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28 June, 2012

What Alice Forgot {A Book Review}

If you put a frog in a pot of boiling water it was jump out, but if you put a frog in water and slowly warm it up, it will cook to death.  I use this analogy with the teens in the youth group when trying to explain moral relativism. (Or, in other words, how morality is slow to move on a day to day basis, but from generation to generation there are big changes)

We talk about this analogy so often that I find myself constantly wondering what it would be like to be transported to the see what the world is like and to see what would shock me.  It would be like the frog hitting that hot water, all jumpy and weird, shocked.  But we only get to live our lives one day at a time, so things wear on us over time, and change little by little, day by day.

In What Alice Forgot, Alice fainted during spin class at instantly lost 10 years of memories.  She was “transformed” to her 1998 way of life: simple and newly married with a baby on the way.  But it is still her 2008 life: busy, busy, busy, coffee-drinking mom-of-the-year, super-mom of three in the middle of an ugly divorce.  Alice can’t remember how her life got from point A to point B.  Or why.

In this 400 page beach read, Alice quickly relearns her family, re-falls in love with her almost ex-husband, finds her mother married to her father-in-law, and discovers her sister has been struggling with infertility.  

It’s a heartwarming story with a happy ending.  A little predictable, but enough mystery that keeps you reading. It will leave you examining your own life, the decisions you make, and carefully considering your ten year plan.  


This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own. Join in the conversation!

27 June, 2012

What I am Loving {8}

 This little nugget in her bike helmet.  And her watermelon dress.

 Eric was trying to get Evie to smile and made this face for the camera.  Gold.

Still no luck, but her face is priceless.

Funfetti cupcakes with homemade buttercream frosting and local-farm fresh blueberries.  
(And my Blogher Bookclub review book--- posting coming soon!) 

Cold press coffee recipe from Ashley.  
As you can see, I have nearly finished the "regular" - decaf is ready for this afternoon. 
{Her version involves a lot less cheese cloth than The Pioneer Woman's that I was loving last summer}

Farmer's Market Lunch
Grilled bell peppers, jalapeño pimento cheese, roma tomatoes.

Evie's new Saint Genevieve doll from Saintly Silver on Etsy. She has already tried to eat it...fifteen minutes out of the package. 
We got Zach a Saint Zachary doll for his birthday (but, shhh don't tell, he doesn't know yet!)

My nephew, Connor! 
 I've been watching him on Tuesdays over the summer.  He is incredibly gentile and sweet with Evie.  And is one of the few people who can rouse a good belly laugh from her.  

My Parents!
Celebrating 31 years of marriage today! Thank you for being such a witness and example :)

26 June, 2012

Happy [belated] Father's Day!

Wait? Wasn't that like almost two weeks ago?  Yep.  But if you consider I posted Evie's 7 month post about 20 days late, this is ahead of the curve.

This year we were blessed to celebrate Father's Day about 8 or 9 times.  Or something like that.

The week before Father's Day we celebrated with Eric's family at the Dillard House in North Carolina.

Evie got to spend the day with her daddy and her Grandpa Buergler, at their favorite place to eat.  Hooray!  I admire my father-in-law for his relationship with his kids.  He was often the one home to make dinner and help with homework. I am so glad that my husband has had such a great influence of a Dad who helps around the house, works hard, and still takes his kids out for movie night.

On actual Father's Day we were at the cabin with my grandfather and my brothers.

I am blessed beyond belief to have the generous, chivalrous grandfather that I do.  He bought me my first camera back in 3rd grade and took me on many-a-photowalks over the years.  He also took me on my first trip abroad when I turned 16.  We spend a whole year talking about my dream trip, and he saw to it that it was perfect.  And, of course, he's taught me the value of marriage (50+ years!) and my faith (he prays a rosary a day, but you'd never know because he does it in secret!).

And my brothers...I still cannot believe they are fathers.  I cannot believe that three out of four of us are parents. It's unreal.  I am so proud of Alex for finishing school and all that he's accomplished while having a baby in college. And I am proud of David for the sacrifices he makes to take care of Zach while Paige travels for work.  My brothers are amazing fathers and I love every second we get to share in parenting.

Unfortunately we couldn't be with my Dad on Father's Day.  He and my mom are still partying in Maine.  My Dad and I are way too much alike and our head butting made for some ugly-face-crying years back in the 90s, but things are better now.  I've learned so much from my Dad, and we've learned so much together.  He's taught me my love for music, architecture, food, and hosting a great party. I am still sat that our wedding reception venue messed up our itinerary and we never had our father-daughter dance. Someday, Dad, we'll dance to "Two Pina Coladas"

Most importantly, I am thankful for my husband and the incredible father he is to our sweet baby girl.  I have seen him cry maybe three times in my years of knowing him, and I will never forget the tears of joy he shed the moment Evie was born and the beautiful prayer he prayed in thanksgiving for our healthy delivery.  He has shared many sleepless night, comforted my tears of frustration with nursing and All The Things, and is eager to share his hobbies with Evie.

 This past weekend we were finally able to put Eric's birthday gift (Evie's bike seat) and his Father's Day gift (her helmet) to use.  We did a test ride around our apartment complex and then headed to the greenway for a quick 5 mile ride.
 You can see Evie's pouty / apprehensive face.  She's not too keen on trying new things...but once she does, she loves it (that apple didn't fall too far from this tree)

And, Papa, I've really missed you lately...especially since I saw a man at the pool during Evie's swim lessons that looked just like you... I told Evie all about you, and how you're the only person I've ever known who can perfectly mince garlic with a knife, or how you sang "Some Enchanted Evening" in my ear every time we parted ways.  Happy Father's Day in heaven :)

Happy [belated] Father's Day to all these great men, and to all the clergy who have been spiritual fathers for me over the years!  I love you :)

25 June, 2012

Evie: Seven Months

Now that she's almost 8 months....I finally got around to posting this!

Weight: according to the stand on the scale with me method, 21 lbs
Length/Height: probably 27+
Eats: 24-30 oz of formula; 4-6 baby bullets (8-12 oz) of rice, oatmeal, fruits, veggies; handful of puffs or Cheerios; Baby Mum Mums
Diapers: Size 3 in disposables, rise unsnapped in all her cloth diapers
Clothes: 6-12 or 9 months shirts & dresses; 12 month in one piece outfits; 12-18 in any bottoms (to fit over the cloth diapers)

Firsts for Evie
May 8
Non-family baby sitter
May 10 
Sat up unassisted, but hunched over
May 14
Rolled back to front (finally!)
May 18
Cheerios & Puffs
May 23
Sat up and reached for toys
May 25
1st day in the pool
May 30
First Life Teen Social / Pool Party

June 4
First Swim Class
June 5
Bring Your Baby Matinee

 Eats: pears, apples, sweet potatoes, brown rice, yogurt, oatmeal (homemade and boxed), avocados, bananas and she's still not sure about peas.

Reaches for toys while sitting.

Reaches up for Mom and Dad to be picked up.
Incredible pincer skills and feeds herself puffs & Os.

Recognizes meal routine & gets excited.
Holds plastic bottles for most of her feeding.
Turns to voices in any direction and almost knows her name.
Getting pretty good at open mouth baby kisses, and almost on command.
Spins around on belly to find a toy she wants.
Rocks in the saucer, seated position, while someone carries her, and in push up position. Crawling here she comes!

 Talking to the baby in the mirror.
Watching the picture slide show on the iMac - gets excited when she recognizes someone
Swimming and Bathing
Sophie & Delany
Playing her little piano
Watching Small Potatoes

The sound of the Baby Bullet
Getting into the hot car

We managed to squeeze one last month out of the bucket seat, but spoiler alert - we already swapped it out.

Pediatrician recommended hands-on time has helped a bit with nap time.  So has this Baby Einstein soother (oooo a remote in the shape of a sea shell!). 

More mini-road trips this month, including a Mommy-Evie trip to the cabin to visit Nannie & Pap.

Met my friend Dennis for the first time and was so shy and flirty in a way I've never seen before.  And she's done it to him every time since.  Must be the red hair.

We have a half dozen bags of frozen breast milk left (y'all, you have no idea how happy I am to have my freezer back, yet so sad to see the milk go). Evie gets one every day or so...when we remember to defrost one.

This month's routine: wake up around 7:30-8; small bottle & play; 9:30-10 nap with small bottle; wake up around noon for solids, small bottle and puffs, nap around 2 with small bottle, 5:00 wake up, puffs, solids, bottle, play with Daddy; 7:30 wind down (some nights a bath), books, prayers, bottle and bed by 8 or 8:30. Depending on how early she got up the naps might shift earlier and some days she'll squeeze in a short nap late in the afternoon.

Now that we're pretty firm on the 8 or 8:30 bedtime (which she led), the wake up time is usually the same each morning.  

She's been waking up once a night, sometimes twice.  One of those times we can usually let her cry herself back to sleep and the other time she's pretty hungry & wet.

I totally quit pumping except once this month for relief. [TMI-] Sometimes I wake up with a really wet shirt.

What they say...

"Oh my God, she looks exactly like Eric, sorry, E"
"What a good baby!"
"Seriously, she's so happy"

We are...
Doing all sort of things with her, like trips, or leaving her with family, etc while we can before it becomes too complicated or another one comes along.

Finding that the second we get comfortable in a new "routine" - Evie changes her mind and redefines it for us.

Growing more in love for our sweet baby girl each and everyday!

21 June, 2012

A Fake Engagement Shoot

I know, y'all are probably wondering where the heck Evie's Seven Month post is... it's written and the photos are taken.  However, I haven't finished editing or sorting the photos from the last month or so because I was having too much fun with Sam and Katie.

While we were at my grandparents' cabin for the long weekend (post coming next week!), we had some decent lighting (what a treat!!!), S&K were dressed up, and we had some fun props.  I am so thankful they were fun and creative and let me use them to practice my photography.

20 June, 2012

On Becoming a Mrs...what they don't tell you!

A while back Amy asked to guest post about "Becoming a Mrs" and all the hidden secrets of newlywed life.  Having been married for almost three years I had so many great ideas, so I bounced a few off my sister who is newly engaged.  She said she would love to read "something real" about married life...something no one will really tell here it is!  A little about me, Elizabeth, and how I learned how to fight with my husband, Eric.

Eric and I had a fairy tale engagement and wedding. We could see the hand of God in every detail.

We met through a mutual friend, dated for about two years and then he proposed during my Holy Hour of Adoration at our church. Those months and years were flirty, romantic, and fun.

Our wedding was extravagant. An evening wedding at Saint Brigid (where Amy is getting married!). Long satin gowns, lush bouquets, and 250 guests. Eric and I exchanged our vows before 3 priests, 2 deacons, and 1 seminarian (sing with me…"and a partridge in a pear tree"). For better, for worse. For rich, for poor. In sickness and in health. Until death do us part.

The late-night reception was simple and elegant. A dinner, dancing and an ice cream sundae bar. Guests partied until wee hours of the morning when Eric and I realized we were getting delirious and much in need of sleep.

A limo driver whisked us away to our secret hotel room…. (I'll stop there).

The next morning we enjoyed a hot brunch in the company of our out of town family and friends. It was the perfect way to spend time with them because the wedding day was such a blur, as those things usually are. That afternoon we jetted off to California for a week of honeymooning.

That week was a whirlwind, and even the next month was too. Unwrapping gifts, moving my stuff to his our place, and sharing bottles of wine we brought back from California. We were living the married dream.

But once the last of the boxes were unpacked, and the thank you notes mailed off, reality set in.

We quickly learned that marriage wasn't just about champagne flutes and china patterns, but dirty dishes and piles of laundry.

Marriage requires a LOT of work, and not just the physical housework kind. But the kind where we are always sharing the same small, private space . The kind where we need to consult each other on every purchase to meet our financial goals. The kind that requires phone calls to let the other one know where they are…and when they're coming home.

The kind that requires learning how to fight.

I will never forget our first fight. I was home and Eric was meeting a few guys from work for a couple of drinks. No big deal, this happened a lot during our dating and engaged life. But I was waiting for him to get home…maybe a little too eagerly... and he was enjoying his time out with the guys ... maybe a little too much.

A long afternoon of unanswered phone calls later, Eric finally arrived home.

I laid into him. Screaming and throwing a fit about how and why he didn't answer the phone. Eric threw it right back in my face. And suddenly, every issue we had swept under the rug to keep the peace for the last eight months or so burst to the surface.

We had never encountered a fight of this magnitude. I stormed out, slamming the door behind me. I jumped in my car and drove around town trying to cool off for an hour.

Since we had never had a fight like this before, this seemed like the reasonable thing to do…just get out of each other's face/space.

After I cooled off, I called him to see if I could bring home a peace offering of pizza and ice cream, but Eric did not answer.

So, instead, I just drove home.

I put my key in the door to unlock it, but Eric had locked the security deadbolt, thus locking me out of OUR apartment.


Read the rest over at Amy's The Charming Blog

14 June, 2012

From Blog Life to Real Life!

I saw this link up idea advertised on The Magnolia Pair a few days and just loved the idea of showcasing some of my must-reads and finding some new-to-me blogs!

Leave me a comment if you decide to link up too! I'd love to see who YOU love to read!

Enjoy :)

1. Do you have any real life blog friends?

Ashley from Our Little Apartment technically qualifies, I think. Although she and I went to college together and had little baby blogs about boys, lent, and other silly things we moved 600 miles away and continue to stay connected via the blogosphere. We have the pleasure of reuniting on occasion, but if it weren’t for blogging, I don’t know how connected we would be.

2. Which blogger are you just dying to meet?

Dwija from House Unseen. She bought a house of the internet and had never seen it. And now she’s raising chicken in the middle of Michigan and is due with her 5th baby any day now. I am anxiously awaiting the live-tweet of her home birth. I’m sure it’ll be hilarious and beautiful at the same time.

House Unseen. Life Unscripted.

3. Which blogger's closet do you want to raid?

Natalie from The Busy Budgeting Mama. Not because she has a fabulous designer wardrobe (she is married to a youth minister, after all), but because it’s cute, budget minded, and mom friendly.

Also, if I could trade a day with any blogger it would be her. I haven’t seen her since she hung out with my brother back-in-the-day, so I’d love to see how she manages her life with two girls, her blog schedule, her etsy shop, and decorating her house (so cute!).

The Busy Budgeting Mama

4. You are stuck on an island. Which blogger would you want with you to help you survive? 

Carissa from lowercase letters. Her faith, joy, passion, and hope are a weekly inspiration to me, even though I’ve never met her!

lowercase letters

5. The first blogger you remember "meeting" and connecting with ?

I remember hitting the send button on an email regarding cloth diapers probably close to a year ago now...thinking, um, I just put myself out there as a known blog stalker. But sweet Mama Bethany wrote be back and we’ve been blog friends ever since.

6. Any blogger that you admire and look up to?

Totally Amanda from Growing up Gardner. She blogs about her kids, upcycling thrift store finds, sales at Target, and her faith journey, all while maintaining a gorgeous home, nannying for her nieces/nephews, homeschooling her kids, and supporting her husband’s students.

Growing Up Gardner

7. Who is the craziest/funniest blogger?

Sarah from Sarah Unfiltered. She’s a new blogger on the block...Friend of my sister’s future sister-in-law (you got all that, right?). She also taught for the Confirmation class that I coordinate once or twice. Anyway, she can take something as simple as taking her baby swimming and turn it into a sitcom. And if you’re looking for the male perspective, her husband blogs too. Hilarious stuff those two.

8. There's a reality television show for bloggers, who would you want to be casted with you?

Rebecca from A Southern Boy and A City Girl. We have similar lives: Catholic, married, kids, hard-working husbands, awesome families that we love to spend time with... but she has 10x more energy than me. I would need someone as crazy-passionate as she is to balance me on a reality TV show...she'd be my ideal partner for a reality game show.

9. Some bloggers have really cool jobs, anybody you'd like to swap careers with?

Kathryn from Married Filing Joint. I actually had no idea what she did for a living until I just went to copy and paste her link. According to her bio she just did for a blog link up, she is an accountant. So yeah, I wouldn’t actually want to be an accountant ("they were using numbers and stuff"), but I would LOVE to travel to all the really cool countries she goes to for her job.

10. Favorite blog design?

Amy from The Charming. Every time I venture out of my Google Reader to an actual site, Amy has a new design. They’re all so simple and clean, yet show her personality. After her wedding she can work up a fresh design for you...and for cheap! I should call her....
the Charming