All the Sun For You

A mom, two boys, a husband, and a whole lot of adventure!


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Mother of the Year… or Just Plain Stupid

Remember how going off of the pill made me more pleasant?  During that high (my realization that the pill has probably made me a crazy you-know-what for 21 years), I went to Michael’s and Hob.by Lob.by.  It was full-on Christmas preparation there and they were stocked full of the things that would be hard to find a month later (been there, done that).  I started buying things, craft things, creative things, things for me, things for the kids, you name it.  As I was perusing the aisles, looking for clear glass ornaments to fill with paint and glitter and shit, I decided…

Our advent calendar will be one of daily craft projects this year, not chocolate!

Oh yes.  Oh YES – this would be fun!  Every day, starting on December 1st, we would come home from lunch and make a Christmas ornament, or a decoration, that would then be put on the tree or strategically placed wherever the boys chose for said project.

I loaded up my cart – at both stores.

When I came home, so proud of my idea, I just had to tell Hottie about it and his response was luke-warm, at best.  “Every day?  You’re going to make them make an ornament every day?  I’m not sure that’s such a good idea.  You’ll just end up yelling at them and doing the projects yourself – like when you did those Pint.erest cupcakes.”  What?  Of course it’s a good idea!  We’d buy a tree for each of their rooms and they would slowly decorate their tree up until Christmas.  What wasn’t he getting?  This was a freaking OUTSTANDING idea!  This was a Mother-of-the-Year (or at least, a Mother-of-the-Holiday-Season) idea.

This was going to be FUN!

My idea started going downhill when I left my two HUGE bags of projects out while I ran on the treadmill one morning.  Bryson came in, carrying a strip of foam stickers, and I thought, “hmmm.. I wonder where he got those.”  It didn’t take long to figure that one out.  He’d of course ripped open the box of foam bits and pieces to build a pretty cool foam sticker train (tacky, but age-appropriate) because you know, it was full of stickers.  I smiled, unfazed, and stuffed everything back in the box.  I was sure there were missing pieces, but who really cared.  This was going to be FUN!

I became a little concerned when I tested out the glass-ornament-filled-with-paint project.  I have a shit-ton of these glass ornaments in the shapes of balls, boxes, and tear-drops.  I have two big containers of acrylic clear ornaments especially for the kids.  The project is a no-brainer, but I will likely end up doing 95% of them, leaving the kids the job of picking the colors for each one.  Not a ton of fun for them, but their attention spans aren’t great, so it will be fine.  This was going to be FUN!

I started to worry quite a bit when Bryson proved that he is not ready for his own tree this year.  Matthew has a very small tree in his room and Bryson likes to take the ornaments off of it and play with them, leaving a trail of hooks behind him.  He does the same thing with the big tree in the living room, and has destroyed quite a few ornaments shaped like cars and toys because, you know, they look like cars and toys to play with.  Again, I’ve kept my cool because they’re just ornaments and who really cares?  Even if he can’t put them on his own tree, he can put his daily creations on the big family tree.  This was going to be FUN!

So today, on November 30th, a day ahead of schedule, I pulled out project #1 (no, they’re not all planned out).  I picked an easy one, one involving felt sticker bits to make a Christmas banner, complete with a snowman and Santa.  I figured this would get them in the spirit – it had all the things they love (Santa, a snowman, sticker pieces, ribbon) – and this would get them excited about doing a similar project each day.  They were into it for about 90 seconds before Bryson started putting the discard pieces in his mouth and Matthew started sticking random pieces all over the place.  I kept my composure and just kept working through it, asking for pieces here and there and letting Matthew peel off the sticker backings (Bryson was still eating discard pieces and having a great time doing so).  We got it done – without any yelling (take that, Hottie!), without any tears!  And they loved it!

I decided to take a picture of them with their “very neat” banner and asked them to sit next to it (“but don’t touch it, that glue is drying.  I mean it, don’t touch it.  Please stop touching it.”)… and that is when it happened.  That is when the inevitable, the unavoidable, happened.

“Please look at the camera.  Please look at the phone.  Please stay there a second.  Please look at Mommy.  Please, both of you, smile and sit still.  Please just look at me.  LOOK AT THE PHONE!”

I raised my voice…

But only once!

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Tis the Season

The day after Thanksgiving is perfect for shopping, unless you are like me and can’t stand the crowds. In our house, this is the day of decorating.

Being perfectly honest, I don’t love decorating for Christmas. I grew up with a mom who was OVER.THE.TOP when it came to decorating for Christmas… But SHE didn’t do the decorating… We girls had to do it. Every year she’d shake her finger to and fro, telling us just where to put everything. We had very little creative license even when it came to her gigantic snow village, which really DID leave much up to your imagination. No no. “The man carrying the wreath goes here and the toy salesman goes there.” Good god, decorating her house was miserable. Even my dad would say, “if you want it a particular way, then YOU do it.” That never worked, she just would demand more.

So (and you thought this was going to be a jolly holiday post!)… Yeah… I don’t like decorating for Christmas. It makes me tense and sad. I really despise the Christmas village and just can’t bring myself to put mine up. I don’t think I ever will.

Because of my memories of preparing for Christmas, I refuse to make the boys take part in decorating for any holiday. I let them jump in when they want, and jump out when they’re ready for a break. I’d rather surprise them, quite honestly, with some decorations than make them be a part of the process. Matthew was adamant that we decorate right after thanksgiving but then he did very little once we got rolling, and I am fine with that. Decorating is my thing, I won’t force it on them.

I do, however, love decorating the front of the house! My parents didn’t do this until we were in high school and they hated doing it, so completely left it up to us, which we enjoyed! I always swore I’d be a white lights kind of gal but with kids, you just can’t be. They like color, and colors that do.not.match! Every year I get more stuff to put in my yard and I look forward to it no matter how cold it is outside. I’m doing the outside tomorrow, but I did buy some porch trees today that I’ve wanted since we moved into this house, and I couldn’t wait to get them outside! I added lights and ornaments and ta-da! Done!

We’re also decorating the tree tomorrow, but I told Hottie that’s his job. 😉


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Friday Favorites – Holiday Season is On!

We’ve had a pretty darn good week around here, but there have been sprinklings of sadness along the way.  In times like these, I like to really focus on the good stuff, the stuff that keeps my heart happy.  With these two boys, Hottie, and the Thanksgiving holiday, I’ve done a pretty good job of keeping my head up while my heart’s been heavy.

It was another productive week around the house.  We’re getting pretty good at starting and wrapping up projects within a weekend.  Our garage is organized (enough), more stuff is sold, a Christmas tree was chopped down and moved in, and Bryson’s car seat is now properly installed.  That’s enough for one week, I think!

Favorite Parenting Moment of the Week:

My boys get along really well, until they don’t.  Recently, there’s been a lot of nit-picking and fighting over ridiculous things (and so it begins, right?).  One of the things that makes them absolutely CRAZY is the little trike we let them ride in the house.  It really is Bryson’s because it’s his size and Matthew has a bigger one that he fits better on, but they both love to ride the little trike and will stop at nothing to get a chance at it.  Bryson is very possessive and likes to HOLD his trike in his lap when he’s watching TV.  This does not count as being in his possession or use so Matthew will often times walk right up and take it from him.  So the cycle begins.

But the other day, they were fighting over the trike and then… silence followed by… laughter.  They came in riding together like this, and now they do it every day, many times a day!  No, it’s not terribly safe and yes, Bryson’s head comes to many dangerous spots at that level, but they’re having fun together and solving their own problems without us.  WIN!

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Favorite Outfit of the Week:

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Hottie’s coworker texted me on Saturday morning and said she was picking me up for an in-home craft show right near our house.  It had snowed, we were snowed in, so I said, “yes please!”  Once there, she bought nothing and I bought this awesome orange shawl.  I absolutely love it and it is WARM,  but of course, it started unraveling that night.  It’s currently at the tailor’s being fixed making my “craft show shawl” even more expensive than I wanted to report here ($40 for the shawl, $7.50 for the fix = $47.50 for a blanket with a hole for my head).  But… it’s my favorite color and I really LOVE it!  Paired here with EB straight leg jeans and Born boots (along with an ancient Ann Taylor brown turtleneck).

