Monday, November 28, 2011

The Ol' Switcheroo

We had a great trip to San Antonio and everyone simply adored spending time with Liliana.  Evan and I arrived back home around noon on Friday and thought we would just decorate for Christmas without feeling the stress.

As we got the Thanksgiving decor out and brought the Christmas decor in, we started stressing.  And by we, I mean I. 

It's like it suddenly hit me:  our house, while great, needs some MAJOR work done to it!

For starters, what was I thinking putting the playroom right off the kitchen?  At the time, it seemed like a fabulous idea having Liliana right there, but on the other hand, the room is half the size of the completely unused room at the front of the house.

Then, I realized that the ugly paint colors upstairs HAVE to go.  I've seen that mud color ENOUGH thank you very much and I am SO sick of it.

THEN, we went over to our next-door neighbors to watch the Arkansas game (which ended up being a big disappointment).  In their playroom, she had these FABULOUS couches.  They are comfy and Liliana can climb up on them without giving me a heart attack.  I wanted them.  Evan REALLY wanted them (he likes comfort). 

The only dilemma?  We didn't have $700 dollars in our back pocket.  Darn it.

THEN Evan said "WAIT, we have credit card points!"  And indeed we do! 

So, guess what's coming to our home?  TWO of these babies!

Sorry for the poor picture quality.  Walmart won't let me get a decent one!

So, instead of a relaxing weekend, we spent it decorating for Christmas (pictures coming soon) AND switching our old study and playroom.

In other words, this big study is now the playroom.  The wall to the right of that baby gate is going to house our two couches and it will be a "sitting area" to relax in.

And this smaller room is now the study.

We still haven't changed the art work, but Liliana is already a BIG fan of the switch.  It gives her room to roam and when those couches come in, it'll give us room to lounge while she plays! 

As for the other trillion things that I wanted to do, those will have to take a back seat until we can afford them.  The credit card points paid for 50% of the couches, but that means we're still paying a decent chunk of change out of pocket.  So the rest will wait ...

Except for the mud color walls in my guest room.  It simply HAS to go.  If I have to look at it ONE MORE TIME, I just might puke.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving Desserts

The three of us are traveling home for Thanksgiving on Monday afternoon.  We're pretty darn excited.  This will be Evan's first vacation time in nearly 5 months.  He definitely deserves it. 

Since we're flying home, I obviously won't be in charge of bringing a big turkey. 

Instead ... I am the "Dessert gal."

That's right, I am completely in charge of desserts this Thanksgiving.  We have a pretty big number of people coming over for dinner and a big range of ages: 18 months (Liliana dearest) - grandpa (93!).  In other words, I have to make desserts that will please all pallets.

I've decided three desserts should be sufficient and don't want all of them to be too darn similar (in other words, no pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin cake please).  I also won't have that much of a time frame to work with because I have to share the kitchen with my Mom who makes about a trillion things throughout the day.  Enter pinterest.

My Thanksgiving Dessert Menu will consist of:

(1) Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats
(2) 4- layer Pumpkin Cake; AND
(3) Brownie Chocolate Pecan Pie


(1) Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispite Treats:  These are th EASIEST to make.  Just go to Walmart and buy some Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows.

Then, put the marshmallows on top of all your melted butter...

And melt those, put in your rice krispies, and VOILA ...

As you can tell by the picture in the background, I made this as a Halloween dessert, but it works for Thanksgiving too!

(2) 4-layer Pumpkin Cake.  YUM.  LOOK:

This one isn't difficult to make, even though it looks complicated.  But it is scrumptious.

Recipe found here.

(3) Chocolate Brownie Pecan Pie

Out of all the recipes, this is the one I'm the most excited for.  I have a feeling people will be licking their fingers after eating some of this.  To make it even better, I am using FRESH pecans from Evan's grandpa's yard.  That will only make it even better!

Recipe found here.

Am I missing an essential item?  Should I include something else?  This holiday baking stuff is fun but kind of stressful at the same time!

For Christmas, I plan on making LOTS of fudge and cookies, but what am I doing??? We don't talk about Christmas until thanksgiving is done!  Hmm ... wonder what I'll be talking about on Friday? ; )

In the mean time, happy thanksgiving!

