Monday, June 30, 2008

alternative to the beach

We were bored last night and it was hot......and like everything else, my girls don't like to do anything alone! So, here we go!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

a sticky situation

As a last minute decision, I decided to take my girls up north to visit my parents for the weekend. With my husband out of town again for a few days, I had the urge to leave for a while.

Before we headed home this afternoon, I explained to the girls that if they behaved for the first two hours of the trip, we could stop and get a sucker as a nice little treat to enjoy for the remaining hour-long drive.

Sure enough, the girls did great, so I made a quick pit-stop at a gas station to pick up a couple suckers. As I was perusing the aisles for a Tootsie pop, the only suckers I could find were the SUPER blow-pops, SUPER meaning they were at least twice the normal size. I wasn't about to back down on my promise to the girls, so I grabbed two SUPER pops to go. At first glance, the girls literally gasped they were so excited. I can't say I felt the same.

As the girls worked on their suckers, Britten kept telling me she was getting "all sticky," and that she would need "a little bath when we get home." I acknowledged her of course, but because she sits two rows behind me, I wasn't paying much attention to the sticky mess unfolding in the backseat.

In fact, it wasn't until I opened the van doors and Britten stumbled out of the back that I realized, to my horror, the "sticky situation" Britten had gotten herself into with that SUPER blow-pop:

My husband and I actually found it so funny we were laughing so hard we had tears in our eyes. Fortunately for clean-up sake, our older daughter did a much cleaner job of finishing of her sucker.
Not sure I'll be making that purchase again anytime soon!

Note: I'm relieved to say that with a nice, long bath and a lot of picking and scrubbing, we were able to undo Britten's "sticky situation."

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

satisfaction absolutely guaranteed (unless you don't like avocado or cilantro)

Primarily eaten as salsa, but also enjoyed as an everyday salad, try this recipe and I guarantee you'll never be the same!

Cowboy Salsa:

1 Can of black-eyed peas (thoroughly rinsed)
1 Can of Corn niblets (drained)
2/3 c. chopped cilantro
2/3 c. chopped green onion
1 c. chopped tomato
2 c. cubed avocado

1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
3/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp cumin

Mix ingredients in large bowl, adding dressing last and mix well. Chill in refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving. YUMMO!

monster cookies

Remember these beautiful and very tasty creations?

Because a dear friend asked, and because I know she's probably having some pretty major cravings nowadays, I decided I'd happily post my Monster Cookie recipe just for her!

Monster Cookies:

3 eggs
1 1/2 C. packed brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. corn syrup
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. peanut butter
4 1/2 c. rolled oats
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c. m & m's

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. In a very large bowl, beat the eggs
3. Add the remaining ingredients in order, mixing well
4. Use an ice cream scoop to put on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

***Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes to prevent crumbling.

ENJOY and try not to eat the whole batch in one sitting!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

the workings of a two year old

While driving home from picking my girls up from Vacation Bible School yesterday, I was trying to pick Britten's brain about everything she learned that morning. Britten's a little young to participate in VBS, missing the age deadline of turning 3 by several months. But I felt Britten would really enjoy and benefit from attending VBS as I've personally witnessed her do similar things alongside Ella during Ella's preschool year and absolutely love it. So after much begging and pleading kindly asking, the director of Children's ministry agreed to let Britten attend.

After a short bout of tears while dropping her off with Ella yesterday, Britten joined right in and had wonderful morning. When I picked them up, 2 1/2 hours later, I could tell, from big pouty lips and tired eyes, that Britten was exhausted and a little crabby.

So, here I am, driving home with the girls, happily trying to pry any bit of information out of Britten. "How was your day? What did you learn? Did you sing any songs? Did you get to eat a snack?"

On any normal day, Britten would be bouncing up and down in her car seat, spilling out answers at a million miles a minute. But yesterday, she was different. She was quiet.

Finally, out of the blue, Britten said:

"Mommy, stop talking!" can imagine my surprise by that response. It was a little rude, which of course, caught me off guard, but more than anything I was shocked that Britten wouldn't talk to me!

So, acting hurt, I decided to play along.

"Fine, Britten...I'm zipping my mouth shut and not talking the rest of the way home!"

Her eyes got as big as saucers. Within a millisecond, the "old" Britten was back, talking away, a million miles a minute, trying desperately to get me to talk! But, I wouldn't. I just drove, looking straight-ahead, not saying a word. Finally, a frustrated Britten said:

"Mommy, put your mouth back on and TALK!"

