Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Merry late late Christmas!

What a negligent blogger I've been. So sorry about that. I do have an excuse(s) though.

First, Santa blessed Madelyn with a double ear infection just days before Christmas and she was pretty miserable to say the least. If you're keeping track like I am, this is now her third ear infection. Yuck. She is now recovered and feeling wonderfully. In addition, she sprouted a few new teeth and now has all 4 in the front on top, and two on the front bottom. This has lead to the subtle introduction to table food...more on that later.
My Mom and Dad came into town for the holiday which was such a treat. We had a great time and it was such a blessing to have both of them here for Christmas. Matt's parents came down and joined us for part of Christmas Eve as well so we all got to be together which is a rare experience. Madelyn actually loved ripping into presents which I couldn't believe. I didn't think she'd have much interest but boy was I wrong. We spent a lot of time eating and relaxing. It was a perfect holiday.

Now that all of our fun guests are gone, we're just enjoying the week together before I have to go back to work on Monday. As I said earlier, I'm beginning to introduce Madelyn to table food and woah is it scary. I sit there and watch her chew every single bite, scared to death that she could choke. The level of my own paranoia and neuroses is really starting to become clear to me and I'm confident I'm the most neurotic mother ever! Lucky Madelyn :)

Here are a few pictures of our Christmas adventures, in no particular order and without captions. I think my blog hiatus has made me lazy.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

I don't understand what the big deal is. All this talk about meeting you for the first time and I have to admit, I found the process a bit boring and quite frankly, was completely underwhelmed. All of the other kids seemed excited to see you and some were running away from you crying (what did you do to them?!). I really would have preferred to stay at home and play with my plastic spoons on the floor.

Maybe next year you could make it a little bit more exciting for me. And tell Mommy and Daddy to go easy on the pictures, I felt like Suri Cruise with all of those flashes!

Friday, December 11, 2009

All I want for Christmas is...

My two front teeth!

Thanks,Santa, for my early Christmas present :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Come back, Fall!

Well, it's officially winter. Please forgive my lack of enthusiasm but in my opinion the only good thing about winter is the holidays. Besides those few special days, I'd be perfectly content to have fall weather from now until March. And, as if having to retire my beloved flip flops for the next 3 months and bundle up in enormous jackets everytime we leave the house isn't bad enough, now I also have to bundle up a 7 month old and try to cram her puffy little body into a car seat! I get out of breath just thinking about it.

Here is her heiness on Saturday getting ready to venture out. Today I had to quickly run her up to the doctor (yes, again) to make sure she didn't have another ear infection (thank you Jesus, she doesn't) and almost wore a similar vest but then decided being mother-daughter twins was a little too dorky, even for me.

Our sweet friends Chad and Amanda watched her for a few hours Saturday so we could go up and tailgate with friends for the SEC Championship. Sadly, as I'm sure you know, our Gators did not pull it off this year and the media is having a field day with shots of our beloved Tebow crying after the game. I'd like to tell those people, that if they did just one quarter of the public service Tebow does in his spare time, perhaps they'd feel differently and be a bit less judgmental. But, alas, I don't have a blog on ESPN to vent these feelings.

Yesterday Matt went all National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and decked the house out in lights. It looks awesome. We also finally finished putting up our tree and I sold my first item on Craig's List! Now I'm a selling frenzy. Gotta make money so we can move into a new house!!

Not much on the docket for this week, hopefully getting caught up on house work, finishing Christmas shopping/shipping, beginning to work on our Christmas menu, etc...

Hope everyone has a great week. I'll post some picture of our Christmas decor (and Santa's favorite little elf) later this week:)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Cocktail, anyone?!

First of all, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving with my family without a new cocktail recipe and oh-my-goodness is this a yummy one. It's simple, fresh, and seriously delicious. Just mix one part St. Germain (an elderflower liquor) and one part Prosecco and enjoy:) St. Germain is a bit tricky to find as it's still a fairly new product, but a bottle goes a long way and it's well worth the search.

In other news, we had a great trip down to Florida. Madelyn was an absolute angel the entire time. I don't think I've ever seen her so smily and happy and on top of that, she found her singing voice! She has started singing "la la la la la" and then proceeds to get very excited about it. My sweet mom bought her a bunch of new toys and clothes but her favorite thing we brought back is a $1 plastic spoon from Ikea that my mom gave her out of the kitchen drawer. Go figure.

