LL goes to the pool

Another first timer! I didn’t have time to tell about this prior to Whitt-boy coming so here it is now…

I had been water walking up the lazy river with another expecting mama at the aquatic center and finally got the opportunity to take Linners along for the first (and last) time :)

She was very much looking forward to going and LOVED it!

20120912-142342.jpg
I was maybe slightly concerned that her adventurous spirit would get her in trouble, but she bravely climbed the stairs next to the giant bucket waterfall ‘thing’ with momma’s help and away we went! A successful first time pool outing. I have a feeling this is this easiest a pool outing with babes is ever going to be ever again.

20120912-143354.jpg

June getaway | Sarasota

A few months ago, Tad and I decided that it’d be a good, fun and beneficial thing to get a way just the two of us, post-nursing Linley and pre-baby ‘a’ #2. So we did some research booked two flights and made our way down to Sarasota, FL. (For those of you Iowans looking for the cost effective way to do this: fly Allegiant into a nearby city, rent a car if you’ll be doing that anyhow, drive to your destination and save $.)

Tad has gotten into the habit of always asking the front desk for free room upgrades, so that we did and this is what we got!

We were a little weary of bad weather during our 2 day stay on the beach (it was my first time away from LL, so leaving Thursday morning and returning early Sunday morning for a 2 day stay was just right). The forecast was about 70% chance of rain or higher the entirety of our stay, but we resolved that if it rained, we would just go play in it!

We arrived at our destination before dinner so we were able to walk around a bit and found a place to fill our bellies. Dining outdoors when the weather is lovely is probably one of the most enjoyable things to us, so of course we opted for outdoor seating, despite the discount they offered for indoor seating. But no sooner did we start our bread and soup did the rain come’a pourin’! Can you see the splashes on the ground in the image below? We were getting wet at a table across the walk and moved to this one.

*Side Note: the dish seen on the table was the most delicious gazpacho I’ve tasted!

20120613-094317.jpg

Praise the Lord, though, that before we were finished with our dinner, the rain went away, and we were able to enjoy an evening walk on a nearby beach.

20120613-094549.jpg20120613-094534.jpg

Because we had a full kitchen and balcony to enjoy at our room, we decided to head to the downtown Sarasota Whole Foods and pick up some snacks and breakfast items to enjoy for the morning.

The cherries were so delicious – so pricey – and so delicious!

20120613-094619.jpg

For breakfast the next morning we opted for vanilla yogurt with granola and OJ with the birdies serenading us. (We watched a bird couple build their nest just a few yards away.)

20120613-094631.jpg

Oh, yes – coffee.

20120613-094726.jpg

Despite the NINETY PERCENT chance of rain that day, it was sunny and warm at 9am, so we made the most of the morning and headed to the beach. This is the entrance side of our room looking out to Long Boat Key.

20120613-094744.jpg

And this is us in our foolishness blissful ignorance – because even between the hours of 9 and 11am in the Florida sun is enough to be fried. But it was so pleasant while we didn’t realize the damage being done. We both read while listening to the ocean. We soaked in the water and enjoyed the waves. It was lovely.

20120613-094824.jpg

And then we began to realize. So we breaked for lunch. (still not ONE sign of rain!)

20120613-094853.jpg

After realizing just how badly burned our skin truly was, we decided it’d be wise to go get some sunscreen (we should not have assumed!), aloe, and black tea to soak in – we had heard that it was good for burns.

So we brewed a handful of bags and carefully applied it liberally. I’m not really sure just how much it helped, but at least we tried. Perhaps soaking in a bath of it would have been best.

Despite our pain, we were still able to enjoy a sweet night out with surprise company – friends from home! We found out that we’d be vacationing just a few miles apart and our time would be overlapping so why not make a double date of an evening?

20120613-101216.jpg

We went to a fun tapas bar called Ceviche in downtown Sarasota and enjoyed dinner and conversation before returning to our homes. Oh, and THEN the 90% of rain became more of a reality when we left the restaurant to this. Tad was offered an umbrella by one of the waiters and ran to provide us with curbside pickup!

Afterwords, I was remembering how I only had a handful of photos of LL in utero, so Tad snapped a few quick ones. Thank you to my friend Lindsey for providing me with a dress to wear that night.

20120613-101222.jpg

Needless to say, we did NOT soak out in the sun day two and last day on the beach. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t enjoy it! We drove over to Siesta Key beach to go for a walk and enjoy the less ‘shelly’ sand in our toes – tshirst + pants! – before grabbing lunch and a cabana at the beach at the resort where we stayed.

20120613-101113.jpg

I had to take a picture of the purple/blue flag up when we came back to Long Boat Key. On the way down a little boy stopped us and said, ‘hey, there’s a shark down there.’ Tad’s response, ‘hey, cool!’ :) Not minutes after, however, people began returning to the water and enjoyed the afternoon.

20120613-100941.jpg

And so did we. But we spent most of our time covered, reading under the cabana, and limited our time in the water and in the open rays to about 20 minutes WITH sunscreen. Even though Long Boat Key beach is much more shelly and the beach is more rough, it’s also much less populated and therefore more peaceful. Not to mention, Tad found a souvenir as we were exiting the water.

20120613-101103.jpg

All the shells washed ashore:

20120613-101138.jpg

Let me just take a moment to confess just one of the many reasons why I love Tad. He is a planner and thinks of things that I, well, I do not. One reason we only had two nights in Sarasota was because he knew that our flight was leaving early and that we’d still have an hour or so drive back to St. Petersburg where we flew in to. So instead of sleeping there one more night, we booked a hotel in St. Petersburg near the airport and enjoyed an evening out there. We parked downtown, enjoyed a meal (you guessed it – out doors! In fact, I don’t think we ate inside once on our trip!) and then guess what we did?! We went to a MOVIE! Something we almost never do at home. Dinner AND a movie is just too long of a date to have someone stay at our place to babysit, so we usually opt for the dinner or dessert portion and skip a movie/other entertainment altogether. Not this night though! We went for it!

Tad at ‘Muvico’ downtown St. Petersburg.

20120613-101240.jpg

Tad being fun and my red face before seeing the Hunger Games.

20120613-101250.jpg

We then packed our bags so they were ready for the morning, rested for a few hours, boarded the plane and flew home.

It was a lovely – well worth it – weekend June getaway, and I’m looking forward to more of these shorties. It was just the right amount of time, as we were (I was especially) ready to return home to the little babe. I had heard awful stories of feelings of abandonment when parents left for a few days, so I was a bit anxious. But LL acted as though we’d been gone for an hour and was just as happy as could be! She even saved a surprise for us until we returned home!

Too bad she’s struttin’ around in her dipe, but we’ll take it. Just one day shy of 14 months! Way to go Little Lady! Welcome home to us!

celebrating christmas twenty-eleven.

Tad, Linley, and I celebrated with three different groups of people. My mom and step-dad (celebration 1), my dad and step-mom (celebration 2), and Tad’s parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. (celebration 3). Here we go!!

CELEBRATION ONE:

First, there’s Gus. He’s the horse seen below. When we first arrived, Linley started SCREAMING after just looking at him! She didn’t know what to make of the rowdy, ‘i’m so big but think i’m a small puppy’ dog. Needless to say she took after cousin Maggie’s outlook (below with her daddy – my big brother) and by the end of the night was okay with him licking her face (not by request).

Then we celebrated with gifts and even had special helpers to pass them out.

I made Linley little booties to where… can you see them? They were so sooo simple: felt and yarn. This is Aunt Dani hangin with the LL:

She had fun and as usual put everything in her mouth. The doll in the middle right image, was made by grandmomma marty. 

Hey Papa Chan!

A ring for Momma from my brother and sister-in-law found on Etsy:

gmomma and the two girls – LL had already changed into her jams (a theme throughout). Maggie is saying, ‘bye-bye’!!

CELEBRATION NIGHT TWO: Friday before Christmas at my Dad and step-Mom’s:

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY! Linley got this sweet top and turtle neck for my shower before she was born from a sweet friend and it was perfect for today. Doesn’t she look like she’s off to a holiday party?

Gifts gifts galore! and practice with paper.

SO MUCH FUN!

oops. same picture twice.. see it?!

okay, the SWEET poncho knit baby cape beauty was made by my ever-so-talented-sister-in-law, Nichole. She is a machine! If I had the link ready for our Etsy store, you could purchase there and get your own goodies. Both the sweater she is wearing herself and Linley’s brand new cape (which you’ll see her wearing again Christmas day) were hand knit by her. Nicely done sister!

One of my very favorite gifts that we gave this year was to my dad. (it was my favorite because I knew he’d love it so much). It was a Melodica. We attended a concert with them a number of weeks ago where he saw it and was very interested in it. He’s a SUPERSTAR when it comes to ANY musical instrument and is VERY gifted. Don’t be shy, Dad. We who have heard/seen you pick up an instrument and just ‘figure it out’ ALL know it’s true.

And I can’t leave out these two buddies. They were having lots of fun together:

But so much fun wears a girl out, and when this happens, you know it’s about time to say goodnight.

On to CELEBRATION NUMERO 3: Off to Omaha immediately following Christmas at my dad’s. (Saves driving the hour+ home then making the trek again the next day). However it also meant lots of sadness in the back seat. :(

Christmas Eve day, the happiness returns! Linley and Grandpa Thom reading the newspaper together.

We went to the Christmas Eve service at Tad’s family’s church in Omaha (Thank you Grandma Michelle for the lovely red dress!) followed by dinner, traditionally chicken sandies, rice pudding, and treats:

Because all of the little ladies were wearing their best, we thought it’d be good to have them sit nicely together and pose for a nice Christmas picture. Below are our attempts (not too bad… you know):

In hopes of not having an over-tired, emotional babe, we attempted to put Linley to sleep in a pack N play we had brought with. ‘Attempted’. And failed. So we just partied and hoped for the best!

We again gathered ’round to celebrate by exchanging gifts (blessed-blessed-blessed! – but not as blessed as the reason why we exchange gifts in the first place – to represent the BEST gift given, EVERY year – His name is Jesus. He’s God. Know the Story?):

I really wish I could say what was going on here. Suggestions anyone?

Linley’s oldest cousin was trying out her new wings! I’m not sure why she seems so unpleased in this photo. She was really very excited about it…I think!

Linley, too, had fun practicing her climbing skills on the boxes. But little did she know there was a little (bit bigger) someone on the move behind her. Her other cousin, Addi! So LL got plowed by the bigger baby.

She didn’t mind, though, as you can see below, she went right back after her. I feel like these are WAY better little lady photos than the ones we attempted earlier :) They always are!

Finally it was time to say goodnight, so we packed up and headed home to Grandpa and Grandma Asay’s placey. Linley just deliriously stared out the window, would close her eyes, then throw her head back and whip her eyes wide open again (exhaustion setting in.) Praise the Lord though, she didn’t have too much trouble falling asleep once we put her in the crib.

CHRISTMAS DAY we enjoyed lunch, games, and dinner together at Tad’s other Aunt and Uncle’s home. Linley was having fun playing with toys and her (2nd?) cousin Molly.

She was getting sleepy and ready for a nap, but I knew if I waited, the light would be gone and we’d miss a good opportunity for photos, so we put Linley’s lovely new cape on and away we went!  – However, when she’s sleepy and you set her down somewhere without joining her, she seems to become very troubled, so we did our best to cheer her. It worked! I thought she looked like a little peddler boy (girl) with her leggings riding up like that (thanks gma marty!)

With the light right there and our cameras out, I asked cousin Molly to snap of few of the three of us (as this is unfortunately a rare event), so THANKS Molly!

And then Granda Michelle and I headed back home for a quick nap and returned for more family fun. What a weekend!

I thought we took LOTS of photos (and we did) but after sorting through all of these, I realized that we really need to do a better job of taking pictures WITH grandparents! Something I missed this year. Even still it was a great first Christmas celebrating with a Little Lady!

Thank you Thank you everyone for sharing time, resources, love, and gifts with us! MERRY CHRISTMAS… and now, HAPPY TWENTY-TWELVE!

What can I say, we like pisa.

Tad and I hosted some friends for dinner tonight, one of which isn’t a HUGE fan of green veggies. I had some asparagus to use up before the weekend and I didn’t want to make a casserole or pasta dish, so what do you go for that serves a few that is not too complicated? Pizza! (we’ve been making it a lot it seems! Or maybe I just like writing about it).

I love being creative with my toppings and because I really wanted to use up the asparagus, I looked up a few different recipes and blended them together with the ingredients we had for one pizza, and used turkey pepperonis to top the other.

20111122-213725.jpg

20111122-213741.jpg

We found a recipe that called for a basil pesto for the base sauce, and chicken, asparagus, and roasted red peppers, to top.

I appreciate that my husband is such a help in the kitchen (and nearly everywhere else for that matter!)

20111122-214028.jpg

This is per-peppers and cheese, but it was super tasty! I used the same crust as in other pizzas we’ve made, but spread the roni crust more thin…it was crunchy.

20111122-214307.jpg

I didn’t photograph the dessert portion, but I made a chocolate moose, which I had been wanting to make again for a while now. I’ve been using a recipe from epicurious, which I really like. I can link it later.

All in all, enjoyable precursor to a thanksgiving feast:) and we sure are thankful for some GOOD food! (Just wetting our appetites for THE feast, and who can describe how awesome THAT will be?! Some day. Some day.)

Okay, here is the remnant:

20111122-220303.jpg

Owen + Linley

Often when we get cabin fever, or just need to taste the breeze, we’ll head out for a stroll around the neighborhood, and this Friday brought us to a fun bit of afternoon at the Scott residence, some of our good friends who live a few blocks from us. They recently adopted two littles from Africa (the youngest to be arriving in less than two weeks now!) Four year old, Owen, the oldest and first to arrive, is SUCH a joy! He’s one of the best things that has come out of Africa and now lives just a few blocks away thanks to his parents! It’s clear that Owen + Linley are friends.

check out those feet!

This is how sweet Owen is. He and his mom, Maria, brought us fresh flowers a couple of weeks ago – PER OWEN’S REQUEST:

What a sweetie.

Just a couple of fun – very fun – facts stemming from Owen: There are over 15 families from our church alone currently in the adoption process to bring home orphaned children from the same country in Africa. How awesome is it that 1. these little sweets are being brought into families who want and love them 2. that they are going to have a HUGE community of other adopted African kids to grow with!? If you’d like to explore what can be a looong journey to bringing home adopted children, visit THIS BLOG.  Our friends, Jen and Jason, are adopting 3 African kids from the same country as Owen into their family, two girls and a boy, and they have kept a very detailed log of their journey. You’ll find an abundant amount of information there.

Who knows, perhaps in the near future, the Asay Placey will include some little black babies… or red or yellow babies!