go cyclones!

Dec 31, 2009



Iowa State Cyclones vs. University of Minnesota Gophers
Today: 4 pm
ASU Stadium; Tempe, AZ

I bet you can't guess who we're cheering for!


(Thanks Uncle Erik and Aunt Amy for the ISU jumper!)


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christmas wish...

Dec 30, 2009

hoping your christmas was full of laughter & love…that you were surrrounded by friends & family & all the loveliest gifts that don’t cost a thing…and that your belly is as full as your heart…merry (belated) christmas…xoxo

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our Christmas card

Dec 23, 2009


Designed by iDesign (aka: me)
Printed via Mpix

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christmas in our home

Dec 21, 2009




merry christmas - from our home to yours

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Steph's Pick - a homemade gift

Dec 18, 2009

I don't know if you're anything like me, but every year I'm racking my brain to come up with a creative gift for my coworkers and neighbors. Although, I plan to blog in the coming months about some of the other gifts I've given in past years, this year I made them Peanut Butter and Chocolate Biscotti (thanks Jess for the idea!). I found these great glass containers at Hobby Lobby (which I figured they could use again - rather than some sort of holiday tin) and made the biscotti to fit the containers.
See below for the recipe...

Ingredients
10 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 3/4 teaspoons
baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine
salt
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups
sugar
2 teaspoons pure
vanilla extract
1/2 cup smooth
natural peanut butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups dry roasted peanuts
1 1/4 cups chopped dark
chocolate or chocolate chunks (about 6 ounces)

Directions
Position racks evenly in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Melt the butter over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally. Continue to cook until the butter browns and gets a nutty aroma, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
Beat the eggs in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until light and pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugar while beating. Then slowly add the butter and vanilla until evenly mixed, about 30 seconds more. Add the peanut butter and mix until combined.
While mixing slowly, add the dry ingredients to the wet, in 2 additions, mixing just until absorbed. Fold in the peanuts and chocolate pieces.
Divide the dough evenly into thirds, and put each portion in the center of a baking sheet. Shape the dough with slightly wet hands into logs about 2-inches wide and 15 inches long. Bake until set and brown around the edges, about 25 to 30 minutes. (For even baking take care to rotate the pans-- top to bottom and front to back--about half way though.) Cool logs on the baking sheets for about 10 minutes.
Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Carefully transfer the logs to a cutting board. Cut logs crosswise, with a long serrated knife at about a 45 degree angle, into 1/2-inch thick cookies. Place cookies cut side down on the baking sheets. Bake until crisp, about 8 minutes. Flip the cookies over and bake until golden brown, about 8 minutes more. Cool biscotti on the baking sheets. Serve.


Recipe from foodnetwork.com

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so sweet - 5 months

Dec 17, 2009


Nora turned 5 months this past weekend!!! Although we don't have her typical stats I thought we'd catch you up on a typical Nora schedule....
7:00 am - Wake Up and Eat
7:40 am - Walk/Run with Mom
9:00 am - Playtime and Skype with Gma and Gpa T
9:30 am - Nap 1
10:30 am - Eat
11:00 am - Play/Errands
12:00 pm - Nap 2
1:00 pm - Eat
1:30 pm - Play/Errands
3:00 pm - Nap 3
4:15 pm - Eat
5:00 pm - Family Walk
5:45 pm - Skype with Uncle Nick, Aunt Abby and Cousin Adelyn (see post)
6:00 pm - Bathtime
6:15 pm - Eat
7:00 pm - Bedtime
Pretty exciting, huh? Oh - the life of a baby!
Mom's WishList for Santa is this: for baby girl to move to a 4 hour eating schedule :) and to nap for longer than 45 min!

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santa's helper

Dec 14, 2009

Yep.... Nora's being just that - Santa's little helper ;) Maybe next year she won't pull on his beard. Hopefully or he won't invite us back

(Thanks GG Folkerts for Nora's Christmas outfit)



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never a quiet moment

Dec 12, 2009

video

With the exception of naps throughout the day - there really isn't a quiet moment in our home anymore. Wonder where this chatty cathy got her vocal personality???!

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Steph's Pick - a major indulgence

Dec 10, 2009

Oh Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe Joe's - where have you been all of my life???!!!! My dear friend and mentor, Laurie gave me a package of these heavenly treats at the beginning of the holiday season. I've since gone through that gift package and traveled to Trader Joe's to pick up two more packages. :) These things are so delicious.
Imagine two Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies with peppermint frosting in the middle and then dipped in dark chocolate and topped with crushed peppermint candies. These little things are to die for. (and are part of the reason I have yet to shed all of my baby weight!)
If you are lucky enough to live in an area where there are Trader Joe's - do pick up a package of these. You won't be disappointed. And for all of my readers who aren't fortunate enough to have a TJ's nearby - I can always send you a package :) Or you can dream of them as you drift to sleep.... (sorry!!!!)

