Ten Things I'm Really Loving About J Right Now

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

1. The way he loves me. Yesterday he caressed my face, looked me dead in the eye, and said, "Mama. When I grow up, I'm gonna marry you."

2. How he insists on only wearing "comfy cozy" pants.

3. He calls Skittles "Skiggles."

4. Oddly, I find it absolutely adorable how he can't be near any trash can. He gags every time.

5. The way he wants to be cuddled up rightnexttoyou when he comes into our bed early every morning.

6. His feet. I am obsessed with his feet. I don't even mind when he says, "Mama, smell my stinky feet!"

7. How he says, "mama" when he begins most of his sentences when he's talking to me. I'll admit, sometimes I just want my kids to go one minute without saying my name, but I also know it's the greatest title I could ever hope to hold.

8. That he doesn't wake us up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Thank. You.

9. How much he adores his sister. They have such a wonderful relationship (MOST of the time.)

10. The way he asks me every night what I'm making for dinner, and then asks, "Does it have carrots?!" He is dead-set against carrots.

Shirt c/o Little Cottonwood (check out their site...THE cutest toys and clothes, I tell ya!) + Hat c/o Se Mari. He wears this hat oh, just about a billion times a week.

Traveling with Kids Part I: So you have a million reasons why not to...

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Okay. I'd like to preface this series of posts with saying that I know I am absolutely no expert on this subject. However, I've lost count of how many flights and road trips my kids have been on, and I think I feel fairly confident in my packing abilities and preparing for any type of travel. We've done short flights, flights across that Atlantic, and flights that are just too long it's absurd with the kids. We've done short road trips and road trips across the country. Several times. I'd say our kids are pros.

Also, I've been approached numerous times about any travel tips I may have, so I've decided it's about time I sat and started writing them down. Here we go!

Traveling with Kids  Part I: Just Do It!


I've heard people list off reasons why they choose not to travel with kids. Let's set aside the blatant reason that hello! It's expensive to fly/travel with kids!!! Because that's an incredibly valid reason! I'm sure SO many people want to travel more, especially with their children, but right now it is just not financially feasible. I can't stress enough- that's 100% valid. Please don't go into debt just for a trip because that's absolutely silly. In fact, a lot of our trips are ones that we couldn't have made in a million years if it weren't for them just falling in our laps.

Now that we've set that aside.

OTHER reasons I've heard people say they're not traveling with their kids...

"They're too young. They won't remember."
I get this. You're right about one thing. Your six month old won't remember strolling through the Victoria & Albert Museum, and your two-year old probably won't remember the breathtaking views of the Midwest. BUT, they can get used to traveling at a very early age. I think the reason our kids are on the whole so well behaved while traveling and excited to go to new places is because we've been doing it for a long time. Road trips and plane rides have been part of their lives since they were babies. Also. You know who WILL remember? You. And I promise you you'll cherish those memories.

"They won't appreciate it yet."
Then help them appreciate it. Make going to see a new place down the street exciting! Have talks about the things you saw. Say, "Hey, remember that time we saw those really cool Buddhist temples? Remember how we had to take our shoes off before we walked in? That was a good thing to do because we wanted to be respectful, huh?" One thing we've done is started a postcard collection for each of the kids. We let them pick out one postcard every time we visit a new country/state. This is such a simple and cheap thing to do, but they LOVE it!

"It's hard."
Yeah, it is. And exhausting. And frankly, duh, NOT easy. But, have you never done a hard thing? What happens when you do hard things? You learn from them and then you feel like Superman for having kicked that hard thing in the butt.

"I'm too nervous/scared."
Oh, goodness. I've been there! Sixteen hours on a plane SHOULD scare you! I know I was before every flight! But, again, the more you do things, the easier they get and the more confident you feel. I remember when S was two days old and we had to take her to her pediatrician. It's insane how much I packed for the seven minute ride. I was nervous about surviving a seven hour road trip with her when she was a few months old. We were pretty scared when we were preparing to fly to Europe with a six and eighteen month old. I'm still nervous about any potential flights to Asia! Let's just take a deep breath.

"It won't be as much fun with the kids."

I don't know how to address this one because I think it's really a manner of a opinion. We traveled to England and the Isle of Man with our kids, and then again to Europe without the kids a year later. Both were extremely memorable. C and I just happen to agree that a huge part of what makes any trip (near or far) especially enjoyable is simply seeing our kids experience it. Driving forty-five minutes to pick apples in a really pretty part of Pennsylvania we hadn't been before: Awesome. Seeing the kids "ooh" and "aah" at the trees and run up and down the rows: Priceless.

Well, now that I've addressed the main reasons why maybe some are choosing not to travel with kids, I'll start addressing the actual traveling part. Next up: (I think...I'm kind of just flying by the seat of my pants) what to pack for the kids for the flight/car.

A post in which I post a picture of one thing, but really end up talking about another thing.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

I know it's not just me who thinks this. But, almost everything is cuter when it's miniature. Mini bottles of ketchup. Those little maple syrup bottles that you just want to stuff in your coat and take home. Never to actually USE of course. Just to have in your pantry, and every once in a while, go look at it and remark on how adorable it is.

