Friday, December 19, 2014

So this is Christmas

Just doing a little editing while listening to Christmas music (three guesses to which song) and had to share these pictures I snapped while Jasper and Tindra were having their nightly "stare at the Christmas tree before bed." I just love these two so much. 

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The North Pole

For the past two years, ever since I first heard about it, I have wanted to take the kiddos up to the North Pole.  But two years ago we were gone when we could have gone, and last year it was bitter cold, like high of 3-4 for weeks. And the North Pole is filled with rides and outdoor activities, not my idea of a good time while battling frost bite.

But this year? The weather surrounding Thanksgiving was gorgeous, in the 40's and 50's (and even 60's!) and Drew had FOUR days off so we just had to go.

We didn't tell them where we were going Friday morning when we headed out the door, just that we were headed somewhere fun! After a stop at Krispy Kreme, because come on, we had to, off to the North Pole we went! Its a little bit in the mountains, so it took about 90 minutes to get there, but the kids were perfect in the car. We are blessed to have such amazing travelers!

Apparently we chose the busiest week of the year to go, so we had a wait to get in, but once we were in, the only time we really had to wait in line for more than 5-10 minutes was for lunch. 
By the end of the day I had dubbed myself professional line holder. I could only go on a few rides, so I basically just stood in line and watched the kids and Drew (and sometimes just the kids) go on rides. But even so, the day was perfect. The kids were in Heaven. Which means I was, watching their faces. And I might have shed a tear or two seeing their faces light up again and again, or maybe it was the bright mountain sun..Regardless, seeing their faces so lit up all day, completely priceless. 
We couldn't believe how much of a little thrill seeker Tindra is. She wanted to go on every ride, again and again. Even the ones we thought would be a bit scary/too fast for her. Nope, too fast is apparently Not in her vocabulary. If it spun around and around? It got bonus points. She definitely did Not get that from her mamma. 
It's been a couple weeks and the kids are still talking about when they went to the North Pole. I can't wait to take them again next year! 

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Soft Toys for Education with Ikea

Jasper, my 7 year old second grader loves school. Absolutely loves it. Every single week day he's eager to get dressed, eat breakfast, help make his lunch and make sure his homework and library books are in his back pack. I also loved school, so having him love it is so extremely important to me. But here's the thing, he didn't always love it. 

Preschool and kindergarten went well for him. I actually probably even told people he loved school, because he didn't complain a whole lot and enjoyed seeing his friends every day, he was learning a lot, so that was good enough right? It wasn't until a couple of months into first grade that he really developed a real passion for school. And reading and writing especially. He had this great teacher last year, we will call him Mr. D.  Mr. D made learning so much fun! Jaspers exact words. He incorporated singing and dancing into their daily learning, and showed just how much fun learning and school really can be.   All of a sudden, instead of asking to watch an episode of his favorite show on TV after dinner/homework was done, he asked if we could write a story together. Instead of spending his last few minutes every night playing with his spiderman toys, he asked if we could climb in bed and take turns reading Harry Potter to each other  (true life, my 7 year old reads Harry Potter!) 

I had the chance to volunteer one afternoon last year and my favorite part was just sitting in the back observing Mr. D and the kids. They sang and danced, to help get their energy out, before sitting down for writing time. They had the chance to write and share their poetry to the class during a poetry slam session, Jasper's personal favorite. I mean, getting 6 and 7 year olds excited about poetry? That takes some skill. But he did it! 

Before Mr. D's class Jasper had never talked about writing other than something he had to do at school and sometimes for homework. Now he writes poetry, keeps a journal, talks about being an author when he grows up and absolutely loves to read. Last year at their end of year assembly, all the 1st graders were given an award, for something they were best in. Awards such as, best at mime, best line dancer, best at freeze tag, etc. Jasper won the award for 'Best Writer'.  As someone who was inspired by my senior year of high school AP English teacher to write, I couldn't be more proud. I didn't have a teacher that brought out that passion in me till I was almost done with high school, and at just 6 years old Jasper found that inspiration! We continue to read and write together daily, and that passion is only growing stronger as his vocabulary and mind grows.
Over the weekend we went to IKEA, as many of you know is pretty much my happy place, to stock up on my must have Swedish goodies and to grab lunch.  

Now through January 3rd, 2015, IKEA Foundation will donate $1  for every children's book and soft toy sold to children's education through UNICEF and Save the Children. Last year alone, IKEA raised over 13 million for this very important cause. 
 We decided to have the kiddos pick out a stuffed animal for their new baby brother, and they actually agreed on something- the pig! So he came home with us. We also picked out  a couple new cuddly guys for the youngest children of the family we adopted for Christmas this year. Giving the gift of education to underprivileged children has never been easier!

So if there are any fellow last minute Christmas shoppers, this year, help give the gift of education! Swing by IKEA for some books and stuffed animals (and delicious meatballs for yourself) and you will not only have some happy kiddos on Christmas morning, you will feel amazing about the difference you are helping make in many children's lives. 
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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Happy Monday!

Hope you guys all had a terrific weekend! Ours started out with no real plans, and ended up pretty busy. Just the kind of weekend we love around here! A little recap if you will.

Friday night we were planning on attending the holiday lighted parade in downtown Denver like years past, but after seeing Facebook groups planning protests for the parade, we decided to skip it. I didn't want to be apart of some stampede or craziness, or be stuck downtown if things got really crazy. It turned out not to get too wild, but I parts of the parade had to get rerouted do to people laying in the street, and people jumped in yelling behind santa? Not something I need to explain to my kids yet I don't think. Also heard reports of young kids getting knocked down with signs from the protestors. Sad that this happened at a parade for children. Instead of going, we cuddled up on the couch with the Grinch and hot chocolate. Not a bad friday evening!

Saturday we went to a neighborhood community Santa event that I had heard about on a Moms group I'm in. It's about 25 minutes from where we are now, but if we end up moving in that direction it would be only 10-15 minutes from us so I kind of wanted to go check out that community. Not going to lie, we felt a bit like 'Christmas crashers.' It was clear most people knew each other, even though its a little suburb of the city, it felt very small town like which was super cozy, but not something we experience here in the middle of Denver! The kids got to write letters to santa, play in a ginger bread house, play some lawn games, get their face painted and see Santa. It was one of the slooooowest lines ever, but when it was finally our turn I realized why. He talked to each kid for several minutes which was super cute. Tindra, who has been terrified of Santa actually sat on his lap, but kept her arms up so she could  touch him as little as possible. Baby steps! Jasper was thrilled to give his wish list, a basketball hoop and a pump for his basketball..that's it. So practical huh? And Tindra asked for a Elsa dress. Shocker. 

^Notice her right arm, hovering above Santa's arm so she wouldn't have to touch him^
Saturday evening I took Jasper to a ninja birthday party, and since then he hasn't stopped asking to play ninja outside. He was seriously in heaven. While J and I were at his birthday party, Tindra was at home getting a mani/pedi from dad so it's safe to say she had a good evening as well. 

Sunday we had decided would be a relaxing day at home before heading to Swedish class in the afternoon, but I had the brilliant idea to take the kids swimming at 8 AM. So we found a rec center that was open and headed off for a few hours of swimming. I guess I forgot how much these kids love swimming, since they haven't been in a pool since August, but I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have been as excited if I had announced that we were going to Disney World. And as thrilled as I was to put on a swim suit. In public, as soon as I was floating in the little lazy river on my back I quickly forgot about it. I forgot how weightless you feel in the pool, and when you are growing a most likely larger than average baby, that is a priceless feeling. I kept saying to Drew over and over again ' I don't even feel pregnant!' and as much as I love growing being a mother and am thrilled to get to do it again, I just don't enjoy the feeling of pregnant 99% of the time. So a few hours in the pool felt amazing. We decided this has to happen more often this winter. 

Don't forget to enter the halo giveaway! It ends in a few days, and come back for another amazing giveaway I will have up in the next day or two
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Friday, December 5, 2014

I'm Waiting.

For that second trimester energy. Since I've got just a week or two (or three? Everyone says different) left of second tri and…still no energy? I'm guessing it's not going to show it's face this pregnancy. 
I have 5 half finished posts I've been working on over the past two week.s And every day that I put Tindra down for her hap I have high intentions to sit down at my computer and blog. I even go sit at my desk (which we moved out of the office and into the downstairs living room/play room  in hopes that I'll be able to work a little more) but then I see my couch, right next to my computer. Just calling me. "Come lay down, for just a few minutes, you deserve it" And I shut down my computer and go lay down, you know. Just for a few minutes. And 90 minutes later, I hear Tindra calling me from her room telling me she's 'all done sweeping.' 
But I'm alive. Barely. Just thought I should check in after two emails from sweet readers asking me where I am/ how I am doing. 
This week has been more energy sucking than usual, so hopefully next week I'll be back with those posts! Thanks for sticking around, you guys are great. 
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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Suburbs Vs. City. Vs...?

The time has come to start thinking of our next move. I know, I KNOW, we Just moved in right? Sure feels like it. Our two year lease is up in September, and we have started talking about whether or not we will stay here another year, or try to buy something before then. 

Here's the thing. We love our neighborhood. Like love love. It's the best. And we love our house. This little brick bungalow has so much charm, and has been perfect for our family of four. But now that we are adding another one to it, I have a feeling it's going to start feeling pretty cramped. It still does some days amazingly enough. But if size was the only issue, I think we would stay here forever!

But it's not.

The biggest issue I have with living smack in the middle of Denver: the schools around. Jaspers elementary school, which is just blocks away from our house is Amazing. Top rated. One of the best in the state. We are so incredibly happy with the education he is receiving there. I really really really don't want him to leave that school. But it's only through 5th grade. And the middle school he would go to next, also just blocks away isn't rated very good. I think like a 3/10? And the high school, I think is a 2/10. Not good. Education is very important to us. And ensuring our kids get a top of the line education is the most important thing for us in a possible house hunt. 

Yes, we could potentially stay in this area and try to choice in to a better school. But one, you can try to choice in somewhere, doesn't meant you will get in. And if you get in one year, doesn't mean you are guaranteed a spot the following year. So every year would be a gamble as to wether or not he would keep attending the same school. Problem two with that is I would have to be driving 10-20 min one way twice a day. Which would be okay if I just had one child, or just one child in school. But By then Tindra will be in school as well, and getting two (maybe three if this one is in preschool by then!?) to 2-3 different schools in opposite directions at the same time every morning and afternoon? I just don't see how it would work. And Drew is usually at work by that time, and even if he could potentially help in the mornings, that would still leave afternoons for pick up in different directions. 

So we are kind of thinking at this point, our best option is to head a little out of the heart of the city. Still in Denver, I'm not ready for true suburbia, and Drew works right in the city and all of his meetings and events are here, but if we just even head 5-15 minutes South of where we are currently, we could be in an Amazing school district (for preschool through high school) and get more for our money. Sounds like a win win right? 

I spent some time yesterday (okay all of Tindra's nap time) looking around on Trulia and just for comparison..

In our neighborhood, we could buy this house for $410,000

Cute little 2 bedroom 2 bath house. 

Or 5-6 miles away, for $450,000 we could have this house. 4000 sq feet, huge back yard, four bedrooms, three bath, and exemplary schools.

Can you see why we are even considering moving out of our dream, close to everything neighborhood? 

Don't forget to enter the Halo giveaway! 

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Halo Sleep Sack Giveaway!

I think the first baby items I was gifted with Jasper, almost 8 years ago (!!) was a Halo swaddles and sleep sack. After he outgrew the size small we promptly got the next size up because it was the only thingthat would keep our baby hulk confined. He slept in a sleep sack forever because I was paranoid about the no blankets in bed rule.  Years later, we used those exact same swaddles with Tindra, and I can't wait to dig them out of the garage and use on this baby as well! 
From Halo:
HALO Innovations is dedicated to putting the health, safety and well-being of babies first. In fact, over 1,200 hospitals use our HALO® SleepSack® wearable blankets through the HALO Safer Way to Sleep Initiative.  This summer we launched our new bassinet, the HALO™ Bassinest™ Swivel Sleeper, furthering our commitment to helping babies sleep safely.

