Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Dear Dylan,

Halloween was so much fun!
We were a family of skeletons this year. The original plan was that you were going to be a hamburger, Chloe a hot dog, and Daddy and I were going to be ketchup and mustard. You were not having it. So we switched things up a bit, and this outfit made you much happier. I whipped up mine and Daddy's outfits the night before the big Halloween parade so we could match you!

Friday we took you to your beloved pumpkin patch one last time before the season ended. You went to a total of five pumpkin patches this year - we just couldn't get enough! Grandma took you almost every Wednesday she had with you, and we took you to say goodbye until next year. It was so much fun letting you run free through the field of pumpkins, watching you play with the little houses they had set up. Grandpa and Grandma came over that night and brought you the neatest slide! You played until your heart's content.

Saturday was a full day! We dressed up and went to the annual Boo Ha Ha parade. There was so much to see and take in. Kids and parents were dressed to the nine in their fun costumes, lined up along the street to watch the fun and gather candy. A sweet little boy kept bringing you candy, and I gave his Momma a smile of thanks - what good manners. You gobbled up the sweet tarts in a hurry, this was a rare treat! Daddy was by your side to keep you calm through the loud scary horns and honking. 

After the parade was over we took you to GreeGree's house and met Auntie Meggan over there! They thought you were a darling little bag of bones, and really liked us all dressed up. We talked all about the Parents as Teachers program and what a smart little kid you are. You went from room to room, showing Daddy how we play over there every Thursday. Auntie Meggan was so happy to see you! Her little one had hiccups while we were together. It'll be so fun to meet her little nugget in January!!

 Today was your second Halloween! You and I put on our costumes and went to surprise Daddy and Grandpa at work. They were so happy to see us! You loved checking out their offices. We stole Daddy and went to eat dinner together at Chick-Fil-A. You wanted nothing to do with the food as usual, but you tried apple juice for the very first time and loved it! After we ate, you had a blast playing on all of the toys.

You took a nice long nap on the car ride home, but I woke you up to play when we got home. There were tears involved, as you were none too pleased about being woken. You cheered up quickly once we started playing in the back yard. Chloe was a good sport about her costume, and you thought it was funny to see her in a shirt.  We played with Sugar Booger, the new puppy next door. She has dug two holes under the fence and loves to stick her head through to say hello. I always know when she is over because you squeal with glee when you see her. 

Before it got too dark we went on a nice long (not too) spooky wagon ride. It was fun to see the early trick or treaters out dressed to the nines. The neighborhood was all decorated with orange twinkle lights and flickering jack o' lanterns. A car stopped just to tell us how darling our family of skeletons looked. A sweet little lady out with her granddaughter adored you and insisted we trick or treat at her house where her husband was waiting with a big bucket of candy. You hid in the wagon while I got you some treats.

We headed back to the house and you, Chloe and Daddy ran around the living room blowing bubbles and banging on pots and pans while I passed out candy. It was so much fun waiting for the door bell to ring! The little kids were so adorable in the costumes, and loved it when you and Chloe would run to help me. One little boy asked if you could come trick or treating with them! 

It was such a wonderful Halloween! Dressing up was a hoot, and I am already looking forward to next year. I am so happy you had such a fun time!
 I might be just a little bit biased :)

Love you munchkin.

Hope you all had a Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

{OPAT} A Learning Experience

A few weeks ago Ryan, Dylan, and I packed up with Grandma and Grandpa and set off to Norman. A few family friends were hosting an OU vs. Texas party. Dressed to win, we joined the house full of crimson and cream and had so much fun! Martha and Jerry were such gracious hosts, and as always I got to scour the house marveling at all of their beautiful thrift and antique treasures. My sweet sister-in-love, Jennifer and darling niece Jaeden were there to play. The cousins had such a great time playing together!

