Sunday, November 30, 2008

I need a home...

Please adopt me! My name is Annie and I am a boxer. I need a new home for Christmas! If you know of anyone who might want me, please e-mail Haley @ Thanks!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Finished projects & Christmas decor

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been decorating for the holidays since the weekend. And when I found out we were going to host the Morgan Thanksgiving feast, I decided it'd be a good time to go ahead and finish all the other projects I'd been meaning to finish. Namely, finding a piece of art to go above my mantle, and finishing my photo wall in my living room. I also need a dining room table/chairs, a baby grand piano, and curtains for nearly every room, but those things are still on the "maybe next month" in, waaaay down the road. :)

Here is what I have accomplished so far. And the reason my back and legs and feet are aching terribly...

Amy and I saw a similar idea in the new Pottery Barn catalog and we tried to mimic it the best we could, using whatever we could find at Hobby Lobby - garland, stocking hangers, hurricane filled with apples, wooden Christmas tree...Oh, and I have yet to get Mary Ella a stocking. I am still holding out for the perfect one. I've looked everywhere though, and I may just have to get Mom to make her something.

I started this project in September I think. It was my mom's idea, and she's done this herself at their house. I bought the black frames at WalMart for only $2-3 dollars each. I actually painted the mattes red and green. (And no, this wasn't for Christmas - my living room is bright yellow with red and green and black and brown. I like color.)

I bought the galvanized pail at Home Depot and hot-glued the green ribbon to the top and bottom. The "M" is actually cut out of linoleum. I painted the back of the linoleum, then hot-glued the letter to the pail. Fill it with red and green ornament balls and it becomes a cute decoration to sit on your counter top or coffee table.

I bought this first tree at Hobby Lobby and decided to put it in her bathroom, because it just looked gigantic on her little table in the nursery. But I think it turned out to suit the bathroom better anyway.
I found the little white tree and Nativity scene at WalMart. The tree was pre-lit too, so that was a bonus.

I'd had a blank canvas sitting in my kitchen for months. So today I decided I'd give it a go. I was originally going to paint a big lime green Christmas wreath like the one on the Sips-n-Strokes website, but then I decided I'd rather have something I can keep up there forever. Soooo...

I am so pleased with the way this turned out! I am not very good with "realistic" looking paintings but I think this one is the best one I've ever done. I am really proud of this because I normally do not even use a paintbrush to paint things! I am not very patient. But I used about 12 different brushes on this one and I think I might paint more of these for gifts.

Anyway, just wanted to share. Happy decorating to all!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Weekend with the girls

We have been going nonstop since Thursday. After my lunch deliveries, I drove up to Huntsville to stay with my aunt Vicki for a night. My cousin Ashley and her daughter Addie Jane came to play and we had the best time. Mary Ella and Addie Jane had fun sitting in their Bumbo seats and watching each other eat. They would take turns screaming and then just giggle and smile at each other. After dinner they took a bath together and then snuggled up on Aunt Vicki's bed for some Baby Van Gogh. It was very relaxing.
Friday night I drove back to Birmingham and Betsy, Amy Browning, Katie Bergman and Maggie Walden all came to spend the night! Maggie brought her precious Mollie Beth, so Mary Ella was thrilled to have another sleepover. Mollie Beth is SO cute. She pulls up on all the furniture, she can stand by herself but is scared to take a step, and she crawls all over the place! And she's teeny tiny for her age, so she's really ahead of the game. Anyway, it was fun to watch her and see what I can expect from Mary Ella in the months to come. We had fun Friday night just hanging out at the house and watching TV.

Saturday we slept late and sat around for a long time until we all decided we were craving P.F. Changs (of course). So around 2pm we headed for the Summit and enjoyed a late lunch of Changs Spicy Chicken, Wonton Soup, lettuce wraps, kung pauo beef, honey chicken, and dan-dan noodles...YUMMY. Then we headed to Hobby Lobby because I had been DYING to decorate my house for Christmas so I could surprise Chad when he got home. All of their Christmas decor was 50% off so I seriously racked up. I think I went overboard. Amy B got a picture of me with my 2 buggy's and all my merchandise. And I think she took before-and-after shots too, so I can't wait to see them. I'm sure they will be on Facebook soon.
I have been going nonstop since everyone left on Sunday. We are going to have the Morgan family Thanksgiving here at my house so I am finishing up laundry and cleaning. Chad will be back Wednesday night sometime, probably late. I am exhausted so I think I'll go lay down!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I've gained 10 lbs in 2 days, thanks to this week's menu...

Mexican Chicken Wraps:
2 cups cooked chicken
1/2 cup mayo
1/3 cup salsa (homemade or store bought)
1/2 t. cumin
2 t. lime juice
dash of tobasco

Mix all ingredients together. Spread onto soft tortilla. Top with shredded cheese and lettuce and sour cream (and any of your other favorite Mexican condiments.) Roll up like a burrito. Serve with tortilla chips and salsa or Green Dip (recipe below.)

