The Usticks: April 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

operation zoysia

Brent took the work van last week to pick up his grass. Here's what it looked like:

These are the before pictures of our "lawn"

And these are the after pictures! Brent made every single one of those holes in the lawn where you see a dot of grass. It was well over 3000 plugs. Riley took a few long naps over the course of the 4 days we worked on the lawn, so I was able to help Brent out and fill in over half of the holes.

Phew. What a project. We're happy with it! And now we pray for rain. And lots of it =)

I'll post some updated pictures in a few weeks once the grass starts growing and filling in.

Monday, April 25, 2011

catching up

We've been super busy lately. I feel like I don't stop moving until both girls are in bed for the night! Here's a few pictures to show what we've been up to. A post about our super duper yard project is coming soon.

ready for the pool

love these two!

riley's crawling all over the place now

Easter morning

Gotta do bubbles bright and early in the morning!

Riley learned to suck food from the pouches

Happy Easter!

toothy grin

rough-housing.. riley loved it

Riley kept leaning back for Avery to catch her in her lap

Riley's starting to pull up to her knees on things. She's pulled up to stand twice at the stairs. baby gate time?!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

knock-off take out

Wow. I think I found a new way to make Chinese food at home. I've always just cooked up some chicken and poured a jar of General Tso's sauce or thai peanut sauce on and added rice. Well THIS will top those old meals. I wouldn't say I'm awesome in the kitchen. I can whip up some mean quesadillas and I have a few good meals in my repertoire. I'm no Rachael Ray. (by the way, who is? I suppose I, too, could make a meal her size and complexity if I had someone prep my ingredients, and organize my refridgerator and pantry so I didn't have to look for a single thing for more than .2 seconds). I digress. Your kitchen will seriously smell like PF Changs once you start cooking this jem. Ok, well maybe not quite that good... but at least it'll smell as good as your favorite take-out place!

Sun Bird... I found it at Wal-Mart

Yes, this meal is in our general rotation now for meals. Speaking of meals, I'm on week 2 of meal planning (and actually following through with it). I only went to the grocery ONCE last week!!! It was awesome. I planned ahead. Made 1 trip to the grocery and had everything I needed for our meals all week long. Even milk =) Here's hoping week 2 goes as smoothly as week 1. I even did our shopping for this week in about 20 minutes. Love that. Anyone reading have any good meals they like to make a lot? I'm open to suggestions. I need more meals to pick from! And the less "game time" prep and activity needed, the better!

number five

The day after I posted Riley's 10 month update post, Brent spotted another tooth coming in! It's another one on the top. That's number 5.
I also failed to mention two skills Riley is working on. She is learning how to wave and clap!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Riley's 10 months old!

Today we celebrate 10 months of Riley. Here's what you've been up to the past month:
  • last night you did about 5 crawl steps! you mostly try crawling when you want a toy avery has, or you see a cord you want or something electronic.
  • you've gained no weight since last month's check-up. The combination of getting teeth and being sick with 2 ear infections over the past 3-4 weeks made you cut WAY back on eating. You've pretty much only eaten oatmeal and applesauce the past month. Seriously.. at least 2 times a day if not 3. Nothing else will do. You've saved us money on buying baby food! hehe =)
  • You are branching out with your naps. We had a good 2 week stretch where it was fairly common for you to take hour long naps. You can do it, Riley! But you're back to the 30 min naps this week. You average 2-3 of those a day. Depending on how early you rise and shine for the day.
  • Bedtime is still at 7-715pm. You're still only waking up once a night to eat and go back to sleep. You've even slept through 3 times this past week 'til at least 615. Your mornings start anywhere from 630am on.
  • you LOVE LOVE LOVE the "cat piano" from Aunt Krista and the boys. It's one of your favorite toys.
  • you're a happy camper during tubby time.. your daddy and I love watching you and Avery play in the tub. You still use the baby tub.. you and big sis aren't ready for the freedom of being in the big tubby together. =) 
  • You like the infant swings at the park way better than your sis did at this age. You'll stay in it for a little while. It's a big help to me when I take you both to the park! A little hands free time to run around with Avery. I've realized this is a hard stage to take you to the park, though, because i can't set you down on the mulch since you try and eat it. And now that you're learning to crawl, I only set you down on the playground platforms if I'm right there with you so you don't crawl off! I think it'll be great when you walk and we can all run around together at the park. I'm pretty sure Avery is ready to slide with you!
  • You got your top two middle teeth a few weeks ago. Now your two bottom ones are coming in. 4 total as of today.
  • I can't think of anything else to write about right now because your big sis keeps needing me for things during her "naptime"... she moved to a big bed on Wednesday and has yet to fall asleep in it for naptime. At least she isn't crying today =)  So I'll end with a few pictures!
fussing.. but it's a good shot of her top two teeth!

this is your face when we take something away from you =(

work on that crawling, girl!

