Monday, November 29, 2010

Happy 2 Months Troy!

Happy 2 Months Troy! This post is a little late because you turned two months old during the week of Thanksgiving

This month flew by just as fast as the first month. In fact, it is hard to believe that you have already been with us on the outside for two months. In ways, it seems longer (like during the nights you still keep us up!), but in others it seems impossible that you are already two months old.

You started smiling this month, and it is hard to describe the pure joy and warmth we feel from seeing your smile. You are still a mama's boy, and would much rather be held than lay in your swing or bouncy seat.

You finally decided that your pacifier was OK, although you still try to get your thumb to suck on at times. You have also become very attentive to the things around you. You like to watch the mobile on your swing, and you also enjoy listening to the music your swing plays. In fact, if the music stops, you start fussing!

Although you are still small (only 9 lbs, 11 oz at your two month check-up), you strength continues to grow. You hold your head up very well! You've continued to struggle with reflux which is difficult not only for you, but for us as well. We hate to see you not feeling well! We love you so much!

Troy @ 1 Month

The Paper Mama Photo Challenge: Black and White

I was excited that this week's challenge on the Paper Mama was black and white because I need a ton of practice with black and white conversions. I really struggle with black and white conversions - I just don't quite feel like I have an "eye" for it yet, but I'm working on it!


The Paper Mama

I was so excited to find out that my photo of Ella's eyes was chosen for second place, as well as a favorite photo last week at the Paper Mama. Yay!!

The Paper Mama

The Paper Mama

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

More Thankful Everyday

Thanksgiving always reminds me to really think about the things that I am thankful for in my life. I have been blessed greatly, and I'm thankful for many things, but one of the things I am most thankful for is my husband.

He is supportive, loving, and trustworthy. He is wise and level-headed (even when I'm not). He is funny and knows how to make me laugh. He is perceptive and knows when something is wrong with me, and he knows how to cheer me up. He knows when I need a break - when I need a chance to unwind and relax - and he gives me that time even if it means driving around a fussy baby so I can have a few minutes of peace and quiet. He is a great father and husband. He makes my life better.

As I've gotten older, I've realized more and more the importance of choosing one's spouse wisely. I've always been thankful for my husband, but as our years together grow longer, I've come to love and appreciate him even more.  I know that I made a good decision when I chose to marry him. I'm thankful to be sharing and living my life with my best friend. I'm thankful to be married to someone who is trying to help me get to heaven, and who is helping me raise our children in the Lord. I am more thankful everyday that I chose to marry him, and that he found me fit to by his wife.

Tot School: Week 7

-Ella is currently 21 months old-
Check out what we did in Tot School last week!

Do you ever have one of those weeks where you look back and it went by so quickly you don't even feel like the week existed? I had one of those weeks last week. Needless to say, Tot School activities were a bit slacking in our house last week, but that's ok - it is part of life! And, unfortunately, I didn't get many pictures this week either. :(

We did a lot of work on continuing to recognize the letter "A" this week. Ella consistently identifies the letter "A" now and she is so proud when she points it out. One day she brought me a book and pointed out letter "A"s on the pages for probably 15 minutes. It was so cute! I try to take every opportunity to show Ella the letter "A" as we are going about our daily activities. I think it is good for her to learn to recognize the letter "A" in many different situations. 

Ella loves to play with her pegs and pegboard. I tried to work on sorting colors with the pegs, as well as identifying colors, but this week she was mostly concerned with building the longest stick of pegs possible and saying "tall! tall!"


This weekend we had the opportunity to take Ella to her first University of Texas football game - this was quite the learning experience for her! There were so many things to watch and learn about at the game. She had fun clapping along with the crowd, identifying the longhorns that were everywhere, watching the football game, as well as learning about the band.



Tot School

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Paper Mama Photo Challenge: Eyes

I had a very difficult time choosing a photo for this week's challenge because I love Ella's eyes, especially when the sunlight hits them.


The Paper Mama

Friday, November 19, 2010

Our Thanksgiving Meal

I've certainly always enjoyed eating our Thanksgiving meal, but as I've gotten older I've found that I also greatly enjoying preparing the meal as well. This year we have the privilege of hosting Thanksgiving at our home, so I'm busy preparing the menu, making sure to include everyone's favorites. Here's our typical Thanksgiving menu:
  • Turkey
  • Ham
  • Cornbread dressing - my favorite dish of the meal!
  • Mashed potatoes. I'm thinking I might try Pioneer Woman's recipe and make them a day ahead of time.
  • Sweet potatoes. I use this Tyler Florence recipe, minus the bananas and I substitute marshmallows for the crumb topping.
  • Crescent rolls
  • Fruit salad
  • Green Beans
  • Corn
  • Gravy
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Dessert
What will your Thanksgiving meal include?

On a side note, please continue to bare with me as I'm changing the look of my blog a bit. It still isn't looking quite like I want it to look yet!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tot School: Week 6

-Ella is currently 21 months old-
Check out what we did in Tot School last week!

Tot School

One of Ella's favorite things to do over the past several months is to put things into containers, take (dump!) them out, and put them back in again. After I saw this particular idea (straws into a container) I knew Ella would love doing this activity and it would be a great time for her to work on her fine motor skills. I was right - she loved it! She played with this all week long!

Ella is still a little bit too young for me to venture into making cookies from scratch with her (I think she'd get bored with the activity before we finished), but my mom had the idea a while back to make cookies using the pre-made cookie dough. The week after Halloween I spotted these pumpkin cookies on clearance, and thought they'd be perfect for us to make.


Ella loved that they had pumpkins on them since we've been doing a lot of stuff with pumpkins lately.

I turned the light on in the oven, and showed her how to watch for the cookies bake.  Of course, she had to have her monkey with her! :)

While the cookies finished baking, Ella wanted to color. Once they had cooled off, she tasted the cookies, and loved them! (See the huge bite she is taking, lol!)

We continued to do a little work on recognizing the letter A. She loves to say "A for Apple" but hadn't really been recognizing the letter A when I asked her about it, until last night. Last night she identified the letter A several times! We'll continue to reinforce the letter A this week.

We also did some coloring activities with turkeys (since Thanksgiving is coming up very soon, yay!). I hope to do something along the lines of this Thanksgiving turkey activity this week.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Paper Mama Photo Challenge: Cozy

I debated whether or not I really wanted to get involved in yet another photo challenge considering that I already pretty regularly participate in two photo challenges (I Heart Faces and Shutter Love Tuesdays). However, when I started this blog, one of the areas that I mentioned I wanted to improve was my photography, and these challenges give me that opportunity by stretching me creatively and pushing me to try new things with my photography. If you browse through my entries in these different photo challenges, I think you'll easily be able to see improvement. I want to continue to improve with my photography, and one way to do that is to continue to enter these types of challenges.

Ha, now, with all that said, the photo I'm submitting for this new challenge at The Paper Mama isn't anything great photographically-speaking, but I do think it fits the theme very well: cozy. Here, Troy is crashed out wrapped up in his swaddle blanket (the best swaddle blanket I've ever used, by the way!). Troy is sleeping just the way he likes . . . . with his arms out of his swaddle. :)


The Paper Mama

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I've Got a New Good Habit

And I didn't even realize I had this new habit until I broke it.

I've mentioned several times that one thing I want to improve on in my life is how I take care of my house. I'm not striving for perfection in my house. I know that, at least for me, with my schedule, my personality, and my life with a toddler, newborn, and two dogs (not to mention me and my husband) a perfectly clean house just isn't going to happen. But, I do want a cleaner, more organized house than I currently have.

To help me in this journey, I've employed a lot of techniques I've found through the Flylady's website. The first step in her method is to shine your sink. I shined my sink, and it was a great step in the right direction for me. Since that time, I've been constantly encouraged by her daily emails to keep at it, and this weekend I finally realized something.

I consistently keep my dishes washed and my sink clear and clean now.

This is such a huge thing for me. I'm the queen of procrastinating as well as the queen of waiting till everything piles up so I can clean everything at once. And, at least in one area of my life, I broke my bad habit in both areas. I don't procrastinate on getting my dishes done anymore. I don't wait until I don't have any clean dishes in the house to wash my dishes. I do them when they need to be done. I now have countertops clear of dirty dishes (I'm still working on getting rid of other piles of junk on the countertops, but at least there aren't dirty dishes piled up on them!). My sink is clear and clean, and if, for instance, we have to give Troy an emergency bath because his diaper overflowed, I don't have to worry about washing the dishes before I can give him a bath, and that is a great feeling!

This weekend was the first time I realized how much of a habit keeping the dishes washed and the sink clean had become for  me . . . because my dishes weren't washed and the sink wasn't clean. In fact, when I caught up on my dishes this weekend, it took my three loads to get everything washed. That used to be a regular occurrence in our house, but until this weekend, I couldn't tell you the last time I had to wash more than one load of dishes at once. It feels so good to realize my good habit!

Now onto my next good habit . . . laundry. As the Flylady says, "A load a day keeps the CHOAS (can't have anyone over syndrome) away!"

Shutter Love Tuesdays: Brown



Monday, November 8, 2010

Tot School: Week 5

-Ella is 21 months old-

Check out what we did in Tot School last week!

Tot School

This week we continued to work on learning colors; however, most of our play focused on sorting/matching colors rather than actually identifying colors (although we did do a little work on identifying colors). I made a very simple activity for her to work on. I laminated a blue piece of construction paper and a yellow piece of construction paper, as well as a few shapes in blue and yellow. I had her practice sorting the yellow shapes onto the yellow piece of construction paper, and the blue shapes onto the blue piece of construction paper. This task was very easy for her! In fact, not long after she started, she purposefully would place a shape incorrectly, and look to me to see if I noticed. Such a silly girl!

Ella also continues to thoroughly enjoy coloring. She has been asking multiple times a day to get in her seat to color. I printed several coloring sheets from Crayola's website to use. I'll be hunting down some Thanksgiving themed coloring sheets for her to use this coming week.

Ella loves to be outside, and she had so much fun running around grabbing the "marcorns" (aka "acorns"). She loved putting them in her pumpkin. One day we went to the park, and she enjoyed watching a squirrel run around. She also loved going up and down the steps at the park's gazebo (the second picture is taken at the gazebo).

Teaching Ella about God and spiritual things is incredibly important to me, and I hope to be able to share different things we do each week in regards to spiritual Tot School as well. This week we used these creation cards from Apologetic Press.

I Heart Faces: Orange

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you've probably already seen this photo, but I thought it worked perfectly for this week's challenge at I Heart Faces: Orange!


Friday, November 5, 2010

A few random things on Friday

I'm so thankful it is Friday! I'm ready for a (hopefully) relaxing weekend. It is the first time in a while that I feel like I have the time to relax (at least a little bit). Things will be in full swing again on Monday though, so I need to enjoy it while I can!

I promise to get back to blogging more regularly. October was, uh, a little crazy in our house as we were (and, honestly, still are) getting the hang of having two kids who are both in diapers! Life with two under two is great, but also very tiring especially when one of them doesn't sleep through the night! I'm thankful that I'm having an uneventful weekend so that I can catch up on some blogging. I've got lots of things on my mind to write about, but I just haven't had the time to sit down and type them out. Also, if you notice things out of place on the blog, please excuse the mess. I'm getting an itch to do some revamping of my blog, and I'll probably play with the design some if I find time this weekend.



I'm loving the weather we are having this week! Fall feels like it is really in the air, and we are entering my absolute favorite time of the year - the time of year between Halloween and Christmas! I absolutely love fall, and Thanksgiving and Christmas are my absolute two favorite holidays. I love spending the time with family and friends! We're hosting Thanksgiving at our house this year, and I'm already thinking about what will be on our menu. What are your favorite Thanksgiving dishes? My absolute favorite is homemade cornbread dressing . . . yum! And to think now that when I was a kid I used to tell my mom that I didn't like dressing - I was crazy!

Speaking of food, I've tried a couple of recipes recently from one of my new favorite food blogs, Annie's Eats. I made the Rigatoni de Gregorio (minus the wine and mushrooms) and the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins.  The pasta dish was super easy and yummy! The muffins were pretty labor intensive to make, but they were also very tasty. Did I mention that another reason I love this time of year is all the pumpkin dishes?

If you are stopping by from New Friend Fridays, thanks for visiting!

New Friend Fridays

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Happy 21 Months Ella!

Happy 21 Months Ella!

As I always seem to mention in the beginning of these posts, I'm absolutely amazed at how much you have grown and learned in this past month. This is an incredible time in your life - I find it very hard to believe how much you learn each and every day.

Your personality continues to blossom, and you are one of the friendliest little girls with whom I've ever come into contact. When we go to a restaurant or to the store shopping, you look around to see who you can wave to and talk to. Your smile is contagious! 

You are trying to test your limits more and more these days, and you certainly test your parents' patience at times. You have an opinion about what you want, and when you don't always get it, you do sometimes throw a fit. I suppose it is just part of the growing up process, but we really don't like your fits.

Your speech and language continue to grow exponentially. You use two and three word phrases frequently now. You love to give us directions. For instance, if you want your milk. You'll say, "milk!" point to the refrigerator, and then say "right there!" while shaking your head "yes." You also love to identify all your surroundings. For example, we'll be sitting in the living room, and you'll start identifying everything you know from daddy to purse to chair to monkey.

You continue to be a great, sweet big sister. Whenever Troy starts to cry, you immediately say "paci!" and sometimes even make the "shh!" noise that we do to try to calm him. If you notice his blanket or pacifier are sitting out (we aren't using them), you promptly bring them to me (if I'm holding Troy) or place them on top of Troy if he is in his swing or bouncer. You still love to give him kisses, and you love that he rides in the backseat of the car with you. In fact, when we put you in the car before Troy, you often point to his seat and say "Troy, seat!"

Troy's "seats" (aka swing and bouncer) have brought a new game to your life - playing with the buckles. You are absolutely obsessed with snapping the buckles on his swing or bouncer (or your high chair). I never know what configuration I'll find the straps in when I go to put Troy into one of these things.

Words you say: I can't even begin to name the words you say! In fact, now you are saying two- and three-word phrases!

Animal noises you can make: owl, cow, sheep, puppy/dog, horse, bee, cat, frog, turkey

Body parts you identify: head, hair, nose, ears, eyes, tongue, feet, toes, cheeks, belly, belly button, hands, teeth, knees, fingers, legs, arms, shoulders, chin

Favorite foods: peaches, banana, guacamole, tortilla, eggs, broccoli, noodles (especially with meat and red sauce), chicken nuggets, bread (rolls), crackers, cookies (animal cookies), rice

Favorite activities/games: Anything that involves putting things in things (like balls in a bucket), coloring, puzzles, running around the yard, reading books (like Where is baby's mommy?, Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?, Goodnight Moon, That's How Much God Loves You, and The Foot Book)