Friday, January 31, 2014

Goodbye Gymboree...

Well, technically it's called Baby Bugs.  Simone has spent the last seven months in a class at Aspire Gymnastics where she's been learning to socialize with other kids, bounce on trampolines, and climb everything!

The class is for kids 0-15 months, and we've reached the end of our time there.  Sad that it's over, but she's had an amazing time.  I highly recommend Aspire, and truly if we could do both swim & gymnastics right now, we would be moving on to the next class.  The best part about Baby Bugs is it is FREE.  They offer paid classes for all ages, as well as open gym.  Simone's teacher, Coach Kat was patient, and helpful with the kids.  The Moms (& Dads) also had a great time chatting and getting to socialize while the kids tear around.

Aspire is the training facility of the ASU Men's Gymnastics team, and there are regularly guys & girls there doing amazing things!  So, if you are in the area, check it out!

Going back through my photos I realized just how much Simone has grown up since starting there. 

Our first time at Baby Bugs...

Other fun moments from our time there...

Our last day, yesterday morning... Doing her favorite thing, the trampoline!

 A little note, there were so many activities that we did there that I could not capture pictures of while wrangling Simone.  They have a great foam pit the kids can get it, super bouncy trampolines, a tumbling track, uneven bars, beams, etc.  I can't say enough about how great of a place it is... but, I will say we will be back someday!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Texas Fudge - A Breakfast Casserole

 Texas fudge is a delicious breakfast casserole that my Mom-in-law taught me to make.  It's easy, you can prepare it ahead of time (night before!), and everyone loves it!  Warning, there are copious amounts of cheese in this dish... if that make you nervous, look away!  If you're like me... add a little extra cheese and LAUGH.

What you need...

6 eggs
8 ounces of heavy whipping cream
3-5 tablespoons of milk 
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups of shredded Monterrey jack cheese
2 4oz cans of chopped green chillies

Get it done...

Preheat oven to 350
Beat together by hand the first five ingredients (eggs, cream, milk, & cheeses)

Spray 9x13 pan with non-stick spray
Spread chillies evenly across bottom of pan

Pour egg mixture carefully over chillies

If you are preparing ahead of time, you can stop here... or cook it about 1/2 way through.  Put it in the fridge (I don't leave it for more then 24 hours).  

Bake at 350 for 40 mins or until golden on top and a knife comes out clean

We love it, and have this regularly on the weekends, since I can just pop it in the oven when we get up.  This makes it an ideal dish for Christmas or Thanksgiving mornings, too!  It's even really amazing reheated.  I'll make us a big one on Sunday, and Todd eats it for breakfast for the first half of the week.  


Friday, January 24, 2014

Simone's Table Makeover

For a while I've been searching for a little table & chair set for Simone.  I was looking at the Ikea Kids Table  over and over.  But it was so borrrrrinnnnnggggg (said in my best angst-y teenager voice).  Although the great things about that set are A. the price, and B. the fact that you could do anything with the paint.  

Luckily, I didn't pull the trigger on that set and waited.  I stopped off at Goodwill to browse with Simone one afternoon and found this BEAUTY!  A real wood table with cute little chairs for, hold on to your butts...$17!  It was cheaper than the cheap Ikea table set and it will have some longevity, too.

Some Mom put some love into this paint job, but it wasn't our style.  It took me a few weeks to get it done, because I really have like two hours during a day that I get to myself.  Well, to be fair... I have more than that, but the rest of the time is usually spent vacuuming, washing dishes, working, blogging, and occasionally peeing.  Anyways, I used leftover Valspar Paint from her room (Simone's Styling Diggs) to complete the project.  After a few layers of paint, and some elbow grease this is how it turned out.

I'm all about finding a GOOD DEAL!  And, I love that I was able to make it well suited for Simone.  Good thing is as she grows up we could change the color to fit her style... or possibly for baby #2.  Oh, gosh, just saying that makes my head spin!

Simone was so grateful!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

I'm not about that park life.

The park.  Ahhh the location of so many play dates, birthday's, and hang outs.  And I'm just totally grossed out by the giant litter box.  Ok, so I'm half kidding here.  The park isn't that bad.  We always have a good time when we go.  I'm not sure what part of me can't seem to be "all in" when it comes to the park.  Although, I'm guessing it's the the type A, control freak of a mother, who never wants her baby dirty, part.  Blerg.

Let me stop right there.  I will say that I not only let her get dirty, I encourage it.  It's a huge part of learning for her, and for me, too.  She has even put a handful of that sand in her mouth.  Of course, she quickly spat it out when she realized she was eating pebbled poison!  And, the sand... the sand is EVERYWHERE.  And, by going to the park I've signed  up for two days of finding sand on her body... even after a tubby.  Since I have a 15 month old I better get used to it, right?!  And, Mom friends, please accept the weird creature that I am.

Things are getting better at the park as she can experience more, and pulling her in the wagon on the way is bliss!  Taking Simone to the park with Landon (her big cousin) is also a great way to curb me hating on the park.  Those two can make anything fun and adorable.  So, I'm making progress on my journey to loving the park.
Give me time.

"we should go play in the grass, it's more fun..." - me

Are there any regular kid things that give you the heebie jeebies?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Dear 15 month old Simone...

Dear Simone,

Today, you are fifteen months old, and I want to tell you first that I absolutely love you.

I'm sure you gather that... from the kisses I request throughout the day, from the snuggles I steal when you're sitting still, and from the times I make you do what's best for you instead of what you want.

Right now some of your favorite things are running, squawking, waving, giving kisses, and petting our kitty Ozzie.  Your Daddy & I love hearing you say "Hi, Daddy" or "Hi, Ozzie" while waving.  You "take care" of your baby dolls (and Mommy & Daddy) by patting them on the back.  I already see the nurturing spirit I'm sure you will carry through your whole life.

I'm so proud that you have love and interest for other kids around you.  You love giving kisses to your friends and waving at any kid you see while we are out and about.  And, you're LEARNING to share... it's not easy, but we will get there.

Simone & her buddy Taylor having some grahams
You no longer walk, you run.  You sit at your little table and have snacks (with a dolly, or a friend).  You are sleeping THROUGH THE NIGHT in your big girl bed!  Breakfast is your favorite meal and you usually start the day with three servings of oatmeal.  Your other favorite foods are strawberries, quinoa (with carrots & cheese), blueberries, spoons of peanut butter, and most of all bread.

at the park with Landon
You love being outside, in the sand, or in your wagon.  You really love being in your wagon with your big cousin, Landon!  You love climbing on the couch and looking over the back at me while I'm cooking.  You love playing in the kitchen with pots & pans.  You love going outside and ringing your wind chime every night with your Daddy when he gets home.  And, I love capturing pictures of it all.

showing Daddy you're ready for anything
You are doing fantastic in swimming lessons.  Your teacher always speaks of your improvement from week to week, and we beam with pride.  I watch you while you're in class doing your airplane, bubbles, and rainbow dives.  Someday you will swim with strength and confidence, and it's all because of the work you are putting in now.

waiting your turn at swim
I wanted to tell you in this letter that I know it's hard for you when I put you into time out.  Trust me, it's hard for me, too.  Especially since I know you are a genuinely GOOD girl.  Right now we are working on our communication.  I'm BLOWN away by what you understand.  I ask you for something, and you go look for it for me.  You are so impressive, and in time you will be able to tell me exactly what you need.  Until then we will take time to try to understand each other more.  You're doing so good with your signs and already understanding that sometimes we have to do something we don't like.

we made it through your first molars!
I was never sure how it was possible before I met you... but I love you more this morning than I have ANY OTHER morning of your life.  Every day my love for you grows stronger and I'm thankful for even the toughest moments of our day.  If you choose to someday be a mother I hope to be there to remind you that the best things in life are hardly ever easy.  They require you to work, to be challenged, and to be tested.  The most important part is how you respond.  Trust me, sweet daughter, I'm still learning this myself.  The best part is I get to learn this as I grow with you, and your Daddy.

Happy fifteen months, Simone.  I'm not sure how this time passed so quickly.  Though, I am sure that it has been a ride I'd only want to take with someone as truly amazing as you are.


Ps.  I love you forever.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Fall Flashback - Mother Nature's Farm

While I was on my blogging break, I missed posting some really cute pics of Simone.  Here's a little flashback to our trip to Mother Nature's Farm.

We visited Mother Nature's Farm in Gilbert, Arizona for some fall fun and cute pictures.  Simone had such a great time on the hayride (although, I was paranoid something would happen the whole time), and looking at the animals.  It's a sweet little place.  Which is perfect for younger kids who can make the trek around bigger farms like Schnepf Farms.  Plus the price of $3.00 for adults & kids over three can't be beat!  

We had fun hanging with our friends  in the piles of pumpkins, got some really cute pics, and packed our lunches for a quick snack while we enjoyed the day.  Simone sure loves giving Logan kisses!

They also have a deal on Friday's where all pumpkins (any size) are $5.  So even the gigantic pumpkins can be hauled away for really cheap!  This is great if you are doing a cute pumpkin set up by your front door.  But, beware if you live in Arizona, or more accurately Ahwatukee right off the mountain ... a pack of javelinas ate EVERY pumpkin off of our doorstep.  They literally ate everything except for the stem.  Crazy, right?  

Such a great day... Fall in AZ... we wear shorts!

Another great bonus, this adventure wiped out Simone (who has energy for days), and she slept two & a half hours after leaving.  Fall in Arizona isn't really fall... it's more like spring, hence why she's not wearing leggings, a hat, or socks & shoes. 

We will have a few more flashbacks coming your way, soon!

Friday, January 17, 2014

I'm that honestly honest post

That Mom... the one with the screaming child.  When I say screaming, I mean EAR PIERCING SQUAWKING that can be heard from a mile away.  Hi, that's me!

I can't have your iPhone?  Shits about to go down...
Many people can't believe that sweet and happy Simone could be so challenging.  For our friends at Gymboree and swim lessons... it's not so hard to imagine.  Simone has entered a phase where she demands to get her way.  Now, I was ALWAYS the first to say the common "it's the parent's fault", before we had her.  So, I guess this is kind of my kid-karma coming back to BITE me directly in the ass. 

Max aint got NOTHING on Simone...
I swear to you, we do try to lay down the law with her (and also swear we miss the mark, often), but with a one year old you are pretty limited on punishments.  However, at our home we have now initiated TIME OUT.  But, time out at this age feels like trying to play fetch with a six week old puppy. 

Simone is all peaches and cream when she's doing something she is comfortable with, when no other kids are touching her toys (for some reason it only matters when it's other toddlers), and when she is in a great mood.  Throw in needing a nap.... throw in teething... throw in someone else having her car, ball, or letters... and THROW OUT THE TOWEL.  She loses her noodle.  Lately, it's been losing it to the point of throwing her body on the ground and screaming. 

As I look on in horror, I try to be patient and firm.  Explaining to her that "this is not how we behave", or "would you like to go to time out", or "we need to share with other kids".  In my mind (don't tell her until she's older) I'm thinking HOLY SHIT KID, GET IT TOGETHER, NOW!!!

Crazy Mommy eyes...
I keep being reminded by friends, family, and those BRAVE enough to approach this disaster, that this is a PHASE.  That she is in between baby and toddler, and when she's better at communicating and understanding things will improve.  We're hopeful (maybe ignorantly so) that having a punishment that is consistent will help curb this behavior.

I'm not writing this blog post with any answers if you are going through this yourself.  Honestly, it's just to vent, or so that other Mom's know you're not alone.  I'm currently researching ways to handle this with love, understanding, and care.  In the mean time, I'll be pulling out my hair (hopefully the grey ones), and just trying to hang on for dear life.  If you have tips I would LOVE to hear them!

It's tough being a wild thing...

Remind me, what was so hard about a newborn?!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Making a Difference

In early December I started feeling the hard sting of missing my Mom.  It's always a challenge for me around the holidays to deal with the fact that we don't have her around, and December 17th was the two year anniversary of her death.  

During this time I always try my best to stay busy.  Which, is pretty easy when you have a one year old.... but this year (2013) seemed to be extremely hard on me.  The weeks leading up to the 17th were filled with a roller coaster of emotions.  I would be totally fine during the day, but by evening I would be welling up with tears at the thoughts running through my own mind.  I tried desperately to hide my emotions from Todd and Simone... and everyone else around me.  

Then I saw a quote.  You know when people say "it spoke to me"... well it really did.  It spoke to something deep inside of me that said DO SOMETHING WITH YOURSELF.  The quote was...

"When I do good, I feel good.  When I do bad... I feel bad.  That is my religion."  - Abraham Lincoln 

I decided that I wanted to do some good, and moreover... I wanted to take all of this energy that my mind and body were creating and make a difference.  Even though my Mom will never be at another Christmas gathering, I had the power to put her spirit into someones Christmas.

At this point, I decided that I would collect up a bunch of Simone's baby stuff, toys, and a few things that were just sitting around not being used.  Someone with a baby could put all of it to good use, and even wrap a few of the new items as a Christmas gift.  It wasn't much, but it was what I could do.

I posted on one of the resale websites on Facebook where people sell baby items.  I listed one item as free to someone who needed it.  There were many responses.  I gave the item to a sweet lady who had a daughter a little older than Simone.  

From there, I was contacted by a social worker who had several families that needed help.  She told me their stories and said that ANYTHING I could give them would help.  These families were truly in need... many of them with no pots or pans to cook in, they needed basic necessities like shampoo & conditioner, and they did not have any means to give their children Christmas gifts. 

I put the word out on my Facebook, to my friends, to complete strangers on the resale sites.  Then, something amazing happened, the response was nothing short of overwhelming.  Day after day I received donations for these families.  Simone and I were all over the valley filling up our car with everything from brand new toys, to bath towels, pots & pans, toothpaste, body wash, and gently used clothing and toys.  People were beyond generous.  People were supportive, and extremely HAPPY to be helping someone they didn't even know.  

By the end of the first day we had collected a ton of donations!
Simone enjoyed sorting through everything!
We also received emails from people who needed help, and from others who knew of families who needed help.  In all, we were able to help ten families!  All it took was one person connecting those who wanted to give and those who were in need.  Without the support, donations, and kindness of people I know (and most I had never met) we wouldn't have been able to accomplish this.

 After everything had been picked up, we sorted out based on ages of the children, and the needs of that family.  We were able to give more than just toys... we were able to supply people with items that also met their NEEDS.

Just part of the donations in my garage!

Loaded up on delivery day - Part 1!

Simone surrounded by donations! 
I wanted to share this... because I want other people to know that you can take energy from something that is draining you, and use it for good.  You can give to someone and make them smile... and in turn you will feel better than you could have ever imagined.  And, how appropriate... on the two year anniversary of my Mom's passing, I was living in a way that she could be proud of, and I actually felt better than I had all month. 

This is something that I would like to make a tradition with our family.  Todd & I have also talked about starting up a non-for profit company in my Mom's honor to go along with this tradition.  If you would like to help or be a part of this please do not hesitate to contact me at  

I hope that you will join me in your own way to help those who are struggling.