The Blessed Life

The Blessed Life

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Updates, Updates, Updates

So much happened over the past few days, I hardly know where to begin!

Belle is potty trained!!!!  Typing it makes me a little nervous, like that right as I announce success something horrible will happen.  But seriously, she is.  We did the one day potty training thing complete with teaching a doll how to use the bathroom and making charts and having presents and candy and after a long day of her holding it (she is incredibly stubborn and has amazing bladder control) she finally went!  That first success was all it took to keep her going.  She was going like a pro for the rest of the night. (Whoo hoo, I just had to take a break to take her to go again!)  Not only that, but we kept her in her panties to sleep and she woke up dry.  Normally I think people use diapers at night, but she has been waking up dry for quite awhile, plus we told her no more diapers, so we gave it a chance and she stayed dry the whole night!  So exciting.  I know that her being potty trained means she is getting older and normally anything that indicates she is getting older makes me sad...but not this!  I am excited to save some money on diapers!!!!

Next up, an update on my adventures in cooking.  I made a couple of new things this past weekend.  First up was Ain't Your Momma's Slaw.

I made this to go with burgers on Saturday night.  I was looking for something different and yummy that was also slightly healthy and this looked great.  Sadly, it looked better than it tasted.  You use a broccoli slaw mix, red bell pepper, dried cranberries, pineapple, almonds and zesty italian dressing mixed with a little brown sugar.  Overall it seemed dry even after doubling the dressing amount.  Also, the flavors while great individually, seemed weird together.

I also made a peach cobbler using PW's recipe for Blackberry Cobbler and substituting peaches.  It also turned out okay.  I LOVE the blackberry one, but for some reason this one didn't turn out as great.  I know for sure I needed way more peaches.  Jason said more sugar also, but I am not sure on that. 

This weekend we also started looking for a new vehicle.  We are going to need something that can accommodate three car seats and is affordable, so a mini van is in our future.  I had found one that looked promising online, but when Jason and my brother in law went to check it out, it had already been sold.  So, back to searching. 

Hope everyone else had a great Memorial Day weekend.  Stay tuned for Thursday's Embrace the Camera where I will post a great picture from this weekend's Sister Day.  Seriously, it is awesome.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Five

I promise that I am not going to resort to only talking about pregnancy issues for the next eight months.  But sometimes (like today) I will.

Five things that are different about being pregnant with baby #3

1.  No one really cares.  Sure people are excited and happy for us.  But really, Tracy being pregnant is old news.  I mean, wasn't I just pregnant like a month ago?  Not even Jason cares.  With Isabelle he was all taking care of me and telling me he loved me and not letting me lift anything heavy.  This time he mostly forgets I am pregnant.

2.  Morning sickness and nausea.  With Belle and Molly I threw up a grand total of one time.  I have already tripled that.  I feel sick almost all day every day.

3.  Coffee. I am still able to smell and drink coffee!  Whoo hoo!  Again, with Belle and Molly, the smell of coffee was way to much.  Not this time.  And yes, I realize I need to be watching my caffeine, but one cup of coffee isn't going to hurt anybody.

4.  Being surprised about the gender of our baby.  I think this time I may find out boy or girl.  Both times before we waited.  I think that I need to know this time.  If it is another girl, I suspect I will need some time to adjust to that thought.

5.  Weight gain.   I refuse to gain as much weight as I did the first two times.  In fact, doctor willing, I am going to still attempt to run a 15k in late October.  I will be six months preggers at that time, but I am going to try.  Continuing to run has got to help me in the weight department.  I do not look good the last month of pregnancy.  My face is all fat, my hands and feet are all swollen.  It is not pretty.  So this time, I am trying to not get as big as a whale.

Don't believe me on the face thing?

one month before Isabelle

regular faced Tracy

Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Endless Possibilities

I think this is the first time where I have too many ideas for the title of a post.  Today's could have been
Oops, I (we) Did it Again, or Call Us Crazy, or Be Careful What You Wish For, or even Big Announcement.  I could go on and on.

Not even one week ago I said I wouldn't mind being pregnant and it turns out I am.  What the what? 

