Sunday, December 26, 2010

Reindeer Poop, AKA: Chocolate Drop Cookies

So what kind of cookies did you leave out for Santa this year? We baked our favorite: Reindeer Poop. Although, throughout the rest of the year they are known as chocolate drop cookies. These cookies are so scrumptuous, especially when they are fresh out of the oven!

Reindeer Poop, Chocolate Drop Cookies

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening
1 cup sugar
6 tbsp cocoa powder (Hershey's is preffered)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, well beaten
2 1/2 cups self-rising flour

Cream together the shortening, sugar and vanilla extract. Add the well beaten eggs. Add cocoa powder, then add the flour gradually, mixing well. Drop by teaspoonfuls on greased cookie sheet or roll dough into small sized balls and place on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Busy busy busy!

I can't believe in two more days it will be Christmas! AAAAHHHHHHH!!!!
I've been super busy these past couple weeks, especially in the kitchen, baking cookies, breads, brownies and such. So, for this post, I figured I would recap the past couple weeks' activities since I hadn't gone into heavy detail about our goings on since Thanksgiving.
During the first full week of December, our friends, Jacy, Joel, and their son Liam came down from DC for a visit and to celebrate Liam's FIRST birthday!!!! Oh! I remember going to the hospital last year to see him for the very first time. And, now, he's running around and even saying words! Congratulations Joel and Jacy on getting through that first year! ;)
That Friday, the 10th, was a very special day for me. I FINALLY got my mommy tattoo! I had wanted one for so long (since Kaylan was born) but, I'm glad I waited seeing as how I don't have to worry about adding more to it as I have more children. We are done my friends, this baby factory is closed! Anyway, Jacy recommended a wonderful artist here in the Savannah area by the name of Kimberly Reed. Kim had done Jacy's latest tattoo back in September and I just knew that it was meant for me to have work done by this woman, she is amazing! Kim designed the tattoo specially for me, using Kaylan's and Dylan's birth flowers adorned with a ribbon with their names on it. Kaylan's birth flower is Lily of the Valley and Dylan's is sweet pea. It took over 3 hours because of all the detail, especially in the Lily of the Valley. Big thanks to Jacy for stopping by and checking in on me and keeping me company. That helped that little segment of time go by a lot quicker. Boy, after that second hour I was praying to be done, haha! I only wished I would have had more money and stamina to have more done at the time. But I absolutely LOVE it!!!!!

I really need to thank Kim by making some yummy Christmas cookies for her ;)

The next day, Saturday, was a double party day. One party was a 50th surprise party for a family friend, and the other party was of course for Liam's first! And wouldn't you know they BOTH started at the same time? Haha, that's how it works right? We went to the 50th birthday bash first seeing as how it was a stop on the way to Richmond Hill where Liam's party would be. We got to the celebration hall and waited and waited and waited. Leave it to this woman to be late to her own party, haha. If you know the Grizzards, then you understand. But we couldn't go without shouting "SURPRISE" and giving some birthday hugs to the birthday girl. I'm pretty glad we were there first and didn't go all the way out to Richmond Hill, because once we got there, I realized we forgot to pack a bottle in the diaper bag for Dylan. I'll go ahead and add "make a diaper bag checklist" on my list of things to do. Luckily, since it wasn't his lunch time right when we got there, all Eric had to do was leave Dylan there with me, while he and Kaylan went back to the house to get a bottle. They both got back in plenty of time to have a good seat and wait out the arrival of the guest of honor. Dylan was pretty happy too, thank goodness he isn't so much like his big sister to where he has to eat at a certain time on the dot!
After birthday wishes and hugs were exchanged, we immediately packed everyone in the truck and went on our way to the Hill. I was a bit concerned about Kaylan going without a proper nap since we wouldn't be home all day. She fell asleep just as soon as we got off the interstate, so she literally only had a catnap all day. It was so much fun to see her walking around with Owen and Liam. My little girl is growing up! She used to not even want for me or Eric to put her down, let alone leave her sight, and now she's walking around in different places and exploring! We enjoyed a lovely dinner and some even lovelier cake and ice cream. Then, for one reason or another we had to pack up and go back out. Oh yeah, we had to go to dinner that night.
It was one action packed weekend for sure!
Oh, and Kaylan without her full nap wasn't near as bad as I thought it would be. I contribute that mostly to the stimulation and distraction offered to us that day! I sit...with tomorrow being my one day left before Christmas Eve. Somehow we need to get the dining room set out of the house and into storage to make room for the play area Santa plans on giving the kids, there are a couple gifts I would really like to take to Backus Children's Hospital (I still need to call and get all the info on what is okay to donate and if I should or shouldn't wrap, etc.), Eric has to pick up a T.V. from his buddy so he can work on fixing it, and I need to take some last minute gifts (cookies) to doctors offices and hopefully to Kim if she will be at the shop tomorrow. Which reminds me, I don't even have any cookies made, so I will have to bake some more. If it wasn't for gift-giving I'd be up to my ears in cookies right now! It especially doesn't help when I make a batch as a gift and somehow about half of them go missing within the few minutes while they are cooling. That will always be a mystery.
We've got all of our gifts, thank goodness, we weren't able to do much this year. And, I'm happy about that anyway because the kids are too young to really know the difference. I don't want them to be brought up thinking that they should get more and more each year because that's not what it's about.
Thanks to family and friends from out of town for sending their gifts, they found their way here and are nestled safely under the tree. That helps to not make our tree look so sad, haha. Kaylan is loving the Christmas tree and all of the Christmas cards we have gotten in the mail! I've been trying to teach her to say "Merry Christmas" whenever she is looking at the Christmas tree and she will look at me and crack up laughing. Silly girl.
And Dylan, I believe will be a crawler by Christmas Day, we hope. He has been trying so hard lately. I just know that by the New Year at the latest he will be a master crawler. Then, who knows how long it will take him to pull up to stand and start walking. I almost don't know what to do with a crawler in the house. Kaylan never crawled and Dylan has a stealth quality about him that frightens me. I'm not used to watching where I step! I'm not aware that a sudden step back could me me tripping over him and hurting him. I'll learn soon enough though.
Well, I know this will be an extremely busy and magical weekend coming up, so let me get back to baking and playing Santa. Everyone have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS! I'll do my best to check back and update before the new year!
Everyone be safe and enjoy your time with family and friends!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Campfire Brownies

I LOVE S'mores! Especially this time of year! This recipe takes all of those yummy gooey s'mores ingredients and bakes them into delicious brownie bars! Enjoy!

Special thanks to Jacy for being my guneia pig for this new recipe!

Campfire Brownies

1 box of brownie mix (as well as the ingredients needed to make them according to the box)
1 (7oz) jar Jet-Puff Marshmallow Creme
1 Hershey's milk chocolate bar (the one with the breakable pieces)
1 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c (1 stick) butter
1 small can sweetened condensed milk*

*Totally optional, I just like to use this because I think it helps to hold the bars together better. I don't even use the whole can, maybe half of it, because I don't want the brownies to seem too gooey.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With one stick of butter in a 13X9 baking pan, place pan in oven for a few minutes, until the butter is completely melted. Once butter is melted, remove pan from oven and sprinkle graham cracker crumbs evenly over melted butter, creating a level layer for the crust. If you choose to use sweetened condensed milk, carefully drizzle a light layer on top of the graham cracker layer, do not completely cover or use the entire can, or else you will have an ooey-gooey mess!

*Mine didn't turn out exactly as I would advise, but it didn't hurt anything*

In small spoonfuls, scoop a few dollops of marshmallow creme throughout the pan, as much or as little as you would like. Take note that the creme will puff up and get larger in volume, so be sure to spread the scoops out well according to size. Next, break your Hershey's milk chocolate bar into pieces and nestle each piece on top of a scoop of marshmallow creme.

Next, mix brownie mix according to the box directions, pour brownie mixture evenly over s'more ingredients in the pan, covering well. Bake at 350 according to brownie mix box directions. You may have to bake for a little longer, for some reason with all the extra ingredients in the brownies causes it to bake slower (for me at least). Anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes extra should be okay.

Once brownies are done and out of the oven, place pan on cooling rack. Wait about 20 minutes to allow to cool, cut into bars, and enjoy!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

O Christmas Tree!

As promised: a few pics of our little bitty Christmas tree, enjoy!

Mommy's little helper! Kaylan assisted me with putting the tree in just the right spot.

Even Dylan partook in the Christmas Tree decorating!

Kaylan's very first Christmas ornament from last year.

