Saturday, December 25, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree






"The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree 
is the presence of a happy family 
all wrapped up in each other."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

where was i?

After typing this title, I have to kind of chuckle ... because, really, it's a valid question in regards to my much-neglected blog ... but I will save all of that for another time. 

Right now, I need to hear from you ... so I am dusting off ...


Two times in the past week, Natalie has asked me, "Where was I?"  And both times, I struggled to answer this question.  Both conversations went something like this ...

"Mommy, when did you and daddy get married?"

"Oh, that was a long time ago, honey.  Twelve years ago."

"How old was I when you got married? Was I a little baby?"

"You weren't even born yet, Natalie."

Big - long- pause - thoughtful expression ...

"Well, where was I, mommy?" 

Big - long-pause-totally, fa-reakin' stumped expression ...

"Ummm, well,  ... "

"Was I in your belly when you got married?"

"No, honey, you weren't growing in my belly yet.  I guess you were growing in my heart."

This sparked a string of giggles, and then this response, "Mommy, you silly!  Babies no grow in hearts.  Babies grow in bellies!"

HOW do I answer that question?   

Where was I (before I was born, before I was growing in your belly)?

Please help!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Meal Plan ...

I really suck at this ... but I am trying!

Here's what the Vs x 4 will be dining on this week ... if all goes well ... 

Sunday - Marvelous Mini Meatloaves, Mashed Tators, and Corn

Monday - Pizza (possibly frozen or take-and-bake)
Going with a no-fuss dinner on a Monday night because ... I have plans to attend an MNI/Cookie Exchange!

Tuesday - Updated Chicken Pot Pie
Making two: one for my family and one for my bed-resting with a preschooler friend Kelly.  This has long been my go-to recipe for taking to new mamas or bed-resting mamas.  It's easy and delicious and the younger crowd (aka the big brother/sister) usually gobbles it up, too!  Side note: I modify this recipe to exclude the Velveeta (I am not a fan) and substitute cream cheese instead.

Wednesday - Pecan-encrusted Salmon, Rice, and Veggies

Thursday - Sloppy Joes & Sweet Potato Fries
Going to give Chitown Momma's recipe a try ...
  • Brown 1 lb beef, season as you like (s&p, garlic powder)
  • 1/2 c ketchup
  • onion - as much or as little as you like or omit if you don't have one
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp mustard
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar
It can be ready to eat as soon as you feel the ingredients are pretty mixed up (if you are in a hurry), but it does taste a bit better if it sits and simmers on low heat for a while (30-60min on stove or hours in a crock pot)

Friday -  Grilled Cheese & Soup
It's date night (finally) and I want to save room for whatever yumminess our hostess is serving!

Saturday - White Chili - a recipe from my Aunt Sheila
  • 1 T. oil
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast havles, cubed
  • 3/4 C. onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) chichken broth, divided
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 3 cans (15 oz) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cans (4.5 oz) green chiles
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 pkg. shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
  • 1 sm. container sour cream (optional)
  • 1 bag of tortilla chips (optional)
  1. Heat oil in a heavy 4 qt sauce pan over med high heat.
  2. Add chicken; cook for 2 or 3 minutes. add onion and garlic;
  3. Cook for 2 minutes. in sm. bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the broth with corn starch. add to chicken mixture along with remaining broth, beans, chilies,and seasonings. cover and bring to boil.
    Uncover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Ladle into serving bowls. Top with cheese and sour cream.
  5. Serve with tortillias chips.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

hard at play, hard at work

While I was putting CJV down for her afternoon nap, I encouraged Natalie to find something to play by herself until I was able to read her story and put her down for a nap.  Assuming she would entertain herself for all of about 5 minutes ... 

Boy, was I surprised {and very entertained} when my three year old spent the next 45 minutes ...
  • Loading every piece of play food into her {super cute REI} backpack.
  • Announcing she was hiking into the Highlands.
  • Emptying our "cuddling" bin to find two baby dolls.
  • Introducing me to her new babies - one is a boy and the other is a girl.
  • Telling me the baby's names: Tim & Buddah.
  • Finding another baby doll and naming her Charlotte.
  • Lining up a bunch of small pillows and blankets with great determination and focus - chatting to herself and her babies all the while :)
  • Putting each baby down for a nap - with a story and a song.
  • Finding a fourth and fifth baby doll - named Sign-eey and Part-dee.
  • Solving a pillow shortage dilemma by having the babies share.
  • Scurrying around the downstairs picking up toys (without being asked!)
  • Deciding - in her words, "Being a mommy is really hard work!"



So true, my little love.  But it is also very rewarding!

lunch & fruit

I included a smattering of raisins on Natalie's plate for lunch today.  (God forbid.)  She noticed right away and said, "No, mommy, I didn't ask for RAY-sins for yuunch!  Yuk!"  I calmly explained that we eat some fruit with lunch because fruit is good for you and helps your body grow.  (Now whether or  not raisins are the best option for a "fruit" is debatable, but really, I am struggling to get any fruit into her body!)  She nodded her agreement (imagine that) and then told me, "I will eat three raisins because I am three years old. I will not eat all of these raisins. Yuk!"  (Okay, fine!)

Our lunch conversation continued, and we chatted about our favorite parts of the movie Tangled and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.  Then, out of nowhere, Natalie stops talking, looks right at my plate, and says, "Mommy, where is YOUR fruit?"  Busted!  And she was right!  Darn, observant three year old!

I grabbed a handful of raspberries from the fridge and offered one to Natalie.  She reacted with much disgust and even agreed to eat all of her raisins as long as she didn't have to eat a berry!  

Monday, December 6, 2010

Santa and his Reindeer

The day after Charlotte's 1st Birthday we made the trip to the local zoo for their Reindeer Festival.   All the animal sculptures are "decked" with garland.  Each animal exhibit includes a creative explanation of how the animal helps Santa - the lemurs are his sentinels, the wallaby are mail carriers, ... Best of all, a team of reindeer are on display just outside the cutest little house where Santa greets little boys and girls.

I am hopeful this will become our tradition.

Mainly because this is where we were the day before Charlotte was born last year. I found out about the induction and insisted Natalie see Santa because I wasn't sure when we'd be able to venture out of the house again ... it was a good call because December included recovery and a NICU stay and very cold temperatures and round the clock pumping/feeding ... it was such a blur!

I contracted the entire time, but I am so glad we went! 
My tiny baby bump {aka Charlotte} is tucked beneath my red peacoat.



This year, that baby bump is a little elf  in my arms!




We've had Natalie's Santa photo taken at the zoo for the past three years.  There's never a crowd or a wait.  Santa is in his own little house, just a short walk up a hill and past his team of reindeer.  It's magical, if you ask me :)   I cannot believe how much she has changed, and I cannot wait to add to this collage next year!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

the birthday girl


you are my sweet, sweet girl
you are my tiny little peanut

your first year has been amazing

happy birthday, charlotte jane
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