Thursday, May 31, 2012

This is what I wake up to...

I had the privilege of attending a photography workshop and also enjoyed an evening getting to know a new friend better last week. It was one of the highlights of my month- which has been as busy as usual, thus the lack of blogging. Again. My apologies to anyone who still checks in here with any regularity. I keep promising to do better at posting, but have been lousy at follow through. Maybe my summer will allow time for that. But I am not making any promises...just hopful!
So this photography workshop I attended was geared for moms who want to improve their photos and it was a night full of great tips, techniques and examples of how to do things right or wrong with lighting. The morning after my workshop I was obviously inspired by the headful of information I had gained the night before, so I had my camera on the counter, ready to implement something I had learned.
Crew was my first 'lucky' victim. =)
We never know if he is going to come down the stairs grinning or grumpy. It's more often than not his grumpy side that greets us, and last Monday morning he was all of that. He was even less thrilled to see my camera in hand. But the lighting was exactly what the photographer had said would capture the catchlights in his eyes. So I snapped a photo anyway. Her next trick was to offer candy to get a great smile. I decided it was worth a try- even if Crew hadn't had breakfast yet. I couldn't bring myself to offer candy, but asked if he wanted a Super Mario fruit snack {which, I know, is no better than candy, but we moms like to play tricks on ourselves at times too} and his grouchy face sudeenly turned happy at that very thought.
Chip says he likes the grumpy face picture best. I think because it is so very "Crew" as we seem him most mornings and even though it is frustrating and annoying to snap him out of it much of the time, it is still the way we start our days and it definitely makes us love his smiles even more.
Tomorrow is the last day of school for Brock, Bella and Ava. That thought thrills and causes panic in me at the same time. But I hope that we have more smiles than frowns and I just know to savor it all because it really does fly by so quickly. I hope you all have more to smile about than frown right now, and if not, I hope you can hold fast to the fact that the clouds don't last forever. Before you know it the sun will shine again!

Friday, May 18, 2012

His personality is taking shape.

My "baby" is fast approaching the age of two. He's been learning and watching his 5 older siblings for many, many months now and in just a few days Teague will be 21 months old. Twenty-one. I am sure it will seem but a blink and the months will be replaced with years and I will wonder how it all happened so quickly.
So for that simple fact, I snapped a couple of pictures and am compelled to write a few things about my little guy who is growing up all too fast and capture a little bit of who he is today. At almost 21 months.
I heard him wake up this morning a little bit after 8am and just after I had poured some more hot coffee into my cup. I thought I might have a minute or two to myself as Crew sat and watched "Team UmiZoomi" and I had just cleaned up from seeing the older kids off to the bus and out the door for their second-to-last Friday of the school year.
I typically hear Teague awake with a small whimper or cry or some sort of fussing that lets me know he is ready to get out of his crib and on with the start of his day. Nine times out of 10 he wakes up just a tad on the 'grumpy side' and he has to ease into the morning with some whole milk, some hug time or his newest favorite cartoon... Peppa Pig. Often times it is a combination of all three. Today as I opened his door and stepped into his room, I saw him standing at the head of his crib holding onto the rail. As I took a couple of steps toward him he grinned and then lifted his hands up in the air and said, "Ta Da!"
It was the cutest thing ever.
It made up for some of the not-so-nice things he has been up to lately. Including dumping out half a bag of Raisin Bran just so he could eat the raisins out of the mix. Or when he repeatedly pulls out dirty dishes as I am loading the dishwasher. Or the knack he has for doing that limp-body thing whenever you need to  carry him in or out of somewhere or change the activity he is in the middle of doing and he doesn't want to do it. He charmed me especially so this past Sunday on Mother's Day when he screamed- yes, screamed- the whole drive {about 10 minutes long} from the church parking lot to Culvers where we ate lunch with my mom and dad. He was a handful running around everywhere at lunch too, but at least he had quit screaming once we got him inside.
One of the things that is cute even when he is being not-so-nice these days is when I raise my voice or call his name if he's getting into mischief. Most of the time he doesn't respond. But he almost always snaps out of whatever it is or gives me his attention when I call him by his middle name, "Easton". I am working on getting the rest of the family to call him that too. For some reason he is starting to look like an Easton to me. We'll see how that turns out!
And now for the flip-side. He is such a great kid when it comes to meals. He loves so many different foods. He loves 'helping' in the kitchen {I just wrote about how great he is at emptying the dishwasher!}, and he even tries new things very readily. Just last week he ate almost all the tomatoes off of a salad I was eating. I was surprised he didn't spit out the first one and then he wanted more and more and more! He LOVES berries- blueberries and blackberries especially. He loves to sit in the driver's seat and pretend to drive. He loves old classic songs from Sesame Street and he knows how to pull them up and watch them over and over again on our cellphones.
He is a growing, active, smart, funny, dynamic personality in our home where he could easily be out-shined by someone else. Somehow though, he, just like all my other kids, has a way of bringing his own charm and personality and flavor into the mix. It's not always easy mothering my busy brood of kids. But it is always entertaining, often dramatic and on even the most ordinary days, it seems someone makes it special. If by simply announcing, "TA-DA!" when I walk into their room.
Oh how I love my little guy. Even when he's not always so nice. He more than makes up for it and I am so glad I get to be a part of his life and watch him grow into who God has created him to be!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

{Healthy} Cinnamon-Swirl Brioche ala Pinterest =)

We are well into the month of May already and here I am, finally bopping in to my own blog to catch up for a minute. Life has been every bit as crazy and busy as you might imagine it to be with spring in full bloom, the golf course open and bustling with business, the kids passing along colds and coughs and fevers- as though they are toally into sharing so why not share germs, and a few other things like our former nanny and great friend, Rachael staying for a long weekend visit. It really has been a busy and full few weeks around here. I don't see a whole lot of slowing down as school come to a close and summer kicks up its heels either!
If you wonder where I find the time to hang out on Pinterest, I'll tell you. From 10:30-11:15pm. =) Or any time I can grab a minute here or there in the middle of the craziness too. I happened to log in at just the precise moment yesterday when one of the pinners I follow posted this cinnamon swirl brioche. I clicked over to the recipe first and then realized it was "a must-make recipe" especially in light of my wanting to cut out processed food and eat healthier overall. So I went ahead and pinned it and then facebooked a link noting that I wanted to make it. I figured that would 'force' me to try it and not just dream about it. Well, whatever I did worked, because in a matter of minutes I had the dough proofing on my counter and was very happy with how easily it had come together to that point. Even though I was short one egg and I was using all whole-grain wheat flour in place of white. I was determined to make it work.
So this morning I found myself awake at 5:15am...thanks to Teague, who promptly went back to sleep. I however was awake for the day and headed out for a few groceries. Including a couple of dozen eggs. =) After getting the kids up and out the door for school I pulled out the dough that was ready and waiting and rolled it out using a can of bakng spray, as we haven't unpacked the box with our rolling pin in it yet. Somehow, this bread dough still rolled out nearly perfectly and then with the help of Crew, we added the cinnamon filling, sliced the dough, braided it, and put 3 loaf pans carefully in the hot oven.
Crew, and Teague by this point, could hardly wait to taste it. They looked through the oven window with the light on several times during the baking process. It turned out better than I imagined it would, and it was even easier than I had expected it to be as well. A total win-win as far as I was concerned. The fact that it is very healthy, with minimal sugar and whole grain too...bonus.
So here you go...the original recipe that I found and pinned. Just 24 hours ago. If you pin this and start the recipe you can be slicing and eating this or bringing it to your favorite teacher or neighbor or garbage man by this time tomorrow too! Good luck and happy baking!