It seems we've returned to the arctic tundra as it's now freezing here, and raining which doesn't help matters. I'm suddenly very grateful I don't live up north because I cannot imagine having to bundle up little ones every time you leave the house! I'm so spoiled by my warm Florida childhood.

This week we are decking the house out for Christmas (assuming the rain stops) and excitedly waiting for Dai and Andrew to get into town for the SEC Championship which my beloved Gators are of course playing in. I'm going to soak up every minute of this one because I know we are in for a few mediocre seasons coming up. It's just not fair that we are this good every year ;)

Here are a few pictures of little miss with the family at Thanksgiving. Everyone was pretty smitten with surprise there :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Gobble Gobble

Happy Thanksgiving Week Everyone!!

Even though I've already been to two pre-Thanksgiving celebrations (thank you Matt's family and work for getting my pants nice and stretched out in preparation for the real day) I am most excited about this Thursday because we get to spend it down on Florida with my family :) I am seriously dying for them to see Madelyn. Part of the fun at this age is showing her off because she's just so darn cute and sweet and talkative! She has A LOT to say which she usually voices in the form of a happy screeching yelling sound. It's much funnier and more endearing than scary I promise.

She also cemented her 7 month birthday in history by fully crawling across her bedroom and pulling herself up to standing in her recently lowered crib. I put her in there to vacuum, looked over and saw two curious eyes peering over the top of the crib, much to my surprise. Never a dull moment I tell you :)

I've been busy around the house doing a few little DIY projects that I'll share soon. Given my lack of craft skills and creativity I should emphasize these were quick and easy endeavors...don't get too excited :)

So, Wednesday afternoon we'll be packing up our Tahoe with more clothes/bottles/toys than Madelyn could ever possibly need in a 4 day stretch and heading down to Orlando. I've bought a new set of fun noise-making "instruments" to keep her entertained in the event she gets bored/uncomfortable, which given the fact that she's almost outgrown her car seat is highly likely. I'm not above bribing her with toys. It's a long ride.

I'm very much looking forward to a forecast of 75 degrees, my mom's corn casserole and field greens salad, a little requisite black Friday shopping, and good time with my family :) Lots of cute pictures to come when we return!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Men are from Mars

It wasn't until I became a parent that I began to notice the vast innate differences between men and women. They're so apparent it's really become a bit laughable. For example, when Madelyn isn't feeling well I essentially don't sleep. I'm running into her room every few minutes to make sure she's ok, sitting in her room just to watch her sleep, generally sitting on the edge of my seat until she gets up and I know she's ok. Matt sleeps. He sleeps all night, like a sweet little exhausted baby. And in the morning when I talk about how much I was up, he has no recollection of such activity. I worry every single second. Matt worries, but not in the way that inhibits his everyday activity like, ahem, her mother (let's not forget our little ER visit of late).

I stress, and for a naturally low-stress person this is a new feeling for me. I stress about having a clean house, having food for us to eat, doing my job well enough that I exceed my boss' expectations, looking like a cute mom and not a frumpy mom mess, teaching Madelyn every little thing she needs to know, and no matter how much Matt does I always feel like I'm doing everything. I think this is the burden of being a women. We always put more pressure on ourselves than anyone else ever will. And men just go on living like normal. They don't feel the need to constantly be doing something, accomplishing something, teaching, balancing, and the list goes on and on. It's not their fault, it's genetic! I truly believe that. Matt is an awesome husband, he helps me with everything around the house, he is an amazing father to Madelyn, anyone who knows him could easily give you a testament to how lucky I am to have him, yet the "burden" of parenting and all that it entails will always fall on the mother and in one respect, he may be in a lose-lose situation (yikes!)

Another example, I make a to-do list every single day. Sometimes more than one. Right now I have a "normal" list, a "Christmas" list, and a "house" list. Oh, and a list for Matt, since men don't tend to make such organized demands upon themselves ;) He thinks I'm crazy. And that I could singlehandly revive the paper industry with such lists.

Truth be told, it can be hard to be the best wife and best mom you can be and also take time to be the best You possible. Logically being the best version of yourself will allow you to give your best to your husband and children, but sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day! Some days I feel like I have it all under control. I do yoga, dinner is ready, Madelyn is bathed, read to and smiling up at me. And other days I run in from work, eat a piece of toast for dinner, and just try to do everything I can before Matt and I crash into bed, sleeping (sometimes snoring) within minutes). Maybe the secret is to give in and stop trying to have it all under control, and just accept that I have no control. And be extra sweet to Matt because it's not his fault he's not a raging organized overly-controlling maniac like I am. And pray...for both of us :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I'm in trouble now...

