October 17, 2014

Catch the Moment 365: Week 41

283/365: Pumpkins of every shape and color.

284/365: Boy on a bridge.

285/365: Post-family photo session treats.

286/365: Sneaking a bite.

287/365: Splish splash!

288/365: Hard to capture, beautiful in person.

 289/365: Why yes, I did want all the boots lined up in front of the pantry.

290/365: Note to self: next time slice the lemons thinner. Otherwise this Shaker Lemon Pie 
was a wonderful surprise!

As always, thank you to our hosts: Simply Stavish, Nurse Loves Farmer, and 


October 16, 2014

Out with a bang (or two)

There are some milestones that sneak up quietly, and others that we usher in with a bang.

This is a story about the latter, and there were two bangs rather than one.

A few weeks ago, following a visit to the dentist that revealed some pacifier-related tooth shifting, D gave up his beloved baba. We dropped A off at kindergarten and after a quick stop at home to fill my pocket with pacifiers, we headed straight for the mall. I carried D into Build-a-Bear Workshop and let him have his pick of the animals to serve as a baba replacement. He considered his many options, and settled on a rainbow hued Hello Kitty. D placed his favorite blue baba in the kitty along with the red satin heart pressed into his hands by the Build-a-Bear assistant. D christened his new friend Baba Kitty and on our way out of the mall, I threw the rest of his pacifiers in a trash can. It was a quiet end to an era, or so we thought.

Three times our boy has told us he wishes he had his baba, but he's never cried for it or asked for it back. Instead, he's simply stopped taking a nap. Twice he's dozed off in the car, and twice I've carried him into the house like a baby and laid him down to sleep. But otherwise, he's fought his midday tiredness off, and so we've made the move from nap to quiet time. D observes quiet time in name only, preferring to stage stuffed animal dramas or "read" and then toss books from his crib.

And then on Monday, quiet time took a decidedly noisy turn.

I was on the couch in the living room, chatting with my mother, when we heard a BANG...and then silence. Silence is frequently bad news when small children are involved, and I had a vision of D unconscious on the floor in his room. I raced up the steps, opened his door, and...there he sat on the floor next to his crib, stuffed animal in hand.

I getting my things, he said as I scooped him up into a hug, relieved he wasn't hurt and shocked he'd finally managed to climb out.

The second bang came a few hours later, as the front side of D's crib hit the floor when I pulled the last screw out of place. Two short pieces went up in its place, and the crib that has held both of our babies is now a toddler bed again.

Bang...goodbye baby era.

October 15, 2014

In the bag

Today's Blogtober prompt is straight out of US Weekly...what's in your bag?


In no particular order, here's what I found in mine:

Camera

Diaper pouch

Wallet

A non-smart phone

Tissues

One of A's hair clips

Three lipsticks

My Pure Barre 100 Club socks

One card for an upcoming show at Imagination Stage

(Not pictured: handful of receipts, abandoned cake pop sticks, three loose pennies)

What's in your bag?


October 14, 2014

Thankful

Today's Blogtober prompt is all about giving thanks...something that's easy to forget to do as the year races to a close at what feels like breakneck speed. Here are ten reasons I'm thankful.

1. My husband. At the end of this month we'll celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, but he's number one on my list. He's the calm to my panic, the spontaneous to my list making. Every day I am thankful to call him my partner.

2. Our kids. They're sweet and smart and funny and silly, and every day I'm amazed they're ours. Watching them grow into friends has been so special, and I hope they'll always be buddies.

3. Time. Though I'm guilty of saying I don't have enough of it, time is a luxury I'm thankful to have. I'm thankful to have this time at home with A and D, thankful for the time I'm able to spend in D's classroom and the time I'm about to devote to leading A's Girl Scout troop.

4. Education. I'm fortunate to have grown up in communities where local schools were filled with good teachers, in a family that made college a priority and a reality, and in a country where gender doesn't limit opportunity.

5. Health. For a long time, I took my body for granted, and it showed. In the past year I've made health a priority, and I'm thankful to have good health - and looking forward to a stronger, better future.

6. Pure Barre. My workout, my "me time," the place I found an unexpected new circle of friends.

7. Books. The written word has been a source of comfort for as long as I can remember, and sharing a good book with our kids has been one of my greatest pleasures as a parent.

8. Knitting. What started as a hobby on something as a whim has become an exercise in patience, a metaphor I can hold in my hands. I'm thankful for the joy of creating something from nothing, and for the much-needed lesson in the value of starting over. There's beauty in imperfection, but there's also beauty in admitting mistakes and beginning again.

9. Baking. Butter and sugar are my love language, and baking for the people I love is one of my great pleasures in life. Teaching my children to bake is messy but worth it, and I'm so thankful to have two enthusiastic little helpers in the kitchen.

10. Writing. Putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard is something I've turned to in happy times and sad, in confusion, anger, joy and everything in between. I'm thankful to you for reading what I write here.

October 13, 2014

5 Tips to Becoming a Better Blogger

Today's Blogtober prompt is all about sharing tips with fellow bloggers...so here my 5 tips that have helped me become a better blogger (and one I wish I'd followed from day one).

1. Be you. There are a million blogs out there, and I know there are a few that I love and wish I wrote. I can't be someone else and neither can you, so be you and be proud to write what you write.

2. Find your community. I was lucky to have friends who blogged help me get started, and they helped me meet other bloggers in the area. In the two years I've been blogging, I've been lucky to join a group of Maryland bloggers, and I've yet to meet a local blogger who isn't welcoming and supportive of newcomers.

3. Find a conference. You can go big and travel to BlogHer or Type A, or you can go small and find something local. Last year I went to Femworking's first conference and it was a fantastic day filled with smart women who blog and run their own businesses. Spending time with like-minded people who do what you want to be doing is really energizing, and I came home ready to write.

4. Try something new. In January, I joined a photo project - Catch the Moment 365. Not only has it given me a ready-made topic to write about each week, it's also introduced me to some fantastic bloggers and improved my photography skills so much. When I started blogging, photography was usually an afterthought. Now, I often find myself taking a picture with a post in mind.

5. Consider anonymity. If there's one thing I'd like to go back and do differently, it's launch my blog anonymously. As much as I love having my family read and support me, I definitely write differently at times because of it - and there are topics I haven't blogged about because I know who's reading. I've often wished I'd made my blog anonymous from the start so that I could feel more comfortable taking risks in what I write.

October 10, 2014

An ode to caramel

Today's Blogtober prompt is all about favorite fall recipes. I could write about the pumpkin bread I've been perfecting, but the truth is that the recipe I've made most this fall is The Pioneer Woman's Easy Caramel Sauce.

I had to make caramel sauce because D and I went apple picking on Memorial Day, and a person can only eat so many sliced apples. Sure, we could have made applesauce, but that's not nearly as much fun. I've experimented with lightening it up using milk instead of cream, but allow me to save you the trouble: caramel isn't meant to be light. It's meant to be rich and sticky and buttery and a pinch salty. Milk subbed in for cream makes for a grainy, dramatically less rich sauce.

Do yourself a fall favor: pick up some crisp apples, then head home and whip up this rich, delicious sauce. Feel good knowing you're indulging but also doing your family a service, eating the fruit before it has a chance to go bad.

Someone has to, after all.

October 9, 2014

Catch the Moment 365: Week 40

This is my first week back on the 365 project, and it's been nice to be back in the swing of things. It's also nice to feel like we've finally settled into the rhythm of the school year (I'm going to pretend there's no napping issue here). Fall is here, and it's good.

 274/365: Milk shirt for the boy who loves milk.

 275/365: Home again, home again, jiggity jig (I'm not allowed to say that out loud 
because it annoys both of them).

 276/365: One the many pleasures of fall - crunchy leaves to stomp.

 277/365: Pumpkin patch wishes.

 278/365: Little landscaper.

 279/365: He leaves preschool like this every day, backpack on his front
 just like sister used to do in preschool.

 281/365: Hiding.

282/365: A glowing gift from grammy.

As always, thank you to our hosts: Simply Stavish, Nurse Loves Farmer, and