Friday, April 30, 2010


Pink Sundress: $2.00
Paper-doll table: $4.00
first tea set: $3.00
fairy wings: $1.00

Life with your daughter turning out better than you imagined: yeah, priceless.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

USPS love

Getting packages is exciting, isn't it? It's always a little bit like Christmas. We were lucky enough to get, not one, but TWO packages this week. Exciting!

So, the first package we got was from my best friend Billie Jo and her husband Ricky. It was an unexpected surprise for sure. Abby and I opened the box together and found a card that said this:
So, I should probably preface this next part with the fact that I've been feeling a little lonely lately. Partly because it's been too long since I've seen my Billie Jo or other family and friends, and partly because Kyle has been so busy and we simply haven't spent any time together. It's a recipe for a pity party. So, it suffices to say that this package came at the perfect time.

Abs and I opened the box to discover a gift for each of us! I got an awesome T-shirt, Kyle got a US Soccer scarf (score!) and Abby got the best summer shoes ever...which also happen to be her first Nikes. Billie Jo and Ricky live in Oregon now, so Nike is, y'know, kinda big there. :)

The baby shoe box alone was enough to make me go, "aaawwww!" But, check out these shoes!

a.dorable. And perfect for summer

As fate would have it, "Shoes" is the word Abby has been working on perfecting for the past week or so. She's been obsessed with shoes. She was VERY excited about these and we put them on right away. Since we had our shoes on now, I took Abs outside to let her water our plant. She promptly dumped water all over her pants, so I brought her back in, took off her shoes and pants, and let her run around in her diaper.

Well, it didn't take 2 seconds for her to bring me her shoes, sit down in my lap, stick out one foot and say "Shoes??" So, I put them on again and she spent the rest of the afternoon running around in her shoes and diaper.

Here she is trying out a sweet potato she found in the pantry...

I mentioned before how I had been feeling a little lonely and missing everyone. This surprise package really did come at the perfect time. I was so touched. Not only that they thought of us and went out of their way to surprise us - but that they were thoughtful enough to spoil my husband and my daughter too. So, what did I do? I cried. I cried because I could not believe how blessed I have been to have such sweet people in my life. And not just because they send us things (I promise!) but because their friendship just runs so deep. I love them both more than I can say.

So, thanks Billie Jo & Ricky - you really did make our day.

But that wasn't the only package we got this week! I know, I'm spoiled. My sister had mentioned that she would rescue us by sending Abby a replacement "Duckie" This is the stuffed animal that she took everywhere and that we lost a few weeks ago.

So, that package came today, and I promised Jennifer I would video Abby opening it. She was pleased. :) But, as you'll see in the video, she was also a little distracted by another surprise gift. Abby got a new buddy today. I think we've named him Planko....although it might be Sprout. What do you vote?

they have the same hair-do! Its fantastic.

This next picture is of Abby with Duckie. After dinner, she carried him around for a while and I said, "Hey, Abby, can I have Duckie?" This is the look I got:

Yeah, the answer was "no" But, Duckie was chosen to go in the crib tonight - of course. :)

So, Thank you Jennifer & Ben for sending us the plush treats. Abby says Thank You....although, you can see that for yourself...

You Capture - Spring

So I really enjoyed this week's You Capture challenge of "spring" I actually found made time to plan a few pictures instead of just rummaging though my weekly shots to find something.

But, you'll have to run with me on my interpretation.

When I think of Spring, I think of a renewal. Spring is bringing life to what was dead, right?

So, when my Easter Lilies died, I wondered if I could bring some new life to them. They weren't going to bloom again, but I think there's another kind of beauty found here.

my dead easter lilies

But because spring is also about new life, here's a shot that represents that too.
Dandelion puffs really do embody spring, don't they?

It is so much fun to browse through and see what other wonderful pictures were taken this week. So, go check them out at Beth's site I Should Be Folding Laundry! If you're at work - it's a great way to pass the time (not that I ever do that, of course...)

PS: My friend Bobbi is jumping in this week to try her hand at her first You Capture - so go say Hi and make her feel welcome, k? :o)

Monday, April 26, 2010

yummy veggie sauce

My sweet friend Bethany inspired me a while back to amp up my spaghetti sauce with her post about it found here. I routinely add veggies to our sauce, but had never tried adding spinach and wanted to give it a whirl.

