Breakfast for Dinner

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

As a working mom, it's always crunch-time once we get home in the evenings and have a limited time to prepare dinner, among other things. I cook a homemade dinner 5+ nights a week and we try to avoid too many pre-made preservative-ful dishes.. One of my go-to dinners is breakfast, for dinner.

These hashbrowns, although not the most healthy alternative, are a convenient option and a pantry item I keep on hand.
Random - T is currently obsessed with these graham cracker sticks for a snack. They are in the shape of little bones, so he's constantly asking, 'After nap have pup-pee dawg bow-nes?' In fact, I wrapped two boxes up for Christmas gifts; easy to please. :) He's also been really into helping 'cook', so he'll pull his step stool up to the island and either help or just snack and check out the mail - including, as you can see, gun magazines. :)
Have you ever heard this little trick to picking good avocados? Pop off the dried stem and look at the patch underneath, it should be a nice yellowy-green, with no brown. Any brown in that patch indicates bad spots within the avocado. I've been using this method for a while now and it proves to be a pretty reliable, consistent indicator.
Tyson got this for Christmas and it's great for letter recognition, as well as what sound that letter makes. For example, when you put the letter magnet in and it sings, 'T says tuh, T says tuh', then it uses a word that starts with that letter in a sentence. I love that he'll play with it while I'm making dinner, keeping himself entertained; and we'll sing or talk about the letters or words, or just simply be in the same room together.
 This particular evening I had spinach to use up, so I thought throwing it in the scrambled eggs with some parmesan would be a healthy (sneaky) addition for something different. Unfortunately the Mr. didn't really go for it, and T didn't seem to eat them up as easily as he normally does so I think I was the only fan of that experiment.
What are some of your quick, easy, stand-by dinners?
How do you keep your kids entertained while cooking?

Morning Drag Race

Monday, January 26, 2015

A while back I found this DIY tutorial and ever so hinting-ly sent the cute idea to my Mom.. I thought it would be a great, independent, quite activity for a certain soon-to-be-big-brother.

My Mom ever-so-generously made one for T and he has enjoyed it very much!!
Each number is a little pocket that you can 'park' the cars in. It folds in half, then half again, and velcros shut. It's a little bulky when all the cars are in there, but could still easily fit in a little one's backpack and tag-along to church or a restaurant for entertainment.
It definitely came in handy while nursing, I would ask T to park the red car in #4, etc., etc.. I love that you can incorporate number and color learning and that it's a simple activity encouraging creative play. 

THANK YOU Grandma!! I know it was a pain in the @$$ to make.

Homegirl's Birth Story

Friday, January 23, 2015

Today, Homegirl is three months old. Seriously, slow down. This little girl has captured our hearts and is the sweetest-thang!! She looooves to watch her brother's every move, talk to her daddy, and give the cutest smiles to her momma.

I figured today would be a good time to share her birth story.. Yes, it's taken me this long. Our kids' births are such an emotional subject for me. It's a day that is built up in our hearts and minds for months and then all of sudden it's come and gone. Not only is it exciting, and highly-anticipated, but it's a stressful and scary time for me, as I like to be in control and know what to expect, but in the case of labor and delivery...there is so much out of your control. It's a moment that is so incredibly special, in so many ways. Probably the top, most emotion-packed days of my life.

Every time I've tried to edit/add/finish this post, I get very emotional, as I said it's just so special and full of so many emotions, from all ends of the spectrum. Bringing a baby into this world is such a miracle that I don't take for granted, and an experience that just really gets to me, I guess..

As I touched on in T's birth story, we strive for a drug-free and natural labor, resulting in a healthy baby and healthy mom. We brushed up on all we learned from our Bradley Method class and what techniques did/did not work for us the first time.

Without spending too much time on everything before labor, I'll give a quick summary: Homegirl was measuring small (which leads to concerns of the placenta), I was overdue, my fluid levels were decreasing pretty significantly.. Thankfully all monitoring was going well, but after many appointments, discussions, and tears, our doctor advised we go ahead and induce labor. We knew she'd be safe on the 'outside' and the risks of keeping her 'in' and waiting kept going up and up, in our particular situation..

Thursday, October 23, 2014
With tears streaming down my face, we headed home from the morning's appointment to get our bags and of course see T one more time.
I was upset because this wasn't part of the plan.
I was confused because it wasn't happening naturally on it's own, like it had the first time.
I was sad T would have to 'share' us.
I was scared because I knew the pain I was about to take on.
I was nervous to meet the newest member of our family.

My mom was already in town watching T (as daycare was closed that week), so it gave me great peace of mind that he was already taken care of - at least one thing was going as I had 'planned'.. We let our family know what was going on, my SIL graciously sped across town to bring us Chick-fil-a (good protein/craving/tradition); I tried to gather last-minute things I thought I might need in my bag, we stood in a circle, held each other and prayed.

Again, with tears streaming down my face, we hugged T and then headed to the hospital. I asked what the date was, October 23rd - this would be her birthday. We got checked in, into our room, and met our labor/delivery nurse, Marika (a God-send who was amazing!!). We let her know our birth plan; she was sensitive, supportive, and personable. By 1:12pm the Pitocin was flowing and we were commenting how thankful we were to have a room with a view.

(Because we had family out of town and they weren't at the hospital this time, the Mr. was keeping in contact with them all through group text, so we have that 'record' of his messages/updates, hence the specific times.) :)

At the beginning, I was sitting/laying in the bed, just resting and hanging out, not really sure what to do. We watched some of a show called 'Drunk History', HILARIOUS. Contractions were starting and seemed and becoming very noticeable, even uncomfortable, I knew they would obviously be worse so I tried to shrug them off and ignore them as much as I could.

I knew laying there wasn't going to help move labor along, I was bored, and contractions seemed more uncomfortable. We requested the wireless monitors so we could walk the halls (when on Pitocin, the baby must be monitored ALL the time). After maybe 2 laps around the labor & delivery floor, our nurse called us back as the monitors weren't reaching, plus we had the IV stand to drag along so we ended up back in our room. It was probably now in the 3 o'clock hour and contractions were definitely picking up, I started walking 'laps' in my room as I had to do something. We had a few honey sticks as I looked out the window and thought about how much more 'work' there was to do..
Our nurse would be in frequently to turn up the dosage, and for me, that was a mind game - I could see the number she was adjusting and I knew it started at a 6 or something, it was now up at a 14.. 18.. 24... So mentally, I knew I was getting that much more Pitocin and so the contractions must be that much stronger.

At 3:53pm, the Mr. told the family 'contractions seem to be a bit more serious now..' I started to turn inward, trying to focus yet not think about each contraction too much, the Mr.'s jokes were getting less and less funny.. We had on the relaxation station on Pandora, highly recommended, and I was holding onto the Mr. during contractions - either sitting down and leaning into him or standing with my head nestled in his neck and him helping hold me up.. Somehow I felt like having contact with him, having him just touch me, lay a hand on me, anything, it was helping pass through each contraction. Like the pain was dissipating through that point of contact, a small reminder I wasn't there alone.. I tried my best to keep moving, walking small laps around the open part in our room, but stopping at each contraction, reaching out for the Mr. to help me through.

My doctor was by around 5:01pm to check my progress, 5cm dilated. We decided he would break my water to help move things along, but when he tried, he wasn't able to as the baby was already pressed down that much and there just wasn't enough fluids there for him to be able to snag the bag. It was uncomfortable and I didn't know what to expect, but hearing I was only 5cm dilated was a little upsetting as I was pretty uncomfortable and it's hard to imagine after all that, you're only half-way there..

Even though my water didn't break, things really seemed to pick up - contractions were very intense and I think I was staying in the bed. Our nurse was in checking on us and I was. in. pain. According to our group text records, at 5:35pm I was at a 7-8cm and starting transition, aka the worst part. The worst part where you don't think rationally:
I didn't want checked because I was afraid I wasn't progressing and I couldn't imagine continuing longer..
I knew if I was talking 'crazy' that would mean I was in transition (hence, almost done) so I wanted to be saying something, something 'crazy'..
I could hear the Mr. and the nurse talking about me, I wanted to holler, 'why are you talking about me, I'm right here..'
My body was turning to stone.. I felt like the people of Pompeii, but like 'freezing' from the inside out. I was heavy and couldn't lift my arm if I tried.. I was turning to stone..
The room was shrinking around me and I was like a huge statue curled up in the corner, pressing up against the walls and ceiling..
I wanted someone to touch me, take this pain away from me. Don't just stand there, please give me a pillow or fast forward time, just make this baby magically appear..
I was in pain and wanted to freak out and scream and cry and flip shit..
The nurse asked if I felt like I needed to push - if I say yes, then that will make it time, even though it wasn't time, I knew I wasn't quite there yet..

Something within me kept me calm and collected and I just tried to breathe - deep and low, pushing my breaths out my throat as relaxing and as hard as I could. I knew I needed to relax my body to make the most of each contraction.

I kept having small feelings of 'maybe I need to push', but I knew it wasn't IT. Then, according to the group text, at 5:53pm, the Mr. let our families know '9cm or so. Probably not long until she pushes'. My body started trembling, almost a feeling of convulsing and I knew, and the Mr. and my nurse could also tell, it was time to push.

The doctor and a few more nurses hurried in. I just wanted to be done, I was tired. I was waiting for someone to count for me to push, but I knew I had to wait until I felt ready to. I remember the feeling being so overwhelming, more than I remembered before and I was going to push until she was here. I wanted this over with. IT HURT. I was tired but trying to muster every ounce of energy from the pits of my body and pushed.

It felt like longer, but after only 10 minutes, at 6:03pm Harper Ann was born and at 6:09pm the Mr. introduced her, via group text to our family.

She was perfect and healthy, and we did it.

Again, that rush of all sorts of emotions I had experienced before; again, they weren't exactly as other moms often explain. I was thankful, scared, happy, and worried. I couldn't stop looking at her, this was the little being that was growing inside of me, and now she was here. So many feelings, I can't even explained.
We have a daughter!!
So many moments of this day seem vivid and clear as can be, while others are faded and blurry and already 'fading' away. I want to hold on to as much of it as I can; I know as the days/months/years pass, it'll only continue to fade more. I'm just so thankful for this day, this experience, but most importantly for this little girl that has joined our family. 

I'm happy to discuss further labor/delivery or answer any questions anyone might have re: drug-free/hospital births, in particular. Please feel free to comment below or email me directly. :)

Thursday Things...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

On Tuesday, I thought it was Thursday, oh my. Thankfully it really is finally here, here are a few random things to go along with it..

Not only am I constantly 'behind' on reading my favorite blogs, but Bloglovin' is making it nearly impossible for me to get through them when I have a chance.. I keep getting this when I go to my feed:
WTF. Try again in a bit..?! I tried again (and again and again and again), and something is still wrong. Occasionally it'll pull up my feed but won't let me sort by blog and only shows a few posts - it's a mess. Does anyone else have this problem..? So frustrating.

My precious little baby girl will be 3 months old - I can hardly believe it. I'll be sharing her birth story here tomorrow.

We are on the hunt for a bed set for our new king-size bed. I want something 'simple', not too girly/flowery, something affordable.. Suggestions of where to look/shop? Also, considering getting this headboard. Just having a hard time pulling the trigger on anything..

This week I have been blessed, on two separate occasions, with some very special, encouraging, and heartfelt notes. Nothing over-the-top or out of this world, but simple, hand-written notes that made. my. day. So, if there's someone that's special to you, or someone who looks particularly pretty, or maybe just a simple comment of thanks and appreciation - you should share it, text/call, write a little note, let them know, it might be just what they need to hear. :)

Toddler Talk

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Running into the room..
T: Oh hi errybody!!
Walking past or leaving a room with toys on the floor..
T: I gotta clean up!!

When playing with his 'cross' and holding it up like an altar server, which is actually a vacuum attachment..
T: Hallelujah! Hhamen!!

When we ask 'what does a giraffe say..?'..
T: What a giraffe say? Giraffe say I have a loooooong neck.

When getting cleaned up after dinner with a washcloth..
T: Oh that's nice and warm.

While playing 'doctor'..
T: Checking heartbeep..

While on a family walk..
T: Wait for Me guys. Guys.

When he pulls his snagged nails..
T: I got a hangnail. I need snippers.

Pointing out his temporary tattoo..
T: I got a pat-too.

When he sees a show, snack, or something he likes/wants..
T: I luhf (love) dis one!! Dis one!!

Standing on a new, soft bath mat..
T:  Oh that's comfy-cozy.

A few from Christmas morning..
Noticing a common theme with the Mr.'s gifts..
T: More beer!!

After opening a toy tool/tape measure..
T: Where's my helmet?

Pulling the bows off his present..
T: ..And a green one and a yellow one..

Sweetest, unprompted exclamation, complete with a hug..
T: Merry Chrisss-miss mommy!!

Snow Much Fun

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Surprisingly (and sadly) enough, we did not wake up to a white Christmas this year. In fact, this was a scene from our drive to my parents' Christmas Day.. Which I suppose was just fine since we were traveling and prefer to take back roads. The nice weather made for a very pleasant drive.
The day after, we woke to a fluffy white blanket of fun!! The snowflakes continued to beautifully fall the whole day, but it was COLD, so we stayed cozy inside. That weekend it warmed up a little so Grandma took the opportunity to burn some toddler energy and get some fresh air.
I looked out the window to see him laying in the snow and making a snow angel..!! My mom said he flopped down, unprompted, and did it himself. I'm thinking he learned how to do snow angels from one of the Mickey Mouse/Christmas shows we watched?! 
Kisses through the glass door.
Once it warmed up a little more, we headed out again. It was perfect snowball-making snow!!
Oops, that would be momma's fault - accidental snowball to the face; we all thought it was pretty funny!! :)
 Nice catch!!
Nice throw!!
Like I said, snow much fun!! :)

Blog Anniversary: [One Year]

Monday, January 12, 2015

Yesterday was the official one-year anniversary (or is it a birthday?), of Chateau Deveau. 

I had every intention of using the occasion as an excuse to make come cupcakes with sprinkles, maybe even lighting ONE candle, and celebrating/eating those festive treats.. However, real life, folks - we are nursing a certain little boy back from the stomach-flu, washing load after load of laundry, wiping any and all surfaces with Clorox wipes, and trying to keep a certain little girl from catching the dang bug. 

So cupcakes on hold for a later time, we are instead featuring our very own domain. 
Welcome to!!
Is it working...?!?! Haha!! :)

Thanks to Santa Claus (myself), my stocking contained a custom web address (along with some other goodies, including THE ever-so-basic blanket scarf, which I love).
This first year of blogging has been so fun and already more than I imagined. It really took me stepping out of my comfort zone, but it's been both rewarding and enjoyable as I have a little space to call my own. I especially enjoy the 'friends' I've made and the connections that have come about simply by putting myself out there. I appreciate all those who are following along and comment.

Happy Anniversary Chateau Deveau!!
Looking forward to more posts and pictures, fun and friends, memories and moments, all deemed worthy of an appearance on our reality show blog. :)

Holiday Highlights

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

We had a wonderful (fast and furious) Christmas and New Year - lots of time with family, eating, quality-time with cousins, festivities, going back and forth, and really just enjoying each others' company. It was a special first for Homegirl and a fun one with T, as he was really into opening gifts, full of excitement, and 'understood' it was Jesus's birthday. Here are just a few highlights..

