Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My little turkeys

I love, love, love Thanksgiving!  Being with family, time off work, cooking, the smells of said cooking & the kick off of Christmas that comes in our house the day after Thanksgiving.

These pictures have nothing to do with Thanksgiving, but are from Reese's actual birthday on the 14th.  Since her favorite food is pizza, that's what we made for her birthday meal.  Every single Friday in our house is pizza night & we normally heat up a frozen one since it's cheaper & fast.  With it being a special day/birthday, I decided I'd try to make Pioneer Woman's homemade dough & I could not believe how incredibly easy it was!  It took me less than five minutes to make & it's so inexpensive with just water, yeast, flour, salt & olive oil.  Click here for the recipe.  She recommends making it at least a day or two ahead of time.  By the way, I don't have a fancy mixer, but I do have some fancy hands & the dough turned out just fine the old fashioned way.

Anyway, I looked so forward to Thanksgiving week, knowing I only had to work Monday & Tuesday.  I remember saying Sunday night, "whatever this work week brings, I can handle it!"  Yeah, not so much.  It was overwhelmingly busy, I worked long, non-stop days & was completely burned out by last night.  Unfortunately, that meant that I was cranky, emotional & snappy.  That meant that my husband was not very happy with my poor attitude.  After realizing I forgot to send Cameron with the cranberry sauce I signed up for his Thanksgiving school feast, I was having a bashing myself party.  Just snapped at my husband, dropped the ball on my kid's party?  I suck!  Luckily Cameron's teacher was extremely sweet, told me they had more than enough cranberry sauce & gave me a hug after seeing how sorry I was! 

Sometimes when I'm overwhelmed, I just can't see the light when I'm in that moment.  If I give myself ten minutes to decompress & get some clarity, I'm fine.  Grocery shopping, getting ready for Thanksgiving & working while trying to tend to the family was apparently too much for my weak emotional state!!!  But, I'm all better after sleeping on it, it's a new day & I'm off for the next FIVE DAYS!!!  WOO HOO!

Mike's headed to work today, but will hopefully get out early & we'll be together the rest of the week.  My parents come up every year to spend the night the Wednesday before Thanksgiving so we're looking forward to their arrival too.

And this year they're bringing my nieces up for a sleepover, so Cameron & Reese are super excited!

I'm thankful for my family, time off from work & the cooler weather that will be here just in time for Thanksgiving.  I'm hoping you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families too!!

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Throwing a party without losing your mind

Trust me, I know from experience that throwing even a small party can be stress inducing & time consuming, not to mention expensive.  With two kids, I've hosted my share of parties & have learned some things over the years.  So, how can you throw a successful party without breaking the bank & losing your mind?  I've got some tips for you!

1) Think & plan ahead.  This is very obvious, but I'm someone that looks at the big picture & sometimes forgets the small details which leaves me scrambling at the last second.  I'll figure out what's being served for food but then forget a mundane but important detail like paper plates or cups.  Now I break down the party into categories:  Appetizers, entrees, dessert, drinks & activities.  This helps me figure out what I need to pull of each category.

2) Prep as much as possible.  Since I work full-time, I specifically pick entrees that can be made ahead of time so I'm not a psycho on the day of the party.  For Reese's party I made a macaroni & cheese & a tortellini, bacon & spinach bake the morning before.  Not only do I want to make something that can be made ahead, but I want it to be the best recipe out there.  If I'm going to make mac n' cheese, it better be awesome!  So, I pick things based on the rating & amount of ratings.  The macaroni & cheese was the Barefoot Contessa's & had five stars with over 800 reviews.  I baked the red velvet cupcakes & made the Reesey Cakes Cookies on Wednesday & froze them until Saturday.

3) Do as little dishes as possible.  Some might find it tacky to serve food on paper plates along with plasticware, but I'm not one of them! If it makes me have more time to actually enjoy the party, I'm down.  Not only that, but I also buy throw-away pans for the main entrees so they can be pitched rather than soaked & washed.