And with that, we enjoyed a friendly conversation the rest of the drive home.

***On a side note, I'm beginning to think Britten IS still a little young to enjoy a full week of VBS. Apparently, when my husband picked her up today, Britten's teacher kindly mentioned that Britten didn't want to participate much of the morning and instead, preferred to be held. I'm not sure we'll be sending her back tomorrow, if not for Britten's sake, at least for the sake of her teacher's poor arms.

marathon mommies: weekly log

I guess I'm pretty horrible at this whole weekly log thing. I know I totally forgot, well, I didn't forget, I just didn't have the time last week to post a weekly log before we left for Colorado. The good news is that I'm much better at the whole running side of things and have only missed one day of my scheduled runs.

I did, however, miss the 10k on Saturday I intended to run and instead ran my own "race" around the neighborhood. It was a tough decision, but because we had just returned home from Colorado and a 5-hour drive from picking up the older girls from Grandma, I determined that loading the girls back in the van the very next morning for yet another 3 hours wasn't a wise decision.

I do admit, as I'm into my 4th consecutive week of training, that I'm becoming less enthused about my almost daily runs. That's not to say I'm quitting, because I'm not, I'm still very excited about accomplishing my goal of running the 1/2 marathon at the end of the summer. I just feel the "excitement" of starting something new has worn off a little and it's becoming more of a chore. I'm supposed to run 8 miles this Saturday, which I'm confident I CAN do, but with my husband out of town again, I'll have to run this long trek on the treadmill at the gym. YUCK! I'm at least very fortunate to have childcare at my gym so I have the option of getting out of the house and running during daylight hours (as opposed to jumping on my own treadmill after bedtime hours).

While in Colorado last week, I did continue my training, though I did slack a little and only ran about 2 miles each day. I felt I deserved a little break with being on vacation and all, or if that's just a lame excuse for laziness, I figured the high altitude made up for the difference in miles I missed (or is that a lame excuse for laziness?). Either way, I did run but was shy a few miles of what my calendar suggests. It was because of this, I found myself struggling while trying to run 6 miles on Saturday. I guess it pays to keep the momentum going...

Aside from desperately needing new running shoes, my training is going well. I'm physically feeling the benefits already and am excited to see the strides (no pun intended!) I make in the coming weeks. I do look forward to running my first race in July as I think that will be the true test on my strength and endurance.

One's things for sure: Having the accountability and support from my fellow marathon mommies has made all the difference in the world for keeping me motivated, so THANK YOU, to all of you!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

the day of sabbath and not a lot of rest

The Day of Sabbath, traditionally known for a day of rest. I wonder when, exactly, that particular tradition ceased to exist. In today's society, weekends are exceptionally busy for most, each person trying to cram all they possibly can into two short days. Each hour planned down to the minute, so that time can be used efficiently and productively. And in the end, this cycle creates more chaos and stress, which is ironic, considering the weekend is our supposed "time off."

I'm not one to talk, because Saturdays and Sundays tend to be my busiest days. My husband's job requires him to travel sporadically during the week, but more often than not, he's gone on the weekends. While most are anxiously awaiting Friday's arrival, I dig my heels in, knowing the craziness has only begun. And Monday, the day dreaded by all, happens to be my favorite day. It's usually the day we welcome the man of the house home, with open and very tired arms. So yes, weekends are busy for me and I have no option but to stay busy, making it impossible to enjoy a day of rest.

While most may think I'm crazy, I don't mind being home alone with my children. I much prefer a busy day to a day of doing nothing, and of course, being home alone with three little ones under the age of 4 keeps me on some very busy toes. I try to keep it fun and interesting for my girls, though I do keep in mind that children benefit from having a day of rest and relaxation more than anyone. That is why, when contemplating loading my girls up for the weekend and driving them 3 hours north, less than a day after getting home from spending a week with the Grandparents (or in Chloe's case, toted around the nation), I opted to stay home with them. It was a hard decision for me, knowing that staying home meant not running in the 10k race I had signed up for, but I knew in my heart of hearts it was the best decision...for them, at least.

