Monday, June 30, 2014

6/12 a year of dates

It feels like all the months are flying by and Evan and I don't realize it until it's like the last week of the month and we've yet to get our date in. Our summer is going to be crazy busy and you would think we planned out in advance but we have not. And so last minute things like little lunch dates with ice cream to follow happen. And I'm not mad about it in the least.

I will forever be indebted to my friend Laurie who introduced me to the Muffaletta sandwich at the cutest little downtown cafe (except with olive spread, you crazy girl) because it is hands down one of the best sandwiches in all of the world. Don't even try and argue with me because you will be wrong. Laurie introduced it to me and I introduced it to Evan and to any of my other friends who haven't been, I will take you and you will fall in love and it will be glorious.

And so, that's basically what we did. We hung out just the two of us for a few hours, eating good food and going on the hunt for a rain jacket for Evan because he was about to go out of town and go fishing. Romantic. But that's how we do. And because this date wasn't super creative or well thought out or anything like that, we had another mini date this past weekend at a wedding we shot. We ate dinner alone (by "ate dinner," I mean that we stuffed our faces for five minutes) together in the corner, trying to speed-eat and not be noticed by anyone so that we could get back to work. I think that I can basically consider any dinner activity where a grabbing toddler who almost dumps my plate on the ground 4 times isn't around a date. Parents, you with me?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Because I'm safe

I was writing a thank you card. It was the kind of thank you card that is more than just thank you and sort of requires some deep concentration so you don't say the same thing over and over again. I was in my groove and so of course that was the moment that Maddox decided that he could no longer play on the floor by himself and that he needed to be picked up and picked up now. He's learned that he can practically climb my legs. He hugs them and pulls on them and cries and whines and begs to be picked up. And I suck at resisting.

It was during this exact thank you card writing session that I was just annoyed. Couldn't he see that I was busy? Couldn't he see that if he left me alone for exactly one minute I could finish the card and then pick him up? Why couldn't he understand when I told him, "One minute, Maddox. Just one more minute."?

I finished my thank you with an increasingly upset child pulling on me and throwing the ugliest temper tantrum just to be picked up (to which he promptly wanted to be put down again).  I do have a lot of patience when it comes to Maddox. Which is surprising to me because I don't have any patience for anyone else when it comes to anything. There are just these moments when I need another second to finish my project and if he would just hang tight for that one second I could be all his. But just exactly how do you explain that to a fifteen-month-old (< WHAT, by the way.)?

And that same night while Evan was showering I had the urge to go peek in Maddox's room and kiss him goodnight. I try to keep this sneaking to a minimum because his door and the floors in front of his room and into his room are absolutely the loudest, creakiest in our entire house, but obviously only when he's asleep. And so, I opened the door as quietly as I could and tiptoed over to the crib. And Maddox heard me. He sat up and then stood up without making a sound. I picked him up and took him to the rocking chair and rocked him while Evan finished his shower. Maddox laid his head on my shoulder and didn't fall back asleep but we both laid there in this unspoken understanding that we wouldn't say a word, lest the moment be broken. And we stayed like that for another fifteen minutes, just rocking back and forth and rubbing his back and kissing the top of his head. Prayers of thankfulness escaped my lips because I have no other action when I'm holding his quiet body than to just say THANK YOU, thank you for these moments, this baby.

And as I sat there basking in the moment of a quiet baby who was letting me cuddle him for longer than ten seconds, I just thought about how this is it. These are the last days of this. In the blink of an eye he won't need me anymore. Long gone will be the days where I'm his best friend and the most important person in his life. Sometimes when someone who isn't me holds him he immediately reaches back to me because I'm safe. Soon I won't be his safe place and he'll be growing up and making his own safe places.

And in that moment I realized what a blessing all the interruptions are. Each moment I ignore his cries to be picked up (even when he just wants to be picked up for three seconds) is another moment I won't get back. I'm not trying to be depressing or the type of mom who hates thinking about the future. Because I was for a long time and I've seen the future and the future is good. Good things happen when babies grow up from being a newborn. What I am doing is putting down the distractions--the phone, the computer, the book, the chores, the whatever--and being there, being present for him so that I can soak up these moments for all they're worth while he is still offering them.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Big boy status

I finally broke down and moved Maddox to the big boy bath this week. He was getting too rambunctious for my kitchen sink and I was tired of mopping up buckets of water after every bath. And so, I plopped Maddox into the tub a few nights ago. I got him lots of bath-friendly toys--because he took his first real tub bath while we were on vacation in Denver and all he wanted to do was stand up and play with the faucet and toiletries--and sat on the floor while he played in the water to his heart's content.

