Friday, March 29, 2013

More changes

Remember when I talked about how the baking biz was hectic around Christmas time?  And how I thought it'd eventually get easier to juggle all these chainsaws?

Well, it hasn't gotten easier.  My anxiety is at it's peak.  The holiday rush is through, but now I've developed somewhat of a presence and custom orders have increased.  Then there's the farmers market every week; I have to bake and package upwards of 20 dozen cookies between 8 pm on Wednesday and 8 am Thursday- so that everything is fresh.  It's hard.  It's especially hard because I started offering a wide variety of flavors (7 or more).  Which means I make 7 LARGE batches of dough, wash the mixer in between each batch, and bake them on two racks at a time...because for some God forsaken reason, our third oven rack is missing.  Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have to start the process after taking care of the kids all day?? 

The market has been a great source of advertising and cash flow on the weeks that I don't have as many custom orders; but on the weeks that I do have a lot of custom orders, the market is a huge challenge.  Once all the baking is done, I still have to survive the actual market; schlepping the tent, tables, product, all the other little things, selling product and networking.  (All with limited food and water, bathroom and pumping breaks.) 

It's hard to be friendly under those circumstances.  It's hard to make the correct change.  It's hard to bite my tongue when some old dude complains about my prices (which are well below competition, mind you). And it's really hard when I don't sell much; it feels like all that stress was for nothing. 

As someone that loves to shop at farmers markets, I had no idea how much work was involved for the vendors.  I have earned a completely new respect for them. 

The market has been a nice little pay day each week, usually enough to pay a few bills.  But it's costing me my happiness (and sometimes my sanity).  So, I'm done.  I'm happy that I gave it a try; I know that I did my best; I know that I could keep going, and keep sacrificing myself, but I don't want to.  I'll still take custom orders, but I imagine those will dwindle without advertising.  Yesterday was my last market.

There are more changes to come, but this is the first and biggest...  Stay tuned, peeps.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Lucy's Brave Birthday Party

We celebrated our favorite girl yesterday!  We had beautiful weather and a house full of family and friends.  There was yummy food and happy kiddos playing.  We finished the party with a whispered version of "Happy Birthday", because Parker was napping.  (It's a small house, remember?)

Once again, forgot to take pictures until about halfway through the party....but here's what I got!

Menu: BBQ Shredded Pork Sliders, Mac & Cheese Bites, Potato Salad & Chips, Ambrosia, Fruits & Veggies

Banana and Strawberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting from Jules' Gems

(Confession:  I ate all of the leftover fondant arrows.)
Grammy and Grampy bought Lulu a swing-set for her birthday.  We put it to good use yesterday!

Lu and Ryan at the water table
Parker, the ladies man
Singing "Happy Birthday"
Eating cuppies with Eliana.
Opening Auntie Fallon, Uncle Cole and Julie's present
The girls hugging "byyyyyyyyyye"
Party favors: sunglasses, bubbles and lollipops!  (Can't even believe I didn't make custom cookies for my own daughter...oy)

So sleepy after all the fun!
Lucy had so much fun with all of her friends yesterday, and she's having a blast with all of her new toys!  A BIG thank you to everyone that was apart of Lucy's special day.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Happy 2nd Birthday, Lu!

About this time two years ago, I met you for the very first time.  In that time, you have grown into a beautiful, smart, affectionate, and silly girl.  You bring so much happiness and life to our family, and you are loved by many.  Happy Birthday, my sweet girl.  I am so proud to be your momma.  I love you mucho mucho mucho.

Opening presents with Mandy ("Andy")
Hugging your new baby doll-- you haven't put her down yet!

Grampy surprised you with balloons.  You were ecstatic.

Mommy and Daddy's present to you
Curbside cuppies

Friday, March 15, 2013

Trip to the Phoenix Zoo

We went to the zoo with my mother and grandmother-in-law on Tuesday.  It was Lucy and Parker's first time, and they loved it!  We were there almost 4 hours, and still only saw about half of the animals-- must go back!!  Lu insisted on walking the whole way, and was adamant about holding great grandma's hand.  She really enjoyed watching the animals and other kids.  Parker too!  In fact, Parker loved it so much that he stayed awake all four hours...  (Dude flipped OUT when he eventually realized how tired he was.)  We're looking forward to many more trips to the zoo as the kids get older.

Here's a few pictures from my phone, since I forgot our camera.   

Mommy got a break!  Phew!
Lucy's favorite!  We actually went inside the monkey cage and got real up close and personal.
Big ass lizard.  Ew.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Other Me

Do you ever wonder about the parallel universe where the other you lives?  You know, the part of you that chose the opposite in every decision you ever made...  I don't usually, but yesterday I found myself wondering about her.

What if I didn't marry Casey 4 years ago?

I would have finished my bachelors degree.
I would be an accountant or an underwriter where my mom works.
I would have a substantial salary and I would spend it selfishly.
I would buy $5 coffees, schedule massages every month and sign up for a gym membership.
I would wish for a boyfriend and wonder why I didn't have one.
I would be obsessed with my weight and my appearance.
I wouldn't have many friends; instead, I would cling to my siblings despite growing apart from them.
I would have time to myself.  Too much time.  I would be lonely.

I wouldn't be happy. 

I wouldn't have two little people at home that love me and need me.  Two little people that I love more than anything else-- even cake.  Two little people that I would do anything for.  Two little smiles that are contagious and impossible not to return.  Two big, chubby bellies that are meant to be squeezed and tickled.

