Monday, January 26, 2015

Maddie and her 6 month pictures

WAY back when in mid-December, right before Maddie hit the 6 month mark, my sweet friend from college and talented photographer, Ali from Alison Moore Photography, took some amazing shots of our kiddos and family, as our house was ready for Christmas - but the weather was still like 55 degrees.  The main focus was sweet Maddie - as she hit some big milestones going into her 6 month of life! 

Unfortunately, leading up to the morning shoot, Maddie was so sick!!! She got diagnosed with RSV on Friday afternoon and Ali came in Friday night to spend the night with us.  But miss Maddie, she's a trooper!!!  You would never know it from these pictures.  And you'd also never know that we had to cut the pictures short and rush to the ER because little miss' arms and legs were turning blue. Oh my.  Let's just say that next time Ali takes our pictures, I'm praying for much less drama before and after!!!

However- Ali did a fabulous job.  She got some great sibling shots, family shots and of Maddie too!! Luckily Maddie had just leaned to master sitting up because it made the pictures that much more fun!!!

Love them!!

Ignore the cord- I need to figure out how to photoshop that out. And next time- all outside hopefully! My house is not decorated nice enough for pictures indoors !!!

My big boy.  Marshmallow bribing did the trick!!!

My favorite family one!! You can barely see my boot too.  Perfect timing that I get surgery a week before pictures!!

Daddy's girl.

I love her so much!

She's so so sweet these pictures are so great in showing her little variation of facial expressions!! Like I said, next time we will get more and we can't wait!! Ali is the best!!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Five on Friday - 21 day fix favorites meals

It's freaking Friday.
And do I post ANYTHING but five on Fridays??  Yes - yes I do.  I will.
I promise.  Soon.

Join the link up too with DarciAprilNatasha and Christina

I love how I posted last week I couldn't wait for MLK day to have a solo mom day.  That was a joke - I ended up working all day besides a trip mid day for lunch with my family.  However, I had a much smoother Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday since I did work - so it was worth it.  Just tired!!!
Jimmy and I are on the homestretch of our 21 day fix.  We have 2 days left...of our first round.  Yep, you heard me.  I really really liked it and I have a good friend that is doing it this time and I wanted to do it again for (a) more results and (b) to do it with her - because everyone knows accountability is KEY!  With that said - this week I'm sharing 5 of our favorite 21 day fix recipes that we have loved and will keep eating!!!!!
(Learn more about the 21 day fix here)  

My goal was to not having us eating chicken for every meal.  Because (1) Jimmy doesn't like chicken and (2) that's what everyone always associates dieting with.  Since this is really a lifestyle change - I made it a priority to not flood our menu with chicken.  So ground turkey it was! Ha!  Or lean ground beef too.  There were a few of our favorite dinner recipes:


 Stuffed Peppers


And I love me some crockpot cooking.  This was delicious!


Now I'm kind of skipping around here...but TREATS.  The best thing about this program is you do get to have chocolate and wine (OMG!).  This was an AMAZING...I repeat AMAZING...treat for me.  I actually crave this instead of endless amounts of cookies (well until Girl Scout cookies arrive, right?).  It's so easy too!!  (I now by plain Greek yogurt from Costco for my cooking and treats - FYI)
(recipe is mid way through the post)

And for another late night snack (Jimmy and I did one morning, afternoon and after dinner snacks for our meal planning) - this hit the spot!  Frozen grapes = delicious.  Even if you are not on or interested in the 21 day fix - try this.  It's so good and while not equal to candy (I have quite the sweet tooth), it did help me not snack on 15,000 gummy bears that we were giving as treats for potty training!


Breakfast.  Oh breakfast.  Who has time for that?

Ha.  I am usually downstairs with both kids and then out the door in like 15 minutes from when I get down there - that 15 minutes I am getting Charlie's breakfast ready, helping to get their bags ready, packing all my bags (we pack our meals + snacks the night before).  So needless to say, I need breakfast made easy.  I mentioned the first recipe last's so good!!

And then you have these!  They get you one veggie serving - which was great because Jimmy had to eat 5 greens each day, so a great way to start and they were delicious!  I made 24 every Sunday night and packed with onions, green peppers, tomatoes, spinach and mushrooms and YUM.  We each took 4 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  And it made for such an easy morning because I popped them in my bag and took them to work to heat up/eat!

Egg and Veggie muffins

Martin Luther King


 Lunch.  Well - Jimmy and I both have our lunches at worked catered in (me everyday and he does on Tuesday/Thursday - great perk but hard on the waist line!) - so this was the hardest one ever. 
Luckily we found this - so so good!!!!!!!!!  I'm not kidding.  It's a combo of everything I love - eggs and avocados.  It's delicious!

Finally - I mentioned the struggle with veggies and not eating baby carrots all day long.  This was a recipe shared in my 21 day fix group and we tried and WOW.  Jimmy said "I thought I hated zucchini but I guess not" - yep, it was that good. 
Other things we ate - steak and turkey burgers (made in our Ready Grill - which is amazing!).  Taco lettuce wraps too.  We loved the 100 calorie flatbread wraps from Costco and the sandwich things from there too.  Costco also has a great deal on turkey bacon and the nitrate free turkey. 
I am now addicted to Sprouts (a grocery store/farmers market) because they have amazing produce at a great price and my obsession with Aldi has accelerated during this. 
Charlie is getting healthier meals (is he eating them? ha - kind of!), but also healthier snacks because we ALWAYS have so many fruit and veggies around.  I tried the sugar snap peas from Costco too and those were a hit for him!!!
Anyways, we have enjoyed the last 21 days.  Had a few cheats here or there, but we are excited to keep up with this healthy nutrition and working out every day!!
I know lots of folks are doing whole 30 too - interested to know the differences, etc!!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Five on Friday - random mix

Join the link up too with DarciAprilNatasha and Christina

This week was quite the week.  Jimmy and I are on our second week of the 21 day fix and it's going really well.  Not going to lie - the whole potty training thing (that included treats  - i.e. gummy bears), did me no favors because I have no problem helping myself to one when Charlie gets one. BAD.  But I have worked out EVERYDAY since January 5th.  Are you kidding me?  And guess what?  It feels amazing.  With craziness at work and all the meal prep/exercise and playing with the kiddos at home - I'm pooped.  But still lots to say (duh!).


Some jewels!!!!

I hosted a Stella and Dot party way back after Thanksgiving when my sweet friend Liz, who is a S&D consultant, was in town over the holiday.  So we decided to make it a pi phi party + a few more.  It was so fun to see everyone and best yet, I got some credit to buy Stella and Dot jewelry!!  So I need your help - any recommendations on S&D favorites that you have?

Here are a few I have been eyeing:


Healthy pancakes.  YUM!  Jimmy and I have eaten these for breakfast on Tuesday and Thursday mornings for the last 2 weeks and man are they good.  The first week I made them the night before but they are literally so fast and easy (I just put them in the magic bullet and then poor them on the griddle), that this week, I just made them in the morning and I think they were even better.  Looking for a "clean" breakfast - try these!  They are even Charlie approved!!!

PS I'll be sharing next week some of my favorite 21 day fix meals - I have to say they are pretty good even without all the salt and carbs and sugar!


Martin Luther King Day = SOLO day for this mama.

I'm thinking I will go to a movie solo.  YES.  YES.  Any recommendations?  I was thinking Unbroken - but then I figure Jimmy would like that too so I'll wait and watch it with him.

I REALLY want to see the next Hunger Games...but might opt for Annie.

Add on top of that maybe taking a nap, a good workout (or two!) and showering for as long as I want - that sounds like a perfect day to me.

Speaking of the perfect day/night - I have a pretty fun night planned out with my Pi Phi girlfriends to Cooper's Hawk Winery on the Plaza to celebrate KC Restaurant Week.  I love our annual tradition of going out to dinner this week for a yummy meal, good deal and helping out charity.  I'm excited to try a real meal at this place, as I've only done happy hour there!!



Jimmy and I are planning our five year anniversary trip and first trip ALONE since before Charlie was born (let's just say it's well deserved trip!).

Here are a few places we are looking at. Any recommendations???  Going around May timeframe!

Excellence Resort that we went to on our honeymoon...


Moving and shaking.  Maddie Carter is doing just that.

This girl is EVERYWHERE.  We got this adorable picture of her the other day from day care saying she rolled herself into this spot and was just SO proud!!

This one is of her trying to pull up in her crib.  

Did I mentioned I am terrified for her to start crawling???

Happy Friday friends! More to come from me soon on adventures in potty training, breastfeeding/pumping and catching up from the holidays!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Five on Friday: 2015 goals and rambling

It's a new year!  Cannot believe it's 2015 already - but that means a new year and new goals.  So here we go!


Join the link up too with DarciAprilNatasha and Christina

I've been thinking a lot about this new year and reflecting on last year.  2014 - whew.  That was a booger.  If there was one word to describe 2014 for our was CHANGE.  I had just finished my MBA at the end of 2013 AND accepted a brand new job AND found out we were 8 weeks pregnant.  Literally within 2 weeks of each other.  Talk about change.

On top of that, Jimmy got a new job - well 2 new jobs to be fair - but the one in the middle I'm not counting.  Thankful for his now job because it's amazing and he's rocking it.  But seriously.  Each of us getting new jobs AND meeting Miss Maddie on 4th of July and somewhat trying to see what our new normal looks like and feels like as a family of four.  Yep - 2014 was a bit of a cluster.  A wonderful and most of the time amazing cluster...but I'm happy that we're on the other side folks!  Because there were times when I wasn't sure we would make it through!!

So 2015....I've been thinking a lot about this lately and trying to figure out just what I want this year to be about for me and for our family.  And with all that happened in 2014, I often felt like I was all over the place.  Less organized, less calm, less focused.  I.e. ALL over the place most days.  Which given the small recap of our crazy year I just gave you, you can understand why I was all over the place.  But when I'm all over the place, that often times means my family is too.  So what is 2015 going to be about?


I have been thinking a ton about one word that I want to define this year and I really think this is it.  So what I am going to focus on this year?  Well - that's what this five on Friday is for.


Focus on being a better parent.

As Charlie is getting older and sometimes a bit challenging as any 2.5 year old is, I feel like sometimes we just take the easy path and just say "yep, you can watch X movie for the 14th time" because to be honest - we are tired and spent and just want to sit for 3.5 seconds.  And while I'm absolutely not opposed to movies, it does make me think when he's waking me up in the middle of the night asking me to watch Frozen (yes, that happened in our hotel room in Iowa) - that he might watch a little too much of them.  While that is not the only example of where we might lack in parenting...that is one that sticks out to me.  And Jimmy and I have talked about this goal together.  To be present.  To give him options when he gets upset.  To listen to his feelings (as crazy as they might be).  To smile and laugh with Maddie.  To be patient with her when she might not want to go to sleep. The list could go on and on.  But I feel like this will be a pivotal year for how we help shape Charlie and we want to focus on that.


Focus to better myself.

I'm not going to lie. Up until this past Monday, I had not REALLY worked out (like a good sweat and at least 30 minutes intense) since before Charlie.  Charlie will be 2.5 years old at the end of January.  Seriously.  So yes, I can tell you excuse after excuse. Work was busy. I was getting my MBA at night.  I had a baby.  Then I had a 14 month old.  Then I was pregnant.  Then I had a new job and an infant and a....the list goes on.  The truth is - I just need to make to my priority.  Eating healthy and working out.  So that's what I've been doing for the last 4 days.  Jimmy and I are doing the 21 Day Fix eating plan together and I'm doing the accompanying work outs.  I am LOVING it.  It's wonderful for a Type A planner like myself and unlike any Beachbody program that I've done.  And I've done a handful of them for sure - but I love that this one is focused on nutrition first and gives you great tools and a fast timeframe and so far - fast results.  I'm making what we eat a priority and finding that it's crazy I didn't take 30 minutes to work out before - it's really not that hard.

That's the starting place for now on this goal.  Because guess what?  Part of this focusing - is me not doing 45 things at once like I normally do.  Easier said than done.  But that means, once I'm feeling like I'm in a happy place with how I feel about my body - then onto something new.  Next things would be improving my spiritual health.  But one thing at a time.


Focus on my marriage and my love, Jimmy.

He is always the one that is thrown to the end of the line.  When you have two kids (and three dogs) and a full time job - that happens.  Marriage is not easy at all, but as we approach our fifth year of marriage, I'm realizing it just has to be put as a priority - so here you go.  Focusing on him and us an what our relationship is and what that means.

Date nights.  Communication.  Good attitude.  Romantic gestures.  Kissing.

All the good stuff.


Focus on professional development.

This one is a bit nerdy I admit, but now that I have been at my new company over a year and have a good handle on the daily tasks and my role...I want to start working on learning more about the industry (stock market).  Whether that is through keeping up to date with articles, reading a few books, attending conferences.  I feel like that is where I'm lacking right now at work and want to pick it up.

In addition- I do think I'm going to serve as a professional mentor to a student from my alma mater through a new program they have.  Sounds like a great way to give back that doesn't require a ton of my time but that I will really like!


Finally- focus on one thing at a time in general.  