4) Recruit help!!!  Years past, my family used to ask me what they could do to help, & I may have replied, "I've got it covered!"  But, not no more!  My sister Lauren, sister-in-law Melanie & my mom made appetizers & my sister-in-law Erika helped assemble the treat bags & Caprese salami skewers

5) Be realistic.  Pinterest & blogs have shown me that some people put an insane amount of time & money into creating their children's birthday parties.  While Googling "Minnie Party" I was shocked at the elaborate tablescapes & decorations I saw.  I'm happy for those families & don't knock them for their choices, but I can't afford to spend thousands of dollars on a 2nd birthday party & don't feel the need anyway.

6) Get the kids OUT!  I cannot get anything done when Reese is around & if I can, it's in ten minute spurts.  Saturday morning, Mike took the kids to pick Auntie Erika up from the airport & then went to the mall to play.  They were able to have fun while I was able to have three hours alone to get a ton done.

7) Don't go crazy cleaning.  I used to scour my entire house before a party, but I've learned that the house will only get dirty within a half hour of the party starting.  So now, I focus on making sure that the bathrooms are clean, I do a quick dusting, vacuum & tidy.  No mopping floors required!

And last but not least, I have to end with the annual picture of Reese, Samantha & Taylor!

We accidentally put Reese on the left this year, but you get the idea!  They were a mere 4 days old (Samantha), five days old (Reese) & 6 months old (Taylor) in the first picture & the second & third were taken at Reese's 1st & 2nd birthday parties.  I can see them at age 18 when we're taking the annual picture saying, "seriously, guys?"

The mommy's decided to get in on the action too!

And unfortunately Auntie Erika's short visit comes to an end as she heads back to Chicago today.  She was so sweet & washed our laundry, bedding, dusted & vacuumed yesterday while I worked.  I was so shocked & thankful when I came home!  We'll miss her lots!

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

My baby girl is TWO!

Reese, you are two years old today, happy birthday, baby girl!!

It feels like you've grown in the blink of an eye, but I also feel like you've been part of our lives forever.  I cannot imagine our family without you!!  Here's a look back to your one year update.

You add so much joy, laughter, sweetness as well as spiciness to our lives!  So, Reese, what does the two year-old version of you look like?

We haven't yet taken you to the doctor for your two year check up, but you weigh about 30#, wear a size 5 diaper, size 6-7 shoe & wear mostly 3T clothing.  I put you in 2T jeans a few weeks ago & they were skin tight & you could barely move!

Just as I was nicknamed as a two year-old, we also call you Boss Baby.  You know what you want & you are not afraid to demand it.  You love telling us what to do or not do & many times when I start singing a song, you quickly shush me & say, "Mommy, Mommy, no, no, no!"  Your vocabulary is insane & I'm blown away by how well you speak.  You can be a bit demanding & opinionated but I hope you maintain this confidence & spirit as you grow because I know you will not take any B.S. or let anyone push you around!

 You're difficult to photograph since you always want to immediately see the picture, sometimes before we even take it!  "I see? I see?"

Daddy helped demonstrate how to stand by the chalkboard; what a good helper he was to Mommy!

Explaining that you're turning TWO!

You're a complete character & have an awesome sense of humor that your Daddy & I cannot get over! You're still in the Toddler class at Discovery Point & Ms Barbara & Ms Kelly adore you.  They'll be so sad when it's time for you to move up to P1!!

Your favorite foods are pizza, grapes, bananas & yogurt.  I'd say you're a pretty sporadic eater & are never thrilled about your main entree.  You're still an awesome sleeper & easily go down at 7:30 at night & sleep till 7:30 in the morning.  At bedtime, we cuddle & you always want Daddy to come in for hugs & kisses too, "Daddy's comin'!"  is what you always say.  When it's time for me to leave, you always call me back in, "Mommy, Mommy!  Sleep tight!"  Ugh, I love you!!!  You nap for 2 hours every day.

You're finally getting longer hair so I've been figuring out how to style it with ponies & piggies, but a lot of the time you just wear it down, maybe clipped back with a bow.

Your favorite TV shows are Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Jake & the Neverland Pirates & you also love SpongeBob because it's your big brother's favorite.  But, your absolutely positively favorite thing to watch in the whole world is Tangled, which you call Princess TV since you most always watch it on the little TV in Cam's room.  If ever I have time to get something done, it's because you're entertained by Princess TV.

