Friday, December 30, 2011

The Stomach Virus That Stole Christmas

This Christmas had a few bumps in the road for us.  It was a difficult time for us since it was our first Christmas without Allen's Dad, Scottie.  Holidays are never quite the same once you lose someone who means so much.  But we were determined to make it a happy time and to count our blessings. 

Unfortunately, we were struck with a nasty stomach virus the week before Christmas.  It hit Garrett first, then Sydney, then me and then poor Allen on Christmas morning.  So it made it very hard to do all our traditions.  We managed to squeeze in sugar cookies and looking at Christmas lights in between someone being sick.  I'm not gonna lie, I had a full blown pitty party at 5:30 am Christmas morning when it was obvious the stomach bug had hit Allen.  I let it all out and then pulled myself together before the kids woke up. 

Allen somehow managed to open presents with us and then went back to bed, not to be seen again until the next day.  In spite of what I'm calling "Funkmaster 3000" {stomach virus}, the kids had a great Christmas morning.  They woke at 6:00 am ready to go and we were finished opening presents before the sun came up.  I will never complain about our kids being early risers though, because they go to bed early and sleep through the night!

We decided to take the plunge into the video game world and got the kids a Wii.  Sydney was beyond excited and Garrett had no idea what it was!  I was reluctant, but I must say, the Wii is a blast!  And we play it as a family so it's kinda the new game night.  I figure, as long as the kids still play the old fashioned way, what's wrong with a little Wii in our lives.

I bought the kids their favorite junk food breakfast for Christmas morning. 

We went to my Aunt's house the day after Christmas and look who showed up!

Santa made a special visit and brought all the kids a present.  This was too cool!

When did Sydney start looking so grown up??? And when did I, for that matter?!?!

With every bump in the road, I eventually learn, more and more, to appreciate what I have been blessed with.  Loving parents, loving in-laws, a husband who shares the same path as me, and my sweet babies.   

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Scott Avett ~ "The New Love Song"

I love the simplicity of Scott Avett's Crackerfarm videos.   His music is always just perfect and lovely.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Grouplove ~ "Tongue Tied"

This song is just fun!  

I like this stripped down version just as well.  They look so happy singing this song.  This is exactly how music should make you feel!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros ~ "Fiya Wata" {River of Love}

Momma's Boy

This lil guy is changing so fast lately.  He seems to have gotten taller overnight.  The little boy who has always tried to keep up with his sister is rapidly catching up to her in size & speed.  I'm afraid he is no longer a baby. :(  The good news is that the terrible twos {& threes} seem to be mostly a thing of the past.  Whew.  Those were some tough times.  He went from the happiest baby on earth to the most stubborn two year old on earth, seemingly overnight. 

And just like that, he has now moved on to silly prankster.  He cracks me up daily with his ornery antics.  When he doesn't know I'm looking, and I catch him hiding something from his sister.  He can't keep a straight face and neither can I while watching him.  He loves to hide from me and giggles the whole time I "look" for him. 

He has the funniest vocabulary, saying things like "that sure sounds like a good idea to me".  Or saying the prayer at dinner, "thank you for this lovely dinner".  Where does he come up with this stuff?

I may start making him wear a helmet.  He seems to bump his head, fall down or run into a wall daily.  He recently hit his head and had to get staples.  According to my mother in law, he gets this from his Daddy & this probably won't be our last visit to the after hours emergency clinic.  He did think the bright green bandage looked cool.  Here's a picture of Rambo.

And here he's making it clear that the photo shoot is over.

I'm afraid he's going to have a potty mouth when he grows up.  When I force him to do something dreadful {like wash his hands}, he storms off mumbling a three year olds version of curse words.  His favorite dirty word is stinky buttercups.  Say it in a ticked off three year old boy voice & you have a glimpse into my world.  I may just start yelling stinky buttercups at people who irritate me.

His favorite thing to do at home {since it's too cold to go outside & play in the dirt now} is sit in his room and play cars.  We used to play friendly, happy cars but these days the cars are always attacking each other.  Raising a little boy is a learning process. My toys never beat each other up as a kid, so I'm new to this.  He loves to pretend he's a robot monster attacking the cars.  Then I pretend to be a robot Mommy, attacking him with kisses.  He giggles, then says "okay, that's enough".  :)

Being a mom to a little boy is such a blessing.  He teaches me to think outside the box and say the alphabet in a monster voice to hold his interest.  He forces me to be thick skinned and not panic at every bump and bruise.  And Garrett is my little reminder not to take life too seriously and have some fun.

Friday, December 16, 2011

I Swear By These Methods

We try to take a natural approach to wellness in our house.  This means trying to avoid the doctor and medications, if possible.  Allen and I have been using these techniques for a while now and we are definitely believers in natural remedies.  However, you can't exactly get a kid to drink apple cider vinegar or use a neti pot, so when it comes to the kids, we preach hand washing, an organic healthy diet and plenty of sleep.  {our kids get 9-10 hours of sleep every night}  Getting sick is a part of life, but here's how we try our best to stay healthy, naturally.

