A Weekend Fit For Us

I feel like often times weekends are spent doing things that need to be done around the house or heading out on adventures. But it's not often that we do a bunch of things that really speak to each of our personalities and likes. So when this weekend just sort of happened, it had me chuckling about how various things we did suited each of our personalities so well. 

The weekend started off with my brother, aunt and I having a yard sale. Yard sales are the type of thing I enjoy and totally suit my personality. I love cleaning out and I love making a few bucks in the process. Plus, it was fun to spend a morning with my brother and aunt. 

As soon as the garage sale was over, we went straight to buy Ian a car. This man is a bit of a car hoarder, I tell you. Funny story...when we were first married, Ian became friends with his car mechanic. He used to go hang out at the shop on the weekends. The guy was 10-15 years older than us and owned at least 7 random cars. Fast forward 13 years and we currently own 4 random cars...and a practical Honda Pilot. Anyway, added to our collection this weekend is a '92 (or maybe '93?) Volvo 240 wagon. Swedish gold, as Ian said. He promises one of the other cars will make an exit from our family soon. Because, let's be honest, we only have so much driveway space and I refuse to become like our old neighbors that had so many cars, they parked all over their lawn! 

After getting the car, we installed three car seats in it, so we could take the kids out on an adventure. I used some of my yard sale money to buy us all dinner. We let the kids choose where we would go, knowing full well what they would choose, Sushi Garden. It's their favorite, which I find such a crack up, given how picky they normally are. 

Sunday was full of church, laundry, napping, birthday present picking (hoping? wishing?) by Isla, a little self makeover also by Isla, and finished with dinner at our house with my parents and brother. Unfortunately, it also ended with two kids having fevers, but you can't win em all and it still was a pretty dang great weekend. 

Just in case you didn't get how the weekend matched our personalities, the yard sale spoke to my purging tendencies, the car to Ian's hoarding (haha!), dinner being the kids favorite, Isla's makeover and family. Because who doesn't like spending time with family?

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Callum {1 year, 9 months}

Weight: 24 pounds, 8 ounces
Length: 33 inches
tooth count: 16

Likes: climbing on tables, playing with Connor & Isla's toys, popsicles, any toy with wheels, the toy cash register
Dislikes: being put in his car seat, sitting still, being forced to do anything he doesn't want to do

This little guy really has a will, and an independent streak. It's funny how people at the kids school only see him in a stroller, then if they happen to see him outside of it, are surprised how feisty he is...hence the reason he is always in the stroller at their school, haha! But seriously, if he is in a stroller he is content. If I try to hold him, he fights me to the death to get down and run around. After litereally never falling asleep anywhere but his carseat or home, he started napping in his stroller when we went to Boston and still can do it now. 

Speaking of sleep...Callum still wakes at night. He had a bit of a good stretch sleeping through, but then molars or something happened. He usually wakes twice a night. With the kids school schedules, I have been trying to get Callum to nap only once a day. I would love that nap to happen after I pick up Isla, but before I pick up Connor. With Callum getting up early in the morning, he really struggles making it that long and often crashes around 11. But the good news is, if I put him in his stroller when he falls asleep, I can easily take him to get Isla and he stays asleep. Also, because of the one nap a day thing, he goes to bed at 7:30 and does so much easier than before. 

A few  of Callum's favorite things are climbing on anything and everything and playing with the kids toys that they don't want him touching. He seriously gets joy out of listening to them scream. He enjoys listening to them scream so much, that he gets delight out of pulling Isla's hair. No joke. He has a huge smile on his face when he is pulling her hair and she is screaming. He pretty much gets the same joy when he gets in their room and starts grabbing at their toys as they freak out. He also loves climbing in cars, "driving" and touching all the buttons and knobs. Anytime he is around an open car door, he tries to get in and play. In terms of playing with toys, does throwing things count?! It's seriously a favorite past time of his. He also loves stacking anything that's stackable. He has recently gotten in to playing with Connor's old trains and really seems to enjoy them. But, the thing he does most is empty out the entire contents of the play kitchen. Numerous times every day. It's a favorite of his, haha! 

Callum still babbles a lot, but now has more noises that he babbles, if that makes sense. He also now says the words - mom, dad, baa (ball), hi, yeah, no and Isla. He points at things and "talks" a lot, but I obviously have no clue what he is saying. And sometimes, if we aren't getting it, he takes us by the hand and leads us to what he wants. He also knows many of his body parts - head, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, teeth, tongue, fingers, feet, toes. 

