Friday, March 30, 2012

Happy 6 months

Today is Ocoee's 6 month in this planet. We had planned a 1/2 year celebration but she has a cold and was feeling so run down we cancelled. She has only managed one smile for me today, which for her is a sure indicator she isn't feeling well. No temp but just still fighting these nagging colds.

I went to daycare and snuggles during lunch. Then picked her Up right after school. We came home and got the bathroom super steamy and took a warm bath while the steam worked in her congestion.

Now she is napping and I am celebrating her 6 months with a skinny girl vodka ( vodka, sparkling water and lime).

I need it. I had anxiety filled nightmares where my worries for her manifested in odd scenes. I had so much anxiety after she was born, but she has always been such a happy, healthy baby that I was able to overcome these feelings.

I have learned that the best recipe to relieve this stress is to spend time snuggling and kissing my darling. And a nice beverage helps!!


Thursday, March 29, 2012

A party

Last night she was able to nap for a bit but then was right in the middle of the action for the birthday party. She loved all the hugs, being passed around from person to person, and basking in the attention. It was interesting watching her scan the room and take in her new surroundings.

By 7:30 I knew we had to get her to sleep or she would become crabby. We had her peapod all set up in an upstairs bedroom and laid her down for bed. It took about 20 minutes of bottle and a little crying but then she was fast asleep and we enjoyed the party. Getting her up, and from car seat to home worked pretty smoothly as well. I am happy she seems to be able to roll with the flow.

It was sorta a big deal. She is now the age where I am not super sensitive to her schedule. I always want a nice schedule for her but with flexibility.

After all being flexible is a worthy trait. In personality and body. So I am learning to be a more flexible mom every day, also heading to Laughing Lotus for a little yoga tonight as well. May I bend when needed but not break.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New photos

Check out our Spring Fling photo shoot here. My goal is to get a little better at photography this summer. We have amazing scenery here in Alaska and now I have an beautiful baby to photograph as well.

Here is one of my favorite photography blogs about taking photos of your own kids, a great inspiration.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Leaps and bounds

Ocoee has really been developing by leaps and bound. She has learned to sit up on her own. She does this very well unless she leans to far and then, plop! Down goes Fraiser...I mean Ocoee.

I love the picture above. Not only is she showing off her super baby skills of flying but in the background you can see Brodie, my 13 year old black lab, with his head buried in the pumpkin muffins batter bowel I let him lick. Yep we are REAL germ free around me hour.

Ocoee has also learned to halfway crawl. She can get her bum in the air and inch worm forward. She hasn't learned to use her arms yet, but it looks like we are going to be child-proofing a little better soon. She has her official 6 months birthday this Friday, and wow, didn't that pass in a blink of an eye. When I think about how LOOOOOONG 6 months of pregnancy took compared to 6 months with baby, I am floored that time is such a tricky devil.

Ms. Renae at daycare says she liked to work her way under the chair and sleep we might have a little hider on our hands.


Friday, March 23, 2012


We now have more sunshine than this time of year. Soon we will be walking the dog and gardening at is crazy how the long sunny days gives you so much energy.

I am excited for a girl's night of Hunger Games movie, and dinner and drinks after. Then all weekend with Bambino! We are planning to some spring photo shoots and working on sitting up, something she has just all of sudden mastered.

Also going to try this yummy recipe this weekend. Perfect way to use our amazing Alaskan carrots.

Happy Friday


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Beauty all around us

I believe one of the reasons a baby is so special is that we begin to see the world through fresh eyes like they have. We see the beauty of the baby and it is reflected in the world we live. Feasting my eyes on beauty, especially the natural beauty of the earth, lightens my heart. I sounds very crunchy with that, but it is true.

California was filled with stunning trees. I have a soft spot in my heart for photographing trees. These are all from the Armstrong National Redwood Reserve Park.

At our rental house, perched over the Russian River, a few miles from the ocean.

These flowers in blue really set of the misty blue of the beaches of Sonoma County. It literally grew everywhere.

And the biggest beauty of them all, little Ocoee. She is such a fun baby. Yesterday she was so sleepy from the drive home that she napped in her car seat for a few minutes. After I took her to her bedroom and rocked for a bit with a bottle she found her second wind and wanted to spend time in her office playing. I straightened her room while she played and after a few minutes I looked down to see that she had rolled across the floor and taken 2 of her dangling toys with her. How did she manage that?

I am counting the weeks until I can be with her full time. Only 8 more weeks of school. The summer will fly by I am sure but to be able to spend those 3 months with her will be amazing. Last year I was counting the weeks until school was out because I was tired, pregnant and just ready to relax a bit. I can't believe that was a year ago.....we have done so much but the trickiness of time makes it all seem so fast.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Listen and love!

I am totally digging this song. Her voice is amazing.

Also if you can do a little clicky click for me below to vote for our blog!


Are you Hungry.....for some Hunger Games!

My friend's office window at school....a little Hunger Game's obsessed! Love it.

As a middle school teacher I read a lot of young adult fiction. Some is eh....ok, others can be down right bad. I was thrilled when my book club, Get Lit, (as in literature and.....well we do our fair share of celebrating) chose the Hunger Games a few years back to read.

I love this book. We have read the entire series and the first two were great examples of young adult literature playing with adult and worldly themes. The last one was totally a let down. The author seemed to be in a rush and the writing reflected that.

All of us have pre-purchased our tickets and are going right after school this Friday to watch the movie. For your Twilight fans I have heard there will be a full preview of the Break Dawn part II movie before Hunger Games start.

If your a real die hard you might like to try out this craft here. It involves the quote, "I just want to spend every minute of the rest of my life with you."

Awww, aren't teenagers so romantic :)


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

New Domain

I official made the spendy investment of 10 hard earned bucks, to have my own domain name. So notice I am now, feel free to share with friends!

WooHoo, we seem so official now.


Live simply

Spring is here and I really want to make some changes in my life. The joy of having Ocoee has been overwhelming and life changing in itself, but my core health and happiness could use some simplifying.

One of the areas I am examining to make changes in is my health. I have endured nagging little ailments since I went back to work. First the dreaded allergies, caused by icky mice in my office, then a series of coughs, colds and general run down feeling. At first I felt that it was my immune system rebounding after being in the house for 3 months with limited exposure.

Now I realize that I just haven't been taking care of myself. I have been taking care of those I love, traveling and working...who has time for themselves?

But I know that taking care of myself is a good example to my family and allows me to be strong and healthy when they need me. So I am getting back into my workout routine, bought some yoga classes, tweaking my eating and trying to get some physical activity outside as often as I can. After a long snowy, winter, spring is blowing through my life like a breath of fresh air.
I also thought about the time we spend together as a family. This led me to cancel cable and internet...gasp!

Really we cancel every summer because we are outside more than in and often out fishing, hiking and camping. Hubby really wants to camp more. I was really large and preggers last summer and camping just wasn't that great. I can't wait to get out this year. I am thinking Ocoee will be a wonderful little camper.

We have a habit of turning the TV on but really don't watch it. I wanted to break this habit. Instead we can read a book, relax and chat with each other, listen to records and just make a choice that doesn't involve the TV. We will do Netflix to watch the series and movies we love but we can do that on our schedule. We also will save money.

Already I notice we sit and chat after dinner...and we are eating at the table instead of on the couch. This is how I want my daughter raised so it makes me happy. I am pretty against TV for her before at least age 3, and then I want to make sure it is quality tv, with out all the advertisements.

Does this make us seem crunchy and weird? I don't really care. Already I am feeling better and happier. My life isn't simple really but I can make it a goal to live simply in some areas of my life and focus on the things that really matter. Home, family, friends, shared memories, being outside, savoring a glass of beer or wine, laughing, LOVE.


Monday, March 19, 2012

First day of spring!

Ocoee is feeling the need to Spring Clean a little herself!

Check out our new pictures from our California trip on the tab Oh, The places you will go.

Also happy first day of spring. I have talked to many of my friends in the lower 48...or outside as many Alaskan call it and they have had really warm winters and temps in the 80's lately. I was feeling a little jealous about this.....until yesterday.

Hubby and I went for a walk in the park under ridiculously blue skis with the sun beating down on us. It feels so strong this time of year. The mountains were truly majestic with all the snow highlighted against the brilliant blue. I went out again for a cross country ski and even with sun block on, got a little color on my face.

Then my friend Nancy and I went for another cross country ski at sunset. The colors were stunning peeking through the white birch trees. Yep, there really is no place I would rather be. This is home and what a magical home it is.

Also here is a delicious recipe I cooked up on Sunday. I originally found it on Pinterest but modified it to change the chicken to shrimp and pump up the sauce a bit. Enjoy!

From Wini Moranville’s “The Bonne Femme Cookbook”

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 POUND of shrimp, shelled
  • 8 OUNCES DRIED FETTUCINE OR spaghetti noodles
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
  2. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Cook the shrimp, stirring, until nearly cooked through, about 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in the cream; reduce the heat to medium and allow the mixture to bubble but not boil until the cream is reduced by half and the shrimp is cooked through, about 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the blue cheese and Parmigiano-Reggiano; cook and stir until the cheese melt.
  5. Add the grapes and parsley; cook and stir briefly until the grapes are warm.
  6. Season with pepper and, if necessary, salt.
  7. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and return to the pot.
  8. Toss the pasta with the sauce. Divide the pasta among four shallow bowls. Top each serving with the walnuts and serve.
So yummy!!!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Homemade baby food

Our Cuisinart rocks for purees. Love the bright green color of the peas.

Here I am prepping the green sprouts mold to store the apple puree I made. It was so yummy I think I will make our own applesauces from now on...or apple butter..YUM!

From the moment I got pregnant I knew I wanted to make homemade baby food. For the last month we have been introducing foods to Ocoee.

At first there was a lot of mess and play, but these days she is really chowing down. She has a great appetite, she loves to eat !

Since we have been so busy and traveling a ton, we have just had meal time of solids with her maybe once a day. Then we added another. Most of these have been a little cereal mixed with some Ella's store bought organic baby food.

Today I finally got a chance to make some real batches of baby food. I had some organic peas and apples on hand. Using a cook book my lovely cte coworkers bought me I quickly steamed and puréed these. I can't believe how easy it is. We purchased a food processor when we first found out I was preggers and it nicely blends the food. Love it!

Baby even seemed to like and eat her peas! I threw a few in the green sprouts silicone tray to freeze and have for later. I am really excited to make her food. I am a firm believer homemade taste better because of the love you put into it. That is why your mom's or grandma's cooking can't be duplicated, the love is the special ingredient. And lots of butter :)

Any of you have special baby recipes you would like to share

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Russian river, California.

Hubby and I are self described beer snobs. I saw a poster on pininterest. That said if you see me at a party drinking a bud lite, I have been kidnapped and I am sending you signals. That is very true for me.

I have been lucky because hubby is a great home brewer and we have yummy craft breweries in anchorage. So good beer is easy to come by. After 10 month of no drinking though I find myself drinking more wine.

So after years of hitting up every brewery on our travels we planned a spring break in wine country. We are not wine snobs at all, so we were skeptical.

We specifically picked the Russian river area because it is known for it's great Pinot noirs which is our favorite. We rented a great house right on the river. Hubby was able to kayak and fish in the mornings. The house had many levels of decks and was surrounded by tall redwoods. I will post pictures later.

It was beautiful and just a few miles from the coast. The little towns were fun to drive and explore. We were closest to Duncan's mills and guernsville.

There is a road called river road that has tons of wineries. Some small like arista and hop kiln. Others old and estate like which is what korbel was like. We worked the east side and west side of the river stopping at wineries and having picnics.

This area was not snobby-uppity wine country. We heard a lot that Napa could be a little Exclusive but the Russian river was full of farmers and hippies. My kind of area. And boy were the wines good.

Ocoee also did great. At all the tastings she either charmed the folks around or just crashed in her baby carrier. She flew so well. No crying or fussing. We are so lucky! This was her 3rd trip and she has clocked over 14,000 miles on an airplane!

Having a house worked so well. At night we put her down in the bedroom, happily sleeping in her peapod and we would cook, drink wine, sit by the fire pit and listen to the sounds of the river.

It was a perfect spring break. We took it easy and just enjoyed family time.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Check out new photo shoot

Ocoee loves to get her picture taken. And mama loves to take it. Check out her Red and Rosy photo shoot.


Click To Vote For Us @ the Top Baby Blogs Directory! The most popular baby blogs


Back from WIne Country

We brought back 12 bottles...9 wine, 2 champagne and one fancy smancy beer for hubby. We even got a really nice bottle to "age" and save for our 10 year anny in 3 years.

We are back from wine country. It was a great vacation, just don't mention the word Highway 1 to my hubby. He swears he will not drive me on any more scenic, twisting, narrow lane highways! And I thought the road to Hana was bad. It must have been hard on him because he even let me drive....for about 30 minutes.

We had a nice relaxing family vacation. I learned a lot about what wines I like and what wines I don't. We also spent time at the beaches in Sonoma county.

More to come later....gotta unpack and do laundry and enjoy my 3 day-staycation that is left of Spring Break.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Northern Lights and Napa

We are truly blessed to have a happy baby. She is even a morning person...have no idea where she got that!

Last night in Alaska we were treated to a beautiful display of northern lights, or aurora borealis. We can see them from our house from time to time, looking out the skylights we can see them dance across the mountains. Last night we packed up Ocoee and drove out to Arctic Valley, about 10 minutes away and watched a spectacular display.

This was our first real display this winter and maybe our last chance since the daylight is getting longer and longer. I wish I had some photos to show...but my camera was already packed for Napa so I just sat back and watched the lights.

Here is a link to the Anchor Daily News where people post their photos.

I am very excited for our trip to Napa. We leave tonight on the red eye and will be in wine country by tomorrow morning. I am going to leave behind my laptop and Gasp! take a break from blogging, pininterest and facebook. I will have my trusty iphone 4s so I won't be totally unplugged but close to it.

My focus is all family...and wine on this trip. I am taking along my nice camera and hope to get a few quality photos. I have a couple of good books, including our new book club book, Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, a local Alaskan author.

Ocoee has traveled to Seattle and Hawaii and has been a great little traveler so far so we are knocking on wood that she does well on this trip to California.

My super duper cool friend, Staci, has an amazing blog you should read here while I am on hiatus. Her writing is brilliant and she evens edits and stuff....such an overachiever :)

Also a great online magazine I write for Broadsheet 360. I am thinking of writing a mommy rant for them soon, so any ideas of what we should rant about, let me know!

Happy Spring Break!


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Away we go

In Anchorage this year we have had 126 inches of snow! That is a lot of snow, even for Alaska. We only need 6.8 more inches to break the most ever record and snow keeps falling so we should shatter it!

This much snow can be a pain at times though. It is great for skiing, both cross-country and downhill, but everyday life like getting in and out of your drive way can become a huge struggle. Our mailbox is the most recent victim of too much snow. The neighborhood snow plow demolished it while cleaning up our giant snow pile that had been sitting in the culd-de-sac all February.
The picture above shows Hubby standing on a trash can that normal is above ground and normal sized. In the park we are walking on all 126 inches packed down hard.

I am actually hoping we break the record because I can picture myself always telling Ocoee that she was born right before the worst winter on Alaska that is saying a lot. I remember being in the hospital and looking out at the mountains after she was born and seeing the first snow of the year. At the time I was so anxious and worried about this precious little life that was my responsibility. Now 5 months later I am excited everyday to wake up and just be with her.

