Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thursday Thoughts: I'm Lucky

Brian and I just got the kids in bed and had the most random but great time sitting on the couch and chatting together. It reminded me of our DINK days! 

This is was an amazing icecream cake (gluten free) from Walmart - $15 - go buy one. Now.

We just sat there chatting and reflected on how far we've come in our ten plus years together.  Not that I'm a marriage expert by any means, but I think one reason that we've been so happy together is that we've learned to grow and change with each other.  

No person goes through life remaining exactly the same.  I know I've certainly changed quite a bit in how I act and think and in my life goals from the girl I was at 19.  But we love and support each other as we change.  

I don't think I say it often enough because I'm too busy talking about how cute our kids are, but I am so lucky.  I'm married to my best friend, the person I want to talk to about everything.  He's so generous, selfless... the best father I've ever seen.  I definitely got the better end of the deal.

See? Even at our wedding, I was hogging the cake!

I just thought you all should know, since I don't talk about him enough... he's my rock and the backbone of this family.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesday Whereabouts

As I type this I am surrounded by the most delicious smell... I'm making shredded beef tacos for dinner. If they're as good as I think they're going to be, I'll share the recipe next week.

Hello, my name is Laura and I am a popchips addict.

This is Natalie's face when I walk into the room.  Just kidding.  This is her face when Mickey Mouse comes on the TV.  I only wish I was this cool.

While the boys were gone, I got to spend a lot of one on one time with this cute little miss.  I think she enjoyed being the center of attention for once!

I also had a girl's night in with my sister to catch up on Downton Abbey.  She let me pick our poison, so of course we had bubbly.  This was my first time trying the Freixenet Rosado and it did not disappoint!

You're looking at two projects I tackled here:  first, I gilded our mirror, and second I DIY'd this little Valentine's garland.  And in case you were thinking I'm the least creative, you should know that I shamelessly copied this from Amanda over at Dixie Delights.  She is extremely talented!  I did have to make the letters myself though.

Just another picture of my cutie who is getting so big.

I've been continuing on my organization kick and I tackled this hot mess.  It's still not worthy of an after pic, but we're getting there.

I finally used my Vino2Go wine sippy cup that I gave myself for Christmas, haha! I bought one for a friend and thought what fun would it be to booze it up at the playground alone??

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Valentines' Day Treats

Today I wanted to share some really sweet Valentine's Day recipes I've found in hopes that y'all can help me narrow them down!! First up is a treat that would be for my husband. He is the ultimate baconholic and I love to incorporate bacon into gifts for him. For example, I get him a bar of this bacon chocolate every year for his stocking.  So imagine my delight when I saw this bacon bouquet on Our Best Bites!!

Really, what man wouldn't love this??

 I've also always wanted to attempt these conversation heart cookies:

So cute!  Just a little worried that the effect might be lost on a two year old who has never even seen a conversation heart!

Finally, we've started a bit of a tradition of fun holiday breakfasts around here, so I've been searching for the perfect Cupid meal!  I'm considering these red velvet pancakes, heart shaped cinnamon rolls and bacon,  or just using my pancake pen to make heart-shaped pancakes.  Thoughts??

What's on your menu for Valentine's Day?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Motherhood Monday: Much Too Fast

My little peanut has been hitting some big milestones lately, y'all, and it's been a lot for this Mommy to handle.  He is potty trained (obviously this is a VERY big one!), he sleeps in a toddler bed, and today he left to go on a trip without me!  I've left him once before when he was 20 months old to go to London with my mom and one of my sisters.  That also happened to be when I weaned him just because the timing worked out so well.  You can imagine all of the emotions involved.  I nursed him to sleep for his nap one last time before I left.  I usually only nursed him at bedtime, but I just had to squeeze in one last time.  Talk about tear fest!   For the record, he didn't bat an eye and never asked to nurse again.

He loves to be my helper, especially with cleaning :)

Today, though, he left ME!

Brian took him with on a short overnight trip to visit his Grandmother (Phillip's great-grandmother).  I know he will do great and he adores his Daddy, but I started crying after they left this morning.

He REALLY loves to be Daddy's helper. Working here on his new room!

I've also just recently begun the search for a Mother's Day Out program for him to start this September.  I know I'm a bit behind the times as almost everyone seems to start preschool well before 3, but I just love having him home with me.  I feel like he has the rest of his life to be in school and go somewhere structured all day long, and I have such a relatively short period to be the number one influence in his life.  I visited a school today that I feel really good about though, and I think he will love it.  Fingers crossed he gets in!

Just hanging out with his best bud.

Of course he still has his fair share of foot-stomping two year old moments, but I'm in awe of what a sweet and smart boy he is becoming.  And he really is a boy now... not my baby anymore!  

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fashion Friday

First off I want to let y'all know that your comments on my post yesterday meant so much to me.  I was literally tearing up as I read them.  I took y'alls advice and did absolutely no cleaning or cooking today... not that I would have been able since neither of my children took an afternoon nap, ha!

I think just being able to vent sometimes is so cathartic.  Also, hubby sweetly volunteered to get up with Natalie a few times last night so that I could catch up on some sleep and so that we could try to get her eating less at night and more during the day.  I know that full night weaning just isn't the right thing to do right now, but I also know that I'm not my best self on such a big sleep deficit.

I read some other posts that really made me think long and hard about the blessings that I have.  One of my favorite bloggers opened up about her money problems and another about her struggle to conceive.  Everyone out there seems to have their own private struggle going on, even those who seem to have "perfect" lives.

So!  Here are the OOTD's for the week!  Someone commented to me that they were impressed I manage this with a baby and it may seem silly to put on an outfit everyday just to be spit up on, but it really helps me have a more positive outlook on things when I feel like I at least look put together.  Plus, let's be honest, I luuurve clothes!

I didn't source everything with links because I'm heading out to a fun event tonight, but I will come back tomorrow and fill in links in case you see something you can't live without.  The even I'm going to is a private kid's consignment sale and I'm hoping to pick up some cute stuff for the kids at good prices.  Wish me luck!

Lilly Pulitzer Cassie Top in Starboard Stripe, F21 Ankle Length Leggings in Navy, Sperry Top Siders in Rose Gold

J Crew Cream eyelet/lace top, J Crew Toothpick Cord in Pink (currently on super sale!!!), Missoni for Target Flats, J Crew Pink Marrakesh Bracelet

J Crew Perfect Shirt in Pink Gingham, 7For Mankind Roxanne Skinny Jeans, Tory Burch Patent Reva Flats in Caribbean Blue

Lilly Pulitzer Lana Top in Navy, J Crew Matchstick Jeans in Kelly Green, Tory Burch Reva Flats in Brown, Necklace from Express (very old!)

Caslon Mustard Cardigan from Nordstrom, Old Navy Key Print Top, 7ForMankind Roxanne Skinny Jeans, Tory Burch Reva Flats in Caribbean Blue

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thursday Thoughts: Failing

I had a much more fun post planned for today, a review, but my heart just wasn't in it so it will have to wait until next week. I'm normally a pretty upbeat person, I think. Accentuate the positive... eliminate the negative, and all of that. But I just can't pretend that everything is okay when it's not. 

It's just not okay.

I feel like I'm failing. I feel like I'm a failure at something where failure is simply not an option.

I feel like I'm failing my daughter.

I've written before about Natalie's struggle with reflux here and here.  It's the same old thing I guess, except this week we went to the doctor for her six month check up and she's LOST WEIGHT.

As it is, I literally can never leave her for more than two hours (she flatly refuses to drink from a bottle), but she's back to being extremely high maintenance about how she is fed.  She hates any kind of noise and she generally won't nurse away from home.  Phillip loves to spend time with me and loves for me to play with him. ALL. THE. TIME.

