Wednesday, December 31, 2014

More Updates & a Clean Slate

I’m making progress on my massive catch-up blog-post list.  Slowly but surely, I’ll get there.  I hope.  With the hustle of the holidays over, I’m feeling a bit more settled and working to find a routine again (again, meaning, like I had 2-3 years ago) but while I’m super antsy to get some of my in-progress projects completed (including this here blog), there are so many in-progress projects that I have moments of feeling overwhelmed, and then I just kinda shut down.  So that’s productive.  (With this also comes some clarity on what matters and what doesn’t and what I want to keep working on and what I just need to let go.  This blog - at the top of the what I want to keep working on list.)
With that in mind…and the idea that I sometimes need to start over to make something work again… I’ve moved the blog to a new site.  Again.  I apologize for doing this to you all again (which, by the way, huge thanks for sticking around all these years!) but for various reasons, Tumblr just isn’t working well for me.  So with the influence of and help from my IT guy (thanks, Justin!) I’ve purchased my own domain, so no matter how many different blog hosts I decide to switch to, no matter what, you can always find us here:
Easy peasy.
With that clean slate, I have huge and ambitious plans to stay up to date.  When there is something to write, I plan to sit and write.  While I catch up here, I’ll stay caught up there.  (That sounds like a great resolution, no?)  I’ll redirect as necessary so you won’t miss anything, but for now, please change your readers or bookmark tab or however else you find us, to our new domain above.
On that note, I have completed a few old posts here, and there are a couple new posts up on the new site.  Happy reading!
Here you’ll find (click each link to be redirected):
Losing Luci (I began this post three or four weeks after Luci died, and found myself working on it sporadically over the next six or seven months.  It was tough trying to focus on the story and wanting to remember and capture some of the details.  If you typically ride an emotional roller coaster or are a dog-lover, have some tissues handy.)
Daddy’s Little Girl (a little love story)
Dear Reed (before he goes to Kindergarten)
And on the new site, you’ll find a story that’ll make you smile and one that’ll make you bust a gut.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Ruby at 13 Months

What they say is true - documenting and remembering and record-keeping for second, third and subsequent children just gets less and less.  Certainly not for lack of desire, but rather because this old brain and body of mine goes in a million different directions with three kiddos to keep track of!  When it was just Drew, he was all I had to think about.  Tack on Reed, and now Ruby…well, it’s lucky I’ve been recording her monthly progress here because I have made zero entires in her baby book!
Obviously, as a memory keeper, this is distressing to me.  I wish my memory was as sharp as it used to be so that at least as time passes, I could write things down later.  Well that’s a joke.  I retain nothing these days.  It’s rough to keep track of it all, especially all the when-she-did-what but seeing as I’m trying to keep somewhat decent details of the boys’ days too… you can imagine.
So I have an idea.  Well, it’s not my idea, but an idea I saw on one of my favorite I-read-it-everyday blogs (again, I shall praise the wonder of internets!).  After seeing the idea on yet a different blog,Elise is documenting her daughter’s second year of life by sharing and comparing some of her daughter’s and her own favorites each month.  So fun.  So I’m hopping on that bandwagon and decided to document Ruby’s favorites for the next several months.  By using prompts similar to what I’ve used for the boys’ Currently posts, I’ll have a running record of what Ruby is reading, watching, learning, eating, making, etc from month to month.  I’ll likely tag on a bit of commentary (because I’m long-winded like that) regarding certain milestones or mannerisms, but I found this to be a fun and unique way to remember Ruby’s second year. 
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So this is Ruby, at 13 months old.
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Reading The Hungry Caterpillar
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Eating Cheerios
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Playing “Let’s have a picnic!”
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Wearing size 2 shoes
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Listening toTaylor Swift’s “Shake it Off”
In addition: Weening off the bottle and formula was no problem for this little one!  This was an easy transition for all of my kids…let’s hope she gives up the pacifier this easy, too!  The first night we went bottle-free, I gave her a snack just before bed, hoping to satisfy her like her bottle did so there wouldn’t be any midnight hunger pangs.  She slept great.  The next night I did the same.  By the third night, it kind of went by the wayside and it didn’t make a lick of difference.  From about 7:30/8:00pm until somewhere between 6:30 and 7:30am, this girl sleeps, bedtime snack or not.  Double thumbs up, my people.
Also: this girl is w.a.l.k.i.n.g.  She continued to test the waters, taking 2-5 steps at a time before stumbling or grabbing onto something to steady herself.  Then, for about two weeks, she’d walk on her knees (somehow that was comfortable) until about a week or so ago, when she started walking with such confidence and she hasn’t stopped!  I find myself just as surprised and excited with Ruby’s milestones as I did with Drew’s and then Reed’s.  This motherhood gig doesn’t get old.

