Welcome to a piece of our sweet journey of life. This blog is about our family life-- my husband, my type 1 diabetic kindergartner, my spunky pre-schooler, my newborn baby girl, and myself! Enjoy!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Shutterfly Books

Thoughts on making some Shutterfly Books recently:

  • It was on my Christmas list to have time to do so
  • I had coupons that were about to expire and I’ve let too many of those slip away in the past
  • I only had two baby books for Michael, and none for Noah, and none to finish out Michael’s first year
  • Created 2 for Noah's first year, and one more to finish out Michael's first year
  • I missed out on creating books in 2014-2016 because I knew I'd come across pictures leading up to Michael's diagnosis.  Looking at pictures was painful—too close to Michael's diagnosis.  Too weighty for me to think that I missed out on life because I was so scared
  • Even looking at the books now makes me wonder if I realized how much a treasure the time was and did I fully enjoy my children
  • “babies don’t keep”
  • Makes me want to fully envelope myself in Avery’s baby stages so that I can truly feel like I cherished them and relished in the moments
  • Once all 3 kids have a set of books chronicling their first year, I’ll make combined books and I’ll just print extra copies so each kid can have one  (UPDATE:  I actually have now successfully made a "family book" for 2014-2015)
  • I gave myself grace and accepted the good dose of reality that I don’t have as much time as I did when Michael was my only baby, so I didn’t add text boxes and cute sayings to the most recent books and that’s okay
  • Making these books for us to look at is such a treasure.  Michael LOVES looking at his books.  Noah isn't really into looking at his yet, but I know he will want to look one day. 
  • Next on the list:  making a family book for 2015-2016, and then chronicling Avery's first year.  

Until Next Time, 
Much love, Reba

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Beach Trip

It should go without saying that we didn’t attempt a beach trip in the summer of 2017 since Avery was due at the end of August.  In the previous summer, we managed to go twice—Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend—and we ate.it.up.  We loved it.  The boys loved it.  We took both sets of my in-laws (one on Memorial Day, one on Labor Day).  (Side note for those who might be new:  this beach cottage sits in the panhandle of Florida in the most delightful beach town.  The cottage is owned by my Nana [her family owned it as a girl] and we’ve been vacationing there forever.  Aaron & I had our honeymoon there, and have wanted to go back and visit and finally made it work in 2012 and then in 2016.  It’s our goal to go multiple times a summer from here on out.  But, the reason why we brought my in-laws each time and not my parents is because my parents have been before since it was our family vacation spot). 

So it’s been nearly a year and a half since we were able to go to the beach and I’ve been aching to get back down there.  We knew we were going to go over Memorial Day weekend this year, and hopefully Labor Day, and hopefully on another weekend somewhere in between.  Heck, we’d live down there in the summer if we could make it work and Noah & Aaron somehow developed mosquito immunity.  

On a whim, I looked at Michael’s spring break schedule and decided to ask Aaron if he was craving a trip to the beach as much as I was.  We also thought we’d offer to “open up” the cottage for the year—meaning get it prepared for use throughout the rest of spring and summer by de-winterizing it.  My grandparents are so gracious and are actually going to meet us there in late March to help us see what goes into opening it up.  This means we get hands on training, and get in a visit with them too! 

We told the boys where we’re going and they’re pumped!  Michael is going to add to his shell collection (currently, he has a grand total of zero shells, so any shell will be a great addition). :) Noah is going to sit and watch the fans (he’s mesmerized by the huge fans in the cottage).  

We plan to eat lots of seafood (via restaurant and cooking some ourselves since Aaron found a great place to buy it!).  
We plan to build sand castles (the water might be too cold to swim in since it’ll be March).  
We plan to take walks (coated with bug spray since that’s just how we have to do things).  
We plan to play board games (the cottage is fully stocked!).  
We plan to relax (rocking chairs overlooking the ocean anyone?).  
We plan to nap (fingers crossed).  We plan to just have a really great family time.
We’ll bake muffins for breakfast one day.  
We’ll go to my favorite grocery store in the whole world.  
We’ll attempt to play mini golf one early afternoon.  
We’ll go to a nearby beach town and walk along the pier.  I’m just so gosh darn excited about going to the beach cottage!

Until next time,

Much love, Reba

Friday, March 2, 2018

Costco Haul

Both Aaron and I spent our teenage years on the western side of America—Aaron being born & raised in the state of Washington, and me living in Hawaii for ages 12-17.  We were both very familiar with Costco and the Kirkland Signature brand—it actually began in Washington state.

