Quinn Predictions!

So it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted, and while I’d like to say I have a great excuse its mainly due to lack of time and energy. My last post was over 12 weeks ago and lots have changed since that time including my belly.

I finished my first class of my masters program and received an A!!! (a 97% to be exact). I’m so glad to get the first one out of the way and to do well. I’m taking this semester off from school but will start back in late June. Hopefully it goes well with juggling a newborn! Speaking of newborns, still no baby but give it three days (or less) and hopefully I’ll be updating with pictures of her!

My repeat c-section is scheduled for Thursday morning and we are all so anxious to meet her! I’m so excited to have all of my family come in town to meet her and celebrate her arrival! It means so much that they are all making the long drive to be with us. And while we’ll be in the hospital most of the time they are visiting, they’ll still get plenty of snuggles with little Quinn (as long as you can tear her away from Memaw….)

Mark and I are most anxious to see what she looks like! For 9 months I’ve envisioned certain characteristics she will have of mine and which she will take from Mark. In case you have seen the similarities, our son looks like a clone of my husband. Aside from having my eyes, Davis gets so many of his physical traits from my husband and I’ve been hoping and praying that this little girl will look even slightly like me.

Mark and I have decided to publish our predictions to see who is most accurate:

Emily

Weight: 8 lb 10 oz

Length: 21 inches

Hair Color: Reddish-Brown

Eye Color: Green-Blue

Physical Features: My mouth, feet and eyes – Mark’s nose and chin

Mark

Weight: 8 lb 3 oz

Length: 20.75 inches

Hair Color: Bald

Eye Color: Blue

Physical Features: My chin, eyes, skin tone, and ears – Emily’s nose, mouth and attitude

Join in our fun little game, we’d love to see which predictions are correct! I’ll post updates (and pictures) as soon as I feel up for it!

Add Another Item to List of Titles!

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Receiving my Bachelor's degree!

My current list of titles (in no particular order):

  • Wife
  • Mother
  • Baby-Grower
  • Sister
  • Daughter
  • Chemist
  • Friend
  • Dog Owner
  • and many others!

I’m so excited to be adding another to this list: student!

I’ve been down this road before. During my 4th and final year of my undergraduate program, I decided that, along with entering the working world, I would also enroll full-time in a graduate program studying forensic toxicology. I loved the coursework! It was very interesting and my coolest assignment was observing an autopsy at the local morgue.

I soon realized that while I enjoyed this line of work and study, there are very few job opportunities and this would not work well with my husbands’ line of work. There is also very little room for advancement. So, after completing half of my necessary coursework, I decided to stop working towards that degree. It has taken me 6 years, three jobs and lots of tears before deciding exactly what my next move in my educational path would be.

So far, my work experience has strictly been in a laboratory setting. If you would meet me in real life, you would understand that this is not the best place for me. I’m an extremely social person and get so much joy out of working face-to-face with coworkers and customers. I know that I need something more; I’m burned out. That excitement to go to work and get my hands dirty just isn’t there anymore and quite honestly, hasn’t been there for a while. I’ve been lucky to have great coworkers that make my work day easier and it’s, in part, due to them that I chose Occupational Safety as my degree focus. Every person deserves a safe working environment where their concerns are heard and handled appropriately.

I’ve found an amazing school that allows me to take eight and six week courses, completely online, and I am hoping to complete my degree in about two and a half years. I’ll only be taking one course at a time so that the focus is solely on that one subject. It is geared toward working adults and, although a lot of hard work is in the future, I can’t wait for it!

I’m so excited and nervous about starting this new adventure. I realize that most people will think I’m crazy to do this when I’m about to have second child but I can’t think of a better time. (Ask Hilary, she did the same thing.) I can tell my kids just how hard mommy worked to take care of them, get that advanced degree and how much it paid off! I have an amazing and supportive husband here to help me as we tackle these challenges as a family.

I’ve got my thinking cap on and I’m ready!

 

Birthday Party Success and Cupcake Decorating!

After all of my fears that I wrote about last week, I’d say the birthday party was a success!  Davis and his friends had such a good time!

My biggest concern was what do we do for 1 and 1/2 hours.  Well, the kids solved that one for us!  I didn’t realize that Davis’ toys are all new toys to the other kids.  They came right in and dove into the toy box.  I soon realized that while the kids were playing and the parents talking, 45 minutes had already gone by.   I brought out the homemade playdough for the kids to play with and they each got their own color!  They loved having different colors from each other and playing with the different kitchen tools such as spatulas, spoons and brushes.  We then cleaned them up and served cupcakes!  I made my own multi-colored frosting with help from Chica and Jo.  It was super easy to do and it was a huge success!

What you need:

Cake Frosting/Icing (I used whipped)

Icing Bag (Use a plastic baggie in a pinch)

Star-shaped Icing Tip

Paste Food Coloring or Gel Food Coloring (Liquid will not work)

Large Drinking Glass

Small Paint Brush

How to:

1. Prep your disposable bag by attaching the tip and coupler.  Place in the glass and fold the top over the glass.

2. Use a paint brush to place the paste in wide vertical lines.  Use as many colors as you would like, you can also repeat colors.

3. Fill the bag by scooping the icing into the bag.  Squeeze the bag into an empty bowl until you start to see the colors.

4. Squeeze the icing in design that you would like!

Here is my version of this simple cupcake decorating idea!

When I do this again I will place the food coloring closer together so that the color is more prominent but I loved my results!  Enjoy and have fun decorating.

Birthday Parties for 2 Year Olds

It seems that my husband and I tend to make big decisions rather quickly. You’d be shocked at how quickly we decided to move states for his job transfer or the decision to expand our family to three and again to four. Obviously these are two huge decisions that couples normally go through quite a lengthy process of discussion, with careful thought and consideration. Not that we don’t do that but we are usually “go with your gut” type people. I’d like to think that it has been a pretty good strategy for us.

Newborn Davis - Holding Daddy's Hand for the First Time

As I sit here thinking about the last two years of my life, I’m overcome with such joy and amazement. I’ve shed some pregnancy/hormonal tears reviewing the pictures of my sweet boy and the first two years of his life.

What a rollercoaster it has been. From a whirlwind delivery to a crazy move to a different state. From a big boy at delivery (9lbs, 7oz) to an even bigger toddler (35lbs). These two years have been amazing.

Now instead of making one of those “go with your gut” type decisions, I decided to change my ways when it deals with those picture perfect moments. Maybe I’m still hung up on the fact that I failed to throw a birthday party for my child on his first birthday.  He instead got an amazing week (thanks to mother nature and the blizzard of 2011) hanging out at home with just Mom, Dad and Bailey (our dog). So why am I making such a fuss over his second birthday?

It all started with the theme. There are just so many things that he’s in to these days. He loves Mick, aka Mickey Mouse and Choo Choo’s (that would be trains in Davis speak) or his longest obsession “The Backyardigans” which our entire family now refers to as “Ba Bo’s”. I had everything in my online cart, almost ready to push BUY on the most adorable Chuggington birthday party when I doubted myself. He  has loved The Backyardigans for so long, why am I denying him this joy? So I spent the next few hours finding new sites, checking prices, and ordering supplies for a Backyardigans “dance party”!

My 2 Year Old!

Now comes the hard part! What to do in the dead of winter with 6 two-year olds. A lovely google search quickly told me that I should only have one friend per year of life. Really? Just two of his friends? That sounds more like a play date than a party. So, from that point on, I knew google would not help me with this one. I also have another thing against me. I’ve never been to a birthday party for a two-year old that was just for kids. I have no idea what happens at these parties or what to do with the 1.5 hours that I have allotted. Ahhhh, I’m stressing myself out even more just typing this!

Two year olds are a little too young to understand the concept of games, so musical chairs or any other group activity is out.  I finally decided to do a hands-on craft that the kids could take home.  Through my obsession with Pinterest I found a great recipe for some homemade playdough and made 6 batches for the kids play with.  I also bought glitter (I don’t even want to think about the mess) for them too add to it and make it more fun.  I’m going to give them lots of kid friendly tools from the kitchen (cookie cutters, spatulas, spoons, etc) and let them have at it.  My son loves playdough and many times ends up eating it as do most kids his age.  Here is the amazing smelling, edible playdough recipe that is extremely easy to make and much cheaper than store-bought.

Kitchen Items needed:

  • Measuring Cups
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Medium Saucepan
  • Plastic Spatula (the dough sticks to wooden spatulas)
  • Flat surface or plastic cutting board
  • Plastic Baggies (Ziplocs)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1 packet of unsweetened Koolaid (added for smell and color)
  • I cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Possibly Needed:  food coloring

Instructions:

1.  Mix flour, salt, cream of tartar, Koolaid and water in a medium saucepan.  Stir in oil.

2.  Mix over medium heat for 4-8 minutes until the mixture forms a ball.  If you want a richer color (the yellow, for instance, is weak), add some food coloring until you get your desired color.  The dough will start to take on a darker color.

3.  Remove from the pan (Caution:  the dough will be warm).  Place on smooth counter or cutting board.  Knead dough until soft.  Don’t worry if the dough seems sticky, continue kneading while it cools.

4.  Store in air-tight baggies.

5.  Tasting is optional! 🙂

KoolAid Playdough

Additional tips:  Feel free to leave out the Koolaid.  Divide dough into smaller portions and place in baggies.  With your help, add food coloring of your child’s choice to the baggie.  Let your child knead the dough and see the colors and swirls appear!

I hope that all of the kids enjoy this at my son’s birthday party this weekend and I can’t wait to celebrate one of the most important events in my life.  Happy 2nd Birthday Davis!!

What to do with that Blank Wall in your Child’s Bedroom or Playroom

As I’ve mentioned before, we recently moved my son to his “big boy” room.  We tried to do this with as little fuss and chaos as possible, but I also wanted to make him a cute room that he would enjoy. As soon as we found out we were pregnant again, I knew that we would need to move Davis to a bigger bed so the crib would be ready for the next little one.  I scoured the internet looking for children’s bedding, but hit a huge snag. The bed we have moved Davis into is a queen bed.  Do you know how difficult it is to find toddler/children’s bedding for a queen size bed?  Well, it’s not easy at all.  You’re lucky to find a full/queen set appropriate for a toddler, and then you can never find really, really cute matching sheets (because children only sleep in full, twin or toddler beds…right?).

Davis’s bed will serve as an extra guest bed when we have visitors and, for this reason, I want bedding that’s little boy appropriate without being loud and obnoxious. I also wanted to do this as cheaply as possible and for once my procrastination and unwavering ability to never complete a project on time paid off. I found a really cute set at Target (hello 5% discount with your Target Card)!  So, I picked it up at the store and since it was on sale (10%…SCORE!), I also picked up matching wall decals and other items such as lettering and chalkboard decals.  Next came the important paint color and seeing as I’m a paint chemist, this was quite a daunting task.  After a couple of weeks, I finally settled on a main wall color along with an accent wall color. It then took me another couple of weeks to muster up enough energy (hello, first trimester!) and get the room painted.  Around this time, I was once again perusing through Target and stopped by the bedding department to see if they had anything else that matched what I had already purchased.  Much to my surprise, the bedding and all of the accessories I purchased a month before were now on clearance for over 50% off!!  See I told you, my procrastination and indecisiveness finally paid off.  So, I rushed home, returned what I had bought and repurchased everything (plus a lamp!) and paid half of what I had originally!  DOUBLE SCORE!

Davis has been in his new room for about 3 months now and he loves it.  He talks about the cars and trucks on his walls/bedding all the time!  The only issue in his room was this huge blank wall.  It was the longest, bluest, uninterrupted space in his room and it left me baffled.  Also, I kept having a situation with art projects piling up around my house.  Davis goes to an amazing daycare center and he comes home almost every day with some sort of drawing or other work of art.  I have grand ideas of taking pictures of his art and making books with Shutterfly, but honestly most of his art work resembles big blobs.  Don’t get me wrong, they are glorious and pretty much rival Picasso’s’ work, they just don’t photograph well. So, I came up with a solution to both of my problems – a Masterpiece Display!

Supplies Needed:

1:   I started by purchasing a simple picture hanging kit at Target.  It was ~$1.50.  Make sure it includes picture hanging wire and eye hooks.  If you want to go for a softer look, you can also use yarn or twine. I chose the wire to maintain the industrial look of the cars and trucks theme.

2:   I also purchased clothespins in two sizes from Hobby Lobby (they are in the craft wood section).

3:   I had already purchased some water-based acrylic paint from hobby lobby to paint some wood shelves for his room so I used that paint to dye the clothespins.

What to do: 

1: I mixed the paint with some water (make enough to completely cover the pins) in a kitchen bowl.  I allowed these to soak for about 8 hours but you can soak them for longer or add more paint to your mixture if you want a stronger color on your clothespins.  I then placed the pins on cooling rack to completely dry (overnight).

2:  I hung the picture wire using the screw eye hooks, about 12 inches from the ceiling and 1.5 feet from the end of the wall on both sides.  A laser level came in very handy when trying to do this.

3:  Then, I hung the wire between the two hooks rather tightly (it will bow when you add pictures to it).

4:  I also decided to us leftover lettering from my earlier bedding purchase to create a cute header.  I chose “My Creations” but other ideas are: “Works of Art”, “Masterpieces”, “Look What I Did” or something similar.

5:  Finally, I picked my favorite art pieces and hung them up, securing them with the dyed clothespins.

Voila!  No more empty wall and a creative, inexpensive way to display my little Picasso’s artwork! Try this in your little artist’s room. They will beam with pride as they show off their works of art!

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