Teddy Bear

I finally finished Lea's crocheted teddy bear! It wasn't a difficult pattern, however I ended up taking it apart and starting over when I was almost done. The shape just didn't look right. But, now it's done and I love it!

Lea watched me sew on the arms & legs and she wanted it right away. So, I gave it to her before I added the face. She immediately fell in love with it... taking it with her everywhere and even sleeping with it. :) I was asking her where the bear's ears were, she'd point to it's ears... where the bear's legs were, she'd grab it's legs... then, I asked her where the bear's nose was (remember, it didn't have a face, yet), she looked around the bear's head a bit and then quietly said "Uh-Oh!" It was so cute.

I just added the bear's face and a little bow on top of her head while Lea's been napping. I can't wait to see her reaction when she sees it!


Dancing Lea

Eat Your Spinich!

After the kids had a yummy Avocado-Banana smoothie at my friend Jennifer's, I am inspired to try making more smoothies for Lea. When Lea was a baby, I used to make smoothies for myself every morning. It was fast, easy and nutritious. Not sure why, but I haven't made them in awhile.... unitl today!

Feeling expiramental, I made a Blueberry-Spinich smoothie.

  • about a cup of frozen blueberries
  • about half a cup of spinich
  • 4 or 5 random pieces of pineapple
  • two 1 oz cubes of frozen apple juice
  • about a cup of V8 v-fusion juice
I know, I know... TOTALLY random! But I wanted to use what I already had... and that's what I had. :P

Believe it or not, it turned out pretty yummy. And Lea thought so, too!


Rosemary-Garlic Chicken

Rosemary-Garlic Chicken

Made this for dinner tonight and just had to share! It was so yummy and super easy...

From RealSimple.com
Rosemary-Garlic Chicken
Serves 4, Hands-On Time: 25m, Total Time: 30m


4 boneless, skinless chicken-breast halves
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
salt and black pepper
1/2 cup sherry vinegar
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon unsalted butter


1.Using a rolling pin, pound the chicken-breast halves between 2 sheets of wax paper until they are the same thickness.
2.Heat the oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers and the garlic browns. (Don’t burn the garlic.)
3.Add the chicken and cook until golden, 3 to 5 minutes on each side.
4.Add 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, the vinegar, chicken broth, and rosemary.
5.Cover skillet, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 3 minutes more or until the chicken is fork-tender. Transfer the chicken to a platter and keep warm.
6.Increase heat to high and boil sauce until it is thickened or syrupy, 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk in the butter and pour the sauce over the chicken.
I made honey carrots to go along side. We all loved it... including Lea!


Joy of Luck - Day 4

Joy of Luck, Day 4 - Your 7 Favorite Material Things

"Prompt:  I am certain that if you think hard, you can find seven materials things that you LOVE.  What are they?  Capture these with your lens…..the sky is the limit for this lesson.  we are all so fortunate for what we have materially.  We’re lucky to have these material objects.  Let’s focus on our luck and blessings today – capture your favorite seven objects!"

At first, I thought to myself "I don't have any favorite material objects. Lea and Kevin are my favorite things and that's all I need!" But, the prompt said to think hard. So, after about a week of thinking, I did come up with a few things that I really do love (other than people... and dogs!).

We had this silhouette made just after Lea's first birthday. I LOVE it and stop to look at it
every single day. It's a real silhouette... hand cut by Karl Johnson.
My wedding band/engagement ring and the pearl ear rings
Kevin gave to me on our wedding day. Need I say more?
I got this little statue when my friend and I were in Florance, Italy seven years ago. I remember exactly where we were when 
I got it... a little open market with the buzz of people all around and cafe tables near by.
I had to haggle with a creepy man for awhile before I got a good price!

I wear this necklace always. Kevin gave it to me on my first Valentine's day as a mother.
The other side has Lea's birth stats engraved on it.


18 Months!

18 months?
a year and a half??
only 6 months from turning 2???

When did this happen? My baby girl isn't a baby anymore...

Time is flying by and we are just soaking it all in! Lea amazes me every single day. She is growing up and learning more than I could ever imagine.

She 'passed' her 18 month well check with flying colors. She's still in the 75th percentile for height (32.5 inches) and the 25th percentile for weight (22.5 lbs). The doctor said she looks fabulous and is right on track with everything she should be.

Some fun and new things she's been up to are as follows...

I love hearing her yell "HEY" every time she sees someone, anyone. She says "Bye-bye" now, too.

