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11 posts from November 2010



I'm trying to be somewhat prepared for this baby coming. Since there is no way I can even begin to expect the changes that are about to come, I'm trying to do whatever I can to make the transition as easy as possible.

Steph came over last weekend, we had sushi Friday night, and Saturday was our designated cooking day. We had three meals planned:

  1. Chicken Spaghetti 
  2. Lasagna
  3. Mexican Lasagna


Shredded chicken for the chicken spaghetti. (I always cheat and use chicken breasts instead of a whole frier, as the recipie recommends. I do not have that much time on my hands!)

We made two of each meal, for a total of six freezer-ready casseroles. 

And the infamous black nose/pink tongue was standing by, ready to catch anything that made it onto the floor.


Lots and lots of layers for the Mexican Lasagna, including two layers of cheese.


Which is a certain someones favorite food of all time. He starts drooling as soon as I pull it out of the fridge to shred. And then waits patiently for any leftovers.

(Ugh, the drool is so gross!)


Three and a half ours later, we have our six meals! I'll move these to the big freezer in the garage and hopefully get a few weeks of meals saved up.

We're in for a big transition in the next two months, but at least we will (and Spangler, of course) have food!


Spangler Dominates The Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie is my thing. I like to cook it every Thanksgiving, although I don't always have the best of luck.

(I first made it in 2005 when we moved up to Illinois and Thanksgiving consisted of just Cody and me. I thought the pie was done, took it out of the oven, and two hours later realized the pie was pretty much 100% still raw.)

This year I was up until 11:30pm Wednesday night so I could get both pies (complete with from-scratch crust) done before taking off to Cody's parents house and left both out on the counter to cool.

We got up at 7:30 Thursday morning and Cody was loading the car while I was blow drying my hair and Cody walked in to see Spangler running from him with a "don't get mad at me" demeanor. He saw this:


I was LIVID, to put it mildly.

I don't know what I was thinking, leaving them both out on the counter where I knew he could get them. He was unsupervised for such a short period of time, but I guess it was all it took.


Luckily, I had one survive, but Spangler better realize that he is darn lucky that I love him so much.

The bad part is though, he didn't even try the homemade crust . . .


Spangler Turns A Year Old

This past February our lives were transformed forever when a 20.6 pound black dog came into our lives.

As I've mentioned before, his parents are owned by Cody's coworker and we got him through a round-a-bout way, but Spangler was one of 12 puppies in his litter.

(Cutest picture, huh? Spangler, his mom Mollie, and his 10 brothers and sisters--one of the chocolate labs was lost right after it was born.)


(Both of these are Spangler, but I'm not sure how old he is in them. You can already see how big his paws are in both of these pictures!)


Life is full of surprises. We ended up adopting him and the past year has definately been eventful (and expensive). We can't forget about the 5:30am wake-up calls the first two months, bunny hunting in the back yard, his short-lived girlfriend, destroying the carpet one carrot and juice drink and muddy day at a time, the constant chewing which included the air conditioner and lots of plastic, and everyones favorite, the rock eating incident and subsequent hospital stay.

But, with that said, he has been completely worth it.


Happy Birthday to my 75-pound little boy, who is getting smarter and more well-behaved every day! He didn't even need cheese to stay still enough to get a birthday picture!


Sushi Lover

I'm going to be honest with you. I think pregnancy food cravings are for the birds.

Not to make any woman mad that has ever insisted that her husband drive to a store or restaurant for a specific food, but I'm just not a believer. I got food cravings before I was pregnant, so I'm not so sure it makes sense to say that a food craving I get now is directly tied to being pregnant.

But, with that said, I have discovered a new love over the past few months. Could it be the pregnancy? Probably not, but either way, I'm sure loving the taste of sushi right now.

I had sushi once, when living in Illinois, because a client wanted to eat at a sushi restaurant. I didn't leave with the best impression. (What? Is the Illinois/Wisconsin state border not know for good sushi?)

