Thursday, May 24, 2012

Happy Tunes

This evening has been a little frustrating, house hunting is hard.  We are looking for a rental back home, that we are supposed to move into in a month and a half.  I know it's hard to be picky when finding a temporary rental, but at the same time we have reached a point where we can't help but feel a tiny bit picky.  I should speak for myself really, because I struggle with it more than Eric does. I want to go with the flow, but I'm also tired of moving from rental to rental, never settling enough or loving a place enough to turn it into our own.  We don't even have family pictures hung, no photos whatsoever.  I would love to find a place in the right location that we love.  Well, tonight I'm finding places I love, that are currently taken, which is frustrating.  But then I saw this video from my very favorite artist, a new song off her album that comes out in a few short weeks, and my night just immediately got better. Either click link above or watch below, two versions of the same wonderful tune. I just had to log on one more time tonight to share it with you. Brandi makes my soul feel good! I'm a little sad, we are moving a week before we were supposed to see her in concert for the third time together.  Ah well, another time.

Rainy Days and Cookies.

Since the days have been so lovely recently, I have been spending Henry's nap time (we are down to one a day!) out on the porch swing soaking up the sun. Today however, it's gloomy and rainy.  It has been all day, and doesn't look as though it will switch directions any time soon.  No porch for me today.  And while there is laundry begging to be folded, I decided the weather seemed to lend itself to staying in and baking chocolate chip cookies, sipping tea, and catching up with all of you.  I am baking these cookies, a recipe off of my treat board on Pinterest.  Doesn't it feel great to make something off of your Pinterest boards?  Even if it just is plain ole' chocolate chip cookies, I feel a sense of accomplishment.  The cookies didn't disappoint, either! The vanilla pudding mix in them adds a little something that I like, must be the fluffiness.  I also used dark chocolate chips so that's a delicious plus.
My sweet tooth has just been a strong little beast to me recently.  I was on quite the frozen yogurt streak, but it seemed like going daily for a string of days was neither great for me nor our wallets.  No pat on the back for me for just trading one sweet for another, but a nice big pat for making something with ingredients I already had.  FREE COOKIES! We are going to have dinner with Eric's family tonight, so I will take half over there to share so I am not just sitting inside for the next week eating cookies while watching the rain fall.  Just today. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I like when we're healthy

I saw someone mention yesterday morning on twitter that they had never been sick so often as they have since becoming a mother.  I have to admit, I was a little relieved to read it.   Obviously I wish for that mother that it wasn't the case, but I was relieved that I wasn't alone in it.  I have been saying for months that I have never been sick so often in my life.  We have had cold after cold, a couple of tummy bugs, and more colds around here.  Maybe I'm being slightly dramatic, as we aren't sick ALL of the time, and we are lucky for our over all good health.  Really, truly lucky.  But, the number of bugs we have caught has been a little surprising to me, after years of getting sick just a handful of times. I know that it partly just comes with the territory.  Children eat things off of the floor, touch EVERYTHING and constantly have their fingers in their mouths. So it would make sense that they pick up a good number of germs.  Henry also goes to an in home daycare that we love, but of course being in close quarters means those babies share all of their bugs, and then Henry comes home to share with Mommy.  When I was younger, I don't remember ever seeing my mom sick, aside from losing her voice once a year.  But she wasn't sick, she just had a quiet squeaky voice.  I honestly believed that mothers just didn't get sick.  Of course I realize now that we aren't super humans immune to everything around us, but I still didn't envision catching every single thing Henry brings home, and I've gotten pretty tired of it.  I feel like so many moms around me are like my own was, they didn't catch every single thing we had.  Maybe it's because I'm a newbie.  I want to protect Henry from getting sick, which I try my hardest to do, but won't always be able to.  When I can't, I would like to be able to take good care of him and not be stuck on the couch ill along side him.  I can't help but wonder if there is something I could be doing differently.  Hopefully it was just a winter thing and we can move on from here. I'm also secretly (not so secretly anymore, I guess) hoping that if we get this stage over with now, that maybe he'll get sick less when he's older and in school.  Time will tell how that one works out...
Well I've decided I'm going to try to boost the immune systems around here.  Getting out of the yucky flu season alone helps, but I'm also looking at what I can do.  I'm always quick to sanitize things around the house, but now it's warm and the windows are often open and I just feel better in here with the air circulating around.  Cleaner house just equals cleaner bodies in my mind.
Everyone who knows me at all knows I'm a pro hand washer, and that won't be changing.  I'm always encouraging Eric to do it when he gets home, and now Henry likes to wash his hands too.  I am always a little proud when I see him do it :)
I'm also trying to cut back on the amount that I use hand sanitizer.  I know that soap and water is better but I'll continue to use the sani as a security blanket. I eat well and am active, have taken vitamins regularly (and tried a period without but notice no change)  I also tried to be less of a clean freak and just relax a bit hoping to just let my immune system do it's job when faced with nastiness, only to get sick still. So it's definitely back to being careful.
The main thing I'm working on is the same thing I always aim for- cooking healthy, vitamin packed meals.
Sometimes I'm successful with this and sometimes I shoot for what's fast and easy.  But eating well and staying healthy is worth the extra time to me.
Here's a good list of foods that are good for the system, just a good reminder of some things to include when possible. (Minus brazil nuts-yuck.)
I just remembered, my friend/nurse from work made us a bottle of an essential oil mixture that she swears keeps her family healthy.  She gave it to us for our plane ride to help us not get germy and sure enough we stayed healthy.  Maybe I should get those back out and keep using them.  Thinking of it gives me good memories of when I walked up to my skeptical sisters and sprayed them in the face with it.  They laughed at me like I was nuts, but it was quite entertaining! Sorry for the sidenote.
Do any of you have any tricks you think help you to stay healthy when there are little children who are exposed to bugs and then coming to you and slobbering them on your face?  No?  Any general suggestions for staying healthy then? 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Our Week

