Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Schwartz's vs Playtime Shenanigans

There's never a dull moment around here.  For the most part, Sarah and Cody play well together.  Like all siblings they have their fights, and their times when their goal is to completely annoy the other one.  But I would say 90% of the time they play well and don't require too much intervention.  (My mom would probably disagree since anytime they are around any Grandparent they go bat crap crazy and mom got to endure 2 weeks of that.)

What I really think is funny is how stereotypical my children are.  I really don't force them to play with "girl" and "boy" toys.  Yet Sarah is princess obsessed and is at that age where somethings are boy things and she doesn't want to play with them.  Her favorite toy right now (besides coloring, she could color and draw every day all day) is the awesome doll house Grandma and Grandpa Schwartz got her for Christmas.  And whenever she's playing with it Cody want to too, and that at times can cause contention because he wants to move his cars into her doll house.  But that's a whole other topic.

Saturday while Chris was up in the attic working, we were in Cody's room playing I was sword fighting with Cody and she wanted me to play dolls with her.  So I asked her to spruce up her doll house while I finished fighting Cody and then she could give me a tour.  She showed me around each room.  And I was really tickled by her logic.  First, I realized that her doll house has more bathrooms then my house.  And she even put a stool in one of the bathrooms in front of the sink so the kids could wash their hands.  There is a little plate of food on the toilet.  I asked her about that and she pointed out there was no table for them to eat at.  Though I couldn't get her logic on why she didn't put it on the bed or anywhere other than the toilet.

After she gave me the tour I about died laughing at the following conversation her dolls had.  The daddy doll came up to the little girl and said, "Sweetie your room is all done."  And the little girl said, "Oh thank you daddy!  I'm so excited!"  And then she proceeded to rearrange the rooms.  Sorry the above picture is after the big move.

She then proceeded to move My Little Pony who had been living in the attic out.  Then she moved all the furniture that was in the middle bedroom up to the attic room, along with the little girl.  I thought that was pretty funny because she knows Chris is finishing off our attic and when it's done she'll move into a big girl room upstairs.  However, after she moved all the little girl's stuff, she started moving the baby's stuff into the middle bedroom, even though the baby already had a room.  I don't know why that tickled me so much but I got a kick out of it.  I think I may have told her once that after she moves upstairs Charlie will move into her room.  But she clearly remembers it and understands because even though the baby already had a room it still moved into the little girl's room.  It's just neat to me how she acts these things out.

And Cody is a stereotypical boy.  All he wants to do is play fight and must always be armed, generally with multiple weapons.  He wants to play fight all the time.  Poor Sarah (and Cody), she just doesn't want to play fight.  So a lot of time is spent with him chasing her around the house with swords and her screaming, "I don't want to play fight with you."  Usually I try to intervene at those moments and fight him off with whatever I have most likely a spatula cause I'm cooking when this typically happens.  He's also always climbing, jumping, pewing, and fighting off imaginary bad guys.  There is always some epic battle going on in my living room on the couch and in Cody's head.

Sorry about the head tilt, I'm not the best cell phone videographer.  And yes I know his shirt is on backwards, he threw a fit and insisted the truck goes on the front not the back.

His new thing is he likes to have swords down the back of his shirt or tucked into the waist of his pants.  

After I took this picture I heard him chase after Sarah yelling, "Bow to me!"  No idea about that.  Boys I guess.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Schwartz's vs Memorial Day 2014

We always spend Memorial Day with the Schwartz's.  This year we had our annual gathering at the Schwartz Shack, lake house, Schwartz place...whatever you want to call it.  I was a little iffy on this gathering location cause I forgot they had the air conditioning installed recently and I didn't think Charlie would be allowed on the boat.  So I thought I'd get left behind in a hot house while everyone else went cruising on the lake.  

I was pleasantly surprised that neither of those things were the case.  The Schwartz's are coming right along on the house.  The air conditioning was a definite plus.  The kitchen and living room are dry walled.  The new deck is completely up and all they need now are the railings.  It's pretty exciting to see what all Dennis and Vickie have accomplished.  And they even had an infant life jacket from when Holt was a baby, so Charlie was allowed out on the boat.  Very exciting!

