Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ben's Valetine's Card!

{12/21/2011: This was originally posted on a blog I started just for Ben. I no longer keep up with that blog, so I'm moving them all over to this one}

We took Ben out to the Boise Depot yesterday and shot some fun pictures of him looking at the train they have parked there. He cried when we left - I think he wanted to stay longer and look!

Triple Love Valentine's Day Card
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

13 Months.

Adventure is the name of the game every day at our house. Ben is changing so much every single day - he jabbers a lot in his own little language. He doesn't say "cat" any more and instead says "baby" over and over (but it comes out "bahhhhh beeeeeeeeee"). He knows where his toes are, he loves chase, he'll push around his cars & trucks, harass the cat, love Sadie to pieces and gives great big hugs and big wet kisses. If I hand him a teddy bear and say "can you give bear a hug?" he'll smoosh the bear to his chest and just hug as tight as he can.

He walks. A lot. He's getting better and better every day and spends more and more of his time toddling along rather than crawling. His top left front tooth finally poked through yesterday and the top right one is starting to break the surface a little. Not sure when we'll see the bottom right tooth (the bottom left front tooth was the first to come out).

He's picking up some signs more. He'll say "please" usually after prompting. He signals milk for milk, water or food. He waves "bye bye" when he wants to go for a nap. I'm trying to teach him "help" but mostly he looks at me like I've grown a second head when I do it. :)

I think he's starting to drop one of his naps. The last few days he's been widening the awake window between naps and the afternoon nap is getting shorter. Me thinks we're in for a rough adjustment period while teething and trying to change nap schedules at the same time.

He loves to talk on the phone and thinks it's the best game ever when he chats with his nana and grandad in Florida. He's a big ham for the camera and will usually greet anyone taking his picture with a great big smile.

Meal times are also a big adventure. I never know what he'll stuff himself silly on and what he'll think goes better on the floor than in his mouth. He's recently discovered that he can lift the high chair cover away from the side of the chair and stuff food down there. So he does. And that's fun to clean up. :)

I used to leave the TV on PBS almost all day, just for background noise. I've been noticing recently that he'll stop and stare for long periods of time so now the TV is either turned off or set to a music station. I don't mind if he watches TV every now and then but I don't want to get in the habit of using it as a babysitter or getting to the point where he'd rather sit and watch TV than play.

That's about it for the Ben update. He still loves his Little Gym class (though I am way bummed - we started a new semester at Little Gym and we got a new instructor - I loved our old one a lot and so did Ben) and I signed him up for a baby music class (it actually started yesterday but we had other plans so had to miss the first class).

Saturday, January 22, 2011


(for those of you that happen to read my blog via Facebook post - I have no idea when this will choose to import to Facebook. I'm writing this blog late at night on Friday, setting it to post around the time of my mom's services Saturday afternoon)

First things first - we (and by "we" I mean my dad) have set up a donation page at Susan G Komen where donations for the cure can be made in my mom's name. If you haven't already made a donation, I'm going to be super bold here and request that you consider doing so. It can be for any amount and even small amounts add up. If you're reading this from my blog, you can click my mom's picture on the sidebar to the right. Or you can click right here.

Second - at the bottom of this post will be the video/slide show dealie I made for the services on Saturday. You can skip reading all this in the middle and just look at the movie, but I'm not posting it til the end. So there. (Imagine me sticking out my tongue like a little kid.)

Third... well... I haven't decided yet (I know... I know... running out of time) if I'll speak at my mom's service. I sort of want to and sort of don't. I hate public speaking. I don't even like talking in front of 7 people that I know. Speaking in front of a large group of people that I loosely know, and at my mom's memorial service... well I don't know if I can pull it off. But if I were going to speak, I think this is what I might say (you should imagine a whole lot of pausing, no typing, staring off in to space, typing random things, deleting it all and starting again):

There isn't much I didn't say to my mom before she passed - no things I never got around to saying, no little regrets of things I didn't do or anything like that. So this won't be about things I wish had done. As you heard from the chaplain and will see in the pictures, my mom loved to travel. She loved adventure and seeing new things and sharing memories of those travels with others. I wanted to share a story of one of those travels – if my mom were sitting here right now, she’d probably start to giggle, knowing what I was about to say. So mom, as promised… let’s talk about Anne Frank.

Some time in the late 80s, early 90s, my dad was sent to fight in the first Gulf War while we were stationed in Germany. My granny came to live with us while he was gone. I don't remember all the details of how this all came to be, but some how the three of us ended up on a nice chartered bus with a ton of other people from our base headed to Holland for what I think was a weekend trip.
During that trip, we got to do and see a lot of really amazing things. We stayed at a host families house, we went to the Keukenhof, we explored Amsterdam (we even got lost at one point... she so kindly point out the people doing drugs in the alley and told me that's what would happen to me if I ever did drugs - point made) and had a truly fantastic time.

There's one thing, however, that we didn't get to do. Perhaps you're familiar with another young girl named Anne Frank. Maybe you remember that her family hid from the Nazi's in a house in where? Oh yeah. Amsterdam. Where we WERE. Of course, I had just read the book for school, and I wanted to go tour the house. But... we didn't. The day before we left on our trip, my mom smashed her foot at work, breaking the pinkie toe. That and the shocking fact that my granny was well, old, equaled no Anne Frank's house for us. This was a Very. Big. Deal.

Well, to be honest, I’m not sure at the time it was such a huge deal. I know as I got older, I started teasing her about it more and more. In fact, I promised to her on many occasions that I’d tell just this story on just this day. I might not get back to Europe til I'm 80 years old, but I'll get back and I’ll climb up that narrow ladder (or so I’m told it’s narrow – did I also mention that my mom had been to Amsterdam before and had already toured Anne Frank’s house?) and probably shrug my shoulders and think “wow….this really wasn’t a big deal at all.” I will probably nip a little piece of mom to take with me….and leave her outside while I go in.

So, if I choose to talk at her services, I'll probably share that story. And she'd totally laugh. :)

As promised - here's the link to the movie :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Taco Soup.

Made this for dinner tonight, found on Our Best Bites (they blog about such yummy looking food - this was the first recipe I tried from them but my-oh-my was it delicious). I made very minor changes that I don't believe affected the taste at all. This is definitely going in our monthly rotation!

Taco Soup
Recipe from Our Best Bites

1 lb. extra lean ground beef (93% lean or or leaner)
1 onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1.25-oz. packet taco seasoning (about 1/4 c.)
3 c. water, divided
2 28-oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
2 15-oz. cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, drained

Toppings: Pico de Gallo, light sour cream, shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips, tortilla strips, guacamole, etc.

Heat a large soup pot over medium. When ready, brown the ground beef with the onion and garlic. When almost brown, add the taco seasoning and 1 c. water. Add the remaining ingredients, including the remaining 2 c. water, bring to a medium boil, then, cover and reduce heat. Simmer for at least 15 minutes. Serve with desired toppings. Makes 10 12-oz. servings.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

12 on 12th.

I found this idea from one of my favorite bloggers, Marta Writes that she adapted from here. I like Marta's idea better, because I am not going to commit to taking 12 pictures in a day (not to say I haven't taken 12 pictures on any given day, but I don't always take pictures every day), but I can commit to writing down 12 things about a day once a month.

So here are my 12 things for the 12th of January:
  1. Tiny, proud steps, with his chest pushed out and a look of total glee on his face
  2. 1 day shipping from Amazon and a $10 off coupon
  3. Creating snazzy presents for family & friends
  4. Hobby Lobby....they really should never have built one nearly walking distance from my house
  5. Burritos for dinner -yummmmm
  6. Not freaking out over the little things
  7. Looking through old pictures (I have a copy of my mom's birth announcement - so cool!)
  8. Organizing. And re-organizing. And organizing one more time to get it just right.
  9. Challenging myself to try something new
  10. Dancing penguins - a favorite of Ben's (gotta get a copy of Happy Feet!)
  11. Deciding I'm not going to read for awhile, and being okay with it
  12. Playing Zuma Blitz - slightly addicted

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Update on my mom.

I've debated with myself for a few days now, whether or not to share with the world how my mom has been doing. I go back and forth... I argue that it's nobody's business and then I argue back that she's touched a lot of lives, and people want to know how she's doing. I won't post intimate, gritty details, because even in the final moments of her life, she is entitled to her dignity (which cancer is determined to strip from her). This is also my form of a journal, and it would be unfair to my future self to strike these feelings from the record.

I know some of you must be curious, and I want you to know that it's okay to ask me how she's doing. It's not a subject that I feel we need to tiptoe around. Maybe some of my family members would disagree, but for me it's okay. So if you want to ask - please do. I don't have an awful lot of experience with loss or tragedy, but my heart always goes out to those going through it and I always feel so helpless to help.

So. It all happened quite quickly. She was great at Ben's birthday and a little more tired, a little more run down the next weekend for Christmas. Still had her spunk, but some of her medicines weren't working as effectively and she was feeling it. Two days after Christmas, her doctor decided to admit her and try to figure out what was wrong. They never were (as far as I know anyway) able to pinpoint exactly why her body was reacting the way it was. She's quite low on platelet's (those are the parts of the blood that help coagulate your blood) and no amount of transfusions seemed to help. Last Tuesday, the 4th, she was sent home. She's receiving hospice care and is relatively pain free. Because of the amount of drugs she's taking, she mostly sleeps.

It's hard. But you take it day by day and every day I make peace with it. I cry a lot, which helps. It helps to get the sorrow out and then dry my face and make peace with it again. I also have a very active little boy who keeps me on my toes and keeps me laughing. Oh yeah and Nick helps too. HA HA No, seriously, he's been a tremendous support. I know it can't be easy on him, either, because he's known my mom since he was like 15. That's almost half his life.

So that's the update. We just take it day by day...

