Thursday, December 30, 2010

smiles

Pike, Great Grandpa & Great Grandma
This picture is priceless.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Cookie Favorites


Pictured above are my favorite Christmas cookies and candies. One of my favorite things about the holiday season is baking an assortment of cookies while listening to Christmas music and then giving half of them away while consuming the other half with my family. These are my Christmas cookie staples. Starting on the left and going clockwise we have: Peppermint Patty Cookies- Farm Chicks Cookbook, Lemon Bars- Cook's Illustrated, Peanut Butter Balls- Cooks.com, Chocolate Crinkles- Martha Stewart, Winter Almond Bark- Martha Stewart, Peanut Butter Blossoms- New York Times, Homemade Almond Joy- Joy the Baker, Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies- Barefoot Contessa and in the center is a Butter Cookie with icing- Cooks Illustrated.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

summer

Those glorious days of summer; 90 degree crisp air, rays of sunshine beaming on my face, the cooling effect of the river on my toes, a BBQ with family and friends and an ice cold Coca-Cola...that's what I'm thinking about.






Tuesday, December 14, 2010

are these the good times?

I've been thinking a lot lately, contemplating the joys and sorrows of life. So many times these days I am counting down the minutes until bed time. I go to bed exhausted and wake up exhausted. I look forward to the day when my kids will simply sleep! Yet everyone I talk to says, "they'll only be little for a short while- savor the moments." I try. I try real hard. But sometimes it's hard. What is it that I am to be savoring? Is it the fact that my little darlings adore me right now? Is it the fact that they say and do the funniest things without shame? Is it the simplicity of their lives at this stage, that they can spend all day pretending to be Flower and Sunshine? Well, whatever it is, I am going to keep trying to savor the day. I don't want to look back and think, "if only I took the time to play, laugh, love, teach, etc. my kids." I have been blessed with three adorable kids. They have tons of energy and thoroughly wear me out EVERY day. They also bring me more joy than I could have imagined. I am in love with each of them. And with this in mind, I'm off to bake cookies with them. Sure, it will take three times as long, make twice as big of a mess and possibly not even turn out but I'll be making memories with my kids!

Monday, December 13, 2010

in a nutshell


Wow. I did not realize time could fly so quickly. Everyone says the older you get, the faster time flies and it is so true. I don't want it to fly any faster though. So maybe I should just stop here. Stay 24 forever. Keep my babies as babies forever. Hmmm, if only it were possible.

Stephen and I are happily insane. Well, maybe it's only half of the time that we are insane... Our kids keep us this way. You see, kids bring this balance of ultimate joy and love and sheer chaos and insanity. One moment they play together quietly in their room, skip down the hall to give you a kiss and say they love you and the next moment they are yelling at you from the other end of the house while kicking and screaming because their arm is stuck in the neck-hole of that dress that must go on or because one sister took the toy that the other wanted to play with.

Pear will be 4 in February. She loves to dance and sing. She loves to dress up, have her hair fixed, go shopping and pretty much do anything girly. I caught her shopping on Gap.com the other day. I must have left my browser open and sure enough she managed to find the girl clothes and was sitting at the computer shopping. Yep, that's my girl! She is currently learning to read and is doing very well. She can read short stories and I find her reading words and signs when we're out and about. Other than her daily reading lesson, we don't have a whole lot of structure to her schooling yet. We are just using everyday life and situations to encourage learning. Pear loves to color pictures and she makes the most adorable, alien looking Backholm family. She colors a picture for Stephen to take to work almost every day. He's taken one or two and put them on his office walls but I'm afraid she might be disappointed if we go and visit him and she doesn't see all 50 of them. Pear is continuing to grow in kindness and gentleness. She loves her siblings and will often greet Jovie with a hug after Jovie wakes from her nap.

Speaking of Jovie, this little 2-year-old girl is a kick. Her most spoken phrase is "I'm hunger mommy." She never tires of eating. In her mind, she runs just as fast and jumps just as high as her big sister. Jovie is Pear's little sidekick and they will play and play and play. Jovie loves her little brother tremendously. Unfortunately, sometimes she expresses that love in ways that aren't as enjoyable for him. She has a certain obsession for Pike's binky. Jovie hasn't had a binky since she was 1 but ever since Pike came along, she has to have it. Not in her mouth, not to suck on, simply to have it in her control and hold it. Jovie will hear Pike waking from his nap crying and she'll run in the bedroom, grab his binky through the crib slats and run back out of the room with it leaving Pike awake and crying longing for the said binky.

