What did we just watch? The brilliance of “The Night Of”

It is not my intention to have any sort of spoilers in this particular blog. Perhaps Ben and I will follow up with another detailed blog about the show. It definitely was one that made us think, feel, judge, change our minds, and solidify some opinions and enlighten us on others.

You’ll expect this show to be black and white. You’ll expect the characters to be black and white. In most crime movies and tv shows you’ll get that. Not so with HBO’s The Night Of. So many potential suspects. So many stereotypes. Lots of things wrong with systems (prison system, legal system, and I’ll throw in the overall HUMANITY system). 

Most tv shows have good guys and bad guys. It’s very clear who is who and why they fall into that category. This show tears that apart with the main character Nas. At the beginning of the season you see there to be NO way for him to have committed this murder. But as each episode reveals a little more information you realize that he is not infallible. He has done bad things. But does that make him a BAD guy? Aren’t most humans a little bit of both throughout their life? And most importantly, DID HE DO IT?!?!

The prison scenes were hard for me to watch (Nikki) because you know those things happen at some point in certain prisons. And how is it even fathomable to think that a “good” person charged with a horrible crime can survive prison and not become a little rougher? We had recently watched The Stanford Prison Experiment and had many more thoughts on the subject because of it. If you haven’t seen the movie, at least read up on the experiment.  

We like how it ended because it gives you the answers that you want. But it also shows that it’s not all hunky dory moving forward. All of our choices have cause and effect, whether for us or for others. 

We only had one set of friends who watched the show that we know of. Would love to hear everyone’s thoughts!

Cheers, Make Good Choices, 

Nikki 

Dad and Daughter Time

Leading up to Nikki getting pregnant I always wanted a boy. Someone to carry on the family name. Something happened after Nikki gave me the news that she was pregnant. A light went off, really. From there on out all I wanted was a healthy baby. My second thought was…”definitely a girl”.

Nikki is out of town this week for work leaving me as Mr. Mom. Nora and I have gone on a run, played with every toy in the house, crawled all over and I watch her pull herself up on everything and try to walk (scary). Every night around 7:30 we wind down with a story or two and some food before I put her to bed (successfully, knock on wood).

Backtracking a little…Nora and I were able to spend 45 minutes immediately after she was born alone in the hospital room. 45 minutes felt like an entire day and I will remember every minute. I am a terrible singer, really not such a good voice. Give me a few adult pops and a couple of my closest friends and WE WILL take down a Karaoke bar, but I’m pretty bad. During my 45 minutes with Nora I felt the urge to sing to her (Hey Jude, in fact). It probably calmed me down more than it did her but it was comforting nonetheless.

Back to realtime. I tend to put Nora down by cradling her and singing to her after she eats. This is one of the best parts of any day. I don’t like when Nikki leaves but being able to look down and see my 8 month old daughter look back to me and need me is a father’s dream come true.

Love you Nora…come home soon Nikki!

Cheers,

Ben

REPOST: 100 LITTLE THINGS ABOUT PREGNANCY, BIRTH, AND BEING A FIRST-TIME MOM

HAD to link to this list, because it is all true! I did not have a c-section so those (luckily) don’t apply to me. But everything else is spot on or really, really, really close. Some of these were very timely to read.

Favorite quote to summarize her list:

Dear moms and expecting moms and future moms — please hear this last little tidbit and chew it up and let it sink right into your bones: my mothering mantra is not, “I am a perfect mom.” That would be ridiculous and unattainable and depressing. But my mothering mantra is, “I am the perfect mom for my kids.” And guess what? You are too. You’re the perfect mom for your kids and don’t ever let yourself think otherwise — not even for a moment. You’ve got this mom gig.

Find the list here:  http://adrielbooker.com/pregnancy-birth-first-time-mom
Enjoy!

Cheers, Nikki

BBQ Mac and Cheese

No matter where we live, I will always get Southern Living magazine. I love southern houses (especially ones with wrap around porches), southern food, southern charm – all of it! Equally, I love macaroni and cheese. It’s a love affair that has developed from the boxed kind to the “fancy” mac and cheese you see everywhere in restaurants.

