Thursday, December 30, 2010

Be back soon....

we are playing with our cousins!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

May your holidays be filled with love, joy, health, laughter and smiles!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

And just like that he's....

On December 21, four years ago we were living in Cedar Falls, Iowa. We had only lived in this new state for a few short months as your dad took a job with a new company and we were relocated there. This day marked the 38 weeks and 5 days that you had been growing in my belly. We were so excited and ready for you to make your appearance! Well, it was around 10:00 am on this day and I had just gotten out of the shower. I was blow-drying my hair, I bent over slightly and I heard a "pop" and my water broke. I guess that is when you gave me first notice that you were ready to come out into the world.

Being new at this, mommy and daddy rushed to the hospital to see if you were truly ready to come out. Little did we know, it would be another 14 hours until we were actually holding you in our arms. You took your sweet, old time maybe you were showing us your stubborn side (that you get from your mommy). After about 8 hours of no signs (no dilatation or contractions) of you, mommy's Midwife decided it would be best to give me some medicine to speed things up a bit to get you out quicker. This medicine worked and around 10:00 pm on this day, you were really wanted out! After pushing for 2 hours, Mommy delivered you at 12:21 am on December 22, 2006. We smiled, we cheered, we laughed, we cried as we held you, our first healthy, newborn son. The joy we felt at this moment is something we had never experienced before in our lives.

We had a few names picked out for you that we liked, but daddy decided you looked like a Jack. I agreed and so we named you Jack. Your MiMi and PaPa had driven down the day before to spend Christmas with us. They arrived to our house to see a note on the front door telling them, "The baby is on his way" and so they were the first to meet you. Being that you were their first grandson, it was very special. You were held and snuggled between the four of us non-stop. You were the best Christmas present we have ever received.

And now here we are on this day, four years later. We have since moved to two different States and have lived in two different houses. And through this all, you have always remained a pure joy in our lives. We have learned so much from you Jack. In watching you grow and learn, you have taught us the real meaning of  love, patience, understanding and happiness.

You are 110% all boy. You love to run, jump, dance, swim and play (and play hard). You love to sing, making up the words as you go along. You love to draw (color, not so much) and it's usually Superheros that you draw.


You are in preschool 2 days a week at a Nature Center. It compliments your absolute most favorite activity, being outside (in any type of weather). You enjoy school more than I even expected (and I expected a lot). Comments your teachers have told me are, "Jack is a friend to everybody in the class", "Jack always has something to share during circle time", "Jack has a big heart and he is very caring to all the kids in class" and "Jack loves nature walks, they are his favorite". Hearing this makes my heart leap! Now, you don't tell mommy much about school other than if you do or don't go on a nature walk that day. And you randomly belt out songs that you learn at school, which usually happens at dinner.
I love this.

When Owen came along 2 years ago, you were not too sure about having a little brother. However, today, you are so in love with him and he with you. You are showing us everyday what a great big brother you are and will be for the many years to come. You help him, teach him, share with him, play with him and give him hugs and kisses quite often. Our hope is that you will always be there for each other, one day becoming best friends.

Jack, I love you more than I could ever convey in this blog post.
You turning 4 years old makes me a little sad and I get a little choked up just thinking about it.
But, thinking about all the wonderful, joyous things you bring to my life puts a huge smile on my face.
I truly cannot wait for what 4 will bring for you and I am so excited to be a part of that!
I love you Jackers!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Santa Train 2010

We took a ride on The Santa Train this past weekend. The boys got a huge kick out of seeing Santa, sitting on his lap and having a little conversation with him. Jack told Santa that he has "been a good boy and he would like a Spiderman skateboard and a Batman Scooter". Owen told Santa, "Santa, Santa, ho-ho-ho....Mi-Mouse", which meant he would like Mickey Mouse. However, Santa is not getting him "Mi-Mouse" because the only Mickey Mouse he seems to make is that dancing/singing Micky Mouse and well, that is just freaky. 

Anyway, the Santa Train experience as a whole was only okay this year. Owen was a fidgety two-year-old the entire time and after seeing Santa, Jack actually asked if we could go home. Waw-waw-waaaaw.  

 But, they did get to see and talk to him and I was able to get this cute picture of them on his lap wearing matching outfits (cause I'm weird like that).

This Santa did however really take time with each of the kids on our train car. He talked to each of them for a good five minutes, which was real sweet. I asked Jack if he had any questions for Santa or if their was anything else he wanted to tell him. After thinking for a minute, he said, "Oh yes, Santa I just want to tell you that I love my family very much". Aww...I guess he knew who was really listening :) 

Flashback...Santa Train 2009


Here we go, only 4 more days till Christmas!
I just added make chocolate peanut butter balls to my list.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Jammies, Cupcakes, Reindeer and Bokeh...huh?

Jack turns four years-old in three days.
I'm not ready to talk about it.
I just cannot believe that my little boy is going to be 4!
But, like I said, I'm not ready to talk about it.

