Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Then, in an overzealous attempt to organize my online photos this evening, I inadvertently changed the coding (i.e. the html link) for all the pictures featured on my blog. Although at the time it seemed like Armageddon, my worst fear was completely unfounded---the pictures were not gone forever, just temporarily inaccessible until I updated the coding. Whew, crisis averted!
And as if on cue, an email appeared in my inbox that made my whole evening do an about face. A friend sent me a link to a YouTube video along with this question: Is this Gillybean in a few short months? After viewing the video, I can only say that I most certainly hope so!
I do believe the first part of this video is self-explanatory and for those that know me well, the second part will be too. But since there's no shame in my game, I don't mind repeating what I've said before many, many times...I love me some Jon Bon Jovi. Like the little girl in this video, let's hope Gillian has great taste in music too!
How was your evening?
March has a busy month. Here are some of the highlights:
Gillian Grace got her first pair of sneakers, pink high top converse. Great for a girl on the go!
With a few warm and pleasant days, interspersed between what has mostly been an unseasonably cool and cloudy March, we began spending more time outside. GG loves the sunshine and we learned, is enamored with her own shadow. We're looking forward to spending much more time outdoors in the months to come.
We visited our neighborhood park for the first time. With so many great photos of GG taken that day, I want to save the majority of the pictures for a separate post. But here's just a tease...
While visiting my parents, Gammie and I took GG to visit Grandad at work. Ever the proud Grandad, Dad carried Gillian Grace around and introduced her to all his colleagues.
Bret and I ran in our first race since GG's birth last July. Having participated in many runs over the years, including the Disney 1/2 marathon several years ago, it felt good to once again hit the road and take part in a race. Of course, we chose the Annual McGuire's St. Patrick's Day Prediction Run 5k. Costumes are encouraged and beer is the drink of choice post-race so it's really more like a party than a race. The G-Force trifecta (Gammie, Grandad, and Gillian) cheered us on from the race coarse.
GG made some new friends.
Meet Green Guy (known as G square)...
And Gillian Grace's future baby-sitters...
With GG growing so quickly it was time for a few upgrades. She got a new Britax Boulevard convertible car seat. It's much roomier and now she doesn't fuss when we get ready to go somewhere. And since she's such a great sitter, I began carrying around our Chicco umbrella stroller instead of lugging around the much heavier regular stroller. Why I didn't try this sooner, one will never know. Guess in a lot of ways, I'm still a little reluctant to change, especially if it means that my baby girl is growing up.
What are your March highlights?
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
"PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING(recipe follows)
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings.
"PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.
Monday, March 29, 2010
1 c cocoa; sifted
3/4 c coffee; boiling
1 c milk; room temperature
2 3/4 c cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
12 oz butter; room temperature
2 1/2 c sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
4 large eggs
12 tbsp butter; room temperature
3 1/2 c confectioner's sugar
1/2 c cocoa
1/2 c milk
2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 2 8-inch cake pans. Butter cake pans and dust pans with 1/8 c cocoa powder, instead of flour. Mix cocoa, boiling coffee, and milk together. Cool to warm temperature. Sift together all dry ingredients. Cream butter and sugar by hand. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time. Add flour in batch additions mixing until smooth.
Divide batter between pans and bake for 20 minutes. Rotate pans in oven and continue baking for 15 minutes.Test as usual. Cool cakes in pans for 15 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack.
In a small bowl, sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder. Add butter, milk, and vanilla; stir until smooth and free of lumps.
HEAT oven to 350°F.
CHOP 2 chocolate squares. Beat cake mix, dry pudding mix, eggs, sour cream, oil and water in large bowl with mixer on low speed just until moistened. Beat on medium speed 2 min. Stir in chopped chocolate. Pour into 2 greased 9-inch round pans.
BAKE 30 to 35 min. or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 min. Loosen cakes from sides of pans. Invert onto racks; gently remove pans. Cool cakes completely.
PLACE COOL WHIP and remaining chocolate squares in microwaveable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 1-1/2 min. or until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring after 1 min. Let stand 15 min. to thicken. Stack cake layers on plate, filling and frosting with COOL WHIP frosting. Garnish with nuts. Keep refrigerated.
