Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Finger Football (Part 2) and Fievel

Eric and Whitney(who finally have a blog) came over this weekend so Eric could help Ryan get the rest of the nursery furniture upstairs... and just to visit.

Ryan and Eric had to get a game of finger football in since, you know, Eric's the big stud Division 1 Wide Receiver and all!!! I'm thinking the Ivy League education was more useful than the Football training since the game has so many rules.

Ryan in scoring position...
Something good just happened...
Kicking a field goal or extra point
So determined...
Once again, there was a lot of laughter and when Eric is around it's never a dull or quiet evening!

And a few pictures of their puppy Fievel who was just a few days out of having his man parts removed and forced into a onesie because his neck is so long he could still reach his stitches with a cone collar.
Resting (or pouting)
Trying to figure out why there is glass separating them!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

24 Week Update

I'm 24 weeks today and everything is going well. Had my 24 week appointment on Friday and Cason's heartbeat sounded great. As most of our appointments have been, this was just a check the heartbeat and make sure I'm not having any weird symptoms. All is good. I was sent home with my glucose drink for the gestational diabetes test at the next appointment (4 weeks). Everyone says its not as bad as people say it is and since I'm a big fan of sweet Kool-Aid, I might even like it!

Cason has been very active today. This morning, I looked down and my belly was jumping when he kicked. This was the first time I'd been able to SEE him move. Ryan was able to see it too which was fun for us both.

I did 4 daycare visits on Friday. Of course my top 2 daycares are either the most expensive or the most inconveniently located. Typical. I am visiting a lady that keeps kids in her home this coming Friday. I hope I love her because that's the route we'd like to go to start out with!
The rest of our nursery furniture came in this week. Ryan and I picked it up Saturday afternoon and Eric and Whitney came over to help us get it upstairs. Thanks for the help!!
It looks really good and we are excited to have it so early. We got the Crib, Dresser and Nightstand. (view from closet door)
Once we get a chair, we'll probably play with the arrangement. We have a full empty wall to play with so I'm sure we'll find something that works. (view from bedroom door)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Finger Football

My parents always find something sort of silly to get Ryan for Christmas. One year was one of those little remote control helicopters they were selling in the malls. This year it was Finger Football. Kevin and Steph came over last weekend and Ryan convinced Kevin to play with him

It looked pretty fun, but more complicated than we imagined.

And requiring a little more skill. But they had fun and there was lots of giggling (manly giggling) invovled as they played.

New Camera

My parents got us THIS for Christmas this year. (THANKS!!!!!) I was so excited and surprised as I had only half mentioned I wanted one to my mom many months ago. She'd been plotting this for months and getting information from all our family members that have them. My dad used to have his own dark room and I've always wanted to learn more about photography. Now, I have no excuse because I have the perfect camera to start out on. I've got lots to learn and need to do it before Cason arrives!

Yesterday, I met Suz, Luke and Hudson for lunch and took a few pictures. It's amazing what this camera can do on its own (I sure had nothing to do with it)... and of course cute subjects like these two make it even more fun!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Red Bird Problem

We've had a problem with this stupid red bird (cardinal I guess) liking to peck/fly into the window of the utility room and guest room window. Ryan had this problem at one of his spec homes and we did some research. Everything says that during mating season certain birds (including cardinals) are very territorial and they will see their own reflection and think its another male bird so they attack. I guess hitting the glass doesn't teach them anything and they just keep doing it. Sometimes its so bad they start to bleed! Most solutions were to keep the blinds shut, put the screens on the windows, and other methods to make the windows not have a reflection. None are "pretty" solutions..

Since the problem at our house was not affecting anyone's sleep we never did anything about it. Then, the bird (or his friend) took a perch on our outdoor cooler one day and saw himself in the glass door to our bedroom. For the past couple of weeks, he's been attacking himself in the window every morning around 7:00. I did more research and still found no fool proof solution other than to try to make the window not reflective.

I came home last night to Ryan's version of this solution.... (click for full effect)

And Ryan re-enacting this photo...

It worked this morning... Ryan said he even saw the bird perched on the cooler so we'll see how long it lasts. If we follow the advice of the websites I've read, Ryan's threatening picture will have to stay for a couple of weeks for the bird to forget that he has an enemy in this spot.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

23 Weeks -- Belly

There is no doubt I'm pregnant now. I'm getting lots of "you're finally showing" comments from my coworkers and it's nice to know I don't just look like I have a gut.

I'm still wearing a lot of my non-maternity pants with the Belly Band but am having to stick to maternity tops these days. One of my co-workers had 3 plastic bins of maternity clothes she's letting me borrow and I'm so grateful (and Ryan is too!)

I'm just over 5 months pregnant... over half way there. 24 Week appointment is tomorrow then I'm going to try to check out a couple of daycares to get that process started. I'm feeling pretty good but am staying fairly tired. I'm not sleeping great trying to get used to this side sleeping thing. Ryan bought me the Boppy Pregnancy Pillow today so we'll see if that helps.

Cason is moving around a lot. He really liked the Raising Cane's I had for lunch yesterday (or maybe he didn't like it?) because he really started to move. It cracked me up because he's normally not that active around lunch time. It normally starts late afternoon and then again when I get in bed. Ryan has felt a few kicks but as soon as he puts his hand on my belly, Cason stops moving and as soon as he takes it away, he'll start kicking around again. Little stinker.

We got a call today that the rest of our furniture is here (way earlier than promised) so we have to figure out if we should pay for delivery which is probably the best idea since the big dresser has to get upstairs. Hopefully we'll figure that out to get it here this weekend. Now I just want to get the message that the bedding has shipped too!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Baked Cinnamon Apples

I've never been a huge fan of baked apples, apple pie, etc. I guess as I've gotten older, I'm starting to like more things. Recently I've been craving cinnamon baked apples... so much so that I ordered them instead of fries or mashed potatoes at Chili's recently!

I had never made them before and wanted something really easy. Ryan's mom sent me two of her apple recipes. One I didn't have the ingredients for and the other was for the crockpot and I was in more of a "be done when dinner is done" mood. I found a recipe on Recipe Zaar that called for 45 minutes of baking time and had pretty much the same ingredients as the crock pot recipe I already had so I gave it a try. They turned out fantastic... but the results of 10 apples disappeared waaaaaayyyy too fast in our house!

Hot Baked Cinnamon Apples
By: Recipe Zaar submitter "Elmolvsu"

10 apples, cored, peeled and sliced thin
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice (optional)
1 dash salt
1 dash nutmeg
fresh whipped cream (optional) or ice cream (optional)

Place cut and peeled apples in a mixing bowl and gently mix all the ingredients together.
Put apples in a non-stick pan, and cook covered for 45 minutes at 375°F.
Stir at least once every 15 minutes.
Once they are soft, cook for another few minutes to thicken the cinnamon sauce.
Tip: Put everything in the baking dish and then mix it since there is less to clean up.

Several of the reviews said this can be made in the crock pot as well and one even said she made it at her desk at work. I could totally torture my cube mates letting this cook all day and making them smell it but not get to eat it! Ha!


We spent most of last Sunday and this past weekend researching furniture, carseats and strollers. We found a set of furniture we liked at USA Baby last weekend but weren't able to make it to Baby's First Furniture to see all our options. After a trip there on Saturday, we decided on our original set. We thought we'd have to order everything and wait 8-12 weeks but they actually had the crib and mattress in stock.

So we brought it home Saturday night and put it together.
Ryan even let me help!
All done!
The crib looks pretty lonely right now! I'm very excited for the dresser to arrive and of course for all the bedding to get here so we can really start putting it all together, picking out accessories, etc. But, at least we have the essential item should the other furniture take longer than expected or should Cason come early!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

I love anything I can cook in a crockpot. Since work + commute makes for long days, its great to have meals that are ready when I get home. This recipe has been a big hit on a local message board for some time but it took me a while to get on the bandwagon. Not sure why but we were missing out for the past year. I am not sure who this recipe "belongs" to but I wish I did so I can give them credit.

Ryan and I both really like the way these turn out and its super easy. I told him tonight that I was glad he liked it because we'd be having it a lot after the baby is born!

Crockpot Chicken Tacos
1 chicken taco seasoning packet (you can use a reg. taco seasoning packet but the chicken kind is best)
6 FROZEN chicken tenderloins (or 3 frozen breasts)
1 container of fresh pico (or can of Rotel)
1/4 c. Olive Oil
1/4 c. Water

Cover the bottom of the crockpot with the taco seasoning.
Lay frozen chicken on top.
Pour Pico/Rotel over chicken.
Pour Oil and Water over everything.
Cook on Low for 4-6 hours. If home, turn meat half way but not necessary.
Shred chicken with a fork and stir into juices.
Let cook/simmer for 30 minutes more (if time is tight, I skip this step)

Serve on tortillas with a shredded Mexican cheese blend. Great for leftovers, too.

I always use Rotel because I tend to make this when I'm having a "what to cook" moment. I keep Rotel and Taco Seasoning in the pantry most of the time and there is always some frozen chicken in my freezer from sale days when I stock up. Fresh pico would go bad in our house so I never buy it.

As an aside, a neat tip I learned (from another source that I can't find anymore) is how to make your "big" crockpot smaller. Many people get the bigger crockpot with the programmable/digital timer which can be too big for meals for two. We aren't big leftover people (with some exceptions) so I like to just cook enough for the two of us on many things. What I learned is that you can put a covered casserole dish inside your crockpot to make it the right size for smaller portions. This way, the meat is in a smaller space and is able to continue to cook in the juices and not dry out. I use the appropriate size Corningware French White covered dish to hold whatever I am cooking (brisket, roast, pork loin, chicken tacos). Just place the casserole dish with the food you are cooking, covered, into the crock pot. Put the crockpot cover on and cook as directed. Works like a charm and since the casserole dish is smaller I can normally fit it in the dishwasher for easier cleanup. Here is a picture of mine (uncovered after cooking) for reference.

Monday in Woodforest

I woke up today in a funk. We stayed up too late last night budgeting for life after the arrival of Cason Philip and then I didn't sleep well...or really at all. My mind was racing and I was extremely uncomfortable (I'm a stomach sleeper and, well, that's just not possible anymore). So needless to say, today was not a good morning. I was tired and cranky and the water works started. It was just one of those mornings.

So the rest of my day just sort of had that same blah tone. I worked, tried to focus, put dinner in the crock pot, etc. And then things started to take a turn...

First, Ryan got home and said "Hey, come look", directing me to the garage door. And this is what I saw (well, it was sitting in the driveway... I didn't get a picture before Ryan brought it in).

Now to most of you, this is just a really big, new trashcan issued by the trash company. Nothing special. But to me, this trash can was probably the first thing today that made me glad I got out of bed. You see, we've been in this house for over 3 months but TODAY is the first time I've seen this trash can. This trash can symbolizes the end of bags of stinky trash sitting in the garage for a week at a time. This trash can symbolizes the end of waking up to torn up trash bags and trash on our driveway on trash morning (raccoons we assume). This trashcan symbolizes... well you get my point. Whatever was holding up delivery of trash cans to our new neighborhood was finally worked out and all is right in garbage world.

The trash can itself would have been enough to brighten my day but then there was more. We ate dinner and were cleaning up when Ryan said "It's pink outside... get the camera." And he was right. The sunset view from our back porch was beautiful. God is Good!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

And we have a name...

After much discussion, only a few heated moments :), and a few days of testing it out, Small P finally has a "real" name...

Cason Philip

We've been mainly drawn to C names and kept coming back to Cason as one of a couple that we both equally liked. Also, we decided to look up the meaning when we were still deciding and there isn't much to find. But, a couple of different sites pointed to Cason being an Italian name that means "House". We felt this was just slightly appropriate!

Philip is Ryan's middle name, his dad's middle name, he grandfather's middle name and maybe it goes back further, we aren't sure. I was very drawn to the family history and we think it flows really well.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Nursery Selections - Bedding

Before we knew whether Small P was a boy or a girl, I really wanted to do a red based nursery. When we found out it was a boy, Ryan immediately commented that he didn't want a Blue/Brown or Green/Brown room since we have a lot of those three colors in the house already. So, red it was.

Finding a ready-made red bedding set proved to be a challenge. Most everything is blue/brown or green/brown. The few we did find were either very "themey" with characters or trucks or letters or something, or we just didn't love them.

So I started looking for custom bedding vendors on Etsy and came across a vendor that linked buyers to the site Premier Fabrics for fabric selection. While browsing the fabrics, Ryan and I fell in love with the Phoenix Collection of fabrics. In looking to see how to order swatches, I stumbled upon an interesting piece of information... this company, Premier Fabrics, is based in Mississippi and they have a retail store in Jackson! I immediately asked my Mom if she was familiar and wouldn't you know it the store is next door to their favorite Mexican Restaurant. I sent mom the fabrics we were liking and she went by and picked up swatches. The colors were great and we decided on the Phoenix for sure.

During some other searching, I came across a different vendor (ModPeaPod) that seemed to use the same Premier Fabrics prints but had a lot more pictures of her work that gave us some inspiration. Her prices were better too!

I saw this set on her website and recognized it as the same patterns that we loved just a different color scheme.
This helped us see that the fun "Illusions" print and the Stripe really go well together and we were sold. After a few questions back and forth (she was great to work with) the decision was made. Last night we placed our order. Our bedding set will be similar to the set above, but in these fabrics:

This set is a little different style, but is pretty close to how we are using the fabrics. Striped skirt, Illusions for all "print" areas of bumper and solid red where this set has baby blue.

We also ordered striped curtains since the room we are using for the nursery gets all the morning sun.

I'm so excited to get the bedding in. I really hope it turns out as cute as we are planning and I think it will!

PS: Thanks Mom for your help!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Family Room Changes

While we had both familes at the house for Christmas, we decided to move our big chair and ottoman from the bedroom to the family room so we'd have some extra seating. Plus, my mom was dying to make it her morning reading spot! We always planned to get a chair of some sort for the family room but wanted to do something upholstered in a fun print. Since Ryan's brother helped him move the chair to the family room and I couldn't help him move it back to the bedroom, we decided to play with the furniture arrangement to see if a chair this big would fit so we know what to look for.

Some pictures from before

And now...
All four pieces fit really well and I love having the chair in the family room. We still want to get a non-leather piece so we can move this one back to the bedroom and now we know what size to look for. I don't know WHEN we'll get the new chair since there are probably a few other things we need to be focused on first!

Christmas 2009

We hosted Christmas at our house this year. My parents, grandmother, niece, brother and his dog all came from Mississippi and stayed for almost a week. It was great to have my family see the new house and especially to spend some time with Grammy, James and Helmi as I see them even less than I see my parents. Admiral enjoyed having his cousin Gus around for several days too.

On Christmas morning, Santa came to visit and we opened gifts with my family. All of Ryan's family (parents, both brothers and their wives, and of course all the dogs) joined us for lunch.

It was great to celebrate our first holiday in the new house with both families. Here are some highlights.

Grammy and Helmi making Grammy's famous Lemon Pie.

Helmi in her adorable Christmas Dress

Santa came to visit.

Helmi helping Neanie open her gift... handmade by Helmi (with some help from James).

In the kitchen where I spent lots of time!

My first attempt at Grandmother's dressing.

Admiral getting his gifts.

My family

Ryan's family

All the dogs (I suggest you click on these to see them full size!!)

Fievel makes his escape and Clive TRIES to follow.

Playing Mouse Trap

Admiral and Gus relaxing in the sun.

For the full roll of pictures, click here.

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