Sunday, January 30, 2011

Worry from Willy

Palmer watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for the first time this weekend and was absolutely tramatized. He made it to the part where Violet turns into a blueberry and then we had to turn it off because he was crying and shaking so intensely. He came to me for lots of loves and comfort. It took about fifteen minutes of cuddles and me telling him it was all pretend before he stopped shuddering and whimpering. Before going to bed that night he cried out to Greg that, "Candy is scary!"

He is such a sensitive, sweet-hearted little boy. He woke up twice crying during the night. However, the next day he quickly got over his fear and ate more than his share of sugary treats.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Recipe - Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

I made peanut butter kiss cookies for this month's Relief Society activity. They are my absolute favorite cookie. They are so, so, very, very delicious. I have a secret love affair with them whenever they visit my kitchen; I swoon for these cookies. Enjoy.

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
sugar
Hershey's chocolate kisses

In a bowl cream together butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, peanut butter and vanilla. In a seperate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt; add to creamed mixture and beat together. Roll dough into a 1 1/2 inch balls and roll in sugar. Bake 375 degrees 8-10 minutes. Immediately place Hershey kiss on top of each cookie.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Conversation with Greg

Greg returned home from work commenting on how busy the day had been and how he had not even been able to eat his lunch. I pointed him towards the kitchen, telling him he would like what he saw in there. That particular morning, upon Palmer's request, I had purchased a dozen donuts from the grocery store bakery, an extremely rare treat in our home. Greg let out a joyful cheer and quickly loaded a plate with two donuts. About an hour later I called him into the kitchen for dinner. The following conversation ensued.

Greg: I think those donuts made me sick.
Me: Really? I felt fine after eating mine. Are you sure you're not sick because those donuts are the only thing you ate today?
Greg: They weren't the only thing I ate today.
Me: What else did you eat?
Greg: Um... two other donuts, some pepperoni sticks, a Baby Ruth and a root beer.
Me (staring at him incredulously): I think that's why you feel sick.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

He's the Baby

Brody is the baby of our family, and he likes it that way. At fifteen months old, he is more a baby still than a toddler. There are a few reasons he fills the baby roll so well.

The first reason is the simple fact that he has been able to stay a baby. Palmer had to grow up quickly with Brody making his appearance only 17 months behind him. Brody, on the other hand, has no little sibling due a couple months from now, in fact, at this moment, no sibling coming along at all.

Another reason, I must admit, is that we do baby him. Since Brody's accident, Greg and I both acknowledge that we coddle him more than before. When you realize just how fragile their little lives are, you can not help but to dote on them and treasure every moment possible.

And finally, Brody is the baby, because it is who he is. He loves to snuggle and cuddle, always has. Palmer has always been very independent. Brody likes to be dependant. He likes to know that he is watched over, safe and loved.

At fifteen month, Brody is still not walking. I was warned early on by my doctor that our children would most likely take a while to hit their sitting and walking milestones because they are so tall, and have so much to balance. That has indeed been the case. I've also been told that often the second child develops later simply because your attention as a parent is split, and he is not as challenged as the first child. That probably also plays into the picture here. Regardless of the why, Brody still crawls around like the baby that he is. He crawls, and recently he started doing this.

video

A funny little knee walk, a move I have yet to see performed by any other kid in my personal and professional child care. He is doing it more and more. It looks quite goofy and gets a good laugh from any onlookers. What a silly baby!

Monday, January 17, 2011

No Need for Complaint

My heart has been breaking these past few days. So many of my loved ones seem to be struggling with trials I cannot even fathom having to deal with... losing homes, battling serious illness, missing mates, mourning babies. And through it all they continue on strong. Amazing. You, my friends, are amazing.

I cannot help but reflect on how fortunate my life is. Yes, money is tight and our home isn't as nice as I'd like, but we have a home. We are able to be in a place we love. We are provided for. We are sheltered, clothed and fed. We have all we need.

Yes, my husband works a lot, is not often home with me and the children. But I have a husband; and even after a 12 hour workday and an evening with the scouts, he does come home and I do get to see him.

I have two beautiful little boys, who often wear me out, but who also keep me going. Who, besides the occasional cough and cold, are healthy, well and thriving.

I am able. And even though at times I cause myself to get stressed and overwhelmed. I am gifted with the capabilities to care for myself and for my family.

