Monday, December 31, 2012

Play pretend

Natalie got a few fun new toys for Christmas,  including a little doll and some play food and dishes. What has been really cute is I haven't really seen her play pretend a lot before but she totally got into it without any real prompting or teaching from us. One of the cutest things ever was watching her try to feed her little dolly.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

oh my oh my oh dinosaurs

A few candid shots from playing dinosaurs this morning. It's just too bad you can't capture Natalie's "rawrs" on a still picture.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

THE pregnancy craving

I remember this distinctly last time I was pregnant: I was super excited for Thanksgiving. Like I kept thinking about turkey, gravy, stuffing, rolls, potatoes, etc for a couple of weeks before hand. Then there was a year where Natalie was a baby, and although I was excited for Thanksgiving, I didn't find myself so incredibly super duper stoked for it. Then this year rolls around. For 2-3 weeks beforehand I was craving all the Thanksgiving fixings.

This time though, the craving didn't stop after the Thanksgiving meal was finished. In fact, although we had somewhere between 2-3 Thanksgiving type meals during that weekend, I was still craving turkey. and gravy. and potatoes. and rolls. and sweet potato casserole. and stuffing. Oh the stuffing. If I had to pick a favorite Thanksgiving food, it would probably be homemade stuffing.

So the Sunday following Thanksgiving we pulled out of the freezer the turkey we had bought earlier that week and originally had been planning to save for a while. The following Saturday (this past Saturday if anyone is keeping track) we cooked up that hunk of meat. And then we really went all out. First we ate half of one turkey breast that afternoon. Then we made turkey soup. Then we made all the fixings that we love and adore: the gravy, the potatoes, the stuffing, the sweet potatoes, and we have been eating leftovers of it all since then.

Here's the problem though. We are almost out of turkey, but I am not anywhere close from being sick of this meal. Matthew suggested that we should buy another turkey and cook it up and just keep going... and you know what, I think that is a fantastic idea.

Maybe by January I will have gotten my fill of turkey??? Hopefully at the very latest by the time baby girl decides to show her face. Oh have you all heard? We are having a girl!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

life as it is

Before we say anything else, I have a belly. And a picture:
Please forgive the quality of the picture. And my hair. Something weird is definitely going on up top there. Anyway I am very excited to finally start showing. It makes me feel like I am for reals pregnant. It just seems like it takes many weeks and many pounds before anything starts happening in the rotundness department so I'm pretty excited about what I've got going on. I'm 17 weeks and 5 days today, but who's counting?

Besides the belly, pregnancy is fine. I am still pretty tired (lame) and I've definitely had a voracious appetite. It is interesting comparing this pregnancy with the last one. I feel hungrier now, and more needing to fulfill random cravings immediately. I've also had more aches and pains and dizziness earlier. However, one HUGE HUGE HUGE awesome difference this time compared to last time is that I have not yet had to deal with a lot of insulin resistance. Last time I feel like it started right around 14 weeks, and here I am at almost 18 with basically no difference in insulin needs and resistance. That is amazing and makes everything feel so much easier.  I was concerned for a little while that maybe that meant something wasn't going right with the baby, but everything looked fine at the last appt and the doctor isn't worried, so I am just going to take it and enjoy it while it lasts.

As far as life goes, Natalie still only says "no" without prompting and we're still trying to get her to expand her vocabulary. Matthew still enjoys teaching high school physics, although I don't understand how anyone could enjoy teaching high school. And I'm still doing my internship. So, not a lot new. I did recently finish my entire clinical rotation, so that's pretty awesome. I'm now doing community at WIC which is fun too. And I'm just about halfway done with the entire internship. Sweet!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

a week off

I have finished two whole rotations of my internship--one at a hospital, and one at an outpatient diabetes clinic-- and now I have one whole glorious week off. I am SO excited. I'm going to sleep in, take a nap with Natalie every day, and spend lots of time playing with my baby and reminding her that her mommy in fact does exist.

