Caleb's 11 Month Update

There are no more words or ways to say, "I can't believe it" or "time is just flying!" I have used them all up in my monthly updates. But it's just so true. This year has flown by and just can't believe he's getting to the one year birthday. Oh man, it's crazy. 

A wee bit late getting this update posted. Why, you ask? Because...Life (with a baby).  

Anyway, here we are at 11 months. Gosh, it's a good thing the stickers only go up to 12 months because it's getting ridiculously hard to get photos these days - constant motion, wiggles, crawls, standing up & down, and squirming all about. You can see I got desperate at the end when I stuck both stickers hoping for something...anything. Photos are tough (diaper changes are even tougher! TMI?).

Taking the photos has gotten frustrating and yet also pretty hilarious. Caleb goes from screaming, crying, hysterical laughing, and back to sweet Caleb. Look at the expression in that face! You could put some funny narration to some of these photos. I like the one with Asha sitting in the background. I imagine the dog saying, "good grief!" I also love his latest expression where he sticks his tough out. 

He's not only cute, but developing so much so fast. He stopped the adorable schooch, and now doing the standard crawl. Once he got that down, he started moving at lightning speed. His little butt wiggles as he goes. He seems to get faster when he's getting into no good (and he knows it). He also discovered the staircase and now likes to head over there to do some stair masters. His curiosity also brought him to the Tupperware drawer. 

SoCal - Grandparents Trip

Caleb and I went down to San Diego to stay with Grandma & Grandpa O'Neill for a week. We got to go to the beach, see Aunt Lindsay, and have fun in the sunny, warm SoCal weather. He was also witness to the Cubs World Series win, which brought Grandpa John to tears (ok, he was sleeping, but he enjoyed the next day celebrations).   

First Thanksgiving

I thought it would be such a fun idea to do a turkey hand picture for Thanksgiving. It didn't go exactly as I imagined, but nonetheless it was cute. Caleb ate some turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and green beans. Best part of Thanksgiving: seeing Grandma and Grandpa Brown. 

Family Time

Dad works a lot, but we get some fun family time on the weekends. See the rainbow in that picture? That was almost our Christmas card photo. 


What I love about Caleb is all his expressions. He's got the best faces! The hats don't stay on very long, but a persistent mom is around to keep it on. I think the most common observation from people when we're out & about is how blue his eyes are and how happy he is. We're pretty lucky to have such a joyful baby.


Caleb thinks his best friend is Asha. Asha thinks Caleb is her worst nightmare. Maybe once the ear and tail pulling phases ends, things will change (or so Asha hopes). We also got together with our PEPS group friends at Queen Anne Beerhall (yes, babies at a beer hall).

Activities and Around Town

Caleb discovered the Tupperware drawer...eureka! We also still enjoy baby time at the library - we get to play with the parachute and bubbles. And it's pretty cute - every time we pass by a green bush, Caleb points at it because he wants to touch the leaves. 

Dare I say it, but next update is one year. OMG. OMG. OMG.

My Thanksgiving Game Plan

Do you ever think back to what you were doing last year at this time? I find it so interesting to think back and consider how life has changed. Last year I was in my third trimester and getting pretty preggo. This year I have a 10 month old baby and have a home in a new town!

And yet, some things stay the same. Last year my in-laws came to our place for Thanksgiving and they are coming again this year. I enjoy spending time in the kitchen cooking and baking and Thanksgiving is the ultimate kitchen challenge. I am always on the quest for the perfect turkey and dishes. There are so many options out there it’s always so hard to decide!

There are a few dishes I’m going to keep the same as last year because they were dynamite, but there are a few new dishes on the line-up. Here’s my plan for our Thanksgiving feast this year along with what I did last year.

Turkey & Brine

One thing I’ve learned is brining is key to making a juicy, tender, and delicious turkey. Please don’t skip this step! I am going to use the same brine and roasting recipes as last year, which is from the Pioneer Woman. One trick I heard this year that I’m going to try out is to put the turkey in the refrigerator uncovered the night before roasting. Apparently, this helps achieve a nice golden turkey.


OMG, this was so good last year. I declared then that I would make it again this year. Hopefully it’s as delicious as I remember because it was a winner. I call it stuffing but I know some of you out there call it dressing.


I always buy a jar of gravy just in case I either run out of time or energy and/or the gravy doesn’t turn out for some reason. This year I’m trying a recipe with a cornstarch thickening agent opposed to flour from last year’s recipe.

Cranberry Sauce

I’ve made a different cranberry sauce the past few years. I just haven’t found “the one.” I’m looking for a balance of sweet and tangy. Hopefully this does it! I did like the conveniences of the slow cooker, though. It was a decent sauce, but I’m looking for perfection!

Mashed Potatoes

I bought a potato ricer to try this year. I should get it any day now. I hope this will make these the lightest and fluffiest potatoes! I think I’ll make them early and keep them warm in the slow cooker.

Green Beans

I usually make Brussel Sprouts, but learned that my in-laws don’t really like them all that much. Ha! So this year the veggie is green beans. Roasting is my favorite way to cook green beans – yum! I’ll just do Brussels Sprouts for Christmas and the recipe I have is so good!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

I love mashed sweet potatoes, but I thought it too much to have mashed sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes – too much mashed up! So roasting it is.


I always have grand plans of making rolls, but then end up just buying them. I’m hoping I’ll be able to bake them this year with this quick 30 minute option. I was tempted with the freeze and bake ones, but realized they still need to rise for like 4-5 hours in the morning..

Pumpkin Pie

It’s not a complete Thanksgiving meal without some pie. Pumpkin pie, of course! I love everything pumpkin so this is the hardest decision for me. This one calls my name with that delicious looking crumb topping. But I highly recommend the one I made last year, too.

