Friday, October 29, 2010

Isaac is officially weaned. Just like so many of the stories and articles I have read on the topic, it happened not over night, but gradually, almost without my full knowledge. There was the week where Isaac would literally roll over in bed, snuggle his little body against mine and make nary a peep, let alone think of nursing. I'm sure that was the start. I honestly don't know how long it's been now.

It feels like just yesterday and yet a lapse similar to months feels more realistic.

I never thought I'd be the Mom breastfeeding until my child could ask for it or literally try to force my shirt into a position that he could get his reward. But then again, I never once thought I would be any aspect of the mama that I am. It's no surprise to me that I wasn't prepared for the bond through nursing.

I miss it, but am following his lead.

Now That's Love

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

This post is about a towel. My towel. I bought it and one other the week before heading off to college from Linen's and Things, which is no longer open in Minnesota. It's one of those fabulous towel blankets and literally falls past my knees when I wrap it around. I love my towel. It's worn just right, gets me dry in a jiffy and keeps me warm while I'm getting ready for the day.

Tony also loves my towel. Or at least he does when he's forgotten to grab his own. I don't know how it works in your house, but Tony leaves the bathroom with the towel on continually leaving himself in the position of needing a towel in the bathroom. Mine stays put. Additionally, Tony showers at night, while I shower in the morning.

These two situations create problems when Tony uses my towel, because a) it usually doesn't find it's way back to the bathroom, leaving me toweless or b) there hasn't been enough time between Tony using it the previous night to my morning shower for it to dry completely.

I've been known to get just a titch out of line when my towel is unavailable or sopping wet. You can imagine my sweet surprise this morning when I was greeted by this:

He'd mentioned that he'd used my towel and placed it in the wash, but he had the foresight to take it out of the dryer and bring it upstairs for me! I was completely smitten.

Of course I laughed when underneath the sign I found another copy, "Good morning! Towels in the dryer!" Clearly bringing it up was the better choice. :)

No more months.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Isaac, my son. You know the little guy I'm always talking about? He's 1 and a half years old today. Today marks the final month I will address his age in months, after this month I told myself I will either say he's a year and half or, when he makes it there, two. We'll see if I can change my ways.

A la my friend AJ, we'll do a half birthday party for him tonight. Just us of course! Hopefully we get some nice weather soon, although it's doubtful with our forecast, so that I can take some pictures o Mr. Man at 18 months!

Hello world, I've got a new look!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Take a look around! Come out of blogger! To go with my .com, I have a brand new face!

I can't tell you guys what a positive experience it was for me to work with Designer Blogs. From start to finish I was communicated with professionally and timely. This has become huge to me in recent weeks. Lauren was prompt and curteous, even when my questions were stupid or tweeks were minute.

I hope you guys enjoy this as much as I do! Additionally, DB has an amazing referral program, so please, please do let them know that I sent them your way if you take them up on their services!

Successful Wine Night!

Friday night I hightailed it to my friend Kier's Mom's house and got myself busy preparing for our evening! I could not have done it without Gina, Abby or Cherie! They totally took my ideas and ran with them, so that I was able to have this tablescape at the end of all of my hard work.

I was absolutely in love with how everything all pulled together! We didn't quite have enough room, so we also used the real estate on the island as well.

First up, the Pumpkin Shrimp Bruschetta.
It should be noted, we did several variations of these including some pumpkin mixture only, shrimp only and as the recipe called for bruschetta. My only substitution was toasted pine nuts instead of pumpkin seeds.

Herb Cheese Spread, my party staple. I have literally made this a dozen times in the past two years and this is the first time I've ever taken a picture! I usually serve it with apples and crackers.

Beautiful farmer's market flowers, otherwise referred to as penis flowers, arranged by Gina.

With BH&Gardens again as inspiration, we cut off the tops of the pumpkins to provide some height!

I love my Mom smiling in the background of this picture. After all was said and done she text messaged me the next morning, "I was so proud of you last night. Thanks for letting me be a part of it."

Mixed Greens, Slivered Almonds, Dried Cherries, Blue Cheese, Cranberry Walnut Vinagrette and Archer Farm's Spinach and Garlic Chicken Sausage.

Ad lib Chicken Puffs: Crescent Rolls reshaped into a square filled with canned chicken, cream cheese, minced garlic and green onions.

