Monday, January 30, 2012

where my time goes...

I've been terrible about updating around here lately. I knew it would happen once Desmond was born, but there's no way I could've predicted just how busy and different life would be. I feel like I have about 30 different projects going all at one time between work and home, all in different stages of "doneness" and all demanding my attention. Nothing demands my attention more than Kai + Des though, and they always win.

However, when I do get a chance to work on something here is how I spend my time:

* laundry. every person in charge of the laundry with a family of 4 knows how ridiculous and NEVER ENDING this chore is. It's always overwhelming, always. Right now there are about 10 categories: 1. Mine + Ben's dirty laundry. 2. The boys' dirty laundry 3. dirty linens 4. mine + Ben's clean clothes that need put away. 5. The boys' clothes that need put away (currently occupying the crib in the playroom-yikes.). 6. linens that need folded and put away 7. Des' clothes that are soaking in oxi-clean 8. clothes that are in the process of being washed/dried. 9. things that are hand wash only. 10. Clothes in the closets/drawers/on our bodies.

* dishes. pretty much the same story as laundry, although these get done quicker because 1. it gets gross faster and 2. there isn't room in my tiny kitchen to have dishes piling up.

* gift sorting. this is kind of an odd one, I know. We had a pile of gifts from Christmas and my birthday that was kind of taking over our living room (along with the clean laundry to be sorted). I don't give Kai all the new toys at once, nor Des for that matter. First I had to sort through the clothes, de-tag and wash the ones that fit now and put away the ones they'll grow into later. Next I dug out all the books and when I need a good distraction while nursing or putting Des down for a nap I'll grab a new book for Kai to read. Next are toys, which are all in a plastic tote until their time to shine. Last is the giftwrap/bags that I'm keeping. I'm almost done with this project as I had some time over the weekend to tackle it.

* Taxes. Right now I'm in the collecting stage, we still have 3 documents we're waiting on before I can get started.

*General cleaning. I sweep the floors every day and vacuum about twice a week (sometimes more). Kai helps me clean the playroom every couple of days and I'm constantly wiping down the dining area after he eats. I try to dust and wipe the whole house down, and scrub the bathroom at least once a week.

* General clutter. Every flat surface in our house has the tendency to accumulate clutter. Birthday cards, grocery lists, user manuals, books, vitamin containers, pens, paperwork, etc. Sometimes we'll go weeks without really putting these things where they go. It never takes long to clear off the desk/table/dresser/etc. but cleaning up dirt overrides clearing off clutter in my list of priorities.

* 2012 calendar. For the past 3 years I've done a photo calendar with pictures of the previous year's events on each month. I'm behind every year. This next calendar may have a starting month of March...

* organizing photos. I'm the most behind on this project. Before we moved here (almost 2 years ago) I had been in the habit of deleting photos that weren't great and renaming them by the date and putting them in folders by month and year. Once we moved, unpacking and getting the house ready took a priority over this project and I still haven't been able to catch up. Just about every photo from 2011 is in an obscurely labeled folder on the desktop. ugh.

* blogging. It's one of very few things that I consider "me" time, but I also do it for my family. It's my alternative to scrap booking or journaling.

* Reading. I NEVER get to do this, but last week I read The Help. I can't wait to see the movie!

* appointments. I used to make all the appointments, but now I have Ben take care of his own. So now I just schedule doctor, dentist, eye, and other appointments for the boys and myself.

* work. I've taken on a new job, which means more projects. I work on recruiting and scheduling volunteers at our church for nursery through 5 year olds. I make sure there are supplies for lessons, snack, clean up, diapering, and more. I organize curriculum for the two's and will soon be taking over the curriculum for 3-5's. I brainstorm ways to better the classrooms, volunteers, and more.

* finances. I keep track of our income + expenses, although this is something we've been talking about having Ben take over.

* small group. Ben + I just decided to host a small group through our church. It starts this week and I'm so excited! I need to prepare a snack/dessert and clean my house from top to bottom. (see all of the above items).

I'm sure I've missed something, and of course this is just all the indoor stuff since it's winter and we aren't tending to our yard + garden yet. Plus there's all the things that Ben does! He helps with the household stuff when I need it, but he also has plenty of other things to do like take out the trash, clean and organize the garage, maintain the cars, take care of all things technology and electronics and more.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thankful on a Thursday

Wow, Thursday just keeps sneaking up on me. Since working twice as many hours the weeks have just been flying by! I was afraid when I first took on the additional role at work/church that I'd feel guilty about leaving my boys for about 10 hours a week. While I do miss them, I'm so much more productive when they're with grandma or mima that when we're together again I don't have as many other things on my mind. I can more easily focus all my attention on them and that is such a good feeling!

