Saturday, February 23, 2008

He sleeps!


Asher - actually napping!Like my hair?

Oh, thank goodness for antibiotics. In his crib or in his chair, Asher now sleeps anywhere!

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Snowy Trail Mix

This is a recipe we found in March's Family Fun Magazine. It has a sweet "melting snow" topping with a mix that I changed up a bit to make it a great snack.

In a large bowl, mix together:

3 c pretzels

1 1/2 c corn cereal (like crispix - I used chocolate chex)

3/4 cup pecan halves (I used almonds)

1/2 c cashews (I did not use at all)

1/2 c. dried cranberries (Alivia did NOT like these).

Melt 12 ounces of white chocolate and slowly pour it over the mix, stirring gently. Scoop mix onto waxed paper to cool (about 20 minutes). Then, break the mix into bite size clumps. Makes about 10 yummy cups!

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Turning 12 weeks old...

After several weeks here of thinking Asher was just going to be a fussy baby who rarely slept (it is not uncommon for Asher to go ALL DAY with a catnap of a few minutes at most), I decided to take him to his pediatrician. Well, Asher has another ear infection (the first one he had along with his RSV in December). His Dr is also questioning some reflux issues since Asher tends to toss up a lot of milk in a day (but he keeps plenty down). We are going to fix the ears first, then move on to see if he needs a med for his little tummy. Wish me luck getting him to swallow this antibiotic! Oh, life as a 12 week old is so hard!

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Monday, February 18, 2008

I did it!

I hesitated on what to title this blog..."2 weeks notice, " It's about time," "Finally, a smart decision is made," before settling on "I did it!"

I did what, you may wonder. Well, if the 2 weeks notice did not give it away, I gave my 2 weeks notice to my employer after nearly 8 years of employment (and 3 beautiful children later). This has been something I have wanted to do for quite some time. My employer probably even wonders what took me so long. This job has given me many rewards along the way, but I had to go through A LOT of challenges and shark invested waters, too (many more of the latter than rewards if I do say so myself). I will not even get into what I learned along the way. If I were to return (official return day was to be Friday not tomorrow), I would have returned on Friday and had to leave my babies and Chris for a trip on Sunday through Thursday night. Um, after 8 years, I am saddened that my employer did not realize that I have a heart.

So, now what? I get to wake up every morning to my beautiful little Alivia telling me, "Mommy, it's time for Cheerios." I get to eat breakfast at a normal pace (on most mornings) and eat lunch with my kids. Do you know how many hugs, kisses and I love you's I would miss if I returned to work? Well, Alivia hugs me and kisses me about 10 times an hour at least! I get to have my little Addison hold my hand as she runs me through the house, and ask to be held 90% of the day (while I am holding baby Asher, too, I may add.She is my little cling-on). I get to see all Asher's first moments without the caregiver telling me them (oh, he did this, that or the other thing while you were at work today). My caregivers were in a catch 22 because I wanted to know everything that went on all day but hated to see what I missed! And Asher and I are so close already. I walk into his room when he cries after waking from a nap and say anything, and he is quiet. He does not even have to see me. I would miss that if I went back to work. I would miss his little looks at me, his first little smiles. I am so looking forward to seeing his first little belly laugh that he is so close to doing. Would I miss that if I went back to work? Now, I no longer have to worry about that. I am looking forward to making meals, cleaning up meals, changing diapers and smelling like the things that Asher is spilling out of him now adays (afterall, that is why we have a shower, right? To use it 3,4, or even 5 times a day!). And, for those who say, "How can you stay home all day? I would go stir crazy." Um, have you stayed home? The laundry, the toys, the playing, the meal making, the shopping, more laundry, the laughs, the tears, the craft projects, the baking, stir crazy? There is never a dull moment unlike there were with my job. My job paid well, but my new job as a full time Mommy is so much more rewarding. Heaven does not care how much money I make on earth. My kids will not care how much money they are left with if they are left with many memories of the fun and love we shared while growing up. My Mom stayed home with me. I do not remember not getting "things," but I remember all the fun we had together (and my Dad, too, since he was a farmer and was in and out, too). My worst memory (and many remember this one) was having to leave my Mommy for kindergarten. My kiddos will go to preschool to make that transition a little smoother, hopefully.

So, March 1, 2008, I will officially begin my new full time career as Mommy. So, let me say, It's about time! A smart decision is made! We did it! The way it should be. Thank-you, Topher, for making it happen. You are my knight, no armour needed. :)

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Vacation Day?


Today I was away from the kids for the first time in several months to attend a continuing education conference to keep my nursing license current. My parents watched the kids. Chris thought of this day as a vacation day for me. However interesting, this conference was far from fun. I really missed the kids, too!

These videos from YOUTUBE were ones of a few played during the trauma session at the conference. Now, I will always buckle up (as I always do anyway) and my kids will ALWAYS wear a bicycle helmet!  I also hope to never pump in a public restroom again! Now, today was NOT a vacation!

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!


Alivia & Asher"Cheese!"Addison in the dolly stroller!Heart shaped browniesValentine's Day 2008

Asher's first Valentine's Day - 11 weeks old today! As you can see, I was unable to successfully get a picture of all 3 kids together today (Addi just wanted to sit on my lap). Happy Valentine's Day!

We do not have big plans tonight. Chris and I have always kept things simple. Chris is making us his special shrimp and pasta (Chris is an awesome cook) and I made the heart shaped brownie dessert above (yes, I can bake!).

