Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tyler Paul {18 Months}

Well, I'm not really sure how we got here, but somehow it's time for me to document that my BABY turned 18 months old. Say it aint so! Truthfully, I have a love/hate relationship with 18 months. On the one hand, the 12 month teething saga usually is turning down (Praise Jesus and Hallelujah!), but on the other, I feel like 18 months is the very quick goodbye to a lot of things baby. Suddenly the baby is enamored with the big boy things like cars and trucks and trains and super heroes, is walking (and running and climbing!) everywhere, and can communicate more fluidly with the big people in his life. I relish the fact that Brayden and Connor still call Tyler "our baby." I feel so validated in my feelings of still having a baby, even if he is less baby and more toddler with every new day that passes.

Here are some things that are fun at this stage with Tyler:
  • He is FEARLESS. This can be not so fun on those moments where I see his life flash before my eyes, but by my third boy I've learned to roll with the punches a little better and embrace this wild and crazy.
  • He is social. He loves to say hi to people wherever we are. But if they say hi back, he'll typically play the shy card and hide behind my shoulder.
  • He LOVES school. He knows when his school days are typically, and will stand at the garage door pointing at the knob and say "go, 'choo'? Till I open the door.
  • He loves to watch football on tv and will run in circles in the living room shouting "go go go! Touchdown!"
  • His vocabulary has really blossomed over the past month. He's begun saying a few sentences (have a good day, see you later and love you are his three favorites). He calls Brayden and Connor "bubba", though he does try to pronounce their names too. 
  • He loves to eat and is like clock work on WHEN he likes to eat. If he does not get his food at 11am and 5pm sharp, he's likely to sit at the table and cry about the poor service. 
  • He now says "cheese" whenever he sees a camera. I have trained him well.
  • He wears size 24 month and some 2T stuff. Most of his pants are 18-24 month size. He wears size 5 shoes and size 6 diapers.
  • He can call the Hogs on command. 
  • He has 12 teeth and several more breaking thru.
  • He takes one 2 hour nap every day. He'd probably take a longer one, but I have to wake him up to go and pick up Brayden each day. Sundays he typically will take at least a 3-4 hour nap. 
  • We'll get his official weight and height measurements on Friday. Last time he was weighed he was about 26.5 pounds. I have no idea how tall he is. 
Tyler Paul--

People always comment about me having three boys. But here's the deal: I'm so glad that I have three boys, and more importantly, I'm glad that God chose you as my third. You are an absolutely joy, and the smiles and laughter that you bring to everyone you meet makes me so proud to be your momma. You are wild and crazy and quite possibly the biggest dare devil I've raised yet... and I love you for it. You have helped me learn to be even more laid back than I thought possible, and to enjoy the crazy that having boys brings to a household. We all love you so much and are so grateful for the gift of your life. I can't wait to see what these next few years will bring as you learn and grow and become the great young man that I know you will become... I love you little man!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Connor Andrew {4 Years Old}

In general, I begrudge my children growing up. Except for the fourth birthday. The fourth birthday, much like the 6 month birthday, is a landmark of sorts for me as a parent. It marks the exit of the dreaded third year, the year that leaves many children (and parents) to wail and gnash teeth, trying to figure out collectively how we'll all get along for the next several decades of life without ending someones existence. Terrible twos? No. Terrible threes? YES. (I realize I am being a bit melodramatic here, but if you are a parent of littles, then you will understand what I mean when I say that the third year is like walking in a long, hot valley without but a drip of water for reprieve. It's rough in every sense of the word rough).

SO... we're glad to be exiting that phase again (and please, don't get me wrong. Threes do have their sweet moments. But let's call a spade a spade and say that if someone told me that my kid would stay three forever, I think there'd be tears. Just saying.). Over the past several months I have seen glimpses of the four/five year old phase in Connor and I have been encouraged to press on. And in all truthfulness, I don't think there is a more sensitive soul than our Connor Andrew. His ability to empathize with people and to tap into his emotions is something I've not seen in many young boys. He is soft and affectionate and will make anyone feel like a million bucks (my friend Katie said it best when she said that if she was having a horrible day, Connor would be the first one she'd want to see. He's sure to light up even the darkest of rooms.)

As we've neared age four, Connor has blossomed in his ability to be truly funny. He is a goofball of goofballs and will do some of the craziest things for a laugh. As much as I LOVE LOVE LOVE the baby stage, having my boys get to be a little older where they truly appreciate whit and sarcasm... it gives me hope for these older years with them. I love being able to laugh with them and joke with them. Connor is no exception.


I love that Connor marches to the beat of his own drum. He's determined to not live in the shadow of his brothers and I love him for that. He loves sports, but is content being quiet with action figures and hotwheels too. He loves to read, and he absolutely loves TV more than any of my boys. His imagination is vivid, and he dreams things that I never even knew a 4 year old could dream (just today he told me that his preschool teacher was an astronaut when she was younger, and that she has taken Connor on her spaceship to see outerspace.)

Connor Andrew--

Four years ago when you came into this world, you were placed in the arms of a momma who wasn't quite sure she'd be able to handle two babies under two. Yet, even with all of my insecurities, I knew that I couldn't not love that sweet chubby newborn with spikey black hair that I laid eyes on that early morning in November. Yes, it's true. You have stolen my heart every day of your existence, and are a constant reminder to me that sometimes the plans we think we have ourselves are not near as good as the ones that God has for us. Connor, thank you for being a gentle soul, for loving so well and so big, and for teaching everyone to find joy in the smallest things of life. You are an incredible little boy and I am so very proud to call you my son. Happy Birthday, sweet boy!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Easy Vegetable Soup

I'm just going to go ahead and admit that I have been a bit begrudging towards the change in seasons. I've never been one to truly hate winter, but after last winter where I was stuck inside with 3 boys for what seemed like an eternity, I have learned that summer (and the outside) is my best friend as a boy mom.

With that little truth nugget out of the way, I would also like to tell you one of my saving graces in the fall/winter months: soups. They are relatively easy to make, and super easy to double and put away in the freezer for another meal later on. There's always a silver lining, isn't there? ;) A few days ago I posted a picture of my vegetable beef stew on social media and had so many people ask about it that I thought I'd post it here. This is the easiest soup I make, makes a TON and is family friendly, which is always nice to know that you won't have to deal with dinner drama.
2.5lbs ground beef, browned & drained (season with 2 Tablespoons of Canadian Steak seasoning while browning)
6 stalks celery, chopped
6 whole, large carrots, chopped
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
10 size B red potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2lb bag of frozen mixed veggies
2 cups frozen lima beans
2 cans Italian seasoned diced tomatoes
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
32oz tomato juice
2-3 Tablespoons beef base, dissolved in 2 cups water
3 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon dried basil
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
dash of cayenne pepper
Tony Chaceres, to taste
Seasoned salt, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot (I use a Betty Crocker brand stock pot that is unmarked for size, but I think it's 10-12quarts). Once all of the above ingredients are in the pot, add enough water for it there to be about half an inch to one inch of liquid over the ingredients. I prefer my soups (and food in general) to be pretty salty, so I use 1 teaspoon of seasoned salt (like Lowry's), and then about a teaspoon of Tony Chaceres (which is a cajun seasoning). This soup definitely has a little kick to it from Tony Chaceres and the cayenne, but we tend to prefer things to bit spicier (I blame my Louisiana roots). Bring the soup to a boil, and then let it simmer, covered, for about 2 hours. This makes A LOT of soup, so it works well for large groups, or if you're wanting it for just your family, it's great to serve for dinner and then freeze the leftovers for one of those winter days where you don't feel like cooking. We love to garnish the soup with shredded cheese (mozzarella is pictured), but this is completely optional. Happy soup making!

(This post is linked up on Lamberts Lately: Create It Thursday)

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