New York! New York!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Here is our adventure in the Big Apple brought to you in storyboard form.
I have to break here and say how amazed we were with the city at this point. I mean, completely struck with how foreign it seemed to us in comparison to LA. It was so crowded, tall, bustling, stressful,  and magical at the same time. And I can't tell you how elated we both were when we looked down and saw Ev asleep in the umbrella stroller {thanks Jessica for letting us borrow it!}. She most certainly is not a napper on the go-er and that was tickling my nerves the whole afternoon of how I was going to get her to nap but bless her, she eased my worry and slept away for a whole hour and a half!
All other storyboards here.

a Christmas of Firsts

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Our household has been one big pajama fest the past 3 days. It's been amazing! I would live in pj's my whole life if I could. or knit sweater tights. those are pretty comfy too. This whole holiday season has been a bit different for us and has been one that has led to many firsts. Sometimes trying out new things can be scary but luckily all of our first attempts at things have been a success:

1. Evelyn's first Christmas! She didn't enjoy ripping paper as much as we thought she would have. That was a bit perplexing, seeing that she loves to rip any book she can get her hands on but the one thing we WANT her to tear at she refuses. She better practice her unwrapping skills because she hits the big O-N-E in 32 days! 
2. Our first Christmas being away from family since being married. Thanks goodness for Skype!
3. First time playing Santa Claus. Loved every minute of it!
4. First time sleeping in until 8am Christmas morn.
5. First time Evelyn has had both parents sick at the same time and her being healthy {cross our fingers it stays that way! I don't know if I could handle her having her 7th cold of the season!}
6. First time roasting a chicken. 
7. Evelyn's first ride in her new...dare I say it... TODDLER car seat! Ahh!
8. First time I have ever made a doll. I thought it would be special for her to have something homemade from her momma but when she opened the box she quickly cast the doll aside. It gave us a good laugh.
9. First time seeing a house this decked out for Christmas. I had never seen a house sync its lights to music before. It was probably better than the fountain outside the Bellagio.

We're excited to welcome in the New Year and see what 2012 has in store! 

Merry Christmas! Love, Us. 2011.

Friday, December 23, 2011

No words nor one single photo could do justice to the joy and events that have taken place in our lives during this past year. I felt then it was necessary to send out an audiovisual card this year to best recognize all of our many, many blessings.
Merry Christmas!!

We're back + Twas the night

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holy smokes! What a whirlwind the past two days have been! Thank you all for wishing us a very merry anniversary! It was fantastic. I have so much to say, so much to show! Unfortunately I have a house to get in order. Oh, I hate the doomsday that follows a vacation where your time is spent unpacking a suitcase, doing loads of laundry, vacuuming out the car, and grocery shopping to re-stock the barren shelves. Ahhh! If only I were Snow White and could summon woodland creatures to do the work for me.

I will take the time to answer the question that I know has been egging you: Did we get on the today show?! Lest the picture above deceives you, no we did not... I woke up yesterday morning with a wretched cold and a flaming sore throat which caused me to lag in getting up for the day and we arrived at Rock Center at 9am. Too late for the Roker man to give us tidings of great joy. I seriously pouted. And almost cried. Oh well! I'll make a storyboard of our adventures later. In the mean time, here's to a Merry Christmas from some of us ladies in the blogging world!

Twas the Night Before Christmas 
{blog style}
Twas the night before Christmas, while scheduling posts on the blog Not a child was stirring, they were bumps on a log. Facebook was quiet no updates to see, I sure hope Santa remembers presents for me!
  {Michelle @ the Momma Bird}
Oliver was chewing his bone by the fire, his eyes were heavy, he was so very tired. I had on my onesie covered with penguins you see, hoping that under the mistletoe Mike would meet me.
When out on the web there arose such a clatter, from the Duggars &cloth diapering, to family matters. Away to my laptop I started typing away, 25 blog posts to schedule before Christmas day!
{Lacy @ Living on Love}
The room was a mess and life was on hold, as the luster of my screen showed I had one more post to go. When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer. 
With a plump red belly and a white beard to boot, I knew it was Santa Clause delivering his loot, With a voice that sounded much like Tom Hanks, He shouted out to his flying ranks: 
Can you hear that baby?! Happy, now sad, now laughing, now crying! Little girl don’t you know, tonight’s the night in which I am flying! From the boppy to the bed, all in one fell swoop. Let’s scurry off to bed, for your mommy is pooped! 
As the wind picks up and the snow is falling, We are met with deadlines and emails are calling. So up to the house the laptop now closes, With a sleigh full of Giveaways and cheeks all a rosey. 
And then as I took a sip of my tea I heard, on the roof, someone louder than me. I quickly grabbed my flask to spike my large cup. Oh phew, it's just Santa, here to make my pageviews go up. 
He was dressed all in red, it was a nice little look, And a noticed in his bag, a little silver Macbook. He took out his Mac, took a seat in a chair, Then connected to the web, and said, "I like to share what I wear." 
His Iphone did twinkle! His Ipad did glow. His fingers like ice cubes, his pointer like snow. He looked for his warmers, they went on with a pop, he could text and browse thanks, to the Hollie Rogue Shop!
{Andi @ The Hollie Rogue}
The click of the mouse beneath His forefinger, As upon another blog post his eyes did linger. But alas he grimaced in pure consternation As he saw that dreaded prompt “Word Verification” 
He was savvy and smart, a solo Geek Squad in red, And I followed each detailed instruction he said. And my blog design problems were through, I could tell, For Santa, it seems, sure knows html. 
I sat at my desk, typing away with a smirk, choosing words and pics to display all my quirks. Each word and sentence slowly turns into prose, the night ticks away, as the bright screen still glows. 
I sprang to my laptop, not a moment to lose, and feverishly typed while G continued to snooze. I looked out the window, as he disappeared into the night, wishing Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.” 

Merry 'early' Christmas Everyone!!!

not a tear was shed. that brave gal!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I always wondered what it would feel like to be that proud parent watching your child do something so courageous. I thought maybe those feelings would first surface on the first day of kindergarten, when Evelyn scored her first soccer goal, or when she pulled out her first tooth. I had no idea I would find that feeling of pride when placing her on the lap of a jolly man with a fake beard and plump red suit. But when I let go of her, stepped back 5 feet and anticipated the cry and a reach out for me and it didn't happen... I felt like she was no longer my baby. She looked at Santa in the eyes, studied him, looked back at me and sat there content. Not a whine to be heard.

In that moment my brain was on fire! My thoughts immediately jumped to her future - how independent and confident she would be! She would go on to star in school plays and run for class president with no hesitation. She would try her hand at the piano, and tap her feet in dance class with no shame. She would be a polite young lady, reach out to others and accept everyone no matter if they had a scary beard or not. But wait, that means she would have to give up being a baby to be all those things! Quick, grab her off that red man's lap before it's too late! Don't let her be courageous anymore! Atleast not yet... I'm not quite ready for her to take on the world without me... So on I dashed to sweep her away back in to my arms as the next child filed on to St. Nick.

The hormonal brain of a mother is a wonderous thing. It can be so boastfully proud and obnoxiously scared at the same time. It takes a lot of courage to be a mother!

Speaking of courage, we're off BRAVING the streets of NYC today! We're probably on the road as we speak. The #1 on the hit list is to get on the TODAY SHOW tomorrow! So be on the look out for us on the plaza. The ultimate goal is to get Al Roker to wish us a happy 3rd anniversary! HAPPY 3 YEARS TO US TODAY! Couldn't have picked a better man to be a husband and father.

group date.

Monday, December 19, 2011

We had big plans on Saturday to join the holiday masses and throw an ugly sweater party complete with photobooth, prizes, and all but we were stinkers and cancelled the shindig. After a week of two christmas parties and a cookie exchange I had had my fill of christmas joy. So instead we got a group of friends together and satisfied our itching for some bbq.

Things I learned at dinner:

:: there are many types of bbq and apparently they all taste significantly different. we inhaled north carolina pork but I guess there's such a thing as Louisiana bbq and that tastes more vinegary? I think I would like that.
:: two baby front teeth can puncture through a small container of butter. my friend had to tell me that my baby's mouth was oozing with the sticky cream, all the while I failed to notice because I was too busy stuffing my face with mashed potatoes
:: there are three foods in this world I love: grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese and pulled pork. that's it.
:: even if I have had way too many cookies for my own good and shouldn't order dessert I will never EVER pass up key lime pie. even if husband gives me the look that says "are you sure you really want to do that?" yes, i'm sure! even if I gain back the 5 lbs I worked off, yes I'm SURE!
:: group dates are fun! and I think Evelyn behaves much better when others are around.

oh, ellen.

Friday, December 16, 2011

When 3 pm rolls around in this household, I grab a handful of cheerios, take a seat on the floor, nestle Evy Rae in to my lap and turn the tele to channel 4. Ellen is on and it is my happy hour. That lady, i'm tellin ya! She gets me every gosh darn time! The show is hil-AR-ious! And it's the only program that keeps Ev interested for 20 whole minutes. Little Einsteins can't even do that.

