Memory Lane - A Campus Visit

I briefly talked of Sally before. But, I feel I really have to explain how crazy it is that our paths crossed, or, should I say, didn't cross until meeting up by way of our blogs.

One afternoon I stumbled upon Nothing Isn't Nothing and began reading about a sweet little boy named Mace. His mom wrote of him in a way I would write about Marcus. There was just something about Sally (and Mace!) that drew me in. I loved stalking catching up on their lives, and watching Mace hit developmental milestones none too far behind Marcus.

After several (billion) emails back and forth we discovered we attended ISU, at the same time. We worked for the campus recreation services as lifeguards, at the same time. We lived on the same street, at the same time. How in the world did we never bump into each other while at school?!

Thankfully, we had the opportunity to finally really meet. Our little blogger date went so much better than I hoped, and as suspected, Sally and I hit if off just smashingly.

To reminisce and dream of life when it was a little more care-free Sally and I packed up our boys and headed to one of my favorite places on Earth.

It's never too early for a campus visit, nor is it too early to begin instilling some Cyclone pride!
We made it to campus and both boys obviously fell in love with the place instantly...
The Campanile. If you look closely, Marcus and I are standing below the Campanile in the left photo.
And, yes, yes I did "officially" become an Iowa Stater - HA!
Don't they just look like they belong there?!
Showing my little man around campus.
Marcus discovered the steps up Curtiss Hall the agricultural building (how appropriate).
It was insanely hot and humid so we headed to the Memorial Union (aka MU) to cool off, and to wash Mace's feet. Mace found the only muddy area on all of campus. Ha!
It was so surreal to be there, with Sally and Mace, and Marcus. I kept thinking how crazy it was strolling around campus with my little man. Ten years ago (ten years, yikes!) I would have laughed at myself if I said I was going to be totting a toddler around campus.
Our tour ended, and we had to say goodbye to Mace and Sally. I'm not sure how the boys felt about the whole experience. They were full of expressions, weren't they?
Before leaving town I had to stop by one of my all time favorite places. Jack Trice! So many Saturdays were spent here, tailgating and cheering on my beloved Cyclones. 
So may memories were made on this campus, and it was so much fun to create more with Sally, Mace, and Marcus.

My only regret about the whole experience... I wish I would have met Sally long before now!


15 Months Old!

There may have been a good chance I didn't get a 14 month update for my little guy. It's very possible I was sitting on a beach in the Caribbean, sipping on a fruity drink. Whoops.

I'm not on a beach and the closest thing I've had to a fruity drink is a Bud Light Lime (the lime is kind of tropical, right?). Even though the 23rd marked the actual 15 month mark, there will be no missed update.
Never mind my child is still in his pjs. They're comfy and his first nap happens at 9AM. No point in putting on *real* clothes until after the morning nap!
FIFTEEN MONTHS! What? I'm pretty sure we're still cleaning up from the big one year bash. Three months has just zipped right by us. 

Unofficial stats:
Height - 31.5ish inches
Weight - 27.5ish pounds
Teeth - 17! Marcus appears to have an extra tooth between his canine and lateral incisor.
I tried to take a photo of Marcus' mouth, but that's about as easy as lassoing a gnat. 

Lately, Marcus has really developed quite the personality. He can be stubborn, and impatient, sweet, and cuddly. He is our little spitfire, and he constantly keeps us on our toes. 
Marcus' latest party tricks:

  • Mimicking - tongue clicking and tongue-sticking-out top the mimic list.
  • Pointing - there's pointing to lots of random stuff going on.
  • Hugs - no stranger danger here, a random child at the zoo was a recipient of one of Marcus' sweet little hugs.
  • Climbing - true to his monkey ways, Marcus is climbing on everything.
  • Hand holding - This just started happening and it melts my heart; Little Man will reach for our hands while walking.
  • Pushing - anything with wheels is moved.
  • Swinging - the most favored and most time consuming park activity.
  • Time outside - any foul mood can usually be flipped by simply heading outside.
  • Stacking and pouring - if one object fits into another, that's where Marcus puts it; pouring water from one container to another can provide countless minutes of fun.
  • Swimming - we are in the inflatable pool every.single.day. And, blowing bubbles and kicking are pretty entertaining.
Diet - slowly but surely expanding our foods past mac n cheese and hot dogs. 

