Sunday, December 25, 2011

Gingerbread Houses

A couple of weeks ago, we did a little activity together that Andrew and I have come to love:  decorating gingerbread (graham cracker) houses! Andrew and I have done this in years past with some dear friends of ours who have since moved away, so I took it upon myself to stop wallowing in self-pity about our far-away friends and get to work!

It was the girls' first gingerbread house experience. Mostly they were excited to eat the candy. Josie was a little confused at first.

Holly got to work right away eating her fill of the assortment I laid out.

But then I showed her how to pipe frosting onto the candy and she enjoyed that quite a bit.

Here's how it went with Josie. I put a piece of candy on her house, and she ate it. I put another piece of candy on her house, and she ate it. Then she tore the roof off and ate that. Holly was upset that Josie destroyed her house, but to each his own. (And it was literally destroyed. She had a great time doing it.)

My completed house.

Holly's finished product. Not bad for her first time!

Andrew's house.

I have to say, this was my first time engineering and constructing the houses themselves; I did this ahead of time so we could just concentrate on decorating. The slope for the roofs on my and Andrew's houses are off; a grave error that I learned from and will be sure to correct next year.

We have had so much fun with our little Christmastime traditions this year! Holly is finally old enough to really get involved in Christmas and start to understand what it's all about.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Big Girl Bed

The day has come! Holly has been fixated on a "big girl bed" for about a week or so now, and yesterday afternoon she was insistent that she get one. So today after work, Andrew demolished her crib and put her mattress on the floor.

Okay, okay. So it's not exactly a bed. More like a mattress on the floor. But you know what? I'm alright with that. We'll get her a bed sometime in the future, when the price is right on Craigslist. Anyway, I had a whole lot of fun setting up her bed while Andrew was giving the girls their bath after dinner. The quilt is the one I (and my mom) made for her before she was born. It is the perfect size!

As you can see, Holly was thrilled with her new "big girl bed." Josie was thrilled with it too, but Holly is very possessive over it. And as I type this, she is sleeping soundly in her new bed. She did not get up once and fell asleep rather quickly, considering the excitement.

Which means that I am experiencing all of those complicated motherly emotions over this moment: excitement and pride, but lots of sadness too. Because my baby is one step closer to not being a baby, and it makes me sad. But happy. And so proud of her. And nervous, too. Because soon she's going to be a teenager and give me attitude and say I'm ruining her life. Ahh! I can't stand it.

And now I need to get off this darn computer, because there is a sour milk smell emanating from heaven knows where and I need to find it. And I cleaned my kitchen today, so surely I did not overlook some old sippy cup full of milk. That certainly never happens around here.

Quick Update

I realized I forgot to write about Josie and all her weights and measurements now that she's one! (You know, because all of you care so much...) So here they are.

Weight: 17.5 lbs (3rd percentile)
Height: 29 inches (50th percentile)
Head Circumference: Unknown, but in the 75th percentile

I never realized that her head is huge in comparison to the rest of her body until the pediatrician told me that little tidbit of information. Interesting.

Josie is walking a little bit now, which is exciting and she is very proud of her accomplishments. She wants to do whatever Holly is doing. She also wants to be wherever her mama is, climbing and cuddling, which is very sweet but makes it hard to keep a clean house. She still fits inside her Boppy, as seen above, and is the world's biggest couch potato. So she fits right in! I also saw her reaching with all her might toward the bathroom doorknob; when she is tall enough to reach it, we are in deep trouble.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Another One...

Holly had another laser treatment today. It was, I believe, number six. We had to be at the hospital at 7:30 am, so we had to leave home at 4:30 am.

Luckily, the girls did beautifully in the car both ways. And my mom tagged along to take care of Josie, which was a huge help. And the wonderful anesthesiologist and nurses let me go back into the operating room and hold Holly until they put her to sleep. Which made the entire process a lot easier for her, but a whole lot harder for me.

And the best thing of all was, Holly woke up happy. I love this little girl! She is the best patient and holds still and does just as instructed. She has rolled with the punches so well since the start of these laser treatments. I don't know how she handles things so well, because I'm a nervous wreck. She's pretty fantastic.

