Friday, December 30, 2011

What We've Been Up To

Bad blogger right here.  I think December might fall under the worst blogging month I've had since I started this blog about 2 years ago.  Busy, under the weather, and a big amount of company for over a week all contributes to that.  SO, here's a quick recap of what's been going on for the last week and a half:

(1) Christmas:

Liliana got a copious amount of gifts for Christmas!  We had a pretty big amount of company staying with us and they stayed for nearly a week.  Let me tell you, I think I need another vacation from that vacation!  I took a 2 hour nap the day they left.  And honestly, I could have napped for 5 hours.  Liliana LOVED Christmas this year.  In fact, she wanted to unwrap every one's presents.  I don't think she cared as much about the actual gift as opposed to unwrapping things.  Her favorite gift?  The one Santa brought her! (yes, we're those kinds of parents that only bought her one thing.  She won't remember whether we got her anything or not!  We're cheap, what can I say?)  We got her that little kitchen at a used toy store here in town.  It's fabulous.

Look at all the gifts under that tree!  Those are pretty much ALL for that little girl.  She is SO loved by lots and lots of family members.

Liliana looked awfully cute throughout the holidays too.  She had lots of cute outfits, but we unfortunately weren't great at capturing the pictures.

(2) Vacuum:

Last week, THE DAY before the company arrived, my vacuum cleaner started smoking.  Literally, smoking.  I love vacuum cleaners.  I have a slight obsession with cleaning and seeing how powerful they are.  Don't know why, but it's by far my favorite household chore. SO, apparently, it was time for a new one.  I wrote a facebook status asking people what to buy and the vast majority of people recommended a Dyson.  Here's the problem.  On the 23rd, Evan and I bought each other our super duper romantic Christmas gift: a new air conditioner unit.  $900 later, (thank goodness for home warranty company because otherwise it would have been $4000) we obviously didn't get each other Christmas gifts. And, we obviously don't have $500 to easily dispose of after that $900 payment.

SO, I still needed a vacuum.  My main criteria was something that I could easily clean the stairs with.  Our old one (I'll refer to the old one as Smokey from now on), Smokey, was HEAVY and ridiculously difficult to carry down the stairs while cleaning (my stairs are carpeted). 

I was about to check out at Walmart and had a pretty crappy vacuum in my basket and then I saw this:

The Shark Navigator Life Away Pro.  When I saw it in the store, I immediately Amazoned it (something I do with nearly every purchase).  It had REALLY high reviews and was $20 cheaper in the store than on Amazon. 

The main selling point?  You can lift the canister off the bottom and carry it around while vacuuming which only ends up being 8 pounds!  That totally works.  AND, it has a duster attachment that works wonders too.  I definitely approve.

Those two things mainly summarize the last 10 days of my life!  Yep, a vacuum cleaner got 50% of the post.  What can I say?  It was a great purchase!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Pick a Color"

I'm not going to lie, the last week at work has been QUITE stressful.  I'm not sure I've ever truly explained what I my job details are on this blog ... don't know why.  I guess I do it 50 hours a week and don't want to talk about it more than I need to.  I know I've mentioned that I love what I do, and that still holds true.

This semester, I was the "Academic Director of Academic Achievement for the Upper School" and I taught Economics to one section of seniors.  NEXT semester, I won't be teaching Economics (because it's a one semester course) and I will be promoted to "Academic Director of Academic Achievement for the Upper School & Middle School!"

I am REALLY excited about this promotion.  I started hearing that it might happen a couple months ago, but on the first of December, it became official. So what does this mean job wise?

What I do is help students that struggle in school.  This can mean learning differences, it can mean organization issues, note-taking issues, test-taking anxiety, whatever it may be.  The other big part of my job is to make sure students are receiving accommodations that they should be receiving.  In other words, if the medical evaluation says they are permitted to use their lap top to take notes on, I  need to ensure all our faculty is compliant with this.  This gets really complicated when each individual student has different needs.  I know it's tough for the teachers to remember, so that's where I come in.  I do a TON of talking with parents, holding parent-teacher conferences when grades are low, etc.  Even on days where I think things are going to be slow, I end up being busy.  The last part of my job: finals time.

About 30 of our upper school students are permitted to take their final exams in a "quiet testing environment."  A few of those are permitted to have scribes, a few are permitted to receive the exam orally, and a few just need some extended time.  It all depends on the individual student.  The stressful part is ORGANIZING it all.  Where will each student be?  Who is going to proctor it?  How do I let each student know where to be?  Who gets and how much extended time do they get?  Who is permitted to use a laptop?  How do I communicate this to the faculty? Etc etc.

I must admit I was nervous on how it would all go down.  I can GLADLY say, I am proctoring the LAST final exam of the semester as I type this and it went PERFECTLY.  NO problems.  I've only heard GREAT remarks about the organization of it all this semester.  Most teachers say "you are the most organized person I've ever met," to which i respond "how can I TEACH organization if I'm not organized myself?"

The last few days I haven't had time to even pee at work.  Today though, once these tests are done, the hardest question I'm going to have to answer is "What color do you want?"

After finals, I am going straight to my favorite nail salon and getting a pedicure.  I deserve it.  I'll read some trashy "People" magazine and will delight in Christmas break. 

Yes, I have a ton of company arriving TOMORROW and truly, we're not ready ... but this afternoon?  It's me, myself, and my toes.  For one hour, I won't be a busy working Mom, I won't be a wife that is married to an incredibly busy surgery resident, and I won't even worry about what Liliana is doing at school.

 For one hour, I'm going to be a girl without worries, well other than making sure the color I choose looks just right. : )

Friday, December 16, 2011

Making it SUNNY for him

Since we've moved to Little Rock, we've been in love with just about every single thing.  It turns out we had to find ONE thing we weren't crazy about right?

I mean, the trees are stunning, there is SO much more to do as a family and as a couple, the restaurants are nice, the daycare is stupendous, the housing market is totally affordable but fun, etc. etc. 

Well turns out, in order to have those gorgeous trees you need rain.  And it also turns out that rain, at this time of year, comes at a drizzly pace a few days every single week. 

Evan's hours are pretty miserable as it is, but when you leave the house at 4:30 am (pitch dark) and leave the hospital around 6:30 - 7:00 pm (pitch dark) you never see the sun.  And quite a few times, all he sees is rain and black. 

Over the last few days, I've noticed this has truly brought his spirits down.  I know he's sick of being in that hospital, and I know he's sick of not seeing daylight.  He's sick of just cold and dreary.  And the fact of the matter is that even during the day, it has been quite dreary.  But, at least in my huge massive office at work, I have these big windows where I SEE the dreariness.  Evan only sees the black sky. 

To make matters worse, since I have been feeling under the weather lately (turns out, I had pink eye and a cold! yuck!) he comes home to a wife that doesn't feel well and hasn't had much home-cooked food.  Usually, when he comes home I try to make the house as welcoming as possible. I usually have dinner either ready, or being made, I try to have all the  Christmas lights on, and sometimes I even have fun music playing in the background.  I want it to be his haven when he arrives.

But since last week opening my eyes was pretty painful, most of this didn't get done. Except the Christmas lights ... that I do the second I get home! ; )  Work has been really busy for me lately because we're smack in the middle of finals.  This means I had to write my final and grade my papers, but in addition, I had to organize how 30 students with accomodations were going to get their finals, their extended time, have people reading the tests or writing if needed, etc. 

Last night, as Evan flopped on the couch to start folding our Christmas letter, I could sense that he was really down in the dumps.  I brought it up and his words completely and utterly BROKE MY HEART:

"With me being gone so much, it just doesn't feel like Christmas."

To you, that probably isn't a big deal.  But in our house, this was like a woman saying "I don't care if I ever get another pair of shoes again!" 

Christmas is a big deal in the Lacefield home.  It is our favorite holiday as a family and we celebrate it and decorate with SO many smiles.  We are the opposite of bahumbug.  We send out Christmas cards every year, always have lights outside and inside, and decorate TOGETHER while drinking hot chocolate and watching Elf.  So the fact that it didn't feel like Christmas really showed me how truly down in the dumps he is!

I think he realized I was concerned because this morning, in his usual perfect husband ways, he sent me a text that said:

"Good morning!  I am going to try to be positive and happy.  I love you Cristina, YOU ARE my sunshine to make me happy."

And the sad thing about ALL of this, is that I don't have a way of fixing it!  It broke my heart when he said "you're my sunshine."  In other words, it doesn't matter if it's dreary outside, I have the sun in you.  But how do I make it sunny?

How do I make it feel like Christmas when he's working so much and seeing so many families in pain while at the hospital?

The good news is he works Saturday morning but is OFF Saturday night and Sunday all day.  Therefore, I have TWO days to show him Christmas.  Since I'm feeling much better lately, I will have more energy to convince him of this by:

(1) Singing Christmas songs
(2) Having Christmas songs on constantly
(3) Making my spice Christmas drink
(4) Make and decorate sugar cookies with Liliana
(5) Watching Love Actually
(5) Any other ideas that pop in to your head or mine?

I just can't have my wonderful husband feeling blue.  He is Liliana and I's rock!  I don't know how he does what he does ... working those hours, seeing so much pain and suffering during the day, and coming home and never complaining for a second of it.  We are so thankful for him and it is our turn to give in return!


Monday, December 12, 2011

Something to Look Forward To ...

Evan is on a really busy rotation this month.  In November, we got spoiled.  He had to be at the hospital at 7 most days and was usually home by 6. Sure we had our occasional 5 am calls and late nights, but he saw Liliana everyday but one that month.  That is a record for sure! 

Then December hit and BAM, back to the life we were accustomed to.

He didn't see Liliana a few days last week because he leaves EVERY SINGLE DAY at 4:30 and was getting home around 8.  During the week, Liliana goes to bed around 7:30 since I wake her up around 7 to head to work. 

On the days he doesn't see Liliana, my husband is a totally different person.  I try my absolute best to be positive for him.  I tell him all the new things that she's doing and take videos, but they're not the same.

Last week, Liliana was going through her teething bit and I must admit, it was a tough week at home.  I've been feeling under the weather with a really sore throat and painfully dry eyes.  Somehow, Liliana hasn't contracted this never-ending cold.  She has the world's best immune system I swear ... AND ... she wasn't breastfed, so take that people that made me feel bad about it!

So this weekend, I would be lying if I didn't say I was dreading the weekend.  Evan worked over 25 hours and was gone pretty much the entire time.  And I knew that dealing with a fussy baby while I was feeling sick was going to be really rough.

I tried to plan lots of things for Liliana and I to do.  For instance, we went to the Wonder Place (this BIG play space for kids 3 and under in Little Rock.  It is a heaven sent amazing place!), we went to a used toy store, we went to the mall, we bought new towels at TJMaxx, and we even stopped in at Target (no weekend would be complete without a Target run). 

And you know what?  We totally survived!  Liliana must have ended her teething stage around 10 o'clock on Saturday morning because the rest of the weekend she was her glorious normal happy self!  She didn't fuss or bother for 1 second, she was happily playing by herself when I needed a break, and she was just a complete and total breeze.  It's like she almost KNEW that Mommy didn't have 100% to give. 

To make things EVEN BETTER, when at the used toy store, we found EXACTLY what Santa was bringing Liliana.  We had bought it for $29 and here it was $6!!!!  I already returned the other one and Liliana obviously likes it just as much:

I live in a world of "I need to look forward to something."  And what is that?

This upcoming weekend, my husband isn't on call.  Sure, he'll probably have to go to the hospital (when does he not?) but he'll be home by noon AT THE LATEST both Saturday and Sunday.  We don't have much planned, intentionally.  We will relax.  We will watch movies.  We will sit in our new couches that we're going to pick up today (yipee!) and we will be a family.  And it will be fabulous.

Yes, I realize it's only Monday.  But sometimes, a girl just has to look forward to something.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What We've Been Up To

It has been nearly a week and a half since I've written on this blog.  WOW.  I know I don't write as often as I used to, but that's a long time for me.

It's not that I don't have plenty to write about.  It's just that I don't have the TIME to write it!

I have been under the weather lately: red dry eyes, SORE throat, and a stomach bug to boot.  It hasn't been pretty.  And the last two days, Liliana's molars started coming in. 

Let me tell you: those molars are NO joke.

Liliana is pretty much the world's best baby: She's sweet, sleeps like a champ and always has, is so incredibly smart, is potty-training herself, etc. etc.  BUT, she sucks at teething.  SUCKS at it.

Case in point: on Sunday we put her to sleep and an hour later heard her crying. Evan and I were really perplexed by this.  We haven't had an interrupted night for over a year so this is very abnormal.  Turns out, those molars were coming in and with a vengence.

Yesterday at daycare she didn't nap and was apparently much fussier than normal.  Last night, we struggled.  Evan was at the hospital until really late and with my not feeling so hot, it made for a rough evening.  I put her to bed ready to hear cries.

But none came.

And this morning, when I woke her up before work, she was right as rain.

Happy as a clam.

Cute as a button.

She was back to her normal self!  I am so glad!  I'm sure those molars aren't done causing her pain, but we seem to be done with that phase for now.

As if that didn't already make my day, look what I awoke to:

Our backyard looks GORGEOUS with snow on all the branches!

The drive to work was absoultely wonderful.  It snowed a lot in Lubbock, but it's not NEARLY as pretty as this.

Other than trying to get rid of the teeth pain, we decorated for Christmas some and while I need to take pictures of everything, I at least wanted to show a little Christmas preview.  We have TWO trees in the house this year: one with our red and green typical ornaments and then one with all the personal meaningful ornaments.  Here's our big "red and green" tree:

I really like our tree this year.  I'll take pictures with our camera instead of my phone soon, but I wanted to mainly show ... the presents under that tree.  Those are ALL for Liliana.  We bought ONE of them.  The rest are for from other people that adore her.  She already opened about 3 bags full in San Antonio when we went for Thanksgiving... those aren't even under the tree.  Spoiled you think? ; )

Here's the outside of the house!  Even though it was COLD this week, my hubby went out there and did this all while maintaining a positive attitude and smile.  He is so wonderful!  He knows just how much I love Christmas time and wanted to make the outside of the house look wonderful.  It really does.  It's the best looking one on the street! : ) 

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!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Liliana at 17 months

I haven't written on Liliana's milestones for a few months. I wrote letters to her most months for the first year of her life, but unfortunately when I stopped doing that, I stopped documenting her changes.  So, I just want to write her a little update letter.  Before I forget: don't forget to enter the Shutterfly giveaway below!! I am giving away SEVENTY FIVE FREE Chritmas cards to THREE readers!  I'm drawing on Monday and not many have entered, so chances of winning are really high.

Liliana dearest:

 I'm not going to lie, months 13 - 15 were pretty difficult in our household.  You started walking around 12 1/2 months and somehow, that newfound independence came with difficulties as well because it meant you wanted things done YOUR way (you still do BTW, but know what NO means).  The temper tantrums at this time were pretty rough. As you know, Daddy and I run a pretty strict household and while it took a couple months to teach you not to open the DVD cabinet or mess with the potpourri balls on the coffee table, we got it.

As a result, this last month has been my favorite month of being a Mommy since ... well ... quite possibly ever.  You are doing SO much and changing on a daily basis in the best ways ever.  For example, just last night you learned how to say "cheese" while grinning AND learned where your teeth are (you have 11 so far by the way).

You point to and says where your teeth, hair, ears, eyes, mouth, toes, and nose are.  You're saying a HUGE amount of words, many in Spanish and English.  For some reason, you really respond best to Spanish words. You say many words in Spanish before figuring them out in English.  Last time I counted, you're saying over 55 words already!  You're very advanced in this department, which doesn't really surprise me, because they say teaching kids multiple languages has this effect.  That being said, you also ... well ... do things such as put a bucket on your head and proceed to walk straight in to the coffee table!! HAHA!!  It was the funniest thing I've ever seen.  Daddy and I couldn't stop laughing.

Right now, you have two big passions:  shoes and climbing.  You LOVE to climb on EVERYTHING which has led to quite a few tumbles, but we learn from falling right?  You climb on the couch, in to your booster seat, on the bench outside, on my chairs at work ... you get the idea.

 Your other love?  Shoes.

I'm ok with this.  This means LOTS of fun shopping later in life! hee hee.  Whenever I'm getting ready to go somewhere on the weekends, you get ALL my shoes and put them on my feet for me.  You don't understand why your shoes don't fit my feet just yet, but we'll get there.  Your favorite pair of shoes are my tennis shoes which makes me love you EVEN MORE.  I don't want you to be super duper girly girl.  So you likes shoes but want to run around while wearing them! ; )

Another fun thing you're doing is imitating a ton of animals: monkeys, dogs, cats, horses ... and even more that I can't remember.  Your favorite word to say lately is "no."  You especially like pointing at the doggies and saying "no doggie!"  You point (as indicated in the picture below) which gives even more personality (which by the way, you have A TON of). Lately you've enjoyed telling me when you run out of snacks by saying "no crackers!" with a pouty face. 

You're still VERY in love with food.  You weigh a little over 26 pounds and have been in 18 month clothing for a couple months.  In fact, you're mainly wearing 18 - 24 month stuff.  You are absolutely beautiful and your eyes get everyone's attention.  I love you.  I can't say it enough.  Daddy and I are absoultely crazy about you.  You have made our lives immensely better.  Thank you for being our daughter.  We are so privileged to be your parents.

Love always and forver,
your Mommy

Monday, October 24, 2011

Shutterfly Christmas Card Giveaway (for THREE readers!)

Last year, Shutterfly was kind enough to pay for my Christmas cards.  All my family and friends commented on how gorgeous the cards were.  This year, they've been kind enough to offer FREE Christmas cards to THREE of my readers!  It has been a really long time since I've done a giveaway, but I figured this would save each reader about $40 - 50 bucks so I couldn't !

