Photo Favorites : July 21 – July 27, 2014

Oh my goodness….I can’t get ahead on these posts.  I took so many pictures during our busy July that I’m struggling to get through editing them.  I’ll get there.  Since our schedules have slowed down, I haven’t taken as many pictures as of late, so hopefully this will help me get through the future posts.  I don’t want this blog to be all about my weekly pics, so I’m trying to get some other posts up in between too.  Oh, and he’s now 10.5 months, so I should probably get on that post too.

So anyway, most of this post consists of pics from our trip to my parents house when all of my sisters were in town.  We took the occasion to get real family photos taken of all 20-something of us.  Shockingly it wasn’t traumatic and they turned out great!  I don’t have the photogs portraits yet, but have some that were taken on my camera.  It was so great to get to snuggle baby Max again.  It’s going to be hard to only get to see him a few times a year.

This is possibly the most unsmiley week of pictures from Jenson.  He just got his first teeth and he just wasn’t smiley.  He was pretty good tempered by this point, but was a serious baby.

Photo Favorites: July 21 – 27, 2014

1. He’s always trying to stand up against us – building up his leg strength
2. Crawling position (he could only go backwards at that point)
3. MAX!  We stayed up late waiting for my sister’s family to get to my mom’s.  Totally worth it to see that mug.
4. Lo and Max

heading home

5. Waking up with my baby boy. He loves snuggling up in my pit.
6. Look at that beautiful boy!
7. Jenson wants a piece of Max
8. Max studying Jenson’s mobility (just another month or two Max!)

max and j

9. Crawling backwards…right under the couch.
10. Max going for the face grab this time
11. Sister’s and babies
12. Gannon joined with his baby Gemma

group photo

13. Swinging at the park before pictures
14. Dad, Mom, and Grandma
15. My pretty nieces
16. Brady and Jenson staring each other down.


17. Suns in our eyes
18. Checking out Bull Creek (or crick, depending on who you ask)
19. Daddy and Jenson
20. Just the three of us.

fam pics

21. My parents :)
22. Parents with their grandchildren: ages 5 months – 18.5 years old
23. My grandmas and her great-grandchildren
24. Love this picture of my grandma and my sister walking


25. Best picture of all…this is what it was like for my dad to live in a house with 7 women.  He has us totally tuned out.
26. And then this one where it appears that he has fallen asleep (he can fall asleep at any moment)
27. And then finally a good one.
28. Another of us (I didn’t realize I put in so many)\

family group

29. Jenson with his Uncle Chris and Aunt Julie (they live in Michigan and he hadn’t met Chris yet)
30. I don’t know if it’s possible for Jenson to puff his cheeks out any further than this.  They are practically sitting on his shoulders and he looks so sad.
31. With his cousin Abby
32. My sister, her husband Gary, and Max


33. – 36. I’m usually behind the camera, so it was nice to get some pictures with Jenson, even if he wasn’t smiley.

mama and jenson

37.  Playing in the park after the pictures….helicopter
38. Elephant
39. Riding the horsey
40. Running with Gramma


41. Here’s a smile!  And a little glimpse of his teeth nubs.
42. Max is jealous of Jenson’s food
43. Happy face.
44. This face…not sure what it was.  I think he was doing his Hulk grunts.


45. Checking out the water with Gramma
46. Looking incredulous with Uncle Dave
47. With Emma
48. Lydia, Gannon, and Maddie splashing the crap out of each other in the pool.


49. Loving on Gramma
50. Playing at the counter
51. Looking good in Max’s hat
52. Snuggled in.


53. More teeth nub pictures. The only time he was smiling this weekend was while he was eating apparently.
54. With Aunt Summer
55. And Aunt Jackie (its almost a smile!)
56. Bath time!

eat play bath

57. – 62.  Baby boy is 42 weeks old!  Taking these pictures is getting harder each week.  He’s discovered the sticker it’s getting harder to distract him from peeling it off.  It’s frustrating for both of us, lol.  Only 10 more weeks of weekly pictures, but that means he’ll be a year old and I’m not ready for that!

42 weeks

Banana and Yogurt Drops

jenson yogurt dropsJenson is eating three meals a day now, and we’ve pretty much stuck with a form of baby led weaning.  Mostly, we don’t make or buy purees.  We give him manageable bits of soft food on his tray and he mostly feeds himself, or give him slippery fruits in a silicone feeder.  Sometimes we do give him things on a spoon – because certain things have to be served on a spoon.  We usually pre-load spoons for him and let him “feed” himself.  Things like yogurt, oatmeal, hummus, guacamole, etc. have to be eaten with a utensil, so we either use spoons or this training “spoon” and help him dip.  Or you can put a bowl of yogurt on his tray and turn your back and he will try to drink it.  (thank goodness for pocket bibs!)

