Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Excuse the mess...

I'll be messing around with my html for the next couple of days while I try to figure out a new template...I promise it will be all clean and new and shiny by New Years! :)

Friday, December 26, 2008

A few pictures from Christmas Eve & Christmas Day

Christmas Eve lunch at my Grandma's house. We hadn't seen alot of the extended family in a while, so it was really nice.
Michaela with her great grandma.
And with her grandma & grandpa.
My sister, nephew and me.
Some family shots.

We went to the Children's Mass that afternoon, and then to a friends house for dinner. I didn't get any pictures, but check out this awesome house that we saw on the way to their house!

Christmas morning, Michaela slept in kind of late. We didn't get around to opening presents until around 10:30 am.
She was more interested in the paper. A monkey for the monkey!

She made out like a bandit!

We went to my dad's house in the afternoon on Christmas day. We ate posole & tamales, played lots of games, watched some movies and had a great time. We had so much fun that I forgot to take any pictures! Here is the only one I got:

I hope you all had as enjoyable Christmas as I did!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Family Moment Monday - Track Santa

Motherhood for Dummies hosts Family Moment Mondays, check her out to get more ideas on how to spend time together as a family!

This Christmas, check out the Norad Santa website to track Santa as he travels all over the globe. This is such a great website for kids that still beleive, and maybe for the older ones too. They can explore the Santa's North Pole Village, learn the history behind Santa Claus, learn "technical" data about Santa's sleigh, and follow a tally on how many cookies Santa has eaten on Christmas Eve. I think this is a great little project that NORAD is doing, and sure to keep the magic of Santa alive and well.

P.S. Check out Santa's Village. It's probably a little late to plan a trip for this year, but there is also a place where children can write to Santa and get a letter back from him in return. There is also a link with some great Christmas stories.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's finally Christmas in my house...

Look how huge our tree is! It looked small in the lot, but it takes up most of our front room. Yowza!
Michaela is putting her first ornament on her first Christmas tree.

Putting the angel on top.
I love nativities. Here are four of mine on the bookcase. And one more. This is my favorite because it is the one I grew up with. Just looking at it makes me teary eyed with nostalgia.
All lit up.

Our stockings hung with care.

Santa is hanging out on our entryway table.

Until Michaela wanted to play with him.

Yeah Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Homemade Baby Food

I've started making Michaela's baby food. When she first started eating solids, I wasn't worried. All the little jars read "Ingredients: Carrots" or "Ingredients: Peas". Then the jars in the next stage started listing ingredients that I had no clue what they were. I realized that Michaela probably shouldn't be eating food with chemicals or additives that were more than 5 syllables long.

I started doing my research and found this awesome website that lists all the foods and timetables for introducing them, along with combination and recipe ideas up through toddlerhood. It is actually much easier than I thought it would be. Basically I bake or steam the vegetable or fruit, puree it, freeze it in ice cube trays, bag it, and pull it out the evening before I use it so that it can defrost in the refrigerator overnight.
The biggest change came with going out though. It seemed like such a hassle to carry an ice pack with frozen food to a restaurant or friends house. For these nights I rely on bananas, pears, and avocados. None of these have to be cooked, and can easily be prepared by mashing them right before feeding.
Like I said, it is really not as hard or time consuming as it sounds. It took me about a week (just working during naps) to make enough food for a couple of months. Now I feel much better about what is going into my little monkey's tummy. :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

And so it starts...

Michaela's independent streak is starting to show itself. She all of a sudden wants to feed herself without my help. While very adorable, and great fodder for pictures, it also involves tons of clean up.

She's starting to stand up on her own too. I really think she is going to walk before she crawls. It's kind of funny to see her standing up because she is still so tiny. It looks like a newborn walking around!

Oh goodness, independent mobility, babyproofing, and many more messes, here I come!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snow Day!*

Yesterday was a snow day! We got a couple of inches of snow, so schools were closed and Philip was able to stay home from work. Here's a shot of our backyard:

And of Michaela's first snow experience:

And of course of the puppies who loooooved the snow:

*For those of you who live in places where several inches of snow is a common occurence, please don't laugh at us sad little snow loving New Mexicans. :P

Monday, December 15, 2008

Family Moment Monday - Christmas Traditions

I am participating in a special edition of Family Moment Monday. Visit Motherhood for Dummies to read about other Christmas traditions, or to post your own.

