Trick or Treat!

Jake nailed it the other day when I was wishing I could remember the play-filled (bill free) days of my youth.  He said, "that's why people have kids".  Ok, that's not the ONLY reason, but boy is it fun to be reminded of the pure joy of the little things.

This was the first year that Hazel "got" Halloween.  I found her fairy dress at Goodwill and since I wasn't quite sure what it was, I decided it is Abbie Cadabbie's dress (a fairy on Sesame Street.  I probably spelled it wrong, but I lack the oomph to look it up.).  Over the past few weeks we've watched a few segments of "Abbie Abbie" (as Hazel calls her) and talked about her attire.  Wings, a wand, eye shadow, pigtails... we got this!

May I present  ABBIE ABBIE

This is the pic from my cell phone.  Now I just won the "Lame Mama Award" since I'm not even bothering to edit it or turn it.  However, look at the PURE JOY on her sparkly face!  I didn't buy play make-up, but I let her dip her fingers in my sparkly nude eye shadow, used green concealer ('cause let's face it... green concealer just makes me look like I have green zits) for her bold eye shadow, and pink eye shadow for blush.  We had fun playing, but she definitely is prettier WITHOUT make-up!

I'll be posting more pics of Hazel's BEST NIGHT OF HER LIFE soon... and maybe a pic or two of a mama tree with a baby owl in a nest :)  For now, this is the only pic I have readily available on the computer and I'm very tired and am anxious not to blow a whole nap time by being on the computer.  This tree needs some rest before partying the night away... AGAIN (oh, life is sooo rough!).

The point I wanted to make today is how wonderful it is to live vicariously through my growing daughters.  Hazel couldn't believe that people kept putting candy in her bag... and maybe more surprising, I WAS LETTING THEM!  When we got home from the church Halloween party (Trunk or Treat is such a great idea for country folks who don't have neighbors!), Hazel dumped her candy on the floor and was truly spellbound (or maybe that's what sugar shock looks like)!  I remember doing the same thing after my sister and I would go Trick-or-Treating with our friends Megan and Jarod (hmm... and now I don't even remember which spelling of his name is correct...).  We'd return to their house in the city and then take over the parlor, each making a separate pile of our candy gold, sampling a few, trying to trade for more Reese's cups and simply feeling richer than a King!

Perhaps Halloween isn't about (being old enough to know better) attempting to dress slutty after all!  WHO KNEW?



The other day, I commented to Jake that it's so wonderful to know who our kids are.  I'd always wondered.  I feel that my girls are destined for greatness and that these early years are their spring board.  I'm so lucky to get to be the one to raise and love them.  For 18ish years, I get to see them everyday, know their every activity, soothe every nightmare.

Hazel's language continues to flourish.  A few months ago we were excited about her first sentence:  "Baby cry".  This morning she said "Dadda gave me apple juice.".  Wow (and he had).

Then she went to the refrigerator and played with her Princess magnets.  She brought the crown to the couch and said "King".  I had no idea that she knew what a crown or a King was!  I explained that Kings are boys and Queens are girls.  She responded with "Hadel Keen SOMEDAY!".

Yup, someday she might be a Queen... or teacher or plumber or baker or...  (secretly pulling for the plumber!).  Regardless I will be one proud mama!  And if she does become a Queen, I hope her loyal subjects are prepared for a ruler who wears hiking boots :)

During the photo shoot of the girls in their early Christmas present (Snug Organics PJs), Hazel ran into the house, grabbed this book and started to "read".



So, it probably breaks all kinds of rules, but I'm making up an award and giving it to... MYSELF :)

The FRUGAL & GREEN MAMA AWARD goes to ME because I just made two mega batches of baby food.  That is cool in and of itself, but not the reason I won this award.  No, I won this prestigious award because I made FIVE POUNDS OF ORGANIC CARROTS into baby food!  Not sure I deserve the award?  How 'bout this... I got those carrots for ONE DOLLAR!  (my local Giant Eagle marks down produce that needs to be eaten pronto and I happened to be walking by right when they were resupplying the clearance section.  Clearance fruit and veggies... sounds kinda gross when I put it that way.)

