Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Three Years Gone By

Sweetness. Sorrow. Faith. Hope. Heavenly Father's tender mercies. Miss you. Love you.

The picture says it all.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bedtime Stories

Palmer has been having nightmares once or twice a week. He wakes absolutely terrified. When this happens, we give him hugs, kisses, a drink and try to comfort him enough to tuck him back in for the night. Once in a while he needs a little more reassurance and spends the rest of the evening sleeping with Greg and I in our king size bed. He loves it! Throughout the night we get little caresses, sighs of happiness and even a few quiet little giggles.

Brody is a wonderful sleeper! I can't remember the last time he didn't sleep through the night. He also puts himself to sleep, which is absolutely fabulous (the only downside to this is that he will not rock to sleep when we are out or at church). If he ever fusses when we lay him down, all it takes is a few turns of his mobile and he is all smiles as he drifts off into dreamland.

Almost always, Greg takes over bedtime in our family. Even though I nurse Brody to sleep at night, he often carried him to the nursery and tucks him in. I always kiss Palmer before bed, but Greg is usually the one to help Palmer brush his teeth, change him into pajamas, read him a story and put him down for the night. I so love that Greg is such an involved father! He adds an element of fun that no one, not even Mommy, Aunties or Grandma, can compare. A couple times now, he has even crawled into Palmer's bed when waking him or putting him to bed. It's quite the silly sight to see his 6"4" body crammed into a baby crib.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Recipe - $100 Cheesecake

I made this mouthwatering treat for our Young Women fundraiser auction last weekend. It gets it's name from my sister, who also made it for a ward auction where it went for a whopping $100. The one I made last week went for an impressive $45, which I was more than happy with. This delectable dessert not only is stunning to the eye, but a heavenly delight for the taste buds as well.

$100 Cheesecake

2 no-bake cheesecake mixes
2/3 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 Pepperidge Farm chessman cookie package
8 oz. cream cheese
3 cups cold milk
12 oz. Cool Whip
1 can cherry pie filling

Combine crust mix packs, butter and sugar. Press onto the bottom of a nine inch springform pan. Arrange cookies around the outside edge of the pan, picture facing out. Beat cheese and half of the milk until smooth. Gradually beat in remaining milk. Add filling packs and beat until smooth. Continue beating on medium speed for three minutes. Fold in Cool Whip. Pour filling over crust. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour or even overnight. Top with cherries.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Job

Yesterday brought some exciting news for our family. Greg was offered a new job! We have been praying for the right job to come along for quite a while now, and we are so excited to see it happen. He will be working for Dealer Track as IT support for their financial accounts. The pay is a little bit more than he is currently making, and benefits are less, so hopefully with me continuing to work steadily, we will be able to make the bills. And what a relief that will be! I don't mind being on a strict budget, but living on faith for the last several months has just about given me an ulcer! The best part of this new job opportunity is that Greg will no longer be working Sundays. Hooray! He is just thrilled, and I am likewise very happy, not only for the added stability, but also for a job where Greg can learn and grow and thereby be much happier. What a wonderful blessing for us indeed!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Almost Two

Don't let this sweet face deceive you. This bath is a result of a very naughty action, as in just minutes before he was caught playing in the toilet with a roll of toilet paper and toilet paper wads all over the bathroom. Palmer has been getting into all kinds of trouble lately! In fact, in the past week this little boy has done the following:

  • While washing the van with me, not only laid in the muddy puddle made from cleaning the tires and hubcaps, but then proceeded to lap up the dirty water like a dog
  • Pooped in the tub
  • Run off into the street about five times
  • Run away from us at a store about twenty times
  • Broken a glass
  • Dumped a box of laundry detergent all over the washing machine, dryer, floor and three loads of clean laundry
  • Opened the heating vent cover and deposited into the ducts: two sippy cups, a toy train and numerous scrapbooking supplies (he does this one about every other day)
  • Drew on the couch
  • Drew on my iPod
  • Drew on a library book
  • Squirted hand sanitizer on top of our ottoman and then made sure to rub it in thoroughly
  • Hairsprayed the keyboard
    • I have a feeling these toddler years might possibly be the death of me, and we've only just begun them!

      Friday, March 19, 2010

      Working Hard for the Money

      Work, work, work is what I have been up to. We just haven't been making the bills and when Greg said it was time for him to get a second job, I told him I would rather be the one to work more. He doesn't see the kids much as it is, and I see them all the time (since they even come to work with me), so I thought me working more instead of him would be the best solution. As we talked about options I mentioned that most of my coworkers had already gotten a second job and that there were a lot of shifts opening up. We decided I would see if I could just work more at my current job, and whenever possible, he would take the kids instead of me bringing them along (they can only handle so much time at the loud, busy, overly stimulating daycare). Since the schedule had already been made for the current month at my work, I posted a note asking coworkers to call me first when they needed a shift covered. It's worked like a charm! I usually worked 2-3 shifts a week, but for this past month, thanks much to my thoughtful coworkers, I've been working 4-6 shifts a week, many of them being doubles since Greg can get off early (he makes up the hours on another day) and comes to pick up the kids before my second shift.

      Me working more has changed our family atmosphere a bit. The kids are always tired. Even though Greg is watching them during a couple shifts a week, they are still at the day care more than usual. They miss naps and are generally worn out from being there so often. The house has seen some pretty messy days, and seems to never be totally picked up. I am so far behind on laundry that I have to run a load just to have something to wear the next day. Dinners are fast and simple, sometimes cooked by Greg, and about once a week we just plain skip it (as in Palmer has frozen chicken nuggets, ramen noodles, or something else that heats up in a matter of minutes). I am truly amazed at full-time working moms and how they successfully find ways to do it all! If there is a secret, please let me in on it.

      Greg is still struggling with his current work situation. He is still very much underemployed in both skill level and pay. He is still working Saturdays and Sundays. His work doubled the cost of our benefits last month and that really put us behind. He applied for another account at his work that he was more than qualified for, and that paid better, but he wasn't even considered because the account he is currently on is understaffed and the company didn't want to lose workers there. We recently hit the six month mark of him being laid off of the Log Logic account. We were a bit saddened when we first realized this. I then thought how amazing it was that after six months of very minimal income, we still are in our house and we still have food on the table and medical benefits, and the sadness quickly turned to gratitude. Greg continues to apply anywhere and everywhere. Currently, there are a couple promising job leads. In fact, he just returned from a third interview. Hopefully, the right job for our family will come along soon.

      Wednesday, March 17, 2010

      Five Month Photo Shoot

      Here are the results from Brody's five month photo shoot. They were taken at JC Penney, as always. Brody is so happy and smiley at this age; he makes it fun to photograph him. The outfit was from Greg's Dad and the blanket was made by my best bud Jenn.

      Tuesday, March 16, 2010

      Refrigerator Woes

      I never thought I would experience woe over a refrigerator, but this past weekend proved me wrong.

      Thursday night, I returned from a Releif Society Activity I had helped run to find our refrigerator had died. Thinking back over the week, I should have seen it coming; our milk had been going bad pretty quickly and a bag of frozen vegetables I had taken from the freezer had been a bit mushy. The refrigerator had been passed down to my parents when they bought our house and then to us (it was older than I am), so actually I should have seen it coming years ago! But alas, the situation still knocked me off my feet.

      It was too late to contact anyone to help store our food, so Greg manuvered the broken refrigerator onto the back porch and left the door open overnight so that the chilly night air would keep everything cool. I then proceeded to cry myself to sleep over how we would be able to afford to replace it.

      I took the kids with me to work the next morning while Greg called around to find places to store our food. Within a half hour we were offered a free refrigerator to replace our old one (from a perfect stranger who heard of our predicament), and it happened to be just the right size to fit in our kitchen. The rest of the day brought three more refrigerator offers. Greg called around throughout the day and found a truck, loaned to us by a ward member, and two other ward members who were willing to help pick up and deliver the refrigerator Friday evening. Greg took Saturday off, and my Dad came over to help set up the new refrigerator and move the old one.

      Once again, I am taught a lesson of humility and faith. Apparently, this is a lesson that, especially lately, I need to be taught time and time again. We are truly watched over and provided for. I have no need to doubt this fact. Thank you so very much to all our friends who helped us!

      *As a funny side note to this tale, I've come to the realization that we really are the white trash family in the neighborhood. I've suspected this for sometime as I have surveyed our weed-ridden yard, but Friday morning as I opened the door to the back porch to retrieve a gallon of milk from our outdoor refrigerator, I knew it was time to accept it as truth.

      Wednesday, March 10, 2010

      Thank Yous

      Tonight I feel a need to thank.

