A New Mrs. Joins the Blog — Meet Mrs. Andi Muszejnski

With so many big changes happening in our lives this past year (new jobs, new babies, health issues),  it was no surprise a couple of our beloved Mrs. needed to take a step back and focus more on their families and jobs. It’s … Continue reading

A Nursery Filled With Love (Because of You)

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The sweetest part of my day is the time I spend with Grace at bedtime.

Sitting there, rocking her in the nursery, feeding her and whispering softly to her, or maybe not even making a sound, it’s just soothes me so.

I never expected to come to need that time for myself too. Those quiet, serene, love-drenched moments truly recharge me after a full day of work and baby rearing.

Often times, once Grace has dozed off after her bedtime bottle, I remain. Holding her. Staring at her little face. Thinking about how much I love her. And as she falls deeper asleep, I find myself looking around the dimly lit nursery.

What I see, beyond the reddish starry-sky night light, is the generosity of others – of the people who care about us and filled the room with its contents.

I see my 3rd grade school teacher in the humidifier she gave us. The one that helps keep Grace’s sniffles at bay each night.

I see all of Grace’s grands when my eyes land on the gorgeous crib and dresser. Pieces that will stay in our growing family’s home for years–probably decades. A constant reminder of the love they had for Grace, long before she was born.

I see my sweet friend Kami in the two little fox jars keeping the changing station organized and tidy. She found them and just had to get them for Grace’s fox accessorized nursery, even after she’d already gotten me a gift and helped throw me a shower. Those jars now also remind me of how eagerly she watches Grace for me sometimes. How she knows I have no family in town and lovingly wants to help (and cuddle a cute baby).

And my eyes always wander to Grace’s closet. The rocking chair is right next to it, so it’s hard to miss. Usually ajar, I’m able to see the fullness of all the racks. I bring a picture into my mind of the monogrammed sleep sack my neighbor had made for Grace after she was born. And I picture–cause it’s dark and I can’t see it–the clothes with little whales that my Grandy so excitedly picked out. The effort put in by Susanna who made baby clothes by hand. Her excitement to give gifts always makes me smile.

Each night, my thoughts hop about to various items in the room and an overwhelming feeling of gratitude fills my heart. I just can’t believe how many people cared enough about us to give us the things we rely on to care for our baby.

I mean, really. When you stop to think about a shower gift you are giving … You’re gifting new parents with the things they will use to pour out love on their new baby in the form of feeding, swaddling, changing, bathing … Parents use those things with love. They help create a bond between parent and child. Each item adds to the collective, and that collective powers us parents along. It gives us the tools to lovingly care of our babies.

So it’s not just a gift. It’s a beautiful, generous, amazing thing.

And that’s why, sitting there, with my innocent little baby asleep in my arms, I can’t help but take a deep breath and send up a prayer of thanks to God for it all. A prayer of thanks for you and your giving hearts.

Thank you for helping me raise my baby.

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Photo by Lyndsey Sullivan Photography

Three Months Later… We Have a Baby, Whole New Life

All the Mrs. have been MIA for a while … big stuff happening. Two of us had babies, in fact. Three months since my last post, and since the birth of my daughter, I’m finally returning to share this part … Continue reading

Second Trimester Recap…Three Months to Go

Tomorrow marks the start of my third trimester. Crazy. Time flies when you’re having fun – er, when your pregnancy is so ailment-free and uneventful that you feel totally normal the whole time. However, I know the next three months … Continue reading

Baby on the way and so thankful!

If you are friends with me on Facebook or our blog’s Facebook you might have heard WE’RE PREGNANT! Yay!

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Matt and I could not be MORE excited or MORE grateful for this gift on the way!

