April 29, 2011

it's my birthday!

In honor of the fact that I am a quarter of a century old, I figured I would share a list of things I wouldn't mind getting as gifts :o).

::  Monogram iPhone Case
I would love this with the pattern in gray and the monogram in turquoise.

::  Lightscoop
Really, I would love an external flash.  BUT, those things cost a pretty penny, and I think I might be able to improve some of my indoor photos with one of these guys.

::  Kelly Moore Bag in Gray
Ugh, I can't get a picture to come up!  I think this bag would be great for traveling.  I can fit in some items for Ry, plus it would safely carry my laptop, camera and extra lens.  Perfect.

:: Alphabet Letter Rings
Again, I can't get a picture to show up.  But check them out, they are such cute sweet little rings.  They would make a pretty good mother's day gift as well :o).

::  Spring Jacket from Anthropologie
I think this one is really really cute.  I would also like a bright colored spring coat.  I've seen a few floating around on pinterest that are pretty adorable, but they are even more expensive than this lady.

::  Shower Curtain from Anthropologie
I haven't bought it yet and it is still on my list of things I want badly!

::  Jillian Michaels Workout DVDs
I think the reason I'm loving the C25K program, is because it is a set plan that tells me exactly what to do every day.  One of my goals has been to include strength into my workouts, but it hasn't happened because I never plan anything.  Maybe a DVD would do the trick.

There are definitely a few other things I wouldn't mind having, but thanks to the interwebs I have a never ending wishlist.  Happy Friday!

April 28, 2011

embrace the camera

Have I mentioned that Christopher is officially done with medical school?  Because he is.  It is amazing.  He has two months off before we enter the h e double hockey sticks that is residency.  But that is besides the point.  Ry Ry is getting to spend lots of time with her daddy.  And she loves it (even though it may not show in this picture :o).


We have also been singing a lot of 'if you're happy and you know it'.  Her favorite part is 'stomp your feet'.  She says boom boom and stomps one foot.  Too cute.  My favorite part is when she says 'hooray'!  Ok it doesn't sound like hooray, but she throws her little arm in the air and makes a cute little noise.


  I love that little girl so much.

April 27, 2011

a day in the life - amber

BAH.  I scheduled this to run at 7 this morning, and of course blogger didn't do it.  Go figure.  Oh well, here you go!

Good morning all.  Sorry I left you without your weekly installment of 'a day in the life' last week.  No worries, it's back.  Today you get to meet Amber, I hope you enjoy peeking in to her day!


Hi! My name is Amber, and I live in Australia with my Texan husband, Johnny and our 11-month-old daughter, Eva. You can find us over at Happiness is Eva where I blog about my journey through parenthood and document Eva's life.

I'm currently still on maternity leave and am lucky enough to spend my days watching my beautiful, cheeky and wilful little girl change and grow. Here is a little peek into our lives.

6:03am: Eva wakes and after a night of numerous wakings (we are still working on trying to get Eva to sleep through the night) and having just been up to nurse her at around 5am, Johnny gets up with Eva and lets me sleep in for another 30 minutes. During this time Johnny changes her and lets her roam around her bedroom exploring her various books and toys.
6:30am: Johnny puts Eva in bed next to me as he gets ready for work. After she pulls at my hair, I'm up. Eva's initial grogginess turns to excitement as she cruises around our bed, pulls at our dangling clothes in the closet and attempts to crawl into the shower with her daddy.

6:47am: I rescue Eva from the shower and take her downstairs for breakfast -- fresh fig and banana and a quarter of a wholewheat muffin.
7:05am: Johnny leaves for work and after waving goodbye to her daddy, we finish having breakfast.
7:20am: I clean the kitchen as Eva plays with some of her toys and chases a ball around the living room. While we are downstairs I check her baby bag to see if we need any extra supplies, put in a fresh sippy cup and a pack of Mum Mums in preparation to leave the house.
7:45am: I take Eva back upstairs where I attempt to have a shower while trying to distract her by placing bath toys on the floor, only to give in and let her sit and splash around in the bottom of the shower.
8:25am: Both Eva and I are dressed and are ready to leave the house.
8:55am: We arrived just in time for Eva's Baby Sensory class to begin. These classes are specifically designed to simulate their senses using a range or activities -- baby sign language, nursery rhymes, music, puppetry etc.

