Thursday, December 6, 2012

Whitney's first year

12 months
52 weeks
365 days
8760 hours
525,600 minutes
31,536,000 seconds

That's how long it has been since my sweet little Whitney came into this world and changed my life.
And I have cherished every single moment with her.  She is my little ray of sunshine.  I am pretty sure Whitney was born smiling, and hasn't stopped.  Each one of my days with her is filled with laughter, love and a pure innocence and curiosity you can't find anywhere but in a child so small.

Before Whitney was born I was so afraid I wouldn't love her well enough.  Brooklyn had been my only child for three years and my heart was already so filled with love that I didn't think I could possibly fit one more ounce of love in there.  But on December 6, 2011 at 5:27am I realized that your heart does not have a limit on how much love it can hold.  Seeing Whitney take her first breath, hearing her first cry confirmed what I had wondered to be true: a mother's heart is just big enough to hold love for all her children.

So before I totally lose it I want to share with you a years worth of photos of my little sunshine. 

Starting at 2 weeks old I put Whitney in the same 12 month sized onesie and snapped a photo documenting her first year.  Being around her everyday it's hard for me to see the big changes that slowly happen.  Like her itty-bitty body filling out, just to thin again a little when she started to crawl, her hair that was once very dark is now a light brown with blonde highlights, and how her chubby little face now looks more like that of a toddler than an infant.

Happy Birthday, Whitney Reese!

My wish for you on your very first birthday is that you always keep a smile on your face and a twinkle in your eye.

Love Always,

Friday, November 30, 2012

Day 30: perspective

As I've been doing this thankful challenge I've really forced myself to look for the positive in each day. Some days it was easy and other days I found myself really looking for the silver lining but, luckily, those days were few and far between.  We have so many blessings, and are thankful for each and every one of them.

Daily Calendar

Everyday when Brooklyn gets up it's almost guaranteed she'll ask me these two things:
1) Where is Daddy? 
2) What are we going to do today?

The first always makes me laugh, Brooklyn is a curious little girl and even though she knows the answer to where he is (working) she needs to be reassured and asks anyway.

The second question sometimes stumps me.  Some days she has school, other days we have errands, etc.  So I came up with a way to (hopefully) help in answering this question.

She has been in Preschool since this Fall and absolutely loves it!  She adores her teacher and all her friends.  At her Parent/Teacher conference a few weeks back her teacher told us how she was doing and pointed out a few areas that she needs to work on so I created this Daily Calendar Board to help get me on track with being more organized and I am hoping it will also help Brooklyn.

At times it's hard to get Brooklyn to concentrate or stay focused on any one thing so my goal with this is to present learning in a fun way so it will keep her on task better.

What you'll need:
-metal rings
-foam board
-push pins
-sticky back velcro squares (or something similar)

The board all done, the pink envelopes contain all the extra pieces that are not being used.

Calendar section

Today's weather section

Letter and number of the day section, the alphabets are on metal rings so they can easily be flipped to a different letter, or taken apart to play an Uppercase/Lowercase matching game.

Day of the week section.

You can add other sections, but this is just my version, for now.

I'll work on getting the files uploaded in PDF format so you all can download and print them off for your own calendar boards!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Day 29: becoming a mother

Dear Brooklyn,

Today is your fourth birthday.  I can remember the day you were born as clear as if it were yesterday.  By the time you had arrived at 7:49am your father and I had been up almost all night.  We had gotten to the hospital late the night before...  Fast-forward to the moment the Doctor first laid you in my arms and I could have sworn time stopped.  There was a room full of nurses but all I saw was you, you were screaming but it was the most blissful sound my ears had ever heard, it didn't matter that I was entirely exhausted because you were here, and well worth every excruciating second.

The last four years have been awesome.  At times trying, but all the while rewarding and now I see the sweet little girl you've become and know that all this hard work is paying off.  Thank you for teaching me to enjoy the little things, and for always giving me a reason to smile.  Believe it or not you have taught me more about myself in the last four years than I could have ever learned on my own.

You're sweet, gentle, caring, stubborn, strong-willed, funny, silly, and you always keep me on my toes.  And I wouldn't change you one bit.  I look forward to all the fun adventures life has in store for us, and to watch you grow into a beautiful young woman.  Just promise me you won't do it too quickly, deal?

I love you, Brooklyn, this whole time. <3

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day 28: daydreaming

We did it, we bought into the whole Powerball craze.  Shawn bought us a ticket earlier this afternoon and with it came all the 'what if's'.  It's so fun to dream, could you imagine?!  It would be insane.  Of course we'd do all the boring practical stuff like pay off all our bills, make sure the girls were set for college and set up trust funds for them so they'd be set for life.  Then if we had anything leftover *laughs* we would do lots of traveling, check off all the things on our bucket lists and then after we got back from all our adventures we'd find a beautiful spot to build our dream home.  Even though our chances of winning are like 1 in 175 million (or at this point, probably even slimmer) it's still fun to dream.  Plus, when we do really win *laughs again* we'll know exactly what we want to do with all that cash.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Day 27: holding my tongue

How does the saying go?  If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all?  I am thankful I remembered that today as I wanted to smack the lady at the post office.  She's not the usual woman I see when I go in, but I hope that I don't have to deal with her again in the near future.

Today I put together a package I wanted to ship (I've actually wanted to ship it for a month now... oy!) and took it to the post office after the girls and I had gone to the library.  I went in, chose the correct sized shipping box and then as I was packaging my items I went to the counter to ask the woman for some tape.  She said "you don't have any? I have some here, but you have to buy it." (ummm... oh yes, I forgot I had some, here it is in my back pocket.  No, I don't have any!  Why the hell would I have asked if I had some with me?!)

BUY IT?!  I'm already paying for the box and then shipping to send it across the country and you can't spare a measly two feet of tape?  It's probably a good thing the girls were with me because it really forced me to hold my tongue.  I don't do well with stupid and this woman just pushed the wrong button.  Here I am at the post office, trying to keep Brooklyn from ripping everything off the shelves and Whitney from crying because she is still strapped in her car seat, and you can't just tape the damn box shut?! If she had any sense she would have just done it to get rid of me... at this point I kind of wished Brooklyn would have tore down a rack of packaging supplies, just to spite her.

So, in the end I brought the box home.  Imagine me trying to carry an infant car seat and a box full of stuff- not pretty, but I'd be damned if I were going to give in to this idiot and purchase a roll of tape when I have some at home.

Oh my, I am thankful today I held my tongue... but next time this lady might not be so lucky.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Day 26: "snow!"

Let me first start off by saying that I am personally not thankful for snow.  It's cold, wet and up here in Vermont, lasts for way too long.  I am a warm weather girl, my perfect day would be sunny, 75ish, with a nice breeze.  Ah, a girl can dream right?

This morning I slept in, after yesterdays running around for Brooklyn's birthday party I think I deserved the extra two hours.  Around 8:00 I awoke to the sound of Brooklyn running into my room, before I even had my eyes open she screamed "IT'S SNOWING!  MOMMY, COME LOOK IT'S SNOWING!"  As I stumbled out of bed to see the ground covered in fresh white snow I was almost excited for it too.  I am so thankful for the excitement that such simple things elicit from my sweet little girl.  For me snow means driving on nasty roads, cold feet (and hands, and nose), having to wear extra layers to stay warm, wet floors from melted snow (and wet socks from stepping in said melted snow).  But to Brooklyn it means snow angels and snow men, snowball fights, sledding, hot chocolate, Jack Frost, twinkling Christmas lights and the magic of the season.

It's funny how as we grow older we take these things for granted, I am so thankful she was able to remind me just how exciting these things really are!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Day 25: birthday wishes

Today was a fabulous day!  Brooklyn's party was so much fun.  It was the first party where she had invited her friends so I got to plan some fun activities for the kiddos.  It was a baking party, Brooklyn really didn't give me much to go off of because everytime I asked her what kind of party she wanted she replied "one with cookies and a cake".  So I ran with it, I got the kids bakers hats, aprons that they decorated and then I premade some sugar cookie dough and they all rolled out cookies and while they were baking we frosted cupcakes.  I think I had as much fun as her and all her friends.

Anyway, it was cake time and she was thrilled to have everyone sing to her.  And after we finished I told her it was time to close her eyes, make a wish, then blow out her candles.  Here's how it went:

Me: "...Happy Birthday, to you!  Okay Brooklyn, now you have to close your eyes and make a wish then blow out your candles"

Brooklyn: (as serious as can be) closes her eyes, thinks for a second then very quietly says "I wish for a million dollars"

The room burst out in laughter!  That just about sums up my little girl, always a dreamer, and I hope someday she does get the million dollars she wishes for, or better yet a million moments of happiness.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Day 24: Closed doors

Brooklyn's fourth birthday party is tomorrow and I have been scrambling to get the house picked up and I did what I told myself I wouldn't do: throw stuff in rooms and close the doors.  I always say I'm not going to do this, that instead I will find a place for everything and put everything in its place.  Well, in the midst of having a killer migraine yesterday and getting nothing done I chose to opt for the out-of-sight, out-of-mind route.  And no one knew the better at the party!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Day 23: acetaminophen

Last night was a doozy.  Whitney must be teething because she got up again only this time she didn't go back to sleep.  Normally our champion sleeper, as soon as I laid Whitney down she'd scream, and not just the 'I'm fussy, give me a few minutes and I'll settle down and go to sleep' cry but the 'This mattress is made out of nails and shards of glass' painful screaming.  After many attempts at laying her down I finally caved and brought her to bed with me, and she fell asleep almost instantly.  Alas, that only lasted about three hours, but once I calmed her down for the second time I was able to get her to sleep in her crib so I got a few hours of actual sleep (no one ever really sleeps well with a child on their chest- when they move you wake up...).