Tomorrow we head out to snow for a week of Spring Break bliss. It will be the first trip that is a true vacation alone with no family meeting us, no work to do. My goal is to drink wine, eat fresh foods and relax with my hubby and baby. Hubby's plan is to fish. Ocoee's plan is continue down her solid food path...she is really loving this new phase.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Customer service

I shop for Ocoee often how I shop for touch. If it feels soft you know that you will want to wear it again and again. The brand Small Plum I have raved about before but now I am truly a fan.

Here is Ocoee in her Small Plum onesie. This is a weekly photo we take of she is 22 weeks!

Ocoee has several Small Plum items and I was disappointed when I had one outfit lose a button after just a wash and another snagged. The quality is usually amazing and most have been through the wash 20 or more times by now. The onesies are stretchy and soft, made of eco-friendly bamboo.

So I took the time to write Small Plum and was answered immediately. They were so nice and offer to replace the damaged items. They even let me pick out new onesies that were part of their new catalogue.

Above are the two new onesies that arrived yesterday. The are adorable. The products are on Zulilly today if you want some for your little one.

The new onesies came with a very nice note and I have to say the whole experience was positive. They made me a loyal customer. It is so refreshing to have great customer service. They truly are a fabulous company. They even do a garment recycling program with the items being donate to Baby Buggy, Jessica Seinfield's non-profit in New York. Gotta love a business with a conscious.

I also received new baby legs. The latest versions are SPF 50 sun blockers. I was thinking this would be good for Ocoee to use as arm warmers when we are driving the coast next week in California. Sitting in the car can often be an overlooked time for sun exposure and I am not sure if the rental will have tinted windows so these will be perfect!


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

They grow up so fast

Ocoee at 2 weeks

Ocoee at 19 weeks

When I arrived back from Palm Springs I was shocked that Ocoee had changed so much in one weekend. If you check out my photo shoots with her you can see how much she has grown and changed. She is now 5 months and I am amazed at all the changes.

First, I have changed. I am a mother now. The changes that involves are overwhelming. She is first in my life. I say no to things that take me away from her. My job is less of a priority, I am pickier about what social events I choose and I always think of her before myself. My heart knows a love that I had never experienced before.

Second, my marriage has changed. We are a team that has a common goal that is very tangible. We want the best for our daughter and family. We feel more in love and gushy now days, but we also have less romance and more diaper talk....but we don't mind. We were married for 6 years and together for 8 before Ocoee came along so this new bundle of love that has us wrapped around her little finger is our focus now.

We fit in adult time with date nights from time to time and heck, just last night we lit some candles and had some cuddle couch time...very romantic, hehe. I do think we spent some of that time stuffing diapers and checking the monitor.

Third, our lifestyle has changed some. We still travel, eat out, play outdoors and have a few drinks. It is just at different times and with less freedom to do so on a whim. We plan our time with friends to either be kid friendly or we trade off on time "off duty". We travel but just pack a lot more. Now days I think about is there room for a stroller, will there be a place to change her, will she be napping.....and on and on. With a little planning you can still roll like you used to, but with a bambino on board.

She has changed the most. She has a personality that sparkles. She can hold things, eat from a spoon, sit up, roll over, babble a ton. All these things she has learned in 5 months. She has outgrown more clothes than I even own! She has caught bugs, fought them off and passed them along. She is really good at that.

She has gone from 3 months at home with mom, to a new daycare, to working at home with dad, to another new daycare. She loves Mrs. Renea at Hillcrest and thrives there...but soon she will have to move on to another room, then back at home with mom for the summer. Talk about rolling with the punches.

Maybe this is one of the reason I like being a mom. I love change. I grew up with a lot of change and learned to see new adventures and opportunities in change. You learn so much from change. Each day Ocoee teaches me something new. I love that I have this blog and this time to document these changes. I know one day she will look at these pictures and that is me, how was I ever that little.

There are a few physical changes as well. I went from being pregnant to not pregnant and my body is still figuring that out. I am down to my normal weight and 5 pounds and a lot of toning away from my pre-pregnancy weight. A few stretch marks still linger, though they are fading quickly. Lots more squishy spots but I know that I have to put the work in at the gym to get that back. I doubt my "girls" will ever be the same but considering what they went through not to shabby. It makes me appreciate my body that it was able to grow this amazing baby and pretty much bounce back to normal.

