Self-banned from the Kitchen

Thursday, March 31, 2011

No seriously. This is just getting out of hand.

Not only did I attempt to fry my phone, but last night in my first attempt at making this recipe from E-mealz, I did even more damage!

Spicy Thai Chicken
Wheat Noodles
Orange Slices
(2T RF creamy peanut butter, 2 T lite soy sauce, 1 ½ T brown sugar, 1 t crushed red pepper flakes)
½ lb chicken breast tenderloins
½ each red and yellow peppers, diced
½ bag frozen snow peas or sugar snap peas
¼ bunch green onions
( ¼ cup water)
½ box whole wheat thin spaghetti noodles

Wisk together first 4 ingredients, pour into gallon zip lock bag, reserving ¼ c for sauce. Add chicken and seal; marinate in refrigerator 8 hours. Sauté chicken and vegetables together for 5 minutes. Add water and reserved sauce, cook another 5-10 minutes or until chicken is done. Serve over wheat noodles.

You see, I had the cutting board on the stovetop, because we have .5 ft of countertop space, and when I turned the burner on to boil the water for the noodles . . . I turned the wrong one on.
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As Tony said, I tattooed it. Real well.

To add insult to injury, instead of adding 1/4 Cup of water as the recipe calls for, I added 1 Cup. At least the chicken and vegetables were good, even if the sauce was reduced to virtually nothing.

I really want to impose a self-ban on the kitchen. Who knows what I'll try to ruin next?

My Mama

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Last night, picking up Isaac from my Mom's, we were just about to leave when Isaac did near about the sweetest thing ever.

Another couple was there to pick up their daughter and as I leaned next to Isaac to button his jacket, Isaac patted my arm, looked at the dad and simply said "My mama."

I never realized how profound those words could be.

He again patted my arm, repeated "My mama." and then nestled his head to lean on my arm. It was absolute bliss. He spoke the words with assurance, the only way I would want him to.

This boy? He's got his Mama's hair, Daddy's eye color, Mama's nose and his Daddy's face shape.
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Most importantly, he's got his Daddy's heart. He loves whole-heartedly.

The one where I lose all shame.

Last week I wrote about a really tough night. Call it a combination of pregnancy hormones, work frustration and my almost 2 year old. Whatever it was, it's not welcome in our house again.

But I forgot the best/worst part. In the midst of Isaac and I both having our meltdowns I decided to pop some baked potatoes in the oven. In doing so, I managed to leave my cell phone on a burner which very much acts as an exhaust to the oven.

Duly noted, baked potatoes are good, but crispy phones are not.
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Thankfully the phone seemed to have only overheated and while slightly burning my fingers, I was able to get the back off and battery out to cool it down. Thank goodness it's still operable!

Pregnancy brain hasn't been nice to me.

Another Weekend with Friends

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

On Friday, as I was spilling all the details regarding the Jeep to AJ, we discovered that we both were without plans on Saturday. It's been a few months since we've actually hung out, and oddly enough our husband's were asking about each other, so a plan was hatched.

AJ is apparently much more in the know than I am, in regards to child activities, and virtually pain free we were set to meet at Lookout Ridge in Woodbury. I was a little apprehensive when I saw a sign on the door clearly stating that a fee was required for photo sessions, but thankfully no one stopped me from snapping pictures of Colin and Isaac cavorting. We played in the park area for awhile because Lookout Ridge was occupied by a birthday party, but thankfully we were able to get in for the last 30 minutes or so before they closed.

Do not mistake this for rubbing his eye's due to being tired. Isaac likes to cover his face after saying "Smile! Cheese!"
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He loved the water.
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Colin is just one week older than Isaac, since they both came a week early!
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Flashback to 2 years ago, almost exactly.

