Monday, August 25, 2014

Our Trip to Rochester, NY

The first week of August, our little family packed ourselves up and took a trip to Rochester, NY, for a dear friend's wedding! Armed with a stroller, car seat, baby carrier, one suitcase (yes, we were just as surprised to pull that off...points for us!), a diaper bag, and MANY diapers, we got on a plane and made the long trip out there.

Jessica was a trooper for the entire trip. She actually traveled much better than I anticipated. Course, I kept my expectations very low from the beginning, figuring I'd more likely be pleasantly surprised than sorely disappointed. And it all turned out well. Our sweet girl is a big fan of sleeping in her crib, so the plane rides were a bit rough because she only slept about 30 minutes in total on each of the longer ones, but she was in mostly good spirits through it all, even when overtired. Once we got to our friend Erica's grandmother's home (where she so graciously let us stay), Jessica slept like a champ, probably just happy to be in a crib instead of on a plane!

It was an incredibly fun, albeit short trip filled with catching up time with Erica and her fiance' Brett (whom we met for the first time), Angela and Capo (her cute Australian Shepherd), and Elaine and Gary (the couple who got hitched). I forgot to mention, all these friends are from our time in Tallahassee when Erica, Angela, and I were on our music therapy internships at Big Bend Hospice. Elaine was also fulfilling her internship at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital at the time and was roommates with Erica. We all spent a good bit of time together when we lived down there and this reunion brought back old memories!

 Notice the sweet potato in between her eyebrows. Totally didn't see that until I uploaded the photos from my memory card. Haha.


Erica was the perfect hostess as she drove us around and introduced us to many "Rochester things". We had Abbott's Frozen Custard, Mark's Pizza, and some Buffalo Wings. Buffalo, NY was not too far away! We also spent an afternoon visiting Palmyra (the birthplace of the LDS church), where Erica had never been before. She's not LDS, but has heard of the Hill Cumorah Pageant, from growing up in the area. We were able to tour the Smith Family Farm, climb up the Hill Cumorah, and walk through the Sacred Grove. You will see these pictures below.


 We "climbed" up the Hill Cumorah. Or rather, hiked. It was steep!







 Loved this kitchen in Alvin Smith's home. It was huge and seriously one that I wouldn't mind cooking in, especially if I lived back in the time the home was built!


 Happy Jessica in her stroller!



 Walking through the Sacred Grove fulfilled a lifelong dream of mine, as I've never visited these  particular church sites before. The Spirit there was so calm. I could just imagine Joseph Smith going into that grove for peace and quiet and a nice place to think and ponder. The light cascading through the trees...what a perfect atmosphere to receive revelation from our Heavenly Father.

Following, we have photos from Elaine and Gary's wedding reception at a very nice country club. We had fun just hanging out on the balcony for a while and taking some pictures to celebrate the reunion!


 I love her squinty eye in this photo. She's really laughing hard and it's just so darn cute.



 The soon-to-be-married couple. Next May, Erica and Brett will tie the knot! Another Rochester trip?!?

 The Big Bend Hospice gals. Angela, Erica, and myself...along with Jessica who was just a future thought back when all of us ladies were interns together!

 The best pic we got of our little family. Sadly, I was mostly behind the camera so we didn't get a chance to take very many photos of the three of us.



 Boys will be boys. They were imitating Jessica's random faces and how she always likes to stick her tongue out!

 This expression is so focused and serious. Love it.

 And this picture is the perfect example of how fun Jessica was on the entire trip! She didn't have a bit of stranger danger the entire time. Which is amazing, because she'd really been struggling with it since she hit about 4 months. She and Erica were pals and our little girl just laughed and hammed it up for everyone we came in contact with. The photographer at the wedding kept coming back to Jessica to take pictures. I can totally understand why, she's so stinkin' cute and photogenic!




Sadly, we forgot to get any pictures of the happy couple. And they were the reason we made the trip! But, rest assured, Mr. and Mrs. Kong were super busy that day, and handled the busy-ness with grace and poise! Their wedding ceremony was held at a Chinese Christian Church (they are both Chinese) and it was one of the most unique and entertaining weddings I've ever been to. The pastor was so fun and lighthearted throughout everything, bouncing back and forth between English and Chinese. He made jokes and talked about his personal relationships with the bride and groom. You could really tell he cared about them and was invested in their marriage.

It was a wonderful trip and we loved every crazy busy and exhausting minute of it. We hope we can go back someday. But first...we're trying to convince all our friends from out there to make a visit to Utah! Maybe a possibility?!? We have plenty of room for them :)

Friday, August 15, 2014

6 months {Jessica}

 I just can't. How has this darling daughter of mine already been out of my belly and in our arms for 1/2 of a year?!? She is so precious and we are so much in love with her. Here you have a huge amount of pictures from the photo shoot she and I did the other morning in order to celebrate her turning 6 months old!


 She is such a happy girl, and brings so much joy into our lives. We are so grateful that Heavenly Father chose to send this special little being and spirit into our lives. She is the perfect "first child", in our opinions!



 6-month stats:
16 lbs. (54%ile)
25 in. (25%ile)



According to her stats, she keeps getting shorter and shorter. I think it's safe to say that she's going to take after her mother in the height category! She also has cute little feet, which people point out all the time. ALSO very much like her mother. I kinda love it.



 I LOVE that smile. Big gummy grin, eyes that crinkle and sparkle with joy. You can't help but smile when looking at this picture! That is pure baby happiness!


This is an incredibly curious expression on Jessica's face. It's like she's saying, "Yes, Mom? I'm completely innocent!" When I look at this picture, I feel like I'm staring into the future. I get a glimpse of what she's going to look like in a couple years, or even a dozen years. Whew...that's scary! My girl is growing and changing, and even though I love it, it breaks my heart just a little each time I think about it!




Exciting updates:

She has mastered the art of rolling over from back to front and front to back. Although, she prefers doing the action over her right arm. We're working on getting her confident rolling over the other side!

She has always been a talker, but now has added the consonants "b", "d", "m", and "l" in between her "ooh"s and "ahh"s! Now she is rarely silent as she experiments with all the different sounds she can make.

Jessica is incredibly distracted while feeding nowadays. I've had to use the nursing cover in the house because if she sees anything while nursing, she won't focus. But then, she gets fussy because she's still hungry, but is too busy looking around that she won't nurse. Hehe. Endless cycle.

She giggles all the time and at pretty much everything she sees. And lots of her giggles sound more like high-pitched cackles. It's super cute.

She loves eating solids! Sweet potato is, by far, one of her favorites.

Her stranger danger is getting LOTS better. Yay!

Jessica loves to sit up and is getting so much better at doing so for extended periods of time. That's until she turns her big baby head to look at something, then her center of gravity goes out the window and she's on the floor again. Hehe. But, she's learning!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sweet Cherry and Apricot Galette

I referenced this yummy dessert in my Instagram the other day. And now, I give you the official recipe post. Oh boy, is this the perfect Summer dessert! One thing I love the most about making a galette, is that it is so incredibly easy. For those who are scared of making a pie, or who don't have a pie plate, this free-form pie is an easy solution.


 I just love the colors that come from the combination of apricots and cherries. The bright orange, the deep red! People always say that you eat first with your eyes and this galette is a perfect example of that fact. Don't these pictures just make you salivate?

You must make this soon. Cherries are only in season for a short while longer and you can't miss out on the wonderful flavors to be had!



Sweet Cherry and Apricot Galette
(adapted from Natasha's Kitchen)

Ingredients:
1 lb. apricots, sliced
2 cups cherries, pitted
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbs. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 pie crust (store bought or this favorite recipe)
1/4 cup milk
sugar, for sprinkling on crust

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix the apricots and cherries in a bowl with the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and almond extract.
  3. Roll pie crust out onto parchment paper and place on sheet pan.
  4. Pour fruit mixture into middle of pie crust, leaving about a 2 inch border on all sides.
  5. Fold pie crust over fruit and pinch to seal. Brush milk on pie crust edges and sprinkle sugar on top.
  6. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes, or until crust turns golden brown and the fruit juices are syrupy. 
  7. Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving!