Trying On Trendsend

Over the past few years, subscription clothing services have cropped up online everywhere. They are a great option for anyone that cannot always find time to get to the mall to go shopping or for those that dislike shopping for clothes (which I could never understand). The first time I really heard about this type of service was with StitchFix. I heard about this pre-Caleb days so finding my way to the mall wasn’t particularly hard. Even so, I was intrigued by the idea and wanted to try it out. What drew me was the idea of someone stylish helping pick out outfits for me and choosing items that I may not have picked out on my own.

I ended up trying Stitchfix out and I was impressed with the overall experience. Over the years, I have ordered a few additional boxes (box 1, 2/3, and 4). I even did a box for maternity wear and ended up keeping the whole box. However, the past couple StitchFix boxes I received, I was less than thrilled. It felt less personalized and like they didn’t read my requests. Perhaps as StitchFix has grown bigger, the stylists are not as experienced and there is more of a service model that has taken out the specialness of the experience. I don’t know, but I was disappointed and I haven’t felt very motivated to order another box.

Recently, I have been seeing advertisements for Trendsend, which is a similar subscription service. One of my favorite stores, Evereve (formerly called Hot Mama), created Trendsend so it’s their stylists and clothes that they send to you. At the Evereve store I go to, the sales ladies are so helpful in helping you find great outfits, so I wanted to give this service a try. I received my first box this week.

When I opened the box, there was a very personalized letter that explained why the picked the pieces they sent me, and how to make them into outfits. Not to mention, they sure know how to get to a mom’s heart because they said how adorable my son is in the letter (*heart swells*). They described how to accessorize the outfits as well.

I did feel that they read my profile and provided outfits that looks good on me and fit what I asked for. I ended up only keeping two items, but if I had all the money in the world I would have kept it all – just that darn thing called a budget. Overall, I was quite pleased with the experience and would consider trying it again.

What Did I keep? 

I kept the Gidget shorts from outfit one and the Skies are Blue dress from outfit three. I almost didn’t keep the shorts because I was so unsure about how I looked in them. I tend to get shy and doubtful about clothes on me, but Josh insisted they looked great. Then as I was looking at the photos for this post, I saw myself in them and thought, “hey, I do look pretty good in them.” I only own three pairs of shorts and none of them actually fit me well, so I was in need of new shorts. They have a raw hem, which apparently seems to be a trend right now – who knew?! Not me! They fit great, something I would have passed over in the store on my own, and are a great addition to my closet.

The Skies are Blue dress is the other item I kept. It’s cute and surprisingly comfy. In fact, I think I can still chase Caleb around in it. I plan on wearing it for a photoshoot we’re doing as a family for my dad’s 70th birthday.  It’ll be nice for the summer weather that seems to finally have arrived to the Pacific Northwest (fingers crossed).

Would I recommend it?

Yes, I would recommend Trendsend to others. If you’re looking for some updates to your wardrobe, why not give it a try (no styling fee like StitchFix, which is nice!). They cater to moms and have some great options for us moms-on-the-go!

A Lovely Mother's Day

I sometimes just can't believe I am a mother. It's just so amazing to look at Caleb and know he's my son. He is the light of my life and brings me such joy. Being a mother has been the hardest, but most rewarding thing in my life. Caleb brings a whole new, wonderful layer to our lives. I love being a family! I feel so honored to be part of the motherhood club.  

I am so grateful for the beautiful, strong, caring mothers in my life. The most important being my mother and my mother-in-law. They have taught me so much about being a good mother. I love them so much.

This was my second mother's day and it was so awesome. Josh and Caleb did a super job at treating me like a queen. I woke up with a little Caleb lying on top of me and giving me a great big, tight hug. Oh, the love and joy! Then we got a lovely breakfast at Jewel Box, which of course included coffee. And I enjoyed one of my favorite things, crepes! 

We went to church and they gave all the mothers a rose and pink donut. Yay!

We finished the day with a trip to the mall where I picked out my new mom bag, which was Josh's gift to me. I love it and feel so stylish. Much lighter then the diaper bag. More yays!

To finish the day, we did a family walk around the neighborhood and lucked up with some sunshine. It was fun to see Caleb on the walk - so much excitement over rocks and flowers (although it takes 45 minutes to go 4-5 blocks, haha). 

This mama didn't have to cook dinner, but we picked up some delicious Thai food. It was such an great day. 

Happy Mother's Day!!

Caleb's 16 Month Update

Boom! Another month. Craziness. And I think it's time we officially call Caleb a toddler. Why do I say this now? Because he's officially toddling. This month he got up and started walking. Yea, sure, he'd been taking steps, but he started to put those steps into much, much longer stretches. I think he just needed to realize he can walk because he won't stop - he's like the energizer bunny the way he just keeps going and going. 

And he just keeps getting cuter. Or, maybe that a mother's eye and the fact that she now gets sweet, big hugs. *Heart swells* My little boy is growing up so fast!

He did more than just start walking, too. He transitioned to one nap and is starting to get those dang wisdom teeth. I love, love, love that he also grabs a book and then sits in my lap. He still flips through the book without me finishing the page, but it's just the cutest. 

Good Friends, Good Times

We've really make some great friends. I enjoy seeing them interacting now as well. Sharing snacks, looking at books, driving cars - ahh, so darling to watch. 

Time to Walk

After one weekend he just decided to start walking - April 24th to be exact. It was amazing how he just started going. Something just clicked and he was up and going. He gets so happy when he walks, too. People are commenting how great a walker he is already and he's really only been walking a few weeks now. That's my boy!

Here's a little video of the first few days walking.

Mom, Dad, and Easter

Easter was lots of fun with Caleb. Not quite ready for egg hunts, but close. Check out my Easter post

Too Cute

I'm "mom biased" here but he's so cute. I love his snuggles. I love how he puts our hats on his he'd and thinks it's hilarious (and proceeds to crawl/walk around). I love his smile. Ahhh, love him!

Fun Times

Lucky for us, the zoo is only about a 5 minute drive from now. With a membership, we get to go a bunch. Another favorite is the Children's Museum of Tacoma, which is not really a museum but a mega play space...it's awesome. Now that the sun is making more appearances, we also get to check out all the parks and shores. Yay!

Playtime

I think we have a little athlete on our hands. He LOVES balls. It's adorable. He can make hoops and is a pretty good goalie. 

Swings, trucks, climbing (yup, that's him on the table there). It's playtime friends.

Learning Tower

We put out the learning tower that allows him to be level on the counter. He's still a bit young for it, so we're not using it a lot yet. But he really got a kick out of it.

I can't wait to get him helping me in the kitchen! 

Eating then Bathing

He's getting the hang of the fork, sorta. And after dinner, we have to have a bath...because toddler's eating is...messy.

Best Friends

Asha and Caleb are the best of buds. Asha is very patient and sweet with Caleb. And Caleb has learned to be gentle (most of the time) and gives Asha big hugs (too freaking cute). I love that they're growing up together. 

I'm sure 17 months will be here before I know it!

Daily Dinner: Pasta with Goat Cheese, Ham, and Spring Veggies

Did you guys have a nice Easter? We did! And we had some great food in celebration. We had Honey Baked Ham, scalloped potatoes, and asparagus. Then we finished it up with a carrot cake roll. Yum! 

