Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bite the Bullet

We made our decision for ranking for specialties and thank goodness.  I am so relieved to not have the stress of that decision looming over our heads.  So Doc and I now know where we stand, and look forward to seeing where we end up on February 14th!  That is the day we will find out if we are going to our first, second, or third choice of program.  I’d be more specific, but we don’t want to publicly broadcast our rank choices.  We’ll let you know what happens with the match!

Eating Organic? Where do I start?

All organic foods are not created equal.  It is “resolution” time again.  For people who decide that they are going to “live a greener life” or “eat healthier” tackling the organic food world isn’t always an easy thing to do.  Organic is expensive and organic foods are not always available everywhere.  So here is a little stepping stone guide for those of you who are interested in eating more organic foods.

This is a Pocket Guide to the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen.  You can download, print, and laminate if you’d like to take it with you to the store.  The dirty dozen are foods that carry the most pesticides in the actual food you eat.  They are things you should try to buy organic every time.  The Clean Fifteen are foods that have the least amount of pesticide in the actual food that you eat.

Happy Shopping!

Monday, December 27, 2010

How the hell do I do it?

I recently made a list of everything that needs to be done each day.  I threw in weekly chores, continuous projects, etc.  Looking back at this list…I do a shit ton of stuff each day.  And I work.  And I spend most of Little Bird’s waking hours playing with her or teaching her.

At a Christmas Tea Party thrown by our good friends, someone said to me “I just don’t know how I’m going to be able to do all of it” about the idea of eventually being a working mom.

The fact is, I don’t know how the hell I do it all.  I think you reach a point where you just say “I’ve gotta do it” and you get your butt out of bed at 5 AM and smile and hug and make breakfast and start your day.  Then you don’t stop until it’s finished.

I always marveled at all the things my mother gets done each day.  I joke about how she is a super human.  The fact is though, I think she is driven, passionate, and in love with her family, and that is how she does it.  I think this because those things are the reasons I think I can do what I do each day.

Also, I have started to really explore different parenting ideas.  Montessori is one that I have really enjoyed learning about.  I don’t like all of their ideas, but some of them, such as helping your child learn to be a needed member of the family team and giving them “work” to do have really helped in the daily grind.

The best thing I can do to keep my attitude positive and give value to daily chores is teach Little Bird how to tidy up and clean as I go throughout the day.  I show her how to put her dishes in the dishwasher and let her “help”.  She practices wiping off the chairs while I wipe off the table.  She helps me put her dirty clothes in her hamper.

We make a lot of activities a game.  I smile with her and laugh and wait patiently.  It looks like we have a world of fun.  But the real truth is that it is incredibly exhausting.  Pretending to enjoy dishes and cooking when you are so damn sick of housework you could spit is really grinding, but it’s hard to get Little Bird to be interested if I don’t act like it’s the best thing ever.

Now I am really enjoying being home over the break.  Having all day to keep up with chores and Little Bird is really nice.  I’ve had time to do Mommy and Me yoga at home, wrap presents, do some extra errands, and take daily walks with the dog and daughter.

Work makes things more complicated.  I feel like I am on a time crunch to get things done and maximize my time with Little Bird.  However, having the break during the day where someone else cleans up after her toys for a while and I can have time to focus on my gift of teaching is rejuvenating.

There has been the whole “working mom” vs. “stay at home mom” debate for years.  The fact is, being a mom is hard, regardless of how you do it.  I don’t think you would find many mothers who would tell you that they had plenty of hours in the day to do all they needed to.  But, it is impossible to describe the fulfillment you get out of working so hard each day.  Every day matters.  Every thing you do is for a purpose.

That’s the most incredible thing about being a parent to me.  It gives me a purpose for everything I do.  You know that warm and fuzzy feeling you get from volunteering or donating – think of getting that feeling every night when you see your worn out and content little offspring peacefully drifting to sleep.  And you know that today mattered.  All that shit you got done to provide a good, clean, safe home for her – it mattered.  And you feel a little superhuman.

The Passing Down of the Gravy Wisk: a story in photographs










AND I AM FREE! Gravy stirring sucks!  You just stand there and stir


So stir on little sister.  Happy 10th Christmas Dinner.  Now this job is yours!

And I’m off to casserole duty!

Movin’ on up! Movin’ on up!


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Cheer

This year, we spent Christmas with the Millington family!  We had so much fun with my four brothers and sisters, sister-in-law, parents, and nephew!  There were altogether eleven of us IMG_1273gathered around the tree on Christmas morning.

The Millingtons always gather at the top of the stairs and wait until they can all come down together to see what presents await!  Of course, the young ones are always up extremely early and have to bang on doors and drag the older ones out of bed so that everyone is ready for the morning festivities!  IMG_1277

Little Bird was all set for her second Christmas sporting her lovely snowman pajamas!  Santa brought her yogurt melts in her stocking!  She carried these meltable munchies around all morning.  She also got a toothbrush (which she has done a wonderful job of chewing on and dancing while I try to teach her how to brush) and her first toddler silverware set!  She’s getting IMG_1280pretty handy with a fork and spoon!

We all opened presents.  Little Bird “helped” pass them out.  She loved to carry around the smaller ones or the discarded wrapping paper and boxes. 

Her favorite present (and maybe our favorite for her) was a pop up tent!  It’s just bigIMG_1283 enough that Doc, Little Bird, and I can all squeeze in and be really uncomfortable, but perfect for her to play in!  Also, you’ll notice a small attachment sticking out of the side.

The tent has a pop up tunnel too!  The tunnel detaches and even though I thought she would be terrified of the tunnel, she LOVES IT!


After all the presents were opened, lots of laughs, and lots of fun, we were ready to take a break from playing. Our little family sat at the tiny table to enjoy a pancake breakfast.


Yes.  That is a fork.  Yes, she used it.  This might have been my favorite breakfast ever.  She loved having everyone sit at a little table with her.

After all this excitement, it was time to curl up with grandma for a little nap.IMG_1289

The presents were fun, but being together as a family is my favorite part of Christmastime.  It’s so rare that we are all together as a family.  There is nothing like cramming around a table and laughing together.

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tulsa Winterfest




Yesterday, Doc and I went on a day date!  Doc and I have to make some big decisions soon about where we want to live for the next three years during his residency after he graduates in May.  All of that stress had been adding up, so we let Little Bird spend some quality time with her Aunts and Grandma and then we went to blow off some steam.  We enjoyed a quick lunch and then headed to downtown Tulsa near the BOK Center for Winterfest 2010.  Winterfest is an Ice Rink, food booth, and about 3 carnival rides set up downtown for families to enjoy during the holiday season.



Doc had never been ice skating before and it has been well over five years since the last time I put on a pair of skates.  But we bravely laced ‘em up and headed onto the ice!

Surprisingly, neither one of us fell even one time!  Part of this might have been because it IMG_1266took Doc a good half hour to really let go of the edge.  Notice how he tries to hide it by putting his hand in his pocket in this picture!  After he realized his skates just didn’t fit right and got a different size, it was smoother sailing.

In all honesty though, he did awesome!  We held hands and skated sloppily around the rink.  In no way did we look all “in sync” and graceful.  We probably looked like a couple of really big dorks – so it’s great that we were true to ourselves Winking smile

It was definitely a great way to get out and have some fun as a couple.  I love doing stuff that you can’t take too seriously.  We ran into a student of mine who was out with her friends and watched several groups of kids with very hesitant looking adults brave the ice as well.  It was cold, but the warming tent was awesome.

For your own humor, feel free to view these videos of us “skating”.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Happiest I Have Ever Been Setting the Table

Yesterday was Winter Solstice.  It is the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere when the sun aligns with the Tropic of Capricorn.  It is also, a Fowlington High Holiday.

Since we have split up traditional holidays between our families, we wanted to have some holidays to be “Fowlington Holidays”.  So, we decided to pick four holidays that are already set up in the calendar.  Why not the Equinoxes and Solstices?  One for each season!

So last night, we celebrated the longest night of the year by eating a delicious holiday meal at our table.


I cannot tell you how happy  just stepping back and seeing the three place settings, one being all cute and tiny, made me.  I was just so happy to see a representation of my growing family!

Our unity candle burned brightly as the sun set.  We went around the table and shared a few things with eachother.

We shared the thing we were most proud of for the past year for each person.

We shared our wish for the coming year for each person.

Doc, I am so proud of how much you have come into your own.  I’ve watched you develop more and more confidence in your personal beliefs this year.  You are such a wonderful man and I am proud that we continue to grow together.

Little Bird, I am so proud of all that you do!  I love your curiosity and confidence in exploring.  I am proud that you put your dishes in the dishwasher and your dirty clothes in the hamper because you want to help.  My wish for you in the next year is that you can find little friends to play with wherever we are next year.

Next year, we do not know where we will be.  But we can still gather around the table together and watch the sunset as we celebrate the warmth and happiness that our little family brings.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Broccoli and Cheese Cornbread

Little Bird has recently decided that all green vegetables can stick it where the sun don’t shine, or at least, get thrown to A.C.E. as a tasty treat so she doesn’t have to eat them.

She also has discovered a love for all things muffin shaped.

Solution – hide the vegetables

I know that a lot of families have this problem.  So I decided just to google “Broccoli and Cheese Muffin” and VOILA!

Check out this awesome recipe here.

I went with Broccoli Cornbread.


IMG_1236I used Organic Broccoli (Broccoli is on the dirty dozen list), butter, real cheddar cheese, two packages of cornbread mix, and 4 eggs.  Mix it all together and it looks something like this.






Into the muffin pans at 375 for 18 minutes.


And the verdict – AMAZING

The broccoli taste is still there, but it’s not incredibly intense.  Even Doc, who hates green vegetables will eat these.  So now they are a treat for Evelyn at meals to help her get those green vegetable servings that she needs.  They look pretty too!

So if you have some vegetable avoiders, this was a quick, easy clean-up, alternative to normal broccoli with cheese that you could even serve to friends.  I think it could even be a good take along to Thanksgiving or other holiday events in the future.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saw the Baby do it Bingo

This game was suggested to me by a co-worker of mine.  You can create your own custom bingo cards from Print-Bingo!  I use this website to make BINGO games for my students in Social Studies.  We have Explorer bingo and will be starting Revolutionary War Bingo soon too!  It randomly generates 20 bingo cards based on word lists you provide!  So I was able to make a set for Little Bird’s birthday party that had 24 actions on them.


Everytime anyone saw her do one of the actions, they could mark it off their card.  The winner got to help Evelyn open her presents!

The actions I used were:

  1. Smiles
  2. Claps
  3. Runs
  4. Hugs you
  5. Nods yes
  6. Shakes her head no
  7. Crawls
  8. Tries to kiss someone
  9. Rubs food in her hair
  10. Coughs
  11. Bites her thumb
  12. Sticks her tongue out
  13. Gets snot on someone’s shirt
  14. Yawns
  15. Sneezes
  16. Waves
  17. Dances
  18. Carries around cloth
  19. Throws a ball

All in all, a pretty neat and successful ordeal!

Congrats to Grandpa Clint for winning with “Shakes her head no!”

You Don’t Turn One Everyday

And neither does our daughter!

IMG_1205Today was Little Bird’s 1st Birthday Party!

I spent most of the morning setting up.  We had a vegetable tray, fruit tray, and cheese tray.  Light food for the holidays, it’s true, but it was perfect for a little afternoon party!

My mother made every one of our birthday cakes.  Continuing that tradition, I made my little girl’s cake, or cupcakes rather.  They may not be beautifully decorated, but they melt in your mouth.  They are green apple caramel cupcakes.  I put them in this cute little Cupcake Holder from Target.  We played “Saw Evelyn do it” Bingo.  There were BINGO cards on the IMG_1206table, as well as a photobook from Shutterfly.

We had everyone write a little note to Evelyn in the white space of the photobook so that she can read them in years to come.  And of course, her candle is burning brightly in the middle of the table!








From wooden blocks, to applesauce cupcakes, to ride able dinosaurs and singing birthday cakes – She was showered with tokens of love from family and friends.



Thank you to all of our wonderful friends and family who were able to come.  Those of you who weren’t able to make it, you were greatly missed!  I can only hope that every one of her birthday parties for years to come is full of as much love and joy.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lights On, Little Bird

Little Bird turned 1 yesterday.IMG_2687

Ho-ly shit.

I cannot believe how fast she’s grown up!!!!!

We decorated her with a “1st Birthday Girl” sash to wear to school to let everyone know it was her special day.

Little Bird’s candle burned all day long.  We had a delicious dinner of super mild chili with a Reese’s peanut butter cup for dessert.

IMG_2709Then it was off to the Rhema Light Display to see all the sparkling lights!

Little Bird loved seeing all the bright and IMG_2697sparkling lights.  She wanted to touch the bulbs, but never pulled.  You could tell every moment was fascinating for her!

We walked with her, letting her take it all in. 

And then – in true Little Bird spirit -

She wanted down, and took off exploring on her own!

Little Bird Runs Through Rhema

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

5:00AM-6:00AM is my favorite hour of the day

Sounds crazy right?  But here is what this hour entails.

I get up, take down the safety gate in front of Little Bird’s door and head into the kitchen.

By the time I have the coffee started and a cup of milk ready, Little Bird has toddled into the kitchen and gives me a good morning hug.

Then we sit at the table and I have a cup of coffee while she drinks milk.  Later, we each have a bowl of oatmeal.

Then later on, we go to her room and pick out clothes for school.  We get dressed and play in the mirror.

I brush my hair and then she brushes hers.

We start our day together.

It’s wonderful.

It’s worth seeing 5 AM everyday.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Spick, Span, Done!

How to keep your house clean…all the time

Ok.  I am that kid who shoved everything in the closet and under the bed and called the room clean.  My drawers were always overflowing and wouldn’t shut.  My clothing wasn’t folded because I just stuffed it in the drawer.  I lost homework assignments.  I was chaos.

Now, my family’s home has remained clean for a full week.

I finally think I have figured out what was wrong with how I was trying to do it.  The way of organizing didn’t make sense to me.  Socks go here…underwear goes there…

It’s just not how my head works.

So I made a few major changes.

1.) Get rid of your extra stuff.  Donate to goodwill, sell on Craig’s list, trash, gift to family, etc.  Get rid of everything you haven’t used in a year.

2.) If you really don’t want to let go of something you haven’t used in a year, store it.  Really store it – like attic, outdoor storage, etc. 

3.) Assign a place for everything that makes sense to you.  Utilize containers where you can. For example, all my make up is in a basket, that goes up on a shelf in the closet.  I pull it out, use it, put it back.  The basket has a home and my make up isn’t sprawled across the counter tops.

4.) Make your home beautiful.  If you know your home has the potential to be a beautiful haven for you, you are more likely to keep it clean.  Bare walls or sterile environments make me anxious, so I’d rather add clutter than be able to focus on the barrenness of a home that is not “decorated”.


Those changes have turned my cleaning habits around.  There should never be a room I can’t clean in 5 minutes.

For Everything Else, There’s Bleach

Ok.  I love vinegar.  It’s awesome.  It’s earth friendly.  It can clean almost anything.



But when Little Bird poops in the tub, there’s bleach.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Guilt

One of the downfalls of being a working mom is that every now and then you get a wave of guilt.  Parenting books do not often speak kindly of working parents and it can be really grinding.  

After having such an amazing time at home over Thanksgiving Break with my family, going back to work again was surprisingly difficult.

I cherish every moment I can spend with my daughter.  Staying home is not an option for me as far as taking care of my family goes.  With Doc finishing medical school, we depend on my income.  

I love my job.  I'm good at it, it's fulfilling, and I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to do what I love everyday.  Sometimes it is just a little difficult to move past the guilt I feel when Little Bird doesn't want me to drop her off in the morning at daycare.

So!  Here are positive solutions to missing my daughter/feeling guilty about not being able to stay at home with her all the time:
1.) Read parenting books/websites/blogs to come up with ways to make the time I get with her as valuable as possible.
2.) Plan things to do with Little Bird when I get off work
3.) Continue to remind myself that I will get to have every holiday break, including the Summer, to spend with her.

Little Bird is a happy child. She shows no signs of being impaired because I have to work.  This is, I think, one of those things we get in our heads when we are responsible for someone.  I just need to relax and stop worrying about it!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Owasso Tree Farm Outing

Nothing says the holidays like…


Picking out a REAL Christmas Tree from a local tree farm!  You know, where the trees go for miles and you pick one and hack it down and take it home on your car top -

Where the sweet smell of pine or spruce linger in your home, and soft white lights dance in the needles and across your walls-

BUT, we have no where to put a tree.  So nothing says the holidays like….

Going to the Owasso Tree Farm, looking at all the trees, and then picking out a totally bad ass wreath to go on your front door.

The Owasso Christmas Tree Farm has wreaths, garlands, trees, and tons of ornaments and decorations.  It is also just a beautiful place to look around.  We got a wreath last year from this farm as well.


Hurray Traditions!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Giving Thanks

If you have been present for one of my many “Reasons Why Thanksgiving is a Pretentious Holiday that Furthers a Great Lie in History” rants, you are well aware that I hate the historical aspect of Thanksgiving because it is based on a fallacy. 

However, I am completely supportive of a holiday that gives us all time to pause, reflect, and realize how truly blessed we are in our lives.  Very few of us have more than very little to complain about.  We have a great many things to be grateful for.

This year, I have been most grateful for my husband.  We continue to grow and change.  But as we do, we continue to love and accept one another.  We are wonderful partners in life, and I am thankful for the fact that we are more in love now than ever.  We still crave time with one another and savor the moments we get. 

Also, I am thankful for my daughter.  Nothing – and I mean 
nothing – fixes your day like a hug from a daughter who loves you and a smile to show you that she thinks the world of you.  It reminds you constantly that you have been blessed beyond belief and your life pretty much rocks.

The last one I will mention, to keep this from being an epic post, is that I am thankful for my job.  I get to go to work everyday knowing that what I do has an impact on the lives of many.  I know that I am where I am supposed to be, doing what I was meant to do in life.

Family is extremely special to me.  I was so thankful that yesterday we were able to spend time with not only my side of the family, but Doc’s family was kind enough to have us over as well! 

I “head chef-ed” for my family’s feast – but my Mom, Evelyn and I dawned our aprons and got to work!  

Being head chef meant I got to carve the turkey this year!  I had to learn how to do all the holiday food jobs in case I am alone in the kitchen somewhere like Casper next year!

But it doesn’t mean that I got out of my oldest job ever – stirring the gravy.  I have been doing this job since I started helping with Thanksgiving.  But my sister will be passed the whisk this Christmas season.

It was pretty stinking tasty if I do say so myself!  I wish I had pictures from our time with both families, but I was enjoying myself too much to remember the camera!
I hope all of you enjoyed your holiday as well!
Did anyone try new recipes?  Learn a new holiday trick?  Eat way too much of something?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Jake Kamden is my Hero :)

He’s here!  Jake was born Monday!  Here is one of the first pictures of the new little family! 


I’m so proud of my brother and love him and his family so much.  I am heading down to visit my new nephew as soon as possible.

Welcome to our family baby Jake.  You will have a life filled with love.

To my brother and sister (the in law is optional) -

You will be incredible parents.  I love you both and our family is so proud of you.  Happy baby :) 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Holiday Parade

Despite being attached to the Tulsa Metroplex, Jenks is actually one of those little towns that clings to its small town charm events.

For example: ParadesIMG_2593

We went to the Holiday Parade in downtown Jenks yesterday to watch my little sisters march along side their girl scout troops.




Well, one marched.  The other got distracted easily and then had to sprint to catch back up.


And my mom was bringing up the rear, handing out candy.





Little Bird was not entirely sure what to think of the parade, but did like waving at the people as they passed by.



She may be walking.  She may not use bottles anymore.  She may be almost one year old.  But she still LOVES being carried around in the tummy carrier.  Especially when it’s Doc whose doing the carrying.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Day in the Park

Last week, Doc and I took Little Bird to Woodward Park in Midtown Tulsa.  I love Midtown.  I would move back to that area of town in a heartbeat!  Woodward is a gorgeous park and one we frequent as a family.

Little Bird loves to swing there or run by the trees or play chase with Doc and I.  We also watch the squirrels!  But last week was a special occasion!!!

Little Bird is turning 1 next month!  That’s right!  It is really almost here!  So we took our darling daughter down to the park for some pictures.


We wanted some pictures for her birthday party invitations, so first she ran around in her cute birthday outfit!



Then it was time for a costume change!  Into her Fowlington wear for family pictures!





Well, minus the bow.

But the photographer did an incredible job of capturing casual family pictures!


Doc and Little Bird playing.


Little Bird and I watching people and squirrels from a bench.





We had a wonderful time being together and playing in the leaves while B. took pictures.  If you live near Tulsa and want pictures done for any reason, I highly recommend B. Photography!  You can find her on Facebook and view her portfolio of the other amazing images she has taken.