I don't know her

Whenever I look at these pictures, I burst out laughing. In the moment, I knew I was acting like a complete ass, but hey, it was all for Addie's benefit, right? I remember my parents exhibiting the same exaggerated enthusiasm on family trips in an attempt to convey how much fun our activities really were. I suppose it was inevitable that one day, I would do the same...

I can almost guarantee she was thinking, "I don't know this woman. Why is she holding me? I hope no one I know will see this."

Aahhhhh... Fun times.

Character sightings

In preparation for our Disney trip, we spent months getting Addie acclimated to Mickey Mouse. We read books, we watched videos, we talked and talked about Mickey and how we would very soon get to meet him. Addie seemed to grasp the concept and whenever we told her we were going to see Mickey, her eyes would light up and she would open her mouth and gasp in a deep breath in excitement. Even the night before our character breakfast, we had a little bedtime chat and Addie seemed so ready to meet the face of Disney.

We made it to the breakfast and while Addie was enjoying her plate of fruit and Mickey Mouse shaped waffles, none other than the real Mickey came up behind her. This was the moment we had been waiting for. This was going to make all of our saving and preparing worth it...

Mmmm... not so much.
We tried our best to comfort her after that incident, and while she did manage to warm up to some of the characters, she wanted to stay about an arm's length away from them at all times.

 Eventually, we got to the point where Addie gave a few high fives and blew some kisses.

I have to say, Pluto won the award for taking the most time with Addie and trying the hardest to get her to relax and feel comfortable around him. Good dog.

Recovering from vacation

Oh my goodness. Have you ever been on a vacation where you did so much that you came home and felt like you needed to go on vacation? Well that is the exact experience we had returning from Disney World last week. We ate and ate and ate (my favorite), explored 3 of the 4 parks on the vast Disney campus, took a day trip to Vero Beach, connected with friends, played with Addie in the pool, spent a few short hours with my uncle and oh so much more!

Did I mention the eating? Good food = a good trip in my book and let me tell you, it was good. I will say that Disney does food extremely well. I'm not talking about the burgers at The Magic Kingdom--I'm referring to the many many restaurants throughout the property, and lets not forget Epcot. Sigh... Dear Epcot, how do I love thee? We went at the start of the International Food & Wine Festival. Love, love, love. I will not go into a great amount of detail here so as not to sound like a promotional site, but you really should check it out. Amazing.

I will reflect more on our trip in the days to come, but here are a few pictures of our adventure...

Last but certainly not least, a huge Thank You!!! to Paul & Kim, our very dear friends who invited us to join them at their Disney Vacation Club Villa at the Old Key West Resort. We love you and had the best time!

Not my 4th grade perm

As promised, here is a picture of my new 'do. I was terrified that I would end up with the same look that I had in the late 80's, but thank heaven perms have changed in the last 20 years! I suppose technically this puts me well on my way to the dreaded SAHM uniform, but isn't facing your fears supposed to be heathy? Yes!!!

Also, next week I am taking a break to relax with my family on our vacation. I'll see you when we return--until then, take care!

I heart knitting

In order to give credit where credit is due, I must tell you that this post by, Amanda Soule is what made me want to learn to knit. I had to know how to make those pants, if not for Addie, for every new baby that will ever come into our lives. One of my good friends is due with a boy this week and I finished their gift just in time. She stopped by to pick it up and serve as my model, for the time being. I can't wait to meet this little angel and see his sweet piggies sticking out of the legs of these adorable pants!
The pattern for these Picky Pants can be found at Little Turtle Knits and I highly recommend it. This was my first attempt at making a garment that required various techniques and actual shaping. There are several tutorials in the pattern to help you along, but I still relied heavily on, which remains my favorite knitting resource.
I did the hat on my own as an experiment after reading general information in several places about how to knit baby hats. I only had to start over once, so that was exciting! I will post the pattern after I crank out another one and am sure about the specifics. For both projects I used Bernat Softee Baby yarn in Fresh Green.
We have two other close friends who are having girls very soon. Maybe it's time for some pink organic cotton....

Cutie cute moment

I never know when Addie will jump up and do something so sweet that it just floors me. The other day, she was playing by herself, not aware that I was watching her. She took her shape sorting box and had it on her arm like a purse with a stacking cup and my old cell phone inside. She then proceeded to walk around the living room and say, "Bye-bye" to everything she saw--the cat, the rocking chair, the windows and the ceramic knight made by my late mother-in-law. After all of her good-bye's were said, she went over to her shopping cart and took it for a stroll around the living room. I have never seen her play pretend like that and it was so adorable it made me cry.

