Saturday, October 29, 2011

Family Pictures

Last month I got to do something with my husband that we've never done before. We took family pictures!!! For those of you who are on our Christmas card list (probably the only people who actually read this blog!) I know that you have been receiving photo cards from us for the last few years. I can assure you that none of those photos have been taken by a professional photographer. This really was a first! I had been planning our outfits for months! (Yes, I am such a girl). You see, when I knew we were going to be remodeling our (beach) house I wanted to have accents of aqua, turquoise, green, and orange. I also knew that whenever we took our family pictures, they had to be taken on the beach, and those colors had to be incorporated! I am determined to have a "traditional" family photo hanging on the wall behind our couch, so the colors in our clothing had to match our decor. Making sense now?

I know I've mentioned my friend Misty on this blog before, but she recently began doing photography (and I'm's always been a hobby I would love to get into as well). Lucky for me I got the best friend discount, but I assure anyone reading this who may live in South East Oklahoma, she is a great photographer and her rates are very reasonable! Be sure to check her out and like her on facebook here. (And tell her I sent you!)

These pictures were taken at Lake Texoma, just a short walk away from my house (jealous?) Sadly the lake is closed right now due to blue green algae in the lake from lack of rain. The upside is that meant we had a deserted beach! Thank you, blue green algae!

With that being said, here are a few (OK, more than a few) of my favorite pictures:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My New Favorite Crock Pot Recipe

Last week I tried out a recipe from my Fix-It-And-Forget-It cookbook. (By the way, I think if someone owns a crock pot, they should also own that book!) It was so awesome that I'm making it again today and I thought I'd share it!

Kielbasa and Cheese Casserole

3 cups uncooked noodles
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
4 oz. cheese, shredded
1 lb. kielbasa, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, diced
2 carrots, grated

1. Cook noodles until barely tender. Drain. Toss with small amount of oil.
2. Dissolve bouillon in boiling water.
3. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker.
4. Cover. Cook on low 8 hours.

I have a habit of making myself notes in my cookbooks. I have convinced myself that really good cooks do that all the time. Please don't rain on my parade. What was my note for this particular recipe? YUMMY!!!

BTW-the recipe also called for a 2 oz. jar of pimentos. I omitted those but wanted ya'll to know it's an option. Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fun at the Pumpkin Patch

This past weekend a friend and I took our kiddos to the Pumpkin Patch at Woodbine Farms. (If you check out the website my nephew's pictures are on there...he's the one with the green shirt) We had a lot of fun. Here are some pictures of the day.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I'm pretty sure things like this only happen to me

Do you ever have moments when you say to yourself, "this only happens to me"? Well, I had one of those moments last night.

I was turning out all the lights so I could go to sleep and as I was about to turn off the living room light I saw a big moth on the wall. Since I don't like holes in my clothes, I figured it would be best to kill it. I opened the pantry door to get the fly swatter, and what do I find? A HUGE spider on the floor. I hurried and grabbed the fly swatter and gave the spider several swats (I had to make sure he died!). From there I turned around and went into the living room where I killed the moth. After I disposed of the moth I went back to the pantry to pick the spider up with the fly swatter so I could dispose of it (I wanted to make sure it didn't come back to life. They do that, ya know). Once that was taken care of I cleaned the mess up off the pantry floor with a Clorox wipe. Yes, I wasn't exaggerating when I said it was huge {shudder}.

After that I finally made it to the bedroom. Greg was already in bed, but lucky for me he waited for me to turn off the light. I say lucky because I happened to look on the bed and notice another moth. On my pillow!!! I whacked it a few times with my slipper, then went off to the bathroom to grab some toilet paper so I could pick it up and throw it away.

Once I get back in the bedroom, I reach up to pull the chain to turn off the light (we like to sleep with the ceiling fan on. Don't you?). I kid you not, as I'm reaching up I spotted an itsy bitsy spider (no pun intended) on the ceiling. It was so tiny that most people probably wouldn't have bothered to wait until it moved out of the range of the swirling fan so they could stand on top of their bed to kill it. Not me. I happen to know for a fact that an itsy bitsy spider turns in to a HUGE spider in a matter of two weeks tops and that it WILL crawl all over me while I'm sleeping and then my son will find it when it's crawling around on the floor and he'll promptly pick it up and eat it. The itsy bitsy spider had to be dealt with right then and there.

After tossing the wad of toilet paper with the now-dead itsy bitsy spider, I went back into the bedroom and thought...OK, at this rate, I may as well inspect all the walls to make sure there aren't any more unwanted pests in my room. Low and behold, I look above my closet door and what do I see? A daddy long legs! Before I could stop myself I blurted out, "You've gotta be kidding me!" I went back to the pantry and retrieved the fly swatter and got rid of what some people consider a "good luck omen".

On second thought, maybe the daddy long legs did bring me good luck because I didn't find any more bugs in my bedroom after that.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

One and a Half!

My little pride and joy is exactly a year and a half old today! And my what big changes he had this past month!

The most exciting being that a couple weeks ago we finally finished his nursery (OK, it's only 95% finished, but it's close enough that he can use it!) which meant that for the first time in five months he had a room to sleep in all by himself. I was pretty nervous about how it would go...and he slept just like normal! Which meant, he still woke up a few times during the night and I had to rock him back to sleep. Since he is the age that he is, I was growing a little tired of this. I decided that since we are now in a place where we plan on staying awhile, that I would try the CIO (cry it out) method.

I'm sure I did it wrong the first night because as soon as he started crying I went into his room. He began signing and saying, "milk" so I left the room to pretend that I was getting him some (I say pretend because I never give him liquids in the middle of the night. No sense in starting that habit) and went back a minute later hoping he would lay down for me without me having to rock him. That wasn't happening so I decided to leave the room. The crying lasted for 15 minutes and then he began saying, "mama, mama" so....I caved. I went in and said, "Lay down", which he did, but a minute later when he realized I wasn't in the room with him he began crying again. Within 10 minutes he was asleep again. The whole process lasted 28 minutes. This was last Monday. Here's what happened the following nights:
Tuesday-He slept the whole night!
Wednesday-He woke up (I didn't go into the room at all), crying lasted 7 minutes.
Thursday-Crying lasted 1 minute

Ever since last Thursday, he has SLEPT THE ENTIRE NIGHT THROUGH!!! And what's even better, is he is sleeping in longer. He used to wake up around 6 and I would bring him into bed with me. He would then either fall back asleep or we would just lay there for a bit. Now he's not waking up until 7:30. This really pleases me because he only naps for an hour and a half. YAY!!! Now, if only I can get him to fall asleep on his own for naps and bedtime without me leaning over the crib patting his back. I have a feeling I'll be trying the CIO method again real soon!

Now I have to brag about how smart he is! Greg has been working with him on learning different body parts, and he now knows where his hair and his feet are. He also knows where his teeth are, and if I tell him it's time to brush his teeth he sticks his finger in his mouth and mimics brushing his teeth. Speaking of teeth, one of his bottom molars broke through the gums on Monday.

He learned to sign and say the word "please". He doesn't sign it correctly, but I know what he means which is fine with me. He'll catch on with the right way eventually. He has also began to say the words: more, golf cart (which is his absolute favorite thing), truck, juice, cracker, and cookie. There's probably more but these are the only ones I can think of off the top of my head.

Despite the fact that he is my little angel, he does have some "not so great" qualities about him right now. He has been disciplined several times for constantly putting things in his mouth that he shouldn't and he thinks when you tell him "no" that it's funny. It may not sound like much but there's only so many times he'll stick acorns (or a screw, or a rock, or a washer, etc.) in his mouth, and we tell him no, or chase him around so we can try to get whatever is in his mouth out of his mouth without being bitten, that one can handle. Lets just say he is very rambunctious and keeps us on our toes.

