Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I am here to meet your needs

Often, when my children wake up in the night, I rush to their side and murmur, "Mama's here, mama's here". Often with tenderness; other times with exhaustion; and sometimes, I'm sad to say, with frustration at yet another hour of sleep interrupted.

As I whispered it to Cole this afternoon, waking from his nap rather violently, I took delight in being there for him...gently nursing him back into slumber so that he could later wake with renewed energy for life again.

To me, the phrase "I am here to meet your needs" describes the essence of mothering young ones. God designed Mothers to be the lifegivers for their young. We see it throughout His creation; and most eloquently in His image-bearers, humankind.

Without a supplement (formula, a wet nurse...), infants would literally die without the sustenance their Mother's milk provides. Without touch, infants will not thrive. Without someone to listen to and respond to their needs, babies are helpless! By design, their cry demands an answer.

And God's answer was Mama. The person He created to constantly care for a baby. To nourish him; cradle him; smile at him; talk to him; care for him...to love him by meeting his every need, no matter what.

It is a truly noble calling.

At the same time, it often seems to be this precise round-the-clock neediness that can feel totally overwhelming, can't it? I recall sitting on my bed in the wee hours of the morning a few days after Graeme's birth. His was a c-section, so I was dealing with surgery recovery, which I found to be much worse, hormonally, than my natural birth with Cole. Anyhow, I sat on my bed, nursing Graeme for what seemed like the fourth time already that night, and I just started weeping as it struck me: I would never be an independent human being again. Yes, marriage is a dependent-relationship...my husband definitely needs me =) But nothing like a baby needs me, especially a nursing baby. I realized that, for the foreseeable future, I would be tied to a needy little one who would demand my attention, whether direct or indirect, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There would be no "recess", no "lunch break" - no "vacation" from parenting.

Having a baby makes you unselfish, whether you're willing to be or not!

It was a process, for me, though, to accept my design. Then it took awhile more for me to embrace it. I think that will be a story I share another day, as (speaking of meeting needs) it's time to finish dinner preparations and help my boys share the tape measure. Ha!

Some pictures from our last few weeks...


Saturday, November 7, 2009

My "bumper sticker" for these baby-years

Or, I should say, one of the many I could share. Do you ever think of a phrase that would look really good as a bumper sticker?
I can't say I think of one very often, but yesterday I did.

It was just a long day, and I felt like I was cleaning up mess after mess after mess. My toddler had an accident; I did like countless sinks of dishes, as I was cooking all day; working with a laundry pile that seemed to multiply as the day went on, the blueberry that spilled on the seat that I had to feverishly try to get out before it stained....and so on - you get the idea.

On days like that, I can find myself weary with the seemingly endless demand on my energies for these messes we all make. That can disintegrate to complaining and "whining" (even if only in my head!) about these repetitive chores that come with a home with small children (and a momma who tends toward the messy, I mean, artistic side of things).

As I prayed for the Lord to change my viewpoint, I realized this: that Life is worth the Messes.

Living comes with demands, yes; but it comes with rewards as well. In fact, the living we do day-in and day-out is full of so much LIFE - learning, giving, trying, falling, getting back up; creating, exploring; resting, worshipping, eating; loving, hugging, laughing, crying.


So, yes, my young ones make extra laundry because they are learning: how to go potty in the big potty, how to hold a spoon or a cup.

I make lots of dishes cooking healthy, nourishing food.


We spill paint, milk, water, juice, markers, glue....but we spill them because we are using them to create, refresh and explore.

The glass is either half-full or half-empty. The choice - which way to view it - lies entirely with me.

17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.

26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:

Proverbs 31:17

Monday, October 26, 2009

Vegetables = Comfort Food?

Well, in these two recipes, veggies meet comfort food! =) We really enjoyed these this weekend.


