Monday, February 27, 2017

Thank You Life For The Curve In The Road

Most of my life I've been a straight road kind of girl. I like a nice smooth road laid out in front of me, with few twists and turns. Alas, life if NOT like that. Oddly the older I get those twists, turns, and road blocks are easier for me to deal. I know full well that majority of the time when we make plans, something else entirely happens. Yet we still make plans. Every season I make To Do Lists. The Lists contain ambitions, goals, fun things to do with and without the kids, and anything else that I would like to see happen. The past few years we've been crossing off our To Do Lists quite easily.

We've had some amazing adventures, road trips, and all around fun in our day to day life. My goal in life is to find the fun in everything and we manage pretty darn well. I scanned over our To Do List for Winter and Early Spring 2017 and laughed to myself. Only three things have been crossed off that list.

We've hardly had any snow so sledding hasn't happened and neither have our learn to ski classes as our weekends have been taken up with packing. We're not taking our big February trip to Texas as planned (we would actually be there now if we had stuck to the planned schedule). Instead, life gave us curve in our road. Instead of traveling straight on our path, we made a sharp turn and started on a different direction. 

We decided to buy a house. Not just any house, but THE house. The house that had all of the charming characteristics we love in older homes, in an area we love. It's also THE house that we didn't want. It needs work. It needs updating. It needs.....quite a bit of TLC. We have yet to move and have an entire list of little projects that needed done. I didn't want that. I wanted to keep doing our fun To Do Lists. I didn't want a yard to maintain, a house that will be filled with DIY projects, and the last thing I wanted was more house to clean (but we need the extra space so there's not much I can do about that one).

All I can say is....thank you life for the curves in my road. You seem to send me the in the "right" direction whenever I try to take the other way. You seem to place me in just the right spot at just the right time or send me signals that get me to where I need to be. I may not always realize it right away, but all of the curves and turns have been the best things in my life. While I may not have gotten to do the things I was pretty sure I wanted to do, I am grateful for the things I am doing instead. I'll just keep adding them to The List until they're accomplished in some way.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

2 for 1 Weekends

Two weekends in one post, all because I've been preoccupied with other things to keep up with writing. As you've come to expect, we spent a good portion of our weekends packing. We did leave a bit of time for some of our shenanigans....

Mom had a headache and tried to go to bed early....instead I got little minions in my bed jumping over me and asking to "have a slumber party with you!" Um, no.

We caught The Lego Batman movie opening weekend. The kids and we adults enjoyed the movie (and our food and drinks from Flix Brewhouse).

They LOVED this 3D movie sign! Also after the movie they got a free Lego mini figurine from the theater. 

They can't wait to see Boss Baby (I'm more excited for the new Beauty and the Beast movie).

We have to have some fun during packing! For the story behind this picture, click here. The weather has been gorgeous in Iowa lately, which means we've been able to kick the minis out of the house quite a bit....but we haven't been able to keep the closest eye on them as we pack. Imagine my surprise when I walked in the backyard to see them playing "ambulance patient."

We got cleaned up and went to Elizabeth's family Sweetheart Dance at school. There was a minor panic when it was 75 degrees out and all of our spring/summer clothes had been packed away! I had to dig for a dress for myself, but we all managed! The minis had a great time dancing the night away and came home famished for chicken nuggets (of all things).

The dance wasn't this minis favorite thing, but he came around and danced until he was sweaty!

The beloved Tooty Ta dance.

We wonder why the cat begs for food....

Good ole selfie to show that it was warm enough for a sleeveless on February 17th!

We celebrated my 33rd birthday ten days early with a family party at my parents house. We had Italian stew, breadsticks, and salad and an ice cream sundae bar in lieu of cake. I got more than enough help blowing out my birthday candles!

Sunday was a VERY busy day! We woke up early, made a big breakfast, cleaned up the backyard and went through our shed (and got everything ready for the move), bought a new dining room table (and spent some extra time going through the furniture shop), and grilled burgers for dinner. My new kicks kept my feet comfy the entire day!

