Dearest Kitty…

baby feet

This is what life is all about! In a few short months you will meet your little girl, and the feeling you will have will be indescribable.

-Take every second in. The good, the bad, the stinky. The good days will outweigh the bad, sleep will happen, and you will eat a hot meal again. At times life will feel like it is standing still but in the blink of an eye Baby M will be on to her next milestone.

-Relax. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your home will be.

-Snuggle the heck out of her, stare at her all day, listen to her breathe, smell her…enjoy that sweet little baby. You will miss it someday.

-Read books;google things, but know that, YOU know your baby and yourself best. You will learn her cries, you will look at her and know what she needs. You are her momma and you know her best. Trust your instincts!

Katie, in the 15 plus years that I have known you, I have never seen you this happy.  You are absolutely glowing and are oozing excitement! Motherhood will be one of the hardest things you will do, but it will also be one of the most fulfilling things you will ever do.  Baby M is so lucky to have amazing, loving, and genuine parents.  Both you and Ken have the ability to make people feel so comfortable and cared for; I know you will pass those great qualities to her.  I am so happy for you and I can not wait to meet sweet Baby M. WELCOME TO THE CLUB, MOMMA!

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Here’s to you Kitty!

This week is all about paying homage to our girl Kitty and the little girl that is growing inside!  We are thrilled to be able to welcome a new little one to our close group of girlfriends.  Not to mention spoil her like crazy!  So take a trip with me down memory lane!

Katie was not in my fourth grade glass but one day after recess I was having an asthma attack due to the newly cut grass (#nerdalert).  Katie was across the hallway from me and remembers walking in and seeing me taking deep breaths into a paper bag and also distinctly remembers me wearing a denim hat with the brim turned up in the front with a large fake flower.  This is Katie and my first memory of each other.  Fast forward to the following year and we were in the same class, we weren’t friends yet but that year we figured out that myself, Katie, and a few other girls all lived in the same neighborhood.  After that the rest is history.

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When we went onto middle school where we started walking to school with Katie each morning we would meet at her house and her dad would lead the way out the back and up through the alley.   Katie and I would go onto high school and into college and has always been my voice of reason.  When I needed advice I could trust her to give me the best/safest advice.  After school we moved away from one another as my hubby and I embarked on our own adventure Katie and Ken did the same.  We have always been able to pick up exactly where we left off as if no time has ever passed.  That is something that I truly cherish.

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You are going to be an amazing mother.  Your little girl is going to have everything she could ever ask for and more! I am so thrilled about having another honorary “niece”.   I am so excited to be able to be a part of this little girl’s life and to see your family grow.

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Feelin’ the L.O.V.E!

1. Ya’ll know how to make a girl feel loved!  I have to admit, I’ve been behind on my blog reading this week so when I logged on this morning to upload my post, I was shocked to find two posts written about me.  The four girls that I share this blog with mean so much to me.  No matter the distance or time, we’re always able to come together to celebrate all of the many things that makes life so beautiful.  I am thankful for these gals everyday, and can’t wait to celebrate with them this weekend!

2.  The nursery got some love this weekend, thanks to my Hubby and sweet brother-in-law, Zach.  Zach has been staying with us for the past week and has been tremendously helpful with the odds and ends that we’ve been working on.  Our Ikea trip a few weekends ago was a great success and we were able to pick-up several large furniture pieces for the nursery, along with shelves and other accessories for the rest of the house.  I’m happy with the progress we made this weekend, and am anxious to begin decorating Baby M’s new room.  Below are some pictures of the boys in action!

Nursery helpers

Ken and Zach working on the shelves above the changing table.

Changing table

The new changing table, before decorating!

Bookshelf

Soon these bookshelves will be filled with fun stories to share with our baby girl!

3. As Rachel and Kristina mentioned, my baby shower is this weekend.  I’ve been involved in the planning process (** crazy pregnant lady**) and I’m really happy with the items we’ve completed so far.  I’ll share a full rundown of my baby shower in the next few weeks, so stay tuned.  In the meantime, I’m excited to celebrate the healthy little girl, that keeps dancing like crazy in my belly, with all of the friends and family I care so much about.

I hope ya’ll have a great week and feel loved!

xo

The really cool Safety at Lincoln Elementary

I can still remember so clearly the day Katie knocked on my door. We were in 5th grade, and I had just gotten home from a torturous day in Lincoln Elementary. I was new to the school, and Katie was a Safety; patrolling the crosswalks while making friends with my mom and dog.

Fifth grade was a lonely time for me. I had spent pretty much the entire summer alone, and the one friend I had made went to a different school. The school year was even harder than the summer. I got picked on all the time, and really had no friends.

Katie and I became friends that day she knocked on my door. I went to her house and met her family.  We played all year and the entire next summer, and then she introduced me to the other girls in the neighborhood. We’ve carried on our friendship throughout middle school, high school, college at IUP, and into today.