Madelyn is crawling a few "steps" at a time now, pulling up on everything, and has figured out how to untie her crib bumper. She does NOT want to lie down to have her diaper changed so I'm trying to figure out how to do it while she's sitting....yeah, it's just as tricky as it sounds. And, we've experienced our first few temper tantrums when she can't get to the toy she wants. I am not ready for this!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It never fails...

Today began at 5:30 when Madelyn woke up, screaming incessantly, which is to be expected when you have bronchitis, an ear infection, and several teeth trying to make their way through. I fed her, put her down for a nap, and two hours later she got up (good nap!). She was having a really hard time breathing and wheezing pretty badly. Bad enough that I packed her up and immediately drove to the emergency room. It was windy, pouring down rain (thank you, Ida) and hard to see because I was crying so hard my tears were blurring my vision! (I'm a first time parent, panic is my middle name...)

As soon as we got there she was fine. Completely fine. But, to get in was no small challenge. I had to park way out from the doors to the ER, get the stroller out, run through what felt like hurricane Andrew to get inside, all while her diaper bag flung all over the place and my cell phone flew out and immediately shattered in a puddle. We got in, soaking and cold (just what a sick kid needs), but they checked her out and sure enough, her lungs are clear. She is obviously having trouble breathing because she is full of mucus, but not so much that we should be alarmed. Score of 1 for the overly paranoid mother :)

We are now back home, cell phone dried out and operating normally, resting and recuperating. I'm working while Madelyn plays in her pack and play as the doctor instructed me to keep her away from other kids as much as possible these next few days so the new stronger antibiotics can kick in. It is always something!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

We Love Fall!

This weekend Madelyn and I got to spend lots of good girl time together and we had so much fun. She is so interactive now and you can actually play with her which is such a change from the little baby that used to just lay there and stare at you :)

Since she's really quite good at sitting these days, we spent some time in the front yard playing in (read: eating) leaves. She loved the crunchy sound they made and really loved the taste;) Since I was behind the camera she definitely snuck a few in before I could get to her. See exhibit A:

Saturday night we had a girl's night up at Jenny's house which was much needed and so overdue. It was so great to sit around with the girls and chit chat, I never underestimate the power of a good girl's night for your mental well being. The wine and pizza helped too :)

This morning we made our fourth (yes, fourth) visit to the doctor's in the past month to find out that her little right ear is infected again. She better have a seriously strong immune system when she gets older with all the germs she's been exposed to lately. Today we'll start 10 days of a stronger antibiotic to hopefully knock out the ear infection and the rest of the bronchitis. The good news is, she's such a good sport when she's sick and she still tries to be her usual happy self. She must get that from her mommy ;)

Hope you are all having a great week and beautiful fall weather like we've been blessed with here!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Back in Action

I am back from the dead. This week has seriously taken it out of me. On top of everything else, Madelyn's schedule has gone completely haywire, mostly due to teething, but I don't know what to do! Mom's out there, please send me any advice! She was sleeping 11 hours a night, now she's only sleeping 9 and waking up during the night. I'm seriously hoping it's just a quick phase, but try to be sympathetic because I know she's super uncomfortable

On a completely unrelated note, I made this tamale casserole for dinner last week and it was killer good. Matt and his brother Luke couldn't stop eating it and it's perfect for a chilly night. I added black beans to the mixture just for some added protein and it turned out pretty well.

Gotta run- little miss does not want to nap and she's now fussing in this fun high-pitched squeal she's recently realized she can make. Never a dull moment around here :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Down For The Count

In the course of the last 30 days I have had a cold, Matt had a cold, I suffered a 4 day string of horrible insomnia upon which I ended up so weak and delirious I literally wouldn't let myself drive Madelyn anywhere, Friday Madelyn was diagnosed with bronchitis, and last night around 8 I can down with a violent stomach flu. Seriously, I couldn't make this up if I tried. Thank God I have a wonderful husband who does every little thing he can to help. So, I am in bed after being up all night with said stomach flu, hoping it's a 24 hour bug and I at least feel good enough to go get my little pumpkin from daycare in a few hours, otherwise we're calling the reinforcements- Matt's mom. She's been advised to please be "on call". Upon recovery I plan to hold a small prayer vigil to ask that Matt and Madelyn DO NOT get this highly contagious virus, and Lysol the entire house as a preventative measure.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Madelyn: 6 Months