SO next Monday I will randomly draw THREE winners.  Each winner will get a coupon for TWENTY-FIVE FREE Christmas cards of your choosing from  To enter the giveaway do the following:

(1) for ONE entry, leave a comment telling me which design you'd order for your Christmas cards.
(2) for TWO entries, leave a comment telling me you started following my blog (or already do).
(3) for THREE entries, blog about this giveaway and leave a link in the comments showing me where you did so.

As you guys know, I love Christmas time, and I LOVE the designs Shutterfly came up with this year for the holiday season.  But I've actually used Shutterfly for a TON of other things.  I bought Liliana's birth announcements there a year and a half ago and I also make our Lacefield family yearbook on Shutterfly too.  In fact, I started our yearbook last night and they've made getting a photo book even cooler.  They have a customization feature with the cutest embellishments.  SO easy ... I'm in love.  Seriously, I know this sounds like an advertisement for them.  I'm not saying it because they've forced me to.  I'm saying it because I use Shutterfly all the time and time and time again their products come out even prettier than I expected.

This year, I'm trying to narrow down which Christmas card I want to get for us ... which is your favorite?

This one's modern and playful. 

This one's simpler, but I like how much it highlights the picture.

My favorite part about this one is the beautiful quote on the right side.  That is so true about my life!

SO, which is YOUR favorite?  Wouldn't you LOVE to get 25 of these FOR FREE?!?

Then enter the giveaway!  I'll draw on Monday for THREE readers.

(disclaimer: Shutterfly is giving me some free holiday cards for hosting the giveaway and doing this post.  Honestly though, they're the best website for affordable pretty cards anyway!)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Help Me!! Must Choose a Party Theme!!

Liliana is nearly 17 months old.  I can't believe it!  When she was 2 months old, I knew what the theme of her 1st birthday party would be.  As a result, we had an incredibly successful and happy Cupcake Themed party. 

This year though?  With the move, and work, and Evan's residency etc., I truly haven't given it much thought.  Today, I decided it was time to start thinking about it.  After all, a baby this cute deserves her Mommy to think ahead!

I know I still have 7 months.  I am a very organized, obsessive compulsive person.  I know that planning ahead is the way to do this in order for me to stay sane.  OK?  ; )

When I told Liliana we hadn't come up with a theme yet, she pointed her finger at me and said "well start thinking about it Mommy!  This is a HUGE event!!"  I agree Liliana.  I agree. (PS Could she be any more gorgeous?  Look at those eyes!)

I  have THREE options for this years theme.  Note: the party will likely be in Texas (reminder: I live in Arkansas).  We will be going to San Antonio in May for Liliana's Godfather's graduation.  As a result, it makes sense to have a big 2nd birthday party in San Antonio for everyone to celebrate with Liliana.  I will most likely do it in my parents backyard.  The reason this is limiting is that I can't prepare TOO many things unless they pack well in a suitcase. 

Here are the three options:
Sesame Street Party

I could always go the typical "Sesame Street" way.  I know it's common, but Liliana LOVES Elmo.  Every night when we put her in her crib, she asks for "Melmo" and the second we give him to her she hugs him real tight and immediately falls asleep.  That being said, we're not big TV watchers with her and haven't seen one episode of Sesame Street so I'm not sure it's worthy of the entire theme.  It sure does make for a bright and lively party though!  Look at some of this amazing stuff I found.  These women are creative and talented! I assure you my party won't look nearly this good! (Plus, I don't really have that kind of budget)

Artsy Fartsy Party

Don't ask me WHERE she got it from because neither Evan nor I are artistic, but Liliana ADORES coloring!  She actually does a pretty darn good job with it too.  She tries to mimic me when I do circles and squares. Her favorite thing?  Coloring with a crayon in both hands.  She's efficient, what can I say?  As a result, I think something like this (including: crayons, frames, and face painting) could be a TON of fun.

Let's Have a Ball Party

Liliana's last obsession?  Balls.  She LOVES playing with them -- she likes loves FREAKING ADORES when Evan lifts her up to make a basket, she loves throwing the ball to us, she loves playing with her little basketball hoop in her playroom ... you get the idea.  SO, why not have a ball party?  It would be SO easy to buy for and I think all the invited kids would have a blast.

SO, which one do you like best? 

The sooner I know the theme, the sooner I can officially start planning.

This organized, OCD Mommy is kinda freaking out. HELP!