While leapfrogging from blog to blog this past weekend, I came across another great idea--- Mommy and Me Monday. The idea behind this meme couldn't be simpler, post a picture of yourself with your child. I can do this!
Please excuse the orange goo on the tip of my nose. I was singing to Gillian Grace just before the picture and to show her appreciation she gave me licking, quite literally. Thinking it was sweet at first, I had no idea that she left the reminder of her snack on my nose until my husband began laughing hysterically (after the picture was taken, of course). Oh well, I'll take what I can get, Gerber peach yogurt melt gunk and all.
It was not me that fell fast asleep before nine o'clock on Friday night. Yes, Friday night! And it was not me that slept diagonally across the bed for much of the night only to wake up to find my husband clinging to the edge of the bed for dear life. And I most certainly did not
It was not me that pretended to check the mail just to ease drop on a neighbor's conversation out in the street after spying on them through my kitchen window.
It was not me that struggled to complete household chores again and again this weekend. I did not pour nearly an entire container of infant formula into a bottle before realizing that it did not have a bottle liner in it. And I did not start a load of laundry only to forget about it until the next morning.
It was not me that sat glued to my television Saturday nervously watching the final game of the evening, WVU vs. Kentucky. And it's not me that has family from West Virginia and parents that are WVU grads, that will proudly say this, "GO Mountaineers!" And I will not watch the game next Saturday against Duke with my fingers over my eyes.
And lastly, it was definitely not me that asked my husband to smell GG's diaper knowing full well she had just finished a major BM and needed changing. I would never do such a thing, right?!
What have you not been up to lately?
Friday, March 26, 2010
No matter the number of candles on my birthday cake, I'll always be Daddy's little girl. And that's the way (uh-huh uh-huh) I like it!
Thursday, March 25, 2010
So Miss Picky McPickersons, what's going on? And, most importantly what have you done with my lil' Gillybean that never met a meal she didn't like?
These meal time shenanigans have got me thinking---Do I stand my ground and continue to offer her fruits and veggies? Should I back down and offer only what she'll eat? What if that means she's primarily only eating formula for a few days or weeks? Is this all just a phase?
Since the doctor recommended introducing table food between 8 and 9 months, is now the time to start? Since she's still toothless, what kinds of soft table foods should I start her with? How can I be sure she's still getting all the vitamins and nutrients she needs to continue growing healthy and strong?
With this new phase, I feel more uncertain than ever. As any mother would, I only want what is best for my lil' girl. Well that, and to say arrivederchi to Miss Picky McPickersons and welcome back my Gillian Grace Goodeater!
What's a Mama to do?
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Deliver the letter, the sooner the better...
Anyone recognize the lyrics from above? "Please, Mr. Postman" by The Marvelettes ring a bell? Blame it on car rides with the radio dial set to Motown or watching Mom Sweatin' to the Oldies with Richard Simmons, but to this day I'm still a fan of music from the 50's and 60's. Well, this song was the first thing that popped into my head this evening after my husband came in with our mail. Okay, so maybe it was the third thing that I thought about right after, "What the heck?!" and Elvis' "Return to Sender."
It may be small, but pay close attention to the Sender Name in the upper left hand corner of the envelope...
I can only hope that the former owner and intended recipient is not Mrs. Margaret Whatshername but Doctor Margaret Whatshername. Otherwise it's just weird and creepy!
Monday, March 22, 2010
With my dad being a connoisseur of bread pudding, I have tried recipe after recipe over the years only to toss them out before they ever had a chance to reach a plate. Then I stumbled across this Paula Deen recipe for bread pudding and found a winner! Besides the taste, this recipe's simplicity is the best part! You'll score tons of brownie points with the family without spending hours in the kitchen.
Inactive Prep Time: 24 hr 10 min
Cook Time: 50 min
Serves: 8 to 10 servings
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 5 large beaten eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups cubed Italian bread, allow to stale overnight in a bowl
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup brandy
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan.
Mix together granulated sugar, eggs, and milk in a bowl; add vanilla. Pour over cubed bread and let sit for 10 minutes.
