Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Our Typical Day: November 2016

I wanted to do a typical day post to remember what maternity leave is like this time around.  Chaos pretty mush sums it up.

LL usually wakes up for a bottle between 7:00 and 7:30.  BB is up shortly there after.  Usually once we are all awake, we head to our room and chill for a bit in our bed.  Then everyone gets a clean diaper and LL gets dressed.


Then while LL naps, BB and I have some breakfast. He has milk (lately with a splash of chocolate to get him to drink it) and some combo of pancakes, waffles, French toast, eggs, pbj, yogurt, or nutrigrain bar.


After breakfast, BB gets dressed and the fun begins.  I work on things like making the bed, laundry, picking things up, paying bills, etc.  on a good day (like yesterday), I work on one additional project like baking cookies for a friend of ours or Christmas gift planning. 

Meanwhile, BB is usually causing chaos all over the house and LL takes a bottle every 3 hours.  You never know where you will find him. 


For lunch, BB usually eats cheese and turkey, maybe a cheese quesadilla or grilled cheese, or sometimes leftovers from the night before.  After lunch, he goes down for a nap that lasts between and hour and an hour and a half.  Sometimes, I get them both sleeping at the same time, which is awesome!


If I slept okay the night before, I either hold LL and watch tv or scramble to pick up BB's morning mess.  If it was a long night, I join in the napping.  


After naps, BB's playing and destruction resume.  Tractors and balls remain his favorite toys.  I encourage playing blocks or trains, as those are my favorite. 



He is now climbing on everything, so trying to keep him from crashing and burning feels like a full time job.


Our excitement level rises when Dad gets home. It has been unseasonably warm, so the boys usually head outside for a while to feed the dogs, check cows, and play in the rocks and dirt.  I cannot wait for LL to get a little older and the weather to be a little warmer so we can all do this together. 


While the boys are out, LL and I usually start dinner. When they come back in, BB has his favorite snack, Mott's fruit snacks. 

Then it's on to dinner, baths about every other night for BB (usually by Dad) and every third night for LL (usually by mom), and then hanging out in the living room watching TV and playing.



Both kids go down for the night between 8:30 and 9:00.  After that, I usually clean up the kitchen, do dishes, fold laundry, and get things ready for the next day.  Then we are usually in bed by about 10:30 or so.


LL is usually up once for a bottle around 3:00.  Some nights it's twice ( around 1 and again around 4).  BB has been sleeping so well, but lately that's gone to crap and he is up at least once a night. 

So there you have it.  Another day in paradise.  LL is the sweetest, easiest baby.  BB makes life fun and exciting.  We are so blessed!




52 Week Photo Project: Week 49




Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Monday, December 5, 2016

Life Hacks #4

Time again to share some of the little things that seem to make life easier.  If you missed any of the first three posts, click here.

- Ebates
If you do online shopping, this is a must in my opinion.  All you have to do is create an account, log in before you do your online purchasing, and you get cash back.  When I first heard this, I was sure there was a catch.  But...there's not.  It's just cash back for the shopping you're doing anyway.  This year, I've earned $100 so far.

There are a ton of stores included--you just search for whatever store you're wanting to shop and to see if it has cash back offered.  Amounts range from 1% to 10% cash back.  On Cyber Monday, it was double cash back everywhere.  And, if you sign up using my referral link here, you get $10 cash back as soon as your make your first purchase.  So even if you just sign up, buy one thing, and never use it again, you'll get a $10 check in the mail.

- Tiny salad dressing bottle
I try and take my lunch almost every day.  One of my favorite things is a good fresh salad, but I always struggle with taking that to work because...what do I do about dressing?  I don't want to put it on in the morning and the lettuce get all soggy.  I also can't make myself eat it without dressing.  Well the other day, the answer was found in a random grocery store aisle.  This mini squeeze bottle is perfect for dressing.  I just fill it up, close the lid, and put it in my salad bowl until lunch time.


I know, I know.  I've probably said to everyone I know how I am not into electronic books and just prefer to have the good ol' hard copy on my shelf.  And that was true, until I bought my first iBook and downloaded it on my phone.  Now, if I'm waiting at the tire shop, I can read even if I didn't remember to bring my book.  When I'm up feeding LL in the middle of the night, I can read a few pages right there on my phone.  Plus, I can save some money not buying hard copy books and, given that my first iBook was all about tidying up and reducing clutter, not adding physical books to my shelf is appealing to me as well.

What life hacks do you have to share?

Friday, December 2, 2016

Our Weekly Menu

My friend Bri recently inspired me to start a Pinterest Board where I will collect and share the recipes I will cook the following week. 


I am all of one week in, and I love it!  This week's menu consisted of green chile enchiladas, crock pot chicken and stuffing, Stromboli, crock pot beef stew, crock pot (are you sensing a pattern here?) carnitas, spicy meatballs, Philly cheese steaks and my very favorite pumpkin bread.

Doing the board makes me meal plan for the entire week on Sunday, which then takes the stress off of me worrying about what we will have for dinner.  And, consequently, because I have a meal plan, it makes my grocery shopping easier and more efficient. 

To follow along, you can see my board
here and to follow Bri's board, which started all this jazz, click here

I am always looking for good recipes, so if you decide to give this a try, let me know and I will totally follow your board or blog or wherever you decide to share your weekly plan!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

52 Week Photo Challenge: Weeks 43-47

Since LL arrived in week 43, I will now be doing three photos a week, one of BB, one of LL, and one of them together.

Week 43




Week 44




Week 45




Week 46


Week 47




Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thankful for the Little Things

On this Thanksgiving, I have so many things to be grateful for.   I have been keeping a running list of the little things every day that inspire gratitude. 


