{21 Months}

Our little princess, soon to be big sister, is 21 months old.  3 months from being TWO!!! How did my teeny-tiny little baby get so big?! ok… she’s still teeny, but she is so big!!!

She is so amazingly smart.  It is so fun to have full on conversations with her these days.  Harper is simply amazing!

People are often confused at how old she is… she’s so small yet is so smart and talks like someone older than her age.  It’s pretty trippy… Rob says it freaks him out sometimes, ha!
I’m also learning she is a lot smarter than I even give her credit for… I catch myself thinking in certain situations that she won’t understand whatever it is, but explain it to her anyway, only to find her fully comprehending what I just said.  This happens often when she’s being a stinker ;) ….which happens more often than not.

Basically, I’m not sure if any child has been more loved than we love this little one!  She remains our sunshine!… and really, this only increases as I see her being so sweet to my baby belly, giving “sister” kisses and putting her little hand on my little bump in hopes to feel baby sister.  She literally grabbed the heart monitor out of my doctor’s pocket this week and said… “SISTER!!!… I listen!” ha!  My doctor was amazed as she watched Harper turn it on and know how to use it.  She was in disbelief.  Yes we have one at home, but this one is hi-tech!! And worth more than we make in a month hahaha!…. oh our girl!
I see more and more of myself in her daily! She is stubborn but so tender hearted! Is basically obsessed with animals, boots, the color purple, her daddy, almond milk, all her stuffed animals (ALLLL of them!!).  She LOVES her cousins Blakely and Levi.  And talks about them constantly when we aren’t all together.
She can do pretty much anything she sets her mind to.  I see her frustrations in things that are harder for her and her temptations to give up if she isn’t good at it.  I’m trying so hard to encourage her to keep trying, that she can do it (again, her mama’s personality!).
I find myself trying to guide her in not having the same flaws as myself… i.e., not showing her how to be fearful, encouraging her to do whatever she wants.  If she grows up and is scared of snakes, it will be because SHE is scared of snakes, not because I instilled that fear in her.  I sat out early on to not let my fears be hers.  This broken world we live in does that enough for us as it is…
Newest developments:
  • She can almost count to ten with our help.  She likes to skip from four to six… we are almost there.
  • She is getting her colors down pat.  Her favorites are blue and purple.
  • She points out circles… A LOT!!  We are trying to move on to different shapes, but circles are definitely her favorite.
  • She loves singing songs!  Let it Go is a favorite as well as Wheels on the Bus, Twinkle Twinkle and Itsy Bitsy Spider.
  • Teeth wise she has all her age appropriate teeth with the exception of her canine-pointy teeth.  I’m dreading those for her, as I’ve heard they are painful.  Her molars seemed to not be too bad for her… we shall see about the 2 year ones when that time hits.
  • She can draw H’s (probably one of the easiest letters of the alphabet) and she thinks it is the greatest… H mommy see!!! “huh-huh-huh”!
  • She also attempts to draw circles which end up looking more like ovals – that is if the ends of the circle meet.
I try to keep her challenged!  She loves to draw and do art as well as play with playdough.  She loves cutting the playdough with a plastic knife.  Basically she loves doing anything that makes her feel like a big girl – I’m hoping that works to our advantage as we dive in to potty training soon.


{19 weeks…}

ok.  this pregnancy is flying by.  if you ask my hubby, he feels like its going slow, ha! probably because my whole first trimester I was a BEAR!!! My first trimester did feel like it took FOREVER… but now that I’ve been feeling better, it is flying by!

We had a 19week appointment yesterday.  Everything was great!  Baby girl’s heartbeat was strong and the doctor could even hear her doing flips… sounds like we have another active one on our hands!  I was so happy to hear that because, while I started feeling full on kicks from Harper pretty early, this little one has been a little quieter.  My doctor thinks that my placenta must be upfront.  She encouraged me not to compare pregnancies, but to get use to what is “normal” for this one.  Easier said than done… am I right mamas?!  Since we already know the gender, we decided to push the ultrasound out to our next appointment.  As excited as I am to see our baby on that big screen, the farther we push it out, the shorter the time will be between the ultrasound and actually meeting her.
I’ll try to get a bump picture up soon… man.  I’ve been awful at taking those this time around!