Instead, I just want to share what we did the morning of his last day of preschool before Christmas break and before his birthday. Poor bugger's birthday will always be clumped in with Christmas. Not if I have anything to say about it! I will always do my best to unclump it and make it special.

So, here goes....
We stayed in our jammies all morning...we played, we baked cupcakes and we made Reindeer food.

A little insight into these pictures... Jack asked me to take a picture of him with Owen.
Jack snuggled up real close to his baby brother and then Owen snuggled up real close to his big brother.
And then he gave him a kiss (unprompted, even). these moments.


 I wanted to make treats for Jack to bring to his preschool class in celebration of his birthday. To honor Jack's request of cupcakes, I went on an internet search for an idea and I came across these colorburst cupcakes. Perfect... they are fun, colorful, easy for Jack and I to make together, and contain lots of sugar and color additives (just what a bunch of 3 year-olds need...I totally kid). No, but seriously,  they reminded of the rainbow cake and the fruit and veggie rainbow pancakes I also came across awhile ago, something I always have wanted to try. 

The boys and I whipped up the colorburst cupcakes together.
Jack mixed the colors into the separate batters, I layered them into the liners and O tried to stir up some trouble by flinging his batter-dipped spoon everywhere.
Okay, so this cupcake talk is getting pretty lengthy. Sorry...moving on.

I'm pretty sure they watched them bake the entire 20 minutes.

And voila...rainbow cupcakes with vanilla frosting and Christmas sprinkles (it's all I had)!

I guess they enjoyed them because Jack came home with an empty pan and a frosting-covered face.
Actually, Owen and I shared one while Jack was at school and I have to say these were super yum!

Reindeer Food.
We made packets of Reindeer food for each of his friends at school.
This little project truly took like 15 minutes (at the most) and Jack loved it! Reindeer talk is very magical!
I printed off the labels at home, we mixed the food together (oatmeal, sugar and red/green sprinkles and sugar crystals) and then stapled them onto little plastic baggies. And there you have it, Reindeer food you can sprinkle on your lawn or deck on Christmas Eve.  

And a couple nights later, I tried Bokeh with my camera, my Christmas tree and my little dudes.
My first try at it and it kinda worked, but with a snotty nosed O-bubs sucking on a random stick. My attempts after this failed as my camera kept focusing on the tree instead of my patient and willing subject, Jack. Hmm?
Real life this picture is, but I need to give it a try again. Pictures like these and/or these would be nice.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Three Favorites.

My O-Bubs has three favorite things (besides his big brother, Gaw).
They are Nookie, Naanie and B-Boo...aka pacifier, blanket and monkey.

They are his loveys and he can't have one without the others. If he asks us for his Nookie, then you know he will be asking for his Naanie and B-Boo as well. They help him relax, they help him cuddle, they comfort him and they help him sleep (thank goodness!)

When Owen was a baby, he was a horrible sleeper. I'm pretty sure he did not sleep through the night consistently until he was about 12 months old. And that was after a few heart-wrenching tries of the cry-it-out method. At the time, he did not want anything to do with these three loveys and he would push them away. But, this Momma needed sleep (real bad!) so I kept giving them to him all.the.time. I just kept thinking, he needs something consistent in his crib to comfort and sooth him back to sleep. He needs something besides his Momma and a bottle. Miraculously (and to me it was a miracle after all those months of little sleep) and after a lot of crying and lovey pushing, it worked and he is now just the absolute best sleeper! 

At night, while I am rocking him, he asks to be put in his crib (he points to his crib and says, "creeeb") where he cuddles up with his three loveys and falls fast asleep. Funny thing is, now that he has gotten to this place, I don't want to let him go.

I want to hold him and cuddle him. I want to rock my baby and sing softly to him while we are holding hands. I want to hold on tight to him and to this precious time. This precious time when his three loveys are his favorites and he looks up at me with his big blue eyes like I am the best Momma in the whole world.

I hope he looks at me like that forever.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ten on Tuesday.

1. The plastic bag monster terrifies me.

I have visions of this 'monster' growing bigger and bigger with every year my babies get older and older! Ahhhh...I don't want this thing taking over! I have made a promise to myself to try my best to only use my reusable bags for all types of shopping. No plastic...I need to do my part in stopping this monster. So, related this, I have a great Christmas present for the green/trying to be green shopper in your life.

The tote includes three grocery bags, one produce bag and one everyday bag.
The tote clips right onto your grocery cart handle and voila, you're ready to go get some shopping done!
(without plastic.) I bought myself one last spring and it's great!

2. There are so many (and I mean so many) holiday candy and cookie recipes that I want to try, but there is so little time and so few mouths in this house to eat them all. What's a girl to do? Here are few that have my mouth watering...

Peppermint Fudge Cupcake Jars

I guess a girl better get baking!

3. Every morning, when I am getting ready for the day, O-bubs pulls on my pants leg and says, "Momma, up...Momma, uppy".
He wants to sit on the bathroom counter right next to me. He loves to play with my make-up and suck on the tube of toothpaste. I've grown very fond of this time we spend together each morning. It completes my day!

