Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sophia's New Ride and New Friend

After much research, we finally picked Sophia's new ride: Evenflo Triumph Advance DLX!! The reviews were fabulous, the personal recommendations were numerous, and the price was just right!! We had a 20% off coupon plus a decent amount of $$ left on gift cards so we paid a grand total of $46.53 for this seat!! ROCK ON! (Thanks friends at Aegis and Eagle Creek!)

Sophia really enjoyed her first ride home in it today! From the minute I put her in it, she knew it was new! She was checking everything out, touching the sides, putting the buckles in her mouth, and playing with the pillow! She kept laughing and talking the whole way home!!! I think it was a success!!


We also got to meet Adelynn Galer today!!! She is only 3 weeks old!! She is the new precious daughter of my good friend from high school, Leslie (Kopko) Galer! Adelynn was so sweet!! Just looked up at me and smiled (well, she probably didn't smile already, but it looked like it!!) We had a nice time visiting with her whole family. We will be anxious for Christmas to arrive for their next trip back to the G-wood (from Chicago) so the girls can play more!! Sophia found it hard to play with a 3 week old!!! For once, she isn't the baby!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!! I love this fall-like weather! Bring on the jeans and sweatshirts!!

Allyson

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Only 4 more months till the big 1!

Today marks Sophia's 8th month of life!! WOW!

I was looking back through old pictures and found this one... It was taken 3/29/09 when she was 3 months old ....


... and this was taken 8/28/09 ... at 8 months!! WOW!



What a difference just 5 months makes huh??

She is getting so big!!! :) No tears here though ... I love watching her grow and develop and become the girl God has made her to be!!!

Have a great weekend and eat some birthday cake for us!!

Allyson

Friday, August 28, 2009

Sit back and relax and .....

... enjoy the weekend!!!


We sure will!!

HAPPY FRIDAY!!

Allyson and Sophia

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Destined to be buddies!

I have to apologize my faithful blog followers! It was brought to my attention that it has been almost 1 full week since I have blogged!! Time goes so quickly! I have been meaning to write this since Tuesday, but somehow a teething child and shorter naps don't allow for creative brilliance or whatever it is called!!

Tuesday we had a playdate with Charlie, Kathy, and Nancy Mulder! Nancy and my mom have known each other since 2000 and are great friends. Kathy married Nancy's son Andy and they have an adorable little boy, Charlie, who is only 4 days older than Sophia. Charlie was born on Christmas Day last year!! Kathy and I had never met in person, only communicated through facebook, so we thought we should finally have our kiddos (and ourselves) meet for the first time!! Isn't FB a great thing? I saw Kathy and felt like I have known her for years!! :)

Since our kiddos are only 4 days apart, they are destined to be buddies!!!

We all met at my parents house, had a quick Subway lunch, then went outside to enjoy the beautiful weather!! Swimming was the main event on our agenda! Charlie was a little fish in the water. He got in the whale and kicked himself around the whole pool!!! Those swim lessons sure paid off for him!!!

It was so neat to watch these two kids interact since they are practically the SAME age. It was very evident that Charlie is ALL boy and Sophia is ALL girl!! And I mean ALL GIRL!! We have only had playdates thus far with girls, so I didn't notice how "prim and proper" she is ... but WOW! Nate said he is going to have to instill some "tom-boy" in her through camping and hiking!!

Here are a few pictures from our day!! Hope you enjoy the captions below each picture!

Charlie: "Ah, you have such a beautiful face Sophia!"
Sophia: "Please don't touch me, I just got up from my nap."

Sophia: "Ok, I am ready to play and will now poke your eye."
Charlie: "Sure go ahead.... Oh by the way, nice dress. Mind if I tug on it?"

"Lookin' all cute in my suit! Gotta get the toy before Charlie army craws and takes it from me!"


Charlie: "I am going to put my arm around this cutie!"
Sophia: "Sure, go ahead... I will keep playing or get your feet! One or the other!"

Kathy and the kids! They are only 4 days apart! Charlie was born on Christmas Day!

Charlie: "See Sophia, this is how you splash really big and get your face all wet."
Sophia: "Charlie, I am not sure about that. I think I will sit up here like a little princess and chew on my toy! Thanks anyways! You go ahead and splash away (but please don't get it in my eyes!)"

