Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rough Day ...

My sister babysat the kids this morning while I went to the dentist; for those of you who don't know, I have pesky jaw problems that occasionally need attention.

Anyhow, I made it back within an hour and within another hour the kids and I left for home so Mom and Christine could get on with their day. At my parents' house, I noted that Mollie needed a diaper change, but I decided to wait until we got home; we had momentum and I was not about to lose it.

Of course, when we got home, she was asleep and I was able to transfer her successfully into her bouncy seat for a nap. Another hour passed and she woke up to the sounds of her brother's play, a huge drawback to the bouncy seat nap. I brought her up to the counter with us so she could socialize while we ate lunch. All of a sudden, I heard her starting to poop. I'll spare you the rest of the details other than to tell you it was EVERYWHERE. If the outfit she was dressed in wasn't one of my favorites, I would have thrown it away, something I have never done before. It was that bad.

Needless to say, it got on the blessed bouncy seat too, so after I got her changed she went into the jumperoo while Baylor finished lunch. Of course, with all the bouncing she did in her adorable little horsey, she tired herself out and was ready for another nap. And she was hungry. And it was well-past the typical start time for Baylor's nap. So, the three of us plunked down on the couch, watched some Sesame Street (the ultimate relaxer for Baylor), and I nursed Mollie. All the while I was wracking my brain trying to figure out how to get both kids down for a nap simultaneously. (Oh, and have I mentioned that I didn't have lunch yet ... it was getting on 3:00 p.m.)

I finally decided to take them both upstairs, at the same time, and just get it over with; like ripping an adorable bandaid off. Of course, as luck would have it, Baylor went ballistic when I turned Sesame Street off prematurely (Bryson, you have to let him watch it later!!!), and would not voluntarily go upstairs with me. So, Mollie in the crook of my left arm and Baylor slung under my right, I trudged up the stairs with my precious gifts as quickly as I could.

Once upstairs, I remembered I had to change Baylor's sheets; he actually overflowed a 3T/4T overnight diaper last night. The kid must have a bladder the size of Alaska. Anyhow, I digress. I put Mollie on the floor, kept my eye on Baylor as best I could, and changed his sheets. Then we made our way to Mollie's room where she and I sat on the floor reading "You Are My I Love You". Baylor knew full well what was coming so he stayed standing and poked his head over now and then to see the pictures. Once the book was done, I put my girl in her bed with her binky, her sleep sheep, and her dolly and scooped up the little man. Without much of a fight, he let me snuggle with him in his rocking chair and we read a couple stories. Unfortunately, about then Mollie started crying. After changing Baylor's diaper, I got him in bed and he actually fell asleep pretty quickly, and I was able to sneak into Mollie's room and return her binky and loves to her.
Of course, she started crying again relatively soon thereafter and I let her cry a bit before I went in to reassure her. After that second time, she stayed quiet and seems to have fallen asleep. It was ugly and late and who knows how long the quiet will last. But I got them down.

I didn't, however, get myself lunch; just a half an apple and a slice of cheese caught in between Baylor's courses. But such is life.

This afternoon felt exceedingly rough, and I was throwing myself one hell of a pity party. Until I read this. And while it was still tough, it reminded me to be so very grateful for the health of my children and that I've got it pretty great, all things considered.

Alright, now on to the laundry ... that poop isn't going to wash itself out, you know?

Mollie's First Hair Cut!

At only five months old, we decided Mollie was ready for her first hair cut yesterday. She was looking a bit like a ragamuffin, so we decided to just clean her look up a bit.

Unfortunately, I was the one who started out with the scissors. As you can tell, styling and snipping are not my thing. Poor girl!

My sister soon stepped in and did a beautiful job! The rest of Mollie's do turned out beautifully!

It's sad to see some of her curls gone, but they'll grow back ... hopefully when the rest of her hair decides to fill in as well!

Hopefully we won't have to cut her hair again for a really long time ... I do not like playing stylist for the little lady! (Or the little man, for that matter ... even with a pair of safety scissors I managed to nick him just above his ear while trying to give him a trim last night! Ugh!)

Fudge Pop Fun!

Baylor saw my sister eating one of these Healthy Choice fudge pops and wanted one of his own. I offered to share one with him, but he ended up eating most of it by himself!

I love the little chocolate goatee!

"Whatchu talkin' bout, Oma?"

Ah, took too big a bite then spit it out ... right on the shorts.

No worries! In it goes!


Awww, did I get something on me?

Eh, who cares?!

Seriously, I got about two bites of this ginormous fudge pop! They are good, though; I really can't blame him.

An Evening's Fun

Most evenings around our house are pretty low-key.

We play with toys.

Maybe make a few phone calls.

Do a puzzle or two ... this US map is a current favorite.

And, of course, we share lots of smiles!

