Saturday, January 30, 2010

Preparing for the Battle

Bread. I love it. It loves my thighs. We have a love, hate relationship. That doesn't stop my fascination with it though.

For a while now, I've been wanting to start experimenting with homemade bread but have been a little intimated. All the kneading, rising, shaping, I didn't know if I was up to the challenge. This week I finally decided it was time to throw my apron into the ring and take on bread baking, once and for all. After scouring many different recipes, I finally decided on which bread I would make first.

The challenger? Honey wheat bread. I'm looking forward to the battle and hoping to come out victorious. Only time will tell.

While I go to prepare for my first time in the ring with this yeasty beast, I'll leave you with some cookbooks I was drooling over last night while browsing Barnes and Nobles.

Maybe after I get a few victories under my belt I will reward myself with one of these beautiful cookbooks. Until then, I hope you'll check back under the Recipes section of my blog to see the outcome of:

 Nicole vs. Bread

Thursday, January 28, 2010

An Eye for Style

Bailey has a style all her own. I never know what she is going to have on when I get home. On one of our recent snow days, I came home from lunch and found her in this little number.

Her current favorite accessories are her wings and tutu (tutu not pictured here) that Papa Bear (Nick's dad) got her for Christmas. She has to have these on almost daily. Even when she's still in her panda bear jammies.

She also decided she needed to wear her new boots. And these aren't just any boots, she calls them her Santa shoes. She loves them so much she asked me to take a picture of them.

And the Blue's Clues hat from her birthday party...well, it just pulls the whole ensemble together, don't you think?

Yes, my little girl has an eye for fashion, and she has a style all her own.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Confessions from a Grossed out Mommy

Hi, my name is Nicole Maxwell and my daughter is a nose picker.

Whew. I feel better after saying that. Except, you already knew she was a nose picker. I've mentioned it here a time or two. I know this is something every little kid does, but it drives me crazy!! It's just so horrifying when you're out somewhere and some stranger is going on about how cute your daughter is and then you look down and you can't even see her index finger anymore because she has it so far up her nostril!

As embarrassing as this can be, I've grown used to the constant "Please don't pick your nose" requests I must make to keep her fingers clean. However, yesterday, Bailey did something that stopped me dead in my tracks.

She was sitting on my lap here in our house and we were talking. She had her back to me, but I could tell that she was doing a little nose excavating. "Bailey, please don't pick your nose." Then she turned around and looked at me with a look of accomplishment on her face and thrust her finger towards me. "Here ya go mommy. It's a little baby booga." Laughing a little, I whispered to her to give it to her daddy. She leaned towards Nick, "Here ya go daddy." Nick looked at her finger and said, "Big girl, I don't want that. Go get some toilet..." but before he could finish his statement...go get some toilet paper so we can wipe that off...she did something completely unexpected. She ate the booger! For a moment, Nick and I looked at each other in disbelief. Did you see what she just did? There's no way our daughter just ate a booger...we seemed to be having that conversation telepathically.

I couldn't hold back, I burst into laughter. Nick starts trying to tell her how we don't eat our boogers, how it's really gross, but he keeps laughing because by this point I'm in tears. I wasn't any help at all. I couldn't help it. I think I was just so caught off guard that I couldn't control myself.

The worst part was how she did it like it was an everyday occurrence. There was no way that this was her first time. No, I have a fear that my daughter has been sampling her nose treasures for far longer than I would like to think.

Hi, my name is Nicole Maxwell and my daughter picks her nose and eats her boogers.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Kids Say the Darndest Things

One of the things I most look forward to every day when headed home from work is what funny things Bailey will say that night. She makes me laugh harder than just about anyone else. Little kids are just so honest and say whatever they are thinking, which is good...most of the time. Here are some my most favorite moments in the last few weeks.

We have a friend, Brittany, who is pregnant. Nick, Bailey and I were having dinner with her and her husband one night and I told Bailey that Brittany had a baby in her belly. Bailey looked at me, and I could tell she was thinking about that. Then she asked, "Did she eat the baby?" We always tell her that her food goes in her belly after she eats it, so really, it only made sense for that to be the way the baby got in Brittany's belly! What a logical little girl.

While at the grocery store Bailey and I were fighting our normal fight of, "Bailey, please don't pick your nose." "But I needs to mommy." But this time she felt compelled to share more information than normal, and in a voice that I'm pretty sure could be heard four aisles away. "But I gots a big, crunchy booga mommy!" Ah, nothing like a little crunchy booger talk.

At night when we're watching a cartoon before Bailey's bedtime, I'll usually rub her back. Every time she asks me why I'm rubbing it and I always respond "Because I love you." A couple of nights ago we were sitting on the couch and Bailey said "I wants to rub your belwe." "Why do you want to rub my belly?" "Because I wuv you mommy." So I smiled and let her rub my belwe.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I am the Master...

