Sunday, December 8, 2013

Addison Mae - 28 months

I kinda like this every-other-month thing. We have had a wonderful last two months as a family of three. Addie absolutely loved everything about Halloween, including picking out pumpkins, Howloweenie at Pawpaw's work, visiting Pumpkinville at the Myriad Gardens, going to Storybook Forest at Lake Arcadia (thank goodness that was a hit since we waited for over an hour to get in!), the Fall Festival at our church and, of course, trick-or-treating Halloween night. She was the cutest little kitty you ever have seen (complete with a black and pink glittery tutu ... remind me never to make a glittery tutu again). Her favorite part was having her nose and whiskers drawn on her face each time. She didn't so much care about eating any of the candy (unless it was a lollipop), just collecting a lot of it. Which was fine with her pregnant momma.

While this girl of ours has gone to a few OSU tailgates in her little life, she's never been inside the stadium. Until this fall. She LOVED the game, especially watching and cheering for Bullet. She's still quite suspicious of Pete (I no like him. He has a big head. He scares me a little bit.) And she did not love sitting right next to the cannon. But she cried and cried when we left at halftime. Love that she's totally already a Cowgirl! And she even loves watching her Pokes on TV, although it's seriously a bummer that they never show Bullet during home games (thankfully Grammie remedies that by sending videos from the stadium.)

We finished up her gymnastics class in October, where she seriously made some awesome progress. I can't wait to enroll her again when our lives calm down a little bit.

She loved all the prep for Thanksgiving, but didn't so much care for any of the food. We did make some super cute turkey cupcakes that she quite enjoyed.

And she is ecstatic about Christmas. She loves all the  lights and decorations.We had a fabulous time on my birthday going to eat pizza and taking her to see the Chesapeake lights and an awesome house with lights set to music. She was awestruck when Santa sent her her very own elf (who she immediately named Coco) and has been doing a great job teaching him about Jesus and being kind to others (our take on the elf, rather than the naughty/nice list).

The funniest and most exasperating part about the last two months have been Addie's turning into The Negotiator. Which really doesn't mean she is negotiating - it means she tells us exactly what's going to happen, rather than using her "listening ears." She also like to tell me, "Mommy, use your nice voice." To which I typically respond, "If you'd use those listening ears, I would be better able to use my nice voice."

Tomorrow she officially becomes a big sister. We are anxious and excited, and of course very concerned about how our sweet girl is going to react once this baby boy gets here. We covet prayers that the transition goes (mostly) smoothly! We can't wait to share this Christmas with TWO sweet babies!

Weight: 26 pounds
Length: ~32  inches

New things:
  • LOTS of using the potty. Which in no way shape or form means she's potty-trained. She does go several times a day, be typically we have to initiate it. She has been having more dry diapers, which is encouraging. She has also used the potty at school, which is awesome. But she also likes to stand right next to me and declare that she's peeing or pooping in her diaper. So we're not really there yet.
  • Doing a great job sleeping in her big girl bed and big girl room. No more rolling out of the bed in the middle of the night. But occasional requests to sleep in mommy's bed if she does wake in the night.
  • Special phrases coined by The Negotiator. "I just do this for a little bit first" in response to being told it's time for nap/bed/leaving. "I do this a lot a lot a lot of times" when being told to do something one more time before nap/bed/leaving. This one comes with a waving hand motion right in the face of whoever she's talking to.
  • Calling her daddy "my sweet Daddy"
  • Saying "You my favorite/I love you best in the whole live world."
  • An imaginary friend named Coco. And calling just about everyone and everything Coco. Including her new elf from Santa.
  • Continuing to use her amazing imagination and play by herself even more.
  • Recognizing letters of the alphabet, especially A is for Addie, D is for Daddy and M is for Mommy. Quite impressive.

  • Going to Hobby Lobby to see the Christmas trees.
  • Playing train. Her Daddy recently got his old Brio train set out of the attic and she has literally playing with it every day since.
  • Playing with her Little People nativity. And adding her nativity characters to my nativity.
  • Helping with the advent candles. My favorite is that when we light the candles, she immediately wants to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and then blow it out.
  • Blowing out candles in general. And singing Happy Birthday.
  • Checking out the moon at night if it's not too cold. Or looking for it in the morning.
  • Christmas lights viewing. Even if it's just the lights on our own house.
  • Watching Christmas movies.
  • Watching the snow. Playing in the snow.
  • Playing chase. Playing hide and seek.
  • Going to the library.
  • Helping me cook or bake. Or even better, helping Grammie cook or bake.
  • Helping Grammie garden.
  • Watching her Cowboys or her "Thunders" on TV.
  • Coloring. Painting.
  • Being told what to do.
  • Not being in control.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Addison Mae - 26 months

Well, it finally happened. I missed a month. And by "missed," I mean I have been feeling super guilty, knowing I hadn't taken the time to blog about my sweet girl since August. But, you know, we've had just a few things going on around here so I'm going to move on and write an extra long one about the last two months. Who know - maybe this every-other-month will become the new thing. Addie is, in a word, hilarious. And exasperating. She is definitely two, going on 13. In the same day, she will make me so proud that I cry, laugh so hard I cry or frustrate me so much I cry. It's kinda a crapshoot. She is so brilliant, and she loves making us laugh. She's also completely into being independent and not listening. We've had several hour to two hour tantrums over the past few months, which all resulted from being told no. And her tantrums typically include kicking, screaming and vomiting. It's super. We've also had multiple half an hour to an hour stand-offs at the table over not wanting to finish a meal (or even a particular bite of food). This is totally Jordan's fault as he used to do this as a kid, too. The funny thing (well, it's not really funny) is that it's been over food she actually LIKES, not random stuff we're forcing down her throat. The heart of the matter is she likes to be in control. And we're not going to say who she gets that from.

Our big girl just moved into her big girl room, complete with awesome stripes her daddy painted on one wall, after he and her Grammie painted the whole room and ceiling. She seems excited about her brother's arrival, but I'm anxious to see how that all pans out in the real world. I know she will be a fabulous big sister. She loves to lie on my tummy and talk to or kiss him. And tell him, "We don't kick Mommy, brother. You go time out for that." As well as tell him all the other reasons he'll be put in time out when he gets here. She means business. And she will LOVE having someone (else) to boss.

We had a fabulous time on our last vacation as a family of three, when we surprised her really early one morning to take her to Eureka Springs/Table Rock Lake. Aside from the countless times she vomited in her car seat to and from said destinations, we had an awesome time. And she sweetly kept telling us "I won't vomit anymore in my seat." We rode the train in Eureka Springs, where she also got to put pennies on the tracks for the train to run over. She maniacally screamed through her first boat ride with her Uncle Ray. She LOVED our day-and-a-half at Silver Dollar City, where she rode another train, petted goats, rode several rides, including her first carousel, and built a bear. I should note that the two kiddie rides she was tall enough for required her non-pregnant father to accompany her ... and he was almost too large for the seats. It was hysterical. We ate copious amounts of food, including the best donuts ever, chocolate pancakes as big as Addie, her first corn dog and lots of ketchup. And we visited the War Eagle Mill. Whew.

Weight: 24.5 pounds
Length: ~32  inches

New things this month (or two):
  • Turning into a little gymnast. This girl loves 'nastics class and jumping. She can "jump on my two feet" (instead of the awkward, one-legged toddler jump) and somersault. She seriously is pretty impressive, and I have been extra impressed with how well she (usually) listens. I mean, she is two after all.
  • Obsessing about birthdays and blowing out candles. I guess this started with her own birthday, and since she's had several friends, a cousin, a daddy, an aunt, an uncle and a dog with birthdays to celebrate.
  • Being extra loving to her mommy and daddy. Unless she's throwing a temper tantrum.
  • The temper tantrums as described above.
  • Using her imagination. She's playing more by herself than ever before, and she sings to her babies, makes up games and creates entire little worlds. It's pretty amazing.
  • Talking about the days of the week, which she can name, though not exactly in order.
  • Continuing to try to put on her own clothes. And get really mad when I try to help.
  • Using big girl toothpaste, which isn't all that exciting in and of itself. Except for the part where she says, "Mommy, I want to do the spitting." She's pretty thrilled that she gets to incorporate one of her favorite activities into teeth hygiene.
  • Riding her first amusement park rides. Riding her first trains. And riding on her first boat.

  • Going to Hobby Lobby. And playing pretend at home that she's going to Hobby Lobby.
  • A continued obsession with all babies.
  • Cheez-its. Fruit snacks. Goldfish.
  • Stickers and any crafts that go with them.
  • Her Stella doll and all Stella's accessories.
  • Our nightly frog-moon-stars ritual. About 10 minutes before bed, we go outside to count how many frogs are in our driveway (and if you don't already know it, Jordan is TERRIFIED of frogs, so be sure to picture that part), check out the moon and look up at the stars. Our highest frog count has been 23.
  • Jumping.
  • Birthday parties.
  • Opening the trashcan.
  • Going to the library and checking out approximately 28 books every time.
  • Helping me cook or bake.
  • Singing.
  • Choo choo trains.

  • Anyone suggesting she use the potty rather than her diaper. Though she had a good week or so where she used the potty every day, it's now an off-limits topic. She literally yells NO at us when we suggest it, even with the offered bribe of her favorite lollipops. She tells me, "I no go poo-poo in potty, Mommy. I go in my diaper. You clean it up." So, then, we'll just wait till she's ready ...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Addison Mae - 2 years

Y'all, I officially have a 2-year-old. I have been a mom for a whole two years. I can hardly believe I have any sanity left (actually, that's questionable). My high-energy girl and I have had a whirlwind of fun and butting heads over the last month. I think that will likely be the combination for the rest of our lives. Swim lessons were a little rocky at first (complete with her kicking and screaming at her teacher the first lesson ... oh my) but she did a great job and learned and perfected more than I ever imagined she would. And found the bright new world of lollipops (her teacher's reward at the end of each lesson). We have crafted, painted and Play-Doughed ourselves out. We have worked puzzles, played kitchen, taken care of numerous baby dolls (all named Julia or Stella) and made lots of cookies. My parents, Addie and I went to Fort Worth to cousin Lila's birthday party, and Addie was out of her mind for days beforehand she was so anxious to go. It was a quick trip, but she had the time of her life with her sweet cousins, played her heart out at the waterpark party, loved on their two new kitties and ate her weight in sugar. She was also beside herself for her "sister party," when we told her and our families that she's getting a BROTHER! She didn't care about that part so much, but just wanted to eat the pizza and cupcakes she'd been promised and was not-so-patiently waiting for.

We have celebrated and celebrated and celebrated this sweet girl's birthday, starting off on her last day of school when she insisted she wear her full birthday outfit, rather than just the shirt ("I need tutu, Mommy"), and took muffins for her classmates. On her actual birthday, Jordan and I took her to lunch and to Pinkitzel for cupcakes and then celebrated that evening with our families with a hot dog cookout and cookie cake. On Friday, Jeff, Rebecca, Julia and Lila arrived for more celebration, and we had her Aloha! party on Saturday at my parents'  house with her sweet friends and more family. I'm exhausted. And so very, very blessed to be this girl's momma!

Weight: 24 pounds
Length: ~32  inches

New things this month:
  • Swimming like a fish. She can kick her little legs, (sort of) use her arms, hold her breath, blow bubbles, jump in like a champ, pull herself out of the water along the side, monkey-crawl her way to the steps and occasionally float (when she allows herself to be relaxed). Now, her "swimming" still resembles drowning most of the time, but she's totally got all the foundational skills, which is awesome. And I think her extreme confidence means momma's got to keep an even closer eye on her than before!
  • The talking. Unbelievable. She uses the word catawampus. She also says she's exhausted. Those are my two new favorites. She can use time and directional words correctly, most of the time (yesterday, tomorrow, not yet, next to, under, over, etc.) and likes to say the days of the week (not in order and really, she just likes Sunday and Wednesday). She talks about bigger and smaller, open and closed, in and out ... I'm gonna go ahead and say she's a genius. And that it's likely her sweet brother won't speak a word till he's 7.  Some of my favorite recent phrases: "That not yours, Mommy. That Addie's;" when waking up on a Saturday morning: "Daddy no go work today! Daddy go Farmer's Market with Addie!"; when I hurt myself and yelled Mother Pooper!! (better than many other options, right??), she said, "Mommy, your pooper hurt?"; when I told her the oven was stinky: "Mommy, Izzy poop in there?"; when she was going down for her nap after her party, "Mommy, I so happy Daisy came my party" ... I know I am forgetting so many ...
  • This part's not so fun, but she's started saying "I no love you," "I no like you," "I no want you, Mommy" when she's uber cranky or mad at me. Breaks my heart just a little.
  • An even greater need to be in control and do things herself, like wipe/wash her own hands, "try" to put on her clothes, open and close all doors 
  • Willingly going to time out when we tell her to. And then crying as if her heart would break.
  • Chewing her fingernails obsessively. She is my little worrier. (PS Any ideas of how to help her break this would be greatly appreciated.)
  • Sleeping all night in her big girl bed, by her own request. I worried most of the first night, but thanks to a very cool foam "railing," she didn't fall out. And I don't think she's figured out that she could get out by herself if she really wanted to.
  • Making actual deposits in the potty. She has been sitting on it for a month or more, but she actually made both pee-pee and poo-poo. She was ecstatic. So was Mommy. We've decided not to push potty training but just let her lead the charge (she is rather independent and likes things to be her own idea, if you haven't already noticed). For now, the plan is to sit her on the potty once or twice a day and see what happens ... we'll go from there!
  • Meeting Pistol Pete at the Cowboy Caravan. She was really excited to meet him, until she actually saw him. This is her description of the meeting: "I no like Pete, Mommy. I see him, I say AAHHHH! He nice man, he just scare me little bit."
  • Finding out she's going to have a brother! She loves to talk about how he's growing in my tummy. When I tell her she's kicking me she either kicks me, too (helpful) or tells my tummy, "We no kick Mommy." When we ask what his name will be, her answers vary: brother baby, sister, boy, green, fountain. The correct answer is Hutch.

  • Playing hide-and-seek. Although she often forgets to find whoever is hiding. And usually comes out of hiding herself before giving the seeker a chance to find her.
  • Playing chase, especially with her daddy. And chasing us, saying, "I going to get you!!!"
  • Playing with her baby dolls. She got lots of new accessories for her dolls for her birthday, which has made doll playing even more exciting.
  • Playing tea party with her new tea set.
  • Play Dough.
  • Playing with her shopping cart. "I go grocery store, Mommy. I be back soon."
  • Her new outdoor playset. "It has ladder, Mommy!!" And a slide, which she prefers to go down backward on her tummy.
  • Trying to or requesting to hold babies. Whether we know them or not. And getting really mad when told she can't hold a baby.
  • Stickers. And Bandaids.
  • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and La-la-la-la, la-la-la-la Elmo's World.
  • Making up songs on her xylophone or drum.
  • Dancing.
  • Painting, coloring, finger painting ... any type of art project. One of her teachers at school had some type of art planned nearly every day, so Addie was in heaven. She enjoys painting/coloring the paper and her entire body. So at home, we typically have naked baby art projects.
  • Speaking of naked, being naked. "I be naked girl baby, Mommy."
  • "Funflowers." Sometimes she actually says sunflowers, but I like the first version better. She loves to look for them as we drive around town. And was beside herself when we bought her some at the Farmer's Market.
  • Also the Farmer's Market. She loves helping pick out fruit and veggies and just taking in the sights. She also loves our friend's crepe truck.
  • Cupcakes.
  • The color green.

  • Eating. This has become a three-times-a-day battle of wills at our house. Even with the addition of ketchup. I know she's just asserting herself and trying to have "control" over something in her little life, but mealtimes are exhausting around here.
  • Pants.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

And baby makes four

9 weeks

 11 weeks

13 weeks

15 weeks (note Addie's tiny hand on my belly)
17 weeks (this time the tiny hand is in the bottom left corner)

Take my picture, mommy!!!

