April 30, 2013

Baby On–2 Month Review



Month 2 Review:

Here are my highlights and thoughts about Everett’s second month alive.



  • First and foremost – I can’t believe how much he has grown.




  • After the initial first six weeks – which were very hard for me emotionally, the next six have been much better.  I still have my ups and downs like all new mothers (anxiety/guilt), but I can definitely say it has been mostly ups. 


  • I feel as though Mike and I are still (and will always be) “in the trenches” and parenting is such hard work – it is definitely not for the faint of heart. My mom always said that if you do it right it’s the hardest job you’ll ever have – but also the most rewarding.  Boy was she right.  It is a nonstop job that can sometimes seem unappreciated yet has benefits that are beyond your wildest dreams, especially when you get a laugh or a smile.  Those are the most precious moments.




  • There is nothing like being able to soothe your baby. Knowing that sometimes all they need is you to feel comforted is such a sweet feeling.




  • Suggestion from another mom (of twins): always ask the doctor/pharmacist for dye free meds. That way when they throw it up the meds are clear and don't stain.


  • E’s 2 month shots weren’t as bad as I thought they would be.  Poor thing.  I had baby Tylenol and a bottle waiting which seemed to help!




  • Sleep- I am convinced that God created sleep so that we can fall back in love with our children on even the most frustrating of days. They look like little angels.  Speaking of sleep he’s getting much better at his nighttime stretches.  His “normal” schedule now is to go to bed about 9-9:30 and he’ll usually sleep 7-8 hours in a row before waking up.  Compared to the exhaustion/sleep deprivation in beginning of infancy 7 hours in a row is AMAZING!



  • Comparing your experience with others can be cathartic, but also tricky.  I believe that it is human nature to compare any situation you have with what others are going through, whether you know their whole story or not.  It’s hard not to compare your situation with others, but try not to do it – it will drive you crazy.  In some delusional way we, as humans, want others to have it as bad or worse than we did at the time. Don't let it get to you, each baby and family dynamic is unique. Enjoy your own journey and worry about what works for you on that day at that moment. You're not doing it wrong you're just doing it differently to fit your baby’s needs. 




  • Going back to work for me was not bad at all (I went back after 9 weeks).  I know much of the reasoning was because I knew Mike would be caring for E for the month of April and he wouldn’t be starting daycare (he won’t have to until August), but personally I also crave routine and structure.  I was ready to get back to some semblance of that.


  • I am now secretly in love with the song It Won't Be Like This For Long by Darius Rucker.  Just thinking about the lyrics got me through some rough nights and baby meltdown sessions.


  • Nursery must haves:  clock, floor pillows, adult afghan.  Since there were many nights in the beginning that Mike and/or I spent sleeping on the nursery floor, the pillows and afghan were a must.  Now the floor pillows are great for tummy time activities and stories (I actually wrote this suggestion on my iPhone at 4:30 am while laying on the nursery floor).


  • Pandora Radio app is a must!  You can pick any children’s station-nursery rhymes, folk songs, toddler radio, lullabies, etc with no CDs to worry about!  Wherever we are I have my phone and can play any music on the spot.  Speaking of music, I love playing Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles when I go into get E in the mornings.




  • I have learned…If you are in the car and your baby starts crying just find a staticky station and use it as a make-shift white noise machine and turn it up!


  • Everett has somewhat of a "schedule"-ish now.  It is usually an eat, play, nap sequence and seems to work for him.  Mike and I have gotten much better at detecting his cries and know his tired cry pretty well.  When we see the first yawn we know that pretty soon he will need to start calming down, swaddle and rock.




  • I can honestly say that although I can’t believe E will turn three months this Saturday, weeks 6-12 seemed long to both of us. I think because in the beginning stages of the second month, or actually after the first six weeks, we/I seemed to be excitedly waiting for things to happen (smiling, laughing, grasping, cooing, etc) which can make time slow down.   It's so cool how much he's grown, and to watch him as he has started to do all of those milestones, but at the same time to realize how little he still is!



Everett at 10 days and at 11 weeks – same outfit!


  • Although I still have those days where I feel insecure and worry about the newness of being a mom, I think that as a couple Mike and I feel that instead of doing what all of the parenting books say is the "right" thing to do that we are confident enough to do what we think is right for our baby and our family.  It’s kind of liberating after not knowing what you’re doing in the beginning!


  • Don't forget dad! Mike is so amazing and I have found that just picking up a 6-pack (or twelver) of his favorite beer at the grocery store makes a great thinking of you gift anytime.  Goodness knows you both deserve it!




April 29, 2013

Menu Monday


Happy Monday y’all! 


Weekend Highlights:

  • More of the norm for us this weekend.  Lots of hanging out, playing and napping.




  • My mom was in town for the weekend and actually watched Everett for us last Friday and today.  She loved getting some Gransie time in and even offered to watch him while we went to dinner with some of my favorite people.


  • We met our/my college girlfriends/teammates Noelle and Kamrin along with their families at PR’s Taco Palace in Winter Park, an old college favorite.  It was Noelle and her hubby Tim’s 1 year anniversary and we were so excited to celebrate with them.  They had just gotten back from a babymoon at New Smyrna…they’re expecting a baby girl in August!



  • The food at PR’s was actually way better than I remember.  I opted for the chicken fajitas and a glass (or two) of Pinot Grigio.  Yum!




  • Mike ordered the Taco Burrito and it was almost bigger than his whole body.  Ginormous.  But of course he finished it, and probably could have eaten more…oh to have his metabolism.  Not fair.




  • Kam’s two little ones joined us for a bit (before her hubby John took them home to tuck them in) and I got some lovin’ from her youngest, Palmer, who just turned two.  Keltin, her daughter and my Goddaughter was also there but opted out of picture taking.  Cutest kiddos ever!




  • Of course, this was written under Mike’s plate when the waitress cleared the table.  So crazy.  Wisco is represented everywhere!




It was so great getting to catch up with my girls…there is nothing like laughing with old friends.  There is also nothing like getting home and being greeted by a face like this:



12 weeks today!


We are having a pretty normal week…until Friday when Mike’s mom comes into town for 10 days.  Everett hasn’t met his Grandma Pam and we’re so excited to see her!!!  Here’s our plan…what’s yours?


M:  Chili Dogs w/ Chopped Salad

T:  Meatloaf w/ Veggie Cous Cous

W:  Grilled Steak and Blue Cheese Salad

Th:  Apricot Pork Chops w/ Stuffing and Green Beans

F:  Veggie Lasagna Rolls w/ Salad

Sa:  Palatka

Su:  French Dip Paninis w/ Au Jus and Roasted Carrots

April 24, 2013

Berry Good


It is no secret that I love pancakes.  I don’t know where my love for flapjacks has come from in my adult years because my mom didn’t fix them that much when I was growing up that I can remember; besides the obligatory Mickey Mouse,snake and turtle pancakes when I was younger.

I think I have such a respect for pancakes now because:

1.  They are super easy – especially if you have a griddle on which to cook.

2.  They are so versatile!  You can add anything to them and they usually taste delicious!

I have loved experimenting with these “flat breads”, essentially, and have made all sorts of combinations from regular pancake mix as well as actual cake mix.  Some combinations such as:

    • Pumpkin
    • Gingerbread
    • Cinnamon and Apples
    • Blueberry Walnut
    • Chocolate Peanut Butter
    • Banana Bread
    • Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana
    • Dark Chocolate Raspberry

but never strawberry.  Don’t ask me why – I love strawberries and know that fruit obviously works well in pancakes, but the thought of strawberry pancakes never dawned on me until a couple of weekends ago.  The result?  So good… so good… so good! (think Sweet Caroline song in your head).




And what’s even better is that I used frozen strawberries since I didn’t have any fresh on hand and they were delicious!





I started by mixing 2 C pancake complete pancake mix with 1 1/2 C water (yields 12-16 pancakes).  Then I added roughly 1 C (give or take) chopped frozen strawberries.  You could use fresh here.  I also added a tablespoon of brown sugar for added sweetness (I use Splenda brown sugar which tastes just like BS – ha! – but with fewer calories).

Then, as I was mixing this concoction up, I noticed I had a few ripe bananas laying around and decided to throw those in to my leftover batter, since I had already cooked my first batch, to make Strawberry Banana Pancakes.  Another great and easy addition to add yet another layer of flavor.




Even sans syrup these look delicious.




These were perfect for our weekend breakfasts and freeze beautifully. Don’t be afraid to make a huge batch and eat on them all week!



April 22, 2013

Menu Monday


Happy Monday everyone!


Weekend highlights:

  • Having a lazy Saturday and doing nothing but watching this little dude (see below) make tons of crazy faces and have his first attempt at laughing/cackling.
  • Going to a BBQ at our friends’ house and getting to see our buddy Rhett who is in town from New York.  The last time we saw him we just found out we were pregnant – my how things have changed!



EJA - Month 3


Nothing too too crazy is planned for this week/weekend.  My mom will be back in town which means (hopefully) another date night and possibly hanging out with our friends Kam and Noelle (plus hubbies). 

Here’s what will be on our plates, how about yours?


M:  Pulled Pork (leftovers) Baked Potatoes w/ Broccoli

T:  Creamy Veggie Pasta

W:  Chopped Salad

Th:  Pesto Chicken Pizza

F:  Grilled Ham and Cheese with Tomato Soup

Sa:  Meatloaf w/ Veggie Cous Cous and Green Beans

Su:  Grilled Chicken Breasts w/ Green Rice and Roasted Carrots


Have a great week!

April 16, 2013

Run On


In the wake of yesterday’s tragedy in Boston, I find myself sad, angry, frustrated and any and all of the other emotions that are normal in a time of despair.

It was almost a year ago that Mike and I ran our first marathon.  We had trained hard for 4 1/2 months, running after work and on weekends; even getting up at 4am on Wednesday mornings to do our long weekday runs before we tackled the rest of the day.  We saved money to travel with our friends to Nashville and couldn’t wait to get to the race expo to pick up our race bibs and swag bags and look at all the race memorabilia.






I remember listening to Lady Gaga’s song, The Edge of Glory, during training and visualizing crossing the finish line and trying to imagine the pure emotion and euphoria I would feel knowing that we had done it…we had run a marathon.




Thinking back on it – it was harder than anything I had ever done (before having a newborn) and although I didn’t run as well as I had hoped, it was fun and relaxed and crossing the finish line was just as magical.  It was a pure sense of accomplishment, and we had earned every bit of it, and nobody could take that feeling away.




As I checked my phone yesterday on my way home from work I saw the NBC alert saying that there had been bombings at the Boston Marathon.  My heart sank. Yesterday’s Boston Marathon was supposed to be a day of jubilation and celebration for those running their 15th marathon or 1st, for those cheering on family and friends or simply just cheering.  It was none of that.

I thought of all of the runners who didn’t and wouldn’t get to cross the finish line and receive their medal.  The one piece of hardware for which you train so hard. 

I thought of all of the runners who did cross the finish line who wouldn’t get to celebrate such an amazing accomplishment like they should. 

I thought of the cheering section full of spectators/victims who felt the direct impact of the bombs and how our friends Lynn and Tuller had been waiting for us at the finish line of our own marathon.  I can’t imagine if something had happened to them while they were waiting to cheer us on.

I thought of my friend Kaia who had run the Boston Marathon last year. 

I thought of my dad who ran multiple New York City Marathons when I was younger.

I thought of all of the people around the country who are currently training to run in a marathon, and however scary this event was, hopefully they will continue to train and run in honor of Boston.

I thought of all of the runners who didn’t have their cell phones, IDs, hotel room keys, or money because they had checked their bags and planned to pick up their personal belongings after the race, like we had done – they couldn’t get in touch with anybody for quite a while after the bombings.  I can’t imagine the horrible thoughts of their friends and family.

I thought of all of the unsung heroes who didn’t blink an eye and did whatever they could to help those in need.


And then, as I wore my race shirt today in honor of those affected by yesterdays tragedy, I thought, we must run on.  And I did.  Not 26.2, but merely 2 miles pushing a jogging stroller…slowly…but it felt so good.

Prayers and peace to all.

God Bless.

April 15, 2013

Menu Monday


Happy Tax Monday everybody!



Weekend Highlights:

  • I made a batch of DELICIOUS strawberry pancakes (recipe coming soon) using frozen strawberries in the freezer.  I don’t know why I haven’t thought of using those yummy red berries before now, I have used other fruits such as blueberries and bananas, but not strawberries.  Definitely a new favorite! In fact, for my next creation I’m thinking about strawberry/banana pancakes…I’ll keep you posted!


  • Mike and I enjoyed another date night, thanks to my mom watching E for us.  We hit up Outback with a gift card from one of my students and had a blast.  Beer, red wine, steak and a burger – sounds pretty much perfect to me.




  • Everett got some “new” pajamas and an adorable pair of madras shorts from Once Upon a Child, a secondhand children’s store – my favorite new place to shop for my little guy.  More on this in a later post.




  • After being sidelined from running for about 4 weeks with a hurt knee (swelling, pain when bending) I got the results of my MRI this past Thursday and luckily nothing was torn – just some chronic stuff that can hopefully be lessened with a cortisone shot.  Since finding out nothing was seriously wrong with it, Mike, Everett and I hit the pavement running (ha!) and it felt good to get back out there – definitely out of shape – but good none the less.




Jogging stroller with a sunroof.


  • Other than that we just hung out around the house playing, reading and lounging!








As for our menu for this week here it is; sounds pretty delicious to me!


M:  Steak Salad w/ Caramelized Onions and Gorgonzola

T:  Black Bean Soup w/ Chicken and Yellow Rice

W:  Pulled Pork Tacos w/ Roasted Carrots

Th:  Chicken Tetrazzini w/ Green Beans

F:  French Dip Panini w/ Peppers, Onions and Au Jus

Sa:  Roasted Chicken w/ Green Rice and Balsamic Mushrooms

Su: Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry w/ Brown Rice and Eggrolls


Have a spectacular week!

April 11, 2013

Shower Time


A couple of weeks ago I had the honor of catering a bridal shower for a friend of friend – it was so much fun!!! 




I was so honored to have been asked to prepare the food and I must say I was excited to go to a bridal shower since recently I have been participating exclusively in baby showers. 

The bride, Stephanie, was just precious and it was so cute to see her so excited about “cooking stuff”, a toaster oven and a trash can.  It seems so long ago, but I was just as excited when I was getting married, and still am, about that kind of “stuff”.

For the food, I worked with Elizabeth, my friend who hired me (her twin girls are the beautiful flower girls), on the menu and gave her a list of ideas.  She picked the final menu and I got busy, especially since I was cooking for 35 people! 

Here’s what was on the menu:



Cheesy Ham and Veggie Quiches



Chicken Salad  Croissants



Fruit Kebabs



Caprese Kebabs with Pesto



 Pineapple Cream Cheese Tea Sandwiches on Blueberry Streusel Bread



 Buffalo Chicken Bites served with Ranch Dressing


IMG_0329 Elizabeth also ordered a tray of chicken strips from Chick-fil-A (a favorite of the bride) and always a hit!


Everything was a hit, thank goodness, but everybody kept asking about the Buffalo Chicken Bites.  I, of course, found the recipe on Pinterest and wanted to share it with all of you.  These are super easy and would be great for a summer BBQ or a football party in the fall.



Buffalo Chicken Bites

Print this recipe!

  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken (About 1 store-bought rotisserie chicken, skin discarded)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup hot sauce (or more to your taste)
  • 3 1/2 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups sharp or medium shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 – 4 cups Corn Flakes cereal, crushed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, mix the chicken, cream cheese and hot sauce until combined. Stir in the cheddar cheese and green onions.

Using a small cookie or ice cream scoop, spoon out the chicken mixture and roll into about 1 1/2 inch balls. Place on a plate or separate baking sheet (not lined) until ready to dip.

In three separate bowls, set out the flour, eggs and Corn Flakes. Dip each chicken ball first into the flour, then the egg and ending with the Corn Flakes. Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm with ranch or blue cheese dressing.

**If freezing for later, place the dipped and uncooked chicken balls onto the parchment lined baking sheet and flash freeze for 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a freezer bag and store in the freezer until ready. To bake, place the frozen chicken balls back on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350?F for 25 to 30 minutes, until crispy and golden brown.

Source: Adapted from The Food Network via Macaroni and Cheesecake and Made by Melissa


Other shower highlights:




Stephanie and the beautiful flower girls – Genevieve and Elyse.







Congrats to the bride and groom!