this girl knows the routine and understands her responsibilities when she has done something wrong, and I'm holding onto the testament that it means we are doing something right.  Once she has been placed in time out, she may continue to throw her tantrum for a bit, but she knows that when she stops that she needs to talk calmly and politely to Mommy or Daddy about why she was put there.  She usually apologizes and asks for a kiss and a hug.  And lately, she throws this into the mix: "Mommy, will you please smile at me?  I want you to be happy."

That simple request from my three-year-old daughter has moved me and inspired me as a parent.  I am more conscious about how much I smile and show my happiness around my children these last couple of days.  Because, honestly, it's easy to show them the negative emotions and frustration that come with day-to-day parenting (especially of a toddler and a preschooler).  We have to doggedly reprimand and re-direct, and although it's all in the interest of "their own good", it can't be pleasant to see or hear all of the time.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not constantly on the watch for negative behavior, ready to dole out punishment.  We have lots of fun at our house and I try to let the kids be kids for the most part.  But if you are a parent of a child over the age of one, you know how often "teaching moments" come up during the course of a day.  It's all about balance, and I really want to tip the scales in favor of those happy, smiling moments in the future.

And, speaking of smiles, this kid is full of them.  Forget Happiest Baby on the Block, he's the Happiest Baby in the World:

Don't you just love those baby bubbles?
And Lilah is showing a budding interest in photography, always asking to take a picture when I have my camera out.  She's not half bad, either:

Please ignore my shabby attire, I was trying to beat the heat.
She took this one, too, of her little brother feeding her doll a bottle.  It just melts my heart to see him playing like this:

He is so sweet with baby dolls, even when he's whacking them on the back to "burp" them.
Finally, this made me smile today:

Lilah took the initiative for our "project" today and decided we should make paper bag puppets and a backdrop.  I love how creative her little mind is!
I have set a new goal for myself as a result of Lilah's request.  I want my children to look back and remember how much their mom smiled when they were little.  It sounds simple, but it will be challenging at times.  And now, I'll leave you with another adorable (random) picture of my happy baby.  Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Everyday Learning

As a parent, you may not consciously set goals for yourself to achieve, but I find that as my children grow and develop, I create expectations of them and myself that relate to how "well" I think I'm doing at my job.  Of course I have hopes and dreams for them as far as their futures go, but I also think about the day-to-day stuff that makes up the memories of childhood and sets the foundations for them to build those hopes and dreams on for themselves.  One small thing that I have started to think about is making sure that they learn something new every day.  It's different for each child and each day; it could be as small as Grady learning how to make a new animal sound or say a new word, or a bigger thing like teaching Lilah what cooperation means.  The learning could be funny or silly, such as realizing that blowing raspberries on Momma's arm produces a hilarious sound that makes everyone laugh.  Or it could be an unfortunate lesson (albeit important), like learning that rocking the glider with your head while sitting on the floor is going to result in it coming back to knock you right over and give you a nice bruise on your cheek.  The lessons learned may be from me or Matt consciously "teaching" them, or learning through their experiences.  It is part of my ever-evolving "job" as a mom to keep track of this learning and make sure my children are on a good path to achieve the hopes that I have for them and the goals they set for themselves. 

Since Lilah has been away visiting her grandparents for a few days, I have had the opportunity to spend more one-on-one time with Grady than ever, and at a very fun developmental stage too.  He is really exploring language and comprehension lately, and it seems like he is learning a new word every day.  My days are filled with shouts of "Uh oh!" and "I'm stuck!" (even if the uh oh is caused by him purposely throwing food on the floor, and getting stuck is intentional).  The boy has sure missed his sister though, and has been repeatedly going to the gate at the bottom of the stairs to yell "Wi-wa", which is what he does in the morning when she is home and he's ready for her to wake up.  She'll be thrilled to find out her brother has been playing constantly with her baby stroller, and that his new favorite game is "sleeping" on the couch and then "waking up" to roar at whoever is nearby.