Monday, November 14, 2011

If you were my DVR ...

If you were my DVR, you would be pretty busy Monday - Wednesday, and slow on Thursdays.  I don't really watch anything on Thursdays (unless of course I'm missing something and a reader lets me know!)

If you were my DVR, you would know these are the five shows I simply can't live without (in no particular order, because that wouldn't be fair to make me do that):

(1) Sunday:  The Good Wife

- This is the ONLY legal show I watch.  I normally can't stand other ones, just like Evan can't stand Grey's Anatomy.  Sometimes being a lawyer or a doctor messes shows up for you.  But this show is so brilliantly done.  It is absolutley amazing: it's sultry, intelligent, thought provoking, and CLEVER.  They NEVER have a repeat legal case and ALWAYS make me go "how did they think of that?"

(2) Tuesday: Glee

- I know I join about 30 billion others when I say I enjoy this show.  I have to admit, they have had some episodes that I've felt really lackluster about.  Alternatively though, they have had some episodes where I am in amazement.  There have been about a handful of episodes that I watched twice ... in a row.  NO show has made me do that before.  That is why it is still on my top 5.  I do wish they'd do more popular songs.  I like seeing their interpretation of it.  I hate when they do songs that are boring or that I've never heard of before.  Also, I'm really in love with Artie.  His songs are THE BEST.  Mercedes voice is too loud for my taste and Santana has a good voice, but it doesn't compare to Rachel's.  Artie though?  He's my man!

(3) Wednesday: Modern Family

- This show absoultely CRACKS ME UP.  My favorite character is probably Gloria, or Mitch.  I love the humor in the show, the way they handle serious issues, and the delivery of everything.  It ALWAYS makes my Wednesday's better knowing I get to watch an episode.  The husband and I ALWAYS watch this one together and have a great time while doing it.  Even if he's working, I wait until some time when we're together.  It's one of those shows that you'll find yourself thinking about during the day and you'll randomly let out a chuckle thinking of a joke ... then everyone around you will think you're crazy.

(4) Wednesday: the New Girl

- This is a new show that stars Zooey Deschanel.  I'm not sure it would make my top 5 if it weren't for the fact that Evan DIES laughing when watching this show.  Hearing someone be THAT happy while watching a show makes you love it too.  According to Evan, the relationship between the guys on this show is just how guys act when they're together.  I think they act like morons, but funny morons!! ; )  If you don't have a big sense of humor, I don't recommend this one.  You have to be silly, be okay with crude humor, and be willing to just go with it.

(5) Monday: How I Met Your Mother

- This is one of those shows that you should follow from the beginning to truly enjoy it.  The characters are so well developed.  The stories can be serious, but are usually quite silly.  You grow to love the characters and rejoice in their happy moments and get truly angry with them when they mess up.  You also think it's hilarious when they have to wear a Duck Tie for a year.  I am getting SLIGHTLY annoyed that we still have no idea How Ted Met the Kids Mother, but I'm hoping they have a plan.  You can't have a 15 season show without letting me have SOME kind of idea!  The concept will get annoying if they're not careful, but so far, they're handling it really well.

Honorable Mention: Revenge/ Parenthood

-  these are good shows too, but not top 5 in my opinion.  Revenge is about a girl that moves to a town just to hurt those that conspired against her father and eventually let to his demise.  It's dark and the acting isn't always stupendous, but the story is at least interesting.  I can see how this would quickly become horrible if they make it too ridiculous with the story line.  So far they've been reasonable and kept you interested.  Parenthood can be boring to some.  It takes a while to get attached to the characters.  It's a very realistic show, which is probably why people don't like it.  THIS WEEK though, they have a character cheating on his wife and truthfully?  I might stop watching it because of that.  I know, I know it's only TV, but I don't even like SEEING it.  Plus (ready for stupid comment?) that character would NEVER cheat on his wife in real life!! They're doing it for ratings!! (done with my rant now)

What's on your DVR?  Am I missing some gems?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Happy Baby = Happy Parents!!!!

Liliana started her new daycare 3 days ago.  I thought I would be relieved to find her a new place.  Relieved doesn't quite express how I feel.

I am enamored.  Completely obsessed.  I want to kiss the feet of every single person at this daycare.

In just three days, we have seen the BIGGEST change in our daughter.  It is simply amazing.

We have Liliana in a Montessori Daycare.  For those that are unaware, Montessori education is a mindset of raising an independent child.  For example, in Liliana's classroom each child is in charge of taking thier snack and going around the table giving each student a certain amount of snacks.  Their thought is that by her age she shouldn't be given these snacks.  She is able to get them herself and give them to other students too.  It shows the concept of sharing, of knowing HOW much is a reasonable amount, etc.

All these ideas MIGHT sound silly to you.  I have to admit that even to me they seem kinda silly, but let me tell you ... in 3 days our daughter has changed so much, and for the better.  This isn't to say that anything was wrong with her before, but she simply seems more content.

Here are some changes we've seen in just THREE days:

(1) she says please and thank you whenever giving her food.  We've been trying to teach her this FOREVER but something they did at daycare worked.  No idea what it was, but I'm kinda jealous that I didn't think of it.  PLUS, it's super cute to hear her say those words. 

(2) She is comfortable being by herself and eating on her own.  On Tuesday night, Evan and I were making dinner and she got her bowl and pointed to her goldfish.  She took her bowl, sat facing the corner, and just ate on her own until she was done.  Normally, she would have carried the food around, spilling along the way, and trying to get our attention.  She somehow knows to be on her own and that eating is done while sitting down.  Again, I could KISS THEIR FEET!!!

(3) She's in love with the potty again. As I've blogged about before, Liliana has been ready for potty training since around 16 months.  I haven't tackled it because I was waiting for Christmas break to do so.  At her old daycare, I don't know WHAT happened, but she started fearing the potty.  Here?  Well, let's just say last night she took her diaper and pants off and sat on the toilet.  I think she's psyched.

(4) Umm ... no more sippy cups.  I didn't even know this was an option.  On Tuesday afternoon when we picked her up, she was drinking from a big girl cup.  We asked them if she didn't need a sippy cup anymore and they said "no, she's a big girl that knows how to drink from a big girl cup!"  So last night, we put this to the test.  I was convinced we'd have water EVERYWHERE.  We gave her the cup and lo and behold, she put the thing in her mouth and drank.  Sure, she got some NASTY backwash in there, but not a drop off water on the floor.  She is officially off sippy cups!

I am SO happy about this transition, I can hardly contain myself.  I love everything about her new daycare, but mainly, I love seeing our daughter happy.  When I go pick her up she says "bye bye" to ME!!!! She used to say bye bye to the other kids in her room, but at this place?  She wants me to leave the second I get there!  She is having so much fun! 

If you have any questions on Montessori education, feel free to ask away.  Like I said, I probably would have thought this stuff was a bunch of hogwash, but seeing such a transformation, I am MORE than convinced.  Oh and no, her daycare isn't paying me for writing any of this.  They have no clue I even have a blog.  But I am nearly crying from happiness at this change.  It is probably the best thing that has happened to us as parents in a long time and it is surely the best thing that has happened for Lilianan since we left Lubbock.

Like the title says ... a happy baby = happy parents (VERY VERY happy parents).

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Doctor Says "Trick or Treat!"

Halloween was such a pure blast this year.  Evan actually got to go trick-or-treating with us (which is a rare occasion for him to be home that early) and Liliana was just about as adorable as humanly possible.

This year, Liliana was .........

Dr. QT Patootie! (that's really her name ... it was on her whitecoat)

Before Daddy got in to HIS outfit, I snapped a pretty shot of both the doctors in my life ...

Liliana ADORED her stethescope.  She was absolutely hilarious playing with it.  She holds it up to you and makes a "thump thump" sound mimicking a heart. 

Evan snapped some pretty pictures of Mommy and Liliana time too.

After Evan arrived at home, we had to prepare our "family ensemble."  As a FAMILY we were ...

A doctor with her patients!  ; )  Evan took some patient gowns from the hospital and we walked around comfortable as can be!  Don't worry though, our butts weren't hanging out.

After we went around to about 7 houses, we came home so we could give candy to the kiddos.  We had about 20 kids come and then turned out the lights around 8:00 so that we could spend some time together relaxing after putting Liliana to bed.   Before bedtime though, Liliana had to rejoice in all her candies!  She LOVED grabbing candy out of the bowls and putting it in her bucket!  She got the hang of it VERY quickly.

After trick-or-treating, it was time for me to cook my "spooooooky" Halloween meal: mummy dogs and pumpkin spice rice krispie treats! 

Don't despair though, those recipes are coming up in the next post!  Hope everyone had as much fun trick-or-treating as we did!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Eating Paint and Painting Pumpkins

Normally Evan and I carve our pumpkins a couple weeks before Halloween.  However, Evan hasn't had a weekend off in over a month so finding time to do it was rather cumbersome. 
Since time had run out, we set out to carve pumpkins together the night before Halloween.  The difficult question was ... how were we going to get Liliana involved?

Surely putting a knife in her hand was out of the question.  I know she's becoming a big girl and everything, but she's 17 1/2 months old now.  I need to wait another month or so before she gets a sharp knife!

Our solution to the problem was putting paint all over her and letting her go to town on one of the pumpkins.  She was a FAN ... a BIG fan of this idea ...

OOOOOO ... I get to do what????

So we painted ... and had a GREAT time.

In fact, Liliana was all smiles.  (Her Daddy did that work of art on her like?)

At first she looked at me like "am I really allowed to do this?"

Then she started painting really gingerly and lady like.

Then the entire hand got involved and messy.

And then ... she made a "yuck that tastes gross face."

Reason being ... we got a BIG handfull of paint in our mouth. 

Cue immediate sink bath time!

Liliana's work turned out pretty nice though!

After bath time she got cuddled up with Daddy and marveled at the slight makeover I made to "Liliana's pumpkin."

After we put Liliana to bed, it was time for us to carve our pumpkin together.  Evan went online and put in "pumpkin carving ideas."  Look what came up!

BWAHAHAH!!! Isn't that hilarious?  Needless to say, it wasn't exactly family friendly to carve a butt so instead, here are our finished products!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Long and Exhausting Battle

I know I said I was going to write about Halloween, but quite frankly, something else is on my mind and I want to write about it.  I should make a disclaimer that I probably seem very angry throughout this post ... I am.  This has been a long and exhausting battle, but fortunately, there is a very very happy ending.

In Lubbock, we loved our daycare.  The most aggregious thing they did was give her juice instead of water for two days.  Seriously ... not the end of the world.  Otherwise, they were perfect.  Quite honestly, Liliana learned more while there than at home.  That's just the way it was.  She loved being there, would run (well at that time, crawl) AWAY from me when I would go pick her up, and I was at peace when dropping her off.

Once we moved to Little Rock, things were immediately different.  We put Liliana in a daycare that wasn't our top choice, but we thought it would suffice until we could get her in to other daycares with mile long waiting lists.  When she started at this daycare, my first inclication was that I wasn't thrilled, but I thought it would be good enough.  The ladies were ok.  They weren't great ... weren't super involved ... but at least from what I could tell, it could be worse.
Then in August she changed to her big girl room and problems started.  I haven't spoken about this on the blog because quite truthfully I have felt horrible since then about dropping my daughter off at daycare and if I typed it out that her new daycare wasn't even safe, it would be official that I would be nominated for worst the worst Mother of the year award.

Ok, well ... maybe I'm not THIS bad, but still ... not good.

 In August, Liliana got a bite mark on her arm.  When the daycare called, I was actually not upset about it.  I realize that these things happen.  I wasn't per-se happy about it, but I said ok and asked what their plans were to help the problem.  They said they'd keep an eye on the biting baby more. 
The next day (YES the NEXT day) I got another call.  This time, her bite was on her back.  I started getting a little bit upset at this point.  They also told me the parents of the biting baby would not be contacted (something they refuse to admit that they said now). 

THREE DAYS later, I get another injury report saying "a friend scratched Liliana on her back."  Weird thing though ... the scratch looked remarkably a lot like teeth and in the shape of a mouth. Hmm.

Through all this, Evan and I stayed pretty mum about the whole thing.  And, something I haven't mentioned ... some of these bites drew blood.  Yeah, they weren't tiny bites.  We weren't happy and we started calling other daycares asking where her wait list status was.  I was basically pleading and begging other daycares to have openings.

Things calmed down for 6 weeks though and we started thinking perhaps we overreacted by not giving this daycare enough time.

Then last week I got a call (I'm starting to dread when I see the Caller ID at work show up with her daycare name).  "a friend bit Liliana on her face."  Here, I finally lost it.  The arm is one thing.  The face, close to the eye, is another.  I was livid and furious.  Fortunately for them, they left this as a voicemail because I would have been yelling too loud for the students to hear the bell at school.  When I called them back (this time, Evan and I conferenced called them because we were too angry to not say anything) they said "well these things happen and it wouldn't be fair to quarantine the biting baby." What I basically hear with this is "it's not fair to the other baby, so your baby is going to be punished."

Let me get one thing straight here.  I know that babies bite!  Liliana isn't a biter, but our next child very well may be!  HOWEVER, I think that you should do things to try and alter that behavior.  And when you tell me "well we're doing the best we can," my answer was "your best IS NOT good enough."

When I saw THIS on her face, I was pretty mortified.  After two conference calls, we decided Liliana should move rooms (see how accomodating we are?  We were trying different things!).  Liliana went to a room with older children (about 4 months older) because supposedly this would decrease chances of biting. 

Friday ... guess what call I got?  That's right.

She got bit a FIFTH time.  That was ENOUGH. 

I went to tour another daycare (a Montessori that I am a HUGE fan of).  She has been on the waiting list for this Montessori and was supposed to start in January.  I explained to them our dilemma and told them that for US, waiting until January could mean 5 more bite marks AT LEAST. 

After the FIFTH bite mark call, the Montessori called with AMAZING news.  The next person on the waiting list decided to stay home with a Nanny SOOOOO Liliana starts in a week!!!!!

I GLADLY put in Liliana's two week notice at the old place and we are paying double daycare for a week but frankly, I don't care.  We tried to argue that we shouldn't have to pay the old daycare because they didn't fulfill their obligations to keep our daughter safe, but they were quite unaccomodating.  I could fight it, but that's not what's important to me.  To me, what's important is that Liliana is safe, that she's in an environment where she's LEARNING (which she does NONE of right now), and most importantly, that she is happy.

A happy baby makes a happy Mommy and Daddy.  And, it took us a few months, but we'll finally be there! 

Giveaway Winner!

Sorry I didn't get around to posting the giveaway winner of the FREE 25 shutterfly cards yesterday!  I did just draw the three names right now though and here they are:

(1) Mallorie over at Happy Home!!  And guess what guys?  She just had a baby YESTERDAY so go send her some well earned Congrats! Mallorie, I am SO glad you won this giveaway!  Now you can make some gorgeous Christmas cards to send out to loved ones.

(2) Katie Hale over at Hale Happenings! I'm so glad you won Katie ... in your comment you said you really wanted to win and you did! : )  Yippee!

and the last person is ...

(3) Kristen Hillger over at Baby Hillger! Guys, this one REALLY excites me because Kristen just also happens to be my best friend!!!  I PROMISE and SWEAR that these were done by a randomizer, but her number just so happened to pop up (this is the first time that she has ever won any of my giveaways)!  Kristen REALLY needs free Christmas cards because she has a 7 month old boy and is 4 months pregnant!! She has TONS of news to share! ; )

SO, to the winners, please email me at so I can give you your Shutterfly codes.  Have a great day!

I hope to post about our Halloween later today, but wanted to make sure I at least got this post done ... after quite a few votes, I think I'll be choosing the following card from Shutterfly for Christmas this year.  We're taking our photos this Saturday and I can't wait! I wanted to say a big thank you to Shutterfly for always treating us so well!!! You guys are the best!!