When they got the infant life jacket out I just laughed I figured Charlie was going to scream and hate it. But in true Charlie form, he didn't complain at all.  He just chilled out in his giant life jacket.

We unzipped it a little when we laid him down, otherwise the zipper was up his nose and his mouth was covered.

Cody's been on the boat a few times before.  We don't go as often as we should, maybe twice a summer.  But Cody's never had a problem.  However, this time he just looked terrified.

He likes driving the boat with Grandpa the most.

Sarah is our little water baby.  She LOVES the water and couldn't wait to hop in the lake and swim.  
Cody said he wanted to get in after he saw how much fun Sarah was having.  I knew he really didn't want to get in but we lowered him down.  As soon as he was in he started screaming to get out.

And then Cody spent the rest of the time empahtically telling you he did NOT want to swim.  "Cody do you want to get out and swim?"  He'd say, "Nope!"  And was quite content to just hang out on the boat with us.

Sarah on the other hand would have stayed in the lake all day if she could.  Chris said she swims with her mouth open making happy noises, like a dolphin.

Cody just wanted to chill on the boat.

Of course Sarah "swimming" in the lake has more do to with her hanging on Chris.  And her life jacket wasn't off balancing the weight she was pushing on Chris.  So we headed back to the house to get a few lake toys to make Chris's life easier.  

Riding on the "rocket ship"

We pulled Sarah and Chris around on the raft for a while.  "Cody do you want to ride on the raft with daddy?"  Cody says, "Nope!"

Charlie just hung out while we rode around on the boat.  And yes, he's wearing my hat to block the sun.

When we went back to the house we switched Cody's life jacket for a puddle jumper.  He likes those a lot more and seemed much happier for this part of the boat ride. 

Swimming at Dennis and Vickie's favorite swimming spot.

Charlie passed out.

Cody said he needed to hold Charlie's hand so he wouldn't fall off the boat. 

Eventually we headed back to the lake house to fire up the grill again.  The kids have been obsessed with the idea of fishing.  Sarah begs to go fishing all the time.  So grandpa got out the fishing poles and set the kids up.  I'm not sure how long they stuck with it.

But when I came back out Cody's line had caught a fish.  He was completely grossed out by it.  But kept talking about how he caught a big fish all the way home.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Schwartz's vs My Tiny Scooter Gang

A couple of months ago, before Charlie was born, we were hanging out at the park.  Sarah saw another boy there her age riding a pretty cool 3 wheeled scooter.  She asked for a turn and the kid let her try and she LOVED it.  She asked a few times for a scooter and I always told her that mommy and daddy would talk about it.  I was worried if we got her a scooter she wouldn't ride her bike anymore, but I also thought that if we got them both scooters Cody would finally have an outdoor toy he could ride by himself.  My lazy children have always taken their Coozy Coups as an opportunity to let me push them around.  Neither of them mastered the fact they were supposed to Fred Flinstone the things.

Well, fast forward to about a month ago and I saw the scooters Sarah wanted at Costco.  I talked to Chris about it again.  He was on board, and I hemmed and hawed.  Finally, I told Sarah if we could sell her pink Coozy Coup and pink tricycle that she has completely outgrown we could use the money to buy her a scooter.  I want her to understand these toys don't come from just anywhere that we pay for them.  I thought she'd freak out but she got it.  So I posted her things on a resale site and waited a few days for them to be picked up.  Then we went to Costco and bought the scooters.  And that by far was the best money we've spent in a while.

Both of the kids LOVE the scooters.  It took Cody a couple of days to get the hang of it.  But even before he could really ride it, he loved it.  He'd just walk beside it while we'd go for family walks.  Now he's a pro.  He's dangerously fast and has the cutest little skater boy stance when he glides.  He really likes to get going fast and then squat low while he rides or shimmy the handles to wiggle the wheels back and forth.  Even Sarah had gotten quite daring with it hanging her leg out while she glides or wrapping it around the pole.  Our evening walks are much more entertaining now.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Schwartz's vs Recipes: Italian Chicken Bake

I was hanging out with a dear friend and her family this weekend and she mentioned that she missed when I use to post the recipes I tried from Pinterest.  Honestly, I didn't think anyone ever read those posts and I'm not really a foodie so I stopped doing them.  However, I've been back on a food kick recently and have been hemming and hawing about posting the things I've been trying so when she mentioned she missed those posts I decided to start doing them again.

