Friday, October 28, 2011


I've had a few pictures to share with you all lately, but without sitting down to hook up the camera to the computer, I have found it impossible to follow through. Here they are -- a few looks at what we've been up to lately, enjoying the fall for all it is.

Two weekends ago we had some friends over, a wonderful couple who got married the day after Mr. Allen and I, so you could say they are at the same stage of life as us (minus one little growing infantino that we have going on.) We wanted to make them something special for dinner, so we planned to make crockpot chicken taco chili (a pinterest find, of course,) but our plans changed last minute and Mr. Allen and I enjoyed the taco chili, just the two of us. The couple came over the next night, and we scrambled around the house looking for something to serve them and found a pretty random variety of foods; but dessert had already been decided upon.

I had pinned a recipe for raspberry buttermilk cake a few weeks (months?) back, waiting for the right opportunity to try it out. My aunt had bought me a Crate&Barrel giftcard for graduation in June, and I hadn't used the whole balance up yet, so I ventured out to the store to buy ramekins (those little individual serving dishes that are too cute for words.) They are the perfect accessory for having friends over - a little showy, a little wonderful, and everyone wants to eat that full "small" portion. :] The cakes turned out beautifully and so tasty!

Of course we added chocolate chips. These Allens don't do recipes without chocolate chips if there is an option. (I just finished baking a loaf of banana bread + chocolate chips to push the point that much further. Also so yummy; I'm enjoying a thick slice while I write this.)

Last weekend we celebrated Mr. Allen's birthday (and I mean we celebrated all weekend/week.) We headed back to Michigan to spend a few days with his side of the family and were able to have lunch with my side on the way back to Chicago. My sister-in-law, Kelsey, called a few weeks ago and asked if, while we were home, we would want to enjoy the fall-er things in life: corn maze, pumpkin carvings, etc. I was definitely on board, and although we didn't make it to the corn maze, we did enjoy some doughnuts and cider from the orchard and spent an evening carving pumpkins.

Our creations...

[Mr. Allen's "Grim Creeper" creation. He always picks the creepiest pumpkin designs. Yuck.]

[My creation: the Chicago Blackhawks' logo. This baby took me a few good hours and more work than imaginable. Even though it is currently rotting on our back stoop only a week later, the final turn-out of this creation was so worth it.]

[My sister, Kelsey's, creation of what was supposed to be the Stanley Cup, but because our knives both were destroyed mid-carving ended up much more of a bowling pin look-alike.]

[All of our pumpkins out on the front porch, bringing joy to the neighbors (hopefully.)]

Man, fall is great. I know I've said it before, but it really is the best. I might even trade a day on the beach for an afternoon with those beautifully changing trees and falling leaves and all the fall-festivities. I can't wait to show Cubbie all of those next year and in the years to come. :]

with joy.

I'm linking up to these parties...


Thursday, October 27, 2011

not the only one.

I really need to be more diligent about posting twice a week. I have so many post ideas bouncing around in my head that I lose one before I have even fully thought through the next. But good news, I think you all might be getting lucky this weekend with another one. :]

A spill of some of these aforementioned ideas...
(Does Baby feed off of my brain too? If so, I'm so sorry, Cubbie, for this overload of thoughts going seemingly non-stop lately, especially when we just want to sleep.)

Sometimes I just want to sloooow down life. I mean, there are moments that are so sweet, so beautiful that, at normal speed, I just don't get to grasp a hold of for long enough. Example: I absolutely love the few minutes before bed when Mr. Allen and I laugh and pray and talk and share our souls and I think that maybe we shouldn't go to sleep so soon after all, because it's just that good (even though we are so, completely beat from the day.) I want to slow those down. I want to cuddle and giggle and talk... for not just moments, but for hours (the ones that don't drag on.) Or another example: Henry gets really cute sometimes (all the time) and there are these rare occasions when he's so cuddly (this boy does not like to cuddle - what baby is like that!?!) I so want to slow these down. I want to fully live in that moment when he wants to be snuggled next to me. Oh, how wonderful that boy can be. (I'll forgive him for all these crawling-balancing-toppling over-crazy moments he's been throwing my way lately.)

Let me get one thing straight -- I don't want to freeze frame these moments. No. I want to enjoy them in such a way that I can truly "suck all the marrow" out of them.

I know I can't be the only one that think life moves too fast sometimes.

This morning, as I headed out the door for work, I stopped by the mailboxes to find my Lulu Wrap package. It was like Christmas! Better yet, Elle sent a handwritten thank-you-card for the entry to the giveaway (lack of purchase I could call it.) Is it so bad that I might want to keep this card forever? Is it so bad that I wish we were real friends? Is it bad that I hope that, because I will carry Cubbie in a Lulu Wrap, he/she will turn out just as cute and wonderful as Elle's beauties? Is it so bad that I want to be just like idolize her?

I'm pretty sure I'm the only one stuck in this weird-transitional-lacking-a-best-friend-and-need-to-act-like-I-have-some-slump that I can currently be found in. (My small group tries to tell me it's "normal." All I know is that it's not normal for me. And I'm about done being normal if it is.)

Let's talk about Sundays. They are usually my favorite day of the week (depending on how stressful or completely uneventful my Saturday was, because I'm not a fan of either.) Sundays are beautiful: a day set aside to gather together in community, worship our Lord, and be reminded of truths. Sunday afternoons are almost that good too: crafting hour, light reading, mysterious bowl of snick-snacks, long naptimes, walk in the park... Yes, I could live in a world of Sunday afternoons.

But then there is this utterly awful stigma that Sunday afternoons brings with it -- Monday. No matter how hard I try to ignore the ugly, gray rain cloud hanging over Sundays, sometime midafternoon it hits me, and no longer can I fully enjoy that Sunday-bliss feeling. I'm caught in angst and dread as I think about getting back into the real world when the morning comes. No longer am I free to bask in the sunshine coming through the large front window (a favorite pastime from growing up at my parents' house,) because now I have to think about a to-do list and a what-I-hate-about-Mondays list. And no one wants to be stuck there.

Am I the only one who can't shake off that shadow Monday casts upon Sundays?

Alright, we'll cover Mondays real quick too, because now I feel bad for all the awfulness I've thought about them. Mondays can't help themselves really. They don't want to be there any more than most of the world want them to be. I bet, if you asked, they would gladly change places with Friday. So here's my pitch - let's change our Monday attitudes. (Obviously I need to do so. I'm guess you do too.) I can often be found celebrating Fridays. My way of celebrating: a Starbucks in hand with a cute dress upon my body to "get me to the weekend." And it helps. Boy, it sure helps. What if I celebrated Mondays instead? What if I decided to spend the beginning of the week primping myself in hopes of a week well-welcomed? Here's the deal - I will do it this coming Monday, then I'll report back and see how it affects my day and then again how it affects my week. Want to join? We'll call it Occupy Monday. We'll sit and make up stats like "1% of people enjoy Mondays." It's going to be a revolution. (Sorry, it's so simple to pull a quick Occupy joke lately.)

I might be the only one crazy enough to start trying to enjoy Mondays.

Well, those are the thoughts for now. I'm sure there are more, but I'll leave you to these few to mull over and decide if I'm the "odd woman out."

I wrote this post this morning on my ipod (yes, I was that desperate to get a post out/find an outlet for my thought overload) and then when I tried to publish, blogger lost it. Utter disappointment. I'm glad I got it rewritten and now published. Lesson learned: no more ipod posts.

with self-control. (...well I'm working on it as I clear my head and attempt to organize my thoughts...)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

my wednesday.

Yesterday was a day in my life to be marked in the Alyssa history books. Believe me, when you read this, you won't think any special about my Wednesday. Maybe you'll actually feel sorry for me (and my lack of excitement a real life.)

Well, here it goes. It all started, well, normally - super long naptime during Henry's morning nap. (Believe me, that is a great way to start your everyday. It's the biggest benefit of the nanny career, especially being a pregnant nanny.) We played, we sang, we got annoyed of each other. All a normal day's work.

And then in the afternoon, we had a boo-boo. A big one. He... fell of the bed. On my watch. I have never felt so badly about anything I don't think. I also don't think I'll be able to stop being haunted by it. He was laying on his parents bed, resting, since he had woken up grumpy from an afternoon nap. I was in the other room (for 3 minutes) thinking he might actually go back to sleep. He was making those I'm-so-tired-I-am-going-to-sing-myself-to-sleep sounds, and I thought 'Yes, this is working.' And then, there was a I'm-on-the-move sound, and I panicked and headed to the hall only to hear that loud, deafening thump on the ground.

I mean, the boy only learned to crawl last week. And he doesn't make it look easy. He doesn't do it beautifully yet. He usually lays so still on the bed because it's so fluffy and comfy. But this time he didn't. And I'm to blame.

Oh, it was bad. But he was fine, just shocked, and only cried for 45 seconds. But I called his mom immediately and dreaded each ring while I waited for her to pick up.

I was the biggest loser, failure, jerk, idiot of a nanny. It was awful. I cried. I hugged Henry like never before and played whatever little games he wanted to play for the rest of the afternoon. He acted like he didn't know any differently. Thank you for your quick forgiveness Henry.

So that was that. Awful. And walking into the room today made me sick.

Well, then I got home and found my hunky husband snuggled up in bed with a book. It looked so comfy, amidst the rainy, blowy, nastiness I had just walked in from. So I grabbed my book, two cups of peach tea (of which I drank both), and snuggled right up with him to enjoy the warmth on a cold fall day.

It's wonderful how a cup of tea, book, and handsome hubby can erase your sorrows. Man, I love that man.

Taking a break from my book for a few minutes, I checked my emails and reader to see if any of my favorite bloggers had updated. And it was the best check I have ever made. I read this lovely lady's blog and found out that there was a winner for her latest giveaway, and that winner was ME!

I must admit, I enter myself into a lot of giveaways, especially lately, even if I only half want the prize. When entering, I think to myself 'They could always make good presents for... someone.' But this giveaway was not of the sort. She was featuring this hot mama's handcrafted etsy items - Lulu Wraps. Now, if you have received my Christmas list already for this year (well actually only my grandparents have) you would know that a Lulu Wrap was mentioned on Cubbie's list. I love Elle's blog and had already had my eye on these wraps for some time.

I was ecstatic to win not only a giveaway, but the one and only that I actually really wanted to win! YAY! I can't wait for that cute little wrap to arrive! Even better, I can't wait for a baby to be carried in that wrap, sitting so close to me. :]

Then last night I had a date night. No, unfortunately it was not with my handsome Mr. But instead, I met up with some friends from high school, Kate and Sarah, who go to school in Chicago. We met at a cute little Italian place called Vapiano that only opened 2 weeks ago. It was delicious. But even better, it was refreshing, so refreshing. Thank you, girls, for letting me share my probably absolutely boring stories, for laughing with me, for just simply being there with me. I haven't had many chances lately to just be one-of-the-girls, and it felt so good. Friends are good.

So that was my Wednesday. It was awful and wonderful and beautiful. Henry still loves me, and I most definitely still love him. We'll get through this haunting of the parents' bed incident. Other than that down fall (literally), it was a good Wednesday. And even though it was a cold, stormy, windy fall day yesterday, I still hold true to my absolute love for fall in Chicago. It's blissful and fresh.

with gentleness.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

on waiting.

Reading a magazine, watching the news, texting a friend... nothing seems to make the wait at the doctor's office any quicker or more bearable. You show up to this place, and you simply want to get in and get out. Waiting rooms are like second-to-hell bad. There's so much anxiety and desire to escape. And that doesn't even mean that something bad is expected inside the doors; that can just be the everyday cleaning at the dentist.

But does waiting always have to be this cursed event?

I hate wasting my time waiting when there is something else that I think I can be doing. But there has to be some reason that God has designed this time in our lives, sometimes on a daily basis. And I think I have finally found stumbled upon that very reason.

We are 4 months into a 9 month process, waiting for the arrival of our little one. We are incredibly anxious to meet him or her, but yet we are more than 150 days away from that wonderful moment (not that anyone is counting... really there's no need when provides me with a countdown. :]) As we twiddle our thumbs and mull through nursery ideas, we're waiting for this absolute miracle to happen. It's absolutely killer.

And it's absolutely sweet.

I heard someone recently talk about how waiting builds expectation; it builds excitement. If we were to get pregnant and have the baby in a day, or even in a month, there would be no anxiousness for this new life. Sure, we would love our baby, but would it be the same amount? We wouldn't have been able to plan a home for him or her, prayed for his or her safety and development, grown into this well-developed and matured love for him or her.

It seems like I just can't wait another day for Cubbie to come, but really, the longer I wait, the sweeter it becomes. (Not that I feel like waiting any day more than those 40 weeks.) The longer I carry Cubbie, the closer I feel to this baby and truly the more I love him or her. When we first found out we were pregnant, I most definitely did immediately love our baby. But like the relationship between Mr. Allen and I, our love has further deepened and matured to become an intricate, intimate bond. In 5 months, we will be ready for that moment, for that fully-developed love to overcome us, for this little being to manipulate and dominate our lives in the best way.

Talking about all this, although it reaffirms the way I do want to enjoy this sweet time of waiting, has made me more (if possible) anxious.

Soon, very soon, this ...

[Cubbie at 8 weeks]

to be in my arms... forever.

Sweet baby: grow well, grow chubby, learn Daddy's and my voices, work those muscles as much as you want in there, practice all your soccer and tennis skills we know you already have. We love you so very much. And we are waiting, expectantly and anxiously... and willingly, for your blessed arrival.

with love.

Monday, October 10, 2011

clean up on aisle allen.

Last week our computer was "in the shop" for a few days and it was mid-term week for Mr. Allen. It was not a good week for me to steal the computer and throw in an update. That being said, blog post ideas have been brewing in my head this whole time I've taken off. (It's been 2 weeks. Have you noticed? I'm so sorry!) This post will be a catch-all or a clean-up on what's been happening since then. And, hopefully, with the computer back in the game and better than ever, I'll be able to get a few more posts in without the long pause in between.

Is it okay if I show off for a little while again? Me following all these crafty/sewing blogs has got me hyper-inspired to live on the crafty side of life. Here's a few of my latest projects:

This little monster is our front entrance door. I saw the same door while spending hour upon hour on Pinterest, made by this blogger. What are the odds that, not only would I absolutely love this little guy's design, but have a green door perfect for his face to hang upon? Last night I painted some recycled cardboard and created Frankenstein to haunt charm our neighbors throughout October.

Project #2: I think I've mentioned before (if I'm not crazy) that I'm sewing Cubbie's cloth diapers. Well, two of them are almost done. I'm going to show them to you as if they were done. So get ready to "oooh" and "aaah"over these adorable little poop and pee holders.

These are just two of the designs... there are many to come. I will post some more just to show you how cute they will be. I tried to get gender-friendly designs, but let's be honest - if Cubbie is a Mr., he will still be wearing that one with the pink, but it will be under his onesie and you will only know if you change his diaper. And if, while changing his diaper, the fact that he is wearing a diaper with pink on it is your biggest issue, be thankful.

And now, folks, comes the moment you've all been waiting for. Last week one of my facebook statuses mentioned that a stranger had noticed my baby belly. I was ecstatic. Then I wore the same pants for the next 3 days and I got nothing. So the bump, although it sure did exist, was, well, tiny. Shane and I could tell, and that special librarian, but the rest of the world didn't notice.

Then on Sunday, I wore a skirt that hid everything from anyone (not on purpose.) I had a friend tell me, who I hadn't seen in about a month and a half, that she was shocked at how little I was for almost 4 months. And here I was thinking that I was getting big. Well, Sunday afternoon I took off that skirt and switched to pants and WHAM - there's that baby belly.

Here it is today. 17 1/2 weeks. Cubbie sure is growing. tells me that baby is the size of an onion this week, 5.1 inches long and weighs just less than 6 ounces. What a shrimpy. But what a blessing.

We are so eager to meet our little Cubbie, and we still have so long to wait. In 4 weeks we will get to find out the gender, and then we'll be selecting names. I'm not sure how soon we will share the names, but just knowing more about our baby will be wonderful!

Hopefully this week I'll be able to get at least one more post in. Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave feedback in the comments or on facebook, I love to know who is reading and what they are thinking!

with patience.

linking up with...