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Monday, August 03, 2015

Lincoln's first haircut

Have you ever spent nearly an entire day tugging at your baby's hair, lamenting its length and uncanny ability to hold onto food particles? Well, I did that last week. I just kept trying to push it behind his ears and out of his eyes but it looked stringy and gross.

As a result, right before baby bedtime on Friday I decided to cut Lincoln's hair. I've never cut hair with scissors before (I usually only buzz Kev's neckline for him) and I didn't have time to watch any videos for tips. But that's how I roll, ok?! I'm wacky and impulsive and not obsessed with schedules!

Kev was working swing so he wasn't home to stop me. I gave Aspen the camera and she proceeded to take a billion photos throughout the process, some of them actually including Linc. Others included the deck, her feet, the dogs on the lawn, a tree, and my bum.

Despite the struggle to get a wiggly little man to hold still, I think it turned out pretty well! Now he no longer has wings of hair over his ears, and the top of his hair isn't nearly in his eyes. He looks like a respectable little menace, now. I'll probably even attempt it again when he's due for another trim in a few weeks. It sure beats paying Cookie Cutters $15 for a balloon (but Imma still take Aspen there because you can't as easily get away with giving your daughter a buzz-cut when you mess up her hair).

The real trouble will be getting a good photo of the whole thing, and not just one side of his head, or his backside as he's running away from me.

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Friday, July 31, 2015

Meckel Memo

Kev has been home from the hospital and doing fine for over two months. Having the diverticulum removed (although we always refer to it as a Meckel because that's so much more hilarious) solved his health problems and he recovered perfectly from the surgery. He is back at 100% function at work and home and I'm really grateful.

But some days I feel like it's still happening. The stress and emotions are still very raw for me. I have nightmares that he's coughing up blood and doctors can't get transfusions administered quickly enough, and he dies. I dream of rooms with walls covered in blood, and doctors who don't know how to help Kev.

One day while rocking Lincoln to sleep for a nap (okay, I mean bouncing him on an exercise ball forever), I happened to scroll through my phone messages and found all the texts that were flying back and forth during Kev's hospital stay. I put Linc in his crib and sat in the hallway, crying. Reading through those messages brought me right back to that week. It was so horrific.

Apparently I'm still really stressed out about this whole Meckel situation. I'm not living in fear that Kev will suddenly get sick again or anything like that... but I really think I'm still trying to recover from the experience.

We drove by St. Mark's on our way home from the zoo last week and Kev was wondering out loud where the Arctic Circle is (for ICE CREAAAAM!). I told him exactly where it is because I remember passing it multiple times a day when driving back and forth from the hospital to see him and manage the kids at home.

When Kev initially got home from the hospital and wasn't constantly on the pain meds, he admitted it was kind of nice having a "break" and being away from everything for a few days. I was like OH MY GOSH I AM A CRAZY PERSON AND YOU'VE BEEN ON VACATION THIS WHOLE TIME.

I have to remind myself the Meckel actually happened to Kev, and not to me. But, in all fairness, he was asleep for a lot of it. Or medicated. Seth and I were the ones experiencing the nightmare in the flesh, and dealing with watching Kev bleed near to death. And it seems every other day I get another updated bill in the mail (did you know it costs a kajillion dollars to have a Meckel?!) so I'm reminded of it multiple times a week.

So I feel like it's okay that I'm still processing everything. It was a big freakin deal and showed me yet again that I can do hard things. I look forward to this hard thing becoming a distant, DISTANT memory.

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Backyard Camping

With Kev's schedule, he has a stretch of seven days on, followed by four days off. Then he gets a couple days off here and there, followed by another seven days on. It can be really exhausting, but those four straight days off make up for it (usually).

After the zoo, Kev and Aspen had her first successful backyard sleepover! He put up the family tent and the tent Aspen received from her Uncle Seth a few years ago.

Kev agreed that if she got scared she could sleep in his tent with him. But by the time we made s'mores (on the grill, ha!) and got everything ready, she probably just passed out and didn't move the whole night.

Linc woke around 545 the next morning (in the house with me, duh) and while we had breakfast I watched in amusement as Maddie practically knocked over the tents trying to get in. She first approached Aspen's, letting her tail go wild as she dug around trying to nose her way in. When she gave up and approached Kev's, she jumped on the sides before finding a small opening in the flap and nosing her way in.

They slept through it all, though, and didn't come into the house until about 8, after I'd already put Linc down for a super-early nap. I was back in bed, too, gleefully taking advantage of having Kev home to get breakfast for Aspen and keep her entertained for a while. It was awesome! I'm so glad they had a fun camp out and that the weather was perfect for it.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A final zoo visit

My zoo pass expires at the end of this month (thanks, Amanda, for including me in this adventure for two years!) so I took the whole family one last time before we say adios to it. It sucks we paid for Kev's admission, but at least it's only his. I can't believe how expensive it is, though! I'm so glad we've split a pass with a friend so we could make the most of it. I did really enjoy taking Aspen before Linc was born, and I'm surprised I managed to go as many times as I did after.

