Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Look Mom: No Hands!

Holding on to furniture is highly over-rated.

Especially when you need both hands to hold (and taste) a fun, new toy. Will you look at the booty sticking out? I just wanna smack it.

I can resist, though. What I can't resist?? Kissing those chubby cheeks.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


I finally got a picture of Hadley's two litte bottom teeth! Aren't they adorable?? Now, we just need a couple of teeth on the top and she'll be ready for her first cheeseburger.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Let's Go Krogering

Whoa, Nelly! Does this thing have brakes??!!

Don't worry-- Hadley loved her first ride in the grocery cart today. She even squealed and laughed a little. Especially when we happened to see my mom at the store. Hadley couldn't believe that Maggie goes to Kroger, too. Who knew???

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sandy's Potato Salad

Years ago, my mom and I took a cooking demonstration class at a Viking School. One week of the class was dedicated to potato salads-- all different types of salads. Some were entree salads with ingredients like pulled pork and flank steak and others were traditional side dishes like one based on a loaded baked potato with thick-cut bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, and green onions. Yum. That was the best. I have long since lost the pamphlet of recipes that we brought home from that class, but I still remember the yummy salad concoctions.

I didn't actually start making potato salad on a regular basis, though, until I tried Sean's mother's potato salad. Sean's mother, Sandy, is a great cook and she loves teaching others her recipes. I have learned so many things from her and make many of her recipes on a regular basis. I hope to pass these recipes onto Hadley one day when she is older.

Sandy's potato salad is loaded with ingredients that I love, like green olives, boiled eggs, celery, green onions, and flat-leaf parsley. And, the kicker is that instead of an all mayonnaise base, she uses mayonnaise and a little bit of canola or olive oil. There's no mustard, either. That would be wrong. And, since she is from New Orleans, she spices it up with lots of Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning. It's a must for just about any dish she cooks. We use Tony's in just about everything, too.

I don't really have a recipe for this salad since it's more a method than a science, but essentially, you boil some potatoes and a few eggs. Let both cool slightly. Then peel the potatoes and eggs, cut the potatoes into cubes, mash the eggs, and while the potatoes are still warm, mix in the eggs, vegetables, mayo, and oil. Just add the fillings until you get the salad to the consistency that you like. If you like tons of olives and just a few onions in your salad, that's fine. Then, season to taste with black pepper and Tony's. Tony's is mainly salt, so go easy on the salt if you add any.


Traveling with a Baby-- Oh Yeah

The summer before I got pregnant with Hadley, Sean and I took a cruise to Mexico. Packing for that trip was something I put off until the last minute because I hate to pack. I literally threw a bunch of shorts, tank tops, swim suits, and sundresses into a bag the night before we left. And traveling to our port was simple. We drove until one of us got hungry or thirsty or bored or tired, which wasn't that often. Then, we stopped for a few minutes and went on about our way. Those were such simple days.

Now, packing for a trip with Hadley involves plans of such epic proportion that you would think we were trying to move to a new house instead of just go on a week-long vacation. And, the actual road trip itself was less about rushing to get somewhere and more about just making it somewhere with our sanity intact.

Here are a few things I learned on our journey that might make packing, traveling, and vacationing with a little one a little easier.

* If you forget to pack it, you can buy it. I stressed and stressed over having everything I would need for Hadley (from food to clothes to toys) and honestly, we way over-packed. If I had it to do over again, I would only pack a fraction of what we took. Remember that most hotels and/ or condos have laundry facilities, so you can wash clothes if baby rips through every outfit the first day. And, Hadley has been known to do this. The one thing I was really happy I over-packed, though, was a bag of toys. They were invaluable at distracting Hadley while we spent hours in the car.

