Wednesday, January 29, 2014

wine wednesday : brownie points for me!

It's been a while since I recommended a wine. 
Not for lack of drinking it, just nothing recently that has inspired me.
I really liked this one, though!
Brownie Points Vineyards 2011 California Red.
If you like a red
with delicious hints of chocolate in it
this one is for you.

Both Hubby and I enjoyed it thoroughly.
(I even bought a second bottle and enjoyed that one the following week.)
I like the cute orange and brown label
and the dessert-like sweetness.
A delicious less-than-$20 pick.

I also appreciated that the label encourages you recognize "fine achievements" such as rescuing a cat or running a half marathon.  Nope, doesn't even need to be a full marathon.  Half is good.
5k would probably work, too.
(I am amused by reading wine labels, if you can't tell.)
Like I need such grand reasons to drink wine.
Heck, I celebrate surviving a day with two toddlers, 
particularly days like today when the pipes froze and we had no water.

Who needs water when you have wine?
Oh yeah - the baby who needs water for her formula.
And me who needs water to clean up all kinds of stickiness throughout the day.
Also, it is nice to be able to flush the toilet.

Thankfully we still had a jug of water in the fridge from the last time the pipes froze.
And I was able to un-freeze the pipes before dinnertime

I'd say that achievement deserves a glass of wine.

 "Have some of your wine, Mama." 
(Said over breakfast.)

"Mama loves wine!"  
shrieked on a regular basis at dinner time when I have my glass.
Yes, my love, I do.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

finola - 8 months!

Happy eight months, my joyful girl!
This month I got a taste of what life is like with two toddlers.  Wow - what a juggling act!  Our days together can be pretty exhausting, despite their sweetness.   One super-energetic and boisterous kid running wild in one direction, and one active baby moving and getting into mischief in the other.  You may not crawl like a normal babe (still scooting and dragging your legs along most of the time) but you sure can get where you wanna go fast.  You hate laying on your back even more now, so you are constantly rolling away from me.  Sometimes when I am trying to dress you I feel like I have to wrestle the clothes on you.  
Sometimes you'll play by yourself quite independently with an array of toys in front of you.
Other times it is like I have a homing device on me, and no matter where I am you will scoot until you get to me and I pick you up for snuggles.
You will now go in for the "open-mouthed drooly French" when I ask "Kisses?" 
Holding you upside down sends you into peels of laughter.
You are extremely ticklish.
You are fun.
You are predictable.
You are a mama's girl.
I am loving that.  
We are getting to see a little more spunk from you.  This month you started babbling a LOT more.  You make noises like, "Hey Ya!" and "DADADADADA!"  You like to give high fives and sometimes if you don't feel like snuggling to my chest right before bedtime you will try to distract me by laughing and whacking me repeatedly in the face.  You are constantly trying to grab things away from your brother or just plain grab at him.  Now that you can climb and pull up on things you are not content being on the floor.  You MUST stand.  Getting you dressed is literally impossible.  That would require sitting still - which you do not want to do.  At all.
high fives, crawling to and climbing up on mama, puffs, trying to eat paper...and books.

Getting dressed.  Being in the car too long.  Laying down.  
colbie's tail can provide endless entertainment

Mama feels:
Quite happy being 100% done breastfeeding. Just after you turned seven months I started only feeding you at night, if even then, and just after Christmas, while in Minnesota, I stopped altogether.  After about  7 or 8 days I developed blocked milk ducts, which is absolutely no fun.  One cool thing -- I let you nurse one last time to relieve my intense pain.  That was our last official feeding, and while brief it definitely ended us on a positive note.  You kept looking at me in surprise  - then smiling.  And that is how I will always remember our breastfeeding experience together.
After that no more pain!
Now that I'm done the hormones are back in balance and my breasts, not gonna lie, feel normal again.  Haven't felt normal since I got pregnant over a year and a half ago so this is NICE.  
Sibling relations:
Let's just say you are starting to do things that might annoy your brother a bit.  Like crawling over to where he is and grabbing toys he is playing with.  Like playing with any of his toys, really.  Like crawling over when he is getting his diaper changed and grabbing his hair or accidentally scratching his face.  But I am pretty sure he still loves you to pieces.  He like to give you big hugs, especially now that you sort of stand.  If you are crying he will give up special toys to try to make you feel better.  
  • 100% formula now - and it must be HOT or you toss your bottle across the room
  • looooooves rice cereal and oatmeal and fruit.  will spit out veggies most times.
  • has nearly mastered the pincer grasp and will gobble up puffs like a champ
  • 8oz for breakfast, 6oz for lunch, and 6oz for dinner...coupled with 1-2 servings of baby-friendly food at each meal.
Still taking two long naps (1 1/2 - 2 hrs) per day and sleeping from 6:30ish-6ish.  Well, with about one waking/feeding per night.  Slept through the night twice more this month - making a total of thrice.  We are ready to start letting her cry it out during the night.  Nine months we will do that part of the training.  
Wears mostly 12 month clothing.  Weighs 20 pounds.  Actually enjoyed a few weeks recently with no cold/congestion.  Took you to a specialist about your turned out feet, but have to go back for x-rays.
  • Your first Christmas!!!!  That was the big one.
  • Travelling to Minnesota to meet all your cousins and spend time with Gramma and Grampa.
  • can move from crawl to sitting position on own
  • started pulling up on things to a standing position (but not yet cruising)
  • climbs over and on lower objects -- mama in particular.
  • using the pincer grasp to eat baby puffs

cannot decide on plank or down-dog.

the leg rolls.  my favorite rolls. 
mama's facial expressions?
a guttural yell in the jumperoo
during several days of mama/daughter time - was so nice!
ah your square baby butt just kills me.  seriously.
lovin' your time with pop-pop
hangin' out on gramma's window seat
amidst the chaos of all the older cousins you remained pretty calm and happy the whole time we were in mn
meeting your cousin selah - future cousin besties?
only three months apart!
(Here is Cormac's eight month post for comparison -- lot of the same stuff -- except he had more hair (or maybe just darker hair?) and fewer teeth.)

Another months of fun with you, Sister!  Only four months until you turn one?  WHAT???  I kind of want to cry just thinking about it.  The baby stage is fading fast.  Your mama is trying to savor it, and survive it, as best I can.

Love you so!

Mama + Dada

Friday, January 17, 2014

january no-sweets check-in #3

When I came across this mug on Etsy I couldn't help but giggle and think of our challenge.
Hopefully no one has gotten too 'hangry' over the past few weeks.

Anyway, here is the gist of how things are going for me:
- No notice of any skin change...although I also am going through birth control changes, so that doesn't help.
- I am slowly aquiring a taste for black coffee.  I actually am enjoying the taste of the coffee - not the creamer.  Wow.  At first it was awful.
-Have lost about 3 pounds.  As I've said, cutting out the sweets has made me feel, if not look, thinner.

But, I will confess, I have cheated.  Twice.

My cheats:  One evening after dinner I had two mini Airheads.  Hubby works for the company that makes these so there are about a bazillion in our cupboard.  Felt immediately icky afterward.  Also, I drank soda on two occasions.   Of course, felt bloated immediately and remembered why I avoid drinking pop in general.  If you are a pop (how we say it in MN) drinker and don't feel bloated after drinking it...try giving it up for a month and then see how you feel going back to it.  Might inspire you to quit for good.  Or maybe I'm just weird.

This leads me to believe that sweets really are not worth it.  Right?  Riiiiight????

Anyway, here are some ways I avoided 'cheating' even more than those two occasions....

- Eating fruit!  Technically it has sugar, but I don't consider fruit a sweet.  Natural!  Totally can cure a craving for {naughty}sweets.

- A glass of red wine!  Oh yes, antioxidants and oh so delish.  Not a sweet.  At least in my mind.

- Drinking water.  As with any craving, you might just be thirsty.  Drink a bunch of water and see how you feel in twenty minutes.

If you cheated, too, no worries.  Just move forward!

If you have any of your own tips for avoiding sweets - please share!  :)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

{what I've learned about two-year-olds}

The past six months have taught me a lot about two-year-old boys...

They like to randomly lift up their shirts and show their bellies (and no, I have no idea why his diaper is hanging out.)
They like frogs and dirt and bugs.
They love grilled cheese.
They love their "big boy chair," aka booster seat.
They love to smile for the camera and yell "cheese!" 
They adore campfires and grampas:
They have almost a full set of teeth (but you still have to deal with teething with those 'two-year molars.)
Sometimes they pass out and drool during car rides after eating blue suckers.
They LOVE to play outside.
They haven't yet developed any artistic skills -- but are very proud of anything they "draw." 
 They love to make sure they are properly groomed (ha.)
They are mischievous and cheeky.
They are sweet and still have kissable baby cheeks!
They are finally able to help out with some chores!
They are fantastic conversationalists.
They can drink from a regular cup...but still prefer a sippy.
They are mostly nice to their sisters...but sometimes not.
They are always good for a laugh.
They make holidays a million times more fun.

Two-year-old boys (well, at least mine) are both frustrating and awesome.  Cormac will test his limits constantly, will be sneaky, gets frustrated almost instantly if something doesn't go his way, loves to run through the house shouting (we are working on his 'whisper voice' and 'inside voice') and can be really, really, really particular about things.

