Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Davis: 9 months

Nine months. 18lbs and 27 1/2 inches big of perfect scrumptiousness.

If babies could come out of the womb covered in ridiculously sweet sugar, that would be Davis.

From day one, he came to us with this gentle, sweetness about him. It was in his bleating little cries, his calming nuzzles, his coos, his calm presence, and the loving adoration that radiated from his eyes.

He's still dripping in such sweetness, so much so, that some times he catches me off guard.

9 months, and he's still got it. People still fall in love with him all the time. And he still loves with abandon....as long as mama is within sight.

He still has incredible separation anxiety.

And doesn't like me to get too far away from him. But he is starting to love his freedom. I find him digging in the plastic container drawers, rummaging through the odds and ends that his brothers leave behind. Or trying to console his oldest brother while he is rolling around throwing a fit on the floor.

He's perfectly content crawling around whatever his big brothers are doing. And if he is heading somewhere he knows he shouldn't be going (stairs, bathroom) and you make eye contact with him...he goes into turbo mode. He speeds up his arms, not bending them which gives him a little bulldog effect.

He will stand if you let go of his hands, he cruises the furniture, and walks with my hands. I can see him growing in strength and bravery.

He likes to help out with the rearranging of my pantry while I cook dinner. And then pads his way over to wherever I may be. Often pulling up on my pant leg until I bend down pick him up.

He loves to dance by bopping up an down and will often be found doing so while shaking his percussion egg.

He finally popped through one of his top front teeth. And boy, were we ever glad to see that little glimmer of hope that maybe more sleep would be on the horizon. This month gave us some incredibly long, rough nights.

Like I said, he's had a terrible month of sleep. Up every one to two hours, sometimes for 3-4 hours in a row, when most people are already in deep sleep mode. Kyle and I are definitely not our best during those loooooong middle of the night parties. There are a lot of apologies to be said when the sun rises.

However, for what he lacks in sleep, he makes up for with his perfectly relaxed personality. Everything is no big deal, it's cool, we've got this thing called being a baby. He is so nonchalant about everything that most babies would be throwing fits over, so  much so, that he actually boosts my parenting factor.

God knew I needed a little boost!

He still takes two naps. His first one a couple hours after he wakes in the morning. And then i try my best to time his second one around the same time his brothers nap. (I call it, mama's time to breathe)

He's yet to turn down any kind of food, except for one single pea, and that was mainly because he had just eaten a whole tray full of other food. He's blown my mind in this department. Never before have I seen a kid so completely excited about whatever food is placed in front of him. He literally accepts it all, and eats with vigor.

FYI: future wife, food is most definitely the way to this guys heart. :)

He is still a breastfeeding champ. Every single time I switch sides he lets out a long "Aaaaa-ummmm" as if to say, "Um, did you forget the others side....or hurry it up" I havent' decided yet. At least he doesn't nearly hyperventilate like Cole used to. And for those that don't remember...

Clearly, he wasn't wasting away or lacking in the roll department. Talk about another irresistible baby! I do believe he has Davis beat by a few....ok....a lot. No wonder I remember my back always killing me.....

Speaking of brothers, he still loves them, but I'm noticing that he isn't entirely as accepting of being smothered and pushed around as he used to be. And I have actually seen a wee bit of fight back when he gets fed up. And I don't blame him, his brothers have their overbearing moments.

His face says it all......

There isn't much more I can say to sum up my Davis boy. He's truly a blessing and a refresher for when the days are  hard. He seems to know when I need extra juicy kisses, and squeezes. I love him so much that sometimes I just pretend I need to kiss him all day, every day. He likes to "bump the rock" be tickled, act goofy and be right in the middle.

His eyes dance and shine. He is talking and I've heard something that sounds like "mamamamama" (I will take it). We all just love him more every day. And every day I am blown away by how much older he is seeming. I really wish there was such a thing as a pause button. If not to slow time, to at least give me a few more seconds to break up fights and save a baby from pummeling down the stairs.

Davis we love you. Sorry that you 9 months post is almost a month late. Oops. But know that it's only because I've been spending my time soaking up you and your brothers and recovering from not much sleep.

Love you sweet boy!