* Have all of baby's essentials on hand and close by in the car on long car rides. I rode in the backseat with Hadley and had a bag with all of her bottles and food, some finger foods to occupy her snacking needs, diapers and wipes (I didn't change her while we were on the move, though), and a bag full of toys. This made it easy to keep her occupied and make sure she ate on schedule. We tried to stop and get out of the car when she was ready to eat, though. That might have helped more than anything in keeping her from feeling so cooped up in the car.

* All of the odds and ends in your diaper bag and glove compartment (garage door opener, sunglasses, cell phone) are amazingly interesting to a baby and will occupy precious minutes when baby gets bored in the car. At one point on our drive, Sean and my brother took turns giving Hadley their electronic gadgets to play with. She loved it and it bought us a few more miles of happiness. Just make sure the stuff you give baby doesn't have small parts that can be swallowed and is "locked" so baby can't call China.

* Check to see if the hotel or resort has a crib or pack 'n play for baby, so that you don't have to lug your own with you. Our resort had pack 'n plays and we opted to use one with a crib sheet we purchased. I also wiped down the bed THOROUGHLY with anti-bacterial wipes.

* Try to keep the baby on schedule. This is hard since a vacation requires flexibility for everyone's schedules, but if you can maintain some semblence of a schedule, it will make your life so much easier once you return home. Hadley was on an awesome schedule prior to our trip and inevitably, the late dinners, nights out, day trips, days spent swimming, and new surroundings obliterated that. Hadley is re-learning her schedule now and is not so happy about it.

* If you have sleep trained your baby, try, try, try not to undo it. This is a hard one because I'm not sure what the solution is. I felt bad leaving Hadley in a strange room, in a strange condo, and in a strange bed alone to cry herself to sleep. I knew she was confused and scared and felt that I would only compound that by leaving her to "cry it out" in her pack 'n play. But, by not doing so, she became dependent on us to stay with her while she fell asleep. And now, we are having to re-train her to sleep on her own. Ugh.

* Take lots and lots of sunscreen for everyone (if you are traveling to a warm-weather destination). We took baby sunscreen in SPF 60 for Hadley and SPF's 45 and 55 for me and Sean. We slathered it on everyday and avoided painful sunburns. I did manage, even with my SPF 45, to get a little tan, too.

* Also, for babies, be sure to take hats and if you can find them, UVA/ UVB protectant swim clothes. Retailers make little swim shirts for boys and girls to wear in the water that protect their delicate skin from the worst of the sun's rays. Here is a version that Target carries.

* For swimming, a swim floatie for Hadley was so helpful. She could sit in her floatie to play and well, float, and she loved the independence she had. It also gave Sean and I little breaks from holding her in the water.

* I was so happy that I remembered to take a bottle brush with me to wash Hadley's bottles. The second day we were there, my brother used it to wash a grill pan. I learned that I could wash her bottles by hand just as easily and my brother learned what a bottle brush is.

* The one thing I could not have lived without on our trip (and would not have wanted to purchase) was our camera. Memories are fleeting but our pictures will last forever.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Florida, Baby!

We're home from our first family vacation with the little one! We spent last week with some of Sean's family and my brother at a resort in Orlando, Florida, relaxing and visiting. We had so much fun and got to spend time with family that we don't see very often. Hadley had a ball playing with her little cousins and had some fun first experiences, too:

She managed to survive her first real road trip. The trip was 14 hours each way exclusive of stops for meals and breaks. All total, we were in the car from 4:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on the way there (we lost an hour due to the time change, though). I am absolutely amazed at how well Hadley did on the trip. She could have been mad at the world for detaining her in a carseat for that long, but she wasn't. We made sure to stop and let her get out of the car for short spells. I think this really helped. She played, napped, and sang the time away and was happy except for a few times when it hit her that she was STILL in the freaking car.

Someone thinks she is old enough to drive

At one point during our drive, Hadley created a game in which I would hand her a toy, and she would toss it back at me. Or to the back of the car, or to the front of the car, or at the window beside her. I'm still finding toys in the car. How can you be mad at this, though?

Hadley also went swimming for the first time at the resort's pools.

With Aunt Jenny just before going swimming for the first time

This was Hadley's first experience with swimming and she was so not sure of the whole "giant tub" thing at first. She clung to us for dear life the first two times we tried swimming. Then, she warmed up to the idea and soon LOVED it. She splashed, squealed, and kicked her little legs in the water.

As much as she loved swimming in the pool, she hated the beach and ocean. We took a day trip to a nearby beach, ate on the pier, and played in the sand and surf for a little while. We thought Hadley might like playing with her toys in the sand, but she decidedly did not. I think she was just hot and uncomfortable. We tried to let her dip her toes in the waves, too. She screamed as loud as she could when she saw the wave coming to her. Oh well, maybe next time.

With Daddy on the pier

We realized about halfway through our trip that Hadley was getting a second tooth. She seemed to be a little more cranky than usual but I attributed that to the long car ride, lack of sleep, and new surroundings. Silly me. I hate that she was in pain, but the tooth is in now, and she looks so cute with two little bottom teeth.

The only real downside to traveling with a little one was that it completely threw her schedule and sleep training out the window. Since returning home, we are having to re-sleep train Hadley and she is so fighting it. Ugh. Last night was not pretty. Hadley wore herself out and fell asleep sitting straight up in her crib. It was so sad and so sweet that I almost picked her up to cuddle her. I managed to resist her cuteness, though.

I'll post my Do's and Don'ts for traveling with a little one tomorrow. We're heading off to our first Little Gym class now.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Home Sweet Home

We're home! We got back on Monday from our vacation and we've been recuperating and trying to re-sleep train Hadley ever since. The trip was great. The sleep training-- not so much. I will post a full vacation recap post a little later today, complete with pictures and do's and don'ts for traveling with a baby!

Friday, June 12, 2009


Well, we're off tonight for a weeklong vacation. We will be back on Monday, June 22, hopefully well rested and tan! I'll try to update while we are away, but I make no promises. I may be too busy laying by the pool to get out the laptop.

By the way, as I am typing this, Hadley is standing by my knee blowing raspberries on my leg. She gets cracked up each time she does it and smiles up at me with a huge smile, like "Did you hear that????" I love this little one.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

This is what I have to put up with

Sean sent me this in an email today:

Q: How do you stop a lawyer from drowning?

A: Shoot him before he hits the water.

Lawyers get no respect.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Easiest Dinner Ever

Sorry for the lack of posts this week. Things have been uber hectic around here. We were out of town visiting family last weekend and since returning home, I have been trying to get us ready and packed for a weeklong vacation in Orlando that we leave for on Friday night. I'm dreading the drive already. Yes, we have opted to drive 14 hours with an infant. We need help. And, I need to be medicated before we leave.

But, before we leave, I have been wanting to share a recipe that we tried last week for a rotisserie crockpot chicken. The full recipe is below. Variations for this recipe are floating around the web right now, but the method is essentially the same for all of them. You prepare a chicken to cook, season it, and then place the chicken on top of loosely rolled balls of aluminum foil that you have placed in the bottom of your crockpot. The aluminum balls keep the chicken from resting in its juices and allow the heat to circulate around the chicken, much like it would if you roasted the chicken in the oven.

I cooked a 3.3-pound chicken and it was tender, falling apart, and delicious. I don't know if the chicken actually tasted like a rotisserie chicken since I don't buy those, but the meat was great. We made shredded chicken tacos, barbecue chicken pizza, and buffalo chicken sandwiches with our chicken and still had enough meat to freeze some for later. And, seriously, this was the easiest and fastest dinner I have made in a long time. I spent ten minutes prepping the chicken and had cooked chicken for dinners throughout the week. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from one I found here on Big Oven:

3 -4 lb. whole chicken rinsed, patted dry (remove bag from cavity)
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Seasoning salt, black pepper, cayenne, onion powder, and garlic powder (season your chicken to taste)
aluminum foil

Make 4-5 loose balls from the aluminum foil. Mix seasoning salt, black pepper, cayenne, onion powder, and garlic powder in a bowl. Rub inside and outside of chicken with olive oil and then rub with seasonings to taste. Spray the inside of the crockpot with non-stick cooking spray. Put foil balls (4-5) in the bottom of the crockpot. Place the chicken on top of the foil balls, breast side up. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4-6 hours. Do not add water or other liquid to crockpot. Do not remove the lid from the crockpot until the chicken has finished cooking.

