The Five O'Clock Dinner Hour

January 27, 2015

I think for every parent - whether you are working outside of the house all day, or working from your house all day, or staying at home with little ones all day - the five o'clock hour is pretty much the most torturous of all hours. I swear something shifts with the planet alignment and the moon phase and the gravitational pull because it seems like adults and kids both lose it.

Our five o'clock hour always seems hectic. I get home from work and picking up Liam just around 4:30. Right at 5, as if on cue, Liam melts down wanting food right this second. Most days, Chris isn't home until closer to 5:45, and if it's on the weekend, we are flying solo until well after bedtime. So it's usually just me and Liam against the clock.

Liam has always been a good eater, but lately he seems to have become very particular. I hesitate to say picky, because he truly will eat most anything. However, he eats it only when he wants to eat, and each day is different from the last.

One trick we have found to get through the dinner hour is a dipping sauce: ketchup, syrup, honey, or peanut butter depending on the dippee.

Recently, I was able to stock our freezer with Foster Farms chicken nuggets. I loved the idea of them because they are natural, with no added hormones or steroids. We eat organic meat, produce and dairy in our house, and I was excited I could offer something simple while still sticking to the organic regimen. Because let's face it. Come five o'clock, I am willing to throw in all towels for the sake of easy and convenient. But luckily, I don't have to completely.

After just a few seconds of cooking, let the dipping commence!

Chicken in ketchup, apples in peanut butter, pancakes in syrup - dipping has made our meal times much less of a fight.

What do you do to survive the five o'clock hour with a toddler?

{I gladly received Foster Farms chicken nuggets free of charge, but all opinions stated are my own. FosterFarms Frozen Cooked Chicken products are versatile, center-of-plate solutions that are ideal for quick and easy meals. From traditional favorites like wings and nuggets to original variations like Kettlecorn Chicken and Orange Chicken, Foster Farms offers a variety of 100 percent all natural frozen cooked products to meet busy consumers’ needs. There are never any added hormones or steroids in our Frozen Cooked Chicken products.}

Pin It!

Merry Christmas

December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas, from my family to yours.

Pin It!

The Best Days of Our Lives

December 17, 2014

As another year comes to an end, I look back and wonder, Where in the world did it go?

Most of my days are just getting through the hectic morning, a busy day at work, the after-work-and-school playtime, dinnertime, bathtime and bedtime routine, and then by 9 o'clock I am making my way to bed from exhaustion. Rinse. Repeat. And repeat. And repeat.

Sometimes I look at this time of our lives anxiously waiting for the next phase of our lives. That imaginary phase that hasn't happened yet. That phase where we have more money. Less financial burdens. More time with each other. Less time working outside of the house. More square footage. Less house projects. More date nights. Less of the unknown.

More. Less. More. Less. We always want more or less.

But what if these are the best days of our lives?

What if one day when we're sitting in our more-than-two-bedroom house, we think, Remember when we just had that little, cozy place to take care of, yet we daydreamed together of a bigger, better house?

What if one day when we have more than just Liam, we think, Remember when we spent our evenings laughing and playing and we thought we were tired then?

What if one day when Chris' schooling is behind him and he starts his nursing career, we think, Remember when our time was so much more intentional because it had to be, because we didn't have every night together and we craved each other's company?

What if today is the day we think about ten years from now when we look back on the best days of our lives? These tired, hard, simpler days where we feel like we're floating through in survival mode. 

But there are those moments around the dinner table at night when Liam is doing anything and everything to make us laugh. Those evenings where we throw everyone in the car to go somewhere, anywhere and make the most of the 5 o'clock witching hour. The weekend mornings where Liam and I sit in the living room for hours playing with every toy we come across, watching Daniel Tiger and refilling my coffee mug over and over. The nights where Chris is home to give him a bath and I can catch up on laundry just outside the door so that I have one less thing to worry about. The evenings where we can both collapse on the couch and just be because our toddler is sleeping soundly upstairs and for 12 whole hours, we aren't quite needed as much.

These just might be the days.

And I don't want to miss that.

Pin It!

Liam: Twenty-One Months

December 16, 2014

Growing: At 21 months (almost TWO, y'all!), Liam weighs about 31 pounds (90th percentile) and is 36 inches tall (still off the charts). For comparison's sake, Chris was a 1/4 inch shorter at 22 months and weighed the exact same. Genes are incredible. (And Chris' genes are obviously dominant.) He still only has 12 full teeth: four top and four bottom, and four of his molars - but one more tooth is popping in as I write this. (And if you were in our house last night, that would have been VERY obvious.)

Wearing: He's in all 3T clothes and 3T pajamas. He is in size 5 diapers and he wears size 8 shoes (but he's about to move up to a 9 in his tennis shoes). 

Eating: He eats three meals a day with lots of snacks in between. He takes a cup of milk in the morning, after his nap, and right before bed. His favorite foods include cheese, yogurt, apples and Chick-fil-a nuggets. His ultimate favorite is still bananas.

Doing: He climbs, jumps, turns in circles, runs, kicks (soccer balls, not people), and can throw a fun tantrum. He also gives great hugs and kisses. Lately, he's been into "make believe" and he cooks food or packs up his wagon with toys and says, "Bye!"

Playing: His favorite things to play with are his fort and tunnel, his pots and pans, and anything with wheels. He goes from one thing to the next and he would live outside if we let him. (But I think people would frown upon that, so we don't.) 

Saying: He says a ton of words we recognize, and a ton we don't recognize. He is also starting to say more phrases. Lately, it's "C'mon, Mama!" and "Bye, Daddy!" and "Here, Doggy!" and "No, Doggy!" Also, "Mine." We're working on sharing.

Loving: He loves his school, playing outside, and cuddling up at night to watch Daniel Tiger.

Overall, he is the funniest person we know and he makes us laugh all the time. He knows it, too.

Pin It!

An Ornamentless Christmas

December 10, 2014

We finally set the tree up the other day, and then it sat bare. Watching the calendar tick away, I anxiously awaited for the rest of the decor to go up so that we could make the most out of the tree before Christmas was well past us. Liam stayed home sick yesterday, so we found a golden opportunity to finish the lights during his nap.

As soon as the lights were on and working, I turned to the boxes of ornaments all packed up nice and neatly from last year. I looked at them, contemplating.

And then I got this overwhelming feeling of I don't want to hang ornaments.

In the past, it was one of my favorite parts of decorating. I loved coming across the different pieces that were merged from our pasts, or new to our marriage. We bought special ornaments that represented our first year of marriage and our first baby. I always bought a few new ornaments each year that reminded me of the year behind us.

But this year, I am seeing Christmas through a busy toddler's eyes. And I want to focus on that spark.

Maybe it's just this busy season of life we are in, but the thought of hanging ornaments, keeping a toddler's curious hands off of those said ornaments for the next two weeks, and then taking down all of the ornaments sounded like way too much.

Liam justified my decision when he came downstairs, put his hands straight on the tree, and then found two of his cars to ride up and down its branches.

I wasn't about to spend my every morning and evening saying no, no, no, no, no.

So in an effort to say "Don't touch!" less often and in an effort to give myself the gift of grace, we are enjoying an ornamentless Christmas tree this year.

I hope you find a way to give yourself grace, too.

Pin It!