Linc recently became very aware of animals other than birds, so I anticipated he'd really love the zoo. Kev said as he pointed out the zebras and giraffes (the first animals we saw) Linc started vibrating with excitement. He did his fat-baby-belly-laugh and just stared with wide eyes while watching the animals. I'm so glad he enjoyed it!

We spent a couple of hours at the zoo, seeing all the things I've seen a million times before, but it was so exciting to see Linc's reaction this time.

Also, the dinosaurs are up and running, which is new to me. Aspen was terrified of them, but she's terrified of a lot of things so...

For the first time ever, we saw the lions up close! These two were sleeping up against the enclosure and kept lifting their paws to cool off their bodies. It was awesome.

In all my visits with Aspen, I don't think we've ever stopped at the ape chart. I'm glad I finally took a minute to snap a photo of her measuring up to them.

I came prepared with extra clothes for the kids so we could play in the splash pad. Linc just liked standing and kicking, while Aspen waited to get soaking wet when we needed to leave. I really love this addition to the zoo since it's kind of situated in the middle of walk around and gives a great break from the heat.

I thought Linc would be more excited about the peacock, but he was just kinda "meh" at this point. The heat was tiring him out and since the bird didn't fly or chirp he may not have recognized it for what it was. I never tire of seeing them, though. When walking Aspen back from a bathroom break, we saw two of them just walking together and being all pretty. I love it.

Linc freaked out when a seapup came straight at him and Kev right here. He didn't like that one bit! But I liked the AC so we stayed inside for a few minutes before making the trek up the hill outside. I'm a little bummed we didn't go through the big cats exhibits, but come on... we all know it's too hot for them and you rarely see them anyway.

With Aspen going to school in the fall (and I still don't know if I'm going to do morning, afternoon, or all-day Kindergarten) I hesitate to purchase any passes for me and Linc to use. What with her drop-off/pick-up schedule and my work schedule, we may not get out for big adventures often. Hopefully we'll find a good rhythm; I'm sure anything will be better than the hell I endured last fall when Aspen started preK.

BUT ANYWAY. After the zoo we stopped and Kev bought dipped cones for himself and Aspen, which she was surprisingly skilled at eating while we drove home. It wasn't until we were nearly in our driveway that her cone gave up and started melting all over her. She loved every bite of it! That's what summer is all about- sticky, sunscreeny, ice creamy skin and outings with family.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015


My friend Kimberly recommended what turned out to be such a fun group of books that I just plowed through in about three weeks. I didn't anticipate enjoying them so much, nor did I think I'd actually have time to read all the titles I got from the library. But Lincoln has been blessing us with consistent sleep at night and I'm starting to use my time for things other than collapsing on my bed at 830p to go to sleep for the night.


So, these books. They're by Jeanne Birdsall and they're about her imaginary Penderwick sisters. It's Young Adult Lit and set on the east coast. Reading them made me wish I was spending time in Maine this summer, enjoying the beach with my kids! And there's really nothing like a good YA novel to get you back in the reading groove.

If you're interested, the books are as follows:

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sister, Two Rabbits and a Very Interesting Boy
The Penderwicks on Gardam Street
The Penderwicks at Point Mouette
The Penderwicks in Spring

I also randomly browsed the YA section of my library and picked up an Ally Condie book I hadn't yet read. Long ago I was able to review the first in her Matched trilogy, so I was happy to see something else from her. Atlantia has some mystery as well as Condie's familiar Sci-Fi/Fantasy slant. I don't normally go for that genre, but she does it well.

So... if you've been looking for something to read, there ya go!

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Aspen turnes FIVE!

Aspen is making her way through alllll the ponies! She's had a Rainbow Dash party, a Fluttershy party (kind of two of those), and now a Rarity party. ONLY THREE MORE TO GO.

She requested a white cake to match Rarity, and she picked out purple, vanilla-flavored frosting. I searched for a lactose-free recipe that had good reviews, and finally settled on THIS ONE. I doubled the recipe to make two, 9-inch rounds, and I obviously didn't use the glaze. I used Almond milk instead of buttermilk, and honey-vanilla Greek yogurt (it's what I happened to have) instead of sour cream. It was so moist, and just dense enough.

Initially, Aspen was disappointed because apparently two tiers aren't tall enough. WHAT?! But when she was allowed to place the ponies and sprinkles however she pleased, she forgave me for not making her cake bigger.

It turned out pretty cute. I frosted it really lightly because I didn't love the flavor of the canned stuff and just wanted a hint of frosting on the cake.  No one seemed to mind :).

