Thursday, December 27, 2007

on the 4th day of christmas - we all crashed

gosh.... three days of parties and eating and family and gahhh.... we are finally taking a day to just do nothing. i'm catching up on blogging and photos chris did some work in the basement and took the car to have the allignment fixed (he just left to pick it up). then he's heading out to barne's & noble to do a little shopping with a gift card he just got. i'm planning on heading to the basement to tackle a mountain of laundry soon... but before that i thought i would write about our christmas (ooh and my birthday too) first.

dec. 24th, my 31st birthday. really, i am not very excited about this one. i'm not depressed about it or anything just not overly excited about it. we decided to have my family over for lunch. and we decided that chris would cook us filet. we had watched an alton brown episode a few months ago about purchasing and preparing an entire filet. so on our last trip to costco, we did just that. chris cleaned it and cut a few filets and a few small roasts from the large hunk of meat. he then prepared the filets like this. i made a salad of fresh spring greens, manderine orange slices, dried cranberries, pecans, blue cheese crumbles and a raspberry vinigarette. the salad and the filet were a perfect pairing for lunch. everyone enjoyed it except for max. it was little on the peppery side for him. so we rinsed his meat off in the sink and he ate a few more bites... i think crackers filled him up earlier.... anyways, then we had a yummy raspberry and cranberry "flan" from giant eagle. it was more like a vanilla pudding tort with raspberries and cranberries on top. it was very tasty and not too sweet. i then recieved a few really nice gifts. my parents gave me new stainless steal canisters for the kitchen to replace my yellow ones that needed to be replaced and some cash to get some new things after andrew arrives. jesse and heather gave me a really nice framed photo of max and me from earlier this year. and two ornements for the tree. and chris and max surprised me the most by giving me my very own Flip video camera. chris has one of his own but it's mainly used for work. this one is mine and will stay with me at the house during the day so that i can capture max and soon andrew too while daddy is at work. that was a huge surprise that i really was NOT expecting.

then everyone left. we all took naps and then at 5:30 we packed up max and all his crap and went to see my aunt, uncle and a few cousins for the evening. this was very nice and max started his round of opening gifts. this was the first time that he seemed to sorta "get it" in terms of opening gifts.... sorta.... they got him the fisher price airport, wow have times changed. when my brother and i had this toy over 25 years ago, it was just the tiny little airport gate with a huge oversized airplane. now this thing comes with runway, check-in gates a ramp, a bridge, a little plane, a taxi, and a helocopter and three Little People. max loves it! he's been playing with it since then on almost an hourly basis. around 10pm we had decide that we were sick of chasing max around their home so we packed him up and came home. after we put max to bed, we cleaned up, and purged some of his old toys. some went to the basement for storage and some went into a pile for the st. vincent depaul store. he hasn't even noticed that they are gone :) i also sorted some books out of rotation.

then santa came, we put his easel together and i wrote a little message on it to max from santa. then i sat down and cried. yep, i cried because santa had come. and now i'm getting teary again. it's funny because santa came last year but max was way too little to know so we didn't do anything too special about it. but this year it seemed like it was just so much more real and that it was the start of a really fun adventure for the next few years so i cried. chris laughed.

the next day we got up with max, i video taped him coming in to see what santa had brought. and to open his gifts from us. he was a little overwhelmed and seemed to just want to find that airport from the night before. but we got through it, then we packed him up again, and went to my parents for brunch. my brother and his fiance were there too. it was all very nice. max got a few more gifts, we all got some nice things too, we had some great food, then jesse and heather packed up and left to visit with her family in erie. then we just had a nice time relaxing and hanging out with my parents. it was quiet and peaceful and just the way the holiday should be.

then after max took a nap and before we had dinner, chris, my dad and max took a hike down to the park to play. max had a great time until he fell and got a small boo boo on his mouth. he only cried for a minute though then then all turned around and came back home where we put max down for another nap because he wanted one. and then we all sat down to dinner. it was actually kinda nice that max was napping through dinner. nice little relaxing meal.

i snapped this photo as the guys were headed out for their hike. this is max (duh) and my dad. note the matching hats. i mentioned in a previous post that i had knit a had for my dad for christmas but it turned out to be too small. so i made a few adaptations and the 2nd one turned out perfect. he loves it! it fits him well too! i also gave him a bottle of homemade lemoncello and he loved that too. we had some after dinner (i only had a little bit) and he really enjoyed it :)

oh photo:

jeez, this is going to turn out like one of annie's marathon blog posts.... it's soooo long so far and i'm not even through yesterday.... *wink*

then yesterday, dec 26th, we headed to visit with chris's family. there were 13 people there. some of them i had never met... dinner was very yummy. there were lots of germs to be contracted, and we all received some very nice gifts as well. we pulled names in his family too. this year my sil pulled my name and she got me a gift card to my LYS and two new knitting books. The Knitters Bible and Style Your Own Kids' Knits. both are great resources and i can't want to jump into a new project. i currently have NOTHING on my needles. and i think i trip to the yarn shop is in order asap. then since my birthday was the 24th my mil got me an oval casserole with a lid just like i asked for and two gift cards to joann's yay!

max got 13 new books overall so my sanity has been saved :) he loves them all. and so far doesn't miss the ones that we took out of rotation.

i'm glad that our holiday tour is over. our next social commitment isn't until new years day. and that makes me happy. although chris said to me that he's not sure if he can keep this relaxing thing up for 14 more days until he goes back to work.... i told him that he has earned it and he needs to enjoy it because that's why he works his tail off during the semester. this is really the first year that he's not had a ton of other work to do while he was on break from point park. so getting used to it is a challenge. i on the other hand love the free time and the naps :)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

new bed

well, i apparently have the most adaptable child on the face of the planet.

we have set up max's new bedroom, chris painted on thursday, we hung photos and blinds and put the bed together as well. yesterday we decided to start transitioning max's naps to being in his new big boy bed. he was a little nervous at first. he cried when i left the room and shut the door. so i went back in, comforted him and put him back down. he again cried when i left the room. i let him go for about two minutes and then he was down. didn't wake up until we woke him for dinner. it went so well that we decided to try putting him to bed there too. same thing, a little crying when i left the room so i went in and made sure he knew that i was still there. this time i didn't pick him up. he stopped crying and i left the room. again silence until 8 am. when i heard him start to babble and walked in to find him playing with his stuffed animals like normal. again, morning nap, chris put him down, he whimpered a bit, then he was out for a quick nap. i just put him down for a late afternoon nap and he gave me no crying or trouble what-so-ever. it's official, he's now not sleeping in a crib.

for those curious about what sort of bed we're using, as soon as we found out that baby number two was also a boy, we went out and got a bunk bed set. our plan was that max would use the top bunk initially since it has rails. then once andrew was big enough we would transition him into the room as well. we took the bunks apart, and rebuilt the top bunk as a regular twin but with the rails attached. it's low enough to the floor that max can crawl in and apparently out too since he met me at the door this afternoon after his nap. he loves to be in there. every time we go upstairs all he wants to do is crawl into bed and cuddle with his stuffed animals. it's adorable.

our family thinks is hilarious that he transitioned so easily. i agree. i really didn't expect it to go as smoothly as it did. and frankly i hadn't planned on him spending the night in there for at least a few more weeks.... but hey, who said a little cold turkey action wasn't a good idea sometimes :)

the next transition that i need to prepare for is potty training. my mom seems to think that it will be a breeze. we'll see. i'm just torn with when to start. he gives major signs already for when he's pooping. but doesn't really signal much when peeing. plus, with andrew on his way in a month in a half i worry that i would have a hard time keeping consistent with max and his potty needs until after the FOUR of us have somewhat of an established routine. i'll keep everyone posted on that.

photos to follow in a few days. i just need to take a few minutes to take them. but i need to bake cookies and a quick bread still and finish wrapping gifts as well. knitting is complete.

ok from here on out you def. won't hear from me until after christmas. enjoy the season!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

christmas round up

chris and i were just discussing how stress free this break has been for us so far. there has been minimal running around for gifts, no one is making us crazy.... we have some simple projects to do around the house but really, it's all fun stuff (for the most part).

left to do on my list, finish knitting my dad's hat, it's coming along nicely and i've decided to add a few more rows of regular knit to the middle so that it's not toddler sized like my first attempt (see photo below), finish wrapping gifts, put ribbon on all of them, put some more greenery around the house, not sure who for, since no one will be coming here for the holiday but i feel like we need a few more decorations.... and last of all, i need to bake...

yes, i announced earlier in the season that i would not be baking this year but i have since been guilted into doing so. my parents were over the other night and i was mentioning me not baking and apparently this was the first that chris had heard of this horrible decision of mine... and he freaked out and said, "so i don't get any macaroons?!?!" in the most pathetic and whiny voice ever.... i said, "no, sorry honey, no baking means no baking..." he pouted. the next day, my mother calls me after witnessing this the night before and says, "you know if you husband wants you to bake macaroons for him you really should. he deserves it." of course i laughed at her... but then i decided that she's right and he does deserve it. he's been picking up a lot of slack around here lately by cooking like a mad-man.... i seriously can't remember what i cooked last. or when it was.... i know, that's horrible..... so my man will be getting macaroons. i just have to figure out when. i'm thinking it will be tomorrow. in addition to the cookies, i need to also prepare a quick bread for christmas morning at my parents. i think i'll do the same one i did last year, it's an orange and cranberry loaf and was super yummy. i found it on this blog last year, where i find a lot of my baking recipes, she's a wonderful cook/baker foodie and her recipes never fail me.

that in a nutshell is what needs to be done for the holiday. not so bad.

in other news, max is starting to run, sorta, only when he's in large open spaces :) that means our home when the floor is not covered with his toys and my parents store room since it's wide open and offers a wonderful place to run around. i also think he's getting another tooth, he's a drooly mess lately and ate a whole corner off of a board book yesterday... i keep poking around in there but i haven't found anything quite yet...

as for me, well, i'm just done.... put a fork in me... i'm done cooking this little birdie... i feel huge... i don't want to do anything, i don't want to leave the house, i don't want to see anyone, i don't want to cook, i don't want to run the steps, i don't want to carry max around, i don't want to do anything but sleep... sleep and sleep a little more. i've shut down. which is not good since on paper i still have a month and 1/2 left to go until my due date. that's a long time.... *big exhale*

other than feeling huge, i really feel pretty good, it's just the getting in and out of the car and getting max around and such is not fun. in fact i haven't taken him anywhere by myself (except to see my parents) in a few weeks. i've just worked it out so that either he stays home with chris or we all go together so that i don't have to lug him in and out of the car myself.

i am, however super excited about the holiday. we've got max some nice gifts, nothing too extravagant. but some thngs that i'm sure he'll enjoy. plus, chris plans to paint his new room today so that will be a new thing for him too. i think max is starting to realize that there is something going on in terms of the holiday too. he loves the christmas tree and really has been quite gentle with it. we tell him to only look and don't touch and he sorta listens. i think he also says christmas tree. it sounds more like just the syllables di da da. but that's a start right? he also knows what a choo choo train is and best of all is he loves his new knitted hat that mommy made for him, err sorta. it is a pattern for an adult but it's a little on the short side. so i added some i-cord after knitting it and now it's a hat for max. little does papa know that he and max will have matching hats this winter :) papa is going to be so excited :) i'll have to take a photo of them both with their hats on, on christmas day :)

i probably won't be back until after the holiday, so i wish all my readers a merry christmas. stay close to your loved ones and remember the true meaning of the holiday!

Monday, December 10, 2007

knitting gifts given

ok, i can finally blog about some knitting that i was doing for a friend who is due about a week and one half after i am :)

i've known Valerie since sophomore year at slippery rock. her and her roommate, natalie and another friend, carrie, and i quickly became friends and the following year we all decided to move out of the dorms and live in a house together. out of the three of us, i still see Valerie the most. she's a great friend and i really value her friendship. we always seem to pick up right where we left off when we visit :) and that's awesome!

i'm going to retell this story, some of you know it, others don't but this is the story about the day that Val told me that her and Nathan were going to be parents.

chris, max and me had just returned home from the beach and it was a monday. chris was out of the house working on a project and i was home with max. i got an instant message from valerie asking if she could call me. i knew right away why she wanted to talk instead of IM.... so a few minutes later the phone rings, it's val, and my hunches were correct :) she was in fact expecting and due mid febuary according to her calculations. we chit chat, i'm excited as heck for the two of them :) and at that point i knew exactly what i was going to make for her. IN FACT, i really had that planned out for a while prior to her announcement, i was just waiting for the cue, her announcing that she was in fact expecting, to start said project. following our phone conversation her and i exchange some emails, i asked her for guidance in regards to color, she wanted something colorful but not too bright. i had found the perfect color combo and was soon on my way.

however the funny part of the story actually takes place the afternoon of the day she called me. it was lunch time, i was feeding maxwell a jar of baby food peaches and for those of you without jarred baby food experience, peaches are actually quite tasty. so i crack open the jar and the smell just about knocked me over. i KNEW at that moment that something was up... no the jar was not bad, the food was perfectly good.... it was me that had something else going on.... so after lunch, i packed max up and headed to the dollar store for a few pregnancy tests. i got home, peed in a cup and sure enough, a big old positive! OOPS! so chris gets home, i tell him, we're both pretty much in shock, max was only 10 months old at the time and frankly we really weren't ready to start trying just YET..... so that afternoon, i decide to call valerie back. the two of us had a pretty good laugh about it :) and i was super excited to get to be pregnant at the same time as one of my best friends :)

so onto the knitting portion of the post, i knew that valerie and nathan were trying to have a baby so i knew i had to have a project in mind for when i got the call. the project in mind was Moderne Baby Blanket from Mason Dixon Knitting. i just love the basic log cabin technique and really wanted to give this one a shot. it was on the smaller side as far as blankets go so i thought i would whip it up in no time and be done with pleanty of time to spare.... yea right... i picked out my yarn, Line Brand Homespun, a yarn that i don't see me using again anytime soon, it breaks and pulls and bunches while knitting and that's a pain. however the final product is very very soft and thick so i'm happy with the output just not with the enjoyment factor of knitting with it. needless to say, it turned out beautifully and i'm pretty sure that valerie is happy with it too. i'm also pretty certain that i somehow had a moment of clarity while choosing the colors because valerie and nathan went on to find bedding that has the same colors that i used in it. she had no idea what colors i had chosen or what i was even making.

Here's the finished blanket:

i also knit her a set of adorable booties, pattern can be found here at Saartje Knits they too were a big hit. i used the exact yarn that the pattern calls for, what a dream to work with :) and i'm making another pair for another friend who is due in march :)

here's a photo of the booties:

i plan to also make a pair of these for our new little one :) they whip up in a flash and are so adorable :)

for right now, i leave you with this, chris came to the shower and took a photo of the two of us. i'm 31 weeks and valerie is just about 30. it's funny to notice the difference in how you carry with it's your first vs. your 2nd :)

Friday, December 7, 2007

lemoncello follow-up

outcome is great! we filled 6 bottles full and a 7th about 3/4's (this one is ours to keep).

i have some photos to share of the process. chris did most of the grunt work as i'm just not able to stand for too long at the moment... and especially after 9 pm at night.

the lemon peel and vodka mingled since oct 24th until today, dec 7th in a cool dark place. this evening we made a simple syrup mixture with a 1 to 1 ratio. we did 9 cups of water to 9 cups of sugar, heated it until it was just about to boil. then we let it cool. meanwhile we strained the lemon peel from the vodka, using cheese cloth and a large funnel.

it came out of the mingling jug a beautiful yellow color and it smelled like the cleanest thing on the planet :) lemons make me think of cleaning. they have such a fresh scent. once they were separated from the peel and the simple syrup was cooled, we mixed the two and then started to fill our bottles.

see the color of the filled bottles in the background? that's what they look like in person :) such a beautiful yellow that is just alive looking.

overall, it was pretty darn easy to make. i can't wait to give a few bottles as gifts, i hope they are appreciated :)

after bottling the pretty yellow liquid we did a taste test. it's supposed to be served very very chilled and ours was NOT chilled yet so there was quite a bit of bite in my opinion but i could tell that if it would have been chilled, then consumed, it would have been PERFECTO!

i leave you with this one final photo

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

just a short round up

thanksgiving was very nice, it wasn't very relaxing towards the end of the day but the day was filled with wonderful food and much thanks to be given. i cooked a turkey, so did my dad. i roasted mine with a fresh herb butter that i pushed between the skin and rubbed on the outside, then i stuffed it with a fairly traditional stuffing. i also made green bean casserole and chris made some fantastic brussels sprouts with bacon and onions. mmmm big hit! after dinner, my body crashed.... i had been on my feet too much and i couldn't stand any longer. so my mom, mother in-law and sister in-law all did the clean up. i did what i could while sitting. i divided up the left overs so that everyone could take some home with them. other than that, the day was wonderful!

chris and i had a wedding to shoot on saturday, that also went well. i was on my feet a lot that day too but it wasn't as bad as thanksgiving. sunday we sorta crashed. i didn't do much of anything except play with max.

these past few weeks i've just been feeling huge..... like pants not fitting and making me really uncomfortable huge.... i guess i'm just carrying much lower this time around thus the pants wearing and fitting problem... it's totally expected but just a bit of a pain in the belly...

as for everything else pregnancy related, there isn't much to report. i'll be 30 weeks this coming friday. and there are times when i feel like i'm going to split in half at the crotch but hey, i suppose that it's all part of the game right?

as for max, he's gaining speed. no new tricks, he's still helping us clean up the floors which is very helpful of him. he was 15 months yesterday and has his 15 month checkup this friday. he's scheduled to get the first round of mmr shots and a flu shot. i was up in the air about what to do with this for the past few months regarding the autism claims and such. i think we've decided to go ahead with it. there is nothing that seems to really be solid out there regarding claims that it does trigger autism.... i have a few more questions that are directly for the dr. and depending on those, we'll see what happens. chris gets to take max to the dr this time, as i have a meeting to attend.

that, is about it in a nutshell.... nothing too exciting...

ooh, crafty updates, i'm nearly close to being finished with moderne, i'm on block 6 and it's reaching a perfect size. i think after this block is finished, i'll do some sort of boarder and call it a day.

place mats for my mom.... yeah, the fabric is still in the laundry pile. i need to pull that out over the weekend.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

some of him and some of me

so i get comments all the time, they go like this:

wow, he really looks a lot like daddy!


wow, he's looking more and more like you as he gets older!

these seem to flip flop daily. i think he looks like max, but that's just me ;)

however, today, chris and i have found a trait that really does make him look err act like daddy.... since we all know that i'm not the neatest and more full or order family member....

i have somehow given birth to a neat freak... we've known that he isn't one to enjoy a mess... for a reminder check out the huge pouty face he is giving in all of his birthday photos where his hand is covered in icing... yeah, hates sticky fingers, will hold his hand out for me to clean it mid meal time if it's overly sticky or messy....

his latest? he has started to clean up the floor for me after he eats. which really couldn't have started at a better time since bending over is really a huge pain in the belly for me in my current state of being 28 weeks along with andrew. so 1st, i clean him, then clean up his tray, then i get him out of his high chair and he starts to bend over and pick up the food that he has flung off of his tray and onto the floor. usually i put my hand out and he puts it in my hand.

a few times while spending time in the kitchen while daddy cooks, max will pick up a food item that has fallen on the floor, again, i put out my hand and he puts it in there. well, in the past few days i've been teaching him to instead of giving trash to me, he should put it directly into the trash can. we did this a few times today. he's very helpful.

then i caught him cleaning up even without being told to do so. he found two crumbs under the table that we missed, he picked them each up and put them back on the table for me... i watched him do this from the living room. then i watched him, MID PLAYTIME WITH DADDY, pick up a piece of lint from the living room rug and walk into the kitchen with it, chris didn't notice what was happening so i called his attention to it and asked him to peek in on him. max had picked up the lint and was headed for the trash can. he threw it away! LOL

he also is really started to understand when i ask him to do things. he was starting to really get under our feet in the kitchen while dinner was being prepared so as a diversion tactic i asked him where his water was. he went into the living room and found his sippy cup of water and brought it to me. after i asked him to do that and he left the room chris said, if he comes back with his water, i really need to start watching what i say. wouldn't you know it, he came back with his water. chris and i had a pretty good laugh about it and have vowed to really and i mean really watch ourselves around max.

it's so amazing to watch how he learns and grows and to experience all the new things that he does each day :) that by far is the most enjoyable part of parenting, watching the learning experience get more and more complex day by day.

i leave you now with a recent photo:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

crafty updates

i broke in my new machine over the weekend. i completed 4 of the 5 curtain panels needed for the bedroom. i didn't get all 5 done because the fabric is a bitch to sew, it's faux suede and annoying as heck... so instead of being pissed about my sewing i made some coasters.

they turned out ok, they are just for us and were my first attempt at making coasters... i used some of the fun stitches that my new machine can do and frankly i was tired and didn't really consider how to negotiate around the corners with said stitches... so the top two turned out the best, the bottom two are a bit messy but still will act as coasters :)

i also went shopping, and bought this:and this:
the squirrellie fabric with the chenille will be used to make two scalloped blankies from bend the rules sewing. isn't that fabric fun? considering i have never made ONE DAMN THING for maxwell, i figured a blankie would be a good place to start. so i'm making two, one for him and one for andrew.

the bottom fabric will be a set of place mats and coasters for my mom for her birthday. i will be using the place mat pattern from bend the rules sewing for those too.

on the knitting front, i have bootie number two almost finished, i need to knit the straps then sew it together and weave in the ends and sew on buttons. i STILL have not picked up Baby Moderne in way too long. someone needs to kick my ass into major knitting gear.... this gift is due in TWENTY-FIVE DAYS and i'm still only in section 4....

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

i wanted to share this link with my crafty friends

i saw this linked from another blog and i had to check it out. i'm going to be making some of these items for gifts, just not sure what yet :) thought you guys might be inspired too :) this offers an explanation of what their blog will be offering for the month of november. this is the main page to their blog.

so far there are some great gift ideas that seem fairly easy to sew up.

i'm curious to see what they have in store for ties and belts on the 10th and warm those toes on the 15th plus others of course. i've pulled my dad's name for christmas this year so i'm trying to go the crafty and creative route. so far, i've he's getting lemoncello and i need a few more smaller items. i hand sewn tie would be great! and he would totally wear it!

i'll keep you posted on what i decide to create :)

Monday, November 5, 2007

good friends

this weekend was the wedding of two great friends of ours, leo & anne. chris and i have known leo for as long as we've known each other. in fact, chris met leo 6 months prior to meeting me, and i met leo shortly after meeting chris. since then, we've hung pretty tight. been through a lot. cranky times, happy times, lots of drunken times.... along with the three of us, there have always been other roommates and friends who we all have met and grown to love and still see every so often. but this weekend gave us all some much needed time to catch up and let loose (well, let loose as much as a pregnant woman who is 6 months along can, gha... i had to pee after every single song that i danced to!)...

we've seen a few "others" come and go from leo's life and none of them brought the true leo out to play like anne does. she's perfect for him and he adores her like nothing else :) it really did make us all so happy to see him in such a state. it's something i noticed the first time the four of us went out together and from that point forward, i just KNEW that they would be married in no time.

as for our other college friends, it was so great to party with them. something we haven't done in a LONG time. it's surprising how close we all are even though we're all in different parts of town and different stages in life. we can still manage to get together and have a great time. not too many college buddies and roommates can do that.

over all it was a great time, spent with great people and friends. it makes you realize how much you should cherish friendships that you have had for so long. we all might do our own thing and go our own directions but in the end, we spent some pretty awesome times together and the love and support that was there some 7 years ago is still there today.

i'll leave you with this, a photo of chris and i just before we left the house for the ceremony. just for record keeping sake, i'm 26 weeks along with andrew in the photo:

oooh, and a side note about the dress.... which if i do say so myself looked pretty hot! lol... two weeks prior i had tried on a few other dress options. they looked fine, and i was content with picking one of the two. time check, 11 pm the night prior to the wedding, i put the same two dress options back on to make my final decision and found that both options were HORRIBLE.... i looked like a huge dumpy mess and there was no way that i was going to attend a wedding looking like i did in those two dresses. so... what did i do... jumped on the internet, found a dress at target and decided that early saturday morning i would head there to try on this dress. it was $27.99, and fit like a freakin' glove! i felt so much better in it. so there i am, in the above photo in a dress that i had purchased two hours prior... way to be prepared cara, way to be prepared....

Monday, October 29, 2007


well, last week chris and i had an anniversary. it was our 4th. we had a great dinner (prepared by chris), we put max to bed and began our adventure in making our first batch of lemoncello. i searched for a few recipes and found this one that i liked, it was featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette few weeks ago and the amount that it makes seemed to be what i would need for some christmas gifts. the recipe calls for lemons from the Almalfi Coast, yeah, not gonna find those anywhere locally so i went to my local costco and bought two large bags of very large lemons, each bag had 10 lemons each. these lemons weren't the normal sized ones that you find in the grocery, they were huge! very nice, plump, and gave off a nice amount of zest. this photo shows how much zest you get from one large lemon. i used a potato peeler to get as much of it as i could.

each of the recipes i found said to keep as much of the pith, the white part under the zest, out of the mixture, apparently it will make it bitter. another good tip was to gently wash the lemons with some sort of abrasive cloth to get the wax off prior to peeling. apparently that will also cause unwanted bitterness to your batch. i gently scrubbed mine with a green pad.

NOTE: all photography except for the shot directly above, has been graciously donated by my photographer husband, chris. disclaimer: the background in the photos keeps changing... items keep disappearing, the knives, the plate on the wall, etc.... this annoys the crap out of me but chris was going for a certain look so he kept taking items out of the photo.... :)

once all 20 lemons were peeled i stuffed the peels into a large jug.

once all the peels were into the large jug i poured two large bottles of Nikoli 100 proof vodka in with them. most all the recipes that i found called for 100 proof grain alcohol but that is not available in pennsylvania so as an alternative vodka is recommended.

the two large bottles of vodka and all the peels filled the entire one gallon jug. i put the lid on gave it a few shakes and into a dark cabinet it went where the vodka is now taking on the lemony flavor and goodness from the 20 lemons worth of peel. i plan to let this mixture steep until the first week in december (about 35 days). at that time i will strain the peel from the vodka and a 1/2 gallon of simple syrup will be added to the whole batch. total, i should have about 1 1/2 gallons of lemoncello for christmas gifts this year. i purchased these from IKEA to bottle the finished product in. i like the look of them and how they seal. then a friend of mine, who is also considering making a batch, came up with the idea to make a little card that includes some serving suggestions. this is a great idea that i'm totally steeling, thanks blogless alyssa :)

this project was very easy and hopefully the outcome will warrant a repeat.

one more photo.... thanks for being my personal photographer honey, my photos just weren't working out the way i had planned so i'm glad you stepped in to assist.

as for the fate of the 20 peeled lemons, they did not go to waste. chris juiced all 20 of them on the worlds smallest hand juicer and then we made a small amount of simple syrup and made some of the BEST fresh lemonade i've ever ever EVER had. the 20 lemons made enough lemonade to fill another 1 gallon jug.

there will be a follow-up post sometime in december regarding how the batch turned out and the rest of the process.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

it's our anniversary and a few other things too

four years ago today, we tied the knot :) i can't believe that it's been four years!!! to celebrate, chris is cooking dinner for us tonight. he has a flank steak recipe that is super duper good and served over rice. i can't wait. then this saturday we're heading to dinner at Kaya in the strip for an evening out alone. i haven't been there in a very long time so i'm excited to sample some of their soooo sooo different foods :)

as for max, he's walking more and more, it's so cute :) he's also getting tooth number 8 and has been a bear to deal with the past few days. i know it will pass but dang i hope it's soon.

as for me, i seem to be developing big lip syndrome.... something that some but not all pregnant ladies seem to develop. basically the soft tissue in the body swells... lips and noses included. fun times... i really don't want to start looking like a big puffy mess... that's not any fun for anyone. plus in direct relation to this problem i've been sneezing and stuffy like crazy. i'm talking 5-7 sneezes at a time. talk about annoying, especially when you're trying to talk to someone important on the phone. then they ask you, "oh are you sick?" my response.... "no, just pregnant." it's almost like i would rather be sick then have to tell them that it's a symptom of pregnancy.... a strange one at that!

as for knitting.... what's knitting? ugh i need to get working on my baby moderne in a BAD way it's due to be given to it's recipient in a month and 1/2. then i need to cast on more booties and find fabric for another scalloped baby blankie but that's not due until the end of march... however i want to have those finished prior to my own new arrival gets here.

UPDATE: here's a photo of the flowers that chris had delivered to the house today :) aren't they pretty ? i used gerbera daisy's for my bridal bouquet and the bridesmaids carried them too, so pretty and so perfect for fall :)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

i've been tagged

thanks for the tag annie!

Jobs I've Had
1. i delivered a small local newspaper when i was about 13.
2. i bussed tables at a local restaurant while in high school called Hohman's.
3. student employee in the orientation office at slippery rock u. (this is where i met chris). i did all sorts of fun thing which included taking parents on a van tour around the campus and in town, some days i would drive the 15 passenger van and other days i would give the tour from the passenger seat and other days i would do both.
4. Real Job number 1: assistant media coordinator for the UPMC/City of Pittsburgh Marathon.
5. Real job number 2: ad/pr agency downtown, called Burson Marsteller.
6. Real job number 3: pr coordinator for Education Management (the art institutes).
7. Post 9/11 job to pay the bills - administrative assistant for AFLAC.
8. Post baby havin' - stay at home mama, regular household organizer, business owner and landlord.

Places I've Lived
1. Emsworth, PA
2. Slippery Rock, PA
3. Midway, PA
4. Coraopolis, PA

Foods I Love
1. Chocolate - dark
2. fillet mignon
3. crab cakes
4. grilled summer veggies
5. most everything mexican and greek

Places I Would Rather Be
1. maui
2. in the woods on a beautiful fall day
3. on vacation, permanently

TV Shows I Watch
1. the office
2. 30 rock
3. er
4. weeds
5. back to you
6. a slew of reality tv shows that aren't worth the time but i can't stay away from them

Books I Love
1. Catcher in the Rye
2. goodnight moon
3. the giving tree
4. a light in the attic
5. where the sidewalk ends

I am tagging:

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

on the move

well, the date is 10.10.07, max is 13 1/2 months old and he has as of tonight taken his 1st steps! talk about exciting :) and talk about being excited! max can't stand it he's so excited, in fact he gets so excited that he's just walked that he can't seem to do it again until he calms down a bit... it's really funny!

how it happened: he took three solid steps from daddy to me. then we tried to get him to do it from me to daddy but that didn't work, so i handed him back to daddy and he did it back to me again! then later this evening, he did it from the chair to the couch, then from the couch to a toy and again a few more times between us.

it's so much fun to watch him learn new things and to be there to help him learn these things :) it's such a fun time!
i tried to take a few photos of him in the act but my camera is really not all that great and won't take a photo on demand... there is some serious lag time... daddy's on the job of getting mommy a better one so that she can better capture these important moments :) thanks daddy!

i took a few more photos, you can see them here, one is a little freaky looking but he's actually just in motion.... he's not playing the part of casper, so don't be scared... then i figured, duh, i have video capabilities on this camera, i should just capture him walking on video... well, i switched it to video then my batteries crapped out. so we'll try that again tomorrow then hopefully try to figure out how to share video on youtube. wish me luck with that... i'm not the best at video work...

onto the next part of our lives... the one that will require that we have enough caffeine to keep up with a toddler :) ack, i guess this means that my baby is now a toddler.... oh my

Sunday, October 7, 2007

inspiration - scalloped baby blankie

ok, so last post i was all nutty blogging at crazy ass hours of the night and not able to sleep because i was feeling so creative and needed to get some of it out in order to fall asleep.

well, the following morning, i *sorta* went to my meeting... we won't get into details as to how i *sorta* went but after that "meeting in the parking lot with my cell phone while i called a few people and got caught up a bit (not the sort of meeting that i had intended but...ehh)" i went to joann's with my mother in law. she's a sewer so i figured she would be able to help me with fabric choice or at least with distracting maxwell while i did some shopping. we started looking for two fabrics, one pink, one brown to coordinate with Amanda's baby bedding that she is sewing. i had a few options out, but really wasn't feeling it with any of the selected fabrics and neither was my mother in law. UNTIL, i found one of the fabrics that Amanda was using for her project. this find made me realize that they had purchased the other fabrics here too so i kept looking for the brown fabric that she was also using. BINGO! found it! i put everything i had chosen prior away, and went with her exact fabrics. off to the cutting counter i went :) very very excited and home we went.

i traced the scallop pattern onto some pattern paper that i purchased because i am intending to make a few of these for a few friends so i figured having an actual pattern would be a good thing to have. then it was time for max to wake up. ... so the project was shelved until he took another nap later that afternoon. this took about 15 minutes, but i'm not really counting it towards the entire project time table because having this pattern template drawn out will just make future projects much quicker.

during his nap later that afternoon, i cut my fabric and started to pin it together. this took about 15 - 20 more minutes. project shelved again, i had some household duties to tend to.

max went to bed by 8 that evening. i quickly finished pining and up to the machine i went. by 11:30 i had my finished blankie. and was VERY happy with the outcome:

the pattern is the scalloped baby blanket from amy karol's Bend the Rules Sewing. her directions were very easy to follow, especially for a novice sewer who has never followed a sewing pattern (at least since 8th grade home-ec class). there are many more projects in this book that i will be creating, along with this one again for another friend and her baby.

to review the blankie, it not only looked great (if i do say so myself) but it felt great too. in fact it reminded me of my blankie that i had as a kid, it's not puffy in the least bit, it's quite thin, but it's got weight to it from the interior layer which is flannel. it's cozy, and cool to the touch and snuggly. perfect blankie criteria :)

i can't wait to go shopping for more fabric and i plan to do so within the next few weeks... i'm itching to sit back down at my machine again and be creative :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

i have been inspired

i can't sleep... it's 1 am and i have to be at a breakfast meeting by 7:30 am (today!!) and i'm blogging instead of sleeping... go figure.

my mind is racing, with lots of inspiration. which, i figure, is a good thing. i just wish my mind would keep these racing thoughts in check and only have them during daytime or awake hours. instead of having them at 1 am....

anyways, my cause of inspiration? a new book. THIS new book, Bend the Rules Sewing by Amy Karol. there are so many projects in there that i will be making. at first i thought i would try my hand at sewing in a zipper... thus making the small pouches, the first project listed in the book. then i got further and further in and really i think i'm going to make a bunch of them. for one, i'm making max an elf hat for no good reason other than to embarrass him in year to come. but really, i have a moth munched on kelly green wool sweater that is just screaming to be repurposed, and this is a perfect reposition for it. max will look dashing in a green elf hat :) i'll have to find some fun way to decorate it, something tells me a little flower isn't appropriate for my little guy. maybe just some large bold colored buttons. we'll see.

as for other projects on my list. i've been so inspired by one of them that i am planning a stop at the fabric store tomorrow morning so that i can start it right away. it has a due date of this saturday and the recipient reads this blog so i can't go into any more detail. just know that there will hopefully be some photos and a blog entry to follow this coming weekend. i'm so excited to make this and i sure do hope it turns out as giftable :)

i have finished (all but sewn on the buttons) booties for a friend. i need to cast on another pair and buy some fabric to match because, again, i've been inspired to sew something to go with the booties for another friend. i might wait a few weeks on that project though because hopefully by then she'll have found out what sex her baby will be and i can find appropriate fabric for that certain sex.

as for me, i'm feeling great and feeling lots of movement, especially in the evenings and early morning. such a great part of pregnancy.

as for max, he's getting sooooo close to walking. he took a half step to the couch on sunday and did about the same thing today. he mostly has found that being upright is much more fun than on all fours. but instead of taking that full out step he'll be more willing to just launch himself towards whatever it is he wants to walk to... thank god those things are usually not much further than arms reach for him and he ends up catching onto those things, couches, chairs, mommy's arms etc.... before falling face first to the ground. i however am not rushing him in the least bit :) i know he'll take a step and i know he'll do it on his own terms.

as for everything else... i think that's it.

again, please don't forget to read and sign the petition that i have listed in my post below. i don't want that to get burried just yet. it's for a really important cause and these folks need your help. go here for lots more information. and thank you for helping them out.

ok, so let's hope that posting this blog has put an end to my insomnia for the evening and that i will be asleep by 1:30.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Important Information

I have a few close friends who are directly involved with adoptions from Guatemala and need your help tremendously. Please go here, sign this petition and know that you are doing your part to help bring these little babies home.

if you feel like you would like to do more, go here for a full explanation of what is going on and how you can help.

thanks for your time!

Friday, September 21, 2007

quick update

i know a lot of you already know this but i have a few out of town friends who read this and i want to share with them the good news :)

today we had our big ultrasound, and found that i am def. going to be outnumbered in the house... max is going to have a little brother :) we're really excited about it! and bunk beds are going to be ordered in a few weeks to celebrate! i can't wait for them to be best friends. since they will be so close in age, i see no problem with achieving this best buddy status between them.


Thursday, September 20, 2007


i have purchased my first pair of dpn's *gah!* and i also purchased yarn to make these the dpns are for these too, as i couldn't find regular needles in a small enough size so i was forced to by dpn.... i did a test run because i was antsy and i wanted to see if i could do it.... i used kitchen cotton and size 5's, the one is big enough to fit maxwell as a slipper... but hey i did it, and i'm proud.

here's a photo of the mock up one... no sewn in ends yet... and they have a mistake right in the front of the toe box... but it still turned out pretty cute in my opinion.

here is a photo of the yarn i purchased for when i start the real ones, the colors are jet (a nice teal color) and lemone (very pale yellow):

and here is some other yarn that i purchased yesterday. while in the store the pink seemed more red and my vision was to knit max a winter hat with it... but... i got it home and realized that the "red" was reallly just a very bright pink.... and now i'm thinking that it might not be appropriate to knit maxwell a hat using this yarn... it's very nice and soft though and machine washable even though there is wool in it.

any suggestions on what to do with this yarn? i really like it and the colors... i might just go ahead and knit max a hat with it... screw convention... if anyone has a simple/classic baby hat pattern they would like to share, please let me know :)

update on us: i'm feeling grand, i have my big ultrasound scheduled for tomorrow morning, hopefully we'll find out what we're having :) that means that i'm also 20 weeks along. i've been feeling slight movement, usually in the evenings but i believe that my placenta is again attached to the outside wall of my uterus again thus creating a bit of a buffer between the baby and my belly, which means i can't feel as many kicks as you would if you placenta were attached to the back wall of the uterus where it usually is attached. this isn't a problem it's just how i seem to do things... a bit backwards. lol

max is well, he said, "bye bye daddy" the other day, i cried... and he's been saying no and what i think is nose. and he knows where my ears are... all exciting things :)

Monday, September 10, 2007

i think i'm crazy... contemplating travel

i just need to write about this... just kind of a mental blab that i need to do in order to get my thoughts in order...

so a few weeks ago we found out that chris will be heading to london this spring with this department. well, initially i was really bummed that i wouldn't be able to go with... since i'll have max and baby r ii who will only be 4 months...

but after talking in more detail with chris about it i think we've decided that if i can find a direct flight then i'll come too. i won't stay for the entire time he is there. just 5 or 6 days instead of his 15. but that means traveling by myself with the two kids... i will only do it if i can find a direct flight... and even if that means if i have to drive to dc, stay with my cousin or by best girl friend (yes that's you val - i'll be talking with you in much greater detail about this soon... and of course asking if you even mind *wink*) and then leave from there. it also means some time in london-town by myself with the kids too, which i wouldn't mind too much. there are things i want to go and see that i'm sure chris could do without.

but my main reasons for wanting to go are duh the obvious one, it's london, who wouldn't want to go there with their spouse... but two, chris and i want to travel with our little family and we don't want to wait until the youngest (who isn't even in gestation yet) is at the very least over the age of 6... that's a long time from now and frankly we want a family and we want to travel so that means that i need to strap on my boots and make a go at it. i figure that london is pretty tame in terms of the "european metro city" i think my major travel abroad worries are fairly non-existent with traveling to this city because of the lack of language barrier. thus i figure if i'm going to internationally travel with young children then this would be a perfect first time location. i am currently just worried about the particulars... getting max, and the new baby on and off the plane. keeping max entertained while holding the 4 mo. old. not totally annoying all the other passengers on the flight with me and my mothering ability, my toddler and a possible wailing infant who wants nothing to get some boob.

then i wonder would it make more sense to take an overnight flight? would max be sure to sleep if it were sleeping hours? would i get any sleep? i'm thinking that an overnight flight would be a bad idea for all parties involved...

then upon my arrival, are strollers something that is able to be rented? it's a big metro city... i would THINK so... but i guess you never know... then, packing reasonably for a toddler, an infant and myself... how does one do that? can i plan on just purchasing item there? would that be a hassle?

needless to say, i think i have a few lists that i need to create and compare. and some googling that need to happen so that i can make my decision.

any outsider thoughts are more than welcome. even if they are to tell me that i'm a complete loon and that i shouldn't in a million years consider traveling to london by myself with two children under the age of two... i'm a big girl, i can take it :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

just a little update

max is 1 year and 1 week old and doing great! he's slowing down a bit on his food intake, so i just offer him food and if he doesn't eat it, i don't press the issue, i just offer him more at a later time. that seems to be working, sorta...

he is also very very close to taking his first steps. right now he is so excited to walk holding onto my hands or anyone elses for that matter all around the house, or in the yard, or down the sidewalk. it's cute! chris and i have been encouraging him to walk a short distance alone between us but as of right now, really all he can manage is to do a belly flop in either direction, close but not quite... not trying to rush anything though.

he has also started to brush his own teeth, talk about adorable! i plop him on top of the (closed) toilet seat, put tooth paste on his brush, and hand it to him. i then do the same with my own toothbrush and we brush our teeth together, he tries to mimic everything i do except for the spitting into the sink part. talk about adorable :)

we also went out this past weekend and got him his big boy car seat! he now faces forward in the car and loves it! i can look back at him and he just smiles right back! it's fun, i just have to remember that i'm driving and i'm supposed to keep all eyes on the road at all times, not on my cute kid in the backseat lol...

as for me, i'm almost 18 weeks along (just shy by two days). i feel great! i just started sleeping with my body pillow again and i don't know why i hadn't done so a few weeks ago because i'm finally sleeping well again. well, as best as i can expect to be. one thing i'm patiently waiting for is for the weather to cool down soon so that i can go shopping for some fall/winter maternity clothes, something i really don't have much of... chris doesn't know it but he he should be so glad that since i'm not working i can get away with piecemealing my outfits together at the moment, something i could never do if i were working in an office or something... however i have no long pants that will fit in a few weeks except for one pair of very nice dress pants which i don't plan on wearing around the house while i push max around on his tractor... so a shopping excursion will be in order soon, i hope sooner rather than later, this heat and humidity is really starting to get to me... i want the cool crisp fall days to return and i want that soon!

oh, as of about a week or two ago, i had to take my wedding rings off... one part of pregnancy that i absolutely hate. i can manage to wear them during the day but if i dare sleep with them on... it's not good. so instead of forgetting to take them off at night i just haven't been wearing them at all. something i hate to do because when not pregnant, i never ever ever take them off... i've managed to wear them for special events and such but on the normal day of errands and what not, i just don't bother. so far i haven't noticed any "looks" from the local biddies with regards to my lack of ring, child on my hip and another in my belly... hopefully i don't encounter any stupid no-it-all's because i guarantee they will get an ear full if they even so much as look at me funny... and yes, i realize i could wear a different (larger) ring in their place and i did that last time but it just makes me feel like i'm cheating... on what, i don't know...

well, that's about all for this week.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

birthday celebration for the little man

happy birthday baby!

well, tomorrow is the official big day for Maxwell. he will be one year old. in fact a year ago at this very moment i was getting settled into my l&d room for what would be a very long night (and morning) but a very rewarding day was ahead :) it's really crazy to think that just a year ago max wasn't here (getting misty now...) it's amazing how FAST time goes by when you have kids... i seems like it was just a few days ago that we were showing him off to our family and friends in the hospital while chris ran around like a mad man trying to make it to all of his classes in the days directly following max's arrival plus be there for me and max. then getting him home and just holding him and loving him and adjusting to everything that was all totally new. it's just... amazing that life changes as much as it does so damn fast!

well, yesterday was his first birthday party! i ordered the cake, the balloons, the chicken and sent out invites to our family and friends and even to some of max's little friends. i tried to keep it as simple as possible but as we all know that's not as easy as it sounds. i had a few things for the kids to do, sidewalk chalk and bubbles seemed to keep their attention for about a second... but at least it was something for them to do.

max was well, pretty much overwhelmed the entire day. there were six other children on his living room floor that weren't usually there and a lot more noise than he's ever used to. i think that in itself threw him off. then it was time for cake and i said to chris, ok, take his clothes off, but i wasn't as concise as i should have been because he really did end up in his birthday suit..... i expected for him to at least have pants on.... nope, he was wearing a diaper, bib and party hat! ehh, i figured what the heck, it's his birthday, he's in his birthday suit... let's just roll with it. max didn't feel the same way though... his usually adaptable self wasn't adapting very well... he pouted a lot while we put him in his highchair and strapped him in. then we sang to him and he was totally blown away and had no clue what was up with that... then we all sat there starring at him, snapping photos and encouraging him to stick his fingers in his cake and eat it. i'm not sure what we all expected, the kid doesn't like to be messy or sticky (just like his mother) and really hasn't ever made a mess like that ever. nor has he ever had cake so why did we expect him to just dig in? needless to say i had to push his hands into the cake... he pouted some more.... then i had to feed him a few bites... he liked it but still wasn't too sure of the whole getting messy thing. by the way, i didn't skimp on the cake, i figured he's only one once... so he got to have cake for the first time AND it was chocolate! ha! i figured i needed to teach him what was good the first time around. then i was bored with watching my baby get messy so i figured that the guests probably were too so i decided to serve some cake and i had daddy give him a little rinse off in the sink.

sometime during this whole debacle... i was sitting next to him eating my own cake and ice cream when something completely unexpected happened.... first i heard a crack... my body started to lean to the right a bit.... then more cracking and crackling.... more body lurching to the right... then bam! i completely slid off my chair and was on the floor.... it all happened in slow motion so it really didn't hurt much... just a bit of a sting on my ass. but yes, i apparently had too much cake and my chair couldn't handle it! actually our P.O.S. antique chairs have now made it from 6 total to 4. (we lost the first one a few months ago) needless to say, i'm really glad that no one else was sitting in the chair... but everyone was really worried because of my current "condition" and me falling... really i fell quite gently considering, plus i have a lot of padding in the back at the moment. it didn't hurt too much and i thought it was pretty funny actually. if i would have fallen in any other direction, maybe i would have been worried but falling from less than two feet off the ground in a rather slow motion way, isn't anything to bat an eyelash at... it's more something to laugh at! i was just generally embarrassed that i have crap for chairs... but that's another story...

after cake, max was totally ready for a nap but instead we needed to open gifts. i had him sit down with daddy on the floor nearby while i opened his gifts for him... i always feel funny opening gifts in front of others but he's too little to know how. so i had to help him out. he wasn't even interested in the paper like he normally is. he just wanted to play with his new books, toys and clothes.

he received some really nice things, lots of great books that are even entertaining for mommy and daddy to read to him. some great toys that have already replaced his little baby toys (we cleaned out the toy cabinet this morning ) and some much needed clothes for this fall and winter.

after gifts, i made a bottle and put him down for a nap and everyone soon went on their way. it was really nice to spend some time with everyone :) those of you that were there and read this blog, thanks a ton for coming, it really means a lot and it was great to spend time with you and your kids and even with your kid to be ;)

ooh ooh, i got to hold a little girlie! amy, from passion from a stone, her daughter heather, was there and she let me hold her while she had some lunch. she's such a peach and i think i really want a little one of her kind. her little party dress was just adorable and i really want to be able to put some cute dresses on one of my children... hopefully one who is a female. i don't think chris (or max for that matter) would appreciate it if i started to cross dress our son.

the day was really enjoyable and i'm so glad that we got to celebrate it with our family and friends. i'm also glad that max didn't have too large of a melt down :)

here are a few more photos of the day:

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

show and tell

here's a photo of my relic, it's a Singer model no. 237 from 1968.

it works well for what i need it to do at this time but it needs to be serviced in a big bad way. a major cleaning would be part of that servicing. but that means that i have to have chris transport it because it's got to be more than 40 lbs. it's a beast! but i love how heavy and sturdy it is. it is all metal except for the base and the cover (cover not pictured but are both the base and cover are hard plastic.) i would like to start sewing more and would love to make clothes for me (i'm envisioning some super cute maternity shirts) and i think making children's clothes would be great too! i think i would need an upgrade though before i jumped into all that :) (hint hint chris! - chrismas and my birthday are both in a few months, no time like now to start shopping :) )

note to amanda over at ajknitting - i'm totally jealous of all the different stitches and buttonhole options that your machine offers, see how many mine offers? FIVE, yep five! yours has like 500 or something! i can't wait for a review once you've finished a few projects.

note to jen over at seedling of knowledge - let's see your machine!

and not to leave anyone else out, if you read this blog and want to share your machine, please feel free!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

round up

a lot has happened since my last post. sorry readers for such a long lull...

chris's grandmother passed away, she had a stroke three weeks prior then passed comfortably and peacefully in her own home. we bought a newer car, replaced chris's 1990 jeep with a 2000 jeep, now we both drive the SAME EXACT vehicle just in different colors... i think we need to get us some vanity plates. what do you think? my suggestions are the following: CTR 1 and CTR 2. i'm totally joking of course... no vanity plates for us, but that sure would be funny...

i have officially made it to the 2nd trimester! and i'm feeling just a tad less than 100%. still tired often but not sick :) yay! my belly is starting to change shape... and i'm really not liking it much this time. my skin is still very loose from just doing this a year ago... so i'm feeling very very lumpy... but that's not that horrible.... i just can't wait for the weather to change so that i can go out and buy some fall/winter maternity clothes that will hopefully hide my lumps... lol

no knitting has happened in the past few weeks... i'm planning on going to a knitting get together tomorrow so hopefully i'll get out of my non-knitting funk there. i need to get moving on this project so that i can move onto the NEXT one...

max has had a few milestones too, he's begun to stand and let go of things, no steps on his own yet but lots of hand held walking up and down the sidewalk and around the house. he also learned how to use a fork as of yesterday! we load it of course then he puts it in his mouth :) it's so cute! he has also made the switch from formula to whole milk. he seems to really like the change. but i'm thinking that the milk is not as filling as the formula because for the past two nights he's been waking up at strange times of the night wanting nothing but another bottle... sooo.... i guess this is just something we'll have to adapt to.

i leave you with this, our little fork user:

Sunday, July 22, 2007

max's gastrological tour

back from cayuga lake, a finger lake in ny. it was heaven. the weather was good, we had a little rain in the middle of the week but we swam 5 out of our 7 days there. family time, a little too much. but i know they all enjoyed spending so much time with max and really having my parents there made our jobs as parents a little easier :) so it was a nice relaxing time for us too.

max though, he had a blast. our first day there, he seemed to be on his normal nap and sleeping schedule. after that, it all went downhill.... days two and three, NO NAPS. just a few 10 minute snoozes while in the car but that hardly helped. however day one was the first day of max's gastrological tour. before we left i packed a ton of baby food jars, puffs, dried fruit, all the stuff they make for easy travel. i came home with more than half of it.....

day one, upon our arrival we were greeted by some cousins from my mom's family who were preparing a shrimp boil. the recipe was taught to my mom's cousin who lives in FL, the recipe is for an authentic Cajun shrimp boil. ingredients include: shrimp (with the heads still on) that were at least 5 - 6 inches long, whole vidalia onions, whole cloves of regular garlic and elephant (giant sized) garlic left in the paper (peal), whole mushrooms, half ears of corn, a few lemons worth of lemon juice, zatterans Cajun seasoning, water, and pepper oil (very very potent hot pepper season). i can't remember the order that you prepare everything but oh my good god was it awesome. once cooked you pull everything from the broth with a huge strainer and you just place it all into large casserole dishes or a large bowl. then you just start to pick. we had a picnic table covered with craft paper, so we just pealed the shrimp, you pull the head off then peel the rest off like a regular piece of shrimp, you pull an onion apart and eat it piece by piece, you squeeze garlic our of the skin and eat it whole like roasted garlic, and you eat the rest of the food with your hands too. it was so hot and so good and so messy, it was great! max ate some of the potatoes and mushrooms. and he also had about a 1/2 of blueberries that day too, his first adventure with blueberries, which he now loves, and shrimp boil.

day two, my mom had prepared a really good red sauce with meatballs and brought it with her for monday's dinner. she prepared pasta, and we added her sauce and meatballs to it. max had had pasta before but with very simple sauce and he had also tried meatballs before but again with a so so sauce. that night he had real pasta and a meatball. he loved it and had the left overs a few times the rest of the week. tuesday, we again got together for dinner with our cousins, we pulled our leftovers from the shrimp boil and our pasta together plus we added a few lake bass to the mix. they were blackened and grilled and really yummy, we then tossed the left over shrimp to some extra pasta added a salad and we were set. this day, max again had some pasta and some lake bass, he loved it all.

day three, the 7 of us (my parents, my brother, his fiance, chris, me and max) all packed into the cars and drove 30 minutes to ithica to have some mexican lunch. i packed a few jars of food and some puffs for max. so we ordered, i started to feed max his lunch and the chips came. we all started to munch, and max got angry.... he kept yelling and pointing at the guacamole. so chris broke off a tiny piece of chip and put some guac on it. it disappeared in about two seconds and he was yelling for more. the jar of food was cast aside. i would try to feed him more from it and he would close his lips so tight... so... our food comes. it's quite spicy, max doesn't care though he points and yells for some burrito, i give him some rice from inside, chris does the same with his, i try to give him food that is not near the spicy chicken that is throughout my burrito but i know i slipped a few times... he starts to get crazy, he is pointing and yelling i give him water, it doesn't help, he points and yells some more, i put more food on the spoon and he takes it. we weren't sure if his crazy antics were because of the spicy food or the fact that he loves mexican... either way, it was a fun trip to the mexican restaurant, and it was really good food too.

day four, was pretty quiet. we did however all go out for dinner (all 14 of us) to a nice restaurant where the specialty was prime rib. i got crab cakes instead but chris got the prime rib and max willingly ate some of that as well, again he didn't want anything to do with the jar of food, so instead he ate a roll, some sauteed green beans and some pretty rare prime rib. he loved it all.

day five. hmmm, what did we do day five.... not much... chris and i made burgers and we even made a few that were baby sized just for max, so that night he had a little baby burger, some fruit and a piece of bread.

day six, chris and i took max to Rochester to the George Eastman House, it's a smaller sized museum that is all about photography. they were featuring an Ansel Adams show which was spectacular. we also met up with a long lost friend Peter who lives in the area. he was one of chris's college roommates and we haven't seen him for quite a few years. it was nice to catch up. we ate lunch at a cool place called Black & Blue, chris had a kobe beef meatball sandwich and i had a roasted chicken wrap. max had a few shoe string french fries, a roll and some baby food.

that night we met up with the family again and went to a small family restaurant where we had some friend fish, max tried some of mine. along with some veggies from the salad bar, he seemed to really like the mushrooms and he had a little pasta salad too.

day seven, we spent most of the day in the water, the weather was perfect the sun was shining bright plus max took his normally scheduled naps so we could relax a bit. for dinner we headed up to our cousins cottage for burgers and hot dogs. they had grilled up some zucchini and max had three large pieces of that, which he loved. then he had a few green beans, which he also loved. the kid likes veggies!

it was a really nice time away, and we hope to do it again next year. we're wondering how that will work though with max and a 5 month old.... i'm guessing it won't be as relaxing. overall, i think max is finished with his baby food and is now into whatever we're eating :) fun times are ahead!

i'll add photos soon, they aren't ready for viewing yet :)

Saturday, July 14, 2007


I've been up one day and down the next... feeling like total doo doo on those down days and pretty close to 100% (let's call it about 90%) on those up days. crazy max is everywhere, chasing the kitties, learning to navigate the steps, trying to walk through the new front door screen, or yanking on plugs that are stuck in the wall (this is my favorite thing he does... especially when i sternly say no and shake my head no while he laughs at me - yes he laughs at me!) ugh... fun times.

yesterday i had an ultrasound to help set a due date. the u/s tech said that the fetus is measuring at 10 weeks on the dot. so does that mean that i'm actually 12 weeks along? either Feb. 8th! i hope we have snow! anyways, the process was fun! i got to see our little bean! it was funny because the tech found it, took some measurements then just as she stopped typing away, she held the "thingie" there on my belly for a minute so i could watch it and the teeny baby did a little dance! it was the cutest thing ever! it wiggled and jumped around a little then settled back down and then we were done. it was great to see the baby, it made things seem more real. i guess i'm still in a bit of denile with a side of morning sickness.

well, we are headed out of town again this week, i will have NO internet service the entire time. so no updates until i return. so i leave you with this.... something that i love to drink on vacation but i will NOT be drinking while i'm lounging at the lake again this year... btw, this isn't my own photo... sorry... i borrowed it from here, thank you nice lady.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

in the kitchen

yes, i actually spent a LITTLE time in my kitchen this week! amazing feeling! i had the duty of making an appetizer to take to my parents house for their little 4th of july gathering. so earlier this week i pulled out my recipe stash and started to go through it. this was also in an effort to find some recipes that i wanted to make prior to hitting the grocery store. i'm trying to organize my meal planning a bit instead of not putting enough effort into it. as my husband would prefer that i stop waiting until 6 pm to think about what i should make for dinner.... anyways... so along my journey through my recipe collection i found a dip recipe for Roasted Red Pepper Dip. i had clipped this recipe from the Post-Gazette one sunday. the recipe is paired with two other recipes that look wonderful, 3-cheese baby burgers with paprika-lemon aioli and muffuleta subs. both are on my list of recipes to try. but the roasted red pepper dip sounded perfect.... easy to make, easy to find ingredients (this needs to be considered with you are grocery shopping with a baby the day prior to a major holiday) and most of all it sounded tasty.

So yesterday morning, i put max down for a nap at 10, pulled my food processor down from the shelf and made this AWESOME dip.

here's the recipe:
Roasted Red Pepper Dip
1 8 oz package cream cheese, cut up
6 oz feta cheese, crumbled
6 roasted red sweet peppers, drained (i used a 12 oz jar of roasted red peppers in strips and it was just perfect)
1 teaspoon salt (i omitted this, i rarely add salt to anything i make and i figured that with the feta it would be salty enough)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh mint, lightly chopped (i think i added about 3 tablespoons)
pita chips, crackers or toast points (i served it with plain pita chips)
In a food processor, combine cream cheese, feta cheese, roasted peppers, salt and black pepper. Cover and process until combined. Stir in mint. Serve with pita chips, crackers or toast points. Makes 2 1/2 cups.

it was really really good! it turns this pretty pink/orange color with flecks of bright green from the mint. and the MINT, ooh the mint... adds a great dimension that is really fun for your mouth!

if you're looking for an easy to make dip recipe that will be sure to please, this is a great option!

photo to come soon!

Friday, June 29, 2007

another tooth

max is now 10 months and two days old... apparently, i need to start planning a birthday party.

yesterday was one of the worst days he's every had... thank god my all day sickness decreased a teeny tiny bit... but at least i'm not the only one that saw his madness. my brother stopped by for a minute and he watched max crawl into a corner and just start to cry cry cry as if someone had pinched him, really hard... he cut his fifth tooth yesterday. he was a wet drooly mess, he was stinky and totally cranky... usually he chooses to sleep through this process so this was a new thing for both of us to have to medicate him during the day. all of his other teeth came in at night so that meant that he just woke up every few hours screaming... this was an all day screaming event. nothing i did would help... he would just cry in my lap, cry on the floor, cry in my bed (we tried to take a nap together), he cried in the car and in his crib too... he cried pretty much everywhere... i put him to bed a little early last night, he went down with a little resistance but then ended up crying himself to sleep... since he slept through the night and is still sleeping but starting to make some waking noises... i'm hoping that today is a better day and i have my normal jolly baby back today :)

as for me, i remembered yesterday that i needed to start taking my prenatal vitamins. i think this might be helping my all day sickness a bit. or at least that's what i'm telling myself. power of suggestion, ya know?

I have no new recipes to try, i have no new knitting (yet), and no other crafts that are worth mentioning... in fact my house is pretty much a sty.... i haven't done much of anything and that includes load and unload the dishwasher... today is my "get back on track" day. i will have clean dishes and my husband will have some fresh underpants for tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

number two

as most of my readers know, i'm expecting baby number two to arrive sometime around the end of January/beginning of February. we weren't really trying to have number two but on the same hand we weren't really trying to NOT have number two. so there you have it! Just a little warning this blog will also be used to document how things progress with this one since number one is severely lacking in the "notes" department. i could kick myself for that... but anyways... btw, i also plan on documenting photographically much better this time too.

as of today, i'm either 8 weeks along, 12 weeks along or somewhere in between. i have my first dr's appointment July 6th so hopefully i'll have a bit more insight on an actual due date then.

so far there are some differences, some of these are attributed to the fact that this is my 2nd and apparently things happen a little quicker the 2nd time around. so far, by mid afternoon, my pants look visibly tight around my waist. and i have had morning / all day / evening sickness this time around as well. i had very little of this with maxwell.... in fact all i needed to do with him was eat something as little as a jello snack and i was fine... this time... it's not that easy. plus chasing max around doesn't really help....

i think most of our friends know the news, our immediate family know and i'm sure word is slowing (er... quickly, who am i kidding) getting around to extended family.

well, until next time, let the new adventure begin :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

greetings from da beach

hello everyone out there in blog land!

i'm writing to you from the Lewes Public Library, very friendly place here, but i only have 16 more minutes left on my Internet time... so i need to make this snappy!

this area is great! very relaxing, very clean, very friendly and a minutes walk and you're on the beach and nearly there by yourself to boot! we've taken some photos and they are on my flickr site but this is my favorite:

so far max seems to love the ocean, had tasted a bit of sand but especially loves to try to eat the little rocks and pebbles that are the same size or larger than his favorite snack, puffs... so that's been a little bit of a challenge to keep those small items out of his mouth... but other than that he's doing so well. not sure how much of this he'll remember but i'm hoping that the photos will help him do so :)

other than that, we're really enjoying the time off and spending this time in a great town and cottage. photos of the teeny place we are staying in to come later, it's actually quite charming, just a bit on the small side but works for the three of us.

until next time....

Friday, June 15, 2007

my readers speak, my readers get

so yes, i have not had much in the witty department to blog about lately. sorry readers... i do have to say though that amanda, dear, you haven't had much either! and same goes for amy, but i know you've got a lot going on with your schedule and heather and your job. so... just know i'm not the only one with not much to say! lol jen, your new recipes look outstanding and your updates on Finn's food items, are entertaining :) annie, you've got a little bit going on right now too but you've had quite a lot of updates considering :)

however it's funny that you all mentioned this today because i was planning a little update prior to leaving... we're preparing to leave town for vacation soon and that's consuming our lives at the moment... we have gone out of town for weekend trips with max before but that was prior to his mobility and his change in diet... i packed clothes, some little toys and formula... easy as pie. this time, not so much... the thought of packing toys to entertain a baby for a week is a little much for me... i am hoping that being at the beach will be enough to tucker him out thus he won't need tons of toys or different toys... i'm also concerned at the amount of sand i'm told he will ingest. this is gross... especially considering that it's really not just sand... but also bird poop, dirt, dead sea animal germs... ick.... i suppose he is not the first baby to ever go to the beach and ingest sand so i'm sure he'll be ok but it still a little frightening.

as for vacation, i have it in my head that we really don't need to pack very much. our place has a washer and dryer. so we really only need to pack for a few days, then i'll wash everything and we'll wear it all again... i have a feeling though that once we accumulate are large pile of stuff that it's going to be much larger than either of us expected and that's going to provoke yet another argument because apparently prior to any trip we ever take, i get a little bitchy and i don't calm down until we're on the road. that's according to chris, obviously.... i surely don't see it that way.

while on vacation we have no plans... well, chris has a few that revolve around him getting up before dawn to photograph sunrise and he wants to visit a brewery that is nearby. but other than that... we are out! going on vacation is really the only way for us to really completely get away from our business. since our office on the third floor houses our photography business, it's only a flight of stairs away, thus it's so easy to just pop up there and so some work and get immersed... we won't be able to do this while we're gone. the nearest wifi spot is less than a mile away but that still means that we won't have the computers on all day while we putter around the house. i'll be cut off from my email, message boards and blogs that i read daily... and frankly i'm welcoming the break from all of it! but just for a week of course!

i'll try to post a little update mid-vacation about our trip. that should have a photo or two attached as well...