Our Boys

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

So what better way to make a girl feel better than to make her Christmas list. This might sound cliche, but I can honestly say that I don't need a thing for Christmas this year. I received the best gift I could ever hope for on May 11 and that is a healthy baby boy. BUT, since the holidays are upon us and I need something to take my mind off of my current situation, why not do a little lusting....

New Everyday Dishes



Dryer Balls



Cupcake Corer



Medium Sized White Gold Hoops



L.L. Bean Tote



Leakproof Travel Mug



Tall Brown Boots - I heart these, but they cost more than most of my shoes combined!




Black Wedge Heels



Black Flats



Black Kitten Heels

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Genuinely Sad

For the past week, I have started writing this post and deleted. It just wasn't right and I was crying so hard the screen was all burry. There just aren't words to describe what's going on right now - I'm going back to work. Tomorrow.

To say that I am sad would be an understatement. To say that I am scared and nervous and anxious and I have a heavy pit in my stomach that makes me feel like I am going to vomit at any given moment - that might explain it a little better.

For 6 months, I got to be a stay at home mom. I got to do all the things that stay at home moms do. Change diapers, feed a baby, bathe a baby, play with a baby, clean up spit up, clean the house, do laundry, cook, mow the lawn, rake leaves, grocery shop, run errands, chase the dogs, and the list goes on and on. I treated every day like it was my job. It was my job to be a wife and a mom.

Before having Owen, I couldn't imagine what a stay at home mom did all day and now I don't know where the time goes. It is the most rewarding feeling at the end of the day to look at my happy baby, husband and puppies and know that I contributed directly to their well being.

Tomorrow starts a new chapter of balance. I know I have to figure out a way to balance all of the things I love doing for my family, while still working away from our home 9 hours a day. Owen will be well cared for. He will be spending his days with a  neighbor of our who has two children of her own, one of which is a little boy 1 week older than Owen. What a world that will open up for him!

I try to look at the positive side of our situation, and there are many positives. For now, I am just sad. I know it will pass and there will come a day when all of this will just be second nature. I'll be super mom accomplishing everything in half the time with thinking twice. And it will make me a better, stronger person. I hope.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Souper Sunday Week 9 - Team Clancy Chili

Several years ago, Brett and I put our heads, and several recipes from different places together, and created our very own chili recipe. While we've never won a chili cook off competition, although we've never entered one, we think it's pretty good. We even wrote down the recipe so we can remember what goes in it.

Team Clancy Chili
1 can beer (this is by far the most important ingredient; we recommend Old Style but understand that may not be available to everyone)
1 can beef broth
2 cans bean (whatever you like; we use a combo of kidney and great northern)
1 lg. can crushed tomatoes
1 lg. can diced tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
1 lb. ground meat, brown and drain
1 1/2 lb. "chunk" meat, tossed in flour and brown (by "chunk" I just mean any kind of meat you can cut up - steak, etc. )
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped + the leafy hearts
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce
Salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder to taste

Here's the best part, other than chopping up the veggies and browning the meat the only directions to make this chili is to dump everything in a crock pot and let cook all day. Simple as that!

Serve this with some cornbread "But you ain't ever had my cornbread, A little bit of heaven and a little bit of..." and enjoy yourself a nice relaxing Sunday on the couch watching football.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Souper Sunday Week 8 - Cheeseburger Soup


Well the month of October got a little crazy around here and we haven't been home to make soup and watch football in quite awhile. Yesterday, we finally got the chance and it was wonderful! By wonderful, I am referring to both the soup and the Steelers win over the Patriots!!!

