Friday, May 31, 2013

Memorial Day Recap Part II

Part I of our Memorial Day weekend camping trip

Friends, I am not what you would call a "fair weather camper." I've grown up in the Pacific Northwest where rain is just something you deal with. It's an act of God if you go camping in Western Washington and you don't get any rain. So I'm fine with that. I'm totally fine that my and Penny's fingernails came home with dirt in the cuticles. I'm even fine with the fact that we didn't shower for 4 days. What I'm not fine with is being too cold to go to sleep!

We took this first camping trip with Penny with open eyes to see if we tent camping was still a possibility with our mini circus of toddler + 2 dogs. Penny really surprised us with how able she was. We taught her from the moment that she noticed the (empty) fire pit, that it was hot and that she needs to be careful. She never strayed from the site (but thought it was fun to run around the car and meet us at the other side) and didn't eat too much dirt. Camping with this very mobile and interested toddler was easy and fun, which is not entirely what we expected. We prepared ourselves for sleeping at night to be difficult for her due to the cold or natural noises, or that she would just get into too much trouble. What ended up happening is that we realized that for Adam and I that camping in a tent is no longer fun or comfortable. I, sadly, am becoming a fair weather camper.  So a trailer is in our very near future. And I think I'm coming to terms with it. Besides comfort being a factor for us, a camper would also give us a place to safely leave our dogs in case we wanted to go somewhere not dog friendly. Leaving dogs at a campsite isn't responsible and having them cooped up in a possibly hot car all day isn't an option either. Perhaps more on that in the future.

As an aside, this whole weekend was made easier by the addition of our new family rig. We bought a older suburban after spending this last year realizing that our beloved Volvo V70 station wagon just isn't cutting it anymore. I know, a car is like a purse. You get a bigger purse, you start to stuff it with more stuff. The issue is primarily with the two of us, 2 dogs and *currently* one child, we quickly fill up the Volvo on our weekends. We visit both sides of our family very regularly. The car is pretty full with just a weekend full of stuff and our 5 bodies. Eventually, we'll have more kids, which will take up more space and come with more stuff. We are also transitioning to having most of our family vacations be road trips. So naturally the idea would be to get a bigger car. Unfortunately, bigger usually means horrible gas mileage, which doesn't really jive with this mama's ecofriendly goals and this family's desire to stay single income!

So what the husband has decided to do is create what is called a DuraBurb. For those of you who don't know, Adam has a degree in vehicle engineering and knows a thing or two about cars. Can you guess how many cars we have? I can tell you that each member of our little family (2 of us, Penny and the 2 dogs) would each have a car to themself and more. Yea, we're those people. We try to justify that each car we have has it's own purpose, even though we currently have 2 "toys." Ok, I am making every attempt to keeping this post relevant and keeping boy-stuff out of it. But the hubs wants his little spotlight here every once in a while too..

Back to the DuraBurb. It's a Suburban (traditionally gas guzzler) with a Duramax diesel engine + other parts swapped in. Modern diesels are much more energy efficient (and quieter) than their older counterparts were. All said and done, this Family Rig will go from getting 13 MPG on a good day to about 27 MPG. And seat 9 passengers, and tow whatever we want. So now all my friends are joking that I need to fill it with kids and we're good to go. We started by getting a donor truck with the desired diesel engine + parts, took all that stuff out, got the Suburban, and next step is to do the swap - which will be this weekend. Hopefully it'll all go smoothly and it'll be up and running before the end of the summer!

Stay tuned for that tasty recipe that I've been tantalizing you with for 2 posts...

What is your family "rig"? Is it the ideal size for your family?

Now, honestly, readers of mine - 
is the Duraburb project something you'd be interested 
in reading about  in future posts? If not, I'll definitely spare you :)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Memorial Day Recap Part I

This weekend we took off for a 4 day weekend down Highway 20 in Northern Washington and ended up at the Colonial Creek campground in the Northern Cascades.  We were a little worried about holiday traffic and crowed campgrounds, but incidentally the bridge collapse in Burlington and the wet weather report must have scared most of the travelers away.

We drove up the scenic highway, found our camp ground and quickly set up camp.

So.. we jokingly call our tent "The Condo." Because it is really big. It's 15 x 17 ft. Adam has had it for about 8 years and we've definitely gotten our use out of it. It's large enough to fit a queen sized air mattress, ample space for our 2 dogs to sleep and all of our gear (and this time we even brought the pack n play in case). Plus.. it has a freaking foyer. Not kidding. This tent is probably bigger than my college dorm room was!

The funny part is that in the roughly two dozen times we've set it up together, this weekend was the first time that we got to set up camp in daylight AND no rain! There have been several camping trips where we show up after dark, because we left after work, or it's dumping rain. So we were really pleased that getting everything in camp set up took under an hour - even with a little kid running around!

Speaking of my little kid, gotta say.. Super proud of her. Even though she's been walking for well over 6 months, this was one of the very few times she's walked on rough terrain without having our assistance each step of the way. I got her these cute Oshkosh shoes and she was so capable of maneuvering through roots, through rocky patches, over logs and up and down steep slopes. Even when she did fall down, she quickly picked herself up and went on to whatever she was up to. Then there's times at home where she trips over a rug or gets knocked over by a dog and she waaaaaails like there's no tomorrow. LOL! I suppose the saying "everything is different at camp" applies to toddler falls too.

We explored around our camp grounds and found that the Thunder Knob hiking trail starts by the walk in sites. We were still waiting on our friends to show up so we decided to just take a quick look over the creek beds and then went back to camp to have dinner. This night's dinner was not up to the level of quality that I had intended on - we just had some turkey chili and chicken apple sausages.

The following morning, our friends met up with us and we took a hike up Thunder Knob. It was a 3.8 mile round trip, easy ~630 ft elevation gain hike. Even with our 2nd trimester pregnant friend we made it up quickly and enjoyed the beautiful view laid out before us. The first part of the hike has you cross a couple babbling creeks and takes you through lichen-y forest which gets a little sparser as you get to the top.
Our brother and sister in law with their son Jack showed up one evening for a few hours, and we also took a day trip to Winthrop to escape the rain. We only went through the main street area, but took advantage of some yummy ice cream, mini golf and a picnic lunch down by the water.
We ended the weekend with a visit to the Diablo Dam for some birthday cake in my honor :)
PS: Don't judge Penny because she's wearing such a frumpy little outfit. It's comfy for driving long distances in! ;)

So.. stay tuned for 2 more posts regarding this weekend!  One about our new family rig and another with a taste bud achingly delicious recipe.

Bed Sharing

Co-sleeping and bed sharing is a controversial topic to many, but today I want to share our experience with it.

Penny has slept in our bed from day one. It started out mostly from necessity, as we were temporarily staying at my parents' house while we were relocating for Adam's new job. The guest room was a generous size but our king sized bed and two dogs just took up a lot of real estate! So we planned on bed sharing and figuring out details later.

About a week before she was born we pulled out the The First Years Close and Secure Sleeper. When researching co-sleeping options, I found lots of side car cribs that you could push against the side of the bed, keeping the infant in their own space but close. Neither Adam or I move around while we sleep, so fear of rolling onto the baby was never an issue. I also naturally felt the instinct to keep her close - and even the sidecar option seemed too far away for me. Plus, again, we were dealing with a lack of space. When I found the Close and Secure sleeper I knew this is what I was looking for. It kept the baby off the mattress and had soft side walls (I had no idea how infants slept.. did they roll around?) and also provided a barrier for either of us in case we did happen to roll closer to her.

The first few nights I couldn't bear to lay her down in it, after all - I had slept with her inside me for the last 9 months and just because she was born didn't mean that my baby didn't deserve to be enveloped in the loving arms of her parents! So she slept on my chest and this gave me relief in knowing that I would be right there in case something needed to happen.

We slept with the sleeper in between us until she was about 4 months old, at which time she was too tall for it and we packed it away. Since then she's slept on the mattress with us.

