Monday, January 31, 2011

Batten down the hatches!

We are preparing for  Storm-Ageddon up in here (along with pretty much the rest of the country)!

I just raided the nearest RedBox and have big plans for Beezus & Ramona, Despicable Me and The Social Network.  I foresee tomorrow filled with pajamas and hot cocoa and soup simmering on the stove.  I plan to make Mistake French Bread again (I will fill you in on this story and some pictures later...let me just tell you, though, sometimes mistakes are the BEST!) and will probably snack on Carrot Cake.  I am going to implement Family Afternoon Nap Time and rousing game of Yahtzee.  There could possibly even be a round-robin Bowl-Off...I'm just guessing on that one, though.

Stay tuned...I have lots of pictures and stories to share (we've been having some internet issues...namely, we don't technically have it at home, we just sort of borrow it every now and again.  Hoping to rectify that in the very near future, though!).  In the meantime, the only major thing you've missed is that Finn has one pearly white.  We've been battling a low-grade fever, an uncomfortable baby, very short naps and interrupted night-time sleep (I could go on vacation with the bags under my eyes!).  I am bound and determined to get a picture of that tooth and all of it's future eating promise, but so far, he just likes to cover it up with his tongue.  I bet it feels so funny in his mouth right now!

Bundle up,'s going to be awfully cold out there!  Do you have Storm-Ageddon plans? I'd love to know what you are planning to do in your own little hidey-hole...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Jabba the Hut called...

...he wants his son back.

Here's what I am wishing for today:
  • Not to look like Jabba the Hut.
  • To have a serum injected that makes me love running.  And also to make me love working out.  Although, did you know that lifting a 19-lb baby is good for the arm muscles?  It totally is!
  • A vacation - someplace warm that I need a plane to get to, and maybe a passport.  Yes, definitely something I need a passport to get to...and it needs to serve little umbrellas in the cocktails.  And I need to have my own beach so I can wear a bathing suit.  (I haven't worn a bathing suit for...almost 2 years.  Wow.  The Universe is thanking me right now.  Your welcome, Universe.) 
  • New kitchen table - something bigger...something darker and sturdier.  Something that doesn't have a crack and nail polish stains and remnants of a paper towel permanently stuck to it (nail polish remover, when spilled, will permanently adhere paper towels to wooden surfaces.  Just so you know.).  
  • Paint for my picture frames - I want them all the same color.
  • Someone to help me choose a paint color for my picture frames.  I can't decide...Cherry on Top?  Maybe.  Graham Cracker Crust?  Kind of safe.  Sprinkler?  Way outside my comfort zone, and though I love it now, will I still in, say, 6 months?
  • Tulips to bloom soon.  I planted 30 of those little suckers and I am anxious for them to pop up.  Patience is not a virtue I possess.
  • BBQ chicken on the grill.  And then BBQ chicken pizza for the repeat.
  • Finn's teeth to make the final effort to push on through to the other side. 
  • A hair cut...maybe.  Well, probably.  And maybe an attempt at bangs again?  And maybe I should go blond again...or darker.
  • A laundry gnome to fold and put the laundry away.  I can wash it.  I can dry it.  I can even bring it upstairs...I just can't seem to fold it and put it away (and neither can Uriah.  He is perfectly content to get his clean clothes out of the laundry basket rather than the dresser.  Probably because a laundry basket doesn't have drawers that need to be closed.).
  • And...most importantly, I would like to sleep in past 7:00 am.
Thank you for listening, I'm glad I got that off my chest.  Now, I'm going to go on about my day.  

    Wednesday, January 26, 2011

    Saturday Night

    We had dinner at Aaron and Angie's on Saturday night and was Dane ever excited for company - I could hear him screaming when the doorbell rang.  Aaron explained that they were playing hide-and-seek, and just as he started to say, "Ready or not, here I come!" the door bell rang (talk about perfect timing!).

    Aaron and Angie also pulled out some of Dane's baby toys for Finn to play with, and Dane could hardly wait to show Finn all of the fun toys - and to play with them, too.  I'm a huge advocate of changing out Finn's toys and books every couple of days - I'm pretty sure he gets bored looking at the same things, and since he still has goldfish brain a little bit, when I bring out a toy, even if he played with it last week, he still acts like he just got a new present. 

    I wish this trick still worked with Abby.  It might deter some of the: "I'm so bored!" statements that I get on Saturday afternoon.

    So, Saturday night, with the front door still wide open, our coats and shoes still on, and the hellos barely out of our mouths, Dane was already bouncing in the living room, anxious for Finn to play with the new toys, which of course comes out in a very long sentence: "Um, Aunt Heather, Aunt Heather, Aunt Heather, put your baby in this bouncer this used to be mine can we put your baby in here right now can we Aunt Heather?"

    So, after a few minutes of getting our collective crap together and the baby changed, Dane got his wish and he kept telling everyone to look at the baby (using his little squeal voice which is just so dang cute!) and Finn looked like he'd just won the lottery.  Then Dane laid his blanket on the floor and asked if Finn could play on the floor now with the other toys.  He proceeded to put every single toy in front of Finneaus after explaining what it was and adding which ones he used to play with when he was a baby (all of them) and which ones didn't have any batteries (it was a very big deal that some of them didn't have batteries, but I assured Dane that Finn didn't really care.)

    I think there was a little sensory over-load going on for my baby!

    {Dane & Finn | 1.22.11}
    Abby got some cousin play time in with Dane, as well.  She showed him her Nintendo DS and Dane snuggled himself right up next to her on the couch and watched her play Super Mario Brothers, asking her questions about what she was doing and why she was doing it.  I love cousin play time.  I can't wait until this summer when they all play at the beach together and go fishing with Grandpa (supervised by the Dad's - and leaving the Mamas at home with a lovely bottle of wine!).

    Saturday, January 22, 2011

    Dinner Time

    I. am. so. HUNGRY!
    Hurry up.  Hurry up.  Hurry up.

     Feed me faster, please.  
    Can't you see that I am wasting away to practically NOTHING?
    Trust me, the cheeks can be deceiving.

     This is delicious.  Where has this been my whole life?
    And why have you been holding out on me?

    No more?  Seriously?  No more?
    Fine, I guess my thumb will have to do.

    Friday, January 21, 2011

    Impromptu Snow Day

    {Finn | 1.20.11}
     We had an impromptu snow day yesterday. 

    Considering it took me over an hour and a half to drive approximately 20 miles on Wednesday night, I can't say that I was too distraught at not having to get into my car yesterday (yes, I realize that I drive like an old lady, however, in my defense, there is one snowplow to service the entire state of Missouri and he most definitely was not clearing my commute!).  So instead we did some cleaning and some laundry* and some shoveling and some book reading and some toy playing and some snow eating and some chili making and some napping and some crafts.

    It was a productive day off...and as much as I love having two incomes and adult conversation on a daily basis, it's days like yesterday that I realize I would be a great stay at home mom.

    *Can someone please tell me what the secret is to staying on top of laundry?  I feel like I'm losing the battle here!

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    Houston, We Have Peas!

    I think, of all of the baby milestones that Finn has on his list of to-dos, the introduction of baby food was the one I was anticipating the most. 

    We are a family of food and the kitchen is our Mother Ship; it is our gathering point and our common ground.  We cook together, we plan meals together and we eat dinner together just about every night (unless someone - Uriah - has to work late).  Big discussions happen around the dinner table and smaller discussions happen over the stove.  It is small and warm and cozy in our kitchen.  It is what home is to me.

    So, it only made sense that from the time Finn could sit up in his high chair, we would scoot him up to the table with us as we ate our dinner.  For awhile he was content to play with his toys and look around.  Then he started tossing his toys on the floor, looking surprised when suddenly his wooden spoon was no longer in his hand and then delighted when I'd place it back in front of him, only to repeat the process another hundred times during the course of our meal.  Recently, however, he has been reaching for the food on the table and moving his little mouth like he's chewing (super funny to watch).  It was the only sign I needed...bring on the baby food!