And, this year, we got Dylan's very first Christmas ornament :)

This is our family ornament, the first one with ALL of our names on it!

This is our tree after we got it decorated!

This year, I was a bit stumped at what exactly "to do" about a Christmas tree. Now that we have a (somewhat) crawler and a toddler that has to touch EVERYTHING, I was a bit hesitant to put any kind of decoration up. But, I wanted Kaylan and Dylan to have that memory, even though this year won't be a lasting memory for them, I still thought of it to be a good idea for them to see a Christmas tree and associate that with a joyful time. First off, a REAL TREE was simply out of the question! I love the way they smell and look, but they are MESSY! I had a feeling that whatever pine needles didn't fall off due to shedding would have been pulled off due to Kaylan. A few folks I know or have at least seen, will but a safety gate around the tree as a barrier, we simply don't have that kind of room, nor a linkable safety gate. So, with few options and few dollars to spend, I went to Wal-Mart to look for something suitable. I found a 4-foot tall, pre-lit, white tree for only $25! I was leaning toward getting a white tree anyway, I just didn't want to pay nearly $100 more for a 6-footer, especially since I'm sure my style and taste will change over the years, along with the national trends. Who knows, maybe we can juice every bit of the $25 out of this tree for years to come, haha! I thought one of those old-fashioned silver tinsel trees would have been fun, but white was the closest thing I could find without having to search the world over.
Kaylan loves the tree, in no time she knew that it was indeed the Christmas tree. Even though she doesn't say Christmas tree (she hardly says anything for that matter), whenever I mention it or ask her about it, she will walk towards it, gaze at it and giggle! So sweet. And, Dylan, I guess, thinks it is an inconvenience. The bottom "branches" are right at his face level whenever he is "crawling" so he will fuss when the tree gets in his way.
I wish we could have decorated it more, I'm just so afraid to use anything with hooks. Although, Eric's mom got us some cute gold, shatter-proof ball ornaments, so I may try to put a few of those on at a time and just keep count each night to make sure none of them go missing. The hooks still worry me though, maybe string?

I'll have to continue tomorrow with a post of all the fun things we got to do this weekend. Time for bed, I'm trying to get better at turning in at a more decent hour. Until next time, everyone have a super great week!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Still kickin'

I'm still here! I know it's been a loooong time since I have posted, sorry bout that! I went through a bit of a slump recently and felt like I needed to take the time, get things together and get more organized so I could get a better hold of my sanity. A few extracurricular activities have been put on hold, hopefully not cut out altogether. Like the business, you remember the business? Yeah, that's been put on hold. I did take the time to make some ribbon lovies for a charity auction (check out my list of favorite blogs: Orphaned NO more- For Isabella campaign) and that felt good to do that. It's just so hard to maintain a good flow of producing products while being "Mommy" is top priority. Also, the fact that I recently went back to work part time at the cafe here in town! It keeps me busy, not that I'm not busy at home, but at least I'm able to make a few bucks here and there to save for a rainy day. I really do hope that once Kaylan and Dylan are a couple years older or starting school, that I can be a full time artist/ WAHM (work-at-home-mom). I'm a week away from a not-so-shy tattoo on my upper arm, so that may be a deciding factor as far as what kind of job or career I will be capable of doing. But, if push comes to shove, I can always stock up on a few elbow length shirts for work wear, haha!
It's been pretty low-key around here for the most part. The kids have been great! Kaylan's amber teething necklace came in in October and, even though some people think it's hippie-ish, I really think it helps a bit with the teething pain and swelling. I wouldn't swear by it by any means, but she had at least four of her top teeth come in ALL AT ONCE and her gums weren't all red and swollen like they normally would have been. I was a bit sceptical and worried about putting a beaded necklace on her, but it's been a breeze and she loves to wear it. Each bead is individually strung and tied so if it breaks, just that one bead will come off-- not the whole strand. Plus, we take the necklace off during nap time and bed time so there is no choking hazard.
We also purchased an infant-to-toddler rocker. It's a rocking chair that doubles as an infant seat. It's amazing! Definitely a must-have for families of two babies who are close in age. Kaylan loves it! Since she can't climb up on the couch by herself just yet, she loves having her own little seat to lounge in! And it's perfect for me to move to the kitchen for Dylan to lay back in it and play with the toy bar while I've got Kaylan eating her lunch and I can load the dish washer or fix Dylan's lunch. Here's a picture of it in case anyone is interested:

The bar underneath the seat folds in for a toddler rocker and folds out to convert it to an infant seat. It even has vibration like most infant seats do. It's wonderful, I wish I would have gotten it sooner!

Action shot with Kaylan :)

In other news, Dylan is sitting up by himself now! He's only sat himself up once (in the crib--yeah, that was scary), but he is able to keep his balance and stay sitting up for long periods of time now. He just doesn't know how to go from sitting up to laying down yet, he still kinda flops over and that freaks me out so I try to keep pillows and soft objects around him if he decides to "lay down" haha! He hasn't quite mastered crawling yet, but I think that is soon to come. If he is on his belly and sees something he wants bad enough, he will army crawl like his life depends on it! It's pitiful but cute at the same time. He still gets on all fours and rocks back and forth, but I think since he is so heavy he gives up on himself and just plops back on his belly and army crawls to where he wants to go. I think it will be soon though, in just enough time for me to worry about him AND Kaylan getting a hold of the Christmas tree! We're not putting any gifts under the tree until Christmas Eve night, once Santa stops by.
We had a bit of a bitter-sweet Thanksgiving week this year. Monday, the week of Thanksgiving, I got a call from my older sister, Meredith, early that morning and I just knew it wasn't good. After 82, almost 83, beautiful years on this earth, my Papaw had passed away during the night/ early morning Monday. I wept all morning, mostly because of the fact that I have been away from home these past 10 years, so I guess I felt a little guilt in the fact that I wasn't "there" during the time of his passing. I talked to Eric, and then my mom, and even though I still felt grief, I became thankful that I had such a wonderful man in my life and that he was my granddad. I have a ton of memories with him, I just wish that more of them were more recent than they were. I'm also thankful that he did get to meet Kaylan and Dylan before he passed on, I just wish he could have had more time with them. He was a wonderful man, dependable, hard working, and never had anything bad to say about anybody. He will be missed but is continued to be loved. 12-24-1927 to 11-22-2010

-Papaw meeting Kaylan for the very first time, July 2009

Papaw meeting Dylan for the very first time, July 2010

Eric gave me the opportunity to travel to Alabama while he took a day and a half off work to stay home with the babies. As much as I wanted them there with me, along with needing Eric for the support, it would have been too stressful on the babies for that type of trip. I am glad it worked out that way because with the way the day of the service was laid out, there would have been chaos! I was thankful to have that time to show my respect and support for the rest of the family.
I returned home Wednesday evening, just before the babies went to bed. It wasn't an ideal homecoming, but I know they were all glad to see me... especially Eric! We had a beautiful Thanksgiving Day, spent with Eric's parents, then the Friday after with my mom and stepdad, Joey. The babies were great and they both had a good Thanksgiving. Such a great, peaceful day. What dreams are made of! It was tough once Monday rolled around and it was back to the grind of daily life. But, that's why we have holidays like that, and EVERYBODY can celebrate which makes it even better!

Our Thanksgiving Day family pics

I guess that's enough bloggin' for one night, haha! My eyes are starting to get heavy. I got home about an hour and a half ago from a super busy night at work! We hosted a charity benefited art show and the turn-out was GREAT! I hope there will be more art shows in the future on a regular basis, especially if I'm able to make a few of my sewing creations for the craft vending--wasn't able to do that this time.
Anyway, if I find the time tomorrow or in the coming week, I'll post some pics of the babies with our Christmas tree, we just put it up today. We have yet to decorate it, still not sure if it would be best to be just lights or lights and a few ornaments. And, by a few, I mean a FEW! Haha! Or else I'll be finding all kinds of ornaments in all kinds of strange places until next year!
I'm very excited for this week coming up, many plans! At the top of the list of great things this week? JACY, JOEL, AND LIAM ARE COMING BACK FOR A VISIT!!!!!! YAY!!!!! I can't wait!
See ya'll again soon, I promise I'll try not to go AWOL for another month and a half!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Dreamy Oreo Brownies

This recipe is one that I hold very near and dear to my heart. I perfected this recipe while I was pregnant with Kay, just a couple weeks before she was born. This is the first time I have made these brownies since then. When I took my first bite...WOW! It brought back some memories! I wonder how Kay will like them once I give her a little bite tomorrow.

Dreamy Oreo Brownies
for brownies-
1 box Duncan Hines chewy fudge brownie mix
3 eggs
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
10 Oreos crushed up into chunks

for fluffy layer:
1 cup cream cheese, softened
1 cup Cool Whip, thawed
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar

12 Oreos, crushed up into chunks
hot fudge ice cream topping

Mix all brownie ingredients together including the Oreo chunks. Pour into greased 13x9 baking pan. Bake in 350 degree oven (325 for nonstick pans) for 25-30 minutes. While brownies are baking, mix up all ingredients for the fluffy layer. It's a lot easier to use a mixer, mix until smooth and leave at room temperature. Once brownies are baked, spread fluff mixture over brownies while the brownies are still a little warm but not hot. With a spatula scrape the top of the fluff layer to level and scrape off any excess fluff. Finally, sprinkle with remaining Oreo chunks. Place wax paper over the pan and press down gently. Heat hot fudge ice cream topping according to jar directions, drizzle over brownies. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or so, and enjoy. Be sure to keep refrigerated. ;)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

For my fellow Mommies

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo

The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren't his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

- Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

This is what I read whenever things get a little hectic, overwhelming or if I am feeling a little down. Share it with a mommy you love!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A list of soft solids for Toothless Wonders-- or those little ones who don't always chew before they swallow ;)

Here's a list of a few things I would feed Kaylan when she was ready for more solid food but lacked the teeth to break them down. A baby's and toddler's slobber is pretty powerful in the breakdown of foods while the food is still in the mouth. This is especially helpful for those toothless wonders to still "mash" their foods before swallowing.

Pancakes, soggy multi-grain Cheerios (let them set in whole milk for a minute or two), oatmeal (real or instant), grits (real or instant), banana slices cut in halves or quarters, scrambled eggs (you can add little fixings like cheese and finely diced tomato), corned beef hash (YUM!), muffins

Grilled cheese sandwiches or quesadillas, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (I cut the crust and used to cut the sandwich in little cubes until I was confident that Kaylan could bite off a piece herself, that way with the cubes, she could practice and utilize her pincer grasp), PASTA! macaroni and cheese, ravioli, homemade is best, but I am guilty of getting the assistance of Chef Boyardee if I am in a time crunch. Make sure not to serve a stringy pasta such as spaghetti until LO is about 2-3 years old, as it is a lot easier for little ones to choke and gag with a stringy pasta as opposed to pasta shapes. Another great way for toothless wonders to get protein from meats is with chicken salad or tuna salad, if the meat is finely chopped or shredded. Finely chopping meats to incorporate into a dish is also a great opportunity to sneak some veggies in such as spinach, celery, avocado and carrots.

Lots of times whatever I would make for dinner for Eric and I, I would feed to Kaylan, if it meant cooking veggies to where they were a little softer or dicing meats up a little smaller. Soups are great, potato soup, chili, you can also sneak in more veggies with soups as well. Best soft cooked veggies: squash, zucchini, peas, carrots, green beans, mashed potatoes. Meals that worked great for us: Salisbury steak (cut up pretty good, the meat is soft and easy to chew), lasagna, Shepard's pie, chicken pot pie, chicken and rice, pasta dishes

Gerber graduates lil' crunchies; soft fruits like bananas, canned pears, watermelon; yogurt, jello, pieces of nutrigrain bar or fig newtons, cottage cheese, graham crackers--you may think "too crunchy" but they break down and mush up quicker than other crackers do. After a while you can give your little one some goldfish crackers or dry Cheerios when you get more confident in their chewing abilities.

Friday, October 1, 2010

This crap again...

So this is what life with two under two has to offer me: Just as soon as we get through one stage with the first one, I have to turn right back around and do it all over again with the next.
I have been putting off giving Dylan baby food for a little longer than I should have (I know, bad mommy). Kaylan tried her first food at 4 months, and though she WAS interested and has been a good eater ever since, I think it was a little too early. It got to the point that by the time she was 9 and 10 months old she was sick of baby food, yet, that's all we really could give her because the girl had NO teeth. But, we did take that as it was and started texture "training" (man I hate that word for some reason, but I seem to keep using it). We would experiment with soft cooked veggies, mashed potatoes, pancakes, nutri-grain bars, etc. Eric and I pretty much went at it with the "could I chew this without any teeth?" frame of mind. It was a bit of a challenge at some times but we eventually got the hang of it and Kaylan especially was loving the "new" foods.
Dylan will be 6 months old on Sunday and we started feeding him baby food just a couple weeks ago. So, I guess we didn't wait too late. I've heard that some children who are not introduced to foods before 6-8 months are likely to develop food allergies. That is something we definitely do not want. So, I began with once a day feedings, then moved onto twice a day, that being a fruit in the morning before his bottle and a veggie at lunch time before his bottle. I think starting Monday, I will introduce meats to the line-up and incorporate that for his "dinner" food.
The first feeding went okay. Between his bib, his face and his mouth, we were able to empty the jar of food. It took a little while, he wasn't quite sure what to do with his tongue the whole time because he's used to sucking his food from a bottle, it's gotten better though.

We have Dylan's 6 month well check coming up, still haven't scheduled the appointment (woops). I think I may have to discuss a concern with the doctor that I have about Dylan not holding his head up very well. He's got good back and body strength, I just don't know, sometimes he gets tired of holding his head up even for a short period of time, and he will just flop it forward. I'm totally not sure if that is normal for a "larger" framed baby or what because Kaylan never had that problem at all (and she was the one that never did tummy time--go figure).
Kaylan has been going through quite a spell lately. Terrible twos anyone? Yes, they go through the "Terrible 2" stage before, during, and after they have in fact turned two. She has been quite the diva lately and it's driving me a bit bonkers. My once sweet, quiet, cheerful little girl has become a little brat, border lining on a little terror. I don't know much of what to do at this point other than pray for guidance, patience, and the hope that one day soon she will be her old self again. Not to mention, it really doesn't help that she has started to become jealous now whenever I have cuddle time with Dylan or if he is playing with a toy. She could want absolutely nothing to do with a certain toy, until Dylan gets a hold of it. I guess that's the "mine" phase, we may as well mesh that in with T2 (Terrible 2). It's difficult to balance these certain things. I want Dylan to get the one-on-one with me as well as the stimulation of playing with different toys, but I don't want Kaylan to be neglected if this is a time or phase in her life where I should give her extra attention or tailor a certain treatment toward her. Maybe she's lacking structure, stimulation, or maybe I am looking way to far into it and I should let it run it's course. Who knows. I just hope and pray that I can provide enough of what each of them need from me.
Other than these specifics, we are doing okay. Hey, at least none of us are sick right? Knock on wood.
We would like to send a special, long-distance shout-out and hug to Jacy, Joel and their son Liam. We miss you guys and hope ya'll are getting settled in as best as you can. We really hope to visit with you guys soon and Jacy, we must wait in line at Georgetown Cupcake! I will miss having you right down the road, but I know you will be okay and that you will enjoy being back home. I will always think of you guys and wonder how ya'll are doing and if everything is okay. Please don't forget me ;) Miss you guys and love you!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Nights are getting horrible

First off, I ended up taking Kaylan to the doctor on Monday afternoon. Monday morning when I got her up out of her crib her rash had spread and was starting to look more like hives. So, no chicken pox! In turn, I didn't know what this rash could have been. When we got to the pediatrician's office, we didn't wait too long at all, Kaylan did really well until we got her back in the room. The doctor informed us that it was something called a Roseola rash and, like chicken pox, is viral. So, we had to simply let it run it's course. Thankfully, Kaylan was her normal self, she just looked so pitiful with all those read splotches all over her face and body. Today, the rash is almost completely subsided and her fever is gone as well.
You would think that now that we are all finally starting to feel better that we all could actually get some decent sleep for once. Wrong. Since she hadn't been feeling well during the latter part of last week on into this week, she's been used to being held and comforted. As much as I love cuddling with her, night time is sleep time, and that couldn't be anymore so than at 2:00 in the morning. The past few nights she had me up and in her room every 20 or 30 minutes. And it's not like it used to be with just finding her paci for her and covering her back up. No, it's pick her up and hold her or rock her until she's comforted enough to go back to sleep.
Last night was my breaking point. I stayed up to take a shot at creating my own diaper pattern and sewing a sample diaper using that pattern. Between me taking the time to research, measure, draw and cut the pattern and fabrics I needed, then going back and forth between sewing and going in to soothe Kaylan; I didn't get to bed until 2:00. By that time, Kaylan was crying again, so I went in there spent a couple minutes with her and went back to bed. Before I even hit the bed, she started again. I was at my wit's end. There was nothing I could do to make her go to sleep, aside from holding her all night, and I was not about to do that. We need to get back to going to sleep and STTN (sleeping through the night) because she's got ME trained when it should be the other way around. Although, I don't like to think of "training" her (dogs get trained, but babies?), but more of letting her figure out to self-soothe and get a restful night's sleep.
As much as I hated it, I finally had to let her CIO. And, boy, did she scream. I'm sure if the neighbors across the street were out on their porch they would have been able to hear it without a problem. It's a good thing that Dylan slept through it because if he woke up I would have had two screaming babies. I went in her room after 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, then 15 minutes until finally I didn't go in there anymore. Each time I went in I would cover her up run my fingers through her hair and try to comfort her without picking her up out of the crib, she wasn't to pleased about that.
Finally, around three in the morning, she calmed herself down and went to sleep, and I did too.
I wonder how it will be tonight...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Third shift, runny noses, a haircut, and chicken pox?