So yesterday, our Sabbath, was in a way, a day of rest, though it began bright and early at 5:00am. After going to church and working in the nursery all morning, me and the girls enjoyed some quality time at home. We ate a relaxing not-so-relaxing lunch together, because really, how can you relax when you're trying to feed a 4 and 2 year old who don't understand the concept of sitting still at the table, all the while trying to puree peas and bananas for the hungry little baby, who in the end, gagged on the peas and only nibbled on the bananas. Somehow I found the time to mix together a quick lunch for me, but I can guarantee I ate that lunch standing up, between throwing food on the table for the older girls and attempting to squeeze food between Chloe's pursed lips.

The afternoon and evening were much more enjoyable. Britten and Chloe took good naps, while Ella and I put together a puzzle and enjoyed interesting conversation. When they woke up, I decided it'd be fun to make cookies together, all 4 of us! Why on earth I thought it'd be fun is beyond me, but it did turn out to be an interesting little endeavor, and at least the end product turned out scrumptious. Here's a little taste of our afternoon:

It began a little like this....
...and with the help of these big girls...
...and this little one (given the fact Chloe is 7 months old, she did not actually participate in the measuring or mixing of the ingredients, but she did a darn great job of sitting quietly in the laundry basket* and looking cute)!
It came together like this...
...and ended like that!

* In case you're wondering about the laundry basket, I find it to be a more comfortable place for Chloe to sit while we're in the kitchen together. She finds her highchair confining, and because of a few instances of her head hitting the hard, tile floor, I needed to find a better and safer alternative to sitting on the floor.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


We're back! We've actually been home since late Thursday night, but between settling back into our normal routine, unpacking and cleaning our house and my husband leaving town again, I haven't had a spare minute to post anything about our trip.

In a nutshell, the trip was great. The main purpose of going to Colorado was to visit our friends, Kris & Natalie. Kris is my husband's best friend from his college years, and Natalie and I became really close while my husband and I dated. Sadly (for us), they moved away to pursue other things around the time my husband and I married and have since had 3 kids (sound familiar?!). When they settled in the Boulder area two years ago, we vowed to visit them.

My worries and stress about traveling with Chloe were all in vain. She was, hands down, the best baby in the world and handled everything, and I mean everything, in stride.

Here's an example of how well Chloe did on trip out to Colorado. In fact, both there and back, she nursed on the runway, filling her tummy for the trip home, fell asleep the instant we took-off, and woke up, two and a half hours later, the moment the wheels touched the ground. I was absolutely amazed and so was everyone around us! We were so proud of her!

Kris and Natalie went above and beyond the call of the "gracious host" duty! Between allowing us to stay at their home and being our personal taxi, and the fact that we used our frequent flier miles to buy our airplane tickets, this was the cheapest vacation ever! They also planned our days with fun "Colorado" adventures...

...and it began the very night we arrived by going to a Colorado Rockies baseball game!
As you can see, Chloe was a huge fan...

..and despite being a little tired from our trip, loved every minute of the game!

We spent the next day in Estes Park, seeing the beautiful sites, visiting the historic Stanley Hotel where the movie "The Shining" was produced, and enjoying the best darn pizza and homemade ice cream I've ever eaten in my life!
Here's the view from the porch of the Stanley Hotel. Notice the handy contraption on my husband's back? We borrowed that from our neighbor, who coincidentally, used to live in Colorado. They assured us, that after using that backpack for a few days, we'd love it so much we'd want to have three more kids...

Not. :)
We spent our last night in Colorado hanging out in downtown Boulder. It was, by far, the coolest atmosphere and some of the most fun we've had in a long time. Notice the red double stroller in the background? This was "home" to Chloe and Jocelyn, Kris and Natalie's 2 1/2 month old, for most of our trip. Boulder is such a unique city, with live music and street entertainers lining the corners. They also had a farmer's market, where we enjoyed some wonderful food and did a little wine tasting.

Here we are...The three of us. Enjoying our last night together before heading home to reality.
Chloe was plum wore out by the time we left, not even moving a muscle while sleeping on the trip home.

Like I said, it was a great trip with memories we'll cherish! It was nice to get home, though, and reunite with Ella and Britten. We missed them to pieces, and though it helped to fill the void by spending time with Kris & Natalie's kids, we aren't complete unless we're a family of 5!

what it means to be a nurse

The following conversation is one that I shared with Ella about her time spent at Grandma Patty and Grandpa Dave's house:

Me: "Ella, did Grandma Patty take you and Britten to the hospital to visit with old people?"

Ella: "No. But after we leave, Grandma is going to work at the hospital and help nurse people." (Grandma Patty works as a nurse.)

Me: "Do you know what it means to be a "nurse?"

