Friday, December 17, 2010

Third Trimester, we meet again!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Finished. With 10 days to spare.

Monday, December 06, 2010

I used to be a perfectionist.

There was a day when I could not sleep if there was unfinished business. Perhaps some may say this is a positive quality - like, for example, my husband who appreciates the fact that I can't go to bed angry or with a conversation "unresolved". Or, my old bosses, who always marveled at my ability to finish projects without cutting corners.

But you know what? I actually think for most of my life this might have been a borderline negative quality for me...and I'm just now admitting it. It is not until Mommyhood that I have been allowed to let go of my need to have things perfect. I now realize that it's not always possible to go to bed with all the dishes washed, all the laundry folded, and all the day's tasks completed. I understand that sometimes things get broken, messed up, and abandoned with parts undone. And, get ready, folks. I now understand that *gasp* sometimes the bread can't be made from scratch, frozen veggies will do in a pinch, and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich will do for my toddler's lunch.

I am thankful that with God's help, I am coming to grips with my insane addiction to perfection. I used to think my mom was exaggerating when she said I would NOT eat a piece of broken cheese on my sandwich as a child - even if my life depended on it. Now I believe she's probably not stretching the truth at all. =)

It is a really wonderful thing to have all other things in my life become secondary to being a good wife and mom. Could I have finished my Christmas tree a couple of days ago like I wanted to? Probably. But it would have involved a late night trip to the store to get replacement bulbs to finish out the lights, a late night finishing out the cranberry garland, careful placement of all the ornaments, and probably a cranky morning after it was all done. But instead I chose to go to the park with my boys, play blocks, snuggle in the mornings, and enjoy my evenings at home with my husband...

Oh, I'm sure it will all be finished by the time the week is done, but for now this tree is a good reminder of how I am being ever-molded into a woman with new priorities. How I love the changes that come with this stage of life. I hope I never resist opportunities in life to be changed and grow. I'm thankful for God, my husband, and the little people that surround me for helping me on the path to post-perfectionism!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Season is Upon Us...

We are excited to really celebrate Advent this year as a family. After all, we are not moving to another state, having a baby (yet anyway), or traveling. We are home in Houston for this whole season - yay!

We are using this book by Henri Nouwen as our Advent guide. It is a great book complete with daily scripture reading, prayers, and daily advent activities for personal reflection and outward service. I highly recommend it.

Hope you are enjoying the beginning of this wonderful season!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Sunday, November 07, 2010

A Kid-Free Vacation

Oh, how I love vacationing with just my husband. Jason and I had the opportunity to go away this past weekend, thanks to Grandma who was willing to hold down the fort in Houston for us. We have made a yearly habit out of taking a husband/wife vacation each year and it has been some of the best money we've spent in our short married life. Having 48 hours of eating meals out with no highchairs, ordering milk & warm cookies from room service, sleeping late, and leisurely sightseeing together does us a world of good!

This year we went to San Antonio and stayed in a lovely hotel on the Riverwalk. We enjoyed the beautiful weather, to die for Mexican food, and overall time to relax together...We are already looking at the calendar for when we can book the next kid-free weekend!

The one photo we have together, thanks to the iphone and the hotel doorman. =)

The Riverwalk.

Good food and plenty of outdoor seating - perfect for the current Fall weather.

Lots of Old World looking charm on the Riverwalk.

A pair of cool bikes.

My dashing husband in his uber cool aviators.

Lots of tall buildings.

This Mexican food restaurant was already well lit for the holidays. Glad I'm not paying their electric bill.

Mexican breakfast complete with chips & salsa. Who could turn down chips at 7:00 a.m.? Yummy.

The panaderia was quite tempting - so many colors and flavors of Mexican sweets to choose from.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Baby Brother.

Looks like Baby #3 has the Reynolds profile. We are gonna have another handsome little boy running around here!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

3 Years Today.

3 years, 3 babies. We are planning to be married a long, long time, so I guess at this rate we are on track for 48 babies.
(Ha ha. Just kidding, Mom!)

There's not much to say other than we have had a very happy 3 years...
Happy Anniversary to us!

A little more about the photo: At our wedding reception, we had a vintage photo booth for the guests. We asked everyone to take some pictures and paste one of them in a scrapbook for us with a message. It is seriously one of our best wedding mementos. We love seeing all the pictures and remembering who was there to join us on that special day. And, hey, photo booths provide a great excuse for the bride and groom to sit in an tiny enclosed space with the curtain closed - during the reception!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Housekeeping: Toddler Style

Since finding the whole roll of toilet paper in a crumpled mess on the bathroom floor is the new normal, I've decided to make the best of it.

I figure the hotel fold makes it a lot less obvious, don't you think?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Time is Flyin'.
Henry is 6 months old....already!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Little Sweet Cheeks.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

...and our family continues to grow. =)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Me & the Boys.

Monday, August 02, 2010

An Important Blog

I want to introduce my blog readers to what I believe is a very important blog post. Our Army Life details the life of some of our family friends - one of the many military families in our country who are serving on the front lines in a post-9/11 world.

Our friend, Gabe, is leaving this week for the hills of Afghanistan to fight in a war he wholeheartedly believes in. Mostly he believes (which you'll discover if you read his recent blog post) that the world should remain free from the threat of terror. Whether you support this war or not, you should still take an honest look at the people who are fighting it. You simply cannot deny that they are brave, honorable, and willing to risk everything for our freedom and for their future.

Please join our family in praying for Gabe, Carolyn, and their children. May they be strengthened and encouraged in these days...

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Yesterday we set out for our second Saturday of Reynolds Family Vacation Training. We have been making a habit of road trips lately in preparation for our vacation this week to the mountains of New Mexico. We are flying most of the way, but we will spend a significant amount of time riding in the car. Since we haven't done it much with 2 kiddos, we thought it necessary to consider full fledged training - picnic lunches, extra diapers, toys, snacks, etc etc.

Saturday we ventured out to Galveston, which is about an hour drive from us. Did you know that I have grown up in Texas and I have never even seen a Texas beach? Some might snort and say I'm not missing much. And, let's be honest, it ain't Tahiti or anything. But it is a beach, and there is lots of sand and fun to be had for an active toddler. So, Saturday was a success. Let's hope this week is full of more successes! Enjoy the pics.

Yes, this photo is way overexposed. But I love it.

A colorful beach.

Happy toddler running in the sand. I think the beach is the perfect place to ensure a good afternoon naptime!

Daddy and Alex taking it all in.

Henry enjoying the beach from his stroller.

Mommy testing out the Texas waters for the first time.

The rescue squad - minus the actual rescuers.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Making a Wish.

Check out my big boy blowing out his birthday candle!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cute little Henry.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sunday, June 06, 2010

10 Reasons to Love Whole Foods

1. Last week, I went to buy Alex some new sunscreen. I'd done some research online and decided that California Baby's Sunscreen with Citronella was the best choice. The price was marked $21.99. Pricey, but from what I'd read, I was convinced it is the best choice for our family. When I got to the register, it rang up $22.49. Only a $.50 difference, but when I mentioned it to the clerk, he offered to go check the price. He came back with the tag that read $21.99 and agreed it was priced incorrectly. He said I should go over to the help desk for my refund. I actually thought, "oh well, it's only $.50. Is it really worth the tiny refund?" But, on principal, I decided to go to the help desk to get my two quarters. You know what? They gave me an ENTIRE refund on the sunscreen and insisted I keep it. Are you serious?! Who does that? Any store that is willing to lose a few bucks to correct their own mistake is worth any extra money it will cost me to shop there in the long run.

2. They have Cedar's Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. I've given up on making my own hummus these days (who has time to roast their own red peppers?!) Cedar's is my new fave.

3. Samples on virtually every aisle, every day of the week. Samples = Happy Toddler Shopper + Happy Shopper Mommy too. Need I say more?

