Thursday, June 30, 2011



Happy birthday to you,

{I can't believe you're TWO}

Happy birthday to you,

 {What is this mama to do?}

Happy birthday, dear Trent,

{For our family is where you were meant}

Happy birthday to you! 

...And many more... 

Here's to you, kiddo!  We never knew what was missing until you were born.

We love you more than you can imagine.

XOXO, Mama and Daddy

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What to Do?

What to do when your cousin sits smack on you?

Sit right back!

Can't wait to see them when they are teenagers!  {And to see if Blair beats them up!}

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Review: The Forgotten Garden

I just finished reading 'The Forgotten Garden' by Kate Morton and wanted to share!

Synopsis: In 1913, a little girl arrives in Brisbane, Australia, and is taken in by a dockmaster and his wife. She doesn’t know her name, and the only clue to her identity is a book of fairy tales tucked inside a white suitcase.  When the girl, called Nell, grows up, she starts to piece together bits of her story, but just as she’s on the verge of going to England to trace the mystery to its source, her grandaughter, Cassandra, is left in her care. When Nell dies, Cassandra finds herself the owner of a cottage in Cornwall, and makes the journey to England to finally solve the puzzle of Nell’s origins. Shifting back and forth over a span of nearly 100 years, this is a sprawling, old-fashioned novel, as well-cushioned as a Victorian country house, replete with family secrets, stories-within-stories, even a maze and a Dickensian rag-and-bone shop.

Review: My sister actually logged into my library account and reserved this book for me.  That's how much she liked it.  And I am so happy she did!  This story sucked me in almost immediately, and I loved the way the story unfolded between the 3 generations all the way back to when the original characters were living out what would become the mystery.  It was such a unique and intriguing story!  I highly recommend!  A+++  {Allison, go check it out, now!}

{Synopsis and picture from}

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Birthday Party Fit for a Rockstar

Yay!  Trent's party was a huge success.  We had a great day, lots of great friends and family, and we now have amassed quite a collection of trash trucks.  My son is in heaven (and even napped w/ a trash truck today). {Grin}

Decorations!!  The lovely lady on Etsy who made Trent's invitation also made the banner and cupcake toppers.  She has some super cute stuff and was amazing to work with!  And I LOVE how everything turned out.  I didn't intend for my colors to match 4th of July, but it kind of worked out well that way!

The cake!!!!!  I plan to devote an entire post to this cake alone (get excited!).  I am SO proud of how this turned out and especially proud that I MADE this for my son!  It was truly a labor of love!  And thanks to Aunt K Dub, Aunt Patty, and Dena for their parts in helping create this masterpiece!

Aunt Patty gave the Birthday Boy his own guitar!  He was in heaven (and nicely reminded Babs that it was 'his guitar'.)  He directed me to play drums.

Final party prep for the special boy - what rocker would be complete without some crazy colored hair?  My parents do NOT like the mohawk but I really think he looks even more adorable (which I didn't think was possible)!!
{Sidebar - he was upset while I was spraying his hair because he couldn't get his goldfish into his mouth.  Ha!}

My blue-haired rockstar
 Trent being sweet to Blair!!!!!!  I meant to take a pic of the 3 laid plans, I guess!  I don't think we have one of the 3 of them yet!

Happy birthday to you, Trent!

For the boy who wouldn't eat his cake on his 1st birthday, he made up for lost time this year!  (Look closely and you'll see I have blue hair too!)

Presents!!  Lots of trash trucks and boy was he happy!

And the perfect ending to a party?  Time outside with adoring godparents!

After all my hard work, no one could eat much of the cake because Trent dug into most of it.  Ha!  Can you see the little fingerprints??

A happy family after a successful day! 

Thanks so much to everyone who made his party so special.  We love our little guy so much and are so happy he is so loved!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sneak Peak

How cute is my little ROCKSTAR?

The party was a huge hit, and I can't wait to share all the pics!