From the time we met at age 11 to now, as we rub our round bellies excited for what the future holds with our first children, Katie has always had my back. Certain things have never wavered about her personality. She loves to surprise people, be thoughtful and caring, and most of all she loves to see everyone happy.

We have raised bunnies, started our own nail painting stand, and have coordinated sleepovers, new sledding routes, camping trips and vacations. I have even chipped her tooth from tickling her in the pool. Through all of this and more, Katie has always had a presence that just lets you know she’s there for you, no matter what, and that she truly cares about you. It’s a harmony of her solid upbringing and values tied in with her tenderheartedness.

When she meets her baby girl for the first time, I’m sure, much like that day she showed up at my front door and be-friended me, Katie’s child will always know she’s there for her, no matter what. She will get to know her mother for the truly remarkable person she is and feel lucky to have her love.

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an Ode to our Old friend

We are just days from Katie Midgett’s very first baby shower. It is major life events like this that make for times of reminders and reflection.  This week the girls of 5&Whine wish to dedicate our posts to our dear friend.  We want not one day to celebrate- but an entire week of showering Katie and Baby with love that is 15 plus years in the making:

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I have always felt that Katie has carried the torch for our group of friends in different ways. I remember giving a small toast at her bridal shower, and acknowledging Katie as the wise one, and one who will always be there to advise the rest of us through big life changes. See Katie has often times conquered many feats ‘first’. First bride, First puppy adopter, First home owner, First to tackle major home renos, and more I am sure I am not remembering. Although she is not the first mother in our small circle, she of course will still be yet another voice to guide the rest of us through an unknown process or journey. Thinking back on all of those ‘first’ brings me all the way back to – – get ready for this 1997! I can not believe how long I have known these ladies!

Katie is my golden ticket. I always look up to her and I am grateful for her friendship. With out Katie I would have never gotten to know this beautiful group of girls I call my best friends. We met in 6th grade- we are nearing our 20 year mark as friends! Her father was my teacher at the time. I would say I – my character, my decision making- was a little rough around the edges at this time. My family was not well off and it was the year my father passed. The combination of financial stress and emotional distress was hard for me as I was trying to fit in at school. Katie saw me as a friend, and Katie’s entire family treated me like one of their own. I would go over for dinner often. We would play (I have no idea what we would do to be honest) in kitties living room. Her parents would give me guidance on smart moves for college, etc. It was a warm home and escape from the sadness that draped my families’ house in hard times. It was a taste of life I had not known. All awhile with a friend to giggle with each day in school and out (Katie is a hoot – she’s incredibly funny, but has a demeanor that makes most of what she says feel unexpected).

As years went on we traveled as a pack, the five of us. To panera bread lunch dates, park city shopping mall, and into college parties where we have seen each other at our most foolish moments. Oh the pictures we wish we could un-take. The boyfriends we saw each other through. The outfits we critiqued for each other in order to be the cool girls. It really makes me smile as I write and imagine.

I am so lucky to have met Katie when I did. She has always been years beyond her age. She is a successful woman. She is one of those people who seem to be able to get it all done in a flawless fashion. Taking on motherhood will be so natural for her, and all of us have said so for years.  Time and states have been put between since the days of middle school, but our friendship has never disconnected.

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So today my post is for Katie. Here is to you mama… the bold and beautiful, ever so capable, role model for women! Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for accepting me for being the exact opposite! Thank you for the snippets of advice laced along the years. With out our early connection, I do not believe I would know the life I do now. I love you and your growing family so dearly and always will. I can not wait to meet Baby girl M and see every bit of beautiful women in her as I do in you.

Body Happy!

Earlier this week I came across Dove’s Curly Hair Campaign video. The video shows four or five young girls talking about why they dislike their curly hair and what kind of hair they would like. To some this may seem silly but I completely understand the sadness that goes along with not liking something about yourself. It definitely pulled at my heart stings having two little girls who are at a very impressionable age.

Body image and self-confidence has always been something I have struggled with and having two girls I have had to learn how to be happy with my body and teach them that no matter what they are perfect! I think I’m doing a pretty good job especially since it has been something that I have made a conscience effort to work on. I do not talk poorly about my body, hair, clothes, etc in front of my girls. I try to exude positivity about my looks and I make sure to tell my girls they are beautiful every single day.

Last week, my efforts proved I was doing something right. There was a photo on Facebook of an overweight girl in a beautiful blue prom gown. My two year old was sitting next to me and noticed the photo as well, I kept scrolling and she excitedly yelled “stop Mommy, Queen Elsa!” We scrolled back up and she pointed to the photo. She starred at the photo with a giant smile on her face, not judging just enjoying the photo of “Queen Elsa.” I almost cried! It made me feel like I was doing something right.