Favorite Meal of the Week:

This one is easy – Thanksgiving (Thursday), of course!  Hottie’s parents do not enjoy cooking like we do, and if you’ve read me long enough, you know that holiday meals are not as tasty as I’m used to having been raised by a guy who loves to cook.  Every year, Hottie and I take more and more on and this year, we covered LOTS of bases!  We brought homemade coffee cake (baked the night before to save time), homemade apple pie (baked a month ago and frozen), butternut squash soup (made and frozen 2 weeks ago), and peppermint and mint-chip ice cream bars (made two days ago).  When we got there, we cut into the coffee cake and then we basically took over the kitchen and cooked together for a couple of hours.  We didn’t want a dinner without gravy so we winged it with a milk gravy recipe I found online and it turned out great!  I’m not sure how ONE person could have made the gravy – it was THAT complicated – but that doesn’t matter since there were two of us.  We finished up the turkey, casseroles, and stuffing and made mashed potatoes – dinner was served (oh, and we brought wine… lots of wine).  Dessert was an hour later and along with the pumpkin pies and peach pie that Hottie’s mom made, we had lots to choose from.  All the kids had my ice cream bars, I had apple pie and half an ice cream bar, Hottie had pumpkin pie and apple pie, and Bryson had “crunchy cake” (coffee cake).  Everyone was HAPPY!

Favorite Purchase of the Week:

This is stupid, but I just love this shirt.  Target – mens department – $8.00.

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Favorite Project of the Week:

I wasn’t even a part of this project, but got in on the tail end.  On Wednesday, Hottie and I decided that Matthew needed an outing with just his dad, so they went to the tree farm.  I am told that once there, Matthew took his job of picking out the tree very seriously and grabbed his measuring stick before heading out on his hunt.  He found a great tree after much deliberation and insisted on helping the dude load it up on the truck.  Hottie said that Matthew watched very carefully to make sure that our tree made it back to the parking lot where they tied it to the roof of the car (there is just something so festive about that!).

They then headed to the mall and that’s about when Bryson woke up so we went there too to hit up the PBKids 20% off sale for Bryson’s comforter.  As we pulled into the parking lot, Bryson yelled out, “It’s a Christmas tree car, Mom!”  He spotted OUR car with OUR tree on top, but didn’t know it was ours.  It was adorable, and fun!  We took photos!

After playing at PBKids, eating dinner together as a family at chick-fil-we-hate-gays, and checking out all of the super fun mall kiosks (groan), Hottie decided to take Matthew on one more errand and I kept Bryson to pick up a very special gift.  It took FOREVER to get Bryson to the other end of the mall without a stroller, but we had nothing but time.  He spotted the mall strollers in the shapes of fire engines and, well, we were there for quite a while playing firemen.  I forgot how easy and fun it is going to the mall with just one kid!

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Favorite Realization of the Week:

This is a big one… and one I’m not proud of.  We decided to turn Bryson’s car seat around to be front facing (yes, I know the research, please don’t send me resources) and his seat is different from Matthew’s and the Britax.  I absolutely despise his seat, but it was the best option at the time (I needed a full convertible from infancy to 120 pounds in a booster.  I LOVE Matthew’s seat but it has a 30 pound weight minimum and is forward facing only, and we needed this seat when Bryson was less than a year old).  Anyway, I installed it and forgot that I wasn’t installing one of the easy seats, and I installed it WRONG!  Not only did I not thread things properly, I also didn’t know about some extender that needed to be put on his chest straps.  We drove to and from Hottie’s parents’ house (1 hour each way) on Thanksgiving with our child in an improperly installed car seat.  Good God.  The only reason I even thought about it was that he couldn’t sleep in it, it was tilted too far forward, so I researched the recline.  Turns out, it was all screwed up.

So – his seat is not properly installed and no harm no foul… but I still hate that seat!