The September issue of Southern Living (yes, I’m behind!) gave a few recipes for upgrades to your traditional mac and cheese. We did not follow this recipe verbatim but took inspiration and made it our own. Pics from the magazine version of the recipe are at bottom of this post. For some reason I couldn’t find online…must want you to buy the magazine! 🙂

And here is our take on it based on what we had available in our fridge and pantry. So easy, delicious and different!

BBQ Mac and Cheese

BBQ Mac n Cheese

  • 1 pound Ground Beef (we used 85/15)
  • 1 box of Rotini Noodles (we used Healthy Harvest Whole Grain)
  • 1 package of cheddar cheese (we used Sargento Mild Cheddar)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • BBQ style seasoning (we used Savory Spice shop‘s Red Rocks Hickory Smoke Seasoning)
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • BBQ Sauce (we used Stubbs)
  1. Start out by browning the ground beef in a large skillet. Sprinkle the seasoning across the top of the beef. Drain and return beef to skillet. (5-8 minutes)
  2. Follow the directions on the package of pasta to boil the pasta past the al dente stage (or to your preference). We made the whole box of pasta. (10 minutes)
  3. Microwave 1/2 cup milk for 20-30 seconds. Pour into skillet with beef and mix together over medium low heat.
  4. Sprinkle cheese liberally across the beef. Mix together.
  5. Add pasta to skillet and mix together. Add another layer of cheese.
  6. Move all ingredients to 9×13 glass casserole dish. Sprinkle Panko bread crumbs across top to your liking. Add a few more pinches of the seasoning to the top.
  7. Broil for 2-5 minutes or until the panko bread crumbs have cooked.
  8. Serve warm with BBQ sauce drizzled on top and enjoy!

Cheers,

Nikki and Ben

Magazine Clip from Southern Living, September 2015

SouthernLiving Mac and Cheese IMG_8814

Nora’s baptism 

What a special day in the Lucas household! Our sweet Nora is baptized into God’s family. 
She was baptized in my home church, by the pastor that married us, and she wore the baptismal gown that both Ben and his sister Jenny wore when they were baptized that was made by their Aunt Kristen.
 

Proud parents and happy baby

  

The whole family!

 
Nora did great without fussing and paid attention to the sermon too!

The theme of the service was around hope. The choir sang a beautiful song that came from writings on a wall from a nazi concentration camp. I wanted to look up the lyrics because it was beautiful and a great reminder to have hope in all things and all times.

“Inscriptions of Hope”

I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining

And I believe in love, even when there’s no one there

And I believe in God, even when He is silent

I believe through any trial, there is always a way
But sometimes in this suffering and hopeless despair

My heart cries for shelter, to know someones there

But a voice rises within me, saying ‘hold on my child’

I’ll give you strength I’ll give you hope, just stay a little while
I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining

And I believe in love, even when there’s no one there

And I believe in God, even when he is silent

I believe through any trial, there is always a way
May there someday be sunshine

May there someday be happiness

May there someday be love

May there someday be peace

We are thankful for all of our blessings and are hopeful for each day of sunshine and those filled with happiness, love and peace.

 

Everyone celebrates with mexican food, right?

 
Cheers! (And Go Broncos!)

Nikki

DIY: Nursing friendly tank top

Our dear Nora Lea is here! She has taken all of our spare thoughts and time. Many apologies for delay in posting. 