Monday, November 24, 2014

12 Months Old

Ruby and I headed in to the pediatrician’s office this morning for her one-year well-baby check.  And we had a wee bit of fun while we waited…
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She weighs in at 19 pounds, 10 ounces, and measures 29 inches long, both in the 50th percentile, where she’s been nestled quite comfortably for the last several months.  Her head, however, is near off the charts, still measuring in the 98th.  Big brains, this one.  Big brains.
She checked out well, and is all up-to-date with her vaccinations.  Yay!
At 12 months, this little lady is *this close* to walking on her own.  I finally unearthed the push toy from the basement (not sure why it took me so long — likely because I forgot all about it) and she zooms behind that thing like nobody’s business.  I have recorded that she has taken her first steps, just two or three, but I have no doubt that it won’t be much longer before she’s taking many, many more.  
We’ve widdled down the bottles to just one at bedtime.  We still have half of a container of formula left, so we’ll finish that up in the next couple weeks before we call it quits for good.  She has adjusted really well to having a “real” breakfast in the morning.  Brad is the one that is up with her on school days, so they’ve taken to grabbing Cheerios and a sippy cup and making themselves comfortable on the living room floor as they eat and watch ESPN.  By the time I’m home from dropping off the boys, she’s ready for “second breakfast” in her highchair - something a bit more substantial and sustaining than Cheerios!
Sleep is status quo…although we need to work on getting Ruby to fall asleep on her own.  I remember very distinctly how we sleep trained the boys (oh, the crying!) and I’m certain it’s been a combination of Ruby being Ruby and Ruby being our last baby that has made me not so anxious to let go of the let-her-fall-asleep-in-my-arms phase.  I’m a little nervous about how bedtime will go without that bottle to woo her to sleep.  We’ll cross that bridge when we get there, I guess.
She remains spunky and silly and animated and fun.  She loves to dance and “sing” and make all sorts of lovely noises.  She’s absolutely perfect.  And she’s ONE!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Celebrating O.N.E.

