sam and camden's engagement shoot.

The thought process here was "how can we make sure Sam and Camden have the cutest wedding ever (in 25 years)?" Answer: start taking engagement pictures of them now.

I'm sure you came to the same conclusion too.

These two love each other something fierce and not in a "because we're friends our babies will be friends" kind of way. No no, these two are smitten. I believe it's totally a size thing. Camden is taken by the pure, raw baby physicality of Sam and Sam is enchanted by the daintiness of Camden.

We can tell these things.

There is no other lady baby that Sam is quite so gentle or soft with. And Camden, well, she's just a peach to everyone but Sam feels especially special in her eyes.

Camden's Mom (aka BFF Emy) wanted some family pics so we all loaded up post nap time to take them. Sam came as a photo assistant but did a terrible job because his lady baby friend was just too focused on him. He had to be removed from the photo shoot by Father Charles.

Sam returned to ooh and aaah and oogle when Camden was taking cute little girl pictures in a white chair.

That's when we decided it was probably time to take their first official engagement photo at 12 months and 8 months old.

And you're welcome for the joy this picture will bring to your life.

Here's the thing. They lit up when they got to take their picture together. He had this air of pride standing behind her - I freaking kid you not - and she beamed to have him next to her.

Look at his little legs. I'm sorry but this picture will be in a frame with their prom picture come 17 years from now.

These two. Good lord.

Gearing up for the cutest wedding ever come 2039.

Also, while I have you here (because this is a riot), Lucas has an announcement that he is just beyond thrilled about.

Yes, yes, that would be an eviction notice for poor Lucas. He needs to vacate his crib by November so the newest member of his family can arrive. For the record, Sam laughed the entire time this picture was taken. Great job supporting your friend during this emotional time, Sam.

[monday meals mashup] week nine


I'm not going to lie -  I am struggling this morning to cope with the loss of my weekend. And by weekend, I mean "Chuck as a co-parent days". And by co-parent, I mean sole parent of Sam because I do jack on the Saturdays and Sundays. Ok, I marginally pull my weight around here those days but I also get sleep ins, someone else to carry Biggems McBoy everywhere, and conversation with someone who is not Hoda or Kathy Lee.

I need to move on and deal with this loss. And just get on with it.

The Monday routine makes for an easy day because Sam treats the grocery store like a high school prom queen taking a convertible ride around the track. His chariot is a cart but his subjects are just as adoring. It's his moment.

Here is what we will be gathering up for the week:
We had two surprise dinners out last week so we moved two dinners into this week. I can't say I'm exactly devastated when that happens...

Monday: Fish Tacos - oh I love these. It took me a while to find a forever recipe for this, but I finally did. I married two recipes into one recipe that I would marry. Fish tacos are like Hansel in our house. They're so hot right now. [recipe card below]

Tuesday: Beef Stroganoff - hey! In 9 weeks of sharing our meal plan, this is our first repeat meal. And I'm only making it because 1. It's delicious 2. I have leftover mushrooms from last week. Sold.

Wednesday: Lasagne. I remember the first time I made lasagna. It took 100 hours, made an epic mess, and I said never again. Dear 22 year old Susie: Yeah right. You love lasagna too much, Lasagna is such a perfect comfort food. I'll make this during afternoon nap time and pop it in the oven when Chuck is on his way home. I love cooking during nap time so I don't have to bribe someone into quiet. [recipe card below]

Thursday: PW's Flank Steak. Never used this recipe before but when has the Pioneer Woman ever led me astray?

Friday: Chicken Nuggets. Recipe carry over #1.

Saturday: Oven Fried Chicken. Recipe carry over #2.

Sunday: I've decided to go to the Spaghetti Factory Sunday night. Chuck and Sam are welcome to join me or I'll go alone and sit in the trolley.

Make sure to head over to Ashley at Life on the Parsons Farm for more meal ideas.

sam: future purse holder at disneyland.


I have THAT kid. The one that hates fun. Ok, specifically hates amusement parky type kiddie rides. I am in total shock. Thank you for asking, yes, obviously, this is a massive let down for me and a huge problem. I'll add it to his baby book: "first time you have disappointed me". I can't even look at him.

That might be a little harsh.
I don't think so.

Ok, so I get that he's only a year old and yes, his taste can change but I have legitimate concerns. Not about his future in riding 25cent disease boxes at a shopping mall but his future at Disneyland.

HOW WILL THIS AFFECT (effect? too mad to even think of grammar) MY FUTURE AT DISNEYLAND?

I am in knots over this.
Clearly this is important and worth getting an ulcer over.

