Thank You Card/Pinterest Failure

I found this post sitting in my draft archives and realized that with the holidays coming up, some of you may have grand hopes of beautful and unique thank you card. ¬†I’m here to stop you or at least guide you in a better direction ūüôā

If you’re anything like me, despite the fact that your life clearly resembles nothing out of Pinterest, you may find yourself with a most adorable project for your one year old that goes horribly wrong.
image

image

I had planned on this thank you card project when Eli was born, but his little hands refused to cooperate and unfurl. So I tried his feet…a smeared mess. Those nurses at the hospital have a magical gift for getting those perfect little footprints! However, I was desperate to capture the tiny preciousness of my sweet baby, so I pushed the project back.

After Eli’s first Christmas, perfect timing! I got the picture, I was ready to go. Then the winter blues set in and I did nothing for a couple months.

Eli’s first birthday! Another opportunity for thank you cards! I ordered the cards (from shutterfly)- and two months after that finally involved Eli in the project.

I got Eli all set up in his high chair and ignored the fact that he didn’t seem super pleased with the idea. As soon as I placed the finger paint onto the high chair- hands went straight for the paint and to his mouth. My big mistake was not letting him ingest copious amounts of “nontoxic” paint. This act made him furious and therefore made the thank you cards an abysmal disaster that I throughly enjoyed!

Here are the things I learned along the way:

-tape your cards, keeps the outside of your card crisp and clean.
-don’t use your high chair if the high chair is specifically used for eating. Try using the bathtub or going outside. Clearly I didn’t try this, but I’m assuming the eating was purely habit.
-lower your expectations, I was expecting actual handprints, I should have been looking for something “modern”

Before taping ūüôā

image

Advertisements

The Ultimate Snickerdoodle

Once upon a time, as some of you may know, I decided to open up a bakery and spent tons of time, energy and money on it. ¬†And it was so much fun. ¬†And then it wasn’t. ¬†Kenny and I looked at the bakery and looked at our family and realized that the bakery was not doing what we wanted it to for our lives, our family and our future, so we shut it down. ¬†It was difficult to come to the decision and it was painful to admit defeat and close doors; BUT- silver lining!! ¬†I can now release recipes that I slaved over to all of you! ¬†My failure is your gain!

image

We had snickerdoodles in the bakery, and they were good. ¬†However, they were not the best, just good enough. ¬† Before I opened my bakery, I worked at another bakery and their snickerdoodles were the very best. ¬† I never managed to “borrow” their recipe, but I did get a chance to glance at it and what I noticed was that this recipe utilized whole wheat flour as well as all purpose. ¬†So I tested recipe after recipe, varying everything possible, until victory!! The ultimate snickerdoodle is upon us. ¬†This cookie has crisp edges, a delightfully chewy texture, a hint of tang, and is lightly sweetened with plenty of cinnamon. ¬†I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Couple of Notes:

I am a big believer in weighing my ingredients (I find that it creates a more consistent recipe and uses less dishes, win win) however cup sizes are listed as well. ¬†Also, I’m so sorry, this recipe does two things that irk me, melting butter and not using an exact cube, I know its’s annoying, but again, ultimate cookie!

Mix:

6 oz. (3/4 cup + 1 tsp.) granulated sugar

4 oz (1/2 cup + 1 tsp.) melted butter (melt the butter and then weigh/measure it, meaning it will be slightly over 4 oz before melting)

Add:
1 egg

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Mix in:

1.25 oz (1/4 cup) whole wheat flour

6.2 oz. (1 1/4 cups) all purpose flour

1/4 tsp. salt (if using unsalted butter, 1/2 tsp.)

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cream of tartar

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet.  The dough will be soft and lightly hold shape.

Portion out the dough and roll in cinnamon/sugar mixture*

Let dough chill in fridge while oven heats up.

(If butter dough requires cooling, I always portion it first.  Portioning out dough after it has chilled is a pain in the ass and typically requires the dough to warm back up to room temperature to do so, thus negating the purpose.)

Turn oven to 375*

Bake for 12 minutes

Edges will start to firm up, but the centers will very much not be set.  Let cookies cool on cookie sheets.  These cookies go from ready to overcooked super fast, so seriously watch them towards the end.

*Cinnamon/sugar Mixture: 1/3 cup sugar 1/4 cup scant cinnamon.  Taste -test this, if you want it sweeter, add more sugar.