When I'm not doing that, I'm going to pick up with doing everything that has gotten pushed to the wayside in the hectic-ness of everything now. All I'm saying is, working 8 hours a day (plus the 2+ hours driving time per day for my diabetes rotation), working on homework and projects at night, and then add in always feeling tired and exhausted from being pregnant... well... let's just say that things like picking up after myself, or cleaning, or making dinner, or doing just about anything else that doesn't involve a nap or sitting like a blob on the couch has been pushed to the wayside.

Despite all that, I have loved doing this internship. It really has been very enjoyable. It's nice to know that after years of school you really do like what you have chosen to do. And after this last rotation at the diabetes clinic, I am thinking seriously that being a diabetes educator is what I would like to do. We'll see though.

A few more details about pregnancy. I'm just about 14 weeks along, and so I'm starting the second trimester. I'm hoping to start feeling more "normal" soon. So far this pregnancy has been a little different from the last one. I haven't been as nausous, in fact, I haven't really had any nausea to speak of, which is a huge blessing. I have been a lot more emotional, though. And I have had a lot more cravings. I'm due April 22nd. My last day of the internship is April 4th. Considering that with Natalie they induced me at 37 weeks, and knowing that there is no way they will let me go beyond 39 weeks, it is very likely I will have the baby within a week of finishing. Yipes!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

When Expiration Dates Sneak Up On You

 So don't you just hate it when things expire before you use them.  Sometimes I wish things would just wait in stasis until you were ready for them. For instance, probably our biggest food waste is vegetables, fruit, and leftovers going bad before we use them. That, or the amount of food Natalie throws on the floor. :) We actually try really hard to not let produce spoil, but it seems like some of it always hides in the corner of the crisper, or you just can't use those last couple green onions, or eat the last few grapes before they get squishy. Gross.
I think the stuff on the left used to be parsley?

Then there is the problem of coupons. I have a love/hate relationship with coupons. I love it when they get me free things or good prices on things I want (like 60 cents off the gallons of ice cream at Smith's). But then I feel that there are just as many times that they are for things that I probably wouldn't buy but then I feel that I need to because they're cheaper. Matthew is more susceptible to those than me; in fact, he's the only one who is susceptible. I just toss those ones and I have to try and convince Matthew to, too. Still, when there are good ones it's sad when they go bad because you forgot about them. For instance, recently we had a coupon for an oil change discount and Matthew noticed that it expired on 9/25, you guessed it, that day. So, we didn't have time to go do it. It's so much better when coupons don't expire. Matthew recently turned in a coupon for Apple-Cinnamon Cheerios from the 90's. More coupons should be like that!

  If things are going to expire, it's nice if they tell you in advance. That way you have some time to get used to the idea and make plans. Natalie was kind enough to help us out with this, which is good because this is something else that seems like it is expiring faster than I would have expected:

She has the "coy" look down pat.

P.S. We're in the market for boy names (just in case). Feel free to make suggestions, just know it will likely be rejected. :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

the best birthday present of all

Several of weeks ago it was my birthday. I got one of the best birthday presents ever--Matthew was able to suddenly start working full time. The school where he had gotten a job teaching physics one hour a day (so a very part-time job with a very part-time salary) suddenly offered him a job teaching physics full time between two schools. So instead of hourly wages he is a salaried teacher, with benefits... really great benefits, actually.

This really felt like such an amazing blessing. Instead of barely making things meet with his hourly wage plus like 4 other part time jobs between the two of us, now we actually are spending less than we are making. So we can save money. What a novel idea.

A teacher's salary is actually really amazingly low, but right now, to us, it feels like we are on top of the world. The only downside is that now instead of Matthew taking care of Natalie during the day, we had to find child care for her. But we feel like we have a good situation going for her--Matthew's cousin is watching her, and Natalie seems to have a great time at their house.

Last but not least, I want to talk about my birthday cake. I just think it is fun to make over the top decadent cakes. This one, entitled "Seven Sins Chocolate Cake" did not disappoint:
You can find the recipe for it here.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Cute baby girl

Natalie is almost 18 months, but she still hasn't really said any words. Just in the last month, however, she has started to get really into books. She loves them! And it is pretty funny, because in most of them she has a favorite page that she flips through the book to get to quickly. For instance, in the Very Hungry Caterpillar book, it is the page where the caterpillar eats "one piece of chocolate cake, one ice cream cone, one pickle, one slice of swiss cheese.." etc.

Thanks to her different books about animals, she has started to make animals noises. She can ruff like a dog, and go "huh huh huh" like a gorilla. So I think we are going to count animals noises as her first words. haha.

She is also quite the diva, and loves to get her picture taken. She will grab our phones and open them up, and then turn them around so it is facing the correct way for us to take pictures of her. Or, she will grab the regular camera and do the same thing. She thinks it is so fun, and it really is pretty funny.

A few pictures from my phone (I don't have a fancy smartphone, so they aren't that great)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

we're real adults now?

Matthew is officially done with school, which I guess means that we are real adults now, if you don't count that he doesn't have a full time job (he does have a part time job though) and that I am technically a student now in the internship. But whatever. We're totally grown ups.
And, just in case you were wondering, the first week at the hospital went really well.

Friday, July 27, 2012

a pleasant surprise

Natalie is a pretty lucky baby toddler. She has a ton of aunts and uncles and especially cousins (43!) that love to play with her. It has been so fun for her to practically live with 10 of those cousins. She has several teenage girl cousins who are super good with her, but what has been pleasantly surprising to me is how good the teenage boy cousins are with her. There are around four or five 13-14 year old boys (including one of my brothers) that she sees a lot and have  been so good to her, playing with her, taking her to see the kitty, taking care of her, etc etc etc. Seriously I have been impressed. I would have thought that 13-14 year old boys would be totally into...I dunno... nerf guns and computer games (okay they are into those things), but they are also totally into playing with the 16 month old little girl. It's sweet.

Although, how could you not love this cutie pie??

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

i want that

A quickly snapped series of pictures of Natalie and Nathan. Totally cracks me up.


water time

Okay okay I know vacation pictures are often just not the most interesting things to look at (unless of course, you vacationed somewhere insanely awesome, such as France), so I wouldn't even put pictures up except that Natalie is just the most cutest adorablest thing I have ever seen. I just can't help myself.  


Wednesday, June 20, 2012


One of my most favorite things to do in the summer in Minnesota is go strawberry picking.

We picked over 27 pounds! Oh baby!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

another food post! hurray!

I had so much fun last year writing about food, I thought I would do a post on some of our favorite things we've made this year. I highly recommend any of the following items to everybody and anybody.

Homemade Tortillas: My world brightened a little bit when these came into my life. Sure, they take more time than buying a bag at the store, but they are totally worth the extra effort.
Roasted Butternut Baked Penne: After making butternut soup last year and not loving it, I was hesitant to make this, but I’m so glad I did. The butternut flavor was not overpowering, but the combination of flavors absolutely rocked my world.
Roasted Red Pepper and Fontina Pizza: Pizza dough + olive oil + roasted red peppers + carmelized shallots + bacon + fontina cheese+balsamic reduction=perhaps the best pizza we’ve made so far, imho.
Pretzel Rolls: Basically pretzels in a form that you can eat for dinner. Win.
Sesame Chicken: Easy, sesamey, not too sweet and still feels like Chinese take out.
Glazed Carrots with Orange and Cranberries: I would even decrease or omit the sugar in this, as the OJ gave plenty of sweetness. It was a delicious, easy, healthy, and rather fancy dish.
Chocolate Macarons: I was so excited to make these, and they turned out amazingly. I have to admit, this is something I was pretty dang proud of, and if you have a kitchen scale, they really aren’t too difficult.
Cheesy Penne with Tomatoes and Spinach: Here’s the thing. I never liked the Kraft macaroni and cheese growing up. I still don’t. So, seeing homemade macaroni and cheese recipes never looked appealing to me, until I realized you didn’t have to use macaroni, and you are making a cheese sauce. Hello. I have to say, this meal was off the charts. Seriously, truly fantastic.
Fudgy Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars: I jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon in February, and this is the first thing that I made from the site. Imagine: Graham cracker toffee crust, fudgey chocolate middle, chocolate cookie dough top, sprinkled with toffee bits. Delish. Oh, the thing is that it is a pillsbury recipe, so they tell you to use a roll of refrigerated Pillsbury dough--I just used my favorite recipe for chocolate chip cookies.
Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake: I made this for my half-birthday. Imagine a brownie-ish cake layer on bottom, a chocolate mousse layer in the middle and a white chocolate mousse layer on top. So good.
Quinoa Chicken Salad: This one was one of Matthew's favorites. It was healthy, and had a lot of flavor. And came from Pinterest. ha.
Meditteranean Grilled Vegetable Tartine: A tartine is an open-faced sandwich, and I think the marinade on this, combined with the hummus flavor was what made it unforgettable. 
Sourdough Bread: Very good. Nothing more to say.
Homemade Yogurt: This is so easy, and so fun. I will say, I have deviated from the directions in the link quite a bit in order to get it to work better and more consistently, but now that we have a good method down, it works like a charm. 
Sausage, Apple, and Cranberry Stuffing: I got this recipe from my sister-in-law, and I think we ate it 3 times that month. 
Strawberry Butter: This is simply pureed, simmered strawberries beaten with butter and honey. And all I'm saying is that it is definitely not disgusting.
Chiang Mai Noodles: I like expanding my Asian cooking repertoire. This one is definitely in the long term rotation
Veggie Fried Rice: Again, expanding Asian repertoire. This turned out very similar to our favorite take-out place.
Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce Chicken: Probably in my top two favorite meals this year. Our old bishop's wife made this for a get together thing. The flavor is absolutely amazing.

Whelp, that is it! I'm super hungry now thinking about all this stuff. A couple of these thingers don't have links--I know I should either write in the recipe or not include them here, but I don't really feel like typing it in right now, plus it will make this post even that much longer, so maybe I'll just say if you are interested in any of the three or four things that don't have links, let me know and I'll either send it to you or just do a separate post later. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

natalie's latest living arrangements

I've actually gotten several requests for pictures of Natalie's room. First though, I want to point out that she likes her room. I feel the need to make that clarification because yes, her room is technically a closet/laundry room:

 And that is my hand.
The choices for her bedroom were either this room, or the front room which is right by the door to the outside. Personally, I didn't want my baby sleeping by the front door, both because I would stay up worrying about her safety, and because then when she's sleeping it is a lot harder to go in and out without waking her. Plus, her little room is all cozy. And she totally is okay with it. Look at that last picture, she's about to unload a cupboard full of diapers. What's not to love??

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

its the little things

Do you notice anything different about me?

I'm blogging from a new apartment! Huzzah! We are living in the downstairs apartment at Matthew's sister's house (hey guys!) and it is great, and I'm not just saying that because I'm pretty sure she reads this now and again. Besides the obvious reasons why we are really enjoying living here--you know, much more spacious living arrangements, nice kitchen, beautiful backyard, close to family--there are several other things that are enormous improvements over our last place.

1. When I stand on my tiptoes, my head doesn't hit the ceiling. Yes, I could do this at my last apartment.

2. There is a thermostat that we can control for the lower level. At our last place, the upstairs people controlled the temperature, and I WAS ALWAYS FREEZING. It was so cold, so often. Part of that was due to it being winter, and we are in the basement, so it is naturally going to be colder, but when it finally was in the 70s for a day, what did they do? THEY TURNED ON THE AIR CONDITIONING. FOR 5 HOURS! Ask me how I feel about that. ha.

3. There is a normal countertop here. At our old apartment, the countertop was tiled. So there was grout and grooves. And food got stuck in it, and it was hard to get it out, and you had to scrub to get the thing clean. Who wants to scrub counters on a near daily basis, or, have them full of crumbs and grossness? Not me. So glad to be done with that.

Anyway, we are pretty stoked to be moved and here. And that is my story.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

life update

So, here's the news.

1. I got an internship. Yay me! I feel like this is no small miracle that I was accepted somewhere. Anyway, it is with Utah State, I'll still be in utah valley, and I start in August.

2. As soon as we can sell our contract, we are moving to the apartment at Matthew's sister's house, which is going to be a fantastic upgrade. We're excited.

3.  Matthew graduates in a few weeks, and he is looking for a real job.

4. Natalie has almost completely transitioned to walking, instead of crawling. This is big news, people!

Friday, April 6, 2012

the one where germaphobes freak out

A few Sundays ago, during Sunday School we were feeding Natalie some Cheerios. 
I would put one in the palm of my hand, she would grab it and put it in her mouth. 
After doing this for a while, she held it out like she was offering it to Matthew. 
He opened his mouth, and she put the Cheerio in. 
He closed his mouth, Natalie turned and looked at me and smiled, and then put her hand back to Matthew's mouth, like she wanted the Cheerio back. 
He opened his mouth, she looked inside, put her little fingers in, and found the Cheerio. 
She took it out, put it in her mouth, gave us a big grin and ate it all. 

It is a good thing we were sitting in the back because I was laughing so hard. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

a year in photos

Okay, this is the last post about Natalie being one, I promise. I can't help it, its just so exciting. Anyway, the other day Matthew and I were looking at all of her pictures from this year, and this is what came of it. I know it is probably really cliche, but honestly, I can't believe how she has changed. It just seems unreal.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Will you indulge me a few minutes to talk about my baby's birthday? Okay? Okay.

Matthew and I were pretty dang excited about it all. It is so crazy that we have a one year old now. It makes us feel really old. Anyway, we had a little party for her, just the three of us, although Jonathan was there for part of it, too.

Birthday dinner: Assorted stuff dipped in chocolate for us, assorted stuff not dipped in chocolate for Natalie. Also, I love what Natalie's doing here. Totally cracks me up.
We played Pin the Diaper on the Baby...
Since Jonathan won, we gave him the diaper, which he promptly 
turned into a hat and put on his head. 
Yup, that's my brother.
Then we blew noise maker things 
(I know you all wish you could have been there. ha)
Natalie opened her present
 A new car seat! Yay!
 Time for cupcakes
More mommy more! (In her defense, they were really good, if I do say so myself. 

And that was her birthday. We had a good time, she had a good time, and we took some fun pictures (and that's the most important part, right dad? :) )

Thursday, March 1, 2012

its in the eyes

No, she's not blinking. This is what happens Natalie gets really happy, or thinks that she is being funny or something. She gets a big grin on her face, and then squints her eyes. Adorable.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

half leap birthday

So, today was Leap Day. It was also my half-birthday!!! And I decided that I get to make a big deal about it. If my half-birthday fell on any other day of the year, I probably wouldn't even notice it, but I'm not gonna lie, I feel pretty special that I have a half-birthday on leap year day.

So we had a little half-birthday party. It was legendary.

Matthew sang half (every other word) of Happy Birthday to me. We played leap frog with Natalie; she loved it. We sang half a song, and read half a book. Matthew smashed half of a fingernail in the car door. We drove half the speed limit to Walmart, where Matthew got me half a present. Okay, not really. He got me sidewalk chalk and a big bouncy ball. Although he did let me get a half-container of Pringles (love those!) and so I guess he did get me half a present.

 And the most exciting part of it all, I made a decadent dessert. I suppose I should've made half a cake or something, but let's be real, I just wanted to make this. I give you Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake.
I'm pretty proud of how it turned out. Yes, it was amazingly rich and delicious. We both loved it. You can get the recipe for it here.

Oh, and Matthew also had a floral design lab yesterday, so we'll pretend that the flowers he made there were special for my half-birthday.