Madelyn turned 6 months old last Thursday and she is just getting cuter and sweeter by the day. Here are a few little insights into our life these days :)
  • Madelyn is eating all sorts of baby foods. So far we've tried sweet potatoes, squash, apples, pears, peas, and bananas. She eats fruit and oatmeal mid-morning after her first bottle and then a veggie at night before her last bottle. She is definitely developing a love of food just like her mama ;)
  • She is teething like crazy, bless her heart (I love saying that. It's so Paula :) Her gums are all swolen and she is instantly knawing on anything she can get her little hands on, but no teeth have come through yet. We're hoping a few pop through at one time so she can get some relief!
  • She is still sleeping 11 hours a night, and usually takes 3 45-minute naps a day. Technically she should be napping longer than this (or so my BabyWise books says, and let's be honest, I treat that thing like my second Bible), but as long as she's happy I'm not worrying about it.
  • She talks all the time, usually at night when she gets sleepy is when she really pipes up. Yesterday she said "cake". I know she hasn't the slightest clue what that means, but she made the sound.
  • She loves toys that make sound or talk to her.
  • She rolls around constantly, and can sit for a little bit on her own before she goes for her feet (to knaw on of course) and falls forward. Everytime she face plants I make sure to laugh and say "yaaay!!" so she's not scared of falling. She's not crawling, but she does get up on her hands and then push up onto her head like a head stand. Not sure what she thinks she's doing, but it's cute to watch.
  • Last night she sat in my lap while Matt and I watched our DVR'd "Brothers and Sisters" (which was freakin hysterical) and just cuddled. It was precious. I try not to have the TV on too much because I don't want her to be one of those kids that is constantly watching it, but most of the time it's on she's just playing with her hands and feet and not really paying attention.

While she's "only" aged 6 months I sometimes feel like I've aged 6 years in the process, but I have loved every single second. Matt and I have made a conscious effort not to say "I can't wait until she does this or that" because we want to enjoy each individual phase and we know how quickly they will pass, and I think that's really helped us to appreciate every little moment :)

Friday, October 23, 2009

I Need Some Inspiration!

I traditionally like to get my Christmas shopping done early, not only so that I'm not running around like a maniac at the last minute, but because I LOOOOVE Christmas shopping. I love the garland, the Salvation Army bell ringers, the rude crowds and mass hysteria, all of it. I do think it's a bit obnoxious that all of the stores are decorated immediately after Halloween, but I don't mind one bit. The problem this year is a- finding time, and b- for some reason, I can't think of what to get everyone! Seriously, if you have any cute ideas for Christmas gifts please send them my way. Especially if you have good online stores/resources because my time constraints will no doubt lead to lots of online shopping this year.

On another note, tonight begins another busy weekend for us. First, I plan to have a glass of wine the minute the clock strikes 5 and I get home from getting Madelyn at daycare. If it quits raining we'll probably go out for a little happy hour walk around the neighborhood (why else would they put cup holders on strollers??) :) Then we're heading over to Chad and Amanda's for a little potluck dinner and some relaxing with the kids.

Tomorrow we are heading up to Chelsea and David's for their little one Connor's first birthday party. I can't wait to see all of the kids dressed up, plus it's going to be a beautiful day- 61 and sunny. Just perfect for a Fall party.

Sunday Matt and I are going on a date!! Wooohoo!! I think we've seriously only spent time together just the two of us a handful of times since Madelyn was born and it is far overdue. We're just planning dinner and a movie, but I am super excited. Sweet Aunt Kristin is going to babysit for us- thanks, K!

On another note I cut all of my hair off yesterday (ok all may be a bit dramatic, but it is much shorter) and I don't like it! I'm taking my prenatal vitamins again in hopes it grows back quickly. I should have known better! Everytime I cut my hair short I look like a total nerd! Ugh.

Also, today when I looked in the mirror I felt like my knees looked fat, like they have that extra skin right above them. I know that sounds odd but I'm wondering if this is a sign of aging. How sad. I've lost all of the baby weight plus some extra and I still have chubby knees?! And short nerdy hair?! It's a good thing I don't have the time or brainpower to worry about it. hah.

I'll leave you with a picture of my sweet little sleeping beauty... if I don't post at least one picture I'll inevitably hear from my mother the minute she reads this...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Giving Back

I said a while back that I was going to start doing at least one good deed a week. It didn't have to be big, just something nice and selfless, for someone else. I've tried to do little things here and there, but nothing substantial yet. So I decided today was the day :)

I did some research online and found a local women's shelter who's offices are literally less than a mile from my house. The organization is called Promise Place, and they offer services to women and their children who are being victims of domestic abuse. This cause really touched my heart because I just can't stand the thought of a child being in that kind of environment. I can't even imagine the life-long effects it has on them and their ability to have normal relationships with people.

Today during my lunch break I'm going to run up there and drop off all of the baby formula we have that we can't use (three bags worth!), diapers that no longer fit, as well as a huge bag of clothes. While I'm at the grocery store this week I'm also going to pick up some extra food to take over there, because I know they can always use that when feeding little hungry mouths.

I'm really excited to help this organization not only because I truly believe in helping people who want to help themselves, but also because it's local, and helping people right here in our own community. It's very easy to forgot how overwhelmingly blessed we all are and how important it is to help those around us who are fighting battles everyday that they can't control and didn't ask for.

Please keep these women in your thoughts and prayers and think about helping an organization in your neighborhood. I know with these economic conditions they can use our help now more than ever.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Tired Baby and a Freezing Cold Pumpkin Patch

Well, my timing was impeccable as always...Saturday we decided to go to the pumpkin patch and it just so happened to be the coldest day of the year so far. With a high of 48 degrees, cloudy skies, and a blustery wind, it was certainly less than ideal, but it was worth it just to see Madelyn so cute and bundled up!

On top of the weather, she was super sleepy so not many smiles in these pictures, but I can assure you she was having fun :)

I propped her up on this hay bale around these pumpkins for pictures (obviously) which seemed perfectly safe. Well, she decided she was done, threw her body to the side, and rolled right off. That's right, rolled right off the hay bale onto the ground, Matt's foot to be exact. Even though we all had a minor coronary, she was fine and didn't shed one tear. What a trooper. Pay more attention, mom!
Sunday we ventured up to the aquarium which was really cool. Even though it's been open for several years now we still hadn't been (shame on us), so Matt and I were super excited. Oddly, the highlight was seeing my sister, who has no desire whatsoever to have children, carry Madelyn around in the Baby Bjorn (willingly I might add). She must really love her. I mean, the Baby Bjorn is the hottest fashion accessory this season.

This week should hopefully be quiet and then we have another full weekend planned! My goal for this week is just to start taking better care of myself. I have admittedly put myself last since Madelyn was born and forgone my constant water drinking, vitamin taking, and exercising, which has reared it's ugly head in the form of 3 colds in one month. Not pretty. So, I guess that's my "end of the year resolution" :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Motherhood is Not for Sissies

That is the title of a cute little book my dad gave me when I was pregnant this past Christmas. What wasn't so cute was the mess I had to clean up on Sunday night after Madelyn got sick all over her bedroom in the middle of the night! That phrase never rang more true to me. Motherhood is definitely not for sissies.

Poor little thing has her first ear infection, which while that's not fun to deal with, is much better than the swine flu diagnosis I was sure we were going to receive from the doctor. Luckily after a few days of not feeling well we have some antibiotics in her system and she seems to be coming around. Considering how bad she must be feeling, she's really been a very good sport. She did keep us up for a good bit of the night on Sunday, but last night she slept for her usual uninterupted 11 hours which I was very grateful for. It's times like these when I am so so thankful I have a job that allows me the flexibility to work from home. I really don't know how you manage it if you have a sick little would be very difficult. I will say I have not minded one bit that she wants her mommy when she doesn't feel good. I am loving every second of that :)

Other highlights from this week so far:

- I spent $26 dollars at the grocery store on Sunday and saved $25! Score! Given that this week we had to buy a new car battery, weed eater, and Costco membership this was a nice save.

- We found an alternate Halloween costume for Madelyn that is sure to be absolutely adorable on her. The peacock came in the mail and while it definitely had that obnoxious factor I was going for, it was this yucky synthetic fabric and I just couldn't justify making her wear it all day.

- My dad, his girlfriend Christine, and Lindsey are coming into town this weekend! Yay! Our original plan was to go down to Savannah for the weekend but we've decided just to stay in town and keep it easy. Given how much I've been away from home, the fact that I've been sick and now Madelyn is sick, this was a welcome change of plans.

- Matt is working like crazy on his new job but he really likes it which is such a huge blessing. I am so proud of him and how driven he is to succeed at this. Granted, it's a little crazy when we are both having to work at night when Madelyn goes to bed, I know it will slow down soon.
- My beloved Gators defeated the LSU tigers on Saturday in an ugly, somewhat uneventful game, but given that this is a "family divided" game between myself and my dad, it's always a good one :)
All in all, life is good! :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sittin Pretty

Check out little miss sitting in her brown rocking chair this afternoon!

Home Sweet Home

It is soooo good to be home!! Home really is where my heart it, more now than ever. I mean look at this face, how could you Not want to be around her all day long?!

Me and the girls had a great time in Key West. All photos have been banned from internet distribution so I won't be sharing. I think that really says it all. Dai had a wonderful bachelorette party even though the wedding isn't until March! Now I can safely say that I have no more trips for a while and plan to enjoy every minute at home with Matt and my little monkey.

Madelyn is up to all sorts of new things. She has become such a little roly poly rolling all over the place and suddenly loves to be on her tummy. I think she's starting to get the idea that crawling is in her future. She can also sit for a few seconds on her own. Of course, she instantly goes for her feet as soon as you put her in this position- she looooves her feet and really prefers them in her mouth. She's also eating baby food! I have yet to make my own since things have been so crazy, but am looking forward to it. For now she's just tried Earth's Best organic sweet potatoes, peas, and now we're on bananas. She is becoming so interactive and just gets cuter by the day. Naturally :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Have Some Class, People

To my loyal readers (all 4 of you), I regret to inform you that I will have to approve comments to the blog before they post from now on, thanks to a very classy person who commented on my last post with some sort of pornographic link. Nice. I have yet to figure out how to delete it, so in the meantime please do not click on it! Especially if you are on your work computer!

You will go through the same process to comment, I'll just approve them before they are visible online.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Our Menu This Week

As I said earlier, after weeks of absolute craziness, I am cooking again. Matt is stifling his excitement because he's trying to be sweet and act like eating leftovers/ready made food all the time is fine with him, but I know he's looking forward to some fresh ingredients. We were lucky enough that after having lunch with Matt's family on Sunday they sent us home with lots of leftover barbeque. I Love barbeque. Seriously, love. So eating it for several days in a row is A-OK with me. Therefore, that took care of tonight and tomorrow.

Wednesday, I'm looking forward to this Martha Stewart Everyday recipe for Sauteed Chicken in Mustard Cream Sauce. I think this sauce would be delicious on salmon and may try that instead if it is on sale this week. I love a simple sauce with white wine and can always use an excuse to pick up an extra bottle at the store ;)

For the second half of the week we'll be having these yummmy turkey burgers, also from my Martha Stewart Everyday Food cookbook. These have become a favorite in our house. I don't even eat mine with a bun, they are that good (and I'm not usually one to shy away from the carbs :)

The cookbook I'm referring to is the one pictured below. It is full of very good, simple recipes with few ingredients and quick cook time. Totally do-able even when you're busy.

Hope you all have a great week!

I'm Baaaack!

I am alive, contrary to what you may think given the lack of posts to this dear blog in recent weeks!

I returned from Germany late last Thursday after a great work meeting, and since have been in a sleep-deprived jet lag induced fog. Yesterday I finally started to feel normal again, and now here I am :) Didn't take a single picture in Germany which I am really mad at myself for. I should at least have featured the interesting buffets we sampled each night (sausage salad anyone?), or the Frankfurt Zoo where we held a dinner event, but sadly nothing. I will say I would now love to see more of Germany. It's very quaint and everyone was riding bicycles with little wicker baskets on them. So cute. The hardest part, by far, was not the lack of sleep but being away from my little monkey. I am so so SO happy to be home and back to her and Matt and some sense of normalcy. Matt is working crazy hours because while I was gone the city of Atlanta flooded and thus he is swimming (pun very much intended) in a sea of claims. Check out Kristin's blog (Better Together) for pictures. She is a much better historian than I.

This week we are doing normal family things and just enjoying being at home- cleaning house, cooking dinner (yes, I am finally cooking again), taking Madelyn for walks and enjoying the gorgeous weather Atlanta is basking in right now. Definitely planning a trip to the pumpkin patch in a few weeks so that little Miss can pick out her first pumpkin and take a hay ride. We always did this when I was growing up and I absolutely insist it become a family tradition of ours. Apple cider and cinnamon donuts not optional- not even if it's 80 degrees outside- we will enjoy them.

