Saturday, March 31, 2007

We're back!

We arrived home late last night, around 8pm and all we both could say at the end was that Mags was a CHAMP. Our 6:45am flight went well, though we had some crazy turbulence going through the clouds as we descended into Dallas. We actually were so bumpy at one point, we all flew out of our of those times that you understand why to stay buckled! If I hadn't been holding Mags' head at that moment, she would have hit the window. Changing planes was fine, we feed her right before we boarded. BUT, then we ended up having too much fuel on board, something the pilot said was quite rare. Our plane was ultimately headed to London after stopping in Chicago, but somehow the fuel guy got mixed up and fueled us for an overseas trip. We stayed at the gate, on the plane for 3 1/2 hours! We were allowed to get off, though, which was good, but we actually didn't up getting off ourselves. All the seats had TVs, and Aron and I watched "Stranger Than Fiction," talked, and played with Mags while we waited. I'm telling you, if Mags is like this every time, I'll fly with her forever. She had a few moments of fussiness as she was attempting to fall asleep on both flights, but never got hysterical. The stewardess even commented that she forgot there was a baby on the plane. How good is God, seriously? :) After a long and refreshing 2 weeks (though probably more refreshing for me: Aron still had to work), we are happy to be home, back in our own place. We vegged out today, walking to Starbucks with Mags in the jogger and getting rained on a bit on the way home. The flowers are starting to bloom here and the grass is greener. We look forward to starting to spend more time outdoors. There are A TON of pictures here...enjoy!

Linds took this shot of Mags; it was her idea to put the skirt on M's head. So funny! I love it.

Hanging out with Momma.

Thad's daughter, Gracelyn, holding Mags. She was THRILLED to meet Mags and brought her several toys each time she visited.

J, A, and Thad being silly with Gracelyn. I think Aron "took" her nose here.

My good friend Dawnielle brought her son Asher over for a playdate and M loved his toy. Asher was born one week after Mags, so it was fun to watch them together. We put them under the toy and Mags kept grasping his hand. :)

My friend Sarah came over for a playdate one afternoon last week and brought her kiddos--Gabe was born a few days after M, and Ivy is a little over 2 years old. Both are so adorable and Ivy is such a joyful, obedient girl...they are doing such a good job with her! I loved watching Sarah interact with Ivy.

Mema and Mags...napping after some fun playtime.

Pops and Mags--so fun to watch them interact, too!

Jason and Lindsey hanging out with Mags.

When driving up north and back, we stopped frequently to feed Mags and give her wake time. Here she is, gumming her thumb, and enjoying the time out of her carseat.

Even though my hair is blowing wildly, I do love this shot.

Aron is elated to introduce Mags to the beach!

Laurie, Shan, and I outside the Hollister house. La and her family visited us for a day and night while up in NorCal and S&S drove out from Reno.

Auntie Shannon early in the morning with M...she'll kill me for putting up this shot (though I love it). :)

Uncle Steve with Mags (cute, new dress thanks to Auntie Shannon). One of my favorite things about our trip was watching his interaction with M.

Ayla and Donovan, our niece and nephew, enjoyed meeting Mags for the first time. It was her first visit with cousins!

Uncle Jim and Aunt Cari (Aron's sister) meet Mags for the first time on our NorCal visit.

Sweet girl! Linds took this shot on a day that we spent together.

Cayla and Mags--we got to visit several times.

Jason and Mags--we had several visits together and enjoyed every minute. J loved to be the doting honoary uncle.

Tuckered out after a day at the beach and driving up and down the coast.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Word-filled Wednesday

Since we don't have the camera software to upload pics right in CA, I decided to post some Maggie updates. We'll put up shots of our trip this weekend. In the last two weeks, we've seen Mags:

*Discover her thumb and chew on it (she really doesn't suck it for long just yet). She started with the right and now is trying to master the left.
*Make high pitched noises when "talking" to us
*Laugh a deep, gutteral laugh (just yesterday) as my friend was singing "Old MacDonald" to her
*Grasp objects and put them in her mouth (although she sometimes misses)
*Follow objects and people better from far away
*Hold onto her bottle during feedings

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The land of citrus, beach, and SUVs

