one year

DSC_0211It’s been how long? 2 months? Almost 3? Wow. Well, I have had a little quarrel with WordPress. They wanted to charge me for more space on my blog. Apparently, I like to take pictures in full definition and that takes up space. The quarrel was mainly one sided and yes, WordPress won. I gave in, two months later… Sorry for the delay.

Jack turned one back in July. We were able to make a trip all the way to Colorado for the festivities with the hubs’ side of the family, and he had a blast celebrating with his cousins!

1st Birthday

We took full advantage of our environment and the free babysitting! Side Note:I am super jealous of people who live close to family! We hiked…

Hiking Collage

We also took Jack for his first bike ride, and he loved every minute, as did the hubs and I. I just wish I would have gotten some audio of Jack squealing with delight as we road or at least a picture of his cute little body in the Burley. We definitely need one in Dallas! It was so fun getting out every day and just exploring! We biked in Frisco, a town close to Breckinridge and stopped at an adorable coffee shop before we headed back. It was amazing.

Biking Breck Collage

We also went to downtown Breckenridge and made a very needed stop at my favorite eatery! Crepes!!

Downtown Breck

And here’s our man in his final month! Gosh, it just gets better and better doesn’t it?!! He’s a super sweet boy, waves and claps at everyone and is always smiling. Happy 1st Birthday, Jack! I love you.

12 month collageAlso, here’s a link to Jack’s One Year photos. Just put in our last name and you’ll see all the Jack goodness! Enjoy.

chicken enchiladas

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Until the hubs and I experienced it ourselves, I did not know that you are supposed to make dinners for your friends who have just had a baby. My husband and I were overwhelmed by the outpouring of friends that came and went those first few weeks. With our own family hundreds of miles away, it was amazing. Live and learn. This was a dish I had during those first few weeks and decided to make it for another couple who had a newborn a couple weeks ago. Enjoy!

Recipe

Ingredients DSC_0229

  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 8 (8inch) flour tortillas

Sauce on top

  • 1 (8oz) container sour cream
  • 1 (8 oz.) bottle green taco sauce (aka salsa verde)

Toppings – diced tomatoes, chopped avocado, chopped green onions, chopped cilantro

Stir together first 4 ingredients.

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Spoon chicken mixture evenly over each tortilla, and roll up.

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Arrange in a lightly greased 13×9 inch baking dish. Coat tortillas w/vegetable cooking spray (I used melted butter). Bake 350º for 35 to 40 minutes.

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Stir together sour cream and taco sauce.  Spoon over hot enchiladas, sprinkle with toppings and enjoy!! These are so yummy!

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cinnamon coffee cake

DSC_0222I was presented with this dish when we had Jack. In those first few weeks of feeling like a walking zombie, this is one of the items that shined through. It is a great dessert, breakfast dish, or snack after a 3 a.m. nursing session. Seriously, I’ve tested it in all of those situations, and this cake never disappoints. I now only make it for special occasions, in fear I will eat it all or wake up at 3 a.m. to have a piece! I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do… and with some of this, too, or gift it to some poor soul with a newborn; they’ll love you forever.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons milk

Mix brown sugar, white sugar, flour and salt. Add oil and mix until crumbly.

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Remove 7/8 cup of above mix and set aside. Yes, 7/8 cup, weird number right!?! Below is what I took out and it worked great!

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To the bowl, add buttermilk, egg, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix well.

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Pour into greased 9×13 baking dish. Crumble the reserve mix on top.

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Bake @350 for 25 min. Mix powdered sugar and milk. While still warm, drizzle on top.

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11 months

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Jack turned 11 months last weekend and well, I can’t quite grasp how a year went so fast and yet so slow at the same time, but it’s almost here. This kid has gained so many things in 11 months including a couple inches and an amazing personality. He’s still walking with the assistance of a walker but picking up confidence and speed daily and really loving his voice. Saying da-da and uh-oh all the time! Here’s to you, Jack!

11 month collage

Happy 11 months!

smoothies

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I’ve always love a good smoothie but I’ve never ventured to make one myself. It seemed time consuming, the consistency seemed like it took skill, and I never knew what to put in them. Until now! I was lucky enough to meet a nutritionist during my time with Moms in Training that laughed off my concerns about smoothie making and shared with me just what it takes to make a nutritious meal in a glass! I usually make these for breakfast, but some evenings we can’t resist having one for dinner, too! I don’t feel guilty because it is packed with great nutrition and fills you up fast! Enjoy this great meal on the go or at home!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen fruit (I usually use organic strawberries, mangos or blueberries!)
  • 1 cup milk (cow, soy, almond, or whatever you like or have available works)
  • 2 Tbsp flax seed (I usually get the meal – its cut finer)
  • 1/4 cup whey protein (I get mine at central market, whole foods or spouts in the bulk section, just the plain version.)
  • 1 banana

Mix away

Once you add all of your ingredients, blend away!! Simple. The frozen berries act as your ice, too. Smooth and creamy every time! Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Smoothie final

 

Happy Week Friends!