She's not all sweet, though. About forty-five minutes after these photos were taken, she had an epic tantrum at a restaurant filled with old we ate lunch at 11:00 am. It was awesome.

For more pictures of Holly's latest adventures (and some cute pics of Josie too), check out my sister-in-law's blog post here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


We had not carved pumpkins in several years, so we decided it was high time to change that! Plus, we thought it would be fun for the girls. So a few weeks ago, we passed by a pumpkin patch and decided to stop. The girls each picked out a pumpkin.

Holly was not amused. I think it's because they had signs everywhere warning of the dangers of picking up pumpkins by their stems. We were cramping her style.

Josie loved her pumpkin so much that she ate it.

Fast forward to last night: we finally got around to carving and decorating our pumpkins! I did not plan ahead so the girls had neon pink and green paint to decorate their pumpkins, and q-tips for paintbrushes. Holly worked very hard on hers for about 45 seconds.

And for some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to give a one-year-old a q-tip covered in paint, thinking that she would surely know what to do with it. Right? It turns out she knew exactly what to do with it...put that pink paint right in her mouth.

Josie's baby pumpkin.

It took Andrew less than five minutes to pull out a power tool to help him carve his pumpkin. Let me just point out that we finished our carvings at the same time: he with his drill, and me with my old-fashioned knife. Just sayin'.

Our little pumpkin family. It has been many, many years since I carved a pumpkin so this was just to get me warmed up. Just wait until next year! Prepare to be impressed.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Happy Happy Birthday

Josie turned one last week, which leads me to wonder how on earth an entire year has passed since she was born. I have no idea what happened! I missed several months' worth of sleep, changed a few diapers, and now she's a toddler. Kind of.

To celebrate, I started off the day by vacuuming. The girls are both deathly afraid of our vacuum cleaner, so here they are protecting each other from it on the couch.

We had a party that evening when both sets of grandparents joined us for dinner and birthday cake. When the girls were napping, I transformed the living room into the party room by putting up a little birthday banner and blowing up some balloons to spread out on the floor. Holly ran around shrieking, "It's a party! It's a party!" and Josie was more subtle but equally thrilled. It was so much fun to see them play with the balloons and have a blast.

Josie's little baby cake. That lone sprinkle in the middle of the cake is driving me crazy!

The big cake for the rest of us. In case you cannot tell, the cake itself is pale pink. It's a vanilla cake with vanilla bean buttercream, heavy on the butter. It was actually quite delicious. I'm not entirely pleased with the non-smoothness of the frosting, but my only tool was a butterknife. So I think I did rather well, no? (Help! I need an offset spatula but I'm too cheap to go out and buy one.)

Josie not eating her birthday cake. She was incredibly skeptical of the entire thing.

The rest of us dug right in. Holly particularly enjoyed her cake, although she still insists on having everything cut into bite-sized pieces for her. I may have to visit her middle school daily to prepare her lunch for her.

After several minutes of skirting around the issue, Josie finally dug in. Once. Then she made a game out of handing me miniscule pieces of cake and frosting.

Opening presents is serious business! She got right to work and Holly was happy to help. We had a wonderful evening, thanks to our party guests. We are all enthralled by Josie. We love her so much and are so happy she's a part of our family!

Monday, October 3, 2011

It Has Happened

The day has come. The time is now. Josie pushed her big sister in their toy stroller today! And I laughed and laughed. And then I took this picture.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Whenever Josie drinks a bottle, Holly thinks it's great fun to lay down next to her and drink her milk or water out of her cup. They lay like this and giggle at each other and it warms my heart and makes me want ten more babies.

And then Josie reaches over and yanks on Holly's hair so hard a chunk of it comes right out.

But she is cute, isn't she? I cannot believe she's so small that she still fits inside the nursing pillow. We love our Josie so much that we even forgive her for pulling our hair and throwing all her toys and food on the floor. Especially when she smiles and says, "uh-oh!" It's adorable.

The Days of Summer

We have really enjoyed summer around here. Until it never went away. Seriously, it's October now and last week we had temperatures in the triple digits. That is disturbing and disgusting. Especially when you are me and have to run errands with two sweaty kids hanging off of you. We'll be happy when fall finally arrives.

But we really did enjoy summer! In July.

One of our favorite activities is to go outside and play in the sprinkler...or just play with the hose. Josie drinks the water in massive quantities.

Holly is always very busy filling containers with water and emptying them all over the yard. She doesn't have time for pictures. (P.S. See her birthmark in this picture? Didn't think so. Cool, huh?)

And this is my ever-faithful basil plant. I had a container garden in the back yard which died a horrible death in the South Texas heat (or maybe I neglected it...the truth remains to be seen). This plant, the seeds of which I got inside a Triscuit box, is invincible. It has survived both the extreme heat and my neglect and refuses to give up. I love it! And I always forget that I have fresh basil at my disposal.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Holly is really into taking care of her dolls and stuffed animals.

She changes their poopy diapers, gives them bottles or nurses them, and yesterday she even fed her teddy bear some pretend baby food.

But I love it when she has me fashion a baby wrap for her little baby.

Can you tell how I carried Josie around for the first six months of her life?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Bike

(This is a re-post as I accidentally deleted the original one. Oops!)

My parents bought Holly a tricycle as a belated birthday present. Don't let this picture fool you! She was thrilled when it arrived by mail. Here she is waiting for it to be put together by the ever-hardworking

The fact that she had (and still has) no idea how to ride it does not matter. This girl loves her bike! She rings the bell over and over again and scoots around with her feet along the ground like Fred Flintstone.

We are still working on important skills like steering and pedaling, but no matter. She will learn how to ride it soon enough, and then we will actually have to keep up with her!

Family Home Evening

Our church has a wonderful program called Family Home Evening. Every Monday night, families are asked to set aside time to spend together as a family--whether it be for a lesson, to play games, or go someplace a little special together. We have been sporadic at best with our Family Home Evenings but last Monday I decided we were having FHE no matter what. Who's with me?

Well. Last Monday was kind of a nightmare. My two beautiful children were replaced with savage beasts who spent the greater part of the afternoon shrieking and howling and pulling each other's hair and otherwise making me want to kick them out of the house. I spent the greater part of that afternoon shouting at the two of them because, remember, all your problems will be solved if you just yell loud enough. Right?

Uh...yeah. Needless to say, by the time we all finished dinner I was barely hanging on and while the girls were bathing I had an internal battle. I knew I should still go ahead with FHE. But still...what kind of message am I sending to my kids? Alright, I know I've been shouting at you all afternoon, but let's have a spiritual moment together, shall we? I felt like such a hypocrite. I decided to push through and have our lesson as planned anyway, despite my internal struggles.

When I told Holly what we were going to do, she immediately perked up. "Daddy, daddy! Come here! It's Family Home Evening!" She then proceeded to sit down right in front of me and listen fervently to every last word of my 3-minute lesson. This has never happened before, friends. Then we made a picture together and she proudly displayed it on the fridge so we all could see it every day. What started out as a pretty crummy day ended with warm, fuzzy feelings for each other.

This is a lesson for me that my children do pay attention at my feeble attempts to do the right thing for them, and are excited about and appreciate my efforts. And I guess I should make more of an effort to hold FHE every week, because they are listening, even when I think all order has gone out the window.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Nine Months

Our little Josie turned nine months old a few weeks ago! I took her to the pediatrician for her well-baby check up, and I have some numbers to report.
Weight: 15 lb. 4 oz.
Height: 27 inches
For all of you who may not remember, she has gained a whopping 1 pound since her six month well-baby check up. She grew in length quite a bit, but really...1 pound? Not impressive. Pair that with anemia, and little Josie doesn't look so great anymore. Emphasis on the "little."

So here's our new routine with Josie: disgusting, black multivitamin drops to pump her full of iron; avocado, whole-milk yogurt, cheese, and anything else with substantial calories to plump her up; and formula-supplemented feedings to plump her up and get her iron levels up a little.

In other news, she is crawling like a madwoman and pulls up on me all the time. Hopefully this will soon translate into pulling up on other objects besides me. She is truly a joy to our family and we can't get enough of her! All of us, especially Holly, love her to pieces.


Okay, so I realized I am behind on posts. Like, way behind. What can I say? I have not felt like blogging lately. But I'm back, and I have lots to report! First, we went on vacation at the end of June.

We flew to Salt Lake City and took a side-trip to Pocatello, ID for a family reunion. This was our second flight with both girls, so I knew all the mistakes I made last time and fixed them. Things went much smoother this time around! Oh yeah...except for a screaming baby on flights there and back. I should say I fixed all the problems I had control over.

We bought Holly a backpack to fill with goodies for the trip. This is her the day before we left, thrilled with the backpack and the excitement of it all.

The family reunion was wonderful and took place at Andrew's cousin's house. She has a huge piece of land and lots of fun stuff for everyone to enjoy. They rented moonjumps for the kids which were great, but Holly's favorite thing by far were the chickens!

She also spent a few hours playing in this little stream. All the little girls were splashing and sorting through rocks and getting soaked to the bone. We were the only superstars who forgot both sunscreen and bathing suits for our kids. Did you know that the sun is actually stronger in Idaho than in Texas, because of the elevation? I did not.

Josie was happy to be the dainty, cute little one in the middle of everything. Luckily, Andrew took her inside and they napped the afternoon away on a couch. She didn't get sunburned.

Our hotel in Idaho was actually really nice. Here are the girls the morning after the reunion, watching Beauty and the Beast. Hungover from all the excitement and the sunburns. At this point in the trip, my camera battery died and I couldn't get it together enough to charge it. The rest of the pictures are taken with a high-quality iPhone camera.

We took a little trip to Discovery Gateway, an awesome children's museum in Salt Lake. Holly loved it! (Of course.) She got this shopping cart, filled it with goodies, and raced it all around. We played and played and played.

The last day of our trip, we went to Thanksgiving Point's Farm Country with some of our dear friends. The kids rode ponies, which was one of the highlights of our trip for Holly. She still talks about it.

We were so glad to get away for a few days! It wasn't nearly long enough, but we had a great time and hope to do it again soon! Hopefully someplace tropical, with white sandy beaches. A girl can dream, right?

Friday, July 8, 2011

"New" Kitchen

So...remember all my posts about renovating our kitchen last year?

Yeah. Well, we did finish the kitchen last spring. But I have terrible self discipline and I can't manage to keep the kitchen counters clean for five minutes, much less remember to take pictures of the kitchen while it's clean.

Then, one day, I flipped the TV on and Hoarders was on. Oh, my. I was sucked in. I could not look away, no matter how much I wanted to! (And believe me, I wanted to. It was horrifying.) Then, after the episode was over, I started to panic and feel disgusted with myself and all the dirty dishes and dried food stuck to the floor and all the clutter on the counters. So I cleaned like a madwoman. I think I really went a little crazy that day. But my family didn't mind because I was cleaning something, for goodness' sake! Then I took pictures for the blog after my hard work was done.

This faucet was Andrew's choice. I tend to get overwhelmed when faced with life-changing decisions such as faucet selection and tell him to pick whatever he wants. I think it's kind of big for the space, but I like the style of it.

Do I even need to mention that right this second, the counter looks nothing like this? I didn't think so. It was amazing while it lasted.

Here is our beloved built-in buffet, a.k.a. "Our kitchen isn't big enough for all our stuff, so we're trying to hide it by building this clever buffet." Clever, huh? Much better than the industrial stainless shelving that used to be there! Those shelves are now in my food storage room. (Shh, don't tell Andrew I called it that! He thinks it's the guest bedroom.)

Our latest, beloved addition. Andrew built this table with his own two hands. The tabletop is completely new, and we used the legs from our old table. The chairs we got from our neighbor's driveway. Ten of them! Can you believe it? They are beastly and enormous and very heavy and actually pretty ugly. But they were FREE! And we're going to reupholster them. Eventually.

So there you have it, dear friends. Our new kitchen!