Friday, December 27, 2013

Life with Jax

It's amazing how quickly life can change in one short week!
Jackson-4 Days Old
Jackson Lee was born Sunday, December 22nd at 1:13pm--he's a mellow little guy (5 pounds 13 ounces, 19 inches long) but absolutely perfect in every way! He had a hard time breathing at first and couldn't cry (more on that later--I'll try to write up his birth story this weekend) and ended up spending the first few nights of his life in the NICU but went on to make a full and quick comeback. 
A few hours old--I can't look at this without tearing up.
We were hoping to be home by Christmas eve (my favorite day of the year!) but ended up having to stay until Christmas morning which was really difficult and stressful. However, God knows what is best for us and our Christmas morning homecoming turned out to be absolutely amazing--all of Jax's grandparents (and Great Aunt and Uncle from CO) were at the house to greet us when we arrived and meet our sweet little man.
Oh be still, my heart--Brandon knows how much I love Christmas Eve and brought it to the hospital for Jax and me.
We had so many visitors/well wishers and I can't put into words just how much that meant to us--thank you so much to everyone who visited, called, texted, emailed, FB'd, etc. to congratulate us/check in on little Jax. These last 7 days have truly been the most exciting, exhausting, and emotional that I have ever had and there is no way I could have gotten through it without my incredible husband, family, and friends. I will post much more about Jax's birth and first Christmas next week!
Jax's friends who stopped by the hospital.
I hope you all had a blessed Christmas! 

Oh, one more thing..
Miss Bits is actually handling everything baby related a lot better than I expected--she basically just goes about her day-to-day routine and ignores Jax as much as she can (though she did lay on my feet last night while I pumped and intently/nervously watched Jax jabber and flail about in his Rock 'n Play). Give it a few weeks though and I know they'll be the best of friends!

Monday, December 23, 2013

He's Here! Meet Baby Sand!

Jackson Lee Sandmeier--born December 22, 2013 at 1:13pm--5 lbs. 13 oz, 19 inches long.

He is such a little sweetheart; so tiny and perfect! Since he's so little, the doctors had a few concerns over his breathing/lungs and kept him in the NICU overnight which was really, really hard for us, but good for Jax.

He was such a trooper last night! I went in to feed him at 2:30 & 5:30 and he did great! Hopefully things will keep getting better today so he can stay in our room tonight and then go home tomorrow--please keep him in your prayers.

I'm posting this from my phone and hope to post more updates, pictures, stories, etc. later this week!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Violet Voxbox (Invites, Anyone?)

Disclaimer: I am a member of Influenster and received free products in exchange for this review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% mine. 

Yay, Voxbox! 

I have only been apart of the Influenster family for about a year now and have really enjoyed all the opportunities I've received to test and review products and to make new blogging friends! I highly encourage my blogger (and non-blogger!) friends to join! If you're interested, please email me at or comment on this post with your email so I can get you an invite ASAP! :D 

So, wanna know what was in my Violet Voxbox?

For the most part, I was pretty pleased with my Voxbox--it can sometimes be a hit or miss but I'd consider this to be more of the first (a hit!). Here's what I thought..

Goody® Athletique Adjustable Yoga Wicking Headband ($6; available at Target) 
Goody Athletique items provide you hold and comfort so you can be physically active and strong in body and mind.  Customize your headband's fit through its velcro adjustable strap.

I had a bunch of errands to run last Saturday and decided to throw my hair up in a ponytail and to pull my bangs back
with my new headband--honestly, it was just okay. I noticed that it doesn't stay in place very well (it slipped back A LOT--maybe I should have used bobby pins to keep it from moving?) but it was comfortable. My hair is really fine and limp so I can't see myself doing any of the cute hairstyles many girls on Instagram (#shareurhair) were sharing, but I will try using it again sometime in the near future.. with bobby pins.
Would I recommend this product to a friend? Yes (on account of the fact that they could probably make it stay in place/create cuter dos than I ever would).

Goody Quikstyle Brush
($8.37; available on Amazon)

 Go from wet to beautifully styled hair faster than ever!  Super absorbent microfiber bristles remove 30% of water as you style*. It's like a towel and a brush in one.
I actually really, really like this brush! It combs through tangles very easily and does a pretty good job of drying your sopping wet, just out of the shower hair! It's like a brush with a built-in shag carpet and I love it! I'm definitely interested in purchasing the round brush for styling and blow drying my hair. 
Would I recommend this product to a friend? Yes. 

