Saturday, February 26, 2011

Prayer Request

I apologize for the vagueness of this post, but I'm posting without permission. I know it would be fine, but I can't call and ask.

A friend of mine gave birth to her first baby early this morning. An hour ago, he was taken to a NICU at a bigger hospital, an hour away from where we live, because of fluid in his lungs. Please pray for the baby! And especially pray for his mommy. She is a dear friend of mine and her husband is out of town, trying to get back from Navy responsibilities. She has no family in the area, only her family from our dance studio. She's not a very religious person, so I am interceding on her behalf. The baby was born 4 weeks early. He is a very healthy weight though. The fluid seems to be the only complication and that's really relatively minor.

Thank you so much! Kate

Friday, February 25, 2011

Weight Watchers Potato Soup

(I deleted my last post because I re-read it this morning and it came across much more bite-y than I intended. I really just needed to vent, I did and I'm done now. I'm choosing a positive and upbeat frame of mind!)

The other day, I was starving for potato soup. I had seen someone eating it on a commercial for some restaurant and I got a real "hankering" for it. (Sidebar: is hankering a real word or just a Yancosek-ism!? My family is known for making up our own words.) I didn't want a huge pot of pure carbs so I decided to see if Weight Watchers had a good recipe suggestion.

Whoa baby, they sure did.

This super is crazy easy to make and really delicious. Even Dave agreed, it didn't taste like a diet recipe at all.

3 pounds of potatoes (I used Yukon Gold because I like the gold color!)
Turkey bacon
Low fat sour cream
Low fat shred ched
Chicken broth (16 oz or so)
Skim Milk

1. Wrap potatoes in tin foil, pierce with knife or fork a few times. Place in oven and bake for an hour. Weight Watchers wants you to roast a entire bulb of garlic at this point, but no thanks. I use Garlic Powder later on in this recipe instead.
2. While potatoes are baking, in large dutch oven, brown turkey bacon. Set bacon aside
3. Don't wash out your dutch oven! Leave all that bacony goodness in there. It's turkey bacon so it's like bacon without the guilt.
4. Once potatoes have cooled, peel them and chop them. Put them in a large mixing bowl. Mash them up! At this point, I added some garlic powder, a smidge of salt and a little pepper. I also added a "glub" of skim milk to make it easier to mash. What? Glub is a real technical cooking term. ;)
5. Transfer potatoes to dutch oven. Add chicken soup slowly. Add some, whisk the mixture. Keep adding chicken broth until you get a creamy, yet thick consistency. I added about 14 oz of broth and a couple glubs of milk. I like it creamy and it was skim milk, so no harm there either.
6. Salt, pepper and garlic to taste. Go LIGHT on the salt though! Unnecessary added water retention agent is what salt is.
7. Crumble bacon up and mix in.
8. Serve warm, with a dollop of sour cream and cheese on top.

This soup is really really really good. I loved it, Rory loved it, Dave like it a lot too. It was pretty easy to make too. It yielded about 6 bowls of soup. I served it with a grilled cheese the first night, then ate it with a salad for lunch yesterday.

You can add in any baked potato toppings that you like. Next time I make it, I'm going to add broccoli because I LOVE broccoli on top of a baked potato.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Top 5 Thursdays

I am linking up with Meghan for her Top 5 Thursdays today! The topic is perfect, as it is snowing outside AGAIN.

The Top 5 Things I Am Looking Forward to This Spring/Summer (because I cannot stand this stupid snow one more second)

I changed Megan's interjection at the end...mostly because I am feeling extremely hostile towards snow today. GROSS.

5. Swimming in my Aunt's amazing pool
My Aunt Barb and Uncle Tom have the most beautiful pool EVER. It's like a tropical oasis. I could (and do) sit out there for HOURS. They were even thoughtful enough to make the steps Rory and Trace friendly. Last year, Rory loved hanging on to the railing and splashing on the steps. This year, I'm sure she'll be swimming like a fish. Trace will be floating around in a little water bed. :)

Rory last year in her yellow polka dot bikini!

4. Grilling and eating on the deck!
Does this need explanation? I'm tired of soup, I'm ready for barbecue! :)

3. Wearing sandals, capris, tank tops...basically not hoodies.
Clearly, nothing I need to explain again.

2. Having Dave back to normal hours so we're actually awake together more than one hour a day.
Right now, and all winter, Dave has to be at work at 4:00 am. His work is 45 minutes away. He wakes up at 2:45 in the morning! GROSS. He goes to bed at 7:30, obviously. This means Trace is shuttled to my amazing mom or aunt who watch him until I get done with work. They love it, Trace loves it. I am thankful, but I miss seeing my husband! haha The snow can leave any time now.

June 4 and 5. Consider this your invitation. ;) Last year, our show was a Tribute to my dance teacher, Miss April. This year the show is called "The Great Adventure" and every song is a book title. Some are obvious, Hedwig's Theme is "Harry Potter." "The Love Theme" from Romeo and Juliet goes with "Romeo and Juliet." Some are more...creative. :) The song "Oh What A Beautiful Morning" is for "The Little House on the Prarie." "Secret Agent Man" for "Sherlock Holmes." I'll be posting on the recital a million times prepared. :)

Studio K Recital 2009: True Colors.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday.

I have so much on my mind lately and I can't seem to spill it all out here on my blog. Maybe deep down I don't want to. That's weird for me, typically writing it all out makes me feel better. Who knows. I'm a mystery! ;)

For an upbeat Wednesday post, I'm joining in on What I'm Loving Wednesday. Link up here!

I'm loving...

This cradle

Ours looks a little different. I got it at Target for $50. BEST MONEY EVER. Trace actually naps in it. Right now, he's been sleeping almost an hour.

OPI's Burlesque Collection

Perfection! My favorite is the darker orange. It's called "Take the Stage."

That we leave for Florida in a week!

That Southwest lets every person with a ticket have 2 checked bags free. That means we can take 6 suitcases and not have to worry. Considering we won't be carrying on actual luggage, just mountains of baby things...this comes in handy.

Words with Friends on my phone!! Misskate54

The fact that both Trace and I slept the entire night without waking up last night. He fell asleep on the ride home from the studio at 9 and woke up at 7:45 this morning. I fell asleep at 11 and woke up at 7. PERFECT. :)

Rory's new found desire to say please and thank you all the time. She also says "bess you" when someone coughs or sneezes.

Nexflix on the PS3. I mean hello, lifesaver.

The sun is shining! I don't care how cold it is, the sun shining makes it so much better.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bows on Wednesday

I stumbled on this blog, from a friend's friend's blog, today.

I cried. I hugged Trace, also 4 months old, to my chest and cried. I felt his little chest rising and falling, watched his eye lids flutter with a dream and cried. I cried for little Maddi, home with Jesus. I cried for her parents, too young to be burying their daughter. I cried for the family, the friends of this brave little family. I cried for them because it hit much too close to home. I watched, through water glazed eyes, as my son, my perfect beautiful son, slept peacefully in my arms, quietly praying over him. I prayed for his safety, for Rory's safety. I prayed for their futures, their hearts and their minds. I was (am) thankful for these little lives I have been blessed with.

But mostly, I cried for Maddi's mom. Can you imagine the heartbreak. Working a normal day and then all of a sudden, nothing is normal anymore. That's earth shattering.

Maddi's mom is asking that on Wednesday, mamas of girls put the biggest bows they have in their little ladies hair. Maddi wore big bows all the time and Wednesday will be her funeral. Her post is here. She wants you to send her pictures of your little girl wearing her bow. Rory will be wearing her biggest bow possible and holding a sign sending some love to Maddi and her parents. It's the least I can do for a mama who's hurting.

Pray for the Staat family tonight. And tomorrow. And every time you look at your little ones. Hug your babies, hug your husband. But most of all, be thankful for this moment. Life is fragile.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Last Five Years

The Last Five Years. "I Can Do Better Than That"

So appropriate.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Talking about Trace

My son is amazing. My life is 100% better because he's in it, just as it is because I have Rory.

My son is not an easy baby. I'm going to be honest. It doesn't change my amount of love for him one iota, mostly because I know it's just a fleeting moment in time. I'm going to blink and he'll be sitting at the table, coloring and eating yogurt without needing any help at all. (That's exactly what Rory is doing at this moment.) Trace is, for all intents and purposes, a completely different baby that Rory. Rory was easy. EASY. Ate on schedule, slept like a champ, not the best napper but we made do.

Trace is hard.

He doesn't eat the same amount consistently, which makes him cranky. His stomach hurts a LOT, that makes him cranky. He hates napping. He has super bad dry skin (dare I call it eczema?) and a rash on the back of his head. He hates bathes but needs it for his skin. Until about two weeks ago, it was a battle to get him to poop. He doesn't have any major medical issues, thank the Lord, but he has plenty of small ones that add up to one not happy baby.

