Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Break time

I need a break. I need a break from my everyday life. I need a break from a lot of things right now but I will settle for taking a break from blogging.

I just don't feel it right now. I don't have much to say lately and I feel like I am pressuring myself to come up with things that I think end up being pretty boring. So for the next couple of weeks (maybe more, maybe less) I'll be taking a break from blogging. I'll be taking plenty of pictures still and catching up on my much neglected blog-reading as well.

 Don't "Un-like" me on Facebook or Stop folllowing me...

I'll be back ... and when I'm back, I'll be refreshed and hopefully full of inspiration, and maybe even a new blog design that I've been thinking about doing too!

Monday, June 27, 2011

This past weekend

Julianna, Brian and I had a fun weekend...

We went to the Meadowlands fair on Saturday- we paid $27 to get in and park... and pretty much lapped the place once and left ... quickly. It was pretty gross. It stunk like sewage and beer and there were weirdos there. Sad that they call themselves the supposed NJ state fair. Luckily we have another bigger fair here called the Sussex county Farm & Horse Show {State Fair} and it is such a great fair. It's in August; I can't wait to go!

So ... we left the fair and went to the Bergen County Environmental Center where we walked around and saw the Red Tail hawks, peacocks, turkeys, some white funny deer, ducks, and some other cute birds. The peacock kept making this loud Cawwwww Cawwwww. And Julianna would squawk back at it. We were cracking up! It was relaxing to walk around.

There was a wedding going on at this park, and when we were hanging out down on one of the lookouts, the flower girl came running up the boardwalk path and I got a nice shot of her. So cute!

After the environmental center, we went to PF Changs for dinner. Ohhhh we are so lucky there is not a PF Changs right by our house (this one is about 40 mins away) because I would be 400 pounds LOL. We love this place. For anyone that has never gone.... you must go.

Sunday we went to the pool and chilled out. I love weekends like this! I hated for it to be over...

Here is the picture of the random flower girl running down the boardwalk. I wish I could have found the bridal party to give this picture to them.

Daddy teaching Julianna-Fish how to swim!  

Pondering another cracker at the pool  

Julianna looking so cute 

Julianna did not want to be held at all! "Put me down Mommy!"  

Julianna loves standing up and playing with the stroller buckles.  


Random butterfly at the Environmental Center 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Julianna is 13 months
(OK it was really last Thursday!)

Wow. How did I let this one get by? About half way through Thursday (6/23), it hit me that my baby girl is 13 months old. How did I forget? How did I look at her beautiful face that morning and forget she is 13 months old? Bad Mommy. Maybe after you hit that all mighty First Year - you stop counting months so much? Or am I supposed to count months until I get to 120 months? or forever? Or do I just gear up for the 2nd birthday party countdown already?

Some 13 month milestones

Food: Julianna is eating a lot of table food, especially dinner. She loves chicken. She eats all kinds of chicken. She might sprout some feathers soon. She also loves cantaloupe, peaches, eggs, pasta, potatoes, turkey, cheese, Italian bread, bagels (the best for food shopping), pancakes, french toast, corn, veggies (as long as they're mixed in with her food to disguise their taste)...
For breakfast, she eats oatmeal with fruit most days. We are going to give her the iron fortified cereal until she is at least 2. Iron is a very essential part of her diet for growth. Lunch (depending on if she's at daycare or here) consists of some kind of veggie puree and fresh turkey and cheese... and toasted multi grain bread.

Drink: We were able to switch Julianna over to Organic whole milk without any issues at 12 months. She drinks 8 oz in the morning... 4-6 oz before bed.... and about 6 throughout the day. She also drinks water from a sippy cup with meals or throughout the day as needed. Next up; switching her daytime bottle of milk over to sippy cup. I'm not ready to give up the night time or morning bottle yet. That's snuggle time. Let's face it, there is not much snuggle time with a toddler that wants to be put down on the floor all the time now! I'll take what I can get! I have not introduced any fruit juice. We tried to give her the 100% real/organic juice once and she wasn't interested. Fine by me. Water & milk works fine. I don't want her being a juice addict anyhow.

Words: Dada (She's super-daddy centric!), Dahhhh (we think means Pepper our dog?), Deedee (I have no idea what this means, I think it's toy), Uht-Ohhh (she says this all day long), Bobba (I think she is attempting to say Mama), Mmmmmmm (Not really a word but she does this while eating - soo cute).
And of course she does crazy baby babble and has full blown conversations as if she was speaking perfect English. Super Cute.

