Monday, March 26, 2012

Mystery Date

Today Ryan and I were blessed to get to spend time together on our "Mystery Date!" I'm sure you think that we're a fun, young couple that gets to do crazy stuff all the time. We do have fun, but I promise you that most of the time we spend together is less than crazy. Like most couples we fall into the rut of "What do you want to do?" "... I don't know. What do you want to do?" "....I don't know...." I'm think you can fill in the rest. Back and forth that usually leads to us just deciding to go eat at a usual place or go on a walk or just hang out at home. All of these things can be fun but every once in a while it's time to break out of the ordinary! So today I planned a mystery date for Ryan that included 3 parts (lunch, activity, dessert). For each part I wrote 2 choices on seperate cards that were a clue for what the choice might be. Ryan had to read the 2 clues and pick the choice he wanted without actually knowing what it was. For example, his two lunch cars read Spicy or Slicey. He decided on Slicey so we went to eat.....

Pizza! I purposely picked a place that we'd never been to for added surprise. This place was recommended to us a while back by one of our students (Thanks, Sydney!) and it didn't disappoint. We'd been looking for a pizza by the slice place since we often disagree on pizza toppings. The slices here were huge and only $2 a slice! Yummy and cheap.

This photo is just to show how handsome my date was. Wow. Look at those eyes. Good thing I snatched him up when I did.

I asked Ryan how his slice of pepperoni pizza represented who he was. He said that it's a classic and simple. He gets the same type of pizza everytime which represents that he likes things to be steady and stay the same. I'm the opposite and get pizza with tons of toppings and try something new all the time. Today I got a slice of the barbeque chicken pizza. I get bored with the same
thing and have many "layers" to my personality. Or maybe we just picked pizza that we liked.

Part of the ambiance of this hole in the wall restaurant (it's located right next to 7-11) was all of the local decor. I gladly posed by a photo collage of the Southlake Carroll Dragon drill team.

For part 2 Ryan picked the secret card that led us to a local nail salon. I found a place near us that offers cheap (but very clean!) pedicures. They even used a chocolate scented scrub and lotion. At one point I said, "It sure would be amazing if I was eating chocolate while they did this," and my pedicurist got up and walked off. I turned to Ryan and said, "Maybe he's getting me some chocolate!" Umm, no. Just a clean towel to dry my feet off. Oh, well. Some may say that a pedicure isn't very masculine, but I think that anything that leads to more cuddling is very manly.

My beautiful feet! I picked a sparkly cocoa color to go along with the other chocolate elements. A few months ago I decided that keeping my toes painted was just one more thing to keep up with and have had sans-polish toes since then. It was very relaxing to let someone else do the polishing. Plus I love sitting in the massage chair while my toes are spiced up.

The last part of our date was splitting a bowl of frozen yogurt at Yogurt Story. Our punch card was filled up so we got to trade it in for a free cup of yogurt with toppings! It was a sweet way to end our time together :)

I was so thankful that we got to have a fun date. Adding the clue cards made it exciting and Ryan was a good sport for going along with everything. I told him I'd save the 3 choices that he didn't pick for another date. Ryan has to work a lot over the next 2 weeks with Student Ministries, getting things ready at church for Easter, and helping to coach the high school baseball team. These are all such important things that I will gladly share my husbands time with the people he can minister too. But it's nice to get a few hours of special time with him when I can.

Thank you to my amazing mom who came and baby sat Eva! Without Mamy our date would have been a bit less romantic.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Round of Applause

Eva learned to clap her hands this week! Yes, it seems like a small thing, but as parents we think it's soooo cute! When I sing If You're Happy and You Know It, she will even clap her hands at the right part. We finally got her to do it on video, but of course my computer is being crazy and won't upload it to the blog. Last night at dinner she performed for my family, so we have witnesses :) It's funny though because we get excited for her and then she just keeps on clapping way after everybody else has moved on with their life. Sweet baby.

This morning Eva and I discovered that one of my favorite tiny baby outfits fits perfectly on her build-a-bear. Then I realized that means that we can dress up all of her stuffed animals in the tiny clothes that no longer fit her. One of us was super excited about this! (Maybe it was Eva...maybe it was her mom). I told Ryan all my ideas about dressing up her animals and playing school, or picnic, or tea party, or theatre. He added, "...and jail." Sure, because all little girls want to pretend that they're animals are in jail. Anyway, this morning we just put them all in a circle and all of her "friends" introduced themselves. She thought it was very funny! We even put the Sleep Sheep in a nightgown because that seemed more appropriate. She will definitely have the best dressed animals in town.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Break

What did our little family do over Spring Break? Umm, everything! Okay, so in reality Ryan had to work pretty much a normal week, but just for fun I decided that we would say it was our "spring break" and make extra effort to have fun in what we did. I also decided that I wouldn't work out all week long - fun for me! And I took last week off from blogging which made more time for fun but also left me with tons of photos to blog about today!

We started our fun week with family day on Monday. The weather was perfect so we enjoyed some time at the park.

Eva was too little for the slide. Ryan may have been too big. Together they were a perfect fit!

Monday night all three of us went to a rehearsal dinner at La Hacienda Ranch. Don't worry, Eva never minds being the only baby and soaking up the attention.

Tuesday meant back to work for Ryan. I made a special dinner that Ryan requested - Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole - that was supposed to be just like a recipe Ryan's mom used to make. We dined by candle light and played fun music while Eva took a little nap. Eating at 5:30 PM can be romantic. Just ask all of the old people at Luby's :)

Wednesday night we attended the wedding of our friends, Lennon and Tiffany, or as they are now called, Mr. & Mrs. Formaggini! They got married at Ashton Gardens and it was so beautiful. The chapel and reception hall have huge glass windows that look out into the wooded garden areas all around the location. If you are looking for an amazing location for your wedding I would highly recommend this place.

Ryan was a groomsman and I had the honor of being his date. Eva got to stay at our apartment with Nana and Papa.... and Aunt Amanda....and her cousin Mallory. I guess it takes 4 people to keep up with Eva! Just kidding, I was so happy that everybody wanted to come over and take care of her while we danced the night away.

Thursday night we stayed home and played games. Ryan and I played Scrabble while Eva played on the floor. My first word was "Mistaken." Not only was it a long word, I was able to play it on a triple word score. I thought that would put me on the track to win the game. I was wrong.

Friday evening we went up to Denton. We were excited to celebrate the 5 year anniversary of our first date by eating at the Denton IHOP (where we had our first date.) We were planning on celebrating on Saturday, but had a change of plans so we decided to go on Friday. It didn't really matter what day we went because we later realized that our anniversary would be this coming weekend. I guess we've never kept track of it well.

After IHOP we walked around the UNT campus for a while. We showed Eva all of the fun things you can go at college... like go to the library and play by the fountain! It's never too early to encourage a higher education!

Saturday night we celebrated St. Patrick's Day by having friends over for green desserts and games. I made Mini Key Lime Pies (another great Pinterest recipe).

The Rodemans - their little girl Avery has grown so much! She was a little toddler when we first became friends.

The McKinneys - they didn't get the memo to wear green. So we pinched them. No, we didn't really pinch them. But we could have.

And our festive family! Hope everyone enjoyed their Spring Break last week or is embracing being on Spring Break this week!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Future best friends? Maybe one day...

On Friday Eva and I went to visit my sister in-law, Amanda, and her baby, Mallory, for a lunch and play date. I was so excited to go - partly because it's nice to get out of the house and mostly because I love Amanda and Mallory! I guess Eva didn't get the memo about how fun cousin play dates are because she was serious or fussy most of the time. I think it was probably from her shots the day before and also from the back and forth weather, but whatever it was definitely affected her mood. She didn't want to eat or play. So I did what any good mom would do... I took pictures. It's definitely a challenge to get two babies to pose at the same time.

This one captures how Eva felt most of the day. It also shows how unbelievably cute my niece Mallory is! Mallory is all smiles and has learned how to hold on to furniture to toddle her way around, except that she will only walk to the left :) If you look back to their first set of cousins pictures you can see how much they've grown!

I love this photo because it looks the most like they're communicating with each other. I wonder if they were saying, "Oh yeah. I remember you. You have the same Nana as me."

Speaking of Nana, we did have another lunch time visitor. We were happy that Nana decided to stop by Amanda's on her lunch break.

After our play time Eva and I went over to my parents. We had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory with my mom, Grandma, and Aunt Sarah. Then we spent the night at my parents' house. Saturday morning we had brunch and another play date with my childhood friend Sarah and her two sweet kids. I wish I had remembered to take more pictures - hopefully next time! I hope everyone is enjoying their Spring Break!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

6 Months Old

Dear Eva Kate,

Happy 6 Month Birthday! I cannot believe we have already had you in our lives for half a year and that you are halfway to your first birthday! You are growing and learning so much every day. You can sit up on your own for up to one minute - sometimes less when you reach for something and topple over. You have 2 bottom front teeth. You have started eating oatmeal and avocado and you experiment with your sippy cup. You roll from your tummy to your back all the time. Your little arms suddenly become soooo long when you want to reach for something (especially a grown up something). You put everything in your mouth. You laugh so much when we pretend that we're going to bonk you with a big pillow (random I know, but it's super cute). You love to hold onto your feet. You love to kick your legs at the same time so that they go thud-thud-thud on the floor or in your crib. You try to give us kisses by opening your mouth wide and attacking whatever you want to "kiss." When we go out, you like to people watch. Even when we're having fun at the library you just stare intently at the other babies - then you come home and laugh and tell me all about what you saw. You love it when I sing The Wheels on the Bus and bounce you around on my lap.

You are usually a good sleeper. We've started putting you down around 8:00 or 8:30 PM and you sleep for about 12 hours. I dream feed you around 10 pm and then you often wake up to eat around 6 AM and then back to sleep. Sometimes you wake up once or twice and cry out for your pacifier. You still get swaddled up with your arms out since your room is so much colder than the rest of our home, plus you still look so happy when we wrap you up. You also sleep with a "blankie" that has a pink poodle on the end. Every time we place you in your crib, we give you your binkie and your blankie and you turn your head to the right and cuddle up next to it. I think this has helped you sleep better, especially at naps! You still take 2 long naps and 1 short nap most days.

6 Month Stats:
Weight 15 lbs 4 oz (40th percentile)
Height 24 3/4 inches (20th percentile)

You nurse 5-6 times a day and eat 2 small meals (lunch and dinner). You wear a size 2 diaper. You wear size 3-6 month or 6 month clothes. You get a bath every 2 or 3 days.

I just love you so much and I tell you that all the time! Thank you for teaching me patience and sacrifice. You are the greatest blessing to Daddy and me!

love, Mama

Watch me grow! Click on the row of pictures below to see how Eva has grown up close!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Driving Me Bananas!

As a general rule, I do not go to the grocery store more than once per week. This helps save time and forces me to organize our meals for a whole week. However, when we got home yesterday and unloaded groceries Ryan asked where his bananas where. Hmm, I did not see that on the list. Ryan said that he had asked me to add it to the list and since my mama brain tends to be forgetful I believe him. So out of my deep love for him, I agreed to make a Walmart run today to pick up bananas. Plus I realized that I had a prescription to pick up, but let's just say that it was solely out of my deep love for him.

After Eva's nap we went out to the store. We braved the blustery winds - you know, the kind of wind that makes you hold on tightly to your child so that they don't blow away. I decided to pick up a few other things including a bathing suit that was super cute and on sale but unfortunately didn't fit well when I tried it on at home. As we were walking through the aisles I kept singing to Eva, "Bananas. Bananas. We have to buy Daddy bananas!" to make her laugh. We checked out - chocolate chips, cocoa for baking, butter, cookie mix, frosting, swimsuit. I don't know why the swimsuit didn't fit :) Don't worry, all of those unhealthy ingredients were for deserts I am making to share with other people.

We walk to the car. I put Eva, the groceries, the diaper bag, and her shopping cart seat in the car. Then I realize that I forgot the bananas! Aahhh! What's worse than 2 grocery store trips in one week? 3 grocery store trips. Again, out of love for my husband, I decide to run quickly back into the store. I grab Eva and decide I will just carry her and my wallet. The walk is longer than expected and I am thankful that my Jillian Michaels' workout DVD has made my arm muscles stronger because my tiny little girl is actually quite heavy. We walk over to the banana section and it is completely empty. There are absolutely no bananas.
I guess a troop of monkeys beat us to them. Defeated I decide that since I came all the way back into the store I will buy an avocado for Eva to eat tomorrow for lunch. I check out at the same register as before with my sole avocado and trek back out the car. I come home and tell Ryan, "Don't go bananas, but you will have to eat something else for lunch."

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Hey Good Lookin', What cha' got cookin' ?

While I've been busy getting ready to make baby food, I've also been finding some new recipes for Ryan & I to enjoy. When I set up my Pinterest account, Ryan joked that if I was going to spend time looking at fun stuff, I should actually try to do some of it! So I decided to use Pinterest to spice up our family menus. When I was pregnant we got in the habit of eating the same things every other week. How often can you eat the same chicken, mashed potatoes, and salad? Plus we've cut way, way back on our going out to eat budget. I don't know why but I enjoy using these online recipes much more than flipping through my pile of cookbooks. I really like recipes that I can prep ahead of time (during nap time!) and quickly cook when we're hungry. I decided to share some of the great recipes I've used and enjoyed eating. I was going to take photos of what I cooked, but let's get real, these photos from the actual recipes are way better. (All images taken from Pinterest.) I'm also providing the link in case you want your family to enjoy it as well. Happy eating!

1. Zucchini Boats - I made these for our Bible study. I scooped out the inside and combined it with the other ingredients listed so that it added extra nutrients from the zucchini instead of just throwing it away.

2. Veggie Burgers - Made with black beans and quinoa instead of beef. Ryan said they tasted good (even though he loves meat).

3. Pulled Pork Tacos - A good alternative to our usual ground beef tacos.

4. Zuppa Toscana - A copy cat recipe from the Olive Garden menu. I actually added this one to Pinterest :) One recommendation is to use a different pot to saute the sausage than you use to brew the soup. I followed the recipe and used the same one and it made the soup too brown, but still tasted good.

5. Heart Shaped Cinnamon Rolls - Do they taste better because they are cuter? Probably. We used orange danish rolls instead.

6. Chicken Rollatini Stuffed with Zucchini and Mozzarella - So easy to make and looks beautiful. An alternative to boring chicken.

7. Bacon Cheese Potatoes - This is a crockpot recipe, but I forgot to start it early enough so I cooked them in the oven at 450 for 1 hour and it worked well.

8. Pepperoni Rolls - I like these more than Double Daves' pepperoni rolls. 3 ingredients: crescent rolls, string cheese, pepperoni.

9. Blueberry Pie Pancakes - This was our Saturday morning breakfast this week. The recipe is actually just for one serving so I doubled it. And these aren't nearly as unhealthy as they sound.

If you want to see more of what I plan on cooking up for the Bradley family to eat, follow me on Pinterest!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Time to Eat

Eva got her first "real" food today. Until now she has been exclusively breastfed. I read up a lot about starting solids and had decided to wait until she was 6 months old. She'll be 6 months this coming Thursday and I noticed that she has suddenly been much more hungry the past few days. I thought she was fussy from teething (which I'm sure is still part of it) but yesterday she drank so much more milk that I decided to go ahead and try out some oatmeal this morning. Did she get the oatmeal pictured above complete with fruit and sugar? Of course not. She's just a baby.

She got this: 1 teaspoon of pureed oats, cooked with water, and then mixed with breast milk. Why doesn't Starbucks offer this on their breakfast menu? I'm planning on making most of Eva's baby food so I started with some home made oatmeal. I pulsed 1 cup of oats in super clean coffee grinder and then added boiled water. I made enough for about 16 servings so I put some in the fridge for the next couple of days and froze the rest in ice cube trays for later. It was quick and easy.

She's waiting... after giving her a bottle we got her all set up to eat in her highchair. I don't think she knew what was about to happen (she plays in her highchair all the time) but she looks excited!

They're making me eat this weird stuff with a spoon. This can't be right.

Not sure what to think.... Are they going to make me eat this every day?

All done! I like it!

In reality, she wasn't sure about it most of the time and probably ate less than 1 tablespoons worth. I prepared more than that but it seemed like she was done so we quit while we were ahead. More oatmeal tomorrow!