dear stella // kind, smart, & important

dear stella, 

i cannot believe you are 9 whole months, baby girl!  where has the time gone?  i have been thinking about a few things lately, and i thought i'd share them with you.  when you were in my tummy, i read an amazing book called, "the help."  i even read some parts to you aloud.  i remember sitting in the bathtub in our new home with my big belly stretching out so far as i lay that i could not even see my toes!  it is crazy how fast you grew in there and continue to grow.  as i read, i came across a quote that has stuck with me ever since.  the inspiring character, abilene, said something so beautiful to the little girl she was looking after.  while rocking mae mobley to sleep, she said, 

"you is kind, you is smart, you is important." 

miss abilene continued to say this phrase to the little girl until mae herself continued to recite it it on her very own.  i love everything about this quote, baby stella, and i want to tell you why.  sometimes grown-ups {yes, even ones you know} will lose sight of what is really important when talking to you and tell you that you are pretty and beautiful and applaud you for being lady-like.  they will mean well and have the best intentions to compliment you, {yes, your mama will do this too} but what i want you to understand, is that those select vocabulary words are not meant to define your importance.  these words reflect how people may see you, but know that there is more to beauty than what we see in the mirror. i would never want you to act like a "lady" at the expense of your own unique self.  kindness, intelligence, and importance, like miss abilene said, far exceed superficial beauty.

now this might sound harsh, but i want you to understand some other realities too.  not everything is gumdrops and rainbows.  i think it is important to know that there will be times when you will fail at something, and there will be times when suffering will come into your life.  but also know this: as much as it is going to hurt, you will be okay, you will make it through those rough patches, and you will be a stronger person because of it.  your daddy and i will also be there for you during these times if you need us. 

so do you remember that lady in the elevator in h&m the other day?  remember when she brashly informed us that her baby girl, the one in the stroller next to you, was already holding her her bottle at 6 months old?  remember when she asked me why you were not?  i want you to know that it is more than "okay" that you have not done that yet.  it is more than "okay" that you are taking your time with some things and focusing on others.  one day you will hold that bottle all by your self, and we will say "yay!" and clap our hands with you.  we have all the time in the world and do not need to rush anything.  

i guess what i am trying to say little one, is try not to let the competitive and cosmetic undercurrent of this world we live in get the best of you, and make you feel like a failure for not being the first, the best, or the most beautiful.  if you focus on what miss abilene said, on being kind, smart, and important, you will succeed far beyond those who were rushed into mastering adolescent skills before kindergarten. we all do things at our own pace, and there is a reason for that.  never forget that we love you to the moon and back, and will always be here for you, no matter what, even if it takes you 12 months to hold that bottle.

love, your mama


recipe // greek yogurt + honey

breakfast.  it's one of those, you know you should eat it meals, but it's often too inconvenient meals.  kind of like flossing.  i usually eat a liquid breakfast of really, really strong coffee.  with cream.  and lots of sugar.  and the occasional peanut butter cup, but hey, who's counting?  just recently i have been waking up a few minutes earlier {seriously, just a few...i need my sleep like no other} to eat this yummy treat of greek yogurt and honey to get my day started.  i had no idea that this combination could be so good.

it feels like i am being naughty and having dessert at 7 am, when in fact, i am not.  i have convinced myself of this, like i have convinced myself that red wine is good for my teeth.  i swear i heard that on npr.  so i must say that i quite like this little game of playing tricks on my taste buds.  i urge you to try this out and see for yourself how darn good and totally worth eating this breakfast can be.  maybe, just maybe, it will prevent you from eating your lunch at, say...10 am during a staff meeting.  i may or may not be speaking from experience.  hopefully i can make this an every morning habit and not just a weekend "thing" when i have more time.  

p.s. this is thee best coffee.  
no, seriously.  
it's the best.  
now go get some.

oh, and if you're not convinced, check out this site for
10 great reasons to eat yogurt!


cheers to good ol' kc

hi friends! sorry i have been mia as of late. the last four days have been nonstop. this is the first time i have been on my computer in four days. i was starting to twitch from this absence. ok, not really, but here i am, right after getting home from work, to write and organize my thoughts. andrew, stella and i had one of those always-on-the-go weekends i mentioned in this post. even though i could hardly keep my eyes open to teach today, we had an absolutely wonderful time with our dearest family {andrew's parents} and friends who were in town from good ol' iowa. hurray for visitors!  stella loved seeing her nana and papa.  especially those horsey rides and funny faces papa makes. 

i love when we have people visit because we get to experience the best of kansas city all over again, as we show off our neat little town to our guests. for those of you who have never been to kc, you need to understand that we take two things pretty seriously around here, and by sheer coincidence, they both start with the letter "b." let's here it for bbq and beer! one could say barbecue is a religion in kansas city. and beer, well it's beer. enough said. over the past few days, we indulged in some of the city of fountain's finest bbq at oklahoma joe's {yes, it's in a gas station} and toured the always wonderful boulevard brewery, making for one eventful weekend indeed.

stella enjoyed every second with her bestie, mira. and to prove it, this little nugget went to bed at 5 pm last night. "play hard, nap hard" tis' her motto. 

here are some more photos of our weekend...

didn't your mama teach you to never judge a book by it's cover? the food as this gas station is out of this world.  be prepared to stand in line, it's worth it. 

i recommend the pulled pork with spicy slaw and baked beans.   ohmygod it's good. 

daddy getting in a snuggle. 

whiskey barrels...for beer!

the ergo was a comfy way to go for miss stella and for her mama. 

the men back for more...diaper bags and all.

and this floor! 

2 am = one tired bebe.  i just love her little hand :)

stella is still pretty tucked out.
this is about how i am feeling right about now too.  
so off to bath time and bed time we go.

we hope you had a fun weekend, too!


finger-lickin' good

why is it that so many people think that fried chicken is only an out-to-eat kind of food?  i realize KFC does an okaaay job at this whole fried food thing, but seriously people, what's the cause for concern?  why aren't more of us doing this at home?  it's cheap, easy, and makes for some finger lickin' fun i tell ya!

i am not sure if it's the new-found "southern" gal in me {i can't believe i am saying this} kansas city roots  i've been getting accustomed to that has urged me to make this pan fried chicken delight, or if it's the fact that i've been craving meat ever since stella was born {i had a huge, and i mean HUGE, aversion to meat while pregnant with her}.  regardless of whatever reasonings i can come up with, i have been making this dish, quite consistently, for the past few months and this household just can't get enough.  try it out, why don't cha?

pan friiiied chicken

you will need...

- room temp. chicken thighs
- dry mixture of flour and cajun spices 
- peanut oil
- cast iron skillet (here's the one i use)
- pot holders as to not scald your hands and/or wrist
- an oven

- to start, put some oil in your seasoned skillet and let it get piping hot.  this usually takes 5 minutes or so. 
- coat your seasoned chicken thighs in the dry flour mixture until they are coated all over
- drop in two thighs at a time, letting them brown for around 5 minutes per side.  flip over and repeat.
- after all your chicken thighs have browned and are crispy golden in color, drain the oil from your skillet and put the chicken back in. i usually do 4 at a time.  this makes for yummy left overs.
- cook for 20-30 minutes in a 350 degree oven until they are fully cooked through.  
- that's it. i swear. 
- i like to eat this dish with rice, asparagus and sometimes, sweet potatoes.  you can also make a cream sauce to go over the top...but that's for another post. 
- now eat up & enjoy!

p.s. don't forget to lick your fingers :)


i carry your heart with me

it's been ten years, one whole decade, that my love and i have been together.  it seems like just yesterday that we were walking the barren halls of our high school in the wee hours of the morning before class to carve out some "us" time when we could see each other and talk, even if that time was spent at 6:30 am in the library.  

we celebrated our love during the summer of 09' in july, but we really started the rest of our lives together back in high school.  it was true from the start, and we felt that.  our long phone conversations were the highlight of those four years, where we got to really know each other as best friends and forever loves.  

andrew and i, are true mirrors of each other, through and through.  he is my constant, my inspiration, my blessing, my happiness, my laughter, my randomness for the day, my motivation, my amazing, my everything.  how did i ever get so lucky?  i might as well get this thought tattooed on my forehead, because i think it all the time.  he really is perfect, for me.  and because of him, and our love, we have beautiful miss stella.  every time i look at her, my heart melts, because it's him i see.  she is our beautiful reminder of how wonderful life really is.  

and try as i must, sometimes others can just say it better.  so, thank you dear mr. cummings, because you, sir, pretty much sum it up right here:

"i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
                                  i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)"

to my andrew, i will love you always and forever, your heart in mine, in circles,



rechargin' the batteries!

we love the weekends.  not because we don't have to work, well that's a smidgen of a reason why, but mainly because we get to spend so much time with our loves soaking in the little perfect moments that occur throughout the day.

i feel like we know so many people who to try and cram as many activities into these precious non-work days for reasons i don't understand.  perhaps to feel like something has been accomplished  and their free day has not been wasted?  i dunno.  i feel like andrew and i are busy enough throughout the work week, why add a loaded itinerary to the mix.  we have a very low-key mentality when it comes to weekends.  in fact, we need the down time.  throughout the work week, i long for the moments when i will get to make my cafe and actually taste and savor what i am drinking as opposed to gulping down my morning brew in the car.  

for us, weekends are where we recharge our batteries by trying to sleep in {and if that fails napping with stella}, experimenting in the kitchen, eating {a lot of home-cooked meals}, catching up on our showtime flicks, going for walks around the neighborhood, people watching {this quite an entertaining pastime on the plaza}, and reading for fun {no work documents here}.  usually, nothing is planned, and that's how we prefer it.  

in ever other aspect of my life, i consider myself an organized  planner.  just not on these days, where on a whim, i can try out a new recipe, or say, take a long bubble bath.  :)

i hear from various people things like, "ohhh, that will all change.  you just wait until stella gets older...you will never have time to just relax on the weekends, it will always be go, go, go." all of this said whilst said person's pointer finger is shaking in my direction.  

and, maybe, on some weekends here and there, these people will be right.  there will presumably be those crazy weekends where we have to race around just to fit it all in.  but i must say, for now, this "let's hang out around the house and just chill" thing is what we love, and truth be told, cannot imagine not doing on our select few days off. 

here are our perfect little moments to sum up this weekend, 
no major plans, no fuss, just hanging out around the house.


...popped down to the plaza for a bit and we went shopping with stella, she insisted on buying.  thanks baby girl!

...ate yummy lunches with lots and lots of cheese.

...read in bed and and drank vanilla lattes till noon. stella took this time to crawl under, over, and around all of our covers. 

...took turns rocking baby girl. 

...color coded our books.  ok, this is not a "we" thing, this is an "i" thing, and "i" may have a slight problem.

...had movie night and watched drive.  
it was amazing.  music and all. leon stared out the window like a statue the entire time. 

...chased a little duckie on the loose...then found her.

...whipped up some to die for banana pancakes {a brunch favorite of ours} with extra honey and syrup.

 ...played the swing game and catch with stella who can now throw. 

...watched hugo, prepping for our oscar party next sunday.

...vegged out pretty much 24/7 .  

...made some pretty amazing pasta. 
{i'll post the recipe later this week}

...discovered that baby girl loves to suck on washcloths.  
too adorable. 

it's been so relaxing and wonderful to all be together this weekend.  andrew not having to travel for awhile is more than amazing. we hope you are having a relaxing weekend with your loves too!


5 reasons why i'm awesome, by stella vivienne

1.  i have four, yes you heard me right people, one, two, fwree, fooour toofers!  two on top and two on bottom.

2. because of this, i have entered the stage of being super silly and smiling all the time.  oh, i suppose you can say i'm sorta photogenic, because my mama is always taking pictures of me. :)

3. i am fast.  really...sneakily...fast.  crawling is so my "thing" right now.

4.  i have an odd fascination {borderline obsession} with cords.  i love the mecca of cords under our computer desk.  i wonder if my parents know that's what i am crawling towards every time they let me explore? oh, and i don't think my pupa likes me yanking his leash, my most favoritest of cords.  so, to my wonderful nanas and papas if you're reading: thank you for the blocks and books, but i want/need more cords to pull on, suck on, and throw around.

5. did i tell you that i can talk!? well, so far it's just one word, but for little me it counts.  my other "thing" right now is saying "whooa."  i love giving my dada a expressive look and yelling "whooa!" just to see his face light up.  i say it when i am happy, mad, confused, and most of all, excited.  i can even combine my "whooa" into double, "whooawhooa!"  yeah, i think it's  prettty neat too.

here are some pictures of me as of late {i told you i am goofy!}

love, stella vivienne


just four gals being silly

stella and i had some pretty special visitors this weekend. we love getting visitors, but these people made it an over-the-top wonderful visit! my mom and grandma came! they arrived in kansas city from iowa on friday and were here right as i got home from work.

because we live in kansas city, my mom and dad are used to seeing baby girl in the big white box {otherwise known as "ichat"} and my grandma is used to perusing my blog and facebook for photos of miss stella. that being said, i don't think stella bella was put down all weekend, and i loved watching every single minute of it.

these grandmas stepped in and gave the bottles, changed the dirty diapers, read her golden books, babbled back and forth, and even followed baby girl as she crawled all over. together, us four gals went out on the town and ate some amazing food, shopped on the plaza, split some gelato {twice}, had a family meal at home, got matching snow hats {my grandma is looking quite adorable in hers}, and had many girl talks. my mom, grandma, stella, and i sure fit in a whole lot of fun and had a splendid time together.


we will miss you...come back soon! xxx, amanda & stella