Then when I got up I opened my eyes, sat up, and it felt like someone was playing a bass drum in my head.  Full blown migraine by 8:00 is not exactly how I wanted to start my day.  So after three rounds of acetaminophen and a two hour nap (the star aligned and both girls napped marvelously) I am finally starting to feel like myself.  Amen for acetaminophen!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Day 22: family

I am so thankful for our family's, and today we were able to visit with both my side and my husband's.  It was nice seeing everyone although getting the girls up and out of the house by 7:20am made for a bit of a challenge, oh and did I mention that last night Whitney decided she'd get up at midnight and scream for two hours?  Not so fun.  Why do you think this post is so short.  I'm a bit tired to say the least.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and were able to enjoy those you hold dearest.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 21: doing my own makeup

Brooklyn is definitely my little girly-girl.  She is always dressing up in tutu's, wearing tiaras, and as of late she has been very curious about makeup.  I gave her some blush I hadn't used in a while and within 5 minutes she had herself covered.  It was on her forehead, cheeks, chin, nose, neck, hands.  Basically any exposed part of her body had a thick layer of the pink stuff on it.

She has had lip gloss for a while now and has always liked it but now she really likes it.  Recently we have had to start rationing it out, she gets to use her blush and lip gloss for 10 minutes then it gets put away.  On a very high shelf.  

Here is a photograph of tonights work:

Although she gets an A for effort I can't say I'll be asking Brooklyn to do my makeup anytime soon...
can you blame me for being thankful that she didn't do my makeup for me this morning?

19 & 20

It's amazing how quickly I'm able to fall behind with this daily thankful thing.  It's not that I'm not thankful, more so that I am crazy busy but I really hope that I can finish out strong!  Because I am a few days out I'll condense this post for the past two days.

Day 19: Monday I was able to sit in our living room for the first time and not feel anxiety as to it not being done, and that is major!  It's been a really long two-and-a-half weeks so to get this project finished is huge.  We still have some touch-ups to do, and the walls are really bare so I'm working on ways to make it ours.  But all-in-all I am thankful for being so close to the end of the tunnel with this endeavor!

Day 20: Brooklyn's fourth birthday is next week, and her party is this weekend so on top of all the work we've been doing around the house I've been mentally planning her party.  And last night I got a chance to do a big chunk of shopping to prep for it all.  I am a planner through-and-through.  It's just not in me to throw something together last minute, and I am so detail oriented it's sick.  Shawn asked me when the 'fun' was going to begin.  Translation: "when are you going into planning mode so I know to steer clear of you while you're in the party prep zone."  I'm very type A, especially with events- all things must be a certain way, down to the tiniest (probably irrelevant) details.  But that's who I am, I'm 27 and have no plans of changing myself.  I've been called an over-achiever and that's fine, I take it as a compliment- I believe it's better to exceed expectations than to fall short.  One of my very favorite hair stylists is Robert Cromeans (the man is a genius with a pair of scissors) and there is a quote from him that pretty much sums it up :"never promise more than you can deliver, and always deliver more than you promise."  Amen.  Hello, my name is Sara and I am a type-A party planner, and you know what? I'm thankful for it!  And years from now when my girls look back on all their birthday parties and other events I can guarantee they'll be thankful too.  Really, who would say that they were upset someone really took the time to celebrate a major event in their life?  That's right, no one.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Day 18: weekday errands

The number of stores I went to today: 4.

The number of stores I went to that were completely mobbed: 4.

This is the exact reason I do my errands on weekdays.  I think as soon as the weekend hits and people start shopping they turn into idiots.  Sorry, they just do.  Everyone is cranky, in a rush, and running on a short fuse.  I can't blame them, there's nothing fun about going to a big box store on the weekend.

 I don't work outside the home so I have the option to do any shopping needed during the week but when I worked full time before kids I'd go shopping after work, even if it meant hitting the store at 6:00pm, so I wouldn't have to do it on the weekend.  When I think about what I want to do on the one day off my husband has each week I can't say that walking the aisles of a grocery store is in my top 10 list of things to do.  As a matter-of-fact it's not on the list at all.  Who wants to spend their 'family time' doing that?!  "Hey honey, lets pack the kids up and go deal with packed stores, long lines and moody shoppers.  And, if we're lucky, the girls will have a total meltdown in the middle of aisle 7!  Remember last week when they cleared that shelf of canned goods.  Now that's what I call quality time." No, thank you.

We had to do some shopping to finish up our living room project and even though it was just Shawn and I (the girls were at home with my Mother-in-law), I was still irritated!

On this Sunday, the day that I barely rested, I am thankful I can do all my errands on weekdays!

Day 17: date night

Tonight Shawn and I went out to dinner. By ourselves. Oh, how nice it was. He and I don't nearly take as much time for ourselves as we should but my Mother-in-law was here for the night so we took advantage of the opportunity to enjoy a few hours for just us. It was great not having to worry about getting Brooklyn to eat what we had ordered for her or to hurry up and keep the food flowing to Whitney. (For real, that kid can eat!) I love spending one-on-one time wth Shawn and am thankful for date nights, however few they may be.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Day 16: "nothing!"

