Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Double Bump!

We didn't think we would have a chance to get our baby bumps together, but when my sister-in-law decided to come out for part of Thanksgiving we got to compare!  She's 8 weeks ahead of me and still bigger, but probably not for long!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas Tree Hunting!

We've started a tradition of getting our Christmas trees the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Some years there's snow, some years there isn't.  This year was average, but I wasn't climbing up in the drifts to look at trees!

And neither was my also pregnant sister in law!  But we got some pretty pictures!

So while my mom and the guys were actually looking for trees... we were chasing boys up and down the road and playing in the snow!

Noah's first snow angels!

Big brother snow angel!

Daddy found us a tree!

And Grandpa got Cory with the snow off a tree... I think this might have been paybacks for Cory trying to get Grandpa to eat a rubber chocolate!

Noah also discovered the wonder that is eating snow!

No, no one pushed him...

 So fun Mama!

We had success, but our tree is a bit larger than the space we have for it... it will be interesting to see how we manage... and how the boys stay out of it.  Pictures will come when it's all decorated!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend Fun

Brothers who haven't seen each other in four days can have a lot of fun together! 

Yes, you can ride tricycles in the snow even on Thanksgiving Day! (at Nana and Papa's house)

Grandma and Grandpa were also in town and we all had dinner together and hung out (seriously, how lucky am I that my parents and in-laws like being together!).

Grandma, the boys, and I did a bit of Black Friday shopping... around noon!  And then it was story time and that evening Cory got to go with Grandma and Nana to see Charlotte's Web.

On Saturday we went Christmas tree hunting (which deserves a post all it's own!) and then back to Nana and Papa's house for decorating gingerbread houses!  First year for Noah to participate and he loved it...

other than when we told him he couldn't eat the candy and got this face!

Auntie Allison also flew in Friday night so we've had 2 days with her and her baby bump as well!  Noah says her name "Oh-wee-oh" and it's darn cute!  Grandma and Grandpa are also Bama and Bapa.  He's so happy to have "his people" around and when one of them is not in the room he goes looking for them calling their name!

They're all leaving this morning and we will miss them, but thankfully it's only a few weeks until Christmas!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Veggie Monster

The other day I gave Noah some mixed veggie with his dinner.  The bowl was still sitting on the table with my serving left in it.  A few minutes after I let him down I came back to find him eating mine... with a serving size spoon!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Things My Toddler Has Done: Episode 4

On Halloween he got into the Sharpies and decorated his dresser, Cory's bed, the walls (where I had stenciled of course) and the bookcase.  Lucky for me there was one silver one that wasn't a Sharpie and it mostly came off, but the top of the dresser had to be sanded.... one little boy didn't get to go trick or treating.

I find him in the bathroom trying to climb into the tub and then he shows me his hands and says "num num" and it appears he's been eating the soap out of the soap dish.  (at this point I'm happy I buy very simple basic soap with no added chemicals!)

Got into my makeup and dug a big line across the blush... and then dumped all the loose powder on my white bathroom rug.

Grabbed a small tomato out of the box we have in our kitchen ripening and squeezed until it popped... and squirted himself right in the face and all over his shirt; the shirt he was supposed to wear for pictures a couple hours later.

Yesterday I put on Blue's Clues for Noah so I could take a shower (Cory was gone) and got out 10 minutes later to find him on the floor in the study stamping... which he knows he's not supposed to do.  However, he did pretty good, only getting the ink on his fingers and perhaps a bit on the carpet where he set the stamps down.  The rest of it was on the paper!

Monday, November 21, 2011


Last weekend after our surprise news we were actually on our way to Seattle to hang out with my cousin Jenny and her family.  I don't really have any cousins close in age or that lived near me (Jenny is 5 years older, but grew up in Michigan) so I'm super happy that she and her family have moved to Seattle and her son Jackson is right in between Cory and Noah.  She also has a daughter that's almost a year old.  Yay for cousins!!!

