Evelyn, the tub and the curtain

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Prior to yesterday there was a world that I could keep hidden from Evelyn. A world that could magically disappear with a swift pull of hooks on a rod. Well, she discovered that the curtain was a sham and that it in fact is not a barrier but the way to endless fun. She thoroughly enjoyed herself playing in it's billowy sheets and screaming in the echo of the tub. Then she found the toilet paper roll. Oh boy, looks like my days are going to get even busier!

In other news, Happy December! I love this month! What December means for me: lots of goodies, parties with friends, NYC trip {eek!}, 3rd Anniversary, playing Santa Claus {i'm so excited to play the part of this jolly man!}, and making new goals for the New Year. December is also exciting because I'm doing something new. See those lovely partners on the left side? They are all fantastic women that you should get to know. Take a looksy!

Christmas at the US Botanical Gardens

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The National Botanical Garden is cool by itself but add 800 feet of mini-train tracks, Christmas trees, poinsettias and model buildings all made from natural organic materials and it becomes a winter wonderland. You'll notice how distracted Evelyn is in all of these pictures. She is a train enthusiast. That yellow train up there coming out of the tree trunk? That one got Jared and I laughing. Everytime the choo-choo came out of the hole zipping by Ev would jump. It was rather funny. It was gorgeous this weekend with temperatures in the high 60's. It was the perfect day to stroll around the Capitol and throw our baby girl in the air. {I'm trying to use the word baby more because in 2 months she'll be one year old and according to baby clothing sizes she will not longer be an "infant." Sad.}

for the sake of tradition + coupon code

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sometimes I'm a bad wife... Ok, just kidding, I'm actually an awesome wife. But sometimes I'm impolite and impose my traditions on Jared without his consent. A prime example would be setting up the Christmas Tree. This is our first year where we actually have a tree - we have the space, we have a certain someone who is mesmerized by the lights and we won't be traveling home for the holidays. So the night before Thanksgiving I'm making plans to go get a tree the next day. Two things are wrong about that: It's not Jared's tradition to get a tree on Thanksgiving Day nor is it his tradition to get a fake flimsy tree. But it's my tradition. So guess what? He was nice enough to let me have my way! See how spectacular he is?

So there we were at Wal-Mart buying a fake tree when I finally DID do something that wasn't in-line with my Hammer up-bringing. We bought colored lights! We never had colored lights growing up because white was more classy so I felt kinda rebellious handing over cash for my neon pink and blue bulbs. I was totally excited to give my mom the report and have her wail over my unrefined choice. Instead she fanatically responded  "oh, that's great! that totally fits you!" Uh... very disappointing response for someone who was hoping her nonconformity to family tradition would be her last act of rebellion. I guess my radical days are gone. So a-home we drove and up went the tree. Behold the majesty of our $40 fake tree with coarse bristles and iron rods you can see.

When we turn the lights on Evelyn with reach out for them across the room and with a wide-opened mouth say "waaaaaooooww."

Also, since today is Cyber Monday I'm offering 15% off everything in my shop! Just type the code 
at checkout. Good for today only!

the feast

Friday, November 25, 2011

Last Thanksgiving I had a bump that I didn't have to worry about hiding. This year it was a bit different, seeing that any distension in the abdomen would be due to over eating rather than growing a baby. So I wore a chunky sweater to hid the gluttony.

Being so far away from family, we got together with some of our wonderful friends to enjoy the holiday feast. The spread was amazing, so home-cooked and I was so proud of all of us young mothers who pulled it all together {although I didn't do half as much as the other ladies}. Grandma Oakden sent Evelyn her turkey bib. Doesn't she sport it well? I think she tried just about everything on my plate, but of course her favorite was the pumpkin cheesecake. She had so many little friends to play with.  I love that picture of her and Brielle "bumping" heads. She was Evelyn's mini-mama for the evening.

