This was one of my least favorite moments captured last night. My son smushing his cousin's face. Before he fell asleep, I had a talk with him about how we don't shove, hurt, etc. other people, especially those that are smaller than us. I want him to grow up to be a kind-hearted person, not a bully.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
we saw an hour and twenty minutes of previews at our local movie theater! It was AWESOME! Thirty trailers for movies coming out this summer were compiled for our viewing pleasure (there were lots of other people there too ... we weren't the only lucky ones). Then the theater asked us to rate them according to whether or not we thought they would do well at the box office. They also asked us which three we were most looking forward to seeing.
My three ...
Away We Go
(See the rest of The Hangover trailer here ... I don't know why the first one wasn't whole.)
I also added Up as a fourth fave.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I know it's sappy, but I feel like a little part of me drove away today, never to return. Yes, she was a 1999 Plymouth Neon with tons of "quirks" - my sister has called her "jank" on many occasions - but she was there for me. Lola was with me when I started dating my now-husband, when I went off to college, when I broke up with my boyfriend (all eight times), when we drove home after our wedding, when we drove home from the hospital with our son. I have cried, screamed, laughed, and lived in her. And it was sad to see her go.
But now I have Wanda, and she is lovely. She represents a new chapter of my life and I am glad for that.
Still ... I will probably always miss Lola.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
We are currently keeping it on the musical setting because he seems to prefer it, but once he starts learning numbers and letters a bit more I think we'll switch it to the learning setting more often. The musical setting also has a bit more variety, so even though this is a bit of a noisy toy it doesn't really wear on my nerves at all. Bonus!
Monday, April 27, 2009
Yes, he looks like an amputee because his right leg is tucked all the way behind him. Thank goodness he's flexible!
2 cups bread crumbs (we use Italian bread crumbs)
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic (minced)
2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Mix in bowl. Melt 1 stick margarine. Roll chicken pieces (we use whole chicken breasts, but this could easily be used for chicken tenders) in margarine then in Parmesan mixture. Place in baking dish. Don't overlap. Dot with margarine. Bake 350 degrees Farenheit for 1 hour. Do not turn.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
He was immediately drawn to the guy on the Quaker Oats box in the pantry (yes, that is a box big enough for over 100 servings ... thank you, Costco).
On the way to the pantry, he stopped to inspect the curious wood strip at the corner by the stairway. I believe he will try to pry these off of the wall someday, and I'm not sure I will stop him.
After we closed the pantry (too much he could get into), he found the door stopper. He made it *broing* a few times, but he wasn't overly sure he liked it. A couple times he looked at me with his bottom lip poked out like he was going to cry. Then he would *broing* it again. Funny guy.
Yes, I am sure you have noticed by now that he is wearing nothing but socks and his diaper. We had a bit of a poop accident that left him without clothes about fifteen minutes before bedtime. At the risk of making more laundry for me to do, we just let him roam around in the buff. And yes, he enjoyed it immensely.
He finally realized I was taking pictures of his adventures and decided to come say hi. Isn't he adorable?! I just love his little drool-soaked chin!
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Twenty five years ago today my life changed dramatically ... I became your big sister. Though I have no actual recollection of it, it was - hands down - one of the best days of my life (right up there with becoming "wife" and "mother").
From the minute you entered the world, you have been a strong force in my life. There has never been even a second that I wished I didn't have you as a sister; even those trying moments when our relationship wasn't perfect, I have always been glad to call you mine.
You make me proud of you for all your strength, humor, smarts, and grace. Yes, I have often been jealous of you for all your natural gifts, but I am proud of you just the same.
Christine, you are the reason I want my son to have a sibling someday. I can't imagine my life without you in it, and I want him to know the same kind of friendship and love I have with you. I want him to know what it is like to have a person in your life that is like you (knows all your inside jokes, understands how you work, has the same sense of humor, etc.) but is different enough from you to keep things exciting.
Alright, enough waxing rhapsodic.
I hope you have the happiest of birthdays!
Your big sister,
Friday, April 24, 2009
It snow-balled from there, and now we have Wanda. She is a 2003 Honda Odyssey minivan, fully loaded with a grey leather interior. Ooh la la! I negotiated the price with the previous owner and everything ... and, yes, I was nauseous the whole time, but I still did it.
The previous owners had some sort of dog and two kids (16 and 10), so the car needed a bit of cleaning up. Luckily, my parents have a wal-vac and tons of cleaning supplies they were willing to share, so I was able to clean her up a bit. Anybody have any advice on getting dog hair out of carpet?
There she is! Wanda the Honda, in all her glory! A little more cleaning up to do, and hopefully she'll feel more like mine soon.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Now, my little man is on the go all the time. When he is awake, he is AWAKE. Having perfected his crawling skills, he is getting into everything. Yesterday, he even started following me ... it was so cute! I love it that he is more mobile now and is exploring the world around him.
That said, he is no longer the drowsy little guy I first met. Gone are the days where I could easily lay him in bed awake and know that he would eventually get to sleep. Now, if he is awake, consider him a cross between Columbus and Sherlock Holmes; everything must be explored and inspected.
So I will confess: I have been doing the bad mommy thing and putting him down already asleep. I know better, but at the same time I don't know what else to do. If I let him explore, he bonks his head on the crib slats and gets onto his tummy and forgets how to get back (and pretty much refuses to sleep on his stomach). If I put him down asleep, there is at least a chance he will stay that way. I haven't tried letting him cry it out, but I'm not sure that would work with him; we tried it once and his screams just got louder and louder until he was absolutely beside himself.
Our ped told me not to "anything him to sleep". Which means I'm not supposed to feed, shush, rock, etc. him to sleep; he's supposed to do it on his own. But it seems like he can't; he's just too on the go.
Am I not giving my son enough credit? Can he do it himself? Do I need to teach him drowsiness? (I am drowsy by nature, so I am familiar with the feeling; I could almost always use a nap.) Will letting him cry it out breed a sense of distrust within him? How can I avoid scarring him for life?
Monday, April 20, 2009
Sorry, feeling a little excited about these two.
The first is a marinade recipe my mom apparently concocted and it is WONDERFUL! She's been using it for years, mainly on chicken, and it is truly delicious. You can serve it as is, or use the chicken (or other meat, whatever) for fajitas or stir fry. The sky is the limit!
Mom's Tasty Marinade
1/2 cup soy sauce (I use low sodium La Choy)
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. oil (you can use olive or vegetable oil, though I usually use the latter)
Combine ingredients and marinate the poultry/meat for no more than 4 hours (though this is really an arbitrary number ... nothing horrible will happen if you do it for more than 4 hours). This will marinate about four normal-sized chicken breasts.
So that's recipe number one. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Recipe number two is actually something simple I cooked up last week when we had some friends over for dinner. I needed an extra side dish to go with my fave recipe (Country Chicken Casserole) and felt like it should be a fruit since there are so many veggies in the casserole. I had applesauce on hand, but I felt like that was too easy and too bland for company. So I decided to spruce it up a bit! Here's the recipe for what I ended up with ... hope you enjoy it!
Nicole's Summer Applesauce
1/2 of a 23 oz. jar of Mott's Natural Applesauce (that's the brand I prefer ... no added sugar)
19 medium-sized strawberries (I thawed some frozen ones I had on hand)
15 oz. can of lite sliced pears (drained)
Puree the strawberries and pears and mix with applesauce. Refrigerate until well-chilled. Serve. Voila! Serves about four adults and one toddler.
It was seriously awesome and soooo easy! Refreshing and full of vitamins, this applesauce is a great way to get some extra color in your dinner, especially during the winter months when it is difficult to find fresh berries.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Sometimes when I was little he would give me a big, wet kiss. Then I'd rub it in. He was a great uncle.
I remember when I was pregnant, worrying about how much weight I had gained (at that point I was only up to thirty or so pounds), he looked at me and said, "Nicole, you look great! Don't worry about how much weight you've gained." Then his voice dropped to more of a whisper, he looked about the room and said, "Your aunt gained eighty pounds when she was pregnant with Mindy, so you're doing just fine!" Then he smiled.
In the operating room, when they told me my baby was a boy, tears filled my eyes and I thought of Uncle Craig; he had just died the day before and, amazingly enough, he had guessed correctly in the baby pool we had going. A baby boy, born September 7th. He missed by a mile on the weight, but then so did everyone else (who could have guessed I would have had a 10 lbs. 10 oz. chunker?). He would have loved my son so much; Uncle Craig was a man's man and had six nieces and no nephews.
This was the last time I saw him - not this exact moment, but this trip to Grand Rapids. He was in town for my baby shower, and it was so good to see him. I didn't know it was going to be the last time, but if I think hard enough I can still feel the hug he gave me when he, my aunt, and cousin were leaving.
He was an avid hunter and fisherman, and while that often meant he missed my childhood birthday parties (November 7th), he remembered them anyways and gave me a gift, often wrapped in a Meijer shopping bag. I don't think I got a gift from him wrapped in actual wrapping paper until he married my Aunt Peggy when I was in second grade.
A painter by trade, I once called him up in a panic; I was painting our new living room and the paint wasn't sticking to the walls! He talked me through the problem, gave me suggestions on how to fix it, and told me to call him if I had any more issues. He knew what he was talking about and the rest of the living room came out beautifully.
Uncle Craig lived his life to the fullest, making time for both his family and for the more solitary amusements he loved so dearly. Cancer took him away far too soon, and there are so many days I think of him, miss him, and wish he were here.
