strawberry festival

After the wedding festivities over the weekend, Ryan and I were happy to spend Sunday just the two of us, doing whatever we wanted. We took a nice drive up to Cedarburg again, this time for the Strawberry Festival. It was fun. It was crowded. It was hot.

After about an hour of weaving through crowds of sweaty people, we'd had enough, and decided to drive home. But not before treating ourselves to a big strawberry lemonade and a free balloon.
And free samples from the kettle corn guy.


the cutest little wedding

We're back in town after a happy weekend away. Ryan's younger brother, Jason, got married over the weekend to Kaili, his high school sweetheart. The two of them started dating right around the same time Ryan and I did, which means they've been dating forever. So even though it felt like Kaili was part of the family already, it's nice to have it be official. And I'm excited to have another sister! They planned the sweetest little country wedding, and we had the best time. I'm kicking myself now for not taking more pictures. Especially of her gorgeous flowers and all the tiny details.

And man, it felt so good to get out of Milwaukee for a while and spend time with Ryan's side of the family in slower-paced parts of the state. It's been hard to get back into the swing of things now that we're home. (I don't want to do the dishes...) The king sized bed in our hotel room didn't help things. There's so much room to roll over on those puppies. My hips were thankful.

Little baby boy got lots of love over the weekend, too. Between all of Ryan's aunts and cousins and grandmas, the tally on belly rubs was quite high, and I didn't mind one bit. Rub away, people! Heaven knows I can't resist it either.

Happy marriage, Jason and Kaili! You're wonderful, and we love you both.


Father's Day

 This is my Dad. His name is Dave! This picture was taken in the 70's.

A list of some of my favorite things about my dear old dad:

- He makes his own sauerkraut. And it's good. That's a big deal for a German descendant like me.

- All of his favorite shirts are soft and worn and full of holes.

- He calls me names that only dads can pull off, like Monster and Angel Face.

 Dad! The day before his wedding.

-He praises my mom for being the best cook in the world. And she is. But he makes the best chili.

-Despite having four daughters, he is a sports-loving, burping, macho DUDE.

- He's had a mustache all my life, and most of his own.

Dad on his wedding day.

- Before I'd go out with friends in high school he'd say, "Remember who you are, Amelia," and I'd have to answer with, "A redeemed child of God."

- He knows funny little things, like old German words and Japanese children's songs and corny dad jokes. 

-When I lost my baby he came to my hospital bed, hugged me, and said, "I just wanted to hold you." I'll never forget how he said it, like his heart was broken, too.

My Dad on my wedding day.

-He sings a sweet tenor that makes me cry when I hear it in church.

-He grows a huge, bounteous garden every summer.

- He's humble and hardworking and kind and hilarious and God-fearing and sweet and wonderful.

Dad! Are you reading this? You're the best!
I love you with all my heart,
and then some.

And then some more.


i can tell that we are gonna be friends

I've been so terrible at keeping a pregnancy journal. Shame on me, lazy bones! In an effort to fix that, here are the things I want to remember about being pregnant with my sweet baby boy child:

About Mom::
  • I found out we were expecting on Ryan's birthday. I also had a job interview, and was hosting a dinner with friends that night. I was a crazy mess that day.
  • I first felt baby move at 16 weeks, but wasn't totally sure that's what was happening until about 18 weeks. Stomach gurgles and digestion and things. They make you unsure.
  • I felt sleepy and sick in the evenings of my first trimester. Mornings and early afternoons were blissful! Then, around 3pm, I'd feel icky and pukey and afraid of the kitchen. Cheerios for supper every night.
  • My second trimester is the coolest, ever.
  • Breakfast food! Eggs and toast and bacon and pancakes and french toast and bagels and hashbrowns and smoothies and cereal! I'll eat it all at every meal! Thank you!
  • My hair is glorious and shiny! My nails are strong and grow at record speed! My skin never got the memo!
  • I only wear pants when I'm at work. The rest of the time I'm dressed in skirts and dresses and pajamas.
  • I'm emotional, and not in just the weepy way. Things sway me and leave an impression. Sad things are sadder, sweet things are sweeter, scary things are scarier, funny things are WAY funnier. We recently watched an episode of Mad Men before bed that disturbed me so much, I had to have Ryan distract me until I fell asleep. And speaking of sleep . . .
  • I can't sleep very much anymore. Also, body pillows are funny.
About Dad::
  • Ryan felt the baby move so early! All the books say after 22ish weeks, but he just happened to have his fingertips right where baby had his toes, and it was love at first thunk. He smiled all night long.
  • He still hates giving the foot rubs. That's nothing new.
  • Though he makes up for it by taking me out for frozen yogurt.
  • Sometimes I tell him to talk to the baby and he gets stage fright. Instead of saying sweet lovey nothings to the baby, he'll list off chores the poor boy will have to do when he grows up. "You'll take out the garbage, and help mom with the dishes, and mow the lawn..." 
  • Once, while watching a show on PBS about Africa, I caught him crying. Something about a little girl who died and her dad finding her shoes in a field. When I asked him if he was crying he said, "NOT THAT MUCH."
About baby::
  • Baby is the size of a spaghetti squash. Ain't that cute?
  • He kicks at almost every meal, and especially at night. And just when I think that it's been too long since I've felt him wiggle, he wiggles. He's a good boy.
  • We're pretty set on a name for him. A real good, solid name. But Ryan's been calling him Phil, just to distract me from saying the real name too much. We want to keep it a secret so there's a fun surprise. That, and I'm afraid that some people who don't like it will tell me so. It's happened before.
  • He's officially a few days older than his big sister, which makes me sad and thrilled at the same time.
  • My maternal instinct is telling me that he's going to be really cute. And blond like his dad. I can just tell.
The end.


A recipe:: Roasted Veggie Summer Salad

I'm not going to pretend I totally know what I'm doing in the kitchen.

Before I got married, I promised Ryan that I'd have a good meal on the table every night. I talked a big talk. And then I got married, and had a job working 12-14 hours most days, and there was simply NO TIME to make a good meal every night. We had frozen pizza twice a week, probably. And then I quit that wretched job. And suddenly I was supposed to make dinner every night! And I realized I had no idea how difficult that really was! And whoops! 

I'm still learning my way around the kitchen-- making weekly menus, having a stocked pantry, using things up before they go bad, remembering to write down the meals that work and cut recipes in half so we're not eating leftover pot roast risotto four nights in a row. I call my mom with food questions so often that that I'm pretty sure it's become a joke between my parents. ("It's Amelia with a FOOD question again," says my dad as he passes the phone over to my mom. And then I hear them roll their eyes at each other.) I've slightly, slightly, improved my skills over the months, and I still have a strong desire to learn more. So that's good, right? Someday I'll be a delicious mix of Martha Stewart and Ina Garten! Someday!

What I'm trying to say is this: I made up (with my own brain!) a salad over the weekend that I think turned out pretty tasty. I'm no expert, and it's possible that this is just a crappy version of a real salad with a real name. But I made it all on my own without a recipe, and my hard-to-please pregnant taste buds voted that it's good. Real good. So I'm sharing it on my blog. 

Step 1: Get yourself some ingredients. I used peppers, zucchini, black olives, grape tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and 2 leftover cooked chicken breasts.

Step 2: Chop 'em up.

Step 3: Put your roast-able veggies (peppers and zucchini) on a baking sheet. Add a couple glugs of olive oil, salt and pepper, and whatever herbs you like. I used fresh parsley and basil because that's what I had on hand. But add whatever else you like, man. Onions! Garlic! Mushrooms! Dried herbs! Who even cares! Oh, and then toss your veggies with the oil and seasonings.

Step 4: Put the baking sheet into a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes, tossing again about halfway through.

You want your veggies to be soft and juicy, but not super mushy, you know?

Step 5: Let your roasted veggies cool off for about 5 minutes. Then, in a big bowl, toss your roasted veggies with the chicken and the other veggies you chopped but didn't roast (the olives, tomatoes, and artichokes.) Be sure to add all the oil and juices from the roasted veggies, because that's where the flavor is, guys! And it's important to do this while things are still warm, I think-- it softens the tomatoes perfectly, and makes everything super tasty. 

Step 6: Taste it. Observe. What does it need? I added a bit more olive oil, salt and pepper, and the juice from half a lemon to freshen things up. And then it's done!

Serve it up with a sprig of fresh parsley if you're feeling fancy. I ate it when it was cooled off, kind of lukewarm temperature, but I've been eating the leftovers cold and it's still good. The best part about this recipe is that it's really easy and super versatile-- use whatever veggies you have in the fridge, or make it vegetarian, or add quinoa, or (if you're not pregnant) feta cheese. Oh feta cheese. I'd have added the feta if I coulda.

And to make things easier for everybody, here's the recipe written down in real, official recipe form, exactly the way I did it:

Roasted Veggie Summer Salad
2-3 peppers (I used green, orange, and yellow) 
2 zucchini
1 can of artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
a handful of grape tomatoes
a handful of black olives
2 cooked chicken breasts
1/4 cup olive oil
a few tablespoons of chopped parsley and basil
the juice from half a lemon
salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Chop your ingredients into bite-sized chunks. In a shallow baking sheet, toss the zucchini and peppers with the olive oil, chopped herbs, and salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes, tossing again halfway through. Remove from oven when the veggies are soft and juicy, but still somewhat firm. Let cool for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, toss the roasted veggies with the remaining ingredients, being sure to add all of the oil and juices from the pan. Drizzle with lemon juice. Add more olive oil and salt and pepper if needed.

. . .


back at the beach again

Can't stop, won't stop.

We worked our buns off on Saturday. Ryan woke up extra early and took the car to the shop-- oil change and new brake pads and the works. I stayed home and cleaned until the afternoon. By the time we were finished with our chores it was early evening, and we were tired and cranky and in desperate need of some happy sunshine times. So we packed a bag and hit the beach again. We drove the scenic route with the windows down all the way to Whitefish Bay, where there are less drunk bros and more old people. Our sort of place, obviously. It was so hot outside, but the beach was breezy and sunny and comfortable. The water's still too cold to do anything but run in up to your knees, scream, and run back out, but there's plenty to do in the sand. Ryan likes to skip rocks and toss big chunks of driftwood into the water and explore, and I like to lay on the blanket and people watch. Occasionally I write messages in the sand or find smooth stones to take home. It's fun, the beach.

We packed up when the shadows got long and there was more shade than sunshine (when the punks started rolling in.) But thankfully, before we left, we were able to catch about 5 minutes of a group of 4 girls and one dude have a seductive photo shoot in the sand. Guys, there was some intense smizing. It was awesome.


summer, is that you?

The past couple of weeks have had a few things in common:

1. fresh air
2. the lake
3. ice cream
4. roomy skirts
5. bump hugging

This summer weather has been pretty friendly so far.