Monday, June 29, 2015

baby button

Life has certainly thrown a lot at our family lately. A lot. Honestly, somedays it is more than I feel capable of handling. From the terrible twos to the passing of my father-in-law and everything in between. And then we found out that our sweet boy was not quite up to speed in his growth rate and that there were some complications to monitor. Normally, I would go into complete and utter panic mode. I am a worry wort to the core. I worry about things my kids will do in their teens. They are not even three yet. Not being hysterical with worry and anxiety is a complete miracle in and of itself. Of course I'm on the edge of my seat at each appointment for the latest news and I've left with tears in my eyes at a few of them, but all in all, St. Padre Pio is totally holding me up here with "Pray, Hope, and Don't Worry." He has been my lifeline through it all. 

I have been so weak and broken from losing my father-in-law and trying to help my husband deal with life without his dad, and then adding on the incredibly tiring days with our three little ones right now, that maybe all I can be is strong through this. But it has certainly been hard. I will continue to have bi-weekly appointments with two doctors up until "Button's" arrival. They will monitor the issue and at one of those appointments they will pretty much just tell me it's a go. I may have no warning as to when he is coming, whether it be this week or in four.

Chances are, even though his scheduled arrival date is supposed to be August 24th, he will be showing up even within the next few weeks. So if you all would, please do us a favor and pray that things don't continue to go downhill and that our littlest guy can stay inside as long as possible. We are gearing up for a long road and learning what life in the NICU will be like, but hopefully with all of the prayers, he won't need to spend as much time as I am preparing for. If any of you have experience with a preemie/NICU baby, please send any tips my way! 

So many people are so kind to us, asking how things are going already and if there is a way they can be updated along the way, so I created an Instagram account. I think it may be the easiest and quickest way for me to keep everyone updated. Feel free to follow along at @teambabybutton and #teambabybutton

We will know more in the days and weeks to come as to what life will be like and when he will be arriving and I will try to keep everyone as updated as I can there. And as for my blog... Oh, how I do hope to keep up with this some how and in some way. But please continue to be patient with me as we figure out what is next for us. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

a beautiful, hard day

Today brings beauty and joy, but yet pain and sadness for all of us, but especially my husband. It is our first Father's Day without his Dad with us. We all so greatly miss him and still cannot figure out life without him. My husband will have to experience balancing the sadness with the great joy of being a father himself. And an amazing father he is. One of the last things my father-in-law said to me in person when he was visiting and in a text a few days before he passed away, was how proud he was of my husband and the father he is. To me, that is one of the greatest joys to know. I was so thankful he shared that with me and I was sure to share the thoughts of his dad along to my husband.

Today we will all be remembering each of the men in our lives that have been father figures to us. Our own fathers, our fathers-in-law, our grandfathers, godfathers, and any men that took on a role of a fatherly figure to us. I am so blessed with an amazing Dad who is an endless giver and a real man of faith. I had two grandfathers that meant the world to me, one passing when I was young and one just a short time ago. And a grandfather still with me, that I was overly blessed to receive when I met Gus. He loves me just like his granddaughter and I love him equally... or maybe more! ;) I have a godfather that brings so much joy, love and laughter to me and I am truly blessed he is mine. My father-in-law will be held in an incredibly special place in my heart as well. He was much more than just my husband's father. From the first times I was in his company, even before any talk of Gus and I getting married, we had a sweet bond. He brought me so, so much laughter and joy. And today, I remember my husband. Our children are truly our greatest gift and I am beyond blessed to raise them with him. 

Our days have been hard lately. Parenting. Life. Loss. All of it. But together, we can get through it all, with love and faith. And I do thank God each and every day that my little ones have the Papi that they do have. They adore him with every ounce of their being. Zelie has the biggest crush on him and our little "Button" will follow along with the others I am sure. He means the world to them now in their young ages, but they don't even quite know the amazingness that he truly is to have in their lives. They will learn that clearly later in life.

I thought I'd share a few recent pictures of Gus and the kids. These are what make my life so full. I am so thankful I have memories like these captured.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

surviving the unimaginable

You always think you won't be the one that tragedy hits. At least I thought that. Sure, hard things happen and life gets hard. But those really hard, tragic times. No, it'd never happen to us. Please God don't let it be us. But one month ago today, our family was hit with the greatest tragedy I hope any of us ever have to go through. 