Let's review:  5 pounds of organic carrot baby food for $1.  Boo Yah!

I baked the carrots instead of steaming them.  Worked great!  I almost awarded myself "THE WEIRDEST PICTURE AWARD" today.... hmmm... day is not over....

The 2nd batch of baby food?  Oh my.  One of those: WHAT WAS I THINKING moments? Our local farm stand closed last Tuesday and I panicked!  I drove down on Monday and bought THREE ENORMOUS cauliflowers ($2.50 each).  Oh my.  There was a lot of chopping, steaming, blender breaking/ food processor breaking/ falling in love with my mom's Vita-Mix 3600 (which she might have to sneak into my house and steal back 'cause I have no intention of returning it ;).  And then I discovered that you shouldn't feed cauliflower to your baby until they are 10 months old (Heidi hits 7 months this week).  Oh my.

I strongly believe that every mother needs the book:  Super Baby Foods.  I didn't make all of Hazel's food and don't intend to make all of Heidi's, but I make a lot of it and I feel so good about it!  Now that I babysit 3 toddlers throughout the week (not all at the same time!), I've seen that Hazel's diet is much more diverse than the average toddlers.  I'm sure I can't give complete credit to that book... I'd like some credit too... however, she is a great eater and I followed the recommendations of what to feed/ how to prepare/ when to introduce which foods/ etc. from Super Baby Foods.  Can't be all coincidence!

And so, to you I say "have a green day".


Hazel and the dinner time prayer

This little snippet is mostly for family... and for me to prove that I'm smart enough to actually post videos online (I got a flip video for my birthday!).

A few weeks ago Hazel and I were eating alone and I decided to leave out some of the words from the dinner time prayer that we say everyday.  Much to my surprise, she filled in every blank!  Guess she does pay attention :)  Phew, I'm doing something right!

We've been wanting to capture this sweetness on video and I finally did it today during today's dinner with my parents and grandparents.

Sunday morning lessons

It's only 7:30, but my sweet toddler has taught me so much already this morning.

I've grimaced about 10 times... no probably more like 30 times... when she has instructed me to do something NOW.  While redressing her baby doll (which happened 2 minutes after getting out of bed.  what else would I be doing at 6:06 AM?!?):  "shirt off NOW!"  "socks on NOW!".  And then after a glance at the couch:  "Caillou NOW!", "TV NOW!".  And most recently "peena bute ted bea NOW"  (peanut butter with honey from the teddy bear bottle on bread).

Each time, I make her rephrase the question nicely and she does it easily "peena bute ted bea PEESE mama".  However, I hang my head in shame each time she orders me around because there's only one way she's learning to talk like that:  "Hazel, come here NOW!", "Hazel, get off your sister NOW!", "Hazel, stop pushing your friends NOW!", etc.  Oops.

However, as she began to eat her first breakfast (the sandwich is merely the 1st course for my growing girl), I reminded her that today we'll go to Sunday School and Church.  She looked at me and said "Bible love ME!".  Ahh, now THAT I didn't teach her.  That is the result of her sweet Sunday School teacher who has now taught her to name "Jesus", "Cross" and "Bible".  And that my friends is why joining a religious community is so important.  We can all use a little help when it comes to learning and living life's lessons!

So to all my bloggy friends, I say to you this morning:  "do something nice NOW" and I remind you that the Bible loves you... or something like that ;)


Daring to be different

Yesterday was a beautiful Indian Summer Day in my corner of this planet.  The leaves are just about at their peak of fall vibrancy, the weather is warm enough for tees and flip flops and everyone is outside.

Well, except yesterday afternoon during the Steelers Game!

Guess what:  my Kosker quartet does NOT WATCH FOOTBALL!  Shocking isn't it?  I couldn't believe that the majority of people in my neck of the woods were indoors yesterday afternoon... come December when they are beginning to get cabin fever... I will remind them of this particular wasted day.

