Sunday, July 31, 2011

just another day in paradise.

We're on autopilot in the C House.
Carly and I spend our summer days at the park, on walks, at the pool, running errands, playing with friends (both real and of the stuffed variety), drawing, and going on wagon rides.
Chris spends his summer days teaching undergrads.
We live for evenings and weekends spent together.

[How cute is she? Outfit courtesy of Chris's sweet cousin, who happens to work at the Gap. Red lunch box courtesy of Goodwill and a really deep disinfecting clean by mommy. Carly loves her "new box", as she calls it. Best 79 cent purchase ever.]

[Carly and daddy hiding from mommy. My job is to say "Carly? Carly? Where are you?!"]

[Carly and her posse.]

[Just because she's pretty.]

[The diva picked out her whole outfit on this day, including "pink shoes!" and pink bow.]

 ["swinning" with towel.]

That's all I've got for you.
I just wanted the record to show:
Life is good.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

because i love food.

I made homemade potato salad tonight.
I'm mean . . . there was no potato salad, and then I cooked potatoes and boiled eggs and chopped pickles and mixed mayo and mustard . . . and then there was potato salad. Is it lame that I'm proud of that? I love potato salad. It is yummy. And while mine was nowhere near as fab as my dad's, it was only the first batch of many.

You see, I don't cook.
I know lots of people say that but really they can, but I really just am not that good at it.
For the first 4 years of our marriage, Chris cooked probably 80% of the time. Chris is a good cook. It is relaxing to him. He enjoys it. I do not. And if we wanted food that tasted good, Chris had to cook it. We were both going to school and/or working, so we came home together and I would do something productive (or watch tv . . . ) while he made us dinner. And when I was pregnant, we would come home, I would sleep while he cooked, he would wake me up to eat, I would go back to sleep, and he would wake me up to go to bed. Oh, those were some good times. But even after I had Carly and I stayed home and Chris was gone all day, he would still come home from school in Tennessee and make me dinner. It was a good set-up for me.

Then we moved to Michigan.
The thing about his current program? Its way hard.
It takes so much time, so much energy.
Upon moving here and starting that program, one thing became very clear to me:
I would be in charge of the food.

So over the past almost-year, I've been working on expanding my horizons. I started off with the basics, and now can make most of our "typical" meals without even burning anything. So I've gradually been trying to add new things. Like I learned to make beef and broccoli. And I learned to make tilapia. And my mom's mowed grass. And . . . ok, I'm sure there is more.

But the point is, I'm trying.
And I'm getting better.
And I made potato salad with only two texts to my mom and one phone call with my dad.

Things brings me to someone who can cook.
And I mean really cook.

My brother married a girl from Texas, and she can cook.

She has a cooking/baking/entertaining blog called

She is cute, her blog is cute.
But the best part is that it is realistic.
No crazy long or complicated recipes.
I mean, I can use these recipes, that shows you how possible they are.
She also just happened to go to Europe for 5 weeks (I'm not jealous . . . I'm not jealous . . . ) so I'm looking forward to some great recipes from Italy (ok, probably not wheaty Italy, but you can!), Spain, and France.

So if you're looking for something new to make for dinner, or dessert, or lunch, or a snack, or a party, check her out.

Oh, and enter to win a super cute apron here.
She is The Apron Gal, after all.


Oh, and because I had to share . . .
We went to the local Farmers Market today and one of the booths was a gluten free bakery. The lady has Celiac, as does her mother and daughter. They all have red hair, so she said her husband jokes that all Celiacs are redheads (ha!). Anywho . . . she had a plethora of yummy looking GF goodies. I left with the blueberry muffins, but I'll be back for the cinnamon rolls. And the pita bread. And the apple pie muffins. And a loaf of bread. Or two.

[isn't she lovely?]

Ok, now I'm hungry.
Potato salad, anyone?


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

a day in the life of a princess.

Emptying the linen closet of dishtowels and snuggling with all of them.

All while wearing a tutu.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

smells fishy.

Yesterday was probably one of the hardest days of my motherhood to date.
We're talking public screaming, multiple time outs, lots of crying on both our parts, and getting hit in the face . . . on purpose. I was wondering where in the world my sweet Carly went.

Well, I saw her today.
We went to the Library story time and she was so cute.
She wanted to participate but she is hesitant around other young kids.
It was fun to watch her gradually become more comfortable with herself and the situation. She danced with the other kids and did "itty bitty spider", and even crawled over and sat on the rug with the other kids . . . for about 10 seconds and then came back to me. But I love watching her expand her horizons and experience new things and learn to be more sure of herself.
She is such a kid.
A day like today is what a mom needs after a day like yesterday.
Because if we had had another day like yesterday, Carly would be on sale on Craigslist.

