Friday, July 29, 2011

Hair products/appliances

It cracks me up that by far the posts that I get the most comments/emails on are posts about hair.

Here is a follow-up to yesterday's hair post:

1. The gel I purchased on Wednesday night was the Grund Prodesign Shape Gel. I have not had to replicate the salon results yet so I am not sure if I can successfully use this product.

2. My BIL's GF uses the Garnier Fructis Scrunch Curl Gel (a tiny amount else cruch factor sets in) or the Aveda Flax Seed Aloe gel. I have seen her hair - it does not look crunchy curly.

3. Brazilian! My friend EL commented that she treated her long thick locks to a Brazilian Blowout. I thought it was funny because my stylist recommended one to me after I was complaining about frizz. I don't know if I will take the plunge. They do sound uber fantastic.

I will now review a product I asked my MIL for for Christmas - The Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine Blow Dry Protector. I would give this product a thumbs down. I was hoping it was going to be my cheap-o version of a Brazilian blowout but I guess you totally get what you pay for in this instance. The goop you have to put on your hair for 20-25 minutes smells awful. I would compare it to a home hair coloring kit - you have to wear gloves, put a shower cap on your head, etc. I didn't think it reduced my blow drying time or affected frizz or straightness at all. Oh well - glad I tried it! (I just noticed this product only received 2 stars in Amazon).

4. Dry Shampoo. I noticed that Tressemme has expanded their line of dry shampoos from 2 versions to 4. I currently have this version, although I think I like the Suave Professionals Dry Shampoo better. My sister definitely likes the Suave better - she has full access to the hair closet whilst babysitting my child. The scent is better and there is not as much white residue to get rid of with the Suave. And, it's cheaper, although more expensive that the "regular" Suave products. I love that I get annoyed at paying $3 for a can of Suave.

5. I am still on the lookout for a good hairspray, although I found a half bottle of this Aveda Brilliant Medium Hold Hairspray in my closet that I am quite impressed with. I wonder why I stopped using it?? Let me know if you have any recommendations!

6. Reading the above, you may get the impression that I am a hair product whore.

You would be right.

I do get rid of things that I really do not like. I have been known to come to book club with a bag full of hair products (and other products) to give away. (I am still trying to find a home for the got2b Smoothing Lustre Lotion - and yes, the charms are still attached to the bottle.) Otherwise, family members are the lucky recipients of my closet purging. This might be weird but I really do not like throwing things away!

My old roommate in CHI used to have TUBS of products in rubbermaids. (She also had bi-polar hair.) That was the hookup - you could try anything to see if it worked!

7. Curling irons/Flat irons. I am in need of an upgrade for both. I do not want to spend a lot of money. Thus, do not email me and tell me that the CHI flat iron is awesome. I realize it is, but given that I do not use this appliance that often, I do not want to invest $100+ on it.

I currently have a Wigo flat iron that I bought in ATL from Ulta. The plate is uneven where it meets the "arm" of the flat iron and it always rips a bunch of hair out. So you can see why I no longer use it. I also do not like the design of it - instead of just being two arms that you clamp together (looking like a "V"), it looks like an "X". I am not coordinated enough to work this.

I currently have a Revlon 1" curling iron. It may be from high school. It has no heat adjuster - just plug in and go. It really does not get very hot.

My friend Slunz and I were talking about just going to Target and throwing a dart at the curling iron wall - so please. Save us from carnival games - send me your recommendations!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Band Aid Maggie



I was bummed that we didn't have a picture with the band aid on Maggie's eyebrow. Then I found out that my sister took one. This should have been posted with the More Firsts post.

Catch a WAVE!

Hold onto your hats...it's another Hair post!

My hair has a natural wave to it. Unfortunately, it is the type of wave that requires some work to sport - I can't just wash my hair and go, lest I have a pouf-ball of half-assed wavy frizz.

Lately, I have felt like the natural waviness has been amplified. I don't know if it is the heat or the humidity but I have been trying to stop fighting the wave and embrace it. This IS what French women do, of course. (AKA...I am too lazy to blow dry my hair every 4th day). Thus, I have been obsessed with long beachy waves. Proof is in my Pinterest "Hair DO" board. You may also recall the bad curling iron incident from a few weeks back.
Clearly, I need some hair help.

I consulted thebeautydepartment. Make fun of LC all you want, but this blog has some really helpful tips/tutorials. (I stopped being high and mighty on LC when I realized I was wearing a lot of her Kohls clothes and reading this blog obsessively.)

The mornings have been getting later and later for me (that darn snooze button!). Thus, I started experimenting with wearing my hair wavy. I was making this potion of Aveda Confixor + Aveda Be Curly Style Prep and letting my hair air dry. This was actually working pretty well, but results were not consistent. And I would sometimes have the crunch factor.

