Monday, December 31, 2012

Breakfast of Champions

Every morning, as I change Addison's diaper, I ask her what she wants to eat for breakfast. She's currently in a stage of eating a breakfast bar every morning, sort of like a Nutri-Grain bar, but the cheap brand from Aldi. Usually, she will answer that she wants a bar, and then I ask her what color, blue or pink? Today's conversation went a little differently...

Me: "What do you want for breakfast today?"

Addy: "A bar"

Me: "What color bar would you like?"

Addy: "Black and white bar."
(I look quizzically at her) "Bar, black and white. Please."

I think for a minute on what she has eaten that could possibly be a black and white bar, and it suddenly dawns on me that I shared a Little Debbie Swiss Roll with her a couple of days ago.

Mind blown a little bit right there.

In case you're wondering, she got a pink bar for breakfast.

I probably would have eaten a black and white bar while hiding in the pantry, but I ate them all already.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I just can't get enough of this video

I love her timy voice! Too bad I ruin it when I ask her to count to five.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Where did Ben Gibbard go?

When I'm in the shower, I hum the intro song for Dora the Explorer.

When I wash dishes, I hum various singy parts from Go Diego Go.

When I'm in the car, I'm listening to Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?.

When I'm trying to fall asleep at night, I go through a multitude of verses from Here Come the ABC's.

I guess this is my new normal.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

2nd Annual Ornament Extravaganza

Last year, my bestie and I started a tradition with our two families of getting everyone together and making Christmas ornaments. Because the kids are little, we both love the clay ornaments that capture fingerprints. Last year, we purchased kits to make one handprint for each kid. This year, we wanted to get everyone's fingers involved, so we decided on this one:

Our inspiration from Pinterest
Everyone has some experience with the traditional salt dough, but my friend found a recipe using cornstarch that promised to make bright white, smooth finished pieces (which is probably what was used in the photo above). The recipe is simple: 1 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup cornstarch, and 1/4 cup water. This is the end result of my attempt at the family Christmas tree:

Forgot to leave room for our name!
I really liked the cornstarch dough as we were working with it. Unfortunately, most of my pieces broke, quite easily, while trying to paint them - including the tree. It's super glued together in two spots. The recipe instructs the dough to be baked for one hour, flipping halfway through. We actually baked them for two hours, and let them sit overnight, and they still broke in half with very little effort. However, I let the last two unbroken ones sit out for two more days, and they had gotten much more firm. So all that being said, I'm planning on making a second batch and redoing our family tree. Only this time, I will let them sit for three days before touching them!

Even though we were all a little disappointed, we still had lots of fun!

Addy helping me roll out the dough

Jen painting one of her ornaments

Addy, and Jen's oldest son, finger
painting some foam hands

And the absolute cutest moment of the night
was him and Addy chilling on the couch
The kids had a super fun, screaming loud time playing together and painting their ornaments. I absolutely love this tradition, and am so lucky to have such a great friend to share it with!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Playdate with Parker

I have a friend from work that has a five month old boy named Parker. We recently enjoyed a playdate with the two of them, plus my bestie from work and her two boys. It was a little bit of a drive, so we were only able to stay two hours, but we had lots of fun!

All three kids playing with Parker
I was curious to see how Addy would treat the baby, because she can be very rough with her toys and other people. But she was awesome with him! She happily gave him kisses and hugs, and always approached him slowly and cautiously. It was really cool to see, especially considering we are planning on making baby number two very soon.

Addy kissing baby Parker's head
I held Parker for a little while. And seriously? At some point, I forgot I was holding him. No joke. His mommy reached over and took him from me, and all of a sudden, I was thinking "Woah, I completely forgot I was holding him!" He is super calm and chill. Nothing like Addy at that age. He wasn't trying to squirm away or roll all over the place, and he wasn't making a sound. If I could guarantee my baby would turn out like that, it's possible I'd turn into a baby factory. Except then he was pooping and drooling and whimpering for the boob, and I remembered that I really don't like babies all that much, no matter what their temperament is.

