Memorial Weekend 2013

We typically stick around home for Memorial weekend and kickoff the summer by going to our pool.  But this year, we headed to Iowa to celebrate a special first birthday for our nephew, Kellen.  An Iowa trip was long overdue anyway, as we hadn't been since Thanksgiving!!

Besides the weather (50s and rainy the entire weekend - not exactly what I expected for Memorial weekend), we had a great time!  Highlights include:
  • La Hacienda for Mexican on Friday night...and my mom having a margarita one size too large.
  • Kellen's first birthday party on Saturday and seeing my grandparents, among other family members.
  • Playing cards with my parents - and lots of them.  (Specifically, me winning...and Craig losing.  We're pretty competitive around here.)
  • Fish fry with my parents' neighbors on Sunday night.
  • Brantley trying new foods: refried beans, crumbled hamburger, raisins, a banana muffin, yogurt, one of Kellen's birthday cupcakes, and a doughnut.

I didn't take many pictures because 1) I left my memory card in our computer at home; and 2) my camera battery was nearly dead and I forgot my charger.  #mommyfail  Someday, I'll actually go out of town and remember everything.  (Since having Brantley, I've forgotten something every time - contacts, make-up, underwear, and now camera equipment.)

But I did borrow a memory card and took some pics at Kellen's Bubble Guppie-themed party.  I wasn't sure what a Bubble Guppie was before this weekend, but apparently Kellen loves them!  My sister did a great job with fish-related decor!

Not so sure about the cake...or getting his hands dirty.

So much better with a spoon!

The only other picture I got during our weekend in Iowa was a 4-generation photo with my mom's side.  Silly Kinnick even got in.

We got back to KC around 2pm on Monday and were happy to return to summer temps!  A little while later, we headed to our neighborhood pool for our first family pool outing of the year.  Since it was opening weekend, the water was freezing and I wasn't sure how Brantley would react, but to our surprise, he loved it - cold and all!  (We didn't get in the big pool; only the baby pool.)

Like I said, Brantley loved it. And it must have worn him out because he fell fast asleep on Daddy's chest, then slept like this the entire walk home.

 I hope everyone had a happy Memorial weekend and a good kickoff to summer 2013!

Summer - It's Officially Here!

Today was my first official day of summer!  Sure, I had a three-day weekend like the rest of the working world, but it felt just like a normal holiday weekend.  Until last night, that is, when I realized I didn't have to get up and go to work today.  Is there a better feeling?  I think not.

Gone are the days of taking showers every morning and putting on makeup.  (Thank goodness!)  And here are the days of tank-top wearing, swimming, and spending 24/7 with my little man! 

Kind of like maternity leave.  Only now I have a baby that smiles more, sleeps less, and interacts with his mama!  And now we can spend our afternoons at the park.  Or pool.  Or both.  So.much.better.

Summer will be different now.  With a baby.  No more napping at the pool, that's for sure!  But also no more teaching summer school.  From now until my kids are older.  That was always my plan.  And I am a-okay with that!  (I didn't teach last year either, but because I was eight months pregnant and gearing up for baby.)

Running errands on summer day #1
Today was a super productive first day.  We woke up bright and early (Brantley's choice, not mine) and went for a walk!  Why not go for a walk at 6:30am?!  There's something very peaceful about that.  Kinnick was weirded out and likes to sleep in, but I didn't have to twist his arm leg to convince him to come with.  I think we'll make early morning walks an everyday thing.

We also ran errands, played, planned meals for the week, grocery shopped, cleaned house, did some laundry, played some more, napped (Brantley, not me surprisingly), made some breakfast sandwiches to freeze, made egg salad for lunch this week, and played even more.  And when I say 'played', I really mean I chased Brantley around the house.  Whew--that kid never stops!  I'm exhausted. 

The breakfast sandwiches
His new thing - playing with the Ziploc baggies.

I also finalized B's birthday invite.  The hubs in under strict orders to print these bad boys at his office tomorrow.  #theperksofaxeroxemployee


I used a combination of and Microsoft Word to design the invites (with some Etsy inspiration).  I took the pictures last week at Heatherstone Park.  And now that summer's here, I'm in full planning mode!  I've already purchased some super cute, baseball-themed things from Target's dollar bins!

So that is how we spent our first official day of summer!  What a fun first day it was!  Brantley must agree because he's currently crying his eyes out in protest of going to bed (something he never does).  Lucky for you, B-Man, there's still 9 1/2 weeks of fun to go!

