Birthday Thursday: Happy 44 weeks!

I can't believe it will only be 8 short weeks until Larkyn is one. All I want to do is plan her party, but there's that little thing called work. Oh yeah, and mothering. So, spring break will be a whirlwind of ordering and traveling the city for things that go along with her "twinkle twinkle little star" theme. Any great ideas for first birthday presents?  I would rather get a few great gifts than several smaller toys that have no room at the inn.

This week, Larkyn has been showing us her big personality, starting with her laugh. She has been giggling for a long time, but has now started laughing a big old belly laugh. It is pretty funny. I picked up some "big girl" walking shoes this week, which are so adorable!  The flexible traction on the bottom keeps her feet warm in the cold but also gives her traction when she is walking. Of course, she has inevitably taken some spills and reacts WAY more dramatically than I expected. My mama friends have given me practice in the "non-reaction" reaction to these moments, but it is easier said than done.

I was ready for a break from pink...

I know, the storm door is so picturesque. But look! She has little tufts of hair!

Shout out to the ladybig Robeez!

"My turn to take pictures!"

Wordless Wednesday

Mama Monday: Nana's birthday

Take one
Happy birthday to MY mama today! I dedicate this post to her for all she has done for me and now for all she has done for Larkyn. Time for a little list-making before I get too wordy and everyone stops reading.

Reasons why we love Nana
  1. She rearranged her entire work schedule and life to watch Larkyn every Thursday. 
  2. On that magical day, I come home to 7 clean bottles and a bathed baby. Yahoo!
  3. She will make the things that I say "I want to make that but don't have the time or patience". She will actually do it. Next up, mom, the unfinished baby book!
  4. She will drop anything to come help. Not just with Larkyn, she just always has. 
  5. She is learning how to use her iphone on her own! So proud of you for exploring.
  6. She is taking care of my dad along with everything else. Enough said. 
  7. She throws the best party. Give her a theme and this woman will run with it.
  8. It amazes me how I meet someone she knows everywhere we go and they always, without exception say, "I just love your mom!" or "She is so sweet!"
  9. She is OK with me, with Matt, and with Larkyn just the way we are. She doesn't meddle or push, just lets us be:o)
  10. She taught me how to be a mama, and every Thursday I learn something new. Even if I resist it at first, it usually works. 
So, happy birthday to a wonderful mother, grandma, and friend to many!
There we go.

Birthday Thursday: Happy 10 months!

We are marking 2 important milestones in baby's life this week. First, we got to go out on our first dinner date since Larkyn was born! Sounds crazy, right? We just always bring her with us or we stay in for carry-out and Netflix almost every weekend. We had a lovely little V-day dinner at Moretti's and DQ dessert (a nostalgic favorite from our old neighborhood in Grandview). We got quality adult time and Nana & Paw Paw got quality baby time. Win win.

Next, I picked her up from the sitter yesterday and we pretty easily concluded that she was sick. She has had a minor cold or two, but this was totally different. She just wanted to be held and just stared at the ceiling. No eating, no drinking, nothing. Luckily, when I called the pediatrician, they stayed open for me to bring her in. They stayed 30 minutes late, which says a lot to me about their patient care. Anyway, Larkyn has her first ear infection(s) and I am home with her today. Oh, you know the "pink stuff" everybody "loves"? Her reaction: the most pitiful cry you have ever heard, accompanied by thrashing and batting my hand away. She is acting better already after 2 doses, but is still not herself. Anyway, we can check "Sick Leave- Family" off my list of things to do. Fine by me!

I didn't feel like going through the drama of getting a cute outfit on when she is sick, so I didn't.

Style Saturday: The bathroom "before"

It's official. The bathroom renovation is ON.

As Larkyn's first birthday draws closer, the natural thing for any mom-of-one to start thinking is "When do we have another?" Not that I am in a rush, but you know I am a planner and these thoughts just happen. So, the next stream of thoughts goes like this: "OK, if we want them three years apart then we would *maybe* have another in 2 years...and we only have 2 bedrooms, so we'd *probably* need to move in less than 2 years...so I wonder what our home value is right now...YIKES, I wish I wouldn't have looked at that...How do we increase the value?...bathroom renovation." I know. My brain is one of those domino experiments you do at indoor recess in fifth grade. I can't stop it, so I embrace it.