We had such a great time!! I know there will be many grandma/mother/child playdates in the future!!

Have a great Friday!!
Allyson

Friday, August 21, 2009

"Break on through ...

...to the other side..." DOORS fan anyone??

Yesterday was a great day!!! Sophia's first two teeth broke through the skin and are starting their long venture up!! I can see (and FEEL!) the sharp little ridges on the gumline!
She hasn't been too fussy at all, which is a blessing!! She hasn't been getting up in the middle of the night either to which I am very thankful!!

We started yesterday putting her on her knees next to a couch cushion so she gets used to being on her knees. It is a totally new concept for her b/c she usually "frogs" it with her little legs!! As you can see in this picture, she wasn't enjoying it too much!! Gotta learn sometime huh?

My parents really wanted to see Sophia this week, so they asked to come out! It worked out perfect b/c Nate and I got to go on a date night!! Nate got home from work around 5pm, gave Sophia some "huggies and kissies" and we were off for a night on the town! We started at Outback Steakhouse b/c my parents had given Nate a GC for Father's Day!! (Thanks mom and dad for a great meal!) We also had a B1G1 Free Entree Coupon!! We had the best service and great food (which is unusual for Nate and I to admit)! After dinner, we headed downtown. Too bad the traffic was horrible b/c there was a Colt's Game!! We found our way to Circle Centre Mall! We closed down the mall -- got kicked out at 9pm! Nate found some great jeans and I found a shirt!

Here is our picture before leaving.... Nate even picked out my outfit for me! He told me I was "smokin' hot!" HEHE Gotta love the encouragement from the hubby!!!


My mom got Sophia tucked in bed without even a peep!!! It was so comforting knowing they were there taking care of my precious baby girl -- no worries in the world for this mama!!!

Although, I am so used to babysitting for EVERYONE else that it was so weird to come home to my own babysitters!!! A strange, yet great feeling!!!

Hope everyone enjoys the nice cool weekend!! I am going to be getting a indoor tan working at Meijer for the weekend!!! Better put on my sunscreen!!

Allyson


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Whatcha lookin' at???


Happy Thursday!! Is it almost Friday yet??? Sophia is looking forward to her weekend with daddy and mommy is REALLY excited to work at the pharmacy all weekend!! YEAH -- gotta use that degree sometimes!!

Allyson

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Use those garden veggies!!

For 3 years we have tried to grow a killer garden!! My husband, bless his heart, even starts all the plants in Feb/March from SEEDS, and treats them like his other children!! We do everything right, but still can't get a garden to grown and yield LOTS of produce.

Last year we had over 8 tomatoes plants which grew only a foot tall and produced 4 TINY red tomatoes. Yes, only FOUR!! This year we decided to plant our veggies in three places (1) garden plot which has failed us the past 2 years (2) pots in the front of the house (3) in the mulch bed on the side of the house. Our garden plot did HORRIBLE this year despite going to extra lengths to improve the soil (coffee grounds, 1 years worth of compost, 2 huge cubes of peat moss). We decided to take down the fence and mowed over it! The pots are doing the best (not a shocker)!! However, if you read previous posts, you know the storm a few weeks ago knocked over our killer tomato plant and knocked off 3 of the 5 branches. The peppers survived along with about 10 green tomatoes. The two tomato plants and 1 pepper plant on the side of the house are FINALLY starting to produce some small veggies -- hopefully with time and water they will grow!!

All of that being said, we have been blessed with gifts of produce from many friends and Nate's coworkers!! I needed to use up some of my produce, so my mom gave me this killer recipe to try. I had everything on hand!!

Eggplant Spaghetti with Fresh Mozzarella

1 eggplant (~3/4lb) - cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 med onion - diced
4 cloves of garlic - minced
1/4 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
5 plum tomatoes - chopped
1 1/2 cups zucchini -- cut into 1/2 inch pieces (I used 1 med size zucchini, but could have used 2)
4 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 lb of cooked spaghetti (I used just 1/2 bag of brown rice pasta instead from Trader Joes)
9 oz of chopped mozzarella - cut into 1/2 inch pieces (I just used 3/4 of a block of moz cheese)
3 tbsp chopped fresh basil (I didn't have any fresh left, so I used dried)

(Note: I grilled 4 chicken breasts and diced them up as well).

