A Month of Meals

I would like to state in advance, I give you full permission to make fun of me for this. But, while you make fun of me, I know deep down inside, you think I am ├╝ber cool and want to do the same thing!

I meal plan and I swear by it. I got into it after I went on maternity leave with Connor and I have never looked back. It just makes sense. It makes grocery shopping easier (and saves money) and I never have to think about what I am going to make for dinner.  I remember years ago talking to some friends who meal plan for six months. Intense, right? They buy everything except for their produce in bulk and only shop once every six months. I thought the idea was a little insane at the time. I still do. That being said, I would like to try a month. Kind of like a challenge to myself. So I have planned out our meals for the whole month of April. I have even planned out my shopping lists. We eat a lot of fresh food and produce around here, so I will be hitting up the grocery store once a week.

Now you may notice that I have planned five meals a week. They can actually be eaten on any day of the week and in any order. But after years of planning, I have found five dinners a week to be the magical number for us. It leaves wiggle room for eating leftovers, going on a date, or going over to someone's house for dinner. You may also realize, we hardly ever pick something up for dinner. There is no quick fast food runs or calling for a pizza in our house. That's what planning meals is all about. Always having a delicious and nutritious meal at hand.

Here's the other thing. I am not exactly what you would call a recipe follower. I kind of make things up as I go along. And tweak the dish to perfection ever time I make it. And all my foods tend to be homemade. And crockpots are this girl's best friend!

So there you have it, my challenge for April. Go ahead and laugh. Its not like I can see you anyway. But I know deep down you are jealous and thinking you should plan your meals too.


I am just a being outside kind of gal. Now that spring is here, we have been spending the better part of the days playing in our backyard. Playing, eating, reading...really just living life. Aww, the sun. Its so wonderful.

There is just something so simple and wonderful about being outside. The kids moods can go from crabby to happy the instant we head outside. Connor runs around, Isla plays with her toys or chills in her walker (she actually walked a couple feet today in it!), and I sit. I watch my kids. I take pictures of them. I read the newspaper. I drink some coffee. I enjoy the sun on my face. Days like today really are great. That's all I have to say. 

Connor actually sat like this. Funny, right? Such a cute kid!

Though he still won't use the peddles, Connor will actually use his feet to move around the yard. And he'll steer his bike too. This is quite the accomplishment, given that most things he rides, he won't even attempt to steer them. Of course, that doesn't mean he doesn't run into things on his bike. And my favorite thing, he goes backwards on his bike. It's really cute and funny.

And then there's Isla, just content with a simple toy, watching her brother. She loves her brother so much and loves just watching him play. And when he looks at her? She gets the biggest smile on her face. Melts this mama's heart!

Desperate Times

Call for desperate measures.

Remember the sickness that I mentioned in my last post? Yeah, its still here. Hopefully, we are on the tail end of it though. Connor powered through it a lot better than Isla has. Which really means, Connor only woke once a night while sick. And lets just say, the same can't be said for our adorable little Isla. After Ian and I both sleeping upright to keep Isla from hacking up a lung asleep, I realized she slept much better in her swing than in her bed. So, I drug that swing into her bedroom where it would be close to a humidifier and closer to us so we could hear her if anything went awry in the night. Still things aren't perfect, but she is sleeping a heck of a lot better upright in her swing than she was in her bed. And hopefully this bug will be behind us before we know it so we can concentrate on spring again. Aww, the great outdoors, hanging with friends, BBQs...I love me some good weather!

In the mean time, its things like the smiles I get from our adorable kids at bath time that keep me going. Bath time has always been a hit in our house. In sickness and in health and for both kids. Its purse bliss, I tell you...until I go to take them out. But it's those faces when they are in the bath that keep me going...

And Connor gets to splash around like a crazy man, once his sister is done bathing. He loves it...as you can see.

A Realization of Ginormous Proportions

This past week has been challenging. First with Connor really sick, then Isla following not far behind in his footsteps. It has been messy (think vomit), tiring (sick kids struggle with sleep), expensive (three doctors visits and meds) and challenging (did you see all the things I just listed?!).

On Saturday, after a particularly long cry session (from Isla, not me), I felt done. I wanted out of the house. I wanted some peace and quiet time. I wanted some adult time. It would have been nice if I could have grabbed Ian and headed out, but we have two kids. Someone has to stay home with them! And it would have been nice if I could have called a friend to meet up with. But I had a life changing epiphany...all my friends have kids too. They can't just head out of the house on a whim. This was one of those smack-me-in-the-face moments. My life has changed. I'm a mom. My friends are moms. There are a lot more logistics to handle when going out these days. Logistics that take planning. Doing things on a whim these days just isn't so easy.

