Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Baking Bliss :)

This is the cookie baking process in our house: first Mama rolls out the dough, then Sophia carefully chooses which cookie shapes we want to make, then Mama cuts the cookies, and then Sophia sneeks a bite of poor Mr. Gingerbread's leg :(
I absolutely love to bake, especially around the holidays. Gingerbread is my favorite because I love to decorate their cute little faces and dunk them in milk. mmmm. Lets just say that this year I probably did more eating than baking, but thats what the holidays are for right?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Time is Here!

In an effort to save money on professional Christmas photos of Sophia (that I would find 100 reasons to complain about anyway,) we decided to take our own Christmas photos this year. I love trying out my new camera. These are not all that great, I know.The lighting could be better. But its a work in progress. Merry Christmas to everyone!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bye Bye Binky

Deciding whether or not to let Sophia use a pacifier when she was born was a tough decision. I have heard that using a pacifier while breastfeeding is a bad idea, but I have also heard that providing the pacifier can be a good source of comfort for babies. We decided to let Sophia use a "binky" when she was born, with the condition that it be gone by 18 months. I absolutely HATE when I see older children with a pacifier. It is not only bad for their teeth, but I think parents need to take action in getting rid of the pacifier so that children are not so dependent on it for comfort. Sophia has happily enjoyed her binky for her first 17 months of life. She used to have it whenever she started to fuss, and we have slowly moved to only using it at night and during naps. I put her down in her crib tonight without a binky for the first time ever! She has not woken up yet. This is a bittersweet moment for me. I am thrilled that she is ready to give up the pacifier, and yet I am sad because it reminds me that my baby girl is not really a baby anymore. Saying bye bye to the binky is probably harder for me than it is for Sophia!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

New Camera!!

I have owned a Sony Cybershot digital camera for as long as I can remember. It always took decent pictures, that is until Sophia came along... every picture that we have of Sophia from that camera is slightly blurry because it has a terrible shutter speed. Babies are always on the move, even from a young age. I have desperately wanted a new camera for a while now just so that I can have some decent family photos that I am proud to hang on the walls or post on my blog:) I got an early birthday present this year. My husband searched and searched for a high quality camera that would have a strong shutter speed and he ended up choosing the Canon Rebel. I absolutely love it. Look at these pictures posted. The colors are so rich and I have captured Sophia's beautiful face with no blurs! That is all I can ask of a camera.
I know very little about photography as of now, but I am so eager to learn. Maybe Santa will bring me photography classes:)

Give Thanks

I love Thanksgiving, not only for the delicious food, but also for reminding me of how blessed I am.
I tend to get stressed by the fact that our ENTIRE family lives in town. This means that we travel from house to house for every holiday. It can get very hectic and exhausting. Today, instead of being stressed about having to go to 2 Thanksgiving dinners, I am grateful because it reminds me of how blessed I am to have a large family that loves me. Today is a day to be thankful for every blessing in my life.

I am thankful for:
My beautiful daughter and everything she has taught me and continues to teach me. She never ceases to amaze me.

My wonderful husband who I truly love more and more everyday. I know with full certainty that he is the love of my life and I am truly thankful that I found him at such a young age.

My family. I take family for granted too often. Today I choose to be thankful because I know that having a large family is a blessing that many people do not have.

New friendships. God has placed so many new people in my life in the past year and I am so glad! New friendships are something that I have been in desperate need of.

Lastly, I am thankful for the amazing transformations that God has done in my life in the past year. I am thankful that He has transformed my heart and shown James and I what it means to be holy.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Strawberry Fields Forever

This is Sophia's first year of beginning to understand Halloween and the idea of dress up. She has been wanting to wear her sparkly red shoes for the past few weeks and we have had her wearing her hat around the house so that she can get used to how it feels on her cute little head. I can't take credit for this adorable costume. I wish I was talented enough to crochet her a hat, but as my previous post says, "I'm just not that crafty". We attempted Trick or Treating tonight if you want to call it that. It consisted of going to our neighbor's house where Sophia enjoyed petting the dog and grabbing candy from the bowl. I am not ready to let her eat candy yet, but she definitely got some good practice in her Trick or Treating skills. I think next year will be a bigger success. At least Dad got some good pictures so we can remember our precious strawberry girl:)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Time For a Break!

Isn't it interesting that we always want what we can't have? Or as the saying goes, "the grass is always greener on the other side". I spent this summer being extremely bored stuck in Phoenix feeling like my summer break was a little too much of a "break". Now here I am smack in the middle of my semester and I find myself screaming, "I need a break"!! I am two tests down and two more to go before my final exam and I can't help but feel like a soldier completely defeated and exhausted from a long battle. I am taking Organic Chemistry this semester and it is kicking my butt! I have an A in the class right now due in part to being blessed with a great professor, as well as a supportive husband who gives me the time I need to study. There are 6 weeks left of class. The end is in sight (at least until Spring semester...)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I'm Just Not All That Crafty...

I have a confession to make. I am completely and utterly obsessed with mom blogs right now. I constantly find myself clicking through blog after blog wishing that I could think of such cute and crafty ideas to post on my blog. Lets face it; crafty is the last word that anyone would ever use to describe me. I might attempt crafty, things here and there, but the end result is always horrific. I need to just accept this simple fact about myself. As much as I would love to sew and sell my cute things on Etsy and knit sweaters for my daughter, I will never be "that mom". Despite my incredible lack of craftiness and design, I still do make attempts towards some sort of artistic side. Scrapbooking for example is something that I love, but am I good at it? Absolutely not. Just because I am not good at being crafty doesn't mean that I can't still attempt it. Every mom has her ongoing list that seems to never end. Here is mine.

1. Finish Sophia's Strawberry halloween costume. We need a red tutu and a green "stem" hat.
2. Organizing Sophia's new fall clothes and putting summer clothes in boxes.
3.Finishing Sophia's 1yr scrapbook. She is now 15 months!
4. Hanging pictures over the staircase in our very bare and boring living room.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Camera Roll...The many expressions of Sophia


I cannot believe my little girl is almost walking! Every milestone that she has makes me realize how fast she is learning and growing up. Her biggest milestones this summer have been:
learning to say "bye bye" and "uh oh", giving kisses, picking up the phone and saying, "hi" and standing up on her own. She is truly such a joy in my life. I am so eager for our family to continue to grow so that I can witness these small and special milestones many times more:)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bed Head Baby

Sophia takes after her daddy in more ways than one. When she was born, we knew right away that she was a daddy's girl. She not only looks like him, but she has small mannerisms of his. When she hears his car pull up to the house, she immediately stops what she is doing and excitedly shouts, "Da Da!" Just like her daddy, she requires a lot of sleep. If those two don't get enough sleep, the day is just not as fun. My favorite time of day is when Sophia first wakes up in the morning. Her hair is always a sight to behold :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Dinner For Swanks

When my husband James and I first started dating, he always used to talk about this restaurant called "My Florist" and how much he wanted to take me there. We never got around to going, but when I was trying to plan something special for his birthday this year, I thought this would be just the place. The restaurant is located in a building that used to be a flower shop and I guess the owners decide to keep the name. The atmosphere is very... cultural, urban, swank, chic... just our style! We enjoyed an early dinner so that we could take advantage of their great happy hour. Our dinner was delicious! James got a salmon with citrus segments and I got the seared ahi with wasabi mashed potatoes. After dinner, we went to see "Dinner For Schmucks" which proved to not be as funny as we had hoped. We decided to end the night with an over-indulgent dose of "Fro Yo" :)

They even have a pianist every evening!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Patience is a Virtue

Most mothers will tell you that they have somewhat of a routine when it comes to their day to day activities with their children. Although I do not consider myself a very rigid person with a tight schedule, having a routine is what keeps me sane. For the past month or so Sophia and I have had a routine that goes something like this:

7:30- Wake up, have breakfast
8:00- Get dressed, clean up the kitchen

8:45- Head to the gym, Sophia plays in the kids' club and mommy exercises and charges up for the days' activities.

10:30- Come home, Sophia takes a nap, Mommy does laundry, takes a shower, usually reads for a few minutes.

12:00-4:00- This is the time when we eat lunch and then run any necessary errands. Otherwise we can usually be found at home playing with Sophia's beloved bunny chair or other fun toys.
4:45- Sophia goes down for nap #2. Usually Mommy uses this time for herself or to spend with Daddy if he is home.
5:45- Start thinking about preparing dinner and usually eat around 6:30 or 7:00.

8:15- Story time and night night time for Sophia.

Yesterday, this routine did not exist! Sophia woke up at 8:15 which is late for her. We went to Einstein's Bagel for breakfast, dropped Daddy at the airport, and went to the gym. When we got home at 11:00, Sophia had a lot of energy, so I decided to let her play more. When it was 12:45 and she still wasn't tired I started getting frustrated. I made several attempts to calm her down such as reading, rubbing her back, singing, and rocking her in the pitch black bathroom. I have truly never been so frustrated since having Sophia. I started feeling like a bad mommy because I was so angry. I never actually yelled at her, but in my heart, I was so so angry! I actually started praying, begging God to calm her down. Being home with a child all day can be emotionally and physically exhausting. Sophia's nap time is my time to recharge and be somewhat productive (if you can call it that). I must have made 10 attempts to get her to take a nap. Around 4pm I actually sat her in her crib and shut the door. She amused herself for a good 15 minutes and then started screaming. The only time I left the house yesterday, was so that I could pick up an order of Chili Cheese Fries to drown my sorrows away. It didn't help... Sophia finally decided to settle down and go to bed at 9:00. I thought to myself, at least she will sleep well. When I heard her crying this morning, I was sure it must be at least 8:30am. When I looked at my phone and saw that it was 5:50am, I almost cried. She woke at 5:50am and played until 9:30am when she finally crashed and she is still sleeping! Finally Mommy can have her time to recharge and relax. The house is a mess, the trash actually smells a little, but I need to just relax right now. Being a mother is rewarding in so many ways, but can I just be honest for a second, and say that sometimes it is downright exhausting!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

We are getting a new backyard!

James and I bought our first home in the beginning of April. We were so fortunate that it was not a foreclosure or a short sale. The most unfortunate thing about the house has been the fact that the backyard is completely unlandscaped. Thanks to our generous tax credit, we are finally able to afford to do some landscaping which will include a patio with cover, grass, and a granite border. The contractors are here this week working on the patio and prepping the yard for grass. We will wait to plant grass until the fall. Planting grass in the summer is like throwing money down your garbage disposal... a pretty dumb idea. Its too darn hot right now for grass to grow!

This is the before picture of the yard. Yuck!

The area against the the house will be a patio.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Breast is Best!

When I had my daughter last summer I was amazed at the reactions I received when I told people my decision to exclusively breastfeed. Although some were very supportive, others told me I was crazy, or even that it was gross. Immediately after I gave birth, I had a very difficult time teaching my daughter to latch properly. I was truly a slave to my breast pump for her first few months of life. I would try to get her to nurse and then if she wouldn't, I would pump and give her the bottle. Finally when she was 3 months old, I did away with the bottles and forced her to latch. She finally got it down, and ever since then, nursing has been a joy for both of us. Nursing is the most intimate bond a mother can share with her baby. Anyone can play with the baby, give the baby a bath or a bottle, but only a mother can share in that special bond that comes with nursing. I don't judge mothers who give their babies formula, I just feel very strongly that if a mother is in good health, she should do everything in her power to nurse and avoid formula.

