Happy Birthday Baylor

I think it’s safe to say, 8 might be my favorite age.

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This year has marked some big confidence growth for Miss. B. I didn’t see it coming so when it plopped down in front me, I was left in awe. Watching her stroll into the first swim team practice of the season like a seasoned professional – no tears, no arguments – and literally dive in, was amazing.

She waltzed into a new camp with the same attitude. I was intimidated by the other kids, but not Baylor. She was by far the kid with the least dance experience and sadly her mother’s gymnastic skills, and not only did that not stop her, she wasn’t fazed in the slightest. She happily danced along the way she wanted to and at the end of the week announced “camp was fine. But I like the way I dance better”.

I hope for the rest of your life, you always like the way you dance better, B Baby.

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Perfect Pesto

Peter and I got hungry for pesto pasta this weekend. I dug out this favorite recipe from Food Renegade (http://www.foodrenegade.com/almond-spinach-basil-pesto/). Its a delicious combination of basil, spinach and roasted almonds making a slightly healthier pesto.

I use Blue Diamond roasted almonds and skip the roasting part of the recipe. I also recruit little fingers to help pull the leaves off the stems of Basil. I double the recipe and throw a container in the refrigerator for later. Or you can get fancy like my mom and fill ice cube trays in the freezer so you can easily pop out a portion at a time for cooking.

But for me? I will eat this entire container of goodness well before it goes bad…

Finally getting to cute this beautiful stuff!

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Little fingers do the best job harvesting the leaves. Sometimes they are shirtless though…IMG_0999

I make ours a little thicker to cut some of the oil calories. I also like the way it keeps it’s flavor in pasta. And eggs. And on toast. And with chicken. And on a spoon.IMG_2830

Voila! Tossed with angel hair pasta and rotisserie chicken!

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Row Row Row Your Boat

This summer in Montana, we decided to try rafting down the Yellowstone River. Peter, was so completely opposed to going, it was laughable. He said that the rafters screw up the fishing for any anglers on the river and he did not want to participate in ruining someone’s day fishing. There was also the big question if it was safe enough for Baylor and for her buddy M to go. Wild West Rafting Company assured us that the girls would have a blast. And did they deliver – for everyone! We had such a great time, we went back for two more white water trips and each time we had a ball.

The ONE thing about the rafting that killed me is that you can’t (or shouldn’t) take your camera or even phone. You get soaked while rafting and there’s a chance you could fall in – or jump in and go for a swim in the calm sections. Thankfully, Wild West thought of that and they snap group pictures before your float and then hike down and snap action pictures down the river. Love. Love. Love.

The girls were a little freaked out…

IMG_5420[1]And ten seconds later, they were both up front, begging to “ride the bull” which is sitting on the front of the boat, legs over the bow, holding onto a strap.

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B was also the second over the side of the boat for a (voluntary) swim!

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Our last trip included our niece and nephew, my sister Ali and her mother in law, Vicki. Who was terrified but thankfully was loving it by the first rapid!

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She was so pumped to have an oar

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Don’t let the fact that B was covering her face fool you – she just didn’t want her face wet
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They Say It’s Your Birthday

And they’d be right. Well, if you’re talking to me anyway.

Thank you all for the birthday love! 60 some posts on Facebook. Calls. Emails. Texts. Cards. Every one of them makes my birthday a very happy one!

This is how I prefer to look at all my birthdays  – laughing, a little (or a lot) drunk and enjoying life.

Cheers to 32!

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DIY Magnet Board

I think I might be on a roll.

Ok, I’m hoping I’m on a roll. I say this because I’ve just completed a project that I started before Auggie was born.

Yeah, that’d be 2 years for everyone doing the math.

Prior to moving home to AZ, our cute little hood in DC had curbside trash pick up. While out walking the dogs one afternoon, I saw our neighbors had thrown out a HUGE picture frame. Like huge. So I wrangled my hairy beasts and dumpster pile dove and took the frame home. I had visions of turning it into a damask fabric covered cork board that would hold hundreds of pictures in a casual yet totally planned way. It would look expensive and fabulous and I would looove to tell people that I made it for practically nothing!

Sadly because everything on HGTV always looks easier than it, my cork board didn’t come out quite right. It turns out that cork tiles are  little pricey. And I needed a ton. And even though I broke down and bought them, they didn’t have enough body to hold their shape on the fabric. And they were thin so when I finally got them to stay in place, the thumb tacks when right through the cork and into the wall. And when the door in the office was open and a breeze blew in, it blew down all my pictures because they weren’t really on the cork securely because the cork wasn’t really secure.

