Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day Picnic

Let me start by saying that these 3 day weekends have been throwing me for a loop. I've been trying to post M, W, F at least, and then if something fun happens in addition to those three days then so be it, but when Jeff has Monday off work I spend the day thinking it's Sunday, and then when Tuesday rolls around and he goes back to work I spend all day (like I did today) thinking it's Monday. But it's NOT Monday, it's Tuesday and now my blog posts are all out of whack! Sheesh! ;)

Memorial Day was a beautiful day with temperatures in the low 70s and no real wind or clouds to speak of. It was nice having Jeff and my mom off of work so we could all spend the day together. We had decided earlier in the week to have a picnic along side the Poudre River, but we weren't really sure which turn out we wanted to stop at. Jeff drove since he knows the mountain-side better than I or my mom do, and with the assistance of the best passenger seat (my mom) and backseat (me!) drivers you could hope to be in the same car with, we found the PERFECT little picnic area! (After about 6 U-Turns and sharp rights when my mom or I would holler - "What about in there?!" I was thankful for his patience that day!!)

The picnic table was on a level area of ground, but with the chairs my mom brought from home set up it felt more like sitting in a living room than an off-road picnic area. Instead of plush recliners we sat in folding beach chairs, and instead of watching a show on the television we were watching the river flow past us. It carried whitewater kayakers and rafters down stream, it had families fishing on it's banks to the right and left of us, Bean tossed stones into the river for almost 4 hours straight. First with her Daddy, then with her Gramma. She chased butterflies and squealed when one flew in her general direction. Wildflowers bloomed in every corner of our living room, and different species of bird called to their mates overhead. It was glorious!

The constant noise of nature made it easy to relax. In truth, we didn't talk much while we were up there. I can only speak for myself, but I did a lot of reflecting. On Memorial Day and what it means. Naturally my mind went to military families and then it wandered to my Grandpa. I missed him a lot while we were up there, but I wasn't sad. Just wished I could talk to him. I reflected on my family while watching Jeff with Bean. I am so lucky to have them. I reflected on my relationship with my mom. I love having this new relationship with her as my daughter's Gramma. She reminds me a lot of my grandma. Every once in a while she'll do or say something and I swear I hear/see my grandma in her place. It makes me happy to think that through my mother her mother will live on.

It was a really great Memorial Day picnic. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Today I'm Thankful for Naptime.

Today was one of those days. One of those days where I'm pretty sure Bean woke up on the complete wrong side of her bed. If she was older I would have told her to march back to her room and start over with a better attitude. But, she's little and wouldn't have understood if I just placed her back in her crib and walked away. Though, there were a few times when I wanted to.

Instead, this is the face she gave me 90% of the morning. I asked her to lay down so I could change her diaper and she glared at me. I asked her if she was hungry and she glared at me. I asked her if she wanted a banana and she glared at me. I put her in her highchair to eat breakfast and she literally sat, glaring at me, for about 10 minutes before she took her first bite. Then she dragged out breakfast for an hour. An hour to eat half a banana and half a whole grain waffle with peanut butter on it. She normally eats a full banana and a full waffle. Not today. Today she glared at me. She asked to read some books and every single one she handed me I'd get about half way through it before she'd take it out of my hands and throw it on the floor. She brought me her baby doll and a baby doll outfit. I asked her if she wanted me to change her clothes. She nodded. I completed the wardrobe change in record time and enthusiastically gave her her baby back. She looked at her baby, kissed her, then tossed her on the ground and glared at me as she walked out of the living room. I suggested about a dozen different activities before lunch time and she would just glare at me in response to every suggestion. I even went so far as to sit down on the floor next to her with the crayons out and the coloring book and I started coloring. I tried to engage her. Tried to talk it up, telling her how much fun I was having. She literally got up, stepped about two feet away from me, turned her back to me and sat back down. Lunchtime came and she ate her food just fine (thankfully!), but then when she signed "all done" and I went to her to wipe her hands and face clean she refused to give me her hands and tried with all her might to turn and jerk her head away from me. It was like trying to wrestle a wild animal. After her lunch I changed her diaper (again.... it was a nightmare with her refusing to cooperate) and then scooped her up, covered her in kissies, and told her it was time to take a 'snooze'. She arched her back and freaked the freak out. I tried rationalizing with her. I tried holding her in a bear hug while I told her it was ok, and told her I would get her Bunny and read her a couple books. She continued to tantrum. So, I scooped her back up, kissed her, told her I loved her and laid her down. I turned her music on and walked out, closing the door behind me. I turned the monitor up in my room and walked out to the living room. Before I got situated on the couch she was asleep. She slept for 2 hours.

I opened her door, she saw me, scrunched her eyes closed tight, and pretend snored really loud. I couldn't help myself, I cracked up laughing. She popped right up, laughed with me and then asked to be picked up. She laid her head on my shoulder, patted my back and said "Momma" before giving me a kiss on the lips. That nap gave me my sweet baby back! Hallelujah!!!

The rest of the afternoon and evening she was in a great mood. Dinner went well, she ate 3/4 of her dinner before making a fuss. After dinner playtime went well. Bath time was a blast - she played with her ducks, splashed and danced along while I sang The ABCs, and discovered her reflection in the shower knob and cracked up at herself for about 10 mins straight.

she kissed each duck after lining them up. ♥
crappy cell phone pic, but it's too funny!

I have friends whose children gave up napping completely before they turned two. I cannot imagine that. I need her to continue napping. At least for a (long) while. She needs those naps to re-set her 'tude. I need those naps to unwind and relax. I can't even, don't even want to, imagine how today would have gone if she didn't take that nap.

Today, I'm thankful for naptime. I was so happy to have my happy Squishy Bean back.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

I know all most toddlers are picky about their food, and what they LOVE one week they may completely refuse to eat the next. I totally get that.  I was prepared for that.

I was wrong.

First of all, I didn't actually get it before having a picky toddler of my own.

I was not, am not, prepared for this.

Obviously, my biggest concern is that she's eating enough of the right foods to be healthy. My second biggest concern is that she's just eating enough so that she's not starving. My third biggest concern is that she will JUST.EAT.SOMETHING without a knock out, drag out fight every meal time.

All my mommy friends assure me that she will not starve, so if she REALLY refuses to eat I (try to) not make a huge deal about it. And then have a healthy snack waiting for her later on when she's hungry enough to ask for it.

The pickiness started with just her veggies. When she first started eating 'real' food she chowed down on peas, carrots, corn, etc. But then she decided they were "YUCK!" I brought it up at one of her well-checks and the pediatrician just said to keep making them at dinner and if she didn't eat them it wasn't a big deal. She said she'd eat them eventually, one day as long as I kept offering them. Ok, so that's what I do. That was about 8 months ago. I think I've gotten her to eat 7 peas since then. So.... apparently 'one day' hasn't come yet. My mom declared, "Cover the veggies in cheese! Anyone will eat veggies smothered in cheese!!!".... first of all, I do NOT like cheese covered veggies, so not anyone will eat them.... but kids are weird, so I tried it. She ate 1 or 2 pieces of peas and corn and then realized that I was being sneaky and COMPLETELY REFUSED TO EAT ANYTHING ELSE THAT ENTIRE MEAL. She doesn't like being lied to. I don't blame her. But the cheese suggestion was a bust. I've pretty much given up on veggies other than spaghetti and pizza sauce, but still offer them at dinner time.

Being that we, Bean and I, are vegetarians (if she chooses to eat meat when she's older that's totally up to her) we do occasionally eat veggie Chik'n Nuggets and veggie Hot Dogs, so she does get some vegetable protein there. But whether or not she eats those on any given day is anyone's guess.

Which leads me to my biggest frustration; sometimes I think I've got a few of her favorite foods nailed down and feel confident making those meals for her. But then she'll completely refuse to eat her FAVORITES and then I'm back at square one and scramble to get her to eat anything.

