Simply beautiful...

Simply beautiful...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Harper's 2nd Birthday (A Belated Post)

I know, I know... it's WAY late in posting this, but once again... this is for the record... for Harper.

Sweetie, your 2nd birthday was a true month long celebration. You were very, very sick with a nasty cold and double ear infection for the 2 weeks leading up to January 15th. To add craziness to the mix, we moved into our new home on Nicole Loop 2 days before your birthday. We were supposed to fly to San Diego on your birthday to spend the week with friends and celebrate your birthday at Disneyland with the Meshot's. Last minute, we decided to postpone our flight by a day so you and Bentley could get better. We were so on the fence about going at all.

SO... your actual birthday was spent in our new home full of boxes everywhere and you and your brother wanting to be held ALL day. What a memory! We did manage to make you peanut butter, banana and chocolate pancakes as a special treat.
You LOVE pancakes with chocolate (surprise!)... You were such a trooper being sick on your day. Good thing you were too young to be upset about it ;)
We took a chance and flew to SD the next day and were blessed to get to have dinner at Josh and Jordan's home, where they celebrated you in style. They bought all your favorite foods: yogurt, avocado and fruit; and they EVEN stood in line (at sunrise) at Sprinkles bakery to get you a vegan cupcake!!! Is that love or what?!? You absolutely enjoyed eating it and trying on the clothes Jordan picked out for you (the purple shirt was a hit!). Auntie Jordan and Uncle Josh are truly our family in the love that we share. (We were awful at taking pictures on this particular trip... so no pics from Josh and Jordan's).

The next big celebration of you turning 2 was with the Meshot's at the end of our trip to SD. We got up bright and early on Saturday morning and drove up to Disneyland to meet them for a day of fun. As we entered the park and walked around Main Street and saw all the rides, you were in sheer amazement and quietly took it all in. The Meshot's guided us around to some fun little kid spots (since they had been there before with Carter) and you loved it!
Dada and I do admit, you were a little young to be able to embrace the full experience... but it was a great day nonetheless! We loved our time with Adam, Rhiannon and Carter!!
You adore Rhiannon (she is SO good with you!) and Carter has always had a special spot in your heart. I melt seeing you and Carter together playing, since we spent so much time together when we lived in SD. The mommies got to take you and Carter on a few rides (so fun)... and You, dada and the Meshot's even braved Pirates of the Caribbean! You impressed me and did great!
Favorite Harper-Carter moments were: when you guys were totally exhausted, we gave you guys suckers to pump you up with sugar = cute pictures; and then when you and Carter danced at the end of the evening... absolutely magical in my mind!
2 Cutie pies headed for a sugar high!!!
You and Carter watching Tom Sawyer's boat take off... there was nothing like seeing this magical place through your eyes sweetie. We look forward to many more magical moments with you as you grow and experience this world.

To officially celebrate you turning 2, we had both sides of our families over for a good old fashioned birthday party. It included your grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and your second cousins.
We were brave and tried a new recipe...delicious sticky buns; and of course we had to have pretzel sticks dipped in chocolate and sprinkles since you love them. Yummy!
Your favorite thing to eat is (BY FAR) fruit... I often have to temper the amount that you take in on a daily basis. You are one of the few kids I worry about having a vitamin C overdose ;)
Mommy, Auntie Kara and Mimi made lots of yummy food for the party (which you gobbled up) and you had a blast running around the house with all the kids! We made it a fairy themed party and gave all the kids fairy wings... thankfully your cousin Claire helped you get over the hurdle of not wanting to wear them ;)
You are such a fun and amazing 2 year old Harper! It feel like just yesterday that we were celebrating your first birthday with Annika Jung and her parents. A lot has happened and you've grown up so much in only one year... I can't wait to see what this year of 2 holds for you!
We love you Harper Noelle and HAPPY 2nd BIRTHDAY!

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Few Pictures from February

I'm sure most young families feel the way that we do... life just seems to go by faster and faster. It's hard to keep up sometimes. I wanted to post a few pictures from last month real quick.