    Uriah needed a little convincing, however, that Finn was ready for baby food.  I did some research before we started.  I wanted to make sure that Finn was going to enjoy this process and not end up a picky eater (my absolute worst nightmare, second only to breaking my nose.).  He started eating rice cereal during our Christmas vacation in Minnesota and we've been steadily increasing the consistency of it from liquid to that of oatmeal.  And then that got old and he wanted French toast.  Seriously, he would have eaten French toast last week if he had two teeth to his name. 

    After some reading and some discussion (because our original plan was to wait for baby food until he had his 6 month check next week), we looked at our chunky monkey and decided to start the baby food.  Instead of starting off on the yellow vegetables (like a lot of research suggests),  we started with the greens.  Less sweet, but research also shows that some babies will like the sweeter veggies better (squash, sweet potatoes, carrots) and then it takes some convincing to get them to enjoy the greens (peas, beans, spinach).   Peas, my friends, were a huge success; and so is the sippy cup he's started using.  We've moved on to sweet potatoes, which he liked a lot, and later this week we'll try beans. 

    {First taste of peas | 1.15.11}
    {Sippy cup | 1.15.11}
    He looks like such a big boy and he makes my cup run over. 

    Monday, January 17, 2011

    Happy Monday. Or is it?

    Happy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, friends! 

    For those of you in the education or banking industry...lucky!  For the rest of us, plugging away in the world of cubicle (not that I work in a cubicle, but I have, so I can say with confidence that it's not the greatest feeling.), does it really feel like Monday to everyone else?  All I can say is, Wow.  Did you want to stay snuggled in bed this morning like I did (weather predictions of rain and ice and snow proved to be false this morning, thank God, or Uriah would have been resigned to driving me to work.  Not convenient.).  Apparently, Finn wanted some extra snooze time this morning, too.  He roused himself at about 3 this morning for approximately 20 minutes before he talked himself back to sleep.  I was not so lucky...I saw the clock say 4 before I was able to fall back asleep.  And then the little nerd had the nerve to sleep in!

    Yesterday morning?
    6 am wake up call.

    This morning we had to wake him up at 8:00! 

    How was your weekend?  Did you get lots accomplished?  I got a couple of pretty major things checked off my list (room cleaned, floors cleaned, bathroom cleaned, some laundry done.).  And I started a love affair.  Yes, that's right.  I am leaving my husband...

    ...for Sticky Toffee Pudding.  And really, not even the pudding, mostly just for the Sticky Toffee sauce that goes on top of it.  I am going to make gallons of this stuff and drink it with a swirly straw all day long.  Who cares about diets when you can have Sticky Toffee sauce?  If you had some, you'd be converted, too.  It has bourbon in it.  And sugar and love.  Lots and lots of love.  Did I mention that I made bourbon ice cream, too?  Now, imagine, if you will, cold Bourbon ice cream melting under the oozing warm Sticky Toffee'd leave your husband for it.  Unless you didn't have a husband.  Then maybe you'd leave your wife or your dog or your sanity.

    I can't wait to go home and bypass dinner so that I can dive headfirst into the Sticky Toffee sauce.  It will make this Monday so much happier!

    Friday, January 14, 2011

    Half a year, already!


    Last night I was giving Finn a bath; he was splish-splashing his chubby baby legs and displacing lots of water.  I had my hair in a pony-tail on top of my head and I guess every time I moved my head, my pony tail would bob, which Finn found wildly hilarious.  So there we were, a couple of nerds in the bathroom, me shaking my head and Finn laughing a big, toothless belly laugh and kicking his legs as hard as he could.

    One minute I was laughing right along with him and the next I was crying into the baby bathwater.

    My baby, my little tiny boy (who I knew was a boy from the very, very beginning, thank you very much!) isn't actually a little tiny boy, anymore.  He's been alive for a whole half a year (or maybe more accurately: we've kept him alive for a whole half a year!).  And he's accomplished a lot, already, as evidenced here and here and here.   But six months...I really just wasn't prepared for how quickly time has gone already.  Nobody prepared me for the speed at which time is flying.

