Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sweet Pickle Goodness

It seems fitting that on Day 1 of my diet, I write about food. I actually had these pictures downloaded weeks ago, but today, as I begin my sacrifice of all things sugar, felt the most appropriate time to publish my pickle post. Oh, sweet pickle goodness...

The weekend Wade and I returned from Yellowstone, I decided to start my last batch of Nana's sweet pickles. It's a nearly two week process, but something I enjoy...when the syrup doesn't boil over and scorch my stove top. Making pickles reminds me of my great grandmother, Nana, and my grandmother, Shirley. It's their recipe and it's divine. And yes, it will forever be a family secret.

Grandmother Shirley passed away shortly after I started this last batch of sweet pickles, so these jars are extra special.

At the suggestion of a friend, and after multiple pickle requests from colleagues and friends, I finally caved and began selling my pickles (or, Nana's pickles). In fact, less than one week after finishing my last batch, all were spoken for...minus the two jars Wade made me pinkie swear I'd keep for him. Albeit a bit strange to sell pickles, it became the best (and most affordable) solution to meeting the sweet pickle demand.

(Leslie...if you're reading this...I still have your jar sitting on my desk...I WILL get it to you.)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Baby Leo

Have MERCY, I've got baby fever! First with Molly, then with Leo, now with every baby I can get my hands on! I want to hold them, rock them to sleep, and cover them with kisses. Wade assures me "the fever" will pass. We'll see.

Friends, meet Leo Marlen. Leo was born on September 24 to my cousin, Jamie Ann, and her incredibly talented husband, Ryan. And, of course, Baby Leo is perfect in every way.

Baby Toes

Crimson and Cream

Although half of the family screams "Boomer Sooner", I still bleed orange. As well as my two boys. In fact, if you yell "Boomer Sooner" around Henry, he'll politely respond with "Go Cowboys"! But, just for one October day, and two OU birthday boys, Henry and I suppressed our ORANGE POWER long enough to sing happy birthday and enjoy some crimson and cream cake.

Omar. Technically a September birthday, but we celebrated in early October.

The star of the day, and every day. I can't get enough of Miss Molly. Who knew I could love a niece THIS MUCH?!

Pitiful cake, I know.

The night prior to the birthday bash, Papaw and Mamaw paid us a visit. The boys enjoyed showing off their technical skills on their Leap Pad/Frog and Leap Pad Junior.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

DIY Miniature Folding Chairs

So, one afternoon in our office, I mention to my colleague that I've been on the hunt for metal kid's chairs that need a makeover. My vision involved chairs like the following, all unique and in different colors, for the boys and their friends to use when picnicking on the back porch.

Vintage Metal Chair

Kids Chairs

Kids Chairs

Vintage Farmhouse Childs Metal Chair Stool by birdie1 eclectic kids chairs

Well, my coworker, ROCK STAR that she is, spotted two miniature folding chairs at her son's preschool garage sale one morning and snagged them for the bargain price of $3. She claims the heavens actually parted and angels began rejoicing the moment she saw them. I believe her.

Jordan not only surprised me that garage sale morning with two PERFECT medal specimen, but she inspired me to put my crafty hat on and actually create something. I accepted the challenge, invested an additional $4.49 in fabric at our beloved Hobby Lobby, and Ta-Da! ADORABLE chairs that are way too cute for the back porch. They now adorn our playroom and are already receiving oodles of love. Henry claimed the blue, and Sam the red.

Chair #1

The BEFORE cushion


Chair #2

Thank you, Jordan, craftiest girl I know, for pushing my creative limits.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mickey and The Little Prince

Henry and Sam,

On a monthly basis, I have plenty of honorable intentions to sit down and write you a letter. I don’t like making excuses, but I can honestly say that life gets in the way. Sam starts begging to go outside, dinner needs to be made, or you both end up in an “it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt” spat. My days seem full of tears and angst and time-outs, whiny voices saying things over and over and OVER, but...I love these days.

Every day there is a moment. A precious little sliver of time that makes me stop, and smile, and wish I could take a mental picture. I'm afraid I will forget, so I whip out my iPhone and snap something with that. Facebook and my iPhone are laden with memories, photos, and QOTD moments.

The moments are different for each of you. Lately, for Sam, it’s been new words...or parts of words. Sam, yesterday you brought me a book full of animal pictures, and as we turned each page, you made a valiant effort to name each animal by name. You even growled like a bear, neighed like a horse, and snorted like a pig. When you're thirsty and want a milk refill, you always ask, "PEEZ?!" while also signing the word 'please' by slapping your chest hard enough to sometimes leave a mark. Your favorite words have to be "bye" and "hi" and you greet your friends and teachers with these words daily. And exuberantly.

Sam, you LOVE Toy Story and Mickey Mouse. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is your favorite cartoon and every morning, you ask to watch it by doing the 'Hot Dog' dance. It looks more like the chicken dance, but we know what you mean. You also do this darling thing where you back up to plant yourself onto my lap anytime I’m sitting on the floor. You are precious, and sweet, and such a huggable little guy. You are never afraid to try something new, and want to do everything your big brother does...and sometimes more.

You get into EVERYTHING, and don’t seem to understand the word “NO”. Precocious! And you enjoy testing my patience with your uber strong will.

And Henry. Henry, how on earth are you four years old? Stop growing! At birth you were two feet tall and set what the nurses believed to be the 'longest baby' record at Stillwater Medical Center. I'll never forget the day you were born. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. I was overjoyed.

Henry, your imagination is unmatched. So many afternoons and evenings your daddy and I love to listen to your imaginary play from the living room. One moment you're on an African safari hunting tigers and hyenas, and the next minute you're pretending to be 'Puss In Boots'. And then, before we know it, it's 'Puss In Boots' on safari! You make us laugh and dream and remind us of what being a kid is all about.

The Little Prince was my favorite childhood story. It's a story about young boy, who drew a boa constrictor digesting an elephant. But he is discouraged from drawing when all adults who look at his picture see a hat, instead. The narrator attempts to explain what his first picture depicts by drawing another one clearly showing the elephant, which disturbs the adults even more. So, the young boy decides to become a pilot, not an artist, which eventually leads to a crash in the Sahara desert. In the desert, the boy meets the little prince, who asks him to draw a sheep. Not knowing how to draw a sheep, the narrator shows him the picture of the elephant in the snake. To the boy's surprise, the prince recognizes the drawing for what it is. The Little Prince is a story with its essence contained in the lines: "One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye." Henry, you are my Little Prince...you see with your heart.

Life is crazy right now. I can’t get everything done in a day that I used to, but I rarely feel bad about it. I love spending time with you, and even though there aren't enough hours in the day, I try to live life deliberately. I savor every sweet moment with you. And know that someday, in 18 years, my house will be clean again.

Love you both, SO SO MUCH,


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Short Hair and Grasshopper Guts

Before their ears were lowered...and Sam still looked like my baby boy

Henry, showing attitude
Enjoying Saturday morning cartoons, oblivious to what is about to happen.

Drum roll...

And now, with uber short hair. Sniffle, sniffle.

While I don't regret going short, I'm thinking somewhere between THEN and NOW would be about right.
And once you get past the short hair, you may wonder what exactly could be so interesting about the grass between them? The answer = bugs. My boys like LOVE bugs. And not only do they love bugs, but they love to dissect bugs. This poor grasshopper didn't have a chance once Sam caught him.

He, he, he...he snickers.

Admiring the (now dead) grasshopper's head
Inspecting grasshopper guts. "Cool", he says.