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A Characacher, of sorts

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Elie: "I'm drawing a picture, Mom!"

Tia: "Oh really, what are you drawing?"
*walks over to see*

Elie: "Its a MONSTER, Mom! Roooaaarrrr!!!"

Tia: "Oh cool, Elie"
*bends over to take a closer look*

Elie: "Its you when you're mad, Mom".

Tia: *bends over, looks even closer*
*stands up and goes back to cleaning the kitchen table*
"...that looks about right".

Stepped Out: Making A Christmas Card

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I have so many things that I want to write about- decorating the Christmas tree and all of the chaos that went along with it, surviving two all-5-of-us daytime outings in the same day (can you believe that?), and of course about all of the fun things (and the not so fun) that we did in between- but, because my coupon code for a steal of a deal on Christmas cards only lasts through tomorrow... I have to get my priorities straight...

But I'll leave you with a sneak peak??

Merry start of the Christmas season!!

This is a comment-free blog, but if you need to get in touch, our email is down at the bottom of the page :)

Flashback Friday- Trimming The Tree

Friday, November 26, 2010

"Tia! Where is the flashback?!"

Oh sorry, I was one of the crazies lined up outside of Old Navy at midnight last night. Pajama pants for $5. ...FIVE, DOLLARS.

...but when under the pressure of savings, I ditched my bag full of slippers and plaid pants around 12:45am, when I realized that it was probably going to take until 4:00 in the morning, no joke, for the line to move from the little boys section, past the fittings rooms, down to the cash registers.

Maybe because the majority of Old Navy employees are 16 (I used to be one of them, by the way), so they were majorly under staffed? Fa la lala.

And when we left (my friend Autumn braved the chaos with me), there were still people lined up outside, bundled up and freezing in the 20 degree weather, to get into club Old Navy. Was ridiculous.

So, I may not have gotten all of the $5 pajama pants that I had intended to, but- at least I got to come home and go to sleep before the sun came up. You people are nuts. I can't compete.

Now... lets do some flashbacking?

I don't know about you guys, but its tradition in our house, to decorate for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. This year I kinda jumped the gun a smidge, by letting the kids watch A Charlie Brown Christmas three times in a row the other day (I needed a babysitter, and I needed to make pie), and we maaaybe have been listening to the Christmas swing station on Pandora every day for the past week, but- we save the decorating for today.

This is a picture from last year. Eleanore's fluffy butt tutu, the kitty on the window sill, and our beautiful tree in the making.

Do you think that tutu will still fit her this year?
...my fingers are crossed that all of her growth from the past year was upwards, and I'll get another year of Christmas ballet and tulle enchantment?

If you share this tradition with us, I hope that you all have a wonderful day filled with ornaments and trimmings!

And for all you crazies out there shopping your plastic bag grabbing fingers to the bone- may you have a quick and painless recovery.

Flashback with us! Go through your polaroids, scrapbooks, old crappy cell phone pictures- whatever you've got. Scan them, upload them, get them onto the computer somehow, and then share them with the world! Or... with us at least. Post them onto your blogs, write a little bit to go with them- tell us your story. When you're all finished, grab one of our buttons from down below (wayyyy down there at the bottom of our page) and put it somewhere inside your post (or link back to us the old fashioned text way). Come back here to this post, and add your link to the photo list below!

And if you've got a minute, maybe go poke around some of the other flashbacks posted, and leave a comment on another blog or two?

This is a comment-free blog, but if you need to, or want to get in touch, our email is at the bottom of the page :)

Thanksgiving 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The day started off with cold hard wood floors and a certain cheer circulating throughout the house. Maybe because it felt like fall? Maybe because nobody had anywhere to be today? Maybe because I got to spend all day in my pajamas and eat as much as I wanted to?

It was a perfect day, here in our home.

Christopher wasn't called into work. There were tantrums, but no meltdowns. And the house smelt like turkey alllll day long.

But before the day is over, and before Elf starts- I wanted to share some picture with you, uploaded straight out of my camera. No editing tonight, friends and family, just a camera, a flash, and some homemade stevia sweetened cranberry sauce...

We got a large bird this year, 22 pounds? We made mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce (as I mentioned before), and gravy from the drippings.

All from scratch. All gluten, dairy, and fructose free.

I couldn't finish what was on my plate, by the way. But I sure did try.

Charlie wasn't so sure about everything. Too much variety, maybe?

...Or, a day filled with a lot of excitement, and a craving to toy motorcycles, more like it.

Oh stop, since when are you so shy?

...she pigged out.

Evelyn got hungry right around the same time we did.

So she pulled up a boppy and ate along side the rest of the family.

Oh you guys.

(Charlie is off somewhere with a truck in one hand and a car in the other)


Like you don't use your fork to give yourself turkey mustaches sometimes, too?

Anyways. My babies are all in bed now, and my husband is waiting on the couch for me to come and curl up beside him to watch our movie.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends and family!

How I Hide My 4 Year Olds Dreadlocks

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Oh Elie- my beautiful four year old daughter.
You have not a care in the world.

...Which is why you have crazy hair.
Lets take a closer look, shall we?

Thats her hair.
Every day.

When Eleanore was around 18 months old, she developed something called "rhythmic movement disorder".

What the heck is that?

Well basically, come bed time, rather than going right into sleep the way that most of us do, she gets on her hands and knees, and rocks back and forth, or side to side.

If shes asleep and something disturbs her- thunder, a baby crying, a bad dream- she starts rocking.

Its been known to gone on all night long.
For hours.

Because of this, she gets crappy sleep, most nights.
Oh, and also- her hair is out of control!

She does it under her sheets or blanket. Usually shes "hiding" from the dark, which scares her, but even with a night light, she still wakes up the next morning with a friction forced rats nest.

I know some girls do their hair like this on purpose, pretty sure I used to be one of them, but-

Can you imagine having to brush that?

I'm not going to lie, as embarrassing as it is to admit...
I'll go days without brushing her hair.

We'll sit down with the de tangle spray, a hair brush, and a movie- but no matter how much time I spend pulling and tugging at the knots, causing tears and tantrums, the mess always come back.

So I gave up. I brush it once, hope that it stays nice and smooth for a day, but when she emerges from her nap that afternoon with a back-and-forth-back-and-forth bouffant, I quit.

My answer?
My savior?
My lazy way out?

Kitten covered headbands.

...you might have seen them in some of our pictures before?

A year or so ago, Eleanore's pen pal sent her a package, and amongst the goodies was a headband. At the time, Elie wasn't much into wearing things on her head or in her hair, she'd pull them out or take them off, but one day, totally at random, she pulled the strawberry shortcake themed wrap out of her dress up trunk, asked me to help her put it on, and things from that point on would never be the same again.

Look at that! It doesn't matter how horrible of a mess her hair is- the headband not only keeps her bangs out of her face, but it totally covers up the disaster that the poor girls lazy mom (hi) didn't want to sit down and comb through.

Its so bad, that the other day when I was talking to my neighbor, she asked "yeah whats up with Eleanore's hair? Every time I see her now, its this big huge rats nest".

...yeah, about that.
I don't have the time to brush her hair for half an hour twice a day, sooo...

Whats up.

Where can you get these time saving and super cute miracle dreadlock concealers, you wonder?

From my friend Vanessa, over at Random Pretties.

She sells a pattern for the headbands in her Etsy shop (click the word "pattern" to go see it), for only $6. But uuummmm, I don't sew, so I sent her a message and sort of begged her to make some for me, which she did, and I'm so grateful.

And she sent me some too, for my bad hair days. When I wear them, I call it my Cinderella look, hah.

My life has gotten 9,000 times easier, since we started using these.
And anything that makes my life easier, might make your life easier.

Alright, its late so I better go rest up.

Tomorrow is hair-brush day...

This is a comment-free blog, but our email is located at the bottom of the page if you're needing to get in touch :)

No Title Could Do This Post Justice

Sunday, November 21, 2010

This was by far, one of the worst weekends in my memory.

So terrible, and so ridiculous, that at one point, during one of my many tear streaked breakdowns-

Between my sons nearly choking to death on a pretzel in the middle of a tantrum, and his completely out of nowhere allergic reaction to hazelnuts. Somewhere after my husband got called in to work another 12 hour weekend shift, for the second weekend in a row, but before his scooter broke down on his way home, while the kids were waiting in their pajamas for him to walk through the door and read them to sleep. Probably riiiight around the time when I opened up the fridge and stared at the half empty can of pumpkin and the drawer full of almond cheese, wondering what I could make with the two of them, since I had literally no way to get to the store, since we couldn't go car shopping this weekend, because someones gotta "keep em flyin"-

I started laughing, wondering if there was any way it could possibly get any worse.

