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Archive for the ‘Weekend’ Category

The hubs and I took the boys on Sam’s first overnight, multi-state roadtrip trip this weekend to visit my parents. He did great for about 4 hours of the drive. (It’s a 5.5 hour drive, without stops. So…yeah.)

But when the baby WASN’T crying, we discussed one of our favorite topics: Moving someplace warmer.

St. Louis is great, but for almost six months each year, the weather is terrible and we’re cooped up indoors. So every winter, we say “this is our last winter here!” because we’re just so fed up with it. We’re also beach lovers and would love to be within a couple of hours drive to the beach someday.

We also talk about being close to an airport for traveling purposes, affordable housing, low crime rates, good job market, fewer allergens (we all have terrible seasonal allergies). We start looking at various Internet articles that say things like “Best Places to Raise a Family” or “Top 10 Happiest Cities”. Finally, I just stopped and said, “None of this matters. The question we should be asking ourselves is where do we want our kids to grow up?”

So I’m curious, freaders, where do YOU want your kids to grow up? Is it where you are right now? Is it where you grew up? Is it on a farm? Is it in a big city? Is it on the beach? Is it in another country? On an island? In the suburbs? WHERE??

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Feeling Behind

Happy Obamacare Day!! Oh…wait…um…never mind.

Happy October! I can’t believe it’s October already. Only three months left in the year. We have a lot going on this month – Finding out the baby’s gender, taking D to get evaluated by a physical therapist (more on that in his monthly update post coming up), our (mostly) annual Halloween party, a trip to Colorado for a friend’s wedding, potential family photo shoot for Xmas cards, and trick-or-treating on Halloween. It’s about to get crazy folks, and I’m both excited and exhausted already.

Speaking of exhausted, I didn’t end up posting a Five on Friday last week because we had a little celebratory birthday dinner for the hubs on Thursday night and then I had to rush through work on Friday before heading out of town for my step-dad’s 60th birthday party on Saturday. We got to my parents’ house around 9pm their time and let’s just say there was still much work to be done. We ended up cleaning until 11:30 and then I spent most of Saturday morning decorating while my parents ran errands, getting last minute things from the grocery store and the party supplies place. I was exhausted before the party even started! The biggest surprise though wasn’t even for my step-dad. Since my husband’s birthday was just two days before, his entire family drove the 4.5 hours to my parents’ house to surprise him. So basically 10 extra people, in addition to the almost 20 that were already coming to the party.  It was crazy and fun and I’m glad my parents are finally putting their lives back together after the disastrous last year and a half they’ve had, essentially tearing down parts of their house and living out of garbage bags. (Neither of these are exaggerations.) My only complaint is that I wish my husband was one of those people whose reactions to something surprising is just priceless. Instead, he just gets this very confused look on his face and just says, “Huh. Ok.” No big “OH MY GOD I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS!” No tears of joy. Just, “Huh.”  Totally unsatisfying for someone like me who lives for the reaction. 

Even though we got home at a decent hour Sunday night (8:30pm) I still feel like I’m recovering. Of course this means that work has picked up at the office a bit and I’m starting to get that general feeling of just being…behind. Like I can’t quite catch up and as someone who thinks our society glorifies being “too busy” and prides herself on being fairly decent at time management, this is not something I’m very comfortable with. So I’m hoping to take some time this week to get caught up on things. Organize my email and my desktop. Clean out my feed reader. Download the pics from my good camera. Swap out the clothes in my closet and dig out those old maternity clothes. Go grocery shopping and start bringing my lunch again instead of paying almost $10 a day for lunch. All little things but in my sheltered world, those little things add up to big things, like an overall sense of calm and accomplishment.

So I’m starting off this month feeling a little bit behind, but that’s sort of what I love about a new month and the motivation it gives me to get my shit back together and refocus on the fun things in life. Get ready, October. I’m comin’ at ya. 

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I Live for the Weekend

Another great fall weekend in the books!

Friday: It was rainy and gloomy all day so I assumed we’d end up staying in and possibly watch a movie after the babers went to bed. Instead, the clouds cleared and we thought (hoped) that the crowds at the annual balloon glow wouldn’t be so bad, so we decided to go. (The balloon glow is held the night before the Great Forest Park Balloon Race, where all the balloons are inflated and lit up for people to come by and check out. They just look stunning at night. ) We went last year so we figured we’d make it an annual tradition. Unfortunately, the weather did absolutely nothing to deter the crowds and it was probably worse than the year before. We sat in traffic for about an hour before we finally found a parking spot. It’s such a cool thing to see though, and D really enjoyed it so I guess it was worth it.

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Saturday: Cinnamon rolls for breakfast, followed by some good old fashioned lounging around the house, an afternoon nap, and then a trip to the Old Webster Groves Jazz & Blues festival. The weather was just too perfect to sit inside ALL day (though I did enjoy that nap). Although D still isn’t walking by himself yet, that doesn’t mean he likes to sit contentedly in his stroller. Oh no. He likes to be out, standing or walking with one of us holding his hand for support. At one point, as we were sitting, enjoying the music and chowing down on various festival foods, D started bopping up and down to the music while holding onto our legs. I guess he’s a jazz fan!

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The crowd really wasn’t all that bad, and there were a ton of dogs and other little kids for D to watch and laugh at. On top of that, we just had a good time exploring a part of St. Louis that was actually quite new to us. After we got our fill of the festival, we walked a few blocks to a popular pizza joint and had the most delicious fig and prosciutto pizza (the “porky fig”). Then it was back home so the hubs could have a sports night, flipping between his beloved Michigan Wolverines game and the Cardinals game. (Both teams won!)

Sunday: Another morning of cinnamon rolls for breakfast (I’m addicted), followed by a trip to Herman’s Farm to meet up with a couple of friends for more apple picking. (Can you believe almost all of the apples we picked last weekend are almost gone?? I’ve been on an apple kick lately.) Herman’s Farm is a small farm that really looks more like a nursery, but it’s kind of perfect for little kids. They have a “hay ride” which is a bunch of loose straw thrown in the back of a wagon, pulled by a very small tractor. It’s a little silly but the kids love it. They also have a play area with a slide, and a bunch of mini John Deere trikes/tractors/wagons for the kids to play on. Alyssa met us there with her hubby and of course, the adorable AR. Extra special since her name is Autumn and it was, in fact, the first day of Autumn! Angie and her two cuties were also there, and far more adventurous than D when it came to the activities. Her little girl is only two weeks older than D but she climbed to the top of the giant slide and had NO fear going down it all by herself. Little daredevil!! Thanks to Alyssa for the awesome pics!

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Check out that shiner. It looks a bit worse than in this photo. Little D had a run-in with the footboard of the bed on Friday.

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Family pic! Not letting go of that apple.

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D is clearly suspicious of AR, and grips his apple a little tighter.

So intrigued by AR's apple-eating abilities!

So intrigued by AR’s apple-eating abilities!

And now for a few of my own iPhone pics.

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By the time we wrapped our apple picking adventures, it was lunch time. We stopped by a new-to-us BBQ place in St. Charles, and while the atmosphere was impressive, the prices were a little ridiculous. I also wasn’t feeling super great by this point. I made the mistake of getting sweet tea and that just killed my stomach. After lunch, we took a brief walk around the area but almost immediately I felt the overwhelming urge to nap, so we headed home. Later that afternoon, we went to our favorite local park to check out some sail boat races, though they had already docked by the time we got there. Still, we enjoyed a nice walk and some dog-watching. On our way back, we stopped by the grocery store and couldn’t help ourselves when we saw the table of pumpkin pies and pumpkin gooey butter cookies. We ended the weekend with the Emmy’s, which my husband wasn’t super thrilled about, but he ended up enjoying them better than most award shows.

There’s just so much to do in STL in the fall, and I’m glad we’ve been blessed with great weather these last couple of weeks to be able to enjoy it. These are the moments that life is all about!

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My Favorite Season

Taking a break from pregnancy posts to talk about our weekend. I don’t normally detail in minutiae our weekend adventures on this blog, but this past weekend was so wonderful that I want to remember it.

As a kid, Saturday mornings were always my favorite. On a good Saturday, there would be pancakes and bacon or biscuits and gravy for breakfast, accompanied by the absolute best cartoons on TV. Now, I’m the one cooking breakfast and cleaning up, and the cartoons aren’t nearly as enjoyable (I’m starting to hate the Hot Dog Dance song from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse), but there’s just something about hanging out at home with the family on Saturday mornings that I absolutely love. On this particular Saturday, I made cinnamon and sugar toast in the oven. So easy with minimal clean up and it makes the entire house smell delicious.