So after putting up with this for fourish years, I took it all apart with the idea that I would get sheet metal instead and use it as a magnet board.

I never learn my lesson.

It turns out that the metal they sell at Lowes and Home Depot is A. not magnetic and B. they won’t custom cut it for you. Then Auggie came and I got tired so my frame has been hanging on the wall of my office totally empty except for a few pictures Baylor taped to the wall because she thought it looked sad.

That is until this week. Well, last month. I decided that it was time to get it done. I had a vision of adding a few more frames to the wall and giving Bay a safe place to store her markers and crayons so that Auggie and Mason can’t get to them. And to be able to hang artwork and pictures that was breeze proof. Auggie and I took off to Hobby Lobby. I found their empty frames were half off. The fabric had a coupon and I found hooks on sale too. It was a sign. I’m not a fan of Hobby Lobby’s politics, but I can get behind a sale. Next I found a sheet metal company that would custom cut metal and it didn’t cost a fortune. And last night I was feeling ambitious so I got everything assembled – even with a few measurements that weren’t perfect, it came out pretty good!

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Here’s how I did it –

What you need:

Empty frame(s)

Fabric

Magnetic metal

Glue gun

Iron

Instructions:

1. Measure the inside of the frame (like where the glass would go). Go on the smaller side – you can always add fabric to fill it out but having to have a millimeter cut off would be annoying.

2. Call around to get a price on sheet metal. I used 20 gauge (because that’s what the guy said I should use) but I think it could have been a little thinner and have been just fine. Just make sure it’s magnetic. I also ordered mine unhemmed because it was cheaper and because I didn’t need a fancier edge.

3. Layout the metal on the fabric and line up the edges so the pattern of the fabric is straight. Cut leaving a 2-3 inch border to fold over.

4. Press the cut piece.

5. Laying the fabric pattern side down, line up the metal in the center again. Start folding over the edges and gluing into place in small sections (the metal is cold so the hot glue hardens really fast). Be sure that the metal is staying in place (I stood on mine) so the pattern is straight. Pull tightly so there are no creases.

6. Run a small amount of glue around the edge of the inside of the frame and place fabric and metal inside.

7. Hang on the wall and admire your work!

Other variations…paint the metal in bright color or with stripes. Paint with chalkboard paint (oooh). Create sections with paint and or fabric for each person in the family. Have the metal cut with two holes at the top to loop ribbon through as an alternative to the frame.

So now that my two year old project is done, I’m feeling motivated to tackle the ornament wreath I started making THREE years ago. Those assholes on Pinterest don’t tell you to paint the damn styrofoam ring before you start hot gluing ornaments to it. They also don’t tell you to use a much smaller ring than you think because it requires a ridiculous amount of ornaments and the thing is going to be 4 feet across and weigh 100 pounds if you use a big ring. I’m too far down the road to give up…so I’m going to go back and try to A. paint between the ornaments and B. add greenery where I can’t get paint. Wish me luck! Or wish me to have the guts to give up on the stupid thing. Either one works!

Happiest of New Years

We’re old. We know it. When people in your house refuse to A. Sleep more than 4-5 consecutive hours and B. Don’t sleep past 6am it makes staying up really late just seem like punishment. So we’ve implemented the cozy, kid friendly version of New Year’s Eve. And I have to say, it’s a lot of fun. This year while Peter’s Philo wrapped Beef Wellington cooked on the grill, we made s’mores with the kids. After Auggie went to bed, we took our homemade noisemakers of pots and wooden spoons out to ring in the Icelandic New Year around 8pm with Baylor. And finally we watched a really dumb movie, drank a lot of good wine and dug into Peter’s amazing dinner. We kissed the New York New Year and promptly went to bed. We kissed the Arizona New Year only because the fireworks from the W were so freaking loud, you would have thought they were shooting them from our back yard!

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The first batch…
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It might come as a shock – but Auggie loves s’mores

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Wishful thinking Mackie boy

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Auggie likes to dance. Auggie dances when he’s happy and when he wants something. Dancing for s’mores takes his dance skills to a whole new level.auggie dancw

All About Auggie

I can’t believe the little man is 13 months old. It’s strange how fast and how slow the last year seems to have been. Our little man has gone from a tiny little baby to a size 2T ball of fun. He’s totally self entertained, accidentally funny (hello dropping a Goldfish into the offertory basket at church) and just down right gorgeous.

At one year he:

Clocked in at 32 inches and 28 pounds meaning he’s grown 11 inches and gained 21 pounds in a year

Eight sharp little teeth have popped through

Says mama, dada, Mac (“ack!”), yes (“aaa yeah!”), bottle, up (“uppa!) and water

He loves to fish things out of the garbage can and is getting better about putting things in it

He can climb the jungle gym and go down the slide on his belly all by himself AND give his mother a heart attack all at the same time

He puts his blanket over his head and stumbles around to make his sister giggle

His favorite sippy cup is the pink one because it’s Baylor’s

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I have yet to witness a baby who never, ever cries in the pool – until this guyIMG_5634 IMG_5644

Those eyes are going to get him into and out of so much troubleIMG_5716 IMG_5730

From this guy:

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To this tank in just 12 months:

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Yes, They’re Real

Lashes. I’m talking about eye lashes. Mostly because no one every mistook anything else of mine to be fake!

Have you seen the commercial for the new Benefit They’re Real! Mascara? I did, and I got sucked right in. My Loreal mascara didn’t seem to be cutting it any more so I thought I would try something new despite the steep price difference ($7 to $23).

Sephora was almost sold out of it so I’m not the only one who likes Benefit’s marketing. When I opened the tube, I was a little bummed. The brush is super spiky which normally means it’s not going to work well covering my thin, blonde lashes….

But oh was I wrong.

The mascara really does cover incredibly well. It does all that it promises: lengthens, volumizes and separates. I was wildly impressed. But I was still skeptical of how it would wear. The true test? Swim lessons. While I’m not under the water, Auggie does his best to splash me as often as possible. I was shocked – this is not waterproof mascara and yet it wears very similarly!

Side note; it is totally impossible to take a closeup with an Iphone and not look cross eyed. Not to mention the bags and serious lack of concealer…did I mention that this was a full 12 hours after applying, no touch ups and after swim lessons?? No smudges. No flaking and still really big lashes!

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The conclusion is that They’re Real! Is totally worth the money! Run to the nearest Benefit Counter and see for yourself – your lashes will thank me.

Say Cheese

What do you do when your very favorite family pictures don’t include your newest addition? Why you recreate the exact same pictures. Down to the same clothes. Well, I wore the same thing anyway. Crazy? Maybe. But I’m so thrilled with the result, sign me up for a padded room and straight jacket.

Our good friends and sorority sister Gina and her husband Rene took the family pictures that have hung in our kitchen for the last 4 years. They were taken on our front patio and the colors of the teal bench and yellow flowers just so happened to coordinate with all of our decor.

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Since those pictures were taken, Gina and Rene have moved to Seattle. And in addition to missing their presence, we missed their photographic skills! Thankfully I have several talented friends so I asked Natalie, another sorority sister and my little sis from our Alpha Phi days to snap some new pics for us.  When she asked what I was wanted to do, I pointed to the wall and said “that. I want that. Exactly”. And so that’s what she did.

Now that I have finally gotten the right color frame, our new family photos are up! By the way – thank you Pottery Barn for changing the shade of white of your standard white frames and then not telling anyone. I bought it. Framed it. And then realized that once the sun goes down, it’s totally obvious that it’s a different color of white. Thankfully Pottery Barn knows they are nuts and happily found me the right shade of frame and exchanged the wrong color despite my lack of receipt and packaging.

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I couldn’t fit all of my favorites on the wall

So perfectly captures her funny 4 year old self

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Natalie’s website will be up and running in the next few weeks – I’ll be sure to post a link just as soon as it’s live. If you just can’t wait to book your session, comment below and I’ll make sure to get you in touch! Thank you Natalie for capturing such great memories for us!

American Girl

When I was a kid, I used to look at the American Girl catalog for hours. I loved day dreaming about which doll I wanted and all the accessories that you could get for them. Baylor has now taken on the tradition of pouring over the catalog for days – she cuts out the things she likes and she circles the pictures of Shirley (who is the baby version of the American Girl dolls). And if I thought the accessories were fun when I was little, the things the dolls have now are nuts. They have everything including  a bike hot dog cart for the dolls. Totally nuts…and yet adorable.

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