My Best Friend's Wedding

We're in San Diego this weekend for my best friend's wedding!  

Kelly and I met freshmen year of college...we were in the same dorms and also in the same "Week of Welcome" group.  WOW is a week long program that our college hosted to help students get familiar with the campus and perhaps form a friendship or two.  On the first day of activities, we were told to dress comfortably as we would be active that day.  I knew Kelly and I would be lifelong friends when we both showed up in jean skirts and sandals.  We were told to go back to the dorms to change since we would be rock climbing.  Naturally, we bonded over our shared sense of fashion and we've been inseparable ever since then.  

I pretty much attribute her for being the reason I met my husband {we also met my freshmen year of college}...since we all went to a Beta party one fateful night.  From there, we've enjoyed many nights of boxed wine {classy!}, Bachelor Mondays, dancing in downtown, birthday celebrations, and many trips between San Diego and Tahoe.  

I'm so excited for Kelly and can't wait to stand by her side as she marries her best friend.  

{I mean, cute are they??}

Love you always Kel!

xo natasha

Happy 3 Months Ethan!

Dear Baby Ethan,

Today, September 26th, you turn 3 months old!  Where has the time gone?  I've completely cherished every day that I've gotten to spend with you.  You have transformed from a newborn into a little baby, right before my eyes, and I just love getting to know you more and more each day.

I feel like we finally have a routine and I.  You usually wake up anywhere between 5-7am for your first meal of the day and promptly go back down and sleep until 11am.  Crazy!  I know!  But it allows me to sleep a little longer before I get up and ready for the day.  Once you wake up and have "lunch", we get to play, read books, practice tummy time and sitting time in your bumbo. And then you will go back down for your afternoon nap...which is usually another 3-4 hours!  Once you wake up around 3, you have your late afternoon meal...we play and usually go for a walk and then you once again, back down for yet another nap.  The 5-7 hours can be tricky.  You wake up and stay up for several hours.  During that time, you might be hungry again, fussy, or perfectly content.  I do think you're going through a growth spurt because of the frequent cluster feedings.  Otherwise, I think it's your idea of social hour!  :)  Luckily, that's around the time Dad gets home and you two get to spend some quality time together.  Sometimes we go for a walk as family too.  We all have dinner and we bathe, lotion, read and swaddle you around 9pm...with the hopes that you go down by 10pm.  Then we do it all over again!  ;)  This definitely can change depending on what we do on a given day...but it's a good picture of a day in the life of Ethan Schue!

The thing that I love most about your schedule is that you put yourself to sleep...I only nurse you to sleep at the last feeding of the night and then again between that 5-7 hour.  You definitely sleep a lot...but I know that will change soon enough!

You've been an extra social butterfly this month!  You had your first flight to Minneapolis, MN for my cousin's wedding and you did great!  You traveled so well and you were the perfect little wedding guest {you slept through the entire ceremony!}.  You also got to meet your great-grandma, uncles and other family members this month!  It was a big month of milestones! 

While traveling, you also were awake a lot more during the day, since we were out sight seeing, but it never threw your schedule off.  You slept like a pro in your pack 'n play at night.  The same went for the following weekend where we had another wedding in Calistoga.  So proud of you little man.  We have a couple more weddings coming up, some of which include flying again, so I'm relieved that you enjoy it so much.  

You also got to spend time around your buddy Beckett {pictured above}.  You two are already best friends.  Beckett loves handing things to you and giving you your pacifier {though he might steal it for himself first!  ;)}.  You are almost exactly a year apart, but I know you two will grow up being great friends.  He can't wait for you to start interacting more!

As for your weight, you don't have your next appointment until next week {another round of shots...eek!} but we are thinking you are well over 12 pounds by now.  I love watching you grow and even though you are still in 0-3 month clothes...I know you'll be moving up soon enough!

You still love getting baths {look at the squishy little tush!} and going on walks.  You also love being in the BabyBjorn with just look around and stare at the world.  You're definitely not a fan of missing out or facing our chests.  You have to be a part of the party!

We absolutely love how much you interact with us now...from smiling to laughing to've got a lot to say and you make sure we know it.  You're generally a happy baby...and you kick up a storm!  You can also hold toys with more ease and just about everything, including your firsts, go in your mouth.  You also blow bubbles a the point where I've started putting bibs on you so you don't soak your clothes.

Another big boy moment this past month is that you're happily sleeping in your crib at night.  I still put you in your swing for naps during the day, but you have had no problem adjusting to your crib.  I cannot believe what a big boy you are, sleeping in your own room at night now!

I simply cannot believe how big you've gotten this past's just crazy!  But I adore the little rolls you're developing on your thighs, your big open-mouth kisses, and your hearty giggles.   We feel so blessed to have you in our lives and can't wait to see what this next month has in store for us!

Love, Mom

What a difference 3 months make!

Butternut Squash Enchiladas

Certainn things signify autumn...the changing of the leaves, pumpkin scented candes, riding boots and lots of squash!  Yes, butternut squash is one of my favorite fall flavors and these enchiladas are seriously to.die.for!  We've made them twice for dinner and they're even better as leftovers...and better yet, they're actually quite healthy too!  Can we say win-win?

Of course, the amazingly talented Marina of Yummy Mummy Kitchen is the talent behind this dish.  I honestly wouldn't change a thing about it.  We had a similar dish at Cottonwood Restaurant that added toasted peppitas to the dish...which added a wonderful crunch.  But honestly...these are incredible just as Marina crafted them.  I especially like the greek yogurt with mild green salas mixture.  Delish!

From Yummy Mummy Kitchen

2 1/2 cups 1/2-inch cubed butternut squash (12-ounces, or about 1 small-medium peeled, seeded squash) 
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
15 ounces cooked or canned black beans, drained and rinsed 
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion 
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus more cilantro for garnish 
12 ounces jarred or fresh mild green salsa 
1/4 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt (such as Chobani) 
1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend 
8 corn tortillas 
1 large ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
1 cup low fat sour cream 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place cubed butternut squash on a large baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast for 20 minutes or until tender. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, stir together roasted butternut squash, beans, chopped onion, and cilantro. In another medium bowl, stir together salsa and yogurt. 

Pour a thin layer of the salsa sauce over the bottom of 10" x 7" casserole dish. The 10x7-inch dish is perfect for corn tortillas, but an 8-inch square baking dish would work as well. Place 1/3 cup of the squash and bean mixture into each tortilla. Top with 1 tablespoon of cheese and roll up. Place seam-side-down in the baking dish. Continue until all the squash mixture is used up. Pour the remaining salsa sauce over the top of enchiladas. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese has melted and starting to brown in places, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve with sour cream and avocado.

I'm off to go eat some yummy leftovers now...bon appetit!

xo natasha

Fall is Here...and an Emmy Recap

Happy Fall Ya'll!

Ok, you know I had to go there...if only I was truly southern!  ;)

I feel like we can officially talk about fall, now that it's here.  Bring on the pumpkin spiced lattes, cozy sweaters, changing of the trees, holidays...oh yes, and fall television!  Speaking of TV, did you watch the Emmy's last night?

99.9% of why I tune into the award shows is to see what everyone is wearing...obviously!  But I especially like the Emmy's, since TV is about that only thing I can watch right now {no movies for us since Baby Schue arrived!}.  I love Downton Abbey, Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire though I was bummed that Glee and True Blood were snubbed this year...especially because Lea Michelle and Anna Paquin are two of my favorite actresses.

And apparently we need to get into Modern Family and Homeland since they both won big time this year!

So onto the fashion...I wasn't overly blown away by any of the looks this year.  I mean, I barely recognized January Jones:

Anybody else??
I thought she looked way better back in 2009.

I do love Jessica Pare though...she's just so elegant.  Way to represent for the Mad Men cast!

And I thought Claire Danes was just glowing...gotta give props to her and her baby bump!  ;)

I also loved Zooey Deschanel's was light and feminine, yet sophisticated, which was nice to see from her.  

Unfortunately, I thought Kristen Wiig was one of the worst dressed of the night.  I actually like the dress on its own, but it completely washed her out and really did nothing for her.  Plus her hair just looked thrown together at the last minute.  Not a fan of the her though!

I will give a special shout-out to Sofia Vergara.  Though her look was a little mermaid-esque, she totally rocked it and of course, she's just radiating inside and out!

Really though...there weren't any big stand outs on the red carpet and I was bummed that more of "my shows" didn't win big last night.  Guess I'll just have to start getting excited for the next season of Downton Abbey to premiere!  ;)

Did you watch last night?  What did you think?

xo natasha

In My Bag: Hospital Essentials

{click set for details}

This post is long overdue {by almost 3 months!} but several of you have asked what I packed in my hospital bag, so here you go!

We only live about ten minutes from the hospital, so I wasn't too worried about packing everything perfectly before Baby arrived.  Even so, I definitely overpacked...I used about half of what I brought.  So the above items are what I actually used and would recommend to pack.

For You: I would definitely recommend bringing your own shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, hair products, and hair blow dryer to the hospital.  Oh and makeup too!  Our hospital provided some necessities but after you deliver, you just want to have a little sense of normalcy, and a hot shower with the ability to put yourself together is just the ticket.

I also used a lightweight robe and slippers {or sandals} for shuffling around the hospital...both before and after the delivery.  I did not end up using my own underwear...the mesh undies they provide are SO much better and much more comfortable.  I also used the hospital gowns.  True, they're not super glamorous, but they're clean and plentiful and that's all I cared about at the time.

Also, bring some nursing tanks or bras to make the transition out of the hospital easier.  And of course a comfy going home outfit.

For Nursing: LANOLIN LANOLIN LANOLIN!  I cannot stress enough how important Lanolin is for those first few days.  Heck, start applying it before the baby arrives.  This stuff is amazing!  I never suffered any cracking, drying or bleeding as a result of this product.  Can't sing its praises enough.  We also brought a travel boppy, which may have been a little frivolous, BUT if you plan to use a nursing pillows, this one is great because it folds up which keeps the pillow clean and free of hospital germs.

You don't need to bring a pump.  My hospital provided one, which I did end up using because Ethan was taken to the nursery the first night, but otherwise, you don't need it because you'll be nursing your little one right away.

For Baby: I would definitely recommend bringing some Aden + Anais swaddle blankets.  They're so much softer and easy to use...our nurses were even impressed by them!  Also, the no-scratch mittens are a must.  Our hospital didn't provide nail files or clippers for us to use and it's surprising how long and sharp their nails are!  You don't want your little baby scratching up his or her face right off the bat!

Also, a cute going home outfit for baby!

Don't forget!  Don't forget your cameras, phones, laptops or iPads and of course the corresponding chargers.  You want to capture every moment and spread the news efficiently!

So there you have it!  Did I miss anything?  Any questions?  Fire away!

Have a great weekend!!

xo natasha

Baby Ethan: Week 12

Weight: 11+ pounds

Health: Healthy and happy...and newly obsessed with his hands!  He loves sucking on them and is starting to discover other toys with his mouth too!

Sleep: Ethan is officially sleeping in his crib!  We're stil trying to figure out the best swaddle situation.  His little legs seem to get cold at night in the SwaddleMe, but the Halo sack does not hold his arms in.  All in all, he's been good about sleeping there...doesn't he look so little compared to the crib??  Breaks my heart seeing him in there all alone, but I know it's for the best!

Diet: Milk, milk and more milk!

Clothes: He's rocking the 3 month clothing and I'm trying to keep him in there as long as possible.  Though he does have a TON of cute 3-6 month stuff!

Baby Gear Love: I have to give major props to the Summer Infant video monitor.  It gives me so much peace of mind to be able to see him sleeping in his crib {even if he is right across the hall}.  We also love the pack 'n play, especially with all the traveling we've done lately.  He sleeps perfectly in it.

Crying: Ethan has done pretty well in this department...especially at the last two weddings we've been to!  He's a perfect little guest!  :)

Likes: Baby E loves looking around and interacting with people.  He totally hams it up when we go out...smiling and talking away!  He's loving his toys and books more and more, now that's becoming more aware.  

Postpartum: I just ordered my very own spin bike, so that I can workout from home!  I'm really excited about it since I loved spin so much before!  Can't wait to see how it goes!

Milestones: Ethan attended his second wedding this past weekend and did so well!  We were definitely among friends...there were tons of other babies there, which made us feel more secure.  He even got his own seat...pretty cool!  ;)

And of course, sleeping in his own crib is a HUGE milestone!  He's growing up so fast!

We also want to wish my brothers {Ethan's uncles!} a very happy birthday today!  

xo natasha

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins {Dairy Free}

In the quest to be more conscious about what I eat...not only for myself but for my little guy, I'm always on the lookout for healthy, yet delicious recipes.  Thanks to Erinn, I was introduced to these little treats. It's essentially oatmeal-on-the-go which is great for early morning commuting or late afternoon snacking.  

Recipe adapted from the Happy Herbivore

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven 350 F. Grease or spray a muffin tin or paper liners if using. In a large bowl, whisk flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices together until well combined. Add applesauce, sugars and maple then stir until almost combined. Add blueberries, stirring until just combined. Spoon into muffin cups 3/4 full. Sprinkle additional oats and brown sugar on top if desired. Bake 18 to 25 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

I made these ahead of time so I had breakfast ready to go all week long.  Delish!

xo natasha

Linked to: Tasty Tuesdays

Traveling with Baby: Thoughts and Essentials

This past weekend, Baby Ethan went on his first trip!  We traveled to Minneapolis, MN for my cousin's wedding...which involved a two hour car ride to the airport and then a flight with one layover to get there.

I was definitely a little nervous and would baby do?  What if he cried the whole flight?  How would he do in a hotel room?  How would we get him around?  And would he make a scene at the wedding?  We definitely had to contend with a lot of firsts, but guess what?  We not only survived, we actually had a great time!  Ethan did amazing!  He was just about ten and a half weeks and I attribute his young age to how easy he made it on us.  I thought I would outline some thoughts and essentials that helped us tremendously during baby's first big trip!

Prepare well but remember, less is more: Our initial instinct was to pack as much as we could...we would not be those first-time parents that came unprepared.  But the more we thought about it, we realized that babies really need very little: milk, diapers, and a place to sleep.  The rest could be figured out.  We opted to leave the stroller behind and bring a carrier instead.  It was really nice not having to check the stroller at the airport.  We did bring his carseat {safety first} but we could check that and not worry about it while we were in the airport.  Also, since we were going to a large city, we brought enough diapers to make it through the flight and then bought a pack when we got there.  It was nice to actually survive on less and taught me that we can soothe our baby without having the swing/sleep sheep/excessive amounts of toys at our disposal.

Nurse or provide a pacifier during takeoff and landing: I did this and Ethan had no problems with his ears popping or irritating him.

Baby Carriers are your friend: There were times we might have enjoyed having a stroller there, but until he can comfortably sit in an umbrella stroller on his own, it wasn't worth the hassle for such a short trip.  Ethan actually enjoyed the new perspective of being in a carrier as we walked around downtown. I would definitely figure out which carrier works best ahead of time though!

Keep it clipped: We rely on the pacifier to soothe Ethan, but the little thing is prone to popping right out.  Enter the pacifier clip {or leash as my husband calls it} and you don't have to worry about the sucker falling onto dirty floors or worse--losing it!

More is more, when it comes to clothing: With the fluctuating temperatures on a plane and the baby carrier exposure, we opted to keep Ethan in a footed-onesie.  This kept him warm and covered...a definite plus when traveling.

Other tips...we have the above diaper pad so we can change Ethan anywhere and everywhere.  The changing tables in public restrooms can be hard and {I'm assuming} pretty dirty, so this keeps him comfortable and clean during diaper changes.

We bathed Ethan in the hotel sink, which he is still small enough for.  I brought along a travel-set of hair wash and lotion to bathe him with.  If you're in a pinch, Mustela makes cleansing cloths.

Last, I brought my pump {which is not suitcase-space friendly} but I wanted the option to pump in case Ethan's schedule was thrown off and then we also had a bottle or two for reserve in case he started fussing at an inappropriate time {say--when the bride and groom were saying "I do"!}.  I suggest bringing bottles that have a cap so they can travel easily.

There are mixed reviews on whether to bring along a birth certificate.  My doctor said it wasn't necessary since he was so small, no one would question whether he needed his own seat.  But one of the attendants at the check-in desk said that we needed one to prevent a question of whether he was too young to travel.  We didn't bring one in the end and had no problems, but we may get one now to avoid problems in the future.

All in all, we managed to get away with checking 4 bags: our two suitcases, the pack 'n play and his car seat.  We carried on his diaper bag and a large tote as my purse.  It was super manageable and made traveling with a baby seem almost easy!  ;)

I think that sums it up!  Feel free to ask any questions if you want more details!

xo natasha


Hi Friends!

Just checking in to catch up on what's been going on lately...I have some fun things to share!  :)

First...I got to meet the gorgeous and extremely witty Katie from Keep Calm and Carry On a couple weeks ago.  She and her hubby found themselves in Lake Tahoe for their anniversary, so naturally I insisted suggested that we get together for a rum runner out at the Beacon.  ;)  She could not have been more genuine and fabulous in person...I absolutely loved getting the chance to meet her!  And we're already talking about their next visit here!

She also captured an awesome shot of our little family of!  Clearly Ethan has an affinity for pretty brunettes from Ohio...he is totally hamming it up!  ;)

On to other news...I just finished Gone Girl in record time!  It was so captivating and creepy.  Compared to other books that I have read recently {uh hum...50 Shades}, it had really amazing writing and totally sucked me in from beginning to end.  Has anyone else read it?  Any new book suggestions?

As indicated yesterday, I may have done a little extra shopping while on our Minneapolis trip.  Gap was having a denim sale {buy one, get one half could I resist?} so I picked up a gray pair of the ankle zippered skinnies {no longer available online apparently} and the deconstructed always skinnies.  I actually have the always skinnies and really like the way they fit, so I was happy to score another pair with the deconstructed detail on them.

Last, I am honored that "Trendy Peas" featured Baby Ethan's nursery on their blog recently.  Their cute dog print was one of the prints that we used on the gallery wall.  Check out the post here!

{photo courtesy of Darcy Rodriguez}

What have you been up to lately?

xo natasha

PS...a special thanks to Mara from One Lucky Girl for mentioning me in the "7 Things About Me" award!

Baby Ethan: Week 11

Weight: Ethan hasn't had an official weigh-in but he should be well over the 11 pound mark at this point.

Health: Baby is happy and healthy this week...I'm happy to report that he has even backed off on his fussing.  We thought for a second there, that he could be prematurely teething, but I don't think that is the case.  I'll chalk it up to aches from his first shots.

Sleeping like a little lamb on the plane.

Sleep: Ethan slept like a little angel while we were traveling this past weekend.  I was worried between the hotel room environment, pack n' play set up {which he had never slept in before} and the time change, that he would be thrown off and not sleep as well.  But he slept better than ever...7-8 hour stretches.  I actually had to wake him up the first morning because I felt like I might burst!

We also finally ordered his baby monitor, so starting this Thursday, we'll start putting him in his own crib.  We have found that we're not "putting him down" for the night consistently and that's where some of his fussiness is coming from.  So setting a bedtime and putting him down for the night should *hopefully* help!

Diet: Milk!  And I fed him for the first time this past weekend.  I had been cautious about it because I didn't want him to associate me with the bottle.  But we were out at lunch and he was getting super fussy...Ryan wasn't able to get him to take the bottle.  So I finally did it, and it worked!  It also saved me from have to BF right there at the table {though, I have done that several times now!}.

Clothes: Baby E is still fitting in his 0-3 and 3 month clothes.  I keep saying he'll be growing out of his footie sleepers any day now...we'll see!

Baby Gear Love: This past week we definitely relied heavily on the BabyBjorn and the Pack 'N Play. I'm planning to write a post this Friday on traveling with baby and the things we found my useful.  

Crying: Even though I complain that he is fussy...there's usually a reason.  And it can be fixed by a change, a feeding, or swaddling him.  The SwaddleMe has really become our new best friend.  It calms him almost instantly.

Likes: I would say that he likes the swaddle...but I think we like it more!  He definitely likes to face outward more and more, so he can see and hear what's going on.  I even tried this bumbo for the first time this week...I figured since he could support his head in the Bjorn, that he should have no problem in the bumbo.  Don't worry, we did it on the carpeted floor, supervised and only for a couple minutes.  

Ethan also loves when I make a motorboat noise with my mouth...that's what got him to laugh last week and even though he hasn't laughed since, he still lights up every time I do it!  I feel like a one-trick pony, but hey!  It works and we got tons of smiles out of him.  I'll continue until he catches on to me!  ;)

Postpartum: Nothing too new to report in this category other than I was able to scoop up some more skinny jeans at Gap and they were much closer to my real size.  Thankyouverymuch.  Makes me feel good to be able to wear jeans again!

 Ethan with his grandma!

Ethan with his grandma!

Ethan with his handsome uncles!  :)

Milestones: Ethan got to meet his uncles, great-grandmother and other great aunts/uncles and second cousins this weekend at my cousin's wedding.  

He also went on his very first airplane ride!  He was also out of state for the first time--Minneapolis, MN.  Lots of exciting firsts!

xo natasha

Apple Poppyseed Salad

We've been making quite a few salads these last few weeks...perhaps to savor the last few weeks of warm weather!  Also...all of those warm comfort foods are starting to creep onto the Pinterest boards {hello Pumpkin Spiced Lattes!}, so I need to resist the urge as long as possible!  One nice thing about this time of year is that apples are at their peak, so it's a great excuse to make this salad!

I love the flavors and texture in this salad.  The apples and dressing are sweet and yet the peppers and gorgonzola add a tang.  Here are the ingredients:  

Green Bell Peppers
Mixed Greens
Gorgonzola Cheese
Almond Slivers
Poppyseed Dressing

You can also add red onion, but I've pretty much sworn them off since the pregnancy!  ;)

Fall technically doesn't begin until the 22nd, so I'll be hanging on as long as I can to these last days of summer!  How about you?

xo natasha

Linked to: Tasty Tuesdays