Tonight while at Jazzercise, I couldn't help but to channel Sheldon from the show The Big Bang Theory.

If you missed last night's episode (shame on you!), I'll give you a little recap. Sheldon's apartment was broken into and he was so freaked out afterward that he was afraid to be in the apartment by himself. One night he decided to push the dresser up against his bedroom door to keep any would be thief out of his room. After doing this he lays back down in bed and says "I am the master of my own bladder", obviously trying to convince himself that he did not have to go to the bathroom, as it would mean having to get up and move the dresser back out of the way.

Tonight, while working out, I was having the same conversation with myself. Here's a little bit of the dialogue that was going on in my head.

Keep going, keep going. Step ball change. Knee lifts. Jog in, I do not have to pee. Heel kicks, keep it up. No, I do not have to pee. I am the master of my own bladder! Jog in place. I do not have to pee, I do not have to pee...I DO have to pee. Jog to the bathroom!!

Just another one of the perks of being a mom. Any jumping/running/jogging/laughing/coughing/nearly anything else you can think of, can make you run for the nearest bathroom praying that won't pee in your pants. Good news tonight, I did not pee in my pants; but each class brings its own risks.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Giving Spirit

My husband is a, well, how do I put this? A very unique individual. He's a sports nut who loves to cook, play video games, isn't afraid to wear pink (or any other girly color for that matter), lets his daughter paint his toenails pink and has one of the biggest hearts you'll ever find. Honestly, this man astounds me more and more with every single day.

I've written about his giving spirit before with his work during the can food drive. Now he's dove head first into helping YADD (youth against destructive decisions) at Scott County High School collect jars of peanut butter to be sent to the citizens of Haiti. This is a project that the school participated in last year and managed to raise 500 jars, which is a great effort! This year however, they're reaching for so much more. Their goal is 3 million jars for the 3 millions residents of this tragedy ridden country. A lofty goal for sure, but one they are not taking lightly.

My husband has emailed the likes of Oprah, Ellen Degeneres, Food Network, the Today Show and several other high profile individuals and corporations. JIF has even been contacted about helping and loved the idea and work is being done to clear it with their corporate headquarters! He managed to get a local TV station to come out to the school and interview two of the students involved in sponsoring this quest (which will air tonight at 6:00 on WLEX 18!) and with our joint efforts we've got our local newspaper, Georgetown News Graphic, doing a story on their efforts.

In order to try and bring more publicity to this event, we've started a blog, pbforhaiti. Here, you will find more details on the project and ways that you can help. Nothing is too small. Even if all you do is talk about this project on your facebook status, or tweet about it, every little thing helps! Please check out the site and spread the word. They only have until February 9th to work on this, so our time is short!! Contact info can be found on the blog for any questions you may have, or you can contact me through my contact button below my header. Thanks to all of you for your support!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What Makes a Good Company?

I'm sitting here so mad right now that I'm pretty sure there is actually steam coming out of my ears. Wait, wait...yes, there definitely is!

I have lived in my house for a little over two years now. We built the house with Ball Homes. I've been pleased overall with our decision with only a few real complaints. We've always noticed that the front room (currently being used as a play room but will be future Maxwell baby #2's room) was colder than the rest of the house. When I questioned Ball Homes about this fact during our one year walk through, they assured me it was because the room has three exterior walls. Made sense to me. What has continued to baffle me is how cold the closest in that room is. We've gotten to where, during the winter, we have to keep a blanket rolled up under the closet door to keep cold air from coming into the room...from the closest!

We've always known it was cold, but never knew just how cold it was until the other night. We finally got a thermometer and placed it in the closest. Now, keep in mind, we've been leaving the heat set on 70, because we have a hard time keeping the house heated. The thermometer said the closet was 51 degrees!!!! A 19 degree difference! And this wasn't even on the coldest night we've had this year, I can only imagine what it would have been on those nights.

After this discovery I decided something had to be done. Yes, I knew I was out of warranty, but come on, a 19 degree difference? Two years or not, there was a major problem there. I called Ball Homes yesterday and they had someone at my house within a couple of hours. He said he wanted his insulation guy to come out and look at it. They both returned to my house this afternoon. Both agreed that the insulation was good, but the insulation company, 31-W, was kind enough to offer to blow more in...just because. They also both agreed to what the real cause of the problem is, there just isn't enough heat flow into that area.

As I said before, the room has three exterior walls. The way the closet is built, it's like it was just added into the room, and it has two exterior walls. Now, technically, any space with an exterior wall is required to have a vent. The room, of course, has a vent, but with the closet not being very large, it's not typical that you would see a vent in there. BUT, it has two exterior walls and it's 51 degrees in there. Obviously something needs to be done! I was told to call the heating and air company and see if they would be kind enough to come out and correct the problem, even though we are out of warranty.