There are a lot of Christmas traditions in my family, but one of my favorite was the placing of baby Jesus. We used to set up our Nativity Scene every year underneath the Christmas tree, but we would not put baby Jesus in the manger. On Christmas Eve every year, after we had returned from midnight Mass, one of us children would be able to put baby Jesus in the manger. I always would look forward to when it was my year to do it!

Speaking of midnight Mass, that was also a great tradition in my family. We would go to midnight Mass, and somehow Santa would have visited our house while we were gone. I still don't know how my parents did it, because I don't remember them ever taking separate cars!

My dads side of the family has never been huge gift givers. For the adults, we do a Secret Santa, which we call a Cherry Pie (because originally we put all the names in a little plastic cherry pie). The adults just get a gift for the one person they pick, usually under $20. As children we always had presents, but we usually didn't get tons of the hottest and newest toys. My grandma would get us things like socks and towels. To be honest, we loved them! In fact when I was 11 or 12, my grandma got me these two pairs of flannel pajamas that I have worn every single winter until this year, when I decided to let them go. Of course, I ran out to Walmart and got an identical pair because I loved them so much!

How about you, what are your Christmas traditions?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Winter Wonderland

Here are a few pictures from our weekend. We went to the Christmas Tree lighting in Old Town on Friday night with my sister and brother in law:

And here is our first snow of the season which I woke up to yesterday morning. Yeah!!!!

To My Husband...

My husband is usually out the door and ready to go by 5:30-6am. This morning he woke up at 7. Yikes. So to counteract his bad start to the day, I want to post this, which I should have done on Sunday, but was being too lazy. I love you honey!

We got new living room furniture! Our old stuff was not bad. Granted it was all stuff we collected from various garage and estate sales when we first got married, they were in good condition and went really well with the wood floors in our old house.

In our new house they kind of looked weird. Nothing here is wood, and the color of wood didn't exactly match the paint colors. So we decided to order some new furniture from Target and Philip spent all weekend putting them together. Now when I say all weekend, I mean all weekend. We bought four pieces: entertainment stand, bookcase, coffee table, and entryway table. It probably took a collective of 7 or 8 hours to put everything together. :(

So.....THANK YOU to my darling husband who dealt with all of the missing pieces, incoherent instructions, room full of boxes, and lack of help to make our living room look nice. And thank you even more for buying me a piece of pizza for lunch when you went to Sam's Club even though I insisted that really, I could find something to eat at home. I love that you can sometimes read my mind and knew that I really really wanted to just eat a slice of Sam's Club pizza. ;)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Family Moment Monday - Christmas Letter Tips

Motherhood for Dummies hosts Family Moment Mondays, check her out to get more ideas on how to spend time together as a family!

I know there are some really good, organized families out there that already have their Christmas cards written, stamped, and mailed. I'm pretty sure though that there are other procrastinating mommies like me, absolutely determined to get those cards out as soon as possible. I always seem to have writers block, so this year I did a few google searches to see if I could get any help. Here are some of the most common suggestions I've seen:

*Start positive - Always start your letter on a positive note. Nobody wants to hear about how sad you are that the year has already come and gone.

*Keep it Simple and Short - While family and friends do want to know about the highlights of your year, they don't want to read through 2 or 3 pages of it. Try to keep your letter to a page or less for maximum family enjoyment.

*Restrain the Adjectives - I myself am 100% guilty of this one. "Our wonderful family had a fantastic year doing many amazing things, etc." Try to use your normal every-day conversational voice. Use adjectives sparingly so that when you do use one, it has a real impact.

*Include Photos (But not too many) - A photo is worth a thousand words, use them to add to your letter without making it longer. On the other hand, cramming thirty tiny thumbprint pictures from your last family vacation is just going to make your letter look sloppy. If Grandma really does want to see all those pictures, consider adding a CD full of photos for her to peruse at her own leisure.