Christmas Eve Day festivities

Family picture after Christmas Eve Mass // Santa has come and gone
Kids' stockings

Opening gifts Christmas morning

Fun in the cold and snow (while I stayed warm inside)

 Somebody is ready to open gifts (again) // New jammies

Sharing a popcorn ball with Grandpa

A gift only an Uncle would give :) // Hulk smash!!
This past year flew by!! It was full of many things to be thankful for - a healthy, growing family, new adventures, friends, and experiences, our faith and freedom that we don't take for granted; overall, enough joy and blessings to outweigh any tough and sad times.
We look forward to 2015 with hopeful hearts and wish nothing but the best for you and your loved ones!!

Toddler Talk: [Big Brother Edition]

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Noticing Homegirl's newborn long/sharp nails..
T: Got hangnails..!!
And ever since, if he gets accidentally scratched by her..
T: Ow!! I get her hangnails. (As he tries to pull them off, like he does to his own)

Most common observation of baby sister at the beginning..
T: Ha! Hee'sh (s/he's) awake!! Aahh, him sleeping now.

Because we occasionally call Homegirl, 'Harpie' (not to be confused with a harpy)..
T: Harp-beep!!

The impromptu..
T: I luhf you. Mmmuuhwaah!! (gives kiss)

T: That's myy sister, daddy!

T: Baabey Har-purr. Whatcha doin' baby Harper? 
Although I always love what he has to say, watching him be a big bro has been the best...
He loves to pry her little fists open, hold her hands, then rub them on his cheeks, and give them each a kiss. He'll also occasionally talk to her in a 'baby talk' voice (high pitched and silly), too funny.
Before bed each night we say prayers and then give hugs and kisses; if we're holding Homegirl, he will always lean in for a hug and a kiss for her.
When rough-housing with the Mr. and/or cousins, he somehow flips a switch when he comes up to his sister and is gentle, gives her kisses, then heads back to wrestle-mania.  
It's the sweetest thing, he really is such an amazing big brother; he has always been a sweet boy, but I am especially thankful for his gentle and loving heart that is especially big for his little sister. He always gets such a big smile on his face and is so excited to see her. He loves to give her her 'passssifiyurr' (pacifier), loves to show her off, loves to lay his head on her; I'm pretty sure he just loves to be her big brother.

This Monday

Monday, January 5, 2015

Remember how I talked about right when you think you're getting it figured out and into a routine then everything changes..? Today is another day of change for us - Homegirl starts daycare. 
I said I'd be back asking for your support and encouragement, so here I am. Pour it on..
There are parts that are a little little easier the second time around - I know exactly how wonderful our child care provider is, I love that brother and sister will be together, and she'll get more attention then I feel I provide while also trying to work (damn mom-guilt, I can't win..!!). But, as all moms who have done this know, it's heart-wrenching. Lump-in-your-throat-fight-back-tears-heart-wrenching. This precious and sweet little girl has been with me all day. every. single. day. of. her. life. It's hard to imagine now she won't be.
Having her in the office with me these last few weeks has been such a joy. She lights up a room, as you can see. I work in a office with mostly men, and let's just say, she had them at her beck and call!! They all loved coming in to say hi each day and making her smile.  
 All the things I've told other moms going through this same thing whirl around in my head - 'You can do it! It gets easier! Makes time together THAT much more special!' Comforting, but at the same time makes the lump in my throat that much bigger and the tears welling up in my eyes that much harder to see through.

At the end of the day, having our kids in daycare has been a great experience and a good choice for our family. Although I am quite sad she won't be with me all day, I pray that it continues to be a positive in our life. 

Thanks in advance for your support. I'll be sitting at my desk fighting back tears this Monday.