Pasta Primavera
Apparently, a signature dish from a world-famous restaurant. I followed the recipe almost exactly, though I sub'd regular tomatoes for the plum and didn't have pine nuts this time around. A few tips from my experience: if you can chop up all the veggies ahead of time, it would make for a fairly quick meal - with the chopping and cooking together, it took maybe 40 minutes to prepare. I used two pans: a medium saute pan for all the sauteeing, and then a large stockpot to cook the spaghetti. At the final step, instead of putting the spaghetti in the saute pan to mix with the cream sauce, I put the cream sauce in the stockpot and mixed everything together in that. Cuts down on a few dishes ;-)

I've never even had asparagus (that I can recall) and have always been rather afraid of it, I guess. It was wonderful in this dish. I don't imagine I'd love it by itself, but in a dish like this, you don't taste any one vegetable flavor over another...they just all blend together in lovely pasta creaminess!


Turkey Cheese Casserole, or, Cheesy Pie (from Healthiest Kid by the Sears)

With this much cheese how can you go wrong? This was perfect for a dinner-breakfast (we had pancakes with it). Might also be good with some bread crumbs...there are lots of breakfast casseroles out there, but I did like that this one used turkey and cream cheese - hadn't seen those two before.

Serves 6-8

1lb ground turkey
3 medium zucchini, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. salt (or, to taste)
4 eggs (used local, free-range)
1/3 cup milk (next time I might try cream)
4 oz. cream cheese, cubed
1/2 cup mozzerella, grated
1/2 cup cheddar, grated

Preheat oven to 425. Brown the meat, and season as you cook with 1 tsp. basil and salt/pepper to taste. Cover the bottom of a large pie pan/casserole dish with browned meat. Layer on the zucchini and green onions. Add the Italian seasoning and salt to taste. Whisk the eggs and milk together and pour into the dish. Sprinkle all three cheeses on top. Bake for 30 minutes (mine took about 40 minutes b/c I used a deeper casserole dish).

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Blogging Block

Over the past few weeks, I've had quite the time coming up with the desire to blog. Not that I don't have ample subject matter, just not so much the "want-to" to write about it.

Most of my friends and family are now on Facebook, which somewhat eliminates part of the original purpose of this blog. Namely, to share pictures and updates with friends and family.

So, while I am a bit slow on posting, I just wanted to explain myself for anyone who is not on said-facebook ;) I'm still here, and will post as I have the time, desire, and sufficient interesting subject matter LOL!

I also have come to a humble conclusion about my own opinion. I've often been tempted to use my blog to share my political, spiritual, parenting or marriage or birthing or ___________ opinion......but frankly, I don't see the value in shouting from my little soap box when there are so many others who share their opinions quite better than I probably could. It is not either my mission or my purpose in life to convince the general "you" out there on the internet about things that are near and dear to my heart. It *is* my mission and purpose to love my husband, teach my sweet babies, care for our home, minister to my family, neighbors, friends, draw near to God....

As a wonderful prayer on the wall in my Mother's guest bathroom states:

Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion. Release me from craving to straighten out everybody's affairs...With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest Lord that I want a few friends at the end.
17th Century Nun's Prayer


so blogging is taking a bit of a back-seat for me at this season of life. I'll be sure to post as I have time and energy towards it. Just be patient as I am slow these days :-) Blessings to you and yours.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

a visual aid for my toddler

I am a visual learner. I'm wondering if my son is, as well.

Graeme is a helpful boy - I'm convinced it's in a child's makeup to enjoy helping. There's nothing like being productive while spending time with someone you love to make one just feel good, right?

Since laundry is a daily task around here, I've been brainstorming to find ways to let Graeme help. Tried letting him "help" sort and fold. That didn't go over extremely well, though we will continue to work on it :-) He much preferred jumping on top of the pile of laundry, and climbing the "mountain, Mama!"

So then I thought of this:



Each drawer is assigned a picture of what goes in it. As we (ahem...I) fold the laundry, we pile Graeme's clothes into these categories. Then I ask him to take ______ to the drawer it goes in.

