Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in review....

2012 is ending, and it's ending quickly.  We are so blessed to have another year under our belt and what a great year it has been! Here's the highlights:

-Daniel and I got a year older. (The numbers aren't necessary.)
-Our little snow bunny Hayden was born! (Birth story)
-We celebrated and had a fun little train party when Leeland turned 2.
-Daniel graduated from the Police Academy and subsequently started patrol.
-We bought our 1st home! It was a long hard road to get it, but we got a house!!
-With the close of the year, Hayden is now 10 months old and has barreled through SO many milestones, sitting up, eating solid foods, crawling and 2013 will most definitely bring walking.
-I had the pleasure of getting to know some more awesome moms at MOPS.
-Leeland is also growing up a little too quick, he potty trained and got his big boy bed.

2012 brought both stress and blessings-- we are so happy to have so many wonderful memories from the year.  Counting our blessings and looking forward to another happy year ahead. :)

Happy New Year Friends!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Christmas Rundown

I look forward to Christmas from January 1 each year and then every year it comes and I'm a little overwhelmed with everything.  We just have lots of family to see, and it's really difficult, even 4 years of marriage later to find the balance in our seeing each of our families and balancing family traditions with making our own traditions.  Here's a quick run down of what our last week has been like--

Wednesday the 19th:  Daniel's parents came over to have dinner and exchange gifts with the boys.  Much of his extended family is in Michigan so they would be headed to MI soon and wanted the boys to get their gifts before then.  This year was supposed to be our year to go to MI for Christmas too (we do every other), but unfortunately Daniel couldn't get off work.  (A couple of their gifts below....)

Saturday the 22nd:  My Sisters and step-mom came over to bake goodies.  It's a yearly tradition and we had some fun exchanging what we each had previously made and making some stuff.  I was extra excited to host this year at our new home!

Sunday the 23rd:  Me and the boys got up and went to church (Daniel was sleeping from work) and I told Leeland we had a surprise after church.  We headed after church to see Santa, and apparently all the other parents in our town had the same idea because the line to see Santa was out the door.  We stood in line barely moving for all of 20 minutes and had to head home for naps.  Leeland was so sad but I told him we'd go back.  I woke him up early that afternoon and went back to try to see Santa before we had to go to a family get together and it was perfect-- only like 5 families in line.  After seeing Santa, we went to a get together to have dinner with my Granny and her extended family. (And yes, Hayden cried.)

Monday the 24th: Christmas Eve was mostly uneventful during the day-- hanging out at home much of the day playing with all the toys that the boys had already received.  That evening we went to my Granny's house to open gifts from her and my/their cousins.  And then we went shopping at Target, simply because it sounded like the fun thing to do the night of Christmas Eve, and we had a gift card so, why not? And then once we got home and got the boys to bed it was time for a marathon Christmas wrapping party, because after all, Santa was coming.  Daniel also got the boys new table and chairs put together.
Tuesday the 25th:  CHRISTMAS!! We all woke up about 8am and opened stockings and gifts.  Then the boys got to play a little bit before we headed over to my parent's house for traditional Christmas morning breakfast-- biscuits, gravy, sausage, peanut butter chip pancakes, quiche, egg nog.... Nom, nom, nom!  (An aside, if you've never put Reese peanut butter chips into your pancakes, you haven't lived!!  Don't add them to the batter because they'll just sink, but pour each pancake to the pan and just as they start bubbling before you flip, sprinkle some in, then flip the pancake and they cook in there. They are heavenly!) And then after breakfast the boys opened up some more gifts!

It was quite the whirlwind! Leeland was confused for a few days after-- asking whose house we were going to next.  I guess he got accustomed to going places and opening gifts everyday.  Since Christmas, it's all been very relaxed around here, mostly hanging out at home and playing with all of our loot.  I hope your Christmas was fabulous!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Holiday Treats (and recipes)

It's sort of become a yearly tradition that I make little holiday treat bags/buckets for some of my friends and family.  It started with my family-- myself, my mom, sisters and Grandma get together every year and there's lots of baking and chocolate dipping fun.  We still get together, but I've taken some ideas here and there and done some baking on my own each year to give as gifts.  It's so much fun, and this year was even better because I had a little "helper"!  Each year I make a little assortment of things, and it's never the same assortment as the years past, though some "classics" stick around.