I’m not sure where I read about making these, but yogurt drops taste good, are healthy and a great self-feeding item, and they melt really quickly so I don’t need to worry about him choking.  He LOVES these things…I don’t know if its the cold on his teething gums, or if he likes the taste, but I think he’d be happy eating these as a whole meal if I let him.  If he’s getting fussy in his seat before he’s really done eating, I can give him a few of these and he instantly calms.  I can’t blame him, because they are actually pretty good.  I usually toss a few in my mouth while I’m giving them to him.  Babies need lots of fats, so try to buy whole milk yogurt.  I prefer greek yogurt because it’s thicker and it has more protein, but I’ve used both Greek and regular with equal success.  You can leave the banana out if you are avoiding banana or if your little on is having constipation issues, or you could use a different mashed fruit or veggie – plain yogurt is good too!

yogurt dropsyogurt dropsyogurt drops

Banana and Yogurt Drops
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: baby
  • ½ - 1 ripe banana
  • 1 cup full-fat Greek or regular plain yogurt (no sweeteners added)
  1. Line a cookie sheet (that fits in the freezer) or a few plates with parchment or waxed paper. Place banana in a thick ziploc bag, seal, and mash it well. Spoon yogurt into the bag and reseal. Mash the yogurt and banana together.
  2. Snip off the corner of the baggie. Squeeze drops of yogurt onto prepared pan (close together to save space). I try not to make any bigger around than a dime, and maybe a ¼ inch high.
  3. Place in freezer for a few hours or overnight until hardened. Remove the drops from the pans and store in a freezer safe bag or container. Serve to your little one.
These melt pretty quickly so leave them in the freezer until your little one is almost ready for them, and only pull out the amount that will be eaten within 5 minutes or so.


Feel Good Friday

There’s a lot of crap in the world, so let’s talk about things that made us feel good this week…because it’s Friday – and that’s reason enough.  It’s easy enough to focus on the things that aren’t perfect or on drama, but it’s not worth it.  So my feel good friday….

feel good friday

  1. Volleyball – I subbed twice this week and it was fun!  Once was after Jenson was already in bed (perfect), and Lo and Jenson came to the other game.
  2. I “think” Jenson kind of said mama.  He was crying and wanted me to pick him up
  3. The week went fast, which is perfect because I live for being with Jenson on the weekend.
  4. Waking up with baby in my armpit.  I usually bring him into bed with me when he wakes between 5 and 6 a.m. and go back to sleep until I have to get up for work, and he’s always snuggled up against me and it makes it so hard to get out of bed.
  5. And lastly – dropping off some snacks for firemen sitting outside the station.  I went to the grocery store at 930 one evening and noticed a few firemen sitting outside the station.  I’ve thought of taking something to a fire station before but just never got around to it – I even emailed the township fire admin to see if they appreciated baked goods being dropped off on station, but I never heard back.  They are usually on 24 hour shifts at the station and I just thought they might like some snacks.  And they deserve it because they are superheroes.  I kind of thought it was a thing – that people dropped off baked goods and such for them – but their reactions showed otherwise.  I grabbed some doritos, peanuts, and cookies while I was at the store and they were still sitting outside when I drove past, so I pulled up in front of them.  One of them started to get up – probably thought that I was coming there for help or something (it was dark and I kind of pulled in fast because I couldn’t see the entrance well).  I got out of the car and asked them if they wanted some snacks.  They said “sure” and asked what the occasion was – I just told them I saw them sitting outside on my way to the store and decided to pick up some snacks for them to enjoy, and thanked them for the job they do.  They were just so grateful and surprised – it really made me feel good – and hopefully getting treats on a random Wednesday night made them feel good too.  But anyway – it made me think that I need to do stuff like this more often…to reach out.

What made you feel good this week?  Did you reach out to someone?  Did someone reach out to you?