How Far Along: I am 19weeks today!
Baby is the Size of a: According to my what to expect app… the baby is the size of a tomato!  And my uterus is the size of a cantaloupe!  Craziness! Even though this isn’t our first, this all still amazes me!
Symptoms: the nausea is gone.  Thank God!!! My sciatic issues were improving until this week.  Tuesday night I thought I was going to die.  I couldn’t move.  But my doctor said that is common, the baby was probably in a position that was just pinching that nerve.  but man!  then I’ve woken up with major charlie horses lately… probably means I’m not getting enough water.  Which makes sense since my food aversions are pretty much all gone.  Coffee is back, but I’m trying to use being off of it for so long to my advantage.  My body is use to not having it now, so I just drink it occasionally.
A GIRL!!! We are SO excited!!!  Granted, now our set in stone – “we are only having two kids” has now turned into… eh, we’ll see. ha!  mostly, to try for a boy… but I have a feeling our family is going to feel complete once this little is born.  Rob is totally happy having all girls.  He’s the best!!! He just adores… ADORES!!!, Harper, so I know this next little will be just the same.  And let’s be honest.  It makes life easier.  We don’t need anything… NOTHING.  We might splurge for a double stroller eventually and I might grab a moby wrap from one of my mom sights, but that is seriously it.
And nursery wise.  We are going to try to keep big changes at a minimum for Harper until months after the baby is born.  Since they will be sharing a room, we will wait to move the baby in there until we are past the cosleeping/room sharing stage.  Her clothes/diapers will be in there and that is about it.  I’m hoping to keep things as “normal” as possible for H.  But I am excited to add some fun decorations to their room eventually – replicating a few pieces I made for Harper.

Big Sister:

Oh she is getting more and more excited about this big sister thing!  She has started calling the baby in mommy’s tummy “sister” and it melts my heart every time… like in to puddles!  We keep saying we are going to hit potty training hard… but we just aren’t there yet.
Name Game:  Ugh.  can I get another… UGH! ha!  So, I’m that mama that God lays on my heart the name of my child and I’m set!  I’ve had this child named since before she was even conceived.  But my hubby.  He’s the easy going, patient, laid back type.  Which I typically LOVE in most situations.. .   but this.  IT. IS. DRIVING. ME. CRAZY!!!! He did the same thing with Harper.  He has to mull it over for a bit.  Which I get.  But… I WANT TO START CALLING HER BY HER NAME!! ha!  So it might change.  to what I don’t know.  but we will see…. we’ve thrown around some H names… Hadley, Hayden, Haven, Haleigh… But none of them seem right. I like them mostly because they sound cute with Harper.  but we will see. I’m still holding out for my #1 pick, which I’ll keep under my hat.  hopefully we have something in the next 20 weeks ;)

Looking Forward to: 
 honestly.  Harper meeting her baby sister!!!! I’ve been reading up on the best way to do the introductions… there’s a lot of research out there!  i.e – to not be holding the baby when Harper comes in the hospital room.  That Rob and I introduce them together… the baby being in the basinet, etc.  Who knew… thank you pinterest ;)


{arizona dreaming chili}

so.  here we go with another recipe.  ok, so if those of you that know me – you know that I can cook.  My mama taught me well.  But.  I am not a fan of cooking.  Well, more than that, I’m not a fan of the mess and I quite frankly lack the patience.  That sounds so sad, I know, ha! Anyway.  With our recent diet changes and me being at home a lot more – the excuses were off the table.  Plus, it has been kind of fun to try new recipes and take on the challenge of making them gluten free and dairy free!
So.  all that to say. the fact that I’m now posting two recipe posts in a row is so laughable to me.  Like hysterical!
But anyway. Here goes.
If you have a Penzeys Spices and have never been – shame on you.  If you don’t have one, check them out online! They are just wonderful.  And they speak one of my love languages – FREE! ha!  If you sign up for their mailing list, they send you coupons for free spices – A LOT!