After breakfast, we just hung out while D played. At 11am it was kickoff time for my husband’s favorite college team – the Michigan Wolverines. I think I used some of this time to go online and order some Michigan gear for D since he’s outgrown all of his infant gear. We had every intention of leaving the house at half time to go apple picking but the game was too close and D ended up passing out about 2 minutes before halftime. I took advantage of the delay by putting away some laundry and then crawling in bed to read for a bit. Around 3pm, just as the game ended, we finally made our way to Eckert’s, about an hour away.

My mom used to force take me there when I was a teenager and I absolutely hated it. I don’t know why I was such a brat about things, but as an angsty teenager, nothing sounds like more torture than hanging out with your mom and her boyfriend and going to pick apples. Then, when the hubs and I first started dating, I thought it sounded like a pretty fun date idea. And we’ve been going just about every year ever since. It’s one of those few seasons traditions that we’ve carried on through the years and now I’m thrilled we get to do the same with D. Here’s our first trip together, way back in 2005!

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The Fun Farm is fantastic for kids, though D is still a little young to fully enjoy it. He was too small to ride any of the rides or jump on the giant trampoline, but he did get to pet the goats and watch the pig races. I think he liked riding the tractor out to the orchard. And even though this kid has never been handed a full apple in his life, he knew EXACTLY what to do with it and wouldn’t let it go for about 15 minutes.

20130917-221233.jpgStill can’t get over how cute he is here. Chuck Taylors? Baby jeans? Apple juice dribbling down his shirt? I can’t handle the cuteness.

I even made sure to take my good camera but the one thing DSLRs aren’t very good at yet are taking selfies, so the only family shot we got was this one.20130917-221243.jpg

By the time we left, little man was wore out! So back to the house we went so we could do our regular nightly routine of dinner, bath, books and bedtime. While I was on bedtime duty, the hubs busied himself by building a little bonfire so as soon as D hit the hay, mommy and daddy went outside to play. We roasted marshmallows and made s’mores and just sat outside, enjoying the cooler temps and the smell of bonfire. It only lasted an hour or so, but it was fun while it lasted.

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Sunday morning was just as pleasant as Saturday. A nice, leisurely breakfast of pancakes and cartoon watching, followed by our second week in a row of going to church.

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After we saw how much D loved the church nursery last week, we felt like we needed to go back. The first week, we went with our friends to their Sunday School class so we didn’t really get a chance to check out the service since they happen at the same time. This week though, our friends had other plans so we decided to go without them and check out the service.

If we ever had any questions as to whether or not our son has separation anxiety issues, we got a very firm answer of NO this weekend. In fact, when we went to pick him up after service, D took one look at us, realized it was time to go and started bawling! Even the nursery staff were shocked since it’s normally the other way around with kids crying during drop off. But not our child. Nope. He was mad that we made him leave!

After church, we grabbed lunch for my grandma and dropped by her house for a quick visit. Then it was back home so the hubs could mow the grass and I could get my pie-baking skills on. All of those apples called for an apple pie, of course! And it’s been YEARS since I’ve made an apple pie, though this time it was much easier than I remember and maybe even turned out a little bit better.20130917-221325.jpg

So that was our weekend. Pretty simple, but full of all of my fall favorites – apple picking, bonfire and s’mores, a little church and family time, and homemade apple pie! It was just one of those perfect fall weekends that reminds me why this is my favorite time of year and to be thankful for all of life’s little blessings.

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This is Summer

After my depressing post on Friday, I actually had a rather pleasant weekend.

The hubs came home Friday night after spending a few days at his folks’ because his mom was in the hospital with a nasty infection. She’s better now, for the most part, so he came home but not before I could make him feel guilty by sending him pics of his sweet baby boy cuddling his pillow while he was gone.

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I’m mean like that.

Saturday was simply GORGEOUS outside so the five of us (hubs, baby D, my mom, the dog and me) walked over to the park so D could swing on the swings. We also took in a few minutes of a t-ball game. Just preparing D (and us) for what our future will look like.

Afterward, my mom and I went to Trader Joe’s where I found these lovelies. There’s just something about fresh cut flowers that make me swoon.

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Later, the hubs and I were finally able to take advantage of the built-in babysitter situation so we were able to go to our friends’ party baby-free. This party was about three months in the making since it centered around our bracket challenge for March Madness. Whoever had the best bracket was treated to a luxurious steak dinner, paid for by the rest of the players. And while I didn’t come in last place, I was second to last and my “fee” was to buy half of the steaks for all of the guests, plus a bag of charcoal for grilling. And the hubs, who came in 3rd to last, had to buy a 30 pack of beer plus a side dish, which really meant I had to bring a side dish too. Needless to say, it was a rather expensive night for us, but well worth it. We dined on ENORMOUS thick cut NY strips. This photo doesn’t do it justice because you can’t see just how thick those steaks were. Delicious.

