Thursday, December 22, 2011


When I became a mom, actually, the very first second I held my firstborn, I realized that I had a lot to learn and God would provide me with untold numbers of lessons during motherhood. Five and a half years in and almost three kiddos later, I am realizing that this is going to be a lifelong lesson-learning session.

In some moments more than others, the lesson is much more in my face and straightforward. Christmas time is one of those times for me. Before I had kids, our Christmas tree was perfectly decorated with beautiful, fragile ornaments and the presents piled up underneath weeks before Christmas morning. Now, even on my so-called "nice" tree, the two year old has taken down and replaced all the ornaments and garland within arms length. So, my tree is now sporting clusters of ornaments at about 3 feet high. Also, even if we didnt do the whole Santa bit, we would still have no presents under the tree until Christmas morning because little hands find it hard to leave bows, paper, etc untouched on pretty packages. All this would drive me crazy in my old pre-kid life. I've come along way, baby! Now, I shake my head, sometimes say a silent prayer for sanity, and pick up the trash or put back the Christmas decor.

This morning, we made cookies too. They are terrible looking, but as evidence of how far I've come, I actually like them more than any "perfect" cookies that I could have made alone. They are all globby, misshapen forms even though we used cookie cutters because the dough got too warm and the cookies cut too thick. But, I know that my kids made these, had fun, and, hopefully, will remember christmases when they were little as fun times. I am thankful that God keeps reminding me that there will cone a day, sooner than I know, that there will no longer be little helping hands in my kitchen to help make "imperfect" cookies and I will long for just one more time.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The dresser

I finished painting the dresser for Sloan to go in the room that he will share with Jackson. I've been done with it for over a month, but haven't taken the time to take pictures of it. Finally, I just decided to take pictures with my phone. They could be better, but they'll do. That's how I roll these days: good enough. The room is ready and waiting for Sloan. I may have to forcefully evict him though from the nursery. We tried once already, but after about 5 times of getting out of his bed and me putting him back in, HE asked to go back to his "baby room" where he promptly fell asleep.

And because I am using the blogger app for my iPad, I can't figure out how to caption each photo, so I will give a little summary here and you can reference it below. Like I said, that's how I roll these days.

First, is the dresser painted, second is the dresser when I bought it. I used the original pulls because they matched Jackson's little dresser pulls and I liked them. Third, is Jackson's dresser that I was trying to pair Sloan's new dresser with to make it seem a little more cohesive. Fourth, is the old red chair that we inherited from the Maple house when we bought and renovated it. Next, are personalized paintings I painted for the boys to emphasize the race car theme of the room. Last, is the little booger who needs to be sleeping in the room and enjoying my hard decorating work...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Her name

Drum roll please........

The girl's name will be Abigail Claire. We are excited for Abby Claire's arrival in April! Her daddy chose her first name and it's very fitting because it means "father's joy" and when he was praying way back 3 years ago, he heard that he should pray for his daughter, Abigail.

On a related note, below is a rocker that I like, but I am unsure whether I'd want a rocker or a glider like the one in my previous post. What do you think??

Monday, December 12, 2011


Of course, as soon as I found out that I was having a girl (well, before that, actually), I have been gathering ideas for her nursery. It's so much fun! I would love to get started decorating, but I have yet to evict soon to be big brother Sloan from the current nursery. I might give it a go at Christmas break, bur I'm scared that he and Jackson will go all kinds of crazy in the same room at night. Yikes.

Anyway, the decorative side of me would love ti buy all new furniture, but the practical side of me screams NO WAY! So, I'm sticking with the same black crib, dresser, and changing table. I'll be getting a new chair because our old glider broke. I'm deciding on a glider or normal chair. I really do love a glider when nursing at night...

Well, here are some pics of ideas and my vision so far of her nursery!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Buddy: Fail

Buddy, is apparently too much responsibility for me and Jesse. We have almost forgotten to move him three different times (and we only just got him out two weeks ago), and today, or last night, we finally forgot to mov him. Jackson went downstairs this morning and saw Buddy in the same spot as yesterday and said, "hey! buddy is still in the little Christmas tree! WHAT?!". Oops.

