Saturday, July 26, 2014

ten months

mckenzie is ten months old today!  all of a sudden she is looking all grown up.  Here are the updates...

+she has OPINIONS.  "I want to play with your necklace and DON'T YOU DARE TAKE IT AWAY FROM ME."  She will let you know what she wants, likes, doesn't like, etc etc and all of the above.

+With this new found angst, I am learning to choose my battles: you want to put mama's dirty keys in your mouth? sure fine, because it will make you happy for 10 minutes.  you want to drink mama's scolding hot coffee? well, I'll fight that battle. 

+She is eating a tiny bit, which is entirely exclusive to the following things: wheat thins, ice cream, panera baguettes, apples (but only a whole one), oatmeal (but only from mama's bowl), chips, watermelon, and baby puffs.  Oh, and breast milk hashtag ALWAYSANDFOREVER.  The universe is laughing at the me of 10 months ago who swore I would only feed my child whole organic foods.

+daddy is her new favorite.  she loves loves loves him.  He can make her laugh the hardest just by smiling and making noises in her direction.  She has started to cry a little bit when he leaves for work in the mornings.  She always goes right down for her naps when he puts her in bed (thanks, kid).  Oftentimes, when david gets back from work, he will scoop her up and take her back into the bedroom to hang out with him while he changes out of his work clothes.  I can't say exactly what goes on back there, but all I know is there are tons of giggles and bursts of laughter and screams and shrieks, and I just love their relationship so so much.

+she has started dancing to music.  I'll put a song on and she will look up from whatever she is doing, listen for a moment, and then start bouncing her whole body.  I DIE.

+sometimes she pants like a dog.  we have no idea where she got that from, but we all think it is hilarious.

+and kissy faces.  she has learned the most delicious kissy face and it makes me want to have twelve thousand more children (not pregnant).

obviously we think our kid is the bees knees.  we love celebrating all of her little milestones and teaching her to love life.

Monday, July 21, 2014

anniversary trip to shenandoah

This past weekend we took a little trip to shenandoah national park for our anniversary.  It was significant in a lot of ways...shenandoah is probably our favorite spot we have been to together since being married.  also, hiking has been such an enjoyable thing to do together over the past few years.  David and I actually don't have a lot in common when it comes to hobbies and downtime (which we have actually learned to love and appreciate), but hiking is one thing that we have both grown to love.  Personally, I have never loved anything that makes me sweat (because why? am I right?) but hiking seems to be the exception.  There is just something about getting out into nature and exploring new parts of the world untainted by man.  

But anyways, our trip.  We took our little sidekick along and she did pretty well with all the hiking and napping on the go.  She did pull two long nights with lots of waking up and finally suckering her mama into sleeping in the second bed with her, but besides that, she was a trooper.  While having a baby along for our vacations changes a lot (and we did have a few moments of missing what things used to look like), it was fun to share this adventure with kenz.  We really really hope she grows to like hiking (or else!).

Here are some photos from our time in shenandoah with a few captions...

beautiful views from the tops of these mountains...don't worry, we held on tight to that little girl

that face.  what a goob.

mountains for days...

black bear!!! We saw THREE bears during our time in the park, we couldn't believe our luck!  We saw two big males and this little cub (not sure where the mama bear was...we kept looking over our shoulders!)  The first bear we saw was standing right in the middle of our trail about 25 yards in front of us.  We rounded a corner and BOOM, there it was, just staring at us.  David said I turned sheet-white and immediately turned around.  It is an amazing experience seeing a bear in the wild, but also very unnerving.  We did a little research on them, though, and they are surprisingly docile and timid for how big and scary they look.  Definitely a highlight of our trip!

We stayed in a lodge at the highest point in the park, and this was the view from our room!  After kenz would go to bed at night we would sit outside on our porch with a big blanket around us and just talk until it got dark.  

Dusk from our porch

This girl loved rolling around on our bed.  This was after a llooonnngg night with her, but I had already forgiven her ;)

The fog over the valley in the morning was amazing

David took this photo right before we took a break for me to feed kenz.  Just after we sat down I glanced up into the woods and there was a huge black bear just sauntering by...yikes! 

Working on her waving... and you guys.  hiking with an almost 20 lb. baby is a whole new level of workout.  

Last hike of the trip.  This was the point when kenz was like, "but seriously another overlook? don't you people get tired of this?" and we were like, "JUST SMILE FOR THE CAMERA CHILD."

waiting for breakfast at the lodge and an older couple offered to take a family photo for us.  Love a little stranger kindness.

baby girl was such a trooper with naps on the go.

the morning fog from our porch

love this little family of mine and the adventures we have together.  Such a sweet memory and celebration of our marriage.  We will be back, shenandoah.  you can never keep us away for too long...

