29 August 2012

Madeleine - Week 9

This week's fabric is a nod to all of our teaching friends and family who are heading back to the classroom this week. As you can see in the second photo, Madeleine has discovered her tongue. Playing tongue games has been really fun this week.

26 August 2012

Weekend in Photos

I'm happy to report that we had a great sleeping weekend. When the baby is sleeping, everything else goes sooo much smoother. Here's a glimpse at what we did:

Saturday morning tummy time. We're so proud of Madeleine's strong neck and rolling from tummy to back at 8 weeks old! And, yes, I do feel like the crazy parents you saw cheering for their kids at the Olympics.

Scene of our first post-Madeleine date. The rabbit was one of my best lifetime meals...and not just because I was enjoying two glasses of wine for the first time in 11 months.

It's a good thing she's adorable when I have to fight to keep her awake during nighttime feedings.

Madeleine's eyelashes just keep growing! I'm so glad she has not inherited my short ones. 

Our baby is a dragon!

Birth announcements (finally) ready to go in the mail!

For the last 5 years, we've fought to keep fruitless blackberry out of our backyard. When we worked in the yard today, we discovered that these same bushes on the edge of our property have finally produced a few berries. Yum!

It's going to be a big week at our house. Stay tuned for details. How was your weekend? What's on your plate for the week ahead?

24 August 2012


(Don't worry, George, you didn't miss our anniversary. :-) )

The five-year anniversary of the blog came and went over the summer. With all that's been going on, I didn't have an opportunity to properly acknowledge it.

First, let's talk about some things that have changed since the blog's inception.  It's hard to believe that five years ago, I spent the summer enjoying carefree travel across China, Australia, and New Zealand. It was during that trip to New Zealand that I met George's family and many of his Kiwi friends, family and friends who I now consider my own. We've weathered law school, a bar exam, and a law firm job with long hours; with them came some quiet times on the blog. In the last five years, George and I have gone from being a couple of a year and a half to being a married couple of three years with a beautiful wedding celebrated in the middle. I've enjoyed this last while (nearly a year now - wow!) of being at home, which included a lot of preparing for baby and crafting and now consists of almost entirely caring for baby...and the blog reflects those times in my life. Of course, we've welcomed our dear Madeleine and couldn't wait to celebrate it here as well. Yes, so very much has happened and changed from summer 2007 to now.

Now let's talk about what hasn't changed at all. When I started this blog, I had to come up with a name for it. Telling friends and family to find me at something like www.29384.blogspot.com seemed tedious at best. To find a name, I reflected on my feelings for George (after all, this would be a blog about both of us) and my hopes and aspirations for our future. That's how I arrived at Without a Doubt. I knew, even then, that - without a doubt - we'd spend our futures together. And that has not changed one bit since the very first post back on July 13, 2007. George is a wonderful partner and husband, friend and confidant, mate for life. Watching him be an astoundingly awesome father to Madeleine makes me love and admire him all the more.

I look forward to seeing where the next five years take us. There are plenty of unknowns, but without a doubt, George and I will be experiencing them together.

23 August 2012

Breakfast of Champions

Happy Thursday morning!

Right after I had Madeleine, a friend brought us some homemade granola. It was absolutely delicious and inspired me to both go on a granola-eating kick and make my own. The recipe below is the one I've developed, loosely based upon this recipe.

First, mix the basic dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Then, add the spices and mix again. Add the wet ingredients (oil first!) and stir vigorously to get rid of the clumps. Then, prep one or two rimmed cookie trays with cooking spray and spread the whole mixture on it/them.

Put the tray into the preheated oven and bake, turning the granola every 8-10 minutes to evenly brown the batch. Once nicely brown, return the goodies to the mixing bowl to cool and add the delicious dried fruit.

Mix again. Transfer your granola to an airtight container, and you're set.

Here's the more usable recipe:

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup sliced almonds
2/3 cup sunflower seeds (without the shell)
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1 tsp ground ginger (optional)
3/4 Tbsp ground cinnamon
dash nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup honey
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup golden raisins

Heat oven to 325F (~160C). In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, and flaxseed. Once combined, add ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and mix well until there is a consistent color throughout. Add olive oil and mix well to cover entire batch evenly. Add honey, 1/3 of a cup at a time, being careful to not get honey directly on the spoon or bowl in order to minimize loss of ingredients. Once most or all clumps of honey are worked into the batch, spray cooking oil on one or two rimmed cookie trays and spread the mixture evenly. Bake for approximately 40 minutes, turning mixture every 8-10 minutes to promote even toasting. Once baking is complete, return mixture to bowl, allow to cool, add dried fruit, and mix well. Store in airtight container.

And there you have it - the key ingredient to the breakfast of champions (or at least this new mama): greek yogurt, fresh local berries, and homemade granola. Yum!

22 August 2012

Madeleine - Week 8

This week's photo features a naked baby sporting only a cloth diaper. We've gone back to cloth diapers because Madeleine is now big enough to wear them without them dominating her little frame and because our friend, Sarah, inspired me to give them a second go when we visited her (and Rob and sweet little Alexandra) in Ohio last week. This little number is a Thirsties Duo All-in-One. I ordered it on Saturday from Diaper Junction, who impressed the heck out of me by delivering it on Monday with free shipping. While we're also using the covers and prefolds we'd previously purchased, the all-in-ones are so much easier to use. I digress.

Madeleine is in the middle of a developmental leap, which means that no one in our house is getting much sleep at the moment. Thankfully, this is the beautiful smile that greeted me at 1am, 3am, and 5am last night.

21 August 2012

Good news.

My mom and I talk on the phone nearly every day, but this afternoon's call was especially special given that it's the first I've heard directly from her since her surgery. She remains in good spirits after what appears to have been a successful surgery yesterday. Her surgeon removed 99-percent of the tumor, and she is dealing well with a seemingly minor complication. We should know the biopsy results in a few days and pray that it is fully benign. At the moment, the top priority is Mom's full recovery.

To accompany the good news are some photos of her effect on our dear Madeleine. Enjoy.

19 August 2012

Weekend in Photos

Second ever flight - Cleveland to Seattle

First swim

Loving her birdie

Saturday morning farmers' market spoils

$7 - I love Seattle in summer.

New do

Sunday morning smiles

Sunday morning giggles

Sunday morning serious

Brunch with Brian and Sam

What did you do this weekend?

18 August 2012


I mentioned that August 8th was a grey day at our house. Madeleine received three vaccines, and I had minor surgery. But what made the day grey was some earth shattering news from my mom. You don't have to know me well to know that my mom and I are exceptionally close, so you can imagine that my world shook when she told me that she was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

I never liked the word tumor, but I've hated it every time I've thought or heard it since August 8th. It's a word that is sharp and piercing and filled with danger and unknowns. Granted, my mom appears to be one of the lucky ones with a tumor. That is, hers appears to be encapsulated (wedged between her skull and brain without invading either one) and of a variety that is benign 80- to 90-percent of the time. She and my stepfather remain very positive, and, while I'm hopeful that her surgery on Monday will be successful, I am still terrified. Tumors are scary business.

As fate would have it, George, Madeleine, and I were already scheduled to be at my mom and stepdad's house this past week to attend my grandfather's memorial service and introduce Madeleine to our family. Now that we're home, I'll soon be sharing photos and memories from our visit. Hopefully first sharing this news will give you a bit of context on how this recent family visit was even more precious than most. Also, thoughts (and prayers, if you're the praying type) for my mom, her medical team, and our family are greatly appreciated during this pretty frightening time.

17 August 2012

Madeleine - Week 7

We spent this week in Ohio with my mom and stepdad; while we were there, Madeleine made huge strides in the area of expressions. There's nothing quite like a loving, doting grandma to bring out big smiles and even laughs.

I love (love, love, love!) this little girl's toothless grin, and I had to feature it in this week's photo (posted late but taken on time). It was difficult to choose from the 105 photos George snapped, but this is the one I think best represents Madeleine this week.

The fabric is from New Zealand and meant to mimic paua.

08 August 2012

Madeleine - Week 6

One of my goals with Madeleine's weekly photos is to be authentic and true to the day or week of her life. Today was a very grey day at our house. Although this may not be the most complimentary photo of our dear Madeleine (showing her big case of baby acne and sad pucker), it's very authentic to today.

05 August 2012

Weekend in Photos

It was a HOT weekend here in Seattle. Yesterday, we had the first 90-degree (32C) day since the summer of 2009 2010, and today we set a record with temperatures in the low 90s again. As a result, we did a lot of vegging and sitting in front of the fan.

It also occurs to me that this was my last weekend of my 20s. Eeek.

On Friday night, I picked up some yummy berries at the local farmers' market. Can't wait to make the blueberries and few remaining raspberries into delicious desserts tomorrow (once the temperature dips low enough to use the oven again). 

I needed a few things at Nordies and managed to make it in time for the sale.

Baby needs to stay hydrated in the heat, too. Poor girl has a bad case of baby acne, which the heat is not helping.

Saturday afternoon tummy time on the quilt from Grandma Janie.

George made the bulk of the raspberries into a delicious raspberry and lavender sorbet. Yum.

I finally took care of my civic voting duty. Ballot will be in the mail tomorrow.

Our friend, Kate, came to visit and brought these beautiful summery flowers.

Madeleine was so hot that this is how she took her Sunday naps (in front of the fan).

Sunday night: take-out burger, fresh pedicure, Olympics on TV.

My wonderful daughter and her super dad...

How was your weekend? What's on tap for the week ahead?