As I write this I am lying in my bed. It's 2:41 in the afternoon and both my children are napping - it's a Christmas miracle. I know I should probably close my eyes, too. I mean these nights not much sleep is actually happening for any of us. But as tired as I am I can't quite let myself doze...

It's quiet.

For the first time since 5:12 a.m. the only sound I hear is the soft whirrrrr of the fan. It's almost as if I'm not quite sure what to do with myself and this peaceful quiet.  

You see, quiet doesn't happen much anymore. And I'm forever grateful for the sounds that fill my home and heart. 

But for right now I'm going to wrap myself up in this silence and enjoy not being needed. Even if it is just for a few minutes. Maybe I'll even shut my eyes for a little bit... 

And just like that she's up. 

Perhaps tomorrow naps will happen for all of us. 

Until then, let the sweet noise of my life commence. 


M & J Monday

Though these two pair of feet are little...
...they sure have left a big imprint on my heart.

Happy Monday!


The A Little Bit of This and That Edition

Friday, it's so good to see you. Though our week hasn't been particularly eventful it's always nice to close out the week.

Some of this week's highlights from the Macke clan...

1. Last weekend we were fortunate to link up with Elizabeth and her crew to celebrate our birthdays. We ate at this cute little joint that served up some delicious fried chicken. And we cannot for one second overlook the goodness that was their butter cake.
Blogging friends that become real life friends - it's a pretty awesome thing.

2. We've had a bit of sleep regression with Marcus. None too coincidentally around the time Julia arrived. So after weeks of struggling to get either of the kids to sleep through the night I came up with an incentive program for Marcus (something tells me Julia isn't quite ready for this...). If Marcus can sleep through the night for a week straight without needing Scott or me to come to his room we will make a trip to the toy store.
So far we are 3 for 3 on uninterrupted nights of sleep. Sadly, the same cannot be said for his little sister.

3. This little gal has proven she's pretty fond of baths.
And I'm pretty fond of her.

4. Marcus' preschool comes up with some pretty fun craft ideas to coincide with the letters they learn each week.
While I don't hang on to every little paper he colors these crafts are keepers!

5. THIS!
Please excuse the poor quality pics and terrible selfie, and I know it's only two miles... But! It's been SO LONG since I've seen a negative split, not to mention I can't remember the last time I ran sub-10 miles. I'm getting the itch to find some good halves to run.

There you have it. Nothing too spectacular, but all the making for a pretty good week.

Have a great weekend!


Marcus - 3½


My sweet little buddy, it's mind boggling that we are half way to four.
Leading up to the arrival of your sister I was so worried how you would take to her. All those worries were pushed aside when you first held her. It was immediately clear how much you love her. You are constantly calling Julia *your* baby, and you are always so eager to give her sweet kisses. However, you have (wisely) steered clear of any and all diaper duties (not that I'd actually give you the chance to change those).

You are so full of spunk. Your energy blows my mind.

Snacks are your jam. If you had it your way, you'd snack all day and just skip the whole sit-down-and-eat business which we require you do three times a day. Where you get that energy is beside me. You could go for hours and hours, and fore go any meals. When you *do* eat, you always ask for mac and cheese. It is seriously your favorite food, followed closely by any type of ice cream.

Your love for being outdoors is second to none. Riding your bike and scooter, playing baseball, basketball, and swimming are your favorites. You also love to race anyone willing to say, "on your mark, get set, go!", and you have a competitive streak I can't help but love.
If we are playing inside you enjoy your Matchbox cars and Hungry Hungry Hippos.

As of late you have really gotten into painting and occasionally coloring. I attribute that newly discovered joy to preschool.

Speaking of preschool, you seem to really enjoy going. Each morning you inform me you don't want to go. But, getting you out the door and to school is never a problem. I think you just want to give me a bit of a run for my money right away in the morning (send coffee, there is never enough).

School has been so good for you. You've started with pretend play, and your imagination seems to run wild. You've also gotten really good at spelling a few words. Those words include: your own name, J-u-l-i-a, M-o-m, D-a-d, S-t-o-p, and T-r-u-c-k.