Saturday, July 19, 2014

5 years

Today we have been married for five years. Five!  I remember when we were engaged and I would look at couples who had been married for five years and think, "wow. they must really know what they are doing." Ha!  Marriage has been such a wonderful blessing.  It is amazing to walk through life's ups and downs with a partner; to do life with someone who knows me so well.  Marriage can also be hard.  I feel like this is thrown around a lot just to make sure people don't think marriage is perfect, but really and truly, sometimes being married is challenging.  Working together, making decisions together, living together, parenting together...all of these things take constant work and sacrifice and communication.  We don't always agree or see eye-to-eye, and we choose to give up our pride and our way to make things work as a family.  That being said, I am so thankful for my husband and the role I get to play as his wife and partner.  Even after five years I still have moments where I am like, "I get to be david's wife! This is real life! We LIVE together! We are a family!"  I am one lucky lady, and I can't wait to see what the next five, ten, and fifty years together bring.  Love you so much, david!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

a visit from emily

Emily was my first friend when we moved out here to the East Coast.  We bonded over a shared name and then thrifting and then homemade music videos and then homemade haircuts...and she grew to be such a dear friend to me.  She and her husband moved to New York last year, but they swung through town this week for a quick visit.  It was great to see them and warmed my heart to see them loving on our baby girl.  Kenz loved Emily and was completely enthralled with her husband, Michael.  He is a bit too old for you, hun.  But, you know, a girl can dream.  Thanks for coming, friends!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

italian chopped salad

Look out...I'm on a recipe roll! 
Here is another great salad for hot summer evenings when you want something light and easy but still filling.  I was trying to recreate the salad from one of our favorite pizza joints in town, and it was surprisingly close!  We had it with some (store bought) garlic bread.  Easy and simple.

Italian Chopped Salad
recipe adapted from here

mix together:
4 romaine hearts, halved and diced
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
½ red onion, diced
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and diced
8 ounce ball fresh mozzarella cheese, chopped into small pieces
4 ounces Italian dry salami, chopped into small pieces
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped fine
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, papery skin removed and halved
 Pinch salt/pepper

Monday, July 14, 2014

berry picking

David, Kenz and I spent a few hours on Saturday picking blueberries and raspberries at a local farm.  The weather was hot, and then cool, and then rainy, but it was one of those summer days where you don't really mind getting caught in a rainstorm.  You have a moment of panic, and then you sort of resign and let the rain soak through your clothes and you lift your arms up in the air and feel like a kid again.  It just felt quintessential summer and we drove home wet with bellies full of berries.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

summer bbq quinoa salad

It has been a while since I have shared a favorite recipe around here.  You may be wondering if that means I haven't been cooking at all, and you would be absolutely correct.  I have completely dropped the ball in the meal preparation department.  I blame it on moving and...having a baby? is that still an excuse I can use?  Anyway, we had some friends over last night for dinner and I made this salad.  I have made this meal three times in the last month, so I thought it was time to share.  If you use all fresh ingredients (like I did this past time), it is fairly time consuming.  And, naturally, I complained the entire time.  But it is so worth the end product: a delicious meal that is perfect for summer evenings. 

original recipe found here 


4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
1 diced red onion
1/2 cup freshly torn cilantro
4 sliced green onions
2 minced garlic cloves
2 chicken breasts, cut into pieces
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 cup sweet corn kernels
1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon  paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/3 cup BBQ sauce + more for drizzling

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until crispy then remove the bacon and place it on a paper towel. Add the onions to the skillet to coat in the bacon grease. Cover the skillet, reduce the heat to low and cook until the onions begin to caramelize, about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally while cooking. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then remove the onions and the garlic and place them in a bowl.
Season the chicken with the salt, pepper, paprika and onion powder. Add it to the same skillet over medium-high heat and cook until it is browned and golden on all sides, about 10 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked through, stir in 1/3 cup of the BBQ sauce and reduce the heat to low. Add in the cooked quinoa, onions, chickpeas, corn, red peppers and half of the cilantro and green onions. Toss well to mix. Right before serving, stir in the bacon, reserving a little bit for topping. Serve and garnish with the remaining cilantro, green onions and bacon.

note: I usually just double the recipe so we have lots of leftovers, because it saves really well.

Monday, July 7, 2014

black and whites from an afternoon at the pool

We are spending a ton of time at our neighborhood pool and it has been so much fun.  Kenz loves the water and is pretty fearless in it.  She sits in her floaty seat and we pass her back and forth in the water.  She always brings her rubber ducky, too.  
David and I just watched the Jim Gaffigan bit on how applying sunscreen to all of his pale children takes a full day before hitting the beach, and we were cracking up because YES.  We only have one pale child but it is quite the process getting her ready to play outside.  We are hoping she buys the whole "pale is the new tan" thing in her teen years.
Anyways, a few b+w photos from the pool because yikes that sun overexposes things and also because giant pink floaties look nicer in b+w ;)