Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Links to Love

This site. So damn funny. Seriously, go look.

An Open Letter to Teenagers Wanting a Baby. 

The Bloggess. Laughed SO hard @ this recent post of hers.

On a more serious note, this beautiful declaration of faith by an awesome mom blogger.

Guaranteed to make you feel like a better mother here.

This amazing blogger & mother of 4, and her even more amazing "Incubator Project"

These vintage locket/pendant necklaces...and so many colors & sizes to choose from!

Easy way to find estate sales in your area...some even show you photos ;)

Loving colorful paper tape times a hundred.

This blog -- tons of awesome home renovation ideas/projects. Using this post as my handy guide for when I paint all of our furniture next month...Yup, you guessed it, all white :)

Getting excited for our move next month and going crazy thinking about all the redecorating I'll be doing for Landon's new "big boy" room. Spending lots of time perusing some great interior sites like this one & others from her blog roll.

I will also, most definitely, be making one or a few of these beautiful lyrical wall art pieces <3

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wordless{ish} Wednesday: Zoolando

Our new thing: taking a 3 mile stroll to & fro the Lincoln Park Zoo. I get my workout in & Lando gets to see the animals. Win win, right? Per speech therapy, I'm trying real hard to teach L the name of each animal and the noises they make....working progress. Okay, not actually making any progress on either front. Still no words or noises, and shows hardly any interest in any of the animals. But he has a great time exploring the limits of the zoo grounds, slash running as hard as he can away from me in any given direction to find an exit. In fact, these pictures are really the farthest thing from what really happens at the zoo. I snapped about a bazillion photos & the pics I've very selectively shown here are during the milli-seconds where I got him to face somewhat in the direction of the animals. So that I can look back on our zoo adventures and falsely remember how attentive he was & what a sweet time we had together.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Summer Snaps

city diapers
Rocking out to the free Monday night concerts in our backyard
Jesus & cloth.
post swimboree 
little bodies
Healthy kiddo...[wearing] whole wheat spaghetti & kale 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Moving On.

There's a lot of happening around here and it's all happening way too fast. The biggest change right now is that we handed in our written notice, signed, sealed & delivered, that we will not be renewing our lease at the end of next month.

We knew that we would be moving out of here now for several months now but we've been having an awful time trying to find a new place to live. Our deadline to let our leasing office know for certain if we were renewing/not renewing was 2 days ago. I finally walked in there yesterday afternoon and asked once more how much more a 3 bedroom would be, or what we'd have to pay if we renewed our place for another 6 months. (Both options are totally out of the question). I handed in our form and thanked them for a really great, all too-fast, 2 1/2 years, that we are really going to miss it and we've had so many amazing memories here. "I know," she said, "I can remember the day you came back home with Landon from the hospital for the first time like it was yesterday." That sent me over the edge. Tears welled up in my eyes and I couldn't stop them from falling. 

The realization that we're leaving really hit me hard. I don't want to say goodbye to this little apartment that we've spent the first 2 years of Landon's life in. I'm not ready to leave behind the little tub he took his first bath in, the beautiful harbor outside Landon's window that I would spend hours memorizing as I rocked and fed him at four in the morning, or the living room we shared our First Christmas together in, huddled around our tree singing and dancing to Christmas music together.

Having to leave here is forcing me to realize that Landon is growing up. Fast. For the first time I know that my little baby really isn't a little baby anymore. It's breaking my heart that so many days slipped right between my fingers and there is nothing I can do to ever get them back. How did that happen?

I've always embraced change. But becoming a mom has changed that in me. Every single thing I touch, see, and hear, now turns into a cherished memory. And it's all happening way too fast. I am welcoming this new change, I know it will be better for our family in every regard. But I'm really going to miss this place, and all the beautiful memories it contained. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Last week in iPics

Monday & Tuesday I was sick as a dog and spent most my days in bed while Landon trashed the house. Made some corset wine bottles for my girlfriend's bachelorette later on in the week and received the best surprise in the mail that really cheered me up, the cutest personalized step stool from my girlfriend Lorrie (thanks again mama!)
Wednesday spent the day @ Millennium Park & went to the Wiggleworms kids' music fest. Landon busted out his sweet dance moves, tried to climb on stage with the band, and then chilled out in an orange pod.
Thursday we had swimboree class, got some goods @ the farmer's market downtown, made some 'ants on a log', & then Landon decided it'd be a good idea to put on Chris' slippers and walk around the apartment in them until bedtime.
Friday we met up with some good friends & their families to go "extreme trampoline-ing." Could have easily been the best night of L's life.
The whole gang.
Saturday went to my girlfriend's bridal shower luncheon & then a night out on the town for her bachelorette :)

Hope everyone else had a wonderful week and are off to a great start to this one!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

ten for ten

Just a quick lil video of what goes on around here every morning as of late. My FIL got Landon a bunch of these "First Words" books and we've been working very hard together at learning all the words. Of course he's not saying any of them just yet but he can identify them .... progress! #WordlessWednesday

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


We come to expect God to accept our understanding of what his will ought to be and to help us fulfill that, instead of learning to see and accept his will in the real situations in which he places us daily. …The plain and simple truth is that his will is that he actually wills to send us each day, in the way of circumstances, places, people and problems. The trick is to learn to see that- not just in theory, or not just occasionally in a flash of insight granted by God’s grace, but every day.  Each of us has no need to wonder about what God’s will must be for us; his will for us is clearly revealed in every situation of every day….The temptation is to overlook these things as God’s will. The temptation is to look beyond these things, precisely because they are so constant, so petty, so humdrum and routine, and to seek to discover instead some other and nobler “will of God” in the abstract that better fits our notion of what his will should be. It is the temptation faced by everyone who suddenly discovers that life is not what he expected it to be. The answer lies in understanding that it is these things- and these things alone, here and now, at this moment- that truly constitutes the will of God. The challenge lies in learning to accept this truth and act upon it, every moment of every day.

(Walter Ciszek, He Leadeth Me)

Friday, July 6, 2012

go green! without having a garden (with fresh herbs & the best indoor houseplants)

L-R: parsley, cilantro, & basil
Gerbera daisies
Our beloved peace lilies 
fun crafts with Landon 
Landon's (soon to be) daisies & strawberries

When my mother in law passed away we got this beautiful peace lily plant from some friends and I am proud to say that it has been thriving and growing beautifully under the care of my green thumb for over a year now. I have always wanted to have my own garden but obviously there's one of the pitfalls of renting. I've heard a lot about bucket or container gardening which is a great way to garden without a yard, but our space is still pretty limited for that. But then I realized I could still do something even smaller, sans yard. After a trip to the farmer's market a few weeks ago I purchased my own herbs & started my window herb garden. I currently have sweet basil, cilantro, & italian parsely. I also started growing gerbera daisies which not only serve as our pretty table centerpiece but they have lots of indoor air purifying qualities as well (keep reading below). And Landon also started his two baby pots of daisy and strawberry seeds yet to sprout :) 

SO if you are only renting or have small space without a yard I strongly encourage you to start a little window garden because it is easy to take care of and plus there are so many great benefits to having house plants and fresh herbs in your home. The peace lilies are really great because they clean the air of a lot of indoor contaminants. It'd even be a good idea to place one in a bathroom or laundry room because they remove microscopic mold spores in the air by 60 percent, but they also remove many other contaminants such as benzyne, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene. Another great plant to have in your home are gerbera daisies, which also remove benzyne from the air, and are also known for improving sleep because they absorb carbon dioxide and give off more oxygen overnight. Higher levels of oxygen have been found to stabalize breathing & increase duration of sleep by 10 percent. So a great idea to place to place in your bedroom or baby's nursery ;) Some other great indoor air purifying plants include bamboo palm, snake plant, areca palm, spider plants, African violets, Boston ferns, eucalyptus, & English ivy. (Read more here & here for more info).

I started reading Back to Eden a few months ago where I've been learning all about the many medicinal and healing properties of herbs. Not only do they add a lot of flavor for cooking, but they are also really good for you too. Here's a breakdown of the health benefits associated with the herbs I'm growing so far:

Basil can help treat neausea and stomach cramps. It is also effective in relieving/healing snake bites and insect strings. Recently there has been a lot of research into the health benefits conferred by the essential oils found in basil. Scientific studied in vitro have established that compounds in basil have potent antioxidant, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties, and potential for treating cancer. In India, it's used for supplementary treatment of stress, asthma, and diabetes and in Siddha medicine it's used for treating pimples. (Source).My favorite way to eat basil? Tossed in with chopped tomatoes and chopped mozzarella in a caprese salad (optional add-ins: cucumber, avacado, salt & pepper, and/or balsamic vinegar).
Cilantro also contains lots of antioxidants as well as antibacterial properties against salmonella. In Iran, it is used for relief of anxiety and insomnia and in other holistic medicine it is used as a carminative (helps eliminate gas) as well as aid in the digestive tract. (Source). 
Favorite way to eat it? In fresh guacamole :) Combine 2-3 mashed avacados, 1 chopped onion, chopped tomato (1 large or a few roma), salt, pepper, & fresh lemon juice. Helpful hint: keep avacado pits in the mix to keep your guacamole fresh and from turning brown over long periods of time or for leftovers.
Parsley (Note that"curley" parsley is usually just used for a garnish or decoration although it can be consumed, but "italian" parsley is more typically used to cook with and consume). Parsley is very rich in iron and vitamin C and vitamin A. It actually contains more calcium, potassium, & phosphorus than the same amount of spinach. It is commonly used for its diuretic effect and helps with kidney stones, urinary problems, fevers, and it is also very good for your liver and spleen. (Source). Apigenin, a chemical found in large quantities in parsley, has been found to have strong anticancer properties. Lastly, this super-herb is antimicrobial and can also lower your blood pressure. (Source).
Favorite way to eat it? In anything! I throw it right in with in my salads, lasagna, & pasta sauces. 
Note that when preparing food or cooking with fresh herbs, you will want to add the herbs in their "raw" state for the most flavor and health benefits. Otherwise toss in at the end of cooking because many herbs will lose their flavor as well as lose all their good qualities when cooked at high temperatures.

