Thursday, May 28, 2009

McNuggets, please.


Well, I spoke too soon last week, because Chad had to go to Jackson again this week. He left Tuesday and will be back tonight, though, so that's not so bad. Yesterday we went to our pool for the first time this year and Mary Ella loved it! I didn't get any pictures since it was just the two of us, but hopefully we'll get back there tomorrow or Saturday and I can post a few. She absolutely loves the water! I am super excited about heading to St. George island this weekend, too. We'll be there from Sunday to Sunday, and the beach is private, so I'm looking forward to a long, relaxing vacation with the family.
Today Mary Ella and I have been running errands, picking up last minute stuff for the trip. I took her to McDonald's for the first time and she ate her first Happy Meal - Mcnuggets, apple dippers and juice - ha! She seemed to enjoy it. I'm sure this will become more of a treat in the future.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Just a few recent pictures

A few from our third trip to the zoo, this time with cousin Addie Jane...








And this is Mary Ella's favorite thing to do after breakfast... read her books on the deck while Lucy begs her to play ball!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Childless for the Weekend

My girlfriends and I headed up to Florence Friday for Ashley's dad's funeral; it was great to see everyone and to share memories of her sweet father. Thanks for everyone who has prayed for her family.

Since I didn't work Friday during the day I had volunteered to work Saturday for some extra cash. So Friday I left Mary Ella with my parents and headed back to Birmingham. I was worried about leaving her - just because I had never left her before and I thought I'd go nuts - but I knew that I'd be busy all day Saturday and she'd have more fun at the Compound. So I bit the bullet and today marks the first day of Mary Ella's life where I haven't seen her at all [insert tears] except for a photo attached to a text message. I have called every couple of hours, of course, and she's been entertaining her grandparents, great grandparents and all her cousins today. Aunt Betsy and cousin Annsley even took her to the mall! And Mimi has already made her a new outfit - ha! So I guess life without her Momma isn't so bad after all...

After 2 of my patient visits were cancelled today, Chad and I met for a late lunch this afternoon and then went to see the new XMen Movie, The Wolverine. I have never seen any of the XMen movies but it was pretty good! Lots of volume and fighting and jumping around, but still very entertaining and a really interesting story line. I liked it. Following the movie we came home and went on a 3 mile run/walk and now we're sitting here about to settle down. I don't know what to do with no bottles to prepare and nobody to read a story to at this time of night! I miss my sweet baby! But we have enjoyed being "our old selves" today, haha. I think we'll have to go get her tomorrow, though. I can't stand it much longer!

Hope everyone has a great rest of the weekend!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Prayer

Please pray for my friend Ashley and her family. Her father died unexpectedly yesterday... only a week after walking her down the aisle at her wedding. Pray for healing and for peace.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Menu Plan Monday


FINALLY, I can start planning my menus again! It is definitely hard to do this when your husband is out of town 3 of the 4 weeks out of the month! Thankfully he is not going away again for a very long time (if I can help it)... so back to planning out menus and taking advantage of our E-Mealz subscription!

Monday - BBQ Chicken Packets (BBQ Chicken, Beans, Corn all baked in aluminum foil), and Italian slaw
Tuesday - Dinner @ Shelley's
Wednesday - Pizza Pasta Bake, Salad
Thursday - Baked tilapia, roasted green beans, sweet potatoes
Friday - Fish Tacos, fresh pico de gallo and tortilla chips
Saturday - Low fat Kielbasa sausage hoagies with onion relish, chips & fruit

I also made a WONDERFUL pasta salad this morning to have as my lunch during the week. This is such a great recipe because all the ingredients are very fresh, and the dressing is just salsa and red wine vinegar, instead of mayo or a more fattening dressing.
Here's the recipe:

4 cups uncooked spiral pasta (I buy the Barilla brand whole wheat)
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 medium red onion, chopped
1.5 cups chopped cucumber
1 16 oz jar salsa
1 small can of no-salt-added tomato sauce
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse with cold water. Add all other ingredients, stir, and chill for 20 minutes before serving. (Note: The longer you let it chill, the better it tastes!)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Froggy T-Shirt

For our sweet neighbor, Baby Gavin, who just turned ONE yesterday!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Check out my latest projects!

Initial Burp Cloth (for my friend's baby, Anna Joy Hill)


Cupcake burp cloth


3 of my burp cloths


Mary Ella's puppy dog shirt



I can't do anything too fancy with my $99 Singer, but hopefully I can still make some money! My new website should be up in about 2 weeks once the designer gets done with it! Until then, I'll keep posting a few samples on here.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Another one bites the dust... 4 high school friends down, 1 to go...

This past weekend I celebrated the wedding of my dear friend Ashley Johnson, whom I've known since I was little! It was such a fun wedding weekend. I was just happy to not be pregnant or breastfeeding - ha - like I have in the last 2 weddings! Friday night we rehearsed at the church then enjoyed an amazing dinner of filet mignon, cheese grits, and asparagus at the Robert Trent Jones golf club overlooking the river. Saturday started off with storms, but by the afternoon the weather was perfect! She and Brian were married at the beautiful St. Michael's church in Florence and the reception was at Turtle Point. We enjoyed another round of good eating - crab cakes, crab claws, shrimp & grits, ahi tuna, Tuscan chicken, praline brie, and pork tenderloin - and danced all night while the Midnighters played. At the end, we watched fireworks on the lake and said our goodbyes with sparklers as she and Brian headed off to their honeymoon in the British Virgin Islands... wish I was there right now! The weekend was fabulous and Ashley, of course, looked absolutely stunning. It was the perfect day. I loved getting time with my girlfriends, too. We always have the best time, no matter where we are or what we're doing.
Well, Chad is in Tyler, Texas this week for work. He has had to travel a LOT the past month - 2 weeks in Jackson, MS and now this week in Texas. It definitely makes things a little more difficult around here but I'm getting used to it, I guess. Hopefully this will be the last week he has to be away for a LONG time. Normally he doesn't have to do any overnight traveling, but with new contracts popping up here and there, they need the extra help at these hospitals. So he's the go-to guy, I guess. In the meantime I'm just trying to get things done by myself... :(
While Chad is away, I plan to work a little and maybe do some more sewing. I have been making aprons lately, using my sewing machine. I picked out some cute fabrics at Hobby Lobby and started to buy a pattern but I didn't want to pay $12 for a pattern so I just made up my own pattern. It turned out to be really cute and I ended up giving both my mom and Chad's mom an apron for Mothers Day! All you sewing divas out there would be proud of me. I am still learning but I've had so much fun doing it. Mom taught me to applique while I was home this weekend so tomorrow I plan to head to Hobby Lobby for more supplies and fabrics to help me practice. Practice is the key, when it comes to the applique thing. I wish I could join a sewing group or something; I think that'd be fun. I need some easy projects or "homework" to keep me busy - any suggestions would be welcomed! I'm not expecting to become an Amy Rutledge overnight but I'd love to be able to make money doing what Mom does. She's the most talented woman I know! For now, though, aprons and simple projects will have to do!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mothers Day


What an amazing gift it is to be a mother. I am so, so blessed to have a beautiful, healthy child. I am blessed to be able to love her, to teach her, to see her and touch her. I am blessed to be able to stay home with her and watch her grow. I am blessed to have such a wonderful family that loves her as much as I do. I am blessed to finally understand what selflessness is really all about (although I don't do a good job of showing it all the time.)
Today was a special day. Last year on this day I was in church, praising God and thanking him for this feisty little girl I had inside my stomach, kicking me and moving about during worship! Hard to believe how much has changed since then. Although I loved her then, there are no words for how much I loved her when she arrived in July. For it was then that I understood what people meant when they told me I'd love like I'd never loved before... it was then that I felt an overwhelming joy mixed with an overwhelming fear, knowing that although I was delighted to have this precious baby girl, I wouldn't be able to hold her forever... it was then that I caught a glimpse (and only a glimpse) of how the Father loved me... unconditionally, without reservation. It was then that my life changed forever. I was a mother. A mom. A real "grown up." I laugh thinking about our first few weeks at home. I remember Chad saying, "I mean, it's like we have our own little human being." And we did. We had a child. A child who was dependent on us for protection, comfort, FOOD, shelter, sleep, diaper changes, etc etc. Little did we know how much we would love that little human that kept us up so many nights! I never thought I had the capacity to love someone so much, much less for that love to GROW and KEEP growing! Thank you, sweet Lord, for allowing my sinful heart to experience this abundant love and this indescribable joy that perhaps only comes with being a mother. I am proud, I am thankful, and I am so, so blessed.

Today we celebrated our own mothers and grandmothers. We ate breakfast with my parents, then dropped in to say hello to the rest of the Compound crew before heading back to Birmingham, where we spent the rest of the day with Chad's family. Chad bought me the new Vera baby bag and I love it! It is perfect and I was really surprised!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

10 Months


Wow... am I really only 2 months away from my baby's first birthday?! Time has never flown so fast. Mary Ella has changed a LOT in the last month, it seems, so there are a few new things I can write about!

First of all, we have 2 new TOP TEETH! Her first one broke through on Easter Sunday and the other one followed a couple weeks later. They are so cute! She is still chewing on everything but the drooling has slowed down since they came in, so that's good. We have started putting Fluoride drops in her bottles now, to make sure her teeth are good and healthy. (Pelham water doesn't have Fluoride in it, so we have to supplement with the drops.)
Because of these new teeth, Mary Ella is improving with her cracker eating. Before, she would put the entire thing in her mouth and try to "gum" it into smaller pieces in order to swallow. Now she is better about taking smaller bites and actually chewing the food. And speaking of food, at her 9 month checkup Dr. A gave us the "go ahead" to let her eat whatever we are eating - with the exception of shellfish, peanut butter and honey (and whole milk, of course) - as long as it is healthy and not a choking hazard. So she has enjoyed lasagna, grilled chicken, quesadillas, rice, broccoli, macaroni, ravioli, and a bunch of other stuff. She is still eating her regular Stage 3 Gerber foods too. Her breakfast is usually Gerber Yogurt-Grain cereal and fruit or juice, or whatever I am eating (usually a toasted bagel, maybe a scrambled egg with some cheese). Lunch and Dinner usually consist of either Gerber food (she LOVES the Gerber Pasta Pick-Ups) or a grilled cheese, and I always include a veggie too. She still gets 3 bottles a day, at 10am, 3pm and 8pm. The day bottles are 6oz and the nighttime bottle is 8oz. Only 2 more months until we can switch to whole milk - yea!
WAIT - did I say BOTTLES? Because what I meant to say was.... (drum roll please).... SIPPY CUPS! HOORAY! Mary Ella magically began taking a sippy cup about a week ago. She loves it. I had tried ALL brands of sippy cups, trying to find one that she would actually like, and you know most of them aren't cheap. I finally found a cup by Nuby that had 3 different lids, each a little different - one lid was a regular bottle nipple, one was a straw-like nipple, and one was a sippy cup lid. The cup is supposed to help your baby transition better from bottle to cup. Well, it WORKED! Mary Ella drinks from her cup now - juice, milk, whatever. And the best part is that she holds it all by herself! No more sitting in Mommy's lap for her milk - she is a big girl now! I am excited about this because she can give herself a cup of milk in the car! She can only do this well if the cup has handles on the sides. The 3-in-1 Nuby cup didn't come with handles, but the Munchkin sippy cups are around $3 at Target and they have a similar lid to the Nuby lid, so she can hold them by herself. All you Moms out there know how HUGE this is! It's so nice to be able to free up our hands sometimes!
Another milestone we have reached is CRAWLING! Finally! Although now I will be consumed with baby-proofing my house. She has been crawling pretty well on her belly for the last month, but this past week she crawled for the first time by herself! We got a video of it, so as soon as I can get it off my Mom's camera I will post it! Even though I know it will be a little more chaotic now, I am excited about this new phase. I need to get a gate for our stairs soon! She's not too fast yet, so maybe I still have a little time. She is also pulling up on furniture and her crib, and she thinks it is hilarious when you catch her pulling up on things. She just laughs, like she knows she's done something mischievous. It is so cute.
favorite word is definitely "Da-Da" and she says about 100 times a day, maybe more. She also says "Bah Bah" for her bottle, and she has definitely said "Poppa" which is what she calls my Dad. She can wave bye-bye and we are still working on the big "Rolllll Tide." Ha...as long as we get that one down before football season, we'll be good to go! She enjoys riding in her big girl carseat and also loves riding in the buggy at the grocery store, even though she has to wait about 10 minutes for me to completely sanitize and disinfect the thing :) She'll understand, one day. This past month she has enjoyed swimming in her baby pool outside while I have done yard work. We are looking forward to the beach - only 4 weeks from today! Yea!

Well, I guess that's about it. We are so, so blessed to have a child, and we really do thank God for Mary Ella every single day. She means more to us than anything in this world.
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