But the ham; it was so big! Josh and I both enjoy ham, especially Honey Baked Ham, and it's fun at Easter because it's really the only time of year we buy it. However, the smallest ham is actually  large for just two people. Oh sure we have Caleb now, but he’s apparently on an all bread-yogurt-fruit-only diet, so he’s not helping out with ham consumption.

That means we got lots of leftovers! Ham sandwiches are awesome, but there are only so many sandwiches you can eat. I froze some of the ham, but needed to come up with some other ham dishes. I also had some asparagus and peas hanging out in the refrigerator, so I decided a pasta would be perfect.

Oh man, you guys, I’m so glad I made this pasta. We just ate the pasta dish and I just loved it. I worried that the sweetest of the ham might be weird, but it all came together so nicely. We loved it so much that I just had to share it with you all. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Pasta with Goat Cheese, Ham, and Spring Veggies

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound (16 ounces) pasta*
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion (or 1 shallot), peeled and minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced**
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut into roughly 1-inch pieces, ends trimmed off
  • 16 ounces (2 cartons) fresh cremini or white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh peas (frozen would work as well)
  • 8 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus some for garnish
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta al dente in a large pot of generously-salted water, according to package instructions.  Once the pasta is nearly ready, scoop out 1 cup of pasta water and reserve it on the side (to be used in the recipe later). Then drain the pasta and set aside.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a hot pan, and add the onion. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the asparagus and mushrooms, and continue sautéing for another 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have softened. Stir in the garlic and peas, then cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant, stirring occasionally. Add the ham and give a final stir to mix to incorporate. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
  3. In a separate small mixing bowl, add the goat cheese, milk, parmesan and 1/2 cup of the reserved hot pasta water. Whisk until combined.
  4. Once the pasta is cooked and drained, add the ham and vegetable mixture as well as the goat cheese sauce to the pasta, then toss to combine. If the sauce is too thick, you can stir in an extra 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the reserved hot pasta water to thin it out. Taste to see if more salt or pepper is needed. Garnish with extra Parmesan and black pepper, if desired. Serve immediately.

*For the pasta, I used penne, but farfalle or rotini would work great

**I used 3 Dorot garlic cubes - these are the best! You can get them in the freezer section at Trader Joes.

Recipe Adapted from Gimme Some Oven's Pasta with Goat Cheese, Chicken, Asparagus, and Mushrooms

Easter in Photos 2017

We had a great Easter this year. Caleb was much more aware of the holiday and it was a joy to see. We did all the Easter traditions - the bunny, egg hunt, egg decorating, and yummy food.

The Easter Bunny

The Easter Bunny at the Tacoma Mall wasn't quite as scary as Santa, but we did get a cry at the end. Then the Easter Bunny showed up at church and Caleb was much more interested than scared. Who is this big bunny? 

Easter Bunny - at the mall, and at church

Egg Decorating

Ok, so confession: Caleb didn't help with the egg decorating. I made these during his nap. I just knew it would be messy and he wouldn't really get it this year. Next year he'll join in. 

Easter Egg Decorating

Easter Egg Hunt

The Easter egg hunt started at 10am, we got there at 10:03am and it was over. Kids are c-r-a-z-y. The eggs are in piles and then it's like the Hunger Games. Caleb walked up to one egg, sat down and that was good enough for him. Then another girl gave him two eggs. Three eggs for his first egg hunt ain't half bad! Watch the video of him at the egg hunt. 

Easter Egg Hunt

Easter Basket

Caleb got a cute Peter Rabbit basket. Then the Easter Bunny came and give him lots of goodies. The book Dance (a Caleb fav), The Country  Bunny (one of my childhood favs), a Peter Rabbit puree pouch, Bubble Bath, and Cogs water gears bath toys. Guess what he grabbed for first...the food pouch! LOL 

Easter Basket & Goodies

Easter Morning

Normally I would have a trail of eggs to lead him to a room where he'll have to find his basket. That was a bit too advanced for this year, but next year: game on. It was such fun giving him the basket after church! 

Easter Morning

Easter Food

We had some delicious, homemade challah as well as a carrot cake roll. Ever since I saw a cake roll on The Great British Bake-off, I wanted to make one. Verdict: delicious! 

We also had Honey Baked Ham, scalloped potatoes, and asparagus for dinner. All very yummy! 

Easter Challah and Carrot Cake Roll

I hope you had a great Easter! 

Caleb's 15 Month Update

Another month has passed and Caleb is another month older. Funny how that works. ;) He's growing up so fast and already at 15 months. Here's the latest with the little man...

This past month we made some big strides...literally. He's not quite walking all around, but he can take a few steps between Josh and me (or if something nearby is very tempting and he's already standing). He does little things all the time that just amaze me. My favorite right now is that he takes shoes (anybody's shoes) puts them on his hands and crawls around. It's hilarious. 

Also, boxes are the bomb. He loves to crawl inside, push them around, or better yet, push the box while chasing Asha. Asha is a big deal right now. Caleb just loves her. He will sit in the dog bed with her, turn on the TV, and lie back on her. He will pat her gently, or hug her. However, he also enjoys chasing her around the house either crawling or pushing his walker. 

Smiles and Such

Caleb has the best smile, and his laugh...you can't help be laugh along with him. The most smiles and laughs happen when we play games. One of his favorites is standing up behind me, using my back for support, then peeking around my shoulder in a game of peek-a-boo. 

Mom and Dad

Weekends are the best because we get quality time together as a family. Caleb loves his Dad - it's so adorable to watch. They are like two peas in a pod. My favorite photo is the one of both of them on the couch eating toast. Cracks me up!

Great Outdoors

We've had some sunny & nice days where we can get outside. Caleb absolutely loves being outside. He doesn't seem to mind the sidewalk on his knees - ouch! So much to see and explore outside. We can't wait for the really good summer weather to come! (yup, no socks and no shoes...they just come off, immediately).

Playtime

Like any kid, Caleb is a big fan of playtime. He loves going to the Children's Museum and we go about once a week. I don't know where his energy comes from, but I think he'd go all day if I didn't stop him. Too. much. fun. 

He also figured out how to stack the rings (and other things). It's fun to see him figure it all out and get excited when he's understands.

Right now, his favorite activity is pushing the dump truck around the house...better yet, chasing the dog with the dump truck. I'll get a photo and post next month. ;) 

PDX Trip

We did our first mini-trip down to Portland. We had such a great time, and Caleb also enjoyed the trip. Traveling with a kid is MUCH different, but it's still lots of fun. We went on some adventures and ate delicious food

Small spaces and Technology

Phones, remotes, computers - anything with screens seems to attract this kid. It's like he can sniff it out and find where we hide them, too. He'll point and scream when he sees it. Ahhh! I think Siri is going nuts.

He enjoys crawling into anything he can fit into -- shelves, furniture, boxes, and pots. The trouble can be getting out! That's when mom steps in and helps out. 

The pots are hilarious - he tries to put his butt into pots that are way to small. However, the pasta pot seems to be just right for his little patootie. And it's not just pots, but he tries to sit in a lot of things. He sticks his butt up and then falls back and sits down. He'll sit on other kids, the dog, on his parents...whatever looks comfy.

Friends

Asha is a great pal. She puts up with a lot, and will share her doggie bed. I have a feeling they'll be best buds for a long time. Especially once Caleb realizes that pulling on her ears isn't her favorite thing.

We also enjoy hanging out with little humans, too. We've met some fun kiddos and mamas around Tacoma and playdates are our favorites. 