Ella. "Yes. Grandma is going to help nurse babies."

Monday, June 16, 2008

and we're off!

We officially began our vacation last night by dropping the older girls off with Grandma Patty and Grandpa Dave. We met halfway to avoid either us of us having to make the entire 5 hour trek, and fortunately for us, we were able to stretch our legs and fill our tummies at the Golden Arches.

By the look on my face, it's pretty obvious I wasn't too thrilled about the idea of scarfing down a greasy cheeseburger, but the girls certainly didn't mind the food and of course, LOVED the Playland.
Grandma & Grandpa got the girls home by 11:30pm, and after talking with them first thing this morning, we learned they crashed and went right to sleep after the long drive. Even so, they woke up bright and early, rearing to go, at 7:30am. As always, Grandma Patty was prepared with an itinerary of a fun-filled day.
First things first. Clean off the playhouse!Then they were off to take their new "wheels" for a spin!Like I said, already a fun-filled morning! I love seeing their smiling faces! Is it pathetic to admit that I already miss them to pieces!

We haven't left yet for Colorado, but we leave for the airport in an hour or so. I'm hoping to to blog from the mountains, but I'm not sure time will allow for such a thing!

For those of you wondering, I AM going to try and run while we're in Colorado, but I'm afraid of the altitude kicking my butt! We'll see what happens!

Saturday, June 14, 2008


I'm the first to admit that I'm the stricter parent between me and my husband. Whether it's discipline or snacks, the girls much prefer Daddy's method to Mommy's. Daddy has a hard time saying no to his girls, when they give him the doe eyes and say "pretty please." So when one of them complains that their sippy cup is "too cold to hold," Daddy goes above and beyond (as always) to please his little princesses:

In case you're wondering, this is Britten's sock stretched over the cup (and somehow, he's managed to use Chloe's little socks for this same purpose before). Oh, Daddy, you've outdone me again!

Friday, June 13, 2008

traveling not-so "light" with a "light"weight in tow

Our trip to Colorado next week will be the first vacation in which I've flown with one of my children. I know that seems impossible, considering we have a 4 1/2 year old, but really, it's true. I can count on one hand the number of times I've flown since having children, and when I have, I'm flying strictly for childless vacation purposes.

I always end up sitting next to a mom and her baby, or right across the aisle from a family with small children. I can assure you I am not the person rolling my eyes or grumbling under my breath about the crying baby or the screaming toddler. I am the understanding mother, trying my best to relieve the tension with an empathetic smile. But under that smile, I am always pondering the same thought, "Someday that will be me - the frazzled mom with a screaming baby or a tantrum-throwing toddler - and I absolutely dread that day."

That dreaded day has finally come, and truthfully, I'm excited about traveling with Chloe. I think she'll manage fine with the flight and our Colorado adventure. Chloe's very adaptable and is known to "go with the flow." But as I prepare for our trip, I'm becoming absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of "baby stuff" we need to bring in order to sustain Chloe for 4 measly days. I thought it was rough for me, as a woman, to travel light ("Yes, hubby, I NEED 8 pairs of shoes, because you just never know, you know?!"). But for some reason, my 18 pound baby puts my packing habits to shame. Here's what I mean...

Things to pack for Chloe:
  • 4 summer outfits
  • 2 winter outfits, because in Colorado, it could snow in June
  • 4 onesies
  • 2 pair of socks
  • shoes/sandals
  • 3 sets of pajamas - 1 warm, 2 cool
  • coat
  • sweatshirt
  • bathing suit
  • swimming diapers
  • sun hat
  • sun screen
  • hair clips - you know, to keep her "wisps" out of her eyes
  • baby shampoo
  • diapers
  • wipes
  • ointment
  • medicine (Tylenol & teething medicine, because you just never know!)
  • 2 nuks
  • baby food, because in recent days, Chloe's been eating food
  • baby spoon
  • bib
  • a few toys
  • car seat for the rented car
  • baby back-pack carrier, borrowed to us by our wonderful neighbors
  • nursing cover, though it does little to no good nowadays, as Chloe gets SO irritated by it and ends up pushing it out of her face.
  • burp cloths
Things I should pack for Chloe, but won't:
  • pack'n'play
  • booster seat
  • stroller
  • breast pump, because you never know when that would come in handy!
  • nail polish to paint her cute little toe nails (I'm kidding on that one. I'll be packing nail polish for sure. :) j/k)
Yowsers. I'm sure I'm forgetting some important necessities, and if I am, please let me know. My brain's a little fried right now.

a little vacation and a not-so-little spider bite

This is a week of preparation for us...Well, preparation and spider bites.