I will say this, though. Having a baby makes it almost impossible to eat all the food that you want when you want. But it was worth exchanging warm turkey and steaming green bean casserole for my little pilgrim. Although that's not to say, Evelyn, that I wouldn't appreciate a warm meal hot out of the oven every now and then :)

A heart full of Thanks

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I hate to break it to you Folgers, but the best part about waking up isn't coffee in my cup. I don't even drink coffee. The best part for me is waking up each day to my lovely life.

Husband. I had my eyes on you 7 years before our wedding date and I still can't seem to take them off of your wonderful self. Time with you just keeps getting better and better. Remember that conversation we had that one time about how we can't say "I" anymore but it's always a collective "we"? I like that we are so tied at the hip that we can't even distinguish ourselves from each other! {Except when it comes to cookie eating time - then I very clearly distinguish how many cookies are mine and how many are yours. I don't like being jipped out of my cookies.}

Evelyn Rae. Could there be a more beautiful thing in this world than you, my dear? I think not. I obsessively adore your perfect features and more so over your ever-developing personality. You have brought more joy to our lives than I ever thought possible.

Seasons. The crunch of crisp leaves and wind rustling through empty branches never sounded so good!

California. To counter the above, I would be duping you all if I said I don't miss California. Well, I don't miss it per say but it holds such a special place in my heart. It's beauty is also incomparable with it's low rolling hills, 70* weather, long stretch coastline, LA traffic and bustling lifestyle. But mostly for the wonderful people that shaped us in so many ways. Which brings me to the next.

Friends. We have been blessed by the lives of so many. Whether through relationships or merely by example, we have grown to love and admire so many.

Technology. Where would we be in this 5000 mile separation from our families without Skype? I think my heart would literally ache if grandparents couldn't watch Evelyn give kisses, furiously crawl, wave, clap and blow bubbles. It definitely eases the coast to coast distance.

The Gospel. I love my faith. It gives me clear hope, direction, stability and peace during this tumultuous time. Everything I have is because of my belief in God and in my Savior. Because of Christ's death I know i can be together forever with my family. Which leads me to parents.

Parents. Both Jared and I have been blessed with a wonderful and loving mother and father. Both taught us the importance of morals, manners, love, service, generosity, perseverance, work, individual worth, gaining knowledge and having fun. We hope we can be half the parents they were to us. It's a daunting task, no doubt, but it is a mighty fun journey!

Happy Thanksgiving!

**photo above taken our last week in California. Aug 2011.

there's me, but then there's that other me too

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It was 8:15 this past Saturday night and I was husband-less and child-less. I was standing in line at Starbucks, ordering my first Caramel Apple Cider of the season. I wasn't in a hurry to go. In fact, the cashier actually had to wait for me to finish my conversation before I handed him my card. I was so chill.  CHILL, I tell you! I grabbed my drink and sat down at a table where I spent the next hour. My good friend from high school sat across from me and we entertained each other for the evening with stories of the past, questions about the future, music, relationships, friends, and just girl talk. It was super duper crazy how quickly this side of me came out - you know, the side that's not a mom.
While motherhood is my ultimate dream and is the biggest part of me and has turned me in to a person I didn't know I was capable of being, I wonder if sometimes I forget that I need to cultivate myself too - that I can be a good mother and have a conversation with someone that doesn't revolve around Evelyn {but let's be serious, I could never hold back babbling about my girl}. I just have so many interests in ADDITION to raising super-duper kiddos. Like, being funny. And stuffing my face with rice-a-roni. So it was nice to take a quick breather for a moment and to say hello to my other "self" again.

Shooting Gluesticks

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I was making some new goodies for my shop when the following ensued:
I think :55 is my favorite giggle.
I can't help but love that little gal.