He cries. A lot. He's crying right now, whimpering in his cradle beside me. Why? I have no idea. I was holding him, but it wasn't doing anything so I put him down. Strapped him in, gave him some toys and am just going to let him fuss at me for a while. Have you ever experienced the frustration that comes with daily, time after time, not being able to calm your own baby down? There are moments where I just can't do it anymore. Then I look at that little face, with the bright blue eyes, pleading for me and I melt. I pick him up and start the process all over again.

Stand and bounce. Bounce until my hips ache. SHHHH him, swaddle him, side rock him, all the S's I can remember. Rock him in the chair, lay him on his mat, massage his belly, sing endless rounds of Jesus Loves Me. I do it all. I try so hard. Some days are great, minimal crying and fussing. Some days...aren't.

Last night, he was up 5 times in the night crying. I resisted the urge every time to go in and get him, because I knew he was fine. I did creep to the door a few times and make sure he hadn't wiggle an arm or leg out the crib slats, but he hadn't. I let him fuss in the day time a little while, trying to teach him to self soothe. I've read articles, books. Asked for advice, asked for help. But there's not much to be done for a baby who cries but is not sick. He's just...tough.

My heart aches for Trace. I worry that something else is going on and that I'm missing the clues that he is really sick. I get frustrated when people don't want to be around him because he's fussy. I get infuriated when certain people "can't handle the screaming" anymore and claim it "tears at their ears." I am far from the perfect mother, but I pray every day that I will be given the wisdom to help my son and the peace of mind to deal with the fits when the occur. That's all I can do.

Right now, as I type this, Trace finally found his Mickey lovie and is rubbing it on his nose. He has stopped crying for the moment. He actually seems content. Oh! A smile! See. Good moments among a long day of fussiness.

At the end of the day, when I him in his crib, all cozy and warm in his jammies and smelling like baby lotion, I am thankful for the day. Tough, awful, great or just okay, it was a day I got to be his mommy. And that's more than enough for me.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I finally figured out what I'm wearing to the wedding. And guess what! It was hiding in my closet the entire time. I had a wedding to go to when Rory was 2 months old so I bought a great dress for that one. I forgot about it entirely. It's super flattering, a maxi dress that isn't clingy. I love the necklace and shoes I have to go with it too. Excellent! I ordered a short sleeve shrug to go with it this time. Last time, I had to wear a LONG SLEEVE ONE in JULY! Pennsylvania, you are a freak of nature with your weather patterns.

Here's the dress...

BAM. Done.

I'm now obsessed with wearing my hair like this...beachy waves.

Yep. SUPER easy, super cute. It works great on my hair, which is just hitting my shoulders. (Finally) It takes me about 10-15 minutes to do my whole head. Easy and cute! I'll try and remember to take a picture tomorrow. Ugh. haha

I made Dave promise me today that I could have the Sunday afternoon before the wedding to myself to get a manicure and a pedicure. I already can't wait. I thrive on pedicures, specifically the calf massage. Hello heaven.

And lastly, to close this random post, I just saw a commercial about surprising your kids with a Disney trip and I'm crying. CRYING LIKE A BABY. I can't wait to surprise Trace and Rory. How great to just pick them up one day from school and be like "oh we aren't going to the studio today, we're going to Disney." CAN. NOT. WAIT. for those days!! :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

In honor of Valentine's Day, from my two little cupids and I to you. The single best love story in any movie, I believe. Disney-Pixar captured, in 5 minutes, the essence of real love.

Just like Carl and Ellie. <3

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mourning by Pre-Baby Body

My sister-in-law is getting married in a couple weeks in Florida. I am so excited, for lots of reasons. First, of course, I'm excited for Lisa and her fiancee. How wonderful to be just starting a life together. Second, I'm excited to get the heck out of the snow for a few days. Temperatures above freezing are much appreciated, so Florida will deliver on that promise. Third, we're staying on a few extra days and taking Ro and T to Disney for a day! I don't care if you think it's crazy, they won't remember it. It doesn't matter. It's a memory and I'm all about celebrating this moment of this life. It's the only one. I've seen life change too fast and drastically not to sieze the moment. Carpe Diem, Baby.

But! The problem is...nothing fits me right. Not one piece of clothing, sans hoodies and t-shirts, look right on my post-baby body. Some areas are inflated, other areas are lumpy. My calves and arms aren't too shabby and my face is almost back to it's pre-baby level of roundness. (I have a plate face, okay?!) But the rest? Like knees to collarbone? Leaves a lot to be desired. Yikes! I'm working on it, so I'm not feeling too bad about it. I'm doing the best I can but what I do feel bad about this moment, all I can think about wearing are my Studio K sweatpants and a t-shirt from College. Ugh. Post-baby body blues, for sure.

I'm going shopping on Sunday to get the things everyone needs for the trip. I'm putting this out there for the universe right now: PLEASE be kind and put something for me to wear that is flattering out there. ;)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


{one} ice: crushed or cubed?
Cubed! I hate crushed ice, except in a margarita. I love fountain diet coke. In fact, I am drinking one right now.

{two} what is your worst traffic pet peeve?
When people don't pull completely in to the turning lane. UGH. And I have to agree with Melissa and say it really ticks me off when the first person in line at a light doesn't go when it turns green. It's not that hard!

{three} what room in your house best represents your personality?
Maybe Rory's room. It's purple and green.
Don't get me started on decorating this house.

{four} do you save old birthday cards?
I used to, but now I don't. Rory eats them or colors them or puts Dora stickers all over them. No sense saving that! :)

{five} when was the last time you went on a picnic?
I really have no idea. That's so sad!

{six} do you regularly check your horoscope?

{seven} when you’re home, what do you wear on your feet?
Usually nothing, sometimes socks. Never shoes!

{eight} what’s your favorite gambling game?
Poker! I love poker! I like the dime slot machines too, but I always always always lose so I only take a $20 and refuse to spend any more. haha

{nine} have you ever written (or started writing) a book?
Sure have! Working on another right now, actually.

{ten} what is your favorite musical?
Excellent question! Favorite show I've ever been in: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Favorite Show I've Seen on Broadway: Spamalot or Annie Get Your Gun
Favorite Show to Sing Really Loudly: In the Heights and The Last Five Years
Honorable Metions to: Title of Show, Footloose, Hairspray...and about 10000 others but NOT Les Miserables or Cats. :)

So behind on everything

First let me apologize. I am SO behind on blogs and replying to comments. As in, there's no way I could catch up any time soon. I am sorry and I hope I don't seem rude for not replying in a timely fashion and sometimes not at all. It's not intentional, but life is a mad house between now and June 5. June 6, baby, I'm all yours!

I am behind on EVERYTHING. Usually this time of year, I'm trucking along, dance routines almost done, music editing coming along nicely, program in the midst of being neatly types, awards ordered, recital plans in full swing. This year...I am about 2 months behind. I ALWAYS have my taxes files by March 15 but that just isn't going to happen this year. (Yes, I know that's a month early. I like it done and over with.) I feel like I get the tiniest bit ahead on my to do list and 80 other things slam me.

Case in point, I almost forgot to order my own cousin's solo costume. Completely. slipped. my. mind. It was even on my list and I didn't do it until yesterday. Dance costumes take on average 3 months to come, the later int he season you wait to order, the later they come. Thank GOD I have a fantastic customer service rep at the company and she rushed my order so it will be here in time for competition. I'm NEVER like this. I'm organized (read: more than slightly OCD) about my dance things. This year, I feel like I am only half present.

I'm covered in hives and my eye won't stop twitching from stress. I'm seriously going out of my mind with everything. I'm not looking for sympathy or throwing myself a pity party, I just needed to vent.

And now I need to go itch my hives. Give me a break!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Just Another Manic Monday...

Why won't my kids stop crying this morning? Any guesses? It's just one of those days for both of them, of course.

And why is the only thing Rory wants to do is watch Despicable Me? I can't stand that movie for some reason. It grates on my nerves. I love Steve Carell, so I assumed I would think it was a cute movie. Definitely not. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, on the other hand, now THAT'S what I'm talking about! :)

This whole day started off gross. Trace woke me up by SCREAMING at 6:00 am. He did fall back asleep until 7:30, so that's not that bad. But it certainly isn't a "pleasant" way to wake up! haha It's grey and gross outside and I am just in general feeling off today. I'm antsy and ready to crawl out of my skin. I hate feeling like this, almost short of breath I'm so edgy and antsy. Yuck. I'm ready for nap time for these kids. I need a cup of coffee, a shower and some serious Kindle time.

On a totally different subject...The Steelers lost last night. Actually, I'm not quite convinced they even showed up to play at all. It was brutal and nasty and the boys just looked awful. The Packers looked so sharp and impressive. It was just not a good game. I'll readily admit that.
I'm all for friendly teasing and poking at each other's sports teams, especially on Facebook. It's usually done tongue in cheek, with a different air of humor.
Last night, it seemed people went from teasing Steelers fans to being down right NASTY. It got so mean I ended up blocking 15 people from my news feed. I couldn't stand the downright mean way people (Steelers fans included, in a 2 cases) were talking to each other. It's JUST sports. None of us actually played in the game for either team. I love football and I love the excitement that goes with it, but I'm not about the nastiness. Get over it, people. SERIOUSLY.

Wow. I'm whiny and crabby today. My apologies!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Winter Doldrums

I live in Pennsylvania. Northern Pennsylvania. I've lived here my entire life. I know snow, how to drive in it, how to deal with it, how to dress the kids for it, everything about it. I actually like snow quite a bit. I welcome it, when it arrives in OCTOBER (no lie) and usually enjoy it until the end of January.

The February hits and I'm ready to scream. I'm so sick of grey skies! It's not really the snow or the cold. It's the bland greyness that everything has taken on in the last few days. The snow is no longer white, it's grey and muddy. The constant cloud cover bugs me. I need SUN, even if it's on a cold day. I'm ready for the sun to shine. I don't care if it stays below zero, just please break out Mr. Sun! Please!!

When the weather is like this, I have no desire to do anything. I just want to sit on the couch, eat brownies and drink coffee. I want to watch TV all day and not move. I want to nap and lounge in my pajamas. It's a really good thing I work outside of my house or I'd never shower or do anything productive. (Dave knows this is true!)

Snow, I love you. I don't mind you in the slightest (except when you force me to cancel classes!) Clouds, I'm SO sick of you! You can hit the road any day now.

Bring on the sun!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Top 2 Tuesday

This is my first T2T in a really long time! Why? I have no idea. I love Taylor and her themes each week. Join in!

This week's theme...
Top 2 Things You've Learned About Friendship

1. People aren't always who you think they are. This last year, I learned so much about people in my life. I really thought a few of them were true, life long friends but really...they were just looking out for themselves. It's hurtful and embarrassing to me, honestly. I feel like I was taken advantage of and forgotten. Ugh. Nasty. I've also been pleasantly surprised with how true a few friends are. You know who you are and your support means the WORLD to me.

2. Friends can be any age. Some of my best friends have always been my students. It seems as one group graduates, another group steps up and takes over. They are invaluable to me! I enjoy the laughter, stories and general miscellany that results from teaching and working with them each week. I love when something happens in their lives and they need to tell me all about it. I love to get texts about a good grade, winning a track meet, etc. It is a great type of friendship!

What have you learned??

Hamburger Stew

I have no name of this recipe. It's basically a really delicious, chunky, thick vegetable soup with ground beef and potatoes. I'm calling it hamburger stew! :) It's mad delicious and even better, a slow cooker meal! I threw it together yesterday while I was making everyone's lunches and it was bubbling with delicious when I came home for 10 minutes on my break to grab some. ;) It's totally a pantry meal too, which is what I make every Monday.

Hamburger Stew

1 pound of ground beef (80-20, people. A little fat won't kill yah!)
Assorted canned veggies (I do mean assorted. I threw in corn, peas and carrots. I would have added green beans, but Rory loves them so she gets all the cans to herself! You can of course use fresh veggies, chop 'em up and saute them until they are tender.)
Fresh potatoes/canned whole white potatoes
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup of milk
Shred Ched (shredded cheddar, friends. shredded cheddar)

1. Brown hamburger, drain and set aside. Remember to salt and pep your meat!
2. Open all cans of veggies, drain.
3. Open potaotes and drain, slice.
4. In small bowl, mix cream of chicken soup and milk together.
5. Put hamburger in slow cooker, layer veggies on top. I did veggies then potatoes, but I really don't think it matters.
6. Pour soup/milk mixture over top.
7. Top with shred ched. I then added a (drained) can of Italian Style diced tomatoes on top. Seasonings are already added to those babies and it adds a nice kick.
8. Cook in slow cooker 4-6 hours on high. Or 8-10 on low. Everything in already cooked in this dish, so it's really just letting it all combine and get yummy and juicy.

I served mine in bowls with garlic bread. It would be super good over mashed potatoes or rice. Next time I make it, it's going over brown rice. Enjoy!