Monday, October 28, 2013

Pumpkin Patch 2013

I try to make it a point to keep weekends low key and a time for true rest. I’m typically exhausted by the end of the week, and I want nothing more than to spend our weekends at home playing and being together. But lets be honest, with all the fall activities there are to be experienced, sometimes the weekends just seem to get busier and busier. Between football games, the state fair, pumpkin patches, apple picking, trips to the park, and various other activities, there doesn’t seem to be much “rest” before its Monday and we start all over again. But I’m loving every minute of it. These weekends are full of precious memories, and this one was no different. This weekend was full, full of fun. Saturday we went to the NC State Fair, which I’ll post about later. But first, I want to post about our trip to Patterson Farm.

 

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I couldn’t wait to take Landon to a pumpkin patch this year to see his excitement for the pumpkins. I also look forward to creating these little traditions with Landon and John and looking forward to them each year. I knew Landon would love the farm, he loves any place that allows him to roam free without having to “stay close.”  Little did I know, he would be completely uninterested in pumpkins. This farm had it all- hayrides, a petting zoo, face painting, corn boxes, corn mazes, tomato guns, multiple playgrounds, the pumpkin patch, an ice cream shop, and SO much more. I look forward to taking Landon back next year and even down the road, and I know he’ll love it more and more. As soon as we pulled up he zeroed in on the tractors that pulled the wagons and got so excited about riding on them. We wandered the farm and then hopped on a wagon and rode down to the pumpkin patch. Landon was much more interested in walking over to see the donkeys and cows nearby, so it was a struggle to get him to actually pick out a pumpkin.

 

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For whatever reason, he thought he needed to pick up the BIGGEST pumpkin he could find. What is it with boys? John has that same mentality when it comes to Christmas trees, the bigger the better. What started out as a trip to the pumpkin patch to get Landon a small pumpkin, ended in one ginormous pumpkin, and one Landon sized one.

 

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I’ve realized how much Landon is like me lately, in that he truly studies everything that is around him. He is rarely smiling in these pictures because he is taking it all in. And I think its safe to say I have always been that way also. I study things, and take it all in. And Landon does the same. He was especially interested in all the animals and watching them in their stalls.

 

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At first I found myself frustrated that he didn’t want to sit with the pumpkins and smile for a picture. You know, there is always that pressure us moms have to have the “perfect shot” of our babies doing something. I really try not to stress over it, and realize that this is exactly how I want to remember this years pumpkin patch trip. I want to remember how he was way more interested in the cows across the pasture from us than the pumpkins. I want to remember how he moo-ed at the cows, which was about the funniest thing in the world. I want to remember how he couldn’t wait to ride the wagon ride behind the tractor (“caa-ter"),  and when it came back to pick us up from the pumpkin patch he was itching to get back on. I want to remember how he loved the animals, and studied their every move. I want to remember how he pretty much stole my ice cream cone, and loved every minute of it. I want to remember how he ran, and played, and explored. Who cares if he was uninterested in the pumpkin patch- the whole experience was perfect. He is a wild and free almost two year old little boy, and everything about our trip to the farm thrilled him to death. Maybe next year he’ll smile for a picture?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Mini Apple Turnovers

 

I have been cooking up a storm lately, I have to admit. John has had lots of long days at work that lead to him getting home around 7 or so, which means I have had to do most of the cooking so dinner is ready before midnight. :) I haven’t minded it really, I’ve tried tons of new recipes, used my crock pot during this cooler weather, and even found a few new favorites to add to our rotation of recipes. Every time I try a new recipe that I love, I always have these grand intentions of posting it on the blog to share, but you know…it just never happens. Taking pictures of my meals just isn’t high on the totem pole of priorities at night when there are lunches to be packed, laundry to fold, and a baby that needs to be bathed more than once a month (joking).

Last weekend we had a football game and with a 12pm kickoff we typically fix breakfast foods. However, we drive 3 hours to the games, so recipes that require warmth are a no go. My sister is usually good to fix the hot dishes, but she travels a lot with her job and we needed something easy. So Bojangles biscuits, sausage dip, and these mini apple turnovers were all on the menu. I’m sure these would be incredible warm with some vanilla ice cream, but they were just as tasty the next morning at room temperature, and incredibly easy to make.