I was reading on an online mommy-board about picky toddlers and the piece of advice I read most frequently said that toddlers L-O-V-E to dip food. "Give them a selection of condiments to dip their food in and they'll scarf it down!"

No. Wrong. Bean seems to think it's finger paint. Or make-up. Or a combination of the two because all she'll do is 'paint' with it, smear it on her face or cover her hands with it and then lick it off. But still not actually eat anything. 

Last night I got so desperate I bribed my child with TV time.

N - Baby, you need to eat you dinner.
B - Nuh-huh!
N - Eat one bite, please.
B - glaring at me and shaking her head no
N - Seriously, you need to eat!
         *tried to put a piece in her mouth*
B - freaks out, signs "all done" frantically, and clamps her mouth shut
N - ....................
          *10 mins pass*
N - Bean-Girl! Eat some dinner!
N - ....................
N - Do you want to watch Thomas? (The Train, of course.)
B - eyes light up, big smile, enthusiastically nods 'yes!'
N - heavy siiiiigh Ok, well if you want to watch Thomas you need to eat some dinner.
B - SHOVES food in her mouth.
N - Do you want to watch Thomas? Take another bite, please.
B - eats another bite. willingly.

Later, Rinse, Repeat until she ate 1/2 of her meal. I just sat there, shaking my head in disbelief. It OBVIOUSLY isn't an issue of her not liking her food because she will eat it - when she feels like it. It's a battle of the wills with my kid. She's not even 2 years old yet. This is bologna! I never thought I'd be bribing my kid to eat her food. I'm not proud of it. I'm not winning any mommy-of-the-year awards here. But at least my kid at her food, right? Right? *sigh*

Monday, May 21, 2012

Rocky Mountain National Park

This weekend we took Jeff's mom up to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. We've been up to Estes many times, but I've only been to RMNP once before, many years ago, and Jeff had never been.

It was really nice weather, high 60s and partly cloudy, no wind, no real rain - just really nice weather. We didn't get to stay as long as we would have liked due to dinner plans at my mom's house, but it was still really awesome.

There are so many animals to gawk at and the scenery is breath taking!

Before we were officially in either park we got to see a small herd of bighorn sheep! I lived in Las Vegas for almost 18 years where you're supposed to be able to see bighorn sheep in all the surrounding mountains, but despite the many camping trips I did while I lived there I'd never seen a single one. Jeff lived there for 28 years and never saw one either, despite all the off-road dirtbike riding he did over the years. Needless to say, we were so excited to see them up close and personal!

Once we finished walking through the cutesy little shops on the Estes Park main street, and after eating lunch we started toward RMNP's entrance. Just outside of the entrance we spotted some elk chillin' on the hillside. Seeing these big animals, with their big antlers, in the wild is a bit amazing to me.

There was another person snapping pics of the elk who had just left RMNP who gave us the heads up that there was a large nest in a tree on the side of the road about a half of a mile inside the park that had a Great Horned Owl and two chicks in it. I've only ever seen a Great Horned Owl in a zoo before so I was really hopeful that we'd find it so I could snap a few pictures. True to his word (and the line of cars parked along the side of the road), there was a large nest with an amazing owl sitting in it. I only saw the very top of one of the chick's heads, but the momma-owl was amazing enough!

Her natural camouflage is unbelievable!! If it weren't for the crowd of other people taking her picture I never would have spotted her!

There were so so so many elk through out the park, but most (that I saw) were lone rangers or just inside the tree line so I couldn't really get good pictures of them. There were a few groups grazing down in the prairies though, so I got to marvel at them and bug Jeff over and over to stop and let me get out to take pictures.

Like I said, the weather and scenery were too die for. I wish I could have bottled it up to spend more time in whenever I wanted. Alas, I don't know how to do that and haven't figured out how to wiggle my nose like Sabrina to poof myself wherever I want, whenever I want so I took a couple pics to try to capture it, but it fell short. The pictures are beautiful, but they don't do what I saw justice.