Baby Food Tips & Tricks

I've been making baby food now for five months and still going strong!  It's super easy to do and I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it.  There's just something fun about feeding Brantley veggies that I bought, peeled, chopped, and pureed.  If you're on the fence about whether or not to invest in the supplies to begin making your own,  I've compiled a list of some tips and tricks that makes baby food makin' just a bit easier for me.

Stock up on storage containers.  I use these--$10 for a package of eight, 2-ounce cubes with lids, stacking trays, and stickers to label (less if you use a Buy Buy Baby coupon!).  They are microwavable and dishwasher-safe, which are both nice conveniences.  I have 32 cubes, which last us anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks.  If you'd rather not spend the money on special storage cubes, use ice cube trays.  Once frozen, pop the food cubes out and store in Ziploc baggies!  Whichever way you go, be sure you have plenty.  This will ensure you only have to make food every few weeks minimum.

You don't need a fancy, crazy-expensive food processor.  Mine is a $40 Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus 3-Cup Processor.  It's not specifically made for making baby food, but it was purchased from Buy Buy Baby.  It's dishwasher-safe and easy to use.  It does the job and does it well!

I like to mix fruits and veggies so I know Brantley is eating a balanced diet and a variety of foods.  I steal ideas from the store-bought stuff.  Here's my running list of veggie/fruit combinations:

Avocado + Pears
Broccoli + Pears
Broccoli + Apple{sauce}
Butternut Squash + Pears
Butternut Squash + Bananas
Butternut Squash + Apple{sauce}
Carrots + Apple{sauce}
Peas + Pears
Spinach + Apple{sauce}
Spinach + Pears
Spinach + {frozen} Mixed Berries + Apple{sauce)
Sweet Potato + Apple{sauce}
Sweet Potato + Mango
Zucchini + Banana
Zucchini + {frozen} Mixed Berries

I also mix fruits with fruits to spice things up a bit.  Here are some other combos I've done:

Apple{sauce} + Pears
Apple{sauce} + Banana
Pears + Mango
Peaches + Banana
Apple{sauce} + Pears + Peaches + Bananas 

You can use natural applesauce in lieu of steamed/pureed apples.  Natural applesauce is literally apples and water with no sugar added.  I've cheated a few times and added this to carrots and sweet potato.

Buy the veggies that are steam-in-the-bag.  Making your own baby food doesn't have to mean buying all fresh produce.  I've used frozen butternut squash, peas, green beans, broccoli, and peaches.  Most of the above veggies come in Green Giant or Bird's Eye steam-in-the-bag options, which makes for easy steaming!  And if you watch for sales, the steam-in-the-bag veggies aren't that much more expensive than regular frozen veggies.


Those avocado-pear popcicles on Pinterest are a good option for letting your baby feed himself!

Happy pureeing!

The New Neighborhood Attraction

A few weeks ago, one of Craig's co-workers asked him if he wanted a used swingset.  There was nothing wrong with it, but at the time, it was in this co-worker's "burn pile".  Ummm.....are you kidding??  Yes, we'll take it!  It's free!  So last week, Craig and the co-worker hauled it to our house.  It was in multiple pieces and sat under our deck for a few days.  Then, on Sunday, with a case of beer and our backyard neighbor, the pieces were slowly nailed (correction: screwed) together to become a functioning swingset.  And when I say slowly, I mean over the course of 6ish hours.  They did take a break at one point because the neighbor had to attend his daughter's soccer game, so it wasn't six non-stop grueling hours of work, but apparently, it was still a you-know-what to put together.

And now it's the newest neighborhood attraction.  Despite having swingsets of their own, the kids behind and to the side of us think our new {to us} swingset is the greatest thing since Justin Beiber.  Or whatever it is that kids like these days! :)

I can't wait to spend many summer afternoons on this thing!

Speaking of...
Summer countdown: 1 day to go! :)

Here are some pics shortly after "the build" began...

And then I left for a few hours, so I didn't get to take many "building-in-progress" photos.  So here is the finished product!

Testing it out with the neighbor kids

In other backyard news, we busted out the baby pool this weekend, as well!  I wasn't sure Brantley would like it as much as the bathtub becuase of the less-than-warm water, but to my surprise, he didn't seem bothered!  I, however, was a nervous wreck about him diving beneath the water and drowning.  I can only imagine how I'll feel at the big-kid pool...

