I was trying to get a picture of grant in his new jammies and when I pulled out the camera he decided to be a dinosaur!

Grace at the mall!

How Grace does the mall. :) We both love the sling.

Grant and Matt after a Sunday morning brunch outside.

Cookie Update

Someone commented on my previous cookie post about how to make fluffy cookies - and she's totally right - I discovered that you need a recipe that uses shortening instead of butter. The butter spreads too much, apparently. (Thanks to Alton Brown's article about the science of cookies!) However, the new trans-fat free shortening can leave an "off" after-taste, so I used butter-flavor Crisco sticks. I found a recipe that used 1/2 shortening, 1/2 butter, and some sour cream, and the cookies were just fabulous - nice and sweet and fluffy! (And, believe me, I am NOT a good cookie baker, so I was thrilled that they turned out! :D)

It's weird, too, because I usually don't care for shortening in stuff, but this recipe was SO GOOD. Not healthy *at all*, but good. I have one more recipe that I'm going to try, but I the one I made the other day was definitely a keeper. I'll upload some pictures of my next batch.

Old Friends

Today I got together with some of the "girls" from my pledge class - which, crazy enough, was 10 years ago this fall that we pledged together! There were 17 of us in the pledge class, and about half of us got together today. Some of them I hadn't seen in the 7 years since I graduated, so it was just so fun to catch up! The majority of us are SAHM - there were toddlers running around everywhere!

It was fun, though - we laughed as we revisted college memories - talking about the guys we were dating, the classes we shared, and the pledgeship we survived together. It was a fun, fun afternoon, and hopefully will spark some more get-togethers, especially as several of us are SAHM's in the Indy area.

Here's a picture of some of us - I'm wearing Grace in my Peanut Shell sling, which I just love.

3 Months...

I'm determined to write more about the day-to-day happenings with Grace, as after having Grant I know how quickly I forget stuff I thought I'd always remember!

So, at 3 months old Grace I'm still just so in love with my Baby Girl. Quite honestly, it's hard for me to "get" that actually have a baby girl, I'm not pregnant any more, I don't have to worry about clotting any more (hopefully!)...just seems so surreal, still, after so long of worrying about her health and my health.

From month 2-3 she pushed her bedtime back a little bit...she used to go to sleep around 8-9, then awake 1-2x over night to eat. Well, she now sleeps from about 11-5 am or 6 am, eats, then goes back to sleep until 9 or 9:30 in the morning! She sleeps in her crib in her miracle blanket, which we used with Grant and fell in love with. After she wakes up at 6 or so to eat she sleeps in her swing until 9 or so.

She's definitely becoming more awake and aleart - more intently looking at you and focusing. She loves her big brother, and gives the smiles the most readily for him. She had her first "real" smile around 5 1/2 weeks - to Grant. She's now smiling a little easier, if you work with her. :)

She also flipped herself from her stomach to her back for the first time this month! wow!

She's just a happy, easy-going baby, and I'm so in love. We're beyond blessed.

Happy 3 Months, Grace!

Recipe #1...

I'm on a mission to try to re-create those thick, fluffy sugar cookies you can buy in the bakery section at the grocery store. We LOVE them, but all the recipes for sugar cookies I've tried are thin and flat, or cripsy...none of which we like in sugar cookies! So, I'm on Recipe #1 to try to make thick, soft, fluffy ones!

Thursday Morning

Goodmorning from Grant!

(These are some of my new favorite shots of him!)


Some of recent pictures of Grace - she's even smiling in some of them! :D

Big Smile!

Look at all this tongue!

And, she's asleep...I think she's beautiful in this picture!

New Recipes

I really like to cook and missed doing it regularly when I was pregnant. So, here are a couple of my recent new favorites:

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes
We just had them as the main course, with some roasted asparagus on the side! A great vegetarian dinner, though they'd be a great complement to a meal, too.


* 3 sweet potatoes, even in size and scrubbed
* 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
* 2 tablespoons brown sugar
* 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
* 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
* salt and freshly ground black pepper


* Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

*Place sweet potatoes on sheet tray and bake for 1 hour or until soft. Remove from oven and let stand until cool enough to handle.*

* Split potatoes and remove the flesh to a medium sized bowl, reserving skins. In another bowl add butter and cream cheese and the all of the spices and mash with a fork or rubber spatula.