If you've got National Parks around you I highly recommend checking them out. If you don't have any near you, I recommend making a point to visit some. And if you're ever coming through Colorado I highly suggest making a trip through RMNP. It honestly looks and feels like a glimpse into the past. Back before people bulldozed all the majestic trees, concreted over river beds and pushed the animals from their habitats. It's mind blowing to me to look around the park and know that it's looked the same since... forever! I'm so glad that I got to see a small part of the park on Sunday... it'll hold me over until we have time to go again. Next time we'll head up there sooner and stay later. I can't wait!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Glow Stick Rave!!! ....er, I mean Bathtime

Bean's Grandma Debbie is in town and brought with her some goodies for her grandbaby. One of those goodies were some glow sticks. The kid in me loves me some glow sticks, so I loved getting to play with them with Bean.

She would have been happy with them just being plain bendy bracelets/necklaces, but the fact that they were glowing?? Oh man, color her excited!

A while ago I got the idea from Holly at Holly Days to chuck the glow sticks into the tub and let her mind explode a bit.

When I first turned the lights off she was a bit unsure. The minute I threw the glow sticks into the water she raised her arms and asked to be put in the tub. Girlfriend loved that glow stick rave bathtime.

I'm not real experienced at taking photos in dark or little light, but I still think these turned out pretty fun!!


Friday, May 18, 2012

Spring Cleaning.

As as adult, living on my own, I've never done 'spring cleaning'. For one thing, cleaning sucks. For another thing, no one was making me do it so why would I? lol.

But my mother in law is in town visiting this weekend, and she hadn't seen the apartment since we moved in and it was full of boxes so I figured it was time. If I'm being honest, the apartment needed a good deep cleaning. We clean the house weekly, but the weekly cleaning really is just surface cleaning. There was clutter everywhere and dog hair dust bunnies galore.

I spent four days cleaning, organizing, scrubbing, taking everything off every shelf and dusting (dusting is my least favorite 'chore' of all!), purging crap we didn't need, tidying and replacing things like shower curtain liners that needed to be replaced but I had been putting off.

Looking around the house now I'm glad I did it. I'm glad the house is clean. I love how open and airy it feels.  I love that I don't look around the room and think of things that need to be done. Last night I was wiped out and so sore, but today I'm glad it's done.

This morning I pulled a total Martha Stewart move and got a bouquet of fresh cut flowers to put in a vase on the dining room table. Martha knows what she's talking about. Fresh flowers really do complete a room - especially a freshly cleaned room!

I've got the Scentsy warmer going (trying to cover the smell of the smoke and ash from the wildfire 20 miles north of us), Jeff's mom is here safe from her flight, Madeline just woke up from her nap - we're gonna head down to Old Town to do touristy stuff. It's nice to be able to spend time with Jeff's mom and not have to worry about housework.

As sucky as house cleaning is, I really do recommend doing spring cleaning. I don't plan on doing it again till next year though. haha!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Peanut Butter Bird Feeders!

For Mother's Day my mom gave me a bag of birdseed, some ribbon, a jar of peanut butter, and three empty toilet paper rolls with holes punched in them. "For you and Maddy to make birdfeeders" she said. Such a thoughtful gift! 

Making bird feeders like this is something I've wanted to do with Bean, but assumed that she was too young still. You know what they say about assuming.

I had to put the strings through the holes and apply the peanut butter, but Bean rocked my socks off when it came to her bird seed sprinkling technique.

She tried the rolling technique, but didn't like grabbing onto the sticky peanut butter covered rolls.

While I got the next roll ready she helped herself to the peanut butter jar. She's TOTALLY my kid!

We made all three bird feeders, she loved adding the birdseed to all three of them. Sometimes she'll get bored half way through a craft project, but this is pretty quick and quite simple so it held her attention. Plus? Eating spoonful after spoonful of peanut butter was allowed. What's not to like?

After all three were made I temporarily hung them on the railing and cleaned up. Girlfriend was a sticky mess!! She tried to eat some of the birdseed when I was bringing stuff inside, but thankfully decided it wasn't worth eating. Gross.

