Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Groundhog was Wrong

A second snowstorm came through the midwest again last night and this morning. Last weeks blizzard left us with 12 inches in snow in just a matter of hours. This snow was much more "normal" and the accumulation (8-10 inches?) was over the course of evening to lunch time. It was also much heavier and a nightmare to shovel... but it was really beautiful! 

Even though the little bench was covered, I still wanted a picture! It's my favorite photo spot! :)

This is a photo that my father in law took-- but I just love it!

Lastly-- I snapped this one as Derek was finishing up the driveway this evening. It was absolutely freezing outside, but his heart was melting as she ran down the driveway saying, "I love you Daddy!"

With this sudden burst of winter over the past week-- I think it's safe to say that the groundhog was so totally and completely wrong. I'm glad we ended up with some snow this year because the last two winters have been without and this will certainly be good for the grass and fields considering the drought of this past summer. But Spring-- where ever you are--I'm patiently awaiting your arrival and I will gladly welcome you with open arms... Don't stay away too long!!


Meet Tiger

Back in January, we decided to expand our family! We got a new kitty! I had the intention to post when we first got her, but then we went completely MIA for three weeks! Her food was eaten and she was using the litter box... but no sign of her. I have no idea where she was hiding, but she's decided to come out and enjoy our family.

Her new "entrance" into our family has coincided with the latest bouts of sickness, so I haven't even had my camera out to snap pictures, but that will happen eventually. This is the only one I've got for now!

Her name is Tiger, which was her name before she came to the family. We considered other names, but Jackson's suggestions were along the lines of Optimus, Bumble Bee, or Spiderman.... so we stuck with Tiger. She does have stripes, so the name is fitting. 
  • Belle thought Tiger was a kitten puzzle piece, not an actual kitten. Whenever we'd mention her, she'd run and get the puzzle piece and say, "I found it!"
  • Both kids are thrilled with having a pet, but then they also both are thriving on "being the boss" as they feel they are in some authority over her.
    • "Hey Jackson, we're getting a kitten".... "Okay, can I be the boss of it?" .... "Well, I think Daddy and I will be the boss of it"... "Okay, well can I be the boss just a little bit?"
    • Belle: "Tiger. Get down. RIGHT. NOW." and in typical Belle fashion, she says it three to five million times in a row.
  • Tiger went into heat (constant meowing!) the as soon as the last snowstorm started coming through. It was not pleasant to be stuck in the house with her! I was able to take her to get spayed yesterday before the new storm started!
    • Both kids were upset that we left her behind at the vet. Belle kept saying as we were walking out the door, "we need tiger!" and Jackson teared up in the car, "But I love our cat!" 
  • All in all, she's a wonderfully patient cat... like, patient with the two little people in this house.
  • And ultimately, Jackson is learning to help take care of her... an unexpected treat! He likes to feed and water her and he can do it on his own. Now... when can we teach him how to empty the litter box?


      Saturday, February 23, 2013

      Belle's Birthday Celebration

      This week our precious baby girl turned two! Seriously, how did this happen? She was just born a few weeks ago, I swear!! We celebrated with a very small "grandparent" party. 

      Jackson helped make and decorate Belle's cupcakes! 

      Belle surprised us all with her walking-in-high-heels skills!! 

      Big brother had to try out some of Belle's new toys! 

      Here are my kiddos with both sets of grandparents! I love when we all get together! (you can see that Jackson wasn't interested in the princess stuff very long... he quickly changed to become a superhero). 

      Great Grandma Duff celebrated with us

      And so did Great Grandpa!

      Here are a couple of shots that were captured the afternoon of Belle's party-- look at these Pretty Pretty Grandpas! Does Belle have them wrapped around her little finger or what?!?!?!?

      It was the perfect little celebration! 