4. Speaking of my almost 2 year-old Owen ( can this be?), the daycare providers at our gym daycare call him 'Tornado'. And I agree, he is a little tornado right now.

(sorry about the wonky cell-phone picture)
He recently learned to use these rings we hung in our basement.Which by the way, are a.w.e.s.o.m.e. for little kids. Lots of energy can be released on them and what kiddo doesn't like to hang like a monkey!

5. I made Greek-Style Stuffed Chicken (do I capitalize that?) last night for dinner. It was so delicious. I just wanted to share for all my Greek loving/bored with your current chicken recipe peeps!

6. On a whim the other night, I decided to whip up some gingerbread houses (minus the actual gingerbread and add graham crackers) with the boys. Sometimes my whims work and sometimes they flop. 


They were much more interested in eating the candy and could have cared less about making a cute house with windows, doors, and shutters made out of the candy.

I don't even think I have the energy to try it again this year.

7.  But, the next day Jackers made it all better for his Momma when he told me he was building me a house.

when told me he was packing up his toys to give to "lots of other children who don't have any".
(so, he has been listening to my endless talk about what Christmas really means....)

Maybe we can give gingerbread houses(with actual gingerbread) another try.

8. This is an absolute must if you have small children who still believe.

9.And this is an absolute must, if you just want a really good laugh. Make sure to read the blogger's captions under each picture, very funny!

10.  Today, this made me smile...big.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Santa's Helper.

George, the elf is back in town.
Well, he's been back for a few weeks and he is showing to be one busy little elf. He just appeared one morning hanging from the star at the top of our Christmas tree. Oh my, is he ever magical in the eyes of the boys (especially Jack, who's totally into it) this year. By day, he sits, hangs or stands somewhere in our house and by night, he travels back to the North Pole with reports on the boys for Mr. Claus. As he makes his way back into our home each morning, he seems to pick a new spot to hang out for the day. Finding him each morning is super fun for the boys and it makes them erupt into giggles and wonder as to how he got there. It's unbelievably precious. Truly, the look (of pure amazement) in their eyes is something I wish I could bottle up and save forever and ever.

George must be an adventure seeker, look at him trying to get a ride from Spike.

I wonder where he will be in the morning.....

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Family Dog...

puts up with and secretly enjoys this.

Jack: Momma, look at me, I'm dancing with Beasley!

Beasley: Seriously? Are you going to help a dog out?

Friday, December 10, 2010

What we've been up to...version 3.

What we've been up to this past week....

 1. Despite our daily intake of all of the following, we were hit (and hit hard) with 'the gross, icky stomach flu bug'. I'll spare you the details, but it got to all four of us at relatively the same time and we were down for two whole days. It even interrupted my birthday weekend in Chicago with my girls! As soon as I got there, I turned around and had to come back home. I was so sad, so very sad!
But, the good thing (if there is one?) about the whole situation is now hopefully, 'the icky, gross stomach flu bug' of 2010 has now cleared our systems just in time for the holidays! We definitely don't want a repeat of last year!

2.  Jack officially learned to roll his tongue recently and he simply cannot stop doing it. It's now rubbing off on O-man and he thinks he's perfected the skill as well! It makes me giggle and reminds of the time when I was about 5 years-old and my older brother (9 or 10 years-old at the time) learned to make farting noises under his arm...that was an all night-no sleep event for him and his friends. I however, did not partake...gross!

 3. When I received my Christmas Ballard catalog in the mail, I was very excited! I opened it to this page and I knew immediately I had to recreate this ornament tree for my home!

So I did, the other day and here it is...

It's not exact, it's not as full, but I still love it.

I love all the bright colors! It just makes me smile!
4. We have been playing outside and shoveling the driveway a lot!
My two little snow-playing boys, so cute in their puffy get-ups. Seriously, it cracks me up!
When I saw this post, I thought "how could I not have noticed (especially after watching this movie 2000 times) the similarity in my own boys?"!
Too funny! 

After we play in the snow and our bodies are chilly, we warm up with....
Their new fav!

5. The boys are all about Play-doh! They are wanting/willing to play with this stuff all.the.time and sometimes will play with it for over an hour. This is perfect for when dinner needs to me prepared or a blog wants to be written.
Today, we made Christmas shapes or as Jack told me, "No momma, they are not called Christmas shapes, they are called Christmas things". Okay?

6. We also have been playing in our cardboard box-playhouse/farm/ship/space shuttle. 

 The boys are pretending to be farmers feeding corn (Honey-Nut Cheerios) to their chickens (the dogs).

Have your ever read Little Boy by Allison Mcghee? 
This sweet-sweet book about a little boy is a must-have that you will treasure forever, especially for all you mommas who have your own sweet little boys. 
In this book, the little boy's daily routine, "depends on his big cardboard box".

I'm off to get my Christmas shopping completed and solve my front door holiday wreath dilemma.
Happy Friday!