Friday, August 28, 2009

TGIF: *TTV Style*

A few things today before heading into the weekend.

I just pre.washed some fabrics and batting for some bebe.bibs. I'm so happy. Loves.

I'm afraid Jackson's first words will be 'self.soothe' since that's our current campaign in raising this littleDuck. It's so hard. On. Me. He's got the sweetest shineFace and every time I go into his room after he's woken up way.toooo.early from a nap, he just starts flashing me all his shinyLove. AND it's hard to resist picking him up to bounce.shush.sing him back down to sleep. *I will not spoil this child. I will not spoil this child. I will not spoil this child. God, I think I'm spoiling this child.* So now I look at his feet when I go back in to give him his NuNu... because!!! Self.soothe Jackson! SELF.SOOTHE.

I'm gearing up for football season. In fact, I'm whipping up some for myself and Carla this weekend. We've got a family day planned... which actually includes us going (alone) to the HobLob to get our supplies. I've got my tackle box waiting! If there is anything (other than me missing being in school) I've been really missing my floral design. I miss messy back rooms, rotating coolers, processing drop shipments, greening up designs... and making the most beautiful ideas come to life. So... uh... Tweee, I think you found your girl. ;)

AND I've been on a true photo.surge lately. I need to get behind the camera again in a more professional way. Gosh, I was on the cusp right before Jax came... now, I feel centered to keep moving that way. I'm learning a lot. Especially flexing my Photoshop muscles. I learned a new technique this week. It's called Through the Viewfinder photography. It's where you take an old duo.lens camera- the dirtier the better- and take a digital picture through the viewfinder of the vintage camera. The results are incredible. Artistic. Reminiscent. Beautiful. So I'm now wanting to collect vintage cameras... *sigh* Anywho, these are a few old images I took and never processed. I simulated the TTV style through the ever.impressive.Photoshop. I love love LOVE the results. I've GOT to get into this for.reals.

Check it!

I've got the best readers in the world, and I appreciate your kind comments. Being a SAHM is limiting in a lot of ways. For the most part, I stay home with the kids fanning the HomeFires day out. Of course, the husband and boys THRIVE off of my efforts- so that's good. BUT it's generally me who takes the hit... socially. I've been amazed at how generous my blog.friendlies have been over the past (especially) four months. Yall know just what to say to encourage me to wake up and do it all over again tomorrow. And that generosity really sweetens this deal! So thanks THANKS for reading... caring... and letting me know. :o)

*I just updated my profile to include my email... I've had so many request to do this- I feel silly for waiting THIS long! So, you can now email me directly through this blog.*

Peace, love, and weekends!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Almost a man...

TheDuckling turned Four Months old on Sunday. To celebrate, we pureed up a prune.

What? You were expecting a cupcake and sprinkles? Jax has been having some... ' issues' this past week... which required... a little 'help.' And since a natural remedy was in the cupboard, we celebrated, indulged, and later were 'free' of any and all issues! ;)

We are going to hold off on bebe.foods until closer to six months. But with this growing boy still keeping us up at night, we may start rice cereal this month some time.

I don't exactly know how to feel... some days I'm melancholy about how fast an infant actually turns into a bebe. As I rock him, I inventory everything about his little person that is changing. Growing. His little furrow.brow. His lashes. The red.blond sprouts of down fluffing up around his round.round noggin. Sometimes I wonder if he's the last bebe I will hold. Sometimes thinking like that makes me ache.

Jax is our sunshineBoy. He loves being here with us and loves watching us all go about our business. If he catches you looking at him, he begins to monkeyShine. Smiles. Gut.giggles. Kicking his fat.dumplin feet. And then the squeals follow... He cracks us all up. Our little sunshineBoy...

We broke out his jumperoo that AuntRae gave James. He loves it. He enjoys being up right and being able to kick off with his legs extended. He's doing great with head and trunk control... can pull things into his mouth, suck on his fingers, grab his feet. He loves reading and singing most of all.

I can't wait to start making his James ate homemade bebe food and it was such a special experience for us. A true extension of breastfeeding... I remember our days to the market, us exploring the produce for our next veggie. I want the boys to understand the connection between what is produced from the Earth to the food they eat. It was one of my favorite stages... Now that James is a big boy, I expect it being a big family affair. I just can't wait. *And it's super.duper easy to do- so if you are interested in the actual process, lemme know. 'Cause it's extra.easy and affordable.

I'm also obsessing over wanting to make his clothes... or at least some of them. I'm dreaming about sweet little jonjons to show off all his bebe goodness. Maybe I can get started on that this weekend...

