TV Tuesday: Stop ruining my Olympics!

I am an Olympics junkie. I watch the opening ceremonies, follow all the personal stories, and might just throw my own parade down the street for our hometown medalist, Abby Johnston....
Whoo hoo! Represent.


No matter what the sport (I watched whitewater kayaking yesterday!), I am glued to the TV to see who wins, even if it is not the Americans. 

There were a few particular stories I was excited to watch. As in, grab a blanket, get some cherry cordial ice cream (you know, just like the athletes do I'm sure), and settle in for a good night of TV.  HOWEVER...

The past 3 days have made me so angry at the TV and internet that I could scream. Just ask Kate, who got the brunt of my outburst today. Jordyn Wieber's heartbreaking fail at qualifying for the all-around? All over the internet. That was just the beginning.
I know. My feelings exactly. It's just like when Twitter and Instagram lit up with the news that Emily picked Jef. Just like it.
Last night, we watched a little package about Missy Franklin, getting to know and love this adorably happy teenager and getting excited for her never-been-done back-to-back race. During the commercial break before she swam her big race, we saw a preview for Today that said, "Missy Franklin and her family join us to celebrate the 17 year old's gold medal win in the backstroke!" Seriously, they showed this about 1 minute prior to the race. 
I can't believe you were born in 1995.
And just today, I tried to avoid the TV coverage out of fear of spoilers. No dice. moments ago, I checked cnn.com as I do a few times a day when I am bored. I wasn't thinking, clearly. The minute the homepage loaded, there was a HUGE breaking news headline with a swimmer who shall remain nameless and the biggest news this Olympics was going to deliver this year. Oh YEAH, and off to the side, the results of the Women's gymnastics finals, all wrapped up in one headline that made me slam my computer closed. 

What is the deal!? Why are we finding out the results before they are airing?  Is this a big deal to anyone else? I understand that there is a time difference, but can we show it live and DVR it or ask news coverage to ZIP IT until it airs?  Because I would have to think that viewership is going to go down because of this.

Matt, I guess this means we have to start saving for Rio in 2016 so I can see it in person and live the excitement in real time!



Mama Monday: 12-15 month essentials

Lots of things have changed since Larkyn turned one, and I have found a small group of things to be lifesavers in the past few months. Hope they are helpful to you, and please share if you have more to add.

Hats with velcro straps
Last summer, I could put anything on her head and she would leave it alone. This year, she wants nothing to do with headbands or hats. But once I strap one of these on, she forgets about it and her little blonde head is safe from the sun.
This one is from last year's Gymboree summer collection. But we have 2 Circo ones from Target that are great, too.

Take & Toss bowls with lids
I did not register for anything like this because I was a little overwhelmed by products I'd need in the future. And I hated the un-green idea of "take and toss". However, they are recyclable, well-priced, and the perfect size for her finger foods.
Take and Toss bowls with lids: 4.00 at Walgreens

Take & Toss spoons/forks
Long handled spoons were fine for me to hold when feeding her. Now that she is feeding herself, I have found that the smaller the handle, the easier it is for her to use.
Take and Toss spoons and forks set: 2.99 at Target

Secret snack mix
Whenever we go someplace where she will be confined to the stroller and not engaged (Loft, Gymboree, Macy's...maybe she is trying to save me money?), I pack a cup of this magical mixture:
She likes the Super Greens puffs and Strawberry melts best, but I change up the flavors each time.

Keens/Crocs
It is so important to have soft-sold and flexible shoes at this age, but I also enjoy a little style as well. I tend to have mental meltdowns when Larkyn's clothes/shoes get stained, and these shoes solved the problem for the summer. Crocs just wipe off, and Keens can go in the washer! Be careful when you choose your Crocs. I got some "infant" ones at Buy Buy Baby (they were definitely Croc brand) but they are so unflexible that she could only wear them for a month. The Candace Crocs have a flexible band that is much easier to put on and should last her much longer.
Raya Lilac Sachet Keens: $40 at Nordstrom. Candace Crocs: $20 on amazon.com

Library card and zoo pass 
This summer, we have had a lot of free entertainment at the library by going to the baby lap times, checking out DVDs (which were kind of a dud, but whatever), and checking out books. I want my girl to be a reader and she loves books, but there's only so much space in our "quaint" home. It's nice to be able to load them in the bag and take them back!

The zoo pass could also count as free entertainment because Matt's mom bought it for Larkyn's birthday. I have probably mentioned how amazing our zoo is, and she is happy to just go and people watch if nothing else. Every time we go, we see something new, and it is nice to be able to bring up to 2 guests.
My favorite guys at the zoo.

Playtex straw cups
We cut out the beloved bottle by her first birthday, and luckily it was not a problem for us. I'm not going to say they are without fault (liquid comes up out of the straw if you leave it sitting for a few minutes). But, these cups are inexpensive, and like the Take & Toss stuff, I have been able to pick them up at drug stores and grocery stores rather than making a trip to you-know-where.
Cheers! Playtex Lil Gripper straw trainer: 5.99 anywhere

Birthday Thursday: 15 months

The last month has been full of changes for my little 15 month old!
  • She says "more" in the cutest little voice to get more food (which she always wants)
  • She tries to put on her shoes and will say "go" when I tell her we are going somewhere. You better mean it when you say "go", because she is ready to hit the road!
  • She can climb on the couch now, which is fun for her but terrible for us if we need to leave the room. 
  • She dances in circles, kind of like a Native American rain dance or something. She did this for anyone who would watch while we were on vacation. Then, she claps and raises her hands in the air. Ha!
  • She feeds herself with a spoon now. See?
We are definitely on our toes with her all the time now, but every month brings more exciting milestones and silly behaviors. I am starting to dread leaving her for work in a few weeks. Quick, let's look at the monthly picture!

Vacation Part 2: Bald Head Island

First of all, I know you are asking "Alright, what's with the name?" I will tell you. The Island itself played important roles in both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. And before that, it was the home to Edward Teach, a.k.a the famous pirate Blackbeard. Apparently it was a huge hangout for pirates. Anyway, here is the explanation that the BHI Village site gives:

"Early river pilots were responsible for giving the Village its unique and descriptive name. Eager to offer their navigational services to ships approaching the entrance to the Cape Fear River, they took up watch on a high dune headland on the southwest point on the island. According to local lore, the headland was worn bare of vegetation, making it stand out in contrast to the forest behind it. This "bald" headland served as a reference point for ships entering the river, and the name Bald Head Island has endured" (from villagebhi.org)

It was a packed car with Kristy, Paul, Larkyn, and I (and all our stuff!) We had a beautiful evening to ride over on the ferry. Larkyn was excited to watch out the window and point to the water ("gock", like everything else is called).

After settling in to the house and getting used to another new crib to sleep in, Larkyn and I woke up the next morning, ready to hit the beach. The light was never better than that morning and I am in love with these pictures...
The week was beautiful, but of course we had some down time indoors so that Larkyn wouldn't get sunburned. We found all kinds of ways to stay busy! She of course loved climbing on the deck chairs and playing with shells, buckets, and lots of water. She was fascinated by the pump for the floats, tried her first hot dog, and always wanted to be in the rocking chairs.

And remember how I wanted this shot?
Got it! She wasn't thrilled, and the L washed away on the first try, but we got it.

Want to live here, Larky? FYI, the swimdress came in time and I am in love with it!
Love those footprints. She enjoyed running down to the ocean and letting the water crash around her ankles. Until it reached her bootie, then she cried and we took a little walk away from the water.
On our last night, we were treated to the sunset we wait for all week long. We love the fact that no one will ever block that view. 
There are about 200 more pictures! If you'd like to see more, I will have them on my shutterfly site that you can join if you like.

Ten days was a long time to be away from home, from Matt, and from a grocery store that carries milk for below 5.29. However, given the opportunity, I'd go right back. It gets harder and harder to leave my family down there as the babies are growing up and Larkyn is starting to enjoy everyone. Can't wait til the next trip!

Vacation Part 1: Family Reunion time!

We are back! After 10 days out of town, I am a little disoriented and not even sure where to begin. You will see a lot of photos, that's for sure. Our trip started with a way-too-long wait at the airport since Port Columbus takes 12 minutes to cross town, 3 minutes to get through the security checkpoint and 2 minutes to arrive at your gate (remember this when I contrast our trip back...) I was worried about the flight but was armed with the secret weapons:
  • Sticker book of farm animals 
  • snack mix of Baby goldfish, Cheerios, and yogurt melts
  • Downloaded episodes of SuperWhy! and Yo Gabba Gabba
And here is what happened:
Before we got on the plane, we received definite "I hope that baby isn't sitting next to me" looks. She must have gotten all the wiggles out by running back and forth at gate E28. After the flight, we received compliments. Phew.
We arrived in Charlotte and drove straight to my nephew's house to have a Sonic (welcome to the south:o) lunch with my three adorable nephews, Joshua, Jacob, and Jonah. We played for a while, then set off for my sister's house. This was ground zero for reunion preparation. Have I mentioned that we have never had a reunion before?!

After labeling every item with a picture of my grandparents (who I morbidly pointed out where the only ones unable to join us for the festivities...), we turned in for the night. Here is our handiwork...


Hershey bars, water bottles, and tote bags
And the next day, the party began with about 60 people filling the house and the yard, bouncing in the castle, and playing horse shoes.
Time with Mama, Aunt Vicki, Nana and PawPaw before everyone arrives
The heat was unbearable! Some stayed in the tent, but a lot of us made our way inside. And one of us was dead set on going into the 1000 degree bouncy house.
Cousins Julia, Jonah, Joshua, and Hannah. I'm sorry...do you see the gold gladiators?
My grandmother and grandfather had 5 boys (one of them my dad) and one girl. Here is my dad's "branch" of the family tree. Dad, his 3 kids, our kids, and even some great grandkids!
My sister did an amazing job organizing it and making everyone feel welcome. The food was plentiful and fabulous, and everyone stayed late into the night to reconnect and joke about old memories.  The next day, we packed up and headed to the beach...

Thursday 13: Vacation must-dos

I've been going on this same vacation since I was a baby, so I am told. Never gets old. How can this get old?
Just a little bit bigger than my backyard in OH, right?
For years we could see the ocean from the front porch. Now we can see it between those 2 little shacks. 

So yes, I am looking forward to it, and all the things that go with a family vacation to Bald Head Island.

1. Getting there--thank God Larkyn and I are flying. I know it'll probably be a challenge to keep her in the seat, but it'll be over in an hour and a half. We hope. Luckily, I have some tips from Desiree and hope those work for me too.

2. No car for 10 days! No gas powered vehicles on the island. Open-aired golf carts that just run on a charge...seriously, why aren't electric cars taking over yet?!

3. Home-cooked dinners every night. I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to dinner being prepared by someone else. I'll contribute desserts of course!
Dad and Mike taking over the grill. By all means!
4. A houseful of babysitters! Now that L can climb on the couch by herself, an extra pair of eyes is definitely welcome.
Uncle Richard and Aunt Vicki last year
5. No (well, ok rarely applied) makeup! When you walk outside and instantly sweat or spend all day in the water, what is the point?

6. Magazine reading. And not Time or Newsweek. You will find me behind Us Weekly, People, and In Touch all week.

7. Writing Larkyn's name in the sand for a rite of passage photo moment:o)
I used to get so excited to get to the ocean that I would run straight out without a bathing suit. Yep, just took my pants off.

8. This girl. My niece, who is 19 months older than me...but we used to just tell people we were cousins because that is easier. Sometimes we would say we were twins, because THAT is believable. Can you tell which one was Cinderella Miss North Carolina 1991?
Can you see what is hidden behind my eyes: "Why the hell am I in a hot tub with a wine glass? Well, Kristy seems to enjoy it, so I'll go with it..."
9. Visiting Turtle Central to pick out something fun for Larkyn.

10. Trying on everything at Island Passage and Canopy and then putting it all back and getting a bracelet that is more in the budget.
photo from islandpassageclothing.com
11. This year is our family reunion! I have never had one before and am so excited! I can't wait to introduce Larkyn to everyone and to get those multi-generational shots that you know will be posted as soon as I get home. Check out the invite, with Grandpa and Grandma:

12. Movies all day and all night. The DVD player is on constantly, but this year it might have to take a few breaks for Sprout or Disney.

13. WATER!!  The Atlantic, the quiet and warm pool, I love it all. And so does my water baby. Of course, that was not the case the first time she tried out the ocean last year...
You would have heard a gasp and shudder...poor baby!
I can't promise I will be posting while I'm away, but I might get the urge to post a few. If not, follow me on instagram (stacietroutman) to keep in touch.

Mama Monday: Stay little

It is about the halfway point of summer, when I get a little weepy about going back and leaving my girl to have fun with someone else. I didn't really feel it until I took this picture at the playground tonight and looked at it. Ugh..throat...tightening...


 I've been helping her go on the slide lately. Like, I lift her up to sit on it, then hold her and say "Weee!" as she slides and I hold her. Well, apparently she was over that little charade, because as I watched in horror/admiration, she climbed the steps, went through the tubes, and came out at the top of the slide and just WENT!
I was so proud of her, but could not move fast enough to make sure she didn't tumble off the edge.

And now, would you like to join me in my "baby is getting big too fast" emotional moment?

Things I thought I'd never say or hear

A shout from the bathroom: "She's whisking the toilet." "With the kitchen whisk?!" "Oh, now she's brushing her hair with it..."

To the door-to-door canvasser who unfortunately happened upon our house at dinner: "No, don't try to pick her up! She will bite your hand off! And that's not poop on her back, it's brisket, I promise."