It's been over a week since my last post and I think that is the longest I have gone without blogging in ages. We've been in California since the 15th and don't return to Chicago until the 30th.'s already been such a blast seeing family and friends. Maggie also had her first plane ride which turned out to be awesome. The first 20 minutes she cried hysterically, so I was sure the trip was going to be a nightmare, but she settled into a nap and slept for 3 hours straight. Then, we woke her up to feed her as we were landing. She is a champion traveler! Mema and Pops, Aron's parents, have enjoyed the time with Mags, as have several of our close friends who have gotten to meet her for the first time. It's been great to reconnect with them (Jason, Cayla, Lindsey, Angel, Thad, Dawnielle, the Mayers) in person and this week I have several more play dates/coffee dates lined up. I don't feel like I'm doing too much, for which I am grateful. This past Thursday through Sunday we were up in NorCal and Maggie actually got her first taste of the Pacific on Friday, at a beach between Monterrey and Santa Cruz. Aron's parents own a home in Hollister and we were able to stay there. Aron's sister lives there with her family, so we spent Saturday afternoon with them. Maggie met her first set of cousins and it was a blast to watch them interact with her. Ayla is now 6 1/2 and Donovan is 4--Aron and I were amazed at how big they are (it's been 1 1/2 years since we've seen them--man, time flies!). When Mags woke up from her afternoon nap, Donovan went into the room to get her with Aron and he asked, "Why does the girl baby have boy hair?" How hilarious is that?! :) But, he was lavishing kisses and pats on her and Ayla enjoyed feeding her the bottle. Uncle Jim enjoyed playing with her and Aunt Cari gave her lots of kisses.

Shannon and Steve drove in from Reno, and my good friend, Laurie, drove down from Stanford with her husband, Jonathan, and their daughter, Elise, for the weekend, too. Shannon and I were able to grab a couple of hours at Starbucks alone on Saturday morning to connect--yeah! The weekend was low-key as we spent our time talking, eating, drinking coffee and good beer, eating some good Mexican food, playing with the kiddos, and sitting outside by the fire. What more can one want? Maggie had another fantastic traveling experience in the car, there and back. We just both realize more and more what a content and easy-going baby she is--we are so blessed, seriously. I'm sure some of it is personality, but I must say I think that she is how she is because she is a well-slept baby. Even uncle Steve, who is self-admittedly not a huge baby person, was smitten with Mags. It was actually a highlight of the weekend for me, watching him interact with her. Aron and I pulled into MV around 7pm tonight and are gearing up for our last week here. I have taken a bunch of pictures, but my FIL doesn't have Sony sofware, so we'll have to wait until next weekend to post them. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

are you kidding me?!

Sanjaya. Lives. On.

What. Is. Up. With. This?!

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Starbucks Freebie

Per the Starbucks website, on Thursday, March 15th, from 10am-noon, they are offering a free drip coffee to customers. Granted it’s just a drip, nothing super fun, but you could always doctor it up a bit. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 10, 2007


By far, the best show we have ever watched on TV is "Heroes." I mean that. Aron even ventured to say that it was on par with the cult-classic and pop-culture phenomenon "X-Files." If you aren't watching this show, you are missing out. Season 1 will be wrapping up shortly, so I suggest you wait and start from the beginning. With ingenious writing and a matrix of intertwining stories, viewers can't help but become immersed in the "Heroes" culture. I just had to blog about it because I realize that every week for the past 5-6 weeks we look at eachother and say, "That was the best episode yet." It keeps getting better and better.

Any fans out there?

Friday, March 9, 2007

new jeans!

Thanks, Auntie Shannon, for my new digs. They are a little long, but I'll grow into them.

American idol

Come on, America! Are you listening? Why are you still voting for Sanjaya?? The guy sounds like a bad high school talent show audition; even Simon said so. He has yet to live up to his first performance before the trio on the scouting trips around the nation. If he becomes the next American Idol (he's remained on the show 2 more weeks than he should have and even he seems surprised that he's still there), I will boycott the show indefinitely. Let me remind you, America, like Paula says, "It's a *singing* competition." Point blank: the guy cannot sing.

And how disappointing that Sabrina Sloan was cut. By far, she was one of the strongest female voices. I don't say that just because I went to high school with her, just stating a fact. Yet, I know that she will go on to do bigger things; she has amazing talent, looks, and personality. I don't doubt that she'll have music producers knocking on her door.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

kitchen essentials

What do you keep on hand in your kitchen? I'd like to know. I'm cooking more and more like I mentioned earlier and I try to keep the kitchen stocked with items I use regularly. However, I really dislike having a pantry full of stuff that I *never* use, so I try to use up what I have and only buy what I need. Does that make sense? I've felt convicted lately that since I am the household manager, I need to stick as close to our grocery budget as possible--it's a difficult task though. I've found that using cash only is the best way for me to do it, although I don't always make it to the bank to make my weekly withdrawl. So, as far as what I keep on hand it's as follows: cans of tomatoes, black beans, pinto beans, a few soups, a white onion, green onions, cheese, sour cream, garlic, chips, salsa, frozen beef (I always try to have one in there in case I run out of menu options), rice, nuts, oatmeal, yogurt, apples, fresh peanut butter, tortillas, frozen veggies, and I'm sure I'm forgetting some things. Just curious as to what others consider staples so I might be inspired to add a few to my list. Add your comments!

doing life

These last few weeks have seen us just further adjusting and settling into life here. The last of our guests has come and gone and we don't have anyone coming anytime soon. Rather, we will be the ones on the go for the next few months. In fact, I think we are flying somewhere each month from now until August. Next week, we leave for two weeks in California; Aron will work out of the MV office and we will stay with his folks, enjoying time seeing family and friends, and visiting sites and eateries that we love. We plan to drive to Hollister (outside of San Jose), where his sister's family lives, the second weekend and Shan and Steve and Laurie, Jonathan, and Elise, will come to visit us. It'll be a fun filled weekend, seeing our niece and nephew and all the aforementioned friends/family. Last night Shel came over and gave us our Valentine's Day date night we have been planning for a few weeks. Aron and I went to see "Children of Men" and really liked it (our first theater visit since M's birth). Later, we grabbed dinner at one of our favorite noodle places and Oberweis ice-cream for dessert. We were so grateful for a night out; Shel, thanks so much! I've been enjoying my mom's group that meets on Monday mornings. Maggie does really well, either napping at the beginning or the end of our time together. Next week, I'm sharing my Life Graph which is basically my story, my spiritual journey, mapped out on paper, or some other creative fashion. I want to do something other than just write it out, so I'm debating a painting on canvas of some kind (I'm not an artist) or something along these lines; I would just like to have it creatively displayed for my sake. Anyway, like I said, the group is good, the ladies are wonderful and I hung out with one mom, Heidi, last week. She is new to the group like me and has a 4 1/2 month old daughter, so right around Maggie's age (Maggie turned 3 months old yesterday). We met up for coffee at this fantastic bakery/coffee shop. The baked goods are to die for! I enjoyed our time together and can see her becoming a good friend. Let's see...what else? I have been reading several books; just finished "The Eyre Affair" by Jasper Fforde and enjoyed it thoroughly. Loved the author's writing style. I'm currently reading Anne Lamott's "Some Thoughts on Faith." We had Randall and Shel over for dinner on Saturday night; always fun to see them. We attempted to go to church on Sunday, only to find our front tire flat. We grabbed coffee and muffins at the bakery I mentioned above after Aron changed the tire and put on the spare. Then, we drove to Costco, ordered new tires, renewed our membership, walked around for an hour and a half, fed Mags, and came home. We listened to a sermon online from our old pastor in Texas and I was encouraged through his message (he started a series on Esther at the beginning of February). We are waiting for Maggie's birth certificate to come in the mail (do I really have to have it to fly next week??), wondering why "Heroes" didn't record last night and enjoying this season's "American Idol" (where, I might add, an old high school classmate of mine is still in the game--Sabrina Sloan). Also, I am meticulously planning our weekly menus, while trying to stay in budget for groceries, and man, it's a rough go some weeks. I'm trying new recipes, too, which is always fun. Maggie is more fun than ever and I'm feeling more and more comfortable in my new role of motherhood.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

addendum to WW

*Mags also loves to push her bottom lip out with her tongue; she's done this for weeks now. It's really quite cute.
*She has recently enjoyed chewing the burp cloth, or our finger in a burp cloth.
*She really loves books, too. Her favorites seem to be Eric Carle's "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" and "Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?" We've read to her since her first week of life and hope to foster this for the rest of her life.
*And, she seems to have finally found her hands; she puts them in her mouth many times each day.