But, I was at the grocery store a few weeks ago when the sushi man that was passing out free samples made his way over to me. "They" say you can't have sushi when you're pregnant, but I read that you just have to have cooked sushi, so I gave it a try. It was good!

I paid the $6.99 for a roll and ate it the next day for lunch.

Last week when I was in Philadelphia for a last-minute work trip I took the opportunity to hit a really nice sushi place, Nectar, which is in Berwyn, PA. (My coworker and I were considering trying out downtown Philly, but with traffic + me being lazy, we stuck to a place a bit closer to where we were.)


Dang. It was good. For an appetizer we got the Crunchy Vegetable Spring Roll, which was in a mango sauce. For dinner I got the California Jumbo Lump Crab and Shrimp Tempura Roll. I then forced myself to try the Pumpkin Bread Pudding for desert.


We left stuffed, but it really was great food and I ate everything I ordered.

I got home from Philadelphia on Wednesday night and my sister Steph came over Friday for a planned cooking weekend (she knows that if she can get me to cook some food in advance, I'm going to be really thankful those first couple weeks after having the baby).

Cody took the opportunity to go duck hunting (poor Spangler, he's not quite mature enough to hang with his Dad hunting, so he had to stay with the girls) and took off Friday after work, leaving Steph and I with an open evening. She mentioned she was craving sushi. So I let her know that I was JUST the person to fulfill her request!

Steph, the coupon-money-saving queen, had a Restaurant.com coupon for $25 of food at Sushi Zone in North Arlington (she bought it for only $2!) so we made the drive over and enjoyed a HUGE selection of sushi that we ordered.


So, it may be the pregnancy, but I've eaten more sushi in the past few weeks than I've ever ate in my whole life. We'll see if I still enjoy it this much after the hormones go back to normal, but I'm just enjoying it for now.


29 Weeks Down, 11 Weeks To Go

Dear Little Girl,

I got to meet your (only-until-you-hit-puberty) friend Hudson this week. He came into the world last Saturday and was a whopping nine pounds! Your Daddy and I were sitting on the couch just a few hours after getting the news talking about how cool it was that Hudson was here when we realized that we are only two and a half months away until you are here.

Two and a half months.

Until you are here.

Until Mommy and Daddy get to meet you.

So . . . your arrival is all of a sudden very real. It’s not that we’ve been in denial that you’re coming, it’s just always felt so far away since we found out you were coming so early. Mommy is not trying to totally freak out, but there is a lot of stuff that needs to get done.

Daddy and I made a to-do list just for your room and it’s pretty long. It includes things like: ordering furniture, replacing outlets and putting outlet covers on, patching holes and repainting over them, getting rid of the rest of the furniture in the room, getting the wall decor figured out, sewing the rest of the curtains, replacing the fire alarms, figuring out a fire escape plan . . . and it goes on and on.

I spent some time tonight trying to shop for your crib. I know I need to order it as soon as I can so we can make sure it’s here and set up in time. I have to admit, I am slightly jealous as I didn’t get my first brand new bedroom set until we moved into our house here in Texas last year, but I’m also super excited that we are going to put you in a super cute room.

No, we still haven't named you. I know . . . I know . . . It's just that it is so much harder to do than I imagined. And, it's not like we're over thinking it. We'll go a week or two without talking about it, then do some serious thinking for a few days, and then get back to a week or two break.

Your grandpa calls you "Sammie" (short for Samantha) and your oldest Aunt calls you "Dot" (since you were just a little dot on the first sonogram we had). I promise we’ll name you something else, but I think the longer we wait the more these names will stick!

Your movements have changed a lot over the past month. They used to be like "pops" and now you are a full-fledged mover. We can feel your limbs pushing out, and then they’ll pop back in. Daddy and I will sit, staring at my stomach watching you move around. But, the WEIRDEST thing is that my belly button will move in and out as you move. I need to get it on video. It really cracks me up—I could just watch you moving my belly button all day.

At 29 weeks you’ve been so good to Mommy, and our trip this week to Philadelphia together went off without a hitch. A little bit of heartburn here and there, lots of constant burping, and the leg cramps are a pain (literally) but I’m feeling so great I have no complaints. We’re already so in love with you and talk all the time about how you coming has already changed our lives.

We just need to kick it into high gear to make sure we have everything ready for your arrival, so we can make sure we’re able to focus 100% on our little girl (even though from watching Hudson and this week, I'm pretty sure you'll be the focus no matter how well-prepared we are).




A Catch-All For Food And Other Interesting Stuff

I was brushing my teeth before bed last night and my toothpaste got caught right in the middle of my belly.


I'm not necessarily a messy eater or teeth-brusher, so this "problem" during pregnancy has caught me a bit off guard. I've been doing this with food for a couple months (grease from a hamburger, of all things, before a work presentation--also finding random crumbs hanging out on my shirt) and now with toothpaste.

I know that it's just my extra body mass that I'm not used to since I've gained around 20 pounds so far. Most of it is sitting in my mid-section (okay, let's hope all of it!) and I'm just not used to this big bump of 20 pounds sticking out from my body.

It makes these basic tasks that much harder.

Although, think about it . . . It's not like being pregnant makes you a messy eater or tooth-brusher, so was I doing this before I was pregnant but I just had the luxury of it falling to the floor?


Fall Decor

As soon as Labor Day comes around, I'm ready to put up my fall decorations. Cody asked me to hold off for a few weeks, and considering that it was still 100 degree's in Texas at the time, I agreed.

I waited until October came and I then added as much orange, reds and yellows in as I could. And, with Thanksgiving coming up in just two weeks, I'm trying to enjoy these colors while they are still around.


I'm a sucker for mantles. I've had these stars up on our mantle in Illinois and carried the same look over to our Texas house. I'm starting to feel the itch to try something new, but I still love them for now.

(Inspired by Pottery Barn, but I picked up cheaper look-alike's in a small Texas-decor store in Stephenville, TX back when we were there for Christmas in 2006. I had to carry the dang thing on the plane as carry-on . . . a bit surprised it wasn't seen as a weapon!)


Antique Ball jars that always grace my side table. I just fill them up with different season-appropriate decor.

A close up of the bundle of wheat that is on my mantle. A great find at Home Goods.


A fallish look to the "M" wall with a large leaf fashioned out of twigs (found at a decor store). . . a fake pumpkin from Jo-Ann's . . . and a basket of smell-good pine cones and natural-material pumpkins.


12x12 pictures of fall leaves Cody took while on a hike in Illinois, set in IKEA picture frames.


A simple mini-grapevine leaf, with fall garland intertwined.

And for the shelf above our couch, a bit of orange around the base of a candle.


This bowl was supposed to house some more gourds/pumpkins . . . But five minutes into their existence they met their match with a certain 75-pound black dog.


I don't know, he looks awfully guilty.

(Lesson: We can do fall decor, as long as it's out of reach from this guy.)


Pregnancy Pictures Catch-Up

I don't know what my deal is. I'm 27 weeks pregnant and I've done a horrible job of doing any kind of documentation about my pregnancy.

I am a documenter. I scrapbook. I blog. I take pictures. It's what I do.

I always give my Mom a hard time, especially since I'm kid #3 out of 4, that she doesn't have a lot of pictures of her pregnancy with me. Actually, I'm not sure if I've ever seen one.

I really would treasure anything that she had during my her pregnancy with me, since now that I'm going through it, I would appreciate it so much more than I probably would before. I am always on the phone asking her questions about what she felt, what she thought, etc. But, if I have those expecations of my Mom, why am I not doing the same for my daughter?

I'm overthinking it too much. I want the perfect picture in the perfect setting. But, to be honest with you, I wouldn't care about what my Mom was wearing or what she looked like in the picture, I'd just be happy with a picture.

So, internet, I'm coming clean.

I've taken some pregnancy pictures. Here and there. And I'm going to post them as-is.


On the left it's July 31st and we were getting ready to leave for the Old Warsaw in Dallas. I was 13 weeks along.

The right it's September 18th and my Dad took this picture when we were at the winery in Commanche. I was at 20 weeks--the halfway point.


I had Cody take some pictures one Sunday afternoon and of course he starts snapping away while cracking jokes. It's September 5th and I'm 18 weeks along.

I always laugh at his jokes anyway, so it's good that I have some preggo pictures showing it.


I tried showing off my stomach, but ended up flashing my undergarments . . . so I censored it for you.


My sister Steph borrowed my camera to take some pictures of a casserole dish she was "cooking" (she bought it from the home ec department at her high school) and started snapping pictures.

It was October 14th and I was 24 weeks along.


I had to stand up and show the bump off. Of course, Spangler had to make his way into the picture.


And in the spirit of full disclosure, these pictures Cody took last night, at 27 weeks. Spangler made his way into these too.


Whew. That is better. It's like internet therapy. No more insisting on "the perfect" anything for documentation purposes. My daughter, I'm sure, won't care. Therefore I'm going to focus on getting the picture taken, not necessarily it taken in the right way.

Words + stories.


Caught In The Act

It's been beautiful fall weather here in North Texas. Low humidity and highs in the 70's. After living in some of the colder places in the US, Texas's fall/winter/spring makes putting up with the crazy hot summers worth it.

I was working in the backyard yesterday enjoying the weather (and by working I mean real work, as in laptop, cell phone, meetings, etc.) and Spangler was with me. I had a 10:30am meeting with my boss and Spangler was off chewing sticks, or so I thought.

I got off the phone with my boss and caught him doing this:


I then shout, "Spangler!" And he immediately goes to the I'm-not-doing-anything-but-sitting-here position.


Unfortunately, for him, the photo and the dirt all over his face and paws gave him away.

(Cody asked if I disciplined him for this. Ummmm, yes, after I was done taking pictures.)


A Texas Homecoming Tradition: Bonfire

As I mentioned before, we head to our alma mater's homecoming every year and one of the huge traditions we never try to miss is bonfire.

(For those of you that don't know what this is all about, "homecoming" is an annual fall tradition that occurs at high schools, colleges and universities where the school hosts their alumni and former students. It usually is a week-long series of events that culminates with a American football game at the end of the week.)

Although homecoming happens across the US, I think bonfires are more of a Texas/South/Southwest thing because out of all the places I've lived, I don't remember anyone having a bonfire for homecoming week.

Bonfire is kind of what it sounds like, which is a huge pile of wood that is lit on fire. Probably the most famous bonfire was the Texas A&M Univeristy Bonfire in 1999 that collapsed and killed 11 students and one former student. So now, instead of the bonfires being just a huge stack of wood piled by students, there are usually engineered, complete with blueprints. A lot goes into making sure that it's structurely sound, which is good considering the accident at A&M.

My first bonfire I went to was in the fall of my freshman year of college. It was held right next to our university campus and unfortunately, I was a bit inebriated so I don't remember much of it. (Sorry Mom--Steph and her influences on me my freshman year! Which is probably why I almost failed out of college my first semester . . . another story for another day). The following year it was moved outside of town on some property owned by our school. You can see why it needed to be moved--the thing is huge.


It's one of those things you have to see to believe. The heat it puts out is amamzing.


Shortly after it's lit (usually by the university president and other dignitaries) it doesn't take long to really catch on.


And if you're wondering, standing around watching this thing burn really is fun.


And, if you're pregnant like me, you get to hang out, watch it burn, while comparing your stomach size to that of your father-in-laws.


Standing in a field, watching wood burn--Texas Style: BIG!