Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lazy Days at the Lake

I absolutely LOVED our trip to the lake this past weekend.  It was full of sunshine, lounging, sweet tea, reading magazines, chats with good friends, rides on boats, wake boarding (for the guys) and yummy food.  Oh, and lots and lots of swimming for Krew (and therefore Dave).  We appear to have a little fish on our hands.  :)

5 dogs - it was a full house :)

My belly made the perfect chair back :)

Learning to swim all by himself!!

Thanks so much for having us, G and Mary!! :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Snokes' Baby Pool

I'm super blessed to have several girlfriends who are due with babies around the same time as me, and one of them is my friend Ashley from church.  She and her husband recently sent out a baby pool to all their friends and family, which I thought was super fun.  So, of course, I had to copy the idea. :)

With no further ado, I give you [the link to] the Snokes' Baby Pool:


Go fill it out! You know you want to!! :)

On other notes, tomorrow we are headed a couple hours north to spend Memorial Day weekend with some friends at their lake house.  I am SUPER excited...first of all because I love hanging out with these friends, and second of all because a weekend away to relax on a lake sounds STUPENDOUS right now.  It's been a while since I had any sort of vacation, so getting away from everything sounds great.  I plan to take along some magazines and books and just chill.  (When I'm not running around after my son and snapping a million pictures of him, of course.)

I hope everyone has a great weekend! Tomorrow marks 30 weeks - yikes!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I Love You to God and Back: Book Review

As a participant in the BookSneeze program, I recently read the book I Love You to God and Back by Amanda Lamb.  I feel a little torn in writing my review of this book.

As a mother of a young child, I understand how precious this book must be to the author.  It is a collection of 100 of her 6-year-old daughter's prayers, followed by the mother's own thoughts and commentaries on what the little girl mentions in her prayers.  How absolutely beautiful and wonderful to have this collection for all time.  I can't imagine how special it is to the author, and I applaud her in writing this book and putting her heart and experiences with her daughter out there for the world.

At the same time, the book was nothing like what I was expecting.  Based on the book description, I was expecting it to provide me with some parenting or theological insight.  I found neither.  Instead, I felt like I was simply reading the life story of a mother and daughter.  Yes, the mother learns things from her daughter's prayers...but the things she learns are more personal and about her family, not things that can pass knowledge and wisdom onto others.

I think the prayers and commentaries in the book would have been very enjoyable to read as a blog.  Each chapter could have been a blog post, and the story could have been read slowly over time.  However, to sit down and try to read this book all at once was too much for me.  I got bored.  I honestly stopped reading the book before finishing it because I found it to be too tedious and long.

Again, as I said above, I can see the worth of this book to the author and so I don't want to negate the value of her writing in her life.  But as a person who does not know her or her daughter and never will, this wasn't a book that was very enjoyable for me. I simply did not gain anything from it.

Note: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Butterfly Bakery Review

Probably about a month ago, I received a free package of gluten-free goodies in the mail. I am waaaaay overdue to write a review about these, because the company Butterfly Bakery was so kind to send them to me for no price other than my opinion.

Butterfly Bakery was founded in 1998 by Brenda Isaac, who desired to create sugar-free baked goods for her diabetic mother. The company now specializes in Sugar Free, No Sugar Added, and Gluten Free baked goods. I had the privilege of trying the chocolate chip gluten-free cookies and gluten-free sliced espresso creme cake.

The cookies caught me off-guard at first, because they weren't exactly what I was expecting. I was thinking they would be really chewy, but instead they were more light and crunchy. Still, they were very tasty, and had almost a nutty hint to them. I found myself going back almost daily and pulling a cookie from the container to fulfill my sweet cravings. Despite preferring chewy cookies to crunchy cookies, I found them to be very enjoyable and even more so over time as the humid air got to them and they softened up a bit. (That is one thing to note: if you want your cookies to stay crunchy, you may want to put them in a different container than the original package.)