Tonight we sent Carly up to our friends' house and went and saw HP 7.2. I knew this movie would be a lot of the Battle of Hogwarts, so I didn't expect to like it as much as the previous couple. And I didn't. But it was still really really good and it was fun to go to a movie with the hubs.

Then we came home and I hadn't had real food all day and I was starving so I decided to whip up one of my new favorite meals. In fact I like this new meal so much, I thought I'd share (I hope you didn't just faint in shock that I actually cooked food . . . and that I'm sharing a recipe. I know, this is big).

You see, I really like fish. But I never eat it for two reasons: 1) Chris HATES fish. I mean hates it. On his mission he told people he was allergic to it so he wouldn't have to choke it down. Because he probably would have thrown up if he tried. 2) I just don't know how to make it.

My friend gave me this recipe, and now I feel like I can make fish!
Tonight was my second go-around, and now I'm officially obsessed with tilapia.

Here we go:

Oh, this recipe makes a lot. Half it for 2-3 people. Quarter if for a single serving (like me).

2 lbs tilapia
1/2 c Parmesan
1/4 c softened butter (not melted)
3 tbsp mayo
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp seasoning salt

Mix ingredients together (except fish, or course). Line baking sheet with foil. Spray with non-stick spray. Broil about 3 min (according to recipe . . . when I do just one piece 2 min is plenty). Flip and broil 3 min. Top fish with mixture and broil 2 more minutes or until topping is golden brown.

Just watch your fish and make sure not to overcook it. I also realized I do it wrong. I top it when its still raw, flip it and coat the other side too. So I coat it on both sides. Extra butter can't be a bad thing. Do it however you want. Its all good.

Its actually really easy and really quick. I get frozen tilapia and thaw it in luke warm water. It only takes a few minutes to thaw. And I eat mine with Zataran's Yellow Rice, though I bet Rice Pilaf would be good if you're the wheat-eating type.

So go make some fish.
Its good for you.
Especially when coated in butter and mayo.

[meant to take a picture. but its so good, your plate will look like this in no time.]

Thursday, July 14, 2011

rolling in the deep.

Before naptime today, Car and I had a dance party.
The girl loves her some dance party.

Some things that make this video extra fabulous:

a) She finds a dishtowel in my purse that I hid because it needs to get washed (I have to sneak them away and wash them one at a time).
b) She cheers for herself: "Go Carly! Go Carly!".
c) The camera didn't pick it up really well, but she sings the last word of every line of the song: "aaalllll!", "deeeep!", "soouulllll!". She does the same thing in the car.

And this time she got a little carried away.
Reminds me of that one time she ran into the glass door.


We recently got Carly a tricycle and a Radio Flyer wagon for super cheap at a ward member's garage sale. Today we took the maiden voyage in the wagon. Carly was a big fan, though she enjoyed pulling her "friends" in it just as much as riding in it herself. We also spent some time on bike-riding lessons. Her legs are still a bit short for the tricycle. She eventually gave up and let Jojo drive:

But I fully intend on letting her pedal around our unfinished basement all day long when the snow returns.


Finally, we scared the crap out of our daughter tonight. In honor of the big Harry Potter release at midnight, we thought we would show her the "Mysterious Ticking" video on YouTube. We thought she might think it was funny or cute. About 5 second in she says "I don't like" in a worried voice. Then she starts saying it over and over "don't like . . . don't like". Then, about 30 second in she screams in terror and starts sobbing hysterically. Poor child. In hindsight, I can totally see why it would be terrifying for her. We had to snuggle and watch Bubble Guppies after that, because she was really freaked out. Parenting fail.

Happy Weekend.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

the good, the bad, and the ugly.

the good.

Carly is so funny.
She says the funniest things.
I'm constantly laughing.
And she is so cute.

Yesterday I came home from the gym, had a quick dinner and then decided to have my new favorite treat: 100 Calorie Skinny Cow Ice Cream Bar. The chocolate chocolate ones. Yummers.

Now Carly is sweet all the time, but if you happen to have ice cream in your hand, she is really sweet. She will come up to you in her cute urgent little way, and burrow herself onto your lap, and in her sweetest and most polite voice say "Pease, mama. Ice cream." And you can't help but share with her.

And it ends up looking like this:
(please remember I literally just got home from the gym)

That girl is just as edible as the ice cream bar.
Less calories, too.

the bad.

