Tuesday, March 28, 2017

a few silly little things from the last several months that have made me happy

February Art of the Month project 
* We finally have enough spoons! I don't know why I put it off, but we were down to a very silly number of spoons,  and we were always eating with plastic picnic spoons. It's been several months and I'm still so happy to open the silverware drawer and see spoons inside!

* I'm growing little seedlings inside to get ready for our garden. I did this once in Provo, but not since, and it's been so fun each day to check on our little plants with Porter and see what is sprouting and growing. I think I'm probably doing it all wrong (I heard 'The Garden Guy' on the radio last weekend tell that the right time to plant squashes inside for Logan is the end of April...) but it's just so fun to watch those little seeds grow!

* We refinanced our mortgage and it worked out so super. Our payment is the same each month, but we went from our 30 year (24 years left) to a 15 year mortgage. (We paid down the balance a bit, dropped the PMI, and lowered our interest rate to get the same monthly payment) It has been a few months, but since I haven't yet set up auto-pay I'm still looking at the statements each month, and it just makes me happy to see so much more money going toward the principle now!

* I started using real butter on my toast in the morning. I always thought that if I left butter out, it would go rancid before we could use it all. Then on a recent trip, we bought some butter and I realized we could use a stick of butter pretty quickly! I think I'm the only one who uses it now, but it is still just fine. And I kind of feel like I've conquered one of my fears (I'm so brave, I leave my butter unrefrigerated!)

* I made the kids some mix-tape CD's for their little Valentine's Day bags, and I have loved sharing some of my favorite music with them. It makes me so happy when we listen in the car and they sing along or say "go to #9!" or whichever. (That's 'going the distance' by Cake by the way :)

* Orange juice smoothies. Since I got my braces, salads have seemed like kind of a pain to eat. So instead, I've been having an orange juice smoothie every day with lunch and it's my favorite thing to eat each day. (orange, banana, carrot, spinach/kale, yogurt, oj, vanilla)

* A decent go-to hair solution. I remember when Ellie was a baby, I got a bad haircut that was also shorter than I had hoped, so I pretty much just pulled my hair back for about a year until it grew out. But looking back I think, even if I'd loved my hair I still would have pulled it back every day because I had a little baby.  A year or so ago (perfect timing!), I learned how to do an inside-out kind of braid that I like, and when I'm pulling my hair back most days it makes me feel like I'm still kind of put-together.

* Shampoo as body wash. I've always used body wash in the shower (instead of soap) and whenever I had to replace it, I always felt kind of annoyed at how expensive it was! (Because I use 89 cent shampoo, so $3 for body wash was three times the price!) At some point,  we ran out of body wash and it took me so long to replace it that we just kept using shampoo in it's place and then I finally realized that was just a brilliant solution, so that's just what we do now and it just makes me happy  (Last time I went to buy shampoo, I saw "shampoo, conditioner & body wash in one! "And I thought  they probably did nothing different to their formula, they just put a different sticker on the front!)

*  An extra-large wrap for Isaac. Isaac was outgrowing our favorite wrap that he loved to sleep in, but he still slept much better all swaddled up. Really quickly before naptime one day I cut apart the old wrap and sewed in some fleecy fabric to make it longer and wider -- and it was super wonky, but it worked just perfectly and I love wrapping him up in this funny mismatched little wrap! (He's sleeping arms-out these days though so it's just about time for the wrap to retire)

* A few little homework solutions. Owen has these 'fluency pages' he does each day to practice letters, sounds, and sight words. For the first month or so of school, these were just kind of torture because Owen would get so distracted between each...letter... on... the... page... So I turned it into a timed challenge and now each page takes about 30 seconds and it's his favorite part of homework. Ellie was getting super worn out from her homework too each week, so we just changed things up a bit a few weeks ago and it's been much happier for her. (Things like finger spelling and typing her words instead of writing them all 3 times, and drawing pictures about her sentences instead of re-writing them)

* Using a check at the store -- I went to check out at Lee's this morning and realized at the last minute that I'd left all my cards at home. I asked them to hold my groceries for me and thought through the morning's schedule for when I could come back with my card to pay. As I was walking out, I realized I did have my check book -- hooray! And guess what? I asked for a pen, and the cashier said 'oh, you don't have to fill it out, we just run it through our machine kind of like a debit card' -- cool, right?

Monday, March 27, 2017

Because I want to celebrate

image here

This morning, I cut and trimmed a package of chicken breasts for the first time - probably ever!  I have issues with raw meat, and I'm mostly just not a huge meat fan.  I buy and cook hamburger about twice a year (plus meatballs which are a staple), and pork chops or ribs maybe once a year. We eat chicken fairly often (once  a week maybe?) but it's either canned, pre-cooked, or made-by-Jordan. I used to cook with fresh or frozen chicken tenderloins pretty often -- but I always cooked them before I handled them. (So trimming and cutting today's raw meat into bite-size pieces was a big deal!)  For some reason I've felt extra squeemish for the last few years and we've done just fine with canned chicken :)

So, this was worth a celebration! I had a few recipes I wanted to make this week with chicken and it was on sale at Lee's, and then I got home with it and thought 'well now what do I do?'  Jordan walked in while I hand my hands all slimy with chicken and I said "can you believe what I'm doing?!" Ha! We all have our small little victories I guess :)

(A helpful thing I've learned: If you are using canned chicken but don't want the canned chicken flavor, just cook it for a few minutes in olive oil + salt & pepper and garlic and onion if you really want. You'll still end up with shredded chicken rather than bite-size pieces, but it will taste much yummier than straight from the can.) 

Friday, March 24, 2017

On names

Oh! He was little!
On choosing a name

Isaac was born just a little bit earlier than we expected, and we hadn't yet had much serious discussion about a name for him. (I did have baby boy names on all the scraps of paper, church programs & receipts around our house - on one of Jordan's stops at home I had him find one and take a picture for me so I could remember my favorites!) We spent a good deal of time at the hospital holding and cuddling this sweet new baby and trying out different names. "Hey there little Beckham!" "Hi sweet baby Anders!" to see what fit. We used the nurses white board up on the wall to keep track of our favorites, and as the nurses rotated through they'd give us their input. At one point, we narrowed our list down to six names and then Jordan and I each rated them in order of our favorites from 1 to 6. When we uncovered our results, our numbers were perfectly paired -- His favorite #1 was my #6. My #1 was his least favorite #6. His 5 was my 2 and my 2 was his 5. Our 3s and 4s were exact opposites. Ha! So how to choose? Jordan had a strong favorite and I really didn't, but I loved that Jordan did so eventually we chose... Max Nelson Brough.

On changing a name

And we sent the texts and made the phone calls and introduced our baby Max and took home our little (though not so little at over 9 lbs.) Max home. Logan was celebrating Independence Day a few days early. So I left the quiet stillness of our hospital room where Max and I had spent his first few days together, and Jordan drove us home through streets lined with tents and picnic blankets and fold up chairs and all the Logan families sitting out to cheer for the arrival and the homecoming of baby Max (or maybe just getting ready for fireworks that night!) We got home and our park was filled with celebrators. We sat out in the front yard with our neighbors as the kids ran back and forth and the Dads set fireworks off in the street. (Welcome home Max!) And so baby Max got to meet all the neighbors and friends on just his first day home! We tried out Max for the rest of that holiday weekend after coming home from the hospital, but somehow it just didn't fit.  We finally made up our minds and decided to change it and Jordan texted the bishop just a few minutes before church started on Sunday to give him the update for his Sacrament Meeting announcement -- welcome to the Brough's new baby: Isaac Joshua! (Through the rest of the summer, I'd run into friends (with excellent memories!) and they'd ask "How's that baby Max?" And I'd answer something like "He's wonderful! Except, now he's Isaac!" )

The name Isaac hadn't been at the top of our lists (I don't think it made it to the whiteboard top 6), but it had been the most recent name I'd been trying out before he was born and I think because of that it had the most tender feeling around it.  (And sometime I'll write down why I love  the name Joshua too) Fortunately for us, the long weekend meant the recorder at the hospital hadn't submitted our forms yet, so his 5 day (or so) old name change just took a quick phone call. It makes me smile whenever I'm at a store and meet a cashier named Max, or read a book about a character named Max because I always think 'I had a baby Max for a few days!'

On all the other names

At Isaac's 6 month check up, the pediatrician asked if he was responding to his name yet. He wasn't and it made me laugh afterwards because I wondered what name he would respond to -- this kiddo has been our most-nick-named baby by far. In his first few weeks and months everyone in the family had a different nick name (or a few) for him. Some have lasted and many I've already forgotten - But here are some of the favorites (and silliest): baby, sweet one, bip-bop or baby bip-bop, Sir captain, rum-a-doodle, buss-buddy, spit up machine (this kid was a major spit up baby!), boo-baby, baby filups, bitty one, buppity-boo ... I love all these funny sweet names for this baby Isaac that we all love so much!