Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
We tried it for the first time last night. I think the part he liked most was getting to sit up in his big boy seat. We didn't get a high chair to save space; since we have an island we got one of the travel chairs that will hook onto a table or bar that we'll use instead. His legs dangle and I think he liked being upright and somewhat free. Don't worry, I was a neurotic mama and had a big blanket stuffed in behind him so he couldn't move around too much!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Clearly I need some pictures and videos to go along with this post, but I'm sadly without. I'll do my best to remedy that situation very soon. I think we are definitely going to have our hands full once he really starts moving. He is always squirming around and you can just tell he cannot wait to go somewhere. Sometimes I think he gets frustraed that he cannot move more independently, but he has gotten pretty good at inchworming himself across a blanket, or in his crib at night (he likes to scoot way up to one corner, guess he feels more secure there). He also spends lots of time on his tummy, does "push ups" and loves to kick his legs off the ground. I like to think he is practicing his butterfly kick.
His hair continues to get lighter and lighter; I think we'll have a blondie on our hands eventually. We did give him a tiny bang trim a couple of weeks ago, but we didn't get much off (see: squirmy, above). We will probably try again one of these days because I want to have some of his dark baby hair, especially since he has so much of it!
Here's a relatively recent pic of him, from when we went to get our Christmas tree. Don't you just love his rosy cheeks and his kewpie doll hair? I could just eat him up.
Friday, December 4, 2009
- I will allow myself one weeknight a week for takeout or pre-prepared. That is not to say I won't be using pre-prepped ingredients to make my life easier (think chopped garlic in the jar); just one time each week I will allow myself to do no cooking of any kind and not feel bad about it.
- And, since I'm making these rules, I also reserve the right to use leftovers for a meal now and then.
- Weekends will be "free", but if I cook anything particularly good I'll certainly share it.
Sunday: tortellini soup for me; chili and a turkey sandwich for John (we came back with lots of food from my parents' house, and I had a cold so didn't feel like eating or cooking)
Monday: turkey melts and soup (canned)
Tuesday: Papa John's Pizza (John's request, when he has a cold he is the opposite of me and has a huge appetite; he ordered a large pizza and breadsticks and polished off a good portion of it)
Wednesday: arugula & romaine salad with marinated white beans, roasted red bells, sauteed portabellas, caesar croutons, and homemade roasted tomato vinagrette; small antipasto platter with sliced chorizo and salame picante, two cheeses and olives
- portabellas: we both love sauteed mushrooms and I use portabellas to make heartier salads many a night when we both want somehting 'light' but you need to still feel full. My mushroom technique is simple - lots of butter in the pan, medium heat, put 'em in, and leave 'em alone. I wait to salt and pepper them until much later in the cooking process - as Rachel Ray says, if you salt them too early, they don't get brown. Sometimes I will add chopped garlic, sometimes just garlic powder. Sometimes I will add red wine at the end to deglaze as well; they are divine this way and seem especially decadent. We like ours to get a little crust on them but if you don't like things really done you can take them off the heat when they have softened through.
- roasted tomato vinagrette: I halved two handfuls of grape tomatoes and tossed them with olive oil, kosher salt & black pepper. Put in a hot oven (400) until the tomatoes start sizzling and have started to "wilt" a bit. Take out of the oven and pour all (including oil) into a small bowl. I whisked this with some balsamic vinagrette for the dressing. It might have been easier to remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon and then whisk, adding the tomatoes back in at the end, but I just kind of stirred fast with the tomatoes still in there. I tossed my lettuces with the dressing and then added all the other ingredients.
Friday: I plan to make this 44 clove garlic soup. Yum. It is much milder than it sounds like it might be. I figure if I start after work it we'll probably be able to eat after Mitchell goes to bed! Served with a baguette and perhaps a little green salad tossed with some lemon juice and olive oil, shaved parm on top. Can't wait to eat!
Saturday: no specific meals planned but we have the fixings for sausage dip in the fridge so I'm thinking that will be the perfect snack for SEC Championship game-watching and Christmas tree trimming!
As a side note on Thursday, let me give you a new suggestion for using leftover pork tenderloin that I'm copying from this menu. We ate there when we went to see The Boss a few weeks ago and both of us had the Pork Loin Melt on Texas Toast. Yum. I made one for lunch today with our leftovers from last night.
I didn't have the texas toast (or the delicious onion rings that accompanied ours at the restaurant, but I digress) so I used my favorite marble rye from Publix. Butter one side of your bread and put face down in the skillet on medium. While the skillet is heating up, thinly slice your pork and toss in your favorite barbecue sauce. Barbecue sauce is probably my favorite condiment, and for this one I think you need something with a kick (and by all means, please be generous with it, because this is the type of sammich that calls for something to drip out from between your bread). I used Rudy's "Sause" but if you don't have access to this heavenly stuff, then I suggest a sauce with a good bit of black pepper and vinegar in it. Of course, use what you like. Today I used a slice of provolone cheese on each side of the bread to glue everything together; the restaurant used cheddar but we didn't have any sliced. It is so good. I think you'll thank me.
Next week I might not have to cook much myself. My mom is coming to stay with me and Mitchell Sun-Wed since John will be out of town (we'll miss him, but I'm so excited that she'll be here). I'm sure one or the other of us (ok, let's be honest, it will probably be her) will cook each night, so I'll still report. Since John doesn't like it, I'm going to request Chinese/stir fry one night. My mom's is as good, if not better, than what you can get in a restaurant, and it's much healthier.
I've got some homemade Christmas treats in mind for gifts, so I'll share what I'm planning one of these days. For now, I think this post is plenty long!
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Thanksgiving was hard on our little man. He got to meet some new family in Knoxville, which was fun, but between that trip and our visit to my family in Birmingham, all in all we were in the car 4 out of 5 days and I think he just got out of sorts. I think he may also be going through a growth spurt (hard to believe, since we estimate he's about 18 pounds now), and hasn't been sleeping much at night. When you factor in his general lack of daytime napping, we're dealing with somewhat of a fussy fellow these days. Hopefully his little system will get regulated again soon.
For now, this is the sight we see most often; runny nose, face covered in slobber, hands in his mouth. It's very appropriate that he's wearing his cousin Reid's onesie that says "Drool is Cool".
- he always has his toes curled under and since he's found his feet, they make for the best little handles for him to grab onto and roll around on the floor...
- and when he's rolling around he is very likely to topple over onto his left side, which makes him very happy. He'll lay like that sometimes for 20 minutes and just suck his thumb/fingers/hands (he's not very picky these days, any digit will do)...
- and from his side, lately he likes to keep on going all the way over to his tummy. He used to hate tummy time, but now that he can get there by himself he seems thrilled to be there!
- his newest noise sounds a bit like a long sustained "wheeee" or "woooooo" and it's so cute. He makes tons of noises and I just love getting him up in the morning because he alwasy seems to have so much to say.
- he really likes grabbing whatever I put in front of him and the other day I swear he was trying to scoot over and get something he couldn't quite reach. I told John last night that I think we're going to have a mover on our hands well before we're really ready for it!
- he loves the jumper seat and has a ball in the exersaucers they have at his daycare. He played in the one at Mike & Spot's house over the weekend, and loved it. He has always loved standing up in your lap, so the new feeling of independence I'm sure he feels from those activities are fun to watch.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Tortellini Soup: 3 cans chicken stock (I used two cardboard cartons, one regular and one reduced sodium), 2 8 oz packs fresh cheese tortellini, 4 green onions sliced, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 can diced tomatoes, fresh basil and parmesan cheese.
You basically bring the stock to a boil and then dump everything but the cheese in and cook until the pasta is done and then serve with grated parmesan on top. Last night I added sliced zucchini and mushrooms, and served it alongside some toasted baguette slathered with basil pesto. I think this would be the perfect recipe for cleaning out the fridge: make it heartier with sliced or crumbled cooked Italian sausage; if you've got it, some fresh spinach stirred in to wilt up. Bascially it is a reliable, quick and tasty soup that you can doctor up to suit your taste or your needs! Totally my kind of recipe these days. Thanks Andrea!
I recently made these spiced sweet potato wedges for John's office Thanksgiving lunch. I had intended to make them the night before, since he has access to various warming ovens at the stadium and I thought a few passes through their pizza oven would warm and crisp them back up before they ate. Well, the first batch got very thoroughly
They made a great lunch for me the next day, though, and the second batch that I made for him (stuck more to the recipe this time around, and went shy of the prescribed cooking time to avoid burning them) the next morning seemed to be a hit. These are a nice easy side dish for sandwiches or pork tenderloin and would be a good alternative to the traditional sweet potato preparations at your Thanksgiving meal. If you'd like something more adventurous, try these. I have done them before and they're great too!
Speaking of preparations of sweet potatoes, John's mother asked me to bring a potato dish to their family Thanksgiving and I asked John what he might want me to make. When he words "sweet potato hash" came out of his mouth as a suggestion, I was somewhat floored, but I'm game.
I tried version 1 yesterday, including thick cut bacon, diced onions, mushrooms, sage, parsley and an oj/apple cider vinegar/brown sugar mixture for a sauce and it came out OK, but we both thought it could be tweaked. I won't use the vinegar again, and I didn't roast the potatoes but John asked that I try that method next time because he wanted them crispier. Sweet potatoes will only get so crisp, but that's what I'm going to do for the final dish. I think my strategy will be to roast the potatoes and cook everything else in a skillet and then toss and top with the crisped reserved bacon before serving. I'll report back and give a more specific recipe (ha, me, cook with a recipe?) afterwards!
I like to make quick fish tacos by using tilapia or other mild fish filets, sprinkled with cumin, chile powder, cayenne and a squeeze of lime juice. Serve with your favorite jarred salsas, lettuce, tomato, avocado slices, cheese and preferred condiments (sour cream, etc.). I usually serve these with black beans that I've cooked with a can of chopped green chiles and sauteed peppers, if I have them!
My chicken enchiladas are probably John's favorites. It's just something I made up, but I've typed out my "method" before so e-mail me if you want me to send it to you.
I have this recipe for Spicy-Sweet Pork Tenderloin bookmarked and will probably try it out this week. I'll report back!
What are some of your favorite go-to recipes? Share in the comments, if you wish.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Well, Mitchell started "school" this week (I agree with ML, just easier to say school) and I came back to work full time. I'd been working a few days a week for the last few weeks (thanks to Spot and Gramma Kris for watching M on those days that I worked), because I knew I couldn't just come back cold turkey. As it is, I have had a hard time focusing when I get into the office and I'm not nearly as efficient as I used to be. I know I will get back into the swing of things, but it is taking time!
Mitchell is doing great. His teachers hold their arms out for him as soon as you get there in the morning, and the director has already stopped John and told him how much everyone is enjoying him. We know he is such a happy soul, and I'm not surprised to hear he has won them over there with his sweet little personality (not to mention his cute little dimple). The only wrinkle with him is that he's not a good napper, and he comes home exhausted (but not exactly ready for sleep yet). But hopefully with time that will improve and we'll get into a rhythm that works for us all.
Which brings me to...me. I anticipated having a really hard day that first day. I had been dreading it for weeks, and sure wasn't making it any easier on myself with the mental buildup of how awful I anticipated that first day would be. We went and visited his daycare last week so I could see how much of various supplies and clothes we should send at a time, so we were well prepared on Monday.
John and I went together to drop him off and pick him up that day, so we could both see the whole routine (check in clipboard, supply cubbies, etc). I was OK dropping him off because he was very happy and I have peace about where he is, and luckily all day that first day I was extremely busy at work and didn't have too much time to dwell on it. It didn't hurt that the director took that cute picture I posted earlier of him and sent me a text message so I could see that he was still enjoying himself. My sweet husband also sent me flowers (well, the card said they were from Mitchell, but John had to help him by ordering them).
I did not get emotional at all that day (somewhat suprisingly) until we got home that night with him and I was nursing him. It was sort of the first time all day that I'd had time to catch my breath and really think about how many moments I will miss out on in his life from this point forward. I think particularly because I was nursing him, and I have so enjoyed that time I spend with him each day, I did shed a few tears. But I'm glad that I was in the comfort of my own home at that point and didn't have to worry about censoring my emotions like I might have had it happened at my office. Overall, though, I'm handling it much better than I expected I would and thankfully my little angel has made it very easy on me.
He's all grins when I wake him up in the morning to get him changed and dressed, and when we arrive he is still all grins for everyone there. This helps to remind me to try to go through my day with the same smile on my face, and reminds me how lucky we are to be able to afford and find quality childcare for Mitchell!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The alternate title for this post should be "OK, so maybe I won't post pictures soon" or "Sorry I took three months off".
I just haven't really managed to find the time to sit down and blog. Heck, I've barely managed to post pictures of him here, but I have done it at the urging of all of our out of town family!
But really, when you have something this cute to play with all day...
...well, then why would you do anything else???
Since he arrived 11 weeks ago today, Mitchell has been a true joy to his daddy and me.
Not like he woudn't be anyway, but this has also been a season of sadness for my family (see more about that here and here, maybe I will manage a post about our sweet John one of these days), and having this new little precious life to treasure has been a true comfort to me as well.
Seeing as how I think Mitchell and I spent more than half of the month of September in Birmingham, I didn't exactly have a lot of time to be blogging either. But speaking of the car, I just have to say what a good little traveler my son is. He doesn't mind his car seat at all, (clearly, since he also slept nights in it for weeks) and he definitely won the trooper award for the number of times I clicked that seat in, loaded up our bags and headed south during my maternity leave. I am so thankful that everything happened during that time so that I was able to just drop everything and go, but at times I did worry about how it was affecting Mitchell, and of course it took us away from Daddy a lot of the time since he did have to stick around and work. However, Mitchell seemed to know that something was going on and he was so sweet through it all. For that, he has earned enough gold stars to last him well into toddlerhood!
Since then, he has been busy eating and growing, cooing and playing, all while being incredibly cute. For the most part he is an easy, happy baby.
We have spent a much more relaxed October, while I tried to savor the precious moments I have left with Mitchell before having to go back to work. He starts daycare on November 2, which will be my first day back to work full time as well. My mom and John's parents have been such a godsend to keep him on the days that I do work, and I am so thankful that they both live close enough to see him on a regular basis.
I promise, I will post more often and will try to do some catch up posts about the last 10 weeks! One last pic...
Monday, August 10, 2009
I will post details and pics as soon as possible!
Brooke & John
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
We are so lucky that Mitchell is already so loved. Thanks to everyone for all that you have done for him, and for us!
Thursday, July 30, 2009
I've been having lots of false labor symptoms - contractions, cramping, etc - that have left me a bit confused and I'll admit, a lot frustrated! Several days I've gotten almost ready to say "OK, let's go to the hospital, I think this might be happening" when the symptoms just stop altogether. On Sunday that happened twice! It does get your hopes up.
I had a mini-breakdown on Tuesday after I saw the doctor and was told that nothing had really changed - I am still dilated about the same as I have been the last two weeks, despite all that activity. For some reason that day I took all of this as "bad" news and was so upset. I haven't really been that emotional during this pregnancy, which surprises me somewhat, but I certainly was that day. It felt like I'd been told that I was never going to have my baby and that I was going to have to stay this miserably, hugely pregnant forever.
However, once I got out of my emotional funk, I started thinking and was reminded at how lucky we've been that I've had a totally normal, even boring, pregnancy. How amazing that is! I should be giving thanks for the blessing it is that I've been able to provide my son with a stable, comfortable home for the last 38 weeks and he's still thriving and growing inside me even now. So many people that I know have had scary or difficult pregnancies, not to mention my friends that have struggled to even get pregnant. So, I've decided to adopt a positive attitude for the rest of this pregnancy, no matter how long that is, and to appreciate the gift that we have been given in this tiny little boy that we are so eager to meet.
I know this this test of my patience is only a warm-up for the challenges of motherhood, but I'm thankful for the reminder that becoming parents is about putting this baby's needs above your own and practicing selflessness, and yes, patience everyday.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
What? Did you think that my stomach would start shrinking in the last few weeks before I had my baby? Did you think that I would enjoy you laughing at me? Do you think I don't know that I'm huge?
Not cool. Not cool at all.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Long story short, the patron and his extended family went out for dinner on Father's Day. They picked up McDonald's on the way to the restaurant (which does not really have a great menu for kids) for their 3 year old, hoping to keep the kid happy while the rest of the party dined. After a wait to be seated, the patron was approached by a restaurant employee and told that the McDonald's meal that they brought in could not be consumed because it was a health code violation, and that they would have to leave the restaurant if they insisted on their child eating it. The family packed up and left. Upon further investigation by the patron, he was informed by the state health department that it was not actually a violation of the health code, but that it was up to individual restaurants to enforce the policy of not allowing outside food in their own establishments.
The patron then forwarded this information, along with an e-mail summary of his complaints, to the restaurant's e-mail address. The patron received a response from the owner of the restaurant which in fairness did not address any of his compliants and instead made some insinuations about his parenting style and choices. The patron and owner went back and forth one more time exchanging e-mails, with the owner again asserting the same sentiments that he had made in the first e-mail. In the interest of full disclosure, the owner has since sent an e-mail apology to the original patron, and he is apparently forwarding it to anyone who has since taken the time to contact his restaurant concerning the incident.
You can read more about the incident here. The incident has prompted a "boycott" page on Facebook and was the primary topic for a 3 hour local talk radio show yesterday, not to mention the fact that the e-mail has been forwarded over and over and many responses I've read have sworn off the restaurant forever. Additionally, another restaurant in town is cleverly cashing in on the publicity by sending out an e-mail to thier distribution list offering families a free child's meal with the purchase of an adult meal, as well as indicating that they welcome all patrons, even if they decide to bring in outside food that would cater to a child's palate.
Clearly, opinions are heated on this issue. I have heard attacks on the patron and his wife for allowing the child to have McDonald's, or for their gall in bringing food from another establishment into a restaurant. On this particular point, I tend to agree with the criticism I've heard - if the parents knew their child would not eat the food on the menu at the restaurant of their choosing, I would probably think about trying another restaurant, or I might pack some snacks from home that I knew my picky eater would accept.
However, I think the main issue for me is the restaurant owner's response to the patron's complaint. If you read the e-mails, the owner chooses not to take the high road not once, but twice, and instead of explaining his restaurant's policy or even acknowledging the patron's complaints, the owner fired off some insulting one-liners, which made it seem as though he had zero interest or respect for the opinion of his potential customers. I do think the owner regrets what he did now, and is trying to reach out in the best way he can to apologize, but it almost smacks of too little, too late.
Either way, this little incident has certainly made waves in Chattanooga and has prompted a lot of interesting discussions. Your thoughts?
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
1. I am a twin and I love having that special relationship with my sister, but when people ask me if I like being a twin, I'm always puzzled. It's not something that you can experience the "opposite" of...so yes, I like being a twin!
2. I've been to England, Italy, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Mozambique, South Africa, Mexico, Canada & Spain and several places in the Caribbean. But I've never been to New York City or the Grand Canyon (or at a lot of other places in the US, for that matter).
3. I love to cook and wish I had more time to experiment with really elaborate recipes. Having said that, I would never want to do it for a living.
4. I love to read and wish I had more time to read some of the books on my very long "to read" list.
5. I am a terrible backseat driver. I have to bite my tongue all the time when I'm riding with someone else to keep from giving my opinion on the route they should take, what lane they should be in, where they should park, etc.
6. I am not a very neat person around the house. The clutter has to get to a critical mass before it will really start to bother me.
7. I love giving gifts. I am totally fine not receiving any, and probably spend way more than I should on them most of the time.
8. I am a very shy person if I don't know you. Painfully so...as in, I'd rather not have to introduce myself to you because I feel like I might be imposing. Once I get to know people I am much more outgoing.
9. I love my family very much and sometimes I miss them so much that it makes me ache.
10. I love Chattanooga and do consider it my home now. It took a while, but I'm finally there.
11. I absolutely hate talking on the phone, especially for more than 10 minutes. I don't even talk to some of my closest friends very often because I just cannot bring myself to make the phone call. It's one of my biggest faults, I think. I don't even call my family enough.
12. My refrigerator is filled to the gills with weird condiments and ingredients (clam juice, anchovy paste, myriad sauces, etc.), but 9 times out of 10 when I open the fridge, I think, "I have nothing to cook for dinner."
13. I have a weakness for any gummy or chewy candies. My favorites are gummy bears or sour jelly bellies. You can keep your fancy, expensive chocolates, thank you very much.
14. I haven't eaten a hot dog since 2nd grade. I'm not sure what I'm going to do once my child gets older and starts wanting them...it makes me cringe to think about even having them in the refrigerator.
15. I am a terrible eavesdropper. I find myself getting absorbed in other people's conversations in public, sometime to the detriment of the one I'm actually trying to carry on. John calls me out on it all the time but I just cannot help myself sometimes!
16. I love beets.
17. I do not see the point of scary movies and I really hate them.
18. I still love to play solitaire on the computer and can waste hours doing it.
19. I love paper products and stationery, but please don't give me any because I have more than I know what to do with it! Thank goodness for needing to write those thank-you notes for Mitchell's baby showers....it is helping to thin out my supply a little bit!
20. I do not really care for too much trashy/reality TV. Give me a trashy magazine any day.
21. If I could have graduated from high school a year early I would have. I really didn't come into my own until college.
22. I love our dog Dixie but probably would never have another one like her. Some days she is just entirely too high strung for me. Most of the time though, she's so cute that I don't really mind her quirky little personality.
23. I have been a part-time swim coach for 5 years, but I'm not going back next year. I am really going to miss getting to know the kids and watching them improve over the course of the year. It has been incredibly fulfilling and I would probably do it again once my kids get a little older.
24. I have tremendous respect for how hard my father has always worked to provide for my family. When I met John, I recognized many of the same traits in him and it is definitely one of the big reasons that I fell in love with him.
25. One of the best things I ever did for myself was to move to a new city on my own for grad school. I knew one person in Chattanooga when I moved here, and some times it was scary and hard, but I met some of my very best friends in the world, as well as my wonderful husband, as a result of that choice. I also gained a sense of independence that I might not otherwise have ever had and for that I am so thankful!
Monday, June 22, 2009
I contemplated names for this blog and tried to come up with some witty phrase for the title. I settled on the not-particularly witty "On the Balance" title because I think that's what I might end up blogging about most often. I hope that perhaps this can be a vehicle for me to vent about my frustrations, find humor in those little moments that might otherwise reduce me to tears, theorize about how I might do it better the next time, and certainly share in celebrating the small victories that are sometimes the only way we make it through the day. I will also try to keep a balance of the content, so this blog won't be ALL about my child! I'm sure a lot of it will be, but I plan on trying to keep our family photo site up to date as well.
Hope you'll come along for the ride!