Monday, February 25, 2013

Monsters Under The Bed

I know violence is as old as time but only recently has it been so pervasively and prevalently on my mind. It may be increased coverage on shootings in light of the national gun debate or it may just be the usual hysterics that rock our nation in the wake of a violent tragedy, but lately it seems that horrifying stories about death and violence and crime are daily taking the centerstage of all news programs. Some stories showcase the bravery of heroes in the face of danger. Others focus solely on the unimaginable grief of loved ones.

Amidst all of this, I find it increasingly hard to fall asleep peacefully at night.

Each night, as I slide under my covers, I try to unseize myself of the fear that is tightly gripping my mind. I try to shake off scary thoughts and imagined sounds. And even though there is just a thin wall separating me from the two precious boys snoring in the next room, in my mind, that wall has the depth of five dozen bricks. As much as I try to ignore all the scary "what-ifs," multiple horrifying scenarious still play out in my mind. I never know how each one should end. And this just increases my anxiety.

What would I do if something really were to happen? How would we protect the kids? I have no doubt I would jump in front of a gun if need be. But would that even be enough? As much as I don't want to think about these scary things, part of me feels like I need to. Isn't it better to be prepared?

I am fervently against gun ownership. I have told my husband a thousand times that I will not live under the same roof as a gun. In my mind, a gun is at least 10 times more likely to result in an unintended injury or death (especially with children in the house) than to result in successfully thwarting a criminal invader. But late at night, when my thoughts are running wild, when every sound coming from the boys' room makes my heart leap, when fear replaces logic, I can't help but think that a gun would make me feel safer. I can't help but feel that a measley baseball bat under the bed is grossly ineffective.

Hopefully the landscape of the national gun debate will quiet (as the next controversial topic takes over) and these scary thoughts will fade. But until then, versus of The Lord's Prayer will continue to run through my mind as I close my eyes each night. I will continue to fall asleep hoping that I never have to be brave. That I never discover the extent of my strength. And that I never meet the depths of my grief.

Being a mom is really hard. I never knew having children would be such an emotional vulnerability. 

Happy Birthday Bryon!

How was your weekend?  
About 6 hours of ours looked something like this:
This little cowboy is not into road-trips.   
At least when we arrived we quickly discovered that it was all worth it!  On Friday afternoon we had a great dinner with my parents and sister's family.  Then us girls went on a quick shopping adventure.
On Saturday morning, my sister had a tennis lesson so my mom and I watched my niece and nephew. 
 Jacey and I played beauty shop.  I just love this little girl.  It's so fun do hair and talk clothes :)
After a crazy lunch at Chick-fil-A we headed to our nephew, Bryon's 4th birthday party!!  
His parents threw him the coolest Rocket Party.
I apologize that I only got pictures with my phone since they're so blurry but seriously this party was too cute.  They made all the kids jet packs, served rocket pops (a.k.a bomb pops) and had lots of cute decorations.  All the kids had a blast.  Like every party - we had A LOT of little boys running around!
On Sunday, we got to visit with some of our little friends.  It just so happened that our friends that recently moved back to Texas from Minnesota were in town so we got see this big guy!  Henry and Kal still don't quite know what to think of one another but at least Henry wasn't scared of Kal  - making progress.  If these two are anything like their dad's they will be the best of friends.  
Then this cute little lady asked Kal on a lunch date!
We closed the trip with a nice lunch with the Smiths and the O'Rears.  It was hard to visit much between these two busybodies but it's always nice to see everyone - especially the O'Rears sweet baby Grady.  
We headed home right after lunch to beat the predicted "blizzard."  Come to find out Amarillo ended up with OUR blizzard and we are just getting wind.  I'm disappointed since we really could use the moisture but relieved we are safe.  Stay warm in Texas everyone!!
This is my sister's yard this morning.  
Per the National Weather Service, Amarillo is now at 17" - the second highest 24hr snowfall in Amarillo's history!
 I hope you are enjoying all that snow kiddo!  I can't believe you are already 4-years-old.  You have a big year ahead of you - becoming a big brother and all.  We know you're going to be a great big brother!  You have a the biggest smile and happiest little demeanor.  You are already such an athlete - we can't wait to see you again soon. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Little Bit Of Everything

My boys are both the highlights of my day and my biggest source of frustration.

I constantly have to remind myself to laugh at the trouble these little guys make. Like when I'm in one room cleaning a bunch of toys while, unbeknownst to me, the boys are in another, dumping a bunch of different toys out. Or when I have to tell Jacob something a minimum of seven times before he actually does it. Or when I walk into the living room to discover that Ryan has rubbed half a package of crumbled Ritz crackers into the carpet.

