Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I married a good man.

Leif brings me home surprises all the time. He loves it. I usually know what it is because I'll prod and plead with him to give me hints. He's learned to not tell me when he's bringing me something because I am impatient and get too excited...

Today he brought me home these:
I knew he had bought them but I didn't know when they were coming. I've been in love with Sperry Top Siders since I saw my friend Meg's (check out her blog btw... She's about to move to NY and live in Brooklyn. I'm jealous!) Leif has a pair and just bought a second. I love mine, especially the alligator pattern:) I wish I had somewhere to go tonight so I could wear them out. I've been wearing them most of the night and I can't wait until tomorrow so I can wear them again!

I also love my adorable husband who always tries to surprise me, and even though he's usually unsuccessful... He never gives up. :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Because its Fall

Fall means its time to bake with pumpkin! So today my friend Ashley and I made Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese frosting. A recipe I found on Simply Modern Mommyhood. Leif loves anything that has pumpkin in it so I decided to make a batch of these cookies for him and his co-workers. And a few for my park ladies:)

Here is the recipe!

Ingredients for the cookies:
1 cup sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp of salt

For the frosting:
1 (8oz) package cream cheese
2 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 - 1 stick of butter (melted)
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
-Cookies: Cream the sugar and the butter until light and fluffy. Add egg. Mix to incorporate. Add the pumpkin and mix to incorporate. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix well. Add vanilla. Drop rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly golden brown around the edges. Cool on racks. When cool, ice with the cream cheese frosting.

-Frosting: Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Beat in the powdered sugar until smooth. Add milk, butter, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. If frosting is too thick, thin with a little more milk. When cookies are cool spread with some of the frosting.

Makes 24 cookies

I am not a big fan of cookies or pumpkin for that matter but are wonderful! You must try:)

Monday, September 28, 2009

We made a fort!

I was inspired by this post: The Fort to make my own fort tonight. The post reminded me of the many hours my sister and I would spend under blankets in our room, on our bunk bed, and anywhere else we could make forts. We always had peanut-butter crackers, our dolls and our pillows with us. I miss those times... So I thought maybe I could start a new tradition with Leif and Riley? I threw a blanket over the couch and two chairs just to see how Riley would like it. She thought it was fun, and so did Leif:)

I have plans for a bigger and better fort:)

Photos and updates.

Riley turned 10 months on Friday. I can't believe that in two months we'll be celebrating her 1st birthday... Didn't she just turn 7 months? I look forward to each month because she always does something new. Her latest accomplishments have been saying a few words and pointing at things she wants. If she wants to be held she'll hold up one hand and try to say "up". She's also learned to share toys and snacks, but expects them back right away:) Riley used to hate cuddling with us, but now wants to do it all the time. She'll give us hugs and kisses constantly, which we love.

Lately I've been wondering how I'll manage two children. Riley has been an easy baby. When she was born it was a simple adjustment for Leif and I. I'm nervous that this next baby will be a lot more difficult plus I'll have a 15 month old to watch. I know I'm not the first person who'll have two children so close in age, so its possible... But thinking about it sometimes makes me a bit overwhelmed! At the same time I'm becoming more excited to be a mommy to two kids. I'm looking forward to meeting this baby and getting to know him/her. They're going to be so different than Riley and I love that. I am looking forward to having a house full of different personalities.

We took a trip to LA: Leif is a wonderful man:) I told him I was homesick and he made sure we were able to visit Southern California so I could see my family and friends. It worked out so well. We were able to see so many of our good friends and even attend a going away party of one of our best friends. I think visiting So Cal made me even more homesick. It was hard coming back to Monterey. I really didn't want to, I wanted to stay with my family and go to my home church every Sunday, and visit with my best friends all the time.

It was good visiting our church because it helped us realize that if we are going to be living here for awhile we needed to find a church. So we're back to the church searching again. We visited one on Sunday that we liked a bit... We shall see. I know God has a place for us and I'm trying to be patient and allow Him to lead.

Baby #2 update: Soon we'll be finding out what baby #2 is! In the beginning Leif and I really wanted a boy, but lately we've changed our mind and are hoping for another girl. Either way we'll be happy:) I'm starting to show a bit which I'm loving. I missed my pregnant body. This time around I'm having a lot more cravings than I did with Riley. And I can't seem to get enough sleep. Between being home with Riley all day, cleaning and trips to the gym at night I'm worn out. Leif is gracious though, letting me go to bed around 9, instead of staying up late hanging out with him.

What do you think baby #2 is? Boy? Girl?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Welcome Back Autumn!