Isaac was, uh, not reserved.
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There were a few older kids running on these benches, so of course Isaac thought it was a grand idea. Both AJ and I got a kick out of Tony's parenting tactic, the face palm.
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Colin didn't quite warm up to me, or the gigantic camera. He's still plenty cute though!
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Again thankful for the internet. I can hardly believe that AJ and I have been friends for going on 5 years, thanks to meeting on the knot message boards while planning our '06 weddings.
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What a lucky lady am I.
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Again, Colin, not quite amused, but I love it.
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I foresee a lot of winter hours being spent in places like these in the next few years . . .
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Isaac had a freaking blast in the jumping room!
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And chose to slide down the slide backwards, silly boy.
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Afterwards, we caught an early dinner at Panera and caught up. Admittedly, the guys had a lot more to catch up on than AJ and I. The only drawback to the whole day was that somehow I left Tony's phone at Panera, so he spent 90 minutes traveling from Woodbury to home, to Woodbury again and back. :(

Aside from that, we had a fantastic time!

New to Us: Paid in Full CASH

Monday, March 28, 2011

Tony and I are Dave Ramsey subscribers. I chose subscriber, because there are so many other options that come close, but most have a cultish feel. And while from the outside looking in the Dave Ramsey mindset may tread upon brainwashed behavior, it's far from it.

If you've never stumbled across his books or radio programs before, Dave Ramsey created and endorses a financial management plan that is completely in line with Biblical principles. The goal is not financial independence, as so many other programs focus, but financial peace. It is certainly not to build wealth to be hoarded either, it is a realignment of money principles not as the world screams, but as God desires.

Like many such programs, there are multiple baby steps. The first three being:

1. Build an emergency fund of $1,000.

2. Eliminate all debt, minus mortgage.

3. Additional emergency fund of 3-6 months.

We are on baby step #2. When all of Dave's principles are employed, the average American eliminates all their debt, save mortgage, in 18-24 months. At this time Tony and I have 3 student loans [one for me, two for Tony] and the Grand Prix to work on. We are hopeful to pay off the Grand Prix by the end of the summer, followed quickly by Tony's lowest student loan payment. After that though, Tony's next student loan and mine will take some time.

Key to this process is clearly the elephant in the room, avoiding any additional debt. We have some friends and family who honestly can not understand why we are even attempting to pay off our debt. And that's where the true brainwashing terms are able to be applied, because Americans need stuff. I need stuff and you need stuff and for some there is an actual addiction to the accumulation of the stuff, so it is a need and not a want.

It's mental discipline that combats this mindset and discipline is not given, it is earned. So, we're earning it. The hard way. But as Tony said to me yesterday, he'd much rather we make these changes now with the mistakes we have made than to learn the much harder way 10 years down the road. We know there will be sacrifices and yet, we also know it's part of God's plan for our family.

I haven't written much about Dave Ramsey's influence in our house much in the past, because to be honest we weren't committed. Tony scoured youtube for clips and has actively listened to Dave's radio shows. I applied as best I could the principles I picked up from Dave, in addition to what I saw my Mom do growing up, and some days worked, others didn't. In the end it took 3 attempts to complete Financial Peace University. We first started in 2008, but didn't get far. Next we started with our friends, the Forrests, but stalled out when hockey season was in high gear. We finally plugged in for 30 days to knock out the remaining lessons on our very last day of membership. Tony was definitely the driving force in completely the lessons and it was so worth it. We were both tearing up watching the final lesson and it was no hollow victory to see the congratulations at the end.

We are going to change our family tree, no ifs, ands or buts about it.

All of that backstory to lead up to our activities these past few weeks. Car shopping. Not only car shopping, but used car shopping. With cash. Some how, it was only that final few words that seemed to cause the most stress. Nothing was good enough, because those dollars represented our time spent away from home, either skating or shooting. They were hard earned dollars and we wanted the most for our money.

Essentially anything would be an upgrade compared to the '99 Silverado I've been driving for the past year. Especially when considering the windshield washer fluid line was cracked, the horn was inoperable, the seat is so broken down you have to sit on an additional patio furniture seat and to top it all off the passenger side door handle was broken for the past few months, meaning this pregnant belly had to reach across the cab and prop the door open in order to get Isaac in and out of the car. Don't even get me started on the safety issue of that, my only condolence was that I've seen jaws of life in action . . . Many of the above are now past tense because Tony and his Dad fixed them last weekend. I was just as happy as I was annoyed that they didn't fix everything months ago! Let's not forget that the truck has nearly 350,000 miles on it and that it's side panels are covered in camouflage.

All this said, the above truck was an enormous blessing to us. By my Dad borrowing us his truck we were able to save money, instead of being rushed back into debt in purchasing a 2nd vehicle that we certainly could not afford. We never would have been able to see this: Paid in Full CASH.
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And that new to us vehicle is . . . a '96 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
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[Yes, this picture was taken last night, so for all of you Southern dwellers that does mean we still have snow.]

It is a fully loaded Limited something or the other. All I know is that the interior and exteriors are both spotless, which means that either the vehicle wasn't driven much or that the previous owner hopefully was as meticulousness in their upkeeping the leather seats as the maintenance of the vehicle. Tony brought it to a trusted friend of 20 years and mechanic and it received a clean bill of health, giving us the green light for purchase.
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It has just under 130,000 miles on it, which was lowest we found, even for newer vehicles. Additionally, it has heated leather seats! Tony's work truck a few years back had this feature and I forgot how much I like it! Regardless of how cold the truck is, those babies fire up quickly and the cold is so much more tolerable!
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To top it all off, Isaac loves it. He's still rear facing, love the AAP's new recommendation, but never knew what he was missing out on in the truck and the car. With the Jeep he has a clear view out the back window and is absolutely captivated by everything he sees. Man, if we thought he was a chatterbox in the car before . . . The first thing he says upon entry is always "New car!"

We're just as excited as he is. And, because I hate posting without a picture, here's Isaac with his Uncle Levi [which sounds decidedly less like Unca Wee Wee everyday]. Jenifer, this is also for you. ;)
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26w1d

Don't worry fellow Minnesotans, I'm definitely wearing a cardi over this tank top today! 26w1d vs, oops, no 26w picture for comparison with Isaac.
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And clothed.
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AE scarf? Target tank?

From my weekly email: The network of nerves in your baby's ears is better developed and more sensitive than before. He may now be able to hear both your voice and your partner's as you chat with each other. He's inhaling and exhaling small amounts of amniotic fluid, which is essential for the development of his lungs. These so-called breathing movements are also good practice for when he's born and takes that first gulp of air. And he's continuing to put on baby fat. He now weighs about a pound and two-thirds and measures 14 inches from head to heel. If you're having a boy, his testicles are beginning to descend into his scrotum — a trip that will take two to three days.

How far along?: 26w1d
How big is baby?: The size of an English hot house cucumber, 14 inches.
Weight gain/loss?: 16.5 lbs.
Stretch marks?: None, thankfully.
Maternity clothes?: Yes please.
Sleep?: These crazy dreams have got to stop!
Food cravings?: A gorgeous raspberry steak salad . . . or pad thai . . . or sushi . . . or . . .
Gender?: We're having another son!
Movement?: Consistent and all over the place! I can't tell his positioning, but I think that Baby Love is transverse, just like his brother was.
Belly button?: More and more shallow every day.
What are you looking forward to this week?: Spending time with my family.

Notables: There wasn't anything too notable this week. My eye twitching has continued and is very annoying. I'm still uncertain whether it is stress or vitamin deficiency.

Yesterday, we got up to go to church. I got ready as I normally would, ate a bowl of cereal like I normally do on the weekends and out the door we went. As we were driving in I started to feel uncomfortable, there's not really any other way to say it. I wasn't in pain, nothing in particular was off, but I just didn't feel right. Once we were in church, the feeling intensified. I chose not to stand during worship because I was beginning to feel lightheaded.

I thought it would do me some good to sit out in the waiting area and just as I reached for Tony to let him know my plan, everything started to fade to white.

Yes, white, not black, but white.

It started on the fringes and my vision was almost nearly overcome. Tony was instantly concerned and supported me as we walked out of the service.

It's the closest I've ever come to fainting. We stole some Cheerios and animal crackers from the nursery, thank you Rachel! And with a little water and food I started to feel better again.

No clue what that was all about! Everything about our morning had been normal and I definitely ate and drank per my usual.