My tears were interrupted by a burst of laughter when Addie stopped what she was doing and went into my bedroom to get my purse. She took out my wallet and after inspecting its contents, put it into her purse, then continued shopping. Definitely a "Dear God" moment!

Low carb lunch

Next week, we are heading to the epitome of childhood destinations--Disney World. One of the greatest attractions Disney boasts for adults is a wonderous assortment of delicious cuisine. In an effort to ensure that I can truly enjoy myself while we're there and still fit into my summer clothes, this week I am cutting out the carbs.

Going very low carb presents its good and bad points. One not so fun thing is I can get really tired of nuts, meat, eggs and cheese really fast. But one very good thing is it forces me to get creative with ingredients and put new dishes together that I would never have thought of otherwise.
Yesterday was one such occasion. I layered sliced deli smoked turkey with horseradish hummus, a poached egg, salt, pepper and a touch of crumbled feta cheese. Granted, this is not something I would serve at a dinner party, but it made for a tasty little lunch that at the very least, wasn't boring. I'll take it!

Self Absorbtion vs. Self Care

When I was pregnant, I gained a whopping 50 lbs. I love how all of the pregnancy books tell you the average weight gain is somewhere between 25 and 30 lbs. Yeah, I blew that out of the water. Oh, and speaking of water, that's what I retained and lots of it. My legs and ankles were so swollen that I could barely fit my piggies into a pair of crocs. CROCS. Not only was I wearing plastic/rubber shoes in public, but they were just about the only shoes I could wear. That's right, not even flip flops were large enough for my feet that rivaled inflated rubber gloves.

But my fashion woes did not stop there. In those final weeks of misery--I mean pregnancy, I also found a uniform in velour jump suits. I achieved a balloon-like state in quite a hurry and I only had a few more weeks to go, so I refused to spend any more money on stylish maternity clothes (isn't that an oxymoron?). There I was, nearly every day in my pale pink velour jump suit with my pastel purple crocs. Pregnancy, while bringing out a glow of beauty in some women, had reduced me to a swollen, miserable, fashion victim.

After Addie was born and I shed all of that water weight, I was forced to face my closet and actually put an outfit together. I had a steady decline over nine months of what I found acceptable to put on my body and quite frankly, I did not trust myself. If it wasn't for Tim Gunn's,  A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style, I may have never returned from the land of elastic and polyester.

In all honesty, I don't take my wardrobe that seriously. I love a t-shirt and pair of yoga pants as much as anyone and I don't obsess over what I wear when I leave the house... much. But truthfully, one of my biggest fears in staying home full time with Addie was not "Will I be a good enough mom?" or, "Will I feel fulfilled?" or, "What if I can't manage it all, even when I'm home more?" No, I was far more shallow than that--I worried that I would be trading business casual for sweatpants, leggings and a scrunchie.

I know Addie doesn't care what I look like and I know Curt tells me I look sexy in my sweats, but I also know that I need to feel good about myself. Perhaps it's the years of working in a helping field and all of the emphasis that work puts on maintaining good self-care. Or maybe I've crossed over the line into straight up vanity. Wherever it comes from, I know that I take better care of those around me when I feel like I've got it together and for me, part of that means not feeling like a frumpy mess.

Sometimes Addie and I have pajama days and those are so much fun. There are also days when I need to iron my pants, put a little outfit together and get out of the house. After all, isn't the phrase to live by, "Everything in moderation?" ...or perhaps it's, "Make it work."

Handmade Hat

I, like everyone, love a handmade gift--but what I love more are handmade gifts for my girl. My best friend, who now resides in Chicago, sent Addie a little package last week and one of the items she made her was this adorable hat! Addie loved it immediately and wore it for the entire afternoon (we made her take it off to eat dinner). I mean, precious!
Many many thanks you's, Carmen!!!!! Ya-Ya!!!!!

Almost 30

Today I turn 29 for the very first time! I celebrated last night with my family and after a delicious meal, decadent chocolate ice cream cake, opening gifts, many glasses of wine, a few rounds of Texas Hold 'Em, and fighting it out with the biggest mess of yarn vomit ever until 1:30 AM, I am sleeeeeepy.