4. They have the most inexpensive Organic Whole Milk I've found in my neighborhood.

5. They have vegetarian and vegan ready-made food items. Even vegan chocolate cake.

6. On another shopping trip this week, I was shopping with Alex. He was riding in the front of the cart and evidently, feeling a little feisty that day. He reached behind him, grabbed my bag of apples and tossed them on to the floor. I whispered a scolding in his ear and (sweetly, of course) told him not to do it again. One of the Whole Foods employees standing nearby picked up the apples and instructed me to go get a new bag of them. I told him no problem, I'm used to eating things that my toddler ruins. Still, he insisted I go get a new bag. "I don't want you to leave this store with bruised apples." So I went and got a new bag to take home. Again, not afraid to lose a few bucks to make sure I get home with good products. Impressive.

7. They will let you taste ANYTHING. Seriously, cheese, bread, prepared foods, fruit, you name it. Probably because they understand that I'm much more willing to take home a $13 block of cheese if I already know I like it.

8. They have the greatest employee health plan I've ever heard of. Companies who take good care of their employees are few and far between these days. Whole Foods is smart to offer good benefits, which equals happy employees, which equals a pleasant shopping experience for everyone.

9. My kid never leaves there empty handed. The cashiers are always ready with some kind of treat for him. Sometimes it's a cereal bar, sometimes it's a sucker. Either way, it's a nice conclusion to our grocery shopping.

10. I can walk there from my house. Not that I'd want to in the Houston summer heat, but it was a nice perk in the winter and spring. =)

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The Return of the Cloth.

Recently, Erin commented on my blog asking about my experience with cloth diapers. I actually do have a little spare time today, so I thought I'd talk a little bit about it...

First, to answer her question, yes, I am using cloth diapers on Henry. I will be careful not to claim expert status because my experience is probably a little different than other cloth diapering moms. I am using (and used with Alex) a cloth diaper service. I'll explain a little about the logistics of that later.

Second, I must state up front that this post is totally based on MY experience and MY opinions. I would never want anyone to think that I am instructing everyone to use cloth diapers. Sometimes they just aren't practical for everyone or won't work for various reasons and that's fine. There are many perspectives on diapering (like most areas of parenting), so please just consider this my perspective and not a mandate for everyone!

Overall, I LOVE cloth diapers for the following reasons:
1. They are cheap. We are thrifty and disposables are expensive. Hey, let's be honest, the bottom line matters to everyone and I can say with certainty that cloth is WAY cheaper.

2. They are better for baby bottoms. Cotton on your baby's bum is much better than bleached paper. Also disposables are filled with little gel beads made from chemicals. Often, when a diaper is full it bursts and the beads can get all up in your baby's junk. I figure that my baby's tush is one of that last places I'd be willing to expose to unnecessary chemicals.

3. They are better for the environment. We are not enviro-nuts or anything, but we felt like using cloth is a responsible way to reduce the waste we produce in our household. When you consider that 18 billion disposable diapers are thrown into landfills each year, requiring a total of 500 years to decompose, it only makes sense to try to reduce our contribution to the overwhelming amount of waste.

There are a couple of things I DON'T LOVE about cloth:
1. Newborn breastfed baby poo is very runny. Since I use pre-fold diapers and a diaper cover, it sometimes makes a mess. It is rare that my baby's clothing is soiled, but usually the diaper cover gets a good dose of the mess.

2. When Alex got older (around a year old) and was eating a diet of regular foods, the diapers were just plain disgusting. My kid is really regular and poops about 4 times every day. Even though many online articles suggest that the poop can be simply shaken into the toilet, this was never the case for me. At this stage, it was a little too much for me to handle. I was in the early stages of pregnancy and just couldn't do the poop shake with the diapers.

3. Again, when babies are eating more "real" food, the diapers themselves were a little stinky. Breastfed baby poo is odorless, so this is not an issue for the first 6 months or so. But as their diet changes, it requires a little work to keep the dirty bin from stinking. There are deoderizers and other things you can put in the bin to keep it from being too stinky, but to say that the bin never stinks would be a lie.

