Friday, December 30, 2011


Inspiration struck this morning.

Whatever shall I do with the leftover eggnog?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Right now I am

Right now I am ...

... stumped for something to write today.

... stumped for something interesting for my family to do today.

... stumped as to where to start the cleaning, reorganizing, and purging that needs to occur in this house.

... shocked how quickly and easily our Big Boy has potty trained. 

... shocked that it was four years ago I was hugely pregnant and about to see his sweet face for the first time. 

... shocked that I can hardly remember life before him. Before them. 

... needing an injection of motivation and enthusiasm.

... needing to remember that motivation and enthusiasm comes from within, at it's own time. All I can do is patiently await and prepare for its' arrival.

... needing to be gentle with myself and enjoy this moment. The energy and enthusiasm will come, if I am well rested and receptive.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Aftermath

The house is filthy.

The tree is shedding needles faster than we can sweep. (Alright, fine. We're not sweeping them anyway. Why bother when they're just going to keep falling?)

The children have reached toy overload.

Overstimulated, over-sugared and under-rested.

The fighting is nearly continuous and punctuated only by periods of eating and sleeping. 

And by eating I mean begging for cookies and M&M's and rejecting anything with a modicum of nutritional value. 

Not that I blame them, I'm having trouble getting back to a healthy diet. Why eat vegetables when those cookies were lovingly made and will go sadly stale if not consumed?

I miss my nieces.

Wouldn't you? She's as sweet as she looks. 

And now the Big Boy wants a hamster. Thanks, Liz. 

Over my cold, dead body, Big Boy. 

I've had a few wildly  zealous periods of enthusiastic cleaning, organizing and purging - "It's a New Year! Auld Lang Syne!"

But mostly I'm digging my heels in, trying, and failing, to avoid eating the leftover Christmas confectioneries, and wishing for several more hours laughing and celebrating with the people I love. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Past

Oh so much to share.

It was grand.

A few highlights.

Nana brought munchkins.

Nieces are beautiful.

Awesome hats were worn. 

Orange marker was applied to faces. 

Someone got some new wheels. 

Christmas vest. Painfully cute. 

And then it was over. 

Okay - let's hear your highlights? Was Santa good to you?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Friday Moment

Soule Mama is taking a bit of a vacation for the holidays, but I'm still posting a Friday Moment today.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend full of laughter, food, friends, and lots and lots of love.

If you're posting a moment today, please leave a comment with a link!

Thank you, as always, for stopping by. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Go here and watch a video of the big boy "reading" his favorite book to our beloved Miss Kristen.

It's worth clicking over, trust me.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Moment

A moment in time.

One shiny, brief, funny moment.

Photos brought to you by our beloved Miss Kristen.

"Can I cwimb up dare?"
"Sure, Bud."

For those of you who think our little Wee One is a sweet angel,
look at that face. I rest my case.

"Udder way, Mama. Way down."

The only thing that stopped me from peeing while he stomped around on my abdomen was my years of Pilates training.

It is only because I love you guys dearly that I am brave enough to post this next picture.

Seriously, how many chins does one woman need?
Unflattering photo much, Melissa?

Ah well.

A funny moment sandwiched in among working, coughing, and Christmas prep.

So grateful to have caught it on film. Extra chins and all. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Baking

Over the weekend, the cookie dough made its' way out of the freezer, onto cookie sheets and into the oven.

The baking went on and on into the night. 

I also made some absolutely fabulous bars this year.

I have decided that bars are, in fact, easier to make than cookies.

Here are a few lessons I learned in the bar making business.

1) Choose your bars wisely. I did a seven layer bar (the recipe I used was my aunt's, and I didn't ask her permission to share, so I linked to a similar recipe) and a fruit bar.
* The 7 layer bars were perfect for distributing. They didn't crumble once they were cut but the fruit bars were far too crumbly to make for tidy distribution. I utilized wee cellophane bags to contain the crumbs - but I'll have to search for an alternate fruit-full-but-less-crumbly-bar for next year.

2) Prep your pan

Parchment or wax paper in the bottom, two strips of aluminum foil (folded
over several times for strength) and cooking spray.