 ...Through Instagram, of course.  I really, really need to get my act together and start carrying the camera around.  When we move and I want to print new pictures of the fun times we have been having, I'm going to be sad that I have nothing high enough quality to see clearly any place other than my tiny cell phone screen.  I used to constantly carry the camera, but I guess I just don't think of grabbing extra things on my way out the door anymore.  I need to get better, especially while we soak up our last couple of months as Alaskans. Hopefully the next post you see from me, will not be full of Instagram.  We've had a fun week up here (sounds funny, seeing as it's only Tuesday... but you know what I mean) just doing every day things but enjoying it completely.  The previous winters up here, though long and dark, didn't really get to me.  I love winter, but I seem to be just desperate to break out of the house and soak up every bit of nice weather possible.  I think it must be because it was harder to get out in the cold dark evenings with Henry this past winter.  He wasn't a huge fan of freezing his face off, but I am sure next winter he'll be ALL about it! It will be so different now that he can walk and such.  Anyway, point is that we've been spending as much time outside as possible, and Henry couldn't be much happier about it. We all needed the fresh air.

1&2- Henry and I took Dada to the duck pond so he could see how excited Henry gets about being there with so many ducks, geese, gulls, etc.

3-Waiting downtown for our favorite breakfast spot that's usually at least a 45 minute wait.  Luckily there's an overlook across the street where we had lots of fun playing!

4&5- We walked with friends to Goose Lake, and I thought H looked so cute standing there in the sand watching the mountains, water, birds. He loved it.  Until I took him off the nearby play equipment and he broke into a full blown toddler tantrum.

6- Watching over Ship Creek... again with the seagulls.  I think we've discovered the boy likes birds a teeny tiny great to learn of the things he's into.

7- Henry had zero interest in a family photo, so it ended up just Eric and me.  I realized we haven't had a photo just together for months.

8- BIG NEWS! Henry (with curry all over his face here) has gone on his little potty 5 times!!!! We aren't potty "training" at all.  We just let him sit on there occasionally and he always goes before his bath.  He loves it!

9- Baby-tot breakfast: Avocado on toast, sliced ripe peach.  He carefully removed the peach from his plate in slight disgust and carried on with his toast (the acceptable part of his breakfast apparently. Avocado trumps all... can't blame him for that!)

10- Finn cuddled up on the porch while we read/drank wine. Good way to spend an evening.

11- Frozen yogurt!  I have had the hugest craving for this for the last week.  I've had it more times than I'd like to admit, but yum.  Henry loves going too of course.  I fill mine up with tons of fruit (and a few oreos, too!) and he eats the fruit chunks.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Oh So Sweet

Eric took this picture today moments after I came home from work.  I pulled into the driveway as he and Henry were resting on their backs in the grass, and I joined right in as Henry rushed over and into my arms.  I love this picture, it's just pure happiness.  When he was a little baby nuzzled against my body nursing day and night I didn't think it would be possible to feel any more connected to that boy.  I feared that he wouldn't want to be as close as he got bigger, but oh my goodness was I wrong.  I think deep down I knew the truth, I knew better than to think things would just suddenly change after one, but the twinge of nervousness still sat in my heart.  Our connection just  continues to grow, and recently this already affectionate boy has just become more intense when it comes to showing love.  He has been holding my face while smooshing his nose to mine, opening his mouth wide and showering me with kisses, holding me in his little arms for my very favorite baby bear hugs.  There is truly, no better feeling in my world than the love from and for this boy.

On tonight's menu: I made this mac and cheese style cauliflower from Vegetarian magazine, along with turkey kielbasa and red and yellow tomatoes tossed in olive oil and sea salt. Oh and peach crisp! Might head back for thirds on that.  It's something I'll definitely repeat, but if you try the mac I'd suggest cutting the bread crumbs by about half. It was a bit overkill. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

"Du! Du!"

We went to see the ducks at the pond today.  Henry has really been loving animals recently, but there seems to be something extra exciting about ducks, geese, and waterbirds in general.  I know I'm sharing a trillion pictures of essentially the same thing, but each one captures the extreme excitement he was feeling about it all... and I love it so, so much.  Don't you miss the days when something so simple was so incredibly thrilling? It's my favorite thing, seeing things in that way through Henry. We were both giggling like crazy, and he pointed for 30 minutes straight squealing, all the while. We tried to walk around the whole pond but Mr. Independent wanted to walk (basically run) all by himself and go too close to the water.  He also didn't want me to touch him while he stood near the water (yeah right, little man!) I'm starting to get the sense that in a few short months, this boy is going to be literally running from me while I trail behind trying to catch him.  He has a fiery little independent spirit, and a stubbornness much like his Mama, and I think I'm going to have my work cut out for me when he gets faster on those feet.

     SO MUCH POINTING- I love it!

Day After Mom's Day

Good Morning!
Hope you had a nice Mother's Day yesterday.  It was pretty low key around here, Henry and I were on our own for most of the weekend, but I gave myself a few treats- breakfast with a friend, a manicure to try this shellac that everyone raves about, and after bedtime a solo trip to Target (people think I'm weird for finding that so fun!) and some frozen yogurt! When Eric came home in the afternoon, we all spent some time with friends, always a fun way to spend an evening.  Most importantly, the entire day I was with the little love of my life who decided to make me his Momma.  For that, I am so thankful.  It's still hard to believe I'm a mother most days, but thank goodness that it's true.

Mother's Day was a perfect excuse to ignore things that needed to be done around the house, but that makes today even busier.  There are dishes to be done, floors to be cleaned, lists to make, and I am tearing through the list!  You know those days that come along every so often where motivation to clean and get things done is just higher than ever? Today has been like that, and I wish I could keep it for a while longer.  I even decided to tackle the mess that is my car, and took it for the first wash in a year. Scared the bejeebies out of the dog with that one, but Henry thought it was amusing and I feel so much better!  As the years pass by I find myself more in need of tidy spaces in order to feel calm... aka I'm totally becoming my Mom. I try to go with the flow as best I can, and we all know that with kids come the least tidy spaces ever.  But it's time to get productive, especially since we are moving in exactly two months!  Not a single thing packed or done toward that, but at least I'm starting now! The past few days have been damp and gloomy but the sun is out for the rest of the week, so we'll be visiting the ducks at the pond today, and then I'm making dinner before the premier of The Bachelorette (!)  All in all, a successful day, making up for yesterday when I did nothing useful at all.
The only pictures we got all day... and my hand looks awkward of course. Oh well!
There will be a repeat of yogurt today. Delicious! And verdict on the shellac- it's awesome. I never get my nails done, but this was worth it!
 Have a happy Monday, everyone.

On tonight's menu: Asparagus risotto and pork loin. And peach crisp if I'm feeling really ambitious. We will see about that. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Big Change

Pardon the awful drawing up there, and this isn't the route we're taking. But you get the idea :) The pen and I were not great partners in this.
Ah, I have been wanting to talk about all of this for so many months.  We decided until we really had something to report though, to keep things sort of quiet.  So instead, our minds have just been spinning with all of the uncertainties of our future.  We have been looking for jobs in the lower 48 for over half a year, knowing that we want to move closer to family and friends.  Alaska was always meant to be a short term adventure, and it just became more important once Henry came into the picture.  We want him to be closer to his grandparents, in a town that we love and feel safe in, will allow us to travel easily, etc.  We've been all over the map, thinking we'd be in Colorado, Minnesota, who knows where else... when suddenly Eric was given an amazing opportunity to stay with his current company and work remotely.  With that, we are moving back to Iowa in July. I have just so many thoughts on all of this, and surely it cannot be written in one post so you'll be hearing my mind unload here often when it comes to this topic.  News came while Henry and I were home visiting, and it caught me entirely off guard.  When we envisioned where we'd like our family to settle down some day, where we want our children to go to school, Iowa has always been the answer.  But just as we have loved living in Alaska for a period of time, we thought maybe there would be one more adventure waiting for us before settling back home.  When given an opportunity like this though, where we can go where we'd like to end up and keep a job where he is happy and we are well cared for, it's hard to say no.  We realize how lucky we are, and after a few moments to get my head wrapped around things, I really am excited to head back.  So no there will be no new place to live and explore at this time, but living near family is most important to us right now with young babes.  It will be wonderful for Henry and that is our main concern, and for any other littles that join our family in the future.  We are also looking forward to more freedom to travel... really looking forward to that.  Alaska itself is an amazing place to explore, but it costs us so much to get in and out here, that when we have extra money for travel it's always to go home for a visit, and driving is obviously not an option.  We're looking forward to being able to pack up the car and head to another state for a trip here and there!  We both experienced that as children and want our own to experience it as well.  It's also a bit new because we've never lived there together, so that will be a new experience! Overall, this will be a good thing for us, but as always, it's a bit painful to let go of where we are.  Eric is in the ideal situation, he will keep his current job and therefore travel up to Alaska occasionally during the year (I plan to accompany him when I can).  I have to say goodbye to a job that I love though, and I'm struggling a bit with that.  I know that I can't stay forever, but it's complicated.  There aren't jobs in Iowa like the job that I have, no birth centers like this one, and it puts an awfully huge pit in my stomach.  The ladies I work with now have been my family up here, and it's just going to be very bittersweet.  More on that later.  Probably A LOT more on that later. For now, I just wanted to finally announce (for those who haven't already caught on) that we are making the big cross country move again! Wish us luck!  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Midwest and Back

