Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday Recovery

E listened really well this weekend, and I listened too.
We ended the weekend with a treat -- sharing a frozen yogurt at Yogurt City! Had to add some doodles, too!

This Monday is really overwhelming me. I have so much to do just this morning, but I had to take a quick break to just write. Maybe a little time-out will help.

We had a great weekend with my parents. We kept busy this trip, but it was nice to spend so much time out and about in this beautiful weather. We went to Burlington to the ECHO Center (courtesy of our library's pass, yeah!), had lunch on the lake, and swam in the hotel swimming pool where my parents were staying. On Saturday, we got to go across the lake to see my grandma, aunts and uncles, cousins, and their kids. More pool time, then home for our town's early Independence Day celebration.

We had planned to just go to the fireworks. Last year E didn't really notice the carnival they had set up in the field nearby, but this year, about a half-mile away, she saw the glowing rides and white peaks of the prize tents and said, "Mommy, what's that?" I explained that it was a carnival with rides. She replied, "For me!?" "Um, well, yeah..."

She insisted on driving the train!
"Let's take a look," she said.
And as we got closer: "Let's take a closer look."

Luckily they were close to shutting down before the fireworks, so we got in for free, and she had a great time doing the more toddler-appropriate rides. She tackled all of them like a champ. The fireworks scared her a bit, so we sat in Auntie Bee's car, which muffled the noise, and she loved it.

Yesterday we spent some time with Mark's family, and now we're heading into the biggest celebration of the year (well, maybe second to Christmas) -- the 4th of July! The festivities are multiplied, because we also have 3 birthdays this week -- Bee's, Mark's, and my sister's! Always a fun time!

Also, stay tuned this week and throughout the summer as I roll out some more fun doodle activities! I'll try to section off a corner of the blog for doodle stuff, so we can all participate via Facebook/Twitter/Instagram!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Doodle A Day

I saw a Doodle-a-Day calendar in a book I found, and then I found some others online. I had to create my own!

This one has 30 boxes, a place to write in the month, your name, and I left a small space in the middle of the sheet in case you want to cut it out and put it in your bullet journal!

You can download the printable PDF (here).

Tomorrow my parents are coming, so stay tuned via Instagram for some fun out and about around Vermont with Grammie and Papa

While I take a mini vacation, feel free to check out some of my newest most-viewed posts:

A Napkin, It's What's For Dinner
Things My Husband Doesn't Care About
Defining Beautiful

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Baby Bread

My 2-year-old loves to bake! Here is a super simple recipe that we use all the time with any fruit we have on hand. It's been halved to make a baby-sized serving:

1 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 c. sugar*
1/2 c. milk
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 packet of applesauce (about 1/3 c.)**

*Sugar can be replaced with 1/8 c. natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup
**Applesauce can be replaced with a jar of baby fruit or a mashed fresh fruit, like one ripe banana

Mix flour, baking powder, and sugar.
Add milk, applesauce, and oil.
Stir until batter is smooth.

Bake at 350 degrees in small, greased, bread pan or cake pan for about 15-25 minutes or until knife stuck in middle of the bread comes out clean.

My favorite things about this recipe are: it's egg-free and can be made with fat-free milk and any fruit you like! The batter is safe for your toddler to eat and play with, and if all the ingredients get destroyed, you've only wasted about 2 cups of supplies. We make this a few times each month!

Sunday, June 22, 2014


Mark and Christian -- a long time ago!
At least that's how Ellie pronounces it.

This weekend, my nephew "gradumated" from high school. It didn't really sink in until I saw him in his cap and gown -- then the tears started. Christian was the first nephew I ever had. Technically, he was Mark's nephew, and I was just lucky enough to adopt him as my nephew when we got married. He was 6-years-old when Mark and I met.

I wasn't exactly sure how to relate to boys. But I soon learned that he was the same as most kids and was content as long as I was doing whatever he wanted, like following him on a mountain hike in my flip flops or spending hours playing whatever game he wanted to play and letting him win.

Since Mark and I didn't have kids yet, we treated Christian like our own and practiced our parenting skills early, you know, skills like just playing all day and never disciplining him (he never misbehaved anyway), taking him to movies, letting him stay up all night playing video games, and letting him eat whatever he wanted, then sending him home to his mom simultaneuosly tired and on some kind of sugar high.

"Isn't being an aunt grand!?" I thought. We continued the same traditions with nieces and nephews to follow.

There was so much time to just have fun and play. We could be kids with them. I even spent an entire week sorting through Mark's closet, finding old medieval-themed decorations and Christmas lights to create a castle-like room for Christian and the other nephews. Behind the bookshelf in Mark's room was a secret space, dubbed the "secret room" over the staircase. I decorated it with antique maps made by soaking paper in tea. I took an old gun rack and filled the drawers with little trinkets like marbles and Legos. I had all the time in the world then to just create for fun.

That summer, it was 90+ degrees in that third-floor secret room, but we would sit in there for hours playing Legos, playing marbles, talking, and reading.

A few months ago, when we were staying at Mark's parents, I went in the secret room to find some marbles for Ellie. I hadn't been in there for years. I opened the door, felt the familiar heat wave hit me in the face, and stepped inside. It was dark, so I reached down to flip on the twinkly Christmas lights. I found one of Christian's Lego spaceships. Maybe one of the other kids had been playing in there recently, but I could have sworn that's where we left it 10 years ago.

Everything else was exactly where we left it, too -- the first Harry Potter book left off the bookshelf, some randomly placed marbles. Yet, my little buddy was now all grown up, with a promising future ahead. And me with a daughter of my own -- he being the oldest cousin, she, the youngest. It was like stepping into another dimension. I could imagine that nothing ever changed, that time stood still in that tiny secret room for 10 years, and everything after was just a dream.

What if our lives had gone in any number of different directions?

I was sad that I couldn't go back to that moment, but I also felt instantly happy. If I had sat in that room 10 years ago and mapped out what I wanted my future to be -- the job I would have, what my child would be like -- it would have paled in comparison to the life I now know and cherish.

And if I had wished a perfect future for my 8-year-old nephew, it too would have paled in comparison to the life he has created for himself already at 18.

There just isn't a word for how proud we are of him.

May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Little Shopper

How do I describe the cuteness that is shopping with my daughter? She was so particular about what she put in her kid-cart, and she was determined to buy things like pepperoni and Italian bread. She must have been channeling my father's shopping list.

Due to the fact that payday isn't until next week, and I had already done our weekly shopping on Sunday, I had to make her circle the store again to put back most of her groceries.

When I calmly explained this to her, she let out a blood-curdling scream, ran off pushing her cart, yelling at the top of her lungs, "Never... never! NEVER!!!"

Gotta love that toddler will power! I caught up with her and told her that she could keep pushing the cart around but that we needed to organize our purchases and put some things back. I grabbed some tea, and I let her buy her cherished two-dollar box of mini cupcakes. She could have one after dinner.

"You can put your tea in my cart," she offered.
"Thanks, bubby."

She pushed her cart to check-out, paid for her items, and put the cart back all on her own.

Of course, on the way out, she noticed that someone had returned "The Car." The Car is that shopping cart that has a car on the front, and she is obsessed with riding in it. It's the only reason she'll ever willingly go to the supermarket. She begged me to bring her back in the store for "one more loop" in the The Car. One loop turned into four, of course, but we made it home in time to start dinner and settle in for the evening.

Life is moving pretty slowly nowadays, but I think I'm finally adjusting to this new "hurry up and wait" toddler stage.

Also, if you haven't read my latest post on the Burlington VT Moms site, check it out (here)!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Wreck It!

The wrecking continues... I just love this pic! More Wreck This Journal posts to come!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

E is for Everything

It's another busy week, but I just had to share some Ellie cuteness. She's learning her letters and can identify almost all of them now. Of course, E is her favorite.

Whenever she finds one (anywhere), she says, "Hey!! That's an E!! That's my name!"

She thinks her name is on everything -- restaurant menus, FedEx trucks, the Best Buy sign. The world is hers, and in her mind, everything is stamped in big letters with "ELLIE."

She's turning into such a little adult. She even laughs at my jokes now, as if she really gets them. Yes, my child actually understands sarcasm. She's two. Mama's so proud.

And, get this... if Mark and I are being goofballs, she totally calls us out on it. This morning, we were singing in silly voices, and she stormed into the room and said, "Come on, guys. What are you doing?" And she says, "Mommy, you're so silly."

