Our family is growing in many ways... Growing in numbers, knowledge, parenting skills, growing in love, in our faith, growing our culinary skills (if you can call it that), growing without gluten (some of us), growing green...........

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What's in a Name? Part 2

My last post, way back in April, was to share our baby's name and the meaning behind her name. The baby that was growing in me, healthy and strong. Thriving. That baby is now with us, in our arms. We truly are blessed. Today's post is not about that, though.

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.

Today is about taking time to honor all of those that have lost their babies. And to remember those babies.

Of course, anyone who has lost a baby knows that not a day goes by without remembering. It's simply not possible.

Today, in honor of our three little lost babies, I want to share their names. Before now, we have only shared their names with their grandparents, but we want the world to know...these babies were so very wanted, these babies were real, they have names that we can speak out loud. After we made the news public about our miscarriages, an old friend from high school got in touch with me, as she had also been through three miscarriages. She sent me a book that she read that helped her, Heaven is for Real. The book itself isn't about miscarriage, but one chapter specifically brings up the topic. I don't want to give anything away for those that haven't read the book (and if you haven't, please do!), but it was significant to us. Ryan and I both read the book, and we also both felt compelled to name our babies after reading the part about miscarriage and babies that never got to be in their parents' arms. We just couldn't shake the feeling that we needed to name them... We took some time to carefully pick names we really loved, that had special meaning to us, that could be for boys or girls (since we didn't know the sex of any of our lost babies). And here are their names and their meanings...

Honour Adiel (honor; adornment of the Lord) (middle name pronounced ah-dee-ehl)

Aine Lani (radiance; sky/heaven) (Aine is pronounced AWN-ya and Lani is pronounced LAH-nee)

Aster Sloane (star; fighter) We saw this baby's heart beating, saw it fighting to live and grow. But I felt something in my gut the first time we went for an ultrasound, that something wasn't quite right, even though we were told everything was fine. So, we moved forward and were hopeful. My body agreed that I was pregnant; I even suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum during the full first trimester, as I have with all of my living children. The second ultrasound, however, completely broke me as we learned we had lost yet another baby. You are never prepared for news like that. This little one had joined the others, in the stars...

(We debated on the name of the middle one, as nobody really would know how to pronounce it without us explaining. But changing the spelling changed the meaning, and we loved it as it was. It's not a name many will need to know how to pronounce, so what really matters is what we wanted and not what others can say. So, we kept it as it is.)

Those are our babies. The babies we will never get to hold or see or smell, not while we are on this earth. But they were in my body. They were real. And they were loved.

Monday, April 15, 2013

What's in a Name?

We are so blessed. We were hopeful that 2013 would be a great year, especially after the traumas we went through last year. And let me just say that, so far, 2013 is kicking 2012's ass! This year has been FULL of blessings, and we are just so grateful! We have had wonderful doctors working with us, many incredible friends praying for us...and a healthy baby growing inside of me.

We went today for our mid-pregnancy ultrasound...the anatomy ultrasound. MOST IMPORTANTLY, the baby is growing right on target, heart, brain, spine, everything looks GREAT and is just as it should be. Again, we are so blessed! The baby was being a bit stubborn and not really cooperating...not being still when the tech was trying to get specific views and measurements and then not moving enough when trying to look at other things. But he managed to see what he needed to see, and we managed to get to see our beautiful baby and hear that incredible sound of a strong, beating heart. And yes, we did get to find out the sex. We are most concerned about a healthy pregnancy and baby. We were curious, though, and did want to be able to give this little one a name and stop calling it "it." So, while we would have been thrilled with either a girl or a boy, we are happy to announce that we are most definitely having a baby girl.

Our little girl...Grey Elise.

Yes, I do love the color grey. But that isn't where her name comes from. We've had this name picked out for nearly two years now. Well, Grey has been the first name for that long, and Elise has been the chosen middle name for about ten or eleven years. And now we'll have a little girl to give those names. Blessed.

So, what's in a name? This name is PACKED with meaning for us.

June 26th, 2011... The worship leader at church sang a song, and something about it just spoke to me. Especially one line... "Grey is not a compromise. It is the bridge between two lines. I would even argue that it is the color that most represents God's eyes." 

Later, I emailed our worship leader, Stephen Claybrook, to find out the name of the song. I got that and then found out more about the meaning behind the song. I was hooked. Everything about the song and the meaning behind it spoke to me. The first time I heard the song, when Stephen sang this at church that morning, I just knew that if I were ever to have a girl, her name would be Grey. Learning more about the song just sealed the deal.

The song has to do with our journeys through life and the experiences we go through, some lasting just seconds, that create change in us and cause us to look at things differently, to appreciate things we so easily overlook. I'll let you read about the song on your own, and I hope you do (I'll include a link at the end of this post, as well as lyrics to the song, and a video so you can hear the song that inspired the name). The words have so much more meaning than you might think, and the story behind it is just beautiful in so many ways. Here is one paragraph from the songwriter that sums up part of the meaning (but it will make so much more sense if you read it on the website to get the background information!):
"probably goes without saying that the theme of the song is about making change. essential change. it’s about appreciating each small and overlooked gift that is tucked away into our lives… it’s also about acknowledging that so much of life is gray. meaning, from our perspective, things are not so simple and defined – and that’s entirely okay. for reasons beyond our comprehension everyone faces different sets of challenges and complications in their lives… some are significantly tougher than others. what’s important is making the changes necessary in our own lives in order to value more fully the people that we love and who love us back. it’s a song of recalibration. thanks to that brief interaction with that incredibly kind and brave couple, recalibration has bumped itself way up on our priority list, where it belongs."

We often don't stop to realize just how precious life is and to really appreciate these small moments that make us who we are and affect how we see the world and those around us. The songwriter wrote this based on some things that he experienced. The miscarriages and suffering we went through over the last couple years have been that for us. When you go through a crisis (or more than one crises), during that time, you realize so many things. For one, so much of life and our life experiences are full of these grey areas...where we don't always get to understand why things happen to us, complicated situations that have no explanation. We also realize that some things in life just aren't as important as you allowed them to become, and other things take higher priority. You realize what truly matters. And in a matter of seconds your life is changed, you think differently and live differently. It's hard to put into words how these moments come together to change us so much. But they have. Our recent experiences have been so very difficult, yet thanks to them, our lives are changed for the better. True, we're more aware of this raw, intense pain we hadn't lived through before. We're more broken and will never be put together the way we were before. Yet we're more aware of the beauty and love around us, as well, and we appreciate so many small blessings we get to experience daily, that we might not have noticed on the same level before. And while I fell in love with the name Grey before any of these losses happened, going through all of this to get to this point in a healthy pregnancy has made this name mean so much more to us because our journey has been full of so many of these moments that changed us and caused us to look at our lives and our priorities in a different way, appreciating things that were easily overlooked. Grey is this journey for us.