And it's working wonderfully! Graeme finds delight in locating the correct picture, opening the drawer, throwing (I mean, setting) his clothes in and running back to report the job accomplished.

It does help me, as it's one less pile to put away.

But it helps him a great deal more. It's giving him a sense of ownership, pride in accomplishment, and teaching him the pleasure of each thing being in its own home.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Delicious, Real Food!



Snapped a picture of all the food I bought Thursday on our trip to the Farmer's Market and Publix to re-fill our refrigerator. I felt so...GOOD, knowing that our family will be eating all this nourishing food. I'm really working to fill our pantry and fridge with whole foods as much as possible - though, certainly, we buy our fair share of ketchup, the occasional bag of chips or cookies, and canned or staple items. I try to get those at the Commissary once a month, as it's a good hour trip there.

This just looks good, doesn't it? :) I think we'll have a bowl of peaches for breakfast...Happy weekend-ing!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cole at 9 months


Ah, how the time flies! I conceived Cole around the time that Graeme was 9 months (random fact, I know) - why that stands out, for me, is how fast pregnancy goes, and infancy...before I know it, Cole will be Graeme's age! I can't even remember Graeme being as small as Cole is now.


Four words to describe Cole at 9 months: sweet, snuggly, busy, and determined.

Truly, Cole is the sweetest little baby I've ever known. I realize I'm quite prejudiced, but I think I can say that neutrally, because it's true!

While I look forward to seeing Cole's personality develop (talk, walk, all that fun stuff), I will miss Cole as a baby. He is just such an enjoyable baby to be around.



Snuggly! Oh my, Cole is affectionate! Lately, when Mark gets home, Cole will crawl as fast as his little legs will carry him to pull himself up on Mark's boots to get a welcome snuggle. :-)



Busy. Cole is usually on to the next thing before I can keep track of where he's been.


Determined. This boy gets his sights set on something and there is no stopping him or dissuading him from his purpose. He is Mr. Destructo - he likes to dump everything, destroy it, conquer it, throw it over, and move on LOL!

However, once he's ready to sleep, he'll snuggle up (no going to sleep without rocking for this boy!) and be gone in a few minutes.


Favorite vocalizations: tongue roll, "da-da", na-na
Favorite place to be: with Momma, but Daddy takes a close second :)
What makes you laugh: Graeme's antics (especially when he chases you or makes funny noises with you), tickles in your neck, arms and tummy, Daddy playing "boy play" with you
Favorite food: Momma milk, avocado, oatmeal, banana (just started solids a month or so ago)

We love you, Cole!

Home Management Notebook, Part 1

Yesterday, I decided it was time to create my own Home Management Notebook. A fancy term for a notebook full of lists, charts, paper, and graphs to assist me in managing my home. This is not a task that comes naturally to me. I am the "free spirit", not the "nerd" of the house (aka Dave Ramsey)....If I were completely on my own, I'd be perfectly happy with clutter, piles, stacks, a full sink, etc. I count it progress that I'm willing to make such a dreadful confession ;-)

So here's my notebook:


I found a picture on Flickr's "Creative Commons" that I liked, printed it out, then put my text in.

Resources I used were:
1. SimpleMom.net
2. ListPlanIt.com (you can sign up for a free week-long trial!)
3. Flickr's Creative Commons

The idea for the "Home Management Notebook" came from SimpleMom. She describes her notebook here, and you can download (for free) all of the sheets used here.

In my notebook:
1. The Daily Docket - simple a daily planner. I may not use it everyday, honestly, but for busier days/weeks, it would sure be helpful - at the least, I love SimpleMom's idea of making 3 "Most Important Things" on your list of 10 to-dos for the day. In other words, if *only* those three things happen, you'll consider the day a success. What a relief for a perfectionist like me!

2. Master Chore Chart - can't decide whether to use SimpleMoms, or the one I downloaded from ListPlanIt's Home Management section.

