Friday, June 28, 2013

Bug's 1st HairCut

At 11 months old, my little Levi Bug had his first haircut today. His hair is only thick in certain places, and it had gotten long over his ears and at his neck, so I decided to get it cleaned up a bit. Suffice it to say that the experience was exhausting and I felt like I should have paid the lady much more than the standard $12 Great Clips price.  Levi was a monkey! He squirmed, tried to get out of my lap, turned around backwards and forwards... everything EXCEPT sit still. The end result looks good, but not super different, which is probably best. I'm getting a bit overwhelmed at how quickly he's growing up, and I'm not sure I could have handled a complete baby-to-little boy transformation yet.
I'm holding his cheeks on both sides. He didn't like it.


Trying to distract him with a squirt bottle. Didn't last long.

He's trying to climb over my shoulder.

He finally gave in and sat still for her to trim the back.

Happy to be done.

And special thanks to Granny for being our photographer, taking us swimming, and treating us to lunch! We love you!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Special Agent Dishwasher Monkey

Levi Bug is officially a rascal. He has now identified the things that are off limits, and those itmes seem to be the only things he wants to play with. The trash can, the rocks in the fireplace, the DVD player, the lamp cords, and the dishwasher. All "No No's" that have recently become favorite play things.

It's kinda ridiculous how fascinated he is with the dishwasher. When it's not open, he crawls through the kitchen, pulls up to stand in front of the dishwasher, and pounds on it while chattering nonsense (much of which sounds like "Annt! Annt!" - the "no no" sound). When it's open, he turbo-crawls into the kitchen to be a part of the action. Even if he's in the den busy playing with something else, the minute he hears a dish rattle into the drawers of the dishwasher, he's there.

I feel like emptying the dishwasher has become a covert chore requiring skills of stealthy precision so as not to awaken the attention of the Dishwasher Monkey. Once he's alerted to the operation, all bets are off.

Here are some pictures of this sneaky yet smiley special agent in action. One of the most dangerous things about Agent Dishwasher Monkey is the absolute joy he takes in his missions of disruption. Be warned - his smile may disarm even the most seasoned field agent. Stay alert and stick to your dish brush. A firm "No No!" usually disables him and brings him to tears.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Great Workout

In an effort to be healthier, I've been trying to exercise more. I'm a few months into a "Couch to 5K" program (and yes, it's only supposed to take 6 weeks. I'm 3 months into it. I do each week's workout for several weeks. I'm a slow learner. Give me a break.).

Running is definitely not my thing. In fact, I really prefer not to do it at all unless someone scary is chasing me. I would much rather walk. And this leads me to share with you one of my workout secrets. Want a GREAT workout? Here's the answer (and no, you won't find this in any fitness magazine or on pinterest, so pay attention): power-walk the path at the park while pushing 56 pounds in front of you. You may feel (and look) a bit odd, like you're training for some strange Olympic event, but trust me - this really works up the sweat and burns the calories!

Here's a pic of the 56 pounds I push while walking:

It may look like a simple double stroller, but I assure you that it's much more. This product comes equipped with all the bells and whistles. Here are the detailed specs for this model:

The front 21 pounds includes 10 cute baby toes that hang over the side of the unit while in motion; 10 chubby yet sweet fingers that beat on the front bar and wave at passers-by, and one loud little mouth that squeals delightfully at various, unexpected times. 

The rear 35 pounds of this model includes one hat and pair of sunglasses (no matter the weather), 2 dangling feet that randomly rest on the unit's wheeles (significantly increasing the push power needed), a set of 2 blue eyes that see E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G., and one mouth that constantly issues random topics of conversation and endless questions throughout the entire workout period.

It really is the best workout ever. As a satisfied customer, I can guarantee that by the end of your workout, you'll be covered in sweat and exhausted (not just physically). But, if you're considering purchasing a model similar to this one, I must share this one caution:
WARNING: The rear 35 pounds of this unit does NOT have an off switch, volume toggle, or mute button. Anyone wanting a quiet period of exercise should NOT use this product.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Quinoa Casserole (and Ritz crackers)

So I've read a few articles on this stuff called Quinoa. No, I don't know how to pronounce it. My friend Holly has been trying to teach me, but the minute I walk away from her I forget. Anyway, it's a grain that cooks and tastes like white rice but is much better for you. I've wanted to try it, and receiving some for free spurned me on. Thanks, Holly!