How it works for me:
As I mentioned earlier, I use a cloth diaper service. This means that the service actually owns the diapers and does the work of cleaning them. Each week, they pick up my dirty diapers - which I leave outside on my front porch - and deliver clean ones. Many might consider this a "halfway" approach to cloth diapering, but it is still cheaper than disposable and allows me all the benefits of "full" cloth diapering. I use Thirsties brand diaper covers and have about 8-10 of them in each size. We knew we would use cloth for each baby so we went ahead and bought a supply of covers knowing we could use them longterm. This is one of the upfront expenses of cloth diapering. I recommend that you buy the covers a size at a time so you can evaluate if you are going to continue with the cloth.

I would venture to say that most cloth diapering moms don't use a service and do their own washing of the diapers. Most of those moms would probably tell you that they are already doing lots of laundry already, so one more load of diapers is not an inconvenience. To get started, they simply buy the pre-fold diapers, covers and a good soap. It is recommended that you start with about 24-36 diapers and a trash can with a lid and a liner (some use plastic trash bags, some more sophisticated diaper hamper bags). There are complete instructions and tips on this website if you are doing your own washing.

Probably many cloth diapering moms use all-in-one diapers. If you sew, you can make them yourself and save tons of money on purchasing them. Otherwise, purchasing the all-in-ones can be a bit pricey. I don't have much experience with these, so that's all I'll say about them. Perhaps some moms will want to comment on their experience with these.

On a side note, I also use cloth wipes (for all the same reasons I use cloth diapers) and I love them. I make a wipe solution to put in a squirt bottle, wet the wipe, use it and toss it into a little trash can with a lid. When it comes time to wash them, I just dump them in a hot wash and then dry them.

I gotta run because my free time is coming to a close, but I'm going to leave the discussion open to others who have used cloth and are willing to share their experience. The web has tons of resources and tips about how to cloth diaper. My best advice is to talk to others who do it and read about the benefits. Then you can decide if it will work for your family.

Hope that helps! Oh, and here's a picture of Alex "helping" me with Henry's diapers. =)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Stayin' Home.

So glad I get to stay home with my I don't miss moments like these.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Happy and Plump.

My firstborn gave me a very good laugh this morning. I gotta show you the pictures so you can have a good laugh too...

This is where Alex gets his diaper changed. It consists of a dresser, changing pad, and a colorful homemade changing pad cover that matched his nursery.

The changing pad has blocks with pictures of old fashioned toys. He often points to each square and we learn the word that goes with the picture. For example, "airplane".


Then, this morning, he points to this one and says, "Mama". I wasn't sure whether to be offended that my son sees me as, well, happy and plump, or laugh my head off. I chose to laugh. And laugh. And laugh! I guess maybe if I were sensitive about my weight or appearance (which I'm not), I might be offended. But instead, I find it simply hilarious.

Maybe someday he'll point to this one (she's so skinny, you know) and say, "Mama".
I'm not going to hold my breath, though!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

One Happy Mama.

I'm thankful for all of these boys today!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Stylish Rollin'

My friend, Todd Schulz, has a way of finding the most hilarious things on the internet and posting them on his blog. Seriously, I am laughing so hard at this video that I am now thanking my lucky stars that Todd has the time to discover this stuff...and also wondering if I, too, should get a minivan...?

After all, I got skills too, ya know.

Thanks for the Friday laugh, Todd! And, oh yeah, Toyota.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Dark Chocolate Microwave Brownies

These little jewels are an after-pregnancy-I-really-gotta-lose-these-extra-25-lbs dieter's dream. If you are not a huge fan of dark chocolate, you can back off the cocoa a bit and they are still very yummy. Oh, and the best part? They are ready in less than 5 minutes! Perfect when you need a fix but are not willing to bust the whole diet plan with the real thing.