My father-in-law passed away very young and very unexpected. I will never ever forget how that morning played out, the moment my brother-in-law called my husband to tell him, watching his reaction out the window while he was on the back deck, running out to see what happened, and taking the phone from him talking to my mother-in-law. I will never forget any of it. And from that moment until today, one month later, life has been beyond hard. Completely unimaginable. I can't wrap my mind and heart around it and many days I feel like it is not real and somehow he is just gone or away for right now.

I fear the future for our whole family. My mother-in-law, my husband and his brother, my kids, myself and my sister-in-law. Life is going to be so different. There will be no more memories with him in it. I've only known him for seven years. Seven way too short years. But some how, he filled those seven years with so much love and kindness and so many memories for me, that I too felt like I lost a lifetime of love. Sure it in no way compares to the feeling of loss my mother-in-law, husband and brother-in-law, but my heart still aches with incredible pain. 

My little guys only had 2 years with him and Zelie less than a year. He knew about Button and was so excited for another grandchild. I am so, so grateful they were all so close with him and loved him so much. There was no one quite like their Grandvater. Some of us worry they won't remember him, but they are smart little ones and by us telling them about him and reminding them of the memories they made with him, they will know who he was. 

My mother-in-law, though completely broken from his loss, is the strongest and most faithful lady I have ever met. In HER time of complete grief, she was our rock of strength and our pillar of faith. She is amazing and never failed to blow me away during the three weeks we spent with her. I pray that if I were ever in her shoes, I'd be half the woman she is in dealing with the tragedy.

Watching my husband grieve the loss of his dad has been heartbreaking and a tragedy in and of itself for me. Helping him walk through these difficult weeks has been so incredibly painful for me. I don't have the best words, I can't do anything to take the pain away or even lessen it. There is absolutely nothing I can really do to help the situation. I try to wrack my brain for any ways to help him, anything to lift his spirits. But sometimes just being there, so he knows I'm here but have given him the space is what I have to do. He may need to talk to someone other than me, or hug someone other than me. That is so hard for me, but whatever it be that he needs, I do. 

We have lost a husband, Papi, Grandvater, son-in-law, and brother-in-law. He was a blessed man to be part of our amazing family, but we were each blessed to have him so special to us. Please keep his soul and our family in your prayers, but especially our Mami, my brother-in-law, and my precious husband. And If any of you have dealt with a loss so painful and have found helpful ways of getting through each day with this new, hard normal, please pass along your suggestions.

I love this picture of the two of us. It was the night before I married his son. We were family long before, but you can see the love and happiness in our eyes. I loved being family with him. And I will always love our memories and keep them tucked in a deep place in my heart. And I will share every ounce of that love and those memories with his "anklekinder" grandkids. We will drink milkshakes and sit and talk about him. We will dance to Taylor Swift. We will browse Swarovski stores. And we will watch silly YouTube videos. We will always love you, Papi.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Momma Mondays: I'm Back!

I've been gone for a long time, but I was gone for a reason. 
Yep! We will be a family of six comes August! Life has been c r a z y! A newborn, two two year olds, morning sickness and first trimester exhaustion. I wish I could get my mind in order enough to be back on a regular basis, but it may still be a bit off and on. Bear with me if you would. I just wanted to come back today, as a fresh start in June to let you know CiaoMarezy was still alive. 

We will have four children under the age of three when our little "Button" comes. Baby four has been affectionately named "Button" by the boys. The scary thing. It's sticking. But there is no way we are going with a celebrity-like name. Apple, North, Button... Nope. We'll share soon whether we are having a boy or a girl, but I have a feeling Button will remain it's name for a while.

I really can't wrap my mind around the fact that I will have four such young children. Four kids doesn't scare me at all, it's the fact that our two oldest will not even have celebrated their third birthday yet! A few people have said, "Oh, three is a lot harder than four! You'll be fine." But my oldest isn't going to be a helpful seven year old and the one under isn't five. I'll have two soon-to-be three year olds, an almost one year old and a newborn. If any of you have littles so young and close in age, I welcome any tips! 

While this is going to be one wild ride, we are so excited to add to our family! Hopefully sooner than later I will figure out this crazy life and get back on the blogging schedule! I certainly miss it!

Friday, November 14, 2014

five things fridays: drink it up!

This week's Five Things Friday is all about the drinks. I'm not a real wine drinker, but I just love this wine holder. There was a movie, and I am totally drawing a blank on the name, that had these stacked in a fabulous design. If only I had the counter space! I'd love even a few of these set up in a great honeycomb design. 
And again, if it weren't for the lack of counter space, this would have a home in our kitchen. I'm still debating if I can pull it off! I'd love to have our favorite mugs out at a little drink station.
Speaking of drink stations. If you don't have the counter space, but you have room to put a little cart, isn't this a fabulous idea?! I wish I had room for either, but we don't!

My Hubs is a big coffee nerd these days. He's all about the local spots. He has his fave, but he loves to try new places. I heard about a new place in the city and he checked it out. It's brand new so they aren't totally done designing, but isn't it fabulous looking?

pc: The Hubs // insta

He came home and told me all about it. While I'm not a black coffee drinker I definitely want to check this place out! And they carry these cute little cups! I love the clear glass rather than a normal mug that you can't see through. And the cork is pretty neat too. You can customize the cups on their website with all sorts of colors and sizes! Take a look!
Do you have a favorite drink of choice? Or favorite drink accessories? 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


One of my worst traits is my inability to meal plan and cook the meals. On Monday I gave myself a fresh start and so far so good! I printed out sheets that show one week at a time; half for meal planning and the other half for groceries. I planned out all the way until December 12th. That is literally like planning a years worth of food for the old Mare cook. *wink* And not only did I plan, but I shopped! I have every grocery item I will need except for things that need to be slightly fresher. I feel like a new woman! Okay, well that may be a bit drastic, but I do feel amazingly proud that I did this. And I cooked three meals in a row from scratch without stressing myself out! If you plan ahead it is so much easier! 

Y'all. This chicken dish above is! And easy! If I can pull this off, ANYONE can! So first of all, get your bottom over to follow Edie @lifeingrace on Instagram and look back to her post on this chicken on November 4th. And then get yourself to the grocery store and make this! *NOTE:* Do NOT put the green veggie of choice in with the rest of the veggies for the full time. Just give it about 30 minutes at the end or you will end up with broccoli that is completely inedible. Yes, unfortunately I am speaking from experience.

You will need the following ingredients:

one whole uncooked roaster chicken
one onion
baby carrots
(and do yourself a favor, follow Edie's tip and buy the squeezable garlic. I thought I was wasting my money, but girl, it is totally worth it.)
two lemons
a few slices of uncooked bacon
green veggie of choice (Edie chose brussel sprouts. I chose broccoli.)
olive oil
salt and pepper

And here are the crazy easy steps:

Preheat your oven to 425. 
Remove the innards from the chicken if yours comes with them (mine did not - but if they did, I would have saved them for my chicken stock). 
Pat the skin dry and rub the skin with butter (slightly melted for easy spreading.)
 Liberally salt the chicken and spread the garlic on top. 
Follow with a good amount of pepper. 
Then cover the chicken with the uncooked bacon. 
Chop up the onions and potatoes and then layer those with the baby carrots around the chicken. Drizzle the whole "shebang" in Edie's cute words, with lots of olive oil. 
Salt and pepper the vegetables and squeeze the lemons all over the chicken.  
You can lay them on top of the chicken for added flavor and to make it an even nicer presentation. 
Cook at 425 for 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours. 
You can serve right away or turn the oven off and let it rest in there until you’re ready to eat. 

Easy peasy and delicioso!

For night two, I went to Ree of The Pioneer Woman for inspiration. I did make a few adaptions to this recipe though and I will let you know what I did. You can get her original recipe here though.

For this delicious chicken noodle soup you will need:

The gizzards from a chicken I had previously frozen 

1 pre-cooked rotisserie chicken 

3 carrots - I chopped these rather than diced time

3 stalks of celery - I chopped these as well

1 whole onion - I cut this in half and then fourths

1 teaspoon of salt

3/4 teaspoon of turmeric

1/4 teaspoon of white pepper (you can do more to taste)

3/4 teaspoon of ground thyme

2 1/4 teaspoons of parsley flakes

12 ounce bag of Reames homemade egg noodles (in the freezer section by ravioli)

4 ounces of chicken base (half of a little glass jar of Better Than Bouillon) 

1 small box of chicken stock - I will try to update this with the exact size

I boiled the chicken pieces in 8 cups of water and then put it on a simmer. About 10 minutes later, I added the chicken stock. I would say I let this go for about 30-40 minutes before removing the chicken pieces with a slotted  spoon. 

Next I added in the carrots, celery, and onions, along with all of the herbs and spices. I also added the chicken base here. Stir this all together and let simmer for about 10 minutes so all of the flavors mx well.

While this is going, shred the chicken off of the rotisserie chicken. 

Increase the heat a bit and add the frozen egg noodles as well as the shredded chicken pieces. Now cook this for about another 10 minutes.

*Ree suggests taking 3 tablespoons of flour, mixing it with a little water, stirring until smooth and then pouring it into the soup. Stir so it combines with the soup and simmer for 5 more minutes. This will thicken the broth a bit. - I will try this next time… I just completely forgot.*

Tonight we had steak with sweet potatoes, roasted veggies, and sautéed onions. 

For the roasted veggies, I cut up baby carrots (cut in half the long way), fresh broccoli, zucchini, and red pepper. I drizzled them well with olive oil, then sprinkled garlic powder, salt and pepper and mixed it up well. I put this on a pan in the oven at 425 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. 

For the onions, I cut the onion in long slices, sautéed them in olive oil and some ketchup. Yes, sounds gross, but it is tasty! Cook those until tender.

The sweet potatoes were just baked in the oven and the steak just had some steak seasonings.

No picture tonight, but it was tasty and successful! Tomorrow night we are having leftovers just so our fridge stays cleaned out. So, if I can meal plan and cook, anyone can!! You can follow along with my journey of meals on Instagram with the hashtag #ciaomarezymeals. Happy cooking! 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

first halloween

My little men celebrated their first Halloween with their sister this year. In years past, we just handed out candy at our house, but didn't dress up. This year, we kept it super simple. I didn't want to pay a ton of money for a costume they would wear for a couple hours max. Two costumes at once adds up. And I knew I didn't have the time to really make much of anything. So this year, they went as Batman and all I had to buy was the Batman shirt, which they can wear other days during the year anyway. It's their Papi's favorite character so it's a good thing to have in their wardrobe... along with their Redskin's clothes and Alabama hat. *wink* I cut capes out of black fabric and just pinned it to their shirts and took yellow strips of fabric and tied it around their waist as a belt. Wallah. They also wore their Batman sunglasses part of the time. They were not fans of masks.
Zelie was part of the fun too. My sweet cousin sent her an adorable black cat onesie that she wore with black tights. Simple and so cute!
We went out with a friend of mine and her daughter and hit about 10 or 12 houses before a huge front of wind and cold air hit. We turned around to make the walk back to our cars and just made it before the heavens opened and poured down rain. That would have been awful with three little ones and two babies! They kids had a ton of fun with the houses we did make it to and definitely got enough candy. The boys had never had candy before so they had absolutely no idea what they were getting. They knew it was called candy, but didn't know what it really was. They still don't. I didn't let them have any of it. Not that I don't let my kids have any sugar, but candy is off limits for them right now. They have cake on special occasions and cookies from time to time. I don't really want to start them on candy. And most of the stuff they got, a two year old couldn't really eat. Momma and Papi didn't mind eating it for them though. *wink*
The boys had such a great time and I was so pleased as their Momma to hear them use their manners. I try hard to raise them well, but my word, it is not easy. Manners came easiest so far. We have please and thank you, yes please, no thank you, excuse me, no sir and yes ma'am going quite well. So when they went up to the door and said "trick treat" it was followed by a sweet please and then thank you. My heart swelled watching their smiles and hearing their kind words.

When we got home, the boys thought they would show and share their sweet treats with their little sister. They are so giving. I am loving their bond already and I know it is only going to be sweeter as they grow.
 Next year I want us all to dress up! I haven't dressed up in years and think it would be kind of fun. We will see. It would be something I'd really have to plan ahead for! Do you go all out for Halloween, not celebrate at all or something in between?