Cheeseburger Soup
Ingredients:
2 lb ground beef
Hamburger seasoning of your choosing
1 large onion, diced
1 Tb butter
32 oz. Chicken broth
1 lb. Velveeta cheese, cubed
1 pint Half and Half
2 Tb flour
2 Tb cold water
15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
Directions:
Brown ground meat. Drain grease and season with whatever you would season your burger with. I used a Beef Rub spice mix that I happened to have on hand. Set aside.
In a large soup pot, melt 1 T. butter. Saute onions until translucent. Add the chicken broth, Velveeta cheese and the half & half.  Stir until cheese is melted.  
In a small bowl, mix the flour and water until smooth. You may have too add more or less of each to get the right consistency. Whisk into soup.  Add ground meat and tomatoes. Bring soup to a boil, stirring occasionally. 
The recipe I based this off of, called for a half of a head of lettuce, shredded. All the reviews said it was good, but I was being lazy. So at this point, you can add shredded lettuce to the soup or be lazy. 
Remove from heat. Serve in bread bowls, topped with a thick slice of bread, croutons, or plain. 
Enjoy! It's like a grilled summer burger in soup form.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Babies + Pumpkins = Too cute

I don't know if I ever mentioned that last year in my department at school, we had 5 pregnant mammas at he same time and 6 babies born! Four of the five are good friends and have tried to get the babies together as often as possible. (We aren' leaving the fifth out, but she only works part time and not directly with us so we arent' as close.) Last weekend was the first time we were all able to get together and so Owen was meeting a new friend, Jayden, for the first time.

Side story - Owen and Jayden were born on the same day, 20 minutes apart. When we went to the hospital on tuesday, I jokingly sent Jayden's mommy a text and told her that we beat her to the hospital but if she was quick, she could beat us in the baby race. She did. Jayden was born on 5/11 at 10:30 and Owen was born at 10:51. Our due dates were two days apart - mine on 5/ 17 and hers 5/15. What are the chances?

Anyway, we all met at Johansen's Farm and couldn't have had a better time taking pictures of the babies and enjoying our new roles as mommies and daddies.

Owen (5 months), Jayden (5 months), Camille (8 months) and isabella (10 months)

Birthday buddies!


My new favorite family picture!

Our little pumpkin!

BFFs!!!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Solids 101

I never thought I would have such strong feelings or emotions connected to pureed food. I also never thought my husband and I would discuss poop via text during the day. ( me: "i cant evn bgin 2 describe owen's diaper 2 u. brett: "dont") Along with baby, comes change.

I am in no hurry to feed Owen solids. I think I mentioned that before and I also mentioned that Owen won and has been eating bananas for over a month now. If I had my way, he could have  a treat of bananas every once in a  while but mommy's milk would be the #1 food for much longer. Unfortunately, I'm not getting my way (for several things, but we won't talk about going back to work because, yep, cue the tears). Owen is/ has been showing all readiness signs to start solids and the recommendation is between 4 and 6 months, although like everything, it's a personal choice. We decided that 5 months would be our starting point so that we could see the funny faces he was sure to make when trying new foods. The plan was to give him rice cereal on his 5 month birthday and start a new food every 3-4 days after that, watching for any signs of an allergic reaction. So that's what we did. On October 11, Owen "enjoyed" his first helping of rice cereal. Mixed with breast milk. Then mixed with bananas. The jury is still out on his opinion of rice cereal. A few days after, we gave him sweet potatoes and then pears, both of which are now favorites in Owen's book.

I decided that at least to start, I wanted to make Owen's baby food. With the help of a friend who did this last summer and the internet, it was a breeze. I found this website - Wholesome Baby Food: Momtastic -which was a wealth of information. I especially like their chart of foods to give baby for each stage. I downloaded and printed mine and stuck it in Owen's section of the Home Binder.Why did I want to make his food? Who wouldn't want to be up to their elbows in steamers, food processors, and purees? Seriously. I just felt that since I am home and have the time I could at least provide Owen with the best possible food to start. I don't know if I will make all of his baby food, but he is now well stocked for a while. Because I made his food, I know that there are no added ingredients, no chemicals, and that it is as fresh (or was before i froze it) as possible and is all organic.