The espresso creme cake was very similar to a breakfast bread or cake. I found it to be delicious with butter spread on it, and so I ate a couple pieces for breakfast on many mornings. (Butterfly Bakery was gracious enough to send me a whole package.) The creme cake was very soft and flavorful. I honestly couldn't taste the espresso in it a whole lot, but I still enjoyed it. I would be curious to see how the other flavors taste.

Overall, the products were tasty and I would recommend them as perfect for snacking at home or for providing at a get-together with gluten-free friends. They would both be perfect for any event serving tea or coffee.

The gluten-free products that Butterfly Bakery currently provides are the following:

Mini muffins - wild blueberry, banana walnut, lemon citrus poppy
Large muffins - wild blueberry, banana walnut, lemon citrus poppy, spiced apple raisin
Sliced creme cakes - lemon citrus, plain vanilla creme, espresso
Cookies - chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, cranberry raisin, white chocolate coconut
Mini cupcakes - golden/chocolate with icing

You can find Butterfly Bakery items for purchase in many supermarkets and specialty stores. They are now also on Amazon.com (search for "The Butterfly Bakery"). You can also read all about the company and their products at their website, thebutterflybakery.com.  If you're gluten-free like me, be sure to check them out. :)  (Or if you need sugar-free products, they have quite a few of those, also.)

Thank you again to the Butterfly Bakery for treating me with a sample of your products!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Edit Me Challenge - 2012 Week 20

Edit Me

Here is my entry for this week's Edit Me Challenge. If you'd like to join in our check out what it's all about, you can head here: http://editmechallenge.blogspot.com/p/challenge-guidelines.html. :)

Here is this week's original photo:

And here is my edit:

This week I went with a clean edit.  First I opened the picture in ACR.  I used recovery at 100% to save the blown highlights, then lowered the exposure, brightness, and contrast.  I increased the fill light just slightly.  I also cropped the photo.

I then opened it in Photoshop and fiddled around with a few actions.  I ended up using the My Four Hens action Spiffy with the conversion layer turned off.  I also turned off the action's Haze It and Lighten layers.  I then ran the My Four Hens action Hand Crafted to add a little more red to the photo and adjusted the layer opacities.  Finally I used a levels layer to add some more pop to the photo.

Last but not least, I sharpened portions of the photo, added my watermark, and saved for web & devices.

Make sure to go check out the other edits at http://editmechallenge.blogspot.com! :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy 29 to Me

Today was my 29th birthday!!

The first half of the day was crazy busy with an OB appointment, glucose test, and a crazy day at work. But I had a nice, simple, relaxing evening with the hubs and witto boy after that. We got dinner at Coffee & Crepes (almost everything on their menu is available gluten-free) then did a little shopping together. It was perfect. :)

my yummy crepe

My birthday gift from Dave and Krew is an external flash for my DSLR, which makes me super excited. I discovered there are some relatively inexpensive ones online that should do the job for now...not professional by any means but good enough to improve my indoor pictures of my little boy(s) a bit. But I still have to pick it out and order it...so the fact that I don't have my birthday present yet is my own fault. :) Oh, and of course I got my Kindle Fire which I am LOVING. :)

Hope everyone had a great day!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day!

We didn't and aren't planning to do anything very exciting today, and I'm okay with that. :)

This morning my precious boy gave me a wonderful gift when he decided he wanted to read his Bible and journal like Mommy. He went upstairs and got his Bible from his room, brought it down to the kitchen, requested a pad of paper and a pencil, sat down, and proceeded to have his own "quiet time" while I read and journaled at the big table. My oh my did it warm my heart. It also made me aware of how much he's watching and learning from everything I do. We as parents don't always have to teach with words...we teach so much by example! (And don't get me wrong, I am by no means perfect at having my quiet time with the Lord in the morning...this just happened to be a successful day, and one that my child happened to witness.)

(And yes I gave him a pink pen and a pink pad of paper. Cut me some slack - it was what I had handy.)

Dave had ultimate frisbee tryouts for the earlier part of the day, but came home in the afternoon with a cute container of tulips for me. Thanks for remembering me, hunny. :)

I know this is a day of joy for many and a day of pain for many others. I am remembering and sending up prayers for all of you.

And of course, Happy Mother's Day to my wonderful mom! Love you!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Edit Me Challenge - 2012 Week 19

Edit Me

I love these Edit Me Challenges! (If you'd like to find out all about them and consider joining in the fun, you can read all about it here: http://editmechallenge.blogspot.com/p/challenge-guidelines.html.)

Here's this week's original image:

And here's my edit:

First I opened the image in ACR and cropped a bit. Then I applied the Pretty Preset Vintage Portrait. I liked everything the preset did except I thought it increased the blacks too much - so I actually pushed the blacks slider all the way back down to zero.

Then I opened the image in Photoshop. I didn't like how washed out her face had become with the preset, so I used a levels adjustment layer with a mask to slightly darken her face. I then used the Pioneer Woman action Sharpen THIS to bring out the features of her face a bit more - I used a mask to add the action only to her eyebrows, eyes, nose, and mouth at 60% opacity.

After that I resized for web, sharpened, applied my watermark, and saved for web & devices.

Before and after:

Make sure to check out the other edits at www.editmechallenge.blogspot.com! (Or even join in the fun!)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mommy All Better

Dear Witto Boy,

Today I stayed home from work with you because you've been sick all week.  We're pretty sure it was a mild case of hand, foot, and mouth virus (no fun).  It's nice to get to spend some extra time with you, but a wee bit stressful trying to do work from the kitchen table as much as possible while keeping you happy.

This morning I called the dentist about some unexpected bills we received, and I was not happy at all about the outcome of the phone call.  When I got off the phone, I burst into tears of anger and frustration.  In the past when I've cried, you've not seemed to notice.  But today you did.  It caught me off guard.

You looked up from playing across the room, paused, and said, "Mommy sad."

I said, "Yes, honey, Mommy is sad, but it will be ok."

"Mommy crying.  Mommy sad.  Mommy crying."

I kneeled down on the floor and you came over to me and just stared into my eyes with concern.  I asked for a hug and you walked into my arms and laid your little head on my shoulder without a complaint.  Then we sat in the chair together, me crying and you hugging me, for a couple minutes, and you stayed there without moving a muscle until I let the hug go.

Then you looked up at me and just stared at me again with a concerned look in your eyes.  I wiped my tears away and placed you in the chair next to me and told you I was done crying and it was ok.  You replied, "Mommy all better.  Mommy all better."  Then you shook your head "no" and said "Mommy cry again."  I said, "No, sweetie, Mommy's not going to cry again."

Oh how you warmed my heart today little boy.  Thank you for your hug and compassion.

Your Momma


Monday, May 7, 2012

Free Books for the Taking: Set 2

First off, I wrote an update and shared some belly pics on my pregnancy blog tonight, so if you're interested in that type of thing you can head that way. :)  http://babybesidodos.blogspot.com/2012/05/27-week-update.html.

But to get to the actual point of this post, here is the second set of books I've decided to purge from my bookshelves. If you live nearby or plan to see me sometime soon and would like any of them, let me know. Otherwise I'll either be selling them to Amazon through the trade in program or taking them someplace to donate.

(If you'd like to see the first set, check them out here: http://www.just1step.com/2012/04/free-books-for-taking-set-1.html.)

Let me know!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Krewson - 26 Months!

Well, baby boy, you turn 26 months today!!  I haven't done too great at writing updates lately - I think the last official one was when you turned 23 months old.  So it's about time I write a nice, long post to document  your life!