3. Grocery List and Monthly Meal Plan, as well as several menu charts from ListPlanIt. I chose one that lists menus by day of the week (which I'll use for breakfast), and another that is a "master list" of meals in different categories (meat, vegetarian, pasta, soups, etc)...Once I fill that up, I can easily scan it for menu ideas, pick a few new recipes that I want to try, and have my menu for 2 weeks done in a snap.

4. Financial Worksheets (budget for each half of the month, Christmas gift planning chart, Home Improvement Savings List to save for all the things we'd eventually like to have in the house) - all of these were from ListPLanIt.

5. Growth Charts and Notes about activities/memories I want to keep for the children. Since I'm terrible at scrapbooking, I figure at least if I have a place to jot down little things that they do or how big they are, maybe I'll have them all in one place for someday when I have nothing to do and want to create a little memory book (ha ha).


I call it "Part 1" because I'll have to update how it works. Or, to be honest, whether I end up using all of the stuff inside, and what I add to it over time. What I like about this is that it is a visual, tangible thing that I can carry around with me. I'm very tactile, so having something to look at, thumb through, write in, and create is rewarding in itself. .

Finally, a video of Graeme from this morning. We were working in the garage during Cole's naptime, and Graeme was "helping" Mark fix the Volvo (nope, still not working!).

video

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Video of Cole at the beach

We had a marvelous visit with my sister this past week. On Saturday, we spent the whole afternoon at the beach! I'll post some more pictures later today, but for now, here's a video of Cole. He's got a great pincer grasp and is loving his new discovery of Toasty-Os :-) He'll be nine months in a few days, so I'll have a little post about him up.

(Forgive me for forgetting - again- to turn the camera horizontal...I'll try to remember next time!)


video

Friday, August 7, 2009

Fun Friday Favorite


Just for fun, I thought I'd share one of our favorite books. Maybe we could make this a tradition on Fridays...we'll see how good I am at keeping it up, though ;-)

"There's a House Inside my Mommy" by Giles Andreae is a book about a little boy whose Mommy is pregnant. Here's the review I wrote on Amazon:

This is the sweetest book about expecting a new sibling. My 2 year old son loves it, and as another reviewer said, loves the pictures that he can name all the items. The descriptions the little boy uses to explain parts of pregnancy were cute, and easy-to-understand for my son. It's just a charming book! We have two boys, so the genders worked perfectly for us. I like how it makes a story out of pregnancy...it doesn't focus on how the boy feels about the new child, and there's no obvious "moral" like many of the new-sibling books I've come across. It portrays the father, mother, little boy and coming baby with respect and tenderness.


Some of my favorite quotes...
The house must have a kitchen
So he doesn't get too thin,
And I think the food my mommy eats
Can find its way to him.

He seems to want such funny things
But Mommy's very kind,
So she eats all sorts of crazy stuff
And doesn't seem to mind.


Best definition of pregnancy cravings I've ever heard!! ;-)

Sometimes Mommy feels so sick
I don't know what to do,
But if I had a house in me
I'd feel all yucky too.


Isn't that adorable? This was a random thrift store find, but we're so glad to own a copy now! It's hard to find a book about pregnancy that is simply wholesome, not "politically correct" or too moral-ish - this one is a gem, that's for sure.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Earth's Best/Garden of Eatin' Deal

I guess the theme today is deals! Here's a link for a redemption form - if you purchase $15 in Earth's Best snacks, Garden of Eatin', MaraNatha peanut butter, Healthy Valley cereals/snack foods, you will receive a $5 Barnes 'N Noble gift card...purchase $25 worth, and you get $10 gift card. Pretty good deal, if you would use this stuff. I love the Garden of Eatin' corn chips (made with organic corn) and the Earth's Best snacks are pretty good - depends on if you get them on sale or not.

Here's the link:
http://www.takeahealthybite.com/gift-card/index.html

Enjoy!

Awesome Sale at Children's Place!

