Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Eleanor Hack

 Everyone has heard about "life hacks". Stranger little tips that people share to make life easier. There are parenting hacks, relationship hacks, health hacks...And when you are a parent you start to figure out hacks for your individual children. Tonight, Alex helped me find another one for Eleanor.

Eleanor Hack #10: (because it absolutely has to be 10) David Tennant can be found reading bed time stories on YouTube! Not only that, but when her Doctor reads her a bed time story, and then tells her it's time for bed, she goes to bed

I call that a win.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Doctor

Don't get too excited. It's not what you think. While I could write books about my love for Doctor Who, this post isn't it...Not exactly anyways.

Michael and I were talking about how old our pets are the other day. We are in agreement that, when they pass, we are ready to be catless for a long, long time, but we want the littles to grow up with a pet. We've agreed that we'll get another family dog when that time comes. Sometime during our conversation I told him that we should name this dog Doctor and build him a TARDIS dog house. I probably should have stopped there, but I was on a Doctor themed roll at that point, and proposed that, when Doctor too got old and passed, instead of telling the kids, we can just go buy another dog and tell them that The Doctor regenerated. Over the years we'd have discussions like "I think the 5th Doctor was my favorite!" or "Remember all those strange things the 11th Doctor would eat?" 

By the time I was done with my out loud brainstorming Michael was staring at me, wide eyed, and maybe a little impressed.

"That's brilliant! You need to post that online as some kind of parenting hack or something!" I just laughed at him, and it took awhile, but I've now shared this on Facebook and my blog. 

I'm not sure if we came up with the best or worst parenting hack ever, but we have established that we are 100% geeky.

I was going to try to find a picture to go with this post, so Googled "Doctor Who Dog". I am entirely impressed with some of the things the fandom has come up with! 

Hopefully we won't have to worry about this for quite awhile. I mean, our animals are only 17, 13, and 12. At least we have a back up plan now. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Be In The Picture

Like many mothers, I often find myself behind the camera instead of in front of it. I don't often find myself in front of the camera, and when I do I rarely like what I see. It's easier to hind behind my lens and capture memories of my amazingly beautiful children than it is to hand the camera off to someone else and put myself in front of it. Of course, we now live in the day and age of cell phones and selfies, and my older two have started asking more and more for selfies with mommy. Sometimes I oblige and then sit there criticizing every wrinkle and grey hair. Sometimes I make up an excuse why I can't right now just to avoid having to look at my adorable children next to the tired looking mess that is their mother. 

It has to stop. My children want pictures with me, and I want to give them that. It's easy to say to myself "When I get my greys dyed." or "When I loose 20lbs.", but they want the pictures now and they shouldn't have to go without that because their mother struggles with her self esteem. One of the reasons I love photography and being the person behind the lens is that it is a way for me to capture memories forever. Memories of my children as babies, spending all to rare time with their extended families, remembering those milestones that are so precious...and I owe it to them to give them those memories of me too. It's easy to say "later...after...when...", but what if, God forbid, that day doesn't come. What if I get sick? What if there is an accident? What if there isn't a chance for me to leave those memories for them? All that aside, what if they just look at me one day when I am far older and more wrinkled and ask "Mom, why aren't there any pictures of you and me when I was small?"

So, I have decided that 2016 is the year of being in front of the camera as much as I am behind it...almost. 2016 is the year I am going to launch my personal Be In The Picture project. (I even made neat little tags on Instagram! #beinthepictureproject and #beinthepictureproject2016) I am going to do it. For them. For my husband. For myself. Not only am I going to try to be in the picture more, but I'm going to try to see me how they see me. Strong, and funny, and with a belly that "wobbles all silly". (And he said it like it was a good thing, my Bash!) I'm going to try to see the beauty they do instead of the wrinkles and grey hair and sleepy bags. 