He has never met a stranger and wants everyone to pick him it the internet service technician or the waitress at a restaurant, he LOVES people! Especially kids! I hope to find a play group to join soon so he can have more interaction with other toddlers.

We have a fake fish aquarium type thing in our living room that Parker loves. It's a tall cylinder of water that sits on the floor, and when it's plugged in the water bubbles and there are fake fish that float around. If that things is not plugged in when Parker first goes into the living room, he will let you know about it. He'll point and yell and say "uh, uh, uh" which is what he says whenever he wants something. He's even gone so far as to try to plug it in himself!

He also began making the craziest sound this past month. I don't know how to describe it, other than to say it sounds like he's saying "HA!" but with a hiss sound to it. It makes my own throat hurt when he does it. I think he does it when he does something "bad". For instance, he'll throw something on the ground and then make that sound. He'll do it repeatedly. It drives me crazy, but it's just part of what makes him Parker.

We took our first family pictures this past month. I have only seen a few of the images, but this one is an adorable picture of Parker. No..that's not a back drop. This was taken at the beach that's a short walk from our house!

He had his third hair cut this past month. He did really well considering the lady had him sit in a booster chair. The previous two times I held him in my lap while his hair was cut.

He has finally began to show an interest in more of his toys. Especially this toy dog. He frequently carries it out into the kitchen and I'll find him laying down looking at it or hugging it. He'll really love it if I ever put batteries in it!

We bought him a wagon this weekend. I can't say that he loves it, but I pulled him around on it for 30 minutes the other night. Every kid needs a wagon, right?

I am 18 months old today!!! I am 31" tall and weigh 25 pounds.

17 Months Old

Because I've been so busy lately (view the post below if you don't believe me), I never had a chance to blog about Parker's 16th month! Greg was off work for several weeks during that month, so we were knee deep in remodeling our lake house. Parker proved to be quite the little helper.

However, when he wasn't "helping" he was being entertained by various family members who volunteered to watch him so we could focus on remodeling. (Thank you!) Which, was great for more than one reason because he was able to spend quality time with relatives that he hadn't seen in a long time!

Remodeling wouldn't have been complete without several trips to Home Depot. Luckily the trips were a little more entertaining for Parker because of these fun carts.

Another fun outing was when I took him to the pet store (AKA the free zoo). He was fascinated by all the animals and loved watching the busy mice.

He enjoyed his first popsicle! I should have taken a hint from Braxton's dad and taken his shirt off. Let's just say I'll do that next time!

Parker has really grown to love books. Here he is with his favorite person, doing one of his favorite activities.

Parker began saying the word "Boo!" this month. And he gets very disappointed if you don't act scared or surprised when he says it, too! There were a few other words he began saying as well, but I can't remember which ones they were. He also began signing the words "again" and "love" (although I don't think he has a clue what love means, he just thinks it's fun to cross his arms over his chest.)

He had three new teeth come in!!! The last of his bottom four front teeth and one upper molar on both sides.

I noticed that he began following simple instructions and would be surprised when he knew what I meant when I would say things. For instance, "Let's take a bath" would send him running to the bathroom. Other simple commands he follows are: "Give that to mommy/daddy" and "Pick ____ up". He's such a smart boy!

I am 17 months old! I am 31" long and weigh 23 pounds.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Leap of Faith

I know it's been awhile since my last post and that's because life for our little family has been nothing short of hectic! We have totally begun a new chapter in our lives. Here's the scoop: we won the lottery!!! Nope, just kidding, but that would be awesome, huh? OK, now this other stuff probably isn't going to sound as cool and exciting, but that's alright. Here we go.....

1. Greg quit his job. Yup, my husband is no longer a wind turbine technician. To catch some of you up; we packed up and moved from Colorado to Texas back in April so that we could be closer to our lake house. As you'll recall, we were not having any luck finding a new house to purchase. Perhaps this was fate, because a few weeks into his "new" job (which was with the exact same company that he worked for in Colorado) he began to hate it. I will spare you the gory details, but lets just say that poor management can really make or break a work place.

