January 29, 2009

Almost three . . .

Love that open "TV viewing" mouth. I think I must do that, too. I can't tell you how many times I've been deep in concentration when my mother's voice pierced my busy thoughts to advise me that I might catch a fly.

My Benjamin is nearly three. He's hard to capture (aka catch) on film these days. He's busy. He's super-enthusiastic about almost anything. He never eats his dinner. He's constantly asking me "Mommy, whatcha do-nun?" I think it's his version of "Why?" He adores his little lunch time show, Maggie and the Ferocious Beast. He recently went with his daddy (and a bunch of other daddies and their boys) to see the Monster Truck Jam. It was a big hit. He is really, really tall. He is exceptionally smart, and has a memory like a steel trap. He's got great eyelashes. He currently calls his baby sister "Diva Guy". He loves, with wild abandon, his family . . . immediate, extended, those near and far.

I am nuts about this boy.


January 26, 2009

Banana Nut Bread

If, by chance, you're born into my mother's side of the family, one naturally inherits the ability to cook. If you're me, and you miss out on the culinary gene, there is (thankfully) a family cookbook. Following is my Aunt Linda's recipe for mouth-watering banana nut bread:

Banana Nut Bread

1 stick butter (or margarine)
7/8 cup sugar
1 egg
3-4 ripe bananas
1-1/2 cup flour
3/4 tsp soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts

For bread, bake 50-55 minutes at 350 (or until toothpick inserted comes out clean).
For large muffins, bake 15-20 minutes at 350.
For mini-muffins (Ben's favorite), bake 12-15 min at 350.

It's just so simple. It's just so good.


January 25, 2009

A model's debut . . .

Poor darling, her photographer is still learning. These are the precious few (decent) shots I got yesterday at the CRASH Course. I still need to work on exposure, focus and depth of field.


CRASHing with Cameron

CRASHing defined? Spend a little Christmas dough, charge my camera, jump in my car and head to Bryan, Texas for a full day camera course courtesy of the very fine Shauna Maness . . . with Cameron-girl in tow. It was tricky, juggling my nine-month old firecracker along with my cherished Canon, but it sure was fun.

Gracious and kind, as always, dear Shauna offered for me to bring Cameron Elizabeth. Even more fun, she suggested that we let the little doll be our morning model. Other than an hour-and-a-half crying jag on the way to Bryan, she was a happy camper. Cameron scooted around all morning, napped, then smiled her way into many a camera lens.

I have a lot to learn. Mainly, to override my camera. It's as tricky as it sounds for this novice. But I'm learning. Apertures, depth of field and shutter speed, oh my! All of my pictures came out blurred (I still don't know what I did wrong), but I'll keep on practicing. Practice makes perfect! And I think Shauna has captured perfection.

Thank you, dear teacher, for sharing your enthusiasm and your mind-blowing talent with a novice and her baby. Thank you, also, fellow wanna-be-photographers, for letting me be 'that girl' yesterday. As in, the one who showed up late to class WITH A BABY. You guys were all so kind, so helpful. I'm so grateful. Shutterbugs, rock it!


January 15, 2009

Cherished Children's Books

These sweet reads translate to a Burkett Bestseller List. Yes, we too have worn out Goodnight Moon and Guess How Much I Love You. But these following titles now have torn dustjackets and well-worn pages as well. I feel like I should include a small disclaimer . . . Revolting Rhymes is not for the faint of heart. Mothers of boys and those of you with a slightly sick sense of humor . . . you're gonna love it!

Do Unto Otters
Laurie Keller

I Love You More
Laura Duksta

Rob Scotton

Margaret Wise Brown

Roald Dahl

On the Night You Were Born
Nancy Tillman

Never Too Little to Love
Jeanne Willis & Jan Fearnley

Sarah Weeks & Sam Williams


January 13, 2009

On being a student . . .

I am a student, and certainly not a straight-A student, like my former sans-child-bearing-hips self. This student more closely resembles the one in my recurring college nightmares. I am a struggling pupil, at the mercy of my children, who are so many steps ahead of me I can no longer keep count. That said, I have become quite adept at many things under their rigorous tutoring. I can . . .

-Find the long-lost sippy cup. Fast.

-DVR "Maggie & the Ferocious Beast" with my eyes closed

-Locate, pre-soak, wash and dry the cherished blanket before it's even missed

-Handle the "Witching Hour", which involves making four dinners (the dog's, Ben's, ours, and the baby's), all the while holding Cameron The Great Nap-Striker on my hip. For the record, this happens every night, week after week, month after month, and NO I STILL HAVEN'T GOTTEN THAT GIRL TO SLEEP THRU THE NIGHT, so I remain completely sleep-deprived while juggling.

-Provide my services as a Jungle Gym, which is especially helpful on a day too cold to venture to the park. I'm also a rock-star flotation device at the swimming pool.