It seems as though just as soon as we get over one thing, something else rolls around that we have to tackle. This past week was an absolute nightmare.
Last Tuesday; more like, Labor Day night, Eric started working third shift. It's only temporary, maybe for about three weeks for us to get a little extra money. Anyway, Monday night was when it all started...
Shortly after the babies were down for the night, Dylan started coughing and crying during the night. When I got him out of his crib to check on him, I noticed a lot of drool and one runny little nose. That's when I knew we were all in for it. I finally brought him to bed with me, keeping him elevated with a pillow. I know, no sleeping with pillows due to risk of SIDS, but hell, the poor boy had to sleep somehow and that really helped, along with plugging our vaporizer in. He and I stayed up crying together until about 4:00, then we were able to sleep for a few hours before he and Kaylan were up for the day. Once Eric got home, he took over for a little while and let me get a good nap in. Dylan seemed to do a lot better Tuesday night and seemed to be close to 100% by late Wednesday...then, that's when Kaylan started. Her runny little button nose was the first sign.
Round 2: Thankfully, with Dylan being mostly back to normal, I was able to devote my Wednesday night to little miss Kaylan. Boy, was it rough. It seems as though as kids get older, they are more aware of when they don't feel good. I did the same with her as I did with Dylan by bringing her to bed with me. Though, I couldn't prop her up with a pillow because she is 0% likely to stay in the same spot throughout the night. Now, usually when she is in our bed she thinks it's playtime. But she actually did sleep for the better part of the night, not without a little fussing and fighting. It was after tonight that we went and bought a top bed rail. Before we were using our water pillows as they have a bit of weight to them. Well, those water pillows didn't stop Kaylan from attempting to climb off the bed onto the nightstand at 7:00 the following morning. Talk about a rude awakening, she slid down and got wedged between the bed and nightstand. Thankfully she wasn't hurt because there was a drinking glass on the nightstand that feel during the process and a few pieces of glass were on the floor. Call me a bad mom, lesson learned.
Kaylan continued feeling crabby and snotty up until Saturday. We had quite a few sleepless nights with her, until Saturday night, she was finally able to sleep (after much retaliation). The poor girl wouldn't even take a nap during her three day sick period.
Saturday, Dylan got his first haircut! Eric's mom stopped by with her shears and cape and gave my little boy a trim! His hair was getting so long. At least with Kaylan I could put bows in her hair to keep it out of her face until her first haircut, when she turned a year old. But, Dylan would not be sporting any bows, so we couldn't possibly wait until he turned a year old. He looks so handsome now, a bit more like Eric!
Today, we had a relaxed day around the house. Although, we did make a family trip to the coffee shop to get out and get some fresh air (and tasty coffee for Mommy and Daddy) :) Following that, we went to Wal-Mart and saw just about everybody in Effingham. Who needs Facebook when you can just make a trip to Wal-Mart on a Sunday morning?
Eric got me a measuring/cutting board to use for my sewing projects. We also picked up some more batteries for the hangy-toy on Dylan's (formerly Kaylan's) bouncy seat. The little lion in the middle of the toy bar plays music when pulled until the batteries went out. Kaylan was pretty upset about that. She is starting to express a lot of emotions lately, haha. She even gets upset when she sees Dylan playing with the toys on the bouncy seat. If she wants to play with them, and he's got a hold of them, she gets mad. It's funny how she didn't mind sharing whenever Dylan wasn't interested in toys.
Round 3: Chicken pox? During the afternoon today, I noticed a few bumps on Kaylan's leg. I thought they were mosquito bites because I had swatted a mosquito in the truck earlier this morning. As the day went on, I noticed more bumps appearing. So, either she's having an allergic reaction to something, or it's chicken pox. We haven't changed our detergent, bath soap or given her any new food lately. And with the fever and upset stomach that accompanied her cold during the previous days, it seems as though it's more likely chicken pox. I called my mom, and Eric's mom to get the expertly mom advice, and they both said that a trip to the doctor was not necessary because it's something that just has to run it's natural course. I just hope that's what it is because (1) if it isn't, then what, and (2) we may as well get through this now than later. So far, the bumps don't seem to bother her because she hasn't been scratching at them or anything. I just hope and pray that she will be alright.
Prayers please, for the babies' well being, for Daddy's rest, and for Mommy's sanity.
Great, now I can't stop itching...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The babies get their checkups

Monday we had well checks for both Kaylan and Dylan. Kaylan for her 15 month and Dylan for his 4 month. Eric met me at the pediatricians office in Pooler to help me get both of them in and checked out and getting them out. Maybe one day it will be a bit easier to where I will be able to do it on my own. Until then, I am very thankful that Eric is such an involved and helpful husband and father.
Kaylan weighed in at 21 1/2 pounds, and 30.5 inches tall, that puts her in the 50th percentile on weight and height. Dylan tipped the scale at 18 1/2 pounds, and measured 25.5 inches long, putting him in the 90th percentile for weight and between the 50th and 75th percentile on length/ height. It's amazing how kids grow so differently! Dylan is already in 6 to 9 month clothing and even some of those pieces of clothing are stretching to their limit. Kaylan has trimmed down some because she is doing a lot more walking and moving around. She's even been trying to climb lately. I really don't know what to do about that. I want to encourage her to explore and do things on her own, but at the same time, I'm afraid of what she will get into and how bad she could get hurt. We have ceramic tile floors and I'm nervous enough about the next couple months with her attempting to climb and I'm sure Dylan will be crawling pretty soon, he already army crawls. He hasn't rolled over anymore recently, only twice and that was way back like a month ago almost. The doctor said that that was okay, seeing as how quickly he chunked up, it usually takes bigger babies a little bit longer to manuever and push their weight around.
Both babies checked out okay with no major concerns. At the very end though, we had to get BOTH babies vaccinated! I honestly don't know if it would be easier to put them both through that at the same time or separate. But, to me, it seems logical to go ahead and get it all done at once. It was pretty rough, Dylan got his shots first and when he cried, Kaylan cried, then vise-versa. There we were, Eric and me, each of us with one kid. I had Dylan and Eric had Kaylan, both babies still crying, and all I could do was laugh. I can't really explain why, because I didn't think it was funny that the babies got shots, I don't really know why I laughed. Maybe I shouldn't admit to doing that.
The next day, I expected low grade fevers to be a result of the vaccinations, and that's what we got. Dylan's temperment didn't change but I could tell that Kaylan was a bit sluggish and not herself. By Wednesday, her fever didn't really go away and her appetite changed as well. Later that night, the fever got up to 103 degrees, I knew it was time to take her to the ER. I hated that we had yet ANOTHER visit to the ER, but hey, you got to do what you've got to do. I would rather take a trip to the ER at 10 at night than to wait til the next day to sit in the pediatrician's office again. By the time she and I left the hospital it was about 11:00. They gave us a rx for amoxicillin as well as ear drops for her left ear because she had a slight bit of discharge in her ear. The eardrops were to numb the inner ear, causing less pain while the antibiotics did the work to fight off the infection. They administered both medicines to her in one dose each before we left, so we wouldn't have to wait til the morning to get medicine in her system. The ear drops really did the trick. But, even though we were out til 11:30, she only slept til 7:20 the next morning. Oh well, she has been thrown off of her nap routine since then.
My friend Sujeyn has a son, Lamar, that was born just 10 days after Kaylan. She passed a little tidbit of information on to me that kids their age need 14 hours of sleep and to cut down to one nap during the day. We tried it for a couple days (before she got sick) and it seemed to work pretty smooth. The only problem is now, with the fever and irritability lately, she hasn't been sleeping that well at all, and we have broken the rules a little bit and put her down for a second nap. I think by no later than Monday we will try to get back on the one nap a day routine, hopefully once she gets used to that she will train her body to sleep a little longer during that nap and not just for an hour! :P

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Borrowed this from Jacy... ;D

(I saw this on another mom's-blog I follow...)