26 Random Things

I made this list awhile ago and never posted it, so here are 25 random things about me, ala U.S. Weekly.  Usually people do 25 things, but I miscounted.
  1. I’m the youngest of 6 girls. No-no brothers, no- we aren’t catholic, yes – my parents wanted a boy. His name would have been Bradley. Yes- my poor dad, no – we did not invest in feminine hygiene stock (these are all normal questions when this comes up.sisters
    This is what it was like for him though.  Look at his ability to tune out that chaos!  family
  2. I’m not very good at directions.  I often have to consult google maps – even for places I’ve been to 4-5 times.
  3. I have a psychology degree (minors in criminal justice and sociology). I decided in 6th grade that it’s what I’d go to college for after reading my sisters college psychology text book. I didn’t know that the job outlook for that degree was kind of crappy.
  4. I love serial killers and believe in the death penalty (depending on particular factors or the crime and evidence).
  5. I kind of regret not applying for the FBI academy. There’s only about a .025 percent change that I would have been accepted, but ever since I saw Silence of the Lambs, I wanted to be Clarice (minus the actual things that happened to her). I don’t know if I actually have the stomach to handle crime scenes, but I suspect it’s something you eventually get used to.
  6. I was obsessed with plain M&M’s as a child. I remember being so excited when I got a 1 lb bag of m&m’s as part of my birthday present. Today I wouldn’t pick them as a top 5 candy, but I’d eat them if they were right there.
  7. Now I’m obsessed with blueberries
  8. My whole family loves cheese, except one of my nephews. I always tell him that he’s weird.
  9. We also like sweets and call my mom’s house Sugarland. We didn’t have a lot of sweets growing up, except for homemade chocolate chip cookies and brownies.
  10. I usually need a snack when we’re driving to my parents for the weekend (3 hours away), and I sneak and eat it so Boof doesn’t know or else she’ll be up in my grill and try to sit up front in the car. As I’m unwrapping something, I keep peeking over my shoulder at her, and Lo just laughs about it.  I’ll be hiding food from Jenson soon too, I’m sure.
  11. My favorite movie is Teen Wolf (MJ Fox original) and I know all of the words, but only to the tv version because we taped it from TV and I watched it every day after school in 6th grade. My sister Summer watched it a lot too, and we still use quotes from it with each other
  12. Summer and I also practiced the Saturday Night Live version on Salt N’Pepa “Shoop” dance (also taped from TV) regularly after school in 9th and 10th grade.
  13. My friend Stacy and I used to know the Vanilla Ice “Ice Ice Baby” dance too, and we’d video ourselves doing it and do it for school talent shows. We never won.
  14. I grew up on a farm. We didn’t have a ton of farm animals and weren’t that involved in their care, but I’ve plucked chickens before. My dad worked in a car plant and he’d get home and watch some tv, and always nap for a bit in his recliner. He’d suddenly put down the footrest on his recliner (usually after snoring and waking himself up) and jump up and say “Well, gotta go feed the cows”. My parents still live there and now only have a porch cat (who can’t meow). I loved growing up with all that land and would LOVE to have that much someday.field at mom and dads
  15. I own a TON of makeup. I wear very little each day (powder foundation, concealer, and blush)
  16. I have a resting bitchface, but I’m actually very caring and people constantly confide in me
  17. I used to rarely cry (or feel the need to), but I’m a super-softy now after having Jenson (but I still try to hide it if I’m upset- which is easy because of the resting bitchface). I’m especially soft towards babies and animals. I guess it’s my new mothering instinct. I want to roam parking lots for a living to make sure no one leaves an animal or kid in a hot car in the summer.
  18. I can’t help but laugh when people fall, unless it looks super serious or they are in a fragile state (like pregnant or elderly). Sometimes I ask if people are okay first, but sometimes I can’t even do that. I know it’s so rude, but it’s a complete reaction. I try to hide it if I’m in public or I don’t know the person. I laugh when I fall too, so it’s fair, right?
  19. I hate the crunch sound of stepping on a spider. I try to drop something that will make a lot of noise to kill it so I can’t hear it crunch (if Lo isn’t around to smash it). When I lived at home, I’d trap spiders under something so my dad could kill them when he got home. His reaction was usually “what’s wrong with you!” (um, I don’t like spiders)
  20. I have a fear of stepping on and squishing worms or toads (usually in rainy weather)
  21. I’ve been to a ton of concerts, but I can’t pick a favorite, nor could I ever remember them all to make a list. Some were more fun because of people I was with, others were amazing performances (but not as fun circumstances/company).
  22. I don’t want to move out of the U.S., but after going to Howth, Ireland for several hours while in Dublin in 2010, I really, really feel like I’m meant to be there or lived there in another life. It was eerie how much it felt like home to me. I think about it all the time.  It’s just a little fishing village with nothing going on.howth
  23. All my life I have reoccurring dreams of going up a really, really steep – almost vertical – mountain or hill in a car, and I’m sure the car is going to flip. I usually have it when I feel overwhelmed or stressed about something. The closest I’ve felt to that was riding up Wailua Canyon in Kauai, Hawaii in an open air jeep.   Sometimes this dream is a tidal wave instead.
  24. I also have a night terror type thing about every 6 months where I’m sure someone is standing beside my bed (in a bad way).  I have to struggle to wake myself up (by moving around or making noise) and am afraid to fall back to sleep, but am so tired that I can’t help it.  The dream starts again immediately, and it continues on this cycle of waking myself up and trying to stay awake for hours.  It’s pretty awful.
  25. I’ve never been on an all-inclusive vacation…and that needs to happen sometime when I’m not pregnant or breastfeeding.
  26. I worry that I missed out on too much of Jenson’s babyhood – he’s already almost 1.  I want to spend ever minute with him and I know that’s not possible (or healthy).  I can’t imagine leaving him for the above mentioned all-inclusive vacation.
    jenson and me