In another bowl, mix and crumble together brown sugar, butter, and pecans.
Pour bread mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over the top and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until set. Remove from oven.
For the sauce:
Mix together the granulated sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir together until the sugar is melted. Add the brandy, stirring well. Pour over bread pudding. Serve warm or cold.
Muchas Gracias to my mom and dad. To them I'm still a five year old kid in need of spoiling, encouragement, and at times a little reprimanding! I only hope I can be for Gillian Grace, all that y'all have been for me---a loving parent, disciplinarian, role model, and most importantly, a life long friend.
Muchas Gracias to my husband, without whom I'd be either lost or crazy, or a combination of the two. Your help around the house, especially with our daughter, is more valuable to me than a diet coke first thing in the morning. I'm not the easiest to live with at times (yes, hard to believe I know) but you've managed to stick by me through the good, the bad, and the ugly for which I am forever grateful.
Muchas Gracias to my lil' Gillybean. After a few (and by a few I mean five) rough nights you awoke this morning, like most mornings of your life, with a smile on your face melting away any worries I had that you'd be upset with me for allowing you to cry it out last night. Thanks for being a resilient and forgiving baby. Mommy loves you!
So who deserves a Muchas Gracias from you this Monday morning?
Saturday, March 20, 2010
At 8 months old, Gillian Grace never ceases to amaze us. Surpassing milestones faster than we can keep track, every day is a new adventure. Now that she is crawling, GG is on the move non-stop. There's certainly no holding her back nowadays. She makes so many tracks here, there, and everywhere, it's a wonder that she hasn't worn our family room rug to mere threads. Her adventurous spirit and fearlessness keeps me on my toes. Despite having become quite the accomplished sitter, she much prefers to stand. She loves pulling up on the ottoman and standing until her tiny legs can take no more. She even showboats a bit, walking circles around the ottoman while holding on with only one hand. Between pulling up and crawling, our house has become Gillian's own personal playground. Along with all this new mobility comes the increased risk of falls, bumps, and bruises. This week GG got her first major ouchie when she bumped her head against her crib while climbing up to greet us one morning. Even with a nice goose-egg on her forehead, I'm pretty sure she got over it long before I did. We've baby-proofed the house, as it seems nothing is safe from her tiny hands. And as much as I may wish otherwise, it appears that walking is in our near future.
Adventurous with a dash of fearlessness best describes her personality at this point. She has a stubborn streak, which I can only assume she inherited from me. She has heard the word "no" on more than one occasion and isn't sure that she likes it. Although we're fairly certain that she doesn't know what it means, she will pause when she hears the word "no", only to return to what she was doing minutes later. It takes several "nos" before she will completely abandon what she was doing and move on.
Still the ever content and happy baby she's always been, Gillian Grace now likes to ham it up for an audience. Whether it's family, friends, or complete strangers, GG loves to have all eyes on her. Give her your attention and she'll give you a show!
GG is fascinated by people, especially men, children, and babies. She will turn on a dime when she sees a baby and just stare!
She's a talker, babbling incoherently much of the time. Occasionally, "dada" can be heard quite clearly. That's right, like most babies, Gillian Grace's first word was "dada". When she crawled into the kitchen, put her hands on the refrigerator, and said "da" we quickly figured that she wasn't able to actually associate her new word with her Daddy. While at first she was calling any and everything "dada", that has lessened and she now uses the word appropriately 80% of the time. It's been in the last two days that GG has begun to say "mama". Granted most of the time it's completely by chance, but I'll take what I can get.
Still not a big fan of veggies, GG's love for fruit has remained consistent. We've yet to discover a fruit that she didn't enjoy. We've even tried a little more variety lately and introduced her to a few exotic fruits. She can't get enough of Gerber's Hawaiian delight and mango puree. Yum! We've scaled back on the amount of formula she has in a given day, although lately her appetite has seemed insatiable. Instead of half a bottle for snack, she's been inhaling a full 8 oz bringing her total daily bottle consumption to around 24 oz. It won't be long before we'll be adding stage 3 foods to her diet and at 9 months, our doctors has given us the okay to begin introducing table food.