Elise. I heard that name so many years ago and just loved how it sounded. I saved it in case I ever had a daughter. Then I realized...my great-grandmother's name is Elsie, and those two names are the same but with the "i" and "s" switched. That made me appreciate the name and want to use it even more. It is my way of honoring Mom Elsie, who is such an important woman in my family. I've always felt like she is the glue that holds so many of us together, that brings us together in a way that I have always appreciated and respected. She turned 93 this January, and she is a force to be reckoned with, that's for sure. She is such an important person in my life, and I love that I found a way to name my daughter after her.

If we were having a boy, we also had a name picked out. One that is also very significant, though the explanation is much shorter and simpler. After our three losses recently, we were drawn to name those babies. When looking over a list of names that we liked for the babies, Ryan picked one out and said he wanted to save it, in case we did have a boy later on. It was one of my favorites from the group, and it made sense to name a living child this name, if we were to have a boy. Jude Aeron. That name means "praise; thanks" (Jude), "the battle is over" (Aeron). To be honest, part of me wanted a boy and a girl so I could use both of these names. I fell in love with both of them, and they both carry so much significance with what we have been through. We don't know at this point if we'll have any more children. Perhaps if we ever were to have another boy, we would still use this name. All of that is unknown at this point.

To read more about the meaning of the song that led us to Grey, please go here. The song is called 101010, by Sleeping at Last. http://sleepingatlast.com/101010-how-it-was-made/

And for those interested in hearing the song, here it is, as well. I hope one day our little lady appreciates hearing the story (and maybe even the song) behind her name.

Here are the lyrics:

hold your breath and count to 28.
change is slow but i feel it taking shape.
folding over us like waves
on origami ocean tides, we sway

like blueprints constantly being rearranged.
over microscopes we plan and strain.

the finest print in the whitest ink,
before it dries, there’s no time to think.
it feels like everything we’ve known is sink or swim

but grey is not a compromise -
it is the bridge between two sides.
i would even argue that it is the color
that most represents God’s eyes.

hold your breath and count to 29.
connect the dots and cherish every line.

paper cuts and trails aside,
make a wish and hold it tight,
this time, we’ll try our very hardest not to try.

‘cause grey is not a compromise -
it is the bridge between two sides.
the shores on which our stubborn land
and restless seas collide.
grey is not just middle ground,
it is a truce that waits to be signed.
i would even argue that, from where we stand,
it most represents the color of God’s eyes.

so, let’s fold our atlas into paper planes.
change is slow, but i feel it taking shape.

Again, I really hope you will go to this link and read more about the meaning behind this song. It is profound and beautiful and full of significance. It's not a long story, won't take you long to read it, and you will not regret having spent a few minutes taking it in. http://sleepingatlast.com/101010-how-it-was-made/

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Wake Me Up When September Ends

I heard Green Day's Wake Me Up When September Ends the other day, and I suddenly related to it differently. It's stayed with me ever since.

In a way, I would love to go to sleep and wake up at the end of September... I need a break from all of these dr appts and tests and reminders. I need a break from what has happened in general. October would be a good month to skip to... We've been hopeful for what October might bring us in this journey of healing and moving on.

But when I considered the rest of the words, not just that one phrase, most of it seemed to be applicable, as well. Just take out the part about his father since our situation has to do with little lives lost instead...and the rest describes a lot about our year. Although we had two losses prior to this last one, we were still very excited and hopeful this spring as we were pregnant once again and stayed pregnant longer than the last two times. We were nervous but still hopeful and getting to the point where we felt things were really going to work...when we lost this baby as we were about to head into the second trimester. We have lost a lot of that naivete and innocence about how much really goes into keeping those babies alive while they grow inside of me. This experience has changed who we are in so many ways, and it continues to change us. At this time, in all of this pain and confusion and just being overwhelmed with everything we're dealing with, I just want a break from it. Some days, going to sleep and waking up a month later doesn't sound like the worst idea...

Wake Me Up When September Ends

Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last
wake me up when September ends

like my fathers come to pass
seven years has gone so fast
wake me up when September ends

here comes the rain again
falling from the stars
drenched in my pain again
becoming who we are

as my memory rests 
but never forgets what I lost
wake me up when September ends

summer has come and passed
the innocent can never last
wake me up when September ends

ring out the bells again
like we did when spring began
wake me up when September ends

here comes the rain again
falling from the stars
drenched in my pain again
becoming who we are

as my memory rests
but never forgets what I lost
wake me up when September ends

summer has come and passed
the innocent can never last
wake me up when September ends

like my father's come to pass
twenty years has gone so fast
wake me up when September ends
wake me up when September ends
wake me up when September ends...

Friday, June 29, 2012

Looking for God

I've realized that it's just not easy to notice God's blessings when you're going through something that completely rips your world to shreds. God's blessings are all around us, but sometimes you have to be ready to recognize them, or at least know to make yourself notice them.

Even though it's June and is, what, 100 degrees outside, Aiden asked me to read God Gave Us Christmas the other day. It's one of our favorite Christmas stories because it focuses on what we feel is the real meaning of Christmas - the birth of Jesus Christ. There is mention of Santa Claus, but the mama character in the story tries to take the focus off Santa without bashing the idea of him, and brings forward the focus of God and Jesus. When Little Cub wants to go out and find Santa, mama says Santa is hard to find..but God is easy to find; God is everywhere. So, they set off on an adventure to find God and learn how God gave us Christmas. He's part of the Northern Lights, a glacier falling into the sea, a bright star shining in the darkness, and many other things they see and experience on their trip.

After reading this, I felt the need to get outside and feel some sunshine on us. Aiden wasn't really in the mood to go outside (that kid is content to stay inside most of the time!), but when I suggested we go out and "find God" ourselves, he loved that idea. So, off we went. And we found God in many things...the wind blowing through our hair, the feel of the sun on our backs, the flowers (weeds) growing along the road. I found Him in my little boy that ran and giggled in front of me.