Last night, I had a hair cut. NORMALLY, I let them straighten the sh** out of my hair and then try not to wash it for as long as possible. I can never replicate how straight salons are able to get my hair! There have been a few instances where I let them experiment with my wave. These are all HUGE failures. Example: Once I asked the stylist, "I really want to try to wear my hair wavy. Do you have any tips?" She squeezed half a bottle of Bumble and Bumble Curl Creme onto my head. My hair was so disgusting. The worst part? I totally did not wash it the next day and went to work. A colleague was like, "What the hell happened to your hair?!" (Sort of like the time I did a coconut oil treatment the morning I went to work...I'll save that one for another hair post).

Back to last night...My current stylist is also a friend. I should say, one of my friends from college is also a stylist. She saw my hair last night, post shampooing, and exclaimed "HOLY WAVES". I guess my hair IS getting wavier! I took this as an invitation to lament about my recent hair woes (including the curling iron disaster). I told her I wanted natural waves but I did not want them to be crunchy or "wet" looking. And if she could give me a curling iron tutorial, I would be most grateful.

HOLY SHAZZAM.

I did not take a picture of my hair last night because I had to get straight home and make macaroni and cheese for a friend that recently had a baby. BUT trust me when I tell you that my hair was AMAZING. I am still rocking the waves today but they are not quite as awesome as they were last night. (I really tried sleeping on my back with my hair spread out so as not to damage the waves!)

How did she do it? "Curly hair is a science that requires some trial and error" was her quote. Ok, I have been trying for about 15 years and she nailed in in one try.

Here are some pointers in case any of the five readers I have (not including the family members that probably make up 95% of my readership):

1) KEEP YOUR HAIR AS WET AS POSSIBLE. I always towel dried my hair. Apparently I should step straight from the shower and product-ize my hair with no/minimal drying. Last night, she drenched my hair with a spray bottle of water after trimming it and commented that this was the next best thing as straight from the shower wet.

2) FINDING THE RIGHT PRODUCT FOR YOUR HAIR TEXTURE IS KEY. (I feel like this is an obvious statement, but the "right product" is not so obvious). She recommended this creme gel that was fairly lightweight so that it would not weigh my hair down, but would provide enough hold for the wave. I have found that most "curl cremes" on the market are too heavy for my hair - and I feel like I have tried both high end (Bumble & Bumble, Aveda, Kerastase) and low end (Garnier Fructis, Pantene, John Frieda) curl cremes. I was a little nervous at mention of the word "GEL". Even though I knew my BIL's GF uses gel to rock her curly hair (with fantastic results), to me, "gel", brings to mind the crunchy 80s.

3) DIFFUSE. My stylist recommended diffusing the hair about 50-75% dry. (This is also what LC recommends, BTW). She diffused my hair for a while though because she was also giving me a curling iron tutorial and needed it to be dry. Apparently I had been diffusing my hair wrong too. She recommneded only diffusing about mid-way up my hair. IT will be extra poufy if you diffuse up to the top of the head (which is what I was doing).

4) DO NOT TOUCH YOUR HAIR. Try not to play with it or touch it, particularly while it is diffusing/drying. The more you play with it, the less wavy it will be. I was twisting parts of my hair around my finger and scrunching it often!

5) WAVE SPRAY. She also used this beach wave spray. I did not buy this because I was already buying two products and had to limit myself. I did find this DIY beach wave spray recipe that I might try. She thought that the wave spray might not be a necessity.

Ok. So now for the curling iron tutorial.

She used a curling iron to touch up some pieces around my head and to show me how to use one since I was lacking in this department. I was happy that she just used a 1" curling iron because that is what I had at home. It turns out I was trying to put WAY TOO MUCH hair into the curling iron. She put the TINIEST pieces in there. And since I wouldn't be curling my entire head, it wouldn't take that long. She maybe curled 6-7 pieces, particularly around the front of my head since the back is SUPER naturally wavy and the front is only partially naturally wavy.

My next concern was that I was going to have to wash my hair more frequently. In my original hair post, I had commented that if I wear my hair curly, I have to wash it more often. And we all know I am not a fan of frequent hair washing. She said that I should be able to have Day 2 hair and do some quick touchups with the curling iron. So that is what I did this morning. While my hair is not as banging as it was last night, it is still way better than any of my previous attempts to wear my hair wavy. The real test is when I start with sopping wet hair and have to do all of the above myself.

I really wish I could just have a personal hairstylist that would do my hair everyday. I wonder what Nate would say....

(Please note: I now have a HAIR label for all of these wack-a-doo hair posts)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Kitchen Fan

Maggie's favorite place in our house might be the kitchen. She discovered how to open cabinets today;




She also thinks it is hilarious to check out her reflection in the oven door.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

More "Firsts"

It's funny but for a couple months I felt like Maggie didn't really do anything "new". Now, she does ten new things a day, it seems!