This little baby has gone from sponge baths to baby tub baths to bathroom sink to kitchen sink to showers to the big tub. It's like this tangible, very real thing that I can look at and be amazed that this 20-some pound baby used to fit in our teeny tiny bathroom sink or that he ever was so small to be propped up on pillows while we sponged him down and he cried in protest.

I never knew that a year could feel like a hundred years until I spent it watching this baby become a toddler. Life with a baby seems like ages upon eons ago. Life is a whirlwind and it's loud and beautiful and messy and foggy and perfect all at once.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

May I suggest

Totally stealing Ashlee's blog idea for recommended Pinterest recipes. She posted hers yesterday and they all sound so delicious I'm wondering why I have never seen them before. Oh, because sometimes Pinterest is full of garbage recipes and you get stuck in a garbage recipe rut and can't get out.

I even made myself a special board on Pinterest of my recommended recipes because I got sick of wading through my someday recipes looking for my favorites. You can check that out here. I like to add my thoughts and recipe changes/additions in the comments, but I can guarantee that these recipes are not going to end up on that ridiculous Pinterest Fail blog.

Evan and I started a health food kick at the beginning of this year. We've sort of stuck with it, sort of not. It's whatever. I started eating less meat and still only eat meat once or twice a week. I force this upon Evan who hates the idea of it but loves my meat-free dishes anyway. We also loooove quinoa* and will basically try anything with quinoa slash substitute it for just about anything.

So, here five of my favorites that you should definitely try!

1. Baked chicken parm + baked mozzarella sticks. I make these two together and they are a big hit at our house. Even Maddox chows down and we have deemed this a diaper-only meal because you can imagine the mess that a baby + red sauce can make. I am a big fan of chicken parm and this baked recipe is a healthier and tastier version. There are plenty of mozzarella stick recipes on Pinterest that require frying but I've got you covered with this baked version.

2. Spicy black bean stuffed peppers. This is my go-to lunch recipe. I had this just one time and sent it to my mom and my vegetarian friend Jamie and told them their lives were incomplete until they tried this. My parents made beef stuffed peppers my entire life and I'm sorry mom and dad, but these spicy black bean peppers are to die for. I use Anaheim peppers because they're a little spicy and I also add quinoa because we love quinoa. Since I found this recipe I've probably made this at least once a week and we always make extra and fight over the leftovers.

3. Thai Cashew Salad. Okay. If you only make one of these recipes, I recommend this one. It is my absolute, hands down favorite recipe on Pinterest. I judged the recipe by the picture and also because it's quinoa and we love our quinoa. And then I took one bite of this salad and basically died because it is one of the best things I've ever had in my entire life. The recipe recommends a squeeze of fresh lime and I know you're thinking that with a ginger-peanut-honey dressing that has got to be the weirdest, grossest idea you can imagine. But listen. Just do it. You will thank me.

4. Chickpea chopped salad. Yes. I love chopped salads. I love a good salad with a million ingredients and a good dressing. This is that salad. It's easy and you can basically make it whatever you want it to be by adding and deleting ingredients. I added quinoa (obviously) and cashews and avocados and it practically doesn't even need dressing but I love balsamic vinegar, lemon and italian dressing (not all at once) on it.

5. Roasted cauliflower and garlic pizza. I have to have one guilty pleasure food on my list. I have to. This pizza was killer. I'm a big fan of any kind of pizza and I'm still trying to perfect my crust because I like it as thin as a cracker and I just don't have it down yet. But this pizza was amazing, mostly because I love cauliflower-anything and the cream cheese sauce was A plus plus. I added roasted onions to it and I'm thinking some mushrooms would also be a good idea.

6. Banana cookies. And one dessert for good measure. These are my favorite easy snack. And by snack I mean that I can eat the entire batch. There's four ingredients (and no flour! or eggs!) in these, just bananas, oats, white chocolate chips and coconut (or that's my recipe anyway) and they are the perfect treat when you want something sweet but are trying to be good.

*I used to be terrified of quinoa. Like, how the heck do you even say it? (Keen-wah) And how the heck do you even cook it and what would you even use it in? If you think of it as rice it becomes far less intimidating. One part quinoa to two parts liquid (chicken broth is my favorite), add any spices you desire and heat on high until it boils. Let it simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, take it off the heat, uncover it and let it sit for another 5, fluff with a fork and it's ready! It can be used in breakfast granola, in place of rice (like in the stuffed peppers) as an extra protein in a salad, etc. I also love it mixed with some brown rice to give it some variety.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy father's day to the best guy

In the spirit of Father's Day I'm taking a moment to celebrate our guy and be so grateful for his provision and humor and companionship. He makes life better just because he's another set of hands to hold down a small toddler who is covered in poop and trying to wipe his hands and feet in it (Clarify: Maddox, not evan); he does the dishes when I am absolutely not moving one more muscle; he is there to the rescue when a certain someone takes a head-first tumble into a wall or down some stairs; he makes the best scrambled eggs for baby breakfast; is the best at taking out the garbage for the days when I'm definitely not putting on a bra; is the best speed-cleaner in the history of the world and can make our house presentable in less than a minute; and is the best at laying on the ground so Maddox can dive onto him and hit him with spatulas and lego blocks and drive cars and trucks over his arms and legs.

What I'm saying is, I'm so glad that I get to watch Evan be a dad. Everyone in the world always comments on Maddox's happiness and charming personality and let's be honest, he totally doesn't get that from me. He drew that charmingness and happiness and all the other good -nesses out of Evan and didn't draw one little bit of my temper or impatience (unless there's a delay in getting him his sippy cup and then you've got a two and a half foot problem on your hands).

And I'm super thankful for that. That I can have two guys in my house to show me unconditional love on a daily basis and who make me laugh until tears are streaming down my face and who love to give hugs because I have never in my whole entire life gotten hugs as good as the hugs that these guys give. Does that sentence even make sense? Probably not.

I love this guy and I'm so glad that he is ours. Happy Father's Day, boo.

And Happy Father's Day to my dad and my father-in-law, both of whom love me because I am an endless supply of home improvement projects and I don't have a picky bone in my body. (That's a joke.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Maddox Currently

Currently Maddox is 14 and a half months old and he...

Likes to shut doors. This is his new most favorite thing. Maddox will wander around the house all day long, shutting every single door and effectively shutting himself in every room. Luckily the only door that has a lock is his bedroom and it's the kind of lock you can unlock with a bobby pin if you're handy like me and so it's not a super big deal if he actually locks the door. He's also a big fan of standing directly behind the door and then slamming it in my face when I open it. Over and over again.

Is working on saying "please" and "thank you." When Maddox wants something he points to it and whines. And that is not good. So, we're working on learning the signs for please and thank you. I pretty much sign thank you all the day long, like, to every single person I encounter. I can't help it. So, I'm surprised that Maddox hasn't picked it up yet. We're working on them, though, because this child will have manors and I will stop giving in to the pointing whine. 

Can stand up on his own. This a big one! And is a big one as of today, June 10! Usually Maddox requires some assistance on standing up from a sitting or kneeling position. He couldn't master a way to get back up unless he had something to hold onto. And then this morning he hopped up like it ain't no thang like five times in a row and he's been doing it all day. (ALL DAY, WINSTON. ALL DAY.) [I love you if you get that.] I feel like we're officially past the crawling stage and I can safely purchase Maddox a new pair of jeans without fear that the knees will be worn out in one minute.

Likes to put things away. For a long time Maddox only wanted to take everything out. He emptied drawers and the lazy susan and every single basket containing Lord knows what that he could find. And then he decided that emptying everything and then picking it up could give him hours of entertainment and so now he empties everything and then carefully puts back what he wants or just wears the tupperware on his head like a hat or shreds pieces of paper or styrofoam cups and then puts the shreds in random plastic cups. I'm forever finding little surprises that make cleaning up my house 14 times a day totally worth it.

Loves to read. For a while there was exactly ONE book in the entire world that Maddox would sit through. And he would sit through it for probably 100 straight readings. And yes I do have the entire thing memorized and I think Evan may have burned it because I haven't seen the thing in like a month. But then Maddox realized that we own many, MANY good books and he is all about books now. He will go get a book and carry it to me to be read (minimum of five times in a row) and he loves to turn the pages (before I'm ready). He also carries books around flipping through the pages and talking to himself. Book worm. Just like his mama.

Moos like a cow and barks like a dog. These are literally the only two sounds he can do. All day long we say, "What does a ___ say?" (Dog, cat, cow, monkey, pig, etc.) He's got dog down (woof, woof) and he even does a high-pitched bark when we ask what Snap says (Snap's our dog). And his cow is more like a "oooo" than a "moo." But we're getting there. He also has several books with dogs in them and he knows when the dog is about to show up because he starts barking in anticipation. I've even skipped over the page to see what he would do and he basically gets anxiety and whines until I show him the picture of the dog and he can point at it, say "Dee!" and bark.