While up north visiting my parents, Britten was bitten by a spider on her leg. We believe this happened while she was sleeping on the floor of my parents bedroom, but have no definite answer, and really, it doesn't matter when it happened. What matters is that the bite got infected and we had to rush Britten to the doctor on Wednesday, two days after she was bitten, with an oozing bite mark and a swollen leg. The doctor was quite concerned, to say the least, but she immediately started Britten on a round of antibiotics and told us to watch Britten carefully, and if she develops a fever, bring her right back.

When Britten woke up on Thursday, she seemed much better. As the day progressed, she started complaining of a headache, stomachache and kept telling us she was really tired. Britten is our little busy-body-wiggle-worm, so for her to complain of being tired and asking to to go to sleep, was totally out of character and really worried us. We called the doctor, but because Britten didn't have a fever and the bite mark seemed better, there wasn't much need for concern. But by 10:00pm last night, Britten did have a fever and it had spiked to over 104. Back to the ER we went, or more precisely, Daddy and Britten went. I stayed home with sleeping Ella and sleeping Chloe, knowing Chloe would soon not be sleeping and want her Mommy. Long story short, blood tests came back normal (thank God!) and it didn't seem the fever was related to the spider bite. They determined she had a viral infection as her throat was red and a little swollen. This diagnosis made sense as I've been sick with a sore throat and no voice for the last three days. Poor Britty. An infected spider bite and a viral infection to boot. She's doing much, much better today though, and with a good nap and full night sleep tonight, I'm expecting to have my "busy-body-wiggle-worm" back to normal in no time.

So as I mentioned earlier in the post, this is a week of preparation for us. Andy and I are leaving the older girls with Grandma Patty and Grandpa Dave, and taking Chloe (because it certainly wouldn't be fair to leave an almost exclusive-nurser and horrible sleeper with Grandma for 4 days and nights) with us to Boulder, Colorado. We are dropping the girls off with Grandma and Grandpa this Sunday, and Monday morning flying out to Colorado to visit friends and enjoy an almost childless vacation through Thursday. We're totally pumped and are really looking forward to some time away. For as much as I love my little Chloe and know she'll be a little trooper for us, we won't have a REAL vacation until we can get away from all three of our girls at once and have the free time to lay in the sun, read books until our eyes bug out and actually get a full night of sleep. :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

marathon mommies: weekly log

I know I'm a day late with posting my weekly accountability post. I was out of town for a few days with the girls, visiting my parents, while my husband was home, working hard on projects around the house. For those of you with children, you can relate with how impossible it is to get tasks done when you have the little ones at your heels. We have several big summer projects we need to finish in the upcoming weeks, and for as much I'd love to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty, my husband is much more capable and efficient with these sort of things, so I'm left with the responsibility of keeping the kids out of his hair (or lack thereof). So off to Grandma's and Grandpa's we went for a 2 1/2 day adventure!

Overall, I had a great first week of training. I ran every scheduled run, with the exception of today, and pushed myself a little harder than my "calendar" recommended, knowing I have to be ready for a 10k in a couple of weeks.

Today was supposed to be a 4 mile run, and like I said, I didn't do it. I was out of town until this afternoon, and after one of the longest trips of my life with the girls, I couldn't muster up the energy to do it. I do, however, plan to "make-up" the run sometime this week, so I'll keep you posted on my next weekly log.

I wish I had the energy to write a little more, but I don't, and my brain is shut...t...i...n...g d...o...w...n.

Yawn. I'm going to go eat some ice cream and go to bed. I deserve a reward after all my running, wouldn't you agree?

How about you...How was YOUR week?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

a lot of juggling and a little yo-yo action

The last two days has consisted of a lot of quality girl time. With Daddy out of town for a couple days, it's been me and my girls. With a forecast of dreary weather, I woke up yesterday morning wondering how we were going to fill our time without the option of playing outside or going to the park. I got out of bed, sat down at my laptop with my coffee in hand (Because without my morning cup of coffee, I'm worthless. It's a horrible addiction.), and typed in the local library web address.

