8.30.2012

Gwen is enjoying her last day of hanging out with Nana before Nana flies back home.


I'm counting down the hours until this Thursday (which is my Friday) is over. Then tomorrow we're off!

Happy Labor Day! See you next week!

8.28.2012

crazy week, start of the crazy fall season

From here on out, until the beginning of November, we have something every. single. weekend. Thankfully a lot of the things are only one day affairs, but there are also whole weekend events, so it is going to be a little crazy. We have football games, the Celtic Classic, trips to Vegas and Pittsburgh, a special night for our anniversary, and this weekend we're camping.

This week is the week between summer session and school year session at Gwen's school, and therefore it is closed! So, Monday and today Gwen and I are home together, Trav has Wednesday and Thursday, then we're all home Friday before headed out to camp. I can't wait! It will be Gwen and Daisy's first time. Right now the weather is looks nice, and I hope it stays that way. We checked the tent, the sleeping backs, and the lantern. We picked up a little camping set with a pot, a pan, and a percolator. All completely metal (no rubber handles to melt), so we can do all our cooking over the fire. We have s'more ingredients. Soon we'll be enjoying this for all its worth.

source
Source

A 2-day work week bracketed by two 4-day weekends isn't so bad either!

Monday Gwen had a dentist appointment, her second, at a different doctor then the first. It went pretty well and she got a clean bill. The rest of the day was spent hanging out. A quick trip to the grocery store, followed by a long nap in the car (always happens!), then another shorter nap after we got inside. Gwen and I did this herb preservation method as a little afternoon project. We did mostly rosemary from our garden with some thyme.

Today was a trip to visit a friend, Barb, and her two girls in Delaware. Gwen had the best time running all over the place with Veronica. And another car nap followed. A successful day for sure.

Now, time to hit the sack and rest up for back to work tomorrow.

8.27.2012

date night turned girls night.

This weekend was a little crazy, but some parts were quite enchanting. There was some camping prep for next weekend, some shopping, and a Sunday morning trip to the Pop Shop (love that place). Saturday I had an appointment for a trim, which unlike normal, I hit up alone (my parent's weren't around this weekend, so much easier for Trav to chill with Gwen). That night we were supposed to have a date night, but due to not one, not two, but three possible babysitters all having things pop up at the last minute (sickness, sudden change of plans, and a funeral), it ended up being a girls night (Ro and I), while Trav stayed home. I was bummed... it would have been really romantic, and it was the perfect setup with us not having to leave until after Gwen was in bed, but it was still such a great time with one of my best girls.

We headed to Longwood Garden's Light display. It was incredible, gorgeous.

Walking through the wooded path was like being surrounded by fairies...


The towers in the field had great music playing softly... it was like an enchanted tea party.


There were fountains...


Dragons to molest...


And a candle lit tree house.


More glowing orbs decorated a pond.


Flowering lights lit up a flower path....


And showers of light rained down in the mansion itself.


It was so gorgeous.


Ro and I really enjoyed ourselves.

Check it... colored denim! Whoa me. Its burnt orange and I love it so much that I had to put this picture in just to show it off!!! I also loved that it was cool enough for me to dress fall-like.

Here's a better illustration of how really beautiful it was (click to fully enjoy):

These amazing photos from: here, here, here, here, and here.

Of course, Longwood Gardens is amazing no matter when you go. The things they grow there are pretty fantastic:


But this was definitely a bit more magical then normal.

8.26.2012

fyi: car seat info

A blogger I know is doing a great series on car seat safety. I just wanted to share it with everyone as she is covering some great topics.


The schedule of posts will be:

Is Your Car Seat Safe? - September 4th
Sponsor Spotlight: Diono - September 6th
How to Properly Install a Car Seat - September 11th 
Diono Radian RXT Giveaway - September 13th
When to Change Car Seats and Positions - September 18th
Why I am Car Seat Crazy - September 20th
The Benefits of Extended Rear Facing - September 25th
Buckling Properly - September 27


The button will stay in my sidebar for now, so you can pop over there.

8.23.2012

back to school

Rough night for Gwen last night with lots of wakings (think its snuffly nose related)... hourly for most of the night, every 15 minutes for about an hour, then one blissful 2.5 hour stretch before it was time to start the day. My brain is foggy and I'm moving slowly in every way today. I even wore bright colors in the hopes of pepping myself up:

At least I look sort of cute... and the colors distract from the eye bags!

It didn't work... its almost noon and I've only really gotten one thing of substance done, so I'm taking a break. 