Anyways, Parker's mommy is a young little thing, so I kind of see her like a little sister. I was super impressed with her adjustment to mommyhood. She seems to be doing a fantastic job with him, and seems to genuinely enjoy being a momma. I'm so proud of her! I hope there are more playdates in our future!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Playroom Makeover: Seating & Storage

The playroom makeover that we started in October is moving forward. We started with the kid-sized table, then moved on to the ambitious project of building the storage benches as seen on Pinterest. Remember how I said I wanted to have them finished in time for Addison's birthday party? Well, I did it! They were finished and secured to the wall with just about two days to spare. I am very pleased with the end result.

IKEA Expedit single unit on its side, topped with
the bench pad I constructed (no sewing!)
The larger Expedit unit is next to it, for even
more storage space. Because one can never have
enough storage space when one has OCD.

The second storage bench, and what will one
day be the reading nook in the corner.

There are 14 baskets for my
organizing pleasure!

I created the bench pads exactly as explained in the post I found through Pinterest, so if you're interested in doing the project, go read about it there. I spent a lot of time searching for the right sized baskets, at a price I was willing to pay, and I am thrilled with what I ended up with. They are attractive and very sturdy. And, they came from Wal-Mart. Seriously. They are sold online only, but they ship to your local store for no charge. I paid the highest I was willing to pay for the right basket, at $11 a piece, but once I saw them in person, I felt the price was WELL worth it.

A word of caution to anyone wanting to take on projects that they find on Pinterest: Research it first and figure out how much it's going to cost. I have this problem where I think that just because it's a DIY thing, it must not cost that much. This seating and storage solution, no joke, came with a price tag of $541. Okay, once you put your eyeballs back in your eye sockets, I'll break that down for you:

3 IKEA shelving units: $200
14 awesome baskets: $164
Plywood for bench pad: $21
Foam for bench pad: $76 (this is 50% off by the way!)
Fabric for bench pad: $80 (this was also 50% off)

I had absolutely no idea that the freaking foam costs $31 per yard. PER. YARD. But when I was ready to purchase it, we had already bought the IKEA benches and had the plywood purchased and cut to size. Thank goodness for regularly occurring 50% off sales at JoAnne's. I was prepared to spend about $350, so my big grand ideas for glorifying our pantry organization are not going to come to fruition. We're just going to slap a couple of baker's racks that we already own in there and call it a day.

With the benches complete, this is where we stand on the playroom makeover:
  • Hang curtain rod and curtains on window
  • Fix register vent
  • Steal fabulous idea from Pinterest for seating and storage
    • Make bench cushions
    • Buy Expedite bookcases from IKEA (they were out of stock on our visit!)
    • Find and buy bins to put in the bookcase to hold all the toys
    • Stand back and stare in awe at the fruits of my domesticated labor (hopefully)
    • Cry repeatedly while trying to steal fabulous Pinterest idea (most likely)
  • Hang Addy's artwork display (a little sparse right now, but we have years to fill it up...)
  • Move toybox to Addy's bedroom, throw away torn loveseat
  • Paint a chalkboard wall, maybe
  • Remove the french doors that close off the playroom from the living room
Not too shabby, eh? I highly doubt I'm going to paint a chalkboard wall, but I do still plan on removing the french doors. And after installing the benches, I decided I wanted to turn the remaining empty corner into a reading nook, complete with the IKEA spice rack bookshelf idea from where else but Pinterest. Unfortunately, this must be a wildly popular idea, because IKEA has been sold out of them for months. So we shall see.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sorting it out

Addy's shoes have a home near the garage door, piled in a basket on the floor. When she was a little over a year old, she would often dump all the shoes out of the basket and pile them back in. Yesterday, I realized she had been quiet for a few minutes, so I went to see what she was up to.

I found her sitting on the floor, with most of her shoes paired up correctly and neatly placed in a row around her. Of course, in true Addy style, she hightailed it out of there before I could snap the picture. But I found the setup of shoes to be adorable all on their own. She wasn't quite done with all the shoes when I found her. And after I took the picture, she came back over and piled all the shoes back into the basket. I guess I interrupted her flow.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Month of Thanks

Many of my Facebook friends are posting one thing they are thankful for every day this month. And a couple of people I follow on Instagram are completing a Grateful Gram list - one photo per day following the guidelines below.

Though I love to read what people are thankful for, and I love the concept of taking the time to think about what one is thankful for, I'd rather not string it along over the course of a month. So, I've decided to post my list on Thanksgiving Day, because I feel that is most appropriate. I am following the Grateful Gram list, but don't necessarily have a picture for each item listed.

1: Family Member(s)

Looking outside of my own family unit, I am most thankful for my sister Stephanie. She is my best friend, my former business partner, my most needed conversationalist, and my always-there-when-I-need-her helper. We think there's nothing wrong with cramming into a fitting room together so we can see everything the other person tries on. We are horribly honest and judgemental towards each other, but we find that to be very helpful when making decisions. Each of our "crazy" fits well with the other's. I. Love. Her.

2: Friend(s)

Oh boy, how do I narrow this one down? I have so many wonderful friends in my life. So I'm going to single this out to say I'm super thankful for all of my fellow mommy friends. Each time we have play dates, I learn something new. And sometimes, it takes hanging out with other moms for me to realize that I'm too hard on myself and I'm not a horrible mother. We all make mistakes, all children misbehave, all moms lose their patience. We are all great moms in our own right. And always, always, my mommy friends make me laugh.

3: Household Item

I am truly thankful for my washer and dryer. People bitch and moan all the time about how much laundry they have to do and how long it's going to take. Seriously? Can you imagine washing everything by hand and hanging it out to dry? Come on, people. Yes, the process of laundry going from dirty to clean to put away is a long process. But the ACTUAL amount of time you spend on it is really not that much. What? Five minutes total to load the washer, put wet clothes in the dryer, and empty the dryer once dry? Maybe 15 minutes to put the clean laundry away? And that's being generous. I'd say it takes me less than 10 minutes per load.

4: Technology

Without a doubt, I am thankful that I can use a handheld device to make phone calls, use my email account, browse the internet, refer to recipes while cooking, play mindless games when my daughter isn't looking, buy things online, take priceless pictures of Addy, and so on. And it costs me $30 per month. I have no idea how I accomplished anything before I got my iPhone.

5: Kitchen Tool

I can't stand to wash dishes without my sponge wand thingy. End of story.

6: An Emotion

This is a tough one. I am thankful for the emotion of feeling proud. I just cast a vote for the President of the USA, and I'm proud to have voted for Gary Johnson. I am proud to have attempted to make a change in this election. Johnson did not get the 5% needed to qualify the Libertarian party for future government funding, but in four years, I will be proud to try again. Because I believe this country needs a change to the bi-partisan system.

7: Stranger

I am thankful for the millions of men and women that get up every single day and do a job that I would never consider doing, but I couldn't live the lifestyle I do without someone doing that job. For instance, the person responsible for chopping off the head of a chicken and then tearing the chicken apart and packaging everything up all nice and tidy and feather free for me to cook nice, healthy, boneless-skinless chicken breast meals. Thank you very much.

8: Clothing Item

I am thankful for everything that covers my body so the outside world does not have to look at it. I'm half tempted to post the picture I just took of what my belly fat looks like when I sit down to clarify why it is so very important that my clothing exists, but I will spare you the horror (or rather, my embarrassment).

9: Food Item

I could very easily refer back to #7 on this one, but I'll play nice and pay tribute to something different. I am thankful for the banana. My daughter eagerly eats one every day. The act of eating it has improved her fine motor skills through the peeling of the banana. And also, she is getting much better at throwing the peel in the trash before she indulges in the banana, therefore, learning how to clean up after herself. Plus, every time I scroll through the pictures on my phone, I laugh out loud at this one:

10: An Indulgence

Turkey Hill ice cream. Specifically, when Acme has it on sale BOGO. It's like crack, only crack is probably healthier. Banana Split is my favorite flavor. Or maybe Chocolate Marshmallow. Or Double Dunker. Can it be classified as an indulgence if I shamelessly eat it nearly every day? No? Shoot. Should I insert the picture of my belly fat now, as proof that I do, in fact, eat it nearly every day?