I think {after the mohawk} the cake is the best part!!!

But this mama is tired, so that'll have to wait for tomorrow. {grin}

Good night!

Rock On!

I can't wait to show y'all what Trent did to get ready for the party!  But right now I have to go find my inner rock star. {grin}

Friday, June 24, 2011

Decluttering: Before and After (Part 1)

Picasa will still not recognize that these pictures are on my camera, so I can't make fun collages of all angles of these rooms.  {I'm sure you're devastated, dear readers.}  So we'll have to settle for 1 before and 1 after.  Also, my closet is the best before and after, but I can't find the cord for the camera.  Sigh.  I thought decluttering meant this wouldn't happen.  I guess not when you're me!

Office/catch-all-room closet - BEFORE

Office/catch-all-room closet - AFTER

Kitchen pantry - BEFORE

Kitchen pantry - AFTER

Did you know Jolly Rancers could start to leak like this?  Crazy!

The pile of boxes I was able to recycle from the pantry.  EMBARRASSING!

Overflowing basket of books.  Even too much for this bookworm!

All these went to the public library!

Ahhh...this feels great!  I don't feel done by any means, and I do think I could go through these same areas again and get more stuff out (and I want to), but it's nice to have made the first step!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

It's MY Life

I have to laugh at the things that tickle me these days with a toddler.
  • I literally went 'Yes!' when I found not one but TWO pacifiers under furniture today.  They are like socks in the dryer...always missing.
  • I feel so much joy when my little man goes 'tee tee' on the 'potty'.  We even dance about it.
  • I almost teared up when reading that Trent took over a 2 1/2 hour nap at school.  {He's not a great school sleeper which makes for an overtired unhappy toddler some evenings.}
  • I laughed so hard while bathing Miles and Trent together.  They pour water on each other, splash...splash...splash, hug.  Trust me, it's adorbs.  {I might also say 'No, we do not touch his p*nis.  We only touch our own.'  EEK.}
  • I can't believe I think I've slept in on a Saturday when Trent doesn't get up until 7:30.
I mean seriously, I still can't believe this is my life now.  HA!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

June Activity

I took Trent to Heartsong Music today as our June 'Project 52' activity. (#33 Do something creative w/ Trent (like Children’s museum) at least 1 time per month).  Is it just me or can classes like that (Gymboree, Little Gym, etc.) be more stressful than fun?  I feel like I'm constantly on 'red alert' as I am learning that my child likes to hit.  {grrrrr}  I spend so much time trying to keep him from being 'that kid' that I don't enjoy the activity.  We went to a birthday party for a kid in his daycare class at Gymboree, and I was stressed almost the entire time.  I was hoping we could do their summer program, as they have a class every Wednesday, and Wednesday is the day Brent plays golf every week.  It would be something fun for us to do together; it would keep us indoors out of this blistering, nasty, insane, horrid Texas heat; it would be educational...  Overall the class was fun but I don't think we'll be going again this summer.  Am I the only mommy that stresses over this stuff?  #Mommyfail

Monday, June 20, 2011

Oh Yes...He Did!

Disclaimer before reading this post:  My son is wearing an outfit of which I do NOT approve.  It goes to show how much I love my mother-in-law that I not only took these pictures but am posting them on the internet.  If she wasn't such an amazing MIL and grandmother, I might be mad. {grin}  However, if anyone makes a comment (and that includes you Brent) about his outfit, I might never speak to you again.  Now back to our regularly scheduled display of cuteness.

It's official.  Trent has his Nana completely wrapped around her finger.  Want some proof?  Yup.  That's my son.  Inside a trash can.  And loving it!

Wait.  What's this?  Yup.  He got his Nana to get inside with him. 

'Come on, Trent.  Time to get out.' he scurries as far into the can as possible! 

Yup, I told you.  He's got her wrapped!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

All About Me

I can't get Picasa to recognize that I imported all my decluttering pictures {grrrr}, I decided a distraction was in order.  Therefore a random 'all about me' post.