Eating

It drives me nuts - one day he likes something, then the next day he doesn't want anything to do with it. Argh! Right now favorites include fresh fruit, yogurt, cheese, garbanzo beans, mac n cheese, and toast with butter. Sadly eggs went to the "no" list, but I keep trying. #neveracceptdefeat

P.S. Have you ever tried to feed an overly tired baby. See photo below. Caleb holds his head like it's about to explode and screams and cries. Believe me, it's not an experience you want to do everyday. 

My little baby is growing up so fast! Loving every moment! 

Baker's Corner: Easy Apple Strudel

This is how I imagine the conversation between you, the reader, and this Baker's Corner blog post:

Reader: "My my my, it's been a while. I've almost forgotten about you, you little Baker's Corner, you. And now you're showing your face here again. You ought to be embarrassed. But...I suppose, if you have something special to share then we can let it pass...just this once."

Baker's Corner: "Oh thank you, thank you! You won't regret it. I promise! And I swear I'll be around more frequently. It's just that it's been busy, you know."

Reader: "I guess so. So, what's so good that you're coming back to these parts?"

Baker's Corner: "It's for the Apple Strudel! It's easy and oh so good. I can't wait to make it for you." 

Reader: "Well, get hopping. Maybe you can make it for Easter."

Baker's Corner: "Yes, yes! An excellent idea!"

That was corny. But, I like corny. I am corny. And I like apple strudel. I made this over the weekend since Josh has been asking me to make Apple Strudel for ages. Honestly, I've been complete intimidated by it. But now, now I know, it's actually easy! And it's delicious. Seriously, get in the kitchen!!!

Easy Apple Strudel

Ingredients:

1 puff pastry sheet, thawed according to instructions

Apple Filling:
4 cups apples, peeled, cored and sliced*
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon flour
Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Raisins (Optional):
1/4 cup raisins
1-2 Tbsp rum

Breadcrumbs:
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tea cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Topping: 
Egg wash (1 egg, beaten)
4 tablespoons cinnamon sugar (4 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon combined)

Directions:

Remove one sheet of puff pastry from freezer and thaw according to instructions. Usually overnight in the refrigerator, or for 2 hours. 

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Apple Filling: Add apples, sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, and vanilla in a bowl and toss to combine; set aside for minutes 15 minutes to sweat (or longer, if desired). Add in flour and toss to combine.

Raisins: Soak raisins in rum for 15 minutes, or longer, until plump. (Note: You can totally skip the raisins if you don't like them. But they are soaked in rum, so...)

Breadcrumbs: In a small skillet over medium-low heat, melt  butter and add the breadcrumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Stir to coat and cook, stirring frequently as they can burn quickly, until crumbs are an even golden brown and very fragrant. Don’t let them burn. Scrape into a dish (or they’ll keep cooking in the pan) and set aside.

Assembly: Roll out puff pastry to a 12x16 rectangle on top of a sheet of parchment paper, Lightly score puff pastry into three vertical columns, with the middle column being 7 inches wide and the two outer columns at 2½ inches. Cut slits on either side of the center column to 1 inch wide and 2½ inches long.

Place breadcrumb mixture in the center of the puff pastry then the apple mixture (Note: if there is any juices in the apple bowl, leave them out!). Then fold top of puff pastry down by pulling alternating slits from one side to the other, making sure ends reach the edge of filling. Brush egg wash on top and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. For extra crunch, finish with a sprinkling of coarse sugar.

Transfer strudel on top of parchment paper to the oven and bake for 15 minutes at 350. Then increase the temperature to 400 and bake 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before slicing. 

Serve with vanilla ice cream and/or coffee! 

* Apple Note: I used 3 extra large Fuji apples. It would probably be 4-5 smaller apples. Honeycrisp would also be delicious! Then, to slice the apples, I used a mandolin on the thinnest setting (or just slice it very thin).

Recipe Adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Read Food by Dad.

Portland Mini-Trip: Adventure Edition

The food on our recent trip to Portland was stellar. I'm still drooling over it. But, food isn't everything. Right? It's actually the combination of food and experiences that make a trip fantastic. Good Food + Fun Times = Great Trip. Lucky for us, our PDX trip had both!

Where we Stayed.

We stayed at at AirBnB, which we decided it best if you're traveling with a baby/toddler/kid. You can a kitchen, get more space (multiple rooms, even), and more privacy (no worrying about the people next door hearing a crying baby at 2am). We loved our experience on our babymoon, and loved this experience as well. I think we're regular AirBnB-ers now. 

Our AirBnB was in a great location on Nob Hill and just a few blocks from NW 23rd Street, which has tons of restaurants and cute shops. This turned out very convenient on the first morning when it snowed. We just walked down the street for our coffee and donuts. I also managed to getaway during one of Caleb's naps to go through the shops. It felt so great to get out and just browse without worrying if Caleb was fussing. 

I think the AirBnB may have been Caleb's favorite part of the trip. We loved the stairs. If you set him down, he would immediately head to the stairs and banister. It was pretty hilarious. 

We thought the place was great. Josh thought it would make the perfect bachelor pad. HA!

Here's a video tour of the place! (a video brought to you by me)

What we Did.

Oblations Paper Press

There was so much we wanted to do and such limited time. On the must list was revisiting the site of our engagement. Josh did the cutest proposal at Oblation Paper Press in the Pearl District. It was a walk down memory lane as we strolled the Pearl District and headed to Oblations. Sadly, the brunch place we ate at before he proposed is gone now as is the red couch in the store itself. But, it was fun to go back and relive our proposal day - such happy memories, such a happy day! Don't we look so young? And blond hair - haha.

Powell Books

What's a trip to Portland without a visit to Powell's Books? We got lost in there the last time we visited, and then our cell phones didn't have any service so we wondered around trying to find each other for a good while. Luckily, we stayed together this time so no getting lost. We mostly checked out the children’s section. There were tons of children's books and we had a awesome time checking out the books. Caleb enjoyed some of the books as well, but mostly he enjoyed pushing his stroller through the aisles. We ended up getting the Opposites book and the Children’s Book of Virtues for Caleb's library collection. 

Downtown & Ace Hotel

The lobby of the Ace Hotel is a great place for photos. As you can see from the Then & Now photos below, we've made this stop before...many years ago. We haven't changed much...right??!! 

We didn't spend much time downtown. We didn't even go to the main square where Nordstrom and stores are located. We walked by the food truck area, and the Ace Hotel on our way to Powell's and the Pearl District from our parking spot. I guess we'll have to spend more time downtown next visit (and get some shopping on - especially with the no sales tax!).

Pearl District

As I mentioned above, we went to Oblations and Powell's which are both in the Pearl District. We have always enjoyed this area of Portland - trendy, hip, and cool buildings. We didn't spend much time going into shops or anything, but we did enjoy walking around a bit. If we had more time, we would have spend more time walking around and probably grabbing a bite to eat in this 'hood. But alas, time beckoned us to be quick (and so did Caleb's nap time). 

NW 23rd Street

This was just a few blocks from our AirBnB. There are such cute shops along NW 23rd. I could have done a lot of damage if I let myself do some serious shopping. But I have restraint...a little. I did get a cute hat at Goorin Bros. We also grabbed some treats at The Meadow. This was also the street where Salt and Straw, Barista, and Blue Star Donuts was located. 

