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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Getting Back In Touch With Katie

One of my angel mamas came over today to watch the kids and I took the opportunity to go for a run. Out in the woods. All. By. Myself. Ahhhhhhh. Just typing that sentence relaxes me all over again.

Since joining the Society of Stay at Home Moms I can count on one hand the number of times I've gone trail running alone.

I drove to one of the Chattahoochee parks near our house, dropped my keys in the minivan wheel well (shh, don't tell) and took off. About half a mile out the running endorphins kicked in and I cracked a huge smile as I belted out No Woman No Cry in the middle of the woods. Yes I sing when I run, I'm sure it's ridiculous sounding, but it brings me joy.

55 minutes later I wrapped up what may be the slowest 4 miles I've ever run. But my snail's pace gave me plenty of time for reflection. It occurred to me that running here, on this trail, near my parents' home, where I used to run on summer break home from UGA and during the brief time I had post-college and pre-marriage, is a Katie thing.

I feel like B Daddy and I are pretty good about snatching us-time whenever we can. And while I get the blessing of alone time several times a month, I usually use it to go to the grocery store or to run errands in peace and quiet. It's rare for me to take the opportunity to do something non-essential. Something I did pre-marriage and pre-babies. BJ and I don't run together and I have never really been able to go for runs with the kids, even when there was just one little one. It was like taking a trip 10 years back in time. Crunching leaves under foot, singing songs that toddlers have no interest in.

I think I'll make trail runs a bigger priority in the future, even if it's just once a month. I'm realizing that I need to find a few more just-me things and make time for them. It was nice to touch base with the old Katie. I really like her. I think my kids would too.

Monday, October 22, 2012

October is my Favorite

Don't you just LOVE the fall? October ushers in my very favorite time of year and I love everything about this month in particular in the Atlanta area.

The beauty of the trees as you drive north on GA-400
The anticipation of Halloween
Georgia football in full swing
The crunch of leaves under foot
Pumpkin soup
Soup in general
A trip to the farm
Slippers and blankets in the early morning hours
Backyard marshmallow roasts
Shorter days = more mom and dad time at night!

A peek at what we've been up to this month...

Hanging out with neighbors

Bike rides with cousins

Backyard bonfires

What's a bonfire without s'mores?

A trip to Cagle's Dairy Farm

And of course...plenty of park time. 

What have YOU been up to? 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Long Road to Breakfast

6:12 I wake and roll over for another 15 minutes of sleep before facing the cold dark morning. I love the cold, dark mornings of fall. I climb out of bed and head straight for my slippers and my comfy, loose sweater that makes me feel 80 years old in the best kind of way.

6:30 It's out to the living room where my heating pad (think I need to see a chiropractor, I've had the same back pain for 2 weeks now) and my little corner of the couch await me. B Daddy has already made coffee. My heart swells with happy. I grab my new read, A Grief Observed, and settle in for a few minutes of reading and reflecting.

6:40 Blue Eyes starts mewling so I scurry in to scoop him from the crib before he can wake the Squirt.

6:50 Too late. Squirt is up and joins us on the couch. I give half-hearted admonitions for him to go back to bed for a few more minutes. I am resolutely ignored. I'm nursing and haven't touched my coffee yet, so my resolve wanes quickly and I ask him to lay quietly on the couch next to us.

7:10 "Quietly" is not happening and the babe is still eating. I turn on Mickey so I can sneak-read blogs and shake the sleep from my head a bit more.

7:25 The baby is finished and doesn't want to watch Mickey. I grab his play gym and feign interest in the toys hanging above his head for a few minutes, then return to my perch on the couch.

7:40 Mickey signs off and the Squirt wants breakfast. I tell him we're waiting for his sister to wake and we head to the playroom for a change of scenery. Blue Eyes is fussing and I realize he spit up on the living room rug.

8:00 The Squirt tires of watercolors and the baby just wants to be held and walked in circles. We make a game of stacking blocks and the baby to bat them down. This fun lasts for 5 minutes.

8:10 Blue Eyes is still fussing, so I alternately pick him up and hold him and plop him down in front of different toys, all the while wiping bright yellow snot from his red little nose. We're all about to have colds.

8:30 I decide it's nap time already for this little man who will not be quieted.

8:40 I tiptoe out of the darkened nursery just as the cry of, "Mommy!" goes up from Sweet B's room.

8:45 Breakfast at last.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Making the Most of Butternut Squash

We never made it to the apple orchard this year, so I snagged 20 lbs of apples at Publix when they were on sale (99 cents a pound is hard to beat!) and made the largest batch of butternut squash applesauce EVER. Oh my goodness it's good. It's a great way to get a veggie in your little ones and it also makes a GREAT first food for babies.

Here's the recipe from two years ago...goodness where did this baby boy go?