1st Birthday Planning

Save the date, friends and family!  B-Man's first birthday is just over six weeks away and we're celebrating with a baseball-themed birthday bash on Saturday, July 6!  Of course, the party's for Brantley, but since he won't remember it, we promise to make it adult-fun, too!  It's a good thing my summer vacation starts in four days because, despite pinning things for close to five months, I have done nothing yet to prepare!  However, here are just some of the ideas floating around in my head...

In other news, I've been noticing the Bloglovin button a lot lately on some of my favorite blogs.  So, I decided to check it out for myself.  You can now follow me on Bloglovin, and if you blog, I encourage you to check it out yourself! :)

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

A Perfect {Mother's Day} Weekend

There's something special about a mama's first Mother's Day.  Mine was special indeed - and nothing short of perfect.  It involved every single thing that I love.  In fact, I couldn't have asked for a better {first} Mother's Day weekend!

It started on Friday.  It was a nice, sunny day, so a couple of friends and I planned a last-minute happy hour at Barley's.  On the patio.  Around a firepit.  The beer was good and girl time was even better!  I'm going to California with these same girls in 3 1/2 weeks and I can't wait!  (Though I'm already nervous about leaving Brantley...)

The rest of the weekend was spent with my two loves.  The perfect little boy who makes being a mommy so much fun and his daddy - the perfect hubby who gave me the perfect son.  My first gift was being able to sleep in both days.  The hubs and I usually split the weekend days and each get up early with Brantley once, but Craig told me earlier this week he would get up both days since it was and I could sleep in.  That was a lot to look forward to right there!

After sleeping in (until 8), we did all kinds of fun things on Saturday - relaxed in the sun on our deck, shopped at Legend's (and stocked up at Banana outlet), grilled burgers with friends, and sat around a firepit Saturday night.  It was a great day!

Woke up to gorgeous, sunny weather!

Relaxing in the sun while Baby napped and Daddy mowed

Shopping at Legends

He loved the fountains! if Saturday wasn't good enough, Sunday was even better.  Day two of sleeping in.  Sort of.  I was too excited for my first Mother's Day and was up by 6:45!  It's funny was a baby does to ya!

The hubs surprised me with doughnuts for breakfast.  (And by surprise, I mean he told me on Saturday night he was going to go get them the following morning.  Ha!)  I love doughnuts.  Like, I would eat them every day if they weren't so fattening.  I can never, and will never, pass up a doughnut!  Yet...we don't get them often.  So that was a fun little Mother's Day "surprise"!

Then, he and Brantley gave me my gifts.  A first Mother's Day picture frame complete with a photo of me and Brantley, a new Royals shirt I had been eying at Dick's, and a cute statement necklace he picked out at Fransesca's.  He knows me too well!

It was another gorgeous, sunny day, so when Brantley went down for his morning nap, I enjoyed my morning coffee on the deck.

Is there anything better than coffee outdoors on a cool, spring morning?

Once Brantley was awake, we headed out for more Mother's Day fun.  First stop: Penn Station East Coast Subs - a new place for us.  We grabbed some sandwiches to-go and headed to Deanna Rose Farmstead.  After picnicking outside the farmstead and soothing an unusually fussy baby (still not sure what his problem was), we headed in for more family fun.  Brantley has been to Deanna Rose multiple times with daycare, but I've been itching to take him all spring.  We saw some cows, fed the goats, rang the cowbells (Brantley's fave), and swung near a pond while Brantley napped on Daddy's shoulder.  Brantley's still a little young to be excited about the farmstead and we were only there for about an hour - but I'd say it was still worth the $4 admission fee!

After leaving Deanna Rose, we ran a few errands and then stopped to get Freddie's Frozen Custard.  Another fave.  I'm tellin ya - best weekend ever.

All while we were away from home, Kinnick was stuck inside.  We felt bad for him, so we made a pit stop at home to get him and headed back out to Stoll Park.  Kinnick was happy to enjoy Mother's Day with his mommy, too!  And seeing that the four of us don't get out together much, it called for a family photo. :)

I also captured a few more cute photos during our visit to the park.

The rest of the day consisted of the usual.  Swinging in the driveway, dinner, bath time for Brantley, and now writing this blog post while in the peaceful, outdoor air.  A perfect ending to a perfect Mother's Day weekend.

And lastly, I'd like to wish my mom and mother-in-law a happy Mother's Day, as well!  You've each provided us amazing examples of what a mother should represent.  Neither Craig nor I would have become the people we are today without wonderful mothers like you!  We love you both!