Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A hero...

Naomi Warren- Holocaust survivor, Warren Fellowship at Holocaust Museum Houston, 2007

Oh yeah...

I forgot to write two things about MacKenzie that I didn't want to forget.

Lately she has been saying "What ees dis" and pointing to things. It is her first full sentence and I love how curious she is. She has also changed it around by pointing to something she knows (like a ball) and saying "Ees dis ball" then smiling as big as she can. So cute and so smart! I think it is amazing that she picked these sentences up just by listening to what I say and ask her all day.

She added in "I have (book)" as a random sentence this week. I think it is funny how she will try to catch our attention to what she is doing.

Something I wish I didn't have to write is the fact that she has a full grasp on the word "mine". Yah, I could do without that.

Another thing I wish I didn't have to report is that two friends gave their best efforts on our old hard drive to no avail. We know we can recover the pictures, but will have to save up a lot of money to do so. With all the pictures that weren't backed up it will be worth it in the end, but something I wish we didn't have to do (especially considering we thought we were safe).

Saturday, June 25, 2011

20 Months of Mac


Yesterday you turned 20 months...this means you are almost two! I cannot believe how fast life is speeding by. I know that if read some of these as a child you will think Mommy is crazy for talking about how fast time flies, but I assure you it is going by too fast. I think of you as my baby sometimes, but you are really turning into a little kid and there are so many ways you show that and prove that to us each and every day.

Your eating habits are still good and just like Mommy as a child you aren't super crazy about sweets. You will eat a little bit here and there, but a lot of times you refuse ice cream or cake if we offer it to you. One thing you do like a lot is the cookies that are given out at Kroger when you, Keegan, and I go grocery shopping. As soon as you get in the cart you start saying Cookie Cookie and making the sign for cookies. I get you to say thank you to the ladies in the bakery, but they always think you are blowing kisses at them. Basically you will eat when you are hungry and pick at your food if you aren't. We try not to push the issue too much at this age because we really like that you are regulating how much you eat based on fullness. You don't ask for anything else or fuss when you do not eat much at a meal so I am venturing a guess that you really aren't that hungry. You still love Mac and Cheese, Sausage and Green Beans the best (so much so that we will probably make that your meal for your second birthday). Lately you have also started to eat more salad type items like tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce. You like when Mommy makes smoothies to share, but I have to remember to be careful with your cup or you will get smoothie EVERYWHERE! You really enjoy juice and will enthusiastically tell anyone who will listen.

We have news on the sleeping are in a real bed!!! We took the big side off your crib this week and put the toddler railing on so it looks like a day bed. We wanted you to get used to sleeping in a real bed because in a few months we will probably be putting Keegan in the same room as you and we wanted you in a bed and her in your crib when that happens. We have another crib, but we don't really want to take it apart (no announcements, just lazy) and since you are two girls so close in age we thought it would be fun if you shared rooms when you are little. You have been a champion in your real bed! You go right down to sleep in it (two nights and two naps so far) and don't get out of it when you wake up. I realize you might start getting up at some point, but you really like your sleep and tell us when you are sleepy so maybe you won't. We are glad that so far this transition has been easy. Before we changed your bed you had your first real bout of nightmares which was heartbreaking to deal with. We let you cry for a few minutes several times and each time we would get up you would stop. After the third or fourth time we knew it was time to get you up. You snuggled with Mommy in bed for a bit then fell asleep. We haven't had any problems so far so I hope this is infrequent in occurence. You have been sleeping for at least 12 hours at night and have been taking a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon along with sometimes falling asleep in the car if we are going somewhere in the morning...I think this is a sign of an impending growth spurt. You are already wearing 3T and some 4T clothes (although 2T still sort of fits) so I am wondering how much you are going to grow in the next few months.