Original Recipe is from Taste of Home, with a little modification.

1/4 c. white sugar

1/4 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 pkg refrigerated crescent roll dough (regular size not jumbo)
3 tbsp. melted butter
2 medium  apples, each cut into 8 wedges  (I used Gala and Granny Smith.


In a small bowl, combine the two types of sugar and cinnamon. On a lightly floured surface, unroll crescent rolls and separate individually. Brush each with melted butter, then sprinkle with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Wrap 1 apple wedge in each crescent roll, placing sugared side of pastry against apple. I used two small wedges, one of each type of apple.
Place on baking sheet. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar mixture. Bake as directed according to crescent roll package.

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These were so easy, and SO good. I’ll definitely be making them again next time I need a quick breakfast or dessert dish! (Or if I’m just craving something sweet, which might be tomorrow).

Sunday, October 20, 2013

the toddler bed.

Like every other milestone that Landon has hit, he does it on his own timeline. Sometimes, things take longer than I would hope, like the fact that I had to wait until he was 20 months old to here “Mama”. Others happen way sooner than I expect. For instance, Landon weaned himself from his pacifier two months sooner than I was planning. My goal was to part ways with the pacifier anywhere from 18 months to 2 years old. However, Landon decided that at 15 months he didn’t need it anymore. He went to bed one afternoon without it, and there was no turning back. He was a big boy.
Changing his bed to a toddler bed really has not even been on my radar. He has been sleeping well in his crib, hasn’t tried to climb out, and by no means has outgrown the bed, so I really hadn’t even thought about converting the crib yet. I think somewhere in the back of my mind I assumed it would happen after he turned two in December, but really didn’t have a time frame nailed down. Landon, of course, had other ideas.

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This weekend we woke up to him crying in his crib. This didn’t strike me as odd at first. We wake up to him fussing many mornings. He’s not a morning kid, and makes that known. There is no happy “Mama?!" coming from his room in the morning. Only his pitiful little cries letting us know that we need to get our tails out of bed and go get him. Last Saturday morning was different though. The typical half-hearted, sleepy pouts quickly turned to full blown cries. I jumped out of bed and rushed into his room to see what was wrong. Initially my thought was that his leg was stuck in between the crib railing, making him panic, or he had thrown his beloved bunny overboard and realized he couldn’t get it back. But no, there he was stuck straddling the railing, hanging on for dear life. Apparently he had decided that he could climb out, but got stuck half way over, which led to his terrified little cries. I’ll be honest, part of me wanted to die laughing at the sight of him hanging there like a monkey on tree branch. The other part was scared to death that he could have fallen and hurt himself. I guess that’s the life of a boy mom- part of the time we shake our heads and secretly giggle at the crazy things these boys do, and at the same time thank God they weren’t hurt.
 
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None the less, that was enough for us to decide that it was time to convert Landon’s crib to a toddler bed. Yet again, another milestone way sooner than my heart was ready for. It’s not that I was planning on keeping Landon in a crib until he turned eighteen, but it really hadn’t crossed my mind that this was coming down the pike anytime in the next 4-6 months. Surely we’d wait until he was two years old. Our little man marches to his own drum though, and as usual, things happen on his own, when he is ready. So John went to Babies R US, bought the little white mesh guard rail, and set to converting our baby crib to a big boy bed.

I walked Landon into his room, and excitedly said “Landon! LOOK at your big boy bed!” When part of me wanted to break down and cry. He was so, so, proud, and so was I. He was growing up. Just like how proud I was when he rolled over for the first time, or took his first steps, or said “Mama” and melted my heart into a big ‘ol pile of mush.