So here's the deal.  I am just barely pregnant and while I realize most people wait until the 13 week mark, this blog is here to document our lives and wouldn't it be weird to not document the whole experience of finding out and throwing up and freaking out a little?  I think so. 

Three kids ages three and under.  Have we lost our mind?  Maybe.

The response has been interesting.  Most are supportive and happy, some are shocked, some think we have lost our minds.

I think about Joe McGee.

Joe McGee is a pastor I love.  He comes to our church every year on Mother's Day and I get so excited to hear him speak.  This year while he was here he was talking a little bit about the fact that he and his wife had six kids and how someone had commented to him that he must really like kids.  His response was something like, "No.  Wasn't really thinking about kids."  I like that.

Truthfully, Jason and I have mixed feelings about how to decide how many children to have.  The Bible (which I try to use as my guide), says this, "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.  As arrows are in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth.  Happy, blessed, and fortunate is the man whose quiver is filled with them! They will not be put to shame when they speak with their adversaries [in gatherings] at the [city's] gate." 

Seems pretty clear that children are a blessing.  It says that I will be happy, blessed and fortunate, not miserable, tired and broke.

If you are a Christian, it is hard to find scripture that suggests limiting the number of children you have.  That is a scary proposition for many people.  I mean, what if we have like 10 kids?  What if I end up like the Duggars?  What then?  Just so you know, I don't think we would end up like the Duggars.  I don't think most people have to worry about that.  There are many, many, many people who don't use birth control and there aren't people with 19 kids running around everywhere you look.  But six? seven?  eight?  You hear about those.

All that to say, yes, we are having another baby.  Yes, we will have three ages three and under.  No, that doesn't mean we are done having kids. 

We are happy.  We are excited and.....okay, we are freaking out a little bit.

Just wanted to share the news.

Happy Wednesday everyone!  Sorry again for no pictures!  Still didn't get out the camera.  Seriously going to work on it today!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

worst. mother. ever.

i realize i have been neglecting my blogging duties.  sorry.  i am making an effort to remedy that.

nextly, (pretty sure that isn't a word, but whatevs) i am feeling like a terrible mother.  isabelle has been complaining about her ear hurting for at least a week.  she also has been getting her 2 year molars on the same side.  i just knew it was her teeth making her ear hurt.  she kept complaining and i kept ignoring her.  i was giving her homeopathic teething medicine (which of course, wasn't making her ear feel better) and insisting she was fine.  well,  after a whole weekend of her getting up every few hours in the night, i decided i should maybe take her to the doctor.  and whaddya know...the girl has an ear infection.  a pretty serious one at that.  way to go, mom.

so last night she was up again, every four hours to take more medicine and crying about how much her ear hurt.  i. felt. horrible.  what kind of mom ignores their child's complaining for over a week?  me, that's who. 

so yeah, i am feeling pretty crappy.  hopefully the drops and the antibiotic will help soon.  i would like belle to sleep tonight.  i too, would like to sleep tonight and i am sure that jason wouldn't mind it either.

on another unrelated topic....i haven't taken any pics of the kids in FOREVER.  that is why my blog has been picture-less.  i am trying to fix that also!  so check back in tomorrow or thursday or both.  hope you have a great tuesday!

Friday, May 20, 2011

31 Things

I totally stole this idea from another blog.......just wanted to make sure I was keepin' it real.

Since today is my 31st birthday I thought I would list 31 things you may or may not know about me!  Don't worry, Friday five is back next week.

In no particular order.....

1.  I am a very picky eater.  I do not eat any seafood or pork and avoid trying new things.  I am like a kid.
2.  I have a dish obsession.  There is NO room left in my kitchen cabinet for dishes, but that won't stop me!  In one apartment Jason and I lived in we had to store dishes in the spare bathroom cabinets.
3.  I used to describe myself as outgoing, outspoken, loud and slightly obnoxious, but lately I find I am more quiet and reserved. (okay reserved might be taking it a little too far.)
4.  My sister is my best friend.
5.  Red Rock Canyon Grill is my favorite restaurant in Tulsa (until August).
6.  I hope to adopt from Ethiopia in the future.
7.  In order to function throughout the day, I need two cups of coffee, both with cream and sugar.
8.  To say I am routine oriented would be an understatement.  I pretty much do the same things day in and day out with very little variation.
9.  I wish I knew more about homeopathic medicine.
10.  If I went back to college it would be to become a nurse practitioner.
11.  My favorite sport to watch is golf, and my favorite golfer right now is Graeme McDowell.
12.  I am more of a night person, but my girls are up at 6 am every morning, so I am too.
13.  Cloudy, rainy, cool weather is my favorite.  I think I would love Seattle's weather.
14.  I want a mini van.  I know, I know.  Judge if you want.  But they are roomy and get better gas mileage than an SUV.
15.  I love horse races.
16.  I miss my Grandma and Grandpa Grape. They passed away a few years ago and I miss them pretty much all the time.
17.  Before I got married I did not know how to cook, hated camping, never cleaned anything, and said I wasn't having kids.  Boy how things can change.
18.  I am currently in the process of writing a book.  Who knows what will happen when I am done!
19.  Reading is my favorite hobby. 
20.  Black, dark gray and dark purple are my fav nail polish colors.  (even in the spring and summer)
21.  I am a Mary Kay consultant.  I love all things Mary Kay.  Seriously.  Great company, great products, great friends.
22.  The majority of recipes in my cabinet are for desserts.
23.  Speaking of dessert....I have a huge sweet tooth.  Just ask my dentist.
24.  I have been married for 10 years (in June). 
25.  I don't really want another kid right now, but I wouldn't mind being pregnant.  That way I could eat what I wanted, wear stretchy pants, and not have my monthly visitor.  (hope that last part isn't tmi!)
26.  I have considered starting a secret blog where I could talk about my family more without them reading it.  Is that horrible?  I have a LOT of great stories.
27.  I hate bugs.  All of them.  HATE. 
28.  Washing my hair everyday is not a priority.  Washing my hair every other day isn't really a priority either.  The third day of not washing my hair is when I get the most compliments on how it looks.
29.  I wish I was more creative.  I would like to be a better decorator, scrapbook-er, photographer, writer, and blog designer.  Instead I am good at planning, budgeting, balancing a checkbook, and other nerdy things.
30.  Deciding to be a stay at home mom was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
31.  The most important thing about me, the thing I am most defined by and the thing I most want people to see about me is that I am a Christian.  I am always trying to grow in areas of love, compassion, faith, trust, boldness and knowledge of the Bible.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Money Saving Wednesday

Saving money is hard to do these days.  Just today I was enticed to click on an article on Yahoo about how one family was saving money.  BIG MISTAKE.  The things this particular family were doing to save money were absurd.  Take for example their idea to not serve $15 steaks to each family member at bbq's this summer.  Seriously?  Steaks for everyone, at bbq's.....all summer long.  My family is long past not serving steaks.  We are burger and dog people all the way.  Another idea was to forgo the annual exterior house painting.  Who paints the outside of their house every year?  Jason and I are serious slackers if this is the norm for American families.

Saving money at our house has become increasingly difficult in the last month or so.  You see, I watched Food Inc.  Haven't seen it?  You should.  I believe every person should see it.  Not because it will gross you out (but it might), not because I want everyone to eat organically (but you might start), and not because I am some liberal hippy environmentalist (have you met me?), but because you should know where your food comes from and how it makes it from the farm (or factory) to your table.  Anywayyyyy....after watching this movie, I am back in full swing crazy organic lady mode.  I was there before, but finances and a move to OK where it is much more difficult to score organic foods, made me a little lazy on the strict organic thing.  We have never stopped buying organic milk and eggs and I have tried to always buy organic for the girls.  Also, I don't buy heavily processed foods and try to stay far, far, far away from HFCS, but we aren't totally organic. that I have seen that movie things are a changin' at our house.  For one, I am back to all organic produce.  Second, I am back to only 100% grass fed beef.  And lastly, only organic chicken.

All of these changes make saving money very hard to do.  The chicken I have been buying was $1.99/lb.  Organic chicken is $8.99/lb at Whole Foods.  Talk about a price increase.  The difference in ground beef isn't quite as dramatic, but it is still almost twice as much as conventional beef.  Organic produce on the other hand isn't a huge increase, in fact I found it to be very reasonable.