17 weeks is as good a time as any to blog about this tiny baby, right? So my sincere first thought about this was that we really had lost our minds. Though it happened a little faster than expected, we felt fully prepared to have another baby. Until we found out we actually were going to have one. I took a pregnancy test as a precautionary measure and was actually really surprised when it said positive. So surprised that I completely lost my cool and called Jordan in the middle of his work day to say, "Do you have a minute? I'm pregnant." We just expected that it would be like before and take about six months to a year to get pregnant. Apparently my body remembered exactly how to do this whole baby thing pretty well.

While I know in my head that every pregnancy is different, it's so hard not to compare the two. There is a huge emotional difference in crying, begging, praying for a baby for a long time versus BAM! finding out you're pregnant without hardly trying. If I have learned nothing else in my life, it's that God's favorite lesson to teach me is that I'm not in control. And this time around, obviously there is the emotional consideration of our sweet toddler who has no idea how much this new baby is going to rock her little world. She loves to talk about the tiny baby and look in my belly button to see if she can see it. She calls it "my tiny baby" or "EmmieHutch" (a combo of our boy/girl names). But I'm afraid just talking about it and it actually taking over her world are going to be two totally different things. I know she'll be a wonderful sister ... eventually. I am praying fervently that we can find the right words and actions to help her adjust well and quickly.

And speaking of different ... with Addie, I worked full time, worked out nearly every day, cooked dinner every night and, aside from some first trimester morning sickness, felt pretty great. So I just expected I'd have no problem with my new full-time job of keeping up with a 2-year-old, staying on my running schedule and cooking super healthy meals for all of us. Riiiiiight. In a word, I have felt awful since about six weeks. Exhausted. Nauseous. Unable to get out of bed some days. Which has resulted in far too much TV, hot dogs and fruit snacks for my sweet girl. She's not complaining. But talk about mom guilt! My whole job now is to be a mom, and yet I feel unable to properly take care of either of my babies. While I think the sickness is turning a bit of a corner (or maybe I'm just getting used to dealing with it), I still have some pretty rough days. And I'm learning to be OK with it. As with almost all things about parenting, it's just temporary. Even if six more months of temporary feels like an eternity.

So couple my unstable emotional state of mind with my physical inability to do much of anything ... and I've been a bit of a hot mess. And feeling guilty about that, too.

But the good news is, while it's taken a little longer to get used to the idea of this baby than our first and while it's already managing to drive me a bit crazy, I can honestly say I am beyond thrilled about this sweet little one growing in my tummy. I am anxious to hear that little heart beat at every appointment. I was elated to feel this baby start swimming around between 11 and 12 weeks, and to feel his/her kicks for the first time just last night. I am thrilled that we get to have a newborn again, that I get to nurse again, that we get to watch this already stubborn little one learn to eat, roll, crawl, walk ... and I am ecstatic that my sweet girl gets to have a sibling who's going to love and look up to her like no one else in this world. I feel incredibly blessed that we've been given another opportunity to be parents. Other than Addie adjusting, I think our biggest fear has been whether we could possibly love this new baby like we love its sister. And I've begun to feel an incredible sense of peace and calm about that, too. With a lot of prayer and help from family, we have managed to create a household full of love and warmth for this one baby of ours ... so how could that not overflow to this new little baby we get to welcome into our home and our lives?

Yes I'm crazy. Yes I'm nauseous. And YES I can't wait to be a mommy of two!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Addison Mae - 23 months

She didn't want to be left out of the baby bump pics!

In one month, I will have a 2-year-old. And that almost 2-year-old will tell you when asked, "I one. My birthday I be two." When we ask her what she wants for her birthday, she says, "Cake." Clearly my kid. She also likes to talk about her party and who all she wants to be there. My little daredevil started jumping off the diving board at my parents' pool recently. After seeing my friend Sarah dive in, she immediately said, "I do that, too." We're trying to cater to her high-energy needs by starting swim lessons tomorrow and then gymnastics in August. Though Addie has had a very fun month, it's also been a rough one around here. She has had an ongoing UTI (which meant urine samples via catheter twice ... mark that down as the most awful experience in my life ... twice) and then got strep, complete with lots of vomiting and high fever. We also lost my precious Mawmaw in late June and traveled to Houston for her memorial service. Addie loved seeing all of her family, and they loved seeing her. I was really worried about explaining to her that Mawmaw is now in heaven with Jesus, but she accepted it readily and likes to talk about how Mawmaw is with Jesus and Mawmaw is not sick anymore. She really loved being around Mawmaw's sisters, as did I, as they reminded her of her Mawmaw. I am eternally grateful that Addie and Mawmaw got to spend as much time together as they did, and that I was able to tell Mawmaw about her third great-grandbaby the last time we visited.

Weight: 23.6 pounds
Length: ~31  inches

New things this month:
  • Though it's not really new, I haven't mentioned in detail about my sweet girl saying her prayers. At dinnertime, she loves to hold our hands (and make sure Jordan and I are holding each other's, too) and say, "Thank you, Jesus. Amen." At bedtime, I always ask her what she wants to thank Jesus for that day. She always says mommy and daddy ... and sometimes things like noses, outside, swimming. We have spent a lot of time together praying for Mawmaw, thanking Jesus for Mawmaw and talking about heaven this month. It brings tears to my eyes to witness Addie's childlike faith ... and I pray that I can continue to help her grow in that faith as she gets older.
  • As mentioned above, jumping off the diving board. She loves to jump off the side or steps, too, and roll around to float on her back. I hope this means swimming lessons will be a success!
  • Her first parade. We went to the Quail Creek 4th parade, and she was ecstatic about going, even though she had no idea what a parade is. She loved it. Waved to all the puppies and kids. We were officially the last people watching the parade at our spot because she had to make sure she saw every last person, dog and baby. She kept saying, "More coming!" At the end, she waved and said, "Bye parade. I love you parade."
  • Showing concern about Jordan and me especially by saying/doing things we have said/done to her, "You OK Mommy?" "You sleepy Daddy?" "You OK back there Mommy?" (this is in the car ... even though I've tried to tell her Mommy is up there and she is back there ...) "You feel OK Daddy?" "You have owie Mommy?" She really doesn't like it when one of us is hurt or genuinely sad. My little bleeding heart.
  • Saying more and more out of the blue, rather than just repeating when we say it, "I love you Mommy/Daddy." If this isn't the best part about being a parent, I don't know what is.
  • This is really about Izzy rather than Addie, but I think Izzy has finally (FINALLY!) come to terms with the fact that Addie is here to stay. She's always been really good with her, but she has started to really enjoy Addie's company and enjoy playing with her more and more. Perhaps this is because it's Addie's job to feed her, let her in/out and give treats.

  • Dancing. Especially with her daddy, but mommy will do in a pinch, too. She really loved dancing to all the Fourth of July music on TV with her crazy Grammie and mommy.
  • Watermelon. Had her first taste last weekend and I think it's her favorite food ever.
  • Her new swimming pool (to replace the one her idiot parents left outside in a crazy rain/wind storm), complete with an elephant slide.
  • The big swimming pools at Grammie and Pawpaw's and Mimi and G-Daddy's.
  • Snacks. I think she likes swimming because she knows that a snack immediately follows. She often says, "I done swimming pool. I need snack." And if she happens to be with her Pawpaw, she knows she will get any and all snacks she asks for.
  • The library is still one of her favorite places. My girl for sure.
  • Talking about the tiny baby in mommy's tummy and calling it "EmmieHutch" (combo of our girl/boy names ... she's going to be really confused when it's just one or the other!)
  • Tortillas. Especially when filled with cheese.
  • Mommy putting her hair in pigtails.
  • Babies are still pretty special to her. Unless we know the baby, I always have to tell her not to touch, which she usually responds to by saying, "I just touch one finger, mommy?"
  • Using silly voices to make us laugh. I love how her little sense of humor is developing.
  • Stickers.
  • Band-aids. Stickers will do in a pinch.
  • Her new potty seat installed in her bathroom (thank you Jordan for having access to all things toilet). She likes to sit on it but hasn't yet successfully deposited anything in the toilet.