As I've said before we are in the middle of painting our living room, and part of that painting includes the baseboard heaters.  They were painted a really dark teal (the color of the bottom half the room) so we decided to paint them white to go with out color and to be neutral for any future repainting.
When Brooklyn got up from her nap she asked if she could watch Dora and because I had a lot of the heater repainting to do I caved.  Yes, I used TV as a babysitter, roll your eyes all you want.  I'm not at all thrilled about it but it is what it is, and truth-be-told it was only one episode.
So, during said Dora episode she [Dora] was talking about what she wanted to be when she grew up, then she turned to ask Boots what he wanted to be and once he had answered Dora 'asked' Brooklyn what she wanted to be when she grew up.  As soon as the question was asked Brooklyn spoke right up and proudly declared "NOTHING!"  To which I turned around to see her grinning ear-to-ear.  Just then I had a vision of her, 30-years-old, sitting on the couch eating junk food and refusing to get a job.  Oh, goodness.  Being that she is (almost) four, and changes her mind as often as she changes her socks, I feel confident she won't end up being a free-loader.  Here's hoping she's a successful something-or-other.
For today I am thankful she changes her mind often, because I'm not sure my wallet (or my sanity) would be able to handle it if she doesn't!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day 15: birthday invitations

Brooklyn's 4th birthday is two weeks away and I have been trying for the last week to get her invitations made and sent out, and today I finally dropped them off at the post office! Amen!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Day 14: this article

I usually like to do my thankful posts at the end of the day because I like to have it be something I was thankful for that day, not just something in general.  But this morning I found THIS ARTICLE and I felt like it was written specifically for me and had to share it right away.

I am always very hard on myself, especially when it comes to parenting.  I am always trying to do the best by my girls and have very high expectations for myself.  Read: impossible-to-achieve expectations.

Shawn is good about keeping me grounded and reassuring me that I'm doing a great job, but of course I can pick out something I've done 'wrong'.  With so many super mom's out there that can seemingly do it all it's hard not to feel inadequate.  I know, I know, I shouldn't be comparing myself to another mother.  But, I do, it's impossible not to.

Today I am thankful for Sara's article because motherhood isn't about getting it all 'right'.  It's seeing my daughters smile when I walk into the room, the impromptu dance parties in our living room, the sloppy kisses I get from my eleven-month-old and all the 'I love you to the moon and back''s I get from my (almost) four-year-old.

So, repeat after me: "I am not a bad mother"

Day 13: flexible schedule

Granted Shawn works a lot in the Summer but in the Fall/Winter his schedule is much more flexible so today when he came home and surprised me by telling me he was taking the day off to paint was a huge shocker and a relief.  I have been so stressed out lately trying to get things done here while trying to entertain our girls, and make sure that no one is covered in paint by the end of the day.  He came home and right away began painting (which is now all DONE!) then started putting our baseboards back up, and he started the tedious job of painting our heater covers.  They are metal and for some reason the last time the room was painted they felt the need to paint the heaters to match.  Gross.  Anyway, I am so thankful that Shawn was able to help out because we wouldn't be nearly as far along as we are, and as an extra bonus we were in bed by 9:30.  (as opposed to 11:30/12:00).

Day 12: contractors paper

We are now in the priming/painting stage of the remodeling game and I had purchased some of those flimsy plastic sheets to cover our floors with. Mistake. Those things are crap, they rarely stay in place and I don't know how many times I slipped (with loaded paint roller in hand) and nearly fell.  After trashing them I went to my local home improvement store to find something better.  When I was in the paint aisle I saw what looked like a giant roll of wrapping paper (only it's just brown) and figured I'd give it a try.  When I got home I promptly rolled it out at the base of the wall and went to painting.  This stuff is genius!  I never realized how much time I spent moving and repositioning the plastic floor covering stuff when I was painting, contractors paper is a real time saver and it's really thick so no worries on it soaking through and getting on your floor.  And (best part) you won't slip on it!  Going up and down on the step ladder was already anxiety inducing as it was, not to mention worrying about misplacing your foot and going ass-over-tea-kettle.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Day 11: Veterans

Today, and every day, I am thankful for all the men and women who each day defend our country, some right here in the USA and others who wake up in a foreign country, thousands of miles away from their loved ones.  Why do they do this?  Because they are selfless, honorable, courageous individuals who put the lives of those they have never met before that of their own.

Thank you to all our Veterans, those that have served many years ago, those that are serving now, and those who will choose to serve tomorrow.

Day 10: open gym for Brooklyn, a (sort of) break for me

Another busy one in the books!
This morning was the first week of the Saturday Open Tot Gym our local Success By Six facilitates and I was literally counting down the seconds to 10:00am.  Brooklyn loves to go run around for a while, get all that energy out and see some of her friends.  They have slides, mats, balls, etc. anything a three-year-old could want!  I am thankful for this because she normally tires herself out enough where she'll take a decent nap, and because I can chat with the other mom's there.  Three cheers for a (most often uninterrupted) conversation with another adult!  There are downsides to all this activity though, like yesterday when Brooklyn took out some kid with a jump rope.  Literally. Clothes-lined him right off of the toy he was on.  For that I can't say I'm thankful, but you take what you can get, right?