As I bring week 4 of stay-at-home-momhood to a close, and as I enter into my 30th year, I am feeling a hazy nostalgia for the dreams I held for myself in my young adulthood. Ten years ago I would have never guessed that I would quit my dream job to stay at home and raise my beautiful daughter. By 29, I thought I would be married and have a successful career, but I always thought that I would work, even when I had small children. I admit, seeing my sister come through the door last night all decked out in her business attire did spark a small ache in me. But I'll take that occasional small ache over the deafening rip I felt in my gut when I had to leave my girl all day, even to be at a job that I loved.

While it would be nice to think that I had it all figured out by the time I was 20, I have to admit--I am so grateful that God and Addie had other plans for me! I don't know what the future holds and I've never been happier. Standing here, in this unknown territory of 29, unemployed and taking each day as it comes, I can't help but feel an incredible peace. 30, with a laugh and a skip (and another cup of coffee), here I come!

Better Travels

Addie and I ventured to Indianapolis by ourselves this morning to spend some time with my family for a few days. Not having to wait until the weekend to travel is one very big perk of staying home, even if we must do it without Daddy. We managed to avoid any booger or poo incidents, so I am counting our blessings!

An alterior motive of this trip was for me to have an appointment with my favorite stylist to get (gulp) a perm. As soon as I figure out how to download pictures on my parents' computer, I will share. Until then, happy hump day!

New Mom Tip #2

We had a fabulous weekend. We traveled to Barren River Lake to be with my husband's family and we had a blast out on the boat, in the water, and then taking shelter from the rain with good food, great drinks and lots of laughs. The kids played together and occasionally, melted down together. The adults choreographed keeping an eye on the kiddos almost flawlessly, while taking shifts to eat and still finding pockets of time in which to relax. All in all, quite a success.

Then there was the drive home. We got on the road a bit late, but it was fine. Curt and I had our typical first few minutes in the car conversation... When should we get gas? Now? About half way home? Curt decided it would be best to wait a while because Addie was ready to sleep now, and in an hour or so she would likely be awake and in need of a diaper change. I agreed. Little did we know how right he would be.

With about 60 miles left to go, Addie woke up and was oddly quiet in her car seat. A strange stench started to spread through the vehicle. Curt said, "Something is not right in this car." I twist around to see her sticking her first finger out towards me. "Eewww, it looks like she has a booger on her finger!" I exclaimed. (Everyone has the one thing that grosses them out, and it's boogers for me.) Addie giggled as I grabed a wipe and turned around completely this time, only to find out that it was NOT a booger. In an effort to keep you from gagging at your computer screen, I will only say that there was a large pile of poo that had exploded from between my little angel's legs and yes, she had explored it with her fingertips. I did the best I could to wipe off her hands and then place a pile of wipes over the (ahem) area. I held it there while I waited for Curt to drive the three miles to the next exit as quickly as possible, where we could then attempt to clean up this horrid disaster.

So here it is, New Mom Tip #2: Always keep a roll of paper towels and a can of Lysol in the trunk of your car. (I will assume that you already have hand sanitizer in your glove box, purse, and just about every other bag or compartment you own.) Curt ran into the gas station to buy this simple set of supplies so we could remove the source of the dreaded scent and attempt to make the area clean enough for the rest of the ride home.

I took the baby, he took the seat. I held Addie from under her arms while he pulled her shorts down in the parking lot. I wiped her down with about 100 wipes and changed her right in the front seat of the car. Of course, as I have my little love's bottom straight up in the air, a van full of kids pulls in next to us and as they are getting out, she turns her head to see everyone and says a loud, "Hi!" Awesome.

Finally the mess was resolved and Addie made the rest of the trip home in just a t-shirt and diaper. We took the car seat apart last night so I could wipe it down in bleach and wash the cover. All is clean--all is well. But I swear I still smell poo.


I have always been an over-packer. I never know what I'll be in the mood to wear, plus I need to make sure I have the right outfit for any occasion that might pop up. Sure we'll be at our cabin in the woods in the middle of nowhere, but what if we decide to go out for a nice meal? It has only happened once in the 28 years I've been going up there, but what if number 2 is this time? I also have to bring a wide selection of shoes, scarves, and what if it gets cold one night? A sweatshirt... or two.

This has never really been much of a problem. At least, not when it was just me or even when it was just me and Curt. But now that baby has made three, it tends to be a bit of an issue. The thing about traveling with a baby is that it doesn't matter if you are going out of town for one night or ten, you have to bring the same pile of crap with you either way... Booster seat, play yard, sippy cups, food (at least when I was nursing, this feature was built right in), stroller, sleeping accessories (music, fan, etc.), entertainment... And that's not even counting the clothing, bath stuff, beach stuff... Sheesh!