Monday, November 16, 2015

What We Eat: Thanksgiving Edition

I realized I'm really bad at following through a promise of sharing a recipe that I love and am excited about. I usually like to share them in a separate post from family updates, but then it seems life gets the better of me and I...forget. Kind of story of my life right now. Please tell me I'm not the only mom that feels like I can't remember yesterday...let alone what I just said 5 minutes ago. It's terrible, and unintentional, and I'm desperately hoping that some day (soon) my brain cells will return. (I read that sometimes it can take anywhere up to 5 years after having a baby.....) I'm gonna blame it on that.

Anyways, we are gearing up for one of my favorite times of year and my absolute favorite meal. If you remember last year I maybe got a little carried away and used the pregnancy card to eat as many turkey dinners as one could possibly consume. I think I ate it every day for at least a week straight...if not longer. That belly was large and in charge and I didn't dare contest what it craved.

And great. Now I'm really missing that sweet, round belly. Maybe more because it was a good excuse to be able to shovel as much food as I wanted. But really, truly I loved that belly.

So finally, two years later after promising to share my favorite Thankgiving recipes, I'm actually going to do it. These are tried and true and can be made at least one day ahead....some more. Which makes the day of Thanksgiving super relaxed and the only thing you have to worry about it timing. We also like to brine our turkey and let it get all good and smoked on our traeger.....I don't think we will ever make it the traditional way again. It is so, so, so good! AND it frees up the oven for all the other yummies. (message me if you want the brine recipe we use, I will get it from Kyle...he's the one in charge of the Turkey.)

So here we go.

You can't have a turkey dinner without stuffing.

Photo Credit: Epicurious.

This is your traditional stuffing, with all the traditonal seasonings, no orange zest, no sausage, no fruit...and in my opinion, just the way it should be. What I love about this recipe is it doesn't have a seasoning packet, no packaged bread crumbs, so the flavors are brighter and fresher. Make sure you dry out your loaf of bread really good, I have even cooked it in the oven at a very low temp to get rid of some of the moisture before turning it into stuffing. It has the perfect, crusty on top and soft in the middle result. No mushy or gooey stuffing with this one. Find the recipe HERE at Epicurious.

I don't have a picture for the mashed potatoes. But I'm assuming we can all imagine what they look like.  The recipe is from the Pioneer Woman. So naturally they involve a lot of butter, a lot of cream, and a secret ingredient. Now I have to confess, I have never been a big potato eater. Growing up I actually hated them. And still do not like them in soup of any kind. However, mashed potatoes...especially ones loaded up with not-so-good-for you things....are permissible.  I actually craved these during my last two pregnancies. Sometimes I proclaim myself a reformed  mashed potato lover.

They are incredibly creamy and flavorful (even without the gravy) and are like the added cherry on top of the Thanksgiving plate. Again, they can be made the day before, so all you have to do it pop them in the oven to get them all warm and creamy. Find the recipe HERE at Pioneer Woman.

Photo Credit: MadeFromPinterest.net

Sweet Potato Souffle. It just sounds refined and delicious, and it is. It can easily double as a dessert or breakfast the next day. (not that I know anything about eating it for breakfast......) As with the theme of this post, it can be made SEVERAL days in advance. Go HERE for recipe.

And now to my favorite part (if that's even possible) DESSERT.

Aside from the must-haves like pumpkin and pecan...ok, and maybe an French apple. I also like to make something a little fancy, super decadent, and most-likely to include chocolate. These have all been winners and are worth the little extra effort.

Photo Credit: Former Chef

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake and Salted Caramel. I have a rule, when in doubt, dowse with salted caramel. It always makes a dessert appear fancier and like a labor of love. I'm not a big cheesecake person, but love making them. And this one I may have sneaked a few extra bites off my husbands plate. Go HERE for recipe from Former Chef.

Photo Credit: Bake or Break

Mississippi Mud Pie. This one was actually tested and approved by a true 1/2 Mississippian. My Aunt lives in Mississippi part time, and happened to be here for Christmas when I made it. She said that it tasted like an official Mud Pie. I just thought it tasted good. (hint: might not be the best for little ones...it has a little booooooze in it. Ssssh.)  Go HERE to Bake or Break for recipe.

