Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in 12 Photos

To whoever is browsing blogs in their pajamas at 10pm on New Year's Eve - here ya go.  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  You are my people :)  Linking up with Dwija for 2014 in 12 easy glam shots!

(As usual, the vast majority of these photos were taken by my lovely sister!)

January - We spent some time at my parents house right around New Years and the kids got to enjoy an upstate NY winter :)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Christmas Smackdown

I've been going through a lot of photos this week trying to pick some pictures for Dwija's 12 in 2014 link up, and in the process stumbled across some gems from Christmas pasts and started to realize how much progress we've made in the Christmas celebration department.  I figured the only way to know for sure was to do a thorough evaluation of the past few Christmases and see where we without further ado, I present: THE CHRISTMAS SMACKDOWN.

The Christmas Tree

2012 - Emeric was a new baby, and the girls were 2 and 3.  We decorated the tree, only to find it was routinely knocked over - sometimes several times a day.  We decided to remove all of the real ornaments and let the girls stick a few of their foam wreaths on the top.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Morning

Meeeerry Christmas!!  I hope you all are enjoying a very blessed Christmas season.  My heart and prayers are with all of you who are carrying very heavy burdens this year.

Our Christmas season hasn't been exactly like I planned - there were no Christmas cards mailed, our $1 felt stockings from Target didn't get any embellishing or name tags of any sort, we have yet to make/decorate any sort of cut out cookies or go drive to see Christmas lights.  On Christmas Eve I spent 3 hours in Target trying to get treatment for a sinus infection.  On Christmas day, Clare randomly started throwing up and Emeric decided he wanted to start potty training ASAP.  

Thursday, December 18, 2014

It Took A War - A Study Guide and a Giveaway!

You little sister WROTE A BOOK!!  She is amazing.  I really wish I were good at writing book reviews, but...I'm not.  So here's the official book summary:

by Emily Ann Putzke

1861 - Sixteen year old Joe Roberts leads a mundane life as far as he’s concerned. His world spins in the same circle each day: working at his family’s store, taking his sisters on boyish escapades and bickering with his rogue of a cousin, Lucas. Joe can’t understand why his mother allows Lucas to live and work with them after all the pain he caused their family. When war is declared, Joe is quick to join up and become a soldier with the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteers, but war is nothing like he imagined. To make matters worse, he must endure having Lucas in the same regiment. Can Joe put the pain of the past behind him? Forgiveness is easier said than done.

You can purchase It Took a War through:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

December Favorites: Lots of Gold and Sparkles

Linking up with Jenna today with my December favorites!

- 1 -

This candle is AHHHMAZING.  Since Stephen and pine don't mix, we have an artificial tree - but I desperately miss that fresh tree scent.  This candle NAILS IT.

And it's sparkly.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

7 Quick Weekend Takes: Excuses, Excuses

Linking up with KELLY (?!?!) for Seven Quick Takes, subtitled: Excuses for falling back into my pattern of being a lame blogger. (And sub-subtitled: In which I inexplicably capitalize many words because I'm feeling sassy.  Or something)

- 1 -
Stomach bug from Hades.  Enough said.  Remind me never to complain about washing pee sheets again.

(No photo for this one.  You're welcome.)

- 2 -
In Maryland, we are required to do TWO homeschool reviews with the county per year (unless you are part of an umbrella group or something, which I would have joined had I been a little more on the ball/forward thinking...) and we had our first review in November.  And I basically walked in circles all week and bit my nails into oblivion thinking they were going to tell me I was doing EVERYTHING ALL WRONG WRONG WRONG!  And then I went to it and it only took like 8.5 minutes and they gave me a little gold star and told me to come back in the Spring.  Yay.

A regular homeschool day with Apple Jack as my assistant professor.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

November Favorites

Sickness and homeschool reviews and all the excuses can wait for a quick's time for Jamie blog therapy.  Linking up with Jenna for 5 Favorites this week!

- 1 -

I saved the best for FIRST - a butter crock.  (Or if you want to be fancy, a "french butter dish")

Friday, November 7, 2014

Quick Takes: The mostly Halloween edition

Linking up with Jen for Quick Takes...cuz it's the cool thing to do on a Friday.

 - 1 -

After I published my Capsule Wardrobe post on Wednesday, I noticed that it was my 100TH POST.  Whaat?!  Had I known, I would have planned something awesome.  But...I didn't. Sorry.  I thought about writing some sort of "100 things" post like Grace's 31 things, and then I thought better of it.  You're welcome.

- 2 -

My mom and sisters came last week for Emeric's birthday and Halloween, and we partied like it was 2014.

Yep, we all got the crazy bug.