Brotherly Love

Friday, March 25, 2011

I've tried for at least a week to get a repeat performance to be caught on video, but Isaac wants nothing to do with it.

See last Tuesday, while we were getting ready for bed, Isaac was in a fantastic mood. A little bit squirrely, but somehow hanging on to an edge that was able to listen to us. So I asked Isaac to say good night to his baby brother [he only does this about half the time now]. He was in a good mood though and happily went through our routine:

Me: Good night baby brother.

DS: Nigh ba-brother.

Me: Say, I love you baby brother.

DS: Love you ba-brother.

I noticed that Baby Love was causing quite a ruckus in utero at this time, so I grabbed Isaac's hands and told him to "Wait for the baby to kick." Isaac patiently let me hold his hands to my belly and had the funniest look of anticipation.

Baby Love didn't disappoint and gave Isaac a wallop and the shock and excitement on his face was absolutely contagious. He drew back laughing and squealing, but within seconds had his hands on my belly saying "Do it again!" We repeated this for a good 5 minutes, only stopping when Baby Love stopped kicking.

I only hope he's as happy when his little brother is an outside baby. :)

Weekend Recap

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Better late then never . . .

Last weekend really was a fantastic weekend, just as I'd hoped for! Friday night Tony and I completely over-carbed ourselves by eating a turkey, potato, corn chowder with a side of baked potato! Potatoes and pasta are virtually non-existent in our house, so Tony was super excited. My brother ended up coming over as well and then Isaac was super excited.

We didn't end up going to look at the Explorer I posted about, because it was still at the shop. That said, while at the shop, Tony did get to swing by and with a little sleuthing found out that the dealership sold the vehicle in 2008. We're thinking that they reused the photo from 2008, because Tony said that there was no comparing the condition of the vehicle he saw to that pictured. Additionally, instead of being 130,000 it was 230,000 miles. Gotta love "honest" dealerships.

Saturday morning I had a fantastic newborn session with little Ms. Stella! She was an absolute doll and I got to use a cocoon for the first time, or as Johan named it the baby condom. I'll have to share some, you know just to disperse some baby fever.

We finished out the day by going to look at another Explorer, which looked great! Too bad it sold an hour prior to us getting there. After that we hightailed it to Maple Grove to meet up with Mike, Abby and Brynna. Love getting to spend time with this family! I was just thinking while at Abby's house, what if she'd never had the courage to randomly email me after following my blog and asking us to meet up? I'd miss out on a great friendship and future in-laws to Isaac. :) This is their peach Brynna.
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We met up with them at the Maple Maze at the MG Community Center and the kids had a blast . . . including Tony.
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Sliding down the slide.
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After a good hour at the playground, Mike totally made Isaac's day by bringing us by the fire station where he volunteers.
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Isaac talked about it for days! "Fire truck turn lights!"
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Finally, Isaac and Brynna were so sweet together rocking. Mike absolutely has the better picture, I don't know where Isaac got his smooth moves but he made his Dad proud.
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On Sunday, we got up early and again went and looked at an Explorer. It was very clean, but it was 4WD full time, so it'd be a major gas guzzler. We're not anticipating driving the 2nd vehicle much, just as most of the time the truck sits at the park and ride, but we still need it to get decent gas mileage! After church we went to Panino's, which is basically my most favorite restaurant, with one of my favorite family's!

I wanted to take pictures, but between the three kids, my favorite food and good conversation . . . I didn't get the camera out. I just love Rachel! I haven't gotten to really plug into our church's women's activities, so sometimes I feel like the odd man out, but but Rachel's always made me feel included. She was one of the first people I met at church and I don't know about her, but I knew I'd found a friend.

We had a little downtime at home and I was on to the next adventure. Meeting up with Gina to use my Tiger Sushi groupon, since Tony is not a fan. It was so incredibly good! Plus, Gina and I haven't really had the chance to just sit down and talk face to face without incredible distraction in a long time, so it was great to just unwind a bit.

Some how or the other, Gina also roped me into Zumba. Now let me just say, I'm the girl who gives up on home workout cardio videos, because I'm just not coordinated enough to make it worthwhile. How did I end up in the front row, next to Ms Peppy Zumba instructor Gina, with my back fat spilling out of my non-maternity sports bra and workout clothes?! No, honestly. I want to know!

I text Tony, "This was a bad idea." Very quickly he replied, "I'm sorry baby, don't overdo it." To which I replied, "We haven't even started yet!"

Around the same time:
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In all honesty though, I had a blast. It was just great to move! I haven't been able to workout in so long and I can't even remember the last time I set foot in a gym. It made me very nostalgic and wishing that we had the money for a gym membership.

A woman came up to me at the end and said, "I just have to tell you how cute you are. I laughed at you the whole time, because you just didn't care if you didn't have it right." At least I gave someone comedic relief!

It was a great, absolutely fun weekend!

And this is when I laugh.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I mean, I get it, I'm right there with you in wanting Winter to end . . . but we live in Minnesota. Spring isn't guaranteed until at least mid-April.

I never get my hopes up . . .

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Well, that was painful.

Yesterday was rough. Very rough. Work has certainly turned the corner from downright tolerable to full on hatred again. I hate feeling this way. I like being a team player. I like doing work that seems to have an impact. I don't like managing cases and writing tedious emails, day in and day out. My eye is still twitching daily. I don't know if it's a vitamin deficiency or if it's only related to stress.

I came home last night and hoped to unwind. No in fact, I was determined to have a good evening. The day could be salvaged, except Isaac didn't see it that way.

The crying didn't stop for at least a half an hour once we came home from my Mom's. He would not listen, to anything. He would demand to go "nanight in his crib," but scream bloody murder if I opened the door to his room. Next, "Color at the table," but apparently he didn't approve of the pen or crayons offered.

I finally started crying as well. What else was there to do? That set Isaac off even further and as I rocked and tried to console him, he just cried harder and harder. "Mama HOLD you!" Even though I already was.

25w1d

Monday, March 21, 2011

Continued baby bump growth here at 25w1d vs 25w with Isaac.
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And clothed.
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AE cardi, Marshall's tank, H&M jeans

From my weekly email: Head to heels, your baby now measures about 13 1/2 inches. His weight — a pound and a half — isn't much more than an average rutabaga, but he's beginning to exchange his long, lean look for some baby fat. As he does, his wrinkled skin will begin to smooth out and he'll start to look more and more like a newborn. He's also growing more hair — and if you could see it, you'd now be able to discern its color and texture.

How far along?: 25w1d
How big is baby?: The size of a rutabaga, 13 1/2 inches.
Weight gain/loss?: 15lbs.
Stretch marks?: None, thankfully.
Maternity clothes?: Yes please.
Sleep?: Brutal. I keep waking up in the middle of the night with reason or without.
Food cravings?: A gorgeous raspberry steak salad.
Gender?: We're having another son!
Movement?: Baby Love was quiet this weekend, but today he's not letting me forget about him!
Belly button?: I'm starting to lose it . . .
What are you looking forward to this week?: Next weekend.

Notables: Last week I had another midwife appointment. Tony and I were cautioned by the nurse to be careful in trying for a girl, since she had 4 daughters and then had twins [boy and girl] when trying for a boy! I told her no worries there.

My weight and blood pressure [102/60] were again "beautiful" according to the midwife, fundal height was spot on at 25cm and Baby Love's heart beat was a reassuring 148 bpm.

Baby Love was a little quiet over the weekend, but I have noticed a few sore spots on my stomach and as soon as I press on them Baby Love moves. Apparently he's already taking up residence in areas that are causing me some pain.

I am starving, cranky and very tired. Basically Tony loves that hockey is done and that he has to be around me all the time.

Dave Ramsey says . . .

Friday, March 18, 2011

For anyone who has read a Dave Ramsey book, participated in Financial Peace University or listened to his radio program, you know that he self deprecates a little by using a whiny voice and repeating the phrase that can so often be heard in houses practicing his financial plans: " . . . but Dave Ramsey says . . ." And it's so true. If I had a dollar for every time I've heard Tony say this to me, I'd be wearing new shoes.