I can honestly say at the age of 29, I am finally happy with my body. Even though my skin may be saggy from pregnancy, my breasts are no longer perky full B’s but rather non-existant A’s, and my face is starting to show the wear and tear of sleepless nights, but all of these “battle scars” are because of my beautiful babies. I’m passing my beauty on and I hope my girls know each and every day just how beautiful they are!

V-Day Gifts: For that Special Someone!

With only a few weeks left until V-Day I thought I would round up a few gift ideas for that special someone in your life.  E and I like to keep things pretty simple, dinner at one of our favorite places, rent or go out for a movie and exchange cards and something small and mostly sentimental.  My favorite gift was my Macbook Air which I was totally shocked but it was something I was talking about for a very long time!  What was one of your favorite gifts from your loved one? Here are a few things to get your creative juices flowing.  Love to hear what you guys are thinking this year big or small?  DIY or just pick something up?

 

Nursery Bedding

I’m trying to remain calm, but the realization that Baby M could arrive in less than 80 days is absolutely terrifying to me!  I feel like we have so much to do to get everything ready….decorate nursery, pack our hospital bag, clean bottles, buy baby supplies, wash baby clothing…. I.AM.FREAKING.OUT!  I’m planning to focus on one thing at a time and check things off as they are completed.  I hope that this approach helps me stay on track for the April 7th due date!

Completing the nursery is at the top of my to-do-list. We seemed to be making process several months ago when we purchased the Baby Mod crib, but things had really started to slow down.  This weekend I received the crib sheets and now have a renewed focus on the nursery.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that ordering certain items online can be challenging.  Bedding in particular is difficult because it’s hard to determine the color, softness, and overall quality of the material.  But I really need your help in making the final selection! I’ve narrowed down my selection of crib sheets to the five choices below.  I plan to hang the picture in the background over the crib, so it’s important to me that the crib sheets are a good match.

Bedding options

Five bedding options…

 Option 1: Oliver B Print White Fuchsia

Hot pink circular crib sheet

Option 1: Hot pink circular crib sheet

 

 Option 2: Oliver B Print White Sandy Gray

Tan chevron crib sheet

Option 2: Tan chevron crib sheet

 

Option 3: Oliver B Print White Pink 

Pink floral crib sheet

Option 3: Pink floral crib sheet

 

Option 4: Oliver B White Pink 

Light pink chevron crib sheet

Option 4: Light pink chevron crib sheet

 

Option 5: Oliver B White Espresso

Brown circular crib sheet

Option 5: Brown circular crib sheet

 

Could you help a girl out, and vote for your favorite?

Caprese Pasta Dinner

Michael had an employee only work dinner planned this week.  When I pouted, ‘What shall I have?”  He suggested I have something that he would not generally eat.   The light bulb lite for both of us, and together we said : “Pasta!”  Ahhh how I love the magical outcome of combining eggs and flour.  Its filling, satisfying, and can fit any season!

Michael, read somewhere that most humans are likely gluten intolerant.  He also said pasta is POINTLESS!?  I know, now you are wondering what I see in the man.  If it were not for his strict and dull palate I would (and I did) carry 15#’s more than I do now.  So fine, I do not order or prepare it often.  Not a terrible thing for my bodies sake.  And now …. Oh it is such a glorious event to have a bowl of starchy, warm, and perfectly salted farfalle pasta (also known as the friendly ‘bow-tie’ pasta) !

So I went to the store, grinning, and whistling while I picked up a bag for $1.50!  I had all the other ingredients at home.  I have known for a week exactly how I will prepare my special pasta meal for one.

Caprese is one of my favorite dishes.  As it is for most people.  The light and salty fresh mozzarella, with a sweet tomato, and licorice essence of fresh basil paired together becomes the perfect flavor combination.  The ingredients are pure, simple, and can be served alone or made into a million variations; flat bread, salad, pasta, bruschetta, and on and on.

I almost always have basil, garlic, and tomatoes on hand.  I also pick up (domestic) fresh mozzarella every so often from the Pittsburgh Strip District.  I happened to have a half # on hand as well (which cost about $4.50- a steal!)

The best part is, this is incredibly simple.  The most prep is in chopping a tomato – and hey, that’s fun!

 

Here is what you need:

– 1# Farfalle pasta (or any type of pasta’y pasta that you love!), cooked ‘el dente’

-1 small crate of San Marzano Tomatoes (Again, use whatever your preference may be.  I love Roma’s and Campari’s for this dish as well), chopped (1/4″ size)

-5 large leaves of fresh basil, chiffonade (roll all leaves together, and slice into thin strands)

-1/2 # fresh mozzarella, cubed in the same size of the tomatoes

-3 cloves of garlic, minced (or use your lovely garlic press)

– 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Coarse Sea Salt and Ground Pepper to taste 

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Here is what you need to do with it: 

Prepare the ingredients as stated above.

– First cook the pasta.  For 1# of pasta, bring about 5 quarts of water to a rolling boil.  Before adding the pasta to the water add a generous pinch of salt (more like TWO) to the water.   Add the pasta, cover, and cook until the water nearly boils over (or DOES boil over, like in my case).  Now remove the lid, stir occasionally, and cook for another 8 minutes.   Then Drain.

– When your pasta has about 5 minutes left to cook, heat a table spoon of Olive Oil at medium high heat in a saute pan.  After the heat picks up, just a minute or so, add garlic and saute for 2 minutes.

Join your tomatoes with the garlic, plus salt and pepper.  Saute at Medium heat until pasta is complete.  You want the tomatoes to release a good bit of water, but you do not want them to cook down completely.  This liquid is now pre-flavored and will pull the starches from the pasta to create a light garlicy gravy.  

-Once you have drained the pasta, return the pasta to the pot (over NO heat).   Add the garlic tomatoes, olive oil, basil, salt, and pepper.  Toss.

– I wait until the pasta is slightly cooled before I add the mozzarella, and again toss.  I do not want the pasta and cheese to melt and hold on to each other.

Stir, Serve, Enjoy !

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This is quick, easy, and delicious.  It is reasonable in price (this recipe feeds about 2 people for $10).   If you have to do pasta, this is light and does not add other processed ingredients.   It also brings in fresh memories of summer, while keeping you warm on a cold winter night.    Also, you can serve this hot OR cold.  In fact you can serve it hot for dinner … and add the left overs to your lunch as a side of pasta salad (at which time I might dress with some balsamic vinegar) .How can you beat it!?

TRL, NSYNC and Driving

Today I got to spend the day with Meagan, Lance and Earnie.  We had so much fun going to brunch at Piper’s Pub, then did some window shopping and went to Trader Joe’s for some snacks and ingredients for dinner.  We always have so much fun together.  Literally, my favorite thing to do is spend time together.


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Days like this, full of belly-laughing, and true self indulgence, remind me of why Meagan and I are such good friends.  I wanted to share with you my Matron of Honor Speech for Meagan’s wedding, as well as some pictures of us.

ehhh, ehhhhem:

Meagan and I became friends because we walked slow….. behind our other friends to and from middle school. Our 6th, 7th and 8th grade years consisted of walking around the neighborhood, watching TRL at Meagan’s house after school, and weekly trips to the mall to spend our allowance which we both got for pretty much doing nothing.

We pretended to be 2 different spice girls, like 2 different members of NSYNC and the back street boys, and had 2 different favorite colors which made getting matching pajamas fun but not confusing for our 2 favorite people, our moms.

We would laugh until our stomachs hurt, staying up late at our sleepovers with Meagan’s mom shushing us repeatedly. And if one of us was mad at the other, we would both cry. We thought we would definitely have a double wedding with 2 twin boys as our future husbands.

High school was pretty much the same story except we added in driving, boys, and drinking which ultimately resulted into getting into trouble together.

Through middle school, high school, and college, Meagan and I were together. Our double wedding became less likely as we discovered ourselves. We both found the loves of our lives in college, and guess what? They were 2 best friends, too! I will give you a minute to take that all in!

From that day we were poking along behind everyone else, to today, Meagan has been one of the greatest things in my life. She’s my best friend and my sister. And guess what, we still walk really slow when we’re together.

Meagan, I am so honored that I have been a part of your life since that day we walked to school. There aren’t many people in this world who know each other and love one another the way we do. I want nothing more than for you to have the happiest life, with the second best man I know, Earnie.

Earnie, I know I’m not your best man, but I love you, too. I couldn’t pick a more loving, honest and decent husband for Meagan.

On this very special, thoughtful day, I want to celebrate the unique love that Meagan and Earnie have. What makes them unique? They are two very different people, with different ideas and views, different likes and dislikes, from two different places. But they are both incredibly loved by their friends and family. Not just as individuals, but as a couple.

I haven’t met one person who doesn’t like Earn. Everyone immediately loves him and gives him a nick name. And in my entire life have never met a single person who doesn’t love Meagan (not that they would tell me!).

Meagan and Earnie,

On this day, everyone who loves you is here and knows how special your love is. To this day, this month, this year, this century, and this lifetime, we raise our glasses to you! May you kiss every day, listen to one another, and cherish every moment together! Cheers!

7th grade at Meagan's Dad's House

7th grade at Meagan’s Dad’s House

8th Grade Old Time Photos at the Beach!

8th Grade Old Time Photos at the Beach!

All of us together in Meagan's wedding

All of us together in Meagan’s wedding

The ALS Walk in memory of Meagan's Papa

The ALS Walk in memory of Meagan’s Papa