December 27, 2012

my christmas cutie

Before having one of each, I often heard mothers with both sons and daughters say how girls' clothes were more fun to shop for, and so much more varied than boys' clothes.

In only nine months with a daughter of my own, I'd have to wholeheartedly agree.

Although I love shopping for both of my kids, when looking for Christmas outfits this year, I had so many options with Pearl ...

Racks and racks of cute little dresses, and skirts, and jumpers ...

Sweaters and cardigans ...

Tights and knee socks (in solids, stripes, or festive patterns) ...

And shoes ...

(Oh my gosh, don't even get me started on the adorable little shoes!)

It was hard to leave the store without purchasing the whole toddler girls' department first!

Long-sleeved onesie: Cherokee (thrifted for $0.50)
Corduroy jumper: Cherokee ($7.50)
Black leggings: Old Navy (gift)
Socks: Unknown brand (from the hospital)
Shoes: Genuine Kids (thrifted for $1.50)

I guess it is a good thing that our "Christmas" is a three-day long affair!

December 26, 2012

a different kind of christmas cookie

On the very first day of my Winter Break, Malcolm and I spent part of the afternoon whipping up a batch of Peanut Butter Dog Treats for my sister's dog (our furry nephew/cousin), Emmitt.  Not only was it an easy Christmas gift to put together, it was fun to work in the kitchen alongside my boy.

(It didn't hurt that, halfway through, he exclaimed "Mom is a good cook!")

Here is how you can make your own treats for the four-legged friends in your family ...

You will need:

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
3 tablespoons peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup rolled oats

To make the treats:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, blend the water, oil, eggs, peanut butter, and vanilla together until well combined, then set aside.  Whisk the flour, cornmeal, and oats together in a small bowl.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until a workable (it will still be quite soft) dough forms.

Roll the dough out (to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick) on a floured surface and cut the treats in whatever shape you desire.  We used cookie cutters to make bones, dogs, and some letters ("M" for Malcolm and "E" for Emmitt).

Place on an parchment paper-lined, or (ungreased) nonstick cookie sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes.  After the 20 minutes are up, turn the oven off and leave the treats inside as it cools (this will allow them to become nice and crisp).

Store in an airtight container once they are cooled ... We "fancied" our treats up by putting them in a glass container and adding ribbon and a festive tag (since they were a Christmas gift).

Although Malcolm was disappointed that he could not taste the finished product, he was so excited to give the gift to Emmitt ...

December 24, 2012

to those on my digital mailing list

Although some of the photos were already posted, here is this year's Christmas card.

I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday season!

December 21, 2012

pearl: nine months

Sometimes it's hard for me to believe, but Pearl's ninth month has come and gone!

(Admittedly, this post is a little late because I wanted to wait for her official height and weight measurements from yesterday's well check.) 

Maybe it is because she is baby #2, so all of our attention can't go to her, but Pearl seems to be a bit more mischievous than Malcolm was at the same age ...

(Go figure that our girl would be the handful!)

She loves to crawl (slow and steady like the tortoise from the familiar fable) and easily gets to wherever she chooses.

She always has to see what her brother is doing (or, probably more importantly, what he is playing with) ...  And while, there can be a bit of brother/sister conflict, a sweet little relationship is forming right before our eyes!  It is so fun to see Pearl smile when she sees her big brother, or when she goes to "play" with him.

Even if it is always on his terms.

Although she has a lot of spunk and (already!) has a bit of an independent streak going, she is also super snuggly and loves a good cuddle when she is feeling sleepy (and sometimes when she's not). 

She is definitely a gift to our family during this holiday season ...

And every single day of the year!

Height: 28 inches
Weight: 14 pounds 11 ounces

*Check out Pearl's eight month post here.

December 20, 2012

the wild card

I never liked playing cards.

(I have only ever done so begrudgingly.)

But, with two kids, some of the terminology seems to fit.

For example, no matter what we are doing or where we are going, someone over here ends up being the "wild card" ...  The kid that does the opposite of what you expect and completely surprises you.

Think Pearl will be happy and well-rested for that Christmas party?

Wild card!

Think Malcolm will be uncooperative during a professional portrait session?

Wild card!

And that's where this post is headed ...

Last weekend, I took Malcolm and Pearl out to the local portrait studio to get some shots for Pearl's ninth month and, hopefully, some nice ones of the two of my children together.

While Pearl performed as I expected her to (for the most part), and Malcolm was a bit of a stinker throughout the entire session, I was completely blindsided by the adorable photos (of Malcolm!?) that I ended up taking home ...

Dress shirt: Cherokee ($10.00)
Clip-on tie: Cherokee ($4.00)
Pinstripe Vest: Unknown brand (thrifted for $1.00)
Jeans: Arizona Jean Co. (thrifted for $1.00)
Socks: Unknown brand (hand-me-down)
Shoes: Smart Fit (hand-me-down)

But, lest you be too impressed, there is photographic evidence of some less-than-cooperative behavior as well ...

Wild card, indeed.

December 18, 2012

my heart

In light of the tragic events of last week (and even in spite of them), words can not describe how much this little boy means to me.

I am so truly lucky to be his mother.

December 13, 2012

a christmas miracle

This upcoming Christmas will be Malcolm's fourth.

While he still doesn't quite "get it" and isn't exactly excited for all that the holiday has to offer, he is starting to understand the idea of presents and all the fun that they entail.  When asked about it, he will say that he wants "Thomas trains" this year for Christmas, and then he will gladly begin naming the various engines that he likes.

So, on the back of this small taste of progress, I was very interested to see how the annual Christmas party (and the annual Santa photo opportunity) would pan out ... 

Although I don't feel like either my husband or myself have really "talked up" Santa (maybe my parents have), when Santa entered the building, Malcolm was absolutely enthralled.  Like a moth to a flame, he followed Santa around the room, interrupted another little boy's moment, and then plopped down at Santa's feet to "wait his turn."

Being Malcolm, I figured all of this new-found Santa love would end as soon as the real photo opportunities began ...

But (surprising me as always), when his name was called, Malcolm ran right over and climbed right up, and didn't seem to mind when Pearl (who seemed a bit suspicious of the whole thing) was placed on Santa's other knee.

On Pearl:
Long-sleeved shirt: Carter's (gift)
Black leggings: Old Navy (gift)
Socks: Walmart (pack of ten for $6.00)
Shoes: Genuine Kids (thrifted for $1.50)

On Malcolm:
Sweater: Arizona Jean Co. (thrifted for $2.00)
Jeans: Arizona Jean Co. (thrifted for $1.00)
Socks: Circo ($1.00)
Shoes: Kidgets (thrifted for $1.00)

And, when Pearl had had enough, he was more than happy for a little solo time with Santa, too ...

I'm not sure what prompted this change of heart this year, but I'll take it!

I'll consider any year that I get to be behind the camera (instead of in front of it and on Santa's lap with my kid) a success!

December 12, 2012


Lately, whenever I tell Malcolm to do something that he doesn't want to do (or say something that he doesn't want to hear), I'm greeted with the following statement:

"Mom, don't say that word!"

(It's like the new and improved version of "me don't like!")

That word.

I have to chuckle whenever he does it.

"What word, Malcolm?"  I want to ask.

Although I know the answer.

That word refers to many words.  Many words that seem to be in my vocabulary a lot lately ...

No, you may not jump on the couch.

Let's take a quick trip to the potty.

Stop taking those toys away from Pearl.

You need to wait for lunchtime.

We'll play with your trains later.

It's still nighttime, you need to go back to your bed.

We're going to get dressed now.

It's time to turn off the TV.

Truthfully, that word could stand in for just about anything, given Malcolm's yo-yoing emotions and changing attitudes these days ... But, nonetheless, it cracks me up.

All of the minor fits and three-year-old stand-offs are totally worth it as long as he keeps chiding me for the use of "that word."

The things he continues to come up with ...

December 10, 2012

four gifts

After a stressful week full of teaching (and grading, and meetings, and phone calls) and battling sickness (that was affecting both of my kids and myself), I was definitely in the mood to think about "fun" things and join up with Elizabeth's "4 Gifts" link-up ...

So, with about two weeks until the big day (seriously, where did the time go?!), here's my Christmas list this year ...

1. A tropical beach vacation is definitely the epitome of a "need."  Obviously, it is completely impractical, but right about now, I think some time in the sun and sand would do me a lot of good!

2. A Canon EF-S 18-135 mm lens is at the top of my want list ...

3. I've been pining for a pair of Converse Hi-tops for quite some time, now, but I've never gone out and made the purchase.

4. I've always been a huge Batman fan and loved watching the old 1960s show via reruns when I was a kid ... So I think "Boy Wonder: My Life in Tights" by "Robin" (Burt Ward) would be an entertaining (and easy) read!

And my husband says that I'm "hard to buy for."

Who's he kidding?!

December 6, 2012

fall family fashion

It may be winter in Cleveland, but today's post will take us back a bit ...

Since we've been sick around here (as I mentioned at the end of last week), I didn't take the steps to (cutely) dress one of my kids and snap a couple of photos for my usual Thursday post.  So, instead (because I think on my feet and am not one to change up a routine), I thought I'd show off our family fashion ...

From our fall family photos, of course!

When else would you expect to see all four of us looking put-together (and coordinating!)?

As a "documenter" type of person, I find it so important to keep all these little records of our family.  Our last set of professional family photos was taken when Malcolm had just turned a year old, and, obviously, things are a bit different now!

It's crazy how much things can change in such a relatively short amount of time.

Cardigan: Old Navy ($15.00)
Dress: Carter's ($10.00)
Leggings: Carter's ($8.00 for pack of two)
Shoes: Old Navy (gift)

Of course (in keeping with the theme of changes) the newly-turned-three-year-old was completely uncooperative during our half hour session and didn't want to take any pictures ...  Let alone some cute ones of him all by himself.  So, ones of me restraining and tickling him into submission will have to do.

Long-sleeved shirt: Old Navy (thrifted for $1.50)
Tee shirt: Gildan (gift)
Jeans: Arizona Jean Co. (thrifted for $1.00)
Socks: Unknown brand (hand-me-down)
Shoes: Smart Fit (hand-me-down)

It may only be a couple months behind us, but part of me is excited and already scheming for our next family photo shoot ...

December 3, 2012

pap and pearl

I've been wanting to post a picture since the day before Thanksgiving ...

But, first, a bit of background.

My mother is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, so half of my extended family still lives in/around the area.  Growing up, we (naturally) didn't see that side of the family as often as those that were local to us ...  Mainly around the holidays and during the summer when we'd all congregate at the cottage in Conneaut Lake.

So, it was understandable that I didn't have an extremely close relationship with my mom's parents (whom we call Gram and Pap) when I was small ... 

In fact, Pap downright scared me. 

He was quiet and stern and never seemed to smile.  It didn't help that I never felt like I stacked up to my male cousins who always had his praise and attention ... Even my excellent grades and accomplishments on the softball field didn't seem to pique his interest.

It wasn't until much later (when I went away to college in Pennsylvania and spent a bit more time with Gram and Pap) that I finally developed a better relationship with my grandparents. 

Pap, in his older age, mellowed out a bit and is currently anything but scary ...

Which is good, because now there are a couple of great-grandchildren in the mix!  And since Pearl is currently the only great-granddaughter, maybe she will capture his heart in a way I never could.

November 30, 2012

lashes for miles

We're all a bit under the weather over here, but that doesn't stop me from pulling out the camera and getting up close and personal with my little sickies ...

And I always thought that I had nice eyelashes ...

November 29, 2012

bright and bold

I came home with a pretty big haul the last time I went shopping at the Salvation Army Family Store ...  And most of the items were for my girl.

I don't know what it is about girls' clothing that just sucks me in.

There are so many colors!

And patterns!

And completely unrelated pieces that can be coordinated and layered!

Onesie: Osh Kosh B'gosh (thrifted for $0.50)
Cardigan: Garanimals (thrifted for $0.50)
Jeans: Circo (thrifted for $0.50)
Socks: Walmart (pack of ten for $6.00)
Shoes: Old Navy (gift)

As much as I love finding cute outfits for my little man, picking out Pearl's wardrobe is turning out to be pretty fun as well.

I guess better enjoy it now ...  Before she forms her own opinion and takes over!

November 26, 2012

baby blues (in black and white)

The kit lens from my camera broke at the end of October, so now I'm down to my 50 mm lens (until Christmas when, hopefully, I'll get something new to work with!).

As challenging as it can be to exist without a zoom feature, I can't complain.

Pearl is pretty photogenic no matter what lens I'm using.

November 22, 2012

running man

Before my husband's birthday dinner yesterday evening, I took Malcolm into my parents' backyard to let off a little steam ...

It seems that all this boy wants to do anymore is run, run, RUN!

Then run some more.

And, let's not forget about all the climbing and throwing and jumping sandwiched between all that running ...

Sweater: The Children's Place (thrifted for $2.00)
Long-sleeved tee-shirt: Jumping Beans (hand-me-down)
Jeans: Jumping Beans (hand-me-down)
Socks: Tek Gear (hand-me-down)
Shoes: Smart Fit (hand-me-down)

It's going to be pretty rough (on all of us!) once the weather stays cold and the snow starts to fall.

November 21, 2012

happy birthday, honey

Last year at this time, we were having a romantic birthday dinner in Jamaica.

This year, things were a bit more "typical" as we spent the evening with my family and our wonderful children ...

But, no matter where we are or who we are with, I am so lucky to call this man my husband.

November 19, 2012

uh-oh ...

Pearl started crawling a couple days after she turned seven months old ...

Now, a couple days into her eighth month, and she's already trying to pull herself up the stairs?!

(It's hard to tell because the sleeper is a bit big on her, but she is totally putting her body weight down on that left foot!)

What kind of crazy joke is this?

Don't let that sweet little face (and chubby cheeks) fool you ...

This girl means business!

November 16, 2012

pearl: eight months

Although Pearl officially turned eight months old yesterday, I decided to keep it separate from the "fashion" post and give my little girl two days in the spotlight.

That's not to say she doesn't get the spotlight around here ...

As a mobile baby who loves to explore and shout and make her presence known, she definitely gets her share of the attention (especially while Malcolm is napping ... Since they rarely like to overlap that sort of thing anymore).

Her personality just continues to blossom.

She can quickly go from loud and rambunctious to pensive and cuddly ...  And she is laughably goofy.

Height: 27.5 inches
Weight: 16 pounds

She definitely fits right in with the rest of us!

*See Pearl's seventh month, here.

November 15, 2012

sunshine in november

When the weather is warm (nearly seventy degrees!) and the sun is shining in Cleveland during the month of November, you have to stop and take notice!

For me (in addition to spending lots of time outdoors), that means dressing the kids in "cute" clothes and taking lots of photos in the natural light.

Luckily, Pearl was happy to oblige ...

 Long-sleeved shirt: Cherokee (thrifted for $0.50)
Onesie: Baby Gap (gift)
Jeans: Circo (thrifted for $0.50)
Whale shoes: Old Navy (thrifted for $1.00)

While the sun (and the seventy degree weather) may become a bit scarce around here in the very near future, I will always have the pleasure of seeing the smile on this little sunshine's face ...