    • We didn't drop him. 
    • We didn't smoosh him (well, maybe we've smooshed him with hugs and kisses!)
    • He's gaining weight like a champ (18 lbs!).
    • We managed to take him from formula to rice cereal...and he makes chewing movements with his mouth when we eat.  Next up - veggies!
    • He doesn't have any teeth through yet, but they are coming. 
    • He can almost sit up on his own.  He's really close and he can do it in the tub.
    • When we lay him on his back, he immediately flips over onto his tummy (but he can't get from his tummy to his back.).
    • He found his voice...his screaming voice, that is.  And it's not when he's angry (he almost never is, unless we have to suck snot out of his nose) he just likes to hear himself scream.
    • He laughs.  A really big baby belly laugh.
    • He has duck fuzz hair - and it's turning blond!
    • He's on the verge of saying "Mama" (seriously.).
    I know that I will probably cry at all of his milestones.  I know that in 6 months I will lament how fast a year has gone...and then six years....and then a decade...and then his college graduation....I am his mama.  That is my job.

      Thursday, January 13, 2011

      Jack Frost

      {Jack from the inside out | 1.11.11}

      We've now had 5 days of true winter, it spring yet?

      I used to love the snow and I used to love the winter.  The crunch under my boots.  The smell of the cold stuck to my clothes even after I come inside.  Little snowflakes on my eye lashes.  The soft swish of falling flakes.

      That was Before Finn (or, BF, if you will).  BF, I didn't have to worry too much about the outside temperature; I could go to the grocery store any old time.  BF, I didn't have to worry about parking spaces because I wasn't toting around 18+ pounds of baby and carseat and diaper bag and blankets.  BF, I didn't have to worry about what kind of shoes I had on my feet...heels?  Sure!  Ballet flats?  You got it!

      Now I worry that it's too cold and he won't be warm enough with his snowsuit, extra socks, mittens, a hat, a scarf and his bedtime blanket covering it all.  I see ice everywhere and have even gone so far so to contemplate getting shoes with little icepicks on the bottom.  Have you seen them?  Not cute.

      Except, it's not really as bad as I thought.  I now have an excuse to snuggle up in my comfy pants and sip hot cocoa and play on the floor with the baby (who also loves wearing comfy pants, by the way!).  I have been using up what we have in our freezer and our cupboards because it's just too much work to go out to the stores (and, in an effort to simplify, it's also financially sound.).  I have learned to love the snow from the inside out.

      Happy Thursday, my friends!  Catch a snowflake on your tongue for me while you're outside, and in return, I will kiss the baby's cheeks for you when we're inside.

      Wednesday, January 12, 2011

      Just so you know, I'm still alive.

      {Abby & Finn | 1.11.11}
      Here I am!  Here I am!

      I have not been sucked into a pit of molten quick-sand lava with my trusted pet pig.  I have not been shipped to the moon to collect samples of space rocks.  And I most certainly have not been a back-up dancer for Justin Bieber.

      I have, however, been sick.  So sick that I did not go to work on Monday.   I take that back...I tried to go to work on Monday.  I had good intentions of getting some stuff cleaned off my desk before I retired back home to my bed and my yoga pants and my Gypsy Cold Care.  I even took a shower and packed the baby up into the car in the snow and everything.

      And anyway, did I forget to mention that there was this snowstorm?  On Sunday night and Monday.  And it's the first snow that the dirty, dirty South has seen this winter and it really was too much for our 1 snowplow to handle. 

      So.  Here was little 'ol me...used to driving in the snow but not used to driving in the snow and slush and overall grody-ness that the roads become this time of year.  And did I forget to mention that school was canceled?  It was.  Abby waved to us from the toasty confines of the living room.  Still in her pajamas.  Watching Good Morning America.  The tears and snot froze to my face.

      So.  Here was little 'ol me and little mini-me in the car and there are only 6 miles between my house and Finn's daycare and it took me one entire hour to get there.  Where I promptly called work from the parking lot, turned around and drove back to the safety and healing powers of home (it took me less time to get home, only about 30 minutes - mostly because I saw our only snow plow ahead of me.).  I proceeded to hunker down in my yogas with my tea and allow my husband to take care of my kids while I watched the snow fall and my sinuses drain.

      Yesterday was another snow day, and we filled the day with baking bread (Mama), learning to scream (Finn) and watching Harry Potter (Abby).  We went outside for about 5 minutes to enjoy the snow and a little fresh air (much to Uriah's chagrin.  Apparently, taking a 6-month old outside for less time than it takes to bundle him up is grounds for Poor Parent of the Year Award.  Winner.)

      And today?  You guessed it...another snow day for the kiddos due to the bitter cold (sub-zero temperatures, anyone?).  Finn, however, was more than happy to get to daycare today; he barely spared me a smile when I left him.  Abs is home with a list of chores and she'll have a pop-quiz on Little Women when I get home (apparently, I also have to pseudo-home school my kid to make sure she's continually challenged - another story for another time.).  Finn is playing with his pals.  And I'm back at work.

      If you can't find me, just follow the sound of the coughing under the papers on my desk.  I may be here until the snow melts...

      Saturday, January 8, 2011

      The healing power of brownies

      {Uriah & Finneaus | 1.7.11}
      I am sick.

      I got that stupid flu shot and I'm telling you what...I'm not sure that it works.  Actually, I probably got these grody germs from the pug-nosed baby who has been sleeping with a pillow under his mattress for the past week to help prop him up so that he can breathe easier (it's either that or sleeping on the couch with the mama - and even then there is no rest for the weary.).

      I am miserable.  I am sneezy.  I am stuffy.  My nose is so red I look like I've been hitting the bottle daily for the past 12 years. 

      And Finn is a big boy.  He can hold his own bottle now and he has been having one "meal" a day of rice cereal for the past two weeks.  He opens his mouth when the spoon comes near him and he's gotten to the point where more cereal makes it into his belly than onto his clothes.  My baby boy is growing up faster than I even thought possible (even though everyone told me that it would go quickly, so I feel like I was at least prepared.  It's too fast, though!)

      So, to make up for the sickies and the big babies and the fact that Abby has started choir and wants to regal us nightly with her latest singing lesson, I made brownies.  Well, I made them Sunday, but I have been benefiting from their healing power all week long.  

      Nose stuffy?  Eat a brownie.  
      Abby's singing the same song for the 342nd time?  Enjoy it with a brownie.
      Finn's driving himself to daycare?  Finish off the pan.

      Farm Stand Brownies
      Bon Appetite Magazine
      Makes 9

      1 ¾ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
      ½ cup (1 stick) butter
      1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
      1 tablespoon vanilla

      ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
      1 teaspoon baking powder
      ½ teaspoon salt
      scant 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
      2 large eggs
      ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

      Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8” square metal baking pan with foil; generously butter the foil.  Place chocolate and butter in medium saucepan.  Stir constantly over medium-low heat until melted and smooth.  Add espresso powder and vanilla; stir to blend.  Cool 15 minutes.

      Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.  Add walnuts; toss to coat.  Whisk eggs and sugar in a large bowl just to blend.  Add chocolate mixture; stir just until blended.  Add flour mixture; to chocolate mixture; stir just to blend.  Pour into prepared pan.

      Bake brownies until tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs still attatched, about 25-35 minutes.  Cool brownies completely in pan.  Cover and chill 6 hours.  Invert brownies and peel off foil.  Cut brownies into 9 squares.

      Wednesday, January 5, 2011

      Pug nosed babies and losers

      Yesterday I had big plans...I was going to start my spring cleaning.  

      What?  It's not spring yet? 

      Too bad.  I have this entire house to get through by spring.  It's part of my New Year's resolution to simplify and be more organized.  Finn's room is full of random stuff leftover from when we moved...almost an entire year know, before he was even born; some of the stuff hanging out in his room isn't even his!  And I need to make my work-space a little bit more workable (right now it's a catch-all for everything I don't have the time/energy to find a home for or shred or toss).  And that means that my work space probably can no longer be housed in a room full of baby toys and baby clothes and even though the sweet smell of baby is intoxicating, it means that I don't get much done when I'm in there aside from snacking on those baby cheeks.

      However...these big plans were made before Finn started sounding like a pug again; before he and I had a somewhat non-restful night sitting up on the couch because every time he tried to breathe he woke himself up.  And every time he woke himself up, he also woke his mama up.  And there is nothing worse than having an unhappy, un-rested baby.  Or an unhappy, un-rested mama.

      So, instead of taking him to daycare like I had planned so that I could bust by buns cleaning, we slept off and on until 6 in the morning, when I laid him back in his crib for an hour, and then we had breakfast and played until exhaustion took over and we both took a morning nap for 2 hours.

      I did accomplish a couple of things...I got a menu planned for the week, made chicken stock (homemade chicken stock using the whole chicken I roasted off on Sunday.  My house smelled amazing and I think Finn feels better just from inhaling the healing powers of chicken stock!) and then I used that to make chicken tortilla soup (awesome, if I do say so myself).  I talked with the doctor's office and the insurance people FOR 45 MINUTES (I deal with insurance daily.  I know my shit.  I know my benefits and I know my kid's benefits.  You cannot get anything by me.  And you certainly cannot tell me that paying for my child's immunizations and well-child exam is going to be my responsibility.  I will be up in your business until you get it figured out.) So I was a little bit productive - just not as productive as I wanted to be.

      I watched the season premier of The Biggest Loser last night and decided that I want to be a loser, too!  So, after I had a mild (some husbands would say major?) melt-down, Uriah blew up my big old exercise ball, I plotted out a running route and I have a plan.  

      I am done talking about it.  I'm doing it.  And if public humiliations is what it takes to kick my butt in gear, I may just post my weight, too.  Seems to work for The Biggest Loser, after all. 

      Monday, January 3, 2011

      I love Robert Frost.

      I transferred schools my junior year of college.

      I thought I was going to get a secondary education degree.  Then I changed my mind and took some business classes.  And, well, that didn't suite me, so I changed my again and decided to get an elementary education degree, only to realize that I'd have to stay in school at least an extra year, and Lord knew I didn't have time or energy for one more year of school, so I went for the plain, old, get-it-done-quickly English degree.  And this is the extent of my degree-usage, right here on this blog.  Wow.

      Anyway, I dreaded the poetry class that I had to take to get a creative writing minor.  I was certain that it was going to be the worst class ever.  I suck at writing poetry and I don't always like to read it because I think that the meanings are lost on me (unless it's Shel Silverstein, I really get his stuff!) and I wonder why people can't just say that their sad instead of saying that the sky is falling down upon the sparrow's head or something equally deep.

      And then I took Introduction to Poetry (or Poetry 101 or Creative Writing: Poetry; whatever it was called.  I still have the syllabus, so I could look it up.  But it's in Minnesota.) and it was as though I was given permission to write quirky poems that have nonsensical meaning.  Poems that make people laugh and not want to stick their heads in gas ovens.  And I learned that it was okay to not get a poem, but still enjoy it for the lyrical way the author's words flowed.

      I took an advanced poetry class with that same professor the following year.  I have never missed college as much as when I think about my writing classes and the creative freedom that they allowed in a somewhat structured environment and the constructive criticism that fellow student writers gave, pushing me to be a better writer.

      Today, because it's officially January and officially winter and officially cold, and because I officially miss the snow in Minnesota, here is one of my favorite poems.

      Happy Monday, friends! 

      {Avon, Minnesota | 12.26.10}

      Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening
      Robert Frost

      Whose woods these are I think I know.
      His house is in the village though;
      He will not see me stopping here
      To watch his woods fill up with snow.

      My little horse must think it queer

      To stop without a farmhouse near
      Between the woods and frozen lake
      The darkest evening of the year.

      He gives his harness bells a shake

      To ask if there is some mistake.
      The only other sound's the sweep
      Of easy wind and downy flake.

      The woods are lovely, dark and deep.

      But I have promises to keep,
      And miles to go before I sleep,
      And miles to go before I sleep.

      Sunday, January 2, 2011

      Then & Now

      When my brother and sister-in-law got married (11 million years ago), they made a deal with each other to split their holidays between their families.  If they're with her family for Thanksgiving one year, they're with our family for Christmas.  Then, the following year, they're in Minnesota for Thanksgiving and with her family for Christmas.  So, when Emily and I moved to Missouri, we decided to adopt the same holiday schedule, making sure that our holiday in Minnesota coincided with Aaron and Angie's so that for at least one holiday a year we are all together in Minnesota with our parents.  So far it has worked, and I think that each of our families likes having us exclusively for an entire holiday weekend. 

      The last time we were in Minnesota for Christmas it was 2008 and it was cold.  Really, really cold.

      Back then Dane was the baby in the house.  He was just over a year old and he was too little to go outside and play.  He wanted to, though.  Lord, did that boy want to be outside playing with his cousin.  And I think that Abby would have welcomed a companion - a sidekick to wade through waist high snow with.

      {Abby & Dane | 12.24.08}
      This year, however, he was outside nearly as much as Abby.  They went sledding and built a snow fort and tramped all over my parents back yard.  If the snow had been stickier they would have made a snowman and had a snowball fight, too.  I know that this is probably the last season that Abby really has time and patience for playing with her cousin.  There are 7 years between them, afterall, and already her interests lie more in the Twilight saga and Justin Bieber and boys rather than Toy Story and G.I. Joes and Hungry! Hungry! Hippos.

      But for just a little bit over Christmas, she stopped bieng a surly tween and slid back to being a kid.  She snuggled on the couch with Dane and watched a movie.  She let him take her temperature and check her reflexes with his new doctor kit.  And she got down on the floor and played hours of Lincoln Logs. 
      {Abby &  Dane | 12.24.10}
      She wants to grow up so badly.  She wants to stay up later and do her hair and I'm sure she sneaks tinted lip-gloss to school.  She wants to sit at the grown-up table and have grown-up conversations and she wants to be releveant.  It's not easy being in that middle spot...not really able to contribute to adult conversations but too big for the babies in the house.

      She's trying, though, and I guess I should be grateful that she even wants to participate in family functions.  It won't be too much longer and she'll want to bring her boyfriend over for family dinner (Lord have mercy, I think I'm going to have to keep Uriah away from any would-be suitors!  They won't make it out the door alive.) and Friday night will be spent at the movies with her friends.

      I wonder what the picture will look like in two years when we're in Minnesota again for Christmas...with a teenager and a 5 year old and a 2 year old.

      Saturday, January 1, 2011


      Uriah's mom likes to have themed-holiday parties.  Yes, that's right...themes.  For the holiday.  Because apparently Jesus' birthday is not enough of a theme.

      Last year we had a Mexican themed Christmas complete with two different kinds of tacos, fajitas, espinaca dip from a local Mexican restaurant and Cheesey Mexcian Rice (if you've never had Cheesey Mexican Rice, I implore you to stop what you're doing and go buy some.  That means right now.  It. Is. Delicious.  And I love it.).  This year for Christmas, we had an Italian theme.  Think every carb-addicts dream: lasagna, manicaotti, rigitoni, some other pasta dish, garlic bread and yet another pasta dish...and a salad (Vegetable? Check!)

      Anyway, at some point between the carb-induced coma and the present frenzy, we tried to get some cousin pictures.

      We started with Finneaus and Ava-Rose.  There are 13 weeks between these two pals - Ava is older, although it's hard to tell because she's a petite little thing and Finn is growing.  Quickly.  I'm looking forward to seeing how their friendship plays out in the years to come...I foresee lots of G.I. Joes riding around on My Little Ponies.

      It's kind of hard to get four kiddos to look in the same direction at the same time; especially if one of those kiddos can't sit up by himself, one has more energy than he knows how to channel and sweet baby girl is squished between everyone.  Abs, of course, was trying to get this picture over and done with as quickly as possible so that she could get away from the drooling and go back to watching cable television.

      Aren't they cuties?  Still not all looking in the same direction at the same time, but I think we managed to keep everyone upright, not drooling or puking and nobody was screaming.  I consider that success these days.
      {Abby, Ava-Rose, Cooper & Finneaus | 12.18.10}
      I'm pretty sure that I gained a billion and a half pounds from dinner.  I had to unbutton the top button of my pants and do some deep breathing exercises.  I also may have used my son as an excuse to take a little nap after the present-opening frenzy (which included a Justin Beiber doll - score!). 

      And then I made a bedtime snack of pasta with a side of pasta.