Eva loves these classes. She loves socialising with the other babies and is beginning to really assert her independence as she sits in the middle of the room and watch the instructor unlike most of the other babies who happily sitting with their parents.

10:23am: We arrive home and after a quick nappy (diaper) change, I nurse Eva and then she is down for her nap. During this time I take a break -- check emails, Facebook, the news and my Feedly where I catch up on all of the various blogs I follow.

12:19pm: Eva is awake. And after another nappy change, I fold Eva's washing (which had been sitting in her basket since the day before) and put it away. Eva insists on "helping" me by unfolding piles of folded laundry. After refolding the same pieces of clothing, I put a youtube video of Justine Clarke on the iPad, which gives me enough time to finish putting everything away.

1:00pm: Our Autumn weather is very changeable at the moment, which has meant that our cool morning has turned into a sunny afternoon and an outfit change is in order.
1:05pm: We go downstairs and have lunch -- mashed avocado on toast with some left-over homemade pumpkin and ginger soup.
1:50pm: I leave the dishes in the sink, take Eva back upstairs and wash her face after a rather messy meal. Afterward, we read books together (one of Eva's favourite things), listen to music and dance up a storm in her bedroom (sorry, no photographic evidence of this).
As a side not: It is funny how all of the foolish things you could never see yourself doing, you do once you have a child simply because it makes them smile and laugh.
2:55pm: Eva seems tired and a little grizzly, which usually indicates that she is hungry and/or wants another nap. I nurse Eva, however; after 10 minutes or so, she seems uninterested and is crawling around the bed and pulling herself up on our headboard. After letting her explore for a while, I offer to nurse her again, which she does only momentarily.
At the moment Eva seems to be both weaning herself from her afternoon feed and nap! Some days she takes two naps and others, like today, she fights sleep.
3:40pm: After struggling to put Eva down for a nap, I finally give up. I take Eva back downstairs and tidy up the kitchen as Eva crawls around the living room, pulls herself up on the furniture and bops to music.
4:00pm: Johnny is home from work and is greeted by an overly excited Eva. Once he changes out of his work clothes, and I change Eva's nappy (diaper), we head out to our local park for an afternoon picnic of coffees, cake and sushi for Eva.
I love this time of day -- when we spend time together as a family. Johnny and I watch on as Eva rips up grass with her tiny fingers, crawls towards birds excitedly, and kicks her legs and squeals as she watches them fly away.
While out, we fed Eva her dinner -- half a cooked tuna and avocado sushi roll.

5:37pm: We arrive home and after skipping her afternoon nap, Eva begins rubbing her eyes and lets out a yawn.
As Johnny prepares her bath, I organise Eva's pajamas, nappy (diaper) and towels in preparation for bedtime.
5:45pm: Johnny bathes with Eva, she uses this time to show off her clapping ability.

6:00pm: I get Eva out of the bath, dress her and then Johnny reads to Eva her bedtime stories -- her current favourite being How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? After a number of books, Eva crawls towards me and lays her head down on my chest, signalling that she is ready to sleep.

6:15pm: I nurse Eva on our bed and after a while she is relaxed enough and rolls away from me and then falls asleep on her own (this is a huge improvement as I have had to fight Eva's fed-to-sleep association).
6:39pm: Eva is asleep and I move her to her cot (crib), she doesn't wake and settles perfectly to sleep (another huge improvement).
Once Eva is asleep, I use the time to check my emails, Facebook and the news.
7:10pm: I begin making dinner -- baked gnocchi.
Johnny and I sit down for what seems the first time of the day. We eat dinner together and watch a couple of episodes of Justified. While lounging on the sofa, I work on a blog post.
10:37pm: While getting ready to go to bed, I see Eva stirring on the baby monitor and quickly pat her back to sleep before she fully wakes.
10:45pm: I get into bed and fall asleep within minutes of my head hitting the pillow.
12:23pm: Eva wakes up. I find her crying and standing up in her cot, pick her up and lay down with her on a mattress we have temporally  moved into her room and she falls back asleep. After laying next to her for a few minutes, I then put her back in her cot.
3:04pm: Eva wakes up again and this time she won't fall back asleep easily. After battling with her for over an hour, I finally manage to get her asleep without nursing (success!), however; I fall asleep next to her (fail!).
5:47am: Eva wakes and I nurse her. Eva is wide awake and our day begins again!