She gets into EVERYTHING. Since she's getting smarter, she's using more "tools" to get into things, too... For example, pulling a chair over to get onto the table/counter. I like to try and give her as much freedom as possible (while keeping her safe and me sane) but sometimes that can get ME in trouble! I don't follow her around or watch her every move... so sometimes she gets into things she shouldn't (like toilet paper rolls, my purse, the laptop or my chapstick).

I try really hard not to be the mom that says "No" constantly so I do things like distract her instead. It makes for really long days when I am always looking for something new to distract her with, though!

Whatever I am doing, she wants to do. She watches and copies me all.day.long. If I brush my hair out of my face, she brushes her hair out of her face. If I am stirring something in the kitchen, she wants to be stirring something, too.

When Lea has a cup, she wants to "Cheers" anyone (and everyone) else that also has a cup... and she does it over & over again. She'll hold her cup up and wait... and wait... and wait until you finally Cheers with her. I am trying to get her to say the word "Cheers" because sometimes I won't notice that she's holding her cup up!

It is so easy to put her to bed... she loves her crib! After her bedtime/nap time routine, we simply lay her in bed, give a quick kiss and say "Night Night". She waves and we walk out. That's it! :) (Don't get me wrong, it hasn't always been that easy and we sometimes have off nights.)

She loves playing outside! She likes playing in the dirt, with sticks, leaves and even bugs. Now that it's warming up, we're out there pretty often. When I ask Lea if she's ready to go inside, she always shakes her head no.

Lea loves music and loves to dance. She likes most any types of music but her favorite seems to be good 'ole rock-n-roll (she takes after her mom!).

She's been trying to jump (she bends her knees and rises up quickly, but her feet don't leave the ground!) and she's done a couple (sideways) somersaults.

Her language skills are really taking off the past few weeks. She actually tries to say new words now. (She used to just blurt out something random when you asked her to say a word... for example, if I asked her to say "Tree" she would say "bluh!" but now she'll actually say "teee".) She says lots of things that I understand, but most other's don't. And she babbles a lot. She babbles with her dolls and stuffed animals, and when we're at the dinner table, she babbles as if she's trying to join the conversation.

Here are some recent pics of our big girl...

Playing with a little grub she found while we were gardening.

Enjoying her first popsicle!

Bailey liked it, too!


Joy of Luck - Day 3

Joy of Luck, Day 3 - "Prompt: What are some traditional lucky symbols that you can think of?  How has our culture created its own perception of what brings luck (and what brings bad luck?).  look around your surroundings….what lucky “token” can you find?"

I couldn't really think of any lucky "things" around the house. So... here's the lucky symbol that was on my calendar!


The Joy of Photography

Kelly Willette is a fab photographer in Virginia. I met her virtually when I was in marketing... she did some work for us. I'm so glad I did because through her site, she offers *free* photography classes. Well, their really more like inspirations with added tips than actual classes. I love having an actual "reason" to use my camera 24/7... other than just clicking away at Lea. She's bound to see a camera lens and call it "Mommy" one day! lol

Anyhow. In February, I participated in the Joy of Love... before that, I took a "real" class that she offered (which wasn't free, but I was able to participate for free) called Finding the Joy. All of her classes operate around the concept of photographing  for the joy of it. Currently, I am on Day 2 of the Joy of Luck.

Day 1: "Prompt: What inanimate object/thing/concept is something that you take for granted on a daily basis?  What would someone who is not as fortunate as you are say about your “luck” to have such a thing in  your life?"

My health... I am so grateful for my health and my families health. I don't ever want to take that for granted.

Day 2: "Prompt: Green is symbolically the color for newness, new beginnings, spring and life.  Today I want you to find the green – this can be ANYTHING that is either the literal color green OR something that brings newness, new beginnings, life, or hope to an otherwise dismal situation."

I LOVE this big bush/tree in our back yard. Every Spring I look forward to the bright pink, gorgeous blooms that fill it's branches. When they bloom, I know a new, nice & warm Summer is soon to come. :)


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

We started off our morning with some green scrambled eggs. Now, Lea loves some eggs so I was curious to see if the color would turn her off at all.... Nope! She dug right in...

Later in the day, we met up with Ryan and his mom Jennifer. Lea and Ryan were SO excited to see each other. They squealed and yelled at each other across the lawn at the park. It was adorable! Here are some favorite pics from the play date...

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


All in a Days Work

Lea seriously likes to help around the house. Actually, I think she likes to do whatever I am doing... which is more than likely things around the house these days. So, today I let Lea do a little bit of everything that I did! Vacuum after lunch, unload the dishwasher, laundry, wash dishes and pick up toys...

While I do all this mundane stuff day after day, Lea is my motivator. She is so proud of herself when she can help and keeps smiling while she "works". It's hard to be unhappy when you're around such an uplifting spirit!


Baby Bunny

I have successfully learned how to crochet. What did I make first (after the dish rag, of course)? A baby blanket? No. A little hat? No. I made a little bunny! I am so proud of myself. :) It turned out great!

Now, I just have to refrain from giving it to Lea until Easter! ;)


Cute things Lea is doing...

She stands on her tip-toes to easily reach tops of dressers, tables, counter tops, etc.

She loves mommy's parfume bottles. (I keep the really pretty ones after they're empty.) She'll get one off the dresser, take the lid off, sniff it and then rub it on her as if she's putting some on. And she does this several times a day!

I try to put a little bow in her hair everyday.... and it usually lasts until breakfast! Once she notices it's there, she pulls it out. But, since I make all her bows, I don't want them to get lost. So, I have taught her to bring it to me when she pulls it out. More times than I can count, Lea comes running to me with her little arm stretched out to hand me something... her bow. :)


The Business of Being Born

I just watched this movie, The Business of Being Born, and it was amazing. I already knew that childbirth is a huge business in this country and the majority of interventions are done for the simple reason that doctors and hospitals don't want to be sued. But, this film really hit home for me... a women's body was literally made for labor and childbirth.

I am thankful that my labor with Lea went the way it did. Once I overcame the fact that my doctor was a complete idiot (seriously, I will never ever see him, again!) and was given the most fabulous nurse ever, things went well. I didn't have an I.V. and I was intermittently monitored which meant I wasn't a prisoner to the completely uncomfortable delivery bed. I spent about 4 hours sitting in an arm chair with my head in my hand... concentrating... breathing... only opening my eyes for seconds at a time. The room was dark and quiet. Kevin was holding my hand the entire time. I was focused on the pain of each contraction and was doing it on my own. Within a period of  less than a minute between each contraction, I literally fell into a sort of sleep state until the wave of the next contraction started. Then... I hit the wall. You know... that big, strong wall that slaps you down so hard and you just KNOW that there is no way you can go on. I thought to myself, "Maybe I should have gotten an epidural. Maybe it's not too late!" but I never said those words out loud. Kevin could see it in my eyes... and so could nurse Cheryl. She convinced me to get up... walk across the room... and crawl into the warm, jetted bath tub. Why didn't I do that earlier?! The warm, moving water helped me deal with the pain SO much more. Less than two hours later, I was delivering my beautiful baby Lea. Unfortunately, I had a postpartum hemorrhage (my uterus wouldn't contract back down to normal size) and I was losing a lot of blood. So I wasn't able to hold Lea right away... but that didn't stop my tremendous motherly instincts. I insisted Kevin stay with her (she was just across the room) and I yelled, "Give me my baby!" until they finally did!

Finally holding Lea for the first time!
I am happy with my birth experience... for the most part. While I do feel slightly "robbed" because I couldn't immediately hold my baby right after delivery, I can't complain about the outcome. Lea is the best thing that has ever happened to Kevin and I! I found a new OB/GYN practice that has midwives on staff. The midwives actually deliver 90% of the babies in this practice. If I have the privilege of creating and carrying a new life inside me, again, I think I will opt for a drug-free, minimal intervention delivery, again.

Watch The Business of Being Born and decide for yourself.


I did it!

I learned how to crochet! With some encouragement from a friend and some YouTube videos, I have crocheted...

a mouse blanket! lol Yes, it's small. But it's just a start as I continue to learn. Now I have some hope that I can create a washcloth. ;)



So.... I am learning how to crochet! That's right... you heard correctly. My friend Jennifer is going to teach me. She helped me get a 'starter kit' together yesterday and today I am practicing my chain stitch. Yay!

We took the kids to AC Moore so I could get some yarn and hooks. Then, after a stop into Pet Smart to look at the dogs and hamsters, we grabbed some Italian ice at Rita's. Lea and Ryan are so cute together... they even share a birthday. How cute is that? I just had  my cheap, little camera with me so these pics aren't great. But you can clearly see how adorable they are together!


Anyway... back to crocheting. I've been browsing patterns online and these are the things I want to make. (and I'm seriously going to... some day!)

Homemade play food!
Adorable clips for Lea's hair!
Nice headband for mommy's hair.

How cute is this Tooth Fairy pocket?
Before all that, though... I need to learn how to make a simple wash cloth. Wish me luck! :)