Wednesday, August 31

Free Stuff

Dear Everyone I Know:

I signed up for some free grains at Bob's Red Mill a few weeks ago... and they showed up today!

(My camera is held hostage in Finley's room and he's napping... therefore, cell phone picture.)

You have to pick a race you are competing in (little white lie...) and they send you four full size bags and a cool hat.  Quinoa, granola, hot cereal and pancake mix.  I'm delighted and excited to eat!

Go sign up for yours now!

EDIT:  You can't sign up.  It's closed.  Don't you wish I had told you about this a few weeks ago?  Life's tough.  If you come over, I promise to share with you.

Tuesday, August 30

Homemade Larabars

Have you tried Larabars?  They are one of my favorite snacks--but I rarely buy them because they are kind of pricey: a little over a dollar each.  After eating my last batch and being sad that I didn't have anymore, I realized I had all the ingredients at home to make them--even dates!  Most recipes that I found call for Medjool dates--I had some of those on hand, but have since bought some that are already pitted and I'm not sure if they are Medjool.  I have no idea what Medjool even means.  Medjool.  What a fun word!

My favorite flavor is Cherry Pie--so all I needed was dates, dried cherries, almonds... and I added cocoa because it would be crazy not to.  I was only missing one thing to make these yummy treats--a food processor.  I used Vic's to make all of Finley's baby food, so I decided I should go out and buy one for myself now that she's gone.  Tear.

Look at me!  I'm a food blogger!  Just kidding, my kitchen is not conducive for photography and I only have the patience this once to photograph making something.  Here's the recipe I used for this batch:

1/2 c dates
1/2 c cherries
1/2 c almonds
2 tbsp cocoa

I threw it all in the food processor and whirled it up for a little over a minute.  You can do it a little more or less, depending on what texture you like.  You can also do the fruit and nuts separately if you want to leave the nuts in bigger chunks.  Or you can process the heck out of it, that way you don't have to chew.

Then I dumped it in a Ziploc baggie and rolled it until it was flat.

And cut it into 8 bars.  Although you can make them whatever shape you want--roll it into little balls, cut it into cute stars. Or make them boring bars.

They store for quite a while in the fridge--wrapped up neatly in Saran Wrap.

And they are pretty good for you--no fake ingredients!  This recipe has 150 cal, 8g fat, 3.5g protein and 3.5g fiber.  I feel like that's kind of a lot of fat, but it's the good fat from almonds.  Or something.  I really am the worst eater on the planet so I have no idea if those are actually good for you.  I pretty much eat and then run and nurse and try to not worry about it too much.

You can vary the recipe any way you want keeping those basic proportions.  I feel like those were actually a little light on the almonds, so next time I'll put in a little less fruit and a little more nut.

My other favorite recipe is Peanut Butter and Jelly--you can find the directions here.

Basically, you can't make these wrong.  As long as you have enough fruit to act like the glue to hold it together, you can put in any type of nuts or fruits you want!  Add cinnamon or vanilla... just go crazy.  Also--they are delicious crumbled up into oatmeal.  Yum.

Ok bye.  I'm off to do something to keep my mind off the fact that I'm not going back to school right now.  Another tear.

Friday, August 26

Four Months

I kept delaying writing this post because I wanted to take a picture with Braden and his B like I did the last two months... but I "put the B somewhere safe and easy to find" and obviously can't find it.  Boo.  So here's Braden, outside with no letter B.

Sleeping... we moved him into his room about two weeks ago, and after a few terrible nights he is sleeping really well.  Apparently that room was colder than ours and he needed another layer.  Braden is such a better sleeper than Finley--for naps I can set him in his crib and he'll just doze off and wake up happily about an hour later.  He goes down around 8:30 and gets up around 8:30--and normally wakes to eat twice during the night.  I really can't complain.

Eating...  obviously he's a good eater.  Look at the boy.  He nurses pretty regularly every three hours and doesn't seem to mind if he goes over a bit.

Playing...  Braden's favorite toy is attached to his hand.  He is in love with his left thumb.  In love.  Sometimes it's a fight to get him to stop sucking it to eat!  Right now it's a blessing--he soothes himself quickly with it and it puts him right to sleep. Fingers crossed that he falls out of love with it at a reasonable age.  He's a great roller and can scoot himself forward (it's fairly accidental at this point.)  He likes to grab toys and be tickled.  He's sweet sweet sweet.  His giggles are adorable and he's just a very content little dude.

Stats... Braden (much like his big bro) has slowed down a little on the weight gain.  He's no longer off the charts for weight--here's hoping he doesn't stop eating like Finley!

Weight: 16 lbs 8 oz (75% tile)
Height: 26.75 in (95% tile)
Head: 16.5 in (40% tile)

Finley is a delight too.  He says the silliest things and is a bright kid.  He recognizes all of his upper case letters and knows a few lower case letters.  He loves to read me all the letters on signs.  Thank you, Word World.  He can count to ten and hops around with the numbers up to twenty. He called me Rachel the other and I tried to tell him to stop but it was too cute and too funny.  I couldn't stop laughing.

He's began to be much more interested in Braden.  He's requested to kiss him before he takes naps, asked once to hold him and gave him a hug without being prompted.  Sometimes I'll see him walk over to him and play with his feet or pat his head... it's so sweet and fun to see him beginning to be a big brother.

I'm so impressed at the things he remembers.  He'll randomly bring up something that we haven't talked about for weeks and want to tell me all about it.  It's just so funny to talk to him.

I took this picture without looking through the camera and really like it for some reason.  I know I missed focusing on his eyes, but it's still cute.

Thursday, August 25

Embrace the Camera... in the Backyard

I took some pictures of Braden in the backyard for his 4 month post (which is 13 days late and still not written...) and decided to take a few of the three of us.  As always, the boys were less than willing participants.

Clearly Finley was really in to picture taking.  Also, Copper the hairless wonder popped in for his close up. (I think this picture is really funny.)

And this is when I realized I don't have the skin of a small child anymore... and that my skin care regiment of washing my face in the shower and sometimes putting on moisturizer may not be cutting it.  Wrinkles are in, right?

Oh well.  But I guess I will be taking skin care suggestions... or something.

Wednesday, August 24

I survived the Earthquake of 2011.

Can someone please make a shirt that says that?

Um, yes.  There was an earthquake round our parts.  My Kansas upbringing trained me well for what to do with tornados, but earthquakes?  I kind of froze up.

We're used to the house shaking periodically--495 runs though our backyard and is perpetually under construction.  After a few seconds of shaking, Finley freaked out and ran to me and I froze.  I eventually ran to grab Braden from his crib, then froze some more.  Was I supposed to go downstairs?  Outside?  In a doorway?  Eventually I settled on sitting by the back door--mostly because my legs were shaking too much for me to stand up.  I think I would have only been a little scared if it wasn't for the boys--I just didn't know how to keep them safe.

And then it was over.  AND MY HOUSE LOOKED LIKE THIS!  MAYHEM!

Just kidding.  It always looks like that.  Something glass broke (I haven't found it yet) and about 6 books fell off the shelf.  That's it.  Finley is still pretty convinced that the house is going to fall over, but I think we'll be fine.  Actual earthquake devastation circled in white.

Naturally, Braden peed his pants during the earthquake so I changed him out if his wet clothes and Finley INSISTED on wearing a yellow diaper like Braden and laying with him on the floor.  Who am I to deny him anything after he witnessed and survived a natural disaster?

And my favorite thing about the earthquake was how people (myself included) ran to Twitter and Facebook for their updates.  Information travels so fast--and people make the funniest earthquake jokes.  It was crazy how fast--and in how many ways--friends and family contacted me to make sure I was ok.

Anyone else have a fun earthquake story?

Tuesday, August 23


The life of the second born is rough--or so I hear.  I was lucky to be first and get to be the one to pass on my stuff to my poor sister.  But as the girl who got her stuff new, I feel for Braden.  He wears his brothers pajamas, diapers (they are cloth)... plays with his toys... and when Braden gets something of his own?  Finley steals it.

I bought Braden Sophie the Giraffe.  I kept seeing it places and decided that it would be a good toy that could be all his.  His nursery is slowly transition toward a giraffe theme, so it made a lot of sense.  Little Sophie is light enough Braden can hold it and steer it towards his little chompers.  But of course, Finley really likes Sophie.  He understands that its Braden's toy--but is a bit confused as to why Braden can't play with it.  Here he is saying, "Here's Sophie, Braden!"  Very sweet.

