Friday, November 30, 2012

Most kids choose a stuffed animal....

Mine chooses my giant pink sparkly comb, a plastic cup, or daddy's wedding ring....

This is just a small list of things I have found cuddled up next to my two year old when I get him in the morning. See, my hubby puts him to bed each night, and every once in awhile I will hear a wail right about the time Cole should be laying his head down to sleep. Come to find out the source of that wail is because he wanted to bring something to bed with him that Kyle said "no" too. Like his wedding ring....

The best was when Kyle came down and said that Cole had a stack of his sippy cups tucked closely under one arm and the lids under the other....both to which he fell fast asleep with.

Ah, to know what my boy is thinking.

It's these quirky little things that I want to remember for the rest of my life...perhaps someday he can shed some light onto the choosing of his bedtime buddies. Until then I will continue to store them in my mommy heart and allow them out when I need a good chuckle or a slight pick-me-up for a hard day.

Another memory that I hope becomes more and more of an occurrence is this...

As I'm sure you all know I LOVE to cook, and lately I have been pulling up a stool and letting my boy get in on the action. I try to find things that involve lots of mixing and stirring and that won't hurt if decides to taste test. After all, isn't that what they tell you to do on the Iron Chef?

I have to let go of the notion that my kitchen will not get usually ends up looking like a bomb went which my husband would probably say doesn't look all that different when it's just myself in the kitchen. I'm known for creating amazing messes...usually do to my clumsiness or forgetting that the mixer is on high speed when I turn it on.  And I like to use bowls....lots and lots of bowls.

So in order to keep the chaos down to a somewhat reasonable amount I chose to put Cole's culinary abilities to use on one-bowl recipes.

Like this one. Here's to my next little Iron Chef in the making....

Photo Credits: Green Lite Bites
Banana Oatmeal Cups. These were awesome! Kind of like baked oatmeal in a muffin form, perfect for little hands to both make and stuff in their mouths. And great for a quick and easy energy boosting snack for a nursing mom. Cole loved making them and followed directions pretty well....until I turned my back for two seconds and saw him stuff a spoonful into his mouth with lightening speed! I freaked out for a a quick moments due to there being raw egg in the batter, but then I thought back to the bowls of cookie dough I consumed as a kid and remembered, I had made it out alive. 

And guess what? So did Cole. He not only lived through the experience but you should have seen his eyes glow every time I asked him if he wanted an oatmeal muffin that he made! I look forward to many more culinary adventures with both my little guys....

But most of all, I look forward to seeing what I will find in Cole's crib in the morning!

Check out the recipe here: Green Lite Bites

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Lunchin it up

It's 11:30 and I have already polished off my lunch, I have been eagerly awaiting this since about 5:30 last night. And this is why...

That is a tamale pie full of YUM. 

Remember that mental list I made and was determined to take both my boys to the park, and then how it turned into a wrestling match to get my darling 2 year old back into his stroller???  (for the record, I actually have attempted the park outing again, and the result was much, much better) In fact, he did so well that we walked over to the Starbucks down the street and I got him his first "latte" aka a child's steamer with 1/2 pump of vanilla.

I think he liked it.

I kept telling him over and over, leave the lid alone....or it will be a mess. It was all fine and dandy until....he didn't leave the lid alone. And he stood in the middle of a "latte" puddle. Sad day.  I guess it goes without saying that we are still working "obedience" and perhaps next time he will listen to his wise mother.

Oh well, life went on and this wise mother continued to check things off of her mental list.

 #2 on that list was to continue preparing home cooked meals and have them ready and on the table by the time hubby came home each night. Sometimes this is a very easy task, and other days I'm ready to toss in all the pots and phone the nearest pizza joint. However, recipes like the one above make this task extremely and beautifully possible.

Even after a day of check ups and baby immunizations....

Poor baby wasn't all grins and smiles yesterday after all his little pokes. But he checked out very well and rang in at a little over 10 lbs and just shy of 22 inches tall. Which puts him in the 20th percentile for height and the 30th for weight. Still my little bean.

We arrived home with barely enough time to get dinner thrown together and in the oven. which made me soooo thankful for this jewel of a recipe. The only changes I made was I used 1 whole egg in place of the egg substitute, didn't include the green chile's because I forgot to buy them, and added extra taco seasoning to the batter. Yum.  even Cole gobbled it up and had it smeared in his hair, down his chest, behind his ears.....that, my friends is the sign of a good meal. :)

If you find yourself in a pinch,  head on over to Pinch of Yum and make her Tamale Pie, it's even better the second day..... Even at 11:30 in the morning.

P.S. on a side note, the following picture has absolutely nothing to do with the above post other than it is pure cuteness. I find myself chuckling multiple times throughout my day when I see things like this...

The mark that big brother has been by....

Sunday, November 11, 2012

2 months already?

My Bennett baby is growing up way too fast, maybe if I snuggle him too much he will decide he doesn't want to grow up anymore....doubtful, but worth a try!

Where do I even begin? He absolutely could not be more perfect, he is an amazing baby and brings so much joy to our hearts. When I stare at all of his perfectly formed features I can't help but think, he lives up to his name in every possible way.

While trying to pick out a boy's name I absolutely fell in love with the name Bennett. When I saw it I just knew it was the name, it was sweet yet manly, cute yet as my husband would say "it will look good on his job application or a name plate when he is older." When I brought the name to Kyle he wasn't as excited as I was but he also didn't turn it down.....there was hope. :) Then one evening while I thought Kyle was studying and working on homework I heard him call me over. He happily explained that Bennett meant "Blessed" or "Blessed One". I hadn't even thought of looking at the meaning, because usually the names I really like mean something like a "tall hill" you know, nothing that I want to call mom and brag about. But as I heard the words "blessed" I knew secretly we had both made the decision that was to be our boy's name. Plus, I was dead set on using his middle name to carry on the legacy of two very important men in my life. My dad and brother. They both have Lee as their middle name and it sounded almost too perfect following Bennett.

As the months progressed and we faced the thought that he may need to come way earlier than expected , each day thereafter solidified the meaning of his name. Each passing day that I got to carry him further was a blessing, and I knew God had a far better plan mightier than our own. This boy was so blessed and he hadn't even made it outside the womb yet! Then on September 9th 2012, he came to us healthy and little blessing bundle! He made becoming a family of 4 one of the most incredible blessings ever.

Yes, Bennett we are beyond blessed to know you and call you are own. Now please stop growing up so fast!

You make my heart melt daily.

If I blink I fear you will become a grown man.

But for today you are my baby, the baby that breathes softly on my neck as you fall asleep. The baby that would rather be held close than anywhere else. The baby with big shiny eyes that dance when I talk to you. I pray they never lose their dance, for it is precious. 

You have yet to completely sleep through the night, but regularly give us 3 hour intervals between feedings....and every once in awhile you slip in a 5 hour stretch and we are so refreshed. 

You like to rise and shine with the sun...or before the sun, usually our mornings get started between 5:30-6:30.

You are slower than your brother to pack on the rolls and cheeks, but you are a great eater nonetheless. I call you my grazer, you like to eat from one side and want nothing to do with other until about an hour later....

You are finally transitioning out of newborn sized clothing and kind of fit into 0-3 months. Personally mama loves you in a onesie and leg warmers.

You LOVE to get your diaper changed, if you are fussy all I have to do is place you on the changing table and smiles and coos await. 

You are a snuggler, you insist on being held, and would rather sleep on my chest than anywhere else. 

You love to be carried around in my Beco carrier, and I love to carry you close to my heart.

You hate my cold hands.

You haven't been officially weighed or measured yet, but I'm betting you are around 9 lbs

You have a new fascination with your fingers, I keep waiting for the thumb to find its way in your mouth, but for now you settle for your fist.

You like to hold onto my hair, a wad in each hand,  kind of like it's your security blanket.

You have mastered the really adorable lower lip just like you brother.

If you are really fussy and the mama bounce doesn't work I hold you close to my chest and do squats....this works every single time.  I think you are trying to help your mama get her bum back in shape!

You are a complete joy, and I cannot even remember what life was like before you joined us. You keep me on my toes, teach me patience daily and never cease to amaze me with your ways. Happy 2 month birthday little dude, can't wait for many more monthly celebrations!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

He was "that" kid

 My first week home alone with both boys I made a list of the things that intimidating me the most. Within that first week I wanted to power through that list just to prove to myself that I can move on with life and function in normal society...and I wouldn't have to do it all from within the four walls of my home. This was on the very tip top of my list.....

1. Take Cole and Bennett to the Park

Sounds like a small feat,  but for me I had visions of Cole catapulting himself off of the jungle gym while I am trying to run to catch him with a baby in my arms. I worry about things like that. But I was determined to put my fears behind me, so I strapped Bennett to my chest and made the trek to the park down the street. Much to my surprise it all went very smooth, Cole learned how to go down the slide on his own, and climbed all over the play structure without me hovering and gripping his hand the entire time. I was able to stay on the ground and cheer him on when he needed it, and remind him to step away from the drop offs if he approached to close.

Low and behold, we ALL had fun. And we made it back with all limbs intact. I wiped my brow and  remember being excited for the next nice day to do it all over again.....

And so we did. We did it all over again.

And yes, all went well....We played, we laughed, we ran around like nuts. But then came the darkening hour of "time to go home". I swear I picked Cole up to put him in his stroller and the kid sprouted like 10 arms and legs. His lungs became like a rocket taking off, going up, up up in decibels and blowing everyone's ear drums in the process. My cheeks were blaring red, I had sweat dripping down my forehead as I tried to finagle my son's legs to both be in his stroller at the same time. It became a royal two person circus act, poor Bennett joined in on the fun and began wailing...most likely do to "getting in the way" of one of Cole's flailing limbs.   All the while I am fully aware of the scene we are making and try to ignore the stares that are directed our way. I actually contemplated ditching the stroller and dragging Cole home on foot behind me.

After what seemed like a marathon of darting elbows and corralling legs I finally got him placed bottom down in his stroller. Then Bam! He turned to jello and starts oozing himself out the bottom of the stroller...seriously, how do kids learn these things?! Luckily I stopped him in the nick of time with my knee and shoved him back up to his stroller and quickly snapped the harness closed. I might also mention that I had originally been a really nice mom and had let Cole bring along some junky plastic animal toys that he loves. They had been neatly placed in his tray upon arriving. As I tried to regain composure I notice that they had been recklessly strewn all about the grass around us. Being a not so nice mom I pointed to them and said, "because of the fit you just threw I am leaving your lion." In a huff I started pushing the stroller away only to be chased down by a little old lady who didn't speak a lick of English, in her hand she held out the lion. I tried explaining that I was leaving it to teach my son a lesson, but she insisted I take it, I had no fight left in me so I calmly thanked her and took the blasted lion.....oh well, next time my boy you will not be so lucky.

I finally had that moment that every mom dreads, I was the mom that had "that kid". I suppose it happens to the best of us. I don't know why i thought I had some sort of immunity to it or something. It was a very humbling experience, and one that will likely unfold again...hopefully I can learn how to gracefully place my son and all 10 arms and legs into his stroller with less fight. Until then I will accept that this is all part of being a parent, you have moments where you want to scream, moments where you want to hide your head in shame, moments you want to burst in tears, then there's that moment when you look at your children and you realize you just fell deeper in love their little beings...

It makes eating humble pie worth every bite.  

Sunday, November 4, 2012

sugar coma

This was the first year I actually dressed Cole up and took him trick or treating. He was pretty adorable in his monkey costume courtesy of my niece. I, on the other hand almost forgot that I needed to bring a pail of some sort for him to collect his candy....I know, rookie mistake. Luckily I had a huge pumpkin bucket that my parents had brought some squash in.  And after collecting his first piece of candy, that bucket was dragging on the ground behind him as if it were completely full and weighing a ton. Poor kid had no chance!

Sorry my little monkey, mama will do better next year.

I think it is safe to say that Cole has since forgiven me of the bucket, but not sure if he has forgive me for confiscating his candy. Cole has never had candy (at least that I know of)...but apparently kids have an innate love of candy whether they know it or not. It took him all of two seconds upon returning home to plunk down next to his big ole bucket and start stuffing his cheeks. Minor issue: he failed to realize his candy needed to be unwrapped prior to inserting into his mouth. I quickly pried my fingers into his mouth, to which Cole chomped down on tightly to save his candy, which led to me yelping in pain. After several attempts I was able to pull out soggy, half-wrapped-half-eaten Reese's (at least he knows how to pick the cream of the crop). A tearful and fully defeated little monkey stood there looking at me and the bucket of candy I had ripped from his hands and his heart.....

Staring at Geoffrey the Giraffe, I had to drag him away!

So I distracted him with his new train set and hid the candy when he wasn't paying attention.  I feel a little bad, but would feel worse if he ended up with a wad of candy wrappings in the pit of his belly. Apparently Bennett was feeling his brother's pain.....

I hate to admit this, but I bet I am not the only one.....I have secretly been enjoying my son's stash of Halloween candy. I keep justifying my actions by telling myself giving him candy would only make him wild and crazy, and all of his teeth would fall out. I suppose all of my teeth will fall out instead....

So for those of you, like myself, have found yourself slowly coming out of a sugar coma....don't you fret, I have something to help slip you right back into that coma-like-heaven state. Chocolate and Caramel Pretzel Rods !
I have actually had quite a few inquiries about how to make them since I wrote about them for Cole's birthday party. So I thought there is no better time to share it with you than when you are already covered head to toe in mars bars and tootsie rolls. Plus, you can stash this idea away and make them for all of those upcoming holiday parties that are inevitable this time of year. They are a quick and easy treat if  you make sure to grease your wax paper!!! Otherwise you will hate pretzels and rods after making these.

Chocolate and Caramel Pretzel Rods


1 bag of Pretzel rods (40)
1 bag of wrapped caramels
2 Tbls water
2-3 bags of milk chocolate melts or 1-2 bags of chocolate chips
cooking spray
wax paper


Lay out wax paper on cookie sheets, cover with cooking spray or butter.  Melt caramels with water over low heat until smooth. Spoon caramel half way up the pretzel, allow excess to drip off and place on prepared wax paper, allow to cool completely (you can place in refrigerator to speed up the process). In the meantime, melt the chocolate melts according to package or melt chocolate chips over double broiler (or microwave) until melted and smooth. If using chocolate chips add a little canola or vegetable oil until you achieve a smooth and easy to pour consistency ( I think I added a couple teaspoons). You can either spoon the chocolate over the caramel coating or you can pour it into a tall slender glass and just dip the rod. Allow excess chocolate to drip off and place back in the wax paper. Allow to cool completely before removing.