December 22, 2012

dancing like a wild man


Julian wore a bow tie to school the other day. He saw it in his drawer that morning and really wanted to put it on, so naturally I let him. I was going to take it off before we stepped out the door but I got caught up in the craziness that ensues when trying to get two toddlers out the door and forgot to take it off. 

His teachers thought he was fancy. He thought he was pretty awesome. So awesome in fact, that in class he did crazy dance in which he shook both his arms and legs all together while jumping up and down. Everyone laughed so hard I was told. Later that night I thanked his daddy for showing him that dance.

Sweet Julian, I hope you always chose to be yourself. You are one unique little boy who truly  (and literally) dances to the beat of his own drum. You have always been such a mystery to me; I can never quite figure you out. I love that every day you keep me guessing and laughing at all of the seemingly odd things you choose to do. You are such a silly and special little piece of our family. I hope you always stay true to yourself, even if who you are isn't like everyone else. Even if the you that you are is the boy who wears bow ties to school and dances like a wild man. 






December 21, 2012

christmas flashback

probably 2 years old here

Christmas at 3yrs old. My first Christmas with my dad's side of the family.

in a gingerbread houe my grandma built me...I mean REALLY!

Eating with my cousin-I was in kindergarden I think.

My first Christmas as a big sister. LOOK AT THOSE SWEET BABIES! 

In 2000, (I was a high school sophomore) we spent Christmas in Keystone.

With all my cousins, freshman year of college.

26 weeks pregnant with the dudes.

Their first Christmas :)

Decorating the tree last year.


December 20, 2012

a good deed brightens a dark world



We don't do a whole lot of gifts for Christmas, mainly because we don't want to teach the boys that the holidays are all about what you get. They're about who you spend them with and the love you give. 

We did a major purge of our house a couple of weeks ago, taking an entire car jam-packed full of our things to Goodwill. Chikezie said the man at the donation center was shocked we were giving so much and that it was the most they'd received in a long while. I know all locations are different but it was surprising to me. I shop at Goodwill and feel like if I put something in, I'll find something I'll need there in return. And I know that so many people less fortunate than just someone looking for a deal can benefit from their mission. 

We had the boys put some of their toys in boxes (they didn't really know what they were doing) but they did it. We told them we were going to pick out some toys to give away so another boy or girl could play with it. I know they don't understand yet (as they were putting in some of their favorite toys) but they did it. And every year before Christmas we'll continue to give away all that excess we've accumulated over the year. 

It feels good to get rid of the clutter. It feels good to get rid of those things you're saving for if you "might" sometime need it. Someone else needs it now. 

I have a few things on my to-do list for the holiday season to help spread the love. Some may seem small, but every little thing makes a difference. I encourage you (if you haven't already) to make a small list of things you can do to make someone's day better in the coming weeks. 

What are you doing to make someone's day a little brighter?

- Bake cookies for our neighbors and take them over before Christmas.
- Pay for someone in line behind me at Starbucks.
- Send a card to a random person with a scratch off ticket like my friend Cody did. 
- Put the biggest bill you have in your wallet into the donation bucket at the grocery store. ($20)
- Donate our misc. to Goodwill
- Give a small gift to the boys' therapy teachers
- Donate some old books and toys to the therapy office for the waiting room
- Send holiday cards to friends and family

December 18, 2012

Currently.


Watching: The yule log channel. And it plays music, too! 

Thinking About: Picking my battles. Life is crazy, you know? When I'm 80, I won't look back and worry about the trivial everyday things that seem like a big deal in the moment. I'll look at the love I shared with my family. I'll fondly remember the memories I made with my babies while being so, so blessed to stay home with them and watch them grow. I'm consciously trying to reduce conflict and stress in my life. Happier, less stressed mama = happier home.

Loving: My very first Scentsy purchase from one of my best friends who sells. I bought some Christmas-y scents and holy cows these things are way stronger and last longer than any other candle I've had. Nothing makes it feel more like the holidays than a home wafting with cinnamon and vanilla.

Excited About: Christmas. Chikezie's whole family will be here. I'm glad we don't have to travel this year after last year's flying disaster I'm thankful we don't have to get on a plane. Also thankful to have this nice house and room for our family to stay. We had a busy, chaotic, nomadic but extremely blessed 2012. And I can't wait to end it and start the new year with the exact same people as last year.

Reading: Happier At Home from the author of The Happiness Project. I literally just started, so I don't have much to say yet. Also picked up the latest issue of Glamour with Anne Hathaway because, hello, I just chopped my hair off and she did too. She obviously has some good advice for me.

Thankful for: This week I'm especially thankful for every breath I'm lucky enough to breath. I'm thankful for the two beautiful souls who run giggling down the hallway to our bedroom every morning. I'm thankful for the man who married me, who loves me even when I chop all my hair off or grouch at him when I've had a long day. The past few days have really put life in prospective for me. I hope even the seemingly insignificant sadness I feel for what happened on Friday may somehow, in some way, take a tiny bit of suffering from those families whose hearts have been ripped open. And I'm extra thankful and aware of what I have and how easily it can all be taken away. 

-----

 Currently inspiration from Danielle.

December 13, 2012

a daily battle: communication


Yesterday was one of those days. The boys just got into everything. Like - climbed to reach dangerous things, poured an entire bottle of toilet cleaner all over the floor and played in it, whined and cried in the post office line for 10 minutes while we were being shhh-ed loudly - kind of days. They were just being 2 year olds. And hubby is out of town so I have no breaks. Some days are just rough.

While the boys are making a lot small advances (that are big in our world) in speech therapy class, it's still quite frustrating having two almost 3 year olds who have a lot of troubles vocalizing their needs. I requested (through the boys' therapy school) to see if we could get them some individual speech therapy in addition to their group therapy. As I've explained before, therapy class ends when they turn 3, then all future therapy (if we're getting it through the state like we are now) will transition to the school district. That gives us just over 2 more months. 

Don't get me wrong, they are making progress but when they were tested in September, they were communicating verbally at less than a 1 year old level. My almost 3 year olds still do not put two words together to communicate and they're supposed to start preschool in less than 3 months. 

I got a call from our care coordinator today telling me we'll have to get a referral from our pediatrician to get an assessment for speech therapy through our insurance. It'll be more than a month before we have the boys ready to begin individual therapy. And then starts preschool. Of course we'll continue with whatever individual therapy we have at that point. This entire process is exhausting.

The coordinator also told me she got an assessment from the boys' teachers to validate the referral for individual therapy. It was so hard to hear her listing off all of the things they couldn't do. They don't initiate interaction with peers or adults. They don't do much mimicking of adults. They don't follow simple one step directions. Because they don't communicate much, they have troubles interacting with others. 

You guys. This has been weighing so heavy on my heart. It's hard not to take responsibility for their delays. I've been beating myself up over this for months. I feel like I let them down. I didn't give them all the tools they needed. Sure you can say it's not my fault but really, how else did this happen? I feel like I've failed on so many fronts. I think it's natural as a mother to take on your child's problems as something that you directly caused. I have good days and bad days. 

No matter what, I'm not going to let my personal battles with this get in the way of continuing to move forward in getting the boys the help they need. I stopped by our local Gymboree and we're going to try out some classes there. I looked up story time at the local library and I'll be taking the boys there once a week. My new goal is getting them in group settings with other kids as much as I can. 

I know a lot of their insecurities with talking to others (peers and adults) will start to fade away as they learn to verbally express themselves better. It's hard to gauge their abilities because at home, where they're most comfortable, they talk the most, they participate the most, they understand and follow just about everything I tell them. However at school, it's not happening. I know we'll get there. I know in a couple of years we'll look back and this struggle will seem like just a distant memory. But right now, in the thick of this battle, I'm learning it's going to be a very long and emotional journey for all of us. 

December 12, 2012

to cut or not to cut?

You guys, I really want to cut my hair. I cut it pretty short this summer (probably the shortest I'd ever gone). Now we're at a growing out stage and I'm not sure I'm ready to let it grow out yet. It really takes a commitment and to be honest, I'm really digging short styles.

When I cut my hair short, I played around with my hair pinning it back to look a little pixie-ish just testing the waters but never really decided to go super short. Here is what I've been loving:



and..

I like the longer top layers and bangs with both of these cuts. I wear my hair pulled back almost every day and it looks a lot like this most of the time (minus the pigtails in back). I've always wanted to try this, it looks fun and I've never been one to "hide" behind long hair. I know a lot of people say only thin people can have short hair but I beg to differ. I think it mostly has to do with face shape, and trust me I've been doing some research. I believe I have a roundish face (as do the 2 ladies above, I'm told) and it looks good on them. So there.

My only reservations:
- I don't want to feel like a boy. (This is a valid concern! Lots of women wear their hair longer to feel more feminine.)
- I know my hubs prefers longer hair. And even though it's my head and hair, his opinion matters a lot to me.
- The growing it out phase if I don't like it could be weird.

What do you guys think? Have you had a pixie cut like this and how did you like it? Any advice for me? Oh and for reference, here's a picture with my hair pinned back this summer in my attempt to see how a pixie would look:

And your thoughts......go!

avoiding stress, taking cute pictures


So after the busy Black Friday craziness I've needed a little bit of a break. (As you've probably noticed from the quiet around here.) The holidays seem to stress everyone out so I'm trying to do the opposite. I'm trying to be un-stressed this month. I treated myself to a new lens I've been contemplating getting and took the boys out the other day to play around with it. I'm still getting the hang of a wider lens but but bokeh is great and the clarity and lighting is spectacular. 

What are you doing for YOU this holiday season to avoid being stressed to the max?

December 11, 2012

kids


They're getting big. 

December 7, 2012

capturing the little moments

Today I realized it had been almost 2 weeks since I really picked up the DSLR and used it to document our everyday happenings. It seems pointless sometimes on days that are fairly uneventful but these days still matter. I always enjoy looking back at pictures from these boring days in the past reveling in the little things. 

They grow so fast, these little people. I don't want to forget any of these little moments.

December 5, 2012

pinterest tested: yellow cake batter cookies


So guys, my oven works! Within an hour of having it fixed I was ready to bake and quickly scoured Pinterest for something quick and easy. 

Enter, cake batter cookies. I found this recipe, had all the ingredients and decided to test this baby out. (And I had two cute helpers!)

Ingredients:
- 1 box of yellow cake mix
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions: 
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Stir together cake mix and baking powder. Then add in vegetable oil and eggs. Stir until well blended (will be a little thicker than regular cookie dough). Last, stir in chocolate chips.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. 


Hope you guys enjoy this one! These were seriously the easiest/best tasting cookies I've had in awhile!

December 3, 2012

Happy Birthday Husband!


Happy Birthday, husband. I love your stinkin' guts.

December 1, 2012

checking in!


Still here guys! And still alive! Life has just been a little bit busy in the past couple of weeks. Thanksgiving and all of the cyber sales has left me a happily busy mama. It's been raining non-stop here for the past few days and my productivity (or feeling of) has been through the roof. The rain is also making me miss Portland.

In other news, we finally have a working dryer, so I've been doing a lot of laundry. The oven still isn't working (which totally sucked on Thanksgiving and right now when there are so many yummy things I want to bake). 

AND in other, OTHER news, hubs and I are going on a date today. His birthday is on Monday and I wanted to take him out so we're doing lunch and a movie today while Auntie babysits the boys. I really do love having family close by. 2 dates in 2 weeks? This is probably the most we've been on in the past 3 years. 

I promise next week things around here will be back to normally scheduled programming. I have so many things to share with you all.

Have a wonderful weekend :)

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