Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday Funday, sort of...

Today is Monday Funday sort of because I have to work today. I'm covering the night shift, 5pm-6am so it's not a funday kind of day.  I did get out for a walk and enjoy the day but mostly I've spent the day napping in preparation for my long night.  We did have a great weekend though enjoying the spring weather (finally) and seeing friends in Des Moines for one of my best friend's baby shower.

It's always good to catch up with my girl friends.  We only see each other a few times a year but when we get together it's like no time has passed at all.  That's the sign of true lifelong friendship.  I'm so fortunate to have these ladies in my life.
Love these ladies!
When we got home Sunday afternoon, we quickly unloaded the car and left it all by the front door and headed outside.  After being in the car for 4 hours, we had to get out and enjoy the weather. Unpacking and housework can wait!  We played in the backyard and also went to the park by our house.  I had one dirty little boy when we got home.  It was a great way to spend our afternoon.

With legs like these he was born to wear shorts. 

Daddy and E on the sand digger.
Working hard with the sand digger.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Impromptu Post

I wasn't planning on posting anything tonight. I was working on my post for tomorrow and debating whether to include a picture or not.  The picture is not very flattering of me.  I'm self conscious of my tummy and with the way I'm sitting in the picture, my flabbiness is very evident.  I wanted to include the picture though because it's of my 3 best friends and me at Mandy's baby shower.  We hadn't all been together since December and I was excited to catch up will my girls and meet Mandy's baby boy.  It was a great night and I loved hanging out with my friends.  The thing is, when I was getting ready that night, I felt really good about myself.  I liked my outfit, my hair, and I actually wore makeup other than mascara.  Why would I let a simple picture ruin that memory for me?  Am I really that shallow to not post a picture documenting a terrific night because of my tummy?  That's when I realized I was being silly and decided to write this post to give myself a reality check.  I've had a tummy my entire life and having a baby didn't help matters.  It is what it is.  It doesn't make me any less of a friend to these women, or less of a wife to my husband and certainly not less of a mother to E.  It's just who I am.  So here's the pic and I'm glad I'm posting it.  We see each other so little that every moment deserves to be captured with a picture, flabby tummy and all!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Evan M. - 11 Months

Happy 11 months to my Little Man!  E still isn't walking yet, not even a few steps.  He’ll stand a little bit on his own but he likes to have his hand on something for support.  He doesn't really need the support because he flies around the couch and the coffee table.  I think he’s just being stubborn.  In a way I’m glad he’s not walking yet, that just adds a whole other level of child proofing and watching out we need to do. 

Sharing Breakfast
He continues to amaze me every day.  He’s starting to say Mamma and Dadda and something that sounds like Josie.  He loves Josie!  He chases her around and he always wants to pet her.  E’s pretty gentle with her but occasionally an ear will get pulled.  Before E, Josie was our baby and she pretty much ruled the house.  We were nervous to see how she would react once we had E.  I’m impressed with how well Josie handles him.  She’ll let him play a little bit but then eventually she’s had enough and gets up to find a new spot.  I can see them being best buds as E get older.

We've started to wean E off formula and introduce more and more solid foods.  He pretty much eats whatever we have for dinner which makes meal planning so much easier.  So far he doesn't seem to be bothered by any foods and likes the spice, chili mac and chicken taco meat were big hits!

E spends his days playing, he’s really into blocks and books.  He also loves his slide from Grandma and Grandpa.  He prefers to go down head first and then climb back up the slide. 

E, I love you so much and I’m so lucky to be your Mom!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Meatless Monday - Week 4

This week’s Meatless Monday dish was Mike’s favorite so far and E seemed to enjoy it as well.  This week’s meal comes from Pinterest via Prevention magazine, Spaghetti Squash Casserole.  I haven’t had spaghetti squash in a long time so when I came across this recipe I was excited.  Spaghetti squash isn't in season but after 3 different grocery stores, I found one!  The recipe is very simple and easy to make.  Cooking the squash is the most time consuming part, 30 minutes in the oven.  That’s something I could do ahead of time and then I have an easy weekday meal. 

I made a mistake and used a deeper baking dish instead of the shallow one I originally roasted the squash in.  The topping of parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs is delicious and with a deeper baking dish I didn't get a lot of that.  Next time I will use the shallow dish to get all that delicious topping. 

The golden brown topping is the best!

We’re headed into our final week of Meatless Monday and I’m using spaghetti squash again next week.  There’s a decadent pasta dish I've been wanting to try from the Pioneer Woman but was waiting for a special occasion since it is pretty rich.  I’m going to try spaghetti squash instead of noodles to lighten it up.  We’ll see how it goes. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Monday Funday

Family, accomplish, relax is how I would sum up our weekend.  Family is a big part of our lives so Mike and I try to spend as much time with family as possible.  We spent Saturday out at Mike's Mom and Dad's.  My mother-in-law was the MC of a style show hosted at their church.  The show featured clothes and accessories from local business modeled by people from the community (including my father-in-law!) and all proceeds went to support the local food shelves.  For a small town, I was impressed by the community support.  My mother-in-law did a great job as MC and I'm glad we were there to support her.  Mike's sister and one of her friends came to the show so it was good to have everyone there.

My mother-in-law the MC and father-in-law the model.
My father-in-law is ready to come out of retirement and head to
the runways of Paris!
Program for the Style Show.

Sunday was our accomplish day; errands, laundry and other chores around the house.  E has learned to take the child proof locks off the cupboards in the kitchen.  There are some cleaning supplies under the sink so we had to move those down to the basement.  Lets face it, they don't get used that much anyway so the basement is a good place for them.  We also cleaned out E's toys.  He's already accumulated so much stuff we decided to store what he really doesn't play with or he's outgrown. Our toy area in the living room looks so much better now.

Monday was our relax day.  I spent my morning cooking and then went to get a pedicure.  Now if it would only warm up so I can wear flip flops!

In the afternoon we had school and then came home and in honor of Earth Day, planted a tomato plant. Hopefully we have luck, I've never done a patio tomato plant before.  It will be fun to see what happens.

And just to document this day, April 22, here's what it looks like outside my house right now...I have no words...

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Little Mommy Guilt

From the minute I leave work, my evenings are a whirlwind.  I don’t see E in the morning so evenings are my time with him.  But I must admit, there are times when I think back to my pre-Mommy days when my evenings were all mine.  It doesn't help that E is going through a phase where from about 5-7 in the evening he’s cranky, clingy and hungry.  Not a good combination.  Thank goodness for Cheerios, they make a perfect appetizer until we can get dinner on the table. 

After dinner, there’s cleaning up to do and lunches to pack and baths to take.  Before you know it, it’s bedtime for E and me.  There are some nights I come home from work and I swear, I don’t sit down until I crawl into bed!  What happened to my evenings?  I used to stop for some shopping on my way home from work, hit up a happy hour, or on the rare occasion go to the gym.  I could come home and sit on the couch and get caught up on my trashy TV or read a book and not have to worry about someone pulling a lamp over. 

The other night I came home from work and E was still napping.  I couldn't help but feel a little happy about that.  It was nice to come home and do whatever I wanted.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching some Kourtney and Kim while catching up on Facebook and blogs.  There was no crying, climbing, or “No, No”.  It was my time and it felt great.  As soon as I heard E wake up from his nap I felt disappointed my time was over.  Then came the guilt, lots of guilt.  How could I feel disappointed about seeing my baby boy when I hadn't seen him all day?  Because he’s a lot of work that’s why!   I’m not a bad Mommy for not wanting to spend every moment with my child.  I do love spending time with E and miss him so much during the day.  I honestly can say that.  But I’m still me, and I like watching trashy TV in peace and quiet.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Adventures from the Paternal Side

This post comes from the perspective of an At Home Dad (AHD)...and the joys that go along with having that title.  Being an AHD is a very rewarding experience and one filled with many adventures.  E, or Evie as I prefer to call him, and I partake in many adventures during the week. "Adventures" come in all shapes and sizes.  My favorite thing about being an AHD is that it allows me to tap into my imaginative side.  Like anything, if you don't use it you loose it.  I find myself thinking like I did when I was a child (insert joke here...haha) but this is a good thing.  My mind is constantly thinking of ways to stimulate his sense of wonder so he can continue to explore and learn new things.  I make up stories and little rhymes to sing to him throughout the day.  If he didn't know any better he would think I was crazy, but for now my secret if safe.