The library is such a great place to enjoy cheap (by cheap, I mean free) fun. Up until recently, I wasn't one to keep a good eye on the price of entertainment, particularly for children. I'd go to the local zoo, drop $30.00 - $40.00, and not even think twice about it. But my reality changed, along with my perspective, when a month ago, my husband left one of his jobs to fully commit his time and attention to his other career. He had been juggling essentially two full time jobs, one in which required him to travel, since we had Britten. He did this primarily so I could be home with our girls and we wouldn't have the stress of losing my income. Suffice to say, over time, he started to burn-out and began to feel the stress of spending too much time away from our family. He made the emotional and difficult decision to quit one career to focus on the other, and in the process, met his primary goal of being home more with our family. Of course this meant losing one income, but in the end, we realized that being on a tight budget and having more time as a family far outweighed having more money in our pockets. We are slowly becoming accustomed to living on our new and improved budget, and quite honestly, I carry less guilt about spending money frivolously.

So like I said, a library is a great place for cheap entertainment, for adults and kids alike. Reading is a personal passion, so walking into a room with rows and rows of free books is like a little taste of heaven on earth. By the look on my girls faces when we walk through the library doors, I know they feel the same way.

When I opened their website yesterday morning, I noticed they had "Dave the Yo-Yo Master" performing at 10:30 that morning! What could be more fun than taking the girls to watch a man yo-yo for an hour? Don't answer that. Considering it was only 8:00am, I knew I had enough time in my morning to get everyone ready and out the door in time. We quickly ate breakfast, took showers, got ready - Chloe took a quick nap -- and we were out the door with just enough time to get to the library, take our seats on the floor (among 1,000 other kids) and see "Dave the Yo-Yo Master" start his little act. I wish, wish, wish I had pictures to share, but I don't. My husband took the camera for the weekend, so I guess you'll have to take my word for it. We WERE there and watched most of the yo-yo show, until my girls got bored and asked if we could go read instead. :) It was a fun-filled, and most importantly, FREE, morning at the library.

I woke up this morning and was pleasantly surprised to see the sun in the sky. I was thrilled for the warmer weather as I had big plans in store for us. Today marked our neighborhood's 35th Annual Community Garage Sale, where over 100 home owner's participate and the event draws close to 10,000 people every year. The main street that runs through our neighborhood resembles that of the main drag of the State Fair, with Sweet Corn, Brats, Cotton Candy and Pop booths lining the streets, and hoards of people walking in every which direction. I'm not much of a garage-saler (is that a word?), but this event is so much fun and something I try not to miss.

I got the older girls in the wagon, lathered them in sunscreen, and gave them each a purse with 4 quarters in it. I put Chloe in my sling, and again, lathered her in sunscreen, and threw a big, pink, polka-dot hat on her head to block the sun from her eyes. She was so cute, with her big cheeks poking out from under the hat and her roly-poly legs and arms hanging from the sling.

As we walked through the neighborhood, among the crowd of people, I got the occasional comments like "She's really brave!" or "What is she thinking?" and the "Are you crazy?" stares, but that's to be expected. I underestimated the amount of work it would be, carrying my 18 lb baby in her sling, and pulling Ella and Britten in the wagon, all with the sun beating down on my head, that after 45 minutes or so, I decided to head back home. Though we didn't buy any garage sale items, I relented in letting the girls each buy chips and a donut with their money. Again, I wish, wish, wish I had pictures to document our morning together, but believe you me, Ella and Britten both had tummy aches to prove it!

Friday, June 6, 2008

a first in forever

We battled the pounding rain, the wind and the tornadoes (Oh, alright. There weren't actual tornadoes, but there was a tornado watch, and I felt a slight exaggeration would add a little drama to my story). We drove through rush hour in this stormy weather, 30 minutes, to do one thing. Something we've done once since having Chloe. Drop all three girls off with a babysitter (aka my wonderful sister and brother-in-law).

My husband and I have not been on a double date, let alone a night out, in months. The combination of Chloe not taking a bottle and my husband's travel schedule on weekends makes it extremely difficult to go out on dates. But with the help of my sister and the flexibility of our good friends, Kyle and Nealy, we finally accomplished Mission Impossible.

We met them for dinner at a the Cheesecake Factory, and for almost two hours, enjoyed food and conversation without the constant distraction of having kids crawl all over our laps. It was strange, but oh-so sweet.

