Friday, May 31, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend

We had a great Memorial Day weekend. It was great but busy. So busy and so much fun that I forgot to take pictures. That really is the mark of a good weekend. 

Friday night we went to Family Happy Hour at JCP with the Siceloff family. One thing I learned was that our kids are not water babies (yet). Eddie & Tina have 3 boys and all jumped right in and swam around. H would barely walk in the water and A didn't even want to sit in my lap in the water. We start swim lessons for H this Saturday so hopefully he will get more comfortable and learn to enjoy the water. We had Little Caesars Pizza for dinner along with beer and margaritas and were able to get home in time for bedtime with the kids plain tuckered out. 

Saturday we went and bought some new plants to start landscaping the backyard. 

I have no idea what any of them are actually named. The purple plants' (first picture) common name is "purple shower". After we got them planted we decided to hang out in the backyard and enjoy the fact that we have grass and pretty flowers to look at. 
H loves his pretty flowers. 

Check out JJ's face in this picture

We had some friends, Matt & Gina, over for dinner and just relaxed and talked after the kids went to bed. 

Sunday was early church and lunch at Caps on the Water with Steve and Mom & Dad. 
Try not to be jealous of this

We had the biggest Gulf Coast Oysters I have ever seen. I don't have a picture of them but they were seriously bigger than my fist! We enjoyed a nice relaxing lunch with beer, oysters and fish tacos. A perfect little Sunday afternoon. 

After Caps we went home for a nap and then Mom & Dad came over for a cookout. We were all still stuffed from lunch that we just ended up having dipping bread and a brie appetizer. 

Monday we went over to Casey & Sarahs house for a cookout and to let the kids play. It was a beautiful day and we didn't go inside except to get more beer or go to the bathroom. 
H and Audrey playing the "pool"
The kids had a great time playing in the "pool" and running through the sprinklers. All the kids got along great which means that we could just sit back and relax while listening to good music (Wagon Wheel by Darius Rucker was a favorite), talk and eat typical Memorial Day food (watermelon and chips & dip). H actually took a name at Casey & Sarahs, which is huge

After nap time we ate some delicious burgers and corn on the cob. {I don't know if it was the beer or what but this was some of the best burgers and corn I have had a in a long time. }  Then it was home for bed. 

All in all it was a fantastic Memorial Day weekend. I hope everyone else had a great  Memorial Day weekend and a good weekend this weekend. 


Thursday, May 30, 2013

A is {Finally} holding her bottle!!

I have been working with A for about the last month to get her to start holding her own bottle. She has to start growing up and since she refuses to even work on crawling, we are working on all sorts of feeding. 

She pretty much has eating baby food down. You should see that girl go after a spoon or her Baby Mmm-Mmms. There is nothing she won't eat right now.  She is going through about a jar of baby food a day. 

So, onto the bottle. Her primary form of nourishment is still milk and since H is an active 2 year old, I can't always hold the bottle for her. I was using a blanket to hold the bottle up for her but last month decided to start the transition. I would lay her down and sit next to her and force her hands around the bottle.  

I forgot that babies don't have the muscles to just automatically hold a bottle. I forgot that her arms would get tired and she would have to build up stamina. So, I would slowly increase the amount of time that I held her hands on her bottle.  After increasing it to what I thought was a sufficient amount of it, I slowly took away the blanket that was supporting the bottle. 

Today was the first time that I let her try to hold the bottle the whole time without a blanket and what a success it was! I am so proud of her that she has finally mastered it.  She is also very proud of herself.

of course the moment I try to get her smile on camera she stops smiling.

Next on our list is to eat sitting up and then, whether she is happy about it or not, we are working on crawling.  She is ready to crawl she just hasn't realized it yet. 

Hope you have a great Thursday.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

H loves to sing

I am not a musical person. I can not play an instrument and can't sing to save my life. I don't listen to a whole bunch of music. I would prefer to have a TV show on in the background than music. JJ, on the other hand, is a fantastic guitar player and loves to listen to music instead of watching TV. 

So, somewhere along the way, H has developed a love of singing and playing guitars. We have left some Wii Rock Band guitars in his room and he drags them around the house asking people to "play" them. Recently, he has started asking JJ to get out his guitar and play with him. That is something that warms my little heart to see; father and son sitting around a guitar and JJ trying to teach H how to strum gently. 

Along with his love of music has come his love of singing. He doesn't sing actual songs but he walks around the house and says "Singing, singing"  in a sing-song voice. It is so sweet and so cute. He is very shy about it and doesn't really do it in front of other people so I had to stealthy get a video of it. 

Please excuse my voice and A inserting her own voice into the video. 

I hope this makes you smile as much as it makes me!


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The days are long but years are fast.

CRAZY! A is 7 months old today! Everyone says that time goes by faster once you have another child and that could not be more true. I remember feeling like H was 6 months old and a baby forever and with A, I can feel her growing up every day. 

She is such a happy baby. She smiles and things that H hung the moon. I know that won't last forever but it warms my heart every time I see her light up when he comes near her. 

Weight: 15 lbs 13 oz
Sleep: Not great. A wake up every 4 hours (so only twice a night) which the sleep book says is ok. I wish she slept more but the book says she should wake up 4-6 hours after last feeding. 
Talking: No but she likes the test her voice and is very vocal when  she is not happy about something
Teeth: She got her first tooth today! It is on the bottom and I can't stop shoving my finger into her mouth to feel it. 
Eating: she is starting to eat like a champ. She likes sweet potatoes, mac n cheese and mixed fruits. She can eat about half a jar at a sitting. 
Right or Left handed: Nothing definite yet but she does tend to favor her right hand but has started to use her left more. 
Eye Color: Still blue. We are unsure if they are going to stay blue. They are kinda starting to look around the iris so it is anyone's guess at this point. 
Crawling: Not even close. She can sit up on her own like a champ and loves to stand up with support. She shows absolutely no interest in learning to crawl. That frustrates me but I keep telling myself not to push it because as soon as she starts crawling, there is no turning back. 
Nicknames: A Cakes, Baby (thanks to H), and Anns BaDans (thanks to my neice C)

Loves: She loves anything that lets her jump. 

Fisher-Price Go Wild Jumperoo

Graco Doorway Jump N Jive

She could sit in those for hours!
What makes her laugh: She LOVES to be tickled and turned upside down. Funny faces and noises also do the trick. 

She is a total mommy's girl but is finally starting to love on JJ as well. She just lights up my day. With a face & a smile like those below, how could she not!

It is just blowing my mind that in 5 months she will be a year old. 

Hope your day is full of joy and laughter!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Buffaloaded Burger = Deliciousness!!

If you lived in Jacksonville about 5 years ago, you probably ate at Times Grill before they turned all of them into Bubba Burgers.. BOO! Times Grill had this amazing burger call the Buffaloaded Burger. I was obsessed with it. JJ lived close to a Times Grill and we would go every Saturday for lunch to nurse our hangovers and have fun. It was a great atmosphere and good food so a win-win when you aren't feeling at your best. 

What makes this burger so amazing? Well, other than the fact that they use a delicious and secret (well, secret from me) hot sauce? Th Frizzled Spicy Onion Straws are AH-MAZING (said in the voice of Penny from "Happy Endings"). The onion straws add a nice crunch to the burger to top off the burger. 

I was devastated when the restaurant closed down. We were looking for something to make for dinner on Saturday night and I mentioned to JJ how much I was craving a Buffaloaded Burger. So, JJ suggested that we look online for the recipe.  I was incredibly excited and surprised when I found the recipe right away. Of course we had to try it out immediately. 

Please ignore the fact that the burger is not on a bun. I hate hamburger buns!
Serving Size: 1
8 oz. Ground Hamburger Meat (80/20 or similar)
1/4 cup Shredded Lettuce
1 Sliced Tomato
3 Pickle Chips
2 oz Provolone Cheese
1 oz Favorite Wing Sauce (we used Texas Pete)
2 oz Favorite Hot Sauce (We used Texas Pete)
1 5" Hamburger Bun
1/4 cup thinly Sliced Onion Rings to taste
Creole Seasoning

Frizzled Spicy Onion Rings:
1. Marinate thinly sliced onion rings in your favorite hot sauce for 4 hours
2. Drain and dredge onion rings through corn flour-making. Make sure the onions are coated completely so they are not sticking together
3. Lower onions slowly into deep fryer
4. Fry to onions to light golden brown and crispy.
5. Set aside for later.

Buffaloaded Burger:
1. Before grilling, season both sides of the hamburger with Creole seasoning. 
2. Clean and lightly oil the grill before cooking. 
3. Form hamburger patties to 5" across. 
4. Heat grill to minimum 400 degree temperature. 
5. Grill burger to desired temperature.
6. Add wing sauce to hamburger and cover with provolone cheese. Melt on grill. 
7. Toast split bun in toaster or on the grill. 
8. Place the hamburger on the bottom bun and top with Frizzled Spicy Onion Rings. 
9. Dress the top bun with lettuce, tomato, pickle and desired condiments. 
10. Serve with a slide of your choice. 

We paired our burger with Mac n' cheese and an Intuition Peoples Pale Ale. Intuition is a local brewery to Jacksonville and has delicious beers. 

I hope that you enjoy it as much as we did!


Monday, May 20, 2013

I love our neighborhood in early Summer

I live in the older section of Mandarin in Jacksonville. This means that the houses in our neighborhood were built in the 70's or 80's. One of the great things about living in an older neighborhood is that we have mature trees. 

I was taking a walk with the kids and noticed that there is a substantial amount of Confederate Jasmine in the neighborhood. I think it is a southern thing but it really doesn't feel that spring/summer has come until the smell of Confederate Jasmine fills the air. 

The trend in our neighborhood is to have the jasmine around mailboxes or climbing up trees. It is a true testament to how old our neighborhood is when jasmine has climbed to the top of very tall pine trees. I don't mind because it makes the air smell sweet and makes the pine trees just a little bit pretty. They need all the help they can get.

I am trying to figure out how I can get the jasmine to grow on our fence in the backyard. Just imagine that smell as we grilled or played outside with the setting sun. 

Another great summer change is all the wildlife comes out to play . We have four or five lakes in and around our neighborhood.  The lakes bring in ducks and geese. It is fun to hear them fly south starting in the fall. All the honking over our neighborhood. As soon as I hear it, it means that fall is on its way. Once spring & summer comes, you can seem them walking down our street on their way from one lake to the other. 

As I was out cleaning our windows this morning and the geese walked by. I quickly grabbed H since A was asleep and we decided to check them out. He was too young to remember seeing them last summer. 

H loved to watch them walk by. We were able to follow them for a while. He would howl laughing every time they made noise. 

Aren't they beautiful creatures! 

Summer seems to make everything seem more alive and beautiful. 

I hope you all have a great Monday!

Friday, May 17, 2013

{This Moment}

{This moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 


The Office Finale

(There are not going to be any spoilers in this post). 


The Office, after 9 seasons, went off the air last night and I thought that it was the perfect ending. It was funny but still let everyone have a relatively happy ending. 
I tend to get attached to my TV shows. I am a very loyal follower and get invested in the characters of the show.  So, the finale last night is the ONLY show that I have watched in real-time in about the last 3 years. I always just wait until the next day to watch the show. I couldn't do that last night. I HAD to know how everyone left the show and went on with their lives. 

The Office has very special meaning to me. In another life I was engaged to another man and didn't watch The Office because I thought it was stupid. After being engaged for about 9 months and planning out a whole, I woke up one day and realized that I loved another man; JJ. So, after trying to work through it and fighting my feelings for JJ, I called off my wedding. It was not an easy decision for me. I still loved my Fianc√© but realized that it was not a good sign when I loved another man. I had started to think of my future marriage to Fianc√© and divorce was not an “if” but a “when”.

Needless to say, it was hard to call off an engagement. I was very sad but immediately let JJ know that I had called off the engagement but needed some time. That night, as I lay crying in my room but knowing that I had made the right decision, I received a text message. JJ had driven all the way across town and left the first 3 season of The Office in my mailbox because he thought that I needed to watch something funny and take my mind off the broken engagement.

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So, I sat in my room for 3 days straight and did nothing but watch all 3 seasons of The Office. I don’t even think that I ate. I laughed and cried and was amazed how funny it was (even the weird first season).  I watched those 3 seasons non-stop and never looked back.

This probably won’t come as a surprise but that character that I identified with the most was Pam. There were a lot of similarities to what was going on with Pam and in my life. I had been engaged to a man who I cared about but had another man in my life who I had feelings for. When Pam finally called off the engagement and eventually got together with Jim, I knew that I had made the right decision and cried happy tears for them and myself.  In a weird way, it also helped me know that JJ and I were going to work out and that it was ok to call off an engagement for another man. (I know that sounds crazy. A scripted TV show should not have that much impact on my life but it did).

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I love that the writers made Pam and Jim work for their love and work at their love. That is real life and marriage. No marriage is perfect and I like that The Office acknowledged that even the fairytale marriages go through their hard times but do everything they can to work through the tough times. I feel like my generation has grown up watching too much TV and thinking that everything should come easy. We tend to feel that if we have to work for something, it is the wrong thing and not worth it. That is the complete opposite of how it is. If you have to work for something or work at something, you tend to appreciate it more and enjoy it more.

So, as I sat on the couch with JJ last night and watched everyone, Pam and Jim included, get their happy ending I shed a tear. I am sad that a show I have identified with so completely has ended.

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It was a great 9 years with the crew from Scranton. We are sad to see you go. Thank you for the laughter and the tears and making it ok to be a complete weirdo. 

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, May 16, 2013


I had the pleasure of taking the kids to see my paternal grandmother, Henny. More on that later.

Henny at our wedding
She was born Mary Elizabeth McIntosh in Alabama in 1925 but became known as Henny some time after 1982. She wanted her Grandmother name to be "Grandma Hen" but my sister couldn't say Grandma Hen so she became "Henny". I feel that Henny is the PERFECT name for her. She creates a loving environment for all who come into her life and really is a mother hen.  

Henny & Gramps (my Grandfather who passed away in 2005) lived in Tallahassee. Henny still lives there in this amazing retirement community (more on that later). I saw Henny & Gramps a lot growing up (especially in the fall) when we would go over for Florida State Football games. Visiting Henny is and was always and adventure. Her house always seemed like a mansion to me (huge, mysterious and full of secrets). I was always sure that I would find a secret passageway some day. I never did.

Henny is an amazing woman. She was a Kappa Kappa Gamma at Florida State University. It actually didn't become known as Florida State University until her Senior year when the name was changed from Florida State College for Women to Florida State University to reflect the change of allowing admitting me to the University. She actually has both college names on her diploma. She worked in Social Services for a long time even after she was married. She met Gramps at a wedding and didn't get married until she was 25 years old. They didn't have their first son (my Dad, Craig) until she was 30. By today's standards, that is completely normal, but back then, it was not. 

After she had both of her sons and they were in school, she choose to go back to school and become a nurse. She worked as a nurse until she retired. It amazes me that she had the strength to not only take care of her family, but to be the oldest woman in her class and take on a new career. 

I know that Henny is not perfect but to me she is the epitome of classy and really what I hope to be as a grandmother. Henny is always loving, always put together and the consummate hostess. 

One of my favorite things about Henny is that if someone mentions once that they like something, she will have is made for them whenever they show up. Another things is cuddling with her. I am 30 and still cuddle with my grandmother when I am sad or need a hug. It was good that she lived in Tallahassee while i was in school at FSU because there were many times where I would come over and cuddle on her lap. 

Henny is a wealth of knowledge and remembers amazing details. Now that I am staying home with my kids, I plan to visit her more and use this blog to write down and keep track of her memories. 

I know that this is a jumbled mess but there is so much I could write about Henny.   I learned a lot about Henny on my trip to visit her so I know that I will be writing more later. 

Henny with H the day after he was born
Henny with A during Christmas

Have a great day!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Songs that take me back to a wonderful time

As any mother knows, after giving birth to a baby, your emotions are a little out of whack. 

This is me & H when he was about 3 months old. I have a great picture of me dancing with him when he was a baby but I can't find it
Our first born, H, was born in January of 2011. I only had 6 weeks maternity leave because I had started a new job the week after I found out I was pregnant. The whole time I was in the hospital after giving birth I would cry because I only had 6 weeks at home with my baby boy. Let me tell you, 6 weeks is not long enough. Anyway, JJs cousin Margeaux told us that they have play Bob Marley's greatest hits after their son was born and she thinks that is what made him such a chill baby. So, we went out and bought Bob Marley's Greatest Hits. I would turn the CD on any time we talked into his room; whether it was to put him to bed or change his diaper. Since most of the time I was changing his diaper, we didn't really make it past the first or second song on the CD too often. Because of that, I fell in love with the song "Is this Love". 

Is This Love by Bob Marley on Grooveshark

"Is this love, is this love, is this love
Is this love that I'm feelin'
Is this love, is this love, is this love
Is this love that I'm feelin' "

This verse sums up what I was feeling at that time. As a new mom, my heart was bursting with love. Sometimes I would wonder if that really was just incredible amounts of love that I had for H or if my hormones and chemical changes were just playing tricks on me.

I used to dance around the room with H to this song as he laughed and smiled. Every time I hear this song, it brings me back to the wonderful 6 weeks that I had at home with my son. 

After 6 weeks I returned to work. Talk about H.A.R.D.  Every afternoon when I would pick him up from his caregiver, Gayle, I would cry the whole way home because I was so happy to be with him. Without fail, almost every time we were on our way home, Katy Perry "Fireworks" would come home. Since my hormones were raging, this song made me cry. 


"You don't have to feel, like a waste of space
You're original, can not be replaced
If you only knew, what the future holds
After a hurricane, comes a rainbow"

When that verse came on, I would sing it to H at the top of my lungs with tears streaming down my face. I just wanted him to know that he was perfect to him and could do whatever he wanted to do and be whatever he wanted to be. 

Those 2 songs make me smile because they remind me of the wonderful time when my son wants to be around me and thinks that I am the prettiest girl in his life. A time when the day can't begin or end until we have hugs and kisses. 

And then I had A. 

Truth be told, I did not want to have a daughter. H lit up my world and I couldn't imagine a girl doing the same thing. Was I wrong. 

My sweet little, messy haired girl after her nap. 

I was lucky enough to be able to stay home with my kids permanently after we had A. This was an adjustment for everyone in the family. I suddenly had more time to listen to music and fell in love with Phillip Phillips CD. I don't watch American Idol. I prefer my reality TV to be as trashy as possible (example: Dance Moms). So, I really had never heard of him and just could not get enough of him. JJ gave me Phillip Phillips CD "The World from the side of the Moon" as a stocking-stuffer. I would listen to his all day long. 

Home by Phillip Phillips on Grooveshark

This is the song I fell in love with and the below verse is what brings me to tears.

"Settle down, it'll all be clear
Don't pay no mind to the demons that fill you with fear
Trouble it might drag you down
You get lost you can always be found

Just know you're not alone
'Cause I'm gonna make this place your home."

I would sing this to her as I was putting her to bed. I wanted her to always know that I was going to do my best to make our house not just a house but a home that she could always run to and would be accepted. 

Whenever I hear that song, I think of rocking her to sleep with her little head on my shoulder and fingers intertwined in my hair.

So, those are 3 songs that remind me of my special times with my children. What songs are there that remind you of wonderful times in your life?


Monday, May 13, 2013

Yard Update

So... grass is starting to grow in the backyard. I know that this doesn't look like much but this is very exciting for us!

The grass is such a dark green and seems like it is going to be very soft and cushion-y. 

We had sod delivered on Friday for the front yard. H was enthralled with the delivery process. The whole time he was talking about grass, big trucks, tractors and helping daddy once he gets home from work. 

It kills me how he stands with his arm behind his back. Is that not the cutest thing!

The guy who delivered the grass was great. He honked the horn on the truck & the tractor for H and H was eating it up. He also let H ride on the tractor with him. I don't have any pictures of that because it scared the crap out of H. It scared him but he could not stop talking about it after the delivery was done. It was the first thing he told JJ when he got home from work.

Hope you have a great day!


Mothers Day

Mothers Day is always bittersweet for the Keitzer Household. I am fortunate enough to live 1.3 miles (door to door) from my parents. This is a blessing and a curse (just ask JJ). We always enjoy spending time with my Mom on Mothers Day. It is special for her to be able to share the day with her youngest daughter and 2 of her 4 grandkids. 

What makes the day bittersweet is the fact that my Mother-In-Law is no longer with us. Patty passed away a year and a half after JJ & I were married and about 4 months before H was born. My husband is always torn on Mothers Day between celebrating with me & the kids and feeling sad about the fact that he can't celebrate Mothers Day with his Mom. Mothers Day is just one big reminder that she never got to meet his kids or see him grow into the amazing husband and father that he is today.  I always mourn on Mothers Day because I didn't get a chance to develop a close relationship with my Mother-in-Law.

So, yesterday was tough for both JJ & I. What made it more tough was unmet expectations. Yesterday was just another example of how hard it is to blend two different families. Even though JJ & I were raised fairly similar, our families are different. We have different traditions and feelings about things. 

I woke up yesterday expecting breakfast to be made for me. Not breakfast in bed or a special breakfast but some though and effort into what I was going to start my day with. We always made my mom breakfast on mothers day. Even if it was pancakes or a bowl of cereal, it was more that we took the time to make it for her. My husband thought about making breakfast for me but said it was too hard with two kids. 

My feelings were hurt. Yes, it is hard to do things with 2 kids two & under but I manage to do it on a daily basis. I grocery shop with 2 kids. I make dinner with 2 kids. I clean the house with 2 kids. I work my butt off raising 2 kids and he couldn't get it together enough to make breakfast. So, naturally, I cried. I am not normally a crier but I always dream of Mothers Day being special and I knew that we were going to spend the afternoon watching the TPC (not something I wanted to do), so I thought he would do something nice for me. 

Now, I know that last paragraph is coming off a little harsh. I was never mad or am I mad now. That is just what I was thinking during my exchange with JJ. In JJ's defense, I never expressed desire or expectations for breakfast and that isn't something that his family did so it didn't seem important to him. I have a husband who loves me endlessly on a daily basis and I shouldn't need a day to feel special.

After that the day was pretty much normal every day events with glimpses of reasons to celebrate. We went to church. This used to be a very normal thing for us until about 8 months ago. H suddenly decided that he could not part from Mom or Dad and would scream just heading to the nursery. It was so bad that they would page us to come get him because he was upsetting the other kids. So, we stopped going to church for a while. Well, recently, H has started to ask to go to church and yesterday we went. He actually lead us back to the nursery and just went off playing with the other kids without looking back or crying. That is HUGE!!!!

After church we went out to lunch with The Casey Arnold Family. We classed it up and went to Hooters. They had a great Mothers Day special ($10 off) so I got oysters, wings, and beer. The kids were all well behaved and the weather was beautiful so it was the perfect Mothers day lunch. 

NiNi with A
A just hanging out being Awesome (with capital A).

Excitement all around.

H brought me a beautiful flower from his walk with Poppa.

A just could not get enough of NiNi and her silliness.
After lunch was nap time and then over to my parents. We hung out outside and grilled out while watching Tiger win the TPC (boo). 

Over all it was a good Mothers Day. One thing we are going to start doing is taking a picture of me with my kids on Mothers Day. When trying to find a picture for this  post I realized that there were no pictures taken of me and the kids. So, that is something that we are working on. 

I hope that everyone had a great weekend and a Happy Mothers Day (and that no one but me cried on Mothers Day). 


PS: I am looking at the pictures of my Mom and Me and realize that our mouths are open in EVERY picture. We are so weird sometimes.