Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Baby Things & Family Time

Last week, I got to enjoy baby things. We aren't expanding our family just yet, but that doesn't make teeny tiny clothes any less adorable.

Thursday night was Smockaholics Anonymous. I LOVE this consignment sale. Each time, I have managed to get name brand and boutique clothes for Cullen on the cheap. This season was no different. Polo shirts, a really cute jumper, and some precious PJs for my little man.

Of course, I lingered over the baby shoes, since all of the boy shoes are on one table together. There was one little pair of itty bitty baby slippers. Hand knit and shaped like little puppies. Just because we aren't having a baby yet doesn't mean I can't buy a little unisex something that will get used sooner or later.

Friday turned our kitchen into cupcake central. 10 dozen cupcakes and a lot of laughs with Megan later, I was prepped for a baby shower and birthday party. Per the usual, James' office was able to benefit from the spares.

Kristen's baby shower on Saturday was amazing. The other hostesses and I put a lot of planning into it, and it came together beautifully. We spent a lot of time together laughing and eating, but (of course) I took zero pictures. Luckily, Kristen's mom caught a great shot of the cupcakes. I love love love my Williams Sonoma cupcake stand.
Sunday was set to be a family day. My plans involved Cullen's first trip to Build A Bear and a nap. Naps... Over-rated, right? James' boss shot an extra deer at the lease this weekend and offered the meat to James. For some unknown reason, I volunteered to ride to El Campo with him to get the deer processed. It was a short drive that involved a couple of Disney movies, some ridiculous nose bleeds by Cullen, and a bad experience between me and a beetle. I don't think I like Prasek's. Maybe James can pick it up on his own.

To redeem the day, we took Cullen to Build A Bear. I fully realize this is a place to purchase ridiculously overpriced stuffed animals, but they had a Kermit one! Cullen loves his Kermit cup, so I thought it might make it a more special event for him. The high point for me was finding out that Kermit also has a puppet mouth. Which made me all nostalgic for the Kermit puppet I had when I was a kid.
Cullen was a bit put off by un-stuffed Kermit. James kept showing him Kermit until Cullen was close to tears.
After a short wait in line, Kermit got stuffed, and Cullen got to put Kermit's heart in from the safety of James' arms.
Cullen's hate for Kermit grew by leaps and bounds when the Build A Bear employee decided to do the worst Kermit voice I have ever heard. Ever.
While I waited in line to pay, James took Cullen to get some milk. By the time Cullen was back, Kermit was stowed safely in his box. Much to my surprise, Cullen was happy to carry Kermit when he was trapped in a box. I couldn't help but laugh when he later told Aunt Peggy, "This my Kermit box." 
Of course, Kermit is now a beloved member of Cullen's bedtime crew. He has made his home comfortably with Pillow Doggie, Panda Pillow, Blue Pillow, Blue Blanket, Pets Blanket, Rupert, Mickey, Other Mickey, Mouse, Giraffe, Other Giraffe, and Horsey. I think that covers them all. Last time Mom visited, she was pretty sure he was going to smother himself with everybody in his bed.
My favorite part about Kermit is that Cullen has officially renamed him Kermit Frog. He is no longer Kermit THE Frog. More appropriately, he should probably by Kermit the Attack Frog. While I found his little puppet mouth a fun thing for giving kisses, Cullen thinks it is great for frog bites. His favorite is frog bites to the face.  
I'm pretty sure James was preparing for a hug when Kermit bit his eye out. 

I got attacked while lying on the floor. That was just my bad.

Sunday night, James and I went into Best Buy to look at a laptop they had on sale. We've been looking for a bit to find a way to make it easier for me to work from home. More and more often, I am putting in hours in the evenings and during the weekends. With only the desktop, I was stuck in the office working while James and Cullen got to play. Of course, we left Best Buy with a laptop, a new tv (that was supposed to be James' surprise anniversary present), and a blu-ray player. We are a family of electronics lovers. That's tough for me, considering how much I love to read.