Apple Cider Vinegar
This has been my medicine for a year now.  And for a year now I have not been to the doctor. {except for that pesky flu last January} and have not taken any medicine, other than Tylenol. 

I mix 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar with 8 oz cold water.  It has a unique {nice way of saying disgusting} taste to it.  Allen is a chugger, I am a slow sipper.  After every chug or every sip, we both make the same sour face.  BUT, it works! 

I try to drink it a few times a week to maintain good health.  It is said that apple cider vinegar helps with allergies, sinus infections, acne, flu, blood pressure, cholesterol, gout, fatigue and weight loss.  I can definitely vouch for it curing my sinus and allergy issues.  When I start to feel sick, I drink it 2 to 3 times a day and it does the trick.

Gargle Salt Water
I remember watching my Grandma gargle salt water at night.  I recently read that in addition to relieving a sore throat, it also prevents bacteria from growing.  So now I use it as a daily preventative. 

I'm a huge believer in humidifiers.  I pretty much use mine year round.  But it's definitely a good idea to use one when you have cold or sinus issues.  Using a humidifier every night also keeps my skin from getting dry and irritated.

Neti Pot
Ah, the neti pot.  It will probably freak you out the first time you use one.  But once you get the hang of it, it is a lifesaver.  I have definitely dodged sinus infections by using my neti pot at the first sign of an issue.  It provides instant relief. 

{Note: I wrote this post earlier in the day and since then, this article was released.  Whoa!  That's a little scary, although I'm sure it's rare.  Just to be safe, I may start using distilled or boiled water.}

{I am not a doctor.  Just a girl sharing what works for me.}

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Happy Holidays

Yesterday I dressed the kids up in their Christmas outfits, grabbed props from the house and forced them out into the cold.  All in the name of getting a good Christmas picture.  I think it turned out pretty darn cute.  Although, trying to do it really fast and moving the kids to four different locations in the yard before they started complaining about how cold it was {sorry kids}, I now realize I didn't loop the Merry Christmas sign over the 3rd rung on the sled.  This is driving me crazy, but I'll just have to get over it.  I'm not putting us through that again.  I also waited too late in the day and there wasn't enough sunlight.

Here are some of the other pictures that turned out cute.

Sydney is so photogenic & waits patiently for her little brother to look at the camera and smile.  I may have to frame this one because it makes me laugh.

I'm trying very hard to keep this holiday season simple, fun and easy.  I will have my shopping finished tomorrow.  And hopefully will have all the presents wrapped and under the tree this weekend.  I want the next few weeks to be filled with meaningful family time.  Time spent watching our favorite Christmas movies over and over. {The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, A Christmas Story & Christmas Vacation}.  Lots of outings looking at Christmas lights and listening to Christmas songs. Our tradition of making a gingerbread house and sugar cookies.  Doing Christmas crafts with the kids and drinking lots of hot chocolate. {my diet starts in January}  And of course, remembering and teaching our kids what this holiday is truly about. 

In my efforts to keep things simple, I've decided not to send out Christmas cards this year.  It is time consuming and can be costly.  All for something people throw away at the end of December.  So let this blog post be my virtual Christmas card to everyone. 


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I Am Thankful

I'm thankful I get to spend my days with this guy.  Even the challenging & exhausting days.

I'm thankful playing in the leaves makes her this happy.

I'm thankful playing in the dirt makes him this happy. 

I'm thankful for our home and that we have space to play, grow a garden and have a bon fire.

I'm thankful I'm married to a good man who is a good father to our kids.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I made broccoli cheddar soup using this recipe I found on Pinterest.  It's probably safe to say I'm addicted to Pinterest.  As if I  needed another internet time sucker.  So far, every recipe I've tried on Pinterest has been good.  This soup was delicious and is definitely going in the rotation for dinner.

In my usual fashion, I did not follow the recipe exactly, but I stayed pretty close.  I used frozen broccoli instead of fresh and it worked just fine.  I just ran it under water to thaw and drained the water out of it. I left out the onions because Allen isn't a big fan.  I doubled the milk and omitted the half and half.  Also, I used all Colby cheese. And I didn't use cardamom because, frankly, I have no earthly idea what it is.   So with all those changes, it turned out great! 

Broccoli Cheddar Soup {my version of the recipe}
1/4 c butter
1 clove garlic
1/4 c flour
2 c milk
2 c chicken stock
1/2 lb frozen broccoli that has been thawed & drained
1 c shredded carrot
1/4 tsp nutmeg
12 oz grated Colby jack cheese
Salt & pepper to taste

Saute garlic in the butter over medium heat.  Add in the flour, stirring constantly.  Add in the milk and chicken stock.  Bring to almost a boil.  Add broccoli and carrots.  Simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes. Season the soup with salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Stir in cheese and let simmer 10 minutes longer before serving.

We ate ours with baked potatoes.  I'm craving this dinner as I type.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Decade

Allen & I recently celebrated our 10 year anniversary. 

We met by the lockers in the 8th grade and became instant friends.  Even as a kid, there was something about Allen that made me feel safe & trusting around him.  We used to drive around and listen to music with the windows down.  I would play him Led Zeppelin and he would play me Beastie Boys. 

Fast forward to the college days, when I started realizing maybe there was more there than friendship here.  I'm a girl who speaks my mind and our relationship began with me calling him in the middle of the night telling him I was in love with him and I thought we should go on a real date.  He thought it sounded like a good idea and was probably a little shocked and confused.  I've probably shocked him a million times more with my brutal honesty. {not always a good thing}

And so we had our first real date in June of 1997.  It was the most nervous I had ever been to go on a date. We had been spending time together for years, but suddenly I was nervous to sit across a table from him.  Isn't that funny?

Fast forward a few years later to December 29th, 2000.  He got on one knee in the snow and asked me to marry him.  Of course, I said yes!  I called my parents to tell them and my Dad's response: "was he drunk?"  That is so my Dad's humor!  My parents LOVED Allen and were thrilled.

And so, we got married on October 20, 2001 and the rest is history.  Three houses and two kids later, here we are.  We've had a lot of fun times and a lot of hard times. We've felt poor and wealthy and everything in between. We've had fun nights with our best friends, camping trips at Blue River and we've gone to a lot of concerts. We've spent late nights dreaming up business ideas to try together, but in the morning we always decide it's too risky.  One day I hope we don't talk ourselves out of a fun new idea to try.

After ten years of marriage, we seem to be more in sync than ever.  We like our simple, semi old fashioned lifestyle.  We like that we have learned to live simply after years of wasteful spending.  We love the same quirky music.  And we still like to drive around listening to music together. 

This is our song.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

She & Him ~ "You Really Got A Hold On Me"

Musicians I love now singing songs I grew up listening to.  Awe, makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Backyard Camping

We planned on taking the kids on their first real camping trip this Fall, but work & weather have gotten in the way.  So we decided to camp in our back yard in the meantime. 

We cooked our dinner outside on the fire and roasted marshmallows for smores.

I bought junk food that I usually don't allow so they loved that.  Hey, at least the hot dogs were nitrate free.  They got a nice chemical high from the Cheetos & Oreos & were wired for the night. 

We listened to music, told stories & looked at the stars.  And then we were grateful that we lived in an area just country enough to do this in our back yard!  It wasn't true camping, however, because when we got tired we went in the house & slept in our warm, comfy beds. 

It was so much fun that we decided to start doing it quite often.  Talk about an easy, low key getaway!  If you turn your back to our house, all you see are woods & you'd never know you weren't camping at Blue River!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mental Health Time Out

I needed to take a break and unwind for a second.  This song did the trick.

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros ~ "Up From Below"

This week has been overwhelming.  Sick kids and getting things ready for a baby shower I'm hosting tomorrow.  Then there was a slight fire scare this morning.  I came home to the smoke alarm going off and the smell of smoke outside.  Long story short, there was no fire in the house and Garrett got to sit in the fire truck.  Yay for nice firemen!

I'm secretly pretending to be sitting in the tropics listening to the band play without a care in the world.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pretty Food {Black Bean & Cheese Nachos}

This is one of my favorite lunches at home.  Simple & delicious!  Cover tortilla chips with black beans, pepper jack cheese & colby cheese, then heat in the microwave.  Top with chopped tomato, red onion & cilantro.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Trick or Treat

This Fall has been jam packed full of fun.  We visited our usual pumpkin patch and picked out the biggest pumpkin there.  Then came home and Allen got busy working his magic.  He takes projects like this very seriously.

The kids picked out two little pumpkins to paint.

We also made sugar cookies because it's just too fun to only do at Christmas time!

Again, Allen took the decorating very seriously & worked in his Oklahoma logo.  He even carved the state into the back side of our pumpkin this year.

Sydney wanted to be a pink cowgirl for Halloween.  I'd say she's the prettiest pink cowgirl I've ever seen!

And Garrett went with spider man.  Words cannot describe how cute his tush looks in this outfit.  He is showing off his muscles here.

Last year he boycotted costumes and refused to dress up.  So I was thrilled when Halloween came & he actually wore it!

It's tradition in our family that my Mama Bertha makes all the Grand kids & Great Grand kids a caramel apple. So she is always our first stop on trick or treat night. 

He ate all the caramel off and left the apple.  Go figure.

After visiting the Grandmas and trick or treating, we came home to check out our loot.  Awesome!

Then we tucked the kids in & went to sleep.  Only to be woke up at midnight by Garrett projectile vomiting.  We thought it must have been candy overload.  But just about the time I got his room cleaned up {it was as bad as you could possibly imagine}, Sydney started.  And so began a cycle of both kids taking turns throwing up for about the next twelve hours.  Nice.  We got zero sleep.  By the 5 am puke I wanted to cry because I was so tired.  Every bed linen in this house was covered in puke & the piles of dirty sheets were taking over the laundry room.  But now, 24 hours later, everyone is doing fine.  And I'm still washing bedding.  Happy Halloween!