10 months old

 And a flashback to last month...
9 months old

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

honesty & solo time with Avery

I'm not sure if it's because Riley is getting over a 3 week illness and she's feeling better, or the fact that she IS under the weather and on meds, but the girl is actually napping some lately. As in it's not uncommon for her to nap an hour at a time! (knock on wood) She still does her 30 min naps, too. In fact, she just did this morning. I'm thrilled for her that she's getting rest. Back when I just had Avery during the days, I often looked at her naptime as free time for myself to do things for me, or things around the house. Now that I've got 2 kids, when one naps, 98.5% of the time the other one is awake, so that me time is gone. It was definitely an adjustment at first. Riley came out of the womb doing 30 minute naps, so I didn't really get that "newborn stage" where they napped hours at a time, thus giving the mom time to nap and recuperate. I didn't get to ease into life with 2 since Riley was most likely always awake, even when Avery was napping (last summer she'd do 3 hour naps! That was amazing!) And when Riley was awake, I couldn't just lay her down to play (she still to this day loathes being on her back) or sit her in the bouncy seat to play. No, it had to be 100% hands on! As my mom and sister said.. the harder you worked the happier they were. Haha. So I went from a HUGE window of free time during the day to essentially none. All this to say that I had to adjust my expectations for my days.. and fast. I began to realize that the brief moments when Riley WAS napping was time I got solo with Avery. A girl who is growing up so fast before my eyes. A girl who is a total sponge and loves to converse with you and make jokes with you and laugh at your silly jokes. I realized I needed to embrace Riley's napping and learn to enjoy every minute of the 30 minutes a few times a day I got with Avery. And trust me, I had to remind myself of that over and over, many many times. I all too quickly would say, why won't Riley just nap like a normal baby? The baby books say anything under 45 minutes isn't even considered a REAL NAP. What's going on?! I prayed and prayed about it, but realized when Riley continuted to "cat nap" that perhaps it was my heart that needed change. The Lord showed me that I needed to stop focusing on how long Riley napped, and instead focus on how I could make that short time enjoyable with my other daughter! So yes, the past few weeks Riley's been doing longer naps and I've SO ENJOYED the time with Avery. We talk, read books, act goofy, and play all sorts of games Avery comes up with. It's great. And hey... the dishes can wait =)

Just sitting and talking by the window today =) Love it.

Friday, April 08, 2011

super tubby

The other night we decided to give Avery a super bath and let her use our big tub and have a bubble bath. Wow. She was on cloud 9. She LOVED every second of the 45 minutes she was in there. It's so fun to see her so happy... with something as simple as a super long bubble bath! Safe to say we'll be doing it again sometime!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


Our zoo membership ends this month. I wanted to be sure to go one more time before that happens! We took off this morning with my mom who's been visiting and apparently it's Spring Break so the zoo was super crowded. There were SO many strollers there! Haha. We had fun! Riley enjoyed it. And Avery enjoyed it, too. Especially climbing on the benches. =) We did the loop of the zoo and finished with a train ride (I had train tokens saved up from like 6 months ago that we never used). And on the way back home we made a stop at Doumar's for some chocolate ice cream. Thanks for the idea, Mom!!

Friday, April 01, 2011

excited about plants

Last weekend Brent took Avery to McDonald's Nursery (no, not the fast food place) where they had an event going on to get little strawberry plants for kids. It was basically a thing where you went and potted your plant in a metal collander and were on your way. Avery had been talking about it for weeks leading up to it. She saw the flier Brent had and asked what it was about. So we told her and she thought it sounded fun and really wanted to go. She talked about using her watering can to water the strawberries. So far she's still really excited about it =) She jumps at the chance to water it herself each day. I'm hoping it grows some strawberries! So far it hasn't been sunny but one day since we got it.

Riley's getting quite mobile. She's not crawling yet, but she can move around the room. The past few days have been much kinder to Riley. She is playing some and not crying all day long! And she is starting to eat a little again. It's nice to see her happy again!

Aaaand here's what our family room looks like after a few hours of playtime inside. Phew that'll take a while to clean up!