So what is a family who is on a budget to do when they are stuck between eating organic and saving money?  (to those of you who haven't seen that movie and are saying, "don't eat organic," I say to you, "Watch the darn movie!") The answer for us has been to stop eating as much meat and eat more veggies instead.  Surprisingly, this isn't as hard as it sounds.  I have found some great meatless dishes and am excited to find and try more.  Not surprising is the fact that most vegetarians (notice I didn't say vegans) are much healthier than us meat eaters and there isn't anyone who would say that eating more fruits and veggies is harmful.  We are currently trying to have vegetarian meals twice a week.  I am hoping to make it three, but we will see.  Jason isn't a huge meat eater, but he is a man, and he requires meat.

Other than that, I am watching for sales.  If that chicken ever goes on sale I will be stocking up.  I am also considering joining a food co-op in OK.  Being healthy and eating organically does not mean you have to spend twice as much at the store, it just might mean that you have to make some changes in order to make it happen.  I for one, am okay with cutting back in some ways in order to "vote" in the checkout line. 

Do you eat organically?  If so, how do you save money at the store?  I would love to hear from you!

Lastly, do you follow my blog?  If you like what you read, consider becoming a follower!  All the cool kids are doing it!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

One month.......

That's right....less than one month and I will be celebrating my 10 year anniversary with my husband at the RAY LAMONTAGNE concert.  Holla!

In case you don't know Ray, you need to stop reading immediately and go to the bottom of my page and click on one of his songs.

Don't you love him?  Isn't he the most amazing ever?  I am musically in love with Ray.

I am seriously considering emailing him with a list of songs I would like for him to play.  Think he'd get it, or read it, or care?  No?  Me neither. 

I suspect no matter what songs he chooses I will be in heaven.  I. Love. Ray.  I hope you love Ray. 

Also you should know that Ray isn't the only thing on the agenda.  We are staying in a swanky hotel, eating lots of delicious food, shopping, sleeping in and most importantly talking without being interrupted by two children.  I can't wait!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Weekend Recap

What we did this weekend....list style.

1.  Spent time with my dad who was in town from KC.
2.  Went to church Saturday night.
3.  Had family over for tacos Saturday night after church.
4.  Had family over Sunday morning for brunch.
5.  Ate my favorite roasted veggie pasta.
6.  Watched the Survivor finale.  WHOO HOO, Rob!

Notice anything missing???  That's potty training.  Turns out potty training with a whole bunch of family over for meals and back yard fun isn't the ideal situation for potty training.  Now I need a plan B.  I might have to suck it up and do it during the week all by myself.  I will let you know how that turns out!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday Five-Belle Edition

that girl loves her some chex

Are you bored yet with my Five things Friday?  Too bad. 

Today I am taking time to write down five funny things Belle has said this week.  That girl cracks me up.  Some things she says totally surprise me.

1.  "Tasty dinner, hon."  She has been telling Jason or I each meal that it was tasty and then calling us hon (you know, like honey).  No idea where she got this, but I think it is cute!

2.  "Drive safe."  She tells Jason this each morning before he leaves.  I used to say it, now she does.  Presh.

3.  "I want to go see Attle."  When Jason's dad and stepmom left after their visit, I told Belle that they went back to Seattle.  To which she replied that she too, wanted to go see Attle.  Adorable.

4.  "I'm a dork."  I do not find this cute at all.  Someone must have called her a dork (NOT ME), and she thinks it is a good thing.  So when she is telling me that she is funny, pretty, and smart she also includes that she is a dork.

5.  "Go crazy, Molly."  So on her favorite show, Yo Gabba, there is a part where they do a dance and after the dance they say, "go crazy."  Well, the other day while Molly was eating dinner she started squirming around in her highchair.  Belle looked right at her and out of nowhere says, "go crazy, Molly."  It was so funny.  Jason and I were both cracking up.

I feel like it was just yesterday that I wondered when Belle would start talking and now I can't get her to be quiet.  I think it is important to write down things she is saying so that I don't totally forget what she was like at this age. 