::Looking forward to having a wonderful Fall::

Taking Riley to the pumpkin patch for the first time on our 3rd annual pumpkin patch trip.
Dressing her up for Halloween.
Eating chili and cornbread on cold nights.
Layering ourselves in sweaters, coats and scarves.
Making pumpkin bread and pumpkin pancakes.
Drinking lots of hot chocolate.
Even more family snuggle time in the mornings.
Celebrating Riley's 1st birthday and Thanksgiving in Southern California!

Fall is my favorite Season, ever!

Friday, September 18, 2009


I'm learning that being a mother comes a lot easier than being a wife a lot of the time. I think this is because so often a child has constant needs, to be fed, clothed, washed... While a spouse has needs but they aren't always so obvious. Its easy to put your spouse on the back burner. Its not always on purpose, its just, you get caught up in being a mother and taking care of your children. They become your first priority.

The best wisdom I ever heard from a woman who had been married more than 30 years was: "Always put your husband first. Always be working on your marriage. Your children will always need something from you, even when they're grown. Your marriage cannot wait until the children are out of the house."

To put your husband first doesn't mean to neglect your children. No, it just means to be aware that your husband needs your attention just as much as your children. He needs time with you just like your children do. Leif and I are finally finding a balance when it comes to us and Riley. Through out the day and even the night we do little things for each other that are reminders that we are thinking of the other and we do care. I do the dishes for Leif and clean the kitchen, even though I hate it so much. It means a lot to him. He gets up with Riley every night because he knows that I've spent my whole day taking care of her. I fold his laundry a certain way that he likes. He'll come home from work and offer to watch Riley so I can either edit or go to the gym. I will wake up early so that I'm able to make breakfast and spend a few minutes with him before he's off to work. Rarely does Riley get a bath that doesn't include all three of us. That's one of our ways of spending time together. We're constantly trying to figure out ways to bless and love each other, be it small or big, amidst being busy and having a baby.

Ever since having Riley we have made a point during the week to just sit and talk. Its not as easy as it once was when was just the two of us. It takes more effort, and we really have to find the time. But we make it happen. Like last night, we dropped everything we were doing, just laid in bed and talked for a few hours. I like our times together like that. Its so good for us. For our friendship. For our marriage. I also think its good for us as parents.

Not a day goes by that I don't feel blessed by my husband. His love for me is always evident and he takes any opportunity he can to show it. God is so good:)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Happy Monday!

Want to wish everyone a happy Monday:)
I'm excited about this new week.
Been feeling baby #2 move a bunch and I'm planning
a morning picnic for our little family!
We're also going to be visiting Southern California this coming weekend.
So family&friends that we haven't seen in awhile, we hope to see you!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

White is still right?

A friend posted this video on their facebook. Listening to young black girls talk about how they're perceived was interesting. I'm surprised that while we've come far, we still have a long way to go. The part where they conduct the experiments with the black and white dolls was a big eye opener. Why aren't we telling our children they are beautiful with their nappy hair and dark skin? Why do they think that their hair has to be straight to be beautiful?

Part of the reason I cut my hair and stopped straightening it was because I wanted my daughter to know that natural hair, black hair is something that should be celebrated and appreciated. I also did it for myself, as a black woman. I'm not knocking perms, or weaves. But for too long black has been wrong, and we've gone out of our way to fit a certain ideal. I'm grateful that my parents never did that and I'm hoping that I will be able to teach my children that no matter their color, they are beautiful just the way they are.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Oh Riley...

So once a day I have to get Riley un-stuck from somewhere. Today I found her stuck in the cupboards. She was screaming and I couldn't help but laugh and snap a few pictures. It was too funny. I love this age. Riley spends all her time (well if she's not eating or sleeping) exploring. I do find little messes everywhere... Diapers in her room that she's pulled off their shelf, books in the living room, blankets in the hallway from the linen closet and tupperware on the kitchen floor. But I don't mind too much:) Its fun most of the time.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

God is Love.

One of my best friends made me a birthday mix for my 22nd birthday. He included 22 songs and even made a cute case for the CD's. Well, one of the songs on the first disc really made me stop and listen... It was great. I tend to stay away from Christian music for many reasons and I'm a bit surprised my friend included this song but I'm glad he did! I think I love it mostly because it touches on how God is love. And I'm all about that:)

Here are the lyrics and the video is below:

God is not a man
God is not a white man
God is not a man sitting on a cloud

God cannot be bought
God will not be boxed in
God will not be owned by religion

But God is love, God is love, and He loves everyone
God is love, God is love, and He loves everyone

God is not a man
God is not an old man
God does not belong to Republicans
God is not a flag
Not even American
And God does not depend on a government

But God is good, God is good, and He loves everyone
God is good, God is good, and He loves everyone

Atheists and Charlatans and Communists and Lesbians
And even old Pat Robertson, oh God He loves us all
Catholic or Protestant, Terrorist or President
Everybody, everybody, love, love, love, love, love

This time around.

