Chicago Trip

I wasn’t planning on putting a post together but I’m awake this morning already and Finley is sleeping. One can only check Facebook so many times!

This weekend happened before Cincinnati, so we had two big weekends in a row.

Our main purpose in going to Chicago was to have Finley attend her first Blackhawks hockey game that Friday night. Brody bought the tickets months ago, and we didn’t have high expectations for seeing much of the game as it started at 7pm…which is Fin’s bedtime.

We had lots of fun through the first period of the game. After that, Finley was getting close to melt down mode, so we took off. She sure looked cute in her Toews jersey!

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We spent the rest of the weekend at Brody’s high school friends’ house, Sean and Nina. They have a 4 year old son and a baby on the way. They were awesome hosts, and we had our own living/sleeping space in their basement.

On Saturday after Finley’s morning nap, she and I met a few of my college friends for brunch. It was great catching up with these ladies!

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Because Finley’s bedtime makes going out at night difficult (and expensive), our hosts had invited friends over for dinner Saturday night. Lots of basketball was watched, (no surprise) including one of the Wisconsin games. Sean made a fantastic dinner of coconut shrimp, mustard greens, rice and beans, and mango avocado salsa. Nina baked a ridiculous chocolate cake with caramel frosting. I was so full!

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Sunday morning we relaxed with our friends and their son until Finley was awake from her nap. Then we packed up, said goodbye to our friends, and drove to meet another one of my college friends for brunch on the way out of town.

Although it was a crazy long wait (at least an hour!!!), it was a nice brunch and so good to see Carrie and her husband, and to finally meet their little girl.

Brody and I have lots of friends in Chicago, so we always love to visit. But as with any weekend away, it’s nice to get home.

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Finley Photo Dump

Now I get it – taking (and posting some) pictures of your kid is inevitable. While Brody and I haven’t overwhelmed our Facebook pages with beautiful, adorable, incredible (I could go on) pictures of Finley, that doesn’t mean we haven’t been taking lots of them.

I always have my iPhone on hand, so I’ve been accumulating photos of Finley over the last week and a half. While I want to do baby updates, I thought I’d give everyone a visual baby fix with a handful of images from her first ten days in the world.

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Only a day old – many people commented how she didn’t really look like a newborn with such defined features (probably partially due to being a c-section baby)

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Brody and Finley bonding – he was likely telling her about the Blackhawks and how she was born after they won the fifth game of the series against the Bruins

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It’s for real – the five S’s in The Happiest Baby on the Block seriously work

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Our family ready to go home – after a few days at the hospital (she was born late Wednesday night and went home Saturday at noon), we were ready to start our life together

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Finley in her car seat for the first time – she did well but we learned she needs to wear her baby mittens to avoid scratching her face

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Pre-diaper changing session – right after this, she peed for the first time while I was changing her (which I have since learned is something she likes to do)

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Brody and Finley celebrating the Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup – Brody believes she was the Hawks good luck charm

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A quick pic took to send to Aunt Laura – we’ll be visiting her and seeing her new house on Sunday

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On Wednesday, we took a family walk (dogs included) to Orange Leaf – Finley needed to be shown the place we’ll be visiting at least once a week this summer

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Babies get themselves into the cutest poses – I swear I didn’t position her like this

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Finley was not into getting her picture taken – she is eight days old here

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My mom and Finley – she came to stay with us for Wednesday and Thursday and was more than happy to help out while Brody was at work (hold Finley, laundry, vacuum, dishes, etc.)

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Finley mid-yawn – she is such a good sleeper

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Brody and I give Finley lots of kisses every day – we love her so much already

Have a fantastic Monday!

My Weekend Through Websites

Confession: I spent a considerable time on the couch this weekend.

I guess I have a couple valid excuses:
1) This was my first weekend of summer vacation
2) I am 40 weeks pregnant (due date is today – June 10!!!!)

It’s difficult for me to do just one thing at a time, and this even extends to my down time. Often times while I’m on the couch, I’m also reading a magazine or a book or on my phone or iPad.

To peek into my weekend and life, I thought it’d be interesting to share ten (of the many) websites I visited.

1) Skinnytaste’s Cheeseburger Casserole

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I ended up making this for dinner last night. So good and so easy.

2) Buzzfeed article about a beauty blogger’s facial gone bad
I won’t share any pictures, but seriously a crazy story.

3) Adoption website
I have never met these people, but they are friends of a friend. Their website was on Facebook, and I loved reading the story of their family. They seem like amazing parents with a great life, and I hope they find another child to adopt.

4) The Shu Box’s birth story
Reading birth stories is obviously interesting to me. Mine will be unlike anyone else’s, but I enjoy reading about all of the possibilities.

5) Ellie Krieger’s Salmon Cakes

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I’ve never made any seafood cake, and I liked how few ingredients this required. Plus, when I asked Brody if he would try it, he said yes. This will be a nice summer meal with a big salad on the side.

6) How to induce labor naturally
You know how I mentioned today is my due date? Well now that school is done, Brody and I are ready – like REALLY ready – to meet this baby. I am willing to give some of these a shot, like eating pineapple, but not others, such as drinking castor oil or nipple stimulation (which I’ve read can bring on very strong contractions that can be potentially dangerous).

7) Essential oils on Amazon
Brody and I have plans to spend time outside and up north at my cottage this summer with Baby. A week ago, he asked about bug spray for babies. I hadn’t really looked into it yet (but my initial reaction was “All those funky chemicals on a newborn? No thank you.”) when a fellow teacher with three kids randomly brought it up. She said she uses essential oils on her kids and suggested looking at a starter kit on Amazon. Apparently lemongrass can be especially effective. I haven’t ordered anything yet but it’s in my cart.

8) Brody used my iPad
Friday night’s couch time involved the fifth game in the Blackhawks’ series against the L.A. Kings. In case you don’t follow hockey, the winner of this series goes on to play for the Stanley Cup. After double overtime, the Hawks won Friday’s game, ending the series 4-1. I went to bed before the end but heard Brody cheer. He apparently was doing a little post-game reading on my iPad Saturday morning.

9) Parade of Homes
On Sunday after lunch, Brody and I headed to Bristol Gardens (in Sun Prairie) and Westridge (in Waunakee) to check out houses. We had free tickets, and it seemed like a fun way to spend a few hours. It was…but my feet, hips, and butt were tired by the end. We are hoping to sell our house in a year and move, so it’s been fun to look at houses. In particular, we loved the house by Duren; it had more natural wood than what I normally like as I typically prefer white wide baseboards, but it was beautiful.

10) Costco
Saturday late morning was my friend Jena’s baby shower! I texted the hosts to offer my last minute help, and luckily they took me up on my offer. For dessert, I picked up a cake from Costco, but I needed to make sure they were open before the shower started (they were). I chose the red velvet, and it was a winner! I had a piece at the party and another one after dinner. Sidenote: My sugar intake is a little ridiculous right now.

As I was finishing up this post, this alert popped up on my phone – ha!
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I remember putting this day in my calendar back in October, thinking it was SO far away. According to my calendar, she’ll be arriving in twenty minutes. Ya, that’s not happening. I also find the automatic alerts, especially in this situation, hilarious.

I hope you had a fabulous weekend!

Questions:
What website(s) did you visit this weekend?
Do you multitask when relaxing also?

Ten Facts About My Life Recently

I can’t believe break is almost over. Even with those two extra days, it has flown by. Good thing I’ve got a couple big things to look forward to!

Today I have lots of random thoughts and pictures to share.

1. We had a nice Christmas with my mom, my sister, her boyfriend, and Brody’s mom. It was pretty low-key and we barely left the couch or kitchen table. Brody cooked two rib roasts (long story) Christmas Eve. We opened gifts Christmas morning while eating Sara Lee butter streusel coffee cake.
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After presents, my family (except me) went to church, and we spent the afternoon watching movies. Oh, and we ate – a lot and often. ‘Tis the season!

2. Brody got me a fabulous gift: a babymoon! Over my Spring Break in March, we are going to New York for four days!!! We’re staying in Soho, and the only thing set in stone as of now is we’re going to see The Book of Mormon. Any restaurant recommendations?

3. Moose and Frankie have been loving the snow. Those first few days were hard on their paws, though. Snow packs easily between their pads, so every few minutes, they are licking at them (which only makes it worse). Both dogs also LOVED the bull pizzle (aka bully stick aka bull penis). Unfortunately their stomachs didn’t love the pizzle, and we’ve been dealing with some nasty bathroom issues. To let everything work its way out, we switched the dogs over to rice and boiled chicken.
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Frankie was not happy about his rice breakfast.

4. Our friends, Barret and Kelly, parents of Owen, sent us our first official piece of baby clothing: a Blackhawks onesie!
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It is so adorable – even Brody said so with a big smile on his face. Whether this kid is a boy or girl, it is already determined he/she will play hockey and will be a Blackhawks fan.

5. Real Simple failed me. I know – I am still in shock.
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Normally their recipes are great, but this one (pasta with sausage, arugula, and bread crumbs) missed the mark. Brody thought the arugula was too strong, but I tasted lots of thyme from the toasted bread crumbs. We both didn’t even finish our meals. I had a small bowl of Cedar Crest vanilla ice cream and Brody made nachos. Healthy alternatives around here.

6. I went to yoga yesterday! It was my second class at Bliss Flow Yoga on University Ave. Groupon had a deal a while back: $20 for 20 classes. Even if I only make it a few more times before it expires in April, that’s still a good deal. I felt comfortable doing just about everything as my belly isn’t getting in the way yet.

7. Post yoga, I met Brody for lunch. We went to Gates & Brovi, a newer restaurant on Monroe St. We both started with soup: roasted cauliflower for me and clam chowder for Brody.
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For the main course, I chose the chick pea tuna sandwich. Obviously it had tuna and chick peas but also included slices of hard boiled eggs, pepperocini, capers, kalamata olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce. It was salty and delicious.
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Brody had a classic burger and was very happy with it. Besides the good food, the decor is very inviting and casual with lots of reclaimed looking wood and high ceilings.

8. Real cream in coffee is SO much better than milk or flavored creamer. I bought half and half for the mashed potatoes on Christmas Eve (which you need to have with a roast), and there is at least half a container left. Yum!

9. It hasn’t all been eating and relaxing around here. I made it to work for four hours on Thursday and got lots of work done. My teaching license is set to expire in June, and in order to renew it, I need to finish my PDP (professional development plan) and submit it to DPI (Department of Public Instruction). Sidenote: The number of acronyms in education is incredible. I worked on my PDP for two hours and then planned lessons and emailed parents for the last two. At home I finished lots of grading on my two snow days and then yesterday I began grading research papers my juniors wrote. My goal for today is to finish one class, which has only seven papers left. I can do it!

10. My weekend plans involve the dog park (of course), the gym, Best Buy (to pick up a camera, a new point and shoot, Brody and I ordered), grading, watching a video about Huck Finn, seeing Django Unchained, and definitely some couch time.

Have a fabulous Saturday!

Questions:
What was your favorite gift? The best gift you gave?
What good restaurant have you been to recently?
What do you have planned for the weekend?

Watching Hockey While Eating a Brat with Goldens at My Feet

One of the many reasons I like being married to Brody is that I feel like we complement each other well. Through our almost four years of marriage, we have adapted to each other to create a happy union.

For example, when I first met Brody, he rarely paid attention to prices and rarely considered items on sale. On the other hand, I grew up with a mother who bought just about everything on sale; I call this frugal (cheap sounds insulting). Money is often a reason for couples to fight, but I am proud to say that we have slightly altered our previous habits to meet in the middle.

There are some things in life I never would have imagined I would participate in or care about before I met Brody, but I embrace these interests because they are now a part of our life together.

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My view from the lobby watching Brody’s hockey league.

I knew NOTHING about hockey before Brody, but because he had (and still does) tickets to the Badgers’ home games, it was something we started doing together. When I first started watching, I could barely follow the puck. Now, because of Badger games and watching the Blackhawks on tv, I kind of know what is going on. I am still learning all of the referee calls/motions, but at least I can follow the puck and see the goals happen.

Before Brody, I didn’t eat a lot of meat and could’ve easily been a vegetarian. Being single made it difficult to cook full dinners, so most of the time, the only meat I would have would be deli meat for sandwiches. That all changed once we bought our house and moved in together.

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Hard to see, but that food item on the far left is a brat.

Brody is definitely a “meat and potatoes” guy. I like meat – don’t get me wrong – but if it were totally up to me, we would have a meatless meal every now and then. Brody’s love of meat has encouraged me to try new recipes, often from Eat Live Run (I made her Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Pasta Skillet last night) and Skinnytaste.

My family had a shih tzu poodle mix named Boo. He didn’t care for kids, other dogs, cows, or barns (because cows were often by the barns). Brody’s family often had Golden Retrievers. When we began talking about bringing a dog into our family, I was hesitant about Goldens because they were bigger than what I thought I wanted and they shed like crazy. I am so glad I listened to Brody and let him convince me of the amazingness of Goldens. I cannot fathom a life without Moose and Frankie, and although they are both large (105 and 85 lbs. respectively) and they leave a blanket of hair for me to vacuum up every week, they are SO worth it.

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Question:
What things did you start to care about or enjoy after moving in with your significant other?