Words - So much is being said, but so little of it I understand! "Momma", "mom", "da-da", and we think Grandma, which comes out sounding like "ah-ma" are the few words that are actually translatable.
I have to say, I'm ready for more words to be added to the vocabulary. When Marcus whines and I have to play the guessing game to figure out what's wrong gets pretty old pretty fast. 
Little man, you are so much fun! There is so much you're learning, discovering, trying, and figuring out. Watching you grow right before our eyes has been the most amazing experience. 

We love you, Monkey!


My 1st Cara Box!!!

There are about 63 posts lined up, all ready to be published (we've been so busy!), but yesterday my Cara Box came!!! Sadly, my box made it to my house while I'm yuckin' it up here in Iowa. So, I did what any Cara Box participant would do. I made the hubs FaceTime me while *he* opened the box, had him show me each individual item, and read my sweet note.
So, not only did I have him open it and read the note, I had him play blogger photographer for me so I could share pictures of all my goodies. Thanks, hun! :)
This was my first experience with the Cara Box, and it was just as awesome as I'd hoped (and heard so many other gush on and on about). I was paired with Lauren Marie, who is about the sweetest thing ever. We emailed back and forth during the month of June, and I had such a good time getting to know her. There was a lot we shared in common, right down to the general area in where we lived/grew up. She now resides in one of my favorite Midwest cities!

June's Cara Box theme was "Take Me to the Fair." And, Lauren Marie did a fabulous job with every single item in my box!!
Gahhhh! Lauren Marie was SPOT on with each and every item! I cannot wait to get home and enjoy everything.
Please forgive the poor quality in photos. While Scott did a great job setting everything up to look "pretty" (per my instructions), I have the "good" camera in Iowa with me. 
Taking a closer look at what was all inside:

Left photo--

  • Animal Crackers - I buy these in bulk... For Marcus (at least that's what I tell myself to justify such a ridiculously large purchase)! These will be consumed at an alarming rate in no time!
  • Sunscreen - YES! In SoCal the sun shines, on average, 329 days a year. We pretty much drink sunscreen. 
  • COFFEE! - Oh my gosh, I'm so pumped. I'm a coffee fein!
  • Sugar Rush nail polish - I absolutely love that color and cannot wait to get it on my nails (which will also give me a good reason to go get a manicure and pedicure)! 

Center photo --

  • Game of horseshoes - What says "fair" like a good old fashioned game of horseshoe?! I can't wait to set it up and play with Marcus. 
Right photo --
  • Water for Elephants - I.LOVE.this.story! I'm an avid reader, and love this book! Until now I didn't have this book in my (small) collection. It's been a few years since I've read the book, and cannot wait to pick it up and fall in love with the story all over again.
Lauren Marie, THANK YOU so much for the great box, I love, love, love everything!

Go check our Sarita to see the box I sent her!

Interested in participating in the Cara Box exchange? Head over to Wifessionals for all the info. It's a great way to meet new bloggers (even non-bloggers can participate!!) , and who doesn't love opening fun packages? :)


Meeting Mace!

For months I've been counting down the days until the weekend of June 22. It's also safe to say I was a little nervous about the weekend of June 22.

You see, on this particular weekend Marcus and I would travel to central Iowa to celebrate the first birthday of one sweet little man, Mace. This also meant I would finally meet one of my favorite blogging buddies, Sally.

As we approached Sally's front door I was worried, would they like us? Oh gosh, what if they don't? What if we have nothing to talk about? Oh gosh, what are we going to say? Am I going to sound like a blubbering fool? Oh gosh, what am I doing?!

Sally opened the door and we instantly were hugging. It was like reuniting with a friend I hadn't seen in years. I've grown to know (and love) Sally and her family via her blog, but we were finally talking, in real life (we have emails going back and forth something fierce)! All my fears and worries went by the wayside, and everything fell seamlessly into place.

I could gush on and on about the grown-ups time. But, the real reason for the meeting was Mace and celebrating his big day!
LOVE him!
In my mind I had all these great photo op ideas for the little boys. I pictured a photo shoot of epic proportions...