Can I tell you that sometimes I feel like I need to be doing 14 things at once?!  From laundry to emptying the dishwasher to changing a diaper to grocery shopping to budgeting to meal planning to ALL the wonderful house projects I would love to do.  It does seem quite overwhelming.  By I'm pushing that feeling aside in 2015.

My lists will still exist to keep me on track- but I will not feel bad about my lists or that everything isn't perfect all the time.  I will be ok with the fact my house isn't perfect.  That it's not always clean and the laundry isn't done.  But while I'm doing those things- including the really important stuff like spring time with my kiddos and husband and family/friends- I will focus on the present.  Not be stressed or mad about everything that is not done (which I totally do)- but really try to understand there is time for all those things...just not right now.

So there you have it.  5 things I want to focus on this year.  It is already off to a great start and I'm hoping it keeps getting better!!  Now I'm going to hold myself accountable to these items and report back mid year, so we shall see.

What are your goals or items to focus on in 2015??

P.S. these 3 are my favorites.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Happy half birthday Maddie!!

Length:  28 in (says greater than 98%!! TALL!)
Weight:  18lbs and 14oz (80%)
Head: 17.25 inches (90%)

OMG.  Six months old.  Cannot believe it.

And the good news is that while you are TALL, you are proportional and you rock the thigh rolls lady.  You rock them well!!!

  • Still the freaking most smiley and happy little thang - as long as you are fed, don't have a poopy diaper and aren't overtired.  I tell ya girl - your smiles still just melts my hear.
  • Sleep. Sleep. Sleep.  The magical sleep.  So note to self: I need to blog in more details on your sleep patterns because apparently that is the only way your father or I remember anything during the first year.  We have been going back to all my blog posts from when Charlie was your age to see how he was sleeping.  Guess what?  While your dad seems to remember that Charlie slept all the time from 7pm - 7am.  But like they one would have another kid if they remembered every detail in the beginning.  Because he did forget - your brother was not the best sleeper either.  You are really not that BAD.  You seem to protest sleeping between the hours of 7-10PM.  We go through the same routine every night.  Bath (now we FINALLY bathe you and Charlie together!), get in your PJs, sometimes read a story and then nurse, then bed. Sometimes you stay down and most of the times you sleep for about an hour and a half and will cry.  We're working on it.  But at least you are going decently long stretches.  I can handle getting up once with you to feed you - even though it's completely unnecessary because you are big enough - I love our time together.
  • Still in size three diapers - but your dad thinks we need to move you size 4.  I keep reminding him that diapers stay the same price, they just give you less as the size goes up.  But it's just your chunky thighs and once you start moving, I'm guessing those will shed.
  • Speaking of - you are not moving, but this month you officially became a rock star sitter and you are EVERYWHERE.  You roll from here to there to here to back there.  It's crazy.  You never know where we are going to find you.  And you have started doing the rocking thing - which is totally freaking me out.  DON'T MOVE EVER I want to scream to you.  I know it will be oh so fun for you - but for us? AH!  Two kids on the loose!
  • Girlfriend - feel free to slow down on the whole getting bigger.  So last month I said "remember all those 6 month clothes we bought? yeah you don't fit into them".  This month I'm saying "remember all those 9 month clothes we bought?  yeah you don't fit into them".  Oh my.  You are going through clothes like it's your job (technically it kind of is...), but we cannot keep up and neither can our wallets.  Lucky for you, nothing is too expensive and I'm not upset with you because there is still that small possibility that we could have another baby {girl} in a few years - so maybe someone in our family will get to wear these cute clothes, right?  But seriously - A for your stellar growth skills my friend.  But you can slow down I head to the store to by my 6 month old...12 month size clothes.  Sheesh.
  • You are taking all of the 6 ounce bottles we are sending to school (3 total) along with eating something everyday, mid day. Then you eat again at dinner with us.  You like everything.  Sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, green beans - you even like peas.  We tried avacado (you liked it - yes!  I can claim you as my child) and some banana too.  Then I threw in some pears and apple baby food - to no surprise, you inhaled all of them and pretty much everything that is offered your way. Amazing.  We also bought puffs because we couldn't remember when babies start those (hello parents - stop being lazy and get on the Internet and google it or read when Charlie did on this very blog).  You liked pushing them around your high chair tray a lot and I'm crazy mom and cut the puffs in half in case they made it to your mouth.  We'll get there!
  • I'm happy to report that nursing is still going great and your mom still pumps milk like she's a cow (yeah!).  I even gave you a bottle for the first time too (or wait, did I write that last month)??  But either way - I did and have given you one three times now and you are fine with the bottle or from me and don't seem to be opposed as long as you have food (see a trend..??).  But I'll keep it up as long as you will mamasita....I'm pumping 2 times at work and often in the morning before work and before bed and feeding you 2 times (morning and night) as well.  And the milk is still flowing, so we'll keep rolling.
  • You have found your voice!!  You talk and talk and talk (foreshadowing!?!?)  But it's so fun to hear you babble and coo and make all sorts of silly noises.  Did I mention your laugh and little snort is my fav? It is.  I love you so.

Things you like (pretty much same as last month):

  • Breastmilk - from the direct source or bottle.
  • FOOD - anything and everything.
  • You love to laugh and smile and giggle. 
  • Sitting up to check out the world!!!  What a big girl.
  • Your favorite place is still bouncing in there. I even took it up to my bathroom one day while I showered and got ready and you were happy as a little lark just jumping and laughing and talking to yourself.  I mean, I would too!
  • Your big bro and you are starting to develop such a sweet relationship
  • Still love your pacifier and baths.  

Things you don't like:
  • When you don't get your probiotics for the day - we can for sure tell because you are NOT happy at night. 
  • being in your crib alone (you think it's the worst and let us know!)

Special memories this month!!
  • A video of you bouncing and your brother being crazy on our weekend mornings!
  • Your first fight with your brother (over butter) and taste of green beans
  • You had your SECOND trip to the ER.  Oh sweet girl - after you got diagnosed with RSV (poor thing), we were taking pictures with Ali and you were literally BLUE!!  Your hands and feet.  It was so scary.  So off you and I went to Children's Mercy South ER to get checked out.  Luckily - no oxygen issues, but they sucked a TON of stuff out of you.  So let's just say 2 trips to the ER is under 6 months is more than enough and you'll spare us anymore of those for at least like 10-15 years?!
  • You made your first trip to Union Station to eat brunch at Harvey's (YUM) and got to see a good glimpse of Christmas in KC!
  • Your first trip to Iowa (and Omaha)!  You will make many more of these in your life sweet girl - so get ready!
  • We celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas as a family of 4
  • You rang in your first new year by literally protesting sleep on NYE from 7 until midnight (mom was asleep and your dad was trying to get you to sleep when he finally gave up and woke me up - we watched the ball drop and you went to sleep.  I'm convinced you just wanted to say you made it until midnight on your first New Year's!)

A note to our girl:

What a special month it was!!  You grew up so much this month and we had a great time celebrating your first Christmas as a family of four, as well as with our extended families.  I feel like every month is just the best age.  You keep interacting more with us all, communicating with us (i.e. crying when you're not happy, smiling when you are happy).

You just are the perfect fit sweet girl.  Even though there are some rough days/nights, as there would be with any growing family...every moment with you is truly special.  You would think that we would hate that sometimes you wake up at 4:30AM...but we secretly love it because mom goes and gets you and brings you into our bed to nurse and then you fall fast asleep between us with your pacifier in your mouth.  Not even moving when each of us gets up and starts getting ready for the day.  Laying next to you and inhaling your sweet baby smell and gazes and then popping our heads out of the bathroom to gaze at you sleeping there on that big bed.  Our sweet baby girl.

We cannot wait for all the fun there is to come in 2015 with you and our family!!!  You're changing every day and we are trying to hold on tight because these next 6 months will fly by and all of a sudden, you won't be so little anymore!!

Your parents


Charlie and Maddie both at 6 months old!

Photo shoot favs:

Some pictures from this month with family and friends!

SO many selfies mom and Charlie - just stop!

Your first pair of skinny jeans - you rock them.....

Why oh why do the three of us take so many selfies?

Green beans - yum! 
Their favorite spot together!

Sad faces in the ER - we hate RSV!!!!!!!

Fell asleep watching TV with dad

Oh hey TOBY...

Bruns fam at Union Station

Sprawled out and chilling in mom and dad's bed


Big brothers are so helpful

LOVING great Grandma Bruns

And her hair!

See - you guys love this spot - even Willy!

This is when you are officially too big for the nap nanny - it's retired!!!

Baby dolls!

Hide n go seek with mom

Your favorite sleep position now.

Reading with your bro.


First time eating lunch at IKEA

Two years to the day - you and Charlie had matching (almost) socks on! 

ALL SMILES baby girl.

Love you love you love you and can't wait for all the fun this next month brings!