Well, okay. I know lots of stuff is way better not miniature. C came home recently from the store with the almost-perfect size set of Coke bottles for me. They're smaller than your regular bottles, and he knows better than to buy me a can of anything because I'll never finish it. It's almost a rule. If you put something in a can, I can almost guarantee that a quarter of it ends up going flat and then down the drain. I feel like a little part of him dies inside when he sees good soda go to waste like that.

Anyway. These bottles are small enough, because I am able to finish them off, but I'm still thirsty! And yeah yeah yeah, I'm drinking a fully caffeinated coke while pregnant. I remember with S, I was so particular about what I ate. No caffeine for me. This time around I'm like, "Coke shmoke. Just make sure it's not diet. I want my Coke AND my calories!"

And huh. Would you look at that? I just wrote almost an entire post about the size of a drink.

Dear future me,

I hope you've found an incredibly fulfilling life. I hope you're still down with talking about absolutely meaningless things. Like bottles of Coke. And I hope you found that box of really beautiful but way- too-nice-for-you-to-own Christmas ornaments you looked for for weeks.

A flash of perfection.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Grainy and imperfect. But this is how I want to remember these two before they become three.

So apparently you can skip ages now...

Friday, January 15, 2016

On the way home from school yesterday, S firmly declared that she was going to skip the age of five because she doesn't want to go to school all day. (We've been having conversations about how once she's in kindergarten, she will probably be in school all day, which is a major change to the Tuesday/Thursday mornings that she's used to.) And if that wasn't enough, she added, "I'm also skipping eight! I'm skipping five and I'm skipping eight."

The reason she doesn't want to turn eight is because she's quite adamant that she doesn't want to be baptized. We've tried to tell her many times before that being baptized (or "bathtized" as she calls it) is nothing to be afraid of. I reminded her that her oldest cousins have been baptized, and she then asked, "Oh. Did they die then??" 

Clearly, we have some work to do.

Picture taken from one of our favorite Hong Kong attractions, the Ngong Ping Crystal Cabin cable car. Amazing views of the city, and we were so excited that C could join us this time around! Hat: Gigi Pip (amazing hat company started by my gorgeous and talented friend, Ginger)

How to not make a coronation day cape.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

I just had to share this.

Reason #237 why I just "don't understand, Mama!"

She is running around the house (while I'm in the middle of making dinner) and had asked me to take her brother's blanket (which, sidetone, he calls it his "chep-ah"), and turn it into Elsa's cape for her. Specifically, a coronation day cape. (Where all my Frozen fed-up mamas attttt??) 

So, I tie it around her neck like a cape.

"UGH! Not like that, MOM! You can't tie it like a cape! It needs to just HANG!"

I figure out that she wants it to hang from the back of her shirt, but magically stay in place without tying it into place.

"Okay. I have it hanging from the back. But, just so you know, it's going to fall back out."

*Five seconds later.*

"It. Fell. Out!"

So, I find I way to hang in through the back of her shirt, and leave a small amount hanging so that it will stay in place. I feel pretty confident that I've done my job well.

"But, now that's not long enough. It needs to be long like this." (Makes a motion that shows me she wants it to trail behind her. Silly me. I thought that's exactly what I had just done.) I alter it a bit and then tell her if that doesn't work that she's on her own, kid, because I needed to get back to dinner.

"Thanks! Buttt.....this doesn't look like a coronation day cape. It looks like a regular day cape."

Then she looks at my face and I think she realizes this cape business is so over with me and skips away and starts casting frozen spells on her brother. 

Good move, little one. Good move.

**Black and white tights c/o June and January June and January. They're so warm and we love them. Dress c/o Marin + Morgan.

Feeling so dang pregnant.

Well. I know the drill. Riiiight around the thirty-week mark I start looking at this bulging belly and have the same thoughts.

"How can this belly get any bigger?"
"I'm so glad I only feel like a whale and am not actually one."
"I think I just felt a stretch mark form."
"Let's hurry up, kid."

But, as I look back at that thirty week mark, I always remind myself that, "Woah! We're almost there!"

This pregnancy has been pretty different than my other ones. I've joked with friends that this one has really humbled me.

With S, I was like, "Yeah! I got this! Thirty-nine weeks? Pshh. Oh, that's a baby in there? That explains it. I don't even feel pregnant. I'm hot stuff."

With P, I was like, "Yeah, I guess the occasional heartburn is a drag. How am I doing, you ask? Pretty good! I'm one of the lucky ones."

With this guy, I'm like, "I think someone just took a hammer to my crotch and is using my pelvis as a wishbone."

TMI? Guys, I'm sorry. But, I sincerely envy your painless crotches.

After taking my pain to Dr. Google, and discussing it with my doctor, I realized that I just have to suck it up. Yes, I've tried a belly band. Yes, I've tried putting my legs up. But, guess what? Sometimes laying down is actually worse. Also, I really wanted to ask the last doctor I met with her age. You know, just for kicks.