Outward appearances: I don’t have it all together

I have a couple of friends who are convinced that I have “it all together” and they “don’t know how I do it all”. It’s all smoke and mirrors folks.  I guess they just never see me at my worst (ask Lo!).  Funny enough, we were walking some trails this weekend with our babies in strollers and I happened to have a light blanket to keep the sun off of Lela, and a hat to keep the sun out of Braxton’s eyes (most of the trail was in the shade).  So those things only solidified their thoughts – BUT I explained that several times Lo and I have left the house with Jenson without a blanket (for nursing or coverup) or a hat – so I’m just extra careful to make sure I have those things with me now (and keep spares in the car). They still argued that I’m always prepared and collected.  Outward appearances can be pretty different than what’s going on, and I can promise that I don’t usually feel as “collected” as I sometimes seem. So here are just a few things that have already happened this week that prove otherwise.

One evening after I put Jenson to bed, Lo asked if I was going to walk Boof (he was securing our cube shelf to the wall). I think he “may” have been joking (because he usually walks her), but I was like “whatever, fine” because she was on my heels all evening waiting for her walk.  We don’t always take her right after work in the summertime when it’s too hot for her, since her breed gets overheated easily.  It was cool out and just getting to be dusk and I figured it may be nice to walk and listen to podcasts/blog posts.  Nice, it was not.  When we got out the door I started trying to plug my headphones into my phone, holding the leash (not looped on my wrist) and my headphones in one hand, and my phone in the other, and Boof took off in a sprint.  I assumed she saw something and would run for 10 yards and then stop, so I just tried to hang on to the leash and my stuff.  I was wearing flip flops, sweatpants that are a little loose, and a nursing bra (ie, not supportive) under my tshirt.  We got a block and I realized she was NOT chasing something…she just wanted to RUN.  My sweats were falling down and I tried to slow her down, but she was running like she was a sled dog in Iditarod, and she just started crying and kept trying to yank me faster, which made it harder to hold on to my stuff.  I was finally able to loop her leash on my wrist, and shift my phone to the hand with headphones dangling, and hold up my sweats with my other hand.  We ran for 3 more blocks like this, with me flapping in my flops and holding up my pants.  And kind of laughing and yelling at her at the same time.  I’m so glad it was dark by then.  Luckily she saw another dog and slowed down so she could bark at him like an ahole.  (she thinks she’s tough stuff in the ‘hood, and she’s one of the smaller dogs – I think it’s because all of her other dog friends are tiny).  She finally had to poop, so I shoved my phone in my bra and wrapped my headphones around my wrist so I could carry her poop bag.  She kind of still wanted to run after that, but I was able to get her to mostly walk on the way back home so I didn’t have to hold up my sweats.  My hips were already sore from lots of walking on the weekend, and my ankles were aching from running in flip flops on incredibly uneven sidewalks.  I was pretty much thinking “I’m never walking her again” the whole time.  But honestly, if I was prepared and wearing appropriate attire for running with her, it would be great because usually she’s SO slow on our walks.  I think she was just excited take her walk when it was cooler and dark.  Before I got pregnant and in my early pregnancy, I used to walk her when we got home from work, and it was usually dark because it was wintertime.  She would often run a bit on our walks – especially if it was snowy – and I loved it.  So, I’m not walking her again unless it’s cool and dark, and I’m wearing running shoes, pants that fit, a sportsbra, and my running band for my phone.  Or it’s a family walk.