Green Dip:
1 cup mayo
1 cup sour cream
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1/2 jar jalepenos
1 pkg Ranch seasoning

Put all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Serve with wheat thins, tortilla chips, or bagel crisps!

I would post the recipe for the chocolate peanut butter bars, but I'm too fat to type anything else.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Home Videos

My Dad was the world's best at making home videos. I would be willing to bet that I have more video footage of my childhood than anyone on this planet. Most parents I know usually get footage of special occasions - birthdays, Christmases, first snow, piano recitals, etc - but my Dad videoed a LOT more than special occasions. While my mother was at her night classes finishing her degree at UNA, Dad would get out the video camera at home and just sit there, for hours sometimes, waiting to capture that $10,000 moment for America's Funniest Home Videos. We never won the grand prize, but I'm sure some of these would at least get Honorable Mention.

This first one is actually one video that I have broken into 3 parts. I found this footage while at home this past weekend and nearly wet my pants watching. It is Christmas time, obviously, and apparently we had found a Christmas opera special on one of the 13 cable channels we had. I am the singer and Adam is conducting the orchestra. My "chorus book" containing my music is actually a cookbook.

Part 1:

Part 2:
My Dad apparently thought it would be even funnier if I dressed like a nun to sing the operatic Christmas carols. So he tried his best at a nun costume. And notice my brother in the background mocking me and trying to steal the show.

Part 3:
And what opera isn't complete without a nun, a conductor, and one of Santa's elves? Betsy wanted to be a nun too, but Dad couldn't find another black and white ensemble. Thus, the Christmas turban. Made from Dad's hunter green turtleneck. Hilarious.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Well, so far we haven't had to apply any of our sleep training instructions, because well, for some reason, something "clicked" and little Miss Mary Ella Morgan decided to sleep through the night on her own... no waking up, no crying, no fussing. It started on Monday night and I was hesitant to post anything for fear that I would jinx it. But so far it's continued through this week. Sleeping 9pm - 9am, yes sir. So we'll see if it continues.

Yesterday was madness, as usual. I was low on lunches but my dear friend Sara, who is the buyer at Three Sheets in Homewood, took me to a few shops and I was able to meet some new potential customers and drop off fliers and menus for next week. I am making Mexican chicken roll-ups, homemade salsa, green dip, and chocolate peanut butter bars, compliments of my other dear friend Shelley who is a domestic goddess. She loaned me a fabulous cookbook full of bars & brownies of all kinds. So I'm excited about that!

Today was uneventful. I caught up on some David Platt messages this morning then took Mary Ella and Lucy to the park. Mary Ella was able to swing in the toddler/baby swing so I got some cute pictures of that. And we were the only ones there so I let Lucy run free instead of being leashed.
We are heading to Florence this weekend because Chad is leaving next week for a Texas hunting excursion and won't be back until Thanksgiving. So we're going to spend some time with my family before he leaves.

Well, that's about it. We are exhausted so tonight will be spent doing nothing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

4 Months Old

Yesterday I took Mary Ella for her 4 month checkup with Dr. Anderson. I still can't believe how fast these babies grow. I know I say that with every monthly post, but it's true! Every day is different and fun. I was very pleased with how the appointment went and Dr. Anderson is pleased with her growth and development. Always good. So, with that said...

Mary Ella is now the whopping 17 pounds, 11 ounces. She is 26 inches long. This puts us in the (drum roll, please) 97th percentile. Hmmmmm... I was actually a little worried when they told us this, but the doctor reassured me that she is perfectly proportionate and that, for her height, her weight is perfect. He also told me that some babies are so fat that they can't move. Well, we're far from that, so I guess I will be satisfied. We have started solid foods, and so far she is still in the "not so sure about this" phase, where she makes funny faces and tries to spit most of it out. But she seems to LOVE it when she's really hungry (in the mornings) and she usually ends up eating everything I offer. So far she's just eaten the rice cereal and carrots that I made. She liked both. It will just take her a while to get used to it, I guess.

At 4 months old, she's laughing, smiling, talking all the time. That's how I know she's awake - she will make funny talking noises that sound like she is saying "Hi" or "Huh" over and over and over again. It's funny and cute. She went through what I thought was a growth spurt starting 3 weeks ago,where she just refused to sleep at night and was getting up 3 and 4 times a night crying. Sometimes she'd be fine just having her paci back in her mouth, other times she acted ravenous and I'd feed her. But after 3 weeks of this, we've ruled out a possible growth spurt and have now decided that she just wants her mom. Period. So this week we will start sleep training... meaning we will instill solids twice a day, in addition to breastfeeding, then fill her FULL of rice & milk before bed, and basically let her cry at night unless she goes longer than 20 minutes, then we'll get up and go comfort her. She does a great job of falling asleep on her own, in her own bed. I put her down when she's awake and she either fusses for a few minutes then goes to sleep, or just goes right to sleep. So we're blessed in that aspect. She did sleep through the night last night, but probably just because she had 4 shots yesterday. We'll see how it goes.

She LOVES her new exersaucer toy and she still loves mirrors. She can reach for things now and grab things too. She is also starting to pull things toward her mouth. Not a good sign, but I guess all babies do this. I think she's beginning to teethe too because she's drooling a lot more. She sits in her Bumbo seat to eat her solid foods. She loves her bath time and loves to kick and splash the water everywhere. She enjoys riding in the car now. Her favorite toy is a Lamaze peacock that we have named "Crunchy" because his wings crunch when you touch them. She stares at it and talks to it and we take it wherever we go. She still sleeps with her lamb blanket and I've washed it a gazillion times. She naps twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. She is more interested in Lucy now and Lucy loves to lick her hands and feet. She rolled from her stomach to her back one time and hasn't done it since. She still hasn't rolled from her back to her stomach, but Dr. Anderson said sometimes the "bigger babies" won't do this until later, if at all. So we'll see. Mary Ella celebrated her first Halloween this year when she dressed up as a pink poodle. We didn't do anything special because we were at the beach, but it was still fun to get dressed up. She can stand up holding on to just my hands and she loves to jump up and down on my lap.

We are loving every minute of life and I am enjoying being at home with her. She has definitely blessed our marriage and we look forward to the months ahead, especially the holidays. I am already picking out her Santa Claus stuff on Amazon. It's so much fun!

Here is a short video of Mary Ella's "talking."

Step 10: Feed carrot puree to child.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Baby Food 101

Step 1: Assemble needed equipment.

Step 2: Chop carrots (or chosen vegetable.)

Step 3: Put chopped veggies in steamer basket.

Step 4: Add water to steaming reservoir.

Step 5: Steam carrots. Notice condensation.

Step 6: Remove steaming basket using handy dandy orange tool (this came with the machine.) Pour steamed carrots back into main container.

Step 7: Puree the steamed carrots.

Step 8: Admire your beautiful puree.

Step 9: Pour puree into desired container. Use immediately or freeze for later.

Stay tuned for pureed fruits and mashed avocado. Yummy.

Love this pic

Sleepy heads...

Sleeping peacefully on the couch...

They awaken...

Please don't post these pictures, my hair looks terrible!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

A busy fall

Life has been SO busy lately. Seems like we are going, going, going, all the time... It is all so much fun, though, and this weather makes it worth it!

Last weekend (Halloween weekend) we were invited by Chad's parents to go down to Fort Morgan (Gulf Shores). They rented a house on the bay and we were able to go down and relax for a long weekend. I was still pretty sick, and have since managed to pass the crud onto Chad's parents and grandparents (sorry, y'all), but it was so nice being away from home. I was able to read "The Shack" too, which I've been meaning to do, and it was incredible. I also started reading "The Mermaid Chair" by Sue Monk Kidd, and so farit's pretty funny. The weather was perfect in Gulf Shores and I was glad to get away. Mary Ella also enjoyed the R&R, and was able to catch up on her reading as well, finishing "My First Halloween," "Shapes," and "Daddy's Kisses" in just one day.

We returned from Gulf Shores Sunday evening and Chad left for San Diego the next morning. We dropped him off at the airport in Birmingham and headed straight to Florence. I spent 3 full days up there with the family and again the weather was great. The leaves at my grandparents' house were absolutely incredible, and I was able to get some great pictures. Grandaddy showed Mary Ella the tractor and of course Charlie was there to play too.

I rushed back here Wednesday night and finished preparing lunches for Thursday. My Grandmother made my 2 chocolate chip pound cakes for me, so I had already checked that off my list. Thanks, Grandmother! I somehow managed to pull it all together just in time on Thursday morning and dropped off lunches at 3 locations, then was back home to clean my horrendous kitchen and lay down for a couple hours until time to pick Chad up from the airport. Whew! We were glad to see him.

This weekend will be spent doing NOTHING. I am looking forward to just sitting and reading and watching football. Oh, and I do plan to post pictures of Mary Ella in her Halloween costume soon. I somehow managed to forget. And her 4-month post is coming on Monday after we go to the pediatrician!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Birthday present...

So, you know you are OLD when you get presents like THIS for your birthday...
Just kidding. But I do feel old, because this birthday present is really for my daughter. This thing is AMAZING! It's called the Beaba Babycook. It is actually a food processor, steamer, defroster, cooker in ONE! And it's genius. Chad and I saw this in Williams Sonoma not long ago and I thought it would be so much fun to use after seeing the demonstration. I thought maybe I'd get it for Christmas but he surprised me with it for my birthday instead. So he was just in time for Mary Ella's 4-month birthday and graduation to solid foods. This is the ONE STOP SHOP for making your own baby food. All you do is put your raw veggies/fruits into the machine, add water to the reservoir, and it steams them for you. Then, without having to get them out or move them to your blender, you just turn the switch one notch and it purees them too! You can then feed your baby or freeze the puree for later. When you need your frozen food, you simply drop the food cubes back into this same machine and it cooks them for you. Easy as that. And super easy cleanup too. I absolutely LOVE it. Maybe I can post an instructional video soon. :)
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