March 28, 2013

I’ve been told I’m intimidating. This kind of cracks me up because it truly is the last thing I would want to be. I want to be super welcoming and make people feel comfortable. The funny thing about this is I am super intimidated when it comes to certain things. Dinner for example. It intimidates me, not really cooking for just me and Andrew, but cooking for other people. I would have people over for dinner every night of the week if I either didn’t have to cook or if I was a good cook. And then there are are all these dietary restrictions, vegetarian, vegan, celiac, the list goes on and on. I have to get over this, absolutely must, and I plan to. Susie Davis is inspiring me with her 52 Sunday Suppers. She makes a “simple” meal and has great conversation with different people every week. I put simple in quotes because some of her meals are more complicated than I would put in the simple category. Andrew and I love having people over so we want to do this more often.

Today when I got home from the grocery store our neighbor across the street was outside working in his yard. He is probably in his late 80s, he told me about how he was a fighter pilot in World War II the first time we met so I’m guessing that’s about his age. I’ve always assumed his wife just didn’t get out much, he is pretty active, still drives and honestly probably leaves the house more than I do. He called me over today and asked if he could see our baby. I stood and chatted with him for awhile and came to the conclusion that he lives alone. And my heart just felt sad, I know his kids live here, at least his daughter, but I don’t know if I’ve ever seen them at his house. If I wasn’t so intimidated to cook for people I would march right over there and invite him for dinner tonight. I highly doubt he would want textured vegetable protein tacos which is what’s on the menu for tonight, but he would probably enjoy the company. I guess I assume he is from a time where dinners were formal, you cooked all day and had a fresh pie for dessert afterwards. Is this a crazy weird assumption that I’ve created that intimidates me to invite people over or is it true?

So I am asking for suggestions. Are any of you really good at having people over on a whim for casual dinners? If so do you have a go to meal? Does anyone have a fabulous story where they invited someone over last minute and it ended up awesome?


Actually Happening

March 25, 2013

I know we sold our house, bought a new house and started packing, but when I booked the movers today it finally hit me, this is actually happening. Oh my word. We go back and forth between we are so excited and what are we doing, is this insane? At the end of the day we always feel like we have made the right decision and we are very much looking forward to our new life in central Illinois. It’s days like today when they are buried under a foot of snow and we are enjoying the sunshine that people look at us and question why we would EVER want to live in the Midwest. I think it’s something you can’t really explain unless you’ve lived there, and I won’t even attempt to do so today. When people say you don’t want to live there it’s cold, I say, well it’s hot here. Andrew says I sound like we are moving because of the weather, not the case at all, it’s just that the grass is not always greener and while snow is inconvenient, heat is too, especially with little ones! All this to say, it’s happening, I know when we are loading and unloading and that little piece of information alone has put my mind more at ease. I still feel overwhelmed many days, but know that we will get moved in and settled and it’ll happen quicker than we expect, it feels like forever from now. Whoa ok way faster, I just counted and we load our stuff in 33 days. I better run and get more boxes and get this house packed up!!!

8 Month Letter

March 21, 2013

To My Sweet Sweet Ellery Wynn,

You have a really sweet disposition. You are so enjoyable to be around and you smile at everyone. I love taking you everywhere with me because strangers come and talk to you all the time and tell me that you just made their day with your sweetness. Right when I was getting really weary with nursing you switched yourself to a 4 hour schedule and it gave me a boost to go until you turn one, I’m loving the new schedule. You have had to be so flexible this month with selling our home, getting our inspection done, repairs, and traveling to buy a new house. You have handled it better than I could have ever asked or expected. God knew what he was doing when he gave us an easy going kid for this crazy time in our life. You experienced snow for the first time this month and seemed to enjoy it, that’s good because you are about to live in a place that gets a lot of it. You have the most amazing fine motor skills I’ve ever seen in a baby this young. You mastered the pincer grasp and still enjoy feeding yourself with a spoon and now a fork. Your gross motor is much slower than most and I actually appreciate this a lot! This month you finally started rolling around everywhere and there are no signs of crawling in your near future. I’m kind of hoping you wait until we are moved in to our new house before you become super mobile. This has given you the ability to roll all around your crib and we find you in the funniest positions in the mornings. You love when we sing songs using your name and belly laugh with delight every time. You learned how to do raspberries and you do this when you are frustrated. This cracks us up and we like it a whole lot more than you screaming! This month has been so stressful for your dad and me, but you have helped us remember what is important and have calmed us down and brought us tons of joy. You are a blast my sweet girl!

Love you forever,


Tear Free Travel Tips

March 19, 2013


I can’t say I’m a travel expert, but we have taken two 16 hour road trips with our Ellery Wynn so I have 64 hours of experience and I thought I’d share some of the things that have made this a little bit easier. I will start off by saying we have a really good baby that likes to ride in the car and sleeps great in her carseat so I know that this list probably won’t help everyone, but hopefully some of the tips will be useful.

1. Do as much driving while they sleep as possible. Andrew and I know ourselves well enough to know we cannot drive through the night. I don’t trust myself at all and Andrew doesn’t want to risk it. For us we pick a time we think we can drive until, 1:00 AM is kind of our max. So we book a hotel around halfway and leave to arrive around 1:00 or earlier the first day. When leaving the hotel we leave an hour before her nap so she only has to entertain herself for 1 hour before napping, this has worked out great.

2. Eat in. Andrew and I would have NEVER stopped to eat when we drove alone, but with a baby we stop and have a sit down dinner so she can be out of her seat for a good 20 minutes. This mostly means fast food, something quick, but just no drive through.

3. Break your own rules. The only rule I don’t advise is taking them out of their seat while driving, but everything else is fair game. As a rule my Elle is not nursed to sleep and she doesn’t nurse after 7:00 PM. You better believe I nurse her to sleep in hotel rooms and I let her eat handfuls of puffs in her carseat if it keeps her happy.

4. Have a secret weapon. For us that was Pocoyo TV. Download a couple of those 7 minute episodes before you go on your trip and whip it out when they are losing it and you need to buy a little time. She maybe only watched an hour total in 32 hours on the road, but it was the perfect thing when she was getting restless.

5. Create a good sleep environment. We have a nighttime routine, we try to stick to this on the road; book, song, pray, white noise. I actually did it all from the front seat and it still worked. I highly recommend getting a carseat canopy to make it dark for naps and also at night because the lights from cars can really disturb their sleep. Look online for specials, we got ours for free, just had to pay shipping. The white noise app we use in the car is Relax M HD.

6. Cater to your baby. Andrew and I don’t plan our entire life around our kid, she is learning how to be part of our life, not the reverse, but when it comes to travel it’s all about her! Ride in the back and entertain them part of the time, stop more than you want to, just put yourself in their shoes and do whatever you can to make them happy. I would advise making a car bin. I use one that can fit between me and her when I ride in the back. I loaded mine with finger puppets, a doll, 2 sets of flash cards, 5 small board books, a container of puffs, an oball, and a couple other small toys. I also put diapers and wipes in there to make diaper changes quick at rest areas. I also bought two new toys for the trip and those seemed to really entertain her because it was something new.

I can’t claim that we had a totally tear free trip, but it was close, we had a few fussy moments, but she did better than I could have ever imagined! As an adult I get restless in the car and I’m not strapped into a carseat. Hope you found these helpful, happy travels!!!

Save Your Money

March 18, 2013

We can’t minimize our spending in all areas of our life, our house is eating our savings account. Of course everything falls apart when you are selling your home and you must leave the house in tip top shape. This morning I’ll be paying a drywaller AND a plumber, exactly how I like to spend money. So when I realized it is stinking hot here and my baby needed a lightweight sleep sack I was on the quest to find one for cheap, like less than $10. No such luck, the cheapest i could find was $20, so I got inventive. I got a package of Aden and Anais swaddle blankets for my shower and one of them was getting really pilly so I cut it up and made a sleep sack. I grabbed some Velcro from my stash and some double fold bias tape and 30 minutes later I had a sleep sack for my sweetie and my bank account loves me. I used the heavy weight sleep sack that I already had as a rough pattern and because I have never sewn a zipper and didn’t have one on hand I just used Velcro on the shoulders. It does not look perfect, but it’ll work, here is how it turned out. Save that $20 and make your own.


Short Update

March 14, 2013

Yeah, so remember when I said I had time to blog this week, um not so much, what was I thinking? But I realize we have news that I haven’t shared and some of you are probably wondering what is going on. We bought a house. Buying your second house is much less exciting than buying your first house and it is way more stressful. In Texas they have an option period where buyers can back out with very little penalty, like a few hundred bucks. In all other states this does not exist. The first people backed out around day 6 of their 8 day period and the new buyers’ option period was over yesterday. So I can officially say our house is sold and our new house is purchased. We close here April 30th and up North May 2nd. A lot has to happen that week and I’m already feeling a little stressed about coordinating our move, but i’ve learned that worrying is a waste of time so I plan to just roll with it. Our stuff will get there somehow, sometime, Elle can sleep in a pack and play, we can crash somewhere, no big deal really. I want to show you pictures of our new house, but most of you would think “um, what were you thinking” so instead I’ll keep you in suspense until I can get my hands and a paint roller on that house. I will say I am geeking out excited about having a huge basement mostly finished. A place to store our luggage, our baby stuff we have outgrown and a TORNADO SHELTER. I haven’t had a basement since I was 8 years old and I’m really excited, Andrew does not get this at all and I know he thinks I’m a big weirdo, but he is excited about the huge yard, which I don’t care much about. Alright, I have so much to say, but someone must feed the baby and that person is me for the next 4 months or so.