We went to Garden of the Gods on Saturday, and I made a conscious effort to be in front of the camera more despite the fact that my hair was in a messy pony tail, I looked tired because the little girl hadn't been sleeping well, and I was in work out clothes. I made sure to be in both my cell phone camera pictures and my Canon, which I had Michael carry knowing that he would be more likely to get pictures of me that way. (I only have cell phone pictures in this post.) I had a lot of fun showing Alex around, climbing up and down beautiful rock formations, and taking goofy pictures with my family. I have to do it more often. I want all these memories to include me too after all. 

Eleanor hasn't been herself. Her brothers have passed a cough and runny nose down to her, and while that seems to be all that it is, it's keeping her up nights. Lack of sleep=tired, cranky baby. On the other hand, she was perfectly content to be worn the entire time we were at Garden of the Gods, and even fell asleep with the sun shade over her head after awhile. Even tired and not smiling she is gorgeous! 

I am firmly convinced that Garden of the Gods is one of the most beautiful places in Colorado!

"Mommy! Take a picture of us!" I don't even have to pose them. They just automatically grab onto one another as if they never want to let go. I love these boys so very much!

These are my "Happy Shoes", because they make me happy to wear. Yes, I sing Pharrell's song in my head every time I put them on. Sometimes I sing it out loud. I love these shoes!

When I say "Hey, Alex, come here!" she immediately pops up around my shoulder for a goofy picture. Because she is my SisterCousin, and that is how we do things in this family. I am so, so glad that she decided to come visit us out here in Colorado!

I usually wouldn't have shared this picture. I am not thrilled with how I look in it at all, but it's me and my husband and a baby photo bomb, and I want to look back on it one day and laugh! So, here we are. Not perfect, but pretty darn awesome! #beinthepictureproject

I love this picture, and wish it was on the camera instead of just my phone! It's contrasty, and off centered, and about as amateur as you can get, but I love it. We were all "baby wearing", even though for Michael and Alex that meant that they were giving piggy back rides without the help of my rocking Ergo. You can see all 6 of us, even the top of Eleanor's little head, and we all look so freaking happy! I love it! It's currently my profile picture on Facebook. I want it framed. I love my family! 

I love this man. I am doing this Be In The Picture thing for him too. I want these pictures. I want them for him if anything were to ever happen to me, and I want them for us when we are old and grey and remembering. I've spent the last fourteen years of my life with him as my partner, and I want a record of the next 70 years too!

"Mommy! Take a selfie with me!"

"I think that makes it an Us-ie then."

"Okay. Let's take an us-ie."

We took this one three times, because we needed three times, but we are still pretty awesome. (And this one was so much better than the one before it. Be In The Picture project or not, there was no way I was posting that!) 

All three of my boys want to rock climb. They watched a group of young men climbing while we were there, and then chattered excitably about how they would do that one day. It makes Mommy a nervous wreck, but even Alex argued that they have "safe" places to do it. It seems I am outnumbered. I wonder if it will embarrass them to have their mother running around beneath them with a mattress yelling "Don't worry, sweetie! I'll catch you!" 

Be in the picture, friends. You can even hashtag it on Instagram! Just be in the picture. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Tomorrow Is A New Day

It wasn't a bad day overall, but the last 20 minutes before the boys went to bed didn't go well. I ended up frustrated, angry, and then sad. I hate when our nights end like that! It doesn't matter how well the rest of the day went I always end up feeling like we need to start over at the beginning to try over. 

Obviously that isn't an option, but tomorrow is a new day. Tomorrow can go differently. Different choices can be made. It's up to us. It won't mean that today didn't happen, but it's a chance to show what we've learned, and to do better with that knowledge. 

I look forward to it. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Sick Baby

I have a sick, hacking baby on my hands tonight, so not much time to write anything. I'll say this though. Colds suck! It's just a cough and runny nose, but it's left our Lady miserable tonight. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Bloody Awesome!

See this girl? She's bloody awesome!

I was irritated when we went outside. We'd all gone out to brunch, but she just wasn't having it, and Michael had already taken her outside a couple of times. I was finished eating, so stepped out with her again instead of making everyone there listen to her fuss. I was irritated. 