As can be expected, I've already put in a few extra office hours on my new laptop. I also spent time blogging, Pinterest-ing, and playing on Facebook. Surprise, surprise. While playing around on Facebook, I decided to finally take a big step and make a page for Scout. So far, I have 30 likes and two new orders. Next step will be creating an actual website. If you're on Facebook, please stop by!/ScoutBakedGoods and "like" it!

xoxo ashley

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Waco, Cupcakes, Zoo Trip & Mardi Gras

  The last week has been a whirlwind of fun for our little family. Lots of sports, lots of time outdoors, and lots of time as a family.

Friday night, we were invited to go to a Rockets game and dinner with some friends of ours. Between traffic and rain delays, we missed dinner, but we made it into the stadium just in time for tip off. James and Richard went to school together, so they were happy to watch the game. Julie and I spent the majority of the time getting to know each other and staring at the dancers. Oh the dancers. They made me think that I will never let Cullen go to a Rockets game with James. I am always excited to make new mommy friends, and I'm looking forward to the next time we get to see the Howells.

We had talked for a while about going to see the Bears play at some point this season. With only two home games remaining, we thought it was about time to go to Waco. We got up early on Saturday and headed out on the road. We managed a quick lunch at Bush's, a basketball game, a visit with the family I used to nanny for, and a dinner at George's. 

Cullen has decided that he is quite the serious basketball fan. He spent half of the game on the floor playing with cars, but the rest of the game was spent in awe. It was so funny to watch James and Cullen staring with the same intensity. 
Between the game and dinner, we went to visit the Williams family. During my last year at Baylor, I helped out with their four boys. That time was such a blessing for me, because it really reinforced the idea that I would love to have a bigger family. Cullen jumped right in with their four boys, and all of the boys played while the grown ups talked. It's hard to believe that their baby is now as old as their oldest son was when I started working for them. They were 8, 5, 3, and 10 months when I started. Their oldest just turned 16. If that didn't make me feel old, I don't know what would.

Of course, no trip to Waco is complete without a trip to George's. While waiting for a table, we ran into one of James' fraternity brothers and his wife. Cullen ate queso for dinner. It had meat in it, so I'm just going to be happy he got some protein.  
On Sunday, I decided to make a practice round of cupcakes. I have a baby shower this weekend that requested red velvet, so I've been trying to perfect it. I can't wait to whip these up for my dad's birthday in September. He loves red velvet. I'm also going to be doing a wedding in May, so this was a perfect time to take a cupcake up to the bride for a little taste testing.  
I had Monday off, so I planned a zoo trip for Cullen with another awesome friend. Dana and I cheered together in middle school, so it is really fun to get together and let our boys play. We saw lots of animals and reminisced about our first trip to the zoo when our boys slept while we talked. She is an awesome mom, and it's always refreshing to hear that she has the same outlook on so many things. I couldn't help but laugh when we knew one of the boys had a dirty diaper. When they realized we were onto them, they both ran. We'll work on potty training when Cullen shows even the most remote bit of concern that he's dirty.  
James had to travel for work on Monday, so Cullen and I spent a lot of play time at home after the zoo. One of Cullen's favorite activities is making a huge mess. Here, he has dumped out an entire box of blocks to wear the box as a hat. 
Yesterday was Mardi Gras, so Cullen's school had a parade. Cullen came home with a too big mask and a bunch of beads. He liked it all a lot better when Daddy wore it. 
Over the last few months, my little bakery has really been taking flight. I am getting advanced bookings, and I am being given the opportunity to cater baby showers, birthday parties, and weddings. How lucky am I? I saw this clipping in a magazine over the weekend, and I couldn't help but appreciate it. Baking is so easy and fun for me. By selling my goods, I am taking it seriously. Love it. 
xoxo ashley

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

When James isn't home, Cullen and I are living in a Dickensian style world.

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times...