Pregnancy details thus far:

Due date: May 8, 2014

How far along: I’ll be 17 weeks on Thanksgiving

Sickness: YES! I was sick the whole first trimester. I had morning sickness, mainly in the morning but felt nauseated the WHOLE DAY. I was also extremely tired. I only went home from work twice but I really struggled the whole way through. I had moments  towards the end of the first trimester that I was really functional (aka cooked like crazy and picked up the house) but to be honest with you I was pretty down and out for most of it. Around week 13/14 I started feeling better. I still need an extra nap now and then and sometimes I eat something the baby didn’t like but it’s VERY different from the first trimester.

Gender: We find out the gender December 9! Hopefully the baby corporates. We don’t care if it’s a boy or a girl, just praying for a healthy baby!

Showing: Yes! Or at least I think I am. See the bump in my stomach from the pictures? Well it’s usually not there. My jeans started to get uncomfortable to button at 10 weeks and by 13 weeks I didn’t even try to button them anymore. All other clothes pretty much still fit except if I wear a pencil skirt to work I may not zip it up all the way 🙂 I did get some maternity jeans with Lindsay a few weeks ago and they have been WONDERFUL but sweat pants are still my favorite right now.

Cravings: Nothing crazy but mostly stuff I loved before… ice cream, burgers, bread and cheese, fruit, water, smoothies, french fries. Some healthy, some not so healthy. Finding the right balance has been confusing to me. Mentally it’s so strange to be good with gaining weight but not gain too much weight. Still figuring that one out!

Telling people: We first told our parents at 8 weeks after our first appointment. It happen to be right before my birthday so I wrapped the ultrasound photos up in a box and told them this was the best birthday present I’ve ever gotten and I wanted them to open and see it. All four of their reactions were different and priceless! It was a special moment to me. After our 12 weeks appointment we started to tell all of our other family members and close friends. After my 16 week appointment (yesterday) we decided to share on social media and with YOU!

Movement: Yes! I wasn’t sure what I was feeling at first and it’s very delicate but it’s the most gentle little taps. It’s so sweet and I try to pay attention every time it happens. I can’t wait for Matt to be able to feel a real kick in the coming weeks.

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These photos were taken by my very talented friend, Kati Mallory of Kati Mallory Photo & Design. We did a quick, fun shoot. Their are a few other pictures but I’m saving those for our Christmas card. Stay tuned and Happy Thanksgiving!

“Stay”cation…what is it?

outside waterfall cabinWe always need a vacation. Whether you’re a stay at home mother, work a full time job, or just got back from your vacation! I can’t tell you how many times I return from a trip, and am ready to hit the road once more, after the laundry is piled up from a week of fun, and I’m preparing for Monday.

A few people consider a “staycation” as taking a week off of work, and seeing the sights around town, but at night returning to sleep at their home. However personally, I consider a “staycation” as getting OUT of the house, staying in a hotel, motel, cottage or cabin…just so long as its still within a couple hours of home. On my “staycations”, I don’t want the distractions and duties that come along with my homebase. I physically have to leave the premise and not return at the end of the day, in order to welcome that fully relaxed state that occurs with “vacation”.

Earlier in the year I wrote a list of goals to try and accomplish for 2013, and while I won’t complete all, I was able to check #8 off. My #8 was to purchase a groupon getaway, for my husband and I to escape for the weekend. I found a site called “yelp“, which is similar to groupon’s deals, and purchased a one night $95 coupon that was good for $125 at the Anderson Creek Cabins located in Glen Rose, TX. We booked two nights: Friday & Saturday, applied the coupon, & were able to pay a little less than $300 lodging for the whole weekend!

I would recommend this refuge of accommodation for couples, families, or those not into “roughing it aka camping in tents”. We had all the amenities that are present with a normal hotel, except we were away from the hustle and bustle of city life., oh, AND we had a full sized kitchen.

The pleasant innkeepers of the quaint cabins provide: pancake mix, syrup, popcorn, starbucks tea, & coffee in each cabin, and then cut firewood which could be picked up any time throughout the day at a designated wood pile, for an enjoyable cozy campfire at night. Propane grills are provided on the deck of each cabin for grilling, and the spacing of the four cabins, is far enough from each, that you cannot hear or even see your neighbor “campers”!

We stayed in the “Waterfall Cabin”, which when provided with a decent amount of rainfall, produces a waterfall that can be viewed from your personal deck. Unfortunately, as we’ve been in a bit of a drought, there was just a lovely view of the rock face sans water.

If you enjoy hiking, nature, or have children who like dinosaurs, Dinosaur Valley State Park is less than five minutes from the Anderson Creek Cabins. The hikes are easy, not even intermediate, unless of course you are going to “get primitive” and decide to hike the path less traveled.dinodino printusAn amazing dessert place in downtown Glen Rose called, “Pie Peddlers“, creates homemade cream & fruit pies, so if you have a sweet tooth, make sure to try a slice of blackberry pie and key lime pie. It was delicious and so worth it!!pie peddlerspie

Next time you are interested in a inexpensive getaway for the weekend, check groupon or yelp, because you just might be packing your bags sooner than you realize! Have fun friend & share your finds!

Recipe: The Best Taco Soup You’ll Ever Eat (A Family Recipe)

On a rainy day last week, I came home from work craving something cozy to curl up on the couch with and nosh.

A hearty, flavorful soup was just the ticket. Even my husband requested soup when I offered up that or spaghetti as menu options for the evening.

With his blessing, I immediately grabbed my go-to cold- and/or rainy-night comfort food recipe: my stepmom’s famous taco soup.

It’s something she made for us while growing up, probably on nights when she needed something easy and quick for us all. The word “easy” belies the flavor of the dish. Because whatever it lacks in culinary high-brow ingredients and complex cooking techniques, it makes up for in sheer deliciousness and quick stove-to-table eats. And isn’t that all that matters when it comes to food for our bellies?

It’s hard to trust a random blogger when they promise something to be the “best” or even “delicious,” but I insist it is the truth for this taco soup. If it helps convince you, my hubby, who usually just eats what I give him and rarely comments on anything unless he doesn’t like it, actually emphatically said … “This soup is excellent.” And he helped himself to seconds. That’s an A+ for me (er, my stepmom), and I know it.

So, without further ado, here’s the recipe (with my modifications) for your future comfort on a rainy or chilly night this fall and winter:

1. REVIEW THE RECIPE.
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My Substitues: Instead of 2 cans of pinto beans, I use 1 can of black beans b/c Michael and I aren’t huge bean fans; instead of 1 can of water, I use 2 (making sure to drain the corn and beans though instead) b/c I prefer the soup to have more broth but don’t want so much bean flavor; I tried it with a fresh, diced jalapeño this time but it wasn’t needed, in fact it made it too spicy; and I’ve made it with turkey meat before and it was just as yummilicious!

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2. CHOP. DICE. COOK.

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3. ADD GROUND BEEF (OR TURKEY). BROWN.

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4. ADD SEASONING PACKETS. MIX.

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5. TRANSFER TO POT.

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6. ADD CANNED ITEMS (DRAIN CORN & BEANS).

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7. ADD 1 – 2 CANS OF WATER (BASED ON DESIRED BROTH-INESS). STIR WELL.

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8. SIMMER 30 MINUTES (15-20 MINUTES ON MED-LOW IS FINE IF YOU’RE IN A HURRY).

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9. ENJOY!

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My Toppings: Fritos. Shredded cheese.

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My Husband’s Toppings: None.

Gender Reveal Party: We’re Having a Little Baby Girl

IT’S A GIRL! It was an exciting Saturday afternoon as we revealed the gender to our two families. My stepmom was a rockstar hostess and took over all the plans and food and decor and, well, EVERYTHING. And it all … Continue reading

Baby on the Way: The 100 (er, 40) Parenting Questions Swirling in My Pregnancy Brain

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As you may already know from our announcement post, my husband and I are expecting our first child.

I was never a baby person. My sisters and I were never exposed to babies, never had baby dolls as toys (even if we did, they weren’t played with), and I rarely babysat anyone (let alone anyone under the age of 6). Usually babysitting for us was just hanging out with kids younger than us and “watching” them (aka watching MTV and ordering pizza while they played video games in the other room).

And while this whole thing is very exciting and has my heart filled with a joy I can’t explain, I’m also fearful of and questioning a lot of things these days.

1) How will I know what to do?

2) Will I be a good mom?

3) How tiring will it really be?

4) Will my baby be cute?

5) Will I miss my baby-less life a lot?

6) Are my friends going to avoid us?

7) When do I need to get the baby room ready?

8) How do I know what to register for and how much of each item?

9) Will the delivery hurt really bad?

10) How will I ever be able to go back to work and concentrate on work – how could I possibly stop thinking about the baby all day?

11) Will the daycare place really let me come visit 100x a day, and to feed as necessary?

12) Do we need to go to a birthing class?

13) Should we go to a parenting class?

14) Will they love God as much as I want them to?

15) How will I lose the weight?

16) Can we afford to give them the life we want to give them?

17) Will my parents be as involved as grandparents as mine were – I want them to be super close to my kids, as my grammy and poppop are/were unbelievably important to me?

18) Will I be able to breastfeed as long as I want to – with all the complications of going back to work and such?

19) How do I avoid fighting about how to parent, finances and the stresses we’ll face after the baby is born?

20) Is there any way to be sure the daycare we pick is better than the others we’ve toured?

21) Am I gaining too much weight? Too little?

22) Should I be showing more or less right now?

23) Why do I feel like crying sometimes when I think about the baby – happy tears, tears of anxiety, tears of impatience, etc.?

24) How is it that some girls my age were born with this baby thing where they’re aching to me moms the minute they hit puberty and then become instant rockstar moms the minute they find out they’re pregnant?

25) Is it OK if I am still ME as a mom? I want to be the same old Lindsay but with a baby on my hip and my designer bag on my shoulder (sorry, no Vera Bradley Diaper Bag for me). I want to still see my friends all the time and have fun.

26) How soon am I supposed to start educational stuff for the baby? Immediately? Does that mean reading to them and that’s enough? That’s adorable and I can so do that, but what else can I do to make them smart?

27) Sort of along the lines of question 26 … how do I ensure they’re smart and learn what they need to, when they need to?

28) Should we have stayed in Dallas so that we have family close as we raise a family?

29) How hard will it be without family nearby to help?

30) Is sending them to daycare as an infant going to be harmful to my bonding / my husband’s bonding with them?

31) Will I experience post-partum? And what the heck is post-partum anyway? 

32) Is it bad that I think some moms are just so cheese-y and I don’t want to talk to my kids like that at all? I’ve heard that baby talk is bad for them, and talking to them normally makes them smarter – is that true?

33) How will our dogs react to the new baby? Will they behave? Will they love the baby and protect it? Will they be jealous and act out? Will they have to become outside dogs full-time?

34) Are other moms going to judge me for the way I am as a mom (which I don’t even know how I’ll be yet)?

35) Why does it take so long to make a baby – I want to meet it now?

36) Will a boy be better for me getting used to this mom thing first, or a girl?

37) Am I going to be mean?

38) Am I going to be a push-over?

39) How do we ensure we are a super tight-knit family and are always close throughout our lives?

40) When will I know the answers to all these questions and more?

I decided to share these here in hopes that it would be somewhat cathartic and elicit advice, wisdom and encouragement from you. If only these all magically became answered when the baby is born. 🙂

We’re Having a Baby!

I am so excited to share our big news with the world today. Michael and I are having a baby! This will be our first little one and we couldn’t be more overjoyed. We’ve had a blast being married and … Continue reading