Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Grammy and Poppy's visit!

Philip and I are both so fortunate to have so many great friends in Austin. But, we do miss being close to our families--especially now that Connor is here. However, Connor's birth has ensured we will be seeing our families a little bit more, which makes us all very happy!

My parents were just here for two whole weeks, which was amazing. The two of them are tireless, and got our house in top shape. They orchestrated projects that have been on my "list" since we moved in July of '08, and filled our refrigerator and freezer to the BRIM with food. We are both so appreciative, and it gave us some time to relax, and I really have been lucky to not feel totally exhausted with all of the help I have already received from my wonderful husband, Lon and Mary (Philip's dad and stepmom) and my own parents. As we have said so many times, we are so very lucky to have such great families.

In the last two weeks, my parents (and Philip and I) watched Connor change SO much! We had a little trouble with feeding at first, but seem to have the hang of it now, and Connor is filling out quite nicely (and sometimes looks like he has a little bit of a double chin--SO cute!) At our last doctor's appt., Connor was back up to 7 lbs. 10 oz. (babies lose weight in the first week usually), and was up to 21 1/2 inches. He is in the 25th percentile for weight for boys his age, and 75th (!) percentile for his height. The nurse told us that basically, Connor is "tall and skinny!" Connor is awake more and more, and has these big, beautiful eyes that I could stare at forever. He makes adorable noises, lots of cooing and content sounds, and is very rarely fussy--unless he is hungry or wet, which it seems like he is a LOT of the time :)! He sleeps amazingly well for a 2 1/2 week old--sometimes 5-6 hours stretches at night. I hope this isn't just a phase, and that he is like both of his parents and will remain a good sleeper (Philip and I both LOVE our sleep!) Connor also randomly smiles mostly while he is asleep. He gets these huge smiles on his face, and I cannot figure out WHAT he is smiling about--I mean, what do babies dream about at this stage?!

Oliver loves his little brother. He is very curious, and also protective. Anytime Connor is fussy, Oliver goes over to see what is wrong. Oliver is still trying to figure it all out, but he has been so sweet with our little one.

Here are a few pictures of Connor with his grandparents, and with us, and also a picture of Oliver "protecting" Connor in his cradle. I cannot believe how wonderful motherhood is, and feel so blessed every time I look at my beautiful son. I am already hating how quickly time passes, as I don't want to miss anything with him! I can only imagine what our parents feel like when they look at us and see us with a child--it must be a little bit surreal to see their "babies" with a baby :)! But I digress . . . here are some pics!

Connor and his Mommo

The whole family

Oliver protecting his brother

Connor and his grammy

Connor and his poppy

Making a funny face for Daddy

Thursday, October 1, 2009

And Baby FINALLY makes three!

On Friday, Philip and I were incredibly blessed when we finally welcomed our perfect, adorable son, Connor Vaughan Lehr. When I say he is perfect, I feel that is actually an understatement. I am incredibly awed by this child, and SO in love. Labor definitely wasn't easy, but worth every ache and pain! When they handed me this beautiful boy, I cannot even describe what a profound moment it was. How lucky both Philip and I feel to have this little miracle with us.

Connor's name is something we are also very proud to share. I often tell Philip how much his Grandmommy, Virginia, reminds me of my grandmother, Dorothy. Unfortunately, Philip never did get to meet my grandmother, because she died within a month of us meeting. She was a wonderful person--completely selfless, generous, loved her family and friends, and loved life. She was independent, and intelligent, spiritual and optimistic. I could go on for a long time about what a wonderful woman she was. Virginia (Philip's grandmother) is every bit as impressive, and embodies all of the above qualities, and many more. How lucky Philip and I are to have these two women as a part of our lives. We named Connor after both women. Connor is my grandmother's maiden name (Dorothy Connor) and Connor's middle name is Vaughan, named after Philip's grandmother (Virginia Vaughan). We can only hope that Connor will have the inspiration of his great-grandmother and become a great man! (I'm sure he will!)

Connor has already proven his stubbornness, and took his time on the way out--about 18 hours in fact! His stubbornness has not subsided (not surprised by this because both Philip and I are both stubborn), but he is the SWEETEST baby I have ever met. I cannot stop starting at him. I LOVE being a mother. I don't even mind the lack of sleep. He is just so perfect, I don't want to miss out on a minute of his life. And Philip is such an amazing dad. I love the way he looks at Connor. He is so proud. And he has gotten to be a PRO at changing diapers. I think I've changed two since Connor was born!