Abby is at a stage in her toddlerhood where she sometimes likes things and then sometimes doesn't like those same things later. It's frustrating. Usually, the amount of work I put into preparing a meal for her is directly proportional to how much she refuses to eat it. So, I've been struggling to find veggies for her to eat. She loves fruit and dairy. She doesn't care for most meats, but gets plenty of protein. Veggies have been the issue. We've resorted to using the pureed veggies - which she loves because she can now use her spoon.

All that to say - I win. At least tonight- I won. I won because not only did she eat all of her noodles and sauce - but she LOVED it - and...she has no idea how healthy it was. She has no idea that there were 6 or 7 different vegetables that she was loving.

With this meal, the pasta is more like the side dish than the main course. The sauce could stand alone if you wanted it to. Let me show you.

1st - brown a lb of lean ground turkey

I like to season the meat pretty well before adding the other things

Add chopped veggies - whatever you like. Tonight, we did bell peppers, onion, mushrooms, squash, and spinach. I add a bit 'o olive oil and let it cook. In the meantime, cook the pasta of your choice.

Yum! Look at those pretty greens and yellows...wait, that's right, we're still missing something...

....the red!
I add an extra can because I'm making a lot of sauce and like things to remain pretty saucy.
(sidenote: I like Ragu's sauce as it's ingredients are simple and healthy, you'd be amazed at how many sauces have copious amounts of sugar and HFCS)

Add sauce and simmer - season as you like.

we served this over whole wheat rotini & penne and it was delicious!

Shhhh. Don't tell her it's full of vegetables...

Abs ate more tonight for dinner than I think she's eaten in a week. And I couldn't have been happier about that. It's yummy. And the best part is we have plenty for leftovers. :)

Chuck E Cheese

On Saturday Abby attended her first birthday party when her BFF Reese turned the big 1! Reese had her party at Chuck E Cheese. Now, the last time I was at Chuck E Cheese, I think I was about 7 and I spent a lot of my time being scared of the big animatronic characters that were (at least in my memory) spewing sparks and frayed wires. However, I was still pretty excited to take Abby to her first establishment of this sort.

So, we got there and Abby was, at first, pretty overwhelmed. She wasn't scared, just very very quiet and observant. Well, she was scared at one point when the gate person tried to stamp her with a number (that matched my number to ensure I was the only one that got to leave with her). She tried to climb over my head to get away from the stamper - s
o we ended up just giving her a sticker.

Anyway. Abs eventually was confident enough to walk around and look at all the games. There were a ton of kids there of course.

checking things out

Eventually Reese and her gang were all there and we spent some time with the other guests and Abs had her first pizza. She ate that whole piece and liked it....shocker. ;)

So as it turns out, getting a picture of the girls together was impossible. I mean, two toddlers surrounded by lights, characters, kids, noise, food, prizes, sirens...I have NO idea why they wouldn't just sit still and smile....This was the best I could do, haha.

The Chuck E Cheese crew did their birthday thing with songs and dances and the big mouse man himself came out to say hi to the kids. Reese seemed to really have a good time. She loved seeing the mouse. One of Beckah's friends made her this adorable cake....and I think Reese enjoyed it quite a bit!

Soon after cake was done and about 367 pictures of Reese in red icing later, the party was over and the guests headed home. Abs and I stayed for a while to play some games. All the kids got some tokens and Abby really liked carrying her token cup around and listening to it jingle as she shook it. She did that for a long time before she'd let me put her on a ride.

pushing buttons.

This was her favorite - just a little car that moved and played music. She screamed when I took her out and did that whole toddler thing where she frowns and stomps her feet real fast. Hilarious.

She also took her first carousel ride. Well, a mini one. I was hesitant to let her ride it at first - I didn't think she'd stay on. But, she did. We rode it twice and she held on tight and smiled. I could not get a good picture to save my life, but the memory is still there.

Unfortuantely, once the ride stopped and I looked down for one second to put my camera down, Abby fell off her horse and got kinda stuck between the ride and the horse. She was fine, but upset and scared. So, since Abs wouldn't let me put her down after that...we donated the rest of our coins to a nice lady & her daughter(who had helped us pick them up earlier when Abby dumped them everywhere) and we took our tickets to the prize counter where Abby got some stickers. Then, we headed home.

Abby was plum worn out that night, but she was happy. She chatted and sang and jabbered all the way home. So, thank you Reese for inviting us to your awesome party. We can't believe that you're already one! Thanks for being Abby's best friend all this time - she couldn't have picked a better one. :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

friday pics & stuff

I'm really tired, I'm sorry if this post turns out a bit disjointed. If it comes out cohesively, consider it luck. :)

I mentioned yesterday how busy Kyle's been lately. We haven't seen a lot of each other and Abby has seen even less of him- so this morning, we decided a family breakfast was in order. We all got up and went to one our favorite local joints to just spend some time together before Kyle had to go to work. It was nice. And it was delicious. We sat by the windows, and had some great light for pictures. I took way too many. I loved how blue Abby's eyes were.

Here's Abby pretending that the cracker is a phone - she had us both laughing. :)

"Heeeey girl, what's goin' on? Yeah, I'm just calling you from my cracker phone"

This is apparently how you put people on hold when talking on your cracker phone.

even she knew she was being silly
So, I may have gained 5 lbs from breakfast this morning, but it may have been worth it. ;)

After breakfast, we took Kyle to work and Abs and I headed to the library. We had a good time. She actually sat at the tables and looked at some books for nanoseconds at a time. She mainly thinks we just go there to socialize and play. She is so so so extroverted in these kinds of settings - we're pretty baffled by where she gets that from. She says hi to everyone, she sits next to other kids and plays and runs around without fear. At one point, there was another little boy crying and Abby just stood next to him for a while watching with her bottom lip sticking out....she then went and got a book and brought it to him. My heart melted a little, it was the sweetest thing.

(this is how most of my pics look- she's always moving)

Our afternoon was slow - Abby napped, I watched mediocre reality television shows. Soon it was time to go pick up Kyle from work. We had some time to waste, so I let Abs roam around campus a bit. Again, she showed how extroverted she is. She stopped and said hi to people, she had people stopping to watch her as she clapped and danced to some music that was playing. At one point, she walked up behind a guy giving a campus tour and started making animal noises and clapping. The poor guy - nobody in that tour was listening to his speech right then. She got tons of attention...which of course she loved.

I also tried putting her hair in pigtails for the first time out and about in the world. I thought they were kinda cute...but I'm always biased.

"here little baby, you touch it first..."


So when Kyle joined us we headed out of town. Kyle has a conference all weekend for the MA chapter of the Federation for the Blind. He's expecting to be elected president of the student sector for MA. He's really enjoyed getting involved and networking with all the people he's met through the organization. I'm proud of him and I'm glad he has this to do...cause, y'know, I was really getting tired of him sitting around not doing anything all day. And in case my sarcasm didn't come across - I'm joking. I really am glad he has this. But, I still miss him just the same.

So, it took us about 90 mins to drive out of the city with all the Friday evening traffic. We grabbed some subway for dinner together before Abs and I drove back home.

And now here we are - Abs in bed, and me logging our day so that I can look back on it in 20 years and remember what life was like at this moment in time. Life is busy, but life is good.

We have a big day planned tomorrow. It includes Abby's first visit to Chuck-E-Cheese for baby Reece's first birthday party. I apologize in advance for the picture overload.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

earth day 2010

Happy Earth Day everyone. :)

I like earth day. I mean, what's not to like? It's a great way to remind ourselves to be a little more conscious of the way we live. This year, we've been making new efforts to be "greener" in the way we live. I want to be a good example for Abby, so - we're trying. Nothing crazy, but just little things. Our most successful improvement has been the use of reusable grocery bags. I'm at the point now where I won't go to the store if I don't have my bags. And if we do have to use store bags, we always ask for paper. I've become more and more aware of just how awful those plastic bags are.

Another small step that we've been able to take since moving to our current house is recycling. Our town does a fantastic job with making recycling so, so easy. I'd say an easy 80% of our trash is recycling each week. Really, only diapers, food, and those pesky plastic bags get thrown away.