10 months

10 months

I love when we travel and go out.

Considering it’s a little more involved with a baby, I appreciate the time we have both as a couple and as a family exploring new sites in our area and around the states.

I absolutely love when we are there, but my extreme love for exploring ends up nearly driving everyone insane from the time we start planning right up to the minute we step foot outside.

Like a worried old man, I become anxious about what we could do with our time or money instead of traveling or going out. Flights are how much? And the closer we get to the travel plans, the more I am plagued by what troubles might ensue, like the clothes I did not think to pack. I end up having trouble actually enjoying the idea of traveling because all I can think about is what I’d forgotten, what I should be wearing, and how everyone else will surely be better prepared.

It’s draining. And my evil powers morphs the mood around the whole house.

The husband hates the days before traveling with me or the hours before we go somewhere because I spend the time erratically scanning the closet or suitcase… Of course, there will be nothing in my closet to wear, or something I had forgotten to purchase for our travels, and then, there is the not-so-profound announcement that I don’t want to go! Then, everyone is depressed that the notion of our travel or going out plans will be ruined.

If mom’s not happy, no one is happy.

BUT everytime the husband manages to talk me off the ledge, and (yep) we have a blast. My anxiety is transformed to complete bliss that we decided to go, to travel, and nothing we “forgot” ever even really affects us; what I’m wearing is usually appropriate, and we manage our finances well enough that we can travel when we want. And I declare next time I won’t do that. Sigh.

This form of pessimism is NOT one of my better traits. And unfortunately, it is not confined to just traveling or going out.

As of late, this misplaced uncertainty has transferred into caring for Jack. Are we prepared enough for his next steps at any given stage?  When he was in the hospital, did we prepare the nursery enough? When Jack was nursing, when do we start pureeing foods for him? Then Jack starting crawling, is the house prepared enough for his newfound mobility? And the list goes on.

With every new milestone, there is anxiety, but as it happens, there’s wonderful serenity in those moments. Until the next one.

A few weeks ago we had to move the floor of Jack’s crib to its lowest level because our nanny walked in to find him standing up with his little chest against the edge of the crib. Laughing hysterically, of course. With the crib lowered, we lost my crib skirt. It seems like decades ago that I sewed that little piece of fabric. (tear.)

Stand in Crib

We also decided to get out the real high chair because the Bumbo freaked me out when we sat it on the table, or anywhere for that matter. Jack would flail about for his feedings, and nothing was safe.

Highchair

 

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And he has outgrown his infant carrier. His little toes hit the back of the car seat, so we knew it was time. Of course, we read all the reviews and Consumer Reports for every car seat from here to Egypt and finally settled on one.

I also continue to put away his outgrown clothes in the “0-6 bin” with a tearful hug to each and every one of them. Yes, I hug his clothes. Especially his little footed pajamas that seem too small for even Turk to have worn. Labels found here.

0 - 6 mn

Every time I look at him, I keep thinking how vital this time is. That one day he will be asking us to cross the street, sleepover at a friend’s house, then use the car, graduation, and going off to college. After that I will be presented with a girl he will ask to marry. Yes, I think of this often.

This also makes me aware of what a crazy mother-in-law this will make me. That poor, poor girl. Ha.

10 month collage

So, perhaps with these changes, I will resolve to try to be more mindful about staying in the moment. I want to be prepared, but I also want to enjoy all these moments and not let my anxiety take over. I called about Jack’s kindergarten the other day. Yes, I need to stop.

Or maybe I’ll become a hermit and never leave the house with Jack, ever. Options.

Happy 10 months, Jack!*

DSC_0206* no elephants were harmed in the making of this post. 

 

 

 

9 months

9 month

I have realized 3 things since last month:

  • I haven’t blogged since Jack’s 8 month post. I know, I’m trying my best not to be upset about it, but I have a feeling this month will be the same. I write this blog because it makes me happy, not to fill some quota, but it still feels empty without writing. I have some fun posts ahead, so bare with me!
  • My little baby has only three more months until he’s ONE. Stop. Time. Please Stop… or at least slow down!
  • My whole thought of using the notion “nine months up, nine months down” will be tucked away with “I’m only gaining 25 pounds” in my pregnancy dream book. Maybe for baby number two… there is always next time!

