Friday, December 30, 2011

Pike Place Market, Seattle

Cody is enjoying the added warmth from the Ergo Baby.

The fam on one of the prettiest corners.

Drinking a caramel macchiato from the original Starbucks!

We went back to Pike Place Market today, so I snapped a few shots. Unfortunately my camera battery died, which almost never happens. Oh today of all days...

Although I can't claim to have seen much of Seattle, I think the market might be my favorite place. The Polish Pottery Place, the dried flower bouquet stand that stretches on forever, a shop with Pacific Northwest Native American Art, and of course, fisherman sweaters, seagulls flying overhead, and the spectacular ocean view, are just a few of my favorite things. I love the atmosphere of the market, and the jokes workers at the produce stand throw around. Q. How much does a pirate pay for an ear of corn?*

I am most certainly enjoying the mix of art, sea-life, bluegrass, temperate weather, and mountain terrain that Seattle offers. Have you visited? Where are you vacationing next?

*A. A buccaneer!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas | The Family Photos

Sorry, no more Seattle photos yet. I've been ridiculous and have completely forgotten to take my camera with me both days we've been here. Epic fail. So to tide you over, here are some family Christmas photos. Strecker family pic, compliments of Papa Strecker.

Christmas | The two best gifts

This Christmas brought me an Ergo Baby carrier from my mom and dad, and a week in Seattle from Cody's parents. (Did the complete awesomeness of that sentence make you fall over?!) Pike Place Market, baby! We're having a great time, hence the silence around these parts lately. I hope you enjoyed a beautiful Christmas and are enjoying time with your families! More updates to come soon.

P.S. If you're three months preggo, don't try to carry your 19 mo. baby in the forward-facing position. It made me so light-headed with his big bottom sitting on my stomach. Sometimes I forget that I'm pregnant...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, 
But the fire is so delightful.

Seb has learned to help build fires around here. He's such a big man now and has learned so many new things this week. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas! How blessed we are that our savior came to this earth as a little baby.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Seb | Grandpa's hat

Just a glimpse of the complete wonderfulness of being home.

Little One | Fairytale

Don't you think that all little girls should look like they stepped out of a fairytale? But not in a fake, cutesy way, or in a "I'm trying to live in the past" kind of way, either.

I feel like we dress our little ones too much like teenagers. Our boys look too much like rockstars, and our girls look too much like ballerinas or prima donnas.

Which makes me wonder, how should little boys be dressed? I tend to stick with stripes and solids, and simple pants and shoes. But really, I love little wool sweaters, and anything made of natural fabrics with interesting textures and rich or soothing colors. Maybe I'm simply drawn to the timelessness and innocence of simple fabrics, textures and colors.

How will you, or do you, prefer to dress your children?

yellow pixie hat / cape photo
both via

Friday, December 16, 2011

Home | Heading North & Being North

We were supposed to leave at 4 this morning, but after hearing our alarm go off at 3:30, I suggested that we aim to leave at 5 instead. Poor Cody is still recovering from far to many all-nighters. We finally got on the road at around 5:30, walking out into the 60 degree darkness to get to our car. Sebastian in nothing more than his dinosaur footie pajamas. During our long drive, filled with laughs, flaring tempers, and droopy lids I began to think of all the things that I love about being North, and what I am looking forward to during this trip. We hadn't seen family since October, and Seb has changed so much.

Oh, and before my little list, here's a video of Sebastian as the sun was coming up through the mountains of Virginia. What a gorgeous morning. The music is Genesis 1, by Folk Psalm.

Watching the faces of our family members as they see Seb again. And of course seeing Seb interact with his aunts, uncles, and grandparents after so long. I love that he knows them even though he doesn't see them very often. It's also funny how comfortable he is with my mom, and I have to think it's because she and I talk the same way, have the same intonations in our voice, and call him the same silly names. It's true, you will be your mother some day. Seb is also completely intrigued by my dad. I can't wait to see them working outside together. We see Cody's parents tomorrow (we talk to them on Facetime frequently), and I feel that if Seb could talk, he would say, "Hey! Why don't you guys ever take the ball I try to give you through the computer!?" And maybe Paw Paw will show Seb the Motorcycle...? Tomorrow is going to be fun.

Sneaky Steps. Okay, I hadn't thought of this one before tonight, but my little sister Joanna noticed it and can't get enough. Seb has this silly walk where he kind of bends at the knees and then scoots his feet along the floor. We call him Mr. Sneaky Steps when he does it.

The chance for Seb to learn new words. He has a few... Bird, Bath, Dog, and Ball. All of which sound like "Baw." And the only one that he will say on-demand, if you will, is ball. He loves anything shaped remotely like a ball. Show him a Christmas tree, and he will point out each ball individually, and have to say the word for each one. I love this, but I do so want him to learn a few more.

Food! Okay, this was a given. It is Christmas, after all. However, I am going to try to enjoy all the Christmas treats with moderation. I gained 5.5 lbs. last month, and am pretty sure that it would be very bad to repeat that this month... I need my new jeans—my awesome jeans—to fit me through this entire pregnancy. More on the complete fabulousness of this pair coming soon.

The chance to have help with Seb, and for Cody to get good rest. He shared with me some of the things that he wants to do over break, and I'm glad we'll have a slower schedule so that he can do a few things that he enjoys, and never has time for. Did I mention that he finished his first semester of Div school with an incredible 19 page paper? That's right. I read it, and understood it, and thought it was awesome. Oh and it will be so nice to have a little company above the age of 18 months for a couple weeks. Although I do just love my little man. How are his cheeks still so edible!?

What are you looking forward to this week before Christmas?

P.S. This evening I'm linking up, albeit a little late, with E Tells Tales. I love E's blog, and think her weekly Ten Little Ivie Things is the most darling idea. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas | Let's hear it for the Films

As promised, albeit a little late...

Best for Tree Decorating/Crafting:
White Christmas
Holiday Inn
Best Tear Jerkers/Romances:
It’s a Wonderful Life
While You Were Sleeping
Best for a Laugh:
Grumpy Old Men
Grumpier Old Men

Bet you never knew While You Were Sleeping and the Grumpy Old Men movies were Christmas movies. Well, they are; a recent happy discovery of mine.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pregnant | "Baby needs protein!"

I had my 2nd prenatal appointment on Tuesday and I talked with the midwife about my weight and nutrition concerns. It is so amazing to be able to sit down with someone and talk about how to gain only the healthy and necessary weight, and also what I should pay closer attention to in my diet.

We went through the list of things that I ate and drank the day before, and she noticed that I probably didn't have enough protein in my diet. We don't eat much meat, so this wasn't surprising to me, but did you know that you need 3 servings the size of a deck of cards of protein each day? She suggested that I try introducing more beans and nuts. I love trail mix, so honey, I'm there. I also plan to be more dilligent about making hard boiled eggs. I love eating them plain, and it's such a good, quick snack that's packed with protein. We're going to be traveling early Friday morning, so in an effort to get some protein-filled snacks for the road, I bought a nut and cranberry trail mix and some summer sausage. Okay, probs not the lowest calorie way to get protein, but hey! It's for the road, and road snacks are rarely that healthy. I don't actually plan on getting my daily protein from a brick of sausage.

So my new mantra is "Baby needs protein!" Cody just laughs.

I also confided in her that I have a serious problem saying no to sweet things, especially hot chocolate these days. This was her brilliant no-calorie replacement idea:

Favorite Herbal Tea
Fat-free half and half

It gives you a warm, sweet, creamy drink without the calories! I can't wait to try it. Since I didn't have the Stevia or half and half, I got home and made a cup of black tea with a little milk. Definitely the next best thing.

Do you have any low-to-no calorie snack ideas?

P.S. I also found out that if you're a back sleeper, you can keep sleeping on your back so long as it's not uncomfortable, and then when it becomes uncomfortable, all you need to do is prop a pillow under your left hip to put you at a tilt. Praise the Lord! I am going to sleep so much better this time around.

Husband | Mustard socks

This guy was not the first to sport the mustard sock...

 This guy probs set the trend

In this film

You know the scene where Phil pretends to break his leg so General Waverly will stay away from the Ed Harrison show? Well, he's wearing these fabulous mustard colored socks, and I want them for Cody. Now, off to hunt for a pair. Wish me luck!

P.S. Speaking of Christmas movies, stay tuned for my list of favorites tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pregnant | Baby #2

In case you haven't heard, baby no. 2 is on the way!

June 20th, 2012

Sunday, December 11, 2011

DIY | Gift wrapping

How do you approach gift wrapping? I am an obsessive compulsive packaging/ribbon/wrapping/box hoarder saver, so I always have a huge stash of things to work with. Usually, however, I still buy a few rolls of wrapping paper. This year my goal is to work solely with what I have, and make it look lovely. It's amazing how much money can fly out the window over stuff like wrapping paper, bows, and gift tags.

This is what I'm using:

Trader Joe's Bag Gift Tags (Hello! This is not a sacrifice!)
Brown packaging paper
Hemp Twine
Leftover wrapping paper

I also never have any tape on hand, so I'm trying to close my packages up with string. I figure tape hasn't been in existence forever, so at some point people survived without it!

My biggest challenge right now is figuring out how to make this big plain Amazon box not look totally cheaptastic since I don't have a large enough piece of paper or fabric to wrap it in... (don't worry, dad, I'm not done yet!!). I'm thinking paper stars glued all over it...? Hmm, this could end in disaster.

Do you have any gift wrapping secrets?

If I were to buy a few packaging supplies, I would get baker's twine, paper doilies, and a roll of brown packaging paper from an office supply store, just to class spice things up a bit.

P.S. Some more ideas for keeping your packaging simple and eco-friendly.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Seb | Just another day in Paradise: Marshmallow Eating & Rain Watching

There has been a light, constant drizzle this afternoon, but just a few minutes ago, it turned into a heavy rain. Seb had been sitting on the couch, but as soon as he heard the sound coming through the screen, he jumped up, spilled all his marshmallows, and hurried to the sliding door. I gathered the marshmallows (10 second rule) and put them back in his bowl, and let him sit down in front of the door so he could watch the rain. It was such a sweet sight. He quietly sat there, dumped his marshmallows out again (this time on purpose), and munched away. 

I didn't think I would like facing a parking lot, but it's turned out to be so nice. There is always something going on, people coming and going, car alarms going off, and garbage trucks coming to empty the dumpsters. It's a toddler boy's paradise.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Food | Spicy Gingerbread Cookies

These are the absolute best gingerbread cookies.

Do you have any new recipes to try for the Christmas season?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Home | A Homemade Christmas

I should really be working on some Christmas cards right now while Cody and Seb are napping, but instead I'm blogging, because I've been itching to share our humble Christmas decorations with you.

These decorations are my favorite, even though they're much more simple than we've ever had in the past. When I opened our bin of Christmas decorations, none of our lights worked, and I realized that beyond a wreath, a bag of red potpourri, and our Christmas ornaments, we had nothing. After buying a few strands of lights, I got to work trying to liven the place up with some homemade decorations. I love that I spent absolutely nothing on these decorations, but find them to be the most pleasant and homey. In the first picture, you can see our Trader Joe's paper bag chain (they have templates on their bags! I'm so glad we forgot our reusable bags that week!). My biggest triumph was the homemade garland for our big dining nook wall. I used fabric scraps, and Gold ornaments that we couldn't fit on our little tree. And last but not least, the most insignificant of details, but also my favorite, this little flag that say "O Holy Night." I've had that stamp for several years, and used some leftover Trader Joe's bag. The stick is from the front yard!

This tradition of homemade decor is definitely something I am going to keep up with. I can't wait until Seb can lend a helping hand!

Have you decorated?

If you haven't yet, check out Nat the Fat Rat's Christmas tree series! It's so fun to see what some of your favorite bloggers like to do with their Christmas decorations. How do you decorate your tree?

No matter what our Christmas tree looks like, this guy will always make an appearance. My older sister has Jack. I found out a couple years ago that they are McDonald's Happy Meal ornaments from 1987. Probably the only reason to like McDonald's! Haha.