2016 Calendars are here!

I am so excited to say that the girls’ 2016 calendars are here!!!! ūüėÄ It was rough trying to get pictures of everyone, particularly towards the end of my pregnancy when I was super tired, stressed, and frazzled but there are far fewer missed days for the year than I expected.

For those of you who don’t actually have any idea what I’m talking about, let me explain. When the Littlest Brewster was teeny tiny, I was obsessed with taking pictures of her. I’m pretty sure most first time parents are obsessed with taking pictures of their children. However, I decided that I wanted to¬†do¬†something with the gajillions of photos, rather than just have them languish on our hard drive forever. But I didn’t want just a photo album, I wanted something interesting and fun. I thought about trying to do a photo book or something like that but quickly realized upon attempting one that it would be a¬†ton¬†of work and money. Then, I came up with the idea of doing a calendar.

Shutterfly lets you put any picture you want on any day you want, which works out really really well if you’re as anal retentive as I am and you meticulously label and file your digital photos. For example, if I were to take 2 photos today, the first would be labeled Jan.22.17.1 and the second would be labeled Jan.22.17.2. And then they would be sorted into month and year folders under each child’s name, with the understanding that if there is more than one child in the photo, it will go into the oldest girl’s file. (i.e. a picture of LB and BIT from today would go into LB’s Jan 2017 folder.) I know this sounds like a ton of work but I find it very soothing to sit with my laptop and “do my pictures” as I call it. Especially if I can do so with a glass of wine…

After I get all the photos for a month labeled and sorted, I upload them to Shutterfly and get that month done for the year. Sometimes I’ll get a few months behind but it’s not really that big of a deal, as I can usually knock out a calendar month of picture placement in 30-45 minutes.

So when you look at the girls’ calendars, you know that the picture placed on Jan 16, 2016 was actually taken on Jan 16, 2016. And so on and so forth, for the whole year. If there’s a day that I missed, I just leave it blank. For the big picture of the month, I just pick my favorite picture of each girl for that month.

And everyone said that I could do it with one kid, but I’d never be able to do it with two.

But I did.

And then everyone said I could do it with two kids, but I’d never be able to do it with three.

But I did.

Granted, Itty Bitty only had 3 months of 2016 to cover but I am still damn proud of myself for having kept this up. I think that it is one of the projects I am most proud of and one of the neatest keepsakes that we have.

But enough tooting my own horn. Here are some snaps from our 2016 calendars!

2016-cal-1 2016-cal-2 2016-cal-3 2016-cal-4 2016-cal-5


It’s the final countdown!

It absolutely boggles my mind to say it out loud, but I go back to work a week from today.

I have no idea where my maternity leave and the first twelve weeks of Itty Bitty’s life have gone. It truly seems like it was just yesterday that maternity leave stretched infinitely before me and I was¬†never¬†going to get to go back to work and I was going to lose my mind before the end. Don’t get me wrong – I am so very glad and grateful that I have been able to stay home with my babies for 12 weeks each time. I love not having to put them in daycare until they are a little bit older and sturdier.

But having spent time as a stay-at-home mom¬†and spent time as a working mom, I can tell you that I think being a working mom¬†is much easier than staying home with my kids. Being a stay-at-home mom is, in my opinion, the most difficult job on the planet and one which I am not mentally equipped to undertake. Perhaps it would be easier if my¬†children were older and I wouldn’t find it to be so excruciatingly isolating and difficult if I stuck at it for months and years, but I doubt it. When patients frequently tell me that they’re sorry I have to work and that my kids go to preschool, I always want to reply, “Why? I get leave my girls with people who have¬†nothing¬†to do all day but interact with them and teach them and care for them while I get to come and do a job that I absolutely adore and I’m actually pretty damn good at.¬†If we were all home together, they would not be getting my undivided attention because I would still have laundry and dishes and cooking and cleaning to do, in addition to taking care of them.”

But I digress. This wasn’t actually supposed to be a foray onto my soapbox of “Staying at home with kids is really hard and those parents don’t get enough credit.” This is supposed to be a brief update on Itty Bitty and life in general with three amazing girls.

Itty Bitty is, without a doubt, the smiliest baby ever.

jan-10-17-1 jan-1-17-1

She gets so incredibly excited anytime anyone comes and talks to her or interacts with her. She particularly adores the Littlest Brewster, a feeling that is mutual as LB thinks that her littlest sister is the bee’s knees. Itty Bitty is pretty laid back for the most part, cycling through eat, be awake for a bit, sleep for a bit most of the day without much crying or fussing. Like most babies, she gets pretty frotchety from 4:30 or so onward and doesn’t want to be put down; though as long as she’s being toted around or is on someone’s lap, she’s a happy camper.

I feel like we have been exceedingly lax at trying to get her on a schedule re: naps and bedtimes. I need to go back and look at the monthly updates I did for LB and BIT (something you’ll notice I did not do for IBB) and see if they were on more of a schedule by now or if I’m misremembering. Granted, I know I haven’t really pushed the schedule issue because 1) with the bigger two being in school and having to get picked up and dropped off daily (I don’t do both but I do at least one or the other every day), Itty Bitty and I were rarely home for an entire day, 2) with the holidays and travel, it’s super difficult to maintain kids’ schedules and 3) I knew that whatever schedule I managed to get IBB on would go to pot as soon as she went to daycare. So I sort of went with the “sleep whenever you’re tired for as long as you feel the need” schedule during the day. Nights, we mostly try to do bath, bottle, bed between 6 and 7. She will typically be up once or twice a night and then up for the day between 6 and 7 in the morning. I’m usually pretty accepting of still being up with her during the night, though I get kind of frantic when she has the occasional “bad” night and is up more than that and I convince myself we are doing something wrong and she will never sleep through the night, ever, and I will never be well rested again, ever. Thankfully, she rarely has more than one difficult night in a row and I breathe a sigh of relief the next night, secure once more in the knowledge that we haven’t ruined her sleeping forever through our erroneous attempts at parenting.

On the whole, I feel like life with three kids is going pretty well. It helps that the Littlest Brewster is now old enough to be sort of helpful and sort of autonomous. And both LB and BIT really love Itty Bitty and we’ve been blessed that there has been no actual anger or malicious jealousy over how much of my time and attention she gets. The DreadBrewer, while always an incredibly involved father, has started doing even more with the big girls (if possible), which has definitely helped with the transition. He does baths about half the week and bedtime most of the week for them. They¬†love¬†doing things with Daddy as he is definitely more fun and rough-house-y than Mommy is. (I just don’t play like that. I’ve tried and I can’t do it. I also have serious guilt issues that I can’t take care of everyone in the family all on my own but that’s just my own insecurities talking.) All in all, I feel like we’re settling into our groove as a family of five. Though I’m sure that will all go out the window when I go back to work next week and we have to establish a new routine all over again.

But it’ll be worth it. I could use a break. ūüėõ

Snow Day Fun

Here in NC we got some actual snow this weekend. Well, we thought we were going to get snow, 4-6″ being predicted, so everyone ran around like crazy preparing for the North Carolina version of Snowmageddon. (Funny aside: based on what Itty Bitty and I saw Friday as the city prepared for snow, the most important things to buy when facing a “blizzard” are bananas, cucumbers, steaks, and booze. Everything else was still well stocked but not those four staples. Go figure.) Our city ended up with a few inches of sleet underneath an inch or two of snow, which naturally meant that everything¬†shut down for 2 days while we recovered.

Even today, with the high climbing to 40¬ļ, pretty much all of the schools are closed and many businesses are operating on shortened hours. So everyone in our family has been home for days and by yesterday afternoon we started to get a little bit of cabin fever.

The DreadBrewer and I had bought ourselves a GrainFather as a Christmas gift to each other, which came packed in an enormous box with a vast quantity of packing peanuts, of which we had yet to dispose. As an incentive to get the big girls to nap without complaint (a Herculean task some days), I told them that there would be a super fun surprise for them to play with after nap, but only if they were good nappers. That was enough to get them to lie down and go straight to sleep. (Another aside: the incentive today is baking cookies post-nap, in case you were wondering. Whoever naps gets to make cookies, whoever doesn’t has to watch and drool.)

And this is what they woke up to:


It took them a few minutes to catch on that we were really going to let them play in that and make as big of a mess as they wanted, provided they followed the two rules: 1) Do NOT put the packing peanuts in your mouth and 2) we have to pick them ALL up when we’re done for the day. But once they understood that, LB and BIT were in it to win it.

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For play and especially for clean up, the dust bins were absolutely essential; it was really fun to scoop up a ton of peanuts and shower them down on each other. The girls were kept happily occupied for a good 30-45 minutes playing and then it only took another 5 or so to get all of the peanuts back in the tub. I had planned on having them clean them up back into the box for disposal, but we’re not currently using that bathroom for anything (it’s usually our beer fermentation and root crop storage area), so we figured we’d let them play in them as long as we’re stuck home due to inclement weather.

Anything to keep small children occupied while stuck inside, right?

The Ordeal of the Funky Belly Button comes to an end

I feel like we’ve finally reached the end of our ordeal of the funky belly button. It’s been about a month since the Itty Bitty Brewster had her umbilical granuloma excised and I’ve been anxiously watching for any sign of recurrence. But the suture site is fully healed and no extra granulation tissue is in sight.¬†We¬†also got the pathology report back that it was pure granulation tissue without any urachus tissue present, so that’s very good news.

That's one good looking belly button!

That’s one good looking belly button!

At this point, I’m confident that Itty Bitty will be able to wear a bikini without fear of funky belly button stigma, should she so choose. What a load off my mind! ūüėõ

Garden Planning is under way!

Because what better way to spend a day like this


So cold!

than doing this!


Dreaming of sunshine

I am very lucky that the DreadBrewer derives such pleasure from cataloging and comparing and cross referencing to make sure that we are going to have an awesome garden come spring. And all I have to do is provide some of the sweat equity when it gets warmer to reap the rewards of his diligence. Though the beer that usually accompanies the arduous task of garden planning makes the experience less onerous, I’m sure…

I did help out this year by making a spreadsheet of what cultivars we grew for the last three years, where we got the seeds, and how many we ordered. I like stuff like that. Poring over garden catalogs and debating whether we should grow Procraft versus Carolina Wonder peppers or hard neck versus soft neck garlic is not my cup of tea. (The answer is we are going to grow both peppers. And we are probably only going to grow hard neck garlic from now on, in case you were wondering.) If it were up to me, I would probably choose what we grew based on how pretty the pictures are, which means that we would order everything from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds because their catalog is gorgeous.)

It makes it a little easier to cope with snow and temps in the 20s when I know that seed starting will begin in a few short weeks and we’ll be planting out in the garden sooner than I think. I am¬†really¬†looking forward to getting out in the sunshine and getting my hands dirty. Because dreaming of and planning for our 2017 garden is all well and good, but actually being able to get out there and do it is awesome.