Yesterday, Aiden asked if we could go out and find God again. Off we went for a walk around the neighborhood. As soon as we felt a breeze on our faces, Aiden whispered, "Do you feel that, mama?"

"That's God."

That kid really makes me smile.

So, this week I've learned that amidst all this difficulty and sadness and confusion going on around us, we have to stop and intentionally notice God's blessings. They're there. I've found God in several things this week... My littlest child laughing, his cuddles as we read bedtime stories. My husband, cooking yet another dinner (he has done all of the cooking since my HG kicked in a month ago) or running out to pick up something my stomach could tolerate when I couldn't eat dinner. My oldest son stopping to give me a big hug out of nowhere. The garbage man telling me I have a beautiful smile. My youngest asking to go find God and telling me where he feels Him.

Last night, I crawled into bed and felt a little person snuggle into me. Aiden has been sleeping in our bed since I got pregnant. He doesn't know I'm pregnant, but he did notice how things changed when I got sick. Sadly, he got less attention from me because I just wasn't able to do some of the things I usually do with him. I think he felt the need to be closer to me and therefore found his way back into our bed. As soon as I climb in, even though he's already asleep, he pushes his body against mine and sleeps close to me all night. Last night, he did the same, and as I lay there in the dark, I felt his soft breathing against my arm. I just let myself lie there and enjoy feeling his breath, and I felt as if I could almost hear him say, "Do you feel that, mama? That's God."

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Six months of hell. And counting.

Lots of folks are wondering what has been going on with us lately. We've been waiting and hoping to share some good news, but it seems like we're going to have to wait a bit longer for that. So, we'll just come on and tell it without the good.

We've been trying to grow our family. And while we're apparently pretty fertile, we're not having luck with staying pregnant, for some reason. I have now had three miscarriages. All in the last six months. One in January. Another in early April, over Easter weekend. We are currently pregnant, and the second ultrasound that took place on Friday, showed the baby no longer has a beating heart and stopped growing probably a couple weeks ago. A missed miscarriage - the baby has died but my body hasn't figured it out yet, still acts like I'm pregnant. I believe at this point I can say, without being dramatic, that this has been the worst year of my life. Throw in most emotional, as well.

I had high hopes for 2012, but so far, it has not been good to us.

As you can imagine, we are crushed. broken. confused. defeated. worn down. These babies were so, so very wanted. There are tons of emotions going through us. I dealt with a lot of anger with the first miscarriage. Several days and nights were spent with me screaming at God, cursing at Him, throwing things at him (all in my mind)... I know He can handle all the anger I can throw at Him, and I needed to be able to go through that. Mostly now we're sad and confused and trying to sort through all other kinds of emotions and thoughts running through us.

We're also trying to make decisions about what is our next step in regards to miscarrying the baby (naturally or surgically); we're leaning toward allowing my body to try to do this naturally before relying on surgery. Meanwhile, I am still dealing with relentless nausea and taking medication for that. I have hyperemesis gravidarum, which means I have extreme nausea and vomiting during pregnancies. This time around, it has been "mild," meaning I have mostly had the extreme, nonstop nausea which has been handled mostly by medication, though I'm still very restricted on what I'm able to stomach. We've worried that the mild HG might be an indication that this pregnancy would not last, but after the first ultrasound showing a heartbeat, we were more hopeful and considered me lucky with less severe symptoms this time. Regardless, it seems like some cruel joke that I've had to deal with these symptoms for a month now and will continue to have them until after the miscarriage has finished and my hcg levels return to zero, however long that will take, assuming we do it naturally. How unfair to have these symptoms when nothing is even coming from them.

As much as I hate to admit it, I kind of tried not to get as attached to this baby. But...how do you even do that?? It's nearly impossible. Ok, it is impossible - for me, at least. Lately I decided to give up on that and instead think positively and tell that little one to hang in there. I guess it doesn't really matter, and things will happen the way they're going to happen regardless. I've tried from the start of this pregnancy (which we found out about at less than three weeks along, so very early on) to prepare myself to lose another baby, but again, how do you do that? Nothing at all prepares you to lie there and see the screen with the ultrasound images, knowing the baby is supposed to have developed more, hearing nothing but silence. Until the ultrasound tech says it out loud and shows where the heartbeat should be seen. Nothing prepares you for that.

We have been fortunate to have wonderful friends and family supporting us through all of this over the last several months. The doctors office we have chosen has been incredible, as well. We chose the office specifically for its VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) reputation. Last year, we chose to put off having this baby for a year until we could change insurance to be able to see the doctors at that office. We love them for their views on VBACs and natural birth methods, but they have also been amazing in helping us deal with the first two miscarriages, preparing for HG and dealing with it during this pregnancy, and now are helping immensely as we figure out how to handle this next miscarriage. I've been so pleased with their friendly approach and just reaching out to me. Some have hugged me when they knew I was scared, some remembered me from blood work after the first miscarriage (when we returned for more blood work during this third pregnancy, months later), I have been reassured they are there to support me and answer any questions, however small or silly I might consider them to be. I have just felt so welcomed and supported there, which means more than I can say. We'll be seeing them more soon, of course, as we now meet the requirements for "recurrent miscarriage" and all the testing that goes along with trying to find out why suddenly I can't seem to stay pregnant. I've never had problems like this before, and we feel we are at our healthiest right now, so we're more than confused as to why this is happening now. Hopefully we can find some answers, though we know those odds aren't really in our favor. Most of the time, the cause is unknown.

Why post about something so personal, you might be wondering... I don't feel like this is something that should be taboo to talk about, for one thing. So many women have miscarriages, and despite how common it really is, it is the most difficult thing I have ever gone through. It is emotionally and physically painful. Nobody should have to deal with it at all, but especially no one should go through it alone. While many of our friends do know about this, so many do not. And we're at the point where it will be harder and more exhausting to act as if things are great when we're around people who don't know than it would be just to say it is happening. I have a hard time putting up a facade and pretending things are ok when my world is falling apart. When we share what we're living through, we also are allowing others to pray for us and help us through this. This is not something we want to go through alone, and we don't wish to cut ourselves off from others who can help. Even though several friends and family do know about what we've been going through over the last 6 months, it's still been very easy to feel lonely. In fact, it's been a really lonely time for me, despite the support we have had. I can't imagine going through this with no support and how isolated one could easily feel. I've realized, since we shared the news of our first miscarriage with others close to us, that opening up about it helps others to open up about what they have been through or are even currently experiencing. I can't help but think maybe if more of us speak out about these things, someone else might feel comfortable reaching out and might feel less alone in their own pain from similar experiences.