So there is the line-up. Now, the game plan:

A Few Days Before Thanksgiving:

  • Make the pie crust and store in the refrigerator (or freezer depending on when I get to it)
  • Cook a fresh pumpkin for the pie and store in the refrigerator (I’ll have canned pumpkin on back-up, just in case)
  • Make the rolls and freeze them
  • Make the cranberry sauce – I think this will be just fine in the refrigerator for a few days
  • Bake the cornbread for the stuffing
  • Caramelize the onions for the green beans – Optional
  • Brine the turkey for 18-24 hours

Thanksgiving Morning:

  • Take the rolls out of the freezer first thing in the morning – they will need 4-5 hours to defrost and rise
  • Make and bake the pumpkin pie
  • Assemble the stuffing
  • Assemble the green beans
  • Peel the potatoes
  • Peel and parboil the sweet potatoes

Before putting in the Turkey:  

  • Bake the rolls, stuffing, green beans, and sweet potatoes

Turkey Time:

  • Roast the Turkey – The time really depends on the size of the bird. It’s about 10 minutes per pound of turkey
  • Sauté the green beans
  • Prepare the mashed potatoes

While the Turkey Rests:

  • Warm up all the sides in the oven – I hope they all fit in my oven!
  • Pour some wine (or sparkling cider)

Lastly, as part of my preparation, I like to go through all my recipes, read them, add them to Paprika, and list out the temperature and bake times. For the last item, it’s great to know what the need is for the oven. Sometimes you can bake things together. I only have one oven so I need to be efficient!

  • 25 mins @ 350 — Rolls
  • 35 mins @ 375 — Pie
  • 25 mins @ 350 — Pie Topping
  • 15 mins @ 450 — Cornbread for Stuffing
  • 45 mins @ 400 — Stuffing
  • 50 mins @ 400 — Sweet Potatoes

Whew! I can do this, right?! It’s going to be a challenge with a 10-month old baby, but with help I think we can make this feast a success.

Tell me about your Thanksgiving plans! Any dishes that are pure perfection? 

Caleb's 10 Month Update

Guys, it's November. NOVEMBER! What the. How the. Oh man.

So Caleb is now 10 months old. That's two months away from a year. Absolutely crazy! This year has been moving the fastest of all the years of my life. At the same time, it's moving the slowest. I know that sounds contradictory, but there is no way to describe how the concept of time changes once you have a baby. It's bizarre. And lovely at the same time.

Taking photos is extremely difficult these days. He absolutely will NOT stay on his back. Not for a second. I have to do a jig and turnaround and sing to get his attention. Even then, it's only like 15 seconds of attention. Otherwise it's back to exploring. The heater vent is way interesting, or how about that wine rack, or maybe the decorative lamp thing. To this 10 month old, everything is captivating. So photos, yea, are the last thing he wants to do. I'm lucky I got these photos - some are blurry, but still cute.

Caleb has been pretty busy this past month. He's learned to pull himself up to standing with anything that's nearby - a couch, toy, person. He's taking some steps with assistance. Teeth are now appearing. It's all so amazing to see. 

Grandma & Grandpa in Utah 

We flew out at the beginning of the month to Utah to visit Grandma and Grandpa Brown. We had a great time visiting them and seeing their new home. Here's my post about our visit

Standing Up

As I mentioned, our little explorer is much more mobile these days. He's standing up and taking baby steps (literally taking baby steps, haha). See that one photo in the middle row...that's his determined face. It's hard to capture in a photo, but it's the cutest face he's started to do this past month. He's a very determined little guy. He also likes to climb everything. It scares this mama sometimes, but it's awesome to see how strong he is. 

Cuteness & Food

I think he's just the cutest. I tried buttered toast this month. He likes to naw on it and get the butter and leave the gummed up bread for me. He also thinks everyone should try it, too. He will push it in your face to let you know. Speaking of food, he decided the pouch purees are no go anymore. Instead he's all about the crunch factor. Puffs FTW, especially these Bamba peanut butter puffs. He get SUPER excited when I pull out these puffs - basically pants and bangs on the table. He also loves yogurt. So puffs and yogurt it is. 

Yoga, Friends, Out & About

We like to get out of the house during the day and explore. We did mom and baby yoga together this month. We met some other babies and moms, so it was good fun. 

Caleb also will "sit" in the cart seats at the store. But he likes to turn around and face the direction we are going - not put his feet through the proper way. He's my navigator and captain. 

We hung out with good friends as well. We've known Vivian since his first few weeks - it's so great to see them grow up together. And even though we moved to Tacoma, we still get to see Seattle friends like Tricia and Matthew. 

Oh, and IKEA. That was fun.

First Halloween

Of course, we celebrated Caleb's first Halloween. We didn't dress him up as anything - it didn't seem to make much sense since we weren't going to trick-or-treat nor did we have anywhere to go in a costume. And he's not eating candy yet...but we did get two cute onesies. This one said "Scary Handsome" and the other "Wanna Hang" with a bat hanging upside down. I think he enjoyed the wrappers making crinkly noises the most - he LOVES things that crinkle. 

Fall and Rain

Around mid-October, we started our rainy season. To make us feel better about it, the PNW gives us so many beautiful colors. I just love the fall leaves and treats. Did someone say pumpkin? We visited two different farms in October - a pumpkin patch (see post here) and Lattin's Apple Cider Mill. Fall is my favorite season and I'm so glad to share it with Caleb. I think he likes it, too (I hope, I hope, I hope).

I guess the countdown to his first birthday starts. Yikes! It's so weird to think back to last year at this time - super preggo. Haha! so crazy.

To Grandma & Grandpa's house we go...

Over the mountains, and through Las Vegas, to Grandmother's (and Grandfather's) house we go... 

Am I the only one out there that puts a song to everything? Well, besides my mom. Just me...well, that's awkward. Let's move on then.

Josh, Caleb, and I headed out to Ivins, UT to visit the Brown Grandparents in early October. They recently moved from Indio, CA (near Palm Springs) to Ivins, UT (near St. George). They have a beautiful new home nestled up against a red mountain (check out Day 5 collage to see it). The area is quite stunning. It's not far from Zion, so use that to help picture it. The weather was fantastic - our last taste of warm, sunny weather until next summer since we're headed into the rainy season here in the Pacific NW. 

We have a wonderful time visiting. It was relaxing and nice to catch-up. Visiting family is always so great. Plus, I got some extra help with little guy, which is always nice. And Caleb just loves his grandma and grandpa. It's so cute to see him with them. 

Here's a quick look at our visit:

Day 1 -

Our first day was mostly travel. We took a flight from SeaTac to Las Vegas. I was so proud of Caleb on the flight. He didn't cry out once. At the end of the flight, people walked by commenting that they didn't even realize there was a baby. SCORE. He even laughed at take-off when the engines roared - it was adorable. Planning it around a nap worked perfectly. Go us! 

