Sunday, June 30, 2013

3 Letter Word

Look at this bounty!

Ayden had fun walking around the farm eating the banana pepper he selected out of today's harvest. 

Luckily I was able to talk him out of a jalapeno!

Speaking of jalapeƱo peppers...  We now have a three letter word that is not allowed to be spoken in our house. Whenever something just *might* be H-O-T, we have to spell it or say, "It' know..." 

Ayden has totally fixated on the concept of hot and is always very concerned about it. I think it is because we are always warning him about hot things and are so serious when we do so. It's made him very cautious about hot stuff. He'll see steam, stick out his little hand and proclaim, "Hot!" He'll do the same when we draw bath water, give him his meals, goes down a slide that has been warmed by the sun. He is acutely aware of the temperature, or even the possible temperature of things, and if there's a chance it's hot he'll pass. He really dislikes getting into his carseat on a hot day but quickly calms down once he realizes it's not that bad. 

Needless to say, we are working on the concept of "warm" and how it is a good thing. 

What concept did your child fixate on?  I'd love to hear your stories!


Saturday, June 29, 2013

To the Market We Go

The first half of our day today was spent doing various chores around the house. David mowed while I did kitchen cleanup and vacuumed up all the Maverick tumble weeds. 

While I was getting ready for the day, Ayden got an old tube of mascara out of the trash. I didn't think he'd be able to get it open so I let him play with it. He was sitting right at my feet playing with a few small items, mascara tube included. All of the sudden I had that moment that all moms experience once in a while. You know, that moment where you all of the sudden think to yourself, "he's way too quiet..."  I turned around and looked down to see that Ayden had figured out how to get the tube open and hen proceeded to use the mascara wand as a hair brush. Awesome. 

At least its in his hair instead of his eye!

Once we were all ready to go (and the mascara had been scrubbed out of Ayden's hair), we set out for the farmer's market!  We always enjoy the market. It gives us a small taste of the city and gives us a chance to talk with like minded folks. David made a couple of contacts who said they would LOVE to have some volunteer help. David can learn a thing or two and they have some extra hands during the peak of their season. Everybody wins!  We bought a couple of things then walked to a local juicery. We got a mixture of Granny Smith apple, cucumber, lemon and ginger. Fresh juice is always so exhilarating and tasty. Ayden fell asleep during our walk back and transferred to his carseat without waking up. 

We are about to switch to a convertible carseat and I've been worried about having to wake him if he falls asleep. We've had a couple of times recently where he transferred easily without waking, though, so I think it's going to be just fine. The older he gets, the more soundly he sleeps. This is a great thing!

Have you been to a farmer's market yet this season?  


Friday, June 28, 2013

Block Party

Ayden was a little ham all day today. 

All of this time we have together is so special.  He is still my little side kick and I am still loving it very much.

So excited to show me the painter's tape he found.
David was ahead in work hours for the week so he got to come home early!  We had dinner then headed to a merchant fair block party in our town. We had a great time and Ayden had some fun passing a beach ball back and forth with some older boys. 

We totally forgot his shoes at home...
It's okay since we live in Kentucky, right?? Ha!

The older boys were so sweet and patient. They actually seemed to enjoy playing with Ayden and Ayden was smiling ear to ear the whole time. 

We came home to a beautiful sunset, fed Ayden "second dinner" since he tried to eat a wooden apple from a store display, got him to bed and are going to cuddle up for a movie. 

Ahhhh.  TGIF!


Here's what we were up to this time last year:  

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Thursday, June 27, 2013


We had a fun playdate today. A few girls I went to high school with came to story time then we spent a long time feeding the ducks, playing and talking outside of the book store. It was fun for us all and we plan on making it a regular thing all summer.

Ayden got so tuckered out that he was asleep before we left the parking lot.

He stayed that way for our first couple of errands. 

Totally zonked!
Once he woke up, I made a return at Michaels and then we went into the neighboring pet store. Ayden's favorite "exhibit" was the tall cage of playful kittens. We watched them play for a while then worked our way around to see the rest of the animals. Behind the bird cages were shelves of canned cat food. Ayden got so excited, grabbed a couple, then lead me all the way back across the store so we could feed those kittens. 

Ayden has totally caught on to our routines lately and loves helping out. His favorite job just so happens to be to help feed the pets. He knows where we keep everything and has even picked up the order in which we do each step. David gave him a chance to feed Maverick all by himself the passed couple of nights and he did every step: open the closet door, open the food bin, scoop food into the cup, close the bin, walk to Mav's crate,  poor the food (he needs a little help aiming), go back to the closet; and this is where he'd prefer to repeat all of the above over and over instead of putting the cup back and closing the bin and closet door, haha. 