Well, we're getting down to it....only one weekend left until the big move! Luckily we don't have much left to do but it's come time to pack our every day items away. Next week should be quite interesting but we're so close! Then we'll blow up the blog with projects around the house.

Monday, February 20, 2017

A Simple Valentine's Day

I know, I know. You're getting tired of hearing me mention moving and packing. Believe me, I'm getting sick of it myself. Here's the thing, we're literally eating, sleeping, breathing and juggling packing, jobs, school events, new house things, and making sure everything is ready to go and move in ready come moving day. I've been giving myself breaks in the daycare department since a lot of the toys, books, and crafts have had to be packed up. Compared to previous years, we haven't had as an exciting Valentine's season as we usually do. Last year they got a little pool full of flour "sand" to play in (read about that here). This year we kept things easy and the kiddos still had a great time.

We decorated bags for their Valentine's to go in, passed out Valentine's, ate a cookie cake, read Valentine's Day books, made chocolate candies, had a "love dance" (pretty much just like our Friday dance parties but with the word love shouted here and there from the kids) and decorated hearts using scrap pieces of paper. Take a look:

We got Valentine's Day goodies from my parents--a whole box full!

The boy's Valentines they passed out to their classmates at the parties.

My Aunt sent me a Valentines too. A little backstory: I loved Cabbage Patch dolls growing up and still have my collection of dolls (my kids play with a few of them). She happened to find this one and I must say, it takes the cake!

The afternoon before Valentine's Day, the kids decorated their bags (with heart cookie cutters and red and pink paint), baked the sugar cookie cake (and decorated it), and made homemade chocolate candies.

This pan is supposed to be for making heart shaped cookies, but they worked great for the chocolates!

Eating the chocolate off the sides of the bowls once we were done.

I love having a goody table all set up Valentines morning. This year's included new shirts for the minis, new bathroom items for their minis' (and daycare) bathroom, the cake (that was eaten later), the chocolates, and chocolate donuts with strawberries on top. The minis and the other kids loved everything!

Their Valentine dance that looked a lot like Ring Around the Rosie but with "love love love" said instead. Credit for this dance goes to the 19 month old.

Valentine lunch: heart shaped grilled cheese, spinach and snap peas, and sweet peppers.

This was my absolute favorite part of the day: each child took turns passing out their Valentines to each other. At the end I had them all tell each other thank you, they threw in hugs and "love you." I love how sweet, loving, and thoughtful they can be to each other.

The craft (heart shapes, glue, and scrap construction paper I've saved throughout the year).

Our annual heart shaped pizza for dinner. After eating quickly, we went shopping (and bought!) our new refrigerator stopped by the new house to take some measurements for some other purchases we planned on making (hello new dining room furniture).

The minis loved running up and down from the basement to the attic area while we took our measurements. Great energy waster and great end to the day (despite us leaving the house with all three in tears and going straight to bed as soon as we got home).

Next year I'm hoping life won't be so crazy and we'll be able to have a Valentine's Day to remember!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

How To.... Nope, Nevermind. I Have No Idea

I was all set to write a post on 10 Things To Keep Kids Busy While Packing To Move. I had the 10 ideas thought up, all items bought for crafting and such, and I even had the minis start on them....except the ideas failed. I failed miserably. So instead of helpful ideas, I'm publicly waving my white flag (and why is it a white flag? Why can't it be a pink a flag? I like the color pink. I'm told it has to be white though) in defeat.