This week I'm thankful for...

971. God's work in my life. It's mysterious, and sometimes seems crazy, but it's always blessed.

972. my healthy growing boys. I'm a little scared to say it, but we've been free of sickness in our house for a long while now and it feels great!

973. synchronized naps. I will never stop being excited about this because it's such a rare and happy occasion (and it's occurring right now!)

974. quiet time with Ben. Another rarity is an early enough bedtime for both kiddos that Ben and I actually get some time for just us. I cherish it every time.

975. Grandma Debbie + Mima Tami = Ben's mom + my mom. They are instrumental to our survival each week.

976. With my increased hours will come increased income. I'm really excited to put that extra money into savings (thrilling, right?).

977. girl time. Yesterday when I was in the office, Liz + I were getting so talkative. She mentioned that it was some of her only "girl time" because she's often in the office by herself. I realized that it's some of my only "girl time" every week because I'm often at home with my boys!

978. the sun shining through my window. We haven't had much of a "winter", but I'm already looking forward to spring.

979. small group. We're hosting a church small group, it starts next week and I'm so excited!

980. new friends. I feel like through work and church I'm meeting a lot of new people and creating closer relationships with people I've only barely known. This is so good for me, as most stay at home/work at home moms probably know!

What are you thankful for this week?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

little lambs

A friend of ours has over a dozen teensie lambs that need extra care because the sheep aren't caring for them. Liz invited us over for a "field trip" so Malakai could see them up close and even feed them. I was just as excited to see the little ones as Malakai, they are too precious.

He was hesitant at first, but warmed up quickly. Liz let him go in the pen with the smaller lambs and try to feed them. He got much more of their food on the ground and on their heads than in their tummies, but he had a really good time trying.



We went out to their barn to see the bigger lambs. I wish I could have gotten a good picture of Kai's reaction to them. They were jumpy and playful and he was laughing so hard when they pranced around him. 

He tried to feed them too, but they were much too strong for him. I even tried, but couldn't do it one handed. I needed my other hand to stabilize Desmond in the Ergo, he wasn't too happy that morning. Malakai then became more interested in exploring and drumming with a stick he found...boys.


{Liz, showing us how it's done}

Lastly, we visited a couple itty-bitty lambs that were by the fire in their shop. They were little enough that Malakai could hold them. He was interested at first, but it didn't last long. Sadly, I didn't get a photo of this either.


It was so sweet of Liz to invite us out and take the time to show Kai how to feed and pet the lambs. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thankful on a Thursday

I've missed my thankful posts the last couple of weeks, but as you can probably tell I haven't really been updating around here as much as I usually do. It started with the holidays and then just compounded after that. Just before Christmas I took on an additional role at my job/church, which means most of my "free time" is taken up by work and household chores.

The boys haven't been napping simultaneously for a long time until the past week, so that cut my time to get things done way down. I mean, I still do laundry and dishes and other household stuff while they're awake if I can. BUT my main priority is to take care of their needs, teach them, play with them, and watch them grow. Sweeping, blogging, cooking, and checking email can all wait.

However, now that they have been napping at the same time (although sometimes it takes for-ev-er) I've had some time to myself.

This week I'm thankful for...

961. time to read, for pleasure even! I'm currently reading The Help. It's really hard to put down.

962. snowfall at the beginning of the week.


963. our ice cream maker, winning that has had such a huge pay off.

964. time to work. I'm starting to establish a routine of being in my office two mornings a week.

965. Malakai's increasing interest in his brother.

966. Desmond's increasing interest in everything.

967. generous family + friends- you all are keeping our boys well dressed this winter!

968. amazon prime trial + subscribe and save. cheap diapers and other deals, right to my door, super fast.

969. discovering new recipes and changing up our dinner routines.

970. and as always, these two...just everything about them.


What are you thankful for?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Malakai 2.5

Today Malakai is exactly 2 and a half! It's amazing what a difference 6 months has made. He looks so much different, so much older to me already. He has learned a ton over that time as well and his personality develops more and more everyday.


Malakai is hilarious, always making others laugh, especially his parents. He says and does some of the most random things. However, at the same time he is a creature of habit. I suspect that this is something he shares in common with many other two year olds. He could eat PBJ and yogurt for lunch every single day and be perfectly content. He likes things to be "just so". I don't dare find out what would happen if I gave him a sandwich without first cutting it into 4 triangles (this mama leaves the crust on though).

He is much taller and a bit thinner, although he's surely hanging onto that sweet round baby face. He still has the bluish vein between his eyes, and people have finally stopped asking if it's a bruise. His hair grows so quickly I can't keep up and he's already due for another trim. I (not so secretly) love the shaggy look and the little curls he gets in the back. His eyes are a greenish hazel, almost exactly like daddy's. He loves to jump and attempts somersaults more often than I'd like. He is bashing his head into things much less and while he always has bruises they are not as numerous as they had been just half a year ago. He must be more stable these days.


Lately he has taken to giving us a bit of a mean look when he doesn't get the response he wants. He's just as persistent as ever, but if he doesn't want to comply with what is being asked of him he'll just repeat "I can't" over and over again. A close cousin to "I don't like that", and one of his first sentences "I don't want it". When you do something "wrong" he says your name with a bit of a whine as if to ask "what were you thinking mama?!". This is much too close to a teenage reaction for me. He can be a bit bossy, we're working on that...

He says "I love you, too" when you tell him you love him though. Just last night he asked me to "snuddle" before bed. He has always been a pretty independent kid, wanting to play on his own and do it his way. Lately though, he's been asking us to join him in his play and he plays really well with other children. He has also been trying to interact with Desmond much more. Today he tried to pick him up and lay him on a pillow. He constantly tries to put the binky in Des' mouth for him, and he has a strange fascination with brother's tiny hands.


Malakai has always had some issues with sleep. He hasn't stuck with a pattern for more than a month, unless it was a pattern of not going to bed easily. He has been skipping at least one and sometimes two or three naps a week. He'll get into EVERYTHING in his room (and there's not much in there) or just stay awake tossing and turning until he cries to "come out". We're suspecting a bit of anxiety when it comes to sleep as he's had some pretty severe reactions to bed/nap time.

His biggest obsession is numbers (nuh-muhs) and letters (yetters). While he says some things a bit incorrectly, his pronunciation of most words is actually really good. When it comes to the alphabet, he knows it all. He has been able to sing the entire thing for a long time now. He can also point out any letter and name it no matter what the order or if it's upper or lower case. His latest thing is letter sounds. Kai knows the sounds of almost every letter. He loves to make up games where he takes the letters out of his puzzles and then looks for them to put them back, narrating the whole time: "Where's the 'a'? There, there, there's the 'a'!" We're pretty sure he got this from the PBS show "Super Why".


When it comes to numbers he can correctly count up to 13 and then there's an 18 and an eleventeen in there somewhere before he gets to 20. He correctly counts items though, pointing at each while he counts.


He loves to explore, indoors and out. He'll go through all of his toys or investigate things at Grandma's house. He is fascinated by every leaf and rock in our yard. He's so adventurous that he's already climbed the rock wall at the park to get to the big slide.

{we had snow today!}

As long as I can remember I've referred to Kai as "strong willed" and that hasn't changed one bit. He knows who he is, and what he likes/dislikes and isn't afraid to let you know. He's also quite sweet and over the past few months has become a much better listener. He always says please and thank you and is sometimes coy with new people, even if he was the first to say (shout) hello. He is such a happy kid.

When I look at him compared with little Desmond I can't believe that just 30 short months ago Malakai was a brand new little baby. I wish I could remember the details of every single day that has passed since then, it's going much too fast for me.

Don't forget to keep up with our day to day at my Project 365 blog!

Friday, January 13, 2012

dairy-free peanut butter ice cream

It's been a while since I've posted recipes around here. Lately I've been trying new ones left and right. About a week ago Ben started a temporary diet, by his doctor's orders. For a month he's to have no dairy, eggs, wheat, tomatoes, or chocolate. I've been doing a lot of research and we've learned that wheat, milk, and eggs are in just about everything! Soy sauce- wheat. Ranch dressing- milk and eggs. Taco seasoning- wheat again! When I went shopping Ben called it a treasure hunt, and he  was right! I spent a lot of time reading labels and searching for ingredients and meal options to make sure he wouldn't miss the things he couldn't have too much.