What funny things have your kiddos said lately?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Warning..potty training post in progress

So I realize that not a whole lot of time has gone by since Belle got her head stuck in her toilet, but I have decided to embark upon a potty training adventure beginning on Sunday!

I know what you are thinking....she isn't potty trained yet?  She is two and a half for crying out loud.  Or perhaps you are in the other camp....potty training ALREADY?  Regardless of where you fall, I know that for Isabelle the time has come.   She is beyond ready and at this point is still going in diapers because she is stubborn not because she doesn't have the ability to be potty trained.  And when I say she is stubborn I am not joking.  My mom once thought she would potty train Isabelle and the girl held it for 12 hours.  The whole day she didn't go to the bathroom.  Once my mom put a diaper on her, she went.  That is one stubborn girl.

So I checked out a book from the library that tells me I can potty train her in one day and I am going with it.  I have stocked up on potty party supplies and potty party presents and once I get a doll that wets I will be set. (did not mean to rhyme right there!) Finding said doll might be a little harder than I imagined as I have already scoured the internet and come up empty.  I am NOT spending $50 on a doll that wets itself, so my options are a little limited.  If I don't manage to get a doll I am still going for it on Sunday. 

So all that to say, wish me luck.  I am going to need it.  The thought crossed my mind today at Target that I might need a potty present myself.  After Sunday I might feel like I deserve a reward.  If you have any great potty training advice, leave me a comment!  I can use all the help I can get!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Recipe Exchange

Today I am linking up with Casey over at The Wiegand's.  She has come up with the genius idea to do a recipe exchange among her readers and I couldn't be more excited.  I love hearing about new recipes that are kid tested and approved.  So I decided to participate.  I am pretty sure I have posted this recipe before, but it is so good and easy it bears repeating. 

Parmesan Dijon Chicken

For the record I serve this with egg noodles with butter, sour cream and parmesan and a salad or green beans.  The kids love it, Jason eats it and it is super fast and easy.  Happy cooking!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Why I blog

I blog to record the happenings of my children that I am sure I would otherwise forget.  Like Belle telling Molly to, "go crazy" this weekend or telling Jason (after taking a bite of chicken), "pretty tasty, hon."  Or milestones like Molly's first steps or first words or first whatevers. 

I blog to keep friends and family that don't live nearby updated.  To have a place to post pics of things like birthday parties and Christmas.  To let them know what the girls are up to and what J and I are up to.

I blog to have something to show my girls when they are older.  I want them to know what life was like when I was young (I am still young, right?).  I want them to understand that all parents make mistakes, get frustrated and sometimes don't have all the answers.  I want them to see the choices their dad and I made to hopefully ensure they have a great future and to read about all the fun and funny times we had.

I blog to keep myself entertained/sane/occupied/feeling important.  Seriously, I like writing about toilet seat accidents and how I am learning to cook more and my love affair with Ray Lamontagne.  It gives me a place to get out some of my words for the day.  And trust me when I tell you I have a LOT of words. 

So if I never get thousands of followers (though it would be nice if I did), and if I never get millions of hits a month (though I would be okay with that too), and if I never have hundreds of comments (again, if I did I wouldn't complain), I will be okay.  Because that isn't why I blog.  I blog to be a record keeper, to make sure I don't pull my hair out, and for my girls and that is really all that matters!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Five Things Friday-Mother's Day

I started off thinking I would list my five fav moms today.....but then obsessed over hurting people's feelings....I am weird like that.  So I then racked my brain for something mother's day related to list five things about....five things I love about being a mom?  or five I hate?  What about five favorite mom moments?  I considered five pictures of me with the kiddos....but well, I don't look so hot in all those pics and we all know we like to put our best foot forward on the WORLD WIDE web.

Eventually I decided on the five things I hope to be able to do on mother's day!

#1.  Eat a delicious breakfast.   Hopefully waffles with strawberries and whipped cream.  Since J reads my blog and is a waffle maker extrodinaire, this shouldn't be too tough.

#2.  Sleep in or take a nap or perhaps....BOTH.  These girls have been wearing me out.  Both of them are teething which has resulted in two cranky girls who are having a rough time sleeping through the night.  I was up with Molly for 2 hours last night.  YUCK.

