Sunday, June 30, 2013

Past and Present

There are things that come between friends, but it is apparent when you are truly connected to another person that not much truly separates you for long. This past weekend I spent some time with two of my friends from many, MANY years ago.

I have called Ashley my BFF on and off since about second grade. Now, 20 years later, we had daughters just days apart. And you all know that Emily was my best friend and maid of honor, even after multiple moves states away and now living 5 hours apart.

This weekend was precious to me, because for one hour, we got to all catch up, gather our daughters in the same room, and laugh and talk. From the outside you might not have known it had been nearly 13 years since Emily and Ashley had seen each other (wow! that makes us sound old!). It's been a lot of years and lots of states, but we picked up right where we left off.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Yummy Squash

This morning I made homemade squash for Baby Belle during her first nap.

It was easy and smelled so good. I stole a few bites (before I added the breast milk of course).

I started with this beauty and cut it in half length-wise.

Then I scopped out the seeds and pulpy stuff with a cookie scoop and put it in a glass dish with about an inch of water. Then put it in the oven on 400 for 40 minutes.

Once it looked like this, I used the cookie scoop again to scoop it into my bullet. I added an ounce of breast milk and pureed it.


I can't wait for her to give this yummy food a try. This week she started plums so I will need to wait a couple of days to introduce this.

Annabelle eats so many different foods now. I love trying new ones. Here's her list so far:


Sweet potatoes
Green beans (but we only tried this once and I think it hurt her stomach a little so I am waiting a few more weeks to try again).


I have the cutest video from this morning of her eating her breakfast. She says "mmmm" and wiggles after each bite. And in this video, she sneezed all over. I love that I caught it on tape, but I'm not sure how to upload it here. You will just have to take my word for it. She's so precious!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

How Does It Survive, You Might Ask?

This past Friday I did something I never do. I took the day off to be with Belle and relax. I have never done this before. We were going to go to a wedding in Kansas City that night so I thought this would be a great day to try it. Now, I want to go into early retirement. I can't believe how much I got done while still having the most relaxing day ever. 

I woke up and fed Annabelle and played with her until her nap time. Then I vacuumed the house while David vacuumed the pool. Oh yeah, did I mention he was off of work too? It was like Christmas! After that I made a grocery list and planned meals for the week.

After all of that, it was about 10 a.m. Seriously? So I grabbed my book and headed for the backyard, video monitor in hand. And I sat there, and read. It was wonderful.

I am reading (for the 7thish time) The Life of Pi. It is so good. In one of the beginning parts, the main character is describing the three-toed sloth and his sloth-like ways. It was perfect timing. I was lounging and trying to slow down and was reminded to be at peace in my environement.

Lately,  I can’t fight the nagging voice in my head that chirps at me all day to slow down. I know everyone is busy, so this isn’t intended to be a rant about how busy my schedule is. But let’s be honest, I am one crazy busy momma. I wake up and jump in the shower to get ready for work while Annabelle sleeps, I scarf down a quick breakfast which my adorable, perfect husband (APH) prepares, I get Annabelle up and nurse her, I hand her off to my APH, jump in my car, rush to work, pump the minute I walk in to hoard anything Annabelle didn’t drink, negotiate contracts (this is no small feat in itself…most of these are intense, high-dollar, crazy contracts), rush over to spend my lunch break nursing Annabelle, rush back to negotiate more and meet with vendors or customers, jump in my car and drive like a mad woman to pick up Annabelle so I can steal every possible minute with her, get home to nurse her and lay her down for one quick nap before the evening starts. Then somewhere in the next two hours our evenings include feeding Belle some solids that I made because I’ve convinced myself I can do that for her (enter your own working mommy guilt lines here), playing with her, reading to her, bathing her, cuddling her, wearing her, trying to make her laugh, on and on in the short time we get with her before it’s time to start laying her down for bed, packing up her bags for the next day, washing bottles, and then pumping again…all before 8:30 or 9 when I try to sit down, try to not check  my work email, and try to not stare at the video monitor and think…”Hmm is she really old enough to sleep on her stomach…when should I go flip her back over…is it the day to change her sheets again…I wonder what she’s dreaming about…okay I will go flip her back to her back…” and on and on. Did you notice in there I didn't wiggle in room to eat, make dinner, grocery shop, take a breath, touch base with friends, or anything like that?  Hopefully you didn't notice and skimmed that list instead of reading it word for word anyway.

All of this is just to say I need to learn a thing or two from the sloth (and the books I read), and probably so do you. Like I said, I know I just described pretty accurately the day to day life of most women out there….the majority of them doing this with multiple children (God bless Sister #1 pregnant with twins), or on their own, or without amazing husbands and family to help.

Honestly, all I meant to say was, here’s to Summer 2013. May you all take a deep breath, slow down, snuggle your baby, kiss your husband, and take a Friday to lay by the pool and read.

Oh Baby Food

I’ve been making my own baby food for Annabelle. There are a few reasons I’ve chosen to do this. Some are normal person reasons (I like controlling what is in her food and making as healthy of choices as possible…) some aren’t (I feel guilty walking into the baby food aisle at HyVee…like other moms walk by wearing their babies, drinking their green tea in recycled cups, and tisk tisking me for not being more natural).

But regardless, I’ve been doing it and it’s pretty easy and fun. I have it down to a fine art so that I can make a vegetable for the whole week in one quick nap time.

Here are the staples for us right now.

-          Sweet potatoes
-          Peas
-          Carrots
-          Bananas
-          Apples
-          Pears
-          Green beans

I try to buy all of these items organic. Then all I have to do is steam the vegetables and put them in my magic bullet with some stored breast milk, and puree them to death. Then I scoop them into about one tablespoon serving sizes and put them in a tray. After they cool I freeze the tray and the next morning put them in baggies.

Instead of an ice cube tray I use my Wilton mini brownie silicone mold. It has worked perfectly!

If you would like more detail about this, and would like to hear from someone that is probably doing this for more normal person reasons than I, check out Chronicles of a Babywise Mom blog:

Happy Pureeing

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Half a Year!

How is our Belle 6 months old? Annabelle is so much fun these days. I know I keep saying this, but THIS is my favorite stage.

Here are some quick pictures that we took between her wiggling around everywhere. And, of course, she had to put the card in her mouth.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

With the Pool Comes Pests

I have been debating what to do about bugs and Belle. I have not wanted to put any repellent on her of course, but the bugs drive me crazy!

We live outside from the minute we get home from work until it is bed time. And I absolutely love summer, but I despise the bugs anywhere near Bella Bear. What do you all do for bug sprays or repellents?

I found this DIY recipe from the Wellness Mama blog ( I'm thinking this might be worth trying.

Wellness Mama Bug Spray Ingredients:
- Essential oils: choose from Citronella, Clove, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Cajeput, Eucalyptus, Cedar, Catnip, Lavender, Mint
- Natural Witch Hazel
- Distilled or boiled Water Vegetable glycerin (optional)

How to Make Homemade Bug Spray: Fill spray bottle (I used 8 ounce) 1/2 full with distilled or boiled water. Add witch hazel to fill almost to the top. Add 1/2 tsp vegetable glycerin if using. Add 30-50 drops of essential oils to desired scent. The more oils you use, the stronger the spray will be.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


I think of life as a good book. The further you get into it, the more it begins to make sense. –Harold Kushner

Since this is a blog about reading and all, I thought I should share some pictures of the reading I've been doing lately. Not quite the same as I'm used to, but I have to admit, I'm enjoying it more than I ever have.



Friday, June 7, 2013

Try, Try, Try Again

I have to admit that I haven’t always taken the best care of myself. I haven’t ever worried too much about the things I eat, the shampoos I use, or the household cleaners I spray on every possible surface. As a person that thinks too much about everything, it’s weird to say that I never thought too much about it.

