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
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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!