Directions:
1. Cook and stir eggplant, onion, and garlic in EVOO on med heat x 10 min
2. Stir in tomatoes, zucchini, vinegar, salt, and pepper, continue cooking for 10 min or until veggies are tender and sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally.
3. Place in large serving bowl.
4. Add hot spaghetti, moz cheese, basil (and chicken).
5. Toss and Serve!!

It was a huge hit in our house!! Pretty tasty if I don't say so myself!!

ENJOY!!

Allyson

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sunrise Run

On Saturday we promised daddy we would get up early and go for a "Sunrise Run." Nate LOVES getting up early to exercise while the sun is coming up over the horizon! It was excellent weather for a 6 mile run. We are trying to do a little training for our North Salem Old Fashion Days 10K run on Labor Day. North Salem is a TINY little town northwest of us! They put on a great little 3 day celebration!! I mean seriously folks, where can you find a Bed Race, Truck Pull, and a Pet Parade!!

Stopping on the side of the road for a "sunrise shot!"


Got my strap attached to the stroller and my wrist so she doesn't go "flying" down the hill!!

Sophia's morning snack!! :) 6 miles is an awful long time to sit like a good girl in the stroller!

One of Sophia's favorite things to do is "run" with daddy and mommy!! When we reach out our hand, she grabs our finger, kicks her legs, opens her mouth really big, smiles, and laughs! It is so precious, it melts our heart everytime. It is hard to get it on camera ... this is my best attempt!


Sophia thinks she is so cool b/c she can drink out of mommy's water bottle!! Although she gets 1/2 of it on her shirt!!

Hope you enjoyed those picture memories of our run!! It was FUN but VERY hard for this mommy! Had to stop a few times to catch my breath and walk! :)

In other news, Sophia has really mastered rolling over from tummy to back and back to tummy! She loves sitting up and playing with her toys. She enjoys knocking over anything mommy stacks high!! She still isn't anywhere near crawling yet. Everyone tells me to enjoy the time she will stay where I put her down... although I am anxious for her to meet her next milestone! Oh yeah, no teeth yet either!!

Last week she tried some Cheerio halves, small pieces of turkey, small pieces of watermelon, and a few organic "brown rice" krispies!! She is doing pretty good "gumming" her solid food!!!

Gotta love those smiles that are all GUMS!!!

Allyson

Friday, August 14, 2009

TGIF...




Can I get a whoot whoot??

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I'm a little fishy...

Yesterday was a great day at Grammie and Grampie's house!! We have been there multiple times with the intention to swim, but the weather never seems to hold out for us!! Yesterday was another story -- it was B-E-A-utiful (Jon A -- my movie reference for you!)!!

Sophia and I headed to the G-wood after she woke up. When we arrived, Grammie and Grampie were thrilled to see us (well, mostly probably her!! HEHE)! She played with both of them and ate her breakfast yummies!!

After her morning nap, we lathered her up with sunscreen and headed next door to the neighbor's pool! Here is a picture of before hand.... Don't they both look happy? Check out her long legs -- just like daddy's!

Sophia really likes pool water that is warm -- so I was a little worried when I felt the water and it was a bit on the chilly side! For once, she didn't seem to care! I sat her down on the first step and she played for about 20 minutes with her toys!


She sure loves this ducky!! I think she thinks she can get it all in her mouth!

Her stacking cups work great in the pool too -- mostly as a chew toy!!

After she was done playing on the step, mommy took Sophia around in her little floaty! We both had a ball! She was talking up a storm!!

Then it was Grammie's turn.... Wheeeeeeee!!


She was pooped after an hour of swimming!!! When mom went in to wake her up, she couldn't help but take a picture!! Sophia had pulled her bear out of the corner of the crib and was using it as a pillow! Priceless!!!


video

PS. Thanks to www.random.org, we have a WINNER for the Smartipants Diaper! Vanessa Flora! Way to go Vanessa! Thanks to everyone who entered! I enjoyed reading your comments!

Allyson and her little fish!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Long Family Weekend of Fun...

Wow, it has been a whirlwind past few days!!!

Every summer in August, Nate's sister Naomi and her two kids come down from Michigan for an extended weekend!! Nate's sister Rhoda comes over from Ohio as well. Nate's mom always plans lots of events for the whole family to do together! There were too many activities planned for Sophia, so Nate's parents offered to stay home and watch her all day while Nate and I went out an "played."

Saturday we arrived at the Long's house in Beech Grove and visited for a little bit with everyone! Sophia went down for a nap and we packed up the car, bikes, and swimming suits, and headed north. We (Whitney, Nate, Tyler, Lexi, Naomi, and I) arrived at the Monon Center in Carmel, unloaded the bikes, and headed on the Monon south to Broadripple. We stopped for a little break at Good Earth (health food store) and then headed back up to Carmel! It was pretty hot, so the shade the majority of the monon provided was awesome! It felt SO great to get back on the bike again! I haven't been on for 1.5 years. Last year I missed out b/c I was prego!!

After biking about 12 or 13 miles, we were ready for a swim!! We had a few snacks that Nate's mom sent along with us, got changed, and HIT THE POOL!!! The water felt so good!! Rhoda jointed us as well. The Carmel Aquatic Center was pretty busy, but suprisingly, the baby area was pretty open!! When I walked by it a few times, I wished I had Sophia along with us! She would loved to have gotten in that warm water!! :) Next year she will be with us to share in the fun!!!

Naomi, Tyler, Lexi, Rhoda, Nate, and I had a good time at the park. We went down quite a few slides, hit up the lazy river lots of times (which Sophia would have loved too!), swam a few laps (well, Lexi and I did!), and laid out for a bit! I was such a genius and forgot to put sunscreen on my chest and it is FRIED! It hurts so badly!!! Won't make that mistake again! I also did't do to good of job on Nate's sunscreen b/c he ended up blotchy too! Guess I learned my lesson, don't talk and try to put sunscreen on at the same time!!

After 3 hours at the pool, we were all STARVING and ready for food!! We headed back to Nate's parents house for some yummy dinner! I was thrilled to see my baby girl! Couldn't wait to get her in my hands! I missed that precious smile!! We had a wonderful home cooked dinner and killer homemade apple crisp!

Nate and I packed up the car and we all (Lexi, Tyler, Sophia, Nate, and I) headed back to Avon!! I got Sophia right home and in bed while Nate and the kids drove to get a Red Box Rental DVD. When they got home and tried to play it, it was too scratched to play! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! We weren't going back to exchange it since it was already almost 8pm. We just watched one of the DVD's we had here at the house!

Sunday we headed to church then back to the Red Box to get another copy of Mall Cop since our first one was jank! Would you believe that someone jammed the Red Box return and it caused the Red Box to be out of order! Great, just great luck huh? I got myself on the phone with Red Box customer service and they were great. Refunded my money from the first rental and gave me two more free rentals! That is excellent service!! We headed down to Meijer to try another Red Box and it worked! We finally got our DVD!!

We got home, made a homemade pizza, and watched our movie (while Sophia slept)! It was so relaxing!! Nate's parents and two sisters headed to our house to pick up the kids in the early evening! We all played with Sophia, watched a few Andy Griffith's, and had some yummy No Pudge Brownies and ice cream!!

Overall, we had a great weekend! Although, it would be good to have a day to relax now!!

Here are some pictures from our weekend! Enjoy!


Sophia and her cousin Lexi!! Lexi was an amazing helper this weekend! Sure wish she lived in Indy b/c she could be one of Sophia's babysitters!

It is our tradition to keep the kids for an overnight one of their nights here!! Tyler, Sophia, and Lexi!

Lexi pushing Sophia while Tyler and Nate played basketball!

Lexi doing what she does best: helping me out!!

Sophia very interested in Tyler's bracelet and Rhoda's dog!

Sophia got a huge hunk of Tyler's hair to pull on ... good thing she released it ... he isn't bald!

Sophia sittin' on Aunt Rhoda's lap!!
Until we type again!!

Remember to enter the CD contest... only 2 days left!

Allyson






Friday, August 7, 2009

Less than a week left to enter

Hey all you blog readers out there!

There is less than a week left to enter the contest to win your own free Smartipants Pocket Diaper! Check out the link before for the blog!

http://longfamilychronicles.blogspot.com/2009/07/smartipants-review-blog-win-your-own.html

Remember, for the mandatory entry: Visit Smarti Pants and tell me what color diaper you like most or give me an interesting fact you learned about Smarti Pants from reading their site. Leave your email address with your comment at the bottom of this post!

For those of you that have previously commented, feel free to enter extra times to increase your chances!! I haven't had many comments, so your chances are still REALLY good!!!

Extra Entries (as many as you would like): 1. Follow me or subscribe to my feed - leave me a comment letting me know you did (or already do).

2. Blog about this giveaway - leave the address of where it is (in the comment section of this blog).

3. Comment on any other post on my blog - then come back to this post and tell me you did (any post new or old and you can do it with as many posts as you like).

4. Leave your own personal cloth diaper tip on any post (only 1 per day)

5. Leave any questions you might have on cloth diapering or on this specific blog post!


The winner will be picked randomly via www.random.org. Contest closes in 2 weeks (8/12/09 at 11:59pm EST). Winner will be notified via email, so if I don’t have your email address, another winner will be chosen. Looking forward to hearing people’s thoughts and comments!! Make sure to pass on the website to your friends so they can enter as well!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Big Zucchini, BFF, and Blueberry Jam

We've had a very busy week!!! Here are just a few highlights!!

Tuesday, my friend Rebecca came over to power walk with Sophia and I! Aunt Sarah came along with us too!! We had a great walk, but it was cut short by the horrible storm that came through in the morning! The storm even knocked over our tomatoe pot and broke off lots of the shoots. I was devastated by this b/c we have been trying so hard to grow tomatoes for 3 years. This year we finally had lots of green ones growing in our pot!! Stupid storm!! Now I can cling to the last stem remaining that has 5 tomatoes on it...

Rebecca brought over this HUGE zucchini! I made two loaves of zucchini bread and 45 cubes of zucchini baby food!! It was the biggest I have ever seen!! Sophia got a kick out of trying to roll it around and pick it up!


Wednesday we met my great friend Erin at the Cracker Barrell for brunch! Sophia had yet to meet Erin!!! We had a nice time catching up! It had been over a year since I had seen her!! Last May we met Erin and her husband Clark in NC to camp! I was pregnant with Sophia at the time and sicker than a dog!! Felt much better this year!! We sat on the famous rockers out front and rocked and talked for over an hour after brunch!! Sophia FINALLY slept too!!



After a 5 mile powerwalk with Apryl and Olivia this morning (Thursday), my sister and parents came over to make blueberry jam with the blueberries we picked in Michigan over the weekend!! We had a great time making it! The kitchen was a disaster mess at the end!! Here are a few pictures documenting our experience!! A fun mother-daughter(s) activity!!



Sarah stiring the juice and pectin. We decided to use organic grape juice as the sweetener instead of sugar!


Mom stiring the jam!! Come on already.... BOIL!



The sterilized jars awaiting the BLUEBERRY BLISS!


The funnel in action! This was a messy job, but someone has to do it!


The finished product!! Can't wait to have some toast in the morning and put on some jam!!


Sophia and Grampie played while mom, Sarah, and I worked our little tails off!! Grampie will reap the benefits tomorrow with some jam on his toast!! Sophia loves her new "stacking" cups Grammie bought for her! She is really developing her fine motor skills!! It is so neat to watch her grow and change everyday!

Well, I am exhuasted and need to hit the sack!!

Goodnight!! Hope I don't dream about blueberries tonight!!

Allyson

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Visiting the Sturms!

Nate, Sophia, and I headed up to MI this past weekend to visit Abby and Brad. Last year we started a little summer tradition of blueberry picking with the Sturm's in August! Last year Sophia came along, but she was only a few inches long at the time!!

Nate and I were a little nervous about the trip up north since our last trip to MI in April was rough. Thank heavens this trip was much easier!! We left Saturday morning about 5:30am and headed out. Sophia only stayed asleep until 6:45am! She woke up and started talking to herself and playing with some toys! At about 7:45am, she was getting a little antsy, so we decided we should look for a place to stop so she could eat! After she ate, she played for a bit, and then slept the rest of the way up there! Excellent morning nap! We arrived around 10:30am, visited, then headed out to East Grand Rapids to do a 4.5 mile walk around a beautiful lake!



Here we are in front of one of the many cool houses we saw on the walk. Brad's brother Sam and his wife Meghan were in town as well!



Sophia stopping for a water and smile break at the library! We finished our walk just in time before the rain hit!



The flowers were just beautiful!!

When we got back, Sophia went down for a 2 hour nap and the boys went mountain biking while the girls played Scrabble and talked!! It was so relaxing listening to the rain!! Sophia was in a great mood when she woke up from her nap and just laughed and smiled at Abby and Meghan! She found some new friends!! I got Sophia all tucked in around 6:45pm and it was time for the grown-up fun to start!!!

We had a nice cookout with awesome food!! One of Abby and Brad's Grand Rapid friends came over as well. There were 10 of us in all! Nate and I had flash backs of what life was like before a baby! We laughed all night long! Brian and Kelly had AWESOME stories! We all stayed up past midnight! The time just flew by --- I couldn't believe it when I looked at my watch!!

Sunday morning we played with Sophia, ate breakfast, read the paper, looked at the ads... then got ready for a typical "Sturm family vacation day!" We headed down to Douglas and Saugatuck Michigan. We went to the Saugatuck Dunes and walked along the beach at Lake Michigan! The water was freezing and the surf was really loud!! Pour Sophia didn't know what to think!! Gotta prepare her for our upcoming trip to FL in September.



Here is a picture of Abby and I with Sophia on our 1/2 mile walk to the beach through LOTS of sand!!!



Ahhhhh.... we finally reached our destination!! It was well worth the trip!! Beautiful!!



The sun was quite warm as it kissed our skin!! The weather was amazing! Couldn't have asked for better!



Year two of our beach walk -- just baby Sophia in tow this time!!!

After our beach walk, we headed to the restaurant we went to last year! Last year, we had killer food! Unfortunately, some wise guy changed the menu and there weren't any of the same options! We were all really bummed and disappointed b/c we LOVED the food last year!! The service wasn't great either! Oh well... the company was delightful!!

After lunch, we headed to a huge farmer's market off the interstate! Sam and Meghan stocked up on blueberries to take back to her family and coworkers in Chicago. I think she bought over 60 lbs of blueberries!! Isn't that insane?? :) However, those fresh picked blueberries are AMAZING!!

Finally, our last stop was DeGrands Farms to blueberry pick! Abby's parents joined us again this year! It is always such a blessing to seem them each year!! Such sweet people!! We all got our buckets, Sophia was in the sling, and we set off down the rows and rows of U-pick blueberry bushes!! We had a great time. Sophia tried to help pulling on all the branches and leaves. I found a few of the leaves in her mouth at times!!

After an hour of picking, Sophia started getting pretty cranky. She only had a few 45 min catnaps in the car b/w places, so I knew we were due for a meltdown! If she doesn't get her naps, she isn't a fun girl to be around by the end of the day! We packed up and headed home!! Of course we got stuck in traffic heading back to Chicago and ended up in stop/go jams for about 30 minutes. Nothing like listening to a screaming child for 20 minutes straight! You should have seem me try to crawl over my seat into the back seat to help calm her down. The people behind us probably thought I was nuts! I was able to feed her some of her solid food and calm her down for awhile! We also hit another back-up once we got on I-65 in northern Indiana! I was never so ready to see our house at 9pm on Sunday night!!

Besides the drive home, we had such a wonderful time! We are so grateful for the Sturm's hospitality! They make their house guests feel so welcome!!

One the way home, Nate and I were talking about all the fun trips we plan to take as a family!! It is such a great feeling to spend time together having fun as a family! It makes me remember all the fun family vacations my family took as a child!! Those memories still make me smile today! I hope we can provide Sophia with many lasting memories from fun family times!!!

Allyson