October 16, 2014

three kids, week one

I realize that I am about one hundred and forty seven posts behind, but I really want to document life right now, even if it means typing one-handed in the middle of the night while I nurse the baby. Someday I will fill in the gaps... well, maybe... but here is now:

Holy smokes, I have three children.


Judah Red was born last Wednesday, October 8th. Judah means "praise to God" and Red is the name of my dear uncle who went to be with the Lord in 2010.


When I was expecting I had people telling me all sorts of things about number three (including many people who don't actually have three children, funny enough). Half the advice, if it can be called that, was explanations of how busy I would be, how number three "tips the scales" and how wild and crazy my life was about to get. The other half basically said "You've done it twice, what's one more?" And you know what?

They were all correct.


There are moments it seems overwhelming because everyone needs something at once, but overall it has been an easier transition than going from zero to one or even one to two. James and Eleanor have each other to play with while I nurse and care for Judah. Also, we have done the newborn stage before. We may not be experts, but we have an idea of what we are doing, and we certainly do not get as stressed or frantic about things like we did with the first two.


In addition, we have been blessed with a very chill baby. We have decided Judah is going to be our calm, easy-going baby and so far he has obliged.

Judah is a night owl, like most babies, and so we are blurry eyed and going through coffee at an alarming rate. But things are good. We have so much to be thankful for.


PS Behind the scenes on the photo shoot: I decided to snap a few photos when I realized that I had put them all in blue and white stripes. Eleanor had no pants and her shirt was actually covered in yogurt. Judah's onesie lasted an entire half hour before he peed on it during a diaper change. Ha. 

September 02, 2014

september meal plan

I have decided to break the silence with a really exciting post: what we are eating this month!!!

This may have been interesting if all breakfasts didn't have to be made quickly, lunches were less kid-foodish, and dinners were not all super simple meals that can be made with all Costco purchases (I am so not into running around to a million different grocery stores these days), but these are all the things my meal plan this month needed to be. James starts preschool and awanas next week and I pretty much have to deep clean and organize the whole house before the baby comes while still soaking up quality time with my two current kiddos. Basically, I needed to have meals all decided for the month and I needed them to be easy. I figured I would post the plan in case anyone else is in the same boat.

So, here it is (albeit three days late)...


As you can see, I already have quite a few freezer meals planned to make ahead for baby time. Any suggestions for other meals that freeze well and can be thrown together quickly?

Thanks for reading and happy meal planning!
Ashley

PS if you can't view the menu well and would like the Word doc sent to you, or have any questions about recipes, you can always write in the comments or email me at fromcuptocup@gmail.com

July 30, 2014

29 weeks (but really 30)

I will be 31 weeks on Saturday, but haven't taken a picture since 29 weeks. So, I am actually even larger now than in this photo:


My OB informed me that number three will make you feel much larger than the first two, which made me feel better. Then she said I am measuring small, which made me feel worse. Nine and a half weeks seem long enough to me!

I am so tired lately (and we have been so busy, which I blame on summertime) that I haven't been blogging, which I'm sure you know if you follow us at all. The problem is, I put the kids to bed (around 9:30, which is when I am writing this post) and I have so much to do around the house that I feel guilty blogging when I could be folding laundry or doing dishes. I think I need to just get over that.

We leave tomorrow for a four day camping trip with some of my cousins and family friends. I am really excited about the hiking, boating, swimming, and watching the kids roll around in the dirt, but, it won't be a relaxing vacation by any stretch of the imagination. Perhaps one day I will post the photos....

Until then, happy summer!
Ashley

July 07, 2014

put your phone on top of your fridge. a challenge. sort of.

Let me say right off the bat: don't worry- this is not a food challenge. My own lunch started out as spinach salad and digressed to the kid's leftover mac'n'cheese. (Side note: Costco now sells Annies. Something like twelve boxes for thirteen dollars. Don't walk, run.)


Anyway, I'll be up front: the challenge is to put your phone on top of your fridge and to not look at it during the day. Well, not very often.*

For some inexplicable reason, my phone has become a huge source of temptation for my children. They are constantly stealing it off the counter and running away with it. Which they are not allowed to do, making this act what we call "deliberate disobedience". Every once in a while I will be caught up doing dishes or some other task and I will wonder why they have been so quiet. The answer is almost always the same: they have "thieved" my phone and are trying to get it to do something fun.


James has learned which icons go into camera mode, and he is getting oddly good at the "selfie". (I shutter just putting that word in a blog post. No worries, you will never see a hashtag here.) I also have "kid mode", which I used to let him do while I put Eleanor down for a nap. Both he and Elle try to play games in the kid mode quite often if they get a hold of my phone.

The phone itself is not a big temptation for me. (In fact, people often get frustrated with me for not responding quick enough to messages- which I am totally guilty of.) I use it, of course, to make calls, send text messages, answer emails, and take the occasional picture. I like to think of it as nothing more than a tool. I take it with me to the park in case of emergency, but purposely wear a watch so that I won't have to look at my phone to check the time.


However, a strange thing has started to happen. I find myself leaving my phone on the kitchen counter, but checking it several times a day. I don't know what I am hoping to find- maybe a play date offer or an email explaining that I won a cruise sweepstakes that I never entered. The point is, that it is pointless. It's like a nervous habit. I don't carry my phone with me around the house, I don't look things up on it, I don't make lengthy calls, I just check it when I go into the kitchen. And, like all things with small children, I am sure this has not gone unnoticed by my kiddos. They see that I look at my phone, and so they decide there must be something on there worth looking at. Which is the funniest part because, of course, there isn't anything worth looking at.

So I have chosen to place it on top of the fridge, on the side it cannot be reached even if James climbs onto the counter (which I anticipate he will do). I keep it on silent anyway, so it won't make noises that will tempt me to go check it while I am in the middle of playing or art time or even a meal. Out of sight, out of mind, for both my children and myself.

Now, to get to the disclaimers. First off, I don't think cell phones or text messaging, or any of that is a bad thing. But, I don't want my kids to be attached to their phones one day (a long, long time from now when they have phones of their own), and I certainly don't want them to be attached to my phone now. *Second: duh, of course I will check it. Just not often. Every once in a while Lane messages to see how my day is going, or to ask me to bring something to him at work. Sometimes there is a last minute play date opportunity someone may call about or a vitally important email, like overdue library books. But, for the most part, if I check at morning, midday, and evening, that should be plenty.

Third, this is not supposed to be a guilt-inducing challenge. There are always exceptions. You know yourself and your kids. If this would benefit you and your family, then join in. If your phone is not a problem, great. If this post did help you realize that your phone is an issue, I would love to hear about how putting it up affects your family. For us, I just hope it leads to less time-outs.


...Which leads me to disclaimer number four: this is not a post about how naughty my children are. They really are a couple of wonderful kids, who just happen to be interested in Mom's phone.

I would love to hear responses in the comments below!

Thanks,
Ashley

July 03, 2014

lake oswego adventure day


Lane has been gone for the past two weeks, with a quick visit home over the weekend. So I have been trying to keep the kids and I busy.

Last week we went to Lake Oswego for the day to explore and visit my mom.


We started out at at Waluga Park West. It has a huge grassy area, large play structure, and a sand box complete with digger toys and buckets.


Then we took the wooded trail over to Waluga Park East.

We played on the structures, swung on the swings, and even watched some road construction (very exciting stuff)...




Later, we met my mom for dinner at Zeppo.


The happy hour was incredible. We ordered practically everything on the menu. My favorite was the risotto cake with pesto. Eleanor preferred the tomato soup. She covered herself in it.


Afterward we meandered down toward the waterfront.


However, we got stuck at the fountains.


What happened next was inevitable...



...at least it washed off the soup.


Then we took the kids, soaking wet, to the Tillamook restaurant for some ice cream.


 Proof that I was there (and that my ice cream was stolen) :


The past two weeks have been so full, and I am SO exhausted. Thankfully, Lane comes home tonight!

Have a happy and safe Fourth everyone!
Ashley

PS Can you spy how many photos baby doll appears in?

June 24, 2014

what we did in hood river

It seems like forever ago that we took our vacation to Hood River, and I have been wanting to do a follow-up post ever since the vacation house tour. However, my SD card completely broke and I lost all my pictures from our vacation. 

I really wanted to document and remember all we did, so I decided to use the less-than-impressive photos from my phone. Ugh. None the less....

The day we arrived we got Thai for lunch from a food cart we had heard about. I have to be honest and say that the food was not the best Thai I have ever had, but eating it on the back deck of the vacation rental in the sunshine with views of the river made it feel special. 


Then the kids and I headed to the downtown area of Hood River where all the cute shops are located. Lane went to buy an SD card (the very one that just broke, in fact) because I forgot to bring one and was dying to start taking pictures of the house.

We ventured down to G. Willikers Toy Shop and spent almost two hours just playing around with all the toys and gadgets they had there.


That night we went to Brain's Pourhouse for dinner. We sat outside under the twinkle lights and watched passers-by. Lane and I both had their amazing fish tacos. The kids both got something off the kids menu, but the portions were huge! The leftovers served well as lunch the next day.

The following morning we had a late brunch at Pine Street bakery. Everything we ate there was fabulous and the coffee was also good.


Then we headed to the Children's Park which has a ginormous wooden play structure and a sand box (my kid's love language, next to popsicles). It was two blocks from the house we stayed at, so it was the perfect activity to wear them out before rest/nap time.

That afternoon we went to the water front play area. All the play equipment was so cool- not the typical plastic play structures you find at every park. Instead there was a huge climbing rock, large musical instruments, spinning chairs, tunnels, and a slide that went down a little hill. 


There was also a sandy beach area where James immediately took off his shoes and hopped into the water. 


What happened next cannot be described as anything other than "frolicking". James ran back and forth, leaping and frolicking in the water. I think he would have continued all evening if we had let him.


But we went back to the rental house, cleaned up (insert adorable picture of James and Eleanor in the claw foot tub together... darn you SD card...), and went to Double Mountain Brewery for dinner. The wait was long, but the food was delicious. According to Lane, so was the beer. Sigh.

The next day we again headed to Pine Street and the Children's park, then reluctantly packed up and headed home. I can't wait to go back and have already been planning our next trip.

If you are interested, here is the wonderful vacation home we stayed at, on VRBO.

Have you vacationed in Hood River? What are your suggestions for the next time we return?

Ashley

June 13, 2014

homemade raspberry latte



I worked in coffee for quite a while, thus I saw many strange and- I'll say it- gross combinations of flavoring in drinks. You want a banana mint white mocha? Sure! Coming right up! ...Just please don't be alarmed if I puke while making it.

The fruit flavors always seemed the most odd to me, which is why I quite surprised myself the other day when I decided to make a raspberry latte. 



I simply placed a few (about six) raspberries in the bottom of a mason jar, along with a couple teaspoons of agave syrup. Then I pulled a couple shots over the berries using my handy dandy aeropress. I sort of muddled the coffee, berries, and agave all together with the back of a spoon and added one cup of hot soy milk. Then I closed it up and shook it well.

I actually was very pleased with the results. The raspberries were not overwhelming and the agave not too sweet, just subtle side notes to the coffee. I did have a little problem with some slight curdling (as shown below) but I simply put the lid back on and shook it all together again.


Next time I will for sure be adding some cocoa.

What is the craziest coffee flavoring you have tried?

Happy Friday!
Ashley