Children's Place is holding their seasonal "Monster Sale" where all sale items are an additional 50% off (price is reflected in the online price). But then I did a search for coupon codes and came up with one for an addt'l 15% off your purchase! That code is "family79".

I got 7 shorts (including some of those adjustable waist ones, which my skinny-minny oldest son needs!) and 10 polo shirts (don't you love Children's Place polo shirts?!) for $63 bucks (plus $5 flat rate shipping and $5 tax). Now THAT is a great deal. I shoulda got more LOL! This will be the foundational pieces for next summer for my boys.

Go quick, a lot of the nice stuff is on "low inventory"!

Monday, August 3, 2009

5 Dangerous Things You Should Let your Kids Do

My sister-in-law, Laura, posted a few months ago about something that made me really think about how often I say "Be Careful" to my oldest son. Additionally, my dear husband often has to instruct me about what to expect with my boys - the first time he told me he wants our older boys (like 8+) to know how to use a firearm, I loudly (okay, shockingly and insistently) objected! So the more I think on this topic, the more humble I become in realizing how important, indeed, vital it is that our children (boys AND girls) become confident using even "dangerous" items, because it is inherent in the human make-up to rule over the laws of this universe - to discover them, figure them out and then utilize them.

Take, for example, all forms of transportation - the inventors had to know all sides of the laws of motion (including the effects of falling down and, say, breaking an arm ACK!) in order to create the objects we use today, whether the skateboard or the automobile.

Granted, when I watched Graeme, my two year old, climbing up the park ladder for the first time (you know, those ones with the big holes that go up high and he could FALL OFF AND BREAK HIS LEG!), I was hovering like a mother chicken and telling him to be careful. Sigh. Hopefully I can get over that, step back, and rest in the confidence that my children know their own limits and are capable of such things. Gradually, I am.

At least I was cheering him on! :-)

Tweaking my Menu Planning: Part 2

The second part of my menu-plan tweaking is switching to a two-week rotation (shopping and planning) instead of weekly.

Honestly, it's happening naturally, so I figure I ought to "get the clue" and go with the flow!

1. We go through staples in about a two-week time-frame (cream, butter, milk, flour, juice, eggs). All of these items keep for at least two weeks.

2. We're switching to using all-cash as a budget method (Dave Ramsey), and Mark gets paid on the 15 and 31 of the month, so it would fit perfectly to go ahead and alot all of the money at the beginning of each pay check.

3. I'm locating local sources for eggs, milk and produce, and if I end up driving to purchase those, it would obviously be wise to limit the trips, so I'm thinking every 2 weeks would work well.

4. If I enforce this for myself and the family, it would encourage both careful planning and frugality. For example, if there are yet 3 days until the next grocery trip, we must make-do with what we have, as opposed to an extra trip to get the things for what we *want*, not necessarily what we need.


Do any of you shop/plan by a 2 week schedule?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Tweaking my Menu Planning



I'm sitting here finishing up my grocery list for shopping this afternoon while the boys take naps ("bap" as Graeme says).

I've come up with something that has been working for me for a few months now, so I think it's been tested enough to share it. I often have great ideas that don't pan out after giving them a good testing for a few weeks, but this one seems to be a "keeper".
We've been married for almost 5 years, and I've never gotten into a real groove when it comes to menu planning. It's probably because I get bored easily, and I always think the grass is greener - always trying a new thing!

So this plan gives me some flexibility, but here's what I love about it: It gives me a place to start. Procrastination is one of my top-three flaws, I'd say, and so many times I'll sit down to make my grocery list/menu plan and feel lost, alone, and afraid! (Sounds exaggerated, but not by much!)

Here it is: planning by category
Monday - salad (change to soup in the winter)
Tuesday - stir-fry
Wednesday - spaghetti, lasagna or pizza
Thursday - fish
Friday - fun/family (grill-out, hot dogs, have people over...)
Saturday - sandwiches (easy, flexible in case we're low on groceries)
Sunday lunch - crockpot/roast
Sunday dinner - breakfast




Then I have a list of breakfasts and lunches to work off of on a regular basis. This makes stocking my pantry/cupboards simple.

Lunches:
pasta salad/rice salad/green salad (throw in leftover meats if desired)
burritos
quesidillas
PB&J
tuna sandwhiches
mac n cheese

Breakfasts:
smoothies
pancakes/waffles/french toast (great for using up that almost-stale bread!)
oatmeal
bagels
muffins
fruit


There are a couple things that I do weekly/semi-weekly:
Pot of beans to soak Sunday evening - this gives us beans for lunches, snacks, dips or whatever
Roast a chicken on Monday - sometimes use the chicken for a chicken or pasta salad that evening, to use in lunches or my Tues. stir fry, and then I make chicken broth for the week. Read more about the health benefits of broth here.
Baking - Once a month, I'm using this recipe for homemade bread. I'd like to bake a weekly batch of muffins/bagels or whatever, as well as a weekly batch of rolls (potato rolls, french bread, eventually I'm going to experiment with sourdough).

So that's what a week in my kitchen is looking like, and I'm feeling very comfortable with this type of planning. Especially since we are really cutting back on processed/commercial foods, trying to eat locally and healthfully, and working to pay off our debt (Dave Ramsey anyone??!!), careful planning is not a luxury, it's a necessity! The few weeks of our move were crazy, and we were amazed at 1) how expensive it is to eat out, 2) how much we noticed feeling draggy and just tired of eating-out-food, and 3) how generally hard it is to find healthy food at mid-range restaurants and fast food. It's wonderful to get back to real food made by my own hands in my own kitchen! :-)

A question - what do you all do on the weekends to keep meals simple? Do you have a standard Sunday dish you prepare every week?

Soap-Nuts Liquid Giveaway!

Lindsay at Passionate Homemaking is giving away 20 samples of a new liquid soap-nut detergent. Read all about it in her review here, and learn about soap nuts in her post here. I'm hoping to win, as I've been wanting to try soap nuts out! Go enter!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

What we've been up-to

Several of you have mentioned that you didn't know we were moving...I'm so sorry! I guess in all the hustle and bustle, I just neglected to fill my blog friends in on our happenings. So here we go, I'll fill in the blanks!

Mark finished TBS (The Basic School) in May. Here are some graduation pictures:




After graduation, we packed (whew, we were crazy to do a "self-move"!) All I can say about the drive from Virginia to Florida was that 4 days of 6-hour+ car trips with little ones (we had a few stops to stretch it out)...absolute craziness. Honestly, the boys were troopers! But even the sweetest boys start to go crazy after sitting in the car that long.

We made it, though, and God blessed us with a beautiful rental home within 1/2 mile of Escambia Bay (the bay Pensacola sits on). I do not exaggerate to say that we live in a resort-like community. Our house is big, open, airy...the perfect beach house. We've been to the beach probably 4 times since we moved. The boys love it! So do we - though this last visit is still painfully remembered every time I move my shoulders, as I foolishly neglected putting sunscreen on (sigh!)



We're enjoying this season of Mark's career...he is here for flight school (has a pilot's contract in the USMC) but the wait is looking like it will be April/May before he starts. Meanwhile, he'll have a light job that will bring him home around lunch time/nap time most days, with weekends off and NOTHING like the pressures we experienced during TBS. Truthfully, we are having a time of healing and renewal as a family, it's been wonderful. Cole loves to cuddle, and Graeme is exploring his new surroundings with relish :-)





A few Graeme Funnies


(Don't ask - it was a catastrophe that we turned into fun ;)

Since my oldest son is talking non-stop these days, he's coming up with some funnies that I thought I'd share.


Moe's is a Subway-style Mexican restaurant. Definitely one of our favorites. Whenever we're headed out to eat at Moe's, we'll tell Graeme we're going to Moe's, and then we all chime in with "Welcome-to-Moes!" (which all the employees holler out when someone enters the restaurant).