Shortly after my family moved to Alabama, a Costco warehouse opened up about 30 miles away from our home.  Aaron and I got Costco memberships in 2012 a couple months before Michael was born.  

Aaron now happens to work at a facility within 3 miles of the store.  So, about once a month he’ll swing into Costco to grab a few things on his way home.  We’ve definitely found that it’s to our benefit to get some staples at Costco even if they’re in the bulk size. 

Here’s some of our favorite things to get from Costco:

-JIF Peanut Butter.   I’m a choosy mom.  I know prices vary across the nation, but we get this at Costco and it comes in a Twin pack and the PB jars are  48oz. each  That’s 3 lbs EACH.  That’s HUGE!  A singular smaller  24 oz jar at the regular grocery store is $7.99.  We pay $9.99 for this twin pack.  This is pretty much always on our list.  We eat some peanut butter in this house.  And when I say “we” I pretty much mean me. 

-Butter sticks.  I do a fair amount of baking, and we use a reasonable amount of butter in our cooking.  I like to get butter at Costco (the Kirkland signature brand).  It comes in a 4-pack of four 1/2c sticks each.  I put one box in the fridge and put the rest in the freezer.  I like not having to worry if I have butter.  Once I’m down to my last pack in the freezer, it goes back on the list.  We can usually go 2-3 trips between having to buy butter.

-Ziploc bags.  I particularly like buying the box of sandwich bags (read: I have a kid in school and I pack his lunch).  And I like having the box of gallon size bags too—they’re just good for all kinds of uses around the kitchen.  Food storage, thawing out meat, storing the bacon package after it’s been opened, sealing off stinky trash (like shrimp peels), containing all the medicines that we pack whenever we go on a trip (Benadryl, Tylenol, motrin, Zyrtec, etc).  We’ve bought the variety pack of Ziploc when they didn’t have the full box of sandwich bags available.  But it’s hard for me to find enough uses for the quart size bags and snack bags.  I definitely prefer to have the full box of sandwich bags, and a box of gallon bags.

-Crystal Light lemonade mix.  We prefer using carb-free drink mixes at our house.  Now, taste-wise, I prefer the Publix brand for lemonade mix.  But we prefer the convenience of the Crystal Light availability at Costco.  Aaron found a bag of the mix, which includes about 20 little packs which each make a 2-qt pitcher of lemonade.  We make this all the time and it’s nice to know we have lemonade mix for whenever Noah (he’s our biggest lemonade drinker) asks us to make more when the current pitcher runs out. 

-Dog food.  When you have two medium size dogs, dog food disappears like no other!  It seemed we were constantly buying dog food at the grocery store and that would hike up our bill so high!  So, we decided to search for our preferred branch (IAMs) at Costco.  They didn’t have it.  So we chose to try the Kirkland signature brand.  Our dogs did fine (sometimes dogs struggle with changing brands—tummy issues).  It’s so convenient now to buy a huge bulk bag once a month.  Usually our Costco trips are contingent on when the dogs need food.  I keep a running list of things we need from Costco, and whenever Aaron says he’s swinging by Costco after work, I just text my list to him.

-Meat.  I really really really like to buy meat at Costco.  We like to get the bags of frozen chicken thighs or tenders (when they don’t have thighs in stock).  We also like to buy their portioned out ground beef burgers (not the frozen ones, but the ones in the fridge area).  We then put 2 or so patties in parchment paper, wrap them up, and freeze them so it’s like a pound of ground beef for each wrapped portion.  We get about 4 packs of portioned meat when we buy it this way and it’s so much cheaper than getting it from the store.

-Ground coffee.  I think we usually buy this about once a year, to a year and a half.  A big canister that I use re-usable k-cups with lasts a really long time.  Also, it’s nice to have ground coffee on hand for when we have guests and make a pot of coffee. 

-Chocolate chips.  This is also something I hate buying from the regular grocery store due to the marked-up prices and small bags.  We buy the Nestle humongous bag and I pop it in the freezer.  We buy this about once every 4 or 5 trips—depends on how much baking I do. 

-Shelf stable chocolate milk.  This is a necessity in this house to have chocolate milk on hand at all times for potential blood-sugar lows for Michael.  We also send this to school for the nurses to have as part of Michael’s low blood sugar supply boxes.  We take this on trips, and always keep some in the consoles of our vehicles, and the no-need to refrigerate til open is so convenient. 

