Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Got wood? He sure does!
This Friday, Ken and I will celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary. We plan on going to an adults-only dinner at Gibson's. I'm so excited -- I'm already looking at the menu, deciding what I will eat. Translation: Me= pregnant fatty.

He mentioned to me last week that 5 years is the year of "wood" (Wedding Anniversary Gift Guide). How the hell did he know this?!? No offense to the guy but he's not exactly a planner when it comes to these sort of things. Anyway, when he asked what I wanted out of wood, with a mischievous look on his face, I asked, "Is this a trick question???"

Avoiding the obvious, perverted response (the response he wanted to hear)-- I replied "I think I would prefer an addition to the house. That's made of wood, right?". Impressed with my creativity, he asked if he could get an extension on that one. I obliged. I then asked him what he would like.

"How about a cane?" I suggested. "You'll probably need one in a year or two anyway, right?" I said, smiling. He did the ol' shoulder shrug with the face that says, "Eh... probably".

Poor guy. The abuse he puts up with. :-/

So here I am now, trying to find a gift for the man who (A) already has everything and (B) has zero hobbies (unless you count sleeping and drinking). The more I think about it, the better the cane is beginning to look. I am open to hearing any and all ideas. The clock is ticking. No pressure. GO!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Surprise! You're older than dirt!

 Last weekend we drove to Quincy to pull off a surprise party for my sister who was turning 40. We had been planning it since May and it was so fun to see the fruits of our labor come together and completely shock the hell out of her! I truly don't think she had a clue! The surprise party wasn't until Friday night, but we drove in on Thursday to help get things in order. 

On Thursday night, we made our way to Gem City so Ken and Ava could have their first taste of Quincy-heaven. Sadly, it wasn't as amazing as I remember. Perhaps it's because I wasn't knee deep in the margaritas this time around...? Not that the food was bad necessarily-- it just didn't live up to the reputation I had given it when describing it to Ken. The place hasn't changed a bit though. And you gotta love the individual jukeboxes on the walls of each booth--quite possibly the only jukebox in the world to have the album "Slaughter: Greatest Hits". Only in the Q, baby!

Ava & Ken- digging into some Beef Nachos
Friday was party day. Mom had the shindig at her house. She had been decorating for weeks, getting everything in order. All we had to do at that point was put on the finishing touches and patiently wait for her arrival. 
I made these cute little cupcake toppers
How awesome is that topiary? My uber talented Mom made it!

Ava & I- in our matching aprons


Is it obvious that we're related...?

All that fun called for some serious rest...

 ... While others required a trip to the ER at 2:00 AM, compliments of the sober driving pregnant girl (Um yeah. That would be me). 

Not to worry... All ended well. But the trip to the ER did cause some laughs for the remainder of the weekend. All in all, it couldn't have gone any better! Fun was had by everyone, especially the birthday girl!! 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Simply Amazing

A few months back, I pleaded, begged and did everything short of pimping myself out in order to win a photography package from a local photographer, Simply by Suzy. I'm sure most of you can attest that I bombarded you with emails, FB messages and blog posts, asking for your help to win. Thanks to your support (probably just to get me to stop asking you!!), we WON!! And I cannot begin to tell you how much I have been looking forward to having Suzy (Suzzanne Brown) take our pics.

Well, last Sunday she came out to do some maternity shots of our little family-- to capture the three of us (well, five-- if you count the two furballs), in our element.  I can't say enough WONDERFUL things about Suzy; what a warm, sweet and down to earth girl! We clicked immediately and she meshed instantly with Ava and Ken, too (oh yeah, the dogs adored her as well!).

What can I say except the session was a complete blast! We acted like our silly selves while she ran around us, snapping pics of us "doin' our thang".  Looking at the pictures now, I can't tell you how damn talented this woman is. She completely captured the way we are- goofy, fun and loving. I think the pics convey those things perfectly. Just looking at them makes me all warm and gooey inside! Damnit. Now I'm craving a brownie.

Without further ado, here are some of the pics she's released thus far:

To read her entire blog post, check out her blog here: Simply by Suzy Blog.

Friday, September 9, 2011

It's cool to pee your pants!

Despite the loads of great advice I've received from friends and family to hold out, I decided that today would be "Transition to toddler-bed day" for Ava. What inspired the sudden change? We had her 2 year checkup today and the Dr started asking about how we are preparing her for the new baby:

Kristi: You mean besides reading her books about being a big sis and constantly telling her there's a baby in my belly...?
Pediatrician: Yeah... like, have you started potty training? Or, have you transitioned her out of her crib and into a toddler bed yet?
Kristi: No way! She loves her bed! And I don't want to start potty training yet either, otherwise I'll have to take her to the bathroom every 5 minutes to potty-- I've seen my friends at the pool and museum-- it's a huge pain in the arse. I was just planning on waiting on that... at least until she was 2 1/2 or so? She doesn't mind it and truthfully, I don't either.
Pediatrician: You really should start now. That way, when baby comes she will already be accustomed to being the "big girl" and can more easily help you with the "baby stuff"/ be your little helper. I really think it will make things a lot easier when the new baby arrives.

On the drive home, I thought about it some more. And truthfully, it made complete sense-- I had finally seen the light.

So when we got to the house, I did what came naturally to me- I immediately took apart the convertible crib that we bought for Baby Boy and put it back together in Ava's room-- only this time, as a toddler bed. Then I took her "baby bed" apart and swapped it into Baby's room.

The whole fiasco took me about 45-sweaty minutes. The entire time I was breaking one down and putting one back together, I was telling Ava how exciting it was that we were removing the baby bed and putting in her big girl bed instead. She seemed to take the bait-- mainly by jumping on the new bed nonstop, screaming "YAY!! YAY!! YAY!!" --Wear yourself out, kid. It just makes my life THAT much easier!

Then, it came time for the actual nap. I sat on the floor and read to her while she sat in her new bed. Then, like usual, I gave her a kiss and said I'd see her after her nap. I closed the door, grabbed the monitor and began to hold my breath for what would come next.

No big surprise- like every other monumental change I've dreaded implementing (and procrastinated on), she handled it like a champ. Scratch that... she handled it like a PRO... and as usual, I stressed about nothing.

She loves it. Sure, she played a little longer than usual, now having the new found freedom to run around her room rather than be confined to her crib (cage). But before a cry or howl ever escaped her, she was fast asleep in her toddler bed, looking similar to how her mommy sleeps-- out from under the covers, dress up-over her bottom and one leg hanging off the side.

Mission accomplished!
Hallelu-yer! Did I mention I love this kid?!

As for the potty training. I'll wait a bit on that. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Who's Up For Some Leapdog?!

Despite the fact that our bedroom looks like the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, this video is CA-LASSIC!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Best of Intentions

I woke up today feeling inspired to stimulate Ava's growing brain. At the end of the day, I'm solely responsible for what she sees and hears so why not fill those senses with something educational...? I embraced my inner-mommy-of-the-year-wannabe and got her ready so we could go to the DuPage Children's Museum in Naperville (a short 20 minute drive).

On the way there, I heard endlessly about "train trakth" and how she wanted to go over them... and see them... and play with them. Ignorantly, I promised her that we would play with lots of "train trakth" at the museum.

We pulled up and I was pleasantly surprised with all the great parking that was available. We got out and walked to the door. She was soooo excited.

I was excited, too... patting myself on the back for dragging us all that way for a fun little morning! Yep, I was very excited... until I pulled on the VERY LOCKED door.

What the...?? Why won't this door open? Are we at the wrong entrance?!

That's about when I saw the sign: MUSEUM CLOSED FOR MAINTENANCE


As I tried to explain to my 2 year-old daughter that they were closed, a temper tantrum like I've never seen ensued. She ran from me when I tried dragging her back to the car, which really angered me; how many times do you have to tell your kid (1) not to run from you... and (2) especially not while in a parking lot that cars are driving through. Then I became that Mom... the one who grabs her kid by the arm and screams "No! Danger!!"... Ava went limp and was screaming--you get the picture. It was a real ______ treat.

I finally got her into the car but the damage had been done. She was pissed.
The entire drive back, she was screaming about "train trakth"... I'm sure if she could explain her feelings of anger and disappointment they would have come out in some sort of phrase similar to "You suck Mom. I really hate you right now. All I wanted to do was see some damn train trakth. Thanks for nothing. Worst Mommy ever."

Onto Plan B.

I tried to think of something else we could do and--BAM! It hit me!! We would instead go to Glazed Expressions so she could paint some pottery. She'd like that, right?! So I started congratulating myself and quickly diverted her attention from the God damn "train trakth" to good old fashioned painting. The crying soon stopped. Praise Jesus.

We pulled up to the place and went to the door.

The. F-ing. Door. Will. Not. Open. WTF is wrong with the world today??!!

