Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Our wedding, part 1

I'm totally stealing another one of Mrs. EyeCanSee's clever blog post ideas. This time, it's wedding-related! Just like her, I became a blogger long after my wedding, so I didn't get to share all the planning details and such with the internet. So, I will now proceed to subject to you a series of longish posts interspersed with wedding pictures. Unfortunately, I got married back in the stone ages, and our photographer shot with film, rather than digital, so these are all poorly-scanned images. Mrs. EyeCanSee's pictures totally rock, and they're way better than mine! :-p

I think we had 191 confirmed guests, and all but one or two showed up. What a party! We were the biggest wedding our venue had ever hosted, but it turned out great.

I had Audra, my maid of honor, along with Tonya, Chandler, and Susan as my bridesmaids (all high school or college friends). My cousin Tarabeth, and Aaron's sister Hannah were our junior bridesmaids.

Here's the thing about our cake - I have no idea who made it! For being as detail-oriented as I am, I can't believe I just went with it, but I did. The cake and groom's cake were both included in our wedding package at our venue. All I had to do was just submit pictures/descriptions and flavors, and we were good to go! I will say that our cake lady was amazing. I had requested that our cake have roses cascading down the side, but she didn't feel like she was talented enough to do it with icing, so she just told us she wouldn't be able to do it. (All of this was relayed through our wedding coordinator.) Unfortunately, fresh flowers weren't included in the package price, and I wasn't about to spend extra, so I just left it in her hands, and decided I'd be happy with whatever she came up with. When I saw this on our wedding day, I was so happy, I was nearly in tears! The groom's cake didn't turn out too shabby, either...

After several months of frustrating searching, I finally found the dress about a year before we were to get married. The problem was, I'm a plus-sized girl, and most bridal stores don't carry very many plus-size samples to try. My mom (who intended to buy my dress) refused to purchase a dress without me being able to try it on in my size (argh!), so that left me without much to choose from. On a whim while we were out shopping one day, my mom and I stopped in a tiny bridal salon in south Oklahoma City. It just so happened they had a dress that I liked, in my size. It was a discontinued sample, and couldn't be ordered, so we had to purchase it that day. My mom thought I should wait until closer to the wedding, and I didn't want to let the dress get away from me, so I ended up buying it with my own money. Thank goodness it wasn't terribly expensive!

Aaron proposed to me on October 31, 2002. I was working part-time at Dillard's department store while I was in college, and I had dressed up as Anna Nicole Smith for Halloween that night at work. (This was before she died, obviously!) I had a big, blonde wig, a denim bustier with a furry jacket, and black leather pants. Yep, I pretty much looked like a hooker. When I got back to my apartment that night, Aaron came over to hang out, and as per usual, the topic of us getting engaged came up again. We had several friends who were either just-engaged or just-about-to-be engaged, so it was clearly on my mind! Well, unbeknownst to me, Aaron had his own plans to propose at Thanksgiving in front of my family, but he decided to take an "out" and avoid the Thanksgiving scene by just getting on his knees and proposing to me right then and there, without a ring, in the middle of a little "tiff" about that very topic! (Oops.) I had a fake engagement-type ring that he slipped on my finger that night, and the very next day, he took me to the jewelry store and let me pick out the ring of my dreams. :-)

We had mostly pink and white roses. Our flowers weren't exactly what I ordered (or at least, what I pictured) from the florist, but they were fine, and it was one of those details that when it comes down to it, all that matters is that I ended the day married to my wonderful husband.
Ok, that's all for today--more tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Since I haven't been too blog-happy lately, I thought I would do a fun link-up to Ten on Tuesday:

1. What color are your toenails painted?
Royal blue, at the moment, but they are in dire need of a pedi.

2. What color are your fingernails painted?
Totally bare. I'm too hard on them to keep a mani looking nice for very long.

3. What is your favorite brand of nail polish?
OPI or Essie. Fun colors!

4. As the norm, do you DIY your nails, or get manis/pedis?
Always manis/pedis (normally just pedis). It's my little occasional splurge.

5. Have you ever had a gel mani? Do you recommend it?
I have not, but I want to. It might be the one mani that stays on for awhile.

6. What is the last movie you watched on television?
All the way through? Probably Bee Movie. We did watch part of The Gladiator the other day, though.

7. What is the last movie you watched in the cinema?
Bridesmaids, with Zoey, when she was just a few weeks old. Super easy to take a nursing newborn to the movies!