Dear Hadley: Month 9

Dear Hadley:

A few days ago, you turned nine months old and that night, we attended your Uncle Jack's college graduation party at Maggie and Pop's house. You were the youngest in attendance, but you didn't let that stop you from letting loose. You squealed, laughed, sang, and bounced with the best of them. I was told by one party guest that he could hear you squealing when he was getting out of his car. And you were in the house. And all of the doors and windows to the house were closed. I knew you were loud, but the fact that your squeal can pierce the sound barrier came as a bit of shock.

You definitely found your lungs this last month and love to see just how loud you can be. You squeal with delight at your toys, screech at Bella, and yell at Allie. Sometimes, out of nowhere, you just screech like a little monkey. And, you cause a stir everywhere we go. Daddy and I were at the grocery store about a week ago and you were happily screeching and squealing as we wheeled you up and down the aisles. You had everyone's attention and may have even embarassed Daddy a little bit. A passing man made sure to tell us that you sure have a lot to say. Yes, yes, you do. I'm not sure what you are saying yet, but I'm hoping you develop an indoor voice really soon.

Even if you don't, though, I'm planning on keeping you. Mainly because you give hugs AND kisses now. Daddy got the first kiss a few weeks ago and since then, you have been doling out kisses like crazy. Your kisses are soooo endearing. You open your little mouth and lean in to touch us on the cheeks or lips. It is the sweetest kiss on Earth and one I wish I could have every second of every day.

Speaking of your Daddy, you absolutely and totally adore him. If I am holding you and walk by Daddy, you reach out your arms to him, grab his shirt and pull him to you. And then, if he doesn't get the hint fast enough that you want him, you practically throw yourself into his arms. It's amazing to see you act on what you want-- and get it. I think you have realized that Daddy is gone at work all day because you cling to him in the mornings at breakfast. And, when Daddy gets home at night, you squeal with delight and give him the biggest smile. You just melt his heart.

We have had so much fun with you this last month. You are like a little sponge, just soaking up everything we teach you. I am constantly amazed at how fast you learn. On our way to visit family out of town last weekend, I taught you to to say "AHHHH" while I patted your mouth (to make the "ABBABABABA" sound). This is one of your favorite games. You have quite a few-- most of which you have made up on your own. You are trying to whistle, mimic us when we hit our hands on a table, "chase" us, and jump in your bed. You definitely keep us busy.

You hit a couple more developmental milestones this month, too: you are trying to stand and balance on your own, you are pointing at characters in your books, and of utmost importance, you got your first tooth!! We were so excited about that tooth. It has made us a little more comfortable expanding your solid food repertoire. You are now working on finger foods and have found lots of favorites, like mashed potatoes and bananas. Oh boy.

I'm wondering if you will love food as much as Daddy and I do. Right now, you really seem to. When I was pregnant with you, I craved cheeseburgers 24 hours a day and even ate one a time or two for breakfast (Sonic serves them early). I am not normally a cheeseburger fan, but your Daddy loves cheeseburgers. I can't wait to see if you love them as much as he does. Given how alike you two are already, that would not surprise me in the least.

I love you, Sweet Pea, and can't wait to see what next month brings.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Monkeying Around

A few days ago, Hadley and I were engaged in our normal ritual of playing keep away from the fireplace. We do this often. Hadley makes a mad dash for the fireplace and I scoop her up and put her back in the middle of the room with all of her toys. Of course, the fireplace, the one thing in the room I don't want her playing on or near, is the one thing she wants to play on constantly. Go figure.