But then we started walking up and down this small stretch of sidewalk in Old Colorado Springs. She babbled at me happily as we strolled in the sunshine, laughed as she ran against the wind, and reached her tiny hands up to hold mine as she stepped on and off a curb. She spotted a painting in a shop window. It was a cow, and she mooed at it enthusiastically before bringing me over to sit on a bench to sit and stare at it for awhile. When her brothers, Daddy, and Alex finally joined us she happily showed them "her" cow. 

I wasn't irritated anymore. 

These moments are so fleeting. I will turn around, in the not so distant future, and she'll be into her own thing. Things far more interesting than walking up and down the sidewalk with her mommy. So I'll take these moments and hold onto them for every second I can. Because sometimes joy can be found in a cow painting, pink sneakers, and a welcome mat. She knows it too.  

And she's bloody awesome!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Questionable 14,000 Things

The weather was absolutely amazing today, and we took full advantage by taking Alex out to brunch at Bon Ton Cafe followed by a walk around Manitou Springs. Alex proposed doing the Incline together next time she came to visit, which made me crazy happy for two reasons. 1) I'll have someone else with me that dislikes heights and 2) She must mean to come back out and see us again! 

Anyways, it was a very busy, full day with many pictures taken and much walking done. I plan on sharing those soon, but until then I thought it would be easy to flip open to a random page in 14,000 Things to be Happy about and find something random to talk about. What inspiration did I find there?

Colored snow. 

My first thought was that this was a terribly odd thing to be happy about, unless you are happy to own the dog making the snow colored or something, but then a quick Google search presented some alternatives to that theory that I could actually see getting 100% on board with! (None of the below pictures are mine. They were found by doing a Google image search for "Colored Snow")

I feel like several of these are things I really could get happy about, and I am wondering if, with our 66 degree weather in February, Colorado is going to give us another chance to try them out this year. (Who am I kidding. It'll probably be snowing in May!) 

I think this one was my favorite!

Thank you to a Google search for all of these ideas, and thank you to 14,000 Things for causing me to Google search "Colored Snow". 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A New Favorite

This pattern!

I kind of love it, and want it on everything! Thanks to Alex, who pointed it out on me. The Lady will be sporting this a lot this summer! I'm not usually the person who gets all excited about clothes and trends, but this is adorable, and looks amazing on my girl. It's probably the only time in my life I've ever wished that they had leggings like this is my size and that I could pull them off! 

We only bought the leggings the other day (after a mad search of two Old Navy locations for her size), but now I want to go back for the dress, shorts, sandals, skirt, etc...Not to mention I want the leggings in just about every size they have. They really are cute, and I wouldn't have looked at them twice if it weren't for Alex being here. 

Yay for family time! Yay for cousins! Yay for outrageously loud leggings that my baby rocks

I'm writing blog posts about leggings...But I'm still writing every day! Yay for goals! 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Have I Mentioned... awesome it is having my cousin here for a visit?! Not only do my children get some amazing quality time with their Godmother, but I have another adult here to chat with all day long! Poor girl's ears probably ache by the time we go to bed at night, but we laugh. There is so much laughing. We cover a lot of topics in a day too.

She's also wonderful at helping me pick out adorable clothes for my children when we go to places like Once Upon A Child, though I'm not sure how happy Michael is about that part. ;)

I miss having family around so much, so it means so very much to me when we do get that opportunity! I'm having so much fun, and wish she'd just never leave. I do understand that she has to, but it certainly is nice to dream.

I have no pictures to share yet. I will, but I don't yet. For now just enjoy another picture of our old pup playing in the snow. I'll have Holly and Alex pictures later.


Monday, February 15, 2016

Happy Birthday!

Today is my great-grandma's birthday! She would have turned 104 this year, and while I know that it isn't very realistic to think she would still be here, I so wish that she had met my children. I imagine that she would have been so entertained by my Parker, would have adored the Lady Eleanor, and Bash...I think she would have had a very special bond with my quiet, shy boy. 