Ryan's co-workers from Norman and OKC have the most delightful wives, and I love catching up with them. Sue was chatting away with me about Dylan, making me feel so wonderful about breastfeeding and my mothering skills. She asked me if I had ever heard of Parents As Teachers.
She went on to tell me about an AMAZING program hosted by Oklahoma schools. When you sign up for the program, a teacher is assigned to your family. They make monthly visits to your home to help you learn how to be the very best teacher for your young child. The teacher visits each month for the first three years of your child's life and with each visit, evaluates development, shares age appropriate games and skills, and gives support to the parents. Are you ready for the best part?? It is completely FREE! I was shocked and so excited to learn about such an awesome opportunity.

We signed up the very next week, and earlier this week I got a phone call letting us know we were accepted into the program! Our first meeting was Thursday morning and it was fantastic! Dylan and I met our wonderful, sweet teacher named Carman. She is enthusiastic, optimistic and in love with her job. She has been a child educator for 21 years. I felt so comfortable with her, and elated that we got such a wonderful teacher. She and Dylan became friends in no time, and he was running circles around us as we got to know one another. She was so kind to my family, even loving on Chloe (our Corgi) for most of our visit. She had such a way with Dylan. He and Chloe were chasing each other while we chatted on the couch. One wrong step left him crying on the floor, and no matter what I did he kept crying. Carman all of the sudden broke into song and dance, and he whipped around with bright eyes to listen and watch her.  It was darling!

We talked about his strengths and weak points, and she assigned me a month full of fun homework to do with Dylan. We are working hard on his talking - he has an incredible grasp for vocabulary; going to get anything you ask him for, shaking his head yes or no to questions, and signing his wants and needs, but he has been a bit stubborn when it comes to verbalizing. We are continuing to read like crazy, and to sing and talk non-stop. I narrate my day like I am in a movie, telling him about my every move and action. Flash cards cover the floors in our house. Words have to be right around the corner! I can't wait to hear his cute little voice.

Carman said that drinking from a cup is important for several reasons, including helping develop muscles in the mouth and jaw that aide with speaking. Sippy cups, bottles, and breastfeeding don't stimulate his mouth in the same way. She recommended that we give him a Dixie cup full of water at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. While a bit messy, he loves drinking like Mommy & Daddy. Most of it ends up on his shirt and tray, but he is getting the hang of it.

He is continuing to sharpen his fine motor skills, and we are finding new projects to help. We got a funnel out and let him drop spiral noodles into the small hole at the top. He loved it! He decided they were pretty tasty too...

Next thing we are working on is his acceptance of textures.
We noticed his aversion to dirty hands very early, but it was most apparent at the big moment of his cake smash on his first birthday. Everyone was gathered around cameras in hand as he stuck his hands in his cake, looked at me for help and started wailing!

Carman wants us to get his little hands in all sorts of different objects and textures. We will continue playing with his sand and water table outside, and make a makeshift texture table inside. She recommended one or two new items each week for his to feel and explore. Her ideas were: rice, beans, rolled up masking tape, sandpaper, and ripped up tissue paper. I can't wait to see what we can find around the house!  The spiral noodles doubled as texture play, and then he had a blast with beans and tangelos at GreeGree's house.

Then we tried shaving cream. He hated it. We will get there eventually though :)

Our first meeting was just spectacular, and I am elated to already be putting her advice in action.
We were also excited to learn that there are optional weekly gatherings too! Each week a group of Moms meet with their kiddos and for an hour they do art projects, have story time, share snacks and play. I so look forward to taking D to meet some new little people!

I have been stuck in this rut where I felt like I needed to be doing more for Dylan's development, and then this landed in my lap. This program is wonderful, and Ryan and I are so thankful to have learned about it. I am looking forward to the fun we will have over the next month being creative with new learning experiences, and I can't wait to see Carman again!