Well, that day, Hadley kept dashing to the fireplace and pausing as if she was waiting for me to catch up. Instead of picking her up like I normally do, I put my hand on her shoulder to stop her crawling and said "no fireplace." I thought this would elicit a cry, but instead she stared straight forward and started laughing. I took my hand off of her shoulder and she started slowly crawling forward. I put my hand on her shoulder and she laughed again hysterically. We did this several times before it finally dawned on me that she had created a game for us! She was just waiting for me to figure out how to play.

This seems to be a common theme lately. Hadley does something new until Sean and I finally catch on as to what she wants or is trying to communicate. She must think we are so dense. And, most of the time, we are. I'm still so used to thinking of Hadley as my little baby that it catches me by surprise when she does something as intellectually advanced as creating a game-- or eating without blowing food all over the room.

Hadley also has a game for Sean. One night while we were eating dinner at a restaurant, Hadley got bored and cranky halfway through the meal. To try to keep her busy, Sean gave Hadley her pacifier and then popped it back out. Hadley laughed hysterically at this. When Sean gave her the paci back, she immediately spit it out and started squealing. This continued for some time. People two tables over were laughing along with her.

Hadley has also recently decided that jumping in the bed is her all-time favorite activity. When I put her down for her nap, she stands up, holds onto the rails and jumps up and down until I come back to check on her. When I come in the room, she leans down to look at me through the rails and grins with a huge smile that says, "Did you see that???" I have a feeling we'll be telling our little monkey to stop jumping in the bed quite often.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Tooth, A Tooth, A Tooth!!!!

A lot of excitement for one little tooth, huh? Let's just say that we've been waiting a while for this tooth. I was just commenting to another blogger yesterday morning that Hadley still, at almost 9 months, had no teeth. I had even started calling Hadley my "toothless wonder" since she is learning to eat all kinds of solid foods with no teeth whatsoever. We had thought that she was teething on occasion over the past few months, but since we never saw a tooth, we started to second guess that and thought maybe we were just attributing crankiness to teething.

Then, while out at lunch with my friend, Maria, yesterday, she commented that she thought she saw a little tooth on Hadley's bottom gum. I absently replied that nope, that must be a bit of a puff because there are no teeth in there.

I remembered Maria's comment last night while Sean and I were making dinner and out of curiosity, we went hunting to see if there might actually be a tooth. And lo and behold, there is!!! One snuck by us. The tiniest sliver of a little tooth has broken through on the bottom left. Sean and I were so excited that we were dancing around the kitchen-- Hadley thought this was incredibly funny.

Interestingly, Hadley hasn't even seemed to be teething this time. She has not been overly cranky or overly drooly and has not been eating or sleeping any differently than normal. It's like this tooth has not yet affected her one bit. I'm surprised, to say the least. Let's hope the remainder of her teething goes this smoothly. I'm positive I will live to regret that statement.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Chunky Monkey

Will you look at these thighs:

Absolutely scrumptious. I have a hard time not devouring them every day. Notice my baby standing? She's so good at it now. She practices pulling up and sitting back down constantly-- and I mean constantly. She was reaching for my laptop when I took this picture. We battle constantly over the laptop. She says she needs it for work. Apparently, I'm just playing on the Internet.

That look she's making? That is an "AAAAHHHH" sound that very closely resembles a howler monkey's screech. She's pretty good at that now, too. I'll have video of her screech coming soon. You just won't believe it until you hear for yourself.

And, look at these rubber-band wrists and arms!

I love those little arms, especially when they're giving me giant hugs. My little monkey is getting good at giving hugs now, too. She wraps her arms around my neck and squeezes with all her might. I'm working on bottling those hugs so I can save them forever.


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