I come from a long line of amazing, strong, fabulous women. She was one of them, and I am proud that she was mine, and blessed to have had almost twelve years of her inspiring, guiding, and loving  me. She's been gone for twenty years now, but I still feel her here often. I do hope, if there is life after our Earthly one, that she is able to peek in on us from time to time. I hope she sees my babies and knows that I still love her so very much!

Happy birthday, Grandma! 

Sunday, February 14, 2016


I had a pretty awesome Valentine's Day. I was able to spend the day with people I love, and the night was spent screaming at a zombie filled television screen. What girl could ask for more?!

I hope anyone reading this was able to find joy, happiness, or love in their day too. Even if it was from something as simple as finding a new friend...

...or finding the time to make your spaces a little more special...

If a hedgehog tissue box is wrong I never want to be right! 

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Full to the Top!

My guest room is no longer empty, and I am so happy! My amazing cousin, and the littles Godmother, is here for a visit! It is so wonderful to have family visiting. The boys have been falling over themselves to get her attention, and even offered to be her servers if she would stay and live with us forever. Even Eleanor has been shyly flirting with her Godmama.

She might not be able to stay forever, but we are happy to have her as long as she can stay. Full heart, full home, full guest room!

Friday, February 12, 2016

8,789 Words of Wisdom

In addition to 14,000 Things to be Happy About, I also have a little book called 8,789 Words of Wisdom that I like to randomly flip open to see what I can find. Today, lacking anything to write about outside of the 800 loads of laundry I did, I decided to see what it would land on that I might be able to branch off of. I found this:

Now, I don't particularly enjoy being a guest unless you are one of about three people. It's not so much that I am antisocial, though I most certainly can be that too, but it shoots my anxiety through the roof. I'm always sure that I will do something terribly wrong, say something horrible, or over stay my welcome. (Or a million other things that my overactive imagination decides will go wrong.) However, I love having friends and family come visit us, especially because we often have to go so long without seeing people we love. I wish that it happened more often. 

Luckily, for me, we'll be doing a bit of hosting over the next two months, and I'm pretty excited about all of it. Some of it will be for "Framily" we haven't seen in years! There are even going to be some surprise visitors that the boys are going to be just giddy about! I can't wait, and luckily I don't have to for long! 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

It Was A Good Day

I am too tired and sore to write much tonight, but it has been a good day. We got my baby boy registered for Kindergarten, I had a great work out with my husband, I was able to talk to two of my favorite people, found out a wonderful surprise, and we might get a special visitor even earlier than we thought. 

It was a good day...Even with the parenting milestone of having to leave a store for the first time because of a tantrum. (More on that tomorrow...or maybe not. No reason to dwell.) 

It was a good day.

And just because today needed a picture...Our old boy, Jake. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

I Live Here

I know I talk about how homesick I am quite a bit, and I am. It took moving across the country to realize how very much I love Ohio, and I'm not ashamed of that at all.

On the other hand I also frequently have moments like we had this evening. Moments where I look up as we're driving and think to myself My God. I live here! Colorado is truly, breathtakingly beautiful. 

I live here. We might not know how long we have here, but I'm going to enjoy it while we can. It's pretty awesome.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Dear Tuesday

Dear Tuesday,

I win.


Monday, February 8, 2016

It's Another "14,000 Things" Kinda Day

I had no idea what to write about today. There is so much going on, but so little of it was interesting, so I pulled out 14,000 Things to be Happy About again and flipped to a random page for inspiration.

What a random thing to jump out at me, but it did, which, of course, made me curious. I shifted over to Google and typed in meaning of the name Keir. Google is not the most reliable source to be had, but it seemed like a good place to start. 

