Thursday, September 13, 2012

One Month

One month ago, Elena started school. It was a tough day for me. It's been a tough month of adjusting for me. But my little girl, is just LOVING school! Every morning, she is excited to go to school. Every afternoon, she's so excited to tell me and the girls, all about her day. And every night, I hear her telling Mark about what she's learned. It's so sweet!

I was talking to my MIL about this. And she tells me how Elena adores that 30 minutes with grammy. I know she does! She tells us all about it. You see, my MIL works in the office. Why? I'm not sure. She doesn't need to work. My in-laws are doing well. But she enjoys it. Even if we all tell her, that she should retire. And you know, enjoy life.

Back to my MIL and Elena. School is out at 3:30PM. My MIL patiently waits for Elena and her teacher, to get to the office at 3:45PM. After all the other kids are on their buses going home, or with their parents. Elena comes bringing in the attendance sheets, and anything else that needs to be turned in.

Yes, her teacher walks her there. And I'm sure she probably has business to do in the office too. But then, Elena gets to hangout with grammy for 30 minutes. While grammy closes down the office. And Elena is quickly becoming "Grammy's Helper." They put the mail in the teacher's boxes, organize attendance papers, and close down the office.

By 4:15PM, we're there to pick up Elena. She gives grammy some love. Grammy is excited to see the girls. It's a win-win. Once in a while, grammy brings Elena home for me. You know, if the girls are having a tough day. Or I'm helping my FIL. But we're definitely adjusting, to this new schedule of ours.

Now let me tell you, this is not a first for my MIL. With our oldest niece and nephew, they went to the school where my MIL works. They helped her too. But for Elena, I think this is a "Right of Passage." To get to help grammy at work. It really does make her feel so special! And my heart grows, every time she tells me about her afternoon.

In a month, I can see the difference in my daughter. Elena is more aware of things. She is always trying to teach Ofelia something. Her love of reading, is growing. Elena studies the world more. Likes to see how things work. She has friends. Boy does my daughter have friends! And it's so nice to see these changes.

To mark a month in school, we've invited a few of Elena's friends, and their moms over. We live outside of the school district. And it's a bit of a drive. So we decided a nice trip, to a local pizza and sub shop was in order. Closer for all.

I put together some little treat bags, for the kids. Convinced my FIL to watch Ofelia and Sofia, until my MIL got home. Which wasn't hard at all! He adores his grandkids. :) And I have a batch of this, in our slow cooker.

I just felt like we could all use some celebrating. It's been a tricky month for all of us. New schedules. New activities. New phases of life. I feel like we're really making some good friends. People who are experiencing all of the same things. It just feels good. And right. Oh, 4PM can't come soon enough! A

Monday, September 10, 2012

Why Didn't I Think of This?

Sometimes I just have a "duh" moment. Honestly, over the last few months, they're happening more and more. I know!! I'm just going to blame it on, adjusting to life with 3 precious girls.

Over the weekend, we had lots of time with our family. Which was heaven! My BIL and SIL have the most amazing Ranch. And they hosted our Labor Day events. Fun times people! Our big girls, got to have lots of pony rides. The guys played a game of baseball. And we ate. Boy did we eat!

Another thing that I enjoy, is that my in-laws always invite, all sides of the family. It's not just Mark's HUGE family. They invite my family, and all the other "in-laws." I'm telling you, we're just one HUGE and HAPPY family. It makes life so incredibly nice, and enjoyable. :)

Yes, this family has been a complete blessing. They haven't just taken me in, but my entire family. Then they spoil us all! Let me tell you, my SIL did not need any help with the food. She had a HUGE spread of amazing food. But we all still took some treats. I'm telling you, we're "trained." Family "get-togethers" just mean, bring family, food, and love.

My favorite treat though, were these little cookie bowls that my SIL made. Then she filled them with fresh fruit, and a dollop of fresh whipped cream. Perfect to beat the heat!!

Just look at how she made them. Well, that's how my SIL told me she made them. She rolled out some dough, them placed it on a tin. On the "wrong side." And baked until golden. My SIL did say, if you're making chocolate chip, use the mini chips. And place your muffin tin, on a baking sheet.

She also made her fancy "cheesy bowls." I've seen her do this before. Essentially, she uses a small skillet. Melts cheesy in there, then lays it on a small bowl. Again, on the "wrong side." They harden as they cool. Then she usually uses them for salads.

Yes, my SIL is super creative when it comes to food. That's probably because of my nephew. When he was little, he didn't like to eat. So his momma would try and make it fun. It worked! Now he's a champ, at eating his veggies. I think a lot of that has to do with the training he does, for rodeo and baseball. But it definitely started with his momma.

So do you have any fun food tricks? I'm always looking for ways to make our food interesting. I'm always picking my friend and SIL's brains. Hoping to learn something new. A

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day!!

I just LOVE a good holiday. Especially one that revolves around good food, friends, and family. That's what I think about, when I think about Labor Day. I know that's not the true meaning. But that's how I like to look at it. :)

Today we're going to a BBQ. At my SIL and BIL's home. Ranch really. And we're all pretty excited!! The girls have been talking non-stop about it. Because they get to ride their uncle's ponies.

And me? Well, I've had a smile on my face all morning long. Why? I finally have an excuse to make these yummy "pie cookies." And gosh! I think I might have gotten the sweetest berries of the season. :) Yes, they are pretty wonderful!

I'm off to bake. The girls are taking an early nap. And Mark, well he's napping too! I'm glad that my hard working hubby got the day off. The rest of our day, is going to be of the lazy variety. Something we all desperately need! A

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mommy's Reading Again

Now that we're getting used to our new schedule, I've started to get back into things I enjoy. Mark and I have been tackling our yard and garden again. Which feels so good! There is just something, about digging in the dirt, that heals the soul!

And during the day, I'm finding a lot of "down time." Probably because I'm getting up earlier. Much earlier. And I get so much housework done. By the time I get Elena to school, I'm usually completely caught up with the cleaning. OK, there is still laundry to do. But that just kind of does itself. You know, throw it in the machine, and it washes.

When the girls go down for their naps, I'm sorta without anything to do. I mean, there is always something to do, but I actually have some free time. Well, I'm working on this project for me. Which makes me so happy! And I've started reading again.

With that, I've leaned on some friends for book suggestions. Things that will interest me. And aren't too crazy. I've also been reading my Bible a lot more. Which really heals my soul!! But recently, I've really gotten into this book.

Now I've read other books by Jennifer Weiner. They really are good. But I'd never read this one before. Which is about the "suburbs." And a murder. Which has had me completely "hooked," all week long!

I have Lola to thank for introducing me to Jennifer's books. And Cam to thank for this book. So around 11AM, I've probably got this book in my hand. Oh, and a sweet treat in the other! A

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hiccup in Our Plan

Over the weekend, Mark and I decided, that we needed to start our Christmas shopping. This whole "3 girls to look after," has really pushed us to plan ahead. We know that our days of "last minute shopping," are well behind us.

I've had some toys in mind. And books. That I know the girls will enjoy. We don't just give our girls toys, we also give them items that they can use to learn with. And some useful items. We like to keep it well rounded.

Along with this, I've been leaning towards giving the girls more thoughtful gifts. Handmade items. Just one of kind things. Not only do I think it's more meaningful. But I want to support local, and handmade shops.

So I took to our computer last night. And I started to order various things. Let me tell you, that little "Christmas for the Girls" folder, really came in handy! I got about half of the items order. Thank you Mark, for thinking ahead! We'd been saving money. And it just all sorta lined up last night.

Except, there is that 1 item that I really wanted. I've wanted it for Elena, for probably over a year. And I ALWAYS have my fingers crossed, that it's "in stock." Until last night. When it wasn't!!

I was crushed!! Probably more so, because there is nothing left in this cute, little Etsy shop. And that just makes me so sad. I'm going to contact Mrs. Ruby Ellen. Hopefully, we can get this dollhouse, and doll made. You know, before Christmas. Now that I really have my heart set on it. Is anyone else thinking about Christmas? Or is it just us? A

Friday, August 24, 2012

Our Home Smells Like Heaven!!

I'm pretty sure that I've mentioned our weekly "Family Dinners" before. Mark's family has always had "Family Dinners." Always! I'm pretty sure it was his abuelita that started them. The entire family meets on Friday nights. Everyone pitches in, and we enjoy a meal together.

When Mark's abuelita was alive, they were always at her house. Well, almost always. It didn't matter that you had to drive an hour out of town. That's where we went. And even when we were teens, it was a fun place to be.

The guys would practice baseball or their roping. Yes, it was a family activity. They'd also help out with the Ranch. Cleaning, and feeding the animals. Whatever needed to be done. Us gals, we'd cook. And we'd help clean the house. Anything we could do.

These days, the dinners are usually at my in-laws' house. Which is another fun place to be. Again, everyone goes over. Aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, wives, husbands, and tons of kids! From time to time, we also have friends like Lola and her parents there. :)

And every week, we all have a different responsibility. Some to bring the meat for the main dish, some for desserts, maybe a side dish. My MIL likes to do lots of cooking. She usually handles the main dish. And we all help with everything else.

This week, I'm supposed to be taking a dessert. First of all, until an hour ago, I forgot it was Friday. Can we say "Mommy Brain?" Mark sent me a text, "Do we need to take some dessert plates too?" Good thing he remembered!

So I headed to one of my new favorite food blogs. And the first thing I saw, was this Banana Nut Cake. Um, ya! This is what I'm baking.

Beyond the comment, "That cake is just stupid good," I was sold at Banana Nut. Banana Nut Bread was the food I craved the most while pregnant. All 3 times! Heck, who am I fooling, Banana Nut Bread is just a favorite of mine.

A total bonus, I had everything on hand. Being that our family of 5, eats 2+ bundles of bananas a week, I knew I could make this right away. As I type, this cake is baking away. And our home smells amazing! I just hope I don't eat it, before we get to our dinner tonight! :) A

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Cute Twist

Our oldest niece is a doll! She just graduated from high school in May. And her idol, is Taylor Swift. Well, the rest of us don't understand it, she likes Miss Swift and her music. Not really our idea of Country Music. But well, she adores her music.