The boys really wanted Ruby to have a birthday party.  Obviously, I was going to put something together for her big day, but the boys were convinced that all of her little baby friends needed to be invited.
So cute.
We passed on a big soiree, but instead celebrated our little girl with a lot of PINK and GLITTER and CAKE and with Grandma and Grandpa, too.
Everything with a girl is so new and fun.  I admit it.  I had a heck of a good time scouring Pinterest for a few fun ideas.  I knew I wanted PINK and as I “researched” I found that the pink/gold combination is trendy right now.  Pink and glitter?!  Sold! 
I love a good tablescape, so that was the centerpiece of the party.
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I found a how-to for the poms online and they were easy and fun to put together.  A few got wet so into the trash they went, but I’m going to save a few and see if I can use them in another year for bedroom decor when Ruby graduates to a big girl bed.
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The snacks included pink wafer cookies, heart-shaped rice krispie treats, popcorn, strawberries, almond-bark covered pretzels (and plain ones, too), and almond-barked dipped marshmallows.
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Pink punch (frozen pink lemonade concentrate mixed with Sprite) and birthday cake topped it off.
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I made her birthday banner with two shades of pink and gold glitter paper, and then covered our Halloween themed photos with coordinating scrapbook paper (taped on top of the glass with glitter washi tape).
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Ruby’s smash cake was white with the best that I could do with my pastry bag and medium star tip to make something that resembles flowers.  Maybe??
And our cake was an pink ombre layer cake.  Or at least I tried to make it one.  I was waaaaayyyy off on my pink gel coloring ratios.  Ah well.  It tasted delicious. 
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We began with snacks…but first a quick photo shoot with the birthday girl!
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Then presents!  It took a bit for Ruby to get into it, not knowing what the heck she was supposed to be doing or how she was supposed to be doing it.  The boys were *very* helpful (goodness, it’s a good thing she has those brothers!) and eventually, she got it done!
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Clothes, dolls, toys - what more could a girl ask for???
Then, it was cake time!  Always a favorite!
The frosting I use is a buttercream recipe, so when it’s exposed for a while, it hardens up a bit on the outside.  She wasn’t sure what that was about, and she wasn’t thrilled about digging into something that was poking her, so eventually I cut out a piece so she could really reach into the soft, sweet cake on the inside. 
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It worked!  She grabbed and stuffed!
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She was going to town, so I put the breaks on shortly after she finished her piece.  A baby with a bellyache on her first birthday is not my idea of a good time!
Celebrating birthdays is one of my favorites.  Celebrating Ruby is, too.  I’m so looking forward to many more parties, covered in even more pink and glitter!

Friday, November 21, 2014

O.N.E.

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I can’t help but say it: where has the time gone?!?!  I have soaked up every single second with this little wonder.  I have taken nothing for granted and haven’t wished the time away.  I’ve lived in the moment and haven’t mourned time as it passed but have embraced each new stage as it happened upon us.
But this.  
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Wasn’t this just yesterday?!?
In the dailyness of life, sometimes I would forget exactly how far a little baby comes in her first year of life.  Just think of all she has done!  How we’ve gone from the newborn days to darn near walking in 12 months surprises me every time!  And although my heart is just the *tiniest* bit sad to say goodbye, for good, to the baby years, my heart is overjoyed for the year ahead, as we watch this girl
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take on year #2.
Oh, the adventures that await you, little Ruby.
Happy First Birthday, Sweet Angel!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Halloween Extravaganza