I just thought it was so funny that he saw the cat food and decided that all of those kittens needed to be fed, just like our cat, Polly. It is also pretty cool that he has paid so close attention that he has memorized the steps of our pet feeding routines. What a responsible little pet owner already. 

It was a long day and we are glad to be winding down for he night. Tomorrow, I plan on tackling the upstairs of the cottage. Hopefully we will have organized office and play rooms for the weekend!


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Keeping Up

Today was another low key day (I can really get used to these!!). We brought some more stuff over to the cottage from my parents house so I worked on unpacking all of that and we did lots of playing.

Singing "Row row row,,," over and over again.

Ayden is in bed so David and I are going to have our Yoga date then I'm going to make our grocery list.

My meal planning has changed now that we are getting so much produce from the garden. Instead of finding recipes we want and buying specifically for them, we have to look at what we have in the fridge or what we'll be getting from our weekly harvest and creating or finding recipes that build around them. 

This is what I'm working with this week.
It is a welcomed challenge and we've had pretty good luck so far. There's still room for improvement because it is hard to keep up with a garden once it starts producing. I have a feeling David will be taking lots of tomatoes to work once they start coming on. Even with canning and preserving I can imagine all those tomato plants will be beasts to keep up with!  If you ask me, that is a wonderful problem to have.

Do you do any canning or preserving tomatoes?  What are your favorite methods and recipes?  We have a lot to learn in the next month or so!


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

5 Happy Things: Joy Filled Life

In a world that can sometimes be negative or so fast paced that you don't have time to stop and smell the roses, it is important to take some time to reflect on all of the good in your life.  Here are 5 happy things that have been filling my life with joy recently:

1)  Eating food from our garden!  We've been enjoying lettuce, radishes, kholrabi, cucumbers, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, snap peas and turnips.  It is hard to explain but it means so much to fuel our bodies with produce we've grown ourselves.  It means even more to fuel Ayden's body with it!

2)  Dining al fresco on the porch at the cottage.  Fresh air, bird song and plenty of entertainment.

3) Ayden's love for music and dancing. This video pretty much sums up why it makes us happy:

4) Our new, slower pace.  We are getting closer to that simple life we've been striving for!

Time to soak in and cherish the little things.
Nightly Yoga dates with the hubs.  It's a pretty great way to unwind together after Ayden goes to bed.

Our favorite Yoga app.
I challenge you to think of 5 happy things right now and list them below!  Lets keep the love flowing.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Head Over Heels

Slowly but surely, I'm falling head over heels for this little slice of country paradise.

Every time I tell David how much I love it here, he asks if I'd like to try and buy it instead of build.  Buying it could be an option but 1) We've never had it inspected.  There's no telling what kind of expensive updates may lie beneath.  2) It is in a historical farm district which makes the value of the land very high and requires that a minimum amount of land be sold with every home.  3) We have already purchased our house plans and they weren't cheap. 

It makes me wonder.  What is it that makes me love it so? Is it the personal touches all around me I didn't realize I missed so much and that really make a house a home?

There is something to be said about being surrounded by photographs, furniture and nick knacks that you find beautiful and personal in some way, shape or form.

"Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris

Is it the fact that we got a fresh start on forming new organizational systems, housekeeping routines and habits? 

Or is it the cottage itself, nestled into the trees with all of its character and charm?

If it is the personal touches and fresh start for forming new habits that has brought me so much happiness here, then we can achieve that in any home we choose for our little family.  If it is the character and charm, I suppose we'll just need to incorporate some of the features that we love into our new home.

No matter what it is, this little cottage has allowed us to really starting LIVING  in the here and now.  Before, I felt as though we were going through the motions, just waiting for the next big step in our journey.  Now we can live in the present and it sure is sweet.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Summer Kick Off!!

Last night we went to our county fair!

Prettiest ferris wheel I've seen at a fair!

HUGE draft horses!

They are no joke...
Pony ride rejection.  He likes to look at them but has no interest in riding them.
He did pet some goats, though.  Getting closer...
Today, we got up early end spent the day outside!

Keeping cool.

Snacking on fresh snap peas right out of the garden.
This kid will always know where food really comes from!

A naked nap in the shade with sounds of birds chirping and a breeze.
Not gonna lie... I kinda wanted to join him.

Bee hive check. The girls are working hard and doing well!
Those jackets and veils get HOT!
We hope all of you had a great weekend too!!  Let the summer fun begin!


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Cheat Night Date Night

No, not the kind of cheating that first comes to mind!  David and I dropped Ayden off with his grandparents and went out on a proper date during which we indulged in very non-Paleo food.

Our dietary lifestyle has evolved drastically over the past 10 years. Just a few months after Ayden was born, we took it several steps further with a Paleo inspired healing diet for David's auto immune disease.  I joined David on this journey for several reasons. 1) I had heard about Paleo and was intrigued to see how my body would change/perform and, of course, wanted all of the amazing health benefits.  2) I had tried the South Beach Diet in the past and liked how my body looked without grains in my diet. I knew it would help me lose any lingering baby weight and would make me feel great! 3) The most important reason of all, I knew this was going to be a difficult journey for David and that he'd need more than mere support. I knew in order to be successful with his goals that he'd need a buddy. Someone who was being just as strict about food. He is more important than any food could ever be and I was happy to sacrifice foods that weren't good for me in the first place to help set him up for success.  He's had ups and downs in progress with his disease but with all of the changes and choices we've made he didn't feel right paying as much as we were in supplements each month.  We decided to move from the healing diet (which involved even more restrictions than Paleo alone) to plain old Paleo (yay for eggs and almond meal!) 

With that decision came a bit of wiggle room and we finally loosened the reins on how strict we are. Here are our new guidelines:
- only Paleo approved items kept in the house (except for my hummus, peanut butter that I have personally added back in for snacking) and of course the dark chocolate that we never gave up which has a small amount of refined sugar in it. 
- allow a monthly "cheat" night where we can eat however much of whatever we want. Ayden will someday be included whenever he becomes aware that there are other options. We won't rush him into eating sweets but won't keep him from them completely once he discovers them. We want food to be a non-issue and want to arm him with knowledge and tools for when he is ready to make his own decisions. We understand that sheltering and withholding experiences is no way to provide knowledge and tools. 
- Continue trusting and listening to our bodies. If we have digestion or energy issues after consuming certain foods, we take note and limit those foods in the future. The goal is to tailer a diet specifically for our individual bodies. My body handles beans and lots of eggs just find whereas David can't go too crazy with them without some discomfort. 

We had our 3rd cheat night last night. The first was pizza and cupcakes for our birthdays and the second was Thai food for our anniversary. Last night was dinner at a local Indian restaurant (hello chicken tikka masala and garlic naan!) and dessert at a book store cafe. 

This is working so well for us!  We rarely felt deprived before bcause we totally subscribe to the long term benefits of a healthy lifestyle. We also truly believe it has to be a lifestyle.  A way of living all the time, even on special occasions. That being said, we did grow up on the standard American diet and have foods from our childhoods that we miss sometimes and we can't argue that the creaminess of cheese or the sweetness of pie aren't delicious. A once-a-month cheat day is just enough to still enjoy our favorite foods from our pasts while not spiraling out of control as we both typically do. When we see a food that brings us back to our childhoods or makes our mouths water, instead of having it on the spot, we take note of it for a potential cheat day indulgence. Then we go on a monthly date where we eat those foods and it makes the indulgence even more fun and special.

We are thinking that next month will be Mexican for dinner. We haven't picked dessert yet...  What's your favorite sweet indulgence?


Friday, June 21, 2013

17 Months

Today marks 17 months with this little one.

To celebrate I'd like to make a list of 17 things he is up to these days. 

1) He has lots of words but only uses them when necessary. All the rest of the time he jibber jabbers non stop. We love it!

2) He is starting to enjoy quiet, sit down activities and loves child-sized furniture. 

3) Playing "123" games. We say, "1, 2, 3, go!" and he runs as fast as he can.  We say, "1, 2, 3, jump!" and he tries his best to jump.  So fun and cute!

4) He tells the pets, "No, no, no!" when he sees them doing something for which we'd tell them no.

5) He loves "helping" us buckle any buckle possible. High chair, carseat, stroller, if it has a buckle he's gonna spend 5 minutes helping out. 

6) His favorite foods are chicken, guacamole, black olives, blueberries, grapes and bananas.  He's a bit of a fruit monster.

7) He no longer fights diaper or clothing changes or when we wipe his hands and face after meals.  One day he just turned it off and it's like he never did it in the first place.

8) His favorite toys are his farm animals (he likes to line them up like an army and make galloping noises while making them "run") and his yellow spiky ball.

9) He can catch a ball (when it is thrown slowly and he's given fair warning)!

10) He is really gentle when he pets Maverick and Polly and doesn't pull Polly's tail anymore.  We started removing her without paying attention to him when he'd pull her tail and that worked like a charm.