Don't get me wrong I love that he thinks I'm fun and I love that we have that kind of relationship.  But Natalie will not eat with him in the room, much less with him talking.  I have to shut two doors between us to feed her and I can still hear him calling my name :(

I don't know what else to do though.

I feel like I'm so busy meeting Natalie's overwhelming basic needs, I don't have time or energy left to be sweet and fun and loving with her.  I know she will live and I will too.  And I know that so many people have to deal with much worse, but I just can't help it.  I feel like I'm at my breaking point.

I don't want to spend the next six months or the next year waking up each day praying just to get through the day without crying or wanting to throw something.  It doesn't help that I haven't had a full night's sleep in 6 months.

It struck me today while I was holding Natalie and she was crying and I was crying, that this is how child abuse happens.  Of course I feel awful that she is sad and in pain, but after enough time and futile effort at helping her, I just want to MAKE. THE. CRYING. STOP. NOW.

That's awful that I just said that, but I can see how a parent just a little more exhausted and with less help and support than I have could do something just to make it stop.

That's it.  That's all. I just needed to get it off my chest.  The littles are napping and while they sleep I'm going to pull myself together and get through the day.  They need me to be stronger than this.  I just can't fail at something this important.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Freezer Cooking and Blue Cheese Meatloaf

Do you ladies do much freezer cooking? I do a fair amount of cooking in bulk and freezing of things like muffins and cookie dough, but I had honestly never frozen a dinner. Isn't that crazy?? Since there are really only 2.5 of us eating dinner in our family, I am constantly cutting recipes in half and it struck me the other day: shouldn't I just make the whole thing and freeze half? I can't tell you how many nights I'm running around like a crazy person trying to get dinner together because I haven't planned well, it's been a crazy day, or the kids are in bad moods. When I read this post over at the blog Six Sister's Stuff, I was totally inspired that I should have a freezer cooking day once a month as well. I like some of the recipes that she suggests, but I think I may try to adapt some of our family favorites as well. Are there any prep-ahead or slow cooker meals that y'all love?

Today's recipe is for an amazingly delicious Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onion Meatloaf that I made last week for dinner.  I found the recipe, where else, but Pinterest (pinned from here).  My husband is sort of on the fence about blue cheese and my son is, of course, 2, so I was a bit skeptical that they would like it, but it was a hit!  You can make it as a large loaf, but I made ours in a muffin tin both so that they would cook faster and because I thought it was cuter.  I made a couple of minor changes to the original recipe.

Photo via What's Cookin, Chicago?

Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onion Meatloaf
Made 12 mini meatloaves, which would probably serve 3-4 adults

3/4 cup breadcrumbs (I used homemade from gluten free bread)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (This was not called for in the original, but I like things extra cheesy)
crumbled blue cheese
pound 80/20
ground beef
egg (slightly beaten)
1/2 cup caramelized onions
salt and pepper to taste
Ranch Dressing (my addition)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin tin and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine cup bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and crumbled blue cheese. Add ground beef, egg, onion, salt and pepper. Blend to incorporate all the ingredients evenly throughout.

Divide meat mixture evenly into the 12 muffin wells.  Make a small depression in the top of each loaf and squirt a bit of ranch dressing on top.  Bake meatloafs for about 20 minutes until cooked through and browned on top. Allow to cool slightly and serve.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Motherhood Monday: Natalie is Six Months Old!

Happy Monday everyone! I had such a wonderful and relaxing weekend thanks to my husband and mother in law. I was able to sleep in until 8:30 am both days!!! The sad thing is, I still don't feel that well rested. I guess it just takes longer than two days to catch up on the sleep deficit I have.

Natalie actually turned six months old on Friday, but I wasn't able to take her picture until Sunday, so hopefully she didn't age too much, hehe.

Natalie - you are 6 months old!! 