Photo Credit: Delicious Dishings

This last one is one of my favorites. Three layers of chocolate. Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake.Rich, yet light and airy....so you might actually eat more than you intend. (Hint: Sometimes I make the first layer (flourless chocolate cake) a couple days ahead, then let it chill in the fridge overnight before I make the last two layers. I have learned the art of breaking up dessert making into several days, only for the mere fact that I have three little ones that often need me and are a lot more important than making cake. Plus it helps me not get overwhelmed and feel like I have a plan. Go HERE to Delicious Dishings for the recipe.

Lastly, if in a pinch and you need a super quick dessert to make, just make a flourless chocolate cake, throw on some freshly whipped cream, drizzle with salted caramel.....and whoa. Yum. Easy.

Hope you all have a really great Thanksgiving season. Enjoy those turkey dinners and spending time with all the people that you love so dearly.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Cole: 5 Years

I've sat down to write out Cole's 5th birthday post several times, the truth is I don't know how to start it.  I kept telling myself this year was still a long way off. Staying in sort of a denial made my heart distanced from the reality of change that is to come.

This will be the year he will have to start school.

This will be the beginning of the end of the simplicity of having all my kids home with me, making our own schedules, staying in undies all day long (not me, the boys....) and doing whatever we pleased.

This will be the year I have walk my firstborn, hand in hand down the hall to his classroom. This will be the year I leave a big piece of my heart behind in four walls other than my own. I've already cried and fought my way through these thoughts. And then I cry again...because....it's happening.

Running around "free as a bird" will soon be like a distant relative. And yet, I know he is ready.

I might not be. (Some days I think I'm REALLY ready....but then I know, deep down, I'm not.)

Mr. Piercing-Blue-Eyes has changed so much this last year. I have seen him grow in many ways. From being a protective big brother to learning how to better control his emotions. Not always successful in the two, but definitely making progress.

He's inquisitive.

He's sensitive.

He's timely, prompt, and a bit on the impatient side.

He's kindness and gentleness...except when Bennett is dead set on driving him crazy.

He loves all things crafts---soooo unlike his mother. He likes to create but is afraid of failing or messing up his creations and sometimes will stop creating if he thinks it won't turn out exactly how he envisions it. I've been trying to encourage him to not let this hinder him. Sometimes I'm convincing, sometimes not. Type A....perhaps?

He likes to color in the lines and it drives him nuts if little brother comes up behind him and scribbles on the sides. His favorite color has gone from red, to all the colors of the rainbow. He has mastered the art of "scissoring" and finding little pieces of cut up paper all over the house is a norm these days. And I'm constantly finding said pieces of paper by the wad fulls in the littlest's cheeks.

He loves to play board games and strategy games but is an extremely sore loser. We are constantly reminding him that it is OK for others to win sometimes.

He tattles.  And whines--oh man, he can wine. But tries his best to obtain harmony. And he still likes to slap on a bright, shiny halo if Bennett is acting out. And suddenly he is king of doing EXACTLY what mom is asking. What can I say, he has learned the art of basking in heroism at his brother's disposal.

If I ask him to do something like keep an eye on Davis for a quick minute...he does, and will usually yell a play-by-play up to me.As well as a play-by-play of when Bennett is getting into something he shouldn't be...which happens to be often.

If you compliment him or praise him on anything he will always reply with a very sultry sounding "Faaaaank-you". Cracks me up every time.

He gets fixated on certain things and won't stop asking...sometimes the entire day (or week-s). Playing with his umbrella was one of those things. I finally gave in one day, because it was actually raining and it got him outside.

I have loved watching him grow in independence. Sometimes He takes me by surprise with how big boy he is becoming. His thought and reasoning are starting to mature in ways that were a little unexpected at his age.

His mind is like one big calendar where long or short naps map out the definitive of his day and night.  He insists on always being in the know of what is going to happen, when and for how long. Before he goes to bed at night or before his naps I must inform him what will happen when he wakes up. Where will we go, what will we do, who will we see. If I say that I don't know, or that we are just staying home....that simply is not pleasing enough to him.

He likes to keep a strict schedule, and routine is a must. Which is why I think he will actually thrive in Kindergarten.

And also because he has become quite the social butterfly. I think that has been one thing that has been the most fun to watch blossom this past year., He has made some very sweet friendships, friendships that I really hope will continue on as he grows older. I mean, is there anything more precious than listening to giggling little boys? Or listening to "best friends" converse when their ages range from 3-5.

 And I'm pretty sure there is a saying somewhere that says friends who rock together, stay together.