Once we arrived, my father-in-law picked us up and we drove to Ivins - about 2 hours. Again Caleb did great and slept most of the time. So the day of travel was very successful. 

Hey look, it's a bird, it's a plane, it's Super Dad (in the photo).

Day 2 -

We got a preview of the Ivins area. We drove by Kayenta Homes, a beautiful development, and got some tasty treats at Nielsen's Frozen Custard. Caleb got spoiled with a taste of custard. Speaking of spoiled, Caleb always got some new fun toys from grandma and grandpa. He absolutely loved the Learning Walker toy. 

Day 3 -

We made a day trip out to Zion National Park. This was Caleb's first National Park visit. Grandma Nada got him a National Parks Passport. I had one of them when I was little (I wish I knew where it was, bummer). Zion is such a beautiful area. It also brought back good memories of our trip in 2012.

Day 4 -

Unfortunately, Grandpa Don got sick and was stuck in bed (poor guy! we later found out it was pneumonia). So, Grandma Nada took us touring around St. George. We walked around the cute shops and grabbed lunch at TwentyFive Main.

That evening, Josh and I went out on a date night - just the two of us! We celebrated our five year anniversary with dinner at Xetava Gardens Cafe. We enjoyed a glass of wine and dinner al fresco. It was a lovely evening and great to get out. 

Day 5 -

We did some shopping around town and then mostly chilled at home. Caleb was a bit fussy with his bottom teeth coming in, but sitting out on the grass really cheered him up. While Josh and I soaked up the good weather. 

Day 6 -

We had a nice, relaxing day. Nada had to take Don to urgent care because he wasn't getting any better. It's a good thing, too, because it turned out to be pneumonia. Poor Grandpa!

Josh and I decided to help out and make dinner. We went to Harmons Groceries, which is an awesome grocery store. We went there a few times during our visit. And that mountain in the photo, that's just us driving home from groceries. Not too shabby, not too shabby at all.

Day 7 -

Lucky me because I got a massage at Red Mountain Resort. It was heavenly. The massage therapist said I was pretty tight - uhh, yea. thanks to lifting a car seat, baby, stroller, chasing baby, etc.

In the afternoon we drove through Snow Canyon State Park. It was a beautiful drive and we'll have to go back for some great hiking (or camping, if Josh can convince me). 

Day 8 -

Happy Birthday to Josh! We celebrated with breakfast at Bear Paw Cafe, delicious shakes from Larsen's (OMG the banana cream pie shake is to die for), and a hearty dinner at Rib & Chop. Otherwise, we enjoyed a nice walk in the neighborhood and just lounging. 

Day 9 - 

Ho hum, we had to head home. Another day of travel from Ivins to Las Vegas, then onto SeaTac. Caleb was quite a handful (to put it nicely) at the start of the flight. By the time we were in the air, he settled down into a nap and the rest was fine (whew!). Luckily the people behind us liked to play peek-a-boo. 

We had such a lovely time. It's so great to spend time with family. I wish we could go back right now! 

Off to the Pumpkin Patch

Oh boy, oh boy, the holiday season has finally arrived. I've been waiting all year for it and this year will be even more delightful since we have Caleb. It's always been a dream of mine to have a little one to share all my holiday joy. I LOVE the holiday season. And Halloween is a good holiday to kick-off the holidays. 

When I was a little one, my parent's would take my sister and I out to Bates Nut Farm. I just loved all the pumpkins and then the store with all the apple and caramel goodness. I do remember my parents made my sister wear sweatshirts in the 90 degree weather so they could get a Christmas card photo. I said to myself then that I wouldn't do that to my child. Luckily for Caleb, it's not 90 degrees in the Pacific NW for October. However, I did find myself wanting to get a great Christmas photo. So I guess I'm turning out like my parents after all. Again luckily, they are pretty great people.

What do you any of these have Christmas photo potential?  

You'll see from the photos that we went to Spooner Farms (Bates Nut is just a bit far away - haha). It was a cute place with pumpkins, a maze, a pumpkin sling shot, food, barn, and a gift shop. We just did the pumpkin patch, barn, and store. I'd hate to get lost in a corn maze with a screaming baby. Seems a bit nightmarish - a good store for a Halloween horror movie, perhaps. 

Anyways, we took lots of photos (and by we, I mean me. I did warn Josh beforehand that I'd be a photo commander). So of course, we had to put our little pumpkin in a wheel barrel. Yup, I'm that mom. But isn't he the cutest? There was some lady behind us that was just making him giggle. 

And get this. I'm here eat Josh's parent's house for the week and Nada shared this photo of Josh and her. Josh is a bit older in his photo, but it's I think it's pretty awesome. 

Caleb and Mom had a good time together trying to pick out a pumpkin. Caleb was just indecisive about which pumpkin to pick as his mom.

Dad was very macho pushing the wheel barrel with all our pumpkins and gourds. Plus, carrying our little pumpkin.

There were some farm animals there as well. Caleb was very interested in the piglets and turkeys. 

Lots of pumpkins and gourds to chose from! We had such a wonderful time as a family together. 

By the end, Caleb was tuckered, but I think he had a good time. I know his parents had a good time! I got some baking pumpkins as well for some delicious pumpkin goodies. 

35 Way to Celebrate Fall

It's fall, hurray! Fall is my absolute favorite season. I love everything about it - the smells, the colors, the tastes. Oh boy! If you're still stuck on summer, snap out of it and get into the fall mood. If you're having trouble, then I've come up with 35 ways you can get yourself in the fall spirit.

1. Visit a Pumpkin Patch - This is a fun family activity. We just went to one on Sunday. I particulary enjoy the ones that you go out into the fields to pick your own pumpkin.

2. Get lost in a corn maze (or hayride) - These are often also at the pumpkin patch farms, but sometimes the very big mazes are events of their own. Petit Macaron is a bit young for us to do a maze, but I think next year this would be a lot of fun.

3. Carve Pumpkins - You went to the patch, now carve the pumpkins! Or, try out the latest trend and paint or decorate your pumpkin. I like the idea of the leaves painted on the pumpkin…looks so cool! Oh, and here’s some tips to help your pumpkin last longer!