...Annnnnd, this is what we got...
Playing together wasn't real high on the agenda of either boy.
We'll take what we can get.

Naturally, my child decided smack dab in the middle of the party that he needed a nap. Because of this inconvenience we weren't able to stick around for cake smashing or birthday gift opening.

Sally and I decided we needed a picture of the four of us before we left the party.
We ended up with a couple of quality group shots, I tell ya'.
We settled on this little gem.
The boys clearly loved every second of this.

At least Sally and I have this one to hold near and dear.
Isn't her niece just a doll?!
What an awesome day (minus the need for a nap)!

Sally, thank you so much for inviting us to share Mace's big day. It was beyond amazing to meet you in real life, and I cannot wait for our next get together (just let me know when I need to pick you up from LAX)!!


Soft and Chewy Granola Bars

My BFF Amy was searching for a healthy breakfast option for her little, Lolo. The requirements for this non-existent vital were foods high in vitamin C, iron, and no unnecessary fluff (i.e. sugars, fats, etc.). After some brainstorming a granola bar was created.

Rarely, ok never, have I ever just thrown something together without an actual recipe. The sheer thought of baking without a recipe is about enough to send me into heart failure. My delight was immeasurable when Amy emailed me the recipe of our combined thoughts, and her efforts. 

Marcus has no problem downing these, which is a small miracle in and of itself. The texture is super soft and spongy, which makes it easy for the little ones to eat them. 

These granola bars are full of flavor and dense, so a little goes quite a ways. But, what I love most about these bars is that I know EXACTLY what is going into Marcus' mouth.

Did I fail to mention how easy they are to make? Whoops. They're ridiculously easy.

Soft and Chewy Granola Bars
2 cups oatmeal (not quick oats)
1 can mandarin oranges, partially drained and mashed
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup chopped fruit (I used 1/4 cup blueberries, 1/4 cup strawberries, 1/4 cup cantaloupe)
*1 cup Quinoa flakes
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
1/4 cup honey (optional)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine all ingredients well.
Press into an 8x8 pan.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until edges become golden brown.
Slice into bars.
Store in fridge or freezer (depending on how long you are storing them).

*I was unable to find Quinoa in my hometown so, I simply added another cup of oats.

This is such a versatile recipe and action packed with so many good things. I love that I can switch it up, use almost any fruit, and make it a little different each time I make it.

Source: From the kitchen of the BFF, Amy D.


Throw Back Thursday - High School Edition

I discovered too late that today's TBT has a wedding theme. Whoops. I'll get around to gushing about our wedding another day. 

Being home has brought more than a built-in baby-sitter (thanks, Mom!). I've had plenty of time to reflect on how great this little Iowa town really is.

Growing up I was in such a rush to leave. Often, the words, "I can't wait to get out of here," would fly from my lips. It's funny, because now I look forward to coming home.

Leaving at the end of the month is going to be difficult. More difficult than I ever imagined.

If only I could go back to my teenage self and tell her to slow things down, enjoy the ride a little more, that this town, this state, really does have a lot to offer.
Please excuse the poor quality of photos. When I came across the stacks and stacks of old photos it was obvious most had been taken with those terrible disposable cameras. To add insult to poor-photo-injury, my folks scanner isn't working. So, I had to take photos of photos. Whomp whomp.
I had some of the best friends (and still do!). I participated on some really great sports teams. I was having the time of my life, and not fully understanding it. Oh, and let's not forget to mention the short hair. I had really, really short hair. Yikes. Why?!

Amy, over at The Story of Us, is hosting this fun linkup. Head over to say hi, and check out other fun TBT pics!


Bottle Calves

Some of my fondest memories as a child were spending time on farms and interacting with animals. Though my family didn't live on a farm several of my friends did. I took advantage of every opportunity and spent time on those farms.

I want Marcus to understand and appreciate farms, even if we live in a big city.

After chatting with my friend Kati, and her mom, Patti, we made a date to show Marcus some bottle calves. I will be the first to tell you, my excitement about spending time with calves far exceeded Marcus'.
If only they didn't get so big! How cute are these two? My younger self would have wanted to pack up this little guy and girl and take them home with me.

Introductions went fairly well. Marcus wasn't so sure what this was all about, but he was willing to check out all the action.
Oh my gosh, isn't it just the cutest how the little calf is suckling Kati's hand? Gahhh! I want one.
Marcus was cautiously curious.

We did manage to get some feeding time in with the calves.
Left: Marcus in the background, not too sure about all this business.
Top right: I let the little guy suckle my fingers. Seriously, can they come home with me?
I'm not sure what we said or did, but Marcus decided he'd give the feedings a go, too.
Marcus still needs a little practice keeping the bottle held up, but he had the right idea.
Though most of my time was spent trying to keep Marcus out of the fresh manure patches, I loved watching him experience something so different from our daily routine.
Maybe, just maybe I have a little farmer on my hands!

Kati and Patti, thank you so much for allowing us the opportunity to spend time with the calves. We (I) LOVED it!


A Lake, a Pontoon, and Lolo

With our extended stay in Iowa my best friend, Amy, and I decided it was only right we get together with our littles. The last time Marcus and Lorelei were together was Christmas, and it would have been a crying shame if we didn't get the two together while we were home.

We traveled a few hours to northwest Iowa and stayed with Amy's parents at their house on a small lake; their hospitality was second to none.

Because Marcus loves the water so much I was a little concerned we would spend all of our time trying to keep him out of the water. Luckily for him (and me), there was a plethora of lake fun to keep us all happy.

Watching the babies reenact Titanic at the helm of the pontoon was almost too much to handle. Oh, the cuteness!
Taking the boat out when ever we wanted was such a treat.
Little man was happiest by the water. No shocker there.
Grandma D and Marcus both enjoyed the time spent on the lake.
Two peas in a pod. We are the happiest when we are around water.
While I loved every second on the water I couldn't help but miss Scott, and found myself wishing he could be with us to experience this first of Marcus'.

Time spent on the lake was fun, but it was also a hoot to watch Marcus and Lolo during their every day routines.

What you can't see in the bottom picture is the piece of food that Lolo was trying to share with Marcus. Sadly, the food didn't quite make it to Marcus' tray, to the floor it fell.
A rubbermaid lid made for excellent carpet rides. Look at Marcus hugging on Lolo. These two are too much. Heart is officially melted.
The joys of the swimming pool! You better believe these two little fish were splashing and having a grand old time. However, the photo session we were trying to create did not amuse either of them.
And the Iowa sunsets were enough to take my breath away.
What a weekend we had!
Tim, Nancy, Amy, Kevin, and Lorelei, it was so great to spend the weekend with you. We had an absolute blast. Thank you for helping us to create some priceless memories!


Happy Marcus Monday!

Grandma and Grandpa D have been keeping Marcus busy with all sorts of fun toys and activities.
This, however, is the granddaddy of them all.
We found this pool here.
Best $25 purchase of the summer, hands down.
Happy Monday!


The Children's Museum - Omaha

While my hometown has provided a plethora of fun for Marcus, but there are lots of great things not too far from us as well.

We took an afternoon and headed to Omaha to check out their Children's Museum.
I was a bit apprehensive that Marcus might be too young to understand or enjoy the exhibits. I was way off.

There was so much for Marcus to see and do. I loved sitting back and watching him soak up all that was around him.

He discovered several new vehicles and machinery that we don't often see when we're home.
The mower (upper left), the buttons to push (lower left), and the blade of a "helicopter" (middle) were among the favorites.
A "fire station" provided tons of fun with it's netted, elevated walk-ways.
Marcus found the "floor" of the walk-way to be just the coolest thing.
Of course several trips up and down the slide were made.
My kid isn't the only one who finds going up is equally, if not more fun, than going down, is he?
I reveled in the time he spent on the "farm". Watching him check out the corn and animals was the highlight for this mommy.
Oh, you know, just checkin' the crops.
But, the main attraction for the little man was none other than the water area, which should have come as no surprise. The second Marcus spotted the pool he made like a bandit and immediately got his little paws wet. A vast majority of our time was spent there.
We could have played in that water all.day.long. From the fountains, to the toys, Marcus was in heaven.
We loved our time at the museum!
Now, we just have to find something similar in L.A.!