Sunday, May 31

Budding photographer

Here's what happens when you give a two-year-old your camera for a few minutes:

She's got talent, huh?

Little hunter

The other night Beth killed a fly with our fly swatter! See the little speck? She chased him for a good 5 minutes before she finally got him. Ryan is a proud papa!

Friday, May 29

Happier news

In an effort to not be too depressing, I'll share what I did last night. :-) My friend Katie and I had a ladies night, we went and got massages then went to a new wine bar, topped off with some yummy Taco Cabana. We had hour-long massages (though it was definitely under an hour) and had some good laughs despite our attempts to relax. It was my first massage while not pregnant (I had two while pregnant with Beth!) and I had to keep reminding myself to just relax. At the wine bar, we sat on the rooftop on a beautiful night and split a bottle of Riesling, then not quite ready to go home yet we wrapped up the night with tacos and queso. It was wonderfully relaxing, I had such a great time and am so happy that I have a hubby who encourages me to take "me" time, and that I have a great friend to share some laughs with! The whole thing left me very energized to tackle a new day, luckily it wasn't too rough of a day despite the initial sudden doctor appointment (see post below!).

Here is a cute video from Beth tonight, a nice moment in the day despite the sickness. She's doing "3 little monkeys jumping on the bed."

Too late

Luke's got it too. Went back to the ped today because I thought he had thrush in his mouth, but it was just the Hand, Foot and Mouth business. It's on his toes and in his mouth, in addition to his yeast rash, but (at this point) he doesn't have a fever. At least I don't have to try to keep them apart anymore!

Thursday, May 28


I'm so tired of the never-ending sickness around here. It feels like Beth's been sick since she turned two, at least more often than not. After the antibiotics for her ear infection, her runny nose and cough never quite went away, and the antibiotics gave her a yeast rash. Now that we got that under control, yesterday she developed some blister-looking things on her feet and knees, on top of a new fever, so I brought her in today and sure enough she has an enterovirus that causes hand, foot and mouth disease. It's only on her feet and knees, at this point, but she's just so miserable and sickly. My poor girl. And, it's nice and contagious so now I have to work hard to keep her and Luke separated through the weekend. Wish me luck.

Monday, May 25

7 months old

Our little Luke-ee is now 7 months old! He is such a cutie, when he smiles he just melts your heart! He's now starting to launch himself forward when he's sitting down, falling down 100% of the time but it's definitely the first step to crawling- eek! We're working with him on night sleep, attempting to sooth him down in the crib when he wakes up instead of immediately picking him up and walking him around. It's actually starting to work, it's slowing turning into just a few minutes of patting and shushing instead of 15 minutes of pacing. We still swaddle up his arms to get him to sleep, we've been doing for as long as I can remember. It's his sleepy cue- he knows it's time to sleep when we swaddle his arms!

I've also been very consistent lately in using some sign language, and I think he understands "nurse" now. I use the sign for "milk," and he's already at the point where if I sign it without saying a word, he'll toss his head to the side and start rooting around. It's pretty funny, and I'm so excited that he's already understanding this sign! I need to be more consistent about our other signs. "Eat" and "More" were some of Beth's first signs, but since Luke still isn't eating on a regular basis it might take a little longer for him to understand those signs.

He isn't excited about solid food like Beth was, but I guess I just haven't given him the right stuff yet. I don't know if Luke doesn't like the high chair, the spoons, or the food, but he just isn't excited about eating solid food. When he sees the spoon coming, he closes his mouth very tightly and shakes his head around, making every attempt to keep the food out! He hates pureed baby food from the jar and rice cereal from the box, but two nights ago he devoured some pot roast I had been cooking in the crock pot all day. It was very bland pot roast- one of my worst recipes ever- but I guess it was perfect for Luke because he couldn't get enough! He also ate cantaloupe that night, I squished it up in my fingers before giving it to him. Tonight I gave him some "puffs" finger foods, he really liked those too! I guess this all means I need to stop being lazy and start making my own baby food. I get the impression he'll enjoy the chunkier foods- so does anyone have any good baby cookbook recommendations?