I wouldn't know love.

Our life is not perfect.  Our life is not what I expected it to be or what I daydreamed about in high school.  Life is hard.  And hectic.  And messy.  And sometimes unfair.  (Another lesson learned!)  But I have no regrets and I don't envy that girl.   

Monday, March 11, 2013

Two kids, one bedroom

We have a two bedroom house.  One could describe it as "cozy".  Despite it's size, we will most likely be here for a very long time (i.e.: until the kids are too old to share a room).  As you can imagine, sleeping arrangements have been tough. 

Parker was sleeping in our bedroom in a pack and play up until 6-ish weeks ago.  He started each night in the pack and play, and I would do my best to return him to it after each nighttime feeding.  (There were several many times that he slept in our bed for that last stretch, though, because I was just so dang tired.)  Unfortunately, Parker outgrew the bassinet level and found the actual pack and play to be very uncomfortable.  So he began spending more time in our bed...which sucked.  He was waking 3-4 times each night.  Every time Casey or I entered the bedroom or got in/out of bed, he'd wake up.  It was frustrating.  Verrrrry frustrating.  I felt trapped. 

One night I said, That's it!  He sleeps in the nursery from now on!!  And the next night, he did.  I was nervous about interrupting Lucy's sleep, but the first night went smoothly.  I put Parker down around 7, and then Lucy at 8.  Parker woke twice that night; I fed him and put him back down (awake), and Lucy didn't stir either time. 

Parker slept through the night for the next six nights.  It was glorious. 

And then we hit a few speed bumps:  nightmares, sickness and teething.

Lucy rarely has nightmares, but, when she does, she'll scream anywhere from 10 seconds to 10 minutes.  Regardless, it wakes Parker.  The first time it happened, I tried to calm them down, but failed miserably.  I gave up and left the room, and they cried-it-out together.  It lasted 10 minutes, and they both slept peacefully the rest of the night.  It's only happened a few other times since then, and we let them cry-it-out every time.

Then everyone got sick and Parker stopped sleeping through the night.  I tried to feed him when he woke, but he could hardly breathe through his nose; and when I tried to put him back down, he screamed and screamed.  Afraid of waking Miss Lucy, I rushed him to our bedroom.  That was an awful week.  The next week wasn't much better-- we were healthy again, but Parker was cutting his first tooth.  Again, he spent a lot of time in our bed.  I started sleeping on the couch to create a little more room in the bed, and it helped him sleep for longer stretches.  (Fortunately, Casey can sleep through anything, so he wasn't bothered by any of this.)    

The only other issue we've dealt with, but resolved fairly quickly, was Lucy's bedtime.  Prior to sharing a room, she was going down at 8 pm, and would talk/play/sing for up to an hour before finally going to sleep.  Every night we told her, "Baby is sleeping.  You need to be very quiet and go to sleep."  And she would say, "Okaaaaay.  Ny-ny mommadaddy."  We occasionally had to go in and remind her to be quiet, but overall she was pretty cooperative.  There was one night that she had had a late nap and was really wound up before bed-- we should have kept her up to burn off some energy, but didn't.  That was fun!  Now we know to adjust her bedtime as needed.

All in all, it hasn't been that bad.  Parker is sleeping so much better.  It is certainly hard to drag myself across the house in the middle of the night to feed Parker, but I know it's worth it.  I also know it won't always be this way.  We're surviving.

Monday, March 4, 2013

6 Months

Happy Half Birthday, Parker!

I love starting my days with your big smile and gurgles.  I know I can always munch on your big belly or cheekies, and you'll let out that loud, silly laugh.  You brighten this house and every person in it.   

At 6 months you are...

Sitting up independently for 5-10 minutes at a time-- still a little wobbly.

Eating solids!  You are an excellent eater!!!  Seriously, Lucy was so difficult, but you've really enjoyed everything you've tried so far.  Your first food was butternut squash.  We're abiding by the 2-day Wait Rule for introducing new foods.  We haven't had any poop issues yet, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we'll avoid them completely. 

Ehhhh, what is this??

No longer tooth-less.  (Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get a good picture of the toofer.)

Grabbing EVERYTHING within reach.  OMG.

Having so much fun with Sissy.  You light up whenever you see her.  When I need to make breakfast or lunch, I can put you two in your high chairs facing each other, and she'll show you every toy on the table.

Still drooling like whoa

A can-can dancer in training.  When you get excited or hear singing, you kick one leg up in the air over and over again.

Lovin' yo feet.

Awake for 1.5-2 hours at time and taking 3 naps a day.  Nap length seems to be improving-- usually 1-1.5 hours long.  (Which is just heavenly after months of 30-45 minute naps.)

Sleeping 6:30 pm - 7:00 am, and waking 1-2 times in between.  There was one week that you slept through the night 7 nights in a row...not sure why that was so short lived.

Officially sharing a room with sissy!  It's been a blessing and a nightmare, which I will elaborate on in a separate post...

Approximately 22 lbs.  (not sure on length...)

Still exclusively breastfed.  (Almost had to bust out the formula due to a pumping fail, but we managed to scrape by.)


We love watching you grow, honey.  We are so excited for the next 6 months!  (Momma and Daddy are already taking bets on when you'll start walking.)  You have been so easy, and I am so thankful for that.