Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Hope you all are having a great week!  I just stumbled upon this Photography blog and thought you might enjoy some of the tips being shared throughout her Photoberfest.  I'm joining in a little late and even entered the photo contest this week "Positively Kids".
Head over to her website for some great guest blogs and photography tips.  Or if you want to check out her contest on pinterest and vote for our little cutie {click here} I owe you an extra thanks!!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sienna Faith- Newborn Photoshoot

What a precious baby girl!  This was my first newborn photoshoot and sweet Sienna could not have been a better model!  She was sleepy and snuggly which is a photographer's dream.  I had a few shots that I definitely wanted to get, but she was doing so well that we tried a lot more.  On top of all that, the weather was warm enough for a some outdoor photos too.  Here are several of my favorites from the afternoon. 
 Born on October 6th, 9 lbs 3 oz.

 Jason and Kristy are such great parents already!  Sienna is one blessed little girl.

I think the next one is my favorite.  Captures those first days perfectly.  All the learning, crying and cuddling that takes place when you bring a new baby home, amazing and exhausting.

 and she opened those pretty eyes for the final shot:
Love you already, beautiful Sienna! 

wonderfully made

 Nothing like precious newborn toes... I photographed baby Sienna (5 days old) yesterday and look forward to sharing the photos with you.  Couldn't help but think of this Psalm while looking through all the detail shots. 

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Psalm 139:12-14

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Baby Boy Clothes

I never thought I would say this, but I have loved dressing a little boy!
For as long as I can remember, I always "oooed" and "aaaaed" over precious newborn girl dresses and colorful bows.  I even admit to you that I purchased a few can't-pass-up-super-clearance baby girl outfits long before we thought about having kids.  In Art III my junior year of highschool, I sewed a sweet green seersucker dress for my future baby girl.  Needless to say, my eye was always drawn to a baby girl style...  All until I found out I was pregnant.

Like any pregnant momma, I quickly headed to target and strolled through the baby aisles.  Oh yes, I saw cute spring dresses, but I kept going back to the colorful button-down shirts and Easter ties.  "Handsome" onesies and tiny jeans.  I just thought from the beginning I was having a little boy.  I went to a lot of consignment stores before the big gender ultrasound- because who can resist buying baby items!!- and while I tried to buy as little as possible and only gender neutral items, I allowed myself to purchase one item for a boy and one for a girl.  I also only bought items 12 months or larger (which was super difficult) because I knew I would be receiving plenty of newborn sizes.  The week before the big reveal, I bought a white dotted swiss dress with a yellow ribbon AND a red & white striped dress-shirt that reminded me of one of Patrick's shirts.  Can't believe that this week I pulled out that precious shirt from the garage... Is he really old enough to wear it now?!

One of my favorite outfits- a gift from Janie & Jack and Robeez shoes:

Long story short, boys are actually pretty fun to dress!  So where do I buy most of JR's clothes?

First of all, I have to say THANKS to everyone who has given us hand-me-downs!!  Growing up, my sister and I had several sweet ladies that always shared their clothes with us and I'm so thankful that JR has so many boys a little older that have been so generous... well their mommy's have been super generous!  JR has 5 boy cousins, 4 of which are just a little older than him.  We also have some sweet friends that are done with their baby boy clothes and have shared them with us!  Let me just say that I hope to pass our clothes along one day and I encourage you to go through some of your clothes and pass them on too!  There is no shame in hand-me-downs :)   It also reminds me to take good care of our clothes now, so that when he grows out of them or I have worn something too many times, it will still be in good condition to share with someone else.  (Maternity clothes are another great example of this!)

(consignment find)

Now there have still been specific things I have needed wanted to buy for JR to fit during a certain season or to go with something that had been given to him.  My first stop, always, when looking for something is at the consignment store.  Some people do not like consignment stores, but I say if it can be washed easily, Why Not?  Thankfully, we have several really nice ones in our area that I don't have to "dig" around to find like new or new items.  While the boy section is usually less than half what the girls is, I still find plenty!  I try to only buy staple items (jeans, sleepers, etc.) that are in perfect condition.  Unfortunately I learned the hard way, that it is not always the best to buy something just because its $1.  After living in Cincinnati and visiting the Gap Clearance center far too often in college I ended up with tons of cheap cardigans and pants, but they all had to be worn in a particular way to cover a hole in the sleeve or keep the pants from falling down.  It's better to wait and find a shirt with tags still on it and spend a couple more dollars.  You have to remember that it is probably still half the regular price!  I can get a little purchase happy with cute baby clothes for $1, but I had to limit myself to perfect condition items and only something really different from what he has already in his closet.  My favorite purchases have been Robeez shoes and a Janie & Jack one piece for this Christmas :)    