On Saturday we headed to the Pacific Science Center.  I hadn't been there since high school and didn't know how preschooler friendly it would be, but I was pleasantly surprised.

In the first room were all these physical tests.  In this one you were supposed to test your center of gravity by kneeling on the black plate (on the right) and then putting your hands behind your back and bending over.  The object was to touch the red button with your nose.  This was Noah's version...

Generally girls have a lower center of gravity (hello hips) so it's easier for us to do it.  Brian couldn't do it and of course my center of gravity is considerably lower these days so it was easy for me.

This one is of course to see how far you can bend.  I can still reach my toes (for now!).  Cory's chest ran into the end of the orange platform before he ran out of flexibility.

And they didn't make the platform long enough for people like Brian so he couldn't hold himself up and bend at the same time very easily!

My photobombing son

In the next room they had a lot more kid friendly activities.  There was a mirror wall where you stand with one person at each end hiding half your body behind the wall.  Then you lift the leg that is visible and it looks like you're floating.  Cory didn't understand what I was doing so he tried to lift both legs (which looked like squatting) and I had to try not to laugh while explaining it to him!  Fun optical illusions!

The water table was a super hit with the toddlers!
 Noah and Jackson 
(who is a year and a half older, but they are the same size!)
We got to watch some boa constrictor snakes being fed (yes, I took pictures, no I won't post them - you're welcome) which was cool and disgusting to watch at the same time.

We touched starfish and sea anemones in the salt water tank and then checked out the large plastic dinosaur models.

Eventually we made our way to the butterfly house, yay!


There were the beautiful blue morpho butterflies that I remember seeing in Costa Rica and I tried to take some pictures, but when they rest they flap their wings so fast it's hard to get a picture with them open.  There were a couple that decided to fly back and forth right in front of me and I thought one might land on me, but no luck.

After that we all went back to Jenny's house and just chilled out (with an amazing steak dinner).  The boys had so much fun together all weekend and I hope we'll get to see more of them.  Jackson and Noah actually spent half the time in the Science Center walking around holding hands!

On Sunday when we were getting ready to leave these boys climbed into the drawer under the train table and Noah said "nigh nigh" with his blankie.

It was a perfect weekend of hanging out (and distraction from freaking out about getting 2 more babies!) although at one point I had Noah and Jackson both on my lap reading stories and since they are so close in size I was thinking, hmmm, this will be reality in another little while!

On Friday night the boys didn't sleep real well and every time I got up with them it took me a good half an hour to fall back asleep because I laid there thinking about all the implications of having twins... oy!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tiny Prints for Christmas!

This weekend we're getting our family photos taken (professionally, yay!) so I can make up our Christmas cards.  I've gotten so bad at corresponding with people lately, but I make it a priority to do Christmas cards and I LOVE to get ones in return, especially with pictures and some news!

The big question is, how to display them.  I don't really want them in a pile because I never see them and I don't have any fancy hanger or tree to put them on.  Plus, I usually get around 50 and most hangers don't have that many spaces!

So... I create my own tree shape on the wall by taping them up with masking tape!  Start high with the first one and just add below.  It won't be perfectly tree shaped, but what tree is really that perfect anyway?

Instant Christmas decorations that grow through the month!

I love to create my own Christmas cards and I used to hand stamp them, but when I got married and my list quadrupled... well, I don't do that anymore! And now that I have digital pictures I love to include them.  My favorite kinds of cards are the simple designs that really make your photos stand out like this Snowfall one.

If you're looking for inspiration or simply want lots of choices then you should check out Tiny Prints.  Great quality and service with hundreds of designer options!

I can't wait to start my Christmas card tree this year!

Tiny Prints provides simple, modern, and unique stationery from Christmas cards, New Years cards, party invitations, and address labels to thank you cards. Once the holidays have come and gone, Tiny Prints will still be here to fill your stationary needs with their exclusive designs from the nation’s top designers. All year round, you’ll find business cards,birth announcements and even custom wedding invitations. Come try the easy card personalization, a powerful preview engine and top-notch customer service and paper quality for yourself. With Tiny Prints by your side commemorating every holiday and momentous occasion is a cinch!