Will pretend to have phone conversations on his play telephones.  He will get irritated if I interrupt.
In fact, totally awesome at pretending and making up stories.  Each night we make up a different story before he goes to sleep about a giant.
Loves singing.  I sing constantly and it is so fun to hear him chime in now.  Favorite songs: Johnny Appleseed, Hickory Dickory Dock, ABC's, Bananas in Pajamas
Favorite foods: mac n cheese, goat cheese, broccoli, chocolate pudding, fruit snacks, garlic bread, and Greek yogurt.
Still has no interest in going on the potty.  Sigh.
Still very affectionate.  Loves giving hugs and kisses and "'nuggling."
While most can't decipher what he is saying the kid can talk up a storm.  I am amazed by how perceptive he can be.  Of course, sometimes he thinks it is funny just to spew gibberish.
Incredible memory.  He may not remember any of this in a few years, but he remembers random things that happened months, even a year ago.  It is pretty cool

Well, that is my kid, halfway through two.

Two is exhausting.  
Two is constantly interesting.
Two is teaching me a lot of parenting lessons.

But I've heard three is harder.
So I'm just gonna enjoy two.

Friday, January 10, 2014

january 'no sweets' challenge : check-in #2

It has been a week and a few days...anyone else out there still 'sweet-free'???
Has your sweet-fast been relatively uneventful, or are you feeling a bit like doing this...

Even though I am not a huge sweet eater, I have to say, I've had my moments of weakness.   Moments when I have wanted to cave.  Like during The Bachelor when I love to eat some sort of dessert with Hubby and indulge in both the sugar and the drama.   Like when I want to dump a load of sugary sweet creamer into my coffee.   Like when I am giving Cormac a sweet treat and I usually would grab a cookie or two for myself.

As I read the paragraph above it just sounds a little silly.  I don't need any of that...and usually I feel somewhat icky after I eat sugary stuff anyway.

Honestly, it has already been completely worth any small sacrifice.  Why?

Here is what I've noticed after less than two weeks:

- I feel less sluggish.  
- I need less caffeine to function.  I know - WHA?  I am a 2-3 cup a day coffee drinker normally, because, well, I need it.  Or I did.  Or I thought I did.  Surprisingly the last few days I have not needed the afternoon caffeine fix.  Also, I've been waking up in the morning more refreshed, and less focused on getting my butt down to the Keurig and getting that coffee brewing.
- I feel "thinner."  Not saying that I actually am thinner, as I haven't checked the scale recently and I probably don't look any different...but I feel somehow "thinner."

Anyone else feeling just plain better?  Is it inspiring you to make other healthy eating choices as well?  I know I have been drinking a lot more water since starting the challenge.  In fact, sugary foods/drinks are just starting to sound 'eh' to me.

Tell me how you are doing!!!!!!  I hope, if you are truly doing this, you are noticing results and feeling encouraged by them.  Happy Friday!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

{christmas in minnesota}

Every other year we travel to my hometown in Minnesota to spend time at Christmas with my entire family.
My family, which includes my parents, four siblings (plus three spouses and eight grandchildren!) only gets together about once a year, due to my sister living in Montana, and me in Kentucky.

So we treasure the time we have.
Our brief four day visit to the farm was both relaxing and chaotic, with all of us (most of the time) at my parent's farm (that I grew up on) - which is a big farmhouse, sure, but still feels a little crowded with seventeen people in it.

Plus, one day, my mom invited a bunch of our extended family over for a post-Christmas open house celebration, so that day the house was extra full.  Full of food and laughter and some relatives I haven't seen in years.  Such an special/amazing day!  

I took a LOT of photos over those four days.
Here are some of my favorites...
girl cousins - fin and bel
cousins/besties - spence and casey - making a delicious batch of guac
my dad and his daughters (plus my sister's baby, Selah)
my sister and I
tried to get a 'normal' shot of the cousins...but thankfully I ended up with a bunch like this. :)
the whole fam after church 
our dog colbie loved the snow - and the playhouse grampa built
my dad's latest project in retirement...he installed this entire fireplace, complete with a barnwood mantle from our former barn 

some of the guys brave the cold for a stroll (or some cross country skiing) 
cousins playing with auntie jen!
warming hands by the stove!  the temps were single digit at best during the daytime! 
girl cousins!  
selah's first solids!  she also did her first roll!
winter sky at dusk on the farm

There was a ton of laughing, a 'new year' slideshow, lots and lots of beer consumed - some good and some not-so-delish, a few jaunts around the property despite frigid temps, several raucous games of Catchphrase, lots of shrieking kiddos, more food than can be described accurately, plenty of cousin scuffles, and the normal amount of talking over each other just to be heard.

I love my family.

As always, was tough to leave, not knowing when we will all be together again.  I think it helps us, though, to appreciate the time that we are.

And to my dear home state of Minnesota...I brought your mean, bitter cold back here with me.