(consignment find from baby Talbots)

My favorite store for John Ryman is Gap.  Okay, Janie & Jack and Naartjie are pretty darn cute, but if I had to pick one near our price range it would be Gap.  Even then, I only look at their clearance section.  Last year at the end of winter, I purchased a lot of their super clearance items in size 12-18 months and thankfully, they look like they are going to fit great this winter :)  They always have really cute sweater one pieces and fun everyday onesies.  I also found that Gap fits JR the best because he is so long & lean.  Their newborn gowns were the only ones that kept his feet in and his shoulders covered in those early months!  Old Navy also has some great essentials and stylish accessories!  I try to set aside a little bit of money each season, so that when my favorite stores have their end of season clearance (whether it is home decor or baby clothes) I can pick up one or two of my top pieces in a size for the following year.  And it's a special treat to open up my rubbermaids the next year and find new pieces!   Gift outfit from Gap:

(monkey shirt from Aunt Sadie- baby H&M)

Another favorite is Baby Boden!  However, we are trying to save as much money as possible, so an order from Boden is not in the budget.  I have found that Ebay occasionally has some nice Boden clothes, just be sure to add in shipping prices because sometimes it is not worth it.

JR pretty much wore a diaper by itself all summer because it was SO HOT... so I am excited to get out some precious cozy clothes as the weather cools.  Here are some of my favorites in stores this fall:

 (1 & 2 from Old Navy)


Thursday, October 4, 2012

9 months!

We have been busy around here!  Patrick was out of town for a little while, then my parents came in town and we had Birthday Week Celebrations for Patrick's 25th!!  In between all of that, John Ryman turned 9 months!  I don't know why that seemed like such a big milestone- maybe because he has now been in this world longer than he was in my belly... or maybe because he seems to be acting like a boy not a baby!  I know he is still such a baby, but with his mobility, babbling and hilarious personality I just keep seeing this BOY grow up before my eyes.  Those rare moments when he slows down and wants to cuddle- oh wow- melts this momma's heart!

John Ryman, you make us laugh all day long.  You love to "dance" which means you shake your head back and forth.  You are very determined and if you can't get somewhere you want or your walking toy gets stuck, you grunt or let out a "roar".  Whenever you are doing something you know you shouldn't be doing and we catch your eye, you show us a sweet sly smile and start giggling!  You make the best expressions and noises- always entertaining us!

This boy is always moving.  Always Moving!
I rock you and feed you a bottle... you dance with your feet the entire time.  If you have your bottle alone... you walk and crawl around with it in hand occasionally stopping, tossing your head back and throwing the bottle in your mouth... then you just keep on moving.
After naps when I hear you waking up, the second I open the door you pop up smiling and proceed to jump repeatedly up and down.  Wish I could wake up that quickly!
If I let you play in the living room, you will speed crawl out of sight and hide silently in our bedroom closet, laughing when you finally turn around to realize that I was sneaking behind you the entire time!  Nana B. sure loved watching you get into everything because she said your mommy was the same way.  Busy bee.  Not bad, just ACTIVE.

Your curls are just adorable!  Your hair is really coming in lighter and curly.  Nana B. said that your mommy's hair was pretty curly in the back, but yours is a little lighter.  I've seen some cute pictures of your daddy as a toddler and he had some pretty blonde curls.  Funny to picture your daddy as a blonde :) but your light brown hair is still getting lighter and curlier like his as a baby!

You sure love your books.  I set up a little gate at your bedroom door so you could have quiet room time.  If the gate isn't up you just crawl from room to room, never stopping, but when it is room time, you love it!  You will sit in their talking happily and playing with toys, but you always end up in your book corner turning pages back and forth.  It is so sweet to watch you contently reading and babbling.
You are still saying about the same things as 8 months and love to blow raspberries!  You also learned to kiss (mouth wide open and you say "Muah") too cute!