Pretending to sleep on the couch.  I wish you could hear his fake snoring!

Enjoying the free reign over all of the toys.
Reed is changing and developing every day too, although not in ways as noticeable as Grady.  He is learning to tolerate tummy time, and has recently discovered that he likes sucking on his fingers.  He is debuting a new hairdo tonight:

Meet Spike!
And if there is anything more lovely than a sweet baby after a bath, please let me know.  I cherish the moments I get to spend with my littlest at night, when I can lay him on the floor without fear of Destructo stepping all over him, and he just smiles and coos at me like I'm the queen of the world.  And I sure do feel like it sometimes.  And sometimes I feel a little more like the court jester, like when Reed looks at me with Crazy Eyes after I sing him a silly made-up song about spiky hairdos and chunky leg rolls:

"Momma, you are certifiable."
And now this Momma needs to learn a very important parenting lesson: Go to bed early.  I'm off to sleep, can't wait to pick up my girl tomorrow!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lemon Cupcakes and Buttermilk Biscuits

If you haven't visited the Tasty Kitchen website yet, bookmark it now, because it is the single best recipe finding site I have found.  I get lots of ideas and links to recipes at Tasty Kitchen from the Pioneer Woman's blog, and I have loved every single thing I've made from the recipes I have tried.  One of my first TK experiments was for these delicious Mini Lemon Loaves.  Lemon is probably my absolute favorite recipe ingredient, and especially in dessert form.  The first time we made them (Lilah is my right-hand girl when it comes to baking), we were both licking the batter off the spatula and from the bowl in great anticipation for the tasty loaves baking in the oven.  We were not disappointed - they were just lemony enough, super moist, and a perfect melt-in-your-mouth consistency.  I knew that it would be a go-to recipe for me, but I wanted to adapt it a little to make it more cake-like.  So we made them again last week as a treat for Memere and Grandpa (Matt's parents) to celebrate their anniversary when they came to visit.  I just substituted cake flour for the all-purpose and used cupcake tins instead of loaf pans.  They came out great, although I have to say I liked the loaf version just a bit more.  I didn't really do step-by-step pictures of this one, but I did take a few while we were making the cupcakes:

First, you must lick the butter.  With the wrapper on.  Yep, girl takes after her momma.
 You can click on the link for the instructions, but we mixed up our yummy batter (secret ingredient: sour cream), poured it into cupcake tins, then proceeded to take some silly pictures and shamelessly lick the sinfully delicious batter off the spatula, from inside the bowl, and possibly the bits that dripped onto the countertop.

See?  Shameless, I tell you, shameless.

This is our "Happy Face" pic.

Then Lilah wanted to do "Serious Face".

And, finally, "Silly Face".  Pay no attention to the bags under my eyes.  I get up too early and stay up too late.
This is where I should have a picture of the final product.  But I don't.  Possibly because my camera battery needed charging, and possibly because we ate all the cupcakes before I thought about it.  Anyway, I'll be making them again, so I'll try to post a picture at a later date.

The other TK recipe I want to share today is for Buttermilk Biscuits.  Seriously, these babies are so easy to make, and you probably have all of the ingredients in your kitchen right now.  If you don't have buttermilk, you can make your own using regular milk and vinegar, but I'm too lazy to Google the exact process at the moment.  I did take step-by-step pictures of this one, though.

See, this is all you need to make these lovelies.  Well, except for the 7 tbs of butter I had chilling in the freezer.