Something that he's missed is an occasional bowl of ice cream with me in front of the tv when the kids bless us by sleeping at the same time early enough for us to have the energy to stay up and hang out before we go to bed too. First, I tried a "one ingredient" ice cream recipe that I found through Pinterest. It's made by pureeing frozen banana, and adding any flavor you want. Apparently a frozen banana is supposed to blend up into a nice soft serve. However, I have a really old food processor and it was much more work than it was worth to finally obtain the desired consistency.

I kept looking all over the web for a good recipe free of dairy and chocolate. I didn't find much that would be appealing to him so I decided to try on my own. We had some vanilla soy milk that he found too sweet to drink on it's own, so I started there and loosely followed a couple recipes that came with my Cuisinart Ice Cream maker (that I won a while back). So here it is...

Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Ice Cream

3 cups soy/almond/rice milk (I used a little of each)
1/2 cup non-dairy creamer
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
1 1/8 cups creamy peanut butter ("high quality", but not natural)

Blend peanut butter and sugar on low until creamy (Cuisinart's instructions called for a hand mixer I used my Kitchen Aid mixer).

Add milk + "cream" and mix on low until sugar is dissolved, 1-2 minutes. Add vanilla. I had to scrape the bottom of the bowl to mix in the peanut butter that stuck. Then add the mixture to ice cream maker for 25-30 minutes or per the instructions for your particular ice cream maker.


I fully expected the ice cream to be too icy because of how little "cream" I had to put in it. Once when I tried frozen yogurt it turned out too thin because I had used low fat yogurt. It was impossible to scoop once fully frozen. However, I think the peanut butter helped thicken this recipe up. I took a small taste and it is awesome! I'd eat this creamy dessert even if we didn't have limitations to worry about. If I were to make a different flavor I would adjust the milk to creamer ratio to use more creamer.

Let me know if you try it or if you have any recipes to share! My biggest challenge has been finding bread, so any help there would be appreciated as well. I plan on heading to Market of Choice this weekend to see what kind of options there are.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

updated: about us

I recently realized that my "about us" page hadn't been updated for almost a year. I made a few changes and of course added information about Desmond.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Desmond: 3 months

As Ben put it, Desmond is a quarter of a year old today. After that statement I told him to never talk to me again. It really put it into perspective for me how soon my baby's first year will come to an end. It's exhilarating and heartbreaking all at the same time. I love having a baby and a toddler, even in the moments that are difficult. In the last 3 months I have experienced some of the most challenging moments of my entire life, but I've had many more joyous moments. God knows just how to balance the hurts with a precious belly laugh from Des or a rare snuggle from Kai. Parenthood is definitely a rollercoaster.


At 3 months Desmond is still growing quickly as ever. At his 2 month appointment he weighed 14lbs 15oz., so basically 15lbs. and I'm sure he's closer to 17 by now. Everyone marvels at how heavy he is, especially when lifting his car seat.

He still won't take a bottle although we recently had a nearly successful attempt in which he drank 1/2 an ounce. We've tried all the tricks and so we just keep making attempts and trying different bottles and pray that he'll take one so I can leave him with daddy or his grandparents for longer than an hour on occasion. It's not the end of the world, but Sunday mornings can get quite stressful when I'm toting him around and trying to do my job at the same time.

Des recently took to snuggling a "lovie", this sweet little teddybear/blanket that is soft and cuddly and just the right size. Watching him play + nap with it is one of the cutest things I've ever seen.


He also has a pretty good routine down, which is all his doing as I just let him lead the way and respond in kind. He wakes in the morning between 7 and 8am, happy as a clam. This is his most smiley part of the day. He's alert and content and loves to play with me or watch Malakai for about an hour or two before nursing and conking back out for a nap, which is usually in his bouncy chair and only 20-30 minutes.

He's up for some tummy time and he loves to watch his big brother play. While I make Kai's lunch he's pretty happy to wiggle on a playmat or in the bouncy chair. While Kai eats I usually nurse Des and get him down for his afternoon nap, around 12:30 or 1pm. He wakes around 2pm to nurse and then sometimes sleeps for an hour or two more.

In the late afternoon he's up to see daddy return from work and then takes a bit of power nap around the time that we eat dinner. He's up for another couple hours before bath and bedtime. He's a pretty good sleeper at night, but getting him to bed can be difficult at times. He had some colic for a while but it seems to be pretty much gone. Once he's down for the night he'll sleep for 2-6 hours before stirring to nurse. He sleeps in a co-sleeper next to me so once I hear him sucking on his hands or turning his head side to side I can nurse him before he really wakes up and then we all go back to sleep again. It's a pretty good system, except when he breaks out of his swaddle and I have to get up and try to fix it or have Ben help me because then I have a hard time falling back to sleep.


When he's active he loves to kick + pedal his feet while grunting and cooing. He laughs and smiles easily and his dimples are to die for. Des loves to be held standing up and has been bearing weight on his legs since around 4 weeks old. He actually loves tummy time and sometimes rolls from tummy to back. When he nurses he'll eat for a short time and then search for the binkie when he's done, unlike his brother who would comfort nurse for a very long time and rejected the binkie completely. He's been sprouting more and more dark hair, has a button nose, and a really long torso. While he's starting to resemble his brother at the same age more than before, he still looks an awful lot like his mama.

It's such a joy to watch Desmond grow and see his personality develop each day.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

taking more photos

Ironically, there are no photos in this post. I just wanted to let you all know that I've started another blog for  project 365- a challenge to take and share a photo every day for a year (although I realize that it's a leap year so there are 366 days).

I tried to add it as a tab here at Breaking New Ground, but unfortunately blogger doesn't work that way. So I started a new page with a photo link to the left (that sweet pic of Malakai). Follow along with me and share your photo blogs here as well, I'd love to see what you are taking photos of this year! Thus far all of mine are of my boys!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Christmas Recap

We had a lot of Christmas gatherings over the holiday weekend, in fact we still have one left that got pushed back because of my having the stomach flu.

I've been really bad about updating with all the busyness and I don't want to overlook sharing about Desmond's first Christmas!

On the 24th we spent the entire day at my in-laws, except nap time. The morning was pretty casual and then after nap we met up for the Christmas Eve service at our church. Afterwards we gathered at their house again for the traditional homemade chicken noodle soup + crescent rolls for dinner and a Christmas devotional.

We also got to ooh and ahh over my sister-in-law Kristi's ring, she got engaged the week before and will most likely get married some time this year.

xmas 2011

After dinner we gathered to do gifts. Malakai had been extra patient and REALLY good about not opening gifts before hand while they were under the tree. Pretty good for 2 1/2! Once it was time he was very excited and moved from one gift to the next in a bit of a blur. He even helped me open mine and Desmond's gifts.
{he especially loved the boxes}

{Ben was excited to get an AppleTV}

This year we gave almost all handmade gifts, had we not done this to save money we probably wouldn't have been able to participate in gift exchanges with anyone this year. It took a lot of coordination on my part to get them done, but I really enjoyed it.

A tradition my parents had when I was growing up was to give us kids new jammies on Christmas Eve and we'd wear them that night. Ben + I have made this a tradition, staring with each other when we were first married and now getting pj's for our kids. It got kind of late so we gave the boys their jammies at Grandma + Grandpa's house instead of when we got home.

{their first matching outfits}

Ben read The Night Before Christmas to Malakai before bed and once he was asleep we prepared gifts and got to bed ourselves. 

Christmas morning we took things a bit slow, had the traditional lefse for breakfast and watched a little tv with Kai. When we got around to exchanging gifts Malakai wanted to play with them as he opened them so we let him while Ben + I opened gifts from each other. 


I gave Ben Nike+ accessories for his iPhone for him to track his running progress. He gave me a stick vacuum that I've been wanting. We also did a few stocking stuffers. We gave the boys some things we had collected for them over the year as sales came up. Malakai's favorites were the letters and the wooden Melissa & Doug tool set (with the hammer reserved for a more mature time).

{Desmond even played with his gifts}

That afternoon we gathered with my mom's side of the family for dinner and gifts. We do gifts for all the kids high school age and younger and then a white elephant exchange among all the adults. Kai refused to sit down for dinner so Ben + I ate in shifts, which was a bit disappointing, but unavoidable. The boys got a lot of wonderful + generous gifts and Desmond pretty much slept through the whole thing. Afterward we stopped by my dad's brother's for dessert + gifts with him and his wife. They have a new dog that Malakai just adored. 

The morning of the 26th we went to my parents' place and had breakfast and exchanged gifts. Just before we left I started to feel sick and that afternoon I had come down with the stomach flu. I'm just thankful it didn't hit me during any of our gatherings!

{my all-time favorite Christmas photo}

It was so fun to watch Malakai really get the concept of gifts this year. He understood that some were his and some were for others. We also enjoyed explaining the birth of Jesus to him and seeing the wheels turning as he begins to understand. 

So that was our Christmas 2011!

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