Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The boys have had upset tummies the last couple of days (Parker actually told me, 'Mommy, I have a spider in my tummy and it hurts.' Strange, I know.  But it is still cute the way he is trying to describe how it feels).  Since they have been sick, we have been doing a whole lot of nothing.  I notice that they are on the mend, though, because they aren't as whiney as they were yesterday...

Oh. My. Goodness... Where to begin?

Blown out diaper one, two or three?

The fact that Parker, who is undies full time, had an accident (running down his leg) and you would have thought he was dying by how upset he was?

Or maybe the part that the hubby is out of town until Friday? 

Either way, the last couple of days have sucked.

I am not the type of person who likes to carry a baby around all day (much less a 22 pound 9 month old), especially since he didn't want to be held.  He wanted to do that awkward and annoying thing where you pick them up, but then they reach for the ground.  So, you put them on the ground and they immediately pull themselves up by your pantleg and complain until you hold them again.  No, it wasn't driving me insane at all!

Don't get me wrong, I feel sorry for the little guys, but Preston is at that age where he won't just sit and cuddlge.  Parker on the other hand would have just sat on the couch, with his blankie, and cuddled up to watch cartoons ALL day.  I didn't let him though. Mainly because I was trying to use him to keep Preston busy (which was a failed attempt).  Let's just settle on the fact that yesterday was a complete and utter mess.

Luckily, the boys ended their day with a nice bath (filled with lots of bubbles) and that seemed to make us all happy.

I guess all is well, that ends well.  Right?

Friday, August 26, 2011


'Motherhood brings as much joy as ever, but it still brings boredom, exhaustion and sorrow too.  Nothing else ever will make you as happy or as sad, as proud or as tired, for nothing is quite as hard as helping a person develop his own personality, especially while you struggle to keep your own.'
-Marguerite Kelly & Elia Parsons

Today has been one of those awesome and inspiring days...
Lately I have been making mental notes of things of importance and things that I really need to learn to let go.  I have always known that I can not control others' actions and behaviors, but, daily, I am trying to remind myself of things like that.  I think I am beginning to find some honest to goodness peace. I have always known that there are people out there who will always look down on you and try to make you feel like they are better than you and lately I am beginning to understand that that is out of my control... Completely.  I am learning that their efforts need to just go wasted because I live a very happy and (in my opinion) successful life.  I may not have a degree posted on my wall, but I do have a wonderful husband, amazing children and a roof over my head.  All of which, I take tremendous pride in.  I have said it before, but I have always known that I wanted to be a mother and the fact that I am lucky enough to not only be a mother, but to also be a full-time, stay-at-home mother... Words cannot describe the joy that gives me.  I can honestly say that, since having the boys, there has never been a day that I wished I did something else.  Of course there have been days that I wished I was somewhere else.. The beach with a margarita in my hand maybe?  But I have loved the mess that I call life from day one.  

Over the past couple of years, and especially the last few months, I feel like I have really grown into the type of person that I want to be (or at least the uphill battle is over).  I have a truly inspiring support team, ranging from my encouraging family, to a group of awesome women who know me better than any friends before ever have and to even the strangers who I pass remind me of the type of grace and kindness I want to bestow onto others.   I am probably going to sound like I need to be checked into the psych ward, but I feel that I have been inspired a lot more lately.  Whether the inspiration is coming from the beautiful things that people create or from the astonishing little munchkins that I am lucky enough to call mine, I am so thankful that I have opened my eyes to it. 

Don't get me wrong.. I know every moment isn't perfect.. But I have been trying to remind myself (as I am wiping butts, cleaning up messes, dealing with timeouts...)

'Oh my goodness, I am going to miss this'

Not only am I raising them and helping them form their personalities... But they are also helping to form mine.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

previous posts and growth

I recently checked back at some of my first posts.. I have mixed feelings about them.  I feel like I was so ambitious, but at the same time I am happy to report that I have fulfilled some of my original goals. 