-Applesauce.  When Costco stocks the unsweetened Mott’s applesauce packs, we get them.  Twenty-four individual servings in a box, and we use them in lunches for Michael, as well as Noah’s breakfasts (sometimes he just wants applesauce). 

-diapers.  We started buying diapers at Costco when Michael was a baby.  We also bought Pull-ups from Costco.  We have started buying diapers again since Avery’s birth. 

-wipes.  We also buy baby wipes at Costco.  We don’t want to know what it’s like to run out of wipes, so this is our failsafe.  Also, it’s cheaper.  We can buy wipes about 2 to 3 times a year and be set.

-Facial wipes.  I liked to get either the Kirkland Signature Daily Facial Wipes (smells so good!) or the Neutrogena Make-Up Removing Facial Wipes from Costco. 

-Bar soap.  Costco carries our preferred Dove brand bar soap and it’s nice again to have the convenience of reaching under the bathroom cabinet for a bar of soap and knowing we have a supply.  We buy this about once to twice a year.  Each pack comes with like 16 bars of soap.

-BreatheRight strips for Aaron.  It’s always nice to have these on hand too rather than running out and having to  buy them at the grocery store.

-Paper plates.  It’s super convenient to have a supply of paper plates on hand for those nights when we don’t want to have a dinner mess, or we have a casual big-family dinner, etc.  We keep these in our laundry room on a shelf, but they do take up a lot of space.

-Napkins. Once I bought napkins like on two back-to-back Costco trips.  That was probably two years ago or more.  After I finally finish using the napkins I’m going to attempt using cloth napkins at home. 

-Parchment paper. Comes in a two pack and lasts us about 6 months.

-Paper Towels.  Life savers.  We keep these on a shelf in our garage.  Very nice to have on hand, and so convenient for times when the bus driver stops in front of my house and asks if he can have a roll since a kid just vomited on the bus.  Yes, here, take it.  I don’t need it back.  I have plenty.

-Toilet paper.  Again, this takes up a huge amount of space, but it doesn’t have to.  I could undo the packs of 6-rolls (4 packs of 6-rolls per Charmin container) and distribute them among both bathrooms. 

-Foil. Comes in a two pack.  Really helpful around the holidays when I don’t have to think if I have enough foil to cover turkeys, etc.

That’s pretty much our main haul.  Occasionally, we’ll come across good seasonal deals like cocoa packets at Christmas time, and that’s always fun.  We got 60 packs of cocoa mix for $5.00 in December.  I also bought Oreos here (10 sleeves a pack) in my early post-partum days with Noah and Avery.  We’ve also bought spaghetti sauce, spices, granola bars, etc. from Costco.

Until Next Time, 
Much Love, Reba

Wednesday, February 28, 2018


Pretty much everyday, my kids will say something so cute and I try to write it down as quickly as I can so I won't forget.  Chronicling them here makes for fun posts to look back on!

(About Diet Dr Pepper)
N: this is really hoppy. 

N: it makes my face spiky

M: when I get home can i watch those silly daddy videos?
Me: probably
M: ok. It's on youtube. Just type fgtv YouTube com, or whatever it's called. 

Me: let's throw this box away in the big trash can when we wave to the bus
Noah: what if you miss the bus?  (because, we wave to the school bus each morning)
Me: I won't. I'll set my alarm.  
Noah: is it monday?
Me: it's Wednesday.  
Noah: oh! Because if it was monday, the stop sign on the bus might hit you but it won't hit you if the trash can is just by the garage

Noah:  I thought the garbage truck went beep beep when it backs up but it doesn't; it goes woop woop 

Me: hey Noah I'm going to need to use my phone today to read my book. Remember my school book is on my phone?
Noah: yep! That's fine with me!
Me: so we'll need to share my phone today. I'll need to use it to read a few pages of my book, and then you can have it to watch some garbage truck videos, and then I'll need it back to read some more pages of my book, and then you can have it for another turn okay?
Noah: yep! We can really share because I'll let you! 

N: Michael!  The garbage truck is here and you get to go to school and I will miss you!

Noah: why are you wearing your glasses?
Me: because my eyes hurt 
Noah: why do your eyes hurt?
Me: because my computer screen is bright. 
Noah: you should work on your computer when it's off. 

(Noah has 3 Skittles on the table. Yellow, red, green). 
Noah: look! This is how I spell my name! One (touches the yellow skittle), two, (touches the green skittle), three! (touches the red skittle) 

Me: the dogs are going to think you smell really clean because you had a bath!
Noah: hey dogs, I smell like cereal!
Me: why do you smell like cereal?
Noah: because I had a bath!

