Thursday, January 31, 2013

Reality Check.

That's what I got yesterday.

After a beautifully sweet morning filled with lots of hugs, loves and tender kisses. I put both boys down for their naps with visions of this dancing in my head....

My heart swelled with pride, and I quickly posted a photo to facebook because I wanted everyone to find joy in the preciousness of the love I saw.....

Queue doomsday music.

Then came the moments following nap time.....

foot stomps.
face-scrunching yells.
The sprawling of a two year old body all over the floor in bewilderment......

All because (dum-dum-duuuuuummmm....)

I said "no" to eating popcorn for lunch.

And then "no" to chocolate chips as a second choice.

At one point I had both boys screaming in my ears.  Bennett was tired and ready for his second nap. He couldn't get settled because we had a two year old following us from room to room making it clear that he was displeased with my lunch decision.

I actually stood in the middle of my kitchen and just laughed at the irony. I got my head yanked out of the clouds and into a reality check. Kids have a way of doing that. They like to keep you grounded.....I wish I could count how many times I have been humbled by the doings of my boys.  Too many, way too many.

So, we settled on a peanut butter sandwich.

Cole peeled himself off the floor and found that reading books and playing with trains was more fun than timeouts.

Bennett finally got his nap.

And I ate some chocolate chips.

The End.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hurdles and Mountains


I have been using the phrase "this is just a phase, this will pass" more often than not this past week. It's been a rough one. Who thought that scheduling back to back appointments for both boys was a good idea?

Oh wait, me.

When Cole was a baby his immunizations came and went like a breeze. They never seemed to phase his happy-go-lucky outlook on life. Perhaps it was the extra rolls that protected from too much pain. Bennett on the other hand....

Game over.

Misery loves company.

I will cry until you cry.

Sleep, what?

It was a sad couple of days in the Marston household. Both boys spiked fevers, Bennett's topped at 103.7.  My heart broke the day Cole was sick. Kyle got home from work and went over to the couch to see how he was doing, Cole looked up at his daddy and then one giant crocodile tear rolled down his cheek. It was the saddest.

Bennett wasn't so quiet about his pain, he cried for hours non stop and if I even came close to touching his leg that received the shots his wail got louder. I felt like I spent more time racing between boys at night than I did actual sleeping. And for the first time since Bennett was born I actually wondered if I would have enough energy to make it through the week.

I did.

So did Cole.

And Bennett finally recovered from his traumatic 4 month immunizations. He was back to his easy, sweet, smile-giving self after a few long days and nights. But turns out he is still my little pip-squeak. At 19 weeks he weighed in at 13.4 lbs (13%),  24 in tall (10%), and his head circumference was 16.5 in (35%). He is developing great and is getting stronger by the day. He can still roll from front to back and almost has down back to front. His Dr. thinks we can expect to see a tooth popping through anytime...that would explain the constant drool dripping down his chin. He still loves to talk, he learned how to blow raspberries and spent one whole night practicing. He much prefers to be held, and is a bit higher maintenance than Cole ever was, but a sweet baby all the same. I have loved seeing more and more of his personality come out with each passing day.

After our little rough patch with immunizations and fevers we all were healthy enough to get away for the weekend with all of my siblings.It felt good to get out of the house and breathe in some fresh mountain air!

We had so much fun! It snowed beautiful fluffy white flakes, Cole got his first taste of sledding and making snowballs.

He got over the fact that I put him in purple snow boots and bundled him to the point that he could barely walk.

He loved it, and I had to bribe him to come in with hot cocoa.

We all had fun, didn't get a whole lot of sleep....vacationing is definitely a whole different story with little ones. Between both boys we all ended up being awake between 5:30-6am both mornings. We tried to bribe Cole into being quiet with cartoons, but that would last all of two seconds before he was wanting to wake the rest of the house up! I think someone liked having all the attention from all his uncles, aunties, and cousins.

It was the perfect way to wrap up a hard week filled with lots of tears, lots of pain, and lots reminders that this stage of life is but a mist, it will be over in the mere blink of an eye. And I'm sure I will be left wishing it back...sleepless nights and all.

I'm so thankful for such a loving and supportive family, for siblings that are my best friends, and for sweet little ones that suck up my energy yet give me more joy to get through even the roughest of nights and days.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The one

God knows me best, but Kyle knows me second best.

 It's fun and exciting when I think back of all the ways God prepared me for my life. I am reminded of the incredible love story He plays out for me pretty much daily. He knit together a story so perfectly fitting to my innermost desires that sometimes it doesn't seem real.

He gave me "the one" .

The one that I need. 

The one that calms my heart when it is tormented. The one who knows to hold my hand and tell me to "let go". The one who I sometimes recklessly clip with words, yet he can still look at me and tell me he "loves me".  The one with more patience than I will ever have.

He is kinder than I. 