      Thank you, random woman at the fitness center. Thank you for offering to fetch my toddler who was half way across the lobby as I was stuck behind the locked entrance gate, dumbfounded, holding baby and carseat in one hand and two full bags in the other.

      Thank you coworkers for understanding our financial needs this month and calling me first when you are unable to, or simply do not want to work your assigned shift.

      Thank you husband for taking the little boy who was awake to scouts with you, and leaving me only with the little boy who was asleep, and thereby a chance to take a break.

      Thank you warm hot bath. You were wonderful this evening, relaxing my exhausted muscles and mind.

      Thank you sister. What a thoughtful gift you gave, a movie date night, babysitting inclusive, and how very excited we are to take you up on it this coming weekend.

      Thank you Heavenly Father for the abundant blessings in my life. Thank you for my loving family and my supportive friends. Thank you for our home and our food and our clothing. Thank you for watching over us and for providing us with ways to meet our needs when we find ourselves unable to render the means on our own.

      Monday, March 8, 2010

      Exercising Body and Mind

      Brody is a bouncer baby; he absolutely loves his bouncer. He's pretty mello most of the time, but when he gets in his bouncer his legs start kicking like a machine.

      Palmer has known his body parts for a while now, but I thought I'd video tape them anyway. He has recently learned a new body part, bum. I never taught it to him, so I don't know exactly from where he picked it up. I found out about this said knowledge when he started randomly patting me on the bottom and saying bum, a bit awkward, but pretty funny. Thankfully he has only done this to me so far and not any strangers.

      Saturday, March 6, 2010

      Five Months Old

      Brody is such a joy to us. I just love the baby stage, and Brody embodies everything I love about this stage. He is super smiley and giggly, and only requires a few things to keep him happy, food, sleep, a clean diaper and love. We especially like meeting that last requirement with a lot of cuddles, tickles, kisses, and hugs. He's had a few illnesses this past month, including Roseola, but he has come through them like a champ. Here is what is going on with Brody at five months of age.

      He has learned to
      : eat rice cereal and baby food, roll from his stomach to his back, and hold and play with baby toys

      He likes
      : attention, nursing, eating, his bouncer, toys, playing on the floor, being held, getting changed - diaper and clothes, tickled, cuddled and kissed

      He dislikes
      : the bottle, the pacifier, loud noises, his brother crying and tummy time

      Things he does/about him that make us laugh: his huge eyes and how he stares, funny little coos, his big round belly, big smiles and laughs

      Wednesday, March 3, 2010

      Recipe - Fancy Chex Mix

      We made fancy Chex Mix this week for our family home evening activity. Lately, Palmer has been really interested in helping me in the kitchen. I thought fancy Chex Mix would be a quick and safe treat for him to help make. I cooked the ingredients on the stove while Palmer and Greg worked together mixing together all of the dry ingredients. Palmer so enjoying helping out in the kitchen and Greg and I so enjoyed eating our family's creation. Yum!

      Fancy Chex Mix

      1/2 box Golden Grahams
      1/2 box Rice Chex
      1/2 box Corn Chex
      1/2 large bag of slivered almonds
      1/2 large bag of coconut
      3 tablespoons butter
      2 cups sugar
      2 cups corn syrup

      Mix cereals, almonds and coconut in a large mixing bowl. Combine butter, sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan and heat on the stove until boiling. Let the mixture boil for 8 minutes exactly, stirring continuously. Slowly pour syrup mixture over cereal mixture, mixing well to coat cereal mixture evenly. Let sit for a half hour, then store in air tight gallon bags. Keeps for one week.

      This makes a huge batch, about two gallons, so be prepared to share. We each took a bag into our workplaces. It was quite a hit among our co-workers.

      Monday, March 1, 2010

      Discovery Gateway

      Greg's current work schedule has him working on Saturdays and London's husband has lately been working pretty much everyday, so we decided to take the kids out together this past weekend. London had free passes to the children's museum at Gateway (as well as a free parking pass) of which we were able to take advantage. Sariah joined in at the last minute as well to make the sister/aunt/cousin outing complete. My van was filled to capacity. Even the museum was extremely busy and it was just about all we could do to each keep track of one little boy. However, it was worth it; the boys were in absolute heaven! It's such a fun and charming place for kids and adults alike. Palmer loved every minute of it, especially the ball "beehive" and the water play area.