Monday, November 29

5 months

Jackson was 5 months old a few days ago, my update was lost in the holiday weekend! This past month has been filled with changes; this guy has become my little monkey baby! To me, this is part of the passage from infancy to babyhood. I no longer have to carry him like an infant, instead I can steadily carry him around in one arm while he clings to me! He absolutely adores my hair, Beth did too. :-) He grabs the hair on the back of my neck, usually pulling it out of a pony tail, and holds tight as if it's going to keep him from falling off of me! He clings to my clothing and even my face if he can grab it, though his preference right now biting and sucking on my chin. He bites hard! I wonder if he'll cut teeth earlier than Beth and Luke did? He looks huge in his little blue baby bath tub, it almost makes me laugh out loud at how big he is! He's really outgrown it but we're going to stick with it for a little longer until he can at least sit up on his own! I'm guessing he'll be sitting up around Christmas- can you even imagine? Wasn't he just born?!

Friday, November 26

Thursday, November 25

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here are the turkeys we've been working on all month. Every night at the dinner table we talk about what we're thankful for, and I write it down on the turkeys we made from their hands and feet. Every night Luke first says he's thankful for "DaDa!" They came up with all of these things totally on their own, the only time I asked them for another answer is if they'd already given me their answer on a previous night. We have some very thankful kids this year. :-)

Tuesday, November 23

Mommy! Take a picture of me!

I rarely hear Beth say these words to me (I think I've worn her out by taking too many pictures of her!) so I gladly snapped these pictures of her climbing in the backyard. She narrated as she climbed:

"first i put my hands on top."

"then my leg goes up like this."

"and just slide..." (grunt grunt)

"ta da!"

She was very proud of herself. :-)

Yes, these were taken a few days ago. In fact, it's been in the 80s here for a few days now, not really holiday weather! Today I absolutely had to turn on the a/c and dig out a pair of shorts, it's just too stinkin' hot. The kids all want to wear their warm fleece pajamas at night and I keep having to explain to them that they'll get to wear them when it' cold outside. Then Beth asks about snowmen and snow, and then I have to explain that while it gets cold, they won't be seeing a "white Christmas" like she sees in her library books! "Then why are there snowmen on my pajamas, Mommy?"

Sunday, November 21

My children, the supermodels

Could they be any cuter?

Goodbye swing

I'm pretty sure it's time to put away Jack's swing. I'm not sure what the weight limit is, but give the fact that he's trying to sit up makes it feel a little less safe! (And yes, that's an outfit Luke was wearing this time last year! Size 12 months!)

We're going to be doing a car seat switcharoo coming up soon. Jack is going to move into Beth's car seat (we'll be buying him a new manly cover!) and Beth will be getting a Graco Nautilus, most likely. This seat comes highly recommended by car seat technician friends and will take her to a backless booster 100 lbs. Can you imagine Beth weighing 100 lbs in 6 years? I can't.

We're also going to be bringing out the high chair soon! I can't even believe it. We're not planning on feeding him solids anytime soon, but I think it'll be nice to have the high chair in the kitchen for him to sit up in and play while we eat. He reaches for everything now so holding him while eating is becoming more of a game for him. It's not so much fun for the ravished parent. ;-)

I've recently read a study about introducing wheat to babies who have celiac disease in their family, and studies suggest the best time to introduce wheat is between 5-7 months. We didn't start Beth and Luke on solids until about 7 months, but we might start Jack on cream of wheat just a little earlier.

Putting up the swing means we're bringing out this... Big brother likes it more than little brother at this point!

Thursday, November 18


I thought this was all hype, but the more I read and watch I'm really just astounded. There's no way I'm flying with my children until these machine are gone, so looks like we'll be vacationing locally for awhile! Sorry friends (and cousins)!

Tuesday, November 16

A week of gluten-free food

In case you're wondering what our week in food looks like, here it is:

Monday: Rotisserie chicken from Sams (yes it's GF!), salad with peppers, tomatoes and red onions
Tuesday: Taco Tuesdays! Hard tacos, beans, homemade Spanish rice
Wednesday: Meatball soup, making a double batch to split with a friend!
Thursday: Grandma N.'s crockpot pinto beans, cornbread, and probably another veggie
Friday: Stuffed chicken rolls from our new GF cookbook from our friends K&M <3 and sweet potato fries
Saturday: homemade pizza!
Sunday: Red beans and rice

Adjusting to a gluten-free lifestyle hasn't been as hard as I initially thought. I do have to prepare a little more, but once I cleaned out my pantry I know that I can use everything I have in my kitchen to prepare a gluten-free meal. I'm still hammering out the details (I can't find gluten-free chicken or beef bouillon anywhere locally) but for the most part things are falling into place. Our first attempt at homemade pizza last Friday was a big fat failure, hardly edible but everyone humored me and ate it anyways! The hardest thing for me so far has been needing quick meals on nights when I reaalllly don't feel like cooking. Hopefully I'll soon make an edible pizza crust and can freeze some for a quick freezer pizza!

my first GF pizza crust. It didn't brown or bubble up, it was supposed to be like a thin-crust pizza.