Ever since I've met Greg he has talked about being his own boss and having his own business. But, we all know that having your own business is a little scary. OK, it's REALLY scary! Once Greg began loathing his job, we started plotting a way to change our lives. It kind of happened faster than we anticipated, so things are kind of a crazy mess right on.

2. We moved back to Oklahoma!!! To our lake house, that is. This happened just under two weeks ago when Greg quit his job. Don't get me wrong...we had been plotting a move so it wasn't completely sporadic. All of our stuff that we had in storage when we moved to Texas was slowly moved into the shop here at our lake place. This past week has involved unpacking and trying to attempt to fit all of our stuff into a house that is smaller than any of the other homes we've ever lived in. To add a little more confusion to the mess.......

3. We are remodeling our house! This began almost a month prior to Greg quitting his job. The living room and dining room are finished, the kitchen just lacks the backsplash being tiled and a little trim work, and Parkers room was just finished on Tuesday. We plan on remodeling both bathrooms soon as well, but they will have to wait. I want the house to look "beachy" so it has a little different feel than any of our other houses. I think my decor will make it more beachy and I haven't had time to shop for un-tacky beach accessories yet, but it's on my never ending to-do list! Don't worry, I will post before and after pictures in a future post. Now I mentioned that this is the smallest house we've lived in; it only has two bedrooms. Our last two houses both had four bedrooms. Are you starting to understand why I said unpacking is slightly difficult. Because of this, Greg is currently building a guest room/hobby room in our shop that's next to the house. If everything goes according to plan that space will be finished by next weekend. (I'm telling you our list never ends). Everyone who knows me well, knows that Greg and I always finish remodeling and then sell a house. We are busting our butts so we can have this house finished so we can actually live in, and ENJOY, our remodel! We are also trying to work quickly because....

4. Greg is starting his own handy-man/remodeling business! The guy has skill, let me tell ya! Although a few people have not been very encouraging about this move because of the economy, Greg is optimistic enough to believe that he will be able to stay so busy with work that people will hire him to do that he won't have enough time to work on our house. With that thought in mind, we are doing every thing we can to quickly make this "house" feel like a "home". Finally, this whole "new chapter in our lives" wouldn't be complete if we didn't also throw in the fact that...

5. I have re-activated my Oklahoma real estate license and will begin working full time next week! I hung my license with a broker in town back in July (told ya we'd been plotting) with hopes to buy up a couple of rental properties before Greg quit his job and we were both self employed (ie: no lender will probably touch us for a loan for the next few years). Unfortunately, I forgot how long it actually takes to get the ball rolling when you first hang your license with an office and by the time I was able to start scoping out properties, there weren't any we were interested in and we weren't willing to wait around for them to pop up either. Things have changed since 2007 when I put my license on in-active to travel around the country with Greg, but I'm excited to jump right back in! My office is extremely small: just me and two other ladies. In a weird twist of fate, one of the ladies who used to work there just quit to work in another aspect of real estate, and they said I could have her office!! This is a bonus for me, because if I ever have to take Parker to work with me, I can somewhat corral him! And, since I know you're wondering, no, I don't plan on putting Parker in a day care just yet. Greg will watch him on the days that I'm at the office answering phones (which is two days a week) and if I'm showing properties and Greg is off on a job, I'll just take him with me. However, we are both prepared that if both of our businesses take off, we will have no other choice but to put him in day care.

Whew! I feel like I can breath better now that I'm able to tell the world what we've been plotting/scheming/dreaming about for the last several months. What is odd about our whole situation is that I'm not stressed out about it at all. And let me say, I can get stressed out pretty easily! I know that we're taking a leap of faith by Greg quitting a job that more than provided for our family, only for us both to begin working without a guaranteed steady pay check. I was more stressed out when I couldn't find a house I wanted to purchase in Texas. Maybe I'm being completely naive, but I know that faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains. And I have faith that we are exactly where we need to be, doing exactly what we need to be doing.