Saturday, December 20, 2014

Elijah's Birthday Trip

Evangeline loved the Playscape. 
We decided to do something really fun for Elijah's 5th birthday and took the family to the Indianapolis Children's Museum.  It was AMAZING and we all had so much fun!  Taking the family  to Indy has been on our bucket list for almost three years and I am glad we were finally able to make such a wonderful memory with the family.  

Evangeline loves playing in the water!  
We were able to go on Eli's actual birthday which made it even more special.  A whole day to play with mom, dad, and baby sister!  What could be more fun then spending the day with your family?  It also meant that the museum wasn't that crowded.  :)

We arrived at the museum early in the day before lunch and left right  before they closed.  I had read before that it takes days to see everything in the museum but we were able to see all of the exhibits in one day.  Making our trip just a day trip made it a lot more affordable and we didn't have to sleep in a hotel.  Our kids never sleep well away from home so we try to avoid it if it is a reasonable option to just return home.

If you look closely you might notice that I am wearing a backpack.
It's actually Evangeline on my back but you can't see her.  
I think every one of us would agree that the huge slide in the middle of the museum was our favorite thing.  We went down it many times!  The museum was also decorated for Christmas and there were numerous winter themed activities.  Eli also said that he loved the snow ball fights that he was able to participate in.

What better way to spend your birthday?  
For lunch we enjoyed eating in the cafeteria at the museum.  The boys had pizza while I did not.  :)  Win, win for everyone!  The food was good but you could easily pack your lunch.  We did take along snacks and drinks in a small soft sided cooler.

Eli is such a delight to our family and so much fun!
Brandon and I consider turning five to almost be a right of passage birthday.  We decided to go all out and buy Elijah his first real bike.  We probably should have saved the gift for Christmas but we were just as excited to give Eli his gift as he was to receive it.  We hid it in our church's fellowship hall and had Eli go look for it.  When he walked in he said, "Hmm.  Someone left their bike here."  He had no idea that it was for him!  What a fun memory to make.  He has been riding it daily in our basement.

Eli's gift.
We are so thankful for our sweet Eli.  It is so hard to believe that he is really a whole hand!  He is really growing up fast and turning into such a big boy.

Monday, December 15, 2014

November Reads

November Reads
I don't know about you but one of the things that I enjoy most about the winter months is time spent reading by a nice roaring fire.  I read a lot more during the winter since I am not busy outside gardening, hiking, kayaking, or any of the other adventures that keep us so busy during the summer months.  Here are a few of the books that I read in November.  

Sweet Sleep: Nighttime and Naptime Strategies for the Breastfeeding Family by Diane Wiessinger, Diana West, Linda Smith, and Teresa Pitman: When I first picked up this book I thought it would be more along the lines of Elizabeth Pantley's No Cry Sleep Solution.  It ended up being different but I really enjoyed it.  The book discusses different nightime and naptime strategies for a family that is breastfeeding.  This book was so refreshing and so delightful to read.  It really encouraged me to continue loving my baby in a gentle way throughout the night if she should wake while at the same time balancing the needs of myself and my family.  This book was a great reminder that every baby is different.  Our sweet Evangeline is so different from her other brother in terms of sleep.  It was clear throughout this book that the authors have done an excellent job researching the many issues associated with sleep for breastfeeding babies.  One thing that I really liked about this book were the quick tear off sheets that it includes in the back.

Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way by Mayim Bialik, PhD: In this book the author shares her parenting journey and the wisdom she has acquired along the way.  She shares about the importance of a secure attachment relationship that she has developed with her children.  I found myself so encouraged in many of the parenting decisions that my husband and I have made.  Like Bialik we absolutely love spending time with our children, breastfeed, cloth diaper, hold our babies, have our young babies sleep in our room, and generally let our kids be kids.  We work hard to balance the needs of our children with those of ourselves and our marriage.  This will look different in every family.  For us this means that we simply are not ready yet to leave our sweet Evangeline in the care of someone overnight (even a trusted grandparent) while we head off on a romantic get away.  Our baby simply is not ready and neither are we.  We are looking forward to dozens of romantic getaways once we feel like Evangeline would understand why we were leaving her and once we feel the time is right.  This book totally transformed my opinion of the author who is actually an actress who stars on The Big Bang Theory.  Bialik actually holds a phd in neuroscience and is one interesting mama.  The kind of lady that I would love to have over for lunch and a playdate.  I wouldn't say I agree with every single aspect of this book but I really did enjoy reading it overall.  She also had a great chapter for working moms.

Make Up: Your Life Guide to Beauty, Style, and Success--Online and Off by Michelle Phan: I enjoyed skimming through this young author's autobiography throughout the book about how she became a successful woman in the makeup industry.  I found the book to be really basic and didn't really have the new ideas that I was hoping to find or step by step instructions on makeup application.  Surprisingly the book did include all sorts of advice on everything from etiquette to landing a job.  It would probably be more geared towards a high schooler who was preparing to go to college than a twentysomething year old mama of two who has read way too many etiquette books!  (Seriously I love good etiquette.)

The Skinnytaste Cookbook: Light on Calories, Big on Flavor by Gina Homolka:  I had never heard of the blog Skinnytaste until I came across this cookbook.  When this cookbook I arrived I had high expectations.  I love to eat great food, love to cook, and am working hard to loose weight.  Honestly this cookbook was pretty disappointing.  I don't doubt that these recipes are low on calories but they all look very time consuming.  There were also a lot of ingredients that we do not purchase on a weekly shopping trip.  We purchase nicer cuts of meat and seafood for special dinners but I am not about to experiment on expensive ingredients making recipes that I am not sure that my happy husband would enjoy.  Overall this cookbook was very disappointing.  Please note that I did receive a free copy of this cookbook from Blogging For Books.

I would love to hear your book recommendations.  Please share in the comments below.