The evening ended up calming down for a bit. Connor went to bed and Isla slept long enough for Ian and I to enjoy most of our late night dinner in peace. Just that little adult time, where crying wasn't ringing throughout the house, calmed me down. And the night, it wasn't so peaceful. But Ian took over halfway through the night and allowed me to catch some much needed shut eye.

Some Girly Time

Isla and I went out and did our first girly thing together. Heck, this was probably the first girly thing I have done in years. Slight exaggeration, but I really am not very girly.

My friend's mom hosted a group of us for a ladies tea at her church. It was a fun excuse to get dressed up and have some fun with friends. Both my kids have been crazy sick, but I decided to ignore the looks I got (and the comments from old ladies) and bring Isla along anyway. Thankfully, my friends were more than willing to take turns holding that adorable, fussy little girl. And I was glad I got out of the house for a couple hours given that sickness has kept us in for days.

And I made Ian take a couple pictures of me and Isla all dressed up. I wanted us to coordinate (lame, I know), but didn't really have anything to match lavender gingham. I realized I don't really have much of a selection of spring-colored dresses in my closet, but I liked my choice.

The Head Situation

It's never been a secret that my children have ginormous heads. To make light of it, I used to say things like "all his smarts need to go somewhere" when we were at the doctor and Connor's head was being measured. Then last year, when Connor was a mere 18 month old, we had to buy him a child size bike helmet because the toddler size was too small. Seriously?

Last week I was talking to another mother of a big-headed child when she asked me where I got Connor's hat because she has trouble finding hats for her son. I told her I found it on an endcap in the baby section in Target. She said it definitely wouldn't fit her son and I said I was surprised it fit Connor. While saying this, I pulled the hat off Connor's head to see what size it was. To my surprise, it was a youth 7-14. Again, seriously? The kid's head is big, but its not THAT BIG.

Isla has inherited a big head as well. The thing is, she is bigger everywhere (length and weight) so its not as funny with her as it is with Connor. That being said, the hat she has been sporting the last few weeks is 12-18 months.

Oh, my adorable kids and their adorably large heads.

Lately {in Photos}

1. The mama and her little boy
2. Park time
3. Proudly displaying a lego he stole from a friend's house
4. Happy boy
5. Isla swinging
6. Isla swinging x2
7. Outside
8. Playing in the dirt, as a boy should
9. Isla's first time in the walker
10. 5 months old!
11. Walkers are such hard work
12. Rain!!!

Isn't it Ironic?

Don't you think...

Wow, that song takes me back. And makes me look old to all you youngins who don't even recognize that Alanis Morissette classic. Heck, Modesto is so hip, I still hear that song on the radio from time to time. I kid you not. (about the song being on the radio, not about Modesto's hip status) But back to the post at hand...

When I checked the weather report this morning to decide what I was going to wear, this is what I found:

It was warmer in Aberdeen, Scotland than in Modesto, California! After the nonexistent winter we had, this oddly cold spring is just throwing me off. Now there are a couple things you have inadvertently just learned about me. I check the weather every morning to decide what to wear. Its just smart thinking (or perhaps planning) on my part. And the weather report for Aberdeen is still programed in my phone and I still find the need to look at it daily even though I haven't lived there for over a year now. Oh Scotland, I still miss you.

A Little Comparison

Today I dressed Isla in one of Connor's old outfits and thought it would be fun to do a little comparison. I added a little flower to Isla's head to add a feminine touch to the outfit. So the pictures are Connor then Isla:

And to think I never thought they really looked like each other! We always say that Connor looks more like Ian and Isla more like me. But they both hove sparkly blue eyes. That's for sure. And another set of pictures, Connor then Isla. 

Little miss Isla sure does have more chub in those cheeks. I love to munch on those little cheeks of hers.

This outfit carried a little nostalgia with it. Connor wore it a lot in those cold days in Scotland. Given that it was a chilly rainy day today, I thought Isla would enjoy it. And I enjoyed seeing another little Grimbleby look all cuddly in it.

Isla {5 Months}

Weight: 16.5 lbs (my measurement)
Length: 25.25 inches (my measurement)

"Found" her feet and loves to grab them...especially in the bath
Grabs at hair, necklaces and anything in reach
Tries to drink out of our glasses
Moves around to grab a toy

Isla certainly isn't a newborn anymore. Though she can't sit up on her own yet, she definitely prefers sitting up and seeing the world to laying down. Be it being held, propped up on the couch or sitting in a toy, she likes seeing what is going on. And she loves watching her brother no matter what he is doing. He can easily get her to laugh without even really doing something funny.

We got out Connor's walker for Isla the other day and she loves it. At first, she just spent her time sucking on the attached toys. Now she sits up, plays with the toys and watches the world go by. She did "walk" a little in it, but it was a total fluke. Also, Connor seems to have re-fallen in love with the walker, so we have to watch and make sure he is nice to Isla when she is in it.