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Favorite Photos of the Boys This Week:

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Favorite Twinkle This Week:

One of our trees is up and decorated!  Matthew insists on decorating every single night, but we’re not fully ready yet.  So… I got out his little tree and set it up for him.  He lost interest quickly, because he said his tummy hurt from all of the food.  Bryson and I lit and decorated the tree for him and an hour later, Matthew spewed all over my bedroom floor.  Huzzah!

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12 Weeks of Maintenance – Wrapped Up!

It was getting pretty tough to focus on this 12 week challenge since I started PiYo 3 weeks ago – PiYo has  ended up taking quite a bit of time.  I knew my running would take a hit, and am honestly glad that it didn’t take a bigger hit than it did.  My goal was to run a minimum of 240 miles and I ended up at 229.77 miles prior to resetting running goals in week 10 to reflect the time required of PiYo and weather considerations (it is so wet and cold outside – I haven’t run outside in 3+ weeks, sigh).  I’m pretty darn happy with that and if nothing else, it reminds me it’s time for a new pair of running shoes  😉  I’ve definitely put 500 miles on the ones I’m currently wearing.  HA!

At the end of the day, most goals were met and I lost weight, if only 2.6 pounds (I did weigh 1.2 pounds less yesterday when I thought I was done with this challenge, but that’s OK).  My goal was to maintain, so any loss is a win!  I never went above 145 pounds and my body fat did not go above 24% – both of those were my highest-priority goals.  If fact, I lost 1.4% body fat, ending up solidly in the 21%-range (21.4% today) and I could not be happier with that!  I have never had body fat percentages this low before!  I think you can see the changes in the pictures – things really tightened up!

I almost spent 5 hours a week being active – and I have the PiYo challenge to thank for that.  I was slipping big-time on this goal but then PiYo started and it’s not a big calorie-burner, so I had to step it up to keep burning my calories while getting stronger and more flexible.  I ended up coming in under my weekly 5 hour activity goal by only 9 minutes a week – and when you consider my steps per day – I bet I met the goal.  I move a LOT chasing these kids around  😉

Another great challenge with most goals met!  I can’t always control how much time I can spend being active, but I can modify calorie intake to off-set those challenges and that’s what I did.  I’ve learned these last 12 weeks how to plan each day the night before, and to think about modifications when things don’t go according to plan.  A great thing to figure out, no doubt!

Summary (09/02/2015 – 11/25/2015)

  • Weight:   140.4 Pounds
    • Number of Weeks Meeting <=145 pound goal:  12 weeks
    • Pounds Lost or Gained (started at 143.0 pounds):  2.6 Pound lost
  • Body Fat %: 21.4%
    • Number of Weeks Meeting <=24% goal:  12 weeks
    • Body Fat % Lost or Gained (started at 22.8%):  1.4% Lost
  • BMI: 22
    • BMI Points Lost or Gained (started at 22.4):  0.4
  • Time Spent Being Active (goal is 60 hours):  58 Hours 12 Minutes
    • Number of Weeks Meeting >= 5 hour goal:  4 weeks (average of 4 hours 51 minutes per week, which is very close to the weekly goal!  Only off by 9 minutes per week)
  • Miles Run:  229.77 Miles (averaged 19.14 miles per week, only off 0.86 miles per week)
  • Measurements:
    • Natural Waist: 27 inches (27.5 on 08/29/15)
      • Lost 0.5 inches
    • Belly Button: 31.5 inches (31.75 on 08/29/15)
      • Lost 0.25 inches
    • Hips:  35.75 inches (35.75 on 08/29/15)
      • Neither lost nor gained inches

12 Week final

12 Week final side


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Annual Santa Photo – CHECK!

I took the boys to the mall to visit Santa today.  Last year, they both seemed a little put-off by the big fluffy guy, so I did a lot of prepping this year.  We went to “just look at him” last week (but rode the train!), bought our “Santa outfits” this past weekend, and talked about visiting him nightly.  Both kids were SO EXCITED to tell him what they want for Christmas this year (Matthew wants yet ANOTHER set of walkie talkies, Bryson wants Lightning McQueen) and could hardly wait to go.  On our way to school, Matthew kept asking why we had to wait soooo long to see him.  After leaving Matthew at school, Bryson insisted that we go see Santa that instant (the mall was not open yet – I told the truth!!!).  I had high hopes!