1. Do you have any nicknames and if so how did it come about?

Tracypooh, my mom has called me this for as long as I can remember.
Trace, short for Tracy, this nickname randomly comes up from different people, I kinda like it.
Skeebo (ski-bo) my Papaw has always called me this since I was little!

2. What is your birth order amongst your siblings?

Middle of 3 girls

3. In a movie of your life, who would play your significant other?

Hmmmm...Ryan Reynolds, or....Dewayne (The Rock) Johnson.

4. What is currently your favorite song?

I can't really name one in particular. The latest from the Zach Brown Band is pretty cool.

5. Are you saving your money for anything right now? Big or small purchase?

I would like to save my money, if we were to have any extra to save. I would save for: Some new ink (I have 3 in mind), a convertible car seat for Dylan, a couple lightweight strollers for each of the babies (the nice kind), a piercing, would like to save up for a new car and a larger house but both of those are waayyyy out of reach right now.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

First Laugh, Nighttime Woes, and Schedule? What Schedule?

So, yeah, I kinda jinxed myself on the whole "schedule" thing. It worked for maybe a day or two with Kaylan and Dylan both being on the same nap schedule. But, as every mom knows, as soon as you think you have it figured out, they change it up on you! First off, Dylan hasn't been able to wait to take his morning nap around 10:30 or 11. Lately he's been trying to doze off around 9:30 or 10. I tried my best to keep him entertained/ active enough until nap time, but to no avail. If I fight it now, he'll fight it later by being overtired and restless when he should be napping peacefully. The next day, he did the same thing, started getting sleepy-eyed right around 9:30. So, instead of fighting it, I laid him down in his crib and he slept for about 30 or 40 minutes, waking no later than 10:30. He had his noon time bottle and by a little after 1, he started to get cranky and sleepy again. I changed his dipe and laid him down in his crib, and he SLEPT til 4:15!!! He had another very little catnap later the same evening and then by 8:30 he was off to bed for the night. Now, I have yet been able to repeat this! For the past couple days now, his nap times and length of nap times is totally up in the air. Can we say sporadic? The problem is is that he wakes up just after a short period of time and nothing I do helps him to go back to sleep, not rocking, rubbing his back, giving him his paci or anything. And I know he is still tired. Ughhh...
But, I did get a giggle from Dylan for the very first time today! :) I had him laying on the floor on his back and I was looking down at him making silly faces and "raspberry" sounds with my mouth and he started laughing!!!! Eric told him, "Now that you know how to laugh, that's all I want you to do instead of cry". This is true, for a 4 1/2 month old, Dylan sure acts like a grumpy senile old man.
These past few nights have been rough on both Eric and I, last night was almost our breaking point! It doesn't help that I stay up til midnight, but it seems as soon as I crawl into bed, Kaylan starts. I don't want to mark it up to the teething because that just seems too easy. She has been "waking up" crying, sometimes screaming, multiple times during the night. She'll have her paci, she'll be in a what seems to be a comfortable position, but she has been making a habit of crying out during the night and she won't stop crying until one of us goes in there to soothe her back to sleep. It's like she just wants to see us and be "re-tucked" into bed. This has been going on for the past couple weeks now, and I just don't know what to do. Last night was just awful. After Eric got up 4 times within a two hour period, he finally just brought her to bed with us, this was around 2:30am. She stayed up talking and playing (and kicking us) the whole time, until Eric finally took her back to her bed just before 4. She did not like that one bit. She cried for nearly 15 minutes then stopped and went back to sleep (I'm guessing). Then at 5:50 she was up and fussing again. I'm not about to make a habit of getting up at the butt crack of dawn so I let her lay there and fuss, which eventually turned to playing, then it turned back to quiet time. I finally got her out of bed just before 7, when she started fussing again. Sometimes the CIO (cry-it-out) method works, sometimes it makes it worse. Eric and I have been getting pretty accurate on our predictions on whether we should let her CIO or just cave and go in there. Another downside to these nighttime outbursts is that it tends to disturb Dylan as well, making it more difficult to use the CIO method. Then I will have two babies to soothe back to sleep at the same time!
So, with Dylan readjusting his nap schedule, I think I will modify Kaylan's a bit as well. I'm thinking we may need to cut her down to one nap instead of two, because that second nap has been getting later and later these past few days.
Oh, who knew motherhood involved such a science?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is an easy way to go about making some great cookies while using very few ingredients. I know, it's not completely "homemade", but when you are a mom, the love you put into it counts as homemade! Besides, I did add a few extras that the mix didn't call for. You can add these extras as well, or omit however you choose. I was feeling a little bold so I threw in a couple dashes of cinnamon!

1 pkg Betty Crocker Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookie mix
1 egg
1 stick of butter
Optional Ingredients:
1 (4oz) pkg chopped walnuts (you may want to chop them a little smaller)
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Even if you decide to use the extra ingredients, you follow the simple directions as listed on the back of the cookie mix pouch. We used the "regular" sized cookie cooking time, which was 10-12 minutes. They came out absolutely perfect! Crispy on the outside edges, chewy on the inside! Yum!

The mix is a bit tough to blend. Here's a tip: Leave the stick of butter out to where it is room temperature by the time you get started with mixing. Also, to blend the lumps out, mix then set, mix then set. Doing this over a period of a few minutes helps the ingredients to "settle" into each other in between mixing, giving your arm a break while making it easier to mix.

Kaylan was at my side during the mixing process!

Even Dylan jumped in to help! If he only knew how much I craved (aka: devoured) these cookies while I was pregnant with him!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chocolate Lava Cakes

Recipe for Chocolate Lava Cakes:
*1/2 cup whipping cream
*1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
*1 box devil's food cake mix (with this recipe I used Betty Crocker)
*1 cup water
*1/3 cup vegetable oil
*3 eggs
*Powdered sugar (optional)
*Sliced strawberries (optional)

1. In small saucepan, heat whipping cream over medium-high heat until hot but not boiling. Stir in chocolate chips until melted and mixture is smooth. Refrigerate about 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until thick.
2. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour or spray with baking spray with flour 4 Remekins (more if you have more than four, but you will need to double up on the lava sauce- if you only have 4, there will be batter left over, you can refrigerate and use it for another time). In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, oil and eggs with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl constantly. Fill each remekin about half way with cake batter. Spoon 1 tablespoon cold chocolate mixture on top of batter in center of each cup.
3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Cool 1 minute. Carefully remove from pan; place on parchment paper. Cool 10 minutes. Just before serving, dust with powdered sugar. Garnish with strawberry slices. Serve warm.

Or...if you're like me and can't wait another minute to dig into them, skip the garnishing and dig in! Lol!

These individual cakes are delicious and especially enjoyable after putting the kids to bed after a long day!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Two babies, one schedule?