As for the pic above, I love it so much. I'm thinking about taking a similar picture using each he tries and then grouping all together as one installment somewhere in the house...

OH! I almost forgot!! His four month appt went great. He's weighing in at 18lbs! So that puts him in the 95th percentile for weight. Everything looks good... and the doctor is pleased with how alert and responsive he is. No rolling yet, but you could probably have expected that with his big.ole.jug.head and wheels. He's got more to move! Funny.

Peace, love, and thunder.thighs.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Must!

I believe men should cook.

I really believe this.

I especially believe this after those long days with the kids... battered by Home and Hearth. The assurance that the Manly will and whip a little something up for the Misses, is what dreams are made of! It's funny really. If I had to list my fears on paper, ranking at #3 is leaving the world tomorrow and my kids not having healthy, homemade, organic food options. Irrational? Maybe. But it's an honest fear of mine.

TheHotness has learned a few dishes here and there over the course of our marriage. My favorite being Chicken Piccata. In a pinch, or a low day, he can take one for the team and man the kitchen... but I never stay down too long or else our lifestyle of healthy eating would go to!

Ever since James was tiny, he'd cook with me. I mean red.faced.chicken.leg.infant tiny. I'd sling him to me while I prepared our Eats. Sometimes, he'd sit in his bouncer on the counter and watch. When he was a bit older, he'd sit in the sink splashing. Then he was in his high chair playing with a whisk, chewing on a wooden spoon... And of course, eventually he ended up underfoot banging on pots and pans... shaking tupperwares of rice. For some miraculous reason, him being in the kitchen with me helping/distracting me, has never bothered me. I seem to have more patience when I've got an apron on and my Santuku in my hand. (think jolly.chopping.lady, not menacing.knife.welding.schizo)

As he grew, his actual involvement grew. A few messes. Lots of fun. Lots of learning. Now at three he can crack his own eggs, prepare his own toast/sandwiches, peel garlic, crack pepper, etc... not to mention prepare his own breakfast from start to finish on his own. With me in my robe watching him from the barstool, coffee in hand.

This past Wednesday he cooked supper for us all by himself. He made shishkabobs! The only help I provided was the chopping, and reaching things that were too high. He gathered the veggies out of the fridge, washed them, dried them, prepared the marinade with his own blend of spices (I put six or so spices on the counter, olive oil, and lemon juice... he used what he wanted and how much- this is a great activity allowing total choice bc no matter what he chose to use/or how much, it was just a marinade... and all the chosen spices work well together. Plus marinades are meant to be strong, so you can get away with not measuring everything out.) Then he strung them up. His Daddy grilled took care of the grilling and I worked the oven for the sweet potato fries.

We started preparing things early that morning. You know, little steps here and there like soaking the bamboo skewers in water. So each step took as little as a few minutes to as much as 15 or 20. Perfect increments for the attention span of a 3 year old.

He had so much fun. And they were delish. Plus the aroma of the grill cooking in the evening air was just a bonus!

*And to James' future bride,
You'll thank me one day. ;)

Peace, love, and salt cellars.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


We always ask so much of you. And that's been especially true over the past three months. Make good choices. Be patient. Do things the first time you are asked. Don't back talk. Mind your manners. Look people in the eyes when you talk. Be cooperative.

Clean up after yourself when you get done playing with a toy. Leave your brother's things alone. No whining. Always ask permission before getting into the fridge or pantry. Only eat and drink in the kitchen. Put your outside toys away when you are done playing. Make sure to count the 12 tee.balls to make sure you don't lose them. Use your mouth to say kind and honest things. Always be gentle with Brother. Don't be too rough inside.

Say the Blessing before you eat. Put your shoes and hats away. Always put your bath toys back into their baskets before getting out the tub. Only write and color on paper. Not on yourself, fingernails, clothes, books, or walls. Don't break your toys, value the things you've been given. Keep spit inside your mouth. Don't beg or for things, ask politely. Use your inside voice.

Put your dishes away in the sink when you've finished eating. Help your brother with his NuNu if he cries for it. Wash your hands before you eat and after you go to the bathroom. No throwing balls UP in the house. Don't make a mess in the bathroom with the water... or soap. Sit on your bottom at the table. We only potty in the toilet.

We expect so much out of you. Sometimes we forget that you are just three years old. You are the easiest kid to parent. Always willing. Always happy. Always trusting. You've got your Daddy's generous heart and steady demeanor. You've got my spunk and passion. You've taught me more about Love, Life and Myself than any other human being. We've set the bar high for you... but you always are willing to rise to the occasion. Your little brother is so lucky to have you. And no matter what you do or don't do... life wouldn't be Life, without you.

Our little Dazzler... our big.hearted.moon.eyed.boy... our rocket.racer.

I can't imagine a better way to spend my day than with you.

Peace, love, and forts.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Middle School? ???

*warning: if you are Carley or Rachel, you prolly should skip this entry. trust me.

So... my sister has the prettiest kids on the face of the planet. Which, in turn, makes me have the prettiest nieces and nephews. Being their YaYa is just about the neatest privilege there is... it's right up there with Motherhood. Except with more spoiling and less worry.

I became an aunt when I was in Tenth Grade. I was sitting in the middle of Chemistry (Mr. Gordon- for you local.yocals...I appologize if you just had an overwhelming feeling of dread, or smelled putrid esthers or curdled milk). My sister had gone to the hospital earlier that morning for an induction. It was raining cats and dogs. Serious flash flooding. I had never driven in rain before. And as anticipated, the office aid came to give me my check.out pass. It was BEBE.TIME! And from that moment in my life, everything changed.

For the better, of course.

She was the brightest thing in my life... and things only got better when my other nieces and nephews were born. But for four years, she was my only.

And now she's going to Middle.School. I can't imagine what her parents must be feeling! Because if I feel this way- then they must be a total mess. I'm excited to see her grow up and benefit from all the experiences that come with age. BUT my heart won't let me get passed the locker combinations, Mean.Girls, boys, dressing out for P.E, makeup, boys, puberty... boys. In all honesty, middle school is the worst place on Earth.

Oh. Okay, you think I'm exaggerating? Fine! Take ten seconds right now to reflect on YOUR middle school experience! Yeah, you just lunged for the bathroom, right? It doesn't matter who you are or what you do: Middle school is TOUGH. A total, brutal right of passage. But we all got through it. And so will she. *gulp*

As far as I was concerned, there was only one real thing necessary to get her metally prepared for this BIG step. (Although I did entertain the thought of lighting candles, snake charming, and breaking out the Crisco to anoint her with oil and pray to Heaven and back, Old.Testament.Style.) Yes, only one thing left to do... a night at The Studio with Duke. Momma and I planned out a Her parents gave us STRICT instructions not to cut too much. I mean, could you blame them? After all, her YaYa has razor short, spikey hair that's half blond and half A creative brain.child from the master himself, Duke! So perhaps they were a little gun shy. Reasonable so. But all in all, the results were fantastic.

I have to say, she can rock a almost as good as her Yas. ;) And that says a lot!

We cranked up the music, sipped on our lattes, and chatted the night away. Afterwards, we played around Perkins Rowe, browsed Barnes and Noble, and ate at California Pizza Kitchen. I'm so glad we did this.

So today was Reagen's first day of school. I hope it went well. I hope she could open her locker. I hope she found all her classes. I hope she found a place to sit at lunch. I hope she feels as beautiful and as smart as she really is. And if she ever felt scared, I hope she thought of me.

Peace, love, and Jansports.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Yikes! What a title, huh? At least I'm posting this after most of us have had our morning coffee... little less abrasive this way.

Now, on to the story...

Wednesday was a doozy for me. Well, for me AND Jackson. The day started with just me and the Little because his big brother was still in Texas. *The inlaws had gotten tickets to take James to see Wiggles.Live... so he had a quick trip West. Anywho, it was just me and ole Jax. These days Jackson is fairly scheduled, meaning he has pretty much put himself on his own schedule. He wakes around 7:30am then back for a nap between 9 and 10am, yada yada. The morning started off well, but then took a turn for the worse when he resisted taking his nap. Lots of fussing... not crying, just fuss.fuss.fuss. Nothing seemed to make him happy, other than nursing. So pretty much the whole day, I held him, bounced around with him, and nursed him.

Finally around 3pm I was nearly worn out. My arms were about to fall off. So I decided to try to lay down with him in my bed... my camera was on the nightstand and I laughed when I picked it up. I figured I would take a grouchy.face pic to document our first full day with Jackson being a... well, infant handful- bc, for the record, he's the World's Easiest Bebe. As I was preparing my lighting, and positioning him, I caught a glimpse of something. Just recalling it makes me have butterflies in my tums. Anywho, I saw a blood red streak across his neck under his little face... What?

Deep inside the fat roll's fat roll, was this shiny, red, wet rash. It was totally hidden at all angles... hidden deep inside that fat roll! As my fingers were holding open the little fold, and I saw how terrible it looked, I immediately scooped him up and started a mild.maternal.freakout. THIS IS WHAT HE'S BEEN TRYING TO TELL ME ALL DAY!!! Instantly the Mother.Guilt started pouring all over me. How could I not know? I thought he was teething, overtired, constipated, or all of the above... but no. He had this raw, burning streak on his little neck. *sniff*

Marcus was away at work, about to leave to drive straight to TX to pick up James. I was stuck. By myself. With a hurting, crying bebe. And I didn't exactly know how to treat it without irritating it, or making it burn more. Totally desperate feeling, I called a friend... just to have her sit on the phone while I pried the fat fold open again to get a better look at it. I just needed someone there to 'feel it' with me.

Everything ended up okay. I called my ** pediatrician and she talked me through it over the phone. She said it was just a little 'yeast' that can grow in damp, dark, air.less places... like bebies' fat.rolls! She said it is common in 'luscious' bebies. And Jax is known for his luscious bebe chub. So, a few dashes of medicated powder to keep things dry- and he is now fine and back to normal. Still fat. Totally getting fatter. But it's!!!

Now, here are the pics I snapped of his red, puffy little face BEFORE I found the dreadful culprit. Even sad, he's still so sweet... and you can even tell in his face that he was trying to be a good boy for his momma.

After taking these pics, and getting the medicine, he still needed to be held... all the way until a quarter to 10pm! But here we are a day later and all is well with the world.

Peace, love, and nurses.that.answer.on.the.first.ring...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Little Reminders...

Sometimes life feels like it's just laundry. Gritty floors. A kitchen in a perpetual state of messy. Sometimes the mornings begin with bossy, hungry children. Those gritty floors mock you as you walk to get that morning coffee. You can almost hear an audible list of things (as you pour that coffee)that you should have done yesterday and need to do today. Sometimes the clock strikes 4pm and you run to the bathroom to throw one some clothes, wash your face, and throw a bit of powder and lip.gloss on so that theHusband thinks you've looked that way all day. Sometimes you go to bed at night and wish you could have done more... in a hundred different ways.

BUT sometimes you are reminded how sweet life really is.

Tonight we loaded up the kids to meet some friends. We ate really fresh Lebanese food (my favorite) while our kids colored and cooed. People looked at us and smiled at our children because they liked what they saw: A couple of young kids doing the best they could at creating family. And tonight we pulled it off. We drove out to see the Hot.Air.Balloon.Festival. We poured out of our vehicles, strapped, snapped, and other.wise secured the children ready to walk to the Field of balloons. It was dusk. The humidity was so thick that you could feel it when you breathed. It was cool.ish. The sun was setting and the sky was a The balloons were amazing. They always are. The flames lit the balloons bright in the dusky, soupy, wet Louisiana sky. It was magical.

There weren't many people. We staked out our little spot of heaven nestled between half a dozen giant balloons. James was shaking, jiving, and contorting to the cover band. Completely free. Dancing with full gusto. Bebe.Claire was strapped to her mommy's chest, facing outward, hands and feet kicking.kicking. Her face completely curious. Wide.eyed. Decorated with a perched right in the center of her forehead above her doe.eyes.

And then, without warning, I was reminded how perfect life really is. How simple. How authentic, uncluttered, and real. The boys were off to hunter.gather a couple of funnel.cakes. Carley and I were both bouncing our bebies in our slings. It was totally dark out, but we could make out each others faces if we squinted. We were just.a.bouncing and talking Nothing specific. Nothing dramatic. Just us soaking up each other's company... completely open and trusting of each other. As we were bouncing and soaking, it hit me how glad I am to live this life. What a gift it is to be in this space, in this time, in this life. There is nothing that I want more than to be bouncing my fat.little.duckling on my hip, while the other gyrates to festival music. Husbands hand feeding their little families fat.fried.dough dusted in sugar. Licking their fingers, talking about football. Me feeling safe and happy... sharing stories with another graceful mother about our children... talking with the confidence and swagger that we are actually pulling this thing off. Mostly.

Tomorrow I'll wake up again to that never ending list of self.created.expectations. Surely I'll evaluate myself again and assess how I could have done more. But today I was reminded that gritty floors might just be a byproduct from living the dream.

And it is a dream.

Peace, love, and tethers.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Well, hello Sunshine.

TheDuckling is 15 weeks old today! He's as pretty as they come. Our little lemon.
Peace, love, and juicy.