Connor weighed in at 7lbs. 13 ozs., and was 21 inches long. He was a 10 on the Apgar scale(!), and as I have mentioned a few times before, absolutely perfect. I promise to be more regular about posting pictures, etc. on here! Here are a few from our first few days!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Let me count the ways . . .

Today Philip and I have been married for three wonderful years. I cannot believe how quickly it has gone. To celebrate, my wonderfully romantic husband surprised me with a weekend trip to a great bed and breakfast in Texas's hill country. It was perfect. I feel so lucky to be married to my best friend, and thought I would share just a few of the things I love about him:

I love his sense of humor, and how makes me laugh constantly. I could be steaming mad (for some silly reason no doubt), and Philip pops his head in, makes a comment and all of a sudden, I've forgotten why I was mad in the first place.

I love his dance moves. I have absolutely zero rhythm, but Philip is always the first one on the dance floor and the last to leave. I even love the "tentacles" he gets from working himself into a sweaty frenzy from those crazy dance moves.

I love his sense of adventure. He is willing to try anything, and his spontaneity has made me try things I would never try. I particularly appreciate this quality in him when it comes to food. Any recipe I find and want to try, he is game, and I love how he is honest, but sweet, in evaluating the results.

I love his sensitivity. Philip wears his heart on his sleeve, which sometimes he thinks can be a negative, but he always has the best intentions, and I love what a great heart he has.

I love his passion . . . from everything to Longhorn football (well really, sports in general) to people, he puts his whole self into everything he does (except maybe cleaning, but that's ok, I hate cleaning too!)

I love how he loves his family . . . and mine. He genuinely enjoys spending time with family and checks in with everyone on a regular basis. We both feel so lucky to have the families we do, and can only hope our children feel the same way about us that we do about our families.

I love the way he looks at me. It gives me chills sometimes. As I said earlier, he wears his heart on his sleeve, and I definitely feel how much he loves and adores me everytime he looks at me. It makes me feel incredibly special.

And finally, I love what a great dad I know he is going to be. I have no doubts about how much he already loves this baby, and I love to watch him as he feels the baby move and kick and how he says good night to my belly! He hates shopping, but he has gone with me to look at baby stuff, and last night, he went to pick up the crib with me, and put it together, even though it was 9 p.m. and I know he was starving!

This is just a small list of everything I love about Philip. I am so lucky to have a husband that I am so crazy about, and I look forward to celebrating anniversaries for MANY years to come!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Nursery Progress . . .

I can't believe it is less than two weeks before school begins again (at least for teachers). I have been anxiously trying to get as much done as I can before that date, but of course time has gotten away from me. Luckily, I still have 7-8 weeks left before baby arrives, and a VERY helpful husband, so we'll get everything done. At least I hope so!

Our crib still has not arrived, which makes decorating the nursery a little difficult, but thankfully Philip's grandmother made sure we were not without a place to lay baby's head. She (with Mary's help) made sure we are now in possession of the Collins' Family cradle, the same cradle Philip's grandfather, and many since, slept in nearly 90 years ago. Mary brought it up for us last week, and fitted it with a sheet and bumper. It is a beautiful cradle that also rocks to lull baby to sleep (yay!) Oliver has already been sniffing around it, wondering what the heck it is doing here! Here is a picture of the cradle awaiting baby's arrival!

And a quick picture of the nursery "in progress." We've painted it and added a chair, and as you can see, Oliver snuck into this picture--he definitely doesn't want to be left out! Will post more pictures of the nursery as it is updated!

And finally, a big happy 21st birthday to my brother! I know he is happy, and my parents are relieved, that he is finally legal! PTD, hope you have a wonderful day--wish we could be there to celebrate with you, but doubt a pregnant lady would do much to up the celebration factor of a birthday centered around drinking :)!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

32 weeks and counting

Tomorrow I hit 32 weeks, which makes only 8 weeks to go (or less or more depending on when he decides to arrive!) until baby makes his entrance into our world. Wow. He is moving even more now, but it is less kicking, more flipping. Currently, he is "butt down", but fortunately, there are a few more weeks before he is in his "set position" so I'm not too worried.

Recent events in our lives:
First, Sarah and Mary threw me the best shower. It was sentimental and sweet, the food was delicious, and there were no cheesy games which I love (Sarah knows me VERY well. She had our parents send baby pictures of Philip and I, and also had them send along stories of us as babies. Then she mixed the stories up and had everyone "Guess which baby". Perfect game for a shower. I will definitely be stealing that one (when I host my first baby shower of course!) The pics from the shower came out a little fuzzy, but here is one to share with you. This one is of me opening a receiving blanket from Philip's grandmother. It is one she used with her own kids, and so it is extra special.

Last week, Mandy and Kara came to visit me (and Austin for the first time). I tried to get them to see as much as possible, but did leave a little bit out so I make sure they come back and visit! I had SUCH a good time with them--I miss my college friends so much being so far away. I feel so lucky to have such great friends that I am still so close to, just wish we all lived closer to each other. While here, we had to get a little TexMex, so Hula Hut it was. Here are the three of us after dinner (SO full!)

Saturday night, Philip and I finally went to see the bats under the Congress bridge in Austin. It is quite a phenomenon. There are close to 1 million bats now that sleep under the bridge and make their flight at night to find food. It is two steady streams of bats out from under the bridge, and it is truly amazing to watch. We took Oliver, and here he is (patiently) waiting for the bats to make their flight.

Finally, it rained today!!! I know to some of you, that is not big news since it has been raining all summer. But, not here, and we got about 20 minutes worth today (and maybe more on the way!) I wish I knew a rain dance!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Wedding Austin style

Last night, Philip and I went to our good friends' Ellen and Marcus's wedding. It was spectacular. The ceremony was held at this beautiful little chapel (where Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey got married, actually!), and the reception was held at this beautiful downtown Austin hotel. We had a great time. It is hard to pick a highlight. The wedding favors were a personal favorite of Philip's, as he did not take the sunglasses off all night long -- he said they made him feel invincible on the dance floor. (Well, it was either that or the beers!) The cake(s) were a personal favorite of mine. The groom's cake was a chocolate-chip cookie cake, and the wedding cake was delicious. What really made the night was the 80's rock band hired for the occasion. Those of you who have been at a wedding with Philip know how he likes to dance--well, these particular songs had him on the dance floor until the last note, and I have pictures to prove it! All in all, a great night, and I can't wait to see the pictures that come out of it. If this wedding is any indication of Ellen and Marcus's marriage, they are sure to have a blast for the next 60 years or so (which we already knew they would!) I'm attaching some pictures so you can see what a beautiful bride Ellen was, and also some of the details that made the night so great!

Ellen & Marcus saying their vows

Philip & I (before P's crazy dancing!)

The wedding cake & the groom's cake

Philip in action--Notice the sunglasses everyone was wearing (inside at 12:30 a.m.!) in the last pic!

Today we paint the nursery. Wish us luck. We didn't have so much success in painting our own room (we had to use multiple cans, and one of the later ones was lighter than the first two, which we didn't know until it dried--we are still figuring out how to fix that one!), but will only TWO months left, and school looming back on the horizon, we definitely need to get cracking on getting this nursery done, or we will have a baby, and nowhere to put him! Speaking of baby, he is doing fine. Growing and stretching like crazy. I often find him stretching against my rib cage (not so much fun), but so far he hasn't kicked or jabbed too hard. He did have the hiccups this morning, and it was so cute! He definitely moves more than ever, and I'm sure that shows his likeness to his dad--as last night was a prime example!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

3rd Trimester . . . Already?? AH!!!!

So, according to (related to and, tomorrow I officially switch over to my 3rd Trimester! WHAT?!?! How did that happen? I seriously am having trouble believing that it is already here. Or maybe I am just in denial about how close this baby really is to arriving, since I still have a lot to do, and a LOT to get! (Still haven't even started the nursery with the exception of ordering the crib!) I'm sure it will all fall into place, but for now I am feeling just a little bit panicked!

Sunday marked Philip's first "Father-to-be" day. We celebrated by going to see the Disney/Pixar movie "Up." If you haven't seen it, it is absolutely a MUST see. It is emotional, funny, sweet and definitely entertaining. I would highly recommend it to anyone. Last week we also saw "The Hangover" when my cousin, Owen, and his girlfriend, were in town. It was HYSTERICAL! I laughed through the entire movie. Funniest movie I have seen in a LONG time!