These moments are easy to forget, however, when Jacob flashes a wide smile just for me or when Ryan erupts into a fit of giggles.

Amid the craziness and business of this weekend, there were a few rare quiet moments. Times when the kids didn't need me to fulfill an immediate need. When they were busy playing or napping and my husband was also busy with chores. It felt so strange to sit in my room alone. I actually kind of freaked out. In those moments of quiet, free time, I had absolute NO IDEA what I should have been doing. I thought about starting a craft or home improvement project but I knew the free time would only be of short duration. Our house is so small that we can't start projects and set them aside for later. For five minutes I walked around, room to room, uncomfortable with my rare freedom, totally clueless about what I should be doing.

Luckily, those moments did not last long. They were quickly interrupted by Ryan was crying or Jacob demanding something to eat. And then, faster than Jacob can say "Mommy, come wipe my butt!," I was back to feeling normal: the short-fused, ever-flustered mommy with too much to do in too short of a time.But, I think I like it that way best.

All in all, this weekend was full of...

Rainier Beer drinking

Laughing at Daddy

A kitchen-band music debut (don't you love my lime green cabinets?)

Riding scooters and playing in rare Pacific Northwest winter sunshine. You are a true Pacific Northwesterner if you bust out your shorts when the temp dips above 50 degrees.


Being Mommy's big helper

Playing dress up

And comic-book reading.

After the day whizzed by, I tucked my sweet boys in and gave them lingering hugs goodnight. I chuckled to myself as Jacob desperately begged and pleaded to stay up and read comics with his dad and Ryan snored away with legs tucked under his belly and his butt in the air.

And now, as I fall into bed myself and slink under my warm covers, I can't help but think about the crazy and fun moments of the days and greet the evening hours with a big smile on my face. My children are my favorite bed time story.

Friday, February 22, 2013

SUYL: Fav Kid/Family Picture Ideas

Today I am linking up with Kelly's Korner for Show Us Your Life: Favorite Kid/Family Picture Ideas.  As soon as I was introduced to Pinterest one my favorites to browse has been photography ideas.  It's amazing how many difference poses are out there that I would never dream of!  
Here's a few of my Pinterest favs and favs of my own kids/family.  
Pinterest Fav. {Source}
This is a picture taken of my kiddos and their cousins by a talented friend of mine - see her website here.  
My sister and I had a canvas made of this photo for my mom as a gift  - LOVE!

Pinterest Fav. {Source}
This is my recreation attempt with Keeler.  I love how it turned out and think it will be nice to look back on someday. I'm definitely going to try to keep this up with my little cowboys.  
See more of Keeler's 4-year-old photo shoot here.

Pinterest Fav. {Source}
This is one of my favorite Wrangler butt shots of my littlest cowboy.  
See more of Kallahan's photo shoot here.

Pinterest Fav. {Source}
This is my fav Christmas light picture from this year.  
Kind of makes me miss having a tree up! :)

Pinterest Fav. {Source}
This is my favorite daddy/son cowboy moment of Keeler and Daddy at a branding when he was two.  See pictures from last year's branding here.

Pinterest Fav. {Source}
This will always be my all time favorite photo of our family when it was only three.  A talented friend captured this photo of us over 2 years ago - right before we got pregnant with Kallahan.  
See more of the photo shoot here.

Thanks for stopping by.  What started as a showing of favorite pictures ended up a walk down memory lane.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Rough Day Ends In Success: With Strozzapreti!

Wednesday was insane. INSANE. First, as we were driving down a busy highway, Jacob swung his car door wide open. I had a mini heart attack before pulling over to reprimand him/stop my heart from jumping out of my chest. Less than two minutes later, we were back on the highway and Jacob was screaming at max capacity that he had to pee right now! No exit in sight, I pulled over to the shoulder once again. I grabbed my empty water bottle and held it out for Jacob to pee in (we've done this before...). Unfortunately, he missed.






After I freaked out and nearly shriveled out of my clothing, we made a quick (ha, yeah right!) stop at the grocery store to grab something. As soon as we walked into the store, a horrible smell radiated from Ryan's butt. I went to change him and discovered that he had filled his diaper, his onesie, and his pants with brown, soupy poop. Ryan was stripped to a shirt and diaper for the rest of the trip. And the poopy pants, which I SWORE I threw onto the floor of my car, have gone missing. This means they will likely show up somewhere very unpleasant at a very inconvenient time...after marinating for a week, of course.

After that (and much more), I probably had a great excuse to pull out a frozen pizza for dinner. But, no. I'm certifiably insane. And cooking is my therapy. After the chaotic, random, and uncontrollable events of a busy kid-full day, nothing is more therapeutic than to pull together an organized and predictable list of ingredients and follow a clear set of step-by-step instructions. On top of that, cooking is such a fun, creative process. Oh yeah, and the end result is edible (duh!)!