Pike, our biggest blessing this year, is probably close to the best baby I could have asked for. He is always happy and content. He likes to snuggle and give me kisses. He loves to go for car rides. Ahhh, a breath of fresh air! He has made life so much more fun and I am so thankful for him. He loves to laugh and play. He loves to roll across the room. He is a momma's boy but he is much more friendly to others than either of the girls have been.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Viking Hat...

I recently spotted this hat featured in a recent Real Simple magazine. I wanted the hat but I didn't want to pay the $50 price. What to do, what to do? Make one of course! I dug up an old sweater that I haven't worn in years, used some scrap fur from the fabric bin and voila! Oh, and might I add that on Pike's first time sporting the hat, I had a couple of people ask where we got the hat and upon saying that I made it, they said, "you could get a good little side business going you know."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pumpkin Patch

It's been almost a month but I just came across the pictures from our trip to the pumpkin patch.
The wagon ride to the pumpkin patch.

The Dude and his daddy.

The girls with their pumpkins.

Daddy giving the girls a lesson on how corn grows.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Breathe.

Wow. What a trying couple of hours, days, weeks...months! My life is crazy. It really is. You may think, "Oh, she's just saying that." But let me assure you, it is sheer chaos! In-between the tantrums, the fits, the sleepless nights, the hitting, the bumps and bruises, the messes and the crying I see glimpses of laughter and joy and love. It's the glimpses that keep me going. Okay, maybe it's not that bad but today really was.

I'm being frank and honest here. Sometimes I don't know why or how I get into these messes. Sometimes I don't know how I'm going to make it through. Actually, I do. Every time I feel this way I realize that I can't do it. I can't train my kids on my own. I can't give them all of the love, calm all of the fits or keep going after those sleepless nights on my own. And that is why I have days like this. That is why I'm in this mess. I forget on whom I depend. If only this little bird brain of mine would remember and comprehend the God I serve!

So, I'm laying it on the table, these are the things I'm asking God to help me with:
  • I want Pear to have a heart that desires to be kind to others and to her siblings. I want her to find joy in sharing and helping others.
  • I need Pear to calm down and not throw fits in the parking lot because it's cold outside or in the store because Jovie's leg accidentally touched her.
  • I want Jovie to desire to honor her mommy and daddy and obey.
  • I need patience. I need patience. I need patience.
  • I want to exemplify joy and thankfulness to my family in a way that is contagious.
  • I need help training my kids to be thankful and not whine or complain when asked to eat their dinner, or help pick up their toys.
  • I need direction in how to communicate and speak to my children in a way that helps them understand and that touches their hearts.
Now, thankfully "Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Here's to a new day, full of the glimpses of joy, dependant on God, washed in Christ's mercies!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The long awaited Care Bear Birthday!

video

Jovie is now 2. She has been waiting for months for her Care Bear birthday. I don't know why she was so determined to have a Care Bear birthday. We only have 1 Care Bear movie and they hardly ever watch it. They have a Care Bear book that we hardly ever read. But Memee did get them Care Bear dolls that they play with quite often, maybe that's it.

We had a simple fun filled day to celebrate her 2 year birthday. She woke up to streamers, a fun cake and presents on the table. Daddy made her the best waffles I've ever eaten for breakfast. We got her a little pink leotard with a tutu attached which she liked so much that she wore it all day! We went to McDonald's and got the girls Happy Meals (this is a rare occasion) for lunch. My family came over for a little party and we ended the day by going to Red Robin where she stood on the table for the birthday song and had all eyes adoring her.

Happy Birthday my adorable, mischievous, sweet, fun, silly, blue eyed girl.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Happy Day Dude!


5 months old today.



Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cake

This is on of my favorite cake recipes for a couple of reasons. It is simple. It is loaded with rich chocolate flavor. And it has hints of espresso in every bite. While frosting this cake, Pear said, "Wow. That is the bestest cake I ever dreamed about in ten years!" She then turned to Pike and said, "You were dreaming about it in mom's tummy, huh." And, maybe what she said is true. It was a darn good cake! If you'd like to try a good, simple cake recipe, here you go:

Simple Old Fashioned Cake


3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cocoa powdered
2 oz shot espresso
1-1/4 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

1. Beat butter until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating 30 seconds after each addition.
3. Measure the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder into a medium sized bowl and whisk to combine.
4. Measure the milk, vanilla and espresso into a measuring cup.
5. Add about a third of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar and beat to combine. Add about a half of the milk/vanilla and beat to combine. Continue adding, alternating between dry and wet and finishing with the dry.
6. Divide batter into two 9" cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.


Creamy Milk Chocolate Frosting


1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 tsp salt
1Tbsp light corn syrup
10 oz milk chocolate (I highly recommend getting good quality chocolate.)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
8 Tbsp butter

Heat cream, salt, and corn syrup in microwave-safe measuring cup on high until simmering, about 1 minute. Place chocolate in work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. With machine running, gradually add hot cream mixture through feed tube; process 1 minute after cream has been added. Stop machine; add powdered sugar to bowl and process to combine, about 30 seconds. With machine running, add butter through feed tube one piece at a time; process until incorporated and smooth, about 20 seconds longer. Transfer frosting to medium bowl and cool at room temperature, stirring frequently, until thick and spreadable, about 1 hour.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Nobody can be uncheered...

...with a balloon.

~Winnie the Pooh

Monday, September 27, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

You're mom, not Bob!

This morning, on our way to get doughnuts at 6:30 am, Pear came to a revelation: "Mom, I think I'm all better now because now I call you mom, not Bob!" Pear has been fighting a cold over the last couple of days. Let me tell you, she DOES NOT deal with colds well. Picture a whiny little girl that sneezes and starts screaming hysterically, "my nose, my nose!" Then she frantically goes for the nearest blanket, t-shirt or tissue and wipes her face aggressively. All night long, every 30 minutes she wakes crying due to a plugged nose, sore throat or cough, I'm not talking about whimpering or whining, no, she is full out wailing and waking the whole house with her. You'd think she were seriously ill but no, it's just a cold. All day yesterday she complained, "momb I can't say momb, I keep calling you Bob! My nose is plugged." Anyway, she appears to be better and I am back to being mom, not Bob.

Monday, September 20, 2010

4 months

My little Pike is already 4 months old. Time has flown by since that May day that he was born. It feels as though we jumped right past summer, (oh wait, that's because this year in Western Washington, that's basically what we did!)

Pike continues to be what I would call an angel baby. He is almost always happy. He takes one solid (1-2 hour) nap every day along with a couple 45 minute naps. He eats well. Plays well. He'll lay on his tummy. He'll sit in his chair. He's good in the car (most of the time.) He's just a dream! Sometimes I feel bad for him because he's so good. I guess I've just never had a baby like him. I've never before been able to make dinner while the baby sits in the Bumbo and watches. I feel bad because he's content for 45 minutes in his chair! Pear would cry the minute I sat her down and Jovie would last maybe 15-20 minutes max. Pike, you are a dude!

I am loving life. I love having three adorable kids. I love having a little boy.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The long weekend...

ended short. We did great and were surprised when Stephen arrived home a whole day early! I know it's been a couple of weeks so is this information really pertinent? Yes. Yes it is because I want you to know how great of a guy Stephen is. Stephen surprised us by coming home early and then he took us out to dinner and took the girls to Toys R Us to get a toy. We are loved!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

a long weekend

Life is good. Stephen is such a wonderful husband and I love him soooo much! I have three healthy, happy, beautiful children who make life fun (and crazy). And I have my God who loves me and blesses and forgives me. Now that we have those constants out in the open, let me just say that this is going to be a long weekend. Stephen went hiking. He will be gone for 3 whole days. I know, I'm a big baby. Military wives have to go months and I am complaining about 3 days! This "man-hike" is well deserved on Stephen's part. He has been working his tail off remodeling our house, being a dad and husband and all of this on top of his day job which he is doing very well at. As much as it is deserved for him, it is still going to be a long weekend for me. It's not that I can't handle the kids by myself. I can. It's just that 3 full 24 hour shifts with a 3 1/2 year old, 22 month old and 3 month old, really wears one out. You see, I have to answer ALL of the questions. I have to change ALL of the diapers. I have to cook ALL of the meals, do ALL of the dishes, wash ALL of the faces- you get the point. And all of this with very little adult communication or interaction. I can't really go anywhere with all three kids. Well, I can but it's really not worth it. By the time I get everyone dressed, hair brushed, fed, etc. it's probably nap time or maybe one has to go potty and then while that one was going potty the other pooped their pants and then by the time I get the diaper changed the other spit up all over his clothes and therefore we start the cycle all over again. If we are lucky to even make it out of the house, by the time we reach the destination, one may have fallen asleep in the car, the other cries because now we can't get out at the said destination thus waking the other child up and then we have 2, 3 or maybe even 4 (including me) crying babies in the car! Or there's the instance like I had this morning when I actually got all of the kids ready, buckled in their seats and then found out that not only is the car on empty but the tire pressure is low as well. So on top of all of the things mentioned above, tack on an extra 30 minutes to take care of the car. Yeah. I think I'll just stay home tomorrow.

Day 1 complete. We are all alive and well. I am happy and thankful. I didn't cry. I am exhausted. I am looking forward to tomorrow. I did just eat 2 enormous chocolate chip cookies...because I deserved them.

Friday, August 13, 2010

life as I know it....

I sit down to nurse Pike. Pear begins to pant in panic because she has to go potty. Pear yells, "mom I went poop!" I ask, "in the potty?" She replies, "no, in my panties!" I set Pike down. He cries because he was in the middle of eating his lunch. I head toward the bathroom. I hear a crash and Jovie begins screaming. Yep. She fell off the dresser in the closet. I comfort Jovie. I go into the bathroom and take care of Pear's mess. I retrieve Pike. I sit down to nurse Pike. Two minutes of my life. Want to hear more?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

comparing faces at 2 months...

Pike

Jovie

Pear

Our little dude is 2 months old.

"How can this be?" you may ask. Well, I don't exactly know. Evidently a day begins with the rising of the sun and ends with the setting. One month contains 30-31 days which means that approximately 61 days have elapsed since his birth but what I can't figure out is why it seems like it's been no more than 2 weeks. Why is it that time seems to disappear in thin air when I'm wanting to savor it? Ah, well, I can't change the way time passes, only how I use it. I think I'm using it pretty well loving on my little Pike and his adorable sisters.Do you like Pike's pants? I followed this tutorial for the Knee Pad Pants. How about the shirt? I used a Gerber onesie and inkjet transfer paper along with this clip-art image.


I am blessed!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A trip over the mountains...

Stephen's sister, Claire, just so happens to be engaged to a farm boy. And, not just any farm boy but one from a wonderful family who runs a cherry, apple and blueberry farm. On July 3rd Bill's Berry Farm held their first ever Blueberry Daze Festival. The festival sounded like so much fun that my family decided to take the 4 hour drive and make a mini vacation out of it.

We stayed in a hotel in Yakima on Friday night. Pear was so excited to see the pool upon our arrival. We immediately went to our room to put our suits on and headed down to the pool. The girls swam, and swam and swam some more. They were also very excited to sleep in a big bed. "This is the best room ever! They've never had kids here before because they don't have kids beds," Pear said with excitement. I think Pear's highlight was "making" her own waffle at the continental breakfast in the morning. She has been telling people ever since that morning that she made her own waffle at the hotel.

Jovie sittin' pretty in the pool.


Isn't my mom beautiful? She's blesses me.

Aspen.

Libbi.

Racer.

Stephen and Jovie.

Pear.

The Blueberry Daze festival was so much fun! There were pony rides, train rides pulled by a tractor, they had tire swings hung from big trees and the best tree fort. Wonderful antique vendors from all over Washington set up camp to display their beautiful treasures. They grilled tasty burgers and hot dogs, sold ice cold lemonade and mochas, ice cream bars and sodas. It was a blast! It reminds me of something you'd see in a Country Living magazine.The menu.

Some of the antique vendors.

Stephen's mom, Therese, and Pike.

Taffi, Pear and Libbi. Do you like Libbi's dress? I made it with recycled t-shirts!

Stephen's brother Warren with the J-Jove.

She really was having fun.

Need I say anything?

Yes, she really is as sweet as she looks.

Real life: overall, this first mini vacation with all three kids was a success. Sure, the girls fought for an hour or two in the bed before going to sleep. Sure, all three kids were awake at one point in the night and it took another 45 minutes to get them back to sleep but that's life with kids, right? The drive both there and back was fairly pleasant. Pike decided he didn't want to be in the car for some of it and we had to pull over a few times to console him but overall, I was very happy and deemed this trip a success. Oh, did I mention that having my parents and siblings there was a HUGE help? Yeah, that probably contributed to the success of the trip. And then at the festival, Stephen's family was also there. Family is WONDERFUL!