In addition to those steps, we've really tried to cut down on buying processed foods. It's really a lot easier than I thought it would be. We still buy some - but much much less than we used to. My friend Billie Jo once told me about this guy who said you should grocery shop on the outside perimeter of the grocery store. That way, you get all the fresh stuff: produce, meat, dairy - and miss the processed stuff in the aisles. Try it - you'd be surprised how little you need down those aisles. :) I can't wait for summer to get here so we can frequent the farmer's market too...but that's a subject for another day.

Anyway, back to today. Earth day 2010. I was trying to think of a good way to celebrate with Abs. You know me - I don't like to miss a reason to celebrate. I want to do things "right" and start traditions that might survive a few years.

So, we got up and Abby had her first bowl of cereal - with milk and a spoon and everything. She thought it was pretty cool. I know, it's not really earth day related - but just in case she ever wonders when she had her first cereal - I'll have it documented. ;)

After taking Kyle to work, we started to run our errands. I had decided that the best way to celebrate earth day this year was to do a little planting. Something I know nothing about, Abby doesn't know anything about it either - so I figured I couldn't mess up too bad. We hit up several stores getting the things we needed as well as some other odds and ends. Of course, we went to target. It was past snack time when we were done at Target, so we stopped and got a quick treat at starbucks. I would say that Abby and I shared a muffin, but I only got one bite.

They did, however, have these little sample cups they were handing out. It was a strawberry shake type drink - but - ohmygoodness - they came in the cutest little cups. I about died. I was probably a little too giddy giving Abby her very own Abby-sized starbucks.

miniature things are just cute!

Of course, she wanted nothing to do with it. That is, until it was empty, then she was pretty excited about the cup. I actually asked for another cup on our way out so that she could have a little tea party set. :)

See? We really do use our bags - and it's amazing how much you can fit into one.

We finally made it home about an hour after Abby's nap time. She went down and I spent some time helping a very very stressed out husband with some schoolwork.

Poor Kyle has had a rough week. It's the end of his school semester and lots of things are due, plus several big projects at work are adding an extra heavy load on top of his normal duties. Add to that, he's covering more than his share of campus since some other staff have left so he has all that extra work to do as well. Top it off with random people yelling at him because their computer still isn't fixed and "I emailed you about this last night why isn't it fixed yet - are you ignoring me, I'm going to go to your supervisor about this" Blah blah blah. The poor guy hasn't even taken a lunch break for close to 2 weeks and has gone in early and stayed late for at least as long. Today was kind of all of that x10. I have a beer in the fridge for him when he gets home.
*end tangent*

Back to earthday! Abs eventually got up and had lunch, and then we set out to do some planting. We bought herbs. Specifically, rosemary, which I think is God's gift to cooking and cilantro, which I just think is yummy and versatile. I figured some sort of plant that would save us some money and that we could actually use would be an appropriate choice for today.

how cute are Abby's bumblebee garden tools? Thank you dollar tree.

Abby had a blast. She was so excited to use the "big spoon" to shovel the dirt. She only tried to eat it once. And she was able to get a few shovels full of dirt into the pot with minimal spillage.

she might have had a little bit of fun. ;)

In addition to the herbs - we bought another plant just to have. Really just for the instant gratification of it. I gave Abby her new watering can and showed her how to use it - she LOVED that part.
being so careful

being not so careful...but giving the deck a nice watering.

our newly potted plant. I know nothing about them, but the tag said "robust" so I thought that was a good place to start.

Abby also picked out the bird statue earlier in the day - y'know, so the plant won't get lonely.

After we were done, we cleaned up pretty quick since it looked as if it was going to rain. While I cleaned, Abby enjoyed her new patio chair.

...and while I put a few things inside, Abby sat in her new chair and poured the rest of the watering can's water in her lap. I came outside to her saying "uh-oh" lol. I promise I didn't yell at her or anything - but you can tell from the picture that she knew she had done something she shouldn't have. lol

And so, that was our earthday fun. Sorry this was like the longest post in the world. Sometimes, there's just a lot I want to fit in. I hope everyone had a nice day and at least thought about doing something nice for this planet of ours. I know it's super corny - but's it's also really true - little things make a difference, and if we all do just a little bit - it'll add up.

be greener. :)