Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My baby boy is FIVE!

Happy 5th birthday, Cameron Michael!!  This is definitely one of the most special days for me & Daddy, it's the day that changed our lives forever!!
The first hug of many

 Ever since you & your sister came along, our birthdays pale in comparison!

We're ready... or are we?!

I'm so happy to be celebrating this day & enjoying the wonderful little boy that you've grown to be.  

You are such a loving, compassionate guy & you have such a sweet heart.  You always worry about other people's feelings, are very quick to show affection by giving hugs & kisses & you're so incredibly sweet to your baby sister.  We are so very proud of you!

So, what is my baby, I mean big boy up to as a five year old?  Well, you love, love, love playing video games, especially your Wii & 3DS.  Your favorite games are Super Mario Bros, Mario Kart & Mario Smash Brothers (you're on a kick with that one right now) & you're in your happy place when Daddy or I come upstairs & play with you.

Helping bake your cake!

You love to watch TV & movies, especially SpongeBob, Jake & the Neverland Pirates, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (for Reese) & even Max & Ruby.  Your favorite food in the world is pancakes, so that's what I'll be making for your birthday dinner & you also love pizza & cereal.  Unfortunately, you're still a very picky eater, barely touching any vegetables & little fruit.  Oddly enough though, you'll gobble up the broccoli in Panera's broccoli cheddar soup, which you call "white soup."

You're loving pre-K & doing an awesome job, thriving & learning so much this year!  You recently learned how to write your name & hold your pencil properly.  You're the lefty of the family too which makes you unique!

You're the king of stalling at bedtime, love to have us tell stories & throw your stuffed animals at Daddy as he lays on the floor.  Also, you would think we gave you a laxative every evening because low & behold, you always need to get up and go poop after we've put you to bed!  Stinker!  You're not very fond of sleep in general since you're so busy & would rather be playing, so if we put you to bed at 7:30pm or midnight, you're still up at 7am like clockwork!  As much as I'd love for you to stay up a little later on weekends, we just can't because you refuse to sleep in!

You love to play at the park & take walks with Dempsey & hold her leash.  You love our pets & are so gentle & loving & because of that, they adore you too!  Casper has become your sleeping partner & we often put you to bed with him right beside you.

I've learned that your a pretty messy baker since this is what I looked like by the time we put your cake in the oven!

I've also learned that unlike me, you love candy corn & have sticky fingers that constantly steal from my new Fall centerpiece!  I guess I'll have to buy more to keep adding as the season goes on!  

Happy birthday, Cameron!  Like I always tell you, no matter how old you are, you'll always be my baby boy.  I love you so much & look forward to celebrating YOU today & all the days to come!!!
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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Getting ready for birthdays & Fall

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year; it begins with Cameron's birthday which leads to Halloween, Reese's birthday, Thanksgiving & finally Christmas!  What a fun time!  Since we've got a lot going on right now, I got a jump on Fall decorating a little early this year.

I got the idea to put candy corn (which I positively loathe) around candles from Pinterest.

I hit Marshalls yesterday & picked up the glass candle holders & this metal pumpkin tray.

The candles & candy corn I picked up from Walmart (which I also loathe!)  Here's the breakdown on how much everything cost:

Glass candle holders: 2 x $3.99 + 1 x $5.99 = $14
Metal pumpkin tray: $12.99
Candy corn: 3 packs x $1.98 = $6
Candles: $1 + $2 + $5.97 = $9
Total: $42

I plan on keeping this on our kitchen island through Thanksgiving & in following years I'll only need to buy the candles & candy corn which will only cost $15.  Easy peasy, pumpkin squeezy!  I'll pull out the rest of our fall decor by October 1st & pick up a few more inexpensive touches to pull it all together.  When Cameron woke up this morning & saw the island centerpiece, he asked, "Is today Halloween??"  I said, "No, Mommy just got a little over-excited & put decorations out early this year!"

Speaking of Cameron, in six short days this boy will be FIVE!!!

I always want to make my kids' birthdays super special, so my mind is usually whirring with ideas at this time of year.  Plus, hosting even a small birthday party at home is a lot of work, so I'm trying to gradually buy things to keep on budget & schedule.  I tend to get a little frazzled on the day before & day of the party, so I'm doing my best to avoid the psycho scrambling for my sake & of those around me!

And in anticipation of Cameron's birthday, Grammy is flying in from Chicago one hour from now!!  Woo hoo!  It's been five months since she's been here so we're really, really looking forward to her nearly month long visit!  Papa comes in next week for Cameron's party, so we have a lot of celebrating ahead of us!  Happy almost Fall, everyone & happy almost birthday to Cameron!

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Football & organization!

Football season is Mike's favorite time of year & he considers the start of the NFL a national holiday!  Since we're from Chicago, we're 100% Bears fans.  I have nothing against Tampa teams, but just don't really care about them.  So, we were all rocking our Bears gear at church Sunday!

We had friends over for the game & luckily the Bears won... woo hoo!  Even though it's hotter than heck outside, I always love to make comfort foods for the game, so this week I made Pioneer Woman's chicken & noodles recipe (click here). 

This recipe defines comfort food & I highly recommend it, especially on a cold, gloomy winter's day.  Those rarely happen in Florida, but I can pretend!

We're also gearing up for Cameron's FIFTH birthday which is September 24th.  I love, love, love birthdays, especially when they belong to my kids!  This year Cam picked a SpongeBob theme & even though we're having a small, low-key party, we'll still do it up!

I've also continued to work on school organization.  In this post, I mentioned wanting a glass doorknob coat rack for Cameron's backpack, but we held off since they were pretty expensive.  Most I saw were between $60-$80 with an additional $15 for shipping.  I considered us making one & my friend Lesli reinforced that idea, but neither of us are exceptionally handy so I was hesitant.  I've been loving Hobby Lobby recently & when I looked at their door knob section, I took advantage of the 50% off sale & went for it!  The knobs cost me about $15 total, the wood cost about $3 & we also had to buy stain, a couple of drill bits & hardware to hang it.  In total, we probably spent about $40, but we could make another with just buying the knobs, so we might do that for a gift or to sell.

It turned out great & Mike did a fantastic job!!

Cameron's job is to remember to take his backpack when heading out the door each morning.  We're trying to give him ownership & teach him responsibility.  The more organized we are, the smoother the mornings go!  Pre-K is a perfect way to teach all of us how to prepare for the kids starting real school since we've known nothing but daycare up until this time.

Speaking of school, I have to share this picture Cameron's school posted on Facebook.  I died laughing when I saw it, since it is SO Cameron!

You'll notice all of the students actively engaged in learning & then there's my kid, rolling around the floor with his head down.  Oh Cameron, what will we do with you?!  BUT, he's doing a fantastic job in VPK & his teachers have nothing but positive things to say (other than him needing to focus a bit more in circle time).

He's been in VPK for less than a month & I'm amazed with what he's already learned.  He writes his name so well which he was not able to do before!  We're proud of our guy!

My little girl always loves to color & draw which is very different than her brother who is not at all interested in crafting.  Cam will use sidewalk chalk but has no attention for coloring.  

So, that's what's going on around here!  Of course with today being September 11th & the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, my heart is very heavy.  It makes me thankful for my family & our health because life is so uncertain & precious.  Cameron sat eating his cereal this morning as they talked about the terrorist attacks on the Today show & he watched but didn't ask me anything about it.  One day I'll explain what happened, but for now, he's still too young to understand.  I love that his heart is so pure & innocent & I know it's not possible, but I wish it could always stay that way.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Recent happenings

We thoroughly enjoyed our three-day, Labor Day weekend!!

Nothing beats the weekend, especially when there's an extra day to enjoy!

My favorite part is the leisurely mornings, drinking coffee & playing with the kids with no agenda.  We rush all week long, so I positively love a relaxing morning.

The kids have been playing in the yard in the evenings, and my sweet boy picked me a flower!  I adore having a fenced in yard, it's one of my many favorite things about our new house.  Sending the kids out to play in their PJs, knowing they're safe is awesome!  Plus, I get some quiet time to myself... win, win!

Reese played with the Fisher Price horse I grew up with.  My grandparents bought it for my brother 35+ years ago & we've passed it along thorough our kids.

Sunday we headed out to dinner which is very rare for our family!  For one, dining out with a one year old isn't exactly relaxing & two, we are on a strict cash budget and dining out is not cheap!  But, we splurged (and each shared entrees) & had a great time.  As we were about fifteen minutes from our house, I looked back & realized Cam had no shoes on!!!  Yes, this is very Cam-like... he walked to the car & didn't even realize it because he was too engrossed in thinking about playing his DS.  So, we made an impromptu stop at Walmart for a pair of $10 shoes!  Luckily he needed a pair anyway, so it was no big deal.

Reese actually allowed me to do something with her hair before church Sunday.  And her bow & pony lasted all of ten minutes before it was ripped out & she was back to her mullet-style hair yet again.  Oh that stubborn girl!

Sadly the wonderful weekend came to an end and it was back to work yesterday.  The whole family has been fighting colds, especially Cameron & I woke up feeling really crummy yesterday.  Somehow I made it through the day & then the evening.  Funny how after having kids, you can be as sick as a dog & still have to run.  But I made it to bedtime, made myself a much needed cup of tea & hit the bedroom to relax.

This morning I'm still feeling a little rough, but at least I'm home (and not relaxing)!  After eating like crap all weekend, I made sure to whip up a healthy smoothie this morning.  My secret ingredient was mint & it made my smoothie so refreshing.  Happy Wednesday all!

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