After I got everything back inside, and got all the birdseed out of her mouth, I ran around the building and hung our new feeders on the tree.

Now, I have no idea if the birds will be able to actually eat the seed or not. The legit bird feeder we have had little perches for the birds to stand on.... so, hopefully birds can do a fly-by and pick the seed off the rolls while in mid-flight. Who knows, we'll have to wait and see. But it was a really fun project to do together  and it opened my eyes to the fact that my Big Girl Bean is big enough to do more craft projects. :)

Happy Wednesday!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Daddy's Girl

My dad isn't in my life. He never was. My mom made the good decision to leave him after I was born because he refused to grow up and drop his toxic addictions. I've always known and felt that my being father-less was for the best. Nothing good could have come from having him in my life considering the life he lives. Regardless of logic, I was always envious of my friends who had their dads in their lives. I dreamt of a future where my daughter(s) could have that special relationship with their father. There was no way I could have known at age 8 how lucky I would get in the 'baby-daddy' department when I grew up and got married.

Jeff's and my marriage isn't perfect. We argue, we discuss, we re-evaluate how we handle ourselves and how we speak to each other, we work on better communication constantly; we're always trying to improve, but after only 4 years of being married we're nowhere near the perfection you find in couples who have been together for 60 years. (Though, I hope and think that we'll get there in another 50 years or so.)

However, the love that my daughter has in her heart, the love that shines through her eyes and her smile, when it comes to her Daddy is perfect. The love that she has for him does wonders at healing the pain and hurt in my heart from years ago from not having my dad around. At 26 the pain and insecurities from his absence isn't what it used to be and I'm no longer crippled by the idea of running into him - what would I say? should I confront him? etc. - which is a good thing and a great improvement on my adolescent self. Now that I'm a mother, watching my daughter, I almost think that my father's absence has turned out to be a bigger blessing that I originally thought. Because of the hole I felt growing up I'm able to really, truly, appreciate the love my Bean has for her Daddy. It warms my heart and makes me teary eyed when I catch them snuggling and reading or coloring. It makes my heart swell when she squeals and runs to him when he walks in the door after work. It makes me want to stop time when they're having a 'moment' so that she, we, can cherish it for a bit longer.

I hope that on her Kindergarten open house she holds his hand and uses him as a security blanket while we meet her new teacher and future friends. I hope that when she's 8 he's there dancing with her at the father-daughter girl scout dance. I hope that when she's 13 and some rude boy at school makes fun of her for being lanky or for having glasses he'll be there to boost her self esteem back up. I hope that when she's 17 and her first 'real' boyfriend comes to pick her up for a date he's there giving him the 3rd degree. I hope that when she's 19 and going off to college she saves her last hug goodbye for her Daddy and they whisper secret father daughter declarations of love and cry and kiss and reluctantly let go and wave goodbye. I know Jeff will be there, I just hope that their relationship will be what it is now and she lets him 'in' to her life - and never lets go.

I hope that she always has what I never did. I hope she's always a Daddy's girl.

Yesterday, on Mother's Day, she found an old picture of Jeff from when he was in high school in the back pocket of the drivers seat in his truck. It was a nothing-special picture. I candid photo someone took while Jeff was sitting in his car. He's not smiling, he wasn't posing, he wasn't expecting to have his picture taken. But she loves it. She instantly clutched it to her chest and didn't let it go. She kept pointing and saying, "Wow... Dada!!" and giving it kissies. Eventually it started to get a bit bent so I put it in a plastic frame to protect it. She loves it. She props it up next to her when she's watching Calliou in the morning. She propped it up next to her while she ate breakfast. She took it to the glass sliding door to watch the birds and squirrels at the feeder. She's bringing her Daddy along with her when he's gone to work.

I love my girl so much. And I love that she loves her Daddy with all her heart. All little girls deserve to be Daddy's Girls, saddly not all Daddies realize what an honor it is to be loved so fiercely by their daughters. Thankfully, Bean's Daddy gets it.

