Sunday, February 26, 2012

Project 52 - Week 8

The weather this weekend was beautiful. Perfect, really. It was in the 60's with the most glorious breeze that just called for me to open every window in the house, which now has that clean, fresh air smell.

We spent a lot of time outside, but when I was inside I was able to catch up on a lot of 'weekly cleaning', leaving me with limited time to focus on my weekly project. You may remember the project I started two weeks ago (here). Our spare bedroom closet has been a dumping ground of sorts and is calling for both E. J. and I to sort through the boxes we have stored away.
Believe it or not, these are actually 'after' pictures. I spent about an hour and a half going through my own things and actually collected two large garbage bags of things that I no longer need.

I gave E. J. a break and didn't even dare ask him to look through any of his stuff. He was sleeping on the couch, and rightfully so. He worked an insane amount this weekend and was absolutely exhausted, so he needed a moment to enjoy what little weekend he had.
So while the closet is still a work-in-progress, I'm happy to have made some more progress.

Plus, it was way more fun to enjoy our weekend in the fresh air.
We even got a little yard work done
Completely soaked and loving it
Oliver LOVES being sprayed
I need to take more opportunities to stop and enjoy the fresh air more often.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Rockin' Out

Last Friday afternoon Kathryn let loose and was ready to bring on the weekend. This pretty much sums up how I feel about Friday afternoon as well.


So happy that we're half-way there.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Transitions

Without any prior planning, all of us made a big transition this weekend. At the end of last week, E. J. said he thought it was a good time to turn Kathryn's crib into her toddler bed, meaning the front of her crib comes off, leaving it three-sided.

Whoa. Are we already at this point? Although it's less than three months away, I didn't think that we would be changing her bed until she was at least two. But with a little bit of hesitation, I agreed it was worth a shot.

On Saturday morning, E. J. removed the front her of crib and suddenly she was 21 years old, about to graduate college, and living in her own apartment. Okay, maybe it wasn't that drastic, but still, it was weird to see her crib transform into a toddler bed.

Saturday evening rolled around and it was time to put K to bed. I was a little nervous, especially because E. J. was working until 11 p.m., so I was on my own with this one.

After reading a book, I laid her down, tucked her in, gave her kisses and of course kissed her stuffed animals too (she demands that) and said goodnight. There were no tears. Great!

Thirty seconds later her door opens and she comes running out of her room, most likely amazed at her new found freedom. I promptly walked her back to her crib and tucked her into bed explaining that it was time to go to sleep.

After I left her room she came out again about a minute later. So again, I walked her back to her room and explained again that she had to shut her eyes to go to sleep. Still, no tears.

I texted E. J. to let him know that so far she had walked out of her room twice. He promptly texted back "just keep Super Nannying her". (Before K was born we saw an episode where the Super Nanny instructs the parents to be stern, but not mean, and just keep redirecting the child back to bed). And that I did!

Another minute passed and Kathryn came out of her room with her favorite stuffed little kitty covering her eyes because she knew she wasn't supposed to leave her bed. For the third time, I brought her back to her room.

Ten silent minutes had passed and I was in complete shock. After all, on Super Nanny the mom had to bring the kid back to his back like 30 times and here we were done at three!

Since I didn't hear any movement in her room through the monitor, I waited a full hour to go into her room so I wouldn't accidentally wake her.
Success!
She insisted on wearing a pair of my socks to bed
I was proud of both of us by the end of the night and I was extra curious to see how the morning routine would differ...

***

Around 8 a.m. E. J. and I were still sleeping. We were suddenly woken up by a strange knocking sound coming from Kathryn's room. We finally realized that she was knocking on her door to come out!

Mind you, she comes and goes as she pleases all the time, so opening the door is no issue. E. J. yelled from bed, "You can come out Kathryn, it's okay, come to mommy and daddy's room". To which the door quickly opened and she came running into our room. Yeah, it was one of those sickeningly precious and sweet moments.