And last but not least, this Friday I will embark down to Key West Florida for Dai's bachelorette party. While I am not at all excited about leaving Madelyn again, I am so much looking forward to seeing all of my girls.

Until I return with some sure to be awesome pics from Key West, here are some family pictures we took with Matt's side of the fam this past weekend :)

Matt's brother Luke. There is a lot of mutual adoration between he and Madelyn :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Labor Day Weekend Pics

Just a few pictures of our fun weekend and A-Dorable little girl :)

Madelyn got a visit from not only my Mom but my Aunt Sue and cousin Joey. She loooved all of the attention and as always, was such a well behaved little angel (naturally).

I am crazy busy at work getting ready for a huge meeting in Germany in 10 days AND our favorites Dai and Andrew are coming to visit this weekend! Hopefully I'll have more pictures and updates as to our whereabouts then.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Accidental Weight Loss? You Must Be Kidding

Becoming a mom has really finally taught me the right way to eat, and not because I struggled to lose last 5 baby pounds, but because I need energy!!

In my past baby-free life I was no stranger to diets, always trying to lose a few extra pounds, even though looking back I looked just fine. Then one day I swore off diets and decided it was no way to live. After having Madelyn I was lucky that most of the weight came off pretty easily. Now, 4 months later, I can say it is 100% gone. That's not to say that what is left underneath isn't still a bit mushy (that is still a work in progress), but I know in time that will change too.

I realized that I've actually completely altered my eating habits without even meaning to. I've always known the value in eating foods from the earth, the foods our bodies are made to process, like fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, things like that. But I realized this morning I've unconsciously done a few more things because let's be honest, eating empty food like Special K and twinkies is not going to get me through a typical day when I'm juggling 11 different things.

I've started eating appx. every 3 hours during the day and then eating a very light dinner (I'm talking 3 bites of something), mostly just for lack of time. I eat a lot more protein. I crave it because I know it will keep me full and energized for hours and the last thing I need is to crash at 5 p.m. when I finally get to see Madelyn. She deserves the best part of my day, not a tired grumpy mommy who's body is on a sugar roller coaster.

For me, almonds and edamame are my super foods. Not only are they excellent for you they are quick, easy, and I can eat them with one hand if necessary (this is critical for new moms :).
I try to eat my whole grains in the morning and taper off as the day goes on. I eat a lot of fish, chicken, spinach, beans, and this amazing frozen succotash mix from Trader Joes that I am ob-sessed with. Yum.

It's amazing how once I got most of the junk out of my system I really stopped craving it. Now, I still eat a few M&Ms with my almonds, and I'll never eat 100% healthy because I think you should treat yourself, life is too short. And I will never give up my wine. Seriously, never. But, it is amazing to see how your body performs when you fuel it the right way. What's even more awe-inspiring is that I lost those last 5 pounds without even trying!

I still rely heavily on "convenience" foods- frozen veggie burgers, canned tuna, frozen cooked brown rice (again from Trader Joe's), oatmeal... I love that even though I've been eating mostly natural foods I haven't had to slave away in the kitchen. Major bonus.

As I stumble upon new, easy, non-processed meal ideas I'll be sure to share them with you because I know we can all use a little inspiration now and then.

Hope you all have a great Labor Day weekend and Go Gators!!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fall is Coming!!!

Today is a good day. First of all, the first sign of Fall has shown it's face....Starbucks is now serving the pumpkin spice latte!! Much like the groundhog signals whether Winter will desist or continue, the pumpkin spice latte signals to me that Fall is just around the corner, and this is definitely good news. I know I've said it before, but I really love Fall, and this year it's even more fun because I get to share it with a little one who hasn't ever seen it (well, from an outer-utero perspective).
In addition to that, my beloved Gators begin their season on Saturday! I am a huge fan of college football so these 12 weeks are precious to me every year. While we are favored by every major poll and prediction to win the championship again this year, I'm just looking forward to the season no matter what happens. I think seeing your team win two championships in your lifetime is enough to ask, let alone in the span of 3 years.

Thirdly, I got to do a little shopping this weekend which always makes a girl happy. I found jeans for less than the $130 bucks I regularly pay which is a miracle! I have The Hardest time finding jeans (long waist, tall, big hips, the list of potential issues goes on and on), so I had just given in to spending more for the pricey ones. Well, I found a pair of jeans called the Modern Bootcut at Ann Taylor Loft for $60 and I love them! I'm going back to get another pair. I also got this cute cardigan which I'm wearing today and love love love--it's really cute and super comfortable.

They had several more items that I have my eye on, many of which were very J Crew-esque but with much cheaper price tags. I'll definitely be looking for these next time there is a big sale.

Here's to cooler temperatures, changing leaves and eating lots of pumpkin flavored goodies in our near future!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Plan B

Sadly, spread the happiness with random acts of kindness week came to a screeching halt on Wednesday when I came down with some sort of cold. I guess it will have to wait until next week. This week has pretty much been a wash.

Between Matt working long hours (in a far away office) training for his new job, me being sick and busy at work, and of course the little munchkin, it's been a bit hectic. And tiring! I've been going to bed a 9 every night.

I will say, the one good thing about daycare is that the kids "play" so much that they are completely worn out at the end of the day. Madelyn typically falls asleep in the car on the way home and sleeps until 6-6:30. Here she is on Wednesday. So tired she couldn't even hold her little head up.

Look at the chub on those legs! I love it.

This weekend we're attending Kristin's husband Matt's 30th birthday bonanza at their new house and then spending some time with Matt's parents. Next week my mom and aunt Sue are coming into town for Labor Day so I have lots of cleaning to do in preparation for their arrival. I'm so excited for them to see Madelyn and her sweet personality. Here are a few new facts about our little pride and joy.

- She likes to be spoken to in adult voices, not baby talk, and she loooves to watch me talk to people when she doesn't think I'm looking. I think it's because she hears my voice the way she heard it in the womb and she's totally captivated. I just can't help but raise my voice a little when I talk to her! It's like a cuteness reflex.

- She wants to stand and "walk" picking up one foot after the other.

- She has started laughing and it is OhMYGoodness precious.

I'm trying to decide what I want to dress her up as for Halloween. The obvious choice would be a monkey since that's what I call her, but I don't want her to look like a little boy! check this one out:

And this is just too much- it's a peacock! She'd kill me when she found these pictures later in life. Seriously. I die. (sidenote: I've picked up saying "I die" from watching the Rachael Zoe Project on Bravo. Those of you who watch know what I'm talking about. If you aren't watching, you should.)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Random Acts of Kindness

Yesterday our sweet neighbor stopped by to see how we were doing and let us know that she was bringing us dinner! I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. She said she had meant to do it when we first got home with Madelyn, but she knew that anyone that has a little one can always use some help so she figured now was better than never. Not only did this save me from cooking (wahoo!) and give me more time with my little sweet pea on a Sunday night, but it was so touching that she thought to go out of her way and help us out.

Well, imagine my amazement when she showed up at 6:15 with not just dinner, but three bags of food! She brough us a huge casserole, garlic bread, salad greens, croutons, salad dressing, AND a huge pan of delicious brownies. She brought us enough food to feed ourselves through at least Wednesday. It was so so kind of her and really meant so much to me that I've decided I'm going to try and do one random act of kindness per week. This week it is going to be making her homemade cookies as a thank you, and also a batch for our pastor and his wife who live on the other end of our street.

Up until I entered the corporate world I had always volunteered, either through church, school, or just on my own merit, and I think I've felt a bit of a void since not doing so. It is very important to me that Madelyn see how meaningful it is to help people, and just to be a generous, kind person, so I definitely plan to take her volunteering as soon as she's old enough.

I encourage each of you to do something nice for those around you this week. Send your parents a card for no reason, wash your spouse's car, pay for the person behind you in line at Starbucks (and hope they don't have 6 people in the car- haha:), anything!! I assure you it will brighten your week :)

Dear Time, please slow down and quit leaving me in your dust. Best regards, Jennifer

Madelyn turned 4 months old on Saturday and thus came the need to start introducing "solid" foods.

Here she is in all of her glory trying rice cereal. She's only swallows about half of it and spits out the rest, but she looks so cute in the process :) (apologies for these pictures showing up grainy, not sure why that is happening)

Sitting like a little lady in her booster seat
Having a bib appetizer for her first course

Concentrating really hard because eating from a spoon is not easy!

She also had her 4 month check up this morning where we found out that she is tall, skinny, and has a tiny head. This is the child I birthed by c-section because of her "95% size head" (direct quote from my doctor) and now has a head size in the 10 percentile. The irony is astounding. Here are a few more pictures of our rapidly growing child from over the weekend:)

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