In case you're wondering about the boys... Camden does know about this. He's too old to hide it from, and he's known about everything from the beginning. I don't think he quite knows how to feel about the losses, and he is very confused about why it keeps happening. He's at a good age, I guess, where he can understand logically what is going on and knows we're upset, but he isn't quite at the point where it truly upsets him a lot (and that's fine with us; we don't want him to be too upset about this). Aiden, however, is too young to get it, we believe. We haven't told him about the losses or the latest pregnancy, even though he knew I was sick. He was there when we had the ultrasound on Friday, and he had to witness me breaking down with the news about the baby. Thankfully, he has just accepted hearing that "mommy is sad" when he sees me crying, and he doesn't really question it. He's asked about the doctor and what they've said to me, but he has been ok with answers such as "mommy is ok" or that the doctor will help make me feel better. I feel bad not being completely honest with him, but we really don't think he would understand what is going on at his age. And honestly, maybe a part of this is that we're not sure how to deal with talking to a very young child about this. (Any others that have dealt with something like this are welcome to chime in with their thoughts.) 

So, here we are... We're not sure what the next few weeks will be like for us. I still have this baby in me that is not growing. Hopefully things can happen naturally, as we feel that is best and safest in many ways. But if we need to go through with it, we also have a D and C as a last resort. Either way, there will be pain. Lots of pain and lots of different kinds of pain. And then testing. And waiting for healing before we can move forward with trying again. I'm now realizing how naive I have always been about pregnancy. While I've always been in awe of how amazing it is, I'm now acutely aware of how difficult it truly is for all the million things that need to fall into place just right in order for a healthy baby to grow inside of my body. I have faith that we will have a successful pregnancy and have this next baby one day. We're not ready to give up. Our family is not yet complete. I don't understand at all why things are happening this way (trust me, I ask "why?" at least every five seconds), but I hope that one day I will be able to make more sense of it all.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Time Away

I know it seems as if I just keep disappearing. (Or does anyone even notice that? Haha! Not sure how many people are reading this regularly anyway, to be honest...) But there's always a good reason, or so I think. We've been dealing with some stuff in our family lately, and I've just needed some time "off" from a lot of things. I've needed to disconnect with more of the on-line stuff and just be with my family. Many of our close friends and family know what's been going on (and if you're thinking, "well, I thought I was a close friend, but I really don't know what's happening," then please don't take it that way and please feel free to get in touch with us and just ask). I'm not being secretive about this or keeping it to just our immediate family. I actually am that person who does reach out and asks for support and prayers. And I've done that some with this. But I'm not posting about it publicly right now. I hope to post some other regular posts soon, but for now, I'm focusing on some other things that are ranked a higher with our family. Meanwhile, whether you know what's going on or not, whether you ask or want to know or not, we would really appreciate your prayers. Or good thoughts. Or whatever it is you do. :) Thanks, all!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Green Cleaning: Furniture Polish

I've never really liked dusting. I've actually always kind of hated it, especially when there is so little dust you can't even tell. I like for things to be dirty if I have to clean them! I like to be able to see a difference so I know there was a good reason to put that effort into it. BUT dusting is a must in this house with a couple of us having some pretty strong allergies to dust (or dust mites, to be specific, but it sounds kind of gross when you add in the mites part...). I also hate using cleaners that are full of toxic ingredients that could harm my child (or myself). So, I make our furniture polish. It's very easy, as most green cleaners are, and works super well. I actually have two recipes, since you'll need different ingredients based on the type of furniture. And actually, they both have the same ingredients, just varying amounts. Let's get to it...and then get to cleaning!

There are four ingredients. Three are shown here, with a bottle of one of the cleaners mixed up. Water (purified is best), vinegar, olive oil, and pure essential lemon oil. That's it! You probably have most of these on hand already. Don't have the lemon oil (use the real stuff, not just lemon scented somethingorother)...you can use vanilla. Or leave it out. It's not a necessary ingredient.

Furniture Polish - This is good for general, weekly polishing, especially with finished woods.

In 16oz bottle, add:
2 tsp olive oil
20 drops or more pure essential lemon oil
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar

Fill the rest of the bottle with purified water. 
Shake well before each use, as the oil and vinegar will separate. 
Spray directly on a rag or on the furniture.

Wood Furniture Polish - This is good for unfinished or lightly finished woods. 

In a small squirt bottle (not a spray bottle), add:
3/4 cup oilive oil
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar,
50 drops or 1/4 tsp pure essential lemon oil (or pure vanilla extract)

Shake before each use. 
Pour onto rag and then apply to wood.

There you have it! Very easy. And these polishes are great! I've already converted a couple friends (some who were quite fond of their other furniture polish and weren't sure they would like this - but they loved it!). Hopefully this will convince a few more folks out there to try it, as well! ;)

And for a little fun... I'll throw in a picture of me getting ready to clean the cabin we visited last fall. Aiden got super sick as soon as we arrived (even with the allergy medicine we brought along), due to the dust hiding under the beds, behind furniture, along baseboards, on things like this...
These kinds of things are really cute, yeah. But the first thing that crosses my mind when I see them? Dust! Big-time dust collectors. This is why you will not find these things in our house. Cute. But not good for folks with dust (mite) allergies. You can't clean these things!

And here I am. Pretty, huh? I'm ready to go in fighting and tackle that dust! Since I have the same allergies, I have to wear a mask when cleaning. Even with the mask this time, I still could feel it affecting my nose and sinuses for the rest of the day. Thankfully I took along my neti pot, which helped clean it out some. And the mask helped a lot, regardless. Plus, it's a great fashion statement, no? ;) We didn't use all the ingredients for the spray above, since we were in the middle of nowhere (we drove an hour one-way just to get the vinegar and swiffer!), so I just used a bucket and dumped in water and vinegar. Great ingredients when you're lacking anything else!

That child of mine woke hourly the first two nights, crying because he couldn't stop coughing and sneezing. After I cleaned, he slept all night long without waking once. That's how I get paid for my job. Definitely worth it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Back in the game. Post-Holiday return!