First up in the goodies was "Christmas Cheer Mix", which I apologize for not getting a picture of.  I don't really have a recipe per say for this one, but essentially you mix up some Cheerios (I used multi-grain because that makes it low fat and healthy... bahaha!), some peanuts, and some M&M's and then you smother it all in white chocolate.  Sounds simple, right?  Watch out, it's totally delicious and addicting.  Christmas Cheer mix is a family tradition.

The next thing in the buckets was chocolate dipped peanut butter pretzels.  Costco carries the MOST delicious peanut butter filled pretzels I have ever had in my entire life.  They are SO addicting, and the Kroh's are SO hooked on them.  A friend suggested chocolatizing them and I couldn't resist. Nom, nom, nom!
The next thing in the buckets was "Chocolate Dipped Snowballs."  They're sort of my grown up take on Rice Krispie Treats.  I use the basic rice krispie treat recipe, but instead make them with honey bunches of oats.  Roll them up into balls and then of course dip them in Chocolate.  Leeland loved mixing these up. 
Melt down 3 tablespoons of butter in a pot, then add a 10 ounce bag of marshmallows and melt those down.  Remove the pot from the heat and add in 6 cups of Honey Bunches of Oats and mix them up.  While they're warm roll up the balls and set them aside to "set."  Once they have set you dip them in your favorite melted chocolate.

Lastly this year in our buckets was Snickerdoodles! And here's the recipe for these lovelies:
2 sticks of butter                 3 cups flour
1 cup sugar                         1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup brown sugar           1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs                                 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla              Some cinnamon/Sugar

Cream the butter with the sugars, then add in the eggs and the vanilla.  Mix all your dry ingredients separately and then combine with your butter mixture until incorporated.  I apologize that I don't know exactly how much cinnamon and sugar I used for the next step, but I mixed up some cinnamon and sugar in a bowl and then as I scooped out balls of cookie dough, I rolled them in the cinnamon and sugar before placing them on the cookie sheets to bake.  Baked the cookies at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes (oven times may vary.)

And these are a couple of my buckets all done up-- I made the cards which state what's inside along with "Merry Christmas."  The buckets I bought from the Target dollar spot in September.  They had an assortment of colors at the time, but as soon as I saw the red and green, I had to scoop them up for this.  (Thinking ahead really pays off!)  They're off to the guys on Daniel's squad at work and some of our close friends to enjoy.  Do you have any Holiday recipes to share? I'm always up for trying some new stuff!

Oh and PS, we're in the single digits now!

"No poo" update

Well the move really threw me for a loop with my no-pooing for a little bit. (First started here.)  It was going so wonderfully at the apartment but then when we moved out into the country, I seemed to go through a second oily "transition period."  I fully blame it on the hard well water, but I'm not really for certain.  Anyway, several people have asked about me no-pooing and about my recipe and such and I finally feel like I have tweaked things enough that I have a recipe for you.  Feel free to try it out and tweak it to fit you and your hair style, and let me know how it goes.

My shampoo is 1 1/2 cups boiling water and 2 tablespoons of baking soda.  Since moving to hard well water, I have found that boiling water works the best.  I make it in advance and let it cool and keep it in an old salsa jar in the shower.  Be careful when you mix the boiling water and baking soda because it will bubble up a lot.  And don't forget to let it cool before putting it on your head! (Sad that I feel like I have to say that?)

My "conditioner" I don't have exact measurements for because I just fill and old spaghetti sauce jar.  I found that the apple cider vinegar, though I love the shine and smoothness it gives my hair, it was making my hair a bit limp so I had to cut back some.  I currently fill my jar 20-25% full with ACV and 75-80% warm water. 

We're now two months into the no-pooing experience and I'm at a point where I only wash my hair like every 3-4 days now.  Definitely saves me some time getting ready, since you know, I do have two small children.  And I still really feel like it looks and feels (and smells) great! 

PS. I still LOVE my hot rollers!! :D

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hayden got the boot.

So the title seems harsh, but my emotions have been a bit back and forth.  Hayden got the boot out of our bed the other night.  Oh yea, I guess it's time to confess to the whole world that he's been sleeping in our bed for the past 9 1/2 months.  It's kind of a sore subject and hard to bring up because there is so much debate about it that I feel like anyone I tell is gonna look at me like I'm a crazy person.  (Heck, even my own family has rolled their eyes and preached to me about how terrible it is.) So many people have been brainwashed to believe that co-sleeping is such a terrible thing, when in fact it's really quite lovely... and beautiful. 

So here's the back story-- co-sleeping/bed sharing with Hayden was not something that we were intending to do, it kind of just happened.  We never slept with Leeland.  He did sleep in a bassinet by my side of the bed for the first 3 months of his life.  Then he outgrew the bassinet and moved to his crib in his room.  When Hayden was born, we intended to have him sleep in the pack & play and eventually move into Leeland's room (2 bedroom apartment at the time).  But you see, all adults, children, babies have very different personalities, and Hayden was a bit more "needy." 

I can't really pin point when the bed sharing began-- when he was first born, I was such a good little patient at the hospital and followed their rules about putting baby in the bassinet while I was sleeping.  When we got home from the hospital, my milk was coming in and I was quite literally constantly nursing Hayden so I don't remember putting him down much during that time period, and then I think the 1st time I actually "intentionally" slept with him was when he was put in the hospital for RSV when he was about 10 days old.  He stayed in the hospital for 2 days to be monitored because he was struggling to breath and the hospital let me share a room with him-- they sort of had to since I was his only food source.  I remember throwing myself a pity party and being so sad because he was so little and he was having so much trouble breathing to even eat, I sobbed and held him all night long.  (...and only one of our nurses made a snide comment about it.)

Somewhere along the line it just became easier to bring him to bed.  Caring for a toddler and a baby is hard work.  I was exhausted and it was easier for me to rest and be able to breastfeed if he was in our bed.  Then as months started to go by, he refused to go to sleep without me.  I felt like there were a few nights I tried to put him down in the pack & play and it was an hour long fight of rocking, patting, rubbing, bouncing, nursing and it would all be wasted when he started screaming as soon as I put him down. (And I DO NOT believe in crying it out methods!)

When we moved, I thought it'd be easier because he had his own space away from us, but then he started teething and waking several more times in the night so after one night of putting him downstairs and him waking up within an hour, he was back in our bed.  (Sorry, but I'm not going up and down the stairs in the dark several times a night.) 

....And then finally.... within the last couple weeks he had gotten to where he wasn't nursing to sleep anymore.  He would still nurse in bed, but then pull away, hunker down and get cozy and fall asleep on his own.  I guess also nine months was my limit, I was starting to feel like we needed some space between us.  I'm a stay at home Mom, so it's nice to have that feeling of putting the babies to bed and having "me time", time without kids grabbing at me, or needing diapers changed.  I love my boys and I love my job, but sometimes I just need space.... I also miss my husband.  With his schedule, it's almost like 1/2 the week we only get a few hours, so the other 1/2 of the week, I want to spend time together-- stay up talking in bed into the wee hours chatting like school girls (haha), or just snuggling.... it was time to try again to put Hayden in his own bed.

So the 1st night, I nursed him and rocked him and laid him down in his crib and he whimpered a bit-- I rubbed his back lightly while "sshh-ing" and within two minutes he was asleep.  I kind of am in shock at how easy it was!  I guess he just needed to leave our bed in his own time when he was ready.... Oh, and let me not forget to mention that, he slept through the night!!  I woke up and it was daylight and I had that freak out moment that something had went wrong.  I'm still in shock!  I don't want to jinx it because tonight we're only on night 3, but at least I now know that it's possible! 

I'm a mixed bag of emotions, I feel so rested, I feel rejuvenated from having "me time," I feel happy and sad that our baby boy is growing up, and at the same time, I really miss snuggling with my boy! 

And not that I have permission to even share, but for Daniel to have been so hesitant and scared about us bedsharing in the beginning, it was a little crazy to hear him say that he misses snuggling with Hayden too.-- oh yea, I didn't mention above the fact that Daniel was actually not into bed sharing at all in the beginning.  He told me a handful of times that it made him nervous, he didn't sleep well, he didn't like it.  He would never say those things in a way of trying to force me to do anything I wasn't comfortable with, he was just nervous because Hayden was so little at the time. 

Just so neat to see him growing up right before our eyes-- so many memories and sweet snuggles with our little booger that will never be forgotten.  Such a sweet precious time it has been.  Resting my head tonight feeling very blessed to have gotten to share those memories with our littlest man.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tis The Season....

