TWO

Oh, Abbiebug. Today you are two.

As of today at 1:30pm, you’ve been in our lives for two full years. On one hand, I can scarcely remember life without your sweet face, and on the other hand it seems like you just got here yesterday.

While your first year was both fun and challenging, this year has been so much more FUN. Every day we see more and more of the little girl you will be. You are silly, stubborn, and sweet. You have a temper that’s hysterical now, but I know I’ll hate when you’re a teenager. Your Aunt Melanie is your best buddy when she comes to visit, and she’s so much fun to you that I don’t see that changing anytime soon. You love to dance and have recently started trying to say “phone” and “music” when you want to hear Shake It Off, your current favorite song.

To my dismay, nothing makes you giggle harder than when your Daddy does wrestling moves with you. We recently taught you to wake people up with kisses, Sleeping Beauty style, and its the cutest thing ever.

You’re so fearless. You try to do everything yourself, which sometimes threatens to give Mommy a heart attack. You’re totally not scared of Santa. You love Sofia the First, Paw Patrol, Doc McStuffins, and Mickey Mouse. You probably watch too much TV, but you love to be outside. You wear size 3T clothes and a 6.5 wide sneaker, but your favorite sparkly Toms are a size 7.

You’re still not talking as much as I’d like you to be, but I try not to worry too much. I won’t really worry until you’re three. You give snuggles and kisses, but you’re stingy about it. You know that a kiss from Mommy or Daddy will fix your boo-boos, but you’re really mostly a Mommy’s girl.

You’re our sunshine, baby bug, and we love you so very much. We’re so excited to continue to watch you grow.

Beer Family

Oh Hey Friday {12.19.14}

Happy Friday everyone! As usual, I’m pretty happy that the weekend is just about here, and we’re ready to use it to celebrate Abbie turning two! Here’s today’s five!

ONE

It looks like any bad weather we’re getting this weekend is hitting tomorrow, so we should be good to go with our plans for the aquarium on Sunday! I thought of this idea so long ago, and I’m excited it’s finally happening. I really hope Abbie loves it and we have a good time celebrating her birthday!

 Beer Family 2014

TWO

Our daycare provider is having a little birthday celebration for Abbie today, and even asked me what kind of cake Abbie likes… and that’s any kind of cake. Girlfriend got Mama’s sweet tooth for sure. I hope she has a fun day today and hope I get a picture of a cake face!

THREE

I love this season and how celebratory it is. Having Abbie’s birthday smack in the middle of it only makes it better for me, but I know as she gets older it’s going to be harder for her to have her birthday so close to Christmas. I’m trying to set the scene now for her birthday to be its own day just for her, and to be something special. Her birthday presents are all ready to go, and aren’t in Christmas paper (although it is winter-y). So Sunday is Abbie Day!

FOUR

My Stitch Fix box is sitting in the “in progress” page and it’s driving me crazy. Should be here just before Christmas and I can’t wait to see what’s in it! My stylist has been totally getting me lately and I hope it continues.

FIVE

After today, only 3 short work days remain for me in 2014. Come on, holiday break!

 

Have a very happy Friday everyone! Get that Christmas shopping done!

 

 

 

How to Handle a Long Commute with a Toddler

When we moved three months ago, one of my biggest worries was how Abbie would handle the longer drive. Our drive home is typically about 45 minutes to an hour, and that’s a long time for an energetic toddler to sit still in her car seat. Overall, Abbie has been pretty good about it, but it does have its challenges. It’s so important to be prepared, and over time I’ve learned what helps us.

 How to Handle a Long Commute with a Toddler

  1. Be mindful of your toddler’s mood. Most of the time when I pick Abbie up, she’s happy and in a great mood, which usually means an easier ride. If she’s already cranky, I adjust my focus from being fun to just keeping her as happy as I can.
  2. Have snacks and water handy. Toddlers are finicky, but most of the time a snack will help. I usually stash one of Abbie’s water cups along with an easy snack (like goldfish) in the car, and it’s saved my sanity countless times. Toddlers sure love their goldfish.
  3. Talk and play when you can. Obviously, this is something you have to judge, since it’s more important to drive safely. While I can’t turn around and look at Abbie while I’m driving, I can talk to her, even though she’s not at the point where she really responds. When I’m at a red light, I’ll reach back and tickle her, grab her hand, or find a way to be silly. If she’s whining while we’re stuck in traffic, I’ll tell her about the cars or the scenery, or ask her questions – even though she can’t answer me yet. It helps her to know I’m still with her and engaged, but focused on getting us home safely. I’m hoping it’s a precursor to conversations about her day as she gets older.
  4. Have distractions ready. As much as I hate it, Abbie’s pacifier is a necessary part of our commute. It’s a good comfort and distraction for her. We occasionally are able to make the drive without it, but usually need it. I also keep toys in my car that are specifically car toys – stickers and Doc McStuffins flashcards are great because they’re easy to hand to Abbie and she can play with them quietly. Of course, there’s two last resorts – the Disney Junior playlist on my phone, and my Kindle Fire. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve listened to the playlist, and while I don’t love listening to it, it keeps Abbie happy for the most part. The Kindle is always the last resort – I try to limit Abbie’s screen time when I can, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
  5. Try to be patient. There will be days that it sucks. Northern Virginia has some of the worst traffic in the nation, so this is something I know all too well. Sometimes traffic is backed up for no reason. Sometimes there’s an accident, and sometiems more than one. Someiems your toddler will be in the worst mood, and maybe you will do. Just keep in mind that it’s okay, and you’ll get through the drive, one day at a time.

Anyone else out there with a long commute? How do you keep your toddler happy?

Happy Hannukah!

Today is one of those days that I LOVE being an interfaith family. Our menorah’s first candle is lit, and looking through my kitchen pass through, I can see both the menorah and our Christmas tree.

Menorah and Christmas Tree

Abbie received not one but TWO wooden menorahs this year (one from us and one from my mother-in-law), so we’ll bring one up to her room and let the other hang out in the living room.

Abbie Menorah

So, happy first night of Hanukkah! I’m off to go fry some things. Or eat fried things. After all, we’re celebrating oil right now, so it’s only right!

Farfalle with Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Chris and I try to look for new recipes all the time. Since moving farther away from work, we don’t always have a ton of time in the evenings, so we usually look for fast recipes for weeknight meals. I try to give them a test run on a weekend before we attempt out during the week too. We tried this one out a few weeks ago, and a long as you’re prepared, it goes pretty fast. I had a few requests for the recipe after putting a photo up on Instagram, so here it is!

Farfalle with Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Farfalle with Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 12 ounces uncooked farfalle
  2. 2 tbsp oil from sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
  3. 1 3/4 cups vertically sliced onion
  4. 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  5. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  6. 1 8-ounce package presliced mushrooms
  7. 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  8. 1/4 tsp black pepper
  9. 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  10. 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken breast
  11. 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  12. 1.3 ounces fresh parmesan cheese
  13. 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
  2. While pasta cooks, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add sun-dried tomato oil; swirl to coat. Add onion; saute 5 minutes or until tender. Add red pepper and garlic; cook 1 minute. Add mushrooms, salt, and black pepper; saute 4 minutes. Stire in lemon juice. Stir in pasta, chicken, and tomatoes. Reduce heat to low; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently. Add cheese and basil; toss gently.
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