Tomorrow we leave for San Diego for the wedding of a childhood friend of Philip's. We haven't been out to California since we left four years ago. I can't believe it has been so long. I personally am looking forward to the moderate weather. It has been over 100 degrees here for the last week (at least), and though I understand that it is summer in Texas, I can't get used to this much heat. I can't wait for the short respite!

I still feel good, although despite having not too much to do during the day, I am totally exhausted. I am chalking it up to the heat, and enjoy getting into bed early. I just stocked up on three new books, which I can't wait to read: Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth; Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns (which I have been dying to read; and Anne River Siddon's new book, Off Season. I'll let you know how they are :)!

And, finally, a VERY happy 30th Anniversary (yesterday) to my parents. I feel SO lucky to have such amazing role models for my own marriage. I know they were having a quiet anniversary together, and I hope it was perfect. M & D, wish I could give you that trip to Ireland that you both deserve, and hope someday I can :)! Love you both so very much!

Monday, June 15, 2009

My little worm . . .

I cannot believe how quickly this pregnancy is passing. I am almost in double digits of days left in this pregnancy, and am only about a week away from my third trimester. I still have a LOT to do :)! For now, I am feeling pretty well. For most of my 2nd trimester, I was feeling great, but I am starting to feel pretty tired again. I am exhausted by the end of the day, no matter how much (or how little) I actually get to during the day. Fortunately for me, having the summer off makes resting much easier, and I am able to sleep in most mornings.

If I thought our little boy was moving a lot before, he is really moving now. I told Philip last night that it feels like a little worm moving inside of me, wriggling about, and Philip put his hand on my belly last night and got quite a few big kicks to let him now baby appreciated the attention (as did I)! Belly is getting bigger, although still isn't too worthy of a belly "pic". I'll pass along one when I have one worthy of sharing!

Still not a lot of cravings. I did, however, perk way up today when I went to Wal-mart to look for something, and found that they carried Cappuccino Coolers. These are basically coffee flavored, individually packaged, sugar packets that you combine with a big glass of milk (and ice for me). They are delicious, and since moving to Texas, I have not been able to find them ANYWHERE. I bought two packages at Wal-mart, but will no doubt be making multiple trips now that I made this amazing discovery!

On Saturday, I tried my hand at making a dessert. I usually avoid making desserts--one time I made chocolate chip cookies and halfway through baking the batch I had made, I got bored, and put the dough in the fridge to make at another time. I think I just ended up eating the dough instead of baking the rest of the cookies. Anyway, I digress. My mom suggested this super easy dessert pizza, and it turned out amazingly. (I think the recipe is Pampered Chef, or maybe Gourmet or Bon Appetit--she got it from one of her magazines!) The "frosting" on this dessert pizza is so good I wanted to drink it. For those of you looking for an easy dessert, this is it! Buy a package of crescent roll dough. Roll out and pinch together so it makes a "crust". I also used a rolling pin to roll it out slightly thinner so it didn't puff up TOO much. Bake according to directions. Let cool. While cooling, make the frosting. Combine 1-pkg. 8 oz. cream cheese and 1/3 c. granulated sugar (I used low-fat cream cheese just so I felt a little better about myself), and I whipped using my stand mixer. Spread frosting on crust once the crust is cooled, and then top with fresh fruit. I used Texas peaches, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, but obviously any fruit will do! Here is a picture of what mine looked like just in case you are a visual person (like I am)!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Summer is Here . . . Finally!

School is finally done for the year. For some reason, this year has felt particularly long, perhaps because it ended after Memorial Day, or perhaps because I was feeling like I had SO much to do to prepare for baby. Either way, I am happy to report that I am officially on vacation. Since we ended school last Thursday, I have been making my lists and trying to get things in order. We finally purchased and put together bedroom furniture (a bed and a nightstand) for ourselves, ordered our crib, and I started my registry. I'm on my way . . .

Two things I discovered yesterday that made me happy. First, Babies 'R Us is not nearly as overwhelming when you are excited about acquiring baby stuff. The first time I went in there (to purchase a gift for a friend), I nearly had an anxiety attack. But yesterday, I found it much easier to navigate. Maybe it was the scanner that gave me my false sense of security. Either way, I only managed to register for a few things, since I still am clueless about some more of the technical aspects of baby . . . namely feeding, changing, bathing, etc. Hopefully I will learn some from a class, and hopefully more as we go with this little one. We are certainly in for an adventure.

Secondly, in my trip to the grocery store yesterday, I discovered that most goat cheeses in HEB are PASTEURIZED! Now, that may not seem like such a revelation to the rest of you, but as someone who LOVES goat cheese and has been avoiding it because there are a list of cheeses you are supposed to avoid while pregnant because they are normally unpasteurized and goat cheese is on that list. Alas, my life is complete once again as I discovered that is not the case, and goat cheese is back on my list!

Other than that, the pregnancy progresses well. I am tired from not sleeping through the night, though I suspect that is in preparation of the many sleepless nights that lie ahead, but I do have energy, and still can't complain. I am quickly approaching my 3rd trimester, which I find hard to believe, but the excitement builds as the culminating event approaches! Baby is moving like crazy, especially at night, and according to 3D pregnancy, has fully formed ears that can hear what we say. Guess I better watch my mouth.

Finally, I leave you with my first attempt at using our new camera. MUCH better quality pictures, and believe me it is NOT because the photographer (me) has improved . . . although hopefully with practice, I will. The following pictures are of our crazy (but cute) puppy, Oliver. My brother taught him to climb one of the trees in our backyard when he was here in November, and the thrill has not worn off for Oliver, although he likes it better when he has an audience (he barks at you if you don't follow him to watch). The first picture is of Oliver up in the tree. The second picture is of Oliver with his new "toy" which he has not figured out how to use yet. We bought him a little pool because he loves the water, and because it is already approaching 100 here in Austin. So far only the birds in the backyard have gotten any use out of it. Oh well, maybe he will figure it out soon enough.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

So, once again, I have been terrible at updating the "baby" blog. I have SIX days left of school, and that, to be honest, has been all consuming. But, we had a great long weekend . . . we just always wish we had longer :)!

Thursday, we had the most amazing dr's appointment. We had a long ultrasound where we looked at the baby's bladder, legs, brain development, heart, stomach, even the umbilical cord! It was completely amazing. Baby is just about a pound (which makes me feel a little better about the 7 I've gained!) Here are the latest pictures . . . notice the cute little foot (kind of hard to tell, but it's picture #4)!

Friday, Philip and I played in a tennis tournament here at school. Unfortunately, we didn't get to play on the same team, and we both lost to the same team in the 2nd round :(. Oh well.

Saturday was the real highlight of the weekend. After a morning of chores and errands (Philip has become quite the domesticated husband, mowing the lawn, raking the leaves, spreading fertilizer--it's quite cute), Philip took me on a surprise drive through the Hill Country. It is really beautiful here in Austin. I know so many people think Texas is flat, but in fact, Austin, and the surrounding areas, are very hilly, lush and surprisingly green for the lack of rain we've had. We drove out to Fredericksburg, one of our favorite spots, and had dinner at a restaurant there. At dinner, we had a great time, made better by a certain envelope we received at our doctor's appointment on Thursday. We opened that to reveal that . . . IT'S A BOY!!! Neither of us were surprised by this revelation, but we are so excited and now we can start really planning!!

Sunday, we went to a crawfish boil with Sarah and Peter at Lily and Brandon's house. There were about 15 kids there, and we got a little glimpse into what it must be like to run after a kiddo. They were all adorable and we had a great time.

We did get a new camera, and we have started to break ourselves into taking more pictures, so I promise a few updates of the house, and us soon (although the baby pictures really are a lot cuter!)

Hope everyone is having a good week . . . SIX more days!!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

In my last post, I told you how much baby has been moving in the last week or so. Well, late Saturday night (early Sunday morning) about 12:30, the baby was REALLY moving. It was totally surreal -- I could actually feel the baby kicking me! I even put my hand on my stomach to see if I could feel the kicks from the outside, and I could! Philip wasn't home yet (bachelor party), and I was dying for him to feel it yesterday, but the baby wasn't as cooperative yesterday--still moving, but not nearly as much or as forcefully.

In other pregnancy revelations, my clothes are really starting not to fit. At first it was a few pants that sat more on my waist. Then, a few other pants fit a little tighter, but today, I put on a pair of khakis that are usually a little loose on me (even in the last few weeks), and though I could button them, I looked like I had been stuffed in there. I guess I should feel lucky that I am 21 weeks and not yet in maternity clothes, but I was REALLY hoping to make it until the end of school and then switch to comfy dresses and skirts for the remainder of the summer -- oh well! I am thankful baby is growing and healthy, so I really have few complaints. This is a difficult time in pregnancy (fashion wise) though. My belly has just started to "pop" and I still look more like I do after eating a large meal than I look like I'm pregnant--meaning if you didn't know I was pregnant, you'd just think I had a belly. So, I'm off to Old Navy today to see what I can find in the way of maternity clothes to last me through for a few more weeks--until I fully intend to spend my time in comfy, flowy dresses! 17 MORE DAYS!!

Also, a belated, but very Happy Mother's Day to my mom, the best role model I could hope for as I become a mother myself, and to all of the other "moms" in my life who are amazing for so many different reasons!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

He/She is going to be a Soccer Player!

So they said I'd start feeling movement soon, but lately, I have been feeling a LOT of movement! At first, the movements were very subtle--my doctor called them "quickenings". And over the last week, they have become a bit more pronounced, but only happening every once in a while. Today this baby is MOVING! It is consistent, and it is crazy! This little one kicks and moves so much, I definitely feel this one's going to be quite the swimmer :)!

We still don't know the sex of the baby, but we do have an ultrasound scheduled for May 21st. We are not sure whether we will find out whether to decorate in pink or blue :), but we have a few weeks to decide!

I still feel pretty good--mostly just tired, and my belly is definitely feeling fuller and heavier. I'm still wearing most of my clothes, and I am trying to hold on for just a few more weeks when school is over. I then plan to spend the summer in a pool, and lots of big, roomy dresses!

Finally back from our travels, and though exhausting, it was SO good to see everyone. First my fam in CT, and then college friends in Vermont for Becky's wedding. I love Vermont. It is absolutely beautiful, and if you get the chance, Woodstock, VT is a quintessential Vermont town, and The Woodstock Inn (where we stayed) is the perfect place to stay with its four poster beds, spa, golf course and wonderful hospitality. To my wonderful friends, Katie, Kara, Shannon, Eliza, Mandy, and the beautiful bride, Becky, I had SUCH a good time with you all. I always wish it were for longer, and MUCH more often. I look forward to our many trips together in the future!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

There's no place like home . . .

We made it to Connecticut LATE Monday night (really Tuesday morning). My Nana's wake and funeral were very nostalgic, but she would have been so proud of her family all being together, and if there's a silver lining in death, it is definitely that--having family all together again. I just wish everyone had gotten to be together longer (and under better circumstances!)

I had a doctor's appointment before I left. Baby is progressing well--he/she has a good, strong heartbeat (150 beats per minute!) I am convinced it's a boy, but still like the possibility of knowing it could also be a girl. For the record, I have absolutely no preference, but there is something kind of fun in not knowing which is in there right now. Speaking of that, we have our next ultrasound on May 21st. I think we should be able to find out the sex then, as I will be 22 weeks by then, and we have decided to wait until we are faced with the decision to make it (meaning, not sure yet if we want to know the sex, but we'll see!) My pants are just starting to get tighter (at least the ones that sit higher up), but I am desperately trying to hold out until school is over before transitioning into "maternity wear". I'll let you know how it goes :)!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Hit the Nana, Win a Prize

Last Saturday, on April 18th, my Nana, Mary Frances (Berry) Dwyer, passed away. Those of you who know my family know how close we all are-5 Dwyer children, 16 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren (and two on the way!) Holidays are always somewhat of a grand spectacle--and no occassion is complete without laughter. To say this great woman will be missed is a bit of an understatement. I know there will be quite a few tears for her death, but I also know there will be much laughter as we celebrate her life.

I think my grandparents have the most amazing love story, and they have clearly set the bar for the rest of us. My grandparents met during WWII, in a letter. It seems so strange to us, because we don't write very many letters anymore, unless you include e-mail, but there really is nothing quite so thrilling as opening the mail and finding a letter. You see, my grandparents had mutual friends who had tried to get them together on a number of occassions, but it never worked out. And, as fate would have it, my grandfather (William Francis Dwyer) had just left Connecticut for Air Force training in Texas. So, when my Nana was at their mutual friends' house, they convinced her to add a post-script (also known as p.s.) to one of the letters they were sending to my grandad. He wrote back! And so began a long correspondence. They met once, for a few hours in NY, when my granddad was on leave (my Nana was a Navy Nurse stationed in Long Island at the time). Nothing dramatic occurred at that meeting, but when he returned to Texas, he realized how he felt about her. They began to express their love for each other, and to talk about their future together. When he returned from his tour of duty in the Southern Pacific, they got married . . . right after Thanksgiving in 1944. They had spent very little time together, yet they just knew how they felt about each other. They raised 5 kids--four boys (including my dad) and one girl. I know many people feel this way about their parents, but my dad is just about the greatest man in the world (comparative only to Philip), and I have my Nana and Granddad to thank for that. My Granddad passed away from colon cancer 35 years ago, and my Nana never remarried. In fact, two years ago, when I was telling my Nana how happy Philip made me, and how he is my very best friend, she told me she felt the same way about my Granddad, and that she still talked to him every night . . . how strong her love was, and how strong her faith must have been, that he was waiting for her in heaven, listening to everything she told him.

And so, even though the loss of this great woman is hard to bear, I take great comfort in knowing she and my granddad are together again with Uncle Jack, Aunt Floss, and all who have left before us, and that they are there, talking and laughing, and watching us all. My mom says that for every death, there is new life . . . and I believe this is true. It will take two babies to fill part of the hole left by Mary Frances Berry Dwyer, and I know they come into a family full of love, life and laughter. How lucky we are all to be a part of it . . . how lucky these two babies will be. (Just a note, we are not having twins although we would be doubly blessed . . . my cousin Eileen is pregnant with her 2nd child and due in June.)

"God Bless us Everyone . . ."

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I heart basil.

I'm sure everyone has their favorite herb. For me, there is nothing like the taste of fresh basil. I think it makes pretty much anything taste better. Case and point? Dinner tonight. Baby Lehr is quite demanding already, and I find myself quickly going from a little hungry to absolutely starving. Tonight was no exception. I wanted to eat dinner, and so had to make it quickly. I decided on an easy TBLT (that's turkey bacon, lettuce and tomato) with avocado. But, since my early elementary days, where I ate cheese and Miracle Whip sandwiches every day, I have really not been a fan of mayonnaise. But, standard BLT sandwiches have mayo on them (I don't think they would taste very good with mustard). So, I spiced up some reduced-fat hellman's with a clove of garlic, some freshly chopped basil and a little bit of lemon juice to thin it out. I also baked the sourdough rolls on my pizza stone for a couple of minutes, which made a huge difference over toasting. The rolls turned out crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle. SO good. Dinner was done in less than 20 minutes, and was delicious. Definitely let the mayo sit to combine all of the flavors for at least an hour--I didn't, and the garlic taste was still pretty strong. However, I do think the mayo was what made the sandwiches so good. If I weren't so full, I would already be craving another one . . .

Monday, April 6, 2009

Nesting . . .

I've already been delinquent in my regular postings. I have no real excuse, but it does seem like time flies by at ridiculous speeds. We have a lot going on in the next few weeks, so I am trying to save up my energy for it all. I thought my energy would return after my first trimester ended, but I've found I'm still pretty exhausted. Hopefully I'll get some bursts soon. Other than that, I have been feeling pretty well. To my relief, both my appetite and my penchant for cooking has returned. For a while, the idea of cooking anything was pretty unappealing. And as many of you know, I LOVE to cook. I love to try new recipes, and I find that cooking is a good outlet, along with running, for keeping me sane. I was lucky enough to be raised in a household of good cooks. My dad is exceptionally creative, and loves to see how things work together in a pan. He rarely replicates a dish exactly as before, because he doesn't follow too many recipes, and he cooks by smell and feel. It is always delicious. My mom is hands down the most excellent baker I have ever met. Her cookies are always perfect looking and heavenly tasting. She makes delectable pies, amazing pizza dough, and some of the best spaghetti sauce I have ever tasted. Though I did not get the best of my mother (I rarely bake--it requires far too much measuring for someone who likes to not measure anything), I aspire to the adventuresome nature of both of my parents and am constantly looking for new recipes to add to my repertoire. Thankfully, Philip is an honest and willing guinea pig.

The point to this long description is that I am happy to have regained my sense of curiosity in the kitchen. In the spirit of that, I thought, in addition to posting updates and pictures of baby #1, I would also share some recipes I have tried and liked. There are a couple of reasons for this--one is to talk about food :), and the other is to share recipes. Though I could spend hours sifting through sites for the best recipes, realistically, I don't have time for that, so I cook what I know, and that gets BORING!

So far this week, I've tried three recipes that have been successful, but don't worry, I'll only share one at a time. Most of my recipes come from the BEST website What I love most about this site is that people like me rate and review the recipes and make suggestions on how to improve the recipe. I spend hours on the website reading recipes and their reviews, and I have never been disappointed in what I've tried. But, the first recipe I will share is one I actually found on the Food Network, and it goes against my nature, because it is for cupcakes! The recipe is courtesy of Giada DeLaurentis, and is divine. These Raspberry Cream Cupcakes are light and fluffy thanks to the egg whites beat into the cake mix. The frosting (which is always my favorite part) is also so light and fluffy, comprised of only powdered sugar, whipping cream and fresh mashed raspberries (YUM!) Philip licked the frosting bowl, and as of yet, has had three cupcakes, so you know they were a hit. Here is the link to the recipe. I HIGHLY recommend it. Not only delicious, but also pretty light and figure friendly (always a plus with cupcakes!) Just a cook's note--I only used one pint of raspberries (they weren't on sale at the grocery store today) which was plenty for the frosting. I also just spread the frosting on top (easier to eat), and I found that it made MORE than enough frosting to amply frost 18 cupcakes. Next time, I will do the same, but buy extra raspberries for the top of the cupcakes (for presentation).

Happy Eating!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Luck o' the Irish

Happy St. Patrick's Day (a little belated)! I love St. Patrick's Day, though it was a little different this year not being able to toast my heritage with a beer :). Nonetheless, it was a very exciting day, as we had our second ultrasound, and another doctor's appointment, and baby Lehr is growing rapidly. During our little session, we saw him/her flip over, dance around quite a bit, and it even looked like the baby was sucking its thumb! Pretty exciting stuff, considering I still can't feel a thing!!

Spring is my favorite time in Austin . . . it finally gets a little green, the weather is spectacular (low 80's with no humidity), and the end of school is in sight! We took advantage of the amazing weather yesterday and celebrated St. Patrick's Day with some of our favorite people--Jon, Sarah and Peter and our neighbors, Eston and Brenda. I love to entertain--something about being surrounded by your favorite people, eating, drinking (water for me), and laughing. I always like an excuse to cook for a crowd too. It is much more fun than just cooking for Philip and I (although Philip is a great guinea pig--he loves just about every food).

This weekend Philip and I are off to San Antonio to see Billy Joel and Elton John. I cannot wait. Not only have I never been to San Antonio, Billy Joel is pretty much my favorite musician of all time. Add that to spending time with my favorite person, and it is bound to be a memorable weekend. I. Can't. Wait.

Here are the latest ultrasound pics of baby #1. It is insane how much he/she has changed in the last three weeks, and I know it will be even more changes in the coming weeks and months! Almost done with the 1st trimester--thank goodness! Though I still have avoided nausea, I am literally exhausted 98% of the time. I look forward to getting some energy back (I know Philip looks forward to this too--I think he is sick of losing me to bed at 7:45 each night :)!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

And so it begins . . .

I cannot say I entirely understand the complete fascination with blogs . . . me, I have enough trouble remembering to do the little things each day, let alone remembering to keep up with a blog. I was terrible at keeping a diary, and worse at keeping a journal, until I did so for Philip when he was gone on his six month deployment to the Western Pacific. Then, I remembered to write every night. So in keeping with that idea, we have decided to start a blog to keep our friends and family who are far away, up to date on Baby Lehr #1 (coming September 2009). I figure since I am keeping it for other people (technically), I might remember to post more often. In addition, quite a few friends of ours have blogs, and I find reading them incredibly interesting and amusing. I'm not sure my life is quite as interesting, but we'll see how it goes.

So far pregnancy really has not been too difficult. I have avoided the dreaded "morning" sickness pretty much altogether, though there have been a few nauseous days. I do feel tired all the time, but really, there's not a big difference between what is happening now and my normal life. I really like to sleep and find very few excuses to stay up late.

The most thrilling day so far was the day I saw the baby (Cletus the fetus as Philip calls him/her) on the ultrasound. He/She is definitely extremely active, and it is totally surreal to see this baby moving around like crazy, and not being able to feel a thing. I know that is because the baby is really quite small still, and it won't be long before I feel the movement. But, I've had such few extreme pregnancy symptoms, that sometimes I worry about how everything is going. So to see such an active baby in there was completely blissful. Still quite a bit of time to go (I am almost 12 weeks), and I can't wait to experience all that lies ahead. Stay tuned . . .

Here is our first "picture" of baby Lehr. He/she is tiny but already adorable!