Friday, November 27, 2009

Food and Family

That's what it's all about, right? We had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner here at our house with almost all of our family. Jon and I are so lucky to never have to decide who's family we're spending the day with because both of our families spend every single holiday together. Yes, every single one! It's truly awesome for us. That started when we were first married because neither of our families has extended family close by and our parents became such great friends right away so now its just the way it is and we love it! (I'd love to hear if anyone else out there has such a great set-up. Sometimes I wonder if we're the only ones!) I made the Ottley's famous sweet potato casserole. I've learned that whatever you cook, you get all the leftovers, so of course I offer to cook the best part. :) Bennett had a ton of fun playing with all of his cousins all afternoon and Dawson enjoyed lots and lots of cuddles from all of our family.
Dawson taking a pre-dinner snooze with Auntie Claire:
Bennett about to dig in to the Thanksgiving feast:

Grandad and Nonny cuddling their grandbabies:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

2 months!

Dawson had his 2 month checkup today. He's certainly healthy! He weighs 13lb 2oz and is 24 in. long. Both 90th percentile! Wow. Bennett was 12lb 10oz and 23 1/2 in. at 2 months. (That's why we write all that stuff down, right?? To compare all of our children to each other?) I love this stage for the next few months. Looking back, I think it was the easiest phase of Bennett's entire life so far! They're just so darn content all the time, watching everything around them. He smiles so big at the animals on his bouncy seat and his little play mat (that is when Bennett doesn't steal them all off first!). He's been sleeping great this week. BabyWise came through for me again! :) He's going from 10:30 to 8 now (with me putting his pacifier back in once or twice in the night).
We've had a rough week in our house though. We've all been sick except Dawson. Jon got a really bad case of strep, Bennett had a really nasty cold and cough that turned into a double ear infection (I opted against antibiotics and treated it naturally- let me know if you're curious for more info) and I got Bennett's cold and cough from him. YUCK! I think we're all on the tail-end of it though. And I shouldn't complain. My poor sister caught the flu and had to take care of two kids without her husband's help!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Ages and Stages of shopping at Target

If you're not a mom, you won't fully appreciate this post and will probably find it rather boring. And if you're a mom of older kids, please tell me the next stage gets better and not worse!!!

Stage 1: Not fun. A newborn in the infant carrier that starts screaming every time the cart stops.
Stage 2: Wonderfully relaxing. Somewhere around 3 months, when your baby is so captivated by the lights and faces and sounds, you can casually stroll through the store for a couple of hours, feeling like a peaceful mom on the go, until its feeding time again.
Stage 3: Anxiety ridden. Your pre-toddler has figured out how to stand and maneuver himself around and is obsessed with being anywhere but in that seat. Even with the seat belt on, they manage to turn around and end up stuck or somehow slip out and keep standing up, threatening to topple out and break their noggin on the tiled floor.
Stage 4: Fun again. Your young toddler is over the obsession to stand up in the seat and has fun talking and singing with you. You can waste a good amount of time in the toy aisle, showing them things and they have no clue any of that stuff can actually be purchased and brought home so there aren't any complaints when you put it back.
Stage 5: Humiliating. I've officially entered this stage. My 2 1/2 year old son (who has much longer limbs now than I realized) pulled a candle off the shelf and it shattered across the floor. I tried to keep my cool as I heard all the gasps behind me. He also understands now that anything in the store is actually something you can buy and bring home and wants to hold and touch everything. I heard at least 10 times, "Can I hold that mom? Please? Pleeeeease? Pleeeeeeeeasssse?"
Another annoying part of this phase is having to put the huge baby carrier inside the cart and Bennett in the seat and having to put the majority of my items on the rack underneath. Of course they all slide off when you push the cart more than 15 feet at a time. And the stuff that's in the cart within Bennett's reach also ends up on the ground. I picked up sweet potatoes off the floor about 3 different times before I crammed them in around Dawson's carseat. And when we were finally done, I was pushing the cart across the parking lot in the freezing cold and a bag slid off the bottom rack and I started to run over it. The plastic bag got so tangled and mangled in the wheel, I spent at least a minute holding up traffic trying to pry it lose. Finally I just ripped it apart into shreds and dumped the contents into Bennett's lap. Thankfully we made it to the car without him throwing them out again :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Sweet New Skill

When Dawson was born, I started watching TV during his middle of the night feedings. This made them much more tolerable for me since I was up for a full hour with nursing and pumping. Obviously there aren't a lot of choices on TV at 4 or 5am but there were a lot of cake decorating shows on, like Cake Wars or Amazing Wedding Cakes. I started thinking how fun it would be to do this- I love to bake. I'm also extremely meticulous and detail oriented and have a pretty steady hand. (I love cutting in the ceiling without tape when I'm painting and getting a perfect edge :) I'm not hugely creative but figured I could easily copy other people's designs.
So anyway, my mom read an article in the paper about a lady who offered classes out of her home in Ankeny- a 3 hour class for $35. I jumped at the chance and a few of my friends were excited to do it too. We had so much fun. I loved learning the techniques and even dreamt all night last night about making cakes! :) I seriously can't wait to do more and have thought of fun ideas in my head. I think my mom's even going to get me a few of the supplies for Christmas so I can get started perfecting my new skill!
Ready to begin!:

I forget what this step was called- we put a border of frosting on to keep the filling from seeping out:
The raspberry and whipped cream filling:

Putting on the "crumb coat":
Lots and lots of frosting!:

Rolling and cutting out our fondant pieces:
Decorating (we were restricted to the colors and shapes the teacher had pre-selected):

Manda's cute acorns:
The finished products (double click to see larger pictures):
I think Katie won the prize for the best design. Turns out my friend had experience we knew nothing about! I love finding out surprising things about people :) :

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Got Soy?

