August 30, 2011

25 in my 25th year

This picture has nothing to do with the post.
I just thought it was really funny the way I found Ellie after naptime one day.

So, I've seen this idea all over the internet and have always wanted to try it.  25 seems like an epic number - so here it is.  
My list of 25 things to do before my next birthday.

1. make a quilt
2. read the New Testament
3. give birth to our second child (I know, it's a gimme, but you need some of those on a list like this)
4. read 10 books
5. go to a foreign country
6. pick apples or pumpkins - something fall-ish
7. learn to watercolor
8. visit a farm
9. ride a bike (I know how - I just haven't been on one since moving to NYC)
10. donate to the Fistula Foundation
11. paint the entryway
12. make a friend
13. go sailing
14. make a website for birth photography
15. wade in the Atlantic
16. get a houseplant
17. picnic in Central Park
18. eat at Serendipity
19. sing karaoke
20. get away with Joe
21. host a post secret party
22. have a root beer float (once again, it's just been a while)
23. give away a Book of Mormon
24. get a pen pal
25. learn how to wear eye liner

Some of them are fun, some are important, some are going to be challenges for me.  All together I think it makes for a great year coming up.  

P.S. Are you as obsessed with lists as I am?  This list is a supplement to my 100 things to do before I die list, my New York bucket list, and we can't forget the New Year's resolution list.  How are your goals coming along?  Please tell me about some.

August 29, 2011

July Birthdays in review

Well, it was much earlier in the summer that Joe and I celebrated our birthdays.  But being the compulsive blogger that I am, I can't just move on without writing something about our little celebrations.

For Joe's 26th birthday we spent the afternoon touring the new section of Highline Park (along with every other person in Manhattan) and then we had delicious ice cream at Chelsea Market.  Photos below.  That evening my special gift to Joe was giving him a few free hours to rollerblade to his heart's content.

My 25th birthday was celebrated with an evening out.  We saw the last installment of Harry Potter (very rare for us to actually GO to a movie) and had dinner in Little Italy.  It was lots of fun, but sorry, no pictures.  Instead, enjoy these photos from Joe's celebratory day.
 Before we hit the Highline we saw this crazy inflatable exhibit that felt a lot like being in a nintendo game.
 Where's Waldo?  Can you find her?
I think the interesting views are the best part of Highline Park.
Ellie enjoyed picking pebbles and eating apricots.
This afternoon together was a simple but nice way to celebrate Joe's birth.

August 27, 2011

Hurricane Preparedness

Flashlights and extra batteries - check
Butt loads of clean water - check
Rice, beans, and other food storage items - double check
Slight fear of being without AC - of course
Blog posts already completed so you won't even know I'm in the dark - coming up
Long list of items to buy after the emergency to update our 72 hr. kits - you know it

We are prepared, and so we feel calm about the impending storm.
Our thoughts and prayers are with friends and neighbors - hoping everyone stays safe.
Is it wrong that part of me is looking forward to so much uninterrupted time with my two favorite people?
Bring on the candlelight and board games - we're making the most of this storm.

August 25, 2011

Wedded Bliss

4 years
1.5 children
2 degrees
6 roadtrips
3 cities
4 apartments
0 pets
millions of "I love you's"
countless kisses
a lifetime of laughter
an eternity of love
Dearest Joe, I am so blessed to share this journey with you.  Thank you for being mine and for showing me what love is every single day.  I am grateful we have forever because one life would not be enough to spend with you.  Happy Anniversary, love.  4 years into it some people may wonder, do we still have it?
Oh yes.  We do.
photos by Kelli Ward

August 16, 2011

Summer Garden Couscous Salad

You should hurry and make this recipe before summer is over.  You won't want to miss it - it's really that good.  If you want to make yourself feel extra good, try using some produce from your local farmer's market or your very own garden. Hurray for summer!
Recipe from Taste of Home
*some small instructions altered by me

1 C corn (we like to cook fresh corn first, let it cool and cut it from husk - we've also used frozen corn thawed when fresh wasn't an option)
1 C chicken broth
1 C uncooked couscous
1 medium cucumber, halved and sliced
1 1/2 C cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 C crumbled Feta
1/4 C chopped red onion

3 Tbs minced fresh parsley
3 Tbs olive oil
3 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp dried oregano
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Cook the corn and set aside (if using frozen, just add it later with the other veggies)
In a small saucepan, bring broth to boil
Stir in couscous, remove from heat, cover and let stand 5-10 min or until water is absorbed
Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool slightly

In a large bowl combine cucumber, tomatoes, feta cheese, onion, parsley and corn
Stir in couscous
In a small bowl whisk the oil, lemon, and seasonings
Pour over couscous mixture, toss to coat
Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until chilled

I know it looks long, but really - it's simple to make and SO worth it.  Hope you all enjoy!  Leave me a comment and let me know if you ended up making it.

August 11, 2011

It's a.......

It's a girl, it's a girl, it's a girl, girl, girl.

We are so thrilled.  When I found out that Eleanor was a girl I was very excited, but to hear that we will be the parents of two daughters...well, it just put me over the moon.  My head is filled with visions of two precious girls running through sun-drenched fields.  Sundresses, flowing locks, the whole nine yards.

Joe and I can't wait to meet Ellie's little sister and to watch them grow together.  What better gift could I give my daughter than a sister to be her friend forever?  We have also pondered how exciting it will be when they are old enough to steal each other's clothes and boyfriends, the fights that will ensue, and what a drain on the pocketbook it will be if they get married close together.  Yeah, we've looked that far into the future.  Can you tell we're excited?

Originally I was going to post a picture of my belly with a bow glued to it (clever, I know) - but on second thought decided not to put my protruding hairy belly button on the internet for all to see.  The flower's classy, right?

August 10, 2011

A couple weeks ago I rocked this Motherhood thing

Yes, it's true.  There are many days that Ellie and I watch more than our fair share of Hoarders and Blue's Clues (a show for mommy, then a show for baby, rinse and repeat). 

I don't blog about those days because 1) I've got a reputation to maintain and 2) you all have these days too; you don't need to read about them here.  But a couple weeks ago I had a where I was just so proud of my mothering efforts.  We did something fun!  I forced myself to relax and relinquish control.  I overcame my obsessive need for a clean house and opted instead for a morning of memory making.

We made a playhouse!  We painted a box.  We invited some friends over and had a grand time. 
Seriously, nothing makes me feel like a better mom than the occasional day like this.
Of course, after painting the box for a while, it became way more interesting to paint ourselves.
Just before the painting got too chaotic, we dumped those little girls in the tub and called it a day.
Look at these faces.  That's how you know there was a good time all around.
Bye everyone.  Come back next time my mom lets me do something super fun.
I can't wait!

What do you do with your children that makes you feel like a superb mother?  What are your mothering proud moments?  I need more ideas around here.

August 5, 2011

Fashion Friday: celebrity doppelganger

If Eleanor is one thing, she's a character.  The question is which character is she?  This week's Fashion Friday has the answer. 

A couple months ago Ellie woke up from naptime with the most amazing hair.  I broke out the camera to document it.  She was obsessed with this toy bling she was wearing and before long, I noticed some real diva-like behavior.
Lounging around without a care in the world.
Busting moves straight out of music videos.
With the hair and the attitude, I knew she was reminding me of some musical performer.
But who?
Finally it came to me.
It's Baby Mariah!
In that case, sing on baby.  Mama wants to live off your royalties one day.
If you need her, she'll be in her trailer.
Gosh, I love this girl.

*Mariah image from here.  All other photos by moi.

August 4, 2011

The Bump and the Hair

20 weeks this time around sure feels bigger than the last.
All week I've been singing oh -oh, we're halfway there, oh-oh livin' on a prayer.
I had some crazy anemia for a while, but it's soooo much better now. (thanks to a really disgusting supplement)
There is a reason my head is not showing in this picture.
I dyed my hair.
It was a crazy crazy idea.
I'm so nervous to show you.
Deep breath.
See?  I told you it was crazy.
My grandma told me I look like Lady Gaga - and I think she meant it as a compliment.
I was going to wait to show the internet this drastic change until I had a decent picture with a cute outfit, make-up and everything.
But the roots are coming in faster than you'd believe.
So I had to settle for Joe's photo of me all dressed up for hip-hop class.
That's right Internet - I went platinum and I take hip-hop class*.
I'm full of surprises.  That's how we keep this relationship fresh.

*I bought a 10-class pass to a studio in the city, and it's been SO MUCH FUN.  I've also done theater dance and swing, with belly dancing and ballet coming soon.

August 3, 2011

As Good as it Got : final touches in the old apartment

Yeah, I know it's such old news now.  But for those of you who followed some of our improvements to our old apartment, I thought I'd show you a few photos of a couple projects we actually finished. Also, just wanted to get some documentation up of what the rest of our first NYC apartment was like.
Green plants on top of the bookshelves - they brought a nice softening to the room.
Awesome round mirror (super cheap at IKEA)
And the crowning jewel was our family photo wall.
It took us almost a year to conceptualize, gather materials, paint and hang.
I love how it brings some family history into our living space.
We can look up and see a number of big events and fun times in our lives.
I'm very happy with the way the living room turned out.
The purple hallway was always a conversation starter.
In this photo, the front door is just off to the left and the kitchen is just to the right.
I like this photo because it gives you a good idea of just what a small space we had.  When you go around the corner in the hallway, you see this doorway.  From the doorway you can see our dresser, our bed, and a wardrobe crammed at the foot.  You can also see the wall to Ellie's little closet/room.  We really crammed a lot into this room - and it felt like a sailor's quarters.
Not much to say about the bedroom.  Our decorating didn't get this far in 1 year.
Ellie's room wasn't really decorated, but we hung our old Halloween costumes and her birthday pom-poms to give it some color.
Also, what you see is what you get in this photo - her room was about 5'x6.5'
Super tiny!
Ellie wanted to make sure you got a good look at the diaper genie, as it was her favorite feature in the room.
And here is the adorable art piece that hung above it - made by my awesome friend, Holly.
We loved our little apartment in the time we lived there.  And I love that everywhere we go, no matter how long we plan on staying, we try to improve it and make it feel like home.  I really miss our old kitchen with it's brand new appliances and I miss the natural sunlight of B-52 (not to mention, how cool was it to live in the love shack?), but there are SO MANY dreamy things about our new apartment.  

I'm sure in time we'll have it spiffed up and looking like home sweet home.  Can't wait to get started!