Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tripod Holiday Photos

Some years I have my shit together enough to have Katherine take our photos and other years not so much. This year was of the latter.  This year was a set the camera up on the tripod and hope for the best.  I've done this twice for family photos and after we're done I swear up and down that I will never do it again and I will get it together the following year.  It's hard enough trying to get a good family photo with no one crying or pouting or making a 4 year old cheese face with a great photographer let along blindly trying to take it. What's a girl to do?

There's this place in our yard that at around 4:30 has the most spectacular light.  I've always loved it and had this grand idea that we would take these beautiful back lit family photos for the holidays. Well, i got a few of those but I also got an abundance of lens flare which looks cool in some of the pictures but most of them were a hot mess. Trying to set up a picture, get the kids looking at the camera, making sure Bob's not being ridiculous and that I look like a doting loving mother.....it's exhausting.

this is by far my most favorite and it was the last one taken. the way lars is holding townes' hand... it's almost too much to handle. so much love

these guys have my heart! oh lars, you are so 4 years old! 

the word love seems insignificant to the way i feel about this guy. 

and this guy, my squishy

and this one too

this picture sums everything up perfectly.  i thought for sure everyone was smiling wonderfully at the camera.  Townes is obviously confused as to why he's not on my hip and why i'm so far away.  Lars is being Lars and this is what happens when I ask him to do a good smile and Bob who was being a trooper but was pretty not thrilled because I pulled him away from the middle of an Eagles game to take these pictures

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Lars' Room

I have a slight love affair with empty white space.   That probably doesn’t come as a surprise to people who know me.  Even in my work it shows up more often than not. I like empty space because when things feel cluttered around me, I feel cluttered.  When we began renovating our house (excuse me while I throw up in my mouth….ughhh…that was the worst) painting the walls white was one of the first things we did and boy did it make a difference!  It brightened up the entire house , made it feel airy and clean (even though it was in the process of renovations and there was dust everywhere). 

I also have the opposite of a hoarding problem.  What’s that called?  I can’t stand when stuff accumulates and when I say stuff I mean STUFF.  Toys, crafts, shoes, clothes, towels, reusable grocery bags, etc….Some mornings I’ll wake up and I’m on a mission.  Bob just goes and gets a bag or 4 and I make piles to donate and to take to the dump. 
I like our space to have as little clutter as possible.  You’d probably think I was lying if you walked into my house on any given day but I can only control so much.  Day to day life often times takes over and it takes us a few days to get things back in order. The fewer things we have the less clutter there is and the less mess we have to clean.

Lars’ room is perhaps the exception to my mantra.  When he started having ideas and opinions for his room, I tried hard not to stand in the way.  The only thing I said no to was painting his walls pink (his favorite color) only because we had just painted every wall and ceiling in the house white and we hope to sell the house in the near future.  I told him whenever we get into a new house he can paint his walls J

Lars like any 4 year old has lots of interest.  Obviously dinosaurs take the lead but he also loves rocks, animals, star wars, crafts and books.  And that’s mainly what his room is all about.  In the beginning I had the urge to take things off the wall because if felt cluttered but I’ve come to love it.  When you walk in his room, you know exactly who’s room it is. 

I love that everything in his room means something to him.  His dream catchers are one of the first things I purchased for his room when we had just moved in.  His drawings are one that he obviously loved enough to tape on his wall.  His rocks...OH his rocks! They are very important and have been specially selected, washed and rinsed and placed.  

He is constantly hanging things on his walls and adding more rocks to his dresser or shelf.  He loves his room and that makes me really happy.  He even gets excited about changing his sheets!! He has two sets of dinosaur sheets and when I was a set, it's like he's never seen them before.  It's the cutest. I'm not super into printed bedding (again love affair with empty white space) but when we got Lars his big boy bed he desperately wanted dinosaur sheets and let me just tell you....they were not as easy to find as you would think! 

his quilt was made by his favorite and beloved aunt ann when he was just a wee lad

i framed this preemie onesie that he wore right after coming home....sigh  his maraca was a gift from my mom while on a trip to Mexico.  the framed painting is the first finger painting he ever did 

a pot that he picked out from my aunts house 

a giant moth that he insisted on keeping 

a map of costa rica (because he can't wait to go there) and a small portion of his books and a framed water color frog print he selected

a parrot that's been past down to us from his mimi, and a framed jelly fish water print he picked out at the lavender festival

love him so...and his room

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

This weeks dinners and my grocery list....

Last weeks menu was a hit at our house.  The only recipe I didn't get around to making was the Carrot Tahini Soup which is on the rotation for this week because it sounds too delicious to pass up.  I skipped the soup because we ended up getting a late start on dinner one night and had leftover spaghetti and neatballs.  It worked.

I try to make my menus last a full week, Monday to Monday that way we have Monday or Tuesday to grocery shop.

this is the vegan ramen from last weeks menu.  it was easy but a little more time consuming than i would normally like to spend only because i've never made ramen and i was following the recipe pretty strictly and once I got half way through it, I noticed it said to let the broth cook for TWO HOURS......ummm that didn't happen... but we all LOVED it.  

this is the carrot and broccoli salad with miso ginger sauce.  it was amazing and you must make it! 

This week menu

Carrot Tahini Soup (vegan and gluten free.  also, i refuse to pine nuts because they are stupidly expensive so i'll probably use pumpkin seeds)

Luxurious Tomato Basil Pasta (this is a vegan, gluten free recipe that we all love and is from one of my favorite cooks books, Oh She Glows)

Spicy Potato 'n Black Bean Burritos (this recipe is vegan and gluten free, but I foresee us adding some cheese and maybe greek yogurt)

Falafel Wraps with Tzatziki Sauce (no real recipe for this. I use the falafel mix from whole foods and make a quick Tzatziki Sauce  and top it with spinach, olives, feta and tomatoes)

Black Bean Burgers and Fries

Pizza (Bob's famous weekly addition)

Spicy Peanut Sweet Potato Soba Noodles (this one is making it back on the list from last week, but it's super quick and yum.  I may change it up a bit)

If I'm feeling sassy :) i may make these One Bowl Jumbo Chocolate Chunk Cookies (vegan, gluten and refined sugar free)

Here's my grocery list...after i sent this to bob I immediately texted, OH AND WINE...OF COURSE

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Getting Back to Dinner

There once was a time when I had dinner mapped out weekly, the meals were delicious and healthy, the grocery list was well thought out and double checked and  we weren't going to the grocery store 3 times a week.  Then.... BABY.  Since Townes was born dinner has been sort of a shit storm most weeks. There were a few unusual weeks tossed in the past 6 months that I had it together but very very few and I've been ok with it until NOW. Having a new baby is hard.  It takes any routine you had and tosses it out the window, drags it down the road, puts it on a plane and sends it to a small far away country that you didn't even know existed and if you're lucky it comes back to visit every once in a while but mostly you create all new routines.  It takes time. So, I wasn't too hard on us for having the same 4 meals on rotation (for 6 months) or for having to hit up the grocery store 3 times a week.  We were in the trenches; trying to create this new life and new routine.

Well....it's time! It's time to get it together. I'm tired of spending extra money on groceries because we can't get a list together and I'm tired of eating some form of coconut sweet potatoes and black beans, butternut squash, kale and goat cheese and pizza.  All of those are delicious but we've exhausted them.

So here we go. I adore fall and all fall foods. It's my favorite, so what better time to start?

This weeks menu:

Carrot Tahini Soup
Easy Vegan Ramen  (i'll let you know how 'easy' it is)
Spicy Peanut Sweet Potato Soba Noodles
Lentil Walnut Tacos with Smokey Cashew Sauce
Carrot and Broccoli Salad with Miso Ginger Sauce 
Lars' Favorite Spaghetti and Neatballs (I don't make this vegan, but loosely follow this recipe.  I use Parmesan and sometimes an eggs in the mix)

I'm also hoping to whip up these bad boys: Pumpkin Ginger Bread Muffins and some more of these Peanut Butter Munchy Bars which I actually made into balls instead of bars.  Lars LOVES them and they are great for sticking in his lunch.

That's a wrap.  Hopefully this post will keep me honest and I'll have some pictures of wonderful dinners!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Baby Led Weaning

Have you heard of baby led weaning? If you have babies, I’m sure you have. It’s basically the idea of letting your baby (6 months or whenever they reach for food) feed themselves.  No pureed baby food or mashed up bananas and avocados.  You just let that baby grab a pork chop or in our house a slice of pizza and let them go to town.  The idea is that by around the age of 6 months babies are developmentally capable of feeding themselves.  The term was coined by a former midwife, Gill Rapley.

I had read all about this when Lars was getting close to 6 months.  It sounded like a lovely idea and I was intrigued.   Everything I could find about baby led weaning was positive.  It seemed to be the new way to go about feeding baby. 

While I continued to make Lars pureed baby food, we also did baby led weaning off and on.  It was going swimmingly until……..he choked.  That was the end.  He was chewing on a piece of apple and started choking.  Not just a little cough choking… like couldn’t get air choking.  I’ve never in my life been so panicked and terrified. I literally felt my heart stop.  For whatever reason, I lodged my finger down his throat (probably not the right way of going about things) and got the piece of apple back up.  He then started throwing up and coughing so much and crying. Everyone was crying.  It. Was. Horrific!  For days following I was so paranoid.  I was basically feeding him smoothies.
I never even gave baby led weaning another thought.  Lars began getting pieces of food when he got teeth and we felt ready. 

It scared us way too much to even consider it again.  It wasn’t an option.  The fear lingered and the thought of trying it again made my stomach turn.  Sort of like when your older friend buys you way too many cranberry vodkas for your 16th birthday and you spend 2 days throwing up and the thought or smell of cranberry and vodka to this day sends you hurling to the bathroom.  No, that didn’t happen to any of you?  OK, well just imagine :)  The fear still lingers.

It didn’t work for us and personally I don’t think (my) 6 month olds were ready to be biting off pieces of food.  I have friends who love this method and have never had a scare but we did and we’re done.
Townes just turned 6 months and we’ve been playing around with food (pureed food).  He loves it (not as much as big brother) but he’s really enjoying it. 

Some say that giving pureed baby food distracts baby from learning proper eating and chewing methods and maybe it does but I have one HUGE exception to that rule and it’s my 4 year old who was fed pureed baby food 95% of his baby food life and from the moment I put food in his mouth, is one of the best eaters out there.  Has zero problem chewing, eating or trying foods.  So, we’re going to stick with the tried and true method. 

Townes’ favorites so far:
Sweet potatoes (of course)
Green beans
Roasted squash and garlic

His not so favorites:
Broccoli (funny, because it was also the only food Lars ever turned his nose up to. He now loves it)

this is Lars (left) and Townes both around 6 months. 

those tummy rolls!!! LOVE

Friday, September 16, 2016

Sleep (Round 2)

Lars slept with us for the first few months of his life and it was a flipping disaster that in my first time mom-sleep deprived-trying to follow every rule-reading too many books-too uptight state couldn’t admit to.  I wanted Lars to sleep with so much for many reasons.  It was easier to nurse, I loved snuggling him, I loved being that close but it was not working out.  You can read about it here if you’re so inclined.  

This time around has been completely different.  If no one has told you (I’m certain they have) the second time around is like 5 trillion times easier. Things are easier because we’re not batshit crazy..basically. We are much more easy going and go with the flow. I haven’t read one sleep baby book or googled one baby sleep solution because I’ve realized that it just puts too much pressure on us and while the author of those many books has great advice, that author is not the mother to my child. We’ve realized that sleeping is great however and whenever it happens.  Townes will pretty much fall asleep anywhere; in his rock n play, in his swing, on me in the hammock, rocking, in the car, in bed with us, in his crib.  Some nights he falls sleep on me while we’re in bed and I just roll him over and he sleeps snuggly between us.  Other nights I place him in his crib and he’ll sleep there.  He still wakes up to eat once or twice a night and I’m perfectly ok with that.  Those tiny baby snuggles are delicious whenever they happen!!!

No, he’s not sleeping through the night on a regular basis.  He has at various points throughout his short 5 months but for the most part he still wants to eat every 4-5 hours.  No, we don’t have a strict sleep schedule for him.  He usually takes a late afternoon nap between 4-6 then hangs out with us and falls asleep for the night anywhere between 8-9PM. He’ll wake up (loose term because he never fully wakes up, just lets me know he’s hungry) once or twice and then wakes up between 8-9AM.  Our schedule is stricter for Lars than it is for Townes.   

I feel like with Lars we were forcing a schedule on him…one that he wasn’t ready for and it made things really hard.  This time around, Townes makes his own sleep schedule and it’s been so much easier and we’ve been much happier.  There’s no sleep training or rigid schedules because honestly when I look back, I feel like that was the source of my frustration and complete exhaustion with Lars. I was trying too hard to adhere to someone else’s rules and guidelines, I was stressing about following this crazy almost unattainable schedule.

From my perspective Townes is a good sleeper.  He naps, he’ll sleep wherever and he’s happy and we’re happy.  With Lars I based success on his longevity of sleep.  We did sleep training numerous times throughout his first year of life and we feel it actually made a more anxious and restless sleeper.  We’ve had to really work to sort of help Lars become a good sleeper and it’s taken 4 years. I think if we would have just gone with the flow a bit more we wouldn’t have all had to suffer through the sleep battles as much as we have. From day 1 Lars wasn’t a great sleeper according to books and doctors, but knowing what I know now and being his mom for 4 years, I’ve realized that Lars flat out doesn’t need the amount of sleep that other 4 year olds need or that is recommended.  He just doesn’t.  Lars is good on 9-10 hours a night.  He doesn’t need a nap and if you let him nap, I’ll slap you.  With 9 or 10 hours, Lars thrives and he needs the whole day to exert all that energy and be tired enough to fall asleep in the evening. You let that boy nap and you should be prepared to be up with him until midnight.   

I don’t know what kind of sleeper Townes will be but I’m going to let him decide that because in our house that’s the path of least resistance.  We don’t always encourage taking the easier path but we’ve taken the harder one and it sucked.  

he had peed in his jammies, so i changed him and he never woke up so he finished the night like this. 

he will always...ALWAYS get himself horizontal in our bed. 

the hammock will win every time. 

sleeping at dinner.  not sure if i like the sleeping baby or the hot husband more....

horizontal monkey

i mean really...

How beautiful is that? 
this sums up Lars much better 

how did i get so damn lucky?? 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Sweet, Sweet Baby Townes

I get it now....when moms say the love doesn't divide it multiplies. When I would try to comprehend loving another being as much as I love Lars, I just couldn't....until Townes. It's seriously amazes me that we are capable of that much love.  A new word should be invented because it's more than love...it's something that's indescribable. Sometimes, I feel like I'm going to burst because I love these boys so much.  Then tack on loving my other boy (Bob) and it makes me crazy.  So. Much. Love.

My precious, precious baby Townes....this is one chill baby.  And smiley, oh my goodness. If Townes is crying, he's hungry.  That's it. Otherwise this little bundle of goodness seems to always be in a good mood.  He laughs at everything and everyone.  I brought him to his 4 month check up last week and the doctor was pushing on his tummy and Townes was cracking up. He sometimes laughs when I just look him. He will often stay up way past what should be some kind of bedtime and just coos and smile at us.  It's pretty ridiculous.

He thinks Lars is the funniest person on the planet (which I mean he is).  He's obsessed with putting his hands in his mouth. He drools like there's no tomorrow, but no teeth yet.  He's just started to get a little chubby, which YUM! He's super long and basically doesn't fit in his swing anymore because his little feet hang off.  He's rolled over once or twice but doesn't seem too interested. He LOVES his baths.  He already reminds me of Bob...just chillin' and taking everything in.

that tiny booty, those perfect feet...ughhh, make a girl crazy

I was in a bit of denial that this newborn shirt still fit. Townes knows the truth

we make babies with good hair. 

if ever a moment summed up Lars, this is it. Townes was fussing after he woke up and I was pumping and trying to get the milk in a bag in the fridge and I walked in and heard Lars singing Hush, Little Baby.  He had crawled in, given Townes his binky, snuggled him and was singing. I almost didn't know what to do because I don't think my heart had ever felt that way. The love Lars has for his baby brother amazes me daily.  While there are many a days that Lars test every ounce of patience I have, will push every button and question everything I say (my mom would chime in right here and say...hahahahahaha!!! payback) he is just the sweetest and my goodness does he loves Townes. 

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