Early morning sunrises;
Baby cuddles; 
The best chocolate chip cookie recipe; 
Small gifts arriving in the mail; 
How excited BB gets when he sees the train; 
Cows grazing outside my window; 
Diaper pails;
Old friends;
The tiny alter in our bedroom;
My Pandora bracelets and the memories it brings me;
BB's laugh;
My head fitting just right on The Boy from Texas' shoulder;
A safe house and a warm bed;
Panhandle sunsets;
Perfectly timed text messages from my girlfriends;
His grace.

Happy Thabksgiving and may we all be thankful for the little things.

LL: One Month

I have no idea how it's time to be doing this post.  The last month has flown by and this little girl could not be any sweeter or easier.  She is so happy and laid back, eats and sleeps like a champ, and our little family would be incomplete without her here!


She tips the scales (our bathroom scale, so accuracy may not be spot on here...) at a whopping 10.6 pounds.  She still has dark hair and pretty blue eyes.  Just today, we are packing up the newborn clothes and moving on to 0-3 months.

She loves being swaddled, cuddling, sleeping, her Mam binkie.

She dislikes being cold, diaper changes, and gas.

Here are a few of my favorite shots from the first month.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

The People in Rural America

I grew up in rural America.  And my husband and I have chosen to raise our family here.  In town without stoplights or movie theatres or malls.  We don't have Starbucks or fancy shops or live music (well, except for Fourth of July in my hometown or the rodeo weekend in my current town, both of which are kinda big deals).  The high school I attended didn't have a band or offer French class and there were 200 kids, in one building, grades K through 12.

One of the best parts of living in rural America is the people.  I grew up surrounded by neighbors who were like family to me.  They helped with homework, they bought whatever crap I was selling as a fundraiser, and they pulled together when things got tough.  A month ago when one of our cows got  out and I was 9 months pregnant with a husband out of town and a one year old, two of our neighbors jumped right in and had her put up and the fence fixed before I even got home.  When a neighbor's house burned down, the whole community rallied to raise money and offer support.  This is what people do here in rural America. 

I can tell you the names of my neighbors dogs for the past three decades.  I bought my first cow from Robert when I was 9 years old.  I still remember where the owl clock hung in Faye's kitchen, although she has been gone now for over 20 years.  I will never forget the taste Aunt Jean's cheesecake she always brought to my grandma's New Year's Eve Party. 

And, so, on election night when he media kept referring to rural Americans like me, my family, my neighbors, and my friends, as "uneducated" it really made my blood boil. 

These people raise children.  They raise the food the people in cities--including snooty news anchors--eat every day.  They go to church and school carnivals and fair board meetings.  They serve on the volunteer fire department and organize prayer circles and throw the best wedding showers.

And while some of us did receive a college education--I like to think my two college diplomas I earned while being first in my class (meaning the country kid beat the city kids) might deem me "educated," the rest of us have received an education in the world.  Some of the smartest people I know never graduated college and live in rural America. These women can sew anything you can think of, make the best tamales, and raised some of the best people I know.  The men can fix anything, work circles around any man in a suit, and will spend hours helping their neighbor in a time of need.  They understand agronomy, economics, and animal husbandry better than most people with PhDs.  

Recently, my dad figured up cost per acre on dry land milo on the back of an envelope in about 5 minutes, and the economists I worked with confirmed he was spot on after 3 hours of complex spreadsheets.   He may not have walked around the gym in a cap and gown with a doctoral hood, but he is far from uneducated. 

We made the decision to live in rural America consciously, and there is no place where and no people around whom I would rather live or raise my babies. If you ask me, a lot of city folk would be better off if they spent a little time around some of these "uneducated" rural Americans.  I am sure grateful for the ones in my life. 


Little House on the Prairie: The Big Kitchen Remodel

You might remember how less than a month before BB was born, we completed the addition to our house.  Well, because we are crazy, we decided that remodeling the kitchen would be the best way to welcome LL to the family.

Actually, it all started because I wanted a dishwasher.  Two kids and bottles, sippy cups, plastic bowls...I NEEDED a dishwasher!  And, as projects tend to do, this one snowballed and resulted in a brand new kitchen (complete with said dishwasher).

Here is a before photo when we first bought the house almost 2 years ago.


Here is a picture just before the renovation started.  (We previously re-did the floors and light fixture).

And now, the finished product!

Let's look at the changes...

First up, the island.  The Boy from Texas really wanted this.  I was lukewarm.  I didn't know if we had enough room and it was fairly pricey in the scheme of the overall renovation budget.  But now that we have it, boy was I wrong.  It is SO handy, I am not sure how we did without it!

Next, we did granite countertops.  We actually went in to look at butcher block to put just on the new island, but it was almost twice as expensive as this granite and is reportedly harder to keep clean.  Given that, we went with Santa Cecilia granite.  I think it goes really well!!  And, since we were doing the island in  granite, it made sense to do the rest of the counters as well.  See how this snowball happens?

We also did an above-stove microwave, which saves a lot of counter space.  Eventually, we will replace the stove and fridge with stainless, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?

And, the star of the show, the glorious new dishwasher.  It is everything I hoped it would be! 

It's hard to tell here, but we also got an under mount stainless sink and new faucet.  And TBFT redid all the trim around the windows and built window sills.

Lastly, we went with a subway cut travertine backsplash that I think really pulls everything together.

And there you have it. Nothing like a major home improvement project in the middle of welcoming your second baby!  But all's well that ends well, and I love the finished version!

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