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Monday, October 31, 2011

I made it through the day.....almost

I'm so proud of myself. I made it all day yesterday and most of today without totally breaking down and bawling my eyes out. It was a great day; we played, we hung out, and we went out to dinner (where C was cracking us all up by dancing along to "Love Shack" by the B52's). Then I got C ready for bed and we snuggled up to read two of my favorite bed time books - "On the Night You Were Born" and "Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You," both by Nancy Tillman. We read them and then he let me rock him to sleep like he used to as a tiny baby. And I promptly lost it. 

How can I possibly be this lucky? My heart was bursting with love and pride for this beautiful little boy I have. I will never understand how parents can tire of their children. Yes, there are hard days, but you know the kind of parents I'm talking about. The ones who wander around the store or sit in a restaurant seemingly tolerating their children. I hope to always show love in every moment, I hope to always play even when I'm tired, I hope to always see the best in C, even on those hard days. I can't help but thank him for all that he's taught me about myself in the past year and for what he will teach me in years to come. He doesn't understand now, but hopefully someday he will. 

Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You

I wanted you more than you’ll ever know,
So I sent love to follow wherever you go.
It’s high as you wish it. It’s quick as an elf.
You’ll never outgrow it…it stretches itself!

So climb any mountain…climb up to the sky!
My love will find you. My love can fly!
Make a big splash! Go out on a limb!
My love will find you. My love can swim!

It never gets lost, never fades, never ends,
If you’re working or playing or sitting with friends.
You can dance ‘til you’re dizzy, paint ‘til you’re blue,
There’s no place, not one, that my love can’t find you.

And if someday you’re lonely or someday you’re sad,
Or you strike out at baseball or think you’ve been bad,
Just lift up your face, feel the wind in your hair.
That’s me, my sweet baby, my love is right there.

In the green of the grass, in the smell of the sea,
In the clouds floating by, at the top of a tree,
In the sound crickets make at the end of the day,
“You are loved. You are loved. You are loved.” they all say.
My love is so high, and so wide, and so deep,
It’s always right there, even when you’re asleep.
So hold your head high and don’t be afraid,
To march to the front of your own parade.

If you’re still my small babe or you’re all the way grown,
My promise to you is you’re never alone.
You are my angel, my darling, my star,
And my love will find you, wherever you are.

You are loved.

Happy Birthday, Charlie!

It's here! My baby boy is one! Going to bed last night, all I could think about was the previous year; I went to bed that night having no idea I would go into labor almost six weeks early and start the craziest journey of my life bright and early the next morning.

Prepare for the onslaught of birthday party pictures from yesterday! It was an absolutely wonderful day of friends, family, and yummy food. Thank you to everyone who came and made C's day so special!

Smash cake time!

 I kept hearing about how babies don't really go after their cake on their 1st birthday and mostly play with it. Obviously, these people had never seen my child eat. He doesn't joke around. 

Fortunately, we had made another, non-smashed cake for the adults to enjoy. It took my sister and I about six hours to bake and decorate (I really should have bought more than one set of baking pans!), but we were beaming with pride when it was done!

C even loved opening presents! He did so well despite missing his afternoon nap. *whew*

This birthday stuff is hard! Needless to say, after cake and presents, C crashed and took a 2 hour nap. The hysterical part was that when he woke up he had a renewed surprise and excitement over his toys and spent hours crawling around the living room playing with them.

My birthday wish for you, my little boy, is happiness. May you always see the beauty in life and continue to bring joy to everyone you meet. As you get older, may the world never dampen your high spirit and huge smile. You are so special to me, Charlie. There are no words to express how blessed I feel to have you in my life. <3

Friday, October 28, 2011

Y3W: Almost Birthday Time!

I love pennant bunting!
This week has been super busy as we prepare for C's first birthday party on Sunday! Lots of cleaning, decorating, and cake testing. So far we have his birthday banner and month pictures hung up as well as a few little things here and there. Luckily, my sister and brother-in-law will be coming up early to help us cook and finishing things up.

The one thing I was super nervous about was making C's cake. I know what I want it to look like, but have only been dabbling in the cake decorating world for a few weeks now. Last night I decided to give it a shot and try to make his caterpillar cake topper.

What a delicious looking caterpillar.
Sha-bam. I'm not gonna lie, I am having one of those "even impressed myself" moments because I truly, honestly did not think I could make this. Its kind of hard to tell in the picture, but I used food coloring and water to "paint" on top of the solid green fondant. It gave it more of the watercolor Eric Carle feel than just the plain light green. And yes, the real thing will have antennae and feet. I ran out of red food dye and couldn't make the purple. ::puts food dye on shopping list:: Now the real magic trick is going to be to recreate this on Sunday on top of his actual cake. Send me some party karma. I'm gonna need it.

Still left to do is some more cleaning, food shopping, cooking, and baking. All of his presents are wrapped, the RSVPs are in, goodie bags are made. This thing is really happening. My teeny tiny baby boy is turning one. Yikes!
I am the curator of the C museum.
Can you sum up your week in three words? Every  Friday, Jenni from the Blog challenges bloggers to do just that every week. Fun, huh? Join in the fun! When you've written about your three words, hop around to other blogs participating in Y3W by clicking this lovely button!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mommy's Must Have Mondays

We're featured! Check out my review of the Beco Butterfly carrier on The How to Mommy's Mommy's Must Have Mondays.

Want to learn how to save, shop, cook, get healthy, entertain, and be a Mommy of all trades? Check out The How to Mommy and all of her how to wisdom!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

52 Weeks of Pinterest: Week 3

This afternoon, we are attending the 2nd birthday party of a friend's son, so I thought I would dedicate this week's Pinterest challenge to him. There are tons of amazing crafts for kids floating around and not only are they easy, but they are so. darn. cute! Since Ben and his family travel a lot to visit family, I decided to make him an on the go coloring tote. It'll probably be a little bit before he can just hang out with it in the back seat, but in time I hope it eases their travels.

I didn't have a pattern for this project, so I just measured the coloring book and went from there. After some trial and error and lots of measuring, it started to come together. I used batting between the inner and outer layers to give it a bit of oomph and strength..

Somehow, when I was cutting the fabric, I cut off every single darn picture of Lightning McQueen! I have no idea how I did it. You can't have Cars without Lightning McQueen, so I took another Cars fabric I had and cut out a McQueen and put him on the front with iron on adhesive. If anyone asks, OF COURSE I meant to do that.

Right now, there are just crayons in it, but I left room for more big kid supplies when the time comes. The black fabric that the crayons are laying on is not only to hide crayon marks (when removing and replacing the crayons), but is actually another set of pockets for taller items like markers or colored pencils.

I'd say week #3 was a success. I can't wait to experiment with this idea a bit more. I have another idea for this concept, but I'll share more on that later. ;-D

For now, its off to the party!

Want to participate in the 52 Weeks of Pinterest challenge? Head over to Dutch Being Me and link up!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Y3W: Trick or Treat!

Yet another perk of working with college students is that every October, most universities have Halloween parties and trick or treating events for community kids. Charlie's first trick or treating experience was a big hit. :-) Here are some pictures of my little scarecrow and his loot.

We may or may not have distracted him with an xBox controller to get that hood on his head.

"All this candy tastes like crap!"

Notice we eventually took off the hood? Yeah. He kept picking up piece after piece looking for one that didn't taste like wrapper. Sorry kid. No chocolate until at least next Halloween. I dressed up like Dorothy to match his little scarecrow costume and actually ran into a tiny Dorothy while walking around the buildings. Her dress was way sparklier than mine. I was kind of jealous. 

I must say, this costume was incredibly easy to make and was a great value for the cost. I got this Simplicity pattern on sale at JoAnn Fabrics for $1.00 and it came with patterns for Dorothy, Glinda, Scarecrow, and Tin Man in sizes 12 months to 4T. The best part? With a pattern you can mix and match parts! This is a 18 mo. shirt, 18 mo. hood, and 3T hat. Kid's got a big head.

The question now is....what to do with all this candy. Hmmm....

Can you sum up your week in three words? Every  Friday, Jenni from the Blog challenges bloggers to do just that every week. Fun, huh? Join in the fun! When you've written about your three words, hop around to other blogs participating in Y3W by clicking this lovely button!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

These Skillz Pay the Billz

Sorry for the unexpected hiatus. Its been a busy week of visiting good friends, a sick baby, and Halloween costume making. We spent the weekend with Mary (@ History in the Making), her hubby, and their kitties. C, more specifically, spent the weekend tormenting said kitties. This kid is fearless and I'm pretty sure he'd cuddle the cats to death if they weren't terrified of him. There's a video of this epic cat chase, but its on my phone and I'm not sure how to upload it. Trust me - its hysterical.

On Sunday, C started coming down with what we thought was a cold, but turned out to be croup. Ugh - the dreaded barking like a seal disease. My sister had croup most of her infancy/childhood and I remember how awful it was for her and how scary it was for my parents. :-(

We spent most of Sunday night checking on him and his raspy, labored breathing. Not fun. The doctor gave C an anti-inflammatory when we took him in on Monday and it has pretty much cured him. He's still got a bit of a cough, but is in much better spirits. Lets hope that never comes back. Please and thank you.

The big news around here is C's new trick. Out of absolutely nowhere, he started pulling up to standing on the couch! I had removed the cushion to make it easier for him and now he's obsessed. Hopefully, this will strengthen his arms enough for hands and knees crawling and sitting himself up. Silly kid, he's doing everything backwards!

Excuse the over the top, excited Mom in the background. She's kind of crazy.

Is this thanks to his two physical therapy sessions? Finally hitting his stride at almost a year old? A powerful urge to play with that random toy spoon? Who knows. I'm just happy he's making progress. I'm one proud Momma.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tastey Thursday: J's Pulled Pork

It isn't a secret that my husband is the cook in this house. I love to bake, but when it comes to cooking, he's the kitchen guru. I'm fine with this and happily eat all of his yummy creations. One of his favorite recipes is his crock pot pulled pork. 

3 lb. pork loin, fat left on
1/2 an onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
16 oz. bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce
2 tbs. spicy brown mustard
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/4 c. brown sugar

Mix BBQ sauce, mustard, cayenne, and brown sugar together. Put onions and garlic in the bottom of the crock pot creating a little bed of awesomeness. Place the pork loin on top, fat side up. Spread BBQ mixture over loin.

Cook on low for 6 hours. Take loin out and shred on a cutting board with two forks. Put shredded pork back into crock pot and continue cooking for 2 more hours.

For southern style, top your sandwich with a little bit of coleslaw. 

Want more recipe sharing goodness? Check out the Tastey Thursday blog hop over at The How To Mommy!

Wordless Wednesday: Playtime

 Oh, hai. Trying to take a picture without me noticing? I don't think so.

 Now that I see you, I muuuuuust beeee near yooooou!!!

Wait....I can't play with the camera?

Nevermind then. I'm outta here.

Who Wants Some Ugly Cake?

After totally slacking off for last week's Pinterest challenge, I knew I needed to do this marshmallow fondant thing. How did it go, you ask? I don't think I've ever made such of mess of my kitchen. Ever.

I made my cakes out of standard yellow cake mix (read: boxed mix) since I was more interested in the fondant practice than the end result. Turns out the cake tasted great anyway. Good job, Betty Crocker.

The recipe was very easy; marshmallows, lots of powdered sugar, water, and vanilla. Melt marshmallows with water and vanilla, add powdered sugar, and mix like a mo-fo. It goes from goop to super sticky dough quickly, but it was easier to mix with my hands than with a spoon.

This is my log of fondant cooling down. As a side note, when you put the fondant in plastic wrap to cool/rest, for the love of all that is holy - grease the plastic wrap with Crisco. Ask me how I know this. Its a good rule of thumb to just grease everything this stuff will come in contact with. Bowls, hands, counter top, etc. 
The recipe I used said to let the fondant cool for an hour, but several people have suggested over night is best. I didn't realize it at first, but this is something that you can easily make ahead and store in an airtight bag/container. It stays fresh for weeks!

Once I peeled the sticky mess off the plastic wrap, the real mess began. I used the glass stove top since it was a big open space that would be easy to clean. This was the end result of the rolling and cake covering. Do you think if I left this, J would clean it up? No, the answer is no he wouldn't. A girl can dream. 
I used cornstarch to prevent sticking, but have since heard recommendations for using Crisco or powdered sugar instead. Sounds just as messy, but if it works better I don't care. The fondant would stick unless I used literally handfuls of cornstarch.What. a. mess. The whole covering the cake part wasn't too bad aside from the occasional lump. In the future, I need to use buttercream frosting instead of regular whipped frosting (its a bit sturdier) and make sure its a bit smoother before putting on the fondant. 

Behold, the ugly cake. I got to practice making, rolling, coloring, and cutting fondant. I'm happy. I asked J what he thought of my ugly cake and he said, "Its nice! I mean, you couldn't like sell it or anything, but its good!" Thanks, honey.

Pinterest week #2 a success. Sort of.