11: A Hobby

I'm thankful for blogging! I love that I have created an outlet for myself. I may not use it often enough, and I may not have a lot of followers or the best writing style, but utilizing it is very helpful for me. And I'm thankful that years from now, I will have a hard copy of what life was all about back in the good ol' days!

12: I adore... precious daughter Addison Marie. I adore her smile. Her laugh. Her giggles from way deep in her belly. Those are the BEST. I adore her tight hugs, her sweet kisses, and her silly playful nature. I adore that she is mine and I get to love her forever and ever and ever and ever.

13: Favorite Read

I'm going to split this up into two favorites: currently reading and previously read. My favorite book that I am currently reading is Llama Llama Holiday Drama, part of Addy's bedtime reading the past couple weeks. I think the book is just long enough to sit through, and is a nice introduction to the holiday season. Plus, Addy asks for it by name, which is super cute - "Yamma Yamma Haw-ye-day!" My favorite book that I have read in the past is The Hunger Games. Extremely well written story that I plan on reading again and again. 

14: A Comfort Item

The thing I love most when I need comfort is holding my husband's hand. That simple act can calm my nerves, put me at ease, make me feel safe, and give me confidence.

15: Family Time

I love the time in the evening, after dinner, when all three of us play together. It doesn't happen every night, because sometimes Matt likes to zone out in front of the TV, and sometimes I run off to get as far away from playtime as possible...but when we are all in good moods, and fully engaged, it's awesome.

16: Dinnertime

I am thankful that we have family dinnertime every night of the week, with rare exceptions. The Family Dinner is something that is very important to me, and will only grow in importance as Addy gets older. I'm usually able to have dinner ready when Matt walks in the door from work, and we all always eat together. I am so very thankful for that.

17: Nighttime Ritual

I love putting Addy to bed. I love reading to her and giving her the last hug and kiss of the day. I'm thankful that I no longer work weeknights, so I have the opportunity to do this every night.

18: Favorite Quote

19: Favorite Photo

I'm not sure why I like this so much, because honestly, I don't even like red wine. But still, it somehow resonates with the goofy, cynical mommy in me.

20: Family Pet

We have two kitties, Heidi and Dexter. They look like twins, until you get to know them. Heidi is a bitch and always has a scowl on her face. Dexter is much friendlier, but only if she knows you. Both of these cats came with my husband. I am a cat lover, but it took me a long time to warm up to these particular cats. I am thankful that Addy loves these cats, even though they rarely return her love. And when they do, it's quickly followed by a swift scratch to her hand, telling her they've had enough love for the time being.

21: Your Work

I am so very blessed to be afforded the opportunity to stay at home with my daughter while Matt works his ass off to make a living. There are certainly some days when I think I'd be happier sitting at a desk running reports, but then that little stinker will do something adorable and I'm all like, "How does any mom work, seriously?!?" And then five minutes later, I'm dreaming about restructuring my resume. But seriously, I am where I need to be. Thank you, husband, for everything you do to provide for this family.

22: A Blessing

I am thankful that my sister is well on the road to recovery from some very scary health issues she faced earlier this year. I can't bear to imagine a life without my sister in it, and sometimes I forget just how close that reality could have been.

23: Gift

On a regular basis, I look around at all the wonderful gifts we received at our baby showers from family, friends, and coworkers, and still can't believe the generosity. We were gifted so many items, big and small, that have been used, abused, and appreciated over the past two years. And I am forever grateful.  

24: Can't Live Without

I'm not a fan of this question...I mean, at the core of it, I need food, water, and oxygen to live. Everything else, I can technically live without. For me to say, for example, "OMG I could NOT live without my dishwasher!" just seems ridiculous. I could live. It might suck sometimes. My feet and back might hurt from standing at the sink washing dishes. Oh, the horror. But I could get my point? But since I feel compelled to give my best shot at answering all the questions, OMG I COULD NOT LIVE WITHOUT INSTANTLY HOT RUNNING WATER. I am so very thankful that I have the ability every single day to take a nice warm shower. Life would totally suck without hot water delivered on demand.

