Tuesday, August 30, 2011

our third anniversary

I love celebrating our anniversary. Its always fun to look back on our wedding day and the past year and look forward to our future ahead of us. My hubby (also known as the BHE, or Best Husband Ever!) had some beautiful flowers delivered to work today, which just made the day feel extra, extra special :)

Then, after work we continued our anniversary tradition, where we celebrated our first anniversary by going to the same place we had our first day (Miko's sushi restaurant), second anniversary at second date (Radio Maria) and now this year a McAllisters picnic at Lake of the Woods. This was the date that was the most "different" than the original- plus one baby, minus one bottle of wine, on the road out of the park around 6pm instead of closing it down after 9 when the park rangers started clearing it out. Still a great memory of the original date and a wonderful and fun memory recreating it tonight!

Mike, I love you so much! Its amazing to see you transform into a wonderful daddy this past year and I am so glad to be your wife of THREE years...wow!!!

master chef

Hand me the lemon juice, Troy!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

paint decision!

Thanks to all who voted for your favorite paint colors :) It looks like the majority of you favored the blue colors!

We decided to go with this combination of paint for our first floor. Garnet rose will be our accent wall spanning the living room and dining room and we'll be using Pineapple Upside Down Cake for the rest of the dining room, kitchen and living room. It will be SO much brighter and cheerier than the current choco-brown on the walls :) Wish us luck!

August date night

Mike and I love running out to this winery nearby just outside of Champaign, Alto Vineyards. And when we mentioned their annual summer concerts, Music Among the Vines, to our friends we thought we should plan a night over there to check it out! Despite the cover charge and required purchase of wine glasses, we couldn't have asked for a better night to sit outside and enjoy some music and conversation. Thanks for joining us Melbys and Nukus, we'll have plan another date night to Alto next summer!

Me and my hubby of nearly three years :)
Jeff and Holly
(Looks like I'll be adding some more photos of the rest of the group when Holly posts hers up. Holly, you're so great at getting pictures of everyone whenever you're out, I totally fall short!)

You can't see much, just what you'd expect sitting at a winery at 9pm. Just tables, white lights and a little wooden stage!

Troy's first "big boy" toy

Thanks for the great gift, Gramma!

9 month portraits

With Gramma Mary in town for a visit and babysitting while we went on a date, I thought it'd be a good time to cash in this great coupon I earned from FotoNet for a free portrait session and $50 of free prints at Sears (which is a lot of photos!) I think if you just sign up with your email you get the coupon online too. They may not be just like the photos you take when you get a one on one session with a pro photographer anywhere you want, but they definitely turned out great! Troy was a great smiler, as usual, and my mom and I worked it up big time with some of his favorite toys.
This one was my fav and I got the most prints of this one. Grandparents and Great Gramma can expect one of these coming soon :)

I didn't get any in this pose but looking at them online I thought it was awfully cute

I also got a few in this pose. I was amazed he sat still with how much he's crawling these days!

a playdate with liam

Troy and I were excited to have our neighbors down to play on Friday! Liam recently turned 1 year old and he's walking all over the place. Troy and I always enjoy visiting with these two on our days off (which I am so thankful to have more frequently with my recent drop of a few hours taking me from full time to part time status at work...Mondays through Thursdays still look the same for me, but now my Fridays are free! So wonderful!)

Thanks for coming to play, Su and Liam! (Click here for some photos of the first time these two "played"!)

this is the closest i could get of both boys smiling

Pretty soon they'll be climbing over furniture themselves!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

one happy baby

Troy was awfully happy today. That makes for a wonderful day!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

wake up from nap

I'm on a bit of a video kick these days!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Sunday, August 21, 2011

casting a wide net

So as I mentioned in the previous post, we're planning to redo our main floor a bit this fall. This chocolate brown has been here since before we got here and it covers our living room and kitchen walls. Then our front entryway and dining room are just plain white. Our initial thoughts are to paint an accent wall on the back wall (the one with the TV and fireplace) through the living room and dining room, then use either one or two more neutral colors to cover the rest of the main floor (other living room walls, kitchen, other dining room walls, entryway). We're casting a wide, wide net since we're early in the brainstorming process so share your thoughts with us! What color selection do you like best (or none of them)? Poll is to the right :) Thanks in advance!

viking yellow with meadow mist
nile green with ylang ylang
vintage wine with gray horse
surf blue with eternity

make way...

After a head bump to the coffee table this week we decided it'd be best to move it to the basement for the next couple months while we work this whole crawling/standing/walking thing out. We plan to freshen up our first floor this fall with some new paint and storage, so we also moved an audio pier into the basement. (The other one will remain until we find something else to store an assortment of things in.)