So Cindy--this post is for you.

I like meal calendars.  I don't necessarily always like making a meal calendar but I find it's easier to want to cook when it's all planned out in advance.  When I'm on a roll I calendar out 6 weeks of dinners.  When I'm a slacker I only do 1, well, when I'm really a slacker I don't do any and we eat out a bunch and that's bad.  I do like to do at least 4 weeks at a time and I try not to repeat meals during a month.

I found I was in a bit of a rut and grilled chicken tacos, and build your own salad night were appearing on the calendar every week.  I am burned out on pinterest.  Most of those recipes just seem too complicated.  I'm a simple person.  5 ingredients and 30 minutes is about all I want to commit to in a dinner.  Ha!  I fell in love with Normal Cooking and have made quite a few things from that website and they all turned out pretty good.  I even signed up for the email alerts so when she posts it comes straight to my email.  That's nice.  I noticed that she gets a lot of her recipes from eMeals.  A couple of months ago eMeals ran a Groupon for 40% off a year subscription and I decided to give it a try.  It's been nice having a weekly meal calendar sent to me once a week with a grocery list linked to the grocery store of my choice.  I've yet to make their full week, but I've been able to pick and choose a few meals off each calendar to try.

This week I'm reviewing the Italian Chicken and Vegetable bake from eMeals.  There is a similar pin that went around called One Pan Chicken bake or something like that.  They suggest using green beans and russet potatoes.  I've made that before a couple of times.  Both times the potatoes didn't cook through, the green beans were rubbery and the chicken was dry.  So I was hesitant to try this off the eMeals menu but I love the idea of this easy one pan meal so I gave the eMeals version a try.

Italian Chicken Bake

     2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
     2 lbs red potatoes, cubed
     1 (1-lb) bag baby carrots
     1 envelope Italian dressing mix
     1 stick butter, melted

     Preheat oven to 350.  Place chicken breasts in the middle of a greased 9x13 pan.  Place potatoes down one side of the pan.  Place carrots down the other side of the pan.  Sprinkle dressing mix all over.  Pour butter on top.  Cover with foil.  Bake 1 hour or until chicken is done and vegetables are tender.  

So let's discuss.  Unlike the pinterest pin, the vegetables were actually really good.  Both the potatoes and carrots came out tender and flavorful.  Cody ate all the carrots and asked for more but wouldn't touch the potatoes.  Sarah ate everything.  

The Pros:
* Quick, easy, and cheap.  
* Kids actually ate!
* Little to no prep work.
* Wonderful flavor

The Cons:
* Chicken was a little dry, kids needed ranch dressing.  
BUT, I did forget to cover it with foil for the first 30 minutes so that might be why it dried out.  

The Changes I Did Make/Would Make:
* We used regular carrots that we peeled and cut down.  Not cause I thought would be better, it was more cause I didn't specify on grocery list.  
* We baked it in our larger pan (not sure what the size is but it's bigger than our 9x13).  I thought maybe when we made the pinterst version the veggies turned out bad cause they were piled on top of each other.  So this pan gave more cooking space.  Maybe it helped, maybe it didn't but I'll use the bigger pan next too.
* eMeals suggested to serve this with a sourdough loaf, I served it with crescent rolls.  
* Next time I'll probably check the the veggies after 45 minutes to see if they are soft and pull them out.  I don't think chicken takes an hour to bake, but the veggies might.  Either way next time I definitely remember to cover with foil before I put it in the oven.

Would I Make it Again:
Yes!  The kids actually ate it.  The flavor was great.  And I'm not going to lie the minimal prep work and only one pan clean up afterwards is a big seller for me.  

Looking for an easy meal this week?  Give this one a try and let me know how it goes for you.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Schwartz's vs Love at First Sight with Charlie

This is going to be picture overload here.  But I loved how so many of these picture turned out I'm just going to go ahead and publish a ton of them.  The two main things I wanted from having birth photography done was to see the expressions on Chris's face during the whole labor process and to see the kids reactions when they first met Charlie.  I was especially interested because they didn't know at all during the whole pregnancy that they'd soon be bringing home a baby to their house.  

I already posted some birth pictures from the labor.  These for the most part are from the first moments of us being a family of 5.

Charles Franklin Schwartz
(And yes we got a total kick out of the two doctors together being a Hogg Butcher.  Ha!)

The kids rode with us to the hospital and on the way there I kept trying to tell them we were going to the hospital to get a baby, and soon it's going to be Mommy, Daddy, Sarah, Cody, and a baby.  When we got there Grandma Schwartz met us out front and took the kids for breakfast while we had Charlie.  Then after I was all cleaned up and it was safe to let others into the room Chris called his mom and asked her to come back with the kids so they could meet their new brother.

This is the first moment they both saw Charlie.

And they loved him from this moment on.

Charlie's first kiss from Sarah.

Charlie's first kiss from Cody.

We asked both the kids if they wanted to hold Charlie but didn't force the issue for either of them.  Sarah was thrilled.  She absolutely wanted to hold him.

Cody didn't want to hold Charlie at the hospital, but since these are pictures of people holding Charlie for the first time I thought I'd slip in this cell phone picture I took of the first time Cody asked to hold Charlie.
April 8, 2014

Again, this is Amy Coontz our doula holding her newest client.  
She was absolutely fantastic.  When people ask what a doula does or what Amy did for me during the birth it's hard to describe.  But to put it into one word: comfort.  It was very comforting to know that I had someone with me who has done this 5 times herself, and been there for countless other women.  It was comforting to know that if there was a problem I had someone else to advocate for me and work with the hospital staff to make sure I was getting the attention that I needed.  I joke about how I was being melodramatic on purpose in the beginning yelling, "I don't want to be alone" so I could get Chris back in triage.  And I was.  But as much as staff has to come in and out of the room as they are attending to so many other women in labor, it's comforting to have Amy there because she doesn't have to go anywhere else.  She's with you the whole time.  And I guess, I really don't like to be alone during labor.  So if I ever do this again, you better believe it'll be with Amy by my side.  (Plus Chris loves that she takes all the pressure off him to know what's going on and what to do for me, he just get to enjoy the birth.)

Grandma Schwartz holding Charlie for the first time.
I really owe all these wonderful pictures to her and Meggan Boston.  If Vickie hadn't been so kind to take care of our kids during the labor and then bring them back we won't have any of these awesome pictures that I cherish.

I like this one.  As much as Cody was more interested in his new super heros Charlie brought for him, you can tell he's a little curios about this new thing cause he's touching Charlie's head.

But mostly he just liked his new super heros.

Our new Schwartz Family

Look at those fat rolls!  I've never had a baby with fat rolls!

This one probably should have been with the labor pictures cause clearly it's during the clean up time.  I love the look on my face that basically says to me, "welp, that's all folks!"

He's so happy!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Schwartz's vs Charlie's 1st Month

Charlie you are 1 month old now!  I can't believe it!  You are such a good baby.  Like you are freakishly good baby.  I'm not sure if I'm jinxing myself by saying that or if you were switched at the hospital some how.  But you are super chill.  About 2 weeks ago, I was just sitting around cuddling you and I finally understood why people like newborns.  You do, as my mom would say, "exude love".  

You seem to be a good eater.  You don't have a check up for 2 more weeks so then we can start stressing out about your weight and all that fun stuff that comes along with being one of my babies.  

You seem to be a good sleeper.  Sometimes too good.  I find I have to strip you down to just a diaper often so that you'll wake up.  There's been a few days where it's impossible to keep you awake.  Those nights you seem to feel it's party time from about 3 to 4:30.  But in 30 days you've only done that a handful of times, so I can live with that.

Your brother and sister adore you.  Sarah wants to give you a hug and a kiss every time she gets out of the car before I get you out.  And while Cody doesn't fawn over you like Sarah, I know he likes you cause he shared his favorite stuffed animal, Max, with you one day while I was in the shower.

There isn't too much to say about your first month.  Though I'm not complaining, I'm sure things will get interesting real fast.  

I'm glad you're here little man.