Sunday, September 14, 2014

a morning hike

On Friday morning we went on a long overdue hike with our babies.  We explored a state park we hadn't spent time in before.  There was a slight chill in the air and a few colorful leaves on the ground and it felt like we were walking on the brink of a new season.  I love living in a place where we can experience the change of seasons.  It brings fresh and new energy to my life. 

Monday, September 8, 2014


We spent this past weekend running around NYC for our first time ever!  We went with two of our very good friends (and, I am just realizing now, I never got a photo of all of us together. womp!) who have been to the city before, which is definitely the way to do it.  They knew all the secrets of getting in and out of the city, places to eat, things to see, where to stay, etc.  It made the trip a lot less stressful!  Kenz tagged along, as always, and was such a rockstar bouncing around the city on our backs.  Really, we have been blessed with such an easy-going child, it just doesn't seem fair sometimes.  She did give us a wild ride trying to get to sleep on Saturday night (sorry hotel neighbors) but besides that, she seemed to love NYC just as much as us!

We spent a little bit of time at Ground Zero, which is such a beautiful commemorative to the events that took place there in 2001.  It is a surreal and heartbreaking feeling walking around the site where the twin towers once stood. 

We wasted no time getting ourselves some New York style pizza.  It really does live up to the hype (although comparing it to Chicago style is a joke, people! come on!)

Wandered through Times Square... kenz missed the entire thing sleeping in her carrier.  Just how can you sleep through the sites and sounds of Times Square? Like I said, rockstar.

The view from our hotel.  We stayed at the Marriott near Central Park, which is the tallest hotel in North America!

From the observation deck at our hotel.  David is deathly afraid of heights and wouldn't go near the edge, so I snapped a photo with his phone so he could see what it looks like looking down.  For some reason it was sort of adorable how scared he was :)

We wandered through Central Park, stopping at several food trucks along the way.  I just can't say no to a soft pretzel.  Central Park is such a peaceful oasis in the midst of a busy and rushed world.  I love all of NYC, but it certainly wouldn't be the same without this huge green space in the middle.

We went out for dinner at Ruby Foo's in Times Square, which apparently has very red lighting :)  It was delicious and felt quite fancy until I spilled all of kenz puffs all over the floor and had to get our server to help clean it up.  Ah, parenthood.

The next morning we wandered around Rockefeller Center and got coffee.  The weather was perfect for wandering through the streets and sitting outside. 

We took the subway into Brooklyn for lunch and then walked the bridge back into Manhattan.  Kenz missed that walk, too, and boy did she miss out.  The view from the Brooklyn Bridge is incredible.  I totally understand why people fall in love with this city.

We wandered around East Village eating delicious desserts and admiring all the adorable apartments.  Those fire escapes!  The brick!  I could move right in (although after checking out prices on Zillow we decided to just admire them from afar :))

After a full weekend, we took the Staten Island Ferry back to our car and drove home.  It was a great weekend and I can't believe it has taken us almost five years of living on the East coast to get to NYC.  We already have a list of things to do the next time we visit, so we will be back.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

a little mama-daughter date

Yesterday kenz woke up early from her afternoon nap screaming because she had accidentally (I assume?) sat up mid-nap.  It was upsetting for all involved.  Once I had calmed her down and it was clear nap time was over I glanced at the clock and realized I had entered that painstakingly slow period of time post-nap and pre-daddy getting home.  You know what I'm talking about.  Thank God for the Ellen Show from 4-5pm is all I'm sayin'.

But anyways, it was a hot, beautiful summer day and I decided, what the heck, even though we are jonesing for fall weather, let's ride this summer thing out for all its worth.  That sentence had a lot of commas.  So I loaded baby in her stroller and we took off on a walk to the local garden center.  We have never lived in a super walkable area, and even now we don't live in a particularly walker-friendly neighborhood, but I am determined to walk to anything I can get to by foot and stroller.  And we can walk to a pharmacy, a steak house, an italian ice joint, and a garden center.  And the police station...whut whut!

We wandered through the garden center looking at all the fall flowers and decorations, and gosh I just get all kinds of warm feelings about fall, you guys.  I know that is terribly blogger-esq of me, but deal with it.

The store sells these really delicious fruit popsicles at the register, so I bought one on our way out and wheeled kenz to a grassy area in the shade to share it together.  I stripped off her clothes and we just let ourselves become a sticky glorious mess.  It was quintessential summer in all the best ways, and I decided that this summer thing is alright for now.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

quinoa, rice, and black bean salad

David and I are making a conscious effort to eat less meat.  We had sort of gotten ourselves into a "meat, vegetable, starch" rut, and had a hard time coming up with meals we liked (and that filled us) that didn't feature meat as the main dish.  About a month ago we were wandering around our farmer's market and ended up purchasing some local range-free meat, to which I said, "we should buy all our meat this way!" and then we paid the bill, to which I said, "we can't afford to eat meat ever again!"  So we are trying to strike some sort of middle ground: eat less meat so we can afford to purchase better quality meat.
Anyways, all that long back-story to is a recipe I came up with (based loosely on a couple of pinterest recipes I have found) that we both loved.  I made enough for dinner and a few lunches in the days that followed.

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1/2 cup brown rice
1 (14oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 red pepper, chopped
1/4 cup fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
1/2  red onion, chopped
1 cup corn
1 avocado, chopped into  pieces

dressing: (from here)

4-5 tbsp of fresh lime juice (Juice from 2 small limes)
1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin, or more to taste

1. Cook quinoa and brown rice according to package directions, then combine.
2. Prepare the chopped vegetables and whisk together the dressing.
3.  Add the beans and vegetables to the quinoa/rice and toss well.
4. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well with salt and pepper to taste. Bring salad to room temperature before serving.

Monday, September 1, 2014

the last of the pool days + a few others from the weekend

This weekend was our last chance to play in our pool before it closed for the season.  We have most definitely taken advantage of having a community pool this year and we already can't wait for its opening next summer!  Of course, I am sad our pool days are over, but that also means it is almost fall, which is my favorite time of year.  Bring on the cooler temps, crunchy leaves, hot drinks, and layers!

 ^^ Raspberry kisses before bed with daddy ^^

^^ Our friend left her doll at our house the other day and kenz has been completely attached ^^

^^ These Pennsylvania homes.  Nothing quite compares...^^

^^ Saturday morning treats from our favorite bakery ^^

Not pictured: cleaning the apartment and finally getting into the show Parenthood.  It feels like we are the last people to get on the Parenthood bandwagon, but we started working our way through season one, and we like it!  I can get into pretty much any show, but david takes some convincing so I am excited he enjoys it. 
Now onto a new week!  Happy Monday!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

eleven months

Oh, what to say about our baby girl at eleven months...

+she is helplessly addicted to the video Let it Go from the movie Frozen.  Anytime we turn on the TV or the computer she starts hyperventilating with joy in hopes of the video.  Once it is playing she is just totally mesmerized.  Any close-ups of Elsa bring a big smile to her face, but otherwise she is just in a staring trance.

+watching the toilet flush is completely fascinating.  we go for the cheap thrills around here.

+ she is eating a lot more, mostly due to me cutting back on breastfeeding a bit.  It was an unexpectedly emotional process for me, but she was really ready, and for goodness sake I'm still breastfeeding four times a day so PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER WOMAN.  She just needed a bit more time between feedings to get hungry for real food. 

+she is becoming much more social and adaptable.  Earlier on she had a bit of stranger anxiety with new people, but she has become so much more interested in new people.  We have gone to quite a few large gatherings recently and just sort of passed her off to people.  Thirty minutes later we are like, where is our kid? and she is across the room taking selfies with a group of students. It's the best.

+she isn't scooting or crawling around yet, but she has recently learned how to scoot in a circle on her butt and go from laying down to sitting up (which has also been fun in the middle of the night).  She has always been such a laid back baby when it comes to motor skills, which is fine because once they start getting around on their own you can never take it back.

+she gets super spazzy right before bed, giggling and rolling around on the floor and finding everything funny.  

+the other night she woke up a few hours after I had put her to bed and I ended up rocking her back to sleep.  I hadn't rocked her like that in months, and I guess I thought she had kind of grown out of it.  My heart was filled with so much gratitude as I stood there swaying from side to side, watching my baby girl drift off to sleep.  Actually, I think her eleven month body fits in my arms just as well as her newborn body.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

kenzie's nursery

I finally finished kenzie's room a few days ago, making it the first room in our new place that is completely done.  Which we are choosing to celebrate rather than dwell on the fact that we have been living here for almost three months.  
Although kenz had a room at our old apartment, it was part nursery and part guest room.  That worked great, and I wouldn't be surprised if her current room turned into that sometime in the future.  In fact, david and I almost impulsively purchased a bunk bed a few weeks ago to put in her room.  Because bunk beds! Every guest's dream accommodations! 
I figured I better snap a few photos while things are looking all clean and put together because kenz isn't quite mobile enough to mess up her room.  The days are numbered, I am sure.  
We didn't paint because we would have to paint the walls back to this color whenever we move.  In other words, lazy.  But I kind of like the white walls and how much of a bright space this room is turning out to be.  I'll let you know where items are from below each photo because that seems to be the thing to do in these tour posts.  But I'm warning you, it is basically ikea.

The dresser is from ikea (I told you!) that david and I stained and painted the knobs.  The polka dot changing pad was made by my mom (this will also be a theme).  The artwork I either drew, painted, or made out of cards.  The fur rug in front of the crib is ikea.  I had to stop myself from buying ten of these.  Thank goodness for a husband with some senses.  Her curtains are from Target Threshold collection.  Actually, one panel is from a thrift store and the other is from target. WIN.

This globe is one I mounted onto a small stack of books as a gift for david back in our dating years.  My dad did all the work and I took all the credit. ching!

Her crib is ikea that I painted white, the name bunting is a product of my mama, and the chevron hamper is walmart. I know, I was surprised too!  TANGENT: is it ever okay to use bumpers in a crib or is that always a death trap?  because our most recent problem is kenz getting her chubby legs wedged in between her crib spokes.  It is the saddest and most hilarious thing to walk in on.

This canvas was made by my mom (all of a sudden I feel like I should mention this post is not being sponsored by my mom, although, that is a thought...mother? ).

What? Is that my eleven month child peacefully reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar to herself in her reading chair?  hahaha NO.  She is entirely posed for this photo and two seconds after this reached her arms waayyy forward and almost fell off the front of the chair.  Mom points.  Also, this chair is primarily used for me to nurse kenz to sleep at night, so just picture that.  Why I don't have an adult sized rocker is sort of beyond me.  Kenzie's little reclining chair was given to us from friends.  Ohh and the fantastic measuring board was a Christmas gift from my aunt.  And the bookshelf is a five dollar yard sale find. FIVE DOLLARS FOOLS.

So there it is!  Kenzie's very own room, soon to be guest room, soon to be shared by her eleven other siblings.  Sorry, kid, you can only be spoiled for so long.