Have you seen the new bassinet they have ? It looks pretty amazing and I'm trying to convince Drew we Need it for this baby. 

Halo has some great sleep tips for moms as well:

  • Place baby to sleep on his or her back at naptime and at night time.
  •  Room-share, but don’t bed share; the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend against bed sharing as it can lead to an increased risk for accidental suffocation.
  • Use a crib or bassinet that meets current safety standards with a firm mattress that fits snugly and is covered with only a tight-fitting crib sheet.
  • Remove all soft bedding and toys from your baby’s sleep area (this includes loose blankets, bumpers, pillows and positioners). The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests using a wearable blanket instead of loose blankets to keep your baby warm.
  • Offer a pacifier when putting baby to sleep. If breastfeeding, introduce pacifier after one month or after breastfeeding has been established.
  • Breastfeed, if possible, but when finished, put your baby back to sleep in his or her separate safe sleep area alongside your bed.
  • Never put your baby to sleep on any soft surface (adult beds, sofas, chairs, water beds, quilts, sheep skins etc.)
  • Never dress your baby too warmly for sleep; keep room temperature 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Never allow anyone to smoke around your baby or take your baby into a room or car where someone has recently smoked.

Follow Halo on Facebook and twitter to keep up to date on all their products! 

And now, one of YOU will get the chance to win your very own SleepSack of your choice! Visit Halo and come back and let me know which one you would choose! And make sure you leave your email address so I can contact you if you are the winner! 

*WiNNER: Via Random.Org Comment #3, Raising Rockefellers

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Recipe: Super easy white bread

A few weeks ago I asked you guys if anyone had any really easy bread recipes, and then talked to my mom and she sort of gave me this recipe over the phone. Except she doesn't use a recipe so no exact measurements, but after making this for 4 times now in the past few weeks, I think I have it figured out! 

It's really really easy, seriously. This was my first time baking bread by myself and I didn't even screw it up! 

3 1/2 C flour
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 C water
1 table spoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Mix water (a little bit above room temperature, I gaged it on having it be the same temperature of a bottle of milk I would feed a baby) sugar and yeast. Mix it and let it sit for 10 minutes to make sure it 'rises' a bit. You can tell when it does, it looks a lot thicker and 'bigger'.

Next mix in flour and salt with the water/yeast/sugar mixture. Kneed until it's smooth. I threw mine in the Ninja blender with the dough paddle but this isn't necessary, just makes it super quick! 

Next place the dough ball into a greased big bowl, cover with a towel and let it rise for an hour. 

After the hour is up, punch it down a bit for a minute, form it into an oval shape and cut three little diagonal lines across it (not sure if this is necessary, I just see everyone else do this) and put it on a lightly greased baking sheet and cover with towel again. Let it rise another hour. 

Bake it at 350 for 35-40 minutes and EAT it while it's warm! With Butter! And maybe a slice of cheese! And add a cup of tea. That makes it the best. Just trust me.

*I have also made it into two bread tins by splitting the dough in two and making oval shaped balls and placing it in the middle, it spread and covered most of the pan. Make sure pan is greased so it comes out nice and easy. 

*Also once I put little pieces of bacon in the dough right before putting in the oven. Super yummy. 

Try it! I promise it's SO so easy. I'm not a baker, and I absolutely love this bread. So much I have been making it at least once a week. It only keeps for a few days, but ours is always gone in 48 hrs anyway. 
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tindra says:

"Mamma has big boobies. Why TeeTee (what she calls her self) has no boobies"

Me "Tindra has boobies too, all girls do" "No those not boobies, those my nipples (pronounced neeeeeples)

"Oh no, what happened to your hairs" After seeing me step out of the shower after a recent trip to the waxing salon since you know, I can no longer see my lady bits. 