When we got home, I was so excited to make dinner. Earlier that day I had run across what appeared to be a simple and easy homemade pasta recipe. I've made gnocchi, linguine, and ravioli from scratch and, while they were all delicious, they were so much work! This recipe for sprozzapreti, on the other hand, was super easy and only required two ingredients (for the pasta anyway, then add your own favorite sauce)! Just like my favorite recipe for homemade tortillas, this is going to be a new go-to recipe.


(seen with my new favorite dish: gruyere chicken)
(p.s. forgive the poor quality, phone-camera photo)

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs

Pour the flour into a bowl. Crack the eggs into the center. Mix thoroughly with your hand until the ingredients are combined and form a ball. Add flour if necessary so that the dough is not too sticky. However, do not add so much flour that the dough becomes stiff.

Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out onto a floured surface as thin as possible.  Cut the dough into strips about one inch wide. Take one strip at a time and roll the strips between your palms as if making play-do snakes. Roll them just enough to make the snake shape so that they have a fun texture but do not roll them so much that they become too smooth (honestly, you can roll them as much as you like, but the funkier the texture, the better the pasta can pick up your pasta sauce). Pinch the strips into small pieces (don't worry about being exact) and set aside.

Cook the strozzapreti in a large pot of boiling salted water for a couple minutes. You want the pasta to be tender and slightly chewy, but cooked through. When it's the desired amount of tenderness, drain the water. Add pasta sauce and serve!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My Day In Poetry

I honestly don’t know if I’ll survive another day

So many dirty dishes and toys to put away

Another poopy diaper will surely make me scream

These kids make more laundry than the local football team

The marks on Ryan’s face show he ate a purple crayon

Jacob’s jumping off the couch proclaiming he’s spiderman

The cat just farted and now he’s scratching at the wall

What’s that in Ryan’s mouth? Why, it’s a cotton ball

Jacob just decided his stuffed penguin needs a bath

He’s lucky daddy just got home to save him from mom’s wrath

I’m counting down the minutes until the kids are in bed

If only my to-do list would vanish from my head.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Messy Monday

My day off started....with a gigantic Ryan poop. The second I got that diaper off, he wriggled free and smeared a long trail of poo all over his boppy pillow. The more mobile he gets, the more I am certain that a medical restraint board (and a hazmat suit) is a great investment. But the day was still fresh and I was in a good mood. I wasn't going to let a little poo ruin my day off. I cheerily sorted out a load of dirty laundry, brought it downstairs, and filled the washing machine.

When I arrived upstairs, I prepared breakfast for the kids. Jacob informed me that he wanted orange juice, but not the "hairy kind." What? Hairy orange juice? It took five minutes of inquisition to figure out that he was referring to pulp. Ha Ha!

It wasn't until after both kids were fed that I was finally able to sneak to the bathroom for my morning pee ("TMI" is my middle name). I closed the door and breathed a heavy sigh. It's amazing how much sanctuary a thin bathroom door can offer.

The kids decided to take advantage of their three minutes of freedom by dumping out an entire package of jumbo-sized cotton balls.

When I saw them giggling and throwing cotton balls at each other, I didn't have the heart to interrupt their fun with adult worries about wastfullness and messes. Jacob loved making snowballs and throwing them at Ryan's head. Ryan loved picking the balls up and showing them to me. Then he crawled over to his stacking cups and proceeded to fill each one with a mound of cotton balls. He was working with so much concentration and effort, it was pretty hilarious!

Unfortunately, the kids handled the cotton balls so much that they disintegrated into small cotton strings. As we speak, those cotton pieces are rubbed into all four corners of our living room rug.

As I tried to pick cotton ball strands out of the rug, Jacob asked me if he could have something to drink. I shoed him to the kitchen to get his own drink. One minute later, I heard the microwave turn on. This sound was followed by the sound of aggressive sparks and a smokey-burny smell. I walked into the kitchen to find Jacob staring at a soda can that had seen better days. Four years of parenting have calloused me to little calamaties like these. I think I've seen everything. Unless someone's limb is hanging on my a mere membrane, I am incapable of freaking out.

I calmly walked Jacob out of the kitchen. In doing so, I passed by a bundle of fabric on the floor. What the heck?! It was the boppy pillow cover smeared with Ryan's poo. You know... the very same boppy pillow cover that I had JUST done a whole load of laundry for. The one that was supposed to be in the washing machine right that minute! ARRRRG!!!