#3.  See my sista!  I love that lady.  She would have for sure made the list of my five fav moms.  Spending time with her is like waaay up there on my list of things I like to do. 

#4.  Scrapbook.  I am so close to finishing Molly's first year scrapbook.  It would be great to get it all squared away.  Plus what girl wouldn't enjoy some uninterrupted crafting time???

#5.  Get a massage.  So this one is probably the only one that has NO chance of happening.  I already got my mother's day gift so there is little to no chance that I am getting a massage also.  I love the place where I go and the dude that does it is phenom.  For all you ladies who think having a dude do your massage is weird...I say WRONG.  I need someone who isn't afraid to get to it, so to speak.  A weak massage is not for me.  Maybe since my birthday is in just two short weeks, I will get one for my birthday..we'll see.

bt is a pic of my mother's day gift....LOVE. IT.

I hope all you mommas out there have a wonderful Mother's Day. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Thankful to be a Mom

one of my first pics as a mom

Being a mom has led me to do/say things I never in a million, billion, trillion years thought I would. 

For example, I never thought I would say.....

"Isabelle, why do you have a toilet seat on your head?"

"Because I said so, that's why."  (After being asked why twenty or so times)

"Stop licking your sister's toes."

"Don't eat dirt."

I also never thought I would have to....

clean orange and red crayon marks off my WHITE chair.

wash sidewalk chalk off the house, and the door, and the grill.

change 10 poopy diapers in one day. 

spend so much time reading about topics like potty training, sleep training and discipline.

But, you know what.  It is all worth it.  I am so thankful to be a mom.  I am so thankful to have healthy, happy, fun children.  I am thankful that they are safe and well fed and surrounded by family.  I am thankful for what a gift they are despite all of the work they require.  And I wouldn't trade being a mom for anything.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Adventures in Cooking.....back again!

Cooking new dishes has been so challenging lately.  I am not sure why, but I fell back into my old routines making the same things over and over again.  I find that whenever I do that I become less and less excited about dinner time and less excited about cooking altogether.  Add in Molly who has problems with whole milk, but eats like a horse, and Belle who is the pickiest eater alive and dinner time becomes horrible. 

Thankfully, my girlfriend Erin over at The Prince House, recommended a couple of cookbooks that have got me going again.  Don't Panic, Dinner's on the Table parts one and two have inspired me to cook more (and by more I mean cook more food in one setting so that I can freeze some and have dinner ready on another night).  Those two cookbooks along with the two Deceptively Delicious cookbooks by Jessica Seinfeld are helping me to prepare some healthy, easy, and delicious meals for my fam.

Now, just so you know, I am not 100% behind the deceptive part of those books.  I do believe kids need to eat veggies in their pure veggie form, know what veggies look like and develop a love of them when they aren't mixed in with mac and cheese.  However, since Molly is missing out on the calories, fat and protein from milk, I find it nice to be able to sneak additional ingredients into things she already eats.  Like putting a bean spread insider her grilled cheese sandwiches!

Back to this week.  New this week are frozen fruit cups and protein packed grilled cheese for the girls and Hawaiian Chicken for Jas and I. 

The frozen fruit cups are very similar to the recipe listed here.  The one in the book I have doesn't call for blueberries, but I don't see any reason why you couldn't add additional fruit.  Also, in my recipe you freeze the servings in a muffin tin, which only holds about 1/4 cup, not a whole cup.  I think the smaller serving size will be perfect for Belle and Molly.  The protein packed grilled cheese sandwiches are from Deceptively Delicious and the Hawaiian Chicken is from Don't Panic Dinner's in the Freezer.  I am pretty excited because the chicken is a crock pot meal making it that much easier to prepare!  I will update you after we eat it and let you know how it turned out!

And since no post of mine about cooking seems complete without mentioning PW, I will mention the Chicken Tacos we had on Saturday.

 Jason cooked these deeee-licious tacos after church on Saturday night.  If you like tacos, you should try these.  They are not mess free, nor are they quick to make, but they are so worth it!

That's it for today's adventures in cooking!  If you have a recipe you think I should make, let me know.