Callum's favorite food is probably popsicles. It doesn't matter where he is in the house, when he hears the freezer open, he comes running. He also stands at the freezer screaming numerous times a day. He is still a great eater, though getting slightly pickier. If he doesn't want something, he just throws it...which is just as awesome as it sounds. But any fruit or meat are usually a win with him. About a month ago, I took the tray of the high chair, so he now sits at the table with us. He does try grabbing at other people's food on the table, but he is learning. 

The things I really want to remember about this age are the way it feels when Callum grabs my hand (aka, my finger), how he lays his head on my shoulder when he is tired. How when he knows he's done something wrong, he puts his hands behind his back so you can't grab him. The way he tries to help put his shoes on. 

And here's an "action shot" of what taking pictures of a toddler is really like! 

Just for fun, Connor and Isla at the same age. I can't get over how much hair the other two had compared to Callum! 

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To Sum It Up

We have kind of a busy weekend ahead of us. Tonight we are headed to a 1920's themed party. I normally hate themed parties, but I actually semi got on the bandwagon and am wearing a sort of period dress. Semi and sort...that's about as close as I get for themed parties! Then Saturday it's more backyard work for us before having some neighbors over for dinner. 

Some things from this week:

I made this for dinner last night. It was tasty and the kids didn't whine and complain, so I'm calling it a win. 

I've always just said no to a top sheet, so I got a bit of a kick finding out I'm not alone in this

Speaking of sheets, I am on the hunt for some grey ticking stripe sheets that I don't have to sell a kidney to purchase. Tell me if you see any for a decent price anywhere. 

This. Not only is it important to see life beyone our own tiny circle, it's also important to love and support others. 

I've always been interested in the royal family (yay for baby #3!), so enjoyed this

Whether you have nothing or tons of things planned for this weekend, I hope you enjoy it. 

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A Lemonade Stand

The kids had a lemonade stand on Saturday. Isla actually wanted to have a fruit stand, but settled for lemonade instead. With a projected high of 111, it was the obvious day to have a lemonade stand...NOT. But it all worked out. Ian and Isla made lemonade from the lemon juice I had squeezed from the lemons from my parents tree. Isla made the sign as well. Now that I think about it, Connor really just contributed the tip jar. Our neighbors came out and supported the kids in full force. Their tip jar was overflowing, in a ridiculous way. In fact, the kids are a little mad at me that I have yet to take them to the store to spend that money that is burning a hole in their pockets. The kids even managed to get a couple cars to stop by waving a sign around at the road. And, in what only can be described as a miracle, the kids actually kept their lemonade stand open for an hour and a half...really throwing in the towel because their friends arrived to support them and they wanted to play with them instead. 

^^ One of their customers...which I assume was their favorite customer, haha!

These are the types of things I love about childhood. And these are the types of memories I hope my kids remember from their childhood. The simple, fun ones. The ones that didn't cost much money. The things we said yes to.

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All About Isla

I am sure all kids are different. I totally get that. But some of the differences between boys and girls still shock me, and make me smile. Isla was so excited when she got to bring home her all about me poster to decorate. She wanted to waste no time and start working on it as soon as we got home. Her one request was that it was colorful. She was so into picking the different colors, coloring and drawing little pictures. I'm pretty sure her enthusiasm was much greater than Connor's two years prior. Also, she cares about coloring in the lines and completely much more than Connor did. 

Here is what it said on the poster, since it's kind of hard to read:

My favorite...
Color: pink, blue and purple
Animal: cat
Food: tomatoes and miso soup
Book: Fancy Nancy
Sport: swimmung and ballet
Thing to do at school: learn
Thing to do at home: spend time having fun with my family

I totally did NOT school her on those answers and those last two totally caught me off guard. Sweet girl. 

I am a star because: I'm really good at ballet (also, really humble)
I show others I care by: helping them in any way

Three supercool facts about me:
1. My big brother had the same kindergarten teacher as me
2. I do ballet
3. I'm like to swim

Let us take a moment to enjoy Isla writing her name in all caps, because it will probably be a last, given that they are now making her write it "properly". I will miss seeing that all caps name with the "S" that has changed and improved so much over the past two years that she has been writing. 

I always try to not sway the kids answers on these types of things. I love hearing about their true likes and dislikes. Also, I love hearing about the things that they are proud of. It's really cute and such a good snapshot of their lives at this exact moment. It won't be for much longer that Isla identifies our house as "the green house on Sycamore" or wants to be so many things that it's hard to decide. 