I have recently decided that Carly watches WAY too much tv. I won't tell you how much because a) I don't want you to judge me, and b) if your kid watches more than that I don't want you to feel bad. I'm not against tv at all. In fact, Carly watches mostly education shows and she has learned things from them that I would never have thought to teach her (like, what a sloth is, for example). The amount of tv a child watches is a personal decision for parents, but I have felt lately like I lean on it too much. It takes zero energy or effort to prop that girl in front of Diego. I've been doing it too often and for too long. So I end up finding her completely zoned out like this:

So I recently decided to go on a tv "detox" where we just watch a lot less tv. I know I'm right, because sometimes the last few days when I say "Let's play!" Carly responds with "No! Diego!". We will have none of that. I'm still not down to as little tv as I want, but we have been decreasing every day. It requires me to spend less time on the computer, get up and shower before she wakes up, and figure out how to do dishes with her playing with the dishwasher racks, among other things. But it will be worth it. We'll both be happier.

the ugly.

Carly must have heard that she is almost 2, because she sure has spent a lot of time looking like this lately:

That would be her, screaming in her "time-out" corner. Carly actually responds really well to "time-out". But lately they have been a lot more frequent. She is in this screaming phase. She just doesn't listen to anything we say. And she is insistent upon doing everything herself. And when you won't let her do it (like, cutting a spaghetti squash open with a massive knife, for example) she screams and falls to the floor and throws a fit. I'm pretty much terrified to take her in public. We went to Hobby Lobby today and she was so out of control I thought I was never going anywhere ever again. But we had to go to JoAnn's too, and I ended up putting her in timeout in the bathroom (no worries, I didn't make her sit on the floor). Anyway. I know she is two. I know its normal. I know this too shall pass. And I know that Carly actually isn't that bad compared to some much more challenging children. I just thought I'd share my pain.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

nobody likes you when you're 23.

This beauty is 23 months old today.

I used to say Carly did something new and cute every single day.
Now its more like she does something new and cute every 10 minutes.

She loves "Itsy Bitsy Spider", "Rock-a-bye, Baby", "Row, Row, Row Your Boat", and "Head Shoulders Knees and Toes".

She is getting much better with her colors, since she and daddy like to say what color all the cars are when we walk to the park.

She can count to 6 on her own, then it goes something like " eleven . . . two . . . nine . . . twelve."

I don't think she even knows what a letter is. We'll work on that.

She loves swimming. Like really loves it.

She says funny things:

One morning she woke up and the lawn mower was going outside. "Uh, oh! Airplane!" she said.

Another time there was a thunder storm going on and she cried out in the middle of the night "airplane!".

Seems like she associates loud noises and airplanes.

Yesterday she started running around in circles with her arms up yelling "Carly's flying! Carly's flying!".

When we read scriptures at night, she flips through the pages and says "an came pass . . . an came pass" ['and it came to pass']. The first time she said that out of the blue and we were like 'maybe she does listen?!'.

We went boating yesterday and on the tube she kept saying "wee!"; then we would hit a bump and she would say "WOAH!".

She was running in circles and I said "Wow, Carly you are so fast!" and she said back, mid-run, "Thank you, mama!". Then she started chanting "Carly's fast! Carly's fast!".

She poked me with a book and I said "Ow" so she gave me a kiss and I said thank you and she said "you're welcome". This created a new game where she would poke me on purpose, and we would go through the whole process over and over.

She is an excellent talker and constantly has words flowing from her mouth. She can say pretty much anything you say. A few that come out extra cute are "lawn mower", "peanut butter", "Backyardigans", and "delicious".

She has been quick to throw a tantrum lately, and its hard to tell whether she is just recovering from our long weekend, or if she is entering "terrible twos". We were kind of hoping we would skip that phase.

She really loves nursery. We get to church and about 15 minutes into sacrament meeting she asks, "Go play?".

She LOVES Toy Story. She also likes Cars and "Meeno".

She has a bubbly and sweet personality. She likes to say hi to everyone at the store. She is so full of excitement and zest for life. She is a loving caretaker to all her stuffed animals (whom she calls her "friends"), and has begun to show love and interest for human friends her age, too (thankfully; she has always loved playing with adults, and I've worried a bit about her lack of interaction with other young kids. yay for nursery and playgroup!).

She is so good at "prayers", and sometimes if I'm still getting something for dinner but she and Chris have their arms folded, she will say "Please, mama. Prayers." And there is nothing sweeter than seeing that girl kneeling (or squatting) in her pajamas with her arms folded in prayer.

We like our 23-month-old a lot.

Friday, July 8, 2011

these summer nights.

Nothing better than an ice cream cone with candy eyeballs.
[If you're the two-year-old.]

Nothing better than a hot fudge turtle flurry.
[If you're the mama.]

The banana shake probably would have been better than the mint one.
[If you're the daddy.]

There's always next time.

We love these summer nights.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

learning curve.

Carly is almost two. I've been saying that for a while it seems, but we are just about a month away. Yikesers. Oh, man, we have a good thing going, she and I. Somedays are harder than others, but she is one rockin' chick. I'm a big fan.

But along with two, comes some milestones that are starting to loom ahead. And since I've never had a two-year-old, I've been wondering about some things. Ready to help? And, holy cow, I'm just going to ramble so good luck with that.

1. Moving out of the crib. I'm fully aware that every situation is different, so if you have an experience, feel free to share. I'm a little torn about this, because Carly is an amazing sleeper and has been since she was a month old. We are spoiled rotten in the sleeping department. It has to come to an end eventually, right? Carly loves her crib and sleeps so well in it. Unlike many situations, there is no one who will need to occupy the crib anytime soon, so I'm kinda feeling like maybe I'll just leave her in there as long as possible. She is not yet capable of climbing out, and her tries to do so are pretty half-hearted. But I feel like logically I should switch her to a bed before potty training so she can get out of bed if she has to go to the bathroom . . . right? And I want to potty train her as soon as I feel like we can, because while I could let her sleep in a crib the rest of her life, I am so over diapers. And speaking of beds, what do we think about toddler beds versus going straight to a normal sized bed? Toddler beds appear to be pretty cheap, but we'll be here until Carly is almost 5, and I'm guessing she won't fit in a toddler bed when she's almost 5. Oh, and I almost forgot. So I was thinking I could move her to a bed this fall, a few months after she turns 2 and maybe potty train in the spring when she is 2 and a half (I know, it probably won't work out as nicely as I'm planning) but now with seminary looming ahead too, I'm terrified. I don't want to move her to a bed and have her coming to say "hi" 5 times a night when I have to get up for seminary. But maybe I should just go on living my life even with seminary. It feels a little impossible (remember how I said I'm coming to terms with seminary? . . . I was wrong). So now I'm wondering if I should try to make the transition before seminary starts, but that would be like right when she is two, and is anyone ready for that? I don't know.

[if the bed doesn't work out, there is always daddy.]

2. Potty training! I've heard good things about this "three day method". What is the exact title of the book and who is the author? I'm not sure which one y'all are talking about. I already asked about the toilet, so that's pretty much all I've got. Potty training in three days sounds pretty good to me :). (Yes, yes, I know there's a good chance it won't work . . . I have been a mom long enough to know nothing is ever as easy as you want it to be . . . except teaching them to sleep through the night at a month old, right? haha).

3. And the big one. The scary one. The big kahuna. Peeps, I've got to figure out a way to get Carly to stop sucking her thumb. I have to tell you, I've been a big fan of the thumb sucking for a long time. There is nothing as fab as your baby self soothing from the time she's 5 months old. No binky retrieval. No going in at 3 am to pop it in her mouth. Carly cries in the middle of the night, you just wait a minute or two, and bam, thumb in mouth and we all go back to sleep. But now that she has been doing it for so long, I can see how her front two teeth are shaping around it, and its freaking me out and I keep having these horrible visions of her having to get reconstructive surgery on her mouth to fix the damage caused by thumb sucking. Honestly, she does do it less than she used to. Rather than all the time, its mostly just when she is tired or scared now. I've heard some say she will just grow out of it. But how long will that take? And what will be the cost of her orthodontia? (Actually, Chris and I both had braces, so our kids are hopeless anyway). Anyway, any reasonable tips to help? I'm not desperate enough to do hot sauce yet or anything like that, and this one is actually last on my list, as I'm fine to let her keep her thumb through the trauma of bed-switching and potty-training. But it is definitely looming.

Ok, bloggy mommies.
Share your wisdom.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

four days of the fourth.

The thing about the 4th of July being on a Monday: a long weekend and 4 straight days celebrating our beautiful country.

Or maybe that was just us.

On Friday, we headed to Chicago to attend the C Family 4th of July extravaganza.
We love going to Chicago and seeing Chris's extended family. There is a whole hoard of tween/teen cousins that are so good with Carly, and she sure loves having a posse following her around. We enjoyed lots of food and lots of time in the pool in the beautiful backyard of Chris's aunt and uncle. And doggies and ice cream and Aurelios pizza.