I found a recipe for Broccoli Quinoa Casserole and thought I'd give it a go. I added chicken to mine to make it a complete meal. And.... (drumroll, please!)...... it was a success (meaning Jacin and I liked it, there wasn't any leftover, but we'll be making it again soon). But I must admit the term "success" has its limits, defined mainly by Jackson Bird.

Our Pre-Dinner Conversation:
Bird: What are we having for dinner?
Me: This really yummy chicken stuff. You'll love it!
Bird: Nope. I don't want it.
Me: How do you know? I've never even tried it before, but I'm super excited about it. I really think you're gonna like it!
Bird: Nope. I hear my tummy saying it doesn't want it. Hot dog, please.
Me: No. You tell your tummy that we don't eat hot dogs for dinner. We eat what Momma puts on the table.
Bird: Then I'm not eating at the table! (Runs to the den and is then hauled back to the table by Daddy.)

Our During-Dinner Conversation:
Bird: Yuck. I'm not eating this.
Daddy: Listen, I'm not real excited about eating this either, son, but we eat what Momma cooks and we say thank you. (He says all of this while totally missing the look of incredulity on my face.)
Daddy continues (holding out a spoonful of casserole): try this bite please. Now.
Bird: (in tears) Ok, but my tummy doesn't want it. (He eats a bite and gags, but gradually manages to eat and swallow some down, probably because he's bribed by the promise of a Ritz cracker in exchange for each bite successfully chewed and swallowed. No up-chucking allowed.)

Our After-Dinner Conversation:
Me: So what did you guys think of that?
Bird: I liked the crackers.
Daddy (after 3 servings): I love that stuff - however you say it. When can we have that again?

And that, my friends, is what you call a success. And a lesson learned along the way: never underestimate the power of a Ritz cracker.

The recipe I used:

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Hilton Head 2013

We just returned from our annual beach vacation with the Stovall Clan in Hilton Head Island, SC.
As usual, it was soooooo nice. Thanks to Meme and Rayray, the entire family (all 11 of us!) stayed together comfortably in a beautiful house right off the beach.

Of course, when you take a beach trip with young kids, your schedule is a bit different from when you went as teenagers of young adults with nothing else to do but sit on the beach in the sun and read. Gone are the days when my sole concerns were getting burned and having enough reading material. Now, it takes about 40 minutes to get everyone ready to go down to the beach. Putting sunscreen on a 3 year old and a 10 month old could qualify as a punishment experienced in one of the lower circles of Hades. So far, the most effective trick I've found is to call the sunscreen "invisible cream," and pretend that once I smear it completely on Bird's skin, no one can see him. It was exciting for a few times until he started doing things like jumping on the bed and throwing things while chanting, "you can't see me! You can't see me!" But sun-screening aside, hitting the beach with my 2 littles was a whole new kind of fun!!

Jackson stayed busy every minute - digging, playing in the water, and running around. And he definitely enjoyed having his cousin Tensley around to play with (or boss around, depending on who you ask).

Levi wasn't a big fan of the beach scene at first. The first day, he just wanted to snuggle. No sand or water, thank you. As the week unfolded, though, he gradually developed a ravenous appetite for sand and an appreciation for warm tide pools. We even discovered that he would play and nap in the pack&play if we brought it down. Yes, it was like moving out of our house to transport all our gear down to the beach, but having a happy baby was worth the hassle!

While we were there, Jacin and I celebrated our 6th anniversary! Meme & Rayray kept the boys while we went out for dinner by ourselves at a Japanese steakhouse. It was AMAZING (for lots of reasons. I think I actually communicated several complete trains of thought and engaged in a meaningful conversation over dinner with my hubster without being interrupted!). 

It was such a great week, and I'm so grateful to have time with my family! Love you guys!