Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Babe in Toyland

Peter and I love watching Stafford reach new milestones.....as long as he doesn't reach them too fast!  Lately he has taken an interest in all things that rattle, crinkle and buzz!  He is now able to pick up some toys and will play in his carseat as well as at home.  He especially loves his pig (pictured below).  I can't wait to see him enjoy more new things!  It is so fun to see the world through his eyes!!





We're always looking for toy recommendations so if you have some that your little one loves let us know!!

Changes...

Thanksgiving 2009

Life changes.  That is one of the only things that never changes!  We just got back from a wonderful week of fun with both of our families.  We had lots of car time and lots of time to reflect on the many changes that  have occurred in our lives since last year at this time.

Last year at Thanksgiving we were giving thanks and trusting that life was going to work out.  I wanted to be pregnant so badly and Peter wanted to fly.  Actually at that point Peter just wanted a job.  We had just received the news that the AF wanted to "medically retire" Peter, basically kicking him out and leaving him jobless.  We had been trying for a few months to get pregnant and weren't sure whether to stop until we knew more about his job or keep going.  It was a frustrating time and a little scary. 

As I sit here still in Charleston a year later I am amazed at what a crazy ride the last year has been!  Little did we know that little Stafford was on the way!  We found out in December that we were going to have a baby!  In February we traveled to San Antonio to fight for Peter's job.  He was granted permission to stay in the Air  Force and  we then began a 6 month wait to see if he would be able to fly.  During the first week of August we found out that Peter would be able to fly, celebrated our 3rd anniversary and welcomed sweet Stafford into our little family!!  What blessings! 

We've learned to praise God in the storms and in the sunshine.  I am looking forward to another year of giving thanks!!  It's going to be a new adventure as we move across the country and start fresh but I can't wait to see what this year holds for us!!

Thanksgiving 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Little Picture Essay by Stafford

Life with me is always busy!!  Check out what I've been up to!
This is me in my Grandpa sweater.  Look at my long legs!
I've learned to suck my thumb. 

My Mama takes a LOT of pictures

I can hold my rattle!  Sometimes I even shake it!

If I get too hungry I eat my fist.  I like bathtime!

I'm a pretty cool guy.

Peace!!

Merry Christmas from Shutterfly

Go to the Shutterfly home page.

If you've been reading for a while you know I was singing the praises of Shutterfly back when I was pregnant.  My goal was to finish 4 photobooks by the time Stafford arrived!  Once these books are finished they look amazing!  But they are a lot of work.  I realized that if I want to keep doing these I have to keep my pictures organized and update them often.  In fact at the time I think I told myself I would work on the 2010-2011 book at least once a month.  Oops!  Better get on that!

In addition to photobooks I've used Shutterfly for the past 3 years to do our Christmas card and even Stafford's birth announcement.  These cards are great because they have lots of variety to choose from.  You can also write a small personal message on them as well!  Shutterfly always has great coupons and deals and I use them often!!

This year Shutterfly is offering 50 FREE, yes I said FREE, Christmas cards!  All you have to do is blog about how much you love Shutterfly!  Here are a couple of cards I've been considering for the annual Euler card....

I like this option because it leaves room for LOTS of pictures of Stafford :)

This one is fun because it really focuses on the family!  I like to leave Christmas cards up most of the year to remember to pray for friends and this one would be great for that because it is not super Christmasy.

I've use this one in the past because A. it reminds me of why we celebrate Christmas and B. it's blue.  I LOVE blue and silver for Christmas.  Before we got married I had this idea that our tree would be only blue and silver.  But then we started collecting ornaments from places we visited and clearly they are all different colors.  So at least my card can be blue and silver right?

Because we've added Stafford to the mix this year all of the sudden our parents are much more interested in our lives :)  Just kidding...they've always been interested.  But now they really want to see it in pictures!  Shutterfly offers lots of options for using pictures on things you'll see everyday.  There's something for the coffee drinker, the planner and the decorator!

There is still time for you to get your free cards too!!  Just head on over to Shutterfly and check it out!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Top Ten-Thankfulness


Stafford hopes you have a "super" day!!!


If you know me you know I like "top ten" lists.  In honor of November and Thanksgiving here are the top ten things I am thankful for in no particular order.

10. Reading-This is super dorky but I don't care.  I am SO thankful that I can read, that I like the read and that I get to read.  I love books!!  I am thankful that I get to read whatever I want and that I actually have the time to read. 

