Wednesday, February 29, 2012


 a nap!  and a mullet.

yesterday started out as one of those days where even doing the normal everyday stuff seemed overwhelming.  charlie was out of town, it was grey and cloudy, i had to work, and i was going on day 4 of a baby who refused to sleep anywhere but my arms.  she wouldn't sleep in her crib, in the cosleeper, or in the moby wrap. i had to physically be holding her.  needless to say the house isn't exactly the cleanest thing although charlie did a decent amount of cleaning on sunday.  then i checked my email and found a bill from the daycare which a.  reminded me that i'll be leaving my daughter in 2 weeks and b. was apparently their way of notifying me that they raised their rates. awesome.  

after a shower and a cup of decaf coffee (which i swore i would stop drinking) and a baby who slept for an hour in the moby wrap! i was feeling slightly better.  then avery took her usual midday nap in her crib, which made me feel about a thousand times better and let me get a lot of work done. and by the end of the day i had managed to work, empty the dishwasher, and cook dinner.  i made black bean soup which was perfect for charlie being gone (i knew he wouldn't really be a fan) and perfect for a cold, grey day.  and then avery and i climbed into bed at 7:30 with henry and a cup of tea and read the long winter until she decided it was bedtime.  

Friday, February 24, 2012

it's the little things ...

she was mad.

...  almost 60 degree weather in february even if there were 70 mph winds.
...  walks with the dogs.
...  how charlie takes the dogs out in the morning.
...  a rare morning when we all sleep in until 7 am.
...  avery sleeping a 7 hour stretch last night!
...  checking on my sleeping baby and watching her sleep for a few minutes.
...  the moby wrap.  so many things get done because of this.
...  when avery falls asleep with each of her hands wrapped around one of my fingers.
...  an afternoon coffee with the family.
...  walks around fort collins.
...  real estate agents who do the home finding for us.
...  clean sheets.
...  when charlie gives avery her bath.
...  watching avery grab a handful of ollie.  just you wait cat, this is only the beginning.
...  a cold snowy thursday.
...  working from home.  (although this has been quite a big thing for me)
...  flickr, blogger, gchat, and facetime which have helped us stay in contact with people.
...  all of the clothes that people have given us for avery.  who knew baby clothes were so expensive.
...  gap baby clothes.  so soft.  although only worth the money when they're on clearance.
...  chunky baby thighs.
...  cooking dinner with charlie.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

1 month!!

i forgot to post this last month but i still wanted to so i'd have all of her months.  
i know a lot of people have done weekly pictures this first year but there's no way i'd be able to stay on track with that.  besides, i figured this way i'll really be able to see the changes from month to month.  i decided to take these pictures on our bed because i'm lazy and it requires no extra effort.  i've seen a lot of people get really creative with these but for me, simpler is better.

i can't believe it's been a whole month since she was born but when i look at pictures of when she was first born compared to now it's crazy to see how much she's changed.  she's definitely chunking up.  the cheeks and thighs are my favorite!  she was one ounce over her birth weight at her 2 week appointment and although she's still in newborn clothes she's filling them out much better than she used to.  

love the chunky cheeks.


my favorite thing to do is hold her and watch her sleep.  i know i should put her down so she gets used to sleeping in other places, but sometimes i just can't help it.  especially at night when she sleeps the longest stretches, i miss holding her (even though i appreciate the sleep).


it's been an amazing first month and i can't wait for the next 11 (although i don't want her to grow up too fast).  i'm looking forward to celebrating all of these holidays again with a one year old next year!  it's going to be a fun holiday season with charlie's birthday, avery's birthday, and christmas all in the same week!

cleaning and scrubbing can wait 'till tomorrow,
for babies grow older we've learned to our sorrow.
so settle down cobwebs, dust go to sleep,
i'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

this month was a whirlwind, but i loved how the world just seemed to slow down and fade away while avery and i got to know each other.  

2 months!!

i cannot believe that she's a whole 2 months old!  
charlie told me that she doesn't look any different than from her 1 month pictures but i think he's crazy.  for a little perspective she was wearing a newborn onesie in her 1 month pictures and is wearing a 0-3 month onesie in these pictures.  
to celebrate turning 2 months, she rolled over! twice!! i'm sure this is a milestone that she won't repeat for a while but i was pretty proud of her.  i was more proud of her than i was of myself when i graduated college.  even though she had no idea what the big deal was all about.

it's hard to get that hand out of her mouth these days.


it's sort of amazing to me how much i love being a mom.  i always knew that i wanted a family but i thought it would be hard for me to deal with the crying, and getting up 4 times a night, and giving up sleeping in on the weekends.  i think part of it was that everyone talks about how hard it is having a baby but they never talk about how fun it is.  i'm sure this would be much harder if she wasn't as good or happy as she is, but i still don't think it would make it less fun.  even when she's crying i want to hold her.  she's made the past two months the happiest of my life.  (i should probably keep this to re-read when she's 16 and screaming that she hates me.)


sleep has gotten better the second half of this month, too.  i took my mom's advice and keep her up until we go to bed, and then feed her and swaddle her.  she's usually semi-awake when i put her down but somehow this routine works better for her and we've eliminated the screaming that used to go with the swaddling.  last night she was wide awake when i put her in the co-sleeper and talked to herself a bit until she fell asleep.  it's definitely working better than having to wait until she was completely asleep before putting her down, which sometimes took an hour or so.  she's also taking a huge morning nap, which has been really helpful in getting things done.  i'm hoping that soon she'll combine all of her afternoon mini-naps into one big afternoon nap, although i don't mind the shorter naps when i'm out running errands or walking the dogs.  i don't feel like i'm ruining a nap by being out.  

feel the touch of the precious child and know a mother's love.
it's funny how it's the little things in life, that mean the most
not where you live what you drive or the price tag on your clothes,
there's no dollar sign on a peace of mind, this i've come to know.

when i've been trying to get avery to nap i've been singing 'chicken fried' and 'forever young' over and over and over to her.  i've always loved 'chicken fried' (it was on my must play list at our wedding) but the lines 'feel the touch of a precious child and know a mother's love' have a new meaning to me.  loving avery happened instantaneously, the second she was born, and i'm constantly amazed at how strong and unconditional it is.  

Saturday, February 18, 2012

it's the little things ...

He's quite the reader.
toby likes books, too.

... when avery's tired and lays her head on my shoulder.
...  dessert.
...  valentine's day packages.
...  with homemade cookies.
...  clean sheets.
...  2.5 hour naps.
...  maternity leave.  even if it's unpaid, it's so worth it.
...  flowers.
...  melting snow.  spring seems like a long way off.
...  baby smiles in the middle of the night.
...  baby smiles in the morning.
...  how happy avery is in the bath.
...  when she holds on to my shirt when she's nursing.
...  soup on a cold day.
...  moby naps.
...  when all the laundry's clean.
...  watching a movie.  it took 15 hours to finish it, but it was still nice.
...  weekly video chats.
...  working from home.  (this is a big thing.)
...  being in the middle of a good book.
...  weekends.

Friday, February 17, 2012

meal plan - 2/20.

well last week's meal plan didn't work out too well. between the valentine's dinner that turned into chinese, the steaks that we couldn't cook, and the fact that the grocery store was out of chicken when i went shopping, things didn't exactly go the way i planned.  the potato soup became dinner a few nights and i even had a night of peanut butter and honey sandwich for dinner.  let's hope there's chicken when i go to the store today and that this week works out a bit better.  i was right about it being hard to cook when i'm working.  even though i'm home i've ended up working longer hours, usually 7:30 to 5:30 since there are times when i'm taking care of avery during the day.

sunday.  crockpot bbq beer chicken + parmesan potatoes + salad.
monday. leftovers.
tuesday.  leftovers.
wednesday.  black bean soup + salad.
thursday.  leftovers.
friday.  spaghetti and meatballs.
saturday.  either leftovers or charlie can cook.

8 weeks.

i should probably save this until next week when she hits her 2 month 'birthday' but she's become so much fun lately and changes so fast that i don't want to forget how awesome 8 weeks is.  for some reason 8 weeks seems really old to me.  i realize it's not really, but she's no longer brand new and i'd be sad about that but i'm loving how much fun she is. 

wish this was a better quality picture because she's so darn cute
love the hat.

overall she's a really happy baby.  oh sure she has her moments, usually in the evenings when she's really tired, but for the most part she's a smiley, fun kid.  she's happiest in the mornings and seriously cannot stop smiling for the first half hour or so, but as long as she gets her naps and food she's a happy camper all day.  she loves her 'activity mat' and can entertain herself there for about 20-30 minutes on good days and has started grabbing onto the animals.  i think most of the time it's accidental because it's almost like she can't figure out how to let go once she's holding on.  when she starts to get bored i'll come over and play with her, which usually involves singing stupid songs.  she's a big fan these days of 'bingo' except we sing it with 'henry' instead.  

she smiles all the time now.  if you smile at her she'll smile back.  it's pretty much my favorite game and i could play it all day long.  especially when we're out places like the grocery store and she'll be looking all around and then catch sight of me and smile like, 'oh you! i forgot you were here but i sort of like you'.  she's also started blowing bubbles and raspberries which also involves a lot of drooling.  

How can you not love 6 am when you wake up to this?
love the smiles.  

she's been taking marathon morning naps in her crib which are amazing.  she naps in the afternoon but not consistently yet.  she'll take about 3-4 short naps in the afternoon/evening before going to bed between 8 and 8:30.  i've been letting her nurse herself to sleep, and i know there's many people who would disagree with that but whatever, it works for us right now.  she's still sleeping in our room and i'm still swaddling her after she's half asleep but i'm starting to leave her arms out.  she likes to suck on her hands and will end up breaking out of the swaddle in the middle of the night so she can suck on her hand and go back to sleep.  she's waking up usually twice a night although there have been nights where it's only once and nights where it's three times, 2 is her normal.  

Much better!
we tried on a sun hat that i got her when the weather gets a little warmer.  

it's still a little big.  

A little too big...

back to work.

well we've officially survived my return to work and although it wasn't nearly as hard juggling a baby and work as i thought it would be it did make me sad for my return to the office in only three weeks.  charlie had a busy week and wasn't at home at all so when i was working it was just me and avery.  i was a little worried about my conference call on tuesday but she went down for her usual morning nap just in time for the call and slept for 2.5 hours until i woke her up.  i was actually on the phone a lot on tuesday but between the morning nap and just being a happy baby when i was on the phone i didn't have to deal with any 'crying baby and my boss is on the situations', which is good because i'm not sure what i would have done.  i can't say it's good to be back but i can say that if i didn't have to go back to the office i wouldn't mind working.  it's the leaving the baby at daycare that i have a problem with.

Moby nap.
the moby wrap has allowed me to get a lot of work and things around the house done.  she's sleeping in it right now.  i went ahead and used a gift card to order the actual 'moby'.  the one i've been using has been great but it's too short, which is getting to be harder as she's getting bigger and it's really stretchy, which means that she ends up about a foot lower than where she starts out.

valentine's was more than low key this year.  charlie didn't get home until 5ish and by the time we finished working he wasn't in the mood for grilling steaks so we ordered chinese food.  turns out it was a good thing because on wednesday i asked him just to cook the steaks so that we'd be able to eat them eventually and we ended up running out of propane after about 5 minutes.  we tried to bring them inside and cook them in the toaster oven but all that happened was that the house filled with smoke so we ended up throwing them out.  cooking fail #524. 

Passed out.
she passed out pretty early on v-day.  charlie was upset because i dressed her in 'girl clothes'.  just wait until she starts wearing dresses. :)

and no we, or i guess i should say i, still haven't made a decision about where we're going to live for the next 10 years or so.  charlie is officially in the 'stay in colorado' camp and has been for the past few weeks and therefore is 'leaving the decision up to me'.  awesome.  i do miss my family a lot and would love to have them be able to be closer with avery and i don't hate the east coast like most people out here do.  we had friends over the other night and it turned into a 'lets bash d.c.' session, which gets exhausting.  i get it, colorado is awesome, the mountains rock, there's lots of traffic in d.c..  none of things are helping.  regardless of the traffic back east it's still where our families are.  and regardless of the fact that our families are back east i still think that our family is going to be better off in colorado.  it has nothing to do with the mountains or the skiing, but with the fact that our lives are easier out here and both charlie and i will be home more and therefore will be able to spend more time together and more time with avery.  i could potentially land a job that allows me with as much time as i get with her now, but i have no idea.  charlie will definitely be gone more simply because the d.c. market is much busier than the denver market.  so to sum up, i still have no idea what to do aside from convince everyone that they should relocate to colorado, which would solve all of our problems.  

Monday, February 13, 2012


sunday night i had a million things that i wanted to do.  and it was still driving me insane (charlie, too) that we could not make a decision about where to live.  so of course the only logical thing to do was ignore the grocery shopping and decision making and bake a cake.  i had been wanting to make this cake since last january when i found the recipe in a better homes and gardens magazine.  unfortunately i did not have cake pans.  one year and three cake pans later, i finally made it.  my first three layer cake.  the frosting was a little sweet for me but tasted much better the next day after a night in the refrigerator.

last night was a rare night when avery beat us to bed so charlie and i had cake and tea at 7:30, watched an hour of the grammy's and then went to bed.  it's sad when 'staying up late' involves being in bed by 9.  


of course after making it to bed my daughter decided that last night would be a perfect night to wake up every two hours throughout the night.  and when she was up she was wide awake, smiling and ready to play.  at one point around 3:30 i started to think of those first two weeks when we first brought her home, when we were up every 3 hours, and a two hour stretch of sleeping was considered really good.  i sort of miss those days, because although we got less sleep the only thing we had to worry about was taking care of her.  it was really nice just to spend all of our time together and not worry about work or what was for dinner that night.  expectations were a lot lower and it was pretty sweet.  i remember one day, when she was about 3 weeks old, when i got about 2 hours of sleep the night before and then we spent the whole next day on the couch, napping.  it was snowing outside and it was pretty much the most perfect wednesday.  

Sunday, February 12, 2012

meal plan - valentine's week.

yes, the week of february 14th is known as valentine's week.  it's also known as the week i start working again (sob).  i'm actually okay with the fact that i'm working from home this month, it's just the fact that i'm four weeks closer to the day i have to drop avery off at daycare that i have a huge problem with. i am a little nervous for tuesday since charlie will be gone and i have a 2 hour conference call with a baby that's not yet taking consistent naps.  she was doing really well last week with naps, but it's hard to get her down by 10 am which is when the call starts.  oh well, i'm sure i'll figure something out.

anyway meals.  i'm trying to leave tuesday and thursday as leftover nights this month since those are the day's that i'm working.  i have a feeling that the days i'm working from home will soon become 'crock pot' nights once i go back full time.

sunday. cheese tortellini w/tomato sauce + salad.
monday. i'm on my own for this one since charlie's out of town. leftovers.
tuesday (valentine's day).  charlie voted for steaks + parmasean potatoes + broccoli.
wednesday.  spinach and mushroom lasagna + salad + bread.
thursday. leftovers.
friday.   crockpot bbq beer chicken + salad.
saturday. leftovers.

lunch + leftovers. potato soup and/or sandwiches

Thursday, February 9, 2012

it's the little things (colorado) ...

doggie love
leash free and quite happy.

...  the rocky mountains.
...  voice and sight control.
...  hiking the flatirons.
...  pasta jays.
...  rooftop outdoor seating.  it's the most.
...  cool summers.
...  open windows.
...  snowy winters.
...  weekend trips to the mountains.
...  boulder.
...  nice people.
...  july thunderstorms.
...  no waits at restaurants.
...  reservoir camping.
...  amazing beer.
...  bug free summers.
...  aspen trees.
...  14ers.
...  small babies.
...  glacier fed lakes.
...  canoeing with the pups.

it's the little things (d.c.) ...

not sure why i like this picture so much but i do.

...  family.
...  rio grande.
...  fresh crabs.
...  weekend beach trips.  
... driving through berlin and eating at old mill.
...  dates with charlie sans baby.
...  soft skin and flip flops.
... rain.
...  trees.
...  east coast falls.
..  trader joes = 2 buck chuck.
...  people to celebrate with: birthdays, holidays, etc.
...  free concerts at christmas time.
...  the solar decathlon.
...  the billy goat trail.
... walks along the potomac.
...  shenandoah.
  ...  no need for 4 wheel drive.
...  driving east over the bay bridge.
...  cornfields.
...  pumpkin and apple picking.
...  wood burning fireplaces.
...  western maryland.
...  quiet waters park.
...  old town alexandria.
...  mike's/coastal flats/sweetwater tavern.


i tried 2 new recipes this week.  this is a record for me as i don't think i've tried 2 new recipes in a month before.  i could really get used to this staying at home thing.  i've been trying to eat healthy but i've found that with a new baby this requires a bit more planning than it did before.  we're in bed a lot earlier and my evening hours are pretty much devoted to her since she's at her crankiest and refuses to be put down.  

since avery's been born charlie's been going to the gym in the mornings so that he can spend more time with us in the evenings.  although i don't think any of us love that he's up at 5:45 (i know this could be a lot worse) but it's been really nice to have him around after work.  i know this will be especially nice when i go back to work and won't see him until 5 pm which is when he was leaving for the gym.  he's also made a deal with me that if i plan all of our meals he'll be the one to cook them.  i have yet to take him up on this but i'm sure once i'm gone 9 hours a day it will be a different story.  

i'm going to try and use this blog to keep track of some of these meals.  one of the reasons i've never been terribly successful with meal planning and cooking in the past is that i don't have a ton that i like to make and we get sick of eating the same things over and over again.  i have found that pinterest has been helpful in finding new, easy recipes to make and hopefully i'll be able to find more we can add to our rotation.  i'm in need of some good vegetarian recipes if anyone has some.  most of mine involve pasta which i'm trying to eat less of.  

anyway.  here are the two recipies i tried this week.  i modified them enough that i want to write them down so i can remember them for next time.  

Hamburg Casserole.
we had a variation of this growing up but i didn't have the recipe.  

1 lb. beef (or bison)
mashed potatoes ~6-8 depending on size
1.5 packages of frozen green beans, thawed
1 can of tomato soup
1 onion
seasoning for the beef
cheese (optional)

1.  make mashed potatoes.
2.  brown meat and onion and add seasoning.  i used salt, pepper, worcestershire sause, and hot sauce but you could use anything. 
3.  add cooked meat and beans to a 9 x 13 pan.  mix.
4.  pour tomato soup on top of the meat/bean mixture.
5.  layer mashed potatoes on top and add shredded cheese.
6.  bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.

Swiss Chicken.
this was goooood.

2-3 chicken breasts. 
4 slices of cheese (i used havarti)
can of cream of chicken
1/2 cup of milk
6 oz. breadcrumbs
ranch seasoning mix
1/2 cup of butter

1.  cut chicken into cutlets and place on the bottom of a lightly greased 9 x 13 pan.
2.  lay cheese on top of chicken.
3.  mix cream of chicken and milk and pour over chicken.
4.  mix breadcrumbs and ranch seasoning and layer on top of chicken.
5.  melt butter and pour on top of breadcrumbs
6.  bake at 350 for 50 - 65 minutes.

this week's meal plan.  

monday. pizza.
tuesday. hamburger casserole.
wednesday. swiss chicken.
thursday. leftovers
friday. turkey bean chili (with bison).
saturday. leftovers
sunday. v-day dinner.

lunches. leftovers, sandwiches, & trail mix.

hopefully this will make it a little easier to keep track of stuff.  and since it's already thursday and i go back to work next week (insert sad face)! i should probably start to figure out what we're eating (and charlie's cooking) next week.

and here's an avery picture because she's just so cute.

My favorite thing.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

things i love about having a newborn ...


...  when she falls asleep in my arms.  all warm and snugly.
...  when she's tired and lays her head on my shoulder.
...  how just about everything is made better in her world by nursing.
...  how much she grows and changes every day.
...  watching charlie with her.
...  big smiles at 4 am in the morning.  they make the lack of sleep not matter so much.
...  watching her sleep.
...  how easy she is to take places.  car rides = sleep.
...  baby fingers and toes.
...  trying to decide who she's going to look like.
...  she makes daytime naps and 8:30 bedtimes acceptable.
...  first everythings.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


we had our last round of visitors last weekend, which meant that avery got to meet her one and only cousin for the first time.  i'm not sure it was too memorable for her but it definitely was for us.  we also got a ton of snow when they were here, which was fun for all of us.  

it snowed all day on friday.  i wanted to make sure we got outside for a bit so we bundled her up and headed out.

clearly the cold didn't bother her much.  she always sleeps when she's inside the ergo.
First big snow.

it was liam's first time seeing snow and i don't think he knew what to think of it.

the dogs loved the snow and are having fun playing in it every time they get out.
Feb. snow

21.5 inches.

on saturday we went for a walk around the neighborhood.



and we also spent a lot of time playing inside.


good dog



i really wish we were closer to these guys.  it's scary to think how much bigger they'll each be the next time we're together!

it's the little things ...

Sleeping baby.

...  snow!  and lots of it.
...  rocking a baby to sleep in the middle of the day.
...  taking a nap with said baby when i'm too tired to do anything else.
...  charlie putting new sheets on the bed.
...  our bedtime ritual.  
... spending a snow day playing with babies inside.
...  a bundled up baby.
...  charlie shoveling my car out of the garage.
... boulder covered in snow.
... dinner at pasta jays.  even if i only got one bite of my meal.
...  staying up after the baby's asleep.
...  how good henry and dunkin were with liam.
...  a snowy walk.
...  watching the dogs play in fresh snow.
...  charlie making breakfast.  pancakes and poached eggs.
...  a pot of decaf coffee to drink all day long.
...  reading books to avery.
...  when avery's asleep by 8 pm. 
...  days when i manage to clean the house, make dinner, and successfully get the baby to nap.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

6 weeks

"children will not remember you for the material things you provided 
but for the feeling that you cherished them."  

-- richard evans.

despite everything that's been going on in our lives lately (it's definitely been a little chaotic around here) this little one has made me stop every day and appreciate everything that i have right now.  
there's nothing quite like a baby to make you stop and live in the moment.