(In piggly wiggly grocery store) (Noah points to an older bearded man)
Noah: look, there's Santa Claus
Michael: no, that's not Santa Claus.
Noah: actually, it is Santa Claus 
Me: hey boys, let's talk about something else 

Noah: ( walks into the kitchen after coming home from my mother-in-law's house) (happily says:) it smells like corn in here! 
Me: I haven't cooked anything with corn all day

Michael: there's a mail truck. Right there. See? It says ups! (Like the plural of up) :)

Michael: (hid a toy in a plastic heart) can you guess what's inside?
Me: a frog?
Michael: nooooo.  It starts with an s and ends with a g.
Me: hmmm, a sponge? No, those letters aren't right.  A song? I have no idea. 
Michael: a spider ring!

Noah: I want you to help me figure out something to eat!
Me: toast! With jelly!
Noah: (shakes head)
Me: toast with jelly! 
Noah: (nods head in excitement) 
Me: okay, toast with jelly! 
Noah: no, not toast. Just jelly. 

Noah: we go to piggly wiggly and we do the pig wiggle. 

Oh how I just love them!

Until Next Time, 
Much Love, Reba

Friday, February 23, 2018

Imaginative Play

I highly encourage imaginative play in our house.  It’s a skill that is vastly leaving the generations after us.  When my kids want to play silly games and act out a grand scheme that’s in their heads, I’m all about it! 

Obviously, if you’ve read the blog for any length of time or followed along my Instagram page, you know that Noah is obsessed with garbage trucks.  He even pretends to be one himself!  (This is oddly similar to that scene in Zootopia where the fox dresses like an elephant and Nick is like “this little stinker loves elephants.  Wants to be one when he grows up!”  Well, the same is true in our house except instead of a fox wanting to be an elephant, my son wants to be a garbage truck or garbage man (or both, depending on the hour in which he’s asked). 

My mother-in-law is so crafty, and she set up a garbage truck simulation in her front yard for him.  This is now his game of choice when he goes over to her house.  She has two big garbage cans outside (the previous homeowners left theirs at the house, and she brought hers from her other house which is the standard practice around here).  So one of the cans remains fairly clean and garbage free.  She pulled that can over to her swing set, which is wooden and has a little fort area complete with a three-step ladder.  She set up the can next to that ladder, and stuck a toy broom upside down between the ladder and the fort area.  Noah stands on the stairs pretending like it’s his garbage truck.  Then she rolled over their hose-winder and Noah pretends it's the garbage crusher.  She also bought him kid-sized gardening gloves that he wears for his “garbage man gloves.”  So sweet. 

I’m hoping Noah always continues to use his imagination for greatness and never loses sight of the ability we have to create happiness out of simple things.

Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Avery: 6 Months

Avery turned 6 months old on February 20th!  Six months just seems old to me!  I can't believe we're halfway to her first birthday.

In some ways, I start to slip into being sad that the time is going so fast.  But then I remember that I am truly enjoying every age and every stage and that so many good things are still to come!  Although babies are so cute and cuddly, waking up multiple times a night to feed and change diapers in the dark are hard days.  Being limited on how far away I can go from the house before I'm needed back at home to feed are hard days.  They are good days, but they are hard days. The days of freedom are still in my future and still days to look forward to!  As are the days when she will develop her cute little toddle and the days when she'll look at me & her daddy and say "I wuv you."  Those days will be so precious and I'll look back on these baby days with fond remembrance (but probably not accurately remembering the struggles). :)

At her 4 month check up she weighed 13.1 pounds and was 24 inches tall.  She had her 6 month check-up today.  She weighs 15 pounds 10 ounces, and is 26 inches tall.  She is in the 50th percentile for height, weight, and head circumference.  Still a very proportionate little girl.

Clothing: Avery is in 6 month clothing for onesies and pants.  I've started dressing her in 6-9 month pajamas-- again because of length. Although she's middle of the road for her height at the 50th percentile, she still seems tall to me and the 6-month footed pajamas seem too short.  I feel like she's more comfortable with some room in her PJs, so 6-9 month it is!  I'm a little sad that she's transitioning out of her 6 month clothing.  Again, lots of these pieces were bought specifically for her rather than being hand-me-downs.  So it's a little sad that she won't get to wear these pieces for much longer.  On the bright side though, each new group of clothing that she transitions into is always fun to look at and choose from each day.  