I'm sure you've seen these a million times, but they never get old. Never. 
Here's to ending the week with a good laugh!

everything's peachy

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A couple nights ago Ev was asleep and Jared was writing a term paper and I found myself bored. So naturally I decided to fill my time by making something to fill my tummy. I found this recipe for peach cobbler a couple weeks ago and it seemed simplistic so I gave it a whirl. Only, I eyeballed the ingredient portions to make 2 small ramekin sizes instead of a whole cobbler. It was mighty tasty.
1/2 of a 15 oz can peaches
1/2 cup yellow cake mix
1/4 cup butter cut into thin slices
1/8 brown sugar for sprinkling
handful of walnuts


divide 1/2 can of peaches between two ramekins. top each ramekin with 1/8 cup cake mix. place thinly sliced butter over each dish. sprinkle brown sugar and walnuts. bake for 25 min at 350*. Pile on your fav ice cream. dig your spoon into the gooey center and give your tastebuds a warm hello!

On the other hand, this is what happens when you give a 10 month old a small dosage of sugar and let her stay up til 7:10pm. I know, we're crazy parents! Her lean back gets me everytime!

sometimes plans go awry

Sunday, December 11, 2011

What happens when a baby, 30* weather, crowds, traffic, and grad school finals are involved? Getting gypped out of your evening plans, that's what. We had intentions this Saturday night to zip by the National Christmas Tree, then head to Ben's Chili Bowl and if we were ever so lucky stop by the Zoo Lights. I kinda figured that the zoo lights would be pushing it but we didn't make it past #1 on our list, people! The Tree was so darn packed with visitors and the roads so congested that we threw our hands up in the air and decided it would be best to calm our nerves with a peppermint cupcake and pick up Pizza Hut on the way home. Part of me was sad because we weren't finishing out the rest of our night's plans but all that melted away as soon as that stuffed crust slice with crushed red pepper dipped in ranch sauce touched my lips. Cheap pizza never tasted so good.

sunday morning fire

Friday, December 9, 2011

I know that fires are usually done in the cool of the evening without a trace of sunlight, but when Jared suggested Sunday morning that we begin the day with a fire my heart leaped. I think we might make that an every Sunday event, seeing that the predicted highs these days are getting lower and lower.

I've been working on our Christmas card for this year. It's going to be a bit different and I'm so excited about it! Even Jared got giddy over it, so you know it's gonna be good. We've got some fun Christmasy things planned this weekend. I'm excited to report back, mostly because the plans involve lights and a little girl who barks at lights :)

And thank you all for your kind comments about my wrapping! I hope you can put your inner recyclist in to action. Happy Weekend!

minimalist and crafty

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I love Christmas. I love gift giving and receiving. I love how pretty everything is from the lights dangling from roof awnings to powdered sugar delicately settled on a fresh set of brownies. But if there is one thing I am a scrooge about it is gift wrap. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE LOVE LOVE a pretty package. I personally feel that the presentation of a gift is almost if not more important than the gift itself. BUT, I cringe at the thought of spending a quarter of what the gift was worth in paper, ribbon, bows and tags for it only to be balled up and thrown away. So I went all "GREEN" this year and took advantage of what I had around me and hopefully it doesn't scream "i'm cheap and tacky" but rather "i'm a minimalist and crafty." The later sounds great, don't you agree? So here's what my minimalist self went to town and did:

Wrapping Paper = recycled grocery bags
Ribbon = Twine + Ric Rac + knitting yarn + fabric scraps
Ornamentation: handstitched "merry", natural twigs and pinecones, candles {stole idea from here}

It's cheap of me, I agree. Maybe when husband graduates with his Master's and gets a big man job and we have mega bucks I'll toss all my twine, backyard twigs and grocery bags out the window and scream "hello, glittery gift wrap and silver tinsel!" But for right now I'm tacky crafty.

For more creative and better use of minimalist wrapping check here, here and here
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Also, I'm guest posting today over at A LOST FEATHER.
You're going to love Sarah. She's a doll! Check it out.

walking part 1 {on the verge}

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Last week Evelyn received a walker from a wonderful friend at church. She's been using it the past 4 days and we have definitely seen improvement in her walking abilities. Although I know she is hardly ready to go independent with her footwork, here is a debut of her on the verge of graduating from infanthood to toddlerhood. and you can bet your buns there will be another video coming when she actually does walk. I just got prematurely excited and had to post this. 

A Book-y Christmas

Monday, December 5, 2011

This Christmas will be special for us for two reasons: 1) it's Evelyn's first Christmas and 2) it's our first holiday being away from family and that means time to start our own traditions! Now, Ev is a bright young girl. So much so that she knows she doesn't need fancy shmancy presents and toys but will be satisifed with any of the following - a box, a magazine to shred, chapstick, a straw, etc. Needless to say, we're not going all out on gifts with her this year but I do want to do something that will atleast be memorable and educational, because I'm all about having cultured kids. And so begins our new tradition of book giving.**

A while back I started a pinboard just for Children's books. If you look at it, you'll know I am missing more than a handful, like, maybe missing hundreds. What am I missing? Do tell, do tell! I can't decide what my first book to Evelyn should be.

In light of me sharing how bright my daughter is, here's why I am not so intelligent. Today I stood in front of the exit door at Target for about 2 seconds before I realized it wasn't an automatic door. I started to back up and head for the door that would do the work for me when I thought "what am i DOOOING?" I am capable of pushing the door open. So I did. That made me think for a moment about myself and my character. Am I that lazy? No, I'm blaming the world for imposing it's laziness upon me. And I smacked it down, right in the face. It's the mini-triumphs, people, the mini-triumphs.

**After having this brilliant idea, I saw that Elle from over here does something similiar but much more extravagant. Check it out!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

The other week in church we were teaching the children the stories of Jesus. We had each child take a turn and tell their favorite one. They then asked me what mine was. Immediately I went to the nativity story. Back in August Jared and I were reading the New Testament together and came to Luke 2, a prominent chapter about Christ's birth. Afterward I immediately turned to my journal that I keep just for Evelyn and wrote the following:

"Your father and I were just reading in Luke about the birth of Christ. I became so impressed with the way that Christ physically came in to this world - the same as you were brought to this earth. You are so holy and pure just as He was. I have the same privilege that was allotted to Mary of raising a child of God. I love you." 

I think I've mentioned before that Evelyn has never been a cuddler. She is a mover and a shaker and hates being restricted. But last week she let me hold her, and rock her, and fell asleep in my arms. I sat there for 45 minutes and just looked at her in awe. So tender was the moment that I had to capture it in hopes of retaining some portion of what I felt. As we are nearing Christmas and it is my first as a mother, my thoughts are turned to Mary. What a wonderful supreme gift that is given to us women to take part in something so divine.

December Living

Friday, December 2, 2011

Have you gotten your hands on Martha's December issue of LIVING yet?
It's a big deal in our house. My wonderful friend got me a subscription for my birthday this year and I think Jared anticipates it's arrival each month almost as much as I do. It was laying on the bed when he came home from work, to which he exclaimed "Is that Martha already?!" He proceeded to get comfy in his jammies and spent the next 30 minutes feasting on it's awesome-ness. That's how good it is. There are some fantastic ideas. Like, a brownie bow{pictured above right}. Stencil a big bow, lay on top of brownie and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Eh, easy enough. Take some evergreen snippings from your backyard and hot glue around an embroidery hoop to make simple natural wreaths. One of my most favorite articles was about Santa Letters. The article talks about a father who just had a son and felt that he wanted to make a vital contribution to his son's life. "I craved permanence and groped for a way to leave behind an indelible remnant for him." And so began his first "letter FROM Santa." The letters chronicled the triumph's and struggles of a little boy's life - school, death of his first dog, sports, camping trips-and then the trials of adolescence and on to adulthood. The father still writes them to his son every year, even though the boy is now a grown man in his early forties. That just warms my soul. I might just take up this idea.

While I'm not Martha, I feel I did accomplish something Martha-esque this week. I don't post a whole lot of recipes on here because I figure pinterest takes care of mass-sharing the best dishes out there, but I was pretty proud of myself on this one so I thought I would share it.

I love Eggplant Parmesan. It is my favorito. I always thought of it as a high end cuisine, but it's actually something I can easily whip up in the comfort of my own kitchen! I've attempted to make it so many times in the past but it never came out right. It was either too salty, watery, bland, underdone, etc. But I think I've finally got it right!

Eggplant Parmesan
Serves 8

2 large eggplant
28 oz can crushed tomatoes 
1/2 cup Puttanesca sauce {or just toss in kalamata olives + capers for added tang}
olive oil
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 parmesan cheese shredded

1. preheat oven to 350*
2. cut eggplant into 1/4 circle rounds {not too think or else it will take longer to cook}
3. brush both sides of rounds with olive oil and place on indoor grill. Cook 2 minutes on each side
4. while eggplant is cooking, combine crushed tomatoes and puttanesca sauce in a pot. bring to a simmer and add 2 tbsp flour to thicken the sauce. let stand.
5. lay down one layer of eggplant in 13x9 pan. pour 1/3 sauce over layer. Repeat layering 2 more times. 
6. top with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
7. bake for 40 minutes
8. voila! 

See? Not that hard. Here's something new you can try to make over the weekend!

Evelyn, the tub and the curtain

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Prior to yesterday there was a world that I could keep hidden from Evelyn. A world that could magically disappear with a swift pull of hooks on a rod. Well, she discovered that the curtain was a sham and that it in fact is not a barrier but the way to endless fun. She thoroughly enjoyed herself playing in it's billowy sheets and screaming in the echo of the tub. Then she found the toilet paper roll. Oh boy, looks like my days are going to get even busier!

In other news, Happy December! I love this month! What December means for me: lots of goodies, parties with friends, NYC trip {eek!}, 3rd Anniversary, playing Santa Claus {i'm so excited to play the part of this jolly man!}, and making new goals for the New Year. December is also exciting because I'm doing something new. See those lovely partners on the left side? They are all fantastic women that you should get to know. Take a looksy!

Christmas at the US Botanical Gardens

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The National Botanical Garden is cool by itself but add 800 feet of mini-train tracks, Christmas trees, poinsettias and model buildings all made from natural organic materials and it becomes a winter wonderland. You'll notice how distracted Evelyn is in all of these pictures. She is a train enthusiast. That yellow train up there coming out of the tree trunk? That one got Jared and I laughing. Everytime the choo-choo came out of the hole zipping by Ev would jump. It was rather funny. It was gorgeous this weekend with temperatures in the high 60's. It was the perfect day to stroll around the Capitol and throw our baby girl in the air. {I'm trying to use the word baby more because in 2 months she'll be one year old and according to baby clothing sizes she will not longer be an "infant." Sad.}

for the sake of tradition + coupon code

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sometimes I'm a bad wife... Ok, just kidding, I'm actually an awesome wife. But sometimes I'm impolite and impose my traditions on Jared without his consent. A prime example would be setting up the Christmas Tree. This is our first year where we actually have a tree - we have the space, we have a certain someone who is mesmerized by the lights and we won't be traveling home for the holidays. So the night before Thanksgiving I'm making plans to go get a tree the next day. Two things are wrong about that: It's not Jared's tradition to get a tree on Thanksgiving Day nor is it his tradition to get a fake flimsy tree. But it's my tradition. So guess what? He was nice enough to let me have my way! See how spectacular he is?

So there we were at Wal-Mart buying a fake tree when I finally DID do something that wasn't in-line with my Hammer up-bringing. We bought colored lights! We never had colored lights growing up because white was more classy so I felt kinda rebellious handing over cash for my neon pink and blue bulbs. I was totally excited to give my mom the report and have her wail over my unrefined choice. Instead she fanatically responded  "oh, that's great! that totally fits you!" Uh... very disappointing response for someone who was hoping her nonconformity to family tradition would be her last act of rebellion. I guess my radical days are gone. So a-home we drove and up went the tree. Behold the majesty of our $40 fake tree with coarse bristles and iron rods you can see.

When we turn the lights on Evelyn with reach out for them across the room and with a wide-opened mouth say "waaaaaooooww."

Also, since today is Cyber Monday I'm offering 15% off everything in my shop! Just type the code 
at checkout. Good for today only!

the feast

Friday, November 25, 2011

Last Thanksgiving I had a bump that I didn't have to worry about hiding. This year it was a bit different, seeing that any distension in the abdomen would be due to over eating rather than growing a baby. So I wore a chunky sweater to hid the gluttony.

Being so far away from family, we got together with some of our wonderful friends to enjoy the holiday feast. The spread was amazing, so home-cooked and I was so proud of all of us young mothers who pulled it all together {although I didn't do half as much as the other ladies}. Grandma Oakden sent Evelyn her turkey bib. Doesn't she sport it well? I think she tried just about everything on my plate, but of course her favorite was the pumpkin cheesecake. She had so many little friends to play with.  I love that picture of her and Brielle "bumping" heads. She was Evelyn's mini-mama for the evening.

I will say this, though. Having a baby makes it almost impossible to eat all the food that you want when you want. But it was worth exchanging warm turkey and steaming green bean casserole for my little pilgrim. Although that's not to say, Evelyn, that I wouldn't appreciate a warm meal hot out of the oven every now and then :)

A heart full of Thanks

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I hate to break it to you Folgers, but the best part about waking up isn't coffee in my cup. I don't even drink coffee. The best part for me is waking up each day to my lovely life.

Husband. I had my eyes on you 7 years before our wedding date and I still can't seem to take them off of your wonderful self. Time with you just keeps getting better and better. Remember that conversation we had that one time about how we can't say "I" anymore but it's always a collective "we"? I like that we are so tied at the hip that we can't even distinguish ourselves from each other! {Except when it comes to cookie eating time - then I very clearly distinguish how many cookies are mine and how many are yours. I don't like being jipped out of my cookies.}

Evelyn Rae. Could there be a more beautiful thing in this world than you, my dear? I think not. I obsessively adore your perfect features and more so over your ever-developing personality. You have brought more joy to our lives than I ever thought possible.

Seasons. The crunch of crisp leaves and wind rustling through empty branches never sounded so good!

California. To counter the above, I would be duping you all if I said I don't miss California. Well, I don't miss it per say but it holds such a special place in my heart. It's beauty is also incomparable with it's low rolling hills, 70* weather, long stretch coastline, LA traffic and bustling lifestyle. But mostly for the wonderful people that shaped us in so many ways. Which brings me to the next.

Friends. We have been blessed by the lives of so many. Whether through relationships or merely by example, we have grown to love and admire so many.

Technology. Where would we be in this 5000 mile separation from our families without Skype? I think my heart would literally ache if grandparents couldn't watch Evelyn give kisses, furiously crawl, wave, clap and blow bubbles. It definitely eases the coast to coast distance.

The Gospel. I love my faith. It gives me clear hope, direction, stability and peace during this tumultuous time. Everything I have is because of my belief in God and in my Savior. Because of Christ's death I know i can be together forever with my family. Which leads me to parents.

Parents. Both Jared and I have been blessed with a wonderful and loving mother and father. Both taught us the importance of morals, manners, love, service, generosity, perseverance, work, individual worth, gaining knowledge and having fun. We hope we can be half the parents they were to us. It's a daunting task, no doubt, but it is a mighty fun journey!

Happy Thanksgiving!

**photo above taken our last week in California. Aug 2011.

there's me, but then there's that other me too

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It was 8:15 this past Saturday night and I was husband-less and child-less. I was standing in line at Starbucks, ordering my first Caramel Apple Cider of the season. I wasn't in a hurry to go. In fact, the cashier actually had to wait for me to finish my conversation before I handed him my card. I was so chill.  CHILL, I tell you! I grabbed my drink and sat down at a table where I spent the next hour. My good friend from high school sat across from me and we entertained each other for the evening with stories of the past, questions about the future, music, relationships, friends, and just girl talk. It was super duper crazy how quickly this side of me came out - you know, the side that's not a mom.
While motherhood is my ultimate dream and is the biggest part of me and has turned me in to a person I didn't know I was capable of being, I wonder if sometimes I forget that I need to cultivate myself too - that I can be a good mother and have a conversation with someone that doesn't revolve around Evelyn {but let's be serious, I could never hold back babbling about my girl}. I just have so many interests in ADDITION to raising super-duper kiddos. Like, being funny. And stuffing my face with rice-a-roni. So it was nice to take a quick breather for a moment and to say hello to my other "self" again.

Shooting Gluesticks

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I was making some new goodies for my shop when the following ensued:
I think :55 is my favorite giggle.
I can't help but love that little gal.

But as I was saying, I loaded my shop up over the weekend with some new goodies. Hooray, now there are bowsies! {Jared always makes fun of me because everything now ends in -ies. Ex: toesies, feetsies, ticklies, sneezies, kissies, shoesies, sockies, snacksies. The list could go on! But everything sounds so much smaller and daintier with the suffixies, rightsies?}

go parent yourself

Friday, November 18, 2011

Earlier this week I was in Wal-mart buying Evelyn some tights when a rather homely looking man walked past the aisle and then slowly backed up so he was perpendicular to me. He stood there for about 3 seconds which felt like eternity until I turned to look at him and smiled. Ev always seems to attract attention, but I'm always cautious of people's reactions. {One time we were walking out of Taco Bell when out of no where a rather large woman threw open her door from the back of the parking lot screaming "baby" and charged right for us. Jared and I looked at each other with fear in our eyes and booked it for the car. Luckily the lady slowed down before she got to our car, Ev was buckled in safely and the lady walked by whispering "baby" on her way in to the Bell. Seriously, Jared and I jumped in the car and agreed that was the scariest/freakiest moment of our lives.} So when this man stood there for 3 seconds it felt like eternity.

Man: "She's a cutie."
Me: "Thank you."
Look back at the shelf. Evelyn had a shirt in her hands. She proceeded to put the hanger in her mouth.

Man: "Oh, don't let her do that! That thing is so dirty!"
Me: "You're dirty..."

{just kidding. I didn't say that. I wanted to.} Turns out this man just wanted to offer parenting advice. How lovely. I love when society thinks they know my child better than me :) I probably shouldn't tell him that I offer my keys to her all the time, which are probably much more grimy than the hanger.
happy weekend!
I'm going to take Jared to get a pumpkin spice donut. Best thing ever! 
{Besides Sprinkles Pumpkin Spice, of course}

music famine

Thursday, November 17, 2011

This morning has been rather dreary, which means perfect cuddle time for me and my Evy Rae. Our couch looked inviting so I turned on iTunes, laid down with my little lady sitting up on my tummy and she willingly let me clip her fingernails. As I looked outside, leaves were blowing in the wind from branches that are now practically naked and fighting to hold on to their last evidence of life. I couldn't get over how picturesque this moment was. Then a song came on that just melted my heart. It's nothing extraordinary but it just brought me to a moment just over 9 months ago. It was January 26, 2011 in the early afternoon. I was scheduled to go in to have Evelyn that evening at 7, so Jared and I thought it would be a fabulous idea to spend our last afternoon as just the two of us in the darkness of a movie theatre. We saw "Country Strong." We had heard rather negative things about it, so we weren't expecting the best film of our lives but turns out it moved me rather strongly. I loved it. There's this song that Leighton Meester and Garrett Hedlund sing called "Give in to me." Although it isn't the most poetic song I have ever heard, it is beautiful nonetheless. Hedlund's voice just makes you melt. I remember sitting there thinking, "Holy smokes, I love this guy sitting next to me so gosh darn much it hurts!" I might have even cried a little bit. It was probably my pregnancy hormones gone wild but that song will always be a part of me - my last date with JO as a childless young couple, looking over at this young man who would soon be a father, being so thankful that I got to him and that he gave in to me. So when that song came on this morning, I couldn't help but be transported.

That's what I love about music. It can be an escape but it can also be an amplifier of whatever the song of the heart is at the moment. I feel like I've been in a music funk since, well, being married actually. During my late teens and early twenties there was so much drama, uncertainty, and heart ache that I practically binged on music from Ryan Adams, Mindy Smith, The Wreckers, The Fray, A Fine Frenzy, etc. They all seemed to "get" my 20-something old petty self. But what do married people listen to when everything is hunky dory, there are no breakups, life is unrealistically superb, and you have a child? Where do you find new music? In college days my best friend and I would spend about an hour everyday just listening to music. We would jump in to her blue land rover with the intention of driving around aimlessly just so we could sing our vocal cords sore. I don't think my ipod has experienced a "sync" in 3 years. I'm craving that song, that band that just gets me going. You know what I mean?

she hasn't given me peas all day yet!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I gave Evelyn peas whole for the first time last night.
"Um, excuse me, Mom, but I don't like these."
What she should have said was:
"Hey, i've been turned in to a cow. Can i go home?"***
And she would have been excused.
While in the beginning she thought she would rather not have them and repeatedly threw them overboard, I think more ended up in her mouth than on the floor so I'll call that a success.

Whenever I think of peas, I automatically think of THIS hiliarious video. Have you heard of Kid History? My friend Katie introduced it to me and I think it is the most wonderful thing. 
"Then why is it dross? This is so dross!"
Watch and you'll see what I mean.

*** My sister thought this deserved clarification. I am not calling my daughter a cow, just merely quoting one of the greatest movies of all time, "The Emperor's New Groove" :)

when the family gets together

So who do I thank for the heat wave over here in Virginia? When we came home last night from Phoenix at 9pm, our house was 71*. That's after 4 days of having the heat off. It's B-E-A-UTIFUL over here. But Phoenix was pretty lovely itself.

Evelyn was WONDERFUL on the flight over. We were super nervous because in addition to the 5 hour flight, we sat ON the plane for an hhoooouuurr before take off. Oh my, that was the longest hour ever. But Evelyn was such a trooper. We spent 4 days in Phoenix celebrating Jared's grandfather's birthday. It was good to be with family and to be able to pass Ev off every now and then. I think Uncle Travis was her favorite. Evelyn has two girl cousins that are all within 18 months of each other, so it was fun to see them interact. We even went out on a date for 90 minutes. Gasp! We've only gone out without her 3 times and she's always been left with family. But we made it through and I guess she cried a good majority of the time, so I don't see any more date nights in our near future. Oh well, I was happy to kiss that teary face when we came home and it was very nice of grandma to watch her!

We had two things on our agenda while we were out West: 1} In-n-out and 2} mexican food. We hit up our burger joint within 4 hours of landing. So delish! I used to mock those who raved about in-n-out but now that it's no where in sight - You don't know what you've got til it's gone, right? Ah, and mexican food! To taste the authentic tortilla smothered in enchilada sauce and cheese filled with high carb beans, rice, sour cream, and guac was priceless. I also got my first pedicure with all the Oakden ladies. I've had a manicure, like, maybe 4 times but never a pedicure. It was amazing! I never knew pretty feet could make me feel more confident, but it does?? 

Well, we said our goodbyes. It's always hard when you don't know when you will see each other again, especially with us being so far away, but the great thing is that when we came home to Va we felt AT HOME. That is significant, considering we've only been here for 4 months.

we're outta here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

We're packed and ready to go. We're making our way across the USA to Arizona. I've never been to Arizona, but it is considerably warmer than Virginia this time of year so I think I'll like it just fine. Jared's family is having a reunion so we're looking forward to jokes and laughter.

As I was sitting there loading up all our stuff in to the suitcase and making sure I had all of Ev's stuff accounted for I just got so happy. Happy because I'm the mom now. I pack for not just myself, but my baby too. I just like that feeling of being responsible for someone. Eh, I guess anything can make me happy these days. I am nervous about our 5 hour direct flight. We haven't flown with Evelyn since she was 6 months when she was a) immobile 2) less attention needy 3) could fall asleep in her carseat and 4) less vocal. We're crossing our fingers that there will be an empty seat next to us so Ev can sprawl out. But that might be wishful thinking. Wish us luck!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I was kind of bummed this last weekend when I went to the mall and saw it decked out for Christmas already with Santa's workshop up and running. I am a diehard jolly jubilee fan just like anyone else, but what happened to Thanksgiving? I love the month of November and the time that is given to just reflect on all the things that are great in this world. Every day this month I have written down something that I am grateful for in my journal and I try to tell Jared something everyday of why I am grateful for him. Sometimes thoughts of gratitude should be kept in the heart, sometimes they are best expressed through utterance of the lips, and sometimes they are more treasured when written.

Post-its are probably on the list of top inventions in my opinion. I love them, especially when they are used for small love notes to self or someone else. I made up thankful post-its so I can remind myself and my wonderful husband of all of our blessings.

Do you have little thankful notes you'd like to write to yourself?  1} click on the image 2} download and open in word 3} print out sheet 4} place post-it on top of each box 5} edit each box so outline is invisible 6} re-print with post-its downward 7} surprise someone with a lovely note of gratitude :)

"A grateful heart … comes through expressing gratitude to our Heavenly Father for His blessings and to those around us for all that they bring into our lives."
- Thomas Monson


Monday, November 7, 2011

Perfection. That would be the word to describe this past weekend. Oh, I don't think my little soul has ever been happier. I dare say that my heart "grinched-up" this weekend and grew three sizes. How is it possible that my love for my little family continues to soar leaps and bounds? We didn't do anything extraordinary yet it all just seemed so magical. Friday night we threw together our first little fire after Ev went to bed. See our feet warming up there by the flames? Yeah, it was awesome. Oh, and I finally found THE chocolate chip cookie recipe. Like, "I have never tasted anything better and I can't believe I made it, we should sell these for $5 a piece" recipe. Saturday Jared had to work so Ev and I spent the majority of the morning in my bed snuggling to keep warm under the covers. I was tossing everything I could in the bed to keep her entertained {i.e. empty toilet paper roll, hanger, chapstick} so we didn't have to get out. It was fa-reezzing in our house. Our Saturday evening was spent in bed at 9pm playing Words with Friends. Sunday morning we again had family play time in bed for a good hour. I guess our bed is the place to be :) Ev ate a banana whole for the first time. 

Last night I interrupted Jared's reading and sat on his lap where I remained for half an hour talking about life. We mostly talked about our baby girl. And each other. We haven't had such a "slow" weekend in a long time. I loved it.

**Ev gets comments from people all the time out in public about her smiley happy face. She is super happy. Lately I've also been getting comments about her hair, or lack thereof. Well, I did find one strand today that is 1.5 in long. We're hoping that will replicate times a million in the near future :)


Friday, November 4, 2011

Earlier this week we took a little family date to Georgetown. The weather was just right for a cupcake {or two!}. Two of my wonderful girlfriends took me to Georgetown Cupcake a couple of weeks ago for my birthday for my first time but Jared had yet to try it out, so it was a perfect excuse to drive the 15 min to sweeten up our tummies. After scarfing down our Peanut Butter Chip at Georgetown we decided we still liked Sprinkles more, but needed to be sure.  So we went and each got ourselves another treat. And there's the tale of how we indulged in 2 delectable cupcakes in 20 minutes! {Oh, and Sprinkles wins in our book!}

Isn't Georgetown itself lovely? Each home has so much character and charm. Totally my dream style.

** oh, and thank you all for your NYC suggestions! I'm so excited! Hotel has been booked.