You're definitely getting more independent & better about not needing to be held constantly, but you still say, "I want up!" quite a bit.  Mommy's back is often very tired at the end of the weekend, but I just can't resist you!  Since your birthday last year, you're much gentler & rarely ever swipe or hit but you do throw a good tantrum!  You're sitting on your Minnie potty seat that you picked out but you've yet to actually go on the potty.  I'm amazed by you on a constant basis & can never get over the new things you bring home each day!  I love you more than you'll ever know, little girl.  Happy, happy birthday to my sweet & sassy Reese Elizabeth!

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Recent happenings

I'm lounging on the couch right now, watching the Bears game with Mike, watching Reese NOT nap on her monitor & wishing the weekends could be a little longer!

We've had a really great, low-key weekend.  My mom came up Friday to watch the kids so we could have dinner & go to the Josh Groban concert.  Last weekend our friends were making fun of us when we told them we were going to see him, asking, "won't you fall asleep?!"  Heck no!  For one, Mike got both of our tickets on Groupon for $25 total & two, the guy is disgustingly talented!  His music brings tears to my eyes.  We had an awesome, awesome night & I'm so thankful we got to see him live!

Coming home from church
 I took Cam back to the eye doctor for his fourth check-up Friday & his eye is STILL NOT 100% healed!!  The doctor definitely didn't expect this, but it is what it is.  The contact lens wasn't put back in since Cam didn't even have it on when the doctor checked.  Who knows when the thing fell out?

We're getting ready to celebrate Little Miss Saucy's second birthday this week!!  We'll be making homemade pizzas & eating this ice cream pie by the Pioneer Woman, YUM!

 Mike's mom bought us these bar stools as an early Christmas present since our others were nearly disintegrating.

 I'm really excited to be incorporating a new pop of color into our house.  After the holidays, we're hoping to put up a kitchen back splash with hints of this color in it.

Cameron drew us this picture today.  All of his people look EXACTLY like this all the time.  You can see the tiny figure on the bottom left, that's Reese!  The C in the top left is the moon.

I've got pumpkin soup with cranberry apple relish simmering on the stove for an easy dinner tonight.  It's going to be a very, very busy week of celebrating Reese, so we're trying to rest up today!  We're very excited that Auntie Erika is flying in from Chicago for Reese's party Sunday.  Lots to look forward to!

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

You'll poke your eye out, kid!

I don't know why, but every time I think about Cameron's recent eye debacle, I think of the line from A Christmas Story when Ralphie wants the Red Ryder bb gun, "you'll shoot your eye, kid!"

Although, A Christmas Story is a lot funnier than this whole scenario.  For the past three days, we've paid a visit to the eye doctor to assess the healing in Cam's right eye.  On Monday the doctor told Mike it was 75% healed though the contact lens that protects his eye & reduces pain needed to be put back on.  I took Cameron to the doctor's other location yesterday & thought I'd stepped into a day spa when I walked through the front doors.  It was so beautiful inside!  Shout out to Visionary Eye Care because they have been amazing & I'm so grateful they've helped Cameron.  Anyway, moving on.. Cam was super blinky after the lens was removed yesterday & unfortunately it's still only 80% healed so the darn lens had to be put back on.  The doctor explained that the tear/abrasion had been so bad that there was literally a flap of tissue hanging over the abrasion which slowed healing.  Well, the flap is officially gone so I'm really, really hoping that we're done with all of this as of his next visit Friday.  What a mess this has been!  Not to mention Cam's been fighting me every time he needs his eye drops.  But again, the most important thing is that his vision is perfectly fine & he suffered no permanent eye damage!!

In other news, hallelujah, today is my day off!  Thank goodness because for some reason I've been up since 2:45 this morning.  I finally got out of bed at 3:30, so while sitting here at 6:30, I feel like I've already had a big piece of day.. aren't I lucky?! I'll be making a chicken recipe I found on Pintrest called Man Pleasing Chicken which is supposedly to-die for & easy to make.. we shall see!  Anyway, happy Wednesday all!

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