Thanks Ashley for letting me be a part of your 'a day in the life' series. And now for the questions:

1. What's the most surprising thing about being a mom?
 I think I was most surprised about how selfless you become once you have your child in your arms. You will forgo showers, straightening your hair, new clothes, meals and of course sleep.
2. What are some tips you would give to new moms, or soon-to-be moms?
  • Do what works for you. I breastfeed, co-sleep, make homemade baby food, use cloth nappies (diapers), but this may not be for everyone. Trust your own instincts and do what you think it best for your own family. 
  • Take lots of pictures. It is true what everyone say, babies change so quickly. I document Eva's growth by taking weekly pictures and writing a reflection of her week. Sometimes it can be time consuming, but I'm so glad I did it.
3. What are your top three baby products?
For the first 6 months we couldn't live without:

Thank you for sharing your day with us Amber!

    April 26, 2011

    this and that

    ::  First off, congrats to the winner of the design files from Ryann's party.  Comment #15, Kim!

    ::  Easter was pretty uneventful.  We didn't go to Church because Ryann was napping, but we did make it to brunch.  Which of course was delicious.  Some of my favorite pictures from Easter...


    possibly suitable for awkward family photos?  seriously, with the cat Chris?  oy.

    ::  I weighed in this morning.  Exactly 15 pounds lost.  Bam.  And I ran 28 minutes straight today.  I am trying to embrace that and be proud of it.  I have a hard time being proud of myself.  I'm working on it.

    ::  I wish the interior of my house better reflected the look on my decorating board in pinterest.  Seriously.  There is nothing wrong with the way my home is decorated.  But more and more I feel like it has no real personality.  I love the pictures of rooms that really seem to have some personality and flair.  I'm working on that too.

    Screen shot 2011-04-26 at 9.57.11 AM

    ::  Ryann's sleeping habits SUCK.  Seriously.  She was having a hard time falling asleep for her second nap of the day, so we tried one nap.  Except she couldn't really make it until 11:30am for a nap.  AND she sleeps for like 90 minutes.  AND she has an inability to sleep longer than 10 hours at night for some unknown reason.  So I have no idea what to do for her schedule.  Oh, and she has another tooth coming in.  Maybe that is the problem?  Teeth suck.  So does a 4:45am wake up call.  Not cool.

    Over and out. 

    April 25, 2011

    oh the roller coaster

    First off, we were at my parents house this weekend.  So I didn't have a scale (well I didn't have my scale, and I am fearful of someone else's scale because what if it is way different than mine, I might have a panic attack).  Therefore I didn't weigh myself.  I'm a little nervous that I am not going to like what it says.  When I weighed myself Saturday morning I was at 14.8 pounds lost.  But I baked cookies on Friday (which I ate a few of over the weekend), Sunday we went to Easter brunch (I did make some good choices, you know skipping the scalloped potatoes, rice, and a second roll, but I did eat a cream based soup and a helping of dessert), and Sunday night I made muffins to take to my bestie today (Happy Birthday Meaghan!!!!), which of course I had to eat one. 

    ALL of that to say, I'm worried I will have gained weight this week.  I can be pretty disciplined during the week when we have no plans, but on the weekend I'm not always as good at saying no.    I always feel like I am on a roller coaster.  Sometimes I am really proud of my choices and what I'm doing, and other times I am kicking myself because I couldn't have more willpower and self control.

    Oy.  Stay positive.  Stay positive.  Stay positive.

    Easter morning my dad went running with me.  It was AMAZING to have a running partner.  I know I would be so much more motivated if I had someone to run with regularly.  Not to mention my dad told me I couldn't quit seeing as I was running with a senior citizen and would look like a whimp if he outran me :o).  Love you dad, and I really did love getting to spend time with you!