Day 9: ice cream

Today was 'one of those days'.  Brooklyn's been going through a defiant phase so we're trying to find a good balance of her asserting herself while not being bossy and it hasn't been easy.  Coupled with the time change (that has wreaked havoc on this household), and our house being in total shambles because of the living room project it's been a stressful week.  And on top of that Shawn left to go hunting tonight so I had do to the bath time/bed time routine with the girls solo, which in normal circumstances wouldn't have phased me but that just so happens to be the worst part of the day for Brooklyn.  So tonight after the girls went to sleep I got myself a big bowl of chocolate ice cream, sat in front of the TV and zoned out for an hour (which was interrupted with four different trips upstairs to put Brooklyn back in her bed).  I should have been working on the priming that needed to be done, the taping that needed to be finished or at least some cleaning that is long overdue but my sanity needed a reboot, for all our sake.  When I get stressed or overwhelmed after a long day I always tend to reach for sweets.  And don't for one second judge me, when's the last time you had a rough day and went to the fridge and said 'oh man, do I need a carrot'.  Yeah, didn't think so.  Thanks, ice cream, you've balanced me out once again.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Day 8: email

I'm a list maker.  Each week before I go grocery shopping I go through that weeks flyer to check for the sales, match any coupons I have and then make a list.  Not just any list, mind you.  I created a template on my computer that is organized by each aisle in the grocery store so that when I go shopping I can easily go through the store (if I don't need anything down a certain aisle I pass right by without having to waste time and possibly grab something we don't need to spend money on.)  I'll admit, it is kind of genius.

And what, you ask, does this have to do with email?

Well, this morning I made my list, printed it out, then went about getting the girls ready like I do each morning.  I dropped Brooklyn off at preschool and headed to the grocery store, got inside and went to get my list and can you guess where it was?  That's right, still in the tray of the printer.  I had never grabbed it before I left.  Knowing how serious I am about my grocery list can you imagine my reaction?  I am one of those shoppers that sticks to my list and even though I had made it just a few hours earlier I went totally blank.  I immediately called Shawn and told him my situation and lucky for me he was able to run home and email it to me.

Today I am thankful I am so particular about making my grocery list and that I take a few extra minutes to do it on my computer, and because I was able to get my list via email today!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Day 7: no more campaigning

It's over!  The election has come and gone and whether it ended how you wanted I think we can all agree that it'll be nice to turn on the TV and not see one candidate bashing the other every two minutes. I'm so not into politics, it all just gives me a headache and I feel like it's all too much to follow.  So lets all give three cheers for no more politics clogging up our airwaves.  Now there will be plenty more time for all the Christmas commercials!  Yup, I went there.  I'm not ready for it yet either but I'd take 'One Day Sale' ads over the 'paid for by' ones any day!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day 6: picture retake day!

First of all let me start out by saying I am a total cheese-ball.  I carry my camera with me almost everywhere I go just so if anything exciting happens I won't miss the chance to document it, especially with my girls.  I took weekly photos during both my pregnancy's and once the girls were born I took monthly photos of them the first year and have hundreds of photographs of them otherwise.  I love taking pictures because someday when the girls have children of their own (which had better be at least a good 20+ years from now) they can look back and remember all the good times we had as a family, and when I'm long gone they can have a piece of their childhood forever.
Anyway, back to what I was getting to... a few weeks back Brooklyn's Preschool had school pictures taken which was also on the same day she was out sick.  I was devastated (kinda lame, I know) because this being her first year ever of school how could she be out sick that one fateful day when pictures were taken!  A memory lost!  A chance at documenting such a great time in Brooklyn's life had just slipped through my fingers!  I remember how excited I'd be when it was picture day, and because Brooklyn was out sick we never got to pick out the perfect picture taking outfit, and she never got a chance to wake up elated because it was such a special day.
But then last week she and I were going through all the fun stuff she did at school that day when I saw it, a half sheet of paper informing us that a picture retake day had been scheduled!  To say I wasn't absolutely thrilled was an understatement.  To a total sap like me this was like Christmas morning!
Here's to picture retake day!  Oh man, am I thankful for that!

Day 5: no bald spots

The reason I didn't get a chance to post last night was because after a few days of wallpaper removal and house remodeling I had to get back to getting other stuff done on my to do list and one of the very top things was giving my husband a haircut.  Being married to a hairdresser my husband can get a haircut in the comfort of our home (pro) but I usually end up making him wait so long that he's practically begging me to do it (con). And last night was no exception.  After the girls went to bed last night I got my clippers, scissors, cape, etc all out and started doing Shawn's hair like I have countless times when the clipper attachment fell off.  This is the first time in 9 years of doing hair that this has ever happened to me and the hair gods must have been watching over me because I realized it had happened literally centimeters from the hair right above Shawn's right ear.  Had I not stopped when I did he would most likely be sporting a very short fade or buzz cut (neither of which I really like).  So as far as yesterday goes I'm extremely glad that my husband has no bald spots!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Day 4: no more wallpaper!

Today is a momentous day in the Gingue household. Over the past two days my husband and I have peeled, and peeled, and you guessed it, peeled wallpaper from our living room and dining area. And it wasn't the thin easy to remove kind either, it was the thick embossed wallpaper that had been painted. twice.  We decided to take it down after our sweet Brooklyn took it upon herself to start peeling little bits off here-and-there (even she knew it was ugly).  It was time for an update anyway, the paint on the wallpaper was chipping and the colors were dark and not our style.

Anyway, we finally finished taking it down!  Eight trash bags full of wallpaper later... we will never, ever have to see it again.  Although instead of just throwing it away I feel like a wallpaper bonfire would have been a better way to dispose of it. Break out the marshmallows and torch that crap!