Tonight, leaving, Mama says, "Say bye-bye to Moes".

Graeme willingly waves and shouts: "Bye-bye, Welcome-to-Moes!"



We have really been working with Graeme on not pushing/kicking/knocking his brother down lately. Part of the discipline includes Graeme going to Cole, giving him a hug and kiss, and telling him he is sorry for ---. I guess you can see how much we've had to work on this when, this morning, I hear Cole start to cry, come around the corner, and can quickly see what *probably* happened, since Graeme is holding the toy Cole was playing with. Before I can get a word out, though, Graeme starts crying with Cole, rather frantically repeats "Hug, kiss, sorry!"

Then before his nap, I say, "Can you give Cole a night-night hug and kiss?" He goes up to Cole, very sweetly gives him a big hug and a smackaroo...and a very sincere "Sorry"! I wonder if he really understands what "Sorry" means. Ah, well.


Last week I told Graeme it is kind to ask people how they are doing. We practiced a bit. Now I often here a little voice: "Hi Mama, How are you doing?" I have to make sure to respond as we practiced, because I usually forget and just laugh and give him a big hug because it's so cute!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Under Construction

A fitting title for both the blog and my life right now! My blog is getting a re-vamp (again, I know). We're settling into our house here in FL...and it seems like every area I'd found a balance in the past year is getting re-hauled. Life-changes have a way of doing that, I suppose. We were in quite a groove when it came to our daily routine, meal planning, etc! So while we settle in once more, I'll get back to blogging more frequently - have lots of pictures to share and news to talk about.

Meanwhile, we are loving living within 20 minutes of the beach! Here's one of Graeme's favorite pasttimes:



And, one of Cole's (ha ha!) Aren't they so sweet when they sleep?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Family Photo Shoot!



We scheduled a photo shoot to get some professional pictures of Mark in his dress blues...then decided to do some casual family pictures too. Am I glad we did!

Mark's Dress pictures still aren't up, but should be in the next few days.

View the "preview" on Theresa's blog, here.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lovely Blog Award



My friend, Myra at Happy Housewife Living Life, gave me this award (Thanks, Myra!), and I wanted to pass it on to:

My sister-in-law, Laura at Five Little Arrows, who recently got a fun blog-makeover!

My friend, Ivy at Sweet Tea by the Baltic Sea, whose pictures of her two little girls always make me smile (and my ovaries itch for a girl :)

My friend, Nikki at Nikkis Notes, who recently made a special announcement about an event that will happen in approx. 8 months! Congrats!!


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Just gone for a bit :)

Hi friends,

Just wanted to let you know I hadn't fallen off the face of the earth! My Mom and Dad are here for a week-long visit...so I probably won't be on much this week either, but I may come post pictures for my sister's sake (luv you sis!) since she wasn't able to come visit this time around.

Be back :)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Week of Milestones!

The classic military joke is that it's only when the husband leaves that the car breaks down and the kids get sick. Thankfully, the car did not break down, but Mark has been gone all week in the field (the last one, yey!), and wouldn't ya know, we've had a busy week! WOW, talk about milestones:

1. Potty Training

Monday morning, Graeme sat down on his potty and peed. Just like that. And he's still doing it! Hasn't gone #2 in the potty yet.

I wasn't "ready"! Kids don't wait for us to be ready, though, do they?

2. First foods

Cole is eating avocado and seems to like it fairly well, don't you think?




3. Adventures of the Toddler Bed


Graeme is experimenting with the wonderful freedom he's discovered: no crib rails! It's been a bit of a trying week at times, for me, as I attempted to discern what was teething issues and what was an issue of the will - as the week went on, I realized this was a battle of wills. Last night and today were better, thankfully!

4. Toddler Molars

Graeme's baby-teething was remarkably "easy", but I think he's making up for it with his toddler molars. Extra fussiness, not wanting to eat as much as usual, more nursing than normal, messed-up sleeping patterns...you get the idea. I think the bottom two are done erupting, but the top two are just beginning (sigh).