  • Going to the doctor. I don't want to go back to your doctor either, sister.
  • Being told what to do.
  • Anyone getting an owie. She can hardly stand to watch America's Funniest Home Videos because she worries so much about the people who hurt themselves.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Addison Mae - 22 months

This sweet girl of mine is so big and so smart. She is speaking in sentences ... make that paragraphs. She can literally say everything (including repeating that something "sucked" after hearing her dad say it ... oops!) Though she is shy and sometimes clingy in new situations, she is such a social butterfly. She loves to say hello to people and especially to say thank you. If I teach her nothing else in this life, I hope it is to be grateful. She has officially developed a fear of thunder, thanks to the insane weather we've had. And officially is a little fish who would live in the water if we'd let her. Our recent trip to the beach was likely the highlight of her life. Upon opening her eyes every morning or after naptime, she immediately said, "I go swimming." Our precious girl is in for a big change come December, when she'll be a big sister. She loves to talk about the baby, but does not love that her mommy has been sick, tired and unable to carry her as much as usual. We're already praying that she adjusts to this new person well and quickly!

Weight: ~22 lbs
Length: ~30 inches

New things this month:
  • Getting ready to be a big sister. I know she'll be wonderful, and we have lots of time still to prepare, but literally our first thought when we found out I was pregnant is, "What will Addie do???" She doesn't love to share, especially her two favorite people. But she does love babies. Here's hoping those two will balance out! She already loves to talk to and hug my tummy - she calls the baby "my tiny baby" and tells me often that the baby is growing in there. Where does she get this stuff???
  • Going to the beach for the first time. Addie's expression when she first stepped onto the sand and saw the ocean was one I will never forget. Pure joy. She chased the birds and ran right up to the water's edge to yell, "Hi, water!!!" She loved collecting shells, swimming in the ocean and playing in the splash pad at our resort.
  • Worrying. So this isn't new, and she comes by it naturally, but she sure does a lot of it. When she saw Jordan swim underwater for the first time, when anyone has an "owie," when she hears thunder, when she sees a bug, when anyone else touches her toys .... and on and on and on.
  • Talking even more about emotions - especially happy and sad.
  • Girl's got a pretty accurate throw with a ball ... and pretty hard, too! Future pitcher?
  • I don't even know that I can accurately describe the talking ... she recently told the pharmacist in the drive-thru, "Don't pick your nose lady," at the airport, she saw a guy with long hair and said to me, "That nice man. Or maybe lady?", "I go swimming - put on swimsuit and jacket," "Not time go yet - tomorrow," "I look so pretty."
  • Calling us by our first names when she needs something - especially if Jordan or I call for each other to do something. "Jordan, change my diaper," "Erin, bring daddy soap."

  • Being funny and silly. She loves to make us laugh by dancing like a crazy person, using her sense of humor or teasing us.
  • Her baby dolls. Especially baby Julia, who is a Dollar General or Target special that has since lost all her clothes and is named after our friends Sarah and Brian's baby girl. All babies are now named baby Julia.
  • Playing outside. All the time. Especially if there is water.
  • Playing kitchen remains near and dear to her heart. Especially if Play-Dough is involved.
  • Getting dressed up for church and running to show her daddy how pretty she looks.
  • Playing anything and everything with her daddy. She clearly knows he's where the fun is. The two of them together makes my heart happy.
  • Getting back to her favorite milk product - cheese. And all cheese products.
  • Taking a bath in mommy's big bathtub.  
  • Going to Target or Sam's or the grocery store. I don't understand it either.
  • Talking about airplanes and going to the airport. She cried when we left the airport to come home because she wanted to stay there.
  • Going to the library and checking out books. Then reading them constantly until I can't stand it anymore and have to take them back to get new ones. She loves the book drop, too.
  • Going back to Starbright for the summer (I'm pretty happy about this one, too!)
  • Her bubble lawn mower. And anything else that makes bubbles.

  • Green beans. 
  • Listening when being told to do or not do something she doesn't agree with.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Addison Mae - 21 months

Addie is officially almost 2 years old, which she likes to make sure we know by saying "no" a lot, throwing temper tantrums and insisting on her way. Thankfully her sweet kisses, funny sense of humor and constant singing and dancing totally make up for it. We say a lot ... "thank goodness she's cute." Addie wrapped up her last day in the one-year-old room at school and will move up this summer. Her teachers still can't believe how much she is talking. And say they're glad not everyone talks as much as she does (I know ... it's exhausting!) I'm going to miss her wonderful teachers but I'm excited that she's grown and learned (and clearly talked) enough to move up. We visited my Mawmaw in Houson in April, which Addie loved. She also loves that the weather has been nice enough that we can play outside almost every evening. When Jordan comes home she often says, "Daddy home! Outside!" I know I say this a lot, but this beautiful girl of mine is brilliant. Even in the midst of her orneriness and stubborness, I'm proud of her independent streak and her need to figure things out for herself. And, let's be honest, she does get those traits somewhere ...

Weight: ~22 lbs
Length: ~30 inches

New things this month:
  • No more paci! Hallelujah! Now let me be clear that I was perfectly prepared for her to keep that thing till she was 21 if it made sleeping (for all of us) easier. But she rejected it for a few days at school so we tried taking it away at home, too. We had a couple nights where she asked for it at bedtime ... and one middle-of-the-night multiple hour screaming episode, but we all lived through it. And she's sleeping so much better than she ever has before. Putting herself to sleep easily and sleeping all night long. It's a miracle, people.
  • Using her favorite phrases over and over: No, Addie do it, I do it self, No Mommy, No touch Daddy, No do it Mommy, Addie turn, No, no, no, no, no ... you get the idea.
  • Saying approximately 1,000 word phrases. OK, not really ... but she can literally say anything she wants to, including: Oklahoma, Mommy fall down hurt knee, I see birdie right there, I hit Izzy go time out, I did play friends, I go party, I know Daddy is (which means don't know), Daddy are you come here!, Mommy go Addie, Daddy work (this makes her poor Daddy sad), Mommy pick up Addie school (this makes Mommy very happy) ...
  • Getting in and out of her carseat by herself. And getting really, really mad if we try to help.
  • "Helping" more around the house. She has started feeding Izzy and is an excellent helper in telling us when Izzy is low on food or water. She also likes to help unload the dishwasher.
  • Time out in the corner rather than her crib. This is sort of working ... except for the part where sometimes she puts herself in time out. Sometimes it's for a valid reason (and Jordan likes to remind me that although she gets lots of her orneriness from him, he would have never voluntarily put himself in time out) and sometimes she just likes to sit in the corner. I'm pretending like this is her learning how to remove herself from situations.
  • "Reading" her books to me. She knows most of her books by name and likes to turn the pages herself and "read" to me. Some are so short, and she's heard them so many times, that she can actually do a pretty good job.


  • Singing. Constantly. This just warms my heart. It she hears a song a few times, she can sing it. Or sometimes she just makes up words or nonsense to the tune. Reminds me a little of myself. She usually asks for Jesus Loves Me at bedtime (which she sings with me) but the other night requested Oklahoma.
  • Playing outside. I think her head almost exploded when we went over to a neighbors' house this weekend - they have a huge swingset/slide and a trampoline. Addie's version of heaven.
  • Getting really, really, really close to the swimming pool in Grammie and Pawpaw's back yard. Grammie and Mommy may have heart attacks by the end of the summer.
  • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, which she can request by name. We have at least 537 episodes on our DVR. I have seen all of them.
  • I haven't mentioned favorite foods in a while, except for breakfast crack, which she asks for almost every day. Other favorites are pancakes (especially if they include "topit tips" - chocolate chips), beans, turkey, pretty much any kind of fruit, tortillas, hummus and peas. She'll take a bite or two of sweets, but she's not usually very interested.
  • Babies. Unless her Mommy is touching them.
  • Counting to ten and sort of to twenty ... eleven, twelve, firteen, eleventeen, twenty. I love her.
  • Talking about her people. When we're going anywhere, she wants to know who is coming with her and who's going to be there. If someone's not going to be there (like Daddy or Pawpaw) she needs to know why and where they're going to be instead.
  • Pushing buttons. She especially loves to push the handicap button at church to open the main doors. When I tell her we're going to school/church, her immediate response is always, "I push the button, Mommy." As if I may have forgotten she needs to do that every time.

  • Not getting her way.
  • Time out. Unless she puts herself there.
  • Night night time.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Same question, different answer

I thought once I figured out "my" answer to the do I work full time/part time/stay at home debate that I'd be done with it. I was wrong.

I've been struggling, wrestling, beating myself up over my decision to work part time for months. I've had a great opportunity, with a great company, with great people in the field I've been trained in. But for me, something was still amiss.

Don't get me wrong, there have been (many) days I couldn't wait to get out the door to drop Addie off at school and have my own time with other adults at work. So nice to eat my lunch in peace and quiet without someone flinging their food at me. So nice to do something that was all mine, that I'm pretty good at.

But then I realized something. I'm pretty darn good at being a mom, too. I have lots and lots (and lots) of shortcomings. I yell. I get frustrated. I get sick of my kid and want to give her away. But I hear that's normal. And I love her more than I ever thought I could love someone. I liked my job. But I realized that to spend time away from my little person, I needed to really, really love my job.

All along, I've had the opportunity (and the support from Jordan) to stay home full time. Knowing I have that opportunity (and how many would do anything for that opportunity) made me realize I need to take it, grab hold with both hands and soak up every second I can before my baby girl is no longer a baby who needs (and wants) my attention every moment. I have my whole life to work. I only have a few years to teach, mold and spend time with my baby.

I know this decision isn't for everyone. And honestly I didn't think it was for me. I've been fighting it for months. Who will I be if I don't have a "career"? What will I say when people ask me what I do for a living? What will the professionals I've worked with over the past eight years think about me? And what about all those times I completely couldn't understand why someone would want to stay home full time? That was me before I took my first look at Addie and all was lost, in a good way.

So I'm scared. Really scared. About losing myself, about losing touch with the "real" world, about losing relationships that have been important to me and, let's be honest, about losing face with people I know won't understand. Will I ever be able to re-enter the full-time working world, if that's what I choose to do? Am I signing my own career-death-warrant at age 30? Is Addie going to drive me really-and-truly insane?

I'm working (hard) to get over all of that. I've realized that sometimes I've just got to rely on faith and jump, without knowing what the future is going to hold. And that's got to be OK. I'm trying to concentrate on the present, and when I do that, I realize I'm really excited about having more time with my girl.

Those fears about losing touch with the industry I've loved have been assauged a bit with some well-timed freelance PR/writing/design opportunities. I think that may be a good option to keep me as sane as is possible as I jump on the crazy train that is stay-at-home-motherhood.

I've said before and I'll say again that I feel really fortunate to have had the choice about what I want to do. And I feel fortunate that I've gotten to know myself a whole lot better since I became a mom, even if what I've found wasn't at all what I was expecting. I'm really proud of my control-freak, plan-everything-in-advance self that I've taken this seemingly-blind leap.

I'm giving all those plans and worries of mine to God (and yes, I have to give them back pretty much every day) because I know His plans for me and my family are far greater. After praying for months without any clear answers, I've slowly been receiving some quiet reassurances that this is the right decision.

So, I'm officially jumping into the next phase of my life. Erin Page. Stay at home mom.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Addison Mae - 20 months

20 months. That's almost 2 years old. Although Addie's talking, vocabulary and bossing skills would make one think she was closer to 15. Addie had a fabulous Easter, although she cared even less for the Easter bunny than she did Santa. She did, however, like that he came to our house (and that she didn't have to see him) and left goodies. She's asked me several times since if he happened to come again. She loved dying eggs, making cookies with me and hunting eggs at every opportunity. She really loved it when the eggs had snacks in them. Her music class is winding down for the spring, and I think she'll probably keep asking me every day when we're going to see Miss Julie again. We may unexpectedly end up at her front door. Addie has had fewer and fewer doctor's appointment lately (thank God), and a recent trip to the ENT was pretty successful (infection had cleared up and tears didn't last long). She told her doctor repeatedly, "Sticker, sticker," which meant, get this over with already and give me my dang sticker! I am so proud of my sweet girl, even when I'm exhausted by her energy and occasional frustration when she doesn't get her way. I just hope I can continue to keep up!

Weight: ~22 lbs
Length: ~30 inches

New things this month:
  • Saying Grammie. Finally. She hasn't really started calling my mom Grammie yet, but the first step was just getting her to say the word.
  • Some of my favorite new words and phrases are: I find it, I hide it, I eat it, Addie do self, Good morning! (which is said in the morning, afternoon and evening - in her world, it means something similar to I love you), Mia lick hand, See Mawmaw airplane (She's been telling everyone this lately because we're going to see Mawmaw later this week. Yep, smart.), Happy birthday to you, mommy (not my birthday), Mommy change diaper (hers, not mine), Mommy come here!, I like it, Izzy chase Mia, No Mommy sing (she's already realized I'm not so good at this skill ...), huggies and kisses
  • She really likes to talk about what she sees people doing - man running, dog walking, baby crying, girl laughing, Mommy sleeping (I wish). And she likes to tell me what she's doing too - including Addie poo-poo.
  • An obsession with happy and sad. She loves to ask which I am, and requires appropriate facial expressions. She especially loves to say no when I ask her to do something and then ask, "Mommy sad?" Then she'll do said thing and yell, "Mommy happy!!" Especially relevant when I ask for a kiss.
  • Exploring more art. New things have been play-dough, sidewalk chalk and watercolor painting. And Easter egg dying, during which she also dyed both hands.
  • Playing more with baby dolls. Rocking, feeding, putting them night-night. A little less flinging them about.
  • More singing. She likes to sing her songs right in Miss Julie's face in music class. You know, to be sure Miss Julie realizes how smart she is. Watching her is like looking into a mirror. She loves to tell me which song to sing to her before bed. And she can sing pretty much anything after she hears it a few times. Perhaps she'll be better at this than her mommy.
  • "Helping" around the house. We've been trying to give her a few things to do since she (clearly) likes her independence and doing things for herself. So far her favorite jobs are getting a new trash bag out of the pantry and letting Izzy in/out. I am holding out hope for that day when she can do the dishes.

  • Singing and dancing.
  • Talking about her friends.
  • Playing outside. I think the best day in Addie's life was the day we went to the park, planted our vegetable garden, ran around the back yard and then gave Izzy a bath. She would live outside if we'd let her.
  • Ring Around the Rosey, especially with Izzy.
  • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. And talking about all the characters like they're her best friends.
  • Parties.
  • Counting. One, three, ten!
  • Bossing.
  • Sitting in a big-girl chair at the table, which she typically climbs into herself.
  • Breakfast crack. A staple breakfast food, courtesy of my friend Brenda. A lb of sausage browned, a brick of cream cheese (or the non-dairy variety at our house) stirred into the sausage, divvied and rolled up into 2 packages of crescent rolls. She asks me every morning, "Breakfast crack?"

  • Not getting her way.
  • When mommy tries to talk to anyone else, diverting attention away from her.
  • When daddy leaves for work.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Addison Mae - 19 months

I can neither comprehend how this girl of mine was the tiny baby in my belly, and then the new creature we brought home a year and a half ago... that has now become this whirling dirvish that will soon be 2 whole years old. Insanity. Addie still really, really dislikes the doctor and tells me every day, at least once, "no doctor." Anytime we go anywhere unfamiliar, she assumes we're going to the doctor and protests (loudly) until she's sure the coast is clear. She still really, really likes going to the park, talking about her friends, "playing soccer" (our version of hall ball ... except in the entry way and with the added benefit of a crazed dog), playing night night (basically jumping on our bed and/or seeing how many people/animals she can get there at one time) and watching Mickey Mouse. She talks a lot. All the time. Though often she still needs a translator (me) ... Jordan yells, "Erin! Translate please!" She gets really frustrated if I can't translate, which thankfully doesn't happen too often. She is super bossy, which, I know, she comes by naturally. I love seeing her sense of independence grow, but I also like that in new situations, she still needs me for a little comfort and reassurance. I love that she still loves to snuggle and is now saying "I love you" and totally understanding what she's saying to us. "I love you, mama" is truly the sweetest thing I've ever heard. Or "I love you, too" when I drop her off at school.

Weight: 21 lbs 12 oz
Length: 30 inches

New things this month:
  • Some of my favorite new words and phrases are: Addie do it/Addie did it, Addie find it, right here, Mama/Dada ... are you? (calling "where are you?"), Izzy come!, caterpillar, Addie lap (declaring that my lap is for her alone), blankie, coffee, shoulder, whoopsie daisy, uh-oh spaghetti-o's, Daddy home!, Addie house/Debbi house (she always asks my mom where they are going when she picks her up from school), airplane, music dance (which means somebody turn on some music so I can dance)
  • Singing her ABCs pretty accurately. She's brilliant. Other new favorite songs include Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, Baa Baa Black Sheep and Happy Birthday (happy to you!). I love that while she's eating breakfast or sitting in her car seat, she'll just randomly break out in song.
  • Counting to 10. Sort of. Her favorite numbers are one, three, eight, nine, ten ... so sometimes that's how we get to 10.
  • An obsession with babies. As in real ones. (She still doesn't quite understand the concept of mothering her babies at home). She really wants to touch them. As long as her mama doesn't touch them. She REALLY doesn't like it when other babies cry. Very concerning.

  • The park. Sliding. Yelling "Wheeeeeee!" anytime we drive past a park.
  • Looking for airplanes in the sky.
  • Dance parties
  • Saying, "Hi people" to strangers or cars going by. As long as they don't try to come near her/touch her, she's good.
  • Looking for birds in the sky and yelling "Go birdies go!" We may have stood in the Target parking lot a time or two yelling this at the top of our lungs and gotten a few strange looks ...
  • Miss Julie and music school. Especially playing Ring Around the Rosey at the end and getting stamps. And impressing Miss Julie.
  • Playing soccer, aka hall ball.
  • Playing with her Easter eggs and basket. Which mostly means scattering them all over the wood floors for the cat to play with/hide all over the house.
  • Going to parties. She yells "PARTY!!!!" when we tell her we're going to one. Maybe that's what I should start telling her when we're going to the doctor ...

  • Not being the center of attention. Which she displays by hitting, pulling hair, pinching, biting, etc. Whatever works. She gets to go to time out a lot still.
  • Ear drops.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Addison Mae - 18 months


How is my girl a year-and-a-half old already?! I think she officially has more words in her vocabulary than I do. She says everything, including, "no doctor," "no medicine," "no Tylenol," "no ears" and "no nose." Clearly we've had a bit of a rough month. She's so smart that she says "no doctor" any time she hears me say the word doctor, when we pull into the parking lot at his office and she even said it when I was on the phone with one of the nurses. And sometimes just for good measure. After several weeks of being healthy (yay!) she got a cold, sinus infection, double ear infection and stomach virus, pretty much all at once in true Addie style. Her ears were actually completely clogged, which meant a super fun visit to her ENT for him to suck out her ears for the longest 15 minutes of my life. Thankfully, he was able to culture them and tell us that the lack of bacteria likely means her ear/respiratory issues are caused by reflux, which we've dealt with before but had no idea she was still suffering from. So, daily doses of Zantac and no more dairy is our plan for now. After a week of feeling really, really great after that insanity, she's now got a flu-like virus. Whew. How people have kids and accomplish anything else ever is completely beyond me. In other news, she also really likes to tell me no, tell the dog no, tell the cat no and even tell herself no. I can tell what I've been telling her no about by what she repeats to everyone else. She loves to slide and swing, be chased around the house, ride in her wagon, play games, sing songs, listen to her music and give the sweetest, slobberiest kisses in the world. She is seriously obsessed with her friends, and she loves to talk about them all the time. Make no mistake that when she names her friends, Elmo is at the top of the list.

Weight: 21 lbs 8 oz
Length: 29 1/2 inches

New things this month:
  • More multiple word phrases, including the "no doctor" etc above. "No bark Izzy/Cowboy," "no lick Izzy," "no milk Mia" (when she's inspecting Addie's cup) and I'm sure to be clear that she's in charge of all of them. Also "Addie mama" anytime I hold or touch any other babies, or even our dog and cat, just to be clear that I belong to her and her alone. Another of my recent favorites was "more strawberries please mama." Her "I love you" is actually starting to sound like the real words. "Play kitchen" means it's time to head to the playroom.
  • My favorite recent words are: blueberries, strawberries, yucky (which she says about 37 times per day ... about anything on her hands she doesn't like, food she doesn't want to try, etc), Mickey Mouse (and all his friends... this is usually accompanied by her shoving the remote in my face to turn Mickey Mouse on TV), hummus, vacuum, whiskers, owie, mustache, sock, pants (she is typically declaring "no pants," which I hope she gets over before she's a teenager ...), diaper, whoopsie (my very favorite), muffin
  • Calling Mia and Izzy from across the house. She calls "Mia, Mia, Sopapilla" (yeah, apparently that's what I call her). Calling Jordan or me from across the house. My favorite is when we ask where one of her toys or books is and she calls said item "Monkey!" "Elmo" "Go Dog Go!"
  • Calling my mom Debbi. Hilarious.
  • Calling my parents dog and cat and Jordan's parents' dog by their rightful names, rather than just Izzy or Mia.
  • An obsession with the park in our neighborhood. We can see it from our house, and if she gets a glance, she asks to go until we pretty much have no choice but to take her. Jordan caught her running halfway across the open lot next to us, on her way to the park by herself. She LOVES to slide (all by herself!) and swing. She does not love when Izzy accompanies us to the park because she does far too much barking for Addie's taste.
  • Music class, which we go to every Tuesday morning at Edmond Fine Arts Institute. There are four other kids in the class, all boys and all at least a year older. She loves this class. She loves to impress her teacher. She also loves to do her own thing and rifle through instruments or enjoy a snack while everyone else is paying attention. Clear which she gets from which parent. They get to play with fun instruments, sing consistent songs each time (perfect for my sweet OCD girl), play peekaboo, play Ring Around the Rosey and get stamps at the end of each class. It's crazy, but I can totally tell that she's singing much more and noticing music a lot more. We listen to her CD from this class anytime we're in the car. Which actually means we listen to the first song on the CD (her favorite) over and over and over. If you try to change to another song, she says "more lalalala" quite insistently until it's required that you oblige.
  • No more dairy, per her reflux, which actually hasn't been too painful. The switch to almond milk took about three days, during which time she told me her milk was yucky and asked for the milk with the "moo moo" on the front. Easy transition to non-dairy cheese, too. Now we're focusing on making sure her snacks, other foods, etc. are dairy-free. We're planning to try this for the next 3-6 months to see if it makes a difference. Perhaps I am a little anxious for this to work, but it already seems to have made a difference in her attitude and overall health.
  • Her first haircut, which went surprisingly well. Just a few tears and protests. Thankfully it seems to have somewhat calmed her unruly mop (sorry, kiddo) and caused it to fill in a little more.
  • Likes:
    • Coloring. We color no less than 12 times per day. And she prefers to have all 64 crayons out of the box to color with. Coloring isn't really worth it if not also accompanies by stickers.
    • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. We also watch this about 12 times per day. She wants to see the opening song and then fast forward directly to the Hot Dog Dance at the end. She dances and sings "hot dog, hot dog." Sure to bring a smile to my face every time.
    • Singing and dancing.
    • Playing "ashes ashes" (ring around the rosey)
    • Her microphone. No surprise there. Miss Julie at music school has a microphone, and since she thinks Miss Julie is especially cool, she clearly needed a microphone, too.
    • Pushing Elmo, Ernie and other dolls around in her grocery cart. She just doesn't understand why she can't get in there, too.
    • Making "calls" on her play phones, our cell phones, remote controls or her hand. Her phone calls are almost always made to her Pawpaw.
    • Books. I love that she loves to be read to. She even knows the names of several of her favorites and will ask for them by name.
    • Her people. I love the way she talks about and loves on her grandparents and close family. I also love that she calls our brother-in-law "Beard"

    • The doctor. Being poked and prodded. Being held down for the administration of medicine, a diaper, a kiss ... pretty much anything.
    • Anyone else touching her mama.
    • A new aversion to loud noises. Apparently from the sucking sound of having her ears cleaned out.

