Friday, December 28, 2012

Wyatt loves, loves, loves trucks.  And cars.  And anything with 4 (or more wheels).  We spend countless afternoons driving cars, building 'awesome tunnels' for cars, driving trucks, crashing trucks, racing trucks, etc.  Of all the many toys he has, cars and trucks are his favorites.  So it seemed fitting that I take these photographs.

I must admit, the one of him laying down with cars around his head was a borrowed idea from Pinterest and the one of him sitting with all his cars was borrowed from my sister

I don't think that truck picture really did his collection justice.  I'm pretty sure we have more around the house that I didn't include.  Anyway, I think you get the idea!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Pink Pig

Well, so I'm behind here on my little blog, I've been meaning to catch up all month with a little December update.  But I kept procrastinating, and now I don't even remember what we did all month. SO ... here goes my attempt.

We took a family trip to the Christmas Tree Farm Home Depot and picked out a tree.   In all honesty, we didn't spend much time looking.  I believe this was the second tree that Ben stood up and Wyatt approved so we got it. 

I meant to take photos of our decorations, but never really got around to the few finishing touches I wanted to add to everything so I just didn't.  I mainly wanted them as a reference so that next year I can remember how I hung the garland, where I placed things, etc.  Oh well.

Here is Ben in his Griswald t-shirt hanging his Griswald ornament on our tree!

OH!  and the best part about this tree of ours?  It didn't fall over this year.  (Yet)

Mom and I also took Wyatt down to ride the Pink Pig one morning.  This has become a little yearly tradition for Mom to take the grandkids down to Lenox to ride the pink pig sometime during the Christmas season. 

Wyatt wasn't so sure at first.

But he ended up really enjoying it!

Post ride-picture.  We've done this every year! 

W was sliding down the 'bench' by this point and no longer cared to pose!  I still think this is a cute picture.

And afterwards, we went to see Santa.  Wyatt had already visited with Santa (umm. in like early November) so we just waved at him from afar!  

Friday, December 7, 2012

23 versus 33

10 years ago: I never would have thought I would have an ongoing text conversation with 3 of my friends discussing the ins and outs of motherhood. Today:  I don't bat an eyelash when I see a text from a dear friend asking for breast feeding advice. 

10 years ago: whether or not I had a babysitter had absolutely zero effect on my social life.  Today: our babysitter is our lifeline to the outside world and searching for one can be the single most stressful event of my week.  (Guess I do lead  pretty charmed life)

10 years ago: my biggest concern on a Friday night was what I was going to wear to a particular social event.  Today: it is 'what in the world am I going to feed my son for dinner, and what TV shows are we going to catch up on after he goes to bed'

10 years ago: a weekend road-trip was just that.  Today:  it is a week long preparation for that trip, and a week recovery upon our return. 

10 years ago: I hated going to bars.  Today: I still do.  Guess some things never change?

10 years ago: going to the grocery store was a chore.  Today: it is an escape.

10 years ago: cooking a (balanced) meal each night was never a consideration.  Today: it is cathartic.

10 years ago: I felt the need to explain my decisions to those who might not completely understand.  Today: I (we) make the best decisions for our family and don't really worry about making others understand.  There are just some things people never do 'get' unless they are in your shoes.

10 years ago: if I didn't want to do something I thought I needed to give an excuse or explanation.  Today: I simply say "no I won't be able to make it" and leave it at that.  

10 years ago: the timing of a party really made no difference to me.  Today: we do our damdest to schedule life around nap and meal times.  A well fed-well napped child is MUCH more pleasant ... for everyone.

10 years ago: I had no clue how much joy a child would be to my life.  Yes, things are different now.  My car may have 3 month old teddy grahams stuffed in the seats. I may not have the most stylish clothes in the world.  I may bitch about having to mess up Wyatt's nap schedule to go to something.  I may have to miss fun social functions because of my responsibilities at home.  But really, I'm much more fulfilled today than I was 10 years ago. 

So I guess this is all to say that I guess life does really get better as you get older!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


The year Ben and I got married we decided that the best way to celebrate holidays with our respective families was to alternate holidays and years.  This year it was Thanksgiving with Ben's family and Christmas will be with mine.  (Although we do celebrate Christmas with both families every year ... just not necessarily on the actual holiday)

The tradition has (at least since I've been around) always been to go to Ben's aunt and uncle's home in Knoxville.  It is always a jolly time, enjoyed with copious amounts of family, food, laughter, wine, and Black Friday Shopping.  Oh, and The Christmas Story is usually playing on a continuous loop on the television.

We arrived in Knoxville on Wednesday evening and relaxed with Ben's aunt and uncle and brother after we got Wyatt to sleep.

Thursday morning started bright and early with a pancake and bacon breakfast - Wyatt's favorite!  Then I stupidly got him dressed in his Thanksgiving outfit.  He looked adorable.

Not five minutes later he was completely dirty.  Oh well.

Once Lolly and Pops arrived, he ran to the truck to greet them.  And also to get his toys out!  And, just in case you were wondering that is dirt on his bottom. 

Trailer trucks, or anything that hooks together is a big, huge deal right now.  So immediately he asked his Pops to rig this ride-on and wagon together. 

He was in hog heaven.  And yes, we watched him VERY closely in the street.  Didn't actually let him ride there very long.

We then went inside for a quick lunch and wardrobe change.

While Wyatt was napping, we all got busy with the meal preparations.  And by 'we all' I mean Ben's mother and his aunt.  Ben, did carve the turkey though!

After a very scary oven incident, we finally got the whole meal prepared and came together for a pre-dinner toast!

It was a lovely afternoon and evening! 

We started out early the next morning, as is Longmire tradition.  We hit up breakfast at Hardee's, and then the outlets for some Black Friday Shopping. 

Here is my shopping buddy helping me out at Loft!

We wore ourselves out, and headed home for lunch and naps.  Only the wild monkey fell asleep on the way home from the outlets which meant no nap for anyone that afternoon :)

That evening, we headed out for a fabulous dinner with friends.  And thanks to Lolly, Pops, Great Aunt Susan, and Great Uncle Alfredo this was a dinner sans-babies!!

 We had a lovely evening! 

Unfortunately, the fun ends there as I was awakened at 3am to hear "Katie!  Wyatt is throwing up".  As it turned out W was the only sickie ... Ben, his mom, his dad, his brother, and his aunt had all picked up the same terrible bug.  Somehow his uncle and I did not get it.  (Awesome immune systems, I guess?)

So to sum it up -- the first half of Thanksgiving was perfect.  The second half reeked of vomit.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I have this love-hate relationship with cooking.  I absolutely love discovering a new recipe and figuring out and occasion to try it out.  I adore meal-planning and grocery shopping.  I enjoy quiet evenings after Wyatt has gone to bed and I go downstairs to finish cooking and eat dinner.  We rarely eat when W is awake.  I also love when W 'helps' me in the kitchen -- he loves to get out bowls and measuring cups and act like he's making his own meal.  One day our picky son will actually eat and enjoy my creations.   (Currently unless that creation is PLAIN noodles, Greek yogurt and fruit it won't be touched.)

The same can be said for Ben.  He does a lot of grilling and smoking, but we really do most of that on the weekends.  Especially in winter, its not much fun standing out by a grill when its freezing cold and dark outside.  And although I do 99% of our meal planning, he very much enjoys researching the best grilling/smoking technique for a particular item and then whomping up the perfect marinade or rub.  We don't host dinners often enough, but when we do I always rely on him for the entree portion of the meal.  And its always a hit.

I like to bake too, but that is much messier so I generally just stick to cooking.

What I don't love is the cleanup.  Although I rarely make anything complicated or requiring many dishes, I am not a 'neat' cook.  I try to clean as I go, but somehow I always end up with a redonkulus amount of dishes, pots, and pans to clean.  But the payoff when you make something tasty is so worth it. 

I also don't love my recipe organization.  Or lack of organization, I should say.  I tear recipes out of magazines, or print them off Pinterest but then after I cook said item I throw the recipe in a pile of papers.  I've got to figure out a system.

Anyway, enough talking.  Here are some of my recent creations.  None of these are my own recipe or idea.  I'm not that creative!  I'm also not a food photographer by any means.  My pictures are crappy but I promise you each one of these dishes are worth trying!  (Except the stuffed peppers ... but don't worry b/c I didn't link a recipe)

Skillet Chicken Parm w/ roasted broccoli.   This was an excellent healthier take on your traditional chicken parm.  The chicken is simply sauteed with a little olive oil, no breading or butter involved.  The mozzarella cheese part isn't healthful, but you don't use that much.  My intentions were to use whole-wheat pasta, but then I opened my pantry and saw those rigatoni just calling my name.  Soooo .... all-in-all ... a not healthy but not all that un-healthy meal that I 'll definitely make again.  And I must confess that while I only used 2 slices of cheese for that chicken, I opened the package and promptly ate 3. Maybe four?  I just can't resist fresh mozzarella!

Hummus Crusted Chicken roasted over squash, zucchini, and onions with a side of Israeli couscous.  This meal is a winner.  It has definitely earned its keep in my rotation.  Its easy, requires little prep and is healthy (except the couscous).  That said, it does NOT re-heat well at all, so don't make this if you want leftovers.

Skillet Mac' n' Cheese.  This was delicious.  I think I ate about 2 servings the night I made it and then at least 1-2 more throughout the week.  It re-heats fantastically, is a substantial meal, and is just plain old comforting. 

Stuffed Bell Pepper with a grilled avocado on the side.  The stuffed pepper was fine.  Nothing to write home about, but the avocado ..... killer.  I actually make them quite often, because they are easy and healthy-ish. 

Chicken Francese and roasted brussels sprouts.   I don't have a real recipe for this, but it is an all-time favorite.  And, yes, I did eat every single bite on that plate!

Chocolate Cookies w/ Candy Cane Buttercream.  I made these as a trial run for a Christmas cookie swap.  They actually weren't all that difficult, but I did have a zillion dishes to clean up at the end.  Only thing I'll change next time is I'd make them smaller as they are very very rich. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Santa Claus Visit

I always plan Wyatt's Santa visit early, but this year I scheduled it extra-early.  So early that it really didn't feel like Christmas but that's okay.  I've heard a rumor that there might be a fire truck, truck, and train shortage so I had to make sure Wyatt got his order in early :)

Wyatt didn't smile (as per usual), but he also didn't cry and wasn't afraid of Santa.  My boy is all grown up now ...

When he woke up on Tuesday morning, he told me he was going to ask Santa for a "regular truck and a fire truck"  But, by the time he got there he was asking for a fire truck and a train.  (We prompted him a little with the train ... but he really does want one)

Santa said that Wyatt was on his good boy list this year and that he would see him on Christmas! 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Halloween 2012

I'm late on this post mostly because my little model didn't want to pose for pictures when we got him all dressed for trick or treating.  I've been meaning to put his costume back on and take more but that hasn't happened yet so what I have will have to do.

We've dressed Wyatt up the last two years and actually taken him to our next door neighbor's house both years just for photo purposes.  But this year, he actually understood that he was getting dressed up as a cowboy and going out "treating" (as he calls it).  He knew that "treating" meant getting candy so he was certainly excited.

I felt so fortunate to get a hearty dinner in his belly before he went out to get all sugared up.  After dinner I got him dressed and worked on taking a few pictures.

We went with Wyatt's little girlfriend, Leah, and her parents. Aren't these two sweet??

We just hit a handful of houses, mostly those of our dinner club friends.  The kids loved every second of it! 

Isn't this the life?  Riding around the neighborhood eating candy.  I'd love this.  Except replace that candy with wine :)

 It takes longer than you would think to trick-or-treat with a 2 year old, but definitely a fun night!  (Wyatt asked me the next day if we were going "treating" again!)

Friday, October 26, 2012


We've suspected for quite some time that Wyatt was going to be left handed.  His Pediatrician told me that hand dominance wasn't really decided until age 2-3 although I don't really agree with that - he's always favored his left hand.

Thankfully, Ben is left handed as well so he will be able to show him how to hold a pencil, cut with scissors (btw -- thanks Meme for buying him some lefty safety scissors :), throw a rock ball, swing a bat etc. 

But those are the dad jobs.  I think as far as the mom-things goes, I've already screwed him up.  When I was showing him how to use a fork, I'm pretty sure I had a tendency to guide him w/ his right hand.  When I set his bowl of yogurt by his plate, I put it on the right-hand side ... because that is just so natural to me.  Often times he picks up food w/ his right had - probably because that is what I've encouraged without thinking. I'm sure there are other examples but those are the ones that come to mind right away. 

So ... a pat on the back for me, right?  I've already managed to screw up my child by age 2.

But, he's a smart kid ... he'll figure it out and so will we. 

Also, I have tell a funny story that I definitely don't want to forget.  He can now sing his ABC's .... not perfectly but he's got the majority of the song.  I discovered this one afternoon when Ben was out of town.  We were playing outside and Wyatt suddenly started singing.  He did it again and again - I was so proud of him!  So, when Ben got home last night he of course wanted to see it for himself.

We were sitting on the bed in our room and Wyatt started singing.  Then mid-song he looked over at Ben's nightstand and saw one of his police cars ... so this was how the song went.

"A B C D E F G, H I J K L M .... oooh! police car!"  And just like that, he got derailed.  Hilarious!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Burt's Pumpkin Farm

I'm skipping back to Apple/Pumpkin weekend again but I think I might continue documenting my dinners.  Especially the ones that I really like so I'll have a reference for a week when I'm in a food-rut!

After a full day on Saturday at the Apple orchards, the kids were so tired!  Wyatt slept in until about 8:15 that next morning which is EXTREMELY unusual for him.  I'm glad he got the rest he needed, but it did derail our plans of being at Burt's right around the time they opened! 

We took this pic at the cabin right before we left.  They loved the bear!

We got there to find a  packed house, but we still managed to get a few pictures without a million people in the background.

One of my favorite pictures of Wyatt ever is of him in this very same pumpkin patch last year.  He has the sweetest smile so I was determined to get another one this year.  I (quickly) resorted to bribery -- a smile earns a skittle.  We went through A LOT of skittles that day, but totally worth it!

We tried and tried and tried to get meme and papa with all 3 kids.  I think this picture turned out pretty good!

I love this one of Ben and Wyatt.  I think this smile was the result of being tickled + the promise of candy but hey .... whatever works, right?

We had to do the usual wheelbarrow picture.  I like how this one turned out of the 3 of us!

And 3 kids in the wheel barrow of course ....

We took pictures and looked at pumpkins for a while and then got tickets for the hay ride.  Since we had 6 adults with us this year, we were able to let the kids run around a little while a few people held our spot in the (very long) line.

Finally it was our turn.  Wyatt was SO EXCITED about this hay ride. He loves tractors and really all vehicles so this was just right up his alley. One of his favorite things to say is "big rock down there, tree" (he means that there is a big rock, down there by the tree).  I think that is what he and Ben were looking at in this picture!

Meme and Papa

Family photo ... love this one!

After the hay ride, we were all hungry and tired so we all picked out pumpkins and left with our haul.  Can you believe all these pumpkins?  I don't even think this picture includes the ones Kimmie and Dave got.  We've all clearly bought into this pumpkin craze of late!

It was a fun weekend and we can't wait to do it again next year!