What, you don’t love to walk me?!

I thawed out a nice piece of salmon to make for dinner on Monday. I started throwing together a “recipe” for asian glaze to put on it, only to realize that the recipe called for hoisin sauce, which I had none of. So I just threw all of the asian-type stuff we had in a saucepan (soy sauce, Chinese mustard, garlic chili sauce, ginger, garlic, and brown sugar) and had Lo taste…it was gross.  I added some BBQ sauce and rice wine vinegar and let it simmer to thicken, and it turned out pretty tasty!  However, upon unwrapping the salmon, I realized it still had the pin bones in it!  I don’t know what to do with pin bones – I thought the seafood counter removed them!  I started pulling them out but was afraid I wouldn’t get them all, so I started cutting it into pieces so I could feel for bones and cut off the skin.  It turned out to be quite the hack job.  So it was ugly, but it tasted pretty good – even Jenson approved.  I shredded his up into little piece just in case I missed any bones.  So that nice piece of salmon ended up like this…

After Jenson went to bed, I threw together a Mexican casserole of sorts to bake the next night for dinner. I just dumped everything in a casserole dish – using up leftover and frozen stuff that I was getting tired of looking at (rice, lentils, beans, taco meat, corn salsa, spinach, who knows what else).  The next day I thought it may need some sort of sauce, so I thought I’d make up some sort of white enchilada sauce using cream cheese.  Instead, it turned into mac and cheese sauce.  So then I had to make pasta for the sauce.  I gave up on the casserole and just threw a bunch of shredded cheese in it.  They both turned out pretty well, and that took care of dinners and lunches for the rest of the week.

I wish I had style or cared enough to buy stylish clothes. I’m always envious of others who look so pulled together all the time. Instead, I felt it was perfectly acceptable to go to the grocery store at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday wearing my Adidas capri sweats (that I have to keep pulling up because they fall down; see above..same pants, different day), and a Marine t-shirt that I considered changing because it had wet spots from nursing Jenson (distracted nurser!), but the spots dried before I left, so I decided I didn’t need to change it because they weren’t visible. I know…that’s gross. Sorry! The good thing is the grocery store is pretty empty at that time, so the only people whom I wasn’t impressing were the construction workers who were remodeling. Also, this remodeling made the shopping take an extra 30 minutes to try to find where they moved everything temporarily. It took me 3 tries and probably 15 minutes to find string cheese, and then I had to go behind this heavy clear tarp thing (think Dexter kill-room tarps) to pick it out. I pretty much had to “back myself into a cheese corner” (my favorite overheard line ever while at Trader Joe’s one day). But the string cheese was 50% off, so it was totally worth it! String cheese is never on sale like that, and we love it. Still…I looked like a slob.

And I’ve failed to get to bed earlier than 12:45 any night this week and am 3 weeks behind my photo roundups and 6 months behind on photo album. (I take too many pictures!!!)

So….just because I “seem” like I have it together, believe me…I don’t. I try to make the best of things, and just let the other stuff roll off.  I try not to be a Debbie Downer and constantly complain about the crappy things that happen, because life is pretty good.  The thing I struggle most with is getting things done, and I know that eventually someone important will decide that days are actually supposed to be 26 hours long, instead of 24…and I’ll get caught up on stuff.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today (well technically yesterday, but I’m still up, so it counts as today) is my mom’s birthday!  We facetimed with her before Jenson went to bed tonight.

moms 43 birthday

(That’s me on the right with the sweet perm)

15 years later with 5 of her grandchildren
mom bday

9 years later with her 2 new grandsons:
mom with boys

She doesn’t age!  Happy birthday mom – we love you!


Photo Favorites : July 14 – July 20, 2014

Our August is looking to be slightly slower than July, fortunately.  I think someday I’ll get caught up with these weekly updates, but who knows.  I want to pop them up here even if they are late just so they are all in one place in order, though the less “events” that we have, the less pictures I feel like I need to share. I’m sure you don’t want to see EVERY picture of him eating, sleeping, and playing.

Another busy week in July.  Our sitter was on vacation still, so I stayed home for a glorious day with Jenson on Monday, Lo’s mom watched him Tues-Thurs, and my sister and nephew came to visit, so they stayed with him on Friday even though his sitter was back.  Another sister and her family came Friday night – Saturday, we had a gathering to attend at our friends’ house on Saturday night, and then our niece Sadie’s 2nd birthday party on Sunday.  He also went to the Zoo (on Tuesday) with Nana, Papaw, and Sadie, got his first tooth on Wednesday, and inched closer and closer to crawling – he “almost” gets into the position from sitting, but keeps his “safety foot” engaged so that he can easily sit back down.