Well, their last magazine had a coupon and a few new recipes that I just had to try.  One was “Arizona Dreaming Chili”.  Named after their spice that’s used in it – Arizona dreaming.  I tracked it down online so you all could have it to :) You can find it here! Of course I altered it a bit… I can never just leave a recipe alone!
I didn’t use the diced tomatoes – we don’t like chunky tomatoes in anything!  And I also left out the sugar, because – well.  It seemed excessive!  I also added corn, which was a nice addition and added a little sweetness (probably made up for the lack of sugar).  Also, I cooked the meat in a skillet with Penzey’s roasted garlic seasoning and some onion, then threw it all in our slow cooker to simmer for a few hours.  So basically, I went the middle road.  I had more time than the stove top directions, but didn’t have 8 hours for it to all cook in the slow cooker.
It turned out so yummy that we had leftovers of it again last night!  I of course paired it with Fritos! You can’t have chili without Fritos! I had also picked up a gluten free cornbread mix to make with it, but we decided we didn’t need it (we weren’t that hungry).  But next time I will probably serve it with gf cornbread as well!
Give it a try!  If you don’t have Penzey’s, I’m sure you could use a taco seasoning and some red pepper flakes to give you a similar taste.  The arizona dreaming spice looked like it has a lot of different spices in it, but I’m thinking that would get you close.  It is a spicy dish, so fair warning!
Happy slurping ;)


{Gluten free/Dairy free}

So as promised on my insta, I’m going to attempt to share some of our favorite gluten free and dairy free recipes that we discover along the way!
Rob has had pretty severe sinus issues for years… like since I met him – 11 years ago! Last year he had surgery and had to have a repeat again the end of September.  Something is obviously causing these issues.  We had tried gluten free in the past – but once he was tested for celiac, we decided to go back to gluten filled eating.
After his last surgery, he decided he was going to cut out dairy and gluten and see if it helped.  We are pretty sure it is the gluten that is bothering him, but dairy is a known irritant for sinus issues.  About 6 months back, we took Harper off diary milk.  She would have these random throwing up issues.  Like she’d throw up and be done. Every time I’d think she was getting sick and every time it would be a one time occurrence and no one else would get it.  My mommy gut told me it was the milk.  We took her off of it, started giving her almond milk (which she loves) and she has been great! So needless to say, we have been dairy sensitive for a while anyway.
Gluten free has been very easy for us!  There are so many great substitutes out there!  The dairy cheese has been a bit more of a challenge! So I’ve been on pinterest A LOT! looking for great recipes to help us in this transition!  What I’ve been doing is this – I either look for dairy free recipes and see how I can adapt them for gluten free or look for gluten free recipes that are cheese based that I can sub maybe almond milk in.  So far, so good!
Our favorite recipes from last week were a fried chicken and garlic mashed potato recipes.  Now that doesn’t sound gluten OR dairy free at all huh?! It didn’t even look like it!  And it even tasted like the real deal!  And… it really wasn’t that much work!
You can find the original recipes here:
I didn’t really change much on these recipes. I added just a smidge  of butter to the potatoes to make them a bit creamier. For the chicken, I just used out gf flour instead of the almond flour and tapioca starch. I also used evoo instead of coconut oil… We aren’t following a paleo diet, and even tho I love coconut oil, I feel like I can taste it a little.

All you gotta do is steam your favorite veggie and you have a fantastic dinner!!
We also did breakfast for dinner last week, which is a great option for gf and df! We had eggs, bacon, and pancakes!
I used this recipe: http://www.thisgalcooks.com/gluten-free-pancakes/ 
In which, I used almond milk instead of dairy milk and added some cinnamon :). They were super yummy!!
On the menu tonight – gf/df lettuce wraps!! Thanks to my mother in law :)
I’ll continue to share some of our favorites as our journey continues!
Happy eating!!


