Holiday Cheer 2015 {2} - Family Photos!!!

When Jack was born, we decided to purchase a Once Upon a Time photography package from Brittany Todd, a local photographer (and also college classmate!) We LOVE how we've been able to plan on four separate sessions way in advance though I didn't properly plan things out for our recent family photos. I wasn't too thrilled with our clothing options but seriously, life happens! Regardless, I ADORE the family photos we took in November. It captured Owen at two years and little Jack with no morning nap. Silly boy decided he didn't need one for the first time ever! Owen pretty much ran around the entire time so I am truly impressed with the adorable shots Brittany got of him. Jack, on the other hand, was a perfect subject. Our last session (after Jack's newborn and six-month sessions) will be Jack's one year photos. I look forward to those! Until then, enjoy our favorites from our family session!

Thanks again, Brittany!

Clap, Clap!


Dad, put me down!



Holiday Cheer 2015 {1} Santa Sighting!

We had a few opportunities to see Santa this year but only one panned out. Our usual trip down to Strawberry Point wasn't going to work because I had to serve that night. I really look forward to that every year so that was a huge bummer, but there's always next year, right?

The second opportunity was actually AT Rubaiyat. That would have been really fun too - being able to see the kiddos when I'm typically away from them until they wake up from their naps on Sundays. The boys weren't feeling all that great so that was a big fail as well.

Gratefully, Santa showed up at daycare again this year. We arrived a little late and missed Jack's first Santa photo but we got another opportunity with both boys. This showed us yet another way the boys are oh-so-different. Owen was a bit frightened (no surprise there!) and Jack didn't give a hoot.

Happy Holidays from our little reindeer!


What's for Dinner {37} - One Pot Red Pepper Sausage Alfredo with Marscarpone

Luther hosts a pasta night for students staying over break. We bring 6-8 pasta dishes, a bunch of garlic bread, salad and drinks. Best night ever? I was really excited when I heard about this because you all know of my love for pasta. It took me FOREVER to come up with a recipe but I found one yesterday that I just had to try.

For one, it's a one pot meal. Those are the BEST kinds of recipes. I loathe washing dishes so this really reduces that chore. Secondly, red pepper and sausage. Done. I've become quite obsessed lately with red pepper flakes and also hot sausage. I can't get enough. Lastly, marscarpone. I was introduced to this recently and really wanted to give it a try in one of my own recipes.

Because I had never made this before, I didn't want the first time to be for a bunch of picky college students. So, I decided to make it at home! And holy cow, I'm so thankful I did. I didn't make any mistakes, it was just that good.

One Pot Red Pepper Sausage Alfredo adapted from Host the Toast
*I did change up the recipe a bit, but the recipe provided was a great starting point!

  • 1 lb Italian sausage
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups milk, plus ¼ cup for the sauce
  • 2 cups chicken broth, plus ¼ cup for the sauce
  • 1 (16 oz) jar roasted red peppers, drained and pureed (you can do this in a food processor or blender) - I CHOSE TO USE RED PEPPER FLAKES INSTEAD - I didn't want the extra work, but I may try that next time
  • 8 oz goat cheese - Walmart didn't have this so I grabbed marscarpone instead
  • ½ cup grated parmesan
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 handfuls fresh spinach
  • 16 oz pasta of your choice
  1. In a large pot or high-walled pan, saute the sausage meat with the garlic and olive oil over medium heat, until browned.
  2. Stir in chicken broth, pureed roasted red pepper, milk and pasta. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 12-15 minutes. If the liquid has all been absorbed, add the additional milk and chicken broth.
  3. Stir in spinach, one handful at a time, and cook until wilted and hot.
  4. Stir in the marscarpone and parmesan. Continue to stir until melted. Remove from heat and serve.

I'm really excited for the pasta event tonight - I hope it goes over well and my guess is it will! We have a lot of pasta dishes in the works. I decided at the last second to buy ground turkey instead of hot sausage because there are a number of students who don't eat pork. Hopefully it's still just as good!


Baby Jack {9 Months}

This past month went by SO INSANELY FAST, before I knew it, Jack Attack was nine months old. Here I am, already two weeks late. Oh well.

The cute opener I have for this month is that Jack knows how to wiggle. When the music is on, I'll dance a little bit and say "wiggle, wiggle!". Soon enough, little Jack will wiggle too. It's pretty darn adorable. Along with wiggling and clapping, Jack can wave now too! I was so excited about that prospect when I saw my niece wave over a month ago. I've been teaching Jack ever since and it finally paid off!

Nowadays, Jack is pretty mobile. No, there's no crawling or even attempts for crawling which I am extremely thankful for. We are nowhere near ready for that. He's fast enough as it is with the army crawling (or swimming as I call it) that he does. He likes to go off on his own if there are toys to be had but also watch whatever we might be doing. Like if we're in the kitchen, he'll stick around the baby gate until we come back over. I need to catch a photo of that!

Just like his big brother, Jack loves to nibble on just about everything. Nothing is off limits for this little bean. Thankfully, we don't have anything out that is dangerous for him but Owen's toys aren't safe from Jack's little fingers. We often hear Owen say "Mine!" or just grab whatever Jack is playing with. No worries, neither gets that upset. For now... Unfortunately though, Mr. Owen can be a bit aggressive. They both have their share of bumps and bruises so it goes both ways. The joys of brotherhood, I suppose.