Prior to this morning, I did have a few worries that Matthew would get cold feet – after all – that is what happened with the Easter Bunny in April (in all fairness, Matthew just opted out and poor Bryson wasn’t given a choice and sobbed his little eyes out = best picture EVER).  I thought for sure that Bryson would run right up to Santa and chat him up.

The opposite happened!

Matthew had almost no hesitations, and all Santa had to do was smile at him and he sat right down next to him and started spilling it.  Bryson, on the other hand, was scared to pieces.  As Matthew was smiling and talking with Santa, while I was trying to coerce Bryson to “just sit next to him,” I asked the picture gal to please start snapping photos because I wasn’t sure how long this was going to last.  Matthew started to be concerned about his little brother and tried helping me convince him that it was OK to sit with Santa.  Bryson disagreed – BIG TIME.  So, I did what any good mom does and plopped him down there and walked away.  We got one photo that did not look like we were torturing him  😉

And now we’re done for another year!  Ho, Ho, Ho!!!

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Family Pictures – Finally!

We had family pictures taken 4 months after Matthew was born, in the crisp fall of early November.  Two years later, we followed suit when Bryson was 4 months old, and it was fun to see how our family had changed in just two years.  We thought about getting pictures taken again last year, but we weren’t 100% sure if we were done having kids and figured that we’d wait until we knew for sure.  Because there was a possibility of a third baby, I wanted to save the money for possible birth photos.  Shortly after missing the crisp fall weather, we were told by two doctors that we were done having babies.

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2011 Family

 

2013

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I scheduled our family photos in July for the fall, because I love nothing more than a fall setting and sweaters!  I scheduled them for the end of October, a little earlier than we’re used to, but I was hoping for a little more green grass this year.  I immediately got to work on coordinating our outfits and decided to go with blues this year instead of our “normal” browns and tans (Hottie accidentally wore a brown quarter zip sweater in both our 2011 and 2013 photos – it was a different sweater, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the pictures).  It all started with Matthew’s sweater and then the rest of us each had a different shade of blue on.  It looked great in theory!

The pictures were not easy – Matthew gets so crazy and wild when he has an audience, Bryson was tired even though he’d just napped, I was wearing a dress that was way too short for my comfort level, and Hottie just wasn’t in the mood.  I felt like we got a few good ones, which is all I wanted, and we called it after 20 minutes.  Denise, my photographer friend, sent me a few teasers and I knew we’d gotten the few that I’d hoped for, after a few head swaps  😉  I waited for a couple of weeks, then, as she edited and took a much-needed vacation.

I got the full collection of photos on Sunday and they are so great!  They capture our family, our craziness, my exhaustion (I’m not in many!), and the boys’ personalities.  I’m really glad we waited 2 years from the last time because that’s a good amount of time to show some major changes in the kids.  And.. I’m running out of wall space because I can’t bear to take any of the old photos down!

2015

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Weekend Highlight – Our First Snow

We finally got snow yesterday for the first time this fall. This is unusual for us! Usually by Halloween, everyone’s making bets on when we’ll see our first snow flakes if we haven’t already. We usually have had at least a flurry or two by the start of November, but not this year (which has been awesome!).

Saturday morning brought us 6 inches of real snow – enough to play in but not enough to ruin our moods (ha ha!). Our “snow guys” had our drifts cleared out by 1:00 and the kids were ready to go! Bryson was pretty sick with a virus but he refused to stay in while Matthew got to go out, so we bundled them up and Hottie did the honors – I believe it is the Dad’s job to take them out in the freezing cold. They were out for over an hour (I ran on the treadmill) and I think the cold air cleared out Bryson’s nasty sinuses. He’s still feeling exhausted and yucky today, but I really think the cold air helped.

They had a great time together and with the neighbor kids. I snapped a few photos from inside behind a screen, so those photos are not good. The good ones are from the neighbor!

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