You just mix your dry ingredients...(I love this spatula I got from Matt's grandmother - it came in a set, and it's from Prepology.  Not a paid advertisement.)
Then you cut in your butter, make a "well", and pour in your buttermilk and mix.
Form your dough into a rectangle-ish shape...
And cut out circles with a biscuit cutter.  Or a glass, if you're like me and don't own a biscuit cutter because you never remember that you need one when you are at a kitchen store, instead you just keep buying cupcake tins that you think you need.  Or cookie scoops that break the first day you use them. 
Brush the tops with buttermilk (use your *clean* fingers if again, you are like me, and keep forgetting to get a pastry brush.).  Toss them in the oven and bake, then devour that little baby one you made with the leftover dough while it's still hot from the oven.  Yummmmmmm........
So there you have it.  My first official recipe experiments here on the blog.  Let me know how they turn out if you try them!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Surprise Packages

Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved getting the mail.  There is always a sense of anticipation, the possibility of something exciting that you weren't expecting to get.  A glossy new catalog to flip through and circle the items you want, a wedding invitation, a big check made out to you for your birthday...and sometimes, if you're really lucky, a suprise package.  I got one of those today.  Surprisingly, I didn't even notice a delivery truck pulling up beside our house at all, and Cosmo didn't alert me to it by barking either.  But just as Matt was leaving for work, he told me there was a package outside the door and tossed it in for me to open.  And it wasn't something I ordered, honey, I promise!

It was addressed to Lilah and Grady, and after scanning the packing slip I discovered that is was from my lovely mother.  She must have taken note of me mentioning that I would like an ice cream maker, because that is just what it is - called "The Camper's Dream".  It's shaped like a ball and after we fill it with the necessary ingredients, the kids can toss it around and it will make the ice cream.  So neat!  I can't wait to try it out.  It also came with one of those glossy catalogs, from Educational Innovations, and there are many things in it for me to circle.  I just LOVE to circle things in catalogs, don't you?  My BFF from college (hi, Kara!) used to sit on one of the twin beds in our dorm room, each with our own special color gel pen, and circle the things in the Victoria's Secret catalog that we wanted.  We'd even make notes in the margin of what color and size to order.  But I digress...

So now I can concoct all kinds of ice cream creations.  My mind is reeling with possibilities for flavors and I'm sure that Lilah and Grady will be willing test subjects.  So, thanks Mom!

I also wanted to share some photos that I have been playing around with from our summer so far.  I'm thinking about putting together a little summer album on Shutterfly with all of the great memories we are making this summer.  That's the one downfall of digital photography, at least for me - I rarely actually print my photos on paper as keepsakes.  It's something I'm going to attempt to get better at in the near future.  But for now, they'll live on in cyberspace...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Lily Photo

This is just a random photo I took the other night and edited in Picnik:

Settings: ISO 200, f/1.8, 1/200 sec.  Adjusted red tone in Curves, added slight Vignette.

Do Something About It

I ran jogged a mile today.  Okay, more like I jogged for a bit, walked for a bit, then jogged some more.  Let me tell you, it was hard.  Considering that for nearly the past four years, I have been either pregnant or nursing a baby, it's been quite some time since some of my muscles have seen a workout.  But after stepping on the scale today and seeing a number that was about twenty pounds higher than I want to be at, I decided it was really time to do something about it.  The gym membership I signed up for two months ago hasn't been used yet, and it isn't always easy to find the time (or energy) to get out of the house by myself to use it.  So I told Matt I was taking Grady for a run in the jogging stroller, threw on my inadequate sneakers (definitely need an upgrade: ouch), and tossed Grady in the stroller. 

I'm sure it was quite foolish for me to just dive in headfirst with the running today, after so long without exercise, and considering it was 85 degrees, humid, and I certainly had not hydrated well enough for a workout.  But I did it anyway, and it felt good.  I had to speed-walk for a good portion of the mile, but Grady's encouraging cries of "wow" and "hi, Momma!" made me smile through some of the rough parts.  We made it home just in time too, because the skies opened up and gave us a good soaking not even five minutes after I stumbled through the door with Grady on my hip and a stitch in my side.

