Friday, September 30, 2011

Enjoying the fall

Remember how I said I like the Fall here? First of all, it's hard to believe that was two years ago and second, I posted that in November. November, really? Apparently the Fall comes a little earlier in Indiana. The leaves are changing here and we are LOVING it! I feel it absolutely to point out the beautiful trees to Kev or anyone else who's riding with me even if we seen them 100 times already (our neighbor's tree being one I point out every time I drive by).

Yesterday, we got to admire the trees on campus. We have a weekly routine of meeting Kev on campus for a picnic on Thursdays (here was another example of our picnic). This week, we decided to sit underneath the most stunning tree EVER.
Pictures don't do it justice! I love the combination of red, yellow, and orange with even a little green sprinkled in. It was ideal...sitting on our blanket eating our picnic lunch. The only thing that was NOT ideal was apparently some geese thought under the tree was a good place to walk around and poop. Geese poop was EVERYWHERE. We quickly exited the area when we finished eating.
We had such a fun time. I'm dreading the cold weather that will keep us from picnicing (don't think that is really a word) outside. I guess we'll have to find an alternative.
Miss E was admiring this tree as well. What's not to love about the FALL...beautiful weather, changing leaves, hot coffee (instead of iced) at Starbucks, pumpkin ANYTHING, and college football. Definitely a great season!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Elliott and I took my mom (aka Mimi) to the airport today and it was so sad to see her go. Our time together was so sweet, it just makes her leaving that much more bitter. We are so abundantly thankful that she was able to spend a week with us. It's just amazing how quickly time flies when you're having fun.

She totally spoiled us while she was Elliott her undivided attention, cleaning the house, being great company for me (especially since Kev had lots of studying to do), buying Elliott winter clothes...I think we are all going through withdrawals since she left. Definitely one of the hardest things about moving north is being so far from family...hands down. Does this ever get any easier?

Here are a few pictures we took while she was here.

We love you Mom/Mimi!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

27 weeks and a date

I've been a little MIA lately, but I have a very good reason. My mom is here and it has been AM-AZ-ING!! I don't know if I am going to let her leave (she is scheduled to fly out on Wednesday). One day left. Makes me sad thinking about it. Among the many things we have done, she let Kev and I go out for a date night on Friday. We had a fun time with a night on a town. Dinner, dessert and lots of conversation...without a little girl.
We got to dress up (okay, dress up for me) which was fun. I even got to wear my new maternity jeggings...I know, I'm such a stylish preggo. :)
Love this guy!
Here is my 27 week belly shot. I feel like I'm getting bigger by the day...literally. I don't remember it happening this fast with Elliott.
In case you were wondering what I looked like at 27 weeks with Elliott, here ya go. I am definitely bigger now. It makes me a little nervous to think I still have 3 months to go.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The park

We had a beautiful day in South Bend today...the sun was out and it was in the 70s. I know these nice days are going to become a rarity, and it if the forecast is correct, we are looking at some rainy, cooler days for at least the next week. Elliott and I took a little trip to the park with our friends Kate and Maryn.

The park at this age is fun, but the girls are still a little too young to fully enjoy the experience. As soon as we got there, poor Maryn did a face plant in the wood chips. So sad! Then Elliott was trying to eat wood, sticks, rocks, acorns, anything that should NOT be eaten, she tried to eat, and was throwing a major fit when I took them away from her. Lovely. Next summer I'm sure they will LOVE the park, and hopefully it won't be quite as exhausting for us moms then.
They did enjoy a little swinging.
Just checking things out.

Elliott was determined to not look at the camera...and she succeeded.
Kate and I thought taking a picture of the girls on the slide would be so cute...if only they would actually have looked at us. I love Maryn's face in these pictures, just calmly watching Elliott. I also love the fact that E looks like a giant compared to her (she is a little bit in the foreground in her defense).

Overall, it was a wonderful trip to the park with our friends. And mom's coming to visit!!! Yay!! We're all so excited to see Mimi!

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Norman was a BIG college football town which we LOVED, so even though we weren't Notre Dame fans, we were pretty thrilled to be moving to a town where college football was a big deal. Kev, Elliott and I got to experience our first Notre Dame game day yesterday when they *finally* won their first game of the season against Michigan State and we were not disappointed. We didn't actually get to go the game (didn't figure going to our first Notre Dame game with a one year old would be the experience we were hoping for), but we really enjoyed just soaking up the atmosphere.
I love the hustle and bustle of game days...excitement in the air, random school chants breaking out as people walk to the stadium, walking in a sea of green or blue (even though I was a total rebel in gray with red beads...silently supporting my Sooners). It was the perfect day for a football game...70 degrees and sunny. We were thankful we got to go before it gets unbelievably cold. We met up with some of Kev's classmates who were tailgating, then walked to campus.

The famous Touchdown Jesus. A few random facts:
  • This is the southern facade of the main library and it faces the stadium.
  • It's made of a mosaic of different colors of marble.
  • His head is 8 feet tall and it is 40 feet from hand to hand.
  • Contrary to popular belief, this has nothing to do with football.
I'm sure you all wanted to know that, right? I thought it was pretty interesting.
The Bean, just taking it all in in her stroller.

After Miss Elliott's nap, we watched the game with some friends from church then that night we hosted some friends from Kev's program to watch the OU game. And can I just say BOOMER SOONER! We were so glad we beat the Seminoles. Not an easy game to watch. What a fantastic Saturday!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I remember all growing up, I ALWAYS thought it would be so cool to have a nickname. Well, let me tell you, "Erica" does not lend itself to many nicknames. I tried to make Er stick for a while, but that doesn't really have a great ring to it, and my sisters would call me Eric just to make me mad. The best nickname I had was when coaches would call me by my last night, but that's really not a great nickname either.

The name Elliott, on the other hand, lends itself to lots of potential nicknames...Elle, Ellie, etc. We actually get asked ALL the time what we are going to call her (after people hear her name), to which we respond, "Her name...Elliott." If she wants to go by a shortened version when she gets older, that's fine with me. However, I like to make nicknames for every possible name, so I started calling her Ellie-Bean (you know, like Jelly creative, I know). Well then we started shortening it, so now we just call her Bean. Bean...that's right, like green bean, black bean. I'm sure she is going to love that someday.
Our little "Bean"
Random picture before we left Oklahoma with her friend B. He's not so sure about her.
Checking each other out.
Picture from the aquarium in Chicago. Some reason this pic makes me laugh. Love it.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Elliott has really turned the corner in her walking abilities. One day, she would just walk when I coaxed her, now she walks EVERYWHERE! It's so fun to see her gain new-found independence. As an example, last night we went to Notre Dame's equivalent of OU's Campus Corner. Kev was talking on the phone so Elliott and I were just walking down the sidewalk. In the past couple of weeks, she usually likes a hand to hold (especially since we weren't on a smooth surface and she was wearing shoes), but when I reached down to hold her hand, she made it very clear she wanted to walk. Without my hand. Completely alone. Such a big girl.

This is her typical walking stance. At least one hand is always up in the air to help with balance. Precious.
The thing I've discovered with her new independence is a strong disliking to boundaries. What do I mean by this? I'm sure anyone who has a child can picture this...a screaming, arched back child, who most certainly did NOT want to go this way. Don't get me wrong, I want her to explore the world. I realize there are times she will fall and I won't be there to catch her. And that's okay. But there are most certainly times when mothers (and fathers) really do know best...even if she doesn't think so.
Sometimes it makes me wonder if sometimes I behave the same way. If I kick and scream and throw a fit (at least inwardly) because things didn't go the way I wanted them to go. And the whole time, God being an abudantly loving parent (so much better than I could ever be), is working what is best because He ALONE can see the big picture. Such a humbling thought. Thankful for my sweet girl who keeps me humble and teaches me new things every day.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Date night + the girl

Kev and I try to have date nights once a week. Sometimes we're alone but a lot of times we bring Miss E. We're finding it slightly more difficult to bring her to restaurants these days, unless it's a loud place (distracts her and also covers her screaming if she gets upset) and a place where it is appropriate to throw food on the floor (always happens that she has a "food circle" surrounding her high chair after the meal).

So last night we decided to eat at home (another new delicious soup recipe in our books...I'm on a role), and then go out for dessert.
We've been wanting to try this place since we moved here and it did not disappoint.
We all three enjoyed a piece of "Chocolate Explosion" paired with some decaf coffee (water for E). Yummy!
Elliott was not a fan of the overstuffed bear...
but she loved the fake "tree house" play area in the back.

We will definitely be frequenting this place again. We might even take anyone who decides to come visit us. Any takers?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Recipe-Chicken Enchilada Slow Cooker Soup

I have done such a terrible job taking pictures lately. I don't know what my deal is. I have these grand ideas of getting really artsy pictures of Elliott outside or of the rest of our house, but unfortunately my house is dirty and it's rainy outside. No excuse I know. I plan to remedy this today...hopefully.

So instead, I thought I would post one of the new recipes I have tried recently. Sidenote: when I told Kev I posted the recipe for Quick and Easy Green Chili Chicken Enchilada Casserole, he said, "I think you have made better enchilada casseroles before." Thanks for the vote of confidence honey. So we discovered that although while he liked the recipe, he is not as big of a fan of green enchilada sauce while I, on the other hand, could probably drink the stuff. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it. So there is my disclaimer on that recipe...proceed with caution if you don't like green sauce.

For this recipe, he gave his whole hearted approval that it was a "blog worthy" recipe. So here you go.

Chicken Enchilada Slow Cooker Soup

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken
breast halves
1 (15.25 ounce) can whole kernel corn,
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
including juice
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
1 white onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to
1.Rinse and pat dry the chicken breasts, then place into the bottom of a slow cooker. Add the corn, tomatoes, chicken broth, enchilada sauce, green chiles, onion, cilantro, bay leaves, garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt, and black pepper.
2.Cook on Low for 6 hours. Transfer the chicken to a large plate, then shred the meat with two forks. Return the chicken to the slow cooker and continue cooking for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

My changes (because I never leave good enough alone):
  • I only had one chicken breast (definitely not a pound), and it was mostly frozen.
  • I added two cans of beans to increase the protein (black and pinto)...beans make everything better.
  • I added a can of Rotel.
  • I added more chicken broth to thin it out a little bit.
  • I topped our soups with the cilantro instead of adding it to the crockpot.
  • We topped our soups with grated sharp cheddar cheese and tortilla chips. Yumminess.
My thoughts:
  • Very easy recipe! I basically just dumped everything in my crockpot then shredded the chicken right before we ate it. You could definitely cook it on low for longer than it says.
  • It tasted very similar to tortilla soup (which I love).
  • It was a little spicy for Miss E's taste. I think she would have liked it better if we wouldn't have put the can or Rotel in it.
  • It tasted great left over. Always a positive in my books.
  • We will definitely be making this soup again! I'm so excited to be building the list of crockpot recipes I can make.

Monday, September 5, 2011

24 weeks

The sound and feel of Fall is in the air here in South Bend. As I sit here on my couch, I hear the leaves rustling, feel the coolness of the air, and it feels like Fall. We had a couple of warm days last week (it got up to 96 degrees), and with just two warm days, I was ready for some cooler temperatures again. It was a cool 53 degrees when Miss Elliott and I took our morning walk today and it made me realize 3 things:
  1. I LOVE the Fall!!
    1. Fall means that Winter is right around the corner (and I'm bracing myself for truly experiencing a winter for the first time in my life).
    2. Elliott and I are in desperate need of a new wardrobe. She has outgrown most of her cooler weather clothes, and I have never been pregnant in the winter. I must admit, although it's slightly exciting to think about getting new clothes, shopping for maternity clothes is not *quite* as exciting. I always feel very irritated they charge such high prices for mediocre clothes because they can. Taking advantage of us poor pregnant girls. :)
    I was 24 weeks on Saturday so I thought I would post a few belly pics.
    Baby boy's growing!

    Although I have still been feeling pretty well, I started having some intermittent groin/sciatic pain. There was a day a couple weeks ago I literally could hardly walk. As I was contemplating crawling around to avoid the intense pain, I started to panic. How could I function trying to care for a baby with such limited mobility? I NEVER had pain like this when I was pregnant with Elliott and I'm convinced it's because I am constantly carrying around an almost 25 pound child. 25 pound girl+lax ligaments=serious pain. I have adjusted the way I carry her and have been trying to carry her less and the pain has definitely improved. I still have 16 weeks to go so I'm expecting it to get worse as I get farther along.

    Anybody else ever experience this type of pain? What are some fun Fall adventures you plan on doing?