Josh and Jordan came up to Portland (again!) to bring us some love and it was WONDERFUL! As soon as they flew in, Portland saw some crazy weather which included snow. Needless to say Jordan had us cranking the heat (thanks jord ;)) At the beginning of the basketball year, Jeremy snagged 4 Blazer-Laker tickets with the Stude's in mind. The evening was full of us jabbing each other at the game - all of us in our perspective team gear! We also will cherish the memory of our "Portland progressive dinner". How is it so easy spending hours and hours together? You guys are so dear to our hearts... We love the conversations we have and the life moments we share together. We couldn't ask more intentional friends. Thank you for being your amazing-selves... and especially for the way you adore our kids!
Jordan with Harper and Bentley in the playroom... they loved their new "playmates" for the long weekend since Jordan and Josh smother them with love and can turn into big kids pretty easily ;)
The four of us at the Blazer-Laker game. What a fun memory! It couldn't have been a more competitive game for us to go to... pretty sure those were the only 4 hours we've EVER not been friends ;)
Jordan making funny faces at Bentley... he loved her!
Harper is easily Bentley's favorite entertainment... he watches her and studies her every move. Jeremy and I just step back and smile when we watch their precious and honest interactions.
Harper is quickly growing up into a tiny lady... even though it feels like a rare picture when we get her all put together. Usually the hairbands and bows don't last and before you know it, she is either changing into other clothes or going "diaper only" style! Gotta love it!
Our handsome little man. He is FULL of smiles! We laugh, because his smiles are absolutely unprovoked sometimes... you just look over at him and he is grinning with delight. We love it Bentley! We have decided, we think he's a lot like Harper in that he is happy, happy, happy... but even more laid back than she was (we weren't sure that was possible back then). He is now rolling over a bit and tolerates tummy time okay. Yes, he still has to deal with the pink floor mat... we think he's tougher for it.
Me... going crazy with 2 kiddos... wouldn't trade it for anything!

This Burger is a Keeper

A few weekends ago, my husband and I invited his parents over for dinner. They had been to our new house before for parties and to see our kids, but this night was special. It was the first time we were hosting them to a home cooked meal in OUR home. Big difference. I have been loving making my way through Ina Garten's Back to Basics cookbook over the past few months, so I turned to it once again, as it has yet to disappoint me. Her Niman Ranch Burgers recipe is what I landed on since I knew my father-in-law (especially) might appreciate it.
I have to admit... I don't eat very much red meat. In fact there are times I swear I could almost convince myself to be a vegetarian... The word almost is key. I still like the flavor certain meat products add to dishes. I'm just very picky about what part of an animal I consume and where it comes from. In this case, I turned to an upscale shopping market in our area and purchased organic, almost 100% grass-fed ground beef. I learned from the butcher that since the cows were raised here locally, they can't be 100% grass-fed at this time of the year here in Oregon. Due to weather, grass doesn't grow here well enough over the last 3 months of their lifetime to sustain them. During those last 3 months, they are fed a mixture of grass, alfalfa, and corn. I soaked up this information, as I try to only buy grass-fed beef as it tends to be leaner, retain more nutrients than grain-fed beef, and is a more natural diet for a cow. It really is true what good cooks say, "get to know your butcher"... Ask questions about your food!
The recipe I chose took a fancy spin on a traditional burger in that it was served open-faced on a toasted english muffin. We added a little blue cheese to the meat (which the original recipe did not call for), added our lettuce, tomato and topped it off with caramelized onions... Our taste buds were in heaven! It absolutely made my evening when my husband and father-in-law said it could beat any burger they've tried in a restaurant! I agreed. I served the burgers with Ina's Oven-Roasted Vegetables that included fennel bulb, fingerling potatoes, haricots verts (french string beans), and tri-colored broccoli (she calls for asparagus). Here is a very similar vegetable recipe of hers. To me, it is incredibly rewarding to find recipes and ingredients that are healthy and delicious at the same time. Try these recipes and let me know what you think!