Ocoee's physical changes are vast. Her eyes have gone from the baby black to a beautiful rich blue. Her hair all fell out and has now grown back. It changes color each day and we are curious what it will end up being. Her strawberry birth mark was barely visible at birth, then grew to a big red strawberry shape and is now fading and shrinking. She is growing well, and is a strong little soul!

I just hope she doesn't grow too fast, because the joy of being along for her journey and growth, with all of it's changes is thrilling.


Monday, March 5, 2012

A girl's weekend

Hubby and I both planned trips for a nice break away...his was the annual ice fishing trip to North Dakota and mine was this weekend in Palm Springs. A good friend invited me down to her mom's house in Palm Springs for some sun, warmth and relaxation.

It was great to just lay in the sun by the pool, with my hat and SPF 50 on my face of course! The company was good and we ate a delicious meal at Lavender Bistro. The atmosphere was as good as the food!

I did however miss my little Ocoee. I missed 3 night time kisses, several meals where she is developing her solid food eating skills and a lot of cuddles. I was able to try and block it out and just relax and enjoy myself. Hubby did a great job with her and enjoyed his one on one time. He did have a little bit of a fever one night but recovered quickly. I had alerted my good friend Staci that she was the mom on call in case he got in over his head, but the fever thankful was a quick bug and then gone.

I heard a baby cry on the plane and 6 months ago I would have just put my earbuds in and tuned it out but this time it made me misty eyed thinking of my little baby. Who really isn't that little anymore. She changed so much in the few days I was gone. This morning she had new sounds she was playing with and seemed so grownup. She ate her baby mush like a champ and chatted away as I gave her a bath. Just the feeling of her weight in my arms, her presence against my chest and her sweet baby smell was bliss.

I missed her and I am really happy to be home. Plus I actually have a little bit of a tan. Woo Hoo!


Super blog Hop!

Welcome to this week’s Super Stalker Sunday hop!" alt="Super Stalk Sunday" width="125" height="125" />
What is Super Stalker Sunday?

Glad you asked! Super Stalker Sunday is a weekly blog hop hosted by
April of">Mama on a Green Mission
Emily of">Nap Time is My Time
Mariah of">Formula Mom
and Bri of">Eco Baby Mama Drama
As you know, blogs hops are a great way to meet other bloggers, socialize and gain more followers. We created this hop as away for you to connect with other bloggers via RSS Feed, Google Friend Connect, Email Subscribers, Facebook Fans, Twitter Followers, and the new Google+!
How to Super Stalk

Follow each host at least one way. Remember to leave a comment, as hostesses we’re committed to returning the follows. But please be patient as we are busy mamas and it may take us a few days to return the visit and follow. You will only have to link up on one of the host sites and your link will appear on all as we use the same linky. After you follow the hosts and the featured blogger, follow at least the four blogs listed above you on the linky. If your time permits, follow as many other blogs are you are willing!
Keep in mind that many bloggers have phased out GFC in recent weeks, so be sure you’re following everyone another way as well!

Remember: You will only get as much as you give. The more blogs you can visit, the more visits you will gain in return. We are all here to socialize and greet, not visit only your blog.

While we encourage sharing our button and hop with as many as possible, it is not required. The more you spread the word though, the more we socialize and all gain followers!

This week's featured blogger is"/>">

Janelle's favorite way to blog stalk is kind of an alice in wonderland approach...she ends up down the rabbit hole, clicking on one blog she likes, then another from their blog list and on and on, until she can't remember how she got there! But she has discovered many great blogs this way!

If you would like to be a featured blogger, being shared with more than 32,000 combined followers between the hosts of this hop, please link up! At the end of each week we will select a blog via Random.Org to be the featured blog for the following week. The featured blogger will be emailed by Tuesday morning. Please be sure to check your spam folders! This linky will remain open until 3:00PM EST on Monday! Go ahead, stalk up a storm!