But as I was saying, I loaded my shop up over the weekend with some new goodies. Hooray, now there are bowsies! {Jared always makes fun of me because everything now ends in -ies. Ex: toesies, feetsies, ticklies, sneezies, kissies, shoesies, sockies, snacksies. The list could go on! But everything sounds so much smaller and daintier with the suffixies, rightsies?}

go parent yourself

Friday, November 18, 2011

Earlier this week I was in Wal-mart buying Evelyn some tights when a rather homely looking man walked past the aisle and then slowly backed up so he was perpendicular to me. He stood there for about 3 seconds which felt like eternity until I turned to look at him and smiled. Ev always seems to attract attention, but I'm always cautious of people's reactions. {One time we were walking out of Taco Bell when out of no where a rather large woman threw open her door from the back of the parking lot screaming "baby" and charged right for us. Jared and I looked at each other with fear in our eyes and booked it for the car. Luckily the lady slowed down before she got to our car, Ev was buckled in safely and the lady walked by whispering "baby" on her way in to the Bell. Seriously, Jared and I jumped in the car and agreed that was the scariest/freakiest moment of our lives.} So when this man stood there for 3 seconds it felt like eternity.

Man: "She's a cutie."
Me: "Thank you."
Look back at the shelf. Evelyn had a shirt in her hands. She proceeded to put the hanger in her mouth.

Man: "Oh, don't let her do that! That thing is so dirty!"
Me: "You're dirty..."

{just kidding. I didn't say that. I wanted to.} Turns out this man just wanted to offer parenting advice. How lovely. I love when society thinks they know my child better than me :) I probably shouldn't tell him that I offer my keys to her all the time, which are probably much more grimy than the hanger.
happy weekend!
I'm going to take Jared to get a pumpkin spice donut. Best thing ever! 
{Besides Sprinkles Pumpkin Spice, of course}

music famine

Thursday, November 17, 2011

This morning has been rather dreary, which means perfect cuddle time for me and my Evy Rae. Our couch looked inviting so I turned on iTunes, laid down with my little lady sitting up on my tummy and she willingly let me clip her fingernails. As I looked outside, leaves were blowing in the wind from branches that are now practically naked and fighting to hold on to their last evidence of life. I couldn't get over how picturesque this moment was. Then a song came on that just melted my heart. It's nothing extraordinary but it just brought me to a moment just over 9 months ago. It was January 26, 2011 in the early afternoon. I was scheduled to go in to have Evelyn that evening at 7, so Jared and I thought it would be a fabulous idea to spend our last afternoon as just the two of us in the darkness of a movie theatre. We saw "Country Strong." We had heard rather negative things about it, so we weren't expecting the best film of our lives but turns out it moved me rather strongly. I loved it. There's this song that Leighton Meester and Garrett Hedlund sing called "Give in to me." Although it isn't the most poetic song I have ever heard, it is beautiful nonetheless. Hedlund's voice just makes you melt. I remember sitting there thinking, "Holy smokes, I love this guy sitting next to me so gosh darn much it hurts!" I might have even cried a little bit. It was probably my pregnancy hormones gone wild but that song will always be a part of me - my last date with JO as a childless young couple, looking over at this young man who would soon be a father, being so thankful that I got to him and that he gave in to me. So when that song came on this morning, I couldn't help but be transported.

That's what I love about music. It can be an escape but it can also be an amplifier of whatever the song of the heart is at the moment. I feel like I've been in a music funk since, well, being married actually. During my late teens and early twenties there was so much drama, uncertainty, and heart ache that I practically binged on music from Ryan Adams, Mindy Smith, The Wreckers, The Fray, A Fine Frenzy, etc. They all seemed to "get" my 20-something old petty self. But what do married people listen to when everything is hunky dory, there are no breakups, life is unrealistically superb, and you have a child? Where do you find new music? In college days my best friend and I would spend about an hour everyday just listening to music. We would jump in to her blue land rover with the intention of driving around aimlessly just so we could sing our vocal cords sore. I don't think my ipod has experienced a "sync" in 3 years. I'm craving that song, that band that just gets me going. You know what I mean?

she hasn't given me peas all day yet!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I gave Evelyn peas whole for the first time last night.
"Um, excuse me, Mom, but I don't like these."
What she should have said was:
"Hey, i've been turned in to a cow. Can i go home?"***
And she would have been excused.
While in the beginning she thought she would rather not have them and repeatedly threw them overboard, I think more ended up in her mouth than on the floor so I'll call that a success.