Me "oh look powpow (her fox) is over there on the floor" Thank god she's easily distracted. Because I'm not exactly prepared to discuss Brazilian waxes with my way too observant two year old. 

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A little bumpdate: 21 (almost 22) weeks

I think it's time for another one! I'll be 22 weeks in just a couple of days, and part of me thinks this pregnancy is flying, but then the other part feels..the opposite. 

We are entering one of my favorites parts of the year though so I now November and December will fly with the snow, and all the fun things we have planned for the holidays, but then January and February are sure to drag on, as they always do, and then March= Baby month!! I can't even believe I'm typing that out. I can't quite imagine yet what life is going to be like with THREE, THREE babies! Okay Jasper is probable not considered a baby anymore. And maybe not Tindra either, but to me they still are so roll with it. 

I had my 20 week ultrasound last week and everything is looking good! He was in there and kept pulling his legs up to his head, I could have watched him all day. I think sometimes I forget that there's an actual person in there. I know how idiotic that sounds, but its just easier to imagine that I'll have a baby to meet in 4 months, not that he's actually already in there growing, eating, yawning, playing with his feet, doing those things he will be doing outside of my stomach soon. Sometimes I can't wrap my head around it. And yes this is my third time going through this, and each time it's like it comes as surprise to me that there's an entire human being inside of me. 

Lets see, cravings. I have been craving a Sonics Cherry Coke like no other for the past few weeks. To the point where I'll drive once or twice a week 25 min round trip (why is there not one closer??) just to get a cherry coke. Don't worry I ask for extra ice so I'm probably actually only getting like 6 oz of soda and the rest is the delicious little ice cubes that I could eat all day! 

Size of baby, wellll my handy dandy what to expect app says that this week the baby is 10 oz..where as over a week ago they told me he was 13 which I think is a 'decent size baby' for 20 weeks. So I'm guessing he's going to be a big one like his big brother. Tindra was average size but Jasper was just a couple oz shy of 9 lbs so for some reason I think this one will be on the bigger end as well. 

Weight gain, my favorite topic...never. I'm up 13 lbs, which I didn't think was too horrible, but then I went and investigated (thanks blog) and found that around same time in the pregnancy last time I was up 8 lbs so... I'm going to blame halloween candy on that one. But I cut myself off 3 days ago cold turkey so hopefully not inhaling 6 recees peanut butter cups a day will help slow down that weight gain. 

And apparently I haven't taken any belly pics lately (like three this entire pregnancy?) So I'll get on that! Trust me, the belly is out there. 
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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Pippi and Spiderman

The weekend before Halloween we ventured out early to Boo at the Zoo. We have gone every year since Jasper was two, making this our 5th year! We learned after our first boo at the zoo trip to GO EARLY! It's the busiest weekend of the year at the zoo I've been told (and witnessed!) and parking spots fill up fast! 

My goal was to get there at 8:30 and when I told Drew I wanted us out the door at 8 sharp he laughed at me and said yeah right. I should mention this was at 7:35 as we rolled out of bed because Tindra SLEPT IN! Jasper didn't. But did crawl quietly in the bed with us and waited mostly patiently while we dozed some more. 

So when I realized it was 7:35 I quickly threw some home made toast in the toaster and got to work getting the kiddos in their costumes. Tindra's was a bit more difficult since braiding a toddlers hair isn't exactly a quick or fun activity, but regardless I managed to have the kids AND myself dressed and ready to walk out the door by 8:07 which was pretty impressive I thought. Colorado Blvd (the main road that takes us directly to the zoo) was shut down for some unknown reason so we had to take a detour and ended up pulling in at 8:33. Still impressive though! We got a decent spot and by the time we made our way to the entrance at 8:45 they were letting people in even though it technically isn't supposed to open till 9. We noticed they did this last year also so Denver Boo At the Zoo tip : GO EARLY! 

By going early we avoided any lines (except for the very last trick o treat spot which was the first for some people as they were coming in) and we were completely done and pulling out at 10:45. Perfect! Through the entire zoo in two hours. Drew and I were wondering out loud how different it would be next year at this same event with three little ones to wrangle! 

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