There is so much research out there about the benefits of breastfeeding. These are just a few from the American Academy of Pediatrics

Benefits of Breastfeeding:

Perfect combination of protein, Carbohydrate and fat for a baby
Reduced risk of SIDS
Reduced risk of obesity later in life
Reduced risk of breast cancer for mother and baby
Antibodies in breastmilk act as a shield against viral infections for baby
Reduced risk of postpartum depression for mom
Faster postpartum weight loss for mom
Natural form of child spacing, (typically a woman who exclusively breastfeeds is not fertile for the first 6 months after delivery)

Formula cannot offer any of these guarantees, no matter what the package may say.
My daughter just turned a year old and I plan on continuing to nurse her. Society frowns upon nursing in so many ways, especially nursing an older baby. Giving a baby formula would certainly be easier and less time consuming than nursing, but being a mother is about doing whats best for the baby and I believe that providing your baby with such great nutrition is most certainly nothing to frown about.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Tofu Tacos!

I'm really not even sure if anyone reads this blog! If nothing else, this will be a great keepsake for my family to look back on for years to come. I love writing about the things that are important to me.

One of my favorite things to do right now is cook healthy meals for my husband and I. We are trying very hard to build healthy habits while our daughter is still young so that she can follow our example. We have been eating mostly whole grains and lots of vegetarian meals. We made tofu tacos last night and they were a huge hit. I decided to post the tofu recipe because it turned out amazing!

Tofu Tacos
Approx cooking time 30 min

Yields about 4 servings (8 tacos)
Ingredients:1 package extra firm tofuapprox 1/4 C taco seasoning
1/4 C olive oil

1. Remove tofu from package and put it between paper towels for about 15 minutes. Put a few books on top of tofu to help get water out. The tofu needs to be as firm as possible. The paper towels act as a sponge to absorb water.
2.Preheat skillet to medium heat. Add oil and let it heat up for about 10 minutes.
3. Slice the tofu in half length wise and then slice pieces paper thin. This is how I sliced mine:

4. Add tofu to skillet and sprinkle taco seasoning. Let it brown for about fifteen minutes before turning. The trick is to get it as crispy as possible. It takes about 30 minutes but the end result is worth it!

We decided to use crunchy tacos but I think soft would also work. We had a side of refried beans and guacamole which made the meal delicious. The recipe calls for a lot of oil, but you have to remember, olive oil is an excellent source of monounsaturated fats as well as the guacamole. Healthy eating does not have to always mean low fat. Eating the right kinds of fats is the most important thing. For tofu skeptics out there, give this recipe a try. You might just become a tofu fanatic like us! :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Our Little Cupcake

I am truly amazed at how fast a year goes by. A year ago I was at work when I started feeling very hot and shaky. I was 36 weeks pregnant and convinced that I was experiencing Braxton Hicks Contractions. My husband and I went to the hospital as a precaution. Much to my surprise, I was 9 centimeters dilated and ready to have our little girl! Now here we are celebrating our little girl's first birthday. This is not only a celebration for her, it is just as much a celebration for my husband and I. I am celebrating the strength that I had on the day of her delivery. I am celebrating this precious life that I helped to create. I am celebrating the joy of motherhood. I am celebrating my gratitude to God for allowing me to be the mother of Sophia Therese. Words that are typically used to describe motherhood are: joyous, amazing, exhausting etc... but I am starting to view it as such an honor. I am honored to be the mother of such an amazing little girl.

We celebrated Sophia's first birthday this past Saturday and it was hit! We were insistent on having the party at our new home and I think it worked out very well despite our house being teeny tiny. We have a park across the street which turned out to be very convenient! We decided to grill burgers at the park and then invited everyone inside for cupcakes and presents. The theme was "Cupcake". I knew that I wanted to do something creative for her party that wasn't a popular theme and cupcake seemed very fitting. I worked very hard at making her birthday invitations and decorations. My favorite decoration was the pennant banner that I made for her. I also made a banner with pictures of her from each month so that everyone could see just how much she has grown. I made a onesie with a big 1 on it for her birthday outfit and she wore a tutu. It was adorable. Her party only lasted a few hours, but the small details are what helped to make it special.