Thanks, Lanzen's, for a great night out!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

ant eater

Ella and I spent the afternoon yesterday making another batch of yummy granola. We literally don't go a day without eating this granola, and the moment I run out, you can guarantee I'm in the kitchen mixing together a new batch or running to the grocery store to buy more ingredients. I've been nicknamed the "granola maid" by my husband, because he's constantly demanding lovingly asking me to make him more granola.

As I was letting the granola cool on the counter, Ella dashed into the kitchen and grabbed a handful of it.

"I need to feed the bug, Mommy."

"Bug? What bug, Ella?"

"The ant in the bathroom!"

We've had a little ant infestation in our upstairs bathroom, and even though we've treated the bathroom for ants and it's much more under control than it was a few weeks ago, we still get a straggler here and there running across the room. Up until Ella decided she wanted to feed the ant, she's been avoiding them at all cost, scared that they'll attack and bite her little ankles. It has made her so nervous, in fact, she's been making me go to the bathroom with her.

Surprised and curious, I decided to follow Ella into the bathroom. Sure enough, the tough little "bug"ger had made his way past the poison we had sprayed along the edges of the floor and was running across our bathroom rug. Ella sprawled herself on the floor and dumped her little pile of granola next the ant. He stopped in his little tracks and slowly made his way over to the food. He circled the granola and sniffed around, but must've decided it wasn't safe or good enough to eat, because he started to run off.

Ella: "No, ant! Come back! Come back and eat your food!" She grabbed an almond from the pile and tried to stop him in his tracks, but instead, squished him in the process. "Oh good! Look, Mom! He's eating the almond!"

I didn't have the heart to tell her she just killed the ant with the almond. She was taking big steps with getting over her fear of ants and I didn't want to traumatize the poor girl. Instead, I'd be a good mom and lie.

"Oh, you're right, honey! He is! That's very nice of you to feed your new little ant friend!'

Even the ants love my granola. It must be a great recipe.

teeth (because i couldn't think of anything more clever than that)

Hi, Chloe. Will you give us a little peek at your new teeth, please?
No? Pretty please, Chloe? Everyone wants to see how adorably cute you are with your four new top teeth!
Fine. If you're not going to do it on your own, Britten will have to pry your mouth open, and you know how much you hate that!
Oh, there we go! That's a nice big smile. Thanks, Chloe! At least we can see the top two teeth and that's good enough for now!
What's this picture for, you ask? Just for fun.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

message in a bottle on a balloon

*** Update*** Just tonight, as we were getting ready for bed, the doorbell rang. Ella ran to the door to find an envelope bearing her name on the doorstop. She instantly tore it open and asked for me to read it to her:

Ella's response to receiving a card back from "Jesus" was priceless.

Me: "Ella, Jesus got your balloon message!! What do you think about all of this?!?"

Ella: "It's
crazy!" The smile on her face was priceless, too.

On Saturday morning, I had invited a couple girlfriends from high school over for brunch. One of them showed up bearing gifts for the girls - balloons & flowers! They were estatic and haven't stopped playing with the balloons since. Until this morning, that is...when one slipped through Britten's little fingers and got away. Off it blew, into the gray, cloudy sky.

I was anticipating a meltdown on the spot, considering the affection my girls had for the balloon, but instead, to my surprise, the girls thought it was hilarious! They couldn't stop giggling and jumping up and down as they watched it fly off into the distance, growing smaller and smaller by the second. Ella noted the balloon was flying to see Jesus in the sky, and I assured her that Jesus would take good care of their balloon.

As it disappeared, Ella ran into the house, coming back seconds later with the 2nd of the 3 balloons. She let it go, purposefully this time, and both the girls giggled in excitement as it floated away. Once the balloon was out of view, Ella asked if she could send the third and final balloon off to its' demise Jesus, but this time, she wanted to attach a little message to the know, just a little note to say "hi" to Jesus.

Absolutely, Ella, we can do that!

As Ella prepared and carefully wrote her note to Jesus, Britten wrote, er, scribbled, her own little note to Jesus...
...on our dining room wall! Ugh! I turn my back for two seconds (literally) and this is what she did! Two-year olds have an amazing ability to wreak havoc in a blink of an eye! Fortunately, they were washable markers and were easily washed off, but STILL!
Ella taped her message to the balloon, making sure to use only two pieces of tape so as not to "weight" the balloon down at all.

And it's off!

It had a slow start, but it eventually creeped further into the sky, closer to its destination: Heaven.

"We'll see you in another life, brother balloon!" (Anyone else a Lost fan? Sorry, I couldn't resist!)