My sister has the full photo rundown here :)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

My First and Last Day as a Fashion Blogger

I have a hilarious confession to make.

So I saw Caroline from Un-Fancy was asking for people to apply to be a guest blogger, and I thought "Hey! I should try that!"  There was only one requirement I wasn't sure about: being comfortable behind the camera.

This is how my story begins.  Spoiler alert: it all goes downhill from here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Fall Capsule Wardrobe

Before I begin, if you have never heard of the "Capsule Wardrobe" concept, you can read more about it here.

I was pretty excited to read about this closet minimalism movement - FINALLY a trend came along that I was already an expert in.  35-40 items for a season?!  Try 35-40 items for the whole year.  That's right.  I'm hardcore.  And that probably includes maternity and nursing stuff.  I have a weird hang up about spending money on clothes and I've never been really uhh...good at fashion. To put it mildly. Let's just say that in college I was known on campus as "the girl that wears skirts over her jeans and crazy patterned pants" (You know what I think? I was just a decade ahead of my time.)


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Love Multiplies: Why I'm blogging again

So - as everyone knows, I fell off the face of the blogging earth a long time ago.

There was this blissful postpartum grace period after having Emeric when he was still sleeping a whole lot and I was feeling soooo good as compared to being pregnant and on house arrest due to preterm labor woes and I felt like I could conquer ALL THE THINGS.

Like taking my 3 children 3 and under out to Panera's 3 days postpartum.
And apparently I had to document this momentous occasion.
Say "broccoli cheddar soup in a bread bowl!!"

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Quick Takes About Life, Love, and Another Strange PSA

So...where were we?  July?  Linking up with Jen for the recap of life since then in 7 neat little chunkers for ya!

(Most of the awesome photos in this post, as always, are by my amazing seester :)

1. My brother got married!

My children and their exemplary table manners inadvertently incited the first reception kiss. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Quick Takes: I have the same bathing suit as Simcha Fisher

Linking up with Jen for another round of Quick Takes!

1. I feel kinda famous, because I have the same bathing suit as Simcha Fisher.

And I got it 2 years ago, so she definitely copied me.

2. Last weekend we took the girls to our church picnic (which is in it's 136th year - pretty impressive if you ask me) and I was very proud that Ava finally conquered her fear of riding a pony.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

There were 3 in a bed(room)

Yesterday we gave our apartment people our 30 days notice to leave, and even though I've cried a lot about how squished we are and how much space we don't have and on and on, I'm going to definitely cry when we leave. (For those of you who aren't up to date on our life situation - we live in a 1,082 square ft. 2 bedroom apartment with 3 kids, 2 cats, and 0 outdoor space, not even a balcony.  Come to think of it, it's probably a really good thing that we don't have a balcony.)

That, however, is a post for another day.  Since we are leaving, I thought I'd document a slice of life right now so that someday I can look back on these crazy times and laugh.  (And then cry.  And then laugh again.)

And so I present...3 kids, 1 bedroom:

The girls beds are crib mattresses on wooden platforms that Stephen built, and Emeric has a full size crib.  I'm actually really surprised that these pictures look this nice.  We just replaced the 2 stained and ripped pink Ikea sheets that have been used for the girls since Ava was born (almost 5 years.  I'd say that was $7.99 well spent) and got actual bedding sets for them instead of the random pillowcases and blankets we've hodgepodged together up til now - and we also painted over the insane murals the girls have been slowly coloring for the past year.  So I guess that helps a lot.

Still, the decor feels admittedly lacking to me.  See the picture frames over the beds?  Those have been hanging there not since Christmas, not since last Christmas, but since Christmas of 2011.  Hey, even a broken decor system is right once a year.

At bedtime, the first idea we found that worked was to put Emeric to bed at 7pm, Clare in bed at 7:30, and Ava at 8.  This has recently been moving towards a more flexible bedtime ritual of "get Emeric to sleep when he's tired, and after he's asleep get the girls to bed."  They are all usually in bed at a very reasonable time, but don't be too jealous - any time after 5am is fair game for wake up.  And when one of them is up, alllllll of them are up.

Well, hey.  At least one of them still naps.

I have a feeling about 50% of the people reading this post are horrified that 3 children are sharing one bedroom and feel this is a barbaric practice.  The other 50% are wondering why I am traumatized by this experience (like for instance - my grandpa, who shared a room with 6 of the men in his family and slept in a double bed with both his father and his twin brother during his childhood in Canada when the chamber pots would routinely freeze overnight.  Just kidding - I don't think he reads the blog!)

I also have to give some props to Ana for inspiration for this post - apparently she's in the same 3 kid to a bedroom boat as we are.  When I read her post about that, I was slightly overjoyed that we weren't alone in our endeavors.  And then I wished she would write a little more about it.  And then I figured that if I wanted to read a post like that, I might as well write a post like that.  (But hint, hint, girl...write that post. I still wanna read it.)