So, I guess it's time to get back into things here on the blog, huh? I've taken enough time "off," I suppose! I know a lot of folks post a bunch around Christmas, but we have had such an incredibly busy winter with Christmas prep (including making our yearly photo book, which I always put off and then need about a month to make it just in time), lots of sinus infections, Christmas travel (and I'm not going to blog while visiting family out of state - it's my time to just be with family and that's all), and Ryan working LOTS of overtime. During the first half of January, Camden is also tracked out of school, so we've been busy doing things while he is home this month, as well. Lots of good things (some not so fun things) going on lately. BUT it's time to get back into it here...

We did have a great Christmas, even if it was more rushed and full of allergies than we would have liked.

Before we even went anywhere, though, we had stuff to do at home...

Teacher gifts! Camden's in middle school now, so he has a LOT of teachers (and we have to add in some extras, of course, such as all of the librarians because he is always there and has gotten to know them pretty well). We made some hot cocoa mix, made snowmen marshmallows, and put it all together in a mason jar. Camden wrote a personal letter to each teacher to add in with the card. I hope they all liked their gift!! I know some people don't give gifts once the kids are in middle school. I just can't stop, though. These teachers work so hard every day, working with classrooms full of kids. And middle schoolers! Those cannot be easy some days! ;) I wish I could give so much more than a cute mason jar with hot cocoa!! They deserve so much more.

We also gave one to the mailman. We waited for him one afternoon (to make sure it was our regular guy, too!), and then ran out when he was approaching our house. Aiden ran, holding the jar (with me behind hoping he did not drop it!), yelling "Merry Christmas!!" And let me tell you, that mailman was grinning and taken by surprise and said to us, "You all just made my day." And that most certainly made mine!

Photo coasters I made for the grandparents. They all got a few of the same, and then they each got some others that we picked out specifically for them. That's a lot of coasters, you say? Well, there are four sets of grandparents (and we also made a few for Camden's biological father and his family). Each set of grandparents got six coasters, so...yeah, that's a lot of coasters!

Aiden with his very own (felt) Christmas tree that we made together one afternoon. And an apple. And cheesy grin. :)

We went to KY and WV for Christmas to be with all of our parents (there are four sets, so divide that up between 10 days, and it can get pretty busy!). Our first full day in KY, we visited with my great grandmother, who turned 92 in January. I had to hold back tears during the whole visit and afterward... Seeing her and just talking and hanging out really made me miss being back closer to all of my extended family. Made me miss "home."

 Does she not look absolutely amazing at 92 years old?! 
(I hope this runs in the family...)

Family stop #1 - My dad, stepmom, and sister

 My sister and my son... We took this because they accidentally matched. I love it because I never realized how much they look alike! It's kind of crazy, and I'm not sure how I didn't see it before!

Cousins. Two of my brother's kids hanging out with mine. They even make the same goofy faces...

 Aiden checking out the gifts I made for all the grandparents. 
This is my mom and stepdad. Christmas morning.

 Friends. BEST Friends. I'm lucky to have these folks in my life. 
More people to make me miss "home."

These little guys almost have no choice but to be best friends. 
Good thing they don't seem to mind!
They spent two entire evenings just running around the house together. 
Such a joy to see!

 Ryan's mom opening her homemade grandparent gift.

 And his dad and stepmom, too. 
(Note to self, taking a break from pictures to 
enjoy the moments means you come home with less pictures, wishing you took more.)

Getting ready to leave for home. We kept trying to get some good family shots. This one is great because it shows...neither child looking at the camera and both looking kind of silly, mama has some super swollen eyes thanks to allergies, and daddy is the only half-normal looking one here (and he's looking pretty good!).

We had a blast, got to see a lot of folks not pictured, and just enjoyed being with family for the holidays. Part of it was sad for me because, for the second year in a row, we had to miss extended family gatherings on my mom's and dad's sides of the family. (I have a huge family. Christmas is the only time I get to see much of them, since we live in another state. Unfortunately, Christmas gatherings with all of them happened when we weren't able to be there due to school schedules, etc. That was a bit tough.) It was nice getting home, though. Aiden got homesick while we were traveling, and after a couple nights kept saying he wanted to be back home in his own bed. Who knows, maybe one day we won't have to travel so much to see our family...

Now on to the new year! I've got lots of posts to get on here soon!! There are some awesome giveaways in the works already. Always lots going on. Just wish there was lots more time, right?! ;)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

CranApple Smoothie

It's the season for cranberries, apples, and...well, it's always the season for smoothies around here! And they all go together wonderfully, of course! The kids really like this one, and we never have leftovers, even when making a large amount.

I know not everyone is a big fan of cranberries, especially raw cranberries. They're quite tart. Add all the sugar it might take you to like them, and you've kind of taken out some of the health factor there! Cranberries are so good for you! They contain fiber, vitamin C, phytonutrients (that may help fight several types of cancer) and are a great source of antioxidants. Something interesting about cranberries, from 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life...cranberries have antiadhesion properties. These properties help prevent certain bacteria from sticking to cells in our bodies; this is how consuming cranberries helps with fighting UTIs, as well as other things. Make you want to go out and eat some? With this smoothie, you probably won't even need a sweetener, as the apples, bananas, and blueberries add plenty of natural sweetness. If you do, though, a little squirt of agave or honey should do the trick.

Try it out and see what you think!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

(Healthy) Hot Chocolate!

It's that time of year again... It's getting colder outside. Christmas is in the air. The kids go playing outside and then come in freezing (well, not quite freezing here just yet, but we've had some fairly cold days!) and want something warm to drink. Something like hot chocolate, of course!

If you love hot chocolate but maybe don't love all the sugar that goes into it, then read on! If you're happy with your sugar-laden hot cocoa, I still encourage you to try this because it tastes just as good, if not better. No kidding! Hot chocolate does not need to be unhealthy, and this way..it's not!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tulle Wreath

I made this wreath a couple months ago to have a fall wreath that could work for both Halloween and Thanksgiving. I meant to post about it a while back, but...you know how it goes. And hey - there's still a day before Thanksgiving, and it takes almost no time at all to make this one! Or just use different colors to make it fit any time of year. It really is easy. And cheap.

Here's what you need...
Something round - I used an embroidery hoop.
Ribbon for hanging.
Glass of wine. 

Ok, that last one isn't necessary, but it's not a bad addition.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My little baby is THREE

And this happened three months ago. I'm just getting around to posting about it. Mom of the year over here, folks! Or maybe I could just say I've been so busy being a great mom I had no time to write a blog post about his birthday. Hmm... ;)

We decided last Christmas what Aiden's birthday theme would be. And then crossed our fingers and hoped he would like it by the time August rolled around! We found some super-fabulous deals on Thomas the Train collections (thanks to my friend over at Western Wake Wallet Savers - great site for you local folks to check out!). Aiden's Christmas was already taken care of, so we got a bunch of train sets to put aside for his birthday.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Snack time! Apple Nachos

I saw something about apple nachos on pinterest recently,and it caught my attention. I'm glad I clicked to learn more because I first thought it looked like they were drizzled with caramel. Sure, that might be yummy (though I'm not a big caramel fan, myself), but it's not the healthiest thing ever. I almost passed right over the pin and moved on. But then I realized, nope..it was peanut butter. The whole snack was pretty darn healthy. And I knew I had to try them. But I had to tweak them to make them allergy-friendly for our home. The hubby has some tree nut allergies and is also allergic to peanuts, so out went the peanut butter and sliced almonds. Apples are in season big-time in North Carolina right now, so we've been buying a half of a bushel at a time from the Farmer's Market and eating lots of apples. So, a new way to eat them for a snack really appealed to me. Not that we tire of just plain apples. We can, and do, eat them every day! But new is nice sometimes.

So, this is our version (based on this one). Hope you try it and like it! You can easily change things up and make it your own. Feel free to share how you make it, too!

Apple Nachos
2-3 apples, depending on size, sliced thin (thin enough for little kids to easily eat after toppings are on them, not super thin)
3-4 Tbsp Sunflower Butter
Small handful of chopped pecans
Small handful of chopped walnuts
Small handful of dark chocolate chips and/or raisins
Unsweetened shredded coconut

Slice the apples and place them around a big plate, overlapping some, if needed. If you want, you can spritz them with some lemon juice to keep them from turning, but we didn't do this.

Melt the sunbutter until thin enough to drizzle over the apple slices.

Side note: I first tried this on the stove. Even though I used low heat, it still did not work and resulted in sunbutter that had to be tossed. Maybe this works fine with regular peanut butter, but it didn't work for me with the sunbutter. I could have attempted using the microwave to melt it, but I was left with just enough for the snack at this point and didn't want to chance ruining it all. So, I used the double boiler method, just as if you were melting chocolate. That worked well enough! It did take a few minutes, but it was very worth it in the end! (Updated to add...tried the microwave. That didn't work, either. So far, double boiler is the best way I've found to thin the sunbutter.)

Once sunbutter (or whatever nut butter you choose) is melted and thin enough, drizzle over the apple slices. I just took the whisk and did a little at a time. It didn't drizzle perfectly, but it worked well enough! Leave a little bit of the sunbutter for the very top layer.

Sprinkle on pecans, walnuts, chocolate/raisins, and coconut. Drizzle remaining sunbutter on top of everything. Serve!

We used dark chocolate chips on one half and raisins on the other half. I actually (surprisingly) preferred the raisins! Aiden didn't seem to care which he got. So, I'll probably stick to raisins next time. Camden, the 12-yr-old, wasn't thrilled with the snack but kept coming back for more here and there. He isn't a huge fan of sunbutter, but he liked the rest. I didn't love sunbutter when we first started using it, but I've gotten so used to it now, I kind of prefer it to peanut butter. If you've never tried it, it's a great nut-free alternative.

Raisins side...

Dark chocolate chips side

We ate this while having some family time with a redbox movie (Rio - very cute!). The snack did not last long, even though I made a huge plate full of it! One other thing I loved was that it is not nearly as messy as it looks! Everything really sticks to the nut butter pretty well! It was a big hit, and we will definitely be serving this up again.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Green Cleaning: Microwave and Garbage Disposal

We use green cleaners for just about everything in our house. Actually, I can't think of a cleaner we use that isn't "green," but by now we make most of those cleaners. I have a tab along the top of the blog that includes all of our green cleaning recipes, but I haven't really posted about them much. So, I thought I would do that, going through each one here and there, giving some tips on how we make and use them.

Since I just used this one the other day, I thought I would start with it... Green cleaner for your microwave and garbage disposal. Now, using a garbage disposal is not so green in the first place. It uses a lot of energy, for one thing. We don't use ours much, but inevitably things get dropped down there or plates with a tiny bit of food get rinsed off in the sink with the disposal instead of the other side, etc. Regardless, it needs to be cleaned from time to time! Some would also say that using a microwave may not be the greenest or safest thing. We make a lot of food in large batches so we'll have leftovers, among other things. So, our microwave does get used often, and therefore needs to be cleaned often.

The good thing is, cleaning these two items in a green way is beyond easy! And it helps to do them at the same time because they involve the same items.

Let's start with the microwave!
First, take the peels from an orange (or other citrus fruit...grapefruit, limes, lemons, etc.). 
Put them in a deep microwave safe bowl.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Easiest Meal Ever? Close, at least! *Salsa Chicken*

If you're looking for a super easy slow-cooker meal that is healthy, delicious, kid-friendly, inexpensive...this is a great one! This has quickly become one of our favorite meals. I got the original recipe from my friend, Leigh Ann, and have adjusted a little based on how I usually cook. You can use canned items, but we try to avoid them when we can and use either fresh or frozen in place of them. We cook dried beans and freeze in jars that would give us a can's worth at a time. We do use a jarred salsa, but you can use whatever you like. It's one thing I haven't tried making myself yet. ;)

This is supposed to be called Salsa Chicken, but after I somehow kept getting the words reversed and got tired of my 12-year-old correcting me, I decided it would be called Chicken Salsa in our home. I don't know why I never get it right, so we just made the backwards way right. Now I can correct that kid when he says it "wrong," right? Right. I'll use the "correct" name for you, though. We've also made this with turkey leftover from Thanksgiving before. Came out just as yummy!

Salsa Chicken

Only five ingredients!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Green Polka Dot Box (And how to get a FREE membership!)

I just wanted to let you all know about something I recently found out about that I think some of you might be interested in. I'm pretty excited about it myself! I know some folks live in areas where health food stores are hard to come by (or are simply nonexistent), making your food choices limited if you're searching for certain foods that convential chains might not typically carry. Some of you might be interested even if you are near good health food stores because the prices can be high for some of the foods you want/need to purchase. I've got great news for all of you! :)

There is a new "membership discount" store that is opening up in just a week or so, and if you get in now, you can actually get a one-year membership for free this year. Think Sams Club, Costco, BJ's (whatever is in your area)...except that the focus of this store is organic, whole foods! It's called Green Polka Dot Box. As far as I know, this is the first store like this. I've even been wondering when something like this would get going and am surprised it's taken so long, but...at least it's starting now. This is actually just one store at the moment, located in Utah, but you will be able to order online, as well, with good shipping prices (and free for orders over $150). I know when we go to BJ's we can TOO easily spend over $100 at a time, since you're buying in bulk (even with the discount prices). Same would go for here, I'm sure - buying in bulk you can easily spend that much a couple times a year but come away with some really good savings.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

FREE Project: Dry-Erase "Board"

Who likes free stuff? Um, yeah. I do, too. This project is pretty cute, easy, and functional, and odds are you might already have everything needed to make it.

Have any frames that you're not using? I do. But I happened to find the one I used for this at Goodwill. I think it would have cost maybe $1.50. But my mama was with me and she had cash, while I didn't, so she bought it for me. (Thanks, mom!) So, this wasn't necessarily free, I guess. But even at $1.50...it's pretty close.

I love the little owl in the corner. Adds some character and makes it a
bit friendlier, since to-do lists aren't usually all that fun in the first place...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hutch Transformation

In case you're wondering (I'm sure you all are, right!?) why the lack in posts lately... We've been a bit busy.

Turning this...
Into this...

Before I decided to paint, I made one small change that started it all... 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Overnight Steel-Cut Oats

I know a lot of folks out there like oatmeal. I am not one of them. For me, it's totally a texture issue. I like other things with oats in them, but oatmeal not-so-much. That is...until I started eating steel-cut oats. What a difference! The taste is still there, but they're a bit chewier and nuttier than rolled oats. It's not the same as the other mushy oatmeal that I don't like. I still can't eat it every single day, but I do like to have it on occasion, especially when it gets colder outside and we all want a nice warm breakfast in the morning. And the boys really like it!

The only thing is, steel cut oats can take a while. Half an hour or so. I know I certainly don't have that kind of cooking time in the morning! For a while I would just cook it at night and then put it in the fridge to reheat in the morning, but then I learned about making *overnight* steel-cut oats. It's the best of both worlds...you get the good kind of oatmeal (in my opinion) and it doesn't take forever to make. Plus...steel-cut oats are actually better for you than regular oats. They are much less processed and have more dietary fiber. (And if you eat gluten-free, you can just use gluten-free oats.)

This recipe makes quite a bit, which we happen to like because we can all eat it for breakfast one weekend morning and then use leftovers for some of us for breakfast during the week. You can easily halve it or change the amounts to make the amount you want.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Yogurt

I just posted on how we make our own homemade yogurt, and since it's almost fall, we've been making some "Pumpkin Pie" Yogurt that the boys are in love with... I made some for my 12-year-old the other morning at breakfast. He literally licked the bowl clean. Then, the second he got home from school, he asked me to make more for his snack. And I caught him using his fingers to get every single last bit out of that bowl, too! The other day at lunchtime, I gave some to the little girl I watch, and I even saw her eat it all and then bring the bowl to her mouth to try to pour any that was left into her mouth. So, yeah, it's a bit of a hit over here...

I tried to measure everything the other day so I could actually say how much I used because I was just dumping stuff in before that. This is great with regular yogurt, but it's even better with greek yogurt because it's a bit thicker, especially with the added ingredients. If you want to try it, here it is...

Homemade Yogurt

I've been making our yogurt for a while now. I started mostly because I didn't want to buy sugar-filled yogurt when Aiden was starting to eat it as a baby. We got a yogurt maker and were set. The yogurt was good, easy, we knew what was in it, and we flavored it ourselves. I had heard about making yogurt without a yogurt maker, and not too long ago, I finally tried it. I was kind of getting tired of using those little jars to make yogurt, for one thing. And it took up space on the counter, which is already so small. Anyway, after looking up some recipes online, I went for it. And it worked! I've tried several ways, many of which work just fine. If you want to make yogurt at home, I recommend it. It's really very easy; you'll just have to find which method works best for you!

Why make your own yogurt? Any flavored yogurt out there will also be loaded with sweeteners, for one thing - and way more than you need (and probably way more than you want, once you really take the time to look at the label). There are usually preservatives and other things that are unnecessary. Even organic yogurt (and especially those yogurts made for babies and kids!) will have stuff in there that you probably don't want. Plus, organic yogurt is expensive - making your own organic yogurt is a lot less costly. Yogurt you make requires only a couple ingredients. Milk and some kind of starter. Yes, that's it. We do buy freeze-dried yogurt starter for some batches. I'll make yogurt with that, and then the next round or two is made with leftover yogurt that hasn't been flavored. Below I'll show you how I make yogurt for my family. The recipe I use is based on a post from Passionate Homemaking (great blog - check it out!).

So, here's how to do it all...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Product Review & Giveaway: Today I Ate A Rainbow!

Have you heard of this company yet?? They're pretty awesome. I can't remember how I stumbled upon the website, but I'm really glad I did! I'm pretty sure it was through a facebook page that mentioned their kale chip video... Anyway, I'm kind of hooked!

I posted a few days ago on how we get our kids eating more fruits and vegetables. Well, Today I Ate A Rainbow! is just one more way to help out - and a really fun and interactive one at that!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

"Eat Your Veggies!!"

Ever said that to your child? Your spouse? ...Yourself? I thought I would post some of the ways we get folks around here to eat fruits and veggies. And I would love to hear your tips for success, as well. Or your struggles. Both, perhaps. I know we have a mix, depending on the day!

Here are some tips that many of us might have already heard. The last one is our newest and most successful... We have to keep stocked up on many of these veggies now because they just get eaten so quickly! What a great problem to have, huh? Most of my tips are for veggies, but if it's fruit you have a hard time with, the same methods would apply. We happen to have fruit-lovers in this house, so we don't have a problem in that area. My kids are fairly very good eaters, but there is always room for improvement. And even with good eaters, there are still complaints when certain foods get put on their plates...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Cold-Brewing Coffee

Again, I have a new way of making coffee... (If you remember, I recently cut out sugar and posted about going through that. Yay!) I had heard about cold-brewing a couple times, especially through reuseit.com, since they sell stuff for that and promote it. But I hadn't seriously thought about trying it out. Then a friend posted Pioneer Woman's way of making cold coffee. Again, still didn't think about it seriously.

And then Aiden's birthday came around again. (Yes, another post I haven't gotten to, yet... August is a busy, busy month.) Whenever we have a crowd over, we serve a cold coffee drink that is always a big hit. But we don't have a coffee pot. We only have a filter-thingee that makes one cup. One. Last year, we borrowed a pot from a neighbor to make enough coffee for the party, but I once was told, "If you have to borrow it twice, you should buy it." So, I didn't want to do that again. But we also didn't want to buy a coffee pot to use just a couple times a year.

Then I remembered the post on cold-brewing. I actually read it, realized how easy it was, and went for it.

And it was more than easy. I will be doing this from now on.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I Need a Flower

When we have boo-boos in this house, kisses sometimes work. But more often, what is requested is a flower. Not just any flower, though.

Have you ever seen these?

Those little novelty "ice cubes" that you can find randomly here and there in stores, especially during the summertime. They're plastic and filled with who-knows-what. You pop them in the freezer and then use them in your drinks instead of ice. The draw is they don't melt or water down the drink. And they're cute and festive.

We don't use them for our drinks, though. Like I said, who knows what is in them. And they're made of plastic, so I'd rather them not be in what I'm drinking.

But they are *perfect* for little boo-boos!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Strawberry Soup!

There are so many reasons I love making strawberry soup. For one, the boys both *love* it. It's super healthy. It's super easy with just a few ingredients and a blender. It's the perfect thing to make for lunch when it's suddenly lunchtime and you realize...whoops, nothing is planned and everyone is hungry NOW. That's the kind of meal I love.

I found this recipe in a magazine... You never know how those kind of recipes will turn out, especially when you're the kind of person who loves things that come with lots of reviews (I would be that kind of person). You don't get reviews when you make something from a magazine. BUT this did not disappoint! And I found a way to make it even better - spinach! (Yes, really. Get excited!) So, here's the recipe with at least one review (mine), if that counts for much. ;)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Green Smoothie Base and Blender Cleaning Tip

Such a beautiful green smoothie!
I put up a post on green smoothies last week - why they're good for you, a few recipes, some links, etc. I aim to continue to post other recipes as we make them (those that are good, at least!). I'll have a "green smoothie" label so you can find all posts related to them via that label.

Today we had one of our favorite smoothies. I posted about this on my new facebook page last week (if you haven't already "liked" it, what are you waiting for? wink, wink!) and got a few good responses. It's a really good recipe for beginners because it is mild, sweet-but-not-too-sweet, and you really can't tell there are any greens in it. It's a great base to start with and add to as you figure out what you like. Some neighbors stopped by earlier today when I happened to be making smoothies for snack time. The little girl, who isn't a berry fan, had a sip of smoothie...asked for more...and told her mom that if she made them like this, she would drink it. She was also very surprised that it had both kale and spinach in it!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

My Ideal Comfort Food

This is comfort food to the max for me, which is kind of surprising because I have such a sweet tooth...and this is not a sweet dish, quite the opposite, in fact.

My mom used to make this dish when I was younger. I don't remember loving it or hating it. I just remember that it was served here and there, that I think it was usually served with green beans (not my favorite veggie, but when I think about this dish, it seems to need to be paired with green beans because I remember it that way), and I would put ketchup over both the beans and the dish. So, I guess it probably wasn't my favorite thing at the time. I would use ketchup with the green beans, since I didn't care for them all that much, and maybe that's why I put ketchup over the dish, as well? I don't know.

What I do know is that I love this dish now. To me, it screams comfort. Maybe it has to do with the memories of my mom making it or that it's a warm, soft dish. Whatever it is, I love everything about it, and it makes me feel so good. And I love that it happens to be good for me! The lentils, the beef...some great sources of protein and iron. It's very low-fat. Simple ingredients. And cheap to make, as well. There's not much I don't like about this recipe.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Green Smoothies

I've been making the family green smoothies for a while now, at least a year. We were instantly sold when we started because...well, they taste just like regular smoothies! I get lots of questions about how I make them, lots of requests for my "recipes." Well, I'll give it a go...but I'll warn you... I don't really follow an actual recipe. And once you get started you'll see why.

And because of this, hopefully this post won't be all over the place and will make some sort of sense!

Why are green smoothies important? For one, who doesn't like a good smoothie?! Secondly, how many of you consume a lot of greens on a daily basis? Greens are so nutritionally dense, but most of us do not eat them daily or even often. They're packed with all sorts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, proteins, fiber, phytonutrients...just such an incredible amount of goodness!! And if you don't eat them because you don't like them... Or if you only eat them on occasion in a salad here and there, which isn't as much as you should be getting... Green smoothies are the perfect way to get the goods and enjoy your food!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Asserting His Independence

Maybe that's what this is all about, I don't know. I do know that yesterday, this kid had us all wondering what was going through his head... The high was 102, and he INSISTED on wearing a sweater. All day.

I posted about this on facebook and some asked if we kept it cold inside. Um, no. Our thermostat stays at 78 during the day. That might sound hot, but we also have ceiling fans running nonstop and room-darkening shades. We keep them closed upstairs, so it doesn't get hot up there at all. And downstairs stays fairly cool. Well, my hot-natured husband doesn't think it's COOL, but he also doesn't turn the thermostat down, so it must not be too bad.

Not really in the mood for pictures. And ignore the post-nap messy hair. And the fact that the sweater is dirty. I thought telling him at naptime that it had to go in the laundry would work. But as soon as he woke up, he insisted that it wasn't too dirty and got it right out of the basket. *Sigh*

But if it wasn't enough to wear that sweater all day inside, he also insisted on wearing it when we did go outside. We weren't out long, and we were in the shade for part of the time, BUT it was still HOT! And he did run around a lot and did not stay on the shaded porch.

Proof that he made me let him play outside with this thing on. He did have on shorts and sandals. But that sweater... And he also insisted on having it zipped ALL the way up!

Around 5, when it was still sweltering, we went to Camden's school for open house. It's too close to justify driving, so we walked. Aiden was in the stroller and still kept that sweater on! I laughed wondering what all those parents and teachers would think of us...showing up with a toddler in a sweater when it was over 100 degrees outside. But he never once asked to take it off.

We never tried to convince him to take it off, either. When going outside, I would ask (ok, more than a few times), "Are you sure you want it on? Are you too hot?" etc, etc. He never budged. He wanted to wear it to bed, but Ryan did say no to that, which surprised me. This morning, upon waking, he asked about wearing it. We said ok, but he later forgot. He did say, though, "I love that sweater!!"

He said he wanted a picture with his "angry face" Haha!