The best one that I've heard, happened this morning though. In 2008 Tony and I needed to buy a new vehicle, as my college car suffered a heart attack due to the engine seizing from negligence. [Hey, I'm not proud, just honest.] Knowing that we were starting our family Tony and I decided to look into a gas efficient SUV. I had previous experience with Saturns and before we knew it our search had been narrowed down to the Saturn Vue. And that's when our nightmare began. I actually have a label for it, where you can read the whole story and how we eventually were able to fix it up and sell it off, with much washing of our hands.

What it boils down to though is that I knew in my heart of hearts that we were not to buy that Vue. God impressed it upon me with great awareness that it was not a sound decision. I expressed this opinion to Tony, but without any "actual" reason not to buy it, we went forward with our decision. I begrudged Tony of this for several months and blamed the ordeal on him, unfairly, but I did all the same.

This morning as we were driving back from my midwife appointment, Tony cheerfully said "I have a good feeling about this Explorer." Unable to bite my tongue, I said something along the lines of "Well that's better than my bad feeling about the Vue." Bless his heart, what did Tony say: "This time I'm going to listen to Dave Ramsey, if your wife has a bad feeling about something DON'T DO IT!"

Right on Dave, right on.

Living for the weekend.

I am so excited for this weekend, that I just can't even put it into words, and yet I'll try.

Tonight, Tony and I are going to go look at vehicles for the 3rd night in a row. We'll be buying in cash and continue on our Dave Ramsey journey. Tonight's agenda is this 2001 Ford Explorer.
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Word is that it's $3,000 and 130K miles.

Tomorrow morning I get to go meet sweet little miss Stella who has already given her parents a run for their money and she's only 3 weeks old! We were supposed to have her newborn session last weekend, but it was postponed because the little one was in the hospital with RSV. Laura and Johan are Tony's cousins, but they are also friends, and it was so hard to hear of everything they had to go through in the first few weeks of Stella's life. I pray that they've cleared the corner and everything is smooth sailing from here . . . or at least as much as it can be with two girls under the age of 2. :)

Tomorrow evening then Tony, Isaac and I are meeting up with Abby, Mike and Brynna! First we're going to do the Maple Maze with the kidlets and then head on back to their house for dinner. Originally rumored to be stuffed shells and I can not wait! I think Isaac and Brynna are going to have a blast playing together to top it off. Now if only I could have some wine with my dinner and then it'd be perfect.

Sunday, after church we're meeting up with our friends the Berndt's for lunch at Panino's [aka my favorite restaurant and provider of the best ranch dressing]. We haven't gotten to hang out in a while, so I really look forward to catching up!

With a little bit of down time for Isaac's nap, I'm going to round out the weekend by meeting up with Gina to use my Tiger Sushi groupon before it expires at the end of the month. And after sushi, I'm going to try Zumba for the first time with Gina. I'm pretty prepared to get more of a workout laughing at myself than actually participating in the class. This girl is not coordinated, especially when pregnant!

Thank you so much for the encouraging comments and even text messages from those that I know IRL. Your words were so uplifting to me!

Afternoon Level

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I'm really stressed about work right now. There have been several re-org changes and to honest, I don't like them.

My eye has been twitching for 3 days straight while I'm at work.

I am not happy.

Everywhere I look there is a reminder that I'm not keeping up. This is applicable to both home, work and photography.

I've literally felt sick to my stomach the last two days at work.

I just want to pull the blanket over my head and say "Screw you."

Isaac's New Haircut

The Bieber Fever has officially departed our house. It's obvious that both Tony and I like Isaac's hair a little long, but clearly enough is enough when the poor kid has hair in his eyes. So off we went on Monday night to get his ears lowered.
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Although last time went swimmingly, he was a little more anxious this time. He repeatedly asked "Mama hold you!"
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But, just like his Daddy, a little sugar goes a long way in making him happy.
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And here's my big boy.
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Neither Tony or I are quite used to it yet. To be totally honest, I think it makes Isaac's face look even more round, which I'm not the hugest fan of. I really didn't think a boy's haircut would be that hard, but on second thought I barely know how to do my own hair and now I'm responsible for someone else's!

 

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