9. My Family-I am blessed to have an amazing family on all sides.  I love my husband, my son, my parents, my in-laws....I really feel like I have one big happy family!!  I am thankful that Stafford has cousins on BOTH sides of the family since I grew up with none!  I am thankful for wonderful sisters and brothers in law who are fun to hang out with and who care about me and love me!  I am thankful that Stafford has 4 grandparents and 5 great-grandparents.  I am thankful that after Thanksgiving he will have met all of them!  I am thankful that I love spending time with my family.  I am thankful for family!!

8. Color- I am thankful for color.  I love colors.  I love a box of newly opened crayons.  I love going to the beach and seeing 10 shades of blue at once.  I love wearing bright colors.  I am thankful I can see color!

7. Cheese- I love cheese.  I am thankful I can eat cheese although I probably shouldn't eat so much :)

6. Music- I am thankful for music.  I am thankful for the ability to produce music and the ability to listen to music.  I would have a hard time choosing between music and color because they are both so important to me so I am glad I get to enjoy both. I am thankful for artists who make beautiful, uplifting music.  I am thankful for the way words change when they are set to music.  I am thankful that music speaks to me.

5. Cooking-  I am thankful for the ability to cook.  I don't always do it well but I am thankful I have the time and energy to try new things.  I am thankful that I have a husband who will eat anything I make even if it isn't that good.  I am thankful for the creative outlet that cooking provides while I stay at home with Stafford.

4. Stafford- Ok I know Stafford counts as family.  But since he is SUCH a new part of my life he gets his own number.  Hey, it's my list, I can do what I want!!  I am SO thankful for this sweet gift.  I never, ever knew that I could feel so strongly about such a little guy!  He is so special to me and already makes me laugh and smile all day long.  I am thankful for a healthy pregnancy and healthy little boy.  In the middle of blowouts, middle of the night feedings, crying or anything else I remind myself of how blessed I am to have this baby.  Plus he's pretty cute too!!

3. Peter-  Ok I'm cheating again but I can't help it.  How can I not give such an amazing man his own category?  I could go on and on and on about how wonderful he is and how thankful I am for him!  He is the BEST husband and I always tease him that he was created just for me. (That's actually just me trying to make myself feel better for being older.)  He compliments me perfectly and we are a great team.  So super thankful for my husband!

2. Friends- This list is getting pretty predictable (except for maybe the cheese) but it would be incomplete without my dear friends.  I feel so blessed to have the friends I have.  Both old and new, near and far, they are the best!  They are supportive, loving and challenge me in many different ways.  I wouldn't be the person I am today without the positive influence of many dear friends.

1. Grace- I am thankful for the concept of grace.  I am thankful for second chances.  I am thankful that other people extend grace to me and that I can choose to extend it to them.  I am thankful for God's grace, ultimately resulting in my salvation and hope for eternity.  I am thankful that God allows us to employ this HUGE concept on a small scale.  It gives deeper meaning to the grace He extends to me.

Well, there is my list!  It's pretty predictable but that's ok.  I'm predictable on occasion, right?  I encourage you to be THANKFUL not only this month but all the time.  If your glass is half empty it's time for a refill :)  Find encouragement from your friends, family and faith to be thankful!!  I think you'll find it will change your outlook and attitude and it will make life just a little more super!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Stafford is 3 months!

Dear Stafford,

You are now three months old.  Just like I will say every month....I can't believe it!  You are getting so big so fast and I just want time to stand still for a bit so I can enjoy how wonderful it is to be your Mama.

You are doing a great job sleeping!  Last night you slept for 10 hours!  It is a little hard to get you to go to bed at a specific time at night but once we put you to bed we usually have to come only once or twice to give you your pacifier and you will go to sleep.  Your napping schedule is a little more elusive.  You are very content and alert when awake and sometimes will not nap at all between feedings.  You still aren't fussy at all and pretty much smile and coo all the time.

I am sitting here listening to you play upstairs in your bed.  You wake up SO happy in the mornings.  Daddy still changes your first diaper and you are SO excited every time!!  You coo and talk to him the whole time.  We just switched you to size 2 diapers this week.  You are still wearing your 0-3 months clothes.  Thankfully Aunt Katherine gave us some warm ones to borrow because it is chilly in Charleston right now.

This past months you had a lot of firsts!  You had your first babysitter while Mama and Daddy had a date night.  We took you to the fair and you rode your first Ferris wheel.  You went on your first vacation to the mountains.  You are starting to notice your hands a lot more now.  You are grabbing for things and you still love to play in your gym in the morning.  A couple of mornings we have gone in and found that you have turned 180 degrees in your sleep!  You are a little wiggle worm!!

We love you so very much.  Somehow it is more and more each day!  I can't wait to see what the next month brings for us but boy I hope it goes slow!

Love,
Mama & Daddy

video

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Learning to Focus


 
Even though we've had our camera for a few months I still have a LOT to learn about taking pictures, let alone good pictures!!  This week I learned that when trying to focus a picture I can't be too close to the subjects.  Sadly Stafford is out of focus in this closeup.  I haven't figured out how far away I have to be but at least I know to look out for the mistake. 


We aren't out of focus below!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wee Bit of Me Wednesday





I found this new blog and it is super cute!  Blogs are such a fun way to find new things out about people you know and don't know!

{one} do you still use a checkbook?

Occasionally when I don't have the option of using my debit card or cash.

{two} what size shoe do you wear?

8.5 or 9....depends on the brand

{three} scary movies or happy endings?

Happy endings of course!  that is what a real life storybook is all about :)

{four} do you prefer spontaneity or stability?

Being a military wife doesn't give me much stability so I've learn to embrace the spontaneity and have fun with it!

{five} what is the most embarrassing cd that you own?

Hmmm....maybe Britney Spears?  But I'm not really embarrassed about it!

{six} do you watch reality tv?

Oh yes!  Top Chef and any "cooking competition" show there is!

{seven} what is your favorite home-made meal?
Meatloaf & mashed potatoes

{eight} do you have any allergies?

Nope!

{nine} if you could open your own restaurant/store, what would it be?

Coffee shop or tea shoppe that also sells fun stuff like teacups/teapots and fun stuff that you never buy for yourself but you hope someone else will!

{ten} would you ever go skydiving (or have you been)?

I haven't been but I really want to go!!


Hope your Wednesday has been wonderful!!!  We're heading to the fair tonight so I'll be sure to post the pictures of the deep fried (not sure yet) that Peter plans to sample! 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

For the Veggie Lovers

I don't consider myself a veggie lover.  I love cheese and chocolate and bread and anything vinegary.  But after making these last couple recipes I might be converted.  Both of these are easy and decently healthy as well!

Roasted Eggplant Penne (another Giada favorite)

1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 pint cherry tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, whole
3 T. olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 pound rigatoni  or penne pasta
1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl combine the eggplant, cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Spread the vegetables out in an even layer on the baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 35 minutes.  Stir them to make sure they don't stick or you can line your pan with parchment paper.

The original recipe suggests roasting the pine nuts while the vegetables are roasting.  I tried this and burnt them twice.  Opps!!  I suggest roasting them after the veggies come out of the oven. Place the pine nuts in a small baking dish. Place in the oven, roast until golden, about 8 minutes. 8 minutes was way too long in my oven so make sure you check them!  You can also toast them in a pan on the stovetop if you prefer.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta into a large bowl and reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid.

Transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor. Add the torn mint leaves and extra-virgin olive oil. Puree the vegetables.

Transfer the pureed vegetables to the bowl with the pasta and add the Parmesan. Stir to combine, adding the pasta cooking liquid 1/2 cup at a time until the pasta is saucy. I used whole wheat penne and instead of a pound it was 13.5 oz so I didn't need to add much of the pasta water to make the sauce.  Just make it as thick or thin as you like it! Sprinkle the pine nuts over the top and serve. (Clearly I skipped this step and you can too if you want.  It was super yummy without the pine nut!)


Vegetable Saute

This recipe has two parts; the veggies and the dressing.

Tarragon Vinaigrette

6 T extra-virgin olive oil
3 T white wine vinegar
2 T chopped fresh tarragon (I used dried-remember the conversion 1 T fresh = 1 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper

Vegetables
2 T olive oil
1 large shallot, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
8 oz mushrooms (she uses button, I use the cheap ones!)
1 bunch of asparagus (cut into thirds)
1 8oz package or can of artichoke hearts
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

This is SO easy and SO yummy!  I think the dressing is fabulous but I had WAY too much so I would suggest cutting the dressing recipe by half.

The dressing is easy.  Chop the tarragon if you are using fresh and then combine all ingredients!

For the veggies, saute the shallot and garlic in olive oil until tender (about 2 minutes).  Add the mushrooms and cook until golden.  Stir frequently.  Add the asparagus and artichokes and cook until the asparagus is tender (about 5 minutes).  Add the salt & pepper.

Toss with the vinaigrette and serve.

Seriously, this is yummy yummy yummy!!!  You can use any vegetable you want in this recipe.  This version called for teardrop tomatoes as well but I used them all making the eggplant pasta!  This is a great way to get your veggies in!!

I have a not so good for you but super delicious brownie recipe coming soon!!  If there is anything you want to know how to make but are afraid to try let me know.  I'll be glad to try it out for you!!

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