I put on the nicest voice I possibly could and called company S (I'm not going to disclose their name until I see where this thing is going) and told them my problem. The first lady listened to my complaint and seemed to understand and sympathize that there was indeed a problem. She then transferred me to another lady who was to schedule an appointment for someone to come out and view the problem first hand. I set the appointment up and then she dropped the bomb.

You do understand that there will be a charge for this visit, right?

What?! I replied, in still a semi-nice voice that no, I was not aware of that and that I would not be paying someone to come out view this problem.

You're out of warranty, we can't send anyone to your home free of charge.

By this point, any trace of niceness had left my voice.

Yes, I know I'm out of warranty, I told you that when I called. However, I would like to thank that you would be a company that would stand behind your product and surely you can't think a 19 degree temperature difference in a 1464 square foot house is normal?

All I can do is take your name and number and have someone call you. But you won't get a call today.

That's fine, but I expect a call tomorrow. And if I haven't heard from you by lunch tomorrow I will be calling back. And I will continue to call back until I speak to someone who can actually do something for me.

That was how the phone call ended. I honestly hope that company S decides to do the right thing in this situation, as there is obviously something wrong. I consider myself to be a very nice person, but I will stand up for myself and won't back down when I know I'm in the right.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Touch of Pink

I'm pretty sure if you looked up, What makes a good daddy?, you'd find a picture of this somewhere in the description:

After I had finished painting Bailey's fingernails, she decided her daddy shouldn't be left out of the fun, she wanted to paint his nails! Being the easy going man that he is, he went along with it without much of a fuss at all.

She was so proud of her work!!

Friday, January 8, 2010

What Works For Us

Well, it's a cold snowy day here this morning. I've been browsing some blogs catching up on parenting tips, decorating ideas, recipes and lots of other little tid bits of information. Which made me think that maybe I should share some of my own tips. I mean, why not? I'm a mom, I have ideas, I have a blog...just seems to make sense.

Now, before you get all excited and think you are about to read some life changing tips, calm down. You won't find anything that profound here. But I would like to share a few things that seem to work very well for us in the Maxwell House.

1. One Finger Touch Rule. This, seriously, saved my life during Christmas. Ok, maybe life is a little over exaggerated...but it did save my sanity many times over. As we put the Christmas tree up during Bailey's nap, I couldn't help but think that it was going to be nearly impossible to keep her little fingers off of my little snowmen ornaments. Knowing that I didn't want to spend the holidays fussing at her, I decided to give her limited access to the dangling temptations. She was allowed to touch whatever she wanted on the tree, as long as she only used ONE finger to touch it. This worked wonderfully. She would come up to me and say, mommy, i one finger touch ornaments?  I would tell her yes, and she would go off touching the ornaments happily. Her curiousity was filled and my ornaments were safe, and we were both much more happy than if I had been fussing at her for a month!

This one works at any time of the year or just about any place too! We've also used it at the grocery store...yes, you can touch the boxes, but just one finger touch, please.

2. One Toy at a Time. If your child is anything like mine, they probably have several toys. If we were all to be honest with ourselves, they probably have too many toys. This is definitely the case at my house. Bailey seemed to be overwhelmed with all the toy options and would quickly loose interest in whatever she was playing with and want to move on to something else. We wanted to try and keep her a little more focused so she could enjoy whatever it was she was playing with, without feeling like she needed to move on to something else all the time. So now, if she is playing with her "baby stuff", and decides she wants to color, she has to pick up all 4,571 items that her baby dolls have (maybe I exaggerated the number, just a little) before we can get the art easel out. Same goes for any other toys. This really seems to help keep her interested in one toy for longer!

The added bonus: your house doesn't look like a toy store just threw up in your living room when you're playing with one toy at a time!

3. Not Until Everyone's Finished. Before Nick and I even had kids, we both agreed that our child would not be one of those you see out at restaurants running around the table while everyone else was trying to enjoy a meal. To make sure Bailey understands this rule, we carry it over to home. She is not allowed to leave the table until we're all finished eating...which usually means until mommy is finished eating, I'm always last. She still asks almost every night if she can get down once she's finished, and we simply tell her that once we're all finished she can play, but until then she has to stay in her chair. She's allowed to color on her coloring books if she wants to while she waits, but she has to stay seated.

Just to be clear, even if we were all finished in a restaurant, we wouldn't let her run around the table, but this just helps enforce the idea that she must stay in her seat. If we go out to eat we usually leave shortly after we all finish, so she can get her energy out at home, not in the restaurant!