And of course, it could.
It always can.
And so it did.

I can't even count all of the stupid status updated that I typed out on my cell phone keyboard, and then deleted because of how depressing and whiny they were, only to throw my phone into the couch cushions, and bury my face in my hands, sobbing uncontrollably, begging for a break, and feeling completely alone.

My head was spinning. My vision was blurry. My ears were ringing.

And then something amazing happened...

I sat down on the couch at the end of the night, eyes swollen and puffy from my mental mess, my glasses not even working anymore, clumsily undressing the baby to get her ready for bed-

and as I was lifting my robotic head after changing her neglected diaper, her gaze met mine, which erased the anger from my wrinkled up forehead, causing me to use my I'm-exhausted-but-I-still-love-you silly mom voice and loudly say, "I tickle tickle your tummy!"-

And she chose that moment, to open my heart- she laughed for the very first time.

My baby laughed! And she laughed for me!

So again, I cried. Water pouring down my cheeks, but more silently than the times before, and this time triggered by joy.

Not only did she laugh when I tickled her tummy, but she laughed when I tickled her cheeks. She laughed when I tickled her knees. She laughed when I tickled her nose.

She just kept, laughing.

I don't remember when Eleanore first laughed. I don't remember when Charlie first laughed. But I will always remember when Evelyn first laughed.

I tickled her until her laughter wore her out, and she fell asleep in my arms. And then rather than putting her down in her swing or bassinet, and rushing off to finish the dishes or tuck stuffed animal friends into their pretend cradles- I held her in my arms for the rest of the night.

Angels exist.

Flashback Friday- Making A Christmas Card

Friday, November 19, 2010

Getting a late start, this Flashback Friday.
I thought it was Thursday.

Really though. I watched Greys Anatomy last night, I mentioned something about "so glad tomorrow is Friday, and hubby and I can have our on the couch with cable date night!", I even made a comment about Thanksgiving being in exactly one week.

...yet I still woke up, thinking that today was Thursday. Again.

So anyways. Since I've got Christmas card making on the mind (we're taking pictures for that this weekend, and I'm brainstorming), I thought I'd go back through my files and pick out some of the pictures from our photo shoot that we had at the Air Park (we live on an Air Force base, with miles of vintage parked planes on display) last year.

We went down there on Veterans Day, Santa hats in hand and briefly on heads, and played it by ear. It was just Charlie and Eleanore back then, Charlie not even walking yet. Eleanore mostly just wanted to run through the grass and pick flowers, rather than wear her holiday hat, but we managed to get at least one Christmas looking shot of her...

Yep, that second one there is the one that made the cut.

Charlie wasn't yet obsessed with planes, so he spent most of his time crawling around, in search of the most delicious looking rocks.

Yumm, must have found a good one.
Ok, but before you break the few teeth that you have...

There we go.

Oh, wait, whats that?
You're sitting right next to ant hill?!
Well of course you are! We're awesome parents, and totally saw it before we put you down.

Oh my God somebody please pick up the baby!

This was one of my favorite pictures of Eleanore. Sitting there all pretty in the grass, blowing the seeds off of flowers.

And this was another one, because she never sits still for pictures with me. Ever. This one didn't make it to the card, but it is in a collage frame in our living room.

And my boys.
Love these boys.

Me and Christopher.

Aaaaand the money shot. The centerpiece of our 3 blocked collage card.

I literally had to run, after setting the timer on the tripod. I think we did this shot 3 times before we got one where I had actually made it to the bench before the timer went off.

Oh wait wait wait! Theres one more!

As we were leaving, walking back to the car, a random shirtless jogger, an elderly man, stopped to take our picture. He came up, asked if he could get a shot of our "beautiful family" (he mentioned how beautiful we were at least 5 times, and kept thanking us?), suggested we take it "over there", and then proceeded to take my camera, stand us all in the sun, blind us, and wash us all out...

Ok but after playing with it a little, the photo turned out to be kind of perfect. Probably because of the half naked sweaty man who took it.

Flashback with us! Go through your polaroids, scrapbooks, old crappy cell phone pictures- whatever you've got. Scan them, upload them, get them onto the computer somehow, and then share them with the world! Or... with us at least. Post them onto your blogs, write a little bit to go with them- tell us your story. When you're all finished, grab one of our buttons from down below (wayyyy down there at the bottom of our page) and put it somewhere inside your post (or link back to us the old fashioned text way). Come back here to this post, and add your link to the photo list below!

And if you've got a minute, maybe go poke around some of the other flashbacks posted, and leave a comment on another blog or two?

This is a comment-free blog, but our email is at the bottom of the page, if you'd like to get in touch.

Let The Moment Knock The Wind Out Of You

Thursday, November 18, 2010

There are some moments that sneak up on us out of nowhere, give our hearts a strong nudge, and knock the bad day right out of our lungs before we have the chance to let go of the breath that we've been collecting throughout the afternoon.

When all I've done is change diarrhea diapers, taken beatings from thrown across the room etch a sketches, and burnt my hand on hot food that my children decided not to even eat- I pray for these moments.

And when it feels like I just can't take anymore. Not even one more second of stepping on toy cars while holding the baby, and nearly breaking my back from trying to stabilize my balance before we both hit the floor-

Daddy comes home, and I see the love that my kids have been hiding all day.

They were saving it for him.

He parks the bike, puts up the kickstand, the back wheel comes off the ground.

While they run to him, hopefully wearing shoes, or at least socks, because the concrete is cold today, I stand behind them, still trying to wrap the baby in a blanket, ignoring that my shirt is still up above my bra from breastfeeding half an hour ago.

While part of me wants to be mad, that nobody gave me that kind of admiration today, even though I slaved away in a kitchen and cleaned up messes that I didn't make, the up-beat in my heart is too loud to compete with the self pitty.

I watch my family, and I fall in love.

Christopher's just come home from Physical Training- what I wouldn't give to do some yoga right now.

Charlie is smiling and care free- God how I could use a bubble bath.

Eleanore is singing and dancing and twirling- my arms are heavy with a bundle of fussing 3 month old, who somehow always knows the difference between the sway of my arms and the sway of the swing.

But as I watch them all talk, and laugh, and play... I realize the only person I'm cheating is myself. My moment of bitterness soon passes, and I'm reminded why its all worth it.

I'll do my yoga after the babies go to bed. I'll be carefree after dinner is cooked and everyones tummy is full. I'll spin and dance and twirl after the baby feels better and lets me put her down.

Look at how happy they are.
Happiness doesn't get anymore pure than that.

I run into the house, Evelyn in arms, grab my camera with my free arm, which isn't really free at all due to the weight of the fleece blankets, rip my lens cap off with my teeth (really), flip the switch to auto, and run my frozen toes out of the shadows and into the sunlight, where I snap picture after picture after picture, before its too late.

I love that my babies are happy.
I love that they're smiling.

They'll want to remember this when they're older.
I want them to remember this when they're older.

The joy of "Daddy's home! Daddy's home!".
Not the bitterness that Mommy felt when they weren't cheering for her.
How selfish I can be, sometimes.

So I let the moment knock the wind out of me.

We Learn Best In The Nest

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

-goes the little girl in the stuffed animal hat.

Evelyn June- 3 Months Old

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Miss Evelyn June, who is currently sitting on her Daddy's lap while he does his history homework on the netbook, is growing.

3 months have already passed us by, since she entered our lives. Three, months. Can you believe that? Or are you looking at the clock on the wall, wondering where the time went too?

No longer wearing preemie clothes. Not a newborn threading in sight. Done with the 0-3. This big girl is bustin' seams and sproutin' rolls left and right. We're rockin' the 3-6 month now, baby.

...Mama makes cream, instead of milk.

She wakes up with us at 6:00 every morning, after sleeping through the night with no more than just a whimper for a bink, and then shortly after a few rounds of nursing, goes right back to sleep.

And she sleeps, and she grows, and she sleeps.

Being the third child, there are a couple of things that may have slipped my mind, in the picture taking department, this time around.

Like her first bath.
I never took pictures of her first bath.

Or her second, or third, or-

It happens, though, right? Ten years from now I don't think I'll care that I don't have pictures of her bathing when she was skin and bones. I think I'll much prefer to see her all plumped up for bubble time.

Gah, the cheeks!
They kill me, kid.
You're so beautiful.

I have no idea what happened to all of the hooded towels in the house. We had at least five, and it seems they've all vanished.

Good thing I bought two at a garage sale before you were born.

Seriously, where'd they all go?

Your rubber band wrists are starting to take shape, and I couldn't possibly love it more.

Really, what is that look all about?

Oh, right. Maybe its because your big sister just stepped on your head? She must not have seen you laying there on the giant stuffed dog.

Your stink eye sure is cute.

Oh Evelyn. Getting to know you is beyond words.
Even when you keep your Daddy and I from getting anything done. Even when you leave me surprises on my shoulder and in my hair. And especially, when you create an entire load of laundry, as if you weren't ever wearing a diaper in the first place.

The best 3 months.
I mean that.

This girl is going places.

How We Make Applesauce

Monday, November 15, 2010

I'm always curious as to how people do things in other households.

How do other people wake up in the morning- do they brush their teeth before of after breakfast? Or not at all, on somedays, hah.

At what time of day do other people wash their dishes- 12 times a day like I do, so every time they step into the kitchen? Maybe they let them pile up?

Do they use diapers pails or just dump 'em in the trash (unless they're a cloth family, in which case I bow down to them)- that way the trash has to get taken out every day?

...just little things that I think about sometimes.

So I thought, maybe we'd start sharing with you, how we do things.

Like how we make our applesauce from scratch.

Well, not that we're eating any applesauce these days (but I took all of the pictures and thought about putting this post together before we temporarily ditched fruit sugars for candida cleansing purposes), but- this is the story of how we turn a bag of apples into a tasty puree, lazy day crock pot slow cookin' style.

We start with a bag of gala apples. Normally, if we were buying apples for eating (I haven't eaten an apple in over a year, by the way, because of my fructose malabsorption *insert sad face here*), we'd be picky about what they look like, sorting through the bins looking for the perfectly round ones with no bruises- but because these are all going to be pureed and simmered over heat for 8 hours- we just grab a bag off the shelf, throw it into the cart, and call it good.

While the kids are running around with ponies and cars in hands, screaming for "bite bite bite!"'s, I clear off the table, set up my gear- slicer, knife, blender, trash can- and dump out the apples. And I usually end up with a helper :)

I slice them all with my double handed press down slicer. I toss the cores into the garbage beside me. And then I pick up the knife and begin the loooooong and ever so annoying task of peeling each, individual, slice.

I've tried using a vegetable peeler. It slows me down. I've tried peeling and then coring. It slows me down. So this is how we strip our skins.

My hands get sticky, the table gets soaked, and I'm constantly spacing out and getting mixed up, throwing perfectly good apple slices into the trash, and the slivered up skins into the blender.

Its not usually until Eleanore shouts "Mommy was that bad part a good part?", that I realized I've drifted off into la la land again, fish the skins out of the blender (and of course they've all fallen deep down into the nooks and crannies of the heaping pile of apple chunks), and try to snap out of it, reminding myself that there are only "seven more apples to do, seven more apples to do, seven more apples to do".

Peel peel peel. Slice slice peel.

By now I've probably had to change at least two diapers, retrieve a matchbox car out of the inside of a plastic school bus, pop a binky back into a crying mouth, shout "behave yourselves!" in my mean mom voice, and sanitize my hands a hundred or two times.

But before I know it, there are no apples left on the table, the garbage can is loaded with pretty reds and pinks, and the blender is filled to the very tip top- ready for me to add about a cup of water, a small pinch of salt, and give it a whirl.

After my slices have been spun into mush, I plug in the crock pot (set on the table so I won't forget about it, because I have before), pour in my mix, and let it cook on low for about 8 hours. When its done, later that night, I add a couple of teaspoons of stevia to give it a kiss of sweetness for the babies, swish it into a tupperware, and then wipe my hands on my apron, and give myself a pat on the back.

Guaranteed gluten free, no added sugars, no added preservatives, and always as fresh as it can get.

So. Thats, how we do that.
...just thought you might have been wondering.