Annnnnnd, are you sick of my whining yet? I'm sorry for that, too. I do recognize my pregnancy is a breeze compared to others, and goodness knows this baby is so wanted and loved. But, sometimes, like when you're cooking up a human in your body for nine months, you're allowed to complain about pain. And see how many times you can say crotch in one post.

ps. I wasn't going for a certain "look" with the one-strap over the shoulder overalls. I just really couldn't button the other side up. Even my clothes are laughing at me.

I love you. And I like you.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

If I'm up, she's down. If I'm this way, she's the other way. For the past few weeks, we've been on completely different pages. Different books. Different libraries even. I opened up about it recently about this on social media lately, and was amazed at how many other moms said, "Me too. I'm struggling, too." I have had people send me private messages to tell me that they appreciated my honesty. I'd be lying if I said it didn't comfort me a bit to know that there are other people out there who struggle remembering why they like their kids sometimes. Heaven knows I love this girl so dearly. I miss her when she's in school and she truly opened up the windows and let in the light when she was born. But, we've been getting so frustrated with each other because apparently all my ideas and my requests are the.worst.thing.ever and she's not afraid to say so. 

But, you know, if there's one thing I've learned, it's that when these little phases last, I just have to out-last them. I feel like we are finally coming out of it, and the last few days have been really pretty good. This morning she was even pretty delightful. Here's the thing though. As frustrated as we both get, we both can't get enough of each other. We always come back together and she becomes my little girl again. The little girl who loves bunnies and ballerinas and cuddling while getting her back scratched. She is my little best friend, and I'm up for every roller coaster of emotions that will come my way. I just can't promise that I won't throw up. 

S's bow c/o of Free Babes Handmade. S insisted on that I add the bow after I had already put it up in the bun. So typical :)

**Also, I forgot to share this already, but here was last month's post for What to Expect. This was a fun one to write, because I talked about things that I wouldn't normally share on social media. You can find the post HERE.

Next-Level German Pancake

Now, listen. I would never pretend to be a good cook. I can follow directions all right I think. But, I feel like I'm always either cleaning up after a meal or making another. I've truly just about had it with the question, "Mammmma. I want something to eat. What can I haaaaave?" So lately, I've been trying to beef up our breakfasts so that I know the kids start off the day with full bellies. That way I can turn around and say, "No. I know for a FACT that you're not starving!"

The newest breakfast we've added to our arsenal is the German apple pancake. A couple of weeks ago, C posted on Facebook something about loving his cast iron skillet, and someone suggested this recipe. Now, I normally am not on Facebook very super often, and I don't look at people's walls often either (even my husband's- no offense, love!) but I happened to look at this recipe and I about died just looking at it. I normally leave all the cast iron skillet-ing to C, but I have to admit, I may now ask for shared custody of this bad boy.

So, as promised, here's the recipe for ya (taken from Dandelion Mama.)

You will need...

- 1/2 stick butter, melted
- 2 large firm apples peeled, cored and sliced into wedges (I used Honeycrisp apples)
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 4 large eggs
- 3 tbsp sugar (I mayyyy or may not have upped that up a bit)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with rack in the middle position.
2. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat, setting aside 2 tbsp in your blender.
3. Add apple wedges to butter in skillet and saute until they soften and get some color. About 5 minutes.
4. While apples are cooking, add milk, flour, eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt to butter in blender and whirl until smooth.
5. When apples are colored and soft, sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon, then pour batter over the top of the whole mess.
6. Put the skillet in the hot oven and bake until pancake is puffy and golden, usually 12-15 minutes.
7. Dust with powered sugar and serve with real maple syrup.

And that's it! I was acting like a little kid waiting for Christmas as the timer counted down till the pancake was ready. It smelled divine and tasted even divine-er. I'm such a sucker for good breakfast foods. I'm less bacon and sausage and more of a pancake-y girl myself, though. The real maple syrup really put it over the top. That morning, I realized we were out of syrup, and the kids and I walked down to the snooty co-op down the street. I really hate walking into that place, but sometimes you just have to suck it up and put up with people looking down at you for bringing two perfectly normal kids to a store. The GOOD part of this store is that we were able to bottle our own syrup (the local stuff was cheaper than the Vermont kind) and it tasted delicious.

Just don't be surprised if you find my sneaking down to the kitchen in the middle of the night sneaking syrup...

Hello, long legs.

In case you were wondering, this is his "Daniel Tiger-watching-position."

After posting this picture to Instagram today, I had several people comment on how big Pato is looking. I had to do a double take because I realized they were absolutely right. This kid looks like he's all legs! I blame the camera angle (and those strong Jones genes!), though because this picture would make it seem that he's about 6 foot 7, instead of the little boy who comes up just past my waist. I pray that he is never ever four feet tall. Okay, five. But no more than five. Because then I'll still have an inch on him.

Other goings on around here...a lot and then not very much. Isn't it funny how that goes? Still growing a baby track star in my belly, still trying to figure out where Pato gets his sweetness from, still trying to figure out how to communicate with a four-year-old who thinks she's at least fifteen. Over the Christmas break, my mom kept giving me that, "Oh, you're in for it" look whenever S would say something that was, well, S-like. I get it. She's nuts. But, I love every bit of our little nut case.

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