The sign on the door says, "We will be opening today at 3:30" which was conveniently located next to their "Weekly Hours" sign that says they normally open at 10:00. I looked at my watch-- it was 10:02.

FML. Again.

So I looked around, desperate not to fail her 3x in 20 minutes. Lucky for me (and not my wallet) there was a toy store on the corner. Off we went. Inside, she played with some trains for about 15 minutes before finding a "Neigh" (little horse) that she wanted. I bought the little $7 piece of junk and we were on our way, smiles on both of our faces.

I decided we would go home for lunch because I didn't want to chance that McDonald's, Target or some other "mother ship" was also CLOSED for the day, since that seemed to be the common theme of the day.

What's that saying... "The road to hell is paved with good intentions"... ? Sounds about like my morning.

Mom of the year? Definitely not. But I do deserve an A for effort.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Hoppy Upday Abe-a!

In the words of Taylor Swift, I had the BEST DAY with our girl today. She officially turned two and our little family of three had a blast. We hit Monkey Bizness this morning for some extreme playtime and then went to Portillo's for lunch. After that, we came home and took a 2 hour nap. HOLLA!!! When we woke up we went to the store to pick up some yummy steaks (Ava's favorite meal) for dinner and then came home to grill out. We played/ worked in the yard before dinner and then it was time to eat and have cake/ sing "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" for the 218th time of the day. If you ask me, she had a wonderful day, constantly saying "Hoppy Upday Abe-a!". Here are some pics & video of our great day!

Birthday breakfast, complete with heart-shaped (sort of) pancakes!
Kisses for Daddy
... and Mommy!
Time for cake!
"Birthdays are AWESOME!"
"I wanna blow the candles out again!"
After stopping at Starbucks, we walked over to the "train trakth" so she could see a train pull into the station.

It's been the best 2 years of my life. Who knew such a tiny little thing could bring so much joy to those that love her, especially her parents? I'm counting my blessings tonight, that is for sure.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Train Trakth & Thomath

Not Bad For a First Timer

Ken came home on Wednesday carrying something behind his back. He had a funny look on his face so I asked him what was up...?

Ken: I've got something you're gonna like.
Kristi: Awe, did you bring me flowers?!?!? That's so nice!!!
Ken: (whips out a jinormous zucchini from behind his back) No! Look! Pete (from work) gave it to me. You can make zucchini bread!
Kristi: What the hell is that thing?!
Ken: A zucchini! Isn't it huge?!
Kristi: Yeah, it's huge! But... I've never even eaten zucchini bread, let alone made it. It sounds gross.
Ken: Well you can figure it out, right?! Besides, it's SO good!
Kristi: So let me get this straight. You brought me a grizzly bear size vegetable that you expect me to bake into a bread that I've never even had before-- and sounds completely disgusting?! Wow. You really know me all too well. Thanks.

So after staring at the zucchini-saurus for a day or so, I figured-- What the hell?! I'll give it a whirl!! I searched and came across a recipe that got umpteen 5-star reviews so I went for it.

It hadn't occured to me to take a picture of the gargantuan zucchini until long after I had chopped up the monster. To give you an idea of the size of the thing, I found this pic:
Yep. That looks about right.

This particular zucchini bread recipe called for only 2 cups of shredded zucchini-- which meant, we had WAY too much. So I ended up making 2 batches (4 loaves). We plan on delivering them to a few of our neighbors as a little thank-you-treat for all they've done to welcome us. I know, I know-- you SO want to be our neighbor right now, don't you?!

Well, an hour or so later, the bread was done and I will admit, the house smelled AMAZING-- very bakery-esque.  I took it out of the oven and all of a sudden, Ken was standing there, holding his knife ready to start slicing and gulping. After fending him for about 5 minutes, I let him after it. Ava saddled up to the table for her share, too.

"More, Mom!! More!!"
It was INCREDIBLE. OUT-OF-THIS-FRIGGIN-WORLD-YUMMO-LICIOUS. Still warm, we slathered it in butter, and started scarfing. Ava loved it too!!! "Yum yum yum!" she said, with bread flying out of her mouth.

Now I'm struggling-- how can I part with the other 3 loaves?! I want to eat every last bit of it. Besides--it's not like the neighbors know what I've been up to all morning; they wouldn't even know what they're missing-- but I would! Perhaps I'll decide later on whether or not to part with my new lovely loaves. Until then, I'll be stuffing my hormonal face with the first loaf!

Want the recipe? $5. Ha! Just kidding! Here it is: Mom's Zucchini Bread. Enjoy!