Curious Toddler

My dog ran away yesterday through a missing board in the fence. maybe she is fed up with being thirsty all the time because my 14-month-old loves to dump her water bowl. At first, she really doesn't dump it. Nah, first she puts her tiny little hands in the water and splashes. Then maybe sucks her wet fingers. I always freak out at that because dog water is well, slimy. Then, she'll grab a toy and stick it in the dog water and do that for a while. When she's bored with that. She lifts, she spills! The floor is wet, the baby is wet and I can't even sit on the couch for 5 seconds without having to tend to my oh so curious little toddler.

Yup, she's a toddler. She started walking about 3 weeks ago and now we're in the toddler stage! She's so darn cute walking around like an old drunk person trying to keep their balance, tripping over her feet and laughing when she falls down.
It's not just the dog water she loves to play in. It's also...well....EVERYTHING!

It's almost time to put up the Christmas tree and I have no idea how we are going to quarantine it since I sold my Supergate on Craigslist last week.  I remember when my older kids were this age, our Christmas tree would not have any ornaments on the bottom half of the tree. We could try that. But Indy is so curious, I have a premonition that she may just pull down the tree! Not safe, not fun. She'll probably just play in the  tree water, not only dehydrating our sweet little black lab, but also the Christmas tree too. Ahhh, toddlerhood. I love it, but it is quite exhausting.


Giving Thanks

Tis the season to be thankful! Big daddy is working on Thanksgiving day and so we are celebrating our Thanksgiving on Friday. A big part of Thanksgiving for me is watching the Macy's Day parade and thanks to the invention of DVR, I can re-create the whole holiday on Friday without a worry. I even recorded the Today show to watch before the parade starts because it just gives you that whole feeling of the holidays. And I swear, it took all of my will power to not watch the Macy's day parade.
I really don't mind much that Big Daddy is working on the real Thanksgiving because this means that he gets to have all of Christmas off both Eve and Day.

 After our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, we are going to see the new Muppet movie, so today was lined up with watching all the old muppet movies in preparation. I love those movies and honestly wish that my kids would appreciate them as much as I do. But I grew up with the Muppets and they are thinking that these movies are totally "dated." I feel so old!

To me, one of the greatest music lyrics in the whole world happens to be from the original Muppet Movie. "Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers and me...la la la la la la la"
So in preparation for Thanksgiving tomorrow I will be making all the traditional dishes. Mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce and of course, turkey. I have a special mashed potato recipe that I only make on Thanksgiving -it's not too much of a secret, but I make regular homemade mashed potatoes and also mix in 2 sweet potatoes in with the Russet potatoes. It comes out so awesome.

Instead of the typical green bean casserole with canned cream of mushroom, I'm doing steamed garlic whole green beans. It much healthier and kids actually like it better! My friend, Megan makes an amazing fresh cranberry sauce. She will be joining us tomorrow and is going to whip that up for us. I will make real turkey gravy from our turkey drippings, which always comes out really good and is really easy to make.


For the Love of God, Be Quiet!

I just don't know why my children cannot listen to the simplest instructions. Mind you, right now, I am crabby and tired so my words might not make any sense. Please don't construe that I don't like having children. But right now, I want some sleep. And that is impossible in this house right now.

"Please close the door to your room," I said as Indy was (emphasis on WAS) sleeping. She was up almost all night nursing and crying with painful gums because a new top tooth is breaking through. Please for the love of God, break through already!

The boys were playing Wii and being loud. I didn't ask them to stop playing, just close the door and be a little more quiet. Dan is watching football in the living room. I set Princess up with her paints and she was (again emphasis on WAS) painting quietly in the kitchen.

Indy took her nap pretty late today becausre we went to church. With the afternoon time, and her playing so hard at the church nursery, I knew she was going to take a long nap. She fell asleep so fast and was gone to the world! Dan encouraged me to lay down with her and I took him up on it thinking he would actually keep the kids quiet. I was wrong.

I hear a deafening scream from Princess. Big Bro was doing something loud and horsing around with her from their bedroom. The door was obviously open. Indy awake, me awake and here I am, blogging and drinking coffee.


Saturday, Sleep & Face Paint

Happy Saturday Mamas! What was that snow dusting we woke up to this morning? Today started out wonderful. Big Daddy was with us in bed last night. For those of you who don't know, he is usually in the guest room due to Indy's constant wakings and night nursings. I know it's not the most romantic thing, but with 4 kids, we happily agree that whatever you can do to maximize sleep in this house is better for everyone. It won't be forever, but right now, in the trenches of babyhood, it works.