Now my husband (love his heart) HATES to pack. He avoids it at all costs and practically begs me to do it for him. I used to be really annoyed at this, but then I learned that it is the perfect opportunity for him to wear all of those clothes I have bought him that, for some reason, he never manages to wear. "This looks like a bowling shirt." or, "I feel like Mr. Rogers in this sweater." Doesn't matter, honey-- you wear it or you go naked! Aahhh, the power of packing!

My brief power trip usually doesn't last long, however, as I am then faced with the giant pile of items we have to have to survive more than a few hours away from home and actually fit/cram it all into the car. I suppose that is my one solace--if anyone ever did try and break into our house while we are away, there's not much left behind for them to find. Truly, all of our treasures are with us! Camera, computer, CHI hair straightener... All in their own suitcase compartment, safely stashed for whenever we may require them.

Somehow, in all of this mayhem, I have yet to reduce the amount of items I need to take on a road trip. Yes, if anything, I feel like I only have to be more prepared for all of the "what ifs" that may arise. Poop, snot, food bits and whatever else always seem to end up on me so replacement items are highly necessary. Whenever we take to the skies for a family vacay, I'm sure I'll be in a world of hurt. Until then, I am choosing to hold onto my old habits, at least for this weekend. Now, off I go to complete the world's largest game of Tetris with a Toyota Camry. Wish me luck!

Sneaky Pictures

My good friend, Jenn came by today with her daughter, Sadie and we enjoyed a lovely afternoon with our girls (hence my late post). It was so much fun to see Addie interacting with a younger baby and it even made me think that she might be getting ready for a sibling... maybe. One of Jenn's great talents is photography, so she grabbed our camera to take what I thought was a few shots of Addie. Of course, she managed to get me in a couple without my knowledge. I wish I could be mad. Thanks, Jenn!

Silly Mommy

Ever since I discovered Barnes & Noble in high school, I have always loved being in bookstores... Big, small, independent... While I do try and support locally owned businesses whenever I can, really, it doesn't matter to me as long as I can sit on the floor in the middle of an aisle with my cup of coffee and browse. While I rarely find the time to sit down and read these days, just being surrounded by books gives me great comfort.

It was very important for me to instill this love in Addie right from the start. Curt read to her while she was in utero and her Aunt Kate and Uncle Seth gave her a collection of 100+ titles before she was even born. One of her favorite things is being read to and she will often thrust a book into my hands, clench her fists and say "beeee, peeezzzee" (translation: "read please"). I love it!

I had accumulated a few gift cards to Barnes & Noble over the last several months and decided it would be the perfect outing for Addie and me yesterday afternoon. I would get a cup of coffee, we would share a scone and then spend an hour or two just hanging out in the store checking out all there is to offer. Ahhh, imagination. Seriously? Was Addie born 17 months ago, or was I? What was I thinking?

We made it into the store. We sort of shared a blueberry scone. She ran through the children's section picking up random titles that were not appropriate for her age level. I put them back. She cried because I would not let her have the books that we already own at home. I juggled my toddler, a stroller, a book I picked out for her, one she picked herself, my coffee and her juice haphazardly through the aisles. I avoided awkward glances from people while Addie growled from her stroller and I quickly tried to find what I was looking for. I spilled cold coffee on her head while I poorly navigated the curb cut to the parking lot. I strapped her into her car seat, shut the door, leaned on the side of the car and sighed. We made it out of the store.

This experience proved to me once again how naive I am about being a Mom and that I am constantly flying by the seat of my pants. It also taught me that these fantasies I come up with are so important. If I sat around and dreamt of the reality in taking Addie to a bookstore, we would never have left the house and I would have just made my purchases online. Convenient? Yes. Comforting? No. So sure, this visit may have been a borderline disaster, but I will choose to hold onto the hope that next time it won't be so bad... Right?

If only bacon loved me back

My plan worked! Panera's Tomato Basil Bread came through for us last night and helped craft a marvelous sandwich...
While it was divine, I will say that two of these in one day did not fare so well on the tummy. But it was worth it--how often can I say I enjoyed two fried green tomato BLTs in less than 8 hours? Not often enough, my friends!
We were then entertained by an evening of Addie traipsing around the house, sporting shirt number two with her pigtails pulled out. What a great cure for an upset stomach.