Through different developmental stages we face some challenges, such as when she first was starting to crawl she would act it out on her sleep, or during teething episodes when she is a lighter sleeper. But for the most part, a quick easy way to soothe her back to sleep is either by nursing or bringing her up onto one of our chests and gently patting her butt. There are times where she seeks out the comfort of our bodies and wants to be right next to our faces, snuggled as close to us as possible. There are nights where she wants her own space and spreads out her limbs like a star fish to keep us away. But every morning she is snuggled up against either one of us. Adam says those are the mornings that are the hardest to leave us.. and who could blame him? Lately if she wakes up a few minutes before either of us, she greets us with hugs and kisses to bring in the new day.

Bed sharing has never posed any safety issues to us. I did my research, talked with other bed sharing families and figured out a tactic that works for us. Once Penny started to move around in bed more continually, I pushed the pack n play up against my side of the bed so that I wouldn't worry about her rolling off.

We've benefited so greatly in keeping her in bed with us.
  • The greatest benefit to us was more sleep for everyone. She has slept pretty soundly from the beginning, simply because she has the comfort in knowing we're close by. I didn't have to get out of bed to nurse her or tend to her, which allowed us to fall asleep quickly once done nursing. 
  • By bed sharing I've been able to continue night nursing. With her being in the bed already neither one of us really is completely awake when she does want to nurse so it's allowed her to continue to nurse on demand and keep up my supply at 15 months. 
  • Finally, a somewhat latent reason why bed sharing has benefited us is because we travel a lot on the weekends and by already being accustomed to sharing bed space has made the night time a lot easier. Penny isn't scared or her sleeping schedule isn't terribly thrown off because she didn't become attached to sleeping in her specific crib. The phrase comes to mind, "home is where the heart is," and this case.. bed is where mama and dada are! 
I know that bed sharing isn't for everyone. Some parents move around a lot, are smokers, the bed is too small, or simply want that division of personal space. I get it. Bed sharing (or any co sleeping, for that matter) should be beneficial and safe for the parents and baby.  Just like with any other choice in parenting, sleeping arrangements are up to each family as each situation is completely unique!

Here are a few great resources and personal stories for those who are interested in bed sharing.

Disclaimer:  The Pierogie Mama is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Please consider clicking through for your Amazon purchases. It doesn't change the cost for you, but it puts a little percentage back my way
 for writing about a product that  I believe in :) 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend Camping Menu

Typical Bianca. Instead of actually packing and preparing for the impending camping trip that we are leaving tomorrow for, I'm at the computer writing about it. My husband is so right that I'm a procrastinator incarnate.

But I'm going to justify that this is a way for me to organize myself ;)

Tomorrow morning we are taking off for a 4 day camping trip. It'll be our first one with Penelope, but at 15 months I think everything will go just fine. Naps might be a little tough, but if she doesn't want to lay down in the tent we can always put her in the Ergo and go for a hike or snuggle up in the Maya wrap at the campsite and bop around until she lulls herself to sleep. I'm flexible.

Now I'm going to preface that when I say we're going camping, it may not mean the same thing to everyone. To some people, that means packing a backpack and heading out into the woods. To others, that means loading up the camper - complete with DVD player, oven, and shower. For us, camping is sort of in the middle. We "car camp," as many might say. We go to campsites that definitely have running water, preferably showers, allow dogs and I use a Coleman propane cooktop to prepare most of our food. This time around, I am bringing my Lodge cast iron dutch oven and am planning on putting it to good use! I feel really legit now! ;)

We're camping with another couple and are splitting the meal responsibility, but I am excited to share what I am planning on bringing for us.

Tales of A Mountain Mama's Dutch Oven Stew
Amelia, thank you so much for posting this on such short notice for my benefit :)
Home made pasta salad
Dirty Gourmet's Campfire Breakfast Potatoes
Mommy's Kitchen's S'mores Trail Mix (and regular S'mores too!)
Martha's Turkey Sloppy Joes
Moms and Munchkins' Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

I haven't made any of these recipes before - but I'm sure they'll be a hit!  
What are your camping favorites?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Summer Giveaway Hops and Opportunities

Hello fellow bloggers!

This summer I'm signing up for a few giveaway hops and blogger opportunities and I wanted to pass these on to you if you're interested. If you aren't a blogger (or aren't interested in participating), be sure to keep your eye out for these cool events
once they are live on my blog - I've got some neat prizes in store and other bloggers will too!

Keeping Cool in the Sun Giveaway Hop Sign Ups
  • This is a Summer Themed Event – that means anything you would use in the summer –  please keep things family friendly! This event will run from June 11th until June 25th. To sign up for this event and learn more details, please click here.

  • This Blog Hop giveaway is going to be items that are meant for cloth diapering. It will run from June 21 - July 1. Click HERE to find the HTML for the announcement post and rules.
Summer Fluffing Giveaway Hop Sign Ups

  • Another cloth diapering event! Yay! This event will run from July 17th until July 31th. To sign up, please click here.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Brighten Whites Using the Sun

A long, drizzly overcast winter leaves my cloth diapers a little...dingy. They're definitely clean but especially with a child who is on solids they're a little tougher to get out. This Washington mama is lucky because summer is around the corner and the sun is making its appearance more often- that means sun bleaching!

This was a concept I had totally forgotten about since elementary school. Oh yes, sun bleaching your hair with lemon juice, or science experiments with leaving a bunched up wet towel to dry in the sun for weeks. The sun does have some pretty cool powers.

Sun bleaching or "sunning" has a lot of great benefits:
  • It's all natural. Why would I want to use harsh chemicals (like bleach or brighteners) on the cloth that I've worked so hard to keep safe for my baby's bottom? 
  • It is so economical! How about free?! Even in Western Washington where true hot sunny days are hard to come by it's completely possible to sun stains out of fabrics. It just might take a little while longer on those damp days ;)
  • UV rays from the sun are a great disinfectant
How do you do it? Really simple, silly! Just lay your stained item (be it a cloth diaper insert or even your husband's shirt that got stained) in the sun and wait few hours. Pretty soon your whites will be back to normal. I've even had success with sunning out a spaghetti stain on a white sweatshirt that has been washed at least a dozen times - that regular detergent was not able to get out.

Some additional tips:
  • Use a clothes drying rack or hang a laundry line to get more sun exposure and aid in more effective drying. 
  • Add a squeeze of lemon juice to give it an extra boost!
  • Don't leave the cloth out for more than a few hours, because eventually the fibers will become damaged and weak. If it needs more time, wait a day or so and get it damp again and set it out for a few hours.
  • This isn't limited to your whites, it's just easier to see the difference in them! 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Free Blogger Opp: Christmas in July Cloth Diapering Giveaway

Christmas in July Button

Attention fellow Bloggers! Here's some info for a free sign up opportunity to giveaway some Best Bottom Diapers.  Not a blogger? Well keep this in mind because in July you'll have the opportunity to enter to win too!

To celebrate Christmas in July, The Parenting Patch and a group of other cloth diaper bloggers are giving away a Best Bottom Diapers cloth diaper prize pack to one lucky winner.

Free sign ups for the Christmas in July Best Bottom Giveaway continue until June 20, 2013 or when a maximum of 20 blogs have signed up. The Parenting Patch Christmas in July Best Bottom Giveaway starts on July 11, 2013 and ends on July 25, 2013.
Best Bottom Diapers
One lucky winner will win a Best Bottom Diapers cloth diaper prize pack that consists of one (1) Best Bottom shell in color/print of choice, one (1) Stay Dry insert in size of choice, and one (1) microfiber doubler in size of choice. The value of the prize pack is $24.40.

The Christmas in July Best Bottom Giveaway is limited to 20 participating blogs. Bloggers participating in the Christmas in July Best Bottom Giveaway are eligible to enter to win.

Sign Up

To participate in the Christmas in July Best Bottom Giveaway, participants must post about the giveaway event on their blog or website. Sign ups include both Facebook and Twitter on the Rafflecopter form.

To sign up to participate in the Christmas in July Best Bottom Giveaway:
(1) First add the Christmas in July Best Bottom Giveaway button (at top) to the sidebar of your blog or website. Please have the button link to this blog post. You may resize the button as necessary to fit your blog design. Please save the image and then upload the button to your blog or website.
(2) Post about the Christmas in July Best Bottom Giveaway on your blog or website. Please include the sign up dates, the event dates, the prize pack, and a link to this post. Do not copy this post word for word.
(3) Ask to join the Christmas in July Best Bottom Giveaway group on Facebook. Please ask to join as important information will be provided via the group. I will provide the HTML and the Rafflecopter code for the blog post via the group.
(4) Fill out this form.

The Christmas in July Best Bottom Giveaway begins on July 11, 2013 and ends on July 25, 2013. Prior to the event start, The Parenting Patch will provide the post HTML and the code for the Rafflecopter form through the Facebook group.

Guest Post: Simple and Effective Tips for a Healthy and Natural Pregnancy

I'd like to introduce Katie, the mama over at Moore from Katie
She blogs about being a SAHM, healthy living and baking.. My kind of gal! 
Read on for her guest post on a few tips on having a healthy pregnancy...

Many women do not think about living a natural lifestyle until they become pregnant.  There is something about walking around with a tiny baby inside you, knowing you are responsible for its health and safety that changes the way women think.  This knowledge propelled me into action and really triggered a new type of alertness in my mind.  The simple fact that I knew I was carrying my baby in my belly made me much more conscious of the chemicals I was around, the foods I ate, and how I took care of my body in general.  This awareness led me on a path of living naturally, and I would not change a minute of this exciting new journey!

To start off with, I should first say that embracing a natural way of living is a unique combination of affordable and expensive.  It can be very reasonably priced, or it can be a very costly way to live.  It all depends where you get your natural products and which type of changes you want to make to your lifestyle!

As I became more aware of my body and conscious of what I ate, I realized that my dietary habits needed these changes. Even though I thought I was making healthy choices, I realized that my diet was high in processed foods with unnatural additives, saturated fat, sugar and salt. With attention to the ingredients in food items, I was able to decrease the intake of processed foods quite easily without becoming a fanatic with eating strictly organically. Also, the transition to healthy eating did not cost more money as I originally thought.

For example, I realized upon investigation that many of the household cleaners I was using contained harmful chemicals that I was breathing in.  These breathed-in chemicals go directly to my baby!  To avoid this, I began making my own simple and effective household cleaners by mixing baking soda with vinegar and water.  Adding a little lemon or orange zest gives this simple and organic cleaning solution a light and citrus-smelling scent that makes my house look and smell clean!  This type of natural change really made a big difference, it was very cost-effective and it was an extremely easy change to make!  I saved money on expensive cleaners by making my own.

One area where it can be expensive to live naturally during and after pregnancy is purchasing clothing and other baby products.  It is important to read about the dye products that are in many new types of clothing materials.  To avoid purchasing clothing that may have harmful chemicals, you can shop for organic clothing, which is also called environmentally-friendly clothing.  Not only are these items typically free of harmful chemicals, they are also usually recycled and natural materials, which promote a more Earth-friendly environment.  You can also save money by stitching together your own curtains from your favorite old T-shirts and blue jeans!

Switching to a more natural lifestyle can be fun, easy and rewarding in the end.  I was fortunate enough to have a doctor who provided a wealth of information about many subjects including healthy eating, birthing options, cord blood banking and so much more.  Check with your doctor before making any changes during your pregnancy, and enjoy your new healthy lifestyle!

Katie Moore has written and submitted this article. Katie is an active blogger who discusses the topics of motherhood, children, fitness, health and all other things Mommy. She enjoys writing, blogging, and meeting new people! To connect with Katie contact her via her blog, Moore From Katie or her twitter, @moorekm26.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day Recap

This weekend I got the best of both worlds - a Mother's Day celebration in my honor and another in conjunction with my own mama.

Last year for my birthday we went to the Portland Zoo with 2 month old Penny, who slept through the entire experience. I saw that the weather was supposed to be gorgeous on Saturday of Mother's Day weekend so I made the request for a family outing to the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. As we were getting ready, I was checking my facebook and my real life / bloggy friend Gretchen of That Mama Gretchen posted a picture of her family getting ready to go to the zoo too.. A quick text exchange followed and we made plans to run into each other there!

Since it was A) sunny B) Saturday C) Mother's Day weekend (1/2 off for mamas!) - parking was horrendous. If there is one thing that my husband can't stand it's trying to look for parking. We both grew up in the suburbs where parking is never an issue, but somehow I am more tolerant of this problem. He always teases me that whenever we go out to "treat" me, it's always in the city. Well, that's where a lot of the fun stuff is!

Nonetheless we trekked on, had a quick pow-wow with Gretchen (who was the cool mom and dressed up her family in preparation for their zoo visit!) and meandered our way around the zoo.
Thanks for the pic, Gretchen!
Penny took notice of a few animals - mostly the small and fast ones. Her favorites by far - the otters in the grizzly bear exhibit...

...and a mama wallaby with a baby in her pouch!

I'm really looking forward to many more visits this summer because an early birthday present was an annual pass so that Penny and I could take advantage of the zoo during less busy times and enjoy all the different activities the zoo has to offer (like feeding an elephant or giraffe for $5! Isn't that amazing?!).
 Afterwards we drove down to my family's for the weekend and surprised my mom. She wasn't expecting us because I had to gently remind her that I'm a mama now too - and there will be holidays where we celebrate on our own. Well, we visited anyways and on Sunday she and I had our annual Mother's Day pedicures and rounded out the weekend with some delicious grilled salmon and asparagus on the lake house's deck.

The weekend left me feeling particularly blessed for such a wonderful family. How did you celebrate?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Farmer's Market Day

Farmer's Market season has officially begun! Penny and I ventured out and drove to a market that was about 30 minutes away to check it out.

It was a gorgeous day and the drive to the market is a scenic back road. Prior to becoming a mama I would have just pulled over and taken pictures of the magnificence, but for the most part there really wasn't a large enough shoulder to pull over on so of course I didn't risk it. But friends, I promise that very soon I will find a way to safely take a picture of what our drive looked like. Because words are not enough. So I won't even try. Just trust me - it was gorgeous!

This particular market was not a very big one, less than a dozen vendors, but each one was interesting and unique. There was a veggie stand, local grassfed beef, a jam & pickle man, apples & pears, a local pizza parlour brought out a portable wood fire oven and baked pizzas for you on the spot. The best find? A little mom and pop stand where they have probably 3 dozen different pastries set out and there was a line about 20 people deep. I *knew* this was the place to check out.

The person standing in line ahead of us was a very tan older man with a thick New York accent. He was clearly a regular, and he was talking with the lady-owner about his week and such. He turned around to me, suddenly, exclaimed how I must try their challah bread, and that my little girl had the cutest dimples and blue eyes. Thank you, I said with a proud smile, to which he replied that she of course gets it from her mom. Cue the blush. Then he asks her name, to which I reply "Penelope" and he looks into my eyes with the most sincere look that I would reserve only for the best of friends and told me that I couldn't have picked a more perfect name for her. Gosh, that man made my day over again.

So we bought a strawberry rhubarb pie for the hubs and an apple cinnamon bread that Penny and I shared while we walked around downtown and visited the little stores and played at the playground. This mama sure is blessed :)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Squirt earns his keep

Yesterday we visited our favorite local hike, Wallace Falls, to take advantage of the gorgeous pretty-much-summer weather. It was 90 degrees. In Washington. In May.

The last time we did this hike we (in February) did about 1/3 of the total trip. It was a good day for a hike (considering), but still a little cool and muddy. This time around we did the whole thing. With baby in tow.

Two of our main goals as parents is to keep doing what we loved to do before having a baby (within reason - no ATVing is in our immediate future) and to share our love and appreciation for the outdoors with our children.  Which means until Penny is old enough to get herself up that mountain, mama and daddy are going to schlep her up ourselves. Luckily she looooves to be worn and is not that heavy (at 14 months she weighs in just under 20 lbs...).

One of the ways we made it easier on ourselves was to give everyone a "job." Penny's job - if you can really call it that - was to be cute and happy in her Ergo. Nailed it.

Mama's job (to start with) was to be the water carrier. I pulled out my CamelBak that I've had since college, which alleviated carrying around a water bottle and opened up both of my hands to either tend to Squirty or Penny.

Daddy's job was to carry Penny. He had her on his back 90% of the way up to the top, but we ended up switching off because Penny got over being covered in Dad's sweat and needed some Mama time :) So Adam took over carrying the water.

Finally, Squirt's job. Our backs were full - which left no where to pack our lunch. And thus, the best invention known to hiking-kind. The dog pack!

Squirt is wearing a Ruffwear Approach pack.  We're in the process of running this pack through it's paces (keep an eye out for a full review soon!) but so far we are really pleased with it. It has two large pockets plus two small ones, with several high quality bells and whistles to boot. We packed our snacks, lunch, Squirt's food and a few miscellaneous items for Penny and he carried it all comfortably without needing to readjust the pack during the 4 hour hike.

Yesterday's weather will probably be one of the top 5 most beautiful days in Washington this year. Even though this hike is an extremely popular one (the parking lot was full by 10a), the trail itself was not terribly crowded. The viewpoints and lunching area were clogged up, but we bypassed most of them and opted to view them on the way back.

There were so many great photo opportunities and it's a shame that the noon day sun was right above us (for the non-photographers out there that means pretty much everything gets washed out in all the brightness!). But you didn't just hear this Washington girl complain about there being too much sun. Nope, not me.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Happy 4th Birthday, Squirty McWigglebottom :)

Today marks 2 years since we adopted our second dog, a mini-Australian shepherd, whom we dubbed "Squirt."

We decided on the name after wanting to call him something along the lines of "little brother" to our older dog, Romeo. I had suggested the name Braciszek ("bra-chi-shek," which means "little brother" in Polish)... but as you can guess, that was shot down. Eventually we settled on Squirt, which is really fitting for him anyways.

And the McWigglebottom part? Well, Squirt doesn't have a tail. Australian Shepherds are known for their naturally bobbed tails, but Squirt was born without one at all..however, when he gets really excited, his entire butt shakes.

2 years ago we had decided that Romeo was in need of a buddy. My office was dog friendly, but I didn't always want to bring him with me but we thought he might be lonely during the day. He was getting older and we hoped that a younger dog would pep him up a little bit and in turn he would help mature a younger dog too. We were about half way through our renovation and I was most likely subconsciously dealing with baby fever (3 of my sister in laws were due between May and September). So we decided to get a second dog. The funny part is that I was pregnant about 2 months later anyways....

I am pretty familiar with dog breeds (for some reason) and we decided that a Mini-Aussie would be a good fit for our family. Energetic, smart, loyal and trainable. After months of searching the good old list of Craig's and various pet adoption websites, I came across a listing for a 2 year old male on CL and texted in about him. Throughout the rest of the day I exchanged sporatic texts with a 19 year old girl who was juggling community college courses, a busy lifestyle and a energetic (to say the least) dog that was cooped up in her small apartment :( I felt bad because I remember being in that stage of life.. I'm sure she loved that dog very much, but it just wasn't a good mix. I'm thankful that she decided to give him to a good home and move on.

We picked him up that night and were greeted with this ball of furry silvery energy that immediately loved on us (and wiggled his bottom to no end). His main goal in life is to please those around him, just like any good dog does.

What a blessing it has been to have Squirt in our family and watch Penelope grow to love him.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

BOB Revolution SE Jogging Stroller Giveaway

Welcome to the Mother's Day BOB Revolution SE Jogging Stroller Giveaway sponsored by BOB and Mama Goes BAM. Spring is a perfect time to get out and about with baby to enjoy a walk or run with this sporty, stylish and compact jogging stroller from BOB. 

Bob is known for it's high quality strollers and this model is perfect for jogging or walking. The front swivel wheel and adjustable suspension make the all-terrain Revolution SE a great way for families to be active together.

Here is your chance to win one as pictured above! All you have to do is enter using the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway ends at 11:59M EST on May 12 and is only open to residents of the 48 continental US states. The only required entry is your email, but of course the more ways you enter, the more chances you have of winning! There are plenty of daily entries, so make sure to come back everyday for your chance to win.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

{The Pierogie Mama} readers~ if you have a Twitter account, you can follow me and get an entry towards this giveaway by following this link. Good luck! I'd love to see one of my followers win :)

Disclaimer: I did not receive or review the stroller mentioned above. 
I am participating in a joint giveaway.


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