I've been dancing around, nearly avoiding, the idea of putting Kaylan and Dylan on a schedule. I've never really wanted to be a strict schedule kind of mom. But, it's time to relinquish some control, no more organized chaos! I like the idea of structure with a little room for play.
Kaylan has been on a "schedule" since she was about 4-5 months old. Before then, it was just up in the air, feeding and napping on an as-needed basis. She has been pretty set in her ways since we had developed a good predictable schedule, but when Dylan came along, we kinda got lazy with it.
Now, with two kids, what is best? Two different schedules or one? I choose....ONE! Heaven knows that I need at least a couple hours to get things done while BOTH babies take a nap. It was pretty tough starting out, due to the fact that sometimes Kaylan didn't always want to take her morning nap, making it to where I would always have at least one baby up for me to entertain. In turn, I wouldn't get the opportunity to get chores done around the house. It took a while to figure out if she was cutting herself down to one nap or what the heck was going on. Leave it to me to get scientific about it. Luckily, Dylan was pretty flexible, he could take a three hour nap after his noon time bottle. But, Kaylan has gotten to where now, instead of getting up at 7:30 or 8:00 like she'd been doing for nearly a year, she is waking up at 6 or 6:30. Yeah...I'm not even a zombie that early in the morning, I'm more like a vegetable. So, with her getting up so early now, we are going back to two naps a day, which I think is better for her at this age. The better the rest she gets during the day, the better she is able to rest at night (when teething isn't rearing it's ugly head). And, Dylan, he goes with the flow, he took pretty well to two naps during the day (sometimes he gets a third nap in the evening, right around our dinner time). Once I have Kaylan down in her crib, he's pretty much restless by that point and I rock him to sleep and he'll nap in his crib for about an hour, maybe longer.
I don't know about any other moms, but I breathe a BIG sigh of relief once they are both down for the count, I almost want to do a dance. But, instead, I do laundry, dishes, check emails, etc. It's nice to get some things done without any interruptions.
In other news, Eric and I joined a few of our friends for Parents' Night Out. And, wow, it was a blast! We took the babies over to my mom and step-dad's house and I know they all had a wonderful time. As for us parents, we celebrated a dual birthday for our friends, Joel (Jacy's husband) and Andy (Valerie's husband) at Jalapenos restaurant then followed up with a few games of bowling. It was great to be around such good people, friends that understand what parenthood is like. A lot of other friends I have don't quite understand what it is like to have different priorities such as caring for your kids, because they don't have any of their own yet. You don't understand until you put yourself in those shoes, then you see things a lot differently and enjoy things as they come. Life isn't "go, go, go" anymore, yet, those few moments when you are able to have some time away, you tend to have a new found appreciation for. That's the time to slow down and enjoy. And we definitely enjoyed our night and the company we shared it with!

Side note: I have gotten a request to share some of my recipes. I don't know why I didn't think about doing that since this is a blog and blogging is all about sharing! What I will do within the next few days is edit my previous posts and add the recipes underneath the pictures.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Heart smiles

Kaylan coaching Dylan through tummy time

Kaylan and her Swaddlebee's cow print cloth dipe (and her trail of destruction in the background)

"Take our picture Mommy!"

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Milestone Mayhem

Between Dylan and Kaylan, we've had quite a few milestones this past week or so. Kaylan must be cutting another tooth because lately we've had some interesting diapers along with some very sleepless nights. Eric has been so awesome, especially since we brought Dylan home, about helping during the night if one of the babies happens to wake. Now that Dylan is practically sleeping through the night (he has been since he was about 2 and a half months old), I figured I would try to get back in the "night shift" routine with Kaylan during her teething spells. It's been so hard though! And Eric still has to get up sometimes. We can't wait for the teething to be over with, my poor little late bloomer. Other babies have most of their teeth at 9 months old, and here Kaylan is, about 15 months old and she may be getting her third tooth. I wish I could take on that kind of pain myself, just so she wouldn't have to endure it.
Kaylan has been amazing us lately with her smarts. She said her first word, besides mama and dada. Can you guess what it was??? CAT! And, now I think she's trying to say 'kitty cat'. Whenever we ask her where the kitty cat is, she will look around and point to one of the cats. She knows where the motorcycle is at (on the back porch), she sees it every day when she sits by her favorite window at the french doors. Oh, and something she has been doing a lot of lately, shaking her head "no". She knows when to use it too, whenever she is done with her food, or when she doesn't want mommy to give her a kiss. I'll sneak one in anyway!
In addition, Kaylan has also become quite the expert on pulling herself up and sitting up from a lying position. She had been delayed in those areas due to the fact that this former first-time-mom (FTM) let her spend a little too much time in her jumper and not enough "floor" time. Without the proper amount of tummy time, it affects delays in crawling along with upper body strength. I am a tummy time advocate now! With Dylan, as long as he is awake during the day, about half that time is spent with him on his belly, practicing lifting and supporting his head using his arms, muscles in his neck, shoulders, and back. In a way, I feel really bad that I didn't do the same for Kaylan. It makes me feel like an awful mom sometimes because I know that her delays are my fault for not doing the proper excercises with her to help her along and to put her more "on track". My friend Rachel, a child-life specialist, reassures me though that "every child is different". It sounds so cliche' but there is truth in that. So long as a child is capable of walking, talking by the age of 4, then there really is no "delay" to be considered. Needless, to say, I was thrilled to see her pull herself up over and over again! I knew she could do it but it just took a little time and she finally got the hang of it and trusted herself to keep at it. It really surprised me when I laid her down for a nap one afternoon and I kept the baby monitor close by, it sounded like she never really went to sleep. I went to her room to check on her, and there she was, standing in her crib! Luckilly we already had the mattress lowered, so she didn't go overboard or anything.
Speaking of tummy time, Dylan ROLLED OVER the other day while I had him on his belly! I think it was a fluke because it was about 4 days ago and he hasn't done it since. It scared him, so obviously he didn't "intend" to roll over. I don't look forward to those middle of the night roll overs. Sometimes babies roll over during the night without trying so it either scares them once they roll or they cant get back over to how they were laying so they cry. Hopefully we won't be having any of that! Dylan has been getting more pleasant bit by bit. I couldn't believe that today at 1:25 am he turned 4 months old! Sometimes it seems a bit longer than that. Hopefully this reflux has reached the point to where it is finally running it's course. By the time their 4th month rolls around is when they start to be more fun. I remember when Kaylan was 4 months old, we found out that we were pregnant with Dylan. Wow, I hardly had the time to enjoy having one baby, then God reaches down and says "Here, have another"! I've always heard that He will never give you anymore than He thinks you can handle. We've handled it up to this point, so we must be doing okay. Nothing beats laying them down side by side, sometimes for simultanious diaper changes, and I think to myself, "Wow, I have two kids already." I like to look at their similarities and I enjoy the way they look at each other. Dylan notices a lot, he's very reseptive to people and his surroundings. He smiles when he sees me or Eric, he even smiles when he sees Kaylan, he will even follow her with his eyes and watch what she does, almost like he is admiring her. And Kaylan adores Dylan. She will sit by him just to be next to him lots of times, she tries to hold his hand and "pet" him all the time. I really can't wait til they can finally play together. We've got to wait for Dylan to be a few months older, but I think that will really be enjoyable for them. I've got so much to be proud of!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Started a blog for my potential business

I've gotten started on my business idea and have created a blog. Those of you who are interested in following me through this new journey, please drop in and follow, I have set up a link under my favorite blogs list.

Thanks to everyone, especially Eric and my friend Jacy. Jacy, I will definitely be looking your way when we get ready for business cards, and things of that nature.

Keep us in your prayers that this "idea" will soon become a reality. Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sister time and possibly starting a work-at-home business???

My big sister, Meredith ~ Me ~ My little sister, Joni
July 2010

We got visits from BOTH sides of the family this weekend! Yet, we only really got to spend time with one side of the family...
Friday night, Eric's Uncle Jose' and his fiance, Gayle came up here from Florida with another couple that they are good friends with. The reason for their visit, other than seeing the sights in downtown Savannah, was to potentially purchase Eric's motorcycle. His Yamaha R1 has been sitting for sale since about Christmas time last year. We finally thought we were going to get around to paying off some bills and catching back up, especially after Eric's two week furlough has knocked us back. Saturday night, Eric and I had a few friends over and while the guys were outside grilling, Eric decided to start up the bike. It had only been about a week or two since he last started it up and took it out for a quick ride. It started up fine, he even did a burn-out in the back yard. Well, Eric's uncle and his friend stop by early Sunday morning, and, you guessed it, the bike didn't start. Eric knew it was due to water being in the gas tank and offered to get it fixed but the guy automatically turned it down, he didn't care to stick around for that. Needless to say, I was a bit pissed off. It seems as though we have the worst luck when it comes to getting rid of things. That being said, does anybody want a cat?
That was all we, or, shall I say, Eric saw of his uncle. It was so early in the morning neither I nor the kids got to see him and spend some time with him.
Friday, MY Uncle Michael and Aunt Cindy and their two boys, James and John came in to visit from Alabama. They stayed with my mom and step-dad during their time here. They visited the Tybee lighthouse and beach. Man, it was so hot outside, I don't see how they were able to enjoy themselves. But they had a great time and the boys hopped in the pool as soon as they got back! Sunday afternoon, my older sister, Meredith came into town to visit with us. Meredith stayed with my mom and step-dad as well. She was by herself, she left her husband Mike and daughter Madilyn back home in Alabama while she got a little vacation for herself. Mamas need some time off for sure! Kaylan was very excited to see her Aunt Mer again, and Dylan got PLENTY of kisses! It was great to have some sister time this week with BOTH of my sisters for a change. We went to the pottery shop in Savannah, since the shop in Rincon is only open later in the week. That will be the last time I go to the Savannah shop. They jacked their prices up drastically and hardly had anything practical to choose from. We still made the best of it though. Meredith and Joni painted picture frames and I made a name plate for Dylan's room! I can't wait to get it back after it gets glazed, I'll be sure to post pics!
So, Eric and I have been talking. I have always played around with the idea of opening up my own business someday, like a bakery. Oh, I would love to have my own successful bakery business! Until then, I have decided to get back in touch with my craft work of designing, painting and sewing. Sofar, I have reserved a name on Etsy to sell handmade items from home. I don't know if or how I should go about setting up an online shop independently. Since we have been pretty successful with cloth diapering lately, I am tempted to dip my toes into making a few of my own and selling them, along with all natural aromatherapy heating pads, kids' canvas art and growth charts. My imagination tends to go places, because I have yet to purchase supplies, set up a "work area" in the house (the only space left is the garage and that's Eric's domain--not to mention, I don't want to make it a sweat shop), figure a name for the business, the list goes on. Oh, and money...we won't get started on that. Did I mention, I barely have time to brush my teeth and use the bathroom in the mornings? Where is the time going to come from to produce these projects? With a lot of work, a little time and some money set aside here and there, this could totally happen. Maybe I could look for investors, but where? I'm so tired of dreaming, I'm ready to get to the doing! Eric and I will continue to discuss the details of all this. In the mean time, I need suggestions on a name/ logo, and I also need potential clients, or "testers" if you will! Tell your friends and fellow bloggers, and I may have a separate blog set up real soon, once we get our business plan in motion.
Here's to dreams, and may they always come true!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dress it up

