39/52 and 40/52

Sunday, October 16, 2016

*A photograph of each of my children, once a week in 2016*

So let me start this post by saying I know I'm totally behind in my Project 52 posts.  There are good reasons as to why and I'll write a post with a life update here soon.  But until then, here a few combined pictures of my sweeties from the last two weeks.

Six seems so old to me.  I know it sound cliche but honestly, it really does feel like just yesterday were bringing him home from the hospital.  His itty-bitty self, being new parents, learning how to just survive - how was that all six years ago?  Now he's in Kindergarten - real life school, and playing sports, making friends and growing into such a little man.  When people tell you it goes fast believe them because it really does.

October is hard month for Lola.  Considering her mom, brother and sister all have birthdays in this month, she doesn't quite understand why she doesn't have hers too.  I have heard every day since Cohen's birthday, "Mom, it's almost my birthday."  Yes Lola, in 35 more days it is almost your birthday.

Our newest trick is standing.  Like from sitting to standing right up.  Remy has taken a few steps but nothing that is considered real walking.  But she loves to stand and clap for herself and others.  Then when she knows you are watching, she will laugh and smile that million dollar smile at you. 



Tuesday, October 11, 2016

*A photograph of each of my children, once a week in 2016*

A few weeks ago we hit up the Apple Orchard on a Friday evening.  It ended up being the perfect time because no one was there, the kids could pick apples but still play on all of the stuff.  Cohen had a busy day with his school's fundraiser earlier.  But he really got into the apple picking this year, showing Lola how to pick the apples and telling her to leave the rotten ones on the ground.  He's such a big kid these days.  

The majority of this trip was spent eating apples.  Even though there were a million signs all around stating, "You must pay before you eat,"  this one didn't care.  She ate about three apples and I'm pretty sure two of them were straight from the ground.
I didn't get any good pictures of the baby enjoying the apples.  She was pretty content in her stroller until she realized it was way past her dinner time.  But her new favorite past time is watching the world out the window.  And those wrist rolls. I die.


Happy Sixth Birthday, Cohen Lee

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Six Years.
This big guy is six years old today.

I remember the anticipation and excitement I felt waiting for Cohen to enter the world.  It was like a ball of anxiety, uncertainty and feeling elated all rolled into one.  Being a mother was a new territory for me with no expectations.  It was something that I knew I was destined for and after what felt like forever, it was finally happening.

On Tuesday, October 5th, 2010 at 4:37 pm Cohen Lee Baumgartner entered the world and changed our lives forever.

We could tell he was full of life and spunk from the moment he was born.  Cohen was born at top speed and has yet to slow down.  He has a heart of gold and has started to learn the boundaries and limits that have been set for him.  The first few years of this kid's life were rough.  I'm not sure how I still have hair that isn't grey left on my head.  But as soon as he hit five, Cohen turned a corner and started to grow up into a kind, gentle little man.  It's the little moments that I catch him in, like rubbing Remy's back and calling her sweetie or giving his nagging sister a bite of his cookie without thinking twice.  While he can be a fighter, the kid is really such a lover at heart.

Cohen has the speed of lightning when it comes to sports.  Football season has been a turning part for him and he has grown tremendously as an athlete.  This little glimpse of his athleticism makes me excited about my future as a football/basketball/baseball mom.  His sensitivity shows, however, when things don't go as planned.  Cohen is a perfectionist, like his dad, and he strives to be the best at everything.  So when someone catches up with him and grabs that flag, it kills his spirit.  I admire his effort at trying to be the very best, but it is a conversation I'm sure we will have to chat about in the future.

Cohen is my first baby, the lonely boy and the only child that I can say officially turned me into a parent.  I struggle with the fact that he is six because in the back of my mind, he is still that little chunky baby with the mohawk.  As cliche as it sounds, I truly did blink and he grew up right before my eyes.  My oldest baby is six.  SIX.  That's one whole hand plus another finger.  While I know he's more than ready for this experience of life, I'm not so sure I am and want to hold him down, rather than letting him fly.

But I won't.  I promise not to be that helicopter mom.  Well, not too much at least.

Cohen Lee,
On your sixth birthday here are the six things I wish for you:

1.  Never stop laughing
Don't sweat the small stuff and when in doubt, laugh.  Because your laugh is infectious and sweet and it proves you won't take everything so seriously.

2.  You don't have to be perfect.
You can strive to be the best, but there are times when you will fall.  That's okay.  Just get up, brush off your knees and try it again.

3.  Love hard
Your heart is golden and there is always room for plenty of love.

4.  Experience new things
Look for new adventures and test them out -- but make sure you are being safe! (I have to say that.  I'm your mom.)

5.  Kindness is cool
Be kind to others and make friends with all.  Remember how you felt when people didn't want to play with you or be your friend.  You can be that role model - show others how good kindness looks.

6.  Dream Big
Dream as big as you can and stretch as high as possible to reach those dreams.  You are unstoppable!

I love you to the moon, sun and stars and back.  But I'm sure you will find a way to beat that one.



Tuesday, September 27, 2016

*A photograph of each of my children, once a week in 2016*

I'm struggling with the thought that my little guy will be six next week.  He has grown up so much in the past month.  Kindergarten has been a huge milestone for Cohen and it melts my heart to see him enjoy school so much.  This kid loves to help and many times I don't even think he knows how much he's really helping.  I have to be honest, after surviving a year of three and four with him, I wasn't sure we'd ever make it here but here we are and here he is -- all grown up.

Babies and princesses are this one's jam.  I went to see Ron Clark speak a few weeks ago, so Kurtis took the kids to the Children's Museum.  They have a new Doc McStuffins exhibit and Lola was in heaven.  Kurtis said she spent the majority of her time taking care of the little babies in the baby hospital they had set up.  Her interests and attitude resemble me so much - I'm pretty sure I have my clone here.

Because with a face like that, she will never do any wrong.  I'm serious, this child has every single person wrapped around her finger - her brother, sister, dad, babysitter.  While she still sleeps like crap, we couldn't imagine life without her.  And she is almost one people -- ONE!!!


Homemade Granola Bars

Monday, September 26, 2016

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.  #CarnationBreakfastEssentials #CollectiveBias #sponsored

I knew the transition back to work would be difficult, especially since I was able to take an entire year off after having Remy.  But if I have to be honest with you, it has been a lot harder than I could have imagined.  I'm sure there are many factors that go into this like a third child, a kiddo in Kindergarten and the two small businesses I am trying to run on my "free time."  But I have been trying to figure out the balance these last two months and ways to manage the chaos in my life.  While I haven't quite figured it all out obviously, I have found some things that make my time more manageable.  One of the biggest time savers has been meal planning and prepping for the week ahead.

My mornings and evenings are by far the busiest times of the day.  I usually start the day off around 5:30 with a quick run on the treadmill or workout in my basement so I can make sure I am done getting ready for the day by 7:00.  Kurtis and I tag team getting the kids around and I leave the house no later than 7:30.  As you can imagine there is not a whole lot of time in the mornings, especially to get things like breakfast and lunch packed.  I started prepping my breakfasts on Sunday so they are set and ready to grab on my way out the door all week long.  The key here being grab-and-go.

I recently tried this simple recipe for homemade granola bars because grabbing a box at the store every week was getting expensive.  After tweaking it a bit I found one that is super tasty and makes a batch that is perfect to freeze and store for at least two weeks ahead.

Homemade Granola Bars

*1 3/4 cup of quick oats
*1 cup of sliced almonds
*1/2 cup of honey
*1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
*1 cup of peanut butter
*1 teaspoon of cinnamon
*1/3 cup of mini chocolate chips
*1 packet of Carnation Breakfast Essentials - Rich Milk Chocolate
Other Items Need:
*Parchment paper
*Plastic wrap
*Square pan

1.  In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients -- oats, almonds, chocolate chips, cinnamon, salt and Carnation Breakfast Essentials packet.

