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12 Dinners: Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli over Rice

2014 January 28
by mrs. ronso

Last week I made the first new dinner as part of my goal to make 12 new dishes this year.  I used my visiting in-laws as guinea pigs and tried a crockpot recipe I pinned a long time ago – Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli over Rice.

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Like most crockpot recipes, it was fairly simple to prepare – just throw all the stuff in and let it sit.  It was definitely yummy — warm comfort food – and my in-laws thought it definitely qualified as a “keeper” recipe.  My grandma once told me there are enough recipes in the world that there is no use wasting your time making something again that you didn’t really like.  Since I think my Grandma usually dispenses sage advice, I try to keep this in mind when (very rarely) I attempt to cook.  I am not sure this earned a spot on my “Go-To Recipes” board but it is worth making again to see what Kyle thinks.  Linnea was only mildly willing to eat it but that is pretty par for the course these days so I won’t rely on her feedback too much.

Mostly I am just so gosh darn proud of myself for making good progress on my goals.  I am 1 for 1 on this goal and I have lots of choices for what to make next month.  Go me!

We’re In!

2014 January 28
by mrs. ronso

In case you are living under a rock and haven’t been consumed by Seahawk-mania — WE’RE GOING TO THE SUPER BOWL!!!!!  In a dramatic fashion, Richard Sherman sealed the deal against the 49ers to send the Seahawks to the Super Bowl for the second time in history.

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The big game is on Sunday and we are so excited around here.  We have been in Seahawks mode the whole season and each week the excitement just got bigger and bigger.  I haven’t always been a die-hard Seahawks fan but last season I really started getting into it.  I bought myself a Seahawks maternity shirt (what a find!) and even got the chance to go to a pre-season game this year!

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I was raised on a heavy dose of Seattle sports (mostly Mariners — they used to be good!) and decided early in my marriage that being a good “sports wife” would just make everything better.  I knew my husband loved sports of all kinds so rather than just complain about, I decided to embrace it — it’s more fun that way!  So, I have become a full fledged sports fanatic!  Around here we cheer for the Seahawks, WSU Cougars, Tottenham Hotspurs, Seattle Sounders, and even the Mariners (they *have* to be good again someday, right?)  Linnea has become quite the little sports fan too and I know it makes her Daddy so happy.

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Linnea had a “Super Bowl Princess” Party for her Birthday last year had has been proudly sporting her #3 Wilson jersey since then.  Kyle got a #3 jersey for his birthday in November and Connor’s been sporting #24 Lynch jersey since birth.  My Dad decided the women in the family needed some spirit and made sure my mom and I were outfitted with jerseys in time for the NFC Championship game.  Thanks Dad!  My brother is a CRAZY Seahawks fan and I hope it makes him smile that he has rubbed off on all of us.  During the games Linnea always says “Uncle Alex is so happy right now!” when something good happens.

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I have been pinteresting ideas for our small Super Bowl party, and we went to multiple stores to find Skittles so we are ready for BEASTMODE!  Linnea had her first “modeling experience” this weekend as a local photographer had a kids Seahawks themed shoot.  Can’t wait to see the pictures!  I think our quarterback Russell Wilson seems like a great guy in addition to being a great football player and that makes me happy.

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Linnea has been adding the Seahawks to her nightly prayers – “Dear God, Please help the Seahawks win the Super Bowl…” – and we are sending all of our good ju-ju to the team as they freeze their buns off in NY/NJ.  It seems like the whole state is caught up in Seahawks mania and it just feels fun around here.  In the midst of all the winter dreariness, it is nice to have something to be excited about.  I will leave you with an adorable picture of my own little beastmode!

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GO SEAHAWKS!!!!

Does He Have Eyes?

2014 January 28
by mrs. ronso

That is what she said after climbing up on the bed and peering at her little brother all wrapped up in my arms. Like most babies, his little eyes were closed and for a quick moment she was very concerned that he didn’t have any. Oh for cute! Good one for the memory books.

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Introducing my children to each other is one of my favorite mama moments so far. It was super overwhelming for me when she came in the room all decked out in her big sister best. I almost lost it but thankfully kept the tears in check. She was so excited and nervous to meet this “baby brother” that we have been talking up for months and months. She climbed up and nestled into my side so she could see him up close. Too nervous to hold him, she just leaned into me at gave him a good look.  After a bit she warmed up to him and wanted to hold him.  Since then, it has (mostly) been nothing but love for her little brother!

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She is helpful when she wants to be and is especially fascinated by diaper changes.  I’m not sure why but she feels compelled to check out every single one.  She likes to hold him, sing to him, and try her best to make him smile.  She has read him several books — cookbooks, princess books, and even her bible (there was some questionable theology going on there!) and has tried to show him all of her dolls.  She still exclaims in delight every time he looks at her — “Mommy!  He looked at me!!”  I think the shock of him possibly not having eyes has stuck with her so she enjoys being reassured that he does in fact have them.  :)  She calls him her “bro bro” and her “little buddy.”  She knows how to spell and write his name and colors him lots of pictures.  She loves her brother!

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In fact, we have constantly remind her that Connor doesn’t need *that* many kisses.  And that he can’t even see her if she is that close to his face.  I think it is more the case that there is too much love.  Ha, I am sure that will change when he is old enough to defend himself.  But for now, he can’t defend himself or respond so there is no bickering.  Just one big sister in love with her brother.  And, that is a wonderful thing indeed.

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Being a big sister isn’t all roses though.  There have certainly been more tantrums and more minutes in the time out chair.  She has taken to covering her ears when he is shrieking, and sighing loudly.  The dinner and bedtime routines have become very difficult and full of tears and yelling.  So much stalling, and not eating, and talking back.  It is exhausting and unpleasant.  But, her little world has been turned upside down and she is exerting control the only way she can — by pushing our buttons.  And, like most everything she does — she is quite good at it!

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Overall she has done quite well as a big sister.  We are trying hard to spend more one on one time with her and make sure she has our undivided attention for at least a bit each day.  There are more snuggles at nap time.  And, breakfast with Daddy each morning is a highlight of her day. We are still settling into our new “normal” and she is learning her new place in our family.

She is a great big sister — ready to show him things and lead the way.  And he is doing great as a little brother — following along and finding her fascinating.  Just how it should be at this stage.  It is a good thing both of my children have lovely eyes because I can’t wait for them to “see” the world together.  <3

 

 

Connor: Two Months Old

2014 January 7
by mrs. ronso

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Dear Connor,

Two months already!  It was a busy month and we packed a lot into each day.  You took most of it in stride but didn’t hesitate to shriek a bit if you were upset.  Your lungs certainly work!

They say that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year and we certainly had a lot of Christmas.  You slept through your first visit with Santa.  You had your acting debut as none other than Baby Jesus in the pageant at church.  You went ugly-sweater bowling.  You had 5 different rounds of present openings.  You met a whole bunch of important people — Uncle Alex, Caitlin and almost the whole Swenson Clan.  You got books, and clothes, and a baby monitor.  Your first Christmas was big success!

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We also took a road trip to Spokane!  You were a trooper in the car and we only had to stop once each way.  In addition seeing your Nana and Papa again, you also got to meet Nana Corinne and Boppie, Nana Gene, Uncle Kevin and Aunt Meredith.  Everyone loved on you lots!  It was your first trip away from home and you did great.

Your sister is still enamored with you!  She stays home with us three days a week.  She loves to see you smile and exclaims each and every time you open your eyes.  She gives you so many kisses.  I can’t wait until she gets you to laugh.  The two of you are hard work but seeing you together makes  my mama heart want to burst.  Taking care of two kids is still quite a challenge for me but each day I am getting a little better.  Thank goodness you have an amazing and wonderful Daddy so that there is usually a  1:1 ratio to help keep the two of you in line!

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You are a growing boy – today you weighed 12 pounds and 3 ounces at baby group!  You moved into size one diapers and 3 month clothes. I think your eyes are going to stay dark like Daddy’s.  You still have a little hair on the top of your head but it is mostly gone and what is left is a light brown.  You can hold your head up pretty well and love to kick, kick, kick.  Breastfeeding is going a bit better.  You nurse about 8 to 10 times a day.  We have started giving you a bottle of pumped milk sometimes — still not too sure about that.

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You still sleep more than you are awake, but we have gotten a couple four hour chunks of sleep so far.  Mommy and Daddy are tired!  But, by far, the best new trick is your smile!  We got the first one on December 19th and you have kept them coming ever since.  What a beautiful smile you have!

