Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I have so much to be thankful for. Friends, family, good health, a roof over my head.  Mostly I'm thankful for my wonderful husband and our precious children. They bring so much happiness, joy and love to my life. 

Thanksgiving 2011
12 weeks 1 day pregnant with H and B and already sporting a bump and maternity clothes. 

My happy girl and I. 6 months old. 

My dapper little dude. 

I hope you all have a blessed day full of the things and people you're thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving from my family to you and yours. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Goodbye Weekend, Hello Family

I had an entire post written about our weekend. All I needed to do was get on the computer to add pictures and publish. Unfortunately my lovely phone didn't save the post and I don't have time to rewrite it all.

Long story short: Harry has a double ear infection. We put up the Christmas tree on Friday. We watched football, visited with family, ate pizza and watched The Walking Dead on Sunday. Short and to the point. I'll share a few pictures and some more details later.  

Today is the day the first my siblings and their family arrive into town for Thanksgiving. I have siblings that live in Nashville, Denver, San Francisco and Seattle. Most of them will be traveling in over the next couple days, and I can't wait to see them. Pretty much our entire next week will be devoted to as much sibling time as possible because some of them we won't see for another 6+ months. 

Here's the 5 of us, plus my brother in law, at my sissy's wedding. This was 7 years ago, but it's the most recent picture I could find of us without tons of extra family or past significant others. 

Bring on the food, booze, cousin playtime, family bonding and "Uncle Buck" watching.  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Cold That Never Ends

Harrison started getting a runny nose a week ago on Saturday. By Sunday morning it was obvious that he had a cold, just in time for their 18 month pictures too. It looked like Brooke was going to miss out on the fun of being sick, but sure enough she started coughing on Thursday.

Here we are a week and a half later and they're both still coughing all the time and are certified snot producing machines. To make matters more fun, our washing machine gave up on life two days ago and now it feels like I'm getting their cold. Oh joy. 

Even though they've been sick for what feels like eternity, we've managed to have a little fun the last few weeks. I was able to attend two baby showers for two awesome women in my life. We had the kids' 18 month pictures taken. We got to visit with my uncle and cousins. And the kids went in for their 18 month check up. 

Wearing their first flannel pj sets. I love these!

Enjoying the 60* November weather.

Waiting out the tornado warning. 6 dogs, 2 babies and 8 adults all in the basement at Unc's.

Waiting at the doctor's office. H is 33.5" tall and weighs 27 pounds. B is 33" tall and weighs 24 pounds 12 ounces.

I'm really hoping they're over this in the next day or two. I would hate for them to be sick over Thanksgiving. Cousin Charlie will be in town for a whole week, and they have some serious bonding to do. Does anyone have any recommendations for helping get rid of their colds? How long do you usually wait until you seek out antibiotics? Their ears were clear at their check up, so I don't think we're dealing with ear infections. I'm taking suggestions for voodoo, witchcraft and any other shenanigans that will help kick these colds in the butt.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

18 Months

Harrison and Brooke are 18 months old today! I can't believe we've already made it to a year and a half. While they were nursing before naps today it really hit me that they are no longer babies. They could decide to self wean at any time and our sweet snuggle time could be gone. I also realized that I won't have the luxury of snuggling in bed for as long as I want with any potential future kids because I'll have these two running around. I have to enjoy every minute of the quiet snuggles while I still can. While they do give me hugs and kisses throughout the day, lately the only time they really slow down and let me snuggle them is when they nurse.

They are gaining so much independence each day. They want to do things on their own. Mom and dad can't help with everything. Brooke especially makes that clear when she's swatting us away. They want to do what we do. A few of their favorite things to do are throw away their diapers after a change or to help me unload the dishwasher. Harrison loves to sweep the floor or push around the squeegee at the daycare. He is such a little helper.

Harrison sprouted two new molars this month and has a cuspid that is about to break through the gums any day. His last molar shows no signs of coming in any time soon. Brooke has no new teeth this month, but she has a cuspid that is poking her gums too. Molars are cake compared to the pain I can tell they're feeling with their canines. Chilled teething rings are back in use almost daily.

Their vocabulary is still developing. We hear new words or animal noises from them almost daily. Harrison has always been a bit more verbal than Brooke and he continues to be. She doesn't say as much as he does, but I'm pretty sure she understands more. It's so neat to see how they develop differently even though they're exposed to the same things.

Brooke is still going back and forth between eating whatever we put in front of her and refusing to eat anything that isn't fruit or a carb. (Is butter a carb?) Harrison still eats pretty much everything and has even attempted to eat some rather spicy foods recently. He did really will with some spicy Indian food and not so great with a bite of spicy Mexican food. They are still nursing 3 times a day and drink water like it's going out of style. They are definitely well hydrated.

They are officially into 24 month (Carter's) and 18-24 (Gap and Old Navy) tops. They are even wearing a lot of 2T tops for the length. Their Christmas pjs I bought in size 2T are almost to short on top and I have to roll up the bottoms so they don't step on them. They are still wearing 12-18 month pants for the most part, but are wearing some 18-24 month skinny jeans because they're too cute not to wear. They are both about to make the move to size 7 shoes. They are already wearing size 7 boots with no problem and I need to get them new sneakers this next week.

A few other random little things to note. They are both still rear facing in their car seats. Brooke has developed an attachment to an Eddie Bauer down blanket and refuses to be read to without it covering her legs. They both sleep with a quilt made by one of their Aunties. They love it when we cover them up before bedtime. Harrison really took an attachment to Layla last month. I'm sad we won't get to see that relationship develop, but I'm hoping he'll start paying more attention to Tyson. Both kids think it's great fun to give the dog treats. Harrison will let Tyson take it from his hand and Brooke sets it on the floor in front of him. They are getting better at sharing everything except toys. They'll gladly share sippy cups, books, food, blankets, but not toys. they still constantly fight over toys.

Happy half birthday kiddos! Your daddy and I love you so much. You bring so much joy to our lives and we love watching you grow and thrive. There are only 6 months left until you turn two which means it's about time for me to start planning your birthday party. I kid, I kid.

Happy 18 months, H and B!

Friday, November 15, 2013

5 on Friday - 18 Month Pictures

For 5 on Friday this week, I thought I'd share my 5 favorite pictures from the kids' 18 month shoot. Harrison woke up a sick mess, so I'm actually amazed we got any good pictures of him. 

Giggles after tickles

Reading the Candy Cane book

Balls make him happy

A framer for sure

Giving each other five

A huge thank you to the amazing Gill of Gillian Dyan Photography. She was amazing and patient with us even though part of our group was a hot mess. I also want to give thanks the amazing Etsy shops that helped with the kids' outfits. Izzy & Isla made their sweet cardigan onesies. Lingonberry Latitude for Brooke's adorable scarf. And of course the amazing Bub and Bug Studio for both of Brooke's headbands. I love supporting small business, and all three of these shops were a pleasure to work with.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Christmas Wish Lists

Every year since I can remember, my parents have had us submit wish lists every year of gifts we would like to receive from Santa. I remember looking through the Sears Wish Book when I was younger and writing down everything I saw. It's a little bit harder now to come up with a list for myself, what kitchen and home decor items do I need, but so much fun to make a list for the kids.

Our lists are due tomorrow, so I've been spending the last couple days looking at the stores and online for things I think they will like. In addition to their standard list, I also made an Amazon wish list. Have any of you ever done this before? What are your thoughts? One of my friends has used one for the last few years for her and her daughter, and it makes it so easy to buy gifts I know they'll like and appreciate. I also like that you can go in and add to it and take things off as needed.

As you can see, I like educational toys. I rarely buy a toy unless there is educational value in it. Although, I did buy the kids a Big Hugs Elmo just because it's Elmo. In addition to toys, their lists are full of books, puzzles, coloring supplies and Duplo blocks. They also have some bath toys on their list. They would be completely happy if every gift they received was a book. 

Any suggestions from parents with older kids? Are there toys or books your kids loved that we're missing out on? Moms with similar aged kids, what are you planning to get your little ones? I am always up for suggestions. 

I still can't believe Thanksgiving is only 2 weeks away which means Christmas is just over a month away. I'm so excited!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tasty Tuesday - Zucchini Bake

I, like just about every other mom on earth, am constantly trying to make sure my kids are getting enough of the right things to eat. Especially with B, it's a constant battle to get them to eat well. I'm sure they would happily live on cereal, smoothies and cheese if I let them. They love cheese and I can almost always get them to eat their veggies if there's enough cheese involved.

One of my favorite side dishes is layers of zucchini and squash with cheese, onions and a little bit of garlic. So easy and so flavorful. I've made it a couple times for the kids and of course Harry eats it up. Brooke eats it straight out of the oven, but isn't so sure about it as leftovers. I ideally serve it as a side with some grilled chicken, but I've also been know to make a pan and have only zucchini bake for dinner.  

Zucchini Bake


3 medium size zucchini or yellow squash
1/2 cup diced onion or 3 tbsp dried onion
Garlic powder
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese


1. Preheat oven to 375* and spray 9x9 pan with cooking spray. 

2. Slice zucchini and/or yellow squash. Dice onion.  

3. Layer zucchini, onion, garlic powder and Parmesan cheese in pan in that order.  Repeat layers until all ingredients are used. 

4. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top.  

5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until zucchini is cooked and the cheese is lightly browned. 

Pre-bake during layering

Now that H and B have almost all their molars, I can cook this the way I like it, not quite as mushy. When they were younger and still gumming most of their food, I would overcook it so it would be easier for them to chew. The skins are a bit difficult for babies with no teeth, so watch closely with little littles.

Any other mamas out there have good go to side dishes to get their kids eating veggies? I love new ideas.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

All Dogs Go to Heaven

On Thursday Night we lost one of our furry family members. I remember driving with Rob on a Friday night to go pick out our new puppy. My brother came over to hang out with Tyson since we would be gone for 6 hours.  We had been emailing with a breeder for weeks to ensure that we would be a right match for one of her puppies and that our puppy's parents had been through the appropriate health screenings. We met Bertha and Trudy along with their parents, uncles, siblings and cousins. Almost immediately it became apparent that Bertha was the puppy for us. She was a spunky little girl who we knew would be a great match for Tyson.

Once we knew who was coming home with us we got back on the road. We decided Layla was the perfect moniker for our new family member. She snuggled with us the entire way home and when we arrived she made fast friends with Tyson. They were best buds from day 1.

She slept in our bed the first night, and almost every day after. She craved constant human touch. If she wasn't lying on you, she wasn't close enough. Rob called her "Bunny" when she was little because she was such a snuggle bunny. She never realized her size and was convinced she was a lap dog.

Layla was naughty almost every day of her life. She chewed bras, shoes and underwear as a puppy. She chewed coffee tables and books as an adolescent. She broke into cabinets and got food off the top of the refrigerator as an adult. As frustrating as her naughtiness was, I always laughed about it after the fact. I'm laughing now thinking about her getting into the Bisquick or butterscotch pudding.

She definitely did things on her terms. She was full of life and only listened when it suited her. She always wanted to be the center of attention. If you weren't paying attention to her, she was going to make you. She was great with H and B even when they were pulling her nub or crawling over her.  She was the perfect girl for our family.

I remember the first time Layla had a seizure. I was worried sick and wondered why it was happening. Over time they continued but were never anything we felt we needed to be concerned about.  All of her test came back negative and the seizures didn't occur frequently. Two months ago when she had her first cluster of seizures, I remember thinking "This is the beginning of the end."  Whatever had been causing her seizures was now serious enough we couldn't  ignore it, except there was still no known cause. So we'd treat the symptoms.  

Her first day home from the hospital was the first time we talked about quality of life. She was high as a kite and could barely walk. Over the next few weeks she seemed to be getting better. So much so that we started weaning her off one of her medications. 

A week and a half ago, we started noticing she was having pain. We took her to the vet and she was put on medication to help with the pain. After this things just started to fall apart. I won't go into all the details, but the last week of her life was miserable for us. She was in severe pain and having seizure activity again. I was struggling with her care and the emotions that came with seeing her in such pain. Trying to make the right decisions for her while maintaining the kids' happiness was exhausting.  

On Thursday night she seemed to be feeling better after a long day of being in pain. We snuggled on the couch together while I blogged about Christmas pajamas. She had a seizure and never came back from it. She went into shock and eventually stopped breathing. She was not even 7 1/2 years old. 

Every day with her was a blessing. I loved her even when I wanted to strangle her. She was my best friend. My favorite snuggler. Our loud protector. My co-captain. Harrison's favorite.  She was our Laylers, Layla Cake, Tater Tot, Hippo, Bunny, Yay-a.

I believe the movie "All Dogs Go to Heaven." I know she's up there waiting on us and gorging herself with baked goods. No amount of time would ever be enough, but her life definitely ended too soon. I'm relieved that she isn't suffering anymore, but that doesn't diminish the pain and sadness of her passing. We love you sweet girl and will miss you every day. You will always be in our hearts.

Friday, November 8, 2013

5 on Friday - Holiday Jammies

For 5 on Friday this week I'm going to share 5 of our favorite holiday pajama options for boys and girls. H and B wore their Christmas pjs for the first time the other night, and they slept through the night which is a rare occurrence around here. I consider that a sign that they need more Christmas jams.

Carter's is our go to for sleepwear. Their footed fleece sleepers are what the kids wear 90% of the time. We've never tried their two piece sets, but these Santa ones are so cute. Their technically boy pajamas, but I think little girls can rock these too. The pjs their rocking in the picture above are both from Carter's.

These are the perfect classic two piece pajama sets. The plaid set has just a little bit of feminine ruffle to give it some flair. 

These are pretty much exactly the same as the Carter's footed sleepers. I LOVE the aliens wearing Santa hats. These are both so much fun.

Old Navy
Old Navy is another one of our favorites for pajamas. I love that their sizes work as an in between with Carter's sizes. I love these festive striped jammies. We already have enough holiday jams for this year, but we may have to try and snatch these up on clearance.

On one of our too many Target trips this week I saw these and knew we had to have them. I wish they made both of these in my size. Of course they didn't have them in store in the right size, so we ordered them online.  Thank you Target Red Card for free shipping and 5% off. If you don't have a Target debit card, get one. It's fantastic and free. 

Now I need to find some good holiday pjs for myself. As much as I'd love to rock a pair of footed sleepers, I can't sleep with my feet covered. Does anyone have any good recommendations on awesome holiday pjs for adults?

The kids are sleeping in their fleece footed Christams sleepers again tonight in hopes that there will be a repeat performance of last night. If all goes well, when this publishes in the am I'll still be snuggled up with a 70 pound fur ball named Tyson.  

Thanks to AprilChristinaNatasha and Darci for hosting the Five on Friday link up.