Our days are spent going for walks outside when the weather is nice or taking a trip to a store.  Recently, Evie and I have built forts out of pillows.  He absolutely loves to climb on couch cushions and fall onto pillows.

Our adventures can be grand, such as a trip to Edinburough Park.

Or, adventures can be simple such as hiding under a blanket and popping up with a Peak-a-Boo, which often triggers a squeal of laughter.  It's the simple adventures that are my favorites:-)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Meatless Monday - Week 3

Before I even get into my recap of Meatless Monday, I must acknowledge the tragedy that happened in Boston yesterday.  My heart goes out to all the people impacted by this senseless event.  It's sad that it takes something like this to remind us how precious life is.  It's a reminder to be grateful and take nothing for granted and it's our duty to live our lives this way because we still can.  Thank you.  

On a lighter note, another successful Meatless Monday in the Gesellchen House!  I wanted to make a pasta dish so of course I searched Pinterest for the perfect recipe.  I found so many decadent creamy pasta recipes that looked amazing.  But the point of Meatless Monday is to make healthier choices, so I opted for a more nutritious dish that didn't have butter as the main ingredient   Which lead me to this...Creamy Avocado Pasta from the Flourishing Foodie Blog.  The "creamy" in the title caught my attention and as an avocado lover, this sounded like the recipe for me.  The creaminess came from the avocado and although avocados are high in fat, it's a healthier option than butter and whole milk.    

Creamy Avocado Pasta topped with mozzarella.
I added some fresh asparagus to the pasta because I had some to use up.  A great addition for taste and nutrients.  I also sprinkled basil on the tomatoes as they roasted.  Tomato without basil is just wrong in my opinion. The recipe was very simple and didn't take much time to make.  The biggest time consumer was roasting the tomatoes, it takes about an hour.  That's something that could easily be done ahead of time and then just heated up and tossed in at the last minute for a quick weekday meal.  Next time I make this, and there will be a next time, I will use a little less lemon juice.  I loved tasting the lemon in the sauce but 2 Tbsp was a little overpowering for my taste.  

Two more Monday's left in our little challenge.  I'm thinking we may be able to make this a habit   We'll see what my meat loving husband says in two weeks.     

Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday Funday - Special Edition

This is a special edition of Monday Funday because it's April 15th.  Yes, it's Tax Day! Now if you're like me, you've spent the last few days gathering all your paperwork and plugging numbers into Turbo Tax hoping that you're accurate enough not to get audited and hoping for a big enough refund to upgrade to a "Spa Pedicure" instead of the usual regular pedi.  This year was different.  We actually did our taxes early and had them done an entire week before the deadline!  I have to give my wonderful husband the credit for this, he took care of everything.

Our promptness on taxes is not why this is a special Monday.  It's actually the day to celebrate the birth of a very special and unique man.  The one and only Claude!  So in honor of his Birthday; I will blare country music from the radio, I will watch the weather all day long and at the first inkling of wind, sleet, rain, or snow call my family to alert them.  At 7:30, I will climb into my big chair, raise my can of Busch Light and toast my Dad a Happy Birthday then fall asleep to Iowa Public Television.

Happy Birthday Dad, you are loved! 

Dad and E this weekend.
Because I'm a respectful daughter,
I won't make his age public.

Dad and me on his 28th Birthday.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Greetings from Old McDonald's Farm

We are spending the weekend at Old McDonald's Farm.  Well, we're actually at my mom and dad's but they do live on a farm and their last name is McDonald. The Old part, well that's up for debate. 

