Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy shopping Wednesday to me!

Just ordered this darling ruffled shirt from The Gap on sale and cannot wait to get it! It's an additional 20% off today with the code gapgift. Plus free shipping on orders over $50, so, of course, I had to add a few things for the boys into the cart :)

They have some really great deals over there if anyone in your family needs anything!

Anyone out there plan on getting up early on Friday? Will you do most of your shopping in the store or on the web? I would love to shop at any time that day but none of the people I will be with over the holiday weekend want to go out, so we'll just hang out instead. Luckily I have about half of my Christmas shopping done and ideas for most of the people on my list!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thankful heart

(image from MS- love the elegantly primitive dining room. The mantle is beautiful)

I am thankful......

for the amazing husband that God has blessed me with. I would marry him all over again.

for my two sweet sons who make me smile every single day. They've filled holes in my heart I didn't know I had.

for my family who loves me, my husband, our boys. We love them too!

for our jobs that provide us with intelectual stimulation, financial stability, and opportunities for growth.

for a kitchen that has an island big enough for all kinds of baking.

for a roof over our heads that is becoming "ours" with each improvement.

for my dearest friends that I can rely on, laugh with, commiserate over toddlerhood with and chat about nothing and know that it was an amazing conversation.

for God who has provided me with so much and truly blessed me and my family.

I am truly thankful, not only this week but so often throughout the year.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Kidney Update

(Brotherly love during tummy time)
This is a very "medicalized" post. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments and I'll try to answer or just skip it!
Quick Recap:
L kidney is the "bad" and/or "small" kidney with 13% function
R kidney is the "good" kidney with the rest of the function (In case you are wondering, kidney function should be 50/50)

On October 12th we had a VCUG done which showed that the L kidney has grade 5 reflux. Reflux can only be graded to grade 5, so this is the worst it can be. This is consistent with the hydronephrosis we saw on the last ultrasound. Essentially when we saw the test being done, we could immediately see the backflow of urine from the bladder, up the ureter, immediately to the kidney. It was very obvious that the backflow valve wasn't working at all. The ureter is also "torturous" which just means that it is twisted, very dilated (big), and ugly looking. So overall, his whole left kidney system is just not great. The test also showed that his right side has grade 2-3 (subjective apparently) reflux and there is an outpouching (called a diverticulum) right near the junction of the bladder and the ureter. This outpouching apparently makes things "worse" overall. I really wish I could draw pictures on email as this is a LOT easier to describe with a picture!!!
Our nephrologist called us (on a Saturday!!!) to update us on the test and to let us know that she was going to send a referral to urology as if he needs surgery, it would be the urologists who do this. She also upped his dose of his daily antibiotic as he is growing and needed a bigger dose.
We got into urology pretty quickly and had an apt on Thursday with a wonderful urologist. (Seriously, he had amazing bedside manners, was soooo nice to Spencer and Peter, and explained everything so well. We were both quite impressed.) He explained everything again (most of which we already knew), drew lots of pictures, and gave us a plan for the next 18 months or so. Essentially, Peter will definitely need surgery in the future. He will more than likely need surgery on both sides. Many children will outgrow reflux if is is stage three or under (like Peter's right side), but since he has the outpouching on that side, it is very unlikely that his body will adapt appropriately to that and outgrow it. There will probably be two surgical options for him when this occurs, but we aren't even close to thinking about that now. We don't know what will happen yet to his left side. He could just have a relatively minor surgery to fix the angle at which the ureter goes into the bladder to correct the reflux, or he could need the whole entire kidney and ureter taken out. There are a lot of factors which will go into this decision and time will tell what he will actually need. We also don't know yet when he would actually need surgery. Currently, as long as the daily antibiotic works well and he doesn't get bladder infections or kidney infections, then we will push off surgery as long as possible- hopefully even until his is 5 or 6.
The urologist wants to repeat the VCUG in another 18 months but also acknowledges that our nephrologist may need to do the test in 1 year instead of 18 months. So, for now, we will be doing the daily antibiotic for a long, long time (like 3-5 years) and having urine cultures done for any unexplained fevers/illnesses. We will also have growth ultrasounds to make sure that the right kidney is growing 3-4 times per year. We are scheduled for our next one on December 31st and an apt with the nephrologist on Jan 10th. We'll see the nephrologist 3-4 times per year and the urologist 2x per year.
We are happy to have more clarity on the surgery issues and we are certainly happy that people have two kidneys and can live with only one!! Our current prayer is that we can make it through 2013 with no ER visits for unexplained fevers and that we will not have to be hospitalized for IV antibiotics. These would be the worst things that could happen in the next year, so that is what we will be praying won't occur.
Overall, we realize we are very lucky. Working in pediatrics for the past 11 years makes me grateful every single day for a very healthy Spencer and, even though Peter has some problems, he is much healthier than many children out there. If you have a moment on occasion this year though, we would truly appreciate any prayers for a infection free winter!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Peter is 6 months!

Peter, my sweet baby, is now 6 months old. He is such a happy, easygoing baby and for that we are truly blessed. He loves to smile and laugh and Spencer spends most of their time together trying to get him to talk and laugh at him. It's adorable!
He is sitting up like a champ. I leave him in the middle of the floor sitting without anything around him and walk away. He'll sit there for a good 20 min as long as he has something to entertain him. He is starting to fall forward and then push up. He has gotten his knees underneath him twice so far. Spencer started crawling at Christmas time and I wouldn't be surprised if Peter was around then too. His favorite thing to do is jump in the Johnny Jump Up or in the Jumperoo Exersaucer. He just laughs and jumps and cracks himself up. It's a great place to put him during dinner so that B and I can eat with both hands!

(Yep, not only do I look like my daddy but I have his hair too!)
Peter weighed 19 lbs 1 oz and was 26 in long at his 6 month visit. He's in the 76th percentile for weight and the 25th percentile for height. Yep, short and chubby, that's my guy :) Like my pediatrician says, he'll even out eventually. My breastmilk must be extra fatty b/c both of my boys were chubs at this age!

Peter is doing MUCH better in the sleep department. He is taking 2 naps at daycare, at least one of them in 1.5-2 hours. At night he goes down around 7 and wakes between 5-5:30 to eat. He'll go back to bed immediately and I have to wake him at 6:45 to get him dressed to leave at 7:05. If we didn't have to leave, he'd sleep til at least 8. It's so nice to sleep (mostly) through the night. There are occasions when we get a certain 2.5 year old in our room around 4 (snuggle in the middle, mommy), but, for the most part, our sleep is great in this house!

He has been eating pureed foods for about 6 weeks now and is up to twice a day, once at daycare and once at home. He doesn't really like green beans or bananas; he loves sweet potatoes, zucchini, pears, and squash. I made carrots this weekend so that will be a new food for him this week. Spinach and pears was one of Spencer's favorite and I'm sure we'll do this for Peter soon. We've also got to start giving him finger foods sometime soon- it's just so messy that I know it's all going to end up in his hair!
A few of Peter's quirks:
*he loves to pull his hair, mostly on the right side. I notice it when he's mad or tired.
*he is a pacifier addict. Loves it, loves it, loves it.
*he is a great smiler. I think he's going to have a dimple on his right side. It's not a big pronounced one, but there is definitely an indentation of some sort.
*he loves chewing on his feet. His socks are constantly wet. It kind of grosses me out, if I'm being honest. Wetness bugs me
*he is a monster drooler..........again with the wetness!
Happy 6 month birthday, my sweet Peter. Mommy and Daddy and Spencer love you to death!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Our neighborhood trick or treated on Saturday night. It was a great decision as tonight is going to be freezing cold, wet, and windy (Thanks, Sandy!!). B's brother, sister-in-law, and their daughter were in town for the weekend, so the kids got to trick or treat together and then the babysitter came over so the adults could all go out to dinner together.
B with his boys

Family pic- Spencer's cheeseball smile
My big pumpkin!!

SYT, PUT, and LGT playing in the leaves after trick or treating

Look, mom, I can grab a lot of them!

Family pic

Buried in leaves

Peter's smiling!!

Love this baby pumpkin!
The boys have a Halloween parade at school today with their costumes. Unfortunately neither B nor I can be there to take pictures. I have late clinic patients and B has a ton of meetings. Hopefully the classroom teachers will get a few cute ones.
Hope you all have a wonderful Halloween and hopefully your kids' Halloween buckets are filled with at least one candy you like and they'll share with you :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A few things I love right now

Darling clutch from here. Love the equestrian inspired buckle closure

One of my favorite board books. It's so sweet and would be a perfect baby shower/Christmas present/1st birthday present for a baby in your life.

This bread will change the way you think about breadmaking. I promise, it is as easy as it looks. And it is to die for delicious with an amazingly chewy crust. It makes me look like I'm a master baker and, really, I just pinterest really well (!!!!).

Have a great Tuesday evening!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!!!

Today I am thirty-five years old. Also known as advanced maternal age! Isn't it funny that that is how I look at my age? That's the nurse practitioner in me for sure.
I took the day off work and the boys are going to daycare. I have a massage booked (thanks Mom!!) at 10 a.m., I'm going to get a workout in prior to that, and I'm hoping to spend the afternoon organizing my closet and the boys' closets as well.
The babysitter comes at 6:30, and B and I have a date at a steakhouse downtown at 7:30. I have my outfit picked out, and I'm already dreaming of dinner. Peter will be 6 months in 1.5 weeks, and my pediatrician has given her blessing for me to try to introduce dairy back into my diet tonight. It's perfect that I can do it on my birthday and on a Friday. This way I can watch his stools and his fussiness all weekend to see if he has any problems with the milk protein. (Please, please Lord, let there be no blood in his stools- I really miss cheese and butter and normal baking and cereal with milk) I cannot be more excited for dinner. I'm having French Onion soup as my first course and I know it's going to be one of the best things I've ever had. I haven't yet decided on which dessert I will have- there's a chance we'll get two and split them. I may be giving dairy back up on Saturday, so I want to get in what I can in my first/potentially only splurge night.
My brother and sister in law and their daughter are coming up on Sat for a few days, so it's going to be a very fun weekend of spending time with them and watching the kids play together. We're going out for dinner on Sat night too- yep, we're living it up :) Our babysitter's going to make a fortune this weekend! We've also got our neighborhood trick or treat on Saturday from 5-7, so hopefully I can get some cute pictures of the boys to share here next week.
It's been really, really hectic the last 3 weeks at work so I'm thrilled to have the day off and all to myself. I know the day will fly by, but I am looking forward to every minute of it!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


B is picking up a bottle of this on Friday night. We've never had Veuve, but we are celebrating and this is the true celebratory bubbly.
What are we celebrating, you ask? As of tonight, our household is 100% consumer debt free!!! We finished paying off our graduate school debt this summer, and tonight we made the last car payment on B's car. We don't carry credit card debt, so we offcially have zero, zero, zero personal debt!!!!!
We still have our mortgage (apparently mortgage is not considered consumer card debt), college savings for the boys, and I will need a new car in 2-3 years (mine is 9 years old), so we aren't running off on an exotic vacation with our new found money, but still........we can't help but be super excited to know that all our hard work and our ability to buckle down and budget has really paid off.
I think that the $40 splurge is going to be soooooo worth it!!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Zulily is killing me.....

How cute are these????? I couldn't help myself. I just ordered a pair for both boys with the appropriate initials. They have white ones with a red initial too, but since they didn't have them in both boys' sizes, I held out. The cuffs even turn up with orange lining. DYING over the cuteness. I know other boy moms will understand how adorable these are!!

I also ordered this darling diaper bag (really just a hobo bag with lots of interior pockets), and I'm going to have it monogrammed in hot pink for next summer. Technically it is reversible, but I'd rather have it monogrammed than reversed, so to the monogrammers it is going!! Won't it be perfect??

Last week on Zulily, I ordered SYT's Christmas present (a Radio Flyer "My first scooter" in red) plus tons of darling outfits for a few babies that I needed to buy gifts for. I also ordered an address stamp for our Christmas cards. Last year I hand wrote all our return addresses, and I would prefer not to have to do that again :)

I often am able to ignore the flash sale sites, but Zulily has just killed it lately, and I haven't been able to resist. If you need an invite, just click here.  Also, if you shop with Ebates (and if you aren't, you REALLY should be), you will get 3.5% cash back!!

Hope you are having a great Friday!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

5 months old

PUT is 5 months old now......seriously, time is just flying with my little munchkin. He is a major fan of the pacifier, so the above picture is a pretty accurate picture of my sweet babe.
He's over 18 lbs now (yikes!) and is wearing 6-12 month or 9 month clothes, mostly. I put him in a 6 month Carters' outfit for daycare the other day and it was already too short and a little tight. And, coming from a second time mom, I think that Carters usually runs true to size. He's definitely a big boy! I'm hoping he can still fit into a few of SYT's Christmas outfits by the time it rolls around.
Peter is still rolling like a crazy man. He would rather be on the floor rolling in every direction than anything else (except nursing- ha!).  He has sat up for 6 minutes (once) but does sit for shorter periods of time pretty regularly. He's a strong little guy. He loves jumping in the exersaucer and is really starting to become interactive with everything he sees. He is "talking" all the time- I could listen to him allllllll day long. It's just so, so, so sweet.
We just started feeding him solids two weeks ago. We gave him oatmeal for a few days but that really constipated him, so we switched to veggies instead. We've done butternut squash, avocado, and sweet potatoes so far. We are going to try either peas or green beans next. I make all the baby food which lends itself to being thicker/more textured than regular stage one jarred food. I tend to worry about the consistency/will Peter handle it well/is it too much for him, but, so far, he has done pretty well with all of them. I have had to thin out the avocado with water, but that's not a big deal to me. I could thin it out with breastmilk, but he gets PLENTY of calories, so using a bit of water isn't detrimental to him at all.
We saw the nephrologist in September and had another kidney ultrasound which didn't go exactly (read: at all) as we had hoped. We have another test this Friday (which involves an IV and a catheter- poor baby!!) to look further into some new issues and an appointment Nov. 1st to go over the results and see if further changes need to be made. You would never in a zillion years think anything was wrong with him. He's developing normally, he pees like a champ, and he's a really happy babe. All of that is so reassuring. We are now doing a daily antibiotic to prevent any kidney infections, and, thank goodness, it is grape flavored and he loves it. We are just hoping that all of this will work out and that he will "outgrow" most of these issues. We've decided the best approach we can take right now is to not worry until someone says to worry. Yes, we do have moments when the worry sneaks up on us but then we go back to the above stance!
Sleep is getting better. He's still getting up once or twice (mostly once- woo hoo!!!!) but that is WAY better than 3-4 times per night. I am only feeding him once overnight, so if he wakes more than that, B will go in and pat him back down or give him the passy. If I go in there, he doesn't sleep until he nurses, so it works better for him to not see me unless it's the one time I'm going to nurse. In a few weeks, we're planning on dropping that nursing session, so you'll definitely get a full report when that happens. Neither of us are looking forward to that; however we know it needs to happen for all of us!!
Love you, Sweet P!!! We wouldn't trade you, your waking at night, your incredible thighs, your crazy kidneys, your darling babbling, or your beautiful brown eyes for the world!! Mwah!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rolling, rolling, rolling.......

As a mom of an infant, I have found that I love the closely spaced pediatrician visits b/c I love getting Peter's weight and height and I love doing the developmental checklists and knowing that he is on track. At the four month visit, babies are supposed to be rolling over from tummy to back, and though I checked that Peter did that on the checklist we have to fill out, he really had only done it once. It made me feel slightly inferior that other babies (including Spencer) were rolling over regularly by 4 months and Peter wasn't. Yes, this is me totally admitting that my self esteem is changed by what my children do. Ugg, I know this shouldn't be the case, but I bet that most honest moms feel this way too.
The pedi told me that often her "chunkier" babies took longer to roll and not to worry that he wasn't rolling regularly. He was meeting all his other milestones and he obviously has great tone, so she was not at all worried. I really wasn't either- I just like to check things off on lists though, you know?
Well, look who decided to surprise me this weekend when he rolled, not only front to back but also back to front all on the same day????? We were at friends for dinner and we were just chilling in the family room on the floor when PUT just started rolling all over the place. He would do it and then he would look up and just grin like a madman. SOOOO cute! He's got it down now, and yesterday rolled over and over in his room until he ran into the dresser. He started crying so I moved him away from the dresser, and he started rolling around again with wild abandon. It's awesome.
As a nurse practitioner, I love, love, love having parents come in and tell me what their kids are "working on" and what they have recently accomplished. I love to see the pride come onto the parents and kids faces when the parents mention how good their child is at something, especially when it is a kid who may not hear positive things about him/herself very often. I feel the same way right now. I love that I see him learning and changing and growing. It's so fun. I also love seeing Spencer getting excited about Peter learning things. He has decided he wants to teach Peter to walk. How do you explain to a 2 year old that that's going to be about 8-10 months from now?? Sweet boy!
Soooo, tell me, what is your child working on right now? Why are you a proud momma? Spencer's "thing" right now is his amazing vocab- it's growing by leaps and bounds in the past few months and his sentence structure is amazing. I also love that he wants to practice "back and through" all the time (ie- golf). Are you in the midst of learning how to count, how to say the ABCs, or how to do long division? Are you potty training? Are your kids loving their sports right now? Please start bragging because I am listening!!!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Applique tutorial

I saw this applique tutorial on Pinterest, and I decided this was something I definitely wanted to try. I'm so glad I did. The tutorial is easy to follow, and as long as you have basic sewing skills (and I mean basic), you can definitely knock this out!!
I had the long sleeved onsie for Peter (actually from when Spence was a babe) and I bought Spencer's shirt for $5 at Target. I bought the all the fabric on sale at Joanns, bought the Wonder Under there too, and went to work. I literally copied the patterns for the pumpkin, the stems, and the leaves right off the computer by taping the fabric to my computer screen.

I've already washed the shirts and, great success, the appliques didn't come off. I definitely was worried that they would!!

I have already cut out and wonder undered a few other shirts and now just need to sew them. I have green and navy trees for a wintertime scene, a P and a S as a simple monogram, and a ghost for Halloween. It's a fun, easy, and cheap way to do cute shirts for boys (which are hard to find, especially when I want them to match). I'm hoping to do an anchor and sailboat for next summer and perhaps a 3 and a 1 for their birthdays next May.
Have you ever appliqued before? I promise, you can totally do this! The original poster states that she finds heavier fabrics easier to work with, and after using both lightweight and heavier fabric, I would agree with her. Corduroy is really easy, and satin would suck. So try to find heavier fabric if it's a possibility!! I do have to say that the orange and white stripe fabric used above is quite lightweight and, while it was harder to use, it ended up being just fine. The burlap I used for the stems was a PITA though. I would never use that again!! Live and learn, right?
Anyway, I love the tutorial and I thought some of you might find it useful!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Who wants to give me travel ideas?

B and I celebrated our fourth anniversary in August. It was relatively uneventful this year as I had just gone back to work, he had to go out of town for a conference, and our heads were spinning in all kinds of directions. We had a good dinner at home with a glass of wine and called it good :)

Next year will be our 5 year anniversary (and 9.5 years of dating!), so we would like to do a trip away. The boys will be 1&3, so we feel comfortable leaving them with my mom and Ralph for a long weekend, but we aren't ready to go somewhere for a week or two.

Here are a few criteria we have:
1. Our time constraint is 4-5 days.

2. We would like to stay continental- US, Canada, a relatively close island would all be fine. We do not want to have jet lag since we will be gone a relatively short time.

3. Since we won't have the boys, we don't need a family friendly place. We would prefer somewhere that has fun daytime activities/lots to explore and has amazing restaurants. We don't necessarily need a huge nightlife scene, but we would probably take advantage if there was one.

4. We don't want to be on more than 2 flights. Living in GR, you can't really get anywhere without transferring at a major hub, but we don't want 3 flights either.

5. Our anniversary is in August, but we would be willing to go anytime August through October. August is beautiful in Michigan and we tend to have lots of plans that month, so travel in the early fall would be totally fine with us!

A few places we have thought about so far:
Boston, Seattle, Vancouver, Charleston, New Orleans, New York City (I've never been and B was last there when he was 18), Montreal, or Napa. We haven't really explored the idea of a tropical resort getaway as we've really been thinking more big city exploration, but we'd be open to pretty much anything.

We don't want to go anywhere in CA unless it's Napa, we don't want to go to FL, Chicago is out, and we'd like to get out of the midwest.

So.......lay it on me. Where should we go (currently we are dreaming so price doesn't matter at all. We also have enough Hilton points to stay pretty much anywhere for free so that helps a bunch!!), why should we go there, and what are your top three must do/see while we are there? I am all ears!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Peter is 4 months old

Hey, sweet P! You are 4 months old. I would say I can't believe it, yet I remember so vividly the time flying by with your brother as well.

Peter is a very sweet, very smiley baby during the day. He will, of course, have occasional moments of fussiness, but, for the most part, is a sweet little guy. He is cooing and doing lots of "gahs" and "guhs". Just this a.m. I heard him making new noises with different high and low tones. He is definitely chattier than Spencer was at this age. He will say something and then wait for you to say something back and then make more noises, just like a "real" conversation. I love it! He is also full on laughing now and it's fabulous. He does it at random times and not always for the same reasons, so it's super fun if you happen to catch him in the act. He's starting to interact with toys and loves looking in the mirror too.
No rolling over yet and he doesn't seem interested in trying either. He will roll if he is already laying on his side but he certainly can't get from back to front or front to back. He did scootch around on his tummy the other day to look in a new direction. He is sitting well in the bumbo (as evidenced above) and likes the exersaucer at daycare. He's great in the car- it's a great sleep tool!

It's a shame he is in daycare all day as he, like so many babies, can get fussy in the evenings which is the only time we have with him. It's hard to have a baby who is happy when being held but fussy when out of our arms while we are trying to make dinner, attend to both boys' needs, talk to each other, and wind down from our work day in general. Don't get me wrong, I love holding the little guy, but holding babies and chopping veggies for dinner is a little, shall we say, tricky and, I'm certain, not advised by the American Academy of Pediatrics :)

Love these ears!!!!

He is gaining weight very well and growing in length too. No stats since drs apt is next week, but he is outgrowing clothes left and right. The other day I put him in a 6-12 month sleeper and it wasn't too big at all!! Yikes. He takes 3 5oz bottles of pumped breastmilk while at daycare and occasionally will take 1-2 more oz while there from the extra bottle we send. He nurses in the morning, in the evening twice and, lately, like crazy overnight. I'm amazed I'm keeping up with him to be honest!

See this smile? Are you madly in love? Yep, me too. Would you like to see it mulitple times overnight? Yea, me neither. It's hard to say whether or not he is in the 4 month wakeful period or if his reflux is getting worse, but his sleep for the past 12 days has been awful. He certainly has never been the greatest sleeper. He's only had one 8 hour stretch in his little life, most nights he is up 1-2 times to nurse (usually around 1 and then around 4). For the past 12 days, he has been up 3-4 times every single night fussy and not wanting to go back to bed unless he is nursed. Apparently this is not uncommon, and Spencer did this too for two weeks around this time. Not uncommon, but NOT appreciated either. I honestly can say that I have never, ever been as tired as I have been in the past two weeks.
He's always had reflux- very spitty, coughs when lying down, you can hear stuff gurgling around in his esophagus, etc, but it seems to be getting a bit worse lately. We started Prevacid this weekend (which takes about two weeks to really take effect). We'll see if this helps him over the next month and then decide if it is worth continuing. At night, we have noticed that he is often comfort nursing rather than really needing to nurse, and I think it is due to wanting to swallow/suck to get the burning from the reflux down as the pacifier is no longer cutting it and that used to be his soothing mechanism. I'm hoping that if we can cut down on the acid, he'll have an easier time at night when lying down. Only time will tell!
I feel badly as this post seems to be more negative than positive. I truly adore my sweet boy and wouldn't trade him for the world! We're just have a rough go right now which I don't want to sugar coat as I think people really appreciate knowing that other moms out there struggle with infants just as much as they do. Plus, as any mom will tell you, lack of sleep is incredibly wearing, and at some point in time, it's impossible to be smiley, perfect, happy pants when you are so gosh darn tired. This too shall pass- it did with Spence and it will with Peter. We're incredibly lucky overall, and all the goos, gahs, smiles, laughs, and bright eyed moments of wonder make up for everything else!

If you need any proof that my babies do not look alike at all, here it is! They really could not be more different. The only similar feature are their sweet noses :) (Click here for Spencer's 4 month pics to see how different their baby pics are)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fall Wishlist

Since I still haven't packed away my summer clothes, I don't really know what I "need" for the fall, but here are a few things I've tried on or lusted after online lately
Milano Rib Blazer- I tried this blazer on in the store and it is just perfect. It would look great with jeans for a dressed up weekend look yet it's still totally work appropriate. Even better, it would totally work with a nursing tank underneath. I love my navy wool blazer from LE, and I know I would love this one too. It comes in a few other colors (all with the contrast edging) if you are looking for an updated blazer this fall. This striped blazer looks fabulous too.

I tried on the downtown field jacket in the store after I had seen a few bloggers blog about it. I love, love, love it!! It looks better IRL than it does on this dual denim model. I like the olive and the navy and would totally buy both except for B would not appreciate the addition of two more jackets to our front closet. I'm going to be lucky to pull off one! I'm going to ask my mom for this for my birthday as she is just as jacket obsessed as I am :)

MCW- I immediately thought of you when I saw this striped cowlneck dress. I love, love, love it. I doubt I will buy it as I'd be terrified of how my backside would look with the stripes going across, but someone should definitely buy this. I'd have a hard time deciding between the ivory/navy and the kelly green/navy.

 The Hopsy Studs from Bridier Baubles are just my cup of tea. Glamorous yet always appropriate and a perfect shade of pink. My mother-in-law would look great in these and will probably be receiving a pair for her next birthday. We don't see each other very often as they live in FL, so I don't think it would be too weird to own the same earrings. Right??

The other thing I'd love to find are a pair of well fitting colored cords. A deep burgandy, plum, green or red is what I am thinking about. I just need to try on a few pairs as I know there out there this season.

So what's on your fall wishlist? Any fabulous finds I should look at too?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Funny things 2 year olds say

Just a few funny things Spencer has said lately that I wanted to jot down so that I'll remember them....

*Often, B will hold both Peter and Spencer and say something like "I love my boys" or "Just look at my cute boys" or "I'm so lucky to have my boys".  The other day Spencer went running over to B when he was already holding Peter and said "Daddy, pick me up and say boys". It was so cute!

*Today in the car, his sippy cup fell, so I picked it up and handed it to him. It then fell again a few minutes later and he said, "Mommy, I keep falling it" (instead of dropping it).

*The other night Spence decided he wanted me to read his bedtime stories instead of B. I asked him what daddy was going to do instead and he said "he go clean the kitchen!". Ha!!

*Last night he asked me if I wanted to wear a bib for dinner. I said sure just to make him happy. He went and picked out one of the tiny baby bibs and said "Here mommy, is perfect for you!"

I love how far his vocabulary has come and I love that through his words, I can get a glimpse of how hard his brain is working every day. Do any of you have funny kid sayings? Post them in the comments- I need a good laugh this week!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Wedding Weekend

We spent Labor Day weekend on Mackinac Island celebrating the wedding of our good friends from Chicago. B has known the groom since their Glee Club days together at Miami, and the bride we've now known for about 4 years. They're an amazing couple, and we know they'll have a fabulous marriage.
We were able to see a bunch of our Chicago friends, which was lovely. We miss them a LOT, and though the time together was short, it was wonderful to catch up.
We took my mom and Ralph up to the Island with us since we decided to take the boys. They babysat for us while we were at wedding activities. It was so nice to have them there (even amongst the very close hotel room quarters). Spence absolutely adores his Mimi and Bobo (Abuelo), so anytime they're around, he is happy. We had one massive meltdown due to tiredness and hunger from Spence, and Peter was quite fussy in the evenings when B and I were out, but, for the most part, things went well. I would love to go on and on about how awful our "resort" experience was, but I won't. If you do read this and are planning an overnight experience on Mackinac Island in the future, though, please discuss with me first- I would never, ever, ever recommend Mission Point (where we stayed).
This weekend away was our last planned trip for as long as I look at the calendar. We don't know our holiday plans yet, and we know we want to get up north one weekend this fall, but we don't have it picked out yet, so, for now, we are just home and settled. This is good as we have a lot to catch up on around here!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Makes a daddy's heart happy!

SYT teaching PUT the basics of golf.  And, just in case you are wondering, yes, Spencer does have favorite golfers already.....
"Luuuuuuuuuuke" (as in Donald)- Hysterical to hear him say it. What's funnier is that our neighbor's son is also a Luke and I'm pretty sure that Spence thinks it's that Luke who is golfing on tv.
Tiger Woods is the other fave
I do not doubt that the reason we would have a 3rd child is so that B could round out his foursome!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Pinterest recipes

I love Pinterest. I could not ask for a better place to organize my ideas. I think the problem I have with Pinterest is that when you go back to update your board, your followers don't see your updates. This, to me, only becomes a problem with recipes. I want the followers of my food board to know if I liked a recipe, if I hated a recipe, if I tweaked a recipe, etc. I have tried a LOT of my pins (and have deleted the ones we'll never eat again) and wish there was an easier way to let people know that certain ones are really good IRL.

I've decided to post a few of my favorites here, so at least all of you will be able to check out these, knowing that they're tested and delish!!

Gazpacho Chicken Salad- amazing. We've made it 3 times already in the past month. I add one can of cannelini beans (rinsed and drained) and use about half of the tomatoes (we're not huge tomato fans around here). This makes a great dinner and is wonderful for lunches throughout the week. Serve it with Naan or Ciabatta bread and a great white wine. Would also be wonderful for a ladies lunch on a bed of lettuce.

Honey Lime Chicken Skewers and Black bean, corn and avocado salad- Easy weeknight dishes that work well together but also delicious enough to serve to company. You wouldn't even have to do the skewers- just grill the chicken breasts instead of cutting and skewering. You could then serve the chicken over a bed of cilantro lime rice with black beans if you don't want to make the avocado salad (but you should make it- it's so good!). Again, both of these make great leftovers- the chicken is great chopped small and added to the salad.

Penne with vodka cream sauce- B and I make this every Valentine's day. If there were a recipe that shaped our relationship, this would be it. Amazing "date night in" meal. This year, we're going to try it with homemade pasta. I cannot wait!!!!

Baked spaghetti with cream cheese- A great dinner for a cold winter's weeknight. Really easy, very kid friendly, easy to sneak extra veggies into. We added spinach (I will add spinach to practically everything I can) as well as a few chopped bell peppers.

Monogolian beef- I don't really like Chinese food, so I wasn't expecting much from this dish; however, B loves it, so I made it to make him happy. It was much better than I expected, and it will definitely go into our regular rotation. I served it with stir-fried veggies and put the beef and the veggies over white rice. I did think it was a little too sweet, so I will cut back on the sugar next time. I'm sure it's much healthier than any restaurants version of Mongolian Beef!!

Slow Cooker Tiki Masala- This recipe (and the butter chicken recipe in the post) are our favorites that I have pinned so far. They are both better than any Indian food here in GR, and I love that they're crockpot recipes. I use boneless skinless chicken breasts in both recipes as it cuts down on the grease and the fat. Spencer loves both, too, so I would consider them kid friendly. I throw a bunch of peas into the Tiki Masala for color and nutrition!

Grilled brussel sprouts- If you haven't tried brussel sprouts in awhile, give them a try. They really are quite good if done well. Prior to this recipe we had never grilled them. We always roasted them with balsalmic. I didn't skewer them as we forgot to soak the skewers while we were at work, so we just did them in the grill basket instead. Worked like a charm.

Dairy free double chocolate granola bars- . I found out that our local grocery store does sell the Enjoy Life brand of dairy free chocolate chips and this has pretty much changed my world. I have made these granola bars twice in the past two weeks and take one of these every day in my lunch as my treat. If you aren't dairy free, just use whatever chocolate chips you like, but definitely still make these. I don't use the other weird flaxseed cereal, I have just crushed up frosted mini wheats instead, but I would also sub corn flakes, wheat chex, crispix, rice krispies, or another plain cereal. B loves these, and he is the first to criticize "fake" things that I make when I am dairy free. Trust me, you will be glad these are in your freezer/fridge when you need an easy snack that is full of fiber and delicious! The granola is amazing on it's own, and, if I could, I would eat it with vanilla yogurt every single morning!!

Bananas, peanut butter, and nilla wafer sniacks- I made these for a church picnic this spring and the kids liked them a lot. I thought they were just okay. I had hoped they would be better. If you do make them for a birthday party or playdate, know that they cannot sit longer than a few hours without getting the nilla wafers mushy from the banana. Definitely not something you can make the night before.

Buckeye bark- I adore chocolate and peanut butter so I thought these would be my favorite thing ever. I definitely do not think they are as good as regular buckeyes (though they were a lot easier than rolling out the balls). B liked it and the friends we gave our Christmas goodie packages too said they really liked it, but I didn't love it and I'm not sure if I would make it again. I have too many other favorite sweets to make something that is just "okay" in my opinion.

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes- You NEED to make these. Not even a question. Your husband/boyfriend/fiancee/girlfriend/roommate will love you, and your children will think you are the best mommy ever. We made them for a Friday night in one night last winter and just about died at the deliciousness. These would be a wond erful Saturday after Thanksgiving breakfast when the whole family is together and you are getting into the holiday spirit. I think they would also be lovely as a birthday morning surprise. I promise you that you and everyone you serve them to will love them. PROMISE!!

Frozen banana "ice cream"- This is currently my dessert of choice since I can't eat real ice cream right now. I do bananas, peanut butter, cocoa powder and vanilla- it's fabulous and quite a bit less fattening than regular ice cream even with the peanut butter. You can definitely still taste banana pretty strongly, so if you aren't a banana person, don't bother trying this. I also add a bit of almond milk during the food processing process to make it creamier.

Carmelitas- Hands down, the BEST recipe I have pinned. I have gotten repeated requests to make these again and again and again. In fact, they're so good that I've already blogged about them! I cannot tell you the joy I felt when one of our church friends brought over dinner for us two weeks after Peter was born and she brought a whole container of these. I literally called B at work screaming with joy that Alyssa had brought us carmelitas. Just watch the faces of people you serve these too- I promise they'll be just as excited as I was!!

I hope this run down gives you a few new recipes to try! Please let me know if you do. Also, if you have pinned recipes that you love, please let me know. I am always looking for new ideas!!  Happy cooking!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

You need to check out this sale.....

I was looking for a shirt at Talbots earlier this season that I had seen on another blogger, so I ran in to try it (and a few other things on). I ended up not liking the shirt, but I fell in love with a cardigan that I found. I decided I would wait for it to go on sale, and then I just got lazy. Every time I got a Talbots email, I would think, "I should really check the price on that cardigan", but then I would get distracted by a 2 year old, a newborn, dinner, sleep, etc. On Friday I had time to kill at work and was able to check the email I got that day and to my very, very excited surprise, the cardigan was on mega sale!

I would highly recommend that all of you head over to the website (or your nearest store) to pick up this baby. It is darling on (fits very true to size), the embelishments do not look cheap IRL at all, and it's on sale for $29.49!! I ended up ordering the orange and the green. I would have ordered the pink too, but I just bought a pink Lilly cardigan a few weeks ago, so I don't need another.

There are a few other really cute things that are also total STEALS if you have time to check out the sale.

I ordered the black clutch and the black dress above. We'll see how the dress fits (could look horrid on me, but the store is close enough to return with no problem). I thought long and hard about the cheetah print clutch too but decided that one clutch was enough for now. I really love that maxi above (I would order it in the petite size so that I wouldn't have to get it hemmed), but I couldn't think of an occasion this fall where I would wear it. Anyone else need it? I think it's fabulous!!

Let me know if you end up ordering anything. I can't wait to get my box in the mail!!