      Thursday, February 21, 2013

      Snow Day and Comfort Food

      So.... my day didn't go at all the way I planned it. It started out with this: 

      ... and ended up with the kids home (and stir crazy) and I didn't get a single thing done. We've tried to make the most of our snow day. This snow storm is ridiculous. The entire city practically shut down- restaurants, doctor offices, court houses! Eventually, some sort of snow traffic emergency regulation was instated and basically prohibited any car that wasn't equipped with snow tires or chains to be on the roads. Apparently there are hundreds of stranded cars on the highways (mine is just down the street). Our roadside assistance towing company "wasn't towing non-wrecked vehicles" today. Hopefully I'll get it back tomorrow!

      Here is the door from our garage at around 9am.

      This was the snow in the afternoon.... and my shovel was behind that door!

      The kids "helped" me shovel a pathway with their pots and spoons... :)

      Jackson was thrilled to make snow angels again!

      He was also very eager to help me shovel, until he realized the snow was really heavy and shoveling is really hard work. Especially when it's over a foot deep.

      Belle was content to sit and "make oatmeal"... She would pretend eat it and then proclaim that "it's delicious!"

      We enjoyed a warm cozy fire along with some hot chocolate (that was really just warm) after we came inside!

      Jackson fell asleep by 7:00 and Belle utilized the time to talk uninterruptedly for two hours..... two hours.

      And now for a recipe....
      I must have known somehow that today was going to be the perfect day for one of my favorite comfort meals when I did meal planning a week or so ago... Actually, I picked it because it's so super easy (and fool-proof) so it makes a great meal for when I work all day). I thought I'd go ahead and share because it's one of my favorites... and it's perfect for a snowy day! Note: this isn't the most healthy meal, but like I said... it's comfort food and it's delicious. 

      This is the inspiration:

      These bowls came out when we were first married. We ordered them once and they were super tasty.... also pretty expensive! So, now I make them at home. I'm normally not a fan of a one-dish-meal, but this is an exception. 

      Here are the ingredients... 

      {PS: I buy almost everything generic and/or from Aldi}
      • Instant Potatoes
      • Popcorn chicken
      • Brown Gravy
      • Corn
      • Shredded cheese
      Make the potatoes (or use real potatoes, it just takes longer). Make gravy. Heat chicken and corn. And then put it all together in a bowl. I do it in this order: potatoes, chicken, corn, gravy, cheese. Sooooooo easy. And it takes about 15 minutes. Now, I did buy the chicken this time from the deli counter at Wal-mart, but I normally use frozen. And I've even used chicken nuggets before. Whatever gets the job done!

      I took a pic, but I don't think it looks very appetizing. But I promise you, it'd delish. And easy... did I mention that? My kids devour this, which is a total bonus. If you make it-- let me know!!


      Wednesday, February 20, 2013

      Potpourri post

      I know miscellaneous day-to-day stuff isn't super exciting reading material, but I am working at doing a better job at documenting it so I can have it to look back on someday... so today is a potpourri post!
      • Sickness has continued to infiltrate our house. I am not even kidding. Derek came down with a bug almost immediately as I recovered. We had to leave church early because Jackson got sick on Sunday morning. And then today, as soon as I dropped the kids off at MOPS this morning, Jackson's teacher came to find me because he got sick again. I didn't even get to eat breakfast. I'm not gonna lie-- I packed the kids back into the car and I cried on the way home. I have reached my limit. Derek spent the afternoon at the doctor getting mostly the same meds that I took home last week. If this isn't the end, I am going to absolutely lose it. 
      • Winter Storm Q is arriving tomorrow. Take a look at the pic. See the Kansas City dot-- yeah, that's us. Everything is practically closed down in anticipation. 

      • Considering I don't get paid, I won't be making my way into work tomorrow. Really, I'm bummed because my compensation is my hours and Thursdays are my best days to accumulate direct client hours. And really, I love my job so I actually like going in. Oh well. It's still not worth the probably several hour commute. Derek's entire office is working from home tomorrow. The kids will still go to Miss Beth's while I make my best attempt to get ahead on school and internship work (and maybe get a blog finished about Belle's birthday). 
      • I put Belle in time-out today for the first time. (Anyone taking bets at how long it takes for my parents to read this and call me to ask why I'm implementing such harsh punishments in our house?) Her only rule was to sit there until she stopped crying. Eventually she did and she was totally fine. And then it was time for bed... She wasn't thrilled, so she put herself back in time out to cry about it. 