    My 5k is in less than two weeks.  I so badly want to do well.  I've completed through week 8 day 2 on the C25K program.  Only 4 more runs to complete it (and probably just 5 before the 5k).  Woot!  Other C25K happiness?  My mom started the program today.  Hopefully you all can help me keep her motivated to keep trying it.  I am proud of you mom!

    Was that all over the place?  I think it was.  Let's keep going with that theme.  Randomness...

    Another shout out to my bestie, Happy Birthday Meg!  You seriously are the best.  (Don't forget to check out her lovely blog :o)

    how cute are we?  :o) circa 1991 maybe
    hahaha the start of our friendship

    Also, if you missed it last week, I am participating in a March for Babies event this Friday (MY birthday!).  If you would like to donate to the March of Dimes and help support my team I would be ever so grateful.  Please go HERE to do so.  My team is only $15 away from meeting my goal.

    To those of you who already donated, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.  It means so much to me to have your support, and there are little babies out there thanking you too.

    To top off my randomness, don't forget there is a little giveaway at the bottom of this post.  I am extending the deadline to 11pm CST tonight, so you have less than three hours to enter!

    Whew.  Ok chocolate frozen yogurt topped with raspberries (ugh, and a little bit of work) are calling my name.

    April 24, 2011

    the ryann dictionary

    Ryann has been repeating and/or saying so many words lately, that me and the hubs decided it was about time to document them.  So here are the words she says (with a definition if necessary):

    mowr = more
    awh-dun = all done
    hewp = help
    byeeeee (with a ridiculously high pitched voice)
    buh = book
    ba = ball
    unidentifiable noise that starts with a b sound = balloon, or bird, or possibly bench
    buhb = boob
    bah-pul = bottle
    pup pup = dog or puppy
    mow = kitty cat
    ah ah = monkey
    eg or hawk = jayhawk
    unch = lunch
    up-dairs = upstairs
    elw-bow = elbow
    elw-mow = elmo
    mammy = grammy
    papa = grandpa
    utter = shutter
    fow-er = flower
    hun-ry = hungry
    cra-ker = cracker
    ack = snack
    chez = cheesecake (oops)
    cawr = car
    heh-vee = heavy
    bak-berry = blackberry
    ah-mal = animal
    care-ee = scary
    ain-ge = angry
    on-ry = ornery
    irk-le = circle
    gar = guitar
    ance = dance
    wuhv = love

    She signs more, all done, and help when she says them.

    She also says two different names (apparently you guys win):
    En-zee = Kenzie

    By far the best thing Ryann has said all week... we were at Easter brunch today.  We forgot to take Ryann's bib with us so I told Chris not to give her the blackberries that he had grabbed off the line for her.  We gave her some blueberries and everyone went along their merry way.  Ten minutes later she realized there were blackberries on the plate and she said, "bak-berry! bak-berry! yeahhhh!"  I about died laughing.

    Don't worry, we let her have the blackberries, she earned them.

    I know this list will continue to grow and grow, to the point that I can't even count all of the words and names she says.  And the words will change and they will become much more understandable.  But right now I am so impressed with her language and absolutely love it.

    Happy Easter :o)

    April 22, 2011

    ryann's first birthday party

    Sit back and relax.  This is going to be a long one!  Sorry about that :o).  I thought about breaking a lot of this up in to different posts, but... well I didn't.  So here you go!  (All photos by Anne Pendleton Photography)

    First up, the invites.  I meant to take a picture of them with the envelopes, but I haven't yet.  And I wanted to publish this post today.  So... you get what you get and you don't throw a fit, ok?  :o)  Have I mentioned my love for chevron?  I finally was able to fit it into an invitation design.  The little owl I designed myself.


    Oh the dessert table.  I think it came out pretty fun.

    Our desserts consisted of pink velvet cupcakes with brown sugar cream cheese frosting, lemon cupcakes (er, from a box I believe), chocolate crackle cookies, cheesecake pops and owl sugar cookies (made by a local bakery).  My friend Jenny made the adorable little cake.