Now Troy can cruise through the living room with no obstacles to dodge. Can't wait to see you go fast, Troy!

peas and carrots

Troy really, really, REALLY likes to feed himself. He eats breakfast, lunch and dinner these days, which until this point, have all consisted of something mushy I spoon into his mouth. But as he gets more adept at swatting the spoon away, I've taken my cues from him and moved to giving him more things he can feed himself. (Though we haven't taken this route since we started with purees, I've been doing some reading about baby led weaning. Check out this approach to weaning by clicking here.)

Giving Troy cut up finger food is way, way cheaper than going through jars and jars of baby food too (he eats 1/2 to 1 full jar at meals, plus finger food, these days). I bought this bag of frozen peas and carrots in the perfect Troy-sized pieces for less than $2 and I am sure we'll get dozens of Troy-sized servings out of it. And he is able to eat more and more of what we're eating, too!

All of this food means Troy is drinking less milk and eating more solids... these final months of his first year are flying by!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

hotel pool

We made two separate trips to the hotel pool during our visit to Cincy. I have lots of great memories of playing in hotel pools as a kid and I hope Troy grows up with that same excitement every time we visit a hotel!
its hard to get a baby's attention in the pool :)

practicing his kicks

wild pool hair!

Friday, August 19, 2011

shopping, food and fun!

Another great day of vacation here in Cincinnati! We did a lot of walking around different malls/stores today and both Troy and I got some new clothes :) We finished with a great dinner at the Olive Garden (thanks for Mike's birthday gift, Mom and Dad!)

sleepy baby in the car when we arrived at Ikea
Crawling around the hotel! I got over the potential gross-ness of letting my child crawl on a hotel room floor when I saw how clean this place is! Cleaner than my house, for sure :)

I always like to pile Troy's purchases in his stroller on the way out of the Carter's outlet. 18 month clothes, ready to go!

Yay for a great dinner! Past Troy's bedtime, with no meltdowns, too :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

cincinatti zoo

Today we visited the Cincinatti Zoo! Check out a few photos below.

Yes, we let Troy touch the snake.

Strangely I was more hesitant to let him touch the cow than the snake. So we just got close.

Eye to eye giraffe exhibit. For $1 you can feed them a cracker. That's an expensive cracker but fun thing to do when Troy's older!

passed out at the zoo

Just chilling at the hotel. I need to buy him some bigger pajamas, his shirt keeps riding up and showing off his belly!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

snapshots from childcare

I have done an admittedly weak job at documenting our first days with the new childcare arrangement. Between figuring out what I need to take when I walk out the door, what stays in the room with Troy, what goes to my office, etc. I just haven't had my camera on my at convenient times.

But I will say its been a great week! Everyone is just getting used to what this new arrangement looks like and is settling in :) It has been a HUGE blessing to just be able to walk down and nurse Troy and skip the whole bottle/pumping system I've been used to for the last six months. He does fine so far with me popping in and feeding him and leaving right after. And its so, so nice to be driving to one place each day instead of two! We know how blessed we are to have such a great childcare arrangement worked out :) Troy has been doing really well aside from not taking the best naps. I'm praying that his afternoon naps return to 2+ hours next week and that he won't need a third nap in the evenings any more (he gave that up several months ago when his afternoon nap got longer; its returned this week, along with some evening meltdowns). 

Here are a few photos from lunch today, the only photos I've taken so far. I hope to do better next week!

Lunchtime! We're all bringing our own food for our kids so there's abundant tupperware/gladware during lunch.

Another lunch shot. The woman smiling at the camera is Samantha, our childcare director. She's great!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


We've officially got a crawler! Go Troy, go!

*This video is not the best. We didn't grab the camera until after he was already slowing down. I'll get some more tomorrow

Monday, August 15, 2011

Troy and the tail

water fun

Troy and I joined Sarah at the pool tonight for some end-of-summer fun! We made the rounds through all the different pool areas, letting Troy bob around and practice his kicks while we chatted. After a spill in the lazy river (thanks again for the "rescue" Sarah!) we headed to the baby pool so Troy could play with his favorite part of the pool- the water shooting fountains. Tonight he learned how to cover them up himself and then take his hand away so they began squirting everywhere! Needless to say, this child really doesn't any fear of the water...

 After a major end of swimming meltdown, we went home to lasagna fresh out of the oven (perfect timing, Mike!) Troy wasn't really feeling his jar of beef and spinach (and I don't blame him a bit) so I gave him some of our lasagna. I think this next phase of self-feeding is going to be messier than I anticipate...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Happy National Breastfeeding Month!