But kindergarten man, it's such a cute age and precious little moment in time.

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Morning Routine

As much as I loathe school starting back up because I once again have to set an alarm in the morning, it also brings much needed routine into our lives. Of course, it also keeps us from having as much fun, but I would rather my kids learn to read and write and stuff than have fun all the time ;) Anyway, one thing I have learned along the way is that a solid morning routine is worth its weight in gold. The kids know what to expect and everything gets done.

My biggest, biggest, biggest tip is that I get up and completely ready before the kids get up. For me personally, being ready starts my day off on the right foot. And not trying to juggle getting the kids ready at the same time as myself is also huge. Sure, sometimes a kid will wake up while I am still getting ready, but they can entertain themselves until I am done...or, if it's Callum, I've been known to just let him play in the shower while I am taking one, to entertain him. Once I'm ready, this is how the morning goes.

7am - Wake Connor. He gets himself dressed and comes down for breakfast. I make him breakfast as well as make the kids lunches, put them in their backpacks and set their backpacks and shoes on the bench by our front door.

7:20am - Wake Isla. I get her dressed purely so she won't wear something crazy to school. Not to mention the fact that most of what she would pick out wouldn't work for the dress code (insert eye rolls here).

7:45am - If Callum isn't already awake, I go wake him. On days he is already awake, he sits at the table with whoever is there and eats breakfast. But, after Isla is fully ready, I go get Callum dressed for the day.

8am - Five minutes before we are supposed to leave the house, I tell the kids to put their shoes on and grab their backpacks. This always takes longer than the 30 seconds that it should, especially since their shoes are sitting out for them! Either way, that's why I allow for 5 minutes. It keeps things more peaceful.

8:05am - We head out the door for school. Now that both kids are at the same school, we walk every day.

In general, our mornings go quite smooth. Somehow, even with all that, I usually manage to get a load of dishes started in the dishwasher, make some coffee and feed myself breakfast.

Honestly, I think the biggest things for us having a smooth morning are me already being ready, thus not rushing around at the same time as them, as well as keeping any decisions the kids make to a minimum. I almost always don't give them a choice for breakfast, just make something. And anything that I think will be a decision for them, we discuss the night before to get it out of the way.

On a side note, I remember thinking a few years ago a fellow mama was crazy for setting her alarm early to be up and ready before her kids. I valued sleep over everything and couldn't understand. Apparently I have changed and now value my personal hygiene a bit more!

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Summer Slow Cooker Recipes

I can't be the only person who looses all motivation for cooking once the outside temperature rises above 95 can I? I mean, who wants to heat their house up while the air conditioner is trying to cool it off? Not to mention standing over the hot, hot heat sweating while making dinner. Nope, not me. The thing is, I can only stand so much barbecuing before I get bored. All the food pretty much feels the same to me from a barbecue. There just isn't enough variety. So, I dusted off my old slow cooker and gave her a go. Don't you think that she was too dusty. After all, she gets used all winter long. I love me some soups and hearty meals in the winter. So her and I work together almost every day in the winter. But not so much in the summer. Anyway, I ended up making the most incredible meal and decided I needed to keep going for it...as the forecast calls for days over 100 for a very long time yet. So, here's some inspiration for both you and I...though most these meals I've tried in the past and just forgotten about.

* broccoli beef - have you ever tried it over ramen noodles instead of rice? Yum!

* salsa verde chicken - hello tacos!

* balsamic roast beef - sure it's hearty, but it's good!

* spaghetti squash & meatballs - don't tell anyone, but I use premade meatballs, making this literally the easiest meal ever. And you feel healthy eating it because it's spaghetti squash! 

* apple bacon stuffed pork chops - I left out the walnuts, as I'm not a fan

* cilantro lime chicken tacos - because can one have too many taco nights in their life?!

* pulled pork - this is a healthy one, free of sugar. Pulled pork can literally be served any way you like - as a sandwich, as a taco, in a "lettuce boat", making it bread free. Anyway you like it, I love it topped with Frank's RedHot sauce.

And just in case you are looking for a refreshing side dish to change up those barbecue dinners a bit, this cucumber dill salad is amazing. 

If you have any healthy(ish) crock pot recipes you love, send them my way. I need to combat all my ice cream and otter pop eating ways with supposedly healthy dinners to make myself feel better ;)

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