So here I go - embarking on a new mission to become a runner (well, at least someone who enjoys running instead of avoiding it at all costs).  I'm preparing to download some good workout songs onto our old iPod, so if anyone has suggestions, leave them in the comments section below!  I also need to invest in some good running shoes, so recommendations are appreciated.  I figure I'm more likely to keep up with my new goal if I hold myself accountable for it, so I'll update here regularly on my progress.  Wish me luck!

On a totally unrelated note, here's an amusing conversation between Lilah and Daddy tonight at the dinner table:

Matt: So, Lilah, what are your thoughts on the state of our nation's economy?
Lilah: I went to the mall last night and rode on the fire truck.  It had a siren.
Matt: Oh, really?  What do you think about the new tax policies?
Lilah: I went to TJ Maxx too.
Matt:  Well, can you tell me your thoughts on the current unemployment rate?
Lilah: No, I don't think so.  Can I have some fruit snacks now?

She's pretty good at diversion and changing the subject.  Maybe a future in politics?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Girl Time

It's always nice to spend one-on-one time with your children, and it's a practice I want to make a habit of as the kids get older.  Right now one-on-one time with Reed consists mainly of middle of the night feedings, and with Grady it's cuddling on the couch in the early mornings, watching Sesame Street and reading the Johnny Tractor board book over and over.  But QT with Lilah is a real treat.  Since she's older (thus easier to take on outings without having to chase her around), we get to go do fun, girly stuff like shop at the mall or eat brownie pops at D'Amici's.  She is quite the conversationalist, and our girl time is usually very entertaining for me.

Tonight after dinner, Daddy was on duty with the two boys, and Lilah and Momma went to the mall.  TJ Maxx was our destination, and our mission was to buy sheets for her new bed arriving this weekend with Memere and Grandpa.  I decided to put my personal preferences in home furnishings aside and let her choose on her own.  Believe me, this was a big deal, as I always have a vision for what I want a room to look like and letting go of the reins (to a three year old, no less!) was no easy task.  But my girl did not disappoint.  In fact, she showed some amount of particularity about things matching in her final choice, and I'm pretty excited about the direction her bedroom is going in now. 

Having three young children in what is technically a two-bedroom house has amounted to a great deal of creativity on our part as to where to put everyone.  Reed is currently in a bassinette in our bedroom, Lilah has her own bedroom next to ours, and we created a small nursery for Grady last year in what used to be a storage space.  We had thought that when Reed arrived we would move Grady into Lilah's bedroom with her and put Reed in the nursery, but recently came up with a better plan.  Grady is a fairly light sleeper, and we weren't sure he'd be able to sleep through Lilah's bedtime ritual of reading books in bed for a little while before falling asleep.  Instead, we are putting Reed's crib in Lilah's room, and praying that everyone will sleep well in the new arrangement!  This room-shuffling required downsizing Lilah's current double bed to a twin, though - thus, the new sheets.

Anyway, after perusing the linen aisles of TJ Maxx and contemplating all of her choices, Lilah finally decided on a bedding set with fairy ballerinas on it in shades of  pink, green, and white.  I shouldn't be surprised, as her current interests are leaning heavily towards dance and dress-up.  She's pretty excited about the pieces all matching, and I already have visions of some fun DIY projects to go with the ballerina/fairy theme.  I had to let go of the idea that Reed's crib bedding would match the rest of the room, but I am thrilled with her choice.

We had to make our usual obligatory trip to the Disney store, take a quick ride on the mall fire engine, and I had to do some smooth-talking to curb a tantrum when it was time to leave.  Then we listened to the "Mean Song" three more times in the car on the way home, took a quick tubby, and read a few books before bedtime.  But my favorite part of Girl Time?  Lilah giving me a kiss right before bed and telling me, "Mommy, you're so nice.  I love you."