There are so many more other benefits to growing your own herbs. You will find yourself saving lots of money by growing your own -- Each of my plants were about $3.00 a piece, they last forever, & are always growing and producing more fresh herbs to constantly pick off and eat. Compare with a small package of fresh herbs for $3.00 or $5.00 a pack (if organic) that only lasts only a couple of days. Another great benefit to growing your own is that they will be grown 100% organic, without use of any pesticides. And last but not least there's the huge convenience factor of having them always fresh right in your home to use whenever you need.
I hope I've inspired you to start growing your own herbs or other plants in your home. I'm definitely not an herbalist but I love continuing to learn about all this and I hope to keep it up and grow even more in my learning and experience with a real garden someday. Pun intended :)

One last bit of random information to leave you with since it sort of goes with the spirit of this post and I probably will never find another time to share it: Next time you are finished with your green onions/scallions, don't throw away the white ends. Put them in a glass of cold water and place by a window and they will almost instantly start to grow right back. After a couple of days, just use scissors to cut off what you need for meals and periodically replace with fresh water. Pretty cool huh?

Disclaimer: The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information should not be used for professional diagnosis and treatment.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

fireworks, friends, & family fun

in Lake Geneva for the weekend
Actual 4th of July - ice cream & real trains, every little boys dream

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Links to Love

  • Baublebar. Recently introduced to this site which is honestly the mecca of all cute jewelry. Love these earrings here & here & lots of adorable stackable bracelets to choose from as well.
  • Summer babes in nothing but cloth diapers :) My all time favorites are these Blueberry dipes & these Rumparooz pocket dipes (abs adore the gumball print one for Landon) 
  • Had these corona cupcakes last weekend and they are to die for! Will def be making & bringing these to our next party.
  • Learning how to paint our bedroom furniture from sites like this & this
  • Seriously coveting this monogram necklace
  • Delicate knuckle rings here & stacking rings here
  • Chevron iphone cases here & here
  • Definitely making these for my new herb garden! Also love this blog, shineyourlight - this mama has some awesome home renovation ideas and tons of other cute crafts. And her name is Lisa and she's from Massachusetts - weird!
  • My all time favorite mommy/baby blogs, ohdeardrea & agoodlife. Never let me down for a good read, photo share, idea, or recipe :)
  • In honor of the 4th of July - this festive sangria & this easy peasy fruit flag cake

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

24 month check up

This post is a few weeks overdue but we've been a busy lil fam lately. I can't even believe it's July already. I feel like we're almost half way through the summer....so depressing. And we're already half way through 2012! Seriously life, slow down. Anyway, so Landon's 24 month check up. He is 27 lbs & 13 ounces (50th percentile), 35 inches long (75th percentile!), head circumference of 48.4 cm (50th percentile), & everything else is looking good & healthy. However, developmentally we're a little behind and we have to sign up for speech therapy. I kind of had an inkling that this was going to happen....He only says "ut oh" and "oh no" consistently and doesn't say any other words or make animal noises or point to his head or belly or other things when asked. He is pretty far behind the standard for 24 months old, which is a vocabulary of 100-300 words, making noises or saying words on demand, identifying certain objects, people, body parts and colors, and putting two words together to form mini sentences ("I'm hungry" or "Let's eat." I can't even imagine little Landon walking around saying things like that!) Initially part of me really wasn't too concerned because I know a lot of people who didn't start talking until age 3 and I do know that Landon is otherwise very healthy and behaviorally good and happy. But of course it brings me down a little because this was the first "problem" or delay we've ever encountered with his health/growth. And that he happens to be so far behind. I know that it is extremely common but I do feel guilty that when I was working the past several months I wasn't able to be home with him and focus and help him with his talking, learning, counting, etc. We had our first initial intake appointment with the therapist and have a team of specialists coming over on Friday to give him a full evaluation. After that we will be scheduling his first speech therapy session as well as scheduling a test for his hearing with an audiologist. Eek! Lots I'm nervous about but I have strong feelings that he will be 100% okay and that his hearing is fine and that he will be talking in no time. Therapy once a week. Wiggleworms music classes starting this week (which doc said is supposed to help as well) and swimboree classes starting on Thursday. I am so happy to be done with work now to do all this with him and I can't wait until he is up to par and able to communicate his needs/wants and for us to have a real dialog.  Lots to look forward to. & I will most def be posting videos of his progress :)

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