These photos were taken a couple of days ago when they were playing nicely in Luke's room.

Friday, May 22

Fire Station

Today my friend Katie and I decided to take our kids to the park, then out to lunch. We went to a park that we'd never been to before, sort of near the restaurant, and as it turns out it was right next to a fire station. A not-very-busy fire station. Two of the firemen were outside throwing around a football, and when they saw the kids they brought over some kid-sized plastic fire helmets and invited us all over to come see the truck. The girls warmed up to the idea, and the firemen let them climb all over the inside of their truck, assuring me that there was nothing inside they could destroy! Well, two two-year-olds put them to the test, haha! They had a good time checking it all out.

The station was also home to a 1928/'29 fire truck, that apparently still runs and is used for special occasions. It was really cool to look at, it was the first brand-new fire truck bought by our city. I also learned a lot about our local fire stations, how things run and who would come to my house if it caught on fire. Unfortunately, oddly enough, the first responder is not the fire station that is under a mile from my house. :-/


Luke was sleepy and didn't want to take a picture!

Checking out the back seat

Beth in the old truck

For my mommy friends

Look at this blog post for great ideas and games on how to help your toddlers/preschoolers develop dexterity. I've been feeling out of ideas lately for Beth so this is a big giant help for me, I hope you get some good ideas too!

Wednesday, May 20

Random happenings

It's funny to me that all throughout my days, I think, "I need to blog about this!" or something similar. Blogging has become a way of life for me! But, when I sit down at my computer, I cannot for the life of me remember what I wanted to write about. So, here are some random thoughts that are coming to me in no particular order:

1. I took Beth to the doctor today because she's been sick off and on since last Friday. Yesterday evening she told me her ear hurt, so I brought her in to have that checked. Sure enough, she has an ear infection! As sad as I am that she's hurting, I thought it was kind of cool that she was able to communicate to me that she was in pain!

2. I averaged $75/an hour on my last job- so awesome! Everyone wants a close-up shot of my teeth, this is as good as it's going to get:

3. We're having some sleep issues with Luke- again? Still? I don't think they ever got better, it's just that some weeks are better than others. We're at a breaking point though, so I've got a couple books to look through to remind myself of how we handled this with Beth. The basic story is we can get Luke to sleep, but he won't stay asleep. And that's enough to drive any parent nuts when it's been happening for about every night for four months!

4. We haven't gone to the pool yet, though I have our passes, since Beth's been sick. I was hoping to go tomorrow but I don't think it's going to happen!

5. After our party the other night, Ryan and I were exhausted. He literally passed out (due to tiredness!) on the floor right after our last guests left. Finley was tired too for some reason, I guess it's just hard being a dog.

5. Beth's continuing development is so cool to see unfold. She's big into wanting to do everything herself, and she says, "I, I, I" instead of "Me, me, me." I think it's a good step in the right direction, since the correct thing to say would be, "I want to do it." Or whatever it is she wants. ;-)

6. This is Ryan's graduation from my parents and me, we combined forces to get this for his new office. I think it turned out pretty awesome!

7. Today I went to a friend's house to meet up with some of my online friends, two of whom I met for the first time today. We had a potluck lunch and let the 12 kids run around, it was a lot of fun! We were late and had to leave early since Beth was cranky due to her ear infection, I really wish we could have stayed longer because these are all women I really love! Here is a picture of all of our kids. Beth's in the front because she was too cranky to join them on the sofa!

Sunday, May 17


Congrats Ryan! He was awarded his diploma by his father, a professor at the university.

Poor Beth was sick with a fever, so she wasn't feeling well most of the day. The good news is the medicine we gave her helped her sleep mostly through the ceremony! Luke slept about half the ceremony, so I was able to sit with Ryan's mom and uncle and actually pay attention! The speaker was Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, and I must admit I wasn't all that impressed with her speech, it was rather uninspiring. The best part was at the end when she closed with some Dr. Seuss, from Oh The Places You'll Go! Our party today was a ton of fun, I'm so happy Ryan was able to celebrate with his friends and family. And now he's done! Wohoo!