Well, vacation came and went without so much as a peep from me on here.  Henry and I had such a great time in Iowa.  A busy, exhausting, but happy time with family and friends.  I surely meant to post frequently while I was gone, but, well, you can see how well that went.  Now that we've been back for a week and there are other things I want to write about before I burst, I guess it will just be a quick recap of our trip.  Get ready for a lot of photos and catch up... I apologize there are so many, if I could just be more timely and such, I would have had these up in multiple posts over our vacation but as I admit often enough, I'm not particularly timely or organized in that way.  I hope to change that someday, or perhaps I'll never learn!  Time will tell.
On vacation...
-I started by forgetting to take my camera out, except for one day. ONE. Quite ridiculous after I made a big fuss to Eric while packing, insisting that I  needed to pack the big camera when he suggested I take a smaller one. Woops! So that explains all of these iphone shots.
-We spent time outside.  Henry on the ground, feeling the grass beneath him and scooting through the dirt, loving every minute of it just as he should.  I've never been so happy to see the kid filthy.  This was undoubtedly one of the very biggest highlights of the trip for me, just seeing him play outside.  It was the first time he's seen warm dry ground since he was able to sit up so many months ago.  I was reminded how long Alaskan winters are. Sheesh. 

-Henry got his first haircut!  I have trimmed his bangs twice before, once successfully, and once very very badly. I was attached to those long shaggy baby curls of his, but it was time to rid him of the accidental mullet that seemed to be forming. I took him in for the real deal, not his Mama with craft scissors, and I told the stylist that I didn't care about saving hair or the whole picture certificate that they do but she did it anyway and boy am I glad.  I was absolutely giddy the whole time, watching him, and I've loved having his little curls to save and I giggle often at his first haircut "certificate".  My reaction to the whole thing surprised me. He got a spunky spike for extra pizzaz. 
-Oh yes, and Mama followed a few days later.  I got 10 or so inches cut off and donated them to Locks of Love.  I just needed the hair gone for a while, and I feel SO REFRESHED.

-We went to the zoo, and Henry loved it. 

-My sister took Henry's 1 year photos at the Botanical Center, another great day that Henry loved!  I was sweating as I'm not exactly used to tropical temps.  I also spent most of the time jumping about like a wildwoman to get smiles like this:
I mean, the boy is extremely easily entertained, but I still put forth a good bit of effort!

-We ate our way through Iowa, doing our best to go to my favorite spots.  I think we did pretty well!  This spaghetti looks like it may have been one of Henry's favorites. He was into it.  But you can see that. 

We learned that Henry loves the playground.

Most importantly, we spent time with family.  It was so great to see all the cousins together having fun. 

And I was so thankful for having great flights on the way home. It's a long trip to make, but it was the best!
And yes, I did a rotten job documenting it, but only because we were so busy living it. :)
I was happy to get back to Alaska to find that all of the streets are dry and snowless. About time!  I love the snow, but it's time for sunshine and warmth, and that's exactly what we are heading towards up here!  I am back from about a week long computer hiatus now.  In the airport I bought a copy of 50 shades of Grey, the first book of the trilogy that everyone is talking about.  I started it when I got home Wednesday and finished the last one today.  To say I obsessed over them would be a tad bit of an understatement, I suppose.  It was strange.  I read it in every single moment of spare time that I had.  I didn't watch any tv, I didn't get on the computer, I just read, and read, and read.  And then I got sad when it was over, I will miss my little bubble that I was in.  Pathetic, I know.  I just rarely make the time I should to read books, and when I do I don't usually get so wrapped up in the stories or the characters, and it's a good feeling when it does happen.  Ah well, I suppose it's back to Is Your Mama A Llama and Moo Baa La La La tomorrow.
Anyway, I have big news to share this week, so see you back here friends.  In much better time than this last time.