This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own and I use Tiny Prints greetings.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Butterfly House

We took the boys to the Pacific Science Center on Saturday with my cousin and her kids and the highlight for me was the Butterfly House.  So gorgeous and just flying all around you!

Monday, November 14, 2011


Apparently last Friday's post about allergies being unexpected was just a few hours premature...

We went in for the mid-pregnancy ultrasound Friday morning and were hoping to find out the gender.  Sadly, Brian had to stay out in the waiting room with our rowdy boys for the first 20 minutes so the tech could get measurements without distraction.  She was chatting away, measuring the baby's head and I was finally feeling a little more connection to the reality of this baby.  I've been so busy that other than the nausea and tiredness it's still a little futuristic that we're having another one!

Then she started moving down the body and suddenly she moves sideways and goes, "Wait, did you midwife tell you you were having twins?"  I was like, WHAT?

She moved the wand back and forth to show me both babies and a few tears started leaking out.  For sure, there are two babies in there!  We found out that the the first baby was a girl and then the boys were coming in as the time for "measuring" should have been about done.

She said that I could tell him and I said to Brian, "We have a surprise... there are two babies in there".  Needless to say, he was a bit shocked (as am I) and then very very happy for about the next two hours!  For those of you who might not know, he is a twin himself.

After the second baby was measured up we found out that it was a girl as well.  So... we wanted a girl and we got two!

Then of course our cell phone had stopped working the night before so we couldn't call anyone.  On the most important day of our life so far!  (How's that for some 11/11/11 news???)

After stopping at the Verizon store and a very simple fix (take out the battery while the phone is still on to really reset it) we started calling everyone on our phone list!  Good thing we had a 3 hour drive to Seattle to give us time to call (minus the dead spots).

We needed to stop at the outlet mall to get the boys a few more winter clothes anyway so instead of picking out one new baby outfit I got to pick out two!

This would also explain why I've been feeling kicks way up high as well as down low!  I figured the high ones just had to be muscle twitches (which I also get a lot of) and the low ones were the baby.  Now I know better!

Honestly, we had NO clue that there were twins.  They're measuring at 17 weeks so not really that small, but I'm not that much bigger than I was with Noah (18 weeks) at this point nor have I gained much weight. (These babies at 18 weeks)

It's probably a good thing we were heading to visit my cousin in Seattle for the weekend so I could have some distraction rather than focusing on all the ways this is going to change things!  I also think there's definitely something to those psychosomatic symptoms... since Friday I have felt absolutely huge when before I thought I was about normal!

I have no idea what this means for my birthing center plans or even if the midwives will still see me, which makes me a little sad.  But hopefully I will get a chance to talk to someone about this tomorrow!

Let the adventure begin!!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Unexpected... Allergies

This isn't entirely unexpected now, but a month ago I never would have thought we'd be living in the land of food allergies.   Yesterday the test came back for my oldest son.  Thankfully he does NOT have celiac disease, but he does have a significant gluten* sensitivity.

The doctor said perhaps he'll grow out of it, especially if we can keep him entirely away from gluten for awhile (like 6 months or longer).  Which doesn't look promising for a 4 year old who dumped soy sauce on his lunch today and then licked the frosting off some cookies I left on the counter!  Yes, you'd be amazed just how many things have gluten in them, sadly.

But there are plenty of things that he CAN eat and thankfully it's not an immediate life-threatening type of allergy like nuts or shellfish.  The main symptom is a nasty rash that makes his fingers crack and bleed as well as stomach aches.

I will do whatever it takes to keep my son feeling good, but wow, this takes meal planning to a whole new level!  It also makes travel and potentially living overseas that much more complicated.  For me now, as his mother, but for him in the future, should he not grow out of it, I feel bad.