8. Is there a movie that everyone talks about as if it is a classic but you haven't seen?
The Harry Potter movies--I haven't seen a single one of them, nor have I read any of the books!

9. What is your favorite movie soundtrack?
That's a tough one...but I'd probably have to go with Forrest Gump. Lots of good classic rock on there.

10. Have you ever seen a movie and thought it was better than the book it was based on?
Sex and the City, fo sho. I know they weren't critically acclaimed, but I LOVED the movies!

Friday, July 22, 2011

4 months

Zoey turned 4 months old this week, and she has entered this age with a bang! :)

We had her well-child appointment yesterday, and here are her stats:

14.1 pounds (57th percentile)
24.5 inches long (61st percentile)
16.6 inches head circumference (82nd percentile)

So basically, we have a perfectly average-sized baby with a big melon She got to show off all her new tricks for Dr. Pearson, and wowed him with giggling, squealing, head control, rolling, standing with assistance, and using mama as a climbing gym. I can't believe how fast she's growing and developing. Part of me is sad because I miss our tiny little newborn, but another part of me is so excited because I love seeing all the new things she's learning. That little brain of hers is so busy!

Dr. Pearson suggested we go ahead and let her try cereal, because she was sleeping through the night, and now she's not, so it's possible the reason why she's waking up so often is because she's hungry. What a little beast...haha...she LOVED her oatmeal cereal, even though I think she ended up wearing more than she ate! She didn't spit out very much of it, but she got so messy because she would grab the spoon and dump the cereal all over her hands, then try to lick it off her fingers. By the time we finished, she was covered head-to-toe in oatmeal, and we had to hose her down in the sink before we could even take her upstairs for a bath! Here's a series of pics from her little eating adventure last night...(please ignore the spacing/formatting issues, because Blogger is being weird right now)...

Her tasty treats - Earth's Best Organic Whole-Grain Oatmeal with Bananas. (I know rice cereal is usually the "first food" of choice, but the oatmeal just sounded like it tasted better than plain ol' rice cereal. Plus, she'd had formula with added rice before for spit-up, and didn't have any issue with it.)

I'm not sure about this, Mom. What's going on? Where's my bottle?

Hmmm, this is kinda good. I think I'll gnaw on my spoon for a while.
 Hey, there's no more on the spoon! Keep the food coming, Mom, don't you know I take my food seriously!
  Nom nom nom. I wonder what Daddy's camera lens would look like if I grabbed it with my cereal-covered fingers?
I could get used to this...
Yep, Mom, I've been thinking about this cereal stuff...I think I like it! 

In other big news, we finally found daycare for Zoey! Technically, we already had a spot for her at a home daycare near my work, but I basically took the spot out of desperation, because back in May when I was searching, there were hardly any infant spots to be found anywhere in town. I feel confident that Zoey would have been safe there, but my "mommy instinct" just didn't feel right about it. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but I felt so very hesitant about leaving her there. Plus, the lady charged extra for any hour over 40 hours in a week. Working 8-5, we're already at 45 hours because of the lunch hour, so that was going to add up.

Well, because of all that, I've kept one ear open for new infant spots opening up at reputable home daycares. I met with an amazing lady on Monday and loved her, but we had a miscommunication of sorts, and she gave our spot away before I confirmed we wanted to come (ugh!). Wednesday, I had another appointment with someone else, and I knew the minute I walked in there we wouldn't be attending daycare with her. No way. Well, it just so happens I got the name and number of a lady in my neighborhood (just 4 blocks away!) who operates a licensed in-home daycare. She was so pleasant on the phone, and even sweeter in person. I have seriously never met someone so professional and prepared, yet so kind and welcoming at the same time. Not only did we mesh well, personality-wise, but she's open from 5am-6pm, which means I would never have to worry about leaving work early to pick up Zoey on time. She loves cloth diapering, and will gladly use CDs for us...and, she offered up references and the name/number of her licensor at the state without me even asking. I feel so comfortable with her, and am actually semi-excited to take Zoey there starting August 22. (Let's be honest - I'm not thrilled I have to pay someone a crapload of money to watch my child while I have to work and be away from her, but since it has to be done, I think Miss Theresa is about the best we can find for Zoey's caregiver, and I am very happy about that.)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New diapers!

We got our shipment of Bee-Bop Baby AI2s/Pockets yesterday, and here is our little supermodel showing off my favorite tattoo print...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

French Toast, two ways

I've really been wanting to try this baked french toast recipe from The Sweets Life, so I woke up this morning and headed down to the kitchen, promising Aaron tasty treats if he'd keep Zoey occupied while I cooked. However, once I got in there, I decided to get a little more creative. To start with, I wanted to make the recipe a bit healthier, so I made a few lower-fat substitutions (adapted recipe below), and used raspberries instead of cranberries, since it's not exactly cranberry season right now.

The cast of characters:

Ground cinnamon, 1% milk, real vanilla from Mexico, liquid egg whites, a loaf of crusty wheat bread from the Super Target bakery, a Jazz apple, and a half-pint of fresh raspberries.

This recipe was pretty quick to put together--peel and dice the apple, cube the bread, then toss both with the berries. Whisk together the milk, vanilla, egg whites, and cinnamon, then pour over the bread mixture. I sprinkled on a bit more cinnamon for good measure before baking it at 350°F for 45 minutes.

How did it turn out? Well, let's put it this way...the first time I saw the completed product, there was a huge hunk missing! :-p  (I was feeding Zoey when the oven timer went off, so Aaron went to take care of it for me. Luckily he remembered to snap a few pics before digging in!) I also thought it was good, but, full disclosure: I'm not a huge raspberry fan. Next time, I'd probably go a little heavier on the apple and liquid amounts. Still tasty, though--I look forward to trying this with cranberries in the fall!

So, that was french toast one way...when I discovered I had quite a bit of bread left over, I decided to try a slightly less healthy version. French toast is one of my favorite breakfast foods, but before today, I'd never made it with thick, crusty bakery bread--what a (very delicious) difference! This time, I just dipped the bread in roughly equal parts real eggs and fat-free half-and-half, then fried it in a skillet with melted margarine (recipe below). (Hey, it was light margarine, even though it made my inner foodie cringe. To be honest, I don't even know how margarine, let alone light margarine, made its way into our fridge in the first place, but there it was, so I gave it a try.) The result:

Yum, light margarine and all. I'd definitely make that again, and even though it wasn't necessarily the best choice for the ol' diet, it certainly could have been worse.

Apple-Cranberry Baked French Toast
(adapted from The Sweets Life)

1 medium loaf of crusty, whole-wheat bread, cubed
1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped
2 medium apples, any variety, diced
1 1/2 cups liquid egg whites
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups fat-free milk
1 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a 13x9 casserole pan by spraying with cooking spray.

2. Toss the bread, cranberries, and apples together in the pan.

3. Whisk together egg whites, vanilla, milk, and cinnamon. Pour liquid mixture over bread in casserole pan, then bake for 45 minutes. Enjoy!

Slightly-More-Indulgent French Toast
by Jimmie

3-4 thick slices of crusty whole-wheat bread
2 eggs
3/4 cup fat-free half-and-half
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp butter or margarine
Optional toppings: bananas, berries, powdered sugar

1. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Whisk together eggs, half-and-half, cinnamon, and vanilla in a shallow bowl.

2. Dip bread, one piece at a time, into egg mixture. Give bread plenty of time to soak up egg before transferring to hot skillet. Cook approximately 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

3. Serve as-is, or top with powdered sugar, bananas, and berries. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Recent happenings

Part of the reason I started blogging again was so that I'd have a journal of Zoey's milestones and accomplishments. We have an actual baby book, but I bought a really unique one (the companion to On the Night You Were Born), and it's not your typical fill-in-the-blank record of baby's firsts.

So, what's been going on with Miss Z lately?

She is rolling like crazy, but still only back-to-tummy. One of these days, she'll figure out how to roll the other way!

She has been sleeping through the night, going to bed between 8:30-9:30 pm, and not waking until around 7:00 am. However, I think we have indeed hit that 4-month wakeful period, because the last couple of nights she's been up 4-5 times a night wanting to play! Silly goose, mama needs her sleep!

She babbles a LOT, and it's really cute. She even started making this new noise, sort of a cross between a hum and a grunt, and it's hard to tell if she's fussy or happy when she's doing it...haha.

She's started to be aware of and play with her toys. Her favorites are her dolly from Grandma Deb, her linky rings, and a glittery pink rattle (that's my girl!), even though she regularly smacks herself in the face with it.

She still enjoys her swing and her play mat (most of all), and she's learned how to make the dangly toys play music in her rocker chair. She's also starting to grow into her Jumperoo, which means we have to finally put batteries in the dang thing, because it "rewards" her jumping with lights and music. Oh joy. ;-)

Even though she'll be 4 months old next week, we haven't quite decided about when to start cereal and solids. I'm pretty sure her doctor leans more towards the wait until 6 months side of things, but I don't think we'll wait quite that long. We'll see. My baby is growing up way too fast!

Overall, she's just such a happy baby, and I couldn't be more in love with this little girl. She's got quite the personality already, and I'm looking forward to seeing her grow and learn even more!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Back to school?

I'm strongly considering going back to school, for another bachelor's degree and then my MBA. Yes, I am 6 credits shy of my master's degree in Instructional Design & Technology, and yes, I should just knock it out and finish it before starting something new, but I'm REALLY not feeling it right now. The program I was in went through a bunch of changes, and it doesn't qualify for my employee tuition waiver anymore, and just...yeah.

So, what will I be (possibly) doing? I want my MBA, mostly because employers in this area look really fondly upon applicants and current employees with MBAs, for some reason. But, since my undergraduate degree is in Psychology, and not a business discipline, there are a whole bunch of undergrad business courses I'd have to take before I could be admitted into the MBA program, so much that I might as well take just a few extra classes and get a second bachelor's degree while I'm at it. I'm thinking about a degree in Managerial Finance/Accounting if I decide to do this. I need to meet with an academic adviser in the College of Business, so I know what previous undergrad courses transfer and count towards specific credit requirements. We'll see. I get gung-ho about this sort of thing, and then change my mind like 20 minutes later. :-p  I've really enjoyed not having school to think about, but it certainly wouldn't hurt me to have another degree or two under my belt in case we ever move somewhere else, or in case I have an opportunity for promotion here.

And on an unrelated note, a happy 50th birthday to my celebrity crush, Mr. Toby Keith. He's still got it! ;-)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dr. Daddy

Just a quick post to pop in and say it's official!  Aaron, aka Daddy, has passed his oral defense of his dissertation, and he's now Dr. Kennedy! Wahoo!!! Many years of hard work are paying off!

Zoey is too exhausted to say it herself, but I know she's thinking, "Congratulations, Daddy!!"

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

July 4th will always be special to us, because that's the day I got my first positive pregnancy test in 2010! I cannot believe it's been a year since we found out we were going to be parents--my, how things have changed in the past 12 months! We spent 4th of July 2010 celebrating with friends and family, knowing that we had a little secret who would be joining us about 9 months later. This year, we have a 3 1/2-month old baby girl who got to ride in her first Grand Forks Sertoma Kids Parade today! She didn't win her category, but we're pretty sure it was rigged, because the baby who won didn't even have a decked-out stroller! (No, we're not biased at all!) :-p

Before I get to the pictures, I just wanted to make note that bedtime has become a challenge. (And that's putting it lightly!) Zoey has always been so good to take her bedtime bottle, let me lay her in her crib, turn on her Sleep Sheep, and that's that. She doesn't make a peep until she gets hungry about 8-9 hours later. that she can roll, I put her in her crib, and she immediately rolls onto her tummy. If she's not exhausted, then she decides it's playtime, and wants to play on her tummy, and then when she gets tired of that, she fusses for Mama to come rescue her. Silly girl! (Rinse and repeat about 3 times.) After about the third instance of all that, she has worked up another appetite, so I have to top her off with another small feeding, and then, if we're lucky, she's tired enough that I can lay her in her crib and she'll go right to sleep. She still flips over on her tummy most nights, but at least she stays there and sleeps. I know I shouldn't complain because she's still a great sleeper, but I do miss the nights when bedtime was a 5-minute process instead of an hour or more!

Okay, on to the pictures...we had beautiful weather for Zoey's first 4th of July (well, technically her second...but first outside of the womb!), and I think she enjoyed riding around in a blinged-out stroller for the day! The parade was led in (and judged) by the Forx Sugar Beaters, our local roller derby team that I not-so-secretly want to join!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Grand Forks Fair

Last weekend, I mentioned we went to the Greater Grand Forks Fair, and Zoey got to see all the animals in the petting zoo. I finally have pictures! These are just a couple my mom took, but they are better than nothing. ;-)  Lots more pictures to come after all our 4th of July festivities tomorrow.

In other news, Zoey is a big-time roly poly now! Unless she's already asleep, the minute I lay her down anywhere on her back, she flips right over to her tummy. I'm not sure she knows how to roll back just yet, but she doesn't get too upset about being on her tummy, thank goodness!

Zoey wasn't quite sure what to think about the goats!