Monday, November 30, 2009

Poor Lil' Thing

M has had a rough go of it lately.  He's had a cold for the better part of November, and to make matters worse his daddy had it for a while and now I'm suffering through one as well, so I think we keep passing it around.  We're trying to do what we can to clear everyone's sniffles up, but I expect M will keep his cold for a while thanks to daycare.  Just nothing much to do about it.

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".

I certainly don't want to make this a totally negative, downer post, so here's a quick recap of some of the fun things that the boy has been up to lately:
  • 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.

Here are a couple other recent pics.  He's had his picture taken a lot lately, but not many are on my camera so I'll post some more here and on our photo site when I get copies of them from family and friends. 

Monday, November 23, 2009

Recipe Roundup

While we think he is cute enough to eat, these chunky cheeks and turkey thighs won't actually sustain us, so I've been made it a goal to churn out a few home-cooked meals a week rather than constantly resorting to take out as we've been prone to doing lately!

So, in the spirit of trying to balance the content of this's what I've been cooking lately.

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 roasted charred  (resist the urge to increase the level of spice and sugar you put on them, lest they turn out like mine did), and though John and I like things that are one the "done" side of the spectrum, I felt they were not suitable for serving to his colleagues. 

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

On the Side

This is Mitchell's new favorite place to be - on his side!  He was playing the other night and I just couldn't resist snapping pictures.  He was facing away from me, but I called his name and he looked back over his shoulder at me.  The look on his face seems to be saying "Whatchu want, mommy?"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

First Week Back...My Impressions

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 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

Baby Humor

This was on an e-mail that someone sent me yesterday. I hope it's not TMI, but I thought it was just too funny not to post since several of my readers are fellow BF'ers.

Clearly he is fine....

This is what the director of Mitchell's day care sent me yesterday. Obviously this is a lot harder on me than it is on him! He was tired yesterday when we picked him up but they said he did great all day. I guess we'll call the first day a success. More to come on how I'm doing...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Boo Humbug

Call me the Halloween version of the Grinch. I just don't get that into it. I suppose I have had a few inspired costumes over the years, but for the most part it just isn't one of my favorite holidays. I certainly wasn't really into it this year.
Having MKM be so small and things being rather hectic for me in general these last few weeks/months, I just never got around to coming up with a costume for any of us.
This is what I managed in the way of dressing him up to celebrate...a "My First Halloween" onesie that someone gave us, with matching socks. He doesn't (won't) wear hats, so we skipped the accompanying pumkin topper. Boo!