I at least waited until December to blog about Christmas... but the reality is that my Christmas tree was up the week before Thanksgiving! (That's how I roll.)  I'm a bit of a Christmas freak, and that's my choice of words.  I will say that we didn't put lights outdoors until last night-- a few of our neighbors beat us to that, but it was a matter of securing outdoor lights (1st house... woot woot!) and deciding what exactly we wanted to do with them. 
 Leeland has his very own Christmas tree in his room this year-- a Target special.  It's only 4 feet tall, pre-lit with an array of colors.  He was and is still so excited about it... not sure how we'll talk him into letting us put it away once Christmas is over.  It has a few blue ornaments on it, but we mostly got it so that it can be our Jesse Tree.  You can read about how we started the Jesse Tree tradition last year here.  This year we've graduated up a bit and have a full set of handmade ornaments as opposed to the paper ones-- we did a Jesse Tree ornament exchange with MOPS.  It was so fun and such a neat thing to have, I hope to do a 2nd set next year so that both boys can have them when they move out and begin their own family traditions.
 Putting the man to work- cleaning gutters and hanging lights at the same time.... he's a keeper! ;)
 A view of our Christmas lights from the front yard.  We ended up going with Icicle lights this year, because they were gifted to us and therefore free.  I think they look beautiful and they really light up the house.
 Twinkle, twinkle! So beautiful!  Still no Christmas wreath on the door because I'm so hooked on my mustard yellow yarn wreath that I made which you can see here. 
The littlest Kroh walks with assistance!  Slow down baby Kroh!  Just couldn't resist posting this happy smile.
 Our Christmas tree-- and you can see the hand print salt dough ornaments we made of the boys.  The green is Hayden's and the red is Leeland's.  Leeland actually helped making the salt dough and he had so much fun "rolling out the pizza."  This is the perfect age!  He just wants to help with everything and it's so sweet.
A bannister to decorate? Say what!  Another year of my Starbucks recycles-- those little red mittens that I hang everywhere each year were left over from Starbucks after Christmas one year, there original purpose was to hold gift cards.  The little red stockings had gingerbread biscottis in them. (Yum!)

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Days 21-30

You can read my first two Thanksgiving, thankfulness posts here and here.

Day 21:
Thankful for play dates

Day 22:
Happy thanksgiving everyone!! Feeling so blessed, enjoying snuggles with my boys and food with friends and family today.

Day 23:
I am not black Thursday/Friday shopping and I'm content. Thankful to be at a place in life where I am content.

Day 24:
Tonight I'm thankful for cheesecake.... Yea, I went there.

Day 25:
I'm gonna be real, today has been incredibly frustrating and it's only 3pm, but I can be thankful for loving, awesome, supportive in-laws. Lunch time was great-- the rest... Terrible.

Day 26:
Thankful for the MOPS Jesse tree ornament exchange. I love the mood and focus set by the Jesse tree tradition. Excited to have a set of Jesse Tree ornaments to replace my paper ones. And praising the Lord I was able to finish making my ornaments for the exchange. :)

Day 27:
Thankful for a pediatrician that we love and good check-ups for both boys. Baby Hayden at 9 months is 19lbs 10oz and 27 inches-- little butterball is growing fast! :)

Day 28:
Thankful for recycling! I love that our recycling bin is currently overflowing and our trash can has had 1 bag in it for over a week. I love lessening our impact and I love that a small step like putting a can in a blue bin can lead people to make bigger changes like we have.

Day 29:
I'll let Leeland do the thankful today....
Leeland says, "I love pumpkin muffins and I love heater" :D

Day 30:
Thankful for lawyer spam. Maybe one of them will help me avoid driving school.      

Thursday, November 22, 2012

30 Days of Thanksgiving Days 11-20

Continued from Days 1-10:

Day 11:
SO SO thankful to those who have served, serve, and will serve in our military.

Day 12:
After struggling to nurse Leeland for 3 months, I'm thankful that at almost 9 months to still be nursing the Hayden meister. It's not often that the best in life is free! :)

Day 13:
Siblings. I watch Leeland and Hayden interact and love on one another and though they can't put it into words, they have an incredible bond! A bond that only siblings can share--a love no matter the circumstances, a love that makes it impossible to hold a grudge, a love that is forever. So happy that Leeland and Hayden share that together and look forward to watching it flourish. And I'm so thankful for my siblings too-- Love you guys!!

Day 14:
Thankful for coffee. And thankful for MOPS! :D

Day 15:
Thankful that somewhere down the road someone taught me how to cook because nothing beats a homecooked meal. And today I'm especially thankful for baking skills! Baked 2 loaves of plain amish bread last night, 2 loaves of banana nut amish bread are in the oven, and 2 loaves of pumpkin spice amish bread are mixing away. :)

Day 16:
Thankful for coupons/couponing. Especially thankful for the free cough drops I got with coupons yesterday, because today I need them!

Day 17:
Thankful for my Granny and the brunswick stew that's about to be in my belly!

Day 18:
Thankful that I'm not the only pre-thanksgiving Christmas loon. Lol. I passed sooo many houses yesterday that were completely decked out already. I think our Christmas tree is going up tonight!

Day 19:
Happy 9 months (3/4 a year!!!) to Mr. Hayden! So thankful to have such a happy little ball of energy. And happy that the transition from family of 3 to family of 4 has been so smooth. Soon enough we'll be celebrating his 1st!

Day 20:
Thankful for our awesome new (1st) house :) I really love this place, kind of a miracle that we were able to get it.        

Saturday, November 10, 2012

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Days 1-10

This is becoming a yearly tradition :) Goes along well with my recent post Blessed in the little things.

Day 1:
The love of my life, my best friend, and husband. Daniel we are so thankful for you. Thankful for all the love, support, fun & encouragement you bring to our family.

Day 2:
Leeland, our 1st born, our gentle spirited, silly, smart, smiley little man. I feel so blessed to be your mommy and so love watching you grow. :)

Day 3:
Hayden, our red headed little love bug who is full of smiles and snuggles. Everyday is a joy as he grows so fast and is constantly learning something new. So blessed, and treasure each and every giggle and each and every cuddle. ♥

Day 4:
Thankful for church. In so many places around the world people are forced to worship in secret but here I am able to worship anytime and anywhere. 

Day 5:
Today marks the anniversary of my Mom's passing and though I could feel angry, today I'm choosing to be grateful. Grateful for the almost 8 years I had with her, which doesn't seem like much but really is a lot when you know none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. (James 4:14)

Day 6:
Naturally on election day, I'm thankful for the right to vote! And, call me a dork, but the anticipation of the outcome is kind of killing me. Eee! :)

Day 7: 
As the weather decides if it's Fall or Winter and temps keep dropping, I'm so thankful for heat, blankets, and warm clothes.     

Day 8:
Thankful today for food. The Lord always provides us with just what we need, doing the grocery shopping on a very small budget has been truly eye opening. We are so blessed and so thankful to Him!

Day 9:
Thankful for cloth diapers. Maybe weird to most, but I have a mild obsession with our stash of cloth diapers and am super thankful for all of their benefits-- lack of yucky chemicals, the financial savings, and less trash produced. ...And this morning, I'm especially thankful for clean cloth diapers! ;)  

Day 10:
Thankful to stay at home with my littles. :) 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

It's The Great Pumpkin (+recipes)

We've been pump, pump, pumpkining it up at the Kroh house! (Yea, I know, I'm a dork.)  Just soaking in all of the joys of Fall and one of my favorite is PUMPKIN! I've been making pumpkin chocolate chip muffins for over a month now. I'm not gonna lie, I started baking those before Fall began.  This year I've started using whole wheat flour and they've been super yummy. 

Also last week I made my version of Pumpkin Patch Pasta... Oh my! Just the cheese/pumpkin sauce alone is to die for!  It sounds weird to mix cheese and pumpkin, sure, but it is SO SO yummy and so balanced.  MMM!

And we carved pumpkins!  Last year we bought three pumpkins so that Leeland would have one, but we actually carved them after he was in bed, so this is the first year that Leeland got to participate.  He cleaned out the "guts" literally one seed at a time and he made a tower out of the triangle pieces we had cut out of the pumpkin.  Leeland requested that Daniel make a funny face pumpkin, and that I make a happy face pumpkin.  And we roasted the seeds and Leeland is loving them!

And then tonight we went to a local orchard who does a movie night every year where they show "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown," which happens to be one of my favorite classics!  It is not a holiday, unless there's Peanuts!  (Just saying.)  We had so much fun, the boys dressed in their costumes (Hayden a cow and Leeland a doctor), we went on a hay ride, had face... or hand paints, smores, roasted marshmallows and then snuggled up on blankets to watch the movie outdoors on a beautiful Fall night.  This just might become a yearly family tradition!  Tonight Daniel had to work unfortunately but my mother and father in law and my niece joined me and the boys.  Leeland loved it and he was so surprised and happy that his Grandma and Papa were there.

Anywho, go make something "pumpkiny".... or a smore! :D

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Blessed in the little things....

This week I've really been thinking about how blessed our family is.  I can't seem to shake this overwhemling feeling of humility and how the Lord takes care of us.  Of course I'm so thankful for our new home, but I've really been overwhelmed with the little blessings.  It reminds me of the Joy Dare by Ann Voskamp.  I started the joy dare in August, but didn't exactly finish even august, and it goes a whole year.  I have followed along with it on her Facebook page, but missing some days and I stopped writing down my responses.  The premise of the Joy Dare is that everyday you are righting down little bits of joy and little things that you are thankful for, gifts if you will, and by the end of the year you have 1000 Gifts

So I'm not writing down my gifts and haven't completely kept up with it, but mentally the thought of being thankful for little things has remained.  I feel like a slacker for discontinuing it, but I don't think I missed the point.  In the beginning of the Joy Dare, I wrote down little gifts that went along with whatever she was asking that day and I felt silly.  (example she'll ask one day-- "3 gifts green" or "A gift small, smaller, smallest..." or "A gift caught, let go, mid-way...") I felt silly because some of the things that I was writing down seemed silly.  But lately I've been struck that it's not.... we should be thankful for the little silly things.  The things that get overlooked... the things that we tend to not give God the credit and the glory for. 

So this week, I have been struck and humbled and thankful in the little things--
-Having a kitchen windowsill for the 1st time for tomatoes to ripen in.
-A washer and dryer.
-That what I thought was a week's worth of groceries, will last over a week.
-Leeland potty learning.
-Clean cloth diapers.
-Winning an item on Ebay.
-Our sweet Lilly girl (my furry daughter).
-Christmas being right around the corner.
-A vacuum.
-... Clean floors.
-My sewing machine and the ability to make and create.

I will give thanks to the Lord according to His righteousness
And will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.
-Psalm 7:17

Thursday, October 18, 2012

No-pooing 1 month+

I've been wanting to blog about no-pooing for a while but it has taken some time to tweak my routine and get the hang of it before writing about it. I should probably clarify that by no-pooing, I mean that I am shampoo (and conditioner) free.  I no longer wash my hair with shampoo... yes, you heard that correctly. 

I've been taking steps for a few years now to become a more natural me and to keep a more natural house.  I've blogged previously about cloth diapers, giving up paper towels, natural menstrual products, and now going shampoo free has been one more step. 

I only have good things about going shampoo free-- my hair looks and feels awesome, we're saving money, and I'm saving lots of time. 

For those that aren't familiar with no-pooing, I do still wash my hair, but my hair is becoming less dependent on washings so I don't have to wash it everyday.  And yes it is still clean.... I mean unless you're swimming in chlorine daily, or are a chain smoker, how dirty does your hair get daily? 

Before no-pooing, I washed my hair EVERY single day.  If I didn't wash my hair everyday, it would get greasy, and I also wouldn't know how to style it because styling for whatever reason was very dependent on taming it with the hair dryer.  Essentially what happens with shampoo from what I understand is that your hair becomes dependent on it.  It cleans up the oil in your scalp and hair and tells your scalp to produce more, so you keep washing and keep producing.  When I first started no-pooing there was at least a week of a grease mess that I covered with a wide headband but now things have balanced out even as I have critiqued my wash routine. 

You can google no-pooing and find all sorts of information on it and wash routines and really you have to work out what works best for you and your hair, and even your water type.  I only say water type because I felt like I had to do even more tweaking after the move (city water to hard well water).

I keep 2 jars in my shower-- an old salsa jar and an old spaghetti sauce jar.  (Yay recylcing!) In the 1st jar I sprinkled a few tablespoons of baking soda and then added warm water.  In the second jar I have about 1/3 full of apple cider vinegar and the rest water.  On days that I wash, I start with my baking soda jar and scrub well at my scalp and roots and work my way down.  I rinse and rinse and rinse really well and often times have a comb on hand to comb it out.  Once that is done, I pour my ACV/water all over and "lather" it in and then rinse.  (Maybe I should clarify, I don't use the whole jar... I just keep jars so I have it at hand and refill when I need to.) Simple as that!  As far as wash cycles it goes something like this currently--
Sunday- BS and ACV
Monday- none
Tuesday- ACV
Wednesday- none
Thursday- BS and ACV
Friday- none
Saturday- ACV
etc. etc.

It took some tweaking and learning with the baking soda.  I have sensitive skin and subsequently a sensitive scalp, so I found a constant baking soda wash to be harsh, but at the same time I really need to do occasional baking soda washes to keep the oils down, so this is what works for me right now is every other day washing but not with baking soda each time.  From my understanding with no-pooing is that gradually your scalp gets to where less and less washes are necessary, so I'm sure that this will change even further. 

Oh, and as far as styling... I've learned that I don't need that hair dryer every single day.  I can style my hair without washing and without it being wet.  I have fallen in love with hot rollers since starting.  I can throw hot rollers in my hair after even having my hair tossed up in a bun for 36 hours and when I pull the hot rollers out it looks like I spent an hour curling.  They really are genius!  I also occasionally pull out my Chi and straighten my hair.  It works! I'm loving the versatility and loving the look of no-pooing!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Growing, Growing, Growing

Both of our boys are growing WAY too fast, and are turning into little men, but one of the interesting things to watch has been Hayden growing into all of Leeland's hand-me-downs. When Leeland was born, I had two huge baby showers which was really lovely and he got LOTS of clothes and thankfully my friends were kind enough to vary the sizes a bit and we were pretty set for about 9 months.  After that it was up to Daniel and I to provide other than what we received for his birthday or holiday.  Leealand has always been a small kid, tall but in the very low 10-15 percentile for his weight, so once he reached the size 12 and 18 months, he wore them for a long time.  And when I say that I mean like a year-- I was just going through some of his old clothes and we have both summer clothes in size 12 months and winter clothes in size 12 months. 
This whole time (before #2 was even thought about), I had been saving some of Leeland's clothes for future kids.  (And it's a good thing!)  Essentially I weed out most of my favorite outfits of his and anything that I would like to see worn again and store it away in a tote, everything else goes to the consignment store.  The consignment store gives me 50% of the sale in store credit and I'm usually pretty good about dropping off frequently enough that I almost always have a running balance.  I go in and spend my store credit on larger sizes, so it's pretty much like I'm exchanging his clothes.  It works well for us!  (Side note-- I'm also thankful that we kept a lot of the larger things like the swing, infant car seat, changing table etc.)
Unlike Leeland, Hayden has been "average" size at all of his appointments.  To us, he looks like a little roly poly because we aren't used to baby chub since Leeland was so tiny.  Hayden has been really going through the sizes, and fast!  Just this week, I cleaned off his shelves of all the 6-9 months and pulled out all the size 12 month hand-me-downs. We thankfully haven't ran into an issue of wrong sizes with seasonal wear yet.  All of this to say that it is super weird seeing the second child wear Leeland's clothes.  I don't know if it's because I have a good memory or if it's just still fresh in my mind, but I can picture all of these clothes on Leeland's body, and even picture some of the memories attached to them.  Even weirder is that when Leeland grew into size 12 months, he was walking and doing some talking so it's just weird seeing Hayden crawl around in them.
And just in case, we're doing the same thing all over again with Hayden's clothes.  We try to take good care of everything so much of it can definitely be worn a 3rd time if necessary, and I weed through and take more to the consignment store.  It's not in the plan to have a 3rd for a long time.... if we ever have a 3rd, but just in case it's always good to be prepared... I mean, we've been surprised before! ;0)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Family Photos

Every year I say that I'm going to have our photos done more than once... and every year, we get them done ONCE.  And with a new addition to the family this year no less. Kind of beating myself up for waiting so long to get photos taken of us as a family of 4, but without further ado, here's a little peak for anyone who hasn't seen them on Facebook.

So YES that is our new house in the background, and yes that is our almost 8 month old eating leaves.  I can't count how many leaves he put in his mouth. Our friend Alisa took the photos, she has done our photos in years past too.  I really, really love them, as I always do but I feel like these are especially nice because they have our new home in them.  Can't wait to print Christmas cards! (Yes, it's October.)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Settling In

Buying a house was not only a major milestone for us but it was a pretty big move.  We moved outside of the city to a small town about 30-35 minutes from the apartment we were living in.  It's an adjustment getting used to being out of the city in a few ways.

First, errands take much longer due to drive time-- the closest grocery store is at least 15 minutes as opposed to the 3 minute drive we were used to.  There are several options for shopping in all directions so it's just 15-20 minutes pending which direction you want to go.  I have found that when I go into town, I just have to take care of everything-- knock out all the errands at once.  The down side is that usually leads to fussy, over tired kids after going in and out of several places, but the upside is that we have more time at home to just hang out and play.

It takes Daniel at least 20 minutes to get to work-- sure it stinks to have the extra drive and have to leave earlier, but he also appreciates not living where he's working and being able to leave work at work. It's also 20-25 minutes to the gym, and he's a gym addict, so when his gym trips used to be there and back in an hour/hour and a half, they're now 2-3 hours.