*The wax paper keeps the bottom from sticking and the aluminum foil acts like handles so you can lift the entire mass-of-bars out in one piece for easy, accurate, cutting.

3) Choose your pan wisely. I have come to the conclusion that clear glass pans are significantly better for baking anything which might be potentially sticky than dark metal pans. (Also, I've fallen out of love with my dark metal cookie sheets, and much prefer my lighter metal, shiny cookie sheets). The dark metal seems to heat up more than shiny metal or glass, causing chips to melt and stick-age problems.

4) Might I suggest the use of a pizza cutter when cutting your bars? Score the bars with a long knife and then cut with the pizza cutter - it really does a much better job than the knife.

Table of goodness - amazingly there are two more
trays of bars on the counter you can't see.

Happy merry-making, gang.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A letter to my body

Dear Body,

It's me - your consciousness here.

As you have steadfastly ignored my previous attempts to influence your behavior, I'm taking my plea public.




This coughing business has gone on long enough.

There is nothing in our lungs except air, and there is absolutely no need to so violently eject air in the middle of the night.

I've checked in with the lungs, they are clear, healthy, and free of foreign bodies.

I've also checked in with the immune system and they report no infection anywhere - including the lungs, so pardon me as I reiterate my point here:



Also, as long as we are airing grievances here, let me just mention one other small point:

When we lose weight, please stop taking it from our boobs and take it instead from the butt/thigh region.

It's a simple matter of weight ratios, if you continue to siphon weight from the top half of our body we're going to end up looking like an upside-down lollipop.

This is not our goal.

In closing let me emphasize these two simple points:

* There is nothing in the lungs that requires forceful ejection. Give it up.

* Shrink the thighs, keep the boobs.

Thank you for your kind consideration and prompt response.



Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Moments

Friday Moments with SouleMama again today.

If you have a moment or two to share, please leave a comment with a link!

M&M face.

Mama's thoughts: "Please don't bite each
other, at least until I get the camera."

Hope you have a great weekend planned. 


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Right now

I think I need a dose of gratitude.

There are lots of amazing moments in my daily round - if only I can find a way to stop and acknowledge them.

Right now I am ...

... coughing up a lung  (gratitude, Melissa, this is supposed to be about gratitude)

... grateful for effective cough syrup.

... enjoying hiding veggies in the kids' food.

Winter squash makes almond butter a bit more spreadable.
And no one would ever notice beats in the jelly. 

... amused by the stack of big boy underpants and M&Ms that now adorn my kitchen counter - we're potty training.

... awed by the amount of pancakes and waffles my two boys can consume in a week.

At least they're whole wheat and fortified with flax and pumpkin. 

... eager for the mail every day - 'tis the season for Christmas cards!

... occasionally feeling like an elf as Christmas magic begins in my kitchen.

What's in the jars? You'll have to wait and see. 

... shocked at how quickly the month is flying by.

... grateful that my boys are still at the age where I can buy their Christmas presents right in front of them - as long as I stash them quickly in the back of the cart and distract them with a well packed snack bag.

... wishing there were 2 of me - one to watch the kids and 1 to accomplish everything else.

At this moment - what are you grateful for?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Parenting is hard

Parenting is the hardest job I've ever had.

Not that I've had extremely strenuous jobs i.e. coal miner, brain surgeon, or nuclear physicist.

But parenting is definitely the hardest thing I've ever done.

We had parent teacher conferences on Monday. Although they spent nearly half the meeting telling me all the great ways our Big Boy is making progress - I don't remember any of what they said.

What I do remember is the areas where they pointed out he is behind.

They made suggestions for things we  can do at home to promote his development in these areas.

I respect his teachers immensely.

When they make a suggestion, I am on it. A woman with a job.

This time around they had some great suggestions that I am happy to tackle, but they also made some suggestions that I am not so thrilled to attempt.

We had a few, slight, differences of opinion.

The question then becomes - Do I do as they suggest? Or not?

I know our Big Boy better than they do, but they have years of experience and an outsider's perspective that I don't have.

I have opted to give things a try.

If I think it's too much for our Big Boy, I'll pull back.

I trust them, and they think it's time to push our boy a bit, and by extension - I'm being pushed a little bit, too.