    Sunday, January 13, 2013

    I heart soup

    I am a soup person. Jordan is not. I think I'm getting close to converting him. Anytime I tell him I'm making soup for dinner, I have to remind him not to turn his nose up. (PS He loves all the recipes below ... he just has a strange aversion to the word soup, I guess.)

    Zuppa Tuscana
    I am obsessed with this soup. I got the recipe from my friend Lexy (who has since totally revamped the way she eats - her awesome blog is here), so I like to joke that she probably never makes this soup anymore. But put bacon in anything and I'm totally there. And I've made a few tweaks to lighten it up a bit. Which in no way shape or form means removing the bacon.
    1 lb sausage (I use lean sausage)
    6 slices bacon
    1 medium onion, chopped (I probably use half)
    2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
    1 quart chicken broth
    2 medium potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices (with or without skins)
    2 C shredded kale (this recipe began my love affair with kale)
    1/8-1/4 t crushed red pepper
    1/3 C heavy whipping cream (I use soy milk instead)
    Brown sausage, drain fat, remove from pan. Fry bacon until crisp (really crisp), remove and drain all but 1 T bacon fat. Crumble the bacon. Add onions and cook until soft; add garlic and cook for one minute. Add chicken broth and potatoes. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes or till potatoes are tender. Return the cooked sausage and bacon to the pot. Add the kale and crushed red pepper and simmer for 4 minutes. Stir in the cream (or soy milk!) till heated through.
    If you have extra kale, PLEASE do yourself a favor and bake it. Shred and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, till crispy. I love this as a side to pretty much anything, but it's especially great with soups of any kind, burgers or hot dogs (instead of chips) or tuna cakes.

    Baked Potato Soup
    I LOVE this soup. Thanks to my friend Sara Crawford for introducing it to me several years ago. It took me several times of making it to perfect my seasonings and the cut of my potatoes, but now it's seriously perfect. For those who know Charleston's baked potato soup, this is very similar.
    3-4 potatoes, cubed (think bite size) with/without skins (I remove skins because Jordan has an aversion to those, too)
    28 oz chicken broth
    2 T minced onion (I used probably double)
    1/4 t oregano
    1/4 t parsley
    1/2 t garlic (I mince 2-3 cloves of fresh instead)
    1 t salt
    1 t pepper
    6 T butter or margarine
    1/2 C flour
    3 C milk (I use soy and it's still fabulous)
    In large pot, bring chicken broth, minced onions (and garlic if using), oregano, parsley, salt, pepper and buetter to a boil. Add potatoes and boil for 10 minutes. In mixing bowl, slowing add milk to flour and whisk until smooth. Stir flour and milk mixture into pot. Cover and let simmer for 30 min over low heat, stirring occasionally. Check that potatoes are fork tender - if not, continue cooking and check in 3-5 minute increments.
    *I at least double all the spices above and as noted use fresh garlic instead.
    Garnish with cheddar cheese, bacon and chives.
    I love this soup with broccoli (plain steamed or like this) and garlic cheddar biscuits.

    My Dad's Chili
    I love that my dad makes chili. And I love this chili.
    1 lb ground beef, browned (ground turkey is great, too)
    1 can pinto beans (I've been using the Grillin' Beans pinto beans with jalepenos here - highly recommend)
    1 can rotel tomatoes
    Diced onion (I used about a quarter to a half of a small onion)
    Chili powder to taste
    1 can tomato paste
    Brown the meat and when almost done, throw in the onions and cook till tender. Add the pinto beans, rotel, tomato paste and chili powder. Simmer on low heat for 30-45 minutes.
    I sometimes add sliced jalepeno sausage, too. You know, if you need a little more kick. I buy them at Sam's (they're already cooked), slice and add when I've got about 10-15 minutes left on the chili - just so they warm all the way through.
    Jordan loves this chili with Fritos and diced red onion on top, I love with cornbread.

    Taco Soup
    I know, everyone makes this. And I love it. Had it for dinner tonight in fact. It's so easy and filling.
    1 lb ground beef, browned (I actually prefer ground turkey in mine)
    1 can pinto beans, undrained
    1 can kidney beans, undrained
    1 can corn (or equivalent frozen)
    1 package ranch dressing mix
    1 package taco seasoning mix
    Other than browning the beef, this is literally just opening cans and dumping everything into a pot. Makes me so happy. I usually simmer on low for about 30 minutes and serve with crushed tortilla chips, cilantro and avocado slices.

    Two of my other go-to soups are from my friend Sara Crawford's blog - both are crockpot recipes with makes me very happy. Here is her blog with both the Chicken and Dumplings and Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice recipes.

    What's for dinner?

    OK, I have been terribly negligent about posting recipes lately ... you know, for all five of you who read this and the two of you who might care what I eat for dinner. So these are some of my favorite winter-time dinner recipes (separate soup blog coming up later ...)

    Chicken Pot Pie
    This is my ultimate comfort food - probably because it's my mom's recipe. Growing up, I often requested this for my birthday dinner. It's my go-to recipe when it's chilly out or I'm not feeling great. It's also one of my faves to take to friends with new babies or who have experienced a loss because it warms up easily in individual pieces and also freezes well. Eat your heart out.
    2-3 chicken breasts, boiled 20-25 minutes and shredded or cut into bite-size pieces
    2 deep dish frozen pie crusts, thawed for about 10 minutes
    1 onion, chopped (I usually use about half of this)
    4-6 mushrooms, chopped
    1 can peas and carrots, drained
    1/2 C milk (I use soy and it tastes just the same)
    1/2 C chicken broth
    2 T flour
    Brown chopped onion and mushrooms in about 1 T butter or margarine (or soy substitute). When tender, add flour and mix well. Mixture will be gummy. Add the milk and broth, stirring constantly till mixture thickens - a few minutes. Add chicken, peas and carrots and salt and pepper to taste. Pour mixture into one pie shell and cover with the other shell - the steam will help pull it from the aluminum shell and then I use a fork to loosen further. Crimp the edges of the shells together with a fork and use the fork to place several holes in the top pie shell (If you're super cute like my mom, you make a heart or the initial of the person you're baking for :))/
    Bake at 400 till brown - about 30 minutes.
    Love to serve this with a spinach/strawberry salad or a fruit salad.

    Fig and Prosciutto Pizza
    This is adapted from one of our favorite pizza restaurants. And trust me, I never thought I'd like figs on pizza either. You will like it, even if your name is Jordan Page. This was a staple for me when I was breastfeeding and couldn't do dairy - non-dairy cheese is actually really, really good (Jordan even said better than the real stuff). So I felt like I could eat pizza even though the cheese was fake. :)
    If you're feeling like you have an extra lot of time on your hands, here's my family's pizza dough recipe (I love this dough, but I'm more in love with saving time and buying pizza dough these days)
    1 package dry yeast
    2/3 C warm water
    1 1/2 T olive oil
    1/2 t sugar
    1/8 t salt
    1 1/3 C flour (I've used wheat flour and it's excellent)
    Dissolve yeast in warm water and mix in other ingredients. It's sticky - coat your hands with flour for mixing and/or spreading onto cookie sheet or pizza stone. Brush the edges with olive oil (and I like to crimp the edges, too).
    For the pizza, I spread the raw dough with olive oil and smashed or minced garlic. Poke several holes in the dough with a fork. Bake according to dough package directions for about 10 minutes, until a little brown around the edges (If you're using the homemade dough above, 400 degree oven).
    Sprinkle on grated mozzerella cheese (about 2 cups), dried figs (remove stems and slice in half) and prosciutto to taste. Bake for another 5 minutes. Now here's the best part - serve slices topped with fresh arugula or spinach and drizzled with balsamic vinegar. I want to go make this pizza right now.