So when Jackson went back upstairs to change his clothes, Jesse moved him to another location. He looked for Buddy again and saw that he moved. Jesse told him that Buddy must have fallen asleep last night and Jackson woke him up when he saw him the first time.

Yeah, I think the "magic" of Buddy will not last far into their childhood. Oh well.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sloan's little birthday party

Here are the pics a few days late from Sloan's little birthday dinner/party. It's taken me a while because this time of year is super busy for us! Jesse just had his birthday yesterday too, so I have been busy making his cake and buying his gift, etc in addition to all the other daily busy-ness of life.

I was surprised that Sloan got the hang of opening his presents so quickly! Jackson only got to help him with the first one. He got an airplane car carrier from his Grammy and Papa, a new train set from Mommy and Daddy and Jackson, and a Little People Batman stunt set from his favorite non-family members: Mr. Chase and Ms. Stacy and their girls.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Most of you have probably heard of Elf on the Shelf or have one. Ours is named Buddy. If you're on Pinterest, then you have also seen all the neat, fun things to do with the elf. I think a lot of these are super cute ideas- like setting him next to spilled sugar and making it look like he wrote his name in it or made a snow angel in it. Sadly, we can't do that at our house. My children have poor self restraint. The story goes, if you touch the elf, he can't fly back to the north pole to see Santa. I am positive that within one second of seeing Buddy within reaching distance, Buddy would be grabbed and taken and fought over and possibly unintentionally ripped apart. So, Buddy finds himself situated in high, safe, uncreative places and positions in ohr house. It works.

Disclaimer: we want our kids to focus on Jesus at Christmas and not Santa, so we make sure to explain that Santa and Buddy help us celebrate Jesus' birthday and remembering that Jesus is the best gift of all. It's still a work in progress.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sloan turns 2!

Today, my sweet second born son turns 2! In one sense I can't believe that he is already two, but in the other sense, it seems like he's always been a part of our family. He is the biggest little stinker I've ever known, but has a sweet, sensitive heart in reality. He gets in trouble mostly because he thinks he is big enough to do most things, when in reality, he is not. You know, like cut vegetables with a chef knife or buckle himself into his carseat or discipline the dog. He's a mess and he makes me smile everyday. He ends every question or sentence with "mama". It's like he's my little duckling.

So, I've spent the day making his cake and wrapping his presents and doing a little shopping for pajamas for him. Well, the shopping kind of got out of control and I ended up buying only 2 pairs of pjs for him and about 8 articles of clothing for our baby girl. Yep, I'm already getting sucked in, but man! is there a lot of stuff that is just ridiculously cute on the girls' side of the store!! anyways... we don't do big birthday parties for the first and second birthdays. We usually have dinner with another family and a few presents. I think it's worked out well for my kiddos. Jackson is excited, i guess. He said this morning that Sloan can't blow out his candles, so he (Jackson) has to do it for him. I told him he had to give Sloan a chance first.

Happy birthday to my little meatball. I love you and your blue eyes so stinkin' much!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Holy Cow! It's a girl!!

I had my 20 week ultrasound today and everything is checking out well and it's a girl!! I still can't believe it. I had just assumed that it was going to be another boy (and I would have been just as excited for boy #3), but boy, is it a paradigm shift to know that we will have a little girl in the house next spring! It took quite a while to see what was between those little legs. She had them closed tightly and finally, after we got a peek, she kept hiding her little face, so it took even longer to see her little profile. I think she's cute, but Jesse just said that everyone thinks their own child is cute. duh.

Jesse had the typical Jesse reaction: a little smirk on his face. Later, he said he was excited and that he knew it was a girl.

