Thursday, September 30, 2010

come and get it!

Kristin came over to visit us yesterday and mentioned she was meeting up with a friend that night who has been doing work with Stonyfield Farm and he had some yogurt to give her and her hubby. Sweet, huh? I was a smidge jealous. I like their yogurt, and so does Morgan, but I only buy it once in a while or if it's on sale.  It's organic so it's a little more expensive than other brands. But it's definitely better for you - no artificial sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup.

So, imagine my surprise when I got a call from Kristin last night when she was on her way home. She had cases of yogurt. Like 11 cases of yogurt! No one could eat that much yogurt before it expired, so she brought 4 cases over to us.
So, does anyone want some yogurt? Seriously, give me a shout. I'd love to share our fortune! We have the Greek yogurt in chocolate or blueberry 4-packs, O'Soy 6-packs in strawberry/peach, and single 6 ounce cups of pomegranate raspberry acai. If I have no takers, then I think I'll need to have Mark take some to work because we need room for groceries this weekend! :)

Thanks again sis, and thanks Brian! We are going to be eating yogurt and making smoothies until we are blue in the face.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

read with me

Today was our weekly storytime at the library and I had to all but drag myself out without any books this week because I just renewed the ones I got three weeks ago. My days aren't overflowing with spare time lately, so I need to make a mental note that when I'm done with these four, next time I will only take one at a time. If you couldn't tell, I'm not much of a fiction reader. I'd rather read a book that I'm going to learn something from. I always feel like I could be learning something. And right now, it's all about the kids.

The first one is The SleepEasy Solution. Ah, the wonderful world of sleep training. I think between Morgan and Parker, I've read them all and have formed my own opinions. This one is for the "exhausted parent". Ahem, (hand raised). That would be me. I didn't necessarily get it because I think Parker has sleep issues, I do think this is a phase, but I want to help him get the best sleep possible and get him in a good routine while he is still young. I'm about half way through it and have come away with some great information for the future - especially about naps and how developmental issues affect sleep.

I think I've loaned out The Wonder Weeks about 10 times since Morgan was born. I need to just buy it and give other people a chance to read it! When Parker stopped sleeping through the night a few weeks ago, I grabbed this book off the library shelves again. After reading the book in the past, I was pretty certain it was because of a major developmental change and not necessarily a growth spurt. (Or maybe both?) Sure enough, the authors say there is a fairly long magical leap that starts between 14-17 weeks. Bingo! He may have trouble sleeping - for sure! He may demand more attention - check. He may lose his appetite - oh yes, especially during the day.

I love HappyBaby products and was geeked when they teamed up with Dr. Sears to write a book, HappyBaby: The Organic Guide to Baby's First 24 Months. I mainly got this one for the recipes and meal ideas for Parker and Morgan. But it's also full of tips about being green, natural baby toys, mama's health and well-being, and more. I love it so far. It's another one of those books I should just purchase.

The last one is The Encyclopedia of Infant and Toddler Activities. This is exactly what I was looking for to get ideas for the kids. It was written by teachers and daycare providers and it's full of songs and activities for kids through two years old. (I guess they also have books for three- and four-year-olds too.)  It's organized by time of day, so they've got a lot of ideas for clean-up time, meal time and nap time too. Even though Morgan isn't in daycare right now, I don't want the learning to stop. I want to continue to do things that help stimulate both of their development, and I think I found the perfect book to start us out.

I hope three more weeks is enough to finish these books!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Right Now

Thanks for all the love yesterday. I was feeling a little 'woah is me' but by the end of our do-nothing day, I had snapped out of my funk. This too shall pass, right?