Without further ado, here's the scoop. Our sitter's husband does this for a living. So, he will be doing the work, for which I can thank my 2011 tax return.  Yesterday, he came over to see the "before" and do some measuring. When we first moved in, I loved the before. Now, not so much.

I forgot to mention I also bought a time machine with my tax return, so we went back to the age of blue sinks. The plan: white sink, brushed nickel faucet, Also, tiling over the laminate.
Goodbye chrome towel bar and mirrored outlet cover.

Don't try to see what I am wearing in the picture. Just imagine the granite tiling, glass tile backsplash, and new drawer/cabinet hardware. We would love to just replace the vanity, but it is a custom built-in that is an odd size and not sold in stores.
I left everything the way it was to have a TRUE "before". Imagine these towel bars gone and replaced with a white shlef with hooks instead. And maybe getting rid of the pajama holder. I mean towel and TP storage.

The crown jewel of a 1950's bathroom. The blue tub and blue-tinted marble will finally be replaced with white. I wish he wouldn't have told us that the walls were "the best we could have" because now I feel bad taking them out. Oh well!
Look forward to the "after" shots in a few weeks!

Foodie Friday: Saltine toffee

I wanted a simple, large batch of sweets to give as Valentine treats this year, and saltine toffee seemed perfect. Just sprinkle on the colors of your choice, and you have the perfect holiday gift!

Saltine Toffee
compilation of many recipes found online


2 sleeves of salted saltine crackers (store brand is fine)
2 sticks of butter
1 cup of brown sugar
2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips
sprinkles of your choice (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 9x13 pan with foil. Line the pan with saltines so that the entire pan is covered. Set aside. In a saucepan, add the 2 sticks of butter and the brown sugar. Stir while it melts and let it come to a boil. Set a timer and boil the mixture for 3 minutes. Carefully pour the butter mixture over the crackers, spreading with a spatula. Bake for 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the butter mixture. Allow the chocolate chips to melt for a few minutes, then spread them over the butter mixture with a spatula. If you want, add sprinkles at this time. You could also sprinkle on crushed saltines or slivered almonds.

Chill the pan of toffee in the fridge or freezer, then break into pieces.

Birthday Thursday: Happy 42 weeks!

Well, we made it over yesterday's trauma and life is back to normal. Dad is just sore and no one else was injured, thank God. The car is another story. Anyway, these are the times when we count our blessings and celebrate the little things! Like holding a bottle by herself! I cannot tell you how long we have been working on this, but it has finally clicked.

The new bedtime routine is going well and we are all a little less frazzled thanks to the earlier bedtime/more mama-daddy hangout time. Of course, most of that is spent blogging or Pinterest-ing Larkyn's first birthday, but oh well. We have seen a lot of great movies in the last 2 weeks, though!

But anyway, back to my little valentine...




Wordless Wednesday fakeout: Heart hurts

Sorry, I have words. Too many. They are all caught in my throat somewhere and are threatening to come out in screams. So I will reign them in and allow tears and typeface. Hmm, perhaps the title of my emo alter ego?

Anyway, do you know this book?

I didn't really like it as a kid (or any book that didn't feature a girl or cute animal as the main character). Alexander was on to something. Some days just suck. It's not one "horrible" thing after another, but its just one thing after another.  

Let's be clear. I don't like complainers and make it a point to keep my own complaining to a minimum. The unfortunate result of taking it all in stride and pretending from the minute the students enter my room til the minute they leave that life is GREAT is that one small thing like losing a pacifier right before bedtime can send me into a tailspin of quiet sobs.