Eating and sleeping had been the same up until a week ago so you'll get updates on that later! With the addition of one of his top teeth, I attempted giving him some pieces of banana to work on his pincher grasp but that was a huge fail. He couldn't pick it up but even when I tried putting it in his mouth, he'd swiftly push it right back out. Foreign concepts are tricky!

9-Month Appointment (12/7/2015)
Weight: 19 lbs
Height: 27.25 in

8-Month Mommy Guesses (I have no clue so these are legit guesses!)

Weight: 18 lbs 12 oz
Height: 27 in

7-Month Mommy Guesses (I have no clue so these are legit guesses!)

Weight: 18 lbs 3 oz
Height: 26.75 in

6-Month Appointment (9/8/2015)
Weight: 17 lbs 6 oz
Height: 26.5 in

5-Month Mommy Guesses

Weight: 16 lbs 1 oz
Height: 26.25 in

4-Month Appointment (7/7/2015)
Weight: 14 lbs 13 oz
Height: 25.75 in

3-Month Mommy Guesses
Weight: 13 lbs 9 oz
Height: 24.25 in

2-Month Appointment (5/8/2015)

Weight: 12 lb
Height: 23.75 in

Mommy-wants-a-weight-check-kinda-visit (5/1/2015)

Weight: 11 lb 9 oz

Add'l Doctor Visit (4/16/2015)
Weight: 11 lb 

2-Week Appointment (3/26/2015)

Weight: 9 lb 8 oz
Height: 21.5 in

Newborn (3/6/2015)                  
Weight: 8 lb 14 oz           
Height: 21.5 in


Owen {Two Years!}

Owen turned the big T-W-O nearly a month ago already. I'm no longer all that surprised that time goes by so quickly but seriously? It's like he was just born!

Owen has become such a fun, wild, adventurous, expressive and tempered little guy. Sure, I will admit he's been in the "terrible two" stage for awhile now, we understand that most often comes into play if he's bored or frustrated. Our goal is to keep him entertained and busy with structure all day long, just like he has at daycare. We haven't quite mastered it but we'll get there. For now, Elmo is our best friend :)

One of my favorite things about Owen is his expressions. His face lights up with wonder when he's excited, scrunches up when he's confused, frowns when he's sad, you name it. Owen wears his heart on his sleeve!

From early on, Owen was quite the talker. Lots of babbles, squeals and grunts. Truth be told, some of those early sounds were so crazy weird. I should have known Owen would be so expressive with his tones too! He still isn't saying too many two-three word sentences but some pop out every few days or so. When I picked him up from daycare one night he said, "Mommy, home."

New words he's added to his vocabulary (I know I'm missing some!):
big bus
thank you (he knows to say this after we give him something!)
tap (for some reason he says this when he wants water, he used to simply say wahwah)
oh, no!

With the age of two comes a change at daycare. Owen was scheduled to shadow the next room the week before his birthday and then make the switch on November 17. Unfortunately neither of those things happened. On November 10, structural issues caused our daycare to close for seven week days! The boys spent a couple days at home and the rest in Sunflower providers' homes. Thankfully, on Friday, November 20, Sunflower opened back up in a local church. It was there and then that Owen changed rooms. Talk about a rough transition! As expected, Owen did not do well with the changes. Poor guy cried every time we dropped him off for breakfast. It took a few weeks but he's now acclimated pretty well.

Owen's eating habits are still pretty much the same. Using utensils appropriately and has begun using a normal glass for his milk and water. At home we do the same but he often just likes to play with the cup instead. He also still loves to dip food into sauces like ketchup or ranch but sometimes he just licks it off! Silly guy!

Lastly, Owen got the two lower canines! Now, we're just waiting on the second molars to pop through. Nothing at this point but I hope it goes as smoothly as the last set of molars - we didn't even notice them until they were basically ALL popped through back in March.

Owen's current obsessions: Elmo, puppies, books, cars, trucks, buses, roughhousing, climbing, trying to climb out of his crib (hopefully this doesn't happen for a few more months!) getting into things he knows he shouldn't, walking & running, playing with his brother, singing, eating, coloring*

*Word of wisdom - pencil eraser will take crayon off the walls :)

Owen's two-year well-child check up went as expected, except I lied to him. I didn't mean to, I promise! I told Owen that he didn't have to get any shots, that Dr. Menke just wanted to see how he was doing. Unfortunately, he DID have to get a shot and then also do a lead test in the Lab. NOT what he was expecting. There were tears right when we walked in, wailing when we checked in, flailing when we took his weight and height, and then more wailing and flailing in the Lab. Thankfully, he loves Dr. Menke! I then took him to get some lunch and when he said he was finished, all hell broke loose. I tried putting his food away but he criiiiiieeeedddd and everyone eating lunch just stared at me! There really wasn't much I could do but scope him up and go but I truly didn't let their stares bother me. I knew Owen had a pretty traumatic day. We just didn't have time for him to stare at his food for awhile :)

2-Year Appointment (11/10/2015)
Weight: 25 lb
Height: 33.25 in

18-Month Appointment (5/15/2015)
Weight: 23 lb
Height: 30.5 in