It is easy to play the victim. Unfortunately, this is something with which I struggle. Thoughts of poor me enter my mind as I struggle to quiet my tantruming child in the grocery store, fight off a cold, eat dinner alone since Greg is still at work, and lose sleep due to a baby coughing through the night. How trivial these trials are when compared to what so many others face. What an example these women are in my life who carry these burdens with such courage, faith and honesty. They inspire me to really see life for what it is and to acknowledge what a fully blessed existence I do have. I have absolutely no need for complaint.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

We Have a Kid House

A friend's baby spit up on our couch a little while ago. Amongst the mother's adamant apologies, I quickly assured her not to worry and that it was no big deal. I then shrugged and said, "We have a kid house." And it is true. Our house is a home for children. You will find very few delicate or fragile decorations in our home, and the few special knick-knacks that we do have are high up on a shelf. We don't have beautiful flowing drapes, or nice upholstery or even live plants. Instead we have extra panels for our patio door to replace the ones that get ripped off or bent out of shape every couple months, and our furniture is made of wipeable microfiber or draped with washable covers. Instead of beautiful adornments, you will find our house is embellished with toys. We have toys everywhere, toys in each of the boys' rooms, toys in the living room, toys in our backroom, toys in the office, toys in the kitchen and toys in the bathroom.

Our guest bedroom, which I decorated with pride and joy, now houses a big orange Mickey Mouse themed Halloween bucket holding the candy remains from past holidays. This monstrosity is in our lovely guest room, because when locked, it is the only place in the entire house that Palmer can not connive a way to get to. Believe me, I tried everything, locked up in a baby proofed cabinet and sitting atop the refrigerator. It did not matter where I put it, he found a way to weasel or climb his way into that bucket of coveted candy.

Thanks to Brody's little grabby hands, I often find magnets and little toys stored in my pots and pans. There is a bright, neon green mark, (one that has sustained itself through countless cleaners and washings) on one of our couches which appeared during Brody's hospital stay that I can only guess might be from playdough? Our walls, laundry baskets and tables often display my children's artistic talents. The kids are always in my make-up, jewelry and scrapbooking supplies. They have lost, damaged and out right broken so many of my things I can not even keep count.

Here is one case and point. Palmer came to me the other day bearing these marks.

Because of the iridescent silver colored mark, I instantly knew he had gotten into my stamp pads. I went to the office to investigate what else he had inked. Instead of a ink colored room, I found this - my fabulous, custom designed, and expensive if I might add, scrapbook desk had been ripped apart thanks to the ever-so-busy-hands of my two year old son.

So come one, come all. Bring your babies, your toddlers, your children. Our house is equip. We are child friendly, child ready. And we have absolutely no plans to purchase anything nice or new for the next several years.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ouch

This is what Brody did to his finger while we were in Las Vegas, thanks to a television table that collapsed on his hand. This picture was taken almost four days after the accident. I hear originally it was much more swollen and almost black in color. This little boy is so accident prone! He has fallen more times than I can count, and even broke his back in three places before the age of one. Palmer has often sported goose eggs and bruises, but the injuries came later in his life, as a result of toddling and running around. Brody hasn't even started walking yet... and I honestly worry what will come when he does. Poor little Brody; we just can't seem to keep him safe.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Vegas, Baby!

I am freezing! In fact, I have been freezing since 8:00 last night, when Greg and I returned from our weekend getaway in Las Vegas. I've never been a great fan of Vegas, but I have to admit, it was a fabulous trip! The weather (warm with a cool breeze), the price (practically free thanks to Greg's company), the absence of children (Aunt London, Grandma Nancy, Aunt Sariah and Pappy and Grandma Betty each generously took a turn watching Palmer and Brody)... fabulous.

Greg was scheduled to go on a business trip to Las Vegas the weekend of our anniversary, so I decided to crash the party and tag along. We went sight seeing, shopped, dined and relaxed from Friday evening to Monday morning. Greg only needed to work through a couple nights, so we really had all day to vacation together. I had brought a lot of projects to work on during the times Greg would be gone, but since I had an awful head cold, I just crashed on the bed and watched television whenever he went to work at night. And instead of waking up early to workout while he slept in, I slept in too. In a way, I suppose my illness forced me to work in some R & R during our vacation.

My favorite thing we did this weekend was see Blue Man Group. It was the most fun and creative show I have ever been to. I loved every minute of it! What made the show even nicer was that we got the tickets for $10 a piece thanks to a time share demonstration.

Other notable activities from the weekend include: a gondola ride outside The Venetian, a fancy world buffet at Wynn, a random stranger on the street approached us to sell us crack (for real!? Do we look like the type of people who would want to buy crack? He even offered us a sample before purchasing; how kind of him. <--- that was sarcastic if you couldn't tell) touring the M&M factory, watching the Bellagio fountain show and eating at The Grand Lux Cafe.

(from left to right - Greg and The Rock (or possibly a wax version of him), Bellagio fountains, delectable gelato, me at the M&M Factory, me hugging a palm tree, Bellagio gardens, Greg and me on a gondola ride, us with a Blue Man)

It was such an amazing getaway! We haven't been on a real vacation since our honeymoon six years ago in Sun Valley, Idaho. We've occasionally done nearby nights at a hotel for our anniversary, or traveled to Nevada to visit family for a few days, but nothing like this. At the timeshare demonstration, the saleswomen showed us picture after picture of amazing places around the world. I could not help but yearn to visit such exotic destinations. She asked us if we viewed traveling as a necessity or a luxury. We obviously said a luxury. As Greg and I drove home we talked about saving for a vacation later in the year or even next year. Then we came home to a furnace that doesn't work, windows that need to be replaced, a refrigerator that is older than me, our car that isn't driving well, and a lot of bills that need to be paid. Although I would like to have traveling to be a necessity in our lives, it just can't be at this time. And honestly, that is okay. We are good; we are provided for and happy as a family, at home. Of course, it would be nice to travel the world and maybe one day in the future it will be a possibility. Until then I'll continue to dream of touring Europe, a Caribbean cruise, Disneyland, and New York, and take advantage of any free trips that come our way.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Christmas Vacation

Greg has had many 60-70 hour weeks at work recently. He also had a whole lot of paid time off saved up, so he decided to give himself a break and take the two weeks following Christmas off. I, as well as the kids, have so enjoyed having him home more. I was also able to cut back on working and only had to work a couple times during his vacation. We have had a phenomenal time living it up during these past two weeks by doing the following:
  • Played Elefun with the boys
  • Watched the entire seventh season of 24 (yes 24 hours worth!)
  • Ran at the gym
  • Played Wii Resort and Greg played a lot of Donkey Kong Country
  • I went to Zumba class
  • Took the boys swimming
  • Dejunked and made a D.I. run
  • Went on a date to see Little Fockers and ate at Cafe Zupas
  • Greg jammed with the band he plays back up drums for
  • Went out to dinner with Greg's Dad Kelly at Buca di Beppo
  • Shopped with our Christmas money
  • Cleaned and organized just about every room in the house
  • Sanded the wood above our mantle
  • Watched Alvin and The Chipmunks with Palmer about 15 times
  • Reupholstered our kitchen chairs
  • Slept in late
  • Cooked and ate yummy meals
  • Shared a large banana split at Leatherbys
  • Took the boys to the play place at our local fitness center
  • Played ping pong

It's been just fabulous! Oh, if there was only a way we could both be stay at home parents... that would surely be the life.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Rededicating and Starting Anew

New Year's resolutions, like many, I am not one to always follow through with them perfectly. However, I am thankful for this time of year, simply for the fact that I have the opportunity to better myself. I may not always meet my exact goals, but surely I do find renewed motivation to stretch myself a little more, to be a bit stronger and to progress as an individual. And isn't that the definition of our purpose here on this earth?

2010 was a good year for our family and for me. I feel that I was to improve myself in many areas. During the past year I have made exercise a routine part of my life. I love to run now and do so at least a couple times a week. I also enjoy attending Zumba and kickboxing classes when possible. Our home is cleaner than before. Greg and I have made dating a priority and do so regularly. I often have individual one on one time with my children and more often than not it is educational. We kept to a strict budget. I have price matched and couponed, planned and cooked homemade meals and tried many new recipes. I've steadily kept a record of our family life (you're reading it now). We've implemented and held regular Family Home Evenings. All of these goals were not always completed as precisely as I desire, but I did do them better than before. This new year I plan to continue on with these same worthy pursuits, with even more attention, effort and exactness.


In addition, I plan to add a couple new purposes to this coming year. I find great joy in scrapbooking. However, it seems I spend the limited crafting time I do have on projects not related to our family books. I am years behind. It would be fabulous if I could get caught up this year, we'll see if that's even a possibility, but surely I will make working on our family books more of a priority. I've also talked with Greg and we've decided to have regular family prayer. He and I always say a prayer together at the end of the night, but up until this point, we have not involved the boys. I should have started this even earlier, for sure they are now at an age when we need to make family prayer a regular aspect of their lives, as well as ours.

So there it is, our goals for 2011. What are your New Year's resolutions?