She has been pulling up a lot and has finally figured out that she doesn't need to be on her tip-toes all the time while standing. I would say she has definitely started the cruising stage - using furniture to walk around. Thus...

Yesterday, she had her first trying-to-walk-related injury. She was walking along the coffee table, fell when she got to the end, and hit her head on the corner. So when I saw her, she had a big band-aid on her head. Then she did it again - the Band-Aid provided some cushion the second time.

We installed a gate at the top of our stairs over the weekend. We had two of the tension gates and after my experience with those, we thought we better get something that was "staircase approved". A trip to BRU later, Nate installed our new gate. Maggie has already used it to stand and it contained her. It is nice that she can just cruise between her room and our room while we get ready in the morning.

She has already modified her crawl. For the first few days, it was pretty textbook. Now, she sort of keeps one of her knees up and plants her foot - so she "crawls" going knee..hand...foot...hand...knee. It looks ridiculous.

Finally, today is her first day at a non-family babysitter. I was not as nervous as I thought I would be, but still a little nervous. We had lined up this in-home place back when I was pregnant and haven't had to use it. We felt that it would probably be a good idea to give Maggie some interaction with other kids since she seems to be at the age where she is obsessed with them so we are going to use the place one day a week to start. Nate dropped her off this morning and she was immediately swarmed by the other kids and hamming it up for them. I was all worried she was going to cry and freak out because she didn't know anyone. Uh - yeah. Turns out I had NOTHING to worry about. I wish I could be a fly on the wall in that house today!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tesla

We celebrated my friend CP's 30th birthday at the FDL County Fair at the Tesla concert.

The next day - this picture was in my hometown paper:


Good times.

And yes, I did belt out all of the words to Love Song.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

DIY Fruit Leather

I have been known to take down an entire box of Fruit Roll-Ups in one sitting...driving the 2 mile stretch home from Target, where I just purchased said box of Fruit Roll Ups.

And those bags of Trader Joe's odds and ends fruit leather bits? YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!

So when DIY fruit leather popped up in my Google Reader the other day, I thought I'd give it a try. Intrestingly enough, DIY Fruit Leather was the DIY feature of the week in the Milwaukee Journal Setinel food section.

And in classic Amy fashion, I started with Step 1 of the recipe before reading the entire thing through. I had my fruit puree spread in my parchment-paper lined jelly roll pan when I read the baking instruction "Bake in a 140 degree oven for 8-10 hours".

WHAAA?

I text messaged my friend AH who I knew had made countless batches of the stuff. "Is this bake time for real?"

"Yes. We leave the oven on overnight." she replied.

Ok...here goes. I could just see the headline.

"Family of Three Dies in House Fire. Mom Trying to Make Fruit Leather"

Our oven only went down to 170 degrees. I put it in at 8:00PM. At 10:00PM, we were ready to head to bed.

Nate, of course, noticed the oven was still on. When I informed him it was going to be on all night he commented, "I love that you picked the hottest day of the year to keep the oven on all night."

(Yes. We are in the midst of a 4-day long heat advisory. YIKES!)

AT 3:30AM, I woke up. I wondered about the fruit leather...but not enough to get out of bed.

At 5:30AM, my alarm went off and I got up and went to check it out. It looked right. I pulled it out and shut the oven off and went to take my shower.

When we taste tested it, it was a bit crunchy, albeit tasty (I made peach raspberry - and I just purreed fruit - no sugar/gelatin additions). I think I left it in too long. I will have to experiment with the cook time, given the oven temp of 170. I also would like to try making them in a food dehydrator. Word on the street is that my MIL has one...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Crawl Monster!



See this sweet face?

Overnight she has become CRAZY!

She has crawled several laps around our downstairs floor already this morning, thinks she can use her toy kitchen to stand up and pulled anything within reach.

I brought up the baby gates to block off our entryway, which is where I have moved all of our plants to.

I couldn't figure out how to lock it down so I thought, "It's fine."

WRONG. She made a bee line for the gate and within 0.2 seconds it had crashed on top of her.

SO...I spent a little more time to get it locked down.

Again, she made a beeline for the gate, pulled up and started shaking it.

I guess there is a reason these gates "are not recommended for the top of stairs"!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Vacation Recap 3: Orlando and the Trip Home

Sunday (Day 5) we were back on the road to drive from Atlanta to Orlando. The drive went really well and we arrived in Orlando to be greeted by one of my BILs, N, and the GF of my other BIL, D. (Got that? K, the GF of my BIL, D is living with my other BIL, N - scandalous! ha ha ha).

We planned on checking out the fireworks at the Disney World Polynesian hotel. (I think that the Polynesian would be the hotel I would recommend to people with little kids if they were going to Disney.) We first got a Dole Whip, which may be one of my favorite parts of Disney World.