Once nap time rolled around, she never left her room, but we did hear her doing something in there. I went to investigate and she had a bunch of books in her bed and was 'reading' to herself. Sweetness attack, again!

It seems she has taken the transition quite well thus far. Sunday night, she never left her crib and quickly went to sleep. However, at 12:45 a.m. Monday morning we woke up to screaming and found her half asleep on the floor. She made the four inch fall and was probably just scared and disoriented at that hour, but who isn't? She spent about two minutes in our room and was ready to go back to bed again. So far, so good.

Actually, I take my previous comment back. As fast as she's changing, she is 21 months going on 21 years old.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Project 52 - Week 7

Rather than continuing with last week's project, I had to take on Kathryn's closet. Had to. I mentioned a few weeks ago that after spending about 5 unsupervised minutes in her room, she completely tore apart her closet.
Exhibit A
I had all of her clothes organized by size, but Kathryn wanted her closet decorated differently. UGH! Although I have been annoyed at the pile for 2 weeks now, I haven't had the time to completely dedicate to it, until now.
Beginning to tackle the pile
Besides the fact that you couldn't set foot in her closet without standing on a pile of clothes, it was good and bad to reorganize everything. 'Good' because there's more space (at least in her closet - now I have to figure out where to put the bags), 'bad' because it was actually quite sad going through teeny tiny outfits and remembering when K was a mere newborn and everything was brand new.
In progress with my helper who was ready to walk though every pile I made :)
Everything from the closet floor now neatly folded and labeled by size
Better
Her closet is now looking better on the surface, but it only made me realize that I need to do some more weeding out. I was especially reminded today when she was walking around in a pair of 2T pants which overnight have become high-waters on her. It's already time to move to the next size...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's

Our Valentine's Day was a simple celebration, but nonetheless, a good day. Although I had already made plans to make dinner, I got a text from E. J. mid-day that read: "I'm just throwing this out there, but pepperoni rolls are 2 for 1 tonight".

We very rarely eat out or get take-out, so the mere thought of picking up a relatively cheap and tasty dinner (which meant I didn't have to cook) was a huge Valentine's Day gift in itself.
They don't look like much, but they're delish
After dinner we took a walk, searched for the perfect rocks to throw in the pond, and headed inside for bath time once it was dark.
Best iPhone pic I could get
After washing up K for bedtime, E. J. gave her a little Valentine's surprise - a box of Hersey Kisses (we discovered her love for them during Christmas).
Chocolate cures all
Even though she's still a little leery about eating some things with her sore gums from teething, she was able to easily down a Kiss. Funny how that works.
Just to add a dose of reality to Valentine's Day, once Kathryn was sleeping, I vacuumed and steam cleaned our bedroom and did a load of laundry. My motivation to get a few things done was dessert waiting for us in the fridge.

I found a delicious recipe (here) this summer. I've made this different take on 'rice crispies' a handful of times and they're a sure hit. They're SO easy and only take about 5 minutes to prepare. I love that you don't use butter or marshmallows in them, however, I add some extra ingredients to complete negate any 'healthier' qualities they once had.
Healthier (but not really) Peanut Butter Rice Crispies

1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 cups peanut butter
1/2 cup agave nectar (or honey)
4 cups rice cereal
12 oz bag of semisweet chocolate chips
Coconut (optional - can be sprinkled on top)

Place wax paper on a 9x13 baking dish

In a large pot on low heat, mix the peanut butter and coconut oil until they are both melted and smooth.

Add agave and still well

Take the pot off the heat and fold in the Rice Crispies

Pour in chocolate chips and stir quickly (you don't want all of them to melt)

Immediately put in prepared baking dish and put in the fridge for a few hours.

Cut into squares and enjoy!
***Since it was Valentine's, I took these to another level (as seen in picture above). I used some candy coating and dunked each half of the bars in a thick layer of chocolate. They did not disappoint***.

:: Happy Valentine's Day! ::

Monday, February 13, 2012

Distractions

With Kathryn's teething in full force this weekend (hello, she had 8 teeth coming in) we needed all the distractions we could find to get her mind off the pain in her mouth.

So what better distraction is there than the great outdoors?! It was a gloomy, cool weekend - perfect to escape from the indoors into the fresh air. We ventured off and took advantage of exploring our own 'backyard' - the pasture.
Instead of using the 'green machine' to drive and feed some of the horses, E. J. carried a bucket containing their food and we took a family walk. Our walk turned into an exploration for the perfect rocks to throw in the ponds - a favorite pastime of Kathryn's every since my dad opened her eyes to the exciting activity of rock thorwing this summer in New Hampshire.
Even though we play outside with Kathryn often, there was just something extra special about this family 'adventure'. It was good for all of us.
A quick visit to say 'hello' to the chickens
Things are looking up with teething, for now. K's back to sleeping through the night! (I think we're more excited about that one than she is)
Always exploring new fashion options
Whether it's high heels or cowboy boots, so looks great
Have a great week, y'all!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Project 52 - Week 6

Much like last week, motivation was hard to come by. Teething is still running rampant in our house and I've have a cold that has also left me drained. Therefore, this week only has before/in-progress pictures.

I decided to start tackling the spare bedroom closet. Honestly, this closet has been a dumping ground since we moved in 3 1/2 years ago. It has so many things from both of our pasts packaged up in boxes and carelessly thrown on top of said boxes.
From high school diplomas, a printer, holiday decorations, paintball ammo, and even my old maternity clothes, this space needs a serious makeover.
Starting the organization progress...this is going to be a long one
Hopefully next week I'll be wrapping up this project. For now, it's time for me to get some much needed rest. Can't believe it's back to the grind already.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Working Mom

I linked up with Kelly's Korner Working Moms post. It's pretty obvious that my blog is lacking serious personality, especially with no "about me" page, but that will come soon. I promise.

In the meantime...I'm Barbara, the author of Town and Country Mom. Welcome!

I'm 28, married to E. J. and we are first time parents to our 21 month old daughter, Kathryn.
Summer 2011
Whether you work outside of the home or not, being a mom is no joke. If you are a reader of my blog, it's a lot about the happenings of our life as told by me, a mom who works outside of our home.

I work in higher education and really enjoy the field that I'm in. Although, it happened a little by accident. I needed to work while I was in graduate school and thankfully was hired by a college so I could support myself while going to school. It didn't take long, but I realized that higher education is the field that I really want to be in and have been in for the last 6 years.

Being a stay-at-home mom wasn't in the cards for me (especially with students loans from grad school). It was definitely hard to accept at first as I had always imagined I would be able to stay at home.

We are very lucky that E. J.'s mom has been able to watch Kathryn and will do so until this fall when she will start going to "school". That has been a tremendous blessing!

The day to day routine can be incredibly exhausting! E. J. and I try to car pool when we can so we leave the house at 6:50 a.m. each day, drop our sweet girl off at her grandma and grandpa's house and then head "into town" as the country folks call it (hence Town and Country Mom). We have a 70 mile round trip drive to work, so if we can carpool, it's definitely more economical.

I drop E. J. off at work (since he's in law enforcement, he has his own patrol car during the day) and then I work 7:45 a.m.-4:45 p.m., pick him up, and then we head home to pick up Kathryn.

I don't usually get to sit down until at least 8 p.m. after I cook dinner, give K a bath, make lunches, etc. (Don't be fooled, E. J. isn't sitting around during this time - there are always chores galore to be done). All of those things are followed and intermingled with spending some quality time with Miss K and then it's time for a nighttime story. After she's in bed, it's time for us to crash...in between doing laundry, setting out my outfit for the next day...you know, all that "fun" stuff. Of course, catching up on my DVR'd TV shows are top priorities too!

At times I'm a little overwhelmed with the balancing act, but if being a mom who works outside of the home means I get to come home to this face each day, well, then I'm good with that.
And, I'm totally okay with skipping cleaning the house if it means more precious time with Kathryn.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tired

Tired. It sums up how we have all felt this week. Kathryn is teething big time. She has 8 teeth coming in (some have already broken through her gums and others are just about to come through). She's in pain, tired, hungry (she's not eating much because it "hawts" to eat).

E. J. and I are just mainly tired. K decided to wake up at 4:45 a.m. one morning this week and then other nights have included multiple wake-ups. She's not really high maintenance when she wakes up, but it definitely takes its toll on us, kind of like having a newborn again.

She even fell asleep on E. J. after he got home from work on Monday - completely unlike her.
It hasn't been all tears and sleepless nights around here. I haven't been able to capture many pictures of her this week because she thinks it's funny to move quickly away from the camera when I'm about to take a picture. Pretty much every picture I have of her this week looks a lot like this:
She happily ventured out to spend some time with the horses while at her grandma's this week.
This is my favorite picture - the stare down
Tucked into bed for the night with her entourage. We're all hoping for a good night's sleep.
Happy Friday!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Project 52 - Week 5

Drawers. What is it about them that just call for junk to be collected in every corner...and then some. Drawers will most definitely be a reoccurring theme throughout the year, if you know what I mean.

To be honest, I really didn't want to do any extra projects around the house this weekend. We had flash floods on Friday evening which brought in a cold front on Saturday. The rain was much needed, but so much at one time resulted in our front yard becoming a mud yard. With it finally feeling like winter (last week was nearing 80 almost everyday - gross) all I wanted to do was hang around and be lazy.

So I finally got off my butt at 8 p.m. this evening and decided to tackle my nightstand. It definitely needed to face lift.
So back to the point of this: Drawers.
Need a closer look? My top drawer - the worst offender
Yes, you are seeing correctly, there are two (actually more beneath the pile) York Peppermint Patty wrappers in there. Don't judge.

I went through piles of old receipts, nail polish, creams, medicine, retainers, and found about 20 of my favorite type of hair elastics. That's where they were hiding! (No - the cat was not in any of my drawers)
A much more ladylike nightstand
As much as I hated doing any sort of organizing this weekend, it is nice to open up my nightstand and be able to find what I'm looking for instead of being greeted by old candy wrappers.

Don't forget to check out K's 21 month post below!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

21 Months

K officially hit 21 months today and it makes me so happy to see what a little girl she is becoming. Geez you're getting so big, Kathryn.
I love that you are usually a happy little lady, unless of course when you don't get your way. You really have the whole stomping-your-feet-thing down to get your point across. Too bad your mommy and daddy are pros at not giving in right away.
Although, we don't last that long since you're learning to say "sowry". I don't care what you do, if you say "sowry" I'm a pile of mush.
You're still not into bows or ponytails in your hair. Most likely because I never really put them in your hair when you were really little, so now they're probably an annoyance to you. That's ok though, a bow doesn't make you girlier or prettier. You can wear them when you want to - if you want to.
You are incredibly sensitive and I love that about you. You are totally your daddy's daughter when it comes to animals. I have never seen someone be so excited to see a cat, a dog, a cow, a horse, or even a turkey.
We went to your first kid's birthday party on you 21st month birthday (friends of ours have a daughter who just turned two). While all the other kids were chasing the family's cat, you were the only one who went up to it and gently pet the kitty and of course gave it a kiss.
Goodie bag!
You've been asking at least once a day for the last week to use the potty - it's more like "pee pee!, pee pee!" as you grab your diaper and run to the bathroom. You really seem to be taking the lead on this one, so if you want to self-potty train, we're cool with that ;).
Rockin' the one knee-high look
Happy 21 months, sweet girl. You're the best.