You are definitely keeping us on our toes lately with all your energy and enthusiasm.  Just in the last few weeks, you have become hyper, hyper, hyper.  You want to run, run, run and play, play, play and talk, talk, talk, and yell, yell, yell and climb, climb, climb and have us do it all with you.  It's hard to get anything done when you're awake, because you like to have constant companionship and attention.  Some of the stuff is difficult for me to do with your baby brother growing in my belly, and it makes me sad to sometimes tell you I can't do certain things because it's too hard.  But for the most part, you seem to accept it and not get too upset.  And besides, most things I can still do with you.  I asked Grandma Eileen at daycare a week or so ago if you seemed more hyper to her lately.  She said, "YES, WHAT are you GIVING him?!?!"  So apparently you're not just saving your energy for home - you're more hyper everywhere.  I wonder if this is the new "you"?  You are wearing your daddy and me out...but we don't mind, because we sure do love you and your excitement about life.  :)

You now talk in mostly full sentences, ranging from three to six or so words.  The words that come out of your mouth on a daily basis amaze me...they are words that your daddy and I never purposely taught you, but that you just picked up on your own.  It's so fun to have full conversations with you and be able to chat about your life.  It's also great that 90% of the time you can tell us what you want and can understand our reply.  I think it prevents a lot of frustration for all of us.

Lately you've been acting scared of many things, and your daddy and I can't figure out if it's an attempt to get attention or if you're really scared.  Most of the things that "scare" you are things that make loud noises - the hair dryer, the lawn mower, airplanes, trains, etc.  But some things seems very random.  You are scared of itty bitty bugs right now, and also of the dogs when they start to play.  You run to us with your arms outstretched and yell "Krew scared!!" and cling onto us for dear life.

Speaking of "Krew scared", we realized recently that 90% of the time you talk in third person.  I'm not quite sure how or when this happened, but the words "I" and "me" rarely emerge from your mouth.  Your daddy and I are working on changing the way we talk to you, since we tend to talk to you in third person and I'm pretty sure that's where you learned it.  I guess it's not horrible that you talk in third person, and it is probably just a phase, but we should be teaching you proper grammar nonetheless.  So Daddy and I are slowly switching to using a lot more of "I", "me", "you", "him", "her", etc.

At nighttime we always sing you two songs ("I'll Love You Forever" and "Think of Me" from Veggie Tales), then we pray and do kisses and "I love yous". Lately you've started singing along to the songs, and it is the sweetest thing ever.  Initially it was really hard not for me to giggle, because instead of using words you would just sing the word "ehhhhh" over and over on random notes and it was SOOOOOOO cute.  But now you actually try to sing the words on pitch, and every night that you sing it just warms my heart.

We've made various attempts to convince you to start potty training, but you want nothing to do with it.  I'm thinking it's not going to happen before your baby brother arrives, which is ok but does mean we're going to have two in diapers for a while.  Oh well!  We really have tried many different methods.  We tried making it sound exciting, like you'd be a grownup like us.  We'd say, "Mommy's going to go potty on the toilet! Do YOU want to go potty on the toilet, too???"  If this was any other activity, you'd reply with an enthusiastic "WES!!!!!" (YES!!!!!), but not when we're asking about the toilet.  Your response is always "No."  We've offered candy and cookies. "No."  I bought you big boy underwear, and you wore them for about .2 seconds before telling me they were "too big" and peeling them off, happily accepting the resulting diaper that I put back on your bottom.  You are just NOT ready.  But that's ok.  The time will come.

One thing you ARE doing like a big boy, though, is that you're now in your big boy bed in your big boy room.  We've surprisingly never had a problem after your first nap in there.  For that first nap, it took a couple times of us going in and telling you to get back in bed.  When you got out of bed for the third or fourth time that day, I put you in your crib, which you did NOT like.  I told you that you could back to the big boy bed one more time, but if you didn't stay in it, then you had to sleep in your crib.  We haven't had an issue since....we lay you down, and you stay until you fall asleep and wake up.  And then even after you wake up you stay in your bed until we come to your room.  We didn't teach you that part - I guess you just assumed that was the rule.  And that's a fine rule for me!

I guess there have been a few minor incidences with the big boy bed, such as the other day.  After I put you down for your nap that day, I heard some banging and scraping on the monitor, and when I went in there I found you laying exactly where I had put you under the covers, but now with your guitar and a Wii steering wheel tucked under your arm.  I debated whether to discipline (which I assumed would result in a tantrum) or to just let you sleep with them, but I decided it was best to be firm.  I took the toys away from you, and you didn't make a peep, didn't cry or anything.  Just watched me. I must admit, I was completely shocked.  I put them outside your bedroom door, and a couple hours later after your nap you came out of the room, found them, and announced "Mommy take!!"  I said, "Yes, did Mommy take them away because you disobeyed?" and your replied "Wes!!"  Then you went on your merry way with them back in your arms. :)

At the doctor's office for your two-year checkup, you weighed 27.4 pounds (41st percentile), you were 2 feet 9 1/2 inches long (23rd percentile), and your head was 19.5 inches around (71st percentile).  The doctor told me all your growth was apparently going to your head.  I was like, ummmmm ok thanks doc.

When we measured you standing up the other day, you were 2 feet 9 inches tall - I'm assuming the "loss" of height is due to you standing instead of laying down to be measured.  But for 26 months old, that only puts you at the 9th percentile for (standing) height.  (Either you're slightly delayed in your growth, or you might end up being a short little boy.  We'll find out!)  You also weighed 29.6 pounds - apparently you gained two pounds in the last two months! Holy camoly.  That puts you at the 61st percentile for weight.

You're currently wearing mostly 24-month shirts and shorts.  Your feet are going through a crazy growth spurt right now - they are almost too big for the size 7 shoes that were floppy on you a month and a half ago.  This exact same thing happened last spring - you went through several shoe sizes in just a few short months.  I expect you'll be moving into size 8 within the next month.  As for diapers, you should technically be in size 5 but we are squeezing you into size 4 Target brand, which seem to run a little bigger than the other brands.  After we get through the Target diapers we have left (that I bought in bulk during a great sale), we'll be sticking to Luvs brand from now on.  I don't like the way the Target diapers fit you - they are too stiff and hang to far down between your legs.  Huggies and Pampers are too expensive.  So back to Luvs we go.

You're really not picky about your food right now and you eat almost anything we put in front of you - EXCEPT vegetables.  You are just NOT a veggie fan.  Once in a while we can trick you into eating mini broccoli florets by telling you they're little trees, but for the most part you won't touch anything green.  Doesn't matter how much butter or cheese we put on it.  You won't eat it.  However, I have discovered that if I can hide the veggies in your food, then you'll eat them as long as they don't have an obviously different texture from the rest.  This has worked in veggie lasagna, Chinese dishes, and casseroles.  So that's my current plan to get a bit of veggie nutrition into you.  And of course you eat your fruit squeeze pouches (which we call "fruit packs"), which I've started ordering almost exclusively with veggies in them.  I figure that the more vegetables I can sneak into your little body, the better.

Alrighty well I think that's about it for now, and you're starting to wake up from your current nap so I'm about to lose my ability to focus on this blog post.  Ahhh, that reminds me, one other thing I should mention.  You are a CRABBY BOY when you first wake up.  You never, ever wake up in a good mood.  I have no idea why.   Your daddy and I almost always leave you in your bed for 10 to 15 minutes after you wake up, listening for your whining to turn into jibber jabber.  If we go in while you're still whiny, then that means we have to deal with a super cranky, clingy boy for a good 30 minutes.  If we wait until you sound more cheerful, then you make our lives a bit easier.  But very rarely do you come out of your room in the morning or after a nap in a nice, smiley mood.  If this is a lifelong trait, life is going to get interesting when you get to the age where you want to sleep in instead of getting up for school.

Ok that's it.  Love you little boy - you are a joy to our lives and we can't wait to see how you grow and develop in the months to come!

Your Momma