4. Roast your Pumpkin Seeds - Don’t throw out those seeds after carving your pumpkin, eat them. Roasted pumpkin seeds are so tasty and a fun activity with the kiddos. Try these spiced seeds.

5. Bake a Pumpkin Dessert - I am a pumpkin addict and love everything pumpkin - sweet and savory! This pumpkin bread is delicious, or these cookies.

6. Find a Haunted House - This might be best for older kids or adults if it’s too scary, but haunted houses can be a fun way to get into the Halloween spirit!

7. Buy or Make Halloween costumes - Part of the fun of dressing up for Halloween is deciding what you want to be and then finding the perfect costume. If you’re crafty, try making your costume.

8. Find Fall Foliage - Fall is my favorite season with the scents, tastes, and best yet all the beautiful colors. Go out on an adventure to find some fall colors. You could even make a huge pile of leaves and jump in it. Fun! Check out this cool fall foliage prediction map.

9. Take a Hike - The cool, crisp air is so refreshing this time of year. Find a kid-friendly hike and go outside. Don’t forget to grab those boots.

10. Go Apple Picking - Have you had a Honeycrisp Apple? You need to, they’re the best! There are awesome farms that let you go apple picking, which can be a great outing for the family.

11. Drink Something Warm - Get all cozy with a blanket and a cup of warm tea, or better yet some hot apple cider. These teas are delicious.

12. Get Crafty - One fun craft is to make a peanut better bird feeder with a pinecone. Check out how to do it here.

13. Make a fall Dinner - I just love warming up the house with something homey for dinner. Try making a chili or soup for dinner. Check out this Butternut Squash Chowder in the slow cooker…yum!

14. Start early Christmas Shopping - It’s not to late to get shopping. Start your list and get to the mall. Starting this early relieves the holiday pressure later and gives you time to find the perfect gift.

15. Decorate your House - You can decorate for each holiday: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and then Christmas or Hanukkah.

16. Celebrate Oktoberfest - Get your beer and bratwurst out and celebrate Munich-style. Often local neighborhoods have a fair or feast, so look up to see what’s happening near you.

17. Go to the Library - There are usually some fun events at the local library for the holidays, or just check out a good book or movie.

18. Eat a Candy Apple - Just don’t get it all stuck on your teeth, haha.

19. Attend a Farmer’s Market - Some Farmer’s Markets close after the summer, but there are a few that run year-round. Find one that’s open and go local. Buy some squash, Brussels Sprouts, and other seasonal fruits and veggies.

20. Turn on your Fireplace - Don’t you love the smell of the fireplace? Grab some hot cocoa and enjoy stories by the fire.

21. Make a Thankful Jar - With Thanksgiving around the corner, it’s the perfect time to remember what you’re thankful for. Check out this cute Thankful Jar craft.

22. Break out your Sweaters and Scarves - And boots and jackets, too!

23. Watch Football - Make some game day snacks, and cheer on your city’s football team.

24. Light some Candles - There are some great scents for fall like pumpkin or apple. I love this candle. Breathe in the season!

25. Prepare your Garden for Winter - We have a garden at our new home, and I realized I need to prepare the flowers and garden for the long winter. Be sure you care for your yard before rain (or snow)!

26. Read a good Book - Rainy days with a good book are the best.

27. Take your Christmas Photos - Get the family together to get a great shot for your Christmas cards. Here’s some tips, or find a photographer.

28. Movie Night - Enjoy a movie that celebrates the season. Maybe it’s a scary movie for Halloween, or something for Thanksgiving. Check out Planes, Trains & Automobiles, it’s a classic.

29. Hang a Wreath on your Door - Your visitors will love your festive door!

30. Fall Cleaning - Ugh, cleaning…but it’ll make you feel good. Try going through your closet and donating some clothes to Goodwill.

31. Listen to Holiday Music - Turn up the volume and belt out some songs for the holidays. Starting with Halloween and the Monster Mash.

32. Go See a Play - It’s such fun to dress up and go out to see a play. Get the whole family involved!

33. Build a Fort - Grab some pillows and blankets and build a big fort.

34. Paint your Nails - Get festive with your fingernails and toes. I love when you do a cute design or have an accent fingernail. And aren't these colors perfect for fall?

35. Enjoy a Bath - Don't be a bath hater. Take a bubble bath and pamper yourself. Plus, they really warm you up on a brisk day.

I think I need to go eat some pumpkin pie now...

Caleb's 9 Month Update

Here we go again, another month come and gone. Caleb is now 9  months old! 

Everyday he amazes me. It's just a joy to watch him grow, learn, and develop. He's pulling up to stand now, and trying to figure out how to walk. All while smiling and laughing. His laugh really steals the show - that little dimple. I die. 

At his 9 month check-up this week, the doctor commented on how friendly, alert, and active he is.  We often get stopped by people saying how cute and observant he is. Yup, that's my boy!

Look at him grow! I'm still in awe at how much he's grown. I see newborns now, and I am surprised at how small they are and realize how much Caleb has grown. 

And of course, I did our 9 month photoshoot. Getting these photos has gotten quite difficult as he's grown and become more mobile. He doesn't like to just lie on his back anymore. As soon as you put him down on his back, he immediately flips over and starts to crawl away (this makes changing his diaper a real challenge). To get these, I ended up grabbing the decorative corn and waiving the husk at him. It worked for like 30 seconds - enough to grab a few shots. 

And a look at his progress this month:

Now onto all the photos for the month. 

Cuteness in Henleys 

I got this three pack of henley shirts on sale at Carter's. Apparently, I love to dress him in these shirts, especially the yellow one. He's starting to grow out of them, so I might have to pick up more!


A friend lent us Leo the Lion, and Caleb just loves him. He pulls himself up on it, but really enjoys when I push him around. He also has rediscovered his exersaucer. He still loves to jump-jump-jump, but now he likes to jump, crawl, stand, and get into all sorts of mischief. 

First Zoo Visit

We went to the Point Defiance Zoo, which is only about 5 minutes from our house, with our friend Seana and Sidney. We are now annual members there and it's awesome. Caleb was entranced by the animals, and it was great fun. I think his favorite was the aquarium and jelly fish.