He's got a beautiful smile, though, doesn't he? :)



5. Cole's first tooth!

At long last, we have a tooth. One of the bottom front erupted last night. And as is appropriate for my laid-back fellow, he did nothing unusual (let's hope all his teething is that easy LOL!)

You can't see it yet through a picture. But Cole willingly posed for me anyway.

Cloth Diaper Giveaway!

You need to head over to SimpleMom's giveaway - several great cloth diaper companies are offering giveaways! View her reviews on her favorite diapers, and the giveaway here.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Graeme's first "official" haircut

Mark and Graeme went on a field trip yesterday. When they came back, my toddler looked like a little boy! (Mark says the whole PX knew that Graeme was getting his haircut...but he did it, and I'm proud of him.) It's not perfect - hey, she did the best she could. It'll be much cooler for the summer, though. Hopefully the next few times will go more easily for him :)




Just had to get a few of my snuggly boy.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cole at 6 months

Hard to believe it's been half of a year already! Our littlest man is growing quickly - won't be long before he is sitting up on his own and crawling. His first teeth should be arriving shortly, as well...all this gnawing and drooling. By now, Graeme had 4 teeth!

The pediatrician said he looks great (of course!). He hasn't started solids yet, and she encouraged us to start those (which I knew). I was surprised that she even recommended putting juice in the dry cereal - why do juice before they know enough to want it? Anyhow, I'll probably be experimenting in the next few weeks with making my own rice cereal, if I decide to start with that - I may start with avocado as I did with Graeme. Cole has not been interested in the occasional bit of banana I've been offering.

Cole is at the 75% mark in height (26"), the 45% in head circumference, and the 51% in weight (16lb.12oz). I was surprised at the weight %, as he seems quite chunky to me! The pediatrician shared an interesting fact, that breastfed babies are often in the higher percentiles in weight in the first few months, and then as your breastmilk fat starts to level off, their weight also levels off to more modest numbers, even in the lower percentiles. I find that it is a common myth that breastfed babies are plumper - and she confirmed for me, that it's the great percentage of formula-fed babies that guide these "averages"...so she's not concerned with a breast-fed baby that appears healthy and is eating frequently, though they may be at or below the mid-range of the percentiles.

Cole's personality? Developing, that's for sure! We're getting more demonstrations that he does have a will (which I was wondering about for awhile here - he's been so sweet and laid-back!). When he doesn't like something, he's starting to make himself heard, if ya know what I mean! He loves to interact with big brother, often laughing at his antics. I can't wait to see this develop more in the coming months. He loves people, loves to smile, and loves to cuddle.

The nurse asked if he is grasping, and trying to go get things out of his reach - I had to laugh! Is he, though?!! He gets his sights set on something, and he WILL get to it. He is a very determined mover! I know he is going to crawl early (Ped. said 8-9 months is average, but I cannot imagine him waiting that long.). He seems to me to be a "conqueror" - whereas Graeme was content to explore and study things, Cole's goals seem to be more along the lines of overcoming, conquering, and then moving on to the next conquest :-)





Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Trip to New Jersey

We went to NJ over Memorial Day Weekend (Mark got a 4-day weekend!). We've been wanting to get up to see his Grandmother and Aunt&Uncle. It was wonderful to finally spend some time with them. Last time we visited, I was barely pregnant with Graeme (in fact, I didn't know that I was pregnant yet, but kept feeling nauseous and ate like crazy LOL!)

Cole spent several naps like this:

Great Grandmother

Graeme has obviously missed our piano, and gave us several very nice "recitals". (Actually, he really does already have a nice touch - he doesn't bang.)

Went to the park several times

This is one of my all-time favorites of Graeme.


Isn't this too cute?

Graeme, always ready for a comfy lap and a good read.

Aunt and Uncle with the boys