We, Craig's Crusaders, are walking this May in efforts to raise money for cancer research in the hopes that other families won't have to endure what we have.
Please visit my personal page on the Relay for Life website and donate as much as you can ... every little bit counts!
Thank you for reading! Have a wonderful day!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Nonetheless, I thought I'd share another awesome store with you. RobbieJenkins DreamStar Creations is an awesome little Etsy store, filled with collage-art jewelry. My favorite, though, are the custom vintage dictionary necklaces you can get. Wonderfully inexpensive at $10 a pop (and only $1.50 shipping), you get to choose the word you want on your pendant!
Um, hello?! How cute would this be as a gift? The dictionaries the artist uses come from the 1930s to 1950s, so you probably couldn't have the word "ginormous" on your pendant, but I can see the possibilities being nearly endless. So cute!
The first time I went on the site I was less than impressed. I don't know why, but I found it difficult to navigate and thought the things I found were unpolished and amateurish.
Not so now.
My current favorite store is Hazelnut Cottage. (swoon) If I had extra money to burn on jewelry, this would probably be my first stop.
Monday, April 13, 2009
(By the way, they are Italian meatballs ... not to be confused with the appetizer variety meatballs.)
2 well-beaten eggs
1 lb. ground beef
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. parsley
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Mix above ingredients. Form into balls.* Brown in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drain fat. Stir in your favorite spaghetti sauce (works well with traditional Ragu). Serve over spaghetti.
Obviously you could also use these for meatball subs or the like. I just copied down the recipe verbatim because that's how I roll.
In my opinion, you cannot go wrong with these meatballs. They are super easy to make and I haven't met a person yet who has tried them and doesn't like them. Plus, they freeze really well; I recommend freezing them in freezer bags and then thawing them in the fridge the day you plan on using them. Then just warm them up with the sauce and you are good to go!
* I usually make the balls between ping pong and golf ball sized.
The blogger, Melissa, gives assignments as hints on how to be nice to other people. You can download notes, signs, tips, and more to assist you on your quest for niceness. You can even nominate a nice person of the week!
All in all, it is a refreshing site that reminds us it is important to just be nice.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Here is a picture of MY dad and my son napping together on the couch after my dad had an endoscopy. I just love it.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
But it does! Teething bites! My poor baby was up moaning last night at around 2:30/3:00 a.m. and again at about 6:30 a.m. His two bottom front teeth have already broken through and this morning I thought I saw a "bud" of a new top front tooth.
Here's a question for all you veteran moms out there ...
How many teeth do kids usually get at a time? I thought they came in one at a time, but it seems to be an onslaught!
We'll be keeping up with the Oragel (thanks, Sharon!) and the baby Tylenol today!
Marriage is like treading water; it takes constant work. You will NEVER become buoyant, and marriage will never be without effort. Yes, some days are easier than others; a flotation device will pass you by and offer your weary body a bit of a break. Other days, the waves will batter you like a small boat out at sea. It will take every ounce of effor to keep things afloat. But no matter what, as long as you value what you have, you have to keep treading, keep trying. The effort, the exhaustion is worth it.
*Sorry, I know this is a heavy post lodged in with the adorable pictures of my son, but I had an ephiphany and I had to get it out before I forgot it.
** This post is not directed at anyone in particular or because of anyone (i.e., hubby). I just had an ephiphany and needed to get it out.
Monday, April 6, 2009
These are called "Best Ever" by my sister and I because they simply are ... they come out awesome every time and taste fantastic! I think it has something to do with the graham crackers, but who knows?
"Best Ever" Chocolate Graham Cookies
3/4 cup Crisco (shortening)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (crushed very finely)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 (12 oz.) pkg. M&M's mini bits
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. In a large bowl with electric mixer, cream Crisco and sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg, milk, and vanilla, blending well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, graham crackers, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add to Crisco mixture; blend well until creamed.* By hand, stir in M&M's.
Drop by cookie scoop onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes until set. DO NOT OVERBAKE!! Cool one minute and remove to cooking rack.
These cookies freeze very well, so it's great to keep a few out and pop the rest in the freezer and take them out as needed.
*A tip I have learned from my mom and sister: do not overbeat the flour. Mix it in only until it is well blended, then stop. If you overbeat it, your cookies will end up tough.
Key Lime Pie
1 graham cracker pie shell *
3 egg yolks
1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand
1/2 cup lime juice
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Farenheit. In large mixing bowl, beat yolks with Eagle Brand and lime juice. Pour into pie shell and bake 30 minutes. Cool. Once cool, chill in the refridgerator. Top with whipped cream either before the fridge or when serving (I do it when serving because some people don't like whipped cream).
* You can make your own graham cracker crust or you can buy one from the store. I tend to buy organic ones from Meijer because they stay together better than any ones I can make. And I buy the organic ones because they don't have trans fats and seem to be a little better for you.