Monday, December 13, 2010

A Chicago Anniversary Celebration

To celebrate our 3rd anniversary Stephen and I left Beck with a brave friend and took the L into the city for dinner, a show and a night of uninterrupted sleep with no wake up call. It. was. bliss. Everything exceeded my expectations. I think we were trying to make up for our lame Thai-takeout-at-home 2nd anniversary. Mission accomplished.

Are you ready for some truly awful pictures of an otherwise perfect night out with my love?

The ride…


The show…



A walk…


The hotel…


The view…




In a nutshell…


Friday, December 3, 2010

30 Before 30: Bedding for Baby Nephew, Jude



An Urban Circus bumper for my sister’s first peanut, due any day. I wish I could be there…

I used this fabric, these bumper inserts and the enclosed directions. I didn’t have the patience to assemble all of those ties, so I just used premade bias tape, finishing the edges to hopefully make it more durable. I can’t wait to see it their crib when it’s set up. :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It’s official…


photo credit

The offer is signed, sealed, delivered! Stephen has accepted a position with Adobe as a product manager for Photoshop. And….WE’RE MOVING BACK TO SEATTLE!!!! First of all, I really couldn’t have dreamed up a better job for Stephen. Photography is a great love of his and now his hobby will be closely intertwined with his job. He LOVES the Photoshop products and loved all the people he worked with this summer for his internship so…in a nutshell, all signs point to a happy Stephen. PLUS…we get to go back to Seattle which is really a dream for both of us. I’m so proud of Stephen’s unrelenting efforts to find the best opportunity for his career and our family. For at least the past year and a half he has been constantly networking and researching potential opportunities. Despite his great internship and subsequent offer, he put everything into recruiting this fall to make sure he was leaving no stone unturned. I’m so glad this was the outcome and so grateful to Adobe for letting us move home. :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

3 years ago today…






…it was confirmed to me that our Heavenly Father blesses us way beyond the capabilities of our small imaginations. Maybe not right when and how we want but always much better than we thought. I remember, especially during our engagement, being overcome with gratitude on a daily basis that I was going to have the privilege of being Stephen’s wife. I knew I had scored in a big way. Never had I imagined someone so kind, so generous, so optimistic and so happy to be living this wonderful life. He was good, righteous and sincere and made no apologies for that. I knew he would do nothing but love and care for me with loyalty, humility, patience, understanding and a sense of humor perfectly matched to mine. I knew he would be a patient father slow to temper and quick to be involved – to show love and to work as a team. I knew a life with him would be fun, happy and full of righteous pursuits. My expectations have been far exceeded. I truly am humbled to get to call him my husband.

Happy Anniversary, Stephen!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The last couple of weeks…


We spent Thanksgiving in Seattle where, much to my surprise, it snowed…while it was 60 something at home in Chicago. Who knew?

My days were spent sewing with my mom and sister, sleeping in (thanks to my mom), praying my sister would have her baby before I left (she didn’t) and planning and preparing our Thanksgiving feast. My family was kind enough to let me plan the menu and delegate assignments. I had so much fun. Each year we have our staple recipes that cannot be changed like the rolls, mashed potatoes, cranberry chutney and pumpkin pie but everything else is up for experiment. This year we did a spicy theme with Roasted Turkey Rubbed with Roasted Jalapeno, Fresh Sage and Orange Butter, Sausage Apricot and Sage Stuffing and Spicy Sweet Potatoes. We tried this brussels sprouts recipe and although I usually hate brussels sprouts I LOVED this. I tried this lemon pie for the first time. It was very easy, as promised, and seemed to be a big hit.

While my mom and I cooked the guys did this…


…and although it’s possible they are doing something really important my money is on an Angry Birds high score comparison, while taking a break from their Lord of the Rings marathon. Zzzzzz……(I’ll admit I was slightly more interested in the saga this time around. Slightly.)

Beck, on the other hand, decided to join the ladies in the kitchen, helping grandma make the rolls…



The final result was a Thanksgiving feast declared “the best Thanksgiving menu we’ve ever had” by my sister. WoooHooo! It looks like Beck agreed…


Truthfully, Beck hardly ate anything. He did try the stuffing and sweet potatoes and one bite of turkey. Otherwise, it was all about the rolls and mashed potatoes. And the pumpkin pie. Beck hasn’t had much sugar during his short life. Since he hasn’t been that interested I figured I would postpone it as long as possible but I wasn’t about to deprive him of my mom’s (or grandmother’s?) pumpkin pie. It really is above and beyond other pumpkin pie recipes. It has converted more than one person who was anti-pumpkin pie. It has been my favorite since my dad chose it as my 1st birthday cake. Beck. went. nuts. After that first taste, every other word was pie and I was happy to oblige. There’s nothing better than pumpkin pie for breakfast.