Walking: She is not walking yet. She's gonna be a late one! She can pull herself up to her feet but doesn't do it very often yet. She can stand up pretty good when we stand her up and she holds onto furniture. She can cruise a little bit. The pediatrician said she was concerned and asked us to call "Early Intervention" - It's a free service by the state of NJ (What? Free in NJ? That's a first!) - they come out and evaluate Julianna ... and offer suggestions (exercises) to get her going with standing & walking. I still have to call. She's been making progress this month so I think I might hold off for now.

Sleep: This. Child. Sleeps. She is a great sleeper. We had some wicked storms the other night that kept me up for 2 hours overnight. Not her. She was Zzzzz'ing through the whole thing. Nothing wakes her. She sleeps from 8pm to about 6:45 or 7am. She takes 2 naps about an hour each. 1 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon. For anyone whose child does not sleep through the night. I am telling you - Babywise is the method I used. We had her on a schedule from day one and we were golden. And sorry but we did not co-sleep ever. I think that helped her to sleep through the night very early (7 weeks!). I understand why some do co-sleep, but it just wasn't for us. After 8pm is daddy & mommy time.

I love watching Julianna play with her toys. She is getting so smart. It amazes me to watch her teach herself how to do things for the first time. You can see their little minds spinning!

Julianna is getting shy around strangers and she is scared of balloons. Well, scared of ANYTHING that looks like a balloon too. She is scared of statues, big vases, and anything else that is up in the air and is big. Haha! She looks at something, gives a whimper and buries her head in my shoulder. It's quite pathetic but I am glad that she does it so I can 'protect' her. Kinda cute actually.

Julianna and Pepper are becoming quite good friends. It will be precious to see them grow up together.

I was going through some older pictures of Julianna to see how much she has changed (and she certainly has changed!). I found some ones that I love. Here they are below:

3 months old

2 months old  

8 or 9 months old (I think!) 

3 months  

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Blog Book

So a while back - one of my fellow bloggers talked about turning her Mama-blog into a book. Her idea was to turn the first year of her daughter's life into a published book from her blog so that her daughter could read it later on. I thought that was a great idea. I didn't really think about it again until I recently saw this post on Click it up a Notch (my new favorite photography blog by the way!) - she recommended a great website called Blurb. They offer several ways to turn your blog into a book - or just do picture books, etc.

I like it because you download the software for free... it syncs up with your blog ... and then you edit everything on your PC. It's not done online and you have so much control over every aspect of the book. Once you get the book edited, you then upload it and pay for it. It doesn't cost anything until you are ready to publish it. And I have to say, the prices seem very reasonable. I want to do this because I think it would be pretty cool to have Julianna read about her first year through my eyes.

Here is my front cover so far... this could easily change 50 times by the time I publish it but it's a start.

So any of you moms out there who were thinking about doing this - I can tell you it is pretty easy to do - and the editing software is easy to follow along with. Here is the website again: Blurb.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What I'm looking forward to this summer...

Now this summer is upon us ... Here are some things I am looking forward to:

  • Vacation in the Outer Banks (North Carolina)
  • Enjoying time at the pool with Brian & Julianna
  • Watching Julianna grow & learn new things
  • Soaking in the sun
  • Evenings on our deck
  • Chirping birds
  • Fresh tomato & basil from our garden pots
  • Booking our 5 year anniversary trip to the Bahamas
  • Taking more pictures and going to a local photography workshop
  • Good friends of ours moving back to NJ in August

We joined a local pool called Frog Falls... You need a membership to get in and they only sell a certain # of memberships. We were sponsored by a friend since we don't live in the towns they offer memberships to. The weather was finally nice enough this past weekend where we were able to go and enjoy both Saturday & Sunday in the sun & pool. Julianna seemed to really like the baby pool... but she got chilly after a few minutes. Once she warmed up, back in the water she went! This place is great! It has water slides, a zero entry kiddy pool, a fountain area for the kids to run through, a huge zero entry pool for everyone, a lazy river and a big lunch area. You can also have kids parties there. I am counting down the days until this weekend when we can go back ... relax & enjoy the sun. The great thing is there are tons of canopies that offer shade so Julianna can take a nap in her stroller.
Win Win.

Here are some pictures from the weekend at the pool -

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day to my Husband!

Happy Father's Day to my awesome husband Brian!

It is his 2nd father's day - but I feel that this Father's day might be even a little better for him. He has had a full year to experience being a father and is doing quite the incredible job at being Julianna's Daddy. I love him more than any words can ever express. I love seeing him interact with Julianna and taking care of her. It makes me smile and warms my heart.