In the afternoon (after they watched some of the game), my parents joined me and the girls for a bike ride.  I was super excited because after a solid start to my goal of biking often with the girls this summer, I had to take a long break because a certain older sister couldn't keep her hands off of a certain little sister.
their 1st bike ride.  picture taken with cell phone camera.  doesn't Heidi look super comfy?

While we were biking, my mom chuckled and mentioned how she was thinking about how many people were on the bike trail and how it was such a great... NORMAL... thing to do.  Until she realized that my father was the ONLY one riding a recumbent bike and I'm the ONLY one pulling babies behind me in a trailer (which we got for a song at an REI sale because a nonessential part was broken!  It was our first ever baby/kid purchase.  Practical?  nope!).  For a split second, she thought that she was as normal as everyone else on the trail... until she remembered that she has the funniest bike seat ever invented (sorry, no pics, but the seat consists of two mini seats side-by-side... one for each butt cheek!).
hehe...this is from an image search for recumbent bikes.  NOT my father!  My dad's bike HAS a steering wheel and OF COURSE he wears special bike shoes that clip into the pedals.

In high school I had many conversations with a friend about how I was the epitome of normal.  He vehemently disagreed.  However I truly saw nothing about myself as different.  I have no desire to express myself through my clothes or hair or tattoos.  I have no unusual habits.  Completely normal.  DON'T YOU AGREE?

I now realize that I am different.  It has a lot to do with only having cable TV for one year of my entire life, preferring books over bars and rarely shopping (due to a combination of frugality and hatred of shopping).  I don't conform, but I don't strive not to conform.  I'm just me... and I've realized, that I'm ok with that... even if you think I'm a bit of an odd duck :)

p.s. I had a tee shirt in Junior High that said "Dare 2 B Different" and some bible verses on it.  It was during my style phase where I wore oversized tee shirts that were either religious or had nature motifs.  Yup, awesome style has always been my thing.


a comparison @ 6 months

*please note that I've posted TWO separate things today, so please scroll down for Heidi's 6 month photo shoot.
**please note that if you read my blog, I assume that you are equally as fascinated in pics of my babies as I am.

I wanted to compare the girls cheek-to-cheek.  
So here are the best comparison shots I have of each girl at 6 months:

The lighting is different so Hazel's eye color pops a bit more.  In real life, Heidi's are equally as stunning.  Yes, they definitely look like sisters!  Though they are distinctly different in many ways, another way they are similar is in their middle-of-the-night cries!  There have been many many times during the past few weeks when one or both of them wakes up during the night due to stuffed noses and/or coughs and/or the fact that we keep a very chilly house at night.  By the time I get my weary body into their room, they're both sleeping peacefully and I truly have no idea which one of them was fussing.  Yup, mama of the year :)

An honest shot

Yes, I gave this photo shoot an honest try.  It's been raining the past few days, but I didn't succumb to the peer pressure (mother/sister pressure) and just snap some pics!  No, I was risking a few days of her growth (when you take monthly pics, a few days can be quite a big difference) and waiting for the sun.  Mr. Golden Sun... please come to play!

Today I accomplished great things.  By great, I'm referring to a few golden minutes in which I had THREE SLEEPING TODDLERS and the sun peeked out AND Heidi was awake AND I had the clarity of mind to realize the photo shoot opportunity.  If you've ever tried to put one toddler down for a nap, you'll bow to my greatness.  Am I right?  Granted, it was short lived and now, an hour later, I have one toddler staring at me and Heidi has fallen asleep.

I quickly sneak around the house, grabbing the photo props.  I arrange the sheep skin, infant scale & fuzzy blanket.  I tuck Heidi into the basket, balance her on the scale and while she happily reached for her feet... I begin to snap pics.  EXCEPT... my camera batter is dead.  You've go to be kidding me!