Despite a rough morning, I decided to brave a trip to the pool in the afternoon. It was just the kids and me. It was also the first time I had taken both kids at the same time. It was a bit of a challenge (ok a large challenge) to wrangle two kids to the pool, in the pool, and from the pool, but it was very worth it to see the excitement and happiness on their faces as they played. (Also, as I changed Ryan into his swimsuit, three cotton balls fell out of his onesie...that's what big brothers are for, right?).

Jacob is my fearless waterbunny. He loves to dunk his head under and will bravely march into the deep end after the big kids with nothing but a skinny pool noodle to keep him afloat. Scares the crap out of me. I desperately need to get that kid into swimming lessons.

Ryan loves the pool just as much as Jacob. He kept trying to leap out of my arms and into the water. He splashed and giggled and splashed some more. Our pool has a zero-depth entry so I set Ryan down in the shallow end to let him splash. He quickly darted straight towards the deep end. Luckily, I caught him just as his face hit the water.

I am so in trouble! What am I going to do with these fearless boys?

Although Jacob has a new, coveted pair of Spiderman swim trunks, he insisted on wearing his old shark trunks so that he could match Ryan. Ryan's red shark trunks are hand me downs from his big brother. I remember so vividly when Jacob used to toddle around on the sand in them. I teared up just the slightest as I slipped them over Ryan's chubby legs. Sigh...

My (freezing) sharks

We ended our eventful day with a trip to the grocery store where I JUST barely clung to the remainder of my wits and my thinly-stretched patience. Jacob insisted on wearing his sunglasses. And Ryan, refusing to let me help in any way, kept trying to put on his hat.

We rushed home and I whipped up a new dessert that had caught my eye in a cooking magazine. It's a key-lime cheesecake with oreo crust (YUM!). It's setting in the refrigerator right now and I keep opening the fridge door to take little peeks. It's supposed to chill for four hours and I, with good faith, predict that I will be sneaking out of my bed at 1 a.m. for a taste test!

Weekend Whoas!

This weekend we stayed very busy.  We had a 2-year-old birthday party on Saturday.  It was my friend Brandi's daughter's birthday.  She had a darling Minnie Mouse party.  Brandi asked me to design the invite which was so fun because it was so girly and unlike anything I ever get to do for my boys or for work.  
Speaking of design, did you notice my new blog header?    
 The party was a lot of fun for the little cowboys.  I remember going to her birthday last year and Kallahan stayed in the carrier most of the time.  Wow, how things change in a year!  He thought he was just as big as all the other kids.  He loved it and loved the cake!  
My friend Anne made Mayli's cake.  It was so cute - sorry for the blurry pic but you can check out Anne's blog here, she is so talented.   
Mayli got a little car for her birthday.  All the kids did very well taking turns and test driving the new ride.  Isn't it the cutest!  We just love Mayli Mouse, especially Kallahan :)
After the party, our family headed over to  visit  friend's that have moved about an hour and half away.  They moved around Christmas so this was the first time we got to see their new house.  We loved getting to catch up.  They have two little boys and always play well with Keeler.  
 Here are all the boys at the their local Pizza Shack.  Their youngest just got glasses and is doing great with keeping them on.  After dinner Jill and I went to a Vault denim party.  We enjoyed a margarita and some adult time - oh, and both found some pretty cute new jeans.  After the party we went back to their house, let the kids play and had a nice visit.  We probably stayed too late but everyone was having a great time.  We got home right before midnight and as we were pulling into town Keeler threw up in the backseat.  Cleaning out my car at midnight was definitely not the highlight of the weekend.
Since Keeler got sick we stayed home from church on Sunday morning.  By lunch he seemed fine.  The weather was perfect so we took the boys for a picnic in the park.  They loved it!  After lunch, Tyler's dad "Granddad Baker" came over. 
We don't get to see him every often because he lives several hours away.  This was actually his first time to see Kal.  The little cowboys had a great time showing him all their toys and keeping him entertained.  We went back out to play and the neighbor boys came over.  We have the sweetest new neighbors and I enjoyed getting to know the mom better and her little baby boy.  It gave me baby fever for a quick second -over that!  Granddad Baker stayed for dinner.  When he left Keeler said, "There's nothin' better than Granddad Baker."  That kid cracks us up!  I'm so glad he's feeling better!
I don't have much to report for my fitness goal -
I took all week off to heal a groin injury.  Yesterday I was finally pain free so I ventured out for a slow and steady run.  I warmed up by walking the first 1/4 mile and then jogged for a little over 2 miles.  I could definitely tell I'd been off for a while but didn't have any pain.  It was so great to be back - I missed it!  This week I'm going to work on more easy running and also incorporate come cross training.  
Linking up with Ashley for