Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Schwartz's vs Father's Day 2014

Traditional Father's Day Photo

One day I'll get up early enough to make breakfast, dress the kids, and have happy smiling faces before church with enough time to take the picture before the sun is blazing and everyone has squinty eyes.  That day, was not this father's day.  So again we have the right after church squinty eyed can't find a shady spot picture.  But I love it.

Father's Day was great.  The kids picked out cards for Chris again.  This year Cody is really into dump trucks so he got a dump truck card for Chris.  Sarah picked out a princess card that came with stickers but then wouldn't let Chris have the stickers.  ha!  

The kids did a wonderful job singing in sacrament.  Early in the year I thought I'd teach the nursery kids Daddy's Homecoming and include them as well.  But they still just stare at me during singing time so I switched that plan out for a medley I saw on the Primary Choisters FB group.  It was awesome!  However, I still wanted to do a little video of my kids singing daddy's homecoming.  So we tried to get one after church.

Take 1 came out the best:

Take 2, I got Sarah to finally look at the camera, but Cody refused to sing.  Take 3 they started fighting half way through, it was pretty funny I posted that one on facebook. 

I could say a whole bunch of sappy stuff about Chris right now, but nap time is almost over and I feel like I pretty much covered how awesome the dads in my family are last year.

I will say, I am so thankful that Chris is such an active and involved dad.  He loves our children and they know it.  Whenever he's asked, "daddy will you read to me?" or "daddy, do you want to play with me?" the answer is always yes.  He colors chalk.  He builds with legos.  He reads the same book over and over.  He's the tickle monster, the giant, the perpetual bad guy that Cody needs to fight.  He's Sarah's prince charming and ever willing dance partner.  

There is no doubt that Chris loves our children, and I love him.

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Schwartz's vs MSoD Recital 2014

Well another year of dance has come and gone.  I was not completely excited about this year's recital.  I didn't like the costumes and had seen barely any of the dance during class.  They didn't even let us see the dress rehearsal.  So really the recital was the first time I saw it.  And honestly I was so stressed about trying to get pictures of it that I didn't even really see the dance at the recital.  

I have now watched the video Tom took at least two dozen times with a huge smile on my face and all of a sudden my poo poo attitude has melted away and I love dance again.

So before I overload you with pictures I'll share Tom's video so I can put a huge smile on your face.

Sarah's the 3rd from the left and make sure you press the corners button to make it full screen so you can see their cute faces!

And now it's picture time!

Before her performance:
Jessie and Sarah
Sarah is cracking me up in this picture.  I'm not quite sure what she's doing with her hands but she muttered something about this is how you do it.  And this pose appeared in MOST of the pictures.  

Backstage waiting on the line.

We bring our girls back 3 songs before theirs and then pick them up from the line after their song.  What's funny is during that walk back and forth you see tons of mom's doing the dance mom shuffle as they run across the lobby to either drop off, return to their seats, or pick up their girls.  I did not wear the right shoes for doing the shuffle, my pinkie toes got rubbed a little raw.  Oops!

During the show:

Look at that smile!  She's loving it!

After the show:

After we picked the girls up, Tom was in the lobby waiting to take a picture of Annie and Jessie and he kindly offered to take one of me and Sarah.
And this moment/picture embodies for me why we do dance regardless of how much of a "waste" it seems to others because believe me, I know she won't grow up to be a prima ballerina.  Sarah rarely ever looks at the camera and gives a genuine smile anymore.  I get a lot of side eyes and cheese faces.  But here after just coming off the stage she was so excited and proud of herself when Tom offered to take our picture she wrapped her arm around my neck, pulled my face close to hers, and gave a real honest to goodness smile.  In the end, after all is said and done, it doesn't matter that I didn't like the costume, or was tired of getting everyone up early on Tuesday and going to dance.  Because Sarah loves it.  It puts a smile on her face and makes her happy.  I often reflect on how these moments are fleeting and there will come a time when she won't want to wear tutus and make up silly dances.  So I want to enjoy these moments now with her, and I'm glad she enjoys them too.

Again with this random pose. Silly girl!

After the WHOLE show:
Sarah with her Auntie Cam

Grandma and Grandpa with the kids

 Grandma and Grandpa brought their little dancer some flowers.

And now one more funny to me story.  When we got in the car Sarah and upset that she had "the wrong shoes" and I really didn't know what she was complaining about.  I chalked it up as tired Sarah talk.  Then when I watched the video for the first time I saw what she meant.  In the final bow you can see there's a big gap before Sarah came out.  Then when all the girls are tapping their feet she looks down and then looks really sad.  I changed her out of her tap shoes and put on her black paten leather shoes after we got back to her seat so that she won't tap up and down the aisle the rest of the show.  I didn't change her back into her tap shoes for the final bow because her shoes looked the same and it wouldn't matter.  Except it apparently did to her.  Ha!  Poor girl.  Even today when I showed her the video when it got to the bow she was going on and on about how I put her in the wrong shoes.  Note to self next year put her back in whatever shoes before sending her for the final bow.  Whoops.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Schwartz's vs Building for Baby

It's no secret we like Build a Bear around here.  When Cody was born we bought Sarah and Cody a pair of brother and sister bears from there to commemorate the new addition to our family.  This time we thought we'd borrow a tradition from Adam and Melissa to celebrate our new baby.  Whenever they have a new child, they take everyone to build a bear and the older kids pick out and build a bear for new baby.

Before we went into the store I made sure that Sarah and Cody both understood that we were not building bears for them tonight.  That together, they were going to pick out and make Charlie his first teddy bear.  I also explained that mommy had full veto rights.  (I didn't want Sarah to talk Cody into picking something pink.)  The talk seemed to go well thankfully and both of them were very excited to do this for Charlie and neither of them tried to pick out something incredibly girly like a My Little Pony.

They selected the most perfect teddy bear, everyone fell in love with their choice, and headed to the stuffing machine to fill Charlie's teddy with love and fluff.

Sarah filled the tedddy bear with his fluff and then "washed" him at the bath station.  Cody for some reason is still terrified of both of those machines.

So I helped Cody register the bear at the computer station.  His job was basically to hit the "green square" which was the enter button.  So after I'd type a few words he'd say, "green square!" and jam that button like he was firing a laser.  And least he enjoyed his one job.

Giving Charlie his new bear a couple of kisses.

Charlie and Teddy
stuffed with love by Sarah and Cody

Of course, both Sarah and Cody have tried to steal Teddy quite a few times since bringing him home.  Cody was on the bed the other day trying to slyly slide it off the bed and when I saw him he said, "Charlie wants to share him with me."  Sarah is smarter, she instead threw a teddy bear tea party to get her hands on teddy.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Schwartz's vs Charlie's 2 Months Old

Charlie, it has been two months since you came into our lives.  Two months since you completed our family and filled each of our hearts with an immeasurable amount of love.

Sarah adores you.  She asks to hold you every day.  She kisses you each time she get into and out of the car.  She wants to squeeze you so bad that her hugs often contort you into ways that make me grateful that babies are bendable.  She sings you songs and declares that you like it when people say funny words to you.  I'm still not sure what that means.
Sarah just got up from her nap and the first thing she asked was if she could hold "Sharly".

Cody loves you.  He smiles real big when he sees you.  He gives you quick kisses on the top of the forehead before bed and nap time and sometimes just because he finds you somewhere and wants to kiss you, those are the most special kisses cause Cody doesn't often kiss anyone.  If you are laying on my bed it is impossible to keep him off because as he says he is "just trying to talk to Charlie!"  At times he can be found arming you with swords and shields.  These are his most prized possessions and he is looking forward to when you grow bigger and can play fight with him.
Sometimes Cody pets your face. 

Daddy is enamored with you.  Daddy has always loved babies but it seems when he holds you it's just a little bit tighter because you're the last.  When he gets home from work Daddy passes out kisses and then immediately picks you up.  He may still have a million things to do but he does them all with one hand now and you in the other.
3rd kid problems--dated hand me downs

I am in awe of you.  You are calm and quite.  You smile frequently.  Big gummy toothless smiles that squish up your whole face.  You smile when anyone is talking to you, and you smile when I sing to you.  You coo and talk and make fun noises.  Sometimes I can't believe you're already two months.  Other times to be honest it feels like it's been an eternity and I'm just ready for you to start walking and talking like the rest of them.  Sorry, Charlie, as much as I love you and you are hands down the best baby we've had, in the end, you're a baby.  And while I am enjoying every quite snuggle we have.  It also wears me out.  But by gosh you are cute, and sweet and I spend most days sitting around holding you, talking to you, and just loving on you.

We avoided a 1 month and 2 month check up because Dr. Catherine let us do a combined 6 week check up.  I probably should have done a post then but I didn't so here are some out dated stats about yourself.

At six weeks:
* Head--15.25 inches and in some percentile.  Ha! (third kid problems, mom doesn't write precentiles down anymore)
* Weight--11 lbs 9 oz.  50th percentile.  I know this one because everyone in the office high fived about you actually being on the growth chart.  This my dear sweet boy is nothing short of a miracle and for the first time in our family I don't have to drive out for weekly baby weight checks.  Yay!
* Length: 23.5 inches

You were so calm during your check up.  Sarah and Cody both screamed through all their baby check ups.  They even acted like getting weighed was pure torture.  You could have cared less about any of it.  Near the end you even fell asleep.  I tried to wake you before your shots but you wouldn't have it.  After the first needle you woke up screaming.  By the time it was all done a couple pats on the back and you were calm and went right back to sleep.

at your 6 week check up

Right now:
* You are still in a size 1 diaper but it's getting a bit tight I think.  But I'm not use to kids going through diaper sizes so quickly so I bought another box of ones at Costco and am going to shove you in another 156 of them before I concede and move you up to 2s.
* You wear 0-3 or 3 month clothes.  All those newborns are far too small and have been for a while.  I need to pack them up this week so your dad stops shoving you in them.
* You eat about once each night.  Sometime between 3 and 4 usually.  I'm going to give you one more month then we're going to start phasing that out hopefully.
* During the day you eat every 2 to 3 hours still.  And you seem to be developing the bad habit of snacking.  Since historically I struggle feeding babies I am constantly feeling your head and worrying if you've had enough to eat, which is honestly wearing me out.
* You don't take a paci very often.  Part of this is because you don't have excessive crying fits so I'm not trying to constantly shove one in your mouth.  The other is because you prefer to suck on your fist. However when you do get a paci you like those weird Soothie brand ones the hospital gave us and act all dramatic and gag if I push a Mam brand one (that Sarah and Cody both used) in your mouth.  We need to find a compromise here because do prefer paci to thumb sucking and need to get you to take one so we can drop the midnight feeding sometime .
* You sleep in the pack and play in our room throughout the night but move into our bed between 6 and 7 every day.
* You are very observant and like to be in the middle of the action.  You follow people with your eyes as they move around you.

You are going to be a busy boy one day.  But for now, we are loving our laid back little dude.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Schwartz's vs Recipe: Creamy Almond Chicken

This recipe was the red headed step child of my meal calendar.  It's been on the meal calendar for at least 3 weeks but whenever something came up and the calendar needed to be rearranged, this meal got bumped.  I'm not sure why I was avoiding it.  It's got normal ingredients and the directions aren't hard but for some reason I was just not excited about it.  In fact, I thought the winner recipe this week was going to be the Cajun Pasta I made.  However, that one was nothing to write home about and this one got a big two thumbs up.  Go figure.  I guess the lesson here is you never know what you're going to really like unless you branch out and try new things.

Creamy Almond Chicken, via eMeals subscription. 
     1½ cups slivered almonds
     4 tablespoons butter, divided
     2 lb boneless chicken breasts, pounded to ¼-inch thickness
     2 tablespoons orange marmalade
     1½ cups heavy cream
     1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
     ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes

     Sauté almonds in 1 tablespoon butter in a small skillet until golden brown; set aside. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Brown chicken in the skillet 3 to 4 minutes per side, in batches if necessary. Mix together orange marmalade, heavy cream, Dijon, red pepper flakes, and toasted almonds. Pour over chicken and continue cooking until chicken is done and sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes. Serve chicken and sauce over hot rice.

The Pros:
  * Most of the ingredients were household staples. The only things I had to get were orange marmalade, slivered almonds, and cream.
  * The meal came together well time wise.  The rice was done just as the chicken was finishing up so everything was hot and ready to serve at the same time.  That always makes me feel like I've done something right.
  * The prep time claimed to be 10 minutes, and 20 minutes cook time which I thought was pretty accurate.  I think this meal took me around 30 minutes to make.
  * The cream sauce was amazing!  The kids even liked it and asked for some on their rice.
  * Decedent tasting meal, but easy to put together.  This would be an impress the inlaws type meal for me, especially since my inlaws know I can't cook to save my life.

The Cons:
  * Did not make leftovers.  That's not really a con, but I felt like I needed to put something.  Plus, we rely on left overs during school weeks for Chris.  So I can't say if this is going to be a meal that would reheat well or not.  And I always like to know if something is going to reheat well in case I want to send the left over with Chris for lunch or count on it for a quick easy meal on a busy night.

The Changes I Did Make:
     * I only used 1/2 a cup of slivered almonds and I think that was plenty.  It made it a cream sauce with almonds instead of an almond sauce with cream.
     * eMeals suggested serving this with savory garlic broccoli but I'm the only one in my family that likes cooked broccoli, so I served it with roasted green beans.  (Toss some green beans in olive oil with salt and pepper, put in oven at 425 for 10-12 minutes.)  And the cream sauce was yummy on the green beans as well.

Would I make it again?
  Yes.  Chris and I both LOVED it.  It's got excellent flavor, the chicken is moist, the cream sauce is yummy.  We were both really impressed with this meal.  It wasn't complicated to make I didn't feel lost or like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get everything done on time.  Sarah ate the chicken, liked the sauce but wanted me to scrape the almonds off.  And Cody well, he's on a hunger strike right now so his opinion doesn't matter.  With 3/4's of my family willing to eat this without complaining and my kitchen not looking like a bomb went off after I was done making it, this is a Schwartz household winner.

Give it a try and let me know what you think of it.