So this is Day 1 of the No Dairy Experiment. I took Bennett to our chiropractor yesterday. He's had a runny nose for at least 2 months straight and it turned into a bad cold again. He's had a runny nose almost all the time for the last year. It'll go away for a few days or a week or two at most and then come back again. He also has eczema patches around his mouth and got it really bad behind the knees last winter. I've been putting the Arbonne baby oil and lotion on him religiously but it won't clear up. Dr. Hassel said he may have a dairy allergy and all of those symptoms are signs his body has been trying to fight something off. He said to try no dairy for three weeks and it should be obvious by then if that's what it is or not. I'd read before that eczema is usually a sign of a food allergy but I just kind of ignored it and accredited it to the dry skin a lot of the Colyer side has.
At first I thought, oh, no big deal. He can have soy or rice milk with his cereal and we'll find some soy yogurt. But then I thought about how much that boy eats cheese! Okay, so no quesadillas for a while...and then today I kept thinking of all the other things with milk or butter in it. Oh my. This may be harder than I thought! But man, if that's the answer to the eczema and runny noses, I'll be thrilled!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

my guilty pleasure

Probably #1 on my list of guilty pleasures is Reality TV. Thankfully Jon loves it just as much as I do and we have so much fun watching certain shows together. One of the shows I watch religiously is Jon and Kate + 8 (No...Jon does NOT watch this one with me!!). I've watched it for years and have seen the ugly demise of their marriage. Seriously, every single episode since their separation, I'm left contemplating my own marriage and feeling SO very thankful for my husband and our relationship. I haven't had any very close friends or family go through a divorce (thank the Lord my parents broke the cycles their own parents left for them and have a wonderful marriage) so I've been hooked on seeing the ramifications their decisions have had on them and their family- specifically how lonely Kate has expressed she is now and having to do all kinds of things on her own.
Marriage is hard work. You can't just worry about your own needs and expect your spouse to feel loved or even liked. Getting caught up in self pity or comparing your spouse to anyone else's does absolutely no good! You constantly have to think about your spouse's needs and try to fulfill those and usually, you end up feeling much more fulfilled yourself. I'm so in love with Jon and he's my best friend. I'd rather spend a day with him than anyone else in the world. I love when he's home and hate when he has to leave. My heart just swells when he's playing with Bennett or holding Dawson. He's such a great dad and we keep growing and learning in our marriage. I can say with all the confidence in the world that we will NEVER have to go through what Jon and Kate brought upon themselves.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sweet babies

Oh those sweet days when they just lay around and coo and only require a ceiling fan or light for entertainment! (Okay, there's the lack of sleep, the spit-up, nursing every 3 hours, nasty blow-outs and more spit-up but somehow this doesn't seem like much compared to the woes of toddlerhood!)

Monday, November 2, 2009

While it lasts...

Today we tried to make the most of the fall weather and went to the park. I'm not at all one of those people who look forward to the leaves changing. Its just a foreshadowing of the worst that's yet to come. I'm mourning the loss of my flip flops already. To me this is already freezing and I'd prefer to hang out indoors, but 50 degrees is a heck of a lot more tolerable than the 15 degrees that's right around the corner. Plus, 2 year olds don't notice their noses and fingers getting cold like moms do; they're just beyond thrilled to be outside, so we bundled up and went out to play.
Oh summertime, I miss you dearly.
Bennett with his pinecone, dubbed, "ice cream cone". (See?? He's dreaming of hot weather too!)

Dawson quite content sitting on the sidelines:

I had to include this one I took of my niece, Quinn, because she looked so cozy and adorable:

Sunday, November 1, 2009


We had such a fun time with Bennett on Halloween. It was just hilarious watching him experience trick-or-treating for the first time. I drove along the road in the van with Dawson while Jon took him door to door. (We tried Valley West Mall first due to the frigid weather but it was so packed, we left right away). The first house they rang the doorbell, Bennett tried to go inside. Makes sense right? I love the mind of a two year old. Why would you ring the bell and not go inside? :) Jon asked him what to say and he would say, "trick-or-treating!". And then when they gave him candy, he'd turn around and yell, "Next!" One house left their bowl of candy on the step and Bennett didn't hesitate- he grabbed the whole thing and dumped it in his bucket. (Don't worry, Jon didn't let him keep it all!) He also grabbed anyone's decorations that were small enough to fit in his bucket too.
Our little monsters:

Jon and I dressed up for a dinner party we went to the next night. My costume made a very brief appearance since it wasn't technically a costume party:) Jon was an FBI agent (our friend, Grant, hosting the party is an agent) and I was his prisoner convicted of mortgage fraud.
All the babies at the party: