Friday, December 31, 2010

14 months of Mac

MacKenzie,

You turned 14 months on Christmas Eve, you are no longer our little baby! You try so hard to be a little girl! You are exploring everything around the house and are very curious and busy trying to figure out what everything is and how it works. You are spending more of your time walking, talking, and pointing at the world around you.

Your vocabulary, both verbal and signed is tremendous. Your verbal vocabulary includes: mama, dada, puppy, pretty, ball, book, duck, and balloon. You will tell us that a puppy "pants", a sheep says "baa", a lion says "aaaaaa", and you will point to the Baby Jesus of the nativity or in books and say "Deezus". Your signed vocabulary is: water, milk, more, please, food, thirsty, fan, read, and airplane. You are very pleased with yourself when you learn a new word or a new way to communicate with us. You will also point out your own foot, tummy, and hair and will point to other people's eyes or nose whenever asked to. This probably is not the best thing to do, but we often teach/bribe you with one of your new favorite things...mini marshmallows. In fact, we had to hide the marshmallows so you would stop carrying them around the house!

Some of your favorite things to do is to push things around in boxes or your new shopping cart, reading books endlessly, and playing with your puppys. You are very content to sing to yourself or dance to music on the radio and you love toys that you can make music on. We got you a new kitchen and some play food for Christmas and you like to pretend to cook and eat the food already.

You are doing a better job of pretending to eat the food than eating real food. Your appetite is voracious in the morning and gradually slows throughout the day. Mommy tries not to worry about it, but makes sure to give you a good breakfast with protein in the morning so that we only have to worry about veggies and fruit for the rest of the day. You still love Mac and cheese, green beans, and bananas most of all. We gave you some asparagus last night which you really enjoyed the tips of, but your diapers have been less than pleasant this morning.

You are happy to tag along as we go visit people or run errands every day. Everyone comments on how friendly and happy you are as we get out of the house. I try to get out with you once a day at least which has been helped by the fact that you are not taking your morning nap as frequently. This has also stretched your afternoon nap into a nice long 2-3 hour nap which helps mommy get something done and rest a bit herself as you lay down. You sleep from 8/8:30 to 8 most nights and we rarely have to go to you at night. You pretty much put yourself to sleep as long as you have a blankie to snuggle and a blankie to cover up with. You spent the night at both MiMi and PawPaw's house and KiKi and Popi's house this past month which was nice for Mommy and Daddy to relax (and we have to prepare for your brother or sister coming in two months or so.

I hope you know how happy you make us and we hope we will make you laugh and smile as much as you do today, for the rest of your life. Thank you for another wonderful month or so!

Love,
Mommy and Daddy






Christmas

Our Christmas this year was amazing! Matt had the whole day off, making it our first Christmas Eve ever that we have had the day off together. We relaxed in the morning as we had all of our shopping and baking done ahead of time which made for a nice way to spend time as a family. I went to my very first Christmas Eve service and really enjoyed the candlelight portion of the service. We were stunned on our way out by a very heavy falling of "Texas/Houston Snow" (a downpour) and had to be very careful driving after that. We spent time at my mom's house with my mom's side of the family, our dear friends the Medlins, and my grandmother on the other side. It was nice to talk with family we don't necessarily see very often. Christmas morning was all ours and we woke MacKenzie up (how many more Christmases will we get to say that?) to have belgian waffles with homemade peach sauce. We had her open her presents (one toy, one book, one new outfit) and we also gave her a kitchen we got off of craigslist. She enjoyed her presents, but really liked trying to put the paper back on the packages, standing in front of the tree dancing, and pushing around a box with all of her toys inside. Matt and I set a budget for our gifts this year (just as we do every year) and we were both able to find some really good items for one another. That afternoon we spent with my Dad's side of the family and had our usual appetizers (everyone else had Jack and Coke too), with a "formal" sit down meal, and presents. MacKenzie slept through dinner (just like she did at Thanksgiving), but enjoyed presents and a movie with the family. She really liked the Grinch doll my Dad and Debra got her! Matt's side of the family got a little disheveled because of Rob's assignment with the military so we came up to College Station and exchanged presents with Matt's parents and grandparents, but we will not get to see the siblings until MLK weekend. It will be nice to see them soon!







The day after church they sang a new song that I have been trying to keep in mind for the past week...Happy Day after Christmas and Merry rest of the year! Stay safe this New Years Eve and a multitude of blessings to all of our friends and family in 2011!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Guido's Pizza

Last night Matt, Mac, and I cashed in on a groupon (the fastest growing company EVER) that we got a few weeks ago. It was to a pizza place not far from us called Guido's. We gave it a whirl in our never ending search for the perfect pizza...

The menu is diverse enough with a wide variety of pizzas, some sandwiches, and a few pastas. The part of the kitchen where they make the pizzas is open to the dining area which it is fun to watch them carefully peer into the pizza oven to check for doneness on the crust. One portion of the dining room has a little kid area where your kid could play on an indoor playground (which can be nice and can be annoying depending on why you are going out).

We got a Greek salad and a Guido's Special pizza. Matt was excited there was Peroni available so he indulged. The salad was more than enough for us to share and had a really tart balsamic dressing on it. The salad ingredients were all fresh and crisp so I would rate this salad highly. The pizza was good, it had real ingredients and a lot of italian seasoning mixed in with either the cheese or sauce. I liked the crust, it had that slightly sweet flavor that east coast pizzas are well known for. The middle of the pizza was a little soggy, but the last two thirds was crisp and perfectly chewy at the same time. All of that being said, I think it could have used more cheese and a stronger, bolder sauce. To me a pizza has to have a good foundation of crust (which it had for the most part), but also needs a stand out sauce and generous amounts of good quality cheese.

All in all, the pizza was good, we would gladly go with others if they suggested it, we would go if we needed a place to eat where the kids could also play, but there are other pizza places around that we like a lot more. So good, but we have other suggestions if you need it!

Additionally, we weren't sure if they were going for authenticity, but the bathrooms (not the whole restaurant) smelled really NYC/New Jersey authentic. They stank bad... not sure if it was a grease trap issue or a plumbing issue, but both of us noticed at our respective trips to use the facilities...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Goulash

This recipe is not what I thought of when I think of Goulash, but it is yummy and delicious. I would say it is a cross between Goulash and Chili Mac. The base recipe is a recipe from Paula Deen, Bobby's Goulash...

2 pounds lean ground beef
1 pound ground turkey
2 large onions, chopped
3 cups water
1 (29-ounce) can tomato sauce
2 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon House Seasoning, recipe follows
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
2 cups dried elbow macaroni
Directions
In a Dutch oven, saute the ground beef and ground turkey over medium-high heat, until no pink remains. Break up meat while sauteing; spoon off any grease. Add the onions to the pot and saute until they are tender about 5 minutes. Add 3 cups water, along with the tomato sauce, tomatoes, garlic, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, soy sauce, House Seasoning, and seasoned salt. Stir well. Place a lid on the pot and allow this to cook for 20 to 25 minutes.

Add the elbow macaroni, stir well, return the lid to the pot, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaves and allow the mixture to sit about 30 minutes more before serving.