Mimics. This little love is a copy cat to the max. He pats the floor when he wants us to come to him or when he's calling the dog. He watched Evan spray all of my plants with the spray bottle of water and then he took the spray bottle and tapped each of my plants with it. He watched me write a note on some paper, ripped the pen out of my hand and scribbled all over the paper with it. He pretend feeds himself and even unscrewed the lid to a bottle of water and successfully drank some of it without a) choking on it and/or b) spilling it.

New words: Nime (Mine, which he says about whatever he wants and has made me realize I possess everything in this world and have to stop saying "mine" all together), Na/Nuh (No). (Parenting wins right there.)

Monday, June 9, 2014


Family photos bam bam! That's how we do I guess. Here's the real story: I had a photoshoot down by the river on Saturday morning and as I was driving I noticed this beautiful field of yellow flowers (weeds) and needed to stop and take a picture. Except for I was by myself and so I convinced Evan that we should wake up extra early on Sunday morning to take pictures in the field of yellow flowers (weeds).

He's a good sport, that one.

I also learned that although my pregnancy has made me less susceptible to bug bites (I used to get bit more than anyone in the world and because I was allergic the bites would swell up to look like tumors on my skin......but now I never get bit and if I do, the bites are normal sized rather than tumor sized), I am still very, VERY allergic to anything outdoors. Fifteen minutes in a field of grass and dirt and flowers and weeds, near a wooded river spot and I was practically dying of allergies. So. Let this be a lesson to me to always have a supply of allergy medicine in my camera bag, as well as a Costco-sized pack of Kleenex, as well as some Peppermint oil to rub on the back of my neck (thanks, Erin, for the tip!) to keep my sinuses clear.

Except for, I'd say it was worth it.

Friday, June 6, 2014

so this is love

"Part of the beauty of love was that you didn't need to explain it to anyone else. You could refuse to explain. With love, apparently you didn't necessarily feel the need to explain anything at all."
-Meg Wolitzer The Interestings

Thursday, June 5, 2014


We were in Denver last week and we hit up the Denver Zoo (which, in my humble opinion, is the best zoo I've ever been to) and Evan took this picture of our not-so-little baby.

I'm not real sure when he decided that it was okay to look more like a little boy than a baby. But he decided it and so it is. Also do you like his shorts? Because I made those. (By made those I mean that I cut off a pair of his jeans that he had crawled through. Thrifty and crafty. [If by crafty you mean able to wield a pair of scissors.] {This is out of hand.})

But now we have a toddler. A walking, talking (ish), very opinionated toddler. A toddler who likes to share his snacks by putting them in your mouth and then pulling them out real quick and eating them. A toddler who prefers to walk everywhere but if I say, "Hold my hand," he'll reach his hand up and take my hand and walk with me. A toddler who thinks that Eskimo kisses are the funniest thing and who gives the most adorable chuckle when we rub noses.

And not a day goes by where I'm not so over-the-moon thankful for this gift. I go to bed at night and miss the baby who is asleep in the next room so much that it physically hurts me. I spend my entire day with him and sit on the ground and watch him run around the room and then run to me and hug my neck and I still miss him. I think that's probably a good-ish quality for a mom to have. It's good that I like my child, right? I probably just need to tone it down so I don't become a helicopter mom. dot dot dot, more than I already am.

The other night Evan and I stayed up an extra hour just looking through old pictures and watching hilarious videos of surprise spit up and first baby laughs and little wobbly heads and our hearts filled and burst with love for this tiny human. I want to pause these moments and bottle them up and keep them forever. I will forever say that about every new stage we enter, but this right here is my favorite. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


I know that it is June three but this picture was honest-to-God taken in May. I have been in Denver for the past week and refused to lug my life with me and so life has been put on hold until we were home. And obviously we're home so life can begin again. (Anyone else's mind completely shut off while they're on vacation? Evan and I thought every single day was Saturday.)

Anyway. I wanted to get creative with these. Not just stand in front of a camera and be boring for 12 family pictures. I want to display these in our home and not have 12 identical pictures of us. Because that would be boring. And lame.

So here's to getting out of our comfort zones and traveling and tickling nakey babies and lounging in hotel rooms in jammies. And also the face that Evan is making that I kind of love a lot because it makes me laugh.