My highlights: weeks 11 & 12

We finally have internet (FOURTH Comcast visit since moving…sooo…third time is not the charm).  Meaning this post is semi-current!  [Depeding on how long it takes me to write and publish]

Where to begin!  It has certainly been a crazy April.  But I have to back up to the end of March first.  When we said goodbye to our (rental) house and moved 2 minutes south.

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We moved here when P was a mere 3 months old and now look at him!  Almost walking and ready to take the world by storm.


I was in a salad for lunch phase – the above has kale, goat cheese, avo and strawberries and the below has spinach, dried cranz, carrots, avo, and goat cheese.


I had several others very similar to these always with a snacky carb on the side, like chips, crackers, or rice cakes.


No such thing as moderation when it comes to Costco bags of tortilla chips.  They are freakin’ addicting as all hell.  Damn you salt.  Why you gotta taste so good!


Despite appearances, he is NOT stuck in this photo.  He enjoys crawling over the non-door side of his car so much that he stops half way over and plays with the balls that go in the holes.  Upside down.  NBD.

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I went home for a day to honor my favorite teacher (turned vice principal) who won the Citizen of the Year award in my hometown.  I can think of NOBODY more deserving.  She is truly the essence of everything good and she radiates love and warmth while keeping rambunctious kids in line.  She left such a huge impression on me that I have stayed in touch with her long since middle school.  I chose her as my sponsor for my Confirmation and she attended my wedding.  I love her and was so happy to attend the ceremony.  It was also a monumental night because it was the first time neither Kyle nor I did Patty-cake’s bedtime routine!  We’d been doing the bottle for a week (started after returning from Oz) and it was going so so.  Luckily, my sister is a pro.  P loves her like crazy and I knew she’d be the perfect one for the job.  And it went great!  He cried a bit but not much and then slept through the night while I wined and dined with my mom at the event.  I had a million different emotions as I left that evening.  Bittersweet for sure.  Baby steps for us both. 

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The next day I drove back to Davis and went to town packing up our house.  Kyle was away for the weekend so it was on me to TCB.  I treated myself to sushi, chocolate and Roscato (the trifecta of my dreams).

By the way, packing with a 13 month old is no easy task!  I had to do it in short bursts while he was occupied or napping and then store everything out of reach.  The first pic is all the contents of our pantry (JUST the pantry!). 

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We decided to got the DIY route with this move (we’ve done so many I feel like a pro), so aside from large furniture we did it mostly on our own. 

I took tons of trips like this.  Car packed, baby in tow.  Thank goodness the houses were close to each other!  It took a lot longer than it should, but not as long as I thought.  Obviously we were not super efficient because I was working around P’s nap and food schedule (as well as my ability to load and unload the car). 


I did the toy room first in the hopes that he’d be self sufficient there so I could get things done, but he found the stairs to be way more entertaining.

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Fabulous.  Baby gate from amazon on the way!


[Empty] home sweet home.

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My last breakfast in the old place – thank goodness for frozen quick breads!

My mom came and helped me on Sunday and we did a TON, including the whole kitchen and mega cleaning.

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Kyle returned on Monday and that’s when sh!t got real.  We spent the first night in our new place and stayed up way too late making towers with empty boxes.


So worth it.  Progress pics…

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Just pinch me. 


Breakfast for the wee one.


Breakfast for mama.

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Then back to unpacking.  That’s pretty much how the past weeks have gone.

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The weather was poopy for a while, but then it decided to be spring for reals and it has been gorgeous ever since.


On the plus side P and I got to rock our raincoats that we bought for Australia but never wore.


Sandal weather.  I love it.


I transplanted my chard from the old place and it seems to be doing okay.  Only time will tell… In the meantime I have sunflowers and tomatoes going strong.


Too many meals were from the WF/Co-op/Nugget prepared foods section and I was just ITCHING to get back to cooking.  Which I have!  And I love!  But can we talk about the fact that the Davis Whole Foods has paleo labeled items?

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Vita unpacked!!!


Looky looky!  The return of tempeh!

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I made this mustard tempeh salad which I plopped on greens.  Then added P’s leftover peas because why not?


It was a totally random dinner but it was quick and easy and that’s all that I cared about since I had a date with the garage shelving unit on the agenda.

The reason I’m back on the tempeh train is because I am no longer nursing P.  🙁


It was a sad day but I have LOTS of breastmilk stored up still so that’s a small comfort – even though I really miss the special one on one time that nursing gave us.

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I gave P some hemp seeds in his oats a while ago and he didn’t have a reaction so I made hemp milk and added it to some other eats of his to see if he liked it (he did).  Then he drank it plain.  So now I’m making it and giving him 50/50 breastmilk/hemp milk in the morning and at bedtime.

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Ordinarily, I wouldn’t go through the hassle of straining it, but the seed particles get stuck in the nipple of the bottle so I use a cheesecloth in a strainer and that makes it all silky smooth. 


He sucks it down like a champ.  


And now I’m in a hemp phase.   I sprinkle some on avocado rice cakes with a bit of nooch…mmmmmm…fave breakfast of the moment.

Omni meal plans

I’ve been keeping up with weekly meal planning for almost a year now – with random weeks off due to travel/holidays/etc..  But for the most part, it’s been a very successful technique in keeping our food budget in check. 

I thought it would be way more expensive once we started including meat, but it hasn’t been too significant of a difference because the marginal increase in animal protein is balanced by the fact that we all eat the same thing (thus, a decrease in overall ingredients).  One meal as opposed to three.  At least for dinner.  I pack Kyle’s lunches and they do contain wheat and dairy and (until we run out entirely) nuts, since he’s not nursing and out of the house when he eats them, it’s no big deal.  Otherwise, we are a communal diet family. 

I slipped up a bit this week because I had some mad tempeh cravings, but otherwise here are the allergy friendly dinners we shared.

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Salmon burgers over a huge salad with TJ’s Caesar dressing.

I called and left a message with Trident Seafoods about their facilities and they called me back and were so helpful!  They are all peanut and tree nut free, and one of their two facilities is sesame and free and the other is not but they still clean it thoroughly between the use of sesame products.  The customer service rep showed me where to look up the ID number of the product (on the bottom of the package) to determine which facility it was made at.  We happened to get a package from the sesame free facility!  And since the package is already labeled as gluten free, we are in the clear.  Win! 


Kale, quinoa and tempeh Caesar salad.


I can’t get enough Caesar dressing lately.  TJ’s makes a non-dairy version that’s pretty great.  Unfortunately, it’s not vegan, but at least P was spared one allergen (the tempeh is soy, of course).  From now on I’ll probably nix the tempeh or use chicken instead, but since we are on a budget, I didn’t want to let the tempeh that’s been in our fridge for the past month go to waste.  I’ve been eyeing it for far too long and I finally caved.


It was so good, but not worth the poor eczema flare P had as a result.  I had thought eating it at dinner and waiting 12 hours overnight wouldn’t be too bad, but I think it takes longer to clear out of my system.  At least in that amount.  🙁


Home-made Chipotle bowl.

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For the rice, I mixed corn, cilantro, and lime juice into brown rice.  For the chicken, I cooked two breasts in the crock pot covered in salsa for 8 hours on low.  It shredded in 5 seconds and made for minimal hands on work.  Kyle demanded a repeat of this meal immediately, so I suspect it will be a regular.


It was seriously easy so that’s fine by me.  I served the chicken and rice with romaine and avocado.


I’ve made this broccoli salad previously (both times adding quinoa).  Just as good this time (I had two more huge servings and the leftovers for lunch the next day).


I actually made us two separate meals this night because we didn’t have very much GF pasta after P ate dinner (his appetite keeps surprising me!).  So Kyle had wheat pasta with this pesto (frozen from our summer produce) and I had the (above) mish mash.

Since you probably can’t tell, it’s TJ’s pasta with kale and roasted veggies topped in an avocado/nutritional yeast sauce.  Despite appearances, it was delicious.


Kyle’s dad was in town on Friday night (Valentine’s Day) so our romantic dinner was re-scheduled for Sunday.  I made a stew with veggies, kale, rice, and sausage.

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Saturday was P’s first birthday party, so we treated ourselves to sushi that night.  No pics because I devoured it superfast.  Avocado inari is my fave.

And here are a few more meals that I photographed from the previous week but never shared…


Pasta with marinara and home-made lentil “meatballs”.  I made extra pasta for Kyle’s lunch the next day, as well as extra GF pasta for me & P.

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He loves pasta with olive oil or chicken broth.  Frankly I can get him to eat anything with chicken broth.  It’s how I shoved brown rice and squash down his throat just yesterday.


This was a Sonoma “chickn” salad made from Beyond Meat chicken-free strips.  I love their products so much.  They are getting “beefy crumbles” soon which should be interesting.

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I basically tweaked the Whole Foods version of the Sonoma salad that first introduced me to Beyond Meat’s product – mayo, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, celery, salt & pepper.


Served atop a salad (or on a sandwich the next day).


