Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Happy 21 Months!

Happy 21 Months to my sweet little miracle boy!

You're getting so big and so full of personality! I love every second I'm blessed to spend with you!

Monday, July 25, 2011

LO's 4th Birthday Party -- 2 of 2

Well, a certain little girl's weekend o' birthday fun has finally drawn to a close, much to her worn out mommy's delight. Honestly, it's been a lot of fun! But I'm happy to say now that I have a 4-year-old daughter, and her birthday weekend was full of fun and memorable experiences for us all.

Tonight was her much-anticipated Chuck E. Cheese's party. While it was nice to not have to worry about the food, set up, clean up or entertainment, I was somewhat annoyed at how the party was handled. Imagine them telling your party over the loudspeaker to stop playing and return to the party area, only for all of you to stand around for 15 minutes while the party next to yours goes through their spiel, at which point you ask your party coordinator about this and she confirms for you that the call was only for "their" party and not yours, even though there was no indication as such. No biggie. Everybody go back to playing. Ten minutes later, another announcement for the party guests to return to the party area. Your hot food is delivered and you get your kids and the adults situated with their dinner, only to have the party team show up, the "live" Chuck E. Cheese guy show up, followed by clapping, getting out of your seat to dance, then drumming on the table, then singing another song, then shouting a "Happy Birthday" game, then more clapping, dancing and singing. Notice: not any eating. Rather, watching all of your hot food get cold while your children are confused about whether they should be eating, playing, singing, clapping or dancing. Add to that just seconds after this phase of the party was over and folks could actually get back to the eating of their cold pizza and wings that the party coordinator brings your daughter's birthday cupcake to her (she has yet to take a bite of her dinner), lights the candle and places it in front of her, while instructing the party guests to sing yet again to the birthday girl. WHEW! It was about 20 minutes of pure madness and uncontrollable mayhem! ((Note to self: THIS is the very reason every single birthday party for both of my kids has ALWAYS been at HOME until now.))

After the craziness was over, we were left to enjoy our evening at our own pace, which was much appreciated. Everyone was finally able to eat their dinner, enjoy a birthday cupcake and hang out. The kids got to play, then LO was able to open her gifts, then they all went back to playing some more. With the exception of those 20 minutes of "hurry up and follow the recorded music that allows us to move parties in and out of here in less than 20 minutes during peak party hours," I think it was a wonderful time and the most important part was that LO had a blast!!!

Here are some pics of my 4-year-old and her big party!

Chase. Hanging out. Already with a messy shirt not even 10 minutes after we arrived. No idea how he managed that.

Giving Chuck E. Cheese a hug because she was instructed to.

Chase. Glaring me down. Because he can.

Smiling with Chuck E. Cheese. Sort of a fake grin plastered to her face, but I'll take it!

A boy and his cupcake. He did some damage on that thing and the accompanying chocolate ice cream!

Daddy told the birthday girl to shove her face into her cupcake. And, being the well-behaved, obedient child that we've raised, she did.

She's so silly!

Daddy told her to do it again. And again, she listened.

He tore through the cupcake and is working over that chocolate ice cream like you wouldn't believe!

One of the funniest 30 seconds I've ever witnessed in my life. LO and her friend in a ticket blaster, desperately trying to catch tickets and stuff them down their shirts. They scored big time at the ticket counter when all was said and done.

Opening presents! A new kid-friendly keyboard and mouse for her, just like the ones at the library she loves so much. Yay!

A lady bug! She loves it!

A cowgirl hat? No way!!

Cheesiest. Grin. Ever.

Showing off her Toy Story puzzle book to Chase!

As she was opening her gifts, another one of their "live shows" started and she was enamored.  It was tough getting her to stay focused on the task at hand!

She loves her new Biscuit book! I picked up one of these early reader books at Barnes & Noble a month or two ago, and she loved it so much that I picked up a collection of 10 Biscuit books in one hardback book. She was so excited and she read one of the stories tonight before bedtime.

Super Why board game! Can't wait to play this with her!

We've been talking about states and maps so I thought it'd be fun to teach her all of the states and their capitals. Should be fun! :)

New clothes! I'm sure she's way more excited than this face lets on...

To top off a perfectly fun evening celebrating our precious little girl, God decided to throw one of the biggest rainbows up in the sky as we were leaving. What a blessing! It was so beautiful and this pic doesn't begin to do it justice. Too cool!!

What a super wonderful weekend it's been! I so love my girl and am so grateful for the 4 years we've had her in our lives and in our hearts. She is an amazing little girl and I cannot tell you how blessed I am to be her mommy!!!

Happy 4th Birthday, LO! I love you bunches!!!

Happy 4th Birthday, LO!

My little birthday girl's day was off to a great start this morning with her birthday pancakes! She chose banana pancakes (one of mommy's faves!) and enjoyed mommy & daddy's rendition of "Happy Birthday!"

She's napping now, as is her brother, and in just a few hours we'll be heading to Chuck E. Cheese's for her second 4th birthday party! Woot!

Here's her "4" birthday pancake, served on our family birthday plate with a side of fresh strawberries -- one of her favorites!

Is it just me, or does she totally look older today than she did on Saturday at her firetruck party? Wow, my girl is growing up!!!

Making another birthday wish!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

LO's 4th Birthday Party -- 1 of 2

Today we celebrated LO's 4th birthday with a fun firetruck-themed party at the house. It was so much fun to see her (and Chase) play with their cousins and families they don't typically get to see very often. Both of the kids had a blast, and I loved the fact that it was MUCH more laid back than my typical parties for the kids (meaning: I didn't have to do as much work!).

She has another birthday party on Monday (her actual birth date) at ((gulp)) Chuck E. Cheese's. She'd been asking to have a party there and I finally gave in this year. I'm actually looking forward to it--at least the parts that I don't have to worry about (decorations, food, entertainment, clean-up, etc.)! It should be a lot of fun!

I'm still not sure I believe this little baby girl of mine is turning 4 years old. But I sure hope the 4s are a MUCH-NEEDED improvement from the 3s. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that her behavior and attitude somehow find a way to get at least a tiny bit better!

Here are some pictures from our day of celebrating. Enjoy! :)

The cake. Mommy made it. My first attempt at one of those "character/shaped" pans. Not too bad but BOY did those red stars take some time! LO oversaw the entire process from about 2 inches away and provided excellent directions (and feedback) for me... :)

The birthday girl! You can't see her birthday shirt very well, but it has a firetruck on it, a number 4 on the pocket, and says "Fire Chief" in a funky, girly font under the truck. My plan is that one day I'll make a quilt for each of my kids from their birthday shirts.

Hilarious! One of LO's cousins was spinning her around and around in the living room. I'm not sure, but I think she was enjoying it at least a tiny, little bit...

It's not a party until Chase has a meltdown of some kind of proportions. This one wasn't epic, but definitely enough to command the attention of everyone in the room.

I'm not sure Chase is a fan of those party favors LO is blowing into his face.

 Money! Money! Money! Thanks, Gram & Pap! :)

Believe it or not, one of LO's cousins is hiding under all that tissue paper!

She's very focused during the gift opening. It's serious business to a 4-year-old!

Wait--what's this? Chase is happy again! Ah yes, my sweet bipolar little boy. Good thing Gramma & PaPa gave LO a singing Toy Story birthday card to keep Chase happy and entertained!

He really likes that card!

My little goofball. MAN I love this kid!

My beautiful little fire chief... very pleased with her new fire station play set!

Singing and birthday cake time! Love her smile in this one. For someone who loves the spotlight, she still gets a tiny bit embarrassed with the focused attention almost 20 people!

Make a wish, sweet girl!!!

Just to be clear: hubs and I have taught LO how to eat. This fact is evidenced by the photo below. When it comes to cake and other baked goods/sweets, for the times when we do actually use a fork (rather than our fists), we do in fact attempt to fill every empty space in our mouth with as much cake as possible in one fell swoop. That's our girl! Notice Chase is watching intently and taking pointers of his own.

Super firefighter girl to the rescue!!!