-I am one mean diaper-rash-stopping machine.

Still working on the fine art of discipline. Today I screamed (yes, screamed) at Ben from the confines of my too-small-shower to leave my steaming hot mug of French Vanilla alone. As in, "Benjamin James, DO NOT TOUCH THAT, DO NOT TOUCH IT, LISTEN TO ME, AAAHHHHHH, NOOOOOOOO!!!" It sloshed all over my just-cleaned bathroom countertops and all down his little navy labrador T-shirt. It's the cutest shirt, and the bathroom did look pretty and polished after my rigorous scrubbing. More yelling, tears welling . . . When I finally pried the darling rooster mug from his coffee-coated hands, he looked up at me with those big brown eyes and said "Mommy, will you be nice to me now?" That kid. Like I said, I'm learning, too.


January 08, 2009

Top 10 Mommy Must Haves!

I'm starting a new trend . . . maybe! We'll see if this catches on . . . My Top 10 Mommy Must Haves.
Life just wouldn't be the same without 'em.

10. The Kid Tough DVD Player. It's tough enough to be dropped, and it comes with earphones. Need I say more to you who just braved the modern world with your little Christmas travelers?
We've also become big fans of the Kid Tough Camera and FP3 Player.

9. Lansinoh Diaper Rash Ointment. It has triple protection (lanolin, zinc oxide, dimethicone), and the best part, it goes on white and rubs in clear. Perfection, I promise.

8. Ian's All-Natural and Organic Food for Kids. Ben has a milk allergy, so this line of food really is perfect for us, but it's also a healthy alternative to some not-so-nutritious favorites. Sold at HEB, fair prices, gluten free. Their turkey corn dog bites are a big hit . . . I think I'm in love!

7. Noodle and Boo makes the most heavenly smelling baby products in the world. No I'm not exaggerating, although I do tend to exaggerate from time to time. Makes my little ones smell like angels. The Extra Gentle Shampoo is divine, the Conditioning Hair Polish can solve any case of bed-head, and the Ultimate Ointment is a miracle cream. It's on everybody's hot list in Hollywood, and you can get it from yours truly!

6. Tweezerman facial hair scissors are perfect for teeny-tiny fingernails. The rounded tips are safe, and the cutting edge is sharp. Tweezerman is gold-standard, and at $12/pair, the price is golden, too.

5. Oxi. As in OxiClean. They really are the stain specialists.

4. The coolest baby monitor around is from Bebe Sounds . . . Two videos, one tiny little monitor, and I can spy on my sleeping (or non-sleeping) babies any time I want! It's like reality tv, only it never fails to warm my heart, confirm my suspicions, and provide me with some really big laughs.

3. Cool Mom Picks. I check it daily. Fun and fresh ideas for hip moms like us!

2. Starbucks. We call it Fourbucks. I don't care, I can't live without my coffee fix.

1. Ziplocks. As in bags. Dirty diaper? Ziplock. Leftover lunch? Ziplock. Suckers, handi-wipes, bandaids, and more? In a Ziplock. My purse, my diaper bag, my suitcases, my car . . . They're everywhere!

Let me know what you can't live without , and I'll post my favorite response!


January 06, 2009

Candid Cameron

Isn't she sweet? At nearly nine months old, she is about seventeen pounds. She's crawling like crazy and pulling up like a pro. Her first tiny tooth just showed up . . . How I'll miss that gummy smile. She continues to light up our world with giggles and grins. Her big brother loves to explain worldly possessions to her (that's MINE)! Wherever Ben is, Cameron isn't far behind . . . And neither am I. Her new skills have brought on bumps and bruises, and I'm always delighted to rescue her from, well, herself!


January 01, 2009

Just a glimpse . . .

Into our week-long Christmas celebration. We began on Christmas Eve Eve with Greg's family, what fun! Then had our traditional (just the four of us) Christmas the following day, cinnamon rolls and hours of gift opening. And on the real Christmas Day we flew to Midland for round three, spent at Aunt Coco's, with Dustin, Paige, Big Daddy and Kate. The 26th we headed to Ruidoso for some much-needed snow and R&R at the cabin. It has become tradition to be sick for the holidays . . . Colds, coughs and the stomach bug. Oh my!

Santa delivered! Blankets for both, stockings full of goodies, toys galore. Ben loved his rescue helicopter, and Cameron immediately fell for Ryan the Zebra.

Ben's first snow . . . He loved it, as did Paige (age 3-1/2). They went sledding together, even built their first snowman with Uncle Dustin. I wish I had a picture of the poor little snowman. He looked like Jabba the Hut.

And finally, The Diva loved her chocolate souffle. Okay, it was organic prunes, but she ate it with abandon, I'm sure the same way she'll eat chocolate someday!

More pictures, soon. Okay, reality check. More pictures when I get caught up with the laundry, which could easily be the middle of next week.

Happy Birthday Jesus!


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