Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Family Pizza Night

We've accidentally developed a little pizza night tradition in our family.  Somehow, Sunday nights became synonymous with pizza just as much as Sunday mornings are with pancakes.  We are creatures of habit and when it comes to two of our favorite foods, why not?!  After realizing that we were spending quite a bit each month on weekly pizza nights, we decided to start making our own, with the occasional ordering out.  We've experimented with a couple different crust recipes, and made some fun discoveries, including the best breadsticks ever.  These aren't so much my own originals, but more of my collection of pizza night favorites in case my girls ever find their sentimental sides and want to duplicate it someday (hey, a mama can hope, right?).  Here's how our family does Sunday pizza night:


Martha Stewart's Quick Basic Pizza Dough - this dough is not only easy, but also super versatile.  It makes a nice hand-tossed or thin crust and THE BEST BREADSTICKS!  I like to use 3 c. all-purpose and 1 c. whole wheat flour.

  • 2 packets (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for bowl and brushing
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for work surface

  1. Pour 1 1/2 cups warm water into a large bowl; sprinkle with yeast and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk sugar, oil, and salt into yeast mixture. Add flour and stir until a sticky dough forms. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl and brush top with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draft-free place until dough has doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead 1 or 2 times before using.
  3. To freeze, you can wrap the dough in plastic and freeze it in a resealable freezer bag for up to 3 months. If you plan to use it in a recipe that calls for half a batch, divide it before freezing.

"Happy Birthday to Emma"

Emma, Emma, Emma

I just couldn't resist sharing this adorable video of you singing to yourself (and Annalyn scolding you for it!).  LOVE IT!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Emelina's 2 year update

Oh my little Emelina.  My sweet, squishy, Emma.  My Emma-lemma.  My fellow type A, all the way.  Today we are saying goodbye to our youngest baby's babyhood.  <siiiiiiiigh> I am all at once sad, excited, nostalgic, and anxious for what is to come.  I love how much your personality is coming out.  Even your shyness is fading and we are seeing glimpses of confidence and a whole lotta independence these days.  You love to help cook, feed the cat, clean up (including throwing your milk cup at/in the sink), get groceries, help Daddy with yard work, and do makeup with Mama.

helping Daddy build the swingset

talked Mama into buying you flowers
you cuddled them the whole time :)

You adore your sister and everything about growing up and getting to be "one of the big girls."  You idolize Annalyn and her friends, while babies/toddlers your own age continue to frighten you (seriously, you often run away from Margo as she crawls towards you). 

sleepover with Remy & Anna

fun at the park with Annalyn's preschool friends

<please don't let them fight over boys someday...>

If I had to describe you in a word, it would be intense.  INTENSE love, intense sad, intense happy, intense mad.  Like your Mama, you wear your heart on your sleeve and while we don't always understand the why, we always know what you're feeling.  Your communication is amazing and you talk in conversations, sing entire songs, and tell us stories. The lisp is still there, but we can still always tell what you're saying.  "Sugar" and "syrup" are two of our favorites to hear you say, partly because you drag is out in a really cute way and partly because you get so excited about pancake day.

little goofball in Mama's dress
hamming it up in Daddy's "big red truck"

putting on a show with Sissy & stealing the spotlight

You've started to join in Anna's imaginative play and will fake dramatic sadness/fear/horror when Annalyn the dinosaur/cheetah "eats Cinderella and Elsa." It's both funny and maddening because you will often end up genuinely upset about your make believe princesses being pretend eaten.  Seriously.

You've been talking about your birthday since Annalyn's in February and have lots of big plans for it.  Mostly, you want a Charlie Brown birthday with a Charlie Brown cake.  As luck would have it, I inherited one from my BFF's grandma (it's from 1950, how cool is that?!)  There's also been mention of a party and cupcakes and Dobby (Grandma Cindy), and you even told Daddy at one point that "my birthday is cancelled!" So, not exactly sure what was going through that beautiful little mind, but I hope it holds up to the hype.

first time at the Indy Children's Museum

weight: 28.8 lbs
height: 2 ft 10.75 in.
sizes: 2T, size 6 shoes
teeth: all but your 2 year molars (the last little canine is coming down now!)

shows - Peppa Pig, Charlie Brown, Wally Kazaam, Sofia the First, Daniel Tiger
movies - Charlie Brown, Cinderella, Inside Out, Frozen
songs - Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Up Pops the Flower, Happy Birthday
books - Llama Llama, Peep & Ducky, Duck & Goose, Cinderella, You are my Cupcake, The Monster at the End of This Book
toys -  blankies, Cabbage Patch Doll "Wally" (the first doll you named), pink plush doll "Dolly," "baby raptor," play kitchen (especially the ice cream), chalk, swings

you sleep with a whole crew of critters
still in a crib because you haven't attempted to escape... yet.

clothes - princess nightgowns, fluffy skirts, Minnie Mouse dresses/nightgown, "new tennis shoes," yellow softball shirt, anything hand-me-down from Remy

foods - fruit, fruit, and more fruit, yogurt, olives, hummus, pretzels, pizza, pancakes, "volcano popcorn" from the air popper, cake, chocolate, fruit snacks, tomatoes with s/p, "grass cheese" aka Havarti with dill, parmesan, feta (all the hard and soft cheeses like Mama), puffs/Goldfish crackers, anything with mustard, "shaaawshage"  aka sausage (your request for bday dinner).

 my favorites about you:
- your smile - your entire face lights up when you smile.  Your eyes brighten and your cheeks get even chubbier. Your laugh is even more infectious with "just a hint" of orneriness.  I just can't get enough.
- your jokes - usually in the form of a repeated silly word, a misplaced inflection, or an "I just kidding" after a request.
- your determination - yes, it makes me crazy when we are in a hurry, but I love that you are so independent (in some ways) and determined to learn.
- that you suck on your tongue/your blankie tags - when you are feeling extra tired or cuddly, you still do this and it makes you look like my clingy baby again.
- your spins and happy dance - when you get really excited, which doesn't take much, you do a natural little happy dance and squeal. It's about the cutest thing ever.
- your hair - to be honest, it's always been one of your most striking features.  From the tons of dark hair you were born with, to you little rattail that I cut off right  before your first bday, to your long thick "golden like Anna" hair. I love that I can braid it now and that every day is a good eyelash day for you.
- your bravery - this frightens me most days, but I also admire your fearlessness (aside from your social fears).
- the way you say goodnight - you tell everyone goodnight and I wuv you every single night. I cherish getting to read, rock and snuggle you every night before bed and especially love when you turn and wrap your arms around my neck.  best. feeling. ever.
- your side-kick ways - I love that you idolize your sister and like to be like her.  I really love when you want to be like me, too, and wear your apron while we cook. You are obviously your own person, but you make us feel special by wanting to learn from us.
- that you love soft/hard cheeses like I do - feta, parmesan, romano, you name it.  This girl loves her cheese!
Snoopy pizza to kick off birthday week!

- you love Charlie Brown like Grandma and I do - you sleep with him, you always pick a Peanuts movie when it's your turn, and you've been dead set on a Charlie Brown cake for months.  That's my girl!

And that's a wrap on your second year!  It went by even faster than the first.  Probably because we slept some this year.  Or because you're suddenly in such a hurry to catch up to your sister. 

Just be happy, my Emelina.

Just be happy.

Happy birthday, Sweetheart.


Saturday, May 21, 2016

(Re)Living the Dream

Ah, the joys of reliving the dream!  Getting to re-experience so many wonderful moments and milestones through your kids can be such a rewarding and sentimental experience.   Now I know what many of you are thinking - be careful trying to recreate your childhood and expecting your kids to love it.  I know, I know, it's a slippery slope, but hear me out.  My kids are very young, very impressionable, and now is the time that we should be instilling values in their tiny hearts and minds.  Why not give them the building blocks of some of the most rewarding and formative experiences of our childhoods? 

Michael and I loved being athletes.  It defined us for so many years and shaped many aspects of our personalities and friendships.  Recently, I wrote a letter to my high school softball coach as part of a book to congratulate him on his 600th win (No, that's not a typo.  Yes, he's a rock star).  Taking time to write it gave me a chance to reflect on why softball was and is so important to me.  And why I want so desperately to share it with my girls.