The boys deserve, demand and (luckily) have been receiving my upmost attention.  Don't get me wrong.. There are still days that I run from room to room trying to hide from them, but for the most part, I find myself really playing with them.  Honestly, I feel like I am enjoying it a lot more than I used to also.  Maybe they're at different ages that makes it easier or maybe I just am just aware that these precious times will be over all too soon.  Either way, it has been so rewarding to find things that we all enjoy doing together.  I always have ten different crafts going on at one time, but it is so much fun doing them with the boys and then seeing the joy on Parker's face when we complete something together (and Preston loves to help make any mess possible)!

I think Ben and I are doing a pretty good job making time for each other.  I know we can always work on that, and with his new job (which comes with some pretty demanding hours) it can make it a little difficult at times.  But lately it seems like we have been able to enjoy each other's company a lot more.  Whether it is spending hours talking to each other, or just sitting next to one another while we enjoy our favorite show... His company seems a lot more meaningful lately.

I have always had a desire to create, and until recently I never really knew how to work that into my everyday life.  I am sure as our family grows it will get harder and harder to always be able to find time, but I am so proud of myself for making 'me' time a priorority and sticking to it.  I am sure there are lots of people reading this right now, thinking, 'What, she stays at home all day.. She has all the 'me' time she could want.'  Yes.. I am lucky enough to be able to stay at home with my boys and make the type of schedules that work for us, but believe me.. It has been a VERY long time where my day revolved around anything other than naptimes, snack times, and diaper changes.  Don't get me wrong.. I love it and there is no other job in the world that I would rather do, there is something unbelieveably rewarding about molding the future and personality of a little human being, but it's not all fun and games.

Besides those points I have found myself becoming a lot more proud and accepting of myself.  Of course I still have 'Mommy Guilt' where I sometimes wonder, 'Am I messing these kids up?' But then I watch my boys interact with others and I see how amazing of a job I am really doing (Yes.. I am going to toot my own horn right now).  Yes.. Parker has his moments where he can be a wild and unruly two year old, but for the most part.. He is an amazing little boy with so much love to give, a huge passion to learn and an overall love of life.  And yes.. Preston drives me crazy when he is hanging on my leg, but he is such a happy baby that it is truly unreal sometimes.  The kid has no fear and I like to think that is is partly because he knows I will always be there to 'catch' him.  Yes, I know that won't always happen and there are times where he will be hurt (in all sorts of ways), but for now it is awesome the bond that him and I have.  I will never get these moments back so I am learning to take it all in stride.. The timeouts, the cries, the cuddles and the never ending giggles.  It is all amazing and I am so happy that I have been giving myself the time to step back and and admire the hard work that I have put in and the great job I have done. 

I know I have a lot more work to go, and this whole mommyhood thing is an ongoing, uphill battle, but right now it really feels like I have a lot of it under control.  I know that all can (and probably will) change tomorrow, but like I said.. I am taking it all in stride.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

where does the time go?

What?  It is already Wednesday?  This week is going by way too fast... Maybe it has a lot to do with the fact that Ben has been gone and when he is home, he is downstairs working in his office (busy season for Mr. Kelley).  I feel like I have been walking around in a haze these last few days!

The last few days have been filled with the Renaissance Festival, a photo shoot, lots of time in the car, a couple of playdates, some crafts, the typical errands, walks and cleaning!  I am tired just thinking about it...

Saturday we went to the Renaissance Festival with Ben's family and we had an amazing time!  The boys were so good and the weather was amazing!  We got there around a little before eleven in the morning and I figured we'd be done around two in the afternoon, but the boys went strong until six!  They were such little troopers.  We spent the day walking around, petting animals, eating and Parker even got his face painted like a little pirate (his longest lasting obsession thus far).  I didn't take any pictures (boo!), but I am hoping to post some soon from my sister-in-law (Katie with Behind the Lens Photography) and my brother-in-law (Joe with Joe Kelley Photography)... It is really nice having two photographers in the family!  It was so nice to have a relaxing day with the family and to let the boys see their cousins, aunties, uncles and Nana...  Parker was so excited to see his 'baby' cousin, that every day leading up to the festival he would ask me, 'I see Baby Jacob at the fair today?'  And every day I had to explain that we weren't going there yet, but it we would see him soon... Sometimes I wish the kid didn't have such a good memory!  After hours of running around, we decided to hit the road and the boys were sound asleep before I even left the parking lot.  They are so darn cute! 