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After dinner, the guys played washers while us girls just sat around the fire sipping our drinks and laughing at the guys. I honestly can’t remember the last time I’ve laughed that hard for that long. Before I knew it, it was 11:30 and knowing how difficult D has been to put to bed lately, figured it was time to head home and relieve my poor mom who was no doubt laying with him in our bed. (And she was.)

Side note: Why don’t babies know they’re supposed to sleep in on the weekends?

Sunday was…well, I don’t really remember. I know the hubs let me sleep in until about 9:30. Then I drank a pot of coffee. Then it was 4pm and we went to Target before my step-dad arrived. I spent the evening making dinner while trying to clean up the office and do a load of laundry and chase the baby up the stairs.

Then I ate ice cream and went to bed.

And now it’s July.

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After what happened yesterday, I’ve been rather quiet on social media. I have nothing intelligent to add. My heart aches for the people in Boston, and it aches for the people that will forever have fear supporting one of our country’s most beloved events. I want to do something. I want to help, but I can only watch in horror before it becomes too much and I have to turn off the TV, step away from the computer, and just go stack blocks with my baby.

But there is something I can do. I can learn to live without fear. And I can continue to try my best to fill the world with love. How? By living a happy life and focusing on only the positives. Like this.

  • I made pink lemonade cupcakes for my aunt’s birthday on Sunday. My grandma even pulled out her fancy tablecloth and her good china. We dined on lasagna, toasted ravioli, salad, chicken wings, and of course, cupcakes.
  • The hubs and I took advantage of the nice weather and wandered about. We went to the Baby Kid Expo, stopped by the driving range so the hubs could hit a few golf balls (and I actually made it onto the green too!), ate lunch at one of our favorite lunch places, and made time to enjoy a couple of movie rentals, which is a rare occasion in our house. (This is 40 and Zero Dark Thirty, in case you’re wondering. I give the first one a C+ and the second an A-)
  • First birthday party planning is in full effect. The theme is puppies, and the I absolutely love our invitations, which we had designed by someone I found on Etsy. We should get the prints next week. I still need to figure out the cake situation, but I think I’ve got a photographer lined up for first year photos. Speaking of the cake, I’m tempted to just bake it myself. I scoured the Interwebs looking at cake designs and the only ones I loved were a little over-the-top with fondant, which I’m worried won’t taste very good. So I’m still deciding what to do here. Make a bone shaped cake? Make cupcakes? Make a layered round cake with filling and decorate it with mini bunting or a topper?   Not to mention we’re actually throwing two parties, since the majority of our family lives 8 hours away, and I really don’t want to spend a fortune on this. But I mean, how cute is this cake?

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Although this one would fit our theme colors perfectly, I’m leery of all the fondant.

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So I may just go with some simple cupcakes. Like these.

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(All photos borrowed from Pinterest. See sources here.)

Tell me happy things, friends. What good things are happening in your world?

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Weekends go by too fast

For the first time in weeks, we didn’t really have any plans this weekend.

On Saturday, we did housework (or rather, the hubs did most of the housework while I was on baby duty). I made a 5pm mani/pedi appt for my grandma and me as sort of a (very) late Christmas present. It’s been about 20 years since she’s had a manicure and she has NEVER had a professional pedicure before, although it’s recommended that she do because she has diabetes. Something about the fact that she’s not supposed to clip her own toenails. Well, I’m pretty sure she’s addicted to pedicures now. She really had a great time, as did I. And it was nice to get her put of the house and do something indulgent like that.

Saturday night the hubs and I stayed up way too late watching SNL. You would think after 10mos, we would know that just because it’s the weekend doesn’t mean we’ll get to sleep in. Baby D doesn’t care what day it is. In fact, he decided to get up at the crack of dawn on Sunday.

Sunday was a pretty special day. It’s our dog’s 7th bday as well as the 7th anniversary of the day we closed on our first house. We “celebrated” the latter by going to a bunch of open houses.

The weather was absolutely stunning so we took advantage and spent some
time at the park, reading a board book and dog watching. Then we watched the hubs hit a few golf balls at the driving range, did a little shopping and then came home to do our nightly routine. A low key but perfect weekend.

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Baby D’s new playmat.

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Happy 49th old dog!

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Frog pajamas!

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