Any-who, on to my Turk monster. He’s just the best little guy. We have a great routine of feeding, playing, and sleeping. Only when another tooth presents itself (he got one more this month) or when we travel, does that routine get broken. 

That routine was broken with Jack’s first flight last month. But it went SO smoothly! He even got a picture with the pilots! Thanks American Airlines for playing along.

First Flight

Jack’s first flight was to see his family in Wisconsin for Easter weekend. Below are Jack’s twin cousins, Ellie and Ben. They are such sweet cousins to Jack and loved showing him the world around him, singing to him… and telling him what toys are not for babies. Ha.

Easter Service

Jack was entertained all weekend. He went on his first Easter egg hunt with his cousins and even met the Easter bunny. His other cousin, Thomas, was not a fan of the Easter bunny… I hear you buddy, he is kinda creepy.

Easter Bunny

Jack also got to meet some real bunnies back in Dallas. North Park, our local mall, set up a photographer with real bunnies, that pulls on your heart-strings while charging an outrageous amount for their pictures. Genius. Hence, the picture of a picture… one digital copy was 120.00. Bam!

Real Bunnies

But, lets back up; before we left Wisconsin, Jack became a cheesehead. He tried his first pieces of cheese in Wisconsin, loving every minute (and morsel), and enjoyed wearing some, too.

Cheesehead

Jack’s really enjoying “do it myself” foods. Though he does like his oatmeal in the morning (like his mama), lunch and dinner have now become finger food items with one or two purees or yogurt on the side. Luckily, I have a plethora of options on Pinterest to choose from!! Here and here are some of my favorites. Plus, the pediatrician gave us the go ahead on just about anything besides nuts, peanut butter, honey, and shellfish! It’s been fun having Jack try so many different foods! I cannot wait to share a great smoothie recipe with you, too!

bath time
With all those new foods, he has a lot of energy. Jack is still crawling like crazy this month. He “swim-crawls” in the bath, too, and I’m guessing he is really going to enjoy his swim classes next month! I’m SO excited about that!! He is also able to transfer from sitting to crawling and back again. This was another game changer, because sitting him up was a wonderful way to “pause the action”, if you will, while I was doing something. Now, it just slows him down for a second or two. 

He also (but only when you don’t direct him to) waves bye-bye to people. Yes, we are pretty proud parents for a flapping hand from time-to-time… it’s the little things. 

I hope this finds you well. Sorry, for the Dear Diary post, but that’s all I have in me today. At least all the cute pictures may make up for the lack of luster.

Happy Spring friends!

 

mother’s day

Mom & Me

This mother’s day has hit me pretty hard. My first mother’s day.

The emotional toll of being a mother myself, compounded with the realization of my own mother’s illness all came to the forefront on this glorious Sunday.

I don’t talk much about my struggles of being a mom without my mom, but it’s a hard one. I often think to myself how I would approach telling God, or whoever implanted an incurable, slowly-wasting-away disease in my mother, that I would take back my youth with her, if only I could implant her in my life today. Because now is when I need her the most. When I would appreciate her the most.

M&J wallet

I would love to talk to her about my missteps as a mom.  I would ask her how she was so loving and patient, ask her how she came up with all of her meal plans and activities, and ask her how she picked her battles with everyone else’s parenting ideas.

I would tell her I’m sorry for taking for granted all those meals she made, lunches she packed, all that laundry she ironed and folded, and all those night she sat with me for just one more story or one more arm tickle.  I would thank her for always staying upstairs because I needed someone on the same floor as me to go to sleep.

I would hug her.

Really hug her, and she would hug back. She would say just what I wanted to hear: what an amazing person, parent, wife, I’ve become. Because that’s what moms do. And I would believe her.

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So now, without my mom, I have to go it alone. Without the one pillar in my corner, that most women get to turn to. I will instead, take those visuals and memories I have etched in my mind from my own childhood, and use them to raise Jack. I will try to harness my mom’s ability to make him whole, clean foods, to be patient with him, to read that extra book, sing songs, and hug him. Hug him and kiss him and tell him just how amazing he is. And make sure he too, believes it. Like only a mom can.

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Thank you, Mom, for showing me what it takes to become a great mom. I wish you were with us to show Jack what a great grandmother you would be… I miss you, love you, and think of you daily.