Cullen absolutely idolizes James. He usually likes to sleep in, but he occasionally wakes up and wants to hang out with us. Cullen loves acting like a big kid, and he really enjoys climbing into our bed in the mornings. Sometimes the boys watch ESPN. Sometimes they play games on the iPad. I just love seeing them enjoy their time together.
I got asked to make some treats for one of James' company's showers again. I was delighted to be asked again, and I really enjoyed the unique order. One of my favorites to make are my triple lemon cupcakes. I got the icing to a really vibrant shade of yellow, and the sugar paste booties were a perfect little accent. 
James headed out to the deer lease for a long weekend with his company. He sent Cullen a picture of "Daddy's Big Truck" to remind Cullen that Daddy always thinks of him. Cullen was excited to see that the truck could handle an entire tree.
On Saturday morning, Cullen and I went to a Valentine's brunch at Megan and Lee's. The food was fabulous, the company was great, and Cullen provided plenty of action and entertainment for me. That boy is so unfamiliar with being calm.
After brunch, we went to visit my parents. My mom was ready to go with Valentine's Day presents for both of us. Cullen is in love with his new toys, and my favorite gift was this mug. Mom thought it was great because of all the cupcakes I make. I couldn't agree more.

After such an exhausting day, I expected Cullen to be wiped out. I settled in to watch The Help and flip through my People magazine after he was in bed. For Cullen, bed does not always mean sleep. Cullen wasn't feeling very well, so neither of us got much sleep that night. At some point, I brought Cullen into our bed. I'm not a fan of co-sleeping, but he is also old enough for this to not be a danger for him. Shortly before sunrise, he finally took a nap we'll call sleep. 
Yesterday was Valentine's Day. Cullen had a precious party at school, James sent me some gorgeous roses, and I got James chocolates and BBQ things. We both got home late, ate pizza for dinner, and I fell to sleep on the couch. Just our usual evening together.

On my lunch break, I ran out to see Kim and get my hair cut. I usually squeeze my hair cuts in during lunch so I don't miss weekend time with my boys. I've been wanting to try something new, but I'm always anxious. My willingness to try something new generally winds up with my hair looking hideous. This time, I got bangs. And I love it. James seems to be on the fence about it, but he's doing a good job with only offering constructive criticism. It's a huge improvement over the time he told me I looked like Darth Vader.

This weekend, we're hoping to make a day trip to Waco to see a men's basketball game. I'm looking forward to lots of time with my boys and a three day weekend. I can't wait!

xoxo ashley

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Just Keep Swimming

The last week or so in our house has been wild. It seems like we can't slow down long enough to even catch our breath. Work has been incredibly busy for both of us, and we are working hard to keep up at work, at home, and with family.

Last week, Cullen received his first Valentine's present of the year. It is a cute little dog that he pulls on a string. He loves it. I think his favorite part is that it keeps up with him better than Scout.
A couple of nights ago, I caught Cullen performing some surgery on one of Scout's toys. Cullen is sure that the bear is his, so I think he was trying to leave some sort of mark of ownership. As soon as he saw me coming, he ran across the room. His unpracticed sneakiness cracks me up. 
For dinner, I made a shrimp pasta. Cullen would only eat the noodles. Out of the bed of a truck. With my business card. What. How do you eat your pasta? 
Of course, Cullen wants to do everything with Daddy and/or like Daddy. He likes to feed Scout, "help" take out the garbage, and put the new trash bag in the trash can. I think his favorite part is shaking out the new bag. Shake shake shake. 
For the very patient family crowd, here is a video of Cullen going through the exercise.
The last couple of days, Cullen has been pretty grumpy by Cullen standards. All four of his newest molars have broken through the gums, but he seems to still be having some pain associated with the teething. In an effort to improve his mood last night, James set Cullen up with a bubble bath. He loved it so much. I love that someone is making use of my bubble bath.
This weekend, James is headed out to the lease again. I'll be handling Cullen, catering a baby shower, managing a couple of family visits, a brunch, interviewing a maid, and catching up on work. My guess is that the work thing doesn't happen. Cullen is way too fun to be distracted by insurance and angry people.

xoxo ashley

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Weekend In The Country

 I love getting to spend time with my boys. They both make me laugh so much, and they are a consistent reminder that being dirty is fun and expected. This weekend was an exceptional reminder that we need our family time.