We're having a very relaxing time and it's fun hanging out with family. This visit is especially fun because we have something goats!  E wasn't too sure about the goats at first but he eventually warmed up to them. Here's some pics from the day.

Grandpa bought E farm overalls. 

Looking for the goats.

Not too sure about this little thing.

Family Pic
(Plus a goat)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Meatless Monday - Week 2

I'm a little late getting my Meatless Monday recap up.  I totally got sucked into the new show Ready for Love on NBC.  I don't usually like dating shows but this one got me hooked.  I'm so glad he sent Leah home!

Week 2 of Meatless Monday went much better than our first week.  I've been reading a lot about quinoa on different blogs that I follow and have seen several recipes for it on Pinterest so I knew I wanted to make something quinoa based.  Quinoa is packed with protein and the few times I've had it I thought it was pretty tasty.  I found lots of recipes I want to try on Pinterest but I chose Quinoa Tacos because we love Mexican food and the recipe looked fairly simple.  Plus I already had most of the ingredients.   

These tacos were a winner!  Very flavorful.  We topped with lettuce, tomato, avocado, and some plain Greek yogurt.  I don’t see myself making this for a week night dinner, too much prep time for this girl.  When I come home from work, I need something easy I can just pop in the oven or cook on the stove quick.  I will probably make this again on a weekend and it makes plenty to have for leftovers for lunch the next day or dinner later in the week.

Quinoa Taco

Monday, April 8, 2013

Monday Funday

What a great weekend!  The weather cooperated somewhat and we were able to get outside.  We went for walks everyday and stopped at the playground to try out the swings.

Once he got used to the swing he was all smiles.

On Sunday, we checked one thing off our summer bucket list, Como Zoo.  We met up with some friends from work and checked out the animals and the vegetation in the conservatory.  The sun wasn't shinning but it was a mild day and pleasant to be outside.  I was a bad mom and only took one picture the entire time we were there.  And it's not even a good picture!  No animals, no fun sign, not even Evan's face.

Here E, this is a pic of your first trip to the zoo.
Can't you tell?
This was my first time at Como Zoo and Mike hadn't been there since he was a kid.  I was very impressed and we will definitely be back this summer.  And it's FREE!

Sunday night Mike used his new Weber grill he got for his birthday.  We grilled venison burgers my dad made and my favorite, grilled veggies.  I absolutely love grilled veggies!  This supper included asparagus, peppers, onions, and mushrooms. LOVE!  It wasn't quite warm enough to sit outside while we grilled but   the taste of grilled food reminded me summer is coming.

Monday we went to our ECFE class.  E loves the slide they have there and crawled over to it as soon as we got there.  I had to pull him away when it was time to leave.  After class we stopped at Yum Bakery for an after school snack.  More of a snack for Mom and Dad but E's always up for an outing.

From Yum, Carrot Cake Cupcake
with Cream Cheese Frosting

Hope everyone had a great weekend.  Tonight is Week 2 of Meatless Mondays.  I was better prepared this time so I'm hoping for success.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Nap Time Dilemma

These days the only time I really get to snuggle with E is when he’s sleeping.  He may sit on my lap for a few minutes for a quick story but then he’s sliding down my legs and finds the next exciting thing.  When he was a newborn, I got plenty of snuggles because all he did was sleep.  I didn't realize how quickly that would end.  Because E is so busy now, it’s hard to get anything done.  I always need to stay close and keep one eye on him.  Nap time is my time to get things done.  This is my dilemma.  That snuggle time is so precious.  I love to sit in the rocking chair and hold him while he’s sleeping and just be.  Before I became a Mamma I was never good at just sitting.  I liked to keep busy.  When I’m snuggling with Evan those thoughts creep in my head;  there’s cleaning to be done, there’s mail to sort, I could do some exercise, I could finally finish that book I've been reading.  There’s so many things I could be doing during nap time.  Sometimes it’s ok to push those thoughts aside.  It’s ok to just sit and hold my baby because in the short time I've been a Mamma I've learned that time with my baby is precious.  Those other things, they’ll always be there but my baby will only be a baby for so long.   

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Meatless Monday-Week 1

My family is going meatless on Mondays for the month of April.  Mike is not bought into the idea at all, he’s a real meat and potatoes type of guy.  I told him it’s 1 day a week for 1 month, a total of 5 days with no meat.  He can suck it up and do it!  I've read about benefits of Meatless Mondays.  It’s better for our bodies and for the environment so I want to try it for a month.  If all goes well I’m hoping this can become a habit for our family. 

The first week didn't get off to the greatest start.  We were out of town for the weekend and I didn't have time to get grocery shopping done so I didn't have a very good plan in place.  We ended up eating eggs and a salad for lunch and when Mike went to get groceries Monday afternoon I told him to pick up a frozen vegetarian lasagna.  He ended up getting a butternut squash lasagna which I thought was quite tasty. Mike, not so much.  He ended up eating PB toast.  Thankfully E is so easy going he’ll eat anything.  He had no problem with the butternut squash lasagna. 

Next Monday I will have a better plan and will be searching Pinterest for meatless meals.  I’m thinking something quinoa based.  I’m determined to make this successful. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Monday Funday - Easter Edition

This weekend we headed out of town to celebrate Easter with Mike's family.  We didn't have any packing done ahead of time so Friday after work we had to pack and load the car.  It's amazing how much stuff we bring for 2 nights!  Mike's parents live about 2 hours from us and the delay actually worked in our favor, we missed rush hour traffic.  We are fortunate that both our parents live in the country so visiting is a nice reprieve from the city.

I was a little worried how E would sleep in a different environment. He's always been a good sleeper but he's cutting 2 top teeth and sleeping has been a little more difficult lately.  He did awesome!  If Mom and Dad can sleep in past 6am, I consider that a win.
Olympus Has Fallen
After Saturday brunch of homemade waffles, Mike and I headed to the nearest "big" town and to catch a movie while E stayed with G&G.  We saw Olympus Has Fallen.  It was ok, typical action movie with a predictable ending.  The cast made the movie, Morgan Freeman is good in anything he does, Dylan McDermott's eyes (enough said) and Gerard Butler is pretty nice to look at too.

Easter Sunday tradition is to eat "Bunny Bread" before we go to the late church service.  It's just regular frozen bread dough but my mother-in-law shapes it into a bunny and frosts it for Easter.  Mike's uncle, aunt, and cousin met us at church for the Easter service.  E was so good in church, he slept through about half of it and then when he woke up, he just sat contently in my lap and looked around.  I was so proud of him!  Mike's sister and brother-in-law met us all back at the house for a traditional Easter ham dinner. E had ham for the first time and he thought it was pretty good.

This Is 40 (2012) Poster
After unloading all our junk from our weekend away, Mike and I just wanted to relax and deal with everything on Monday.  We threw in a frozen pizza for dinner and bought This is 40 from Direct TV. Yes, I paid $5.99 when I could have gone to a Red Box and got if for $1.  I was being lazy!  Pretty funny movie and I'm a big Paul Rudd fan so I enjoyed it.  Mike bailed about half way through and went to bed.

I had to go into work on Monday afternoon for a meeting so Mike took E to school by himself and went grocery shopping afterwards.  In the morning we had a window company come out and give us an estimate on replacing our windows.  When the guy pulled up in his 1980's Trans Am type car, I knew this wouldn't be good.  After listening to a 45 minute sales pitch he finally got down to measuring windows and giving us a quote.  We will not be going with this company for windows.  The cloud of cigarette smoke that he brought in my house didn't help his case and I'm pretty sure he was wearing clear nail polish.  I'm trying not to surface judge, but I couldn't help it.

Monday night also started our family's month of Meatless Mondays.  More on that later this week...teaser, Week 1, not so successful.

Hope everyone had a great Easter.  Here's some pics from the weekend.
E's Easter Basket, bubbles and a hat.
And yes, that is a bruise on his face, not dirt.
Looking out at the river.

Bunny Bread