19 February 2014

A Sister

Last week I announced the arrival of J's brother, and this week we are even more thrilled to announce that a little sister will be arriving this July!! (A real sister, not a plastic turtle.)

I had big plans for announcing the gender of our little baby. Then life happened, as it always does, and we resorted to plan b. I'm almost ashamed to call this an idea at all.

Let's tie a colored balloon to our toddler and let him run around while we take pictures of him! Creative right? Turns out this is not simple when you go the day after Valentine's and everyone is out of pink balloons. I found one.

Although we kept it low key and quite unimpressive, I loved the afternoon walking around with my boys at Lake Las Vegas.

We are all so so so excited that a little girl will be joining our family! I am especially relieved because my mommy senses told me it was a girl (and so I shared when people asked) and that would have been so embarrassing if I was wrong.

Did I mention how adorable it sounds when J says, "baby sister"?

17 February 2014

Toddler Truths

In celebration of my favorite two-year-old (today is the big day!), I'm sharing a few of my favorite hilarious J comments.

Watching the bath water go down the drain:
J: Bye water.
J: Have fun!

As I was driving, frustrated and lost in a parking lot on UNLV campus:
Jessica: Oh gosh!
J: Oh gosh!!
Jessica: J, you shouldn't use mommy's language.
J: Mommy's language! Oh gosh.

Loading the dryer with wet towels:
Jessica: Wow J! You are so strong.
J: My body is amazing.

I was unloading the dishwasher before breakfast, Joseph walks into J's room:
J: What's mommy doing?
Joseph: What is mommy doing J?
J: Um....making collard greens.
Joseph: For breakfast?
J: Mommy making collard greens for breakfast!

Later the same day, just before lunch:
Jessica: J, what do you want for lunch today? Do you want a sandwich or leftover soup?
J: Collard greens!
[What child is this excited about collard greens?]

J playing alone in his room (where he CANNOT see me):
J: I see you mommy.
J: I'll find you mommy.

The dinner table, grocery store, church, on a walk, etc. 
(He's referencing this traumatic experience from over a month ago.):
J: What'd mommy do?
[shocked look on his face, answering his own question]
J: Mommy spit out the pineapple on the ground in the mountains!
[Although I don't love being constantly reminded of my terrible mistake, I am proud that he can put together such a long sentence!]

After a successful day of potty training, while enjoying an ice cream cone:
Joseph: J is that delicious?
J: No. Ice cream cone.

Joseph comes home during lunch:
Joseph: Oh yum J! Is that jelly on your sandwich?
J: No. Jam.

At breakfast:
Joseph: J, is mommy nice?
J: No. Jessica beautiful! 

As you can tell, J is going to be a very sassy and know-it-all two-year old.

14 February 2014


This week J accompanied me to my 20-week check-up. (Halfway!) He was so relieved when I told him that it was mommy's doctor and he would not be touched or poked. As soon as I'd convinced him, he spent the rest of the visit smiling and flirting with the nurses.

On this visit J listened as the doctor found our baby's heart beat. When we later picked Joseph up from school, J told him about the heart that went, "blump blump blump."

Today I pulled out colored paper, sparkly heart cutouts, and stickers with the intention of making Valentines for his mailbox.

J was much more interested in deconstructing the watercolors. Popping the colors in and out and then telling me they were boats. His focused intensity with his serious eyebrows kill me every. time.

I guess what I'm trying to say is... if you were expecting a Valentine from J this year you should forget it. Turns out he has way more important things to do. Like trying to eat the watercolors when he thinks mom isn't looking...

Happy Valentine's Day!

12 February 2014

Cilantro Lime Chicken Salad

Back in October I was really excited about food photography. I can't remember where it came from exactly but I couldn't get enough. I had so much fun sharing some of our favorite family recipes while learning how to use light, props, and my camera to make tasty looking images.

And then I got pregnant (yay!), but then I got morning sickness (boo!). Suddenly just thinking about eating food, let alone making and styling food, make me physically sick.

Thankfully morning sickness was just a phase and now we are on to happier (and tastier) times in the second trimester. Bring on the food.

I told Joseph recently that I would eat this for lunch everyday if I could. And from a girl who has always had a mild aversion to chicken salad sandwiches, you know this has to be something special.

I love to eat this all summer for dinner when my oven is forbidden to turn on. And during the winter when I need a break from soups and casseroles. And always, I would eat this always.

PS: These pictures can't do it justice. Chicken salad should be added to the list of most difficult foods to photograph.

Cilantro Lime Chicken Salad

2 cups shredded or chopped chicken (I've also used canned salmon)
1/2 cup halved grapes, green or red
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup snipped cilantro
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
2 limes
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. In a medium bowl combine chicken, grapes, celery, cilantro and green onions. Zest the limes straight into the bowl. Add the juice from 1 1/2 limes into the bowl. 

(Save the other half of the lime in case you need more lime flavor in the end.)

2. Make the dressing by combining the mayonnaise and salt in a small bowl, mix together until smooth. Start by adding half the dressing to the salad. Stir until combined. 

Add more dressing, if needed, until everything is moistened and well mixed. ( I almost always end up with leftover dressing, I just don't care for mayonnaise that much.)

3. Cover and chill for at least an hour. Taste and add more lime juice if necessary. Serve on bread to make a sandwich. 

(We always toast our bread before making a sandwich. This prevents the bread from getting soggy.)

10 February 2014

DIY Toddler Mailbox

As an early childhood education major, I worked played in a two-year-old preschool classroom for five weeks for college credit. (I also took a children's literature class where it was my homework to read hundreds of children's picture and chapter books over the semester. Love my major!)

As J is turning two in a few weeks, I have been thinking a lot about the activities we did in the preschool with our small students. Some things I'm not quite brave enough to do yet, like letting J crack raw eggs to make pancakes! 

But other things are so completely perfect that I can't help but give it a try. Like make J an adorable mailbox so we can play "mailman". And even better, Valentine's Day is this week so we can write pretend (or real) love notes to the ones we love. (Like Daddy or the stuffed dog, Broderick).

When making a project for J to play with it has to be easy and free. I've learned that toddlers really don't care how much you spent on supplies or the time you took to make it look cute. I have to keep it simple and cheap so when J destroys plays with it I won't be too emotionally attached. 

- empty oatmeal container with lid (a 32 oz yogurt container would work too)
- brown paper bag, or wrapping papper
- scissors
- ruler
- glue / double-sided tape
- envelopes or pretend mail 

This simple project really only has two steps, and both will vary depending on the size and shape of the container you choose.

First, you need to cut a mail slot in the lid of your container. Measure the width of the mail/envelopes you will be using, adding a little extra space for the letter to push through smoothly. My envelope was 4-inches wide so I drew and then cut a 4 1/4-inch by 1/2-inch rectangle in the center of my lid.

Second, you need to cover your container with the paper or wrapping paper of your choice. Measure the height of your container. Without wanting to calculate the circumference of the container, I just cut my paper bag open so it was laying flat. 

Then I just taped it in place, rolled it along the paper and cut it when I had an inch overlap. Glue or tape the paper around the container, making sure to secure at the top and bottom.

And then you are finished! Now you (and your helper) can decorate however you want. Because I wanted it to be a mailbox to use all year, I placed heart shape post-it notes that can be removed when Valentine's Day is over.

Oh what's that? J already removed them... of course he did.

05 February 2014

A Brother

A little friend was added to our family this week. 

This little friend cost a quarter from one of those "try and pick up something that is either too big or too small for the claw to grasp in ten seconds" kind of games. 

Turns out my husband has master skills and snatched this little white turtle up for J in just one try. Obviously it was meant to be.

The whole way home J was beaming and talking about his little sea turtle. When we got home, J placed the turtle in the grass so he could eat.

We then talked about how sea turtles like to go swimming. I found J's bug mansion from his bug TogetherBox and put some water in the bottom.

This was our following conversation-
Jessica: J, what is your turtle's name?
J: Hm... butter.
Jessica: Butter?

At this point I was left speechless because of pure adorableness. We have talked about how J will have a little brother or sister in a few months, but I guess he was tired of waiting.

And so we did what you should do with all brothers, we played at the park all morning. J was very insistent that they take turns going down the slide and swinging. And here I am continuing to die from this touching mommy moment.

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