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There is a part of me that wants these hard infant days to go quickly, but then I remember that you are my last baby and I want time to slow down so I can savor each moment.  I want to remember each little “coo” and your sweet, slightly milky, baby smell.  I want to remember your ten tiny toes and your cute little ears.  I want to remember the few tears of joy when you smiled at me for the first time.  Being your mama is hard but rewarding work.  Being your mama is a great blessing and we are so glad every day that you are here and part of our family.  We can hardly remember life without you and we love you so much!

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I can’t believe how much you have changed already.  Can’t wait for all the exciting developments to come.

Happy Two Month Birthday Connor!

XOXO,

Mommy

 

2014 Goals

2014 January 2
by mrs. ronso

So…I didn’t really even have time to think about my goals that I made for 2013.  I am not even going to go back and look at them but instead give you a list of some really awesome things I did accomplish last year:

1.  Worked really hard for A LOT of hours.  The gala fundraiser I coordinated was a big success and I am so proud of my professional accomplishments.

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2. Built (well, watched other people build) a large addition onto the back of our house.  It is SO awesome and has completely changed how we live.

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4. Managed to keep my husband and daughter madly in love with me despite being sick/absent/crabby for most of the year. #theyaretheVERYbest

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3. Grew and birthed (without drugs!  in 15 minutes!) a beautiful, healthy baby boy.

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They might not have been the goals I planned on but I think those four things are pretty kick-ass so I am putting 2013 down as a success.  Super glad that it is over though and I am SO ready to focus on the amazing things I have planned for this year.

Goal #1 — Make 12 new recipes.  This has been a goal for three years now and this is the year I am actually going to do it.  I have a pinterest board, the time, and the commitment to MAKE IT HAPPEN.  I have a strong desire to be a good “housewife” this year and doing some of the cooking around here will be a good step in the right direction.

Goal #2 — Track our spending.  Now that we only have one income it is really important that we watch every penny.  Sadly that means that there will be many fewer trips to Target and Starbucks in my future.  But, staying home with my kids is a wonderful blessing (although SUPER HARD sometimes) and attentive budgeting is how we are going to make it happen.  We saved lots in preparation for this but hoping to mostly live on Kyle’s income and keep our savings saved.  As of now, I have us set up on Goodbudget so hopefully that will help us stay on track.

Goal #3 — Get rid of 2,014 things.  (That is not a typo.)  I have tried this for two years (2,012 things in 2012 and 2,013 things in 2013) now but fell off the bandwagon oh, about February.  But like Goal #1, I have both the time and the commitment this year to MAKE IT HAPPEN.  I know that ridding myself of clutter won’t solve all my problems but I think it will just be awesome to not have so much “stuff.”  I have already made a spreadsheet to track all of the items I will be trashing/recycling/donating/selling.  And, you know how much I love spreadsheets.  :)

Goal #4 — Getaway with my husband.  It might only be for a night, hopefully for a weekend — but me and the hubs need some alone time this year.  This will have to wait until Connor is ready for a sleep over with the Grandparents but it is going to be so wonderful.  2013 was severely lacking in the date nights and romance department so I owe to our marriage to kick it up a notch this year.  He is my best friend, my partner, my biggest supporter — basically just #thebest and I want to spend lots of one-on-one time with him this year.  Love you babe!

Goal #5 — Read a book.  Hopefully I can manage more than one.  After all, this is the girl who once read 100 books for the summer reading program at the public library so one book for a whole year seems totally do-able. But, I already have a lot on my plate this year so if I can just manage to read one book, that will work for me.  Some titles on my reading list:  Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin, something written by Ann Lamott, Homeward Bound by Emily Matchar, and maybe some Debbie Macomber. #guiltypleasurereading

That is a big and ambitious list.  But I can do it.  I know that I can do hard things.  And I know that if I do these things, I will feel great about myself.  So…here is to 2014.  Ready, set, go!

Goodbye 2013! Hello 2014!

2014 January 2
by mrs. ronso

Happy New Year!

With two littles, our end of year festivities are definitely low key and often on east coast time.  Kyle and Little Missy got home around 4 and due to some tantrums (Linnea) and exhaustion (Kyle) our already tame plans looked in jeopardy.

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But we rallied a bit, put on our fancy clothes, and sat down to a surf and turf feast!

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Then, I went on a bit of a social media frenzy and posted lots of pics of our evening together.  That happens when you are mostly confined to the couch with a fussy baby on your lap.  You have to do something…

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As part of my social media frenzy, I jumped on the Flipagram bandwagon and made a little slideshow of our best moments — check it out:  Ronso Retrospective.  Isn’t my family cute?

Linnea ended up in bed about 8:30pm, Connor fussed his way until midnight, and Kyle and I shared a New Year’s kiss before finally getting some glorious sleep.  2013 was a long year with a few really wonderful payoffs.  Luckily, most of the hard things set us up to have a fantastic time in 2014.  Hard job is over, pregnancy is done with a healthy baby born, and house remodel completed.  Connor is hands down the best thing about this year and I can’t wait for 2014 to be fabulous for our family.

Happy New Year!

Christmas Crazyness

2014 January 2
by mrs. ronso

They say Christmas is more fun with kids.  They are absolutely right.  They should also say that Christmas is more hectic with kids.  Because it is.  After a jam-packed couple of weeks with crazy schedules, way to0 much sugar, lots of relatives, and even more presents — we officially survived Christmas 2013! 

Holiday prep:  Advent calendars – check! Santa Photo – check!  Tree up and “fireplace” lit – check! Cookies baked – check!  Gingerbread Party – check!

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Christmas Eve:  Too much whipped cream at breakfast – check!  Ugly Sweater Bowling – check!  Family pictures by the tree – check!

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(Apparently the bowling alley guy didn’t get the memo that we wanted Connor in the picture too.  #fail)

INSERT TREE PHOTO HERE — CAN’T FIGURE OUT WHAT CAMERA IT IS ON BUT I KNOW WE TOOK ONE!

Christmas Morning: Stockings from Santa – check! A new bike – check! Some fancy bling – check! Family memories – check!

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Post Christmas in Spokane:  More presents – check! Crab feast – check! Technology for the car ride – check!

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That is already more than enough pictures for one post you will just have to imagine all of the good food (meatballs, prime rib, spritz), family (Brotherstons, Swensons, Aronsons – oh my!), presents (princesses, gift cards, FitBits) and other holiday excitement on your own.  Although he slept/cried his way through, I think Connor’s first Christmas was a success!

Merry Christmas!  Until next year….

Full of Thanks

2014 January 2
by mrs. ronso

*I know – Thanksgiving was a long time ago now.  But, my posts just get written and hang out in drafts for a while these days.  Just how it is going to be for a bit.  

I am thankful for a table filled with plenty food and loved ones gathered around. And cutesy name cards.

I am thankful for multiple generations of family gathered together to celebrate our blessings.

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I am thankful for turkey butts,

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and silly faces.

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But most of all, I am thankful for my two beautiful children.

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I am also VERY thankful for Kyle, but I don’t have a thanksgiving photo of him so, oh well.  This year I was so very tired, and very overwhelmed, but I was also very full — full of thanks.  <3

Connor: One Month Old

2013 December 7
by mrs. ronso

Dear Connor,

This is the first of many letters from me to you.  I can’t believe that you have already been part of our family for one whole month.  But, considering how fast you arrived, it doesn’t surprise me that this past month has just seemed like a whirlwind.  We are a bit disorganized, overwhelmed, and oh-so-tired but also so in love with you.  Growing up, I thought a lot about my future family and my “grown up” life — not all of my dreams have come true, but my little family feels complete now that you are here.

You have all the baby requisites of eating, sleeping, and pooping down.  Breastfeeding is going okay – some days are better than others – but you are gaining weight so that is what counts.  You were up to 8 lbs, 13, oz when I weighed you on Tuesday.  You make little grunty noises when you eat and sometimes you even wrap your little hand around my thumb — it makes my heart so happy when you “hold” my hand.  You are starting to fill out your newborn clothes but are still in the newborn size diapers.  You sleep in two or three hour chunks (and a few four hours ones!) and thankfully are fairly easy to put back to sleep at night after you eat.  I do A LOT of laundry since your record of keeping the poop inside your diapers is hit or miss.

Daddy is sure happy to have another male in the house.  I love watching the two of you together.  Your Daddy is a wonderful man and I can’t wait to watch him teach you all sorts of things.  He has already shared his love of sports and you have been able to watch both Cougar and Seahawk wins! You and Daddy share a birthday month — how special.  I am sure that you were his favorite present this year!  I think you look a bit more like him than your sister does.  You have the same narrow face, dark eyes, and thinning hair — Daddy might be out of luck, but hopefully you will grow some more hair soon!

Speaking of your sister, she loves you very much!  She gives you as many kisses as she can and loves to sing songs and read books to you.  She likes to hold you and make up nicknames for you — lately it is “bro-bro”.  We also like to call you “Little Man” or the “Con Man.”  It makes my heart so happy to see her love on you and I am looking forward to watching you play together in the future.  I predict that your future might include plenty of playing house, dolls, and dress up.  That is the facts of life when you are little brother.  :)  But don’t worry, your sister enjoys sports, art, and “rough housing” with Daddy too.  She is quite well rounded and I have no doubt that you will be the same.

This month included lots of visitors.  Your grandparents all came the first day and it was love at first sight.  You are so blessed to have a Grandpa, Grandma, Nana, and a Papa who all love you dearly and were so delighted to meet you.

We had other visitors too – Christy and Carl, Vanessa and Lee, The Doerrs, Pastor Kempe, Monica Hurley, and Jeff and Linsley.  You got to meet three of your six living Great Grandparents! Thanks to the wonders of technology, you were able to meet Uncle Alex and Caitlin, and Uncle Kevin and Aunt Meredith too.

Just like I expected, it is going to take some time to settle into our new “normal” of life as a family of four.  It is quite the feat to pack us all up to go out and about but you did go on several outings — Starbucks, Target, Costco, Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  This month you also went to church, slept through two craft bazaars, celebrated your first Thanksgiving and went for your first walk around the neighborhood.  Your sister stays home with the two of us on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays and hopefully those days will start going more smoothly soon.  I am definitely still learning how to be the mama of two.

The days are already going so fast so I try to snuggle you as much as possible.  I’m not planning to have any more babies so I want to enjoy your sweet newborn smell, remember every little wrinkle and just savor this special time with you.   Thankfully you love to just nestle into my shoulder and let me hold you.

I am so glad that you are here and are part of our family.  I can’t wait to watch you grow up big and strong and smart and kind.  I love you so much and I am so blessed to be your Mommy.

Happy One Month Birthday Connor David!

XOXO,

Mommy

 

 

Today Was Hard

2013 December 6
by mrs. ronso

To help ease the transition to being a big sister, we kept Linnea at her school full time for the rest of November.  But, now December is here and she will now go to school two days and stay home three days.

Wednesday

First day at home with Linnea and Connor.  The whole idea was new and fun for Linnea and she was pretty cooperative!  Even managed to get both of them to take a nap at the same time.  I think that qualifies for lots o’ points in the Mom of The Year competition.  We also took Connor (and Baby Carol!) for his first walk.  I used the hashtag #icandothis several times.

Thursday

Things still went pretty well.  Discovered the morning line up of Curious George, Cat in the Hat, and Cat + Peg on PBS.  I decided that letting my preschooler watch 90 consecutive minutes of television was a perfectly good way to pass some time. The Linnea and Mommy lunch date in the kitchen was a big hit. Daddy got home from work a bit early.

Today

Everything about today was bad.  She is over her toys.  She misses her friends and keeps asking me what days she gets to go to school.  Connor is eating for a few minutes at a time and then falls dead asleep which means in 30 minutes he is HUNGRY again so I must hold/feed him all day long. She quickly learned that while I am parked on the couch nursing she has free reign to get herself a snack out of the pantry, hide behind the Christmas tree and touch all the ornaments, go upstairs and make a lot of noise and then say “nothing!” when I ask what she is doing.    OH MY GOODNESS PLEASE CAN YOU JUST SIT STILL AND BEHAVE! CAN YOU PLEASE JUST LET ME SET YOU DOWN FOR A NAP LONGER THAN 15 MINUTES!

At one point all three of us were crying at the same time.  It was as bad as it sounds.  THANK GOODNESS Kyle eventually came home from work and saved the day.  I know it will get better but I am already dreading next week…