House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

I change this up in a few ways. I add Worcestershire sauce when browning the meat, extra garlic powder, and sometimes a little Tabasco. I also brown the meat and saute the onions at the same time. You can obviously use a regular pot instead of a dutch oven and switch around your ground beef to whatever you have on hand (we usually use venison). This most recent time we made the recipe x1.5 and added one can each of dark kidney, light kidney, and pinto beans. Further advice is this...the recipe is huge! The 1.5 recipe basically would have fed 14 adults and this does not freeze well (the noodles get a little too mushy). Also I would highly recommend grating sharp white cheddar cheese on top, it adds a nice sharpness and cheesy flavor.

Enjoy this wonderful dish that is warm and filling!

Monday, December 20, 2010

11 weeks left

We are 29 weeks today, so officially well into our third trimester. In some ways this pregnancy has gone by fast, in others it seems slower. Either way I am enjoying it and wish that I could write down every little detail (and had done the same with MacKenzie). I am feeling good, getting larger (sometimes Matt helps me up) and getting a bit more tired. MacKenzie is so good at playing by herself that sometimes I can doze for a few minutes on the couch if I don't get to a nap when she is laying down. I thought I felt great last pregnancy, but I feel even better this time! The baby moves like crazy, with very strong kicks, and I am able to distinguish what is baby butt/back and what is baby arms and legs.

I went to the doctor last week. Blood pressure and both of our heart rates look good, there is no swelling, I passed my glucose test without any problems, and I am measuring just slightly ahead (which is expected with our size babies). Trike kicked the doctor when she measured my uterus, which I thought was amusing and the Doctor said the baby is already in an up/down position and probably will stay that way for the duration.

Here are a few pics...





Saturday, December 11, 2010

Things I like about Christmas...

Just a few thoughts about the little things I enjoy about Christmas...

Shopping for presents for others. I have really enjoyed that this year and have a mere handful of things to pick up before I can complete my wrapping for the year! This year a lot of ideas came to our heads and we hope that people enjoy what we have picked out for them. Hopefully Mac won't pull all the presents out and unwrap them before we can give them to the recepients!

Decorating the Christmas tree. Matt and I don't usually buy souveniers when we go places, but we do try to find an ornament when visiting a new place or when we have a "big" change in our lives. When we decorate the tree we talk about the ornaments (briefly) while we place them on the tree. We need to write down where and why we got the ornaments before they increase in number too much. Our deocrating this year has been ongoing and I love the new tradition. We have a somewhat sparse tree (not sparse in ornaments, but sparse in branches (it was a cheap fake tree...what did you expect). So when we receive a Christmas card we have been placing the card in the branches to keep it on display. I thought it was a rather clever idea!

People make an extra effort to get together over the holidays which we love. We work really hard all year to keep up with family and friends...sometimes that is reciprocated, sometimes it isn't, but we never feel jilted or cheated of social time around the holidays.

The smells of cinamon, pine, baked goods, and crisp cold air... Sometimes we are lacking the last one...like right now...come on cold weather!

Something new this year... I will be going to my first Christmas Eve service that I can remember. We never went as far as I recall as kids and since we will be in town this year and we are plugged in to our church, we are going to the service. I hope it is as joyful as my mind is playing it up to be.

I am enjoying creating new traditions and things that I like for our home and for our family. I am sure there will be plenty more to come!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Self Rising Flour and Big change to a recipe

For all of you out there getting ready to make my Snickerdoodle recipe that can be found here, I want you to stop immediately. Put down the mixer, put down the measuring spoon, put down the cinnamon sugar. Today I made a batch of the cookies (my friend Karlin is making me mushroom soup, I make her Snickerdoodles...we have a symbiotic relationship based on food) and was dismayed when mid cooking (and mid nap for Baby Girl) I discovered that I was out of AP flour. I had just used almost all of my AP flour in replacement of Bread flour which I was out of to make foccaccia (more on that later) for the same person. Lucky for me I was in possession of five other flours... The first was Tapioca flour, used more for thickening it was automatically out. The second was Pasta flour, with too grainy of a texture, it too was gone. The next three were Whole Wheat (possible, but would definitely alter the taste and probably would alter the texture), Cake flour (definite possibilities there, but would it be too light and airy), and Self-Rising flour (could work, but would it leaven the cookie dough too much). As I muddled over my conundrum, munching on a corner of the aforementioned foccaccia, I saw two stars next to the flour on the recipe. What is this I thought? I looked at the bottom of the recipe and to my delight there was a replacement for the AP Flour! I could use Self-Rising and merely omit the salt, baking powder, and cream of tartar. An approved replacement and less things to measure...Yippee!!! I mixed up my ingredients, baked my cookies, and marveled at their puffy shape as they came out of the oven 8-10 minutes later. I tried one hoping that it would taste as good as the standard gems I made even if they were a little rounder. I only have this to say...when Betty Crocker says you "could" change the recipe, what she meant was that you "should" change the recipe. I marveled at how light, fluffy, and perfectly sweet this cookie had become. The cinnamon sugar barely coated the outside of the cookie and it was like eating a puffy cloud of soft sweetness. I will make a note (along with the note that this makes about 45 cookies) in my cookbook for this to be a permanent change.

What will I do with all of this extra self rising flour you may ask? That one is easy. As Self-Rising flour has a somewhat legitimate expiration date (unlike the fake date of AP flour, salt, and other staples that could last indefinitely), you do need to use your flour within a year or so. Now the Snickerdoodles are easy and delicious, but something equally delicious and even easier to make is your very own beer bread. I got this recipe from an old college roomie who I did not get along with...one time she made this recipe and replaced the sugar with salt...that was gross, but this is not! Pre-heat your oven to 375. Mix 3 cups Self-Rising flour, 1/2 cup sugar, a sprinkle of salt, and your favorite bottle of beer (I recommend Shiner Boch, but Shiner is my recommendation for almost everything...Guinness is good too). Butter a loaf pan and put the very sticky batter in the pan. Bake for 55 minutes, buttering the top of the loaf for the last 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

Have fun with your Self-Rising flour!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Nursing

You might not want to read any further if you are creeped out by breast feeding...or maybe you should read further...it is up to you...

I always knew that I wanted to give breast feeding a whirl when I had kids, but I thought I would do it for 6 months or so max. For some reason that all changed as soon as I found out I was pregnant with MacKenzie. I wanted to breast feed for as long as we could with my goal being a year. I knew it would be better for her and it would be an incredible way for us to bond. I was scared of it all going wrong though. I hated the idea of being attached to an idea like breast feeding and then failing at it. So I read a lot of different websites and books on the subject and told myself that we were simply going to give it our best effort. I was crushed when they had to take MacKenzie to the NICU right away to get her breathing under control. I was, of course, super thankful that they had her best interests in mind and that they were going to be able to help her, but I wanted to nurse as soon as possible after birth. I had read that it was a great way to get things started off right. Her waiting on nursing was not the end of the world and they soon brought her back to me to give it a try. I cannot tell you what I thought it would feel like, but it wasn't what I thought. The first time or two it didn't hurt (we will get to that later), but it was definitely a new experience. We knew that the first few days were really about trying to nurse as much as possible and we were happy when the pediatrician on staff told us that as long as we were trying to nurse every few hours not to worry if she was sleepy or didn't latch on for long. Heartened by this, we went with the flow, knowing that being relaxed was better for the overall nursing experience. Until "That Nurse" came in... She asked how long we had nursed for and got really mad at us for only nursing a few minutes before MacKenzie fell back asleep. I, being rich with pregnancy hormones and worry about not being a good enough mother, immediately began to cry and bawled that the pediatrician said we were doing fine and not to worry about it. I must have been forceful enough that we were fine because the nurse was really nice and very complimentary the rest of our time there. We went home armed with an assurance from the Lactation consultant on staff that everything looked fine and we just needed more time (practice and experience basically) and that it would all fall into place...just keep nursing.

We took MacKenzie in to the pediatrician that week and they were worried about her jaundice levels (I tried not to freak out and kept telling myself "You are a good mother" repeatedly). They informed us that this was perfectly normal and that the best solution was to nurse as much as we could. Matt and I immediately went home, I settled on the couch with my shirt up, he brought me water and snacks, and we let MacKenzie nurse to her hearts desire. If she so much as made a peep in protest, I offered nursing to her. She frequently fell asleep while nursing for the next few days (as did I), but her jaundice levels were down a few days later. Having not discovered how wonderful a nursing cover was at this point, I struggled to cover up with a blanket when company was over. I was thankful when it was just my mom who came over to visit because I didn't have to worry. Over a year later, I would tell new moms not to stress about covering up in addition to learning about breast feeding, but I am (and was) modest too, so I totally understand!

Weeks later I was still in pain. I wondered if it would ever get better. I cracked and cried and struggled with even showering because of how much pain I was in. I told myself I had to make it to four weeks. If, at the end of four weeks I wanted to give up I could, otherwise I had to keep going another four weeks. In the midst of this we kept nursing. MacKenzie nursed every two to three hours for at least 30 minutes. The couch had a permanent indention where I sat to nurse her. I enjoyed giving her nourishment, but wondered if the pain would ever go away. One day I looked at her tiny little mouth and realized that it was, in fact, a tiny little mouth. Not just a baby mouth, but literally a smaller mouth. The next time I nursed her I held her with one arm and used my free hand to drop her jaw as she rooted to latch on. That one little motion of dropping her jaw for her made all the difference. Within a day, my pain was gone and I felt great about breast feeding. Until Thanksgiving that is...

My bout with Mastitis was one of the worst sicknesses I have ever had. This is the only time in my life that I felt like I wanted to die. I thought I was dying. I couldn't stop shaking, I was freezing cold even with three or four blankets in a warm house, I couldn't keep my eyes open, I merely wanted to pass out and for it all to end. Through this...we kept nursing. I knew from reading that the best thing to do was to keep nursing, so we did. Poor MacKenzie didn't cause my infection, I couldn't punish her! Within two doses of antibiotics I began to feel alive again. The next day I felt like I was a whole new person. Mastitis was the worst...nursing her is so worth it though.

Going back to work presented a whole different set of challenges. I had to pump before leaving for work and twice at work. One of those times I knew I could use my classroom, the other time presented a challenge. I asked about gaining access to my room during an off period (I had someone who "floated" into my room). The administrator tried to find a way to switch it around, but was unable to, she sweetly and naively asked if I could use a faculty restroom...silly woman was obviously unaware of how much work and how disgusting that sounded every day. I ended up using a side room (and sometimes the supply closet) in the nurses office. It was a lot of work going down there and pumping, washing the parts, storing the milk, pumping again during lunch (with students knocking on my door), washing again, storing again... but it was worth it. MacKenzie might not have me during the day, but I could at least give her that. It was never an option for me to stop...I knew it was something I had to do. It was tiring, but I didn't become a mother so that I could rest. By the end of the school year I had a deep freeze full of milk and happily donated 450+ ounces of milk to the Mother's Milk Bank in Austin.

I was surprised when my cycle returned while I was breast feeding. I was less surprised when we found out we were expecting another baby despite MacKenzie's nursing schedule. I knew (and hoped) it was possible and that it would happen. I knew that my Doctor would want me to wean, but she merely wanted us to be working on weaning and would like us to be done by 20 weeks. That was right around MacKenzie's birthday so I was fine with that, plus (even with donating 450+ oz) I had plenty of frozen milk for Mac. I was dismayed when I began contracting pretty hard during MacKenzie's nursing sessions. I wanted to wean on a less aggressive schedule, but Baby Trike needed me to stop sooner. We weaned her to once in the am and at night, then dropped the am, then two weeks before her birthday dropped the night nursing. I was a bit sad that I didn't officially make it to one year, but I did the best I could.

The purpose of this post was to write a lot about how difficult nursing could be...but despite it all...we kept doing it. Despite these difficulties, it was absolutely, 100%, in all ways worth it. When she would snuggle up to me while nursing and slowly stroke her tiny hand across my chest or would reach out to touch my hair or face, I knew that I was a happy Mommy doing the best for my kid. When she would be so happy that she would start signing to herself as she nursed or when she would grin mid way through nursing...I knew that this was right. I hope any Mommy out there that reads this gets encouragement for nursing. I know that there are circumstances that feel overwhelming and that sometimes you can't control, but before you give up...just keep nursing and see what happens...

A few websites:
http://kellymom.com/

http://www.milkbank.org/

http://www.llli.org/

One of our first nursing sessions, one of our last nursing sessions, and taking the milk away!





Things I am Thankful for...

So this post might be a week late, but I am still thankful for them even if today is no longer Thanksgiving...

I am thankful for my church and the friends I have made there. Matt and I were really floundering in looking for a community that we could be a part of and we really wanted a strong group of friends that could be a support as well as "hang out buddies" too. We had tried several churches in the area and never really found our niche. We were recommended to CBC time and time again, but resisted. We finally tried their traditional service and LOVED it, but needless to say for those of you who are familiar with the traditional service at CBC, there was a definite lack of "hang out buddy" potential. We didn't exactly qualify for the IHOP senior citizen discount that most of the congregation would be enacting for "hang out" time. We spoke with people at the front desk knowing that we could join a Sunday school (ABF) in order to meet more people our age... Fast forward a year and a half and we really enjoy our Sunday mornings at church, treasure our ABF, love the nursery workers that ooh and ahh over Mac, and feel lonesome without our Small group time each week. Thanks to all of you who are a part of that blessing.

I am thankful for our past, present, and future servicemen and their families who sacrifice so much for our country. Currently, both our brother in law (Rob) and my cousin (Marc) are serving in the Air Force. Both will be leaving the country this spring for different assignments and we appreciate both of them for what they do. I know it is hard on my aunt and uncle to see their youngest going so far away, even though they are immensely proud of him every day. I can't imagine what McKay (Matt's sister) will be going through as the longest Matt and I have ever been apart is three weeks. I think that the spouses of members of our armed services should be just as decorated as our service men and women. Thank you to our veterans (we have several in the family) and our current military personnel.

I am thankful for the country that we live in. Even if I am discouraged by some of the policies of the United States, I love the overall attitude, freedoms, and pursuits that we have here. I try to never, ever forget that we have been guaranteed the right to pursue happiness here in the USA and I work hard with Mattie every day to pursue that happiness as we are allowed.

I am thankful for my home and the shelter it provides and the loving memories we have created as a family in it. It is not a perfect house or a huge house. It will more than likely only be one of a few houses we have in our life, but this house is a great first house and I have enjoyed living in it and learning about home ownership from this house. I love the little family we are nurturing and growing in it. I love the talks and the laughter that resonates in this home, I love the food cooked for our nourishment in this home, and I love the people we have visited with and grown closer with under this roof. I am thankful for my home and the lovely family I am a part of within it.

A huge thank you to my special friends, my wonderful husband, my beautiful daughter, and the little life that grows more ferocious within me each day. You have given me much to be thankful for and I am grateful for this life everyday!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

13+ months

MacKenzie,

I am not sure if we will keep up with this every month, but I promise to do a little update every once in awhile to let you know how you are doing!

In short- you are a wonderful little child! You are so quickly changing into a little girl and not just our baby. You are so independent, very free willed, and extremely stubborn. Everyone is surprised by how you will play for a long amount of time on your own and only come back to me or others on occasion for a quick little snuggle or to show us something you are proud of. We have been having trouble with you exerting your own will a bit more that we would like, but the main problem is you throwing food off the high chair tray. Hopefully with consistent discipline that will be fixed by the time you are old enough to read these posts!

You are an official toddler, we will give you credit for real, continuous steps over the entire Thanksgiving week (I am not picking a day so that all of the families who got to see some of your first 100 steps can feel proud). You are very sure of yourself even if you do look a little like a lumbering Frankenstein monster when you walk. If you fall you either pick yourself up right away or think about it for a minute before crawling to the destination of choice. You have figured out that it is easier to hold things or to carry larger objects when walking which you like...especially to carry around some of the stuffed puppies you like to play with. You love music and sometimes Daddy and I have to sing to you if you are crying in the car...seriously that is one of the only things that will work. Any time you hear music you start to bounce, whether sitting or standing you will bop to the beat of the song playing. We are trying to get you to move your arms when dancing too, although I am not sure you should take dancing advice from either of your parents. You really like to play with your Little People Noah's Ark and Farm set that we got at a garage sale for your birthday. You like to pull Noah out and play with him and you also enjoy the sheep and chicken on the farm set.

Lately you have been really into books and will insist (by saying "buhk" repeatedly) we read to you. You will pull out your basket of books, sort through them, and climb into our laps to read. You like turning the page and will point to different things in each book. Some of your favorites are the Red Tractor book, Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes, and the Touch and Feel books. Honestly though, you love them all. After dinner, Daddy always tries to read several books to you while Mommy is rinsing the dishes and resting for a bit. I think it is one of our favorite times of day (all of us). You are enjoying snuggles in general more and more and love to make us laugh and smile. Sometimes you will fake laugh because we are laughing just to be apart of us!

You are working on words and understanding us more and more. You say: book, mama, dada, puppy, duck, all done, right there/there, bow, bear, banana, balloon and a few other words. If we ask you where your hair is you will point to or grab your hair, same for tummy and we are working on nose (but you like to point to our noses). You can point out ball, puppies, your toy car, balloons, and fans if we ask. You use the sign for airplane, more, and milk the most, but understand and sometimes use all done and fan as well.

Today we were excited because you drank from a straw for the first time, you never had the patience to suck the liquid all the way up the straw! You are hit or miss on food these days. There aren't any foods you dislike (except you never eat lettuce...it must be hard to chew though), but you will only eat something if you are in the mood for it. We try to offer you a variety of foods at every meal so you get a lot of fruits, veggies, and protein. You really enjoy yogurt, mac and cheese (just like one of your nick names), pizza, bananas, and green beans. Fruit in general is a winner on most days and you will often eat bread or pasta. Meats you are pickier about but I think it is a texture thing. You have 6 full teeth (4 on top, 2 on bottom) and two bottom teeth poking through. You have hardly fussed about the teeth, but you did get a little cold which was tough, but meant extra snuggle time (including holding you while you slept!!!) for Mommy!

You are sleeping great and you go right to bed when we put you down. This will be very helpful when your younger sibling comes along in 14 weeks or so!

Thank you for being a wonderful part of our lives!
We love you!
Mommy and Daddy









Turkey

You may be thinking to yourself that this is way too late to be posting about Turkey...not so my friend. In fact, in my book, this is the perfect time to be posting about Turkey. I am the proud owner of 5 Fresh and Delicious Jennie-O Turkeys ranging in weight from 10 to 16 pounds and I didn't spend over $5.00 on each turkey.

See, I look at Black Friday differently than most girls. While they are busy trying to get into Macy's, Kohl's, or Target at an insane hour, I am trying to resist going into the grocery stores until they put the fresh turkeys on sale. The frozen turkeys they will let sit around until after Christmas (they are already frozen, why would they need to rush them out the door?), but the fresh turkeys (which the FDA or some other arbitrary regulation organization has mandated must stay above freezing temperatures) have a finite shelf life and thus need to be sold out the doors. So on Black Friday I went out and bought a lovely 16 pounder (her name was Shelly), brought her home, and got ready to roast.

I love turkey and I never seem to have enough leftovers to enjoy my extra sides and to make all of those wonderful turkey dishes that people talk about getting tired of. So I make an extra turkey for exactly that purpose.

I decided to cook Shelly on Sunday when Matt and Mac were resting...here is my method (which worked well for a neutral Turkey who was going to mainly be used in dishes). I think I have posted this before...but I am too tired to look!

Get out roasting pan, turn on over to 400 degrees. Take Shelly out of bag and rinse her off, removing gravy packet (I discarded) and leaving the neck in... While Shelly is draining from her bath, place a rough chopped onion, 4 or 5 whole carrots, and 4 or 5 whole stalks of celery in the bottom of the pan. Pat Shelly dry and place her on top of the veggies. Massage with oil and butter, sprinkle with seasonings of your choice (this time I used salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning). Throw in a beer or two. Roast in the oven for an hour, reduce heat to 325 and finish cooking until Shelly is about 160 degrees (just shy of 4 hours)...remember about carry over cooking. If Shelly was going to be used for eating alone I would have placed her breast down for that first hour, then flipped her over for the remaining part to help all the juices run into the white meat.



Shelly has since been turned into dinner with leftover sides, three turkey potpies (shredded meat, a bag of frozen mixed veggies, cream of chicken soup, and a pie crust) for the freezer, two two-person portions for the freezer, and boiled into a turkey base for soup also for the freezer.

Why the other turkeys you ask? I was at Kroger today and the turkeys kept looking at me like puppies asking me to take them home...so I took three home...then went back for something I forgot and picked up one more...

Three (Randolph, Lorenzo, and Ling-Ling) are in the deep freeze for later use.

Dmitri is in the fridge waiting to join a comrade in the smoker a friend is firing up this weekend...can anyone say smoked turkey quesadillas?!?!?

Best burgers in a loooong time

We had heard from a few friends to try Husky's for burgers. We had passed by the place several times as we have friends that live in the area. Last Tuesday when running errands we drove right by Husky's as we were trying to think of a place to stop and get lunch and decided to give it a whirl. Boy are we glad we did!

The place looks like a typical burger joint where you can grab a beer and watch the game...and it is totally that...plus some really incredible burgers! The customer service was good, the cashier didn't gab my head off, but was friendly, polite, and took care of our order. You have to take time to order too because the selection is impressive. At the top of the menu they have their standard burger choices- choose your bun (we got white sourdough which was a little sweeter than sourdough but still soft and freshly made), choose your meat (beef, Kobe beef, buffalo, veggie burger), choose your cheese, with a Fuddruckers style topping bar to the side of the window. At the bottom of the menu are their suggestions for add ons...we got the California burger...
You also choose your type of fries, you have to see the menu for all of the different combos.

Our food came out in a reasonable amount of time for a fresh burger and it is a huge amount. We gladly shared the 1/2 pound burger and fries. As I said the bun was soft and fresh and had the correct amount of "fall apart-ability" that I think is a great component of a good burger. The hamburger patty (we had buffalo) was tender, flavorful, and juicy, with only a little seasoning which was perfect for the type of burger we had. The toppings (avocado, mushrooms, mont jack cheese) were all copious in amount and the cheese melted perfectly over the burger to adhere all of the toppings to the top part of the burger. I will say that the avocado tasted "packaged", but that is my only complaint with the entire meal. Our fries were well seasoned and perfectly crisp. All in all this is a great place to just go and get a burger.

Scanning other people's plates, the salads and sandwiches offered also looked good and they had some delicious sounding desserts on their menu board. The restaurant was clean and while the price for a burger (about 9 bucks) might seem high, keep in mind that these were seemingly fresh ingredients and the meal included fries and a drink.

Would I suggest you go here? Yes. Will we be there again? Most enthusiastically yes. Am I on my way out the door? Sadly no...but that is only because we are trying to eat well and watch our dining out budget!



Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pride!

Just wanted to say...

Matt, MacKenzie, Trike, and I would just like to take the opportunity to say, ahead of time, how proud we are of our Aggies for turning the season around. It is so nice to be ranked again and it has been fun to see some really good games. We will love our boys in maroon (I think technically they will wear white for the away game on Thursday) regardless of the outcome against t.u., but we sure would like to end the regular season with a win.





Gig'em Ags and BTHO t.u.!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Baby Trike is 24+ weeks



Baby Trike is growing well. We are at 24 weeks and three days. I am officially not allowed to travel outside of the country and pretty much on my two week doctor appointment rotation. In a few weeks I will be going in for my glucose test (which I thoroughly enjoyed last time) and then I will be going in every two weeks for appointments. The time is flying by and we don't anticipate (with our busy holiday schedule) of there being any down time between now and the baby coming. I have felt the baby move all over the place and he or she seems to be pretty active at night (around 11 p.m.). He or she seems a bit stronger than MacKenzie was, but that could also be due to a "weaker" uterus since I am pregnant so soon after Mac. My belly seems to be about the same size (I am measuring 25 weeks), but I am only gaining weight in my belly. None of my maternity pants fit from last time and it is getting a bit annoying to be honest!!! I think I will break down and buy a new pair of jeans soon so that I don't have to keep pulling up the other pairs. The baby's heart rate was 146 bpm and my blood pressure and pulse looked great. We need to pre-register at the hospital and work on a flexible birthing plan in the next few weeks to go ahead and get that off our to- do list. When we asked Dr. Norton about any preferences on the birthing plan she said she has approved of everything except burning things and incense. We joked about coming up with the craziest plan possible to submit for her approval. I am doing well, sleeping ok, feeling a few braxton hicks here and there, but couldn't be happier!!!

Halloween

We had a great Halloween this year. I decided not to get MacKenzie a costume but opted for a halloween shirt instead. We really enjoyed our church fall festival and visiting with all of our friends. We were looking forward to it last year, but MacKenzie decided to come the day of the fall festival. Cypress Bible puts on a great fall festival with tons of candy for the kids, jump houses, hot dogs and popcorn, and other fun activities. One thing I will definitely do different next year is to enter into the chili cook off. I felt intimidated this year, but feel like I could make a good running in the cook off!

For the actual Halloween day we went to a friends house for chili and to sit in the driveway handing out candy. The kids had fun visiting a few houses and it was nice enough weather that we all enjoyed fresh air on the driveway. MacKenzie had a taste of chocolate, but nothing to extravagant.

Halloween next year should be interesting...I better start teaching her to say "thank you" right now!



This is a picture of Baby Jonathan making the moves on Mac:





Mac's Bday

We had a blast for MacKenzie's first birthday. We invited family and a few friends over to our house for enchiladas, snacks, and yummy cake! MacKenzie really enjoyed her actual birthday cupcake and her cake that she shared with everyone for her party. It was really nice to have the whole family together as well and all of our friends that came just added to the love. Here are a few pictures from the big day...I am having trouble with uploading the pics so you make your own captions!











I think we might just have pizza for her birthday next year. It was totally worth it to cook all the food, but I was so tired it was hard to enjoy the party later that day.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Doctors all the time!

We have had doctor's appointments galore over the past few days.

On Thursday I had my 20 week ultrasound and appointment for Baby Trike. Baby was measuring great at almost one pound and the due date estimated by the computer system is right on the money. The heart beat seemed nice and strong at 156 bpm which is within 3 beats of MacKenzie's. We missed a bit of the ultrasound because the tech turned off the t.v. screen so we could keep our gender surprise and not accidently see anything. We do have the gender picture tucked away in an envelope to look at after Baby Trike comes though. The doctor said everything looked good except for one teeny tiny little thing. That thing was a small spot on the Baby's heart. The Doctor assured us that this is kind of common (it is called an echogenic foci) and usually poses no problem to the baby. It can however be a "soft marker" for Down's Syndrome. She felt confident that this wasn't the case, but sent us to a perinatal specialist for an extra ultrasound.

I went to that appointment today. I first had to go to genetic counseling which was nice but aggrevating at the same time. The lady kept asking me how I felt about things and if I understood the small chances of something being "wrong" with the baby. Once I assured her that the baby having Down's would not change our pregnancy status and that we would probably not risk an amniocentisis she knew that we had a good grasp on what was going on. I then went to the perinatalogist who spend a whole lot of time jamming the ultrasound wand into my gut to get a good picture of the Baby's heart. They printed off a ton of pics, but only gave me a very dark and grainy picture of the spine. She felt confident that nothing was wrong and that I didn't need any further looks or testing.

MacKenzie also had her one year doctor appointment yesterday. She was very brave during her 5 shots and blood draw! She is a whopping 32 inches long (off the charts) and weighs a measley 23 pounds 10 ounces (83rd percentile- which isn't saying much for how tall she is). The doctor assured me that she is doing great, developing nicely, and that we should keep up all of the great work!

Now it is time to rest, but here are a few pics...









I put "Uggs" on MacKenzie at Payless and they were sooo cute...now I have to convince Matt of how much she "NEEDS" them!



MacKenzie trying to impress her Daddy in her camo hat

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I know, I know...another website...

...but some of these are so I can come back to them too!

This website was too good to pass up, from twice baked potatoes to chicken fried steak, it lightens up a lot of "no-no" diet foods!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

20 weeks with Trike!

We have hit the half way mark with Baby #2! In some ways this pregnancy has gone by faster and in others it seems slower. We go to the doctor Thursday for our ultrasound (no gender reveals) and doctor appointment. I am feeling pretty good, sleep has been a little difficult and some back pain, but nothing of concern or to complain about. I am in that really awkward stage where none of my regular clothes fit very well and all of my maternity clothes are too big so I wear the same few outfits over and over again. This is strange to me as last time I was well into maternity clothes because I gained so much weight in my hips, bum, and thighs.

The baby is moving around a lot and on Sunday Matt finally got to feel the little Trike move! I love feeling those movements and cannot help but smile when I feel Trike kicking, punching, head butting, and running into me!

Here is my 20 week belly shot and I went ahead and put up T-Rex as a comparison.



That one is T-Rex



This one is Trike. I could have sworn I was smaller this time around, but it is all belly and a little higher this time too. Interesting to see the differences!

Monday, October 18, 2010

A whole year?!?!

MacKenzie,

I am starting to draft this letter a bit early because it is a big one...you will be a year old on Sunday. A whole year! You have been with us, staring at us, smiling at us, laughing with us, teaching us for a whole year!!! This year has gone by so fast. A year ago we went where we wanted, when we wanted. We ate what we wanted, watched what we wanted, spent money how we wanted and kept busy. The busy part hasn't changed, but you have brought so much responsibility to our lives. A year ago (plus the 9 months you grew inside me, but you know what we mean), God trusted you to us. He delivered you safely into our arms and I still think we were a little shocked that the nurses and doctors let us take you home with us. We brought you home and felt such responsibility, such obligation, such a duty to raise you right. We were excited, but so very, very fearful. You were (and still are) such a perfect, blameless, pure little creature, surely we would mess you up. We are only human, surely we would make mistakes and they would probably be big mistakes. Surely we would ruin you, surely we wouldn't do right by you, surely we would do something that would hinder and harm you. As unintentional as our actions might be, surely we were not worthy to raise such a perfect creature. I can remember thinking to myself, why would anyone, including God, trust me with such a life? This is how you have already taught us so much. We have learned, time and time again, that your love is so perfect for us that it doesn't matter that we are not perfect. You love us despite our shortcomings, despite our imperfections, despite our mistakes. You love us when we are at our worse and at our best both equally. Your love for us is as pure and perfect as our love for you. In fact, your love for us might be even more pure because the only expectation you have for us is that we love you, while we want so much of our own hopes and dreams for you already. You display your love for us in so many ways, they way you smile at us when we get you from your crib in the morning, the way you mimic us, the way you grin when making us laugh, the way you climb into our laps to read a book, the way you reach up for us to hold you, the list goes on and on. I can never thank you enough for your love and my heart swells at how much you mean to us!

As far as the past month we have learned that you are a funny little goober! You act very serious around strangers and pretend to be shy, but as soon as you warm up to them you make sure to ham it up as much as you can. You grin in several different ways and it is so cute to me that you can see teeth with your grin these days (it makes you look like such a big girl). You laugh at everything we do and try to copy us. Our most recent thing is you holding your arms over your head while we all say "Yay!". You also like to clap, wave bye-bye or hi, and to bounce to music. We are trying to get you to blow kisses, but I think you are quite unsure of the point of blowing a kiss so you don't want to do it. You will give Mommy open mouth kisses when she is holding you, it is sweet if a little slobbery! You have learned to sign airplane (which might seem odd, but we live under a flight path into Bush airport so we hear them a lot), you clap to say more, and are working on being more consistent with milk. You like to sit on the floor and read all of your books and you love playing with blocks and stuffed animals. You will push anything, boxes, stools, your highchair, around the floor using it for a walker. Daddy says he saw you take two steps a few weeks ago, but all of your other steps have been holding onto something with at least one hand. You will stand on your own without needing to hold onto anything and you can climb stairs (which Mommy discovered when she found you shrieking for help on the fourth step one day). Your climbing of stairs led to Daddy feeling the need to build your baby gates for the top and bottom of the stairs. We all realize we could purchase them, but Daddy didn't think any were good enough for his little girl.

We had our last nursing session two weeks ago. I had slowly cut you down to only nursing at night and we finally gave that one up one night when Mommy was working an event for Grammy KiKi. You adjusted well to the cup rather than nursing, I think Mommy was sadder than you were! You are drinking three bottles/cups of part pumped milk from the spring with half whole milk. You have adjusted well and it actually seems to hold you over and make you feel fuller. Speaking of the pumped milk, Mommy and you took a lot of your pumped milk to the drop off site for the Mother's Milk Bank to donate to babies in need of it. We donated over 500 ounces of milk and you got a little t-shirt in thanks for sharing your milk! You are eating a bit less these days (we think it is because of the whole milk), but you still love a lot of food. You enjoy raisins and craisins a lot, love bananas, enjoy green beans and peas, and prefer red meat to chicken. We discovered that you LOVE fried calamari recently and ate as much as Mommy and Daddy did. At the church Fall Festival we did splurge and gave you sno-cone bites and Daddy (much to Mommy's dismay) gave you a little taste of cotton candy.

You sleep well through the night, usually 8:30 to 8 or so. Right now you are taking two good naps during the night as well. We try to do something outside of the house every day so you can get some fresh air and don't feel cooped up. We spend a lot of time visiting your grandmothers, your great grandmothers, or friends. If we have nothing else to do we will go wander around Target, the grocery store, or Hobby Lobby. I just like taking you out and hearing everyone ooo and ahhh over you. With the weather getting to be so nice Mommy has been taking you for walks (with the exception of the past week or so since we have both had some nasty sinus crud that is going around). We will walk to the neighboring neighborhood and sometimes we stop at the park so you can watch other children play or you love to swing. I know we have already discussed playtime, but here is some more...You love to look through your books and will bring us books and sit in our lap so we can read to you. You also like to turn the pages yourself and to feel the "touch and feel" books. You will shout out "Puh" every time you see a puppy on the pages of your books. While you entertain yourself with books for a large amount of time, you also like to play music, and with your basket of bath toys.

The past month has been very busy with visiting in College Station, seeing family around Houston, going to Cy-Ridge homecoming where some of Mommy's students made you your very own mum, and just exploring. I still cannot believe that the year went by this fast and I cannot believe how much you have already grown up!!! I hope I am remembering enough! You are such a joy, such a pleasure, and such a happy part of our lives. There is not a day that we don't marvel at everything you do and feel really blessed with your presence in our lives. We cut out cable for the t.v. and hardly have noticed because we try to spend family time with you and love it.

Thank you for the past month and the past year. You surprise us in all that you do and we love you very much. Never forget that we love you today and will love you beyond the point that we have no breath left in our body. Happy Birthday Mac, MacKenzie, Mac-a-doodle, Mac and Cheese, Booger, little girl, baby girl, T-rex, and daughter!

Love,
Mommy and Daddy

P.S. I will post about your actual birthday celebrations next week!





Thursday, October 14, 2010

More recipes online!

I know I have been heavy on the websites lately, but we are cleaning out the freezer in preparation for chilis, turkey, soups, and other wonderful fall foods. I watched The Biggest Loser this morning while folding laundry and what not and was really impressed with the Vegan recipes Bob served some of the contestants. With a little online searching I found the recipes on his blog! I hope to try some of them soon. While I don't normally eat vegan, I like having more veggie filled sides to try. Many of these look a lot like the foods I ate at JFR and in Israel. While I will never adapt even a partially Kosher diet, I still contend that the healthiest I ever feel is when I attend some of the conferences and I am forced to eat Kosher or Partial Kosher diets. Maybe Matt and I can look at eating partial Kosher for a certain number of meals a week! Give the recipes a try, but only if you love delicious and healthy veggies!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Great website

One day when looking for an Irish Soda Bread recipe to make for Matt's mom I stumbled across this website. The recipe for soda bread looked simple and it was. The bread turned out great (perfectly moist and cakey and should be easy to modify in the future (with extra golden raisins, dried apricot pieces, and maybe some tart dried cherries). I was looking through the website using the side bar and realized it had a plethora of great recipes waiting to be enjoyed. Most of the recipes have a picture and the site loads fast enough that you can quickly scan through it. I was drooling over the soups (I am really into soup right now) and was distracted by the sandwich tab as well (soup and sammie night anyone?). I wanted to make sure to share it with anyone that was looking for some inspiration.

Enjoy!

One smart cookie



I should start by saying that MacKenzie loves raisins. She will easily polish off a regular size box of raisins as a snack. We are fine with that because surely she is getting some vitamins and nutrition from the dried fruit! We often find her "foraging" for raisin boxes, in her bag, on the dining room table, looking in the pantry...she can't get enough of them. She will drag the box around the house, shake it until it opens everywhere, and then eat them off the floor. Recently I found her surrounded by raisins on the floor and as I was trying to gather them she would grab for them. This was funny in itself, but as she grabbed for them, 10 raisins would fall out of her hand. It was very cute.

This morning she found an almost empty box of raisins on the table. She grabbed it and brought it over to me shrieking in delight and shaking it as voraciously as she could. When she couldn't get it open, I obliged and poured the raisins into my hand so she could partake. The empty box sat on my leg waiting for her to want to play with it. When there were about 10 raisins left in my hand, she stopped eating them. She then grabbed the box, opened the flap all the way, and began delicately putting each raisin back into the box! I was surprised by her precise movements and how deliberate she was in her actions. She put each raisin back in the box then spent the next few minutes closing the flap. The little smartie got the flap perfectly closed on the box except for one of the little side tabs. She then proceeded to open the box, pour them out, and repeat the process all over again. She slowly ate her raisins as she played with the box for 15 minutes.

I might just be a proud Mama, but I think that is pretty good for a not even one year old! Let's just go ahead and enroll her in college classes!!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Confessions

The Pioneer Woman does "Confession" posts a lot...here is my attempt...

1. My house was somewhat straightened up this morning (MacKenzie was taking a nap). At some point between her waking up from nap and Matt getting home from work, the house was no longer straightened up...I'm still not exactly sure what happened.

2. I actually smile when I see a goldfish cracker, raisin, or other bit of food on the floor...it is usually, not always, but usually a reminder of the little creature Matt and I made who makes us smile every day.

3. I don't clean out the lint filter of the dryer as much as I should. The dryer takes two or three times to dry anyways (it was free, but it is old) so I figure it doesn't help that much. My mom always yelled at me for this as a kid too. Sometimes kids never learn.

4. I spend a lot of my day shaking my head in frustration at people...people on message boards, people on facebook, people driving down the road, people at stores, people in news stories...the list could go on and on, but I'm not going to elaborate.

5. The garden in my backyard could easily get approved as a wildlife refuge. I weeded it several times earlier in the summer, but much to my dismay the stupid plants came back within a day and they were several inches high. So rather than continue my battle...or actually get a weed eating product to assist me in my battle...I quit...Matt was ok with that, but now it is a bit embarrassing that one of the weeds is as tall as our silver maple we planted last spring.

6. There is a new love in my life...it's name is Dark Chocolate Velvet and it comes in a Breyers carton on the ice cream aisle. Matt tries to keep us apart, but you can't expect me to resist something that amazing.

7. One of the reasons I like MacKenzie to watch Signing Time is it means I get to lay on the couch (and usually fall asleep) for about 30 minutes. Because it is educational, I feel less guilty.


Well, that is a pretty good start. I am sure I have more dirty laundry that needs to be aired out...actually no, all the laundry is done, but I am sure I will come up with more to confess!!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Snickerdoodles!

With Fall peering in between the heat I figure it was time for a good cinnamon recipe. I love cinnamon, it is one of my favorite spices. If you have a baked good of mine and you aren't sure what that subtle flavor is in the background...guess cinnamon, it is usually the right answer. Because I don't want to overload the blog with fall recipes (and I have many that need to be prepared and pictured), I thought I would start with a nice and simple Snickerdoodle cookie recipe. Snickerdoodles are fairly new to my life. I can guarantee that I had never tasted a snickerdoodle cookie until I had graduated from college (the first time). I don't know why, I think it has to do with the fact that few people in my family bake cookies on a regular basis and that I was always more tempted by the double fudge or sugar cookie at Great American Cookie Co (yes that was two facts, but nobody ever says "it has to do with the facts").

When I tried a snickerdoodle for the first time (and it was I that made them on the request of a friend) I was floored. These are amazing I thought...no...they are the perfect non-chocolate, non-oatmeal cookie. A simple and light slightly sugary, slightly buttery cookie that is crisp on the outside and soft and tender on the inside! Magnificent! Then you coat it in cinnamon (sigh) and sugar! Wow! I love the way the cookies "crackle" a bit when done if you have made them right.

I use a recipe out of my Betty Crocker cookbook. It is simple (making the dough literally takes 10 minutes in my stand mixer) and I usually have the ingredients on hand. Make sure you do not over bake...nobody likes a super crispy snickerdoodle.

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose or unbleached flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
(P.S. I usually make more cin sugar mixture than this, but it is a good starting point, we usually have tons on hand because we like it on fruit and in our oatmeal)

1) Heat oven to 400ºF.
2) Mix 1 1/2 cups sugar, the butter, shortening and eggs in large bowl. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.
3) Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls.
4) Mix 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture.
5) Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
6) Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack



Enjoy!

My worst pregnancy symptom...

You will rarely find me complaining about pregnancy symptoms. One, mine are not that bad...Two, I know the end result is well worth it...Three, there are many people around me who have lost children or have difficulty conceiving and would love to feel those symptoms. I have the usual nauseau, some cramping, some bloating, difficulty sleeping, skin problems, hormones out the wazoo, but if someone asks me about how I am feeling it is usually responded with a "Great" or "A little nauseuos, but not too bad". All in all, I love being pregnant...

Except for this one odd symptom that isn't reported by many women. This symptom shake me to my core and I really, really don't like it. This symptom is "The husband is cheating on me" dream. I have read little articles that this dream is somewhat common in pregnant women. It has a lot to do with our subconcious (like all dreams) and that fact that in years past a pregnant woman was very vulnerable, so if her husband left her she was in a very bad place. I do not recall having dreams like this outside of pregnancy (and I do recall many dreams) and I know for a fact that they are not as vivid as these.

When pregnant with MacKenzie I dreamt that Matt had me watch the kids of two ladies he worked with in the living room while he "entertained" them in the bedroom. When I walked in to see what was going on he looked at me and kept on keeping on...if you catch my drift. It was so upsetting because dream Matt was very in your face about it. Last night I dreamt that I found out Dream Matt had been cheating on me and confronted him about it. He was very matter of fact about it and when Dream me thought it couldn't get any worse when asking him questions it did. Dream Matt told me it had been going on for months, that it happened at least 6 times, that he had taken her on a weekend trip away (which really ticked Dream Me off because we have been working on our budget and saving money). This dream was so resonate with me that it spanned over waking up (to use the restroom of course) and made it very difficult to get more sleep.

I realize that these are just dreams and that this is in no way a reflection of reality, but there is no closure in the dreams and it really bothers something deep inside of me...something that I cannot control. I do not like Dream Matt in these dreams and while I am not upset at real Matt it takes a day or so to shake it off.

So didn't know if anyone else had crazy pregnancy dreams, but there is my worst symptom...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Adventures with Goat Cheese

Tonight we had a delicious salad/bread combo that I had to recommend. We are very fond of dinner salads and tonight was no exception. We tossed fresh spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, shaved red onion, and avocado together. No big deal right...just another everyday salad...oh no my friends...that wasn't the end of it. The first batch of pomegranates showed up at our local grocery store last week so we added pomegranate seeds. I am not really a fan of pomegranate juice, but I really love how fresh pomegranate seeds burst in your mouth with a sweet, yet tart, almost grapefruit taste. We then added marinated and grilled (thank you George Foreman) skirt steak that was thinly cut against the grain of the meat (please ladies and gentlemen...cut your skirt steak against the natural grain of the steak). We then topped it off with goat cheese crumbles. It was delicious. Sweet, savory, tart from the cheese and pomegranate seeds, creamy avocado contrasted with crunchy cucumber...oh yum! We dressed it with a modified version of Matt's mom's balsamic dressing (balsamic vinegar, sugar, olive oil, a touch of mustard, and an ice cube shaken together). It was a perfectly sweet and tart addition to the salad.

We also served it with one of my favorite little treats. We rather enjoy Panera's baguette bread. It is perfectly crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside and the cell distribution of the bread is amazing. It is a perfect mixture of large and small air pockets which is important to the baking and tasting process. We cut the bread, slather it with goat cheese (the spreadable kind like Chaverie works best for this), and top it with shaved red onion. Put it in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, top with cracked black pepper and if you desire, a drizzle of olive oil and consume. So delicious, so simple, I am so going back into the kitchen for more.

Enjoy!


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Yuck, but ok...

I am so not into Chili's Restaurants. I usually get terrible service and an overpriced stomachache for all of my troubles when I go there. I go there because when you are trying to get 6 or 7 people to decide on a place to eat, it is better to be the path of least resistance. I am going to Chili's later this week with some friends from my old job to have a beverage. We usually order chips and salsa and maybe a snack. I found a link to get free chips and queso by signing up for their email list. I will indulge them for an email or two if it means more enjoyment for the people I am going with. If you, too are interested in free chips and queso the website it... chilisemailclub.com . Enjoy?!?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Random question

I was thinking last night about getting things in order for Baby Trike and had a random question. I thought I would throw it on here to see who might know the answer. I am betting Margaret might know the answer (I would even take those odds to Vegas), but other mommies would know too! And I appreciate all of you!

For Baby #2 do you need to purchase new pacifiers (I am guessing yes)? What about new bottles? Or just the nipples? If you have to buy new nipples, do you need to buy the rubber things in the bottom of the bottle (for the vent-aire style bottle)? Anything else?

Thanks again ladies (and if there are any gentlemen out there).

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cool website

This website was posted on a message board that I am a member of. I thought it was a really great website and I love looking through all the things she has made. I think I am going to force Matt to take off some days of work and build me some new furniture. The builder used to peruse through The Pottery Barn catalogue and thought to herself, "I could make that" and then she did. I love a lot of their stuff so it is no wonder that I love her website. I also love that she has the plans and pictures online.

http://ana-white.com/

Enjoy!

Friday, September 24, 2010

11 months?!?!?











MacKenzie,

I cannot believe you are already 11 months, we have to start planning a birthday soon and it isn't just woo-hoo you are another month older either!!! This has been a great time to spend with you, you are learning so much and changing each day. The little baby we wondered so much about is really starting to show her personality.

First, you have become so willful in the past few weeks, you have a definite mind of your own. Usually that works well with the will of others because you are very easy to please, but if someone does do something you do not like...watch out...you can shriek like a banshee when you don't get your way. If someone takes something away from you, you make it very well known that you are not happy about it. You are also very determined when it comes to proving that you can or cannot do something. You will crawl all over mommy when she is laying down next to you just to get to something out of reach. You crawl like a mad woman around the house and have begun cruising around the furniture. You will also pull up and stand on your own, but don't like it when we try to force you to stand or walk.

Second, you have just been funny the past month. Mommy has some very favorite moments with you this month because you are doing little kid things that make grown-ups laugh. You were carting your raisin box around the house as you were "exploring" the other day and in the process of shaking it you managed to get it open. I looked over at you to see you surrounded by raisins and you were furiously gathering them and stuffing them into your mouth as quickly as you could. You would see a raisin and reach for it and 10 raisins would fall out of your hand! Kiki was here to see that so she was laughing along with Mommy. Another favorite time was when Mommy accidentally got a little bit of yogurt on your nose during a meal and started laughing because it looked so funny, you began laughing as well, which made Mommy laugh more and the pattern repeated. You really like to ham it up!

Third, you are really in to playing these days. You love to cart around your puppies (which you will say "Puh, Puh" as you do so and you like to chase after some of the toy balls we have for you (which you will say "baw-luh"). You enjoy climbing around as much as you can and just general exploring. You love music and will bounce and rock to any type of music we have on. You like to look out the living room windows to look outside, Mommy is looking forward to the weather cooling off a bit so we can have fun outside. You love to look at books either with someone or on your own. You will pull all of the books off of your shelf and flip the pages. I don't know that you have an absolute favorite book, but you like any of the books with animals. You will say "ca" sometimes for cat, Ma-Ma and Da-da all the time, and wave hello and goodbye. You wave your hands frantically in the air to sign "all done" and will sometimes sign "milk". Yesterday while watching signing time you were working hard at mimicking some of their signs like "ball" and "dog".

Fourth, you have been sleeping amazingly (8:30 to 7:30 at night and two 1.5 to 2 hour naps) and you eat like a pig. For breakfast you eat yogurt with cereal in it, have milk before nap, wake up and eat an entire banana, will eat lots for lunch, have more milk before second nap, eat applesauce, raisins, and crackers through the afternoon to snack, and will eat a good dinner. Your lunch and dinner is usually whatever we are having. For example yesterday you had chicken, green beans, and tomatoes. There really isn't a food you won't eat, but you love veggies. I will often times give you frozen peas or green beans to snack on.

Lastly, as far as fun things we did this month... We went to the opening Aggie football game which was interesting. The tickets were standing room only so we ended up sitting on the lawn and watching the jumbo tron instead. We have hung out with family and friends a lot and you got to go visit Daddy at work. Mommy tries to take you somewhere every day (even if it means splitting up errands) so that you can get out of the house. You have moved up from the Bunny baby nursery class to the Puppy class at church so we were excited for you first official "advancement". When the weather cools off we will go for more walks, but until then we only go every once in awhile. Daddy had several days off earlier this month so it was nice to hang out with him!

We love you so much MacKenzie. As tired as I am growing your Baby Brother or Sister I love spending the day with you. While I enjoy my sleep in the morning there are times I am sad you aren't snuggled up next to me in bed. When you are a bit older maybe you will snuggle with me in the mornings!

All of our love, thank you for being a part of our lives,
Mommy and Daddy