Julianna got Daddy a cute "Daddy" Book that he can read to her... and I printed a picture of Daddy & Julianna and put it in a frame that says "Daddy's Girl" for him. Here is the picture I printed:

Here is the post I wrote for last Father's Day. It's about being a Super Dad. It's worth another read.
It's one of my favorite posts I have written! :) Enjoy.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Baby Jake's Party

Last Saturday,  Julianna's best {boy}friend Jake turned one! It was a rainy day but we still had a lot of fun! It's late - but I just wanted to put up a few pictures from the birthday party... will need more time to edit the others... but here's a start. (Time? Who's got time??)  By the way, If you haven't noticed, I'm obsessed with the whole black and white/color layering thing lately. Don't worry, it will pass. Soon.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Need to share this recipe -

This is one of my favorite recipes and it's minimal prep time... and very yummy.
And it's actually pretty healthy the way I make it.


Rigatoni with (spicy or sweet) sausage, basil & tomato sauce

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time 1.5 hours 

1/2 lb raw turkey sausage (I use Spicy sausage but you can use sweet depending on preference)
3-4 cloves garlic minced
1/2 c white wine (I use cooking wine)
28 oz crushed tomatoes or tomato puree (depending on how thick you like your sauce - puree is thicker)
1 tsp salt to taste
1 tsp black pepper to taste
6-10 basil leaves
1/2 lb uncooked rigatoni pasta (plain or wheat)
About 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Sugar 1-2 tbsp to taste

Heat olive oil in saute pan
Remove sausage from casings & chop or use spatula in pan to separate as they are cooking
Add sausage & garlic to pan - stirring up and breaking up sausage until it's cooked & garlic is brown
Add wine & bring to simmer; until evaporates
Stir in tomatoes, salt, pepper to taste
Stir in sugar & Basil leaves
Reduce Heat & simmer covered for 1-1.5 hours
Cook pasta... Mix sauce & pasta together in saute pan or in big bowl

(Edit 6/15 - added how much sugar to use)

Thursday, June 9, 2011


The plan was to go to the pool last Saturday and finally take in some rays and enjoy the pool that we paid our membership for. It didn't happen. The weatherman lied. They said it would be 80 & sunny. It was 62, cloudy & cold. I advised Julianna to become a TV Meteorologist since it's the only career where you can do your job wrong every day and never get fired!

So we had to go with Plan B. My husband suggested that we go to the local Arboretum here in Morris County. Well, let me tell you - what a great idea! We went (camera in tow) and took some amazing pictures, walked around and saw all that nature had to offer. Brian decided he wants to get an enormous beautifully smelling Japanese flowering tree that we saw. {The deer would love it too. haha!} Julianna liked the arboretum also. She was checking out all the brightly colored flowers and plants. We also saw a Mama Robin bird sitting on her nest of eggs. We also saw a Mama Mockingbird feeding her juvenile baby bird. Super Cute.

Here are some shots from Saturday.

This was a baby Mockingbird He was so cute & fluffy!

Baby Belle offering up her cracker

Arboretum Mansion window

Sunny glow

I have no idea what kind of flower this is but I love it!

Water pump

This is some kind of a rose... What kind? Who knows.
Guess I should have consulted my horticology guide while we were walking around LOL

Cool fluffy flowers!

The color on this plant is gorgeous. Love it.

Love these too.

Mama Robin protecting her eggs.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Things that made me smile this weekend

  • Cutting open a watermelon for the first time and smelling how sweet the aroma is.
  • Watching my husband play with Julianna and both of them giggling.
  • Seeing my daughter take her first steps from the sofa to the coffee table.
  • Seeing Julianna get stronger when she is standing and holding herself up.
  • Taking photos of nature and the lovely flowers at the Arboretum.
  • Smelling all the beautiful flowers at the Arboretum.
  • Seeing my husband actually relax and forget about work for 2 days.
  • Enjoying 2 days with my family.
  • Going to the dog park and watching Pepper run like the wind and be a free dog even if only for a few minutes.
  • Shopping.
  • Eating smiley-face cookies for dessert on Saturday night.
  • Sorting through my photos from the Arboretum and editing them.
  • Watching Julianna enjoy her Chicken Sticks (blegh!) for lunch.
  • Walking on the grass right after my husband mowed it & appreciating how hard he worked to make our lawn look fabulous.
  • Touching noses with Julianna & then she giggles. (it's like eskimo kisses!)


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