SoyJoy® Nutrition Bars - Cranberry ($9.99 for a box of 12; available at Target)
Real cranberries add tang to this cookie-like bar for a healthy, tasty snack. Convenient individually-wrapped bars don’t melt or freeze. Tastes even better microwaved (unwrap first) for 8-10 seconds.
My breakfast a few weeks ago.
Okay, how should I put this..? Umm, I don't know what kind of nasty cookies the description writer of this product grew up eating but they must have been made of candle wax because that's what this bar tasted like (or what I'd imagine candle wax tasting like). Not good. Not good at all. I don't know if it was just the cranberry flavor or if all SoyJoy bars taste the same but this left a really awful aftertaste in my mouth. I'd be willing to try a different flavor to see if there is any difference but I kinda have a feeling that all of these bars are basically the same.. 
Would I recommend this product to a friend? No. 

Sally Hansen® Triple Shine™ in Reef-Raf ($4.99; available at Walgreens)
Get ready for the shiniest nails ever! Water to workout, day in and day out, nothing will dull these nails.  With the Ultimate Shield Complex your nails outshine 'em all.
I gave myself a little "pre-push pedicure" a couple weeks ago--not the best, I know, but it's an amazing feat when you can reach your feet (feat and feat, ha!) at 36 weeks.
I really like this polish! I wasn't too crazy about the color at first (I thought it'd be a little too bright--I tend to stick with darker reds on my toes) but I love the way it came out! I also really liked the brush--it seemed a little bigger/wider than most which made painting a cinch!
Would I recommend this product to a friend? Yes.   

Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday Funnies (Christmas Edition)

You guys: Christmas is only 5 days away!

This makes me very, very happy!

*Before I get into this next part, I just have to tell you that this was actually written Thursday  night (12/19/13) but I'm acting like it was written today so just go along with it--a lot may have changed by the time this is published! We will see!*

It sounds like Baby Sand might be joining us as early as this weekend--I had a false alarm yesterday (I thought I was leaking but the amniotic fluid test came back negative) but the nurse checked me again and while I'm still sitting at 2 cm, I am now 100% effaced so it's just a matter of getting a few really good contractions and the babies head dropping.

Jr. was an active little guy when I was hooked up to the monitors and the nurse said he sounds perfect :) The monitor also showed a few good contractions while I was there, but not enough to admit me. I see my Doctor again this morning so we'll see what he says. I will update my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as soon as he's here!

Onto the Christmas funnies!


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Heirloom Tomato Pasta w/Sausage, Olives, and Feta

I started "Annie One Can Cook" almost two years ago as a way to get myself into the kitchen more often and to learn/invent new recipes.. and it worked!

For a good two months or so.

Annieway (ha, see what I did there?), I typically don't post too many recipes these days but had to share this amazing dish with you all!

My mom and her sisters had a girls weekend in September and my mom went on and on about this pasta dish that my Aunt Nancy made, how delicious it was, and how they couldn't stop eating it. She told me it had heritage tomatoes (whatever those are) and that I would have loved it. When we went to visit my aunt in October, she made the dish for dinner so my dad and I could try it and served it with delicious bread and a beautiful salad.

Turns out, it actually has heirloom tomatoes in it (my mom keeps accidentally calling them "heritage tomatoes" so that's what we've been calling them) and it is really, really delicious--and super easy to make!

Enjoy this colorful, light, and refreshing Heirloom Tomato Pasta with Sausage, Olives, & Feta Cheese!
My mom was right--you can't have just one helping!
  • 2 pounds ripe heirloom tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound orecchiette pasta
  • 1 cup crumbled feta
  1. In a skillet, brown Italian sausage. 
  2. Cut tomatoes into small dice. Combine tomatoes and any accumulated juices with olive oil, salt, and pepper in a large nonreactive bowl, stir gently to coat well, and let sit at room temperature at least 10 minutes or up to 3 hours before serving.
  3. When tomatoes are ready, add sausage, olives, basil, and garlic and mix until well combined. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to the package directions. (If the tomatoes have not let off a lot of juice, reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water before draining.)
  4. Toss warm pasta with tomato mixture, adding pasta cooking water as needed. Fold in feta and serve.
The original recipe for this dish was posted on Chow--the Italian sausage was a (delicious!) modification made my aunt.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Baby Sand's Vintage Nursery Reveal!

I am so excited to announce that Jr.'s nursery is finally complete!