March 11, 2013

I realize my situation is a little different than most when it comes to minimizing my pantry and refrigerator. I intend to take almost nothing from these things in May when we move, but I still think people could stand to get rid of a lot in these areas. I went through my pantry a couple weeks ago and threw away everything that was expired that wouldn’t be good expired. Obviously some things last way past the expiration date. Then I went through everything that I feasibly would not be using anytime soon and gave them to a friend. I had a brown grocery sack full of stuff that I just don’t use, some I got from my brother’s move, others from grocery store meal deals where you buy one thing and get 4 other items free. For example, we don’t drink koolaid, but it came free so I took it and passed it along. Then I started going through our refrigerator. We used up all the ketchup packets, honey mustard, BBQ sauce and salad dressings that we’d been stashing from restaurants and now we are eating through all of our dressings before buying more even though some of them aren’t my favorite. Waste not want not right? I’ve started tackling the freezer as well. We finished off our gigantic bag of stir fry veggies a couple weeks ago and we’ll be drinking smoothies for a few weeks before our move to use up all the frozen berries and bananas. I’m trying to plan all our meals around getting rid of what we already have and buying as little as possible. Really this would be a great way to stick to your grocery budget every month if you did this the last week of the month. I think a couple weeks ago I only had to spend like $20 to make dinner for the week because I was using our stuff up. I hope to keep this practice up even when we aren’t moving so I can keep our budget down and our pantry purged. Happy minimizing!

I’m Trying

March 10, 2013


There are very few things in my control right now, well actually what I’ve learned is there is nothing in my control, just a false sense of control. My job is to not worry, I thought this was a really wise graphic. I found it on Pinterest and cannot find an original source. I have tons to write this week and it looks like I might have time!

Cause for Silence

March 5, 2013

I haven’t been quite sure what to write, how much to share or how to tell about the whirlwind we’ve experienced over the last few days, but I decided while Ellery watches her shape DVD I would attempt to tell you about the roller coaster ride that has been our life over the last few days.

We decided kind of last minute to make a trip up to Champaign/Peoria area on Friday. If you were not informed you are not alone we only told like 3 people. We just weren’t sure what our house hunt would look like and we definitely didn’t want to over commit ourselves, so I apologize for any hurt feelings, they were completely unintentional. We left after we got word from the realtor that the couple would be making reasonable requests and we figured it was safe to drive up before their option period because we really needed to pick out a house and put in an offer if this whole thing was going to go as fast as it appeared.

Saturday when we were about 3 hours from my parent’s our realtor called and informed us the buyer had backed out because they were freaked out about a couple things in our inspection report. We were shocked. We literally have done almost every single line item from our inspection 2 years ago and the others we had appointments to fix over the coming week or two. We were appalled that they were unwilling to let us fix the couple issues, but they would not work with us and decided on Sunday that they definitely wanted to back out. We signed our termination papers over lunch and our house was officially listed. In 24 hours we had 9 showings. One of which revealed that it appeared we had carpenter ants in our attic, which obviously was not there when we left on Friday! I’m so thankful this realtor contacted our realtor to let her know the issue. We had the pest people out and they think when we had our roof replaced on Monday it disturbed a nest and that is why we suddenly had an issue. Luckily it’s a quick cheap fix, but before we had the resolution it was very stressful.

The reason cited for the couple backing out of the contract was a minor water leak in our showers, $150 and an hour later a plumber fixed those two issues. This couple lost out on our house over a one hour repair that we were absolutely willing to fix! Now we can see that it was such a blessing they backed out. We signed off on an even better offer last night and feel confident about this next inspection now that we’ve had a plumber fix the issues. Also because we didn’t have an offer on Sunday when we looked at houses we couldn’t put in our offer on the house we really want and yesterday they lowered the price for a second time. In 10 minutes we’ll be signing our offer with the realtor and hopefully we’ll be buying the house that I’ve already started decorating in my head. We are on quite the ride right now, but I’m so glad that Andrew is in the car with me and we are holding on together! We close April 30th now instead of the 9th and I’m great with having a few more weeks to pack and spend time with friends and family in the Austin area. I hope to have great news in the next few days!!