Saturday, October 31

RIP Kelly V.

My friend Kelly V. died early this morning with her mother by her side. She'd fought the good fight against cancer. I have only gotten to know her the past couple of years and she was incredibly inspirational to me, and she will be missed by so many people.

May the souls of the faithfully departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace!

Thursday, October 29

A few more birthday pics

Our very talented friend Megan took a few photos for us at Luke's party. She has a very nice SLR camera (a Canon Rebel, right?) and shot a few for us. More fuel to my fire that I REALLY want one of these cameras!!!

Wednesday, October 28

All Saint's Party

Can you guess?

Beth was dressed as Mary (with her lamb and baby) and Luke went as St. Francis (inspired by a little book given to him from his godparents!).

Last Sunday we attended our homeschool group's annual All Saint's party. It was our first time to go and Beth had a pretty good time. She was very hesitant to take part in the parade and wasn't too interested in the games, but she had a good time playing with her friends out on the farm. Don't be too impressed with their homemade costumes, by the end of the night Beth's dress had ripped at the seam from her thigh to her hip! Scandalous! Apparently sewing with silky costume fabric is sort of tricky and I will have to remember this for next year!

not so sure about this parade...

Tuesday, October 27

One year checkup

Luke went to the doctor today for his one year checkup and for his very first vaccination. He checked out fine, with a weight of 20 lbs 2 oz (10-25%), height of 30 in (50%) and a head of 18 in (25-50%). He's on the smaller side but consistent on his growth curve! He had the Prevnar vaccine for pneumococcal disease, a vaccine that is relatively safe but for a disease that's pretty awful for the little ones. Luke does not enjoy doctor visits, he fights and strains at our pediatrician's every attempt to check him out!

In the past few days- actually in the past week- I feel like he's matured a ton. Maybe I'm just seeing him differently because I know he's older now but I don't think it's all in my head! The day before his first birthday he popped his second tooth, and just two days ago he started signing "more" with the right motions and in the right context. And today he signed "nurse," which I've never seen him do before! He's cruising around the kitchen using Beth's little chair as a walker, but he still hasn't had the nerve to step out on his own yet! Today Ryan noticed he was standing on his own, which is the second time we've seen him do that. Luke also will climb into small chairs on on the toy fire truck and get a huge closed-lip grin on his face while he waits for me or Beth to go push him. It's a classic Luke look- he puts his chin down, giving him a double-chin, and he smiles really big while keeping his lips closed. It's so funny and it's his signature smile!

here it is- he's so proud of himself for climbing into that chair all by himself!

He's also sleeping through the night! When we got back from our DC trip, Ryan and I agreed that something needed to change. Since he was almost sleeping through the night, we thought it would be a good chance to try something new. He was sleeping until about 4 am, and I would go to his room and nurse him back down and he'd sleep until about 7 am. When we got back from DC, instead of me going to his room, Ryan went in and would put him back down. After a few nights of that, I guess Luke realized he wasn't getting the good stuff anymore so he just started sleeping through. Super easy, but I think we just had to give him the chance, you know? And of course, it couldn't have been done without the loving dedication of his father to get up with him at 4 am! So now he and Beth wake up about the same time- 6:45. Early for this non-morning person, but they're both sleeping through so I cannot complain!

He's got such a neat personality, and his little quirks are becoming so unique to him now. He's very dramatic and opinionated, from everything to the food he eats to the toys he plays with. He does everything with passion and full intention. He giggles almost all day but gets sort of cranky every day around 4:30, usually right around when I start making dinner! If you lay on the floor, he'll crawl to you, climb over you and fall dramatically on the floor- then turn around and go back the other way! He adores Bethany, and that girl can always make him laugh! They're such a great team and I have no doubt they'll grow up closely and probably gang up on me eventually, ha!

Saturday, October 24


I'm sure we have the best dog in the whole world. Watch this little clip of Luke crawling around and playing with Finley, and you'll see why he's just an awesome dog!

Friday, October 23

Happy Birthday Luke!

Today is Luke's first birthday, yay! We had a very busy day, and I just kept looking at him like, wow- this boy is one year old! We went to the portrait studio this morning for some big boy pictures and had an incident. The photographer took a few of him then decided he wanted to put Luke in a basket with some fall leaves and autumn decor. I was thinking to myself, he's too old to sit in a basket, that's for babies! But I went with it, because I'd already told him no portraits, haha. Luke leaned over in the basket and, before I could reach him, face-planted the hard floor and screaaaaamed bloody murder. I noticed blood and realized he'd busted his lip (I thought he'd broken his nose!) so that was the end of picture day. After Luke calmed down (surprisingly it only took a few minutes) I picked out my favorite one from before he fell and they gave me a portrait package for free. So, that was quite a morning! We met a friend for lunch then ran another errand since we were far from home, and came home for naps. Well, of course they both slept in the car and didn't want to nap once we got home! Beth had a makeup dance class today and Ryan met us up there after he got off work a little early to catch her last few minutes of tap dancing! We all came home for spaghetti dinner (Luke's favorite!) and we sang and opened presents. And yes, this overbearing controlling mother let her son have a cupcake with real HFCS frosting! And boy did he love it! He opened some presents (with the help of big sis) from mommy and daddy and his godparents and we got some really big smiles with some of his new toys!

And of course I'm having issues with my camera and computer again. I am praying Windows 7 will fix the mutiny my camera and computer have against me. Here are few from tonight!

Wednesday, October 21

Dance Class

Beth has dance class two times this week, once to make up for our trip to DC. Here are photos from Monday's class, I feel like I have to be sneaky to get them so they're not incredibly focused. She continues to love both tap and ballet, and is always very attentive during the entire one hour class. It impresses me! The teachers do a great job of keeping the girls (and boy!) active and involved- I haven't counted but I'd guess there are at least 10-12 kids in the class- and they get stickers at the end of each class which makes Beth very happy!

Luke has a decent time too, playing with the other younger brothers. It's some good cuddle time for us since we have no other distractions.

New car seat

I've forgotten to mention, we got Luke a new car seat! We got him this one, another Britax Marathon like Beth's but in a cow print. I absolutely love it, it's so cute! We don't plan to switch him out of his infant seat anytime soon since he still fits in it quite nicely (and he's safer in that one as long as possible), but Britax has sales on their items twice a year so I wanted to snatch one up on sale! Plus I ordered from, scored free shipping AND an additional 10% off for being a first time customer. Awesome!

Beth is still rear-facing, though her days are limited! She's 31 lbs, and the rear-facing weight limit is 34 lbs. I suspect around her 3rd birthday will be the time we switch her around. That's going to be such a big deal! I hope she doesn't kick the back of my seat!

Tuesday, October 20

Bet playing outside

Here's the video I was having issues with the other night (see two posts down!)

Sharing the Nuk

I just walked in the living room to find Luke and Finley sitting next to each other. Not an odd site, considering how much Luke adores that dog! But I noticed Luke popped the nuk (his pacifier) out of his mouth, let Finley have a couple of licks, then was going to put it back in his mouth! I caught him before it went back into Luke's mouth, but who knows if that's the first time they've played that game. Ewwwwww.

Sunday, October 18

Fall garden

My fall garden is doing okay. My little bell pepper has resurrected itself from a little stub with one leaf to a tall plant with a real bell pepper! It's struck me that it's just too darn hot here in the summer to grow anything but tomatoes- or at least it is in my garden where chances are I'm not going to water it every single morning! Next summer I will adjust accordingly and wait on the bell peppers till it starts to cool down!

After I planted my seeds on labor day, the sky opened and it rained a torrential downpour for the next week or two. Hence, my seedlings have sprouted sort of oddly and sparcely. I do have some baby carrots, arugula and broccoli (no lettuce). I wanted to plant a few more rows of each this weekend but didn't have the time so maybe we can find some time one morning this week.

I also have friendly ants. I contacted a master gardener and he said they weren't a big deal since they're not fire ants, and suggested I didn't try to kill them since they're in my garden bed. Well, it still ticks me off when I see those little suckers all over my plants, even though they're apparently causing no harm, so I spray them off with my hose! However, this is what they do, ALL OVER my garden bed:

Ant holes. It's not cool. Maybe part of the reason some of my seeds didn't sprout is because they were relocated by the ant holes!

I took this video on Thursday, during Luke's afternoon nap. It's been to glorious outside to not actually be outside, so for the past few days we've basically spent the time after naps until dinner time outside. Beth likes her new outdoor toys, empty flower pots, sticks and digging in the dirt. I have caught her eating the dirt though...That's pretty gross. In the video, you'll hear a couple of her made-up words that she came up with on the spot (she'll make up words to describe anything and everything), this instance they're describing "tricks" she does on the fort thingy. Also, about halfway through, Finley ran by at top speed and scared me half to death, you'll see!

(ok, can anyone help me? I've been to use the blogger video upload literally all day and it hasn't uploaded yet. should I just go back to using youtube?)

Friday, October 16


Around our house, I try my hardest to serve only healthy meals. We eat a lot of raw fruits and veggies, though usually out of my laziness since I find it easier to peel a carrot and serve it instead of cook it up in a "dish" of some sort. We eat meatless once a week, and have "leftover Fridays" which consists of eating- you guessed it- leftovers! I buy meats usually in bulk when they're on sale, and plan my weekly menus based on what our grocery store has on sale. I've tried to play The Grocery Game, but sites like Coupon Mom are the same but free, and usually I don't sit down to try to "stack" my coupons on groceries. I know I should because lots of people save money that way, but I can't find the time. (For the record, I usually always stack coupons for clothing purchases- I'm really good at that!)

That being said, I'm feeling like there's something I'm overlooking. I'd like to figure out how to save more money on my grocery bill without resorting to unhealthy Hillbilly Houswife tactics. Now that Luke is eating 100% "real" food (he has for awhile!), he and Beth seem to eat as much as I do!

Anyways, here are a couple of yummy recipes I've come across lately. I have more but can't think of them at the moment, I'll probably add them later!

Best broccoli of your life- For someone who doesn't enjoy broccoli, I must say that this really is the best broccoli I've ever had!

Emeril's Chili- Awesomely yummy and easy (as far as Emeril's recipes go). Uses stew meat instead of ground meat, and the results are delicious.

Tuesday, October 13

Updated below!

Ok I must've spent an hour or more working on the post below. It's not the prettiest in the world but there's lots more pics! Enjoy!

Saturday, October 10

We're home from DC!

We're home from our trip to Washington DC! We left last Saturday, flew into DC and visited Ryan's brother and sister-in-law, Josh and Ramona, and we all got to meet baby Christopher for the first time. Beth was so happy to finally hold him (she's been talking about it for months now!). In addition to the excitement of seeing everyone, we had gorgeous weather and sight-seed as much as we physically could!

hiking through the airport

cousins, meeting for the first time!

they loved each other so much, beth always wanted to hold him and luke always wanted to grab chris's face!

We arrived at the airport early Saturday morning. People in the airport stared at us, I'm not sure they had ever seen two kids in slings before! They looked at us like we were crazy for traveling with two kids, but it really was a piece of cake. Ryan carried Beth on his back in a Beco baby carrier, I carried Luke in my pouch, and each of us carried a car seat and a carry-on bag. It was a lot, and we looked odd walking through the airport, but it really went pretty smoothly!

While we were waiting to board our plane, Ryan and I noticed a priest standing alone in the corner reading a paper. I thought, "Hmm, I know him..." and a few seconds later it hit me- it was Cardinal Dainel DiNardo! The Archbishop of our Archdiocese, and the newest Cardinal! He was alone and dressed simply- a black suit and roman collar- so I second-guessed myself for a second. As starstruck as I was, I sure as heck wasn't going to pass the opportunity to meet him! We introduced ourselves and made small talk; he was headed to DC to say the Red Mass the next day. I wished I'd have gotten a photograph or at least asked him to bless the kids, but I struggle to think straight in situations where I'm nervous so you'll just have to take my word for it that we met him!

Anyways, we arrived in DC and once we got our rental car, drove out to Josh and Ramona's apartment. Oh, the happy reunion! We hadn't seem them since the spring and had never met our precious little nephew, and Beth was so happy to finally meet and hold "Baby Chris."

Sunday was Christopher's baptism and party! He did really well, he happily sat through the entire service and didn't cry during the water part. It was my first experience with a female minister (at a Lutheran church), I have to admit as a cradle Catholic I was a little weirded out!

the baptism of christopher daniel, now a child of god!

beautiful boy

Monday Ryan, the kids, and I set out to see DC. Our first stop was the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the largest Catholic church in the US! It was amazing, and reminded me of my trip to Rome in 1998. It had so many nooks and crannies (and I'm a fan of nooks and crannies!) and I just loved peeking around every corner and would be amazed that the rooms were just way bigger than I expected! We stayed for awhile and had lunch there (there was a cafeteria in the basement!).

trekking to the national basilica. beth is on ryan's back and i had luke in my pouch. they lived in the slings all week; i think ryan and i need professional massages!

this is a serious jesus. one that the devil should cower from!

enjoying some "free" time outside of their slings, before lunch at the basilica

pretty girl

Next stop after the shrine was DC! We drove around for awhile to see the town, and wound up parking just south of the Washington Memorial. We planned to walk the National Mall- and we did- but oh boy we had no idea what we were in for! At the end of the day, right before we were heading back to the car to call it a day, someone told us it was a four-mile round trip. Ya, no joke. We had a stroller and two slings- the kids took turns riding in the stroller and in the slings though we found we made the best time if we were pushing an empty stroller!

Tuesday we decided to take it easy. The kids were sleeping horribly (both waking up multiple times throughout the night and Luke waking up for the day at 5 am!) so we just needed to stay in and rest. Luke had a morning nap then we walked to Ikea for lunch; yes Ikea was walking distance! How jealous I was! The kids took afternoon naps then we decided to drive to a pumpkin patch (because we're not the types to fly halfway across the country to stay inside all day!). It was beautiful: rolling hills, gigantic sunflowers, hundreds of pumpkins all shapes and sizes, hay bales and corn husks. It's the sort of pumpkin patch I've been dying to find around here! The kids had so much fun, and we got some great pictures!

walking distance to ikea!

Wednesday was another busy day. We met Ryan's high school friend for lunch then headed to the National Zoo, which was rather disappointing. The best part were the gorillas, and we saw those the first 10 minutes we were there! It seemed it was "off season" as a lot of the exhibits were closed. We finished there then weren't sure what to do with ourselves, so we went back into DC to find Arlington Cemetary. The kids were sleeping in the back so we decided not to get out, we drove through a part of it though so at least we were able to see it.

at the national zoo. beth wanted to hug the panda but he was too big!

Thursday we started our day with the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, which was very cool. Beth loved all the animals that had been preserved, and the funniest part was when we went to the dinosaur room. Beth had been so excited to see the dinosaur bones (like in one of her books), and we went into the huge exhibit hall and she seemed rather disappointed. I made a big deal about it and said, "Look, Beth! We're finally here!" and she said, "They're like in our mall." HAHAHA! Why go all the way to Washington DC to see the dinosaurs when you can just go to the mall? LOL.

breakfast at einstein bros

the museum

i got a kick out of this. my kids are marsupials. ;-)

the infamous dinosaurs

After the museum we drove to the Pentagon. We couldn't quite figure out parking, but we drove by the 9/11 memorial and figured that we didn't want to get out since the kids were sleeping in their seats. Then we drove around DC for about an hour trying to find a spot for lunch during lunch hour- our mistake was listening to a loaned GPS instead of just finding a fast food spot. Since the downtown area was incredibly crowded and busy, we decided to drive out a little to find lunch. Well then we were in an area where we felt sort of...unsafe, so lunch was greatly delayed. We went to some aquatic gardens thinking it would be a little touristy, but we couldn't have been more wrong! No food there either, so we hiked around the marsh (which was cool), thinking it would make a circle around the marsh. Big fat no- so at the dead-end we turned around to hike the .7 miles back with two kids on our backs.

hiking around the marsh

Exhausted and tired we went home, devoured food, and passed out!

Friday we went to Baltimore to visit Josh's place of work, Johns Hopkins. We had some yummy crabcakes for lunch then walked around campus and met some of Josh's colleagues and saw where all the genius work happens! Afterward we drove to the Harbor and walked around there for a bit, it was very cool but I wish we'd have had time to tour the boats or the money to go to the aquarium! Wanting to beat Friday afternoon traffic, we hit the road early to drive back to DC and have some of Josh's yummy chili for dinner!

visiting the johns hopkins campus in baltimore, where josh works. i felt pretty old bringing my kids on a campus, haha.

at the harbor

We left for the airport at 11:30 on Saturday. Luckily we gave ourselves lots of time, because we were overly-confident in our abilities to get ourselves to the airport and didn't have a map. We got soooo lost and sooo confused, but in our defense the highways and interstates in DC are royally screwed up. By the time we dropped off our car, took the bus to the airport, had to empty our checked back of a few items (since it was 58 lbs, sheesh) and ran across the airport, we made it there only minutes before they started boarding! Eek!

The flight home seemed longer than the flight there, and once we finally were home...Well, I don't think anyone has ever been happier to see home! Beth kept saying, "It's nice to be home!" We had such a great time, and the weather couldn't have been nicer. We saw everything we wanted to see and came back with fantastic memories. :-)

coming home!
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