We spent the weekend at James' company's lease, and we had so much fun. I loved getting to know James' co-workers better, and it was so nice to just unplug for a bit. It was an absolute nightmare to get Friday off of work, but it worked out for the best, because Cullen wound up feeling less than great on Thursday afternoon. I would have been at home on Friday anyway.

We started out our Friday morning with a family trip to the ENT. A couple of rounds of antibiotics, allergy meds, etc, and we were on our way. While we waited, Cullen decided that he wanted his "glasses like Daddy." After a bit of work, he was so proud to show off his new look. This picture reminds me that I should probably brush his hair sometimes. Maybe.
A little after lunch, we headed south for Alice, Texas. It was a long drive that involved a couple of naps and a lot of reading time. I'm always so thankful that James likes to drive on road trips. We saw some parts of Texas that were new to me, and we got plenty of time to catch up. It's funny to me how easy it is to lose track of the little things when work and life take over. Road trips have been a favorite of mine for years, because James and I always find something good to get into. 
We all stayed up late Friday night laughing and talking around the fire. Admittedly, a big part of why I stayed up as late as I did was an effort to wear myself out. I figured if I was exhausted, I wouldn't realize I was in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. If it hadn't been so darn cold, it would have worked. I piled almost all of the blankets on Cullen, so it was a long night for me. We used the heater the second night. Oops.

All day Saturday, Cullen ran around and enjoyed the great outdoors. The lease was full of hunting, animals (live and hunted), and guns. You know... Just one of those traditional weekends with our family. Cullen got to see three deer get cleaned over the course of the weekend, so James explained to Cullen that the dead deer were mean. Completely different from reindeer and entirely unrelated to Christmas. Sunday night, I found Cullen in bed talking to his animals about reindeer and mean deer.

Cullen napped like a champ on Saturday. Sweaty, dirty, and prepping his little body for a wild afternoon.
Cullen loved tossing trash and bits of wood into the fire pit. We let him practice while it was just embers, and he was ready to toss everything in by the time the fire was going on Saturday night.  
Cullen had lots of adventures with so many different animals. He saw cows, deer, bunnies, geckos, etc. I think his favorite part was not having to take a bath all weekend, because my options for him were a cold shower or dirt. I opted for dirt. 
Just mowing the grass... 
Making new cow friends. 
Saturday night was a great night to sit around the fire and make s'mores. Cullen only ate a few bites, but he seemed pretty thrilled with the chocolate and melty marshmallow.

It was pretty clear to me that the fresh air did Cullen some good. He slept pretty well on Saturday night. I'm always entertained by what he finds comfortable. 
After a weekend off, it was just beyond me to cook dinner. Let's just call it what it is. Lazy. We went to Double Dave's where Cullen can waste food eat for free. Cullen loves their pizza and pepperoni rolls, so we were all happy.
Of course, James shared his dessert pizza with Cullen. Cullen promptly got chocolate all over his face and then cleaned his face with his sleeve. It's hard to tell, but he's showing off his dirty, chocolate hand here.
Between the lease and his pizza dinner, Cullen got an extra long bubble bath on Sunday night. He's even cute when he's dirty.
Monday night, we made plans to meet Megan and Lee for dinner. They are two of Cullen's favorite people, so he generally acts a little less like a two year old when they're around. Some chips and a push pop for dinner made Cullen really happy.

Work has been ridiculously busy for me. My favorite person on my team got to move on to bigger and better accounts, so I feel a little out of place these days. I'm working more hours to keep up with changes and training of the new assistant, but I'm holding out hope that it will all balance out soon. In the mean time, I'm just thankful I have a job with a great company. And even more thankful that James has a great job with a great company. We may be stressed sometimes, and things aren't always perfect, but we sure are blessed!

xoxo ashley