Well, hope maybe one of these tips helps someone out there!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Not Me! Monday

Over the past several days off work I was not completely and utterly accident prone. I did not fall down my driveway New Year's Eve after getting out of my friend's car. In case you're wondering, I really hadn't had anything to drink...honest! However, my neighbor did not drive by about the time I was sprawled out at the bottom of my driveway and, I'm sure, thought I was quite intoxicated. I only wish I had a good excuse! If I had done such a thing, my foot would probably look something like this...

And of course, I was not wearing my beautiful red shoes

when I fell and the right one is now not scratched up. IF this had happened, I would not have been more upset about hurting the shoes than I would have my foot...NEVER!

While making my mom a birthday dinner, I did not burn my arm...AGAIN...on the top of the oven. IF I had done such a thing, my arm would probably look like this today.

And if this burn were going on day four, the scab would not decide to start peeling while filling out my paperwork at Jazzercise tonight. Of course, if it did, I would make sure to notice BEFORE I went in so as not to gross everyone out with a dangling burn scab...eww!

While at Jazzercise tonight I did not think I was dying at least 3 different times during the workout.

I was not so lazy busy over the break that I let my dirty clothes pile up in my closet until they looked as if they had erupted from a dirty clothes volcano all over the floor!

We did not have to call *Poison Control for the very first time on Friday evening. We did not have to make this call because when we went to get Bailey up from her nap we found her laying in her bed eating....wait for it....diaper rash cream!!! Seriously, my daughter would never consider doing a thing like that!

*She was ok, they said if she had eaten enough to be harmful she would have been throwing up already.

Make sure to head over to MckMama's site and see what everyone else has not been up to this past week.

Happy New Year!

Every year I feel like a major sap. With the beginning of each new year I can't help but feel like the slate has been wiped clean and it's a chance for a brand new start. I have romantic visions of how I'm going to change my life and start doing things I've been putting off. This year is no different. I've spent the last few days thinking about what I want to change/accomplish/figure out this year, and here's what I've come up with.

**1. First and foremost, I want us to find a church. We talk about this every week or so, and then come Sunday morning, we're lazy bums and don't feel like getting ready. I really want to find a place where we feel comfortable and enjoy going.

**2. Get organized! I am a piler. There I said it. It feels good to get that out in the open. What's a piler, you might ask? If I don't know where to put something, I make a pile for it. Doesn't seem like a bad idea in theory, but when you find yourself surrounded by piles, it gets a little overwhelming! I want to figure out a system to have things in a proper place, so when I need something I don't have to go searching through a million piles to find it! Also under the Organization catergory comes putting things back in their proper place. Nick and I are both bad about just setting something down in the living room/play room/kitchen, etc. instead of taking the extra 2 minutes it would have taken to put it back where it goes.

**3. Lead a healthier life style. Typically, my lone new year's resolution would be something like, Lose 15 pounds. But this year I want to go beyond mere numbers. Honestly, my weight doesn't bother me. Sure, I used to be a lot thinner, but I wasn't any happier then. No, I don't care about what the scale says or what number is on my pants. I want to feel better about myself and just tone up some. Tonight marks my first night on my way to achieving this goal. Tonight I will be re-joining Jazzercise. I've done this before in the past and absolutely loved it. I'm very excited/anxious/nervous about tonight! I've made a deal with myself. I'm the type of person that needs some external motivation when it comes to working out. When I went shopping the day after Christmas I found the most beautiful pair of shoes. They wanted to come home with me. They were begging. Please take us home. We would look so good on your feet. We won't take up much room in your closet and we promise to play nice with the other shoes. I stood there, listening to their pleas and decided they would be my reward. If I go 2 months without missing a day of Jazzercise (and at least one night of using the Wii Active a week), these beauties will become a member of the Maxwell household.

Because I love food, I'm not putting myself on a diet this year. Besides, if I tell myself I can't have something, I'll just end up having two! My plan is to just watch my portion sizes and try to introduce more variety into our meals.

Also in the Healthier Living, watch less TV. I can't help it. I can get hooked on just about any TV series!

**4. Find *ME*. Sounds crazy, right? I just really want to figure out, career wise, what I want to do with my life. I've discussed this issue before, and, it's true, I really enjoy real estate. But I've finally figured out what it is that I don't like about it. I like knowing that when I'm at home I don't have to think about work. I want something that I can leave at the front door on Friday afternoon and not think about until Monday morning. And real estate aint it. In fact, it's during the evenings and weekends that Realtors are the busiest. I'm not saying I have to find something that I'm going to do for the rest of my life, and I'm not even saying that I'll be making a career change any time soon. I just want to figure out what it is that I want to do.

Well, that pretty much sums it up. Here's to a clean slate.