Super yummy, must try Coconut Carrot Pumpkin Soup! I absolutely loved this!

More farmer's market goods!

I felt a little rushed in taking pictures, but thankfully everyone in attendance understood and knows my motto: If there isn't a picture, it didn't happen. :)

I can't tell you how beautiful Gina made the table, absolutely loved it!

Finally, I let everyone dig in!

We wanted to do more of a blind taste test, so we packaged up the bottles and numbered each one. There were 12 all said and done because some people brought more than one!

We had a good mix of reds and whites which ran the gamut from sweet to dry.

Since we tasted the wines after we ate, almost everyone was too full for a complete glass. It was really fun to compare notes after tasting all of the wines to determine running favorites, especially for Crystal, as the evening started by her saying she didn't like wine. Turns out she'd only had champagne previously and found many new favorites thanks to our variety! Once the tasting was complete, it was time to delve into this beast, my Mom's Chocolate Cake Cheesecake.

I could just tell my Mom was chomping at the bit to start cutting into it!

Can you believe she can't eat sugar and yet she regularly turns out amazing creations like this?

I'm sorry, do you want me to run through this again? It's a Chocolate Cake Cheesecake with an additional layer of raspberry running through the middle and sauce on top. Yes, it's basically a cheesecake with frosting. It.Is.Amazing.

And then the fun with polaroids started thanks to Gina's little guy.

Everyone grabbed their favorite bottle!

We had, so much fun. We also didn't finish a single bottle of wine. Isn't that crazy?! All in all, I got to host the type of event that I always want to be invited to. Sometimes, you've just gotta make things happen yourself!

Unfortunately we had two party goers bail at the last minute, understandably so, but thanks to all who attended! I wish I'd been better at taking people pictures, but I dropped the ball on that one.

Ladies Wine Night

Friday, October 22, 2010

Tonight, I'm basically throwing myself a birthday party. A little over a month ago, I saw the previously mentioned BH&Gardens article while riding the bus into work. I immediately text messaged my friend Beth, as she has a notorious work schedule, to see if she and her husband Randy would be able to make the date. When she replied back that she was free, but that Randy would be gone hunting, the event began to take shape: Ladies Wine Night!

I knew that I wanted to keep the guest list small, so I sparingly text a few friends and sent out a few emails. Almost all of the responses were positive, so I forged ahead! I wanted to photograph the evening and knew that my house would not be conducive, instead I asked Kierstan to find out if her Mom would be okay with hosting! Cherie has a beautiful house, just a little north of mine, and thankfully she agreed! Unfortunately, with the light fading as fast as it is now, I don't think I will be able to take the pictures I had my heart set on, but it will still be a great location.

I made a few selfish decisions in deciding the guest list as well. I have a few great friends who are currently pregnant or have recently had a child. I chose not to invite them. I know full well that they could have attended, socialized and still had a great time whether they chose to drink their one glass of wine or not. But, and this is a big, completely self-centered but, I decided to not have them join. You see everyone keeps telling me how well I'm doing with coping, attending baby showers, enduring facebook announcement after facebook announcement of 4w pregnancies, and the truth of the matter is, I should be 22w pregnant this week.

I should know the sex of my second child.

I should be over half way through my pregnancy.

I should be beginning to complain about weight gain, heart burn and pregnancy related insomnia.

I should be getting concerned about passing the glucose test.

Instead I'm not. I'm just not. Instead, I'm now concerned that I may not even be ovulating, as my chart is wildly out of sorts and my temps previously were very typical. Every day seems to be one step forward and two steps back. For this reason, I chose to be selfish in my guest list. I chose to not be reminded of what I am not and instead fashion an evening hopefully devoid of that pain.

To those of you reading who fit this bill, know that I'm sorry. I love you. I love your company, your warmth, your humor and love for life. I know you would have enjoyed this evening. I just don't know to what depth I would have. I made a choice for me.

And so tonight, I'm kind of throwing myself a birthday party. One that I made all of the food for, and what great food I hope it is! Here is the menu:

Herb Cheese Spread + Crackers
Red Grapes
Carmalized Pecan Baked Brie with Cranberries and Apricots [my Mom bought @Costco]
Coconut Pumpkin Soup
Pumpkin Shrimp Bruschetta
Mixed Greens Salad, Almonds, Cherries, Blue Cheese and Spinach Chicken Sausage
Chicken Puff Pastries

And for desert:
Pumpkin Butterscotch Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Dark Chocolate Cake Layered Cheese Cake [made by my Mom]

I'm super excited for the food and hope that everyone enjoys! If there are any duds though . . . we'll have plenty of wine! Last night I was prepping, cooking and baking for a solid four hours, so I really hope that there aren't any duds.