11) He loves shoes.  He likes putting on his own and will bring ours to us.  When we already have shoes on he tries to get us to take them off and put the ones he brought us on.

12)  He has mastered all of the knob puzzles and shape sorters that we have.

13) He has become very affectionate.  He'll hug us and pat our backs or randomly walk up and hug or kiss us while he is playing.  We love this soooo much!!!

14) One of his favorite times of day is when David gets home from work.  He likes how he can see out the door so easily at the cottage.  He squeals with delights as David walks up the sidewalk.

15) He still loves books.  Reading is the first thing we do every morning, the last thing we do at night before bed and also several times throughout the day, all his lead.  He'll sit by himself and look through his books and enjoys "reading" during long car rides (though he thinks his whole library is in the car and sometimes gets impatient when I keep handing him the same books over and over again).

16) He also loves music.  He likes to be the DJ for our family dance parties.  We've danced like fools to every keyboard demo on his keyboard.

17)  He is constantly inspecting things very closely to see how they work.  Any button, knob, screw, hinge, etc. gets explored.  He gets this from his daddy.

We seriously could go on and on about this kid.  We love him so much.  The past 17 months have taught us so much about parenthood, ourselves, each other and life in general.  We honestly cannot remember what life was like before this little man was in it and why on Earth would we want to??


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Conquer the Bugs!

It was another 3 nap sick day for our little one.

His temperature was low grade when he woke up this morning so I decided we should skip storytime just in case it was more than teething. After his first nap of the day, his temp lowered and he was acting like his playful self so we ventured out to the grocery since the fridge was empty as well as taking care of a couple of other errands.  As the day wore on, Ayden was a champ but I could tell just by looking at him that his temp was on the rise again. He slept all the way home and when I checked his temp when we got here it was back up. It must be a virus or something because there are no other symptoms other than the fever, which has been above 102* since we've been home. He is still playful and has an appetite so we aren't too worried. We do have the Motrin ready for when/if we need it and we have been giving him immune boosting supplements. 

Parked on the couch with a basket of books
= Ayden's sick day agenda. 
It is so hard to see your baby sick and to feel the heat of a fever radiating off of their sweet skin but I keep reminding myself, every bug he is exposed to will help him build an arsenal of immunities. His body is healthy and strong and it is doing just what it is supposed to to conquer and win!  

I do not plan on leaving the cottage tomorrow (or getting out of my PJs for that matter) and am so looking forward to a stay home day!  I am going to work on getting my bathroom and the linen closet organized as well as doing food/snack prep for next week (kale chips, cereal, etc)!

What do your kids like to do when they are home sick?


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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Moving Forward

Ayden had a low grade fever all day today (still working on cutting his evil molars) so we had a pretty low key day. He took three naps and we just cuddled and read lots of books for most of the day. 


We had a meeting scheduled with a contractor/builder that David used to work for in college tonight and David ended up going by himself since we didn't want to take Ayden anywhere while he has this fever.  The meeting went well and David returned feeling optimistic about moving forward with the build. We have a lot of decision making to do so we get an accurate material cost estimate and apply for our construction loan. It feels pretty crazy to be thinking about going into any kind of debt after working so hard and sacrificing so much to become debt free. We are just in a situation where we'll be wasting money either way (renting for years while we save or paying interest on a mortgage) and we have decided that we'd rather "waste" the money while paying on and living in our forever home. We are also going to continue following Dave Ramsey's baby steps, so we'll pay off the debt as aggressively and quickly as possible. I think only moving one more time (ever!) and already being able to begin to make memories in a permanent place will be worth anything we'll pay in interest! 

Hopefully Ayden will be feeling better by morning. Tomorrow is errand day but I don't really have many errands planned. That means I just may get home in time to get all the groceries put away and dinner done before David gets home. That's always my goal on Thursdays but then we usually end up getting home at the same time, throw the cold stuff in the fridge and bust out the rotisserie chicken I ended up buying at the last minute once I realized how late it had gotten. Haha. 

Now that things are starting to settle down on the cottage front, I hope to start bringing more interesting posts your way soon!


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Feeling Cozy

It is amazing how much progress you can make when you actually have time to devote to  task. So far this week unpacking and organizing has been my second highest priority (after Ayden, of course) and as we wind down tonight it feels cozy and looks like a real home.

The progress on my little nook.

This little cottage is exactly what we needed in this moment. We will enjoy our time here so much as we take steps toward building. Once we build, we will move ourselves, our pets and our belongings one last time (ever!) and that sounds great to me!!