Isla is now at the stage that she will grab anything and everything in her reach. It's fun watching her play with toys. But you have to watch out when you are eating and watch your hair around her...of course my hair is short, so it is more an issue for other people.

Isla is a wrist sucker. That's right, my baby likes to suck on her wrist. That doesn't mean that her thumb or hand don't make it in her mouth from time to time. But the majority of the time, its her wrist. This also means that the sleeves on her clothes get soaking wet. It's funny and weird all at the same time. 

Isla has consistently been going to bed at 8pm for a few weeks now and goes to sleep without crying. How long she will sleep though, isn't consistent at all!!! She has made it all the way to 6am before waking to feed, but usually she wakes around 1am to feed and feeds twice a night. The thing I am lucky about is Isla goes right back to sleep after she eats.

One thing we have had trouble with is Isla refusing to take a bottle. We tried out different bottles and different people feeding her bottles and nothing seemed to work. I bought her a sippy cup made for babies (the top is soft, flexible silicone) and she actually took it. Now most of the milk ended up down the front of her, but it still is growth so I am proud...and hopeful that eventually I will be able to leave her for longer periods of time!

And in case you are curious, here's the link to when Connor was 5 months old. It's fun to compare. Connor still loves being out of the house. And he slept like a crazy man. Isls is usually in the same place I left her in her crib.

Over the Weekend

Isla tried out the walker for the first time. As you can tell from her happy face, it was a success...though she mostly just enjoyed sucking on the steering wheel attached to the walker.

I organized a little art area for Connor in the play room. I put all his crayons in one jar and all his chalk in another jar. And those jars worked out to make great bookends to hold up his coloring books!

I found some wooden blocks and a cool wooden toy (which I scored for 79 cents) at a thrift store. The toy is from Finland. I thought that was kind of cool. Connor loves both the blocks and the toy.

I expanded the picture wall in the playroom. See, I told you I am obsessed with pictures. Its a sickness.

Ian planted a couple blueberry bushes and I planted some flowers that now liven up our front porch. I stole the wooden 7up box from my mom.

It was beautiful weather and we spent a lot of the time outside. Now its raining. Supposed to rain all week. And you know I like the rain!

If I Could...

Get away with wearing a flannel shirt every day, I so would

The are comfortable and cosy. The hide all the lump and bumps around my mid section. They are colorful. And they are easy to nurse in. What's not to love?!

They are pretty much my mom-iform. Them and skinny jeans. Oh, and my stinky, worn out Toms.

Now you know how fashionable I truly am! Not that you ever thought I was.

Awkward/Awesome {six}

Awkward: While feeding Isla, Connor walked up to me and said "Isla boobie juice"
Thanks, little bro!

Making plans to hang out with a friend via facebook
Awkward: Neither one of us being particularly good at checking facebook, so we missed each other
Awesome: Exchanging real contact info so this doesn't happen again

Awesome: Finally getting around to washing and vacuuming out my car
Awkward: It rained the next day
Awkward: My brother saying, "Don't you ever check the weather report?"

Awesome: Helping make bows for Abigail's Bling for Balding Beauties (child cancer patients). We made 103 bows in 2 hours!

Awkward: Making Connor a hot dog and having him point at it and say "hot, poop" (He wasn't trying to say hot dog, but merely saying the food was hot and that it was poop)
Super Awkward: Him eating the hot dog anyway. Apparently the kid likes hot poop.

Awkward: I've been asked twice lately by people close to me if I was pregnant. Um...am I eating too much lately?

Awesome: Having lunch with my big older brother

Awesome: Meeting an old friend and her kids at the park
Awkward: Having a creepy man stalk us
Awkward x2: Him staying until we finally were fed up and decided to leave

Awesome: Date night with the hubby
Awesome x2: Having a gift card to pay for it

Awesome: All the outdoor time we've been having lately

Awkward: Because of awesome weather, I turned off the heater and forgot to turn it back on, thus Ian woke up for work to a freezing cold house.
Awesome: Ian turned on the heater and by the time I got up hours later, the house was toasty warm ;)

Lately {in Photos}

1. At The Griddle Cafe in Los Angeles...my favorite restaurant!
2. At The Griddle Cafe in Los Angeles
3. Connor enjoying cake at my aunt's birthday party
4. Cupcakes!!!
5. Me and my baby girl
6. Connor enjoying riding the choo-choo with MeMaw
7. Play time
8. Happy girl in the bath
9. Chilling at Barnes & Noble
10. Golden Gate Bridge
11. Playing at the Bay Area Discovery Museum
12. Enjoying the spring weather

Not All Coffee Creamers

Are created equal

I recently discovered this...the hard way. The store I was at didn't carry my usual Coffee Mate creamer, so I picked up a bottle of the International Delight. HUGE MISTAKE! It tasted horrible. I ended up picking up more of my usual creamer to replace the disgusting creamer. I had a friend over and told her about the creamer situation (I am an interesting person to be around, I know.) and the same thing happened to her. Weird, right? I am thinking one of two things happened:

1. Coffee Mate is so good that every store in Modesto simultaneously (such a big word for me!) ran out of it
2. International Delight paid all the stores to conveniently run out of every other creamer to boost their sales

Okay, so I have a confession to make. When going to take the picture of the creamer bottles, I discovered that the gross creamer, International Delight, is actually sugar free. That is probably why it takes so freaking bad. Fake sweetener equals GROSS. But still, it is ruined for me. I have vowed myself to Coffee Mate forever. Kidding. Kind of.