So right now I am incredibly thankful we have completed this part of our project, we're nowhere near done yet but we're getting there.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Day 3: days off

I don't work outside the home so technically I don't get days off but my husband is a hard-working dairy farmer which means he works. A lot. On any given day he works 10-12 hours, and that's when it's not crop season... that's a whole other ball game. So when he has a day off we really try and  do stuff together as a family. I am so blessed to be able to stay home to raise our girls but at times it can get kind of lonely, instead of working 9-5 with weekends off Shawn typically works from 5:30/6:00am - 5:30/6:00pm during the week then gets a day-and-a-half off on the weekend. Oh, and did I mention we live a three second walk to the barn? I can't count how many 'days off' have turned into 'I just have to run to the barn, I'll be right back...'

When some people hear that I am the wife of a dairy farmer and that he works what seems like a gazillion hours their immediate response is always "That's really too bad he works so much, how do you handle it with your kids?" or "I don't know how you can do it, if my husband were gone so much I'd be lost".

Here's my answer: I just do it. I'm independent and self-sufficient so it's not like I'm here all damsel-in-distress-like sitting by the door waiting for Shawn to come home.  The girls and I get out, we do stuff.  I love taking the girls to story hour at our library, and to other playgroups, the playground, etc. These four walls can get pretty small, pretty fast.

There are some days I'm not sure how I get it all done, but most of the time I am so busy the days goes by fairly quick. And then it's the weekend and when I wake up I look over and see Shawn still in bed! We get up together most mornings but he's usually in a hurry to get out the door for work and I'm already making a mental to-do list so it's mostly a groggy 'good morning' and a kiss as he goes out the door.  So when he does get time off I love it!

Even though he works like a dog and can be gone long hours I wouldn't trade this lifestyle for anything and that's why today I am thankful for his days off.

What are you thankful for??

Oh, and tonight we turn our clocks back so I'm extra thankful for the extra hour of sleep we get, it's like I'm going to bed at 9:00 instead of 10:00.  Boo-ya!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Day 2 : cappuccino delivery

Every day around 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon it seems as though my energy level goes from good to completely depleted.  And every now and then I'll get a text from Shawn asking if I'd like a cappuccino from the store.  Um, YES!  

Here's a look at how my day goes:
*5:00-5:30: wake up, nurse and change Whitney, lay her back down.
*6:00: shower and get ready for the day
*7:00-7:30: Brooklyn wakes up, help her get dressed, comb her hair (it's always going every which way, does this kid sleep on her head?), brush her teeth, fix her breakfast and if I'm lucky I get to sneak a bowl of cereal or some toast in.
*8:00-8:30: Whitney wakes up, change her, nurse her, feed her breakfast.
*Mondays and Wednesdays: these mornings are technically 'free' although they never seem to stay that way.  It's these days that I schedule Dr's appointments, hair appointments, dentist appointments, etc.  But when we don't have anything planned we spend it coloring, painting, playdough-ing, reading, etc.  Pretty much anything fun and creative.
*Tuesdays @ 9:30: I volunteer with story hour at the local library and need to be here for setup.  So that means I need to have myself and the girls ready to leave by 9:00.
*Thursdays and Fridays @ 8:30: Brooklyn needs to be dropped off at Preschool.  And although I try to keep these mornings open to soak up some of the quietness that comes with only having one child in the house I usually end up going grocery shopping, and running errands. 
*Thursdays and Fridays @ 11:30: Brooklyn needs to be picked up from Preschool.  If I luck out Shawn will stop in to either come with me to lend an extra set of hands or stay with Whitney so I can run and down to pick Brooklyn up.
*10:30ish: snack time
*12:00-12:30: lunch time, and if I can get both girls to eat lunch and be done by the same time that's an extra bonus.
*1:00-1:30: nap time.  Make sure Brooklyn goes potty, change Whitney, nurse her and pray they both go right to sleep. (phew, I can finally take a breather and relax for a bit).  And if I'm lucky both girls will sleep anywhere between one-and-a-half to two hours.  I'm not going to lie and say that this time is completely dedicated to cleaning, cooking and 'homemaking'. A lot of times I fix myself something for lunch and see what's on our DVR, and if I'm lucky I might catch a little shut-eye.  I almost forgot, I can actually pee in peace when the girls nap.  If you're a not a mom you probably think I'm crazy but you when you are a parent you have no privacy. It always seems that Whitney cries, Brooklyn wants a drink, or both, as soon as I head to the bathroom.
*2:30-3:00: the girls are up!
*3:00-3:30: snack time
*4:00: hit. a. wall.  It's that time of the day when it's mostly over but dinner still needs to be cooked, the dishes from the day need to be washed, and the laundry I put off folding to take a power nap needs to be folded and put away, as well as reloading the washing machine (and it almost always seems to be the girls that have the most laundry, how can 2 mini humans create so many dirty clothes?!)

And I didn't put on here diaper changes, potty breaks, water bottle refills, requests to change clothes (seriously, Brooklyn would go through her entire wardrobe in one day if I let her), loading the dishwasher, switching over laundry, trying to keep the house in order (making it look better would be nice but just maintaining a certain level of cleanliness is a good day).