Anyway, Big Daddy got to experience first hand what the depths of teething nights are like. Sweet Big Daddy was tired this morning, but took Indy and let me sleep in. What a guy! It was nice. He did go to his buddy's house to watch the Huskers this morning and maybe it was his guilt for leaving us on a Saturday that inspired him to let me sleep, but I'd like to think he experienced what I do go through every night and gave me a break. But nonetheless, I was happy to sleep. He did take the boys with him to watch the game and they had a nice guy's football morning while Princess and I did our nails, watched movies, and folded laundry together. Indy took a long morning nap too, so we got some good Mama-Princess time.

Princess got this idea that she wanted to go to Old Town to have her face painted. I was really into just staying home and chilling out, so we compromised. I dug through the shed for the recently packed away Halloween box and found some face paint. It only had red, green and blue and white, but luckily she wanted a ladybug, so we were in business. I painted a ladybug and stars on her face and she was as happy as could be. Then the excitement wore off and she wanted me to get my face painted. I gave in and let her paint my face! Why not, right? She had such fun and basically painted my entire face while I folded laundry. Then I told her she couldn't go on the couch because I didn't want the face paint to stain the couch. I'm so mean and she had a tantrum. I try.


LEGO Cookies

Today my big boy is in a LEGO Robotics competition and I'm taking this opportunity to make some LEGO treats for his team. A few years ago, he had a lego themed birthday party and I made an awesome Lego cake that looked like a few giant Lego blocks. This time just a little treat will do. The team did awesome and placed 3rd in the competition out of 23 teams! And they won a special award for Strategic and Innovation.

I was kind of pressed for time, so I just used the Betty Crocker pouch sugar cookie mix. To make that mix into rolled cookies to cut out, you just add a little flour to the mix. Have you noticed that you don't see pre-made cookie mix other than Betty Crocker anymore? And you don't see pre-made cookie mix in a box; just the pouches. Just an observation I've made at the food store recently. What happened to the cookie mix that came in the boxes and the other brands? Did Ms. Crocker just buy out the rights to cookie mix or something?

Anyway, I didn't have a rectangle cookie cutter, so I just used a pizza roller and made rectangles. I made my own frosting in 3 small batches using 1 cup of powdered sugar, 1 TBSP of light corn syrup and a splash of milk. I added a lot of food coloring to make the colors pretty bright. I added M&Ms to that, picked to match the frosting using 8 for each cookie. That was a good job for my 5-year-old to pick through the bag to make 3 bowls of red, blue, and yellow M&Ms. I made sure she washed her hands first and didn't eat any until she was all done!

And that's it! East breezy and the kids loved them!


Raising Gentle Men

Raising little boys into peaceful, gentle men is not as easy feat. But I try. Today Uncle Dave took my boys out for their birthday presents. They both had birthdays in October and I am a proud Mama to boys ages 9 and 11. Yup, they are big boys. So Uncle Dave, the cool Uncle that he i,s bought each of my boys, "air soft guns". These are not your Walmart variety of air soft guns either.  In addition to being the "cool" Uncle, Uncle Dave is also a Nebraskan-bred Midwestern style guy and he knows about guns. They went straight to Jax, Fort Collin's local outdoor, camping, hunting gear arena. Jax isn't really like the white bread trendy R.E.I. outdoor store that also has a home here in the Fort. Jax is more..well, I guess you can say carries the top red-neck gear. Not that Uncle Dave is a red-neck, but being from Nebraska and all, he does have some red-neck tendencies.
Actually, I didn't really know what an air soft gun was and I'm not one to shelter my kids from guns. Ahhh, things we'd never say we would do...

As little guys, they learned quickly that they can create a gun out of Legos and blocks and even cooked carrots, so I knew it would be a losing battle. And when you think about, if I was ever completely denied something growing up, I just HAD to have it. When my Mom told me at 16 that I wasn't allowed to have sex and "end of dicussion"( not that there even was a discussion). Well what do you think I did?

So yup, my gentle parenting practices include the use of play guns in my home. Ironic, isn't it? I parent on the philosophy to follow my children's lead and let them be who they are and explore what interests them. The cornerstone of attachment parenting is to listen to our children, let them explore and guide to make good decisions. And it turns out that they like playing with guns and so I teach them safety and remind them that guns hurt people and animals. I hope they are listening too. I learned that I cannot achieve what I want them to be by hardfast rules, like saying, no guns allowed.
So let me just tell you that an air soft gun is nothing like a Nerf gun. These actually look like real guns and I am a bit petrified of an accident.
 I found myself saying "don't shoot your eye out" just a few times knowing full well what I sounded like; a regular mom.