Crock Pot Butternut Squash Applesauce
2 lb(ish) butternut squash - peeled, seeded, chunked
3 lbs apples - peeled, cored, chunked
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water

1. Throw everything together in your Crock Pot
2. Cook on low for about 3 hours
3. Mash into smaller chunks with a potato masher or the back of a fork if necessary. (You can also throw it in the blender and process until totally smooth if that's your preference.)

You could definitely adjust the spices to your liking, I think some pumpkin pie spice would be delish instead of cinnamon and nutmeg. I probably only used 1/8 cup of sugar and mine was plenty sweet. Depends on the sweetness of your apple variety. Enjoy!

I'm also trying out this recipe for Butternut Squash Lasagna this week as well. Sounds amazing... I'll let you know.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Slipcover That Took Me A Year

Ladies and gentleman, may I proudly present...

The Slipcover. 

Oh my. It was so simple and yet took me so very very long.

I started back in August of 2011. Yes, you read that right.  I had the entire back, sides and front covered within 2 days. (I used this FABULOUS series of tutorials from Miss Mustard Seed, which really helped me figure the process out. Highly recommend them.)

Then on Day 3 I began the process of covering the first of six cushions. Optimistically begun during nap time, it took an hour and a half (aka ALL of nap time). And I wasn't finished. There was almost as much piping on this one cushion as I had done for the entire slipcover so far. Pinning was taking FOR-EH-VER. And then there was the issue of closing up the back of the thing. I really wanted to do a zipper, but Miss Mustard Seed didn't do a zipper and the envelope closure was kind of a mystery to I just left it undone and smooshed it back on the couch.

And there she sat. For over a year.

It totally started to look normal to us. Five brown cushions with leather trim. One semi-completed slipcovered cushion.

You know what finally kicked me in the butt to get 'er done? Two special moms in my life. One was the mom who graciously watched all 3 of our kids so we could go on a high school retreat a few weeks ago. As soon as she said she would stay in our home to watch the kids I started looking around with a critical was like seeing our little couch for the very first time. Hey babe! Did you know the couch has one white cushion and five brown ones? Huh. 

I hastily vowed to finish the slipcover before she came (which did not happen). And was moaning about my recently-noticed lack of progress here shortly afterwards, because another mama angel offered to come watch the kids for a day so I could work on it. Seriously!? It was awesome.

The day she came I jump-started my work again. I re-discovered this tutorial (pinned over 6 months ago curiously enough) and finally tackled the zipper on the cushions.

It's far from perfect, but it works for us for now. If you know your way around a sewing machine even just a bit you can do this too. I used two packs of drop cloths from Lowe's as fabric (washing and bleaching them several times before beginning) and purchased cotton cording and zipper closures from Jo-Ann Fabrics. The total cost came in at under $100 and I spent roughly 10 hours of solid work on it. (Unevenly spread out over 412 days...) 

The result? We love it. It has survived muddy boots, Cheeto-stained fingers, chocolate ice cream and newborn poop. I love being able to pull it off and throw it in the wash with some bleach when needed.

 Here's the current state of the living room:

A million thank yous to Lu and Marilyn for the encouragement I needed to get this project finished!!! Now on to the next big thing....those built-in bookcases you can see a peek of to the right of the couch. Here's hoping they're done in less time than the slipcover.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What Does a Tiger Say?

I'm sharing this video today because my camera is betraying me and refusing, flat out refusing, to upload the cute pictures I've taken of my newly slipcovered couch, the adorable Halloween decor we have all over the house and the do-it-yourself bookcases we've installed.

I lie.

I'm sharing this video today because I've envisioned and made good progress on all of the above projects, but not completed a single one.

So instead may I present an indulgent vid of my kids.

Sweet B my dear, it is videos like these that will wipe away the memories of how you tried my soul at this tender age. And Squirt, I find it disturbing that you don't blink once the entire time.

Forgive the shaky hands, pretty sure I was wrangling Blue Eyes while filming.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


That's been my week and it's only Wednesday.

Blue Eyes is teething (read: cranky, off-schedule, requiring constant TLC).

We have decided to tackle not one, but two fun home projects this week which means the dining room has turned into a work station/staging area and looking at it (as I pass through a thousand times each day on my way to the kitchen) stresses me out.

The high schoolers we work with at church have all taken a cue from Blue Eyes this week and are cranky, off-schedule and requiring additional TLC. Oh my gosh I get it teenager-parents! They truly are every bit as difficult as toddlers and the stakes are so much higher.

But there's a light at the end of this tunnel and it's coming closer and closer....we are taking a much-needed va-kay this weekend!! No kids. Not even high schoolers. I know, crazytown ! Will spill details next week and maybe even leave you some eye candy in the way of our home improvement progress before we head out.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Beautiful Mama

I was searching through my computer this morning for pictures of our living room and I found this one of Mom and I just before Blue Eyes was born:

How pretty is my mother? How glad am I to be done with pregnancy for a while?? Very and very.

That's all for today.

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