What I did
For starters, Living Social offered a Whole Foods deal several weeks ago that I bought and recieved $20 worth of roceries for $10. So last week Owen and I headed to Whole Foods and purchased some organic fruits and veggies (and maybe a thing or two for mom and dad). I also purchased some packaged food just to have on hand. Here's what we started with:

Organic carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, apples, pears
Earth's Best Rice Cereal and Oatmeal
Earth's Best Sweet Potatoes (jar)
Sprout - Squash, Peas, Pears
When we got home, I got my supplies ready. For the sweet potatoes, squash, and carrots, I steamed them using my steamer basket inside a pot with a lid. After they were very tended, I used a food processor to puree them. In order to get the right consistency, I used the water they steamed in which also ensured we didn't lose any good nutrients. For the apples and pears, I peeled, cored, and diced them and then baked them covered on 300 for about 30 minutes. I then used the food processor for them also. They didn't need much water added because they created so much of their own.

So when I had several bowls of pureed foods lining the counter, I started filling up ice cube trays with all of the purees. I put them in the freezer over night, then popped them out into their own labeled freezer Ziploc bag.

Now, whenever Owen is ready for some food, I simply pop out a cube and let thaw. If we are in a hurry, I will nuke it in the microwave for a few seconds but I then make sure to stir it well and text to make sure there are no hot spots.

There you have it. I have enough cubes to last him until well after i go back to work since right now he is only eating one cube a day.

So simple. If anyone has any questions, I would be more than willing to offer my advice. I'm no expert but found this to be a very simple and economical project.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

5 Months of Baby Love


To my sweet boy! The past month has flown by even faster than the first 4. It must be because my time home with you is finally coming to an end. We have only 4 short weeks left.

You are getting so big! You have reached 16 pounds but I can't get an accurate length because you are alway on the move. Keeping your drawers full of clothes that fit is becoming a job. You are in 6-9 month clothes and can even wear some 12 months. We never know what trick you will show us each day. Last week, October 4, you woke up and rolled over. And that, my boy, has been the end of you spending any time on your tummy. Any time I put you there, you almost immediately roll right to your back you think you're pretty cool being able to do that.
"I'm not staying on my belly long!"
You also woke up one day and decided to try to mimic my mouth. Hilarious!

video

On September 18, we gave in and gave you bananas because you are so grabby when we eat. You love them. When the spoon gets near, you use both hands to try to force more than I am giving you in. What else has changed this month? Your baby bath tub is packed away. You needed your freedom and so we now lay a hand towel in the bathtub and you kick and splash like crazy.

You've been a traveler again. We visited Washington the first weekend in October and you attended the end of Julie's wedding. Daddy, you and I danced in your PJs to Kenny Chesney and Dave Matthew's song, "I'm Alive". We have decided that it's our family song! Your Gammy, Grandpap, and Uncle Ben were so happy, as always to see you. You even got to spend some time with your Great Grandma Rheba and Great Grandpap Bert. What a lucky guy you are!


You have visited Kuiper's Farm, The Morton Arboretum, the Adler Planetarium, and swung on the swings at the park for the first time. We had almost two weeks of perfect weather that we took full advantage of. We have been a busy family!
In nothing but a diaper on October 7!

You continue to amaze us each day with your bright disposition. You still sleep well during the day and are taking fewer but longer naps. You still wake up once in the night and I think it has just become a habit. We need to break that ahbit. You chew on everything and are drooling quite a bit. I think teeth might be in your future.  You are still very loud at home, in fact your screams are ear piercing, and serious when we are out.
Just like your Daddy. He gave you a tiny taste of cream cheese frosting and you nearly lost your mind!
Owen, your Dad and I just love you so much. We have talked recently about how there was something missing in our lives because and we didn't even know it until you came along.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Perfect Fall Weekend

Could we be more blessed with this weather lately? I mean really, it's October and this man is outside with no clothes on...

What a wonderful weekend we had! We opened our home to good friends, the Hooli's, and had more fun than we could handle. The interesting thing about the Hooli's is that Brett met Brian the same weekend that he and I met in Myrtle Beach. They became instant friends and as both boys moved on, got married, and had kiddos, our families have become wonderful friends. They are the kind of friends that you love to have as overnight guests. They're very much like us and we can have the greatest time doing nothing at all.

On Friday night, we enjoyed catching up playing with their boys, Colin is 3 and Brendan is 4, and they got to meet Owen for the first time.

On Saturday morning, the men went golfing and Claudette and I took the boys to the Adler Planetarium. Brett and Brian met us later on. What a  beautiful day to be by the lake and learn a little about space.  It's wonderful to be grown adults hanging out with your children and still acting like little kids. The joke of the weekend was "five" because so many jokes were made that you would think we were still kids. What planet comes after Saturn? Uranus. Yep! Still funny!
Saturday night we had a cookout, play tag in the dark and all retreated to the basement for some laughs and some good episodes of the Backyardigans. 

Sunday was equally as beautiful so we went to park. This was Owen's first real trip to the park and he enjoyed it immensely already.
Cluadette and I entertained ourselves by trying to learn to juggle with walnuts. "five". 


 Oh, I wish this weather could last forever!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

seasons change . . . and so do babies

i was standing at our kitchen window this morning looking out into the back yard. my coffee was heating in the microwave for the third time and i was chuckling to myself about what had just transpired over the last 5 minutes.

owen is a great napper. he gets squirmy and loud and that lets us know he is ready for bed. all we have to do is put him in his crib on his belly and he falls asleep. he may fuss or talk for a minute, but never longer.

yesterday, owen woke up and decided that he was going to start rolling over from his belly to his back. there went tummy time. he will. not. stay. on. his. belly. also yesterday, we had no problems with naps.

fast forward to this morning. owen let me know that he was ready for a nap. i kissed him and put him in bed. before i even got out of the room, he rolled to his back and was laughing. so i rolled him back over and the same thing happened. he has a mirror on the side of his crib that he started playing with.

as i stand at the kitchen window, he is currently in his crib, on his back, yelling at the top of his lungs playing with his mirror. he thinks this is the greatest thing since breast milk.

so as i look out the window and notice the orange and yellow leaves starting to spot the grass, it's hard not to think back to that the first time i looked out this window when owen was home, it was spring and he was nothing but a swaddled bundle on a phototherapy machine. as we moved into summer, the swaddling stopped because he needed to move. he developed a personality, learned to "talk", and found a way to communicate with us. now it's fall and he doesn't stay put. he's even louder and he loves bananas and his toys. a month from now, (because we live in the midwest) i will stand at this window and there will most likely be snow on the ground. and owen will be different.

and that's the life of a mother. standing at a window, looking at the same back yard and things are always totally different. it's amazing the incredible life lessons you learn in less than 5 months.

video

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fall Fun

Boy does time fly when you're having fun. And, boy, are we having fun being parents to this little boy.



Two weekends, we made a family trip to The Morton Arboretum. We had always wanted to see what the arboretum had to offer, but their admission price is a little steep for what were thought were just walking trails through a  bunch of trees. Thanks to their partnership with Groupon, I was able to get us in for less than half the price. While I still think their normal admission is a little steep, especially for large families, it was definitely more than walking trails though trees. Since we had no idea where to go and were struggling to read the map (yes, we are both beyond college educated), we went to the Children's Garden first. As you can imagine, Owen is a little too young for most of the activities but his parents sure had fun walking thorough imagining what he'll be like in the place next summer.




After the children's Garden, we headed down the Conifer Walk and saw some pretty amazing trees. this also leads into most of the "Nature Unframed" pieces. The pieces were interesting to say the least. I admire the artists for their imagination.

Lichen It!

By this point in the day, we had decided that we really liked this place, enough so the we ended purchasing a family membership. We're looking forward to going back this October with Owen in his costume and painting a pumpkin and this December for breakfast with Santa and a sled dog demonstration. The Arboretum also offers snow shoe rental which sounds like a fun day date for us! Overall, the Arboretum is beautiful. It is meticulously cared for and we are so excited to spend time there enjoying nature and the peace and quiet.