I firmly believe it takes a village to raise a child, and I must trust his village.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A gift.

Well Gang, I have been given an early Christmas gift.

It's a fancy new digital camera, gifted early so that its' fabulousity could be utilized during the holidays.

There he is. The Big Boy. I feel like you all are seeing him for the first time. 

The pictures from this camera are so very different from any previous pictures I've posted here, I feel like up to this point, I've only posted crayon sketches of the boys. 

Prepare yourself, there's an awful lot of cuteness in this next photo.

Ouch. I know. It kind of hurts. 
How many of you knew he had the Tom Brady chin? 

And just when you think this camera can't take a bad photo...


Unfortunately I will now be forced to bombard you with tons and tons of photos. 

And for those of you who were hoping to see me during the holidays, I'll be the person behind the camera. 

Fa la la la la. La. La. La. LA!

Monday, December 12, 2011


Sorry no post today guys - early morning parent-teacher conferences, be back on Tuesday.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday Moments

Friday Moments with Soule Mama again today. If you have a moment or two to share, please leave a comment with a link.

This week it's a shout out to beloved Hubs.

We're lucky to have such a devoted, engaged man as the dad in our little family.

I often wonder if the men in our society realize what a crucial role they have in the lives of the children around them. 

The children who get to know my Hubs are lucky, though we often forget to tell him so. 

Happy weekend, gang. 

Stay awesome.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Shout Outs

Good morning Gang.

Thursday is awesome, no? I can smell the weekend.

For those of you who have some gifts left to buy this holiday season - please allow me to offer a few recommendations before you hit the mall this weekend.

If you aren't familiar with Etsy, then man, you are missing out.

If you are new to Etsy, don't be nervous - it's perfectly safe and you will be amazed by the quality. I've never had a bad experience.

For jewelry please check out Shining Stones. Beautiful, affordable jewelry handmade by one of the most soulful people on the planet. Ellie is awesome.

For cool, artsy clothing, jewelry, accessories and home decor please check out Bark Decor. Sara is a local (to me) girl who is fabulous, talented and environmentally conscious.

Once again, allow me to sing the praises of my beloved Miss Kristen, who not only showed up to work every day this week sick-as-a-dog but also makes beautiful, inspiring art in her free time.

Then of course there's my fab neighbor Sharron who makes these sweet snowman ornaments, while jugging two kids and generally being awesome.

For children's clothing I love Kissing Kumquats. Adorable, beautiful and very well made way over there in sunny CA.

I've also had a good experience with Nici at Dig this Chick. Handmade clothing for children and adults, made in Montana. If you know someone who is dedicated to a certain state or country - you can get these awesome t-shirts showing off the love.

I got some beautiful prints from Printland this year - upcycled dictionary pages - super cool, and from Spain! Which I think is awesome.

Okay I think that is it for my Etsy shout-outs. There's still time to get some awesome, custom, locally made, unique holiday gifts - but you must act fast if you want them by Christmas.

If you have a favorite local or Etsy vendor - please, please leave a comment.

Buy local. Skip the mall. Be awesome.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Prepare yourselves, dear friends - I have some news to share.

Boys are different than girls.

Seriously different.

Two and three year old boys are about as different from two and three year old girls as you can get.

When we walk into the daycare at the gym, the girls can be found huddled together - talking, coloring, playing imaginative games with the toys.

The boys on the other hand?

The only interactions they seem to be interested in making are:
chasing each other
stealing toys from each other
irritating each other.

My boys have more physical energy than I ever imagined possible.

"I am happy to run" says the Big Boy, and it's true. The kid loves to run.

This weekend we took them, once again, to the woods.

Intrepid explorers.
In the woods, they run, laugh, and most importantly  they do not fight, whine or otherwise irritate me or each other.

I can't explain it, but it's true.

The Big Boy runs away from us at full speed until he exhausts himself, bending over and resting his hands on his knees like a professional sprinter - then after a few moments, he straightens up and runs back to us,
"I was running so fast!" he says.
"I know, Bud! I saw you." I say.
Then poof, he's off again.

He must have run at least double the distance we walked with these back-and-forth dashes.

Something happens to them in the woods, I can't explain it. Give them a wooded trail and they are happy.

Me, on the other hand? I'd rather be at home drinking tea and making a craft - but these boys? Oh, no. I will be needing to invest in warm clothes and good sneakers because these boys, they are happy to run.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


My children's dietary habits are so poor, sometimes I am afraid they are going to develop Rickets, Scurvy or Beriberi.

Here's what the Big Boy ate yesterday:

Waffles (at least they are homemade, whole wheat, with added flax)
Graham crackers
Toast (2 pieces for lunch and 2 pieces for dinner)
More milk
Cheese stick
fairy dust

The Wee One isn't much better. He subsists on breakfast, snacks, fruit, hummus, and macaroni-and-cheese.

In a fit of nutritional frustration this weekend I decided to try the sneaky nutrition recommended in Deceptively Delicious.

It involves the creation of a variety of vegetable purees.

Pumpkin, cauliflower, winter squash, broccoli, carrot, and beet. 

Half for the fridge and half for the freezer.

It's "Jamaican me crazy" from Bruster's, if you must know.
Coconut ice cream with chocolate covered almonds.
Now, back to the nutrition.

In truth, my purees are not as smooth as I would desire. Broccoli, carrot, and cauliflower retain a slight fibrous quality, even after an extended period of time in the food processor. The best results came from canned pumpkin (no work required), frozen winter squash (simply thaw), and canned beets (canned in water with no salt).

As far as tricking the children....

Cauliflower and margarine on this toast. 

There's broccoli in this hummus. 

I have to admit it's fairly successful. 

The secret is to keep the volume of vegetable very small. 

So there you have it. Sneaky nutrition. 

Why did my grandmother not have to sneak vegetables into her children? With 6 kids, did she just not care if one got Scurvy?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree

Good morning.

How was your weekend?

This family obtained a Christmas tree.

Phase one: selection.

Not too big. 

Not too small. 
We found just the right one. 

And even managed to make it home without the tree sliding off the roof of the car! (It has happened.)

Phase two: analysis of the ornaments.

All ornaments must be thoroughly inspected and
examined prior to  application on the tree. 

Phase three: decoration.

Sorry for the atomic flash, but this picture is too cute not to post. 

The Big Boy totally got into it. 

He's currently very into "putting things where dey bewong". And as soon as he got the gist that the ornaments "bewong" on the tree, he was a man on a mission. 

The Wee One, on the other hand, is never one for conforming to societal norms and kept taking his favorite ornaments off the tree to play with. 

This poor golden train was eventually taken down to the train table
where it was thoroughly  examined for  choo-choo ability. 

It was good.

It was festive.

Fa la la la la la la. La! La!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Moments

Hey Gang!

Happy Friday!

Joining SouleMama for Friday Moments again today.

If you have a moment to share, please leave a comment with a link!

Today's moments are brought to you by my beloved cousins (once again) who took a ga-zillion photos for us this weekend in an effort to catch some photos for our Christmas card.

Thank you Kelly and D-rock.

Why yes, Columbia Sportswear, he is available for advertising. 

I will admit to you, close friends, that this photo with Hubs in the
background made me cry a little. Don't tell anyone. 

Hope you have a fab weekend. I believe there will be a Christmas tree in this family's weekend... Keep you posted!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December Pledge



Sometimes I feel like my life is traveling at warp speed.

My goal for this month is to slow down and enjoy. To take notice. Much like my fall pledge I'm making a December pledge:

I, Melissa, do solemnly swear to enjoy the month of December. I will not be overwhelmed, overburdened or over-scheduled.

I will show my children that Christmas is about family and about giving.

I will give thoughtful gifts, and not rely on gift cards.

I will bravely say "No, thank you." to parties and activities which are not in my best interest.

I will remember to leave a little something for our mail carrier.

I will watch Christmas movies with the boys.

I will remember that Christmas isn't about what you spend, but about how you feel.

I will not be grinchy, but I will be thrifty.

I will pull my family in close and give thanks.

Spoiler alert! Christmas card photo!
Thank you Kelly and Derek!
Why do I always tilt my head at that strange angle in photos?

What's your December pledge?