Maggie was not a fan of the pineapple soft serve:


After Dole Whips, we played in the fountain:



I was expecting Maggie to be afraid of the fireworks. WRONG - she was mesmerized by them. She just reclined back in my lap and ate some puffs while never taking her eyes off the fireworks:


We stayed at my in-laws condo in Celebration for the first part of our Orlando stay. This was ideal as we had a full kitchen and a washer/dryer. We stayed in the master bedroom, had a bathroom to ourselves and we put Maggie's pack-n-play in the walk in closet. Out of the entire vacation, she slept the best in that closet!

Two of the days we went to the Disney World parks. I know you might be thinking that we are crazy taking an almost-10 month old to Disney World In July in Florida - the busiest time of the parks. BUT given that my BIL works there, he gave us some of the free admissions he gets per year and basically took us to the front of every line on the rides we decided to go on. Part of me hopes he never quits that job! :) Since Nate and his family grew up going to Disney, they know the parks so well so they aren't nearly as overwhelming! We went to Hollywood Studios one morning, returned to the condo for Maggie's afternoon nap, and then went back to check out Epcot. On Day 2, we went to the Magic Kingdom for part of the day. My BIL also got Maggie a "First Visit" button and we all wore "I'm Celebrating Marge's First Visit" buttons - you can see them in the picture below.

Maggie also met some characters. While she did not cry at any of the characters, she wasn't exactly sure of what to make of them either!

On our down time, we made sure that KR kept up with the Casey Anthony trial :), went swimming in the Celebration pool and watched the alligators in the pond.

Here are some of our Disney photos:
Our celebrating buttons:


Maggie in her mouse ears and 1st visit button:


Can.not.stop.looking.at.that.mouse:



Why is this mouse dressed like me and doing jazz hands?


Pastries at France (Epcot)!


Ah yes! This position allows for optimal hair grabbing!


Color Coordinated girls at Animal Kingdom Lodge!


Checking out the monorail passengers on the morning of day 2


DUMBO!


Enthralled at It's A Small World


Hmmm...Is this REALLY Belle? Let me just tug on this hair and see..


Classic castle picture with my BIL - the greatest Disney tour guide ever


Cooling down with her new souvenier back at the condo:


Thursday (Day 9) we hung out and laid around the condo until early afternoon when we packed up our stuff and moved to the JW Marriott Grande Lakes resort where Nate had a work conference beginning Thursday afternoon.

Maggie and I basically hit up the lazy river/pool area while Nate was at the conference. It was so humid the camera actually fogged up!


I basically tried to make sure she didn't drink too much pool water:


I actually went to bed at the same time as Mags on Thursday night, basically so I could read my book! Friday night my BIL and KR returned to do some babysitting for us so that I could join Nate for a business dinner at the Ritz Cartlon restaurant, Norman's. Dinner was very yummy!

Saturday morning we were itching to get home so we packed up and checked out - back on the road. The trip home was rather uneventful. We made it to just north of Nashville Saturday night and stayed at a Comfort Suites again. We were home by 5:30 on Sunday night which left some time to unpack, do laundry and get in bed to be ready for work/the real world the next day!

Mags (and Pooh) on the drive:

Hanging Up the Horns

In seven weeks and two days, Maggie will be a year old.

My goal since before she was born was to have her on breastmilk until she was a year old, which is the point at which you can start giving an infant cow's milk.

I am happy that I will more than meet that goal, given the freezer stash that I accumulated over the past almost-year.

I discussed weaning with Maggie's doctor at her nine-month appointment. At that point, Maggie was nursing three times a day: once right away in the morning, once mid-afternoon and once right before bed. On days that I work, this meant that she had a mid-afternoon bottle. The doctor recommended starting with dropping the afternoon feeding first. As we did with the other transitions, we are dropping the nursing and thus dropping the bottle. Starting this week, Maggie has gotten a "real" snack mid-afternoon with some milk in a sippy cup in the mid-afternoon rather than her usual 4 oz bottle.

Yesterday I still pumped but today as I went to hook up the pump for the daily pump-fest I thought, "Why am I still doing this?" I have more than enough freezer supply to cover the sippy cup milk every day so I am happy to announce that I am "hanging up the horns". In the breastfeeding/pumping world, "hanging up the horns" or "HUTH" is code for - "I'm retiring my pump". ("The horns" are the flanges that you attach to your breasts.)

I feel like throwing a party to celebrate! Pumping was never my favorite activity - I am betting that it probably isn't most women's favorite activity. As much as I HATED pumping, I am grateful to my Medela Pump In Style Advanced for helping me achieve my goal and work full time. I highly recommend this pump to any of you who may be shopping for one! I do wish that I had followed my friend CD's advice to get the backpack rather than the shoulder bag though. Every day I would carry my pump bag, my milk cooler, my lunch and my purse/work bag to and from my car. The backpack would have made it a bit easier to be a pack mule. I think at the time I purchased my pump (at Babies R US while 39 weeks pregnant!), I thought the shoulder bag was more stylish. UM...that is a textbook case of pregnancy brain. Don't let the "PUMP IN STYLE" name fool you: There is NOTHING remotely stylish about a breast pump bag.

Step 1 of the weaning process - Complete!

Maggie and Ike

When Nate's aunt S watches Maggie, she gets an added bonus of Ike, the dog.



The girl is a huge dog fan!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Weekend Recap

Friday night we went out for pizza at Pizzeria Piccolo in the village and stopped by Yo Mama for some frozen yogurt deliciousness. Yo Mama is the new frozen yogurt place in our village and it is amazing. We went two times last week and contemplated a third. Maggie and I were big fans of the coconut yogurt. The red velvet yogurt with oreo cookies and raspberries is also a good selection :)

Friday night is usually movie night in our house. I don't know about any of you and your significant other, but there are movies that I like, movies that Nate likes and narry the two shall meet. We resolve this by alternating who picks the movie each week. This week I picked Winter's Bone - a classic "Amy" movie choice. This was a great movie, although not very uplifting! It made me think of the Anthony Bourdain Ozarks episode - and then when I googled that episode I found out why. In that episode, Bourdain meets up with Daniel Woodrell, the author of Winter's Bone, upon which the screenplay was based.

I will say that I had a nightmare that I was addicted to crystal meth after this movie. True Story.

Saturday I attempted to make good on one of my 2011 Goals and went to a yoga class! My sister and I bought the Riverwest Yogashala Iyengar yoga Groupon and went to our first of six classes on Saturday. While this was my first class, I really liked Iyengar yoga - which pays more attention to form. I think we maybe did ten poses the entire 90 minute class! I felt like I had amazing posture for the rest of the day.

We had a pool party for my MIL's birthday on Saturday afternoon. My in-laws just redid their pool liner so we were eager to jump in and check it out. I even went off the diving board for good measure. ha ha ha My FIL & Nate grilled out for dinner and we had a turtle cheesecake from Perc Place and turtle sundae ice cream from Kopps. Hopefully my MIL enjoyed her birthday weekend!

We rented another movie on Saturday night - How Do You Know. After the seriousness of Winter's Bone, we wanted something light. Snore. I could feel myself getting more and more sick as time passed and I fell asleep halfway through. Miraculously Nate stayed awake for it and commented that it was dumb.

As I said, while Sunday was a momentous day for Mags, Nate & I were under the weather with sore throats and head colds. ICK. Getting sick with a cold in July on a weekend STINKS!

10 months, 1 week, 2 days: FIRST CRAWL :)

Interupting Vacation Recaps (AGAIN) for a Special Alert:

WE HAVE A CRAWLER!

It seems crazy fast how things have developed with Maggie's gross motor skills after vacation. One week and we have an entirely different kiddo!

1. Sunday July 9 - We woke up in the Comfort Suites to find Maggie sitting up in her pack-n-play. Before this, she never went from laying down to sitting up unassisted. We lowered our crib when we got home!

2. Thursday July 14 - She pulled herself up by the window ledge in our living room all by herself.

2. Saturday July 16 - Nate called me into Maggie's room - SHE WAS STANDING in her crib. Good thing we had lowered it! She now can reach her airplane mobile whenever she wants!

3. Sunday July 17 - Maggie was crawling all over the place. She now has two red knees from all of the crawling. Perfect timing - Nate and I were sick as dogs yesterday with the cold Maggie had last week. (I am now convinced that she really was sick and not teething.) We managed to tag team throughout the day so that we each could get naps in. By the end of the day, we were building towers of toys on one end of the room and she was crawling from the other side to knock them down!

Some of her favorite "toys" are oatmeal canisters. The Happy Baby brand oatmeal comes in small canisters and I give them to her to play with when she is done eating all of the oatmeal. Sometimes we put something in them so they rattle, but she loves rolling them across the floor and now that we have a couple of them, she loves to knock over a tower of them. Who needs real toys when you have oatmeal canisters I guess?!