So, I decided to dress up the blog page a little. I am so fickle, it took me FOREVER to decide on a template I liked. What do y'all think? I miss the dark background because I feel like it made the pictures pop. But, this gives it a little more *personality* (jazz hands).

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cakes, Curve Balls, and Cloth Diapering

It simply isn't the Fourth of July without an American Flag Pound Cake!

This is my very first Rum Cake! I made it especially for Eric. Stay tuned for my first ever Chocolate Lava Cakes!

Recipe for Rum Cake:
* 1 cup chopped walnuts
* 1 box yellow cake mix (Duncan Hines is my favorite)
* 1/2 cup dark rum
* 4 eggs
* 1/2 cup water
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil
* 1 (3.5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix

* 1/2 cup butter
* 1/8 cup water
* 1/2 cup white sugar
* 1/4 cup rum

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch tube or Bundt pan. Sprinkle nuts over the bottom of the pan.
2. Mix together the cake mix, 1/2 cup dark rum, eggs, 1/2 cup water, oil, and vanilla pudding mix. Pour batter over the nuts in the pan.
3. Bake for 1 hour. Cool, and invert cake on a serving plate. Prick the top of the cake.
4. To Make The Glaze: Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in 1/8 cup water and the 1/2 cup sugar. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove glaze from heat, and stir in 1/4 cup rum. Drizzle and smooth evenly over the top and sides.

Whew! It's been quite a while since I have updated.
The weekend following my last post, we were supposed to make a trip to Jacksonville to meet a friend of mine and her son. My friend and her son, Lamar were in Jacksonville visiting with her husband's family, I got to know her through Babycenter. Lamar had the same due date as Kay did (June 7, 2009) but he came a little early just like Kay did! They are only 10 days apart! I was so looking forward to meeting him and his mom and I was really looking forward to Kay meeting Lamar, but we had a curve ball thrown our way the day we planned to leave. Eric and I had to take Guy to the pediatrician because he had been crying all morning and the previous day. Nothing seemed to soothe him, he wouldn't take a paci and he would even burst out crying during some of his feedings. I noticed a little white blister on the roof of his mouth and figured he had thrush. The doctor said that that little blister shouldn't have been causing so much irritability. She ran blood cultures and his white blood cell count was high, so he was evidently fighting an infection. The only problem was, we didn't know what kind of infection it was. They even captured a urine sample to make sure it wasn't a UTI. The urine sample came back normal, so that was when she ordered a visit to the ER to get additional blood cultures done along with a chest x-ray. It came back showing a slight bit of pneumonia in his lungs. My poor little guy. I worried about him for so long, even following the visit to the hospital. Eric and I were just so surprised that they didn't admit him for the night. They sent us home with a couple antibiotics, and he continued to stay fussy even through the following week or more. But, he has since gone through a major growth spurt as well. It seemed like right around his 3rd month, he was extra fussy, extra hungry, and extra sleepy. And it was like he plumped up over night! He has grown so much, but I haven't weighed him yet though, I wouldn't be surprised if he was 15 pounds or more. He is starting to smile a lot more and not cry all the time, which makes me smile! He is "cooing" and making little noises, trying to talk. Sometimes, I think Kay understands what he is saying or trying to say because she will talk back. Guy has also discovered his hands, he had been batting at his toys since he was 2 and a half months old. But, now I think he is starting to realize the "cause-and-effect" behind it all.
This past Monday, we started the cloth diapering process. It has been going well, other than when Kay takes a poo, she breaks out with a rash. The rash that will never go away (or so it seems). It is mainly due to her teething, for some reason teething poo is a bit more rough than regular poo, causing rashes. So, with Kay, it's best for us to wait until she is done teething to implement exclusive cloth diaper usage. But, with Guy, it is going very well. I guess it's better than nothing. To be honest, I was pretty bummed out when we realized the cloth diapers weren't working so well for Kay. Yet, another curve ball, if you will. Here I am, a stay-at-home mom, trying to save some money, and it backfires. What else is new? It's got to get better at some point, right?
During the Independence Day weekend, we took a trip up to North Carolina along with our friends Herschel and Hanna and their son, Grant. We went up there and stayed with our good friends, husband and wife, Kevin and Rachel. Oh, it was beautiful up there and the weather was amazing! Though, being in a new environment made Kay a bit attached to Eric (plus she had her second tooth cutting through), we all had a great time, she and Guy slept well through the nights. Once we had the babies down at night, the adults would gather in the living room for a few beers and a couple rounds of Pictionary and Guesstures. The girls spanked the boys in Pictionary (all three games) but the guys won the round of Guesstures somehow (I think they were cheating) ;)
Eric, the babies and I left North Carolina on Tuesday around noon with the intentions of driving over to Alabama, where I am from. We wanted to pay my family a little visit, especially my Papaw. We were about 2 hours into the trip and I told Eric to make sure the GPS was taking us to the right location, the directions just seemed odd to us. He checked it, and instead of the GPS going the route to my Dad's house, it was giving us directions back to OUR house! OOOOOHHHH!!!! I was so mad! Guy isn't a very good traveler, and that day was nothing out of the ordinary. Since he was crying practically the entire time up to that point, I figured, we might as well keep going back home. And we decided to make the trip to Alabama the following week. Guy did much better on that trip. We had to make quite a few stops for feedings and diaper changes, but at least he did a lot better. Kay did well too, but that is normal, she loves to ride and look out the windows.
It was so good to see my family, especially my older sister and my Papaw. We got a ton of pictures of everyone holding the babies. Poor kids, they were probably seeing plenty of spots due to the flashing of the cameras. Before we got back on the road, Eric and I went to visit my step brother's grave. I left some roses for him and talked to him, it's still so hard to believe. I wish that he could see his niece and nephew grow up. He was a wonderful, fun loving guy. We miss him everyday. It just makes me all the more thankful for what we have and the wonderful people we have in our lives.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Proud moment

At this moment, my heart is swelling with pride and joy. Yet, at the same time, I am a bit sad at the thought of how quickly things seem to go once we get past a certain point. Kaylan is now getting her way around the house pretty well. She still doesn't trust herself to walk around unassisted, though, it's coming and there will be no stopping her. Eric and I sat across from each other today on the floor and we helped her practice walking to each of us. I guess I should have the video camera handy so we can get her first steps on film.
How did we get to this point? It's as if I went to bed last night, still pregnant with Kaylan, and I wake up this morning to her as a toddler. Not to mention little Dylan: Wow, did he get here quickly or what? This past Saturday, I was where I was at last year when I got pregnant with him, 11 weeks postpartum. This year, I am just as proud to say that I am NOT pregnant again! I don't think I could handle that all over again. It was rough having kids back to back like that. It's done now and we can focus on taking steps forward as a family instead of taking steps back with planning, running out of room and running out of money.
Dylan is getting to the point to where he is becoming more and more aware each day. He is smiling at me now! Oh how that warms my heart!!! It is so much more pleasant than the crying that we have heard non-stop for the past (almost) 3 months. The very first time he smiled at me (and it wasn't gas) I told him, "You better do nothing but smile from now on. I've heard enough crying to last us to the end of the year." And, of course, he didn't take me seriously, but it's okay. I at least had a little moment of bliss with him at that time. And I am sure that there are plenty more moments like that to come as he gets older and starts to figure out how to play and explore with different things.
Kaylan has been amazing me throughout this whole "two under two" process. She is such a good big sister! When Dylan is in his bouncy seat, she will either "show him" how to play with his toys, or she will get behind the seat and bounce it up and down. Of course, we keep it monitored because she gets a little excited and bounces the seat aggressively. It's like she knows she's helping and doing something nice. One time, I had Dylan on the floor for a diaper change, she went over to the pile of laundry I had close by (I had not gotten to folding it by that time) and grabbed a shirt. It was one of her shirts, but a shirt non-the-less, as her little brother was wearing nothing but a diaper. She scoots back over to us and lays the shirt on top of his face as if she were to say, "Here, put this on." I actually think I have her doing that on video! Just now, we had Dylan on the blanket for tummy time. At this particular moment, he wasn't in the mood for tummy time. Kaylan finds his pacifier, and brings it over to him then gently pats him on the butt!
These are just a couple of moments that I have witnessed over this past 11 weeks that simply warm my heart and make me feel so proud. Let's hope they share and nurture each other forever. In a world gone to $&!#, they've at least got each other and the love of their family. I will always be proud of them. And even though things didn't seem to go exactly as we had planned or hoped for, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!!!

Happy Father's Day to all of the future, old, and new dads out there. A special thank you to Eric for being the great husband and father that he is. I love you my Eric!
The babies and I did the best we could to make today special for Eric. These days, we run low on funds from time to time so we couldn't go out to enjoy dinner at a restaurant or anything like that. Not that I would want to take Kaylan AND Dylan both to a restaurant any time soon. Dylan is a bit of a handful. The day was pretty chill other than the fact that Eric had a terrible migraine headache that carried over from the night before. I felt so bad for him. We tried to get him to rest a little bit while I took the babies out to my mom's house to visit with my step-dad for Father's Day. But, Eric said it wouldn't be Father's Day without his family and that he was going to go with us. All-in-all, we made it as special as we could. We ordered take-out pizza and watched Step Brothers once we got back home. We put Kaylan to bed around 8:00 and now I am up with Dylan until he gets his next bottle and goes to bed. Eric has to be up early in the morning for work and he just kissed me goodnight.
Back track to the first part of the weekend: Friday has now become my Jacyday! Dylan and I met up with Jacy for lunch at Baibry's. Dylan has been getting a little better with getting out and not screaming or crying the whole time, but that doesn't mean it is any easier. Because, what makes him calm is when someone is holding him. I held him while we ate lunch at Baibry's and I almost dripped some of my pita filling on his head, but, somehow I didn't. Then we went to the pottery shop for me to finish up on something I made for Kaylan. He was fine while he was in his stroller and moving but once we stepped foot in the door he started fussing. I knew it was getting close to his sleepy time, but, he only likes to sleep either laying on his tummy or being held in someone's arms. So, Jacy ended up holding him while I finished up on my piece. It would have been real nice except for this one chick that wouldn't shut up. She stood there and had a conversation with Jacy out of nowhere. I would try to lighten up the conversation by saying something witty but she would just stare at me. She was basically wanting to compare herself to other stay-at-home moms; yeah, she was one of those. Annoying.
Saturday, with the help of Jacy and her husband Joel, I went with Joni to get my tattoo on my foot. Dylan had to wait outside with Jacy and Joel while Joni went in with me. Usually when I go into this particular tattoo facility, they take me straight back and begin to start working on me. That was not the case this time around. This was the first time ever that I had to wait. And I felt so bad because I had to get help from my friends to take care of Dylan. The longer I waited the more I started to talk myself out of it. But, it was all arranged, all of us were already there, let's just do it and get it done. Finally, after waiting for an hour, I began the tattoo process. The least they could have done was give me an estimated wait time for us to put that hour to better use. Oh well, I definitely owe a big THANK YOU to Joel and Jacy for their time. And, the tattoo turned out great. It is still pretty tender. I was so afraid of how bad it was going to hurt, seeing how it was on the top of my foot. In all honesty, it didn't hurt much worse than getting it elsewhere on the body. I am glad it is over though.
Now, to start a fresh new week. Enjoy it everyone!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Action-packed weekend

All-in-all it turned out to be an okay weekend, not that we didn't run into a challenge here and there. Friday, Dylan and I went to Baibry's coffee shop to meet our friend Jacy. We chatted for a little while then walked down to the pottery shop so Jacy could drop off her finished work, and I picked up the project I had made for Eric's Father's Day gift. It turned out so cute! I made a picture frame with Dylan's footprint and Kaylan's hand print and placed a picture of in the frame of Eric holding the babies. And, of course, I couldn't wait to give it to him, so it is sitting on his nightstand now. Dylan was pretty well behaved overall, he just got pretty cranky when it got close to his feeding time. I don't think the heat really helps with his crankiness either. And it seems as though those car seats hold a lot of heat in.
Saturday, I was counting down the hours until I finally got to go out with my friend Jeanette! She and I met up at 6:00 to go eat at Outback steakhouse and then from there we went to Savannah Smiles. It was a blast. We were very responsible, I only had three drinks myself. But, we sat back and laughed at everyone else that was getting plastered. There was this one older lady in particular that was all over the place, dancing and mingling with all of the younger folks. She referred to herself as a jaguar (I guess she meant cougar). She stopped at our table and yelled "I guess these young boys can't keep up with old goobers like me!" You know she was singing in the church choir the next morning.
Once I got home later that night/ early Sunday morning, the babies of course were already in bed and I missed them so much, especially my Kaylan. But, it really felt good to go out and enjoy some "me" time.
Sunday, was Joni's (my little sister) 18th birthday. We had planned for both of us to get a tattoo that day but they could only get her taken care of. There was only one artist there that was booked with appointments, but he was nice enough to work Joni in since it was her 18th birthday and her first tattoo. She got a cute ladybug crawling on her shoulder. I plan on getting the same thing on my foot when we go back this weekend or sometime during the week. I had brought Dylan with me but we could not take him in there due to the fact that he is minor. So, my mom and I took turns waiting in the truck with him.
Then, Sunday took a total 180 turn, we ended up having to take Kaylan to the emergency room at around 4:30. Thank goodness our friend Adam (Jeanette's husband) was home, they live just across the street from us. They love kids and they didn't mind keeping Dylan with them while Eric and I took care of Kaylan's situation. The diaper rash that we thought was under control after visiting with her doctor had come back. But once we were able to see the doctor at the hospital, he said it was infected by a yeast infection, which is common when the skin isn't completely dry once you place a cream on top of the already infected area. I felt so bad for Kaylan. There isn't a worse feeling in the world than seeing your child in pain and not being able to do anything about it. It seems as though, whenever you see your own child in the slightest bit of pain, you wish you could take it from them and put it on yourself instead of seeing them suffer. That is exactly how I felt. We were able to keep her occupied throughout the waiting process, but she knows when she is somewhere strange like a doctors office. She was on high-alert and did not want Eric to put her down for a second. Once we finally saw the doctor, he knew what he was doing, very quick and to the point. He clearly understood that the kids and parents go through enough trauma by that point to be handled by a strange person in a strange place. I don't think he even touched her, didn't ask for us to lay her on the bed either. Eric was able to hold her the whole time, which I'm sure really made a difference in her not having a total meltdown.
After we got out of the hospital, we drop off Kaylan's prescription at Walgreen's. While we waited for that, we went to McDonald's for dinner and treated Kaylan to her very first Happy Meal. She LOVED it!
We then got back into town to pick up Dylan before going home. Of course, he was a perfect little non-fussy angel for Adam and Jeanette. Once we got there, Dylan saw me and started with his usual ways of fussing.
Ugh, will this ever end? I wish I could at least have a day during the week that I could take both the kids somewhere where they can be taken care of and I can get back to the house and actually get stuff done. I have got so many lose ends here it is not even funny. Between two babies, one or both of them is bound to need me at times throughout the day. If that means not finishing with folding laundry or dusting, then it will have to wait (and sometimes be forgotten about). Anyway, maybe I will have this down eventually.