The load of activities we embarked on on Halloween Day legitimately made it feel like an “event”.  There was a lot happening, or so it seemed — or perhaps that was just for me, as I was helping out with both classroom parties, which involved both preparations and an afternoon spent at school.  So yeah, that was probably it. :)
Nonetheless, it was a full day, and it was fun!
I always try to help out when I can in the boys’ classrooms.  I love being able to get a sneak peek into the boys’ lives at school, and they’re both excited for me to be there, so until they change their minds and prefer that I not be there, I’m gonna be there!  I was unsure of how to coordinate my whereabouts, however, as I was assuming that the entire school was having their parties at the same time.  My plan was to contribute items for the parties (goody bags for Reed’s class and cupcakes for Drew’s class) but to not volunteer to lead an activity so that I could be free to float from one classroom to the other.  As it turned out, Reed’s class began their party shortly after lunch, and Drew’s class party began after the school costume parade, which was at 2:00.  That worked out well for me as I was able to be with both boys for a good portion of their parties.
Reed’s class started with centers, rotating through Halloween activities throughout their classroom, before changing into their costumes for the parade.
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The parade consists of the classes walking through the hallways so that everyone can see everyone else’s costumes.  I don’t believe I saw any other Mickeys.
{I hear little snippets from the boys about how and when they see each other throughout the day.  I was tickled as I saw Drew wave at Reed as he passed him during the parade.}
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After the parade, Reed’s class settled in with snacks and a Halloween movie, and I made my way down the hall to Drew’s class, where their party was beginning with a puppet show, presented by a classmate and his mom.
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Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to snap as many pictures during Drew’s party.  As the day approached, I noticed that no one has signed up to bring a craft for his party, so I volunteered and spent the party hosting and helping at the craft station.  I observed Drew as much as I could…noticing enough to see that he ate at least two cupcakes, if not three. :)
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The parties lasted until the close of the school day, so after resting up at home and grabbing a light supper, it was time to head out to trick-or-treat.
We had already decided, several days earlier, that we wanted to walk our neighborhood this year.  The last two years we’ve taken the boys to Trunk-or-Treats, capitalizing on the one-stop-shop candy collecting technique.  We stuck to the plan despite what the weatherman was telling us. Man oh man was it cold!  The temperature likely would have been tolerable if it hadn’t been for the 30-45mph winds we experienced all night!  Drew has a buddy that lives just up the street, so at the last minute, we decided to go out together (Brad stayed home with Ruby).  
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Weather aside, we did find the house that gives out the full-sized candy bars (score!) and we ended our neighborhood tour with the house that asks who the oldest in the group is and then proceeds to give the children that many pieces of candy.
When we got home, Brad was still wanting to take the boys to our neighbor’s church, which was doing Trunk-or-Treat, so Ruby and I stayed home while they ventured out again.
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Upon their return, the great candy sort of 2014 was on!
Because it was so cold and cloudy (and it even snowed a bit in the afternoon!) on Halloween day, I saved the obligatory holiday photo session for Sunday, when temps reached the low 50s and the sun was shining!
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All three costumes were DIY (what was I thinking?!) with a lot of help from everyday clothes and felt.  Yay for felt!
Here’s the lowdown…
Reed’s Mickey: 
long-sleeved black shirt - already in the closet
red shorts - borrowed from a friend
black leggings - $5 in the girls (shhhh don’t tell Reed!) department at Walmart.  It’ll be a few years, but those will be Ruby’s someday.
ears, gloves, shoe covers, buttons - felt, hot glue, a little bit of sewing, and an online pattern for the gloves
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{nice tail!}
Drew’s Leonardo: the most time-consuming and complicated of the three, for sure.  I used inspiration from HERE and HERE to try to come up with something.
green long-sleeved shirt & camo pants - Both purchased at Walmart.  I was on the hunt for matching greens for both the top and bottom, but came up short, so opted for a size small mens long sleeved shirt as it was the shade of green I was looking for (as opposed to the *bright* green the boys department offered me).  I trimmed the length and the sleeves so it would fit Drew more appropriately for his size.  There was a pair of matching sweat pants in the mens department, but there was no way I would’ve been able to alter those to Drew’s size.  The camo pants matched the green of the shirt, he could wear them after Halloween, and I sold them as being more in line with the “rougher” image those Turtles have these days.  Drew bought it.  Win.  Then, using some quilt batting and old fabric I had in my stash, I fashioned a shell-like chest.  Not too shabby, I gotta say.
shell - Drew had been given a store-bought Raphael costume from a friend (because his friend had been cleaning out some of his old stuff and knew Drew loved the Turtles - so sweet, right?!) but the costume was two sizes too small for Drew to wear this year.  But we could use the shell, as it was a separate piece.  It was a bit floppy, so I gave it some body and poof by attaching a felt piece to the back and stuffing it (felt and fiberfill already on hand).  Then I added the belt and sashes with old fabric and velcro, a la Leo.
mask - blue felt, also in my stash.
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Ruby’s owl:
It wasn’t long after Ruby was born that I had THIS pinned on Pinterest (followed quite quickly by finding and pinning her Halloween costume idea for next year!).  So I guess you could say I’ve been planning for a while for her to be an owl for her first Halloween!
pink long-sleeved shirt & pants - purchased at Kohls and wearable for the rest of the season
boots - garage sale find for $4
hat - Target; will be used all winter
cape - felt and more felt.  I made my own cape and feather patterns and after spending a few evenings watching TV  while cutting feathers from four different colors of felt, it took about and hour of pinning and sewing to get them attached to the cape.
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It convinced her.  She thought she could fly!
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I love these crazy animals!