25: A Love

I am thankful for all the circumstances that brought my dear husband Matt back into my life after 10 years. When we first met, I knew wholeheartedly that there was something special between us, but it was the wrong time. And had I chosen him all those years ago, it never would have worked out. We both needed to change. We both needed to experience the relationships in between in order to appreciate what we each have to offer. We needed to grow up. And because of everything that happened in between, I can without a doubt say that my husband is the love of my life. There is no other that would be a better match. And having that kind of faith and certainty is a wonderful feeling.

26: A Weakness

Little Debbie Swiss Rolls. I cannot comprehend why it is so easy to stuff them in my face. Worse yet, I don't understand why I keep buying them for Matt, expecting myself to steer clear of them. Who am I kidding?

27: Relaxing

I am thankful for my father's success that afforded him the ability to build his dream getaway at beautiful Keuka Lake in Hammondsport, New York. And I'm extremely thankful that I have family that was more than willing to watch Addy while Matt and I enjoyed a weekend honeymoon at the lakehouse. When you are there, it is like time actually stops. It is the epitome of relaxation.

View from the kitchen window
28: Beauty is...

Watkins Glen State Park in New York. Of all the places I've seen, the gorge is perhaps the most wonderful display of nature's beauty.

29: Love is...

Simple, straightforward, comfortable.

30: Happiness is...

Being grateful for everything you have, both tangible and intangible. I find that I am happiest when I follow the principles of the serenity prayer...accept the things I cannot change, change the things that should be changed, and recognize the difference.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Nickajack Farms

Boy am I behind on blogging! Nearly a month ago now, Addy and I visited Nickajack Farms for their annual Family Fall Festival. The festival offers so many great activities for kids to enjoy, from Pumpkin Bowling, to Hayrides, to Corn Mazes. Admission is crazy low ($7 for an all-inclusive pass, or you can pay by the activity). Addy is still too small to have fun with the corn maze or a 30-minute hayride, so I opted for the Petting Zoo, the Pumpkin Patch, and the Discovery Barn. Addy was free, and it cost just $2 for those 3 activities! Talk about a cheap date!

It was an overcast day and a bit chilly, but Addy didn't seem to mind. We started off in the pumpkin patch, where she tested her strength on a few pumpkins...

I thought she'd be really excited about the animals at the petting zoo, but she wouldn't get too close to any of them. She kept calling out their names and "talking" to them, and she was very interested when I was petting them, but she refused to get close.

Her favorite part of the trip was the giant playbox of corn kernels inside the discovery barn...

She jumped right in, picked up a shovel and started scooping! There was a school field trip hanging out there too, but she didn't mind. She eagerly watched everything the bigger kids did, then tried to follow along. I was pleasantly surprised at how patient and helpful these kids were to Addy. They seemed happy to be playing right along with her.

Nickajack is definitely something we will make time for as a family next season. It's a wonderful place to enjoy all those great fall activities, for such a reasonable price. Well done, Nickajack!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

2 Year Checkup

Addy had her 2 year checkup this past Wednesday. Here are her stats:

Height: 35"
Weight: 26.5 lbs.
Head Circumference: Normal (does anyone actually track this measurement?)

She is in the 75th-90th percentile for height and 50th percentile for weight. So, basically, she's still tall and skinny, just like her daddy!

Considering the doctor didn't enter the room until one hour after our 9:45am appointment time, Addy was a very patient little two year old. She took her shot like a champ with a few tears, but no major meltdown, and was fine by the time we got her dressed.

Of course, I bribed her with fries. So...yeah, I'm THAT mom.

I'm so happy to have a healthy, growing toddler on my hands!

Friday, November 9, 2012

I have issues

Almost one week after the birthday party, this is what the leftover cupcakes look like. Because every day I eat the icing off of at least one cupcake. Just the icing, not the cake. I think the last remaining cow and sheep are betting each other who will be the last cupcake standing. It's a toss up, because they each have equally copious amounts of delicious icing.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Addy is TWO!

It is so hard to believe that my baby girl is two years old. Two years ago, my life changed foever. Two years ago, I was introduced to the tiny being that makes every single day have meaning. Two years ago, they laid her on my chest, and I thought, "What the hell am I supposed to do with this thing!" I'm still figuring that out one day at a time, but I think I'm doing an alright job at mommyhood so far.