So aside from the time and drive, there's also the adjustment to the space.  We live in the country which means next to no street lights, so at night it gets dark, REAL dark!  At the apartment even with blinds and curtains on the windows some street lights still shone through-- Leeland was pretty startled the first night here when we put him to bed, cut out his lights and he couldn't see a foot in front of his face.  Along those same lines, we don't hear ambulance, police and fire, and really we live on a dead end so there isn't much traffic heard other than our neighbors.

Leeland also had a bit of an adjustment to calling a new place "home."  That was something I didn't anticipate and broke my heart. When we moved, he and Hayden stayed with family and that evening we went to pick them up and brought them to the new house.  We moved everything to the new house the same day and spent the night here that evening.  I made a point to try and have his room all set up so he could sleep in his own bed that night and I just assumed he would see all his stuff and be fine.  That wasn't the case-- that night when we laid him down, we went through the routine of singing, reading etc.  and when we were leaving his room he began to cry and kept saying over and over "I ready to go!"  I don't think he could articulate what he was wanting, but I understood him.... this wasn't his home and he was ready to go home.  The 2nd night we went through the same thing.  It took lots of me explaining over and over-- "This is our new home. We brought all of your toys, your big boy bed...."  "You have a new room.... look at your nice new room!" etc. etc.  After a few days he finally had it!  And I even went back to the apartment complex a couple times this past week to check the mailbox and Leeland didn't pitch a fit or call it home.  

It's been more of an adjustment than I was anticipating honestly-- I grew up in a small town not far from here, I moved out when I was 18 though and had lived in the city since then, I guess it just doesn't take long to get used to certain conveniences of the city. (Still LOVE the place though and am enjoying the memories, and just can't get over watching Leeland run around the place-- he has the space now! Run on little man, run on!)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

New House Decor and Craftiness Part 2

Totally forgot when I posted last night to include the cool craft that we made at MOPS (Mothers of Pre Schoolers) last week.  Super easy craft, that's hanging by the garage door in the kitchen.

It's a magnetic board-- it's simply a round cookie sheet (most likely from the dollar store), with a piece of scrapbook paper mod podged to it and a ribbon to hang it with.  We made a fancy magnet by gluing a small magnet to a clear rock and mod podging a piece of scrapbook paper to the flat side of the glass rock so that you can see the paper through it. (Rock magnet is shown in the second picture.)  It will probably be used to hold lists, notes and reminders since it's right by the door.

And then today I whipped up a some super easy valance curtains for the kitchen.

Made out of the same red and blue floral fabric that I used for my hoop art.  So I think I've done and hung about all that I wanted to decor wise in the kitchen, though as you see the window still needs blinds.  They're in the garage in the box, for whatever reason the window needed a valance before blinds. Makes sense, right?

I guess it's time to move on to decorating the rest of the house, but it's nice for at least 1 room to feel "complete."

New House Decor and Craftiness Part 1

Labeling this as Part 1 because should time and finances permit, I hope that there are more to come.  I mentioned in the last post that we are still gradually unpacking, so I guess it's a bit odd that I've done some decorating but it's been a nice break for me.  I spend most of my days doing dishes, laundry, picking up and chasing after little ones and then unpack a box here and there so occasionally it's nice to break the cycle and do a little something for me with the added bonus of making our new home look nice. 
For the most part decorating has barely begun.  Thankfully the house was move in ready in a sense that we liked the paint in all rooms but one so that has saved us some time, but we haven't hung much on the walls because I don't quite have a clear plan of where I want everything to go. 
Here's what I've done with the kitchen:

The yarn wrapped 'K' was on the wall at our apartment and I have a previous post about it.  I just made the hoop art.  Took these photos at night so the lighting was a bit wonky with my camera (yea, I still haven't quite figured out how to work my fancy camera), but anyway, the walls in the kitchen are a nice Windsor/Navy blue.  All of my kitchen decor from the apartment are red, like my coffee maker, utensils, kitchen towels, table runner etc. All red.  So I wanted to find some fabric for my hoop art that would look good with the blue and incorporate the red-- there's a red fabric with white polka dots and then a red fabric that has a blue and beige floral pattern. Then the darker fabric is actually black with a beige floral pattern, all of our appliances are black.  I like it!

And here's another little thing I hung by our front door in the foyer, a gift from my Mom:
It reads "Sworn to serve and protect"-- so cute!

And of course new house warrants a new yarn wreath, so here's what I came up with for that:

Mustard yellow, royal blue and beige.  It really pops on the brown door.  And it's huge!  Much bigger than the yarn wreath I had previously made and posted about.