Monday, July 11, 2011

Cool Moms Make Ice Cream

I follow a few kids' crafting blogs, and I saw a tutorial a little while ago about making ice cream in Ziploc baggies that I really wanted to try.  I never seemed to have all of the right ingredients in the house at the same time (quite common in my life), until this morning.  The kids were antsy, the baby was sleeping so we couldn't go outside, so I said "Let's make ice cream!".  Of course, Lilah was immediately excited and jumping up and down with anticipation, and Grady just does whatever Lilah does, so he was jumping up and down as best he could too.  Woo hoo, score big points for Momma today!

And then, I realized.  I don't have pint-sized Ziploc baggies.  I don't have gallon-sized Ziploc baggies.  What do I have?  Sandwich baggies.  Crap.  But I'm the queen of improvisation when it comes to motherhood (and life in general), so I searched my cabinets and found...Ziploc storage containers.  Perfect!  I decided to divide the recipe in half and put it into two sandwich baggies instead of one pint-sized baggie, then put those into the storage containers for the kids to shake.  What kid doesn't like to shake a box that just happens to be filled with ice?

Apparently, my kids:

"I shook it three times, Momma, is it ready yet?"

Grady just wanted to eat it right away, container and all.
So I did what any mother would do in my situation.  I shook.  I made up a shaking dance and a shaking song ("Shake, shake, shake.  Shake, shake, shake.  Shake the ice cream."  Creative, I know.)  and I made a fool of myself in front of my children.  But that's okay, you're supposed to make a fool of yourself in front of your children.  Right now they think it's funny.  I can't wait until they're teenagers.

When I couldn't shake it anymore, I took the baggies out, rinsed them off, and put the slightly melty concoction into a bowl and a coffee mug for the kids to devour.  Here's the results:

Yes, I realize my son is sitting in a pink booster seat.
It's okay, he's comfortable with his masculinity.

She was quite thrilled with the "banilla" flavor.

And although it melted and got soupy pretty quickly, I dug up some bendy straws and told them it was milkshakes.  All in all, it was a pretty successful morning activity.  Here's a link to U Create With Kids where I found the idea, and a link to 2 Little Hooligans where the original tutorial is.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Early Riser

I blame my husband. 

My middle child is an early riser.  I'm talking five a.m. wakeup when it comes to Grady.  And much as I love to see his smiling face and hear his delighted cries of "Momma!" and "Hi, baby!" (his newest verbal accomplishment), I continue to hold out hope that he'll start waking up a little later in the morning.  Even six o'clock would be a treat at this point.  I've tried pushing his bedtime back in small increments, but to no avail.  The kid just gets up with the birds and I've come to terms with it.

The main problem with this early wakeup time is that I don't drink coffee.  I've never cared for it, and I try to limit my caffeine intake anyway since I'm nursing Reed.  Besides the occasional frou-frou flavored latte from our local bakery, D'Amici's, and sometimes a diet soda, the only caffeine I get is from chocolate.  And pounding a couple of candy bars in the early morning would do nothing for the waistline I'm trying to get back. 

Matt is a morning person, too.  Unfortunately, his rotating schedule of night and day shifts means that he's either getting ready for work, already at work, or needs to sleep so he can't often get up with the kids in the morning.  He does do it whenever he can, though, and I savor the extra hour or so of sleep that it allows me. 

Maybe when Reed turns one and I'm no longer a primary food source for my offspring, I'll take up drinking coffee in the mornings.  But for now, this smiling face is going to have to suffice to perk me up at five a.m:

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Cast of Characters

Most likely, if you are following my blog at this point, you already know me and may already know my children and husband.  In case you don't, I thought I would give you all a brief introduction to the members of my household.

First up is Matthew, aka Daddy, aka Love of My Life (FYI: we get pretty schmoopy 'round here often, get used to it).  He's a fellow born Vermonter, a nurse, a DIYer, a future maple farmer, and an amazing father.  He knows the words to only approximately three-and-a-half songs (including Silent Night), is generous with birthday gifts, and he makes me nervous when he's driving in traffic.  I love him.

Two of my boys - ain't they handsome?

Next is our daughter, Lilah.  Our firstborn, our only girl, our drama queen.  She is wildly entertaining, incredibly smart, and recently turned three years old (and if you are the parent of a girl, you already know, or will soon know, exactly what that means).  She's been a momma's girl since birth, but she holds a special place in her heart for Daddy.  This kid loves to read, color, play computer games, and recently made her stage debut at a family talent show.  We may have a future star on our hands...

Singing "The Mean Song" (Taylor Swift)

Grady is our oldest son, he is eighteen months old and has already earned such nicknames as "Destructo" and "Taz" due to his high level of energy.  He is as sweet as pie but is the busiest toddler I've ever come across (which says a lot, since I used to be a toddler teacher).  His big blue eyes and mischievous smile are sure to get him out of many a scrape in the years to come.  He loves cars, playing super hero dress-up with his big sister, and kissing his baby brother about forty-seven times a day.  Here's the future heartbreaker:

Whoops, both of these pictures are of Grady playing in the curtains!

Our newest addition is Reed, whom I often refer to as my "dream baby".  He is seriously the sweetest, happiest, easiest baby I've ever been around (I hope I'm not eating my words in a few months).  Since learning how to smile, he graces us with his big grin most of the time when he is awake.  He already adores his big brother and sister, and I'm sure he'll be up to no good with them in the very near future.

And I just realized I raved about his smile, but neither of these are smiling pics. 

Last, but certainly not least, is our lovable mutt Cosmo.  We made the insane decision to adopt him as a puppy when I was five months pregnant with Lilah and haven't regretted it for a moment.  Although he drives me batty sometimes, I love the furball dearly.  He has been an ideal companion for our children, with much, much more tolerance for ear-pulling, tail-grabbing, and dog-wrestling than any other canine I've seen.  He's a crazy breed - his dad was a Lhasa-Poo and his mom was a Black Lab-German Shepherd mix.  And when his hair is short, I think he's the cutest dog in the world.

And that's our household, all of us living under one roof with a little less than 1000 square feet of room to play, laugh, and love. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Here I Go!

I've been thinking about starting a blog for a long time now, but I wasn't sure where to start or even if anyone would want to follow it.  Today I decided to just go for it - who really cares if anyone reads it or not?  It's a good place for me to get my thoughts down as well as document my (sometimes exciting, often mundane) day-to-day moments as a stay-at-home mom. 

Being home with my kids is very rewarding, and it has led to some fun new hobbies recently.  I got an entry-level DSLR camera for my birthday last year (thanks to my awesome husband!), and I have been taking the time to learn how to use it and to capture as many childhood memories for our kids as I can.  I have a lot to learn in the world of photography, and I am excited to share my experiences here on this blog.

I have also recently taken up baking (and a little home cooking), inspired by some fantastic blogs that I follow and will probably link to quite often.  Even though I'm working on losing baby weight from my last pregnancy, I simply cannot deprive myself of home-baked goods.  So I really need to start going to the gym regularly...Anyway, I'll share some recipes here and try to post photos of finished products as often as possible.  I'm working on compiling some of my family's "famous" recipes, which I'll attempt to recreate in my own kitchen (with Lilah as my sous-chef, oftentimes).  Email me any of your family's "famous" recipes, too!  I love adding new meals and foods to my repertoire, even if I'm not always sucessful in executing them.

With three children ages two months to three years old, there's quite a bit of comedy in our household, although it's usually hindsight comedy when it comes to the chaos.  My newest mom philosophy has become, "This, too, shall pass...and soon become a great dinnertime story."  So I'll happily share my daily follies with any of you who would like to read them, and hope you get a kick out of the craziness that is a part of my daily routine.

If I can figure out how to do it, I'll leave you all with a parting photo of my darling family, taken the other night when Lilah asked if she could feed "Baby Reed" a bottle...

Of course, Grady had to get in on the action, too.

Okay, folks, that's all for now.  We'll see what tomorrow brings!