You really like to do some things by yourself and will say No and push away our hand if you think we are babying you too much. Yesterday Mommy was helping you down the stairs and you decided you wanted to try holding onto the rail and do it yourself. You still needed a little help from Mommy, but you felt proud that you were working on it more independently. Today you refused help going up the stairs, then decided you did want to hold Mommy's hand which made me feel good! You are very good about holding my hand when I tell you it is dangerous or crowded which makes errands and walking around a lot easier. You are using your fork and spoon more often (left handed) and have started telling us when you are thirsty, hungry, or tired. If only we could get you to work on the potty training communication!

You love to play outside and to swim in your plastic pool. You will lay on your tummy in the pool and move your arms and kick already. You like to dunk your head under water and to lap it up too! I think I am going to start some basic swim lessons with you soon to get a good foundation for next summer. Regardless, you will enjoy the time in the water. You are starting to identify more and more people, especially some of your friends. It is so cute to hear you say your version of their names. You are also starting to do more cooperative play and imaginative play (you made a stuffed puppy eat something off the picture in a book yesterday). You are doing very good on your colors and mostly can tell us yellow (weh-woah), blue (boooo), green (een), red (reh), orange (woh-renge), and purple (puhrple). We think your favorite color is purple as you picked it out when we got you a little backpack to carry your things into church. You are also doing good on your uppercase letters still and have started using the names of O, M, S, F and W. I got a little workbook for us so we can go back and learn the lowercase letters too.

We had some fun activities this month, Dee, Doc, and McKay came to visit for Memorial Day weekend. We also took you and Keegan to the drive in movies and you both did amazing! You played in the back of the truck where we were all sitting during the first movie and passed out in your car seat for the second movie. We had play dates at the splash pad, Chick Fil A (of course), and did a tour of Texas Roadhouse (which you hate the feel of anything dough-y by the way). We have also had fun just hanging out with you and our friends and family as different things come up.

Thank you for a wonderful month MacKenzie. You are an amazing little girl and I hope you know how proud and grateful you make Mommy and Daddy everyday.

All of our love,
Mommy and Daddy

P.S. A few iphone pics for now...

Friday, June 24, 2011

4 months for Keegs


I apologize for this post being late, but I hope you will forgive me if you read the post about how I am afraid to use the computer post hard drive fail. You will probably laugh at this idea in twenty years as everything will be in the big network and cloud in the sky and you won't have to worry about hard drives failing.

You have grown so much in the last month. Your doctor visit went well and you barely cried for your shots. In fact, you "talked" a lot after your shot as if you were protesting such horrible treatment. Your head was in the 65th percentile, but I never remember the exact measurement for that. You were 25 1/2 inches long (87th percentile) and 15 pounds 9 ounces (85th percentile) so you are almost exactly proportional. The doctor said you look great and are hitting all of your milestones (bringing your hands together, unclasping your fist, sitting with assistance, holding head up, laughing, cooing, and smiling,). She said we could start you on baby cereal if we wanted, but I see no need so far. You are showing no interest in people food yet and Mommy has no problems keeping up with your demand for milk (which is so insignificant compared to MacKenzie). You nurse every three hours or so for about 15 minutes. Sometimes at night you will nurse more frequently before you go to bed, but I think that is mainly when you are tired. You have slept a lot the past few nights, from 10:30 until 9:30 or so! Mommy has been pumping one side before you wake up for you to share your milk with the Milk Bank, I think I might need to go ahead and pump both sides. You usually take two good naps, one in the morning about 2 hours after you wake up and one in the afternoon for another 2-3 hours. Sometimes you will doze a bit in the late afternoon or evening, but that is not consistent.

You really enjoy your play mat the most, more than any of your other toys or places to play. You like to grab the rings that make the motion activated star play it's music. You also like to grab your feet and hold them together as you lay on your back. Sometimes you will kick at the toys, but mainly you like to lick your toes and hold onto your feet. You love to look at lights or things with faces and mirrors. You will squeal with delight at the snail toy that has a mirror on it, sometimes at your own reflection and other times at the smiling snail face. You are starting to bring soft and light toys to your mouth so you can chew on them. Your sister likes to hand you pacifiers or just shove them in your mouth which you absolutely hate. I can count on one hand the number of times you have taken a pacifier in your whole life and not been disgusted by it. You are a big talker and will shout and squeal at the top of your lungs when you are playing or when people hold and talk to you, you definitely have a lot to say! You like to be tickled and love being held up so you can see everything. You get upset if you can tell that there are things going on in the room, but you cannot see them. You are getting better at sitting up, you still fall forward, but we hold you and prop you up so you feel like a big girl. You haven't rolled yet, but you are getting close to making some good tries and if Mommy helps you it isn't too hard to get you to make a good roll onto your tummy.

You are usually great when we take you on errands or to visits and you had a great visit with your PawPaw at his office recently. You sometimes get mad at being in the carrier for too long, but I haven't had to leave any stores yet because of your crying.

I am so glad that you are here with us Keegan! You are a complete joy to our family and it is hard to remember that you have only been with us for four months. It seems like you have always been a part of us and we love you and everything about you.

Mommy and Daddy

These pictures are from our phones...the Aggie one was taken by Daddy at ChickFilA and it is one of my favorite pictures yet!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


We have been in desperate need for rain. This is the longest dry spell I can remember. It has been so long since the ground has been soaked that it isn't even that humid in Houston right now! The ground is taking in every ounce of extra moisture that it possibly can. What is Houston without humidity? I can remember as a kid that there would be rain most afternoons in the summer. It was great to do errands or chores with my mom (who got summers off with us) and then swim at the YMCA until lunch time, then head home and rest inside while a thunderstorm rolled in. I have always loved the rain. I would watch those thunderstorms as a kid either snuggled up on the couch with my mom and sister or underneath our car port. I distinctly remember one of these days that we went swimming then were at home while it rained and my mom either baked or heated up a spice cake or a gingerbread loaf. She usually didn't make something like this so I remember it as being special...It was warm and soft and I think about it often when it rains. I loved the smell of the rain and how everything is darker because of the clouds, but the green in the trees and grass just comes alive with the prospect of getting a much needed soak. My mom and dad took us to Colorado when I was either in middle or high school and we stayed part of the time in Keystone and Beaver Creek. Keystone and Beaver Creek are both nestled into the mountains a bit and I don't recall which one this was at, but I do remember a thunderstorm coming as we were walking around one of them. The way the thunder boomed off the mountains was amazing and I was both scared and awestruck at the same time. It was very cool to have surround sound thunder! My fascination with rain continued and increased when much to my delight it rained the weekend that MacKenzie was born. I loved snuggling her in my arms while watching the rain on the day we brought her home. As you can tell...I love the rain. So I was amazed and thankful when I woke up to a thunderstorm and rain this morning. I even got out of bed and went and smiled at Matt who was getting ready for his day of work. I then opened the curtains and dozed while watching the rain. Apparently my girls love the rain too as they are still sleeping at 9:30 (usually Keegan wakes at 7:30 and MacKenzie wakes at 8). I am looking forward to the day that I can snuggle up with them on the couch or in bed and enjoy the rain together!

Not a picture of rain, but a picture that we have none the less...

My absence...

I feel bad about my recent hiatus from this blog, but to be honest, I have been a little afraid to use the computer. Our usual routine involves me putting MacKenzie down for a nap around 1 and then I will snuggle and nurse Keegan while I watch a show on the computer in our bed. Sometimes it will be a show on hulu and other times it will be an episode of Gilmore Girls on DVD, but that is beside the point. Last week (I think) I did just that and opened the computer to a black screen of nothingness. I pressed several keys to try to wake up the computer to no avail. I hit the power button to restart the computer and was greeted with a whirring and clicking sound and a beautiful grey screen with a big question mark in the middle of the screen. This was not a good sign to me...if the computer has a big question mark in the middle of the screen there are probably some big issues at hand. I did a quick search of what could be wrong on my phone and was dismayed to find that, in all likelihood, our hard drive had crashed. In all fairness we are pretty tough on our computer...but that is why we got a we wouldn't have to coddle it! We took our beloved Mac to the Genius Desk at the Apple store and they told us it probably had not crashed, but just needed to be "found". After two minutes of poking around the "Genius" said "No, it has crashed". She told us that Apple could replace it for almost $300 or we could get a much cheaper and much faster one and easily replace it ourselves. She even showed us how...that is pretty genius. We replaced it with a $70 hard drive from Best Buy and went to the task of retrieving all of our files from our backup files. This is where my heart begins to break because apparently the last backup of our pictures had failed and so far we are unable to recover thousands of our most recent pictures. Here are some of the pictures we don't have: Puerto Vallarta, NYC and Philly, Us buying our house, My masters degree, Israel, Canada, Our England and Scotland trip, MacKenzie's pregnancy to birth to growing up until this point, Keegan's pregnancy to birth to growing up until this point. The only pictures we have since 2007 are iPhone pics that were backed up elsewhere. We are hopefully going to be able to recover them some other way, but our first attempts have failed until now...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Keegan is a year!

I know what you are thinking...that her birthday is not until February and we are just nearing her four month birthday, but I made a post about this with MacKenzie too! Keegan's life began a year ago yesterday (I think) and at this point a year ago her cells were rapidly dividing and moving into different places to become her heart, brain, skin, bones, and all the other wonderful parts that make her- her! So many characteristics about her were already set into place a year ago and just because we couldn't see her, she was there with us! A year ago she went from a hope and a dream to a reality and although we wouldn't know for another few weeks that we would be meeting her in early 2011, we prayed for the possibility that became Keegan. We love our baby girl and are so grateful that we have been blessed with her over the past year in all the ways she has been with us.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Delicious Cake Inspiration

Wanted to share a slideshow link in case anyone needed inspiration!



Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake with Cinnamon Glaze, Our home, 12/2007

Monday, June 6, 2011

"My" Pecan Rolls

I don't think I have posted this before...

I know I have said before how much I dislike Giada De Laurentis...not as much as Bobby Flay, but it is a definite close second. I really dislike the way she randomly throws in Italian pronunications with no consistency or reason as to why. I really dislike the way they edit to show her hands all the freaking time. I really dislike the way she describes her food. And I really, really dislike the way her show is basically Food Networks version of adult t.v.. Have you noticed how frequently they show her...chest?!? All of this being said...the lady has some great recipes that are usually super easy to replicate. This recipe was adapted from hers to make Hazelnut Cinnamon Rolls. Why did you have to adapt it you might ask. Well, because the freak of nature I married, Matt, does not like Hazelnuts...or Macadamia Nuts...or nuts in ice cream...or Caramel...or Butterscotch...or Toffee...or Pumpkin...or Ribs...or Fried Chicken on the bone...or many other things that have to do with this recipe. The only one of those things that apply to this recipe is the Macadamia Nuts, but he limits my inspirations none the less! I also altered a few things along the way because that's how I like can find the original recipe here.

These rolls are soft, spicy, flavorful, and have the perfect soft center. I add the cream cheese "glaze" because people expect it, but I would probably like it just as much without it. These do not "sit" very well before being cooked so I recommend you bake immediately. And consume immediately...just because!

1 roll of refrigerator section bread dough (like the Pillsbury french loaf)
1/4 stick of butter room temperature
1/2 cup (or more) of chopped pecans
cinnamon, sugar, ground cloves, and ground nutmeg (or freshly grated) to your hearts desire (but go easy on the last two)
-Giada recommends:1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (definitely use more), and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 package of cream cheese
Powdered sugar to taste
Milk to desired consistency

Preheat oven to 325. Lightly grease or spray baking pan. On clean work surface carefully spread out dough from seam until you have a flat sheet of dough.

Spread dough with room temperature butter. Mix together sugar and spices and pecans if you want.

Sprinkle over buttered dough. Carefully roll dough back up and pinch the end of the dough into the roll.

Cut dough in half, then each half into halves, then each quarter into halves, until you have 8 relatively even pieces. Carefully place into baking dish.

Bake until golden brown, approximately 25 minutes.

Mix the softened cream cheese with the powdered sugar to taste (I like mine with a little cheesy zip) and milk for the desired consistency. Drizzle over slightly cooled rolls, let set for a minute or two, but not too long because all baked qoods are better warm...except for cake...and some cookies...never mind...enjoy when you want!

I don't have a picture of the end result...probably because I was stuffing my face with them. Enjoy anyways!

I would really have a hard decision to make if presented with Karlin's recipe for cinnamon rolls with the brown butter icing and this one...but seeing as it has been so long since she made them and I don't have the recipe then I have no choice but to stick with my own!

Chick Fil A Today

Summer time is here and with it disappears a nice relaxing indoor play place in Chick Fil A and it instead replaced by disgruntled high schoolers, mommies who are running around cramming in extra activities for their school age children in the summer, and others that do not seem to be at my beloved eatery during the school year. Matt and I met at Chick Fil A, it will always be dear to our hearts. We know the food is fresh, we know that there are high expectations for both the food and employees that work there, and we feel a little less bad eating there as it is manageable within a healthier eating lifestyle (not saying the food is healthy, there are just healthy options and it is healthier than many other fast food options).

Seeing as it is early June and we are consistently above 100 degrees by 1 in the afternoon, MacKenzie was begging to run around, and not wanting to drag Keegan outside we ran over to Chick Fil A to have a little lunch and let MacKenzie play. After MacKenzie ate (very well with her fork I might add), she toddled into the play area and began running around with the other children. You have to be careful and observe what children are in the play area. I prefer going to certain Chick Fil As over others because of the age demographic in each place. There are several that are frequented by older boys who can be a little wild (swinging off the bars, climbing on top of the slide, etc). I sat near the entrance and watched as my little baby independently and gleefully climbed up and slid down repeatedly. I then watched a mother and her two boys enter the play area. I then watched as the younger boy (probably two) slowly walked up to MacKenzie and clobbered her in the chest as she stood there. The mommy ran over to the little boy and tried to get him to apologize. Instead he clobbered her in the chest again so she put him in time out. MacKenzie stood there as if she could have cared less and looked more curious as to what would possess someone to do that. She continued to stand there watching some of the other kids play as the little boy was released from time out to play. I again watched as he slowly walked up to MacKenzie and clobbered her on the chest again. The mother again put him in time out and MacKenzie again did not react, just stood there observing. Once again the mother released the boy from time out. I know what you are are probably thinking that he clobbered her in the chest would be wrong my friend...he did not clobber her in the chest...instead he bopped her on the head. You can guess what the mommy did and you can guess what MacKenzie did. The older brother ran over to comfort MacKenzie (which was very kind even if MacKenzie was still not reacting) and eventually MacKenzie ran off to play with the older boy, probably in hopes that if she moved she would not get clobbered again.

I was glad the Mommy was active in trying to stop what happened and as MacKenzie was not reacting I did not feel it necessary to jump in and make a big deal of it to her. However I was many time outs would any readers (with children or without) use before looking to other means of discipline. I myself am an advocate of a good spanking, but feel a time out is a more appropraite punishment when it comes to hitting. However, the timeout obviously wasn't working and I feel fairly assured that had MacKenzie not finally gotten the clue, "Hey...maybe I better leave" that she would have gotten clobbered again. Any comments or experiences?

That being said, I love that little girl. She was so good about eating like a good girl, asked to play when she was done, played independently and well with others, came out and asked for milk, then told me she was sleepy and ready to go bye. We came home and she went directly down for her nap. I realize everyone has different experiences and that this could all change at a moments notice, but right now I have a pretty easy job!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Matt's warning to his customers...

Sonogram Photo- MacKenzie, Matt's Desk, October 2009