The idea to do a vintage themed nursery originally came about this summer when I was thrifting with my mom--we were browsing around a local antique shop when she came across an adorable old painting of kittens.

"Wouldn't that be cute in the babies room?" my mom asked.

Yes. Yes it would.

Unfortunately, the picture was $95 and the shop owners weren't willing to budge on the price (it was in an antique frame or some nonsense like that.. psh) so I ended up going home empty handed but with a mind chock full of ideas!

Let's begin the tour, shall we?
 The Reading Corner
This is my favorite part of the room--our little reading corner. The rocking chair belonged to Brandon's Great-Grandma (she even made the beautiful afghan cover to go with it!) and my Aunt Cheryl made the "Poky Little Puppy" quilt.

Close up of the quilt.

And one more (because it's so cute and I love the book).

This is actually a last minute thing we decided to do--the quilt on the one wall made the other wall look really bare so I had Brandon print out pages from some of our favorite childhood books (The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Corduroy, and Curious George). I just love the way it turned out--plus I only paid $1.50 per frame at Walmart which can't be beat.

The Buggy
 I do really love this old fashioned buggy! Mamma Nancy (Brandon's mom) and Aunt Paulette found it at an antique shop in South Dakota and gave it to me at my surprise baby shower! It is really cute and in perfect condition--I'm currently using it as Jr.'s little blanket basket (it's setting next to the rocking chair so I can easily grab a blanket if we're rocking in the middle of the night when it's chilly).

Lots of fleece and swaddle blankets!

The Picture Corner
 I'll cover everything in detail here in a sec but I wanted to point out the beautiful dresser that Brandon's Grandpa made--there are lots of cute little clothes inside!

When we decided on a vintage theme, I knew I wanted to do a mini gallery wall with pictures of Baby Sand's Grandparents--it's still kind of a work in progress (we're missing my dad's and Mamma Nanc's pictures) but I like how it's coming together! The two cuties on the left are Brandon's step-mom, Val (top), and Dad (bottom), and the little curly haired sweetie on the right is my Mom. The "God Keeps Promises" sign used to hang at the top of the stairs in my Grandma and Grandpa Kasten's house (I think my Aunt Nancy made it in Sunday school?) so it's very special to me.

The picture on the right used to hang in Brandon's nursery (and do you see that Colorado Rockies bear--that belonged to my cousin Angie)!

Bitsy: the room inspector 

For the record, I dusted the dresser after seeing this picture.. Oops.
(The picture of Jesus was also in Brandon's nursery, the "Wizard of Oz" pop-up book was a Christmas gift from my Aunt Nancy when I was little, and the Kansas flag was in one of the rooms at my Grandma Kasten's).

Two of my banks from when I was little--the one in the back is a replica of the bank that my Grandpa and Grandma Wernsman own; the little blue tooth pillow was made by Brandon's Grandma. 

The Changing Table
This changing table is the only piece of furniture that we have actually had to buy (no joke)--we have been so blessed with friends and family giving us heirloom furniture that we haven't had to worry about picking out dressers, cribs, etc. Thank you so much to everyone whose helped us; you have no idea just how much it means to Brandon and me!

Brandon gets all the credit for the changing table--he spotted it at Goodwill for $30! Love the color!! The Diaper Genie was a gift from my wonderful boss. 

The Crib
 We have a little bit of a jungle theme going on over here! The vintage crib actually belonged to Mamma Nancy (don't worry--we went through all the safety checks/inspections and it is good to go!), the Boppy was given to us by our friend, Jana, and the adorable quilt was made by Baby Sand's Aunt Jen (my best friend/maid of honor)! Baby will be sleeping in a Rock and Play in our room for the first couple of months before he gets to sleep in his crib but it's all ready for him.

One more shot of the adorable, cushy blanket! 

Wide Shots
 Since we live in a rental and plan to move when our lease is up in April, I decided to hold off on doing the wall behind the crib--I want to eventually get some of those stick on wall decals (of what, I'm not sure) but I'll wait until we buy a house.

Vintage was such a fun theme to do for the nursery and I love how we were able to incorporate so many different family heirlooms/treasures into it! I was looking around the room trying to estimate how much we've spent and I'd say we have maybe hit $50 (changing table, a few books, frames for pictures). The nursery was originally the guest room we had just finished painting but we liked the color (which of course I can't find now but I know it's Behr brand and that we got it from the Home Depot) and decided to leave it.

Thank you for touring the nursery with me! Now all we need now is a cute baby to live/play/sleep in there!
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