I'm excited to go shopping on the other girly side of all the kids' clothing stores now. I have to admit, I feel a little lost. I browsed some of the clothes at Target and Old Navy and it's like a whole other world that I've admired from afar, but now it's about to consume me...

Now to come up with a name.... Jesse has his choice. He's had it since he thought Sloan was going to be a girl. We shall see what the negotiations bring forth...

here's a picture of her profile!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas decor

So, truth be told, I started decorating for Christmas a couple weeks ago. I know, I know, some of you think that it is awful to do Christmas stuff before Thanksgiving, but I personally don't see any harm in celebrating the birth of Jesus a little sooner so that it feels like Christmas longer.

I love Christmas and I love Christmas trees. W have three in our house this year. Our "normal" tree is in the living room and is decorated with the fancy ornaments and the special ones like the boys' handprints and first Christmas pictures. We have a small one on our entry table that has ornaments that represent each family member's interests and other special ornaments that didn't fit on the big tree. Fnally, the third tree is up in our basement. Yes, I said UP in our basement. We don't have basements in Texas and we miss ours in Michigan, but this room essentially serves the same functions as our old basement did: tv, video games, toys that are too big/complicated to be out in the everyday rooms, and it is where our guests sleep. This tree is reserved for decorating by my dad and Jackson. I didn't get a pic of it to post here, but let's just say that the bottom half of the tree is fully loaded down with ornaments and the top is a little bare. I still love it because Jackson and Sloan and my dad had a good time decorating it and hopefully it will serve to make good memories.

Oh, and on our entry table, I put out a new nativity set that can withstand my boys. The people are made out of some kind of flexible resin/putty. I just hope we don't lose them. We had a few tense moments last week when baby Jesus was MIA. I found him under the refrigerator. If you'll notice the nativity scene is set up in Jackson's apparent interpretation of the Christmas story. The angel always has to be up in the window and the other people are shuffled around the the building. In this re-enactment, baby Jesus is outside and behind the building. Not sure why...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


So as I type this, I am having my very first housekeeper experience. I have never had a maid before, so this is all new to me and I was/am not sure what to expect. So far, these are the things that are running through my mind: she has been here for 2 hours and is still cleaning the upstairs, which, to me, is the least dirty part of the house. So, either she is extremely thorough in cleaning and I am not, or my house is a complete pig sty. I choose the former. I caught her dusting my blinds. Um, yeah, I have lived in this house a year and a half and never dusted blinds. I figured I'd dust them when large clumps started falling off. Good thing no one in my family has serious allergies...

Also, being the first time, I stayed home so that I could show her where everything was if she needed it. So, normally, if this contintues, should I stay here while she is cleaning or just find somewhere to go--which will be a problem if she takes two hours to clean the upstairs and another 2 to clean the downstairs... I mean, where would you go for four hours??? Especially on the days my two year old and 5 year old are not in school...?? I guess if she cleans this thoroughly every time she comes, I will only need her to come once a month, but I was really looking forward to having someone else mop my floors every other week...

On a totally unrelated topic, I can't believe Thanksgiving is tomorrow! We are having a small Thanksgiving for the first time in a long time. It will be just us and my parents coming down, so I didn't want to make a huge turkey, so we are having ham. I know, I know, my brother (who is not attending) has informed me that this is sacrilege. Well, it's because of him that I am waiting to cook my turkey for Christmas Eve dinner instead of Thanksgiving. I do like cooking and I love cooking a turkey, but I ain't doing it twice in the span of a month!! So, ham, sweet potato casserole, hash brown casserole, pumpkin pie, brownie bottom pie are on the menu for Thanksgiving at our house. How about you?? Do you ever have something other than turkey for T-day??

Monday, November 21, 2011

Turkey time!