I keep meaning to see if Alton Brown has a show where he's focused on gluten-free cooking. He does such a wonderful job of explaining the mechanics behind why food does what it does, how different ingredients react, and when it's okay to substitute items and when it's not. I'm learning about the chemistry of baking with gluten-free flours, and if you don't know I absolutely hate chemistry. It's not as easy as taking your favorite cookie recipe and replacing regular flour with a type of gluten-free flour, because different flours have different protien contents, absorb water at different rates, and need an addition like xanthan gum to keep the cookie together. It's real science! Oh no!

Monday, November 15

Pics of the Third Roll

Here are pictures from when Jackson rolled over for the very third time! In one night he managed to roll several times, all in a row, and I got the third roll in pictures. Wouldn't you know my video camera was out of battery!!! He's rolled every day since then, so we know it wasn't just a fluke. I'm not positive but I think this is the earliest any of ours have rolled over consistently. This boy is no doubt going to be sitting up by Christmas!

starting on his tummy (the result of his second roll)

rolled to his back

back onto his tummy, almost there!

yay jackson!

Sunday, November 14


The boys looked too cute after mass today! And have I mentioned how hard it is to get a good picture of multiple children? These are the best we could do today!

Individual portraits. Beth didn't want to participate, so again we just have the boys.


Lumber-Jack Jack

Friday, November 12

Wednesday, November 10


"Epic Fail" is sort of a trendy phase right now, used in conversations to describe a situation that went wrong. Usually when someone is using that phrase, they're describing something that wasn't really that horrible, and "fail" is more of a verb than a noun so "failure" should probably be the right word choice. Anyways, the point of my blubbering is that this post, my dear friends, is truly about an epic failure.

I had a great idea. I thought I'd be a super-cool mom and paint a small wall in my kitchen with chalkboard paint, so I'd have a fun place to write lists while the kids had a convenient out-of-my-way place to doodle and kill some time while I finished up my kitchen chores. Ryan and I agreed it'd be a fun thing for the kids, and discussed this wall:

This small wall separates my kitchen from my family room. It's small, but big enough for two kids, and not right in my pathway when I'm cooking. Perfect. So Ryan went out of town for a night and I got to work. I painted it with black chalkboard paint, two coats. It went on well, and it was really nice to see fresh paint on a wall in this house! It made me want to paint more, but that's another story! I let the paint sit for 3 days, just like the can suggested, then went to town with white chalk to "condition" it. I noticed the problem when I tried to wipe it clean.

Texture, my friends. Texture. The perfect way to kill off a wonderfulawesometerrificfantastic idea. Texture means it never really gets clean. It means nothing written actually looks good. And it eats the chalk, which leads me to my next point.

Dust. Chalk dust everywhere! Piles on the floor, dust in the carpet, dust on the bottom of socks, dust on clothes, dust on the baseboard. DUST. WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THE DUST?

Something I had considered were "oopsies," like chalk getting on an adjacent wall. I didn't really mind this as much since I despise the flat, ugly, original wall paint anyway. Even a random streak of colored chalk would be an improvement.

So as you see, this was an epic failure at its best. Yes, I can admit when I'm wrong and in this case, I was horribly wrong. Bad idea. I'm trying to figure out where or how I'd recommend this paint, and the only thing I can come up with is the inside of the garage wall. That might be fun, since kids get dirty outside anyways, chalk dust belongs outside, and drywall is flat. Hmmm... I do still have about half a can of chalkboard paint left... ;-)

Tuesday, November 9

Holy Roller, Batman!

Just a quick note to say that Jack rolled over today, from back to tummy! Then tummy to back! He was on the carpeted floor this time, and he did it several times in a row. There was no doubt about it that he rolled. :-)

A Buck

This is probably the biggest buck I've ever seen- in our backyard, nonetheless! Ryan said deer season just opened, good thing for this guy he's hiding out in my backyard, I could never kill one of these things!

Monday, November 8

On strike

I'm on a mental blog strike. It's just a bump in the road, I'm sure I'll be over it soon. I've had this blog since my second trimester pregnant with Beth (over 4 years now!) and this is the first time I've felt sort of... sick of it. Just feeling like it's one more thing for me to do, and one more thing I don't want to do. Upload pictures to computer... Go through pictures... Edit pictures... Upload pictures to blog... Come up with witty commentary on the pictures...