The packing stage of the moving process is kicking this mom's ass. Mostly because it's hard on the minis, therefore it's hard on me. We've actually be doing a really good job of packing. We've thrown out soooo much junk, donated even more, and boxes that have been packed are labeled with exactly what's inside and which room of the house they are to be set in come moving day. However, the minis. Oh the minis. Packing their things up has been rough on them. Despite us reassuring them that they'll be seeing their items in a matter of days, I hear the words "don't pack that up yet!" Now we're not talking about their well loved and used items. We're talking about a game that has been under a bed for the last year and hasn't been played with is suddenly THE most important thing to them. For every box I pack, another box seems to be unpacked.

I'm by no means an organizational freak, however I do have things set up in their rooms that makes things easy for moving. I can't tell you how much those things have been mixed around, separated, or gotten into the wrong room, even after I've told them not to mess with said stuff. It's been REALLY frustrating and makes double the amount of work for us.

After nearly losing it with the three minis last week, I broke out the first of the 10 Things: noodle necklaces. I set out the string, uncooked large rigatoni noodles, and Sharpie markers for them to color the noodles when they were done. Here's how this what I thought would be a fool proof activity went.

Open the box of noodles. "Can we eat some?" Set out the string. "Can you make this string smaller I want a bracelet instead?" Set out the Sharpie markers. "Actually, I just want to color and eat the pasta. I don't want to make a neckla.....wait! What are you putting in that box??!!?" Failure. Total failure. My second activity (which is always a favorite just for the record): stickers. The stickers were promptly places on nearby boxes, making it impossible to read what was in the boxes. Then they followed me room to room asking me about packing as they placed stickers on their shirts. I wasn't amused.

Looking at the bright side of this, I wasn't able to fully devote myself to packing while they did the activity because not only did I have to monitor and take pictures of what they were doing (requirement of the blog post). So now I'm fully engaged with the boxes waiting to be filled while my three terrorize the rest of the house. Sometimes I get overly confident in my abilities, as evident by my starting of a post I clearly had no idea about. Just because I can engage kids five days a week, doesn't mean I can claim success on the weekends apparently (especially when packing is involved). Talk about a harsh reality check.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Keeping Things Light In The Midst of Craziness

Our life has been consumed by packing for the big move. We've skipped our usual adventures and have been spending nearly free moment going through bins, donating unwanted clothing, and packing away our lesser used items. It's beginning to take it's toll, particularly on me who uses our weekend adventures to save my sanity (a hazard of working from home all day every day). As we were gearing up for a day of packing, organizing, and hoping the minis behind, Hubs reminded me of the above picture.

We were moving out of our apartment in May of 2009 and Max (10 months old at the time) was "helping" me pack things up to be moved to our first house. I've always loved this picture. It's made me laugh whenever I come across it and brings back sweet memories of my firstborn. Being who Hubs and I are, we decided to re-create the above picture, 2017 style.

I've already packed away the martini glasses so a margarita glass had to do. I think we accomplished the if only he would fit into a Carter's onesie again.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Shaving Cream Hearts

I have seen many different heart craft ideas perfect for this time of year. One that caught my eye that kept popping up on Pinterest was shaving cream hearts. I never clicked on a link to see the variations of this activity, but I instantly knew how I wanted to do ours.

I started with a pie pan (I used glass rather than disposable, shaving cream (we used less than 1/4 of the can), and food coloring (pink, red, and purple). We sprayed a light layer of shaving cream in the pie pan and then put food coloring on top of the shaving cream. Using paper shaped hearts (found at Michael's), we lightly smashed the hearts into the shaving cream. These were our results:

 The cats got into the drying hearts and made a mess of the counters!

Hours later, after the minis got home from school, they wanted to give it a try. The shaving cream had gotten foamier and the food coloring deeper, giving round 2 of shaving cream hearts a different appearance.

The minis played with the shaving cream and then smashed in one last heart just to see how it would turn out.

Our results left to right: round one (shaving cream and food coloring fresh), round two (shaving cream and food coloring sitting out for 6+ hours), and lastly, shaving cream and food coloring mixed together.

I LOVED the outcome of our Shaving Cream Hearts and the kids enjoyed making them too!