Friday, May 15

Car seat checkup

Yesterday I attended a car seat checkup with a local church. They had several certified passenger safety technicians and some police officers there to check for proper installation and usage of car seats. I'm delighted to say that it was really busy! That made me really happy to see! Our seats passed inspection and I discovered that the church actually sponsors CPST trainings... So I might get to become certified after all! Prior to this, the only one I knew about was at a location over 2 hours away, and it was 4 days long, so there was no way I'd be able to go anytime soon. Now it seems a little more feasible, and that makes me very excited!

Tomorrow is a big day for Ryan. He's graduating with his MBA! Congratulations honey, I'm soooo glad you're finally done!!! It's been a long time in the making, but I know it was definitely well worth the journey!

Wednesday, May 13

At home

I was reading a blog tonight that touched my heart. She wrote about being a stay-at-home mom, something that I (obviously) am, but how staying at home is not just a waiting period until something greater comes along. I'm not just here at home until my kids are old enough to ship out of the house to school, when I'll find the next big important thing in my life. This blogger helped remind me of the delight in keeping house- it really is a vocation and a talent. It's not all easy but it's my job, and I love it.

I enjoy my part-time writing gig (well, most of the time) because I feel it allows me to exercise a part of my brain that my dad and I spent a pretty penny on during college. And I'll probably continue writing for them for as long as they want me. But this time right now, while I'm a stay-at-home mom, is not just a window of time I'm trying to fill with babies, dishes, and laundry. It's my life. And I love it.

Live at 5

We've gone to a local concert at the park thing twice now, here are some pics from tonight. We go with our friends, let the girls run around and enjoy a picnic lunch with live music. It's pretty fun! Tonight I put Beth in her swimsuit to see if she'd get in the water- take a look:

When we got home, I grabbed the hose to water some flowers in the front (too late I think, they look pretty dead!) and I noticed a little green frog. Of course I caught him to show Beth and she was soooo interested. She touched him but wouldn't hold him. He was a pretty feisty frog and kept jumping out of my hand, one time Beth said, "No frog come back!" and started chasing him, and she stepped on him to make him stop jumping away! I'm not sure if he was fatally injured, he definitely wasn't squished because he looked fine and was still alive, but he slowed down quite a bit after that. I felt really sad for him, I told Beth we had to let him go home to his mommy and daddy. I hope he lives!

I had my first sewing class yesterday and I loved it! Actually we only talked about patterns, fabric and taking measurements, not really too much about sewing yet. There are three other women in my class, and we're each making an A-line skirt. Today I shopped and bought my pattern, fabric, zipper and a few other things:

Pretty soon this will be a pretty skirt (the one on the bottom in the middle)!

In other pretty important news- I got my braces off today! My teeth look great, it's so exciting to not have them on anymore! Oddly it doesn't feel as weird as I thought it would (everyone told me to expect it to feel weird) but it's only weird in that I can tell my bite is different now. But I'm just happy to be able to bite my fingernails again, haha! I'll get a pic up soon, when I look decent. I am dying of allergies right now, my face actually hurts and my eyes are bloodshot. The kids have it too, unfortunately, so we really should all just hole ourselves up in the house for a week until this pollen or whatever disappears!

Monday, May 11

Blackberry picking

Today we attended our first event with our local home school group. We were invited out to a family's farm to pick blackberries and learn how to make a pie, in addition to checking out their chickens, sheep, and cows! Beth had a great time once she learned she could eat the berries straight of the bushes, she was covered in blackberry stains! She loved every second of our trip, she even helped make a pie which we got to bring home and share with Ryan. Turns out she prefers plain blackberries instead of blackberry pie though!

I'm pretty sure their farm was my dream house (I heard every other mom there say that too). Lots of land, animals, a beautiful house with a wrap-around porch and an awesome veggie garden... I'd move there in a heartbeat. Well, it'd be great when the kids are older. Right now in my life it'd be a lot of work for a stay at home mom whose kids can't take care of themselves yet! Maybe in a few years...

stains, everywhere! good thing i knew that would happen and let her wear an old shirt!

getting ready to make the dough for the pie shell

feeding the chickens, beth was totally fascinated with them. i want chickens!

Mother's Day

my sweet boy. the pic with beth was pretty awful so i'm not going to post it!

Sunday was mother's day (of course) and my hubby totally surprised me- I received 5 sewing lessons at a local store! I am so pumped, I have been talking about doing this since before Luke was born and I just totally forgot. I goof around on my sewing machine but I have no idea how to read a pattern or even what "top stitching" is, so this intro to sewing class is going to be awesome. I'm going to make an A-line skirt! Thanks honey, next I'll make you a pair of pants for work. :-b

Sunday, May 10

Happy Mother's Day!

To my mommy, my mother-in-law, and all my mommy friends- happy mother's day!

The Most Important Person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral-a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby's body…

The angels have not been blessed with such a grace. They cannot share in God's creative miracle to bring new saints to Heaven. Only a human mother can. Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creature; God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation…What on God's good earth is more glorious than this: to be a mother?

-Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty

Friday, May 8

Our pathetic garden

This spring/summer, our garden is pathetic. Don't expect much- I slacked off in late March/early April and now I'm going to pay for it! Last weekend I put some plants in the ground- three tomatoes (1 cherry and 2 romas), a red bell (which was run over by a toddler or a dog, it's deceased now), and planted some seeds that were given to me- zucchini, squash, watermelon, and cucumber. We'll see if the seeds sprout (it might be too hot already) and if the tomatoes produce anything...

These are my herbs lined up against the back of our house. I have basi, chives, cilantro, hot pepper, jalapeno, rosemary, and parsley. I had leftover seeds from the garden so two pots are squash and cucumber. Also, I found a pumpkin that had sprouted in our front yard leftover from Halloween, so I dug it up and stuck it in a pot. So far I have one jalapeno!

Next up are a few updates. First is the magnolia tree we started as a twig from Earth Day a couple of years ago, this has been it's first real growth and it's all happened in the past 3 weeks! It's in a pot so we can take it to our next house whenever we move!

A Red Bud, it was also started from a little twig and has grown tremendously in the past 3 weeks.
Little baby oranges! There's a lot of them! Nothing on the lemon/lime, I wonder why?

And finally, our resident Blue Jay. He lives in/near our yard, I see him every day. He likes to perch on a low branch near our kitchen window and take baths in this fountain, I make sure to keep the water fresh for him (and keep out mosquitoes!).

Thursday, May 7

Texas booster seat law up for debate

Current law states kids under 5 or under 36 inches must be in a booster seat.

Short little video on new potential law. Basically, kids under age 8, unless they're taller than 4 foot 9, must be retrained in a booster seat.

Beth and Luke will be in their Britax Marathons until they're 65 pounds. I'm not sure how tall they'll be then, but it's definitely a safer option than putting them in a booster seat just because they turn 5 or 8. Keeping a 5-point harness on child for as long as possible will keep them as safe as possible in a car.

And, keeping a child rear-facing is statistically five times safer than forward facing for kids under the age of two (according to a recent AAP publication).

Wednesday, May 6


ellie, rita, and beth

Saturday evening we had some friends come over for dinner- it was the inaugural usage of our grill! We grilled some chicken fajitas and they came out pretty yummy. Our friends that came over are actually friends that I met on the internet...

This is my first confession. I feel, for some reason, that's it's weird that I have online friends, so I'm just going to confess it all now! I have been a member of several online communities for several years now, I guess it all got started with The Knot when I was planning our wedding! Now, I've actually "known" some of these women for several years now, watched our kids grow up, and met up with a few of them from time to time. A lot of them have heavily influenced my life, and created passions for me such as gentle discipline, cloth diapering, car seat awareness, and fostered growth in my identity as a Catholic wife and mother. I've met new people on Facebook, The Knot, Delphi Forums, and probably elsewhere too. It's been a great system of support for me, and a great resource (especially things like natural family planning, gentle discipline, and cloth diapering, and eventually homeschooling). I have always felt odd admitting that I have online friends, but not anymor! I'm firmly convinced that if the internet had been to our moms what it is now, that our moms would have done the same thing too! So, to all my internet friends- haha, I'm proud to know each and every one of you, whether or not we've met in real life! :-)

My next confession: I've hired help. I'll admit it, and I'm proud of it! I asked around within our homeschool group and found a 12 year old girl to come over every now and then to play with Beth and Luke. Tuesday she came over and played with Beth for a solid two hours- Beth adored her! Beth was so sad when we had to take her home! I was able to get a ton of stuff done that otherwise would have not been accomplished- big tasks that take more time and less "help" from the peanut gallery, if you know what I mean. I think I'll have her come over once every other week or so, maybe more often if I have a lot of work to do. At $5 an hour, I think I can afford that!

That's all I can think of for now. If I think of anything else juicy, I'll let you all my closest readers (and my internet friends!) know!


We have a winner! Luke likes bananas! He had a bite of carrots yesterday too, but still a no go on sweet potatoes. I think I'm going to try a different route this time with Luke, instead of going for lots of spoon feeding and purees, I really want to try to just let him take the lead and put the food in his mouth, a la this article. Basically I'll keep introducing new foods (mostly in solid form instead of purees) and start feeding him from our plates once we determine he probably has no allergies. We'll still stay away from all the bad baby foods (like milk, citrus, nuts, etc.) but really just put it in his hands and let him lead the way.

Sunday, May 3

New sod

Last Saturday we laid down new sod in our side yard- the side that had been demolished by hurricane debris last fall! As spring came, a nice thick layer of ugly weeds had taken over what was once a mud pit, and we had to do something about it. Ryan, our neighbors, and I all worked really hard to pull up the weeds, "till" the soil with a pitchfork, mix in new top soil, lay the sod, and water very thoroughly. It took all day and we were absolutely exhausted, but it looks good, huh? And it's been 8 days, and I think it still looks fantastic. I think it worked!

Ryan also received a VERY early father's day gift on Friday... a Stihl FS 45 Trimmer- aka a really nice weed wacker. We were both really tired of buying cheap-o products that didn't work after the third use, and decided to put a little money into something with a nice warranty and a solid reputation. I totally surprised him though, it was awesome. I love it when I'm a cool wife. :-)

We worked on the yard some more this weekend, Ryan had two years of weed wacking to catch up on (the yard looks great!) and we planted a few impatiens in the front garden, and I *finally* got some veggie plants in the ground. Sheesh- I'm only about 6 weeks late! I planted 3 tomatoes and a bell pepper, and I also have some seeds (that probably won't grow) that I need to finish up tomorrow.

We also fired up our grill this weekend for the first time. We had some friends over for the inaugural usage and grilled some chicken fajitas and tonight we had different friends over and grilled burgers. I'd say both times were successes. I'm looking forward to using it a lot this summer!

So we spent a lot of time outside this weekend. The weather's been really warm and pretty humid, so it wasn't the most pleasant of all weekends to work outside but it needed to get done! Next weekend the pools open- time to swim!

edited: I totally forgot! I scored BIG on freecycle today- we got a functional deep freezer! Don't ask me where we're going to put it (obviously in the garage, but it's not like we have a ton of extra space) and it's a little old, but it works and it's awesome. This means I'm going to buy half a cow and stock up when Blue Bell goes on sale!

Saturday, May 2

Friday, May 1

The rolly polly, revisited

Remember last year's post on the rolly polly? Well, Beth's another year older and braver. She actually will "pet" them now! I put some in the frisbee for her to torture, uh, I mean play with. She had such a good time! I will also catch lizards for her to look at, she hasn't ventured to touch those yet though!


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