1 ripe banana, mashed
1/2 c raw sugar
1/4 c canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 c whole wheat pastry flour
4 heaping tablespoons of cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c vanilla soy milk (or almond milk, or rice, whatever kind you drink that's low fat)
a handful of chocolate chips

Mix wet ingredients in a bowl, except for soy milk. Then add dry ingredients, except for chocolate chips. Use soy milk to make the batter like brownie batter - it takes about 1/2 cup. Just add slowly and stir it till it looks like real brownie batter. Then stir in the chocolate chips.

Spray a microwave-safe dish (I use a pyrex 8" round) with baking spray and pour the batter in. Microwave it for 4-5 minutes on high. I do closer to 4 minutes because I like 'em gooey, but if you want them to be more fully cooked, do 5 minutes. They are best when they are still warm. You'll also have to resist the temptation to cover them with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. That, folks, is a Southern tradition, but it doesn't help keep these in the "decent tasting diet dessert" category. That would automatically qualify it for the "this used to be diet, but then I went and added stuff that will make me fat" category.

I'd include a picture, but I ate them all. Does that mean they still qualify as "diet"? Not sure...but they were so delicious I couldn't resist. =)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The newborn fog is lifting. Last night I even slept for 3 continuous hours! Needless to say, these days we are thankful for 7:45 p.m. bedtimes - for us, not the kids - and coffee. We're almost through the roughest part and expect to be sleeping more soon. At least, we hope! =)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Seriously, Mama.

Henry says, "How many more photos are you gonna take?"

Thursday, April 01, 2010


Earlier in the week I blogged about the feeding troubles around our house. We have come to a resolution, so I thought I'd share...

We have decided to pump my milk and bottle-feed Henry. There are lots of reasons for the decision, but mainly it stems from us sensing that trying and trying to breastfeed him (with little success) was becoming a major stress on our entire family.

We went to see a lactation counselor this week and she was actually very helpful and encouraging. She assured us that Henry probably could breastfeed at some point, but his only problem was that he was used to the bottle. I fed him while we were there and he was only getting about a half an ounce in an hour of trying to nurse him. She encouraged us to go home, get rid of the bottle, and try to breastfeed him only. So I spent the rest of that day trying for an hour at a time to nurse him, then pump, and then feed him with a syringe. Meanwhile my almost-two-year-old wandered around the house getting into all sorts of mischief for 4 hours of that day. By the end of the day, Henry was ravenous and mad because he simply wasn't getting enough food. And actually I don't blame you know how slow it is to eat from a syringe?! Like eating crumb by crumb when all you want is a whole plate of food. We decided that we should abandon the effort, even if it'd only been 12 hours. Henry was hungry and crying non-stop and he needed to be fed.

I am totally okay with our decision and actually, I'm really glad to be moving forward. We will not give up totally on the whole BF mission. I'll still offer him chances to nurse in the coming weeks and maybe he'll get it. But if he doesn't, that's fine too. The benefit of having peaceful mealtimes for Henry (and for our whole family) and the ability to enjoy our baby are worth far more to me than the cost of not actually nursing Henry. Sometimes you gotta make decisions for the sanity of your whole family. Besides, now we can actually enjoy all the things Henry really excels at...he's a great sleeper, hardly ever fusses, and is already taking the title of Laid Back Baby at our house. We've actually never had one of those. =)

I'm actually finding out - as someone who commented on my first post pointed out - that there is a lot of flexibility with pumping and bottle-feeding. Jason is in charge of the middle of the night feedings, while I am busy pumping. It's a nice way for us to tag team and both spend quality time with Henry. I'm also really digging my new hands-free pumping bra. (Here's a link to one - CAUTION: don't click on the link if you don't want to see a picture of the actual bra and a nursing mom!) Hope this is not too much information for y'all, but seriously, if you are a mom who uses a breast pump, you totally need one. I now feel like I am redeeming the time while I'm pumping instead of counting down the 20 minutes that I have to sit there in the stillness with the sound of my pump. So fabulous.

Thanks to all of you who have commented and kept up with our journey. These newborn weeks are full of sleepless nights, demanding days, and hard work. But we are loving every minute of it!