That is, until I got pregnant and had Annabelle. Now I can’t stop reading labels, researching products, and cringing every time I hear about another product I’ve been using that has carcinogenic chemicals in it (cough, Johnson & Johnson, cough). I drive myself crazy thinking about what she is breathing in, what her little skin is absorbing, and what her tummy is trying to digest. I have to stop myself from spiraling. And I have David help me make good decisions without completly obsessing.

I still don’t do the best job. I use cheap shampoo, I have an obsession with Lavender Lysol, and Taco Bell is my weakness. However, I am constantly encouraged by my friends who are trying to make little and big changes. I find it motivating to hear their ideas and what they’ve learned. That’s what I love most about this blog world. I thrive off of all you guys out there trying to make the best decisions for your families.  Thank you for sharing. I fully intend to beg, borrow, and steal all of your ideas – especially for things I haven’t tested and tried myself but want to.

For example, one cute mama out there that I trust for some tips is my friend over at Ashley tries to live an organic lifestyle as much as possible (plus her little baby S is to die for!). I had been wanting to try The Honest Company products for a few months but hadn’t pulled the trigger. She raved about this line in one of her posts and I submitted my first order this morning. I can’t wait to test their cleaning and body products. I will let you know what I think! Thanks Ashley!

And since I called out Johnson & Johnson, I want to put a quick disclaimer that I trust that they are trying to right what they’ve wronged. They claim by the end of this year the nasty stuff in their baby line should be removed. I’m rooting for you and your night-time lavender lotion that I love so much J&J. Thank you for trying. As soon as you can assure me that these chemicals are gone, I will be back. (

What tips do you have to help me make better decisions? Baby steps people, baby steps.
Here's what I grabbed from Target today. I am obsessed with the Basil scent from Mrs. Meyer's for the kitchen. It's so fresh.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Bad Grades in Diapering

I got this text from my best friend/babysitter today. “We managed a poopy diaper today without a blowout!” Who would have known that this would be cause for celebration? You are going to think I overthink everything (if you don’t already know that about me), but to me, this message translated to: I finally figured out the appropriate size of diapers to put on my daughter. Dramatic? Yes.

Ask my poor husband. I make everything about Annabelle’s life dramatic right now. Even to the point of knowing which size and brand of diapers to buy. To me, every decision and event translates to some grade. The other day she went through three outfits because of diaper blowouts. Three! Obviously I deserved a D for that day. I wouldn’t give myself an F quite yet because I at least remembered the diapers…however I did forget spare outfits and Annabelle had to borrow her friend’s outfits…so now, thinking back, I should have received a D-.

So you can see, that when I receive a message from my saint of a sitter that says “We managed a poopy diaper today without a blowout!” I get to celebrate with a big fat A for diapering.

By the way, what brand of diapers do you all use? Maybe you could jump start my Honor Roll Student status…at least for the class of appropriate diapering.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Let's Try This Again

I am sure I have next to zero followers these days, and I will completely take ownership of that. I haven’t been able to find a single minute to blog. But I’ve been here, in the background, keeping up on all of your cute lives.

How do you all find time to do this? I’ve been loving finding more and more blogs to follow – blogs about books and babies, vacations, and anything I can find. I love taking a few minutes and catching up on your lives. Lately this has made me feel a little selfish that I haven’t been contributing too. I used to love to blog. I guess in the past few months I felt like the things I have to say you either wouldn’t be interested in or you might judge me on. And I figured both of those might be silly reasons not to write.

I guess if you aren’t interested in reading my posts, you won’t read them. And I guess if you want to judge some of the things I say, that’s okay too. If you don’t fall into either of those two categories, welcome back!

I will be writing about my life these days….learning new things about parenting my 6-month old (sheesh, she’s growing way too fast for this momma), loving my husband, decorating and taking care of our new house, having fun with my friends, reading good books, and trying to learn new ways to excel at my job.

A couple of books I want to read include The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh and It's All Good (Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook). What else are you lovelies reading?