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I am 27 years old and am blessed to have my husband Brady, as my partner and best friend. We have two children, Parker and Piper, our little yorkie. We are constantly amazed by the joy they bring into our lives and can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!
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Monday, October 31, 2011

Yo Ho!!

Many people have asked me how they celebrate Halloween over here.  Honestly, the celebrations are much like ours at home.  Kids (people) dress up, trick or treat, go to parties, do fall crafts.  At first I was excited because I love dressing Parker up, but because a few of our new friends do not celebrate because of religious reasons, it has made me reconsider how I feel about it (I honestly hadn't really thought about it before).  I do know, however, that I love fall.  I love pumpkins and red leaves, cool weather and football.  I also love costumes and dressing up, so this year, until we can prayerfully consider what is best, we are celebrating fall with costumes...ha, I know I sound ridiculous.

Anyway, we decided to get P a pirate costume because he loves "Jake and the Neverland Pirates."  Ok, by love I mean talks a lot about his "gold de blumes" and says "yo ho," but has really only watched it once or twice.   Here is a video of P trying on his costume for the first time...seriously, he talked about finding his "gold de blumes" for at least 30 minutes after I turned the camera off.

We wanted to find something to do that would be different (and where P could wear his costume).  At first we wanted to go on a history walk of the town, but we were told it might be too frightening for Parker (apparently Norwich has a gory history of hangings and what not...good to know...probably not a good alternative to Halloween).  Instead we found an old steam engine railroad that takes you on a two-hour round-trip ride through the countryside between two nearby towns.  I must say the train was picturesque and Parker LOVED it!!  There were quite a few kids who were wearing their costumes too!
Before we left...getting P to actually look at the camera anymore is very, very difficult!!

Again, I wanted a picture with him beside the steam engine, but he couldn't stop staring.

The steam engine...sepia seemed appropriate...:)

"Hi Mom!"

Again, this is what you get when you try to get a good picture of P with one of us...Parker had just hit Brady with his sword...hahaha, I mean, Parker no no.

Almost a smile!

At dusk...it was only 4:30.  Although the moonlit ride back was pretty neat.  We had a great day!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Oh gosh...

 ...this is so sad.  I am watching the K-State/OU game and decided I needed a distraction...so here I am.  We let Parker stay up for the first half; apparently he was the good luck charm keeping them alive.  I'm glad he is not watching this (mainly because he cheers every time someone scores a touchdown and I'm not sure Brady could handle that right now).  Despite the loss, Parker will still wake up tomorrow asking to watch football and wanting to put on his Wildcat jersey.   He is a true fan (just like his Daddy)...good or bad, he loves his Wildcats.  Just one of the reasons I love these boys...and why I love being a Wildcat!!  Go Cats!

Just a peak at Parker's dedication...and his well-worn Wildcat jersey (thanks Uncle Landon).  He wears it at least three times a week (don't worry, it is always clean...when he puts it on at least).

We had a battle about the undershirt, but because I knew he would roll his sweats up,  it was a battle I chose to fight.  His pants are literally rolled up to his big-boy underwear.  No kidding, I hear a man call him a "hip-hop" baby when we walked by.  Oh, and no worries, we only went to the park in this outfit, ha.

Torn between the love of his new pirate costume and his jersey, he chose to wear them together.  Yo Ho!

One of the few times this week he didn't wear the jersey (he is wearing an EMAW shirt, so no worries).  I actually got him to wear his pants down by telling him that the football players wear warm-up pants like his to keep their legs warm so they can run faster.  Apparently this was logical (as opposed to wearing pants just because it is 30 degrees outside).  Oh and if you're wondering, he is totally enthralled with a street band in this picture.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Style tips from Parker

I realize that I haven't put many Parker pictures up for a while (enough for the grandmas to get their fix anyway), so I decided to put some of my favorite outfits of the week.  Parker used to let me dress him in anything I wanted to...it was awesome.  Boys clothes can definitely be as much fun to buy as girls clothes and I was thoroughly enjoying my little model.  Now, however, Parker has very strong opinions about what he wears...you'll notice some common elements...
1.  Hat...usually backwards
2.  Vest...I can't really get him to wear a coat right now, so I am settling for the vest.
3.  Pants up...no, cold weather has not done anything to change his mind...we still have a battle to even get the pants on in the morning (I guess I should clarify and say "trousers" for you Englanders:)
4.  Socks up...apparently he is cold, but only enough to pull his socks up and not his pants down.  I wish I had a video of him walking in a squat to make sure his pants and socks stay up...seriously, hilarious.

This one might be one of my favorites...pants up (unevenly), and the socks are navy blue ( I don't think you can tell in the picture, but it made the outfit that much better)

Here he is wearing shorts and his navy blue socks up to give the illusion of trousers.

I finally convinced him to wear his new hat to cover his ears, but he still wanted to turn it backwards. 
My only contribution to this one was his jeans...he did the rest.

I'm not sure if you will really want to use any of these tips, but I guess when you are two it works...:)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes with Pumpkin Frosting!

When I started making these, everything went wrong...I didn't have oil, couldn't find pumpkin puree and accidentally dropped a full cup of cream out of the refrigerator.   Normally, I would have just decided to make something different, but I was having company over and couldn't get the thought of chocolate cupcakes with pumpkin butter cream frosting out of my head (oh, and did I mention that they were spider cupcakes...:).

Here is how I solved my dilemmas...
Lack of oil: This was a box cake mix and I knew I could use applesauce as a substitute but I didn't have applesauce (nor do they sell it here), so I decided to quickly make my own with the two apples on my counter.  Oh, and did I mention that I also don't have a food processor anymore so I had to just dump the cooked apples into the mix and hope that my mixer would do the trick...it did!

Lack of pumpkin puree:  I was determined to make pumpkin butter cream frosting...in a country that doesn't carry pumpkin puree.   Luckily, I had just bought a couple of pumpkins and decided to use one of them to make my own.  Here is the recipe I used.  Again, the electric mixer was fine, but it would have been much better with a food processor.

Cream everywhere:  yeah...this is sort of self-explanatory, but lets just say that I still have stains on my walls above my cabinets.

After baking the cupcakes (which were super, super moist by the way), I made the butter cream frosting. My Grandma Bevo makes the BEST buttercream frosting...ever.  I have tried on several occasions to recreate her genius with absolutely no luck.  Today, I finally succeeded (ok, maybe just close enough to be edible)!!!  Wahoo!!  Here is the pumpkin frosting recipe I used.

Pumpkin Butter Cream:
2 sticks of unsalted butter at room temp
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 lbs. confectioner’s sugar (more or less)
Cream butter, pumpkin and spices. Slowly add sugar until the buttercream is no longer seperated by the pumpkin. Use or keep chilled for up to 2 weeks.

Mine was not as orange as the picture showed, but I think it would be prettier (and taste more pumpkin-y) with actual canned puree.  Sometimes, homemade is just not better.

Anyway, here is the finished product...Oh, and Brady said these were the best cupcakes he's ever had!!  Seriously, nothing I cook is the best he's ever had so this was a big deal...

They taste better than they look...black licorice for the legs (they don't really have red here) and M&Ms for the eyes.

Parker helped me put on the eyes and sprinkles...he did such a good job!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Just to clarify...

After a couple of emails and comments...I realize I need to clarify...yes, I know that I have been posting a lot about babies and then with the mention of a midwife on top of it, I might have given you the wrong idea.   I promise that I am not expecting, however, because P was such a surprise, we are doing our homework now...just in case!  Let's hope we have another year-ish to settle in here!

I seriously feel like I am bringing on baby #2 sooner just by writing that we are waiting, ha!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

This week...

This week I found cilantro, hooray!!  (it is called coriander here, just in case you were wondering...)
This week I also made my first, and second and third batch of salsa sans jalepenos (still haven't found those).
This week I threw away my Magic Bullet after burning it out using it to make three batches of salsa using an adapter in the power outlet...shoot.
This week Brady taught Parker how to pee standing up...on the side of the road...I see lots of clean up in my future...
This week I found out that you see a midwife instead of a doctor when you are pregnant here...three times...total...
This week I decided that wearing my wardrobe to and from the car in the winter is a lot different than wearing it to walk everywhere I go...brrrrrr....
This week we visited Colchester, the oldest town in England.  Birthplace and home of the Taylor sisters (authors of "Star Light, Star Bright").
This week I decided to try to ride with Brady to work so I could take P to the beach...in 30 degree weather...in a place where nothing opens until 9:30 or 10:00...I am an idiot...
So...P fell in the water after a high wave...yes, his pants were wet within the first 15 minutes...AKA 8:30 AM

Poor baby, walking back to the boardwalk with wet pants.

This week we visited Colchester, the oldest town in England.  Birthplace and home of the Taylor sisters (authors of "Star Light, Star Bright").

Taylor sisters' home.

Colchester Castle...it was pretty great inside.

I wish you could tell that Parker's socks were above his knees.  He decided that he would not wear pants, but wanted his socks completely up.

Parker looking down the well at Colchester Castle.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Gruffalo...why didn't you know?

Its eyes are orange, its tongue is black, it has purple prickles all over its back.  Oh help, oh no!!  It's a Gruffalo!

If you haven't already, you need to read The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson.  Actually, you need to read any and all of her children's books; not only does Parker love them, but they are so much fun to read out loud.  I would recommend Room on the Broom, A Squash and a Squeeze and Tiddler to start.  Better yet?  Every book has a great lesson at the end of the story.  Sadly, I have not been able to find them in bookstores in the US, but you can find them on Amazon.

This week, we were so lucky because Julia Donaldson was doing a book signing at The Book Hive in the city centre.  When I told P that we were going to see the lady who wrote The Gruffalo, he said, "I want to say thank you."  He is obviously a big fan.  We were so excited to meet her!

Standing in line...

P didn't mind...he had cheerios.

This is the best I could do...Parker had just gotten into trouble and was crying when we finally got our turn.

"I so excited," when I let him out of the stroller on the streets after...don't worry, no cars:).


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

KiKi...are you there? No really...

Parker is very imaginative.  We realize this.  He plays baseball while shopping with imaginary balls and bats;  he sometimes gets "tackled" randomly while walking; he is never far from an imaginary football.  Until a couple of days ago, I thought it was just a love of all things sports.    Apparently we have progressed....we have recently met KiKi.  This is how our conversation went last night...

P, "run KiKi!!!  KiKi scored a touchdown!"
Me, "he did?  Where is KiKi?"
P, "he's standing up...right there"
Me, "oh"

You get the idea.  I have noticed that KiKi is usually around when I am cooking dinner or cleaning something so I am assuming he just wanted someone to play with.  Don't worry, I have googled this and they say it is normal...especially for the oldest child.  They also said not to challenge him about KiKi, and also not to ask too many questions.  So for now, we will just see how this goes....

I'm not going to lie, between the "I want a baby sister" comment and his new friend, I feel like P is trying to tell us it is time to start thinking about growing our family...eeek!

Monday, October 17, 2011

conversations with a 2 year old

Having a toddler is like having a free ticket to a comedy show every night.  Seriously...they are hilarious.  I wish I could carry a tape recorder with me every day, but that is not really reasonable so I decided to give you a glimpse into my day today....

Parker, "I running fast to score a touchdown"
Me, "you scored a touchdown?"
P, "yes...I need to do pushups."  (so, yes, we've been watching a lot of K-State football on tv lately...:)

Me, "please hand me my wallet."
Parker, "I need a wallet"
Me, "Oh, you do?"
P, "Yes. I need a wallet......and a phone.  I need a wallet and a phone."  (this happened a couple of weeks ago but the following conversation made me think of it)

P, "I need a phone"
Me, "you do?"
P, "yes, I need a phone to put in my pocket."

The following was probably just funny because it was while he was sitting on the toilet...
P, "this is Parker's new house"
Me, "yes, it is.  Do you like Parker's new house?"
P, "yes, but we need a better new house."
Me, "oh, we do?"
P, "yes, we need a piano...I want to play piano...and a microphone, we need a microphone"

And finally, this was after we had finished our prayers...I made the mistake of only naming family members...
P, "Amen...and Laura (waura) and Keegan...and Cayman" (these are all his daycare friends from home)
Me, "Cayman is getting a new baby sister today"
P, "I want a baby sister"
Me, "Do you want a baby brother?"
P, "No, a baby sister"
Me, "why not a a baby brother"
P, "I want her say happy birthday Parker"
Me, "oh...that makes sense"

Friday, October 14, 2011

No...it's Gram Gram!

We a have a picture of Brady and I on our honeymoon in the bathroom.  Yesterday, Parker goes, "it's Daddy and Gram Gram!"  I say, "no, that's Daddy and Mommy."  Parker, "No, it's Gram Gram."

Don't get me wrong, I love my mom and think that she is beautiful, but I don't know how I feel about Parker thinking that a 25 year old me looks like a 50 year old her.  I guess all you can say is...go Gram Gram!  

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A test

Today I read this...

"When you understand that life is a test, you realize that nothing is insignificant in your life.  Even the smallest incident has significance for your character development.  Every day is is an important day and every second is a growth opportunity to deepen your character, to demonstrate love, or to depend on God."
-The Purpose Driven Life

When you become a mom, you start to think of every second as an opportunity to make sure your child is loved, cared for and thriving.  Every day you have another "test" of your patience, ability, and sanity.  You constantly worry that your actions are affecting your child's well-being, happiness, even personality, and every new milestone or endeavor they work through is another test for you.   Today, my test was of the potty-training kind.   Up until this morning, Parker had gone 2 days without a diaper (except at night) and no accidents.  This morning we had two...within an hour.  After giving Parker his third bath of the day, we were off to meet Kat for lunch.  I decided to let P wear "bi boi underwear" again (yes, misjudgment on my part).  Needless to say...this is how we went to lunch...

P wanted to wear his new wellies so he could splash in the puddles.

And this is how we left...

So we have officially had our "accident in public" incident (everyone has to have one of these...right?) I'm not sure if I handled these accidents as well as I should have, but I didn't get mad...or cry.  I hope that I demonstrated love when I was frustrated and smiled when I kind of wanted to cry.   Let's just say that I hope I passed this test without doing anything now that completely screws him up later (within reason).

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

One cheek or two?

Tomorrow P and I are having lunch with our new friend, Kat.  Don't get me wrong,  she is so fun and I love when we get to see her, but anytime we go to see new friends or acquaintances (namely B's colleagues), I get super anxious...about the inevitable hello and goodbye kiss.  If you know me, you know how absolutely awkward I am with things like this.  It wouldn't be so bad, but everyone is different and I haven't quite figured out the safe option yet (I tried a hug once and we bumped heads).  There are around a dozen combinations of the following...actual kiss, lips to cheek with no noise, lips to cheek with kissing noise, cheek to cheek brush, and then you add whether it is one cheek or two.  The problem comes when you go for the second-cheek when they only intended one.  Seriously, it's awkward.   Hopefully living here will make me slightly less ridiculous!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Big Boy Underwear!!

So I am almost afraid to post this because I might just jinx ourselves.  When I found out we were going back to the US again, I was determined to continue potty-training no matter how many public bathrooms we had to use.  I squatted in planes, trains and literally every public restroom available in our airport terminals.  That being said, I wasn't sure how Parker would do and whether or not we would still be potty-training when we got back.  Our biggest problem has always been during playtime with other kids.  He just never wants to take time out to go to the bathroom.  Well, today, he refused to wear a diaper to Gymboree (he really likes his big-boy underwear) and he didn't have any accidents!!  This is HUGE!!  Say a little prayer that our streak continues!

Oh, and he will probably hate me when he is older, but I couldn't resist posting a picture...seriously, when did they start making boxer briefs for toddlers?

I decided a full frontal could get me into trouble someday...he picked these out himself and yes, this is his usual at-home outfit of choice.

Last week in pictures

We may have flown back to KS in less than perfect circumstances, but we did get to see a few friends and family while we were home.  We were in Kansas City most of the time, but Parker wasn't allowed to see Wes and I didn't have anyone to watch Parker there, so I didn't get to see him either.  The hardest part was watching Brady go to the hospital every morning and feeling like there was nothing I could do to help.  Luckily, after the first couple of days, we knew that he was going to make it and the prognosis was continuing to improve.  Brady did get to spend a lot of time with his brother, Cortney, and I got to spend some quality time with his girlfriend Van (I'd call her my future sister-in-law, but that is how rumors get started:).  
Here is a look at our week in pictures.

One of the few friends I got to see while we were home.  Miss her so much!

"Aunt Ban"

Jet lag + car ride = Parker out

Van and I took Parker to the KSU game on Saturday (we only stayed until half time).    Brady and I wanted P to see a game this season.  By a stroke of luck, my brother decided to come to the game as well, so we were able to see him too!

Parker is sitting with Grammy right above the "E"

Three of my favorite people, Josh, Jess and Baby Maddie.  So fun to sit with them at a game again.

Check out those eyes...she is seriously adorable.

30 seconds before this, Kyler was giving P a hug.  They wouldn't do it twice, but dangling licorice is almost just as good.

Parker seriously ran around with Kyler and Uncle Landon all day.

Sweaty boy

We found a park that we could visit on the way back from taking Brady to the hospital.  Parker is pretending to drive an "escabator" here.  

We went to the zoo on the last day we were in KC.  For 100M straight, I could only get P to walk by saying, "ready, set, go!"  Here is his runner's stance.