With that being said can you see why when my husband texts me in the afternoon and asks if I'd like a cappuccino I practically jump for joy??  It's not everyday but when he shows up at the door, cappuccino in hand I know I can make it.  It's like having a little light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel in a cup, and for that I am beyond thankful!

What are you thankful for today?


ladybug wings

I know, it's November and Halloween is over but this is a tutorial that can be used any time of the year... what child doesn't want a pair of (fairy, ladybug, bumble bee...) wings?

This year with two kiddos to dress up I knew that I had to plan everything out, and make sure that I gave myself plenty of time to get their costumes together.  Our oldest at first wanted to be macaroni and cheese, but then later decided she wanted to be Princess Belle.  More like when we went to the store for a few things she saw the costume and did a 180 and decided she had to be Belle.  And in that same trip I found a red onesie with black polka dots in my youngest daughters size and instantly knew we'd be having a little ladybug for Halloween.  And the best part was that her costume wasn't going to cost me a fortune, total it only cost me about 15.00!

Here's how I made the wings...
You'll need : 
-2 5" embroidery hoops, just the inside ring.  You can go bigger or smaller depending on the size of your child.
-a pair of black dress socks
-needle & thread

the inside ring of a 5" embroidery hoop

black dress socks, the stretchy tight-like socks work the best because they have the best stretch.

Start off by putting the inside of the embroidery hoop in the sock and making sure it's all the way to the toe end of the sock.  

Like this:

Tie the two socks together using a knot.

With the ends of the socks that were left I put them back over the embroidery hoop, making it two layers.

Now, take the two top ends of the socks that meet in the middle and sew them together.  Doesn't have to be anything pretty (mine wasn't...).  It just needs to stay together.

Using black ribbon, cover where you just sewed and either tie or make a bow.

I liked this look best.

Using the elastic measure around your childs arms, cut and sew the ends together.  It'll look like a big elastic circle when you're done.

Now, sew the elastic under the ribbon so you're left with two loops for your childs arms to go in.

Whitney modeling her new ladybug wings

Here's a shot of the back.

Surprisingly she didn't even bother with them, she just went about playing.

Brooklyn a.k.a. Princess Belle and Whitney a.k.a. Ladybug all dressed up!

How cute are they?!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Day 1 : Life

Happy November!  The first thing I think of in November is Thanksgiving, which in turn makes me think of things I am thankful for.  And the number one thing I am thankful for is life.  Something so many take for granted, something that is so short.  I am grateful for the last 27 years and hope that I am able to enjoy many, many more.  For each day of this month I will be posting about what I am thankful for and I hope that you all do the same.  Here's to life, and living it to its fullest.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Nectarine & Apple Crisp

Fall is such a beautiful time here in the Northeastern part of the United States and apple picking goes hand-in-hand with this season.  We have a lot of Orchards that offer pick-your-own and we've made it a family tradition to go each year.  And with apple picking comes lots of opportunities to bake!  I love apple muffins, apple crisp, apple pie, apple turnovers, apple sauce... I think you get the picture.

Anyway, when I was making apple crisp one night I had a few nectarines that I threw in and it was fabulous!

I've made apple crisp before and have come up with my own version of the topping and find it to be just right for my taste, you can tweak it to be sweeter, not as sweet, etc.

On fruit:
-4 Tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

-3/4 cup oats
-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
-3/4 cup brown sugar
-1/4 cup all purpose flour
-1/4 cup room temperature butter

Peel and slice nectarines and apples and place in a 2 quart baking dish, sprinkle with white sugar and cinnamon.  Stir until well combined.

In another dish mix oats, cinnamon, brown sugar, flour and butter until crumbly.
Spread evenly onto fruit.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes or until golden brown on top and fruit is soft.

Let cool for a few minutes (I like it when it's still warm but tastes good cold too) and enjoy!

Yum!  It was great, and the addition of the nectarines was a sweet surprise.

The next morning... waffles and fruit crisp!  It's kind of a ridiculously perfect combination.


Let me start off this post by saying that I am a laid back person, and that it takes a lot for me to really get upset over something.  But when it comes to my children I am your typical mama bear... with that said, let my rant begin.

This morning Brooklyn had an appointment with her Pediatrician, and we happened to arrive a few minutes early (must have been a full moon or something...).  So Brooklyn began playing with the toys in the waiting room as I held Whitney when I noticed another mother with her young son come in.  No biggie, it is a Pediatrician's office after all.  

Then, it happened.  

Brooklyn had been playing with her doll in a plastic shopping cart, she left it to play with something else but upon seeing the little boy that just arrived was interested she immediately returned to claim said shopping cart.  As I was speaking to her about how it is polite to share and that it would be nice if she let the little boy have a turn the boy's mother came over and scooped him up.  She proceeded to walk him to the other end of the room, but not before uttering "come on, we'll go play with the toys over here, obviously that little girl does not know how to share".  Of course she refused to make eye contact as she walk past me, and all I could think was is this really happening?  You would have thought Brooklyn went over and kicked the boy out of the way in order to get to the toy.  OMGoodness.

Shocked *picks jaw up off floor* I said "really? she's four-years-old, give me a break".
Her reply: "yeah... really"
Still trying to figure out why exactly she felt the need to try and make my daughter feel bad I said "wow, you've got a lot of class", laughed and walked away.  Luckily the nurse had just called us in to the Dr's office so we didn't have to sit in the waiting room with the passive-aggressive you-know-what because I was beyond disgusted. 

How can you honestly believe that is any way to solve a situation between a four-year-old and approximately 16-18 month old? (which I'm sure doesn't share 100% of the time either...).  As adults is there no way we could have solved this differently?  Well, I can say I'm an adult- this other person who thought it was necessary to talk down to a four-year-old, I've got a few choice words to call her (and 'adult' is far from top of the list) but I'll keep it clean.

If you're so annoyed that my daughter took a toy away from your son that you feel it's necessary to go to the other end of the room why not say "here, so-and-so, lets go check out these blocks".  Why do people feel the need to be so snarky and belittling? 

I strive to teach Brooklyn to be fair, share, play well with others and of course I want her to be a strong independent woman.  How do I do this? Simple. I let her resolve her own (minor) issues and problem solve on her own (when appropriate and with my supervision).  Of course if she were being physical with this little boy I would have by all means stepped in, there is no reason for violence in any situation.  

How will she ever learn to share if I just rip things away from her to give to someone else to play with?  
How will she learn to communicate well if being snippy is the way I talk with her?
How will she become independent if I do everything for her?
How will she ever respect anyone if all I treat her with is disrespect?

And believe me, I am so not the poster woman for being a perfect Mother.  I've made plenty of mistakes, and will continue to do so because parenting is a constant cycle of trial-and-error and every now-and-again if I'm lucky I'll get a thing or two right. So I really try not to judge other parents because I'm not walking in their shoes.  Each of us are fighting our own battles and going through our own hardships so instead of breaking each other down, why not build each other up?

Moral of the story: Treat each other how you would like to be treated... is it really so hard to do, and to teach our children to do?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

layered spray painted {beer} bottle

Here's another fun way to dress up some empty bottles...

What you'll need :
-Empty bottle (beer, wine... whatever you've got)
-Spray paint, I used three colors but two would work
-scrap paper
-border paper punch

1) In a well ventilated area spray the bottle your base color.  Let dry, it was a sunny day so this didn't take long. Depending on weather conditions it could take anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour.  Just make sure it's dry before moving on to the next step.

(I moved it into the sun to speed up the drying process)

I liked the sage but wanted a little more bling so I added a layer of a shimmery spray paint.

I didn't want to totally cover the green, so I just misted it with a gold satin based spray paint.

2) While your bottle is drying grab some scrap paper and use a border punch on the top and bottom edges. Be sure the paper is long enough to go around the bottle.

3) Cut the paper to size, tape onto the bottle.  Be sure not to cover any of the hole punches with the tape.

Juuust barely made it...

4) Now with your last color spray the entire bottle.
Be careful when spraying near the paper, I sprayed a little at a time so it didn't run.  I'd rather go back and spray a little more if I had to as opposed to putting on too much and ruining the design.

5) Once the bottle is dry carefully remove the paper.

Pretty cool, huh?  You can use this as a vase, decoration for a mantle, etc.

This would be great in orange and black (Halloween) or red and green (Christmas)... the possibilities are endless! Have fun with it.

Friday, September 7, 2012

wine {bottles} and glitter

This is a really simple way to decorate some of those old wine bottles sitting around... or {better yet} give you an excuse to enjoy some of your favorite pinot so you can get your craft on.  Although if you end up drinking the entire bottle in one sitting I'd say wait a day or two, some hand-eye coordination is needed for this.

What you'll need :
-empty wine bottles (labels removed)
-regular white glue
-glitter, the finer the better.

Remove the labels from the bottles.  I was lucky and had very little trouble getting the labels to peel off, but I did have a few stubborn ones so here's what I did.  I filled the kitchen sink with hot water, added about a half cup baby oil and some dish soap, let the bottles sit for 20-30 minutes and the labels came off really easily.  If there was any residue left from the adhesive I found a scrub sponge worked well to remove that.  A good tip is to fill the wine bottles with water so they don't just float on the surface.  This works really well with beer bottles too.

Dump the glue into a liquid measuring cup, or a small bowl with a spout.  Mix in the glitter until it's well incorporated.  Carefully pour the glue back into the glue bottle.  The finer the glitter the better, it will come out of the spout on the glue bottle easier, the larger glitter will clog it up.
While turning the wine bottle with one hand, slowly 'glue' around the neck of the bottle.  The more you glue the more will run down, just don't totally load it on - you want it to go down about halfway when wet.  Let them dry overnight.
In between each drip I put a little dot of glue that ran down to add a little more shimmer to it.  I loved how they turned out, and it was super simple!

All done!

This technique can be done on any size/shape wine bottle.  We have a hydrangea plant behind our house so we filled each of the wine bottles with some water and added the flowers to complete the look!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

pallet sign

I've been dying to do something with an old pallet, and when my husband found this beauty in his shop I knew it had to be made into something spectacular!

I grabbed some paints, brushes and got to work...
ps. the baby snack container is holding water so I could switch out the paint colors as needed

All finished! We used this for our Corn Roast so everyone knew where to park and where to find the grub... worked like a charm!