And seriously, who writes an entire post on coffee creamer?!?

Thrifty Find

Normally if I want to go thrifting, its my mom who goes with me. These days I never go at it alone. Two kids in a thrift store just doesn't seem fun. So, when my mom comes to town, we thrift it up.

This past Sunday, Ian and I decided to take the kids to the Bay Area Discovery Museum in San Francisco. Then Ian heard about this crazy huge rummage sale in Oakland, so we decided to stop by on our way to San Francisco. It was pretty insane. Tons of people everywhere for blocks and blocks surrounding the building. Since strollers weren't allowed, I wore Isla and Ian wore Connor. Let me just say Connor wasn't exactly a willing participant in this stop. So, we didn't stay long. But we did stay long enough for me to know I want to go again next year. And long enough for me to find this...

A vintage port-a-crib that I paid only $2.50 for!!! It is so stinking cute. Sure, I didn't need it, but it was so cute I couldn't pass it up. And it is actually in really good condition. I cleaned the whole thing today and can't believe what good condition it is in. It doesn't need to be sanded down and re-done or anything. Score!

And here's a picture of Isla trying out my new cage find for her.

Oddly enough (and awesomely enough) the sheets I have for Connor's pack-n-play from Scotland (it is a different shape than the ones in the US) fit this mattress. It's like it was meant to be...

Now I get that technically this isn't supposed to be re-sold anymore. In fact, it stated on the port-a-crib that it was sold as a decoration and not for use as a crib or playpen. But I checked it over and this thing is solid. And adorable. Did I mention the cute factor already? For now, it has found a home in the kids playroom as, uh, a decoration...a decoration that a certain cute little girl can chill in from time to time.

Living Life Intentionally

Sometimes you've just got to hold babies during nap time, cause they are oh-so-snuggley!

As I've gotten older more mature, I've learned how I need to be intentional about life. I need to be intentional about the decisions I make. I need to be intentional about who I surround myself with (that deserves to be a post all of its own), I need to be intentional about what I do with my time, I need to be intentional about how I raise my children, I need to be intentional.

Right now in my life, time speaks more than money. I say this because I don't spend money like I used to. Of course, I don't make it like I used to. Five plus years ago, it was easy to tell what I valued. You could tell just by looking at me. I drove a nice car (heck, I cried when I got rid of that car to move to Scotland!), I carried nice purses, I wore nice clothes, I always needed the latest and greatest. It was a craving so large that it almost couldn't be satisfied. Seriously. I was out of control. Scotland broke me of all that. I remember how painful it was to be broken. But I am so thankful to have given up that obsession of materialism. Especially thankful that it happened before I had kids. I can only imagine what it would have been like transitioning into motherhood and breaking myself of extreme materialism. That would have been fun.

I think the biggest definition of who I am can be described in how I spend my time. Obviously motherhood is the biggest definition of who I am right now. I eat, sleep and breathe my kids. Heck, with an infant, one is lucky to get some sleep in there! But really, that is my current role in life and my time is showing that. One of the most important things in life to me that doesn't get as much time as it deserves is my relationship with Ian. We don't have the 24/7 time together like I have with our babies. But what I have discovered is we have to make the time we do have together count. Cut out distractions. Isla giving us our evenings back (she actually has a bedtime now) helps. Ian is the only person in the world I feel 100% comfortable around. I don't hide anything. He sees the true me just as I am. Now that is a relationship I value and want to keep.

Since becoming a mom, I've discovered how much I truly enjoy good, true friends. People who you can cut out the show with and really be yourself. People who know you haven't showered in days (that was my life after Connor was born. Second time around, I showered daily), that your house is a mess, that your toddler is ,well, a toddler. People that will pray for you when you are having a crappy day. People that will celebrate with you when your baby sleeps through the night. In turn, I want want to be intentional in how I treat these important people in my life. I want my actions toward them to show how much I truly value them.

In the end (heck, even today), I want people to be able to say, "She loved God, she loved her family, she loved her friends. She was fiercely loyal, was always willing to help. She was a prayer warrior." I'm living my life everyday, well most days anyway, intentionally with that goal in mind.
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