Saturday, January 29, 2011

My closet is just not what it used to be.

My wardrobe is in sad shape. Just about the only clothes I iron these days are Blair’s. Sad, really sad.

I have never been all into fashion, but I did have really great clothes – Ann Taylor LOFT was my best friend. Kids change things. And nursing school – it’s not helping either. It wouldn’t be so bad if my rear weren’t to wide for most of the cute things I did have while I was teaching. And my shoes… well I’ve always been a practical shoe girl (I never got lots of pairs of the same color shoes, etc.), but I still had good shoes. And I still have those shoes. And no new ones.

Take my boots for example. I love my boots. I’ve had them for 5 years and wear them quite often. Luchese 1883’s. They’re beautiful. And comfortable.

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The problem?

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Gus was injured in an accident a few months after I got my boots, and instead of going outside, he had to stay in my house during the day while I was at school. I left my boots out one day, and that is what I came home to. I think I cried. But I still wear them – I just missed that whole boots-with-a-dress trend since I only have 3/4 of a boot on the left!

Am I complaining? Not really. I would much rather dress Blair in cute clothes than worry about myself – and thankfully her grandmothers buy the majority of those cute clothes. I really don’t have many places to wear a whole bunch of clothes anyway. If I dressed up to go to class, Brad would think I was insane (or trying to impress somebody). And I’m just more comfortable in jeans. So I’ll just keep my closet in all of it’s now-I’m-in-school-and-have-a-precious-child-who-is-way-more-important-than-clothes glory. There will be plenty of time for my own cute clothes later! And if I stick to my jeans? I’m happy with that too. But I really wouldn’t mind some new boots to wear them with….

Monday, January 24, 2011

Baking and Boxes

It’s been a month since Christmas now, and Blair is enjoying her kitchen. She really likes to make play doh dog food too, but that’s a different obsession for another story on another day. (I’ll have to do a new phase post. I like those! Just reading back over my first phase post already brings back so many memories that I had forgotten. Thank you, blog!) Now back to this post.

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The only problem with the kitchen is that she’s so used to having someone to play with her, and I have a hard time getting her to enjoy it on her own! Her parents and grandmamas have spoiled her rotten! I love playing with her, but I certainly think she needs to be able to entertain herself as well.

030Milk for your coffee, Andad?

This Kidkraft Large Play Kitchen is just precious. I’m so pleased with it. (I’m sure Molly is much less pleased than I am since she and Josh put it together!) It’s perfect for Blair now (with a little stool to stand to reach the microwave), and it will grow with her for years. It has plenty of storage, and I love that it has a top to put stuff on. She got the four kitchen accessory sets that Kidkraft makes to coordinate with the kitchen, and the top will be perfect for them if the fridge gets full!

We’ve baked lots of wooden cookies, but Blair doesn’t like the toppings with sprinkles. I guess they aren’t neat enough.

now we're cookin 010411 (8)now we're cookin 010411 (3)Leftovers.

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Our house is not big enough for a playroom, so over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about how to rearrange Blair’s small room to include a play area. We also have toys and her table in the den. I asked for some storage advice and got some good ideas. The storage bins and shelves from the Land of Nod are fantastic, but I didn’t really want to spend that right now. I had another suggestion to check out the Circo Cube shelves at Target, and they were perfect. It so happens they went on sale the day after I decided to get them! Love that!

So I got two sets of 9 cube shelves that have little kid-style boxes to go in the cubes. I love them! The only problem is that I can’t get Blair to leave the bins in the shelves – she wants to take them out, empty them, put a whole bunch of other stuff in them (bows, her favorite clothes, whatever she’s into that day…), and carry them everywhere. I had three in the bathroom one time this week!

Here’s sort of what her room looked like before. These pictures are older, and I swapped the bed and changing table a while back.

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And here it is now.

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I stored the glider, bookshelf that was falling apart, side table and the little magazine rack I used as a table next to the changing table. I’ve got to get some cute stuff for her walls, and we will be set. I’m pleased with how it turned out and how much space she has in her room. Aren’t the little bins so cute?

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They match her bedding well (except the purple, but that’s okay; we had to get purple!) and can go somewhere else if we ever live in another house. (I’ll say when we live in another house because I love my house and my new electricity and all, but we’d love to get out of town at some point!)

That’s about it! Anybody seen anything cute I could put on the walls? My only idea at the moment is to put two art lines from which I could hang stuff. I could start with some prints and change it to art as she gets bigger. Ideas?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Baked Beans (for those who really don’t like baked beans)

I’ll be honest – if you know me, you don’t expect anything less ;-) – I’m not a huge fan of baked beans. So when Brad wanted baked beans for Blair’s owl birthday party, I wanted to do something different. The result was a mixture of a few recipes and some some personal preferences, and my baked beans got rave reviews! My mom made them for Christmas, and my cousin even said that he didn’t really care for baked beans either, but he could eat his weight in those baked beans.

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So here they are. Baked beans for those who really don’t like baked beans.

1 pound ground beef

1 pound ground sausage

1 pound bacon

1 large onion, or 2 medium, chopped

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup vinegar barbeque sauce

1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup mustard

1 tsp chili powder

2 tsp salt

pepper to taste

2 (15 oz) cans pork and beans

2 (15 oz) cans butter beans, drained

Brown the beef and sausage, breaking up well. Drain. Cook the bacon in a large skillet and set aside on paper towels. In the bacon grease, cook the onion. Remove and drain.

In a large bowl, combine the sugars, barbeque sauce, ketchup, mustard, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Add the beans. Crumble the bacon and add to mixture. Add meat and onions and mix well. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Let me know if these changed your opinion of baked beans – or made you love them even more!

Click here for a printable version.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The best baby dog ever.

This is Gus’s best trick.

He plays dead without even being told.

Last night, Blair walked all over him, and he didn’t budge.

And he’s alive. I promise.

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A big hug.

She loves Gus and Buddy to pieces.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Little Hoarder

I am one of five kids, so it’s weird to be in my parents’ house when it’s empty! That’s exactly what Blair and I experienced while Brad was sick, and we had a great time. It was nice to have time to play with Blair all day without worrying about housework and cooking. (And she was even more spoiled rotten by the time we got home!) We played with all of Gigi’s toys and all the Christmas toys I had brought.

I found out Blair is just like her mama. Her little habits are so funny. She, like most kids, likes her things. Here are some pictures of her collecting stuff at Gigi’s.

An armfull of purple clothes. Don’t we all like to lug around purple clothes? I thought so. (And a purple dress over her jammies. With the blue bow.)

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Then she found a bag. Oh, give this child a bag, and things will go missing. Kitchen tongs, clothes, whatever.

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First, it started with a stacking box and a few other things – puzzle pieces, cookie parts, her blankets – in her pink chair while we were playing.

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Under the blankets stuffed in the box? More stuff.

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It was then that she found the bag and disappeared to the pantry. This is what she came back with. Pop-tarts and nutrigrain bars.

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And in went the stuff from the chair.

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And of course she had to carry it around everywhere.

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And just to be sure, she’d check to see that everything was still in there.

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Yep! Looks good!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Today

Today was a busy yet good day. We had a lot of things going on!

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Blair and I made waffles this morning and played in her room (which is so cute with her new pink shelves I got at Target!), played play doh, and went outside to swing and play with Buddy and Gus.

outside 011910 (8)Only she can fit through that little space!

I asked Blair to hold my hand… “No ma’am. Hold Blair hand.” And she held her own hand. She’s too big for her own britches! I also heard the first “go potty outside?” This is my fault because we had no other choice the other day when we were out in one of the orchards with Brad. Oh well. She’s a country girl, so I guess it’s okay (but I made her go inside since we were home!).

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The electricians showed up very early this morning to finish our electrical work. Our house had BIG problems. Our lights flickered all the time. Sometimes the TV wouldn’t turn on. The other morning, I plugged in the waffle iron, and the lights in the entire house dimmed. I unplugged it, and everything went back to normal. We had multiple outlets that didn’t work. It messed up the microwave. It was bad. But now… but now, we have a new breaker box and some new outlets too! Yay! And I don’t have to use one of those pesky plug adapters to plug in my computer. It only took three years of begging to get this done. I’m just a little excited.

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In the midst of all of that, there was a sudden change in my preceptor assignment for school. To get my paperwork signed on time, I had to do it today. So I had to make quick arrangements to make the trip over to the hospital. I’m now going to be in ICU instead of ER, which is perfectly fine with me. The ICU is very nice, and my preceptor seems great. I start my shifts next week and hope to get most all of them in before I start Community Health clinicals in March. Busy, busy!

Blair wanted to go back outside after her nap… “take purple socks outside?” Only my child would ask to play with purple socks outside. But before I knew it, she had swapped her socks for those purple ones, put on pink shoes (with her red shirt), and was at the door.

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On the potty training front, we are there! We have got the whole business down pat. It probably took a week to get the #2 part down, but now she knows what’s going on. We are still using diapers for nap and nighttime though. We got some Elmo big girl pants, and they were a hit! Now that pottying is not a new thing, she sometimes has an accident, but they are rare. Earlier this week, we were playing, and Blair said, “Go pot- uh oh, got to wash it!” She had wet her britches. Overall she’s doing fabulously -- I’m so proud of her; that was so easy!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Big coffee tables make big tea parties!

