Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Saturday 7

1. I only read one book this week: A Melody for James by Hallee Bridgeman  It was a book I found while randomly scrolling through Goodreads. It was one of the most highly rated books I've come across so far (4.5 stars), so while I thought the cover was heinous, I decided to give it a try. I remained skeptical when it came in at the library. It seriously looks self-published. But it was actually really good!! The writing was excellent, the story was engrossing, the characters were well-developed. I enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading the next in the series. 

2. This has already been on facebook, but needs to be noted here as well. Our tax refund was direct deposited this week, and I immediately paid off the last of our student loans. I can't believe the day has finally come!! I dropped out after 2.5 years, so don't even have a degree to show for it. And Justin doesn't use his degree. So our $60,000 of student debt was extremely frustrating. But now, 4 years after moving in with my parents, 2 years after profiting off the sale of our house, 10 years after making monthly payments, we are DONE! Actually, we are totally debt-free now. We drive clunker cars, we pay off our credit cards in full every month, and we obviously don't have a mortgage to worry about. Free, free, we're free at last!!

3. We had gorgeous weather this week. Highs in the 50s and 60s. Unheard of for February in Michigan! It came at just the right time, though, because the cabin fever is really starting to kick in by this time of the year. It was so nice to get outside!
Fun Dips on the front step

Trump hair don't care

This little car has been a huge hit. Levi loves riding in it, and the girls love pushing him in it.

February sunset

Cold enough for a coat, not cold enough for pants? (And looking at this, I realize it looks like we're driving next to a bus while Lena hangs out the front window. Let me clarify: we were in the pick-up lane at school, which runs parallel with the bus lane. Neither my van nor the bus was moving in this picture.)
4. As you might be able to tell from the above picture, Lena is still wearing pull-ups. But she's made some amazing progress with potty training this week. The rule this week was that she only gets 2 pull-ups a day. Once both of those are wet she has to wear undies the rest of the day. I know it's not the smartest move to use undies as punishment, but it's effective! She only had to wear undies twice this week (for a total of like an hour both days). And I had bribed her a week or so ago with a trip to Chuck E. Cheese if she could keep her pull-up dry all day. She accomplished that Herculean feat on Thursday - even despite a trip to Olive Garden that was a least a couple hours long. She refuses to use any bathroom but ours at home, so she held it the whole time we were gone. She pretty consistently tells me when she needs to go, now, and is staying dry in between bathroom trips. Next week, we'll move down to one pull-up a day, and then I have to start working with her on wearing undies. She is unreasonably terrified of them. She's also extremely embarrassed/shy about the whole potty training thing. She does not like to be congratulated or applauded. She does not like to be asked about it. She will only let me take her to the bathroom. So if you see her in person, please don't mention it!
Hard-earned trip to Chuck E. Cheese

Their favorite ride.

5. It became apparent to me today that I have some serious procrastination issues. Today was Levi's first birthday party. I definitely did not go all out on it, but we were having our family over, so I at least wanted the house clean and a few decorations set up. I've known about this party all week. But did I prepare at all during the week? No. Did I prepare at all yesterday? No. The party didn't start 'til 3:00 this afternoon, so I knew I'd have time today. Why do it ahead of time, when I can do a mad dash all at once for hours beforehand? Oy.

Similarly, I have until the end of the month to re-enroll Lucy at school. It's a long, tedious process that involves scanning tax documents into my computer (for the financial aid application), and finding immunization records, and other boring tasks. We got an email from the administrator last week advising us not to wait until the last minute. Psh. You're not the boss of me, Administrator. I'm an ISFJ. Pinterest tells me this applies to me:
I'll get it done on time! I just need a little pressure to motivate me!
6. Anyway, back to the party. My baby is turning 1 in 3 (4?) days, but no one wants to party on a Tuesday, so we partied today instead. I wasn't going to do a theme or anything Pinterest-y since he's one and he doesn't care, but if Valentine's Day taught me anything, it's that my girls do care. They love decorating and preparing and helping, so I consulted Pinterest and had a little fun. Our theme was "The Big One." I liked it because 1.It's a play on words (my kind of thing), 2. It's fishing-inspired (Justin's kind of thing), and 3. It's easy. A few bobbers, a few fish die-cuts, some streamers, and fishing supplies that Justin already owns. Good to go.

Those are bobbers in the front. Not poke-balls.


My cousin gave me that frame when Levi was born. I printed off a picture from our trip to Bass Pro Shops to put in it. Found a random reel in Justin's fishing supplies, some of his tackle-boxes, and a "Legal Fish Gauge" that my dad had laying around. Haha.
Punch with bobbers floating on top.

Monthly photos on more bobbers.


This is the poster Lucy and Lena worked on all morning for the party.
<3

Present time!

Thanks Uncle Luke and Aunt Esther!

And then it was time for cake! I like the idea of a smash cake, but I balk at the price. So when I saw Meijer sells individual cupcakes with a huge tower of frosting for $1,88, I jumped at it.
It didn't survive the drive home very well. Lol.

At first, Levi wasn't sure what to do with it, but he caught on quickly . . .



Sharing with Grandpa





7. Just a few more pictures from our week because I know this post doesn't have enough already. ;-)
This is how Lucy "plays outside." (Reading in my van.)

This does my heart good.

My little kitchen helper.



"Mommy, take my picture to show everyone my cute outfit!"
"You got food up there?"

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Saturday 7

1. This was a big week for Levi. I should save all this for his one year update, but I like to write things down when they actually happen (because - baby book? Ain't nobody got time for that!). The biggest news is that he's finally become mobile!! After 11.5 months of just sitting where I put him, he has figured out how to move! Of course his method is a bit unconventional. Haha. He doesn't crawl or even army crawl, he scoots on his butt. Sometimes he uses his hands to pull himself forward, but most of the time he just wiggles his upper body enough to propel himself forward. Lol. I've taken like 1,000 videos because it cracks me up so much.

2. Levi also sprouted his 4th tooth this week (top right) and has started sleeping through the night!! Kind of. Haha. I nurse him when I put him to bed between 7 and 8. He usually gets up between 10 and midnight to nurse one more time, but then he sleeps until 6:30 ish! Now to cut out that extra feeding in the middle of the night . . . Oh, that's his other milestone this week: weaning. I'm down to nursing him morning, night, and middle of the night. Just 3 times. It's been a pretty easy transition for both of us. But he's got a nasty cold right now, so I'm not going to push being totally done by a year like I was with the girls. (Yeah, the cold is totally the reason. Not my denial about my baby growing up. Not my fear about this being the last time I ever breastfeed. ;-) )

3. I read two books this week: The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton and The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor. They took the prize for best and worst respectively so far this year! The Forgotten Garden is my first 5 star book of the year. Kate Morton annoys me because all of her books have the same basic premise, but she executes them so perfectly that I keep going back for more. And The Girl Who Came Home was just a mediocre re-telling of a story that's been told countless times already (The Titanic). It was my first 2 star book of the year. I'm up to 17 books of my 75 book challenge, though. Making progress!

4. We had a nice Valentine's Day. Justin and I agreed not to buy each other anything and I wasn't planning on doing anything special for the girls. But that morning when Lena woke up, she came downstairs and said, "Where are the decorations?" I didn't know what she was talking about, so she clarified, "It's Valentine's Day! You were supposed to decorate!" Lol. My girls think it's a much bigger holiday than it actually is. So we went to Meijer and got some stuff to have a fancy family dinner: a clearance Valentine's Day tablecloth, Velveeta shells n' cheese, sparkling grape juice, and salad and wine for the adults.

Gourmet dinner at its finest!
A big fan of sparkling grape juice.

And because my girls adore doing little projects, I came up with this quick idea. I gave each person 4 paper hearts and we all wrote down what we loved about every member of our family. Then we put them all in a bowl at the center of the table.

We drew them during dinner and read them aloud.
Reading what she loves about Lucy. 
5. Lucy hosted a play-date with a school friend for the first time this week. They had a half day yesterday, so we brought her friend home with us after school. It was great. The girls all played upstairs for like 4 hours, then played outside until it was time for Skyler to go home. She was very sweet, but the best part was when she told me that I should get a house cleaner. Lol. Lucy was showing her the chore chart (that she never does) and Skyler said, "You have to clean your bathroom sink? We have a house cleaner for that." And then she came over to me and said, "You should get a house cleaner so you don't have to clean it yourself." I told her that I agree whole-heartedly! Lol. And this family is seriously not at all pretentious. That's why it's so funny.

6. Justin and I looked at a house for sale today. I'm always stalking real estate websites looking for anything decent in our price range and something new popped up yesterday that is literally 1.2 miles from our current house. It was one of the nicest ones I've seen in our price range in years, so even though we're not 100% sure we're ready to buy yet, we decided we'd at least go see it. And it was kind of disappointing. It's just discouraging that what we can afford gets us so much less than it did when we bought our house 8 years ago. It's definitely a seller's market right now. So I guess we're just going to do our best to be patient and wait for something better to come along.

7. And finally, our week in pictures:
Trying to do yoga with a curious little helper.

Reading their Valentine's Day cards from Grandpa and Grandma

Levi's first Valentine's Day

School party fun

He's actually started to get up on his knees once in a while. Still can't figure out how to go forward on his belly though. Lol.

She got to ride in the big-girl booster for two miles and felt like hot stuff. Poor little shrimp isn't going to outgrow her 5 pt. harness until she's 16.
Lazy Saturday snuggles


Snapchat fun while waiting for that awful 4th tooth to poke through.
He's finally outgrowing his 6 month pajamas, so I put these new ones on him. Two piece pajamas instantly make him look so much older!!! He'll be one in 10 days! (Kind of . . . stinkin' Leap Day birthday . . .)


Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Saturday 7

1. My kids were all sick at different times this week. Lucy puked before school on Tuesday morning, so she stayed home the rest of the day. She acted mostly fine. Occasionally she'd run to the bathroom thinking she was going to puke, but she never did. She ate like normal and played with Lena all day. On Wednesday, Lena started out fine, but steadily went downhill throughout the day. She had a really barky cough, a fever, and complained all afternoon of a belly-ache. She even fell asleep at rest time, which never happens. But she never puked and she was mostly fine by the next day. At least it was a fast-moving illness! Levi, on the other hand, has been grumpy all week thanks to teeth. His top right is so close to poking through and it's really bothering him. The poor kid is miserable. :-(

2. I tried a couple new meals this week. The first was a desperation meal. I intended to go grocery shopping on Tuesday, but I refused to bring Lucy out in public while she was sick, so I had to get creative with what I had on hand. I ended up finding a recipe on allrecipes called "Pantry Raid Enchiladas." Haha. And I had to tweak even that because I didn't have all the ingredients. Basically it's shredded chicken, cream cheese, enchilada sauce, black beans and shredded cheese, covered with prepared cornbread mix and baked in the oven. I didn't think I'd really like it, but it was actually good! I liked the combination of spicy chicken with sweet cornbread.

And then I found another recipe on Pinterest that looked unusually good to me. I'm normally not a big fan of vegetables, but I strangely love Brussels sprouts. I also don't mind sweet potatoes, so I thought I'd give this a whirl. It took me a solid hour to chop and saute all of the ingredients.
Also, cinnamon. I couldn't fit it all in the three lines snapchat allows.
Unfortunately the finished product was not that good. :-( In all fairness to the recipe, I didn't have thyme and I think it could have benefited from that savory herb. The cinnamon made it too sweet. We had a lot leftover, so last night I re-heated it with lots more bacon and some lemon pepper seasoning. It was much better that way. At least I thought so. My mom had a taste and declared it "nasty." Lol. I come by my distaste of vegetables honestly.

3. I got a new phone this week. My old one was only 8 GB which is not enough for more than a few apps and pictures. I finally upgraded to a 16 GB with a SIM card. Woot! I like it a lot except that it's way bigger than my old one, and the light doesn't flash when I have a notification. That's how I knew when I had texts on my old phone. But now I have to remember to check it all the time. So if you're trying to get ahold of me, you might just have to text me 100 times in a row until I finally hear it go off. Sorry in advance.

4. I only read one book this week: Still Life by Louise Penny. I really liked it. See my review over there ---> I've been loving tracking my books on Goodreads. I can get so sucked into that site going down rabbit trails of recommended books, but I've realized that I won't add a book to my "To Read" list if it's rated lower than 4 stars (out of 5). I'm not an indie reader. I like well-liked books. Haha.

5. My mom is leaving for Florida tomorrow. She's going to be gone for a whole month!! I don't know what I'm going to do without her. I've been joking that it's going to be rough having to hold my own baby all the time. Haha. But seriously, she has Levi so unbelievably spoiled. If she walks by him without picking him up he loses his mind. Tonight, she was literally crouched down behind a table trying to get past him without being spotted. Haha. It's so nice to have that extra set of hands in the evenings while I'm making dinner or we're trying to bathe the girls or wrangle them into bed. Or just to have a break from the crying and clinginess while he's teething. We're all going to miss Grandma!

6. Today was Walk-a-Thon at Lucy's school. The pre-k, kindergarten, and 1st grade all ask for pledges to raise money for the school, then walk laps around the gym. This year Lucy walked 38 laps and Lena did 30. Plus Lucy got her name drawn for a prize! There were all kinds of prizes: a kindle fire, passes to the children's museum, Meijer gift cards, even $100 off tuition. Did Lucy get any of those? No. She got this:
A huge bean bag chair!
It's actually really cool and she loves it. I just couldn't believe she got something so big when we're already crammed in my parents' house and have no more room for anything. Haha.

7. Our week in pictures:
I made spinach muffins this week and Levi actually really enjoyed them. I added chocolate chips so I enjoyed them too!

Trying out the camera on my new phone.

A couple of cuties watching TV and chugging their drinks in my bed.

Little man looking so big!
Snapchats with Lena. Lol.

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