Monday, October 31, 2011

The Last Weekend

There were so many times this weekend that John and I would look at each other and say, "this could be the last."  Meaning, this could be our last weekend with just the three of us.  With my due date only a week away, we know that baby #2 could come  (We're also trying to keep in mind that she could be late like #1 was-we just don't like to talk like that though.)

Our to-do list was ignored.  Productivity wasn't invited to play this weekend.  Instead, we tried to focus on doing fun things with Burl.  Morning family snuggles in the bed, long meals followed by playtime, exposing Burl to the terrifying Chick-fil-a cow, and lots of outside fun.  

For whatever reason, we went to Chick-fil-a for lunch on Saturday.  That's like going to child mecca on it's busiest holiday.  Goodness, they do a lot of business!

Who knew that waffle fries and chicken marinated in dill pickle juice could draw such a crowd?

After lunch, we went to a nearby park, along with several birthday parties, little league teams, and one hilarious photo shoot (insert mental picture of two teenage girls lying on their stomachs on top of each other while one lady holds a reflection disk thingy and one lady throws leaves over them.  HILARIOUS!)

Even though there were 1948034 people there with us, it felt like our own.  The weather was great.  We were all feeling the family vibe.  Then, there were the colors.  I think I've had two handfuls of conversations about these colors.  Something about this year's turning of the leaves is absolutely amazing.  I heard that means that we have a cold winter coming up, but I'm no nature expert.  Just a big fan!

This park is so cool it even has a little babbling brook that is just Burl's size.  Not too big. Not too small.  Just right for Goldilocks Burl.  The creek has a collection of small pebbles for the very popular kid game of "throw stuff in the water."  

At one point, John asked me to pass him the good rocks (aka, the bigger rocks) that were "just right by my feet."  Ahem.  Right by my feet is right out of reach.  Mama ain't reachin' that far unless it's an emergency.  Like a fallen cookie or something.

Once Burl started to trying to make splashes himself, we pulled him away.  I wanted a family picture.  We went in the field behind the barn where we found this gem of a thought:

"Break what's breakable."  So profound.  Like fo' sho'

Next up, we left Burl for the evening.  Enough family time.  We got all dressed up for Mandy's 30th birthday party.  Old Hollywood was the theme.  (Mandy, I know you're reading this, so I have to tell you that we don't get dressed up for just anyone.  Labor of Love.  Happy Burfday.)

We were with our little group of friends.  The ones we throw showers with, the ones we get together for birthdays, the ones where the girls and guys are friends and when we get together, we get a little goofy.   Niiiice, Frank.

Photo booth?  Yes, please.  

Group shot on the balcony?  Don't mind if we do.  All.Good.Fun.  

Sunday we took Burl climbing.  Bouldering to be exact.  By we, I mean, John.  Pulling a 9-month belly up a rock is not appealing to me right now.  I took the pictures.  

Burl enjoyed it.  The climbing chalk was fun.  The outside was fun.  What was most fun was the actual climbing.  Burl was captivated.  To do the trip justice, I'll be writing more about that later...

For now, we'll just call the trip a success.  We'll call the whole weekend a success.  So, baby #2, we're ready for you.  You can come on out anytime now.  Any.Time.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

This Week's Menu

This week's menu is a little late because I just came up with it this morning on the fly.  I'm craving all things pasta and could have made that every night, but I gotta watch the carbs.  Oh, who am I kidding...I'm not watchin' nothin'

White Chicken Chili
Thai Pork & Sushi Rice

Saturday, October 29, 2011


I'm not always looking through the camera when I snap pictures.
This makes for some off centered photos.  

Sometimes they're not so much off centered-they are just re-centered.  Accidently cutting off the top of his face puts the focus on the bottom half.  The part with that cute little mouth squeezed between those big, fat cheeks.  Oh how I love those big, fat cheeks!   

Friday, October 28, 2011

Peninsula, Calendar, and To-Do List

T-minus 9 days until my due date and I can honestly say that I'm ready.
I'm ready to meet her.
I'm ready to not be pregnant.
I'm ready to get this show on the road.
And, my to-do list is crossed off enough for me to relax.

Here is a picture of our landing zone, our headquarters, our base camp.  It's not a grand entry, but it will do.  It's what we call the peninsula. (Our whole kitchen here.)   When we come in the door, we walk to the kitchen and this is where we drop our bags, groceries, mail, etc.  Instead of a junk drawer, I have a junk (I keep typing "drunk" ) tray.  (My mood, at times, can be directly linked with how well the peninsula is cleaned off.)

Instead of a cute setup like this from Pottery Barn, I have my bulletin board.  I've had a bulletin board like this since I was a kid.  I love that it is our little space to put fun little paper things.  Quotes, invitations, encouraging letters, cute pictures, Gap coupons, the very-popular-conversation-starting-Good Wife Guide, and most importantly, our calendar.  

This month has been To-Do List month.  To help me feel underwhelmed, I made a list of all the things that I needed and wanted done before baby #2.  John picked up on my sense of urgency a few weeks ago and has been the forerunner in getting things done.  Some days, he'll call me and he'll say, "so what do you want me to get done tonight?"  I'll pick a few things and he will do them.  Most of the time, he includes Burl.  It's a good system.

While not everything is crossed off, I'm feeling good about our situation.  (Partly because I keep adding things on the list in anticipation of getting to CROSS things off the list.)  This weekend may very well be our last weekend with just the three of us, so we are laying off the preparations.  We're hoping to get some big fat quality time in.  Enjoy the weather.  Play outside. Do things with Burl.

It really is not.much.longer...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Girls That Lunch

Everyone has girlfriends and has great girlfriend times, and let me just say, it's all good fun, isn't it?

This week we got together for a lazy, during the weekday lunch.  It was Laura's birthday last week, Mandy's birthday this week, and it was just time for us to get together.  We ate $5 pizza, forgot the lettuce for the salad, ate cookies AND cupcakes, tried on old dresses, and made a mess for the birthday girl to clean up.  What was suppose to be a casual lunch turned into three beautiful hours of being together.  Girl time rocks!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Picnics Are Magical

I should start a blog about how wonderful picnics are.  They're just great.  Last week, Burl and I picked John up again for his lunch break.  We headed to a park just a few minutes from his work and enjoyed some good ole fashion, quality time.  

I was telling my mom about it and she asked what exactly we did on our picnics.  More specifically, she wanted to know what Burl did.  

Since it was warm enough, we all took off our shoes.

Burl climbed on John.  No games.  No big activities.  Just time outside on and around a blanket.

As we're packing up to rush John back to work, I made us take a group picture.
I want to remember the little times-a simple picnic-just as much as I do the big times, because that's where real life happens.

Monday, October 24, 2011

My Bookshelf Situation

"Just because it's free doesn't mean you have to take it," John told me several years ago.  Wise words indeed.  When we were first married and setting up shop, I would take any furniture that was free and make it work in our house.  With those gentle and kind words, John saved us from a life of hoarding and a house full of furniture that doesn't work for us.  Now, I'm getting picky about what I furniture I want.  I need highly functional furniture.

With baby #2 on the way, we had to break down our office to give her a room.  That meant that we had to relocate our bookshelves, the computer, our filing system, and John's space to call his own.  

First up: the bookshelves.  We had three of these great shelves from Ikea that held books, magazines, pictures, and other fun stuff like bookmarks and a letter box.  When we had to move them out of her room, we didn't have any tall wall space to put our bookshelves.  

I knew that I wanted to put some bookshelves against the half wall in our living room.  I couldn't find bookshelves that fit the dimensions, so I asked my brother to make me one.  That was the plan until John suggested cutting our original shelves to fit the wall.  I thought that was niftier than two-shirt pockets.  He measured to make sure they would fit and just like that we went with  Plan C.  

One Saturday, John asked me if I was sure that I wanted to do this.  I gave him the go ahead and he started cutting.  No turning back.  Please note Burl.  John saws, Burl saws.

And just like that, we went from this against our half wall:

to this:

We decided that we like it.  John says that it looks like we have "life" in the living room.  And we like life a lot.  To squeeze everything into those shorter shelves, I paired down my book collection.  It's hard for this girl who used to work at a bookstore and loves all things paper to finally decide she doesn't need to keep every book.  I'm ok now though, thanks for asking.  I've got a big box of books that's going to make me some money at the local used bookstore.  

And I have bookshelves that perfectly fit my little half wall.  

Sunday, October 23, 2011

This Week's Menu

Every Sunday I post my upcoming menu.  It's nothing special.  Nothing to brag about.  It's just a way that keep track of what I've made; a place to keep online recipes; and a reminder of the good and bad.  

Also, take a look at that kitchen below.  I just adore this color combo I'm seeing lately-
muted aqua + Brady Bunch green/yellow + layered on earthy tones=

From House Beautiful, found here

Cream of asparagus soup, tomato cucumber salad, rosemary bread
Broiled flank steak, new potatoes, sauteed zucchini
Salad with leftover flank steak and leftover rosemary bread
Lemons & chicken, acorn squash, broccoli

Friday, October 21, 2011

Youth Group

Instead of our regular youth group, this week we had a fall festival.  It was all fun, games and food.  Bobbing for apples, bouncy castle obstacle courses, Just Dance 3, cotton candy, and a whole lotta energy was on the agenda for the night.

Here I am dancing with some girls to Just Dance 3.  I think I might have won this round.  

I absolutely love going to youth group on Wednesday nights.  I've been hanging out with middle and high schoolers for over a decade now and I can't imagine my life without it.  The energy and excitement of teenagers is contagious.  Their honesty is refreshing.  The camaraderie of all the leaders has changed my life.

Before Burl was born, John and I talked about things that we didn't want to give up just because we had kids.  Youth group was on my list.  I love going.  I can't imagine NOT going.  It's just great.  And I'm thankful that someone pushed me to do this, because it has just been so much fun.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Daddy Games

Daddy games are a little bit different than Mommy games.

John and Burl were at the house the other day while I ran errands.  When I came home, John showed me some of the fun games they played.

Also, John told me he taught Burl to say doo-doo.

I'm just so thrilled.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cooking Club Question

Last week, my cooking club met again.  As always, the food was top notch and we overate.

What I really liked about this time was our theme and the question we had to answer.

The theme was "the dish you most go to," which was fun to hear the stories behind why we love our dishes.  More interesting than the theme was the question: what does our day need to look like to feel most like ourselves? 

Great question, right?  It really had me thinking, and it still has me thinking.  So I thought I would leave it here for everyone to ponder.  What does your day need to look like for you to feel most like yourself?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

This Week's Menu

Every week, I am like a writer staring at a blank page with a case of writer's block.  I have no idea how to create a menu.  In extreme cases, I ask John.  I can usually guess what he is going to suggest-chili, tacos, bolognese.  When that doesn't work like what I want, I try something else.  I've finally got a bit of a system now.  I plan according to a few categories that I've come up with:

something *fun* 
meat + two veggies
something new

This week was one of those weeks.  Soup. Pasta. Fun. New.

Steak fajitas and salad
Cream of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches
Pesto pasta with shrimp

What I Do During Naps

When I get tired during the day, I tell myself that there is a nap time coming up and I can get some rest.  Sometime after lunch, I put Burl down for a nap, thinking that I'm about to do the same.

When I walk out of his room, close the door, it hits me.  It's like I've taken speed.  The adrenaline is pumping and I get so excited about the possibilities of over two hours to myself.  I couldn't nap if I wanted.

Instead-I clean.
I make stuff.
I read.
I write letters. 
I internet (google chrome, to be exact).
And sometimes I just daydream.
And it's magical.
And refreshed doesn't describe how wonderful I feel after it.

Then, after a bit, I hear him playing in his room.
The craziness is back on and things get exciting again.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Saying Yes

I think the phrase is suck the marrow out of life.  That's been our game plan for the past month. As we approach the due date, we are busy.  We are busy preparing.  We are busy enjoying Burl.  We are busy living it up.

I'm not sure what life will be like with two children, but I know it will be a bit different than life with just one.  So, for now, we're saying yes to everything.  We going for girls' nights, climbing trips, time to ourselves, picnics, and more.  

Cookout to watch the Georgia/Tennessee game?  Sure.  We know little to nothing about football, but we know a heck of a lot about being outside, hanging out with friends, and getting our eat on.

Then, there is our city.  John and I are both born and raised Chattanoogans, and we're kinda in love with our city.  And I don't want to say it's the best  because that sounds like bragging and no one likes a bragger.  Buuuut, there was a contest, and we won it.  Outside Magazine said so.

When some friends remind us of a music festival on the river, we go.  We say yes.  And we run into more friends, because Chattanooga is cool like that.  It's a very big, small city.

We watch two toddlers dance to the music and stay up very late.  It's the kind of thing parents do when they have three kids, usually not with just one kid.  Lara said so.

And that's how we roll.  Because come baby #2, there is going to be less rollin'.
We still gonna roll, but I have no idea what that's going to look like.  For now, we're saying yes.