Age: 30...weeks shy of 31
Bed size: King, baby...only way to go!
Chore you hate: All!  That's why they're called chores.  Duh.  But I probably hate unloading the dishwasher and folding clothes the most.
Dad's name: D.A.
Essential start to your day: Glasses
Favorite actress and actor: Mariska Hargitay and Mark Wahlberg
Gold or silver: Silver and anything that looks like silver (white gold, platinum)
Height: 5'4"
Instruments you play(ed): Piano and flute
Job title: Audit Manager
Kid(s): 1, Trent!!!
Living arrangements: Husband, son, house in the 'burbs
Mom's name: Janice
Nicknames: Al, Big Al Swope, Gurleyface, Gurley, Mommy (best one!)
Overnight hospital stays other than birth: Trent's birth
Pet peeves: Snoring/heavy breathing
Quotes you like: 'Wait to worry.', The Serenity Prayer
Right or left-handed: Right
Siblings: 1, Patty (older sis)
Time you wake up: 6:30 - 7:00
Vegetables you dislike: It'd be easier to name the ones I DO like.  The top veggies I hate are: tomatoes, onions, squash, and mushrooms.
Ways you run late: Trent, general disorganization, thinking I can get ready faster than I can...I don't try to be late but usually am.  :(
X-rays you've had: ultrasounds during pregnancy (does that count?)
Yummy food you make: Not a cook.  But here's a few we like.  Anything fast and easy (and without tomatoes, onions, squash and mushrooms)!
Zodiac: Leo {roar}

Anyone else want to play??

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dinner in Crazy Town

When I used to get together with my sister, it involved pedicures, movies, shopping, Starbucks...that kind of stuff. 

Now?  Toddlers, babies, chaos and insanity. {grin}

Everyone pinned down...FINALLY!

Flirting with Mama

When they leave and Trent goes to bed (or when we leave their house)...I'm worn out!  But it's so much fun...sort of.  Ha!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mash-Up Reviews

I mentioned a few weeks back that I was reading a biography of the Queen Mother.  I literally had it for NINE weeks but finally finished.  I was actually a little bereft and didn't know what to do with myself when I finished.  Last night I watched 'Love and Other Drugs'.  I thought I'd do a mash-up and review them together.  Hope you don't mind!

{Pictures from and}

Love and Other Drugs
Synopsis: Maggie (Hathaway) is an alluring free spirit who won't let anyone - or anything - tie her down. But she meets her match in Jamie (Gyllenhaal), whose relentless and nearly infallible charm serve him well with the ladies and in the cutthroat world of pharmaceutical sales. Maggie and Jamie's evolving relationship takes them both by surprise, as they find themselves under the influence of the ultimate drug: love. {}
Review: This was a cute movie!  Not about to go out and buy it, but I really liked it.  I've always said I am a sucker for romantic comedies, and this was no exception.  The reason I'm reviewing?  I have never been a Jake Gyllenhaal fan (to K Dub's horror).  Today I had to eat crow and admit I jumped on the Jake bandwagon.  He was absolutely adorable!!

The Queen Mother: The Official Biography
Synopsis: With unrestricted access to the queen mother's personal papers, letters and diaries, this respectful, mostly uncritical biography by veteran journalist Shawcross (Sideshow) focuses on the courtship of Elizabeth (1900–2002), the daughter of a Scottish earl, by the future King George VI; the shocking abdication of King Edward VIII in 1936 to marry Wallis Simpson; and WWII, when Elizabeth's narrow escape from a bomb that hit Buckingham Palace helped her commiserate with her subjects during the blitz. Throughout, the queen mother is depicted as vivacious, charming, devout and dutiful, a dedicated protector of the arts if not an intellectual, and socially conservative. {}
Review: This book was LONG.  943 pages (hence the nine weeks of reading..never mind stopping to read 4 other books along the way).  I became interested in the Queen Mother after seeing 'The King's Speech' - I had no clue who she was before the movie (and reading a biography is a Project 52 goal for the year).  Little by little this book sucked me in.  It was so interesting seeing what the life of a 'royal' was like as well as matching that up with some of the stories we know about (WWII, Princess Diana's death).  When we got to her ultimate death (hope that's not a spoiler - ha), I was sobbing.  Brent was watching the baseball SuperRegionals in bed next to me, and I was so hoping he wouldn't look over and see the massive quantity of tears rolling down my cheeks.  I really fell in love with this woman and was so sad to 'watch' her pass away.  Now that's a good book!

Sorry if this was ridiculously long and uninteresting!  But I am SUCH a book worm and can't help but get excited about ones that mean something to me.

On a silly note, I am now reading a trashy romance novel (no shame here), and I kid you not, the tag line on the cover is 'She hired him to protect her - and wanted him to take her!'  HA!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Blair - 2 months

I can't believe Little Bit is 2 months old.  She's definitely not so little anymore - 75% in height and weight (pushing 13 pounds).  Those Patnode kids sure do like to grow FAST...she is definitely following in her brother's foosteps.

Smiling away and being oh so cute...couldn't you just smooch her all day?

2 months!
Per her mother, the 2nd pic should be titled 'Why are you making me wear this dumb hat?'  Well, baby girl, it's because we think you look adorable!!

I seriously wish I could just hold her every day.  And I know my sis wouldn't mind that either.  {grin}

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Decluttering Lessons Learned (So Far)...

One of my Project 52 goals is to 'Purge our house of excess clutter.'  My resolution for 2011 was all about organization.  One of the things I love about Trent's birthday is it spurs me to get projects done around the house before his party. {grin}  I started a list this week of the closets/cabinets/rooms I wanted to clean out before T's party.  Today I started!  (And of course pictures will be forthcoming of my successes.  I already made Brent look at each space.  Yes, I want praise, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.)  What have I learned so far?
  • Keeping your co-worker's cookware from when you had your almost TWO-year-old is unacceptable and embarrassing (sorry, Veronica, I'll bring it to the office on Monday).
  • Weddings presents that remain unopened (from our almost SEVEN year marriage) need to be given away.
  • I have a lot of cups, plates, napkins, etc. from various parties I've thrown.  A LOT.  Like I don't need to buy anything for T's party lot.
  • It's really fun to throw away CRAP!  (And I recycled WAY more than I threw away)
  • I have found a lot of stuff that I thought was lost (imagine that).
  • We have a lot of space when I get rid of all this said crap.
  • It's actually FUN decluttering!
So far (all today!!!), I've attacked our office/catch-all room (my scarriest closet), our front door closet, the pantry, 2 kitchen junk drawers (of 5 - sick, I know), and the book basket under my nightstand.  I still want to get Trent's room/closet, the guest bathroom closet, my side of our closet, under my side of the sink, our bathroom closet, my nightstand, the rest of the kitchen drawers, the mail area, and the guest room closet.  That'll get almost the entire house!!!  Think I can do all that plus finish planning a birthday party in 2 weeks?  I aim to try! {grin}

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Swim Lessons!

Alternatively Titled: What Was I Thinking?

We started swim lessons with Trent on Tuesday.  While he LOVES being in the water, he does not want to do the majority of the activities we are supposed to be practicing.

Practice kicking?  No thanks.
Pretend to blow bubbles?  He'll pass.
Pretend to stroke the water?  Not right now.
BUT...jump off the side?  Oh yes, please!! 

Which means...that's all he wants to do and a tantrum ensues when I try to get him to do anything else.  Tuesday's class went fine.  Wednesday we left after 15 minutes, 1 time out, 1 handslap from Mama, 1 'talking to' and countless tantrums/hair pulling sessions.

But seriously...look at my little water bug.