We have a short stay here in Chicagoland before we head to Mesa for Christmas with the Nielsons complete with a stay at the cabin, lots of cousins to play with, family reunion parties, temple lights…we can’t wait!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The boat tour





We hit the Chicago Architecture Boat Tour this weekend. It was cold but so beautiful and since we took a late afternoon tour it was perfect lighting for Stephen to take some really beautiful pictures. I love this city. I get a little knot in my stomach when I think about leaving. It makes me want to really take it in with the time we have left.

The 30 something degree temps on the boat reminded me that it’s November. November! With holiday traveling I only have three more weeks left in Chicagoland this year. And then, since my midwife told me to be ready for my baby girl by 35 weeks (due to Beck’s early arrival) that means I only have 3 more weeks once I get home from Christmas in Arizona. Of course, I’m hoping I have more time but still…time is flying.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

And we’re walking….

It’s been a longer road than expected but Beck is walking! It’s still not his chosen mode of transportation but it’s more than a step here and there so, we’re calling it. (It’s only because this is such an important event that I’m posting this video with me in the background looking lazy-Sunday-afternoon fabulous!)

Monday, October 25, 2010





Although Halloween isn’t until this coming weekend, all of our parties were this past weekend so….I give you… Nachooooo!!! It was so much fun to put together (thanks to ohdeeoh) and he was, dare I say, the belle of the ball and such a good sport for letting me put in him in tights, a cape and an eyeliner mustache. I love this kid.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Smoothie


Apparently protein is the pregnancy panacea. If I listened to my body I would think it was vanilla ice cream with a heavy dose of ground cinnamon or multiple bowls of cinnamon Puffins. Whatever. Enter my pregnancy smoothie. Now, this smoothie isn’t necessarily for pregnant women only but for some reason it has tasted especially good during my pregnancies and I’ve made an effort to bump up the nutrition to justify the sweet treat.

I crave citrus during pregnancy. This smoothie is a little like an Orange Julius and will fill my craving for ice cream in a pinch. I, of course, still have ice cream at times but…I try.

I don’t measure but here are the ingredients and estimated amounts if you want to give it a try. If there’s a toddler in the house, maybe wait until nap time to mix this up. If Beck’s awake I maybe get a quarter of the smoothie. The other three quarters end up all over him. :)

Milk (about 1/2 cup)

Cottage Cheese (at least 1/2 cup)

Orange Juice Concentrate (about 2 T, maybe more)

Wheat Germ (heaping spoonful)

Flax Meal (heaping spoonful)

Honey (maybe half a tablespoon)

Vanilla Extract (about 1/2 tsp, maybe more)

Ice (I use about 4-5 small cubes)

Wheat Grass Powder or Spinach (sometimes…)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

30 before 30: Pumpkinfest (pumpkin picking)



“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking successive autumns.” –George Eliot

Fall is absolutely my favorite season. We ventured to the Pumpkinfest at Didier Farms this weekend to soak in the season. Since Stephen is the photographer and the lighting was too harsh, we have few pictures to show for it but it was full of fun fall festivities. The highlight – the fresh pumpkin doughnuts. I’m usually not a doughnut person, especially cake doughnuts, but I thought I would give it a try in the name of enjoying the seasonal fare. Big mistake. Huge. I should have known my deadly weakness for all things pumpkin would override my distaste for doughnuts. Beck loved all the sights and sounds. He kept saying “Orange, Orange”. (I’m pretty sure that’s what he’s saying in the above picture.) I’m not sure if he was telling me the pumpkins were orange or if he thought they were huge oranges. He loves oranges. I can’t wait for him to taste the Arizona oranges this season when we visit for Christmas. He’s going to be in heaven.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dinner Prep




This how Beck let’s me make dinner – keeping himself busy by flooding the counter, trying to eat my raw pasta and lentils and emptying the cupboards – all while sitting or, better yet, standing on the counter – next to the stove I’m using. It’s totally safe. I swear.

Monday, October 18, 2010

30 before 30: Family Picture

Our friend Sarah took some family pictures this weekend. I think we have one family picture and it is no where near as beautiful as Sarah’s pictures. It was way overdue and let me cross off my first 30 before 30 goal. Since Stephen takes plenty of pictures of me and Beck I wanted her to focus on Stephen with his son. Here’s one of all of us and although it may be because of my pregnant cheeks, I think the best ones are of father and son.







Friday, October 15, 2010

We’re having a girl!!!


I wonder if she’ll look like Beck in a dress like I did or…just like her daddy. I can’t wait!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

16 months: The sweet spot and a long overdue update




It’s been a long time since I’ve recorded an update on Beck and all the new and funny things he’s doing. He’s just over 16 months and is turning into a little boy. He’s not yet walking but stands on his own and walks if we hold his hands. I think he still has awhile before he’s there but we’ll see. He says lots of words and seems to be adding to his vocabulary each day.

Beck and I have found ourselves in a sweet spot of one nap, mornings that start around 7:30-8:00 and much more flexibility. I’ve been longing for the days of one nap and it’s all I hoped it would be. No more stressing about getting in all the naps so he’s not up screaming 2-4 times a night and then up between 5:30-6:30am. I know better than to think there will never be sleep issues again but I’m enjoying this time. We go on adventures together, hit up play group, stay out late and hang out with friends without the unpleasant consequences of restless cranky short sleep. Yay!

Here are some things about Beck – his loves, mad skills and funny things that make him…him.

  • Although all of these words are not yet crystal clear, many of them are and I’m counting them if I know what he’s saying. :) Beck’s Vocabulary: Mama, Daddy (emphasis on the last syllable), off, water, cracker, waffle, dog, truck, car, duck, donkey, cat, hi, yeah, bye, eyes, ow, uh oh, beep, hair, ball, shoe, fish, ice, keys.
  • If requested he can point to his head (he’ll respond to “head” or “noggin”), his belly button, eyes, hair, toes.
  • It’s all about daddy. If he sees anything that belongs to Stephen he excitedly yells “Daddy, Daddy!”. I’ve never counted but my guess he says it more that 20 times a day while Stephen’s gone.
  • He. loves. dogs. I’ve said never a number of times, but I’m starting to think I’ll have to cave on a dog someday. Multiple times a day he requests that I sit him in his rocker so he can look out the window and hug his two (stuffed) dogs. (See above pictures. I swear those clothes actually fit.)
  • He loves our bed…and stairs. He’s recently learned to climb up and down and I will often find him in our room burrowing himself in our pillows.
  • He loves to crawl into empty rooms, shut the door and play by himself…sometimes a dark room…sometimes the bathroom which locks from the inside. Luckily it’s easy to break into.
  • He loves books. He spends a good portion of the day looking through his pile of books in his room. He has started bringing me some of his favorites to read at random times during the day. We usually read 2-4 times a day and he usually wants me to read one book 3 times or more. I’ve had to set a 3 time limit otherwise I start to go a little crazy.
  • He loves trucks. A truck is really anything bigger than a car – vans, buses, trains. Well, really cars are sometimes trucks as well.
  • He loves to sit by the kitchen sink and play with the water – turning it on and off, flipping the switch for the disposal, etc.
  • He’s a gentle giant – my mom calls him Ferdinand. He rarely protests when another child takes his toys. He’s often content playing on his own. It will be interesting to see how or if this changes with age but for now he seems to be pretty mellow and independent socially.
  • He likes to gather little treasures from around the house. I’m not really sure why we have any toys. Treasures might include one of my earrings, a jump drive, a quarter, the battery cover from a remote, the toilet paper roll holder, Stephen’s camera, if he can get his hands on it, Stephen’s wallet, watch, phone – really anything that makes him feel more like his dad.
  • He loves to find clothes or my scarves, drape them over his shoulders and crawl around the house.
  • His favorite foods right now are TLC crackers, omelets, oranges, apples, yogurt parfaits with plain Greek yogurt, frozen berries and granola, Chipotle and really anything else spicy - and waffles. He knows where I keep the waffle maker and will go open the cupboard and say “Waff, Waff?”.

Ok, that’s probably more than enough for now. I just feel like so much is passing by that I’m not recording so I’ll try to add to this more often.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A shower for Caitlin and Baby Jude

DSC03969 DSC03992


DSC03959_3 (1)


I was lucky enough to head to Seattle a couple of months ago to throw a baby shower for my sister. It was my first time hosting a baby shower and I wanted it to be special. It was a lot of work but so much fun. Although I’m no Martha Stewart I had so much fun choosing decorations and invitations and planning the menu. I can’t get enough of those party poms and they were so easy to make. The food was delicious thanks to my mom and her friends. Since I’ve taken my sweet time posting about the event most of the recipes are completely out of season but I’m going to post them anyway for future reference. I can’t wait to meet my sister’s son!

Cranberry Spinach Salad

Jicama and Watermelon Salad

Chilled Cucumber Soup with Yogurt and Mint

Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad

My mom’s rolls (I need to get this recipe…and learn how to make them)

Cheese Tortellini and Pesto Sauce from Costco

Cucumber Lime Ice Water

Flourless Chocolate Cake