You weigh almost 15 lbs and we head to the pediatrician in two days so I will have to update with proper height/weight later this week.
You wear mostly size 3-6 months clothes but they are getting a bit short so we have moved up into some 6-9 months. You are still in a size 2 diaper.

You are still breastfeeding about 6-7 times a day, but we recently started rice cereal.  We are taking it slow and you get about a tablespoon once a day.

You sleep about 11 hours at night and take 2 naps.  Sleeping through the night is officially a thing of the past!  You usually wake up twice.

Aside from a setback a couple of weeks ago, you are generally a happy girl.  You love to smile and stick out your tongue when you're happy.  You've also started "talking" a lot.  "Blah, blah, blah" is your favorite thing to say and you and Phillip have a lot of conversations that consist of just that :)

You roll over both ways and can push all the way up onto your hands and knees.  You will army crawl when you REALLY want something.  You can sit on your own now, but only for 5-10 seconds, so we have to be really careful with that.  

I just cannot believe how quickly the last six months have past and that before long you'll be crawling around and into everything.  I just can't wait to see how you grow and change and how you and Phillip become friends.  He just adores you and you LOVE to watch everything he does.

I love you more each day and I'm so lucky to be your Mommy.  Six more months until you are one... better start birthday party planning!!!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fashion Friday: OOTDs and House "Fashion"

Happy Friday!!!  Is anyone else out there looking forward to the weekend as much as I am??  My inlaws will be in town and I really excited for the chance to sleep in on Sunday.  I actually managed to snap outfit pics for y'all every day this week, although today's outfit is not really worthy of a picture :)

J Crew Matchstick Jean in Vintage Kelly (currently on sale for $49.99), J Crew Factory Intarsia Charley Bow Sweater (sold out), Kendra Scott Tavi Studs in Green, Banana Republic Black Velvet Ballet Flats (old, but these are similar and on sale!)

Lilly Pulitzer Lana Top in Navy (old, but I've seen some on Ebay), J Crew Signature Leggings in Black, Burberry Rain Boots (old, but similar here)

Lilly Pulitzer Somerset Dress in Punch Pink (old, but hopefully they will make it again because it is so flattering and comfortable!), Forever 21 Ankle Length Leggings in Navy, Steve Madden Leopard Flats (old, but these are cute), J Crew Tortoise Shell Necklace (old)

J Crew Factory Charley Sweater in Wild Cat (sold out), 7 For All Mankind Women's Roxanne Slim Fit Jean (old wash, but same fit here),
Tory Burch Suede Revas in Magenta (old, but similar here), Banana Republic Pearly Bloom Necklace (get 30% off right now with code BRSAVE30)

J Crew Grey/White Striped Tee (old, nothing comparable right now but these look good for a cute/comfy sort of day), Forever 21 Ankle Length Leggings in Navy, North Face Windwall Vest in white, Sperry Top-Siders in Rose Gold

Ok, now on to a new topic... fashion for the home!!  I'm trying to take a little break from clothes shopping at the moment to focus on some things we are doing around the house.  Now a home decorator I am not, but I do my best to make our home look nice.  My current project is fixing up our foyer.  There's nothing wrong with it at the moment, but I'd like it to be a bit more elegant and inviting.  Most of the pieces in there are cheap things that I bought while in college or things that we inherited (so they're nice just not necessarily our style).

I'm currently planning: a new rug, a new light fixture, a new entry table, and a little paint makeover for the current mirror.  I've already ordered this light fixture from Pottery Barn, but it won't be here until March!!

I'm about to buy this rug in tan from Ballard Designs.  It's one of their indoor/outdoor rugs and I currently have a different one in our dining room and love it.  It does not look like an outdoor rug and it is so easy to clean, which is a must with small children.

I have a table in my mind that I just can't find, so I think I'm going to be able to talk Brian into building it for me.  I can't wait to have everything and show y'all the before and after!!

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