Aunt Norma's famous chocolate frosting (the brownie recipe is Norma's as well, but I will keep that a secret :) ). This frosting makes ANY brownie taste extraordinary:

3 TBSP softened margarine

3 TBSP cocoa

1 TBSP lite corn syrup or honey (I use honey)

Cream in small bowl, then add:

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 cup powdered sugar

1 TBSP milk

Beat until spreading consistency.

Hope your Valentine's Day is Sweet!

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Dough you want to be mine?

Busy at workplay doh heartsDough you want to be mine Valentine

Alivia's Valentine's this year include play-doh hearts & candy. We had a lot of fun with this project!

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Asher at 10 weeks

Asher in the dolly strollerSmiling at Grandma KathyBig smiles"Um, what am I doing in this thing?"

Asher, at 10 weeks, is smiling more and more. It used to be that only I saw the smiles and nobody believed me. Now, he is showing off a bit, above with Grandma Kathy. We are borrowing the chair from his aunt & uncle, and he seemed to like sitting in it!

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You warm my heart...


I got this idea from one of my magazines, either Parents or Family Fun (I love both of these magazines by the way, and I now like reading them while breastfeeding). Of course I had to put my own twist on it. The idea: Place a single serve hot cocoa packet into a paper cup, cut out a heart and say "You warm my heart, Happy Valentine's Day!" within the heart. My twist, make my own hot cocoa mix, place in a cute bag, and place in a nice mug. We gave this to Chris' Grandma for her birthday (although I am not sure if she was excited to get it as I was to give it). The cocoa is a fun thing for kids to make, too.

Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe (from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook)
3 1/2c. nonfat dry milk powder

2 c. sifted powdered sugar

1 c powdered nondairy creamer

1/2c sifted unsweetened cocoa powder

Combine ingredients into a ziplock bag and shake to mix. Store in an airtight container.

Directions for cocoa: 1/3c. mix to 3/4 c. BOILING water. Makes 5 1/2 cups mix (16 servings).

Alivia is going to give this to her preschool teacher, but in a paper cup as suggested.

We need anything we can get to "warm our hearts" when it is a high of 10 degrees!

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2007 in memory...

Here is the link to our 2007 shutterfly photobook...may we remember forever.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Soft Pretzels


As to Lenten foods, the fasting at this time once even precluded the eating of eggs and fats, so the chewy pretzel became the bread of the Season. They have always been a Christian food, ever since Roman times, their shape being the creation of monks. The 3 holes represent the Holy Trinity, & the twists of the dough represent the arms of someone praying. Below is a recipe for the large, soft and chewy pretzels that Topher likes to make:


1 Package dry active yeast

1 cup lukewarm water (110 Degrees)

1 TBSP Sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 TBSP Softened butter

3 cups flour, divided in half

2 TBSP baking soda

coarse salt

Place the yeast, water, salt and sugar into a small bowl and whisk until the yeast is blended. In a large bowl, blend the butter with half of the flour. Add the yeast mixture adn stir until blended, then add teh rest of the flour and continue to knead until the dough loses its stickiness. Let the dough rest and rise for about 20 minutes.

Divide the dough in to 12 pieces and roll into ropes about 15 inches long. Twist into a pretzel shape, firmly pinching the ends together. LEt the dough rest for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a large pot of water to boiling, then add baking soda and reduce to a simmer. Add the pretzels, a few at a time, adn cook for about 1 minute on each side. Drain and place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt and bake in a 475 degree oven for 12 minutes.


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Lenten Season

Today, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of the Lenten Season. So, the kids and I went to the 8:15 Mass this morning (yes, I went to Mass ALONE with the kids!). Although I was in fear of how the kids would behave, they all were very good and received compliments following Mass. I got lucky as Asher slept. Now, Chris can go to Mass alone and relax.

This Mass is the one the school kids attended, so I got a lot out of it. :) Father talked about 3 things we should do during Lent.

1. Dedicate ourselves in Prayer (obviously)

2. Fast, abstain & sacrifice. Since I am nursing, I do not have to fast, but I will abstain from eating meat (although I rarely eat meat anyway). On this first day of Lent, I have to decide what I am going to sacrifice. In the past I have given up chocolate, and I have vowed to not do that again. Besides, I do not think that sacrifice necesarily brought me closer to God (but maybe closer to crazy). If Jesus died on the cross for me, the least I can do is sacrifice something during Lent.

3. Do something special for someone through Lent, someone who you may not feel deserves special treatment necessarily. I thought of 1 person right away and Chris reminded me of another. So, I have 2 Lenten people. But, I can not tell who they are. So, if you start getting special things from me, you can only guess you are my special Lenten person.

Last night I tried to explain the Lenten Season to Alivia and talked about how we give something up during this time. After what I thought to be an explanation at a 3 year old level, Alivia responed with a, "Mommy, can I have dessert now?" Okay, I guess she is just too young. And today, Alivia cried when I explained why Father was putting the sign of the cross in ash on everyone's forehead. So, she hid behind me so he would not "get" her. When we were seated again, Alivia asked me all worried, "Will I still get candy on Easter?" Okay, definitely too young to understand what is this Season is all about.

This Lent, let us all come closer to God in some way.

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

Before & After

Before pictures from Asher's room

View from in Asher's roomAnother view of shutters from inside Asher's roomView of shutters from below.

Above are the after pictures of the hole with new shutters. We love them! It keeps his room quieter and warmer. Also, it will prevent (in the future) the possibility of big items being thrown threw the hole. We are going to install a shutter lock at the top so they can not be opened by the kids to prevent falls. This was the best solution to the hole problem without losing the architectural component that we liked about our home. Better late than never...but we will enjoy these shutters for a long time.

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