For the Dads

IMG_8528

Daddy and Harper, Day 1

It’s the first Father’s Day for this house and I am eager to celebrate. While Pal has only been a daddy for going on three months, he is such a natural. He is so sweet with our girl and seeing them together does my heart endless amounts of good.

IMG_9008

Look at her face!

In honor of the dads, and my favorite one of all, here is a short list of what makes me the happiest seeing my Pal as a papa:

  • The way his face lights up each and every time he sees her
  • Overhearing their conversations, though they are sometimes one-sided
  • Watching him read to her (and her big smile when he does!)
  • That he knows just when I need a break and steps right in
  • All the silly songs I overhear

I am lucky to have this guy on my team. Everything he does is done with the utmost thought and care, and I know that raising our sweet girl will be no different. Happy Father’s Day, Pal. Harps and I are happy you’re ours.

Advertisements

Letters To My Baby: 001

IMG_8260

Dear Harper,

This weekend was a busy one spent getting ready for you. The nursery is looking pretty with its fresh coat of paint (Marshmallow Whip for the walls, and yes, the name swayed me considerably) and squeaky clean carpets – thanks to your Lala and Billy!

While your dad and Billy were working on the carpets, Lala and I went through all your new and new-to-us baby clothes. Laundry has never been this fun… or really fun at all. But, seeing all the teeny tiny outfits that you will soon get to wear (and spit up on), kept me grinning from ear to ear. You are going to be one stylish lady.

Even after our busy afternoon, your dad found the time to put your crib together! Seeing that sweet little crib in your room was the cherry on top of the entire day. It’s really starting to feel like your room now and I can’t wait to walk in there and see you in it. Your nursery has quickly become my favorite room in the house and watching it all come together is pretty magical.

We love you so much, little one. See you in 8 weeks (or so)!

xo,

Mama

It’s a…

image

…and oh boy are we excited! (Hold on to your hats, this one might be a gusher.)

We found out last Thursday and I swear to you, it’s still all I can think about. I had no idea how nervous I would be going into the appointment, but I was a mess. The opportunity to get to know this person just a little better was, and still is, so incredibly exciting to me. Our ultrasound specialist saved the gender reveal for last, which made the rest of the appointment some kind of torture. And while I am grateful to check up on the rest of baby, I was slowly dying inside when the next thing she did wasn’t the big reveal.

But alas, now we know and we can call her by name. Thinking of baby as my daughter makes my heart beat a little faster and puts and instant smile on my face. I love to imagine what she’ll look like (please have your dad’s hair!) and wonder which traits she’ll inherit from each of us.

Baby girl is also kicking up a storm these days. Not powerful enough for Pal to feel yet, but I think we’ll be there soon. 🙂

Our Greatest Adventure

BabyGrubbsTex and I are so, so excited to announce that we have a little Pal of our own on the way. It still feels surreal, but the bigger my bump gets, the easier it is to believe that this is actually happening.

I’ve been doing my best to enjoy my pregnancy, and so far, I feel like I have. Somehow I am one of the lucky few who avoided morning sickness and was able to skate by with some nausea that was usually cured with a snack. I was incredibly tired my first trimester, which was not surprising.

Now, at seventeen weeks, the nausea has subsided and I’m no longer napping on a daily basis (or feeling the need for an IV of orange Gatorade). I feel much more like myself these days, which makes trying to plan (or attempt to plan) for what lies ahead a little easier.

Also, being at seventeen weeks makes us that much closer to finding out if our little Baby G is boy or a girl! I honestly thought I would have a preference, but to tell the truth, I will be so in love either way. Just knowing that soon we will be able to find out whether it’s our or son or daughter that I’m carrying is seriously the most exciting feeling.

Our little Pal isn’t even here yet, but has already brought us both so much happiness.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies (that taste like the real deal!)

If I am offered a gluten-free cookie I will try it. Something in me can’t turn away a GF goody these days, mostly because they’re so few and far between (and hallelujah for that). A while back my friend brought a batch of these chocolate chip darlings to work and I thought I might die of happiness. They are the closest thing to a classic, chewy, chocolate chip cookie made with gluten-free flour that I have tried.

IMG_5944

This recipe, originally from Yammie’s Gluten Freedom, uses oat flour in the batter, which I just so happened to have on hand. Fair warning, not all oat flours are gluten-free. I picked up some from our farmers’ market that was not labeled GF, but didn’t make make me feel ill when I used it previously. I wouldn’t recommend everyone taking such a risk, so make sure to check your labels!

The batter is a little stickier and slightly drier than traditional cookie batters, but that is no reflection on the end product. Also, my cookies browned faster on the bottom than the top, but were a-ok after they cooled. Fair warning numero dos, I used a brand-new cookie sheet, which is different from cookie sheets I have used in the past, and may have had something to do with the browning.

Tex agreed that the taste like the real deal, and he’s an honest man. Also, pug wasn’t sure about so much picture taking and so little sharing.

IMG_1354

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies from Yammie’s Gluten Freedom

Makes 1 1/2 dozen cookies

1 stick butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cup oat flour
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Mix together the butter and sugars. The mixture will be slightly crumbly. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.
Mix together the soda, salt, and flour and add to the wet ingredients. Mix until well incorporated. Dough will be slightly sticky. Add the chocolate chips.
Bake on ungreased baking sheets for about 10 minutes or until the edges are just becoming golden.

Whole 30 Days 19-24 + Other Things

Saturdays that involve me leaving the house precisely one time (usually to buy groceries) and showering just to change into fresh pajamas are my favorite. Today was one of those Saturdays. This morning I found myself at the farmers’ market 30 minutes before it even opened (knowing good and well that they wouldn’t let anyone in a minute sooner), and let me tell you, that is a new kind of torture. Being out in the world before 9:00am on a Saturday, and having to just sit in my car and wait, is not my idea of a grand time, but boy was it sweet to have all those aisles mostly to myself.

On an unrelated, but equally exciting note, I got to break out my new spiralizer again this week! I had Monday off and was able to spend the late morning cooking and prepping all I needed to for the week ahead. It was glorious! I love feeling prepared.

IMG_4990

I spiralized four zucchini and two Japanese sweet potatoes for spaghetti (vegetti?) and burrito bowls, respectively. I let the zucchini sit in a paper towel lined bowl for a couple of days before I needed to help dry them out a bit before cooking. So much water in those suckers! The sweet potatoes sat for a few days as well, but do not require draining. 😉

IMG_4995

On the spiralizing agenda for this, our final week of Whole30? Carrots! More Japanese sweets! I’m pretty pumped about the carrots.

Speaking of weeks, days 19-24 have come/gone and it’s starting to get a little more difficult. I’ve hit the “Why isn’t three weeks enough?” part of Whole30 and am sort of looking forward to the end. Not in a ‘drown myself in pizza and ice cream’ sort of way, but in a less restricted sort of way. Also, Pals have a fun celebration dinner planned for day 31.

Cheers to the final week, you can do it! I know you can!

Grateful, Not Grumpy

Pals

I woke up this morning and even though I slept really well, I sort of wanted to be grumpy. This past weekend was one that went too fast and by the time it was over, it felt like it was just getting started. Despite my best efforts to mope, I ultimately decided to put on my big girl pants, make my bed, and get on with my day.

While I was sitting in line at the bank, I decided to write down a few things that I was grateful for, in that moment. Here is what I came up with:

  • Elizabeth’s 8th Birthday: Today my little blonde pup is 8 and I’m so thankful that she is mine. This August will mark 8 years that I’ve gotten to be her mom and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. She has made me so happy and I love her energy, smiling face, and squishy, squishy neck.
  • Gorgeous, breezy weather and getting to run errands in it. The crazy winter we had wasn’t all that long ago and I finally feel like I’ve thawed. It was just perfect outside and I relished every moment.
  • New Music: While I was compiling this list, this song was on I can’t wait to hear more from The Horrible Crowes. (Despite the name, the song was anything but horrible.)
  • A teeny puglet that likes to rest her head on my feet.
  • Knowing that my bed is made, my house is clean, and my Pal will grill pork chops when we get home.

Memorial Day Weekend 2014: A Post of Mostly Nothing

This weekend was a little of this, a little of that, and one day longer than normal; which makes it extra lovely in my book.

Not a whole lot happened of note, but I’m going to tell you about it anyway! Aren’t you the luckiest?

Saturday I managed to cart myself to not one grocery store, but three grocery stores. See, it’s getting good already. By the time I cleaned the house, bought food all over town, and whipped up Joy the Baker’s Cherry Pie Bars, I thought I just might be done for the day. But lo, Pals opted for a last-minute movie date and finally saw The Grand Budapest Hotel. It was marvelous, as was the medium popcorn and diet coke combo.

20140526-171549.jpg

Sunday we churched and headed over to our friends’ house for a BBQ. The rain held off long enough for everyone to stuff themselves silly. I think it’s written somewhere that the only way to kickoff the summer is with various grilled meats and mayonnaisey side items.

Today I managed to clock a good 10 hours of sleep (it’s my magic number). After a slow morning, we did various backyard-ish things before the rain rolled in. While Pal trimmed lots of greenery, I:

– checked out the mulberries Lola is currently obsessed with. There are many streaks of purple where I never thought there would be.

20140526-170503.jpg

– bathed both pups – terribly dramatic each time around. Lola shook and looked at me like I’d betrayed in the worst way. Elizabeth swapped cone for bath temporarily and I’m fairly certain considered running away. Alas, they both survived and got to have a treat.

20140526-170417.jpg

– painted my nails and very patriotic shade of red.

