Getting in the Shot

If you are like me, you have thousands upon thousands of photos on your computer documenting every millisecond of your little one’s lives, from the moment they were born right up to this moment. Juliet probably thinks my face is that big black box that is always in front of her making silly noises. I really love taking pictures of my little ones to share with them one day. But of all the thousands of photos I have, I only have a very small handful, less then a hundred… maybe even fifty where I am actually in the photo with them.

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Pasta e Fagioli in the Slow Cooker

It seems that spring may finally have sprung! Maybe? Hopefully?! And in the spring, I love to put my slow cooker to good use… making soup! I know, I know. That seems totally wrong, right?! Soup is supposed to be a winter staple. Here in New England, there’s still a chill in the air… but we are enjoying the end of winter hibernation. This results in us pushing our outside time as late as possible, making it really nice to be able to come inside and dish up dinner. Aside from the cooking method this soup employs, it has two other things going for it… the fact that it’s meat-free (meatless Mondays anyone?!) and the ingredients can be pantry staples if you so choose. Win-win-win in my book!

Of course, the biggest win is that everyone loves this meal in our house. We serve it with bread on the side (usually an Italian baguette or ciabatta bread) and topped with Parmesan cheese.

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Custom baby blocks

I remember loving wooden blocks as a kid. We received some rubbery blocks for Christmas, but they’re just not the same. There’s something satisfying about the clack of wood against wood as you stack blocks.

There are some really great laser engraved wooden blocks on etsy, like these, and even lovely keepsake blocks that you can have made with your baby’s birth stats. I figured I could maybe try my hand at woodburning some custom ones with my favorite images. My dad introduced me to woodburning when I was about 11 years old. I think I had this exact “Design-a-matic” woodburning set because I remember that creepy sun and the red ink that I would fill in with the heat tool. I think woodburning is a forgotten arts-and-crafts relic from the 1970′s – apparently my set first came out in 1968, which explains why my dad had even grown up doing wood burning. I’m actually a super crafty person but really haven’t done anything particular crafty for my daughter yet, so I was excited for this project.

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Hopscotch Potty Training Tips

Not to jinx myself, but I feel like potty training so far has been a really great, positive experience overall! After a little bit of a slow start, Miss H has really embraced the whole concept of the potty. Here’s the Hopscotch family’s potty training tips (note: I’m obviously not a potty training expert — Miss H is not fully potty trained yet, and every child is different! This is just what has worked for us).

Sometimes we even brush teeth on the potty!

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My 5-Minute Makeup Routine

I’ve been starting to love makeup more and more these days, and have been interested in learning more about other products (particularly those shared here by the other bloggers)!  I like to “wake up” my face with some makeup every day, and there is a hardly a day where I go without it.

Since I don’t have much time in the mornings (I try to have myself and Toddler Checkers ready and out the door by 7 AM), I like to keep my makeup routine quick and easy.  I think I’ve found my staple items, and am pretty happy with these products right now.

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Claiming the Name

When I was growing up, for whatever reason, my first name was incredibly popular with Korean-American girls. That, coupled with the finite number of Korean last names, meant I knew several girls with the same first and last name as me, and sometimes even our Korean middle names were the same. To say that it annoyed me was an understatement (I wanted to be unique!) and it is absolutely the reason why I became slightly obsessed with names from a young age.

While I longed for my name to be something totally 80s fabulous like Jessica or Michelle, I also loved coming up with names for my future children. The earliest gems I remember were names for twin girls: Summer and Autumn (what can I say, I was 9!). As I got older, I was drawn to names from my favorite children’s books. I’ve always loved reading and children’s books have always had a special place in my heart. My favorite literary names were Lilly (from Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse), Ella (from Ella Enchanted) and Charlotte (from Charlotte’s Web). I also fell in love with jazz in college and came up with a list of names from jazz artists: Ella, Billie, Miles, Charlie, and Coltrane.

Sadly, most of my then-unique names began quickly rising in popularity and by the time I was ready to have kids, many of them were in the Top 10 for popularity on the SSA list! One of my main criteria when choosing a name for my child was that it not be too popular — at least out of the Top 50 on the SSA list, and preferably closer to being out of the Top 100 names. The other big criteria was that the name be fairly unique but not too unique or unheard of so as not to cause unnecessary confusion with spelling or pronunciation.

When we received our referral for Lil’ CB, Mr. Cowboy and I went back and forth a lot (read: lots of disagreements!) about his potential name. Mr. Cowboy pressed hard for a biblical name, like Joshua or Nathan, and while I really did love those names, they were too popular for my taste and I knew at least one child that would have the same first and last name as Lil’ CB had we gone with one of those names.

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Surgery by Seuss

The other day I was riding along in the car with the girls. My Garmin, friendly little device that it is, popped up a little reminder. Apparently my map needed to be updated. Thanks for that, Garmin. I found myself saying, not entirely under my breath, “My map is old, my teeth are gold. I have a bird I like to hold.”

Ellie and Lorelei took up the refrain, and started to giggle. “Hey mama– that rhymes,” Lorelei snorted in between chuckles. “Uh, mom? What’s wrong with you?” Ellie asked. Her tone was serious. Somehow it shook me back to reality. Uh, what was wrong with me? The words that had just come out of my mouth in the same strange, permanent, parental haze that most of my words do were actually a bit of a surprise even to me. “Well, Ellie,” I replied, “Apparently I’ve had a lobotomy performed by the good Dr. Seuss.” “What’s a… a… lobotomy?” they piped up in tandem. And that’s when I knew that not only was my over-sharing parent award totally in the bag for 2014, but that it was also maybe time to change the topic. “It just means that we’ve read too many rhyming books lately,” was my final answer.

And it got me thinking– this whole reading to kids thing– is there some recipe? Is it like shoes where you just pick something in the correct size and you’re good to go? Bad metaphor, I know– because, like, what exactly is the orthopedic shoe of literature? And also? Someone get me that book because it sounds comfy as all get out.

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