Grandma Jan 

Grandam Jan flew up and spent the week with Caleb and me. It was so nice to have her around (and to help!). I had someone to hold Caleb down while I changed his diaper, haha. Caleb loves his grandma and they had a blast. Unfortunately, we all got sick that week, but it was worth it (or so Grandma Jan says).

Mischief Managed

Why is it that baby's seem to be attracted to anything they are NOT supposed to get into. Caleb loves cords, boxes, baskets, and is constantly trying to escape from the room. He'll go to the doorway, turn to look at me, smile, and then skooch on out. 

Time with Dad

Caleb gets the biggest smile when he sees his dadda. I love seeing them together - my two favorite guys.

Yummy Food & Fun in the Tub

Caleb is still really only into eating purees, but he'll suck those suckers down. His favorites are yogurt and the Beef & Veggie Medley. 

And isn't that Ducky tub the cutest? I saw it and had to have it. It's prefect for him and he really enjoys his duck bath time. 

Adventures with Mom

We got on all sorts of adventures together. His favorite thing, though, is the mom jungle gym - using mom to climb. See my "haaalp me" photo? That's everyday. #momlife. 

It was a great month even if we had to go through our first cold together - yuck! And officially starting to see teeth. Caleb is such a good natured and happy little guy and is the light of our lifes!

Start Your Morning Right: Coffee

So September 29th was National Coffee Day. Yup, the same day as our anniversary. Us and coffee, it was meant to be. 

True Story: I haven’t always liked coffee (Gasp). It was my Josh who got me to start drinking coffee. He actually told me it was his goal to get me to drink coffee. I didn’t believe he could do it, but he pulled it off. I remember the first coffee I had that I actually enjoyed. Josh took me to Starbucks, what I like to now call the the gateway coffee shop. I don’t remember what I ordered, but I disliked it. In the usual Josh way, he encouraged me to go talk to the barista to see what they might suggest. The gal was so nice, and suggested a white chocolate mocha frappaccino. Yea, of course I liked that one.

When I lived in Eugene, Oregon for a year while Josh finished law school, I worked at Starbucks. Then I worked at Starbucks in Seattle for half a year as we got settled. By that time I was an official vanilla latte drinker. Now, I can even get a plain latte, but I prefer it with vanilla. For better or worse, now that I have lived in Seattle for six years, I am now officially a coffee snob.

Sadly, lattes are expensive for everyday. Le sigh. My everyday drink is a nice cup of brewed coffee sweetened up with creamer and sugar. Maybe sometime I will be able to drink it plain, but I am happy with where I am at with my coffee drinking.

When I found out I was pregnant, I quit drinking coffee cold turkey. Yikes, that was tough! But, then my doctor said I could have a cup a day. Hello, coffee, I’m back! I had my daily coffee in my traveler mug that I drank on the bus to work. Now, as I am nursing, I have still have my one cup of caffeinated coffee a day. I look forward to the days when I can drink a second cup again!

I want to share the coffee love, so here are some tips on getting a great cup of joe.

  • Water – Do you like how your tap water tastes? Well, good water is important for good coffee.Water is a large part of the drink, so it better be good! If possible, try to use filtered water. We use the water from our Brita and it works pretty well.
  • Beans – Try to get some fresh, whole beans and grind them as close as you can to when you plan on brewing the coffee. Resist the urge to keep your beans in the freezer. Resist the urge to drink weeks old beans. Also, keep them in an air tight container. We buy whole beans from local coffee shops every week. Play around with different types of beans to find the type you like best. We enjoy a medium roast with fruity notes like blueberry. Some favorite beans are from Slate CoffeeCaffe Umbria, and Valhalla.
  • Grind – Different brewing methods require different grind size. The size that you grind your beans makes an impact on how the coffee turns out. For example, espresso is a super fine grind while French Press is a course grind. Even the type of coffee machine for your brewed coffee can have different grind sizes. One factor is if you use a cone or basket shaped brew. Check out your machine’s manual to find the right grind size.
  • Ratio – The water to bean ratio is important. We have a small kitchen scale we use to measure out our beans. Generally, a good proportion is 10 grams of coffee to 6 fluid oz of water.
  • Equipment – If you want to get serious, then you will want the following: a coffee brewer, kitchen scale, coffee grinder, and water filter. We use a Bonavita for our coffee machine and Encore burr grinder and both work great.

There’s the basics! Now, be sure to have a nice cup of coffee tomorrow morning!

P.S. Starbucks has a nice resource for how to brew a great cup of coffee using different methods if you're interested.

Happily Celebrating 5 Years

Today we celebrate our fifth anniversary. Can you believe it? It seems like just the other day, yet so much has happened over the past five years. I'm not going to get all mushy, but I do have to say that I love Josh more than ever. I sure found a keeper! 

I love to look back at the wedding photos and remember what a great day it was. Such wonderful memories and such a wonderful day. 

To celebrate we ate leftovers (ha! there's having a baby for you). HOWEVER, I did manage to make a pumpkin pie with graham cracker crust. This was one of the pies we had at the wedding. It's the one we did the "feeding the other a bite" at the wedding. Having pie instead of cake was one of the best decisions of our marriage. Just kidding, or maybe not...

And here we are today. Yup, with an addition to our crew, Caleb. He's 9 months next week - I'll write about that in my next post probably. 

Daily Dinner: Crockpot Butternut Squash Soup

Growing up my parent’s had the tradition of making a nice family dinner on Sunday nights. We would usually eat out Friday and Saturday night for dinner, but Sunday was always at home. Sunday afternoon we would go out and do something fun as a family, then on the way home we would stop at the local market, Harvest Ranch, and pick up groceries to make a delicious meal. We often picked up a Marie Callendar’s pie for dessert at it was next door to the market, too! 

My parents weren’t big cooks, but they loved to grill. We lived in San Diego, so the weather was pretty grill-friendly year around. Some of the family favorites were BBQ chicken, steaks, and hamburgers. I enjoyed helping them prepare the meals and assist in the kitchen. Perhaps this tradition helped to spark the love of cooking I have today! 

As I grew older and moved away from home, I continued the Sunday dinner tradition. I especially enjoyed this tradition when Josh came into the picture. A few years ago, Josh made a request to put a twist on the Sunday night tradition. He wanted to make Sunday night dinner soup night. To persuade me, he gifted me the book, Mr. Sunday Soups. I tried out a bunch of recipes from the book and really started to like the soup tradition. We put the soups on hold during the summer - just too hot for soup. However, each fall we tend to bring it back. 

This week when I was talking to Josh about how I wanted to share a recipe this week, he suggested I do soup. I asked what soup he thought I ought to share and he suggested this one, which happens to be my favorite. The only problem is that it’s a bit more time consuming than I would like - too much standing at the stovetop. Now that I have a baby, I need meals that are quick and easy. So, I did something I’ve never done before and I am quite proud of the results: I converted the recipe to be for the crockpot! 

I love butternut squash, and this chowder is filling and a great introduction back into the fall season. The potatoes add a nice creaminess, and the bacon to top it off! We served this with some crusty, toasted baguette for dipping. 

Now, sit down with your family and/or friends and enjoy some time together over dinner!

Butternut Squash Chowder Soup


  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground sage
  • 6 white potatoes, cut in half (roughly 12 oz)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth 
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 4 slices bacon strips cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped sage, extra for garnish
  • 1/4 cup half & half (or cream)


Place everything - except the chopped sage, bacon, and half and half - into the crockpot and give it a good stir. Cook on low for 6 hours. 

While the crockpot is going, cook up the bacon pieces on the stovetop until nice and crisp. Put aside for topping the soup later.

When the crockpot is done cooking the veggies, place the chopped sage and half and half into the pot. Then blend with a hand blender (or do batches in a blender). I didn’t blend until smooth, but kept some of the lumps from the potatoes to have a chowder like texture.

Ladle into bowls and serve warm! Enjoy this together as a family. :)



Time for Yoga: Stretch it Out

So yea, I’m totally sore and tight. I had no idea how taxing having a baby could be on your body (eh hem, beyond the actually giving birth part that is). I knew my arms would probably get a bit sore from carrying a baby - yea, that’s a story. I think it was one of the first time I held a baby, and it was for a gal at church at one of our community groups. I think she was glad to get her hands free because I held that baby a long time, but I was so nervous and was holding so tightly that my arms were sore for days afterwards. Haha!  

But back to what I was just saying…oh yea, I was complaining about being sore. But seriously, guys, my shoulders, back, legs, neck are all sore – actually, I should really say what’s not sore!

I’ve been doing yoga on and off for a few years now, so I’m still a beginner. But I’ve picked up some moves from my yoga classes. I really enjoyed my prenatal/postnatal yoga class. I haven’t really done much yoga since Caleb has gotten more active and doesn’t sleep like a newborn anymore. However, I did just sign up for a mom and baby yoga class here in Tacoma. I’m curious to see how Caleb does in a yoga class with me. I fear that he might be too needy and I won’t get any benefit from it. But if anything, though, it’ll be quality time to spend together and maybe I’ll meet some new mom friends in the process.

I wanted to share some of the poses and stretches that I wrote down from the yoga class. Please remember that I’m still a beginner so my form may not be perfect and I might not be calling the pose as an instructor would. Also, I am not a professional nor a doctor, so please be sure you’ve got the green light from the doctor before doing any yoga or exercise.

When doing these, I suggest keeping the pose for at least 30 seconds or longer. Take a break between with baby pose or laying flat on your back.

  • Baby Pose – Arms out in front, legs in a wide V
  • Table Top – Keep your back flat, pull your tummy up & in
  • Cat Cow – Arch your back up and then down
  • Arm/Leg Extension – Extend arm and lift your opposite leg
  • Arm Up/Leg Out – Extend leg out perpendicular, lift arm up
  • Arm Under – From above pose, bring your arm down and under
  • Baby pose for a break
  • Pelvic Lifts – Lie on your back, and lift your pelvis up & tuck your arms under
  • Clam – Lie on your side, lift knee but keep your heels connected. Bring your knee up & down
  • Lie Flat for a break
  • Tree – Stand straight, bring your foot to your thigh or calf, try to balance
  • Pigeon – Bring your leg up towards your chest, and lie down
  • Forward Bend – Legs spread out, bend forward
  • Warrior 2 – One leg forward and bent, the other leg straight out, your body facing outward, arm out
  • Triangle – From Warrior 2, lean down with arm opposite of bent leg and put your other arm up
  • Squat – Squat down with arms pushing out at knees
  • Eagle Arms – Cross one arm over the other, palms face each other (like a twist)
  • Downward Dog – Butt up, slight bend in knees, push down on heels
  • Baby pose or lie flat to relax

Take it easy and be nice to yourself! Don’t stress and if you can only fit a few minutes in, that’s still awesome. Comment and share if you have any great stretches/poses, or if you’ve found other ways to work out those sore muscles!!

Fall Foliage - Is my Quest Complete?

You may recall my quest to find fall leaves back in 2014. Well, I actually get like this every year. There is something about the change in colors that gets me so excited. I just started to see a few leaves turning this past week. Yaaahhhh! Maybe I'm excited because it means I can eat all the pumpkin and apples without guilt that it's not the right season. Anyway, Josh shared this super cool fall foliage map predictor with me last night. You should check it out and be obsessed with leaves like me.

By this, you can expect me to be dragging Josh and Caleb out somewhere around October 14th...maybe it's Whidbey Island according to this blogger.

I feel complete now.

Caleb's 8 Month Update

August has been a big month not just for Caleb, but the family. At the very start of the month, we moved into a new home in a new town. Caleb has been adjusting to his new room and routine, but is also adjusting to all sorts of developmental changes. He's trying to crawl (he's got the speed army crawl thing down), standing with help, babbling conversions, and being increasingly curious and explorative. Not to mention, I think he's just getting cuter every day. I know, I know...cliche here...but it's going so fast! 

It's getting extremely tough to get him to hold still for any sort of photograph. The colorful toy seemed to help for these photos. He's definitely teething, so there's that, too. And look at him sitting by himself. Oooohhh man, growing up!

These faces...I just die. I like the second one there - like he's saying "'sup mom!" 

Here's a look back at what he's been up to this past month - going from 7 to 8 months.


It's a job to keep this little guy entertained. He's so cute, though, when he's having a good time - lots of giggles and smiles. We found he likes laces, pillows, Tupperware, balls, shoes - anything he can get his hands (and mouth) onto. 