 He is not perfect, but he strives for better.  He doesn't always meet my every need...but that is what Christ is for. He makes mistakes, I get frustrated and short tempered...but he listens and thinks...and then comes up with a game plan. He works hard so that I can be home and grow with our children. He understands when I have rough days, when the house looks like an explosion went off....

And when I feed him scrambled eggs for dinner.

He is the one I often take my frustration out on, the one that receives the brunt of my anger. The one I blame the burnt chicken on, even when he never set foot in the kitchen.....for some reason it's easier for me to point my finger than to admit that it was really my fault. And he gets that.

He understands me.

He is an amazing dad. While most men let their wives take care of the all night feedings...he doesn't. He is right there by my side, loving on his baby boy.  He doesn't get much sleep at night, but never once do I hear him complain. He is up with the sun and heads out to work with a coffee in his hand. One time he even went to the store, bought some batteries, and put fresh ones in the baby swing before leaving for work. All because I had cried in the middle of the night when I remembered that the swing had died the day before and we had no battery replacements. Bennett hadn't been feeling well, and that swing was my only saving grace. I was shocked to find the swing working that morning...but even more shocked to find out what my husband had done. He is selfless and takes care of us, even when it isn't easy and could be considered and "inconvenience".

He quietly scrubs out the bathtub when Cole decides to use it as his personal toilet...unlike his wife who makes it known to the world when she gets a really stinky, gross and repulsive diaper to change. He gets Cole ready and down for bed and than often relieves me of a crying baby afterwards, knowing that I am rugged and tired by the end of the day.

 He is invested in his children.

 We don't have a perfect fairy tale life, we have ups and downs, moments when the feeling of "love" gets drowned out by the mundane. But never have I wavered in knowing that God has given me the perfect one to live life with. All the previous heartache and pain was well worth waiting for him.

No, this is not our anniversary, not his birthday, but more like a realization that I spend so much time "oohing" and "aahing" over our two boys that sometimes I forget to give credit to the man that makes it all possible. And I simply don't let him know it as much as I should. I get so wrapped up taking care of our boys, making dinner, running errands and thinking selfishly of myself that I forget to tell him "thank you" on a daily basis. And that is the least I could do.

He is the one I love. The one I am so incredibly grateful to call mys husband.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

You've been slimed

I'm on a roll.

Mainly because I get tired of using Thomas and Friends as my go-to resource for preoccupying Cole while I'm trying to take care of Bennett. Plus, I want to instill in my son the value of doing things and hands-on learning, not sitting in front of the television. The latter is a skill (if even) that kids innately learn and soak up way too quickly.  One that I am not proud to admit I have aided Cole in doing.

It was time to get creative.

I finally started sifting through all of my pins for fun things to do with Cole. And I am going to share with you two ideas that have deemed themselves worthy of being passed along.

The first one I have done with Cole since he was basically old enough to hold a spoon and a bowl. I call it "Chef Cole".  When he was really young I would lay down a beach towel in the kitchen (usually while I was prepping dinner myself), give him several big bowls filled with a little water, a whisk, a spoon, measuring cups.....and anything else that suited the day. He would splash, and bang, and play....allowing me to get what I needed done. As he got older I started giving him random things in my cupboard....dry noodles, get the picture. Recently, I saw a post where she actually took a muffin tin and filled it with a lot of what we already used but also incorporated fresh ingredients...such as slices of sweet potato, raw oatmeal, flour....I LOVED the idea!

And so did Cole. He had different ingredients to really "cook" with! And I had a bowl full of random mush in the end. It was great! Plus, he just loves pulling his step stool up to the counter next to me, and this way it keeps his little mitts busy instead of tossing things into whatever I'm making. Win-win.

The second idea was one of my first pins when introduced to the world of Pinterest. One that I have been meaning to make ever since we passed the "put everything in my mouth" stage.


I grew up getting the stuff every year when we went to a health fair. I looked forward to that little paper cup filled with ooey-gooey gunk. I would play with it for days until it dried up, and then anxiously wait for the next fair to come.

Ignore my son's face, that is his happy face.....or at least what he does now when we ask him to "smile". Charming.

I never really thought about making my own until I came across it on Pinterest. This proved to be a bigger hit than I imagined. Cole loves to poke, pull, squish....and occasionally "add" his own know, bread ties, straws....things he finds laying around. It wouldn't be real slime without a bread tie.......

I keep it in a zip-loc bag and pull it out for him whenever we need a change of pace. And again, it only takes two ingredients (well 3 if you add food coloring). Click on this link to make your own slime.....even if you don't have kids make some, it's fun!

Now go make your kids some slime, otherwise they will entertain themselves with potatoes....

Look at that face of guilt.....

 But then there is always this that makes up for the pile of potatoes....

Have fun!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Rainy day sand castles

We have reached the time of year where the skies are gray more often than not. The grass is wet, and the thought of dragging two little ones outside can seem, daunting. I try my best to get everyone out and about, but after battling an endless supply of sore throats and snotty noses we got a little cabin fever.

We needed something new. Something fun. And something that involved indoor entertaining.

Thank you Pinterest, you solved our rainy day blues.

 If you have busy toddlers at hand, this is an awesome sensory activity that will keep them preoccupied, and stretch their imagination.  Shoot, we made mountains, castles, pancakes, pies.....

It's called cloud dough. It's inexpensive. It's fun. It's genius.  

 It consists of two ingredients: Flour and oil. (it called for baby oil, I used vegetable oil since I didn't have the other, plus baby oil isn't good if it is ingested. Veggie oil it was.)

The texture was that of soft sand, you know the kind that you dig for at the beach.....the kind that is PERFECT for building sand castles and sand towns. I had always thought a sand box would be fun for Cole, but hated the idea that it could be a potential litter box for neighbor cats. Cloud dough solved everything! It's easy to make, fun to play with, and a snap to clean up. Just beware that it can make the floors slippery because of the oil.

Cole had so much fun.....ok, let's be honest, WE both had so much fun. Something about that squishy-gishy dough was extremely therapeutic!

Go ahead and follow this link to make your own Cloud Dough to dig your fingers in to. 

Just some regular fun in the, rain.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Another drive by

Cole is such a sweet boy with a huge heart who loves to help.

This morning he fished out his prized raisins and offered them to me, basically offered me gold.

Big Heart.

Yesterday if I put Bennett down for tummy time, Cole was right beside him.  When Bennett dropped his binky, Cole was on it. While Bennett sat in his Bumbo, Cole scooted his potty chair next to him and sat with him.....often reaching over to pat his head, or give him kisses.

So much Sweet.

He also helped me empty the dishwasher, like he usually does. He takes care of the silverware and all of his plastic plates and bowls.

Big help.......

Someone got sidetracked.

And someone was hit by another big brother drive by.

Poor Bennett. 

I tend to say that a lot. But truth be told, I think he actually likes it....

Yes, we have trying moments when 2-year-old tempers flare, trains fly through the air, and new found independence brings early morning wake up calls. But most nights when I think back on the day, those moments tend to fall into the shadows of this.

He is sweet. He is kind. He is helpful.

 I love him.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

An unlikely combo

Some things just don't mix well together. I should have learned this by now, but my spices and my son are one of those things. While "helping" me make dinner the other night I turned my head for two seconds-- 

TWO SECONDS, as in 1,2.

When I glanced over my shoulder I saw an upside down spice jar, a lid on the floor, and a pile of cumin being smeared and played in by chubby little fingers. I have had to buy a whole lot more replacement spices lately. Hmmm....

If it wasn't for the delighted, spicy mug that smiled back at me I might have been a little more upset. A new bottle of cumin was worth it.

But this, this my friends is an unlikely combo that oh heavenly bite, works. At first thought, blueberries, turkey, curry paste and rosemary don't mix. But in the words of my hubby, "tastes fancy". 

Fancy that.

Photo credit: Peanut Butter Fingers

This dish blew out all expectations, it gives you the satisfying sweat + savory combo. And I agree with Peanut Butter Finger's that the blueberry sauce in itself is beautiful and could host an array of yummy possibilities.

This dish took us out of the boring rut and made a Wednesday feel like a holiday. I served the meatballs over a bed of basmati rice, and next time I will double the sauce. 

(special note: I only added 1/2 the red curry paste to the meatballs because I wanted Cole to enjoy it, and it tasted just fine. And for the sauce i added more chicken stock, less wine, and used frozen blueberries.)

I think I need to ask Ikea to step aside, your gravy laden meatballs ain't got nothing on these babies!

Head Here to make your own Thai Turkey Meatballs with Savory Blueberry Sauce. And make any weeknight dinner extra fancy in no time.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

It's now officially 2013.

Where has time gone? 

Oh right, it has been absorbed by a crazy stressful but wonderful pregnancy, soaked up adjusting to life again with a  newborn, and squeezed out by the needs of an ever growing and maturing little two-year-old.

Time flies when you are having fun.

2012 was amazing, challenging, beautiful, heart-stopping, growing, blissful, tiring, trying, and forever life-altering. 

I wouldn't change a thing about it. 

Not even the morning sickness. Could have done without the Bennett scares...but in retrospect, it was good for me, good for my family, and good for our hearts; a reminder that we are not in control of our life, God is.

And He sure knew what He was doing.

 We came out of 2012 stronger than we were when it started.

We start 2013 with more love than we thought possible.

Our hearts are bigger and our smiles wider.

Because we have everything we need to make it another wonderful year.

We have love.

We have Christ.

We have each other.

Wishing you the best year possible!

Happy New Year!