2.  Whisk together the wet ingredients in another bowl - honey, vanilla and peanut butter.
(Here's a tip when working with sticky ingredients - spray your measuring cup with nonstick spray before pouring it into your cup and it will slide right out into your mixing bowl!)

3.  Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl with the dry mixture and combine it together evenly.  The mixture will be sticky but make sure all of the dry mixture has been covered.

4.  Line your square pan with parchment paper.  Then, pour your mixture into your pan and pack it down firmly.

5.  Cover and refrigerate at least an hour before cutting up the bars.

Since each batch can make around 12 bars, I wrap up the bars after I have cut them and freeze them for the following two weeks for breakfast.  Normally I won't eat breakfast until I get to school.  Therefore I can let the bar defrost on my way into work and they usually are perfect by the time I'm ready to eat one.

These granola bars have been a huge time saver in our busy schedule.  I have never been a huge breakfast eater so the granola bars have been perfect for my morning appetite, especially when you consider how breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Adding the Carnation Breakfast Essentials was an easy choice for this recipe too because I know my family (and myself) are getting the nutrients we need to start our mornings off right. The powder is perfect to use in recipes or even when time is short, you can quickly add Carnation Breakfast Essentials to milk for breakfast-on-the-go!  Lately I have been stocking up on a variety of flavors because it is a perfect pantry filler and a family favorite, especially for breakfast.

This whole back to work-life balance has been hard.  But I'm slowly catching on and getting back into the swing of things.  It's all about balance and finding the things, like meal prep and simple recipes, that make life just a little less chaotic.  Plus, they say things get easier after time anyways, right?

Share with Me!
How do you manage a crazy schedule but still fit in a good breakfast?  I'd love to hear some recipes too!



August Photo Dump

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

As I attempted to do the update on my phone for the bazillionth time, I realized I hadn't cleaned off my pictures for the month of August.  And it's almost October.  Mother Time you are mean.

That one time we went to an auction and my husband thought he was bidding on a pergola when in fact he almost spent $1000 on a private dinner...

The Indiana State Fair did us good this year.

That one time I won Cohen a fish.  He named the fish Fishnado.  I spent $5 on fish food and Fishnado died the next day.
For real people.

Walking to Kinder orientation.  All the tears.

And just like that, we had a Kindergartner. 

First day of Kinder.  First day of football practice.

Because she still is my best sleeper.

My sister girls

I love watching the Outdoor Learning Lab being built outside of Cohen's school.  My favorite part of my runs.

Cornfields and Baby Blues

I was a rebel and went out on a school night....to see the Dixie Chicks.
And I got to see my former work bestie.  And I miss her tone.


When the best park is at your Dad's work.

Just because.  That's all.


35/52 and 36/52

Saturday, September 17, 2016

*A photograph of each of my children, once a week in 2016*

Since I am behind a bit, I decided to combine a few weeks together.  Blame it on my ridiculously busy and nonstop life lately.  But I do have plenty photos of these kids, nonetheless. 

The cul-de-sac has been awfully quiet this summer.  We have had several families move and two of those families had boys Cohen often played with when they were out.  A few kids were outside last Sunday and after four hours of hard playing, he came back in ready for dinner, dripping sweat.  He has made some really great friends at school and I hope to be setting up some play dates here in the near future. 
P.S.  Did I mention this one will be six in less than a month?

Sweet Lola Girl had a heck of a stomach bug a few weekends ago.  Then, the following week she topped it off with a major cold.  But this one tugs at my heartstrings like something else and I'm a sucker for everything and anything she wants.  The other night at dinner she looked at me and said, "Mom, do you love me?"  My reply was, "Of course I do!  To the moon and back!"  She then said, "Okay Mom.  Thanks."  And that was that.  If only life was that simple.

In less that a month I will no longer have a baby.  Oh my Remy is such a sassy pants in so many ways.  She is her own character and will greet any one of us with the best smile you have ever seen.  Yet she still has a bit of stranger anxiety and will bury her head in my shoulder when she's unsure about the new person and situation.  And if I take something away from her that she wants, oh Lord help us all.