I know I am going to sound like such a mom when I say this, but her crawl is so cute. Nate and I were oohing and ahing over it all day. She hasn't figured out all of the mechanics of it quite yet so she sometimes does a little hop thing.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Vacation Recap 2: ATL

We spent Thurs night through Sunday morning in Atlanta. We had Friday to do some sightseeing since our friends were all at work so we went to the Georgia Aquarium. I love this aquarium and really think it is so well done. It was Nate's first trip there and he was also very impressed. Here is the standard "greenscreen" photo they take of every visitor:


I wish we would have bought this penguin mask for Maggie - she giggled whenever we put it on her:


There were a series of painted dolphins outside:




After the aquarium we drove around to see how different Atlanta is since we lived there over six years ago! We had lunch at the Flying Biscuit and then drove past our old apartment complex. We debated sneaking into the pool :)

We joined the D clan and the A clan at a Mexican restaurant in their Oakhurst neighborhood for dinner. Saturday was girls day! MB, C and I headed to Ten for pedicures while the men were on kid duty and also volunteered to cook us dinner. Nate took Maggie to her first Your Dekalb Famers Market trip - a must see if you are ever in the ATL area. The pedicure was the best pedicure I have ever gotten. It started with a customized foot sook in these lovely butterfly chairs. After that we headed to these reclining chairs where we had eye masks and warm blankets. I have never had a pedicure while being reclined, but it was amazing. I think I may had drifted off to sleep at some point. I chose OPI "A Good Mandarin is Hard to Find". It was a bright orange/coral shade - not my usual choice but I had admired my toes more than once since. I just might have to purchase this shade!

We spent Saturday afternoon at C&F's neighborhood pool and then the guys wowed us with smoked brisket and a variety of sides for dinner. Sarah was kind of enough to share her olives and cheese with us as well :)

Sunday morning we got packed up and were sent off full of pancakes and sausage. As always, it was fun catching up with friends and spending days lazing around with good food, and good conversation. It really put us in "vacation mode"!

Here are some pics:

Maggie and Sarah take a bath:



Last year during my ATL visit, MB & I were both with child and took this silly photo:


We tried to re-create it with babies - they weren't the biggest fans of the idea:


Unfortunately I did not think to get a big group photo - Just the girls:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mail + Crafts = Sign me Up for Intervention

I love coming home from vacation to get the "tub o'mail" that is the accumulation of all of our mail from our time gone. I am obsessed with getting the mail everyday and have been since I can remember. You know all of those 1-800 numbers in the back advertising section of magazines? One summer, armed with my mom's copy of Midwest Living, I called the travel information number and ordered their free travel packet for ALL 50 states. Just so I could get mail. (Just to throw it out there, I was like 10 years old at the time).

OMG I have a sickness.

(I am holding back tears of laughter as I type this.)

Nate consistently makes fun of me for my mail addiction, to which I point out that I could be addicted to a lot of worse things. I was VERY excited to return from vacation to find my Posie Gets Cosy Sampler kit in the mail! (I am linking to Bijou Lovely's post on this since I am too lazy to take my own pictures of it.)

This is what I get for reading too many craft blogs. I see these things and think, "Hey, I should learn to crewel/embroider" and I order a kit that overwhelms me upon receipt.

Have I ever picked up a crewel needle in my life? Uhh...no. Do I even know what crewel means? Uhhh...no.

When I was examining the contents, Nate asked, "What are you doing?"

I responded, "Going through this kit I ordered. Wouldn't this be cute in Maggie's room?!"

Nate: "Oh, is that counted cross-stitch?"

Amy: "Ummm..I don't know. Kind of?"

God bless the man because he could have said a lot of things at that point. After a long pause, I added:

"And yes...this is probably going onto the stack of projects that won't get finished for another ten years. Maybe it will be for Maggie's DORM room".

Nate's response: "How's that scarf for your mom coming?" (Note: Said Scarf was a present started in 2009 that was going to be a Mother's Day present for my mom...then a Christmas present...and then....it has sat in a bag.)

All I could do was laugh. Apparently, in addition to the mail, I am addicted to crafts. Is there an Intervention episode for people like me?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chicken Paprikash

I am interrupting Vacation Recap for a recipe post since I haven't had one in a while.

Last night I made this and while Nate and I liked it, I scored bonus points because Maggie also gobbled it up.

You can use Greek yogurt in place of the sour cream if you so choose. Make some noodles (we used Elbows) to serve with at the same time. From start to finish, this meal maybe took 20-25 minutes - perfect for a weeknight!

Chicken Paprikash
Source: The Essential New York Times Cook Book, 2010 via Keri's Kitchen

One 3 pound chicken, cut into serving pieces** (I did not have a whole chicken in the house so I used 3 breasts instead)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup thinly sliced onions

1 tablespoon finely minced garlic

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

½ cut chicken broth

1 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour


Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Melt the butter in a large heavy skillet. Add the chicken pieces skin side down and cook over moderately high heat until browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Turn the pieces and continue cooking for about 5 minutes, until brown on the second side.
Scatter the onions and garlic around the chicken pieces. Sprinkle with paprika and stir. Add the chicken broth, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes or longer until chicken is done. Remove the chicken to a warm serving dish. Pour off excess fat.
Blend the sour cream and flour and stir it into the sauce. Simmer, stirring for about 1 minute. Pour the sauce over the chicken.

Serve with/over buttered noodles

**If you click on the Keri's Kitchen link above, we made the Panko-crusted fish sticks for dinner on Monday night and also enjoyed them!

And We're Off! Vacation Days 1-2

It was the vacation that never seemed to get here! I NEEDED a vacation. Work has been insane, and true to form, despite my one-month heads up to everyone I work with, people seemed in denial that I was not going to be in the office. As seems to happen with every "last day in the office before vacation", sh** hit multiple fans. Thankfully, I was still out of the office by 5 PM...and NO I was not checking (work) email on vacation!

We loaded up the car and took the standard road trip photo:



All of you good Catholics out there will appreciate the St. Christopher medal my mom bought Maggie for her carseat for the trip - you can see in pinned on there in photo below. Hilarious! St. Christopher = patron saint of travelers. The saints are something I miss most about Catholicism!


So 5:50 PM we were out of the driveway!

We were back home at 5:51 PM because despite my best overpacking efforts, I had forgotten the trip journal. (Nevermind that I never actually WROTE in the trip journal!)

OK! Back out of the driveway at 5:52.

Of course we ran in MKE traffic. This however wasn't terrible. Maggie fell asleep around her normal bedtime and we kept cruising. WE made it just south of Indianapolis the first night and stayed in a Comfort Suites. HB recommended the Comfort Suites to us after we told her about the smallness of our hotel room in Iowa. I completely second her recommendation. For one low price you get a huge room, a refrigerator/freezer (helpful for breastmilk!), free breakfast and free wireless internet so you can catch up with your Words With Friends games ;)

The next day, Maggie was excited to be on vacation:


We loaded back into the car and got back on the road. This second day was the worst day of our trip. I grew very tired of trying to entertain Maggie with the toys and books I brought along. She grew very tired of being in her carseat. At Calhoun, GA, Nate promised that we would fly the next vacation. HALLELUJAH. I pondered purchasing flight tickets for Maggie and myself for the way home and Nate could drive the car home.

Despite the subpar travel day, we DID get to eat at Chick-fil-A - always a favorite when we visit the South. Maggie was excited to have the placemat to "play" with, and she even enjoyed some of my chicken sandwich. This is where we found out her love of mandarin oranges - from the fruit cup we bought her.



Finally, we arrived at our friends' C, F, & SD house at 6:30 PM - two hours later than we had anticipated. No matter - the ATL crew was there with a scrumptious dinner.

Five kids age 3 and under = craziness! Maggie loved it!


Here are Rollins School of Public Health: The Next Generation:

Who knew six years after graduation we would have such a cute crew? The kiddos are lined up from oldest to youngest - Miles, Sarah, Felix, Anslea and Maggie.

Kid's bedtimes quickly approached and it was time to go to bed. C&F turned their master bedroom and bathroom into a guest suite for us which was fabulous. Maggie and the pack-n-play went in the bathroom which was connected to the bedroom, but had a door. It worked out so well - Thank you C&F!

WE MADE IT TO OUR FIRST DESTINATION. Tired, but safe and sound. Stay tuned for our ATL Adventures....

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

She WAS the one-tooth baby

I still have not uploaded vacation pictures so delaying the recap.

I have to post these pictures of the "one-tooth baby". My niece has a Cabbage Patch Kid doll that has one tooth. When she was really little (as oppossed to the "big" five year old that she is now :) ), she named it the "one-tooth baby".

Last month, we took pictures of Maggie - a then one-tooth baby - with THE one-tooth baby for fun.

They crack me up





Maggie currently has 1.4 teeth - both on her bottom. We have a sneaking suspicion that another one is about to poke through. Unfortunately this tooth has brought a cough, runny nose, a low-grade fever and a loss of appetite with it so Mags hasn't been herself the past two days. I sort of freaked out about all of these symptoms and took her to the doctor yesterday because she has never been sick and did not have any of these with the previous teeth. I felt kind of like an idiot when her ears looked great, her lungs sounded great, her oxygen level was great and they "diagnosed" her with teething. Oh well!

Monday, July 11, 2011

In the last month (10 months)....

This week will be overloaded with posts as we just got back from a whirlwind 11 day vacation and Maggie turned 10 months old! I focused more on laundry than pictures last night so the vacation recaps will have to wait. Thus, here is the 10 month update on Maggles.


FOOD
She continues to be a great eater. On vacation, she was relegated to a lot of store-bought purees but she also experienced a LOT of new foods as well so I didn't feel as bad! She now likes cheesey grits, black bean cakes, pancakes, guacamole, chicken, honeydew melons, mandarin oranges, and Moe's Black Bean Quesadillas. She also likes lemon - my BIL's GF, KR, gave her a lemon in FL expecting to get a funny face. Instead, Maggie ate the lemon. ha ha ha.