Sunday morning was spent visiting my dad.. The boys always have a great time there because all Bapa does is spoil them (surprise, huh?).  We went out to lunch with my sister and took off for the boys' photo shoot.  We met Helena, my friend's older sister, of Helena Lynne Photography at Franconia Sculpture Park in Shafter, MN and spent a couple of wonderful hours laughing, exploring, and of course.. Getting some adorable pictures.  You can check out her play-by-play of the shoot at her blog {Helena Lynne Photography Blog}.  While there, I really noticed how old the boys are getting.... That makes me sad, happy and excited all at the same time!

After the shoot we went out to eat with my mom and stepdad and it must have been the frosting that Parker ate (Helena brought the boys cupcakes), but oh. my. goodness.  Parker was driving me crazy.  He was sitting down ok, but he would not shut up! Haha.. I know I have vented about how much he talks, but he wasn't even talking.  He was just singing.  And he wasn't singing a song.. He was just singing the word 'mom' over and over and over again.  I had to laugh, but goodness.. That boy knows how to drive me crazy sometimes!  I had another drive home filled with sleeping babies.. My favorite!

The last couple of days I have had a couple of playdates and I love having them..
Why do I like having ten or so mini monsters running around my house?  I know.. Sounds insane, right?

1. I don't need to get dressed
2. My kids don't need to get dressed
3. It makes me clean my house beforehand (which the husband likes, also)
4. The boys play with toys that they haven't played with in FOREVER!
5.  The company of other moms is wonderful...
Even though most (if not all) of our conversations revolve around the kids.. Having a handful of moms who are going through the same things as me makes me feel so much less alienated!

Oh.. And I even got a night out (sans children) with some great ladies at the movie theatre.. If you haven't seen The Help.. I suggest it!

All of that has left me feeling a little sluggish, but it's nothing that I can't handle!  I am off to do what I love most.. Enjoy the little rascals! 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Very Productive Morning...

.... does that mean I am done for the day?

Today I feel like I have a lot to say, but not much time to say it.. The boys are playing quietly (maybe too quietly) in the playroom, so I figured I would try to get a little in before lunch.

First of all, after some time (ok, a lot of time), I am back with another thing I love..

My Cricut

Mine is the Cricut Expression and it is amazing.  When I first bought it, I had the intentions of using it just for scrapbooking.  However, I never used it! I was scared that Ben wouldn't let me get another gadget if I didn't start using it.  At the same time, I started doing more crafts and not just scrapbooking.  That is when the clouds parted and I saw how truly awesome this thing is.

I have started using it for everything...

vinyl stickers for the walls of the playroom
(I ran out of black vinyl, so that project isn't completed yet... surprise, surprise!)


decorations and crafts for the kids
(what kid doesn't like his name on stuff?)

There are all different cartridges that you can buy and with each of those comes fonts, shapes, sayings.. I recently bought an animal one (see bunny above) and a paper doll set. 

To be honest, it isn't cheap, but if you have lots of ideas (like me), it will totally pay for itself!  I am still 'just getting to know' my machine, but if you have any questions, let me know and I can try to help you figure some stuff out!


Parker and I were working up a craft storm this morning...

I finished my button monogram shadowbox...

I cut out shapes and more words for the playroom...

Parker made a beautiful picture and got to glue is name on it...

And we even made this cute little guy!

I also spray painted a picture frame and put this decoration together...

Finished up some cards that I was working on...

And cut out some color decals for the playroom
(I need to buy some different colored vinyl, though)

So we were obviously busy while Preston slept, but not too busy to fit in some workbook time!  I bought Parker a workbook from Target a few months ago and from time to time he likes to sit down and do a couple pages out of there.  Today he opened to the back and pick the questionnaire page.  It is meant for the child to fill out on their own once they completed the book, but it was pretty dang cute how excited he got when he saw a firefighter, so how could I say no?  His answers:
My favorite food is: Chocolate Sandwiches
(that is a given)
My favorite color is: Green
(I was surprised, seeing as his obsession went from purple to orange, and now I guess green)
My favorite animal is a: Donkey
(I have absolutely NO idea where this came from)
My favorite thing to do outside is: Swim
(understandable.. Even though he has been swimming like once this whole summer)
My favorite thing to do inside is: Workbooks
(Seriously.. I didn't prompt in on any of these.. This kid seriously cracks me up)

He later told me that the bunny we cut out with the Cricut is his new best friend, 'What? Ok...' I said to him, very confused, but then he said, 'You can be my friend too Mommy.' What a sweetheart, right?


Both the boys have been such good kids lately.  Not that they aren't usually, but lately they have been more so than ever.  I just can't believe how big they are getting... Preston just climbed the stairs yesterday (with me standing right behind him) all the way to the second floor.  Yikes!  Mommy is not ready for this.  It is just so cute to watch the boys interact with each other.. Yes, they already have the moments where they wrestle and grab each other, but then there are times like this morning... Preston was in his walker and cruised over to Parker, who was eating breakfast and Parker says, 'Here you go Preston.  You like it.' as he feeds him a fork full of eggs.  Come on.. How much cuter could they be?

Parker has been driving me a little crazy with his talking lately.. Don't get me wrong, I love the fact that he loves to learn and is so curious about things, but seriously.. A moment of silence every once in awhile would be nice too!  Yesterday, while we were in the car he said to me, 'Mommy, I miss you.'  I said, 'But I am right here honey.  He said, 'I can't talk to you, the radio is too loud.'  So I turned it down and said, 'Is this better?' 
'Lower.'  He said.  'Lower.' He repeated as I turned it down more.  He finally said, 'Radio off please, Mommy?' I turned it off and waited for the very important conversation he wanted to have with me.. It never came.  Instead, he looked me in the eye (through the rear view mirror) and said, 'Hi, Mommy!'  I of course started crying (tearing up, in my defense) because he is so cute and all he really needed was a minute of my undivided attention.  It is just sometimes hard to give him because, well, he doesn't shut up.  I mean that with the most respect.... I don't mind doing puzzles, playing with cars, building forts, playing with the dollhouse, but right now he LOVES having everything talk as we play.  'Hi. How are you?' he says every time he grabs another toy for me to play with.  And if I don't respond he just gets closer and closer to my face, while repeating, 'How are you?' until I finally say something.  Ahhhhh....

I guess I would rather have him talking my ear off, and learning more and more new words everyday than not have the desire to gain more knowledge at all.  But seriously.. Can't there be a happy medium? Haha..

Sorry, but another couple of cute stories..
We were driving to Ben's dad's house last weekend and the town we were going through has having some road construction done.  Actually, they were burying new sewer pipes, but anyways.  Parker looks out the window and says, 'Look Mom!  There's a excavator.  And a dump truck. And a loader.  They're digging a drainage ditch.'  No joke... And sadly, he was right. 

Parker isn't the only one with cute stories, though.  We have been working on sign language with Preston (he isn't signing back, but atleast he smiles when I sign the right thing)... Anyways, his new favorite thing to do is clap everytime we say 'Yay!' Seriously.. It is the cutest thing in the world!  The other day he pulled himself up and started cruising on the couch.  He stopped, looked back at me said started clapping.  So. Freakin. Cute!

I guess I am just in a good mood today because these guys can't seem to do wrong. Haha.. Right... But they are atleast being very enjoyable to be around (sadly, though, that could all change after naps)...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Chocolate Boy..........

This is pretty much just a post of pictures. 
All because my kids are so dang cute, of course...

Parker walked up to me carrying the Nutella and a spoon...
How could I say no (and I wanted to play around with my camera)...
So we enjoyed a little bedtime snack together.  Man, I love being a mom!

I love that little man!

A Weekend of Firsts, Friends and Fun!

This past weekend Ben and I were lucky enough to both be a part of our friends' wedding! (Congrats to Nick and Laura, by the way..)  With that came a ton of fun and for me.. A very BIG first.

I left Preston for the first time over night.  Even more than that I didn't see him (awake anyways) from 4:30p on Friday until 12:30p on Sunday.  Mama Bear did not like that very much.  However, sadly, the muchkins didn't seem to mind.  I didn't really think they would.  They are super happy boys that needs no help from me to fall asleep and stay asleep all night.  The boys spent their days being spoiled by Bapa and Nana while playing outside, going to the fair and of course.. Staying up past their bedtimes.  I think that is part of a grandparent's job.  Not the spoiling part, that is a given.. But the staying up late part.  I seriously don't think clocks work correctly when the kids are visiting the grandparents.  Or, maybe it's just that I am so dead tired by the end of the day that I count down the minutes until bedtime.  Whatever it is, I am so happy that the boys had a great time, I had a great time and better yet.. Nana and Bapa had a great time.  They don't get to see the boys often enough (we have a 2 1/2 hour drive to thank for that) and it was so wonderful to see how excited and thankful they were to have been given the time to watch the boys. 

As I said, Ben and I were gone at a wedding.  Seriously.. I have NEVER seen a wedding go so smoothly.  I don't even know where to begin.. Everything ran perfectly on schedule and there was no drama and of course.. the bride was absolutely beautiful... The flower girls even were tear free during the ceremony (I, however, was not).  The only hiccup.. The motorhome (that we were driving from the ceremony to the reception) wouldn't start.. the battery was dead.  Luckily, after only a couple of minutes of jumping it from another car we were on our way to Neil's bar (we of course had to make a pit stop for a couple of drinks)...  The ceremony was amazing.  I don't know if I am a super emotional person or if it is the fact that I actually listened during the mass, but I was crying.  Heck, I was crying the night before while the groom's father was making a speech.  Whatever.. I can cry if I want! Haha.. The reception was equally as beautiful.. And I was very proud of the card box that I made for them...

Ben and I got to dance the night away, even though I was dead tired by 9p!  And better yet.. We got to sleep in together.  What?  I know.. I will say it slowly for all you parents out there who don't know what I am talking about.
Sleep. in. together.

No, we didn't both have to get up at 6a with the little rugrats, heck.. One of us didn't even have to get up!  We both got to sleep in until the unheard of time of 10a.  However, I wish we could have been sleeping in our bed.  I have a horrible back and hotel beds and I never mix well.  Oh well.. Better luck next time!

After watching the bride and groom open gifts and saying goodbye to their wonderful families, we rushed back to see the boys.. Part of me wished we never left them in the first place!

Well, all is well that ends well and this past weekend ended very well.  I was exhausted (I still am), but it was worth every waking moment! 

Again, Congrats to Nick and Laura!  I love you both so much and I am so happy for you guys.  Now hurry home so we can have a much needed family dinner!

Look What I Made... Initial T-Shirts

I was creeping around Pinterest the other day (surprise, surprise) and I came across some totally adorable, totally easy t-shirts for the boys.  Behold,

Initial Bleach T-Shirts

To do this project you will need:
A Shirt (I am thinking about doing a library bag out of canvas also)
Bleach (in a spray bottle)
Contact Paper (found at Target by the home cleaning supplies)
Paper Bag or Newspaper

To start you need to cut out your letter or design out of contact paper.  I taped mine down (backwards) to the contact paper to make sure it didn't move around as I was cutting. 

Place the letter directly onto the shirt. 

Place a paper bag between the two layers of the shirt (so the bleach doesn't bleed through) and start spraying. 

It will start to fade almost immediately, but (as usual) I got impatient so I used the blowdryer to speed things up!

Finished product... Like I said, super easy!