While you are the sweetest and most generous little man (generally you have no problem sharing with your friends), we very much struggle with the "threenager" stage. We have had some epic meltdowns and serious bouts of defiance. We've had our fair share of difficult days. While I love you endlessly, I can say whole heartily I do not particularly love the challenges that come with this age. But, I try not to dwell too much on our struggles, as I know all too well how fast it all goes.

Thankfully, you are quick to make many of our difficult days better. Just the other morning I was still asleep and the next thing I know I feel your presence, and I hear the softest whisper, "I love you, Mommy." It was the absolute best way to wake up.

From the get go you've been my snugly little monkey, and that hasn't changed one bit. If there's an opportunity to sit in my lap or snuggle in my bed, or yours, you are all over it. And I love every sweet second of it. Occasionally when I bury my nose in your hair I can still catch the sweet scent of baby. I'm going to miss that when it's long gone.
You reach for my hand when we walk and it is the sweetest. And, you may not know this now, but you fiercely hold on to my heart.

Happy 3½ years my sweet little boy. I can't wait to see what the rest of this year will bring us. 

Love you to the moon and back. Twice.


Happy Birthday Giveaway!

September is easily my favorite month. Leaves begin to change color, the air holds a fresh crispness that can only mean Fall is being ushered in, football season is upon us once more, and so many of my favorite people celebrate birthdays - mine included.
To celebrate all the goodness of this month how does $10 to Target, $10 to Starbucks, $10 to Amazon, and a scarf from Urban Cowgirl sound? Basically, that's an amazing little package of awesome to kickstart Fall. Am I right, or am I right?

Three fabulous ladies who also have September birthdays, along with myself, have teamed up to give one lucky winner the aforementioned goodies.

Entry is easy, just follow the Rafflecopter prompts below!

Don't forget to stop by each lovely lady and with them a Happy Birthday!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

M & J Monday

Generally I'm the one behind the camera. However, when you walk out the door and realize you've unintentionally coordinated yourself with your children you ask to be one the other side of the lens.
Happy Monday!


The Good Stuff Edition

This week was a pretty good one. Between Julia starting to figure out nights and days, temperatures that *almost* felt like fall, and birthday shenanigans, there was a lot of good stuff going on.

1. Marcus loves himself some Julia.
The other evening we had a bottle on hand to feed Julia and Marcus was very interested. I asked if he wanted to help feed his sister and he was very excited to be able to help. Watching my little man with Julia makes my heart so full.

2. Mail Haul.
Between surprise emails and snail mail, this week did not disappoint.
Johanna speaks my language. She was so sweet and sent a little caffeine my way to give me a boost when nights are sleepless and days are long. 
Top left: My love affair with bows knows no end. ZoZu Baby bows are the cutest little things, and the fall collection is adorable.
Top right: Erin sent Julia this Love/Iowa onesie and I'm beyond smitten with it.
Bottom left: THESE THINGS ARE GENIUS. One of my best friends, Holly, sent these to me and they're the best. Keep reading to see what they are and how they work.
Bottom right: Stephanie sent this gorgeous scarf in celebration of turning 32. I am chomping at the bit to wear it. Now if only the weather would cooperate.
So the little rectangular thingys (I have no idea what they're called) wrap around door knobs to keep doors from clicking shut, and keep from waking sleeping babies! They also prevent doors from loudly slamming shut. Who likes a sleeping baby to stay sleeping? This gal. These things are such a good idea. Why didn't I think of them?!

3. Scott rocked the birthday gifts this year. 
This beauty is all mine! I can't wait to play around with it a bit. I'm hoping this weekend lends itself an opportunity or two to use the new lens.

4. Winner! Winner!
You know all those InstaGram giveaways that everyone and their grandmother enter? I finally actually won one! And... BOWS!!!! 

5. Just because...
She's mine and she's cute. She's becoming more alert with each passing day. Plus, she's starting to flash us her sweet smile. One of these days I'm going to capture her little grin when her dimple is on display.

Have a great weekend!



Today marks the third anniversary of my 29th birthday (see what I did there?), and while it will likely be a pretty typical day for us I thought it would be fun to share 32 facts about me. Plus, these kind of posts are my favorite, and since it's my birthday, why not?!

1. My full name is Desirée Joy Macke. Often I'm called Des or D.

2. I'm surprised at how often my last name is mispronounced. So often I hear it pronounced Mac (like the truck). But the "e" isn't silent, so it's pronounced mack-EE.

3. I was born and raised in Iowa, but lived in two different towns. Growing up I always thought I wanted to leave. Now, nothing is better than going home. 
4. I've known my best friend literally my entire life. We went to the same baby sitter as infants. Hi, Amy!
5. My first car was a 1997 teal, two door Chevy Cavalier. It didn't have power locks or windows, but it had a sunroof. I freaking loved that car. 
6. In school I played volleyball and softball. Softball was by far my favorite (I was the 2nd basemen). 

7. Hindsight - I should have run cross country in high school. But, back then I thought I hated running. It wasn't until much later that I learned I just hated running short distances (ie. sprints). 

8. I participated on a swim team for eight years. My favorite stroke was butterfly.

9. I attended Iowa State University (GO CYCLONES) for 4.5 years, majoring in Journalism and Mass Communications, with an emphasis in television broadcast. I minored in Sociology.  
10. Aside from an internship and this blog, I haven't really done anything with my degree.

11. Growing up I always thought I was going to be a veterinarian. Then I took biology and chemistry. Nope. 

12. My dad has worked in the radio industry my entire life. In high school I worked for him as an evening and weekend announcer. It was a huge influence in my decision to go into journalism. 

13. For 12 years I participated on a synchronized swimming team. 

14. It wasn't until I was 24 that I discovered my love for running longer distances. 

15. My first road race was a half marathon. I figured go big or go home. After I crossed the finish line I was exhausted and hooked.

16. 16 is my favorite number.

17. In college I held multiple jobs: water aerobics instructor, pool manager, lifeguard, environmental specialist (just a fancy term for janitor - it was the least glamorous job of all time), and veterinary kennel attendant. 

18. Before I married Scott I never thought I would have kids. 

19. Now, my kids are my world. 
20. Scott and I met playing on an intramural softball team for the city we worked for (he was a police officer, I was the aquatics coordinator). 

21. When I was 27 I was in a pretty wicked car accident. The accident wasn't my fault...
22. Said car accident resulted in my first stitches and broken bones.
23. Thanks to that accident I now have two metal plates and 12 screws in my right arm.
24. When I first moved to L.A. I taught private swimming lessons in people's personal backyard pools. I occasionally lifeguarded as well. At one private pool party I worked Molly Ringwald was in attendance and blew my whistle to get her daughter's attention. I still have that whistle. 
25. Since living in L.A. the only other celeb sightings I've seen are David Spade, Daniel Tosh, Jere Burns, and Neal McDonough. Scott once saw Mark Whalberg at a Mass that I didn't attend (I'm still kicking myself for that one). 
26. I'm a huge Kansas City Chiefs and Royals fan. 

27. Never in a million years did I think I would be a domestic engineer (most call it SAHM). While I don't plan to do this forever I'm truly amazed at how much joy I've gotten from such an important role.

28. I have one younger brother - Tyler. He's 27 and he's single (hey ladies!). 
29. My favorite songs of all time are classic oldies: Paint it Black by the Rolling Stones and Tiny Dancer by Elton John. 

30. Though I'm a born and raised Iowan I don't eat beef or pork. But, give me all the sweet corn. 

31. I had no idea blogging would introduce me to some of the greatest ladies I know. Many I've never met in real life, but still consider some of my closest friends. 

32. 31 was great, but I'm pretty sure 32 will be the best year, yet! 
Cheers to this year and all it has to offer!


The Best Buttermilk Pancakes

Breakfast hasn't ever really been my favorite meal. My poor mom would always make my brother and me breakfast before school (usually something really good - pancakes, waffles, french toast) and nine times out of 10 I'd skip it all. It didn't help that I've never been a huge fan of syrup (that's changed slightly as I've gotten older, but I can eat cold, syrup-less pancakes, no problem). 

However, since marrying Scott - who loves himself a good, big breakfast that includes LOTS of syrup - and Marcus, who apparently has his dad's love for syrup I've found if I'm going to make and eat breakfast it better be pretty darn good. None of that prepackaged stuff, or just-add-water mix. I want the real deal, and I want it homemade.