      • Jackson news: He wore his batman costume to church on Sunday. And a couple of cute quotes this week:
        • After telling Jackson that it's not appropriate to say, "I'll kill you" (even when playing), he responded in the sweetest voice, "Can I please make you dead?" He was certainly trying to do better, but it kind of missed the point. He asked so sweetly, I almost said "yes!"
        • When we told Jackson that it was going to snow, he asked "Why?" (which is sooooooo typical). Anyway, we told him that God sometimes makes it snow for us. He then asked to see a picture of God and when we explained that we don't have a picture of God, he simply suggested that we fly an airplane up to him and take a picture. Gotta love the innocence!
        • Oh, and he has consistently requested to be called, and he has introduced himself several times as Jack. Why does it make him seem so old???
      I guess that's all for tonight... and if we still have power tomorrow, I hope to have another post real soon!


      Sunday, February 17, 2013

      Tines-Valen Day!

      I posted a little survey on Valentine's Day, but now I need to post about our actual day! Celebrating Valentine's Day is just so much more fun with kiddos! And this year, we actually celebrated "Tines-Valens Day" as Jackson called it.

      My amazing hubby helped the kids pick out some flowers for me on Tuesday while I was at class. It was a total shock because it was two days early. I love fresh flowers and I love them even more when my little boy is beaming with pride as he tells me that he picked them out. Oh, the love!

      I had all sorts of fun things for the kids on Valentine's that I had been planning for awhile and was waiting to put it all together on Wednesday night. It didn't even dawn on me that the kids would have a party, so when their teacher reminded me on Wednesday-- well, it made for a crammed evening! Oops!

      We converted Halloween buckets into Valentine buckets with construction paper, stickers, and foam letters.

      Thankfully, my mom had picked up some Transformers valentines. Jackson wrote a letter J on one, and then Derek had to write his name on the rest. Jackson did apply the stickers though. 

      As for Belle's valentines, I just cut out some hearts, gave her a marker and a few stickers and she went to town. 

      The kids had painted some hearts on some would-be-valentines several weeks ago. Unfortunately, that didn't quite happen. Maybe Grandmas will get a valentine for St. Patty's day.

      Jackson did use one to make a note for Miss Beth though! (You can tell by the M that he was pretty entertained by leaving the marker on the page, so it would bleed into large circles... I had to get him to refocus!) That's his name on the bottom along with a heart (above the A). 

      I made some Fruit Loop marshmallow treats for the kids to have for breakfast and for them to share as treats.

      Their lunch had heart PB&J tortillas and cheese. They had candy hearts with pretzels and some pink fruit salad. Belle ate all of her candy hearts, but Jackson thought they were gross. (Me too, buddy!)

      I picked up some items for the kiddos to open in the morning. They both got books (Transformers for Jackson; Alphabet for Belle) and cups with crazy straws. 

      All of that was accomplished on Wednesday night. Did I mention that we don't get home from church until 7:45?!?! Whew! It was a busy night.

      I left work a little early to spend some times with the kids before Derek and I went on a date that evening. Jackson was SO excited about his valentine party! He emptied his bucket on the table when we got home and told me about every single one of them. Belle was pretty happy too-- that girl loves her some candy. We even had some valentine's in the mail (thanks Gram-Gram, Grammy, and Aunt Mary!) and when Grandma Linda came over to babysit she brought cards too! The kids are loved beyond belief. :)

      Derek and I carried out our Valentine pizza tradition. This year, we ventured to Minski's on the South Plaza. Loved it! We even got a heart pizza (with Bacon and extra cheese). And because some movie exec somewhere in Hollywood thought it'd be a funny joke to have Die Hard released on what is supposed to be a romantic day, our after pizza activity was watching Die Hard 5. (side note: I should get some awesome wife points for not insisting on a sappy love movie.)

      So our day was great. Even though I know that Valentine's is a commercially driven holiday, I really enjoy celebrating and taking the time to make people feel special and loved. Hope your day was great! 



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