So I've had sort of a rough mommy week. The kids seem to acting mostly normal, although Jack's sleeping habits seem to be undergoing a rough transition. He's crying a LOT as we're putting him to sleep, which is very unusual for him since he's really not a cryer. My happy, smiley, silly baby (who usually gives baby fever to the women who hold him!) is now a grumpy guy. :-( It really makes an impact on who I am as a mom. I've been really fortunate not to experience any "baby blues" this time, probably because Jack has been such a mellow and easy baby. Beth and Luke were very high-needs compared to this dude, and I can definitely see how that's impacted me as a mother. I am very thankful that I got my easy baby as my third, I can't even imagine life with a high-needs baby right now, in addition to two very active older siblings!

Every day I go back and forth about our family size, and I am so thankful that we've chosen to our family size to God because it's one less thing for me to worry about! There are days I'm certain that three children is all I'd ever be able to handle, but then I think, only three? Only three souls for God? Only three in diapers? Only three teenagers? Only three families to visit Ryan and me when we're older, or even less if one (or more!) enters the religious life? It doesn't seem like enough either. I'm so blessed to even be able to have babies, to have relatively easy pregnancies and deliveries, and to have healthy easy kiddos. It's a life I don't deserve, even on days when I'm ready to ship them all off to live with someone else!

In the mean time, we always get through the day, most days we learn something new, and there are even days that we thrive!

Beth, ever-so-hesitant to take the first bite of her gluten-free bread. She liked it.
Here's what the loaf looked like. Pretty much like regular sandwich bread with a bit of an artisan touch, right?
A funny picture of Luke I took at a little friend's birthday party. He was waiting for cake, plus I think it was after bedtime. A unique combination of emotions, hehe.

Tuesday, November 2


This morning we made our first loaf of gluten free bread using our new toy, a Zojirushi bread machine. We bought the bread machine a few weeks ago anticipating the need for it, but today was our first time to use it. Last night I prepped for this by having a handful of different flours ready to go, xanthan gum, yeast and all sorts of other supplies, but wouldn't you know I didn't have a 1/8 measuring cup? I used two tablespoons instead and it seemed to work out...

Beth and Luke "helped" by closely observing, dumping the cups into the bowls, and whisking things together. I want Beth to be as much a part of this as I am, watching me and learning together as we go. This is her new way of life. We'll be doing a LOT of baking (pizza crusts, hamburger/hot dog buns, breads, muffins, biscuits, rolls, cinnamon rolls, croissants...the list could go on for quite awhile), can you imagine what a good gluten-free baker she'll be as an adult?

The bread smelled delicious as it cooked, and came out of the machine pretty easily. I let it cool before I sliced it and let Beth have the first bite. She declared she didn't like the "skin" (the crust) but that she liked the white part! She ate a couple of pieces and then asked for Halloween candy. ;-)

Personally, I thought the bread had a funky after taste, but the texture and consistency was pretty perfect. It looked just like regular bread! It was made using chickpea flour, tapioca starch, and cornstarch in addition to regular bread ingredients. I'd say overall our first gluten-free baking experience was a success!

My pantry is also finished. Here it is, fully stocked and ready to go. The top shelf is for items that contain gluten (oatmeal for Luke, chips for Daddy, wheat Chex for me). The shelf below is breakfast items, canned items and broths (oh yes, and some gluten-free Halloween candy). Next shelf is snack items, dry beans and pastas, and the shelf below is my baking supplies and extra items. The bottoms shelf is for pantry vegetables, Daddy's Dr. Pepper, and all of the extras I ordered from Amazon to keep us stalked up on some more gluten-free items.

My fridge and freezer are a different story though, it's so empty that it's making a rattling noise from not having enough weight. We'd gone through all the frozen foods in the freezer so that I could make new foods to stock up (homemade pizza crusts and premade foods for nights when I'd usually get takeout for an easy dinner), but I haven't put anything in there so there's just some lonely frozen fruits and veggies. I don't know why the fridge is so empty, probably because I haven't been cooking enough lately to create leftovers!

Monday, November 1

Dress Up

Saturday we attended the annual All Saint's Party with our homeschool group. I had big plans for the kids but, after some serious procrastination on my part, it didn't happen! I was lucky that Target had a few costumes left! Beth dressed as St. Clotilde and Luke as St. George. Beth was only wanted to play a few games, whereas Luke was only interested in the assortment of new-to-him toys that he could play with. We went on a hay ride around their beautiful property, ate some of the potluck dinner (yes, Beth had a gluten-free meal and even a homemade cake!), and made some new friends.

The next day was Halloween, and we carved our pumpkin an "decorated" the porch. The quotes are used because the word should be used lightly- I raked a bunch of leaves and threw them on the porch with our assorted fun pumpkins I bought from a man selling pumpkins on the side of the road! Jack and I stayed home while Ryan took Beth and Luke to a few houses for trick-or-treating. They were beyond excited to get home and eat candy right before bed!

please ignore my goofy grin and pay attention to luke's face. it's his "get the h-e-c-k away from my candy!" face!

and finally, my artsy/halloween-y type picture I took while at the ranch.
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