Finley is continuing to warm up towards his brother.  Today when I took Braden to his room for a nap Finley ran after me and yelled, "KISS!"  So I picked him up and let him kiss B-town goodnight.  It warmed my heart.  This kiss was staged--he still wants nothing to do with Braden most of the time.

Oh boys.  You are too sweet.

Monday, August 22

Back to Charlottesville

Our little family made the drive west to Charlottesville to spend time with dear friends and pick some peaches for our third annual harvest fest.  (I just made that name up.  Click the links below to see the posts from the first two years... my photography has certainly improved!)

First year...

 Second year...

And this year.

Notice anything?  Besides our numbers increasing every year?  Yep, Cory and Dane are wearing the same shirts.  Good thing I'm such a meticulous blogger.  Finley and Edmund loved the peaches--they sat and munched on them straight from the tree.

Braden's too little--he just rode around on dad.  Maybe next year, baby.

We had a great weekend--lunch at a brewery, swimming, grilling and playing outside.  After church and Five Guys this morning the sweetest little boy moment happened.  Little Edmund (who is 8 months younger but an inch taller) grabbed Finley's hand as we walked to the car.

Melt. My. Heart.

I'm so blessed to have such lovely friends--and I pray that my boys grow up with friends like mine.  Friends who walk hand in hand with you through life.  End sappy mush.

Monday, August 15

Messy Faces

In an effort to sneak more calories into little Finley, I decided to make popsicles for him to have as a summer treat. I picked out these popsicle molds which are great--he can hold the handle easily and they catch all the drips! These ones are greek yogurt, berries and some chocolate chips.  He really liked stripping down to his diaper and eating them on the deck after his nap.

And it's a good thing I stripped him down--they are messy.  Sol thought he looked like the Joker or Hannibal Lecter.  Which is frightening and a little true.

Not Braden though.  He was his regular, sweet, drooly self.

Anyone have any good popsicle recipes?  I was thinking about sneaking in some flax seed and am looking for other suggestions!

Thursday, August 11

Two Out of Four Smiles

I was overwhelmed (and validated!) by all the comments about my poor pup's haircut--thanks for coming out of the woodwork to comment, text or email me about how hard you laughed.  We're still laughing over here. It's always a pleasant surprise to know that more than my mom and Vic are reading.

Since Vic is gone, it's a lot harder for me to get pictures with me in them... so here's my effort for this week.    Bald Copper, semi smiley Finley and LL Cool B (that's Braden's rapper name.)

I may be making a weird face and have less than perfect hair, but at least I have this picture to remember all the days I spend sitting on the floor wrangling children.

Tuesday, August 9

Hangin' Out

There's been a request for more pictures of Finley on the blog... but we'll start with one of Braden.  He's getting pretty cozy in the Bumbo--or bum-bum as Finley calls it.

Finley likes to sit in the Bumbo too--and he likes to tell me to sit in it and then say, "TOO BIG."  Thank Finn.  I know my booty is too big, I'm working on it.  Kind of.  Finley's favorite seat is this very awesome bean bag I made him!  I may do a post on it in the future because I'm beyond proud of my sewing skills on this one.  I sewed CURVED LINES, friends.  Finley didn't want to look at the camera because I was letting him watch Word World, which he is ob-sessed with.

Sometimes when I ask Finley what he wants to do he says, "hang out."  So those are my boys--just hangin' out.

Monday, August 8

Things That Didn't Go as Planned

Thing That Did Not Go as Planned #1: Running 11 miles.
I guess it went more or less the way I planned it--I ran 11 miles in under 2 hours.  I averaged about 10:12 per mile and was pretty proud of that.  The thing that did not go according to plan was the weather.  I got up real early so it would still be cool--but the humidity was 97%.  I'm no meteorologist, but I'm pretty sure that means if it was 3% higher I would have actually been swimming.  Not cool, weather (pun intended.)

Thing That Did Not Go as Planned #2: Buying a new nursing tank.
Target has a daily deals thing kind of like Groupon--and I thought I was getting a great deal on my favorite nursing tank.  The sizing was a little weird; I had to choose XS, 1, 2, 3, or 4.  I decided 2 sounded good since my current one is a small.  NOPE.  Apparently 2 means 2XL.

Thing That Did Not Go as Planned #3: Copper's Grooming.
Copper needed to be groomed.  He was MAN-GY.  This is mostly due to the week he spent outside--a silent protest when we were out of town.  Apparently he really thought he was showing us who was boss.  We came back and he looked like a wild animal.  I don't have a great before picture, but here's an old one.  Isn't he majestic?  And hairy?

I let Sol take him to be groomed.  I should have known better--Sol frequently talks about how he wants to "bic" Copper--meaning shave him. He promised me he told the Petco people to cut his hair "as short as would still look good."  And this is what we got.  Forgive the poor picture quality today--Copper is a little embarrassed.

I gasped loudly when I saw him.  I had no words for a long time. He's a big fluffy pup and he kind of looks like a rat now.  With a dog head and tail.  Like Frankenstein's monster.  He slinks around the house like he knows he's naked--Finley and I like to tell him to put his pants back on.  Poor pup.  On the plus side, I think I can stop vacuuming once a day.  Thoughts on the new do?

Thing That Did Not Go as Planned #4: Snuggling.
Actually, this last one went exactly the way I planned it.  I wanted to take a nap with Braden--there's nothing like snuggling with a little baby.  Eventually he flipped himself on his belly, got his thumb and slept in my armpit.  Bliss.

I may have fixed the comments--so if you ever try to comment and fail (all 3 of you who email me your comments) try again today!

Friday, August 5

This Used to be my Playground

I'm here today to tell you about something important.

It's about my Diet Coke habit.

Apparently Diet Coke isn't the healthiest for you or something like that.  And I drink a decent amount of it--at least one a day. So when my fellow junkie Victoria left, I decided maybe I would cut back my DC consumption.  I had about 8 Diet Cokes in the fridge, and I decided that those would be my last 8.  And then I realized that was impossible.  So instead, I decided that I would still drink Diet Coke out at restaurants, but I would stop buying 12 packs of it.  Good for my health--because I'll be drinking more water.  Good for my bank account--because I'll buy less.  And kind of good for the environment--because I'll recycle less cans.

How long do you think I lasted?  I ran out of Diet Coke Sunday.  Guesses?

That would be about 12 hours.  Monday I went to the grocery store, committed to not buying more.  And technically I didn't.  I bought these lil guys.

A 7.5 ounce sorry excuse for a Diet Coke.  But it was an 8 pack and not a 12 pack so I'm not really breaking my rule.  Right?  7.5 ounces is juuust enough to cut my craving and make me stop thinking about it.  As I sipped my tiny Diet Coke last night, I started singing Madonna's "This Used to be My Playground."  In that moment, I connected with Rosie and Madonna and their love for baseball--I knew how it felt to have the thing you loved taken away from you.  Seriously, that's what I was thinking.  And then I remembered that the music video to that song was a bull fight (I think?) and I got confused.  And then I sang some more songs from "A League of Their Own" and Sol ignored me.

Anyways... there are 5 more of those lil buddies in the fridge, and I'll keep you posted about how things go after that.  I'm going to try real hard not to buy more.

You can follow my progress using #dietcokediaries on Twitter.  Because I know that how much Diet Coke I drink is of great concern to a great number of people.

Wednesday, August 3

Baby Giggles

And now, a sweet video of Braden giggling, hiccuping, drooling and trying to crawl.

Monday, August 1

How to Make Bow Pillows

I've been extra crafty as of late.  One of my favorite projects has been making these bow pillows.  All of the sudden I started searching for bow pillows on Pinterest and really wanted to make one.  For Braden's nursery.  Because bows are super masculine.

I used this tutorial and it was relatively easy.  Not to toot my own horn, but aren't they cute?

Fun right?  The giraffe fabric is from here, although I for some reason they aren't carrying turquoise anymore.

You should go make one.  Or two.  I'll be sharing his whole nursery eventually, but first I have to finish it... and move him into it... it's still functioning as a guest room / office / junkyard / nursery.  I have some work to do in there.  In the meantime, you can go back in time and see what Finley's sock monkey nursery looked like when it was still in pristine condition.  Little boys make MESSES.
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