Monday, November 29, 2010

The Eve of a Holiday

The best idea I've ever had.

On the Eve of a holiday, when days have been spent cleaning and cooking and preparing and freezing and decorating...the last thing that one feels like doing is cooking a meal.

Of which there will be left overs, of which there is no room in the fridge, due to the aforementioned holiday preparations. But alas, family still needs to eat. Darn basic human needs.

My solution? As I spin around the household? Breakfast for dinner. Specifically, pumpkin pancakes for dinner. Ah-may-zing.

The only better idea than this? Have Hubby make the dinner! He offered, and it was the greatest thing ever. He's a pretty master pancake maker. Unless I distract him, then we have what he called "Cajun" pancakes.

Yes, I ate the Cajun Pumpkin Pancake. And it tasted delish.

And then Hubby posed like Mrs. Butterworth.

In a Ninja Turtles t shirt.

Reason #456 why I love him.

Here is the recipe he used:

1. In large bowl mix 1 c. whole milk, 1/2 c. pumpkin puree, 1 egg, 2 tbsp canola oil, 1/2 c. applesauce, 1 tbsp white vinegar
2. In separate bowl mix 1 c. whole wheat flour, 3-4 tbs brown sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, and either 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1 tsp cinn, 1/2 all spice, and 1/2 nutmeg)
3. Stir flour mix into liquid stir well and let sit for a few minutes to fluff.

Thanks to Jen for a delish recipe, that tastes like it should be dessert, even when they are cajun. OH, yum.

Love you Chef Hubby,

Dirt Road Mama

Our Little Elf

Black Friday. Shopping. Crowds. Early early birds. Sales. Craziness.

I'm not really about it. I'd rather sleep in and make soup with leftover turkey. Hubby did go out at 4:30am, though. You think I kid? He and his Dad and brothers go to Home Depot every black Friday. Cracks me right up. But then he came home, and we had our family outing.

This is where we spent our Black Friday.

Peace on top of a mountain - chopping down our Christmas tree! Hubby did it, with a real old fashioned tree-chopper-down saw. Also known as a hand saw, I believe. But I like tree-chopper-down saw. Can you picture it?

There are no photos of it because Reilly and I were breast feeding in the car. In the heat, with the Christmas music on.

She made this face. I love this face. Tee hee.
And we took an impromptu Christmas card photo! Look at our little elfie! I put a bow on her Santa hat so that she looks like a little girlie girl. :)

Baby's First Christmas. :)

Hello, little angel.
I like your little Santa boots. Does your Mama put them on you every day? Yes, I thought so.


Mama loves you, pretty face.

Merry merry first Christmas peanut!

We are going to Elf you out as much as possible, Banana. You will be in that Santa hat every time we leave the house. Unless you are wearing pink, because that's a little clashy. And you will hear so much Christmas music, you will be humming them before you are talking.

I love this season with our new family of three!

Love & Sugarplums,

Dirt Road Mama

Friday, November 26, 2010

Goodness Gracious

I am grateful for all of the goodness and grace, that come straight from our wonderful God.

I never take it for granted, everything He gives. When I think He can't bless anymore...of course, He does. It amazes me. I thank You God, I thank You every day. I feel so grateful, I could burst. That's how I felt yesterday. That's how I feel most days.

Here is our table! I hosted. It was so much fun. And I LOVE leftovers. And man, do we have leftovers.

The napkins and napkin holders are my grandma's. She made the holders, and gave them to me a few years ago. I found them by accident an hour before my guests arrived. How perfect!

Family Photo, Take 1.

Baby's First Thanksgiving. Baby's First Christmas Season. I can't put into words how magical it feels to share this with her. We are children again in this house. We are watching elf and sitting on Santa's lap and hitting up Toys R Us tomorrow.

I feel like the house is glowing!

This face is all we need, Hubby and me! Thank you God.

Thank You for all the people that you surround us with in our life. Family and friends that love and give more than I feel we deserve. I love them all.

Thank You for our little Pilgrim Baby.

It was my first Thanksgiving without my Mama's cooking, without my family around me. And I of course, missed them. It made me sad for a moment when I heard my Mama's favorite Christmas song, and it began to snow.

But the traditions of my family filled my table, and my house. My mama's recipes, that happy parade that I seem to love more every year, the Christmas music. We had a beautiful day surrounded my Hubby's family and friends, and it was a blessed day. There was a lot of love in our house.

And I looked at baby's face, as she filled everyone with smiles. And I realized that no matter where we are celebrating the holiday, everyone is healthy and happy and thankful for one another. And as long as the family's traditions are shared, no matter where, the love is always there.

And then we had a fire.

Sorry, I had to break up the sentiment. But it's true, there was a fire. I did it. After about 17 dishes prepared to perfection, the sweet potatoes caught fire while we were broiling the marshmallows. And I mean FLAMES. Huge. Had to be brought outside, and still didn't go out. Both smoke alarms when off. My oven mitts caught fire. And Hubby stayed calm and put it out. And I grabbed my fire extinguisher, which I have in the kitchen, and realized how useless it is if I don't know how to use it. Don't worry Mama, Hubby went over it after our guests left.

And we actually still ate the sweet potatoes. They were pretty amazing.

And then there's this turkey! Which literally fell off the bone as Hubby carved it. Who ever heard of "fall off the bone" Thanksgiving turkey?? It was amazing.

And now I am off to:
Make babyfood. Go cut down our Christmas tree. Decorate the house for Christmas. Watch Elf with babygirl. Make a leftover turkey soup with my beautiful turkey bones.

Yes, all today.

Maybe not the soup. The soup may wait till tomorrow.

Did I just call turkey bones, beautiful?

Well it's true. It's a beautiful thing, this season that celebrates Jesus. Every darn thing about it.

Love & God's Grace,

Dirt Road Mama

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Little Reilly has teefies!! Which is what I call teeth. Because there are two of them. And because teefies is what I think of when I see this face.

She makes so many new, funny faces now! She is discovering her teefies and playing with them.

What's in there, babygirl?

Are you going to start chewing all kinds of food now?

No? You just want to breastfeed forever and never grow up? Okay, fine.

My angel and her Ellie. We love you and your two little teefies!

Love & Teefies,

DR Mama

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sit Me Up, Love

Reilly Baby is learning to sit up! She has such good body control lately. We are so proud of the babygirl! Here are her attempts and triumphs! GO REI REI!

There she goes! Sitting up, like a champ.

"Oh, hey Mama! You takin' pictures of me?"

Oh dear, down we go!

Take 2.

Swinging those rings around!

"Mama, look at me! I'm lounging!"

"Must you take my picture with all this drool? So embarassing, Mama.."

Look at you go, babygirl!!

"Thanks, Mama! Hey look, it's my foot..."

"Mmm, I love my feet."

"And my rings. Munch munch munch. What were we doing again, Mama?"

We are making strides! Clearly, curiosity is our downfall, currently.
Yay, feet! [flop.] Yay, rings! [flop.] Yay, Mama's takin' pictures! [flop.]

She's a funny little bunny, our curious little Reilly Belle. Physical feats are not her current priority. :)

Love & Babyface,

Dirt Road Mama

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Autumn Decor

There is a place in our home where I like to hang a "garland" or
sorts each season. I guess it started with making my own version of those paper towel ghosts we used to make as kids. You know the ones? Where you crumple a piece of newspaper, drape a paper towel over it, tie it off with a rubber band, and draw a face with marker?

I made similar ones, except using fabric and ribbon. More homey, less kindergarten.

Then Halloween ended, and I felt sad to take down my new decoration! And thus began the garland saga. It's a saga, because Hubby sometimes pretends that he doesn't like it. Because he has to "duck" to walk underneath it. But he has recently come around to appreciate the tradition. I think he came around when baby was born, and my mama hung teeny socks and shoes from it. That made him smile.

So here's what I made for autumn this year, after the ghosts come down.

I took some card stock, and painted each one 4 different fall-y colors. The I let them dry, and painted the other sides as well.

Then I drew different leaf shapes, and cut them out!