My best advice: Get out there and look around for some neat programs in your school district!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Phone Dump

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Mother's Love

There are SO many blogs that I love. Blogs with crafts, blogs with recipes, blogs with photography. But the posts that I love the most...the ones that keep me coming back to scour are the ones about motherhood and family. I stumbled upon a blog called Enjoying the Small Things recently and I just had to share it with you. Tonight I sit here crying tears of admiration and love over her birth story of her second child, Nella Cordelia and their journey through down syndrome. It is heart wrenching and beautiful and so full of love. It prompts me immediately to be so thankful for my family and my sweet baby boy.

Read her beautiful story here.

Great Grandma Adventures

Dylan & I go visit GreeGree every Thursday. We have been doing it since he was itty bitty, and it is time that we all enjoy very much! She always has something fun waiting for him, and no matter how big or small it is he is always excited. Cardboard box towers, a perfect pumpkin, a sweet little fort, hidden treasures and even a tiny wheelbarrow - we never know what we will see when we walk through her door. When we aren't running around her house, we have been taking jaunts over to the Expo which is right down the street. There is always something new going on, and we love to watch Dylan explore.

This past Thursday, my cousin Meggan joined us and we went to watch an Arabian horse show! Nana even made a surprise visit. We cruised him around, looking at all the beautiful horses and even a few puppies. We met a corgi and I could tell Dylan right away knew she looked like Chloe. We ran over to her and the dog jumped up and gave him a kiss right on the lips - he thought it was hilarious. We had such a fun time!

We cherish our Great Grandma days so much <3

Monday, October 24, 2011


1. What time did you get up this morning? My little alarm (Dylan) sounded off at 6:45.
2. What color are your toes painted? Sparkly black for Halloween!
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema: Moneyball
4. What is your favorite TV show? Modern Family
5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? I LOVE Oklahoma – I’ll probably never leave. My second choice would be New Mexico.
6. What did you have for breakfast? I shared a bowl of Golden Grahams with baby d.
7. What is your favorite food? Mexican food is my absolute favorite.
8. Foods you dislike? Fish, scallops, shrimp – do you see the trend? Seafood and I do not get along.
9. Favorite place to eat? Our kitchen! I’d take a home cooked meal over a restaurant any day.
10. Favorite dressing? Creamy Italian or Spicy Southwest Ranch.
11. What kind of vehicle do you drive? 2010 Honda CRV
12. What are your favorite clothes? Jeans, Tunics &  my red Toms
13. Where would you visit if you had the chance?  The Redwoods in California (next summer!)
14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full?  1/2 full, of course.
15. Where would you want to retire?  Everywhere! I want to live here close to home, but I want to buy a vintage RV & travel like crazy with my hubby.
16. Favorite time of day?  Right after dinner when we are all together, full bellies, happy & playing outside.
17. Where were you born?  Tulsa, Oklahoma.
18. What is your favorite sport to watch?  I love napping to golf…does that count? I don’t care to watch football but I’ll root for my Husband’s Alma Mater…Boomer!
19. What is your favorite fragrance?   Anything earthy and light for me, and Romance when Ryan wears it.
20. What is your favorite face cream?  Cetaphil moisturizer & AHA for break outs.
21. Favorite baby/kids products?  Oh wow, I could (and will) do a whole post on this question! Here are five: RadioFlyer wagon & walker, Ergo Baby Carrier, Marpac Sleepmate, Aiden and Anais Swaddlers, My Ride 65 Car Seat.
22. People watcher?  Is this a question? Yes?
23. Are you a morning or night person?  Although I am quiet and a bit cranky in the morning, I enjoy running around the house with Dylan while Ryan gets ready for work.
24. Do you have any pets?   Yes! We have a darling Pembroke Corgi named Chloe.
25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share?  We are planning a big 10 year anniversary trip to California next summer! Ryan and I are super excited!
 26. What did you want to be when you were little?  An artist or a zoo keeper.
27. What is your favorite memory?  My wedding day was the most fun I have ever had in my life – We want to do it all over again! The birth of our baby boy was the most amazing, loving day I have ever experienced. I’ll have to go with both.
28. Are you a cat or dog person?  Dog, but I love both.
29. Are you married?  Yes – we just celebrated our 3 year anniversary on Summer Solstice.
30. Always wear your seat belt?  I will not drive until everyone has them on! Just call me the seat belt Nazi!
31. Been in a car accident?  Yep. One that changed my life in so many ways the summer of 2002.
32. Any pet peeves? Chewing with mouth open, smacking & talking with mouth open – all food related!
33. Favorite pizza toppings?  Plain Jane, Pepperoni.
34. Favorite flowers?  Peonies & Spider Mums
35. Favorite ice cream?  It is a toss-up between chocolate chip & cookies & cream.
36. Favorite fast food restaurant?  Bueno.
37. How many times did you fail your driver's test?  Aww really? You are going to out me like that?! Twice L
38. From whom did you get your last email?  April Bright!
39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?  Anthropolgie for me, Land of Nod for Dylan.
40. Favorite book?  The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands
41. Like your job?  LOVE it.
42. Broccoli?  Yum.
43. What was your favorite vacation?  Cozumel, Mexico. We loved our honeymoon so much that we went back on a Scuba Diving trip with five of our close friends. 
44. Last person you went out to dinner with?  Ryan.
45. What are you listening to right now?  Bullet Proof by Radiohead is on my Pandora right now. Speaking of, my dear friend Cara got Dylan the Radiohead Rockabye Baby & it is awesome!
46. What is your favorite color?  Green for housewares, yellow for clothes.
47. How many tattoos do you have?  None.
48. Coffee drinker?  Yes but I prefer tea. Chai please.
49. Favorite drink?  Dr. Pepper is my sinful indulgence.
50. What word describes you best?  Happy!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Tasty Treat {Pumpkin Spice Cuppies}