Photo Favorites : July 14 – July 20, 2014

1. The best part of waking up…. The start of my glorious day off with Jenson.  We don’t “co-sleep”, but when he wakes at 6 or 630, I bring him into our bed to nurse and go back to sleep.  I’ve tried nursing him in his room and laying him back in his crib, and even if he is completely asleep, he immediately wakes and starts crying.  If I bring him in our bed, he curls up against me and goes back to sleep.  I can’t resist.  Thankful we got a king size bed shortly after he was born.
2. On our way to visit Lo at work.  He’d started a new job in May, so we went in to meet his co-workers, and then stopped to visit a friend and her newish baby on the way home.
3. Reading Puppy Woof-Woof
4. Eating Puppy Woof-Woof
sleep and play 7.14

5. He was cracking up at Boof, who was sitting on the couch.  I don’t even think she was doing anything, but he thought she was funny.
6. Can you tell he was about to pop his first tooth (on Wednesday, July 18)? He was gnawing away on the antenna for his “radio”. (we were not able to get a pic of the tooth, or barely a glimpse – he was secretive about it)
7. And then another toy
8. Passed out.  Again, i can’t resist letting him sleep in our bed in the morning.

play and sleep 7.14

9. Helping fold clean diaper laundry
10. Back to the chewing
11. Noshing on some avocado
12. I love how he’s sleeping here – with his arms and legs crossed, and his legs in the air.  He stayed like that for as long as I was looking at the camera.  He’s definitely becoming a side sleeper.

eat sleep play  7.15

13. Lo was dropping his ball on Jenson and he LOVED it.  He was cracking up and would squint his eyes shut and then crack up.
14. Action shot of the ball drop.
15. My sister’s dog, Gemma, giving kisses.  He was fussy the next day while they were staying him during the day (because of the tooth), and my sister was calling Gemma the baby-whisperer.
16. Playing with his cousin Gannon

playing with ball 7.18

17. Gemma is playing with one of Boof’s (many) hedgehogs and you can tell she was like, “hey -wait, that’s mine”.
18. Grinding his gums/tooth
19. Aunt Christine and cousin Gannon
20. Boof and my niece’s stuffed dog. (okay, so I posed that)

dogs and shepards 7.17

21. Aunt Amber
22. Uncle Dave staring contest
23. Cousin Lydia
24. and Cousin Emma

smiths 7.18

25. Sleepy boy
26. Hanging (and chewing on a cold teether) with Uncle Dave
27. Emma trying to teach him to walk
28. Worn out in his seat while at our friend’s house.

weekend fun 7.18

29. Cracking up with Papaw
30. Sadie wasn’t sure of this whole birthday cake/candles/singing thing
31. and 32. Jenson and Nana

sadies party 7.20

33. That face!
34. Still working those gums.
35. Sadie was more interested in sitting with Jenson than opening her gifts.
36. Hanging out with Daddy

sadie party 7.20

37. – 42. It’s another 6-shooter for weekly photos – 41 weeks!  He really got into trying to crawl this week, but he keeps his safety foot “on” (as seen in the 4th pic).  It’s getting harder to get the shots because he want to be so mobile.  And pics with Boof are always iffy, depending on how much she feels like being bribed.  As you can see by the orange blur in the last picture, carrots were her bribe this time.

41 weeks

Back to School: the pressure to conform starts young

I was reading through my Facebook feed on Saturday and I saw two different, but similar posts in two community groups from moms who were seeking advice about back to school clothing.  They weren’t asking where to find the best deal or school dress code advice…they were asking what the “must-haves” are for clothing for middle schoolers (a 6th and 7th grader).  The posts were innocent enough…the one was even quite sweet, as she explained that her daughter has special needs and one of the ways she tries to form a protective barrier around her is to give her a fabulous wardrobe.  The other was just asking in general about what’s in (backpacks, locker deco, clothes, lunches, etc.).  Initially I laughed because my mom wouldn’t have given a crap what was “in” for us.  She let us pick things we liked, but only if it fit within the price she wanted to pay.  Curious, I read some of the responses.  And then I was sad.

Moms were giving advice on what specific brands they needed to buy and which they needed to avoid.  One even said kids at her son’s school who wear Aeropostale get made fun of…and that GAP and Abercrombie are “out”.  Another said don’t buy from Justice because everyone will know that she’s the oldest child (who cares?).  Another commenter said that Justice was “in”.  Hollister is in, kind of.  And on and on.  It was shocking that some of these parents intended go along with the very specific brand requirements that their kids thought they had to conform to – and not only go along with…but suggest it to other parents.  The original posters didn’t even ask for brands specifically – they seemed be just looking for styles – like skirts, dresses, canvas shoes, etc.  And a lot of commenters did give that sort of advice – just the styles their kids wanted to wear.

Getting made fun of for wearing certain brands (perfectly nice brands) just stuck with me.  I know kids can be cruel, but it wasn’t like that when I was in school.  Of course I always wanted the “in” brands, but I knew they weren’t always an option and it wasn’t that big of a deal.  I just wanted particular styles, and if they had to be from a non-mall store, whatever. I still had hammerpants – even if they weren’t as nice as some of my friends.  I don’t remember every being made fun of for not having particular brands, or caring whether anyone else wore “off” brands.  Some of my best friends always shopped at the mall and wore the “in” brands, but they didn’t care whether or not I did.  Fashion wasn’t something that made you popular.  Style was a little different back then too.  I remember the worst fashion crisis in middle school was when the school banned sweatpants because of too many people get depantsed.  Everyone was upset and had to rethink their wardrobes.  I guess that was the benefit of growing up in the country, versus where we live now in a wealthier suburb.  This was a perfectly acceptable, even cool, outfit in middle school.

sunday social

Happier times…before the sweatpants ban…  oscar

I think there’s a difference between wanting your child to look nice and be able to wear similar clothing to their peers, but I was saddened that it could make or break a child’s self-esteem and peer relations in middle school, and that their parent’s seemed perfectly fine with that.  I expect it to some degree in high school, but it just makes me sad that the pressure to conform is so important so early on now.

It absolutely makes me wish I was raising Jenson in simpler times…where every 4th grader didn’t have iPhones, and kids actually played like kids, instead of playing mindcraft on their phones or tablets, or whatever game they’ve all moved on to now, and when they wanted pictures of their friends instead of taking thousands of selfies each week.

But then again, what do I know…I still don’t care that much about fashion and am never really “in style”.  It may be best if I only have boys…

Gluten free Chocolate Chip Cookies

paleo chocolate chip cookiesI made these cookies because I had all of the ingredients and they seemed so easy…and I love cookies. And I loved these.  Gluten free cookie recipes that don’t require a million ingredients are few and far in between, so these were very appealing.  I’m not sure where it came from though – somehow I just scribbled down the ingredients and didn’t pin it (the horror!) – so I probably either saw it in a magazine or someone posted it on facebook.

These are technically paleo if you use paleo-compliant ingredients (like Enjoy Life chocolate chips), but since I don’t eat paleo, it feels weird to title them as such.  Interestingly enough, mine were paleo because I had that brand of chocolate chips that I received free (long ago) and I never got around to using them – mostly because I like real chocolate chips and usually have several bags (or giant bags from Costco) in the pantry.  This seemed like a good time to finally use them.  (turns out, they are fine)  Side note: even though I don’t actually bake that often, if I get down to less then 2 bags of chocolate chips, I get a little panicky.  It’s weird.  There were just always chocolate chips at my mom’s house and many, many spontaneous chocolate chip cookie baking sessions, so they just feels like something I should always have – just in case.Gluten free Chocolate Chip Cookies

So back to these cookies….they are GOOD! They are good enough that the recipe needs doubled next time because I’m not even sure if Lo had any before I ate them all (but that’s his fault). Between the almond flour or meal and the maple syrup, the recipe is a little expensive – but it’s healthier then normal chocolate chip cookies, and it’s worth it.  I buy the almond meal at Trader Joe’s and a big jug of maple syrup at Costco, because that’s where they seem to be the best deals. I usually get coconut oil from Amazon, but I’m going to try Trader Joe’s brand next time.

Gluten free Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 1½ cups almond flour or almond meal
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • ½ to 1 cup chocolate chips
  1. Set out maple syrup and egg to allow them to come to room temperature.
  2. Mix together almond flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together melted coconut oil, vanilla, maple syrup, and egg, and then stir into dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Refrigerate batter for 30 minutes or more.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Roll dough into even balls and bake for 5-7 minutes. Take cookies out of oven and flatten slightly with a spatula. Return to oven and bake for 5 more minutes, or right when they have a hint of golden brown. Allow to cool slightly on cookie sheet before removing.
*I'm not sure where this recipe came from - I jotted down ingredients awhile back and finally made them. I looked around at a variety of sites to find out to whom it should be attributed, and it looks like every paleo blogger has a version on this recipe (with slightly varying measurements).

Gluten free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sorry that the pictures all have a half-eaten cookie.  I took a bite and then realized I needed to take a picture because it was so good.  And then I realized that the bite showed how soft they are inside.

Photo Favorites : July 6 – July 13, 2014

July has been a blur….a good month filled with family, but busy.  Over a period of 10 days, we had overnight guests for 9 of the days.  For this week, Lo’s sister stayed with us for two days to watch Jenson while we were at work, my mom watched him one day and stayed through the weekend for a big car show that they always go to, and on Sunday we had a cookout with Lo’s family to celebrate lots of July birthdays.

1. Jenson wanted Boof’s hedgehog so bad and was so close…
2. and the Boof snatched it up.
3. Practicing his crawling position – mostly just rocking back and forth, though he’d scoot on his stomach sometimes.
4. He started sleeping on his stomach for part of the night occasionally.  So cute.playing and sleeping

5. – 8. Lo’s sister and our niece stayed with Jenson while we were at work for two days and he and Sadie had a blast.  She’s almost 15 months older and they entertained each other pretty well.  It was nice to spend the evening with Sadie.  She calls me her Val. If someone says “That’s Jenson’s mommy” she says “no, that’s my Val”.  Adorable.
Boof kept trying to sit in between me and the kids while we were playing.  Apparently someone needed attention.  jenson and sadie

9. Just reading a book
10. and 11. Practicing rolling still.  Sometimes he just forgets how and gets so frustrated.
12. Heading up for bathtime with daddy.  reading, rolling, bath

13. – 16.  Jenson is always so funny with my dad.  He’s shy around him at first, but then is constantly staring at him and smiling at him.  I think he also loves that my dad is usually wearing neon shirts (from car shows).  He was checking out his stubble in these pictures.  He sat there for the longest time and just felt his face.  I love the last picture – how they are both looking at the camera and Jenson has his hand on his chest.papap

17. – 20.  My parents get up and go to the car show at like 5:30 in the morning so they can get their spot and dad can see all of the cars come in.  So I always rescue my mom around noon so we can go do stuff.  This time we went to the North Market again, where we had gluten-free crepes from Taste of Belgium and took him some macaroons from Pistacia Vera, and some popcorn from Pam’s Popcorn.  We walked around the farmer’s market and my mom bought us some really neat handmade cutting boards.  After that, we headed to the car, but since Jenson had fallen asleep in the carrier, we walked around Goodale Park so he’d nap for a bit longer.  I love Goodale Park…I used to walk through there regularly when I was able to walk to and from work.  Or when we’d walk to and from bars and restaurants in the Short North. It’s one of my happy places.

north market goodale

21. – 24. Jenson was back to staring at my dad.  This time he was all about his hat.  The last picture is so good – everyone is looking at the camera and smiling.  Boof is even more about my dad than Jenson.  He can’t even hold anything food based, or she follows him, barks, and is a harasshole until he gives her a piece, or finishes what he’s eating.

papaps hat 25. and 26. More pics staring at Pappap while he was resting on the couch.
27. and 28. Getting some loving from Gramma.gramma pappap
29. and 30. Food pics!  I don’t even know what he was eating in the first one, but definitely some yogurt drops in the second one.  He LOVES those things.
31. Riding on his truck.  He can move it back and forth a little bit, and keeps his balance pretty well on this.
32. Passed out in his seat on the way to visit Lo’s family.

eat play sleep

33. He did not enjoy wearing a party hat.  Must have been uncomfortable on his chins.
34. Patrick walking with Sadie.
35. Hanging in the jumper
36. A rare moment that I got to hold him when we’re around family :) birthday cookout

37. Relaxing with his great-grandpa Peepaw
38. Sadie and Nana (so sweet)
39. Jenson got to meet his Aunt Apryl for the first time at this gathering.
40. I think he liked her. :)

fam cookout

41. Boof is a little leery when she’s sitting with him…I think he got a handful of skin here.
42. And then she does her standard stress yawn.
43. Teething face
44. Reading (or kissing) a bookfaces

45. – 52. He was making such cute and funny faces for this picture that I could only narrow it down to 6 pictures.  40 weeks.  wow.  It makes me sad how fast time has gone.40 weeks