I just read a note on Lehigh's facebook page about how its time for the students to come back. Oh boy did that make me wistful.This time of year always does, but its even more concentrated this year. I want to go back to school with a fiery passion! I'm craving change, and growth, and a new adventure. I'm craving stuffy classrooms with hard chairs, and laying in the grass reading last minute items between classes. I want to get my family out the door in the morning, pull on a pair of jeans and a long sleeved t-shirt, and head out to learn. I want to eat lunch on the UC lawn while working on homework, then learn some more before heading home to make dinner for my family. Then more homework, I'm sure. Anyone want to pay my mortgage so I can go back to college?   ;-)

8.21.2012

tasty tuesday and picking winners {updated}

Its a work from home Tuesday, and it is nice to get back into our routine. Part of that means cooking something yummy tonight. This week is a little different though since we have so much leftover food from the party, and last week. So its all about taking what we have and making it tasty. Last night I used up our leftover chicken to make shredding BBQ chicken sandwiches. Tonight I want to use up a bunch of cheese and lunch meat, so I'm chopping everything up and making a crustless quiche/frittata. Ham and turkey, cheddar and parmesan, roasted onions, and fresh rosemary. Mmm. I'm hungry already (and I'll update later with pictures).

Picture update:
It was damn good!!


I selected winners for my 30th birthday giveaway and sent out emails. Not everyone has replied yet... so check your emails!

8.20.2012

rounding out the week

Surprise birthday party Saturday to round out the end of my most amazing birthday week. It was so good and I appreciate how so very lucky/blessed/loved I am.

Too busy talking and enjoying to get many pics, but here are a few from my camera and two from my mom's:

Uncle Epie makes a great climbing toy.

GG takes her turn.

More bestie love.

My mama and my girl.

Bruder.

Its hard to come back to work after all that! But hoping the high will carry me through the week.

Last day to enter my big birthday giveaway, get all your last minute entries in now. Ends tonight, winners should be chosen tomorrow, and announced as soon as they confirm... so check your email tomorrow!

8.16.2012

30 months (2.5 years)


Dear Gwenivere,

Today you are 2 and a half years old. You are vivacious, smart, silly, and fun. You are also trying, strong willed, and sometimes a bit whiny. What can I say, you are definitely a 2-year old working on that 3-year old attitude. But you are my 2-year old and I do love you so.

We've been working on some things these past few months my love, and its a testament to your adaptability how well they've been going. You've always been pretty good with please and thank you, but now we're working on cutting down the whine. You need to ask for things politely, and you've been doing it so well. We're also cutting down on "the parent switch," which used to be an occasional "no I want daddy to change my diaper," but has now become a stall tactic, wanting to switch back and forth multiple times. So now you get a choice of parent for an activity, you may change your mind once before we start, but that's it girl.

Another thing we're working on, or at least, Mama is trying to slowly change is nursing. Yup, we're still breastfeeding. And for the most part, its still great. But man would I love to keep the evening session, and wean from mornings. Back at the end of July we had a Monday were you slept from bedtime until I was in the shower, no early morning wake up to come to bed with us! Your dad did an awesome job of distracting you and keeping you happy until I got dressed, so we didn't nurse! That little dose let me know that we could do this, thought since then we haven't had so much luck. At least it gives me hope that you two will be okay when I head to Vegas in two months.

Vegas. Oh man, am I going to miss you! This will be the longest I've been away from you since you were born. I know you'll be fine, and I know I'll have fun, but I can't help be just a little nervous about it all. It will be hard to not get my bedtime snuggles. (My one fear when it comes to weaning... I don't want to lose my morning snuggles!!)

You are figuring out new things all the time. Recently you figured out that my name is Megan, and now you love to say, "Mommy... Megan!" to demonstrate your new knowledge. I love your curiosity (though sometimes I need to remind myself of that when you ask "why" for the 10th time!), and your glee at figuring out something new. I'm trying to encourage you more and more to keep at something until you get it. I'm always willing to help, but if I let you keep trying, more often then not you get it on your own.

Time continues to fly by at an alarming rate, and I'm trying to do my best to enjoy every last second that I get with you.

Love you always,
Mama



18 months/30 months

8.15.2012

the very best birthday

What a birthday! Started yesterday with lunch out with my coworkers, then cookies from my interns, and sweet little gifts that were so me from the lovely Tally. Today: Many messages, emails, and calls. Sleeping in until almost 10am! New diamond stud earrings from Trav & Gwen to replace the one I lost. Amazon gc from family. A day spent eating sushi and touring the Eastern State Penitentiary (which I've wanted to see forever!).