How could that adorable little thing be so much trouble? {grin}

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Recipe: Chicken Pesto

My friend, Kelly, gave me this recipe years ago.  I totally forgot about it until I was looking for a new recipe to try.  How I didn't make this before now is completely unknown to me.  It's super easy and delicious!


1 jar store bought pesto
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 slices provolone cheese, cut in half
½ (4 ounce) can sliced mushrooms (I don't like mushrooms and didn't use.)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spray rectangular dish (9 by 12 inch) with no-stick spray.
3. Moisten chicken with water, shake off excess, and coat completely with bread crumbs.
4. Place chicken in baking dish.
5. Spread pesto sauce evenly over chicken breasts.
6. Cover each breast with ½ slice of provolone cheese.
7. Spread mushrooms over cheese.
8. Bake in oven for 45- 50 minutes.
9. Serve with pasta.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Best Dinner EVER

I don't know about you, but I think goldfish (straight out of the box), cheerios and juice make for an awesome, well-balanced dinner.  Especially when you get to eat naked on the (dirty) kitchen rug. {grin}

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Lots of random thoughts (mostly to do with Trent)...
  • Trent slept out of his sleep sack (at night) for the first time and did great!  I got it out to put it on him and he pointed at it and said 'No sack.'  I told him we could wait a few minutes to put it on, and he pointed at it again and said 'No sack'.  So I asked him if he wanted to sleep without it and he said yes.  We switched him into pants instead of shorts w/ his pajamas.  And he slept all night.  When did he get so big?
  • Speaking of him getting big...I am majorly picking up the pace on Trent's party.  I have some big ideas for his cake...we'll see how they pan out (get it? pan...cake pan...anyone? anyone?). 
  • Ordering his invitation has been a disaster so far.  I found an awesome Etsy shop (and local Tx lady) who made a perfect invite.  CVS Photo screwed it up big time, so now I'm scrambling to get my money back from them and get the cards re-ordered.
  • I have not been able to comment on a lot of blogs I read (that's you Melissa and Valerie and Emily).  I type in the word verification word and it takes me to the login page, over and over again.  I turned off my own word verification, so girls, maybe try the same?? Hint, hint. {grin}
  • I love Adele.  I have a gift card to iTunes and I know what a lot of it will be buying.  Adele and Glee songs.  ha ha
  • Trent has 2 new teeth (the first of his 2 year molars) bringing his total tooth count to 18.  CRAZY!
  • He is also so funny.  He was really gassy and I said 'You have gas' to which he promptly replied 'Put gas in big lawnmower'.  That kid has a 1-track mind!
  • There.  Now I feel better having shared all my ramblings!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Project 52 - May Update

To see my full list of goals, click here.

This was not my most successful of months, and it's a little scary to be almost halfway through the year and still have A LOT to do!

I will say that I did continue on all my 'in progress' items and have started a few other projects that aren't quite in good enough shape to comment on just yet!

So the only real goal that I finished?
45. Finish combining our bank accounts.

Brent and I have been married for almost 7 years but have always maintained separate checking accounts.  We loved it, it totally worked for us.  Until the job change.  It has definitely been a challenge (to me) having a joint account.  But we're adjusting nicely and bills are (mostly) getting paid on time!

Here's to a more successful June!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Sloshball in Pictures

I have done a terrible job of posting the pictures from Sloshball this year.  Except for my husband trying to destroy our home, we had a great time. {grin}

Game in progress, sorry the pictures aren't great, the lighting wasn't ideal!

Another tradition - cookie cake!  B is modeling our first t-shirt!  He was a proud member of 'Team Miller'.

The boys had a blast - wagon rides attached to a tractor, dogs, food, grandparents, driving the tractor, godparents, and each other! 

A close-up of the delicious cake.  I pay $4.99 extra for the solid white icing and it's SO worth it!

Little Bit had a great time too.  {Look at those lips!}

All-in-all the day was a success and I can't wait for our 5th game next year!