Happy Mother’s Day to all those moms out there.

 

8 months

Jack babyThis month has been one of the most active and fun months yet! Jack turned 8 months last week, and we’re loving all his new moves. Yep, the kid started crawling mid-March and hasn’t stopped since. He’s now discovered all the rooms of our home. Here’s the first clip of the action. Of course, the motivation to crawl for the first time was none other than Otis’s toy. A green ball just beyond his reach. Ha!

Now, the true baby proofing starts. We definitely have a lot of wires and corners we need to address in these next couple weeks, and I shudder at the thought of all my decor items having to take a back seat to this rambunctious eight-month-old.

Jack’s still loving the process of eating new foods, and (so far) there isn’t much he doesn’t enjoy. From butternut squash and avocado to apples and pears, he loves them all. With the addition of five new teeth, we also purchased infant biscuits for him to practice holding and eating. He really enjoys the process of “doing it himself,” though more ends up on his highchair and lap than in his mouth; the dogs are the ones that benefit from this, and Jack is loving the attention during mealtime.

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I finally allow Jack to ride in a shopping cart on our weekly outings to the grocery store. I cannot quite believe he’s old enough to be sitting in a cart, but he loves every minute. He’s always smiling at the other shoppers, grasping items within his reach, and it provides such a better vantage points than his car seat. He loves it, and I don’t think he’ll go back to his car seat.

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Besides all of Jack’s new activities, Jack continues to grow like a weed! We visit the doctor next month for the official measurements. Gosh, we love this kid so much… and what a sweet little man we’ve been blessed with.

8 month Collage

Happy Week, Friends!

baby food

baby food

Jack hit another milestone last month with the addition of pureed food. We elected to breastfeed exclusively (pumping while I was at work) until 6 months, so I was excited and nervous to start another process with Jack. I did what I do with everything and asked other moms, searched the internet, and had a plan in place to start the process of introducing food. It’s surprisingly been a super fun process, relatively easy, and overall enjoyable for both me and Jack. I’ve really enjoyed discovering raw foods with Jack and find that sometimes simple food, baked or steamed, are so flavorful by themselves that they really don’t need all the salt and spices most of us have grown accustomed to in our adult lives.

On Jack’s 6 month visit, his pediatrician said to use the “3 day rule” for introducing foods. Try something for three days, see if he has a reaction, and then you can move on to additional foods. And how much to eat? Our pediatrician said whatever he can get down in 10 minutes is fine. At this point, its more of getting your baby familiar with the spoon and swallowing than the actual nutritional value. I put on our refrigerator calendar every three days what new foods we are introducing so I won’t get confused. I found an awesome list on this site; they have printables of what your baby can eat at which age, plus a bunch of recipes and other great information about feeding your baby.

cookbook

Cooking for Baby & Top 100 Baby Purees

Two baby food books I bought (and like) are pictured above, but honestly you can rent them from the library or just look up recipes online to save yourself money. Plus, early on, all you need to know is bake and puree or steam and puree. Simple!

The items I purchased or already had in my kitchen:baby food jars

 
Sweet Potatoes

An easy puree to make is sweet potatoes. Preheat oven to 425°. Place sweet potatoes on baking sheet and pierce the potatoes with a fork. Bake for 45 – 60 minutes until potatoes are wrinkled and tendered. I cut mine in half and spoon all of the contents into a blender or food processor. I, then, add a little water to the mixture, but you can add breast milk or formula, too. If you’re making something you steam, such as apples, pears, peas or carrots, I use the juice from the dreaming process and add it to the puree. Puree until smooth.

Sweet Potatoes

Once pureed to the consistency you like, place them into ice cube trays. I fill the trays using a spatula; once filled, I shake/tap the trays to get any air bubbles out and use the spatula to smooth out the top of the cubes.

I also put one glass container in the refrigerator for the next meal.

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Clean off the edges of the tray and place them in the freezer over night.

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The next morning, you just pop those cubes out and place them into a Ziploc bag until you need them! Don’t forget to label them with the date! Simple, right? That’s 20 meals of sweet potatoes!

Cubed SP

I just grab one of these at lunch or dinner after I nurse Jack, and he loves them. I do add a little cinnamon to my sweet potatoes and sometimes a little breast milk to make the best consistency for Jack. The best prize of all is seeing your little one gobble up all the goodness! Well worth your efforts!

Jack's food faceJack’s happy, I’m happy. Happy Week Friends!