{our CA vacation}

what a wonderful last couple of weeks we had in California!!!
it was so strange to be back “home”… we hadn’t been back in THREE YEARS!!! but it weirdly felt like time had stopped and began again when we arrived in most areas.  Sure, our friends’ kiddos are bigger and a few things had changed – but for the most part it was just like coming home.
We hit up most if not all of our favorite spots!  It was just so great!!!
We spent a couple days with Rob’s grandparents inland – we played a lot of pinochle and took Harper to the Apple orchard and even ate lunch up in the mountains.  It. Was. Hot!!! But it was such a blessing to get to spend time with them!
Then we headed to our old church to see quite a few friends – many that we consider family! Then off to get settled at one of my life long best friend’s places! Her beautiful condo, alone, was like being on vacation! haha! An ocean and harbor view… can’t beat the location!! But anyway, we picked her up and headed to Disneyland where we met up with quite a few of Rob’s cousins.  One in which, has a daughter just days older than Harper! They live in Hawaii, so it was their first time meeting… they were SOOOO adorable!  It was a great day at Disneyland… I was EXHAUSTED as it was SO stinking HOT!!! and well, let’s face it Disneyland is exhausting anyway!
We spent the next few days with Rachelle!  It was such a great time of catching up! And Harper LOVES her “rachepelle”  (yeah, not sure why she insists on putting a “p” in her name!).
After Rachelle’s, we headed to the Jones – some of our dear friends!  We went to dinner, hung out, and spent the night at their place.  We then headed to the beach cottages on Wednesday!  To celebrate their anniversary and being married 40 years, Jack and Kathy treated us all to one of our family favorites – Crystal Cove Beach Cottages!!! It was such an awesome time of relaxation with family! So many family memories made! And Harper LOVVVVVED the ocean… like obsessed love! haha.
We wrapped up our vacation with one more night with Rachelle – squeezing in as much time with her as we could :)
As amazing as our vacation was, it was so unbelievable good to get home! Harper was SO excited to be HOME!… she literally giggled as we put her to bed that night.  As much as we love CA and as much as it still feels like home, I was quickly reminded why we chose to move.  Just the unsettling in my heart – the mind set of needing more and wanting more – the battle of constant comparison to the person next to you everywhere you go.  Where as here in CO – our wonderful little life is way more than enough, and I was so blessed to be greeted by that feeling of, “ok, no THIS is HOME!”
Ok… here is the official vacation photo blast:
On the airplane, headed to CA!
Playing stickers with Great Grandpa T!
Her first In-N-Out!
Her favorite spot at the T’s… Daisy’s dog bed!
Apple picking at Riley’s Orchard (Oak Glen)
We had talked about picking apples and how they grow on trees for about a week! I don’t think she was too impressed at first, ha!
It was SO hot!! This little venture ended up to be a pretty comical family memory for our little family! Mama and her great ideas ;)
because this picture pretty much sums up our seemingly picture perfect orchard trip… ha! we all know, there’s usually stories and inside jokes and memories not seen in pictures ♥
the view was pretty unbeatable tho!
sometimes just have to step back and realize… man, we are blessed!
this is when we started having fun… the granny smith orchard!!! our favorite!
now this looks like the kind of apples I like! :)
cause some days you just want apple turnovers for lunch…
painting great grandma T’s sidewalk with water… the things you do when it is so stinking hot out!
Driving great grandpa T’s golf cart!
On the tram into Disneyland!
She was pretty excited and in awe!
our family ♥
she thought this was pretty neat!!
meeting Taiyo for the first time :)
I don’t think Taiyo really knew what to think of Harper, ha!
Meeting Pluto!
Needless to say, our child is NOT scared of dressed up characters, ha!
high fives for Pluto!
Tea Party with Daddy at Minnie’s house!
Aunt Dena bought her a balloon that mommy and daddy were way too cheap to fork over the $ for, ha!
Rob and his cousins on the tea cups, that I always refuse to go on with him… for good reason!
Waiting to meet Mickey!
so adorable!!!
so much fun!!!
sleeping on Auntie Ro on the tram back to the car…
Waking up at Rachelle’s!
Seriously… this is the view form our room’s balcony! So relaxing!
Painting at Aunt “Rachepelle’s” ♥
Getting ready to walk to the water for the first time!
I think she liked it…
swinging in the waves!
a much needed treat afterwards… which lead to a parking ticket. thanks Newport!
of course we had to go to our sushi place!
swimming at Aunt Rachepelle’s pool
the view from our cottage’s deck ♥
the view from our cottage’s kitchen!
the trader joe’s by our cottages had a “pete the pelican”… of course she found it!
my family ♥