We're looking forward to party 2 of 2 on Monday night! Will post pics of that one in another blog post next week! Thanks for tuning in! :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Healthy Bites: Do-It-Yourself Microwave Popcorn

Do you read Lisa Leake's blog, 100DaysofRealFood.com? If you don't, you have no idea what you're missing! Her blog is full of healthy, whole food recipes and snacks, and let me tell you -- they are GOOD! Whole-wheat banana pancakes, whole-wheat waffles, whole-wheat biscuits... the list goes on and on! ((I just noticed my insane carb addiction -- ha!))

Recently Lisa posted a little popcorn trick that I was quite skeptical of, but I finally decided to give it a try and boy am I glad I did! It's super simple, so economical and absolutely delicious!

I've always been one to purchase microwave popcorn, and always look for the "light butter" kind because I'm just not a fan of greasy popcorn. I never put that melted butter junk on my popcorn at the movies, either. In fact, I typically smuggle in a small Ziploc of microwave popcorn from home -- Shhhhh! Don't tell!). Imagine my surprise when I learned how simple it is to make it yourself!

Here are the instructions, taken directly from 100DaysofRealFood.com!


  • ¼ cup popcorn kernels, preferably organic
  • Brown paper lunch bag
  • Optional: Melted butter, oil, and/or salt


  1. Pour the kernels into the brown paper bag.
  2. Tightly fold over the top three or four times. No tape or staples are necessary.
  3. Put it in the microwave and start it on high for 3 minutes and 30 seconds.
  4. Listen for the popping to slow down to 3 or 4 seconds apart at which point you will take it out of the microwave. This usually happens for me around the 3 minute and 15 second mark.
  5. Pour popcorn into a bowl and drizzle with melted butter or spritz with olive oil and then sprinkle with salt. If you don’t use oil or butter the salt won’t stick.
Yield: Approximately 3 – 4 servings

Seriously?! How simple is that! My goodness this stuff is tasty! And check it out! Only 100 calories for about 5 cups of freshly popped popcorn! I sprayed a light spritz of canola oil (didn't have a sprayer for my olive oil) and topped with a pinch of sea salt. Seriously, like a pinch. That was all it needed and it was fantastic!

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Dentist!

I feel kind of vulnerable exposing such a shocking truth here on my blog... but I just took my almost-4-year-old daughter to the dentist... for the very first time.

((insert gasp of shock n' awe here))

I know, I know. Is it normal to wait until almost 4 before taking a child to the dentist for the first time? Probably not. We had wanted to do it sooner, but I guess it's safe to say the past 2 years have been a bit chaotic for us. So we finally added her to our dental plan back in January, and it's taken me 7 months to get my act together!

I'm happy to report Little Miss didn't have a single cavity (yay!) and got a glowing review from her hygienist and the dentist himself, Dr. M. I was very pleased to hear that, but I think more than anything, I was absolutely SHOCKED at how amazing she did!

I scheduled her cleaning at the same time as mine, thinking I'd go first and let her watch and see that it doesn't hurt, it's fun, etc... She sure showed me because she wanted to go FIRST! Wow! I figured even with her going first, she'd probably get uncomfortable during the process and I'd have to switch places to let her calm down and see that it's possible to get through it. But no! She was an amazing little trooper and I couldn't have been more proud! I was worried for nothing! In fact, I even had a second dentist appointment lined up for the following week at a pediatric dentist office with all the fun, wacky, craziness thinking she'd do better in a kid-friendly environment. Oh, ye mommy of little faith!

Here are a few shots of my big girl! I still can't believe she'll be 4 in less than 2 weeks! ACK!!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Healthy Bites: Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup

I was NOT expecting to love today's Healthy Bites meal idea as much as I did. If you're a fan of the Roasted Tomato & Basil Bisque at Mimi's Cafe, you'll LOVE this delicious Organic Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper soup from Trader Joe's! It has a tiny little bite to it, and I topped mine with some freshly ground pepper for even more heat. It. Was. Delish!

I enjoyed 1/2 cup of white grapes and a large bottle of water along with my soup. Check out this healthy breakdown!

And just for comparison purposes, check out the stats on the aforementioned Roasted Tomato & Basil Bisque from Mimi's Cafe! The same serving size has a whopping 258 calories and 20 grams of fat!!

Serving Size8 fl oz
Calories From Fat182
Total Fat (g)20
Saturated Fat (g)10
Cholesterol (mg)57
Sodium (mg)902
Carbohydrates (g)14
Dietary Fiber (g)1
Sugars (g)13
Protein (g)2

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Hey, folks! My name is ((mom2lo)) and I've been neglecting my blog.

Okay, now that I've admitted it, the next step is fixing it, right? Right. Things have been a bit busy this summer and I just haven't been able to make the time to blog. Here are a few of the things we've been up to (and/or have coming up soon)...

  • I've revolutionized (?) my diet. I completely eliminated soda about a month ago and it's been great. Of course I expected to see the pounds just melt away, but obviously that hasn't happened. I've also started making healthier food choices for myself and my family. This has been awesome! The kids are adjusting rather nicely, which is a blessing. I've put myself on an 1,100 calorie "diet" per day, and have had almost NO PROBLEM staying at or below that number. I never knew it would be possible! I'm eating whole foods (fruits and veggies for snacks and with almost every meal), lots of whole grains and drinking water almost exclusively. I used to drink MAYBE 8 oz. of water per day. Now I'm drinking about a gallon a day or more. Crazy! I've also started an organic body cleanse just to rid my body of build up toxins from eating junk foods for 30-something years. I'm hopeful after 14 days, I'll see a big difference and will feel awesome!
  • I donated blood yesterday at hubs' office. It was awesome! It'd been far too long since I've donated (ashamed to admit since before I was pregnant with LO!) and I was so glad to get in there and get it done! I'm hoping to try to donate more regularly (every 8 weeks) since I'm O-, which is very much in demand these days. It feels so good to give back!
  • LO's 4th birthday is a week from Monday. This year I'm doing two parties for her: one at home with family and one at ((gulp)) Chuck E. Cheese's. We finally gave in. This will be her first birthday party NOT at home and the first time I won't have control over every single detail. I'm not too nervous about it. I mean, really, as long as there are games and cake, the kid will be fine. I know she'll love it! My biggest challenge is the fact that she's asked for a Firetruck cake. Ya. So that ought to be challenging time-consuming fun. Anybody got any tips, ideas or suggestions? I'm all ears!
  • Chase is doing super awesome! He's getting so big and independent -- and tall, too! He's about up to LO's neck! Crazy. He loves to play outside, anything involving water and finding quiet time for himself (when his sister isn't growling, yes growling in his face. We have a trip to Charleston next week for a follow-up with his ENT. They'll recheck his hearing and make sure there's no fluid in his ears. I'm hoping that everything looks great! He also has an outpatient procedure scheduled while we're there. Please keep him in your prayers! I'm sure he's gonna do great! :)
  • I'm also deep into the planning of the Palmetto Hearts Pediatric Cardiology Reunion in Charleston on September 17th. Invitations have been created, ordered and shipped. Now I'll have the fun of mailing 300 invitations... Haha! I'm excited about the event. I know all of the heart families from across South Carolina look forward to this event every year, and I'm honored to be the one planning all the details and fun! It's exciting and awesome but sure takes up a lot of my time! I still try to fit in fun trips for the kids and outings to the pool each week. Otherwise, I'd be stuck behind this here MacBook and on my iPhone 24/7 making all the arrangements!
Guess there's not much else to report. We're just enjoying our summer. I'm trying to disconnect myself from the virtual world a bit because it's just not healthy and it's not the message I want to send to my kids. I don't want them growing up thinking life revolves around the Internet. I want to get out there and enjoy it with them! So please don't be offended if I'm not posting as much on here or if you don't see me active on Facebook or if I'm not commenting on blogs. I just want to enjoy my REAL family and not waste time on virtual things! :)

Here are a few pics of my little water boy from the other day. Hope you all are enjoying your summer with your families!