– continued to read Nora Ephron’s collection of essays, Crazy Salad & Scribble Scribble, from the comfort of my back deck. The best kind of reading happens on back decks. A little bit of a suntan wouldn’t hurt, either.

20140526-170220.jpg

Pal finished the yard just in time for a fairly theatrical thunderstorm. We took full advantage, opened lots of windows to catch the breeze and started on the final season of Mad men.

A Letter to 2013

Dear 2013,

I meant to tell the world how much you how much you meant to me weeks ago, but it kept slipping my mind. That being said, it’s never too late to be grateful, right?

2013, you were just what I needed. What’s more is, you didn’t start off that way. Or, I didn’t know to trust you yet. I wasn’t in my best place at the beginning of the year – anxious, deeply unhappy with my job and feeling a little lost. It didn’t feel appropriate to complain because, I had a job, with benefits, and it gave me what I needed to meet my basic needs. I felt that should have been enough to keep me happy, but that wasn’t the case. It was a job I wasn’t very good at with a company that wasn’t a good fit for me, and after a week-long business trip to Florida, I knew it was a job that would leave me running in circles forever. A week after the business trip I had an interview at a company that was perfect for me and fell in love with the job before it was even mine. It would have been something of a heartbreak if I hadn’t received an offer. Everyone I saw milling about the office was happy. I had forgotten people could go to work and actually like it… really, really like it. Needless to say, I did receive an offer. Before my new job began, I was able to take a week off and meet my newest nephew. Things were starting to fall into place and I could feel it. The ease and happiness the new job brought me would have been enough to keep me happy throughout the rest of the year, and it was only February. But 2013, you had even more goodness in store for me…oh yes you did.

In May, Pal orchestrated the surprise of a lifetime for me and proposed by way of scavenger hunt. It was perfect. A few clues, delivered by friends (and one stranger), led me to a candlelit path, a heart-shaped pile of rose petals, and my pal waiting for me behind a tree. My heart melts to think of it all. We celebrated as a group at an incredible restaurant nearby and had the most perfect night.

img_0949

Six short months later, we were getting married. I may have had bronchitis and only a whisper of a voice, but our day had come. Husband and Wife. A beautiful room filled with candles, flowers, our family and friends (with a picture by the tree where he popped the question). I could not have asked for more. He looked so handsome and I had my perfect dress. We danced all night long, with a short break for the most delicious, gorgeous cake I had ever seen.

Cooper and Co Photography

Cooper and Co Photography

Cooper and Co Photography

2013, though I spent the last few days of you recovering from the flu, the week before that we were in Dallas with our Grubbs side of the family. It was splendid, as it always is when we’re there. Laid back, fun, an all-around good time. Even when we were couch-bound, coughing, and feverish from the aforementioned flu, I knew it could have been worse – we were in good hands, that was for sure.

Even though you’re already a few weeks behind us, 2013, you will forever be one of my favorite years. Thank you for being so giving and bright.

xoxo,

Me

The Old Apartment: 942 Ponce

Sometimes I think back to our little apartment with the glossy word floors that overlooked the pretty little courtyard with the cracked tennis court and million year old swimming pool. Sometimes I would like to go back in time and spend an afternoon there, getting my fill of it just once more.

fat lu

I miss those walls, caked with years and years of paint (so much so many of our windows no longer opened). Our little sunroom that I would dress up with candles and music for date-night worthy dinners (and nearly setting our kitchen aflame the one and only time I tried to make paella from scratch – but damn if I wasn’t beaming with pride when Pal came home from work on our very first Valentine’s Day to see what I had surprised him with). The way the sunlight flooded the whole place – each and every room. Pal trying over and over to teach me how to play, or even understand, the game of tennis. Eventually we’d call it quits and collect all the tennis balls I whacked out of the court – he would so graciously collect from the woods while I would search the parking lot. Short walks up the block with Elizabeth, or for ice cream, or breakfast, or across the street for fish tacos…. Being walking distance from anything, really. That always got me.

beefs

Of course it wasn’t perfect. I jumped for joy when we moved into our house with a yard and laundry room – I couldn’t wait to never have to walk Elizabeth in the freezing cold or trudge across a gravel parking lot with an overstuffed laundry basket in the rain again. But once the boxes starting filling up, leaving our little apartment that much more empty, I knew a little piece of my heart was staying. One of the last moving days we had, before cable was set up in our new house, Pal and I sat in office chairs in front of the television, in an otherwise empty place, and watched the season finale of Grey’s (the one where McDreamy gets shot) and ate salads from Moe’s. Looking back, I didn’t realize the gravity of it all – we weren’t just switching apartments as we had both done so many times before, we were saying goodbye to our first home together and moving into our first house. A house that would bring with it countless memories.

I can’t help but glance into that second story sunroom whenever I drive by, just to see if anyone is inside our old apartment. Our first home, though it mostly felt like we were playing house.