Tuesday, May 31, 2016


We are home from vacation. There's unpacking, laundry, grocery shopping, and lunch packing to be done. And after all of that is finished, there's a tiny amount of time left to relax and recover from five days of vacation with a baby that forgot to pack her A game . . . or even her B or C game! 

I'm hitting the couch hard tonight, but tomorrow I'll sort through the modest (by my standards) amount of pictures taken over the weekend.  

Here's a little collage I made that sums up part of our vacation:

Don't get me wrong, there were some fun times too, but that sweet baby gave me a run for my money! Check back tomorrow night to see all the craziness of a Kissel Memorial Day vacation. Oh the suspense!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Summertime Fun!

The weather has been beautiful this week, and Lucy and I have pretty much been living outside. The only downside? . . . putting sunscreen on a baby. Ugh! 

On Monday we visited Oma and Papa. They brought out their sand table, and Lucy really enjoyed it. She did not try to eat the sand, but she did try to eat the sand toys! 

Love that sweet face!

While I ran some errands, Oma and Lucy took their first walk up to the mailbox and CVS. 

On Tuesday we met friends at County Farm Park in Ann Arbor. It's such a cute little park for toddlers. There's plenty of shade and plenty of play equipment for the babies to explore. I stood up to take some pictures, and look how nicely Lucy is sitting there eating her lunch like a big girl!

Park selfie!

After the playdate Lucy took a nice long nap, and then we headed back outside for some afternoon snacking and playing.

Cleaning off her chair after snack! Like mother like daughter.

I brought out Lucy's lion walker to try and get her more interested in touching the grass. She really wanted to walk with it, but it was hard to move on the uneven grass. 

Speaking of walking, Lucy was the only baby at the playdate who wasn't walking. Watching her friends toddle around the playground must have been just the motivation she needed because later that night this happened!!

This is Lucy saying, "Apples are #1!"

Aunt Carla and Uncle Zack bought Lucy this pool for her birthday. After I BLEW THE WHOLE THING UP WITH MY MOUTH, it was pretty enjoyable! I love the sunshade. This picture was taken at the beginning so there wasn't a lot of toys out yet, but I bought a 16 piece set of sand and water toys from Costco and they were a big hit in the pool. 

Fun in the sun really tuckers this sweet baby out! She went down for a late afternoon nap, but we had to pick Matty up at the car dealer so I had to go in and wake this snoozy baby up.

She was less than thrilled about her snoozy being cut short!

Lots of fun packed into three days! Speaking of fun, we are headed to the cottage for Memorial Day. As much as I love blogging and social media, I also love taking a break from it. You won't be hearing from me for about a week. #sorrymom

Hope everyone has a great weekend. Fingers crossed that this wonderful weather continues!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Weekend Recap: A Little Bit of Everything

I took a week off from blogging when I was prepping for Lucy's birthday party, and when I started back up again my first few posts were all about her birthday. I have lots of random pictures from that time that I never posted. Not one to let the cuteness go unshared, I thought I'd combine all of these pictures with our weekend pictures.

Look at those big eyes and roly poly arms!

Eating eggs and pancakes at M&M Cafe with Gram!

I bought Lucy some little baby NutriGrain bars. She likes them a lot, but they are super crumbly so I save them for outdoor snack time. 

The day before Lucy's party was dedicated to baking and cleaning, but we managed to get in a few breaks. The first was in the morning when Carla and Gordie stopped by to drop off the giraffe cookies. 

The second break was in the afternoon when we went to the park to swing. 

Matty snapped these pics when we went in to get Lucy from nap one morning. She almost always wakes up super happy! 

Ducky is her BFF at naptime and bedtime. 

I could do an entire post about Matty and his lawn. Long story short, we have a weed problem in the backyard this year and it's been driving him bonkers. He bought this new tool that easily grabs the weeds from the root and pulls them out. It works really well, and is really satisfying. I've never seen him happier! 

Enjoying her dolly and stroller that daddy and mama got her. 

Lucy's not the only one enjoying her birthday gifts!

These three couldn't make it to Lucy's party because Andy was super sick and contagious, but they still got their gift bags. All three of them were sporting their sunglasses on the way to school Monday morning!

To celebrate Lucy's birthday with her baby friends, we went to My Urban Toddler in Saline. The building is set up like a little city and is just so cute. Lucy found some time to do her grocery shopping while we were there!

Three sweet girls pushing their carts!

Taking a break from tunneling and sliding. 

Our trip to Costco on Friday took longer than expected. Someone was getting cranky and hungry for lunch . . . and Lucy wasn't super happy either ;) Thank goodness I had already planned to buy some pouches!

More outdoor snack time on Saturday.  #chubbybaby

The way she sits in her stroller on walks cracks me up. 

At Lucy's one year check up she had to have some blood drawn. Her iron count was a little low, so the doctor suggested I start using a liquid multivitamin with iron supplement. It smells and tastes terrible, and Lucy has been refusing anything I put it in. One of my friends suggested I try a fruit smoothie. Not only was this her first fruit smoothie, it was also the first time she drank out of a cup with a straw. It was a little challenging at first. This adorable cup is from Aunt Carla, and most of the time Lucy was trying to drink through the ears!

Zack, Carla, Andy, Sadie, and Gordie came over on Sunday to give Lucy her birthday present since they missed the party last weekend. These four crazies had a good time playing together. 

Brotherly Love

So cute!

These two cuties love playing together!

Gordie loved the basket of balls. I really think he needs one at his house!

So that's it. I'm officially all caught up on pictures. We had a great weekend and really enjoyed the beautiful weather. We have a play date at a park on Tuesday, and it's supposed to be 81 and sunny! Woo hoo . . . bring on the sunscreen! 

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. All I'm thinking about right now is my big night tomorrow . . . the Bachelorette premieres right after Dancing with the Stars! My cheesy reality TV loving self is super excited. I love Monday nights during Bachelor/Bachelorette season. I love allowing myself to sit and not feel guilty about it. I love having a special little snack while I watch, and I love how Matty sits on the couch with me "pretending" to compute but really pays attention to what's happening. It's my guilty little pleasure . . . and I don't feel guilty about it at all! :)

Have a great week!
Thursday, May 19, 2016

Recipe: Toddler Oatmeal Banana Bites

My original title for this post was Baby Oatmeal Banana Bites. However, after yesterday's trip to the doctor for Lucy's one year check up, I've been informed that she is officially a toddler. So, after wiping away the tears, I changed the title from baby to toddler. Begrudgingly, though, because she's still my baby!

Baby or not, that sweet girl loves to feed herself! So much so that she has started refusing any food that must be fed to her, such as oatmeal. Trying to let Lucy feed herself oatmeal is pretty pointless. I might as well just put the bowl down on the floor for the dogs in the first place, because that is where it all ends up. Or maybe just dump the bowl over Lucy's head . . . that could work too. One of my mama friends suggested I look up a recipe for oatmeal bites so that Lucy can feed them to herself. So simple, yet the thought never crossed my mind! That's why I love my group of mommy friends! I looked up a few recipes, and here's what I came up with:

2 ripe bananas
1/2 cup quick oats
1/4 cup milk
Dash of cinnamon 

Mix together and drop into a greased mini muffin pan.
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. 

Mixing, pouring, and cleaning up took me about 5 minutes. I made these in the morning so they would be fresh when Lucy woke up. They are mighty tasty and definitely got Lucy's seal of approval . . . she ate 3 of them right away!

If anyone out there reading this has other clever ideas for baby toddler food, please leave a comment and share! I feel like I am constantly feeding Lucy the same things, so I was pretty excited about these little muffins.


Monday, May 16, 2016

Lucy Belle's 1st Birthday Party!

I've been planning Lucy's 1st birthday for weeks and weeks, and it'll probably take you that long to finish this post because there are a LOT of pictures! Her actual birthday was on Sunday, but we decided to do the party on Saturday so that we could have a day to relax afterward. Thank goodness we did, because this mama was tired! 

We went back and forth quite a bit as to whether or not we wanted to have a big party. We have a big back yard, and for awhile there we figured we'd rent some tents, tables, and chairs and throw a big celebration. However, as we got closer to having to finalize things we realized a big party wasn't a good idea for a few reasons: 1. Lucy gets super overwhelmed when there are a lot of people around (as you'll see later on in this post!), 2. Both dogs ended up having unexpected surgeries so that took a big chunk of change out of our party planning budget, and 3. When I can't control things, I worry. And planning a large outdoor party, even with tents, would make me a basket case worrying about the weather. And all I can say is THANK GOODNESS we kept it small because it was raining and 48 degrees on the day of her party! 

I love a good theme, and Lucy's original party theme was cupcakes. However, as I was searching for invitations on Etsy, I found one that had cupcakes and giraffes on it. I feel like it was fate because Lucy LOVES giraffes. We joke that the giraffe is her spirit animal. So the party took on a dual theme of cupcakes and giraffes. Strange, I know, but thanks to Etsy anything is possible!

Here's the adorable invitation. There's a big space in the middle and the white part's coloring is a little off because I used the retouching tool to edit out our address . . . didn't think it needed to be out there on the world wide web for all to easily see!

This is the banner that I made for the front room. My mom and I traced out the cupcakes, but I had the little circles on the end made on Etsy by the person who made the invitations. There were goodie bags for all the kiddos, and they each had their initials on them. There were giraffe print cookies in the shape of a "1" for everyone to take home. 

Here's a close-up of the cookies. My SIL Carla made them. They looked adorable and tasted delicious. I should know, I think I ate three of them!

The view of the dining room from the kitchen. 

The view of the dining room from the front windows. 

This is a terrible picture because it's so backlit, but across the windows in our family room I hung a long banner with pictures of Lucy from newborn-12 months. 

Here's a close up of one of the months. I hung the decorations about 4 days before the actual party. I can't tell you how many times Matty and I walked along that banner looking at all the pictures!

Our friend Erica visited a few weeks ago, and I put her to work decorating this chalkboard for Lucy's birthday. She based the drawing off of the onesie that I had made for Lucy to wear. I can plan out exactly what I want to do for parties, but I'm not always capable of implementing everything on my own . . . that's why I'm so thankful to have such talented friends and family!

The birthday girl's high chair! This must have been taken before we tied the giant cupcake balloon to the back of her chair. 

The dessert table! A giraffe cake for Lucy to play with, carrot cake cupcakes and brownies for everyone else. 

I wanted to have some sort of birthday tradition for Lucy, so I decided to have a plate made for her based on the theme of her birthday each year. When I was little I loved eating off of special plates, so I wanted to do that for Lucy as well. I had the cupcake plate made on Etsy back when I thought the theme was going to be just cupcakes. I was a liiiiiittle annoyed that the plate didn't match the official theme and almost reordered something with a giraffe on it as well, but Matty talked me down. 

My mom happened upon the giraffe plates and napkins in the clearance section at Meijer for $0.39 a pack! With the money we saved on paper goods, I could have ordered another plate. #justkidding #maybe

I was super pleased with the cake and had a lot of fun making it for Lucy. I couldn't find a design online to match what I had in my head, so I ended up making my own. Sometimes I really surprise myself!

Showing both grandmas all of her decorations before the party!

My mom wrapped Lucy's gift to match the invitations. #igetitfrommymama

Eating pizza with Oma and Papa!

During lunch Lucy bit into a piece of pepperoni that had accidentally been left on her pizza and she absolutely freaked out! She calmed down in her room afterward by playing with Marie and Genevieve. This picture of her rubbing her eyes should have been a sign that things were about to go terribly wrong with the cake. Sweet baby girl was tired!

Grabbed a quick pic before the waterworks started. Look how BIG she looks in that high chair!

She's not loving the fact that 20 people are standing around staring at her!

Checking it out for a quick second. Wait for it . . .

 . . . yep, there it is! Poor Lucy cried and cried . . . . and then cried some more. 

She had gotten some frosting on her fingers and was not amused when I licked it off. 

And as if things weren't bad enough, I had to wipe off her hands before taking her out, and that's enough to set her off even on a good day!

Look at that poor sad face!

After playing in her room (away from all the people) for a bit and getting dressed, we sat Lucy in her new chair from Grandma Rita and she had a good time opening up her gifts!

This one's a little blurry, but I love how she's checking out her new toy . . . and look at those cheeks!

Clapping for presents!

We love that sweet baby!

Trying out her new slide from Oma and Papa. 

Genevieve enjoyed the slide too . . .

 . . . and so did Marie!

After the party, Matty commented that it was too bad no one got Lucy any big gifts for her birthday ;)

After a good long nap, it was time to play in her new tunnel!

I was trying to relax a bit on the couch while talking to my mom on the phone, but someone wanted some cuddles!

And kisses!

Sunday was Lucy's actual birthday. We had saved the giraffe cake and tried again after lunch. As you can see, she had a ball! There was laughter and squealing, and lots of mess. What can I say, the girl does not like an audience! Matty took a TON of pictures while she was eating, and this is my absolute favorite!

A close up before we took the cake away. 

After Lucy got cleaned up, I asked Matty to play with her while I cleaned up the floor and her high chair. What's the best thing to do after eating a lot of cake? Have a tea party, of course! This melted my heart. Flash forward a few more years and I'm sure Lucy will insist daddy wears a fancy hat and a feather boa to tea!

After tea we took Lucy to the library where she got to play in the children's section and see the baby duckies outside in the courtyard. What a fun weekend we had! I cannot believe how quickly the first year went by. It's been the craziest, cutest, most tiring, best year ever! The changes in Lucy from the day we brought her home from the hospital until now are astounding. She's becoming this adorable little person, and I can't wait to see how much she grows and learns during her second year. 

Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate and make Lucy's day so special. Her tears were ones of joy, I'm sure of it!