♥ ♥ ♥

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day gift guide

This year will be my second Mother's Day with Bean earth-side. My hubby is all kinds of awesome, though, so it's technically my third Mother's Day since he celebrated me when I was still pregnant.

Last year he gave me the most thoughtful gift and got me the Elsa Peretti 'Bean' necklace from Tiffany & Co.
It's my first piece of Tiffany & Co. jewelry, and that little teal box with the white ribbon really is as exciting as it seems. And the PERFECT necklace inside just blew my mind away. I've worn it every day since.

That was a 'big' Mother's Day and I don't expect or even want this year to be as big.... we'll save another super big special day for if I have another 1st Mother's Day with a new baby.

So, for a more low key Mother's Day I thought I'd put together a few things that I think most moms would love. I know I would!

Books! I know that I looooove to get lost in a good book. Getting a new book on Mother's Day is also an excuse for Mom to go take a bath and relax with her new book. Two gifts in one! My personal recommendation this year would most definitely be Bloom: A memoir by Kelle Hampton.

If I had a ton of money I would seriously buy every single mother I know this book. I already own it (Thanks honey! Jeff bought it for me for our anniversary!), and read it in less than a week. I immediately packaged it up and shipped it off to a good friend because I knew she'd love it. She did and said that she wants her sisters to read it too. It's one of those books that EVERY mom can relate to, and will totally open your eyes to the beauty in your own family.

Music! One of our favorite, free, things to do during the week when Jeff is gone at work is have dance parties. I also love to sing and dance in the car. Music has always been an escape for me, so getting a new cd for Mother's Day would be a great gift! My new favorite group is Karmin. I first discovered them when they performed a cover of a Lil' Wayne song on Ellen. I immediately found them on YouTube and we danced many a dance to their phenomenal cover songs. They have finally released their first studio album, called Hello, and it is awesome!

I don't own the cd (yet) but have heard all the songs on Spotify and YouTube. The songs have great beats and the 'raps' don't have curse words so it's safe to listen and dance to with Bean on my hip.

Tea! (or whatever your wife/mom indulges in.) I love tea. Hot tea or Iced Tea, doesn't matter. I love it. You might be surprised to learn that I don't own a tea kettle. Every time I'm browsing through Target (once a week. At least!) I gaze lovingly at the tea kettles.

How sweet would this beauty look on my stove top? Pretty sweet indeed!! (Perhaps your mom loves coffee? There have been some great deals on Keurig coffee makers online lately.)

When I became a mom we also became a one income household so that I could stay home with Bean. One income means that we don't get to splurge on things for us.... on stuff we don't need. In my case - shoes. The way I see it is, Bean needs shoes every six months or so since she's growing so fast. And not just one pair at a time. So, every six months she gets a whole new shoe wardrobe. I've coveted Toms shoes since I first saw a cute pair on Pinterest about a year and a half ago. I just can't justify spending $50+ on myself for a pair of shoes when I have shoes that work just fine. They sure are cute, though!

Speaking of luxuries that we don't buy ourselves now that all our money goes to household necessities or our child(ren) TV show boxed sets.

(It's clear that THIS Momma loooooves her tv shows!)

Lastly, and you cannot fail here: Pamper her!! Whether you get her a giftcard to a spa for a massage or pedicure, or if you actually take the time to pick her out some fancy soap or lotion or perfume or nail polishes she'll love it. And every time she uses the product she'll stop and think of you. Win-Win. :) There are some great handmade soap and apothecary shops on Etsy and those handmade products are often a million times better (and more thoughtful) than the ones you find at Walgreens.

If that doesn't give a ton of ideas of affordable, low key, but totally thoughtful and awesome Mother's Day gifts nothing will help you. Haha!

Tomorrow is Mother's Day and we'll be spending the day with my mom going to The Farm so Bean can pet the animals in the petting zoo area and then back to her house for a BBQ weather permitting. I will be making dessert and it's gonna be an oldie, but a goodie!

Happy Mother's Day all you mommas!!