Thursday, January 6, 2011


One of my goals this year is to keep my house more orderly. That being said, I'm also adopting the attitude that it's totally okay if my house is a wreck. I follow I Heart Organizing (because I do - I'm obsessed with organization...especially for others ha ha) and I've pretty much stolen her cleaning check list. I created my own list in Excel that looks nearly identical to hers, but changed up slightly to fit our families needs (I added cleaning the litter box and deleted cleaning the stairs since we don't have any). I bought some laminating pages from Hobby Lobby, printed out my list, sandwiched it between the laminating pages, stuck a magnet strip on the back and hung it on my fridge.

Nick was looking at my list and saying things like putting an asterisk next to some things like vacuuming because it doesn't necessarily have to be done every day. I'm like, pfft. The clean police aren't going to come knocking on my door if I don't check off every single item on my "daily" section. While I do want to strive towards having a cleaner abode, I'm not going to stress out about it. Heavens knows that I don't want to be so busy keeping my house clean that I forget to enjoy the reason I'm home - Ben.

He's decided he doesn't mind the vacuum cleaner at all. He likes to chase after it, play with the cord and watch me vacuum. So I get to do that while he's up, and I don't need Nick to keep an eye on him while I do it, which is a bonus. Today he was staring at Sadie (who was outside, barking at squirrels) so I cleaned the microwave. While he naps, I'll clean our shower (ugh.... I hate cleaning the bathroom). He's a little helpful with putting toys away because he thinks it's a game, but he stops playing after a few things and wanders off. As he gets older, he'll be more help.

...But if I don't make my bed or sweep the kitchen floor today.... BFD. Life's for living, not for cleaning (but it does make me happy when my kitchen counters are tidy).

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Well the new year is upon us! We invited the kids over to stay New Years Eve and I really did enjoy having them. I planned a few things I saw on the Dating Diva's blog - starting at 9:00, we did one task an hour: first we filled out a year in review of 2010 to be looked at again at the end of 2011. At 10:00 we opened our lucky pennies. At 11:00 we filled out 4 goals for the upcoming year (my favorite: Emma wanted to eat more pancakes). At midnight (which Emma nearly made it to - she decided she'd had enough and went to bed at about 11:45ish), we drank sparkling cider and popped confetti poppers.

For days now, I've had a "draft" blog going of my reflections for 2010. So many wonderful things happened in our family, mostly centering around Ben but...there's a super large cloud that's shadowing our 2010 and it's carrying in to 2011. I want to hope that 2011 is going to be a super fantastic year for us, but in harsh reality, I know it's going to be a hard year. I hope that with grace, dignity and a touch of humor, we can make the best of what we have. So many things to look forward to - Nick graduating college and hopefully putting that hard earned degree to use via a bigger paycheck, Ben will being talking more and learning to walk, more and more teeth will come in, visiting with family near and far, and I'll continue to turn our house into a home.

I have never before made "resolutions" at the start of the year. I've always said that I'm a work in progress, and I see no reason to use the beginning of a new year as an excuse to suddenly start doing something different. This year is no real exception, but I do have some goals outlined for myself that I want to make sure I accomplish through out this year and really future years.

Specifically, I want to become more organized and focused on keeping my house in order. This includes cleaning, budgeting my husbands money, meal planning and living in harmony with one another (okay, I snickered at the last one). I also want to make sure I spend time working on my relationship with my husband - we had some super generous friends and family over the holidays and I want to put their thoughtful gift cards to use. Hopefully we can remember to take time to have at least one date night a month, were the kiddo gets left behind and we get to be "Nick & Sarah" and not "mama and papa". I'm hoping that with my determination to get our budget more streamlined, that we're able to tuck some money away in savings and use some of that money for an actual vacation. I don't care where we go, but I hope we get to take one this year. Other than going out of town for a work related trip or our quick over night trip to California for Connor's baseball tournament, Nick & I haven't been on vacation in nearly 2 years (we went to visit family in Florida right before I got pregnant).

I'm also making more of an effort to drink more water during the day. I realized that I drank 2 cups of coffee in the morning and a soda with lunch and dinner. That was it. So I'm trying to remember to have a glass or two of water in there as well. Along with that goal on the healthier side, I hope I also remember to exercise a bit more. When the weather is warmer, we were pretty good about going for a walk 4 or 5 nights a week but since it got cold - all I do is chase Ben around the house (which is QUITE a work out in itself).

So that's it. That's what I'm going to be focused on for 2011 - which really isn't so different than what I've been doing...I have more tools now to help me with my endeavors and I think I've streamlined some processes to be more successful.

On a different but sort of related note: for those of you that are following my mom's progress - she's still in the hospital. At this point, there's no end date in sight. She's still having incredible pain in her abdomen which apparently has the doctor baffled, as the cause hasn't really been determined or fixed. She'll be having a bone marrow biopsy and another catscan on Monday. Thank you all so much for your words of comfort and your prayers.

Much love to you all,