The day really started last night with my new "neighbor", who is really our deceased neighbor's lucky grandson who gets to live in grandpa's house for free. Said "neighbor" has a habit of playing his music (starting at 10:00pm) so loud that it sounds like there is a block party of Russian heavy metal playing on the driveway. I went over once a few weeks ago and informed him that we could hear him and pulled the baby card. Larkyn could care less, but the baby card works, right? Apparently NOT. Last night, we turned the TV off and there it was again. I laid there absolutely fuming. How rude to put me in this position, that I have to be the bitchy neighbor. That we moved to this quiet street and pay a mortgage payment and taxes to ensure our quality of life. I fantasized about calling the cops, writing a note and taping it to the door, and looking up his father's address to send him a letter about his noisy son. I eventually fell asleep. 

Next up, a staff meeting. A staff meeting to address people arriving late to work. Yes, in my routine of dog-feeding, dog pottying, baby-feeding, baby-changing, baby-dressing, dressing and feeding myself (sometimes) and dropping baby off at the sitter....*gasp* sometimes I am LATE. By a maximum of 10 minutes. But now this has been noticed and I feel like the entire full-staff meeting is about me. It's not, but I feel that way. Oh yes, we also addressed cell-phone use and that our phones should be silenced and put away.

Lunch is canceled with my friend (not her fault at all). I didn't pack my lunch because we were going out and I was excited. 

Because of the cell phone "memo", I put it in my purse, which I never do. I never use it during class, of course, but should there be an emergency, I have it on my desk just in case. As soon as the kids leave, I check my phone to see this text from my mom: "On my way to OSU hospital. Dad was in an accident..." 

Yes. He is OK. But his car is not and they are keeping him overnight to run x rays on whatever side has his liver and gall bladder. His pride is not OK. And I am not OK. You see, if you want to get to the core of me, the part that will make me cry at the mere suggestion that he might not be OK or that you don't think he is perfect, you mention my dad. In many scary ways, we are very similar. Similar in ways that have made us butt heads like those rams you see on the side of Swiss mountains. Yeah, he was furious at the thought of me being an unwed mother at first. But who was there IN the delivery room at her birth, who calls to ask how "his" baby is? That's right. I am fiercely protective of this man who has lived, I mean lived, every second of his life. There is not enough room on the internet for me to list all the places he has been and the amazing things he has built and accomplished, so just believe me. 

This man who raised me was born in 1925. That means he is 86. This also means that I was raised a bit different than most people my age. A very hands-off approach, but I turned out alright. It has shaped me to fear death at a pretty young age and to probably make me all twisty inside when it comes to aging. He is getting older and events like this really upset me. They make the loud neighbor music, the missing pacifier, the failed Rice A Roni dinner that remains untouched all a much more devastating issue than they should be. My daddy is getting older and he blacked out at the wheel. It is not OK. 

Yeah, Alexander's cat slept on his brother's bed instead of his. But, Alexander, wait til you get older. Wait til you are faced with grown-up things like calling the cops on neighbors, being "punctual" to work, and coming to terms with an aging parent. Just wait. 

I don't like complaining, but I sure feel better.

Wordless Wednesday

Birthday Thursday: Happy 41 weeks!

You know I have been looking forward to showcasing a holiday outfit. I couldn't wait for this one and was relieved that it still fit. Barely. Check out the popped collar (total accident).

Throughout the week, Larkyn has started 3 new "tricks". Apparently at the sitter's, she is a speed demon and crawls all over the place with Miss C. hot on her trail. Our house is way too small for us to see her lapping the other kids/animals. She is also eating with us and that has become interesting. She sooo wants to eat everything we have, but we don't set the best example. Plus, she still only has 2 teeth, so she can't eat much! So far, she's in love with lasagna and Mexican beans and rice. She has the diaper rash to prove it:o(

We also had to address and contend with the whole "Life is so fun now that I can stand and crawl that I don't want to sleep!". Yeah, we panicked a little, because our bedtime routine previously consisted of: Wait til the last commercial break of Seinfeld, give baby bottle, change baby, put baby in crib. That was it. Ha! I had to actually become  a parent and problem-solve over the weekend. We now have a longer bedtime routine, quarantined to her quiet room, basically to show her that life is not that exciting and it is time to unwind. It's a pretty good trade for the second half of Jerry and Elaine's battle over a chocolate babka. Good mama and baby time. I'd love your suggestions on your night-night routines.
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