Of course there will be pictures to come!

Birthday Recap

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Well, my handsome, freshly gotee'd hubby picked me up from work yesterday, with the little man in tow [I wasn't sure if he'd be coming along or not] and promptly gifted me with this jacket:

Old Navy

My Mom and I had seen it when we went shopping two weeks back and she'd insisted that I buy it. Unfortunately they didn't have the right size, so I just said we'd pick it up in Coon Rapids on the way back . . . which didn't happen. My Mom called that day and had it put on hold for me at a store way across down and was going to give it to me as a Christmas present, but relinquished it to Tony when he told her he didn't know what to get me. It's super cute and I can't complain, because it's not hockey skates . . .

We then went to The Nook in St. Paul! I've been wanting to try this place out for a few years, so you could say I had high expectations! They were totally met! One of the best burgers I've ever eaten, although I didn't get the Juicy Nookie burger, as I thought I would.

Tony was a little apprehensive before we walked in, unsure of it and totally judging it from it's exterior appearance, but one we got in side he of course fell to it's charm.

I didn't get a single shot of our food, but it was amazing. We didn't mention it was my birthday, so no candles for me. They did give Isaac an Oreo though.

I love this kid.

A random lady took our picture.

And then we were on our way to Mall of America to go to the Underwater Adventures Aquarium thanks to a buy one get one admission coupon. Twenty bucks, better than $40!
The first exhibit we saw was the best! TURTLES!

Isaac was in absolute heaven and kept saying "Get it! Get it!" while pointing. :) Although I don't think he understood that this monstrosity was a turtle! Who can blame him, I thought it was a rock!

He didn't care much for the aquariums . . . but Tony and I oooh'd and ahhh'd.

But then we found turtles in the aquarium and he regained interest again!

The colorful fish in the Rainbow Reef caught his attention as well.

We walked around the mall for a bit. Tony said I looked like I was 22 one too many times for me to believe him. We stopped at Carbiou and got smoothies on the way home and called it an early night.

My birthday was perfect. Thanks for all of the birthday wishes!

I'm Older Today!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I always feel so silly posting posts on my birthday, and really this year seemed to creep right up on me! I honestly don't know what age I am [27] and keep stammering stupidly when people ask.

Whatever the age, I woke up blessed to a snuggly baby, a hot husband and sore throat. :)

As my friend Jamie wrote to me yesterday, I will be blowing my candles out to this wish [if Tony arranges for candles tonight]:
I hope that the year ahead is filled with joy, love, hope, fabulous photos, happy memories with those you love most and a BFP and a healthy, happy baby!

I couldn't agree more, but would add that I also pray we follow God's will for our family. This silly little family.
Leah and Co Cull0222

I made Butterscotch Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffin Cookies, a successful experiment, to bring into work today. Nadia picked me up a gift in China. Gina brought me Sawatdee for lunch [love!] and Tony is picking me up from work to celebrate tonight. I'm hoping for a fun evening with my boys!

I hope you have as lovely a day as mine has turned out to be!

Playing Catch Up [Weekend + Monday]

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Friday night: I had an engagement session with a sweet couple who are getting married in May. They've known each other and been friends since Michelle was 15! Love and friendship like that is amazing to come across.

I made it back just in time to catch some of the 7:00 hour to light my candle in remembrance. Although I didn't start at 7:00, I pretended that I was in a different time zone. :) Thank you all for your sweet comments and especially the text messages I received from Abby and AJ and the facebook message from Abbey. They made me feel very comforted, loved and supported.

With Tony's approval I outed us on facebook on Friday, posting this:
I am one of the 2,000 faces affected by pregnancy/infant loss everyday. Today, October 15th is National Pregnancy/Infant Loss Awareness Day and we will always remember. Please visit www.iamtheface.org and learner more about helping provide resources for women and families.

It felt amazing to write it, absolutely empowering, especially to see my same verbage reposted by several family members and friends, some who I had known of their loss and others I hadn't. It certainly was a sisterhood and opportunity to speak up, to acknowledge pain and loss.