This past weekend, we visited Kuiper's Farm with the intention of picking apples and bringing home a family pumpkin. We had visited this Farm years ago and were excited to go back...until we got there. Much of the apple side has been redone and it is much more commercial than it was before. The line to pick apples was ridiculous and the line to pay for bags of apples was just as long. We did buy a bag of apples and took a few pictures. unfortunately, we didn't plan to spend so much time waiting in the line and by the time we got to the pumpkin side, Owen was not in the mood to be his usual smiling self. we're learning!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Soup {Recipe}

Souper Sunday - Week 2 was an old favorite, Zuppa Tuscano. But last week, Week 3, we were daring and tried a brand new soup. Since we love buffalo chicken dip, we decided it could only be better in soup form.  I had to do a little digging the internet to find one that sounded like it would turn out. It was good and is definitely "make again" but with several changes.

Buffalo Chicken Soup


Ingredients

    • 2 bunches green onions, chopped
    • 3 stalks celery, chopped
    • 1/4 cup butter
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 3/4 cup milk (I used a cup)
    • 3/4 cup chicken broth (I used a cup; also made my own with some chicken base and the water I boiled the chicken in)
    • 2 cups diced cooked chicken (I used 1 lb.; not sure how that compares to 2 cups)
    • 1/4-1/2 cup chicken wing sauce (I used closer to 1/2 cup and it was SPICEY)
    • 4 ounces Velveeta cheese (forgot to put in)
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
    • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Directions

  1. Saute onions and celery in butter until tender.
  2. Stir in flour until smooth.
  3. Slowly add milk and broth.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and simmer, stirring occasionally, until cheese has melted.
  5. Serve with biscuits, breadsticks crescent rolls, or crushed tortilla chips. 


*So it really was good, but it was super thick and didn't make much at all. So next time, I would use 2 cups of milk (actually probably half and half) and 2 cups broth, maybe even more, because it needed a lot more broth. I also would not put the velveeta in, I think that seems odd, but I think I would add 4 ounces of cream cheese instead. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Why we didn't tell

I've been thinking about writing this post for a while, but didn't know how to put it into words without perhaps offending someone. Then just this morning, Blue Eyed Bride (probably my most favorite blog) wrote a beautiful post about being a boy mom and it really got me thinking.

Brett and I tried to get pregnant for 7 months. As I have said before, I'm not claiming to have suffered any great getting-pregnant struggle. There are many of you out there that have gone to the moon and back and still don't have that bundle of joy. My heart goes out to those families. But, as a member of a family that has been through infertility (it wasn't planned that there is 10 and 11 years between my brothers and I), I know what a blessing pregnancies that end with a healthy baby are.

So on September 8, 2010, when that test said positive, the only thing left was to pray for a healthy baby, and even at that, we would have loved whatever we were blessed with. From the start I was torn about finding out the gender of the baby. I went back and forth with all of the common pros and cons. It's the only real surprise in your life. Don't find out. It's so much easier to plan if you know. I decided that because it didn't matter to me at all, I didn't care to find out. Brett felt differently and really wanted to know. So like everything in marriage, we compromised.

We found out but made the decision to only tell our immediate family and one friend each. It was hard knowing and not sharing some of those feelings with people, but the bottom line was that it didn't matter. I didn't want this baby already entering into a world of pink or blue. I didn't want the world casting judgement  that "Brett got his boy! Congratulations!" or "Maybe the next one with be a girl, Marissa." I didn't care and neither did Brett. We both had the same fears. Brett confided that he didn't know what to do with a girl and it made him a little nervous, but also admitted that she would be a Daddy's girl forever. I was worried that I didn't know what to do with a boy. I'm not the most athletic and I knew that if we had a boy there would be so many things that Brett would do with him that I would not be a part of or at least on the outside of. Even with those fears, the gender of our baby was the least of our concerns.

Many people had a hard time with our decision and made it their mission to find out. People badgered and asked over and over. People tried to trick us into telling (Brett actually fell for one). It mattered more to everyone else what this baby was than it did to us.

When I think about Owen's future and my relationship with him, I know it will not be the same as it would if he were a girl. It will be different and special in its own way. I want him to be the tough guy who shows a brave face to his teammates and Dad and then comes home and cries on his mom's shoulder because they lost the game.

We hope that there are more babies in our future, but there may not be. If there are, we will love them and open our hearts to a son or a daughter. There's a special relationship between brothers and brothers and sisters just the same.


For now, I just hope that Brett and Owen will let me tag along to the batting cage. I'm really good at packing snacks.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Going Bananas!


"I'm not giving Owen solid until I absolutely have to." Yep! That was me saying that not too long ago. Well, the little guy won. As I posted before, he became SO interested in what we were eating, especially after we put him at the table, that I gave in and gave him bananas. He loves them. I don't. Why? Let's just say the consistency and odor of his diaper changed immediately. Gross!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy 4 months to Owen!



To my little boy - you're growing up. Each month I can't believe how much bigger you get and how your personality shines through more and more. This month is no different. You went to your 4 month doctor appointment and Dr. Ables thinks you're doing great! She told us you need more tummy time so that you will start to roll over consistently. It's not that you don't like it, but you sometimes think it's time for bed and put your head down and fall asleep. You still have that one little problem (I know Owen is only 4 months but right now I don't want to embarrass him) so we have made you an appointment with a specialist in December; we're hoping things resolve and we can cancel it). 

Weight - 15 lbs. 3 oz.

Height - 26 3/4 in.

What an active guy you are becoming. You don't like to be help in my arms any more unless you are eating; you love to be sitting up so you can look around. Everyone comments on how serious you are and how observant you seem. The funny thing is, when it just you or you and  us, you are LOUD! You love you voice and love to talk to yourself. You think it's hysterical to scream, not cry, just yell really loud! You especially love to do it at the store. You've started to laugh a little, especially at Daddy because you think he is so funny. You still love Lucy and Tucker very much, although Lucy seems a little afraid of you lately (I think it's that loud thing). Because you are more active, you love your toys even more. You can pick things up and put them in your mouth. you like to chew on your Sophie and on blankets. You have found your hands and feet and love to play with both. You have stopped taking a pacifier all together and like to suck your fingers although you never suck the same combination of them. As for your feet, you love to kick them up and play with them and it's making diaper changing a little more difficult.

For the most part, you are always happy. You let us know when you are tired and still can put yourself to sleep; all we have to do is lay you down. As long as you are rested and fed, you don't cry. You're still getting up 1 time a night (although you slept through the night a few times in Washington because you were up late) but when you do, you are hungry and eat well. We have a great routine during the day and I love being able to spend this time with you.  

The past month seems to have flown by - you've been a very busy boy! 
  • You kept a secret and helped daddy plan a surprise 30th birthday party for me on August 13.
  • You visited Dayton Ohio and helped move Uncle Scotty into school. 

  • You spent two weeks in Washington visiting with Gammy and Grandpap and lots of other friends and family.
  • You visited Pittsburgh and helped Uncle Ben move into his apartment. 
  • You rolled over for me to see and haven't done it since. 

  • You made it through your first "Souper Sunday", September 11,  with us. You loved sitting in the kitchen watching Daddy cut potatoes for the soup.

  • You helped put out the American flag on September 11 to mark the 10th anniversary of a very sad day. We will help you to understand the importance of this day when you are older but for now, you just need to know you live in a wonderful country!
  • You have started having to trouble nursing when we are eating because you are so interested in what we are doing. You watch us eat and drink and look sad that you aren't getting any. We aren't quite ready to give you food, but we did get out your high chair and now you sit with us at the dinner table like a big boy. 
  • You stayed with a babysitter, Grandma Shari, Aunt Cathy, and Grandpa Mike, for the longest time yet so that Daddy and I could celebrate our 6th anniversary. 


Good job, stinker butt, on another fun month! You keep making us smile and we'll keep changing your diaper!
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