They'll only be this little once, you know? Gotta soak in the time with them when we can.

Ride 'Em, Cowgirl!

We finally got the Jumparoo out for Miss Mollie! She seems to love it even more than her brother did at her age. He's actually a little jealous of the fun she's having now!

Just look at the little man's face!

She is positively gleeful when she's in it!

So she gets to ride in it often ... who am I to deny the little lady some Western fun?!

Wake Up Call

In the last couple weeks, Baylor has taken a great interest in whether or not his sister is awake by the time he is done with breakfast. If she is still in her bouncy seat sleeping, he tries to rectify the "problem".

The other day, I caught him in the act.

"Wake up, baby sister!"

While she usually smiles when she first sees him, she never seems too happy about being woken up like that.

Yeah, her days of sleeping in her bouncy seat may be numbered. Oy!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Do Fun Stuff

I read this blog called Pacing the Panic Room. It is written by a guy named Ryan who has a stepson nicknamed LB ("The Littlest Buddy"), who has a rare genetic disorder called Smith Magenis Syndrome (SMS). Because it is a little-researched, highly-impactful disorder, Ryan has taken it upon himself to compile a bunch of original songs from musician friends to make a charity children's album, Do Fun Stuff, Vol. 1, that is available for purchase today on iTunes!

Please, go buy this album! The music is great, the cause is most certainly worthy, and the hope is alive for this family (and many others like them) to have more information to deal with such an overwhelming diagnosis.

Buy it here!

Learn more about Ryan and his family here!

Learn more about SMS here!

Just so you know, things might be a little slow-going at some of these links ... with any luck they are seeing a lot of action today!

Have a wonderful day!

Thanks to Sharon

My husband's aunt Sharon is the unofficial family photographer; she is at every family event, capturing little moments here and there with her camera. A dental hygienist by trade, she is actually quite a skilled photographer. As her efforts often go unappreciated, I thought I'd take a minute to give her a shout out here on the blog.

Because of her, I have three wonderful pictures of my little family. Take a look!

Thank you, Sharon, for tirelessly capturing the moments and memories of our family! Even at these packed, action-laden events, you have a knack for making the world fall away and allow love to stand on its own. Thank you!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

"Waiting to Exhale": Update

On August 16th I wrote about a woman in our area that was dying of cystic fibrosis, one of the many on the list for a double lung transplant. Early this week, her condition worsened to the point that she was removed from the transplant list and doctors were put to the task of keeping her comfortable.

This morning she passed away.

In her death, however, she may have saved other lives; she was an organ donor herself, and her story inspired at least 309 people, according to the Gift of Life Michigan, to register as organ donors.

If you haven't already done so yet, sign up as an organ donor in your area. It's a small thing you can do to help someone else.

All my sympathies go out to Kerry's family in this time of mourning.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Five Months!

Can you believe my little girl is five months old already?! I mean, just look how grown up she looks in her little jeans!

She's incredibly sweet, loves being around people and socializing, and is getting the hang of falling asleep on her own. What more could a mama ask for?!

Mmm ... Monday BONUS: Savory Spinach-Artichoke Dip

I honestly cannot believe I haven't posted this before! This is my go-to recipe if I am ever asked to bring something to a gathering (and have the opportunity to bring something hot). It is perfectly delicious! And it comes from the Kraft Foods website ... here is the link if you'd like it. Otherwise ...

Savory Spinach-Artichoke Dip

1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained, chopped (I usually put them through a food processor)
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well-drained
1 cup refrigerated Alfredo sauce (I usually use Buitoni)
1 cup Kraft shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup Kraft grated Parmesan cheese (I used the reduced fat one)
4 cloves garlic, minced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix all ingredients until well blended. Spoon into 9-inch pie plate.

Bake 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

I personally like it with Reduced Fat Wheat Thins or tortilla chips, but you can dip all sorts of crackers, chips, and even pretzels in this! It is sooo good!


Mmm ... Monday: Deep Dish Chicken Pot Pie

This recipe comes from the Kraft Food & Family magazine, and though my husband wasn't a fan of it, I thought it was delicious! It had a lot of flavor and is better for you than traditional chicken pot pie recipes.

Deep Dish Chicken Pot Pie

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup Kraft Light Done Right! Zesty Italian Reduced Fat Dressing
4 oz. (1/2 of 8 oz. pkg.) Philadelphia Neufchatel Cheese, cubed
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 cup fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 refrigerated pie crust (1/2 of 15-oz. pkg.)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook chicken in dressing in large skillet on medium heat 2 min. Add Neufchatel cheese, cook and stir until melted. Add flour, mix well. Add broth and vegetables, simmer 5 min.

Pour mixture into deep dish 10-inch pie plate. Arrange pie crust over filling; flute edges. Cut four slits in crust to allow steam to escape.

Bake 30 min. or until crust is golden brown.

Makes 6 servings.

I used a homemade pie crust instead of a store-bought one, but I'm sure it would taste just as good with a pre-made crust.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did! Have a wonderful Monday!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Scrumptious Sunday: Southwestern Chicken Roll-Ups

Yet another recipe from the 101 Things To Do With a Casserole cookbook! This one is wonderfully adaptive for varying numbers of people being served and various tastes. I'll post the original recipe and then tell you the tweaks I made.

Southwestern Chicken Roll-Ups

1 cup finely crushed cheese crackers
1 envelope taco seasoning
4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 to 6 slices Monterey Jack cheese
1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chiles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

On a plate, combine crackers and taco seasoning. Flatten chicken with a meat tenderizer and place 1 slice cheese and about 1 tablespoon chiles on each piece of chicken. Roll chicken and secure with a toothpick. Sprinkle chicken with cracker mixture and place in a greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Bake, uncovered, 35 to 40 minutes, or until chicken is done. Remember to remove the toothpicks before serving. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

That's it! Here are the pictures when I made it:

As you can probably tell, I didn't use the green chiles. I don't really care for spicy things, so those were replaced by a diced onion (and lots of it). Also, instead of baking both breasts together, since I modified the recipe to make it for only two people - SO easy to do! - I put them in their own baking dishes and spiced my husband's up with some red pepper flakes added into the cracker mixture. Next time I make this I might add green pepper into the middle to see how that tastes.

It is really a delicious recipe! Use the basic idea, and see where your imagination and preferences take you!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Charlevoix: The Beautiful

Charlevoix's slogan is, "Charlevoix the Beautiful" and with good reason, in my opinion. It is a beautiful town; well worth a visit.

On our last night there, we took a walk downtown after having dinner at Whitney's Oyster Bar.

Mollie was thrilled at any attention she got, as usual.

Just look at that toothless grin!

Baylor got his first chance to feed ducks. His food of choice? Cheerios! (One for me, one for the ducks ...)

It also happened to be the 34th anniversary of Mom and Dad's first date (Aug. 13th)! Friday the 13th has always seemed like a lucky day to me.

We all enjoyed a little more time by the fountain ... even Mollie who was relegated to her stroller.

There were some big kids there that day, so Baylor was reluctant to join in at first.

But he eventually overcame it.

Meanwhile, Mollie got to enjoy a treat that few others can ... messing up Grandpa E's hair.

He may be particular, but she's awfully cute!

All in all, our trip to Charlevoix was wonderful! Yes, the weather may have been a little hot and humid, but it was a lovely time and so great to relax with family.

Thanks for taking us, Mom and Dad!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Charlevoix: Gar! There Be Putt-Putt Golf!

My husband and sister are both quite competitive, apparently, when it comes to putt-putt golf. And yet, in the eleven years since Bryson and I have been together we've never gone out to play together ... until now!

I was along for the ride, just happy to enjoy playing. Those two are serious putt-putt golfers! Which is why I had to help lighten the mood a bit ...

Silly pictures, anyone?

Yes, I know my eyes are closed in this one, but the other one I had of my sister and I had just the top of her head. I figured this was better.

P.S. The stocks are REALLY uncomfortable! No wonder they used them as punishment in days of yore!

Pirates Cove, the location of our outing, even had a life-sized shark in their pirate-themed scenery!

Here's my hubby, teeing up at the first hole.

And my sister, in fine form as well!

In the pond near the front nine was a man being encircled by a shark. This poor pirate has been spinning around in circles for years, terrified of being attacked by the shark fin!

As it turns out, we were quite evenly matched. I scored a 44, just 8 strokes above par, my sister scored a 43, and my husband won our little tournament at 42! Congrats to Bryson on such a solid game, 2's and 3's all the way.

On our way out, I picked up a pirate's hat for Baylor. He and Mollie were at the house giving my parents a run for their money.

At first he wore the hat like a British general.

But he eventually turned it sideways for a more pirate look!

Gar! We had an awesome time!

Charlevoix: The House

Baylor refers to it as the "Charleboy house" ... I think he misses it. He talks of it often, and quite randomly at that. It was a lovely house.

Possibly our favorite aspect of it was the porch.

No doubt ... life is good when you get to enjoy a porch like this.

It even had a porch swing!

And room enough to enjoy a game with the whole family.

The house had other touches, too; grand ones that gave it a certain charm. My favorite? The sink knobs. How cool are they?!

Sometimes it's the little things that give a house its charm, you know?

Charlevoix: Post-Bath Hair

After my girl gets a bath, her hair is a mess of wavy tendrils. I've wanted to get a picture of this for a while, but it wasn't until our trip to Charlevoix that I got a couple good opportunities. Take a look!

Looks like she might have her mama's hair after all! Poor girl!