You are doing great sleeping from about 8-8, never waking up!  I try to put you to bed around 7:30 on the nights we have community group at our house that way you can say hi to everyone, but you are asleep by the time discussion starts.  You still do pretty good when we stay out past your bedtime.  As long as there are people around, you enjoy being up late :)  You love trying new foods and feeding yourself.  You have a bottle & food at breakfast, lunch and dinner and then have another bottle before bed.  You love to take bites off a banana by yourself or pick up pieces of food that I share with you.  And of course, you love your oatmeal every morning!  I have officially stopped breast-feeding and you didn't seem to notice.  Weaning was pretty natural, possibly because you were already so used to a bottle.  Slowly over a couple weeks, breast-feeding time and my milk supply went down.  The morning and bedtime feedings were the last to drop because those were the only times you were quiet and still enough to actually breast feed.  Not sure if it is just because you are so active or if I wasn't producing enough, but I'm pretty sure you would much rather drink a quick bottle so you can keep on moving.  :)  I'm so glad I was able to breast feed for 8 months and I am still amazed that I actually just did that! Wow.
(I have put Fenugreek on my list for future babies and feedings to possibly help keep up my supply... any other future tips?)

You continue to be mommy's shopping buddy.  Smiling at every person you see or making interesting noises with your mouth ;) such a boy!  You only have your two bottom teeth, but those top gums are really looking different, so the others can't be far behind.  We both love this cooler weather and getting outside for longer periods of time.  Glad to start back our park days like we did when you were little!

We love you sweet boy.  You are such a JOY every day!

Baked Chicken Bites (glazed carrots & kale chips)

Baked Chicken Bites:

Take two chicken breasts (I like to pierce both sides of the chicken with a fork so it soaks up the seasoning a little better) and cut into 1 inch square pieces.  Coat all sides of the pieces with your favorite BBQ sauce and sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Let the chicken soak up the sauce in the fridge.  I left mine in for one hour... just depends on how quickly you need to make dinner & how much flavor you want soaked into your chicken.  (I love tweaking recipes each time I make it to see what I like best.  Switch out the BBQ sauce for something you like... maybe a salad vinaigrette or olive oil & seasoning.) 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Fill a little bowl with bread crumbs and roll each piece of chicken in the crumbs.  (I used store bought panko bread crumbs, but you can easily make your own by simply putting pieces of your favorite bread in a food processor.  My favorite bread crumbs I've made were from a delicious Asiago french bread :)  )  

Line the chicken pieces in a baking dish.  Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked throughout and golden on the outside.  The first time I made these, it only took 15 minutes, but the next time, I had cut them in bigger pieces so they baked for 20 minutes.

I served these delicious Baked Chicken Bites with glazed carrots and kale chips.  Patrick liked his with a side of BBQ, but I liked drizzling some extra glaze from the carrots over the chicken.
(see below for side dish recipes)


Glazed Carrots:
Chop up carrots and toss them into a skillet at medium heat.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 2 tbsp butter, and dash of salt.  Stir everything together and add 1/4 cup of water.  Simmer covered for about 20 minutes (while chicken is baking) or until carrots are tender.  Check on the carrots occasionally, making sure to stir them and add a little water if it loses too much liquid.  Save the extra glaze to use as a dip with the chicken :)

Kale Chips:
My favorite recipe {here} from Smitten Kitchen
I put mine in at 350 degrees at the same time as the chicken bites and just had to take them out a few minutes early.  Gives you a little snack as you wait!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

enjoying the cool weather

Yesterday we had a wonderful lunch on the patio.  John Ryman loved watching the dogs run around the yard.  He was so distracted watching the birds in the trees and leaves rustling in the breeze.

We spied some critters around the yard...

Then I found this cute critter inside the house:

JR sure loves his winter hat and actually kept it on while playing all morning :)

We've been organizing closets... storing old clothes and getting out new ones.  I really want to get out my fall clothes, but I don't have room in my closet just yet... until I can be sure the hot weather is gone & I can pack up my summer items.

Be back soon with some new decorating pictures & recipes!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

25th Birthday!

Today we are celebrating Patrick's 25th birthday!

I am so thankful for the wonderful husband and best friend that he is to me
and the entertaining and sweet daddy he is to John Ryman.

Happy Birthday Patrick!