And a surprise visit from my boy Apoc.
But the best part showed up earlier then that. At 12:30 in the morning to be exact:


Yup, that would be my girl Babs. Flown in from California, just to see little ole me! Psyched doesn't begin to describe my feelings!! Not to mention surprised, since the two of them managed to keep it a secret for more then 2 months! 

More from the Penitentiary:

scary!


The best part was the thunderstorm that rolled in at the end of our tour. Extra ambiance! 

Al Capone's cell!


Straight off a horror movie set! Seriously.
After the tour, we came home grabbing some Chinese on the way. Then it was time for cookie cake! 


Gwen was pretty happy for that part...
I adore getting to watch these two together!



Babs is off to see (surprise) her family for a few days, but she'll be back before she leaves.
Definitely the best birthday!!

8.14.2012

seasons

I think a lot about the seasons. Autumn, right around the corner now, is my favorite. But this post got me thinking about the other seasons we go through, the broader seasons of life. I'm sure Gwen being halfway through 2, and my birthday, have something to do with how much it hit me, but I got caught in a spiral of passing years. Amazed that its only a year until my girl starts preschool, which made me think of primary school, which makes me think that before I even know it, she'll be driving off to visit a boyfriend, and leaving us for college. I know that's all a little melodramatic, but it really is amazing how brief some seasons are. Her newborn phase felt so short (though the nights were sometimes so long). The infant staged seems long, while we were in it, but now I look back with some awe at at how quickly it flew. A little girl is blossoming before my eyes, and I wonder how fast this stage will seem once we are through it.

There are so many things I'm looking forward to. No more diapers, better communication, discussions over dinner (that last two of which we have now to a degree, but I look forward to them growing). But I know there is much I will miss. This season of nursing, of running ahead then coming back to be held, of giggles and unencumbered silliness. An unselfconscious time.

Whimsical or not, this line of thinking makes me even more focused on being the best I can be about living in the now, holding my patience, and giving Gwen the building blocks for those next seasons which are on the horizons (this post and this post both touch on that nicely).

What season are you in?

8.13.2012

Celebrating 30! {giveaway worthy of a new decade}



You may have picked up on the fact that I turn 30 this week. And that I'm really excited for it! I'm actually looking forward to saying that I'm in my 30s.

But of course, I've said all that already... so lets just get to the good stuff. Check out the raffelcopter form below for TONs of ways to win one of 4 great prizes (if you want to review, see #1, #2, #3, and #4)! And good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

8.12.2012

another lovely weekend in the books

It's Sunday evening and the babe is asleep, and I'm going to "call it" as another lovely weekend. One of those weekends where I felt like I did well as a mama. Lots of play, kept my cool, and we all had fun. Trav had a boys night out last night. We all headed to Ro & Pat's yesterday for lunch, after which he and Pat headed out to the city, and Ro & I took the girls to the pool. Gwen and I left around 5:30 or so, stopping on the way back to grab milk and some chicken for dinner. Girl didn't make it through half a drumstick before she was asking for bed! Trav was sleeping in the city, so I had a nice, quiet evening. The boys probably all thought they got the good end of the deal, but I think Ro and I were just as happy. I love my nights with Trav, I love my nights out with my girls, but there is something very rare and special about a night home alone (well, basically alone once Gwen hit the sheets).

I read and enjoyed the quiet, but was in bed early too. Gwen woke at her normal early time, but came back to bed with me and we slept in until 7:45! We read, did puzzles, went outside to go down the slide a few times, took a shower and got dressed, then ate some lunch before picking Trav and Pat up from the train station. We were only home for about 10 minutes before heading out (Gwen and I) to my Aunt and Uncle's place for my cousin's graduation/farewell party. We spent about 3 hours there, with Gwen running and playing and having a grand ole time. My Uncle had a box of noise makers that they have for New Years, and he pulled those out, much to the enjoyment of everyone under the age of... well no, really everyone! Home for dinner, and now she's asleep.

I'm going to head down now to read and relax with my boy, and probably head to bed early again... tomorrow starts a week I want to be well rested for!

Hope your weekends were great!

8.10.2012

thunderstormy days and featured fridays.

Before we begin, I just had to share that I had a nice time answering some great questions from Leah (at Crunchy Farm Baby), and now I'm on her Featured Friday! Check it out here.

**

Today is dark, relatively cool (low 80s); its been raining periodically, sometimes torrentially. And I love it. I know I was just talking about enjoying the hot summer sun while its here, but I can't help myself, I really do love dark, thunderstormy days. They make my heart pitter-patter and my mind fill with mystery.