And flashlights.
Turns out, Carly has a thing for flashlights.

[headed to the BBQ/pool party.]

We spent an other-worldly amount of time in the pool.
At our last pool experience, Carly wasn't a huge fan, but this time around she took to it like . . . a fish to water. Chris swimming-parent dad was drooling, I think.

After perfecting her form, Carly got down to the business of play.
 Carly's great-aunt Laurie brought out a bucket, a water toy, and a cup.
And Carly was occupied for a very very long time.

We enjoyed having fun with family, relaxing, and did I mention eating?

[family time.]

[water baby.]

After dinner, as the sun started setting, Uncle Pete started lighting fireworks.
It was Carly's first experience with fireworks and she spent it looking like this:

But after every one he lit, everyone would clap and cheer, so I guess she decided they were ok, though it wasn't clear if she actually liked them or not.

We left Chicago on Sunday after a weekend that passed too quickly.

But the party didn't stop.

Independence Day morning looked like this:

[perfect form.]

We invited our friends Cameron, Camilla, and Kennedy to go swimming with us, since Carly was such a big fan over the weekend. It was fun, but the pool at our complex is not as warm as Uncle Pete's pool, and Michigan was not as warm as Chicago on that particular morning, so we only lasted a few hours.

After Carly's nap, we headed out to the BBQ being held at our Bishop's house.
Then off to the Parade in his little town.
Turns out it was a parade of about 800 tractors, a few politicians, and a few advertisements.
But it's the thought that counts, right? Maybe.
Carly kept watching like, "What the heck are these people doing?".
But there were firetrucks, and horses, so we'll take it.

[a slice of Americana.]


[American beauty.]

And in true Independence Day fashion, we ended the day with fireworks. We went to the small town show, and sat on the outskirts of the fairgrounds to avoid traffic. Carly started off excited, and identified the different bright colors with daddy, but it had been a long day, and she eventually covered her face with her towel in exhaustion. But I love the 4th, and I love fireworks, so I was grateful we went, as it has been a few years since we sat and watched a fireworks show.

It was a long and fantastic weekend.

At church on Sunday, someone shared a quote that I wish I could find about how patriotism should be an everyday attitude, and not just bursts of pride once a year. It reminded me that I should be grateful for this great country all the time. That I should pray and express that gratitude year-round, and teach my children to feel the same way and appreciate how lucky we are to live where we do.

But the bursts of pride once a year are fun, too.

Hope your four days of The Fourth were fab.

Late Edit: my sweet friend Laura knew the quote! Thanks, Laura, for saving me from insanity.

"Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." -Adlai Stevenson

I was a little off, but fabulous quote, right?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

thank goodness it's friday.

It has been a strange week.
I've spent most of the week feeling like things are all helter-skelter and out of control.
Constantly playing catch-up.
Man, some weeks are like that.
I pretty much tapped out yesterday and Carly and I spent the day lying on the floor watching Olivia.
Man, some days are like that.

[welcome to our week. (new camera.)]

But one of those days in there we did throw in some fun and go to Cars 2 with our buddies. It was Carly's very first movie theater experience. She loves the first Cars, and will sit through the entire thing no problem. So I thought she would do well. A few problems:

1. Cars 2 is a more advanced story than Cars 1. I mean explosions, secret agents, alternative fuel issues, money-making plots. I think it just didn't hold her attention like Cars talking to each other and racing around a track and going tractor tipping does.

2. Movie theaters have lots of steps and isles and chairs that flip up and down. Really, who would want to sit and watch a movie when there is so much to do?

She did occasionally sit in my lap and yell "Lightning!" or "Mater!" or "uh oh, Cars!" (during the explosions) which I'm sure everyone appreciated. We did make it through the whole movie, but we'll probably wait a little longer to try another (but a big Merci to Camilla who hooked us up with free passes).

[wiggly Carly and the much more movie-experienced Kennedy.
(old camera; big difference, huh? ok, i'll shut up about the camera now.)]

And we have a fun weekend ahead.
Today is NHL free-agency deadline day, so I'm super nervous.
We also happen to be heading to Chicago to spend a festive weekend with the extended C family, eat pizza, go swimming, eat lots of other things that aren't good for you, play with doggies, and get spoiled.

And on Monday we'll be home to celebrate the nation's birthday by . . .
I'm not sure what. Something awesome.

Have a good weekend.
In case you didn't know, the 4th of July is my 2nd favorite holiday after Christmas.