A text: "I'm boiling toothbrushes."  "What?! Why?" "Because Larkyn dipped them in the toilet to get them wet before brushing" (PS- I have already replaced them VERY recently, so sterilization was my answer this time)

To myself in the mirror: "If chewing a hairbrush instead of using it on her head makes her happy while I straighten my hair for 5 blessed minutes, so be it."

To the TV when returning home when our power finally came back in yesterday: "Oh, Super Why, how I've missed you!"
Larkyn's favorite show. "Hip hip hooray, the super readers save the day!" fo sho
At Victoria Secret today: "Well how long have you had the bra you have on now?" "Um, since I was pregnant?" "So like, 2 years and 3 bra sizes in between?" "YES."

After looking at the tag on my new bathing suit and seeing what it was really called: "I am officially old. I apparently bought a swim dress today."
Sadly, this is not me modeling the first bathing suit I have bought in 7 years.


Thursday 13: Dinner ideas

Did you laugh when you read the title? I am the first one to volunteer to go all out on desserts for any occasion and we love carry-out dinners around here (Thank you city BBQ and El Vaquero). But, there are some things I have made over and over that I thought I'd share. It would be the world's longest post if I included the entire recipe for each, so I'll just give an overview and you can ask questions if needed. Maybe this will help you refresh your dinner menu. What is your favorite go-to dinner?

1. Italian pork chops: 1 package of thin cut chops + Kraft Fresh Takes seasoning pack (in the refrigerated cheese section)

2. Teriyaki salmon over vegetable rice: Pre-marinated salmon from grocer + Uncle Ben's vegetable Ready Rice (I cook it in the pan with 1 TB oil, 4-5 minutes on each side). We split one piece and add a salad.

3. Italian meatball sliders: Here is my recipe, served with a salad.

4. Tacos: Either seasoned crock pot shredded chicken or ground beef+seasoning+lettuce (we use bagged or it goes to waste here)+sour cream+tortillas+shredded cheddar cheese+taco sauce

5. Grilled steak: Strip steak marinated in soy sauce + Worchestershire sauce + Lawry's. Served with baked potatoes or corn on the cob.

6. Pasta a la Vodka: In a large pot, cook 1 small diced onion in olive oil until it is soft + 6 slices of shredded prosciutto cooked until crisp + 2 cans diced tomatoes until they are soft (I keep crushing them with a potato masher and let them cook at least 30 mins) + 1 tsp sugar + 1 C vodka + 1 pint heavy cream. After adding the cream, remove from heat. Add in pasta to coat. Add lots of parm cheese! This makes a ton, so you'll have leftovers.

7. Oven BBQ chicken and onion potatoes: A few hours before dinner, marinate the chicken: Thin cut chicken breasts + salt & pepper + Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce. Cover and refrigerate. Quarter red potatoes + coarsely slice/chunk a white onion + sprinkle all with salt & pepper + drizzle oil. Add both the chicken pan and potato pan to a 350 degree oven for 30 mins. Both should be ready at the same time, depending on the thickness of chicken and your oven temp.

8. Skillet lasagna: My recipe is here. Great for summer, when you don't want the oven on! Served with salad.

9. Shrimp pasta: For 2 of us, we get 20 frozen shrimp from the seafood counter. Thaw in running cold water until ice is gone. Start your pasta (I like it with 1/2 box of linguine). Cook shrimp in pan with 2 TB butter + juice of 1/2 a lemon + garlic (to your liking). Add pine nuts (buy in bulk section to save big time) + bag of spinach leaves + 2 TB olive oil. Drain pasta and add all of this to the pasta + add extra olive oil if too dry + other 1/2 of lemon + sprinkle with parm cheese+ parsley.

10. Mel's BBQ ribs and mashed potatoes: Ribs+BBQ sauce+ cherry preserves+Dijon. The recipe is here and fail-proof!

11. Chicken & noodles: Chicken breasts+Lipton noodle soup+Amish noodles+mashed potatoes. Crock pot the chicken overnight or all day and then shred. Reserve the broth. Cook the Lipton noodles and Amish noodles together on the stove top IN the broth. Return the chicken and noodles to the crock pot. Add more broth if needed, but it shouldn't be like soup. Add chicken soup base if needed. Serve over mashed potatoes.

12. Spaghetti Pie: I just tried it last week, but it is already a favorite.

13. When all else fails, omelettes and Belgian waffles all around!

Wednesday in Pictures: Happy 4th!










We had FOUR outfits this year, so we started wearing them on Sunday! As you can see, Larkyn is enamored by sticks and enjoyed herself at the UA parade. Luckily, it is right down the street because it was about 100 degrees at 9 AM. She was all smiles until the trucks started honking and sirens started, then we had to pack it up and go home. Hope you did something fun with your families (we did, just didn't manage to get pictures either time...grr!)
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