Dear Disney/Pixar/Dreamworks/PBS…

Dear Genius Media People-

I just wanted to thank you for the many hours of sleep, rest, housework, pinterest, “me time” you’ve given me. ¬†Last night I came home from work at 1:30 (in the am!) and my angel of a child decided that a 5:20 screaming wake up call was in order. ¬†After trying to soothe said child back to sleep (i.e. pleading with him to lay quietly in his crib for several more hours) I made us a nest on the couch and we went back to sleep. Until 7. ¬†There was a time when I could function quite well on 5 hours of sleep, relished the challenge of lack of rem cycle and replenishment. ¬†Those days are a distant and forgotten memory. ¬†So when I was awakened, with a book to the face, after a mere 4.5 hours of sleep, I gratefully grabbed the remote and turned on Toy Story.

An hour later I could fully wake up.  Wake up to find my child happy, content and, most importantly, in the exact same place that he was when the movie started; positively enthralled with Buzz Lightyear flying across the screen.  I still had enough time left in the movie to wake up without having to talk to anyone, make Eli breakfast without  him standing directly under my feet and basically start my day happy instead of in a delirious, sleep deprived fog.

Whatever magic brand of hypnosis you create, I am thankful and in awe of your ability to do so. (Perhaps you could possibly find a way to stop the shrieks that emanate from my child when I turn of the tv next?  I believe in you!)

Sincerely,

Every parent everywhere, since the advent of television that has used it as a babysitter after swearing up and down that they would never do such a horrible thing and then having to eat their own words.

Redefining Success

IMG_2620

I have always been under the assumption that once the “right” thing (car, career, husband, house) was chosen things, life, got easier, better.¬† This way of thinking quite literally makes no sense.¬† The most successful people I know work more intense hours and have more poeple’s livilihoods resting on them.¬† The “right” thing doesn’t make life easier, it just makes life more focused.¬† Perhaps this is why I have had such a hard time finding my stride, my way of living, my way of parenting; focusing has never been my thing.¬† OR perhaps, it’s that the fact that for the past 10 years, my mind as been inundated with the idea that if you love what you’ll do, you’ll never work a day in your life.¬† This prevalent phrase meant to inspire one to go after their craziest dreams and that life will all work out, leaves me feeling incompetent and uncomfortable. The problem I have is that I can’t understand how to correlate the fact that I struggle, while it looks like everyone else is breezing through their days. ¬†However, this idealogy neglects to explain that there is still drudgery and second guessing, boring and difficult parts of your proposed “dream job.”¬† The fact is that having a job that you love means that there will be time that you don’t want to do the actual work part of the job.
With all of these thoughts floating around my mind, it’s challenging to know if I am doing what I love. ¬†My days at home seem to feel an awful lot like work, however my time at the restaurant is easy, begging the question, what am I doing wrong? ¬†I feel as though, my best self, my best life, comes from being a wife and mother. ¬†My best self, has not come about from waiting tables.¬† I feel more fulfilled, more whole, more myself when I am caught up completely within those roles.¬† However, it has not been easy, it has not been without extreme difficulty.¬† I would guess about 70% of the time, I feel as though I’m in battle.¬† Fighting to grasp that true self, that fleeting sense of wholeness; before the temper strikes, the laundry piles up, the tv sucks us in for a bland evening at home.¬† The simple fact of the matter is that being a mom and wife requires a lot of work, a lot of thankless and unnnoticed work (basically the same as a regular job that one would recieve a paycheck for…) and that is okay.¬† The fact that I do not rejoice at seeing an empty refrigerator on a rainy day with a teething toddler, is okay, furthermore, it is normal.¬† It is normal to feel the struggle of having to work at your dream job, of having to search for the good.¬† Holding oursleves to the idea that if we really loved what we did it wouldn’t feel like work (a saying that, by the way, has for sure taught us to be rather entitiled, pissy little children about ever having to use a dustpan) is doing us all a great disservice. I’ve found that what works best for me is to change my definition of success, change the barometer, so that knowing that I’m doing the right thing is not how much work I feel I’m having to do each day.
Maya Angelou said that “success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it.”¬† This is an idealogy I can get on board with.¬† I like who I am as a mom and wife,¬† I like that I am taught to practice patience and kindness, grace and understanding everyday, over and over again.¬† I like that I cook for my family, I love that throwing crayons and picking them up is a part of my job description. ¬†Playing with Eli is the best thing that I can be doing for him. ¬†Making my husband dinner and making sure things are going smoothly at home is the best way that I can support him so that he can further his career and continue to move up within the company¬† I like that the way my roles as wife and mother are accomplished are by me being home most of the time with Eli, that what works best for not only our budget, but my sanity, is for me to work a couple nights a week.
Motherhood and being a wife have been and will be a continual refining of my person; softening those hards edges of selfishness and anger, polishing love and passion until they are what shine through the most.  They are the two most challenging jobs that I have ever held.  I am overwhelmed and terrified that I am messing them up, all while being so thankful, peaceful and in unbelievable gratitude that this glorious life is mine; all the time.  It is hard, it is painful, it is beautiful, it is worth it.  It is my version of success.

