Sunday, January 31, 2010

What a day!

Today has definitely been "one of those days."  I was super excited to make a chocolate cheesecake for the first time ever.  I had everything mixed, put the cheesecake in the oven and checked on it constantly to make sure it didn't look burned, or overdone for well over an hour.  The time came to pull it out of the oven and what should happen?  My towel dropped, I burned my hand, and dropped the cheesecake in the oven!  Grrr...NOT what I was planning. 

Poor Dad, he'll have to wait another week before I attempt another cheesecake.  Hopefully the chemo side effects don't kick in before then.  I really need him to be 100% well when he takes the first bite.  LOL! 

However, I found this cute quote on a blog recently, that made me smile and think about my poor cheesecake. 

I'm constantly telling my girls that it's not the end of the world.  They're so overly dramatic!!!!  I guess that's what happens when they have a mom that's slightly overdramatic as well. 

However, as of more January!  Bring it on February, I'm ready!!!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Weekend Plans?

My house isn't 100% clean and organized yet, BUT...guess what I'm doing this weekend!  I saw this post on the Creative Hostess blog and HAD to immediately start making my shopping list.  Just look at these pictures!!!

The blog has the recipes and directions, but how stinking cute are they?  I can't wait to try my hand at these adorable treats.  I've been wanting to make some cute Valentine treats with the girls, and these look perfect!  We'll probably throw some cupcake action into the mix too, just because we LOVE cupcakes in our house.  Simple + fun = PERFECT for a lazy weekend.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dear January, enough already...please be over!

January is always a hectic month in my house.  I'm pretty sure it's a rough month for everyone, being that it's the first month after the holidays.  I'm one of the lucky people that takes off work for two weeks at the end of every year to celebrate Christmas and New Years with my family.  The problem with taking off two full weeks is that it's incredibly hard to get back into the swing of things in January.  Add to that the fact that BOTH of my girls have birthdays in January and I'm one busy mommy.  Each of my girls has three seperate parties (one with my family, one with my in-laws, and one with friends), which just seems to add to the chaos fun.  Why didn't anyone WARN me about having January babies?  I could have planned better!  Haha!!!

So here I am, wrapping up my FINAL week in January and I'm ready for it to be over.  I'll list my reasons, just in case you wonder why...

1.  My dad is starting his chemo treatments today.  He only has ONE week of chemo before he starts radiation, so hopefully this last week of January flies by for him. 

2.  February is quite possibly one of my favorite months.  Why, you ask?  Because of Valentine's Day!!!  My husband isn't a hopeless romantic, or for that matter, romantic at all, but I still love V-Day.  I make heart shaped cookies with the girls, search high and low for the PERFECT Valentine gifts for their bags that I give them on V-Day morning, and this year...we're going to Chicago for a cheer competition that weekend!  It doesn't get any better than that!  Hello American Girl store and deep dish pizza, please meet your biggest fans. 

3.  I'm ready for my tax refund!  W-2's have to be given by the end of of January and I am SOOOO ready for my refund, which will come sometime in February.  I'm not sure yet what we're going to do with the money, but I'm sure it will be fun. 

4.  The weather!  I'm a lover of all things winter, until you start talking about ice.  I drive 40 miles each way to work every day and I am SO ready to be done with ice on the roads.  I'm pretty sure I slid into my parking spot this morning at work.  It's THAT icy. 

And last, but not least...drum roll please...

5.  I'm starting my Wilton cake decorating class on Tuesday!  I L-O-V-E to bake and cannot believe I didn't think of this sooner.  I start course 1 (of 4) this Tuesday and I can't wait!  Each course is four weeks long, which means by the end of May, I will be a cake making maniac!  Be excited, be VERY excited. 

Okay, I'm done ranting and raving.  I can't complain too much, this is my last official work day in January (ahh, the joys of working 4, 10 hour days per week) and I don't have anything planned for this weekend.  It sounds like it's going to be a perfect weekend for cleaning my house from top to bottom. 

A few pictures from this weekend's birthday celebration and the cheer competition in Peoria:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Little Monkey, aka Maddie

Yesterday was my little maniac monkey's birthday.  She turned 6!  Although I probably sound like a broken record, I will say the same thing about her as I did with Mackenzie.  6, already?  She's my baby!  She's not allowed to grow up.  It helps that she has the bones of a 4 year old (per the endocrinologist at Cardinal Glennon) which makes her smaller than your average 6 year old.  But when you talk to her, you know she's definitely not a 4 year old.  She's intelligent, sometimes too smart for her own good, in my opinion.  She's been through a lot, it hasn't been terrible, but she's had to deal with stuff I never imagined my daughter having to deal with.  Before I go into that, let's back up a bit.