I put him on a quarter ride about a month ago and he was a total dud - it was an absolute no-go, hot mess, sobbing meltdown. I reasoned that maybe he was just too blown away from the massive amounts of fun and excitement and was overcome with emotion. That's why he became a disaster (not because he's a wuss).

Or possibly, it's because those rides are kind of bumpy, it's somewhat noisy (?), 100% filthy - maybe he's a germaphobe, I don't know. I've only known him a year. I have condiments I've known longer.

NEWhoo, Well I gave that kid a second chance and he totally blew it. Even with his best friend Lucas at his side, who was handling and appreciating all the fun.

Sam starts out fine.

"Ooooh what is this tasty box of grime? What does it do?"

Then, he remembers. Baby 'Nam flashbacks, I guess. Oh and we put a quarter in so that's probably mostly why the sobbing started.

"That's what it does! I hate it. Hate it, hate it, hate it."

Naturally, I ripped him out of this toy, wrapped him in motherly love, and whisked him away from the horror.


I put him on every single ride at this mall and calmly explained to him that it was part of a scientific experiment on just how lame he was being. He was the control (?) and the variable (?) was the motion in each ride which was different: up and down, circular, bumpy, back and forth.

Conclusion: He's terrible. He hated all of them and now I'm pretty sure Sam will be the only 8 year old at Disneyland waiting at the bottom of the Matterhorn holding purses and just watching.

What am I supposed to do with this?
Fine fine fine. I'll give it time. And keep trying to love him despite this shortcoming.

[monday meals mashup] week eight

Oops. I may (may) have forgotten to post last week's meal plan. Lies, all lies. I did not forget. I made a conscious choice. I'm so sorry. Forgive, forget, and we move on.

Yes, I did meal plan last week - the idea of not having a meal plan literally gives me the shakes - but I didn't have the energy to share it in my post-first birthday coma. PTBD (post traumatic birthday disorder). I want you to know I've finally moved on and am in a full recovery until Sam's 2nd birthday.

Meals this week.

Oh my, it's gonna be a hot one around here. Sam and I have big plans for the week that include visiting trains, first trip to the zoo, and dumping him at Fe's all day Thursday where I will be foot loose and child free and Sam will pee in a baby pool. Like I said, we have big plans for the week.

Here's what we will be eating.

Monday: Mexican Quinoa - hokay. I found this recipe last week and before I could even fully look it over, BFF Emy had swiped it from my Pinterest dinner board and made it. Perfect. It's already tried and true and delicious. At Emy's suggestion, I'll add a rotisserie chicken to mine since Chuck needs meat. He's practically skin and bones. I think we can all agree on that.

Tuesday: Steak on the grill. I'll be using this marinade and Chuck will grill us up whichever steak is on sale at QFC. Aren't I the classiest of shoppers?

Wednesday: Chicken Nuggets but not the McDonalds kind. That's a plus or minus depending on which of my friends is reading this. I've been using this  recipe for two years now and will never look back. These are delicious, healthy, and easy peasy. Total crowd pleaser.

Thursday: Fajitas on the grill. I'm using PK's secret recipe here. It's not a secret. Put chicken boobs in a Ziploc and fill it will salsa. Let them marinade all day then grill. It was my favorite dinner as a kid - always my birthday dinner even in March. I love these fajitas.

Friday: Stove Top Chicken that's baked in an oven.... This recipe was one of the first I ever learned to make when I was in college. It's one of those recipes that is so easy you have the whole meal prepped and ready before the oven can preheat. {recipe card below}

Saturday: LUDLES! I have no idea what this recipe is supposed to be called but it's Lucy favorite and noodles are involved so it's called Ludles. This one takes a while so it's a weekend meal (or a rainy day, we ain't leaving the house weekday dinner). It's simple but it sits on the stove for 2+ hours. It's a long term commitment meal but worth it. {recipe card below}

Sunday: Oven Fried Chicken. Yes please. The old Bisquick recipe has never failed me and never failed Fe in her 40 years of making this. We make it with a oil in the pan not butter.

Hope you have a great May week full of sunshine and yummy food. Head over to Ashley at Life on the Parsons Farm to see her meal plan for the week and to Jamie at You Gotta Have Hart (she joined our link up with a great recipe for Zucchini Parmeson Crisps).


on my second mother's day.

Last year was an emotional Mother's Day.

Mostly because I was one week post c-section and wearing anything more than depends and a nursing bra seemed like a monumental task, but also because I was finally celebrating Mother's Day.  There was still a part of me that couldn't believe I had finally made it into The Motherhood.

And even though I'd felt like a Mom for years - you can't try for a baby for four years, "raise" 120 first graders and bring up a beautiful cat son without feeling that way - there was something to finally being Hallmark recognized as a Mom.

But just as I said in my post last year, I implore you to think of those around you who don't fit the Hallmark definition of motherhood:

-the trying to conceive mom
-the aunt mom
-the sister mom
-the hoping to adopt mom
-the mother of a baby called back to heaven mom
-the fur baby mom (sometimes those four legged babies can give you just as much grief and heart ache as a human one)

Mother's Day can be a very double edged sword.

This year was a much different Mother's Day for me. I wasn't one-week post major surgery. Chuck wasn't on 24 hour Susie watch and unable to leave the house for gifts (don't take that the wrong way - we had a seven day old last year; I didn't expect the moon). Sam is more like a real human and less of a swaddled, non-participating blob.

The boys surprised me this morning with a bevy of traditional Mother's Day gifts waiting for me when I woke up. I don't know why I'm showing you this; I'm sure you did/got/wanted similar:

Count 'em because that's actually THREE packs of nerds, a four pack of bran muffins and a can of cranberry sauce. Otherwise known as Susie Food. I am easy to shop for.

I was served bran muffin in bed, watched Secretariat on ABC Family, and Chuck did all the Sam parenting for the morning. It was heaven. I love that baby but we live a 24 hour life together and sometimes I need to "miss" him.

We spent the day in Seattle with my parents. Like a typical Seattleite, Sam has lived here a year and never been sight seeing downtown. He really needs to get out more. The banner news of the day is that Sam had his first mini-donuts at Pike Place Market. He lost his baby mind.

"Um, me-sized donuts? Yes please. Where do I sign up?"

"Mom mom, would you like some? They are delicious."

In addition to sight seeing, Sam was able to spend Mother's Day celebrating a time-honored family past time: people watching. His initiation into the art of people watching was street performers. And he LOVED it.

This is him losing his baby mind for the hula hooping guitar player.

There was a light amount of humming and baby hip shaking that went along with this. He's already a better dancer than Chuck and Me combined. Probably could have left him here for an hour and come back later to pick him up.

It really was a lovely Mother's Day - I mean that very, very much. Relaxing, fun, and everything I could have hoped for.

We even had my favorite, pizza, for dinner.


I hate that cat. Like I said earlier, sometimes being a fur parent is just as difficult as human parenting. Why does he disrespect Mother's Day dinner like this? Did he not understand this is MY dinner and for MY consumption? He's awful. We are not speaking except he's curled up next to me while I type.

Happy Mother's Day to all - whether you celebrated your Mom for all she is or for all she was; your Motherhood in present or future. I hope you had a fantastic day.

oops, forgot to do an official 12 month post.

How long can I milk "survival mode" from birthday weekend and get away with it? Is this it? Do I get a full week or only 5 days?

Well, I realized I never did Sam's official 12 month post and since I'm all about routine and consistency (more like OCD and RTC), I need to do this. Also, these monthly posts help in any therapy cases against me in the future. Look how hard I tried. I'll just keep repeating that.

Sam, Sam, Sam, Sam.

It's been a year since you made our dreams come true.

But here's what I learned. I never knew what my dream actually was until I got to love you. You completed my life and made us the Mom and Dad we knew we were meant to be. You took your time getting here, but now that I know you - that's just your style.

You don't rush. You have patience for days.
You are thoughtful and inquisitive.
You are sweet as candy.

Basically, you are a lot of things that I am not but the good news is, you're already showing signs that you're a lot like someone else I know... Patient, curious, kind. Not exactly Susie-descriptors. Your Dad, on the other hand...

You are doing a great job at life Sam.
You really nailed your first 12 months.

A rare photo of Mom and Baby Small Mouth (this is his "thinking" face).

Sam attempting to squire a young lady about town... 

...she loved it.

Stole a cookie. Caught after hiding the whole thing in his mouth.

"huh huh huh huh" - it's my favorite Sam party trick.

Super baby.

Sam dying Easter Eggs: he gently placed the eggs in the cups, waited for the color to change, and then "ooooh'd" and "aaaah'd" when they were revealed. Who does that?

Sunny boy.

Baby tunnel. Send no gifts. Just boxes.

Hokay. Listen to this: he loves the paper shredder. This is him attempting to shred a paper back book. He was so confused as to why it wasn't working. I mean, he did everything exactly like I do (except turn it on.... silly baby....).

Post shoving a whole Peanut Butter Cup in his mouth.

And fin.
Can you believe it's been a year?
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