She also really seems to love me. Like, she really loves me. She's had so many adults in her life, I sometimes just feel like one of her many caregivers -- just another day care teacher. But lately, it's me she's turned to for comfort and affection, and it makes me feel whole, like I'm serving my purpose as a mother. The last few mornings, she's curled up in my arms after getting out of bed and chatted with me while I held her, bundled in a blanket.

And yesterday, I sat down on the floor in the kitchen to help her with her shoes, and she jumped in my lap and threw her arms around my neck. Then she nuzzled her nose against my cheek, just like I do to her. I got her shoes on then hugged her and cooed at her, my little baby safe in my arms.

Most likely, she's just learned that the more she snuggles and hugs Mama, the longer she can delay leaving in the morning, but I take what I can get of the snuggles, as my little baby grows 3-feet tall right before my eyes, grabs her coat, and runs out the door with a wave, yelling back to me, "See ya, Babe!" (echoing Mark's same farewell).

The door closes, and all is quiet. The fridge kicks on. I sit by myself on the hardwood floor, run a hand through my messy hair, and begin to mentally prepare for my day. I look up and catch my reflection in the glass oven door.

Breasts sagging under a kiwi-green tank top, strands of hair falling into my eyes, diluted mascara pooled and dried behind wire-framed glasses. I rest my cheek on my knee. For once, I don't analyze every inch of my body and its faults. I am just a mom, just a person, just one person, one of three. One third of this family. One branch on the letter E.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Busyness Business

Busy, busy, busy! I was really determined to post more than once this week, but here comes the end of the week already, and I really don't have time to post this morning.

Let me give you a quick update and point you to some other fun things to check out today!

Snow-Tire Switch!
This week is "switch the snow-tires" week. I was embarrassed that we waited this long to do it until I found out that every other native Vermonter is doing the same this week. It could snow tomorrow, really, and none of us would be surprised!

These tire-switch days are crazy. We have to get E up early and try to get her out the door at a decent time. Her biggest concern upon waking is FOOD, so I made her a picnic breakfast to eat in the car and lured her outside with it. I put it in her new gardening bucket, and Mark came up with the catchy name, "Bucket Breakfast." We have quickly learned that E will do almost anything for a Bucket Breakfast including leave the house at 7:30am! We dropped Mark's car off, and began our long trek across the state, the entire family in one car, to drop off each one of us at our morning destinations. I'm the last one to work, and once I arrive, I feel like I've worked an entire day already.

But E is our little trooper and loves chatting with us all the way to her day-care drop off, and Mark and I are enjoying some extra time visiting in the morning on our way to work together.

The Curs-ed Crohn's
My Crohn's medicine is working fantastically, and I've already enjoyed a few sick-free days, made even better simply by not being worried so much about what I'm eating and what will make me sick. Everyone who finds out I have it says, "Oh no!! That's horrible." But the truth is that I feel better than I've felt in a long time. Tomorrow I have to go to the hospital for some more tests, but I'm praying and focusing on the positive and hoping all will be fine.

Throwback Thursday
I'm enjoying reading past posts about what we were all doing last year at this time. I particularly loved reminiscing about:
Stay Tuned
  1. Coming up next! I'm working on a BVT Moms Blog post about a super weepy moment I had in the car the other day about my "baby" growing up so fast. Weird, because I was not a huge fan of the baby stage.
  2. Also, if you haven't already, please consider donating to the great cause in our current Giveaway to help pay for Bret's cancer treatments! If you donate (or have already donated), make sure to put your name in to the drawing via the Rafflecopter widget above (honor system)! And if you need any help entering, just shoot me an email at
  3. Mark, E, and I are going to Bret's and Carrie's baby shower this Sunday, and we can't wait!
  4. I'm in the planning stages of rearranging E's room and planning to disassemble her crib and set up her new twin bed, as she is just about longer than the crib itself! And more household organizing in preparation for my parents' visit in a few weeks!
  5. We're doing more art stuff, a Wreck Journal, and Park Hopping!
  6. Then I get to go to the BVT Moms event, "Divas on Deck" on the Lake Champlain cruise, and our nephew's graduation is coming up! He was 6-years-old when Mark and I met. Wahhh!!

Time marches on, and we're all doing well here!

Thanks, as always, for reading and following our adventure!