Friday, August 30, 2013

Five Months

Who's got two thumbs and five months life experience under her belt? This girl!
Lydia is getting more and more fun these days, especially now that she's a pretty solid sitter.
She's also gotten really good rolling front to back and back to front. She now expects to be fed at the dinner table- usually oatmeal mixed with some vegetable. I've given her a few other adventurous things (because I can) to eat, but I'm going slow. She's a wonderful, adaptable baby. She doesn't mind going places in the car, probably from the 100+ hours of driving time this summer! Lydia loves her siblings, and has frequent shrieky conversations with Nora. She is back to being a dependable sleeper again, and usually sleeps 12 hours each night with a break to eat at around 3 a.m. Her smiles are frequent and heart melting, and her giggles are infectious. I'm one lucky mommy to have this girl!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Vampire Boy

 Peter lost his first tooth, and it's only been nine months in the making! For a while, it seemed like it had become firmly rooted again. Even the dentist said so shortly after it happened. Somehow, it got wiggly again this summer, and this time I didn't try to stop him.
 Benjamin was helping him wiggle it in the bath this morning, and was encouraging him to just get it over with. When it finally popped out, Peter said "the blood tastes like candy!" Haha...just a little strange!
Then he ran around saying he looks like a vampire now. And a pirate. And a pumpkin.
He's pretty excited about it! I don't even think he's given a second thought about the tooth fairy coming. He's just glad to have that wiggly tooth out of the way. Can't say that I blame him!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Chocolate Granola

I think having Gestational Diabetes during the past three pregnancies has done really good things for me. I find it a lot easier to be judicious about the kinds and quantities of foods I eat than I used to. For example, I've never been much of a soda drinker, but now the thought of soda or juice (or really any sugary beverage that isn't water) kind of grosses me out. I figure, if you're going to consume a little sugar, it'd better be worth it!

Whole fruit- totally worth it. I'd much rather eat unadulterated fruit than any sort of fruity dessert. But when it comes to anything chocolate, I will admit that I am totally a sucker. Even chocolate cereals like Reeses' Peanut Butter puffs are beyond my power to resist.  I know they're totally void of any nutritional value, but I don't care. Ice cream, also totally worth it. The creamier the better!

The other day I noticed we were out of cereal, and not wanting to go to the store, I decided to make a batch of granola to tide us over for a few days. When I noticed that I was also out of plain nuts (I only had cocoa almonds), I thought maybe it was time to concede and just go shopping. But then I remembered Trader Joe's Chocolate Granola (that stuff is good!), and decided I could just make something up using what I had. I didn't use any more sugar than I would in normal granola, but it tastes like a treat. Paul declared my creation the best granola he'd ever had, so I'm sure I'll be making it again! I think mine might even rival TJ's...

 Chocolate Granola
Mix the following in a bowl:
4 cups oats
1 cup coconut flakes
1 cup nuts, coarsely chopped (I used cocoa almonds, but regular would work fine too)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Optional: flax, flaxseed, sunflower seeds, etc. for extra nutrients

Melt the following in a microwave safe bowl until the brown sugar is dissolved:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup honey

Add 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla to the melted mixture.

Mix dry and melted ingredients and spread on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with Pam.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, turning every ten minutes.

It's great with yogurt, milk, and even on its own.  And if you're feeling especially naughty, you can add some chopped semisweet chocolate in after it's done baking. Good stuff. If you're going to eat granola, it might as well be chocolate, right?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Some Good Excuses

One of the nice things about being with my sisters is having access to their gorgeous Canon Rebel cameras. I've resisted buying one for myself, mainly because I have little kids who are good at destroying things and I'm cheap. But I think even if they did end up destroying it, the photos might be worth it in the end. After all, these are the faces I want to remember, and my camera just doesn't seem to do them justice...
I want to remember this baby in all her roly-poly glory. I want to see that messy red mop and remember the feel of it against my cheek. I want to remember the way that heavily creased and padded neck cranes up to look up at my face when I talk.
I want to remember this little pixie face, which shadows me every waking minute, whether I'm making dinner, sitting down to take a breath or going to the bathroom. :) I want to remember the way she mimics my every move, and wants nothing more than to be "twins" with Mommy.
I want to remember the enormous expressiveness in this "four-almost-five-year-old-baby's" little face. I want to remember his stout little body before it makes its last transition into scrawny boyhood. I want to remember that baby smile, before his top front wiggly tooth falls out.
And I want to capture everything about my biggest boy. He is still little, but his eyes are beginning to show signs of maturity and understanding. I hope I can record the way he laughs, and the way he attacks everything he does with purpose. I want to remember the way he still looks at me like I'm his hero.

I turn 30 in a couple months, and that seems to me to be a pretty good excuse too. I like getting to pick my own birthday presents. :)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Reunion

It's been two years since our last reunion with my family, and it was so good to be together. I've seen most of them a few times these past few years, but my sister Rachel and her family have been living in Germany, so it's been tougher to see them very much! (I keep hoping one of these years we'll make it out to see them...timing is a tricky thing with little kids though for that type of travel.) The only one we were missing was my brother Byran, who is stuck in Afghanistan for a few more months! His wife Jeni (hero of the year!) and their four kids were with us, and she did a great job keeping him "there" with us for a lot of the time through Skype chats on her phone.  We rented a big cabin near the western border of Yellowstone to share. There was a great play room for the kids, a hot tub, a pool table, and lots of woods to explore. There was a fun basketball court and a fire ring, and course our family's traditional homemade root beer. We saw Yellowstone Park and took a rafting trip, but mostly just enjoyed being together and growing closer as a family. It was perfect. I was given the task of making t-shirts for everyone, and had a lot of fun designing them. I have to say, it was really rewarding to see the whole group unified like that, and the kids begging to wear them, even if they smelled like a campfire!
Each of the families also had an assignment to make a movie to share at the reunion. Everyone's was so clever! It was like having our own little film festival. So fun! This was our movie that we made for it.

I know I've said it a thousand times here before, but I'm so grateful for family!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

First Day of School

Today marked Benjamin's first day of school, and the first real pang of sadness about it for me. It was sort of strange, and a little unexpected. Up until this morning I remember nothing but excitement for my kids starting school. Benjamin has always been really confident and ready to leave us, and I'm admittedly more than anxious to have a few hours a day apart.
 This morning as we sat on the bench waiting for the bus, he confessed he was a little nervous about meeting new friends in his class. Maybe it was that, or maybe it's that my little boy is starting SECOND grade.
 Maybe it's because it doesn't seem too long ago when he was small like Nora, or Lydia for that matter! Now he's big enough to help out with both these girls.
 It could be that I feel for Peter, who adamantly did NOT want his brother to start school again, because he would be lonely. Maybe it's because this is the last year I'll only have one child in public school.
I guess it's finally starting to hit me how fleeting time is, and how precious the moments I still have with him are. I guess I'm finally in the club with those weird Moms who cry at the bus stop who I could never understand. Except that I'm crying as I type instead of at the bus stop.

I guess another entirely plausible cause for my heightened emotion could just be plain old exhaustion. I think I'm still recovering from the all-nighter we pulled driving home from Yellowstone in one stretch, plus Lydia's sleep schedule as also been a bit off since we've been home.

Either way- I'll sure miss that boy!