Whenever I think of peas, I automatically think of THIS hiliarious video. Have you heard of Kid History? My friend Katie introduced it to me and I think it is the most wonderful thing. 
"Then why is it dross? This is so dross!"
Watch and you'll see what I mean.

*** My sister thought this deserved clarification. I am not calling my daughter a cow, just merely quoting one of the greatest movies of all time, "The Emperor's New Groove" :)

when the family gets together

So who do I thank for the heat wave over here in Virginia? When we came home last night from Phoenix at 9pm, our house was 71*. That's after 4 days of having the heat off. It's B-E-A-UTIFUL over here. But Phoenix was pretty lovely itself.

Evelyn was WONDERFUL on the flight over. We were super nervous because in addition to the 5 hour flight, we sat ON the plane for an hhoooouuurr before take off. Oh my, that was the longest hour ever. But Evelyn was such a trooper. We spent 4 days in Phoenix celebrating Jared's grandfather's birthday. It was good to be with family and to be able to pass Ev off every now and then. I think Uncle Travis was her favorite. Evelyn has two girl cousins that are all within 18 months of each other, so it was fun to see them interact. We even went out on a date for 90 minutes. Gasp! We've only gone out without her 3 times and she's always been left with family. But we made it through and I guess she cried a good majority of the time, so I don't see any more date nights in our near future. Oh well, I was happy to kiss that teary face when we came home and it was very nice of grandma to watch her!

We had two things on our agenda while we were out West: 1} In-n-out and 2} mexican food. We hit up our burger joint within 4 hours of landing. So delish! I used to mock those who raved about in-n-out but now that it's no where in sight - You don't know what you've got til it's gone, right? Ah, and mexican food! To taste the authentic tortilla smothered in enchilada sauce and cheese filled with high carb beans, rice, sour cream, and guac was priceless. I also got my first pedicure with all the Oakden ladies. I've had a manicure, like, maybe 4 times but never a pedicure. It was amazing! I never knew pretty feet could make me feel more confident, but it does?? 

Well, we said our goodbyes. It's always hard when you don't know when you will see each other again, especially with us being so far away, but the great thing is that when we came home to Va we felt AT HOME. That is significant, considering we've only been here for 4 months.

we're outta here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

We're packed and ready to go. We're making our way across the USA to Arizona. I've never been to Arizona, but it is considerably warmer than Virginia this time of year so I think I'll like it just fine. Jared's family is having a reunion so we're looking forward to jokes and laughter.

As I was sitting there loading up all our stuff in to the suitcase and making sure I had all of Ev's stuff accounted for I just got so happy. Happy because I'm the mom now. I pack for not just myself, but my baby too. I just like that feeling of being responsible for someone. Eh, I guess anything can make me happy these days. I am nervous about our 5 hour direct flight. We haven't flown with Evelyn since she was 6 months when she was a) immobile 2) less attention needy 3) could fall asleep in her carseat and 4) less vocal. We're crossing our fingers that there will be an empty seat next to us so Ev can sprawl out. But that might be wishful thinking. Wish us luck!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I was kind of bummed this last weekend when I went to the mall and saw it decked out for Christmas already with Santa's workshop up and running. I am a diehard jolly jubilee fan just like anyone else, but what happened to Thanksgiving? I love the month of November and the time that is given to just reflect on all the things that are great in this world. Every day this month I have written down something that I am grateful for in my journal and I try to tell Jared something everyday of why I am grateful for him. Sometimes thoughts of gratitude should be kept in the heart, sometimes they are best expressed through utterance of the lips, and sometimes they are more treasured when written.

Post-its are probably on the list of top inventions in my opinion. I love them, especially when they are used for small love notes to self or someone else. I made up thankful post-its so I can remind myself and my wonderful husband of all of our blessings.

Do you have little thankful notes you'd like to write to yourself?  1} click on the image 2} download and open in word 3} print out sheet 4} place post-it on top of each box 5} edit each box so outline is invisible 6} re-print with post-its downward 7} surprise someone with a lovely note of gratitude :)

"A grateful heart … comes through expressing gratitude to our Heavenly Father for His blessings and to those around us for all that they bring into our lives."
- Thomas Monson


Monday, November 7, 2011

Perfection. That would be the word to describe this past weekend. Oh, I don't think my little soul has ever been happier. I dare say that my heart "grinched-up" this weekend and grew three sizes. How is it possible that my love for my little family continues to soar leaps and bounds? We didn't do anything extraordinary yet it all just seemed so magical. Friday night we threw together our first little fire after Ev went to bed. See our feet warming up there by the flames? Yeah, it was awesome. Oh, and I finally found THE chocolate chip cookie recipe. Like, "I have never tasted anything better and I can't believe I made it, we should sell these for $5 a piece" recipe. Saturday Jared had to work so Ev and I spent the majority of the morning in my bed snuggling to keep warm under the covers. I was tossing everything I could in the bed to keep her entertained {i.e. empty toilet paper roll, hanger, chapstick} so we didn't have to get out. It was fa-reezzing in our house. Our Saturday evening was spent in bed at 9pm playing Words with Friends. Sunday morning we again had family play time in bed for a good hour. I guess our bed is the place to be :) Ev ate a banana whole for the first time. 

Last night I interrupted Jared's reading and sat on his lap where I remained for half an hour talking about life. We mostly talked about our baby girl. And each other. We haven't had such a "slow" weekend in a long time. I loved it.

**Ev gets comments from people all the time out in public about her smiley happy face. She is super happy. Lately I've also been getting comments about her hair, or lack thereof. Well, I did find one strand today that is 1.5 in long. We're hoping that will replicate times a million in the near future :)


Friday, November 4, 2011

Earlier this week we took a little family date to Georgetown. The weather was just right for a cupcake {or two!}. Two of my wonderful girlfriends took me to Georgetown Cupcake a couple of weeks ago for my birthday for my first time but Jared had yet to try it out, so it was a perfect excuse to drive the 15 min to sweeten up our tummies. After scarfing down our Peanut Butter Chip at Georgetown we decided we still liked Sprinkles more, but needed to be sure.  So we went and each got ourselves another treat. And there's the tale of how we indulged in 2 delectable cupcakes in 20 minutes! {Oh, and Sprinkles wins in our book!}

Isn't Georgetown itself lovely? Each home has so much character and charm. Totally my dream style.

** oh, and thank you all for your NYC suggestions! I'm so excited! Hotel has been booked.

let's add some big apple to our holidays

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

We're planning a trip to NYC hopefully in December. I want to see the city all lit up for Christmas. I think that would be magical. My only concern is the frigid air getting to the bones of this little bear. A stroller just doesn't seem logical for all the things we have planned to do and carrying her would be best. So one  morning last week I attempted to package her up in preparation for the trip. She's been thermaled, bjorned, blanketed, fur-booted, beanied and coated in mom's puffy humongous snow coat from college. I think she'll be rather warm all stuffed in there, don't you? And I think I'll look 100 lbs on the heavier side. The side profile is not pretty. And the coat doesn't zip up with her being in it, so it is fastened by those stretch elastic things that hook on to the button. Classy.

We're planning on spending just two days in NYC. Any suggestions on things to do? You should know we're cheap. How cheap? Ex: I've had the same mascara for 11 months now. Whenever it tries to dry up or go clumpy on me I just add 2 drops of water and it's as good as new. That's how cheap. So don't try suggesting a steak dinner at Times Square or a Broadway show.