We celebrated Addy's birthday on Saturday at our house, with our closest friends and family. As per my usual self, I went overboard with the party planning (I may or may not have some sort of addiction to carrying out a party theme). The theme this year was Barnyard Animals. Why? Because Addy loves animals, and the animal she talks about the most is the cow. And now I will teach you all how to obsess yourself with carrying out a party theme...

Step 1: Set the theme

Step 2: Plan the Menu and use themed food markers
Pigs in a blanket, pulled pork,
veggie patch, and straw
(chicken fries for the kids)

Farm fresh eggs

Personalized candies
 Step 3: Decorate accordingly
Barn door and hay props provided as a cute photo opportunity
BUT? The only picture taken at the props was of me and my
sister being goofy. Great picture! Waste of awesome props.
Nearly all decor came from Shindigz.

Step 4:  Have awesome friends/family that buy gifts that fit the theme

Perfect card from Grandma!
Addy's friend Lilah got her a farm animal See n Say
and the farm animal book that is behind her!

Step 5: Create a bad-ass cake display

Barn scenery created by yours truly; all of it
is edible. I'm pretty darn proud of it.
Farm animal cupcakes provided by
Any Way You Ice It. She did our wedding
cake. She's phenomenal.

Finished product!

So yes, I go a little overboard! After preparing for this party, I vowed to keep it simple next year - sheet pizzas and chips! But knowing me, she'll be all into princesses or something, and I will feel the need to represent. We shall see.

We all had a blast at the party. Addy didn't last too long opening her presents before diverting her attention elsewhere, but as she helped open each present, she would exclaim, "Birthday!" Here's a few of my favorite shots from opening gifts.

She couldn't wait to tear into the bath
crayons from Grandma!

She immediately investigated all the bells and
whistles on her new play kitchen from
Grandpa and Grammy! (all the other kids
joined her shortly after!)

She wasted no time jamming on her new
guitar from Benji and Sarah!

And this is my absolute most favorite picture of the day, maybe even EVER, taken by my friend Stacey:

Thank you to all of our friends and family that joined us in celebrating this darling's birthday!

Monday, November 5, 2012

On your birthday... get to do whatever you want.

Like sit inside the storage ottoman, half-naked, eating mini pancakes, and intently watching Curious George.

Must be great to be two.

Happy Birthday Addison!

Friday, November 2, 2012

I probably wont have any friends after today

The following was my status update on Facebook this morning:

As a SAHM, I am thankful that I actually had to set my alarm for 8:15 to make sure I was awake by then, as I have a very important appointment this morning. And when it went off, it woke me from a dead sleep. And twenty minutes later, my kid is still sleeping. Unfortunately, I know at least one fellow SAHM that would like to punch me in the face right now.

Yes, I am completely spoiled with Addy's sleeping schedule. Her usual wake-up time is 8:30am. But I needed to get up and moving this morning to be ready to leave a little before 9:00. And what was my very important appointment, you ask? Why, two hours of pampering at the hair salon of course!

So if my mommy friends didn't hate me for my ability to sleep in every day, they surely hate me now!

Sorry guys.

Kind of.

I only get a haircut and color once a year, so...

I don't feel that bad.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pumpkin Painting

There are oh so many things I love about fall, but Pumpkins rank at the top of the list. Pumpkin decor is pretty. Pumpkin fragrances smell wonderful. Pumpkin foods are fantastic. I love Pumpkin EVERYTHING! Don't you?

And now I can say the most fun I have had with a Pumpkin is when I watched Addy paint one. I think she thoroughly enjoyed herself too. She's getting a little better at the arts and crafts segment of childhood (and I'm getting a little better with patience during the arts and crafts segment of childhood!)

She started out clean and timid...

She quickly realized that yellow doesn't show
very well on Pumpkin

And eventually we gave her a paintbrush to
try (maybe we should have led with the brush?)

At one point, she mixed all the colors together and plastered a tiny grey handprint on the side of the Pumpkin. I tried to add black dots for eyes and nostrils to make it look like an elephant, but she wanted no part of my help. This Pumpkin painting was all about her skills!