When I was pregnant with Riley I signed up for every baby site, had them all send me email updates on her growth, and I had a countdown to the big ultrasound. I read What To Expect When You're Expecting religiously and a Your Pregnancy-Week by Week. Leif and I bought clothes before we knew we were having a girl, and as soon as we found out it was a girl, went on a shopping spree. We bought her crib, stroller, dresser and pack and play months before she was going to arrive. We even set them up and had her room done in August... She wasn't suppose to arrive until November. I was constantly aware of being pregnant, its all I thought about and all I could think about was November 22nd. Riley's due date. I was careful about what I ate and I ran every morning. I wanted to stay healthy and I wanted Riley to be healthy. Instead of giving into cravings I would eat fruit. I didn't make a birth plan, I just wanted to go with the flow. Which made it easier when I was in labor for 36+ hours, resulting in a c-section.

This second pregnancy though, things are different. I have the hardest time remembering how far along I am. I have no idea when my big ultrasound is, and honestly, its not something I've really thought about. I still get email updates but I usually delete them. People keep asking me about this pregnancy and sometimes I've forgotten that I'm pregnant. Sure, I'm more tired than usual but its not something I think about often. I haven't picked up any of my pregnancy books and I'm okay giving into some of my cravings. I don't really have the time like I did my first pregnancy. I like it better this way:) Its going by faster than the first time, plus I actually have things to do. My days are now filled with playing with Riley, the park, play dates, photography sessions, making dinner, cleaning... So forth.

Also, while Leif and I really wanted a boy, we're hoping this baby is a girl instead. Mostly for Riley's sake. I've been thinking about it and I would love having two girls. God knows though. Leif and I, and Riley, will be happy either way!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tuscan Vegetable Baked Ziti

A friend of mine asked if I could put some more recipes on my blog so here's a good one that Leif and I just tried. It was on the back of the Kraft cheese package we got:

What you will need:
  • Package of Kraft Shredded Italian Three Cheese Blend
  • 3 Cups of ziti pasta, cooked, drained (We used some pasta that we had, so you don't have to stick to just ziti)
  • 2 Large red peppers, cut into thin strips
  • 2 Zucchini, halved, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 lb. mushrooms, thinly sliced (We don't like mushrooms so we didn't include them)
  • 1 Jar (24 oz.) chunky spaghetti sauce
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
Making it:
Oven should be set to 375
  • Reserve 3/4 cup cheese; combine all ingredients in bowl. Mix.
  • Spoon into 13x9-inch baking dish; sprinkle with reserved cheese.
  • Bake 20-25 minutes or until heated through.

This was fast and easy to make, delicious and actually filling. I'm not used to vegetable dishes filling me up. If you ever need a vegetarian option, this is great for that.

Monday, September 7, 2009

For Grandma J!

We know you had to work today, on a holiday so we thought this might make your day a bit brighter! Thanks so much for the pretty dress Grandma:) We love you!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Gratitude Thursday

I am grateful for warm weather and swimming pools.
I am grateful for a dishwasher.
I am grateful for Ben Gibbard and his clever lyrics.
I am grateful for my husbands job that makes it possible for him to eat lunch with me
and spend every weekend with me.
I am grateful for the ocean and its breeze.
I am grateful for the new friends I've made here in Monterey.
I am grateful for the photo opportunities I've been given.
I am grateful for hashbrowns and orange juice.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Housewife

I'm in the process of learning how to be a good housewife. Its not that my mother didn't teach me how to keep a home. She did. She taught me how to clean, how to cook, how to take care of laundry and such. But I'm just learning now how much goes into keeping up a home. Its not doing the dishes once a week, or the laundry every once in awhile. Its a constant on going process. No matter how much I get done there is always something else that needs cleaning.

I'm also learning how to fit in this job of housewife in with my other two jobs as wife and mother. I have learned that naptime makes for a wonderful time to clean. I can't believe how much I can get done within two hours. I am learning that maybe my laundry needs to be done more often and the dishes can also be done sooner than later. Its taken a little time for me to catch on, and sometimes I'm discouraged when I talk to other women. I feel like they're super woman and I'm just failing at this, haha:) Today is definitely one of those days when I feel like no matter how hard I try my house will never stay clean.

I do think that some women have an easier time adjusting to the role as housewife. I am not one of them. I do not enjoy all of the tasks that come along with being a housewife. Some women enjoy it. It takes a lot of discipline on my part to do laundry, and sweep. Thankfully I have a very understanding husband who helps me out when he cans. He never complains when things are undone, instead offers to help me out. I'm so blessed.

Although there is always some type of house work to be done, I am trying to remember to just stop and take time to be with my Father, my husband and my baby. Housework will always be here, but these moments won't. And I may not be the perfect housewife but I'm trying here!

What are you favorite chores/lease favorite to do around the house?