It's almost thanksgiving and I am signed up to cohost Jackson's class thanksgiving party. I'm a tad nervous because it is my first time being a "room mom"- and I actually can't believe I'm old enough and have a child old enough for me to be a room mom! So, today, I am making preparations and I made these cute turkey cupcakes for the party. I'd like to say they are my own idea, but I borrowed the idea from a friend. They are super cute and super easy!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dinner for all

A lot of my posts latly start with something caused by my being pregnant, but it really is a good scape goat for many issues in my life right now. So, being pregnant, usually in the first trimester, I have horrible food aversions and some morning sickness so I never feel like cooking. My poor family is at the mercy of my husband's cooking, which isn't bad, if you like eggs and tater tots for dinner every day.

Now that I am into the second trimester, I have my appetite back and the will to cook again. Also, it helps that the weather is coolng down. I enjoy cooking so much more when it's not 109 degrees outide. So, last night I made two new things (for our family) for dinner. Every one of us ate BOTH things and didn't complain. I'd say that's a good meal! It wasn't anything fancy, just meatballs and "Cracker Barrels" hash brown casserole, but it's definitely going in the recipe book as a keeper. I know that at least 4 out of the 5 of y'all who read this blog ;) have children around the same age as mine, so it might be helpful.

Jelly meatballs:

-1 jar of grape jelly
-1 jar of barbecue sauce (the tangier, the better to balance the sweet jelly)
-package of frozen meatballs

Place all ingredients in slow cooker and cook on low 4-5 hours.

Cracker Barrel hash brown casserole:
(this recipe seems super super indulgent because it's so creamy, but it gets the creaminess from low fat cream of chicken soup!)

Preheat oven to 350

-2 lbs frozen hash browns
-8 oz low fat sour cream
-1 stick butter, melted
-1 can reduced Fat cream of chicken soup
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1 to 2 cups shredded cheese

Spread frozen hash browns in greased 9x13 pan. Season with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, combine sour cream through diced onion. Pour mixture on top of hash browns and spread evenly. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Furniture and food

I've been known to be random when I'm not pregnant and it only gets worse when I am pregnant, so there. That's my explanation for this post.

First, furniture. Maybe this isn't totally random because I am currently in the middle of painting Sloan's dresser. Anyway, here's a random tip for painting furniture: use spray primer instead of the brush on kind. Super duper time saver, and, in my opinion, works better and is easier to paint on.

Second, food. I think they invented preshredded cheese sometime during the years I was in law school. Or maybe that's just when I really started buying groceries for myself (and husband). Anyway, since that time I first discovered almost 10 years ago, ahem, I've always just grabbed the preshredded bag and thought nothing of it. With this third pregnancy though, texture is a big deal when I'm eating. I've been craving salads (don't give me credit for being healthy, i also crave chips and salsa like nobody's business), and I only like cheese in my salad when it's a salad from a restaurant. I finally realized that it tasted much better from them because they shred it themselves. Freshly shredded cheese. If there is such a thing. So, I've been buying the blocks of cheese and using it for everything that calls for cheese at my house. My kids even like it more and will just sneak up behind me and grab some out of the pile (yes, pile, what? when a recipe calls for cheese I take it seriously).

So, there you go. Two tips to improve your life insignificantly if not significantly: shred your own cheese and use spray primer.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


So yesterday evening was one to forget. Between the hours of 4 pm and 7:30 (when we put the boys to bed for an early bedtime) my children were apparently abducted and replaced by screaming, fighting, whiny,misbehaving banshees. Had to have been. So, once we got them to bed, the husband and I collapsed on th couch to watch some mind-numbing tv. We needed it. Somewhere towards the end of the show we were watching I started getting a terrible headache. Finally, after trying to tough it out, I asked Jesse to get me some Tylenol. I could barely even see straight when I took them. Two minutes later, I felt like I was going to throw up. I did. It was not pretty (but I guess I've never heard anyone use the adjective pretty when describing puking). I felt much better afterward.

