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Last Friday my alarm went off a 4am! Way too early! My good friend Jesse came over at 4:45am and we headed to the airport to catch our 6am flight to Denver. We headed up to Colorado for a big Behavior Analyst conference. We got to see our good friend Korie (she just moved up to Denver for a new job a few months ago) and here about some new research that is coming out in the field.

The conference was good and I had a great time hanging out with some good girlfriends. We stayed up way too late each night and it made for some tired mornings, but it was definitely worth it!

I got back last night, and it is so good to be home with my boys. This morning we went up to Round Rock and had breakfast with my parents (they were in town this weekend moving my grandmother up from Galveston). We had a nice visit and now we are all home enjoying the rest of the holiday weekend.

Happy Memorial Day!!

-Lauren-

What I’m Loving Wednesday

Jon got back yesterday from Amsterdam and we are so so glad to have him back!! Aedan was so excited to see him. When we got home from the airport Aedan was dancing and clapping all around the living room. It was too cute!

Jon brought Aedan back the coolest toy. It is a little wooden car that has a stick that attaches to it and lets you push the car. You can even steer the car while pushing it. Oh my goodness, Aedan LOVES it. I think it is the only toy he played with all evening!

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How cute is that?

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Talk about attitude, he goes everywhere with purpose, including walking away from the camera when he doesn’t care to have his picture taken!

I didn’t really want anything specific from Amsterdam and Jon said he didn’t see anything that he thought I would really like to have. Today he went to lunch with his boss and came back with this gift for me.

I have been wanting one for a while now and I am so so excited! I wasn’t much of a coffee drinker until I had Aedan. Now I love to enjoy a cup every morning. I am so excited because I can make iced coffee which is perfect! I’ve already tried it out and I love it!

We had a great day today and Jon gets to take tomorrow off as well which is always nice!

-Lauren-

A Long Week

It has been a long week around here. Jon left for Amsterdam last Wednesday for work. It has been hard because I can’t call him (he doesn’t have an international plan) and he is 7 hour ahead over there. We have talked each afternoon using his internet work phone or google talk. We video chat so Aedan can say hi too.

Luckily my sister was already planning on coming down for a few days this month so she got here on Sunday. I’m so glad she was able to come! I am used to taking care of Aedan most of the day by myself (while Jon is working) but in the evenings we have a good routine and doing it all alone is hard. Plus Aedan goes to bed at 7:30 and then it is just kind of lonely to sit at home all evening.

Kymberly got here just in time to help with dinner/bedtime on Sunday and was a huge help. Then while I put Aedan down for bed, she went out and picked up dinner. We had a fun night catching up and watching a movie.

On Monday, Aedan went to his sitter’s house and my sister and I spent the afternoon getting pedicures and shopping, absolutely perfect!

This morning she got up with Aedan and they had breakfast together, while I got to sleep in. After Aedan’s morning nap, we headed to Target and went out to lunch. Aedan did great and we had a lot of fun. I have a little work to do this afternoon and then we are headed to the airport because Jon is coming back a day early!!

-Lauren-

Go-To Dinner Recipes

We have a couple of recipes that we make pretty much once a week. We have made them so much, that I don’t even have the recipe written down anymore  for the first one.. They are both super easy and are ready in less than 30 min.

Jon and I don’t eat a lot of meat. We aren’t vegetarians and we love our hamburgers like the best of them, but we just don’t cook a lot of meat at home so both of these dishes are meatless. However, I have made both with some pan fried seasoned chicken and they taste great.

I’m pretty sure this one if from allrecipe.com but I can’t seem to find it. We call it cherry tomato pasta.

Ingredients:

  • 1pk cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (I buy the ones in the red mesh bags, I think they taste the best)
  • angel hair or spaghetti pasta
  • a few cloves are garlic, sliced or chopped (I typically use 4-5 but we love garlic)
  • red pepper flakes (I think the recipe calls for a 1/4 teaspoon, but I don’t measure and probably use more because we like it hot)
  • olive oil (maybe 2 tablespoons; enough to coat the bottom of the pan)
  • grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

  • boil water and cook pasta per directions on the package
  • heat oil in a saucepan on medium heat
  • add sliced garlic and sauté for a few minutes
  • sprinkle in the red pepper flakes and cook for a minute or two more
  • add in cherry tomatoes and sauté for a couple more minutes
  • serve tomato mixture over the pasta and top with grated parmesan.