* Add the butter and cream cheese mixture to the sweet potato flesh and fold in completely. Add the filling back to the potato skins and place on a half sheet tray. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

* During the last 5 minutes of baking, sprinkle the brown sugar on the top.

*I totally baked the sweet potatoes in the microwave! sooo much faster and didn't have to have the oven on as long in the summertime!

Roasted Cauliflower


* 1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into bite-size florets (about 8 cups)
* 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
* 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
* 2 teaspoons kosher salt
* 2 teaspoons roughly chopped fresh thyme leaves


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Toss the cauliflower with the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper on a baking sheet; sprinkle with the salt and thyme and toss again. Roast until golden and tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.

*I used dried thyme and also generously sprinkled Parmesan cheese on the cauliflower before roasting!


I caught a few minutes of Oprah yesterday where she was interviewing Valentino, the Italian fashion designer. Towards the end of the show he said that he felt like he could do 3 things really well - those three things were:

1) Designing a gorgeous dress
2) Decorating a fabulous home and
3) Hosting a dinner party

After I heard him say that I was like, those are 3 pretty awesome things to do well!

Girls Day Out!

Matt and Grant are gone for the next couple of days, so it's just the girls here!

Monday Night

Whew! It's 10 o'clock and I am SO tired - I guess that's what happens when you've been up since 5 with only a 30-ish minute nap. Here's the rundown for the day -

1. Grace is such a sleeper! She slept from 8 pm last night until 5 this morning! We always thought Grant was such a good sleeper and easy baby, and Grace is definitely a better sleeper so far and seems even easier! I keep holding my breath, waiting for her to "wake up" and start crying all night or something, but she only keeps getting better at night! Wild.
2. However, we have definitely learned that Miss Grace *needs* her Zantac! The couple of times she hasn't gotten a dosage, or she's spit up the dosage, she's definitely gurgly and in pain. A super high percentage of preemies have reflux, so it's just the "preemie-ness" coming out. I'm soooo very thankful that it's easily controlled by the Zantac, though!
3. We had such a great day yesterday! We went up to church on the north side, and called my brother and SIL afterwards to see if we could just stop by to say hi - we hadn't seen their new house yet! So, our "stop by" visit turned into 3 hours, but it was a lot of fun. Grant had just the best time playing with his cousin, andwe had a great time visiting with them.
4. And, we borrowed my brother's carpet cleaner, so Matt spent Grant's nap time cleaning our living room carpet today. It already looks SO much better! Great job, Matt! The living room also looks so big and clean with everything moved out! But, I'm ready to get things moved back in, though - hopefully it will be dry tomorrow morning.
5. My legs are soooo sore tonight after running another 20 minutes. I did 2.1 miles 2 nights ago, but could only do 1.66 tonight. Just one of those "off" runs - but, hey, at least I was out there, right? Faster and further than everyone sitting on the couch! We're doing a 5K over Labor Day weekend, so I gotta keep running! I'm trying to remind myself that I had a baby 2 months ago, but I'm SO ready to be back in the shape I was in last summer! slowly but surely, right?
6. Well, Grace is asleep finally, so I should go to bed, too!

Happy 4th of July!

It rained all afternoon here today, so thankfully we (Matt!) did our grilling-out yesterday! We had a fun lunch - Matt's dad was going to be stopping by on his way through town, and it happened to be his birthday. So, we had a birthday/4th of July luncheon! :D Grant was so.ridiculously.excited about the cake, and as soon as Matt's dad pulled in the driveway, Grant ran out the door saying "Pawpaw! Pawpaw! Birthday candles! Birthday candles!" - (after which we noted to ourselves not to rely on a certain 2-year-old to keep any secrets ).

It was really fun, though, and my father-in-law loved it, saying it had been his best birthday in awhile. We had So-Easy BBQ Glazed Chicken, which was just *fantastic*, caprese salad, baked beans and corn-on-the-cob! And, of course, birthday cake! Since I was the baker I got to pick the kind of cake, and chocolate praline cake sounded the best to me! The cake really was fantastic, though, and I'll try to get the video to upload of Grant "helping" blow out the candle. :)

I think we should return it!

I checked out The Family Stone from the library a couple days ago, and I think we should just return it! It has a lot of big names in it, but it's just slow - we've watched parts of it for the past 3 nights in a row, and we just end up stopping it. I've renewed it twice because we weren't done with it! I should just stop renewing and return it! Even with Diane Keaton, Claire Danes, and sarah Jessica Parker, it's just slow!