Family Time

He just loves his family time. Such a happy little fellow. Even Asha loves the little guy. She'll look at me and sit at the door if he cries at the end of a nap, or just curl up by the crib when we're in his room playing. 


He's developing in so many ways - it's amazing to watch! He can stand holding on to the chair or me for a good while, army crawls all around (and gates have gone up to keep him from wandering the house!), gets on all fours and rocks and lunges, sits, and babbles. 


He's not just a little kitchen "helper," but trying out new foods. I discovered he seems to enjoy store bought food more than my homemade food - haha, classic baby move. I even made him baby muffins and French Toast (although we believe he has an egg yolk sensitively right now - you don't want to know how we know). It's fun to see his face as he tries new things. 


Mom and Caleb get out during the week to keep busy. We've explored a lot of Tacoma together. He's a little trooper. 

Smiles and Such

See that fist bump? He thinks it's hilarious if you do a fist bump and explode (is that how you say it? I'm not that hip). He also thinks mom is a jungle gym and think it's great fun to climb her legs. And the grass...well, that's just interesting stuff!

What a ride it's been! Can't wait for what's next with this little guy. :)

Man's Best Friend #NationalDogDay

A dog deserves his day, right?! And apparently it's today. I saw on the social medias that it was National Dog Day today. In honor, I'm going to share some love of the dog...

Let's end with a few, recent photos our our lovable, neurotic dog, Asha. You can also check out her hashtag #asha_pup on Instagram. I think I'll go give her a treat now.

A New Home, A New Town to Explore

You probably heard by now, but we just bought a house! If this is the first you've heard of it, then read this post. We have been here about half a month now, which is hard to believe. The past couple weeks we've been exploring the Tacoma area, or what I like to call T-Town. Most of the exploring is Caleb and I while Josh is at work (sorry Josh). Caleb is a great explorer and a real trooper. When I buckle Caleb up into his carseat, I like to say, "are you ready to go on another adventure my little adventurer?" I'm sure doing this will make him a true Indiana Jones fan later in his childhood. 

So far, T-Town has kept us busy - lots to see and do. Thank goodness because I need to get out to feel sane everyday (#momlife). Here's some of what we've been up to lately...

Farmer's Markets

There is one almost everyday of the week. The big one is on Wednesdays on Broadway. There were lots of food vendors, produce, flowers, and other artisan items. We also went to the 6th Avenue market, but it was much smaller. This weekend, all three of us went to the Proctor Farmer's Market, which isn't far from our house. We got some yummy things like cheese, peaches, pork, bread, and spinach! 

Tacoma Public Library Baby Time

This was a fun time with the little ones. We sang songs, played with bells, pulled the kiddos in buckets around the library, and read some books. 

Point Defiance - Rose Gardens

Point Defiance is a huge park that's only about 5 minutes drive from our house. I'm thrilled to have it just around the bend and will be great for Caleb. There is a 5-mile drive that I've used a few times now to get Caleb to sleep (we've had some super hot summer days here and the house is too warm for naps!). 

There is also a beautiful rose garden section to the park. My favorite part was the rose tunnel, but all the flowers were in bloom and so colorful. It made for a lovely stroll on a summer day. 

Point DefianceOwen Beach

There is a great stroll along the water at Point Defiance, too. It runs from the Marina to Owen Beach. On a hot day, it's so nice with the breeze off the water and it tends to be shady. It has some great views of the Sound (Vashon, Gig Harbor, and Mt. Rainier!). You can get a great view of Mount Rainer - the pictures don't do it justice. I think this will be a favorite walk of ours.

Waterfront - Ruston Point

There is a great waterfront in Tacoma. Again, this is such a pleasant walk. There are some tasty restaurants along here as well. It's fun to walk and look out at the water and to see downtown Tacoma in the distance. Again, this is only a few minutes from our house!

Tacoma Nature Center

You might notice a trend in my outings - outdoor and walking. It works well with the little guy. Sadly, this trail doesn't allow dogs, so the Asha pup had to stay home. It's a great loop - the short walk is 1/2 mile and the long loop is 1 mile. It was peaceful and nice. 

Wright Park & Seymour Botanical Conservatory 

What a great park! Ducks, fountains, and a great splash area for kiddos. There is also a beautiful conservatory. It wasn't a huge park, but it was a wonderful to walk around. 

Coffee Shops

I think I've been to every coffee shop in Tacoma. I kid, that's not true. Or, is it...this mama likes her lattes! I really enjoyed the Lift Bridge Coffee and Anthem Coffee on my downtown meanderings. Other favorites so far are Valhalla, Bluebeard, Metronome, and Cafe Brosseau. Yum! 

And the adventures will continue! We're really enjoying getting to know the area and all it has to offer. Tacoma is our new home and we're excited to be here! 

So, We Bought a House




We are officially first time homeowners. Yay! It's a wonderful feeling to finally have a place to call our own. We feel so grown-up. Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine being able to get such an adorable first time home. 

Also, it's pretty awesome to be able to sit on the couch and say, "hey, we should paint that wall" and we don't have to ask permission. I'm sure there is the flip side to that, like when something breaks, but whatever...WE HAVE A HOME! 

We landed in Tacoma, WA, which is about 32 miles southwest of Seattle. We're still near Puget Sound, too. In fact, we're only about a mile from the waterfront. And, we get views of Mount Rainier - even better views since we're closer to it. We are in the North End area, which we hear is the "place to be" - it's growing and an up-and-coming area.

We decided on Tacoma for a few reasons. For one, it's is much, much, much more affordable to buy a home here than in Seattle. Right now, the Seattle market is absurdly ridiculous and we just couldn't justify buying there - it totally priced us out. Another reason is that Tacoma is much more of a family oriented town. We could envision Caleb riding his bike on the less busy, bigger streets was a nice picture. Also, we've heard many people say that the Tacoma area is growing and it's getting all the Seattle overflow. We can still head to Seattle when we want since it just up the road. Best of both worlds.

Josh has a bit longer of a commute, and I need to find some new support systems for moms & babies but we think this will be a great place for Caleb to grow up. We are still unpacking (it's slow with a baby), so I'll share pictures down the road. For now, here's some from the real estate listing. 

It's four bedrooms and two baths, so we have much more space. There is also a backyard with some beautiful flowers and a garden. I'm going to do my best to not kill the flowers. The neighborhood is quiet and near Point Defiance park and zoo, but also not a far drive to the waterfront or downtown Tacoma. We couldn't be more thrilled. 

Come visit!!!!!

Caleb's 7 Month Update

Life has been busy. Like really busy. Busy and fast. In fact, it's going so busy and so fast that Caleb's 7 month birthday was on 8/2 and I still haven't posted anything. Never fear, though, here it is! 

As always, let's start with all the blocks and stickers that indicate his age...

Next up, his 7 month photoshoot. I took the pictures in our new backyard. More on that later because right now the focus is Caleb, but yes we moved and we have a lovely backyard. Caleb loves the outdoors! I think his facial expressions are the best and you can really see his personality starting to shine through.

He has been a busy guy learning all sorts of things. Here's a look back at what he's learned and developed during the past month.

Smiles are the best and there is no shortage of them with Caleb. He's a happy, smiling little guy. I can be tired or upset and he'll give me one of his dashing smiles and everything is alright in the world again. They are pretty contagious, too. 

Here's so other expressions I just love. He has the curious look, the focused look, and the cute sleepy face look. It cracks me up because he loves to pull the mesh down on the crib and peer out. He must have major FOMO, not to mention Mr. Curious. 

Do you see that crying photo? Yea, that was a tough day. It was his 6 month check-up and he got shots. Shots are no good for him or for mama. I had to take the photo to because #momlife can be hard.

Also, he just loves Asha and she's pretty patient with him (read more about it). It's so sweet and helpful when he cries because just showing him Asha makes him stop. 

And...those eyes. They make my heart melt. 

I think his favorite activity is spending time with mom and dad. I will take it all in right now because in about 15 years this won't be the case.

He was helpful in packing as well. (Check out the tips I have for moving with a baby)

Grandma and Grandpa O'Neill came up to help us move. He loves them so much and they love him.

I couldn't resist sharing some more photos - just too cute. I love the concentration and determination in his face on the top right photo - he's going after the ball in that one. The bottom right has him looking up into the sky at then plane flying overhead. 

I can't even remember life without this little pumpkin! What a ride it's been so far. 

Daily Dinner: Easy Chicken & Grape Salad

Ohmygosh. This chicken salad is so freakin’ good. 

  • It’s healthy.
  • It’s easy. 
  • It’s summer friendly.
  • It’s adaptable.
  • It’s possible to make-ahead.
  • It’s filling.
  • It’s delicious.

...It’s perfect! In fact, I just made it last week while we were uber busy packing for our big move coming up on Monday (the big reveal post coming soon). We've had tons and tons of packing to do…whomp whomp. I try to do at least 2 boxes a day during Caleb’s naps. We’re making good progress, but it means my little kitchen is basically all packed up. Perhaps you can in the photos how I was using a pot as a mixing bowl. 

I could also see this as being a great picnic lunch as well with the summer weather - sounds lovely. I’d rather be doing that than packing. Speaking of summer, I love that you don’t have to turn on any heat source for this dish either. We sadly don't have A/C, so on hot summer days the last thing I want to do is turn on the oven. 

To turn this into a meal, you can either make a sandwich like my husband, or a salad like me. For the salad, I drizzled salad dressing (I used this one - yum!) on some mixed greens and pile the chicken on top. Last time I made this I also made some pickled onions for our sandwiches. I piled those on with some lettuce and voila, a delicious sandwich. 

Below is the recipe. I hope you enjoy it!


  • 1 Rotisserie Chicken, cubed*
  • 1/2 apple, diced
  • 1 cup grapes, halved
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 7 oz plain Greek yogurt (about 1/2 cup)**
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (light is fine)
  • 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper, to taste.


* I used a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, but you could make your own cooked chicken. It would be roughly a pound of chicken.

** I used Fage 2% plain yogurt

Adapted from Damn Delicious.

Another Blog, Oh My!

Over the past six (almost seven now!) months, I have come to realize that mama-hood is one big research project. I shouldn't call myself a Stay-at-Home-Mom (SAHM) rather Mama Researcher. Babies are constantly changing, and you have to keep up with those changes. How do you know what to do? You look it up or ask around...research it! 

I started my research job before Caleb arrived since there are many questions to look into during pregnancy, too. One place I went to for information was the Hellobee site, which is a pregnancy, baby, and parenting blog. Recently, they were looking for contributing bloggers, so I applied. I was surprised to find the next day an email congratulating me as one of their newest blogger. 

Needless to say, my writing for my personal blog has slowed a bit. I am writing about two posts a week for Hellobee. I have a pen name that I write under, but I'm not sure if I can share that here on my blog. I bet if you know me well enough, you can figure it out. So go over to Hellobee and check it out. 

And I promise to keep up my own blog, too! Bear with me, though, as life is pretty crazy right now. Some big news on the way. Stay tuned!

Vote for Caleb

Vote for Caleb! 

Saying that makes me think of "Vote for Pedro" in Napoleon Dynamite. Remember that movie? Do you realize that movie was released back in 2004? Ah, I'm getting old! But that movie was quite the hit when it came out, and there are a few good quotes from it. "Vote for Pedro" was probably the most popular.

Pedro: Do you think people will vote for me?
Napoleon Dynamite: Heck yes! I'd vote for you.
Pedro: Like what are my skills?
Napoleon Dynamite: Well, you have a sweet bike. And you're really good at hooking up with chicks. Plus you're like the only guy at school who has a mustache.

But I digress...I'm asking you to vote for Caleb. I entered a photo of him in the Minted Baby Photo Contest. I think he's the cutest and would be honored if you considered voting for him, too! Here's the link to his entry:

I had a really hard time deciding which photo to enter. I could have even entered a photo that our photographer took for his newborn photos. Ultimately, I decided on this one because it I wanted to submit one of my own photos (even though our photographer is the best and her's are probably way more professional). Also, this one seemed a bit different than the majority of the other baby photos submitted. And how can you resist this smile of his? 

My mom submitted a photo of me in a grocery store baby photo contest and I won! I should get her to make it digital and I share it with you. Hopefully I can have the same story for little guy...we'll see. :)