The one thing I can understand, is this dress! Our niece was showing me some pictures last week, and this one caught my eye. It's just so fresh, and classy. Something that I just adore!

Let's just say, I've got this on my radar now. This tangerine color is just amazing! And the cut of the dress, is perfection! Classic. And well, we've got some events to go to soon. This would be something I could wear. Now where do I find a reasonably priced version? A

Monday, August 20, 2012

Something for Mommy

I had a lot of fun, participating in this Crochet Along. I actually finished my owl bag on time! And now, I need to make another 2. :) My 1st one was for Elena. But Ofelia just adores it too! My niece, who is a bit older, also asked me to make her one. I'm going to be a little busy. But it really is a fun and easy pattern to work with.

Just as I was finishing up, I noticed that Lola was hosting another Crochet Along. With her mom. And this one, is for a beautiful shawl. Something I could definitely use! So I signed up. :)

Mark just laughs. But I do think I'm "hooked" on crochet! Like I've said before, I don't have a lot of time to crochet. But when the girls are napping, and I'm all caught up on "house stuff," I like to sit and relax. Crocheting is helping me to do just that. Relax.

I'm really excited about this project. Because this is something I could use. In more ways than one. Yes, after 3 girls, I'm starting to realize even I need a break. At least for a few minutes every day. And this momma, could really use a few more additions to her closet. A

Saturday, August 18, 2012

And She Has a Pig

We are all so proud of Elena!! Her first week of school, was a total success!! My week, was a little more up and down. At least emotionally. But I guess, I was just missing my sweet girl.

Last night at our "Family Dinner," our daughter was the center of attention. Excitedly telling us all about her "Big Girl School." It's been a few years, since the family has had a small child, in school. Mark's oldest brother, has 2 kids. His daughter graduated this year. His son is in middle school. Mark's younger brother, has 2 kids too. His daughter is in middle school. And his son, is in his last year of elementary. All of Mark's cousins with kids, well their kids are in middle or high school. Except one cousin, who has 2 sweet little ones. :)

Yes, we have some of the youngest kiddos of the family. Sofia, being the youngest. So everyone was really into the "School Talk." At the end of the night, Grammy and Papi, promised to take Elena on a surprise. Tomorrow in fact. Mark's aunt and uncle, surprised her with a HUGE stack of books! Mark's younger brother and his wife, gave Elena a cute dress and shoes. And Mark's older brother, well this is what he gave Elena!!

Why yes, this is a Teacup Piggie!! I'd NEVER heard of them before. But supposedly, they're a HUGE hit! While looking for a picture, I found out they can go for upwards of $45! You see, this pig, talks. Says 25 different things. Cracks us all up!

My BIL insured us, that he didn't pay that much. But who knows with him. I personally think, he'd like some more kids. Instead of finding a girlfriend, he spoils our girls. :) I don't know who had more fun, with "Princess," our new piggie. It was a close call between Elena, and her uncle.

This little piggie has provided hours of fun, for our girls. I have a feeling that Ofelia is going to want one too. Maybe Santa is listening. :) And this morning, at 8AM, Papi came over. With 5 outfits for "Princess." They were on clearance at Wal-Mart. For 50 cents!! Wow, "Princess" is just one special girl! A

Monday, August 13, 2012

Our School Girl

Today, Miss Elena started Pre-K. Wow! My baby is in school. She wasn't nervous at all. I think I had enough nerves for the both of us! She was so excited when we dropped her off. "Mommy and Daddy I'm going to big girl school. Where grammy works."

Yes, she was over the moon! Weeks ago, we started buying her school supplies. And her little uniforms. But I do say, Elena was most excited over her new backpack and lunchbox. Last night, we packed up her supplies. Making sure her name was on everything. School rules. And we talked about lunch.

My sweet girl asked me to pack a lunch for her, and grammy. Oh, and a little snack for her teacher. Yes, it was quite cute. And this morning, before the girls woke up, and Mark was showering, I started those lunches. I couldn't help myself, I cried. Just a little. Because my baby is not a baby anymore! She's a big girl.

This mommy, might have also packed a little card and some stickers. Elena might have gotten fruit, and a pudding. And I might still have this ache in my heart. But this is a big step for all of us. A big deal!

To celebrate tonight, Mark is grilling up some ribs. And we're having a special "School Dinner." I can't wait, to hear all about my little girl's first day of school! And mommy just might be baking up some sweet treats, for our new school girl.

I'd probably be at the school. Right this minute. If my MIL didn't work there. Along with Mark's aunt. I know that our girl is in good hands. And that we have family members there, if she needs them. I'd probably just make the whole thing, a lot harder. I know that Elena is having a great time. And making lots of good friends. But it still doesn't make this day any easier.

I know this is a necessary step. But this is also the first real big step, to our daughter really growing her "own wings." And that, makes me a little nervous. Because I want to be there, to always protect her. I know, she's only in Pre-K. And is just 4 years old. But I feel like she's grown up too fast for my tastes. A