Disneyland Schedule

Here is our 4 day Disneyland with a toddler itinerary:

Disneyland Itinerary:

Wednesday: High 96 Low 69
Plane arrives @ 12
Settled into hotel by 3 (purchase milk)
Snack? Corndog? 3-4
Toon Town: 4-6
Move onto Autopia, small world, submarine
Start getting seats on Mainstreet 7:45/8
Grab dinner and eat while waiting for fireworks
Fireworks 8:30
Paint the Night: 9
Bedtime
Thursday: High 95 Low 70 (Dland closes at 5)
Dland opens at 8
Fantasyland 8-10
Storytellers/Goofy’s Kitchen Breakfast Buffet 10:15-11:15
Ditch the kid with grandparents
Naptime/downtime/pool 11:30-2:30
Meet up in California Adventure 4:45
Pixar Parade 5:15
Bugs Land/Cars Land
Seats for World of Color at 7:15
Grab dinner and eat while waiting
World of Color: 8
Bedtime
Friday: High 94 Low 70
California opens at 7
California (midway mania) 7:30-11:15
Grab breakfast somewhere in the park
Downtime 11:15- 2:15
Big Thunder Mountain BBQ buffet 2:30-3:30
Adventureland/Frontierland (maybe finish up fantasyland) 3:30-8
Seats for fantasmic 8:15
Fantasmic @ 9
If Eli can rally, dland is open until 12
Saturday: High 92 Low 71
DLand opens @ 7
California opens @ 8
Lazy day, finishing up what we missed and revisiting favorites

Leave for the airport at 1:30/2
Planes take off @ 4

Taking Toddlers to Disneyland: Part 2

IMG_3354

On to the fun stuff- the PARK!!

We purchased big gallons of water to fill our water bottles and bring into the park, Southern California water is really awful tasting, and spending $4 on a 14 oz. water seems ridiculous. (This only works if you are staying off property).

Kenny and I are big Disneyland lovers, however we almost never go during the busier seasons. I believe the fact that when we go the crowds and wait times are manageable is what has made us Disneyland lovers. If at all possible, go during the off season!!

The best thing that we did (I did)? Get super type A and make an iteneary. I asked my parents and Kenny if there were any things that were on the must do, must eat list and then tracked everything from wait times to height requirements, to parade schedule, etc. to make sure that we maximized our time and didn’t waste any time just waiting around for someone to decide what was next. The only way having an iteneary works with a toddler, is if you go into your trip anticipating that your schedule is going to go to hell, the baby doesn’t care about your schedule and that your carefully constructed timeline is really just a very rough outline of your time in Disneyland.

Here is what I came up with

We opted to wait on deciding if and where we would do a character meal after making sure we spent some time meeting characters to judge if Eli would like them or freak out. Fortunately, Eli loved the characters so we did Goofy’s Kitchen, which was perfect. Lots of dancing and interaction. If Eli had been iffy, we would have done Storytellers (better food, but fewer, more subdued characters). If Eli had hated them, would have skipped the character meal completely.

As far as food goes, Eli eats whatever we eat at home, which tends to be whole foods on the healthier side. So as to not completely disrupt his whole world, we tried to keep to the same type of food in Disneyland. We got him a toddler meal (mac and cheese) one time and he didn’t eat a single bite. At such a young age, kids don’t realize that they aren’t getting to do a vacation indulgence diet. Take advantage and keep their digestive systems on a regular set up.

Since Eli is the first grandchild (read spoiled rotten) we felt no need for him to gather more toys. Fortunately, anytime we walked through a Disney store, he basically just thought it was a toy store. We did however want him to have a souvenir from his first Disneyland trip, so we got him an ornament.

I had no idea that if you are going to wait for a “good spot” for fireworks or parades that you had to wait for an hour and a half. We don’t go to Disneyland to wait forever so we just grabbed whatever spots were available when the events were about to start. The shows alone were enough of a surprise and delight for Eli that we didn’t need the “good spot”

Pack whatever will be easiest for you to grab from your stroller, we used a backpack to stow all the stuff we would need on the stroller so that we could easily grab it if we needed to fold up the stroller. I’m also weirdly trusting and left all our stuff with the stroller whenever we packed it. I have never heard of anyone having anything stolen from their stroller in Disneyland.

Eli was great with the rides, and enjoyed just about everything he was allowed to go on (which by the way is a TON of rides). Even the scarier Fantasyland rides he just held our hands. Ride he didn’t like? Pirates of the Caribbean. After that Pirates experience, we didn’t even bother with the Haunted MAnsion. Most favorite ride? The carousels! Which makes me happy because it is one of my favorites too ūüôā

Disneyland has something called a rider swap, where if your child is too young to go on something, you can wait in line and then get a rider swap so that the rest of your party doesn’t have to ride in a long line again. When I heard this information, I thought that it meant, to the front of the line you go! Nope, a rider swap pass is basically just a fast pass. Cuts down on wait time for sure, but it is not an automatic front of the line deal.