Waterfront 

When we pulled up to the Waterfront it was practically hailing. Then, after about 10 minutes the sun came out. That's the Pacific Northwest for you. Josh likes to say, "if you don't like the weather, just wait 15 minutes." It's pretty true. Anyway, before grabbing dinner, we did a stroll along the waterfront. It was quick beautiful with the sun coming through just after the rain. There was even a rainbow! This is such a lovely place for a stroll in the early evenings. 

Pine Street Market

Pine Street Market is a relatively new addition to Portland - it just opened in the spring of 2016. Josh and I alway seem to find ourselves at these type of marketplaces. We love the concept, find the buildings they are in super cool (usually they are historic buildings), and think it's fun to see a few different restaurants of a city all in one space. Pine Street Market was originally a Carriage & Baggage Building that was used as a livery and horse-drawn carriage storage facility until the early 1900s (read more about it here), which we found interesting. Deciding where to eat was tough, but with the rainy day we opted for ramen. Afterwards we just had to buy some bread and pastries for later. Definitely a fun place to have a meal and check out. It worked especially well for bringing a noisy toddler to as well. 

Portland Children’s Museum

Wow! This is a GREAT children's museum. It's much bigger than the Children's Museum of Tacoma will all different rooms and activities. It was perfect for the rainy day, too. Caleb has a blast even though he did get bird poop on his head as we walked into the museum! I think his favorite activity was the mega bright lite board. He also enjoyed the grocery store, vet, construction site, and campsite. Oh, and there was a room with African instruments, and he learned to play the drums. Definitely a place to take your kiddo, and we will be back for sure!

That was quite a lot to do in just a day and a half! We had tons of fun and are so glad we were able to get down to Portland for a quick, last-minute getaway. 

Portland Mini-Trip: Foodie Edition

I confess...I am a foodie.

I know this might sound good, but I have always have felt slightly embarrassed to admit to being a foodie. Which got me thinking...why? After some thought, I guess it comes down to my need for everyone to like me and that as a foodie someone might think I'm a food snob. But really, it just means I like food. I like eating it, cooking it, baking it, reading about it, researching it, talking about it, photographing it...just like a hobby. Nothing to be ashamed of, right? I hope you agree. 

Great, and now that the foodie confession is off my chest, I want to talk about food. Surprise! Josh is transitioning jobs right now and got a few days off between work. We seized the opportunity to go on a family mini-trip down to Portland. We haven't been to Portland since we moved to Seattle in 2010. Crazy, huh? I mean we just live three hours away. I chalk it up to: life. 

Portland has really grown since the last time we were there, especially in the restaurant scene. It's become a real foodie town. As soon as I knew we were headed down, I started to compile a list of lists of where to dine. I looked at my Pinterest board, asked Facebook friends, and read some of my bloggers Portland must-eats. You know, foodie research.

I know we wouldn't be able to do it all - not just because it was just a day and half long trip, but because bringing a baby along changes everything. Oh, and my list was way over 50 restaurants/cafes long (heh!), but that's neither here or there.

We did get to some pretty awesome places. Also, I snuck some food photos for you (again, slightly embarrassed to be taking photos of food. Apparently not enough to not take them, though). 

Okay, enough of the talk. Here's where we went and what we ate...

Breakfast  

Barista {Day 1 - Coffee} There is a picture of me with the Barista sign from our last visit (see photos below). I am pointing at my head because it was when I was working as a Starbucks barista in Eugene. Wow, that seems like a long time ago. Back then, I'm pretty sure that was the only Barista location, but this time we found there were several locations.

Lucky for us, Barista was just a nice walk away from the AirBnB we were staying at. It snowed that morning, so we walked down and got ourselves some delicious coffee. I ordered the hazelnut latte and Josh got the Valhorna Mocha. I normally don't go for hazelnut lattes, but it was housemate syrup and I saw someone rave about it on Yelp. It was delicious - slightly sweet, nutty, and smooth. The mocha was a winner, too. The chocolate was rich, but not too much - it was just right. 

Blue Star Donuts {Day 1 - Food} Honestly, I don't have a huge want to go to Voodoo Donuts. Most of them look like they are covered in cereal. They might be delicious, and if I get the chance, I'll try one. Mostly, though, I look for a classic donut with a fun twist. And that is what Blue Star delivered. They were so freaking good. 

The gal was late to open the store, but she let us hang out inside (snow in the PNW always slows things down!). So we had time to debate what flavors to get...it was so tough. We ended up with the Raspberry Rosemary, Mexican Hot Chocolate, Smoked Grapefruit, Bourbon Blueberry Basil, and Breakfast fritter (bacon potato goodness). I think my favorite was the Raspberry Rosemary donut, and Josh couldn't decide but mentioned the Smoked Grapefruit being a favorite because it was just so different. I think I have to say it: this was the best donut I've ever had. 

Sterling Coffee Roasters {Day 2 - Coffee}  I always have a dilemma when traveling. You find something you really enjoy one day, but should you return to it knowing you really liked it or should you try something new? What if the something new isn't quite as good? #firstworldproblems. I usually end up forcing Josh to make the decision. Generally, Josh is on Team Try Something New, so that usually want we end up doing. And that is the case on our last morning in Portland. Instead of Barista, we walked a little longer to check out Sterling. It's a tiny coffee shop made more for commuters than dwellers. It was swanky and nice inside, though. I ordered a vanilla latte with their homemade vanilla syrup. Josh ordered their house caramel latte. Both were smooth, creamy, and delicious. We also purchased some beans to take home and we are still enjoying their coffee. Their beans are quite good, in fact. Unfortunately, I don't remember the exact ones, but I believe they were Ethiopian.

We took our coffees to go and strolled back to our AirBnB for some food to go along with the coffee. Man can't survive off coffee along...or, can he? Naaawww. Food required!

Trifecta Annex - {Day 2 - Food} If you continue to read, you'll know we went to Pine Street Market. When we were there we picked up some bread and pastries. For breakfast, we noshed on sweet citrus morning buns. They were buttery and had a lovely touch of orange zest inside. Take that an dip it in your coffee. Now, that's what I'm talking about.

Lunch

Lardo {Day 1} Our intention was actually to get lunch at Tasty 'n Alder, but it was a 45 minute wait. When you have a baby who's nap is coming in about an hour this just won't do. Instead, we crossed the street and hit up Lardo. This place specializes in meat and sandwiches. If you can do a good sandwich, oh man...

I indulged in the Pork Meatball Banh Mi while Josh got the Philly Joe Jones. Both were terrific. To accompany the sammies, we go the fries which were also great with herbs and such. Josh got some red velvet beer, which was in fact red colored. He thought it was great and refreshing. A great spot for lunch! 

Tasty ’n Alder {Day 2} Basically everyone I asked mentioned we should go here. It's one of John Gorham's restaurants, and he's the hit restaurateur in Portland right now. We ordered the house cottage cheese with pineapple jam for Caleb. Caleb refused it, but don't let him tell you if it was good as he's currently only living off fruit and puffs right now. Anything else gets dropped, hidden, or squished. We ate it instead and our impression of cottage cheese was changed for the better. And now I want to know how to make it!

I enjoyed the Polenta n Sugo, which was basically creamy polenta topped with a chicken and pork ragu sauce with mozzarella and topped of with an egg. Oh man, it hit the spot on the rainy day. Josh took the waiter's advice and ordered the Korean Fried Chicken, which was spot-on spicy and delicious. This place didn't disappoint...even after all the hype. 