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rain, rain DON'T go away...

Dec 8, 2009

There's just something about rainy days that makes me want to light a fire (which I did x2), keep the lights down low in our home, nap and snuggle up on the couch with a cup of hot coffee.
However, rain days are few and far between in Arizona. I think I read somewhere that the annual rain fall is 7" or something crazy like that.
But yesterday the rain came...and came...and came. It was a cold, rainy and dreary day here. But you know what? Nora LOVED it!!! She had the most amazing day. It was as if she knew it was raining outside. Nora took extra long naps, fell asleep in the car (a first!!!), fell asleep in her swing and just seemed to have a much more relaxed demeanor. It was incredible. Despite a quick run to Target - we stayed in all day. Snuggled next to the fire and enjoyed Nora's first rainy day. So contrary to the song - our wish is that the rain WON'T go away :) (unforunately sunny skys are the forecast today)

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the perfect tree

Dec 6, 2009


This weekend we were able to pick out our very first Christmas tree as a family of three. Although traditionally our family (the Triggs') would always go to a tree farm, since moving to AZ we go to Home Depot down the street :) Christmas tree farms are just a little harder to come by here in the desert.
Now with the Christmas tree up, stockings hung and cooler weather in the air, I can really say - It's beginning to look at a lot like Christmas!

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Nora's Pick - A Christmas Wish List

Dec 4, 2009



Alright - I'll be the first to admit that at this age, Nora doesn't actually want much of anything. :) So maybe these things are still more Steph's Picks. Regardless, without further ado...

1.
Baby Bjorn Organic Active Carrier - we are actually borrowing one of these right now from a friend and Nora loves it! We're thinking that if our next kids like it even a fraction as much as she does, we'll probably want our own in the future.

2.
Coat/Sweatshirt - this one is specifically from BabyGap. Nora and I are scheduled to fly to Iowa in early January and we'll certainly need warm clothes!

3.
BlaBla Baby Doll Celeste - Believe it or not, Nora doesn't have a doll yet. I just love these.

4.
Crocheted Buckle Hat - I love hats on Nora. One of my favorite Etsy sellers is Two Seaside Babes. Check out her store for a wide selection of super cute hats.

5.
Nikon 50mm Lens - Alright, not really anything close to what
should be on Nora's Christmas list; however, she'll appreciate all of the baby pictures of herself in the future, right? (wink, wink) I've been drooling over this thing for quite some time. The price tag is just a little too much for me right now. Maybe a gift from Santa???

6.
Super Baby Foods - As I've said before, I'm planning on making our own baby food. I've heard this is an excellent resource.

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a northern retreat

Dec 2, 2009


We were fortunate enough to be able to get out of the Valley for a little retreat up north this past weekend. A handful of our small group was able to join us just outside of Payson. Although Nora was very sad all weekend (long days and longer nights) we still were able to enjoy ourselves. We played games, ate/cooked yummy food, read by the fire and took walks around Forest Lakes (many walks - Nora seemed to be the happiest when walking). It was such a blessing to get away from home and relax with dear friends.

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gotta love...

Nov 29, 2009


that extra sweet smile :)

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Steph's Pick - Beaba Babycook

Nov 26, 2009

We're just approaching the baby food stage. Nora has been sleeping through the night for quite some time but over the past week and a half has consistently been waking at 3 am - UGH! Anyway - there are plenty of speculations to why this might be happening; however, one of them is that she needs more food. Enter baby food made by my Beaba Babycook.
So - I'll be honest. I've really only used my
Beaba Babycook maker once (tonight to be exact); however, I've been in love with the idea of using it since I received it as a gift at one of my baby showers. Why is it so special? Well - it's steams and blends!!! (and it's pretty cute too!) I'll be sure to keep you updated on how things go with this new kitchen appliance.
So if you're in the market for what appears to be a great baby food maker - check out the
Beaba Babycook. I know you can buy it at Williams and Sonoma and Buy Buy Baby (a baby store owned by Bed, Bath and Beyond so you can use those 20% off coupons).
However - if you're looking for a less expensive option, a
friend of mine uses a Magic Bullet and loves it. Just an idea :)

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a first

Nov 24, 2009

Isn't it amazing to think how many "firsts" Nora is experiencing right now? I love new things. New is always an adventure waiting to happen. This weekend our adventure took place in our swimming pool. We finally got our little munchkin in her swimsuit (thanks Jane and Tom!) and took her for a little swim. Surprisingly she really loved it. We like to joke that Nora has a case of baby ADD (although that is unlikely) as she usually is only entertained with something for a short time. However, the pool was a different story! We spent a good 45 minutes swimming around and Nora was all smiles.
I thought I'd post an updated family picture too - maybe not the best as Alan and I both look exhausted (which is expected) and Nora is looking off in the distance. Regardless - here's to imperfect people saved by grace and less than perfect pictures :)

Next up - pictures of Nora with the grandparents. Stay tuned :)

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Steph's Pick - a new scent

Nov 21, 2009

Need a Christmas idea? Last year I was in need of a new perfume. I'm not all that crazy about perfumes but I generally find myself looking for a new scent every couple years. I came across Viva La Juicy Perfume from Juicy Couture and I LOVE it. Alan bought mine at Ulta but I'm sure there are plenty of other places to get yourself (or someone you're buying for) a bottle.
Take a sniff of this bottle next time you're in the fragrance aisle. You just might also fall in love with it! And if not, don't bother telling me b/c then I'd be afraid to wear it around you and it's my only perfume. :)

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nora's four months

Nov 14, 2009

weight: 14 lbs, 2 oz (75%)
length: 25 1/2 inches (90%)

We love you so much Ms. Nora!

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Steph's Pick - a family treat

Nov 13, 2009

Looking for something traditional to bring to Thanksgiving (or even Christmas)? No one can turn down a piece of apple pie. In my family, my dad was the master pie baker. Family members flock from all corners of the country to get a slice of his pies around the holidays. I hope you enjoy it as much as we have over the years…

Apple Pie
Ingredients:
Refrigerated Pie Crust (or see below pie crust recipe)
6 cups thinly sliced cooking apples (2 pounds – Jonathan apples are the best)
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. all purpose flour
1 Tbsp. corn starch
1 tsp. cinnamon
Dash of ground nutmeg
1 Tbsp. butter

Directions:
Combine ingredients. Put one crust in 9” pie tin and fill with ingredients. Adjust top crust and roll under bottom crust along edge. Flute edge. Cut slits in the top crust. Mist crust with water and sprinkle with sugar then mist again until sugar is wet.
Bake at 375 for 30 min. Reduce heat to 330 and bake until crust is golden brown.


Pie Crust
Ingredients:
¼ cup Crisco
¼ cup butter…softened slightly
1 ¼ cup flour
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup water

Directions:
Blend flour and salt. Add Crisco and butter and blend with pastry blender until mixture feels velvety. Add water all at once and stir quickly with fork until it forms into a ball. Roll out on pastry cloth, using plenty of flour. Roll out only once.

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giggles

Nov 8, 2009

video

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Steph's Pick - My Goodreads

Nov 6, 2009

I'm thinking it's about time for another Steph's Goodreads update. What do you think?

1. The Help - by Kathryn Stockett - I was encouraged to read this a couple months back but was still trying to figure out time to read with an infant. Boy am I glad I started this book -
set during the civil rights movement in Jackson, Mississippi, this is an incredibly optimistic and uplifting novel.

2. MOPS New Moms Guides - by Susan Besze Wallace and Monica Reed - Perfect for the expecting mom or the new mom in the first few months of raising an infant I found all 4 of these books very informative, encouraging and practical.
3. Lone Survivor - by Marcus Luttrell - Those of you with a good memory might remember that this was on my previous goodreads list, but I hadn't read it at that point. It is back on the list b/c I have now finished it and would strongly encourage anyone to read this. If you're looking for a story that showcases both American heroism and Afghani humanity, this is the book for you. Ladies - although it might sound more appealing to the men in your life, it really is a great (and true) read about the service so many men and women are providing for this country.
4. Pursuit of Honor - by Vince Flynn - OK, again, I'm putting a book on my goodreads list that I haven't read. But - this is actually a suggestion to read ALL of Vince Flynn's novels. If you like 24 - or anything espionage - these are the books for you! I think Pursuit of Honor is his 11 book so you'll have to start reading :)
5. The Going to Bed Book - by Sandra Boynton - How could I not include a children's book? Seeings how I actually spend more time reading these than adult novels now :) This is one of Nora's favorite nap/bedtime books. We have a handful of Sandra Boynton books on her shelves and love them all!
For other Goodreads recommendations see Steph's Goodreads Part I and Part II

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a sweet pea

Nov 5, 2009

...our little sweet pea...

For all of your photoshop-lovers - I found a great video tutorial on making the eyes "pop" in photos. Check it out at Becoming Mom's blog.

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the Bib Club 2009

Nov 4, 2009

I have the greatest friends! Joy, one of our dear friends, watches Nora for us while we're both at work on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Although it's only for a few hours I can't image what her home is like with two little ones. Her daughter, Reagan, was born just 6 weeks after Nora. Can you imagine? Two under 4 months! Some might think she's crazy, but she tells me she actually likes the challenge (I'm still hoping that isn't just to make me feel better about leaving Nora with her). The other week she took some pictures of these two together with their bibs and has since been referring to them as "The Bib Club" ever since. Are they not just the cutest??!!! Some might be wondering why these two little ones are wearing bibs already :) Well - I can't speak for Reagan, but as I've mentioned in previous posts, Nora is a Master Drooler. We're hoping that means she's teething early??? We'll have to see. I'll keep you posted.

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Oct 31, 2009

Love

I was having a hard time determing how to highlight the photos Kim Bee took of Nora (a couple months ago) and recalled a post Nealy did.


Perfect!

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Steph's Pick - Pumpkin Cupcakes

Oct 30, 2009

I'm one of those weird people that doesn't like pumpkin pie (texture thing) but I LOVE pumpkin flavored treats in the fall. So I'm always on the lookout for new pumpkin desserts. With that said, you'll understand my excitement when I found this recipe in my Real Simple Sept magazine. Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting = Delicious!!! And like everything - one of my favorite parts about this recipe is that it's sooooo easy. If you cheat like I did and just buy the cream cheese frosting (not saying I'd recommend it - it just makes it all that much easier) the recipe is a simple yellow cake mix recipe where you use pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice instead of water.

Ingredients
1 18.5-ounce box yellow cake mix (plus the ingredients called for in the package directions)
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
2 8-ounce bars cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
24 pieces candy corn

Directions
Heat oven to 350° F. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners. Prepare the cake mix as directed but with the following change: Add the pumpkin pie spice and substitute the can of pumpkin puree for the water called for in the package directions.
Divide the batter among the prepared muffin tins and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes. Let cool.
Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Spread on the cupcakes and top each with a piece of candy corn.

For another great Fall Treat check out my
Butterscotch Pumpkin Bundt Cake - it's incredible.

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♥ me some baby legs

Oct 28, 2009

Believe it or not it's actually a high of 64 degrees in Phoenix today! Finally - the beginning of BabyLegs season (aka cooler weather)!!! There is just something about cute little BabyLegs. Love me some BabyLegs... :)

On another note (well kindof) - we've been wondering if we're supposed to dress up a nearly 4 month old infant for Halloween. I've been thinking no; however, now that I see these
Hero BabyLegs I'm thinking a pair of these with a cute little super woman onesie might be worth it. We'll have to see...

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Steph's Pick - DIY Mod Podge Letters

Oct 23, 2009

Before Nora (BN), I had seen dozens of nursery pictures with cute little letters. Now I knew I wanted to do something with her name, but I had a hard time deciding what. Here's what I did....

Supplies:
Wood Letters (can be found at any craft supply store)
Scrapbook Paper
Mod Podge
Paint Brush
Scissors
Pen

How to:
- Trace letters onto scrapbook paper and cut out (Note: be sure to cut paper a little smaller than traced letter so it adheres well to the letter)
- Brush a layer of Mod Podge on the back of the scrapbook paper and adhere to letter
- Brush a layer of Mod Podge on front of paper (after attaching it to the letter) to give it a nice glossy look
- That's it - super easy, huh?

** Note, you can also do this with many other things. I've Mod Podged paper to a cheap ($1) wooden frame at Michaels. Use your imagination.


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happy baby. happy weekend.

Oct 19, 2009

enough said.

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Steph's Pick - Double Duty Decor

Oct 16, 2009

For all you Real Simple readers out there - Don't you just love the section they have on Double-Duty Household Items?! In this section of the magazine they show you different ways to use things you have around your home. For example one of the most recent issues highlighted using petroleum jelly on the inside of a nailpolish cap so it doesn't glue itself to the bottle. I think the ideas they come up with are super creative.
As I've said multiple times, I'm always looking for inexpensive ways to redecorate our place. One of the Double-Duty things that I have done is use what are supposed to be door mats for wall decoration. The above photo is a perfect example. I found this rubber door mat in one of the clearance sections in Target for $3 and have used it in multiple places throughout our home. Right now it sits on our fireplace mantle. What I love most about it (not to mention that it was cheap) is that at first glance you don't even think that it looks like a door mat. Most friends have said they just assumed it was an art piece :)
Do any of you have other double duty decor ideas?

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just because

Oct 13, 2009

...it's too cute not to post...

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Three Months

Oct 10, 2009

With Nora coming up on her three month birthday early next week, both Alan and I just can't believe how quickly the time has flown. Don't get me wrong - there have been very LONG days; however, as a whole the time has gone by so quickly. Although we don't have her stats for this month (those will come after her 4 month appointment) - I thought I'd highlight some of her happenings :)

3 months

Rolls from Back to Stomach
Recently found her tongue and loves to play with it
Drools a ton (hence the photo)
0-3 Month Clothes
Wears Size 1 Disposables (but mostly wears Bum Genius Cloth Diapers - one size fits all)
Still strongly dislikes her carseat
Smiles a lot
Loves to sit in the bumbo
Sleeps through the night (Yahoo!)
4 naps a day

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Steph's Pick - Spinach Strawberry Salad

Oct 8, 2009

Nearly four and a half years ago I was married into a family of great cooks. And with its many privileges came this incredible salad recipe! I'm actually quite surprised that I haven't shared it yet on this blog. I thought for sure I had posted it - but nope (I checked)! So thanks Ardyce and Sara for expanding my salad recipe collection and adding this delectable recipe to it. (****please also see note at the end of this post)

Spinach Strawberry Salad
1 bag of romaine lettuce
1 bag of baby spinach
1 large container of sliced strawberries
1 1/2 cup (8-10 oz) toasted pecans
1 large package Monterey Jack Cheese

Dressing:
1/3 cup Raspberry Vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. Grey Poupon Mustard
1 tsp. Salt
1 1/2 Tbps. poppy seeds
1 cup olive oil

Directions:
Whisk all dressing ingredients together except olive oil. Whisk olive oil in last and refrigerate.
Mix salad ingredients together and toss dressing in to taste.

**** On another note. Recently I've had a couple of readers/friends come "out of the woodwork" and tell me how much they enjoy our blog. Now here's the deal - I honestly think that I write these posts mostly for my own entertainment :) However, I realize there may actually be some people out there that enjoy the things I post about (even if you don't comment about it). So for those of you who regularly read The Flies Blend, I need your help! I'm curious what you like to read about..... recipes, crafts, Alan's Two Cents, Nora, product reviews, etc.???? So... I've created a poll on the sidebar (just to help me in coming up with more idea's). So vote now!

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a HUGE thank you

Oct 7, 2009

We are so thankful for my parents traveling this past week to Vail with us to watch Nora (we were working most of the time while in Vail). Although they would quickly say that it was a fun vacation for them, I can guarantee had they not had Nora with them, their time in Vail would have looked very different!
So here's a HUGE thank you for changing lots of diapers, cleaning up lots of drool (that's right - our sweet little daughter already drools like the best of them), singing lots of lullabys, swaddling Nora a dozen or so times, going on miles of walks and for simply loving on your granddaughter! Love you...

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Steph's Pick - Vail, CO

Oct 3, 2009


Cool crisp air.
Yellow leaves.
Our first get away with Nora.
The Arrabelle Resort.
Scarves and Jackets.
A perfect retreat.
Vail, Colorado.
Try it in the fall - it's GORGEOUS!

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updated family photos

Sep 25, 2009


ok. maybe not the best of Nora per-say but cute nonetheless, right?

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Steph's Pick - the Miracle Blanket

Sep 24, 2009

I've always loved my sleep. Although I am a morning person and some might argue that "morning people" can't possibly love sleep, I really do, especially now, dream of getting more sleep. However, gone are the days of naps in the middle of the afternoon and going to sleep at 9:00 pm and waking up at 8 am.

Upon Nora's entrance into the world my entire life was flipped upside down in many ways. One of the major ways was the amount of sleep I was getting. Like many new mom's I was anxious to hear any advice about how I could get Nora to sleep through the night. One of the specific suggestions I took was to swaddle her from day 1. This worked great the first few weeks when she slept so much and so soundly. But the minute she got a mind of her own and started fighting with our swaddle jobs we knew we needed a better remedy. I tried a bunch of the swaddle's from Target and Babies "R" Us but none of them did the trick. She might sleep well one night but the next we'd awaken to her grunts and crys as she escaped the swaddle and was hitting herself in the head.


Enter Miracle Blanket. Some might remember
when we ordered it. Call it a fluke or not - but the first day we used this thing our little princess slept from 10:00 pm (dream-feed) to 6:30 am. I couldn't believe it!! Alan awoke that morning and said (and I quote) "It really is a miracle!"

So here's to sleeping past 3 am and a $30 miracle!


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