Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The End of an Era

Last week our oldest turned 12.  As in, the year before being a teenager.  The last year of being a child in his mind.  It's a little scary, and quite sad to see how quickly time goes by.  (Because I'm not reminded enough of this watching the fussbucket grow up the past year and a half!)  I think it's fair that I shouldn't be calling him our "little" boy anymore, but I can't promise I never will.  Because even though I see him every day, there's still part of my mind that sees him as a five year old still.  (We won't get into why...ha!)  Regardless, I've decided I'd like to be 12 again solely for the awesome birthday celebration!  C really took the cake with a special birthday weekend planned just for him!

It started on his actual birthday with a relaxed evening at home.  Pizza, a move of his choice and cupcake fondue.  That's right folks, I said cupcake fondue.  Now, I may have been more excited about this than the birthday boy, because from the moment I found the idea on Pinterest I had to do it.  C was the lucky one with the next birthday!  I thought it was much more fun than a boring old cake!  He thought it was cool, but the adults definitely spent more time around the fondue pot!

Saturday morning we headed out to Myrtle Beach and treated the birthday boy to a rocking good time at Medieval Times.  We'd been once before as a family, but this was by far the best trip for us.  We were joined by great friends and neighbors which made it extra fun and  we splurged for the celebration package and were seated in the front row!  This meant that the knights could actually hear us heckling them.  Right up a 12 year olds alley!  The poor knight next to us was such a good sport and really gave it back to Cody!  It was a lot of fun!  Even the fussbucket enjoyed the evening.  He went a little crazy with the banner nearly poking his parents eyes out, but he was well mannered throughout the whole thing and didn't freak out at the loud noises.  What a great present for his big brother.

   We rounded out the weekend with a trip to Ripley's aquarium and lunch at Landry's at Broadway on the Beach.  I thought both boys would really enjoy it.  To be honest, who doesn't love an aquarium.  They're peaceful, colorful, educational and downright amazing!  The best part was the shark exhibit by far.  Oh, and the 75% military discount!  Thank you Ripley's!  (If you're ever in Myrtle Beach, they offer a 75% discount on all their attractions!  Awesome!)  We missed the mermaids, but maybe we'll time it right next time.  Cody got to touch some rays while Liam splashed in the pool and scared them away! It wasn't crowded so the fussbucket could run around which made him happier than being in his stroller.  All around, I'd say it was a hit and we'll go back again.

And now it's back to normal at the Gunny's house.  School, work, tax returns, cleaning, shopping, cooking, Zumba classes and all that being a military family entails.  I'm so thankful for our tween, even when he does drive me insane.  He brings us joy and laughter.  He's not afraid to give us a hug still and he puts up with my crazy ideas.  It's a blessing to be his mom.  I can't imagine a life without him.  I'm glad he has a birthday each year so we can celebrate how special he is and the special role he plays in our family.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Surviving Teething

Here we are going on day three of no nap and this mum is about ready to pull her hair out or have a nervous breakdown, whichever comes first!

Liam, on the other hand, is running from one side of the room and/or house to the other. Never mind that he's overtired and cranky. Forget that he's drooling and running air grade fever. Ignore the five to six teeth he's currently cutting. Nothing will stand between a teething 17 month old and a good time!

It's been a long week. I'm anxious for all these teeth to come through. I'm ready for the sleep regression to end. I'm ready for quiet time to pay the bills and do the taxes. And if I'm 100% honest, I'm ready for a shower.

I know in a year I'll miss so many things about this age, even if I can't see it now. I'll just keep reminding myself of this until this rough patch called teething is done. Until then, one day at a time!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Scrumptious Sunday

On our way back from PA last week we arrived back home right around dinnertime.  Only one problem, our fridge and cupboards were just a little bare.  Fortunately on the way home we swung into the market and grabbed a picky chicken, aka rotisserie.  It made for a quick meal with some frozen veggies and 90 second rice, but what to do with over half a chicken we had left?  My husband loves corn chowder so it was an easy choice to make chicken corn chowder.  I'd made the recipe once before and it was a hit with the boys.  Plus, I didn't have to cook the chicken for it which made it much easier and quicker to cook!  Here's the recipe!

Chicken Corn Chowder

1 tablespoon butter
6 green onions
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper (I use a wee bit more, but we love pepper!)
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen corn kernnels, thawed
1 (14 ounce) can fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
2 cups fat-free milk
1/2 cup (2 oz) preschredded cheese (I forgot to add this last time, whoops!)

Melt butter in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat.  Remove green tops from green onions.  Chop green onion tops and set aside.  Thinly slice white portion of each onion.  Add sliced onions to pan; saute two minutes.  Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Stir in chicken, salt, pepper, one package of corn and broth; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, simmer five minutes.

While mixture simmers, combine the remaining corn and milk in a blender; process until smooth.  Make sure you have thawed the corn or it will remain lumpy and not get the correct texture. Trust me, I know! ;)  The outcome is a chunkier chowder vs. a creamier chowder.

Add mixture to pan; simmer two minute or until heated through.  Ladle two cups chowder each into four soup bowls.  Sprinkle green onions on top.  Top each serving with two tablespoons cheese. 

394 calories, less if you leave off the cheese, for dinner!  Pair it with a yummy salad and maybe some crescent rolls and you're good to go!

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Joys of Boys

Tornado Liam
2012 has kicked off with a bang!  I have two very busy boys who keep me on my toes.  The past couple of nights we've had these idyllic 1950's-esque evenings.  The Gunny and I have a drink while I finish up dinner as the boys play nicely together in the living room under our watchful eye.  It's great!  Then yesterday happened.  The fussbucket was, you guessed it, fussy.  He's cutting about six teeth right now so napping was not in his schedule, even if it was in mums.  Needless to say, not a lot got done around the house.  Instead it looked like a tornado had touched down in our living room and I was frazzled to say the least. 

My savior!

When my oldest finished his homework he took the fussbucket upstairs to play and for the first time all day a calm settled over me.  I wanted to sit and relax with my feet up, but somehow I mustered the strength to do dishes and bake banana muffins.  I have no clue where this energy came from, but it was one of those  moments in life where I thanked God that I have kids ten years apart.  Because yesterday I needed the sanity of a clean kitchen and my sweet boy gave me that gift.  (I'm pretty sure my husband appreciates it too!)

The fruit of my labor!

What's even better is that when the Gunny did get home from work as I was wrapping up feeding the fussbucket he noticed how tired I was and kindly offered to make dinner!  So I did get a little time to relax with a glass of wine to finish off the evening.  Living in a house full of boys is exhausting, but it definitely has it's perks!  I am blessed by each of my boys and their love for me.