Instead, here are a few of the things I'm loving, right now:
  • The healing powers of a hot shower and a razor. There's something about freshly shaven legs that make me feel normal again.
  • I found some Strawberry Milkshake Oreos a few weeks ago and fell in love. I haven't been able to find them since. Anyone know where I can find more?
  • New GAP jeans in my pre-pregnancy size. Wouldn't it figure, now I'm wishing I bought more when I was able to snag them for $35 a pair.
  • Running errands with Morgan, without a diaper. We've gotten brave but haven't lightened our load completely. Now we are hauling around a change of clothes, undies and a portable potty seat. So far, so good.
  • We got our firewood for the winter last week. Ironically on one of the warmest days of the month. We've now got 2 face cords sitting on our porch...
  • ...ready to burn. We've actually had two fires in the fireplace already.
  • Tim Horton's box of 10 Timbits have been a fun morning snack for Morgan and I to share on our way to the library. She loves to carry the little box.
  • New fall TV is back. My favorites: House, Parenthood and Keeping Up with the Kardashians (for real!)
  • The cooler weather and multiple wakings have been making me crave coffee. First, I would need a coffee maker. Second, some yummy creamer. Last year my mother-in-law introduced me to Coffee-Mate Vanilla Chai Spice and I'd love to get my hands on some.
  • Some child-free me time to work on my pregnancy album. It was nice to get out of the house for a few hours last weekend and do something on my own. Of course, time flew and I didn't get a ton done, but I should expect it will take time to get back in my groove.
Today: get out of the house and do something. In the rain. Even if it is just to get some chai and apples, which are Morgan's current favorite bedtime snack (the apples, not the chai).

    Monday, September 27, 2010

    frazzled

    Monday again and day to day events are beginning to become a big blur to me. Parker's evenings aren't improving at all and that is leaving me a frazzled mess. And by frazzled I mean rundown and disorganized. Apparently he just doesn't want to eat during daylight hours now. Super. So I'm trying to wing it and hope this is just a phase. Maybe it's a growth spurt from hell. His 4-month checkup is next week so I'm hoping to get some good input from the pediatrician.

    I usually make a weekly plan of things to do on Sunday evenings but not last night. Instead I went to bed to get a little sleep before waking number one. I don't like starting out a new week without some idea of what we are going to do but that's just how it's going to have to be today. My mind is a little jumbled and I find myself chanting things to remember over and over until I can get to a pen and paper to write it down. Mark shouldn't be surprised when he comes home and I look just as I did when he left for work in the morning - dirty hair and still in my pj's. I've declared a lazy day today and Morgan says she is okay with that. We can go to the park another day, mommy. Today: take a break from this computer and be present, see if I can get a certain someone to nurse for more than 3 minutes, naps and if I'm lucky, a shower.

    Friday, September 24, 2010

    There's a Party in my City!

     
    I know a certain little girl who is going to be thrilled come October 8.
    She doesn't seem to understand 'in person' or 'in real life', so I can't wait to see her reaction!

    This morning: We're enjoying a TV-free morning, lounging in the sun. I'm sipping some iced chai, trying to wake up. Parker is laying under his activity center and Morgan is making him a tent with her playsilks. The air conditioning is on and I need to dig some shorts out for Morgan because apparently it's going to be HOT again today. Other than a quickie trip to the store for some milk, I think we'll stay in today. I want to take some pictures of the kids if they will stay still long enough. Parker is trying with all his might to roll over and I'm not going to miss it. It's been an unusually long week, especially considering Mark was home with us Tuesday. I'm so happy it's Friday.

    This weekend: I dunno. I'd like to go to the farmer's market tomorrow morning. Downtown Farmington is having their Harvest Moon Celebration this weekend so the town is all decked out. Other than that, just the usual football watching and grocery shopping. I may even make grand plans to scrapbook. Have a great weekend!

    Wednesday, September 22, 2010

    pregnancy survival kit

    When I found out that Kristin was pregnant, right away I was trying to think of a cute but thoughtful gift for her. A pregnancy journal came to mind but I wanted something a little more personal. I started to think of some of the things that helped me get through those 40 weeks, especially the first trimester, and I made a list of a few of my favorite prenatal goodies.Food: cravings and morning sickness came and went but there were a few reliable standbys that settled my stomach. Namely, saltine crackers, Jolly Ranchers and Sprite. Belly Chews and Preggie Pops were good too.

    Medicine: Tylenol PM for those achy nights in the final weeks when you just can't get comfortable and sleep. And Tums for heartburn and tummy aches after eating too much.