Blair and I had a tea party the other day. The good thing about our gigantic coffee table? Gigantic tea party!

big tea party 010811 (3)big tea party 010811 (4)“Moose” and duck took mommy’s seat.

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big tea party 010811 (13)My precious pretender. She’s so much better at it than mommy.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Out of Lives: A Chicken Story

My poor chicken ran out of lives while I was banished to my parents’ house with Blair. She had at least four. Lives, that is.

Since it’s been so cold, the dogs have been sleeping on the porch at night. They don’t usually bother the chickens at all. Everyone pretty much lives together in peace around here. But they do like to play. The dogs will cuddle up with Mona, our cat, but they will chase her all over the yard too. They’re fun like that. Unfortunately, they must have thought this chicken wanted to play when she somehow managed to escape the chicken hospital in the other part of the porch and wandered through the hole in the door to the part where the dogs were sleeping (or more likely bored). They played, and she lost whatever game they included her in.

That chicken, I called her Gimp sometimes, and I had a long chicken hospital history. She was the one whose toe was basically pecked in half the first week or two that I had them. Then she was the one whose panties were stolen by the three chihuahua-like mutts next door. She made it out alive, but we lost her sister Minnie. At first I didn’t think G (She needs a different name besides Gimp!) was hurt, but it turned out she had a wound on her back and her wing drooped. =( Then she and Big Mama, the other victim, had PTSD. It was sad, but they slowly got better. And for a while G did fine outside with the others, but when her tail feathers wouldn’t grow back and even more started disappearing I brought her in to the chicken hospital, a kennel on my porch, to be rehabilitated.

After a few weeks (of Brad grumbling about a chicken on the porch), she was doing fabulously! She had feathers growin’. She had even started laying again – in the kennel! She was on the verge of being reintroduced to her flock; I was just waiting for her skin to be completely covered by feathers. Just a few more days….

But it was not to be. She waddled right into the playful “hands” of my dear mutts. They were just bored and played with her too hard. They didn’t mean to; they were out today and didn’t even look at a chicken. And they didn’t eat her. She was just lying on their bed on the porch when Brad found her. Sad.

On a more positive chicken drama note, our rooster is happy. He’s come a long way from a face so swollen that he had to tilt his head to see the ground – that was pitiful to watch! After over 2 weeks of having the coop door constantly open to allow the chickens to come and go and to keep the new young rooster from having to bury himself in the dirt in the corner of the coop to save his face from the bully hens, I do believe that the rooster is a part of the flock. Those chickens tore up some waffle, squash casserole, spaghetti o’s, and mashed potatoes today, and those mean ol’ hens let the rooster eat right along with them! And he’s hanging right with them pretty much all day long! Yay!

016The rooster hiding between the chicken house and the coop fence. His head is in the corner. I thought he was dead the first time I saw him like this. Thankfully now they’re all friends!

My favorite part about feeding them leftovers? The chickens making a beeline to me, running as fast as they can across the yard after I call them. It’s priceless.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Banished. Twice.

Poor Brad has been sick twice in the last two weeks, so Blair and I have been expelled from our home and sent to Gigi’s house to spend what seems to be more time there than at home!

At Gigi’s “Wowa” (Lola) is so much fun to play with! (Poor Wowa!)

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The first time we went was on New Year’s Day, and we spent two nights there all alone while everyone was gone snow skiing! Talk about boring! I kept Blair busy though, and she came home very spoiled from all of the attention.

This time we spent three nights after Brad was well for a week or so then had a fever one night. For a couple of days we stayed home, and he just came in from work after Blair went to bed, but when he started coughing, he thought it would be best for us to pack up.

Gigi has chocolate everywhere…

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…and Blair even eats the dark.

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It’s crazy trying to keep a child well during cold and flu season. Blair gets the RSV prevention shots monthly (and because of those, Blair will meet her deductible at the beginning of February – lovely), but it’s still hard work. No wally. No restaurants. No play dates. No church. Very little family. Asking every one, “You don’t have a cold or anything do you?” We try hard. We’re probably way overprotective, but 3 days in the PIMCU for a cold is no fun. We relax a tad during the summer, but until she can handle it, we’re trying hard to keep sickness to a minimum. We are thankful that she handled the cold she had last week pretty well – her third cold and the first one that we were able to handle without an ER visit or hospital stay!

Blair loves being at Gigi’s house though, so it’s not a bad thing. At least we have somewhere to go – and it’s fun too!

At Gigi’s there are chocolate muffins too.

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We “bake” cookies at Gigi’s. (Oven choice by Blair.)

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And Gigi has a driveway to draw on.

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Yeah, it’s not so bad there. Even when mama’s the only one to play with. =)