I charged the camera for a few minutes and headed outside again, already cursing the sun which was now a distant memory.  Oh well, at least it's not raining, right?  This time, I plopped Heidi into the basket... in too much of a hurry... this will be the LAST scale picture (without a spotter near by).  Here's the only pic I got (look closely and you see that the basket is starting to tip).
BAD MAMA!  Not only did I not take the time to find a larger basket, I didn't arrange it so that IF she fell, she'd land on her soft sheep skin.  She now has one ugly bruise on her forehead.  In fact, I just glanced at it and unconsciously my hand went to my heart and I gasped.  BAD MAMA!

I knew that the bruising would only look worse with time, so as soon as Heidi was soothed, I continued my work.  I've never been accused of being overly sympathetic ;)

So here she is, the lady of the hour.  She can use these pics in her "Wanted: New Mama" advertisement.  Notice that she's not smiling.  I also just noticed that I forgot to include the number 6 in the photo shoot.  Drat!  Maybe I'll take a few more pics later... maybe...

The sleeping photo was just a whim after the official photo shoot.  I laid her on her sheep skin under her play gym so that she could enjoy a little free time after her strenuous modeling schedule.  She promptly wiggled herself around and fell asleep.  I happen to love the way her lips and chin look when she's sleeping so I decided to take a few more pictures.

And simply because I always like it when other bloggers show the unstaged part of the photo shoot... here's what the shot would have looked like if I hadn't hung a cream blanket up behind her:
*I keep cloth diapers folded and prepped in the green laundry basket.  Today is laundry day and so I dumped a pile of clean diapers that need to be folded on the floor.  Attractive, no?
**Do you find it wonderfully amusing that I hang her baby doll by the head in her play gym?  I rotate out various toys to spice things up... but hanging the baby doll by the head is my all-time fav!


1/2 year of Heidi-loo-who

True to form, I didn't look at the calendar for a few days, so I had no idea that yesterday was the 30th.  Oh, the glamorous life of a stay-at-home mom!  Also, true to form, on the day I have the time and desire to do a photo shoot... it's dreary and raining outside.  Ho hum.  I'm gonna get a few thoughts/ highlights written down and posted and will post a pic as soon as the sun peeks out.

Heidi's personality is blooming!  Every time her dad gives her the tiniest bit of attention, she begins wiggling in delight.  It's hilarious.  All he has to do is glance at her!  He likes to sit her on top of the table in her bumbo during meal times to include her in our chatting.  She watches us eat and tries to eat the gourds and/or monkey balls that I have on the table as fall decoration.  Seriously... those things are ridiculously huge for her baby hands and yet she loves to hold/drop/gum them.

She continues to find her older sister captivating.  She spends her time watching her bounce around the house and giggling each time Hazel gets down on the floor to interact with her.  Any time Heidi cries, Hazel runs to find Heidi a toy.  She's still perfecting the art of actually getting the toy in Heidi's hands and not just sitting the toy somewhere near Heidi.

She's had a cold for about a week, so I fear that right now her reaction to me is not as pleasant as each time I pick her up or sit on her play mat, I wipe her nose.  Boy does she hate that!  Oh wait, I just peered around the couch to look at her and got a huge smile.  Sigh.  She is generous with her smiles, it's just hard to see it around the two fingers that are ALWAYS in her mouth (the pointer and middle fingers of her left hand).

She can sit for a few seconds before toppling and there have been a few times when we think she's about ready to push onto her knees.  OH NO!  Come back here baby!

She is a cuddle bunny who loves to snuggle into arms, have her toes kissed and rub cheeks.  She continues to take wonderful naps throughout the day.  Now that I am babysitting some other kids, I am learning how unique my wonderful nappers are.  I'm so lucky that my girls love their nap times!  Grow brains grow!

FYI:  I'm typing this while enjoying my 2nd cup of coffee on this 3-cup dreary morning.  Hazel is next to me on the couch watching Calliou (I allow TV until my coffee is consumed).  She is captivated by the TV, her lips are blue from her lollipop (her current addiction is lollipops.  I do make sure she eats breakfast first.  Her other favorite snack...  pbut ted bears {peanut butter and teddy bear honey sandwich} and TOMATO SLICES!), and she is putting her toes in her mouth.  What a weirdo ;)