She is 7 weeks today and we are finding we have a bit more time to breath and complete tasks on our to-do list! This project came out of necessity as I noticed very quickly that most of the shirts I owned were not breastfeeding friendly. 
Through some pinterest searching I found a few options and tutorials. Here is what I ended up making 
DIY: Nursing Friendly Tank Top

  1. Buy two tank tops of the same size and style. I found a sale at Target and bought my tank tops from there.
  2. Turn one of the tank tops inside out and place on you. Make marks about 2 inches below your bust line. Cut at this mark all the way around the tank.    
  3. Place the other tank top on you and mark two X’s where you would like the opening to be. Make sure this lines up with your nipple to make it easier to access when you need to breast feed. Make sure they line up generally on both sides (mine don’t in picture but I fixed). Cut a straight line carefully. Hem the edges of the opening. Make this a very thin hem, approximately a centimeter.  
  4. Cut three strips approximately one inch wide using the remaining fabric of the tank that you cropped. Using a binder clip or other method to keep the strips still, place the strips on top of eachother. Braid the three strips taking care to make sure the “outside” of the shirt is what is showing versus the inside if it’s a different color.           
  5. Pin the braided peice to the cropped tank top on the bottom edge. Sew using a single stitch all the way around.     
  6. Attach the cropped tank on top of the full tank. Sew on the under arm circles and the neck circle with the stitch of your choice. On one side I chose a single stitch and on the other I did a more thorough stitch. Both have stayed fine.   
  7. Make sure the tank top fits! I have to make a few alterations around the under arms and back side.   
  8. Here is the final product. I’m proud of this and hope you can make one of your own! 

Cheers!
Nikki

DIY: Countdown to Becoming Grandparents Sign

I am of the slightly crafty kind. I appreciate the folks that have beautiful handwriting and work on large projects, but I’m just not there. I have great ideas, but they don’t always pan out to be what the intended project was.This project is an example of me going to the store with something different in mind but going with what I found. I’m still proud of it!

When Ben and I announced that we were pregnant to our families we thought that we were going to be having and raising (at least short-term) our baby in Fresno. The news then of course came that Ben was being transferred to CSU and we’d be closer to our families. This gift works both for near and far families and is a fun way to include grandparents-to-be on the countdown to your baby.

This project was very easy to accomplish and is still in the crafty DIY category. Go get ’em!

Magnetic Chalkboard Sign: Countdown to Becoming Grandparents

2014-12-18 16.34.572014-12-18 16.34.40

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 1 magnetic chalkboard with wooden framing (can find at JoAnns or Michaels)
  • 1 small roll of Washi tape with design of your choice
  • 1 medium thickness paper (print using your favorite font)
  • Baby focused scrapbook items of your choice
  • 1 roll of magnets that can be cut to a specific size
  • Scissors and/or cutting board

2014-12-13 08.33.02

  1. First, you’ll start by taking the Washi tape and applying it to the wooden border around the chalkboard. Cut and fold as necessary to make smooth lines.
    1.  2014-12-13 08.47.112014-12-13 08.47.18
  2. Then you’ll print off your words and numbers. I have attached the template that I used. Make sure you make at least two 1’s and two 2’s (and potentially two 3’s depending when you gift these to your parents) as I made this error first time through the project. I recommend practicing on regular printer/copier paper to make sure your sizing is right for your board and that there is appropriate space between items.
    1. 0  1  1  2   2  3  3  4  5  6  7  8  9
    2. weeks until we’re grandparents!
    3. 2014-12-13 15.48.12
  3. Then you’ll cut out each of the numbers and words. Make sure the ink has had time to dry.
    1. 2014-12-13 15.48.18
  4. Once you have these cut out you will measure the magnet roll tape to the back of each item and cut the roll so it covers the majority of the paper without sticking out over the edges. You will need to press down to ensure they stick together.
    1. 2014-12-18 16.35.18
  5. Put magnets on the back of your chosen scrapbook items (baby rattle, baby bottle, rocking horse, carriage, teddy bear, Boy or Girl, etc.)
  6. We did not provide a hanging attachment on the back of the frame as both of our parents have set it up without. If you know your parents will hang it up, you can add the appropriate fixture to the back and/or add ribbon for the hanging items.
  7. You’re done! Gift your item with pride and let the grandparents-to-be enjoy the countdown to your little bundle of joy!

Cheers, Nikki

Grandparent Countdown Word document template