My darling Grandma's birthday was yesterday! We are having a big family cookout to celebrate tomorrow, and I am in charge of the sweets. She is the queen of cookies, and one of her favorites is pumpkin. I decided to whip up some pumpkin spice cuppies, and I am so pleased with how they turned out. Looking forward to watching her blow out her birthday candles in one of my sweet fall inspired treats.

Happy Birthday Gree Gree!

Recipe rundown:
Taste:  Sweet & spicy.
Texture:  Fluffy & crumbly.
Ease:  Easy but time consuming.
Appearance:  Crumbly spiced orange cupcakes with a slightly crunchy top.
Expense:  Expensive if you don't have any baking items on hand.
Pros:  These cupcakes are like taking a bite out of autumn. They are perfectly sweet & even more delicious right out of the oven.
Cons:  There are several ingredients, so it can be a pricey treat.
Would I make this again?  Yes! These are perfect for sharing.

Cupcake Ingredients:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup vegetable or canola oil
3 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 tsp salt
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree

 Pumpkin Spice Ingredients:
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger, ground
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp nutmeg, ground
*Note* This yields 1 tablespoon. Be sure to make enough for the cupcake recipe (2 1/2 tsp)

In a small bowl mix all of the ingredients for the pumpkin spice.  I quadrupled the recipe and stored it in an air tight glass baby food jar. I'll have enough to make pumpkin spice lattes! 
Recipe soon!

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees F

In a large bowl, combine sugar and oil until blended.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, Pumpkin pie spice, salt and pudding mix.
Add flour mix to egg mixture alternately with pumpkin, beating well after each addition.

Fill lined cupcake pan 3/4 full and Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Remove from pan and cool completely.
Icing optional!

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Day in the Life

Today was a simple fun day. I take hundreds of pictures and videos on my phone, so I thought I would share a few. Here is a glimpse of our day to day routines via phone pictures!