Does a rock band get any cuter? Putting on shows and concerts seem to be one of his and Bennett's favorite things to do. Our house never lacks for entertainment or loudness.

He definitely has his dad's cleaning genes. if I start singing "clean up, pick up, put away" You know, Daniel Tiger style. He goes into clean mode, and won't stop until every last item is picked up. Sometimes everything gets piled in one corner or on top of the table.....but at least he's trying. And when he's on his roll, he's on it, and will go from one room to the other until they are all nice and tidy.

He loves to learn about bugs and animals, and asks his dad to watch videos about them on the computer. His favorite happen to be the ones on the venus fly trap and wolf spiders.....WOLF SPIDERS....I can't even....

I don't ever bring up the time he found a lady bug, and as he was calling me over to look at it, Bennett marched over, lifted up his leg and stomped down as hard as he could.....poor bug.

He has been playing soccer this year and loves it. He plays good offense and spends more time running away from the ball than towards it. But seems to thoroughly enjoy himself, especially when it's time to collect snacks at the end.

 He is silly. And sweet. And incredibly loving.

Often he will grab my arm and kiss it. He tells me he loves me, and I tell him there is nothing he could ever do to change my love.

His love language is quality time and words of affirmation. If you give him those two things you can see his heart practically burst out of his chest, and off he will go with his love tank full.

Also, if picnics (or rather, food) were a love language, that would probably be number one. He loves himself a good picnic and usually requires the entire set up, even in freezing cold temps.

And don't get me started on the 8,999 times a day he asks for "sumpin to eat". This morning he ate 4 heavy-duty pumpkin oatmeal pancakes...and then asked for food 30 minutes later. I am happy to report that he is getting over his incredibly pickiness with food and seems to have handed the reigns over to Bennett.  I'm holding onto hope that Davis will remain easily pleased with whatever food I put in front of him.

I have a feeling I will be cooking around the clock by the time they hit high school. Kyle, we better start stashing away a secret "ravenous-teen-food-fund".

But really, I can't complain...I mean, I used to dream of opening my own restaurant or bakery...so I will just look at it like I own a 24 hour, all you can eat buffet of sorts. Dream achieved.

Really my dreams have been met and so much more. I get to call this one my own, my son, my first born.

I get to laugh with him, dream with him....go on treasure hunts with him (in undies and boots none the less--again, him...not me) He has blessed my life for 5 years now, and I have loved most of every moment of it. We've definitely had some doozy moments, but they are making us stronger and changing us for the better.

This year  he made the decision to follow Jesus. he strives to live his life in a way that would make Jesus happy and proud.

My son, I have no doubt you are doing just that. Jesus is smiling widely as he watches you with your brothers, soaking in his creation, learning about all the intricate details He put into place. Cole, Jesus loves you so very much. And so do I.

Please, above all else. If I screw up in a million ways raising you, please never forget the above two truths.

You are loved immeasurably by your creator, and by your mom. I cannot imagine any other person making me fall in love so quickly, so deeply, and so crazily as you did first. Thank you for all that you have taught me in the past 5 years. How I pray we will make it through all the changes this next year will bring.

I look forward to watching Christ work in your life, and seeing all that He is going to do with you this next year. May you let your light shine bright my big boy. May all that you meet know that there is something incredibly unique and special about who you are. Continue to reach out to those that need help, continue to be the big protector over your younger brothers. I love how much Bennett looks up to you, and even needs you in situation that make him want to retreat. The kindness you have shown him is so sweet. The way you lead him into a room when he wants to run and hide, you help him find joy in those situations. In those moments I see a greater picture of why God gave you to me first, why he chose YOU to be the big brother. Because you are great at it. It's who you are.

I can't help but think of all the many ways God will use you in the future. Oh how my heart smiles and swells thinking of you and the future...and maybe it cries and screams a bit, fighting for you to stay little longer. But mostly it smiles. Because I know you were meant for so much more.

I'm working on letting you fly. On releasing my tight grip on your hand as it has grown from chubby little baby, to that which will soon overcome mine with strength and size. This next year will be hard on me, but it will be good. For both of us.

As I learn to trust more and you grow up even more than you have right now.

Be brave and bold, carry Jesus close to your heart...and He will make you a mighty warrior. 

I love you, my warrior...always and forever.

Happy Five Years!