Caleb enjoyed this Bamba (peanut puffs). And flirted with the ladies next to us.

Snacks

Salt & Straw Ice Cream {Day 1 & 2} Oh man, oh man, oh man. This ice cream is the BEST. Da Bomb! The creme de la creme. Probably the best ice cream ever. Statement made. Done. 

The flavors are freaking amazing. Different but not so wildly different that you scratch your head in confusion. We opted to share a flight of ice cream. Yup, a flight of ice cream. We found it to be the perfect way to enjoy several flavors. We tried the Chocolate Gooey Brownie, Arbequina Olive Oil, Coconut with Petunia’s Salted Caramel Bars, and Pear & Blue Cheese. We both thought the Pear & Blue Cheese was the best (of the best!). And Caleb liked their spoons. Can you find the missing spoon in the photo below?

Guys, it was so good, we made a pit stop before hitting the road back to Tacoma for a treat to go. Josh got the rootbeer float, which was dynamite. I couldn't resist and got a waffle cone of the pear and blue cheese. 

Dinner

Jo Bar & Rotisserie {Day 1} We arrived late afternoon to Portland, and didn't have much time before Caleb needed to go down for the night. He's an early to bed guy, so we need to eat at 5pm if he's going to join us. We were staying within walking distanced to 23rd Street in the Alphabet district (slash near Nob Hill), so we walked down to see what would work. We landed at Jo Bar, which received good ratings on Yelp (not that Yelp is the end all be all of rankings, but it usually steers us well). The good thing about early dining is happy hour. We both got a drink - Josh a beer, and me a cocktail (blood orange old fashion, my fav!). Our favorite dish was the fondue. Not only fun to eat, but delicious. Then we shared the rotisserie chicken since rotisserie seemed to be their specialty. We ended up having to gulf it down because Caleb started to get tired (that's code for - fussy, flailing arms, shrieks, etc). But it was a solid dish and worked well for that evening. 

Pine Street Market {Day 2} We always love a good market. Like The Ferry Building in SF, Krog Market in Atlanta, Pike Place in Seattle, Granville in Vancouver. If there is a market in the city, you can probably guess Josh and I will check it out. Pine Street Market is fairly new - just opened a year ago (according to some guy that served me some food). It has several little restaurants inside and is very hip/trendy. And we loved it. We ended up with ramen from Marukin Ramen, which was soul warming. Before we left, we bought bread & pastries from the Trifecta Annex to enjoy later. I would definitely want to come back and try more places! I love marketplaces. 

What a great weekend! What a culinary adventure! I'm pretty proud of us for getting to so many places with a baby/toddler. We definitely have to return to PDX soon. So many good places to try still. Have you gone to Portland recently? Foodies Unite! 

Caleb's 14 Month Update

I am a bit behind on getting this post up, but what's new. That's the way of life these days with a baby/toddler. Yea, that's right, I haven't quite committed myself to calling him a toddler, yet. Not until he's toddling on his own, or that's what I'm saying now. 

So, 14 months. I say this every month, but...how?! Life is crazy. He's definitely growing and learning, though, and it's amazing to watch. For one, look at his hair. It's really coming in now. The first haircut might be a while still, but there is so much more hair then just a few months ago.

A lot happened during his thirteenth month of life. He's soooo close to walking. I think he really could walk, but figures he is a speed crawler and doesn't really need to walk, yet. That is the most common comments lately - how fast he can crawl. No joke, this kid is a speed crawler and could win the gold in the speed crawling Olympics. 

His love for pushing things is still as strong as ever. And he's grown a love for fresh fruit as in that's all he wants to eat. Just fruit. All the time. Nothing else. I guess it could be worse. 

Cute Guy

He's just a goof ball and he just makes me laugh. He flirts and smiles at everyone -- and I love it. 

Family Time

We had some more snow in February. Caleb took his first steps in the snow and thought it was the coolest thing ever. We also went out on an excursion to Salmon Beach.

We also spent a lovely week down in San Diego with the O'Neill grandparents and Aunt Lindsay. We enjoyed the sun and extra help. More to come on that visit in another post!

Friends

We all love to hang with friend. Yes, in that top photo Caleb is basically stark naked except for socks. I refrained from sharing the naked photo since I don't think future Caleb would appreciate totally naked photos on the internet. But I have it in my back pocket for someday, mwhaha. Just kidding. 

We had some fun with our friends Nora and her parents Sarah & Mark on Sunday morning. We also had a fun trip to IKEA with our friends Vivian and Margo. Then we had a birth class baby reunion. 

Pushing Everything

If it moves, Caleb will push it. He eyes anything with wheels. His favorite thing to push is his stroller. I have to hid it or else he'll want to push it around the house nonstop. He gets very upset if he sees me close the laundry door room with the stroller inside. He also enjoys using the cart at the store, briefcases that roll, play cars...really anything. 

Food and Shoes

We discovered guacamole is a favorite. Not quite fruit, but still something he enjoys. And he does some interesting things with food like dipping pesto bread into soft serve. 

We also purchased our first walking shoes at the Stride Rite outlet while with my parents. He was pretty happy about it because it means more pushing and walking.

Valentine's Day and Other Goofy Things

Caleb still enjoys climbing the stairs and will race us to the staircase if he see it's not blocked by the baby gate. Like I said, he'll push anything, such as the toilet paper holder. He also enjoys climbing into small spaces. 

His second Valentine's Day was great. We enjoyed a sunny day and took a mom-baby walk outside and played in the grass a bit. 

Love this little guy!

Tacoma Explorations: Salmon Beach

One of my favorite things about my relationship with Josh is the fun we have exploring together. I had an adventurous spirit before meeting him, but it's so much more fun with your best friend. 

With moving to Tacoma, we've had the opportunity to explore our new town. You may remember my earlier post on my first few Tacoma explorations. The explorations have continued, and just last weekend I was at the salon when my hair gal mentioned she lived on Salmon Beach. Neither Josh nor I had heard of this place, but it sounded cool. So the next day, we hopped in the car to check it out.

It turns out it's only like 5-10 minutes from our home. It's a small waterfront community that started in the early 20th century. It's about 100 cabins built on stilts at the bottom of a steep bluff near the Tacoma Narrows. Many of the cabins are in original condition, and cabin 97 is even on the National Register of Historic Places. There is only parking lot on top of the cliff for residents, so visitors have to park further away and walk in. 

We had no idea about the walk and steepness and honestly we weren't prepared. We didn't have the normal baby carrier. As we parked to start the adventure, we were talking about how we forgot the stroller. Ha! That would NOT have worked at all, so good thing we forgot it. We did have the back-up carrier, so I strapped that on for Caleb.

As a visitor, you have to walk down the road for about a quarter mile to reach the resident parking lot and top of the bluff. Then you can either go down steps or just a sloped trail to get down to the cabins and beach. 

We headed down and we were greeted with these cool cabins. There is a wooden pathway between the bluff and cabins that you can walk along. At the one end, there is a beach with great views of The Narrows Bridge. You also get a closer look at the stilts of all the cabins. 

It's really quite quirky. I imagine it's hard to lug stuff up and down, so if you bring something down it usually stays down. The residents have really made it there only little community. And everyone seemed to have a kayak.