    My mom had the yellow polka dot table cloths made, I felt like they really added a ton color to the room.  Oh my goodness, can we talk about the adorable owl cake topper?  I ordered it from an etsy shop, KidsCakes, and was so excited when it arrived in the mail.  I was a little worried about putting it on the cake because it was made of fondant and very heavy, but the cake was pretty dense and held up.  The cupcake liner pom balls were the ones my mom made for my baby shower (the entire reason for the pink and yellow color scheme, I wanted to reuse those guys!).  For the backdrop I quickly 'framed' some photos of Ryann, and hung them up with command strips.  The middle frame holds the onesie she came home from the hospital in.  I can't believe that thing was so huge on her.  I found my four cake stands on amazon.

    I can't forget to mention who made all the delicious food for this party... my amazing mother.  I seriously couldn't do half this stuff without her.  Usually I come up with all of the ideas, and she does the cooking and helps make everything else happen.  The party was at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, so I felt like we needed heavier appetizers since it might run in to some people's dinner time.  We had fresh fruit, spring vegetable pasta salad, chicken fajita dip, cocktail shrimp and Mongolian beef sticks (recipes for the beef and the pasta salad coming soon!).  As far as I could tell everything went over pretty well.  I highly recommend the pasta salad and the chicken fajita dip.  I've had the fajita dip a few times and it never fails to satisfy.  We also put together some raspberry lemonade punch, but I never had any.  Chris seemed to like it though.  Oh, and the water bottles were adorned with some cute little labels I made.

    Some of the decor... We got some bright flowers and balloons to dress up the front porch.  It was so cold that weekend (hello, it snowed!) that we had to bring the flowers in and out of the garage to keep them from freezing.  I talked about how I made that pink wreath here, and yarn wrapped R here.  Um, should we talk about the birthday banner?  I made it with my silhouette machine, but do you notice anything?  Yeah, at some point I flipped the a and the d in birthday.  As far as I know, no one noticed.  I didn't even catch it until the morning after the birthday party.  [smacks forehead with palm]  Whatever.  I used an owl pitcher as a flower vase, the little pink R I happened to walk by at Hobby Lobby.  In the family room I used some cute ribbon I found at Michaels to string Ryann's monthly photos on the mantel.  The only other decor in the family room was balloons.

    Ryann's shirt came from The Chidren's Place (on sale!), and the skirt I ordered online, but can't for the life of me find the website right now (The particular brand of pettiskirt seems to be a bit shorter than others, which is good for itty bitty girlies with short legs, if I ever figure it out I'll be sure to let you know!).  The oh so adorable diaper cover was made by the etsy shop Stitcheroos.  She used the owl graphic I created for the invites for the design, and she was amazing to work with.  It is a good thing we got that cute little cover (I almost decided against it) since she threw up all over herself less than halfway through the party.

    For all of the adult guests I made snack mix bags for them to take home.  I swear it was like the ultimate snack mix (ok not quite, but it was pretty dang good).  We got peanut butter filled pretzels, chex mix, chocolate covered raisins, animal crackers and pink & yellow m&m's.  There were several bags left over, and it has taken lots and lots and LOTS of willpower for me not to sit and scarf down a ton.  Oh and the silver tub they are in?  We had it at our wedding (honestly, can't remember what for).  At the last minute I couldn't find a tub big enough to put them in, and then remembered I had a few of those in the basement.  My mom quickly ripped off the coral ribbon and stuck on some pink pom trim.  Bam.  Cute favor tub.  For the few kiddos at the party, we grabbed some polka dot buckets from the Easter section at Target, as well as some bubbles, crayons and a couple other goodies.

    I think that about covers all the details.  Let me know if you have any questions about all of the party stuff.  I hate to admit I've already started pinning things as inspiration for the next birthday party.  :o)

    Oh wait, do any of you like the party printables?  I hope so.  Because if you've made it this far on the post you have the chance to win them.  One commenter on this post will win a set of Ry's party printables (invites, food label cards, thank you tags, name tags and water bottle labels), customized to your party color scheme.  You won't win the actual product, but I'll send you the files.  You have until 10pm CST on Monday to comment!

    Happy Friday everyone!