Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday Mish Mash

It's Monday!!  That means I get to blog about anything and everything I want.  Oh wait, it seems I do that most days!  Regardless here is the latest and greatest!

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

1. Speaking of the Greatest

I see a lot of people complaining lately about other people who blog or facebook post about how great their life is.  No one seems to want to read the

"I  love my baby so much!!  He is the best baby in the world!!"

or

"My husband is the sweetest!  Roses again :)"

kinds of posts.  Well I say bring them on!!  I think it is awesome that you love your children and your husband!  I want to hear all about how you got flowers or a new iphone or 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep.  Personally I'm a little put out with negativity.  I never said my life was perfect, but I sure am thankful for it!  I'm not saying you need to throw things around to make others jealous but if baby or husband or best friend or mom or whomever has made your day awesome feel free to share!!

2.  In that Case

I have the best baby in the world and the best husband!!!! :)

3. Long Run

I did my first 5 mile run today.  I'm training for a 1/2 marathon that is looming  and I have to admit I'm a little intimidated.  At first my goal was to finish.  Now my goal is to finish....but not in last place.  Seriously I might be the slowest runner EVER!!!  Today I told Peter I was going to run at 10am.  Instead I took a nap.  This meant that when I finally did get around to running a little after noon that it was 80 degrees and super sunny!!  I called the "best husband in the world" around mile 3 and begged him to bring me water.  Sweet husband got the baby, the dog and the water and drove until he found me.  Love that guy!!

4.  Plantain Perfection

At our sibling retreat aka Myrtle Beach Marathon a couple of weeks ago we ate at a great Mexican restaurant.  I'll admit I have a slight obsession with fish tacos.  I want them all the time!!  For dessert we ordered plantains.  Oh my!  Total perfection!  The first thing I picked up at the commissary last week was plantains.  What I found out when researching recipes is that plantains aren't ripe until they are black.  So if you see some black bananas in the discount section at your local supermarket they just might be perfectly ripe plantains.  Here is my recipe

Cut plantains on the bias.  Brush with mixture of melted butter, brown sugar and spices of your choice.  I used cayenne and cinnamon.  Grill for about 10 minutes.  Keep brushing the mixture when you turn the plantains.  Oh so yummy!!!

5. What. Is. This.

I have to admit I am not the model student when it comes to posting on facebook.  I don't tend to use capitol letters and I do a lot of this.....and this.....instead of using punctuation.  I never thought it might bother someone.  But I think it just might.  Want to know why I think that?  Because. Of. This.  What is this???  So many people seem to be using this method to get their point across.  I see it alot.  All. The. Time.  Seriously.  Everywhere. I. Look.  I find it to be a little bothersome, kind of like the use of "u" for you.  Are there things like this that bother you? 

6. New Look

I need help with my blog design!  Anyone have any expertise they want to share??

Hope you had a fabulous Monday!!!!!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Project 365-Week 8

February 20: Stafford is getting much better at sitting up.  I love this shot because he has his C-17 shirt on and he is happy!


February 21: We took Stafford to the aquarium.  I thought he'd be a little more interested in things but he fell asleep :)  I thought this turtle was cute.

February 22: Lots of color in my photos this week.  This is my first round of practice cupcakes from my cake class.

February 23: Bear was trying to get Stafford to take his toy and throw it for him.  So cute!!  Stafford's expression is hilarious in this picture!!

February 24: Our first big boy bath!!  I LOVE this tub...it is perfect for little ones!!

February 25: The remnants of icing after I cleaned up my mess.


February 26: More cupcakes...next week I need to be more creative in my photos!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Following Directions

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago I am taking the Basic Cake Decorating class at my local Michael's.  My sister took this class a few years ago and has made some amazing cakes.  Now that we have the Little Guy I wanted to be able to make birthday cakes for him!  In general I'm a pretty artsy person.  I like to draw, paint and do crafts.  I enjoy cooking and being in the kitchen so I thought cake decorating would be a natural fit.  Pretty much I thought I'd have my own Food Network show by now, you know, two weeks after I started.

My dreams of being a cable star just might have come true IF I could follow directions.  Our first week of class we had a lot of "lecture" about how to make buttercream icing, what tools we needed and making a cake that didn't puff out in the middle.  Like a good student I dutifully wrote down all of the teacher's suggestions.  I left excited to go home and make my cake and 2 batches of buttercream icing.

Fast forward to week 2 of class.  We've just finishing icing our cakes and the teacher is showing us how to make a smooth surface on a cake.  I bet you didn't know how to do this either!  Once your icing has dried simply take a piece of parchment paper and place it on the cake.  Then just lightly press on any areas that have lines or ridges and they will smooth right out!  The key to doing this however is making sure your icing is dry.

Everyone else is smoothing their cakes and I am just waiting and waiting and waiting for my icing to dry.  I waited about 5 days and my icing never dried.  I finally just skipped to icing the cake because I couldn't wait any longer! 

I shared my first cake last week but here it is again....

In generally I was pretty pleased other than the icing that never dried.  The icing didn't taste as good as I hoped either (typically I LOVE buttercream icing) but I hoped that would keep me from eating all of my new creations!

This week our assignment was cupcakes and again 2 batches of icing.  The Little Guy is still young enough for me to blame everything on pregnancy brain so I called my friend Amanda and asked her to remind me how many cups of powdered sugar I needed for the recipe.  3 & 3/4 cups.  Just like it was written in my book.  Just like I totally DIDN'T put in the week before!  No wonder my icing tasted horrible and never dried.  I had only put 2 cups on sugar in it!!  We joked that maybe it would serve as a lo-cal version of buttercream (ha!) and I made sure I made my icing correctly.  Sure enough my cupcakes have that nice icing crunch on them!

Clearly I need to learn to follow directions!  Here are some of this week's creations.





These were iced to practice the techniques we learned in class; rosettes, shells, flowers, shaggy mums etc.  These aren't official "I tried really hard to make amazing cupcakes for x occasion" cupcakes.  When I have some of those I will share!

Today I'm linking up with:
Simply Designing
It's A Hodgepodge Life
Making the World Cuter

Thursday, February 24, 2011

At First Glance....

At first glance moving from Charleston to Tacoma seems like a pretty even exchange.....

From one bridge.....
..

to another.

From one skyline.....

to another....


via
from Atlantic



to Pacific.

From sunrise to sunset.

From known to unknown.

From home to new home.

From near to far.

From comfortable to uncomfortable.


First glances are sometimes deceptive.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Runners

If you go through a baby name book you can see that lots of names being used today were simply ways to describe a person's occupation.  You have Taylor, Mason, Carter, Harper, Hunter and lots of others!  I'm perfectly happy with my new last name.  But if we were living in the days where people were named after what they were doing we'd be "The Runners".  Keep in mind, I didn't say the FAST runners!

Last weekend we went to Myrtle Beach so all four siblings could run in either the marathon or 1/2 marathon.  This isn't the first time they've gotten together to do this.  In 09 all four ran the Air Force Marathon together.  The four siblings could definitely be called "The Fast Runners" but since you add me into the mix the average goes down a bit.  Both of Peter's sisters have qualified for and run the Boston marathon.  Incredible!

Here are some pictures from our super fun weekend in Myrtle Beach! 

Stafford & Schaeffer hanging out

Peter & Steven finishing the marathon

All four siblings

after the race

Stafford's first time in the swimming  pool

Daddy look at me!!

I like this!!  And I love my special swimming trunks from Aunt Heather!

Showing off my styling swimming trunks
Aunt Liz & Stafford

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hey Grandpa!

Grandpa, I wore this shirt just for you!!
Love,
Stafford

Monday, February 21, 2011

Project 365-Week 7

February 12-Little feet

February 13- Daddy & Stafford


February 14-My first cake for my cake class

linking up with making the world cuter
                simply designing
                      it's a hodgepodge life



February 15  Yummy fries & hotdogs at Jack's Cosmic Dogs


February 16-hanging out with my cousin Schaeffer

February 17-Look at my swim trunks!!


February 18-Daddy & Uncle Steven finishing their marathon

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Top Ten Baby Items

When I was pregnant I sent an email to a few of my friends that already had children asking them the following:

What are 3 things you can't live without?
What are 3 things people told you wouldn't be able to live without but you haven't needed?
Any other advice/books/etc about babies that you want to give me?

One of my friends laughed at me (in a nice way) in her reply email and stated that Mommies certainly like to give advice about babies and that I had opened a can of worms!!  I did end up getting LOTS of advice but it was really helpful!  Since these were my friends it was easy to see why a certain friend might suggest one thing and other friends might say they never used it at all.

I started thinking about my top lists and you know how I love to make them!!  So here is my "Top Ten Baby Items"  I'll save the ones I didn't need for another post!


10.  The Ultimate Crib Sheet

Have you heard of this one?  You put it on OVER your crib sheet.  But it doesn't tuck down the side, it snaps.  When baby spits up or has a leaky diaper all you have to do is unsnap this and put it in the wash.  If you have crib bumpers (like I do) all it takes is one time of having to untie and retie those before you'll want one of these!!

9. Pack-N-Play (with Bassinet)

I told everyone that our baby wasn't going to sleep in our room.  Our bedroom doors are literally 5 feet apart and I thought we'd just start the little one out in his crib.  Yeah, this lasted all of about 9 seconds once we came home from the hospital.  He was SO little!  And the thought of having him in the other room made me want to burst into tears.  So tired Daddy put together the Pack-N-Play late that first night.  I loved the bassinet function because it was contoured.  Stafford fit inside snugly and I didn't worry that he would turn his head or be able to moving around much.  I'm not too much of a "freaking out" Mom but I was concerned about SIDS (do your research about this new Moms!!) and I was happy that the bassinet was on an incline as well.

Little guy lasted about 6 weeks in our room and they we couldn't take it anymore.  He was the LOUDEST sleeper on the planet!  Grunting, groaning....you name the noise....he made it!  We switched him into his room and never looked back!

8. My Jogging Stroller (Baby Jogger FIT)

Let's be honest here.  I can't really call it a running stroller.  I may run but I run like a granny so I think it's more appropriate to refer to my running as jogging.  After doing research I narrowed my choices down to a BOB or a Baby Jogger stroller.  Because it can potentially be dangerous I didn't want a stroller that had a wheel that wasn't fixed. (Some jogging strollers have a pin that you can use to "fix" or "un-fix" your front wheel.  I didn't want to take the chance that the pin might come up and the front wheel would turn.)  We opted to use our jogging stroller as our primary stroller.  It has a car-seat insert so we were able to use it right away.  It folds in half (literally all you do is pull the handle up and it is folded!) and stores easily.  I LOVE it.  I haven't used it without the carseat yet but it has been wonderful to be able to exercise with Stafford right away.  This was a must-have for us!!

7. Nursing Cover

Udder cover....hooter hider....whatever you call it, it is fantastic.  If you haven't seen these they are basically cotton blankets that have a tie around the neck.  It's kind of like an apron but it is shorter in length and longer in width.  Mine has an insert in the neckline that keeps it open a little bit so I can look down at Stafford if I need to.  These are wonderful if you know you'll need to nurse in public.  I've had people tell me that they didn't even know I was nursing!  Be careful though, my friend Rachel had a hilarious experience with hers!!  You can read about it here.

6, Floor Gym

I use this everyday.  Stafford LOVES his floor gym.  We have the TinyLove brand that has jungle animals on it.  It has been so fun to watch his play change with this toy.  He started laying in it when he was about 6 weeks old.  He would just shake his hands and occasionally make contact with one of the animals.  Then he started actually trying to hit the animals.  Now he rolls over and plays with the different textures that are on the mat.  He looks at himself in the mirror.  He plays in this for at least an hour everyday.  I hope all my babies love this because it is a great way in the morning for me to get my day started while he is occupied.

5. Burp Clothes/Old School Cloth Diapers

If no one has told you then I will.  Nursing is messy!  Once you get the hang of it you'll be fine.  But at the beginning, geez!!  I had a package of cloth diapers that I kept by my rocker to use for an "stray" milk.  Especially at the beginning when baby is learning to latch!  They were also nice to have for burping as well! 

4. My Glider/Rocker

Oh how I love this chair!  I swivels and rocks.  The ottoman rocks.  The back is tall enough that I can rest my head.  It is comfy.  Bear can sit next to me while I nurse.  I have used this everday, multiple times a day without fail!!  Some people can nurse in bed (especially if baby is still sleep in their room) but it didn't work for me.  I didn't want to wake Peter up or keep him up once he went back to work. (Before you say, "oh Laura that is so nice", just know that Peter changed almost every middle of the night diaper before I nursed Stafford.  So I'm not as nice as I sound!!)

3. Portable Booster Chair/Bumbo

We don't have a portable booster chair yet but I wish we did!  Stafford just started eating solids about a month ago and since we had a Bumbo (thanks to the Porters!!) we have used that.  It is bulky to carry however and isn't a replacement for a booster chair.  I wasn't thrilled with the idea of a high chair because we have limited space in our current home.  The booster is the perfect solution.  It fits on a chair and you can take it with you to restaurants or someone else's home.  I think they are great!

2.  Babycenter.com

You have to take what you read with a grain of salt.  I love what this website has to offer.  Each week of your pregnancy and after the baby arrives you get an email with details about the baby's development at that point.  It is fun to read and gives you milestones that you baby should be reaching in the near future.  With that said, you have to read it knowing that your child is developing at his/her own pace and you can't freak out if your baby isn't transferring an object from one hand to another or pulling up exactly when the email says they will. 

The website has lots of information and you can search questions you might have.  When Stafford was little Peter and I noticed that his feet looked crooked.  Before calling the Dr (I didn't want to be the Mommy that called about EVERYTHING) I searched the website just to see.  Sure enough I found out this is common for babies.  I am not advocating using this website as your primary source for information, especially health related information.  But it is a nice resource to get you started.

1.  Links

This one is cheap but super helpful!  I use the little toy links all the time to create a play area for Stafford.  If we are somewhere they I don't want him to throw a toy on the floor I just use the links to attach it to his carseat or my purse, something that he won't be able to move.  Then he can push and pull and bang around all he wants!  I've also used them to make a play-area for him in the car.  I simply made a long chain and attached it to the garment holder on each side of the car.  Then I hang his other toys from the chain.  Often when I get out of the car I find him asleep with his hand holding on of these toys!  He loves to bat them around. 

I'm interested to hear what your "can't live withouts" are!!  I wonder if mine with change with another baby (that is not an announcement) or if our next child will enjoy some of the same things.  It will be fun to find out!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Weekly Mish Mash

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

1. my funny valentine


Check out the adorable card I received from my parents for Valentine's Day.  Did you read that correctly?  Yes, I said my parents.  Not my husband's parents.  Laura's parents.  Don and Devon sent this to their daughter.  Oh wait, no they didn't.  Apparently Don and Devon sent this to their SON and DAUGHTER-IN-LAW!!!!!!  WHAT????

We all got a big laugh over this one.  Mom was too taken with the "adorable dogs" that she forgot to read the rest of the card.  Maybe I'll send her a "Happy Mother's Day, Mother-in-Law" card this year!

2. wrong holiday



This is Stafford's new buddy.  It was on sale at Barnes & Noble for a ridiculously low price and he sneezed on it (because I was carrying it around) and so I had to buy it, right?  I'm such a sucker for cute stuffed animals!

3. just call me betty crocker

I'm taking the cake decorating class at our local Michael's craft store with a good friend.  This week we had to bake a cake and make two batches of homemade icing.  I am in BIG trouble.  A. I had no idea making homemade icing was so easy. B. We're going to have baked goods in the house for the next four weeks.  And beautifully iced ones at that!  Good thing I am stepping up my running game....

4. living in denial

I'm not sure how you figure out that you are in denial but I think I am.  It just hit me the other day that February is now 1/2way over.  That means less than 5 months left in Charleston.  When do I officially have to think about this?????


5. if I could turn back time


All of my baby mama friends who have older children keep telling me that it gets better and better.  And it has!  But I keep thinking that time is moving SO fast.  I keep picturing myself trying to cuddle with my 14 year old and that mental picture refuses to form!!  For now I am soaking up all of the cuddles I can with this little guy!!



6. redemption dinner

Ever have an awful date?  I think when you have a bad date you should try to "redeem" yourself by going back and having an excellent date!  This was our first Valentine's Day back in 2007.  We had a "redemption dinner" downtown at Hank's.  It was an excellent date and now Hank's is redeemed for future dates.  Thankful my sweet husband doesn't need a date on a calendar to remind him to love me!!  So very very blessed to spend today and everyday with this guy!!

Surprise!!

I have a secret.

I've been keeping it for a couple of months because I just wasn't ready for people to know.

I'm pretty nervous about this.

It's life changing for me.

Peter is excited about it.

Peter has a lot to do with it!

I've told only a couple of family members and close friends.

I know that the next few months will be worth it.

I'll be tired and worn out in the end.

It's going to change my body.

It's going to be hard.

I've been waiting to post about it until it was official.

It's official.......



I'm running a half marathon in April!! 


I told Peter at Christmas that this year I would run a half marathon.  So for the last couple of months I've been slowly training.  I can run four miles now and probably more but I haven't done it yet.  I'm VERY slow so if you run like a Granny you can come train with me!

I signed up last night for the KY Derby Marathon.  It's April 30th.  I have 11 weeks left to train!  If you know me you know what a HUGE deal this is.  I don't really like running.  I hate sweating.  But it is good exercise and since Peter loves it so much it's a great way for us to spend time together and with Stafford since he comes along too!  Bear does too.  Yes our 7 pound dog runs four miles with us.  And he isn't even tired at the end.

So that is my surprise!  If you want to cheer me on I'd love to see you!!  Peter and Stafford will be there....and maybe Bear too!!
With the Little Guy after my long run yesterday

Sunday, February 13, 2011

It's Time for a Picnic

The weather is beautiful here today.  I LOVE Charleston in the Spring.  It isn't quite Spring yet but the anticipation is wonderful!  If I close my eyes I can picture the sun shining, flowers blooming and that salty marshy smell that is characteristically Charleston.  We're headed out of town for good in July so until then I plan to soak up all the perfection that is Charleston.

In preparation for a beautiful springtime picnic here is one of my favorite cold salads given to me by my boss at CofC John.  It's so colorful and bright and is the perfect non traditional addition to any spring or summer meal.

Picnic Couscous Salad

11/4 cup chicken broth or water
1 cup uncooked couscous
1 tsp grated lemon rind
2 T lemon juice
1 T olive oil
3/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 cups quartered cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup pimento-green olives
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup fresh parsley OR cilantro (I prefer cilantro)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 can Great Northern Beans (rinsed & drained)

1. Bring broth to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Stir in couscous, remove from heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and cool.

2. Whisk together lemon rind, lemon juice, oil and mustard in a large bowl.  Add couscous, tomatoes and remaining ingredients.  Toss well. 

I can't wait until all the yummy spring and summer produce is in season!!  I'll have lots of recipes to share soon!!


Project 365-Week 6

February 5: My mozzarella stuffed meatballs.  Yum!!

February 6: Happy heart!

February 7th: 6 month old picture with his pelican.

February 8th:  Hard to tell but this redbird was beautiful.  I love how the lines of the trees make the picture look intricate.

February 8th: I love watching his little hands be able to do more and more things.  He has been doing this for a while but the frog song never gets old!

February 9th: We tried avocado.....not sure how he liked it!   I love how expressive his eyebrows are.

February 10th: My favorite mug....getting ready for a cup of coffee from our new coffee maker.



February 11th: Stafford LOVES his toes.

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