One of the most reliable name sites out there, according to the super secret underground baby naming circles on the internet (this is a thing), is According to Behind the Name, Keir is a rare Scottish/English masculine name derived from the surname Kerr. Kerr means "rough wet ground" in Old Norse. Well, that's not very interesting, so back to Google I went. says that Keir, pronounced keer, is Irish and means "Dark/Black". actually gives four different options for meaning depending on the background of the name. (And she's supposed to know, right?) The Celtic meaning is apparently "Dark skinned.", the Gaelic meaning is "Dusky; dark-haired", the Irish meaning is also "Dusky;dark-haired", and is the name of actor Keir Dullea, and in Scotland it is apparently a surname occasionally used as a first name in the last hundred years or so. 

Lacking an actual Irish or Scottish person to call up and ask, I'm going to have to take Google's word for the fact that Keir means something about darkness. If anyone has any insider information I would love to hear about it. I feel invested now. Two hours ago I had no idea this name existed, and now I feel like I need to know. 

And that's your daily dose of random blogging nonsense from a mommy with three kids in bed who is avoiding doing any more laundry today with nothing to do. Maybe someday this will come up on Final Jeopardy, winning you hundreds of thousands of dollars, and you'll take a moment to remember the blog that started it all. You're welcome.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Great Artichoke Heart Hunt of 2016

Our Sunday started off beautifully. The boys were playing nicely, everything was peaceful and quiet, and E even took a rare morning nap! 

Look at her! It was Heavenly bliss! 

Unfortunately, I had things that had to be done. Michael, who is working overnight again tonight, needed ingredients for spinach artichoke dip to take in for their Super Bowl potluck, and I needed to pick up some things for dinner, so I had to break up the general peace and get everyone bundled up to go out and brave the crazy last minute Super Bowl shoppers. 

Target, as it always seems to, pulled us in about ten different directions the minute we walked in. It doesn't seem to matter how prepared I am when we go, or what kind of list I have, we always end up walking around to see if there is anything new since the last time we were there. (Which was only 4 days ago or so, but darn it, there could be something new!) It wasn't a big deal though, because the boys were behaving beautifully, we actually found some things I'd been watching on clearance, and even Eleanor was content to sit in the cart and play with a Care Bear we had picked up off the shelves instead of insisting that she help push the cart like she usually does. (The Care Bear in question is now put up for Valentine's Day next week along with a gift I wasn't planning on but found for Michael.) 

It was nice and relaxing, and I even had a little bit of a swagger as we strolled along feeling like we were nailing this solo trip out despite the extra crowded isles and running a little later than I had planned due to The Lady's nap. Things were going so well though! I should have known!

Yet, how could I?! Things continued to go well as we headed over to collect our groceries. I had a list from Michael of the things he needed, and Eleanor was babbling to Bash while Parker helped me to find everything on the shelves. We turned it into a fun reading game, and we quickly had everything...Everything except the darn artichoke hearts. Those artichoke hearts would prove to be our downfall. We simply couldn't find them. I searched high and low, reading and re-reading every container with Parker mumbling next to me "! A-R-T..." as he too scanned the writing in front of us. It was during my second time looking through the shelves that Eleanor decided she was done sitting in the cart. 

At first I thought I might be able to carry her, but no! No, she didn't want that. I put her down next to me, because sometimes she'll stay right there and "help" me look for things, but today was not one of those days either. No sooner did her little feet touch the floor than she took off, laughing like a maniac, and looking over her shoulder to be sure that Mommy was indeed giving chase. She would happily do this for hours if I let her, but we didn't have time for that today, so when I caught her I propped her firmly on my hip and resumed my search for the Hiding Hearts. 

Delighted laughter from the chase turned to furious screams in about two seconds when she realized I wasn't going to put her down to "play" again. She didn't stop there either. Not content to just scream her frustration at the top of her lungs, my tiny daughter immediately turned into a wiggling, flailing, kicking, flinging creature that was about as easy to hold onto as a wet eel. I pushed the cart up and down the isle, still searching for those damn artichoke hearts, while trying not to run the cart into anyone or drop my baby. The boys were wonderful, both trying to help find the artichoke hearts and calm their sister, but it wasn't long before we started getting The Look from other people there to stock up on vegetables. The Look that says, clearly, that we have just ruined their entire day at Target, and why in the world can't that woman shut her child up? 