As we walked along, we met Roger "the historian" (this is how he introduced himself). He wrote one of those Images of American books, this one being, Tacoma's Salmon Beach. He was really kind and apparently his wife was the artist of the mermaid statue in my photo below. He offered for us to swing by his cabin, but only after we visited cabin 97 which is the cabin on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Caleb also seemed to enjoy all the sites. On the hike back up the bluff (work out!!) he was giggling and laughing the whole time (as his mom huffed and puffed up the hill). Asha was in on the fun as well.

It was a fun afternoon as we lucked out in some clear weather and a break from all the rain. We loved the views and enjoyed checking out a new place. 

Happy Valentine's Day 2017

Happy Valentine's Day! I love to celebrate this holiday because it's just a great reminder to give thanks to those you love and appreciate in your life. Tonight I'm making a special meal for Josh and I to enjoy together. It'll be this pork tenderloin, butternut squash gratin, brussels sprouts, and finishing it all with these brownies

And I've been enjoying my day with my little sweetheart. Can you believe this was him last year? Ahh, my heart. And here he is today. What a huge difference. He is still, and will always be, my Valentine cutie. 

I hope you're treating yourself and your loved ones today. Hugs to you all! 

Snapshot: Life Right Now - February 2017

I'm not kidding when I say that every weekend this year we've had something planned. It's been a busy 2017 so far! Sadly, this means I've neglected my blogging. (Although, I have posted a few things over here if you're into baby stuff). 

So, I thought I'd fill you in on my life right now...

What am I reading?

The Rook. Josh persuading me to read this and we're both actually reading it together. I'm ahead of him though. Not that it's a race (yes, it is, shhh). So far I'm really enjoying the book! 

The book I read before this was The Woman on the Orient Express, which I enjoyed. I wouldn't say it's a must read or my favorite book, but it was fun and kept me turning the pages (or tapping).

What am I watching?

I've just finished a bunch of shows, actually. By far my favorite was The Crown. I highly recommend this one if you're into history at all. Very well done and well acted. 

This is Us is another one I've been watching. I finished season 1, but can't figure out where I can watch season 2. I would put this in the same category as Parenthood, although I enjoyed Parenthood a bit more since it has some lightheartedness to it whereas This is Us is all drama all the time. I still would recommend it, though!

Now that I've finished these, what's next?!? 

What am I wearing?

I'm absolutely loving my Hunter boots. I got them from Josh for Christmas. They are so much easier to slip on then I thought and they keep my feet so dry. I can hop in puddles without a problem, and believe me, I've needed them. 

What I am eating during the week?

I'm totally crushing on this Thai Beef Bowl recipe. I've made them two weeks in a row and I'm not a huge beef eater person. I think it could work with chicken or pork, too. I don't have a spiralizer, so I cut the veggies into strips and I cook them a bit. I served it on top of coconut quinoa instead of rice. Uh yummy in my tummy!

That said, I made this creamy kale mac and cheese tonight and I it just hit the spot and I can't wait to eat leftovers tomorrow. I did add chicken sausage to it, which is a must in my opinion.

What am I snacking on?

Loving this green pina colada smoothie! I love that it is sweet and delicious yet I get some good fruit and veggies, too.

What am I looking forward to?

Going down to San Diego to visit my parents for a week with Caleb at the end of February. It'll be good to see my family, catch some sun rays, and get some help with Caleb during the week. Although, I'm a bit nervous about the flight on my own with Caleb. Wish me luck!

What am I missing?

I haven't seen movie in the theaters since before Caleb was born. The last movie we saw in the theaters was Star Wars: The Force Awakens on New Years Eve 12/31/15 -- yup, Caleb was born 1/2/16...two days later.

There you have it! That's my life right now. What's going on with you?

 

Caleb's 13 Month Update

It's Caleb's monthly birthday time again - a bit late to blogging about it, but better late than never. On February 2nd, he turned 13 months old. Being one year old was sooo last month. ;) I don't even know if I can call him a baby anymore. Waaahhh. He's really in an in-between stage of baby and toddler. I'm inventing a new word: baddler! Eh, sounds like bald, and he's no longer bald. Definitely growing hair these days. Let's just say he's a baby still, okay?

No more stickers, but we still have the blocks. I have the one photo there to show off his hair and the cute little curl thing he has going. You can see a fun new game he's made called "crawl over the dog" (or under works, too).

12 Months Development & Happenings

His 12th month of life was full of new things. He is soooo close to walking now. He uses his walkers and practically runs around the house with hit. He needs to work on steering a bit, though. 

Smiles, Cutie, and Goofy

I love to watch him sleep; he's just so peaceful. And I can really look at him as it's the only time he is still. The smiles are the best, though. Oh lordy, they melt my heart. He also started doing this funny thing with his lips one day, which was completely hilarious.

Eating Food

Guess what?! He likes frozen yogurt!! Yay! He is eating way more things now, it's awesome. There he is having a wee little taste with a red spoon at Black Bear.

He's a funny, little eater. He only likes his food room temperature or cold. The face he gives when the food is hot is like "OMG, it's fire!" 

Oh, and bananas are acceptable now and he'll eat it as a whole banana. I found this out at Metropolitan Market. They have free fruit for kids while you shop and I grabbed a banana. He ate it all up! 

Non-Stop Playtime

Caleb does. not. stop. ever. One of the most common observations from others is how fast he is at crawling. Ohhh, I know it. I sure do 'cuz guess who's chasing him. You got it.

He's discovered the fun of pulling tissues out of the box and grabbing the toilet paper. He likes to stuff things into shoes as well. He's also been seen grabbing two car toys - one in each hand - and wheeling them around the house. 

Mom and Dad

He sure loves his daddy. There are lots of giggles and fun with dad. He looks out the front window when Josh leaves for work, which is adorable.

Notice no smile on the carousel. He did start to smile when it moved. He loves to move it move it. 

Getting Around

As I've said earlier, he sure likes to move. We have a path through the house for him to walk around with his baby walkers. It's the first thing he likes to do in the morning and the last thing before bed. He has an obsession with strollers, too (really anything with wheels that he can push). He'll grab the stroller and push it around. I've let him do this at the grocery store with the cart as well and he gets the biggest kick out of it.

He just goes and goes and goes. And I'm sure he could win a race with his speed crawl. But you can see, sometimes he wants to be picked up. But it's not because he wants to be near mom or dad, but rather he wants to see what's happening from higher up.

And now such a big boy in his convertible car seat. Bye bye baby car seat. I'm a big boy now!

Play and More Play

We have added the Children's Museum of Tacoma into our weekly routine. He has such a blast there. Other fun destinations are the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, the park, and the coffee shop that has a great kids play area. 

It's pretty amazing to watch him learn and grow. We love this little guy!

A Look Back: Christmas 2016

At long last I'm getting to the Christmas look back post. Let's just say I waited to post it to build excitement and anticipation, sound good? ;) Just go with it. 

Luckily, I didn't leave you totally hanging. I did share some Christmas season happenings and our Christmas letter with you. Hopefully that tied you over until this one. So let's jump into it. 

Family

Hurrah! My parents and sister flew up a few days before Christmas and stayed for about a week. For the first time ever they were able to stay at our house since we now have a guest bedroom. We took advantage of that by kicking up our feet and watching some awesome Christmas movies. And reading The Polar Express to Caleb before bedtime. 

It was so nice to have the whole family together, which is the best during the holidays. 

Celebrating with Caleb

Everyone wanted to see the Christmas spirit through a one year old's eyes. And Caleb loved having so many people to play with -- and grab their glasses, hair, etc. 

Christmas Morning 

There is something magical about Christmas morning. The tree is all shiny and bright, the gifts are under the tree, the stockings are full, and everyone is cheery and ready to celebrate. We even put a fire in the fireplace to make the house all cozy and warm. 

Caleb's First Christmas

I have been waiting to celebrate my favorite time of year with a baby for a very long time. Caleb was the cutest 'firs Christmas baby' ever. You could tell he was having a wonderful time and soaking it all in. Ahh, my heart melts! 

Toys Toys Toys

I totally thought Caleb would be more interested in the wrapping paper than the gifts itself. However, he surprised me by liking both. Sure, like most babies, he thought the wrapping paper was so cool - sparkles and crinkles galore! But the toys captured his interest as well. He really wanted to play with each toy after opening it. He got some pretty rad gifts, so who can blame him?! Trucks, helicopters, motorcycles, Rody, a singing soccer ball, bowling set, and clothes. Lucky (and very loved) little guy! 

Opening Gifts

Caleb wasn't the only one receiving gifts. We all must have been good since we got some great gifts as well. 

The Feast

After a long day of merriment, we needed to nourish ourselves with some delicious food. I hosted the dinner and made it very similar to Thanksgiving, but with some improvements like these rolls, Brussels Sprouts with butternut squash, and sweet potatoes. My tummy rumbles just thinking about it all. Honestly, I think it may have been the best meal I've ever served. 

What a perfect Christmas it was. I'll always remember this one for sure with it being Caleb's first Christmas, the first Christmas in our new home, and with the whole family. Such great memories!

Caleb's 12 Month Update

You might think I already did the 12 month update from my post the other day. No sir ye! That was totally different; that was his birthday party. This is his monthly update where I share pictures from throughout the month and take the blocks and sticker photos. Hurray, more Caleb!! 

As you can see, Caleb is ready to pounce on his first year. One is totally going to be fun...

Ok, let's have some real talk for a moment about those monthly stickers. While they were fun, they have also become my worst nightmare from a photo taking sense. It's impossible. He wants to ripe them off immediately and eat them or trash them up. It's cute, but incredibly annoying if you're trying to capture a photo. You put him down for the photo, step back to snap a shot, but by then he's already ripped it off and moved on to something that's caught his eye.

He finds the stickers so interesting. Sticky and crinkly. Let's rip it off and crawl around with it. Yea, it's sorta cute. The last photo is of him on a new toy. I added that to the collage just because it's cute - nothing to do with stickers. 

As you know, I've been doing the mostly block photo with bullets on what he's done that month. At the start of it all, I decided to have it so the picture was from the start of that month and the bullets listed what he did for that following month. Here you see the 11 month photo and the bullets are for what he did during his 11th month. Although, now that we're at 12 months it seems awkward. Maybe I should have done it differently, but it's too late now. It made sense in my sleep-deprived mind back then. Let's just go with it. Here's a look at 11 months:

Family Time

Holidays are great for family time. We got a whole week with dad off from work, which was awesome. He has said dadda a few times and that just makes Josh's day. But he's going to be a mama's boy. Yes, he is. YES I say! 

Playtime

This kid loves to play. It's hard to keep up with him. Toys are good, but everything else is better...like chapstick. We call that photo his Winston Churchill pose. 

Christmas 

The most wonderful time of the year and it was even more wonderful with Caleb. I'm going to write a post specifically for Christmas so I'll keep this part short. It was great to have Auntie Lindsay, Grandma Jan, and Grandpa John around. 

Food is Fun

Food can be fun, but can be frustrating. He isn't the biggest solid/real food eater yet. He likes to play with his food, though. He especially enjoys squeezing the food and dropping it on the floor. This mom just loves to pick it up and clean it up (wink wink, cough cough).

Just Cute

The first photo I like to call "budda baby, sleeping pup." The next photo Caleb was watching sports with Grandpa John. The other one is him playing with wheels (his favorite) on the table at the coffee shop. And the last one is just crawling and plain cute.

And that's the life of a one year one. It's hard to believe he has grown so much! It's incredible to experience. He has brought so much joy and love to our family.  

Let's Look back: birthwelcomenewborn photosfirststwo monthsthree monthsfour monthsfive months + anothersix monthsseven monthseight monthsnine monthsten monthseleven months

Caleb's First Birthday

Inconceivable! Hmm, "I do not think it means what you think it means." Okay, Heather, that was nerdy.

But seriously...oh.my.gosh Caleb is 1 year old now. It really does seem inconceivable sometimes. Yet, here we are with practically a toddler now. Generally I would launch into how quickly the year has gone by and yada yada. In reality though, sure it went fast, but parts of it went extremely slow. Like those nights where you wake up every three hours. That seemed slow. Or the days where he was Mr. Fussy pants and was all crankiness most likely due to who-knows-what -- sick, teething, tummy ache, it's a toss up sometimes. Yea, that all seemed slow.

Overall, though, I look back and think, "wow, we've raised this little guy from birth to a year old. That happened fast!" I keep thinking back to last year at this time. It's been an incredible journey so far (and it'll keep going and keep being incredible!). This has been the hardest, but most rewarding year of my life. Life has changed radically and I do not think I can even put it into words. It's been amazing to watch Caleb grow from the tiny little 5 pound 6 ounce newborn to his current 17 pound 5 ounce boy. I look at his newborn photos and it seems unreal now, but it still melts my heart. 

The little guy we have before us today still melts my heart. I'm 100% sure he'll melt my heart for the rest of my life. I go gaga over his little arms raised at me saying, "lift me up, mama!" Or that little finger he loves to point at everything and say "dat!" Or when he speed crawls down the hall, then stops and looks back expecting me to speed crawl after him. Then he continues on laughing. That laugh - it's contagious! Can you tell I'm in love? Is my gushing starting to get a little annoying. Well, it's my motherly duty. 

I bought him this adorable orange shirt. I think he looks pretty good in orange. He also looks good in blue; it brings out the blue in his eyes. Fun fact: the #1 thing strangers comment on are his blue eyes. They do seem to have a brilliant shade of blue and sparkle, especially when he smiles. The other two most commented things are his simple & dimple - he has a cute dimple on his cheek when he smiles. Also, I often get told he should be a Gerber baby model. I tend to agree (but I might be biased). 

To celebrate his first birthday, we had a small little get together at our home. I themed it "Winter ONEderland" (with sub-theme "celebrating Caleb's first on the first" since we had the party on 1/1/17) - yea, I'm corny. We decorated in blue, silver, and white to make it all wintery. Josh dressed up our holiday bear bust for the party, too. I thought it was pretty hilarious. It was fun to put it all together. Honestly, Caleb just wanted to tear everything down and put it in him mouth, so this was really for the parents. 

I got my crafty hands out and made this little chalkboard sign for the party. I wrote a DIY post if you're interested in how I made it. It was fun to put together and think about all the Caleb-isms. Although I realized I missed a few things. Under "I Love" I totally should have listed that he loves the Apple TV remote. It's crazy how much he loves it. What didn't fit were listing nicknames like "Captain Yogurt Face" given to him by Josh. Or what he's known for: his dashing smile, dimple, and blue eyes. Or his favorite word: Dat. Otherwise it really sums him up! 

Of course, we had to have cake. What's a party without cake. I made Caleb a little smash cake. I used the How Sweet It Is Mini Sprinkle Smash Cake recipe and it turned out quite tasty and totally sweet. I considered one of those healthy smash cakes they say for babies, but then I was like...why? We are celebrating..with sugar!

I totally expected Caleb to smash it and rub the cake and frosting through his fingers like he does with all his other food. Instead he just sort of stared at it. I took some and put it in his mouth and that got him interested, but he really didn't go smash crazy. I do like that he picked up half of it and tried to take a bite. Here's a video of us signing happy birthday, figuring it out, and taking a bite

The rest of us got cupcake versions of the smash cake. Of course, I didn't want to have folks leave on a sugar high, so we also provided snacks and beverages. We were sure to have some Caleb's Kola around as well. And who am I kidding, more sugar - hurray! So there was my new favorite crockpot hot chocolate

We did enjoy celebrating and Caleb enjoyed sitting in his throne, I mean high chair, waiving his king scepter, I mean party horn. 

Bday_One.jpg

And no party is a party without friends! We had a few friends over to help celebrate. 

It was great to have a little fun to celebrate one! I still have to post the usual update, but I thought you'd like to hear all about the party first. So up next: 12 month update! I'll be sure to gush some more. ;) 

2016, You were Awesome

Happy New Year! 

We're already a week into 2017, and I'm just now writing a look back to 2016. The end of the year and start of this one have been keeping me pretty busy. It's just now starting to settle back into normal life routine (I wouldn't say slowing down...ha, wouldn't that be nice. With a 1 year old just not likely, though). 

Social Media says these were the best shots on Instagram. It got the majority of the highlights like having a baby and buying a house. I have to say, I'm glad the baby burrito made it onto my top nine photos. 

But really, I shouldn't let my Instagram feed tell me what was great about 2016. So I am here to give you the insight scoop.

  • We had a baby boy. Yup, this one is a big deal. In fact, it's been a life changer. You really can't top this one. Our lives were turned upside down on 1/2/16, in a very good way. 
  • New job.  For me, that is. I left the corporate world to be a stay at home mom. It's been the biggest blessing to be able to stay home with Caleb. Although, it's no walk in the park. This job is tough! But I wouldn't want it any other way.
  • Bought our first home. Another big deal. I told you 2016 was big. We love our new home and have enjoyed being home owners for half a year. It's in a great neighborhood, we have a great backyard, and I love the size of the kitchen. 
  • Moved to a new area. We bough our first home in Tacoma, which is just about 45-60 minutes away from Seattle. It's smaller, but family oriented and a great place to live. We have enjoyed exploring the neighborhoods and getting to know our new town.
  • Celebrated 5 years of marriage. Holy moly, it's been five years already! p.s. This is why there is a photo in the top row from our wedding. p.p.s. We've been together for 13 years, that's got to count for something, too, right?
  • Asha turned two. Our little Asha pup turned two years old in December. Can we still call her pup? I think so - she definitely acts it. I think she'll always be a pup at heart. She had a big year with the baby and move. She also went to doggie boot camp and is a much better walker and behaved pup. 
  • Traveling with a Baby. We went to San Diego and Utah to visit our families. Caleb and I went to San Diego on our own for a week to visit the O'Neill grandparents, but the other time it was all three of us for a friend's wedding (and visit the grandparents). We also went to Ivins, Utah to see the Brown grandparent's new digs. So three roundtrip flights with a baby...he was mostly good. 

I'm pretty sure 2017 is going to be great! I hope you all had a wonderful 2016, and here's to 2017!!!

P.S. Yes, I do intend to share Caleb's 1 year birthday celebrations and Christmas. Maybe a 2017 resolution should be to write posts more timely. But, let's not do that since I'm pretty sure I'll break it. #momlife #ihaveababy #stillababyright

Our 2016 Christmas Letter

Dearest Friends and Family,

It’s been big year for our family, full of blessings and changes! 

Caleb

People tell you that having a baby changes your life and before it happens you think “yea yea, sure, I get it.” However, you don’t truly understand what they mean until you actually have a baby of your own. 

Now, we understand. The change is huge, but wonderful. We feel so blessed to have Caleb in our lives. Josh and I often look at each other and try to remember life before Caleb, and it’s now all seems like a lifetime ago.

Caleb joined our family at the start of the year. He was very close to being a New Years baby and was born January 2, 2016. Although, it all did start on New Years day when we were out to dinner. People like to joke that we missed the tax benefit…that was the furtherest thing from our minds, haha. He came early and quickly, and he’s been on the go ever since. Caleb is almost a year old now and is non-stop energy and fun. We love his curious and observant nature. Soon he’ll be walking and his mama will be running. 

If you want to see him grow, here’s the posts from this year: birthwelcomenewborn photosfirststwo monthsthree monthsfour monthsfive months (and another), six monthsseven monthseight monthsnine monthsten months, and eleven months

House

When I said it was a big year for us, I really meant it. Not only did we welcome Caleb to the world, but we also bought our first home in a new town. We were thrilled to be able to find a cute home in Tacoma, WA. Tacoma is just about 30 miles southwest of Seattle. It’s smaller than Seattle, but very family oriented and we are enjoying exploring a new area. It’s been fun being first time home owners and definitely a change from renting. No more calling the landlord if an issue comes up! The home was move-in ready, perfect since taking on renovations with a baby sounded a bit terrifying. We do hope to make some updates to it in the future to really make it our style. 

Asha, the Pup

Asha is two years old now. She is the goofiest dog Josh and I have ever had. She’s been through changes this year with a baby to contend with and a new home. Luckily, she gets a backyard to roam and later on, a kid to play with. But for now she’s happy to curl up on her mat and just be near the family. 

She did go to doggie boot camp this fall and is now can walk off-leash with us and play at the park without running off. She’s definitely the biggest rascal we’ve had and look forward to her mellowing out (in a lovable way).

Work

More changes with jobs, too. I didn’t return to work after having Caleb, so I am officially a stay-at-home mom. I like to think of myself as Director of Home Operations. It’s amazing how much work staying at home is, but it’s totally worth it. This commercial captures it perfectly! That said, I have enjoyed seeing Caleb’s development and being able spend my days with him. Also, I have picked up writing for a pregnancy and parenting site called HelloBee

Josh is on his fourth year with Logic 20/20, a business and technology consulting firm. He still is project-based and goes where his client is located. Mainly, he’s been going to Tukwila, which is lucky since it’s halfway between Seattle and Tacoma. Mostly, his projects remain technology centered and the work keeps him very busy. 

Trips

Big trips weren’t in the cards this year given a baby and new home, but we managed a few getaways to the grandparents. We took Caleb down to San Diego to visit Grandma and Grandpa O’Neill in June and then in October we went to Ivins, UT to visit Grandma and Grandpa Brown. Caleb was a pretty good flier and thankfully the passengers surrounding us were all very friendly and nice (and patient). Otherwise, we enjoyed mini-day trips like the pumpkin patch or just around town in between nap time. 

We've enjoyed some visitors as well from both grandparents and Aunt Lindsay. And you’re always welcome to visit the Pacific Northwest! We love having people over. 

Merry Christmas!

We feel so blessed with all that have come to us this year. We are excited as we head into 2017 to see what adventures life will bring. We hope you are enjoying the holiday season. Cheers to our loving family and friends. 

Love,

Josh, Heather, Caleb, and Asha