    Pesto Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Roasted Brussels Sprouts
    Y'all ... this is the BEST thing I've made in a long time. It was a Pinterest WIN. Jordan says it's restaurant quality. I never knew how much love I could have for Brussels sprouts. I roasted my sprouts with basil and parmesan olive oil and used my mom's homemade pesto on the pasta (which I promise to get the recipe for and post soon). I've never had chicken sausage either, and it was fabulous. I've used both rotini and bowtie pasta. Here's the link:

    Baked Ziti
    Another Pinterest win. Very easy and great comfort food. I'm cutting and pasting the recipe because the link is kinda wonky:

    Must try! 3/4 bag ziti noodles,1 lb of ground beef, 1 pkg taco seasoning, 1cup water, 1/2 pkg cream cheese, 1 1/2 cup shredded cheese -- boil pasta until just cooked, brown ground beef & drain, mix taco seasoning & 1 cup water w/ ground beef for 5 min, add cream cheese to beef mixture, stir until melted & remove from heat, put pasta in casserole dish, mix in 1 cup cheese, top pasta/cheese with beef mixture & gently mix, top w/ remaining cheese, bake at 350* uncovered for 30 min
    I used penne pasta (because it was in my pantry already - and it was a 1 lb bag so I used it all), and I would decrease the taco seasoning to 1/2-3/4 of a package - a little salty for my taste.
    Roasted Garlic Broccoli
    We had the Ziti with roasted garlic broccoli (God bless my coworker Lori for rekindling my relationship with broccoli with this recipe), and here's a Pinterest recipe for it: Even if you don't think you love broccoli, please make this. Jordan is not a broccoli person (to put it lightly) and he LOVES this. Very similar to the Brussels sprouts above in the pesto/chicken sausage recipe.
    I'm also very into roasting asparagus lately - very little drizzle of olive oil (too much will make it slimy) and sprinkle of kosher salt. I roast at 350 for about 20 minutes. Yum.

    Tuesday, January 8, 2013

    Addison Mae - 17 months

    Christmas with my girl was absolutely magical. Despite illness continuing into December, Addie did get to go back to school for a few days before Christmas break, where she made some very cute Christmas crafts. Probably my favorite pre-Christmas activity was a pizza and Christmas lights date with my two favorite people. Addie was enchanted by the Chesapeake lights, and pretty much anywhere we went that had any sort of Christmas lights. Her reaction was always a very enthusiastic, "LIGHTS!! LIGHTS!!! LIGHTS!!!!" She also loved that while parked watching a cool lights/music display in Mesta Park, her dad put her on his shoulders and let her watch out the sun roof. It's a miracle we got her to go to bed that night. We all went a little haywire for Christmas ... this sweet girl got more gifts than we know what to do with (don't tell her I've already given some away to a youth shelter in need of gifts for their kiddos!). She seriously loved everything she opened (though the wrapping and bows and boxes may still be the best part). She also loved the approximately one million cookies I made over the Christmas holiday. Guess she's got my sweet tooth after all. She enjoyed shrieking and playing with her sweet friend Daisy during Christmas Eve service (and had her first communion, and then asked for more ... that's gotta be a good thing, right???). Addie really loved playing with cousins Jackson and Audrey, Julia and Lila, and Averey and Landon over the holidays and talks about all of them pretty much every day. She was really excited to go back to school this week and had been asking about a few of her friends and especially her teachers for quite awhile. She is such a big girl, with lots of strong opinions about lots of things. She loves to say no (even when she means yes), loves music, loves watching either Elmo or football on TV, loves to laugh and play jokes, loves her dog and cat, loves the Ipad, loves making up games with her dad and me ... she just loves life.

    Weight: 20 lbs 6 oz
    Length: 29 1/2 inches

    New things this month:
    • Oh the talking! She's saying lots more multiple word phrases ... I love you, good girl (usually about the dog, sometimes herself :)), more milk please mama/dada, bless you (when anyone else sneezes, and especially when she sneezes), up please, thank you, no Addie (which means no, that's not yours, that's Addie's)
    • And lots more precious words ... some of my favorites are happy (which she usually says happy, happy, happy, happy :)), gentle, tickle, pizza, apple, yellow, pancake, boobies (blueberries :)), truck, reindeer, play, snow, pillow, touchdown!!! (complete with arm motions), ride (insistently when she wants to go in the wagon or her Cozy Coupe), lots more animal names, rather than just their noises, which all suddenly end in -y ... mousey, ducky, horsey, kitty; the whole Sesame Street gang (her new favorites are Took, Cookie Monster, Ee-aww, Ernie, and Mousey, Abby). She can also name everyone in her immediate family ... all grandparents (my mom is officially mama), aunts/uncles, cousins.
    • Singing. Her favorites songs to sing (in her words) are row, row, row; itty bitty (Itsy Bitsy Spider), ashes ashes (Ring Around the Rosey), wee wee wee (This Little Piggy), B-D-B-D (ABCs) 
    • Slightly less of an obsession about the paci ... perhaps someday we'll be able to get rid of it.
    • Gagging herself when she's super mad. What?! This often results in throwing up ... and she's totally doing it to get our attention when she's mad about being in time out, mad about going to bed, mad about not getting her way. She also gagged herself at the doctor and threw up all over him (that was kinda funny). Yes, she's a drama queen.
    • Sleeping a little better at night. Which is totally because she's finally feeling better. And finally responding (sort of) to crying it out and putting herself to sleep again. Thank the Lord. It's been a rough two (or three?) months of not much sleep.
    • Christmas lights. If that wasn't obvious above.
    • Receiving Christmas cards. Bless all of you who sent them. She's obsessed with getting the mail every day and the idea that there were fun cards with pictures of people was just over the top. Her favorites were those that she really recognized - like she was so surprised to see them in the mail. Tops were her Aunt Rebecca, Uncle Jeff and cousins Julia and Lila (the card is distorted from all the carrying around and kissing she's done to it), her sweet friend Stella (Hi Stella!) and our friends the Crawfords with 7 month old twins (babies!! babies!!).
    • Sesame Street and Mickey Mouse (aka Mick)
    • Her new kitchen. She is so into stirring and makes the most precious pouring, shaking and stirring noises while she's playing. She likes a big audience while she "cooks" - mommy, daddy, Izzy, Mia, Elmo and Ernie are required to be present for "tasting" and making appropriate tasting noises
    • Her finally finished playroom. She says to us "Play! Play" and drags us by the hand to her playroom. Usually because she wants to play kitchen
    • She's having a delightful time going from one new toy to the next. Loves her talking/signing Elmo; her Little People zoo, bus and car track; basketball goal; Cozy Coupe (and she prefers having a "phone," drink, blocks and/or stuffed animal in to ride with her), doctor kit (we get lots of check ups), Legos (which mostly she likes to dump everywhere) and on and on and on
    • Her nesting and stacking blocks are one of her absolute favorite things right now. We do lots of nesting and stacking. In general, she likes to organize things in containers.
    • Stickers and coloring. There is some slight hilarity that she calls stickers "dick dicks" 
    • Making up games. She has several she calls "night night." One involves Jordan or me pretending to be asleep, one involves putting babies/stuffed animals to sleep (which actually has nothing to do with the babies, whom she flings about, but rather organizing their blankets) and one involves getting on our bed and getting tickled (her favorite)
    • Potatoes. Who doesn't like potatoes?
    • Not getting her way. Time outs. Going to bed. Not being the center of attention (see the note about gagging above)