Both my guys love pancakes, so with a little searching and taste-testing trial and error, I found a recipe that everyone in our family seems to love.

The Best Buttermilk Pancakes - yields approximately 16 pancakes
What You'll Need
1 1/2 cups milk
4 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 eggs
4 Tbsp butter, melted
cooking spray

How It Comes Together
Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to sour.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Whisk eggs, butter, and vanilla into soured milk.
Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.
Heat large skillet to medium heat. 
Coat skillet with cooking spray.
For each pancake, pour 1/4 cup of batter onto skillet. Cook until bubbles appear on surface. 
Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on both sides.

No fancy schmancy ingredients, nothing too crazy when it comes to whipping them up and cooking them, but they sure do seem to disappear quickly. 


M & J Monday

With two kids I find myself trying in vain to capture the most perfect pictures of my babes. More often than not my out takes are copious and my ideal shots are few and far between.
But sometimes... Sometimes I click at just the right moment.
His smile! Her tongue!
Just yes.
There it is. The one that needs a frame.
Happy Monday!


The Random Bits of Life Edition

When you're deep in the trenches of day to day life, surviving on little sleep and copious amounts of coffee, the weekend seems nothing short of a dream. But somehow the week passes, and before you know it, the weekend arrives. It's funny how life works like that.

This week was pretty low key and relatively uneventful, but it was good, nonetheless, and left us with plenty to be thankful for: 

1. Marcus and I had a very much needed Marcus/Mommy date. It wasn't anything too crazy, but a couple of rounds of bowling and a stop at one of our favorite bakeries was just what the both of us needed. 
We're still working on adjusting to life as a family of four, and this time together was so good for both of us. 

2. Slowly, surely, and steadily I'm getting back into the swing of working out.
I can't even explain how wonderful it feels to get in some good sweat sessions. 

3. It's been hot as blazes here. Good thing for the beach and the pool.
As much as I love summer, and all that it brings, I am so ready for a different season. 

4. A couple of days ago I mentioned I had some fun in store for our family. Well, for Scott's birthday I surprised him with a flight back home as well as tickets to catch our teams when they play each other. 
We. Are. So. Excited!!! Give us all the football, all the fall weather, and of course a Pumpkin Spice Latte to top it all off. 

5. Our "Fall" schedule (seriously, we don't have that season) is starting to fill up. That meant I needed to round up some ideas/events/activities for a Fall Bucket List.
Isn't this just the best season ever?

Have a great weekend!


To This Guy...

To the most dedicated, loyal, hard working person I know...
You are the best dad and most understanding and patient husband.
We hope you have the Happiest of Birthdays!!
We love you!!
~Desirée, Marcus, and Julia


Slow Cooker Chicken and Stuffing {{Recipe}}

I was so fortunate for the past four weeks I've had the luxury of having someone at home to help with Marcus, Julia, and the on-goings of every day life - including planning, prepping, and making dinner. This week it's back to flying solo.

Before life with two little ones I tried to make most of our dinners from scratch. I like making homemade cream of chicken soup, or homemade rolls and biscuits. Now? Now I'm just trying to survive till 5:00, and somehow manage to throw something edible together and call it dinner.

To keep from losing my marbles come dinner time I have several freezer meals ready to go. I have also been searching for slow cooker meals, and was introduced to this lovely dish thanks to my mom.

This one has all the flavors perfect for this time of year (hi, Fall!), and is so easy it can be whipped up with a 3-year old hanging off one leg and an infant being worn in a baby wrap. It also received the thumbs up from the husband, so it's quickly earned itself a spot in our meal rotation.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Stuffing
What you'll need:
4 large boneless skinless chicken breast
1 cup chicken broth
1 can cream of mushroom soup (cream of celery also works well)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup of milk
4 slices cheese (I've found cheddar works best)
1 box stuffing mix

How it comes together:
In slow cooker place chicken breast along the bottom in a single layer.
Add chicken broth and then top each chicken breast with one slice of cheese.
In a small bowl, whisk together cream soups and milk.
Pour soups atop chicken and cheese.
Top with box of stuffing mix.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 4 hours, or until chicken is completely done.
Serve with side of choice.

So, until I can figure out time management with two, it's crock pots and easy dishes for the win.