So, the whole point of this post is that I wonder if this was a migraine, and if so, I hope I never get one again and I feel so so bad for those who get them on a regular basis. Yikes.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sloan's dresser

I finally found the perfect, old, not in great shape dresser to use for Sloan's clothes when he and Jackson finally share a room (which, may be a long time away...). I found this beauty at the Salvation Army. What love about using old dressers and painting them to make them new, is that I can find one that is solid wood, well built with dovetail joinery and a classic look. This dresser cost me $65 and has similar detail to Jackson's dresser (which cost me $35 at Goodwill in Traverse City....sigh, I miss that Goodwill. It always had nice stuff). Anyhoo, it's getting primed and painted burning umber, or red. After picture to come soon (hopefully).

A typical day

This is a typical day with Sloan. Here, he is sitting in timeout, but it's self-enforced (he wouldn't tell me why he was in timeout) and he's eating a piece of bread while the dog patiently, pathetically waits for the inevitable crumbs to be dropped. Oh, and Sloan has staked claim to Jackson's cowboy boots.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I'm baaaaack!

Ok, so if no one reads this, then I have only myself to blame because it's been forever since I last posted.

So, the last post I wrote was dramatically despairing. I'm much better now. I've readjusted my attitude and the morning sickness is gone, which helps tremendously. Since the last post, school has started (5 day a week pre-k for Jackson and MDO for Sloan). I was definitely sure that Jackson was ready for 5 day a week school, but I wasn't prepared for it as much as I thought. I miss having him home every other day and it seems that in addition to soccer starting up, we are always doing something everyday of the week. I guess this is how it will be until baby #3 is grown and out of the house...

Also, I've been busy rearranging, redecorating (sorta) Jackson's room in preparation for his sharing it with SLoan. We just got bunk beds and I've been in search for a dresser for Sloan. If I were not so stubborn and cheap, I would just go and buy a new one, but I have a hard time paying full price for a new piece of furniture. That being said, I did buy a brand new bunk bed for them, but it was on-sale. I cannot justify buying brand new items (with the exception of couches and beds/mattresses). So, I've been scouring Goodwill, Salvation army, consignment stores and thrift stores for the perfect ugly dresser to repaint and spruce up.

In addition to redoing the boys' room, I've been searching my house for things to redo/repaint. we've live in this house for a year and a half now, which, based on our track record, is an eternity. By this point in almost every other house, we have started remodeling or started building or moved into another house for me to redecorate/redo. I'm starting to feel like things are getting stagnant. Yes, I may have a problem. It could be a sickness. I've even been looking at new house plans! I have no idea why, but I think I may be addicted to houses/ house plans. Don't worry, I have no plans on moving, but a girl can dream, right?? I guess it's my passion...(weird).

I was at hobby lobby the other day and was buying Christmas ornaments 40% off for a second, little tree in our house that will have "fun" ornaments. I bought those glass ornaments for each person in our family according to their "passions". A fish for my husband who has taken up fishing in our lake almost every other day. A basketball for Jackson who LOVES the sport. A tractor for Sloan who is obsessed with them. And then, I got stuck on what is my passion. I don't play sports anymore. While I do love shoes, I wouldn't call them my passion...I realized that I am into houses. Which is not really a hobby as defined by the Christmas ornament makers association, it seems.

so there ya go. the last 2-3 months of our life. Pictures of the updated boys' room coming soon!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What am I going to do when the third one comes???

So, this is really an addendum to the post below. I forgot to mention that I lost my cool this weekend. My husband went out of town chasing Hurricane Irene, which ended up not being much of anything. He was gone from Friday afternoon to Sunday night. Oh My Word. Taking care of two kids while puking and just feeling nauseous in general is not conducive to a healthy mental state. Soooo, I was not nice momma this past weekend, and Sunday night is the culmination of what I was feeling.

Sunday: husband calls and says he will be home around 8:00. I say, okay, kids took a late nap, so we will all be up waiting for you. I got the kids in the bath, scrubbed them down and we played in Jackson's room waiting for daddy. Kids play, start fighting over a car, wrestle, don't listen to me when I tell them to stop, so I lose it and yell (very loudly) to "STOP!!! FOr the love of all things, STOP!!!" Their response: they did stop! But they were frozen in place with looks of fear mixed with confusion mixed with 'did that just really happen?' on their faces. Hmm. I think they were like "OMG, she's finally lost it."