I just realized that August is National Breastfeeding Month (thanks, amazon.com) and thought I'd share a post on the many reasons breastfeeding has been a great experience for me these last 8 months. And I'll preface it with, I certainly know, understand and respect that its not the right choice for everyone, but for me, its been a great fit and I'm grateful for this experience as a mom :)
  • Bonding. Right from the beginning, feeding Troy has been a great bonding activity. I love all the sweet little moments we've shared during our many, many nursing sessions (I just did a quick estimate...over 2000 nursing sessions in the last 8 months...whoa, that's crazy!)
  • Night feedings made easy. Stumbling out of bed to feed Troy most nights for the first 7ish months was easier than it would have been if I had to pay attention to measuring a bottle. 
  • Evening "nurse and naps" for the first several months after returning to work. When I came home from work, Troy would just want to snuggle and nurse, and I happily obliged. I loved the downtime too. 
  • Many health benefits for Troy. I'm convinced that Troy has been healthy, despite being exposed to many kids at daycare and the nursery at church, largely due to breastfeeding. The AAP says: breastfeeding decreases the possibility that your baby will get a variety of infectious diseases, ear infections, diarrhea, etc. 
  • Many health benefits for me. Despite gaining 50ish (ugh) pounds during pregnancy, I have managed to shed it all with minimal effort. There are also long-term benefits. The AAP says: breastfeeding mothers return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster and have a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer. They also experience less postpartum bleeding, as the hormones that help with breastfeeding also make the uterus contract.
  • Did I mention bonding? :)
  • Budget friendly. Babycenter.com has a budget calculator to help you determine how much baby's first year will cost. Formula is estimated at $105 a month. Breastfeeding? $0. Four bottles and a pump, and we've been good to go.
  • Its cool to share a parenting method that moms have used since the beginning of time, around the world. Moms 2000 years ago when Jesus was born fed their babies this way, and moms today on the other side of the world do too. Pretty powerful!
So there's my list. I'll probably think of more after I post. But I just wanted to share what its meant to me, in honor of national breastfeeding month, and just to let you know that if you're one of my blog readers that is planning to breastfeed your next baby, I am covering you and your baby in prayer, for no complications or problems whatsoever and making breastfeeding a smooth process! I can think of at least three of my blog readers right now who I'm praying this for :)

Have a great night!

Friday, August 12, 2011

family date night on campus: sushi ichiban

We initially planned to go to this brand new campus restaurant on Saturday for lunch, but tonight ended up being an even better time to head over there to try it out. The weather was beautiful, Troy took a nice late nap and so off we went. We heard about this place in Central Illinois Business Magazine, which reviews and spotlights new places around town each month/quarter/however often it comes out. It is all you can eat sushi, but you have to pay $1 for each leftover piece you have at the end, making it a fun challenge to order just the right amount!

Before we got there, we walked past the Alma Mater and of course I had to snap a few photos.

The engraved words read: To thy happy children of the future, those of the past send greetings.

my orange and blue boys
 Seeing as how the students aren't back yet (which was our primary motivation to checking this place out this weekend before they return) there weren't many people in this restaurant. So Troy had all the staff smiling and waving at him the whole meal. The staff were REALLY friendly, all coming by our table to say hello and ask how our meal was.
We both really recommend this place! Its located right next to Folletts on Wright street and while not a fine dining experience like KO Fusion or something, the sushi was great, Troy (a cheerio-throwing child) was welcomed and the Cunninghams will definitely be going back! Each roll was made to order and presented beautifully- it wasn't a buffet or anything.
all of this was included in the all you can eat special, including edamame, soup and salad!

last week at Gwynne's

We absolutely adore Troy's sitter, Gwynne. I've known her through church pretty much since I started going there four (!) years ago and she has taken care of Troy since the first day I went back to work. As difficult as it has been these last several months to drop him off and go to work (yep, still hard after six months!) knowing that Troy was in such great care by Gwynne and her family made it as stress-free as possible. We found out a couple weeks ago that Gwynne was going to be retiring this year, so we've known our time was coming to an end.

This week was mixed with a little sadness, but some excitement too, as several of us at church have actually come together to hire a woman to watch our little ones in the building! Yep, Troy will be taken care right at the other end of the building while I'm at work beginning next week! We are so, so blessed to go straight from one wonderful childcare situation to another and can't wait to see how the new arrangements work out!

"So I'm not coming back to this awesome house any more? No way..."