Saturday: My shot my last wedding of the year, although I'll be assisting Gina these next two weekends before I go to Phoenix. Ashley and Tim came to me through Fabyoulous Events after they were disappointed by their engagement session with their photographer. Normally this is a sticky situation, as it involves a high maintenance couple, but it couldn't be further from the truth with these two!

The day went well and I got to shoot with a new 2nd, Roz. She was fun to spend the day with and helped calm me down after I backed into the bride's uncle's van . . . which was parked in the fire lane.

Oh yes, that's right. Me, the girl who thankfully has never been in an accident before, backed into a van while working a wedding. I was none too pleased as you can imagine!

The other notable incident that I can chalk up as a first at a wedding was another uncle, around 60 years old, approached me while I was covering the dance and said, "This isn't a come on, but you're a very attractive woman. I caught myself trying to take a picture of you, instead of the wedding. I just thought you should know." Um, okay. Thanks buddy! Hah!

Sunday: I missed church to squeeze in a photo session in Buffalo, which was quite the drive, but it was for the sweetest family and their daughter Ella. I wanted to high tail it back when I was done though, because we had plans to go to the apple orchard!

The day was anything but beautiful, overcast and downright chilly, but we had a fantastic time at Nelson's Apple Farm! My family never made an annual tradition of going to an apple orchard, so we had no allegiance to a specific orchard. When the Living Social deal came out for Nelson's, I jumped right on it and marked a date on the calendar. We.

I was able to purchase my gourds and pumpkins for my wine tasting shin dig on Friday and my Mom bought some of the no sugar added apple cider butter!

Of course we had to take the opportunity for a family picture too!

There was a small pumpkin patch to play in, so of course, Isaac dug right in.


There was a little stand outside to sample which apples were our favorite. I didn't partake, choosing instead to snap away! [Notice the blood blister on Tony's hand]

I don't even know if the Cortland's were good, but pretty much everything was!

It was such a great family day.

I don't care if he won't remember it, the pictures tell the story.

Although this, combined with a short nap, and not napping on the hour drive down, created a sleepy crabby boy later in the day.

Isaac was certainly a fan of the calf and I got to hear him say "mooo" for the first time, although both my Mom and Tony insist he's said it before.

Isaac had great fun mutilating Tony's face on the shoulder ride through the field.

The trees were broken into three sections.

Looking back over the corn maze, which we didn't go into.

My boys.

Isaac's first apple! He plucked it right off, hitting Tony in the face! I, of course, laughed out loud.

He was so happy about that apple! He then dug right in for more.

Holding his prize high!

You can just imagine him thinking, two apples are better than one!

What a hunny, sharing his apple with mama.

And then, I got him to take his first bite.

There was no turning back after that!

I love the one squinty eye. You just know so much effort is going into this bite!

Another family photo opportunity. [side bar: I am not okay with my weight. These are my fat pictures and I will do something about it . . . once my photos die down]

With Grandpa and Grandma.

Within 10 minutes of each other 4 planes flew overhead, love this moment between father and son.

Back to two apples!

Everyone was full of apples, by the time we left except for me, I was just too busy to eat them with all of the pictures I was taking.

We went out to the furthest row of trees, we took the tractor for a ride. Tractor is Isaac's newest favorite word.

You can tell in this picture how tired he was, but he wouldn't sleep. His eyes would get down to slits and then suddenly fly open as he excitedly pointed and said "tractor, tractor."

Yummy golden apples:

Moments before Isaac decided that instead of pointing at the apple, he really should kick the apple lol.

Love this image:

Chowing down, again, one of both colors!

I see this laugh by Tony frequently, but I don't think I've ever seen a photo of it, so it's especially dear to me.

And with our little helper filling up the bag, we took our loot back to be picked up by the tractor.

Love this picture, it perfectly sums up our day.

Unfortunately we paid the price a little bit, as both Isaac and I were sick enough to stay home yesterday, but it was well worth it!

I'm super excited for my upcoming blog makeover with designer blogs, as I'm now in the hole and almost on deck! I'm also still waiting on blog designs for my photography blog . . . there will not be a recommendation after services are complete.

Oh, and by the way. Tomorrow's my birthday. Writing this is kind of reminder to myself. I'm not prepared. I still think I'm 24.

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