GG continues to be very tactile and her motor skills improve each day. Gillian Grace has mastered picking up Gerber's puffs and yogurt melts. She gets so excited when I bring out the container of puffs and shake it around. Always grabbing a handful instead of just one, we continually have to caution her to slow down. She even surprised us with her dexterity when she reached her hand down inside the puffs container and pulled out one puff to eat. What can I say, nothing---not a container and certainly not your hand or finger---gets in the way of my lil' one and her food!
While still a fan of Mickey Mouse, she has a new love---Disney's Imagination Movers. If you've never heard of them, stay tuned, I'll be doing a post about this wonderful group in the near future. GG loves music! Whether in a commercial or on a show like the Movers, she will stop what she is doing when she first hears the beat. She even bobs up and down a bit, slapping her hand on her knee. Don't know if this is intentional, but it's cute nevertheless. During the day and at night she enjoys it when we sing. There's just something about a melody that soothes her.
After reading about the heartache and losses of others this week, we continue to thank God each and everyday for blessing us with such a beautiful and healthy baby. I'm not sure what we ever did to deserve something so wonderful, but we are forever grateful.
Friday, March 19, 2010
On another note...
If you haven't already, scroll down or click here to find our what you can do to help support breast cancer patients.
Now that I'm a stay at home mom, saving money where we can is priority numero uno. Stocking up on diapers, wipes, and all the necessities is a must, especially when there's a good deal to be found. I received an email about just such a deal this Saturday at Babies R Us. To promote Pampers' newest diaper technology, you will receive a $20 gift card when you purchase any two value size (92-252 ct.) boxes of Pampers. And, these newest Pampers with Dry Max promise to be two times drier and 20% thinner! Wouldn't that be a plus for our wee ones?! Hehe, I just said wee and we're talking diapers, anyone else find that funny? Okay, so it's just me... Anyway, head on over to your local Babies R Us tomorrow and stock up!
Don't forget to check back later for Flashback Friday. Today's picture will feature the Hubs, much to his own chagrin.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Rarely one to send along forwards, I am breaking my own rule and asking that you, the readers of my blog, take a second to read the following excerpt from an email I received this morning.
Proposed Mastectomy Law Change (written by a surgeon) ;
I'll never forget the look in my patients eyes when I had to tell them they had to go home with the drains, new exercises and no breast. I remember begging the doctors to keep these women in the hospital longer, only to hear that they would, but their hands were tied by the insurance companies.
So there I sat with my patient giving them the instructions they needed to take care of themselves, knowing full well they didn't grasp half of what I was saying, because the glazed, hopeless, frightened look spoke louder than the quiet 'Thank you' they muttered.
A mastectomy is when a woman's breast is removed in order to remove cancerous breast cells/tissue. If you know anyone who has had a mastectomy, you may know that there is a lot of discomfort and pain afterwards. Insurance companies are trying to make mastectomies an outpatient procedure. Let's give women the chance to recover properly in the hospital for 2 days after surgery.
There's a bill called the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act which will require insurance companies to cover a minimum 48-hour hospital stay for patients undergoing a mastectomy. It's about eliminating the 'drive-through mastectomy' where women are forced to go home just a few hours after surgery, against the wishes of their doctor, still groggy from anesthesia and sometimes with drainage tubes still attached.
Lifetime Television has put this bill on their web page with a petition drive to show your support. Last year over half the House signed on. PLEASE! Sign the petition by clicking on the web site below.
This takes about 2 seconds. PLEASE PASS THIS ON.
At 31 years young, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and after going through painful radiation therapy, had a mastectomy. It horrifies me to think that Congress would be willing to send women home only hours after such an invasive surgery. Surely there are ways to cut health care costs other than putting our mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, and friends at risk. Please take the time to click on the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act button below. The button will link you directly to the petition on the Lifetime website. Then ask your family and friends to do the same. Feel free to grab the button I've created for your own blog. And for all of you Facebook users out there, after completing the brief petition on the Lifetime site, you can grab a badge to post to your profile to help spread the word about stopping breast cancer for life.