We hosted a friend party on her birthday and served Pony snacks and unicorn fruit kabobs. Linc happened to nap on schedule and everything came together pretty easily. I'm so relieved because I spent the whole weekend prepping as much as I could so the morning of would be a breeze.

When the kids started arriving, I had them all do a huge floor puzzle (which Aspen got from her Aunt Tiffany when she visited). That kept them busy until all the friends arrived. Then we moved them onto the next activity- coloring one of the HUGE pictures Becky printed out for us. They really loved it and it was fun to see almost all the kids working together to finish the project. 

They stayed camped out on the kitchen floor to eat their fruits and veggies, and then cake. It worked out well because when everyone left, I finally let Maddie out of the basement and she snatched up all the crumbs for me. WINNING.

Nikki was a saint and helped me keep the kids under control. They ranged in age from 3 to 7, so it was tricky at times to keep everyone happy. I couldn't have survived the party without her! I'm so glad she and her little love came down to celebrate with us.

The weather was GORGEOUS. Breezy, and not quite 80*. We pinned the horn on the unicorn in the backyard and let the kids run around after they ate.

Aspen ended up pinning the horn in the sweet spot, and it was fun to watch the kids stumble around trying to beat her placement. I love making these giant pony posters. It's so fun to pretend I still have legit art skills.

The kids kept putting the horns on themselves afterward and someone even gave one to Linc. He was less than amused. He did so great during the party and I only had one crazed moment when I came up from the basement and found he had climbed the deck stairs and was standing by himself in the sliding glass doorway. I imagined him immediately topping to his death and nearly had a heart attack. HE IS A NINJA EVERYWHERE.

Linc's experiencing a party hangover
I always say Aspen will have a friend party every other year, and I'm reaaaaally glad that decision has been made. It's a lot of work to have so many hooligans running around! Plus, after Aspen unwrapped presents we still had 30 minutes until parents came to retrieve their kids... and they all wanted to open her stuff and play with it and I was like NO THAT'S PAINT so instead they went into her room and played with the MLP musician kit Kev and I had given her the day before her birthday.  As thank yous for coming, Aspen had picked out MLP puzzles from the Dollar Tree, and I had the brilliant idea to give everyone ring pops since Rarity's special talent is finding jewels. GENIUS.

Before her party, Kev gave her the bike we scored at Saver's a few months ago, and she tried it out for a little while that morning. It was pretty traumatic and she said she'll never ride that stupid bike again. Hopefully Kev can give her some undivided attention a few nights this week and help her regain some confidence. It's hard going from a trike to a bike (even with training wheels)!

She had a really great time and loved all the art supplies, treats and super-amazing MLP gear she received from her wonderful friends (slash their parents). The kids kind of dove into the presents at breakneck speed so I'm not even sure who gave what to Aspen. But please know she made good use of everything and I'm so grateful for the friendships Aspen has developed! She is such a lucky little girl to have so much love in her life. And ponies. So many ponies.

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Vintage Baking

For some reason I felt compelled to make bread this week. I dunno... just because baking in the heat of July is SUCH a good idea?

A few weeks ago I bought this beautiful vintage bread pan and I have been meaning to use it, so perhaps that's what motivated me to get going.

I used THIS recipe from OSSS and unfortunately realized too late (as in, I'd already committed to making bread DANG IT) my wheat flour was ooooold. And full of bugs. So I made do with just plain white flour. 

But the dough survived my modifications (plus I halved the recipe for just two loaves) and I've been enjoying sandwiches on homemade bread, and cinnamon-sugar toast like in my childhood (only that was definitely on store-bought bread).

Do you have a good bread recipe you'd like to share? I might try my hand at making bread more regularly since it's so satisfying and delicious.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pioneer Day Preview

Maren invited us to the Pioneer Day float preview at the Expo, and we were able to make it work with Linc's nap schedule!! GLORY HALLELUJAH I left the house TWICE in one day. Woo!!
Linc's face!!

I had never been to the event before, and it was pretty fun to see the floats without having to set up a spot on a parade route and bake in the sun all morning. I hope I can remember to do it each year so the kids can participate in the holiday without me having to do much work (WINNING).

Aspen really loved the castle float and climbing the rope course. She and her friends also got to battle the dragon.

While on display at the Expo, many floats have additional displays for the kids to play on, or a scavenger hunt with a treat, or just had bubbles for the kids to chase. In the parade, they wouldn't get a chance to do those things (can you tell I'm reeeeeally trying to justify not attending the actual parade?!).

The kids even got to go INSIDE one of the floats. The operator about had a conniption when they didn't come right back out after a moment. I thought Maren or I would have to go inside to retrieve them when they finally emerged.

Aspen would have liked it more if I'd stood in line for an hour so she could get a balloon animal. Siiiigh. But it was dinner time and I was too hungry. Maybe next year we'll come more prepared and one adult can stand in line forever while everyone else walks around.

Until next year, Pioneers!

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