This one is from food.com. We call this spinach olive pasta

Ingredients:

  • penne pasta (really anything will work)
  • olive oil (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • a few garlic cloves sliced or chopped (again I use 4-5, but I think the recipe calls for 3)
  • about 2 cups of fresh spinach chopped
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 3/4 cup feta cheese
  • black pepper to taste

Directions:

  • cook pasta per package
  • in large bowl, mix oil, vinegar, and garlic and whisk together
  • add spinach (once you add the hot pasta it will wilt down), olives and capers. and feta
  • drain pasta and add it to the mixture.
  • add pepper to taste (I don’t usually add any pepper because I think it has enough flavor already).

Both these taste great with a big slice of buttered French bread and a glass of wine.

Do you have any go to recipes? The ones whose ingredients you know off the top of your head and you can just throw together at a moments notice?

-Lauren-

Snack Time = Kick Your Feet Up

A while ago we started to put Aedan’s highchair up to the table instead of using the tray. We have a space saver highchair that transitions into a booster seat. For now we just use the chair and put it up to the table, it works perfectly.

One afternoon we were having a snack and I looked over and saw this…

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Apparently afternoon snack is also a good time to kick back and enjoy a granola bar with your feet up on the table.

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I’m really not sure where he picked this up, good grief.

-Lauren-

p.s. yes this happens to be another group of pants-less pictures, again right after nap time. I really need to get better about taking pictures at different times of the day!

p.s.s. since taking the pictures above as well as the ones in this post, I have cleaning my glass door. It looked great for about 1/2 a day, then it was covered with little finger prints (thanks Aedan) and wet nose prints (thanks Hiro).

Well It Finally Happened…

I knew this day was coming.

For months Aedan has hung out by the back door watching Hiro outside. Not only does he look out the window, he pushes on the doggie door too.

I knew it was only a matter of time before he figured out that Hiro was not the only one who could fit through the doggie door…

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“Hey Mommy, check it out, I got out by myself!”

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Sigh.

To recap: I need to go clean my glass door a.s.a.p.. Aedan does where shorts, I promise, but he had just gotten up from naptime and that’s how he rolls. Instead of telling him “no”, I immediately grab my camera and document the whole process, because that’s how I roll.

So far he hasn’t tried to go out again, but I know it will happen. Silly boy!

-Lauren-

Clean House? Yes Please!

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I got a groupon for a house cleaning. It was sooo nice to come home to a totally clean house!

Well, Jon just got a raise (he has been working so hard and I am so proud of him!) and he said I could look for someone to clean our house on a regular basis. Our house is s.m.a.l.l. so I had a budget in mind and was firm that I wouldn’t pay someone an arm and a leg to clean it!

I checked with a couple of companies and it was pretty clear that, in my opinion, they were going to charge way too much. I really just wanted to find a person vs. a company anyway.

The day I was writing this post instead of working, I also decided to check out listings on craigslist. I found a ad that seemed promising so I gave the number a call. The lady on the other end was super nice and had a very reasonable rate (less than my self designated budget and my budget was pretty small). She was also available on the day of the week I wanted someone to come. I thought it would be best if it was on a day when Aedan was at his sitter’s house because we all know how much he loves the vacuum.

She came by on Wednesday so we could meet in person and I felt like she was going to be perfect. She came Thursday and cleaned the house top to bottom. It looks great!! Most definitely worth it!

Today, instead of cleaning the house, I got to catch up on a little work, run some errands and just enjoy playing with Aedan. Perfect!

-Lauren-

{Randomness}

There are lots of things I love about my job, but writing progress reports is not one of them. I have a report due for one of my clients at the end of June and I am trying to get a head start by working on it little by little (the report will probably be 16-18 pages complete with graphs and tables, not too fun!). I should be working on it right now, but I am not motivated so I thought I would write a post instead.

This morning Aedan and I went walking with a good friend around Town Lake. Usually we go around Aedan’s morning nap and he sleeps a little in the stroller, but since it is getting hotter (it was 98 here yesterday!!) we went earlier in the morning. Aedan had a blast, but did not sleep a wink.

After our walk, we stopped by the grocery store before going home. By the time we got home it was too late for a morning nap so I decided to make it a one nap day. We had lunch a little early and I put Aedan down about an hour before his normal nap time. I’m crossing my fingers he sleeps long enough to not be super cranky before bed tonight! Especially since we have a babysitter coming over. So far it has been 2.5 hours and he is still sound asleep.

I know lots of little ones go down to one nap around 1 year, but Aedan has always slept a lot and dropped naps later than “average” I guess. Those of you with little ones, when did you go down to one nap?

With summer rapidly approaching (remember the 98 degrees yesterday), I have been looking into swimming lessons for Aedan. I’d love to do a waterbabies class with him this summer, but everything around here is pretty expensive. I’m pretty picky about swimming lessons since I used to teach them. If we had a neighborhood pool, I would probably just teach him myself. But I think it would be fun for him to go to a class with other babies. What do you all think? When did you start swimming lessons?

Quaker Mini Delights - Caramel Drizzle I picked up some new snacks at the grocery store today and I am loving these little rice cake.s. They are just the right amount of sweet. Aedan thinks they are pretty yummy too!

 

 

 

Okay, I guess I should get back to work. I have been way too distracted today! Oh and by the way, Aedan as now been asleep for 3 hours, I may just have to wake him up soon. The boy likes his sleep!

-Lauren

Happy Mother’s Day!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend!!

I have to start by wishing our mothers and grandmothers a very happy Mother’s Day. We love you all so much!!

We had a really nice weekend around here. I usually don’t see clients on Fridays (it’s a nice perk of working for yourself, I suppose). I generally try to get all my work done so Friday is just kinds of a catch-up day which is perfect. Jon usually tries to be done with work around 4 and we get to enjoy the evening as a family.

This last Friday, however, I did have a late afternoon team meeting. By the time I got home (and Jon and Aedan got home from a friends house) we were all kind of tired. We put Aedan to bed and just relaxed around the house.

A friend of mine may be moving to Austin soon, so she came down to look for apartments. She spend the night Friday night and Saturday morning she and I did a little apartment searching. Aedan was thrilled to have someone over when he woke up Saturday morning, he has become such a ham. :)

After lunch on Saturday, Jon, Aedan and I headed to our new favorite park. Aedan had a blast and we got home just in time for a long afternoon nap. Whenever we go to the park before his nap, Aedan will sleep 2.5-3 hours (he would probably sleep longer but I wake him up so he will go to sleep at bedtime). I foresee us spending lots of afternoons at the park this summer!

After his nice long nap, we decided to go out to dinner. We headed to Serrano’s down at South Park Meadows. It’s a new shopping center, and lots of the restaurants back to a big playground. We ate out on the patio and had the place to ourselves. Aedan was in heaven. After he ate, he got to run around to his hearts content.

When we were done eating, we took Aedan over to the playground. Two playgrounds in one day was too good to miss.

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After we put Aedan to bed, Jon and I watched Black Swan. It was good. Weird, but good.

This morning, Jon took me out to breakfast for Mother’s Day. Then after Aedan’s nap we headed to the mall for some shopping. I picked up some new candles from Bath and Body Works (I love their big candles). I needed to get some summer scents and it was so hard to choose just two, but I decided on Mango Cilantro and Island Margarita.

I also got a new cross body purse. According to my sister they are “very in style”. It’s cute and I think having a hands free purse is a must with a active toddler.

This evening we went over to my friend Larissa’s house for some good BBQ. It was great to visit and enjoy time with friends.

I can’t believe the weekend is already over. I’m not ready for Monday, but I know the week will fly by.

-Lauren-

A Visit to Great Grandmom’s Place

My grandmother recently moved to an apartment/independent living center. I have been meaning to take Aedan up for a visit for a few weeks now, and we finally arranged it for today.

When Aedan woke up for his morning nap, we headed up to Round Rock. We had a great visit and had lunch in her apartment. At first Aedan wasn’t too sure about the new place, but he quickly warmed up and was making himself at home (i.e.., moved the trashcan all around the kitchen, and opening/closing doors and cabinets) in no time.

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After lunch Grandmom took us on a tour of the complex. Aedan had a blast. We walked through the courtyard, cafeteria, the main entry way and lots of hallways in between. Aedan smiled at everyone and made lots of new friends. For a baby that was so apprehensive of new people, he has turned into a social butterfly (as long a Mommy or Daddy are not too far away).

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We had a great visit, and I would have taken more pictures, but I was busy following my busy busy toddler around as he made all his new friends. Haha.

-Lauren-

All Out Of and What To Eat

When we were at my parent’s house last week, I walked passed the refrigerator and did a double take. What was that on refrigerator door, I asked myself? I stopped and looked. It was this handy pad of paper. Um, it was love at first sights. Can you fall in love it a pad of paper? Apparently you can, or I can anyway.

When Jon and I first got married we would make weekly trips to the grocery store. We always enjoyed running errands together, and we still do. But get this, we never made a meal plan or a grocery list. I know, I know, my mom is shaking her head at this right now, because she always makes a meal plan and a grocery list.
But we didn’t. Occasionally we would make a note if we were out of something, but for the most part we would wonder through the store and drop items into the cart that we normally would buy. Oh the insanity.
Fast forward a few years and now I have another grocery partner. We prefer to go to the grocery store during the week to avoid shopping with everyone who shares our zip code. Since Jon is working in the middle of the week, Aedan and I tend to head to the store on Tuesday mornings.
Around the time Aedan was born, I decided it was high time I make a meal plan for the week as well as grocery list that goes along with it. I know, genius right? So Sunday or Monday night, I figure out a few meals for the week and make my list. Then I have to add to my list the items that we have jotted down throughout the week as we run out. I try to group everything together based on where it is in the store to make my trip faster.
Really it is not that time consuming, but how great that grocery list? It hangs on the refrigerator and we can check off things we think of during the week, then I can add to it when I make my meal plan. I love that everything is organized and already grouped together. Love it! I found it here, and while I was looking around I also found this, love it too!

Can you believe you just read a whole post on grocery lists? I’ll have to think of something more entertaining next time. :)
-Lauren-

Tia

Last Sunday, Easter morning, my phone rang at 7am. I was still in bed, and when I saw my Dad’s name on the caller id, I paused. My stomach sank and I knew something was wrong. I knew my Dad wouldn’t call on a Sunday morning at 7am if it was just to say “hi”. A thought passed through my mind, for just a split second, I thought maybe I could just ignore the call. If I ignored the call, then I wouldn’t have to face the bad news.

I didn’t ignore the call. I answered and when my Dad said my name, I could hear the sadness in his voice. He told me my great aunt had passed away the night before in her sleep. My great aunt, who I have always known as Tia (pronounced “ta ah”, ever since my mom was little and couldn’t say tia) was 93. I know what you’re thinking, 93, wow! I know, she lived a long life. But she was Tia. She was healthy and still full of spunk. She was going to outlive all of us. We were not ready to say goodbye. We would never be ready to say goodbye..

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This past week, we made the trip up to Plano to help with and attend her memorial service. On Thursday as I helped my parents scan old pictures for a slide show, I couldn’t help but remember the times we had shared. I could her her distinct voice (it never lacked for volume) and her unforgettable laugh (it was infectious).

See I grew up with three grandmothers. Tia had helped raise my mom from the day she was born so I had always seen her as more than a great aunt, as I know she was more than an aunt to my mom.

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(my grandmother, my mom and Tia)

When I was little, I would spend the day with her when my family headed down to Galveston to visit my grandparents. She used to give me coffee with ice cream and I remember thinking it was the coolest thing ever. It was always made more special because she told me I couldn’t tell my parents. It was our secret.

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She was a wonderful cook. She was famous for making everything from enchiladas to mincemeat cookies. She helped me make tortillas one day when I was little, and I ‘m pretty sure I made more of a mess than anything, but she and I both had fun.

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When it comes down to it, it’s the little things that I remember the most.

How she would always say to carry an umbrella because “it’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it”.

When she told Jon at our wedding that he should probably start carrying antacids with him.

How she would call Hiro “chocolate” and then tell me he wasn’t a good listener. “Lauren, he doesn’t even listen to his name” she would say.

How she would yell “lefono” when the phone would ring, just incase we didn’t hear the ringer.

How she would wash and then hang  ziplock bags on hangers from the tree outside the kitchen to dry (effects of living through the Depression, I imagine).

How she always called Jon “palone” and Aedan “butterball” and had a nickname for just about everyone else too.

She was one of a kind and I could go on and on about witty remarks she has said and hilarious stories she has shared.

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It was a hard week. but after seeing my grandfather’s both so sick before they died, I am thankful she passed away in her sleep. She was never one to sit still or have others care for her. She was one who lived life to it’s fullest everyday and she was able to do just that until the very end.

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Both my Mom and Dad spoke at the memorial service and my Dad ended with this quote from Janis Joplin. I thought it was perfect,

“I’d trade all my tomorrow’s for a single yesterday”

because even though I know without a doubt I will be reunited with her someday, someday is just too far away.

I love you Tia.  We all love you and will miss you dearly, but your legacy will live on. We will talk about you, and continue to reminisce about your life and stories.

Aedan will grow up hearing your name and how just maybe, he gets that big personality of his straight from you.

-Lauren-