Being pregnant with Mackenzie was scary, she was my first daughter, I was young, naive, and didn't know what to expect.  Being pregnant with Maddie was exciting!  I knew what to expect, I knew what I wanted to do differently (a more girly room, for example) and knew that it wasn't as scary as I thought the first time.  So what if they're going to stick a HUGE needle in my back to numb me?  It doesn't hurt, no worries!  I was older too, which helped.  An imature 17 year old handles life a lot different than a slightly mature 20 year old. 

Having her was wonderful!  Unlike the rush to the OR with Mackenzie, I slowly walked into the hospital the day I was scheduled to have Maddie, suitcase in tow, and a few hours later, I was sitting in my hospital room holding this sweet, innocent, beautiful little child.  She was little to begin with, only 6 pounds, 1 ounce.  When we left the hospital she only weighed 5 pounds, and was jaundiced.  The first week of her life Doug and I took turns sleeping in the recliner holding her while she was wrapped in her billy blanket and glowing like a little alien glow worm. 

Fast forward 6 years and she's hilarious!  She's still small, which is kind of to be expected considering her mom and dad are both short.  She's OCD in love with cheerleading.  From the time she gets up in the morning until the time she goes to sleep at night, she is thinking or doing some type of cheerleading move.  Our livingroom has turned into her spring floor.  She knows exactly how many steps she can take during her running tumbling to keep her from hitting the couch, or tv stand. 

Last night we had Maddie's birthday party.  We made cupcakes, decorated the table with the paper plates, napkins, etc. that she picked out at the party store, and had our own little family party.  Since it was a week night and Mackenzie had cheer practice, we didn't have the extended family party that we normally do, but we'll be making up for it this weekend.  Friday night is the family party with Doug's family, Saturday morning is the family party with my family, late on Saturday morning is her party at Dierbergs with her classmates, and then we're heading to Peoria for a cheer competition!  This will be their first "away" competition and you can hear the excitement in their voices when they talk about it.  What kid doesn't think they're "super cool" when they get to stay in a hotel room?  For them it's a mini-vacation!  Wish us luck!!! 

Some party photos:

And, of course...some close ups of my cupcakes.  They aren't perfect, but I'm a work in progress.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mackenzie's 9th Birthday

We finally had Mackenzie's long awaited cooking party this weekend.  If you have never experienced a class or party at Dierbergs' School of Cooking, it is a must see.  The kitchen is amazing!  The granite topped bar alone seats 20!  There are two sets of double ovens, two dishwashers, two microwaves, two range tops, etc.  It's everything I could ever want, wrapped into a perfect little display kitchen.  But enough about the kitchen, on to my birthday girl! 

Mackenzie's menu consisted of fiesta chicken drumsticks, chopped vegetable salad, brownie mice, puppy chow, and root beer floats.  The kids each got to take a turn creating some portion of the meal.  They weren't too thrilled with having to touch the "slimy" chicken though. 

In the end, they had a blast!  They finished cooking, ate their meal and opened presents. 

I didn't take as many pictures of the party at our house, but here are a few. 

Mackenzie had two of her favorite cheer buddies spend the night on her actual birthday and they helped me make the cupcakes. 

Monday, January 18, 2010

Week 3 of the NEW ME!

I'm wrapping up week three of the new Steph.  I haven't really conquered the resolution to scrapbook, or keep from procrastinating, or even eating healthier for that matter but I'm ROCKING at working out!  Earlier this week I RAN ON THE TREADMILL!  This may not sound like a huge accomplishment, but I'm telling you, this is HUGE for me.  I'm not a small girl.  I used to be, and on the inside I still am, but the Steph that everyone else sees is overweight.  I want the outside to match what I feel like on the inside.  Running will help that.  I have always been too insecure to try and run on the treadmill because I didn't want anyone to see any parts of my body jiggling.  I want to be a runner though.  How many times do you see an overweight runner?  Not often, if at all.  Running is one of those things that I've never been able to do.  Even when I was in the best shape of my life, I still couldn't run.  Now, before I get carried away, it's not like I ran for 30 minutes.  I ran for a few minutes, and then had issues with my pants and had to resume walking.  The fact remains however, that I RAN!  I didn't even think about the person behind me.  It never even occurred to me.  I will admit, part of the reason I wasn't thinking of the person behind me was because my pants were headed south and I was trying to keep them pulled up and run at the same time.  It doesn't really leave much time to overthink the situation.  I have now purchased better pants, and will resume running tomorrow when we hit the gym again.  Tonight was elipticals and horrible, horrible torture devices that they call weight machines. 

Watch out world, skinny Steph is coming sit up at a time!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

New Year...New Resolutions

I love New Year's resolutions!  I love the thought of thinking ahead about all of the things you want to change about your life and actually doing something about it.  I have a very hectic life, sometimes too hectic, but having new goals for 2010 is something I was really looking forward to.  So here resolution list!

1.  I will start to manage our household's homework better.  I am the queen of procrastination and when I have a research paper due, I am constantly waiting until the last minute to write it!  The problem is, Mackenzie is following in her mother's footsteps.  I will NOT allow her to wait until the last minute to do her projects.  After almost a month of notice, we were still up late completing her Young Author's book the night before it was due.  I will not let my bad habits pass onto my children.

2.  I will discipline less and encourage more.  I love my children so much, but sometimes I feel like I don't show it.  I feel like I'm constantly telling them all of the things they're doing wrong, and not paying attention to their accomplishments. 

3.  I will work on my scrapbooks.  I keep adding to my scrapbook supply collection, but not one time in 2009 did I sit down to scrapbook!  How is that possible?  I take a million pictures, and have a million ideas for pages, but I can't seem to find time to sit down and put the pictures on paper.  The kids are both in school now, and I don't work on Fridays.  I WILL find time to scrapbook in 2010!!! 

4.  I will do more "family-centered" activities with the kids.  Whether it be family game night, cooking together, riding bikes, going to the park, or just watching movies together we WILL do more things as a family in 2010.  I'm only going to get one shot at spending as much time with my favorite girls at this age and I'm going to take advantage of every minute with them that I can get.  It won't be too long before they're wanting to head off to college and leave me with an empty house. 

5.  I will lose weight, eat right, and exercise in 2010.  Even though I feel like that's quite possibly the lamest resolution ever, I still feel like I need to include it.  I'm constantly creating excuses for why I don't have time to exercise or eat right.  The kids have practice every night, I have to work late one or two weeks a month, I'm tired, I'm crabby...the list goes on forever.  They're excuses and I know it.  I will no longer allow myself to wallow in self-pity.  The kids are always going to have after-school activities.  I have friends that have 4 kids in two activities each that still manage to cook dinner every night.  So why can't I?  One of my friends has 5 children and a husband that travels for work more than he's home, but she still finds time to run marathons!  What's my excuse for not hitting the gym when all I'm doing every night is sitting at the girls' cheerleading practice watching them practice? 

I'm sure I could add more, but right now that's all I could think of.  I've already started working out, and with the help of my own personal "Biggest Loser trainer" I will get back in shape. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My dear Mackenzie...

As sparked by my BFF Chelle's post, I feel inclined to write about my amazing, newly 9 year old daughter. 

Oh Mackenzie...where has the time gone?  The simple fact that you are now 9 years old amazes me.  It seems like it was just yesterday (yes, I did say that) that I was rushing into the OR to have you via emergency C-section.  You were coming into the world feet first, and have been running around ever since.  There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about how lucky I am to have you in my life.  You're beautiful, inside and out, and even though I'm your mother and obviously biased, I know everyone else thinks so too.  I call you my love bug for a reason, you are the most loving person I know. 

With that being said...9?!?!?!?  Really!?!?!?!  Third grade has snuck up on me.  I can remember how excited I was for you to start preschool!  I was so excited to show everyone just how sweet and intelligent I already knew you were.  I cried like a baby on your first day (and coincidentally every first day of school since).  It killed me that you ran into the class and never looked back.  Not even to give me a hug!  You were the cutest kid in the class too (again, not that I'm biased) with your cute little jean skirt and huge book bag.  Everyone in the class was supposed to have a little canvas bag to carry.  You INSISTED on having a huge pink bookbag because it was SO much cooler than the canvas bag from Walmart.  I should have known then that you'd be my little fashionista.  It may not be pink bookbags and colored pencils anymore, but you are still a riot when it comes to knowing exactly what you want.  I love that you don't hesitate to wear something you saw on tv or in a magazine, even if no one else at school is wearing it, simply because you like it.  You're an individual, and I hope you stay that way forever.

You are everything to me, and even though I don't tell you are the best thing that has ever happened to me.  I love you so much honey and I'm so proud of the beautiful young lady you're turning into.  There is no doubt in my mind you can do anything you set your mind to, and I will support you regardless of what you choose to do. 

Let's just stay 9 though, okay...I am DEFINITELY not ready for double digits.