    My favorite quick read: Fit Pregnancy magazine

    My favorite moisturizer (and stretch mark prevention aid): The Body Shop Cocoa Butter Body ButterI wrapped everything up in colorful tissue paper, punched some scalloped labels to describe what was inside and bundled it all up in a kraft colored gift bag. Simple and sweet. Just like Kristin and those beautiful babies. I'm so glad she liked it.

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010

    name that tune

    I was surprised that Morgan had never heard this song in daycare. I think it's safe to say, at 175 times played on our iTunes, it is her new favorite song.

    Monday, September 20, 2010

    just another manic Monday

    We had a pretty nice weekend around here. It was one of those weekends where we didn't have anything planned and much of it was last minute. "Hey, you wanna go here-and-there?" "Yup, let's go" Quickly packed up the diaper bag and out we went.

    On Friday night we went to the Ferndale DIY Street Fair because at the time, it looked like the best day to go since it was supposed to rain on and off all weekend. Of course, in hindsight, Sunday would have been a nice day too. We ran into our friends Parks and Nicole and their 3-year-old son, Landon. I can't believe how big he's gotten. And I can't believe we only live 15 minutes away from each other and somehow haven't seen them since Morgan's first birthday party.

    The rest of the weekend was full of football, relaxing, a little shopping and way too much whining. Man oh man, Morgan was unbelievable. Especially Saturday. Sometimes I felt so bad for her and tried to get her to tell me what was wrong (or at least comfort her). Other times I just wanted to run and hide. Please don't tell me I am supposed to be preparing for her teenage years already.

    And then there's poor Parker. He has been all out of sorts with his nighttime sleep this past week.  He went from waking just once a night (if that) to waking 3+ times a night. He's figured out how to roll on his belly while he is swaddled and thus, waking himself up. Or he'll just randomly wake up screaming. We've been trying everything - swaddle, unswaddle, fan on, fan off. He even spent one night in our bed so he and I could get more sleep. Some nights I don't even remember how many times he woke up, or I'll wake up and not remember if I put him back in his crib. It's been completely exhausting and I hope he gets over it soon.

    Our plans are pretty loose this week. Story time at the library, catching up on my Google Reader, a play date at the Farmington Gymnastics Center and watching the new House. Possibly priming the kitchen and narrowing down a paint color? And maybe if I can luck out with simultaneous naps, I want to work on a new blog banner. Tonight, Mark is going to the Tigers game after work, so this is going to be a really long day if we don't get out of the house for a little bit and burn some energy. Happy Monday!

    Friday, September 17, 2010

    double the pleasure, double the fun

    In April 2011, I am going to be the lucky aunt to my sister's babies. Yup, that's right. Babies.

    Kristin is having twins!!


    I am so happy for Kristin and Troy. Best wishes for a healthy and uneventful pregnancy. I already can't wait to meet these little peanuts. Hugs!

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    especially her grandchildren

    After months of fighting to get well, my Grandma Frahm passed away on Labor Day. I shared a sad and emotional conversation with my sister on Monday when she called me with the news. My Grandma had been between the hospital and the nursing home all summer long and for weeks I was waiting for the call from my mom saying she was finally going home. Instead, she is now at peace in her new home.

    When my tears began to fade, I was immediately reminded of all of the fond memories I have of her, e
    specially from my childhood. Kristin and I always looked forward to our weeks long summer vacations visiting you and Grandpa in Hubbard Lake. All the swimming, the boat rides, making ice cream sundaes, s'mores and caramel popcorn. Sharing Great-Grandpa Barbieri's old art supplies with me. Playing with all of your pretty fabrics and learning how to use the sewing machine by making hair scrunchies. Walking up to the west shore party store for Superman ice cream cones. Helping you perm your hair (wow, you were brave!) And you loved to take us shopping. Oh the shopping we did! Trip after trip after trip into Alpena and Houghton Lake, back to school shopping, Black Friday shopping at Fairlane Mall, driving down to Saginaw just because. And of course all of the holidays - Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and birthdays. You were there for my high school and college graduations and even my baby shower. My brain is flooded with wonderful moments with you.

    Kristin got me a newspaper with her obituary in it last week and after reading it Friday night, I was filled with sadness again. Mostly from this: "...she enjoyed gardening, cooking and her family, especially her grandchildren."

    The feeling is mutual Grandma. More than you will even know. You were such a huge part of my life, such a happy part of my life. I will hold each and every one of these memories close to my heart forever. I miss you so much. Hugs to my dad, my Aunt Georgine and of course, my Grandpa Frahm. I love you all.

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    gettin' my crop on...again

    Before Parker was born, I packed my scrapbook stuff away to make room for the mess that would be involved with our future kitchen remodel. It was inevitable that with having a new baby in the house, there wasn't going to be much time or energy for scrapbooking anyways. Now that the kitchen cabinets are in and we are settling into our new routine, Mark and I have agreed that we should each get a few hours each week to do something fun, on our own. Sweetness!

    While Mark has been using his time off to go mountain biking, I am going to take the opportunity to catch up on my scrapbook projects. But first, I had to pull my supplies out of storage and set up my stash again.

    My original scrapbook shelf is being used for toy storage so I used one of the shelves that Mark and I built back in college. Wow, this thing is like 10 years old. It's held up pretty well! Anyways, I set it up in the family room and it is a very condensed version of my old shelf but now with just the basics:
    • cardstock and patterned paper
    • paper trimmer
    • tool caddy full of adhesive, pens, scissors, etc.
    • punches
    • embellishments and stickers
    • everyday stamps
    • idea books and magazines
    • my favorite completed albums
    • albums in progress
    Everything else, like the rest of my stamps, paint and markers, is staying in our craft cabinet, which is a big fat mess right now. That will be an organization project in itself.

    First on my list of albums to finish: my pregnancy album.

    Monday, September 13, 2010

    boob man

    Every once in a while, if Parker is awake when Morgan is napping, I will take him into our bedroom to lay on the bed while I sort or fold laundry. He usually just stares at the ceiling with a big ass grin on his face. And then I realized what he is looking at - our light fixture.Call me juvenile, but it sure looks like a boob to me. :)
    Happy 14 weeks Parker!

    Sunday, September 12, 2010

    shop til you drop

    We had a little change of plans yesterday so we decided to do some clothes shopping for the kids because apparently, it's fall. Not according to my calendar, but, whatever. They both need cooler weather clothes and Morgan needed shoes. So off to Ann Arbor we went.
    But first, Starbucks. Sue turned me on to the Pumpkin Spice Chai. Good Lord, why didn't I think of this? It was fantastic, and my new favorite.

    Our first stop in Ann Arbor was Elephant Ears. We were a little confused (and a little freaked out) when we approached the store and there was a new tenant there. Luckily they had moved (and not closed) into a much larger 2-story space around the corner and it is awesome! I wish we had more time to look around, although our bank account was probably happy we left without making a big dent. Just some new tennies for Morgan and Smartwools for both. Poor Morgan inherited her mama's big feet. Somehow she skipped 2 shoe sizes. At least she is tall.And then of course it started to rain, so after lunch we left town, picked up a couple more gallons of cider at the cider mill (yeah, they opened last weekend!) and headed home. Morgan snuggled up on Mark and napped on the couch and later we were all so pooped from walking around that we had cereal for dinner. It was Morgan's idea, so I ran with it!

    Today we hit Carter's and Old Navy. We found lots of cute clothes and jammies for Morgan but I've been disappointed in the infant boys clothing selection at both stores. Boo! (Hey, speaking of Old Navy - I heard the store in Novi is not closed but they have been remodeling and are opening back up on Thursday!) Back home for lunch and the Lions game. Double boo!

    Tonight I'm trying to straighten up and get ready for the week. I'm hoping to avoid the long, needless errands that made all three of us cranky last Friday. Sorry kiddos, I'll take the blame for that one. I was trying to do too much, too quickly. So far this week we just have a lunch date on Friday.

    Time to sign off for now. I have given myself a new rule: no internet after 10pm. Time flies after Morgan and Parker go to bed and I need to make it a little more productive. Or go to bed. Happy new week!

    Friday, September 10, 2010

    promotion

    It's been a hell of a week here.
    A lot of unexpected events occurred.
    Good and bad.

    First, the good:
    I am adding a new job to my resume.
    Stay-At-Home Mom
    I've decided not to return to work so I can be with our sweet children.
    Life is too short and I'm not interested in going through all that regret again.
    Not right now.

    Instead, I will fill my days with smiles and giggles.
    Storytime at the library and walks to the park.
    Lunch dates with daddy.
    Learning and loving.
    I'm so excited!

    And personally,
    a lot more blogging, eventually,
    some scrapbooking,
    more organizing,
    and I think I heard someone peep that he'd have some big house projects finished by Christmas because we are hosting this year. Woah!

    Soon, the bad. I still need to come up with the words.

    Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    Parker: three months

    Goodness, didn't I just write his two month post?
    This is what Parker is up to:
    • even while swaddled, this little guy moves a lot at night. From one end of the crib to the other and even 180 degrees.
    • I attempted to put him to bed unswaddled one night, just to see if he really needed it. After only 15 minutes, that was a big fat negatory ghost rider. The swaddling continues but he loves to be unwrapped in the morning.
    • had his first round of vaccinations. He screamed bloody murder, but only until the shots were over. He was a little fussy and sleepy that day but otherwise he was completely fine - phew!
    • we heard his first laugh at his two month appointment. Dr. Parikh was checking his hips and he loved it! We haven't heard him laugh like that since though. Just a few short chuckles.
    • starting to use his hands - rubbing his eyes, gnawing on his fists and batting at toys over his head. His hands are still clinched in fists a lot of the time but in the last couple weeks I have noticed he is relaxing them a bit more. He's also getting pretty good at sucking his thumb. :)
    • sleeps 7-8 hours on average in a single stretch. I've been lucky enough to get 9-10 hours a handful of times.
    • eyes Morgan and her toys with lots of excitement and curiosity. He kicks his legs like he just cannot wait to move and play with her.
    • likes to roll onto his left side and is starting to try to roll from belly to back.
    • took a couple more trips to the beach: Bald Mountain Recreation Area and Island Lake State Recreation Area. Both times he slept most of the time on a blanket in the shade. He has made it so easy to do things outside the house this summer.
    • can pull things up to his mouth - clothes, his lovey, pacifier, burp cloth. He's still drooling like crazy too. I didn't think I'd be buying bibs for him this soon.
    • got his first haircut from daddy.
    • Parker's personality is starting to shine through. He is so happy and laid back. He is pretty chatty and squeals with delight during diaper changes. He really only makes a fuss if he needs a change of scenery or position. It's adorable to hear him "talk" to us if we aren't paying complete attention to him. As soon as you look at him and talk a little bit, he is all smiles. Like "hey, don't forget about me!"
    • likes to practice bearing weight on his legs.
    • can sleep just about anywhere but does not like to wake up somewhere different than where he fell asleep. He's fallen asleep in his bouncy chair while we eat dinner, under his activity mat with the lights and music still playing, outside in his swing while we were tearing out the landscaping in our backyard, and during tummy time. Occasionally he still falls asleep in my arms but overall I think he prefers taking motionless horizontal naps. So not like his sister at this age.
    • is going to need to start taking his baths in the kitchen sink. He is just too long for his infant tub.
    • weight guess: 15 pounds
    Thanks again for my super cozy sweater Sue! It's been perfect for the chilly mornings this past week. And look Gramm, I got my puppy back!

    Sunday, September 5, 2010

    organizing the kitchen

    It's no secret I love to organize. And rearrange. And purge and re-organize again. I've even been lucky enough to have gotten paid to help other people do it. So, when Mark got our new kitchen cabinets installed, I was beyond giddy (read: pacing behind him as he screwed each one to the wall) about cleaning them out and putting everything back in it's perfect place.

    If you couldn't tell in my previous post, I hated our old kitchen. There was very little workable countertop space, a "desk" that was so useless that it just became a catch-all for all kinds of crap and the appliances were really old (and gross). I could go on and on. Our kitchen isn't very big, so it was pretty easy to redesign a layout that would be a lot simpler to use.

    We got rid of the soffits, the desk, the wall oven, the lazy susan and the awful peninsula cabinets. We gained a larger pantry, taller wall cabinets, tons of drawers (which I prefer to regular kitchen base cabinets), a built-in trash cabinet and a lot more horizontal work space. Once we have the walls painted and the molding up I will post some more overall photos. For now, here is a peek inside how I organized the cabinets:

    Instead of a bunch of short or narrow wall cabinets, we now have two large wall cabinets to fill. I used the one closest to our kitchen table for all of our plates and bowls,And the one closest to the sink and refrigerator with all of our drinkware and pitchers.
    The wall cabinet between them is where I stored our liquor and my Rachael Ray magazines. Below is the microwave/hood and range.We also have a decent sized wall cabinet over the refrigerator. It isn't deep but it's pulled away from the wall so it's practically flush with the front of the fridge so we don't need a stepstool to get into it or search for things that might get lost in the back. Here we are storing our paper towel, cleaners and dishwashing detergent with room to spare.After removing the soffits, Mark found a vent stack that runs diagonally through the wall into the ceiling. This skinny little wall cabinet below wasn't a part of the original plan but with the help of some crown molding, it's going to help us hide the stack. The cabinet had a door on it but I think I want to keep it off - it has become the perfect home for my cookbooks, our vitamins and a small plant that gets sun from the skylight above.My favorite cabinets are these two large drawer bases which fit practically everything but our food. The first cabinet is between the pantry and the range and holds all of the tools we need while cooking. The top drawer stores our plastic storage bags, aluminum foil, wax paper and plastic wrap, as well as our measuring and cooking utensils. The middle drawer is really deep and fits all of our pots and lids. The bottom drawer is just as deep and holds all of our pans, casserole dishes and muffin tins. The cookie sheets are in the drawer underneath the range.The second drawer base is on the other side of the range near our kitchen table. The top drawer was a perfect spot for all of our silverware, knives and small kitchen gadgets.The middle drawer holds all of our plastic and glass storage containers, strainers and colanders and measuring cups. The bottom drawer stores our small appliances: the food processor, hot drink maker, crockpot, bottle warmer, hand mixer and Magic Bullet.The sink base is full of storage too. I stuffed it with our Dirt Devil, a large recycling bin, extra kitchen towels, washcloths, rags and sponges and a small stash of plastic grocery bags for trash needs to go out right away. The drawer fronts above tilt out and hold little things we want to keep off the countertop, like sponges and the drain stopper. To the right of the sink is a built in trash basket. I love that it is out of sight.The last base cabinet is one I need to work on still. Right now it is storing some larger items, like my KitchenAid mixer, our serving plates and bowls, cutting boards and the griddle. We've also got some little things on the top shelf that I need to find baskets for - bibs, grill utensils - and a watering can.Then, there is our packed pantry. It fits all of our food and then some. The top portion is full of cereal, snacks and cooking items, like spices, vinegars and oils. The top shelves are for things I don't get into that often - small flower pots, vases, candles and insulated coolers.The lower portion of the pantry has four roll trays which make it really easy to access the back of each shelf and hopefully not forget that we already have two boxes of spaghetti or to remember to finish up our bread before it goes stale. From top to bottom, we have all of our snack-y food,bread, buns, rolls, bagels, lunch goodies and extra spices and cooking stuff,pasta, rice, cans and jars,
    and all of my baking supplies.So far, so good.

    I'm sure I'll find a reason to rearrange it if something isn't working quite right. I already have. Mark and I are still opening doors and drawers thinking that the item we are looking for is there, but isn't. As far as I'm concerned, this is 1000% better than what we had a couple months ago.

    Wednesday, September 1, 2010

    now I know my ABC's

    Our friends Tim and Andrea got Morgan this VTech laptop for her first birthday and she loves playing with all the buttons. In just the last few weeks, she's gotten really good at one particular activity - recognizing her uppercase letters.

    *Sidenote: She's been wearing her bike helmet all morning. Mark bought it last night for her to wear when she rides in the Chariot bike trailer he got this week. Cute stuff!