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Shortly after, we tucked him in, and he has been sleeping soundly ever since. He surprises me, every single day, at the things he is capable of. He makes this parenting gig ten times easier sometimes. Sometimes, I said.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

the upside to molars

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If I were to say that I can’t stand “teething”…I’m pretty sure it would be the understatement of the century. Like most kids who teethe, our days have been filled with epic amounts of crying and fussing, messed up sleep schedules, and poor eating. You just haven’t been yourself lately. My child who typically devours his dinner and goes to bed without issue has been everything but that for the past week or so. Instead, our nights are spent juggling toddler tantrums, and then once you are in your crib, listening to endless sobs until one of us caves and goes to get you. Even once you are asleep, it is a restless sleep that often ends in you making your way to the middle of our bed somewhere around four in the morning. I know, I know. I’ve read all the rules that say you aren’t supposed to bring your baby to bed with you for fear of starting bad habits. But I also know that I have to be at work in the morning and your daddy and I would give anything for just a couple more hours of peaceful sleep before our alarm clock goes off.

Molars are the devil, I’m convinced.

They are right up there with those early newborn nights when we were juggling around the clock feedings and diaper blowouts. They are ugly. And they have turned you into a child that is not your normal self. I find myself praying those little suckers would make their way through your little gums so that we can just get back to normal around here. Happy, fuss-free, well sleeping, well eating normal.

In the same breath that I curse the molars that are driving me to insanity, I am relishing in the fact that you are needing more holding and snuggling than ever. I hate that you aren’t as happy as normal, and I really don’t like that your unhappiness is directly related to your lack of sound sleep and discomfort. And I’m pretty sure I have a permanent crick in my back and hip from carrying you around so much. But you see, I’m a selfish mommy, and with these molars have come nightly snuggles in the quiet darkness of your room, rocking you in my arms, and soothing your cries. The last time you required something even close to nighttime snuggles was the week after your first birthday when you came down with the flu. What a way to ring in year two of your life, right? For several days we lived in the recliner or slept propped up in the bed, and were up most of the night trying to help you sleep better. Other than that, you have never required any form of “bedtime routine,” no books, no songs, no rocking for any amount of time. In fact, around six months old we moved the rocker out of your nursery we because we quickly realized you were not the rocking type. Nope, when you were ready for sleep, you were ready. And we have been so thankful for that.

And as I sit here listening to your heavy, sleeping breaths, and smell your sweet hair as you lay your head on my chest, I am holding onto every sweet second of it.

Call me crazy, but there’s an upside to these molars.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Five on Friday

Happpyyy Friday! Its been a while since I’ve linked up to one of these Five on Friday’s, so I’m excited to be back. We’ve been busy as ever- sometimes I feel like the fall season is one of our busiest because there is so much to do and see and experience.

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1. Last week we went apple picking at one of our nearby farms. It was the perfect day of sun, and just being outside enjoying the perfect weather this time of year. Landon loved roaming the farm, seeing the animals, and of course munching on some apples. The only thing is now I have all these apples, and need some apple recipes to use them for! Anyone have any favorite apple recipes? You can read more about our apple picking adventure and see more pictures here. 

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2. On the same lines of fall activities, today we’re planning on heading our local fair, the Dixie Classic. I get super excited about going to fairs this time of year, the smells, and lights, and sounds are all so fun. This year I especially look forward to Landon’s reaction to it all, since last year he was only ten months old. 

 

3. Speaking of Landon, and his age. I am really struggling with the fact that I will have a two year old in two short months. The age two is a tough one for so many reasons. Not only will they be plagued with the “terrible twos” that I’ve heard so much about, but the age represents Landon officially being out of the “baby” stage. In my mind, two means he is a little boy now, officially. And that is so hard for me to grasp. I know we all say it, but why in the world does time go so fast with your kids?

 

4. Knowing that that two year birthday is coming also means Christmas is coming way too soon. How is it already October 11? I need to start shopping. Landon’s birthday falls one week to the day before Christmas, so I have a double whammy when it comes to shopping for gifts. What do I give for which occasion? Which deserves the “better” gift? Is it appropriate to just rewrap a toy he’s never played with?? (kidding…kind of.) It does kind of make me sick to think of more toys coming into this house when he has several that he has rarely touched. In an effort to get him something that isn’t just another toy, I’m looking at the Pottery Barn Anywhere Chairs, I’m sure he would love it, and its something that is not another train, or truck, or tractor to add to his collection. If I had a little girl I would be all over top of that green polka dot chair!

 

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5. And for number five, I’m just gonna celebrate that it’s Friday, and I have taken the day off from work, so I’m home, curled up on the couch watching Landon play while I drink my second cup of coffee and watching the Today Show. I am one happy mama right now!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

grace for the working mama

Here I sit, Sunday morning, cup of coffee in hand. The windows are opened throughout the house. John’s cooking bacon and homemade biscuits and Landon’s playing in the living room. It is here I remember that this is why I went to a job that didn’t require working weekends. I needed that balance in my life, I needed the consistency of being home at the same time everyday, dropping Landon off in the morning, and knowing I wouldn’t miss out on any holiday memories. It was one of the best decisions I made for myself, and my family. I don’t regret the decision I made to say goodbye to long twelve hour shifts, weekends, holidays, and a forty five minute commute.

Some days I feel like I have this working mama thing down pat.I’ve been in my new position for a year next month, and most of the time I feel like I’ve finally gotten the hang of my new routine. Some weeks, I manage to cook, clean, go grocery shopping while pacifying a fussy toddler, and work a full time job without missing a beat. But sometimes, I find myself feeling like a complete failure who is about to become an insane lady if I have to pick up one more toy or cook one more supper. Its a funny little cycle I go through. Just about the time I start feeling good about it all, I’m grounded back to reality that I am not capable of this on my own. It takes a conscious effort to wake up each and everyday, seeking His grace to make it through. To parent with grace, to care for my patients with grace, and love with grace. And lately, I’ve become even more aware of that.

It also takes me realizing that I am not superwoman. I need time to myself. I need downtime. I have long been a person that needs “alone time.” Growing up my parents recognized this and would leave me be when I needed that time. In college, I lived by myself for a year and after a long day of clinics I could be found curled up on the couch watching the latest Grey’s Anatomy episode, perfectly content to be in the silence of my own space. Now as a mom, those moments are few and far between. And every once in a while, when I feel like I’m about to lose it, I know that all I need is some time to myself. I need peace, and quiet, and time to hear my thoughts instead of only hearing my never ending to-do list. I need time to be still. To process and take life in, instead of constantly doing. I need to spend time playing outside with Landon without worrying about what cleaning isn’t getting done, or laundry isn’t getting folded.

It begins again everyday, relying on His graces. Relying on His strength to keep on trucking when I’m pretty sure all I want to do is take a nap…for like twelve hours. To find balance in a life that really doesn’t offer much balance.

I’m don’t have the answers, and I don’t have this whole motherhood thing down pat.  But I do know that recognizing my intense need for His hand in my life makes it a little more bearable. 2nd Corinthians 12:7-10 has always been one of my favorite verses, and really reminds me that when I boast, I boast in His grace. I boast in His strength.  This precious little life that He has blessed me with is all him, not me. And it doesn’t matter how hard I try and manage it all- its not up to me, its in His hands.

Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
2nd Corinthians 12:7-10 The Message
 
So, how do I find balance in it all? I simply learn to say no. To say that going to the park is more important than vacuuming. That playing play doh with Landon is more important than any cleaning I could do. That sometimes pizza is just what’s for dinner…because its easy. I learn to give myself a break. Show myself some grace. And realize that no mom can possibly do it all. And that’s perfectly okay.

I am perfectly imperfect, and that’s okay.





Wednesday, October 2, 2013

apple picking

Growing up there was this little farm we used to go to on field trips in school. We would load up the school bus, drive 10 minutes to the edge of town and spend the day on the wide open fields of Carrigan Farms. We would be given a small bag, and ride down to the apple orchard on a hayride to pick our bag of apples. It is one of my most favorite memories of grade school. A few weeks ago we were driving to spend the day at my parents house and as we drove by the farm I noticed the rows of apple trees. After doing a little research, I decided I would plan a day and take Landon to go pick apples. First off, my child loves the outdoors, and second, he loves a place where there are no boundaries. We live in a neighborhood where I feel like I am constantly telling Landon “Don’t go near the road! or Stay near mommy!” I looked forward to going somewhere where those words didn’t have to come out of my mouth and Landon could run and explore without the fear of cars nearby or concrete I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a gorgeous fall afternoon in the heart of North Carolina.

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