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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Something that excites me and fills me with joy (Week 15)

If you're hoping for something deep like, "my faith!" or "my children!" or "my career!," then you're going to be very disappointed with this post. I, however, think this week's topic could not have been more perfectly timed because TOMORROW we are leaving for our first kid-free getaway, and that, my friends, excites me and fills me with joy.

I know it's a no-no to inform the internet when you're going out of town, but our children, house, and dogs are all going to be under the loving and attentive care of my in-laws, so I think we're safe. And speaking of those children, the only thing distracting me from my joy is knowing how much I'm going to miss them while we're gone. I know we'll have fun on our trip and that they'll have a blast with Mimi and Granddaddy, but missing out on 4 days with them breaks this mama's heart a little.

Nonetheless, let's focus on the fun things we have to look forward to...

Views like these:

Weather like this: 

And food like this:

I know this is strange, but one of the things I am most looking forward to eating there is pimento cheese. While Brian dines on vast quantities of sea food and fried chicken, I will be eating my weight in this stuff.

So yeah, I think we'll survive. If you have any Charleston tips, please do share!

Monday, September 28, 2015


As you might have learned from Allison, we played hooky* from our respective parenting/working duties last Thursday and spent the day shopping at the outlet mall. We quite literally shopped until we dropped, breaking only for a really glamorous 10-minute lunch in the food court: kids' meals from Burger King. 

See? Totally fancy. Also, pickles = ew.

*Don't worry, I took an approved vacation day. If you thought I was bold enough to straight up skip out on work and bold enough to then admit it on the internet, then you do not know me at all :)

The only other photographical evidence I have of our excursion is this picture of Clara modeling the suede fringe boots I bought for her... whilst sporting her new Halloween jammies, of course:

I also took some time that morning to listen attentively to the Pope's speech on TV decorate the house for Fall, so pretty much it was the greatest day ever (minus the BK kid's meal, if we're being honest).

Any guesses as to how many of these cute little woodland creatures will be maimed by toddlers before the season's end?

After a grueling 4 hours back at work on Friday, it was time for the weekend to begin! It was another whirlwind weekend of family togetherness, full of playing, eating, football-watching, and hanging out with the cousins. Those little nuts wear me out, but I'd be lying if I said I wanted it any other way.

I tried to force an early morning photo shoot before daycare on Friday, and that went about as well as you might have guessed. I do appreciate that this one showcases Colby's hoarding tendencies. These 3 emergency vehicles + his Star Wars book = a winning (and popular) combo for him

I also got some rare playtime alone with him on Friday evening while Clara bonded with Daddy. He is so talkative these days and it was entertaining to have him narrate the happenings of the Little People farm to me.

On Saturday morning, we headed out to the soccer fields to watch cousin, Davis, play in his first game! I use the term "watch" very loosely, because with 3 toddlers in tow, there were ample distractions.

Colby practicing for when it's his turn to take the fields

And Clara taking a break from socializing with Avery to do the same

Veteran moms: shoot me straight... how long can I count on them liking each other this much?

After watching the Aggies (barely) pull off a win on Saturday evening and 3 hours at church on Sunday morning, we were all thankful for a restful nap time on Sunday afternoon. Once the twins woke up, we headed over to my grandparents' assisted living home nearby for a visit. Pretty sure the facility had never experienced that much noise and activity, but hey, at least the visitors were cute?

And to close, allow me to share the pose Clara struck when my grandmother pulled out the camera and we all told her to say, "cheese!"

Please join me in praying she finds a new signature pose prior to becoming a teenager!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Relationship to food (Week 14)

It probably says a lot about the topic at hand that I think this would be more aptly described as my relationship with food, ha!

Like any honest female would tell you, my relationship to/with food is complicated. I love it as much as I hate it and I spend as much time thinking about it as I do trying to convince myself not to think about it.

With that said, I'll attempt to highlight some of the more defining attributes of said relationship:

- I'm a big believer in "everything in moderation": I think depriving yourself of all indulgences is cruel and life's too short for that, but I also don't go majorly off the deep end when I do indulge.

- Relatedly, I make it a priority to exercise regularly so that I can eat some of the things that I might otherwise resist eating. I'm looking at you, chocolate chip cookies.

- I have never gone on a "diet" and really have no interest in doing so. For me, committing to a certain diet (read: restrictions on what I can and cannot eat) would only cause undue obsessing about the things I can't eat. Instead, what seems to work for me is portion control. You may think I'm crazy for counting out my crackers or measuring my cereal, but I call it forced self-control that I otherwise would not have!

- I do tend to "reward" myself with food, particularly if I've survived an extra stressful or unpleasant event. Better chocolate than drugs, right? ;)

- I'm not a very adventurous eater and I fully admit to claiming not to like things I've never actually tried. Go ahead and try to coerce me into changing my ways and trying new things, but know that many have tried before you and failed.

- I prefer eating smaller meals and then having snacks in between so I have something to look forward to throughout the day rather than just getting to look forward to three meals. Is that sad?

- My most unhealthy food habit is probably how much sugar I eat. Yes, some of it comes from sweets, but I am a big fan of carbs in general so I know my sugar intake is probably higher than it should be. But then I tell myself that I don't drink soft drinks so how bad can it really be, right? Terrible logic, I know.

- Sugar aside, the most powerful weapon against my self-control = tortilla chips. Sit me in front of a refillable basket of chips at a Mexican restaurant and I will eat all of them... and keep eating all of them until I've ruined my appetite. And if there's queso involved, then it's not unrealistic for me to consume an entire week's worth of calories in one sitting.The Tex Mex struggle is real.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

DIY iPad Holder (Guest post by Brian)

A couple of weeks ago someone asked about our DIY iPad holder for the car, and Amanda, being the good blog hostess she is, made note of it and told me my next guest blog entry had been determined. So here we are! 

First, a little bit of background. Growing up, I was frequently "encouraged" to help my dad with projects around the house. I would say about 50% of the time I was happy to help out and 50% of the time I wished I could have been doing something else. Now I am 100% thankful that I was his helper/shadow. Some of his handiness skills definitely rubbed off on me and I can put it into practice now. 

Second, before I made this, I looked around the web for ideas but wasn't interested in purchasing what was needed or thought they weren't practical enough for me. Either they required me to leave the house and spend money or they would have blocked too much of our access to the backseat.

With that knowledge, the goals were:
1. We wanted the kids to be able to see the iPad equally.
2. We didn't want to hold it the whole time.
3. It couldn't fall over any time we hit the brakes/accelerated.

The first iteration was simply a rubber band wrapped around the magnetic iPad cover and under the console lid. This was kind of ok, but it didn't address problem 3 because it fell over frequently to the frustration of Amanda.

With that knowledge, I knew it needed support on the bottom to keep from flipping backwards and pressure on the sides to keep it from falling forward.

I can't explain how the idea came to me, but I figured if I could find a box that fit in between the seats snugly, it might work. Thanks, baby wipes from Costco, for solving that problem. 

Next, I needed something to hold the iPad. Again, luckily, we had some freezer bags from HEB that were the perfect size. Bonus points for having the ability to zip up enough to keep the iPad in while allowing access to the port for sound. I attached the bag to the box by stapling it to the top. I made sure that there would still be plenty of room for the iPad to fit before I stapled it. 

Finally, I didn't want the box to block the armrest so I cut off enough of the sides to allow for the armrest. I left the bottom panel to make sure it couldn't flop backwards. What resulted was the below:

The finished product. Also of note, you can still use all the touch functions on the iPad through the plastic bag, so you don't need to remove it when picking what to watch.

Note the cord coming out of the bag and into the USB access to the car sound system. You can't use bluetooth effectively because there is a slight delay between video and sound.

The result: entertained children. Success!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Five on Monday (Toddler Mom Edition)

Let's start this week off right with a random list of 5 things, shall we?

1. Archer Farms Candy Corn Trail Mix

My SIL's friend posted a picture of this magical creation from Target on Saturday and I have been drooling over  thinking about it ever since. Much to my dismay, I visited my local Target yesterday and was unable to find any. So if you live in the Houston area and come across any, please buy me some and I'll pay you back, k?

No need for them to list the ingredients, really. They should just write, "Trust me, it's awesome."

And speaking of Target, check out this adorable dress I found for Clara this weekend. Once again, there's no shame in my owl game, and once again, I find myself wishing they made some of her items of clothing in adult sizes. They actually didn't have the dress in her size in our Target (that's strike two, if you're paying attention), so I ordered it online and somehow was able to swing free shipping? I think it was a mistake but I'm not going to complain.

3. "Boo!" Book

I'm a sucker for all things holiday-oriented, and that includes reading material for the twinks. Their Mimi gifted this book to them this past weekend and it's already a favorite for all 4 of us!

Spoiler alert: it's not actually that spooky, so don't worry. 

I read on facebook recently that this new playground was opening up near our house, so we decided to go check it out yesterday afternoon. We were the only ones there most of the time and the twins loved it! However, here in the Houston area it's still 800 degrees outside, so we didn't last long before bribing them to go home with promises of eating fruit pouches and watching "Frozen." Oh, the irony.

Ah, the refreshing signs of Fall at the park...

5. Vomit

Save the best for last, right? You're welcome for the fact that I didn't include a picture with this one. We woke up Saturday morning to find that one of the dogs had thrown up in the playroom. Little did we know that it would be the first of 4 barf clean-ups that day, because poor Clara caught some type of bug and tossed her cookies (strawberries, milk, and pirate's booty, actually) on 3 separate occasions- twice in the car (always a fun treat), and once all over me (also always a fun treat).

Thankfully she was back to normal yesterday... "normal" being a relative term:
Yep, looks about right.