Mommy Goes Potty

Here's a good laugh for the day!

Mommy goes Potty

A 3-year-old tells all from his mother's restroom stall.

By Shannon Popkin

My little guy, Cade, is quite a talker. He loves to communicate and does
it quite well. He talks to people constantly, whether we are in the library,
the grocery store or at a drive-thru window. People often comment on how
clearly he speaks for a just-turned-3-year-old. And you never have to ask
him to turn up the volume. It's always fully cranked.

There have been several embarrassing times that I've wished the meaning
of his words would have been masked by a not-so-audible voice, but never
have I wished this more than last week at Costco.

Halfway, through our shopping trip, nature called, so I took Cade with
me into the restroom. If you'd been one of the ladies in the restroom that
evening, this is what you would have heard coming from the second to the
last stall:

"Mommy, are you gonna go potty? Oh! Why are you putting toiwet paper on
the potty, Mommy? Oh! You gonna sit down on da toiwet paper now? Mommy, what
are you doing? Mommy, are you gonna go stinkies on the potty?"

At this point I started mentally counting how many women had been in the
bathroom when I walked in. Several stalls were full ... 4? 5? Maybe we could
wait until they all left before I had to make my debut out of this stall and
reveal my identity. Cade continued:

"Mommy, you ARE going stinkies aren't you? Oh, dats a good girl, Mommy!
Are you gonna get some candy for going stinkies on the potty? Let me see
doze stinkies, Mommy! Oh ... Mommy! I'm trying to see in dere. Oh! I see
dem. Dat is a very good girl, Mommy. You are gonna get some candy!"

I heard a few faint chuckles coming from the stalls on either side of
me. Where is a screaming newborn when you need her? Good grief. This was
really getting embarrassing. I was definitely waiting a long time before
exiting. Trying to divert him, I said, "Why don't you look in Mommy's purse
and see if you can find some candy. We'll both have some!"

"No, I'm trying to see doze more stinkies... Oh! Mommy!"

He started to gag at this point... "Uh - oh, Mommy. I fink I'm gonna
frow up. Mommy, doze stinkies are making me frow up!! Dat is so gross!!"

As the gags became louder, so did the chuckles outside my stall... I
quickly flushed the toilet in hopes of changing the subject. I began to
reason with myself: OK. There are four other toilets. If I count four
flushes, I can be reasonably assured that those who overheard this
embarrassing monologue will be long gone.

"Mommy! Would you get off the potty, now? I want you to be done going
stinkies! Get up! Get up!"

He grunted as he tried to pull me off. Now I could hear full-blown
laughter. I bent down to count the feet outside my door.

"Oh, are you wooking under dere, Mommy? You wooking under da door? What
were you wooking at? Mommy? You wooking at the wady's feet?"

More laughter. I stood inside the locked door and tried to assess the

"Mommy, it's time to wash our hands, now. We have to go out now,
Mommy." He started pounding on the door. "Mommy, don't you want to wash your
hands? I want to go out!!"

I saw that my wait 'em out' plan was unraveling. I sheepishly opened
the door, and found standing outside my stall, twenty to thirty ladies
crowded around the stall, all smiling and starting to applaud...

My first thought was complete embarrassment, then I thought, where's the
fine print on the 'motherhood contract' where I signed away every bit of my
dignity and privacy? But as my little boy gave me a big, cheeky grin while
he rubbed bubbly soap between his chubby little hands, I thought, I'd sign
it all away again, just to be known as Mommy to this little fellow.

(Shannon Popkin is a freelance writer and mother of three. She lives
with her family in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she no longer uses public


Grace has always been a really great sleeper - her usual pattern has been to go to bed for the night anywhere between 9 and 10, and then she used to wake up at 2 and 5 am to eat, then sleep to about 8. After about a month of that pattern she started sleeping until 4 am, then 7 am.

Well, last night she slept from 10 pm to 6 am! Way to go, Grace! We always thought Grant was (and still is!) a good sleeper, but Grace has him way surpassed - she's definitely sleeping more, and is easier to get to sleep, than Grant was at this age! Matt and I were talking last night and were wondering if we really got this lucky with 2 great sleepers! At first I thought Grace was sleeping this well just because she was a preemie, but she's 4 weeks adjusted now and *still* sleeping well! Here's hoping that it continues!