Pickle wakes up around 6:30 every morning. Some days he wakes up complaining, but on the fun mornings, he wakes us up by calling our names..."MaMa?? DaDa??"
After a few morning cuddles in our bed, he is ready to start the day!
Today his construction hat was necessary for playtime.

Next up, find the dog. "YaaYaa??" 
As the mornings get chillier, she is hidden in fun new places. 
A good game of chase around the living room gets everyone hyped up!

We try to get out and go for a walk at least once a day. The mornings are our favorite time to walk. We get to watch the hustle and bustle of the neighborhood heading off to work, and the friendly kiddos waiting for the school bus. 
Today was ecspecially chilly, so we pulled out the cozy BundleMe & nestled on in!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

{Wordless Wednesday} Breakfast Smiles

i love you & your sticky face.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Shepherd's Cross {Pumpkin Patch}

This past weekend {October15th}, we had a family day at Shepherd's Cross Pumpkin Patch!

Back in April, Sherry my sweet MIL took us to visit this beautiful spot in Claremore. They were having an open house they call Woolly Weekend day on the farm. It was for anyone that wanted to learn about weaving, watch the shearing, and tour the beautiful Bible gardens. We had so much fun enjoying the beautiful, quiet countryside and showing Dylan all the neat animals. While we were on the garden tour, our guide excitedly told us about their fun annual Pumpkin Festival and insisted we come back for a visit. 

Ryan and I gathered all the Grands and Great (Grandparents) and headed back for a visit at the farm. The details were perfect, there were pumpkins as far as the eye could see and hay bales, corn stalks and colorful gourds decorated each gate and door. It didn't feel like fall on the warm breezy day, but the sunshine was bright and cheery and beckoned for us to stay a while.

Dylan had just learned to walk and stayed close in our arms on our last visit to the farm. This time was so much different! From the moment I put him down on the grass he was nonstop, running from pumpkin to pumpkin and investigating every new object he set his sights on. He found "his" pumpkin right away.

We stopped for a visit on the sweet wooden benches. This is where Ryan took one of our favorite pictures of Dylan - the shot we used for his First Birthday invitation! Oh how our little boy has grown so much in just a few short months.

Ryan and I even remembered to take a picture together! These are few and far between, as we always forget to step out from behind the camera and ask for a picture. Happy to have a picture with my hubs. <3

Gree Gree (Great Grandma Rosemary) disappeared all of the sudden, and upon her return came bearing fun for Dylan. His eyes lit up and he started running right for her when he saw the tiny John Deer wheelbarrow - just the perfect size for little hands. He was a bit wobbly, but intent on transporting his pumpkin to a new fun place. Gree Gree was delighted!

There were awesome homemade games all over the field. There was Crab Apple bowling, horseshoes, corncob darts, mini pumpkin search, and even a hay bale maze. Each painted instruction sign had a scripture that matched perfectly with the games. 

Dylan bravely headed straight into the maze all by himself, reappearing quite quickly deciding he had changed his mind. His favorite game was the mini pumpkin search. He weeded through a big pile of hay until he found a little pumpkin surprise.

We walked through the pumpkin patch to the sweet farmhouse and wound through the beautiful courtyard. They call it the prayer garden because each flower has a sign with the name of the plant and the Bible scripture where the plant was named. Dylan loved walking along the pavers, checking out the small silver mole deterrent windmills.

Dylan loved having all of his loving Grandparents there! My Mom said it perfectly - "How fun for him to have all the people that love him the most together for the day!" I quite enjoyed it as well. Ryan and I love to step back and watch him bond with each of them. He is one very loved little kid.

We ended our visit with a trip through the big barn, looking at all the handmade wool gifts, and petting a few sweet creatures in the petting zoo.

We enjoyed ourselves so much! 
While last year's pumpkin adventure will be so memorable because it was Dylan's first, this trip means so much more because it is the beginning of a tradition.

If you live in Oklahoma, be sure to stop by this adorable gem in Claremore
If not, at least check out their website and their Etsy shop!