We ended up making a max 15 min wait time rule, 20 if it was an absolute have to do ride. Eli does not understand the concept of waiting his turn and just standing around shuffling forward every 30 seconds.

The most important thing with your toddler, give them time to rest and time to run around. There are lots of places to play in Toontown, Tom Sawyer’s¬†Island and Bugs Land in California adventure. If you are going to Disneyland¬†and so intent on getting the most value for your money that you are going to¬†do open to close with no breaks, wait until your kiddos are older, that is not a toddler trip.

October Goals

Time to start getting out and enjoying that fall weather! Joking, this is my list to get me out of my blankets and off my couch.

10 blog posts- Here’s the thing, I have tons of half written posts, I just never finish anything, ever. I’m an idea person, not a follow through person ūüôā

Master bedroom- Did you guys just hear the angels sing hallelujah? We got the king size mattress and can finish up the bedroom now!! It’s so exciting! However, a month later, I am still having a very hard time sleeping in that thing. I like to be touching a lot in my sleep and now my body searches for Kenny all night… those beds are freaking huge!

Find a mom’s group/start a mom’s group- something that gets me out of the house, conversing with people and that gets Eli socializing with kids his age.

Halloween- I desperately wanted us to go as the Flintstones, but end of October in Idaho is not amazing for a toddler to run around in a loincloth. Which really sucks because he would have made an excellent bam-bam! We are floating around Toy Story or Peanuts characters, Eli is in love with Buzz Lightyear and has become utterly obsessed with his blue blankie- a perfect Linus.

Apple Picking- I have been wanting to go apple picking for so long and I am making it happen this year!

Friends Gathering- Between everyone’s different work schedules and various children and social activities¬†it is a challenge to get together in groups, but I’m trying. We are trying to make a fall bonfire happen *fingers crossed*

Start going to church again/find a church- here’s the thing, I don’t know if we have found our home church yet. I don’t know how I really feel about the one that we have been going to rather sporadically. I think that to actually judge whether or not this is the place for us, we need to commit to going for 6 weeks straight. The main thing that has kept us from going week after week? Eli has gotten sick EVERY time we have put him in the children’s space. I value sleep greatly and Eli being sick and not sleeping means that I don’t sleep ūüôā

Get back to being healthy- Kenny has been losing weight and for some reason the idea of one person in the house being healthy as put me in a tailspin of intense sugar cravings and the cold weather has put me into couch Kayla mood quite early. I’m considering doing a 21 day fix with Amber from Mommy’s Me Time, but I don’t know if I’m up for the actual commitment. However I need to do something to get out of this slump, I feel so sluggish and non productive,

It’s a lot to take on, but I’m ready for the challenge!

Musings on Motherhood

Musings on Motherhood

image

Final porch popsicle of the summer

I knew that I would be handling a fair amount of poo, I had no idea that Eli would be reaching into dirty diapers to be handing me poo to let me know that he needed to be changed. That’s right, I am being handed poo.

On that note, potty training this young?? It sounds amazing to potty train early and he seems really ready, he takes off his diaper as soon as it gets dirty, tries to wipe himself and tries to sit on the toilet. I’m thinking about buying a training potty and just seeing how it goes.

My favorite part of Eli is really weird, and slightly awkward to explain, I love his body. I feel as though Eli is the most perfectly formed little boy. He is so physical and strong yet has the softest most tender little body, full of tan lines, scraps, and little bruises. I just stand and marvel at the fact that I grew this human body and he continues to grow and turn into my favorite little person. Is that a weird thing to write a love letter to your child’s body??

Now that Kenny and I are in talks to have more children, I have become a super creepy lady that leers at people with infants. It’s mortifying when I walk away from a table at work at realize that I never once looked at the grownups at the table.

There is this mom in my neighborhood that I see running my kind of run (ie not running, but strolling along and jogging intermittently) I desperately want to make her my mom friend, so I’m considering stalking her so that we eventually just “happen” to go running next to each other. Weird? Eh, I don’t like leaving my couch in the winter, so a neighbor mom friend would be ideal!

Dance parties with Eli are my most favorite thing in the whole world. He drags me out to the center of our house and then as soon as I turn on music, he will not stop until the music does.

I understand that all children are different and unique and I’m not worried about loving the next tiny human whenever we decide to have another, but I’m really hoping that the second baby is the exact same as Eli. I like to set my expectations far above reality and then have them crash down in a giant mess!