Right now I'm incredibly thankful for the resources we have to cook new foods and get ideas.  My sister-in-law lives gluten free as well as some amazing blogs by gluten free people like glutenfreegirl, who happens to live near Seattle and pointed me to the PCC Market where their shelf labels are color coded for allergens!  Love that!

This is the new normal.  Time to get used to it!

*Gluten is a component of wheat so anything with wheat in it has gluten, but gluten can also be in foods that don't have wheat in them.

This is a post prompt from The Gypsy Mama. Join in?

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Ducky Boys

Noah found my ducky slippers the other night and it was too cute not to take a picture!

Then Cory wanted to wear them the next day and actually asked me to take his picture!

And just remember Grandpa, they're stepping on the ducks so it's okay!

A Lasting Impression News

You can read my review of A Lasting Impression and enter to win your own copy (from me so your chances are good!)

While Tamera and her book, A Lasting Impression, are traveling across the country virtually (with a few international stops as well!), she will be hosting a Kindle Fire Giveaway (11/4 - 11/15) and preparing for a lavish Southern-Style Facebook Party (11/15) (dripping with hospitality, of course). She will be giving away Southern Food Baskets, books, and an array of other fabulous freebies! Don't miss a minute of the fun. Swoon!

Read what the reviewers are saying here.

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Brand New Kindle Fire (shipped as soon as it releases)
  • A copy of A Lasting Impression and 3 other special books Tamera wants you to have (for Kindle)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on November 15th. Winner will be announced at A Lasting Impression Facebook Party on the 15th. Tamera will be wrapping up theA Lasting Impressioncelebration with an author chat and giving away Southern Food Baskets (Loveless Cafe Food Baskets, books, Amazon and Starbucks gift certificates, and copies of Christy Jordan's Southern Plate cookbook), six gift certificates to Starbucks and, and copies of A Lasting Impression! So grab your copy of A Lasting Impression (it's okay if you don't have one yet- you might win one!) and join Tamera on the evening of November 15th for an author chat, a trivia contest (How much do you know about the 1860's?) and lots of Southern-inspired giveaways (complete listing here).

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER Hope to see you on the 15th!

Monday, November 07, 2011

18 Weeks

Apparently I'm as bad with this baby as I was with Cory in taking pictures!  Here I am at 18 weeks already and this is the first belly shot.  I dug out my maternity clothes a long time ago and I think they make you show more, but still, this one is sticking out sooner than the others.  Darn stretched out stomach!

Also, a very large apology to my sister in law who is 8 weeks ahead of me and still claims no one can tell!

At least I'm not nauseous anymore and for about a week I had some energy so my house got a thorough cleaning.  I think it wore me out though because I'm back to being tired again.  Now you add in Daylight Saving Time and my boys thinking it's still summer hours and I'm in trouble!

Friday we have the ultrasound to measure and hopefully this one will cooperate so we can figure out what we're having!  And yes, for the millionth time, we would like a girl!

One other cool fact. Although we didn't get to meet this summer I have the exact same due date as my friend Stephanie(and it doesn't look like it by the baby tickers because my midwives moved my due date up as far as they could in case this one also comes early we would like to avoid going to the hospital if at all possible!  They can't deliver before 37 weeks and Noah was born at 37 1/2.  But I calculate my due date to be on Easter!)

Friday, November 04, 2011


Uncle Dick passed away this week.  Technically he wasn't my uncle, but my mom's, but that's what I knew him as.

He made it to my cousin's wedding this summer which was awesome.

Uncle Dick and my cousin Brooke (we're one day apart!)
January 2010

He's the last of my grandfather's brother's.  Lilly passed away almost 2 years ago, Grandma this year, and now Richard.

No more first person memories of life after WWII in Spokane and Seattle.  A different era than the one we live in now.

I love to read about history, but it seems often there's not enough time to actually spend with the people in our lives who are our living history.  Perhaps it's because of distance or perhaps it's simply because when we get together there are the now things to talk about, but it happens too infrequently.

I wonder how much we lose by not hearing these stories?  I wonder what will be remembered of me and this time and our generation in the future?

We are so much better at cataloging our lives now (hello blog!) in words and pictures... sometimes it's information overload.

I think we all want to be remembered, but some of us put down our memories for other reasons.  I want to be able to remember myself, mostly the good times of course!  I also like stability and the past is one thing that doesn't change.  Not that I really want to live in the past, but sometimes it's nice to visit.  You know what to expect!

Here's a question: What do you remember most about someone who's passed away in your family?

This is a post prompt from The Gypsy Mama. Join in?

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Book: A Lasting Impression (with giveaway!)

To create something that will last is Claire Laurent's most fervent desire as an artist. It's also her greatest weakness. When her fraud of a father deals her an unexpected hand, Claire is forced to flee from New Orleans to Nashville, only a year after the War Between the States has ended. Claire's path collides with that of Sutton Monroe, and she considers him a godsend for not turning her in to the authorities. But when they meet again and he refuses to come to her aid, she realizes she's sorely misjudged the man. Trading an unwanted destiny for an unknown future, Claire finds herself in the middle of Nashville's elite society and believes her dream of creating a lasting impression in the world of art may finally be within reach.

All that Sutton Monroe holds dear lies in ruin. He's determined to reclaim his heritage and to make the men who murdered his father pay. But what he discovers on his quest for vengeance reveals a truth that may cost him more than he ever imagined.

Set at Nashville's historical Belmont Mansion, a stunning antebellum manor built by Mrs. Adelicia Acklen, the richest woman in America in the 1860s, A Lasting Impression showcases the deep, poignant, unforgettable characters that set Tamera's stories apart and provides an inspiring love story that will capture readers' hearts and leave them eager for more.


Can I just say, I despise book descriptions that leave you anticipating one thing and then the book turns out completely differently?  I kept waiting for Sutton to do something really horrid and leave Claire out in the cold, but if it happens at all it's very minor and in the first few chapters after they meet.  I was expecting something a bit more dramatic between them at the end.  Not that the end isn't dramatic enough, but it wasn't that.  It's a little misleading in the whole "vengeance" thing too.

Anyway, book blurb aside, I really liked this one.  I don't think I've ever read a book by Tamera Alexander before although I have another one on my shelf.  I love how she weaves so much history into the story and that the mansion exists and the supporting main character (Mrs. Adelicia Acklen) was a real person.

The story moves slower than some I've read, but at almost 400 pages you can do that and really develop your characters.  At no point did I feel like I was bored and didn't want to finish it.

Claire and Sutton both have to come to terms with their pasts before they can fully live the lives they have in the present.

Also, the cover is perfect for one scene in the story!


If you would like to read the first chapter of A Lasting Impression, go HERE.

If you would like to win a copy of this book please leave me a comment telling me why you think you would like to read this!
Contest will be open until I post about the fun giveaway that Tamera is also hosting!

Tamera Alexander is the best-selling author of Rekindled, Revealed and Remembered, the critically acclaimed Fountain Creek Chronicles historical series with Bethany House Publishers. Her second historical series, Timber Ridge Reflections (From a Distance, Beyond This Moment, and Within My Heart) continue her signature style of deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots, and poignant prose which has earned her devoted readers—and multiple industry awards.

These awards include the 2009 and 2008 Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the 2010 and 2007 RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, the 2010 and 2007 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the 2010 HOLT Medallion, the 2007 Bookseller’s Best Award, the 2007 National Reader's Choice Award, and Library Journal’s Top Christian Fiction for 2006, among others.

Tamera's newest novel A Lasting Impression is the first of a brand new three-book Southern historical series, and the first two chapters are available for review. She's at work on her ninth novel which will release in fall 2012.

After living in Colorado for seventeen years, Tamera has returned to her Southern roots. She and her husband now make their home in Nashville, Tennessee, along with Tamera's father, Doug, and with their two adult children who live near by. And don't forget Jack, their precious--and precocious--silky terrier.