There was no more swagger in my step, but I wasn't ready to run away yet either. Heck, I even found it in myself to laugh a little. The best thing I could do right then was find the stupid artichoke hearts and sprint to a check out. Since this obviously wasn't going to happen while I wrestled to hold onto the great flailing octopus that was Eleanor, I plopped her back into the cart with a "Sorry, Sweetie!", and strapped her in before turning back to the shelves with a new determination. The Lady was not a fan of this arrangement at all, and made sure I knew that she was displeased, but I now had two hands free to continue the great Artichoke Heart Search of 2016.

It only took us 3 more times down the isle to find them, finally, and I was even able to help another woman who was looking for the same thing. I assure you, I will never forget where the artichoke hearts are in Target. Not ever. (I wonder if I've broken some record for mentioning artichoke hearts in a blog.) By the time we found them E had even calmed down...a little bit...and I scooped her up into my arms again for some teary snuggles. They boys continued to be extra helpful and enthusiastically unloaded the cart onto the belt in the check out line. (We fortunately didn't have anything breakable in the cart.) I think I heard a store wide sigh of relief as the doors swung shut behind us, but we survived, and I even got through it laughing.

Besides, I got love bombed, so it can't be all bad.  

Saturday, February 6, 2016

My Space

Do you remember My Space?! I imagine that there will be a time in the future when Michael and I are talking about My Space and our children give us a look like we are sooooo old! Of course, by then they will probably be communicating with their friends via electronic chips implanted inside their temple or something. My Space and Facebook will probably seem like ancient technology if they even know what it is.

Anyways, I'm not referring to that My Space when I say "My Space" though. I'm actually talking about a space that is mine. As an adult you might think that the entire house is my space, but it's just so far from the truth. Once, long ago, before littles, maybe. It's my space no more though. Instead, everything is shared space, including our bed. I don't mind either. They are little for such a short amount of time. However, I have been longing for a small office space where I can work on writing, photography, Scentsy, and home schooling. I've had a desk for years, but it's been taken over by the printer for the last 12ish months. No more! As of today the desk has been moved upstairs into a corner of our bedroom, and I'm working on turning it into my special space. A space I can write at, edit pictures at, work at, and just sit and sip on coffee looking like I'm doing something important. In fact, I'm writing this from my space right now! It's not close to done, but I really look forward to making it shine. I'll share it when it's all done, but I couldn't resist a sneak peek.

Of course, the very first thing I had to do was to fill up a little bit of my space with the people who make it all worth while! (And there is my sign! Remember? I told you I'd get it in my office space eventually!)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Snow Days...Light

The snow has been greatly appreciated around here. You would probably hear a very different story if you spoke to any other adult in a 50 mile radius, but my children have been in some kind of frozen Heaven, and I have enjoyed experiencing that with them. (Though I get cold much more quickly than I remember as a child.)

I have so many pictures, and I haven't gone through most of them yet. Michael is working nights this rotation though, so I am hoping I will have a chance to get through them all. (If Eleanor sleeps, which isn't looking promising at this point.) I wanted to share a few though. Even our old dog, Jake, has been in on the fun. You'd think he was a puppy again. Snow does that to him. Snow does that to me too! (I love snow, even if it wasn't quite Snowmageddon by my standards.)

Almost a foot of snow on the ground, and what does he do? Runs right out and flops down face first. I do believe he might be my son.

No mittens? That's okay. We have socks. (And three layers of everything else on too.)

"Mama! It's so yummy!"

Age is very clearly just a number with this guy! He just turned thirteen, but you'd never know it to look at him in the snow. He would have stayed out for hours after we were all spent if we'd let him. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Some Days...

This pretty much says it all. 

I'm not sure if today was a killing it day or a what the hell am I doing day. The fact that I don't know probably means it's the latter. 

A friend of mine suggested a journal recently, and I picked it up at Target last night. It's a "workout/wellness/nutrition" journal. I like it. I look forward to filling it out.