With a quiet day ahead of me (boss is away, nothing big needs to be done today) I'm actually hoping it will stay like this. Maybe I can treat myself over lunch to a bit of reading curled up under a blanket on the couch in my office. My favorite stormy day activity, reading while listening to the rolls of thunder upset the everyday drumbeat of life.

What jostles you in a good way? 



Linking up with Just Write.

8.09.2012

Lately we've had monster scares at bedtime, but also a major rise in requests for Elmo showings (Sesame Street/Elmo's World is on at the same time that she normally heads downstairs to eat breakfast). Our mornings have also been rough again after weeks of easy ones (and no, the two didn't start at the same time). We've also been working on gently encouraging some behaviors in favor of others (asking nicely vs. whining, being allowed to ask for one or the other of us to do something with her but not allowed to change her mind multiple times during the course of a diaper change!, etc). Its slow going and requires some patience. Just like every other part of raising a child, I suppose?!

Work is busy too, with one of my coworkers away for 2+ weeks. Thankfully August is our quietest month, but its still more hectic when you're trying to make up for someone else's absence.

I've been wishing for fall and looking forward... but just realized the other night that it really is creeping upon us ever sooner. My runs that were occurring just as the sun was getting ready to set, so I was able to get them in by twilight, are now happening in the fading twilight and end when it is dark. I'm wondering if adjustments are going to need to be made towards the end of fall and into winter. I don't mind running in the dark completely, thought it does add a new element of caution. If we end up with a winter as mild as last year I might not have to worry about weather keeping me inside either. Guess I'll just have to wait and see as the time comes. For now though, I'm going to make a more concerted effort to enjoy the daylight (hot as it may be) I'll be missing in just a few short months!

8.08.2012

wordless wednesday {a rainbow colored, meatless meal}


Our favorite spinach salad, strawberries, and my first time making yellow squash (mmm, so tasty). Didn't miss the meat one bit!

8.07.2012

Ahnu Shoes {review and early giveaway entries}

This is the fourth and final sponsor spotlight in my series of reviews of the amazing sponsors for my upcoming A New Decade! giveaway. Check them out to learn about some great companies, and earn extra entries for the giveaway!

***


I have love Ahnu shoes for a while now. Let's just say that when they agreed to come on as a sponsor for my giveaway event, I may have done a little dance around my office.

See, I'm not a high heels kind of girl... I own one pair that I break out for VERY special occasions, but otherwise I want shoes that can go from sitting at my desk at work, to pounding the pavement as I run errands all over Center City... and that last. I also want products that respect nature. Well, I found Ahnu, and specifically their Benicia IIs (which they don't make anymore, unfortunately), and almost 2 years later, I'm still 100% thrilled with them. Love, love, love.

The ladies who created these shoes did so specifically for people who want to be outside, and want to be moving. These shoes are made to be comfortable hiking trails, pounding pavement, or just walking on the beach. They have tons of styles, great colors, and are made to work with your foot's natural biomechanics. They also work to keep their factory standards high, and use post-consumer recycled materials (read more about it here), and give back to a number of charities (including Conservation Alliance, Breast Cancer Fund, and Team Farsight, just to name a few).

Ahnu was awesome enough to provide me with a pair of their Montara boots. I have a great everyday shoe, snow boots, running shoes, and sandals galore, but not good hiking boots. With our camping trip coming up, and the monthly work I've been doing at Ridley Creek, I've been wanting a good pair of hiking boots, and I definitely found them.

They are sturdy, but super light weight, with awesome Vibram soles! They also have this great layer inside that encourages airflow to keep your feet cool, while still being waterproof. 


It definitely worked as I wore then to do my trail clean up in 90* weather, and my feet were probably the only part of me that wasn't hot and sweaty!


Plus, the break-in time on these is practically nil, and they are comfortable from moment one.


Even though I just got this pair, and I already own another pair, I'm STILL jealous that someone else gets a new pair of Ahnus!


Connect with Ahnu on facebook.

BUY:  You can purchase your own Ahnu shoes on their website (or use it to find one of the many places Ahnu shoes are sold), here.

WIN: Come back August 13th to enter for a chance to win a pair of Ahnu shoes of your own, winners choice of style! But comment on this post now for extra entries!


Disclaimer: Ahnu provided me with a pair of shoes for review, free of charge, and are providing a pair to the prize winner in my giveaway event. No other compensation was provided, and all options expressed here are my true options of the shoes.