*Use White Space - Make your letter visually appealing by leaving plenty of white space around the borders and in between paragraphs. Also consider using italics and bold to really highlight the main points of the letter.

*Be Creative - Consider using an alternative format for your card this year. I found so many neat ideas like making your letter a quiz, writing a comic strip, and rewriting a classic Christmas poem or song. I also found this great form letter, for those who have no time, but still want to make it fun.

*Read it Out Loud - Before you hit print, read your letter out loud. Most grammatical, punctuation, and vocabulary errors can be found by reading out loud. If the letter sounds awkward, it will also read awkward. (See Philip, I used my English degree for something!)

If all else fails, and there is no way that card is going to go out in time, consider sending out New Years cards! Happy letter writing! :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wii Fit Wednesday

Here are the numbers:
Weight - 165.8
BMI - 32.55

I'm actually quite pleased with myself. I only gained .2 pounds, which is quite amazing considering that we had 2 Thanksgiving dinners and I made too many pies so I've been eating leftover pumpkin pie for breakfast every morning. I did make a brothy rice soup using the turkey carcass, so maybe eating that for lunch and dinners has somehow evened out the pie factor. Ok, just one more month of yummy food to get through!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Got Skunks?

We do. Friday night we were happily hanging out after a afternoon of feasting on our belated Thanksgiving Dinner when all of a sudden we hear a sudden flurry of barks from our dogs who are supposed to be outside going potty. When they come back inside, they brang in a disgusting odor that I have never experienced before. Sure, I've run over or driven by a dead skunk on the street many a time. But let me tell you, that brief inhalation of skunk spray is nothing compared to the way it smells when your entire house is permeated with it. Here's Kira, the one who actually got sprayed. She wasn't in the least bit ashamed or embarrassed. In fact I think she was quite proud to have gotten that close to catching a cat. Even though I told her it was a skunk, not a cat, she didn't quite understand. Oh well.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Brussells Sprouts Really ARE Disgusting...

Last week brussels sprouts were on sale at our local grocery store. I'd never tasted them before, and I knew how healthy they were for you so I thought I'd give them a shot. They couldn't really be as bad as everyone makes them out to be right? I mean, it had to just be dirty lies inspired by generations of vegetable hating children right? Surely with my advanced adult palate, I would love the cute little vegetables.

Um, no. When kids say brussels sprouts are gross, it's because they really are gross. I tried sauteing them in a little bit of olive oil and adding a bit of cheese on top. They looked delicious. Then I took a bite. And gagged. Ok, it must have just been the method of preparation. The next night I chopped the rest up and cooked them with apples and brown sugar. They looked delicious again. Then I took a bite. And gagged. Yup, I can guarantee you I will not be forcing my children to eat brussels sprouts. They are disgusting. :(

Monday, November 24, 2008

Family Moment Monday

Motherhood for Dummies hosts Family Moment Mondays, check her out to get more ideas on how to spend time together as a family!

Thanksgiving is all about gratitude and spending time with your family, but preparation can be very stressful and time consuming. Here are a few tips to help you get through it faster so you can spend more time with your family. :)

*Casual Buffet - Instead of going all out with fancy table settings and centerpieces, set up an area to place all the finished food, drinks, plates, and other items needed for dinner. Have people serve themselves and then sit and visit where they are most comfortable.

*Paper/Plastic - Although this is not as environmentally friendly, try using paper or plastic plates, cups, and utensils. This will allow you to skip a big portion of clean up time so that you can spend more time with your family and friends.

*Make ahead - A lot of the side dishes and desserts can be made ahead of time. Pies can be made and stored several days in advance, while many side dishes can be prepared ahead of time and reheated on Thanksgiving day.

* Use a Roaster - If you have limited oven space, use an electric roaster to cook the turkey in. Then you can cook the side dishes in the oven, and not be stressed out about not having enough time to cook them.

*Split the Responsibility - If your guests ask if they can help, don't hesitate to ask if they can bring a side dish or a dessert. My sisters and I split the responsibilities so that no one is stuck making the entire meal by themselves.

*Be a Duck - Many times, bickering and arguing are ways in which some people deal with the stress of the holiday. When something goes wrong with the meal, or you hear an unwelcome comment from a family member, try to remember that getting upset will only make it worse. Roll with the punches and you may find that your peaceful attitude is contagious.

Does anyone else have any Thanksgiving tips?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Is it weird for me to want these?

I mean really, these "Mommy Cards" are the most unneccesary things in the whole world...

But they are so darn cute...
Who would I even give them to? Maybe I could enter those business card contests at lunch restaurants...if they would even accept them and not laugh at them.

Ok, yes totally useless but I still really really want them! :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wii Fit Wednesday

Here are the numbers:

Weight - 165.6
BMI - 32.51

Yikes! From 2 weeks ago, I actually went up a little bit in weight! I blame it on the early holiday snacking I've been doing. :( Also, with the cold weather, I start to crave heavier meals like creamy soups and cheese engulfed lasagna. I'm too much a food lover to give these up, but today was a real wake up call. From now on, I really need to work on portion control, especially with Thanksgiving coming up. The holidays are always my weak spot, but if I can really get my self control together and not go overboard I think I should be ok. Also, I know that tea or a broth based soup makes you feel fuller, so I think I will start each meal with either one of those and see if it helps. :{

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Operation Monkey Crawl

Alright, I am bound and determined to get Michaela to crawl in the next month or two. Up to this point we have been mutually happy having me carry her around everywhere all day long. But she needs to learn how to crawl and learn to be a little bit independent. I am going to try to give her tummy time 15 minutes out of every hour and see if that helps her develop her muscles and her interest in crawling. Wish me luck!

By the way, thank you all for your very kind comments about the nursing situation. It must have been a blocked duct after all because after some heat therapy and extra long nursing sessions to make sure my breast was fully emptied I feel much much better! :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Nursing Nightmare?

I don't know why, but this morning I woke up with a very very sore left breast. I don't know why I would be engorged, Michaela has not made a single change with her eating habits. She is not eating more frequently or for more time like she usually does when she hits a growth spurt. She ate just as frequently as usual last night. I can't figure this out! I had to deal with a blocked duct once before, but this doesn't feel like that. I'm starting to worry. What does it feel like when you dry up? I can't dry up now, Michaela is not even a year yet and she refuses to take a bottle anymore. Please give me some advice and tell me that drying up doesn't feel like this!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Family Moment Monday

Motherhood for Dummies hosts Family Moment Mondays, check her out to get more ideas on how to spend time together as a family!

I've been trying to think of various Thanksgiving crafts when I remembered an activity that I used to do with my housemates in college. We wanted a fun and visual way to show what we were grateful for, so we came up with this neat little craft.

Get a posterboard or large piece of butcher paper and draw or paste the body of a turkey on it. Cut out several small leaves out of various colors of construction paper (brown, yellow, red and orange are the prettiest). These will be the feathers for the turkey. If your kids prefer, you can use feathers made out of traces of their hands instead.

On Thanksgiving, before your guests arrive, tape or tack the turkey to a wall and set up a small table or stand next to it with the turkey feathers, markers, and tape. As each guest arrives, have them write their name and what they are thankful for on the feather and tape it to the turkey body.

This is not only a fun craft to make ahead of time, it is also a fun conversation piece. Remember to take a picture after everyone is finished so that you'll have a visual momento!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Halloween finally!

I've been wanting to post this for over a week, but have been too busy. Here are our Halloween pictures:

We were Alladin, Princess Jasmine, and Abu the monkey.

We went Trick or Treating with my niece and nephew who were a lion and Cookie Monster. Our new neighbordhood was great for trick or treating, it is such a nice little area!

We had our housewarming party that same night. We always have a party on Halloween because it is my birthday, so we decided to make it our housewarming party also. The house was not really ready, but our family and friends knew we had just moved in and didn't mind the lack of decorations, or the box filled back rooms.

I promise I'll get up some pictures of the house at some point, it's just a matter of getting those darn boxes out of the way!