Diapers: She's still very comfortably in size 2.    

Sleeping:  She is not very consistent with napping or overnight sleeping.  It's hit or miss whether she'll nap in her crib on the weekends or in the evenings.  About half of the time, we end up holding her during her nap.  Naps can last anywhere from twenty minutes to one hour.  At nighttime, it's been a roller coaster.  She had several nights in a row where she would wake every.two.hours.  Then she'd have a night where she'd go her standard three hours between feeds-- but not a minute more.  Then I got a teaser night of her going from 8:00pm-1:00am and then from 1:15am-4:45am, and waking for the day at 6:20!  I felt like a new woman!  Then the next night was a "wake every 2 hours" night, and the one following that was an every 3 hours night.  Then the following night was another 8pm-1am, 1:15am-5am, then wake at 7:00 for the day.  Last night she went from 8:00pm-10:30pm, then 10:40pm-2:45am, then I fed her at 4:45am so she'd sleep til 7ish.  She made it til 6:30 this morning.  I'm hoping this string of going for more than 3 hours is going to continue.  This is one thing I look forward to in the future-- when she can sleep through the night!

Feeding: She has done so much better with her bottle feedings at my mother-in-law's house during the day while I work.  I'm pumping 3 times a day during the work day and nursing her for any feed for which she's at home.  We have made it through the yellow veggies of baby food.  She liked squash the best, and carrots the least.  She will try green beans or peas next.  We do each veggie by itself for about 4 nights, then move to the next one.  For our pediatrician practice, they recommend yellow veggies, then green veggies, then fruit.  We're having a bit of difficulty finding the green veggies (stage 1, for "supported sitters") in stores.  The local grocery store (which just opened last Thursday!) had one of the two kinds of green veggies, but I can't remember which one.  Our favorite grocery store (about 20 minutes away) didn't have either kind.  We'll see what we end up with when we swing into the local store to grab whichever kind of green veggie they have in stock.  I can't wait to get her on fruits.  I think she'll be so excited. When we're done with a container of baby food, she'll cry a bit but as soon as we pick her up, she's totally fine.  

Tummy Time:  She loves to be on her tummy as long as we position her towards the tags of her tummy-time mat or if we set her Boppy pillow on the floor in front of her with the tags facing her.  She'll examine the tags and of course try to put them in her mouth.  

Habit: She's now started rubbing her own hair when she's nursing or drinking from a bottle.  It's the sweetest thing. 

Aaron & I still just sit and stare at her in the evenings after the boys have gone to bed.  We just can't get over how cute she is and how blessed we are to have her in our lives!  

Until Next Time, 
Much love, Reba

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Peach Cobbler

Cobblers are such a great dessert because they are so easy to make!  And if you know me, you know I like easy when it comes to baking!

We've had some jarred peaches in our pantry and neither Aaron nor I just eat jarred peaches just to eat them. So I knew we needed to find some way to include them in a baked good or they'd just continue taking up space in my pantry.

Aaron likes the "cobbler" part of cobbler, and I've oddly been in the mood for a warm peach dessert, so peach cobbler was obviously the right choice!

Anytime I read a recipe that includes "fresh peaches" which I don't have on hand this time of year, I just replace it with jarred peaches (and I keep typing jarred instead of canned since the peaches I have are in glass jars, but canned would work just the same).  I researched a recipe that included fresh peaches, and I had to read a little further to see that part of the amount of sugar requested was actually used to create a syrup for the fresh peaches.  I just removed that part of the recipe entirely and used jarred/canned peaches in place of the fresh peaches and the extra sugar called for.


For an 8x8 pan, I used the following measurements:

1/4 c butter (half of a stick)
1/2 c AP flour
1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 c milk
1 1/2 c jarred/canned peaches
Ground cinnamon for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375.
Melt the butter in the 8x8 pan.
Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and milk in a bowl just until moistened.
Once the butter melts, pour the flour mixture over the butter but do not stir it into the butter.
Add the peaches on top of the flour mixture in the pan but do not stir it all together.  It's okay if a little juice/syrup from the peaches gets into the pan also.
Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until top is a nice golden brown.

Serve warm, and add a scoop of vanilla ice cream for extra oomph!


Cobblers are the perfect easy dessert since they're just a "dump and go" kind of thing.  We'll probably be making lots of cobblers as our weather down here is tricking us into thinking it's early summer although we're barely past the middle of February!

Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba