Friday, June 12, 2009

four years ago today.....

Four years ago today I was lying in a hospital bed at St. Vincent's hospital about to begin the most challenging, rewarding, frustrating, most wonderful journey of my life. My beautiful son Aiden was born. I had no idea what to expect and some days I still can't believe we have made it this far. All the sleepless nights in the beginning (and still some sleepless nights now!), learning to walk, learning to talk, potty training (thank God I don't have a girl!), and this August we will be starting 4K, I can't believe it.

This past weekend we had Aiden's birthday party for him at Pump It Up and we had a great time. It's a tad on the expensive side but well worth it. Here are some of the shots from the party and Nonnie's afterwards.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Spring Pictures - YEA!

I love, love, love having my kids pictures taken and look forward to it for weeks and this time it just so happened to work out that Carter turned 6 months at about the same time Aiden turned 4. So off we went to Portrait Innovations to have my sweet kids pretty smiles documented yet again. Our photographer was very good and was able to get Aiden to smile naturally instead of the fake smile he always gives me.

My two boys

Carter Bug

Aiden's mandatory "age block" picture

Aiden as "Cool Daddy"

I don't know why they insist on putting infants in chairs, it's just a disaster waiting to happen.

Carter and Mommy - I'm sure one day I'll appreciate having it!

Carter, beginning his stand up routine.

Another good one of Aiden

"Pay attention Carter, it's almost over!"

My personal favorite!

Sweet baby

And one more to leave you with!

Monday, May 18, 2009

A few weekend's ago my best friend and I decieded that we were going to face our fears and venture out with just the two of us and her daughter and my two boys - out numbered! This means if one of the kids starts crying that only leaves one adult to handle two kids - very scary - at a craft festival no less! I know you are probably rolling your eyes right now thinking - what's the big deal? But if you had ever seen Carrie and I try to do anything you would understand, something always happens. So anyway, we finally get all three kids and their carseats, strollers, diaper bags, snacks, bottles, two changes of clothes per child, our purses and ourselves into the car we realized that we didn't even have room for a sheet of paper much less any room to buy anything at Homestead Hollow.

Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on the way you look at it, as soon as we pulled out of the garage we no longer had to worry about buying anything at Homestead Hollow because the bottom fell out! It was raining so hard we knew that it was pointless trying to maneuver two strollers through the rain and mud so we decided instead to go to our indoor sanctuary, the place where all man-made goodness flows, The Galleria! So after a stop to eat breakfast (did I mention that we left the house with three kids in tow at 8:30am, it was too much to ask for us all to have eaten breakfast) and a stop at the gas station, we were standing at the gaudy glass and brass gates willing to surrender all of our hard earned money to the full priced clothes gods.

After we found a parking space and got the two little ones diapers changed we got everyone in their place and off we went to bathe in the happiness. And let me tell you, Aiden was not happy having to sit in the stroller when all he wanted to do was run around like a crazy man.

I learned a long time ago to bribe my children with a snack or activity that they really want in order for them to behave while I shop. So we worked out a deal that he got to do something fun between each store. To make matters worse, I had to feed Carter before we got started shopping and this delay meant that his first much anticipated activity was also postponed. So here is how Aiden spent his time.

Then we were off, first to Macy's to check out kid's clothes, since this is all I buy these days. As soon as we were finished Aiden spied his first "reward", The Jumpy (we never remember what it's called so this is the name we made up for it).

After the jumpy we were off to The Children's Place (again another kids store). After about 5 minutes of shopping, which if you have kids you know that this is a respectable amount of time, we went in seach of food, which is, the site of the dreaded carousel. Again, Aiden had a great time while poor Abby and baby Carter had to sit and watch. As you can see below Aiden was fast enough this time to snag Big Al before some other snot-nosed kids could lay claim to him (this is the first time in Aiden's three years of carousel riding that he has ridden from atop the mighty back of the great Big Al.

After the carousel ride we gave up on shopping, rode the elevator, which is also high up on a kids "fun list" got cookies and went home in seach of three little beds for nap and some peace and quiet. I'll leave you with some great shots of Carrie and Abby.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Real Food for Healthy Babies: Homemade Baby Food

When my first son was born, I started looking for ways to teach him how to eat right and make smart food choices from an early age so I started surfing the internet looking for ways to help me make this happen. I stumbled upon a web site about homemade baby food and the benefits of feeding this to your baby from the start. I was so excited after reading the web site that I went out and bought all the stuff I needed to begin and it was so much fun that I never bought even one jar of store bought baby food! I am a little biased because I truly believe in this but I understand that this is more time consuming (slightly) than buying food off the shelf and not everyone has the time to do this, but if you do, believe me, it is worth it! I work full time and have two small kids, so if I can do this, you can too!

My oldest son is almost four now and he eats better than my husband and I do. I have to keep raw vegetables and fruit in the house at all times because these are the snacks he asks for. Daily, he eats at least four vegetables and three fruits! Recently he has started asking for cookies and candy but that is totally my fault because he sees Jim and I eating it!

So, for you girls who asked me, here is the process:

First, buy the freshest fruits and vegetables available. I use mostly organic if they are availible. I will demostrate with Sweet potatoes. Peel the potatoes and cut into small pieces.

Steam until they are tender.

Once they are tender, puree them with either a blender or a food processor. I bought this small cuisinart mini prep for about $35.00 on ebay. Sweet potatoes are a little thick so add some of the water from the dutch oven back into the puree to thin it out. Some of the vitamins leech out of the food into this water so you are essentially adding the vitamins back in when you do this.

After the sweet potatoes are the right consistancy (slightly thin) spoon into covered ice trays and freeze. Each cube size portion is approximately 1 ounce and you eliminate the waste that you have with conventional baby food.

Once they are frozen, pop them out of the trays and store them in freezer bags. Make sure you write what fruit or vegetable it is on the outside of the bag. (Squash and zucchini look a lot alike in their frozen state!)

Carter (my 5 month old) has just started eating baby food, so I usually take out one cube of squash, one cube of zucchini, and two cubes of apples or pears. I put them in a divided dish and microwave them for about 45 seconds or until they are thawed out and warm. I usually add rice cereal to the vegetable if they are too thin and oatmeal cereal to the fruits and he eats every bite. I personally feel like I would be doing my kids a hugh disservice feeding them Gerber baby food, I mean really, have you ever tasted that stuff! Ugh! And all the preservatives that they add to the food, I feel like we are pickling our kids! This food tastes just like what you and I eat everyday. And at about 3 to 5 cents a serving, it beats the heck out of their prices which are usually $1.00 per serving.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Carter's First Zoo Trip

It was such a beautiful day Sunday that Jim and I decided to take the boys to the zoo. April, Britt, Conner & Carson met us there and we had a great time. Apparently, we were not the only people who decided to take advantage of the beautiful day, half of Birmingham was already there. If you haven't been lately, they have a kangaroo exhibit that's awesome. A tour guide takes you into the exhibit with the kangaroo's so you can get really close to them. However, the line was too long so we will have to see them next time. The next place we visited was the playgroud so I could feed the baby and Aiden was so proud because he was able to climb all the way to the top of the spider web with minimal help!

The next stop was the petting zoo, nature trail and archaeological site to dig for bones!

By the time we finished with the "dig" everyone was ready to go home and do what we usually do --- watch TV!

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Beginning of Something Special

This is my first post to what, without a doubt is going to become the world's most boring blog. It was easy enough in the beginning to post pictures of my children but since I only have two of them, there are only so many pcitures I can post. Now the hard part begins. I find myself thinking in the shower, the car or at my desk at work about what people are going to think about the things I write and of course, I have analyzed it to death. So here goes. There will be misspelled words, run-on sentences and completely random thoughts but stay with me because it just might turn out to be a fun ride!

Saturday, February 21, 2009