A funny food story from vacation: While staying at Nate's conference hotel in Orlando, Maggie and I were playing in the pool and then ate lunch at the poolside restaurant. I ordered fish tacos with fresh fruit. I gave her the fruit to eat and a small piece of the fish. She seemed to like it so I broke off a hunk of it and gave it to her. All of a sudden she started SCREAMING - apparently I should have tried more of the tacos before giving her the fish, which was quite spicy. Ah well. She quickly recovered and went back to eating her melon.

Her food schedule has not changed in the last month. You can tell that she really prefers "real food" to the "baby food" - duh - wouldn't you? Since we basically wiped out our remaining baby food supply on vacation, we will not be restocking that shelf in our pantry. Girl's growing up!

The only foods we are still avoiding are eggs, peanut butter and honey. These foods are highly allergenic and you are recommended to wait until 1 year to introduce those. However, since she obviously has gotten eggs in pasta, breads and some of the foods she has eaten, I am going to start giving her scrambled egg yolks to see what happens. Something I never knew pre-baby is that the white part of the egg is actually the most allergenic. We did give her part of a hard-cooked egg yolk on vacation and she seemed to like it.


GROWING GROWING!
I really feel like Maggie grew so much in the last 11 days but maybe that is because I was with her every day. She definitely got taller and heavier but I don't have any measurements since 10 months is not a well child visit time. She is starting to outgrow 12 month sized clothes and has started wearing 18 month sized things already. Our neighbors have a little girl, S, who is exactly one year older than Magggie and they just gave us another two big bags of hand-me-downs. YAY! However, I think Maggie will soon be bigger than S and no longer able to wear her hand-me-downs!

She also is growing out of her size 3 shoes and size 3 diapers.

Also, the girl is finally getting some hair! We are curious to find out what color it will be. Sometimes it looks very dark (similar to mine) and other times, when it catches the light, it looks lighter, and almost blond (similar to Nate). Time will tell!

LANGUAGE
She says "ba-ba" "ma-ma" and "da-da" indiscriminantly, but definitely says "da-da" most of all to refer to anything. I have no idea if she knows what she is saying, but I constantly reinforce things! ha ha ha She has done more gobbly-gook talk too to which I (I think Nate does this too) just pretend I understand what she is saying and keep talking to her.

On vacation, she gave us our first un-prompted kisses! It was too cute. Now if you say, "Maggie, can Mama have a kissy" she will come over to you and give you a (very wet) kiss. She also will grab her belly when you ask her, "Maggie, where is your belly?" and grab her toes when you ask her where her toes are.

MOVEMENT
This has been very exciting. We are SO CLOSE to crawling. She now gets up on all fours and does the rocking and two nights ago, we found her sitting up in her pack and play waiting for us - which was a first. Now she can control if she is laying on her back, stomach or sitting up which is so much easier. I think hanging with all of the "big kids" in the ATL rubbed off on her a little. Either that or she didn't want A (or any other kids) to crawl over her anymore, as captured in this photo from vacation:

She also is starting to do some pulling up on things. This is easier if the thing she is trying to pull up on is lower. In the pool by my in-laws condo in Celebration, FL, there was little ledge that was perfect for her to continually go up and down, up and down.
TOYS/BOOKS
In the last month, I think she has gotten really sick of her toys. Or maybe I am just sick of them. During our stay in ATL, the 2-year old daughter of our friends C&F was great about sharing all of her toys with Maggie and Maggie definitely seemed way more interested in them than her own toys. S had some pretty cool toys! We did stop at Ikea in FL to get her some "bigger kid" toys including some wood blocks and one of those bead maze things.

At Disney World, we got her a stuffed animal and let her "pick". We basically took her to the walls of stuffed animals everyday and tried to see which ones she liked. She definitely seemed to have a preference for Winnie-the-Pooh so she now has a small Winnie-the-Pooh that she loves chewing on. She also is not without her Angel Dear duck at naptime and bedtime (Thanks HB).

I am excited to find some new toys for her.

TEETH
She has 1.4 teeth, both on the bottom. The second one really seems to have pushed up in the last month. Nothing on the top yet!


SLEEP
Sleep got majorly messed up on vacation. She woke up in the middle of the night/morning about half of the nights we were away, which she hasn't done in a while. Changing time zones and sleeping in a pack in play in five different places probably did not help things! I am sure she will get back on track in a couple of days. Generally, she is still on the same sleep schedule as last month, with two naps being the norm. Last month we started waking her up on her morning nap so that she would sleep longer in her afternoon nap. We started doing this because her morning nap was always a lot longer than the afternoon nap and she would often be really crabby in the evening and be on the verge of falling asleep at 6 PM. Once we started shortening her morning nap, her afternoon nap got longer and she was able to make it until bedtime.

All photos courtesy of our friends, A&EH, from the ATL portion of our trip. THANK YOU!