Monday, June 21, 2010

Appreciating Men

Often, I think men get a lot of flack for being men. They are the butt of many jokes and complaints among us women. But in all honesty, I think they are pretty great! This is especially true in regards to my husband Greg and my father Ed. So, in honor of Father's Day I would like to post several things for which I am thankful that these wonderful men step up and do.
  1. Work. I do work to subsidize our income, but it is very minimal. Greg is the one to bring home the bacon. He is at work, working hard, much more often than he is kicking back at home. I'm so glad that he is such a dedicated provider. My father likewise worked hard for our family. He is a truck driver, and especially when I was younger, was always on the road. I drove along on one trip with him, and that was enough for me.
  2. Mow the lawn and other manly chores. I know I will sound like an absolute princess when I say this, but I have never, in my 28 years of life, mowed the lawn. The men in my life have always, without complaint, taken over the dreaded chore. They also change the tires, fix up the home and screw in light bulbs. I am glad that they are willing to do these "man jobs" because I would much rather spend my time doing the "woman jobs" in the kitchen.
  3. Listen. Us Nichol's girls like to talk, and more often than not that talking is about our feelings. There are times when I am even sick of my complaining! Not once has Greg ever made me feel like I wasn't worth listening to.
  4. Play hard. Dads are great playmates. I would never rough house with Palmer and Brody in the manner that Greg does; it's just not in my nature. Men's ability to play hard is also a good influence on me, as an adult. So easily I find myself stressed out and wrapped up in all the many things I can and should be doing, that often I miss the moments to sit back and enjoy life. Greg helps steer me in that direction and helps me relax and have fun.
  5. Worthily hold the Priesthood. The Priesthood is such an amazing blessing in my life. My home has never been without it, and for that I am so very, very thankful. I have always had a loving father or husband able and willing to give me a blessing whenever needed. I have always had the guidance and spirit in my home that accompanies a worthy priesthood holder. Satan works so hard on those worthy men; I truly believe it is his number one tool in bringing down families. How blessed I am that my father and husband rise above the temptations of the world and lived up to their god given potential.

Recipe - Peanut Butter Cup Squares

We have made it a tradition to take a treat to our Bishop every Father's Day, to thank him for being the father of our ward. This year I made peanut butter cup squares. They are very easy, and very yummy. I am not a big peanut butter and chocolate fan (I hate Reece's Peanut Butter Cups), but I do like these. Unfortunately, I left the plate of goodies on top of the van and drove off without them. I even heard something hit the side of the car as we were backing out of the driveway, and I still didn't clue in. It wasn't until I was talking to the Bishop's wife, after I told her we were bringing a treat by, that I realized the goody plate was not with us. Believe me, I felt like an absolute idiot. We went home to find an upside down ran-over plate of peanut butter bars in the street. Thankfully, I had more squares at home and was able to somewhat redeem myself by taking a second run to the Bishop's house and this time, dropping off a successfully transported treat tray.

Peanut Butter Cup Squares

3 cups peanut butter1 stick + 1/2 stick of butter, divided
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
3 cups brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
12 oz package of milk chocolate chips

Mix together peanut butter, 1 stick of butter, powdered sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. The mix should be fairly dry. Pat into a 9 x 13 inch pan. Melt chocolate chips and 1/2 stick of butter. Spread on top of peanut butter base. Can be put in the refrigerator or cool at room temperature.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Big Brother

Palmer has always been a good brother to Brody. Even with Brody's initial arrival, Palmer did not show the first born signs of jealousy everyone had warned us about. Lately though, his excellent brothering skills have reached an all time high.

He is all about helping take care of his little brother. Palmer helps feed Brody, helps change his diapers, plays with him and tells him everything is okay when he gets upset.

He is also very protective of him. Once at the daycare a very large six year old was harassing and growling at Brody. Palmer squeezed himself in front of his little brother and the boy who was bullying him and very emphatically told the older kid, "No!"

Palmer demonstrates his brothering skills best of all by how he shows his loves for Brody. He likes to hold and cuddle with him. He likes to watch cartoons with him. He plays peek-a-boo and tickles him. He gives him kisses (three in total, one on each cheek and one on the lips) before going to bed at night. There has been a few instances, while getting ready to leave home, that I have left Brody in the house while packing items in the car. Palmer is always very concerned that I will leave the baby, and will try as hard as he can (grunting and putting his whole body into it) to pick up Brody and his carseat in order to take him to the car. And the past few weeks he has started to sing Brody to sleep to the tune of "Twinkle Star" (Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star). He sings softly to him while rubbing his chest then in a quiet voice says, "Night, night baby."

They are so sweet together. I was told by many that since they are so close in age, they would grow up to be the best of friends. I am overjoyed to see already that is indeed the case.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Turning 28

I turned 28 this past Tuesday. I suddenly feel wiser, generally calmer and more mature. Well, maybe not exactly, but this year's birthday has felt a bit different to me. Usually when I find the date of June 8th coming upon me, I become a flurry of emotions: excited, celebratory, happy, frenzied and more often than not a bit anxious about all the things I have yet to accomplish. However, this year I did not feel myself stressing about a need to have another baby, or conquering some lofty life goal. Instead I felt somewhat of an acceptance. Seems that at 28 years of age, I am finally growing up. I am now a bona fide adult.

Tuesday evening Greg took me to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner and dessert. The food was so very delicious! Rie kindly babysat so we could thoroughly enjoy our meal. Greg bought me tickets to go see the Broadway musical The Lion King in September. I can hardly wait; it looks amazing!

Sunday evening we had both sides of the family over for dinner and cake. I made Cream Cheese Chicken and then we had Schimdt's cake (decorated and provided by Andrea) and icecream for dessert. Then I opened my gifts. I received very generous amounts of money/gift cards from everyone, which I am thrilled to shop with in the next few days.

Friday, June 11, 2010

That Doesn't Go There

Yep, that is a partially eaten piece of bread in our game closet. And as of this morning, I cannot locate my deodorant stick. I have always been scatterbrained and have been know to misplace items. In fact, at girls camp I was given the award of most likely to lose her head if it wasn't attached. However, life with a toddler has brought my inability to find stuff to a whole new level. Palmer walks off, moves and hides just about everything he can get his hands on. We have located crayons in the bathroom sink, sippy cups in the bathtub, a DVD remote in my scrapbook paper tote, marbles in Greg's shoes, silverware in the garbage, my contact case also found it's way into the game closet, and so many other misplaced items I couldn't possibly attempt to remember them all! It's almost enough to make one lose her mind.

Monday, June 7, 2010

All Things Collide

Have you ever had one of those days where you just have too much going on and you feel like you don't have time to take a breath?

That seems to have been the pace of our lives for the past few weeks (If you ask Greg, I'm sure he'd insist it's been the past months). The late two weekends I was actually excited for the work week to start so that life could slow down a bit and that I could find a moment to relax. The problem is that I over plan. I know this to be the case, because it is I who squeezes in each and every event on our already full family calender. My dilemma lies in the simple fact that I want to do it all. I want to be involved: in church, in the community, in work, in friendships and family get togethers. I want to take my children to the park and swimming and to get their pictures taken. I want to date my husband. I want to serve. I want to develop my talents and share them. I want to put my heart and sole into each and every one of my undertakings. I want to fulfill all that is asked and expected of me. All these things that fill my life to the max, are all good and worthy pursuits. Yet, often I find myself late, stressed out, frazzled and/or forgotten in the chaos.

Obviously, I need to find some balance. I'm not quite sure how to do so without losing a part of myself. Until then, I just need to get through this week and the next.

Eight Month Photo Shoot

Just about every portrait session of Brody's seems to become my new favorite. His eight month photo shoot is no exception. The photographer we had was new to us. She said she recognized Brody from previous pictures she had seen taken at the studio. She remarked several times how fun and easy he was to photograph since he was so happy and attentive. She did a great job herself as well. Happy baby + good photographer = a mom who can't pick a favorite shot and thereby must print them all!

Eight Months Old

Brody is growing up! He is now eight months old and just as sweet and cuddly as the day he was born. He is very social and is always smiling and flirting. He has become quite vocal and just loves to baby talk. He sounds so much like his big brother. In fact, their voices are so alike that when we are waken in the night, we have make sure to check exactly who's monitor is lighting up.

He has learned: to sit unsupported, to chew/gum solid foods
and to cross his fingers

He likes: playing in water (whether it be swimming, bathing or washing hands), eating food that has bite to it, playing peek-a-boo, getting tickled, rocking in his carseat, bouncing in his bouncer and jumping in his jumperoo

He dislikes: being rocked in one's arms, being alone, belly time, and is beginning to lose interest in baby food

Things he does/about him that makes us laugh: blow raspberries, croak like a frog, grab everyone's hair, high pitched squeals, huge laughs, toothy grins, his natural faux hawk, and how he leans forward as far as possible with his mouth wide open and his whole body shaking when he wants a bite of food.