Wednesday, June 14, 2017

WordLESS Wednesday: Sister fort

"Look Mommy, we used the baby pool to make a fort, and we invited Madeline to play with us"

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Little swimmer girl

The big girls both took Mommy/Daddy and Me swim lessons at the Y when they were babies, but we didn't do anything more formal until last summer when we enrolled them in weekly lessons through the summer. The girls did great and advanced quickly and loved the lessons and coaches. We took a break in the fall and winter, but picked classed back up again in February so they'd be ready for the summer pool season. Charlotte graduated from the Goldfish level last weekend and is now a Jellyfish with Anna! Anna only has a few more skills to master before she graduates to the next level! Swimming is something I've always loved doing and the pool is one our favorite summer activities, so I'm thrilled both girls share the same love of water and sun!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Zoo days

The weather looked pretty iffy for the holiday weekend, so in very non-Jen fashion we didn't have concrete plans except for dinner out on Sunday night. After swim lessons Saturday morning it looked like the rain that had been predicted was going to stay away, so we quickly packed up and hit the Zoo. We'd never been in the afternoon thanks to naps and heat, and we'd heard from a friend that were there in the morning that it was pretty packed; much to our delight it wasn't bad when we got there! Score one for the fact that Miss Charlotte isn't a big weekend napper anymore and we're definitely take advantage of the fact that Miss Madeline will sleep in her stroller and isn't on a strict schedule, you know, third kid and all : )

Family train ride!

Trying out the new wagon

Zoo'ing wears a baby out! 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Oh, the places you'll go: Anna's end of year Kindergarten ceremony

Although Anna's last day of kindergarten is next Friday, her class hosted a sweet ceremony for parents today. And by sweet, I mean that I about lost it emotionally when she walked into the cafeteria with her cap on; I had totally NOT prepared for the tug at my heartstrings. 

For all of us, this has been a year of growth, change, and the unexpected. From having a baby two days after her first day of Kindergarten, to learning of my kidney issue and CLL relapse, to how much she's grown going to school just half a day (I mean, she's reading, that's crazy!) ... The best way to describe my feelings are "sad happy" because I'm so proud of her, what she's accomplished, and look forward to what will come, but also sad that this chapter is closing. How lucky, though, am I have these feelings and be in the thick of this fun, exciting, crazy, and trying season of life. 

Oh, Anna, the places we KNOW you'll go! 

They sang the sweetest song, check out the video below : ) 

Upon receiving their Kindergarten diploma, each child told us what they want to be when they grow up, Anna wants to be a doctor!

I'm so proud of this girl!

Selfie with Mom before she's too cool for them : ) 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

I scream, you scream

we all scream for ice cream! 

Monday, April 3, 2017

What's cookin': Swedish meatballs

It's been awhile since I've posted a recipe and I'll say that in this season of life I'm not necessarily cooking food that warms my personal soul, I'm currently all about quick and easy meals that everyone will eat. I'd add "with minimal complaining", but who I am kidding? With an almost 6 and 4 year old, there's something wrong with anything I put in front of them; whether it be how I sliced the apple, the need for more or less sauce, or the fact that my telepathy didn't know they needed their back scratched while eating ... insert eye roll : )

I'm loving the recipe videos floating around on the internet these days and saved this recipe a few weeks ago because it's right up Mike's alley and figured that worst case, the girls would eat plain noodles. Much to my surprised they both actually liked both the meatballs and the noodles! I made the meatballs in advance and the meal itself came together quickly, but did require me to be at the stove most of the time.

Swedish Meatballs
from Tasty

For the meatballs:
1 pound ground beef
½ cup seasoned bread crumbs
½ finely minced onion
1 egg
½ tablespoon salt
½ tablespoon pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil

For the sauce:
2 cups beef broth
2 cups milk
½ tablespoon salt (for sauce)
½ tablespoon pepper (for sauce)
1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 cups egg noodles
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
½ cup chopped parsley

In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, onion, egg, salt, and pepper, (I added a couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce) mixing until evenly combined. Heat the canola oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Take about a golf-ball size of the meatball mixture and roll it into balls. Place the meatballs into the pot, cooking for one minute. Flip the meatballs.

Add the beef broth, milk, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce and give it a stir. Bring the liquid to a boil, then add the egg noodles. Stir constantly until the pasta is cooked and the liquid has reduced to a sauce that coats the noodles, about seven to eight minutes. Add the parmesan and the parsley, stirring until the cheese is melted. 

Picture courtesy of Tasty

Friday, March 31, 2017

Friday Funny

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Me and my girls!

This pic was taken a few weeks ago, but I thought it was appropriate to post since I'm celebrating my first week withOUT chemo in a month ; this is what it's all about!

PS - I think we sometimes terrify Madeline, she seems to be wise for her years in knowing that her family in a little (or a lot!) crazy!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Letter to Charlotte: Month forty-eight

Dear Charlotte,

My spunky, sassy, Mommy’s girl spitfire that keeps us all on our toes; you’re four! Even though you’re a middle child, I still see you as my baby … and I think you’re happy to take on that role most days : ) I knew the minute you were born that you and your older sister would be different, not only in looks, but in personality; and boy was I right. You challenge me in ways I didn’t know possible, but love in an even bigger way. We’ll call you a passionate leader right now … and I just hope that you eventually lead a company and not a prison gang. Kidding … sort of : )

You are a talker and have a lot to say. Most of it’s true, some of it’s fabricated, but it’s ALL loud and urgent. You’re still in a phase where you want to tell me everything, and in great detail, and it can be exhausting. I keep reminding myself that one day you’ll respond in grunts or not at all and that I should enjoy this phase, but you have A LOT to say. You prefer we repeat after you to acknowledge we heard you appropriately and have no tolerance for abbreviations or misunderstandings. We’re working on interrupting your sister and other family members, but it’s a slow go because what you want to tell us apparently needs to be spoken RIGHT NOW.

A lot goes on in your head and you often times have a hard time getting it out. But you’re smart and cunning, in a sweet way. For example, if you don’t want to do something, you’ll throw out a line such as “if you make me try to potty, my pee pees will get very mad and make my stomach hurt” or “washing my hands makes them frustrated, so I’ll just use sanitizer” or “brushing my teeth makes them sad.” I know we’re supposed to keep a straight face as we parent in these situations, but we usually can’t and don’t,  and that generally makes you even more upset or demonstrative about the situation. Your dad is the worst; he cackles like a little kid … and you really don’t like that : )
You’re creative and smart and tickle us daily with the games you play, stories you invent, and the names you give your stuffed animals. You have specific places all of your toys go and an inventory of every knick knack you’ve collected, sticker you’ve stuck, and picture you’ve drawn; and know exactly where they should be. The stuffed animals are by far my favorites; your current fave is Figaro (aka Figs, Figgy) (the cat from Mickey Mouse, a gift from Anna), Cornfield (Shamu from Sea World), Little Rainbow (a not very little owl), Turkey (a giraffe), Blueberry (a blue bear), Elsa (a blue cheetah), and Figaro’s Mom.

You and your sister get along like sisters. There’s a lot of love, a little bickering, and you know how to push each other’s buttons. You have a barrage of games you play many time transcending characters and story lines and I can hardly keep up. You generally play well together and have a hard time when Anna wants to be alone or do something without you. You love your baby sister too, but obviously at this time you and Anna have a different and much closer bond. I never had a sister and with your Uncle being 4 years my junior, this is all uncharted territory for me.

You love to draw, write your name, and invent stories to go with each picture your mind creates. Your fine motor skills are amazing for your age and the ideas you come up with impress everyone. I walked into your preschool room one day and you were making a book and had also instructed your friends on folding the paper, gluing the pages, and had asked your teacher to help you with the text of what you wanted to say on each page. You weren’t even four! Your sister started bringing home reading homework after the holiday break and any evening that she had homework, you insisted on joining in, so I made up worksheets for you; you sat beside Anna and plugged away.

You’re very even keel and everyone’s friend at school, usually avoiding conflict or trouble. Last summer you were in a small preschool room and wound up being the only girl in class. The director approached your Dad and I, worried we’d be concerned with the gender ratio, but in talking to your teachers, they knew you’d be fine; and you were. You now know more about super heroes than I could ever teach you and are one of the boys many times in class and on the playground.

You took FOR-EVER to potty train this last year and have a bladder of steel. We tried a few times with the same method we used with Anna and you simply refused and held your bladder all day. So we waited a few weeks and would try again. Eventually you gave in about 5 weeks before I was due to deliver your baby sister and I’ll never forget the “joy” of sitting with you in the powder room, on a stool, a million months pregnant, swollen and achy, listening to you play the Elmo potty game on your iPad and hearing the sound of pee in the toilet. You took to peeing eventually, but pooping was another story and you reserved that for your pull-up at naptime or nighttime; never having a poop accident at school or outside of our house; but oh-so-many in your room. I will admit I cried about that many nights and thought we’d send you off to college in poopy pull-ups. But true to how you do everything, the flip switched for you one day as you turned four and you were done with that; and have since gone on the potty religiously.

You are your own person, Charlotte Rose, and you remind us of that daily, usually in good ways. You have the best smile, give the best hugs, and love so so so so passionately it’s easy to forget the tantrums that come with them. You can cry on a dime, but forgive just as quickly as you got mad or upset.  Although your independence and the fire inside of you can be exhausting, I hope you never lose it. You’re destined to big things, little girl, and I want to be there for you each step of the way.



Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday Funny

95% of my shopping is done online ...  I have no idea how my Mom ever got anything purchased for us growing up!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Bathtime giggles

I double dog dare you to watch this and not smile : )