I love the colors! So autumn, but neutral.

Making my own decorations thrills me. Less pennies spent, yet still such a festive home!

Love & Painting,

Dirt Road Mama

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Babies

Look at these two. My babe, and my baby. Try not to melt.

Those smiles.

I love this one. She's holding his face.

This is what she does when he comes home from work. Look at the little teefies!!

He's totally in love.

Stick a fork in me, I'm done. I fainted. My heart just burst like the Grinch at the end.

I love you, my Babe.
I love you, my Baby.

Love my Babies,

Dirt Road Mama

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Penny's From Heaven - The Golden Years

If you haven't read about the puppy I grew up with, you can read about her here. But you don't have to. Life will just make more sense if you do. Well, really just this post will.

Anyway, here is the lovely conclusion to my puppy's story. Yes, I call her puppy. She is 14 now. Puppy is a loving and endearing term, like baby, not a reference to her age. We love our puppy.

And here is how she came to live in the country.
In recent years, Penny began needing to be caged when we left the house. She used to have free roam of the house, and be totally fine. But then she started ripping apart garbage, ripping apart blankets, etc. It had to do with the fact that my Mama's work schedule changed, and Penny wasn't used to it. So we put her in her (giant) cage when we left the house. Which in itself was not terrible - she didn't mind it, and she is, after all, a dog. Dogs go in cages. Not a big deal.

But recently, with everyone's work schedule, she was in the cage for longer periods of time on certain days. And with her age, she was having more and more trouble holding her bladder for that time. Therefore, my family was coming home to messes on some days.

Besides that, her body clock was off because of this too. This was causing her to wake up at about 3am every night, needing to go out. Thus causing my parents to wake up to let her our, therefore not being able to get back to sleep, therefore severely exhausted for work during the day. This continued for weeks.

Of course, I would not allow my mama to talk to me about this. I prefer to only hear about happy Penny stories, not the ones that include her aging. I don't get to see her every day, since I live far away, so I didn't want the only things I heard about her to be sad. And then we went to visit, and we had a family discussion.

We talked about what to do. The family couldn't go on this way, on no sleep and cleaning up messes after work every day. The puppy couldn't go on this way, it wasn't fair for her either. The phrase "put down" was tossed around. My sister and I freaked out. Mama started crying because she was needing to be strong and make decisions, but she didn't want to either. I protested having the conversation all together. Everybody, just drop it. Let's talk about my baby again, how cute is she?

I really said that.

And then my Hubby raised his glass of wine, and said "We're taking Penny. End of story."
And my mama told him he was being ridiculous and he may have had too much wine. And that it just couldn't work. And my Dad asked lots of logistical questions about how it would work and if we'd be okay with it.

But he insisted. He said that I am staying home, and that she wouldn't have to be caged anymore. He said that he would let her out in the middle of the night if she needed it, because he doesn't require much sleep. He said that when the time comes for her to be put down, he would take her to the vet since he has the least emotional connection to her. He said he wanted to do it, no arguments. Penny is retiring to the Country Retirement Home.

I was too happy to say anything. I never would have came up with the idea myself, because I didn't think it was a possibility. I just didn't think the logistics would work out, or were worth being discussed. But Hubby made so much sense when he explained how everything would work - it just suddenly seemed like such a perfect solution.

I always said that I would only want a dog for our family if we could have Penny. Or a dog that was freakishly identical to Penny. So, God gave us Penny.

Now she fits in our family like she was always meant to be here. She cuddles in our house in her bed, she runs around our yard like a puppy again. And Reilly is starting to notice her, which makes me smile. Penny is so gentle and calm, and she follows me everywhere around the house. She comes in Reilly's room with every diaper change and stands next to the changing table, watching us.

We don't know how much longer she'll be around. But every day is a bonus, beautiful, carefree day in the country. We said Penny must think she went to heaven. So many smells! So much grass! A dirt road for trotting! No more cage, just relaxing and playing all day!

It makes us happy that this is how she can spend her golden days, and that we can help her. As a country puppy.

Love & PennyLane,

Dirt Road Mama