Anyway, we're moving next month to a real house with a real yard and 3 - THREE! - bedrooms.  They are pretty tiny rooms, but it's gonna feel like heaven on earth to us.  Stay tuned for the continuing saga...

Friday, May 30, 2014

Quick Takes: More Medical Maladies 3x Fast

The days go slow, but the weeks go's time for quick takes, folks.

1. I always have a little bit of a whaaaaaaat moment when I look at my blog stats the day after the one and only Jennifer Fulwiler links to me.  And then I take a good long look at my blog from a new visitor's perspective and realize I haven't updated my "About Me" page in a super long time.  Here's the update: My kids are now 1 year older and we are still living in a 1,082 square foot apt in the burbs of Baltimore.  We live over the leasing office of our apartment building and I do believe they all may shed tears of joy when we leave.

Do these look like the faces of children who would tap dance on the tile floors
or throw my acorn squashes around like very heavy footballs?  Good.

But seriously, I'll update that page some time.  Probably.

2. Because I just can't let a quick takes go by without discussing some medical malady - and FAIR WARNING, if blood makes you queasy, turn back now - a few weeks ago I was getting my blood drawn, and the phlebotomist took a look at the vile after she was done and asked me "Do you have a high fat diet?"

A what now?  A diet where you specifically plan to eat all sorts of delicious fatty foods?  Is that even a thing??  My eyes glazed over a bit and my brain started conjuring up meal planning pages that looked something like:

Breakfast: Donuts and Bacon
Lunch: Hot dogs and nachos dripping with cheese sauce
Dinner: Cheeseburger and gravy fries
Dessert: Twinkies

I snapped back to reality when she added "I can see little bits of fat floating around in your blood".

I'm not really even sure how to continue this story right now.  I wish I could find a gif of someone prancing around doing a shivery YEEECGHHHH dance.

Any takers on this one?  Please assure me this is normal and my arteries aren't clogging as we speak?  (By the way, I have an upcoming full panel of bloodwork that includes my cholesterol :) )

I'll try to remember to add "hypochondriac" to that bio page.

3. I had a killer headache today and probably in honor of Blythe's "hot mess Thursdays" we WERE a total hot mess and so I didn't get very far writing anything today and now it's 11pm and I should really go to bed so I can be up for Gewand family roll call at 5am. So to keep things moving, here's a pictorial summary of today:

This is why we can't have nice things.

Ava picked his outfit, and managed to find the only 2 clashers in his decidedly mix and max wardrobe.

The table after lunch.  It's hard to tell, but that doll is sitting in a plate of an unidentified semi-clear liquid.

Not pictured: the tube of antifungal ointment that Clare stepped on which sprayed out all over her foot and the floor and was then tracked all around my bedroom.

4. Ridiculous proud mom moment for the week: Clare spontaneously writing "I LAV U AVA" without prompting or assistance:

5. And a picture Ava drew for me this week.  I was relieved to confirm she drew "puffy sleeves" on us.

She's an up and coming Anne with an E.

6. Emeric's mop is really starting to remind me of Mr. Bingley

7. And let's finish up with something awesome:

Go see Jen for more!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What They Said!

I'm linking up with Rosie today for What They Said - and disclaimer: these have been sitting in a blogger draft for a good 6-9 months... :)

Ava: Hey mom, how do you plant a tree?
Me: Oh that's a great question.  We can plant a tree together when we get a new house, ok? And then you can see how it's done.
Ava: Ok.  I want to plant a steak tree.
Me: on a tree?
Ava: Yep.
That's my girl.

Me: Ava, when we get into the building you need to use the potty quickly because class is about to start.
Ava: OK. I can make my pee pee come out SO FAST. You can't even believe how fast I can make my pee pee come out. Daddy can make his pee pee come out really fast too. He told me 7 months ago.
That is...oddly specific.
(Update: For the sake of Stephen's street cred, I have confirmed that this conversation never actually happened ;) )

Ava: Can presidents be girls?
Me: Of course! Are you going to be the first female president, Ava?
Ava: No. Actually, I'm going to make a tent and invite my friends over and we can eat (whispers) tea and cupcakes!!!!
Honestly, I think that's a much better idea.

She would make a pretty awesome president, though.

Stephen: Ava, when you grow up you are going to take over the world and I am going to help you.  When someone asks you what you are going to be when you grow up, say "I'm going to rule the world!"  Let's practice.  What are you going to do when you grow up?
Ava: Kill jellyfish
Stephen: No you're going to rule the world.  Let's try again.  What are you going to be when you grow up?
Ava: A dolphin.  Jellyfish suck peoples bloooooood out!
I think this is just another classic tale of the eldest child who doesn't want to inherit the family business.

Ava: Hey mom, I want my meatballs hotter.
Me: If I make them any hotter, they will burn you.
Ava: Oh yeah, like when I was 3 and you made that chicken noodle soup that could burn someone's face off.
Yep, just like that time...wait, what?

Clare: Daddy, could I please have some orange juice?
Stephen: Sorry, we don't have any.
Clare: Could I have a Shirley Temple?
Stephen: I don't have anything to make a Shirley Temple either. What can I get for you instead?
Clare: I don't know, booze??!
Still in her "booze is the funniest word ever" phase...

-Ava was spreading peanut butter on a roll for Clare...
Clare: I can't eat that, my brain will turn into gelatin!!
Ava: No it won't, Clare.  It's protein.  Peanut butter is protein.
Where do even learn these things?

Clare, showing up at our door early one morning: Mom, I have a problem!
Me: What's the problem?
Clare: I don't want Ava to look at my face!
First. World. Problem.

Go see Rosie for more hilarious twin talk - I love her kids!!!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Quick Takes - Diseases and #SOTG photo shoot outtakes

1. Nailing these quick takes 2 weeks in a row!  I had all sorts of good intentions to write other things this week and not just quick takes, but I caught a cold - a COLD - at the end of May.  And every time I catch a cold, I ponder why the name of this ailment is tossed around like such a trivial thing..."Oh yeah, I just caught a little cold."  I could have the worst stomach flu and all I'd be thinking is "Ughhh I can't wait until this is over." but a cold?  A cold has me thinking "I feel like I got hit by a train.  I might be dying."  (Maybe I got hit by the overly dramatic train...yep, I definitely did.)

I'm one sick hipster.  I was drinking OJ without flavor packets
before it was cool to drink OJ without flavor packets.

2. Speaking of ailments that should be renamed, let's talk about RINGWORM.  Somebody please tell me why they gave this such a horribly creepy name.  Ava had this mystery rash for close to 2 weeks before I finally got her in to the doctor, and before I knew it was ringworm I was still doing things like shared bath time including towels that regularly get reused and swapped during the week between the girls.  And now?  I'm amassing burn bags of clothing and buying stock in Clorox.  Anyone else ever deal with this?  Nobody else in the house has showed any signs of it and I'm hoping against all hope that it's not nearly as contagious as they say it is.

3. I probably shouldn't admit this before Jen chooses winners, since we might be being graded on effort, but I'll let you in on the real story of the #SOTG selfie.  The walls were already gone to heck - covered in paint from an art project several months ago, random food smeared on them from being used as a napkin, and from little girls forgetting themselves and "accidentally letting their crayon slip up onto the wall" while they were sitting with their coloring pages at the table.  The walls are repainted as standard procedure in between tenants, but they had gotten to the point that it would actually be embarrassing to leave it as we were going to do at least a quick cover layer before we moved out anyway.  (Future landlords, take note! We might make a big mess, but we always clean it up again! Kinda like..the Cat in the Hat.)  I pushed the table out of the way, handed the kids a pile of chalk and a roll of toilet paper, and told them to have fun.  Ava is still so confused about "Why did mommy let us be naughty that one day??"

These strange hieroglyphics keep appearing in the girls bedroom...

4. And some outtakes...
The Gewand Family Singers album cover

5. THE BEST NEWS EVER - I have finally fulfilled a dream that has been stirring in me since Christmas of 1992 when I received a copy of The Guinness Book of World Records as a present under the tree.

That's right - I BROKE A RECORD.  With the help of Emeric's buns and a lot of other people.  But a record is a record, people.

Where's Waldo?
Thank you to Jennifer K Photography for the photo!

Now for the difficult part - restraining myself from shelling out $25 for a certificate that I would most definitely hang in a prominent and obnoxious location in the house.  Forget the diploma, I BROKE A WORLD RECORD!!!!!*

*With 8458 other people and my child's rear end.

6. I was blown away after my post last week - I was honestly expecting everyone to see my post pop up in their feeds and say "Wait...who is this again??"  Thank you all SO MUCH for the welcome back - you all are awesome I am SO EXCITED to be blogging again and to catch up with everyone.  This blogging community is THE BEST.

7. And on that note - I was lame and didn't get to responding inline to all you  "no-reply" if you didn't get a response from me, I'm sorry!!- And pleeeeease update your email address!!  (That link will give you a tutorial - thank you to  Kendra...and FYI I'm also working on switching my comment system to something different and better...stay tuned...)

That's all, folks!  Go see Jen for more!