In addition to Caesar I’m really into mayo these days.  It’s all about the condiments, baby.


Rosemary and lemon chicken and red potatoes with mixed veggies.  We all ate this one, no alterations needed.


Spoon Fork Bacon’s shaved brussel salad with quinoa instead of pretzel bread and bacon instead of pancetta.  So good we made it again for P’s birthday party.


Brown rice, broccoli, and organic chicken sausage.  I wasn’t too keen on the sausage, to be honest.  The flavor was fine, but the texture weirded me out. 

So there you have it – an assortment meals for our omni family.

Our first weekend back in LA

It’s so weird that we haven’t been back to LA since we left back in April.  We’ve seen several of our so cal friends since but not all of them so we decided to pop in for a quick visit.

Honestly, we’ve been trying to squeeze a weekend in since this past fall, but then all this (good) stuff was happening with Kyle’s business…and then the holidays came along…and you know how it goes…


But we finally got this in the calendar and what a fun time it was!

Now.  As much as I adore my friends, I’d be lying if I didn’t also admit to being really really excited about the restaurant scene.  Davis is great for farm fresh produce and exceptional quality in whole food ingredients, but there aren’t too many options for dining out.  Not that it matters now, because we don’t dine out with a baby, but it limits our take-out options and means I cook our food 99% of the time.  That’s great for our bank account, but can be exhausting. 

Some times I miss the days of treating ourselves to the Whole Foods hot bar or the Veggie Grill.  Back then I thought we did it way too often, but now I’m glad I indulged.

Santa Monica (and the surrounding Westside) is packed with vegan and vegetarian options that spoiled me so rotten when we lived there!  Native Foods, Real Food Daily, Blue Plate, Seed – I could go on and on…and that’s not even including the new places like Sage or the ones I never tried , like Cafe Gratitude.

But I digress.  I love living in Davis, and the sushi I get here is actually the best I’ve ever had, so that’s the positive.


We left after Thursday’s swim classes and P fell asleep right away.  In a super awkward position.  But he didn’t want to budge when I tried to ease his neck back to a more neutral position.  Oh well.

Unfortunately, he didn’t sleep too long, but it was at least enough time for me to eat breakfast and finish my starbucks.  I’m really torn when I drink coffee now because I don’t know what to use as a milk.  The only options at Starbucks are soy and dairy and P’s skin is looking SO much better since I’ve been eliminating his allergies from my own diet.  At home I’ve been trying to limit my nut intake to just the almond milk in my coffee but I know I should get rid of that too.  Which means I either get to drink black coffee or figure out a non-soy, non-nut, non-dairy, non-seed alternative.  Rice and oat milk have zip to offer nutritionally, so I’m thinking I may try coconut milk and see how he reacts?  Coconut is supposed to be a palm fruit so it should be safe, but I’m still nervous. 

Anyway, I ended up feeding him banana and corn puffs and some other snacks while Kyle drove.  After that he finally fell asleep for a more real nap.

We only stopped once to get gas, pee, nurse, and all that jazz…during which we laid out a blanket on a grassy patch so patty-cakes could burn off some energy.  I feel so bad that he’s strapped into the car seat because he wants to romp so badly nowadays.


We finally made it to Newport Beach, where we were staying the night with my g-ma.


We called in an order for take-out from Native Foods in Costa Mesa.

Dinner is served!


I told Kyle to tell them no onions, which apparently meant no onions or salsa.  Bummer.  The Caribbean Jerk Kale salad could have used a little more something something, but it was good anyway. 

Their menu has lots of new things on it, and I wish I could have tried a few of them, but I was in the mood for kale, so the kale salad with tempeh seasoning won out. 

[Side note: it is really hard to find a soy, nut, seed, and wheat free option on a vegan menu.  I knew this going into the weekend, but decided to just do my best, enjoy the food from my fave restaurants as well as I was able while still minding P’s allergies, and once we got home I’d reassess my plan for the future.]


Kyle got the Oklahoma burger, which is one of his standards, with sweet potato fries.

We tried to play with the little guy and stimulate him a lot in that last hour before his bedtime, to try to make up for a boring day for him.  He wasn’t too fussy in the car ride, but we still felt bad.


My g-ma very nicely shared her holiday chocolates with us for dessert. 

The next day we hit the road after breakfast. 


I made us all some eggs, and I was so impressed with the fact that I didn’t crack any yolks I had to take a photo!

Once we arrived in Westwood, we swung by the hospital to say hi to my old coworkers and visit the units that delivered P and took care of me post-partum.

Then it was off to lunch!


Huckleberry always sounds delicious and they had a ton of new menu offerings!


I got the salad trio plate, which was really hard because I wanted at least 6 of the items in the window.  I narrowed it down to the shaved brussels sprout salad, roasted carrots, and fried tofu. 


I also got a quinoa cake.


The brussels salad was AMAZING.  I don’t even like capers (or so I thought) but it was salty perfection.  Combined with creamy avocado.  Mmmmm…

The tofu had sesame seeds, which I didn’t realize at the time, so I only had a few and saved the rest for later. 


Kyle enjoyed my bread in addition to his own order of the wedge salad and vegetarian quiche.


So cheesy.


P had fallen asleep in the car on the way from UCLA so we brought him in the stroller (covered with an aden & anais blanket) to try and prolong his nap but the street noise woke him up pretty much right after we were seated.  He was still tired so he was in and out of it, until he saw our food. 


I gave him a napkin to occupy him, which worked like a charm.  He ripped it into a million pieces and we ate in peace.  Win win.

After we were both stuffed we walked over to Montana Ave to meet up with Kyle’s friend.  From there on out we spent the day meeting up with various groups of friends.  I felt like a pinball on the Westside, just bouncing from one place to the next.


Eventually we got settled at Seamus & Cindy’s (we stayed with them for Fri and Sat night).  It was so cute watching the boys kinda not really play together.


James has a LOT of toys but he was so good at sharing. 


For dinner I went to the Veggie Grill in Westwood with my girls, Alene and Ethel


I was so excited to try some of their new items! 

PS Did you know they have an iPhone app?  Cutting edge much?  It’s awesome!


I got the kale caesar.  Yummm.

Kyle hung back with our sleeping babe and got pizza from CPK so it was especially nice having a girls night with my besties.  After I got home, we watched the last of the (DVR-ed) Orange Bowl game and passed out.

The next day we had a brunch on the calendar, so we were out of the house early and off to Rose Cafe.


I got a scramble with extra avocado, while Kyle got the spinach benedict. 


We both licked our plates clean.

P was especially popular since both the couples we went to breakfast with are pregnant! 

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Good practice.

We both felt like crap afterwards and I’m 99% sure the decaf we had wasn’t decaf at all.  My head was buzzing and I felt really blah. 

Since P fell asleep in the car we decided to take our time getting back to Seamus & Cindy’s place, so we ran some errands, including a trip to Bristol Farms for lunch/dinner BBQ stuff.


I sipped on Kombucha while the boys prepped and cooked and drank beer.

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More people came over around noon and the kiddos alternated eating and napping cycles.

We had chips and salsa, bread and cheese, and a massive spread of salads, asparagus, fish, meat, brownies, etc.


I had a couple of plates like this.

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And a gluten free beer that Ethel gave me the day before.  Whoa strong!  I had to pace myself with this one.

We spent the day watching football and kiddos, which is pretty much my heaven.


I had the same stuff for dinner because I stayed in with P while Kyle went out with the boys.

Cindy and I ended up staying up chatting and watching D list movies, but I loved it and wished we lived closer to each other so we could do it all the time.


Sunday morning was mellow.  We hit up Coral Tree for brunch, which was where Kyle and I went on our first date way back when. 


I got a big ass stack of GF blueberry pancakes (it’s hard to tell but that plate is massive) with a fried egg on the side.


Kyle got the almond crusted french toast with a strawberry smoothie.  I’m pretty sure the "almond crusted" portion was cereal because it looked an awful lot like honey bunches of oats to me. 

P watched on with envy as James enjoyed bits and pieces of Cindy and Seamus’ eats. 

We both had leftovers because the portions were massive which ended up being my second breakfast and lunch later on the road.


We basically packed up and headed back to Davis after that.  The kids played a little more together and we stopped for one last order from Veggie Grill though.


Also I went to WF to get a few packages of my fave seitan.  😉

The drive home was long.  Aside from a 30 minute nap, we had a really unhappy kid on our hands.  It was a real workout trying to keep him occupied while we listened to the Niners v. Packers game. 

We stopped twice – the first was a nursing break, and the second was to switch drivers. 

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Kyle’s BBQ tempeh smelled so good I decided to try and eat my dinner while driving.  [His is the crappy photo on the left (sorry!) and mine is the yummy monstrosity on the right.] 

I ate 3 bites of mine before realizing it was way unsafe.  So I waited to finish it once we got home.

For the record, the harvest bowl is most definitely one of the Veggie Grill’s best dishes.  It has Field Roast sausage, which is awesome, as well as quinoa, roasted veggies, and kale topped with a fantastic gravy / hemp seed sauce.  I loved the cauliflower and squash in the bowl as well as the dressing so so much. 


Now I’m going to be pestering Kevin Boylan to open a VG in Davis until it happens.

Back to meal planning and food prep! 

Before 2014 started

I did a pretty good job of meal planning that last week of the year.

First we finished off all the holiday leftovers we brought back from my parents’ house, including stuffing, roasted veggies, mashed potatoes, and lima bean casserole.


One day, I jazzed it up and made a cheesy “gravy” sauce with nooch and water. 


And another day, I paired it with a salmon burger for some protein. 

Kyle took care of the rest of it.


There was also extra shrimp and veggies from my parents’ holiday party so I pulled the two together for a stir fry.

I used a Cooking Light recipe for shrimp and broccoli stir fry and served it over brown rice.

Simple and yum.


A Trader Joe’s run (holy condiments batman!) helped with the rest of the week’s meals.


Quinoa Caesar.


His had parm and home-made croutons, but I thought mine was perfect with TJ’s Caesar dressing alone.  I could eat romaine coated in Caesar dressing all day long, but adding quinoa really bulks it up nicely.


The next day I made a huge enchilada casserole.

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It had crumbled tempeh, corn, and sweet potato; layered between ripped up corn tortillas, along with TJ’s red enchilada sauce, Redwood Hill Farm’s goat’s milk kefir.

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It may not look fancy, but it tasted dang good.


And made enough to provide Kyle with lunch for the rest of the week.


Topping it with avocado is advised.

The next night I made a coconut broth based noodle dish with veggies and tofu.


I used what we had on hand veggie-wise, which was half an onion, Brussels sprouts, carrots and celery.


I sautéed them with sesame oil and tamari until they were just barely cooked, then I added the coconut milk (plus a dash of curry powder, ginger powder, lime juice, and sugar) and let it simmer on low for a while.  Meanwhile I pressed and cubed the tofu.


After the tofu went in, I put the lid on a turned the stove off until dinner time.

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Right before we were ready to eat I turned the stove back on and added the noodles to the pot with a cup or so of vegetable broth.

They cooked quickly and soaked up lots of the remaining liquid.


This was a major success.  Kyle and I were both mmmm-ing the whole time.  Coconut milk (from the can) adds such depth to a recipe when it marinates with the other ingredients all day.  And who doesn’t like tofu and Brussels when they’re drenched in such flavorful sauce!?! 


Totally awesome.

And that’s that!

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Lunches were simple salads or leftovers.


Breakfasts were eggs with savory quickbread.

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I HAD to make another loaf because the first was so awesome.

So I did.  And I doubled the recipe (like I said I would!) and it still went too quickly.


So I made another loaf!


If the idea of cheesy bread with kale sounds appealing to you, you MUST make this bread.

I have to force myself to not eat it for every meal. 


Red wood Hill Farm’s makes a damn fine goat’s milk cheddar, and with some kale and cornmeal, it’s downright sinful to the taste buds.


And with that, I’m off to capitalize on nap time and do some meal planning for the next week!


How silly is this kid?  He napped like that for an hour the other day. 

My everyday life


This is a small snack.  The “before” photo is so clean.  Let me tell you, persimmons make one hell of an “after” photo.  Like a blood bath!


Naps are complicated.  When they happen, I’m on cloud 9.


Lunch in peace and quiet. 

That’s nearly a whole bag of TJ’s lacinato kale by the way.  Tossed with quinoa and coated in creamy broccoli soup.


We put up our tree and hung our stockings.  P loves all of it.  He says “de” and points to all the things.  He wants to communicate so badly.


I made three loaves of banana bread and have been eating it over and over and over for breakfast. 

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As you can see, it’s always topped with PB and paired with a fried egg.  The combo doesn’t get old.  Me in a rut…shocking.  [Sarcasm]


Teething sucks.


Kyle food.  Huge tupperware of brown rice, lentils, spinach, corn, and Fresh ‘N Nova’s thyme flavored hummus.

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Best way to season a dish.  I made it for his work lunches but it only lasted two servings. 

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Elise food.  Gotta repeat the faves.  Nachos on the left, stew on the right.


And my all time number one lover, creamy dijon tempeh spinach casserole.

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I served it over quinoa.  Win.


Dude, it makes it hard to assemble when you eat the instructions. 

My parents got a high chair for P and it took mega muscle strength to put this bad boy together.  Seriously, I love Graco’s intuitive designs but this was not as simple as some of their other items.




Went home for the weekend again.  Wait til you see the Santa pics.


I love Brussels.

Peace out!