Monday, July 30, 2012

Time Flies : 14 Weeks

Surprise! We made it through week fourteen. Here are some highlights:
Pretty as a peacock.

The best part about this week was:
  • Watching her begin to intentionally grab things--seriously, every part about a baby's development is so miraculous.
  • Being in the pool with my waterbaby.
Some things we've learned:
  • We depend on Ben for so much.
  • At this age they don't always poop every day.  (Phew!)
  • She doesn't really mind shots.  Us Kellenbenz girls have a pretty high threshold for pain ;)
Some things we've learned the hard way:
  • I cannot imagine doing life without Ben.  
Olivia loves:
  • Laughing
  • Leaves and trees
  • Swimming!
Olivia surprised us when:
  • She is now at 90% for her weight at 13 lbs, 10 oz (was 95%) and still wayyy off the charts for height at 26.5".

Ribbon plus oscillating fan = lots of quiet time.
So grown up.
After an hour and a half we took her out.  She started crying.
One of my favorite pictures yet:  Olivia Cullen, vampire girl (for you, Chris Bupp!!).
She doesn't know yet how much she loves Chevys.  It will be soon, sister.
Pure heaven!!
6 month jammies.  Too small in the torso.  Way too small in the legs.
First dinner date with Granny at Mellow Mushroom!

O's Olympic Performance


Something this cute has to win the gold.

Thanks for the outfit Mrs. Wendy!!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Time Flies : Week 13

Surprise!! We made it through the thirteenth week. Here are some highlights:

My two greatest loves in this world!
The best part about this week was:
  • Hearing her talk.  All.  The.  Time.  Ben says we have a chatterbox on our hands.
Some things we've learned:
  • We still don't know anything.
  • She is super obsessed with TV.  We are trying to be really careful, so many times we don't even realize she is watching.  (Its supposed to screw up their brain development...whatever.)
Some things we've learned the hard way:
  • Saying goodbye to Daddy was really hard.
Olivia loves:
  • Standing, with some assistance of course.
  • Talking, like I said.
  • FaceTiming with Daddyo (probably because it is a lit up screen with moving things).
Olivia surprised us when:
  • It seemed as if she was grooving to the beat of Hillsong Kids.  Probably just a coincidence!  Although rhythm is undoubtably in her blood, we think its a wee too premature!

Unbelievably adorable carseat photo #1.
Unbelievably adorable carseat photo #2.
And while mommy is watching Make It Or Break It and diaper changing,
Baby is also glued to the most amazing show of all time.
When having fat rolls is not only acceptable but encouraged.
What a beaut.  
Our circus bathtime acrobatics routine.
Baby and her lovie.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Milner's Magical Pot Roast

Pot Roast isn't one of those romantical fancy pants dishes.  It just isn't.  It's a down home, meaty bowl of fill-your-belly.  I had never elected to make Pot Roast, until the fateful girls' night when Milner pulled out all the stops and served us her Magical Pot Roast.

It is unbelievably easy.  I dug out a bunch of old stuff that had been lurking in my pantry and fridge for a little too long, and mixed it together for a marinade...

...added some fresh squeezed orange juice and gave it a stir.

I made enough to cover both pieces of roast, since Costco sells it packaged in twos.  You can see that I froze one in the marinade, and put the other in a bowl to soak covered overnight.

When the time comes to make the real magic happen, we simply mix a packet of Ranch, French Onion dip, and Italian seasonings in a cup or so of water.  I didn't have the Italian on hand so I used actual salad dressing.

Plop it on top of a bed of veggies and turn it to low for 8 hours.

I only used carrots, but I highly recommend adding onion.  It may also be beneficial to add a little more water and cook some potatoes as well.

Test the carrots a few hours in; remove and set aside in the fridge when cooked.  I would have also done the same for the potatoes, and then mashed them.  They would have soaked in a lot of flavor while cooking alongside the roast.  Fifteen minutes before you are ready to devour, add the carrots back in and they will heat up nicely.

I used instant mashers (which my husband detests...we grew up on those things) and then ladled the meat and lots of juice right on top.  I cannot understand why I was ever intimidated to make a pot roast, it was one of the easiest start to finish meals I have done in a long time.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Time Flies: Week 12

Surprise!! We made it to the twelfth week. Here are some highlights:

What's not to love?  Arm rolls?  Ruffles?  Bald patch?  Ginger baby hair?
The best part about this week was:
  • Spending lots of time in the backyard.
Some things we've learned:
  • We think she favors her left hand.  Does anybody know how early you can tell? 
  • We need to get ceiling fans--girl loves a nice spinning object here or there.
Some things we've learned the hard way:
  • Saying goodbye to Daddy this week is going to be tough tough tough.  He hasn't been gone since her birth, not even for a night.
Olivia loves:
  • Water
  • Her purple ruffle dress from Elliott's mom
  • Sitting up in her seats
Olivia surprised us when:
  • She began to love her swing La-Z-Girl again.
Lounging in the backyard.  New favorite pastime.
Tired out after accompanying mommy to her work lunch.  Being career women isn't easy.
Will there be strollers in heaven?

And...time to take all of her blankets and friends out of the crib.
Not quite sure about this Sophie impostor.
Poor soul.  Those mosquitoes took her for a walk.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

In Our Defense

The other day I was complaining to Ben about my lovely new stretch marks, lamenting over my wardrobe (well, all three things that fit me right now and the rest which hasn't been updated since college), and being generally negative about my body, hair, skin, etc.

He looked at me with tired eyes and firmly warned me, "Don't talk to my wife that way."

His response shocked me.  Self depreciation?  Not okay in his book.  Good to know.  He was done with hearing me put myself down.  Life is tough enough without adding insult to injury.

My battered and war torn body has served me tirelessly over the past year.  It has  accomplished two of its occupant's life long dreams: running a half marathon and having a baby.  These stretch marks are battle scars.  Why would I apologize for such a miracle?  Instead of complaining, I should be reminded of the incredible life giving gift that is childbirth.  Carrying a tiny human for nine months and single handedly bringing her into this world, with the only lasting damage being lines down my belly?   I should be rejoicing!

My clothes leave a lot to be desired.  After college I could afford to spend half of my paycheck on new outfits and not think twice.  Now we get to buy diapers and pay for health insurance, conquer car repairs and balance grocery bills, but I wouldn't have it any other way.   All of this leaves little leverage in our $30 monthly shared clothing budget between the three of us, but you know what?  For me, there is more to life than being trendy.  I've heard it said that maturity is the ability to delay pleasure.  That makes me beautiful in my husband's eyes.  We are blessed beyond measure, learning great financial management tools we will carry with us for the rest of our lives.  

My hair has never been fabulous.  It became a little more favorable during pregnancy but is now going though the lovely falling out stage.  My friend Amy introduced me to Tiffany Starnes (Stella Nova King Street, book her!) a few years ago, and I could never repay her for the ways she has built me up over some tough seasons in my life.  Yes, it is a major splurge every few months to have a great haircut, but we plan for it and Ben loves how I feel after Tiffany has taken care of me.

Weight?  Oh dear.  My sister in law and I decided a long time ago that we won't allow ourselves to complain about it unless we are doing something about it.  And if we are doing something about it there will be less and less to complain about.  So now, I am back on #witnessthefitness and feeling great.   Pre baby jeans still don't fit quite right, but if I were being honest with myself, they probably didn't look too hot before baby.  There is a 99% chance that I will never be a size 4.  And I am completely down with that.  But I am being proactive for my sake, and all I can do is do the best with what I've got.

My husband came to my defense against none other than myself.  I believe every woman should have someone in her corner, someone to lift her up in light of herself.  We can be our worst enemy.  Mean-spirited.  Spiteful.  Angry.  Hateful.  All while looking in the mirror.

This is no excuse to be a fat frump.  It is an exaltation to husbands and friends everywhere who are able to see wives and friends for their truest beauty and push them to dig deeper within themselves for the benefit of all.  It is encouragement to myself and other women to do well with what we've been given and make the best from who we are.

A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds. -Proverbs 31:10

Our one occasion for fancy in the past few months. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Time Flies: Week 11

Surprise!! We made it through the eleventh week. Here are some highlights:

Emo baby

The best part about this week was:
  • Going on a long stroller ride with Hankie.  
Some things we've learned:
  • We had forgotten how much she loves skin to skin contact.  We have found one of the best ways to soothe her is to get her down to her diaper and prop her up on our legs and let her look at our faces.
  • Seventh Generation diapers are the bomb.
Some things we've learned the hard way:
  • Saying goodbye to her only cousin that lived close by was not easy.  Now she just has a 6 hour drive to get to the closest one, and 15 hours to reach her furthest cousins!  Any creative ways you guys use to stay in touch?
  • Opportunities to snuggle are slowly starting to dwindle.
Olivia loves:
  • Ceiling Fans
  • Looking at the leaves on trees
  • The Seacoast nursery
Olivia surprised us when:
  • She slept her longest stretch--9.5 hours!

Nothing cuter than a snoring tiny human.
Does anyone else see the red?  All 4 of her cousins on both sides of the family have bright red hair! 
Could this really be our tiny 11 week old?  
Blueberry Biscuit Eyeballs, as Miss Mandy likes to call them.
She likes her play mat for about 4 minutes.  And then starts screaming bloody murder.  Over stimulation perhaps?
Skin to skin contact--babies don't get enough of it!

Giving Up Olivia

I have posted over on Living Interrupted today.  I hope you have a chance to head over there and read about our journey in giving up Olivia.

Lots of pictures coming tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Olivia's Storybook

Turn your favorite photos into a photo book at


These are the photos that our amazing wedding photographer did of Olivia :)  Thanks again Valerie!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Time Flies: Week 10

Surprise! We made it through the tenth week.  Here are some highlights:

Olivia and Sam, both waterbabies :)

The best part about this week was:
  • Olivia's first time seeing Daddy play with Uncle Luke!
Some things we've learned:
  • Gas is painful for little bellies
  • She has started to grab things intentionally
  • Sleeping in the car is no longer a given
Some things we've learned the hard way:
  • She is very picky about her pacifier
Olivia loves:
  • Being outside and listing to music
  • The lamp above her changing table
  • Her new silkie thing
Olivia surprised us when:
  • She smiled at Hankie

At one of our baby showers, the girls had everyone write messages on diapers.  The sad thing is: these are size 2's.  Is the baby supposed to wear the diaper size that corresponds with their age in months?
We don't have a pool or one nearby that is shaded, so we improvised and went swimming on the front porch swing.
Sometimes she enjoys napping in our bed for a change of scenery.  And sometimes I get freaked out when I go up to check on her and forget that she isn't in her crib.
Baby's dedication cake.  More on that later!
Soaking up every last minute with Ella.  That's right, they're moving :(
Hanging out with her fellow CBP pals.  She has quite the pickings!

Aunt Seebee's first sleepover!!

Her happy place.
Adoring the bumbo while lounging with Daddy.