Immediately after, I regained my composure, apologized for yelling and gave them hugs, but told them they had to stop fighting. please. stop. fighting.

Yeah, we were all happy when daddy got home. I think they were like "thank the Lord, he's here! This woman is crazy!!!"

Morning sickness and other busy-ness

Holy Cow. I have had some bad morning sickness with this pregnancy. It seems that each pregnancy has gotten worse. My first, I had no sickness at all. My second, I had a little and this one has been horrendous. A couple of days ago, I realized I kept puking right after taking my prenatal vitamin, so I stopped. TMI? maybe, but don't worry about my baby's fetal development without prenatal vitamins. I go to the doctor tomorrow and they will prescribe me some that won't leave me locked in my house begging for mercy...

In addition to the morning sickness, we are in full-blown fall activities mode. I realize now that this is just the beginning. It won't end until all of my kids are graduated from high school and out of the house. Jackson has started 5 day a week preschool-in the mornings only, but on Mondays and Wednesdays, we go home, eat lunch and then get right back in the car to go to Baylor for speech. Add on top of that, soccer practice and games two days a week and the only normal days are Fridays. Feel sorry for me yet?? If not, it's okay. I just wish I had more energy. Being pregnant with the third is really exhausting because you have two other kids to take care of. they don't quite want to stay home and lay around all day and take long naps..... sigh. I'll get them back when they are in high school!!!

Sorry no pics on this post. I've got some I want to post, but I only just found a few minutes of time to write this post, never mind upload photos.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Traverse City Part II

You have to go cherry picking if you are in Traverse in the summer.

Sloan's first time cherry picking

another Traverse City tradition of ours is Moomers Ice Cream!  The store is right next to their family farm, where they keep the cows that make their ice cream and milk!  It's so good!

We all shared the Holy Cow-10 scoops of ice cream, 4 bananas, hot fudge, and an entire can of whipped cream!!

Good stuff.
We cheered Jackson on:  "Chug it! Chug it! Chug it!"

We swam in Long Lake (the lake our house was on) every chance we got.

I even got to celebrate my birthday at the lake!  What better way to spend a birthday than with my family in a beautiful place!

The little beach at our cottage.

The view from the house.  Long lake is so calm in the morning.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Traverse City Michigan Part I

Spending 4 days in Chicago was a blast!  It's such a fun, big, bustling city with so much to do and see and eat!!  The perfect antecdote for that kind of fun, is a week in Traverse City.  An area with beautiful natural lakes (including Lake Michigan) and lots of farms and boutique shops and wineries!

We rented a cottage on Long Lake.  It's the area where we used to live and was familiar to us and a great location.  I would definitely go back to that lake every year!  The lakes up there are sandy bottom, clear, clean lakes. 

We had to do a drive-by of the old house.  We call this the Fishers Run house.  It looks the same as it did 3 years ago when we moved!

Gallaghers.  The BEST farm and market!  We used to go here all the time when we lived here before, so of course, we went about 3-4 times while we were there.  Great fresh produce and you get to go pet the animals and walk around and pick some of their produce, if you want!

All over Traverse City, there are beautiful old barns.

Jackson particularly liked the bunnies. This one nibbled his finger too!

My brother and his girlfriend hanging out with pigs...

Jackson also enjoyed chasing the chickens around.

Sloan loved playing with the toy tractors.

but the real tractor was even better!

a view of Gallagher's fields.

One of the many wineries.  THis one is on Old MIssion Peninsula-that is in the middle of Grand Traverse Bay, and separates it into East bay and West bay.  This was a converted school house.

Inside the winery. My brother, Christina, me and Aunt Jodi.

Wineries aren't really kid friendly, so the boys played outside and found lots of interest things.

Grapes on the vine at the winery.

My little guy.